20 November 2018
Belief Foremost in Democratic Parliament
The Sri Lankan Parliament, by religion is Buddhist Parliament. Given Article 9 of the Constitution, Buddhism is the foremost religion of Sri Lanka. Hence the outcomes that cannot be directly measured by secular laws and principles have to taken as being due to Buddhism. Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution states as follows:
[The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).]
The intuitive decisions we make are as per our Truth. That Truth is given Buddhist form in the case of manifestations in Sri Lankan parliament, unless shown otherwise through common language. If Buddhism is given governing status but is not practiced actively it becomes the source of superstition.
Yesterday, when counselling a family in Northern Sri Lanka I identified this conflict between culture and secular law as a problem. The couple have been separated for over two years now. The problem started when they lived in the village of the wife where the wife had been given a house as dowry. That village – being like Chulipuram where a little girl was raped by her uncle – is not protected by firmly structured family relationships. Relatively speaking, the wife’s family was/is better structured than the average family in the village. Hence the husband imagined enjoyments that he thought others had without much commitment to staying within the boundaries of marriage. When he expressed his desire to marry a close relative of the wife – in addition to the wife – the problem became public. He blamed also – the wife – saying that she had such a relationship with the men in her immediate family.
As a woman of common faith in Mother Kali, to whom the villagers also pray, I believe that this is false in the case of the wife and that the husband was seeing himself through her fondness for him. I concluded that he was suffering from bipolar disorder. He is however able to work for money and continues to be self-sufficient in terms of money – as the wife is in terms of family and community status as a good woman. The wife on the other hand is laidback and limits herself to homemaking at the primary level of cooking and cleaning. When the couple separated her brothers and father provided the money and emotional support for her and her three children. When asked to apply for maintenance through the secular system – the wife became reluctant. When asked by me as to who would support her – she said her elder brother whose wife is self-employed. That was when I realised that this lady wanted to live in the past and made statements to please those who would resource her in the current environment. She expressly stated that she believed she would one day live with her husband. My advice was that she implemented that immediately – and as if by divine blessings – her husband’s younger brother came forward to facilitate the reunion. In terms of the wife’s brother – I said to him firmly that he is to stop all money and direct support to her and he agreed. I said to be there in the invisible background at all times but not to be seen. My advice was for all support to be indirect and invisible so the husband would feel that he is right and that he brought about the reunion. To the wife I said that the Hindu ancestor Nalayini – the wife of a holy man carried her husband whose body had shrunk and was weak, to a prostitute because he had expressed that desire. I said that the philosophy at that time was that if the husband thought it was right – she must take it as right unless their common cultural laws forbade it. As a Hindu – I said to this lady currently in need - she had the example of Nalayini who developed the power to stop the sun from rising – meaning work the self-functioning natural forces. I said since she the wife was chaste and she knew it, the real husband she was living with was that one that she developed as a loyal wife. I said that it did not depend on the person who is holding that position right now. I said that is when she would work that relationship. This to me is the value of ‘positions’ – for they provide form to our other side relation – irrespective of who the current occupier is. This applies to our relationship with government also. That is what self-governance structures are all about.
Buddhism is the parallel of the village culture in the above Sri Lankan example. To majority Sri Lankans the secular laws are ‘foreign’. So long as they practice their respective religions – the minds will merge with Parliamentarians who use secular laws. The latest example of this conflict of one ‘telling’ the other is highlighted by Transparency International Sri Lanka as follows:
[MPs Not Protected by Privilege; Impunity Must be Addressed – TISL
Transparency International Sri Lanka observed with shock and dismay, the behaviour of Members of Parliament over the past week. TISL wishes to highlight that in law, parliamentary privileges are not a cloak for criminal behaviour. TISL is also concerned by the behaviour of MPs towards law enforcement authorities on the premises of the parliament, showcasing a pervasive culture of impunity and total disregard of the rule of law.
TISL wishes to bring to the attention of the public and the relevant authorities, the provisions in law which enable action to be taken in such cases. Whilst the conduct of certain MPs as witnessed in parliament on the 14th, 15th and 16th of November amounts to blatant violations of the code of conduct adopted in April 2018, attempts to sabotage parliamentary proceedings also constitute offences under the Parliament (Powers & Privileges) Act. ]
Parliament is the highest institution that confirms the belief of various cultures. When acting within the boundaries of the Parliament, a parliamentarian is entitled to be driven by her/his belief on behalf of her/his electorate – especially if s/he is not conscious of the secular provisions of the laws of Parliament. If therefore the conduct of that Parliamentarian is NOT prohibited by her/his cultural beliefs - then even another Parliamentarian does not have the authority to punish her/him through secular laws.
On the same basis, when a Buddhist Parliamentarian, including the President, claims that s/he acted as per her/his Buddhist belief , this cannot be challenged through secular sections of the Constitution. That belief is the real power of democracy. But President Sirisena did not declare that he acted as per his belief in Buddhism. He claimed that he acted as per the secular provisions in the constitution.
The citizen who like Nalayini carries the wasted body of the government to prostitutes – those who sell themselves for money – develops the real power of governance through Natural Forces.
To such persons, the secular sections of the Constitution are there to ‘show’ rich outsiders who prostitute their government positions in their respective countries. They are like the marriage laws (through which lawyers prostitute), to the above couple in Northern Sri Lanka – from a part that provided human resources to Tamil militants, including Parliamentarians. The current government and especially the President who failed to declare and confirm through his belief as a Buddhist, has made ‘Buddhism foremost’ trading commodity. The poor Constitution is torn between the two – the internal and the foreign in the hands of those who do not know the difference between belief and superstition. THIS was why Tamils became the real Equal Opposition by Parliament and so long as Tamils believe and actively declare their belief and PRACTICE that culture - they would remain the real and Equal Opposition of Buddhists – due to that latent power that makes the value of the whole greater than the sum of the individuals. It’s that latent power that naturally binds us as Sri Lankans.
As per my Belief the dismissal of Mr Ranil Wicremesinghe is the root cause that is manifesting as various forms of disorder in Parliament. As a citizen with accumulated power to work the Truth – I strongly feel that unless Mr Wickremesinghe believes that another person has deeper ownership in that position that himself – he needs to carry on as if he is the Prime Minister. That would make a mistress of Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa which position he is already used to in opposition. But no laws of secular nature could be passed under his leadership. All parties that are contesting the dissolution of Parliament – have the duty to abstain from participating in such activities and if elections are declared – the must all resolve NOT to participate in such unlawful elections. THAT would confirm their belief in the system of law which is NOT limited to the verdict of the judiciary. It leads us to self-govern in global environments and opportunities naturally happen at the right time for such Sri Lankans.
THAT is the way of Gandhi in today’s Sri Lanka.