17 January 2020
The Tooth Relic & The Tamil King
[A Buddha statue from an important religious site has been returned to Sri Lanka, 100 years after it was gifted to a British man.
Members of the Bell family have handed this statue down through the generations after archaeologist and explorer Harry Charles Purvis Bell, known as HCP Bell, was given the statue during a visit to a temple in 1919, while he was working in Sri Lanka.] BBC
The Bell family are very cultured and obviously rank belief above physical custody to claim ownership. They are blessed by the global power of belief.
I have from time to time, experienced the value of such blessings through experiences where I let go of the physical after doing my best to retain custody. ‘Letting go’ includes mental detachment from the physical. This often comes with pain – especially where ‘possession’ has been over a long period and/or was earned on merit basis. But I realised that once I experienced the pain and continued to care for the sake of its value to me – I felt much more comfortable in that ownership. That pain then becomes the investment I make in the nuclear value of that item/person.
The Buddha statue that was gifted to Mr HCP Bell confirmed the goodwill between the British and Sri Lankans at that time. The most celebrated symbol of Buddhism in Sri Lanka is the tooth relic.
How did Buddha’s tooth come to Sri Lanka?:
[According to Sri Lankan legends, when the Buddha died in 543 BC, his body was cremated in a sandalwood pyre at Kushinagar and his left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral pyre by his disciple, Khema. Khema then gave it to King Brahmadatte for veneration. It became a royal possession in Brahmadatte's country and was kept in the city of Dantapuri (modern Puri, Odisha).
A belief grew that whoever possessed the tooth relic had a divine right to rule that land. The Dāṭhāvaṃsa recounts the tale of a war fought over the relic 800 years later between Guhasiva of the republic of Kalinga and a king named Pandu] Wikipedia
Khema herself ‘was a Buddhist bhikkhuni, or nun, who was considered one of the foremost female disciples of the Buddha. She was born into a noble family in the ancient Kingdom of Madra, and was the wife of King Bimbisara of the ancient Indian kingdom of Magadha.’ Wikipedia
Madra was the Kingdom inherited by the youngest of the Pandava brothers – the heroes of Mahabharatham. Princess Madri was physically good looking and distracted Pandava’s father from his meditation which resulted in both of them dying as per the curse of Sage who was carelessly killed by Pandu.
Khema – a descendent of Madri was also very conscious of her physical attractiveness. Khema was cured by Lord Buddha. The essence I see here is that Khema renounced the luxuries of Royalty to become a disciple of Buddha who himself gave up his claim to the throne. This was why Khema found the tooth and gave it to King of Kasi for venerating.
Magadha kingdom of which Khema became queen through marriage is presented as follows by Wikipedia:
‘Magadha played an important role in the development of Jainism and Buddhism, and two of India's greatest empires, the Maurya Empire and Gupta Empire, originated in Magadha.’
The time of Maurya Empire – there was strong development of Political Science and Governance in India. During Gupta Empire, India is reported to have enjoyed Golden Age. The Zero concept and the origin of Chess are reported to have been established during this period.
To my mind, there was no distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism in the minds of Royalty during the time of Buddha.
There however is a connection between renunciation of the apparent to become a spiritual leader.
Globally – the four religions of Sri Lanka are grouped in the following order:
1. Christianity with about 2.4 billion followers or 30.8% of the world's population
2. Islam with about 1.9 billion followers or 24.4% of the world's population
3. Hinduism with about 1.2 billion followers or 15.4% of the world's population
4. Buddhism with about 520 million followers, or over 6.6% of the global population
According to the Sri Lankan Constitution – Buddhism is the foremost religion and therefore a true practitioner would have access to 6.6% of the global population through Buddhism.
Likewise, a Muslim has access to more than three times –at 24.4% and Christians have access to more than 4 times – at 30.8% and Hindus to more than twice at - 15.4% of the world population.
One who does not expect benefits accesses the minds of other believers more quickly than one who expects a benefit. More importantly, one who has continuously believed is protected by that belief and beyond a certain point – such a person is led by the whole. That to me is the essence of the Christian message ‘Knock and it shall Open’. The Hindu version is ‘Thou Art That / Tat Tvam Asi’
Those to whom the Tooth of Buddha means the apparent throne would go up and down with position status and its costs and benefits. Those to whom it means Buddha – the one who renounced the apparent throne to be ‘free’ of emotional excitement and depression – that tooth is Buddha himself – meaning the soul of Buddha.
As per Wikipedia report on the Temple of the Tooth Relic:
[The present-day temple of the tooth was built by Vira Narendra Sinha. The octagonal Paththirippuwa and moat were added during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha.]
I found out from the paintings in Colombo house that King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha wore Pottu – the Third Eye dot symbolising Lord Shiva and also that his queen also wore the pottu. Wikipedia reports also that :
[During Sri Vikrama Rajasinha's reign, Tamil was used as one of the court languages in Kandy - a historical fact with implications for the present-day politics of Sri Lanka]
…..The current Flag of Sri Lanka incorporates Sri Vikrama Rajasinha's Royal Standard. In September 1945 it was proposed in an address to the State Council that the flag be adopted as Sri Lanka's national flag:
"This House is of opinion that the Royal Standard of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha depicting a yellow lion passant holding a sword in its right paw on a red background, which was removed to England after the Convention of 1815, should once again be adopted as the official flag of Free Lanka."]
About the Memorial of this last king of Kandy :
[Muthu Mandapam is a memorial built around the tombstone of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last south Indian origin ruler of Kandy. Situated on the bank Palar River, it is just one km north of Vellore town.]
The disrespect for the past has thus weakened our power of belief. The Temple of Tooth also lost the protective Energy due to this:
‘The temple sustained damage from bombings by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna in 1989 and by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 1998 but was fully restored each time.’ - Wikipedia
The 1989 attack happened on 08 February. Mr Ranasinghe Premadasa became President on 02 January 1989. The purpose was to take revenge for the ruthless suppression of insurgency. Wikipedia presents the following:
In 2001, The Sunday Leader, a Sri Lankan English-language weekly, interviewed a former JVP member, Adhikari alias Kosala, who participated in the attack. A fully-fledged member, Adhikari had received arms training, and participated in several operations on behalf of the party, including the 1987 Pallekele Army camp attack, 1987 Bogambara prison attack and Digana bank heist.
According to Adhikari, the first meeting to plan the attack was held at the house of a JVP co-ordinator named Sunanda, in Kandy. In that meeting, Sunanda explained the motivation behind the attack. He believed that taking away the relic of the tooth of the Buddha, which had been residing in the country for at least 1,700 years, would have made the people to rise up against the government which couldn't even protect the sacred property. This relic is traditionally considered as the symbol of the leadership and royalty in Sri Lanka]
….On 25 January 1998, the LTTE exploded a massive truck bomb inside the Temple of the Tooth premises, which was to be the centre the independence day celebrations
According to the Mackenzie Institute, part of the LTTE's incentive for the attack was to spark widespread mob violence against the country's Tamil minority, by the Sinhalese majority, as it was in 1983. But it did not happen after this incident.]
It is ridiculous after all this to even think that the LTTE was against the Sinhalese. They were very much with the Sinhalese but against Kings / Presidents following in the footsteps of their brothers – the JVP. They attacked Sinhalese for the same reason as JVP – to provoke the People against the Government of the day. Eventually they ended up killing Mr Premadasa with whom they teamed up to get rid of the Indian Peace Keeping Force from Sri Lanka.
If we arrange what happened in the time order it happened – we become the structure of the common mind that caused the damage. This then helps us identify with the Energy that the structure is made up of – commonly known as the root cause in Resource Management. Madam Kumaratunga genuinely cared about Sri Lanka as a whole and also was open to partnerships with educated Tamils such as Dr Neelan Thiruchelvam. The only President of Sri Lanka to whom I was taken by my Energies is Madam Kumaratunga. It happened due to my need for approval for the development projects in Tsunami affected Batticaloa.
In Pranic Healing – practitioners access the Energy. When we say that at death we take only our Virtues and Sins – it means that we share this with where we have lived in this life. I believe that this can be invoked by someone with that Energy. Remorse is recommended to diffuse such bad Energies generated by us. If we do not recognize those Energies – they come with us and also stay where we generated them. Hence some places are sacred and others are haunted. Tamils need to feel remorse for their part and Sinhalese for theirs – if they are to stop the rebirth of war energies again in Sri Lanka. Each time we Search within and identify with the truth – the Energy that we generated in the process cures sins.
Stopping the singing of National Anthem in Tamil during Independence day celebrations will surely invoke sins against the British whose punishment was taken by the last king of Kandy – a Tamil. The form of new rule could be Chinese this time.
The tooth relic is from India. If we feel homely with India – as Indian Subcontinent – then we do not need to return it. Otherwise, like the Bell family we need to return the smuggled tooth relic to its rightful owners. Even if we do not do so physically – we could do so mentally. If don’t do that either – then the system of karma takes over and we can only suffer as insiders or observe as outsiders.