12 March 2020
Buddhist Clergy in Sri Lankan Politics
In his Daily Mirror article ‘Should Bhikkhus play an active role in politics?’ Mr Lionel Wijesiri presents the following picture:
[In 1956, a large segment of Buddhist monks supported SWRD Bandaranaike to form a government. They actively participated in the election campaign which gave the desired result. It was the forerunner and thereafter, politicians began to seek the support of organised Buddhist groups to win elections. 21 years later, this relationship between the state and Buddhism was given special constitutional status with Buddhism being accorded the “foremost place.”]
Buddhist monks in politics are an extreme example of dividing forces, as are those who ‘show’ a particular religious faith when in common position. Mr C V Wigneswaran is the Hindu parallel of Buddhist monks. To my mind, this happened because he – a migrant to Tamil Politics and to Northern Sri Lanka, opened the Tamil Tiger past and referred to the LTTE leader as Thambi / younger brother. To be true – LTTE leader ought to have followed the Common law or Mr Wigneswaran must be a senior in Marxism. His politics if he is successful, would end up in separation and Administration at the level of the Tamil Tigers, in the areas where majority support Tamil Tigers – if indeed there are any.
The Tamil Tigers were disrespectful of Tamil Politicians and expressed their Opposition at primary level. THAT confirmed the maximum level of commonness they were capable of developing within the Community they were part of. The rest of their claim that they were the sole representatives of the Sri Lankan Tamil community was false and was a serious breach of the principles of Democracy that Tamils have been entitled to since 1947 when the first Democratic Elections were held and the Hon D S Senanayake became the Prime Minister. His party was the United National Party.(UNP)
To the extent ‘seniority’ is falsely claimed it becomes a lie. When is it falsely claimed? It is false when the senior does not include the junior as part of her/himself or v.v. Dependent persons tend to be virtual juniors. This is a high risk in welfare dependent groups. When such persons rebel against their seniors – they contribute to separation. Only those who are self-governing would successfully rebel against seniors and confirm independence.
Mere majority does not make a group senior. A group with majority by number becomes eligible to lead laterally only so long as it is united internally by faith. By taking senior position over one in another group a member of the former group breaches the fundamentals of democracy. To lead, one needs institutional powers that are often based on laws common to all groups. These tend to be secular. Those who claim that they are leaders in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka, naturally separate themselves from every other group that lives in the land known as Sri Lanka. To so claim is in breach of Article 2 of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states as follows:
[The Republic of Sri Lanka is a Unitary State.]
Article 9 of the Sri Lanka Constitution is in breach of Article 2. The Constitution being the Bible of the Government needs to be self-balancing. Until then no govern which takes oaths on the Constitution has the moral authority to govern Sri Lanka.
One of the points of contention has been the language of the government. This was confirmed to be Sinhalese under the current regime of the Rajapaksas. The National Anthem was sung in Sinhala language by the Government on 04 February 2020. I was in Colombo on that day. I prayed at Mayura Amman temple in Colombo 5. I did not sing. I just touched the floor and submitted to Holy Mother. That temple ground is my home ground due to my faith. The parallel of that would have happened in Nallur – where men roll on the ground around the temple building and women also go around the temple - touching the ground with their forehead. These acts of faith – make those grounds the home of worshippers. Sri Lanka’s Prescriptive ordinance confirms the value of ownership by belief .
Hence the 04 February celebrations by the Government were only about the Freedom of Sinhala Nation. It is NOT to celebrate Independence of Sri Lanka.
We are all temporary occupiers of the Land and properties associated with Land. Laws that determine ownership and therefore priority rights are based on belief. This belief is confirmed by money paid to separate the property from other properties combined with occupation by the person who paid the money and/or occupied by the arrangements made by that person who thus particularized the property. After the death of that person her/his heirs – usually biological children inherit that apparent ownership of the property. The particular ownership by the individual dies with the death of her/his body which is certain. It is the shared faith in the property that becomes eternal ownership and it is this that confirms the oneness between the custodians of the property. This applies in the case of any country.
In democracy majority vote is the currency that renders ownership rights to lead through the stated laws in which one has to have belief. No Buddhist has the right to govern over non-Buddhists due to Article 9 of the Constitution. War Crimes were committed by both sides due to lack of belief in the common laws of law.
Taking the matter to the UN and resolving at that level would protect Sri Lankans from such breaches of Dharma. Every member of Buddhist clergy who failed to identify with this breach of Dharma is not a disciple of Buddha. To my mind, it happened due to their virtual dependence on the Politicians. A true Buddhist would live off the offerings by their followers – as thanksgiving for spiritual leadership.