05 April 2020
DID WHO RECOMMEND PIRITH?
The controversy over Cremation of the Muslim victim of Coronavirus has strengthened in Sri Lankan professional circles.
Ceylon Today reports about the Government’s view as follows under the heading ‘Cremation or burial for COVID-19 dead: Govt will always look at the bigger picture – MR’:
[Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (3) said that though people belonging to various faiths may have different views regarding the conducting of final rites of victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government will always act looking at the bigger picture and will only act according to the guidance received from the health officers. ]
The same Prime Minister is reported to have taken the following action against this virus:
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore reported on 04 March 2020:
Overnight Pirith Chanting Ceremony to invoke blessings in the fight against COVID-19 outbreak
The Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs, under the guidance of Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, is organizing an overnight Pirith Chanting Ceremony on 07.03.2020 to invoke blessings upon Sri Lankans and the Governments and people around the world, who are fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Pirith Chanting will be held in all 25 districts in the island]
Few weeks prior to the above, Adadera reported as follows under the heading ‘Prime Group welcomes residents with invocation blessings and traditional pirith chanting ceremony’:
[Prime Group together with the homeowners of its development Prime Splendour, Rajagiriya held a traditional Pirith chanting ceremony on 15th of February 2020. The event was attended by the Chairman of the Group Mr. Brahmanage Premalal together with the Board of Directors, its members and residents of all ethnicities and faith who now occupy the condominium property. The religious ceremony was conducted under the aegis of Venerable Dodangolle Pannananda Thero. Following the Pirith chanting ceremony the Maha Sangha invoked blessings upon the living space and transferred merit upon homeowners.]
Aljazeera provides the following report about the ‘Big Picture’:
[On December 31 last year, China alerted WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. The virus was unknown.
February 15 saw the death toll in mainland China surge past 1,500, with 66,492 infections confirmed in mainland China.
Elsewhere, the US prepared to evacuate its citizens from a cruise ship quarantined at a Japanese dock.
Meanwhile, a February 3 speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping, published by state media, indicated the government knew about the threat of the virus well before the public alarm was raised. ]
One is therefore entitled to conclude that the current government is misleading the people even at this worst of times.
The action might have been right in terms of science and the connection of the virus to water. To my mind, this has been confirmed also through our Australian Bondi Beach experience and also the Cruise ship infections. Yet the Sri Lankan government did not close its beaches until the curfew on 20 March 2020.
As per the above Ceylon Today report:
["So far only three months have elapsed after the COVID-19 has been identified. Still the WHO is conducting more tests regarding this virus," said PM Rajapaksa.]
In other words, the Pirith sessions were held within these three months when the scientific reasons were not known but China facts were known.
Wikipedia explains the Buddhist interpretation of the role of Water as part of the fundamental elements as follows:
[In the Pali literature, the mahabhuta (“great elements”) or catudhatu (“four elements”) are earth, water, fire and air. In early Buddhism, the four elements are a basis for understanding suffering and for liberating oneself from suffering. The earliest Buddhist texts explain that the four primary material elements are the sensory qualities solidity, fluidity, temperature, and mobility; their characterization as earth, water, fire, and air, respectively, is declared an abstraction — instead of concentrating on the fact of material existence, one observes how a physical thing is sensed, felt, perceived]
In Hinduism we have the fifth element – Aahayam /Sky / Still space, which to my mind is where the Energy ends through all these elements.
Hindus cremate our dead ones to confirm that the soul has been sent to this ultimate destination. To my mind that is Nirvana.
If therefore the body is cremated – Resurrection as per the belief of Muslims is denied. Likewise, Buddhists who bury instead of cremating.
The higher the element in the hierarchy the less aware we are of it through our physical senses. Earth is the heaviest and one who is ‘attached’ to Earth would have difficulty in reaching Nirvana. A good example is land occupation by armed forces as well as rebels.
Water is the next one. It is known through four senses but has no smell. Then fire that we had in Australia. Fire has no smell nor taste.
To my mind, our Fire to the extent it was natural – cleansed us and protected us from the heavier water disease - Coronavirus. If the Sri Lankan war had been just – then there would have been lesser risk of land occupation after the war. Both sides are practicing greater unlawful occupation of land and others’ homes.
The law helps us to escalate our perception to the higher common level which balances the sense based perceptions such as majority is right or physical possession/occupation is ownership. Above that is Nirvanam/Naked Truth/Sky.
Not all deaths are wrong. Italian Catholics who truly believe in Jesus would not fear death – especially in old age. It’s a natural strengthening of the mind.
Sri Lankan Government’s heavier problem is ‘ownership by possession’. THAT caused the cremation and not WHO guideline. It’s a warning to the Government that failed to learn from China – its mentor until recently.
As for Chanting – the value is carried through Sound energy – the lightest form. If that matched the stated purpose – then we would not have any deaths due to Coronavirus after that chanting. We had a controversy because of Coronavirus – confirming the impurity of purpose.