Saturday 21 November 2020


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

21 November  2020




Buddhist Monk or President?

Once one of my workplace seniors who was frustrated with me said that something did not add up. Back then I did not have the answer. Now I believe it was because our true positions in the issue - as per the core purpose of the institution - were in reverse order. Sovereign bodies make reliable institutional structures. When the body is sovereign, it supports completion of each institutional relationship and v.v. Sometimes this is achieved by losing consciousness of the individual in a position and us taking the other side also. Common belief helps us to know each other’s truth and therefore true position. Hence we confidentially take the other side, once we know the other side’s limitations. Where common belief is weak, we separate and therefore are entitled to be transparent on the basis of our discoveries of the other. We need to however, ensure that we self-devolve and take Equal position and no more with those in the officially senior position. My articles are often written to the position in a common structure rather than to an individual and/or group. This is facilitated by ‘sacrifice’ of the benefits from the work.

Yesterday was day 6 of special fasting period ‘Kanthasashti’ in honour of Hindu Lord Muruga. We watched on TV - the poojah at Maviddapuram Kanthaswamy Temple in Northern Sri Lanka. The ceremony is completed with Sooran Pohr – the war against Sooran. Who is Sooran? Sooran is our downward pulling force which acts through our six senses. Intellectual pride is one of them.

This morning my attention went to Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Muslims are being called extremists for ‘upholding and defending the Constitution’ by Mass L. Usuf. Mr Usuf highlights the Constitutional Responsibility as follows:

[The constitution is the covenant between the government and the citizens. According to Article 28 (a) and (e) of the Constitution: 

“ … it is the duty of every person in Sri Lanka – 

(a) to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law;

(e) to respect the rights and freedoms of others.]


Yes, it is a natural covenant through belief.  Then we become self-governing and therefore President in our environment.


Mr Usuf in his Colombo Telegraph article ‘Doctrinal Buddhism, The President & ‘Anthawādi’ – makes the following observation which seems to be in conflict with the above:


[Only a few people dare challenge a monk if they act in violation of their vinaya (discipline). The freedom of speech for the monks are limitless. As rightly stated sometimes by some intellects, the masses are cocooned in a mental state of submission. This is both politically and religiously.]


To discover the truth we need to travel as a Buddhist citizen. Who is the ultimate power of a Buddhist? Buddhist monk or the President in lay clothes?


It looks as if Mrs Bandaranaike needed the ‘Buddhism foremost’ article in the constitution to elevate her image with the voters. The parallel of this in the Tamil Diaspora is the identity with the name Kamala Harris.


Mr J R Jayawardene made sure though the creation of Executive Presidency, that he was seen as the ultimate power. Given that using armed power is anti-Buddhism, the secular side of the citizen overtook the religious side. The effect of this internal conflict in policies – is confirmed by the following picture presented by Wikipedia:


[On the ethnic question, Jayewardene's legacy is bitterly divisive. When he took office, ethnic tensions were present but the country as a whole was at peace. By the end of his tenure, Sri Lanka was facing not one but two civil wars, both featuring unprecedented levels of violence and brutality.  ]


That was the Coronavirus exponential effect for failing to repeal Buddhism Foremost article or limiting his rule to Buddhists only ‘circle’.


The current President has invoked the ‘Buddha Sasana’ when he took oath at the Buddhist site ‘Ruwanwelisaya’ and reminded us again through his anniversary speech. This confirms that Buddha is the Crown and not the secular President who came to power through armed war. When we invoke blessings of ancestors, the side that is stronger works exponentially.

The message effectively by the Buddhists is to keep armed power in the secular area and to not bring into Buddhist areas of non-violence. Heirs of the LTTE and possibly Muslim militants have contributed to keeping alive the Secular President.

There is an example of this in the Legend Mahabharatham in which when Lord Krishna looked into the mirror that showed who thought most about the person – Sahuni – the son of Saturn and Krishna’s Opposition - was reflected. The Lankan parallel of Sahuni in the case of the current president – are the armed militants of minority communities.

Truth, be it positive or negative in current environment is exponential in its power. The negative can only be diffused by alternate belief. Hence Equal Opposition in Parliament. The parallel of that for citizens is to oppose that law that is  negative – so the effects are prevented from manifesting.

At the moment – the separation is between Buddhist leadership and secular leadership of the Armed forces. Would Buddhists in the armed forces have the courage to uphold secular law to discipline Buddhist monks? If yes, would Buddhist position in Sri Lanka and Buddhism foremost law be weakened? Each will identify with the truth as per their own true experiences. As I was reminded this morning by a fellow Tamil, Gandhi was killed by a Hindu extremist and Mr Bandaranaike was killed by a Buddhist monk. It would be sad if this is repeated but to die to invoke the truth is noble. The better alternative is to recognize those minorities who oppose through Fundamental Rights articles of the Constitution so that the Opposition is blocked from becoming an Enemy.



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