04 January 2021
SINHALA BUDDHISM IN AUSTRALIA
We often hear about Radicalisation and in Sri Lanka, the ethnic conflict between Muslims and Buddhists is a current issue which has been blamed on Muslim Radicalisation. Wikipedia includes the following presentations:
[The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) defines radicalization as “A process by which a person to an increasing extent accepts the use of undemocratic or violent means, including terrorism, in an attempt to reach a specific political/ideological objective.”
For the purposes of the UNESCO report, radicalization is defined by these three points:
· "The individual person’s search for fundamental meaning, origin and return to a root ideology;
· "The individual as part of a group’s adoption of a violent form of expansion of root ideologies and related oppositionist objectives;
· "The polarization of the social space and the collective construction of a threatened ideal 'us' against 'them,' where the others are dehumanized by a process of scapegoating."]
What happens when a religious leadership is part of Government of a Multicultural society?
In Democracy, one form of belief based structure becomes the opposition of another form of belief based structure, provided that the commonness between the two is a stronger force than their differences. Where commonness is weaker the two sides become enemies and one loses the moral authority to govern the other.
In Sri Lanka, religious differences are part of the Government structure. As per common interpretation, Buddhism is the governing power. The question is whether this has been taken beyond Sri Lankan borders to wider world – including Australia.
The Sunday Times reported as follows on 03 January 2021:
[The Ven Uvathenne Sumana Thera who was sentenced to life imprisonment for possessing a firearm during the 2010 presidential election has received a presidential pardon.
The pardon is subject to the condition that he withdraws an appeal filed against the sentence.
The Ven. Sumana Thera who was a supporter of the then Presidential candidate former Army commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was sentenced for the possession of a T56 firearm.
He was also accused of possessing 50 hand grenades and 210 rounds of live ammunition, but the charges were dropped later.
The thera was the chief monk of the Sri Bodhirajarama temple in Maligawatte, Colombo.]
The Nation reported as follows in January 2010:
[Arms cache in temple
By Ishtartha Wellaboda
Commandant of STF, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), K M L
Sarathchandra told The Nation that the arms cache was recovered from the
bedroom of the Chief Monk of the temple, Ven. Uvathenne Sumana Thera.
He also said that it was too early to comment as to
whether the suspects had any links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) although the possession of a cyanide capsule indicated such a
Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP),I.M. Karunarathna confirmed that two T-56 rifles, 56 grenades, and 762 rounds of ammunition, two smoke grenades, six T- 56 magazines, forty-one 9 mm rounds, 700 micro pistol bullets and Rs.200,000 in cash were found at the scene.
He said that the raid was conducted on a tip by an informant and the Police intelligence was keeping a close watch on the temple premises. At the time of going to press the police were yet searching the temple. Investigators suspect that there was a possibility of these weapons being used for violence in the run up to Tuesday’s election.]
On 09 March 2004, Daily News report headed ‘Passing Away of Ven. Soma Thera : Eminent Buddhist monks call for appointment of commission’ concluded as follows:
[Ven. Professor Atthangane Rathanapala Thera, Ven. Dr. Vilegoda Ariyadeva Thera, Ven. Rukmale Dhammkitthi Nayaka Thera, Ven. Wadduwe Dhammawansa Thera, Ven. Kalawelgala Chandraloka Thera, Ven. Thunthane Pragnamoorthi Thera, Ven. Thissamaharamaye Devananda Nayaka Thera, Ven. Uvathenne Sumana Nayaka Thera and Ven. Kongala Siridhamma Nayaka Thera were among the signatories to the Petition.]
The question is whether Ven. Uvathenne Sumana Nayaka Thera inherited the genes of Ven. Soma Thera who established Sinhala Vihara in Melbourne, Australia. Given that English is Australia’s common language, one needs to ask whether the above move was an indicator of separatism? Separatism combined with Administrative powers over ‘other groups’ confirms radicalization. The parallel Hindu formation would be Hindi Temple. When the known coverage of a religion is limited to a smaller body it could be for the purpose of Specialization or Radicalism.
The purpose of the above petition was reported as follows:
[ to ascertain not only the fact whether a conspiratorial force was behind his passing away, but also to inquire whether the late Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera himself was in the grip of a conspiratorial force]
Did the above manifestation in Australian ‘Free’ space contribute to death in Russia’s St Petersburg?
[Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera of the Vajiraramaya Maharagama died in St. Petersburg, Russia on 12 December 2003 in his 56th year. He was in Russia to accept an honorary doctorate conferred by the Russian Government. He was rushed to a hospital in St Petersburg after a heart attack. He underwent two emergency operations.
Sri Lankans were shocked and saddened by his death. The circumstances of his death aroused suspicion. Some accused Christian Fundamentalists. Special Presidential Commission appointed to inquire and investigate into this tragedy by President of Sri Lanka. In the aftermath of his death Christian churches were attacked by Buddhist fundamentalists who blamed Christians for the death]
The above mentioned ‘fundamentalism’ would take the form of any body when it becomes the ultimate reality of a group. The core reason is within us. We know that a Hindu pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Gandhi. Likewise, when Mr SWRD Bandaranaike was killed by a Buddhist monk. But in the above case we know that Buddhist fundamentalists pointed the finger at Christians in whom the Sri Lankan government had no belief based intuitive power.
The Greater freedom top practice religion in Australia, would have come from Christians. If the Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera meditated into his own mind, he would identify with the Buddhist Fundamentalist in himself as the karmic reason. The monks who blamed Christians avoided this truth and thus facilitated other religious fundamentalism to thrive in Sri Lanka.
In the above pictures included in Professor Stephen C. Berkwitz’s paper ‘Resisting the Global in Buddhist Nationalism: Venerable Soma's Discourse of Decline and Reform’ the first one carries the following description:
[The widespread appeal of Venerable Soma among different classes of Sinhala Buddhists is often evidenced by the photos of him that are placed in peoples homes, cars, and businesses. In this small hair salon, the stylist has hung a picture of Venerable Soma under his Buddha shrine and next to a poster of a European model, illustrating the somewhat ambivalent juxtaposition of what the late monk represents with the global diffusion of Western standards of beauty]
As per my direct reading of that picture:
The hierarchy is as follows:
1st row – Hindu deities including Ganesh and Saraswathi.
2nd row – Lord Buddha
3rd row - Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera
In our ‘free’ environment we tend to bring out our truth.
The middle picture confirms the following message:
[A roadside signboard erected outside the entrance to the temple in Maharagama where Venerable Soma resided honors the late monk with his image and a quotation reading,
“The Sinhala nation and the Dispensation of the Buddha are in the blood that runs throughout my body I am ready to offer my life on behalf of the Sinhala nation and the Dispensation of the Buddha.]
That sound very like the LTTE slogan.
The third one confirms the effects of it – which is to suppress the elders:
[Several miles outside Colombo near the town of Piliyandala,one finds a statue of Venerable Soma that has been recently added to a roadside shrine originally built to honor the Buddha and to protect a Bodhi tree. Although the proliferation of Buddha statues around the
Island’s roadways and marketplaces has been taking place for several decades, it is extremely unusual to see another figure from recent Sri Lankan history to be honored in the same space as the Buddha and the Bodhi tree.]
On 23 July 2005, I published through Lanka Newspapers.com:
[As for the Buddha statue I did find a similar temple in front of the Hindu temple on the sacred Hill at Kataragama, an act of violence. If the Buddha statue was placed to obstruct a physical identity of another religion, it is wrong. Otherwise, the government has the right to place the statue. Lord Buddha would answer only to those who pray sincerely, with or without a statue. If through this statue, the government violates the rights of sincere devotees of other religions those who invest in this place of worship would have their merits reduced to that extent. God balances where we fail.]
Virus cluster at Sri Lankan fish market
Health authorities temporarily closed the fish market on Colombo's outskirts on Wednesday after 49 traders tested positive for the coronavirus. By Saturday, the number of cases went up to 609.
The land carries the Truth registered in that area. The change would have contributed to loss of protection in that area. The land carries the Truth registered in that area. The change would have contributed to loss of protection in that area.