Thursday, September 29, 2005

Destination: Bihar, North India

Who owns this island and where do we come from anyway?

I think if anyone can actually say this island belongs to them, it's the Veddhas. But all us invaders have treated them pretty much like the 'Australians' have treated their natives. We've turned them into semi-animal being who have been denied the right to hunt in the forests, and to continue to live their lives as they have for for thousands of years. They have been forced to turn into showpeices who perform tricks for tourists who come to Sri Lanka with unassailable notions of orientalism.

Despite our collective attempts to stamp out the fact that both the Sinhala and Tamil people are as alien to this country as the British and the rest of the colonials were, the truth still subconsciously nags every Sri Lankan.

So, for all the Sinhalese who say that the Tamils should go back to where they came from, I'd say that's a damn good option considering the fact that the Sinhalese wouldn't really want to go back to where we came from. Bihar and Jharkand in North India aren't really the best places to live, if you can call survival in a lawless barbarian state life.

My favourite joke about Bihar is a one liner that goes like this:

The last intelligent man to come from Bihar was the Gautama Buddha, and that was over 2,500 years ago.

I suggest the Sinhala right wingers google Bihar and Jharkand and find out how things are back home. If we were all to get kicked out of this country by the Veddhas I'd throw in my lot with the Tamils and go to South India. At least I wouldn't have to hunt my own food there like I'd have to if I went back to North India with the Sinhalese :)

Lissen up y'all my Tamil brothas and sistahs! I'm catching your boat!

Note: Apologies for this slightly confused post. I'm a little out of sorts today.


A Question of Faith

A few thoughts on conversion, inspired by Ashanthi.

There's a family down our road who converted (were converted as some say) a few years ago. They live in a small slum-like area.

So let's for a moment think I'm a slum-dweller who has a wife and four kids to feed. (Many of us might end up there the way this country is going!)

I make a little bit of money doing odd-jobs for people but that's not really enough to keep the 6 of us fed, let alone putting four kids through school. I don't get any help from anyone, least of all from the monk in the local temple. He sometimes eats into my income because I have to go to the temple and help them out with things and give up a days wage I could have earned somewhere else. My wife insists we go to the temple each full moon night and listen to his sermons.

Let's look at the life the monk leads. He wakes up at god only knows when. Drinks his tea, takes a crap and then sits on his ass till about 11 a.m. when someone comes along and takes him for an alms giving. He comes back to the temple and sits on his ass all afternoon till it's time to do a bana deshanawa (sermon). He's very rich because the temple has some rich dayakayas (patrons, sorta). All this money goes into keeping the mons in the temple in the style to which they are accustomed, and to make completely uselss, yet ridiculously expensive additions to the temple architecture, like a new budu ge (shrine room) or a ran weta (golden fence) for the Bo tree. Most of the time the monk doesn't even have time for the poor man from the slum. But he's always got more than enough time to impart words of wisdom to the richer dayakayas who happen to drop by at any time. It's a business, you get spiritual healing for money. The average Buddhist monk is a salesman. He sells peace of mind. And to buy it, you have to pay.

But even with all this money, the monk does not think about making life easier for the people of the area by helping out those most in need. Many of these people cannot get a bank loan because they do not have an income, so the local temple would be ideally placed to help them. But no, the temple is not there to give people money, or food, or clothes it's there to give them spiritual healing.

Spiritual healing for the hungry? Yeah right.

So then along comes an evangelical team moving about the neighbourhood and telling people that if we come to the church on Sunday (or whenever) that the church will help us out. Other people who have already been to the church tell me that they get free lunch there. If one of them go do some work for the church they get paid! The priests actually take time to talk to the people regardless of how rich they are, or how high up they stand in the social structure. So I go to the church. I take my wife and kids along because they're going to need a good meal too. There's a light atmosphere about the place. It's not like the stifling discipline that a Buddhist temple inspires. I feel more free in the churchyard.

Then one day the priest asks me if I'm willing to convert. The rumble in my stomach makes that decision for me.


If a man converts at gunpoint that is wrong I guess, but I fail to see what is wrong with a man who converts to another faith because it's a way to keep his family fed and clothed. If my god/faith/religion refuses to look after me and support me when they are capable of doing it, and some other god/faith/religion will look after me then what use is my god/faith/religion to me? Am I to die hungry to keep my faith? Am I to let my children die hungry to keep my faith?


Being Sri Lankan

A Comment left on Nittewa by one of our not-so-friendly neighborhood bigots said ‘I'm not Sri Lankan. Sri Lanka is a myth. I'm a Sinhalese.’. Personally I think it's a bit rich coming from someone who's trying very hard to become an 'Australian'. But we'll let that go for now.

This actually identical to what the LTTE has been saying for over 20 years.

'Sri Lanka is a myth. There are Sinhalese and Tamils, and the Sinhalese proved for over 5 decades that they don't want to share their space with the Tamils and therefore the only solution is to have a Sinhala state and a Tamil state and say to to hell with this whole thing about trying to be Sri Lankan, and trying to look for a Sri Lankan identity.'

Following on from this logic, the best friends of the LTTE are the the two new biggest fans of Nittewa (Astrocyte and Dextr), the Patriotic National Movement, the JVP and all the other ragtag right wing groups.

As long as they claim that this island is the homeland of the Sinhalese and the Sinhalese alone, they do nothing but strengthen the case made in the international arena by the LTTE, and bring the whole country closer to a bloody partition.

If you're a Sinhalese and not a Sri Lankan, and you want Sri Lanka to be the Sinhala-dveepaya (The Island of the Sinhalese), then you're going to have to also give some part of it to the Tamils. Unless of course you want to pack them all into boats and send them back to South India, which is supposed to be where they came from (we'll come back to this issue of origins later) or send them all to concentration camps and gas chambers like our 'aryan' brothers did 60 years ago. So if this island is going to become a Sinhala-dveepaya, then it's also going to become an Eelam. The louder you should that this is the homeland solely of the Sinhala people then stronger becomes the case for Eelam.

It is this ideology that the LTTE tells the international community about, and as long as the Sinhala right wing continues to be a dominating force in Souther politics, and their extremist ideologies remain in the mainstream, the LTTE's concerns, their extremist ideology and their demand for an Eelam will be justified.

The LTTE's Eelamist ideology and the Sinhala right wing's Sinhala supremacy ideology are like two sides to the coin. They form the ying and yang of the greatest threat to the idea of Sri Lanka. The notion that the Sinhalese and the Tamils cannot live together as equals, as Sri Lankans.

If the Sinhala right wing were to vanish, then the LTTE would have no leg to stand on. They would have no threat to the Tamil people that they could use to justify their demands for an Eelam. If the Tamil people of Sri Lanka did not have a Sinhala right wing to be afraid of, to be oppressed by, they would no longer support the LTTE, even secretly. The LTTE exists only because of its 'other'. If that 'other' were to cease to exist, then so would they. So too would the Sinhala right wing cease to exist if the LTTE were to vanish. They would no longer have someone from whom the 'Sinhala motherland' needed to be defended.

Meanwhile, neutral, sane, non-racist Sri Lankans who believe that Sri Lanka is very much a reality and not a myth watch our country fall apart.

The only way to seek a permanent solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka, with any hope of success, is to seek the construction of a solid Sri Lankan identity, which become our primary identity, over-riding our Sinhala-ness or Tamil-ness. Yes, many people have said this. It is not in any way a new idea, but it remains the only idea that can give anyone any hope for a better future.

The question is, how do we do it?


Friday, September 23, 2005

It's the Seafood

A lot of Sri Lankans who live abroad, as well as some who live in the South of Sri Lanka are under the impression that Sinhala persons cannot live in Jaffna.

First let us look at where this idea comes from. It's something that the Sihala Urumaya and other groups led by the likes of Maduluwawe Sobitha have been shouting about for years. None of these people have ever been to Jaffna, and have no intention of doing so. So they have no proof on which to make the statements they make. But they make them anyway, because they know it provides good argument material for all the Sinhala racists who hang on every word they say and salivate when the speakers at these meeting justify their hatred against the Tamil people.

Now, reality check. Sinhala people cannot own land in Jaffna, or anywhere else the Thesavalamai property and inheritance laws are applied. Not only Sinhala people, but also low caste Tamil people, and Tamil christians etc are also not able to own land under these laws. Atv the moment, to the best of my knowledge the laws apply only to the Jaffna peninsula. This custon has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the upper caste Tamils protecting their turf. It has not been a contributing factor to the ethnic conflict in any way, and though it is a system that encourages inequality and discrimination based on caste, it is no worse than the Kandyan property and inheritence laws that apply to all the people who live in the Kandyan region, and the Islamic laws that apply to all Muslims in Sri Lanka, particularly those living on the East Coast.

But quite a few Sinhala people do live in Jaffna and they have not been hunted down and killed by the LTTE, nor have they been discriminated against by the Tamil people living in the peninsula. If the pro-war groups were to go to jaffna they would see this with their own eyes.

Performances and exhibitions by Sinhala artists are welcomed in Jaffna. Even if the LTTE does not like it they can't do anything about it because the people of Jaffna flock to the scene. In 2002 Prof Sarathchandra's Maname was performed in Jaffna and half an hour before the show there was not a single seat free. I find Maname boring, but the people of Jaffna (being more cultured than me and open to new experiences) obviously didn't.

But that wasn't the biggest hit in the fest. It was a short play directed by Jerome De Silva about a Sinhala soldier who is killed by the LTTE and in his dying moments shows compassion to a LTTE cadre. When preparations were being made for this everyone was worried that the crowd would react badly to the story and we would all be chased out of town, or worse. Some people even suggested against performing it at all, even after having brought the performers all the way from Colombo. But we were very very wrong. During the play the crowd remained silent and no one was able to gauge their response. As the curtains dropped the crowd erupted and gave the performers and the director a standing ovation. I don't think Jerome has ever got such a response in Colombo.

Last year a group of artists from Colombo and the South who went and displayed their work together with artists from Jaffna also received an above-expected response from the people of the region. The purpose of the show was to see how artists from the South and artists from the North viewed the war and the impact of war differently through their work.

So, all you have to do is go to Jaffna, to see that the people there are not hostile to the Sinhalese. But the people who do not need solid proof before shouting about things they don't understand will continue to say what they say, and there's little we can do to counter the misinformation spread by them.

Moving on, there's also a story going around about how Sinhala students were chased away from the Jaffna university. The real story is that in the intake of 2004, there were 10 students who refuse to take the University of Jaffna. They never even went to Jaffna. They just refused to go to the University of Jaffna stating security concerns. Only one of them was Sinhalese. The rest were all Muslim.

The people who were most puzzled by this were the Sinhala students who were already studying at the University of Jaffna. They're still there, and have been there for over 3 years. They did make a press release saying that they faced no security threat in Jaffna and that they were wondering why those 10 students wanted to stay away. The only explanation for th actions of those 10 is that it was a carefully calculated political play encouraged by a group who wanted to create the image that Jaffna is hostile to Sinhala people. Too bad they could find only one Sinhala student to volunteer for their little gimmick.

Actually the only person who would have a problem living in Jaffna would be someone who has issues with an abundence of good, cheap seafood!


The Biggest Gamble

Was watching Sirasa TV last night and saw an ad that said I could win 100,000 Rupees if I sent an SMS predicting which candidate the Ceylon Workers Congress is going to back in the upcoming elections. All you gotta do is type STV M (for Mahinda) or STV R (for Ranil) and send it to some number and if when the decision is made there's going to be a draw and someone's going to win 100,000 Rupees!

There's also a competition to predict the date of the election. But now that it's been decided the competition's over and they say they're going to hold the draw next week. Someone's going to win a lot of money on that as well.

When Sirasa did this with the JVP's decision to leave the Government we should have known that all of this would be in the future. There's something really sad about the way in which Sirasa has exposed elections in Sri Lanka for what they really are. Messed up games of chance where you know the house (not you) is going to win eventually whichever way you vote. It's not really democracy. It's all about wheeling and dealing and trying to get people from the other side to cross over onto your side and trying to keep your people from corssing over onto the other side.

It's never really on the issues, or the future of the country. So, I say if Sirasa wants to have some making a competition out of the whole sad joke, let them. They're not really making a mockery of democracy. One couldn't possibly make a mockery of democracy greater than the Sri Lankan parliament has in the past.

A sad sad state of events.

Will there be a 'Who Will Win the Election?' competition? The prize better be good :)


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Drunken Monk

I'm coming home a little late one night and at the top of the road the van has to stop because people are putting up Buddhist flags for some ceremony or the other at the temple. Well, at least they're being a little considerate and waiting till the traffic drops to do these things.

What really bugs me is the fact that all the people putting up the flags are drunk. These guys could hardly walk straight.

These were the kind of guys I would not want to mess with. If they want my vehicle to stop so they can put some flags up, I stop. If they want my vehicle to stop so they can pee on the road, I stop. You know the type I'm talking about.

But, why is that it's the same bunch of people in the town who get contacted for all the little odd jobs?

When a politician wants some posters put up it's these guys who're called. They're given a hundred rupees and one meal per person and a bottle of arrack to share. They do their job. It's also the same guys who do the politician's dirty work in terms of pulling down banners and hoardings of rival party people.

In times of elections, when extra muscle is needed then these guys are even used to intimidate people on polling day or do whatever it is that the local politician wants done. Again, they get a hundred rupees, one meal and a bottle of arrack. Sometime they even settle for a bottle of Kasippu (moonshine).

It's the same bunch of guys that the monk in the local temple calls when he wants some flags put up. Doesn't anyone find this objectionable? That the so-called Buddhist monks in our temples also obtain the services of the same thugs and lowlifes that the politicians use for their dirty work? These guys are most certainly not putting up flags out of love for the religion or for the temple. They're doing it because they're getting paid. The monk doesn't pay them with a sermon.

I wonder if the monk gives them a bottle too? I think the guy in our temple might because I have seen him walking about town drunk in the night. One of the biggest jokes in the small town outside Colombo where I live is that the head monk in the temple can drink more than anyone else in the area. But he doesn't look like the drunken monks in the Chinese martial arts movies :) But that is not the story here.

Actualy there's no story. Just a gut feeling that drunk people putting up Buddhist flags is wrong. Maybe I'm the one who's wrong.

What do we do when the lines between our politicians and our clergy begin to vanish?


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Guess Who's Back?

A few nights ago I was watching TV and who do I see on a Patriotic National Movement stage, shouting about the links between Ranil and the LTTE and defending Mahinda Rajapakse? None other than our old friend S L Gunasekera.


No one remembers him? That founding member of the Sihala Urumaya. That hero of the Sinhalaya who thought 'there are enough racist Tamil and Muslim parties in the country so let us try to even things out by starting a Sinhala one!'.

Take a trip down memory lane. Remember how he was later kicked out of the Sihala Urumaya because even though he was Sinhala, he wasn't a proper Sinhalaya because he was not a Buddhist? That defining moment in the Sinhala Buddhist ideology? When Champika and Tilak hid their little powergrab behind the statement that to be a proper Sinhalaya one had to be a Buddhist.

S L Gunasekera cried at the press conference. Sihala Urumaya was a party he had helped found and as far as he was concerned he was a proper Sinhalaya. He was not a Buddhist. So what? He'd occasionally have a scotch and soda in the evening. So what? These were the two things he cried about. I'm talking real tears here. Streaming down his face.

But now he's back out of hiding! He's standing on an PNM stage and defending Mahinda. Stranger things than this have been few. One good look at his face and you know the shot in the evening has turned into a bottle by now. I guess being a political exile can do that to a man. But let us not judge him on that. It's very clear that's he's but a shell of the 'hero of the Sinhala people' that he used to be. Another washed up has-been, being dragged out so that Ranil and Mahinda can put them on a stage and squeeze them dry.

Wonder who else is going to crawl out of the woodwork to stand by the two candidates as the elections get closer.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bloggers' Peace Plan

As Morq seems to be busy, I thought I'd create the new post. I haven't made any changes to Ashanthi's text. They are a direct copy and paste from the comment she left in the last post. It would be good if Kevin and Ananthan left their posts here again. Alternatively, I could copy and paste them here if that's alright with you guys.

So here goes. . .

I'd like to propose a new topic for us to participate in...I would like us to propose a 10 point peace plan for Sri Lanka. I invite 10 Bloggers to participate...

Morq (of course), IVAP, Sittingnut, Ananthan, Ian, Yaroo, Kev Lomax, myself ...hmmm, alright Indi's allowed to & 1 other person - I said person - not a nutter ...I'll go first ....this is just a draft bear with me ...

1. Trial seperation - Both parties break of any further contact immediately. Withdrawal of troops from Jaffna. Re-signing of commitment to stop picking of potential foes.

2. Seperation to be enforced by a Peace-keeping force administered by the UN - no more rampaging Sikhs please !!!

3. At the end of a 5 year seperation - ALL associated parties must lay down their arms.

4. A referendum to be held in the North & East whereby electorates can decide if they wish to remain within the Sri Lankan framework or set up an Independent state.

5. Based on the above a constituion is drawn up for the North & East.That's a start. Please add in other points.

Now - if you disagree with a point. Name the author of the point & state W H Y. No need for mud-slinging just say Why you think it is inappropriate/does not work/is not fair/or whatever.So - at the end of this excersice we will have our 10 point plan for Peace & be able to submitt it in the upcomming elections via the Bloggers for Peace Party :-) - I reckon it will be better than anything that those rotten Politicians come up with!!!

Again I say - Peace Brothers!!!

Note from Morq: First, apologies to Yaaro for putting this on her post. Nothing else in the post has been changed.

I would like this post to be an exception to the no-comment-is-deleted policy which has been followed so far. By removing ALL* comments which have nothing to do with the argument (including one I put up an hour ago) I hope to improve clarity in the argument[s], to some degree. I hope you agree with me.

*Fred stays for being nice :)


Thursday, September 01, 2005

From Buddhaputra to Bhoomiputra

A look at the role that the sangha play in the ethnic conflict and the peace process in Sri Lanka, and a questioning of my belief in an increasingly hostile and intolerant faith that I call Sri Lankan Buddhism.

I was born a Buddhist, into a fairly religious Buddhist family. I studied Buddhism as my religion in school. I wasn't a very religious person anyway, but I never had a problem respecting monks or going to the temple on Poya days with my Grandmother.

But then, one day, while on an assignment, I was beaten up by monks. Why? Because I was a journalist. They didn't ask me for my religion or what institution I work for. I had a camera, and that was enough for them to hit me and kick me when I was down. This came as a shock to me and I didn't fight back. I ran. But it led me to question the future of the sangha and of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and where I stand in the spectrum.

By the next such confrontation I was over my shock. I fought back. I had lost all respect for the sangha and I had no problems throwing a punch and catching one of them squarely across the jaw, to protect myself and my footage. They would never shock me again.

According to the scriptures the 'Sangha' are the Buddhaputhra, the 'children' of the Buddha, the sons of the faith. They are the guardians of the faith, the protectors of the Dhamma. They are supposed to be teachers, mentors and guides.

But in Sri Lanka this is no longer so. The addition of the sangha to the formula of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has led to a further complication of our identities. Earlier, one a very basic level, one could say the conflict was between the 'Tamils' and the 'Sinhalese'. But now these identities no longer exist in that form. There are now 'Sinhala Buddhists' and 'Tamil Hindus', and the conflict has spilled over the boundries of ethnicity. It is the sangha in Sri Lanka who are to blame for this.

I put the rise of the most brutal form of Sinhala nationalism to the creation of the Sinhala Veera Vidhana (SVV). This association of Colombo based Sinhala traders who sought to use ethnic sensitivities to put a dent in the profits of their Tamil and Muslim counterparts, was even at its very inception inextricably intertwined with the radical nationalist Sangha in Colombo who had been seeking for an outlet to express their political opinions. As they marched up and down the streets of Colombo asking the people not to patronise Tamil and Muslims shops, the traders of the SVV rallied the monks behind them to gain legitimacy among the Sinhala people.

'We are the Aarakshaka Devathavas (guardian angels) of this island and of the Sinhala people' says Maduluwawe Sobitha, and a new identity, the Sinhala Buddhist is born. One is no longer able to be a Sinhala Hindu or a Tamil Buddhist. This new ideology states that only Sinhala Buddhists have any right to call this island their homeland and scores of monks, heads filled with dreams of what this new-found political ideology can bring them, rally behind it.

But thier causes are purely selfish. In a society swiftly moving away from religion and from the constant patronage that the monks depend upon for their lavish lifestyles, they are afraid that soon they will have to resort to walking from house to house with a bowl as the Buddha did. They will no longer be able to sit in their temples like Vito Corleone and demand money and tribute from the faithful as an experssion of their belief. This attitude had begun to eat away at the core of Sri Lankan Buddhism long before they joined Hate-Mongers Inc. To bring the faithful back to the temples and to keep themselves and their sexually-abused temple-boys fed they needed something to revive the faith. Something with which to embed Buddhism so deeply in an institution that it would keep them alive and living like kings for generations.

The time was ripe for the birth of the Sinhala Buddhist identity, and it was born.

The Buddha never dappled in statecraft. Matters of kings and nations were of no consequence to him. His followers who saw the sense behind this fought hard to divorce the philosophy from the state, so that no one state or no one king may lay claim to it as their own. Buddhism, fundamentally, cannot be married to a state, or to governance. Even in the time of the Buddha it was the 'other' personified into the character Devadatta who constantly sought state patronage. This was one of the fundamental differences between the followers of the Buddha and the followers of Devadatta.

Unlike in many other religions, where there are clear cut guidelines for the governance of a people, Buddhism does not set guidelines for nations, governments or even communities, but for individuals. This is the undeniable form of the Dhamma. Any old upasaka will tell you that the philosophy is not to be followed by people, but by a person.

The identification of the philosophy of the Buddha as something belonging only to the Sinhala people, was the greatest perversion of one of the greatest philosophies the world has ever seen. An unprecedented crime against humanity.

It has been many years now and the Sinhala Buddhist ideology has turned many from Buddhaputhras to Bhoomiputras, sons of the soil. Athuruliye Rathna, Uduwe Dhammaloka, Alle Gunawansa and even Gangodawila Soma echo(ed) the very same idea.

These monks frequently resort to violence and abuse to get closer to their aims and they openly advocate a return to war. I don't need to explain why I see this as being fundamentally contradictory to the very core teachings of the Buddha. The Sinhala half of the identity has overpowerd the Buddhist half and has taken away from the monks and their 'Buddhist' followers the ability to understand even the most simple principles of the Dhamma.

Almost all other religions and faiths have long histories of wars against each other, and have examples with which to justify the violent expression and protection of their own. Buddhist history, very strangely, lacks of bloodbaths and great wars by those who sought to protect it from the infidel. The only real mention of a great war in Buddhist history is the one that inspired the Chandashoka-Dharmashoka transformation!

It is no longer possible for me to call myself a Buddhist in Sri Lanka. I hated the sangha, and by extension, the Buddha and Dhamma.

But there is still hope. My recent trip to Leh brought me into contact with another form of Buddhism. The same philosophy, put into practice by a different people, with a very very different result.

Let's look at who these people are. In Ladakh, the district of which Leh is the capital , a vast majortiy of the people are of Tibetan origin. They come from a country that no longer exists. Having lost their homeland to the Chinese, these Tibetan Buddhists have only their faith. Yet they abstain from ANY insurgent activity, or anything that could be remotely associated with violence. The most violent expression I have ever seen by a Tibetan is a poster saying 'CHINA! GET OUT OF TIBET!'

At present, they have as the leader of their people the Dalai Lama, unelected, but loved and respected by each and every one of them. But he does not resort to statecraft. He does travel the world speaking of the Tibetan cause and attempting to apply pressure on Chine to let them have thier homes back, but he does not resort to the corrupt, conniving statecraft that we see the monks in Sri Lanka gleefully taking part in.

They are Tibetan Buddhists. Again and ethnic and religious identity tagged together, but their priorities are different from the Sinhala Buddhist. For them being the Buddhaputra comes first. And I mean this not only of the monks, but of the entire Tibetan people in Ladakh. Each one of them, from the man who sells vegetables in the market to the police officer who watches the streets, is more a Buddhaputra than the very Mahanayakes of the Malwathu and Asgiri temples in Kandy.

I was deeply ashamed of Sri Lankan Buddhism. I did not have the courage to tell anyone that I come from Sri Lanka, because many of these people know of Sri Lanka only as another Buddhist country, where they assume the philosophy is followed in the same way it is followed in Ladakh. I would have been forced to burst their bubble and explain to them the nature of the rot in the faith in Sri Lanka and that would have been a rather depressing experience both for them and for me.

In at present the Buddhists of Ladakh are threatened by outside forces. The Indian Army build Shiv Mandirs and the Muslims of Kashmir build mosques and madrassas. But they remain tolerant, because that is what they must do in order to seek Nirvana. They do not burn Hindu and Muslim places of worship, and they do not loot Hindu and Muslim homes when they feel threatened, but neither do they blindly convert. In a playing field where the other kids are fighting for space they sit quietly in a corner and play their own game by themselves and smile to themselves at the absurdity of it all.

For the Buddhists of Ladakh, tolerance is not something they hear about in a monthly poya day sermon from the monk at the temple, it something that each single individual pratices each day of their lives. They live and breathe the philosophy. But they do not follow it as a mob, as Sri Lankans do. For them it is a deeply individual experience.

Leh made me think. I'm still thinking, trying to understand the very nature of my beliefs. I do not yet consider myself a Buddhist, but a little seed of the faith that remained inside seems to have begun to grow. Now I have an idea, albeit minute, of what is possible. How and when still remain questions.

All Sri Lankan Buddhists, I beg of you. Go to Ladakh, and try to understand thew difference between the Bhoomiputra and Buddhaputra.


NOTE ON TOOTHACHE: Coming to the issue of relics, Buddhism has never been about the worship of relics. If those who follow this corrupted perverted form of the great philospohy want to prostrate themselves before something that doesn't really exist, then go ahead. But do not expect me to respect your perversion of something I hold to be sacred, which is the Dhamma.

Your monks pissed on my Dhamma and perverted it beyond recognistion, so I'm going to piss on your tooth! Somewhere in a bottle I have a tooth I had pulled when I was about 14. I'm going to make a little karanduwa for it and put it on my head and walk around town. If you want you can fall on your feet and worship it. If you're really lucky I'll let you see it, which is more than they let you do at the Dalada Maligawa.

The bombing of the Dalada Maligawe angered me because of the damage done to the precious artwork, which is undeiably of great value. The LTTE couldn't blow the tooth up BECAUSE IT ISN'T THERE!!!! If you want to worship a tooth come worship mine, at least it's REALLY THERE!!!

The worship of relics is a perversion of Buddhism and I don't like it. Deal with it.

Like Fox Mulder says 'The TOOTH is out there!'


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?