Readers Comments

Jan 15 (IL) Dear Editor:

I read a story published by you on Jan. 14, 2005 about Mahanayakas of Malwatta and Asgiriya preaching UNP delegation to shed differences and work together to rebuild the lives of people affected by the tsunami. They further go on to say that we should rebuild Temples, Kovils, Churches and Mosques.

In layman’s analysis this seems to be a ridiculous advice coming from arm chair Mananayakas. These so called religious leaders are sitting on vast resources equally fattening their temples and waistlines while poor are suffering. They need Mercedez to travel to and from Temples. They rarely visit a small house to even perform Pansukula offerings instead dispatch their Punchinayakas to do all the work while pampering their body and soul at the temples. They do not even think for a moment that they are the most divided community which amply is proven by the fact that they have two Parshaways: Asgiriya and Malwatta to perform what Buddha perform with one SASANA. Apart from that they again divided into nikayas where a low cast person can not be ordained as monk in certain nikayas. Alas! They preach about unity.

Their advice to build temples, churches and mosques is utterly ridiculous when on their watch country is gradually sliding into a spiritual and moral bankruptcy. What people need are not more temples but food to eat, a roof over their head, and a decent livelihood. There are foreign missionaries taking advantage of poor-giving them material gifts and saying that they are the angels sent by gods therefore, they should convert to receive more gifts from an unknown god. The people in need of daily bread fall into myopia and tend to believe that unknown god is better than known devil. In my mind there is nothing wrong with it. At least their basic necessities are fulfilled temporarily in the name of god and it was not like Jerenimo de Azavedo operation where he converted Islanders to Christianity at the point of a sword. These bogus disciples of Buddha are desecrating the religion of the Enlightened One who tirelessly went on foot from village to village and country to country to serve people who needed spiritual and as well as mundane uplift.

In the western Canadian Province of British Columbia, the chief Buddhist monk of Vietnamese temple sold his temple for a half a million dollars and donated the entire proceeds to Tsunami victims in Asia. Vietnam, the country where he came from was not even affected by the Tsunami but he said Buddha’s compassion is boundless and not limited to one country, race, creed, or for that matter one kingdom.

So these Mahanayakas should learn a lesson from that Vietnamese monk and learn to give up their wealth and live a modest life. Then leaders would listen to their advice. Otherwise the advice coming from these arm chair Mananayaks will go unheeded as a mass of refuse.

I was wondering though that our beautiful country of Sri Lanka became a morally degraded basket economic case because these Mahanyaks were advising leaders ever since we gain so called independence. We became ever so dependent on our colonial master after the independence. That is the reason why a family like Bandaranayaka’s ( same as Mahanayakas) could not provide the correct vision and leadership to Sri Lanka after governing many generations. Currently the daughter preceded by mother and father has been dragging the country under the guidance of these Mahanayakas along an irreversible course.

It is high time that Sri Lankans-Burghers, Malays, Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese as well as UNPeers and SLFPeers, JVPeers, and Independents realize that divisiveness gets us nowhere. We should all respect individuals for who they are ( human beings) not for what they are ( superficial identity tags handed down to us by our previous generations based on religious affiliation, skin color and language we use to communicate to each other) and move forward with synthesizing our thesises and antithesises. Then and only then we will be able to build a better country.

Aslaam Malaikuum! God Bless You! Pardon me for my ignorance and teach me how Hindus bless each other! Thunuruwan Saranai!

Tilak Dias.