hi Nick, thanks for the response. In this piece I am trying to figure out why this country is where it is. to answer your views, You put your finger on the mark about public officials; do you know I got some serious bueracracy and a perceived sense of why are you even bothered when calling to inquire about a recent deforestation taking place from the Department of forests. I asked why are you so un-used to answering my questions and who I should talk to for a responsible answer and the receptionist says ‘this is the first call I am getting about this issue and none of the officials I talk to before transfering your call want to involve them selves’… So as you perhaps meant, the general public who are highly literate even though not aware should ask for their rights, ask for justice and involve them selves in public matters as well.
About Buddhism, something I note from some foreigners are their anti-Buddhist sentiments while this is but a small part of the problem in question. A great number of good, which is well document in the annals of our history have been committed by Buddhists and the monks of Sri Lanka for the benefit of our nation. Great Buddhists like Anagarika Dharmalpala, Wal Pola Rahula who fought for freedom of all our peoples and the rights for everyone to enjoy free school education did more good than perhaps all our politicians put together.
What is then your stance on the Catholic and Muslim actions that are very aggressively going on land grabbing and conversion sprees without any censure? (Hindus don’t have expansionism in their agenda, we have had many Tamil monarchs who ruled Pollonnaruwa, Kandy (except for a few barbaric ones) that did not convert populations). The BBS is a recent concoction, perhaps just 5 years during the last regime who are not as powerful or generally supported as the media and the politicians portray them to be. Their origins are firmly in response to the threat of conversions, land grabbing, deforestation etc that is taking place aggressively. I agree most monks in the political sphere today are not Buddhists, but actors. But the general sentiment that is spurring their campaigns have roots in the problems I have identified above. It is the Sangha who are custodians of the Dhamma, and Sri Lanka is the land of the Dhamma. But as all things, it will also fade away and no violent action can justify its protection.
Sri Lanaka has a rich culture and heritage due to the Buddhist influence, today it is not so rich but a dying animal just because there is no such influence, perhaps.
Following is an excerpt from a paper by Rev. Walpola Rahula.
“It is clear that the development of religion depend on the development of the people in that country. History demonstrates that, when the Sinhalese or the Buddhist were developed at a particular time, Buddhism also had been equally developed at that time. Therefore any programme in pursuit of welfare of the citizens of this country and if it can be carried out without tarnishing the way of a Buddhist monk, whether it is political or something else, engagement in such a programme is appropriate for the Buddhist Monk.”
Isn’t this also the case in the Christian or Islamic nations? Rev. Walpola Rahula did not mean the BBS by any means, but the moral and good of a true Buddha Puthra and his influence on good governance that is sustainable, both socially and for the planet is tremendous.
Let me tell you Nick that we are not a racist people, the Buddhist may be one of the most naturally pacifist kinds on earth. It is the human in all of us that are protectionist like you could be protectionist of your own race, country, family, personal agenda. And the vultures that are the politicians, the crooked businessmen, the rich, chaos loving prey on these feelings using any and all nooses. A clerics call to colonize is the monks cry to protect. A monks cry to reclaim or protect is a clerics cry to war. If we all recognise the human condition, then no economy or evil that is a part of all samsaric development could take place. but this article is about why we are not as developed as a western nation in this samsaric cycle, not about freedom from it, this article is about a nation, not a philosophy...