Calling of the tune too stridently! | Sunday Observer

Calling of the tune too stridently!

The second proclamation emanating from the sacred precincts of the Asgiriya temple on July 5 had an Anunayake, I believe, on behalf of the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Nikaya making its debut announcement. The main feature therein that this cat caught was that they, the venerable theras of the Asgiriya Chapter and other VIP monks such as him of Dambulu Rangiri Viharaya did not want a new Constitution being introduced, leave alone laid down for discussion. If memory of this nine-lives inheritor serves her well, their reason for their objection was that Buddhism was not given pride of place in the new Constitution. Of course it will be: that Article on religions (a very delicate matter just as difficult to tread as eggshells) being couched in reverential terms and Buddhism being declared the foremost religion of free Sri Lanka. Now, what puzzles this feline is that even a first draft of the Constitution is not out, so why and how to jump the gun, or to use more appropriate language, how to anticipate an arrow?

Wisdom against this latest intervention

Much greater minds than this cat’s are of a similar opinion. A professor of sociology, Laksiri Fernando, now domiciled in Australia, writing about this matter in a daily, states very succinctly: “The emergence of the Mahanayake Theras in politics on the wrong side of the fence was first marked in recent times by the so-called Asgiriya statement issued on June 20. “It was more reactionary and more political. It was titled A Kind Notice to the Government. It was like a political manifesto. It endorsed Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thera’s ideology, while disapproving his emotional behaviour.” Laksiri Fernando ends his article by saying: “A major damage to this cause would be inflicted, if the Mahanayake Theras get involved in politics or try to act as a ‘state behind the state,’ in partiality to other communities and religions.”

Usually, people are dumb, deaf and noncommittal, but this cat is very adept at leaping in where angels, sycophants and the three proverbial monkeys fear to tread. She wonders loud and clear whether the same sataka draped hand motivates the yellow robes too. Are these monks another rearguard thrusting for the destabilization of the government like the puppet University students and the GMOA?

Buddhism threatened with extinction

The Buddha himself said, his Teaching or the Dhamma according to Gautama Buddha has a time limit and will fade to make room for the next Buddha’s Teaching – Maitri Buddha’s doctrine. Be that as it may, there is eternal flux in anything and everything of this world, even the words of wisdom of noble beings. But, by no stretch of tainted imagination can the demise of Buddhism be predicted as of now. Some say, it has lost its power and force. Yes, by numbers, since the followers of Islam will soon outnumber Buddhists in this country. A reality about which nothing can be done, except promote amicable living side by side. You cannot decimate Muslims, neither can you increase the number of Sinhalese. Please, no advocating that Sinhala Buddhists multiply like the legendary rabbit, in competition.

Preservation of the Buddhist Dhamma and religion

The Dhamma can be preserved in its true, pristine form. This is being done not only by the Sangha but even more by lay people. They are imbibing the words of the Buddha from true interpreters of the Tripitaka and other texts. They are learning the essence of Buddhism and leaning towards the practice of this true philosophy as extolled by the Buddha. Hence, more people observing sil; more foregoing rites and rituals; many leaning away from reliance on the devas for their wellbeing and very many more eschewing worship and veneration of the Hindu Pantheon, resorted to mostly to gain blessings and favours from those gods. And, another very important side effect is seen. No longer do most Buddhists venerate members of the Sangha just because they are robed. They seem to be evaluating them rationally. Only a very few, very ambitious self-seekers pay pooja to some monks as conduits to power. Now, has this poor cat in her meandering thinking and writing hit a nail upon its head: that of the Sangha saying Buddhism is in danger. Do they miss unquestioning obeisance and respect?

The Sangha is absolutely necessary: as interpreters of the Buddha Word, for lay people to respect, look after and thus gain merit.VIPs proceeding to Kandy to the two seats of Buddhism: the Malwatte and Asgiriya temples are very good. Also, excellent is the Mahanayakes advising these VVIPs who govern us. But, the monks must be totally impartial and only consider the good of the country. They must not self destroy the religion by being bigoted or violent or actually go attacking other religions or people of other faiths.

The Buddha named four foundations necessary for the religion to be stable and continue in strength: Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, dayakas and dayikawas. They are all growing in numbers and each group has responsibilities and duties. If these are observed and practised correctly, the religion will move forward pure, and a solace to its adherents.

GMOA’s latest

The striking doctors threatened another continuous stoppage of work on the most stupid of excuses – the termination of the services of Prof Carlo Fonseka as head of the Sri Lanka Medical Council. His tenure came to an end and he was given three or six months extension. Now, the GMOA Committee with their high IQs and all that, did not have the basic sense to realize that an extension has a period specified and when that period ends the service is terminated.The newspapers reported the GMOA of declaring that, that extension could mean a full period of service of five years (this woman reckons), as Head of the SLMC.

Maybe, they were afraid of attacks on their palatial residences and luxurious cars by the hoi polloi driven beyond endurance by their lightening strikes that they have not struck work. Miraculously for the GMOA, someone appears to intervene each time and they accede to his advice of not striking. This time it was Prof Carlo Fonseka who had to almost go on his knees with palms together and cry, ‘Don’t strike’.

What theatricals to amuse us in our several woes!

- Menika