Outcry against Anunayake’s calls for Gota to be ‘Hitler’ | Sunday Observer

Outcry against Anunayake’s calls for Gota to be ‘Hitler’

The recent statement by Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Wendaruwe Upali Thera, urging the former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to take over the country and govern it under military rule like Hitler has drawn widespread condemnation from democratic minded civil society, politicians and academics in the country who said advocating barbaric rule that unleashed a holocaust that still haunts the world contradicts the noble principles of Buddhism that preaches compassion and ahimsa to all beings.

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Ven. Dambara Amila Thera

Both Asgiri and Malwathu Chapters have the credit of giving leadership to the anti-imperialist struggle and also took part in liberation struggles too. Similarly, they have largely contributed to reestablishing democracy human rights and society. Today it has taken a different twist.

The Anunayaka’s statement in question run against democracy.

What they preach to the people is against the Buddhist doctrine. The Buddha said the ruler should govern the country as a Bodhisathwa.

Hitler started his campaign by setting fire to German Parliament and imposed his will throughout the country by banning freedom of speech, trade unions and all public agitations. Next, follows his anti-Semitic butchery in Europe. When the venerable Thera says we want such a person one could think of its ulterior motive.

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Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thera

Buddhism is based on Non-Violence, Compassion and Loving Kindness. If ever a bhikkhu gives advice to anybody it should be guided by above norms.

From the standpoint of Buddhism, Hitler cannot be quoted as an example, because he was a human-hater. If any bhikkhu says “be a man like Hitler” it amounts to decline in religious moral.

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Mangala Samaraweera

This statement by a responsible and senior monk in the country is both serious and clearly malicious. As a true Buddhist, I felt deep shame regarding the comments made by Upali Thera. Any person who is of right sound and mind cannot make such a shameless statement while knowing of the brutal rule carried out by Hitler and the Nazis in Germany. Buddha in his Dhamma does not condone dictatorships at any point. Therefore only a monk following the steps of Devadatta thera can make such a fearsome statement.

The people of the country must beware of such statements made with vile intentions which call for the rule of a killer and are against Buddhist precepts as well as social norms. Rulers such as Hitler converted the whole of Germany in to a prison while killing thousands of innocent people through the use of inhumane methods such as gas chambers. Hitler can be considered as the cruelest dictator in recent history.

The former Rajapaksa regime too showed similar signs. The first step to this rule was dragging the country towards racial religious tribalism in the guise of promoting nationalism. No one had the right to life under the Rajakasa rule.

Out of those who offended them, some fled the country and others were killed mercilessly. The people who suffered under his rule bear witness to this cruelty. Just as Hitler did, death during the Rajapaksa regime did not come only in the form of a bullet. Instead in came in the guises of white vans, cyanide, accidents and suicides.

 

This statement only shows that through devious means the Rajapaksa’s have now been made to look like the saviours of the country. However, the government will never allow this country’s people to be subjected to a military junta rule lead by the Rajapaksa family. 

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Gamini Viyangoda

As a Buddhist, I feel deep shame regarding the statement made by Vendaruwe Upali Thera. He has insulted Buddhists, its clergy and Buddha himself as Buddhism is a religion based on non-violence, unlike Hitlerism which condones violence. Therefore as a follower of Buddha, he has insulted the Dhamma.

Even if he had made these comments merely as a layman, it is not acceptable in the 21st century. Those with ideas such as Upali Thera should, therefore, be sent back to school to educate themselves, especially on the subject of civics which speaks of rulers and governance of a country. The Hitler we know during the last three years of his rule killed nearly 600 000 Jews who were just defenceless civilians had no connection to the war. So we must question whether it is this kind of ruler that the Thera wants for Sri Lanka.

Many Buddhist clergy today including Upali Thera keep harping on a unitary and united Sri Lanka. But does he not realize that it was Hitler who caused the once unitary Germany to be split in two. It was his actions that caused this divide so is he asking for our country to be divided as well. Therefore, instead of learning the Vinaya Pitaka, monks such as Upali Thera must be given lessons in civics. He should be sent back to Grade 8 in school at least to be re-educated.

His comments were very unfortunate and were nauseating for me personally. However, it was not a surprise as in recent times the Asgiriya Chapter has been making similar statements. But in the end, the Buddhists in the country must think seriously about what has been said as I believe its seriousness is far greater than the threats made by Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera which eventually landed him in prison.

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Vijitha Herath

Vendaruwe Upali Thera at a recent Bhikkhu convention held in Colombo voiced his dissent against the 20th Amendment to the constitution proposed by us which abolishes the executive presidency system in its current form. This was even prior to us handing over the proposed amendment to the parliament. Therefore the recent controversial statement made by him at an event held for Former Secretary of Defence, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s birthday shows the monks true intention in opposing the 20A. Clearly, his aim is to bring Rajapaksa into power as the country’s leader. Buddhism does not preach that rulers should become dictators. In fact, the Buddha advised that rulers should be ‘dharmistha’ in their rule of the masses, unlike Hitler who was a murderous dictator who killed without reservations. If the monk advices that such a rule should be established it is not according to the Dhamma. Upali Thera through his comments have dishonoured the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka.

It was a dangerous comment that should not have been made. Majority of the Buddhist clergy do not agree with this statement. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna condemns the statement by Upali Thera. Despite his somewhat retraction of the statement thereafter the only way he can now rectify himself is by working towards averting a future dictatorship in the country. 

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