No human being can be created without faith- Wilattawa Sumedha Nayaka Thera | Sunday Observer

No human being can be created without faith- Wilattawa Sumedha Nayaka Thera

25 September, 2022
Most Ven. Wilattawa Sumedha  Nayaka Thera
Most Ven. Wilattawa Sumedha Nayaka Thera

Most Ven. Wilattawa Sumedha Nayaka Thera, a University Lecturer in Buddhist Counselling, Meditation Instructor in Buddhist Counselling in Chicago in USA and the Chief Incumbent of historic Siri Dewram Raja Maha Vihara Buddhist Temple at Puliyankadawara, Chilaw was interviewed by the Sunday Observer to seek his views on the present Sunday Dhamma school education in Sri Lanka.

Q: How does Dhamma education help school students in the country?

A: Well, no perfect human being can be created without the guidance of a faith or a religion. Human beings are blessed with the power of thinking and memory power. That specific power is not found in any animal on this earth. The Human mind can be trained towards positive or negative objectives through intensive training. A decade ago, certain extremist groups of terrorists trained children to be suicide bombers. These types of criminals are found worldwide nowadays. That means, human minds are polluted with thoughts of hatred, taking revenge and some misguided individuals are tempted to assassinate influential dignitaries such as Prime Ministers, Presidents and Ministers of Governments in the world.

Even in Sri Lanka, an Executive President and a Prime Minister ( R. Premadasa and S.W.R.D Bandaranaike) had been assassinated by criminals for political reasons. Unfortunately, two leading bhikkhus of this country were accused of killing Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.

They were given capital punishment for murdering the PM in Sri Lanka. If such misguided youngsters had been offered with noble concepts of religions and with the knowledge of realising the greatness and nobility by being born as human beings, these unfortunate youngsters would not have become such unfortunate victims of ill fate.

The association of noble friends is of great importance towards achieving the fruits of having being born a human being. However, noble friends are very rare to be found for association in our modern world.

Q: Are you satisfied with the Sunday Dhamma school education in Sri Lanka at present?

A: This is really a controversial question to be answer. The heads and voluntary teachers of Sunday Dhamma schools really perform a yeoman service to inculcate noble human values in the tender minds of students. It has to be admired and much respected.

These students have to follow a relevant syllabus too at Sunday Dhamma schools. More attention and emphasis have to be directed towards practical lessons than learning Dhamma theoretically only as a school subject.

Students’ noble attitudes, the ways of thinking and behavioural patterns have to be changed positively for the advantage of oneself as well as for society.

The value of endurance, the ability to face challenges of life with calmness and wisdom has to be inculcated in the minds of students through dhamma school education.

Actually, it has to be said at this moment that the noble teachings or the words of the Gauthama Buddha are not limited to a particular group of people or to a specific community.

Buddhism is relevant and useful for all human beings on this earth. Its core teachings guide men and women towards living a dignified life with loving- kindness and compassion.

All those who need to be noble human beings, teachings of Gauthama Buddha would immensely show them the correct and the best path that leads to everlasting happiness and perfect success in human life.

Under these circumstances, the teachers and parents too, have a responsible role to play in creating a morally- developed future generation in this country.

Q: What meaningful steps would you suggest to be added to the present Dhamma school education system in our country?

A: It is really an important and timely question. Although Dhamma school education programs are being carried out uninterruptedly for decades, the crime rate and the rate of violence among people of this country still remain high.

Recently, the media reported that the chief incumbent of a Buddhist temple in Seeduwa was assassinated by his 18- year-old ordained student bhikkhu to plunder the assets of the victim.

We can imagine how brutal and heinous this act is. As Buddhists, we were really shocked to hear this type of inhuman acts by the present day youth generation of this country.

The scholars of the USA who are known to me asked me about this tragic incident and I was utterly helpless on that occasion.

Sri Lanka is considered to be a leading Buddhist country and the whole world is looking at us with amazement due to these unbelievable tragic incidents.

That dead bhikkhu had loved his student much and hence, he had transferred all his vehicles and lands and properties to the ownership of that particular student bhikkhu. But the killer had not been properly trained in the Buddhist code of ethics.

That is why the student or the pupil of that senior bhikkhu had turned into his own killer. There are also some incidents where the children had killed their own parents brutally over property disputes. Sexual harassment of children, ill treatment to minors by adults is commonly seen even now and latest media reports amply confirm this fact.

Even many senior politicians of many political parties too seem behaving impolitely and brutally violating the code of Buddhist ethics very tragically.

This unwholesome trend has to be changed and responsible characters of this country should be real models for children for them to follow and to emulate.

It is because children always imitate parents and teachers at all times. Actually, a revolution in the thinking patterns of the people as a whole has become the need of the hour.

Nobody should be engaged in acts that put people into disgrace and to the level of beasts at any cost. It is an open secret that most people who belong to the responsible social status live dual characters.

That means their private life and public life are not equal and the same. They pretend or show off to the outside world that they are virtuous and exemplary in all respects.

But in reality, it is not so. Many don’t behave according to their conscience. Therefore, fruits of Dhamma education seem not to have been properly reaped at present.

Genuine efforts must be applied continuously by the concerned authorities to give this country a future generation fostered with noble human values such as loving- kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity, so called four divine abodes or Sathara Brahma Vihara qualities.

These are the fundamental noble qualities that every human being should cultivate and possess.

Modern technological advancement too has paved the way for the present generation to be away from Dhamma or religious education and an irreparable damage has been caused to the minds of the youth by misusing the internet, facebook and other ultra-modern facilities of technology.

Whatever the reasons may be, constant and regular measures have to be explored to create future heirs with wholesome and productive thoughts to steer this country forward spiritually, culturally and economically.

Long term programs have to be planned for student’s population in consultation with religious dignitaries of all faiths here in Sri Lanka.

“If education is given without proper religious guidance, we make the young clever devils. If man is selfish and wicked even with religion, what would he be without a religion?” the Thera said.