The Buddha never asked and encouraged anyone to perform any rites and rituals in the name of the Buddha or his profound teaching
The quality and standard of the monkhood has been drastically changed
There are four major religions in the globe today. Those who wholeheartedly follow them do accept and believe what they follow. Multitudes of rites and rituals are contained in each of them. Worthy and meaningful practices are always impressive and appreciated.
What the Buddha expounded and taught for the humanity is now called Buddhism but the Blessed One introduced it as Dhamma Vinaya – Doctrine and Discipline.
Though some people make an effort to pronounce and present teachings of the Buddha as same as other faiths, what the Buddha proclaimed was completely different from other religious teachings. The Buddha’s teaching is completely based on the mind.
The Buddha never asked and encouraged anyone to perform any rites and rituals in the name of the Buddha or his profound teaching. Somehow, so called born Buddhists blindly perform and unwisely pursue some rites and rituals even in foreign countries.
Some activities might help them to improve and develop spiritual inner faculties such as interest (Saddha). I personally say that it is better than nothing.
First and foremost we all must thoroughly and comprehensively learn about our teacher the Buddha and his profound teaching. As an aspirant or seeker of Perfect Enlightenment, Bodhisatva, he has shown and pragmatically introduced the paramount factors which indefatigably practise to accomplish his ultimate spiritual aspiration- Buddhahood.
Ten paramis or ten perfections are the driving forces which unprecedentedly transformed an ordinary human being into an extraordinary human being (Achchariya manussa). Ambition, generosity, aspiration, moral conduct, effort, determination, dedication, compassion, renunciation, loving-kindness, patience, tolerance, endurance, forbearance, truthfulness, equanimity and wisdom are the paramount and sublime factors at which Bodhisatva perfectly excelled.
Simplicity is the utmost impressive characteristic which I personally encountered in the biography of the Blessed One.
Unfortunately, the deplorable and distressing fact is that individual branded credos and dogmas are proliferated and multiplied in the name of the Buddha Dhamma
After completion of his first group of enlightened disciples, launching his Dhamma mission the Buddha advised them to set off to teach the Dhamma for the benefit and welfare of humanity, for their happiness, peace and meaningful life. They taught the Dhamma Vinaya- doctrine and discipline.
By practising generosity, morality and meditation, not only were people reformed and re-organized but the surroundings and vicinities were changed into liveable and sustainable environments.
Respect, love, compassion, sharing, politeness, truthfulness and many other wholesome practical qualities were implanted and encouraging them to lead meaningful and wholesome lives. The Blessed One and his enlightened disciples compassionately inspired and encouraged people to lead their lives with wholesome inner qualities. Our great Master the Blessed One always highlighted unity, harmony, inner peace, innermost happiness and many more spiritual factors in his teachings, and encouraged his disciples to promote them among others.
Specially by seeing proclivities and propensities of their previous lives, the Buddha encouraged numerous individuals to cultivate and develop their inner faculties to achieve their spiritual aspirations.
Untrained and uneducated preachers are abundant in Sri Lanka in the name of the dispensation of the Buddha in this new millennium. Lack of proper training and knowledge of the Dhamma led them to express their own views and ideas in the name of the Buddha Dhamma
My personal experience with many scholars and most venerable Buddhist monks are memorable and still resounding in my mind though some of them are departed from us.
Late Venerable Balangoda Ananda Meithreeya Maha Nayaka Maha Thero, late Venerable Narada Maha Thero, late Most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Maha Nayaka Maha Thero, late Venerable Piyadassi Maha Thero, late Venerable Nauyane Ariyadhamma Maha Thero, late Venerable Panadure Ariyadhamma Maha Thero and lateVenerable Welimitiyawe Dhammarakkhita Maha Thero were the prominent personages who profoundly performed their duties and discharged their responsibilities as leaders of the community of Maha Sangha in recent decades.
The Venerable Ampitiye Sri Rahula Maha Thero and Venerable Kotugoda Dhammawasa Maha Nayaka Maha Thero are exemplary personalities who impartially and unbiasedly live according to the rules and regulations which were constituted in Dhamma Vinaya.
Untrained and uneducated preachers are abundant in Sri Lanka in the name of the dispensation of the Buddha in this new millennium. Lack of proper training and knowledge of the Dhamma led them to express their own views and ideas in the name of the Buddha Dhamma. Unfortunately some unwise people blindly follow them as role models and frantically believe that these preachers are enlightened.
Though most individuals boast that they are Buddhists and take refuge in the Buddha, they blindly follow these undisciplined and untrained individuals, rather than following the Blessed One. They interpret and explicate birth, enlightenment of the Buddha and other historic incidents as they imagine and presume.
This Cult of Personality drastically ruins and misguides innocent devoted disciples of the Buddha. Though above mentioned well renowned most venerable monks had delivered numerous Dhamma talks in the electronic media for many decades, they never had any ulterior motives and hidden agendas as present day hypocrites. Those respectable monks never misguided people in the name of Buddha Sasana.
Some people, both so called monks and laities have politicised the Three Refuges (The Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha). Lack of true knowledge, lack of correct practice, lack of true leadership qualities and inadequacy of discipline and training are the well known facts and distinct reality. Cultural values and religious ethics are utterly forgotten. The current unscrupulous demeanour of some monks is a very dangerous example for our future generation.
This may drive to ruin and damage the authenticity of the Buddha’s words. Millions of followers listen to numerous sermons; preachers competitively verbalize and prattle with their own interpretations to entertain unwise listeners.
Unfortunately, the deplorable and distressing fact is that individual branded credos and dogmas are proliferated and multiplied in the name of the Buddha Dhamma.
There is no authority in the community of the Buddhist monks or responsible government to take any decisive and conclusive action to protect and preserve the doctrine and discipline (Dhamma –Vinaya).
The quality and standard of the monkhood has been drastically changed. Many monks have embraced and engaged in party politics. The life style, the way of life, behaviour as a disciple of the Buddha, deportment of monkhood, duties and responsibilities as a monk is completely disappeared and is absent in certain individuals.
Unacceptable behaviour and disgraceful acts of so called monks have drastically changed people’s respectful attitudes and deep rooted devotion. The way they speak and express their antagonistic ideas and inimical views are completely dangerous and catastrophic. Our future generation will be in vulnerable situation and true spiritual practice will disappear. The Buddha declared that “Vinayo Naama Sasanassa Aayu” Discipline is the lifespan of the dispensation of the Buddha. Numerous well-disciplined and well trained monks have guided our Buddhist community with outstanding examples but now it is in topsy-turvy.
Some mentally retarded and psychologically unfit individuals attempt to repair and renew their blemished reputations by using their own political views and racial provocations. Some of them have mixed the doctrine and are asking lay people to practise what monks should practise and monks are doing contrary to what they have to practise.
Vinaya or discipline is very crucial fact in the dispensation of the Buddha Dhamma. As a monk or bhikkhu , he must be trained under his teacher or senior monk for at least five years after higher ordination. If teacher or senior monk does not allow him to perform activities such as delivering sermons, conducting meditation programmes or holding discussions, he must remain till he is given the permission. Unfortunately currently what has happened is catastrophic. There is no training or probation period for novices or bhikkhus, therefore they act and preach as they want. Innocent devotees are misguided and confused.
The current propensity and inconceivable proclivity in Sinhalese Buddhist community around the globe is indescribable. Listening to multitudes of sermons and taking part in meditation programmes are widely spread and fast growing cult of personality.
Hope that true scholars and well educated and well disciplined venerable Buddhist monks will reflect upon this unfortunate situation. Put everything on the right track for future generations to come. “Good is restraint in the body; good is restraint in speech; good is restraint in thought. Restraint everywhere is good. The monk restrainted in every way is freed from all suffering”.
“That monk who has control over his tongue, is moderate in speech, unassuming and who explains the Teaching in both letter and spirit – whatever he says is pleasing”.
Hope these two stanzas will help some people to understand the true disciplines of the Buddha.