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An international conspiracy to block SL clergy?

12 July 2012 07:32 pm - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Praveen Attanayake
 
The Bill to prevent Bhikkus from entering Parliament would have looked like just one of those heroic Bills by the opposition. Yet, the incidents that have come to light in the wake of the much anticipated debate go to show that the proposed provision is just the tip of the iceberg. 
 
A few weeks ago, during a ceremony to open a newly-built temple complex of a prominent Buddhist monk and a preacher, the presence of a certain foreign envoy raised many an eyebrow. The temple complex itself drew a great deal of criticism for the extravagance it symbolized and many were of the view that it defies the principles of Theravada Buddhism that had become the way of life of the Sinhala Buddhists for many centuries. 
 
The envoy’s questionable tenure in the country and role in the temple opening, hint of a highly-organized act of sabotage to mutilate pure Theravada Buddhism. However, the curtain has fallen now. Several Buddhist organizations are already tracing the foreign involvement behind these thwarting attempts.
 
The Bill, if passed, will be the work of those unknown forces, who up until now, have appeared in many faces outside Parliament. Hence, those who approve the Bill on its face value should be mindful of the fact that, this is just the beginning of an end. 
 
Since time immemorial, the Maha Sangha had been playing a vital role in maintaining good governance. Even during the time of the Buddha, their advice was much sought after in matters of importance. They were mediators and peacekeepers. Buddhist literature bears evidence to the wars that were stopped thanks to the pragmatism and humanism of the Bhikkus. In the modern sense of democracy, the higher place they were given in governance lessened the chance of a ruler becoming a dictator. Times have changed. Kingdoms have become governments. Instead of going by the inheritance, rulers are selected by the people.
 
Yet, the roles of adviser and mediator played by the Maha Sangha remained unchanged. Thus, the now developing idea that, being part of the legislature does not become the role of a Bhikku, is contradicted by history. And those who raise cries for reasons that are best known to themselves are defeated by the evidence that has proved otherwise.
 
The Buddha preached his doctrine for the benefit of the people. The Dhamma was for the spiritual development of society. The disciples who took after him saw that the trend remained unbroken. The Maha Sangha who marched to Parliament did nothing but continue the tradition. 
 
Besides, preventing a citizen from engaging in politics is a violation of fundamental rights. The Buddhist monks, or any clergy for that matter, cannot be considered as an exception. 
 
The Buddha, if he had kept himself to the temple, would not have been able to show the path to the likes of Suneetha, Sopaka and Patachara. If the Buddhist monks played the role of statues when the country was oppressed by British rule, we would have still been a colony. The political culture implemented by the pioneer Buddhist monks, fulfilled a dire need felt by society. It was the call of the country. Hence, it is in their hands to decide whether to continue or to step back. Not anybody or any bill can set deadlines for the Bhikkus.  
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  Comments - 12

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  • Cobra Friday, 13 July 2012 03:11 AM

    For the land of make believe conspiracies anything is a conspiracy- if you don't like it, blame it on someone else!

    Upasaka banda Friday, 13 July 2012 04:32 AM

    clergy going to parliament, get married, do all sort of bad things. yes this a foreign conspiracy. Traitors try to reveal the real scene.

    Fusion Saturday, 14 July 2012 05:02 AM

    With all due respect, it seems like Mr. Praveen Attanayake has serious problems in comprehension. Lord Buddha ADVISED Suneetha, Sopaka and Patachara, etc, but he never, ever imposed his will on others by entering politics & passing laws. Buddhism is purely a choice. Its about freedom of will. Ever bothered reading the Kalama Sutta? As a citizen of SL I MUST abide by the country's laws. So how on earth can Monks be lawmakers at the same time? Its a massive contradiction. You are either a monk or a layperson, but not both! Seriously, is this such hard thing for you to grasp?

    Hamlet Friday, 13 July 2012 05:22 AM

    Wijedasa Rajapkse's Bill was not about the Buddhist Clergy advising the Government. They do not have to be elected to Parliament, to influence Good Governance by teaching the Dhamma of the Buddha to Members of the Government, and the People of the Country, like the Clergy of other religions do!

    sltk2004 Friday, 13 July 2012 05:59 AM

    I wonder whether there'll be more international conspiracies to prevent clergy from getting married, drive cars etc...

    Thivanka Perera Saturday, 14 July 2012 07:10 AM

    This "International Conspiracy" thing is getting a bit too old; even if someone falls down the stairs, it's an "International Conspiracy". If there is an conspiracy of any sort, it would be to keep the clergy involved IN politics, not out of politics.

    People don't buy this type of mumbo-jumbo now, so don't bother writing it.

    Hussain Friday, 13 July 2012 08:46 AM

    Sri Lankan's think the International community is very interested in what is happening here. We are a small third world island producing nothing of importance to the world. Tea is grown in may countries, so are garments in many other third world countries. Every other item too is the same. We are already over populated in a tiny island. We will never be an International player of any importance.

    TJ Friday, 13 July 2012 09:19 AM

    Dear Hussain then how come u did end up in here

    Kadiya Friday, 13 July 2012 09:44 AM

    Those who support clergy to get into parliament must be driven by foreign conspiracy as they want to see Buddhist clergy lose the high position they held in Sri lankans mind. The writer could be accused as a trator!

    jayantha Saturday, 14 July 2012 01:42 AM

    An international conspiracy to block SL clergy? have we ever hear about these before ? why when Buddhist monk enter the parliment .
    Unfortunately, corrupt , religious leader , tanishing the image of Lord Buddha , had now facing all kind foriegn polices to as of for greedy money .

    God Bless Sri Lanka

    Raymond Punchisingho Friday, 13 July 2012 10:09 AM

    Clergy has the right to own property, get married, have children, go to parliament, be selfish, earn money and even do a honest job for the betterment of society. It is only the precepts of the religion that impose ethics, morality, celibacy, etc, on the clergy. The legal process does not and cannot impose such constraints on clergy.

    The people of course have the right to not give alms and patronage to the clergy who are selfish and power hungry. This too cannot be legislated against. The people always have the right to reject a corrupt ,selfish and desultory religious culture.

    Unfortunately, political expediency has assisted the survival of corrupt religios cultures, going back to the middle ages. It is a sore reflection of the state, the relevance, principles and reason for existence, of the religious culture we live in. The people do not have the courage to question or reject these corrupt religious leaders.

    kumar Saturday, 14 July 2012 03:18 AM

    What is not an International Conspiracy in Sri Lanka now? Rubbish. Every blunder our politicain makes & subsequent questioning becomes an international conspiracy! Soon they may say that they have found out that the 2004 Tsunami also has been an international conspiracy. It seems that the international community has nothing else other than monitoring this country as per these claimers!
    Secondly what good has happened by Buddhist monks sitting in parliament? Have they helped to economically develop the country, the education, health services, voiced against cost of living. Have they stood against rising crime wave or drug menace that is destroying country's future generation. What have they actually done other than sitting there.The clergy must be with people at village level inculcating moral & spiritual values in people, which is fast eroding. The private bill is a very timely and approprate bill that must be supported fully.


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