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LLRC - A Buddhist Response

24 May 2012 06:30 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Rajah Kuruppu
 
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was appointed by the President to investigate and report on the lessons to be learnt from a conflict lasting around three decades and submit recommendations for reconciliation between the different communities, ethnic and religious. It took the Commission around 1-1/2 years to investigate, discuss and formulate its report. The Commission set about its task in a professional manner accepting representations from various segments of the population. More importantly, the Commission gave an opportunity for the voice of the people of the North and the East, who suffered the most from the conflict to express their views regarding this conflict. The Commission took great care to visit the main areas of conflict so that the victims of the conflict could narrate their experiences in familiar surroundings.


 
The report of the Commission has been hailed by the moderate sections of the people, both local and overseas. The fact that it has been criticised or condemned by extremist elements, local and foreign, is also perhaps a reflection of the moderate nature of the report.
 
For monks and lay Buddhist scholars and preachers to appeal to Buddhists to adopt an attitude of generosity and consideration towards minority communities and religions is no difficult task. There are many sayings of the Buddha which support such an approach to minorities.

The Buddha did not refer much to communal, national, race, ethnicity and such differences, since they were not that relevant to the society in Northern India at that time. The main factor that divided that society was the caste system where one is born to a particular caste which remains so for life. Under this system different kinds of work were assigned to different castes and one could not pursue work in other areas. With time, there was flexibility and people began to pursue other activities. However, some castes continued to be considered higher and others lower.
 
The Orders of Bhikkhus and Bikkhunis were open to all people irrespective of caste, wealth and social status. Actually, some of the distinguished members of these orders were from the so-called low castes. In fact, those entering these Orders had to change their names and titles so that they did not indicate their rank and birth in lay life.
 
Buddhism should and can be a unifying force. The Buddha urged his disciples to promote concord among people and not to sow discord and dissension  An argument in Buddhism against differences between the mankind is biological. It has been pointed out that there are differences between various species of plants and animals. The foot of an elephant is different to that of a horse or deer. Thus, there are differences between animals as well as among plants. On the other hand, the feet of men are not different despite differences in caste, community, nationality, religion or social standing.
 
The Buddha led an exemplary life treating all people alike and extending goodwill and compassion in equal measure. He did not discriminate even between the good and the evil and helped them all wherever feasible to traverse on the path to liberation.
 
There have been rare instances where dissension and discord has been spread in the name of Buddhism. Such actions are totally contrary to the fundamental teachings and the spirit of this great religion.
 
Our nation has witnessed 30 years of war, which caused untold misery and a sense of deep insecurity to a large number of Its people. The recommendations of the LLRC regarding the important role that could be played by religions should be supported by the Buddhists for the welfare and progress of all people that comprise this country.
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  Comments - 5

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  • Ravi Friday, 25 May 2012 04:12 AM

    there is nothing called sinhalese budhism , its only one great philoshy of this grest human being listen to it and act along with it than finding origin of buddhism.

    Prasanna Friday, 25 May 2012 05:43 AM

    My dear Friends we are all ways praiseing the Buddhism but who is following it. take note what our Buddhist monks did to the Muslim Mosqe.just take a look surrounding the templs next to the lique shops and Brothels some of them are rentted out from the Templs.lets follow it.

    aji Friday, 25 May 2012 11:21 AM

    Underminning of prevelidges & rights of majority by sheer insultive comments bring nothing but disorder in peace & hormoney in our societies. Whether it’s minority or majority they should refrained from commentings other religions , beliefs & practices of them. Despite they should have their own internal cristism within their own beliefs & practices which can contribute to co-existence . How it can be sincere when someone publicly critisis other epoples in way that hurts some others’ genuine interests & rights .

    aji Friday, 25 May 2012 11:23 AM

    No one can asked other to follow any principles but themselves. The practice & belief presently followed by Sinhalase is Sinhala Buddhism. It not discreminating any other to follow greatest teachings of the Buddha so we can have Tamil Buddhist, Arab Buddhist or Malay buddhist. Theresfore there are no needs to cristisis about Sinhala Buddhism , any one can follow the great Philosohy with their practices if their genuinly interest. While not being worrrying about how Sinahala people practice Buddhism.

    Thanga Thursday, 24 May 2012 11:32 PM

    Well said, but who is listening? The Buddhism in Ceylon is unique. It is Sinhala Buddhism, not the lofty Dharma preached by Buddha.


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