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Preaching taboos will go nowhere

4 August 2013 06:22 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka is a country which is known to have ‘flourishing’ within it, four of the great religions of the world, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.  If shows of piety were something to go by, Sri Lanka would doubtless be a genuine ‘Dharmadweepa’.  However, Sri Lanka is a country where criminal activity is at its height and is now hitting records that are wholly unprecedented.  Instances of even fathers raping their own daughters are not unknown but becoming more and more frequent today.  Robberies, assaults, the consumption of narcotic drugs leading to the commission of criminal acts increase by the day alongside the construction of purported religious edifices.  

"How could the fact that some Muslims claim to practice their religion in that building affect the Buddhists?  Does it in any way retard, prevent, hinder or obstruct Buddhists from practicing their religion or from performing their religious observances?"

While these activities go on, one does find some errant Buddhist monks or persons dressed in the robes of Buddhist monks, actually committing mischief on places of purported `worship’ of persons purporting to profess other religions who claim to have their  religious services there.  There was, for example, an instance of a building used as a mosque by certain Muslims in Dambulla being attacked by a mob among which were Buddhist monks or some persons dressed as Buddhist monks.  That building may not have been registered as a mosque.  It may well have been unlawful according to the technicalities of the law.  That purported mosque may well have been situated within the sacred area in Dambulla and located in the vicinity of the famous Dambulla rock temple which is a Buddhist shrine venerated throughout the world.  However, how could the fact that some Muslims claim to practice their religion in that building affect the Buddhists?  Does it in any way retard, prevent, hinder or obstruct Buddhists from practicing their religion or from performing their religious observances? As far as I’m aware, nobody has claimed that it has, and I can see no way in which such a claim, even if made, could be true. What business then, had anybody, be it a clergyman or a layman to go and attack that building?  Similarly one finds that there had been similar attacks on several places of Christian worship.  One significant feature in these attacks lies in the fact that they were executed without let or hindrance from the police who were at times present when they were being committed. I recall seeing screened  on television a horrific scene where some Buddhist monks or bald headed persons robed in saffron were among the thugs attacking a place of so called Christian worship in Nawala where there were policemen on the scene doing nothing to uphold their law.  I say “so called” because to me the very concept of ‘worship’ is anathema.  
The freedom of persons to act according to their beliefs, so long as they act within the four corners of the law is one of the essential elements of a democratic society. Enforcing the law is essentially the duty of the authorities designated by law to perform that function. It is not something that can be done by all and sundry whenever and wherever they feel like doing so and in such a manner as they please.




There is no place for alleged `vigilantes’ in our country which prides itself as being a country that is governed by the rule of law.
Such freedom of persons to act according to their beliefs is also a matter that is recognised and propagated by all religions worthy of the name.  Tolerance, even of views that are the complete opposite of one’s own, and compassion are qualities that are said to be preached by all four major religions that have taken root in our country.  How then did those attacks take place?  
To my mind this has happened because religion is used not so much as a doctrine of peace to propagate for the good of the country and its populace, but as an instrument with which to control the private lives of people and to gain political power by persons belonging to the same religious denomination or having the same religious label forming a political force.  

"Tolerance, even of views that are the complete opposite of one’s own, and compassion are qualities that are said to be preached by all four major religions that have taken root in our country.  How then did those attacks take place?"

This pernicious practice is prevalent not only in Sri Lanka.  How much blood has been shed in the Middle East because of rivalry between the rival sects of Muslims such as, for example, the Sunnis and the Shias?  Can any of such bloodshed be justified by the Muslim faith, or the doctrine of Islam or the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed?  However these are the monumental crimes that are being committed in the name of religion.  
Such purported zealots or genuine miscreants appear to have forgotten or ignored the cardinal fact that religion or the lack of one is essentially a very personal and private matter that arises or should arise from the personal beliefs of each person, so that the religion a person professes or the religious ceremonies or practices in which he engages are entirely his business and no business of anyone else.  

"Religion or the lack of one is essentially a very personal and private matter that arises or should arise from the personal beliefs of each person, so that the religion a person professes or the religious ceremonies or practices in which he engages are entirely his business"

It is pertinent in this connection to observe that persons of various religious persuasions had been given to actually interfering in the private lives of others.  Thus, one finds that the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope  included, rails  against the  practice of  birth-control or abortions even where they  are deemed to be necessary medically; similarly one finds members of the Buddhist clergy and some so-called temperance workers campaigning  against the consumption of  alcohol not only by reasoned argument [which is perfectly permissible] but also by `direct action’ such as by blocking the entrance to licensed liquor stores by performing   ‘Satyagraha’ there.  However, one would never find them performing such Satyagraha outside an unlawful distillery because they know that in such an event they would be thrashed severely or even killed.   Thus, their purported piety begins and ends with their safety – i.e. only if they can show their purported piety without endangering themselves. To my mind, however, a person who genuinely believes in something would never act in such a cowardly manner.

These, facts bring into focus, the question whether `religion’ arises from a genuine belief in a doctrine or `tradition’ in the form of following the religion of one’s parents. Thus, except in a very few exceptional cases, the children of Buddhist parents would be or be labelled as adherents of the Buddhist religion even before they knew who the Lord Buddha was and continue to bear that label for ever thereafter. It is the same with the children of Hindus, Muslims and Christians indeed; I do believe that the Pope and the Mahanayakes would have been Buddhists and Roman Catholics respectively, if their respective parents had been Buddhists or Roman Catholics!!!
Amidst all this preaching of taboos saying don’t do this and don’t do that, and attacking others or the places of `worship’ of those whose beliefs are different to their own, one hardly finds the clergy of any religion actively propagating the need for loving kindness, for compassion, for tolerance, the inalienable right of any person to have and practice beliefs that are different to those of all or any others and so on. The tendency which I have observed is to preach taboos and to seek the support of those with like religious `beliefs’ or `labels’ to  enforce such taboos without seeking to prove the need for such taboos to the people by reasoned argument and propagate positive acts which would lead to peace, order and good governance in the country.
This is a tragedy of gigantic proportions and constitutes engaging in a puerile `numbers game’ which has no place in any `genuine’ religious activity.   
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  Comments - 1

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

  • meema Monday, 05 August 2013 02:59 AM

    super article.


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