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Understanding Racial Myths In search of Harmony


23 December 2015 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Violence is organized carnage in the name of a faction, in the name of God or country. When you call yourself a Sinhalese or a Muslim or a Christian or a Tamil, or anything else, you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind, therefore you are being violent.

 Destructive thoughts are contrary to the teachings of all three religions. They even come equipped with a practical way to eliminate them. Through proper practice the differences between your feelings and those of others should commence to soften, while compassion for all living beings cultivated.   In Buddha’s teachings there is a strong strain of belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means. In Christian teachings too: in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” 
  Sections of Christian crusaders and Islamist militants justify what they see as essential violence in the name of a superior good. Some Buddhist clergy and extremists ‘Sinhala/Buddhist’ groups have been no exception.  The teachings were written down many years after the demise of the leaders.  This space between their teaching and the written edition means there is always the likelihood for inaccuracies  and misinterpretation creeping  into the original teachings. 

Incidents of racist or religious hatred can take many forms including verbal and physical abuse, bullying, threats and damage to property.  It can be an isolated incident or part of a continuing campaign of persecution or intimidation.  When you separate yourself by nationality, by race, by caste, by belief or by tradition, it breeds violence. Race is really nothing more than human beings separating themselves by the colour of the skin and other minor features.

The one who genuinely seeks to understand violence does not belong to any divisions; religion, race, and caste; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind, the human race or just Homo Sapiens. A person who says or believes that he or she is a Sinhalese, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian or belongs to any other group, involuntarily develops violent thoughts against others.  This is natural and unavoidable; our desperate attempt at concealing the truth would only result in conflict. First we teach and inculcate into the young minds of our children that they belong to a particular race, religion, caste and other hallucinations created by our ancestors and paradoxically advice them to forget the differences? As the saying goes “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.  Subsequently, the state takes over, they dress four kids in different ethnic-based costumes and tell them to go and play ‘hide and seek’ together; by then we have already committed the crime; its too late to confess for no confession can find a remedy: as adults too they continue to play ‘hide and seek’ helping the crook politicians in creating misery in society.

   Why is there, one must ask, this division -- the Sri Lankan, the American, the British, the German, and so on -- why is there this division between man and man, between race and race, culture against culture, one series of ideologies against another?  Where is there this separation? Man has divided the earth as yours and mine -- why? Is it that we try to find security, self-protection, in a particular group, or in a particular belief, faith? Most people just go along with the flow and really do not understand that the world is changing.

Nationalism is really a glorified form of tribalism.  Religions also have divided mankind, put one against another—the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians and so on. A great truth-seeker once said, “Nationalism is really a glorified form of tribalism”. In a tribe having the same kind of political system, religious system, the same language, the same superstitions and a sense of being together feel safe, happy, comforted and protected. And for achieving that protection and comfort, we are willing to destroy others with the same kind of longing to be safe, to feel sheltered, and to be belonging to some group. This awful desire to recognize oneself with a group, with a religious custom and so on gives us the sensation that we are not wanderers and that we have an ancestry, the division in our lives is the structure of thinking, which is the action of the viewer who thinks himself separate. Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution, once said:
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use”.-Galileo Galilei - 1564 -1642

  And what is yourself, the individual you? I think there is a difference between the human being and the individual. The individual is a local entity, living in a particular country, belonging to a specific  culture, particular society, and certain religion. The human being is not a local entity. He is everywhere. If the individual merely acts in a particular corner of the vast field of life, then his action is totally unrelated to the whole. So we have to realize that we are talking of the entirety not the part, because in the whole the lesser is, but in the lesser the whole is not. 

“The individual is the little conditioned, miserable, frustrated entity, satisfied with his little gods and his little traditions, whereas a human being is concerned with the total welfare, the total misery and total confusion of the world.”--J Krishnamurthi
   A neighbour of the Prophet, tried her best to irritate him by throwing garbage in his way every day. One day, when he walked out of his home there was no garbage. This made the Prophet inquire about the old woman and he came to know that she was sick. The Prophet went to visit her and offer any assistance she might need. 

The poison of racial and religious hatred is here in our island perhaps more than ever before. We must learn to recognize the venom of chauvinism and discover the remedy to its dangerous effects. A 16th century poet and a Cleric in the Church of England, wrote:
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thineown were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” –John Donne: “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and several steps in my Sickness” -1624

The suggestion for the individual living here is that he is part of a whole; the death-bell has deep and important meaning for everyone who hears it. We are all living together and part of the universe, so, ‘the bell does toll for all to hear it.’

  Comments - 1

  • ranjit demel Friday, 25 December 2015 07:30 AM

    i call myself a and a Born chriatian.

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