Politics Power and Buddhism On The Eve Of The Buddha Jayanthi 2011

Sri Lankan hypocrisy at it’s best – A “gossip” site celebrates the Buddha Jayanthi (in style)

Buddha Jayanthi, Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi call it whatever you want according to the establishment it has been 2600 years since Buddha achieved his ultimate goal. We are the kind of people that gives its politicians and leaders a lot of latitude. Thus we should not be surprised and shocked to witness much silliness – and this is the only way to describe what has transpired- leading up to the Buddha Jayanthi.

Mr Champika Ranawaka and Co. shaved their heads and started meditating. “Observing” the Buddha Jayanthi was what the media called it. I see it as a farcical display of arrogance and inanity on their part. There are no half measures when it comes to “observing” Buddhist principles and teaching, you go all the way or you don’t. Buddhism demands that you sever all attachments and lead a life of ascetic contemplation and meditation. This display of pious “observance” is thus nothing but a farce.

This is nothing but a PR move to lend a veil of respectability to a dangerous and flawed ideology and the sheep-like masses of this country will give these people the respect they so desperately yearn. It really is a pathetic state of affairs. Spewing hatred and acting like cavemen 6 days a week and then observing sil on the last day does not make you a Buddhist.

Former monk and ex-speaker of the house Mr Lokubandara declared today that…ah well see for yourself.  Boggles the mind doesn’t it?  the news has rendered me speechless.

Ah the UNP. Considered by many a “liberal” in this country to be a ration… ah screw it. You see what we have to work with here?

Vesak has morphed into quite a strange event during recent times (more so this year than the recent past). While the monks and the politicians claim that the theme for this year is “the observance of the principles of Buddhism”. They claim that we should create an atmosphere of reverence however the atmosphere on the streets is anything but. The commercialization of Vesak is in full swing. Street vendors will sell you a picture of the Buddha and a Buddhist flag (and throw in a tacky mask from the scream movie series) for a few bucks. Where oh where is the pious mob that protested against the Buddha bikinis and Akon? So commercialization, capitalist consumption and greed is fine while free expression (and that by ignorant foreigners) is a tantamount to “blasphemy”?  They seem to be busy banning the consumption of meat and alcohol in a country containing people of many faiths who differ in opinion regarding how best to spend a long holiday weekend. If you are a Buddhist and want to observe the teachings please go ahead. Don’t eat any meat and stay the hell away from bars and liquor stores but don’t force your bullshit down my throat. In some sense it is a pathetic development that the government has to step in every Vesak to ban the consumption of meat and alcohol in this so called pious land of the Buddha. They seem to have little or no confidence in the Buddhist population when it comes to observing the teachings of the Buddha during the holiest period of their religion.

I claim that this silliness is a direct result of our tolerance of the actions of our politicians and the powers that be. Perhaps you have tolerated these actions out of apathy and indifference or perhaps out of fear but it is high time that we raised our voices against this injustice and cruelty.

I claim that the powers that be are in bed with an asinine evil and diabolical theocracy. Evil not in a biblical sense but a kind of evil that forces its doctrine on the rest of the populace who may not want anything to do with it and belong to a silent minority. It is the stifling of our liberties (what little we have) that annoys me the most while the politicians and monks descend into farcical silliness more and more. Who says we have to do what the majority decrees us to do? Just ask Henry David Thoreau. If you like me feel that this has gone far too far and things are really getting quite silly in Sri Lanka, PLEASE for God’s sake SPEAK UP and SAY SO.

On an unrelated note: Made a comment here. Quite an interesting discussion. 

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8 Responses to Politics Power and Buddhism On The Eve Of The Buddha Jayanthi 2011

  1. Prageeth says:

    Well said. Commercialization of Religious holidays are nothing now. Hypocrisy in Sri Lanka is nothing new either. Keep it up!

  2. real happy person says:

    i disagree. In this time of mass scale cruelty around the world…a little forcing goes along way. Where would Singapore have been if not. People aren’t wise as they used to be. Buddhism is something us Sri Lankans ( no matter what religion) is something we should be proud of. Its apart of our multi-culture and reason for our island to be as blessed and revered as it is by many foreigners. The same thing happens say in Malaysia..to non-muslims. Its not something new. If you are in the minority deal with it.don’t diss something that has made you who you are. tsk tsk. very low blow. Plus its not like the government bans other holy days of other religions..i think as a nation we give respect to all religions and celebrate all holy days the same as those Buddhist religious festivals. Yes our politician are abit off in the head and the recent antics seem ridiculous but then again aren’t they all..i mean all politicians anywhere are the same. Political gimmicks are entertaining.period. But something like banning alcohol and meat is not a bad thing. It initiates people to think. People who have stopped thinking all together..one week won’t kill you..think of it as lent/ fasting/ inner cleansing.being a teetotaler could do you alot more good than you think.

    • Dilhan says:

      real happy, are you seriously believing all this. “a little forcing goes a long way” yeah I doubt if you would see it in a similar way if secularism is forced on you or better still, Islamic law in Sri Lanka. I am sure you are an admirer of the Saudi Arabia
      “People aren’t wise as they used to be” that I agree with. people going back to superstition and religion.
      “If you are in the minority deal with it.” love your attitude, people who thought in similar ways have caused wars
      “banning alcohol and meat is not a bad thing. It initiates people to think” I became a vegetarian after I ‘deconverted’ and (I know its anecdotal but) I have more vegetarian friends in the UK than in Sri Lanka, infact I seem to remember a statistic somewhere(I will try to find it for you)
      “.think of it as lent/ fasting/ inner cleansing.being a teetotaler could do you alot more good than you think.” might not be healthy, but let the people decide
      prohibition has been tried before in many places including the US, I am sure you have heard of Al Capone

    • The way of the Dodo says:

      This ban on alcohol & meat on holidays have indeed made me think, but they have never ever been happy thoughts.

  3. PravNJ says:

    Stepped into a KFC on vesak. Also note that you could have gotten a Big Mac at the golden arches. Like I said silliness.

    I don’t drink/smoke/do drugs but a government stepping into police this during a religious holiday? Thats just inane. The pious should take it upon themselves to police their own habits instead of undermining the rights of the rest of the populace. Not everyone in this country is a Buddhist, not everyone is vegetarian or vegan. Once again policing supermarkets is asinine

  4. අමා says:

    While I do not agree with forcing things down other people’s throats (aka banning or enforcing stuff) its pretty obvious what is happening in Lanka is not ‘ a PR move to lend a veil of respectability to a dangerous and flawed ideology’ but the other way round – that is, using Buddhism to lend a veil of respectability to the politicians!

    ‘a little forcing goes a long way” – this kind of thinking IMHO is not only sad – but dangerous as well. Of course people only think this way when the ‘little forcing’ is not done to themselves – but some other group. If the government recognizes people as responsible adults able to make their minds on whom to vote for, what right do they have to tell us how to live?

    I dont even eat meat myself and rarely drink – but what is the use of banning meat and alcohol only on poya days while fully promoting them the whole year round? I know people who go all pious and vegan on Poya days. Thats like ignoring your mother whole year and sending her a card on Mothers day.

  5. PravNJ says:

    With regard to your comment on forcing going a long way – Exactly. Well argued and thoughtful. I applaud you. Now if only the rest of the people in this country could separate governance (and state institutions – have you noticed the Buddha statues popping up at police stations and government buildings as of recent?) from this “philosophy” called Buddhism I would be content. Somewhat content anyway

  6. Mango says:

    I think the Dalai Lama has just raised the bar for SL’s misbehaving monks. His Holiness can afford a private jet for his 2011 lecture tours 🙂

    The Chinese Govt must loving it! 🙂

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