Feature Article

Sinhala journalist denounces State-patronized Buddhism

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 August 2016, 23:41 GMT]
“Politically decided State patronage always accelerates the decline and degeneration of Buddhism, or any religion for that matter,” writes Sinhala journalist Kusal Perera in his blogspot on Saturday. He was commenting on the current deliberations in Colombo for providing ‘constitutional’ pre-eminence to Buddhism in the whole of the island. He was particularly responding to Sinhala Catholic Archbishop in Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, supporting preferential status to Buddhism in the ‘constitution’ and to Colombo regime’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wikramasinghe, going to the extent of suggesting ‘constitutional’ prohibition of dissension in Buddhist Sangha in the island.

“We have gone through a protracted war and paid with blood and life for refusing to accept equal status for all. We have denied a secular State and have created a society that refuse to accept equality of status for religions that has led to violent clashes against religious minorities. It is this Sinhala Buddhist supremacy that both Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and PM Wickramsinghe is pandering to, disregarding equality in a multi religious, multi cultural country,” Kusal Perera said.

Kusal Perera
Kusal Perera
"Marxists" in coalition with the SLFP government of Madam Bandaranayake, sealed the fate of a secular society 44 years ago, when Dr. Colvin R de Silva as Minister of Constitutional Affairs helped create the first Republican Constitution. Buddhism was then written into it as a privileged religion. For 44 years the State has been gradually fashioned into a Buddhist State leaving other religious leaders outside the discussion on how Buddhism should be treated in the formulation of a new Constitution, Kusal Perera was hinting at the intervention of the Archbishop.

“The issue of religion and Buddhism in the Constitution often seem to gather undue importance with unwanted comments from privileged personalities who seem to lack common sense,” Kusal Perera responded to Malcolm Ranjith saying that, “Buddhism being a philosophy historically linked to Sri Lanka there is no necessity in changing the preferential status given to Buddhism in the Constitution.”

* * *

The thrust of Kusal Perera’s feature was upholding secularism of State and was aiming at Sinhala-Buddhists reforming Buddhism in the island.

But the realities acutely felt by the nation of Eezham Tamils could be different.

It is not merely the agent genocidal State in Colombo that is ditching secularism. There is a larger international imperialist paradigm that is riding on religions for its pursuits. In the island the paradigm has chosen to ride on ‘Sinhala military and Buddhism.’ Kusal Perera’s “multi religious, multi-cultural country” is not in the actual agenda.

All shades of Eezham Tamil militancy had built a secular model of polity for three decades. That was crushed in genocidal ways. Elements that crushed it know very well what alternative solutions should be made. But they don’t deliver them. Rather they choose to confirm the genocidal ride. The ‘constitution’ deception is a small part of the larger picture.

Kusal Perera worrying about reformation of Buddhism in the South may not have realised the luring opportunities given to an ugly face of Buddhism in the country of Eezham Tamils and the resulting reactions.

First a genocidal Buddha is allowed to mushroom in every part of the country of Eezham Tamils. Then the monkey god is brought in to counter that. Rather than recognising nations in the island and their peaceful coexistence, when confrontation is deliberately cultivated, there could only be action and reaction, and not ‘reformation’.

Vivekananda and Anagarika Dharmapala going to ‘Chicago’ is not the role model for reformation in the island today.

Whether Rajapaksa or Sirisena-Wikramasinghe, Malcolm Ranjith’s stand on saving the agent Sinhala State is well known.

On yet another side, there are people (not Kusal Perera) who shed tears for secularism, while hiding behind certain Churches linked to imperialist agenda. They worry about devil-chasing rituals. Those devils are non-existent. But there are the real ones that have engineered the genocide of a nation. Who is going to talk about exorcising them? Certainly it can’t be the people who received ‘award’ for their services that failed to identify the ultimate elements at work.

Kusal Perera has made a salient point to reiterate: “Politically decided State patronage always accelerates the decline and degeneration of Buddhism, or any religion for that matter.” If there is any doubt, the hundreds of Dutch churches that were left abandoned in the island at the end of the Dutch rule are good examples.

“Politically decided State patronage” to any religion for that matter is not simply a local phenomenon today. While people have to be locally awakened to larger forces at work, peoples universally rising against all such religions is the real reformation.

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External Links:
Kusal Perera's Blogspot: Danger in competing to be "Good Sinhala Buddhists"



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