An Appeal To All Buddhists From Sri Lanka? I Don’t Agree BUT I Am Willing To Promote & Discuss.
by Anura Guruge
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I got this, verbatim (and these are screenshots), in an e-mail this morning, unsolicited, from a person who I do not know
and, for a change, I could not see who else was on the list because this person knew how to use ‘bcc’. Wow.
This appeal both amused and ‘angered’ me.
This is what I think of and refer to as
‘Radical, Nationalistic Sri Lankan Buddhism’.
It bothers me though I am no longer a Buddhist or a Sri Lankan.
To me the MAGIC of growing up Buddhist in Ceylon (as it was then called)
in the 1950s and 1960s was the
inter-religious interactions and tolerance
(though I do remember, vividly, riding a tricycle, with the small white flag,
when I was 3, chanting, in Sinhalese, that ‘war cry’
of ‘We don’t want two languages, just Sinhalese’ —
and I realize that this was the thin end of the wedge
when it came to Nationalistic Buddhism).
When I was told that I have relatives involved in the inane effort
to claim that Buddha was actually born in Sri Lanka
I couldn’t help but laugh.
I understand where these folks are coming from.
But, I do NOT agree with them.
There is no reason to be defensive about Buddhism.
It should be able to stand-up on its own two feet without this
need for artificial buttressing.
But, I am not in position to really criticise.
I have no skin in the game.
Just an ex-Buddhist and an ex-Sri Lankan
who remembers growing up in what was a wonderful
multi-ethnic, multi-religious society.
My surrogate father, who was a bigger influence in my life
than my adopted father, was Baptist.
I had at least one cousin who was Christian.
I had an uncle, from marriage. “Massy Mamma”, who was very dear to me,
the person who introduced me to my lifelong love affair with wrist watches —
and in addition kept me in leather cricket balls —
whose mother was a Roman Catholic.
He didn’t profess to be on any religion.
In his hey day, he owned much of large and famous village.
At least 4 times a week, if not more, we would
visit the house of a prominent Muslim.
Yes, he was a Senator and one of the richest
men on the Island. A very educated and nice man.
My love for the Encyclopedia Britannica is from him.
He had a beautiful library and even though I was
not even a teenager he would give me full access to it.
We had a Britannica at home BUT his set was
As it happens I bought a used set,
40 years later just on the memory.
There were only 2 people who were authorized to come and
pick me up from my school (since I was potential kidnap target).
One of them was the Muslim driver of this Muslim family.
Our neighbors were Christian and they were very much family.
My mother taught Pali and played the piano for their daily church service
at the “Colombo Baptist School for Girls”.
She was an ardent Buddhist.
A Buddhist’s Buddhist.
But there were no barriers.
So this isolationist stuff doesn’t sit well with me.
The appeal not to sell property to non-Buddhist cracked me up!
I think I am going to go into Business just to foil that.
I will be the agent for any non-Buddhist that wants to buy property from a Buddhist.
Anyway … I found this SAD.