Friday, April 27, 2012

The Rape of Buddhism – it is time for the laity to challenge and march against the clergy

There is not one view I have heard expressed by the laity in private conversation about the activities of the Clergy that they (the clergy) would want to hear. It is simply that the Buddhist Philosophy has been bastardized by the Sangha in Sri Lanka (I am generalizing as there are some who attempt to live by the teachings)

There is an immense sense of shame of the Daham Pasala teachers who struggle often voluntarily to instill moral values on their charges, only to see the hard work brutally eviscerated by those in robes whose bad example is only too obvious.

It is often said that the Chief Prelate or Priest of a Temple is a law unto himself. I know of examples where he squats on someone else’s land, then builds a small hut. Gradually he expands by reclaiming land in an adjoining paddy field (illegal for normal mortals) and then grows a Bo sapling and then his larger home, and then the Chaiththya and so on until he continues the process of building a temple full of the trappings and a large “Bana Maduwa”.

Of course various registrations with the Ministry of the Buddha Sasana must be obtained but are mere formalities, and the illegal constructions are not prevented by the Divisional Secretaries offices for obvious political reasons. He usually obtains political patronage in order to carry out his expansion and a successful priest is foremost a successful fund raiser and businessman as well as one who knows to inspire his flock, especially the better endowed to help him achieve his goals. Many say there is nothing wrong as long as he is faithful to the doctrine!

I ask the reader if this is at all anywhere in the Buddhist teachings as permitted advisable or encouraged. The short answer is NO. So this kind of feudal power and land grab, with no one to obstruct is the modus operandi of many. The fortunate have inherited their positions, by being at the right place at the right time to graduate from a podi hamuduruwo to the loku hamuduruwo and it is a sinecure for life, much like the English Barons of the Middle Ages.

It is interesting how similar this is to the way the Catholic Cardinals of the Middle Ages operated. There are many similarities, and they had no regard for the religion they pretended to profess, but enslaved their subjects by fear to provide for their lavish lifestyles completely contrary to their religion.

I hope people of good sense, take a stand against this destruction of the moral teachings of the world’s greatest lifestyle philosophy, and instill a sense of piety and rectitude ‘on their priests’ to help them as lay leaders of the Dayaka Sabhas.

If this is not done soon enough there will be no moral grounds from which the religion can be revived in Sri Lanka, as the youth of today live and learn by way of example and not by what is said. It is important that the way of the truth be understood and followed in accordance with the teachings of the Lord Buddha as it is not open to question!

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