By Victor Karunairajan
Buddhism, the great religious faith continues to be raped and abused by some of its politically biased advocates giving the lie away that they have not understood, let alone appreciated the teachings of the Great Master.
Buddhism emphasizes peace and good relations especially in a pluralist
society and is the vehicle of tolerance, compassion and coexistence.
Why then is it different in Sri Lanka?
It is because, unchecked it has been made into an opportunist political
weapon of racial and religious bigotry. Extreme politicians have
confused and cheated the Buddhist community over the decades since
independence to capture political power and dominance at any cost. This
is certainly a un-Buddhist activity.
The consequential result to the country has been chaotic with crisis
after crisis tearing the nation apart with racial riots, ruthless
terrorism and a horrendous civil war. Yet the lessons we should have
learnt seems to remain unlearnt.
Last Friday a leader of the Sinhala Lawyers Association, Mr Manora
Silva, appeared before the Commission on Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation and treated this opportunity to express his views
indicating that the terrible lessons have not been learnt. He went
further to give the picture that in most important sectors, the
Buddhists were the minorities. He even claimed that in the North the
Buddhists are just a single digit minority.
He painfully manoeuvred his way through all kinds of data that must
surely be suspect or twisted information on the trivial. He pathetically
called for Sinhala colonization of traditional Tamil regions and was
most insensitive towards a community that has suffered immense
devastation. In other words he was spitting forth racial venom even at
The commissioners should have pointed out to him that theirs was not the
place for lessons unlearnt. The commission has been entrusted with a
sacred opportunity to seek a solution to find peace and reconcile all
communities as one nation.
We have had over sixty years of racial and religious conflicts that
cannot be justified and the country has been greatly hurt in every
sphere of human activity. There has to be an end to such divisive
contentions. The country is at the threshold of a possible peaceful
solution and we cannot miss this opportunity.
The danger Buddhism faces in Sri Lanka is from the bigots and certainly not from the adherents of other faiths.