Forum: Monks' role in politics
A leading Buddhist Mahanayake thero has called on Sri Lanka authorities to support the struggle for democracy in Myanmar led by Buddhist monks.
The Mahanayake of Dambulla chapter of the Siyam Sect told BBC Sandeshaya that it is the 'duty' of Sri Lankan Budhhsits to help monks in Myanmar (Burma).
Inamaluwe Sumangala Mahanayake thero said the monks should always be pro-people not pro-authorities.
Sri Lanka's 'double standards'
Thousands of monks have been arrested by Myanmar's military junta: many are believed to be locked up in a government technical college on the city's outskirts.
Minister in charge of National Heritage, Anura Bandaranaike, has questioned his own government and leading Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka on their silence over the Burmese protests.
After a long silence, the Sri Lanka govenment on 01 October said that the country is "concerned" over the Buddhist monk-led protests.
Tens of thousands of Buddhist monks have been marching in the Myanmar capital, Rangoon, against the military junta.
Should Sri Lankan Buddhists - monks and laymen- support Burmese monks' struggle for democracy?
Should Buddhist monks take part in political affairs at all?
Have your say.
This has nothing to do with us. It's up to the Burmese people to do what they see fit. If Sri Lankans want other countries to stay out of our own affairs, we should offer them the same courtesy.
What is Buddha was expecting from Buddhist monks?For me If Buddhist monks are doing politics in such a way they are no longer Buddhist monks .
International community should support monks to get out from the mess created by JUNTA. It doesnt mean send an envoy and take beautiful photos with everyone in Myanmar. They need a quick and proper solution. Why UN doesnt realise this is as an Humanitarian issue.
Yes should help.
This is a shadow war/struggle between the West and China. Sri Lanka should act very diplomatically to ensure its interests are secured.
Thanks to western world, the whole world is screwed so much. Everyone is talking about conflict in sri Lanka. 500 years ago sri lanka was a peaceful country, before arrival of english and european. I live in Canada, there are endless killings, abductions, theft, drug trafficking, rapes, abuses heard every single day. Recently, there were some stories about corruptons in Canada. All these western countries want small countries to be in the third world.
If you go to sri Lanka, you will realize, who are the most corupted are, who does the crimes. Buddhism teaches loving kindness, anyone who learns buddhism as a child can't do a crime. By the way, Idiots in BBC goign to edit this anyways. That is the kind of human rights BBC has.
You all are write and wrong. No where in the world real peace to be find. Find the peace inside you self instead.
Do you think the Srilankan Buddhist monks are eligible to support the struggle for democracy in Myanmar, since in their country (Sri Lanka)not suporting the crime againts Tamil minoraties.
Religion aka Sentiment and State aka Logic should not be mixed. Secularism is the foundation of developed world. From Jesus crusification until partion of India and Srilanka's own ethinic conflict the effects of this mixing is continuing and those states would remain in 3rd world and a continuous borrower of IMF. I read that Bhuddhist should refrain themselves from urges and wishes. Im just wondering what these monks are going to gain by poking their nose into another country when they cant do any forward movement in their own country.
PS:- Im not a sympathiser of LTTE, pls dont pass prejudice over my tamil name to my secular comments.
We all as srilankan must protest against military junta Myanmar.All srilakan Buddhists must get together and help monks in Burma.
I think the BBC sinhala.com is using the opportunity to tarnish the image of Sri Lankan Buddhist people. Yes there may be few corrupt monks. But it is the same with every religon. Dont the other religons have corrupt religious leadres. Mind you when the innocent devotees at the Sacared Sri maha bodhi at Anuradhapura were brutally killed by the LTTE did the Monks rallied against the minorities? Did they retaliate when 35 innocent monks (most of them young as 7-15 years) at arnthalawa at eastern province being hacked to death?
Buddhism is the most democratic religion in the world.The buddhist monks in myanamr are fighting according to the buddhism. So any one in the world must support to the Buddhist monks in myanmar in the name of democracy and the buddhism.
All religions, including Buddhism do not have a business in the governance of countries. If monks want to be in politics, they should become lay people and politicians. Governments do engage in war, finance, trade,agriculture etc. People become monks to teach the dhamma which basically is the four noble truths. So called Theravada Buddhist countries have been quite corrupt and poor in politics and other affairs in spite of the peaceful teachings of the Buddha.
Sri Lanka and Myanmar has a very important long history from the Ancient time. By the Medieval time , that relation was developed in many ways. This relation was happened by the trade and religious activities. Mainly higher ordination has interacted between two countries. By that sense, Sri Lanka, monks and lay men must help to the Bermese monks. But it must not be a radical way. Regarding second question, Buddhist monks should take part in political affairs, But they must not participate party politics.
Sinhala Buddhist monks in sri lanka have been always stood for the justice and fairness for all people throughout the world. There is no doubt that they will stand against the oppression of Burmese military junta at the right time and in right manner. The problem i have is the attitude of the BBc bringing forth problems which are not at all relevant. Has the BBc ever shed their crocodile tears over the tamils in sri lanka who live in fear of blood thirsty LTTE, While they are being massacred daily in the island?
I believe that they are not doing real role in this country today. I ask what are Buddhist monks doing for the people who are suffering from war and violence? So, It is impossible to help monks in Myanmar.
Monks are getting beaten up and killed! That's is wrong!!! The Sri Lankan government, and all Buddhist monks around the world should be ashamed of themselves for their silence!
Sri Lanka is a country with the romantic idea of making Buddhism a state religion. Its government also has a buddhist Sangha political party. So where is the outcry against the barbaric act of the Butrmese Junta against the monks. Why is the government silent?
Comparing Sri Lankan Buddist Monk and the Burmes Monks are totally wrong. they are of two oppasite extreme The Sri Lankan Monks are promoting the destruction of its own countrymen the Tamils of Hindu and Christian Origin.where as in Burma the Monks are fighting for a just cause for the people of all community in Burma.and I salute the Burmes Monks.
Yes I do believe that the Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy should supprt the struggle of the downtrodden people of Myanmar. At the same time I wish we had patriotic and brave monks like them in our country who would help the people to be rid of these hypocritic and corrupt politicians and build a better country for all, instead of keeping silent for the sake of a few luxuries.
No, they have more things to worry about in Sri Lanka than in Burma!
It is better religious leaders take hands out from politics. They should work towards bringing spritual blessigns to people. Some Monks went into politics in Sri Lanka and as a result people in Sri Lanka have no respect to them. I hope the situation in Myanmar can be resolved politically.
I think it is Sri Lanka's monks that need help. They need help to find the guts and conviction shown by the Burmese monks. After independence, Sri Lanka's clergy (from all denominations) have done nothing to promote peace in our beautiful island. All they talk about is Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian. The language of hate. I wish the GOSL would provide air tickets to Myanmar to our Mahanayakes, Temple leaders, Mullahs and Priests to observe how messengers of God are supposed to behave.
Every sri lankan either buddhist or whatever the religion who respect human rights should support honourable priests of myanmar.unlike most of sri lankan priests surprisingly they know how much people suffer from idiotic activities by a tough government.they are going to real DHARMA RAJYAYA.
You guys are shame for the religion and the country. you should spend time in meditating to find a peaceful solution for srilanka and stop worrying about Burma. Now the world has a sympathetic view on Burma and very soon the burmese Monks will achive their goal. your participation can only tarnish their immage,given your records in involvement in dirty politics.
As we know from history, Sri Lankan Buddhist monks have, for centuries, played an influential role in the development of the country. Be it morally, or administratively, they have always contributed to the well-being of the country. But, nowadays people expect ALL monks to meditate in thick forests and earn their own salvation. Just because, the monks are ordained people, does not mean, they are superhuman beings who have eradicated all their defilements.
Democracy is much valued in Buddhism. When the monks in Myanmar are protesting to reinstall democracy, it is a duty of the Buddhists to help them achieve it. However, not to forget the common categorization used by the media, of, Sri Lankan Buddhist monks as Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists. It is sad to see that, whatever they do and say, will always be seen as pure nationalistic acts, according to some media.
All i can say is that brave monks who were fighting with non violance against the barberic britsh millitary rule in 1800s pave the path to freedom in sri lanka and i see the same braveness in these burmese monks,hope they achieve freedom.
"Mahanayake thero says Buddhist monks should always be pro-people" Well said but not practised in SL I fully endorse his views and hope this principle is extended in the treatment of minorities in Sri Lanka. I hope Burma reverts to democracy and the monks thereafter return to their divine mission without dabbling in politics like our egoistic JHU.
My greatest teacher was a Buddhist monk from whom I learned how to read interpret and quest for greater knowledge in my language when it was more accepted to read the classics of English only , hence I do not associate Monks with ultra-fundamentalist ideas , so please do not stereo-type monks they are capable of leading others silently and calmly as it is happening in Burma today.Believe me I did not pay a cent for the long hours I spent with this Monk who had the time to spare for an eager student of a Catholic school from a Catholic family.
The monks in Sri Lanka pay lip service to Buddha's teaching while promoting violence against minorities. Would Buddha promote a country that is not secular in nature and give prominance to Buddhism? His teaching has been taken out of context by monks who are greedy for money and power.
I fully agree with the Inamaluwa priest we all over world buddhists or non buddhists,support the cause of democratizing Burma.In Sri lanka buddhists are divided .Some of them in active politics and runing behind BMW and Mercedes and helped to toppel democraticaly elected peace loving Ranil regime.And now 5000 people dead so far.One Buddhist monk wanted to go to war if he promoted as a Brigadier.But majority buddhist priests are silent in our own masacre and sorry situation due to backlash.
It is obivious that BBC sinhala dot com is fully biased and from this comment 7 out of 10 are from tamils which published here. Why? How come tamil personnel living abroad talking about buddhist monks and their activities in sri lanka? They even do not know about the fate of their own tamil people and clergy. It is shame on you BBC sinhala service.
Yes monks should take part in political affairs. Why? Because if they did not, we would have the same situation that existed during the colonial period when Christians were in power - the Buddhists were oppressed, their temples destroyed and their religion treated like a pariah one. It is because of our monks that we revitalised our religion and stood up against the oppression of the colonials. People who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. And yes we Buddhists should definitely support the Burmese monks' struggle for democracy.
No. Buddihst monks shouldn`t take part in politics.Those monks in Sri Lankan politics are not Buddist monks.....they are just "men in orange color",missusing buddhism...a bunch of hypocrites.
I disagree with those that say "monks should stay away from politics"..Like it or not politics affect all of us..All of us should stand up to protect human rights and buddhist monks aren't an exception..Yes, they should get involved and protest this regime that oppresses this Burmese nation.. And for those that say that Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka are a currupt lot: Please don't stereotype; It's a very unhealthy attitude that promotes hatred in a place that's already got enough problems..Peace!
As a buddhist nation Sri Lankan should support Burmese monk's struggle for democracy, of cause they have a prime right to involve with politics.
The bikkus of Sri Lanka are a tainted lot. Politically, no one would take them seriously. But that should not debar them for taking a righteous stance at least in this instance, in keeping with Lord Buddha's teachings.
Buddhist monks should be men of peace not of war and should be respectable persons that the rest of the population can depend on for some spiritual guidance. Simply said, monks should not get involved in politics.
Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks are politicians and Businessmen. Over 80,000 Sri Lankans been killed in Sri Lanka and most of the monks encouraged violence not peace in Sri lanka and they have no right to interfere in Burma let charity begins at home.
It is not a matter of politics, it is the life of ordinary people which is at stake here, so yes religous leaders must stand for what is right.
The answer would be NO!! This is internal issue of that country so it should left those in that country to deal with ...People who say this democracy ,,blah , blah does not understand the complex economic , geo political issues assocaited with it...for all we know this pro-democracy momevement could be CIA coup to disatblize china.
Yes, the Sri Lanakan Buddhist clergy should support the peoples movement to in Myanmar to eliminate the military rule which has caused serious human rights violations in the country. Democracy should be established in Myanmar and the entire International Community should stand by the side of the people of Myanmar as it happened in the Nepal.
Myanmar opposition is backed by UK,USA & EU.and China assists Military Govt.It is better to keep quiet,wait & see.
Buddhists monks always play the role to guide the people of their country. this would be great they should help Myanmar to bring-up the democracy.
Yes, all the Buddisht monks from allpart of the world should joint together to support the monks in Burma because the monks are fighting with empty hands with against the dicator. it is victory for dharm and truth. let the world will know the power of the truth.
Sinhala Buddhist chaucinism supports the military junta(only because of it's buddhist sign) almost upto recent past.But now the dilemma emerged to them.
By considering the comments. its clearly shows that tamil terorists trying to mislead the world by accusing buddhist monks.
Its very possible that the rise in activism by Myanmar monks were inspired by increasing participation of Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka in politics. However, the Mahanayake of Dambulla chapter of the Siyam Sect will be well placed if the Sinhala monks take a cue from their counterparts in Myanmar; why not take it to the streets to cleanse the ruling parties of corruption and find a just solution to the country in a true Buddhist manner? The Tamils and other minorities do not have a problem with the teachings of Buddha and dont see any problem of living under a government who practices that fully.
I too agree that most of Sri Lankan monks are ignorant, greedy and corrupt. However, one should remember that when law and order of the country breaks down so is the fabric of life of the inhabitants. What is happening in Sri Lanka is the same that happened in the past. This, however should not be an issue for the present discussion of supporting people of Burma in their fight against the military junta. We should wholeheartedly support that cause, regardless of we are good or bad Buddhists.
Yes they should help or support people who need help.
Burmese monks practice buddhism according to the tenets preached by the Buddha.Sri Lankan monks do not do so.They are now politicians,trade union leaders,businessmen and landowners.Buddhism is merely a facade for them.They have no moral right to interfere in Burma.
Buddhism and its followers always take the path of freedom. As some people trying to misinterpret nothing has changed in core values in Buddhism. Monks, even Lord Buddha have been in support for those who ruled countries & Kingdoms since Buddha's time. Buddha did talked about Majority & Minority, just ti eliminate them from use. Now the Buddhist Monks had to do the same in Burma & Even in Sri Lanka to protect our own Greatest Teachings of Buddha. One must not misjudge "Meththa" (loving kindness to all living beings) and "Ahinsa" (deep respect for life) as weaknesses.
Inamaluwe Sumangala Mahanayake thero said the monks should always be pro-people not pro-authorities. I think this is valid also for tamil people in Sri Lanka. There is a lot of discrimination, Human rights and humanitarian law violations, media suppression, abductions and disappearence in Srilanka, not only within the minority tamils but also within the majority Sinhalese. Dont forget that more than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting in past 24 years , 5,000 of them since a 2002 cease-fire broke down in late 2005. So what the budist monks in Sri Lanka has done against these things?
Srilankan buddist monks do not have any moral authority to assist the legitimate struggle of the burmese monks and the people against tyranny. Sri lankan monks actively support state sponsored terrorism of the SL govt, reject minority religions,they take part in military recruitment drives and even have representitives in the parliament who drive Merces Benz cars. They do not stand for buddism or understand lord buddha's teachings. They only represent sinhala-buddist racist ideology and hegemony. The burmese monks stand for everything buddha preached and are conducting peaceful protests, they definitely do not need to be influenced by militant SL monks.
What started as a guine case of public protest against the govt has now turned into a political espionage by the Myanmar opposition ,western governments & the so called human rights groups.The rich resources in Myanmar are too appealing the parties of westerd interests in the country (eg:USA,EU)which until now has been off-limits to them with only asian countries like India & China are permitted to invest in the country.My biggest laugh is that when monks prtest in Srilanka they are labelled by western media as "Ultra Nationalists" but in myanmar it's "democracy!"
Must help to nutralize the military gov into democratically elected one.
I cannot simply understand the rationale behind this motive and feel it is just a public stunt. As a Buddhist, I am urging the monks in Sri Lanka to adhere to the Theravada Buddhism and the simple way of life, simply there are few Theravadic Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, who are practicing original Theravada doctrine. All these so called monks are either having lavish lifestyles, doing business, travelling in BMWs, Benz and Volvo s. What a shame!
In terms of current situation in Burma, there would be No argument on need for democracy and freedom in Burma, But need to understand the Yankee outcry and support for the protests. Yankees want to use this opportunity to influence the traditional "Chinese sphere of interests" and de-stable China in long run. So my argument and the request to the monks in are, let the Burmese to settle their disputes and its better to mind your business.
We should support the monks in Mynmar, not only because we are Buddist. They are strugling for democrocy. As humans who respect freedom of speech and democracy should support the monks in Mynmar. I think we all should support to make the world a better place.
A new kind of Budhism is emerging in Sri Lanka. Lord Budha must have disowned the Sri Lankan Budhist long ago!! Are they trying to give new interpretation to Budhism? Budha never talked about Majority or Minority!!
By giving undue publicity to monks like this you are degrading Budhism. Budhism is about Dharma and Justice and not majority or minority. Sri lankan Budhists have their own interpretations of Budhism!! We all should be ashamed of practicing unjust and violent Budhism. What has this monk done to prevent the violence unleashed on the minorities in Sri Lanka? I think he is of the view that the majority has the right to kill the minority.
Buddhist monks in Burma are great.This is a national requariment.you can't do meditation in a battle field. Frist the motherland then the religion.
With all due respect to the venerable mahanayake thero, I believe Sri Lanka has enough on its plate to be worrying about things happening in Burma.
I would like to remind the most venerable Mahanayake what is happening in Sri Lanka, we are suffering from a brutal civil war, corruption and human rights violations, state sponsored abductions and murder, innocent civilians being intimidated and assaulted by politicians and their cronies, cost of living reaching unprecedented heights, an ailing economy and an anarchist rule of governance to state a few of the woes from a list quite long.
We are in the brink of become a failed nation and the Mahanayake is concerned about Burma???? Please lets get our priorities straight, it is time the Mahanayakas and all patriotic forces come together to pressure our high and mighty rulers to put things right in our country rather than worrying about the affairs of others.
The Monks should leave politics to the corrupt politicians and not be corrupted by it. The role of the Monks must be to bring to attention the Buddhas teachings to channel all the unscrupulous people into the correct path, and not wheeler deal their way into the wrong path through the mucky waters of politics.
These Sri Lankan Monks who have lost all moral authority to even gain respect of the Sri Lankan Buddhist, should not even consider interfering with the genuine, legitimate and moral struggle of the Burmese, which might well tarnish the respected status of the Burmese Monks. Instead they should take an example to follow them.
Not only buddhist monk all world must stand with buraims people for there democracy. this is not place to condement sri lankana buddhist monks.
Any buddhist or muslim,hindu, or christian or other relegious countrys those relegious leaders have there rights to stand for there country. that is a part of there relegious duty.
Sri lankan buddhist stand agints the british for there democracy and freedom british authorites kill them ,same thing what burmis militry juntas doing now they learn from past.
Buddhist Monks Must Never Ever Take Part in Political Activities.
Situation in Myanmar is not a religious matter. It is political problem. Nothing to do with Sri Lankan Buddhist monk. Let their own citizen to settle this. It is better to mind their own business.
There are two questions raised in this.
1.Is it ok to Buddhist monks to do politics. 2. Should SL Buddhist monks join the Burmist monks.
1. There is nothing wrong with buddhist monks doing politics but there politics should not be a religious politics like our "Hela Urumaya".
2. Yes! SL Buddhist monks should support Burmese Monks and people in their struggle for freedom.
Burmese monks are doing their job right. Monkhood does'nt mean only practicing the religion. When the nation is in danger they should act. If the monks are not leading nation then who can?
In Sri Lankan history lot of monks sacrifice their lives to protect the nation and the land.I think Burmese monks should be worshiped as gods.
Of course as Buddhists we should stand up for the Burmese Buddhists who have been under the jackboot of a dictatorship for many decades. The monks of Burma are an inspiration to their people just like the monks of Sri Lanka.
Not all the Monks maintain their standard, specially many Monks in Ceylon supporting Government who dont respect civilians life, so I doubt which type of Monk in Ceylon want to support Myanmar's Monks.
Myanmar people should take care of their issues. There is no business for Sri Lankan Buddhist monks. As well as any other outsider like US and EU who are always willing to protect democracy and human rights of other countries. If outsiders involve everything goes bad to worst. I think this question raised by BBC with a hidden agenda against Buddhism and monks. Myanmar military junta is an evil, also the pro democracy leader is a western Christian puppet. Myanmar people should choose what they want.
Its very funny. As the mahanayaka theros says, Buddhist monks should always be pro-people. They should first of all be practical here in Sri Lanka. They should exclaim against the dirty politicians of Sri Lanka, who are destroying the Whole Country.
But unfortunately our Maha Sanghaya silent against the Corruption and injustice involved by politicians in Sri Lanka for their survival. So what I suggest them is, Start from here before go international
Considering that Sri Lankan Buddhist monks have played a strong part in promoting ethnic violence and majority-community dictatorship in their own country, the idea of them emerging as champions of democracy and human rights elsewhere in Asia is hard to take seriously.
Ricky, Colombo, Sri Lanka
It is correct that we should help the buddhist monks attempt there inthe burma.As in the history they have come to protect the democracy of the people. people can interprit it in differant ways but one should understand that buddhist monks have always fought for freedom of the people. it may be way of dhamma preaching or some antagonistic means but always harmless.it seems that even in burma they have commenced the same,therefore not only buddhist monks in srilanka but all buddhist around the world should help restore the democracy in burma.
If there are iniquities happening in any where in the world every human has a right to act against it properly. Since it is not a sin, there is no restraint for Buddhist monks to act so.
There are some ignorant, greedy and corrupt individuals in any religious system and Sri Lankan monks are no more than them. In general Sri Lankan Buddhist monks are still greatly admired for their graciousness, and therefore they have a great potential to oppose any atrocities of any terror organizations.