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Letters


Buddha’s preaching and politics

The core of Lord Buddha’s teachings rest in what we know as the Middle Path. The path enunciated by Lord Buddha has been explained by the Four Noble Truths: They are suffering, the cause for suffering is craving, if craving ceases, suffering ceases and that there is a path to the cessation of suffering. That path was called the Noble Eight Fold path: Right Understanding (Samma Ditti), Right Thought (Samma Samkappa), Right Speech (Samma Vaca), Right Action (Samma Kammanta), Right Livelihood (Samma Ajiva), Right Effort (Samma Vayama), Right Mindfulness (Samma Sati) and Right Concentration (Samma Samadhi).
In a population of 20million people Buddhists in Sri Lanka account for 71% of the population. Yet, in a land where Buddhism takes such prominence, unfortunately, it is this very craving that has proven the undoing of Sri Lanka and the disintegration of its society over the years following Independence.
Our political arena is in a sorry state. We pass on governance every six years to a party / individual with faith that he/she and his new government will free is from this oblivious state, we have fallen into – a few months is perhaps all the public receives as acknowledgement of thanks, and then we see a return to corruption, commissions and chaos and all the ills associated with bad governance. Each time the public expects a change, they are sadly disappointed.
The cravings that Lord Buddha so rightly spoke of, and advised us not to fall prey to, have led these men and women in Parliament to be blind to the Noble Truths and the teachings of Lord Buddha.
It is easy to palm the blame on the politicos, but apart from a handful of Buddhist clergy in remote temples in Sri Lanka, the rest of the Buddhist monks are really no better. A simple dana has been turned into a sumptuous buffet. Some Buddhist monks give their preferences where the menu is concerned. Their cravings, today, far exceed that of ordinary laymen.
Is this really what Lord Buddha has preached? Our younger generation is not learning what Lord Buddha has preached, but a distortion of what people have customised to suit their existence.
With more and more followers of Lord Buddha increasing globally, it is sad to say the least that our politicos, our clergy and even the people are not following the correct Path, that Lord Buddha has preached.
Shenali Waduge

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Save your bank accounts

Please publish this for the sake of innocent internet users, who receive fake e-mails saying, that they have won a large sum of money, as randomly selected by a computer and internet. This comes from a fake National Lottery Board in the UK. They ask for your personal details, and account details to credit this winning money. If you supply your details, they will systematically drain your own money out of your account, instead of crediting your account.
There is no such system called UK National Lottery, which selects winners from internet. This is called ‘Physhing’, an organised criminal gang targeting poor internet users, and trying to rob their money. The only UK Lottery is a company called ‘Camlot’ which does not have any sort of internet winners, and do not give away any money for selected winners, from internet. The only winners are those who purchase a Lotto from a shop, or online from ‘Camlot’ for a one pound per entry.
You are warned not to send even a reply when you receive these e-mails. Many friends of mine from Sri Lanka, have received such e-mails, and fortunately they inquired from me and I told them the inside story.
Please do not let your readers become innocent victims of these organised criminal gangs, and steal your hard earned money.
There are so many other methods of ‘Physhing’ where people pretend to be Bank Managers, prince in exile or an exiled royalty who offers a percentage if you help them to transfer some money out of their country, and ask your bank details. Please do not even reply to these e-mails.
Sisira Chandrasekara
Middlesex

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Why is Saudi Arabia devaluing Prophet Mohamed ?

The Saudi regime, since it came into power in 1926 with the help of the British, has unrelentingly tried to devalue and de-sanctify the image of the Prophet Mohamed (AS) by declaring the Prophet’s birthday celebration as an innovation, referring to the Prophet as a postman and reducing the Prophet’s personality as to that of an ordinary person. The Quran in contrast refers to the Prophet as a mercy unto the universe, the best of creatures and a model for mankind.
This year, the Saudis came in for a rude shock when all over the world the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed (AS) was celebrated in an unprecedented manner. In Sri Lanka, there were innumerable recitals of Mawlid for the Prophet (AS) in mosques and Muslim homes. In addition, schools, Madarasahs, and Islamic associations celebrated the occasion with competitions and prize givings, where even non-Muslims participated. A special feature this year was the conducting of processions, and the publishing of innumerable articles relating to Prophet Mohamed’s (AS) birthday in the newspapers.
Eighty years of trying to make other Muslims not celebrate the birthday of the Prophet has failed as it is natural for Muslims to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (AS). In addition, ever since the Saudis came into power, they have systematically destroyed the Prophet’s house in Mecca. The dilapidated state of the Jannat-al-Baqi reflects the stunning disregard of the Saudis for the members of the Prophet’s family who are buried there.
While they destroy the heritage of the Prophet (AS), they have maintained a museum for the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Saud Ibn Abdul Azeez. While they don’t celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, they have a grand celebration for Saudi national day. In other words, the Prophet is devalued but the Saudi monarchy in over-valued.
Such is the state if Saudi Arabia, which has self-appointed itself as the guardian of the two mosques in Mecca and Medina.
The Sharia and Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia is an aberration of the true Islam.
More and more Muslims are finding this out. The increase in the celebrations of the Prophet’s (AS) birthday this year is a clear indicator that Muslims will not listen to the edicts of the Saudis who practice the heretical and deviant Wahabi brand of Islam more akin to the Taliban and the murderous Salafi groups.
Saybhan Samat
Rajagiriya

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Things which cannot be explained

I quote below the following which requires clarification from the authorities:
(1) Gratuity Act
In an establishment, if the number of employees is more than 15, gratuity has to be paid, or else the Commissioner of Labour will take proper action. If the number of employees is less than 15, the employees have to apply to the Labour Tribunal, who will decide whether a payment can be made, or not.
I am at a loss to understand as to how the number 15 has been selected. As far as I am concerned, all employees who complete 5 years of service should be paid gratuity. Whether the number of employees is 1 or 2 is immaterial.
(2) Liquor & Cigarette Law
In keeping with the recent Law, liquor and cigarettes should not be sold to a person who is less than 21 years of age.
I was aware of this accepted rule that you become a major when you reach 21 years of age. Later this was reduced to 18 years. Accordingly, on reaching the age of 18 years, a person can possess a car licence, operate a bank account, purchase a motor vehicle in his/her name, but not cigarettes or liquor. It is left to the public at large to decide how absurd this requirement is.
(3) Protection of endangered species
I admit the law to protect endangered species has to be adhered, or otherwise these species will be diminished.
However, the similar protection is not given to human beings. For eg: if a man shoots a crocodile which disturbs the men fishing in the river, a big cry is raised, but when a crocodile attacks or kills a human being, no such protest is made. I feel this problem should be approached in a better way than sticking to rules.
(4) Consumption of meat
There is a big protest against eating meat, opening of meat stalls etc. I admit that animals undergo agony when they are slaughtered for meat, but no cries are raised when fish are taken for consumption. I am aware that fish suffocate and die when they are taken out of water. Similar suffering is endured by crabs when they are immersed alive in hot water before preparation.
I request the banning of meat eating, opening of meat stalls etc. is mere hypocrisy. Sri Lanka is a country of mixed races and religions. We should not force everybody to be vegetarians, which will result in our resources being wasted and no economic growth being possible.
S. R. Balachandran
Colombo 6.

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Comment

“National Policy on Issuing Stamps”

A news item in a daily newspaper of 23rd April 2007 states “On the direction of Subject Minister Rauff Hakeem, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications is to introduce a national policy on stamps shortly……..” The same article states “According to the new policy the number of commemorative stamps issued per year would be limited to 35. These would include four stamps for Vesak, two for Christmas and 2 stamps each to commemorate Hindu and Islamic festivals.” According to this article, the issuance of normal stamps would be increased outside the above mentioned special stamps.
Politicians, who take on new portfolios, are naturally enthusiastic to make their presence felt as new ministers. They will no doubt come up with new ideas, which is highly commendable. However, there are many areas such as archaeology, culture, industry, health, education, transport, telecommunication, electricity and agriculture which definitely need the GOSL to introduce “national policies” with a view of having a continuous policy irrespective of which political party secures power. There is no dire necessity to introduce a “national policy” towards issuing stamps in this country which is a low priority compared to other more important areas which directly affect the citizens of this country. Up to now, this area has not had problems.
So far, the GOSL has decided to issue commemorative stamps relating to incidents or personalities in this country who have created a deep and indelible contribution and irrevocable service towards Sri Lanka. Never have stamps been issued based on religion or religious incidents as a priority! What is the earthly reason to issue commemorative stamps for all important religious holidays on an annual basis? This year happens to be the culmination of 2550th Buddha Jayanthi Year-this is a historical event and therefore, it was deemed important to issue a commemorative stamp. If other religions also have such a landmark event in the history of our country, it would be in order to issue a commemorative stamp-if not, this, should in no way become an annual event!
Let not the issuance of commemorative stamps end up like erecting statues for insignificant politicians(example the late Nalanda Ellawela-nothing personal against him) who did nothing worthwhile(for his young age) with a long-term impact, for this country in terms of “national service.” Let it also not be like the naming of streets and stadiums after political figures of no historical or cultural value to this country-except to serve their egos. The issuance of commemorative stamps must only be for landmark events or personalities who have rendered yeomen service to this country. Those who have contributed towards making an impact internationally or historically may also be considered where necessary. What history has been preserved for us must be looked upon as lessons. Old street names must not be changed to suit the whims and fancies of politicians. Newly opened streets can be used for such purposes without wiping out the history of this country!
It is sincerely hoped that the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications will re-think his plans for a national policy on commemorative stamps and shove it aside. There are far more important issues in this country which must receive priority!
Darmitha-Kotte

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