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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all Letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Can Humanity dispel its animalism?

The discussions that emerged and the exchange of views that surfaced on the above caption has emphasised the strong reactionary and regressive pressure Buddhism has in South Asia, because its adherents have failed to imbibe and understand the message of Lord Buddha to the World. Gautam tread the middle path, and advocated a balanced approach to everyday life. He was against wanton killing like hunting for sport. Propriety and equanimity were the cornerstones of his philosophy. He said, ‘Eat what you need and use whatever you need for modest living.’ What mankind should bear in mind is that the World is not static. What Lord Buddha said in 2552 years ago and what Lord Jesus said in his time are not totally invalid but must be adapted to cope with the era of the atom bomb and the satellite. Karl Marx said a truism when he propounded that the world is in a constant state of flux.

America is what it is today because the Englishmen who invaded and colonised the continent, first killed out the Red Indians. Unable to manage the land alone they brought in Negroes as slaves to work their cotton and wheat fields. Cattle and the cowboy were the mainstay of the economy. If they hung on to the dogma that, ‘do not kill’ the country would have remained a sorry spectacle. What is pathetic, is that yielding to Buddhist pressure the Minister for Livestock Development, is soon to present a Bill to ban the slaughter of buffalos and cows. The much relished curd comes from the buffalo, and fresh milk from the cow. What is the farmer to do with the spent animal that has outlived its usefulness? If he cannot slaughter and sell its flesh he has to set it loose as a ‘Pin Haraka’ to stray and graze on the little grass that is available for the harnessed milking animal. Dairying is not growing because land is sparse for grazing. It is inexplicable why Buddhist society does not worry about the dog, the goat, the turkey the duck and the chicken to the extent they worry about the cow. They too are living and feel pain. Is it because it provides milk to the human baby? Then chicken broth is used for the baby and the convalescent and goat milk to fight asthma and many skin eruptions like eczema. Goat milk has been found to be next to the human mother’s milk. Then why not use it in preference to the milk of the cow which is known for the many allergies it brings on some leading to suffocation and gross discomfort.

It is imperative and urgent that the country sheds its nebulous religious prejudices and zealously support the Mahinda Chinthanaya Plan for the economic development of the country, the bedrock of which is agriculture which has reserved a berth for the indispensable livestock industry. Piety will only stifle the economy. Remember that history tells us that man grew on the flesh of animals and even on his own kind and yams and herbs. He cannot circumvent his destiny. He has to adapt to the age of the satellite or reduce to a hermit.
Bertram Perera
Dehiwela

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 Appreciation

Mallika Perera Mother you are truly beautiful

It is little over one month that you bid farewell to your children and your loved ones after the completion of 77 golden years of your noble life. I personally believe that we were so fortunate to be your children and how you showed us the right path to become valuable citizens to our motherland since the demise of my father which was exactly three decades ago. We a family of five children and it was a daunting task for you Amma to guide us since we were just reaching our teenage. It was your courage and the commitment which ultimately paid rich dividends in life and we owe you a large debt which, I would believe, cannot be repaid throughout our life. But we would certainly pray that your journey of samsara will be short and may you ultimately find comfort in Nirvana!

Amma, you belonged to a strong Buddhist family background and after your marriage to thaththa who hailed from a staunch Catholic background never wavered to decide that children should follow the father’s religion. However, Amma remained a Buddhist and we all learnt to respect the other religions since both of you taught us that “your faith will discipline yourself.” You inculcated great values and we, on poya days, accompanied you to the temple and Sinhala New Year and Vesak day were celebrated equally well along with Christmas day and Easter Sunday. What is remarkable in you is that your memory with regard to the important days and feasts of Catholic faith. It was so difficult to escape from your memory!

It was heartening to mention that being a Buddhist you followed the Bible scriptures with lot of faith. “Love your Neighbour; Love your brethren.” You preached this and practiced it. And it was evident that the large crowds that thronged in to my elder sister’s residence to pay their last respects to you and in one condolence message it was mentioned “Good bye to a total Human being.” Amma, it was true that you faced many trials and challenges in life and you really faced the “bullets” and shielded us. Though you were seriously ill for nearly three years you were never left alone. The two daughters of yours looked after you and comforted you after a massive stroke confined you to bed. I, being the youngest son of you, I ‘m proud to be a part of this family since you always wanted us to be united and be exemplary human beings. This is what you expected; the good human qualities which cannot be bought.

As we firmly believe “Mother is always with us … she is the whisper of the leaves as we walk down the street; she is the smell of bleach in our freshly laundered socks;

She is the cool hand on our brow when we are not well. Mother lives inside our laughter and she is crystallized in every tear drop. She is the place we came from, our first home; and she is the map we follow with every step we take. She is our first love and our first heart and soul and nothing on earth can separate us - No time, no space …. nor even death!

May you attain the supreme bliss of nirvana!
Supun Perera

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