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|Save our pregnant mothers!
In some parts of the world, there is a practice where the
pharmaceutical marketing companies contract agreements with medical
practitioners to prescribe their products for an agreed monthly
Poor patients pay the bill which enables the medical practitioners
to earn some additional income and at the same time the company to
achieve their sales objectives.
This practice is considered unethical in most part of the world.
But, unfortunately it is noted that some of our own consultant
specialist had fallen into the trap of multi-national giants by now.
As a result, the fate of our pregnant and lactating mothers has
It is reported that a Thailand based supplementary milk powder
manufacturing company markets a premium priced milk powder targeting
pregnant and lactating mothers has brought in a strategy to market
their extremely high priced product in Sri Lanka.
The company has entered into an agreement with some leading medical
practitioners in the country saying that the company would provide
Rs 5 from each pack they sell to the College of Obstetrician and
Gynaecologists in Sri Lanka.
As a result, some of the medical practitioners have already started
to prescribe the product to all pregnant and lactating mothers to
enable the College of Obstetrician and Gynaecology to raise funds to
look after the interest of their members.
Poor pregnant mothers would pay the bill.
This particular milk powder has got nothing special for the price of
Rs 965.00 per 400g pack other than calcium, folic acid and iron in
it in the form of a milk powder.
It tastes horrible say some of my patients who have used it.
Pregnant mothers are asked to consume 3-4 packs of this milk powder
per month that would cost Rs 2,895.00 to Rs 3,860.00 for a month.
And it is crucial to note that calcium, folic acid and iron could be
supplemented in the form of capsules for less than Rs 200.00 per
month which is more palatable and convenient for pregnant mothers.
I would urge all those medical practitioners to please consider our
mothers before burdening them with expensive prescription or
recommendation of such products since this will make our mothers to
compromise on other essentials in order to afford the above product,
which is unfair.
Please do not abide by unethical practices introduced by marketing
companies that would enable them to achieve their objectives easily
in an unlawful manner by victimising our poor patients.
It is unfortunate to note that it is the same company that had spent
millions of rupees to sponsor the recently concluded gala annual
sessions of the Sri Lanka College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists
which took place at the Waters’ Edge.
At the same event, the above company issued a sum of Rs 100,000.00
to the college with the intention of kick starting their campaign by
victimising thousands of pregnant and lactating mothers in this
I witnessed the event.
I believe it is the responsibility of the Health Ministry to curb
these kinds of activities and the media to educate the public on
these malpractices and help safeguard Lankan mothers from being
Dr V Ganes
|Projecting the right message
provide wide publicity for UN declared honour days, full-page
advertisements are published in all newspapers with explicit
messages from politicians and other distinguished personalities with
The intention of the organisations related to the publicised
occasion is to invite the attention of the public to act in
furtherance of the objectives of the UN declared day.
A change in the presentations of the advertisements could achieve
practical and constructive results, and that, if with limited
messages; illustrative picture photo messages depicting events
related to the published event are included, that would result in
attracting the keen attention of the public.
If the expensive advertisement objectives are specifically intended
to attract the attention of children, photo illustrations should
display messages to suit children.
While appreciating the relevance of a full-page advertisement that
appeared in the newspapers recently in relation to Global Hand
Washing Day, and while valuing the sincere efforts of the
publishers, I wish to suggest another practical approach to convey
the significance of the messages with illustrative picture photo
A very few, other than those directly attached to the event or known
to the publishers, would have read all the eight messages covering
the full-page advertisement.
The Nation [24.10.10.] has published a photograph of number of
schoolchildren, dressed in their school uniform washing their hands
from tap water.
Such picture illustrations convey a meaningful message to the
readers of the newspapers and mostly to the children.
Similarly, to my mind, a picture illustration of children washing
their hands immediately after playing; prior to consuming food
washing their hands; masons, carpenters, repair shop workers and
such allied manual workers - some bare bodied - prior to a meal
wearing a shirt and washing their hands or at the day’s end of their
work washing their hands and feet would convey a meaningful message
more than the publication of too many written messages with their
A full page advertisement relating to a graduation ceremony appeared
in the newspapers recently and even most of the senior students in
schools or their parents may not have read all the messages in the
advertisement; but if with a few messages, some of the critical
features were given on a statement to statement form, most students
and the parents would have been inclined to read in order to
familiarise with the main objectives.
The ‘Best Performed Student’s’ photograph conveyed many illustrative
messages to keen students.
But where messages are received from the president, the prime
minister, from the related minister and from a head of an
institution should be published with their photos.
Of all others who have sent messages, a list of such people and
their photos could be published without publishing the messages and
to support the objective of the publication, the picture photo
messages could be included and thus would be more result-oriented.
The writer’s intention is to provide an opportunity to get the
intended messages across in an easy viewing position and the
products of the publishers to reach many divergent groups of people.
|Did Buddhaghosa translate the Tripitaka into
Recently, I read a misleading statement regarding
the Pali texts of the Buddha Dhamma in a weekend English newspaper
(not ‘The Nation’).
The writer had stated that the famous scholar monk Venerable
Buddhaghosa translated all the available Sinhala versions of the
Dhamma at that time, into Pali on the invitation of King
Parakramabahu. However, he had not indicated which Parakramabahu it
He had further attributed the Pali versions of the Tripitaka (The
Three Canons), Mahavansa and even the Buddhist devotional stanzas (gathas),
in the present form, to Ven. Buddhaghosa.
These were the writer’s own words:
“The Ven Buddhaghosa lived in Anuradhapura enjoying royal
hospitality and patronage while he completed the gigantic task of
translating the religious literature into Pali. This is how the
Tripitaka, the Mahavansa and other texts recorded in Sinhala in
temple libraries across the island came to be Pali texts.”
These statements are incorrect and misleading. Ven Buddhaghosa was
only a commentator (Atuvachari). His task was to translate the
Sinhala Atthakathas (commentaries of the Pali texts) into Pali.
Limited space here does not permit me to give a list of his works.
Those interested may refer to The Early History of Buddhism in
Ceylon by Dr E W Adikaram (Part I, Chapter I, pages 1 and 2) - (1st
Samanthapasadika is one such work attributed to Ven. Buddhaghosa.
This is a translation into Pali, of the Sinhala Vinaya Atthakathas
(Commentaries on the Pali texts on discipline - Vinaya Pitaka).
The writer mentions the name of King Parakramabahu who is said to
have invited Ven. Buddhaghosa to undertake this specific task.
According to historian Dr G C Mendis, Ven. Buddhaghosa came to Lanka
during the reign of King Mahanama (409-451 A.D.) (The Early History
of Ceylon - Page 61). There was no Parakramabahu at the time.
In fact, Mahavihara monks invited Ven. Buddhaghosa to write a work
of his own to test his ability to undertake the responsible task of
translating the Sinhala commentaries of the Pali texts into Pali
Visuddbimagga, a concise but complete book on Buddha’s teachings was
The reading public is warned against distorted versions of the
history of the Sasana (Order) by irresponsible individuals.
|Commemoration of Venerable
Gangodawila Soma Thera’s death anniversary
Straight forward Ven Gangodawila Soma Thera overflowed in
His prestigious, reputed name indelible in Buddhist history.
His indomitable characteristics with true values cleansed society
The vacuum made by his pathetic departure can never be filled this
Farsighted Ven Soma Thera established centre Buddhist philosophy in
Campaigned to curb misconceptions, Buddhists worshipping Hindu
deities in Sri Lanka
He knew outside influences threatening to destroy Buddhism
He was appalled to note, rife in the country was alcoholism.
Followed example set by his teacher most Ven Madihe Maha Nayake
Also devoted, diligent pupil of Venerable Ampitiye Rahula Thera.
Viharadhipathi Sakyamuni Sambuddha Vihara in Berwick Australia
Irreparable loss passing away untimely in Petersburg in Russia.
In December 2003, in 56th year in Russia to accept an honorary
Keen on meditation selected lonely, serene locations to mediate.
His published work ‘Buddhastupa’ useful guide for deep mediation
Worked indefatigably to awaken the nation, specially younger
Pioneered whole-heartedly organised Jana Vijaya stable foundation
To build society true followers of the five precepts in dedication
Conducted discussable discourses, sermons, in remote villages
Thousands flocked to listen to keenly forceful bold lucid messages.
In a few decades, achieved much more than some in a lifetime
Spoke frankly, fearlessly, amidst calumnies in his short fruitful
His deep abiding veneration for Gautama Buddha evident in his clear
Wherever he visited preached Buddha Dhamma, the pristine words.
Contributed knowledge services to religious necessities
In New Zealand too conducted successful Dharmaduta activities
Never sought self-aggrandizement, expounded Dhamma acceptable
Inimitable, outspoken prelate vehement critic activities laudable.
Extended yeoman service popular among masses far ‘n near
Vanguard of Buddhism learned, social reformer, virtuous crusade dear
By the virtue of myriad meritorious contribution performed in
May the Most Ven. Soma Thera exemplary, attain the supreme bliss of
- Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon
|Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala’s 146th
Tribute to a fearless campaigner
of the greatest laymen who served the cause of Buddhism is Srimath
Anagarika Dharmapala, after the great kings of Sri Lanka, like king
Dutugamunu, Valagambahu, and Indian king Dharmashoka.
Srimath Anagarika was born on September 17, 1864. And even after 77
years since his demise, the service rendered by him to the cause of
Buddhism in Sri Lanka, India, Japan and other foreign countries is
still remembered with great appreciation.
Dr Ambedkar, who is considered the person who started mass
conversion of Indian untouchables to Buddhism in October 1956,
though considered as the first mass conversion of Indian
untouchables to Buddhism, there was a mass conversion of
untouchables to Buddhism 58 years earlier.
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott along with the Anagarika brought a large
number of South Indians to Maligakanda Vidyalaya Privena in Sri
Lanka and got them converted to Buddhism.
This is considered a very remarkable contribution to the propagation
of the Buddhist religion.
One person is considered and recognised as a colossus who spread
Buddhism is king Dharmasoka of India. Locally, it is the Anagarika.
Don David’s (Anagarika’s first name) parents were Don Carlis
Hewavitharana and Mallika from Matara.
At six years of age, he entered St Benedict’s and subsequently Royal
At these schools, he studied the Bible and was the first in the
Anagarika was able to persuade a number of people to discard their
Portuguese, Dutch and English names and to take Aryan names.
He himself discarded his Biblical name of ‘Don David’ and changed
it to Dharmapala.
Others followed suite such as George Peiris who changed the name to
(Prof.) Gunapala Malalasekara.
He devoted all his attention to create a national consciousness and
one national identity.
He fought to dethrone alien ways and habits and enthrone the
national and indigenous culture.
He launched a national reawakening movement which quickly spread
throughout the country.
He established the Mahabodhi Society in Sri Lanka in 1891 and set up
the Mahabodhi Society in India.
The following year, he launched the Mahabodhi, a monthly journal
which he edited and he was the writer and proofreader, publisher and
distributor all rolled into one.
The downfall of Sri Lanka’s culture, customs, manners and practices
together with Buddhism was the result of foreign occupation and
rule. During the Dutch period the village schools were made the
centres of Christianity.
Baptism was administered and marriage solemnised in the village
school. Fines were imposed on parents if their children did not
The British destroyed our tanks in Wellassa and the Uva Province
and uprooted villagers from their traditional homeland forcing them
to work on coffee plantations.
The British opened taverns in every village and distributed liquor
free to induce our people to develop taste for it.
This transformed our sober and thrifty people into drunkards of
about whom Anagarika spoke very severely to reform them. Anagarika
practised what he preached for he was a teetotaler and vegetarian.
He very harshly denounced drunkenness and encouraged vegetarianism.
He was not against other religions or foreigners for he encouraged
the study of all languages.
He himself was proficient in Sinhala, English, Pali and other
He encouraged comparative study of other religions.
Incessantly and ruthlessly he attacked unethical western habits.
He had no fixed abode, hence he was called Anagarika.
He sent people to foreign countries to learn skills and they came
back and set up cottage industries like ceramic toys and matchsticks
Anagarika first visited India in the latter part of 1884 to
participate in the All India Parama Vidya Society in Madras
accompanying Mrs. Blavatsky and retuned in 1885.
Anagarika then began his service to the cause of Buddhism. He was
the first person to propagate Buddhism in Japan.
His mentor was Sri Sumangala Thero, who Anagarika’s father consulted
to secure permission for him to become an Anagarika.
After reading the ‘Panadura Wadaya’ book, Colonel Olcott decided
to come to Sri Lanka. Miggettuwatte Gunananda Thero represented the
Buddhists at the Panadura Wadaya. Colonel Olcott arrived in Galle on
May 17, 1880 and together with Anagarika, he established the
Theosophical Society of Sri Lanka and opened Buddhist schools for
our boys and girls like Ananda, Nalanda, Dharmaraja, Mahinda, Rahula
Matara, Vishaka, Mahamaya and other Buddhist schools throughout Sri
At the religious conference of different faiths in Chicago, America
on September11, 1893 Anagarika made a fluent speech to an audience
of about one thousand and it was well received.
We owe to Anagarika for the following:
1. Sri Lankans using Aryan names
2. Women wearing Sariya and ‘Osariya’
3. Discarding the tradition of wearing cloth with the trousers
4. Wearing the national dress.
Anagarika should be considered as the father of the nation for no
one else has done so much for Sri Lanka since from the British rule,
especially to spread Buddhism and Sinhala traditions.
I appeal to all local bodies to name of at least one road after
‘Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala’ to honour him which he rightly
I met the then mayor of Colombo Municipal Council in 1988 and
persuaded him to change the name of Turret Road, Kollupitiya to
‘Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha’.
May he attain the Suppeme Bliss of Nirvana!
V. K. B. Ramanayake
Memories of master Trinitian
The telephone had rung. My daily help had picked up the message.
Our mutual friend Seneca de Chickera had given the sad news about
the death of our friend Malsiri Kurukulasuriya.
Malsiri had kept his 70th birthday on March 30 this year.
He died on April 24
As soon as I came home and noted Seneca’s message, I spoke to
Malsiri’s wife. She is from the Philippines and got all the details
of the funeral.
Since the funeral was going to be almost within 24 hours, partly to
inform the others and certainly to speak to mutual friends I was
able to network and share the sad news.
Since the day of the funeral in Kandy was a Sunday I was able to say
a prayer for Malsiri at the Sunday Eucharist.
I have a number of stories about Malsiri beginning from our days at
Trinity College through our days at Peradeniya and thereafter.
In this tribute to Malsiri, I shall confine myself to one story.
This story is about Malsiri, the sportsman.
Malsiri will be remembered for his cricket. However, he did take
part in athletics for his house and also some rugger for his house.
As I look back down the memory lane at Malsiri, it is as a cricketer
that I would like to remember him. What I remember is Malsiri, the
Seated at the old Asgiriya Pavilion and also in other places like
Mount Lavinia, I have seen him bat with elegance.
His textbook batting will always be remembered.
When Malsiri was batting, there was pin drop silence to watch this
I am sure all the Trinitians both in Sri Lanka and abroad will
always remember the memory of this product of Trinity.
This son of Trinity will always be remembered.
We shall certainly remember his wife, his doctor brother in America
and his brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.
May the turf lie gently on this cricketer who silenced the crowd at