Tripitaka Bill Inside Out

Of Cascading Social Collapse Triggered by ‘Invasions’ of the ‘Buddha’s Kingdom’ with Critical Analysis of a Similar ‘Act’ in the Making in Sri Lanka to ‘Conserve the Theravada Tripitaka.’

Amila Salgado (e-mail: amilasuwa@gmail.com)

Introduction

In this paper, I demonstrate how on insistence of a unity of Bhikkus named Vibajjawada, formed in May 2018, certain decisions taken by different governments, for ‘protecting and fostering the Buddha Sasana’ as per the constitution, has actually led to cataclysmic karmic retributions, instead.

With historic and current evidence, I demonstrate of acting on the advice of a section of Maha Sangha notwithstanding, how such actions taken actually turn out to be invasive interventions of the Buddha’s Kingdom that trigger negative karmic backfires that affect the masses. 

Casting light on root causes and effects, I justify through Dhamma how certain decisions taken since mid 2018 on the insistence of Vibajjawada movement were not in line with traditions, values and spirit of the Noble Buddha Sasana.

I uncover the white wrapper of the gift box that is the proposed Act that this government has received. I show that the gift box is in fact a ticking bomb. Diffuse it fast is my core message in this  paper showing evidence of past and present what happened to others who opened such gift boxes.

 

Background

The Supreme Buddha had provided monastic life regulations and disciplinary guidelines for the Sangha. Written on Ola leaves by fully enlightened Arahath monks, these have been compiled into nine big volumes at present. Together, these books make up the Vinaya Pitaka. Add, Suththa Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka to this, you have Theravada Tripitaka—a representation of the vast body of Dhamma documented centuries after the Great Passing Away (attaining of Maha Parinibbana) of the Buddha.

The Buddha mentioned in the Maha Parinibbana Suththa, "It may be, Ananda, that to some among you, the thought will come: 'Ended is the word of the Master; we have a Master no longer.' But Ananda it should not be so considered. For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Vinaya—that shall be your Master when I am gone.” [2 iii]

The Buddhist history states that cleansing the Buddha Sasana of corruption and removal of Sangha with heretical views had been done on three occasions through Sangha councils. On all such occasions, they were headed by fully enlightened Arahath Buddhist monks.

Gift wrapped to allegedly conserve the Theravada Tripika, the proposed bill totally reverses this tradition and the quoted advice above of the Buddha. This is because it hopes to vest power to a board of several academically qualified monks and laymen to judge.

Hell-bent in purifying the Noble Buddha Sasana, they are to decide what is right and wrong, and who is right and wrong relating to Dhamma and Vinaya. Such judgments could only be genuine when done by fully enlightened Arahath monks. This is because Arahath monks having got rid of greed, hatred and ignorance, the root causes of existence; are most qualified to act in a non-partisan way towards all beings—with absolutely no hidden agendas. The academics to be empowered to judge and regulate Dhamma communicators through this religio-political act would be anything, but fully enlightened. 

Observation.

The “Buddha’s Kingdom” (බුද්ධ රාජ්ජේ1) is one thing. The “ruling state2” (රටේ රාජ්ජේ) is another thing.

1.       Buddha Rajje – a Sinhala colloquialism for “Buddha’s Kingdom”

2.      Ratay Rajje - a Sinhala colloquialism for ruling state.

 

Having observed all thirty-two Super-human bodily features of the Buddha—and being impressed by his visual confirmation—Sela, the Brahman outpoured: 

You should become a Universal Monarch! a Wheel-tumer! a Bull of Charioteers! Victor over the Whole World! Chief of the Rose-apple Grove! Noble (Kshatriyas) and Wealthy Kings will be Your Vassals! You are King of Kings! The Lord of men! Rule, O Gotama!”

The reply of Buddha the Supreme One: "I am a King, Sela, a Matchless Monarch of the Noble Dhamma; I Command with the Noble Wheel of Dhamma—that cannot be done by others or proved otherwise." [Annex. B; 13]

Effects

Invasive interventions to the Buddha’s Kingdom in the past have always been destructive and costly. This is because the Buddha’s Kingdom is founded upon the enormous virtues of the Bodhisattvas accrued over many eons and unmatchable virtues of the Supreme Buddha. The ruling state on the other hand, has no such qualities to match. The mismatch [11].; therefore, invariably activates a lot of karmic backfire resulting in cataclysmic social collapse of the state, kingdom and nation.

First, it affects the errant parties who push for it. Second, it affects the errant rulers and officials who endorse it. Third, it affects the people. And often, it spills over to affect the entire world.

 I present the hypothesis that the cataclysmic social collapse happens in following ways:

Ø The errant state/kingdom/nation in return gets hit by severe invasions.

Ø Invaders are tyrannical in nature.

Ø Destruction of native religious, economic & cultural values and systems.

Ø Influx of foreign religious, economic and cultural values and systems.

Ø Pandemics.

Ø The above vicious retributions causing immense hardship to people.

Ø Collapse of the errant state/kingdom/nation. 

Ø Exodus.

Ø The ripples of negative karma permeating beyond the shores of the errant nation.

 

Evidence

Example, chart i:

Name of Ruler

Cause: Invasions made to Buddha’s Kingdom

Effect:

Retribution

King Mahinda IV

(975 to 991 A.D)

The rules and regulations imposed for the resident Sangha of the ancient At-vehera Buddhist Monastery and the penalties for non-compliance, among other things, are found inscribed in two inscriptions, identified presently as Tablets of Mihintale - with Slab A and Slab B.

 

An excerpt from Slab A: (Fig. 2. i)

“..To the monks, who reside in this Vihara and read the Vinaya-pitaka, shall be assigned five vasag1 of food and raiment; to the monks who read the Sutta-pitaka, seven vasag; and to the monks who read the Abhidhamma-pitaka, twelve vasag.…"  [18, Annex.A, Fig. ii]

 

“Monks that infringe these regulations shall not live in this Vihara...”  [18; Annex.A, Fig. iii]

 

Comment: Rationing four basic requisites of Maha Sangha such as food, based on recitals made by each individual has not been preached or advised by the Buddha.

 

Therefore, a king using his regal power to enforce such preposterous rules on the Sangha is tantamount to an invasion on the Buddha’s Kingdom.

 

This is irrespective of the fact whether such measures are/were requested by Maha Sangha or not.

1.

Unit of measurement of food, perhaps like a spoonful. It used to be boiled rice and gruel [20, Fig. iii]

-Invasion by the Chola King Rajaraja- I in 993 A.D. (The Chola dynasty continued to rule until 1070 A.D.)

 

-Destruction of Buddhist shrines and irrigation systems at Anuradhapura.

 

-Exodus of Buddhists from Anuradhapura

 

-Degradation of Buddhist culture

 

-Influx of non-Buddhist religious shrines, beliefs and  values

-The seat of government Anuradhapura returning to jungles.

 

 

 

Example, chart ii:

Name of Ruler

Cause: Invasions made to Buddha’s Kingdom

Effect:

Retribution

Hon. Mr. Maithreepala Sirisena

The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

9 January 2015 – 18 November 2019

End of term on 9 January, 2020.

 

Hon. Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe

Leader of the United National Party and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

09.012015 – 26.10 2018 &

18.12.2018– 21.11 2019

 

Hon. Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse The President of The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 

18.11.2019- to date.

 

{Inherits the dowry of Vibajjawada as result of tolerating their open endorsements during the run up to the office.}

 

Hon. Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse The PM & Minister of Buddha Sasana of Sri Lanka 

 

21 November 2019 to date.

A Sangha movement named Vibajjawada was formed by Labunoruwa Kanda Aranya Senasanaya and several others in 2018, with the aim of making Maha Sangha & Buddhist community in Sri Lanka aware of the 'heretics', distorting the Noble Buddha Dhamma and their heretical views preached.

Several gatherings of Sangha were organised by Vibajjawada with mass media coverage.

The aim of this was to introduce the 'heretics' and their heretical views to bhikkus invited in from various temples of Sri Lanka. 

Having frequent gatherings; assembling and departing peacefully; not enacting new decrees nor abolishing existing ones and proceeding in accordance of with ancient constitutions are some of the seven-fold strategies praised by the Buddha as progressive Dhamma. As such they contribute to growth, not decline [2iii].

In that light, a gathering of bhikkus organised by Vibajjawada should be appreciated.

However, in the case of Vibajjawada meetings  we did not see any bhikkus that were  blacklisted as 'heretics' given a platform to respond. 

In a TV program named Aluth Parliament (New Parliament) representatives of Vibajjawada were invited in but no 'heretics' were invited in to answer. 

Therefore, it turned out to be a parliament without an opposition! I guess that is why it is called by that catchy name. 

Often these gatherings of Vibajjawada, brief video clips of Dhamma sermons done by members of Sangha they identified as 'heretics' were shown out of context to audiences of bhikkus gathered.

After that the hosting bhikku would refer to an academically qualified bhikku to academically defeat the said 'heretical view'. The opposite point of views were not allowed. 

Even in social media platforms opposing comments were often blocked. 

The inaugural Vibajjawada gathering was held at Anuradhapura near the Great Stupa, on 12.05.2018.

Some of the other meetings were as follows:

Asgiriya Kandy on 08.07.2018, 

Kataragama near Kirivehera on 25.08.2018 

near Mahiyangana Stupa on 16.03.2019.

With mass media support, they gained  momentum with each gathering. 

Ven. Maha Nayaka Theros, President and Minister in charge were pressured to ‘protect and foster’ urgently.

As such on 18 Sep. 2018, five members of Sangha who have entered Dhamma stream listening to the sermons of Ven. Waharaka Abhayarathanalankara Thero were summoned to a high profile Buddhist Temple in Kandy and reprimanded. The media were invited to cover this summoning. Mass media, social media and print media were invited to cover the event. 

Those monks were warned to preach Dhamma exactly according to in the Tripitaka. (see Discussion for other details).

On 13.09.2018, Vibajjawada camp made a big stride in getting the Minister of Buddha Sasana to present a paper to the Cabinet in order to make Tripitaka a National Heritage.

 As such on 05.01.2019 at a national ceremony, Tripitaka is declared a National Heritage by President Hon. Mr. Maithreepala Sirisena in the presence of a large gathering of Ven. Maha Sangha, political leaders and dignitaries.

Extraordinary Gazette Notification bearing no. 2109/13 was issued on 07.02.2019, declaring Tripitaka a National Heritage.

 A week named Tripitakaabhiwandana was organised by Vibajjawada from 16 to 23.03.2019.

At a national ceremony of its conclusion on 23.03.2019, at Mahamaluwa of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic Kandy, a formal application to make Theravada Tripitaka as a UNESCO World Heritage was handed over by President Hon. Mr. Sirisena to a foreign lady in the presence of a large gathering of Maha Sangha, politicians et al.

‘Tripitaka Pooja’ event organised by Vibbajjawada on 2020-01-04, at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium saw 5000 members of the Sangha gathered to hear the usual ‘heretical updates’ before Tripitaka in a Tablet PC each was donated to Maha Sangha including Maha Nayaka Theros by chief guest, President newly elect, Hon. Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse, PM/Minister of Buddha Sasana Hon. Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse and the former President Hon. Mr. Sirisena et al.

 Cabinet granted approval in mid March 2021 for bill to conserve the Theravada Tripitaka.

 As it is just about ready to be placed on order papers, COVID-19 crashes the party with more virulent force.

 #Tripitaka Wave

The heads of the three great pillars of our democracy should look at what happened to the once glorious the UNP, after supporting the Vibajjawada to Tripitaka a National Heritage.

If it was such a meritorious act of 'protecting and fostering, the United National Party did in making Tripitaka a National Heritage, why did they  crumble like a pack of cards? 

Anybody who supports the proposed Theravada Tripitaka Conservation Act too will get similar results of an epic collapse

 

The discord of Sangha send ripples to the political sphere.

Performing full of a disciplinary inquiry in public view is against Sanga traditions. Therefore it breaks Vinaya rules. 

In this backdrop, the country entered a phase of constitutional crisis from 26.10.2018 to 16.12.2018 — karmic backfire of meddling with the Vinaya rules of the Sangha. 

Publicly showing all or parts of disciplinary inquiry of Sangha is against the Buddha's advice and violates Sangha traditions. 

This negative karma spills out as a brawl in the parliament on 15.11.2018.

many channels show it

Some shows the full tun of events leading to the brawl in public view. 

A lot of people call these events as unprecedented The bizarre disciplinary inquiry of several Noble Sangha in public view was also unprecedented.  

Tripitaka contains  Dhamma that clears  the vision.

Realising the Noble Dhamma  is called as 'getting the eye of Dhamma' [චක්ඛුං උදපාදි]

Minister of Buddha Sasana Mr. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera was instrumental in presenting a paper to the parliament to declare Tripitaka a National Heritage on 13.09.2018.

On the parliament brawl, on 15.11.2018, Hon. Mr. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera gets chili water thrown at him and some hits his eyes.  

[The veteran politician breaks into tears while describing the incident to the press; It looks like he has activated retribution [විපාක| wipaka] affecting his eyes. 

Deposed PM speaks.

Just three months after declaring Tripitaka a National Heritage—an invasion to the Buddha's Kingdom,

-Religious extremist Wahhabi terrorists causes an 'invasion' with coordinated  terrorist attacks on Easter Day on 21 April, 2019 targeting churches and tourist hotels, killing 259 people.

Wahabism is tyrannical (my way or highway).

Declaration of Tripitaka a national heritage (ජාතික උරුමය) looks to be a national disaster (ජාතික ව්‍යසනය).

Easter Bombings also result in the  tourism industry hitting new lows.

 -President Sirisena lost a spot to be a candidate for a second term.

 He has received blame for the ways of handling national security matters that have resulted in the Easter Sunday Attacks. 

 -Leadership struggle in the UNP results in a major splits in the party.

It results in the formation of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) by Hon. Mr. Sajith Premadasa and many former UNP MPs joining him. 

Splits endorsed and tolerated in the Sangha Sasana boomerangs to cause splits in the UNP.

 SJB Presidential candidate Hon. Mr. Sajith Premadasa lost the Presidential race.

 - In the 2020 Sri Lankan parliamentary election, The United National Party suffered its worst defeat in its history and received a total of 249,435 votes, which was 2.15% of votes casted.

 -For the first time in its history it failed to win a single seat in parliament, having only gained one national list seat.

Thus the leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mr. Wickremasinghe a member of parliament for since 1977 and the leader of the United National Party (UNP) lost his seat

 Veteran politician who held the unenviable post of Min. of Buddha Sasana. Hon. Mr. Gemini Jayawickrama Perera of the UNP lost the 2020 parliamentary election after 26 years of being a MP.

Look what happened to the UNP, by supporting the Vibajjawada proposal of making Tripitaka a National Heritage

SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic.-Over 3.3 million global human deaths & counting.-Enough said

 

There are ample lithics records in the Polonnaruwa period (11-13th century A.D.), left by the great king Parakramabahu i (1153-1186 A.D.) and his successor Nissanka Malla (1187-1196 A.D.) how Buddhist monks were derobed with major royal involvement patronage. The karmic backfire of these shortsighted actions of the ruling state taking drastic measures to 'cleanse the Buddha Sasana' was the devastating invasion by Kalinga Magha the Tyrant (1215-1236 A.D.) and subsequent collapse of the vibrant Sinhala Buddhist kingdom and civilization. The cataclysmic collapse of Polonnaruwa calls for an in-depth analysis. It should ideally be elaborated in a separate paper. This is because the conducts of aforementioned duo of kings, who have left ample epigraphic records, have to be evaluated and juxtaposed in the light of Dhamma & Vinaya- the code of conduct of Buddhist monks.


Fig. 2 i.
Tablets of Mihintale Photographed by Joseph Lawton (active in Ceylon between 1866 and 1872).

Discussion

There are eight ways in which the earth shakes violently according to the Buddha [2.iii]. Some of these events are connected to the Bodhisattva; and some to the Buddha. For example, when the Buddha expounds the Noble Dhamma on the Four Nobles Truths, it is said that the Great Earth of not only this world but also ten thousand universes shakes, quakes strongly, sways violently, and is convulsed:

 Thus at that moment, at that instant, at that second, the cry spread as far as the Brahmā world, and this ten thousand-fold world system shook, quaked, and trembled, and an immeasurable glorious radiance appeared in the world, surpassing the divine majesty of the devas[2,iii].

Just as a positive event connected to Buddha’s Kingdom has a cascading positive effect felt universally, any negative event due to invasive interventions to Buddha’s Kingdom triggers negative sparks. These karmic backfires go beyond the shores of the errant nation. This is because although the past Buddhas had all attained Parinibbana; thus, are not in their living form, their immense noble qualities, and incomparable powers; however, have not expired, nor extirpated [11,13].

Therefore, those holding the three pillars of democracy, especially in Theravada Buddhist countries should take good note that the Buddha’s Kingdom has anything but vanquished. They should also (perhaps, resign to) accept that whatever power they wield currently, individually or collectively are all but finite in nature when it compared to the enormity that of the Buddha’s Kingdom.

Any group of persons, rulers making invasive interventions to Buddha’s Kingdom spark karmic backfires that affect the masses—whether one believes in karma or not. Therefore, sensitive matters of the Noble Buddha Sasana, especially that directly impact sections of Sangha Sasana should be handled with utmost caution [Chart i,ii]).

An ill-conceived effort to silence the voice of some Sangha, who preached Noble Buddhist sermons that were not agreeable for a coterie of Sangha organised under the name of Vibajjawada  saw several invasive interventions to Buddha’s Kingdom over the last several years in Sri Lanka. [chart ii, 19],

One of the culminating points of this was making Tripitaka a National Heritage in Sri Lanka, on 5 January, 2019 by President of the time, Hon. Mr. Maithreepala Sirisena at a national event.

Not stopping there, on 23 March 2019, at another national ceremony held at the Mahamaluwa of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, the Hon. Mr. Sirisena pushed the envelope too far to apply the Pali Theravada Tripitaka to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage.

What is recognized as the Theravada Tripitaka for all intents and purposes is an intellectual property of the Buddha’s Kingdom. When asked, who your Master is, the Buddha replied that the Dhamma is his Master. Therefore, sanity should have prevailed that no person, ministry, nation or a board can claim ownership or be overlords of it.

I vehemently argue that with such shortsighted actions not only Sri Lanka but also the entire world have been encumbered with a negative karmic force it simply cannot bear. Though light of dhamma, I also vehemently argue that the sequence of events to duct-tape the mouths of some of the Noble Sangha in Sri Lanka [chart ii] was the original sin that triggered the current global pandemic of COVID-19.

Buddha has not forbidden the errant Sangha of preaching Dhamma, but always given freedom and guidelines for the listeners to choose what is wholesome and unwholesome [2 vi, 14 i,ii, 8]

As a cruel but true karmic backfire of the disdainful act to duct-tape the mouths of the ‘heretics’ and block their freedom of speech, the entire world population have to stay with the mouths covered, with their fancy masks.

The damage that was done to the Buddha Sasana (sasanayata woo haniya: සාසනට වූ හානිය) by the aforementioned duct-taping measures, popped up from Wuhan (වූහාන්)--giving a silent etymological clue for discerning karma detectives.

(Note that when a positive event of the Buddha’s Kingdom happens, it shakes the whole world including the area currently recognized as Wuhan in China. Therefore, karmic backfire could originate/pop up from anywhere in the world and reach the recipients, subjected to past life karma, which call for such retributions.

I reiterate, there have been many disdainful acts played out by various groups to silence several groups/members of the Sangha community that preached the path to liberation as per their understanding [(chart ii, 19].

As such, on 18 September, 2018, several bhikkhus connected to three establishments were summoned to a high profile temple institution in Kandy and were asked to sign a document to seek agreement for new regulations that were totally and fundamentally against Dhamma and Vinaya. In this reprimand, those members of Sangha, among other things, were asked to preach only to devotees that visit their monastery and were warned not to accept invitations that come from various other outside locations.

Crudely put, the underlying hidden message delivered was to stay the hell back as if they were crippled (kora wela wagey ainta wela inta |කොර වෙලා වගේ අයින්ට වෙලා ඉන්ට! | stay back like a crippled!).

As a fitting payback all or some of us had to go through lockdown and quarantine [කොර වෙලා වගේ අයින්ට වෙලා ඉන්ට වෙලා තියෙනවා] during the global pandemic that we are presently going through.

Furthermore, the Noble preachers were disallowed to preach the science of Dhamma [vijja-udapaadi karagatha haki maga | විජ්ජා උදපාදි කරගත හැකි මග| the path to unravel the science of liberation in Dhamma.]

The disease name of the current global pandemic ‘COVID’ itself subliminally asks, in the nirukthi context, “where is your science?” (ko vid?; කෝ විද්?)—quite fittingly.

No matter how a word is described in modern grammar and etymology, those with insights to nirukthi can see through its hidden Dhamma meaning in Hela/Sinhala language. The nirukthi of the word nirukthi is ‘embedded subjective definition of a word’, based on sound [ukthayen nirnaya wenney nirukthi way |උක්තයෙන් නිර්ණය වන අරුතෙන් නිරුක්ති වේ]. This is the how even foreign words that originated under various/irrelevant contexts can be deciphered according to their sound based etymological meanings. Also known as Dhamma-nirukthi , it is simply a way of decoding words to cast new light on hidden phenomena that are otherwise hard to pierce. [1, 14 iii,16 i-v, 18]

In that respect, nirukthi is like a sharp piercing tool to dig deep into hidden meanings. And those who are skilled in wielding this tool properly could cast new light to Dhamma words, helping others to grasp their esoteric meanings. A skilled preacher in nirukthi is like a dexterous digger who digs the soil, unearths a rough stone, washes it to remove the dirt and polishes it to bring out its hidden luster. Similarly, a preacher with nirukthi intellect can uncover the hidden a supra-worldly meaning of words buried deep in the Pali canon, wipe off the dirt of worldly meanings, cut in the right places to add definition and polish it with right examples to sparkle for the intellect of the discerning listener.

Nirukthi  has been a bone of contention among some Buddhists scholars in Sri Lanka, especially those that are academically excelled in Oriental languages such as Sanskrit--a language that the Buddha has categorically forbidden for his disciples to learn, to teach or translate his teachings to [7; Annex.C].

The academia of Oriental languages often reject and ridicule these nirukthi preached in sermons by some of the Sangha [19 i-xi]. This was/is particularly directed towards the late Ven. Waharaka Abhayarathanalanka Thero who had no university academic qualifications, but razor sharp nirukthi intellect and other monastic skills [1, 14 iii,15,16 i-v].

One of reasons for criticisms directed to Waharaka Thero is because most of the nirukthi preached by him are not mentioned in the set of literature recognised presently as the Theravada Tripitaka in Sri Lanka. Another reason for banter is because they cannot be justified according to grammar and syntax rules they have academically mastered [1, 14 iii, 16 i-v, 17].

An avowed goal of the academics who push for this ill-conceived bill sugarcoated to “conserve the Theravada Tripitaka” is to academically defeat the wrong interpreters and interpretations (shathreeyawa paraajaya kireema; ශ්‍රාස්ත්‍රීයව පරාජය කිරීම) [3, 4, 19 i-xi]

The bill aims to introduce a punitive legal structure to eliminate and eradicate the Sangha that preaches/disseminates the Noble words of the Buddha that the language experts in Sri Lankan Universities are unable to grasp and/or agree according to their academic knowledge systems. 

To achieve this goal, the proposed bill has special provisions to stop Sri Lanka Buddhist Dhamma communicators from giving nirukthi meanings to esoteric Pali words of the Theravada Tripitaka, beyond what is definitively mentioned in the Sinhala Tripitaka translation published as “Buddha Jayanthi Editions” during the period 1956-1990.

According to the Noble Dhamma, the nirukthi meanings for describing the Four Noble Truths are limitless [9,12]. We all know that the number of books considered as Tripitaka Attakatha and Teeka are limited in nature and are all countable. Thus, they are anything but limitless. The Dhamma stream-enterer Sothapanna person is known to have the skill to explain the Four Noble Truths in a thousand different ways (දහසක් නයින් පටිමණ්ඩිත/දහසක් න්‍යායන් ගෙන් සමන්විත සෝතාපන්න ඵලය).

The question to ask those who push for these draconian laws is how could a preacher communicate limitless meanings indicated by the Buddha of the Four Noble Truths by strictly sticking to a limited number of books and limited meanings given in them? How can a stream-enterer explain his insights of the Four Noble Truths in a thousand different ways?

I am sure that for the purpose of obtaining academic qualification in Oriental languages, it is possible to study just one or several meanings of a given Pali word, sit for an examination and obtain a degree to get a paid job somewhere. The Buddha’s Noble teachings are to get rid of our cravings, hatred and ignorance and not to defeat another academically to assert dominance [3,4]. In the Buddha’s time that was the job of the Brahmans (බමුණො).

Therefore, any form of restriction to express a meaning that goes beyond the standard written interpretation is not in the spirit of Buddha’s teachings. Such fundamentalist rules are new to Buddhism, which extolls logical and free thinking. Needless to mention such laws would also violate religious freedom and freedom of speech granted in our constitution. It is absolutely appalling to think that this bill has received cabinet approval in March, 2021. And it coincides with the third wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka? If the cabinet does not throw this bill away, the third wave and its overall impact will prove to be more catastrophic. 

The provisions included in the proposed bill to duct-tape the mouths of the preachers who cast light on hidden meanings of Pali words in Dhamma, using their insight to clarify hidden nirukthi is again not in the spirit of the Buddha Sasana.

I reiterate that nirukthi shown by the Buddha—cannot—be academically mastered in any university. It is entirely an intellectual property of the eight-fold noble persons (Anujātha Attapurisa puggalā; අනුජාත අට්ටපුරිස පුග්ගලා) who have well and truly entered the stream of Nibbana (ari-atangi maga| අරි අටැඟි මග).

The Theravada Tripitaka Editorial Committee since its start, way back in 1956, was headed by Aggamahapanditha Most Venenerable Balangoda Ananda-Maithree Maha Thero. This esteemed member of the Maha Sangha has confirmed on numerous accounts that he is a Bodhisattva, aspiring to be a Buddha one day.

Therefore, in line with the Dhamma principles it is impossible that Venerable Balangoda Thero had reached at least the Sothapanna state during his existence—thus, when the Venerable Nayaka Thero was the Chairperson of the Theravada Tripitaka Editorial committee that was inaugurated in 1956.

While offering our utmost homage to those celebrated Maha Sangha and bowing our heads to any lay persons involved, we should be honest in admitting that there are considerable number of errors in the translations of the Supra-worldly meanings (lokōththara aruth|ලෝකෝත්තර අරුත්) [Annex C, Fig. 5-ii, iii].

If the proposed bill becomes law, it would have provisions to penalise and/or mete out imprisonment if one were to communicate for masses an error in the translation of a Pali word of a Suthra in the Theravada Tripitaka, or explain an alternative meaning, based on local language/dialect [4, Annex.D, Fig.5-ii, iii, 18,20].

 The advice of the Buddha; however, was not to go into conflicts over words:

“One should not insist on local language, and one should not override normal usage.' So it was said. And with reference to what was this said?  How, bhikkhus, does there come to be insistence on local language and overriding of normal usage? Here, bhikkhus, in different localities they call the same thing a 'dish' [pāthi; පාති], a 'bowl' [paththa; පත්ත], a 'vessel' [viththa; විත්ථ], a 'saucer' [sarāva; සරාව], a 'pan' [dhārōpa; ධාරෝප], a 'pot' [pona;පොණ], or a 'basin' [piseelawa; පිසීලව]. So whatever they call it in such and such a locality, one speaks accordingly, firmly adhering to that expression and insisting: 'Only this is correct; anything else is wrong.' This is how there comes to be insistence on local language and overriding normal usage” [4].

The Buddha preached that the Dhamma and Vinaya preached by him shines when uncovered, not when it is covered. As I have justified in luxuriant detail, the Act in the making and the actors behind it have all lost plot on many counts. 

Let us establish sanity by withdrawing the proposed Theravada Tripitaka Conservation bill and abolishing the declaration of Theravada Tripitaka as a national heritage on 07.02.2019.

Recommendations

The state should seek the opinion of all four congregations before formulating new laws relating to Buddha Sasana, as seemingly 'noble efforts' that have been done for the purpose of 'protecting and fostering the Buddha Sasana' have all backfired as justified by me. I wish to suggest the following changes at the earliest possible date, in order to free all inhabitants of our planet and beyond from the present predicaments.

    The Extraordinary Gazette notification bearing the no. 2109/13 issued on February 7, 2019, declaring Theravada Tripitaka et al. as a National Heritage should be revoked forthright.

    The application to elevate the Theravada Tripitaka et al. as a UNESCO World Heritage should be revoked, forthright.

    Proposed bill to ‘conserve the Theravada Tripitaka et al.’ and all impending future bills tantamount to the ruling state invading the Buddha’s Kingdom should be dumped forthright.

    No further advice should be sought from any person behind these heinous Acts & bills.

    The Triple Gems when mishandled bites back like a snake; so, handle with caution [3].

    Brainstorm on formulae of seven-fold Non-declinable Dhamma by all parties [2iii].

    Learn from the illustrious history [5, 6, 18].

Acknowledgement

I wish to express my deepest honour and gratitude to the late fully-enlightened Buddhist monk, Ven. Waharaka Abhayarathanalankara Thero for giving us the tools of wisdom to perceive how causes and effect work, as expounded originally by the Buddha. I offer my gratitude is due to Attorney-at-law Mr. Chandana Siriwardana; Mr. Roshan Hendahewa, eSolutions, Monash University, Australia; Dr. Chintha Handapangoda, Diplomas, Monash College (Monash University), Australia for critically reviewing this paper. Last but not least, I wish to express my gratitude to all the four congregations Bhikku, Bhikuni, Upasika, and Upasika who joined hands to confront and challenge the egregious bill.

References

1.       Aaryadharma.org. Nirukthi  [පද නිරුක්ති] Nirukthi interpreted in Sinhala, 2020.

2.      Access to insight Readings in Theravada Buddhism: [i] Atanatiya Sutta; [ii]; [iii] Mahaparinibbana Sutta; [iv] Lohicca Sutta; [v] Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta; [vi] Kalama Sutta. Translations done from Pali by Piyadassi Thera, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Sister Vajira, Francis Story, 1998-2012.

3.      Alagaddūpama Suththa, [අලගද්දූපම සූත්‍රය]. Majjhima Nikaya (I), Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol.10, pp. 324-354, The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006.

4.      [i] Aranavibhanga Suththa, [අරණවිභංග සූත්‍රය]. Majjhima Nikaya (III), Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol.12, pp. 484-494, The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006; [ii] Aranavibhanga Sutra: The Exposition of Non-Conflict Suttas.com, 2021.

5.      De Silva, K. M. A History of Sri Lanka, p. 603, Oxford University Press, India, 1981.

6.      Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. p. 575,  New York: Viking, 2005.

7.       Chulla-vagga-pali (II) [චුල්ලවග්ගපාලි]. Khuddakavatthukkhandhakan, Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol.5(ii), p. 100 , The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006.

8.      Maha-wagga-pali (II) [මහාවග්ගපාලි] Kosambikandakaya, Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol. 6, p. 885, The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006

9.      Nettippakarana, [නෙත්තිප්පකරණ]. Deshanahāra Vibhangaya, Khuddaka Nikaya, Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol.39, pp. 14-23,  The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006

10.   Rosenberg, E., & Smith, A. What Drives Religious Politicking? An Analysis of 24 Democratic Elections. Politics and Religion, 1-29. doi:10.1017/S1755048320000644, 2020. 

11.    Salgado, Amila. Rathana Suthraya therena Sinhalen [රතන සූත්‍රය තේරෙන සිංහලෙන් ; Rathana Suthraya in Comprehensible Sinhala], Pdf File, A Sinhala article published in Amilasuwa Blog, 2020.

12.   Sankāsana Suththa [සංකාසන සූත්‍රය]. Samyutta Nikaya (V-2), Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol.17(ii), p. 284, The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006.

13.   Sēla Suththa [සේල සූත්‍රය]. Majjhima Nikaya (II), Buddha Jayanthi Tripitaka Series, (edited by Tripitaka Translation Committee), Vol.11, pp. 14-23, The Buddhist Cultural Centre, Dehiwela, 2006.

14.   Sinhala Buddhist Sermons.(i) ධර්මයට විනයට බහා බැලීම යනු, 2012 [How to put into Dhamma and Vinaya]; .(ii) සත්‍ය බුද්ධ ධර්මය දැන ගන්නා ආකාරය [The Way to Find the Right Buddha Dhamma], 2008; (iii) නිරුක්ති ඇතුළු සිව්පිළිසිඹියා විස්තරය, 2012 [Describing ‘Siwpilisimbiya’ including Nirukthi ]; iv. Sermon, [Responding to an anonymous  letter], 2009 Ven. Waharaka Abhayarathanalankara Thero; (v) වාද විවාද වල පැටලීමට හේතුවන කරැනු 6 ක් [Six Causes that Lead to Arguments], 2020, Sith Neth Asapuwa, by Vene. Balangoda Radha Thero; (vi) ලක්ඛණ සූත්‍රය [Lakkana Sutra], by Ven. Nauyane Ariyadhamma Thero, uploaded, 2020.

15.   Siriwardana, Chandana. කව්ද මේ වහරක හාමුදුරුවො...? [Who is this Bhikku Waharaka..?] A Sinhala article, පැපරාසියා (Paparasia), A Sinhala newspaper authored and edited by Mr. Sepal Amarasinghe, October-Septermber issue, pp. 32-36, 2011.

16.   Siriwardana, Chandana. Hela Bodu Piyuma, 11-15 Second Edition, [Errors in written interpretations about Buddhism-Parts.1-5], හෙළ බොදු පියුම, දෙවෙනි සංස්කරණය 11-15 කලාප, බුදු දහම ගැන ලියැවුණු වැරදි මතවාද පෙන්වා දුන් දහම් සාකච්ඡා,  [i] 01 කොටස [ii] 02 කොටස [iii] 03 කොටස [iv] 04 කොටස [v] 05 කොටස, Imashi Printers Nugegoda, 2020-2021.

17.    Tripitaka Facts [Let’s find it in Tripitaka; ත්‍රිපිටකයෙන් සොයමු], tripitakafacts.org, 2021

18.   Wickremasinghe, Don Martino de Zilva, ed. Epigraphia Zeylanica, Vol.1; 1904-1912; p. 75-113; (London: Oxford University Press), 1912.

19.   Wibajjada | විභජ්ජවාද | alternate spelling: Vibbajjawada | Theme: Let’s Rally Against Heretical Sangha!  [I.] ධර්මය විකෘති කරන සද්ධර්ම ප්‍රතිරූපකයන්ට එරෙහිව පෙල ගැසෙමු! ; [II.] Wibajjawada Special Discussion-01; [III.] Wibajjawada Special Discussion-02 ; [IV.] Wibajjawada Lectures; [V.] Vibajjawada ; [VI.] Aluth Parlimenthuwa ; [VII.] Tripitaka Tablets,  ; [VII.] Wibajjawada Summit March, 2020 ; [VII.] Sermon ; [VIII.] Insults ; [IX.] Threats, [X.] World Heritage Ceremony, [XI.] Reactions, 2018-2021.

Annex. A




Fig. 2 Tablets of Mihintale – Slab A. English translation of the epigraphic record showing the King Mahinda IV (975-991 A.D) through Royal decree, enacting and rules and regulations for the resident Sangha of the At-vehera Monastery at Mihintale. This is a serious error of judgement by the King Mahinda IV. It is almost like pressing the button to detonate a nuclear bomb. I argue that the negative karmic forces of this invasive intervention lead to the Chola Invasion by Rajaraja 1 in 993 A.D. I argue that it was the catalyst for the collapse of the vibrant ancient Sinhala Buddhist civilization of Anuradhapura—the founding capital for well over 1400 years. 

Fig. 3 Tablets of Mihintale – Slab A. English translation of the epigraphic record showing the King Mahinda IV (975-991 A.D) rationing food for the resident Sangha of the At-vehera Monastery at Mihintale based on reading/recitals on Buddhist texts. This is totally against Buddhist norms.


Fig. 4
Tablets of Mihintale – Slab A. English translation of the epigraphic record showing the King Mahinda IV (975-991 A.D) warning for the resident Sangha of the At-vehera Monastery at Mihintale on penalty for non-compliance. This is just pushing the envelope a bit too far.

Annex. B.

සේල බ්‍රාහ්මණයා : “රාජා අරහසි භවිතුං! චක්කවත්තී රථේසභෝ! චාතුරන්තෝ විජිතාවී! ජම්බුසණ්ඩස්ස ඉස්සරෝ! ඛත්තියා භෝගිරාජානෝ! අනුයන්තා භවන්තු තේ! රාජාභිරාජා මනුජින්දෝ! රජ්ජං කාරේහි ගෝතම!’’.

තථාගත සම්මාසම්බුද්ධරාජෝත්තමයාණන් වහන්සේ : ‘‘රාජාහමස්මි සේලාති. ධම්මරාජා අනුත්තරෝ. ධම්මේන චක්කං වත්තේමි. චක්කං අප්පටිවත්තියං!” [14]

[සේල මම රජ කෙනෙක් වෙමි - (මම වනාහීඅනුත්තර ධර්ම රාජ වෙමි. (ශ්‍රමණයෙකුට හෝ , බ්‍රාහ්මණයෙකුට හෝ , දෙවියෙකුට හෝ, මාරයෙකුට හෝ , බ්‍රහ්මයෙකුට හෝ අන් කිසිවෙකුට හෝ) අණමැඩ පැවැත්විය නොහැකිවූ ධර්ම චක්‍රය පවත්වමි!]

Annex. C.

Sanskrit language as we now recognize it at present was known as Chandasa/Chandaso in the Buddha’s times. Fig. 5 shows a Decree that the Monarch that is Buddha had delivered. In that he had outright forbidden of translating his Noble teachings to Sanskrit. This was after two monks with Brahmanic ancestry named Yamelu and Thekula, approached the Buddha and tried to sweet-talk to seek permission to translate the Master’s teachings to Sanskrit. Their main concern was that different sects of monks who have ordained from different backgrounds were polluting Buddha’s teachings by preaching in their (lowly) dialects and languages. To put it right, this duo suggested standardizing Buddha’s teachings in Sanskrit, which had been the lingua franca of the pre-Buddhist era among the elites. As such, Sanskrit was the language of the academics used to communicate worldly sciences (ලෝකායත ශ්‍රාස්ත්‍ර) such as Trivedha, Astrology, practice of reading human features etc. Tripitaka is replete with Sutras connected to Brahmans. Experts in Trivedha and Sanskrit, most of them were conceited, condescending and highly deluded. They often came to argue, belittle, defeat or impress the Buddha with their academic excellence. Perceiving the potential in some of them to grasp the Four Noble Truths the Buddha brought them to senses with sparkling dialogues that eliminated their warped views [14].

Fig. 5-i [8].

.


Fig. 5-ii

The translation provided to the Pali word ‘sakaya’ as ‘Magadhika’ in the above Sinhala version is a clear error of translation. ‘Sakaya’ instead means “one’s own.” Therefore, ‘sakaya niruththiya’ denotes any local language/dialect used as native language. Although that may include Magadhi, it is by no means restricted to it.          

Fig. 5-iii., [20]

 


 

The Pali text ‘Sakaya niruththiya’ absolutely excludes Sanskrit, the forbidden for the disciples by the Buddha. The Aranavibhanga Suthra further states not to go into disputes over words in popular usage of local languages. ‘Rana’ means conflict; arana means the opposite word, ‘non-conflict’ [4].                                                  

සකාය නිරුත්තියා යන වචනය මාගධික නිරුක්තිය හැටියට සිංහලට නගා ඇති කොටස පැහැදිළි පරිවර්ථන දොසකි. සකාය යනු ස්වකීය යන්නයි. ඒ අනුව සකාය නිරුක්තියා යනු බමුණන් ගේ උගත් මානය පෙන්වන්න විවිධ බස් වහරින් එකතුකර කර සාදන ලඳ සංස්කෘත හැර, ඒ ඒ ජනපදවාසීන් හට ස්වකීය වූ බස් වහරය. පාලි/මාගධී ද එයට ඇතුළත් කළ හැකි නමුත් එය පාලි/මාගධී වළට පමණක් ලඝු කිරීම වැරදිය [4]

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