The President of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa made
arrangements to exhibit the Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha in Sri Lanka,
which were brought from Kapilavasthupura in India. The sacred relics
were exhibited at the Gangarama Temple in a very religious manner, with
the highest of devotion paid by the public. I was fortunate to have
spent only five hours in the queue of people who came from all over to
worship the relics.
We the devotees, were very pleased and taken with the arrangements
made by the incumbent High Priest of the Gangarama temple, The Ven.
Galaboda Gnanissara Thera. The generous High Priest who loves the people
of Sri Lanka and in consideration of them, had not forgotten the public
at this grand occasion offering homage to the sacred relics.
The high priest had taken all possible measures to supply the
devotees with a light diet meal. This was a meritorious act on the part
of the high priest, as devotees would have not found a place to get a
meal around the place. The crowd who came there were quite happy as they
were supplied with all the necessities.
On the television screen and in the print media, we are quite often
treated to perceptibly inspiring spectacles of some of our well to do
persons inclusive of politicians and bureaucrats of the high middle and
lower order, offering the regulation type atapirikara packages to
prelates and other monks whenever the concerned donors visit them at
their temple abodes, displaying all manner of respect and obeisance
feigned or otherwise, one can never say.
The practice of offering an atapirikara package to the senior monks
and other items of clothing bedding and consumables to the junior monks
is resorted to at alms givings not only on showy politically significant
events, but on other genuinely devoted religious occasions as well. From
the highest to the lowest of our Buddhist laymen be they politicians,
bureaucrats, the well-to-do or the ordinary folk by force of habit and
tradition or by genuine piety they have adopted this popular custom of
offering atapirikara packs. They seem to think that offering atapirikara
is the highest form of offering that would bestow on them a high degree
of merit and resultant blessings.
This is well and good and no one his right frame of mind would
protest or fault the underlying idea of traditional religious customs.
There are, however, certain discardable features worthy of review with a
view to preventing their misuse. Atapirikara, a package of eightfold
requisites comprises three sets of robes, a sash, begging bowl, razor,
needle and thread and a water strainer made of cloth. The begging bowl
is prominent by its visible projection on the pack. In this age of easy
and comfortable domestic living, temple abodes too are not exempt from
such updated living standards. In this scenario, we do not expect monks
to use such outmoded items as the cloth-water strainer and the begging
bowl in their day to day living. The begging bowl is very rarely used or
not used at all and is almost an anachronistic item. So it has come to a
situation where the recipients of such atapirikara packs rarely open
them for use and when the packs pile up in their premises, the temple
authorities are inevitably tempted to sell the packs back to the points
of sale setting in motion a reciprocal system of financial benefit to
both temple authorities and the sellers.
In this process, one cannot hope for or expect the desired merit from
such offerings. It would, therefore, be much better to offer the monks
separate sets of robes, towels, beddings, packs of milk-powder, tea,
soap and such other items of daily use instead of the regulation
atapirikara pack. It is generally accepted that when the monks make use
of the offerings in their day to day living, their blessings would
bestow the desired merit on the donors. A change over to such procedure
would no doubt be materially beneficial to the recipients and would also
be of meritorious blessing to the donors. This would also prevent any
mercenary misuse of the atapirikara packs.
This point of view, self opinionated as it is, and doubtlessly
controversial, may stir a hornets' nest and those who would not be
reasonable enough to rethink and review certain obsolete practices in
their correct perspectives, may disdainfully condemn such viewpoints as
antics of heretics designed to created disharmony and irreligious
feelings among the devoted Buddhist public.
With reference to the recent news items in the daily newspapers that
the Police Department intends strengthening the Fraud Bureau, I wish to
state that it is a timely and commendable decision.
Strengthening the Fraud Bureau will provide for greater efficiency of
the Bureau which is providing a remarkable and exemplary service,
despite severe constraints of manpower.
Visiting the Fraud Bureau on a few occasions, I was surprised at the
unprecedented escalation of crimes pertaining to frauds, forgeries
misappropriations and other heinous crimes that the Bureau has to
handle. The staff at the Bureau have an Herculean and unenviable task to
attend to the ever increasing number of complaints. I observed on my
visits, that the staff was very courteous, polite and helpful to the
complainants despite the ever increasing number of complainants who
visit the Bureau daily, depressed and aggrieved, been victims of some
The Director of the Bureau dealt with every complaint in an exemplary
manner providing some relief and hope. The manner in which he handled
the various complaints demonstrated abundantly and manifestly, his high
degree of proficiency, his dedication and commitment. The example he
sets I observed, was apparently contagious as all the subordinate staff
also showed a high sense of duty, dedication and above all, courtesy.
It is quite apparent that the Fraud Bureau has been well organized
and the staff geared and enthused to serve the public in an exemplary
manner. While today the Bureau is a credit to the Police Force,
providing for additional manpower, will inevitable provide for greater
efficiency and be able to serve the public better.
Rev. Fr. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit, as President of the Catholic Bishop
Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) has said '......The judiciary with its
specific role of being the interpreter of the Law should be respected
and given its freedom to function as is should and any interference in
this process is a serious threat in the rule of law and democracy'.
Indeed a noble statement, correctly expressed. However, readers are
reminded of the action of Rev. Fr. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the protest
he demonstrated, by threatening the government that he would not attend
any state function if action was not taken to release the nun who was
remanded in a case filed in courts, over running a Children's Home in
Moratuwa. The outcome was that the prosecution did not press the case
and the Judge reprimanded the prosecutor. Had the judiciary allowed the
case to take its normal course without the protest of the Cardinal, it
would have been an interesting case to follow and the verdict may have
This is to illustrate that when an accused is not given a verdict in
his favour, the Judge is accused of wrong dispensation of justice. It is
considered relevant to quote what former Prime Minister of France Silvio
Berlusconi, said when he was convicted of a sex case – 'Intolerable
judicial harassment'. If you cannot count on impartial Judges in a
country, the country becomes uncivil, barbarian and unlivable and stops
being a democracy. One should be true to oneself when making statements
on vital issues.
Fiat justia rural caelum – Let justice be done, though heavens should
To all those responsible. This is the third letter and I hope it will
not suffer the same fate as the other two. The tiny bit of road in
Ambagahapura which stretches alongside the Sri Chandraratne Manawasinghe
School has not been repaired for many many years, in spite of my
repeated requests and now it is in an extremely dilapidated condition,
getting worse and worse after each rainfall. May be no one is interested
and therefore disregards it, without any concern for the people
travelling on this road. So this is my final request and may be the
last, as I may fall down the precipice very soon and then there will be
no one to write about it.
This is a reply to the news item titled 'SL cleared of earthquake
threat' published on November 15, 2012 by Nimal Wijesinghe, the
Anuradhapura additional district group correspondent.
The count appears to be correct because the focus of this report is a
very small area + time window. What follows is a list of events that
occurred between 7N-8S (latitude) and 65E-94E (longitude) since 1973.
The diffuse zone is much larger and a geologically more complex area
than the interviewee implies in this report. I am sure there are more
events including the 7.8 + 7.5 ones that occurred back in June 2000 than
what is reported by the interviewee and given in the following list. I
am also aware of several 8.0 events that occurred further to the South
with the largest one being a 8.6 event near 96.76E 28.38S. Perhaps the
selected title was an attempt to sensationalize the story.
To say that Sri Lanka is cleared of earthquake threats with such
conviction, however, is completely unwise.
What should be noted here is the fact that we do not know what faults
are going to rupture at what time particularly in an
intra-plate/diffused zone setting where the recurrence interval can be
as long as ~1000 years.
Therefore, conclusions based on a 30 year record are quite
unreliable. On average about 17 events with M 7 occur around the world
yearly. A 7.0 quake is about 500 km long, 15 km wide and moves roughly
about 10 cm. As you can imagine, the 500 km “limit” proposed in this
report doesn't make much sense in the wake of a large event close to Sri
I also got the impression that technical experts seem to think that
diffuse boundaries are not a part of plate tectonics and only narrow
plate margins constitute plate tectonics. On the contrary, based on
plate rotation rates, it appears that diffuse-boundaries are not that
different from narrow plate margins. So, the current thinking is that
diffuse-boundaries are an extension of plate tectonics, a fact that was
not recognized in the early development of the concept due to slow
deformation (i.e. release of seismic energy) associated with these
The suggestion that it takes about 10,000 years to form a well
defined plate boundary is inaccurate. Deformation in the
diffuse-boundary is at least 15 millions old with accelerated active
deformation taking place in the last 8 million years.
I can certainly understand the point the interviewee makes about
building codes. Retrofitting buildings is a costly endeavor that we may
not be able to handle at this time.
Nothing can start to exist nor can cease to exist, only
transformation is possible.
With monotonous regularity, various and diverse competitions are
conducted in the newspaper for readers to participate. Apart from the
competitions conducted by newspapers, various business institutions also
conduct competitions, essential to promote their products and services.
Of late, an increasing number of film theatre establishments are seen
conducting competitions to afford publicity for their various films and
theatre shows. The name of the winners of the competitions are published
with a footnote “Your complimentary tickets/prizes will be delivered
shortly,” which means, that winners will never receive their prizes.
My daughter and myself won four prizes during the last six months. We
have not received our prizes despite the assurance of the organizers.
Further the letters addressed to the organizers are not even
responded to. In this context I wish to inquire:
a) Whether there is any authority that regulates/monitors these
b) Can a duped reader complain to the 'Press Complaints Commission of
c) Whether the particular newspaper conducting the competition has a
responsibility that the organizers of these competitions fulfill their