Build on our inherent humanity
Today, Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, besides
being a blessed occasion for Buddhists the world over, poses some
important questions for the whole of mankind.
As is known, compassion, caring and charity are central to the Buddha
Dhamma. The self-professed Buddhist, accordingly, needs to be an
embodiment of these values which are in fact, the cornerstones of any
gentle civilisation. In other words, Buddhism has an undeniable
humanising impact, both at the level of the individual and at the level
of society. While opinions abound on how successfully mankind has
measured-up to the values enshrined in the world's religions, there can
be no doubt that Lankans have - at times of crisis of least - shown that
Sakyamuni Buddha's efforts to transform humankind into a being
reflective of compassion and concern have not been in vain.
There was, for instance, the tsunami disaster five months ago, which
saw sections of the Buddhist clergy doing their utmost to succour their
fellow beings in a most self-sacrificial manner while tens of thousands
of 'ordinary citizens' too were seen lending a ready helping hand to
those who suffered haplessly in the natural catastrophe.
The spontaneous caring and charity which were thus displayed by the
majority of the people of this country have, of course, been warmly
commended by even the world outside, but we need to remember that what
this outpouring of charity proved was that religious teachings and the
Dhamma continue to form the foundation of the collective consciousness
of the people.
In a sense, therefore, the tsunami tragedy was a moment of triumph
for the people of Sri Lanka. They were in a position to prove that
religion could be brought out of its ossified institutionalised forms
and made to serve man - the real purpose of religion. May this spirit of
humanity continue to flourish in our midst, is our prayer.
Besides, at that moment of great crisis on December 26, 2004, Lankans
proved quite adequately that they could reach out to each other in a
spirit of humanity, irrespective of class, caste and creed. Such
man-made barriers simply did not exist as people helped each other
selflessly, caring only for the humanity of the other.
This spirit of caring has taken such proportions that the vast
majority of Lankans are said to be backing the joint mechanism proposal,
which is indispensable for post-tsunami rebuilding. It is our hope that
this spirit of magnanimity would continue to prevail among us.
It could be seen, therefore, that the people are for humanity and
peace. It is only some sections of society - and they are in the
minority - who are opposed to a just peace, based on power-sharing.
Our conclusion is that the people are guided by the Dhamma and left
to themselves would back a peace agreement based on power-sharing
because this is not alien to the core values of our religions. The State
should build on this outpouring of humanity to bring peace to the land.