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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

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Protection through Pirith

In the perilous time, when diseases and maladies are appearing like hydras head is it useful to consider how Pirith could be used as a preventive measure in addition to the other precautions presently advocated and in use.

The Ratana Sutta, which was used to quell wide spread disease in the city of Vesali during the Buddha’s time could be chanted in Buddhist homes as a protective measure.

The effect would be greater if a person has faith about its efficacy as a preventive measure. For reaping its benefits, it should be chanted in a serene atmosphere, like in a shrine room, as there is an invitation to the deities of the ten thousand fold world systems, to give ear to the word of the Buddha.

It should be recited in the natural way and not in an artificial musical tone, as in some renditions, for its full benefit to accrue.

Another Piritha that could be recited as a protective measure, is the Khandha Piritha, as it is one for the protection of the aggregates i.e. a being. It is not necessary to recite an entire Sutta but the effective portion would be sufficient which starts from Virupakkehi me meththam... to -namo saththanam samma sambuddhananthi.

The essence of this Sutta is the generation of loving kindness (Metta) to all beings that is “without feet, with two feet, with four feet and many feet” and the thought that none of these could cause harm to the person (mosquitoes included).

The Piritha also recalls the immeasurable qualities of the Triple Gem and seek protection therein from external sources.

The Mora Piritha, which was a practice of the Bodhisathwa could also be used as a protective measure, especially from enemy action. It should be borne in mind that paying obeisance to the Triple Gem and seeking refuge therein should be taken as an initial step for greater effect.

Gratitude for saving country

All Sri Lankans are now a very happy because now we can breathe good air without thinking of a bomb explosion in the country. So far we lived thinking of our loved ones who are living in the city or who are travelling within the country. We do not now think about the tragedies which were a normal thing in the past. So we all are now free citizens.

Even the Tamils are free from the clutches of LTTE who had no clear life and who did not have a free mind. Our heroic soldiers had made us happy forever. They laid their lives for our better living.

We thank the President, Commanders of the Armed Forces and the Defence Secretary for straight forward fighting the LTTE and destroying them in the name of peace-loving people of the country.

Ban manufacture of cigarettes

It is very sad to find that smoking in public places still continues in spite of stringent rules imposed by the Government.

The worst of it is that even the very guardians of law - the Policemen in their uniform enter the hotels and buy cigarettes and start smoking in the hotel causing inconvenience to non-smokers seated there to have tea or shorteats.

If the policemen violate the Law, how can they control the common masses using public places for smoking? Who will take action against the policemen?

The only possible solution to this problem of ending the practice of smoking in public places or in private places, is complete ban of smoking by bringing the special Act to ban manufacturing of all varieties of smoking cigarettes, cigars, beedies etc. by the commercial companies.

Then, there cannot be cigarettes or cigars in the market or shops to buy and smoke. If anyone illegally manufactures such things for smoking, he or she must be prosecuted in the courts. Therefore, let the righteous Government boldly take this action immediately.

The Kandyan peasantry

The monsoon rains bring disaster to the Kandyan villagers perched at the mountains bordering extensive estates left behind by the British.

The Kandyan tragedy begins with the Kandyan Convention of 1815 and the rebellion of 1818. The Convention of 1818 took away the rights of the people enshrined in the convention of 1815, confirming the doubts and fears of Ven. Wariyapola Sumangala the monk with great foresight.

Now that a great victory has been won in the North liberating the people of the North and East from the clutches of a murderous tyrant distinguished as a freedom fighter, it is time to liberate the Kandyan from the clutches of the colonial hangovers.

Vast stretches of Kandyan lands have been swallowed up by the tea estates. Peasants live on the edge of the estate on lands subject to earthslips, while thousands of estate lands remain intact. Colonial British surveyors chose the best and safest lands to be cultivated as estates.

The genocide of 1818 and the ‘scorched earth’ policy left the Kandyans bereft of all males over 4 years and under 60 years of age. All fruit bearing trees were cut down and paddy fields set aflame. Today in Welimada there is a village called Palugama (desolate village) which is a living testimony to the travails of the Kandyan peasantry.

The stupor to which the Kandyan peasantry has fallen after the rebellions of the eighteen hundreds, must be shaken off. It is time that the lush Kandyan hills and dales went back to the rightful owners, the Kandyan peasantry.

May the victorious cries at the North reverberate in the Kandyan hills.

A different Captain

Personally I am happy to see how Kumar Sangakkara talks to the world press, and all cricket fans in the language of the Forefathers’ of the game, but more eloquent than them. The way he addresses is better than the best of them.

However what I considered absolutely magnificent was the way he addressed OUR people, in SINHALA, which I believe (please correct me if I am mistaken) is the very first time a Sri Lankan Cricket Captain, or even maybe for any other sport, did so.

It makes me prouder as I have had the opportunity to be officially, together for a very short time at a Bank where he worked. All of us on this small island wish the best to our Cricket team, ably led by Kumar Sangakkara.

Anti-intellectual behaviour of university students

I read with much interest Prof. Shantha Hennayake’s article titled ‘Anti-intellectual behaviour of university students’ in the Daily News of June 23.

I am completely in agreement with Prof. Hennayake when he says that student leaders of the JVP continue to see the world through the failed extremist socialist dogma which preaches that eliminating the rich is the only means of eradicating poverty, by hating affluence, money, profit, private capital, economic competition, globalization and innovation.

What the JVP student leaders and university students especially in the arts faculties should realize is that eliminating the rich will make everyone poor and such theoretical ideas do not make sense in the real world. There is no point in hating affluence. We must strive to be affluent both as a people and a country.

The best examples of such countries in the region are Malaysia and Singapore.

We have to accept that we live in an economically globalized world where money, profit, private capital and economic competition are part and parcel of daily life. We might not be globalized politically, but we are most certainly globalized economically.

Seat-belts? Ha ha!

I have seen a news item which states “It is compulsory for the people to wear their seatbelts when travelling....”

If the authorities are going to implement this rule for individuals who are travelling by private vehicle, what about the hundreds who travel by public transport without any seat belts?

What about those hanging over the footboards and hanging onto dear life by hanging on to luggage carriers and window frames in public transports?

Are the authorities concerned over a single private individual risking his life without a seat-belt or is it that they do not care two hoots to the hundreds of commuters who are travelling by buses and trains and other forms of public transport if they travel without their seat-belts?

Can anyone intimate to the public as to the logic of enforcing an individual in a private car to wear his seat belts and those in other public transports need not.!!!

Kadirgamar’s lesson

R. de Silva’s letter, Lakshman Kadirgamar’s lesson, reminds me of an experience I had with Mr. Kadirgamar.

After offering me accommodation at the prestigious ‘London House’ hostel for overseas students, then Warden Colonel Wilson made the comment “We have had an excellent predecessor from your country and I do hope you would maintain the same standards.”

At that point I had no clue as to who this person was as Mr. Kadirgamar was much senior to me but later came to know that it was him and when I met him much later in Washington DC and mentioned this to him, the humble gentleman’s comment was “the Warden must have been joking”.


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