by Dr. Upul Wijayawardhana
Rather than discoursing on the profound truths expounded by the Buddha, some Bhikkhus have specialised in telling stories. Worse still, they are spreading canards the latest being that the Buddha was born in Sri Lanka. Though I would love for this to be true, unfortunately, there is no archaeological evidence even to support that the Buddha visited Sri Lanka, leaving aside being born here. The excellent article by Bhante Dhammika of Australia printed in this newspaper proves with archaeological evidence where the Buddha was actually born (Was the Buddha born in Sri Lanka? Sunday Island, 25 October) but I am sure these Bhikkhus and their supporters would disregard archaeological evidence and concoct their own.
Fortunately, caste is a fading entity in modern society only politicians and bhikkhus attempting to keep it alive. I need not dwell much on the utterly disgraceful practice of perpetuating the caste system by some Nikayas, as I have discussed this in detail in my article “Have we let down Gautama Buddha” (The Island, 8 May 2020) except to ask the question: Is it not the height of hypocrisy to deny ordination on the basis of caste when the Buddha decreed that it is not birth but actions that decide whether one is an untouchable or a Brahmin? (Kammna Wasalo Hothi, Kammana Hothi Brahmano)
“We will take trade union action in 48 hours, if our demands are not met” was the recent rallying cry of a trade union leader, in the midst of a grave national emergency, which shocked me for more reason than one. Though the initial grasp in controlling the Covid-19 epidemic seems to have been lost, for whatever reason, and the problem in Sri Lanka is nothing compared to what is happening in the rest of the world, around 300 dying daily of the deadly virus in UK, still we are facing a grave situation as our battered economy is not likely to withstand any more challenges.
In this situation an implied strike, to say the least, is grossly irresponsible. And what is this trade union? A nurses’ union. Are they not supposed to be healing angels? Who is the leader of this union? A Buddhist Priest! Has he forgotten what the Buddha said: “Health is the greatest gain” and “He who would minister to me should minister to the sick”? For a Buddhist priest to even suggest risking patients’ lives is the greatest insult that could be done to the ‘Compassionate One’ who introduced the concepts of ‘Metta, Karuna. Muditha and Upeksha’.
It is a great shame that nurses in Sri Lanka, who are second to none, are not able to find a member of their own profession to lead their trade union. In the country that produced the first female prime minister in the world, is there no lady with leadership qualities to lead the union of a profession still largely dominated by women? It indeed is an outrage for a Buddhist priest to be lead a trade union, nursing or otherwise. Obviously, he is politicking as his latest offer is to lead the opposition to the government! Is he trying to replace Sajith?
It is true that Bhikkhus have come to the rescue of the nation at times of national peril but that does not entitle them to play a part in daily politics, which some of them are doing in various guises. At least partly due to the efforts of one Buddhist Monk who took to a ‘political clean-up campaign to get rid of Rajapaksas’ we had to endure almost five years of a rotten Yahapalanaya, unfortunately. Now another group of Bhikkhus are attempting to dictate to the new government. In fact, one of them had the audacity to state in a press conference “If they want to amend the constitution, they should get our permission first”! Have they forgotten that the government is there to carry out the will of the people, not that of the Sangha? Let them be reminded that Sri Lanka does not belong to them, nor to Sinhala Buddhists alone, but to all citizens.
Bhikkhus entered the parliament and behaved as disgracefully as other elected ‘honourable’ politicians. There were brawls in the well of the House. Disappointed Buddhists stopped voting for Bhikkhus though a party which was formed by them got a seat on the national list but the debacle that followed can only be equalled to antics of the now-doomed UNP! Did the Buddha get involved in politics? Did He go round doling unsolicited advice to the rulers? Definitely not. He maintained a distance and recognised the fact that rulers had to make unpalatable choices at times. He gave advice only when sought. In contrast, some of the modern day ‘political priests’ not only attempt to be king makers but also threaten to bring down the government when it refuses to do what they want, often personal favours. By the actions of a few, unfortunately, the entire Sangha may be tainted as there are many with hidden agendas who are keenly waiting for any opportunity to discredit the Sangha.
I have heard rumours that some Bhikkhus are charging for Bana preaching in various guises. They are selling the Dhamma! However, first-hand confirmation of this came with a recent conversation I had with one of my very dear friends who, unfortunately, lost his daughter to cancer: “When the Hamuduruwo, a renowned preacher whom I invited for the Mataka-Bana sent a message that he needs Rs. 25,000 I was shocked. I had only Rs. 15,000 cash with me which I sent”. This Bhikkhu discharged his noble responsibility for a fee! I am told some others insist that they need their own sound system and charge for that; a simple ruse to sell the Dhamma! We get enraged when a Buddhist exhibits a tattoo of the Buddha but venerate and encourage these businessmen in robes!
I am reminded that Ven, Walpola Rahula accepted invitations for Bana Preachings on the express understanding that no pirikara was offered. In his writings he mentions how guilty he felt after receiving an umbrella after a Bana preaching. He feels he may have indicated that he needs an umbrella but from the time he received it, every time he looked at it, guilt overcame him, that he had sold the Dhamma. I can well understand devotees desire to make an offering as we are made to believe that it adds to our good karma. Just to satisfy that desire if a Bhikkhu accepts a pirikara, perhaps it may be construed as harmless but to preach for profit is totally despicable.
Maybe, I am paving my path to hell by writing this as some Bhikkhus say that criticizing the Sangha is an unpardonable sin. Perhaps, the Buddha may not agree with them had He been alive today. Not only that, He would have been shocked and dismayed by what some members of the Sangha is doing in His name. The greatest achievement of the Buddha is empowering us to seek our own destiny; freeing us from any supernatural overlords. He gave us freedom of thought and laid the foundation for the scientific basis of analysis of questions. He walked miles and miles, most likely barefooted, around large parts of India to pass on His message to all and sundry, explaining in terms each group understood. During his travels, on most nights, the Buddha would have slept under a tree gazing at the night sky above with the vast universe beyond. His bed would have been nothing more than a folded robe. In contrast, what do some of His followers do today? They live in opulence, boast of enlightenment, seek power and profit by selling the Dhamma. What a great shame?
Hair Growth and Thickness
LOOK GOOD – with Disna
Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.
* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.
* Aloe Vera:
Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.
* How to Use:
Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.
* Green Tea:
Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.
* How to Use:
Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.
* Onion Juice:
A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .
* How to Use:
Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.
Fun-loving, but… sensitive
This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.
And, this is how our chit-chat went…
1. How would you describe yourself?
Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.
2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!
3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!
I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.
5. Happiest moment?
When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments
6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.
7. Are you religious?
I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.
8. Are you superstitious?
A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.
9. Your ideal guy?
My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.
10. Which living person do you most admire?
I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him
11. Which is your most treasured possession?
12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?
A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!
13. Your most embarrassing moment?
One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!
14. Done anything daring?
I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.
15. Your ideal vacation?
I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!
16. What kind of music are you into?
The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.
17. Favourite radio station:
I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.
18. Favourtie TV station:
Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.
19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?
Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.
20. Any major plans for the future?
I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.
Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip
The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run
By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage
Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).
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