Buddhism survived without state apparatus support during British colonial days I refer to the article, “Buddhism and a new Constitution,” by Rajah Kuruppu in the Sunday Times of April 10. Whatever our likes and dislikes, the current state of politics will not allow for any change in Articles 9 and 10 of the Constitution, which [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



Buddhism survived without state apparatus support during British colonial days

I refer to the article, “Buddhism and a new Constitution,” by Rajah Kuruppu in the Sunday Times of April 10. Whatever our likes and dislikes, the current state of politics will not allow for any change in Articles 9 and 10 of the Constitution, which refer to Buddhism and other religions. Apart from constitutional provisions, recent governments have been intervening in religious affairs and such interventions have not been conducive to the promotion of Buddhism in this country. These interventions have led to a politicisation of religion and the takeover of some Buddhist temples by politicians. Instead of promoting the letter and spirit of Buddhism, the religion has been made a tool by corrupt individuals for their own ends.

There are many lessons to be drawn from the experience of Buddhism during British Colonial rule. The State did not protect Buddhism, and might even have been unfriendly towards it. However, Buddhism survived the neglect by the State, as it was protected by the Buddhist people with a greater dedication than even today. The State is not necessary to protect Buddhism if the Buddhist people in their large numbers rally to promote it with their own resources, supporting temples and other religious occasions. Anagarika Dharmapala achieved much in the face of a hostile government, both here and in India. That is an example to be emulated. Buddhist education in the 19th and early 20th centuries was promoted by many great men and women. Temples were looked after through philanthropic activities, from both rich and poor. It is appropriate for us to learn from the experience of British days when Buddhism survived without the support of a state apparatus. The intervention of the State to promote Buddhism, from what can be observed from the experience of the last 10 years, appears to be detrimental to the right practice and preaching of Buddhism.

Leelananda De Silva
Via email

What a load they have to bear!

The health hazards caused due to the use of `knapsack` school bags have been discussed quite often. However, the main cause of the hazards which is the weight the child is compelled to carry has not received adequate attention.I do not know whether any study of this problem has been done in this country but studies done in some other countries have shown that any weight in excess of 15 percent of the body weight of the child is injurious to health and could result in neck, shoulder and back pain in the short term and even to irreversible spinal problems in the long term.

In addition the physical condition of the child and the fact that some children have to carry the bags up several flights of stairs to their classrooms are matters that should be considered.

This is a matter that should receive the urgent attention of all parents, the school authorities and the education authorities.


It was a blessing to be treated by the doctors and nurses at the National Hospital

My husband who was experiencing an acute heart pain was admitted on September 4, 2015, to the O.P.D. Section of the National  Hospital. The hospital management team of Doctors and Nurses took quick and efficient action and he was sent to the E.T.U. (Emergency Treatment Unit).

My thoughts were frozen and I was almost numb. At such a moment, the doctor’s statement about his current condition was a relief, his kindness is greatly appreciated. Later my husband was transferred to Ward 60.

The cardiologist and the other doctors checked on my husband’s state with so much concern. An angiogram was needed and it was done without any delay. Later I was told that a stent has to be put. Though I was panicking thinking about the way to find the best suitable stent, the hospital made it happen effectively.

The doctors and nurses I met in Ward 70 and Ward 71 were generous and kind. They treated the patients with much concern and care. Without them, total recovery for the patients wouldn’t be possible. Thus it’s indeed a blessing to be under the care of such generous doctors and nurses.

All the necessary medicine was provided by the hospital. I am so grateful. Everything for my husband was done efficiently and effectively, because of the proper authority and guidance given by the Director General of National Hospital.

My husband, my children and I sincerely thank the Director, the cardiologist and rest of the doctors, nurses and other members of the staff with so much gratitude.

For every heart patient I recommend the Colombo  National Hospital. It’s a treasure we Sri Lankans are blessed with. We are deeply indebted for the tremendous and unique service they render towards the heart patients.

Ruwani Fernando

Since coconuts are expensive maybe we should start another game

Dashing of coconuts is a custom that has come to Sri Lanka with the advent of Hindu culture. This habit is performed only in front of Devalas where Hindu deities are revered. However, some deities such as Vishnu, Kataragama and Saman have been imbibed into Sri Lankan culture. When a calamity is being faced, Sri Lankans are in the habit of making an offering to a Deity whom they like best.

In the beginning of the last century there had been an epidemic of dysentery (an infection of the bowels that causes diarrhoea) throughout the island. A reader of a leading Sinhala Newspaper, then, Sarasavi Sandresa, had asked the Editor ,whether it was proper to dash coconuts (Deviyanta  Pol geheema hondada ?) to avoid the calamity. The Editor had replied in a humorous manner, “I do not know if it is proper to dash coconuts, but it is better to use a coconut husk (Pol mudu geheemanan  hondai )

Now that the prices of coconuts have gone up, why not commence another game as the expected results don’t seem to have materialised.

An old hand
Via email

If you know this song please make it known to C.T.’s son

Reading the news item titled ‘ Funny Money now in town’ in the Sunday Times, Plus-Arts page , of March 13,
I am reminded of a song sung by late  C.T.Fernando when he was a schoolboy at St. Mary’s College, Nawalapitiya in the early 1940s. It was at a inter-school drama competition and I could yet remember a few lines. Here’s how it goes. He got the first prize for his performance as a beggar

  Puduma Loke Puduma Kaasi

      Magula Kaasi, Marana Kaasi

      Puduma Loke Puduma Kaasi

      Yamek loke Hamuduru bawa ganne, kaasi hindai

(Wonderful world, wonderful money  -  It is money for weddings or funerals and  priests don robes for the sake of money )

If any old timer knows this song, please make it available  to C.T.’s son who sings his father’s songs so that he can popularise it as money is worshipped today.

Via e-mail


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