By Sharmini Serasinghe
When it comes to the likes of pseudo religious figures viz,Gnanasara, I refuse to dignify such with revered titles; ‘Thera’, ‘Reverend’ or ‘Venerable’ as others do. To do so, would be a downright insult to all those who are genuinely worthy of it.
As a Sri Lankan, a Buddhist and a Sinhalese, I find this man utterly and completely reprehensible, offensive, an acute source of embarrassment and an irritation; in short, disgusting!
This ‘monk’ has, single handedly denigrated the image of the few authentic and revered Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka, both past and present, and turned the mantra “Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country” into a joke.
Shaving one’s head and donning a saffron robe does not make one a Buddhist monk. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can do that and call himself Ven. Bla BlaBla Thero. This man is nothing but a charlatan in robes and desecrating it in every way possible.
His foster political parents; demagogues of a bygone era appeared to be enchanted by this ageing puppet’s performances back then, and seemingly gave succor to it with impunity by simply looking the other way.
The failure on the part of the authorities back then to call a final halt to the appalling behaviour of this flagrant menace and shut him up for good, gave rise to a new breed of Gnanasara ‘s ilk. Intoxicated by his performances, they developed Dutch courage, took the law into their own hands and ran amok. I predicted this over five years ago in one of my ‘Opinion’ pieces,’Courting Satan in Saffron Robes’ when Gnanasara of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) first raised his ugly head!
Then, with the political regime change in 2015the man appeared to have been subdued but, the relief for us was short lived. The Homagama High Court drama made him erupt like a volcano and got him landed behind bars. This is where the likes of him rightfully belong, for the rest of their lives.Alas, the relief for us was short lived, again.
Upon being bailed out back then, he had to open his gab yet again and thrash all hope of him having reformed, despite being incarcerated like a common criminal.This man has no shame!
Reportedly, his public announcement upon being released was, on the need to educate Buddhist monks on the laws governing this country!!!
By this, was this man implying that pseudo monks like him behave the way they do, as they have no understanding of the laws of this land???
Before his volte-face on the laws of the land and his seemingly new found respect for it, Gnanasara is on record for stating that they of the BoduBalaSena (BBS) would not subject themselves to the Roman Dutch law, which he deemed as ‘suddhage neethiya’ (white man’s law), and would only abide by the law of the Dhamma.
Laws of the Dhamma!!! Does he even know what they are???
Was his performance within the Homagama High Court premises, running riot and hurling invective at the widow of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, and insulting the court and court officials which ultimately landed him behind bars, his idea of the “law of the Dhamma”?
Has he even heard of the Tripitaka let alone the VinayaPitaka; the monastic rules Buddhist monks are required to abide by?
Then he went on to publicly request the Mahanayake Theras (who themselves violate the Vinaya Pitaka with impunity by upholding the repugnant caste system denounced by the Buddha) and the ‘white elephant’ Buddha Sasana Ministry, to include a course on the prevailing law enforcement system in the country, at the end of the Pirivena education or, in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Master of Arts (MA) courses, at the end of any Buddhist education in the country.
To call this man a clown, is a compliment to him and, he’s well advised that it’s better to keep his trap shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt!
According to Chapter II, Article 9 of Sri Lanka’s Constitution, “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly, it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana……..”.
Is this how the State is giving Buddhism the foremost place, protecting and fostering the Buddha Sasana by seemingly granting carte blanch to the likes of Gnanasara, to make a mockery of it? Is he not openly violating the Constitution of this country? Isn’t this tantamount to an act of treason?
Never mind ignorance of the laws of the land or even the Dhamma, the latter which most label bearing Buddhists don’t have a clue of anyway, isn’t it basic human common sense, decency and etiquetteto know how to conduct one’s self, at least within the hallowed precincts of a court house?
The air of defiance and the obvious lack of remorse or shame displayed by this man as he was last bailed out a few days ago only prove, that his theatrics are far from over!!!
In the absence of the Mahanayakes and the State’s seeming inability to have this man disrobed, I ask the ‘legal eagles’ out there, does a citizen of Sri Lanka like myself, have the right in the eyes of the law, to demand him to be disrobed?