Posts Categorized: Religion

Engaging Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism

by Neil DeVotta, ‘The Review of Faith & International Affairs,’ Summer 2016 Engaging Sinhalese Buddhist Majoritarianism and Countering Religious Animus in Sri Lanka Recommendations for the Incoming U S Administration This essay, consequently, discusses the Sinhalese Buddhist-Muslim dynamic in the country as part of its focus on religion and public life in Sri Lanka. The… Read more »

Buddhist Heritage of Tamil Nadu and its Links with Lanka

By Dr. Nirmala Chandrahasan, ‘The Island,’ Colombo, Novermber 12, 2013 The cultural affinities between Tamil Nadu our closest neighbour and Sri Lanka are many but little is known of the religious ties which bound the two countries between the early years of the Christian era and the 14th century AD, during which time Buddhism was… Read more »

Muslim Perspectives 2007

Muslim Perspectives on SL Conflict East West Center 2007 The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is often regarded as a two-way contest between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority, ignoring the interests and concerns of the island’s 8 percent Muslim (or “Moorish”) minority. One-third of Sri Lanka’s Muslims are concentrated in towns and districts located… Read more »

How the Chola Flag left a Mark in Lanka

The journey in search of trans-oceanic art traditions reveals how the Chola rule in Sri Lanka made an indelible mark on the island nation’s history and brought about changes in the socio-economic and cultural spheres.Two Chola temples, namely Siva Devalayas, in Polonnaruva are the important Chola monuments in the island nation, according to S Kannan,… Read more »

The Darker Side of Buddhism

The principle of non-violence is central to Buddhist teachings, but in Sri Lanka some Buddhist monks are being accused of stirring up hostility towards other faiths and ethnic minorities. Their hard line is causing increasing concern. The small temple in the suburbs of Colombo is quiet. An image of the Buddha is surrounded with purple… Read more »

Identity & The Island’s Political Order

What Tamils would call ‘The National Question.’ — Ed/

The only debate is which nation that is: Sri Lankan or Sinhalese. I’d say both.

The claim of Tamil nationhood is the flip side, the other way, of the expressing the refusal to accept that on this island the Tamils are a national minority… The Tamil delusion is that on this island they are entitled to the same political status, weight, space and share of power as the Sinhalese who are a vast majority. The Tamils cannot have the same weight and space in the island’s political order…

It is too small and vulnerable to experiment with loose centrifugal forms of state. Sri Lanka needs a strong single state which covers the natural borders of this island.

Sri Lanka’s Violent Buddhists

BANGALORE, India — When I met Watareka Vijitha Thero in early 2014 in a suburb of Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, he had been in hiding for nearly five months. The gentle-voiced monk had spoken out against anti-Muslim fearmongering by a hard-line group called the Buddhist Power Force, known by its Sinhalese initials B.B.S. Mr…. Read more »

CM Wigneswaran Speech at World Hindu Congress

Wigneswaran_Address_Hindu_Congress_N_Amended In Post war Sri Lanka there has been a virulent rise of religious intolerance particularly towards minority religions by groups that enjoy the protection of the Government. Such has been their activities that His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a public plea to stop religious persecution in the name of Buddhism. The power of… Read more »

Invoking the Goddess

The goddess descends from the wind and cloud and sky
She looks at the sorrows of Sri Lanka with her divine eyes
— Excerpt from Pahan Pujava (offering of lights) quoted in Gananath Obeyesekere, The Cult of the Goddess Pattini (Chicago: 1984).

Deadly Alliances Against Muslims

On his 79th birthday in July, the Dalai Lama appealed to Buddhist extremist groups in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to stop instigating attacks against Muslim minorities that have killed scores. Instead, in an affront to Buddhism’s core message of compassion, leaders of those groups announced an alliance to make common cause against Muslims. “The time… Read more »

Kannagi-Pattini – a Symbol of Resilience to the Women Left Behind

‘Invoking the Goddess’ Exhibit One heat-stunned afternoon, I climbed onto a bicycle and started pedalling through the streets of Jaffna. That weekend the city blushed with a great sun and I swerved my bicycle over to the shadowy parts of the streets as I pedalled. Women walked alongside the roads, wearing bright coloured saris and… Read more »

Draupadi’s Shades of Dark

by Lora Tomas, ‘Himal,’ Kathmandu, September 12, 2014 We were welcomed by nine supposedly different representations of Durga’s various aspects, all exact lookalikes. Standing upright, one next to the other, they resembled a crew of Bollywoodised flight attendants: blindingly white and tawdry mannequins with flagrantly rouged lips stretched into Mona Lisa smiles. It seemed as… Read more »

BBC: Bishop Swamipillai Interview re 1990 Massacre

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025ynjz Sri Lanka Massacre Duration:  10 minutes On September 9, 1990, 184 Tamil refugees were killed by the Sri Lankan army at Batticaloa in the east of the island during the civil war between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. Farhana Haider has been speaking to the Bishop of Batticaloa, Kingsley Swampillai, who was… Read more »

CPA: Attacks on Places of Religious Worship

CPA Attacks on Places of Religious Worship   INFOGRAPHIC: Religious Violence in Post-War Sri Lanka 16 September 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Religious tensions have been exacerbated in post-war Sri Lanka, contrary to claims by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that attacks against places of religious worship are isolated incidents. In Mach 2013, the Centre for… Read more »

A Reflection on Just Reconciliation

by Bishop Duleep de Chickera, ‘The Island,’ Colombo, September 4, 2014. History concealed An acquaintance returned from a recent visit to Jaffna to announce it as one of the best holidays she had ever had. The hotels were good, the food delicious, there were numerous places to visit and of course the roads were excellent…. Read more »

Destruction of Christian Churches in Sri Lanka

If the reader has more accurate information, please submit… 1.) Tamil Centre for Human Rights, Paris, France, “World Heritage in Sri Lanka – Buddhist Sites Only,” June 1, 2012, but original list dated 2/12/2004  http://www.tchr.net/pr_on_religious_freedom.pdf a.) For full list of damaged and destroyed churches – http://www.tchr.net/religion_churches.htm  (Entire list copied below) or from 2004 TCHR_Christian_Hindu  b.) Christian Churches attacked/destroyed/damaged and assaults  by… Read more »

Destruction of Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka

If the reader has more accurate information, please submit… 1.)  M. Neiminathan, “Destruction of Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka,” March 28, 2014, published by the Federation of Saiva (Hindu) Temples U.K. 288, Haydons Road, Wimbledon, London SW 19 8JZ,  Source World Hindu News http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/destruction-of-hindu-temples-in-sri-lanka/ “Since 1977 the number of Hindu temples damaged, desecrated or destroyed by the bombing, shelling,… Read more »

India’s Sri Lanka Policy Must Include Caution

New Delhi’s foreign policy towards Sri Lanka so far has been characterized by oscillation and inconsistency. It had been unduly defined by Tamil Nadu in the 1980s and is now being increasingly influenced by hazy notions of South Asian integration and “Hindu Buddhist unity”, the latter fuelled by ill-informed sections of the RSS. The latter… Read more »