Category Archives: Buddhism

The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka

Shannine Daniel, courtesy of Roar Media, 6 December 2017, where the title is  “When Architecture and Buddhism Came Together. The Guard Stones Of Ancient Sri Lanka”

The ruins of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms are a testament to the architectural skill of our ancestors. They have several unique architectural features including intricately carved stairs, the moonstones that lie at the foot of the stairs, and the guard stones that are placed on either side of the stairs at the entrances to these historic and religious sites. Among these, the guard stones, known as muragal in Sinhalese, are particularly fascinating. These features of Sinhalese architecture have both practical and decorative purposes.

 Some academics believe that the concept of guard stones found its way to Sri Lanka from India

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Challenging the Present Order: Exemplary Forerunners for Us to Emulate Today

Dayan Jayatilleka, Island, 24 November 2017, where the title reads A Lankan left project: Why Sri Lanka needs a left option”

article_imageCastro , Lenin , Dharmapala , Puran Appu

“Nationalism is not our essential idea, although we do love our homeland dearly. We consider ourselves internationalists…”(Fidel Castro, Economy 98, July 3rd 1998 speech)

“…We’re not very nationalistic. We’re patriots but we’re not very nationalistic…” (Fidel Castro, Talks with US and French journalists, 1983, pp. 34-5)

“We internationalist revolutionaries always say…humanity comes before our country!”
(Fidel Castro Speaks, ed. James Petras p159)

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Religious Dispensations and the Subordination of Women

Upul Wijayawardhana, courtesy of Daily News

The systematic suppression of women, persisting over centuries, has been legitimised, largely by religions and is an art-form mastered by ‘Men in Robes’. At the dawn of civilisation, women were considered superior for the simple reason that only they could produce an offspring for the continuation of the species. There is evidence to show that in Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of civilisation, if not ‘The Cradle of Civilisation’, there was equality. In the early Sumerian period, “a council of elders”, represented equally by men and women, ruled the population but gradually a patriarchal society emerged.

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A Treasure Trove within a Magnificent Colonial Building

Ishara Jayawardane in Daily News, 12 October 2017, where the title is Magnificent historical haven”

Located at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha the National Museum is a majestic construction that is a familiar site to those in Colombo. With a long history, it is one of the most famous of the old Colonial buildings in the country. The Daily News spoke to Archt. Ismeth Raheem on the National Museum where he shared some known insights of the construction of the National Museum.

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Knowledge in the Sinhala World. Yesterday and Today

Sajeeva Samaranayake presents his considered thoughts on the discussions associated with Geedreck Usvatte-Aratchi’s National Trust talk on “Sinhala Attitudes to Knowledge” – which appeared in the Island as well as Thuppahi in August 2017. Emphasis in blue is that of The Editor, Thuppahi; but the black highlights are the author’s.

In the following note I am setting out the findings of Dr. Usvatte Arachchi, my comments thereon and some questions that arise. This is to help move this discussion forward as it appears to be a very critical inquiry into our collective capacity as a Sinhalese speech community.

 Samaranayake    Usvatte-Aratchci

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Reflections on the Violent Buddhist Responses to Islam in Lanka and Burma

Stephen Labrooy

Ravi Velloor’s  article in THUPPAHI drew a private comment from Stephen Labrooy in Sri Lanka which is food for thought in itself, but carries particular value because it comes from Sri Lankan Burgher of some seniority[1] who has travelled abroad and presently serves as President of the Dutch Burgher Union. I have queries on several points and raised just two hurriedly (see below); but the “memorandum” has useful ethnographic information, while running several inter-related arguments. Hence its airing here.

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Dayan Jayatilleka counters Gerald Peiris

Dayan Jayatilleka, in Island, 6 October 2017, with title The rise of the Sinhala fundamentalist new right: Response to Prof GH Peiris” the emphasis below being that of the Editor Thuppahi

Philosophy, said Kautilya (Chanakya) in the Arthashathra, deals primarily with the right and wrong use of force. At least from that time, it was recognized that there is a right way and a wrong way of doing even what is necessary or unavoidable. This was of course the very premise of the Just War doctrine of Christian theologians St Ambrose, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. A war had to be for the right cause and the right cause was not self-evident or merely self-referential and self–proclaimed. It needed to pass certain criteria to qualify. This too was not enough. For war to be just it not only needed to satisfy the criteria for a just cause but be fought by just means, which too needed to meet certain criteria to warrant the appellation. Modern theologians, especially of the Protestant persuasion, have added a third criterion, that of Just Peace, i.e. of the outcome of the war.

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