Category Archives: religiosity

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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Mantovan and Ambos: Two Young European Scholars researching Sri Lankan Issues

 Mantovan  Ambos

The Newsletter of the International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden reveals the interests of two recent Fellows at IIAS who have been delving into Sri Lankan issues in recent times. Herewith some summaries

Giacomo Mantovan is of Italian lineage:

“My research in social anthropology, which focuses on individuals and their relations with their social milieu, and in particular with state authorities, aims to grasp how certain critical times, such as civil war, exile, and illness, become moments of construction of subjectivity and memory.” Continue reading

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Buddhist Monks on Violent Paths. How Come? An Essay in Mid-2013

Alan Strathern, in BBC News,  on 2 May 2013, ….  repeat 2013, with the title being  “Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims?”

Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

At the annual Ananda Harvest Festival in Bagan, Myanmar, thousands of monks from all over Myanmar came to receive alms. While walking around the vast temple grounds, I chanced upon this boy monk who was playing with his toy gun. Even though it was only a toy gun, I found this image a disturbing juxtaposition of the peace that Buddhism embodies and the violence that guns symbolise.

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The Rohingya Issue: Bangladeshi Diplomat in Q and A with Ratnawalli

Darshanie Ratnawalli,  from The Island, 23 September 2017, where the title reads “The Rohingya future generations in danger of radicalization”

When the attractive and affable High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka, called the editor of this newspaper to discuss the Rohingya issue, he was engaging with the people of Sri Lanka in a refreshing act of non-traditional diplomacy.  He was doing for Sri Lanka what the Kofi Annan Report was urging Myanmar and Bangladesh to do, engaging in “dialogue that promotes better mutual understanding, both at the level of the country’s leaders and people-to people ties” because “Myanmar and Bangladesh have different narratives on the challenges along their shared border. Despite the large numbers who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, the popular perception in Myanmar is that the problem is illegal immigration into Myanmar. There are also different historical narratives about the origin of communities and their population growth. These differences can only be narrowed by dialogue.”

 High Commissioner Riaz Hamidulla

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Steven Kemper on Anagarika Dharmapala: A New Study

Steven Kemper: Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, University of Chicago Press,  2015

Anagarika Dharmapala is one of the most galvanizing figures in Sri Lanka’s recent turbulent history. He is widely regarded as the nationalist hero who saved the Sinhala people from cultural collapse and whose “protestant” reformation of Buddhism drove monks toward increased political involvement and ethnic confrontation. Yet as tied to Sri Lankan nationalism as Dharmapala is in popular memory, he spent the vast majority of his life abroad, engaging other concerns. In Rescued from the Nation, Steven Kemper reevaluates this important figure in the light of an unprecedented number of his writings, ones that paint a picture not of a nationalist zealot but of a spiritual seeker earnest in his pursuit of salvation.

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Captain Cook’s Endeavours: Seen as “White Ghosts” by the Guugu Yimithirr People

Trent Dalton, in The Australian, 6 Septmber 2017, where the title is “Cook Rediscovered . Miracle on The Reef,”

She can hear the cannon blasting. She can see the worn, callused hands of Captain Cook’s men touching it. She can see where it sat on the Endeavour before it was desperately heaved overboard into the night-time waters of ­Endeavour Reef to be found 200 years later by researchers from the American Academy of Natural Sciences. Cook historian Michelle Hetherington draws a long breath. There’s no story she can tell more thrilling than the story of the black iron cannon she stares at now in a soft-lit room inside the National Museum of Australia. “This is our actual history sitting in front of us,” she says. “Who touched it? They may have all touched it! This is our link to that voyage in the 18th century.”

A painting of the Little Old Man, a Waymbuurr Warra elder, commissioned by the Cooktown Re-enactment Association.

 

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Anguish!! Reading Mike

 Image from http://sangam.org/sachis-files-chapter-4-2/ by Sachi Sri Kantha, 16 October 2015,

When the essay “Anguish as Empowerment …A Path to Retribution” was presented on the 22nd March 2017, I received several private email comments from good friends. My recent little essay on Ëxtremist Cricket Fans” has led me to look over this set of remarks and a tirade of sorts directed at me by an embittered Tamil nationalist named Kathiravan espousing the cause of Eelam in February 2011 in the Blog Comments within Colombo Telegraph (and rehashed by me in Thuppahi = see ……………………….……………. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/an-angry-tamil-kathiravan-confronts-roberts/).

The unsolicited readings are too valuable to lie in the cupboards and I am waxing bold by presenting them to the world without the permission of my friends within the present reflections on EXTREMISM. Continue reading

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