Desperate Tigers Seek Refuge in Buddhism

by Thomas Johnpulle

(November 29, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The saying ‘devil quoting scriptures’ came true when the LTTE leader in his annual speech mentioned about Buddhist preaching. Although Buddhism teaches non-violence, to the extent I know as a non-Buddhist, it doesn’t require its followers to surrender. On the contrary, it allows its practitioners to invoke their thinking power to apprehend what is right and what is wrong in a given situation. Obviously one cannot preach non-violence to a terror group that has killed hundreds of Buddhist monks, attacked Buddhist shrines from Anuradhapura to Kandy, ethnically cleansed all Buddhists in the north, takes life at will and shows no restraint even to listen to a sermon! May be Lord Buddha can stop the tigers as He stopped the murderer who supposedly made a necklace out of fingers of his victims but it is unlikely that any person can ever handle the tiger leader without violence.

Had Buddhists in this island not responded to violence through violent means, this island would have become part of Tamil Nadu. Sensing this, ancient kings of this country, including Tamils, fought vehemently against invaders. Interestingly some of the most celebrated kings who wiped out Tamil Nadu invaders were ardent Buddhists! For example, kings Dutu-Gemunui, Parakramabahu the Great and Vijayabahu the Great were most violent in the battlefield, yet, were exemplary Buddhists. Unfortunately, modern day politicians who govern this country are too corrupt and fickle-minded that they cannot even be compared to these exemplary Buddhists. Therefore using Buddhism to intimidate them is nothing more than a joke.

On their part Sri Lankans, mostly Buddhists, have shown unparalleled compassion by providing free education, free hospital facilities and free other facilities even to those living in LTTE controlled areas for the entire time span of the war knowing very well LTTE cadres and leaders are exploiting these facilities. Even the LTTE leader himself, his children and wife have fully enjoyed the benefits of government facilities. Food, fertiliser and medicine convoys are sent every week to LTTE controlled areas knowing very well that tigers exploit these for terrorism. No other country in the world can match this. In order to avoid being loonies, compassion should have its bounds.

On the other hand, Pirapaharan has a lot of explaining to do about how the cow – the symbol of past Tamil kingdoms in this island – became the tiger. Also how the tradition of cemeteries came into existence which is alien to Hindu traditions. One may even argue that Rajapaksha and Wickremasinghe are devoted Hindus given the great lengths they go to perform Hindu rituals. Quite interestingly there are sections that claim both these individuals are in fact Christians! Whatever the truth is, one thing is clear; Sri Lankan leaders are god fearing men and women. However, Pirapaharan has long past the point where he could seek refuge in religion and gods.

There is Buddhist symbolic significance in the National Flag. It depicts four leaves of the sacred Bo-Tree, each named after a noble Buddhist humane quality. Further, the orange stripe signifies Hindu religious affiliations while the green stripe corresponds to Islamic blessedness of the Sri Lankan National Flag. On the other hand the flag of the severed-tiger-head only symbolises violence, death and self-destruction. What a noble act it is to replace the flag of the severed-tiger-head with the National Flag containing so many religious overtures. And what a noble task the soldiers of all races are doing in fighting under such a blessed flag. Even without a Christian religious symbol in it, it is no doubt the holiest flag in the world!

The only way Pirapaharan and his band of bandits can enjoy the hospitality of Buddhists is by surrendering to the armed forces and to the laws of the country. If he is thinking of taking countrymen for another ride, he is sadly mistaken. Buddhists and others of this country have seen similar tactics for 2,500 years and they have a tried and tested remedy for that. Facing sure annihilation, the best Pirapaharan can do for the Tamil community is to call off the armed liberation struggle and join the political mainstream. He can never get anything that cannot be gotten from mainstream politics.
- Sri Lanka Guardian