Let’s extend Maithri, loving kindness to Prabakaran

An observation by VW

(April 10, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the past we have forgiven the Japanese for war crimes committed; in the Sri lanka, Karuna and Pillayan bringing them into the mainstream of democracy. The families of those 600 police officers blind-folded and shot in the eastern jungles by the LTTE have picked up the pieces and moved on with their lives, not only burying the past but also extending compassion and loving kindness to those who inflicted misery into their lives.

I cannot think of a better date than today to write this piece. It is Bak Poya and I was turning the channels when most of the TV stations were telecasting Dhamma sermons. One sermon was almost ending and the Venerable monk speaking on Karaneeya metha sutra concluded by saying, ‘Let many people hate us, we will love them. Let the whole world hate us, we will extend Maithri’. This was beautiful I thought, particularly at a time the war against the LTTE is coming to an end.

Everyone is wondering what the so called LTTE supremo will do when the people held in his clutches as sheilds will risk the LTTE bullets and run away as the inmates of Sorbibor camp did. The time heals and finds the remedy, they say. Similarly Karma comes back one way or another. Prabakaran is no exception for that time and karma .

Of course there were many facets in our conflict. We have lived to watch the various episodes under different eras which unfold the truth that polity and society of Sri Lanka since independence have created the monsters such as Prabakaran and Wijeweera.

There is no need to differentiate the two races because the circumstances in which the two insurgencies thrived in their respective periods were similar. Poverty, social discrimination, lack of opportunities, abuse of power, practice of caste , you name it, we had all that in our country. And there is no guarantee that Wijeweeras and Prabakarans will not surface in the future.

Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, these so called heroes who emerged to fight injustice and bring prosperity to people also became the worst enemies of the masses whom they were pledged to protect and fight for. Ironically, one sure element that rescued the people was the curse of the kith and kin, relatives, and friends of those who were eliminated by terrorism which gathered as a tornado to wipe out these outfits and that is what we see today with the LTTE.

Prabakaran was clinging onto the demand which no country in the world would advocate. He wanted a country for a mono ethnic community while rest of the Tamils were living peacefully with the Sinhalese elsewhere. No propaganda machine or an NGO could hide that fact.

Prabakaran killed too many people as if he was addicted to taking lives. This prevented him from coming out of his hideout someday to live with people even if his dream of a separate state had come true. Prabakaran saw the danger from his own community after annihilating the Tamils who spoke against him if one remembers the infamous lamp post killings in Jaffna when he started the movement and the annihilation of cadres of other Tamil movements thereafter.

Then he forgot the universal truth. Old age and decay which all of us are subject to. He is no longer strong to command the LTTE. He has been sick and most of his lieutenants are dead and we do not see any more titles being given by Prabakaran to them. If not with a bullet or a cyanide capsule, Prabakaran is also going to die anyway.

He made Sinhalese pay more than the price they should without accepting the fact that 83 July riots were not caused by the average Sinhalese Buddhists. It was orchestrated by the thugs, hooligans, robbers and politically motivated groups. If one asked who saved the Tamils running for cover. NGOs? No, the Sinhalese. I wonder how many Tamils who are flourishing abroad have thanked these Sinhalese who risked their lives to protect them , offered shelter and fed them until they were taken to safe places.

Even if the total blame is to be shouldered by the Sinhalese for the July riots, hasn’t Prabakaran taken the vengeance already several folds over? Or how many more Sinhalese he wants to kill and display his performance to the Diaspora.

Prabakaran went on duel purpose missions through his attacks on civilians. First was the sheer hatred he had towards Sinhalese. Second, he eagerly sought riots to repeat to sustain his operation and develop the military outfit. He went on killing Sinhala villagers, monks, women, children for decades and even used suicide cadres to kill these civilians travelling in busses and gathering in places. He never succeeded because riots were simply a history.

Prabakaran saw this moment of truth coming to him some day. He knew that the government always had the fire power to beat the LTTE. Prabakaran never established a true military outfit to fight the might of the government.

We could see it today when his areas get cleared day by day contrary to the thoughts otherwise. What did he do with all those dollars and sterlings he was collecting for decades? The Tamil Diaspora, should be asking this question from the LTTE collectors and also ask themselves why there is lack of integration into the societies of the countries where they have settled. It’s too late now for those demonstrations instigated by the LTTE supporters.

The momentum was gathering to defeat terrorism in this country. What the country lacked all these years was the right combination and little bit of luck. The morale was always there but without the leadership. It took nearly 30 years for karma to turn the other way so that Prabakaran’s plans to silence the two top leaders in the battle also failed.

The same karma was nourished by the Sinhalese who never got provoked by the massacres after massacres of Innocent civilians. The Maithri that was so extended has paid the dividends. Let’s continue on that path so that there will be no ground for terrorism to flourish in the future.

Let the trial take its course. Prabakaran must live to see the calamities he caused to the people both Sinhalese and Tamils. Let him also answer the Diaspora as to what he did with all the dollars he was extorting from them for decades. Let the judiciary in the country deal with Prabakaran. The judiciary has after all given us enough proof that no one gets away with blood or money in their hands. There is no chance therefore that Prabakaran can be saved from the justice even if he is surrounded by a battery of lawyers.

Let the Sinhalese extend Maithri to Prabakaran and rest of his remaining military men and women. They need to see that Sinhalese practice Buddhism in this country. Buddha turned Angulimala to an Arahath. Who knows , Prabakaran might turn out to be reformed Angulimala while reviewing all his actions inside the jail. Buddha’s words Nahi Verena Verani would then be meaningful from the view point of practicing Buddhists in the country.

The writer VW can be contacted by Email: vw0684@gmail.com
-Sri Lanka Guardian
Tudor the Canadian said...

I think it is a wonderful letter.Maithri ,law and punishment go hand in hand.Perhaps Sri lanka can have a bright future if they chose the right path.Regardless of what the politicians do it will be up to the ordinary citizens who can bring about peace,understanding and respect of each other regardless of ones differences.It will take years this recover from thos ordeal so parents,religious leaders and teachers can start at the kindergarden level and teach the young the proper path.Discrimination can be got rid of but it takes time sometimes generations.Even in the so called pious western countries who seem to advice the whole world discrimination still exists but declining by every generation.Laws or division of land alone will not protect minorities but the love of the majority towards the minority is what matters.Of course vice versa.We as former residents of that beautiful land can only pray for them and give a helping hand if and whenever asked if its for a noble cause not to buy weapons of destruction.

Corey said...

Yes, let's extend maithree to this psychopathic mass-murderer. Yet the karma this maniac has created for himself will ensnare him in the Four Worlds of HEll for eons to come.


Sinaha said...

Tudor the Canadian: You have no idea who these Tamils are. It is pretty easy for anyone to in Canada to asks us Sri Lankans to become Saints for a day, when we have become the targeted victims of Tamil terror. So preach that sermon to the Anglophones who detest Francophones for seeking separation from Canada.

middlepath said...

As a Buddhist, I say, "Nice thought, but utterly foolish"!

The Buddha never instructed to do foolish things even in the name of Maithriya.

Prabhakaran was let go by Pres. JRJ, in his Dharmishta philosphy, and what did Prabhakaran do?? Turned right back and bit the hand that released him, and we have had repeated cycles of war for over 2 more decades.

Do we still want more rounds of terror in Sri Lanka?
No!, No!! and NO again!!!

Bishan said...

I think this is a great letter. I think the philosophy of Buddhism can be used effectively in dealing with all conflicts.

The suggestion by the author is a kind an noble one, which i also feel should be followed - that Sri Lankans should offer Maithri for all invloved in this conflict including Prabakaran himself. By harboring hatred we only hurt ourselves. (actually it doesn't matter which side of a conflict you sit on)

I would like to re-iterate that where Pilliyan and Karuna have committed terrible crimes, as had done elements of the JVP, however Sri Lanka has shown it is capable of forgiving given that they entered mainstream politics and dropped their previously held violent tactics. War and conflict is a terrible thing for which I believe we all bear the Karmic consequences. The sooner violence ceases and we turn to Maithri for all involved, the better for everyone.

Praying for an end to this conflict soon. And towards building of nation that we can all live peacefully within.

I believe it can happen!

kahagalle said...

The writer may be a LTTE sympathizer. Anyway forgiving people for their crimes may be a godly thing to do. But none of us are gods, so forget it. Anyway if these people renounce violence and meaningfully regret for their mistakes, perhaps there may be some kind of accommodation. However, for Prbhakaran, who apply no norm for his cruel conduct, should be penalized under the law for his crimes. There should not a pardon of any sort in a society the hapless Somapla get death sentence and more affluent Jayewardene’s’ and Bandaranaike’s go scot free.
The writer calls of 600 policemen who died as cattle. Then the two Army camps LTTE ran over and killed more than 2000 soldiers have to be discarded as cattle fodder. All the suicide bombings, killing of moderate Tamils, Prime Ministers should be treated as history. Then why this war crimes tribunals and spend such enormous funds. Then why on earth we hunt for Bin Laden. Why could not we give pardon to Saddam Husain? The writer is out of track or may be has committed crimes and want to go scot free.

Bishan said...

Dear Middlepath and Kahagalle, to me you seemed to have misinterpreted the original article that was written.

eg Kahagalle said "Then why on earth we hunt for Bin Laden. Why could not we give pardon to Saddam Husain?"

which implies that you felt the original article was suggesting that Prabakaran should be "released" without charge, or go free from his crimes.

Contrary to this view, my interpretation of original article was quite different. Let us look at the words that are written above more carefully (after all this is what we are discussing):-

[excerpt from original article]

"Let the trial take its course. Prabakaran must live to see the calamities he caused to the people both Sinhalese and Tamils..... There is no chance therefore that Prabakaran can be saved from the justice even if he is surrounded by a battery of lawyers."

My impression is that the author is saying - do not "kill Prabakaran" something the Buddha would have never advocated - I'm sure "Middlepath" would agree with this (I would hope?). And also find in our heart forgiveness. You can forgive a criminal without dropping the charges, the judiciary system is there for this purpose (just as was the case with Saddam Hussein and Milosovich).

When one maintains hatred it only acts to hurt ourselves and society - it doesn't bring back those who died, and it doesn't solve the conflict in the future!

To quote from the Buddha in the Metta Sutra "May all being be at ease! Whatever living being there may be, Whether they are weak or strong, Omitting none.... Let none through through anger or ill will, wish harm upon another - Even as mother protects with her life her child, her own child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings.. freed from hatred and ill will"

This was not advice for "gods" as one commenter stated, but for human beings like you or I.

There are just my views dear friends, and food for thought. Again thank you to the author for the original articles, and thanks also to the commenters for sharing their view points. Only by dialogue will we achieve better understanding. With better understanding will come peace.

May all being be at peace!


“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

“Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected”

(quotes by Mahatma Gandhi)

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that"

(Martin Luther King, Jr.)