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Andare on Tamil Buddhists

By Andare

(June 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I, Andare, do not know whether to cry or laugh when someone who claims to be speaking on the behalf of Sinhala Buddhists expresses unhappiness at the news that there has been Tamil Buddhists in North and East. Surely anyone would be happy to hear that ones who are alike are found somewhere else also. One would have thought that there would be Kiribath and Kavum or even the government declaring a national holiday to celebrate this occasion. If Christians or a Muslims were told that Tamils one time belonged to their religion they would rush there and try to get them to their fold again. But these people are unhappy to hear that Gautama Buddha had followers among Tamils. To me it is an indication that people have lost the sense of humour.

Now let me try to be little political, though this is not something I am good at. If people want a unitary state, what better argument is there than the discovery that we have common cultural links? This means we can live together. Of course, if an LTTE "historian", denied the truth of this discovery that is understandable. If there were Tamil Buddhists, it meant some form of mutual understanding and homogeneity had existed between Sinhalese and Tamils in the past. That destroys the argument for separation.

So why do any Sinhala Buddhists want quarrel about the history of Tamils having been Buddhists in the past? Andare sees this as an incongruity and incongruity is the essence of a joke. Imagine you suddenly meet a brother of yours who had been abducted in the past and who you may have been thought dead. Would that new discovery make you unhappy? If I had access to the king as I had in my previous birth, I would have advised him to order the teaching of a lesson on Tamil Buddhists in all schools throughout the country, so that children will grow up with a sense of friendship towards each other.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

2 comments

mithra said...

Andare,

We all agree that Tamils and Singhaleses are more or less of the same ethnicity – religions & languages cause the difference.

Singhalese who becomes Shivaite and able to speak Tamil is easily integrated into Tamil folks.

In Sri Lanka, when a Tamil speaking person becomes Buddhist, he obtains a substantial understanding of Pali. With little Pali, you are straight into mastering Singhala. So, in this case, the Tamil Buddhist becomes a Singhala.

Transformation is complete in one generation!

The separatists, not finding any trace of a permanent Tamil settlement in SL before the Dutch instigated migration, invented Tamil Buddhist thing to justify the home land, through the ruins of Buddhist temples in NE ! ! !. Very soon you will hear that all those temples were Tamil ! ! !

Ayyooo, Andere – Umbaee Kateth Pass, Maegaee Kateth Pass.

Tissa said...

Well said Andare,

A lot of research has been done recently in South India about Tamil Buddhism in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka by Dr. Shu Hikosake, Director and Professor of Buddhism, Institute of Asian Studies. The ancient Tamils seems to have contributed a lot to the Pali cannon Tripitika. Unfortunately, today there is hardly any Tamil Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The prominence given to Buddhism in the Sri Lankan constitution should not be a hindrance to Tamils if they are aware that the ancient Tamils of Sri Lanka were also Buddhists.

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