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Malwatthe Priest stoops to a New Low

By Jay A Suranimala, Melbourne, Australia

Not so long ago, the Malwatthe Mahanayaka refused to join eminent Sinhala Buddhist patriots such as Dr Anula Wijesundara in presenting the final report of the 'Buddha Sasana Commission' to Her Excellency the President. The venerable Mahanayaka said that "as a principle, he does not either join any protests or partake in any political activity, as such the final report of the Buddha Sasana Commission could not be treated with any difference". Three to four weeks after that the Venerable Mahanayaka was seen pandering to Minister Thondaman when he made a statement that he is against building of the Upper Kothmale Reservoir. This was after full clearance given to building the reservoir by the Environmental Protection Authority of Sri Lanka.


At present the community is paying Rs 11.50 for a unit of thermal power when this could be generated at less than Rs 4 using hydropower. The magnitude of the priest's naivety is breathtaking to say the least. It is common knowledge that the venerable priest also had lunch at Minister Thondamans house soon after making the traitorous comment about the Upper Kothmale reservoir. I reiterate it was lunch, not an arms giving, as Minister Thondaman, who is a devoted Hindu, is not in a position to offer a 'dane' in the true traditional Buddhist sense as he would not even be in a position to observe pansil.


Early this week, Daily Mirror reported that it is pay back time for the venerable priest. Minister Thondaman has rewarded the Malwaththe Chapter with a donation of Rs 2.5million. One needs to ask how the minister got his hands on this money? Is it Government money from the public purse or is it money from Ceylon Workers Congress? If not, one needs to know how a Minister, on Government wages, a non-tax payer as well, got his hands legally on Rs 2.5 Million. Whatever said and done, it smacks of a bribe for towing Minister Thondaman’s anti Upper Kothmale line. Its a pity that eminently honest Ministers like Hon. Karu Jayasuriya is keeping mum about all these undermining work carried out by a fellow cabinet Ministers in his governing alliance.


It is common knowledge that a number of leading Buddhists priests are doing yeoman service in areas threatened daily by the LTTE terrorists. To name a few Thanthirimale Indarathna, Rampathwila Wimalarathana at the Madukande Rajamaha Viharaya, Dehiowita Piyathissa at the China Bay Temple in Trinco or the head priest at Muhudu Maha Viharaya, in the East. The patriotic priests in these temples and others do not get to have two square meals for a day. Further more, this journalist when he visited Awaranthulawa recently, was told personally by Rev Nilpanagoda Chganasumana "how can I eat twice for a day mahaththaya, when the people in the village eat only one meal for a day? So, I give my pindapathe meal (lunch) to little children so that they can share the food to quell their terrible hunger". Whilst this is happening in areas under constant threat by the LTTE, our so called Nayaka priests at Malwatthe, Asgiriya, Kotte and Bellanwila temples wallow in their palatial surroundings, in obscene luxury, without a care in the world about their fellow priests who are struggling to make ends meet. Between the moth fulls of "kiri and pani" they continue to moan and complain against evangelistic workers. It is time that this wrongdoing is put to an end.


Then there is the story about the Pallekele land belonging to one of the Mahanayaka's sold to the Sri Lankan Cricket Board for Rs55Million plus and Muralidhran's Sharja pal building another white elephant similar to the Dambulla Stadium on this recently sold temple land.


That is another story. The bottom line is the rapidly eroding respect for the Mahanayaka theros. Once you are tarnished by politics and compromised by bribes, you are scarred for life.


The only way the Mahanayakas, including those at the Kotte Naga Viharaya and Bellanwila can command any respect is by adopting some struggling temples in the East of Sri Lanka like the Padavi Sri Pura Temple or Etambagaskada Sri Sudharmaramaya and rapidly enhance the capacity of these institutions to serve the local Sinhala Buddhist community better.


If not, the day will not be far away when the Mahanayaka's will have to ring from their mobile phones and order the 'dane' from the local takeaway as they will be contemptuously isolated by the Buddhist dayaka community. The Mahanayaka's should not be surprised if all the take a ways in the area had converted to 'Thosey Kades' by that time.


Even that would not phase our Mahanayakas as they have already practiced 'breaking bread' with Minister Thondaman.

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