Buddhist Tolerance

" It has become almost an occupational disease among our politicians and other public personages today to exhort the Buddhist public on every conceivable occasion to be tolerant. In their ignorance, wilful or unwitting, of our island's past history these gentlemen are deserving of our sympathy, indeed of our tolerance.

For what is the history of Ceylon during the last four hundred years but a long and poignant chronicle of Buddhist tolerance in the face of oppression and injustice? Who but the Buddhists tolerated harassment by the Roman Catholic Portuguese to give shelter and employment to Muslims? Or endured similar treatment from the Dutch to give shelter to Roman Catholics? Who but the Buddhists tolerated the rank injustice of the foreign rulers who used the revenue from one of the most sacred places of Buddhist worship, the Dalada Maligawa, to pay for the construction of St. Paul's Cathedral? Or the injustice of destroying a Buddhist Vihara in Kotte to erect in its stead a Christian School? Who but the Buddhists tolerated the extortion from them of four hundred pounds a year for the building of Christian Churches?

In 1884 all the Government schools, which were the only schools to which the Buddhists could send their children for higher education were handed over to the Christian Missionaries. Up till 1886 Buddhists paid by far the largest amount for the maintenance of the Ecclesiastical Department.

The undertaking to maintain the Buddhist religion given in 1815 has been and is being grossly betrayed. "

From ' The Betrayal of Buddhism '
( An Abridged Version of the Report of the Buddhist Committee of Inquiry ) 1956


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