Proposed Tipitaka Conservation Bill in Sri Lanka

Viewing 14 reply threads
  • Author
    • #35291

      There is a proposal to enact legislation to ban certain interpretations of the Tipitaka. In a nutshell, what this means is to ban the interpretation of certain keywords other than the way “approved by a committee”.

      The main drive here seems to be against the interpretations put forward by the late Waharaka Abhyaratanalankara Thēro.
      – For example, the Pali words anicca MUST be interpreted as “impermanence.” Anyone publishing contrary to that could be fined and such publications can be banned.

      There is an outcry within Sri Lanka opposing such a draconian law:
      Proposed Tripitaka Conservation Bill, a Challenge Within

      Obviously, I am going to totally ignore such laws even if enacted. I sent the following letter to the Minister in charge:

      Dear Minister,

      I am writing to provide feedback for the proposed Tipitaka Conservation Bill that is under consideration by the Ministry.

      My name is Lal A. Pinnaduwage. I am of Sri Lanka origin but now a US citizen. I was a scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and am now retired. Since retirement, I have managed the website:
      Pure Dhamma – A Quest To Recover Buddha’s True Teachings

      I am very much concerned about the proposed Bill. I hope you will seriously consider the following three main issues:

      1. Who is going to judge the “correctness” of a given text? I think this is the main issue to be discussed.
      – I do understand that there is a committee. But has any of them attained any stages of Nibbana? How would we know that they are qualified to make these critical assessments?

      2. As you may know, even the Buddha did not try to suppress different opinions held by people and even bhikkhus. He did not expel even Devadatta from the order. Devadatta remained a bhikkhu until his last days. One time the Buddha was asked about how to handle bhikkhus who were delivering “wrong versions of Dhamma.” He said it is up to each person to listen to all voices and figure out the truth! Why don’t we follow the advice of the Buddha?

      3. It is dangerous to impose sanctions on the teachers of Buddha Dhamma. I am sure those who prepared the Bill have the right intentions. But they are misguided. Buddha Dhamma CANNOT be controlled by a group no matter how powerful. Some Sri Lankan kings in the distant past tried and failed. Furthermore, are you certain that those who are accused of delivering “wrong Dhamma” have corrupt intentions? Only a Buddha can figure out who has attained magga phala (stages of Nibbana). What if some of those who are being accused actually have attained stages of Nibbana? As you know, even verbally abusing a Noble Person can have very bad kammic consequences. Are you all willing to take that risk?

      I can present many other issues that are wrong with the proposed Bill. But those three should raise enough concerns.
      – I hope that the Ministry will make a wise choice, and reject the proposed Bill in its entirety.

      If needed, I would be happy to provide further clarification on the above issues. For example, I can provide sutta references relevant to points #2 and #3.

      Yours sincerely,
      Lal A. Pinnaduwage

    • #35321

      Well that is deeply concerning. I’m stunned that such legislation would even be considered.

    • #35445
      Tobias G

      Where does this idea of censoring some versions of Buddha Dhamma come from?
      Who is behind the proposal? Is Sutta Central involved or a group in Sri Lanka?

      The text at CEYLON TODAY was published on May 21 2021. Is that still a draft?

    • #35447

      As I understand, the idea came from a group of “traditional bhikkhus” who are losing their audience due to the increasing popularity of Waharaka interpretations. They are the established bhikkhus with name recognition and thus the politicians are afraid of them.

      Sutta Central actually has objected to the proposed legislation. Even they can see the dangers of such actions by governments.

    • #35453

      “Where does this idea of censoring some versions of Buddha Dhamma come from?”
      “As I understand, the idea came from a group of “traditional bhikkhus” who are losing their audience due to the increasing popularity of Waharaka interpretations.”

      – From what I have learned before coming across the Buddha Dhamma, there might be even a deeper and more sinister plot/motive.
      – Where does one think the kamma/vipaka of the living beings on this planet is heading towards? The Dhamma or adhamma? In my opinion, it’s Anicca khayatthena or a good English word “Decadence”

      “They are the established bhikkhus with name recognition and thus the politicians are afraid of them.”

      – I don’t know about “being afraid of them”. Based on my opinion, it’s highly likely that they are in bed together or part of the same team from the start. Most likely are placed in the positions as pawns to serve a purpose, to move forward an agenda. What this agenda is, I can only speculate. All I know is that, it’s not for a wholesome purpose.

      “Sutta Central actually has objected to the proposed legislation. Even they can see the dangers of such actions by governments.”

      – It’s kinda ironic because if one reads Sutta central forum guidelines, well . . . you can decide for yourself . . . This is C&P from their forum guidelines . . .

      What is an extremist view?
      Generally it refers to views that blithely reject well-established facts. The views themselves may or may not be hateful, but they are always delusional. Such views seem like an innocuous theory, but they often aim at creating a nationalist, sectarian fundamentalism.

      Examples of non-hateful extremist views include:

      The Buddha was born in Sri Lanka.
      Anicca doesn’t mean impermanence.
      The original Pali manuscripts at Aluvihara exist.
      Pali fundamentalism (Chinese texts are all Mahayana, etc.).

      Yeah . . . I would’ve brought this up at the Sutta Central forums especially coming across what Lal wrote about how the Buddha mentioned that we all should give the opportunity to listen to other teachers/teachings and discern the truth for ourselves. But I’m banned from the Sutta central forums . . . As one can see, If you say/believe/think that Anicca doesn’t mean impermanence, that’s an extreme view at Sutta Central . . .

      What I’m about to type out was sent to me a few months ago from someone in Sri Lanka. I’m typing this out not to criticize / cause hate / or slander anyone. I hope you all will feel the same. I’m just typing out what was sent to me . . . It is what is . . . As well, it’s kinda related to some of the things that I want to mention about at the end of this post.

      Start – – –

      1. Peacock dances to impress to the audiences in front but is backside is exposed. With mass media support, Vibajjawada bhikkhu’s portray themselves to the Sinhala Buddhist society as guardians and custodians of Buddha Sasana. However, the hidden private life stories that have come to light are disturbing with child molestations, sexual scandals, alcohol abuse, suppression of evidence and active politicking to cover them all up.

      2. Vibajjawada Bhikkhus do not give heretics to answer in public forums or mass media; thus seeks all exclusive the attention. The peacock does not want any other males when he is displaying too.

      3. Hate speech, heinous insults to the Noble Sangha by Vibajjawada are harsh and unpleasant. The hysterical calls of the peacock are a far cry from good looks, in the attractive spectrum.

      4. Vibajjawada clan are always hellbent to academically defeat “heretics” using their Oriental language expertise especially of Brahmanic lingua franca, Sanskirt — A forbidden language for translating his Noble teachings to by the Buddha. The Peacock’s are highly also highly combative and are deadset on defeating the rivals during courtship.

      Before coming across the Buddha Dhamma, I came to realize that it was unfortunate, but at the same time very fortunate, learning/being exposed to what I came across before the Buddha Dhamma. I believe I came across about certain mundane things / truths about humanity on our current planet Earth that Lord Buddha shielded from us. There’s no doubt to me that the Buddha knew about these things, but choose to shield these things from us. I can understand why . . .

      It was unfortunate because if I didn’t have a strong mind or ended up coming across the Puredhamma, I would probably be in full despair right now. But ended up being fortunate because of having come across the puredhamma and as well given me the ability to understand about Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta on a deeper “mundane microscopic” level. Also allowed me to verify the 31 realms of existence based on what the Buddha taught without needing any super powers, especially the realms below humans.

      At the beginning of this post, I mentioned about “being on the same team”. What I’m about to say, whether you believe it or not, I don’t really care. I just want to let everyone that reads this post to know that, even mundane things about/on this planet is not what it seems.

      Child abuse, child sexual exploitation, child sacrifices is one of the favorite hobbies / past times of the many people in power today. There’s certain groups/families that literally own this planet from charities, education, finances, entertainment, governments, government agencies, etc . . . They literally control and own it all on this planet. Let’s say during the current times they do not have the best of intentions for humanity or what they think is the best for humanity is actually very twisted. In their eyes, we’re nothing more than slaves/cattle, experimental subjects and disposable objects for their own enjoyment/pleasures.

      Even though I have a lot more to say, but I think I better stop here. After all been said, the most important idea / concept that I hope everyone to consider is Anicca khayatthena or “Decadence” and how it can affect humanity as a whole on a planet.

      May all of us living beings attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana as soon as possible.

    • #35454

      It’s an unfortunate situation but they can’t shutdown the internet, dhamma will spread via internet.

      I have a few questions:
      1) Is Dharmayai Obai run by Ven. Waharaka Thero’s students?
      2) If this law gets passed are there going to be any problems for Dharmayai Obai?
      3) Are there any other monasteries associated with Ven. Waharaka Thero?
      4) What are the names of monasteries that are trying to pass the bill?

    • #35455

      1) Is Dharmayai Obai run by Ven. Waharaka Thero’s students?
      – Yes.

      2) If this law gets passed are there going to be any problems for Dharmayai Obai?
      – As I understand the Bill is under revision. We need to wait to see the revisions.

      3) Are there any other monasteries associated with Ven. Waharaka Thero?
      – Yes.

      4) What are the names of monasteries that are trying to pass the bill?
      – Many. Before Waharaka Thero, virtually all monasteries followed the “wrong interpretations”. They were just passing down the same distorted teachings that have come down for many centuries dating back to Buddhaghosa and even before that. One needs to spend some time to get a good idea of the degradation of Buddha’s teachings over many centuries: “Historical Background

    • #35458

      Hello Lal

      If you are living in the US, you are not normally personally touched by this legislation right? (although this is good to take interest in that)
      What do you think of starting a petition or signing an already existing one, if there is such thing?

    • #35460

      Thank you for your input, Flower.

      Yes. I don’t see how this legislation, even if passed, can affect the website or any other website, let alone me personally.

      It could affect bhikkhus and lay people who live in Sri Lanka. They could be subjected to various types of harassment.
      – Let us see how the revised version reads. Hopefully, they will stop this nonsense altogether.
      – As the Buddha admonished, mishandling Dhamma can be dangerous. I hope that there are enough sensible people within the government to stop the legislation at the proposal stage.

    • #35589

      I completely agree with the comments of Lal and the others against this Bill. It reminds one of the Spanish Inqiusition, which was there to persecute those who did not agree with the Vatican’s Catholicism in Europe. It also reminds one of the Lanka kings who wanted to suppress the Maha vihara in support of Abhayagiriya.
      A bill like this is a Gross human rights violation, and an attack against freedom of Conscience.


    • #35590

      I also say that what should be banned is not the different interpretations of Buddha Dhamma, but the teaching of Sanskrit language in Theravada courses, especially in Sri Lanka.

      The Sanskrit language leads to the pollution of the Pure Dhamma, and the Buddha too was against writing Buddha Dhamma in Sanskrit.

      I believe the great Anagarika Dharmapala also criticized bikkhus who studied Sanskrit.

    • #35591

      Thanks, Ravi.

      Yes. The incorrect interpretation of anicca as impermanence and anatta as no-self resulted due to equating anicca and anatta in Pali to anitya and anatma in Sanskrit.
      – Unfortunately, those two Sanskrit words have been incorporated into the Sinhala language over the past 2000 years.

      Therefore, the damage was done before the Europeans made those incorrect translations worldwide by using the newly discovered printing press. I may need to revise the post, “Misinterpretation of Anicca and Anatta by Early European Scholars” a bit to emphasize that point.
      – That is because ALL Sanskrit sutras always use anitya and anatma.
      – It is those Mahayana sutras that spread to many countries and influenced even Sri Lanka (Abhayagiri sector) well before the arrival of Europeans. Even the Mahavihara Theravadins adopted these two words over the years, and that is what I was taught growing up (anitya and anatma).
      – Early European scholars (in the 1800s) made it well-established using the printing press (of course, that was a genuine mistake). Especially in the West, that is all people have access to (English translations with “impermanence” and “no-self”). It is mostly the website that tries to point out this big problem to the English-speaking audience.
      – It is appalling to see this “Sanskritization” has so much influence in Sri Lanka.

    • #36681

      Hi Lal,

      Any latest news on this proposed bill? I did a Google search but didn’t find any news in English. Any news in Sinhala news papers?


    • #36683

      Sorry, Aniduan. I somehow did not see your post.

      I heard that the government has stopped pursuing that legislation. However, I don’t know whether the government made an official statement.

    • #36684

      Thanks Lal. It’s really good to know that they scrapped the plan even though it’s not official yet. I wish to visit this monastery in the future and was hoping the government did not shut them down.

      “dhammo ha ve rakkati dhammacari”

Viewing 14 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.