Living a Lie (A Sinhala Buddhist Ideal)

July 5, 2008

Being a Buddhist in Sri Lanka is similar to being a god-fearing advocate of the Roman Catholic Church.

I’m pissed because I was forced to hear a bana yesterday night. The fucking monk went on and on about the virtues of shame and fear (lajjawa saha baya) as if they were the foundations of society. Well, come to think of it, he is right; the very core of sinhala-buddhist practice is fear and shame.

The reason why good people dwell in silence is because of fear and shame. The reason why no body gives a fuck and nobody wants to change anything is because of fear and shame. The reason why every Sri Lankan is suspended in a cold-death like coma is because of fear and shame.

The youth who are destined to become the change in this country are reduced to 70 year-old grandmas and grandpas who would rather sit in their arm chair and look at the sky all day. Due to fear and shame.

These religious nutjobs are driving me crazy each and everyday. It’s one thing thing to be impotent and seek only tranquility in life. But depriving a whole nation of living a passionate and fulfilling life? What The Fuck?


21 Responses to “Living a Lie (A Sinhala Buddhist Ideal)”

  1. Sachith Says:

    Hello, I think either you got it wrong or the monk got it wrong. The fear and shame he should’ve spoken of is different to the one you are referring to. Humans should have the fear and shame to commit crime and wrongdoings (Hiri and Ottappa). It doesn’t mean the shame and fear to speak publicly. It doesn’t mean that any body should shut up and put up with authority. It does not mean that one should shut up when the wrong thing is done. If one thinks that what is done is wrong, you shouldn’t be feared or shamed to challenge it.
    There is nothing wrong with the Religion, but there is something wrong with the culture. It is a common belief of the Buddhist culture that a girl is ‘good’ if she is timid and not proactive…but as far as I know, the religion never mentions it….
    Once more, there is nothing wrong with the religion, it is the culture…………..

  2. Me Says:

    I’m quite familiar with the buddhist teaching, and frankly it’s a big fat lie.

    If a person is not committing a crime because of social restrictions, what will happen when those social restrictions are not there? A person should act on his own conscience, not to gain the approval of other people.

    I don’t believe that the Buddha (who also taught us the Kalama sutra) would ever even think about fear and shame. This was probably added by the stupid monks later.

    • Prasad Says:

      If we go thought Kalama Sutta carefuly:
      “..Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ ”

      “When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are… Read More criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering’ — then you should abandon them.”

      This implies we should be shame and fear of unskillful acts, acts criticized by the wise.

  3. Sachith Says:

    Yes I agree that the Buddhism we find now isn’t 100% pure,but……….

    You mention about conscience. Conscience is the knowledge of what is wrong and what is right. You won’t sleep with your friend’s wife because for two reasons. One, you would be scared of the Karma (Ottappa). Two, you would be shamed to face your friend (Hiri). You will not kill a dog, not because of social restrictions, but because you know about Karma (only Ottappa) …. So as you see, Hiri and Ottappa plays a part in defining your conscience. ..

    What I think the Lord Buddha had meant would’ve been, that Hiri and Ottappa is important as whole as a society; the same reason the Japanese followed Bushido. However, for an individual who IS disciplined, Teachings of Kalama Sutra is appropriate.

  4. Me Says:

    Someone who is fearful and shameful, I call a coward.
    Someone who acts on his own accord, I call a healthy human bieng.

    If fear and shame plays a role in defining one’s conscience, then we are a nation of cowards.

    I would rather have a fearless friend who would sleep with my wife and be shameless enough to confess, rather than a coward drooling about and living a lie all his life.

  5. Sachith Says:

    hmmm…so what do you think of the friend who controls his desire for your wife and gets his own?…

    I think that different people do not commit crime for different reasons. I believe in the Kalama Sutta more than the Hiri Ottappa, but people are different..

    By the way, I don’t think that Lord Buddha meant ‘fear’ and ‘shame’ when he said Hiri and Ottappa. The Pali Dictionary translates it to ‘Conscience’ and ‘Concern’;

    “hiri-ottappa (hiri-ottappa): “Conscience and concern”; “moral shame and moral dread”. These twin emotions – the “guardians of the world” – are associated with all skillful actions.”

  6. Someone Says:

    Sachith >
    Bugger off man …. Don’t try to teach Buddhism to someone who wines about the life he / she has got.

    Me >
    Blame your FATHER. It’s HIS FAULT. he should have used the “Sarama” that night 😉

    By the way, you are a perfect fit to the indica and the gang. The Kalu suddas who always have something to say against the systems / traditions of this country.

  7. bwbhbf Says:

    Calm my friend. Think for yourself. Kalama sutra.

  8. Baby Z Says:

    Yeah, and don’t even get me started on the Pope.

  9. nishan Says:

    My Friend.
    There is a lot of contamination in the buddhism in Sri Lanka. I would say that most Srilankans are god(s) worshiping and astrology beleving bunch. Far from the deep concepts of buddhism. However they do a good job of preserving the teachings I must say. After all they were the first to write down the scriptures on paper.

    Buddha talked about wisdom freedom and happiness. Kalama sutta gives me goose bumps each time I read it.

    See, although the concept of shame is unwise I might say, some shames are advantageous to the unwise as they prevent one from doing unskilfull actions.For example the shame after killing an innocent man. In the same way some shames are disadvantageous , like the shame of not having a car or a big house or what ever.

    The same analogy can be used for fear.

    Ok. About the srilankans and your feelings. Get above them. Try to see things as they really are. Do not get into frustrations and stress and worry too much about things as they appear not to your liking. Change starts with you. When you talk your words of wisdom and exchange thoughts with your friend change takes place. Do not worry. Do a little a day. By this blog you have made cange. Actually by the responses you yourself might have changed.

    So dont worry and remember to question everything, be free and happy.


    • Me Says:

      Dunno if it’s because of the blog, but yes I have changed.

      Sri Lankans may have been the first to write down scripture but they certainly have not done a great job preserving it.

      My childhood was spent in a sinhala-buddhist school and all I learnt was fear and shame. I learned real buddhist philosophy only by reading Lama Surya das and Eckhart Tolle.

  10. Slash Says:

    Gr8! bt Catholicism ain’t a lie. and God 2 aint a lie. jst dat motherfucker Buddha.

  11. LALA Says:

    A buddhst is someone who takes refuge in (1) his own wisdom, (2) takes refuge in the truth (Seeing things as they really are) and (3) takes refuge in wise friends or friends who see things as they realy are.

    By that I am a buddhist

    calling buddha a mother fucker does not bother me a bit.

    Buddha was a teacher. He is no more. I have respect for him that is all. No attatchment to him.


  12. joe Says:

    As a Westerner who has visited/lived in Theravadin Buddhist countries, I must say that I recognize these notions of ‘hiri’ and ‘ottappa’ within the society and find them very admirable and dignified. If you look at Western countries, so much kindness and dignity is missing from these cultures/societies. From what I understand, ‘fear/hiri’ and ‘shame/ottappa’ are not to prohibit one from making positive change in the world – they’re to make one aware of habits that probihit one from not making a more enjoyable life for one’s self and others.

  13. Me Says:

    Which country do you come from? Even in the most developed countries, you’ll see this kind of self-destructive behaviour in poorer uneducated communities.

    Conservatism wasn’t invented by the Sinhala-buddhists. But they sure are adept at it.

    • Ravi Says:

      Fear to do wrong thing and ashamed to do wrong thing,,,If you want to be a slut go and have a gang bang It’s up to you Buddhists are never fear of Doing the good but not the bad…We are not going after false god that you think who created from heavens…

      • Me Says:

        Ooo Ravi, did I struck a nerve there?

        What makes you so sure that I believe in God? In fact, I’m a big fan of Gothama’s teachings. But the thing we have in Sri Lanka, it’s not Buddhism, it’s an insult to the man and his teachings.

  14. charitha Says:

    Well, slash! first of all i got to tell something to slash. you are not intelligent enough to put something valuable to this list of conversations. Except you insult so you are not suitable to here.Even talking such aggressive words makes a bad image on you so please do not behave like that, and try to make something else here. And to me&blog , i am sorry to hear that you have learnt bhuddism wrong. I think it is a fault of today’s situation and knowledge of teachers and monks. Most of them do not have a clear knowledge about bhuddism. The most clear way to understand the buddha’s teaching is to refer the tripitaka. (which is the book of buddha’s teaching) but it is not that easy to understand. I myself live in sri lanka, and i found that most places the monks do not know, and in the early days i also had a bit of a conflict hearing different people’s idea. There are called “suthra” which are illiustrated from tripitaka. So you can listen to “sutra” which’s english mean is “formulas”. when i listed to sutra i found myself the clean teaching of buddism. But to understand it even you got to be wise enough. Because buddhism is for people who are wise enough to understand. thank you. hope this helps. I will tell you something which is in simple words of buddism. ” what goes around, comes around – if you do the wrong you got to face to wrong. you are on your own. and to escape from this cycle of suffering, rebirth and death you got to work on finding your own way through. to find the way, buddha will show you the way, going on that way is all up to you. that is it. even buddha cannot make you through that. god nor any other person cannot make you through.” thats it. hope this helps.

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