Ven. S Mahinda and the Dalai Lama

Daily Mirror, April 16, 2008

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- In the early 1900s Tibetan Ven. S Mahinda visited Sri Lanka during the time Sri Lankan patriots were launching the freedom struggle to gain independence for Sri Lanka from the British rule.

Last week President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited China to attend the Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia and now is the time that the Tibetan people launch their freedom struggle to gain independence from China . 

The verses written by Ven. S Mahinda provided the Sri Lankan freedom fighters, with the necessary courage strength and impetus.  It was called the Freedom ‘Manthram’.  People recited this manthram to chase the British out of the country, like  they now  recite the manthram to drive away demon from a possessed person .

The strength and impetus provided by Ven. Mahinda for the freedom struggle is  commemorated even now, here in Sri Lanka . There is a large statue of Ven. S Mahinda that has been erected and it is venerated with flowers.

Recently, the Patriotic National Movement has named a special day after Ven. Mahinda  to commemorate  him.

The Patriotic National Movement identified the 2005 Presidential Election campaign as the second freedom struggle of Sri Lanka .  To invigorate and pursue the people to support  the Presidential Election, the PNM used the ‘manthram’ of the Tibetan, Ven. S Mahinda .

To protest against the Indian involvement in the Into-Lanka Treaty  and to sharpen the people’s protest against it,the  JVP used the same freedom struggle  ‘manthram’ of Ven. S Mahinda.

The UNP in 2001 to protest against Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranaike who was in power at that time,  too chanted the same ‘manthram’ of Ven. S Mahinda. 

But is it surprising  that none of those parties had  any voice to chant the ‘manthram’ in support of the Tibetan freedom struggle today.

“Es Gedi Dekata Hena Gahalada Sihalune…”
Ennu Idiriyata, Nethahoth Nidahasak Nehe..”

(Sinhalese are your eyes struck by lightning…….
If you do not come forward, there would not be any freedom…
-- S Mahinda

The above is the manthram that was given by Ven. S Mahinda to rise against the then British rule . But today  the Sinhalese are afraid to offer any support or to give strength to  those ‘Lamas’ who are fiercely involved in their freedom struggle.

If Ven. S Mahinda was afraid of the Great Britain considered to be the ever rising sun, and kept quiet  there would not have been  any manthram to chant in our freedom struggle.  Historians would remember that for  chanting the manthram in support of the freedom struggle of this small island  , Ven. Mahinda was imprisoned.

Alas! Today things are different. Today, Sri Lanka is dependent on  Red China, for its aid, for its Yuans, for the assistance in weapons; to close one’s  eyes in the face of the Buddhist kingdom of the Tibetan Lamas ’ freedom struggle, is not proper for Sri Lanka which has been identified as a Buddhist Country.

When Buddhist statues were destroyed in Afghanistan , Sri Lanka protested.  When in European countries, Buddhist symbols were used from commercial purposes, the Sangha, civil society, the judiciary, political parties and media in Sri Lanka joined together to protest against ridiculing Buddhism. This they did to safeguard the Buddhist treasures.

But when living beings – Tibetan Lamas and in Myanmar  Buddhist monks were killed in  a cold-blooded  manner Sri Lanka did not voice  a protest. When China was  involved in police atrocities, Sri Lanka has kept quiet . Even J R Jayawardane  identified as Yankee Dicky who went on pilgrimage to America too voiced no protest even before coming to power in 1977.

Hearing that Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike was attempting  to postpone the 1977 General Elections, during the time  that J R Jayawardene was the leader of the opposition, they  planned a series of protest meetings against that move.  The first protest meeting was to be held in Kandy during September 1976  .

UNP leaders including J R Jayawardane were already in Kandy to participate in the first mammoth protest meeting.  J R was staying in  E L Senanayake’s ( who later became the Speaker) house.  While he was staying there  he came to know that the  Chinese leader Mao Zedong has expired.  Mrs Bandaranaike declared Mao’s funeral day as a day of mourning.

J R also had scheduled to have their first protest meeting on that day in Kandy.  Some UNP seniors had argued that Mrs Bandaranaike has declared the day as a day of mourning with the idea of  jeopardizing the holding of this protest meeting.  These leaders insisted that in order to  nullify the sabotage of the protest meeting, they must hold the meeting on that day itself.

But J R decided to cancel the protest meeting. JR explained to the party seniors that if they held their protest meeting despite the day being the day of mourning to respect the dead Chinese leader, it would send wrong signals to China.  He had explained that as he was against the Chinese Rubber-Rice pact this protest meeting would be identified as anti-Chinese and to defuse this idea  JR  explained to the party leaders that it would be  best that they cancel the protest meeting. Accordingly the protest meeting was cancelled. 

Foreign policy analysts of JR, consider this decision   as JR’s first foreign policy move, even before he became the President.  If JR identified as the Yankee Dicky has taken the decision in favour of China because he was afraid of China , Rajapaksa also did not allow the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka for the same reason .

When Sri Lankans were involved in the freedom struggle  Ven. S Mahinda was not refused   entry to  Sri Lanka .  Thinking on  the same vein there is no reason to  justify preventing  the Dalai Lama coming to Sri Lanka when he tried to come here  to seek  support for their freedom struggle.