Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sinhala village boys, too young to understand religion or politics are being coerced into joining the Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist sects.


LankaNewspapers.com - Sri Lanka August 28, 2010

The underage poor Sinhala village boys, too young to understand religion or politics are being coerced into joining the Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist sects.

Animal sacrifice is cruel but let us save the children before saving the Goats.


The system of dedicating children to the Temples and religion goes back many centuries. These children who are given away to the Temples at an early age are too young to understand the religion, politics or child abuse. The Hindu India not only banned the practice of animal sacrifice but it also banned the dedication of children at an early age to the Temples and monasteries. I think slaughtering animals in the Temples for religious purposes is cruel and primitive so is the dedication of young children to the Temples, monasteries, religious sects when they can`t even decide what to eat, how can they decide whether they want to become a monk or a layman. In my view that is more primitive and cruel and the Buddhist Sri Lanka`s political leader must pay attention to that, and stop this sordid practice.

The child monks are torn away from their poor Sinhala Buddhist parents by radical Buddhist sects to serve as foot soldiers in their attempt to foist Sinhala chauvinism upon the country. Rampant Buddhism, violent and self-seeking political monks have been the bane of Sri Lankan politics.

The poor Sinhala village boys, mainly underage to understand religion or politics, are being coerced into joining these Buddhist chauvinist movements with the lure of street power, economic betterment and a secure life. The child monks with their cherubic faces and indoctrinated minds will appeal to these masses on the emotional and fanatically religious plane.

Gananath Obeyesekere, an anthropology professor at Princeton University, says the campaign targets children as young as 5 years even though Theravada Buddhism doctrine states that a boy must be at least 15 years of age to become a monk.

Dr. Obeysekere says in his article, `my concern here is with the whole problem of child monks because this seems to be a violation of both the letter and the spirit of Theravada Vinaya ...`

The Buddha himself ordained his only son Rahula at just 5 years old, but this was regarded an exception rather than a rule, Obeyesekere said.

After being rebuked for the act by his own father, the Buddha specified that one must not only have parental consent to ordain a child, but that the child must be 15 years of age. If not, the youth must have the `PHYSICAL MATURITY` of a 15-year-old.

But one major reason Obeyesekere, himself a Sinhala Buddhist, opposes child recruitment is that the very young are vulnerable to sexual abuse, which he says is `NOTORIOUSLY ASSOCIATED` with all forms of institutionalized monasticism. Giving a child to a temple is a coping mechanism of the poor Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka, By letting children `go forth`, parents also hope that the child will grow up in a disciplined, spiritually refined environment.

The possibility of CHILD ABUSE IN BUDDHIST MONASTERIES` `must be faced HONESTLY and SQUARELY,` he stressed. Unlike adult monks, children have little chance of resisting sexual advances, the professor added. `Even the presence of guardians, or sponsors is not protection. How does the guardian inquire into such possibilities when the mere talk of homoerotic practices is taboo?` Obeyesekere asked.

He also asked why those politicians promoting child monk recruitment have not set an example by being ordained themselves or having their own children or grandchildren ordained.

`The more serious problem is that of sexual abuse notoriously associated with all forms of institutionalized monasticism, witness the recent cases of abuse of children put in their pastoral care even by high prelates of the Catholic Church. But Catholics have no system of child ordination and therefore the possibility of abuse of children confined to Buddhist monasteries must be faced honestly and squarely.

Unlike adult monks children have little chance of resisting sexual advances. They are much more vulnerable the cultural and familial pressures are so strong that they cannot run away to their own homes and, as far as I know, there is no satisfactory way in which they can protest to the monastic authorities. The new ordinations require, I am told, a guardian who will act in the interests of the child. But how does the guardian inquire into such possibilities when the mere talk of homoerotic practices is taboo? And how does a guardian set about his task? Are there rules and institutional procedures laid out? Perhaps one solution would be to have professionally trained child care workers among Buddhist monks who would then have the legal and moral right to inquire into problems of child abuse. But I doubt that this has even been considered by our pious officials and politicians.`

Let us Stop the child abuse and save the poor Sinhala children before saving a bunch of goats from a function once a year.


http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2010/8/59793_space.html

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