Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another letter from Godwin

Another letter from Late Godwin Samararatne. Click on the image to read content.

In this letter Godwin speaks of "depression". H says there are two types of depressions, one with a cause and another without a cause. And he says one with a cause is easy to deal with.

But I do not agree with this. Because according to the teachings of the Buddha every thing results from a cause. When a cause is absent there is no result.

Yo dhamma hetuppabhava
Thesa.n hetu. Tathagato aha
Thesa.ngcayo nirodho
Evam vadi Mahasamano

That is what is paticcha samuppada is all about. Of course he refers to negative thoughts, which again is a cause for depression. When there are positive thoughts there could be no depression.

Sensation without the word may be helpful he says. That is to look at the sensation as it is without labelling it as a pleasant or an unpleasant sensation.

But again his saying that Yoga can help depression, is conditional. Yogacannot help depression, as thoughts are the cause of depression, and yoga helps to keep the body fit. Nevertheless, healthy body they say is a healthy mind. Therefore there is a point……

So what do you think Godwin meant when he wrote of a depression without a cause ?

Food for thought….
A reply:

Hi!Sometimes you know the cause of depression means you know that it was arisen from a loss of a family member, constant associations and complaints of a sick parent, losing a job etc etc.

But without any of the above, when life goes smoothly there is depression from time to time. The cause for such depression (depression without a cause) is really in the sphere of attachment (to concepts, ideas, self image) and it is directly related to ‘dukkha’ in the Buddhist parlance. The basis for ‘depression without a cause’ lies around the self identity and attachment. It is not easy to see as in the first case since it is not direct as the first one. One cannot know the beginning of it. May be when one goes in to meditation and spends sometime on a regular basis, one can slowly see the clues and root seeds in such a depression. But it can surely take a long time. Such understanding comes with the clarity of the observation of the meditator.

Depression without a cause enters to the body in a subtle way. Although the original cause of depression is a thought or emotion (reaction) it can have many unconscious layers. So without the knowledge, it enters the physical body (the cause of psychosomatic diseases start from an aberration of thought or from a negative emotion and its impact reflects in some part of the body). But it is very difficult to identify which thought or which emotion created that result in the beginning.

So one has to have multidimensional approach to deal with such a situation. One way to deal with it is to be a witness to pain of the body part. And also practice yoga. Those practices can detangle the impact of the negative emotion or negative thought which impacted the body part.

Sometimes it is recommended not to label the pain, sensation or emotion. The reason is when one starts without a label, one is open to learn from such experiences rather than starting already with a label such as anger, hatred or resentment. (given in a book)

Emotions and thoughts are very very complicated and there may be many layers inside them. So when one approaches them without a label (with moment to moment choiceless awareness), one can see many operations going along with it. Also as soon as one sees this entanglement, one automatically drops that negative emotion or the negative thought. (You do not have to know theoretically what you dropped or released even)

So there are advantages in labeling as well as not labeling depending on the situation.

Godwin seemed to use lots of his personal experiences and experiences with his psychiatric clients in answering your question in this situation. He uses what he really saw and experienced to answer your question. I am sure when you think about Godwin’s answers and used those tools for sometime; one can relate and get an explanation from the Buddhist textual angle as well.

I do not see any contradiction with Godwin’s answers and the textual explanation. Only thing is Godwin does not start like an explanation in Buddhist sutra. He just starts from where the problem is and help the client to see the full operation (experientially) and find a way to drop /release the negative association in that process.

If you start from the book explanation, one cannot independently explore and experience and drop the unwanted self associations. One always looks for words given in the text/book and tries to explain things from the concepts used in the book. It will become a very theoretical approach and one will not transform the ‘idea of self’ in such an approach. One will limit his or her exploration always to the concepts used in the books.

It is a very narrow approach as far as independent exploration and ultimate liberation is concerned. Also one cannot make oneself transformed if you take such a book approach. One should come to a point to interpret dhamma from one’s own experiences rather than using the terms and concepts in the texts.

Hope this explaination helps.

With Lots of Metta,


P.S. (1)

In trying to explain mind in Western Psychiatric terms the Buddhist doctrinal “concepts” get distorted. In Buddhist terms there is only mind and matter. Conceptual terms and labels are necessary tools to explain that which cannot be explained any other way. That I thought was why Godwin used the term” depression without a cause”.

It is some what like trying to explain meditation experiences, where the conventional terms do not fit into the description of the experience.

Everything is around the mind. No sensations and emotions arising as a consequence of a physical condition is independent of the mind. Because mind always intervenes to feel, experience, or suffer (dukkha). Therefore, it seems to me, that it is difficult to speak of depressions without a cause.

If “depressions without a cause’ lies around the self identity, as you say, then that it-self is the cause of the ‘ depression without a cause”.

The mind and form are two different entities working in coordination with one another. The mind, feels and directs, but the form neither feels nor directs. These are called sarammana dhamma and anarammana dhamma. Sarammana Dhamma are those that possess consciousness, which is the mind, and anarammana dhamma are those that do not possess consciousness, which is matter. Therefore, the form cannot feel pain or emotions because it is matter and an anarammana dhamma- without consciousness.

A depression is a mental state. The arising of a mental state should, therefore, necessarily have a cause.

All thoughts arise with a sense faculty coming in contact with an external object. Mind is also a sense faculty and the “external objects” it comes in contact with are the thoughts. Therefore, the thoughts are the cause of all mental states, which include “depression”

That is how I see it.


However, it reminds me that you spoke about text book ideas put forward as concepts , which denies the independent approach to a problem.

In that respect it is important to note that the Buddha’s Sutta Desana are based on concepts. That was because the real Dhamma beyond concepts would have been incomprehensible to the ordinary people. We knot that the Buddha hesitated before he began the teaching of the truth he had realised, thinking that the people submerged in ignorance may not understand his great teaching.

Therefore the teaching as disclosed by the Buddha is two pronged, one is in conventional terms, in which he explains his discovery to his disciples in terms which they can understand the teaching, and the other in ultimate terms which he left for them to experience through meditation. This does not mean that there are two truths, but there is one truth which is explained in two different ways.

The teachings of the Buddha which is also described as a “ Doctrine of Cause and Effect”, emphasises that nothing arises without a cause. That is also fundamental to the theory of “no-self”- another definition of Buddhism, as the Doctrine of Anatta.

In view of this I do not say that Godwin was contradictory, but I say that he put his idea in “contradictory terms”. Like the Buddha explaining the ultimate truth in conventional terms.

I think what Godwin meant when he said “ depression without a cause”, is –a depression the cause of which cannot be defined. Or to go further along with Godwin's way of expressing dhamma, when he said " depression without a cause " he may have meant seeing it as a mere "depression", without searching the cause for its arising, and giving it a label.

That happens in meditation. There may arise an "emotion" in the mind which disturbs the concentration. This emotion will continue as long as the meditator has identified the cause of its arising,such as through anger, attachment, jealousy and so on. These emotions are so subtle that a meditator may find it difficult to identify the cause, as if it had arisen with out a cause.

But there is always, even a subtle cause for an emotion to arise.

A letter from Godwin

I had problems with one of my French neighbours. I wrote to Godwin about it. And he wrote to me what I should do about it as a meditator. The letter was undated


My Dear UCS,

Many thanks for your letter. I was sorry to hear about the problems you are having- There is no doubt that it must be most unpleasant and difficult to have such neighbour . And when Annie becomes depressed it is natural that you are affected by it. How can a meditator handle such a situation – I propose the following;

(1) do not be surprised /shocked because it is natural that there are such cruel human beings in this world.

(2) It is possible to allow the emotions –anger resentment whatever and to realise it is O.K. to feel that- choiceless awarenerss !

(3) To try to see the situation as a learning experience-see how each day your reaction can vary-so they become your teachers !

(4) Sometimes it is also necessary to learn to assert your self- speak out – bang your own door…. But not without control. It is done and it is over.

(5) Is it possible at some moments to send them loving kindness.

(6) Is it possible to some times laugh at the whole play ?

What is the next problem pl.

with lots of love,


A Reply

It is really a nice letter. It summarizes almost all the tools available for a meditator to deal,explore ,learn and laugh at such situaions...............

With Lots of Metta, Sampath

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Remembering the late Godwin Samararatne the Meditation Teacher of Nilambe, Sri Lanka.

On the 22 March, it will be nine years after the death of Godwin Samararatne. I still think of him when ever I am faced with a problem, for which I cannot think of a solution. Godwin could look at a problem with more clarity as his mind was not clouded with defilements of the sort that I had to deal with.

The problems in our every day lives which seem complex and complicated are most often simple and not so complicated as they seem to be, if we could learn to look at each one of these problem as a whole, with an un-fractioned mind. Godwin had an un-fractioned mind . Therefore he could look at a problem with his whole mind, understand the cause of it and find a solution.

Godwin was able to take me out of predicaments from which I could not have extricated myself on my own. But these situations dealing with those problems of every day life created a friendship between us that lasted unto his death.

I accompanied him with Francis Story in my friend Karalliadde’s battered old car when the two of them were investigating into cases of re-birth. I went with him to Kanduboda, when his friend Bhikku Seevali was ordained under Venerable Sumathipala. We also went together for Venerable Seevali’s higher Ordination in Kurunegla, in a place where Venerable Maliyadeva had lived.

This privilege of being very close to him , sharing his thoughts and participating in some of his activities prepared me to follow his foot steps in meditation. I learnt more about the teachings of the Buddha, reading the books he lent me, attending lectures, and meeting people along with him.

He had a wide range of interests. He did not restrict his reading only to books on Buddhism, other religions, and philosophies. He could be quite at home discussing English classics or Modern Fictions. I remember him talking at length on Collin Wilson and his book the Outsider. He also liked reading Jiddu Krishnamurthi. His mysticism fascinated him. He stimulated my reading habits, creating an interest in looking for books following these philosophical traits.

When I was selected for Foreign Service, it was Godwin who encouraged me to accept the appointment, when I was hesitating for personal reasons. It was thereafter that Godwin was transferred to the Kandy Municipal Council Library. I had by then left to London to study Law, but nevertheless kept in touch with Godwin writing to him regulerly.

When I heard from him next he had left the Kandy library, and accepted the offer of the management of the Nilambe Meditation Centre, which was situated on a land presented by Late Mr.M.B.Alahakone, together with the buildings to house the Centre.

together with the buildings to house the Centre. I had by then married and settled down in France.

On my visits to Sri Lanka I did not fail to see Godwin at Nilambe. I did several retreats with him. Godwin was then a well known teacher of Meditation with his reputation gone beyond the frontiers. He was being invited to Switzerland, Italy, UK and Singapore and South Africa to give lectures and conduct meditation sessions. When ever he visited the countries of the West he telephoned me. As he was busy during the day we arranged to call each other in the night.

Some times it was very late when I called him and the person with whom he was staying in Switzerland was not very pleased with the midnight calls, but had agreed to put up with them as it was a diversion for Godwin. Some times he stayed with Dr. Mirko Fryba, Godwin was gentle, polite but not very orderly in arranging things. He once told me trying to hide his laughter that Dr.Fryba taught him how to fold his trouser correctly once he had taken it off ,and put it on the clothes rack before going to bed.

When Godwin took the trains to UK after his visits to Geneva, Dr.Mirko Fryba with whom he was staying had come to see him off at the station and waited until the train left the station. Godwin is very generous, and always willing to sacrifice his comfort for the sake of others, Dr. Mirko Fryba knowing this had given him “strict” instructions before the train started off that the seat had been reserved for him in the train and that he should not part with it to make a generous gift of it for the comfort of another.

Dr.Mirko Fryba-now Ven.Kusalananda

Once when he was on his way to UK after his visits to Geneva, he broke journey in France to stay a few days with me. He told me that it was quite a change to just relax without having a schedule to follow. My son was nearly two years, and Godwin loved to play with him. We went to the near by park and went for walks, Godwin carrying my son piggyback. I went with him to Mont Matre, the Sacred Heart Church, and watched the artists painting on the road side. When he left us we missed him very much.

Later on when I met him at Nilambe he was an accomplished teacher of meditation. I had visited him several time at Nilambe. I had the good fortune of doing a retreat with him the last time I saw him, alternating it with another retreat with Venerable Rahula. Godwin was a good teacher of meditation. He allowed the meditator to follow the practice on his own pointing out essentials of concepts and reality at daily interviews.

Some times Godwin was invited by a Professor in the University of Peradeniya to meet a group of people at his home, where Godwin conducted discussions on Meditation..

I accompanied him to these discussions once or twice. On one of these occasions the Professor presented to Godwin a young man who had a serious illness and had a few weeks or months live. I saw Godwin speaking to that young man with so much of kindness, tender interest and giving him so much of himself that the young man reacted with smiles and laughter as if he had been given a new lease of life. I saw Godwin extremely at peace with himself, while making the young man happy and almost hopeful.

The “metta” or loving kindness is the theme of meditation at his Nilambe Meditation Centre. Metta or Loving kindness was an innate characteristic of Godwin . He did not get ruffled over problems. When I was talking to him, I saw him closing his eyes to be absorbed into a moment of mindful silence. He was nevertheless very alert and remained present at the moment without letting the mind wonder away. At such moment, I thought he had perhaps attained several stages of mental perfection.

Godwin often told me that the best way to understand Dhamm is to read the Sutta-the discourses of the Buddha. Following his advice I read quite a lot on Buddhist teachings, and even read the Abhidhamma Pitaka. When I think of Godwin now with a little more knowledge of the teachings of the Buddha, and having written a book on Mind and Meditation, it seems to me that Godwin had more than what I perceived in him. He did not impose himself on a meditator .

I could think this way of only two teachers of meditation with whom I had the privilege of being in close contact. One was Godwin and the other the late Venerable Amatha Gavesi of the Pallekelle Samatha Vipassana Meditation Centre. When I asked Venerable Amatha Gavesi what he thought of Godwin, he said that Godwin reflects his inner peace.

Meditation is the turning point of a disciplined path of a virtuous living. Godwin was a disciplined being who followed the path diligently to reach the stage to meditate for the purification of the mind for emancipation from suffering. That was his ultimate goal, and he had no other ambitions in life.

In that path of purification the mind reaches its zenith of purity overcoming the ten obstacles or fetters first by completely shedding the concept of I, me and mine( sakkaya ditthi)

In Godwin one perceived that he had abandoned that attachment to a self. He was indeed a selfless being who would go any distance to relieve the suffering of another. When I was informed of my brothers sudden illness and that he had been taken to hospital, I wrote to Godwin. He put off his other commitments to visit my brother in the hospital. He wrote to me immediately after to give details of his condition. He was so compassionate that he would go all the way to help others who he thought needed help.

He had dedicated his whole life to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, not deviating for an instance from his devotion to the Triple Gem (vicikiccha). He adhered to no other religious views (silabbata paramasa). He had no attachment to religious rights and rituals, directing his mind to the goal of meditation. He may have attained the first stage of the purity of the mind of a stream entrant (sotapanna).

These mental attainments are difficult to be perceived by a layman or any one whose mind has not attained the level of the mind of a Noble One-an Arahat, but nevertheless one may guess these attainments, rightly or wrongly , from observable behaviour of the person. Godwin was not bent on satisfying his sense desires(kama raga). One could observe in him a certain laxity in dress, his tastes were elementary, and one noticed a careless simplicity in choice of worldly pleasures which he did not seek to satisfy.

Godwin was a being with out hatred, anger or ill will (vyapada). That purity of his mind almost seeped out into the area surrounding him and one was comfortably at ease in his company. He seemed to have over come the first five fetters or obstacles to mental purity. His mind may have reached the stage of a once returner (sakadagami) , and may have even reached the next stage of a non-returner an Anagami.

Had Godwin’s mind reached further development even beyond that of an Anagamai ?

Reflecting further with these thoughts in my mind, I remembered that Godwin was not conceited at least as we the ordinary laymen understand “conceit” (mana). Did he crave for material(rupa raga) or immaterial existence(arupa raga) ?

However, his mind seemed peaceful and calm showing an absence of restlessness (uddhaccha).

A keen observer listening to his explanation of Dhamma, reading his writings, or watching his discussions of Dhamma elucidating difficult problems as simply as possible for any one to understand, accompanied with his delightful humour, may have justly suspected that his mind showed signs of coming out of the clouds of ignorance (avijja) to allow the light of wisdom to glow.

On certain occasions he gave the impression of knowing what was in the mind of a person coming to see him. Could we take all these as evidence that his mind had evolved to reach the realm of an Arahant- a Noble One ?

A saintly person reaching higher stages of Meditation may go through physical suffering as a result of the fruition of a past unwholesome kamma, draining out remaining defilements from the mind for it to be release into Nibbana.

The Buddha suffered from acute diarrhoea after taking a meal with cooked mushrooms offered by Cunda the blacksmith, of which he died, or attained parinibbana.

Venerable Sariputta had severe abdominal pains and fell ill with dysentery before he passed away in the house where he was born.

Venerable Moggallana on the other hand suffered being beaten up by bandits who “pounded his bones until they were as small as grains of rice”

Therefore, could we assume that we saw in Godwin a saintly being dying with physical pain , perhaps in expiation of a past unwholesome kamma that reached its fruition by way of a liver failure ?

Once a friend told me that some visitors to Nilamba had seen in the nights coloured lights that appeared over the roof of Godwin’s “kuti ” which suddenly disappeared as if it had entered into the room. Some thought Godwin was visited by the deities-divine beings. When I asked Godwin whether he had an explanation, he closed his eyes and shrugged his shoulders with a smile.

May he attain Nibbana !

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Meditation Teacher Godwin Samararatne -the Man I knew

He was a meditation teacher, loved and respected by all who knew him. His fame went beyond the shores of Sri Lanka. He worked with European Psychiatrists of the Jungian school, and with them he was involved in experimental application of Buddhist meditation methods for the treatment of psychiatric patients diagnosed as suffering from neurosis. He assisted Mr. Francis Story, and then Professor K. N. Jayatillake, in rebirth investigations and was later invited by Professor Ian Stevenson, to follow up the cases of rebirth in Sri Lanka, he had included in his well known book ‘ The evidence for Survival from Claimed Memories of former Incarnations.’

He was a very popular Meditation Teacher and travelled extensively in Europe, India, South East Asia, USA and South Africa, conducting retreats. His retreat in Ixapo in South Africa early this year was to be his last.

He was not interested in politics, though his sympathies were with the left. However, when late Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali, was still in the UNP, and perhaps considering the formation of a new political party, is said to have consulted many leading personalities in different walks of life in Sri Lanka, and Godwin was one of them he consulted. After the discussions, the Minister had offered to provide electricity to the Nilambe Meditation Centre, which Godwin had refused on the ground that he would like to preserve the primitive, other-world atmosphere in Nilambe which is more congenial to meditation.

I met Godwin Samararatne for the first time at the Matale Municipal library some where in 1959. That meeting was to be a long friendship, which was to last until his death. We were constantly in contact through correspondence, telephone calls whenever he was in Europe, and long conversations when we met. His last letter to me from Sri Lanka is dated 22 February, 2000- exactly one month before he died.

He spoke less and listened more and provoked others to talk. He was very clever at picking a word and make a pun of it, laughing mischievously like a child. He was one of about fifteen or twenty Government Servants travelling from Kandy to Matale by train, who had the second class compartment all for themselves. He took part in all fun and frolic, that was going on, and laughed while others were caught in their mischief, which sometimes ended just short of fist fights. He was full of humour and never a spoil sport. Nevertheless, he was careful to stay away from mischief himself, though he was sometimes a sly instigator.

He whetted my interest in religion. He read a lot on religion, philosophy, psychology, extra sensory perception and novels like those of Colin Wilson, Herman Hess, Albert Camus and those great Russian writers. He was even then when I met him, a meditator. He remained the epitome of meditation unto his last. I sometimes, visited him at his home, on the Peradeniya Road, Kandy, on Sundays, and saw how he talked and discussed with numerous friends that dropped in to see him, on subjects varying from politics to religion, letting others, for the most part, do the talking. He did not try to impose his opinion on others. Even in discussing a question of Dhamma, he did not flaunt his knowledge, when the other person was wrong, he tactfully put a counter question that showed his error. He was not judgemental, when others were critical, Godwin always pointed out a good quality in the person in question. This he used as an axiom in his Dhamma talks, later, at the Nilambe Meditation Centre — "you should not always give ‘minuses’, you should also give ‘pluses.’"


His pleasing unaffected comportment with his friends, he extended to others he respected. I have seen him with Venerable Nanaponika, Venerable Piyadassi, and with Francis Story. Even with them he had that ease of conversation and a quiet interrogative manner of speech to get them to talk at length on a subject. Late Venerable Seevali was a very close friend of Godwin, from his school days at the Dharmaraja College, Kandy. When Venerable Seevali was to be ordained, I accompanied Godwin to the Kanduboda Meditation Centre in Kelaniya, where the ceremony took place. And later for his higher ordination we went to the Maliyadeva Forest Meditation Centre, somewhere near Kurunegala. Godwin too, would have liked to have donned the robes of a Buddhist monk but I thought it was because of his love for his mother that he wished to remain a lay meditator. Venerable Seevali later went abroad and died there of a heart ailment. Godwin was deeply saddened by his death. Despite his detached attitude towards life he could be moved by the news of someone’s death. Death had taken away his father when he was yet a child, and his elder brother and his wife, in a tragic accident.

When I was selected for an appointment in Paris, I was hesitating to accept the post for family reasons. When I asked Godwin for his opinion, he said it is better that I go and not regret later. From Matale, he was transferred to the Kandy Municipal Library and resigned from there to take charge of the Nilambe Meditation Centre, at the request of Mr. M. B. Alahakoon, who constructed the buildings and provided all the material support to the Centre. Godwin became a popular and much sought after meditation teacher, and was invited to conduct retreats at various Meditation Centres in Europe — Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Holland and U.K. Conducting retreats in these places far apart from one another was a physically exhausting exercise, however dedicated he was to the cause. During one of these visits he was able to get a visa to France, to come and stay with me, on his way from Germany to London. I was to meet him at the Gare du Nord Railway Station in Paris.

As scheduled, the train by which he was to come arrived, but Godwin was not in it. I thought he had missed the first train and decided to stay for the second. That too arrived, but there was no sign of him. I was worried not knowing the cause of his delay. But, finally from the third train, to my great relief, I saw the tall figure of Godwin emerging from a compartment, tired and worn out, but still with that unfailing smile on his face. He told me, hardly able to stop laughing, that he had been arrested by the Swiss Frontier Police. The policeman had apparently asked for his visa to Switzerland, through which the train was passing. The policeman spoke only French and Godwin only English, there was none in the compartment who could help one or the other. He was taken to the police station, for further questioning. Godwin kept his broad smile and repeated that he cannot understand French. Quite exasperated the policemen took him back to the station and put him in the next train to Paris.

The few days he spent with me he really enjoyed. There was no getting up early in the morning, or sitting through meditation session, and making Dhamma talks. He was relaxed, and played with my baby son. The children took to him very easily and they loved him. We went to Sacrecoeur Church in Montmatre. He was fascinated by the wayside artists painting portraits of those sitting for them. At the Church Notre Dame de Paris, which was almost empty, he thought it a good place in its sacred silence, to meditate. We sat down and waited in silence watching the great gothic structure with its beautiful windows.

The day he left us, my wife and I, accompanied him to the railway station, from where he was to take the train to London. He said that every next visit to Europe for retreats, he will come and stay with me for at least a week just to relax, (provided of course, I had improved my cooking). It was never to be as he was unable to get a French visa, however much he tried !

Magic Touch

Later, he told me of an incident in that train to London. He was seated in the train in his characteristic manner, with his arms folded, and eyes closed, when someone tapped on his arm. He looked up, and saw the anxious face of a woman. She told him, showing an aged gentlemen seated in a corner seat on the other side opposite to him, that he was her husband and they were travelling to London, to take treatment to him, for his headaches, probably migraine. He had observed Godwin from where he was seated and told her that he was sure, " ‘that man’- showing Godwin, "can cure my headache", and she asked him whether he could help. Godwin gave his seat to the woman and went and sat by the side of the man, and having spoken to him for a while, told him to take a deep breath, and then breath normally, and inhale conscientiously, saying to himself ‘Bud’, and exhale conscientiously, saying to himself ‘dho’, and asking him to continue, went back to his seat. When he got down at the Victoria Station in London, the old couple came to him, and said with gratitude in their face that his headache had disappeared.

I followed a few retreats with Godwin at Nilambe. What I liked there was the liberty given to the meditator, to meditate at his or her own pace without forcing them to follow a method or a system. Evening discussions were a stimulating deviation from the days silence and meditation sittings. Godwin did not like making long Dhamma talks on a subject. He allowed the meditators to talk and selected a subject as the discussions proceeded. The main theme for discussion was ‘ loving kindness’. This covered the whole aspect of human behaviour, and was cleverly manoeuvred to bring out into open discussion, problems among meditators, any acts of indiscipline he had observed during the day, or complaints or abuses of freedom. He often said that the retreats abroad, were well organised, and when the time came for his Dhamma talk at the end of the day, he was given a subject, and was provided with an alarm clock to time his talk for one hour. But, he said he preferred the disorder in Nilambe, through which positive results emerge.

Though he was of the Theravada tradition, he sought to accommodate meditators of all traditions in his retreats and introduced ‘choiceless awareness’, leaving the traditional ‘in and out breath’ as an object of meditation to those who were comfortable with it.

He stressed the necessity to cultivate ‘aloneness’, during a retreat, and live without creating psychological wounds in oneself, and quoted J. Krishnamurthi, " innocent mind is a mind which cannot hurt oneself, and therefore incapable of hurting others."

Though he was happy to be in Nilambe, which he told me on several occasions, his responsibilities restricted the time he could devote for meditation. In his later years he had the ‘habit‘ of closing his eyes, in the course of a conversation or in listening to someone. Godwin told me an anecdote concerning this ‘habit’ of his. An American who was meditating with Godwin at Nilambe, had met a meditator from another meditation Centre. Speaking about his teacher, this latter meditator said, that his teacher is very clever, and has a third eye, and they are all open all the time. And the meditator from Nilambe said to him, mine too, he is very clever, but he has only two eyes and they are both closed, most of the time.


Godwin came to be known not only among the Buddhist circles in the West, but also among the Western psychiatrists. This was because of his involvement in the field of application of Buddhist meditation for the treatment of psychiatric patients diagnosed as suffering from neurosis. In an interview given to Stephen Coan, a journalist from South Africa, Godwin said "when they come to see me, in the frst place I give them an opportunity to speak out....then I try to build up a friendly relationship, and then they describe the neurotic symptoms. I tell them not to consider it as a mental illness, not to consider themselves as different from others....The third thing I try to communicate with them is some aspects of meditation. I encourage them to be their own psychotherapists so to speak - to work with the symptoms and states of mind that seems to affect them."

When he was still working as a librarian, and engaged in investigating into cases of memories of previous lives, he assisted Mr. Amarasiri Weeraratne, who was using hypnosis to study previous life memories by regression of selected subjects. Later on Godwin himself became an adept at it, and had successfully regressed several persons.

He was a meditator calm, gentle and serene, but he was also, a handsome and an attractive man, and he had his share of problems with the opposite sex. He was even proposed marriage by a woman who was already engaged to be married. This was, before he became a full time meditation teacher at Nilambe. Unexpected as it were, Godwin summoned his experience as a meditator to act with utmost tact, first, not to hurt her feelings, and second to dissuade her from acting foolishly. He used his gentle persuasion to change her mind, and parted good friends.

Not as serious, but to a lesser degree, were the experiences he encountered when he was conducting retreats abroad, and they were altogether new to him. In retreats a time is set apart every day for personal interviews and the meditators discuss their progress, or difficulties in meditation with the teacher. But to these retreats, there are those who come with the hope, that through meditation they can find a solution to their emotional problems. Godwin was taken by surprise at an interview in one of his first retreats abroad, when a woman meditator in tears, almost hysterically, spoke of her pains, anguish, frustration and fears she goes through, and taking hold of his hand, held tightly onto it, pleading with him to help her. Godwin spoke to her calmly, and gently, and releasing his hand laid it gently on her head, and then asked her to go and relax. After that, when similar situations occurred he was armed to deal with it - place his hand gently on the head, and stay silently for a few seconds. Some of them found in this act a healing power. All emotions are, after all mind made.

An Indian meditator had once told him that his first name Godwin was too Christian for a Buddhist meditation teacher, and therefore he should change his name to Jayadeva. When he told me this I suggested ‘Anagarika Jayadeva’ Godwin shrugged it off with a smile.

My attempt so far was to describe the man, who I knew as Godwin Samararatne, and the words were easy to find. But to describe, the meditator that he was, a being of great spiritual stature, the words are inadequate. Where-ever he was, he created a fertile void, a pregnant emptiness, around him, where all barriers melted away. He infused the environment with gentle compassion, such that his friends became your friends and yours his. That was the inexplicable phenomenon he was. His kindness, selfless benevolence, and genuineness, influenced those he came in contact with, and without exaggeration, they became different, their attitudes changed, there was an irresistible desire to be like him, think like him and act like him. He was generous. He gave, but did not take. He lived simply and carried no baggage. He traversed his chosen path — the path of a Bodhisatwa.

May he attain Nibbana.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why do Buddhists believe that an Anti-Conversion Bill is necessary ?

For Buddhists, being born into a Buddhist family is not a coincidence, it is the fruition of accumulated wholesome Kamma. Therefore, any one who tempts a Buddhist with money and gifts to reject Buddhism into which he was born, to accept another’s religion is in a way a “criminal offence”. In Sri Lanka there are the Buddhists , the Hindus and Muslims and none of them practice conversion. It is only the Christian Church and the Evangelists that practice this “criminal” offence of stealing faithfuls of another religion to their own.

National Christians Fellowship of Sri Lanka had organised a protest campaign against the Anti Conversion Bill at the Vihara Mahadevi Park in Colombo. It is they who thrive on conversion, and there is no reason why they should be given the freedom to continue their “criminal “ activity. The proposed Anti conversion Bill will put a stop to their continued damage to our Nation, its own religions and culture.

If these Christians and Evangelists are generous humanitarians who want to help the people to rise above their poverty and suffering they my certainly do so, without asking the poor people to change their religion in exchange for their generosity. If not that would be a commercialisation of religion.

The necessity for an Anti-Conversion Bill, arises from the fact that for number of years there had been an effort by certain Churches and Evangelists to infiltrate into rural areas in Sri Lanka, some in the guise of good Samaritans constructing roads and bridges, seeking at the same time poor people in villages to be converted to their Christian faith by allurement, or offer of incentives such as financial aid and gifts.

It is known in some of the villages in Sri Lanka, that these pseudo “Samaritans”, after converting a family to their Christian faith on promise of offers of gifts and aid, make them stand on the floors on which the images of the Buddha and Buddhist books had been laid and covered with mats, to conduct prayers to their new God. It marks their renouncement of their old religion, accepting the new divine faith.

The conversion of Buddhist, and also Hindus in Sri Lanka began with the advent of the conquerors and the establishment of colonial rule. The converts at the beginning were mainly from the urban maritime areas. The Catholic Missionaries carried out large scale conversion of the poor fisher folk from the maritime villages.

But the rural villages within the country remained Buddhist “uncontaminated” by the Missionary efforts of conversion. It is these villages that are being targeted now by the present day Christian Missionaries, and Evangelists. They convert poor villagers in developing countries, perhaps to outnumber the Christians from Western Countries giving up Christianity to accept Buddhism.

Buddhism had never employed conversion as a means to propagate its teachings. The Buddha himself was against conversion, and told his disciples to be an example. It was that example that attracted many persons of other faiths to Buddhism. Many Brahmin ascetics who came to defy the teachings of Buddha in dialogue, at the end of their questionings asked the Buddha to accept them as his disciples. The Buddha asked them on many occasions to go back and reflect on the decision, and accept it only if they are convinced of the truth of his teachings.

Therefore, the Buddhists believe that no body has the right to take away from any one, the religious faith into which one had been born and in which one remains. To do otherwise would therefore amount to a “stealing” of another’s birth right.

An individual may of course on his own change his religious faith, and that is his right which no one will contest. What the Anti-Conversion bill opposes is the inducement to change one’s own religious faith in to which one is born, to another religious faith. It could also apply to Christians as well. No body has the right to force or induce an Anglican to become a Catholic which would also amount to an unethical conversion. Or to convert a Christian to Buddhism by force or inducement would also become an unethical conversion.

Apart from the fact that no one has the right through force or inducement to change the religious faith into which one was born, and accept another faith, the Buddhists believe that it is a rare opportunity to be born a human being. It is only a being who has accumulated wholesome kamma that is born as a human being. And to be born a human being into a Buddhist family one should have accumulated still more wholesome kamma. Therefore, converting a Buddhist by all types of inducements to another faith, is to make him forfeit his karmic “gift” to find an end to a seemingly endless cycle of births and deaths in Samasara.

The Buddhists also believe that it is the:

( a) ignorance of the four noble truths: the truth of suffering (dukkha), the truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya ) which is the clinging attachment, the truth of the cessation of suffering (nirodha), and the truth of the path to cessation of suffering (magga), and

(b) not living according to the eight fold path: the right view( samma ditthi), the right thought ( samma sankappa), the right speech( samma vaca), the right bodily action (samma kammanta) , the right livelihood( samma ajiva), the right effort (samma vayama), the right mindfulness( samma sati), and the right concentration (samma Samadhi) are the causes of a being’s continued suffering in the endless cycle of deaths and births in Samsara.

Therefore, to the Buddhists , the believers of other religions have false views, and wrong understanding. The early Christian Missionaries by converting the Sinhala Buddhists to Christianity had taken away from them the essential kammic gift of acquiring right view and right understanding making them aimless wanderers suffering in Samsara.

The Buddhists do not interfere into the freedom of those who believe in other religions or other Gods, but they would like those of other religious faiths not to interfere into their and their children’s freedom to follow the teachings of the Buddha.

During the Colonial rule the children of Buddhist families had only Christian Missionary Schools for their education. In these schools the catechism classes were compulsory for all students which became a means of converting Buddhist Children to the Christian faith. The Sinhala Buddhists were an under privileged group under the Colonial Rule. Towards the end of the 19th century many thought the Buddhism will disappear from Sri Lanka.

It was when Buddhism in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was at its lowest ebb that the Great American benefactor Sir Henry Steel Olcott came to Sri Lanka on the 16 May,1880 along with Mme Helena Blavatski. They were the pioneers of the Theosophic Society and later declared themselves Buddhists. SirHenry Steel Olcott was disliked by the Colonial Rulers of the time, because of the welcome he had received from the Sinhala Buddhists.

When Sir Olcott and Blavatski were invited to give a lecture in Kalutara ,the Government Agent of the district had ordered that no government building or the veranda of a school or even its steps should be given to hold any lectures by Sir Olcott. Such was the colonial attitude towards the Sinhala Buddhists at the tim.

It was Sir Olcott who gave new life to Buddhism and Buddhist culture in the then Ceylon. It was thanks to him that separate Buddhist Schools were founded for the Sinhala Buddhists. We have come a long way since then . Sri Lanka is now an Independent Sovereign State and has to reorganise itself without leaving any one to plunder from our people their birthright. Therefore it has become necessary to the Sinhala Buddhists and the Hindu Tamils to safeguard their religions, and culture from being mutilated by intruders, by legal enactments.

There are unscrupulous, Christians who attempt to convert unbelievers by allurements, they are not of God’s choice and should be weeded out, as Mr. Charles Schokman says. For that purpose a Legal Instrument to dissuade such attempts of conversion is essential. There are no possible dialogue to stop conversions, there fore the availability of a legal prohibition would be a deterrent for those who attempt to convert persons from one faith to another.

Love and compassion are not the monopoly of one religion. Buddhism a religion or a philosophy discovered by a “man” and not a creator God, is a philosophy of love to
all beings. It teaches its followers to pervade universal love to all living beings. Buddhism is pragmatic with a philosophy based on what is perceptible and could be experienced to arrive at what is imperceptible.

Where as religions with a God head is based on unseen, imperceptible concept of a God’s love, to arrive at another unseen and imperceptible concept of a Paradise, Buddhism is based on suffering, to arrive at a state of non-suffering.

These are facts that should be left for people to realise on their own, by reading, listening and discussion, but not converting them to other faiths by allurements, incentives or use of force.

That is why an Ant-Conversion Bill is essential, for Sri Lanka that had gone through natural and human perils to reorganise itself into a nation un-interfered by any foreign NGOs, good Samaritans, or religious quirks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Anti-Conversion Bill is a much needed legislation,

With the triumph of the Armed Forces over terrorism in the North, the presentation of the Anti-conversion Bill in the Parliament for its second reading is a triumph over the continued erosion of Sri Lankan Cultural values.
The erosion of our cultural values started with the conquering Nations from the west laying their feet on our shores to colonise the country. They brought along with them the Missionaries to convert the heathens- as our forefathers were called by them, and educate them to bring them into the fold of their Christian civilization.
Many generations after, our people who had been converted to the religion of the conquerors, have forgotten that their forefathers were denied the freedom of conscience and the freedom of expression in the choice of the new faith, but accepted to be converted to a foreign religion of which they knew nothing, merely for the privileges that were offered to them for accepting their Gods.
For the Buddhists as much as it was for the Hindus, the foreign Gods of the Colonial rulers were false Gods forced on their people in the process of a planned conversion to the faith of the Colonialists, to prepare the natives to accept the colonial rule as a divine system of governance prepared for them by their Gods.
The religion was an important arm of the conquerors to bring the natives into the their faith, to make it easy for them to rule the conquered countries, without opposition and rebellions. The British colonialists sent specialists in to their new colonies, to study the religious faith of the people, to prove to them the falsity of their faith, and the value of their own . They continued their conversion by very subtle ways introducing the religions to the poor and uninstructed persons., and to ambitious elements who sought wealth and privileges.
However, there was a British scholar a son of a Welsh Congregational Minister Mr.T.W.Rhys Davids who after passing the Civil Service exam was posted to then Ceylon. He was the Assistant Government Agent in Anuradhapura. Unlike the British Soldiers, Administrators and the Missionaries Rhys Davis was an intellectual and a scholar. He had studied Sanskrit . In Sri Lanka he came across Pali-the language in which the Buddhists texts had been written.
Mr.Rhys Davids, studied Pali and read the Canonical writing of Buddhism. He was greatly interested in the teachings of the Buddha, finding in it an incomparable depth of meaning. And unlike our fore fathers, who not being well learned in Buddhism, readily embraced a foreign religion of lesser value, for employment and privileges offered by their colonial masters, Mr.T.W.Rhys Davids promoted Theravada Buddhism, and Pali Language in England.
Speaking about Buddhism Mr. Rhys Davids had said, “Buddhist or not Buddhist, I have examined every one of the great religious systems of the world, and in none of them have I found anything to surpass, in beauty and comprehensiveness, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha. I am content to shape my life according to that path."
Mr.RMB Senanayake writing an article against the Anti-Conversion Bill say, that Jesus had said that the Word of God must be proclaimed throughout the world. Jesus warned that it was not going to be easy for it would entail persecution but it is not an exhortation but a command which every Christian is expected to follow. We Christians are required to follow Gods commandments rather than man’s where they clash. So it is our duty to oppose the so-called Anti-Conversion Law.
But we the Buddhists are not bound like Mr.RMB Senanayake to follow commandments of any God, and therefore, we have a right to defend Buddhism, and stop the continued attempts to rob our people of their faith in Buddhism, because of their poverty, or ignorance of the greater value of Buddhism, against those who attempt to convert them as the Colonial Missionaries converted our forefathers to believe in their false Gods.
There are no genuine conversions , or imitation conversions, all conversions or attempts to convert are wrong and should be opposed. For that purpose the present Anti-conversion Bill is a much needed implement long awaited by right thinking persons. No legislation is 100 percent perfect. It is in being implemented that imperfections could be put to right. Therefore we should in the first place have a Bill passed and available to be implemented to stop further acts of conversion.
It is in the name of conducting humanitarian work that the “crime” of conversion had been going on unobserved. Therefore, such work should be taken over by non-religious institutions. Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist Country, and Hinduism is the second important religion, and both these religions are affected by Christian conversions, and therefore the Anti Conversion Bill is an important legislation, to stop furher activities of conversion.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thank you Mr. President, Commanders of Armed Forces, Defence Secretary, and the Brave Soldiers of the Infantry, Navy, and the Air Force.

Thank you our Brave Armed Forces, you have done what lot of people both local and International thought would be an impossible task, which they pontificated should be settled not by an impossible military solution, but by both parties entering into a negotiated settlement.

They little knew the heroism of the Sinhala Soldiers. They won the war against terrorism for all of us Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and all other Communities who have made this land their home.

Why is it necessary to celebrate the capture of Mulativu ?

Because it is the last bastion of the Terrorists, and this victory marks the end of nearly thirty years of terrorism.

Because it is the end of the suffering of thousands of poor Tamil Civilians, who had been kept as a human shield by the terrorists, to protect themselves from the bombardments and artillery fire of the Sri Lanka Government Forces.

Because it is also the end of the comedy that had been enacted by Karunanidhi and his jokers Vaiko, Nedumaran and all the rest, trying to force the hand of the Central Government of India to call for a cease fire , to save the terrorists, and give them a new lease of life.

Because it is the end of thirty years of terrorism , helped by Norway, UK, Germany , the International Community, UNHRC, Human Right Watch, Amnesty International, Bruce Fein, Blakes, and Chilcotts.

Because it is the end of the International Community , their Agents, Agencies, and our neighbour India calling the Sovereign State of Sri Lanka, to sit with the terrorist for a negotiated peace settlement.

Because it is, also to tell the world –the International Community that we the Sri Lankans are a Nation to be reckoned with, a nation that has the potential to be great, an ability to go through” hell” to find the “heaven” we seek. It is symbolical of the determination of the people of this country to reach a pre-set target under what ever dangers, and road blocks there may be.

Because, we are a Nation that has the courage, and the force to advance, and not to retreat.

In this victory we have lost many a brave heroes who dedicated their lives to give the people -the children of mother Lanka, a “tomorrow” which is free from fear, and uncertainty. A “tomorrow” for us to build a lasting fraternity to unite as Sri Lankans without separating our selves as Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim or else. A “tomorrow” when we would stand together as a Nation with the same hope and the same dream, and to tell our selves that we will never again allow our hopes, and dignity of a Nation be destroyed by a terrorism of any sort.

We owe this victory to a one man, and his determination to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka for ever. “Defeat” was written in large letters every where he turned,. Nevertheless, he placed his unwavering trust in his Commander of the Army Sarath Foneseka, and the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, and the Brave Armed Forces of the Infantry, Navy and the Air Force, and entrusted them with the task of carrying out military operations with a view to eliminate the well armed ruthless force of terrorists, no one thought the Government Forces would ever be able to defeat. This man with the undaunted determination to eliminate terrorism from his beloved Mother Lanka is the President Mahinda Rajapakse.

We also celebrate the Victory of the capture of Mulativu, to show our gratitude to the President Mahinda Rajapakse, the Brave Armed Forces, and to remember those heroes that gave their lives in the battle against the terrorists.

However, it is difficult for us not to give a thought to those Tamil youth who gave their lives to a cause which was not theirs, but that of a murderous psychopath, mislead or forced to fight “his war”. We recognise the bravery of those who risked their lives, and those who gave theirs, for a cause which they were made to believe was theirs.

In this celebration of the Victory we should also hope that our youths should never be mislead by an individual or a group, to make them a party to break away our motherland, to make a homeland to any group or a community, as we should stand united now as never before to always defend our motherland to keep it a unitary state.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Police Investigations are slow and inefficient. The President should get a new team of Criminal investigators.

The President Mahinda Rajapakse has already accomplished an unparalleled service to his country in getting together an efficient group of people as a team, and reinforcing the Sri Lanka Armed Forces to take up the challenge to eliminate terrorism from Sri Lanka. That alone is worth the peoples gratitude to the remarkable qualities of leadership he brought with him to the high office he occupies.

Nevertheless, the qualities he provided to the Defence and Armed Forces of the country, is lacking in the Police Force of the country. The Sri Lanka Police Force continues to show a lack of methodology and efficiency in its investigations and bringing criminals to books. There are far too many criminal cases assassinations remaining unsolved.

The Police Department seems to have no clue, as to who were the perpetrators of assassinations and murders beginning from late Mr.Lakshman Kadirgama to recent case of the criminals who attacked the editor of Rivira Upali Tennakoon. These assassinations and criminal attacks could have been carried out by the terrorists , the underworld mafia, a group of absconding military personnel, or carried out by unscrupulous individuals employing criminals on contract.

Every time an assassination, arson or looting takes place the Presidents issues orders calling for a thorough investigation, but thereafter nothing comes out of it. The Police Department should be held responsible, and not the President or the Government, for the continuous assassinations that had been taking place at least during the last two years if not beyond. The criminal investigations are the responsibility of the Police Force.

The Police arrests suspects and nothing seems to be going beyond these arrests. In the case of the attack of the MTV studios the suspects brought to court had been released by the Magistrate, as the investigations had not been carried out by the proper branch of the Police Department. That shows that there is no coordination between the Police and the CID. The inefficiency of the Police Department gives rise to accusations being levelled at the President, the Government and the Armed Forces as directly or indirectly involved in the assassinations, arson, and burglaries.

The President should re-organise the Police Department, and infuse into it the same qualities and efficiency that he gave to the Armed Forces, and make it more active and carry out investigations with more vigour and efficiency. If the Police department had carried out their investigation properly and rapidly after the assassination of the editor of the Sunday Leader, the second attack on the editor of Rivira Upali Tennakoon, may have been averted. The attack on Rivira Editor seems to have been carried out by the same group that assassinated the editor of the Sunday Leader. If not by other criminals employed by the same “contractor”.

How many more assassinations have to be carried out before the criminals are arrested or at least some clues are found. As it is the police investigations are pathetically slow and inefficient and no body can expect any positive out come from the investigations.
The assassination of the Sunday Leader, had been carried out in broad daylight in the presence of eye witnesses. An efficient criminal investigators could have easily sifted enough evidence to lead them to the perpetrators. These ,investigations will give positive results only if carried out promptly without lapse of time. One or two days after an incidents, if the investigators have not found clues to follow up , they have then failed.

As it is the investigators have already failed in the three recent criminal incidents one of breaking up into the MTV Studios, the Assassination of the editor of Sunday Leader , and the attack of the editor of Rivira.

The President should shake up the Police Department , changing the Present IGP, and getting more efficient people into its service. If not the assassinations will continue and the President and the Government may continue to be held responsible by the local and foreign opponents of the Government and the President

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Replying Keith Jones of the World Socialist Website- In Sri Lanka there is no anti-Tamil war, but there are military operations against Terrorists

Keith Jones’ long articles on the header “Washington’s criminal role in the Sri Lanka states anti Tamil war”, in the World Socialist Website on the 12 January,2009 is on a wrong premise. First because there is no war in Sri Lanka, and Second because the military operations carried out by the Sri Lanka Government is not against the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka does not have an anti-Tamil governmet; The Sri Lanka Government is at present carrying out military operations against a group of terrorists. The fact that the terrorists happen to be Tamils; does not mean the military operations are against Tamils.
Mr. Jones, should not accept terrorism as a revolution of the proletariat. If he does so the whole concept of socialism would be in danger. He should have perhaps examined a little more about the history of the terrorism in Sri Lanka before he precipitated to write an article against a government trying its best to end the scourge of terrorism that had lasted more than two decades, hindering all progress, barring the country’s attempts to develop its potentials to become a developed nation.
If Mr. Keith Jones’s article is meant to help socialism, then it is barking up the wrong tree. The Government of Sri Lanka is carrying out military operations to end thirty years of terrorism under which the people of the country including the Tamils suffer and the ordinary people have shown a willingness to be patient, despite the economic difficulties they face in every day life, with the government in its effort to end terrorism at all cost.
Therefore, all parties whether socialists or capitalists should be with the government to end terrorism. The Socialists should support the governments’ effort to militarily end terrorism, without interfering by exposing theoretical views of socialism, when the necessity demands the government to act in the interest of the country and the people.
Mr. Keith Jones is perhaps not aware that the terrorists in Sri Lanka have the support of a rich Tamil diaspora which is contributing 200 to 300 million dollars per year to enable the terrorists to set up a separate State for the Tamils, which is not what the ordinary Tamil people living in the country want.
The terrorist with this budget of unlimited resources pay handsomely for favourable propaganda to make it seem to be freedom fighters. There are some journalists and anti terrorist lobbyists earning millions of dollars trying to create a different image of the terrorists. There are websites which try to white wash the terrorists calling them freedom fighters or rebels. One should not be carried away by the false propaganda to disrupt a people to rise out of its suffering. That would be contrary to Socialism.
Mr.Keith Jones is not aware of the atrocities committed by these terrorists. The American Government believed that the Government of Sri Lanka will be able to solve the terrorist problem by a negotiated settlement, and had been pushing the government for that end. But the attempts of different governments, with the Norwegian Government as a mediator, to come to a negotiated settlement failed. The terrorists insisted on the setting up of a separate State for the Tamils. Neither the Tamil political parties nor the ordinary Tamil people living in the country want a separate state for the Tamils.
The terrorists finally showed their opposition for a negotiated settlement by Claymore bomb blasts targeting civilians, and assassinating politicians, intellectuals, and Members of security forces, using suicide bomb attacks.
They used a suicide bomb attack to assassinate the Prime Minister of India Late Rajiv Gandhi. They used suicide bombers to assassinate President Premadasa of Sri Lanka, the Presidential Candidate Gamini Dissanayake, and Ranjan Wijeratne, the Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated by a sniper, attempted to assassinate with suicide bomb attack the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Commander of the Army Sarath Fonseka, and the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse.
Finally, they closed the sluice gates of a tank depriving water to thousands of farmers. It was only then that the present government had to use the army to have the sluice gates opened. America new that it was not possible ,to negotiate peace with these terrorists. The Sri Lanka government finally resorted to the only available alternative the military operations to end terrorism.
The present Government of Mr. M. Rajapakse is the only government that gave the correct leadership to the country, and the responsibility to the Army to wage military operations to end terrorism. The Military operations have proved successful to drive the terrorists to the furthest corner of the jungles they dominated. If the government does not successfully end terrorism now Sri Lanka will fall back to what it had been for the last thirty years with a ruthless group of terrorists hindering development and progress, and terrorising the people.
Is that what the World Socialists want ? I do not want to write at length on this, the facts I have given above and some search in the internet by Mr.Jones may assure him that the Sri Lanka government is fighting against a band of ruthless terrorist and any country whether Capitalist or Socialist, would be happy to rid of the likes of them.
In Sri Lanka there are two main Political Parties. One is the Capitalist UNP and the other the Socialist SLFP which has formed the present Government. The UNP signed a CFA with the terrorists which allowed them to buy the most modern arms and armaments and other military equipment to kill and massacre people. They owned twelve ships to transports arms and armaments, they had three Air Planes., and a battalion of trained Suicide bombers. The Government Armed Forces were not well equipped to fight the terrorists, and the terrorists were a law unto themselves.
It was only the present government that took a determined effort to end terrorism by modernising the Army. If this government is ousted it would be the Capitalist UNP government that will come into power, and all gains in the fight against terrorism will end and the rein of terror will continue.
Is that what the World Socialists want ?

( World Socialist Website:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Exchanging View with a contributer to Ireport of CNN

Nuwan, ( )

Perhaps in your dislike, which is your right, for the President Mahinda Rajapakse, you do not want to know my reasons to compare him to Obama. I am not comparing the persons but the impact each one of them had on the political scene of their respective countries. Obama has brought change to America after 200 years of its history. Rajapakse also brought change to Sri Lanka after 60 years of Independence.

I do not question you the “dirty work” Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse has done , because it is your opinion, and you have your right for your opinion. But Rajapakse is an ordinary man. He is a simple man of the country, without any pretension to be different. It is in the way one looks at him that one sees a “mask” on him. But in reality he wears no “mask”.

It is best to get your information from different Sri Lanka journals and then evaluate the news without trying to fit him into a frame of your choice. The Island News paper is a good source of information. Of course if you are prejudiced against a person no one can change your prejudices, unless you yourself decide to change them, to look at the same person differently.

I do not see any “dirty acts” in which he was engaged. He was elected as the President with a good majority. He is popular among the people Sinhala,Tamils and Muslims. It is not possible for him to get be involved in any sort of Mafia activities, when he is on the “spot light” of political observers. He has not encouraged or taken part in corrupt activities. All allegation were made by his opponents like Mangala Samaraweera and Wickramasinghe but they could not prove the allegations. He is a true patriot –because he loves his country, his people and is very religious.

Nuwan, you have the right to know the truth, and you are quite entitled to your opinion. If there is any thing worth criticising we should criticise with facts and figures to support our criticism, that is also being positive.

About respecting court orders, there was a delay, I think it is because the budget had been drawn up fixing prices for commodities on a given date. Any changes have to be done taking into account the balancing of the budget at new rates fixed by the Court. Fixing of prices is not the business of a Chief Justice. I think he was carrying his judicial powers too far.

The war was forced upon Mahinda Rajapakse . If you had followed his political past , you should be aware that when Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse became the President he invited Prabhakaran to meet him for peace negotiations. He refused and instead he got a suicide bomber to assassinate the Army Commander. He then got ,a claymore bomb exploded targeting a bus in which 87 civilian people were killed. Then Prabhakaran closed the Sluice gates at Mavil aru, depriving the farmers of water, which was the beginning of the military operations.

The President is not a saint because he is fighting a war. If you are not sympathising with the terrorists you will understand that terrorism is the most devastating issue a government has to face. It stops every other development and progressive projects. You may have read how happily the Tamil people in Sri Lanka reacted when the terrorists were chased away from Elephant Pass. Please see: to read the reaction of Tamil people. Truth is one and it has to be searched objectively, looking at events and people without hatred, dislike, or anger, because those emotions blind us to reality.

I suggest you google “ Noel Nadesan” and “Thomas Jhonpulle” both Tamils who writes knowledgeably about the Sinhala, Tamil relationship. Please also go to the Lankaweb and read some of the articles appearing there. I will write an article enlarging what I have written to you in Lankaweb soon.

I enjoyed this exchange of views with you. I wish you everything best for the New Year 2009.

not q...

NuwanSam // 17 hours ago
Report violation

Dear UCSP, You comparison of Mahinda Rajapaske to Obama is a true insult to a great leader. I supported Obama and his campaign and Mahinda Rajapakse does not come close to him. He is trying to put a mask and portray him as a great leader and cover up all the dirty work he does under that mask.

I do not belong to any political party in SL either but I know what is happening inside. I get information about these dealings and all these killings are done with the fullest support of Mahinda Rajapakse's regime.

If Mahinda Rajapakse is a true patriot as you claim, he would have not enagage in these dirty acts and encourage corruptions and hide them.

I am a positive person but we all have a right to know the truth. Presiden Bush also asked Americans to be positive when he waged a war agaisnt Iraq unncessarily. Being positive does not mean that we have to shut our mounth and allow these people to eat the country alive. Sri Lanka is a democratic society and not these people are destroying institution and individuals that goes against them. They do not respect the decision of the highest court in the country; the supreme court. That is not democracy of the people, for the people, by the people.

Sri Lanka is going throug a difficult period. I agree with that. But this family regime does not do any thing to make it any better. The only thing that gives it oxigen is the war. War is not the only thing matters to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka economy is in ruin. People are suffering more than ever. Living has become a struggle to more and more. For those who live outside Sri Lanka, war is the only thing that matters. But for me people does matter too. I do a lot of work in Sri Lanka in villages and I know what is going on. I do not just rely on the papers to get my information.

You can believe that Mahinda Rajapakse is a saint because he is fighting a war to get rid of terrorist. Wait and see. And you will some day see the reality. I had a lot of hope in that man too. In fact I helped him in his campaign believing he will do something good. I know the gravity of the mistake I did for my home country. So now my goal is to educate those who are willing to listen about this grave danger Sri Lanka is facing.

We have a choice to become blinded by this regime propaganda and cover ups. Or we can make an effort to find out the truth and do something about it. I choose to do latter because I still love the place where I was born and I have done a great deal of work for it and continue to do so.

ucsp // 20 hours ago

The events taking place in Sri Lanka are certainly disturbing but for that matter our Island Home the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is not a tyranny.

It is a long series of events that have culminated to what we witness today. We have still not reached the end of it. Therefore, we have to be patient a little more to see the end result of what the country is going through today. Some speak of the present government as a state of tyranny, ...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Is Sri Lanka a Tyranny ? asks Nuwan Sam in Ireport of CNN

The events taking place in Sri Lanka are certainly disturbing but for that matter our Island Home the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is not a tyranny.

It is a long series of events that have culminated to what we witness today. We have still not reached the end of it. Therefore, we have to be patient a little more to see the end result of what the country is going through today. Some speak of the present government as a state of tyranny, some as a state of corruption, some as anarchy, some as a dictatorship, some as a state in a civil war.

But it is not all that, it is only a country asserting itself to be an independent democracy. It is like being born as a child with birth pangs, which develop into other forms of problems, like teething, reaching adolescence, then adult hood, matrimonial problems, and finally family problems. In the same way a country too has its problems, from being independent from colonialism, and asserting to be an Independent democratic Sovereign State.

We have more problems now than we had before, because we are the masters of our situation. Nuwan, please look at any country that is said to be “developed”. They have gone through the same throes of pains , conflicts and reconciliations.

It is wrong to say that the current government is the most corrupt that Sri Lanka ever had since its independence in 1948. This government seems corrupt because it had inherited lot of problems that had not been settled by the previous governments. In putting into order the disorder it inherited, different people get hurt. The greatest problem this government inherited is the terrorism that had been eating into the country for the last 30 years. In trying to settle that it meets with the opposition not only from the terrorists, but also from other politicians and their agent, who would like to benefit from the situation of crisis to oust this government and take its place.

The political corruption is not unique to Sri Lanka, just google “political corruption”, and you will have hundreds of websites that enumerate political corruption in almost all nations- the rich or poor, developed or undeveloped countries of the world. This government of Mahinda Rajapakse came into power two years ago, and it was determined to end terrorism before looking into solving problems of corruption. As it intended this government launched a military operation to end terrorism. It has begun to show results. That is already some thing we should be happy about.

Recent events of killing journalists, and vandalising TV stations have caused great concern. Those who are opposed to the government, accuse it as the perpetrator of these acts, without showing any proof that the government is involved in these activities. The Government is popular, it is carrying out a successful military operation against terrorists, therefore, the opposition political parties who are waiting to make this government unpopular and seeking to oust it from power is making these allegations, to make the government unpopular among the people.

The Defence Secretary is a war veteran, who has twenty years of experience fighting against the terrorists as a Commander of a battalion of the Sri Lanka Army. He was asked to come from America where he was living after retirement, to organise the Sri Lanka Army. He is not a cruel man who would act like a mafia leader to kill any one that opposes him. He is there to help the army and the proof of the know how he had brought to the army is the success of military operation to defeat terrorism.

The country is going through difficult times, but we should have the patience, and trust in the present government. From what this government has done so far, we can expect it to introduce efficient controls to remove corruption and put into effect develop programmes for the country. America took a long time to accept all its citizens as equals. No body thought that a coloured man will ever become the President of USA.

There is no reason for us to believe that our country will not rise from what it is to day, to be a great country. Sixty years after Independence, Sri Lanka too has its Obama. He is called Mahinda Rajapakse. Be positive Nuwan Sam. I am not from any political party, nor am I a friend or relative of the President or any one of his Ministers.

I am an ordinary citizen who had seen many changes, many governments and many Presidents, and take my word Nuwan, this President Mahinda Rajapakse is different , if he fails to raise Sri Lanka from where it has fallen, for the world to see the dazzling Pearl of the Indian Ocean, no one will ever be able to.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Assassination was an act of cowardice

Though I am not a reader of any Leader Publications, I was really saddened by the assassination of the young editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. The brutality of his murder shows to what extent we have lost respect for human life. What satisfaction has the killers got from the cowardly brutality used on the person of the Editor ?

It was still more sad to read the reports of his death in Transcurrent, which accuses the President without actually naming him. So does the Times online. It is the absurdity of twisted reporting that makes people angry. The “great” anger has no limit, it could make a beast of a man.

Therefore, in writing one has to be careful not to blame any one with out having clear evidence. The fact that the late Mr.Wickramatunga was writing against the government does not necessarily mean that the government was responsible for his killing.

The danger of such accusation is that the investigators may be led astray making the real killers get away undetected. It has become a habit to accuse the government every time some one is killed, some place has been vandalised as in the case of Sirasa, or some one abducted in a White Van.

This has to stop. At least when we are announcing the brutal killing of a young man, we should have the politeness not to mix the feeling of hatred touch the man who had died. That does not speak well of the writer, nor is it being respectful to the dead. Transcurrent should be ashamed of making the brutal assassination of a young journalist an occasion to show its hatred to the President and the Government.

This should be a lesson to other editors too, criticism of government is some times taken far too excessively. Everyone knows that the President is doing an excellent job, even if one does not accept his politics, and there is no reason for him or the Commander of the Army or the Defence secretary to send killer squads to every one that writes against them.

The Leader news papers were going too far with their criticism of the Government. And the Leader news papers were not respectful and did not follow respectable journalistic ethics. It is alright if the Leader news papers were supporting Ranil Wickramasinghe, but it some times turns to those it criticised before, in order to attack the President or his government. He had made many enemies.

A news paper editor should be more objective in writing. Even if the journalists do not agree with the policies of the government, or do not like the President, they have a duty to praise the Army and the Soldiers for their military successes and thank the President and the government for having made it possible.

May the killers be found and punished. The killers even if not caught will never be happy, they will continue to live in the hell of their own making.

Our deep sympathies to the Family of the late Mr. Lasantha Wickramatunga.

May he attain Nibbana