For All Sri Lankans: A Message of Tolerance and Conflict Resolution from Ven Galkande Dhammananda

Courtesy of COLOMBO TELEGRAPH — SEE … and also absorb the blog comments it draws. NOTE: the sinhala is precise and lucid if high-flown. Indeed, it is a lesson in concise clarity. AND it is translated intoTamil and English as well. a MUST SEE and must listen –both media.

A Note from Dr WA Wijewardena: “It is indeed heartening to see an erudite Buddhist priest speaking out, guided by the teaching of the Master, when many have chosen to remain silent. Ven Dhammananda, Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya, speaks through his experience, but has not been angered or being revengeful despite the personal loss to him. Let Sri Lanka have thousands of Buddha Putras like him to guide this nation, which is now stranded and moving aimlessly, to its future glory!” says a former Deputy Governor – Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Dr. W.A. Wijewardena.

dammanandaA Note from Professor Sudharshan Seneviratne: Dear All … This is a short film composed as a message of peace and understanding by Rev. Galkande Dhammananda. He is a faculty member at the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka currently reading for his Ph.D. at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is also the last pupil of Rev Walpola Rahula. I have been working very closely with him on academic matters and also on peace efforts. Rev. Dhammananda has been extremely concerned about the subversion of a doctrine of peace for destructive parochial ends and is committed to what he believes as re achievement of peace and understanding, a sentiment that comes from his heart.

As a member of the Buddhist clergy, Rev. Dhammananda’s message has greater meaning at this juncture. He has taken an uncompromising position that runs counter to the renewed tribal cries of religious fundamentalism that is inflaming this island running parallel to similar cancerous parochialisms gnawing at the very marrow of civilized cultures in South Asia. In Sri Lanka we are yet to recover from a thirty year old trauma that has permanently scarred the psyche of people as we did not look for amicable solutions resolving differences and our misunderstood histories. If some self destructive individuals  in the lunatic fringe (be it those resident in Sri Lanka or those in the diaspora) are whipping up both communal and religious identities for their hidden agendas, Rev. Dhammananda’s appeal is an antithesis to that very cannibalization of humanness.    
It is a privilege and honour to know and be associated with Re. Dhammananda. Please pass on this valued appeal of greater understanding to others.
   Ven. Dhammananda, Galkande

B.A.(Kel’ya), M.A.(JNU)

Designation:                     Lecturer


Research Interests:         Social History, Epigraphy.

Positions:                          Member, Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka.

                                          Member, Sri Lanka Historical Association.         

Selected Publications:

                1. Humour in Pali Literature and other Essays by Walpola Rahula (Ed)

                2. A review of the Chronology of the Anuradhapura Period (in Sinhala) 

                3. The Evolution of the Diacritics in the Sinhala language (in Sinhala)

 Contact Details:

            Contact Address: Ketumati, Buddhist Institute Avenue, Parliament Road, Kotte..

            Telephone:  0112866196 

 E-mail Address:


ALSO SEE for “Standing UP against Extremism and the BBS: One Voice … ‘I am just plain tired.”

ALSO SEEHate has no place in Lanka,” —


Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, life stories, politIcal discourse, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, unusual people, women in ethnic conflcits, world affairs

10 responses to “For All Sri Lankans: A Message of Tolerance and Conflict Resolution from Ven Galkande Dhammananda

  1. The BBS is a political movement crystallizing around extremist advocates of anti-Islam which is a symptom of the increasing anger of the populace to the open face of islam, with loud-speaker prayers five times a day, tent-like dresses and other cultural practices going back to the middle ages, enclaves of Saudi-funded Muslim quarters appearing in municipalities like Beruwala or Kattankudy. (creating inter-Muslim feuds), as well as the increasing demand for the Sharia law.

    The same back lash has happened in `liberal’ democracies like Denmark, Canada, and France. In the US, the covert attack on Muslims is led by the US government using the `home-land security act’. How Muslim communities have been attacked using government agencies has been documented in the `dispatches’ series by investigative journalist Rick MacInnes-Rae of the CBC (see The US government ensured that Muslim communities are broken up, Mosques closed, and the IRS deployed to heavily tax such establishments to bankruptcy or raise interminable questions about their tax status forcing them to use very expensive defense lawyers.

    The reaction in France has been firm, open and legislative, with the Hijaab banned,;and public Islam is forced to `avoir le visage conformant a la culture francaise’. Denmark and Canada have introduced similar, but less over-whelming legislation to satisfy the demands of majorities.

    Where Sri Lanka has failed is in its failure to maintain law and order, , and in not introducing suitable legislation that would calm the fears of the majority. The latter is a consequence of the government depending on Muslim MPs to maintain its strong showing in parliament.

    What should Sri Lanka do? It too should debate the matters openly and pass what ever legislation is believed to satisfy the wishes of the people.
    The quality of these laws (that is, there level of justice) will depend on the level of education of the legislators, their level of exposure to the wide world, , and on the foresightedness of the legislators who should also ensure that foreign vested interests (be they religious or political) should not be allowed to pump money into the country and buy up support for foreign religious movements or political movements. However, once the laws are passed, the laws have to be strictly enforced without corruption.

    The existence of the similar or more virulent Islamophobic movements in far more affluent (allegedly liberal) western countries with catholic or Protestant majorities proves that we have to look beyond Buddhist militancy to understand the phenomenon. So, it is NOT a case of `preaching’ and sermonizing by `good monks’ (as emphasized in this article), or `vigils’ against the BBS by English-speaking holier-than-thou individuals that would help. We need more definitive steps.

    What is needed is
    eliminating the sociological causes behind the phenomenon; viz.,:
    eliminating the destabilizing influx of funds from rich Middle-eastern religious movements,
    tempering the rapid propagation of social modes new to Sri Lanka that shock the people (hijaab, loud-speaker prayers, or for that matter loud-speaker Pirith). Such legislation exists not only in the West, but also in places like Singapore.
    Converting movements like the BBS into social safety valves where they are allowed to vent their views while
    Recognizing that quasi-religious movements also have large economic agendas, and the BBS seems to have attacked economic targets (halal, Muslim shops) even more than religious targets!

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