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“If you want to put out the fire, you have to get rid of the firewood ” says Galkande Dammananda Thero

“If you want to put out the fire, you have to get rid of the firewood ” says Galkande Dammananda Thero

Today, my discourse here it cannot stop taking a Buddhist approach because it comes from my background. We live in this country over 2500 years after Buddhism was born. Then it is not only the most philosophical level of discussion but also among the common man. They bring knowledge through Jataka Stories and Art. When it comes to how we build a non-violent society, I don’t spend too much time. I think everybody agrees. I don’t think anyone has a problem with whether there is room for persecution in Buddhism. The state is basically built on the concept of suppression. Religion has always been a state tool. Buddhism has never accepted violence in its definition of ‘Abhya’ in a religion like Buddhism advocating non- violence.

In a time when I was not aware of this, a Christian nun raised a question about whether somewhere in Buddhism, as a form of self-defense or as a form of violence in times of aggression. But I had no deep knowledge of it then. I was wondering if there could be somewhere. So I wasn’t finally able to give an answer. But when we look deeper, we see that Buddhism never has a place for torture. As mentioned in the “Kakachupama Suthraya”, even  for self-defense don’t harm for others. It is better to die rather harming others. Similarly, punishing wrongdoers in front of the law, as explained according to the Buddhism’ rationalismsor “Hethupalawadaya”, apparently it is proven that guilt is a fruit and that the result is inevitable without eliminating the cause. As the society, each of us may have been tortured. Most of the time, this is saying that if you want to put out the fire, you have to get rid of the firewood. We’re talking about major forms of torture. There are parents and teachers here. We were all schooled. What we learned is that when we make mistakes, we don’t care if we were being tortured. At that point, we think it’s the right thing to do. But we unwittingly send a message to the child that it is okay to hurt someone when they do something you do not like. So this is how we taught the child at an early age that violence is OK. So after that it doesn’t matter even if we give so many lessons. It must be said that the school is main focus here. In here, we should look at how to punish the offending child without torturing him.

Therefore, I say that our society is a tortured and hurt society from an early age. All of us are hurt. There is no one without injuries. I don’t see anywhere that there is discourse about how to cure these injuries by accepting we have injuries. Therefore, I propose to engage in such a dialogue. In Buddhism, for example, according to the Angulimala story, the king is trying to destroy the fruit of violence. However, the Lord Buddha eliminated the cause of it and turned him into a completely different path. Now you may ask why this is happening in a country where there is so much Dhamma education. But knowledge does not change as people as it is. Therefore, such discussions need to be deepened. If we want to create a society that looks at the other without torture, we must find out the reason why society thinks torture is right and eliminate it. Either way, it should be discussed how to recover the victim who has been tortured. This discussion should be socialized. We need to make a system of how we act without torturing the other. It is not an easy task. Now Sri Lankan society is talking about the death penalty or capital punishment. But it couldn’t achieve the successful solution.

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