21 October, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/29/2013
SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka split over Buddhist monk who took his own life in protest against conversions
by Melani Manel Perera
The Ven Bowatte Indrarathana Thero was cremated yesterday in a solemn ceremony amidst tight security. Some in the country said they understood his action even though it was de facto against religious freedom. Others said his action was not worth it, expressing fear that it might lead to copycats. For many ordinary Sri Lankans, instead of self-immolating the venerable should have opposed the killing that took place during the country's civil war.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Buddhist monks, politicians, activists, and many ordinary citizens yesterday attended the cremation ceremony of Venerable Bowatte Indrarathana Thero, a Buddhist religious leader who took his own life on 24 May, the feast day of Vesak, to protest against "conversions and cattle slaughter."  The funeral was held amidst tight security for fear of riots and violence.

The monk and his extreme act set off mixed reactions in government circles and civil society. Some said they understood his "sacrifice" on behalf of his cause; others slammed the deed, fearing it might set of copycats.

Ven Thero Bowatte Indrarathana poured two litres of petrol on his body and then set himself on fire on 25 May in front of Sri Dalada Maligawa temple.

Before he died, he cried out that his act was not a suicide attempt, but a "sacrifice against cattle slaughter and conversions."

In the past, the monk had appealed to Parliament to ban Buddhist conversions to other faiths, a sensitive issue in a country split by sectarian violence.

Several supporters of Sinhala Ravaya, a Buddhist Sinhalese extremist group, spoke about his "heroic act" in defence of the nation's values ​​.

Udaya Gammanpila, a member of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party, promised to "transform his demands into reality" through a law that would soon be "approved in parliament."

However, equally large segments of the Buddhist community and civil society have criticised the venerable's action because the price of a life is not worth paying for his cause.

Some senior monks and JHU lawmaker Ellawela Medhananda reject the idea that committing suicide to save cows is a "sacrifice".

Many ordinary Sri Lankans are also wondering why the monk decided to take such a dramatic stance against religious freedom, i.e. the right to convert, and the rituals of other faiths, when in fact he did or said nothing about the countless number of deaths that occurred during the country's 30 years of civil war.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/19/2007 SRI LANKA
Bishops’ solidarity with Tamils forced to leave Colombo
by Melani Manel Perera
06/12/2009 SRI LANKA
Jaffna bishop tells government that refugees must go home as soon as possible
by Melani Manel Perera
09/06/2007 SRI LANKA
Christians and Buddhists remove veil of silence, pledge inter-faith solidarity
by Melani Manel Perera
05/05/2011 SRI LANKA
Christian, Muslim and Hindu leaders with Buddhists this Vesak
by Melani Manel Perera
05/17/2008 SRI LANKA
Suicide bombing in Colombo, now the Buddhists fear attacks during Vesak
by Melani Manel Perera

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.