So, I received a spam message titled “What Anagarika Dharmapalathuma said In 1926”. Having nothing better to do I started to read it and halfway through went “Wow, a little racist are we?” This guy has made many a statement that would be so ‘politically incorrect’ in this day and age. Here have a read if you want:
After reading this, I started thinking “Hey, wait a minute. We learned about this guy in school. (see I did pay attention in school – sometimes :-P) Isn’t this dude a national hero and a Buddhist icon?” So, hit the guy up in Wiki and see this. Yep, guy checks out – done heaps for the land of the lions and a man of great deeds. However, you just cannot get away from the feeling that this guy is one big racist. What’s worse is he has failed to understand one of the most basic concepts of Buddhism – equality. Worse yet the rest of the world thinks that this is what Sinhala Buddhists think and act like.
Maybe it was just the circumstances that led to Mr. Dharmapala being this way. What is really depressing is that nearly a century later Sinhalese are still thinking and acting with the same mindset. Are Sinhalease ‘better’ than all other races? Is Buddhism ‘better’ than all other religions? Do Sinhala Buddhists ‘own’ the land of the lions? From the little I know about Buddhism, a real Buddhist cannot even proclaim “I am of X race” let alone state “X race is superior while folks of Y race half animals”. So ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ is in itself a contradiction. Anyway those are some points to ponder.
The funny side of all this is Sinhalease who have migrated to other places droning on about how the Sinhalease are the true owners of Sri Lanka. To such people I say “Mate, you are in a foreign land. Imagine if they kicked you out simply because you belong to a minority!”
Edit – A point I wanted to stress on was the Mr. Dharmapala was pretty great guy who did a lot of good things – but failed to see he was being a racist. The lesson to learn from this is that you can be good guy and still be a racist. Time to do some self reflection and figure out if you are too!