Mahavamsa : die große Chronik Sri Lankas

0. Einleitung

2. Mahāvamsa und Tradition/Ideologie

verfasst von Mahanama

übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Mahanama <6. Jhdt n. Chr.>: Mahavamsa : die große Chronik Sri Lankas / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer. -- 0. Einleitung -- 2. Mahāvamsa und Tradition/Ideologie. -- Fassung vom 2006-03-03. -- URL: -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert:  2001-07-17

Überarbeitungen: 2006-03-03 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltungen, Sommersemester 2001, 2006

©opyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Übersetzers. Das Copyright für zitierte Texte lieget bei den jeweiligen Rechtsinhabern.

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Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

0. Übersicht

1. Einleitung

Dieser Teil der Einleitung zur Mahāvamsa-Übersetzung dokumentiert anhand von Quellen, wie der Mahāvamsa dazu dient, eine Tradition/Ideologie von Sri Lanka als āriya-singhala-bauddha --"arisch/edel - singhalesisch - buddhistisch" zu begründen. Diese Ideologie war auf Seiten der singhalesischen Hardliner im Konflikt mit den Ceylon-Tamilen treibend bzw. wurde zur Aufhetzung verwendet und trug mit dazu bei, dass die traurigen Zustände entstanden, die wir heute in Sri Lanka haben. Damit wird keineswegs die tamilische "Befreiungsbewegung" gerechtfertigt oder von ganz großer Schuld freigesprochen: auch sie war mehr an profitabler militärischer Rechtlosigkeit interessiert als an tragfähigen Kompromissen. Doch ist die tamilische Seite der Ideologie nicht Gegenstand dieser Lehrveranstaltung.

2. History of an Ancient Civilization / by Anagarika Dharmapala, 1902

Abb.: Anagarika Dharmapala, Chicago, Worl Parliament of Religions, 1893

Der wohl eingflussreichste Vertreter von auf der "Mahāvamsa-Tradition" gegründetem Nationalismus und Rassismus ist Anagarika Dharmapala (= David Hewavitarne) (1864 - 1933).

Zu Dharmapala siehe:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  2. International. -- 2. Das Weltparlament der Religionen in Chicago 1893. -- URL:


Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   8. Buddhismus in Indien. -- 1. Bis 1956. -- URL:

Seine Haltung zeigt sich besonders deutlich in folgendem Text:

Dharmapala <Anagarika> <1864 - 1933>: History of an ancient civilisation. -- Los Angeles, 1902. -- [Booklet published in Los Angeles, U.S.A. in 1902. The only copy of this pamphlet, so far found in any public library, is at the Library of Congress,Washing-ton D. C, U. S. A. and it has been gifted to this Library by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson on 25th Nov., 1939.] -- Abgedruckt in: 

Dharmapala <Anagarika> <1864 - 1933>: Return to righteousnes : a collection of speeches essay and letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala / ed. by Ananda Guruge. -- Colombo : Government Press, 1965. -- S. 479 - 484

"The British Government when called upon by the Sinhalese ministers of the late King of Ceylon to undertake the administration of the Sinhalese government, pledged itself in 1815 to hold the religion and the customs of the people inviolable, and to administer the laws for the welfare and prosperity of the Sinhalese race.

Two thousand four hundred and forty-six years ago a colony of Aryans from the city of Sinhapura, in Bengal, leaving their Indian home, sailed in a vessel in search of fresh pastures, and they discovered the island which they named Tambapanni, on account of its copper coloured soil. The leader of the band was an Aryan prince by the name of Wijaya, and he fought with the aboriginal tribes and got possession of the land. The descendants of the Aryan colonists were called Sinhala after their city, Sinhapura, which was founded by Sinhabahu, the lion-armed king. The lion-armed descendants are the present Sinhalese, whose ancestors had never been conquered, and in whose veins no savage blood is found. Ethnologically, the Sinhalese are a unique race, inasmuch as they can boast that they have no slave blood in them, and never were conquered by either the pagan Tamils or European vandals who for three centuries devasted the land, destroyed ancient temples, burnt valuable libraries, and nearly annihilated the historic race.

The Britons who are now administering the government of the island, two thousand four hundred years ago were in a state of absolute savagery. They were conquered by the Romans, and their men and women were sold as slaves in the markets of Rome. For several hundred years they remained in a state of barbarism, and not until the reign of Elizabeth did the British people emerge from their isolation. Although they are a powerful race today yet their hereditary tendencies of primitive barbarism still cling to them. Cruelty, drunkenness, slaughter of innocent animals, wife-beating, roasting the whole ox on feast days, promiscuous dancing of men and women regardless of the laws of decency, are the vestiges of their primitive customs, when they lived half naked and painted their bodies and wore skins to ward off the cold. Compassion, gentleness, mercy, are divine qualities which are absolutely foreign to the savage. Several centuries of ethical development are required to generate the psychological qualities of perfect manhood in a race. The Englishmen of the type of Clive, Warren Hastings, North, Sladen, Rhodes, etc., men of low morality, have been the chief makers of the present " British Empire." Cunning, intrigue, dishonesty, alcoholism have been the principal instruments of the empire makers on dealing with the unsophisticated Asiatics, who have not the training in the art of political lying.

The last ruler of the Sinhalese people was not a Sinhalese Prince. The man was of Dravidian origin, and the Sinhalese ministers, not finding a Sinhalese Prince to ascent the ancestral throne, had to find a ruler, and under the name of Sri Wickrama Rajah Sinha, a Dravidian, was elected. The Sinhalese kings had to keep up a continuous fight since the beginning of the Sixteenth Century with the Portuguese and Dutch, and at the end of the Eighteenth Century, Colombo fell into the hands of the Dutch, who retained it, and by the treaty of Amiens it was ceded to the British. With the exception of the seaboard provinces of the West and South the whole island was under the Sinhalese king. The last Sinhalese king was Sri Narendra Sinha, whose successor was Kirti Sri, a scion of the Madura royal family, who ascended the throne. Although he was brought up in the religion of Vishnu, yet after his coronation he helped to advance the national religion, which had suffered greatly in the reign of Rajah Sinha, the parricide, who became a follower of the Brahmanical god Siva, and made every effort to destroy the religion of the Buddha.

The last Dravidian ruler reigned righteously for about twelve years. The British agent in Colombo, Mr. North, realizing the political situation, and the disturbed atmosphere in the King's Court at Kandy, did not fail to add fuel to the fire. The Viceroy of the King in the Sabaragamuva province was the good Ehalapola, and the King's Prime Minister was Molligoda. The British resident came between the King and Ehalapola, and by strategic means and intrigue made the King understand that the viceroy was conspiring to overthrow him. Molligoda, the Prime Minister, by associating with the English Resident, learned to taste the poisons of alcohol, and he became a drunkard, and initiated the King into alcoholism, who became a loyal devotee to the alcohol demon. He became partially insane, and the Court ministers who were against Ehalapola were successful in their conspiracy. The King believed that Ehalapola was in league with the British Governor, Mr. North, who had promised him to overthrow the King, and in a fit of anger, under the influence of alcohol, the King ordered the execution of Ehalapola's wife and his two little sons. The execution was accomplished. The Kandyan Sinhalese rose in revolt. Ehalapola joined the British, the King was captured, and the British flag was hoisted in the citadel at Kandy. The Sinhalese lion flag, that was unfurled twenty-four centuries ago in Vijitapura, near Anuradhapura, was for the first time brought down after a triumphant conquest of twenty-three centuries, and for the first time in the glorious history of the lion-armed Sinhalese, their independence was lost, in the year 1815 of the Christian era.

There exists no race on this earth today that has had a more glorious, triumphant record of victory than the Sinhalese. Sons of Aryan ancestors, they built their first city and called it Anuradhapura, after the Prince Anuradha and the constellation Anura. Fifty-four years before the Battle of Marathon, the Sinhalese had conquered Ceylon ; nine years after the conquest of the Kingdom of Candahar by Alexander the Great ; and one hundred and eleven years before the destruction of the Carthagian Power ; and forty-three years before the consolidation of the Roman Empire, the Religion of the Buddha was established.
Twenty-two hundred years ago the holy Mahinda, son of the imperial Aoska, the world's greatest Emperor, came to Ceylon and founded the Buddhist Sangha. The King Devanampiyatissa, the great Indian Emperor's ally, became a convert. The humane Religion was promulgated, and Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, the resplendent jewel, became the future repository of the pure religion of the Tathagato.

Under the holy influence of the Tathagato's Religion of Righteousness, the people flourished. Kings spent all their wealth in building temples, public baths, dagobas, libraries, monasteries, rest houses, hospitals for man and beast, schools, tanks, seven storied mansions, t water works, and beautified the city of Anuradhapura, whose fame reached Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, India and other countries. Megasthenes, Pliny, Strabo, Fa-Hian, Hwen Thsang and the Arabic writers have testified to the marvelous greatness of the city and of its wonderful architectural beauties. What other nation on earth is there which could boast of a history of the island, a history of the Great Line of Kings, a history of Religion ; a history of Sacred Architectural Shrines, a history of the Sacred Tree, a history of the Sacred Relics ? The Sinhalese alone has a " Dipavansa, " a " Mahavansa, " a " Sasana vansa, " a " Thupa vansa, " a " Bodhi vansa, " a " Datha vansa. " For twenty-four centuries the sacred city of Anuradhapura has been hallowed with imperishable associations. Neither Jerusalem, Rome, Athens, Babylon, Benares, Gaya, nor Mecca can boast of a continuous stream of pilgrims visiting their shrines uninterruptedly for twenty-two centuries. Jerusalem was destroyed nineteen centuries ago, and it went out of Jewish hands ; Rome, imperial Rome of the greatEmperors, declined, and its ancient monuments were destroyed after the introduction of Roman Christianity ; Athens declined after the fall of the Grecian Empire ; Babylon fell after the decline of the Byzantine Empire ; Benares was destroyed by the Mohammedans, and so was Gaya. But Anuradhapura, the sacred city, stands today unique with its historic Thuparama and Ratnamali shrines, with its artificial lakes and the sacred Bodhi Tree, the most ancient, historic tree in the world. Brahmanism and Christianity were the two forces that came like avalanches and buried the pure, refined, kind-hearted children of Lanka. Under the accursed Brahmanical influence, the Shaivite King, Raja Sinha, destroyed Buddhism. He burnt all the sacred books that were in the temples, killed the priests, and made Brahmanism the state religion. Happily for Buddhism, centuries previously, the illustrious Buddha Ghosha came to the island and translated the Sinhalese commentaries into Pali, which were carried into Siam, Cambodia, Burmah and China.

Roman Christianity was introduced by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. For nearly one hundred and fifty years these demons in human form destroyed temples, killed thousands of people, outraged womanhood, threw hundreds of infants into the mouths of crocodiles, and by diabolical atrocities converted thousands of Sinhalese into Roman Catholicim. The Portuguese were eventually driven out of the island, but then came the Dutch, who introduced Protestant Christianity.
The Sinhalese, according to the Christian publishers of the " Geography of Ceylon " printed in 1870, are " polite, kind to their children and fond of learning." This bright, beautiful island was made into a Paradise by the Aryan Sinhalese before its destruction was brought about by the barbaric vandals. Its people did not know irreligion. The pagan beliefs of monotheism and diabolic ploytheism were unknown to the people. Christianity and polytheism are responsible for the vulgar practices of killing animals, stealing, prostitution, licentiousness, lying and drunkenness. Read the " History of Ceylon," by Sir Emerson Tennent, and the " Records of the Western World," by Fa Hian and Hwen Thsang, for they have written what they had observed. This ancient, historic, refined people, under the diabolism of vicious paganism, introduced by the British administrators, are now declining and slowly dying away. The bureaucratic administrators, ignorant of the first principles of the natural laws of evolution, have cut down primeval forests to plant tea ; have introduced opium, ganja, whisky, arrack and other alcoholic poisons ; have opened saloons and drinking taverns in every village ; have killed all industries and made the people indolent.

Alfred Russell Wallace, the great naturalist, in his work, the " Wonderful Century," says that the vandalism of British tea planters in Ceylon in cutting down virgin forests has no parallel in history, and Mr. Sexton, in his Administration Report, says, " That the clearing of the higher land for tea estates causes all the water to come to the paddy fields."

In the Samaya Sangraha, a Ceylon journal, quoting an ancient authority, says that " Education of a country is neglected when the administrators are bad." It is, indeed, pathetic to observe that a unique race who had been the custodians of an ancient religious literature for 2200 years, Aryan in origin, should be allowed to die out slowly from inanition. The history of evolution can point to no other race today that has withstood the ravages of time and kept its individuality for so long a time as the Sinhalese people. More marvellous it is that there is in the same island the most primitive savage tribe on earth, known under the name of Veddahs.

For the student of ethnology the Sinhalese stand as the representatives of Aryan civilization, and the Veddah as the product of primitive savagery, and to witness the spectacle of an ancient race slowly dying out under the despotic administration of Anglo-Indian bureaucracy is indeed sad. In the name of Humanity and Progress, we ask the British people to save the Sinhalese race from the jaws of the demon of alcohol and opium let loose by Christian England for the sake of filthy lucre.
The revenues of the island from taxation on imported goods, land sales, body taxes, liquor licenses, etc., amount to yearly rupees, 81,183,413 (3 rupees equal a dollar.). From this amount England has to be paid yearly, rupees, 1,669,046. English officers in the island are paid, rupees, 13,152,515. The Governor is paid yearly rupees, 121,153. Pensions of retired English officers amount to, rupees, 605,892. The tea planters take away to England about, rupees, 49,290,530 annually. British goods are imported yearly to the value of about, rupees, 12,875,500, and from British colonies to the value of about, rupees, 25,616,100.

During the Dutch period, Mohammedans were allowed to remain in the island only a number of months in the year. Under the English administration the outcasts of Southern India are allowed to immigrate into the island, and thousands of them have made homes therein. The sons of the soil, the pure lion-armed Sinhalese, who number 2,092,885, are allowed to perish. The total population, including Tamils, Moors and Eurasians, is 3,008,466. For the education of children of all races the government only spends yearly, rupees, 668,273 ! The total number of pupils in the island is 187,964.

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece and Switzerland are European countries. Take, for instance, Finland, a country whose population in 1890 was 2,380,000. Let us compare its educational statistics with Ceylon, whose Sinhalese population is 2,092,885. "In Finland," says an English writer, " the peasants are fairly well to do ; they are healthy, intelligent and strikingly honest ; sobriety rules, because the sale of intoxicants is absolutely prohibited."-- [Scribner's Monthly, June, 1901. Henry Norman.] In Finland there are 540,412 pupils, 2,608 are University students, 7,785 private students, 413,867 in primary schools, 25,931 in urban schools, 72,991 in rural schools, 1881 Normal teachers, 1094 miles of railroad, 174 savings banks. The same writer says : " To one wise law he (the Finlander) doubtless largely owes his freedom from a vice which cold and poverty and loneliness and opportunity have developed to a terrible degree among his great neighbours (Russians) to the East; the sale of alcohol in any shape or form is absolutely prohibited in Finland outside the towns, and towns are few and distant."
The last year's liquor licenses of the five smaller provinces in Ceylon, sold by the government, brought 1,300,558 rupees into the treasury. The large provinces are Western, Central, Southern, Sabaragamuwa and Uva.

Finland is under despotic Russia, and the bright, beautiful Island of Ceylon is under the barbaric imperialism of England. The sweet, tender, gentle, Aryan children of an ancient, historic race are sacrificed at the altar of the whisky-drinking, beef-eating belly-god of heathenism. How long, oh ! how long, will unrighteousness last in Ceylon !

Humanitarians of England, France, Germany, Austria, Russia and the emancipated people of the United States of America : We solicit your sympathy."

3. Weitere Zitate von Anagarika Dharmapala, 1908 - 1922

"An Appeal for Official Countenance

But it is in the power of the British Government, which now rules the land with absolute sway, to protect the Sinhalese race from further losing its ancient religion by following the ennobling instructions laid down by the Tathagata. Let the Buddhists be given a form of local self-government according to the ancient traditions, based on the beneficent teachings of their Saviour. By nature the Sinhalese Buddhists " are polite, kind to their children, and fond of learning ". Let the noble British nation, so eager to do good, prevent the sale of opium, arrack, and other intoxicating drugs to the Buddhists. Let industrial and technical shools be started in populous towns and villages. Let the methods adopted in the ancient days by the good kings of old, like Gamini, Buddhadasa, Parakrama Bahu, and other rulers, be repeated. Let the Mahavansa be a guide, and let the learned elderly Maha Theros (high priests) of the different parts of the island be asked to advise the Government as to the best means to be adopted for promoting the material and moral welfare of the Sinhalese Buddhists. That both the British and the Buddhists may thus thrive side by side in Ceylon is the sincere wish and prayer of the Anagarika Dharmapala."

[Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon, 1908. -- Abgedruckt in: Dharmapala <Anagarika> <1864 - 1933>: Return to righteousnes : a collection of speeches essay and letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala / ed. by Ananda Guruge. -- Colombo : Government Press, 1965. -- S. 496]

"It is the history of a unique race whose glorious achievements are recorded in the Mahavansa."

[Education in Ceylon. -- 1909. -- Abgedruckt in: Dharmapala <Anagarika> <1864 - 1933>: Return to righteousnes : a collection of speeches essay and letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala / ed. by Ananda Guruge. -- Colombo : Government Press, 1965. -- S. 529]

"You should tell stories from the Mahavansa about our great kings of the past. The story of Sirisangabo is exhilarating. Let them learn inspiring Pali gathas from the Attanagaluvansa, Mahavansa, Samantakuta vannana."

[Brief an J. E. Gunasekera. -- 1922-03-20. -- Abgedruckt in: Dharmapala <Anagarika> <1864 - 1933>: Return to righteousnes : a collection of speeches essay and letters of the Anagarika Dharmapala / ed. by Ananda Guruge. -- Colombo : Government Press, 1965. -- S. 772]

4. Bhiksuvagē urumaya / by Walpola Rahula, 1946

Abb.: Walpola Rahula

Abb.: Valpola Rahula: Bhiksuvage urumaya, Ausgabe von 1992

Der einflussreichste Vertreter des politischen Mönchtums nach 1945 ist Walpola Rahula (1910 - 1997). Sein Werk 

Valpola Rāhula <1910 - 1997>: Bhiksuvagê urumaya. -- 1946

Englische Übersetzung:

Walpola Rahula <1910 - 1997>: The heritage of the bhikkhu : a short history of the bhikkhu in educational, cultural, social, and political life. -- New York : Grove Press : distributed by Random House, [1974]. -- 176 S. --  ISBN 0802100120

ist das Manifest des politischen Mönchtums und der Hardliner unter den Vertretern von Sri Lanka als buddhistische Nation.

Siehe dazu:

15.E1. Exkurs 1 zu Kapitel 15: Buddhismus als Staatsreligion Sri Lankas -- URL:

5. Kelaniya Declaration of Independence, 1947

Den Hintergrund der Abfassung dieser Erklärung "politischer Mönche" am Vidyalankara Pirivena, Kelaniya, gibt einer der Autoren, Yakkaduve Pragnarama so wieder:

"Early in 1946 the idea was expressed by some prominent political leaders that it is inappropriate for monks to engage in public activities like politics. Before that some of the same politicians had asked the help of the monks
during elections, which the Vidyalankara monks had refused. Thus their idea now, that monks should not participate in political activity, was not an impartial statement but an expression of the fear that monks would indeed participate but not on their behalf. Those concerned were a group of able, young, and educated monks with nationalist and socialist ideas, on the Vidyalankara faculty. The core of this group included 
  • Walpola Rahula, 
  • Yakkaduve Pragnarama, 
  • Kotahene Pannakitti, 
  • Kalalalle Anandasagara, and 
  • Nattandiya Pannakara. 

On the evening of February 8, 1946, Yakkaduve and Rahula, who was then secretary of the Vidyalankara Sabha, the governing body of the college (pirivena), went to see Dr. Nicholas Attygalle, the president of the Sabha, and in the course of discussions on various matters relating to the college, brought up the question of monks and political activity. Dr. Attygalle expressed the view that it was of the greatest importance to make, at this time, a statement of the position of the college regarding the issue. Yakkaduve expressed the fear that a public statement on the subject might cause problems for the pirivena. Dr. Attygalle responded, "That is all right. We will see about that." Upon return to their quarters the two met informally in Yakkaduve's room with others of the group, which included Kosgoda Dhammavamsa and Kudirippuve Pannasehkara in addition to the three others mentioned above. A discussion ensued as to the idea expressed by the president, Dr. Attygalle, and it was unanimously agreed that a public statement should be made. Writing was assigned to Yakkaduve, who prepared the statement, fully in accordance with dharma vinaya and sasana practice. The two, Yakkaduve and Rahula, took the statement back to Dr. Attygalle and explained the contents to him in English and in Sinhalese. Attygalle approved it as excellent and asked the monks to get it approved by the Vidyalankara faculty and to release it to the press. On February 13, 1946 the faculty was summoned and the statement read to them, which they approved unanimously. Yakkaduve also explained to the faculty the possible (adverse) consequences of The Declaration to the college. The principal, Kirivattuduve Pragnasara, signed it and it was released to the press. It was also printed in the form of a pamphlet and distributed."

[Yakkaduve Prajnarama: Pavidi vaga ha sasun maga. -- Übersetzt in: Seneviratne, H. L. <1934- >: The work of kings : the new Buddhism in Sri Lanka. -- Chicago, Ill. : University of Chicago Press, ©1999. -- ISBN 0226748669. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei bestellen}]

Die Declaration lautet in der Übersetzung in:

[Vijayavardhana, D. C.]: Dharna-Vijaya (triumph of righteousness) or The revolt in the temple. -- Colombo : Sinha, 1953. -- S. 157f.


The Declaration of the Sangha of Sri Lanka

Twenty-five centuries ago, our forefathers established in Sri Lanka a state of Society, Free, Independent and Sovereign, in order to ensure to the people security of Life and Liberty on the one hand, and on the other the right as well as opportunity to seek and obtain Happiness. A few centuries later, the Sangha, the Treasurers of the eternal values proclaimed by the Buddha, became the Guardians of the Life and Liberty as well as the Sponsors of the Wellbeing and Happiness of that Society.

Nations and civilizations are not eternal. They rise, flourish, decay and die. Nothing in this world can be regarded as eternal. There are values higher than cities and nations, and our country has always stood for these values. Mere material possessions are not the sine qua non of happiness. No measures or quantities of these can give that essential quality of happiness which constitutes the real dignity of mankind.

Four and a half centuries ago, 'disturbers of the peace of mankind' from the West not only challenged the right of the people of this Island to their way of life and liberty, but also attempted to introduce into it ideals other than those which this country had always stood for. It is our glory that the country never had any dearth of men inspired with the spirit of Sri Lanka. These outstanding leaders of the nation accepted the challenge, and fierce struggles by the people against the foreigners ensued during three whole centuries.

Thereafter a section of the community, arrogating to themselves an authority that had not the sanction of the will of the nation, ceded the country to the last of the alien aggressors, who have since dominated over it to the loss of liberty and happiness of its people. Posterity, however, cannot be deprived of the inherent rights which peoples acquire when they form themselves into a state of civilized society, by the act or acts, or Compact, or Convention entered into by any group of men in the near or remote past. And the people, who for 131 years have been denied their inherent rights, are not content, today, to be fettered any longer or to remain under an alien yoke.

We, therefore, the Sangha of Sri Lanka, the Guardians of the Life and Liberty and Sponsors of the Well-being and Happiness of the people of this Island, assembled on this hallowed spot sanctified by the touch of the feet of the Master, do hereby declare and publish, on behalf of the people, that Sri Lanka claims its right to be a Free and Independent Sovereign State, that it has resolved to absolve itself from all allegiance to any other Power, State or Crown, and that all political connection between it and any other State, is hereby dissolved; and that as a Free and Independent Sovereign State it has full right to safeguard its Freedom and Independence, to contract alliances and do all other acts and things which Independent States may of right do.

For due recognition of the rectitude of our action and for support of the claim made under this Declaration, we, the Sangha of Sri Lanka, hereby appeal to the conscience and sense of justice of all right-thinking peoples of the world. And in hereby calling upon the good people of Sri Lanka, on whose behalf we make this Declaration, unitedly and in courage and strong endeavour to see to it that its purpose is achieved in the fullest possible measure, we, the Sangha of Sri Lanka, on our part pledge ourselves to associate with them in spirit as well as in action in that great and high resolve.

Declared on this auspicious anniversary of the Buddha's first visit to Sri Lanka, Monday, the full-moon day of Durutu, in the year 2490 of the Buddhist era in the new Gandhakuti (Fragrant Chamber) of the Sri Kalyani Raja Maha Vihara."

6. The revolt in the temple / by D. C. Vijayavardhana, 1953

Abb.: The revolt in the temple. -- Popular edition. -- 1953

1953 erschien

[Vijayavardhana, D. C.]: Dharna-Vijaya (triumph of righteousness) or The revolt in the temple. -- Colombo : Sinha, 1953. -- 700 S.

"Composed to commemorate 2500 years of the land, the race and the faith"

Einen Eindruck von dem mühsam zu lesenden "Schinken" gibt das Vorwort "About this book" der Sinha Publications (s. 3 - 10):


THE purpose of this work is to commemorate a great and unique event of modern times, namely, the completion of 2500 years of a-three-fold history. This history is that 

  • of the Buddhist Faith, 
  • of the Sinhalese Race, and 
  • of the Land of Ceylon.

According to the Mahavamsa and the ancient Pali Commentaries, the passing away of the Buddha, and the landing in Lanka of Vijaya, the founder of the Sinhalese race, took place on one and the same day. The Mahavamsa relates that the Buddha, on the day of His passing away, addressed Sakra, the king of the gods, thus: 

"My doctrine, O Sakra, will eventually be established in the Island of Lanka; and on this day, Vijaya, eldest son of Sinha Bahu, King of Sinhapura in the Lata country, lands there with seven hundred followers, and will assume the sovereignty there. Do thou, therefore, guard well the King and his train and the Island of Lanka."

On receiving the Buddha's command, Sakra summoned Vishnu: 

"'Do thou, O lotus-hued One, protect with zeal Prince Vijaya and his followers, and the Doctrine that is to endure in Lanka for full five thousand years."

Thus the Mahavamsa synchronises the death of the Buddha with the founding of the Sinhalese race; and, therefore, in 1956 will occur the unique three-fold event -- the completion of 2500 years of Buddhism, of the life of the Sinhalese race, and of Ceylon's history.

This Mahavamsa tradition has been ingrained in the Sinhalese mind for centuries, and out of it had arisen certain beliefs among them. For more than two thousand years the Sinhalese have been inspired by the ideal that they were a nation brought into being for the definite purpose of carrying the Torch lit by the Buddha. It was through the same tradition that Vishnu was made the patron deity of Ceylon. In almost every Buddhist temple there is an image to the deity who is venerated as the protector of the Land, the Race and the Faith.

Another tradition that is current amongst the Sinhalese is that, when Buddhism shall have completed 2500 years, a prince named Diyasena will establish a Buddhist Kingdom in Ceylon. Then, it is said, the fath will shine forth in glory and be a beacon to the whole world, and Lanka itself will be prosperous and joyous. This prediction, which originated from a verse in a poetical work, written during the reign of Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte -- the last period of brilliant achievement of the Sinhalese--  has been a source of hope and consolation for the Sinhalese during the vicissitudes of the past 500 years.

The Buddha's blessing of Vijaya and his band of followers and the land which they "went forth to possess,'' foreshadowed the  "intimate connection of the Land, the Race and the Buddhist Faith. Vijaya himself was a Brahmin in faith, and the best authorities' opinion is that Buddhism was not actually established in Ceylon, and not adopted by the Sinhalese people, until the coming of the missionary, Mahinda Thero, nearly three hundred years later than Vijaya's landing in the Island. Nevertheless the blessing of the Buddha was there: the prophecy was in due course fulfilled: the land and the race flourished, and the arts of civilization were fostered; and through all the vicissitudes of their fortunes from that day to this, the Sinhalese race as a whole (and therefore the vast majority of Ceylon's inhabitants), have remained faithful to the Buddha and the Buddhist precepts, on which their ancient kings founded their legislation and social organization.

Buddhism has been throughout a humanising influence in Ceylon history. There have been times of retrogression when the sacred precepts were forgotten or ignored; times when alien conquerors imposed on portions of the country their faith and their manners. But again and again these alien kings are to be found adopting the Buddhist faith and ethics, and identifying themselves with the Sinhalese people. And through all these vicissitudes, the teaching of the Doctrine and the practice of the faith went on in the temples, the monasteries and the schools. All the materials for the history of Ceylon are to be found in Buddhist chronicles and Buddhist monumental inscriptions.

Thus it is clear that the unifying, healing, progressive principle in the entity called Ceylon was the Buddhist faith. This is said with no intention of denying or belittling the contributions of other races and other faiths -- each in their own way, each in their own degree. But, when all has been taken into account, the outstanding fact is the unbroken continuity, for 2500 years, of interaction of the land and the people and the faith on each other, and their resultant contribution to civilization.

The original plan was to issue this book in 1956 together with editions in Pali and Sinhalese, the languages of Buddhism and of the Sinhalese race. In 1946 was celebrated the completion of the restoration of the ancient Buddhist temple at Kelaniya which had been destroyed by Portuguese invaders in 1575. To commemorate that restoration a souvenir entitled Here is Kelaniya was issued. In this souvenir, which had both English and Sinhalese editions, were included certain passages of topical interest from this book. The freshness and vivacity of these excerpts, and the clear and critical mind through which the harvested material had been passed and presented, created a widespread interest in the forthcoming publication. It was, therefore, decided to issue the English and the Sinhalese editions in advance of the date as originally planned.

Dharma-Vijaya (Triumph of Righteousness), or '' The Revolt in the Temple," is a trilogy. 

The first part, Nidana Katha, or  "The Introductory Story,'' contains the story of the Sinhalese race, felicitously written with touches of unmistakable realism. In it a forgotten world is brought back to life. One is astounded to find how much of the past is yet hidden from us, and how much more we know but vaguely. Yesterday's heroes and their doings, changing social complexions, penetrating vignettes that tell the tale of a once great nation -- to read these things is to see, passing before one's eyes, the cavalcade of Lanka's history.

The second part is the Kalyana Magga, or ' 'The Path of Happiness." It is an exposition, in simple language, of the Buddha's teaching. It. is modelled on Buddhaghosa's famous thesis, the Visuddhi Magga, or 'The Path of Purity.'' In his treatise, Buddhaghosa took a question that was once asked from the Buddha and His reply thereto, and from it wove a profound and comprehensive exposition of Buddhist teaching. Kalyana Magga, by reason of the way in which it deals with a momentous question asked from modern man, and the reply given to it in terms of the truths revealed two thousand five hundred years ago, represents not only a highly illuminating literary production, but also a notably practical guide to the development of human happiness in our time.

The third part is Rajjan ca Paja ca, or "Man and the State.'' It is here that the author translates the Buddha's doctrine from its common interpretation of "pie in the sky after you die'' to happiness here and now in this actual human world. The author has brought down the present day teaching of the goal of Buddhism from its supermundane heights back to our lowly but very real earthly realm, and has applied that transcendental philosophy to the common facts of life as it is lived today. He tries to do for Buddhism what Burke did for the French Revolution. Burke, however, had looked backward. Our author believes in looking forward for inspiration, although he possesses both the historian's sense of the past as well as the gift of discerning the trend of current social and political forces.

The Buddhist world is indebted to a galaxy of great Commentators who have shed light on the teachings of the Buddha. But it was a small universe that those inquisitive minds lived in and contemplated. 

  • Nagasena (2nd century B.C., N.W. India), 
  • Asvaghosa (2nd century A.C., N. India), 
  • Nagarjuna (2nd century A.C., S. India), 
  • Aryadeva (2nd or 3rd century A.C., Ceylon and India), 
  • Asanga (4th century A.c., N. India), 
  • Chandrakirti (4th century A.C.  S. India), 
  • Vasu-bandhu (4th century A.C., N. India), 
  • Dimnaga (4th or 5th century A.C., N. India), 
  • Kumarajiva (4th--5th century A.C., China), 
  • Bodhi-dharma (5th century A.C., S. India and China), 
  • Buddhadatta (5th century A.C., S. India), 
  • Buddhaghosa (5th century A.C., N. India and Ceylon), 
  • Dharmapala (5th century A.C., S. India), 
  • Santideva (7th century A.C., N. India), 
  • Santarakshita (9th century A.C., N. India and Tibet), 
  • Dipankara Srignana (11th century A.C., N. India and Tibet), 
  • Sariputra (12th century A.C., Ceylon), 
  • Dharma-kirti 12th century A.C., S. India) 

interpreted the Buddha's message against the background of the age and time in which they respectively lived. But none will dispute the fact that, since then, that universe has expanded both geographically and intellectually.

Mediaeval man knew of only four elements -- earth, air, fire and water. By 1940, scientists knew of 92 elements -- ranging from light-weight hydrogen, whose atom has only one electron, to heavy uranium, with 92 electrons.

This book is an attempt to interpret the Message delivered twenty-five centuries ago, not only in terms of the expanded universe in which we are living today, but also against the background of the great thinkers who have given their characteristic colour to the thought of our times. The work has, therefore, to be treated as being an entirely new Commentary on the teachings of the Buddha. The intrepidity of such an undertaking will be appreciated, when it is realised that the existing Theravada Commentaries are those that were extant at the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura and translated by Buddhaghosa from Sinhalese into Pali fifteen centuries ago, and that, to this day, orthodox Buddhist doctrine enshrines these Commentaries as the final and immutable statement of the Buddha's sacred truths.

The present work may not claim to be a complete re-exposition of Buddha's teaching in the light of modern knowledge, but it does supply the groundwork for others to build up a new interpretation of these immortal truths, which shall restate them in terms of modern knowledge, and with such validity that they may be accepted by the hitherto divergent schools of Buddhist thought, namely the Theravada and the Mahayana. Without the establishment of such a harmony, it would seem that the last message of the Buddha Himself, as recorded in the Mahavamsa, may fail of its fulfilment. In that message the Buddha said that His doctrine would endure for five thousand years. Halfway along that journey through time, we of this day may well ask ourselves: What of the journey onwards, and will it proceed to the appointed end ?

The world is faced today with the rapid advance of a new doctrine -- Marxian Communism. Christianity, for nearly four decades, has been fighting a losing battle against it. But now Buddhism also faces the same issue. How will the Buddhist world meet this challenge ? China, a Buddhist country, will soon have to decide this problem. Will she, like the Christian countries, submit to this new doctrine ? Or will she, keeping to her tradition of absorbing her conquerors, absorb Marxism into her system and give to the world a new way of life ?

Trotsky was not far wrong when he said that the English Revolution, brought about by the Puritans, was nourished on Biblical texts; the French Revolution on the abstractions of democracy; and the Russian Revolution on Marxism. Marx, as we all know, was profoundly influenced in the development of his teaching by German philosophy. Will Buddhist philosophy and its broad ethical inspiration impress its stamp upon Chinese Communism and give a new twist to the Marxian philosophy of materialism ? There is hardly a trace of any human emotion in Marx's writings.

Then, will there emerge from Buddhist China an ethical or Utopian interpretation of Marxism, and will China bring about a synthesis of Buddhism and Marxism and thereby humanise the latter ? If China does so, she cannot fail to influence the future of the religious, social, ethical, economic and political lives of a greater -part of the peoples of the Eastern world. And it is not impossible that this synthesis of Buddhism and Marxism should succeed in conquering the mind of Russia, and replacing the present materialistic system in that region. Are we then on the eve of a revolution greater than that of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the French and the Russian Revolutions all combined ? A 'revolution, in short, of world-wide scope ?
A century or two ago half of East Asia was paying tribute to the Imperial Court at Peking. It looks as though history may be coming again to a full circle. Peking, under the rule of Mao Tse-tung, promises to become a sort of Oriental Moscow -- a magnet of attraction, a centre of thought and a pattern of reform for a new way of life in the East. And Mao Tse-tung, the Buddhist President of the new regime, may well become an Asian Lenin.

Most of those in positions of responsibility in Asia today are young men who decide for themselves what they want from the West. For them Peking and Moscow are magnets; they are suspicious of London, and even more of Washington. Many of them are Communists, who have studied Mao Tse-tung's The New Democracy and believe that this represents an application of Marxist principles to the particular conditions of Asia.

History may well decide that the greatest event of all in the first-half of the twentieth century is the upsurge of nationalism in the East. This must be numbered among those mighty movements in human turmoil which occur every few centuries and change the shape of things to come. They herald the shift in the balance of power which could transform the world.

Peoples are apt to forget that great civilizations of ancient times were Oriental, and more than once the East has nearly succeeded in over-running the West. That it did not do so was because the Eastern peoples lacked the material power with which Western man, with his ingenuity and restlessness, had armed himself, so much so that he was able to subdue the East.
His domination was complete, It has lasted for centuries and is only now being broken, The Eastern peoples, however, are not yet ready to stand on their own feet. Russian Communists have been shrewd enough to perceive this fact and to seize their chance. That is why Marxism is entrenched in the Far East, and may tomorrow flood India and the Middle East. But Asian Communists do not accept Moscow's over-all leadership, and they are less subject to Soviet authority than their Central European counterparts. A new regionalism, therefore, is now developing in the Communist world with Peking as its focus.
Mao Tse-tung in China may be the forerunner of a Communist revolt against the Kremlin. This 'Protestant Communist' stands for majority rule, instead of the ruling Moscow dogma of the dictatorship of the proletariat. There is a wide divergence in theory between the Chinese Communists and the Orthodox Marxists as well as the Stalinists of Moscow. It is not yet a clear divergence, for neither side acknowledges-- perhaps neither side sees clearly -- its own essential position or that of its opponent. But, reduced to their ultimate essentials, the conflicting theories are these: Orthodox Marxism holds that the class struggle must be waged within China, as elsewhere, so that the proletariat is indisputably master of the country. The Chinese Communists insist on a compromise, a class alliance of the proletariat peasantry, and the active middle-class.

For the Chinese, the Second World War was the Socialist revolution. The main weight of the fighting was borne by the peasants and a part of the middle-class took its share. It was a people's revolution rather than a proletarian one. They would be untrue to their own struggle, of which they are so proud, if they obeyed the dogma of Orthodox Marxism and broke the alliance that freed their country. Marx was wrong about the inevitable increase of the proletariat. Instead of decaying, the middle-class have become more important. Their help is needed if rule is to be by the majority and not by force. While Moscow insists on the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Mao "heresy" recognises the need for an alliance of classes and a mixed economy.

The Russian technique of revolution is not appreciated in the East, which gave to the world the gospel of renunciation of physical force. In India Mahatma Gandhi worked out a prescription better suited to the temperament of the East, and successfully challenged the British power. It is to be expected, therefore, that while Communist-inspired revolutionary movement in the East will look to Moscow for such ideas as productive techniques, propaganda, etc., they will tend to seek guidance, and take their cue in the field of deep political thought, from their own past.

Mr. Harold Stassen, American Republican leader, recently told a Press conference in New Delhi that he believed the American and Soviet ways of life could exist together, "provided neither tried to impose by force its own way of life on the other,'' and he declared that Asia, with its different philosophy, could provide a major third stream of philosophical thought leading towards a third way of life. Asia, ancient cradle of civilization, may well be the modern cradle of world peace.

When Asia enters fully into her inheritance, she will one day cast off Russia and her gods just as she is now casting off the Western powers and all their gods. She will find inspiration from within. It is significant that, when India cast off Britain, she went back twenty-five centuries, and did so under the shadow of the greatest of her sons: At the inauguration of the Republic of India, rulers and legislators pledged themselves to serve their country, before a colossal statue of the Buddha erected in the Assembly Hall at New Delhi; when Free India evolved a national flag, she emblazoned the Dharma Chakra, the symbol of Buddhism, on it; and when she brought out her new postage stamps, she replaced King George by a Bodhisattva.

A most instructive work, this book is a brilliant "Commando Raid" through history, religion, philosophy, psychology, ethics, politics, economics and sociology. It breaks new ground in its analysis of the religious, political, social and economic realities of our day. There is originality of thought in many of its statements : it releases ideas like a man startling a flock of pigeons into the air ; and, because of their provocative nature, they supply abundant material for discussion or personal analysis. There may be readers who will not share all the author's views, but, on the other hand, the thoughtful reader may find the writer's arguments very difficult to counter or explain away.

The late Venerable Pahamune Sri Sumangala, Maha Nayaka Thero of Malwatta Vihara, Kandy, the Hierarch of the Buddhist Church in Ceylon, has written the Foreword.


6.1. Foreword / by Pahamune Sri Sumangala, Maha Nayaka Thero of Malwatta Vihara, Kandy

[Vijayavardhana, D. C.]: Dharna-Vijaya (triumph of righteousness) or The revolt in the temple. -- Colombo : Sinha, 1953. -- S. 11 - 20

Out of the darkness of unreasoning life, aeons ago, came a strange being, differing from all who had gone before ; in whose eyes had dawned the question: 


That word was the birth of consciousness, of creativeness and spiritual responsiveness; the symbol of understanding and progress. The being that could ask that question was not to be the butt of blind physical forces. He was to take a hand in shaping his own destiny.

Yet we, his descendants, thousands of centuries later, waste our lives in accumulating mere wealth, and throw away our wearily accumulated fortunes and even our lives in vain struggle and empty warfare.

Is it not time that we echo the cry of our ancestor of those far off days, and ask: "Why ? " Is it not time for us to embark on a new quest, not for perishable wealth or material domination, but rather for added knowledge and the broadening of the foundation on which civilization rests ? Is it not even now the time for us to ask what has made us the slaves of money-getting, the victims of war ?

If we do so, we shall fulfil the promise of that far-distant ancestor, the promise that man should conquer circumstances through understanding. Then will man be born again. He will come with truth on his lips and understanding in his heart, to forge a new instrument for human service, to build a new civilization.

When we look back through the mist of years to that strange being who came out of the darkness, and review the never-ending procession of lives advancing along the narrow path of light, and then look forward through the endless future that leads to the ultimate attainment, individual lives seem small indeed. Yet life, as a whole, is indebted to a few enlightened guides for its progress, as flashes from their minds illuminate the feet of mankind in its search for happiness.

Socrates, Plato, Confucius and Jesus brought light to the ancient world. But the Buddha was undoubtedly the greatest religious Teacher the world has known. He set down a code of ethics of a higher order than any before or after His time. He produced, for the benefit of humanity, His Eightfold Way of right thinking and right acting. He was the first to declare the universal brotherhood of man .and his followers, though they have degraded much of His teaching and turned it into creeds and dogmas, have followed His precept of peace and love to all men. He insisted that reason based on evidence was our only guide to truth, and that only through knowledge could mankind attain happiness. Only then  could Nirvana be attained -- when the annihilation of greed, covetousness and all evil was achieved, and when justice, compassion and goodness only remained.

Buddhism is historically the most important religion, and has influenced the life and thought of more than half the human race. It was the most tremendous religious movement that the world ever saw, the most gigantic spiritual wave ever to burst upon human society. There is no civilization on which its effect has not been felt in some way or another. It has profoundly influenced the thinking portion of the human race for two thousand five hundred years.

At the time the Buddha was born, India was in need of a great spiritual leader. There was already a most powerful body of priests. These priests believed that there was a God, but that this God could be approached and known only through them. People could enter the Holy of Holies only with the permission of the priests. One had to pay them, worship them, place everything in their hands.

The Buddha was the symbol of triumph in the struggle that had been going on between the priests and the people in India. One thing could be said for those Indian priests -- they had not been and never were intolerant of religion ; they never persecuted religion. Any man was allowed to preach against them. Theirs was such a religion ; they never molested any one because of his religious views. But they suffered from the peculiar weaknesses of all priests : they also sought power, they also promulgated rules and regulations and made religion unnecessarily complicated, and thereby undermined the moral strength of those who followed their religion.

The Buddha cut through all these excrescences. He preached the most tremendous truths. He taught one and all without distinction. He taught it to the world at large, because one of His great messages was the equality of man. Men are all equal. No reservations there to anybody. The Buddha was the great preacher of equality. Every man and woman has the same right to attain spirituality -- that was His teaching. The difference between the priests and the other castes He abolished. Even the lowest were entitled to the highest attainments ; He opened the door of salvation to one and all. This teaching was an astounding revelation even to India.

Yet the religion of the Buddha spread fast. Buddhism conferred a great benefit on India by encouraging freedom of thought and by setting at liberty its teeming population, before being entangled in the meshes of ceremonial observances and Brahminical priestcraft.

Buddhism also conferred many other benefits on the nations which embraced the religion. It introduced education and culture ; it encouraged literature and art; it promoted physical, moral, and intellectual progress ; it proclaimed peace, goodwill, and brotherhood among men ; it deprecated war between nation and nation; it avowed sympathy with social liberty and freedom; it gave back much independence to women ; it preached purity in thought, word, and deed; it taught self-denial without self-torture ; it inculcated generosity, charity, tolerance, love, self-sacrifice, and benevolence, even towards the inferior animals ; it advocated respect for life and compassion towards all creatures ; it forbade avarice and the hoarding of money; and from its declaration that a man's future depended on his present acts and condition, it did good service in preventing stagnation, stimulating exertion, promoting good works of all kinds, and elevating the character of humanity.

Of all the Teachers of the world, the Buddha was the one who taught us to be self-reliant, who freed us not only from the bondages of our false selves, but also from dependence on the invisible being or beings called God or gods. That giant brain never was superstitious. Believe not because a sacred book says so, because it has been handed down to you from your forefathers, because your friends want you to -- but think for yourself; search truth for yourself; realize it yourself. Then, if you find it beneficial to one and many, give it to the people.

Great masses followed Him. Kings gave up their thrones ; soldiers laid down their swords. People were able to appreciate and embrace His teaching, so revolutionary, so different from what they had been taught by the priests through the ages.
Buddhism can proudly claim that it has never been the cause of war and strife ; and its Founder was the first to proclaim that knowledge and insight are the only two levers capable of raising humanity.

Remember that only our thoughts, our actions, our unselfishness, can turn humanity, from its lost heritage of happiness, to that new day when man will shed his garments of evil and clothe himself with truth and understanding. The very air we breathe is quickened with thoughts of impending change.

Is there any man, who, in his obdurate pride and indifference to the welfare of others, can refuse this great opportunity to help in remoulding the world ? Can any one turn away with callous disregard from so manifest a duty ? Can there be any man so selfish as to dare to purchase his individual happiness by separating himself from the common interests of humanity ?
A great responsibility rests upon both rich and poor. Men of great wealth, no less than those who toil, must equally yield their best and share all burdens, for mankind can rise above the level of the beast only by placing the good of the whole above the good of the individual. This means sacrifice.

But let us cease counting too meticulously the sacrifices we will have to make, because the essence of sacrifice is that whatever is given or given up should be done spontaneously, not compulsorily. It should be a free will offering, an impulse of generosity, an oblation that, however great or however small, is presented voluntarily, without thought of the cost, majestic in intention and complete in fulfilment.

Our forefathers, when they made Lanka their home, did not lay its foundation for a civilization without sacrifices. Nor in our own time has it been an easy way for any one of us.

These '' foundation-fathers '' set in motion ideas and principles of justice which, in course of history, secured the inalienable rights of the people, an equal chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to grow. But even today there can be not much happiness if one is living on the ragged edge of security.

Roughly divided, the social structure of this country, after twenty-five centuries of development, finds only about a fourth of its people at the top possessing any security or freedom from want. The majority of the people, representing about half the total population, are at the bottom, -- ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-housed -- many of whom do not know whether the morrow will bring them a meal or not. Midway lies the other one-fourth, who just exist with a sense of security lasting only so long as they are well and working. Let any accidental circumstance occur, and they drop down to the bottom as unemployed and lie helpless.

The revelations noted in this book fill us with shame and sorrow, shame at our own easy-going and comfortable life-- we who have taken vows of poverty-- and our petty politics of the temple which ignored this vast multitude of suffering humanity, sorrow at the degradation and overwhelming poverty of the Sinhalese -- those on whom we depend for our sustenance.
A new picture of Lanka has risen before us, naked, starving, crushed, and utterly miserable.

Both the United Nations and their enemies promised their respective followers a new world after victory was won and peace was established. It was an issue on which the warring nations were competitors rather than enemies. Perhaps the most important of all the things that go to make up these better lives is '' freedom from want and freedom from fear.'' When we have conquered want, we shall have to a large extent conquered fear, since the dread of poverty-- particularly in old age-- has always been civilized man's greatest nightmare.

We are talking of peace without preparing to build the institutions which alone can make peace possible. The shape of the future is being decided by the actions we take now ; to postpone the choice of freedom is to prejudice the hope of freedom.
The first necessity, therefore, of an enduring peace is to begin now, in a profound way, the process of domestic reconstruction. Just as there cannot be peace when nation exploits nation, so there cannot be peace when class exploits class. We must recognise, while there is still time, that we are in the midst of a vast revolution from which we emerge either into a new renaissance or into a new dark age.

This treatise is being produced to commemorate one of the greatest facts in history -- TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED YEARS OF BUDDHISM, OF THE SINHALESE RACE, AND OF CIVILIZATION IN LANKA.

We consider this work a worthy monument of this unique three-fold anniversary. The thoughts inspired by this work will remain a permanent memorial to its composer, who, I am sure, will always be remembered, with feelings of gratitude, by all Buddhists and by all those who have made Lanka their home.

We sponsor the Dharma-Vijaya, or '' The Revolt in the Temple," and agree in giving it general support. It is a Blueprint for the next two thousand five hundred years. We are a section of the community who, for over twenty centuries, have nurtured the well-being of this country through all the vicissitudes of its history. We see the wrongs in our present social order, and we believe that this work indicates both a way out of them and a way in, to a new Dhamma Samaja ("Righteous Society").

Few people read much history. This is an age when it is tacitly assumed that the Sangha is concerned only with another world than this, and in this world with nothing but individual conduct as bearing on prospects in that other world.

What the Sangha did during two thousand years and more in this country to make its voice heard in questions of politics and social reform is a matter of simple history. In our day, however, when leaders, newspapers and political organizations profess to speak on behalf of the people, that role of the Sangha is resented even by those who are Buddhists in personal belief and in devotional practice. It is now commonly assumed that Religion is one department of life, like Art or Science, and that it is playing the part of a busy-body when it lays down principles for the guidance of other departments, whether Economics or Sociology, Business or Politics.

Mr. David Hussey, M.A., in his book, Ceylon and World History, summarises twenty centuries of Ceylon history -- the period from Vijaya to the coming of the Portuguese -- in two paragraphs:

"The coming of Vijaya and his followers, about 486 B.C., began a reign of prosperity which reached its height in the reign of Tissa and Duttha Gamini. After that, Ceylon entered upon a long period of slow decline, due largely to Tamil invasions. The decline was averted for a time by vigorous Kings, chiefly by the great Parakramabahu, but it soon set in again.

"By 1505, the wars with the Tamils were over. The long and fierce struggle had spoiled the glory and destroyed the prosperity of the Sinhalese Kingdom ; but at the end of it the Sinhalese had the two things which they most valued, their religion and their distinct nationality, still in their hands. They had gone through a terrible struggle to keep them, but they had kept them, and to that extent they had won."

Now, this is altogether a singular and outstanding achievement for a small nation like the Sinhalese. For twenty centuries they stood up manfully against powerful foes in the face of overwhelming odds, with varying success may be, but with matchless courage and determination all the time. At the end they definitely preserved the national religion and their distinct entity as a nation.

or a large measure of this triumph credit is due to the Sangha. It was they who, since Mahinda Thero converted the country to Buddhism, acted with unsleeping vigilance as the guides, guardians and the sponsors of the future of the Sinhalese nation. It was they who, as the upholders of religious and moral authority through alternative travails and triumphs, preserved the unity of the Sinhalese as a distinct people.

The discharge of this dual responsibility, that of acting as the religious as well as social guides of the Sinhalese, is, in terms of the last words of the Master on his deathbed, a service which devolves even today on the Sangha of Lanka. He prophesied that Lanka would be the repository, for full five thousand years, of the pure doctrine. For the effective fulfilment of that prophecy two parties were and are necessary, the Sangha to keep the Torch burning, and the lay people to bear that Torch. Both parties did not fail to shoulder that responsibility for the last twenty centuries, and the nation, if it is to justify its existence, will have to continue to shoulder that responsibility in the same way, during the next twenty-five centuries as well.

From the time of Mahinda Thero, the great procession of spiritual elders who followed him have been continually keeping this dual responsibility in the fore-front of their thoughts and actions. Is it necessary to add that this nation should fit itself in every possible way to bear the great Torch in the future ? For a similar reason, therefore, the Sangha of old, through their influence with the kings of Lanka, took it upon themselves, as a duty incumbent on them, to do everything possible to elevate the living conditions of the Sinhalese people.

The temple, for centuries, was not only the centre from which radiated the spirit of religious devotion, but was also the force which invigorated the people and held them together.

We are at present being unconsciously carried on by the momentum of twenty centuries of Buddhism. Our duty today, however, is to see to it that the lofty ideals of service to our fellow-beings, which are an inherent part of our mission, are vividly realised and deliberately placed in the fore-front of our policies.

Happily for us, our national chronicles have recorded for posterity the manner in which the Sangha of old not only wielded influence in the election, coronation, and conduct of kings and sub-kings, but also, whenever the occasion arose, directed and actively participated in the work of the emancipation of the country and its people.

  • The Mahavamsa describes with much feeling how five-hundred members of the Sangha accompanied the army that Dutugemunu led to liberate the nation from the galling thrall of a foreign yoke. The Mahavamsa has references not only to what we may call these periodical "Revolts in the Temple,'' but also the exercise by the Sangha of their influence in the direction of the every-day life of the State.
  • The same chronicle mentions (Ch. 24) that, when King Kakavannatissa (2nd Century, B.C.) died, Tissa, the younger son, crowned himself King. Dutugemunu came with armed forces and fought his brother who, when defeated, appealed to the Thera Yodhagatta Tissa -- "  I have done ill, Sire, I will make my peace with my brother." The Thera took Tissa in order to effect a reconciliation and, leaving him on the stairs, went into the presence of  Dutugemunu and pleaded for the penitent prince, and the brothers were reconciled.
  • We find it recorded in that same chronicle (Ch. 33) that, on the death of Saddha Tissa (2nd Century, B.C.), a younger brother of the late King was elected as Sovereign, with the consent of the Sangha, at a meeting held at the Thuparama.
  • It next mentions that Aggabodhi I (6th century, A.C.) "kept piously to the instructions of the Bhikkhu Dathasiva."
  • A more positive reference to the political influence of the Sangha appears in Chapter 57 where it is stated: "Since that time (7th Century, A.C.) the Sovereigns of Lanka act according to the counsel of the Bhikkhus who hold the leading position."
  • Again the same chronicle (Ch. 60) records the bestowal of the office of Sub-King, and later of King, on Jayabahu (11th Century, A.C.) by the Sangha of the eight chief Viharas together with the Chief Officers of State, etc.
  • An 11th Century Tamil inscription states that Vijaya Bahu I wore the Sacred Crown with the sanction of the Sangha.
  • The Mahavamsa further tells us that when Parakrama Bahu, after a long campaign against'his cousin Gajabahu II (12th Century, A.C.), the King of the Rajarata, had brought his adversary to the end of his resources and the prize of the sovereignty of the whole Island was within his reach, the Sangha of the three Fraternities of Polonnaruwa intervened and brought about a reconciliation between the two princes. As a result of this, the dominions of Gajabahu were restored to him, and Parakrama Bahu retired to his own principality of the Dakkhinadesa, on the understanding that, upon the death of the former, he would become entitled to the sovereignty of the Rajarata.
  • It is also stated in the same Chronicle that, immediately after the cessation of hostilities, Gajabahu went to Madirigiriya Vihara and had the fact of his bequest of the Rajarata to Parakrama Bahu written on a stone in that place. 
  • One of the most important epigraphical discoveries of recent times is this rock inscription recording the "Peace Treaty" between Gajabahu II and Parakrama Bahu I, at the ancient Vihara at Sangamuva, near Gokaralla, iojhe Hiriyala Hat Pattu of the Kurunegala District.
  • Again the Mahavamsa (Ch. 87) says: '' Hereupon he (Parakrama Bahu II, 13th Century A.C.) summoned the Great Community (Sangha) in great numbers, and the King asked them: 'Which of these six princes, my sister's son and my own sons, is worthy of the Royal Crown?
  • Coming to later times (15th Century A.C.), when one of the Kings fell a victim to a ruse by a Chinese general and was carried away a prisoner to China, and the country was in a state of confusion resulting from the absence of a rightful Sovereign, it was a Hierarch of the Sangha, Vidagama Maha Swami, who put an end to the attempts of ambitious Chieftains to seize the Imperial power, by placing on the throne Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte.
  • It was the Sangha who saw to it that, in that Treaty by which this Dhamma Dipa, ("Isle of the True Doctrine") was transferred to a Christian Crown, were embodied those clauses by which the indigenous, political and religious institutions were carefully preserved and expressly safeguarded. And it was again a member of the Sangha, Wariyapola Nayaka Thero, who protested when an attempt was made to haul up the British flag before the signing of the Convention.

This rapid survey of history shows that the claim of the Sangha today to be heard in relation to social, political and economic problems and to guide the people is no new demand, but a re-assertion of a right universally exercised and equally widely acknowledged, up to the British occupation of the country.

We are passing through such an era of change as has never been seen in the past. To realise high aims, to be unselfish, to do good -- these opportunities are offered to the present generation. It is within your power and ours to usher in the birth of a new nation and to realise a new vision of the true meaning of life, for the vast multitude of the sons and daughters of Lanka.

We must now ever be mindful that twenty-five centuries of history are looking down upon us, and that the privilege of moulding and setting into motion another twenty-five centuries of history is in our hands.

Let us not fail to cherish our heritage, nor ignore this great privilege.

Thus do we declare 


Malwatta Vihara Kandy."

7. Declaration and Resolutions of the Mahā Sangha Conference, 1996-03-05

Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2001-01-13

"On March 5th,1996, a conference of the Maha Sangha was held at the BMICH [Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall ], Colombo, under the patronage of the Mahanayakes of the three Nikayas, presided over by Venerable Palipane Sri Chandananda Mahanayaka Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Siam Maha Nikaya. At this Conference, attended by over 2000 Bhikkhus (Buddhist Monks) from various part of the country the following declaration was adopted.

The Island of Sri Lanka has been a unitary state for two thousand five hundred years. The coastline has been the border of this state. The principle referred to in our historical literature as "ekacchatra" or single sovereignty has been familiar to our people for centuries, as asserted by the political guru of the People's Alliance the late Colvin R de Silva, Minister of Constitutional Affairs of the previous Sirima Bandaranaike Government. Our historical writings, themselves older than the historical literature of the Indian sub-continent, tell us that the Sinhala king Pandukabhaya (2nd century BE, i.e. 5-6 century BC) established village boundaries over the "whole of Lanka" and that his descendant Duttha Gamini fought the South Indian invader Elara (in 382 B.E., i.e.161 BC) and "ruled over Lanka in single sovereignty". The Portuguese historian de Queroz writing over eighteen centuries later states the entire island including Jaffna was subject to the king at Kotte, thereafter to Rajasinghe of Sitavaka who died just four hundred years ago and that at the time of his writing this imperium was asserted by the kings of Kandy.

We believe that Sri Lanka with its defined coastal boundary is the oldest nation state in the world to survive to this day and did so because the principle of unitary government was the foundation of its Constitution.

In 1949, a year after independence from British imperialist rule was won, Tamil communalist political leaders, in association with separatist Tamil politicians in South India who had their eye on Trincomalee, launched the Lanka Tamil State Party or Federal Party. They claimed that the Tamils were a nation separate from the Sinhalese, that the Northern and Eastern Provinces, created by the British in the previous century expressly to disintegrate a Sinhala territory, were the traditional homeland of Tami1 speaking people, and that they proposed to establish a Tamil State in "over one third of the territory of the island". They were prepared thereafter to federate with the rest of the island in accordance with a claimed Tamil right of self-determination. Seven years later the Federal Party amended its objectives to demand a Muslim state in addition to a Tamil state. Far from putting a stop to such destructive politics, leaders of our governments acknowledged that the Federal Party was free to pursue its objectives and at the same time rejected federalism. These contradictions and opportunistic political deals resulted in the formation of the even more extremist Tamil United Liberation Front in 1976. This Front pledged itself to establish a separate sovereign racist Tami1 state and declared that it would resort to violence to realise that objective. It is a wonder to us that such an organisation was registered by the Commissioner of Elections as a recognised political party. In India separatism had been outlawed in Prime Minister Jawaharalal Nehru's lifetime and the DMK was compelled at least nominally to give up separatism.

Instigated by the TULF [Tamil United Liberation Front] and trained by India several Tamil terrorist groups launched a campaign of terrorism characterised by bestial atrocities against unarmed non-combatant Sinhalese and Muslims. Lack of will on the part of our governments to perform their fundamental duty of eradicating lawlessness in order t/ ensure the safety of law abiding citizens and incredible compromises with terrorism has resulted in a situation of intolerable national danger. Tamil political leaders and their allies world-wide (who include some nominal Sinhalese here and abroad working for money) have also found it necessary to fortify their claims with a sustained campaign of insulting the Sinhalese, denigrating the history of the island and Buddhist culture and especially defaming the Sangha. The objective of the violence and the propaganda is to put an end to the two thousand five hundred-year existence of the island as one country. It is clear to us that the new Constitution proposed by the Government under the euphemism of " proposals for devolution of power" is designed solely to achieve that very objective.

The proposals are said to be a Constitution to federate in a political union several separate territories, which the Government does not disclose. As at the present time there is only one territory comprising a unitary state, what is sought to be done is to divide the land into several countries or territories and then to bring them together loosely in a federal union. The fourth paragraph of the preamble states that the "nation' is constituted by several territories and it is proposed to bring these territories together in an "indissoluble union of region". "Indissoluble" here means that a return to a unitary state, which requires dissolution of the federal union, would be impossible short of a war for that purpose. In respect of 46 subjects there is to be a government with a legislature and an executive totally independent of every other territory or region and of the Centre in each of the territories into which our motherland is to be divided. Separate laws will be enacted and separate legal systems, criminal and civil, developed in each region with no interference from a central government. In regard to each of those 46 subjects the Chief Minister and his Board of Ministers are to have exclusive executive power. Each region will have its separate judiciary appointed by its own judicial service commission, its public service appointed by its own Public Service Commission, its own Attorney General and its own police service under its own Inspector General to enforce law and order within the borders of the region. Each region is a separate state with sovereign authority and sovereign institutions in respect of 46 subjects, which include the most important functions of independent government.

Law and order be a subject vested in regions. Each region will thus develop its own system of criminal law. In the Muslim Region, which is claimed by the theocratic Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, a partner in the ruling coalition, this will be an Islamic code defining crime and punishment. : In the Tamil and Muslim Regions the Police services will in reality be land, sea and air military forces.

Each Region will have its own civil law in respect of property, marriage, divorce and other family relations, inheritance, contracts, torts, agriculture, irrigation, forestry, environment and foreign aid. It will have unfettered executive powers in respect of these subjects. The last involves control over foreign relations. Ownership of state land, a national resource in an agrarian economy is to vest in the regional governments; even in the United States public land is vested in the central government in Washington.

One of the strident arguments for combining Tamil majority areas within a single political region is that if the Tamils did not so coalesce the Tami1 "nation' will not survive. The Government proposes accordingly to bring Tamils together in a region carved out of the combined Northern and Eastern Provinces. It proposes at the same time to divide the Sinhala dominant areas into several sovereign regions. Applying the Tami1 argument, heeded by the Government, the intention can only be to ensure that the Sinhalese do not survive.

In introducing the Government proposals the President said, on 3rd August 1995, that the reason therefore was the failure of successive governments to heed Tamil aspirations articulated for five decades. Political aspirations articulated by Tamil leaders in the past fifty years were 

  1. the infamous "fifty-fifty" demand which sought to reduce the 75% Sinhala majority to a political minority and marginalise it; and 
  2. the demand for a Tamil state, destroying the country as we have known it.

What constituency are the President and her government serving?

If the land were constituted in terms of the Government's proposals the country, the nation and its principal religion will certainly be destroyed. Under leaders from Duttha Gamini to the Nayakkar kings our ancestors have defended these with their lives. After the Sinhala Crown was transferred by treaty in 1815 from the Nyakkar dynasty to the German House reigning in Britain, our ancestors fought a war of liberation in 1817-18 under Kivulegedera Mohottala, Keppetipola Disava, Madugalle Nilame and Pilimatalawe Disava. In those historic times, when the country, the nation and the religion were threatened, the Sangha stepped out to assist their liberation politically and spiritually. This is our historic role. Today when our country and our people are placed in the gravest peril ever, history mandates that we liberate them. We proclaim to the world that we shall perform."


At this Conference, the Maha Sangha clearly and unequivocally stated that in the event the Proposals are adopted "the country, the nation and its principal religion will certainly be destroyed, and unanimously resolved that:

"whereas the Maha Sangha has traditionally been recognised as the guardians of the nation and the Maha Sangha has considered it their historic duty from ancient times to advice the government of the country

Whereas a situation has now arisen where the future of the country, its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, are stake;

This Conference of the Maha Sangha having assembled at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall on the 5th of March 1996/2539 under the patronage of the most Venerable Maha Nayaka Theras of the three Nikayas unanimously resolves and proclaims as follows:

  1. The efforts of the government over the last ten years by peaceful means to put an end to the brutal murders and destruction of property committed by the separatist Tamil terrorists have been completely unsuccessful. The establishment of peace, law and order in the country is the responsibility solely of the government. This conference of the Maha Sangha brings to the notice of the government the necessity of completely eliminating terrorism in order to create an environmental in which all communities, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, can live in peace and harmony in a unitary state of Sri Lanka.
  2. The proposed constitutional amendments will pave the way for the creation of an independent state of Eelam, which is the sole objective of all Tamil separatists. In the circumstances, this Conference of the Maha Sangha while expressing its dissatisfaction at the proposed constitutional amendments, demands that these proposals be not implemented.
  3. Whereas the government declares that the constitutional amendments are aimed to solve the Tami1 problem and to correct the historical injustices caused to the Tamils, this Conference of the Maha Sangha demands that the government declares in what ways the Tamils have suffered any injustices purely because they have been members of that community and in what ways the Sinhalese who constitute 74% of the population have special privileges by virtue of being Sinhala. Furthermore, in regard to the question of alternative solutions this Conference requests the government to state the problems for which alternative solutions are required.
  4. Sri Lanka is the sole Sinhala Buddhist country in the world. Hence this Conference of the Maha Sangha emphasises that in solving the political, social and economic problems of the country the Sinhala Buddhist identity should be safeguarded.
  5. For an unbroken period of almost 2500 years the Maha Sangha, the rulers and the people have protected and safeguarded the Buddha Sasana and the Buddhist Culture in Sri Lanka and propagated the sublime message of the Buddha to the rest of the world. Today the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka is faced with numerous threats both internal and external. Hence, this conference of the Maha Sangha requests the co-operation of the International Buddhist Community in protecting the Buddha Sasana and the Buddhist heritage in Sri Lanka."

The Conference denoted a re-assertion of the historic role of the Maha Sangha as advisers to the rulers in times of crisis and vividly demonstrated to the Government and the people, the Sangha's commitment to the preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of the country. Subsequent reactions in the country made it clear that the views of the Maha Sangha would have to receive the serious consideration of all concerned with a solution to this problem."

8. Obstacle to peace : political Buddhism / by Ana Parajasingham, 1996

Das Folgend ist ein tamilische Stimme von 1996

Parajasingham, Ana: Obstacle to peace : political Buddhism. -- 1996. --  (Proceedings of the International Conference on the Conflict in Sri Lanka: Peace with justice, Canberra , Australia). -- Online zugänglich: -- Zugriff am 2001-07-04

"In 1963, B H Farmer, the British writer, in his book Ceylon: A Divided Nation, (issued under the auspices of the British Institute of Race Relations in 1963,) wrote  

".. it is of great consequence that from early times, at least as early as the writing of the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese have thought of themselves as a unique and specially favoured people.

In August 1957, J R Jayawardne (who was to become Sri Lanka's head of state twenty years later) began his campaign against the then Prime Minister Bandaranaike, who had entered into a pact with the Tamil leader Chelvanayakam to devolve autonomy to the Tamil regions, by declaring:

"The time has come for the whole Sinhala race which has existed for 2,500 years, jealously safeguarding their language and religion, to fight without giving any quarter to save their birthright. I will lead the campaign."

In July 1981, Mrs Wimala Kanangara M.P and Minister for Rural Development declared in parliament 

"If we are governing we must govern, if we are ruling we must rule. Do not give in to the minorities. We are born Sinhalese and Buddhists in this country. Let us rule"

It is my contention that the phenomena known as "Political Buddhism" is best described by the above quotes. It is also my contention that a major obstacle to a negotiated peace in Sri Lanka is this phenomena variously described as "Political Buddhism", "the Land, Race and Faith Factor" and the "Mahavamsa Mindset". It is essentially an attitude deeply influenced by the way in which the Mahavamsa (an ancient chronicle of Sinhala history believed to have been written in the late 6th century AD by an unknown Buddhist monk) has been interpreted by latter day Sinhala nationalists.

Several modern historians who have sought to understand the Sinhala-Tamil divide have found the "Mahavamsa Mindset" to have been a significant factor in shaping Sinhala nationalism in such a way as to deny all non-Sinhala people (particularly the Tamils) an equal right to the Island. In his book "Buddhism Betrayed"?. Harvard Professor Stanley Tambiah has explored this phenomena in great depth.

The main themes underpinning the ideology born of this attitude has been brilliantly summarised by Kumari Jayawardne, a Sinhalese social scientist , in a 1986 publication by the Colombo based "Centre for Social Analysis". This publication entitled "Ethnic and Class Conflicts in Sri Lanka" is a revised edition of a series of articles published in the Sri Lanka Guardian in the wake of the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983. In these articles Kumari Jayawardne has examined the evolution of Sinhala Buddhist political and national consciousness during the colonial and post-colonial period. According to Jayawardne the themes are:

  1. The doctrine of primacy and superiority of the Sinhala "race" the members of which are claimed to be the original, true inhabitants of the Island. This is based on the myth that the Sinhalese are the descendants of Aryan migrants from Bengal.
  2. The belief that the Sinhala race has been placed in a special relationship to Buddhism as its protector.

Two powerful myths told by the chronicler of the Mahavamsa form the cornerstone of this ideology. These myths have been eagerly and relentlessly exploited, reinterpreted, and re-told by latter day Sinhala nationalists to advocate an ideology reflecting the themes identified above and implying that only the Sinhala Buddhist inhabitants are the true "sons of the soil" (Bhumi Putra) and that the others are interlopers and aliens.

The first tale is about the founding of the Sinhala race and begins by giving the Sinhala people a myth about their origins which, far fetched as it is, has been interpreted to show that the Sinhalese are a people with something special about them. The second is another myth and deals with the question of Sinhala hegemony in respect to the Island.



The other powerful story related by the chronicler of the Mahavamsa is that of the confrontation between the Sinhalese king Duttugemunu and the Tamil king Elara (Ellalan).


Both myths have been reactivated and recontextualised by latter day Sinhala nationalists to give shape and inspiration to suit the ideology in a 20th century context.

The myth of Vijaya is interpreted by latter day Sinhalese to "prove" the antiquity of the Sinhala people vis-a vis the Tamils and more importantly to assert a divine purpose as evidenced by the protection bestowed by the dying Buddha on the first Sinhalese-Vijaya and his retinue. The special relationship between Buddhism and the founding fathers is also asserted by claiming that the Buddha attained Nibbana on the very day that Vijaya and his retinue arrived in the Island. Similarly, the legend of Duttugemunu is retold in several formats to assert the basic tenet of Sinhala nationalism which is that the entire Island (including those regions where the Tamils form the dominant population) belongs to the Sinhalese and that the Island needs to be "unified" under Sinhala rule. It is in keeping with this tradition that Sinhala historian K.M de Silva , refers to King Duttugemunu as someone engaged in "a ] relentless quest for domination of the whole Island" and that he accomplished what he set out to do, by establishing "control of the whole Island".

The non-human status of the non Buddhists as related in the Duttugemunu tale is also interpreted to suggest the special status of the Sinhala people.

While legends and myths of the Mahavamsa formed the basis of Sinhala nationalism, the present nationalism is also due to the considerable influence wielded by European thought in the 19th and 20th centuries. This dealt with racial concepts such as "Aryan". The notion that the Sinhalese were an Aryan people was not a Mahavamsa inspired myth, but, an opinion attributable to European linguists who classified the languages spoken by the Sinhala and Tamil people into two distinct categories. Robert Caldwell, in his "A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian South Indian Family of Languages (1856) " argued that there was no direct affinity between the Sinhalese and Tamil languages, while the German, Max Muller in his "Lectures on the Science of Language (1861)" declared that "careful and minute comparison" had led him to "class the idioms spoken in Iceland and Ceylon as cognate dialects of the Aryan family of languages". Contrary views were, however, expressed by others who classed Sinhalese with South Indian languages.

Christian Lassen and James Emmesrson Tennent were two who held that the Sinhala language was closely affiliated to South Indian (non Aryan ) languages. However, it was the "Aryan Theory' which was to hold sway as several European scholars lent support to this view. The linguistic classification began to acquire a racial dimension when local and foreign historians began to superimpose a distinct racial origin to the Sinhala people. L.E Blaze in the 1931 edition of his "A history of Ceylon for Schools" mentions that the mythical founder of the Sinhalese , 

(Vijaya) was ]"believed to be of the Aryan race".

 H.W Codrington in his "History of Ceylon (1926)" accepts the Aryan origin of the Sinhalese, but qualifies it by saying that

 "their original Aryan blood had been very much diluted through intermarriage..".

 The notion that Vijaya was anxious to find

 "a queen of his own Aryan race"

 and the view that 

"his pride of race revolted at the thought of any but a pure Aryan succeeding to the Government which he had striven so laboriously to found"  

were quotes which popular Sinhala historians were to use in their interpretation of history.

These racist theories were based on spurious interpretations by European physical anthropologists who expounded the view that the Sinhalese were in fact a distinct race. These included M.M Kunte who declared that 

'There are, properly speaking, representatives of only two races in Ceylon-the Aryans and the Tamilians, the former being descendants of Indian and Western Aryans", adding that he had discovered that the "formation of the forehead, the cheek bones, the chin, the mouth and lips of Tamilians is distinctly different from the Ceylonese Aryans." Virchow, another anthropologist expressed the view that the "Sinhalese were either Aryans or a mixed race, derived from the fusion of Aryan and the aboriginal inhabitants of the Island"

The influence of the Germans in promoting these racist notions was particularly significant. According to Professor Wilson of the University of Brunswick, Canada, "It is likely that German scholars had a more compelling case in looking for the "cradle" of the Indo-European (which really meant the Aryan) race. The greatest of all students of Sinhalese culture was Wilhelm Greiger, whose German edition and translation of the Mahavamsa was completed in 1908. An English translation was completed in 1912. When he arrived in Ceylon in December 1895, Wilhem Geiger, in an interview with The Ceylon Independent stated that the purpose of his visit was to study Sinhala for scientific purposes in order to see if it came under the Aryan category."

One of the most effective and articulate exponent of this explosive Mahavamsa-inspired ideology was a man called Anagarika Dharmapala who was active during the early part of the 20th century. Dharmapala was a product of the newly emergent Sinhala petty bourgeoisie of small traders, white-collar workers, vernacular teachers , indigenous (Ayurvedic) physicians and moneylenders, who resented the economic, political and social advantages enjoyed by the westernised elite of the Island. Amongst the westernised elite were a large number of Christians who clearly appeared to enjoy the patronage of the colonial administrators.

Dharmapala, armed with the Mahavamsa-inspired ideology, began by first attacking the Christians whom he regarded as being the cause of a multitude of evils. He was vociferous in his attacks which were conducted through newspapers which he edited and through lectures he gave at gatherings of supporters. In 1902, Dharmapala wrote,] 

"This bright and beautiful Island was made into a paradise by Aryan Sinhalese before its destruction was brought about by the barbaric vandals. Christianity and polytheism are responsible for the vulgar practices of killing animals, stealing, prostitution licentiousness, lying and drunkenness.."  

He also pointed to the past glories of the Sinhalese civilisation as portrayed by the Mahavamsa as a way of infusing the Sinhalese with a nationalist identity and self-respect in the face of the humiliation imposed by the British rule and Christian missionary activities. But, of course, in this attempt, he adopted a racist line which denigrated the non-Sinhala inhabitants and set in motion a vicious pattern which other Sinhala leaders were to follow. The myth of Duttagemunu was used by Dharmapala to celebrate the"

Sinhala Aryans of yore uncontaminated by Semitic and savage ideas"

In 1915 he directed his attack against the Muslims by calling them 

"an alien people (who) by Shylockian methods have become prosperous like the Jews" .

By the 1930s the working classes too had became involved in propagating the racist notions advocated by Dharmapala and sections of the Buddhist clergy. These attacks were primarily directed at the "Malayalis" - a group of lately arrived migrants from Kerala (Malyalam) in India. This upsurge in racism in Sri Lanka in the thirties coincided with the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and several local newspapers gave sympathetic accounts of the international and foreign policies of Hitler and Mussolini. Many nationalist and labour leaders found the language and rhetoric emanating from Germany and Italy, useful in their own propaganda. Viraya, the Sinhala paper of the Island's leading trade union, the Ceylon Labour Union was at the forefront of the attack lamenting the fate of the Sinhala people and calling for 

"a leader like Hitler who was implementing policies for saving the Aryan race from degeneration (Viraya, 17 April 1936).

This theme was developed in a letter (signed B Sirisena) which said (inter alia) 

"It was Hitler, the leader of Germany who said that leadership cannot be expected from those who are devoid of Aryan blood.In his country he has therefore prohibited marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans. He has even declared illegal the employment of young Aryan girls as domestics in the houses of non-aryans.... The intention of all these is the creation of a pure Aryan race. '

The letter, continuing, suggested that taking inspiration from fascist Germany, the Sinhalese should bestir themselves and prohibit marriages between "Aryan" Sinhalese and Malayalis.

The Mahavamsa was used with great effect. by trade unionists, the Buddhist clergy and Buddhist laymen like Dharmapala to attack non-Sinhalese by casting them as aliens and interlopers and in that process infusing the Sinhala people with the notion that to be a Sinhalese Buddhist somehow entitled them to greater claims on the Island in relation to the others. Not surprisingly, the population so infused was easily incited to make violent attacks on non-Sinhalese when the latter (particularly the Tamils) were found to make claims to equal rights or asserted their right to a federal state or their right to secede. According to Ceylonese historian, Ludowyke "a special quality of hostility" could be elicited among the Sinhalese at times of conflict and stress because of what they knew about their history as told by the Mahavamsa and interpreted by laymen and Buddhist monks.

Bruce Kapferer in the book "Legends of People, Myths of State" refers to the responsibility of the Mahavamsa-inspired myths for the violence against Tamils. 

"Most Sinhalese did not participate in the killings of July 1983. Nonetheless, many watched, without acting, while Tamils burned. Compassionate Sinhalese sheltered Tamils in their homes. But, I have heard the very same people state that "they ( the Tamils) got what they deserved".

The power of these myths is to be also found in the names of the army regiments which since 1956 have carried names such as the 

  • "Gemunu Watch",
  • "Sinha Regiment" and 
  • the "Rajarata Rifles", 

names filled with mythical significance attributable to the Mahavamsa.. Then of course, there are the statements and actions by Sinhala politicians which point to the extent to which the Sinhala psyche has been influenced by the notions made possible and popular by the way in which the Mahavamsa has been interpreted. 

  • For instance in 1985,J. R Jayawardne, the then President of the Island called himself the 306th head of state in an "unbroken line from Vijaya". 
  • In 1986, Prime Minister Premadasa having published a short novel in Sinhala and English presenting the heroic progress of Duttagemunu, was to claim a role for himself similar to the mythical hero in unifying the Island under the Sinhala UNP Government.

The role of the populist historians and educationalists in perpetrating these myths as historical facts is very significant. The Vijaya and Duttagemunu stories as told in the ancient chronicles are reproduced in school texts and presented as fundamental to Sinhalese identity and to Sinhalese political rights.

Recognising the stranglehold of the Mahavamsa Mindset, many scholars in recent times have sought to unravel and explode the myths in a way that would help understand the historical realities. R.L H Gunawardne, a leading Sinhala intellectual engaged in this task argues that the Sinhala consciousness is a recent phenomena which had emerged well after the period of Duttagemunu. Others have shown the Elara-Duttagemunu confrontation to be a dynastic battle having little to do with the Sinhala or Tamil identities of the adversaries. There are others who have shown that a significant proportion of the present day Sinhalese are in fact descendants of Tamil immigrants from South India who by adopting Buddhism and the Sinhalese language have now become Sinhalese, and hence the irrelevance of the "Aryan Race" theory. Then there are others who have taken the "rationalistic stand by pointing out the "impossibility" of human descent from a lion and dismissing the Vijaya myth as a "pure flight of fancy'. Notwithstanding these attempts, the Mahavamsa Mindset has prevailed.

The explosive power of the "Mahavamsa Mindset", however, was not immediately grasped by the Sinhalese elite who assumed political power on the departure of the British (the last of the colonial rulers) ending a 450-year old occupation of the Island by various European powers. The first to realise the enormous political gain to be made through tapping the explosive Mahavamsa Mindset was, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike, who ironically, was a member of the elitist Christian Bandaranaike-Obeyasekera clan.

At the General election of 1956, Bandaranaike bulldozed his way into political power by successfully marshalling popular Sinhala support on a chauvinistic platform. This, however, does not mean that other Sinhala elitist politicians until then were unaware of the power of the "Aryan myth" and the emerging Sinhala consciousness which by the 1930s had become a formidable social force. It only meant that they had not begun to employ it with the kind of formidable effect that Bandaranaike was able to do in 1956. 

There is an earlier example of this appeal to chauvinism by a member of the Sinhalese political elite, namely D.S Senanayake, who became the Island's first Prime Minister in 1948. Nine years earlier, in 1939, addressing a gathering of Sinhalese in his capacity as Minister of Agriculture (in the Pre-independence Government), D.S Senanayake said in tones reminiscent of Hitler's "thousand year reich" ]

"We are one blood and one nation. We are a chosen people. The Buddha said that his religion would last 5,500 years. That means we, as custodians of that religion shall last as long"

Today, the Buddhist clerical establishment, the chief proponents of the Mahavamasa-inspired chauvinism continues to be the chief obstacle to a negotiated peace. The recent military set backs suffered by the Tamils have only made these chauvinists even more intransigent. In a letter dated 10 January 1996, 18 Sinhala Buddhist organisations have urged the Sri Lankan President to pave the way for the families of landless Sri Lankan Army and Police personnel to be settled in the captured Tamil areas. The call was made in the wake of an article in the Sunday Island of 31 December 1995. In this, Professor Abaya Ariyasinghe an academic exponent of "political Buddhism" announced that the historic Nallur Kandaswamy temple was really a monument built over a Buddhist place of worship. He then claimed (quite preposterously) that the name Nallur itself was a corruption of the Pali word Unanaluma. (Pali is the language from which the Sinhala tongue is believed to have originated and in which the Mahavamsa was written) According to the learned Professor 

"The very name Nallur echoes the term Unaloma. The meaning of "good village" attributed to Nallur bears no justification. The Pali word Unaloma means the hair grown on the forehead of the Buddha"


"Political Buddhism" is an impediment to peace in the Island of Sri Lanka because it is based on the doctrine of primacy and superiority of the Sinhala "race" and the Buddhist religion. The Sinhala political establishment has promoted and exploited this spurious doctrine to justify and perpetuate the unitary constitution under which political power is vested with the Sinhala nation. Hence, it is this doctrine which stands in the way of a negotiated settlement reflecting the reality that Sri Lanka is an Island of two nations."

9. Some reflections on tolerance / by Sugeeswara Senadhira ("Sathya"), 1997

[Quelle: Weekend Express -- 1997-05-24/25. -- Online zugänglich: -- Zugriff am 2001-07-11 ]

"Sathya had, in previous columns, reflected on Tamil-Sinhala New Year and May Day as possible rallying points for national reconciliation. On this, the week of Wesak, Sathya is once again tempted to extract out of the religious observances and cultural celebration coinciding with Wesak, a heritage and symbolism that could, hopefully, advance the ever-fragile project of national reconciliation and ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka.

But, firstly, a declaration. Sathya, truthfully speaking, is not a Buddhist. And, although born into a Hindu family, Sathya is not even certain whether he is a "good" Hindu. What this columnist does know is that the two major religions of Sri Lanka, Hinduism and Buddhism, are premised on two basic tenets that is essential for any dignified existence - Tolerance and Compassion. Likewise, Christianity and Islam are grounded in Love and Brotherhood, respectively. These are all traits that are essentially existential and not merely celestial.

The history of the human race as well as the race for civilizational advancement is a different matter altogether. The rampage of militant Saivite Hinduism against Buddhism and Jainism in India, and later, in the form of the Chola conquest into Lanka; the Crusades and later the world-wide "civilizing mission" of Christianity which sought to annihilate or convert the "heathen", and the "Jihad" of Islam which trampled the "non-believers" were all, undoubtedly, carried out in the name of religious faith and fervour. In practice, however, religion merely provided the legitimacy and rationale for conquests and the expansion of Empires and Imperial Powers. These are historical realities which, unfortunately, contain its remnants and continue to impede the progress towards multi-culturalism and religious tolerance in almost all societies - from countries of the "Third World" to "advanced" capitalist nations.

Our own experience is a case in point. Wesak, the day of the enlightenment of Lord Buddha, is a universally recognized event. However, the day of Wesak in Sri Lanka has an added significance, that is specific to Sri Lanka and relates to the never-ending and acrimonious debate on the "peopling of Sri Lanka". This is the landing in Lanka by King Vijaya recorded in the Mahavamsa, which is basically a chronicle of the Sinhala Nation given legitimacy by appropriating Buddhist symbolisms. While Wesak in its pristine form, namely the enlightenment of Lord Buddha and reflections on his teachings, is potentially a unifying as well as a purifying occasion for all peoples of Sri Lanka, Wesak of the latter variant is divisive and irredentist. The irresistable tendency to plant a bo tree and erect a Buddha statue in all "liberated areas", not to mention the tendency to change the names of towns captured by the troops, like the recent metamorphosis of "Parayalayankulam to Sapumalpura" all stem from the Mahavamsa mentality. The handing-over of the victory scroll by the Minister of Defence to the President, following the capture of Jaffna ("Yapapatuna"), are all manifestations of the above.

This invariable, takes us to the "pride of place" given to Buddhism in our first two Republican Constitutions. To Sathya this is not a problem at all since Buddhism is, indeed, a great religion and it is, in fact, the religion of the majority. What is clearly not acceptable is when "pride of place" is used as an instrument to exclude the "rightful place" of other religions and those who practice it. It becomes even more unacceptable when religious institutions and the clergy, enter the sphere of State affairs and attempt to perpetuate the hegemony of one religion and one race over other religions and other races.

This includes resistance to any move towards political and constitutional reforms that seek to create a Sri Lanka that is multi-ethnic, multi-religious and pluralist, where all district identities, whether be it ethnic, religious or gender, co-exist with equality, dignity and mutual respect.

The campaign launched by the Buddhist clergy at the time of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact, to be repeated over and over again whenever regional autonomy and devolution entered the agenda of constitutional and political reforms, is a case in point. The recent "legal draft" which confers on a "Supreme Council" a constitutional identity and right to advice on matters relating to the "Buddha Sasana" has raised legitimate fears that the widest possible interpretation and scope may be appropriated by the Supreme Council to interfere in all facets of socio-economic, political and cultural existence of all Peoples of Sri Lanka in the name of "safeguarding and fostering" the Buddha Sasana. At the other end of the ethnic divide, there are equally compelling and obnoxious instances of religious intolerance and attempts at hegemony. The caste system in Jaffna and the not too distant practice of prohibiting the entry of depressed castes into Temples was a particularly obnoxious practice carried out in the name of preserving the purity of the caste system.

The attacks against mosques and viharas by Tamil militants were not entirely a response to military situations. "Ethnic cleansing" also concealed a high degree of religious intolerance. Likewise, the arming of Muslim "homeguards" who engaged in their own variant of "jihad" in the Eastern province cannot be glossed over. These were all instances of religious intolerance as well as exclusivist tendencies that existed on the other side of the ethnic divide. And, it was not purely a response to "Sinhala-Buddhist" hegemony. It had its own dynamism related to ethnicity as well as religious biases and prejudices. The action-reaction syndrome was just too convenient.

The above is indeed, a grim and the ugly side of Sri Lankan polity and civil society. However, realities need to be understood before they are transformed. We also have our values which lies dormant in the midst of intolerance and political opportunism. What is required is a supreme national effort that would unleash the rational and humane characteristics that are deeply embedded in our human consciousness. These efforts have to be multi-linear and multi-faceted that includes societal transformation as well as self-transformation.

The observance of religious as well as secular events that symbolize our national heritage, not in the way projected by self-proclaimed messiahs and self-seeking politicians, but through the process of people-to-people contacts is vital. However, it is even more important that the path of social progress is not fettered by archaic value systems and social practices, but is enriched by the interaction of heritage and a vision of the future where our future generations may coexist with mutual respect, dignity and forbearance."

10. 50 Years of State Terror / by Valli,, 1998

Das Folgende ist eine -- einseitige -- Darstellung der Ereignisse mit tamilischer Absicht:

Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2001-06-11 

"An island once known to the world as Ceylon, was introduced to the world as Sri Lanka when it became the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka in 1972.  It is celebrating its fiftieth Independence day on February 04, 1998.  It gained this independence after 450 years of colonial rule, without the least kind of pain, by the grace  and favour of the British parliament, following  the independence of India. It was the independence for  Sinhalese people,  one of the two nations of that country.

The Tamil nation who were also the indigenous people of that country are, since then suffering the oppression at the hands of the majority government, resulted out of the so called Parliamentary Democracy that was introduced along with the Independence of that day.  For a country divided on the basis of ethnicity the Parliamentary Democratic system has been proved to be a curse on the ethnic minority.  Adding to the tragedy, the people are divided on the basis of religion as well;  Minority Tamils are mainly Hindus and the Majority Sinhalese are Buddhists.  For politicians, who aimed at gaining the votes of the people at any cost, kindling ethnic and religious differences in the community in the name of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism was an easy way to mobilise the innocent Sinhala peasant.

Abb.: Ein Mönch der Blut als Almosen sammelt. -- Karikatur

Sinhala Buddhist nationalism is the chauvinistic mind set induced by Mahavamsa , a Buddhist chronicle in Pali, full of myths and written by a Buddhist monk with a prejudiced mind.  Mahavamsa has said nothing about the Buddhist cultural values.  It is worthy here to mention that a respected Pali scholar Dr. E.W.Adhikaram has, soon after the 1983 Holocaust remarked, " the only way of ensuring that there was no repetition of such a tragedy was to burn all copies of the Mahavamsa."  In fact, Sinhala  is a language, originated from Pali, the language through which Buddhism was spread.  The Mahavamsa was written in this language using 'Brahmi' script.  From this evolved the Sinhalese spoken language incorporating Tamil and Sanskrit vocabulary.  However it was not until the 12th century AD. that the Sinhalese evolved a written script in a similar way.  Not a single Sinhalese king is referred by the title 'Arya', but the Tamil kings of the kingdom of Jaffna did have the title.  The present Sinhala community is a combination of both the Dravidians and the Aryans and of the European invaders who intermarried the  Sinhalese of the island.  It is noteworthy here to mention that in Sangam literature of  2000 years ago the names of Tamil poets, such as Eelaththupp Poothanthevanar from Ceylon appear.  Even Mahavamsa refers to the sovereignty exercised over all of Ceylon by the Tamil king Ellalan (161-117) BC from Anuradhapura, his capital.  Tamils of Ceylon were a distinct nation with a separate identity, language and culture and with a separate Tamil kingdom in the North and the East of the island. There is evidence to  prove that Hinduism was the established language in the country even before Buddhism was introduced. When Buddhism was introduced and many people became Buddhists they used Sinhala the language of the Religion and the majority came to be Sinhalese.  Despite all such evidences to  prove that Tamils are not strangers in the country it has become the habit of the Sinhalese ploiticians and the Buddhist clergy to emphasise Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism.

Anagarika Dharmapala, (1864-1931) a Buddhist monk played a vital role in the upsurge of Buddhist nationalism and Aryan supremacy in the beginning of the 20th century.  In  1911, when the Tamil leaders such as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam were leading a national campaign to rid British colonialism, Anagarika voiced: " The country of the Sinhalese should be governed by the Sinhalese."  He also said, " From the day the foreign man stepped in this country, the industries, habits, and customs of the Sinhalese began to disappear and now the Sinhalese are obliged to fall at the feet of the coast moors and Tamils".  He called upon the young men and said, "My message to the young in Ceylon is- Enter into the realm of our king Dutugemunu in spirit and try to identify yourself with the thoughts of that great king who rescued Buddhism and our nationalism."   since then Buddhist clergy played a vital role  in the country's politics.

The very first parliament, following the independence, took its initial steps in narrowing down the strength of Tamils in the country by depriving millions of plantation workers of their citizenship through the Citizenship act of December 1948.  These plantation workers were descendants of the Tamils, who were brought into the country from South India, by the Britishers to work in the tea estates.   This act left some 10% of Ceylon's population without civic status.  Births were registered and Birth certificates were issued in Ceylon only in 1898.  According to the regulations of the act one has to prove that his/her father or grandfather or great grand father was born in Ceylon.  The proof is the birth certificate which was not available to these people.  As a result these workers who were physically living in Ceylon and working to produce the country's wealth were left stateless.  They neither belonged to Ceylon nor to India from where their ancestors came from.    Another blow to the Tamils was the government's policy of peasant colonization.  Landless Sinhalese peasants in crowded Sinhalese areas were offered irrigated lands, free   houses, and communal facilities such as hospitals, schools etc; and were colonized in the  areas unknown to them in the North-East.   It was believed that almost a quarter of the  island's population was moved from the Wet- zone to the Dry-zone between 1946 and 1971 under this colonization scheme. The eventual result of this policy would be total ethnic transformation of the North-East province in such a way the majority Tamil population  there would ultimately become a minority there in the same way they are in the Sinhalese areas.  In other words it will be a total change in the demography of those places.  The Sinhalese population in the Trincomalee thus increased from 3.8%- 33.6% of the total population between 1911 and 1981.  In the Amparai district the Sinhalese population increased from 7.0% to 38%.  Sinhalese electorates were created in Seruvila and Amparai in 1971 as result of this.  Since 1970s Sinhalese colonies have been established in Mullaitivu and Batticaloa districts.  In the Mullaitivu district, Manal Aru,  which was inhabited by Tamils was transformed into a Sinhalese colony and its name was changed to the Sinhalese name Weli Oya.  Similarly the Tamil name Thanni murippu was changed to the Sinhalese name Janakapura.  These colonies have been armed and additional protection for these colonists has been given by the establishment of army camps in the vicinity.  It is no wonder that such colonization being a cause for the rise of Tamil ethnic nationalism.  The colonies were a threat to the Tamils and they prepared themselves to defend themselves from the intruder.

State sponsored colonization scheme has put considerable numbers of Sinhalese settlers in predominantly Tamil areas. The Mahaveli Diversion Project, supported by the World Bank, in east and Northern provinces under which Sinhalese families were brought in from the South;  The Maduru Oya scheme in the Eastern province, backed by Canadian assistance was also of the same effect.  The government justified that in a united country no part can be preserved for any ethnic group.  But the Tamils saw it as a deliberate attempt to deprive their areas of continuity and thus decrease their communal bargaining power.  Hardly any Tamil has been settled under official auspices in Sinhalese areas. It is noteworthy her that under the leadership of J.R Jeyawardene the then Minister of security Lalith Athulath Mudali ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners from the Anuradapura prison, armed them and settled them along the borders. One cannot expect fair behaviour from these criminals and in the event they are killed due to their criminal activities in the respective areas it was a chance on the part of the government; they can claim that innocent Sinhalese civilians have been killed by tigers, despite the fact that the government has the least sympathy and care for these criminals. Such discriminatory activities of the majority government let the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka feel the need for an independent body of government for themselves and their right for self determination.

From 1953 the Buddhist clergy and laity took on the 'cross' of their language and religion bewailing that these were in danger of  destruction to the Sinhala language and Buddhism, and that the people ought to be assured by enacting Sinhala as the only official language and Buddhism as the state religion.  S.W. R.D. Bandaranaike, the father of the present president and the husband of the present  Prime-minister of SriLanka, became the leader of such a movement, a movement which was the begetter of the present bloody civil war in Sri Lanka.   It is he, who in power as Prime minister passed the Sinhala only official language bill in 1956.  Since then a new emphasis of Sinhalese Buddhist history was included in the curriculum and introduced to the children in the  country and racial superiority and hatred for the non- Buddhists were encouraged in schools.  It ignored the history and the historical  contributions of the North and the East. It failed to promote racial harmony and understanding.  Tamils, did not until this discriminatory legislation that threatened their very existence as a distinct nation thought of a Tamil homeland.

The Sinhala only act of 1956 made it difficult for the Tamil students to secure  employment. Tamils concentrated more on education, as the climatic condition and the  natural resources in their areas were not suitable for cultivation with less pain.

Government jobs were their target and hence they concentrated more on Education.  Nothing aroused deeper despair among Tamils than the feeling that they are being  systematically squeezed out of higher education.  The standardization policy that is in force after 1972 is a major blow on  Tamils.  It is noteworthy here that this policy was introduced by the then Prime-minister Srimavo Bandaranaike (She is the Prime-minister in the Present government as well and the mother of the present President) The measures taken to significantly increase the numbers of Sinhalese in the universities and in public sector employment also included the provision of better schools in "Standardization" and then quota system to universities.  The purpose of the government in shattering the education of Tamils reflected in the shattering of the Jaffna Public Library in the night of  June 01, 1981.  The library  that had a collection of about 100,000 valuable, irreplaceable books went up in flames.  The culprits behind this act was the Sinhalese police backed by prominent Sinhalese politicians.  Gamini Dissanayake and Cyril Mathew, two Government Ministers were watching the sight from a rest house across the road. thousands of Tamil school  children were denied access to valuable educational resources and International scholars of Tamil research were deprived of worthy  information.  These measures have greatly reduced the proportion of places in these institutions gained by Tamils.

The policy of discrimination in education against Tamils worked so well that Tamils met their next obstacle in finding employments.  According to statistics, between 1977 and   1981, for the  9,965 vacancies in the Government clerical services 9326 Sinhalese and only 492 Tamils were selected.

Education for the Tamil students in the tea estates suffer the worst.  In the early years, the Indian Tamils were educated in estate schools, founded and run by the Tamil church mission with financial support from the British estate superintendents and Ceylonese Christians. But with the changing political situation in the estates they became the responsibility of the government.  These schools have a long way to go before they enjoy  a good quality of education.

Democracy in Sri Lanka has been nullified due to the oppression of the Tamils by the  Sinhalese.  The very culture,  and the identity of a community is not respected and this community with a history of a healthy, flourishing cultural background is struggling to establish its identity as a separate nation.  The holocausts of 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983 clearly show that the Tamils have become the scape-goats for the Sinhalese leadership. Whenever Sinhala leaders faced internal problems and mounting pressures from their people they cleverly divert the people's anger against Tamils.   The ruling Sinhalese elite  poison the mind of the ordinary Sinhalese with racism, that they are unable to conceive  that Tamil militancy is the result of oppression and not of racial hatred; It is not against the Sinhalese people but against the government that denies the rights of the Tamils. Innocent lives remain a prey to the power greed of the politicians.

Genocide as generally defined has two aspects.  One aspect refers to the gradual and systematic destruction and dismemberment of the basic foundations of a nation of people, their language, their culture their history, their economic existence and their geographical entity.  The other refers to the actual physical extermination of a national community.  The Tamil Nation of the island has been subjected to this dual form of  genocide since the independence of Sri Lanka in 1948. Ethnic violence swept the country in the years 1958, 1965, 1971, 1977, 1981, and 1983.

After that it was a continous process.  The 1983 pogrom surpassed  all the previous anti - Tamil pogroms in its scale, intensity, viciousness, and above all by its sheer barbarism. Sinhala racist hoodlums, actively encouraged by cheering sections of the country's security forces, have been engaged in a genocidal campaign of carnage arson, plunder and rape against the Tamil speaking people throughout the whole country.   Eye witness accounts and photographs taken by returning tourists demonstrate the barbarous depths to which the racist sections of  Sinhala society have sunk.  They describe how Tamil motorists were dragged out of their vehicles and hacked to pieces while others were drenched with petrol and set alight in full view of the security forces.  Some Tamils were burnt in the cars and in their houses.

Abb.: "Broken Promises"

12(2) of the constitution states;

"No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, cast, political opinion, place of birth or any of such grounds" and, "Everyone has the right to procedural guarantees, the right to food, shelter, and education and, if these are not realized the right to recourse as a last resort to the use of force against tyranny and oppression."

Since the formation of parliamentary democracy in Sri Lanka, the minority Tamils who wanted to safeguard the rights of their community tried to negotiate with the government and several agreements and pacts were decided on.  But none of them could ever be put into practice as there always had been opposition from the majority Sinhalese that prevented their enactment.  The following is a list of such agreements;

  1. July 26, 1958-S.W.R.D.  Bandaranaike - S.J.V. Chelvanayagm - (Banda - Chelva Pact): This failed because of the Buddhist clergy's opposition.
  2. March 24, 1965 - Dudley Senanaike - S.J. V. Chelvanayagam: Opposition from Sinhalese Chauvinists and Buddhist clergy.
  3. 1960s  S.L.F.P- L.S.S.P,-C.P coalition under Srimavo Badaranaike with The Federal Party before elections: Neglected after elections as  Srimavo gained  majority and needed no help from the F.P to form the government.
  4. 1983-84 All party conference to find a peaceful a solution to the ethnic problem (two  years): (arrived at no solution)
  5. July 1985,  Tamil groups Vs Sri Lankan Government at Thimbu, capital of North Indian Kingdom Bhutan: Sri Lankan Army opposed and killed 200 Tamil civilians in Vavuniya and elsewhere.
  6. July  29, 1987 Indian government Vs Sri Lankan government and sent IPKF [Indian Peace Keeping Force] to Sri Lanka: The IPKF killed almost 10,000 Tamil civilians and was called back in 1990.
  7. October 1994,  Chandrika Kumaratunga came to power promising that she would bring about an amicable settlement  for the ethnic problem in the country.  The Sinhalese people showed their willingness by electing her. The LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam]  too waited for her response and agreed on a cessation of hostilies which existed for a period of  three  months.  The package she presented was hollow at the beginning. She failed to recognize the aspiration of  the Tamils and failed to implement even the immediate needs of Tamils.  Failure to remove the economic embargo, Fishing ban etc.  Instead she prepared for war and this resulted in the break up of war again.

Talks, negotiations, and non-violent forms of protests were the initial methods of Tamils to achieve their goal.  Tamil politicians who demonstrated their dissatisfaction through all possible non-violent methods were either disregarded or cheated.  When they observed "Satyagraha" the Gandhi an way of non violent protest they were beaten to bleed..  Two decades were spent in such a Satyagraha campaign, through which the earlier Tamil United Front members tried to achieve a self autonomous government for the Tamils.  The failure proved that the Tamil - Sinhalese conflict is not just a minority -majority problem but a far more serious international issue between two nations.  The determination and the strength of the Tamils showed in achieving their goal through these non- violent ways made the Sinhalese so unbalanced that they threw off all their pretensions of being civilized and to take up a stance of extreme Sinhalese Chauvinism. They were more hardened in their determination to enslave the Tamils and exclude them from every aspect of national life. The Tamils became more and more convinced of the inevitability of having to separate from the Sinhalese. ..."

11. Monks cling to a whole Sri Lanka, 2000

"With crimson robe, knobby bare feet, shaved head, and a disciplined impassivity, Dammananda meditates every day at 4 a.m. at the gilded Temple of the Tooth, the most sacred shrine in Sri Lanka for the Buddhist majority population. Like thousands of monks in these lush central highlands of coffee and tea plantations, Dammananda blesses the government troops who are in the north fighting the Tamil Tiger separatists.

For most monks in Kandy, a stronghold of Buddhist culture and learning, the ongoing fight is no ordinary war: Keeping the island of Sri Lanka undivided is nothing less than a sacred mission. To give a homeland to the mostly Hindu Tamils would, in their view, violate a trust given by Buddha to keep Buddhism pure and whole.

"We are a tiny country with a giant Hindu neighbor," says Dammananda, referring to India. Dammananda helped rebuild this temple, said to hold Buddha's tooth fragment, after the front was ripped off last year by a Tiger truck full of explosives. "Sri Lanka must never allow another faith to dominate," he says.

For 20 agonizing years, some 25,000 committed Tiger guerrillas have worn down a 200,000 strong Sri Lankan Army. An estimated 60,000 have died. It is not a place President Clinton is visiting on his three- nation trip to South Asia that begins in New Delhi March 19.

Renewed attempts at talks

Tired of war, and backed by recent Norwegian diplomacy, President Chandrika Kumaratunga offered this month to talk with the Tigers. Norway is on hand after Kumaratunga's government agreed to this third attempt at outside mediation. But the response came last Friday: A suicide bomb and an ensuing gun battle near Parliament in Colombo killed 28 people and stoked worries about renewed attacks on the capital.

The short attention span usually given Sri Lanka in international quarters mostly focuses on the grisly actions of Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. His suicide bombers, female warriors, child soldiers, and troops who wear cyanide tablets around their necks in case of capture are an ongoing story that back up a hard-line Tiger position: Give us a Tamil homeland, or expect war.

Still, what will play out as an equally powerful dynamic in any future settlement is the deeply held view by Buddhist monks, who are the grass-roots moral authorities in towns and villages. For many of them, a Tamil homeland is at complete odds with the meaning of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Even if President Kumaratunga is able to get Mr. Prabhakaran to the table, would the monks allow a de facto separation?

Pressures are building for a resolution to war. New interest groups are on the rise. The tiny Muslim population wants more power. The business community is tired of war. Moderate Tamils want a say. The military is demoralized by enormous setbacks last fall and not eager for a new offensive.

These pressures are matched by a rising ethnic Sinhalese nationalism promoted by the clergy. For the orange- and-crimson-robed monks, visible on any street and in any crowd, the geographic unity of Sri Lanka is one with a Buddhist view of the cosmos. Hence, the island must remain whole.

"For centuries, monks have fought to keep Sri Lanka unified," says A. Seelawanissa, vice-rector at the Saripuutha Educational College in Nittembura, a teacher-training college for monks. "For centuries, nationalism and Buddhism have come together in this way. Today, 95 percent of the monks believe in that unity. It is their position on the war."

These Buddhist roots go deep. Like American children learning about George Washington and the cherry tree, Sri Lankan youths learn "The Great Chronicle."

Written in AD 5, at a time when Hindu influences were rising, the story goes that the day Buddha passed to nirvana, he lay beneath two trees and called the monks to him. "Go to Lanka," the Buddha said, "Protect prince Vijaya. He will create a new race of people that will reign for more than 5,000 years."

In a college dormitory at Vihalaya University in Kandy, where the monks' washed orange robes on the balconies give the building a "wrapped by Christo" look, an illustrated poster reads: "Buddhism is brought to Sri Lanka for the protection of Buddhism."

Keepers of the faith

Moreover, Sri Lankan Buddhists widely believe themselves more serious, more pure, and willing to make greater sacrifices than any other Buddhists on the planet. Sri Lanka is the heart of one of the two schools of worldwide Buddhism, Tibet being the other. Sri Lanka spread teachings to the Southeast Asian nations of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. But the clergy here privately make jokes about the loose and undisciplined practice in the monasteries of those nations.

"Buddhism is not a religion, it is a doctrine, and it is the same for all countries," says one clergyman, who then jokes, "But unlike [certain countries] you can't be a Sri Lankan monk for a few months or years. Here, you are a monk for life."

Even among modern Buddhist clergy, there is a view that Sri Lankan Buddhism is a repository of spirituality that will one day light the entire world. Shanto, the chief monk at the university who asks a reporter for his e-mail address, says, "We have a special responsibility as Sri Lankan monks. Christian[s], Muslims, Jews, all peoples, will benefit from the enlightenment we bring."

Indeed, while the monks are devoutly apolitical, they are also the keepers of Sri Lankan identity. They don't back political parties, but do set social norms, run many of the schools, and watch over the cultural life of villages and towns. To see an important village member, the best way is to first see the chief monk. Dammananda, for example, sits on a civic panel in Kandy that mediates disputes, and he spends most of his time in outreach.

"The monks don't participate in politics, but they do dictate politics, " says a senior official who requested anonymity. "It is highly unusual. We are a democratic, secular state that relies for its ballast and stability on the clergy."

Yet increasingly, Buddhist monks have, for example, been going on TV to support nationalist parties, and are seen at rallies supporting hard-line positions on the war. Tensions are reportedly high among the secretive three sects of Buddhists here. Charges of a new worldly wealth among some monks, poor Buddhist practice, and corruption are heard. The National Sangha Council of the Buddhist clergy advised the majority Sinhalese to opt for a military solution to the war, and to boycott elections last December.

Some leading Sri Lankans, reluctant to go on the record, blame the clergy for delays that could have brought an end to the war. Monks were behind a rising Sinhalese nationalism after independence in 1948, characterized by the "Sinhala Only Act" of 1956 that rendered Tamils officially language-less. Prime Minister W.R.D. Bandaranaike, father of President Kumaratunga, was assassinated in 1959 by a Buddhist monk, not for opposing Sinhalese nationalism, but because he didn't act fast enough on it.

A new constitution in the 1970s legally made Buddhism the preeminent faith. The old name Ceylon was changed to the Sinhalese "Sri Lanka." Language and schooling laws favored Sinhalese. The flag was altered to include the Sinhalese lion, one reason Tamils fight under the " tiger" logo.

Partly, the Sinhala push was due to the favored positions held by the Tamil minority under the ruling British, says Sri Lankan historian K.M. de Silva in Kandy's International Center for Ethnic Studies. Yet so completely were Tamil rights and interests ignored, that by the early 1980s, a war for separation was started and has yet to end.

For many years, both the Tigers and the Buddhist clergy benefited from a government in the capital, Colombo, that has been severely split by personal animosity and rancor. The Tigers and the clergy would often maintain their hard-line positions by playing the two main political parties off each other. One bright spot, say peace activists, is that for the first time in several years, Kumaratunga met last week with opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to seek support for constitutional changes that would give more autonomy to some provinces.

Outside the Temple of the Tooth, a group of four young monks-in-training hurry to their duties. One of them, M. Inderatana, says his older brother, a soldier, was killed by Tigers last year. "But I don't feel any hatred toward the Tigers," he says. "I just want the war to end.""

[Marquand, Robert: Monks cling to a whole Sri Lanka. -- The Christian Science Monitor. --  ©2000-03-15. -- S. 6.]

12. The History Of Sri Lanka In the Early Period, 2001

Es folgt eine singhalesische Darstellung der frühen Geschichte Sri Lanka's als Rechtfertigung der singhalesisch-buddhistischen Ansprüche:

Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2001-07-13 


Sri Lanka is a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean. This country has been the home to Sinhala people since 6th century BC. 'Ceylon' the name by which this island was known till 1972 was derived through Arabic and Portuguese corruptions, from the Sanskrit 'Sinhala'. It is by the name 'Simhala', or its dialetical forms, that this island and its people are generally referred to in classical Sanskrit literature, and most often later Pali as well as Sinhalese writings. The people who comprise about seventy four percent of the population of Sri Lanka even today, after the island has been subject to various historical changes during a period over two thousand years, call themselves and their language by that name, which has been languilised as Sinhalese.

The language of the Sinhalese is linguistically related to Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati and other Indo-aryan tongues of Northern India. The oldest form of all these languages is Vedic Sanskrit which was in existence in north India since around 1500 BC. Vedic Sanskrit in turn is connected to the language family of Indo European or Indo Germanic or Aryan whose territory for several thousand years has comprised Southwestern Asia and the greater part, but by no means all of Europe. One of the most popular branches of the Indo European family is the Indic to which Sinhalese is directly connected through its direct relationship to Sanskrit. Other popular Indo European branches are Slavic, Germanic and Roman or Latin. It can be noted that the distribution of Indo European has the form of a long belt stretching from western Europe to northwestern India, with an interruption only in Asia minor.

Extant evidence of their engineering skill and architectural achievements of the Sinhalese includes remnants of vast irrigation projects, many ruined cities, notably the ancient capital Anuradhapura, and numerous ruined shrines called dagobas. In its basic characteristic, Sinhalese differs from Tamil, the language of the south Indian people who are the nearest neighbors of Sri Lanka and who during the last thousand years, have displaced the earlier Sinhalese population of some areas in the Northern and Eastern parts of the island. That Sinhalese has been the speech of the people of this land for over two thousand years established by thousands of inscriptions on stone, the earliest of which belong to the third century BC.

How the form of speech represented by the earliest epigraphs gradually changed to give rise to modern Sinhalese can be studied in considerable detail by a continuous series of inspirational and literary documents belonging to the subsequent centuries. Until the colonization of regions in the Southern hemisphere by various European nations during the last four centuries, Sri Lanka continued to be, for about two thousand years, the southernmost region of the globe where an Aryan language was spoken by the mass of people. This circumstance inverts the Sinhalese language, and the people who spoke and still speak it, with particular importance in the study of the world's history and civilizations.  

The fact that a large territory inhabited by peoples speaking non Aryan languages in North India clearly indicates that the ancestors of the present day Sinhalese migrated to this island from 'Aryavarta' the adobe of Aryanised-Indians as was known in ancient vedic and Sanskrit literature. Aryavarta was a part of Northwestern India and the Singhalese migration took pla ce sometime before the third century BC., when documents in old Sinhalese were first engraved on stone. The distance which separates the Sinhalese from their nearest Aryan kinsmen of north India also suggests that this migration was not an overland one, but along a sea route. The inference that we have drawn from the above premises is generally confirmed by the traditions handed down among the ancient Sinhalese and recorded in the chronicles.

According to these traditions the founder and the hero of the Sihalese race arrived in this island, with his followers by sea at the beginning of the Buddhist era, i.e. in the sixth century BC., some six hundred years before the date to which the earliest epigraphical monuments in Sri Lanka can be ascribed. The evidence of the distribution of the earlyy cave (Brahmi) inscriptions indicates that, by the third or second century BC., the ancient Sinhalese had occupied practically the whole of the island. It is therefore not unreasonable to infer that there was an interval of some two or three centuries between the date of the earliest settlement in the island of an Aryan speaking group of people, and that of the earliest Brahmi inscriptions in old Sinhalese.

On the other hand there is no evidence to establish that a people of Dravidian stock were present in the present in the island at the time of the first Aryan settlements. Early Tamil literature contains nothing to indicate that Sri Lanka was a region in which that language was spoken by a considerable proportion of the people. In fact the boundaries of the Tamil land are given in authoritative Tamil works as the Venkata mountain (Tirupaty) on the north, Kumari (cape Comorin) on the south and the sea on the east and west, thus excluding Ceylon (reference; Tolkappiyam, Payiram,11,1-2; Silappadikaram, canto v111,11,1-2, and Adiyarkkunallar's comments). The ethnic term Draidian or its equivalent has not been found in any document that can be attributed to a date earlier than the time os Asoka. In face the earliest known occurence of the term (Dameda=Sanskrit. Dramida, Sinhalese, Demala) is in Brahmi in inscriptions attributable to about the second century BC found at Anuradhapura and Saruvila. In one of these inscriptions we find a merchant and a householder (Gahapati) who were mentioned as Damedas (Tamils). However, it is a noteworthy fact that no Tamil inscription has been found anywhere in Ceylon belonging to this ancient period. i.e. Third century BC. up to eight century AD. Furthermore the fact that the three inscriptions referred to above containing the word Dameda (Tamil) were also written in old Sinhalese indicate that Sinhalese language was well established even at that early period and was the common media of expression throughout the island.

Text; Bata Mahatisaha Gapati Dameda Cudahala lene translation; The care of lord Mahatisa and the Tamil householder cuda (reference; Epigraphical notes, 1996,pg68). (Archaeological department ref; no 2886).

According to the Sri Lanka chronicles the original Aryan immigration pioneered by prince Vijaya from north India was of lion ancestry and he name Sihaladipa. The inscriptions of the Maruyan emperor,

Asoka (Lirca/BC. 268-232) Whose contemporary was Dewanam Piya Tissa of Sri Lanka, mention Tambapanni. It is another name for ancient Sri Lanka which originated from the fact that the hands of prince Vijaya's men were redened by the copper colored sand when they laid themselves down at their landing place. Asoka's inscriptions mention Tambapanni along with the kingdoms of Cola, Panda and Kerala as outside the limits of his dominions.

In Indian literature the earliest reference to Sri Lanka is in Kautalya's Arthasastra in which the island is mentioned under the name Para Samudra (beyond the ocean). This Sanskrit word for Sri Lanka was the forerunner of Palaesimoundu and Simondou of some of the Greek writers. About this same period one, admiral of Alexander the great, Megasthenes, Greek ambassador to the court of the Mauryan king Chandragupta, and Eratosthenes, the first of the geographers gave accounts in their works of what they had heard about Sri Lanka which they call the island of Taprobane (from Tambapanni). The historian Pliny relates that in the time of Claudius Saesar (41-54 AD) a freedman of Annius Plocamus, while coasting off Arabia, was carried by the winds and after drifting for fifteen days made land at Taprobane (Tambapanni, where he went ashore and was hospitably entertained by the king at the capital for six months. The freedman then returned to Rome bringing with him four Sinhalese ambassadors led by one Rachias (Sinhalese Rate Mahattaya) who were sent by the Sinhalese king to establish direct commercial contacts with Claudius. Numerous first-hand narratives of the country of Sri Lanka find its people become available to Greek and Roman geographers and this material formed the basis of the altogether exceptional account of the island compiled by the Greek geographer Ptolemy about the middle of the second century. Ptotelemy call Sri Lanks the island Taprobane which is called Salike and he adds that the inhabitants are commonly called Sail, (Salike and Salai are Greek versions for "Sinhala" Sinhalese).

 All of the above literary evidences both foreign and Sri Lankan were quoted to enumerate the fact that none of them connect the ancient Sri Lanka with any remarkable Tamil settlement. From Asoka's time religious and cultural intercourse between the Buddhist establishments of Sri Lanka and those of northern central and southern India had been maintained uninterruptedly and monks traveled to and for between Sri Lanka and the Indian sub continent. Inscriptions of the second / third century at Nagarjunakonda in the Krishna valley (Andra pradesh, south India) record the foundations of a monastery named Sihala vihara and the dedication of a monastery to the fraternities of Sri Lanka.

The Vallipuram gold plate inscription found in Vallipuram near Vadamaracchi has been dated by archaeologists to the region of king Vasabha circs 67-111 after Christ and this inscription mentions that the minister of king Vasabha whose name was Isigiriya built a vihara named "Piyagukatissa" while he was administering the Jaffina peninsula, (Nakadiva-Sanskrit Nagadipa). This is vital archaeological evidence that even in the first and the second centuries Nagadipa (Jaffna) was under the rule of Sinhalese kings.

As far as the invasions from Tamils are concerned according to chronicle the first Dravidians against whom the Sinhalese had to fight came to their island after the introduction of Buddhism, as mariners engaged in the horse-trade. Their names were Sena and Guttaka who jointly ruled the Northern tip of Sri Lanka for 22 years in the second century BC. Then Asela a younger brother of king Devanam Piya Tissa is said to have recaptured the throne from the two Tamils had ruled for ten years until Elara, another Tamil from the Cola country seized the kingdom and reigned for forty-four years (117BC-161 BC). After his defeat by the popular Sinhalese king Dutugamunu there was another invasion by seven Tamil chiefs who landed at Mahatittha (near manner) with a powerful force during the period of Sinhalese king Valagambahu (103BC-89 BC). Valagambahu regained the throne from them and reigned for further twelve years in the second century after Christ (AC).

Again during the Sinhalese king Vasabha's reign (circa.67-111 AD) the Colas in South India were becoming strong and aggressive under Karikala, a powerful king of the Cola country, although there is no mention in history of any invasion. But in the reign of his son and successor, Vankarasika Tissa (111-114 AD) there had been an invasion under an unnamed Cola king in the course of which twelve thousand Sinhalese were taken captive to south India. The next king Gajabahu son of Vankanasika Tissa fought back and victoriously broght back the Sinhalese prisoners taken to South India.

After a considerable period of peace during the fifth century a Tamil named 'Pandu' invaded the island and seized the throne, from the Sinhalese king Mittasena (428-429 AD). Six Tamils ruled in succession for a little over a quarter of a century (429-455 AD). Finally they were defeated by Dhatusena, father of king Kasyapa of Sigiriya fame. Subsequently the country went through a period of civil wars for power among Sinhalese kings. The rise of the powerful Cola empire led to the downfall of the Anuradapura kingdom of Sinhalese kinship in Sri Lanka at the beginning of the eleventh century. The untiring attempts of the subsequent Sinhalese rulers to overthrow the Colas, the establishment of a new kingdom by Vijayabahu with Polonnaru as its capital in the elventh century (1055-1110 AD), the political instability that followed with the death of that king, the re-establishment of Sinhalese power by Parakramabahu the great (1153-1186 AD) and the numerous subsequent political changes of the second half ot he history of Sri Lanka up to the British rule in the nineteenth century are relatively well known to the public than the early period, hence we do not intend here to present long details of them. Our objective was to represent the early history of Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese people in its proper perspective while trying to make clear any confessions regarding the Sinhalese origins nearly 2500 years ago in this island.

Finally, the word Elam used by the ethnic minded separatist Tamil groups to denote their graphical area as Tamil Ilam itself is an intermediate form of Sihila (Sinhala) through which the Tamil Elam originated from Sinhala.

It is un undeniable fact that under colonial rule the Tamils, though a minority, enjoyed a privileged position in our Country. The Tamil political leadership took that position as their due. These politicians were unable bear the thought of being a minority race when any government of Independent Ceylon would naturally be dominated by that little impoverished race called the Sinhalese, who happened to constitute the overwhelming majority of the population of Sri Lanka.

The Tamil demands for a separate State of Tamil Eelam was originally made by ITAK in 1949 before any communal riots against the Tamil people, and before any acts of so called 'discrimination' took place. These Tamil politicians did everything possible to create the riots to justify the creation of a seperate state to the world. The civil war for the creation of this State started in 1972 by the Youth Movement of TUF, later called the TULF [Tamil United Liberation Front]. The now infamous LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] terrorist group is break-away group of the TUF Youth Movement.   The 'Home Land' ITAK wanted for Tamils consists of 29% of Sri Lanka's land surface and 60% of her sea coast and territorial waters. Only 18% of the population of Sri Lanka are Tamils, and out of this 52% lives outside of Northern and Eastern Provinces which was to be this 'Home Land'. This 'Home Land' is to give 9% of the population is 29% of the Land and 60% of the sea cast.

Over 40%of the population in some Northern and Eastern areas these politicians wanted for its homeland were not tamils, and not all Tamil Politicians supported the creation of a Separate State.

Firstly the Youth Movement of TUF, later on the break-away terrorists groups such as LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] and had two solutions to these two problems, and set about them in the most ruthless way possible

  1. Attack non tamil villages in these areas, killing all its inhabitants the most ruthless way possible to incite fear into other non tamils to leave these areas.The first such attack was on two Sinhalese farming villages in 1984. Kotiyagala Massacre was another. This was the start of the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] ethnic clensing policy in Sri Lanka, which was responsible for driving out over 300,000 non Tamils from their homes in north and east of Sri Lanka.
  2. Kill any Tamil politicians who opposes the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam], speak against them. This way the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] terrorists aim to be the sole representatives of the Tamil people."

13. Root Cause of the Conflict: The 'Mahavamsa Mindset' / by R Shanmugananthan, 2005

Eine tamilische Sicht:

Ilankai Tamil Sangam, USA, Inc.
Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Root Cause of the Conflict: The 'Mahavamsa Mindset'

By R Shanmugananthan

The international community is becoming increasingly aware of the impact the Pali chronicle, the Mahavamsa, has on Sinhala Buddhist ethnic nationalism. The Mahavamsa covers events from the supposed arrival of prince Vijaya up to 300 AD. It was written in the fifth century AD by a Buddhist Monk named Mahanama whose aim was  to glorify Buddhism and the Buddhist kings who ruled in Anuradhapura. It was translated into Sinhalese with updates  in 1877 by the British colonial rulers. The Sinhalese language version is called the Chulavamsa. Historians are cautious about using the Mahavamsa as a source of history because it has stories that are obvious mythology such as Prince Vijaya's father being born from the union between a lion and a princess. It also claims that Emperor Asoka's son was carried through the air to Ceylon. The Mahavamsa contains many other similar myths, but it seems to have some elements of fact about the ancient kings of Anuradhapura. 

The Mahavamsa encouraged the renewed belief that Ceylon has a special Buddhist destiny. In the nineteenth century, after the Mahavamsa was translated into English and Sinhalese, it became much more widely known. The Mahavamsa's legends about the  ancient heroes and kings  encouraged a feeling among the Sinhala Buddhists that 'to be truly Sri Lankan was to be a Sinhalese and to be true Sinhalese was to be a Buddhist.'  This led to the belief that Tamils, Muslims, Sinhala Christians and others could never be fully Sri Lankan.

This belief is the essence of Sinhala Nationalism today.

In the book titled Sri Lanka: War-Torn Island, published as part of a ‘World in Conflict’ series, the author Lawrence J Swie,r when discussing the root cause of the conflict in Sri Lanka, had this to say about the Mahavamsa:

‘British officials in the early 1800s discovered that Sri Lanka has a written history going back to nearly 500 BC recorded by Buddhist monks in various chronicles. The most important of these works is Mahavamsa, the first installment of  which was written in the fifth century AD by a monk called Mahanama. This first part of the Mahavamsa, written in Pali, covers events from the supposed arrival of Prince Vijaya up to about 300 A.D. In 1877 came the Culavamsa, a Sinhalese language translation of the original Mahavamsa plus updates that brought the account up to 1815, the beginning of the British era. The narrative would later be updated in 1935 and again in 1978.

Because the Mahavamsa was written in Pali, few Sinhalese could read it until its translation. It was the British who made the Mahavamsa a widely distributed work, publishing an English translation of the first part of the Mahavamsa in 1837. The British governor also commissioned the Sinhalese translation of the original and its updates.

Even in translation, the chronicles were difficult to use as historical sources. The Mahavamsa was written hundreds of years after some of the events it describes. Alongside passages that seemed factual – the name of the king or location of his court – were such obviously nonfactual accounts as the story of a person zooming through the air. The Mahavamsa and other chronicles sometimes contradicted one another, with different accounts of Vijaya and his origins, for example. The biggest problem was that the chronicles were written mainly to glorify Buddhism in Sri Lanka, not to record objectively what happened.

The greatest importance of the Mahavamsa is not as history but as a symbol.- and as a motivating force behind Sinhala Nationalism. A Sinhalese politician speaking in public is likely to mention incidents from Mahavamsa as evidence of the long and distinguished history the Sinhalese have in Sri Lanka. But Sinhalese political and religious leaders also use Mahavamsa stories as evidence that the whole island should be ruled by Sinhalese Buddhists.'

Professor Indrapala in his recently published scholarly book titled The Evolution of an Ethnic Identity – The Tamils of Sri Lanka C.300 BCE to C.1200 CE has this to say about the Mahavamsa:

'The Mahavamsa may be described as a chronicle of that famous Buddhist Institution Mahavihara. It tells us about its foundation and the rulers who patronized this institution. It chronicles some of the main events in the kingdom of these patrons, the domain they controlled from Anuradhapura. The domain was, in the period covered by the Mahavamsa never the whole country now known as Sri Lanka. Whatever we glean about the other matters from the Mahavamsa is incidental -  about other Buddhist and non-Buddhist institutions, other religions ( like Jainism)and other kingdoms in the island.

Using the Mahavamsa as their main source, most historians of Sri Lanka tend to consider this work as chronicle of the whole island. That they do this is not the fault of Mahanama. The author is quite clear as to his purpose and audience He wrote the chronicle for “the serene joy and emotion of the pious”. He was not an official scribe recording the monarch's reign for the benefit of posterity.'

At the turn of the century British colonial rulers and people like Colonel Henry Olcott encouraged the revival of Sinhala Buddhism. But the most outspoken and influential champion of the Buddhist revival and Sinhala Nationalism at the turn of the century was  Anagarika Dharmapala. Born in 1864, as Don David Carolis, he later changed his name to Anagarika Dharmapala.  By the time he died in 1933 he has caused considerable harm to any possible harmonious relationship between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. He popularized the belief that the Sinhalese and the Tamils had been at each other's throats throughout our history.

Lawrence J Swier, in his book Sri Lanka: War-Torn Island, had this to say about the damage done by him:

'Perhaps more than any other person, Dharmapala was responsible for popularizing the faulty impression that Tamils and Sinhalese had been deadly enemies in Sri Lanka for nearly 2000 years. He often quoted Mahavamsa as if it were a completely factual account, and his favourite passages were those that made the Tamils sound like pagan invaders who were running the island. Much of his preaching and writing was racist. Dharmapala insisted that the Sinhalese were racially pure Aryans – by which he meant that they had racial ties with the North Indians, Iranians and Europeans, He contrasted the Sinhalese racial line with that of the Dravidian Tamils, which he claimed was inferior.'

Attempts by British rulers to write the history of Ceylon largely based on the uncritical acceptance of the local chronicles, and school textbooks on Ceylon history that are based on the Mahavamsa are now cited as the main reasons for the continuation of the Sinhala belief that they are the 'proper inhabitants of the island.' Professor Indrapala has argued that Paranavithana's chapter on Aryan settlements in History of Ceylon by the University of Ceylon has prevented young academics from critically examining the theory of Aryan migration and settlements.

In his 2005 Hero's Day speech, the national leader of Tamil Eelam referred to this attitude of the Sinhalese as 'ideological blindness' and a 'Mahavamsa mental structure' which is unable to provide the space required for any solution. An English translation of that section of the speech is appended below:

“The Sinhala nation continues to be entrapped in the Mahavamsa mindset, in that mythical ideology. The Sinhalese people are still caught up in the legendary fiction that the island of Sri Lanka is a divine gift to Theravada Buddhism, a holy land entitled to the Sinhala race. The Sinhala nation has not redeemed itself from this mythological idea that is buried deep and has become fossilized in their collective unconscious. It is because of this ideological blindness the Sinhalese people and their political and religious leaders are unable to grasp the authentic history of the island and the social realities prevailing here. They are unable to comprehend and accept the very existence of a historically constituted nation of Tamil people living in their traditional homeland in north-eastern Sri Lanka, entitled to fundamental political rights and freedoms. It is because of the refusal by the Sinhala nation to perceive the existential reality of the Tamils and their political aspirations the Tamil national question persists as an unresolved complex issue. We do not expect a radical transformation in the social consciousness, in the political ideology, in the Mahavamsa mental structure of the Sinhalese people.”

There is undeniable historical evidence that Tamil people have lived in Sri Lanka from ancient times. As the Tamil Leader said, Sinhala nationalism does not want to accept this. The voting patterns of the last presidential election do not give any hope for a change in the Sinhala Buddhist psyche.


  • Hero's Day speech 2005  - By Tamil Eelam National Leader Velupillai Prabaharan
  • Sri Lanka: War Torn Island  By Lawrence J Zwier  World in conflict series.
  • The Evolution Of An Ethnic Identity  The Tamils in Sri Lanka  C.300 BCE To C.1200 CE.   By Professor Indrapala
  • The Mahavamsa Translated from Pali by Wilhelm Geiger

© 1996-2006 Ilankai Tamil Sangam, USA, Inc."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2006-03-03]

Zu Einleitung, Teil III: 3. Mahāvamsa und Historie