How will coins and notes make up 100 million?

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By 2017-09-23

That is the question that has been bothering this small mind of Kumari. Yes, it is about Buddhist monks going pindapatha to collect the Rs 100 million fine imposed on Lalith Weeratunge (poor man) and Anusha Pelpita in the sil redi fiasco that cost the country much money. Everyone was talking about this – the great meritorious act of distributing free sil redi to silaththas and silaththis just before the last presidential elections, supposedly with a picture of one of the candidates and a very broad hint that could not be missed to cast the vote for this individual - the true giver of the white cloth.

He may have indicated he needed merit, but of course everyone knew, even the most senile of the recipients, that the gift came with a request, nay an order –VOTE For ME. 'The individual' is none other than Mahinda Rajapaksa who publicly owned up to giving the order to spend many millions of government money to do a meritorious act which also was supposed to save Buddhism in this pre-eminent Theravada Buddhist country. Oh me! Oh my! What things are done in the name of religion! You will have to stretch your imagination (because sense has no place here) to reason out how giving sil cloths to those oldies who observe the eight or ten precepts on Poya days is to keep Buddhism from dying out of this country. Kumari feels the idiocy of this reasoning and reason for the generosity with other people's money needs no elaboration. The rot is coming from within.


So the case was heard; the two who opened the kitty and dished out the millions to buy the cloth were found guilty of embezzlement and imprisoned plus fined Rs 50 million each. Then came Mahinda Rajapaksa's admission that he gave the word to do it. The two are out of prison on bail but the money must be found to pay the fine. So some bright spark came up with the idea of utilizing the on-going Vas season where monks spend time in their abodes renewing their Vinaya vows and meditating and going further on the path. Lay people are expected to facilitate both by seeing more assiduously to the needs of the monks for three months: July Poya through October Poya. Their needs are food, clothing, shelter and medicines.

Thus, came the ancient and much revered habit of members of the Sangha going to households and receiving alms, particularly at this season. That bright spark mentioned got the brilliant idea of knocking two aims with one attempt: appear to follow the Buddha's admonitions to the Sangha and lay people by observing a practice that has come down from the Buddha's time and also bring monks to the forefront since like Pavlov's mice salivating at the ring of a bell, Buddhists fall on their knees when a yellow robe approaches and this time with bowl outstretched; NOT, repeat NOT for the traditional cooked rice, curry, fruits et al to be dropped in it but money, bucks, greenbacks, lucre. (Coins, now considered not worth the metal they are made from found in bowls, will be tossed aside, too burdensome to count.)

Stupendous amount

However, the question is: how to collect the stupendous amount of Rs 100 million with money dropped in as alms in the pindapatha monks' bowls. Why you infidel, the religious side of Kumari admonished (not Muslim though the word 'infidel' is used; a word that sends militant Alla worshippers berserk to draw out their guns, knives, bombs, whatever). The religious side of Kumari quoted a poem learnt long ago as a tot: Terry Morgan's words of wisdom though difficult to believe:

"Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
So the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages"

So those who sent the monks, some of them old and surely learned and some mere children in yellow robes to collect money, hope the little drops and grains collected will add upto 100 million or even a considerable part of it. Kumari bets not even a hundred thousand will be thus collected. Kumari cannot even count up to 100 million, so how have little bits of money make the mighty fines. Added to coins and notes will be other sundry goods. Dare any heathen place a rotten tomato or egg in a bowl? Kumari thinks this kind of plan deserves this type of derogatory response.

Maybe the Joint Opposition's instigated or at least, blessed idea is to serve as a token, a message, a hint. Hopefully, philanthropists, mostly those who make money by cheating, and overpricing may want to collect some non-material currency for the next birth. They might donate a Rs 1,000, a lakh, even a million to this fund and hope he who gives his blessings to this project and keeps his money safe, notes the giver for future favours; and the devas who may guide the spirit of the philanthropist to the next birth will look kindly on him and give him a rebirth not less than a cat's or dog's on the scale of rebirth hierarchy.

Final conclusion: The monk's bowl is very unfortunately discredited. Buddhism is given a bad blow. – Kumari




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