View Full Version : Insensitive and Hurtful Agenda of The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka

07-17-2008, 09:59 PM
Since April this year when an "advertisement" in the Sinhala Lankadeepa newspaper of 6th April 2008 with a photograph of the late Most Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero appeared to advertise the launching of a CD on 19th July 2008 by Apostolic Father Rev. Lalith Aponso of The Apostolic Media Office, Katunayake on "Life After Death and Karma" the late Venerable Monk has become a symbol & commercial tool of the Catholic Church.

Rev.Father Lalith Aponso supposedly recorded a cassette in 1994 on "Life After Death and Karma" when Ven. Ananda Maithriya Thero was still living. According to the advertisement in the newspapers, at the time Ven. Ananda Maithriya Thero had listened to the cassette and commented (English translation): "I have listened to the first speech made by Apostolic Father Rev. Lalith Aponso on " Rebirth and Karma" which irrespective of religious bias I think is useful"-Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero. Although the late Venerable Monk states "………… is useful………….." he does not state whether he endorses or agrees with what the Apostolic Rev.Father Lalith Aponso has stated in that cassette recording. Except, that it is "useful…"

The Crux and Core Difference Between Christianity and Buddhism:

People who are well versed in the Christian Scriptures and The Buddha Dhamma are fully aware that Christianity and Buddhism are as far apart as the moon and the earth in the very essence and core doctrines of the two religions. According to the Bible it is said that God created everything and even pronounced that earth was flat. According to Christianity a human born to this human life did not have a life before this and will have no life after death in this life- except what God decides for him/her which can be either Heaven or Hell according to his conduct in this life-and that is it! Buddhism taught by Sakyamuni Gautama The Buddha, is completely different from what Christianity and The Bible tells us. Buddhism is a philosophy of life and how our lives are guided by " cause and effect" and that there are many lives before this life and many lives after this life based on our own Karma we create for ourselves whether good or bad. Based on our own efforts (not dependent on a God) through self-purification of our defilements through meditation and insight we can, even in this life attain Nibbana and end our Samsaric sojourn. The Dhamma is very deep and intense and we do not hope to delve into the intricacies of The Dhamma in this article. There is no such doctrine in Christianity-everything including responsibility is placed on an Almighty God who decides for and on behalf of human beings in this life-man himself has no authority to do anything other than the will of God whereas The Buddha gave every authority to human beings to decide and do the right thing if he/she wished to attain Nibbana. The Buddhas teach and show the path to self-purification and human beings have to strive to attain it through one's own efforts. They extol the virtues of Metta, Karuna, Muditha & Upekha towards all beings be they humans, super natural beings or animals.

The Hidden Agenda of The Catholic Church & Insensitivity Towards Buddhists Sentiments:

The Apostolic Media Centre at Katunayake under the instructions of Rev.Father Lalith Aponso has been vehemently advertising the late Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero in the newspapers, through posters which show both the Venerable Monk and Rev.Father Lalith Aponso with information about the CD launch scheduled to be held at the BMICH on 19th July 2008. The first batch of posters came out on the streets of Colombo 1 day before Wesak Full Moon Day, the 2nd batch came out before Poson Full Moon Day and subsequently until today. The poster gives a telephone number 077-1306556 for people to call in and book their seats. Callers have been told that a seat will be charged at Rs.1,000/=as the minimum on this day to listen to Rev.Father Lalith Aponso and also to receive a free CD to anyone present at the function on that day. It is quite obvious that the Catholic Church is hoping to get as many young Buddhists & Bhikkus to come because callers are constantly asked "how old are you?" -does this really matter? We can see how the Church is using the picture of the late Ven.Ananda Maithriya Thero for their commercial purposes to cover (atleast part of it) the costs of hiring BMICH plus the CDs by luring Buddhists because as far as we know, Christians will "not buy" the ideas that Rev.Father Lalith Aponso wants to sell about "Life After Death & Karma" which are both unacceptable to their beliefs and "the word of God!"

In order to advertise this event more, Rev.Father Aponso had made a TV appearance on TNL 2 weeks ago together with a Buddhist Monk who is introduced as a pupil of the late Ven. Ananda Maithriya Thero by the name of Ven. Ambegoda Kusalagnana Thero of Kettaramaya Temple, Bandarawela who also happens to be lecturer at a Pirivena in Bandarawela. The Church is now keeping this Monk at Katunayake and treating him really well until they complete their agenda of cheating Buddhists with the CD launch. During this TV appearance, it has been stated that Rev.Father Aponso has developed his super natural powers to a level where he is able to recall so many thousands of births before this life! This again seems to be difficult to believe because the Christian belief is totally contrary to this stand. Let us presume that Rev.Father Aponso truly has these special powers- in which case as a Catholic Reverend Father, it will appear to be difficult for him to have remained as a Catholic Priest without being ex-communicated from the Church for blasphemy & heresy because his revelations completely over rules the Bible and the Gospel contained therein which in turn would make it out that he is even more supreme that Almighty God!

It is on record that when someone asked a highly respected Catholic Reverend Father Earnest Poruthota about Rev.Father Lalith Aponso and what he claims, Father Poruthota has stated that had been sent out of the Catholic Church (we do not wish to insult Rev.Father Lalith Aponso by stating that "he was expelled from the Church"). We also respect Father Poruthota as a Catholic Priest who is held in high esteem in this country and do not doubt his statement if he stated so. However, if what Father Poruthota stated is correct, then we fail to understand why the Most Reverend Archbishop Oswild Gomis as Head of The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is turning a blind eye on the doings of Rev.Father Lalith Aponso? Or for that matter The Bishop's Conference which is all powerful within the Catholic Church? By both these parties turning a blind eye it means, that they directly or indirectly endorse the actions of Rev.Father Aponso.

Most Reverend Archbishop Oswild Gomis has gone on record as promoting "inter-religious committees" to resolve matters related to disputes among religious groups in this country especially due to the complicated issues arising from unethical conversion activities being conducted against Buddhists and Hindus in this country. Does he hope to bring about "Inter-religious harmony and amity" between Buddhists and Catholics in this country by permitting another Catholic Father Rev.Aponso to indiscriminately "sell and commercialize" a highly respected and venerated Buddhist Monk of the calibre of the late Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero to suit the hidden agendas of the Catholic Church? Another question that comes into our minds at this point is, why did Rev.Father Lalith Aponso wait 14 years after recording his first cassette in 1994 and nearly 7-8 years after the passing away of Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero to paint his picture on the posters publicising the launching of his CD? The most ethical, credible and decent thing to do if the Catholic Church truly respected Ven.Ananda Maithriya Thero would have been to get his participation in this business when the Venerable Monk was still among the living and during his lifetime instead of waiting till we have no sound proof of the authenticity of the statement supposedly made by the late Venerable Monk? With the modern technology available today, with amazingly "credible sounding dubbing being possible"- we place serious doubts as to the authenticity of sound recordings of the late Venerable Monk's voice as claimed by Rev.Father Aponso! Do all these things sound as if there is a genuine and honest attempt to maintain "inter-religious amity" between Buddhists and Catholics in this country?
The answer unfortunately is an emphatic "No."

We do not think Buddhists or Buddhist Clergy have abused the dignity of personalities/Clergy belonging to other religious groups for commercial purposes or to spread Buddhism amongst Catholics at any given time. This is the sincerity that Buddhists have shown towards other religious leaders and religions in the true sense of Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Upekha as taught by The Buddha. It is extremely sad that the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka and its Clergy do not reciprocate in the same vein to show their genuine intentions of maintaining "inter-religious harmony and amity" between Catholics and Buddhists in this country.

To achieve the hidden agendas of the Catholic Church, it is not unusual for them to approach the highest levels of government officials to twist their arm into even getting publications made in government Buddhist publications in order to gain credibility for this particular issue. We will not be surprised if an article or advertisement on the CD launch scheduled for 19th July 2008 appears in the Lake House "Budhusarana" Weekly Buddhist Supplement which is issued to coincide with every Poya Day. To get such a publication done, there is no doubt whatsoever, that they would have approached Ministerial level connections as is true to their agendas.

One wonders whether the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches (including Evangelicals) are so bankrupt in their search for methods to prove their credentials and credibility without having to misuse and insult revered Buddhist Monks in this country ? Their actions certainly seem to point a finger in that direction if we are not mistaken.

Buddhist Aspirations:

Many are the instances where Buddhist sentiments have been hurt by aggressive and subtle manipulations of the Christian Churches in this country and this particular instance of Rev.Father Lalith Aponso using the name of one of our most revered Buddhist Monks who is no longer among the living, is a blaring example of the insensitivity of the Catholic Church and it's Clergy.

Buddhists and Buddhist Clergy in this country have always stretched out our arms in friendship towards all religions. This gesture of generosity by the Buddhists have often been abused, insulted and manipulated by the Christian Churches and in this instance, it is most unfortunate that the Catholic Church which is considered to be an Orthodox Christian Church in Sri Lanka should have acted in such an insensitive manner towards Buddhist sentiments and the high regard they have for the late Most Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thero.

We would like to see true and sincere gestures on the part of Christian Churches and their Clergy towards Buddhists and Buddhist Clergy if there is any intention whatsoever on their part to respect and develop "inter-religious harmony and amity" between these two religious groups. To win the confidence and trust of Buddhists in this country, there are many sincere ways that Christian Churches can use to extend a true hand of friendship and brotherhood. Our tolerance should not be mistaken and understood to be a weakness.

True "inter-religious amity and harmony" can be achieved only if each religious group and their leaders learn to adopt an attitude of mutual respect and understanding, learn the essence of " live and let live" and learn to act within their own boundaries without overstepping such boundaries. It will be only when this is evident and seen through example, that real and sincere amity can prevail in this country. We trust that the Christian & Catholic Church will strive to prove through their actions, that they wish to work in harmony with not only Buddhists in this country but also with the Hindus.

---- The Centre for Buddhist Action-----

07-17-2008, 10:00 PM

07-17-2008, 11:49 PM

:oo: :oo:

07-17-2008, 11:51 PM

07-18-2008, 12:09 AM

07-18-2008, 03:15 AM
:oo: :oo: :oo::oo::oo: (just to make you think)

True; that advertising campaign is not morally correct; but...

Too bad:
we are blaming others when even a monk is involved in this...
and we expect the church to behave like true 'Buddhists'...
while we do not know or practice Buddhism properly...

Discussing inter-religious issues online causes nothing but agitation and hatred (see: similar threads in this forum for example).
Unfortunately it's because we Buddhist do not have the Buddhist values cultivated... and because we do not know how to response when hurtful things happen...

The way majority of us practice Buddhism in Sri Lanka is the cause of its ruin...
It's too bad we do not have faith in the words of Sammasambuddha Gautama regarding ruin of the Sashana...

Only protection is following the Path ourselves and helping as many Budhhists as we can to follow the Path...
Let's practice Dhamma; promote Dhamma; and help one another to follow it...

Theruwan saranai!

07-18-2008, 06:17 AM

07-19-2008, 05:31 AM