We need another “Panadurawadaya” – a National debate on the attacks to Buddha & his teachings
In August 1873, 26th & 28th to be precise a great debate was held at the Galkanda Temple in Panadura between Migettuwatte Gunananda Himi & Father David de Silva. The topic was on Buddhism & Christianity. This became famously known as the “Panadurawadaya”. It should bring to light the statements by one “prophet” Jerome de Silva and an increasing bevy of modern liberal shows funded to smear Buddha & his teachings & drawing youth away from their ancestral heritage & culture. An opportunity for a revival in Buddhism amongst Buddhists has emerged.
How many are aware of Gunananda himi? He fearlessly took upon himself the need to challenge the Buddhist pride that was under attack. The situation was such that it was predicted by scholar James de Alwis that by end of 1800 it would be the end of Buddhism. This project was in operation since the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 and continued through the reign of the Dutch & the British inspite of the assurances given in writing.
The affront to Buddhism at the time of Gunananda Himi & at present in 2023 looks to be no different. In fact the situation is made worse using technology aligned to falsehoods, misinformation & disinformation with the funding and traitors larger in numbers. Everything has turned into a business & commercial/liberal capitalism is such that humans without integrity & morals are also commodities.
As a result of this event, American Col. Henry Steele Olcott and Russian Helena Blavatsky (who later co-founded the Theosophical Society) arrived in Sri Lanka on 16 May 1880. Following their arrival numerous Buddhist schools emerged – Ananda, Nalanda, Dharmaraja, Mahinda, Sri Sumangala to name a few. It was Olcott who promoted the use of the Buddhist flag and declared Vesak a national holiday.
How many know about this great debate between Gunananada Himi & Father David de Silva?
The intelligent logical arguments & critical analysis as well as segmenting his arguments presented by the himi should be taught in schools & universities including the defense/foreign ministry establishments including the entire pancha maha wada.
We are in need of at least 100 more Gunananda himi as well as 100 more laymen who can take up ugly manner in which Buddha & his teachings are being attacked without pursuing their own faiths. No faith should need to have to ridicule another to promote their faith. If they have to, it shows the weakness & fragility of that faith.
In may ways, a revival & resurgence in Buddha’s teachings & the need to protect the Buddhist ethos of Sri Lanka has emerged as a result of the “prophet” and the “moda” concept promoters who are abusing creativity to mock people’s pride in heritage, history & culture only to draw people towards liberal cultures of porn, drugs & other vices that they display as the “fashion trends” in society which will morally physically & mentally bring about their own downfall. Time will be their teacher.
What we need is for the Buddhist theros to boldly come forward just as Gunananda Himi did & dissect the gutter analogies made against Buddha & that should also be complimented by a team of Buddhist laymen to also boldly come forward to start a parallel debate also defending the teachings of Buddha.
The enemy will use all sorts of ugly methods & strategies attempting to degrade Buddha. We do not need to stoop to their ugly levels. We have in our power the oldest & the greatest teachings in the world and we must now use this to defeat the enemy with knowledge not sponsored crude comedy by religious profiteers or comedians.
It is time we protect, promote & foster Buddha Sasana just as the Government of Sri Lanka is tasked to do so under Article 9 of Sri Lanka’s Constitution. If the Government is by duty held to Article 9 so too are the Citizens of Sri Lanka.
Shenali D Waduge