Recently, a distressing event unfolded in Sri Lanka, where a self-proclaimed Buddhist lay teacher and his followers tragically took their own lives. Reports indicate that nearly eight individuals were involved in this unfortunate incident. In the aftermath, I examined the teachings of the individual responsible for this group, specifically focusing on the misinterpretation of “Asubha” meditation. Notably, the improper instruction of this meditation technique was identified as a concerning factor.
This situation draws parallels with a historical event from the time of Buddha, where monks practicing “asubha” meditation resorted to suicide. In response, Buddha wisely advised them to cease the meditation practice if it led to internal conflicts.
The practice of “asubha” meditation is unfortunately misapplied in numerous locations, posing a risk of mental harm and veering away from the righteous path of Dharma. Consequently, I earnestly urge you to focus solely on the “Kayaghatanu” section, adhering to the guidance outlined in the “Satara Satipattana” Sutra. This approach ensures a more accurate and beneficial engagement with the meditation, safeguarding your mental well-being and aligning with the principles of Dharma.
There is a concerning trend in Sri Lanka where certain fringe sects are distorting the essence of Buddhism, potentially sowing seeds of social discord against the Buddhist community. Among these groups is the faction that propagates the unfounded claim that “Buddha was born in Sri Lanka.” This assertion is not only historically inaccurate but also threatens to foster animosity towards Buddhism in the country.
Another group, led by a monk named “Pitaduwe Siridhamma/ Samantha Badra”, assumes the title of Buddha, a self-proclamation that deviates from traditional Buddhist principles and raises questions about the group’s authenticity and intentions.
Furthermore, the “Nirukthi” group; Waharaka Abhayarathana, Dhamma and you sect, which deliberately distorts the Pali language, poses an additional challenge. Manipulating the sacred language of Buddhism can lead to misinterpretations and misrepresentations, potentially undermining the core teachings of the faith.
It is crucial to address and rectify these distortions, as they not only endanger the integrity of Buddhism but also have the potential to incite social tension. Efforts should be made to promote accurate teachings, discourage misinformation, and foster a harmonious understanding of Buddhism within Sri Lanka’s diverse society.
This article serves as a cautionary message, emphasizing the importance of adhering to authentic Buddhist teachings. The analogy drawn from Buddha’s wisdom highlights the potential dangers of practicing Buddhism incorrectly or misinterpreting its principles. According to the analogy, engaging with Buddhism in a misguided manner is likened to catching a snake by its tail—a risky endeavor. Just as a snake caught in such a way can turn around and bite its captor, practicing Buddhism without proper understanding and interpretation may lead to unintended consequences or spiritual harm.
Buddha’s teachings emphasize the significance of accurate understanding and application of the Dharma to avoid pitfalls and setbacks on the spiritual path. The cautionary tone of the article serves as a reminder to approach Buddhist practices with mindfulness, sincerity, and a commitment to authentic teachings to prevent potential harm and ensure a harmonious spiritual journey.