The Sri Lankan government is just ri-goddamned-diculous. First Akon then this [Don’t really care about Akon that much but it does show some consistency in silencing people – the management]? Seriously? Arresting people because they produce material that is offensive to Buddhism? Grow a pair of balls and accept the fact that not everyone follows your spiritual path.
So bravo! Sri Lanka! Bravo! Way to completely armor yourself against any possible criticism, opposing beliefs, human curiosity and self-growth. Any state religion – Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, or whatever – that quiets voices is advocating an extremist, fundamental and grotesquely immoral social structure.
Personally I would completely prefer one million and one Stephen Batchelor books and to read the entire “Left Behind” series while making holy prostrations to my laptop that advocate this bullshit.
Human rights activists have urged Sri Lankan authorities to free Sarah Malanie Perera who was arrested under the country’s stringent emergency laws last week for writing two books allegedly offensive to Buddhism.
Perera, a Sinhalese who converted from Buddhism to Islam more than 10 years ago, is a resident of Bahrain. She was on her way back to Bahrain from Colombo last week after spending three months here when she was arrested.
She compiled the two books written in Sinhalese while in Colombo and had got it printed here. According to reports, Perera was sending some copies through freight when she was apprehended.
The arrest of the 38-year-old author came in the same week the Sri Lankan government said it will not allow rapper and R&B singer Akon to perform in Colombo because one of his music videos was found to have demeaned Buddhism. [From Hindustan Times]
Ms. Perera’s books “Darkness to Light” and “Questions and Answers” are the books in question that are stated as “offensive to Lord Buddha”. Ms Perera worked as an accountant for the US Navy and was a teacher at the Child Development Centre in Juffair. She was raised as a Buddhist, embracing Islam in 1999. I assume the books are meant to talk about her conversion and the rational behind this largely personal decision. I sincerely doubt someone advocating for their path would be considered offensive to the Buddha.
Western conceptualize Buddhism as a religion that practices peace, tolerance and contemplation but from examples of areas that have adopted Buddhism as a state religion – intertwined with politics and policy – we see a much different creature emerging. One that rejects most of those teachings and becomes an solely concerned with its own self-perpetuation rather than actual practice and the Dharma.
I would love to see a copy of these two books and have been unable to find anything online. If anyone has a copy or knows of a some excerpts or perhaps a PDF send them my way.