Animals are born free. But almost everywhere they are in chains. Zoos symbolize this phenomenon. Zoos therefore do not deserve to be sustained. It is a legacy of the uncivilized world. It is morally indefensible. It is cruel. It is shameful. It turns Justice on its head. Its future, like human slavery of the past, lies in only one direction. The exit door. 

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The greatest moral challenge faced at Christmas being a religion based festival is to make it slaughter free.

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In one of his finest discourses in the Anguttara-Nikaya the Buddha speaks as follows: "The sum of all that makes a bad man is ingratitude; the sum of all that makes a good man is gratitude ". The Buddha further said that it is hard to find people who do kind deeds and people who are grateful for the kind deeds done. In so saying the Buddha placed a heavy emphasis on the need to treasure and value people who do kind deeds and cultivate good virtues.

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August 15 is the day Japan commemorates the war’s end. Soon it will be 70 years after that day in 1945 when two Atomic Bombs dropped from American planes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan to surrender.  Japan lost to foes enjoying overwhelming superiority in both numbers and material. Nevertheless Japan’s entry to war in 1941 was not without significant consequences for the rest of Asia. It had redeeming features. Within a few years of Japan’s surrender in 1945 a host of leading Asian countries achieved independence from western colonial domination after centuries of abject rule. Japan’s legacy is that the people in Asia are now free.

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Aubrey Collette was a well known cartoonist from the mid forties who was virtually a regular contributor to the Times of Ceylon and the Lake House press until the early 1960s when he emigrated to Australia.

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The legacy of Walther Schmits

Monday, 04 May 2015 03:57

“ Kaput, kaput, alles kaput ” may sound rather strange in today´s economically resilient Germany, but at the end of the second world war and in the immediate post - war period, these words echoing despair and hopelessness had wide currency amongst large sections of the German people.   It was the worst of times for them in every sense of the word.  It was this scene of almost total destruction and collective  public resignation to an unknown fate that confronted  Asoka Weeraratna, a young Sinhalese businessman from Ceylon (then called), when he stepped foot on German soil for the first time in 1951.

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Sri Lanka’s Constitution must be connected to its heritage and history.   It is a national shame for a country that proudly boasts of a 2, 500 year old history and had won the acclaim of the wider world for preserving its Buddhist heritage in a pristine state, to turn its back on the wisdom of our ancestors on questions of governance and instead turn to the wisdom of somebody else’s grandfathers wholesale for new directions.

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The Sunday Times (Plus) of December 21, 2014 carries a review of a Book entitled ‘The Black Prince’s Chapel’ by Sagara Jayasinghe (Vijitha Yapa Publications, Price: Rs. 2450) under the subheading ‘The architect inspired by the Black Prince’s chapel’. The reviewer states: “The church of Our Lady of the Gate of Heaven in Telheiras, Lisbon goes down in history as the one and only building erected in Portugal by a member of a Sri Lankan royal family. Consultant architect, Sagara Jayasinghe, during a visit to Portugal two years back was fascinated by the chronicles and documentations on the political and religious affairs between Portugal and Sri Lanka.

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Asia has lost its moral voice. Buddhists have lost their moral voice. 

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On the historic occasion of the presentation of the Report of the Buddhist Commission to the Maha Sangha and the Buddhist public at Ananda College on the 4th of February, 1956 the iconic Buddhist leader L.H. Mettananda delivered a memorable speech entitled ' A Conspiracy Against Buddhism' warning the Buddhist community of a diabolical scheme  underway to undermine Buddhism in Sri Lanka by various stratagems employed by subversive religious groups directed and controlled by a foreign power in association with key personalities in both the Govt. and Press.

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Joseph Vaz was serving the interests of the Catholic Church and the King and Govt. of Portugal which were ruling Goa, when he landed in Ceylon on a mission. Goa  was then i.e. 17th century, in the hands of the Portuguese who were then more or less engaged in a state of war with the Dutch then occupying the coastal areas of Ceylon. Christian missionary activity was a huge State enterprise charged to the Crown's revenues in Portugal. In many european countries national interests were closely identified with religious activity. Portugal was no exception. 

Joseph Vaz  was undoubtedly seen as an adversary and trouble maker by the Dutch in a manner similar to how both Portugal and the Catholic Church saw Buddhism and Buddhist monks as hostile elements who were not prepared to surrender Sri Lanka to Portugal or embrace Christianity which both Portugal and the Catholic Church wanted to spread even by force if necessary among the indigenous people.
 
Any one coming from Portuguese held territory was prima facie seen as a spy or agent serving the interests of the Portuguese by the Dutch who were well aware of the machinations of the Portuguese keen to retake Ceylon which they had lost to the Dutch in 1658. The Portuguese writer Queroz gives expression to the lament of the Portuguese in losing Ceylon to the Dutch and how desperate they were in re-capturing Ceylon from the Dutch.
 

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In the modern history of Sri Lanka no one stands taller than Anagarika Dharmapala. In a country that had witnessed the overthrow of its last king in 1815, seen successive waves of Portuguese, Dutch and British invasions sweeping away much of the traditional Buddhist culture of the country, the unsolicited entry of missionaries of every conceivable denomination from both Europe and USA descending on local children like a cloud of locusts with unconcealed plans to wean them away from their longstanding religious beliefs, and make them ashamed of everything that they stood for and lived by i.e. their religion, their culture, their language, their race, their food and their skin colour, it was a time that any ‘reasonable man’ using a well - known British test introduced into court jargon in 1837 would have thought Buddhism had no hope of survival in Sri Lanka.

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A Panel Discussion under the title ‘India under Modi: Relevance for the Region and the World’ scheduled to be held on July 21, 2014 at the BMICH, Colombo and addressed by five prominent Indians led by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Chairman, BJP Committee on Strategic Action, is intended to be a forum for Sri Lankans to gain an insight into the new style of governance of Narendra Modi and India’s unfolding role in the Region and the larger world, among other topics. It will be based, according to the organizers of this workshop i.e. Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS), on a desire to forge close ties between the Modi Government and Sri Lanka.

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The Venerable Narada Maha Thera (Sinhala: නාරද මහා ස්ථවිරයන් වහන්සේ), born Sumanapala Perera (14 July 1898 – 2 October 1983) was a Theravadan Buddhist monk and translator, the Superior of Vajirarama Temple in Colombo. He was a popular figure in his native country,Sri Lanka, and beyond.

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Sino – India rapprochement will have significant ramifications not only in Asia but throughout the world in the coming years.

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The world’s first Global Buddhist missionary Anagarika Dharmapala and the most talked about man in India today and perhaps in the entire policy and decision making world the Prime Minister designate of India the iconic Narendra Modi, share something in common with each other.  Both were born on Sept. 17 though 86 years apart. Anagarika Dharmapala was born on Sept. 17, 1864 and Narendra Modi saw light of day for the first time on Sept. 17, 1950.

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The Indian general election would, if the forecasts are proved to be correct, result in a change in India’s relationship with the rest of the world as well as a revolutionary transformation of her economy, industry and education if the changes introduced in Gujarat by Chief Minister Narendra Modi are an indication. It will also dramatically affect the ongoing ‘blow hot, blow cold,’ relationship that India currently pursues with Sri Lanka.

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The term ‘Bias’ is defined as an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective and a refusal to even consider the possible merits of alternative points of view. An individual may be biased towards or against another individual, a race, a religion, a social class, or a political party. Being Biased connotes being one-sided, lacking a neutral viewpoint, and not having an open mind. Bias arises in many forms and shapes and is generally treated as synonymous with prejudice or bigotry.

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