Taboo subjects, a blog set up by swimfanlk featured a write-up on the “Buddhist School System” in Sri Lanka.
The article can be found here.
We at religurd are ecstatic over the article.
The argument that “Buddhist Schools” were formed not of out necessity BUT rather as a reactionary response to “mission schools” is a credible argument. Ideally one would expect to see a secular reaction as opposed to a “Theosophist/Buddhist” reaction to mission schools but as always we Sri Lankans tend to drop the ball at crucial times and let crackpots and extremists high-jack the system (remember the anti-conversion bill debate?).
The article also questions Mr Olcott’s intentions (or perhaps his lack of understanding on how to set up a place of learning and culture) and implicitly highlights his crackpot theosophist beliefs, some of which are:
1. A race of super-humans once dwelled on an island called Atlantis (the so-called Aryan race theory of Madame Blavatsky and Olcott)
2. These super-humans descended from the stars.
(Find a full list here)
Students of these schools are supposed to look upto these people ? Theosophists were nothing more than crackpot occultists disillusioned by the western way of life and such “national heroes” should be exposed for what they really were. The truth will be difficult for people to accept but we must ensure that a truthful dissenting opinion gets out there into the public, and this article does that effectively.
The article also talks about the discrepancy between Buddhism as a philosophy, its objectives etc and the formation of systematic Buddhist education institutions (a paradigm borrowed from the Christians and which has no place in traditional Buddhist philosophy)
Finally the article is very accessible and summarizes a lot of arguments which have been put forward by notable academics like Prof Obeysekere .
Buddhist schools constitute a majority of the local state schools and they should be leading the way in teaching children tolerance and understanding as opposed to segregation and exclusivity. They should be held accountable for failing time and time again to hold the banner of secularism high. We must expose the public to such discourses which have thus far been confined to academic circles.
Keep up the great work swimfanlk!