Home » විමර්ශන » Is Ven. Samantha Bhadra Thera (Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera) an Arahant?

There appeared in a Sinhala newspaper, of 22 December 2013, an interview with Ven. Hagoda Vipassi Thera, where he has called Ven. Samantha Bhadra Thera, (Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera), an insane person for saying he has attained Arahathood. Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera has recently been criticized for his preaching, which is quite different to what other monks preach. [remember where one reputed Buddhist monk had preached that Gauthama Buddha was born in Sri Lanka, and also indirectly supporting the government on the Casino Bill by saying gambling was prevalent during the Buddha’s time, hence why this criticism.

There appeared in a Sinhala newspaper, of 22 December 2013, an interview with Ven. Hagoda Vipassi Thera, where he has called Ven. Samantha Bhadra Thera, (Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera), an insane person for saying he has attained Arahathood. Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera has recently been criticized for his preaching, which is quite different to what other monks preach. [remember where one reputed Buddhist monk had preached that Gauthama Buddha was born in Sri Lanka, and also indirectly supporting the government on the Casino Bill by saying gambling was prevalent during the Buddha’s time, hence why this criticism.

While other monks cling on to old Jathaka stories and other made up stories or tales connected to the Gauthama Buddha, which the educated and intelligent today do not accept, Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera’s approach differs in keeping with the present. I was rather taken up by Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera when he spoke of ‘Auspicious Time,’ he said Auspicious time starts when a person falls into difficulties or misfortune and at that point he corrects himself. To me it sounds rational. Every person who brings new ideas or findings is considered a fool or insane. As history records, Socrates and several scientists and philosophers were called mad and even sentenced to death.
Who or what is Buddha?

Christianity is identified with Jesus Christ, Islam with Prophet Mohammed, but what of Buddhism? That is because there were several Buddhas and Buddhism cannot be identified with one Buddha. Buddhism is similar to an education, an institute, where one receives a Doctorate in stages; passing the O/Level, A/Level, Degree and then a Doctorate. Buddhism also has stages – Sakurdagami, Anagami, Arahath and Buddha. Nowhere in the Dhammapada does a name of a Buddha appear, but as wise men. Then what is Buddha? Buddha is a Sanskrit word meaning wisdom, enlightenment, the ultimate stage of understanding life and the universe. Perhaps it is the self-assessment of Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma to call himself as one who has attained the stage of Arahat. Does Ven. Hegoda Vipassi Thera expect Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera to perform miracles to prove his case based on fables?

Our Buddhist monks have made Buddhism a business for personal gain by having devales in Temples, which is against Buddhism and conducting rituals which are not mentioned in Buddhist teachings. Here it is pertinent to mention what Ven. Walpola Rahula Thera had said at an interview on 4 November 2012 about these rituals being started by our ancient kings. After committing grave crimes and in fear of retribution, various ritual were performed expecting forgiveness. These rituals are being continued by unintelligent (moda) Buddhists, just because they were practised by ancient kings. It is true kings had authority over their subjects but they had no knowledge of pure Dhamma. In this hard hitting interview, he says these rituals are continued for personal gains by monks, as a business and monkhood a profession.

The uproar on the statement of Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera is seen as a threat by other monks fearing some may follow Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma and discard those business minded Bhikkus. It is very very rare to find a true Buddhist monk who knows and follows the Dhamma. It is therefore obvious the challenge of Ven. Hegoda Vipassi Thera is merely to safeguard the interest of those who have made Buddhism a business and consider even tying a Pirith Noola as a nuisance as they consider time so spent hinders their other work.

In conclusion I quote Dhammapada – Bala Vagga (Fools) Verse 02
Caran ce nodhigaccheyya seyyam sadisam attano
Ekacariyam dalham kayira – natthi bale sahayata
(If, as the disciple fares along, he meets no companion who is better or equal, he firmly pursues his solitary career. There is no fellowship with fools). That goes for Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma carry on regardless!

D.A.D. Sirimana jchandanaranawaka
Boralesgamuwa 

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