I refer to the letter by Attorney-at-Law S. Costa, President Kandy
Litigants' Association, published in the Daily News declaring that after
20-25 years of studying law, its philosophy, and among other things, the
teaching of the Buddha, he is 100 per cent convinced that the legal
system is a conspiracy of lawyers and criminals and 'the law is an
It does not permit to ask: 'Did you do it?' 'This proposition is the
greatest act of stupidity mankind has ever committed in all its
history.' I shall confine only to this bombast. I have no knowledge on
law and its philosophy - but his reasoning is 100 per cent wrong.
Traditionally, no person is accused without first directly
ascertaining: 'Do you plead guilty or not guilty?' This is the same as
asking: Did you do it? If everybody pleaded 'guilty', there would be no
issue but almost everyone pleads 'not guilty'. Why is that?
The answer lies in the underlying nature of consciousness. We cannot
speak of things 'outside' it. Consciousness is a duality: bad/good,
wrong/right, unskilful/skilful, short/long and so on. It is inherent,
intentional, purposive or teleological, arising from contact by the self
with various percepts of eye and sight, ear and sound, nose and smell,
tongue and taste, body and touch and mind and images/ideas.
For example, a child would say 'I cannot drink the medicine, it is
'bitter', to avoid taking it. Human propensity, as in the humblest
animal, is to avoid pain and dissatisfaction, preferring the pleasant
The origin of this dual negative/positive 'inlays' in consciousness,
according to the Buddha, is 'beginning-less'. The negative is
ubiquitous: 'Omnis determination est negation' (Spinoza) and exists as a
denial of the positive. (Nanavira Thera, Notes on Dhamma, p. 27) The
underlying nature of consciousness is to deny the existence of the
positive, - thus 'not guilty'.
'Tell, then, where do water, earth, fire and air no footing find?
Where likewise the long and short, small and big, fair and
foul...without remainder cease? The answer is: 'The consciousness that
makes no showing, nor has to do with finiteness, claiming no being apart
from it all...' (Digha 11) Discussion of this profound statement is
beyond the scope of this letter.
So, let me end with ethics. Does 'judgment' exist immanent in a
common universal consciousness? Is there remorse and guilt in animals? I
have seen (on film) lions eating cubs, ants attacking ants, sea gulls
preying on turtle hatchlings scrambling to the sea, etc. The life cycle
of the cuckoo is a classic example of amorality.
That is to say, animal behaviour is inherently non-judgmental. They
prey and are preyed upon. That is how it actually is. It is neither
'wrong' nor 'right'. The choice is not self-evident. It is perfectly in
order therefore, to plead not guilty when in fact guilty.
The legal system, basically, is not about determining the truth. Its
norms are its own making, dependent on interpretation and human error.
To maintain and safeguard its relevance, development, and credibility,
it is incumbent to give sustenance to manipulation and viability. Years
ago, Supreme Court Judge Kariappar said: 'Doctors and lawyers thrive on
the misfortunes of others!'
Dr. Kingsley Heendeniya
I am glad to see the caption "Would you believe that if everyone
re-used their polythene bags just once, it would halve the number of
bags produced each year? So to stop abuse please re-use." appears
frequently in the Daily News among advertisements.
Surely this creates a little bit of thoughts among the readers. When
I read it, I was urged to add a little bit further, another factor that
we should think of.
There is a day time inflow of one million people to Colombo and I
believe that at least 75 per cent are coming for their employment.
Generally, most of these people bring their lunch in packets inclusive
of a polythene lunch sheet. True that it is convenient. Oil or parchment
paper is not being used at present as the polythene sheets are quite
Some institutions have introduced segregation for their waste
collection for the purpose of recycling but recycling is difficult when
contaminated. Washing and recycling is not worth for the manufacturer
when the cost is compared with the yield. End of the day, these are non
bio-degradable solid waste which cannot be recyclable.
With these facts, polythene lunch sheets being dropped in Colombo is
at least 700,000 a day, 3.5M a week. May be a little inconvenient, if
people think of bringing their lunch in boxes, containers etc. which was
the practice of good old days, will avoid quite a number of lunch sheets
I would like to suggest another caption; "May be it is inconvenient,
but if you carry your meals in a re-usable box/container, it will avoid
quite a number of polythene sheets being dropped to the Earth. Think of
it for the sake of protecting the Environment in a small way."
JAYALATH L. FERDINANDO, Panadura
The Government should take tough action against the doctors who fall
into the trap of multinational drug companies.
The ordinary citizens cannot afford to pay hefty prices for the
medicine, since his earnings are limited.
Doctors in Sri Lanka are always trying to harm the society, mostly by
strikes and now its high priced medicines.
When the Colombo Municipal Council raised the level of Bauddhaloka
Mawatha some years ago, the sewer line of the All Ceylon Women's
Buddhist Congress became lower than the street sewer lines, which was
Over the years, this causes the excreta/drainage to flow back into
the ACWBC premises, and gets carried along an open drain outside a youth
hostel refectory, a Home for disabled children, and a bakery - all under
the patronage of this Congress.
The young hostellers have their meals with the refectory windows on
the side of the open drain permanently closed, every day.
The garden of the Home for disabled children gets ennundated with
foul water and smelly oozing cess pits, most every day on heavy rainy
The bakery is flourishing, and has a popular sales outlet on
Bauddhaloka Mawatha for the public, but there could be an outbreak of
Typhoid or Cholera, some day.
The open drain contributes to this disgusting situation which poses a
health hazard. The President of this Congress in 2004-2005 had the then
Mayor visit and inspect the sewer problem.
The Mayor proclaimed that a permanent solution (he had suggested
remedial measures minuted at a meeting) would cost the Congress about Rs.
1.2 million. The term of this President was for one year, and therefore
not much could be done, though initial steps were taken by consulting
The incumbent President from 2005 to date, took the matter up for
discussion several times at monthly ex-co meetings.
The writer served as an ex-co member from 2005-2007 June, and
therefore was present at such meetings.
After much procrastination, the matter was put aside due to the cost
of the remedial measures.
The writer could not bring this out in an article, whilst serving on
the Committee. Having not asked for nomination for a third year (most
others did) she wrote to the President and the new Committee by
registered post, with the intention to draw the public attention to this
unhygenic and insanitary condition on the premises.
The Congress has an enormous responsibility towards the public (who
patronise the bakery outlet) the hostellers (who are paying residents)
and to the disabled children. This was pointed out in the said letter.
Having served on the committee for two years, the writer is aware
that funds have accumulated from large donations, rents from the
resident hostellers and paying-elders (who are resident) and from bakery
sales which are very profitable. So, this expenditure can be met.
This is written to safeguard the good name of this prestigious
Congress having branches in Gampaha, Ragama, Anurahapura and Matale with
Buddhist women dedicated to do social service.
To put off a disaster that affects about 100 residents at the ACWBC
premises should be a priority on the agenda.
However, the writer is aware that the President and the new Committee
plan the construction of a multi-storeyed building.
What then will happen to the big stink?
RAMANI RAJAPAKSE, Colombo 7