Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka spoke at my grandfather’s dhane (photos). He has a beautiful voice and, as a Member of Parliament, drives a beautiful Benz. I’ve always been a bit suspect of monks in Parliament, but he did speak some simple sense. And it’s certainly a great show for the villagers near my maternal home. Dhane’s are a decent feed and doze, but also quite important in the long-view. We still remember my grandfather 41 years later, and that’s important.
A dhane is, in practice, an alms-giving to monks and, by extension, family and friends. The monks chant and the children twitch and squirm. I still do. I get verra uncomfortable but I like seeing family and there’s usually a good feed with prawns poking about sacrilegiously.
The local monks give a nasal and, in my opinion, rather half-hearted chant but this Ven. Dhammaloka is a TV Monk and he does have a voice. He’s also a Member of Parliament, starting from the JHU and then jumping (inexplicably) to the UNP, I think. I YouTubed a bit above, it’s really quite beautiful. He also spoke at length about simple stories and life lessons and how Nibbana is in this life and now may be the best shot you’ve got.
I’m a Buddhist and the preservation of that empowering faith is one of the things I’m most proud of as a Sri Lankan. Buddhism the faith has personally chilled me out and managed to modulate my insanity. I’m thankful that Sri Lanka preserves the Theravada way. However, the cocktail of Sinhala and Buddhism is, I think, a bit too intoxicating.
A lot of what revivalist monks say is actually nonsense, and racist at worst. That said, the monastery is fundamentally a noble calling. I wish there was more charity in Buddhism, but the monks are still a backbone of community life. I think engagement in material things and especially politics is dangerous, but from what I heard this Ven. Dhammaloka was OK. I’m glad he came to my grandfather’s dhane.
This is not an endorsement of any political views, but as monk I think the people from my maternal village enjoyed having him. I personally enjoyed the manioca the most.