Colombo, 08 June, (Asiantribune.com): The Scientologists’ ulterior motives were well and truly exposed when they were found distributing a 30 page full color, propaganda booklet in Sinhala, titled, Santhoshayata Maga (The Path to Joy) in Colombo suburbs, recently. Questions have also been raised on their movements outside tsunami- affected areas, despite their pretence of having come to aid tsunami victims.
This came to light when the Venerable Gnanaweera of the Mallikarama Buddhist Temple, Ratmalana and Deeptha L. Gamage a U.S.-based Sri Lankan Journalist confronted them in two separate incidents.
A copy of the half A-4 sized booklet that came into Gamage’s hands carries maliciously distorted facts on Buddhism’s history.
In a chapter that warns readers against wrong sexual behavior, the author states on page 8: “ Adultery is nothing new. Buddhism, which was a powerful religion in India in the Seventh Century, disappeared from there as a result of sex perversions of Buddhist monks in temples.”
Any one with a fair knowledge of Indian history knows that the primary cause of Buddhism’s disappearance from that country was the series of Islamic invasions.
Venerable. Gnanaweera told the Asian Tribune that he was at his temple when he received a phone call informing that a group of foreigners and their local guide were being questioned at the Dehiwala Police Station.
Rushing to the spot he had found about a dozen whites wearing yellow jackets, with the word Scientologist printed on them. They had been brought to the police station on a complaint made by a resident of the area that they were distributing publications that insulted Buddhism and Buddhists.
According to Ven.Gnanaweera, the Officer In Charge of the police station however apparently did not like the monk’s presence there. He had told the monk that he should get the issue raised in Parliament and not get involved in police matters.
“I told the officer that this matter that concerned me very much since this was an obviously an attempt to rouse religious tensions. A senior police superintendent, who had come to the station on some official matter, overheard our argument and called the OIC and explained the issue to him. Thereafter the he was very polite to me, although I do not know what action he took on the complaint made against the scientologists. “
The Ven.Gnanaweera regretted that this utter lack of concern on the part of state officials was one major factor that encouraged evangelists and proselytizers to engage in unethical religious conversions.
Deeptha Gamage who is currently in Sri Lanka on private business, found a group of yellow-uniformed Scientologists collecting garbage in a section of Mount Lavinia.
When he asked them what they were doing there instead of being in the tsunami hit areas, they had responded by saying that they were helping to keep the town clean.
It is here that Gamage noted that they had distributed copies of the offensive booklet. The group had even rented a house nearby without informing the real purpose of their being in the area.
According to Gamage, this Scientology group had even met the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal authorities to discuss what material assistance they could offer to the council. This was, he said, a confidence building measure that could be useful to their other activities.
Gamage said that he was well aware of Scientologists’ underhand activities since their headquarters was located on the Santa Monica Boulevard-Los Angeles Road, close to where he has his home in LA. He added that Dr. Walter Jayasinghe a Sri Lankan-born physician in LA had been converted from Buddhism to Scientology. He was now trying to persuade other Americans of Sri Lankan-origin to embrace his new faith.
Gamini Perera Coordinator, Joint Committee of Buddhist Organizations in Sri Lanka said that there were reports Scientologists were even going to universities and that a certain Government Minister had permitted them to work here unhindered.
The unethical conversions debate in Sri Lanka is simmering up with German Journalist Christian Eckert replying to the Church of Scientology’s response from Lind Simmons Hights, the Media Affairs Director of the Scientologists. Earlier, Eckert had gathered sufficient evidence of conversion attempts by Scientologists and Christian Evangelists in Sri Lanka.
In Germany, .two of the highest courts recently dealt with cases involving the Scientology organization. The Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) has ruled, that the Scientology branch in Hamburg was not a religious congregation, but clearly a commercial enterprise. In its decision, the court quotes one of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s instructions “make money, make more money — make other people produce so as to make money” and concludes that Scientology purports to be a “church” merely as a cover to pursue its economic interests.
In France, the Scientology organization is neither a religion nor a non-profit institution. The organization’s Paris head office was closed in early 1996 for not paying taxes.
In Great Britain, the Scientology organization has been rebuffed repeatedly by the Charity Commission, which insisted as recently as 1995 that the organization could not be considered a religion under British law and could, therefore, not enjoy any tax-exempt status.