Thursday, August 03, 2006

Traffic jams and miracles

Listening to: 'Isabel' by Il Divo [Ancora]

I went and got my passport extended yesterday. The new passport office is actually pretty good! Never thought I'd say that about a Sri Lankan Governmental office :D. On the way back, my father and I were stuck in a traffic jam for about half an hour. OK this was office rush hour, but we were on the same road at the same time on the previous day, and it was definitely not as bad as this. Back home, while nursing my ears from the sound of horns from the various vehicles in the jam (you'll know what I mean if you've ever been in a traffic jam in Colombo), our neighbour gave us a possible reason for the block. Apparently, 'luminous rays' were being emitted by Buddha statues at various temples all over the city, and people were flocking to witness the miracle. You can read about it here.

Miracle, you say? Hmm. As it says in my blogger profile, I am a practising Buddhist. Now by that, I don't mean that I frequent the temple or make ritualistic offerings on a regular basis. I practise Buddhism by living by the teachings of Lord Buddha as best as I can. I don't believe in miracles. I believe in cause and effect, the Four Noble Truths, the effect of Karma and the impermanence of all material entities.

In my opinion, there are a myriad of plausible explanations for the appearance of the 'halo', mostly involving refraction and scattering of light in polluted air and the reaction of the human eye to such phenomena. A few simple scientific experiments would probably single one out as the most viable. However, while most Buddhist monks have rejected the 'miracle' theory, none have called for a full-scale investigation. Why? Some might say that they're afraid that it is a miracle - something that would go against the teachings of the Buddha. I think not. Such a reluctance to inspection in itself violates the Dhamma, which prescribes ehipassiko - "come and see". Instead, I feel it's more of a realisation that whether or not last evening's visions were due to a miracle, the incident is irrelevant to man's search for the Truth and key to cessation of Suffering. Buddhism does not, and has never claimed to be a 'religion' in the pure sense of the word, providing answers to all life's questions. It is a way of life that enables the follower to attain 'inner peace'.

As one monk said in the above article,
"If you really want to see Buddha rays, read the Dhamma and attain enlightenment. That is the only way. Now they are only causing traffic jams."
P.S.- Some might say that I'm preaching in this post...and that may be. In my opinion, I am merely stating my thoughts on an incident that was of great interest to many people. This is in no way a criticism of those who believe in miracles, or do not follow Buddhism. You are entitled to your views, as I am to mine.


  1. I'm so glad theres at least some sensible monks left in the country!

  2. I think you've been unfairly asked to apologise for your views and opinions in the past...But this is YOUR blog - readers ought to accept your views if they agree, or politely suggest an alternative, if they disagree, but you're not being in the slightest bit offensive, so stop apologising! :)


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