Sunday Morning Sermon (Aluth Avurudhu Edition)
Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches. Samuel Johnson made this point when he wrote about the misuse of the charge of "hypocrisy" in Rambler No. 14:
Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself.
Thus, an alcoholic's advocating temperance, for example, would not be considered an act of hypocrisy as long as the alcoholic made no pretense of sobriety.
The recent happenings in Sri Lanka by a group of terrorists calling themselves BBS, who have been advocating hatred and injustice against all minority communities is a gross example of the hypocrites in the garb of Buddhist Monks and elite media Moghuls and newspaper Editors.
While there may be a group of decent people who do not want to express and display their sentiments openly about the situation on account of fear of being abused and oppressed, there is another brand who try hard to claim to be goody goodies, espousing and highlighting all the possible campaigns against terror, religious persecution, and abuse, while they themselves are the very perpetrators of such injustice.
Hypocrite is too good a word for them in my view.
How do we deal with such folk? They are members of social networks and discussion forums wearing the hat of compassionate human beings who care for the welfare of all others irrespective of their color, creed, or character. They claim to have been freedom fighters from a bygone era from their university days. They express a great flavor of language and rhetoric in their writings and poetry, giving an image of good human beings.
How terrified the Buddha would be if he was to encounter such people from within his own flock?
The thirty year war against terror that was concluded successfully in recent times gave rise to many a cry of foul play by all parties. Minorities were targeted, religious institutions were raised to the ground, libraries were burned, and even religious dignitaries were gunned down. Those people with dignity and compassion spoke out openly against this injustice without batting an eye devoid of what group, community, or religion they belonged to.
It appears that we are now in the deep end of actually seeing the reality of the lack of compassion within the hearts and minds of people who claim and belong to a philosophy that has its roots in espousing the cause of all beings be happy.
What a sad situation to be faced with on this glorious Sinhala and Tamil New Year's Day?