Scientific method and debate on validity of Ayurvedic and Hela Medicine

Most are maintaining the belief that non-western medical traditions have no effect and have no scientific basis. They say that it’s proven that such medical traditions are just cultural practices based on ancient beliefs and have no validity. They pointed out to the rejection of these knowledge systems and their claims by western scientists and western physicians as their proof.

Science is not the personal or collective opinions of the scientists. It’s the results they got from the experiments. Subjecting a hypothesis into experiments and accepting it if the evidence supports it, is the method being used in western science. Until proven by a scientific experiment, any opinion by a scientist on a scientific matter is just a hypothesis, which still yet to be proven. Authority of the person or preference by the scientific community on a theory is not a proof. That’s why Darwin’s theory of Human Evolution, theory of Big Bang and Einsteins’ theory of Relativity still counts as theories not as facts.

So whether these western scientists’ rejection of Ayurveda medicine or Hela medicine as pseudoscience correct or not solely depend on the results of scientific experiments they have done on the efficacy of treatments of those medical traditions.

Most who are accusing non-western medicines as pseudoscience rely on cases they heard when a patient who took medications from a Ayurvedic/Hela physician severed her condition or dead, as their evidence. This approach is problematic since they hasn’t clarified that whether the reason for failure of the treatment is due to the physician’s lack of skills before attributing it to the medical tradition. But even if they fulfilled this requirement, even then such anecdotal evidence can’t be counted as clinical trails for number of reasons. it’s because these are not controlled for age, sex, medical condition etc and have not recorded medical histories to evaluate the cases. If such cases (where the traditional medicines failed) can be counted as ‘clinical trials’ ignoring all the essential requirements to be a scientific study, then it would have be applied to cases where Ayurvedic/Hela medicine said to be incredibly cured certain conditions also. And if them can’t be accepted as a scientific evidence, since they have not been clinically evaluated, then cases they seemed to be failed too must be rejected as scientific evidence, on the same basis.

Since, now its imperative to look at the results of clinical trials on Ayurvedic/Hela medicine, lets look at them. Researches on this field are very limited. So I could found only few researches on them. However all the following findings were from well established clinical trials and have published in respectable medical journals. Link to the original article given as a brief reference within the parenthesis after the summary each research.

  • In a Double-blind, randomized, controlled, pilot study comparing classic ayurvedic medicine, methotrexate, and their combination in rheumatoid arthritis, using 42 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, all 3 treatments were shown to be approximately equivalent in their efficacy, within the limits of a pilot study. Researchers also write that Adverse events were numerically fewer in the Ayurveda-only group. (Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 2011 Jun;17(4):185-92.)
  • Results from a random-controlled trial which tested the efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extractscompared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis, using 367 patients, Ayurvedic treatment (c. domestica extracts) showed to be similar to ibuprofain in effect, for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Researchers also write that the number of events of abdominal pain/discomfort was significantly higher in the ibuprofen group than that in the C. domestica extracts group (P=0.046). (Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2014 Mar 20(9):451-8)
  • According to a randomized, double-blind, controlled equivalence drug trial between Ayurvedic formulations (extracts of Tinospora cordifolia, Zingiber officinale, Emblica officinalis, Boswellia serrata) and allopathic treatments of glucosamine sulphate (2 g daily) and celecoxib (200 mg daily), using 440 patients (Overall, 28% of patients withdrew from the study. = rest 316) suffering from knee osteoarthritis it was found that Ayurvedic formulations (especially SGCG) can significantly reduce knee pain and can improve knee function and is equivalent to glucosamine and celecoxib. (Rheumatology. 2013 Aug;52(8):1408-17)

It’s interesting to see that, contrary to popular belief that Ayurveda treatments have no efficacy/they are just pseudosciences, how EVERY clinical trial on Ayurveda have proved its efficacy, sometimes even with less adverse effects when compared to its Allopathic counterpart.

Now I would like to consider about research evidence on ancient Sinhala (Hela) medicine. It should be first mentioned that though these two traditions share medical knowledge and concepts and have inspired from each other, ancient Sinhala medicine is a medical tradition itself which is independent from its Indian counterpart. But however, it may not be unjust to attribute above mentioned scientific evidences to Sinhala medicine also, since the two traditions intertwined with each other. But we should loot at the research evidence which tested unique treatments of Sinhala medicine too. Unfortunately researches on Hela Medicine are so few that I could found only two treatments in Sinhala Medicine which was scientifically tested. One of them is the effectiveness of Salacia reticulata (කොතල හිඹුටු) for treating type 2 diabetics, which was proved from several clinical trials. Though there are no canonical mentions in ancient medicine, on using Salacaa reticulata for type 2 diabetics, it is used as a folk medicine among the Sinhalese and the plant is endemic to Sri Lanka. So it may not be unjust to attribute efficacy of Salacia reticulata to the wisdom of ancient Sinahala medicine.

Following are the clinical trials done on using Salacia reticulata for treating type 2 diabetics.

  • Results from a placebo-controlled cross over trial done using 20 individuals with type 2 diabetes, have been indicated that Salacia reticulata extracts containing diet can reduce fasting plasma glucose levels, HbA1C and BMI, significantly. Researchers also write that In contrast, no changes were observed in the control-diet group. (Journal of Japanese Society of Nutrition and Food Science. 2000;53(5):199–205.)
  • Results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which used 29 patients with prediabetes and mild to moderate hyperlipidemia, suggested that extracts of Salacia reticulata can reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and fasting blood sugar (FBS) levels significantly. (Journal of Medicinal Food. 2013 Jun;16(6):564-8.)
  • From double-blind randomized placebo controlled cross over trial which investigated the effects of a herbal tea containing Salacia reticulata in patients with type II diabetes mellitus, using 51 patients with type II diabetes mellitus, it was found that Salacia reticulata can reduce HbA1C significantly. Researchers write that A statistically significant fall in HBA1c was seen with the active drug compared to a rise in HbA1C with the placebo group (0. 54 +/- S.D. 0.93) versus -0.3 +/-S.D. 1.05; P < 0.001. (Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2005 Feb 28;97(2):215-8.)

Second is a case study done on the effectiveness of Ayurvedic/traditional Sri Lankan orthopedic treatment for nonunion following the fracture of shaft of the humerus which proved that it’s effectiveness than allopathic treatment (K wire) in certain cases. Study was done on the case of 14-year-old boy who had a compound fracture over the shaft of the humerus and presented to Ayurveda treatment after two months of failure of allopathic treatment. K-wire which was applied, have been removed after 3 weeks since there was no healing of wound over fracture site. Researchers immobilized the nonunion bone for six months after applying the herbal oils and herbal pastes. When assessed the treatment using motor, sensory functions assessment, QLIOF questionnaire results after the treatment shown to be very satisfiable and the anterior- posterior and lateral X-ray have shown the complete healing of the fracture. According to researchers There was a significant (p = 0.03) difference between the pre-treatment (14) and post-treatment (59) QLIOF scores. The anterior- posterior and lateral X-ray showed complete healing of the fracture.

Authors of the study also write;

Blood circulation around the fractured bone was regularized after Sodhana Chikitsa. It initiates the formation of hematoma and subsequently resolves into granulation tissue with the typical inflammatory cascade. In the case of chronic nonunion, Sodhana treatment would trigger the granulation tissue formation which subsequently leads to soft callus and finally triggers the hard callus formation. Sodhana treatment was given for around eight weeks. Once Shamana treatment was initiated, a state of balance between osteoclast and osteoblast activities of seen which will strengthened the callus. With Tarpana treatment, the homeostatis proceeded with bone remolding and lead to final bone formation with complete fracture healing [13], [14]. While continuing above therapy based on Susrutha Samhita for proper fracture healing, Kusha (splints), Alepa (paste or plaster) and Bandana (bandaging) needed to be done to stabilize the fracture 7“[7].

Authors mention that Preparation of paste of Katakaladi and paste of Ashwagandada were done according to the methods mentioned by the eminent Sri Lankan traditional physician “Arangala Veda Parapura”. So attributing this result too to the Sinhala medicine my not be a wrong.

These evidences will counter the unsubstantial claims on ineffectiveness of Ayurvedic/Sinhala medicines and will stand against the prejudice towards those medical traditions which reflects Eurocentric and colonial mentality. Those who dogmatically believe in individual opinions by western physicians on non-western medical traditions (which reflects nothing, but their bias) must have to look at these evidences and think that whether the approach those western physicians used to reach their conclusions are at least comply with their own scientific standards.

It’s true that, just because certain treatments of those medical traditions have proved as effective this result can’t be generalized for all such treatments used in them. But since results of EVERY clinical trial on Ayurvedic/Hela medicine, have shown the efficacy and safety of them, there is a possibility of other treatments which still have not tested, also proved to be true if tested. So if anyone has doubt regarding efficacy of Ayurveda or Sinhala medicine, what he or she should have to be done is that testing them using clinical trial models which comply with accepted standards. Arguing over on a matter to justify preconceived notions is not something we expect from people who are in the filed of science.

And it should be noted that though there’s a authority to regulate Ayurvedic doctors, there is no authority to support/research on Sinhala medicine, to assist or test the credentials of Hela physicians. So it’s not fair to discredit it using this neglection as an excuse, since it’s not something have to be fixed by Hela physicians themselves, but something to be done by the authorities. If someone have honest concern with not having regulatory body on Hela physicians, it’s his/her duty to agitate the authorities to establish an institution to do research on it and to regulate them. But using it as an excuse to discredit the medical tradition without doing so is a hypocrisy.

Though the western medicine have the hegemony in the field of medicine today, If we look at the history not all the discoveries of medical science is not done by western scientists or within western knowledge system. It’s a known fact that some discoveries by non-western doctors also have been integrated into the western medical tradition and now been counted as original discoveries of westerners, by those who don’t know the origins. And certain discoveries of western medicine is based on the knowledge of those non-western medical traditions. For example according to a paper named ‘Origins of Inoculation’ which was published in Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, first example of a kind of inoculation; variolation was first practiced in China and in Turkey and there are evidences to suggest that it was practiced even in India.

Myth of Secularism and Foremost Place of Buddhism

One of the issues which were discussed and were met with special consideration of the civil community, in the past constitutional process is that the foremost place given to Buddhism in the constitution of Sri Lanka. Since this concern can come into the debate in the current constitutional process also, it will be helpful to those who concerned about this, if pointed out few important facts to consider, when approaching to this issue.

Most of the civil community and religious minorities have perceived this clause as a threat to the equal rights of religions since it gives prominence to a certain religion. So they do see removing the clause which says “it should be government’s duty to protect Buddha Sasana since the government of Sri Lanka gives foremost place to Buddhism,” as the only way towards a state in which all the religions are equal. Especially most activists see not only the above provision but also many national symbols which reflects the Sinhalese or Buddhist identity as promoting the notion of Sri Lanka as a country with an inviolable state as being a Sinhalese-Buddhist country as jeopardizing the peace and harmony in Sri Lanka “by making the impression that there’s a foremost group, who deserves more protection than others.” And some have argued that this impression given by these symbols is a cause for religious and ethnic riots even.

Since these symbols are linked to the same ideology, thus there’s the argument that removal or alteration of these symbols will change this majoritarian mindset and thus will ensure a more tolerant political and religious environment. The assumption which lies behind this argument is that these political expressions which equate the country’s national identity with the Buddhist identity and Sinhalese identity are a result of these constitutional clauses and acceptance of these symbols by the government. But the notion of “Sinhala-Buddhist” country is not something created by state acceptance of these symbols or constitutional clauses, on the contrary, that acceptance too was due to the social acceptance of that ideology. In the history, in historiography and in mythology, and in the Sinhala community’s public perception of the national identity, we can see the attempt of equating the country’s identity with Sinhalese or Buddhist identity. In other words, this comes from a long historical tradition that dates back to ancient times. But I’m not going to tell anyway that since it is so historical it must be left to continue.

What I would like to emphasize is that, if our expected result is, a widespread change of ingrained notions of national identity among many Sinhala Buddhists, then it won’t be achieved by constitutional reforms or redesign of the National Flag and such efforts. In other words, a secular constitution does not necessarily guarantee us a secular society. One can take the example of India, its constitution is secular, but the influence of the majoritarian Hindhuthva concept can be seen everywhere including in politics. So I see the abolishment of the state relationship with Buddhism is as something that should come after a change of Sinhala-Buddhist notion of the country’s national identity instead of seeing as a harbinger of secular-multi cultural Sri Lanka.

To change the established notions of the national identity, to convert the image of Sri Lanka to a multicultural one from an exclusively Sinhala Buddhist one, we need to engage in educational efforts aimed at younger generations using the school history textbooks, religious education, citizenship education, and such subjects. Discussing the nature and contents of such education is beyond the scope of this article. (if anyone interested in this she can refer to the “Symbolic Reflections of Sinhala-Buddhist Ethno-Nationalism” by Serena Thennakone, which observes that Sinhala-Buddhist Nationalism can not be defeated since it’s a ‘Myth’ in the Barthian sense or to the Lecture given by Professor Arjuna Parakrama which makes a similar observation) My intention is to refer to a more suitable and constructive way for creating multi-cultural equality. Without amending the constitutional clause which gives the foremost place to Buddhism. But first we have to uncover the myth of the “secular country.”

Most of the Sri Lankan civil community is confined in a view that any kind of link with religion is opposed to secularism and hence detrimental to religious harmony, freedom, and equality and hence is believing that it’s necessary to change or remove the constitutional clause which says “Buddhism should have a foremost place and it’s institutions shall be protected by the government”, to meet the claim that Sri Lankan government treats all religions equally.

But the distinction between a secular and non-secular state is an illusive one. In a paper entitled Multiculturalism and Moderate Secularism, it’s author Tariq Modood writes that;

“In nearly all of Western Europe, there are points of symbolic, institutional, policy, and fiscal linkages between the state and aspects of Christianity.”

Our demarcating criteria between secular and non-secular countries is now challenged by this fact. If even the western European countries, which are seen as ideals of secular state concept, have the links with religions, it means that the so-called “secular” state is a mere fiction that has no practical example. Or it means that a certain kind of relationship between state and religion is permissible even in a so-called secular state (If we are still accepting these western European countries as secular contries). If the demarcating characteristic between a secular state and a non-secular state is having ties with religion, there’s no country in which follows this principle in that way. On the other hand this fact will make the demand for Sri Lanka to become secular country, a nonsense, for even western “secular” countries too are maintaining such linkages. And further it may liberate most of us from the ignorant belief that state-religion links are a primitive character which hinders the progress of a country by prompting the government to fulfill religious ambitions. And it gives the impression and hope, that it must be possible to treat all religions equally and to avoid possible negative outcomes from state linking with a certain religious institution without abolishing such relationships.

Following extract which was taken from Moderate Secularism, Religion as Identity, and Respect for Religion by Tariq Modood proves that it’s possible. (first sentence seems as a slight slap on the face to civil activists of Sri Lanka too)

“Faced with an emergent multi-faith situation or where there is a political will to incorporate previously marginalised faiths and sects and challenge the privileged status of some religions, the context-sensitive and conservationist response may be to pluralise the state–religion link rather than sever it. This indeed is what is happening across many countries in Western Europe, despite critics on the both the left and right, especially among the radical secularists and the Islamophobic populists.

In relation to the British case one can see this pluralising or multiculturalising in a number of incremental, adhoc and experimental steps.For example, some years ago Prince Charles, the heir to the throne and to the office of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, let it be known he would as a monarch prefer the title ‘Defender of Faith’ to the historic title ‘Defender of the Faith’. More recently, in 2004, the Queen used her Christmas television and radio broadcast (an important national occasion, especially for the older generation, on the most important Christian day of the year) to affirm the religious diversity of Britain. Her message was, in the words of Grace Davie: ‘Religious diversity is some-thing which enriches society; it should be seen as a strength, not a threat; the broadcast moreover was accompanied by shots of the Queen visiting a Sikh temple and a Muslim center. It is important to put these remarks in context. The affirmation of diversity as such is not a new idea in British society; what is new is the gradual recognition that religious differences should be foregrounded in such affirmations.’ If such examples are regarded as merely symbolic then one should note how British governments have felt the need to create multi-faith consultative bodies.

It suggests that ‘weak establishment’ can be the basis for moving towards ‘multicultural equality’ without constitutional disestablishment.”

By reading this it occurred to me that the approach which is identifying by Modood as a “weak establishment” is going in practice in Sri Lanka also. We can see President or Prime minister issuing public announcements expressing their good wishes regarding non-Buddhist religious days, and sometimes participating or patronizing such events. We can see the government giving public and government holidays for auspicious days of every religion which is a right most European nations are not ensuring for minorities. We can see the government is supporting schools linked with other religions also and providing textbooks, appointing teachers to teach those religions in schools. And above all, there’s a ministry regarding affairs of every religion. In fact it’s not only Buddhism, the government of Sri Lanka is patronizing but it maintains links with other religious institutions also. So despite what the constitution says in the chapter of ‘Buddhism’ and what the most non-Buddhists and civil activists are believing, Sri Lanka, is a state in which treat its all religions equally in the practice. So what is to be done is to improve this situation.

So if such steps can create religious equality without removing the constitutional establishments, as Modood observes, we have already created the religious equality, or if we haven’t done it yet, at least we are going on that path. There’s no need for removing or amending the constitutional clause which gives prominence and state protection to Buddhism to make the state more inclusive and protective towards religious minorities.

Was Tipitaka altered when it came in the oral tradition?

Some Buddhists and non-Buddhists suspect the authenticity and reliability of the Tipitaka pointing to the possibility of altering the teachings of the Buddha by later additions or by being it impossible for monks to memorize all the Tipitaka, which is a book of volumes of volumes when it came in the oral tradition for about 500 years.

Reply to the question of how such long texts were memorized by monks is that Pali Suththas were written in a manner that makes it easy to remember them by using mnemonic techniques like repetitions, sound similarities, rhythm, using similar syllables at the end of the lines, etc. I would like to quote from the Wikipedia article on the Oral tradition since it has worded this cleverly, and would like to tell anyone who doubts the facts since it was from Wikipedia, that I have referred to the sources it given as footnotes and thus have confirmed the accuracy of the claim.

Oral cultures have employed various strategies that achieve this without writing. For example, a heavily rhythmic speech filled with mnemonic devices enhances memory and recall. A few useful mnemonic devices include alliteration, repetition, assonance, and proverbial sayings. In addition, the verse is often metrically composed with an exact number of syllables or morae – such as with Greek and Latin prosody and in Chandas found in Hindu and Buddhist texts.[39][40] The verses of the epic or text are typically designed wherein the long and short syllables are repeated by certain rules so that if an error or inadvertent change is made, an internal examination of the verse reveals the problem.[39]

Though we can’t even think about an oral tradition today, at the time, in India, oral tradition was highly reliable because the writing was unknown at the time and it was the only way of knowledge transmission known to them. Since the preservation of knowledge of secular areas like the law, education, etc too was dependent on the oral tradition they took strong care of it. Thanks to the training of generations people had a great skill of memorizing long books. And the monks or ascetics who memorized things devoted their whole life to that service.

And it wasn’t all the Tipitaka memorized by every monk, just a part of it, (in the first Buddhist council sections to be memorized were divided among student generations of Arhats Upali, Sariuth, Moggallana, Ananda, Kashyapa, allocating two sections to each student generation) and they devoted their whole life for memorizing it. And it wasn’t memorized by a single monk but a group of monks (about 500) enabling to it being corrected by comparing versions of other monks if any omission or alteration was unintentionally done by a monk. It’s highly unlikely to happen that the same omission or alteration to be happened by 500 or hundreds of monks who memorized it. Since the age expectancy was 100 at the time (some even lived 120), it had not to pass through so many generations, may have been only passed through just five generations. And it didn’t come in oral tradition in all these 500 hundred years continuously. It was checked and approved in the Buddhist councils at three instances first is being after the great demise of the Buddha and second is being 100 years after the great demise of Buddha and the third is being 136 after the second council.

If we consider this argument further, which points to the possibility of monks being unable to memorize such a large amount of facts if it has happened then it will result in omissions in the texts rather than additions. If such a thing had happened it can be clearly visible, creating the lapses in the narration or in the discourse. But in the Tipitaka, we can’t see such signs of cases in which monks were unable to memorize the discourse properly. Since signs which suggest errors of memorization (you can show if you have found any) can’t be seen, we have to conclude that it hasn’t happened. A philosophical text like Tipitaka can’t be composed by various hands without having inconsistencies and differences in language.

Whatever the people who do not have any knowledge of Pali language, Indology and have not studied Buddhist texts say, the majority of the western scholars on Buddhism, Pali, and scholars on Indology affirm that Tipitaka wasn’t unchanged, or at least it’s doctrinal core is preserved. Rhys Davids, Richard Gombrich, J. W. de Jong, Lamotte, Noble Ross Reat, A. K. Warder, Maurice Winternitz, Alexander Wynne are among them.

“The content of the main body of sermons, the four Nikāyas and of the main body of monastic rules … presents such originality, intelligence, grandeur and—most relevantly—coherence, that it is hard to see it as a composite work.” They are “the work of one genius”, the Buddha. – Richard Gombrich

“I, therefore, agree with Rhys Davids, and disagree with skeptics such as Senart, Kern, and Schopen, that the internal evidence of the early Buddhist literature proves its historical authenticity.” – Alexander Wynne

Comparative studies between Tipitaka versions of different schools of Buddhism, which had ideological disputes, and hence continued as separate lineages ever since the split without having any correspondence, have shown that the doctrinal core of them is the same. This is an indicator of the reliability of the process of oral transmission, for if it is not there is no other way to happen that.

Furthermore, there are many internal pieces of evidence like literary features (grammar, vocabulary, tone, style) unique to it, the flavor of the single creator, and lack of inconsistencies to prove that it wasn’t changed as pointed by Bikku Sujatho and Bikku Brahmali. And since socio-economic, historical, and geographical information in the Suththas too clearly matches with the already found image of India (see the book by Sujatho and Brahmali to get a detailed account on these evidences) at the time of the Buddha, it must have been composed at the time of the Buddha, and there’s no reason to think it was composed by some other contemporary scholar other than the Buddha. The precision and sophisticated nature of these teachings and the outstanding way things have been explained suggest that they must be from someone who achieved a higher status, Non-other than by a Buddha.

Regarding the possibility of later additions, such alteration can be easily recognized, because someone other than Buddha, can’t imitate Buddha’s language and style with the same grandeur, it can be clearly recognized by a scholar who is familiar with the ancient writings in Pali language, paying attention to the differences of the Pali writing at different times. On the other hand, if certain teaching has been added later, then inevitably, it will show odds with other teachings of Suththas. Since the teachings of Suththas are intertwined with each other, if certain teaching is a later addition, then all other teachings intertwined with it, must have to be later additions for one teaching can’t separate from another. But most of the so-called ‘questionable teachings’, which is rejected by many modernist Buddhists, clearly consistent with other teachings. And if certain teaching and references to it can be seen in many Suththas, then such teaching can’t be a later addition for if so all these references must be added later, but it’s not possible to do so keeping the narration and flow of these Suththas.

In fact, most of the so-called Buddhists are coming with this argument when they have found teaching which is not appealing to them or contrary to beliefs they are clinging to and wanted to discredit the teaching in Buddhism to preserve their personal beliefs without leaving Buddhism.

I’m not dogmatically maintaining that teachings of the Buddha were never being altered in the course of oral transmission. But if we use this argument without a restrain, then there will be the possibility of even the original teachings of the Buddha being rejected by us thinking they are later additions. This will happen in a more deteriorating manner if we are revising the Tipitaka when it is in contradict with accepted views of our time. So we must limit our doubt to only the instances, where the teachings in the Tipitaka;

  • Seemingly in inconsistency with other views in Tipitaka on the same matter or
  • Contradicts with commonly accepted morality or
  • A fact about the Earth/Universe/Human body etc is in contradiction with the scientifically proven facts on the same issue.

On all the other occasions it’s better not to reject the teaching in the Tipitaka, for it’s not yet proven that it is not a teaching of the Buddha, and thus if it was a one of the Buddha, then we have done a great damage (both to the Buddhism and to our spiritual lives) by rejecting it. Unless it meets the above criteria, believing or practicing it may not do any harm. But if it was rejected and if was a true teaching, we’ll lose a great teaching and possible valuable spiritual outcomes of it. So it’s better to accept teachings which are not highly unacceptable to be a teaching of a Buddha even if we have some doubts regarding it.

However, the above criteria I mentioned can be mistaken. For example one can reject teachings, sayings, or rules seemingly misogynistic, based on the argument that they are incompatible with ‘morality.’ This is a misuse of the above criteria. I used the term ‘commonly accepted morality’ keeping in mind things that must have been considered evil in every cultural context (inhuman/cruel acts like killing, raping, etc). Rules or beliefs which may have been accepted in certain cultural contexts, and mild in effect (not necessarily inhuman) must be excluded from this though they are considered as discriminatory in the current day. In other words ‘morality ’ should not be confused with modern human rights produced in the western culture. And similar caution must be said on the other two criteria. Consistency with science should not be interpreted as consistency with materialism. Buddhism consists of many supernatural concepts. Though the modern world strongly rejects such phenomena as untrue, until tested and found as non-existing by a scientific experiment those concepts must not be rejected as not being taught by the Buddha. The problem is that supernatural phenomena, can not be put into scientific experiments since most of them are unfalsifiable hypothesizes.

Finlay, I would like to examine important teaching, which is rejected by many modernist-Buddhists as not being taught by the Buddha. Worshiping Buddha statues and offering things to them, expecting merits is an established practice among Buddhists in many Asian countries (maybe in Europe too). A conversation between Venerable Ananda and the Buddha, which comes in Parinibbana Suththa of Deega Nikaya too supports the practice, but some see this as a later addition.

The reason most are rejecting this as a later addition attributing it’s the founding mentality to unnecessary high-veneration of Buddha (elevating Buddha to a God from the position of a human being) maybe the hesitancy to accept, a merit can be gained by worshiping or offering things to someone who had absolutely demised, which is not possible unless there is a supernatural force dedicated to giving such rewards; and not seeing any linkage with such a teaching and basic teachings (especially with the path of Nirvana) of Buddhism. If the rejection is based on superstitiousness of the teaching, it must be reminded that even the most central teachings of Buddhism, like Nirvana, rebirth, and merits & sins are supernatural concepts too and you have to reject Buddhism altogether on that basis.

And it must be said that considering worshiping or offering things to Buddha as a meritful act is consistent with the concept of merit in Buddhism too, for the merits are virtuous/pious feelings or acts done with such a mind, and praising to the Buddha and expressing gratitude to his qualities is undoubtedly such an act. Maybe the most meritful one. There’s nothing inconsistent in it with Buddhist philosophy. Since one of the meditations among Buddhist meditations, as taught by Buddha is the remembrance of Buddha (since there are many such meditations – remembrance of Seela, Dhamma, Deva, Brahma, Sangha – this can’t be a later addition.) this is a teaching in harmony with many other teachings and since removing them as later additions create many inconsistencies, so this can’t be a later addition.

I haven’t referred to all the Tipitaka, But I’ve referred to many Suththas, including complete Deega Nikaya. I found only one teaching which can be determined as a later addition by using the above criteria. In the Sutta of the Seven Suns, it’s said that there’s a mountain called Meru, which is 42000 Yojanas high. A Yojana is 8 miles. We clearly know such a mountain does not exist in the world. Even Mount Everest (the highest place on Earth) has a height of only 8 kilometers. Some argue that a Yojana is a much smaller unit, But even if we interpret a Yojana as being only 1 meter, even then ‘mount Meru’ must have to be high as 42 kilometers. So we can reject this as utter rubbish. But rest must have to be came unaltered from oral tradition as Buddha himself told.

If you have come across any teaching which confuses you and seems to meet the above criteria, please comment below, so that we can examine it.

Moderate Muslims’ true mind : effect of Muhammad’s intolerance…

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: Allah’s Messenger (SA) said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (SA), and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.”

Reference: Sahih al-Bukhari 25
In-book reference: Book 2, Hadith 18
USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 1, Book 2, Hadih 25
(deprecated numbering scheme)

According to the above hadith, prophet Muhammad has been ordered to fight with the people. Until what happens? Until they say Shahada and do the Salath and Zakath. Proclaiming the Shahada is the symbolic act of becoming a Muslim, and so it’s clear that Prophet’s intention was to force to people becoming Muslims by the power of the sword. “By the power of the sword? there’s no mention about killing people in this hadith.” a Muslim may say. In this hadith prophet says “if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me.” what will happen if they did not perform that according to this sentence? They won’t save their lives and property from him. it’s so simple like that.

There’s no need to proclaim Shahada by any non-Muslim, in whatever context. it’s not something needed to establish the peace. So no one can’t claim that this hadith is intended to fight for ‘self defence.’ ‘defence’ means the “action of defending from or resisting attack” according to Oxford concise dictionary. It should be noted that forcing a certain religious group to proclaim that, they accept God of another religion as only true God and that leader of another religious group as his messenger, itself a violation of their freedom of religion since they are being forced to do something contrary to their beliefs. something sinful considered by themselves. If a non-Muslim being forced to proclaim Shahadha, he/she will feel in the same way as a Muslim who was forced to worship a statue/eat pork feels. So prophet’s idea which he is attributing to God, to forcefully proclaim “none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (SA)” by people who are not Muslims is an act of religious intolerance. “Intolerant means not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own” according to Oxford concise dictionary. Muhammad (his God) could not tolerate others believing something contrary to their belief. That’s why Muhammad intended to fight the people until they proclaim the Shahada (ie. becoming Muslims)

The fact that Prophet Muhammad intended to fight (by sword) until people become Muslims, strengthens by the fact that he is intending to fight the people not only until they say Shahada, but also until they “offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity.” if this is not to meant fight until they become Muslims, why to say he has been ordered to fight the people until they “offer the prayers perfectly” ? Considering non-Muslims, offering prayers or not offering them is not something in the domain of Muslims or their messenger. But Muhammad is telling that “if they perform that then they save their lives and property from” him. We can deduce what he would have done if they did not offer the obligatory prayers by Muslims, by converting this sentence into negative.

There’s no need to such an analysis to see barbarity in this hadith. It’s clear to any human being who has a simple comprehension skill. But it’s not clear to Muslims. If we show this to any other people they’ll shock by the intolerant words of this ‘prophet’ and will denounce him without a delay. But if we show this to a so-called moderate Muslim, even to someone who has well educated and with a tender heart, he’ll come with various apologetic claims which have no ground. (eg: “this was intended to fight with people who attacked Muslims” or “this was intended to fight with people until they give taxes” or “you should look at context of this hadith, rather than looking at words”) But as any rational person can see these arguments have nothing to do with the issue we are talking about. The clear language used by prophet does not allow any space to these claims to be true. If there’s any Muslim who is still believe that the context can erase the barbarity of these words by Muhammad, I will show the context too. Following is taken from Jihad, Abrogation in the Quran & the “Verse of the Sword”, an answer given by Islamic scholar.

The nature of Arab polytheists, however, was to reject anything that conflicted with their customs and traditions, deeming all else to madness and worthy of scornful ridicule. They were a people – as repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an – that refused to reflect over anything but “the ways of their forefathers” Therefore, because the Messenger of Allah [peace and blessings be upon him] was from their same tribe and knew them intimately, he gave them no option but acceptance of Islam or fighting [f: And this statement of course, was after years of being oppressed by those Arab polytheists].

[Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i]

So why certain group of people, despite their different IQ levels, education, social status and personal qualities, won’t taken aback by a clear intolerance by a certain holy person?

In fact they are not being not shocked by this hadith at all. They see clearly the intolerance of this hadith and understand that a human can’t accept this. But how they can criticize the holy prophet? When it’s the order given by the almighty God to their prophet as said in the hadith?

Yes the hadith says something can’t be accepted by a human. But since it’s said by a prophet it can’t be something like it seems to us. If an inhuman thing done by the Muhammad it should not be considered as an inhuman thing. That’s their logic. What they are doing is that using their belief that ‘Muhammad is a prophet’ to discredit heinous actions done by him which will disapprove this claim. But what should be done is using our knowledge (that he acted inhumanly and thus he can’t be sane person) on him as the criteria to check whether our portrayal/belief on him is correct or not. not using our belief on him to discredit clearly known characteristics of him as Muslims do.

However to convince others on their view of their prophet they innovate various apologetic claims which does not have any support from language and context of this hadith.

In other words barrier to them to accept the intention of the prophet as heinous is their belief that he is their beloved prophet. What their behaviour (defending for intolerant behaviour by their prophet) means is that they will be in the side of their religion when there is a conflict between their values as humans and religious obligations. When there’s a conflict between their own view of good and evil and view of their prophet’s view of good and evil they won’t hesitate to do what is told by prophet even it’s a serious crime according to their consciousness. Because it can’t be a crime. How can it be a crime if it’s accepted by Allah and his messenger? it’s this belief which corrupts innate tender nature of humans (Muslims), and it’s not humans corrupt beliefs (Islam) as apologetics claim.

Isn’t it this mental trap which make innocent Muslim a terrorist?

So if a certain Muslim condones this hadith it shows us that he/she has a potential of acting according to the words of this hadith. One day they may “fight until” we “testify that ‘none has the right to worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger’” and “until we offer prayers perfectly and give obligatory charity.” we will be “able to save our lives and property only if we perform these!”

You may say that I’m exaggerating the things. But why would a someone not act according to something considered as a holy order by him/her? If you can’t make your mind to act according to it, it means that despite your apologetic claims, even you see something unacceptability in it. If so why you defend for something considered as evil even by yourself?

Muslims responsibility in a post Easter terror attack Sri Lanka

Easter terror attack of Sri Lanka proved that Sinhala nationalists’ claim of Islamic extremism is affecting the Sri Lankan Muslims also, which they foresaw long before while civil community of Sri Lanka wrongly interpreting that concern as a hysteric moment of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism/ as an attempt to find a new enemy to fill the gap of LTTE.

It’s true that only a very small percentage of Sri Lankan Muslims are with such violent ideologies, but we can’t deny the clearly proven fact that such ideologies have a great power among certain portion of them. If we do so, ignoring the possibility of future attacks and interpreting this as a lone act of few mentally-ill individuals, not as a logical conclusion of fundamentalist changes of Sri Lankan Muslim culture and spread of extremist ideologies among them, to console over selves or as an attempt to secure Muslims from becoming a target of hatred, which is a concern for civil community, we will be far from the way of curbing the Muslims being affected by the violent ideologies in the future and thus preventing the Islamic terrorism of Si Lanka becoming more strengthened.

But what we see from most Muslims and civil community members is that attempts to show this as just another tragic incident. To them it’s not something happened since Islamic extremism in Sri Lanka has evolved into such severe state. According to them; It’s something planned by Gotabaya Rajapaksha et al to make the situation advantages for him to get into power or something backed by CIA, with a hidden intention to suggest to sign their agreements such as SOFA using the situation of Sri Lanka.

What is done by such illogic conspiracy theories which attribute Islamic terrorism to external parties are, diverting the attention from Muslims. This is justifiable in a context of Muslims, their culture and religion are becoming a target of hate-based attacks than constructive criticisms. But from a security perspective, embracing such interpretations is a self deception.

From the media reports on arrests on people related to this and what was revealed from them, which was reported in media, it seems that extremists have formed a large network and gained the cadres from every province of Sri Lanka. Such a network can’t be formed by one night. Forming a movement (even a democratic/peaceful one) is a task of years of labour. You need to propagate your ideology over at least a decade. Atmosphere in which such a movement can be sustained may has been creating for past years. That’s how radical groups like JVP and LTTE was formed. So same must be true for Islamists.

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka, put it precisely, “This must be at least an achievement of 7/8 years. It took 12 years to come into this state for LTTE.” He was talking as a former General who ordered to an army who defeated the LTTE. So this is how security specialists see this act. They don’t see it as an isolated act which have no leading history. Not only it has a history, it has a future also.

Only if we take this seriously only then we’ll be able to take preventive measures. We must prevent Muslims attracting, looking at such ideologies, movements at the first place, like in the UK, at very personal and early levels of extremist mentality. We have to see Muslims as the group of people which have the potential and danger of attracting to terrorism for that purpose, and we should evaluate their every move. But if we try to divert attention from this community, how can we compromise those who have already becoming cadres of IS, even secretly to their family members ?

But unfortunately most Muslims, maybe as a protective reaction, is trying to interpret this as something which has nothing to do with their community. And perceive any request to be suspicious about their friends, family members—about their community’s behavior, as an attempt to label them as terrorists by generalizing it.

Yes we know. Not all Muslims are terrorists. But it can be ANY Muslim!

May be your brother or sister already a member of IS or at least someone who is with that ideology. he/she may have studying such materials secretly to all of us. Maybe he/she is not in total agreement with IS ideology, but a certain affection or slight approval for at least an aspect of their ideology is growing in her/his mind. Maybe a group of friends of yours, whom you know intimately may already have become cadres of IS. Will we be able to identify them and rescue them from that path, if we refuse to see that possibility and perceive any request to be careful and cautious about the behaviors of Muslims, as an attempt to generalize every Muslim as a terrorist?

It’s repeated that Sri Lankan Muslims did not know or did not expect such attack will take place. But we, common people (Sinhala and Tamil) knew that this can be happen In the future. What we did not know is when it will be happen and whom will be their first target.

We knew this will happen when it was revealed from the 11th issue of the Dabique magazine that Abu Shuraih Seylani who was a Sri Lankan Muslim and a principal of a Muslim International school was being killed as a member of IS. It was in 2015. We knew that this will happen one day (though we did not know when it will happen) when two Muslim guys tried to smash Buddha statues and was arrested for that offense just 5 months before the Easter Attack. We knew that this will happen when it was found large amount of explosive materials from the Vanathavilluwa as they were buried under the ground. Police found it as a result of investigations they done on the smash attempt of the Buddha statues. These facts were sufficient for any man or woman with a common sense to suspect a future terror attack from a group of Sri Lankan Muslims.

But how the Muslims, who is now murmuring and lamenting as saying that ‘we won’t expect, if we did we won’t let it happen etc’ react when we show the risk of possible terror attack from a group among them? They accused us as being racist, being islamophobic, spreading hatred on them. They said these are myths by Mahinda Rajapaksha et al to get into power by making people fearful about an Islamic attack. How can we believe that these Muslims are so much idiots to not to see signs which were visible to us? If they oppose terrorism why they tried to conceal such clear signals of an Islamic terrorist attack? Why they ridiculed our reasonable fear as being racist myths if their will is not to make us stand idly by till we’ll become a prey of terrorists? Why they did not stand with our concern even in a moment which presaged Islamic mass terror attack? To whom they served by trying to divert our attention from it such earnestly? What their peaceful organizations like ACJU, their peaceful leaders did to prevent it, when it was foretold by above findings that terror attack will happen? Hadn’t they a responsibility to do something even after realizing that their community is not so peaceful? Now all they are shedding crocodile tears to gain our pity.

Now an apologetic for Muslim community come with the last straw, that Kaththankudi Muslims demonstrate against Zaharan requesting government to arrest him. Yes, a very little portion of Kaththankudi Muslims demonstrate against him. Is it an indicator that every Muslim are in opposition to him and his ideology? What about thousands of other Muslims of that area who did not demonstrate against him? How many of these silent Muslims have been joined with IS? Maybe Kaththankudi Muslims demonstration against Zaharan an indicator of their opposition to terrorism (killing civilians). But it’s not an indicator of they are oppose to fundamentalism (killing apostates, blasphemers, adulterers and gays).

And it should be noted that Zaharan is not the Islamic terrorism. he’s just a victim of it. So any attempt to reduce SL Islamic terrorism to Zaharan; any attempt to see this as something happened because of one man (Zaharan) is diverting us from the real issue, that ideology of Islamic terrorism is spreading in Sri Lanka.

Kaththankudi Muslims demonstrate against Zaharan because of he has acted in some troublesome way, against some other Muslim sects among them. They opposed him because he was a problem for some of them. Just like we can’t say all Muslims are terrorists based on Easter attack, we can’t say all Muslims are in opposition to him based on that demonstration. We can’t say whether they’ll oppose him or support him if they knew that he’s going to kill Sinhalese.

And why these same Muslims and civil activists who appreciate and highlight Kaththankudi Muslims demonstration against Zaharan, do not appreciate venerable Galagodaaththe Gansara thero who warned about Islamic extremism years before?

How those Muslims and civil activists reacted when Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, as the minister of law and peace, revealed that it has been found by intelligent agencies that youths of elite Muslim families of Sri Lanka have joined with IS? They ridiculed us and denied it as a complete fabrication against them (Muslims) or just as an imagination of the minister. They acted as they knew than the intelligent services. That’s why they dared to challenge a fact found by intelligent agencies by labeling it as a racist lie. It’s ironical that those very Muslims who tried with great courage to prevent the government from taking this concern as serious and thus helped terrorists by criticizing government of being racist are now talking about government responsibility.

We can see an over emphasize of neglected responsibility of government to prevent this before happen. What will has to be happen if the government informed the public about the possibility of an attack from Sri Lankan Islamic extremists? And if the terrorists postponed the attack because of that warning? Not only Muslims but civil activists also would have accused the government of spreading hatred and lies on Muslims. They would have accused police of being racist if the police arrested suspected persons on this, as they (civil activists and Muslims) are doing on arrests of Shafi Shihabdeen and Hejaz Hisbullah. They criticized those arrests being motivated by racism as they heard about it without any delay to know what is the truth. They judged the cases before official judgments came. They would have ridiculed us as they did when the Ven: Galagodaaththe Ganasara, Wijayadasa Rajapaksha warned about Islamic terrorism.

If you are a Muslim you will have to say the following confession, a parody of Martin Niemoller’s famous poem, in the future.

First, they killed the Buddhist monks

In Burma and Thailand

And we did not speak out

Because they were not our religious leaders…

Then they destroyed the Buddha statues

And we did not speak out

Because we did not approve worshiping idols…

Then they came for Christians

bombed to the catholic churches

in Kochichikade and Zion Church of Madakalapuwa

And we did not speak out

Because their beliefs were contrary to us

Then they killed the Buddhists

And we did not speak out

Because they were committed injustices to us prior

That is the punishment from Allah on them

Then they came for us, our sons, daughters and sisters

They imposed cruel punishments

And strict fundamentalist laws

Limited our rights and freedom

They established an inquisition to find anyone who does

anything contrary to sharia and torture/kill them

And so many innocents were killed thanks to

‘our’ primordial court procedures

Anyone who oppose to their interpretation or version of Islam

were a blasphemer and hence an apostate also and so was being killed

But there was no one left to speak out us or to tell our sorrows then…

War Crimes did by Sri Lankan Army…

Sri Lanka and Government Army of the country have been subjected to criticisms by International community, because of allegations of war crimes directed at them. A commission appointed by former secretary of UN, Ban Kyi Moon too concluded that at least 40 000 civilians were killed during the last stages of the civil war, based on “credible sources.” However people of the Sri Lanka and government is denying all these claims vehemently. So there may be the question “Who is telling the truth, Sri Lanka or International?” Most of the international community who is raising these concerns has no intimate experience at war field and what happened really. So in that sense they can be misguided. On the other hand Sri Lankan people and Government too can be biased because of their chauvinism. Since all these parties are not so credible, I found a party who can’t be biased for the country, and know intimately what happened in the war field. So let’s ask from them. They are the former members of LTTE, soldiers of the Tamil liberation army defeated by government forces. They have no reason to lie to protect the country (they fought for a separate country for their race) or government or Sri Lankan Army.

Following witnesses which have been translated into English are taken from an article published in Lankadeepa newspaper (one of the major Sinhala language newspapers of the country) under the title “Former LTTE members who came to the right path.

Varman Gopika – I’m a former LTTE member. They (LTTE) called me Gopi. I joined with them when I was about 16 of age. In 2007 they ordered that someone from every family must join to their army. So I joined them on behalf of my family. It was a very unfortunate incident. We… still young children were given only a 14 days training and were sent to the battlefield. We didn’t keep any expectations about our future. In Pudumathalan I was wounded. …From the landmines. So I was fortunate to avoid the being in combat and so I’m alive.  I was given a blood of a wrong group by our members and I’m still suffering because of that.

When we are surrendering to the Sri Lankan Army, we lost our all hopes about the life. We did it because we have nothing other to do. We thought that they will surely kill us. But what they did? They give us food, since we haven’t got any food for days. They rehabilitated us. And they recruited us with their forces and give us these new lives. Now we have got bank loans and have a bicycle and earning a salary. My husband is also in the civil security force. We didn’t have such dreams as family life etc. when we were members of the LTTE. Now we are fortunately get everything wanted for a beautiful life because of the army and civil security force. So we owe them very much and give merits and blessings to them, honestly.

Genesh Nirosha – I’m Ganesh Nirosha. My alias was Kavipriya. I worked as a R.P.G. leader in the LTTE. I lived in Vishvamadu. I had to join with them at age of 17. I joined with them so that my younger brother will complete his education. I was trained in Muthiankattu and faced many battles. In Pudukudiirippu  I was to be in the midst of a hard battle. SL army attacked us without a pity. I was hit in my stomach. I covered the wound from a piece of cloth and crouched back. Our members gave me medicine at Mancholei. I have given a blood of a wrong group and now I’m facing the side effects. When I was hit, our members left me and escaped. When I came to Mancholei I found that my mother and father had done even my funeral ceremonies thinking that I was dead. They had gone to Zones ruled by SL Army. At the time army was attacking to the Mancholei too. A lot of our members died from the combat. I was the only survived one. I surrendered to the army. They sent me immediately to get medicine. It was like a dream. When surrendering I hoped that they will kill me at the very moment. They care about me than our members did. I got well soon and then rehabilitated. I was in a wheel chair for years. My husband left me at the time. After I got completely cure, I joined with the Civil Security Force. Now I’m serving for years. (Now I can) I teach my child well. And I can care about my parents. I didn’t hope that I was able to have such a beautiful life.

Kanapathipillei Thawarasa – I joined with LTTE when I was 14 years old. I was given the alias Bharathiraj. It was in 1991 I joined with them. Now I’m 42. I have many experiences in the battlefield (for I served for very long time). I can’t remember the number of battles I was in. It was the Wanni mission most dreadful battle I was in apart from the Jayasikuru mission. I did not have no hope about my life at that battle. We can’t even think of how to face, we were severely got hit. But we fought till the last moment. However I got wounded at Mullivaikkal. I was badly wounded when I was found by the army. When I heard the Sinhala words, I left the desire to my life. I wish that I had a Cyanide capsule to commit suicide. I hope that I got shower of bullets on my head. But the youth (who found me) gave me water to drink! Then I was carried to the hospital on the shoulders of the soldiers of the SL army. I could not believe what was happening. I was given the medical treatments there. Then was rehabilitated and given this job to earn and carry on my life. 

However there may be the question that, “since those former LTTE members have been “rehabilitated” by Sri Lankan army, maybe they are saying these things perhaps they have been brainwashed or they are saying that under the duress?”

If this question popped in your mind too, I think you must watch this video. How Rathnapriya Bandu, who was a colonel of Sri Lanka army worked with and helped to rehabilitated LTTE members, was given a farewell by them.

Can such an emotional act be a fake?

Muhammad and Buddha : Who was the Scientific One?

Every religion says that it is the only true religion. But since the content, goals and teachings of those religions differ from one to one, all these claims can’t be true. So how can we know who is telling the truth? We can’t check the truthfulness of their teachings about afterlife etc., for such notions are beyond our experiences. But we can check the truthfulness of their claims about the Earth, Sun, Stars etc., for today we know about them than in the old ages in which those religious teachers lived. If a teacher lived in ancient times, has said correctly about those entities and facts which were then unknown and was impossible to known from technology existed in that ages, we can only assume that, that knowledge has been acquired through supernatural powers they had, and hence can consider it as a certificate of the truthiness of that teacher and religion he preached. And further we can conclude that, since only one truth can be existed, all other religions and teachers are false.

Comparison of the Scientific Knowledge of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Gautama Buddha

First we’ll look at the astronomical knowledge of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Here is Bukhari 4.54.421;

Narrated Abu Dhar:

The Prophet (ﷺ) asked me at sunset, “Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know better.” He said, “It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: “And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term (decreed). that is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All- Knowing.” (36.38)

This hadith is also reported in Bukhari6.60.326, Bukhari6.60.327, Bukhari 9.93.528, and Muslim1.0297

Here is Bukhari 2.018.167 also;

Narrated Abu Musa:

The sun eclipsed and the Prophet (ﷺ) got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered the prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, “These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness.”

It’s interesting to me to compare the Islamic prophet’s knowledge regarding sun with that of the Buddha.

in  Chulanika Suththa of The Threes of  Anguththara Nikaya (Numericals), [], Buddha says to the Anandha thero;

A thousand times the world in which the sun and moon revolve and light up the quarters with their brightness is called a thousandfold minor world system. In that thousandfold world system there are a thousand moons, a thousand suns, a thousand Sinerus king of mountains, a thousand Jambudipas (Indias), a thousand Aparagoyanas, a thousand Uttarakurus, a thousand Pubbavidehas, and a thousand four great oceans; a thousand four great kings, a thousand [heavens] of devas (angels/gods) [ruled by] the four great kings, a thousand Tavatimsa [heavens], a thousand Yama [heavens], a thousand Tusita [heavens], a thousand [heavens] of devas (angels/gods) who delight in creation, a thousand [heavens] of devas (angels/gods) who control what is created by others, a thousand brahma worlds.”

According to this paragraph “a thousandfold world system” is something consists of thousand suns and thousand worlds. We know that galaxies are consisting of thousands of stars like our sun. The other information in this paragraph is to indicate that there are many planets like ours in such a system. Existing geographical beliefs regarding the earth too have included indicating that those are similar kinds of planets to ours. Buddha may have just told that “there are many planets like this” and to make it more understandable, those who have written discourses of the Buddha may have added contemporary beliefs on geography and other myths regarding the earth. (It’s after about 500 years of the great demise of the Buddha, discourses of the Buddha were written in books. Until then they came in oral tradition.) 

Buddha lived 2500 years ago. But he knew about even the galaxies. But this is not the most interesting fact concerning above quote. It defines the “thousand times the world” as an area in which the sun and moon revolve around. This is not geocentricism since it does not say “sun revolves around the world/earth.” Instead it says “the sun revolves around the thousandfold world system.” Since a thousandfold world system is an entity consisting of thousand stars, it can’t be our solar system. So it does not say sun revolves around the earth, it says sun revolves something consist of thousand stars. The only entity we know that consisting of thousand stars is galaxy we live in or “milky way”. So Buddha has said sun revolves our galaxy. Is that true?

Here’s a quote from an article from a site monitored by NASA.

“The Sun, and everything that orbits it, is located in the Milky Way galaxy. More specifically, our Sun is in a spiral arm called the Orion Spur that extends outward from the Sagittarius arm. From there, the Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, bringing the planets, asteroids, comets and other objects along with it. Our solar system is moving with an average velocity of 450,000 miles per hour (720,000 kilometers per hour). But even at this speed, it takes us about 230 million years to make one complete orbit around the Milky Way.”

So if a person who lived 2500 years ago has acquired such an unbelievable astronomical knowledge like sun travels around the Galaxy, what do you think about it? Have you any doubt regarding “higher spiritual state and wisdom” attained by such a one? And about that religion?