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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Red Alert: Scientologists creeping back

By Janaka Perera

Among the 'garbage' that was washed ashore in Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami were a number of foreign-funded, unscrupulous evangelist groups. Among these were the 'Scientologists' trying to fish in troubled waters. After exposure by several foreigners including some German journalists as well as the Venerable Medagama Dhammananda of the Asgiriya Buddhist Chapter Sri Lanka, the group kept a low-profile, while 'helping' in the tsunami relief operations for sometime.

It now appears that these nefarious crusaders are creeping back into the island. Buddhists and followers of other established religions here need to be the high alert against these frauds.

The Venerable Dhammananda alleged that before the tsunami many Korean Scientologists were engaged in proselytizing activities in Sri Lanka posing off not as charity workers but as businessmen. They had set up businesses here with the permission from the Board of Investments. Kabool Lanka was one such establishment that covertly promoted Scientology while providing employment to people here, the Ven. Dhammananda pointed out. To the BOI of course nothing matters as long as there are foreign investments with little or no regard to who the investors are.

Commenting on the Scientologists claim that they respected all religions and especially Buddhism, the Venerable monk said that this was a ploy to deceive Buddhists.

The fact of the matter was that Scientologists were mixing aspects of Buddhism with their own "scientific" theories and calling this religious pickle, Scientology. The term Dianatecs, which Scientologists frequently use, is really a mixture of the Sanskrit Hindu-Buddhist word `dhyana' (meditation) and the English word 'technique.'

Soon after the tsunami a group of them were found distributing a 30 page full color, propaganda booklet in Sinhala, titled, Santhoshayata Maga (The Path to Joy) in Colombo suburbs of Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia. A copy of the half A-4 sized booklet that came into the hands of the late Deeptha Leelaratne, Editor of the U.S.-based Sri Lanka Express. The booklet 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."

Celebrities such as Hollywood Star Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Anne Archer being notable adherents of Scientology have been to the advantage of these crooks to conceal their true nature. But that has not deterred countries like Germany from refusing to recognize Scientology as a religion and regarding it as a cult masquerading as a church to make money.

Worldwide, numerous police actions and legal measures have been taken against them, for over a decade. In addition, they had lost lawsuits – the most famous of these was a U.S. Federal Appeal Panel upholding the dismissal of libel suit against the Time magazine for carrying on May 6, 1991 a special report (cover story) titled "Scientology – The Cult Of Greed," that exposed this `church' as a ruthless global scam that ruined lives and destroyed fortunes. In a section of the special report that appeared only in the magazine's international edition, Journalist Richard Behar recalled how nearly 40 years ago Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela closed their ports to Scientologists, following public outcry. At one point, a French court had convicted Scientology Founder Ron Hubbard of fraud in absentia.

- Asian Tribune –

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