A 5 a.m. Wake Up Call – Buddhist Style

I wake up with a ringing in my ears. For a moment I wonder if it is that nightmare where that thing in a horned helmet is chasing me while singing “My Heart Will Go On”. But no, it is not. Dreams one can wake up from.

If there happens to be some Buddhist festival or an occasion of some importance the Buddhist temple in my little area of Rajagiriya, where I stay at times, strings up loudspeakers in a kilometer radius. The loudspeakers are placed so that not even a single house will miss the benefit of their service. Then, at 5 o’clock in the morning, before a cock has doodle doo’d, before the birds have woken up, even before sun has rubbed his eyes in readiness for another day, the loudspeakers blare Bana. This is not done quietly mind you. It is not some background sound that I can ignore either. I have slept through a bomb blast, a few minor protests, a devil dance, and several lectures, but this is so loud that you can’t hear yourself think.

I understand that this is a Buddhist country and that the majority are Buddhists, but even they walk around with pained expressions of religious dutifulness on their faces. There are a few houses that play Bana at 5 a.m. regularly, but everyone else is just plain snoring. In the Middle East the call for prayer is regular, but not as loud as this. Even if you live close to the Mosque, the prayer hardly lasts more than five minutes. In Hindu countries, the temples play awful music but it is played inside the temples. Not spread through loudspeakers all over the countryside. Here, it lasts hours. When a small Perahera  was taking place, the speakers blared their fare from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. everyday for a week and a half. And morning sessions last over an hour this time.

One should have the freedom to practice one’s religion, but not at the expense of another’s rights. It is really tiresome and I do wish they would stop doing it so early, or so loudly.

It has finally stopped. Oh, how nice it is to be able to hear my own words and the sounds of birds singing. I can stop writing this and have my breakfast finally.

  1. Oh, i know how that feels!!! My house is situated very close to a temple.. and it sucks sometimes when there are functions happening.. coz they place loud-speakers all over the place and it’s such a nightmare!!!!!!!

  2. janusis said:

    It really would be nice if they showed some consideration!

  3. suresh said:

    What the temple is doing is noise pollution and against the law. If we put loudspeakers outside our house at 5 am in the morning, the police can make us shut it down.
    We are letting our rights be compromised?

  4. Tao 365 said:

    It’s another sign that Buddhism has lost its way in this country. The monks have forgotten its not a religion that you can push down someones throat.

  5. Jack Point said:

    I believe there are laws banning things that cause a public nuisance. This applies to any thing from a musical show, to a temple/church/mosque to lottery sellers.

    Special permission is needed before loudspeakers can be used in public, but these are not enforced and may even be forgotten.

    Religions also seem to compete amongst each other, trying to outdo the amount of noise made.

  6. So what else is new??? This shit goes on without the slightest consideration for anyone else. One of my pet hates and one that I’ve gone on about for a while now, but still no respite. Nothing to do with ‘Buddhism’ the way Gautama played it.

  7. janusis said:

    Sigh.. They are playing loud sinhalese music now.. Wonder how much more I can take..

  8. justmal said:

    LOL. They first started doing it in order to p*ss off Muslims back in the day. I don’t like it either but I hate the Muslim prayer calls more, purely as a principle. They probably figured that we outnumber the Muslims by a factor of 10, so we should make ten times as much noise. Get Allah to stop his incessant wailing, and we might too.

  9. Hehe, noise happens 😉

    Few days ago I heard they stopped a church not far from here ringing the bells at 7 am. If the priest didn’t accept it, they would have to pay 5.000 €uro (> 6.000 $) each time. When I heard about it, they did it two times. Very funny for me because I hate any sound at mornings.

    @ justmal:

    Have to say your comment is pissing me off… For me, I don’t care if noise is religious or not, I hate it. Mostly it’s my sister’s radio, of course…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: