This deviation is not something new. It started when the Buddha attained Maha – Parinibbana. The Most Venerable Mahakassapa was not present at Kusinara when the Buddha passed away. Upon hearing the news Mahakassapa was coming from Pava to Kushinara. The great arahanth heard that a monk called Subaddha had asked the grieving monks to refrain from grieving and to think the occasion a good riddance. Subaddha was not the only person to have such thoughts. The Tibetan chronicles state that many others felt that with the passing of the Master, the Dhamma he taught would also disappear.Mahakassapa was alarmed about the future safety and purity of the Dhamma and the result was that the First Council of Dhamma or the first Dhamma Sanghayana convened at the city of Rajagaha.
The subsequent sanghayanas were held in India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand to arrest further deterioration of the Dhamma. The Fourth Council held at Alu Vihara near Matale was of special significance. For the first time the entire Thripitaka along with the attha – katha were inscribed on palm leaves at Alu Vihare.
It is noted that some monks give twisted interpretations to become popular among the laity. Others who are not so learned do it to compete with the learned monks. Still others preach such Dhamma for their own self interest.
Venerable Bandarawela Amithanda in his TV program said that a monk rationalized meat and fish eating for both the sanga and the laity and indirectly encouraged the dayakayas to offer meat and fish at sangika danas. The Venerable monk referred to another instance where chicken was cooked in a temple kitchen to serve dancers participating in a perahera. This obviously is an encouragement by some members of the sangha to the lay Buddhists to contribute to the meat production.
Ven. Amithananda cited a case where a wife complained to him that her husband who was earlier a vegetarian has gone back to meat consumption after listening to these distortions of the Dhamma.
Most monks who distort the Dhamma to suit their aims lavishly make use of the opportunity given to them by various media outlets. It seems that this is a two way game between the Dhamma distorters and media outlets. Some media want project that they do not stick to traditional ways. The monks who seek publicity do not mind going out of the way to preach the Dhamma with their non traditional twists.
The learned monks and some of the responsible media are not only fully aware of this unhealthy trend but also taking steps to counter it. The SLBC stands out in this exercise. It has already started to rebroadcast the sermons delivered by learned preachers of yesteryear like Pelene Sri Vajiragnana, Heenatiyana Dhammaloka and Henpitagedara Gnanasiha in order to give an idea to the modern monks on delivering a sermon without distorting it. is a healthy sign that the monks whose knowledge of the dhamma is high have come forward to arrest this trend.
The other good sign is the younger generation. Most of the modern youth have gone to the dhamma schools and they are capable of distinguishing the right from the wrong.