Sometime back, Sanath Gunathilaka becoming a monk temporarily was subjected to criticism from various quarters. Some saw that using religion for acquiring publicity only was a wrong thing.
After casting aside the robes, Sanath Gunathilake explained matters for the first time at a media discussion last week regarding this issue. What he says is that he did not do it for publicity. After becoming a monk temporarily he has now thought of becoming a monk in the true sense of the word. The ideas expressed by him in this connection are as follows.
*You put on the robes .... not with the intention of finishing your journey of samsara ... isn't it? Actually ... why did you do it?
With this I didn't want to become popular. I am talking about it like this again because I want to fulfill the promise I made before entering monkhood. The closest reason for becoming a monk is to get an experience beforehand about the character of a monk who appears in a film of mine.
*Have you got to enter into monkhood for the sole purpose of gaining experience? Isn't it against the ethics of the Sasana?
I don't have a deep understanding about dharma discipline to answer a question like that. That should be asked from the theros who made me enter monkhood. I only know that I became a monk.
*The other actors who played the role of monks didn't want to enter monkhood to play that role ... didn't they?
I don't know about others. I tried to do what I had to do ... correctly.
*Before entering monkhood, a certain period of time is devoted to a certain type of discipline. Did you do it?
Certainly yes. I studied all Pali texts ... I got prepared ... not that I launched myself on a yogic life such as this all of a sudden. Though my father is a Catholic, my mother is a devout Buddhist. My grandmother is a dasa sil mathawa. I have won the prize offered for Buddhism continuously.
*You enjoyed sensual pleasure without any control and then donned the saffron robes and enters monkhood. What sort of feeling did you have about monkhood?
I felt a great sense of relief. I detached myself from external attachments. Even benefactors of the temple treated me ... worshipped me.
*Did you look back at your life after you became a monk?
Not that the past didn't come to my mind when I was alone by myself. I got the freedom and time to ponder about the moments of losses and where we went wrong in this material life that we're pursuing. But then immediately I begin to remember that I am a monk. But I was able to conquer my thought spontaneously.
*Though this is a temporary monkhood .... will you become a monk permanently in some decisive moment?
It may be. I have covered all the experiences that a person would face in a hundred year's time; the cinema, politics and personal life are included in this. After tis, there's nothing to embrace. If I feel like dropping everything ... I'll do so. I now have the courage to do so.
Extracts after an interview conducted by Chandana Kariyawasam of Rivira newspaper
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