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10/27/07
Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay-For The Gain of The Many and For The Welfare of The Many-Bodhi tree branch cut three years ago: report-Biometric identification system draws flak -CBI: preliminary probe against Mulayam over
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Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay-For The Gain of The Many and For The Welfare of The Many

India eNews Logo

Bodhi tree branch cut three years ago: report

From correspondents in Bihar, India, 03:34 PM IST

A scientific report has vindicated allegations by Buddhists that one of their most sacred religious symbols — the Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya — had a branch cut off three years ago.

The Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute (FRI), in its detailed report submitted to the Bihar government, said a branch of the sacred Bodhi tree was cut three years ago.

‘The report has proved that a branch of the Bodhi tree was cut three years ago instead of last year as claimed,’ home secretary Afzal Amanullah said Friday.

In June, the state government had ordered an inquiry by a team of FRI scientists after a monk, Arup Brahmachari, filed a criminal complaint against officials of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee for allegedly cutting a branch of the tree.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspected the Bodhi tree after the controversy surfaced.

A team of scientists from FRI visited Bodh Gaya in June to make a preliminary assessment of the Bodhi tree.

It was widely reported in July last year that some miscreants had cut off a branch of the Bodhi tree but the Nitish Kumar government was quick to issue a denial.

However, after a worldwide hue and cry over the incident, the Bihar government got samples collected from the affected part of the tree and sent it to a Pune-based laboratory to ascertain the truth. Nearly 14 months have passed but the laboratory report is yet to be made public.

Buddhist monks have been demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the cutting of the tree branch.

Amanullah said a team of experts from FRI would now look after the tree. ‘The FRI was formally handed over the responsibility of proper conservation of the Bodhi tree,’ he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed Thursday between the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee and the FRI for upkeep and maintenance of the tree. The state government has also given Rs.700,000 to FRI for maintaining the sacred tree, Amanullah said.

The government has also decided to install surveillance cameras at strategic points to keep round-the-clock vigil on the Bodhi tree and the Mahabodhi temple.

Millions of Buddhists around the world consider the Bodhi tree to be sacred because it has grown from the original Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment about 2,550 years ago.

An official of the Mahabodhi temple, which the Unesco has declared a World Heritage Site, said the Bodhi tree is the sixth regeneration of the original banyan tree.


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Saturday, Oct 27, 2007

Biometric identification system draws flak

Swathi Shivanand

‘Plan proposed only for slum-dwellers is discriminatory’




System recommended by Centre as part of BSUP

‘It has been suggested to ensure that only the beneficiaries gain from housing projects’




BANGALORE: Would you be comfortable if your fingerprints were recorded or your retina scanned for identification?

Would you consider it an important identifier even if there were other non-intrusive options such as a ration card or voter identity card?

Many mandatory “reforms” that the States have to implement as part of e-governance to be eligible for funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) have raised alarm among civil society groups, but the proposed biometric identification system for slum-dwellers has generated the most heat.

For reference

Under this system, a person’s fingerprints and some other physiological characteristic, usually the retina of the eye is recorded, stored in a database and put away for future reference.

This identification system has been recommended by the Centre as part of Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP), which envisions housing rights and basic amenities to the urban poor. In this, certain physiological characteristics of entire families of economically weaker sections are being recorded so as to “create a database.”

Process started

Activists brand this identification system proposed only for slum-dwellers as “discriminatory” and “intrusive”. The process has been started in five slums in the city, including Jasma Bhavan slum in Austin town Sampangiramanagar slum and Kalyani slum.

“When there are other identification mechanisms such as voter identity card and ration card, why are people living in slums being subjected to this? Why is it important to create a database of only slum-dwellers?” asks Isaac Arul Selva of Slum Jagatthu.

He likens it to the practice of the British identifying and branding certain tribes as “criminal” during the Raj.

Kshithij Urs of Action Aid says: “We do not yet have a law that protects the information created in such a database. It could be dangerous if misused.”

Misuse of information has been one of the most important sociological concerns raised worldwide about the use of biometric strategies.

“Biometric identification was recommended as a fool-proof measure to ensure that only beneficiaries gain from the housing projects,” Jawaid Akthar, managing director, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC), the nodal agency for JNNURM projects in Karnataka told The Hindu.

This was also to ensure that the urban poor did not sell their houses before the lock-in period of 20 years ended, he added.

Activists place this form of identification in the larger context of the “anti-poor” aspect of the JNNURM.

‘Why the restraint?’

At a seminar on the various aspects of the mission held on Friday, R. Padmini of Civic Bangalore said: “Why should the urban poor not sell their houses? If they get a better job in some other city, why should they hold onto this property? When other sections of the society can sell their property when they want to, why should the urban poor be restrained?”

CBI: preliminary probe against Mulayam over

Legal Correspondent

Files affidavit in apex court

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday filed in the Supreme Court an affidavit saying it had completed a preliminary enquiry (PE) against the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav; his sons Akhilesh Yadav, MP, and Prateek Yadav; and Dimple Yadav, wife of Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, into the allegations of their amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of their income.

Acting on a public interest litigation petition from Vishwanath Chaturvedi, the court in March this year directed the CBI to conduct the PE into their assets and after scrutinising the material, if a case was made out, take further action.

On completion of the PE, the CBI should submit a report to the Union government.

In its affidavit, the CBI said, “After a PE is registered, verifications/enquires are undertaken and if they indicate commission of offence(s) by the persons concerned, a regular case is registered and further investigation and action are taken in the matter in accordance with the law. In the matter of registration of a case, the CBI does not make a reference to either the Central government or the State government.”

The affidavit said the Supreme Court Registry had made available all documents to the CBI and the enquiry was conducted as per directions.

The CBI was willing to place a status report in the court, if necessary.

It sought a direction to proceed in the matter in accordance with the law without any further reference to the Union or State government.

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The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-Bamboo: destroyed by its own fruit {evil}-The Stone Sliver
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The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

Bamboo: destroyed by its own fruit {evil}

The practice of those who live the Doctrine-True Practice of The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata,
worthy ones, noble:
whoever maligns it
— a dullard,
	inspired by evil view —
bears fruit for his own destruction,
like the fruiting of the bamboo.

The Stone Sliver

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha at the Maddakucchi Deer Reserve. Now at that time his foot had been pierced by a stone sliver. Excruciating were the bodily feelings that developed within him — painful, fierce, sharp, wracking, repellent, disagreeable — but he endured them mindful, alert, & unperturbed. Having had his outer robe folded in four and laid out, he lay down on his right side in the lion’s posture — with one foot placed on top of the other — mindful & alert.

Then the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

Are you lying there in a stupor,
or drunk on poetry?
Are your goals so very few?
All alone in a secluded lodging,
what is this dreamer, this sleepy-face?

[The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata:]

I lie here,
not in a stupor,
nor drunk on poetry.
My goal attained,
I am sorrow-free.
All alone in a secluded lodging,
I lie down with sympathy
for all beings.
	
Even those pierced in the chest
with an arrow,
their hearts rapidly,
rapidly
beating:
even they with their arrows
are able to sleep.
So why shouldn’t I,
with my arrow removed?
	
I’m not awake with worry,
nor afraid to sleep.
Days & nights
don’t oppress me.
I see no threat of decline
in any world at all.
That’s why I sleep
with sympathy
for all beings.

Then the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me” — vanished right there.

 

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Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-Escape
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Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

Escape

This momentum of practice leads us towards freedom from the cycle of birth and death. We haven’t escaped from that cycle because we still insist on craving and desiring. We don’t commit unwholesome or immoral acts, but doing this only means that we are living in accordance with the Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata  of morality: for instance, the chanting when people ask that all beings not be separated from the things that they love and are fond of. If you think about it, this is very childish. It’s the way of people who still can’t let go.

This is the nature of human desire — desire for things to be other than the way that they are; wishing for longevity, hoping that there is no death or sickness. This is how people hope and desire, then when you tell them that whatever desires they have which are not fulfilled cause suffering, it clobbers them right over the head. What can they say? Nothing, because it’s the Truth! You’re pointing right at their desires.

When we talk about desires we know that everyone has them and wants them fulfilled, but nobody is willing to stop, nobody really wants to escape. Therefore our practice must be patiently refined down. Those who practice steadfastly, without deviation or slackness, and have a gentle and restrained manner, always persevering with constancy, those are the ones who will know. No matter what arises, they will remain firm and unshakable.

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Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata- Pali: The Language of Theravada
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Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

Pali: The Language of Theravada

The language of the Theravada canonical texts is Pali (lit., “text”), which is based on a dialect of Middle Indo-Aryan that was probably spoken in central India during the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata ’s time.7 Ven. Ananda, the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata ’s cousin and close personal attendant, committed the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata ’s sermons (suttas) to memory and thus became a living repository of these teachings. Shortly after the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata ’s death (ca. 480 BCE), five hundred of the most senior True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata  — including Ananda — convened to recite and verify all the sermons they had heard during the The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata ’s forty-five year teaching career. Most of these sermons therefore begin with the disclaimer, “Evam me sutam” — “Thus have I heard.”

After The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata ’s death the teachings continued to be passed down orally within the monastic community, in keeping with an Jambudvipa That is The Great Prabuddha Bharath oral tradition that long predated  The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata . By 250 BCE the Spritual Community of The True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata   had systematically arranged and compiled these teachings into three divisions: the Vinaya Pitaka (the “basket of discipline” — the texts concerning the rules and customs of the )The True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata, the Sutta Pitaka (the “basket of discourses” — the sermons and utterances by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata and his close disciples), and the Abhidhamma Pitaka (the “basket of special/higher doctrine” — a detailed psycho-philosophical analysis of the Doctrine-Prctice of The True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata). Together these three are known as the Tipitaka, the “three baskets.” In the third century BCE Sri Lankan monks began compiling a series of exhaustive commentaries to the Tipitaka; these were subsequently collated and translated into Pali beginning in the fifth century CE. The Tipitaka plus the post-canonical texts (commentaries, chronicles, etc.) together constitute the complete body of classical Theravada literature.

Pali was originally a spoken language with no alphabet of its own. It wasn’t until about 100 BCE that the Tipitaka was first fixed in writing, by Sri Lankan scribe-monks,11 who wrote the Pali phonetically in a form of early Brahmi script. Since then the Tipitaka has been transliterated into many different scripts (Devanagari, Thai, Burmese, Roman, Cyrillic, to name a few). Although English translations of the most popular Tipitaka texts abound, many students of Theravada find that learning the Pali language — even just a little bit here and there — greatly deepens their understanding and appreciation of the The True Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata’s practice.

No one can prove that the Tipitaka contains any of the words actually uttered by the historical The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata. Practicioners have never found this problematic. Unlike the scriptures of many of the world’s great religions, the Tipitaka is not regarded as gospel, as an unassailable statement of divine truth, revealed by a prophet, to be accepted purely on faith. Instead, its practices are meant to be assessed firsthand, to be put into practice in one’s life so that one can find out for oneself if they do, in fact, yield the promised results. It is the truth towards which the words in the Tipitaka point that ultimately matters, not the words themselves. Although scholars will continue to debate the authorship of passages from the Tipitaka for years to come (and thus miss the point of these teachings entirely), the Tipitaka will quietly continue to serve — as it has for centuries — as an indispensable guide for millions of followers in their quest for Awakening.

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