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11/15/07
Sangha-The Quest for Awakening-MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 4 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies
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Sangha

The Quest for Awakening

Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, aging, illness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I sought [happiness in] what was subject to birth, aging, illness, death, sorrow, and defilement. The thought occurred to me: “Why am I, being subject myself to birth… defilement, seeking what is subject to birth… defilement? What if I… were to seek the unborn, unaging, unailing, undying, sorrowless, undefiled, unsurpassed security from bondage: Unbinding.”

So at a later time, when I was still young, black-haired, endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life, I shaved off my hair and beard — though my parents wished otherwise and were grieving with tears on their faces — and I put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.

Having gone forth in search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to where Alara Kalama was staying and, on arrival, said to him: “I want to practice in this doctrine and discipline.”

When this was said, he replied to me, “You may stay here. This doctrine is such that a wise person can soon enter and dwell in his own teacher’s knowledge, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge.”

I quickly learned the doctrine. As far as mere lip-reciting and repetition, I could speak the words of knowledge, the words of the elders, and I could affirm that I knew and saw — I, along with others.

I thought: “It isn’t through mere conviction alone that Alara Kalama declares, ‘I have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it directly for myself.’ Certainly he dwells knowing and seeing this Dhamma.” So I went to him and said, “To what extent do you declare that you have entered and dwell in this Dhamma?” When this was said, he declared the dimension of nothingness.

I thought: “Not only does Alara Kalama have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. I, too, have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. Suppose I were to endeavor to realize for myself the Dhamma that Alara Kalama declares he has entered and dwells in…” So it was not long before I entered and dwelled in that Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge. I went to him and said, “Friend Kalama, is this the extent to which you have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for yourself through direct knowledge?”

“Yes…”

“This is the extent to which I, too, have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge.”

“It is a gain for us, a great gain for us, that we have such a companion in the holy life… As I am, so are you; as you are, so am I. Come friend, let us now lead this community together.”

In this way did Alara Kalama, my teacher, place me, his pupil, on the same level with himself and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, “This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of nothingness.” So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.

 

“Now, Aggivessana, these three similes — spontaneous, never before heard — appeared to me. Suppose there were a wet, sappy piece of timber lying in the water, and a man were to come along with an upper fire-stick, thinking, ‘I’ll light a fire. I’ll produce heat.’ Now what do you think? Would he be able to light a fire and produce heat by rubbing the upper fire-stick in the wet, sappy timber lying in the water?”

“No, Master Gotama…”

“So it is with any priest or contemplative who does not live withdrawn from sensuality in body and mind, and whose desire, infatuation, urge, thirst, and fever for sensuality is not relinquished and stilled within him: Whether or not he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings due to his striving [for Awakening], he is incapable of knowledge, vision, and unexcelled self-awakening…

“Then a second simile — spontaneous, never before heard — appeared to me. Suppose there were a wet, sappy piece of timber lying on land far from water, and a man were to come along with an upper fire-stick, thinking, ‘I’ll light a fire. I’ll produce heat.’ Now what do you think? Would he be able to light a fire and produce heat by rubbing the upper fire-stick in the wet, sappy timber lying on land?”

“No, Master Gotama…”

“So it is with any priest or contemplative who lives withdrawn from sensuality in body only, but whose desire, infatuation, urge, thirst, and fever for sensuality is not relinquished and stilled within him: Whether or not he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings due to his striving, he is incapable of knowledge, vision, and unexcelled self-awakening…

“Then a third simile — spontaneous, never before heard — appeared to me. Suppose there were a dry, sapless piece of timber lying on land far from water, and a man were to come along with an upper fire-stick, thinking, ‘I’ll light a fire. I’ll produce heat.’ Now what do you think? Would he be able to light a fire and produce heat by rubbing the upper fire-stick in the dry, sapless timber lying on land?”

“Yes, Master Gotama…”

“So it is with any priest or contemplative who lives withdrawn from sensuality in body and mind, and whose desire, infatuation, urge, thirst, and fever for sensuality is relinquished and stilled within him: Whether or not he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings due to his striving, he is capable of knowledge, vision, and unexcelled self-awakening…

“I thought: ‘Suppose that I, clenching my teeth and pressing my tongue against the roof of my mouth, were to beat down, constrain, and crush my mind with my awareness’… So, just as if a strong man, seizing a weaker man by the head or the throat or the shoulders would beat him down, constrain and crush him, in the same way I beat down, constrained, and crushed my mind with my awareness. As I did so, sweat poured from my armpits. But although tireless persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established, my body was aroused and uncalm because of the painful exertion. But the painful feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

“I thought: ‘Suppose I were to become absorbed in the trance of non-breathing.’ So I stopped the in-breaths and out-breaths in my nose and mouth. As I did so, there was a loud roaring of winds coming out my earholes, just like the loud roar of winds coming out of a smith’s bellows… So I stopped the in-breaths and out-breaths in my nose and mouth and ears. As I did so, extreme forces sliced through my head, just as if a strong man were slicing my head open with a sharp sword… Extreme pains arose in my head, just as if a strong man were tightening a turban made of tough leather straps around my head… Extreme forces carved up my stomach cavity, just as if a butcher or his apprentice were to carve up the stomach cavity of an ox… There was an extreme burning in my body, just as if two strong men, grabbing a weaker man by the arms, were to roast and broil him over a pit of hot embers. But although tireless persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established, my body was aroused and uncalm because of the painful exertion. But the painful feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

“Devas, on seeing me, said, ‘Gotama the contemplative is dead.’ Other devas said, ‘He isn’t dead, he’s dying.’ Others said, ‘He’s neither dead nor dying, he’s an arahant, for this is the way arahants live.’

“I thought: ‘Suppose I were to practice going altogether without food.’ Then devas came to me and said, ‘Dear sir, please don’t practice going altogether without food. If you go altogether without food, we’ll infuse divine nourishment in through your pores, and you will survive on that.’ I thought, ‘If I were to claim to be completely fasting while these devas are infusing divine nourishment in through my pores, I would be lying.’ So I dismissed them, saying, ‘Enough.’

“I thought: ‘Suppose I were to take only a little food at a time, only a handful at a time of bean soup, lentil soup, vetch soup, or pea soup.’ So I took only a little food at a time, only handful at a time of bean soup, lentil soup, vetch soup, or pea soup. My body became extremely emaciated. Simply from my eating so little, my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems… My backside became like a camel’s hoof… My spine stood out like a string of beads… My ribs jutted out like the jutting rafters of an old, run-down barn… The gleam of my eyes appeared to be sunk deep in my eye sockets like the gleam of water deep in a well… My scalp shriveled and withered like a green bitter gourd, shriveled and withered in the heat and the wind… The skin of my belly became so stuck to my spine that when I thought of touching my belly, I grabbed hold of my spine as well; and when I thought of touching my spine, I grabbed hold of the skin of my belly as well… If I urinated or defecated, I fell over on my face right there… Simply from my eating so little, if I tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands, the hair — rotted at its roots — fell from my body as I rubbed…

“I thought: ‘Whatever priests or contemplatives in the past have felt painful, racking, piercing feelings due to their striving, this is the utmost. None have been greater than this. Whatever priests or contemplatives in the future… in the present are feeling painful, racking, piercing feelings due to their striving, this is the utmost. None is greater than this. But with this racking practice of austerities I have not attained any superior human state, any distinction in knowledge or vision worthy of the noble ones. Could there be another path to Awakening?’

“I thought: ‘I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities — I entered and remained in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?’ Then, following on that memory, came the realization: ‘That is the path to Awakening… So why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities?’ I thought: ‘I am no longer afraid of that pleasure… but it is not easy to achieve that pleasure with a body so extremely emaciated…’ So I took some solid food: some rice and porridge. Now five monks had been attending on me, thinking, ‘If Gotama, our contemplative, achieves some higher state, he will tell us.’ But when they saw me taking some solid food — some rice and porridge — they were disgusted and left me, thinking, ‘Gotama the contemplative is living luxuriously. He has abandoned his exertion and is backsliding into abundance.’

“So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, I entered and remained in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered and remained in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation — internal assurance… With the fading of rapture I remained in equanimity, mindful and alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. I entered and remained in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.’… With the abandoning of pleasure and pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — I entered and remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

“When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two… five, ten… fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction and expansion: ‘There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.’ Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes and details.

“This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, and resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

“When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: ‘These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.’ Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away and re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

“This was the second knowledge I attained in the second watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, and resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

“When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental effluents (asava). I discerned, as it had come to be, that ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the way leading to the cessation of stress… These are effluents… This is the origination of effluents… This is the cessation of effluents… This is the way leading to the cessation of effluents.’ My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the effluent of sensuality, released from the effluent of becoming, released from the effluent of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, ‘Released.’ I discerned that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

“This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, and resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.”

 

Through the round of many births
without reward,
without rest,
seeking the house builder.
Painful is birth again
and again.
	
House builder, you’re seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
the ridge pole destroyed,
gone to the Unformed, the mind
has attained the end of craving.

MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 4 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies

1.Write clearly in Pali and English the Dhamma Vandana Gatha. Explain the meaning as you understand it.

Svaakkhato Bhagavataa Dhamma, sandditthiko, akaaliko,

ehipassiko, opanayiko, paccattam veditabbo vinnuhiti.

Namo tassa niyyaanikassa Dhammassa!

Ya ca Dhammaa atitaaca,

Ya ca Dhammaa anaagataa

Paccuppannaa ca ye Dhammaa,

Aham Vandaami sabbadaa

Natthi me saranam annam

Dhammo me saranam varam

Etena Saccavajjene,

Hoto me jayamangalam

Uttamangena Vandeham

Dhammanca tividham varam

Dhamme yo Khalito doso,

Dhammo khamatu tam mamam

Dhamam yaava nibbaanapariyantam

Saranam gacchaami

The Teaching is perfectly enunciated by the Blessed One; it is verifiable here and now, and bears immediate fruit; it invites all the test for themselves, leads one onward to Nibbana and is to be experienced by the wise for himself.

Reverential salutation to the Noble Teaching, leading

onwards to deliverance.

The Noble Teachings of the past (Buddhas),

The Noble Teachings of the future (Buddhas),

The Noble Teachings of the Buddhas of present (aeon),

Humbly do I ever worship.

There is no other refuge for me.

The Noble Teaching is my Supreme Refuge,

By this avowal of Truth,

May joyous victory be mine!

With my brow do I worship the most exce;;ent threefold

Teaching

If the Teaching I have transgressed in any way,

May my error the mighty Dhamma deign forgive.

I go to sacred Teaching for refuge,

Till deliverance is attained.

Kindly visit:

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Buddhism - Pali Chantings {Salutations to Doctrine}

 

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Dhamma Vandana - Homage to the Doctrine.

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Dhamma: the characteristics of purity, radiance and peace which arise from morality, concentration and wisdom

Svakkhato bhagavata dhammo
Dhammam namassami.

The Dhamma well-expounded by the Exalted One
I bow low before the Dhamma.

To the Way to Awakenment I go for refuge

The Three Refuges

When people ask, “Who is really a Buddhist?” the answer will be, “One who has accepted the Three Refuges” — Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, as his shelter and guiding ideal.”

So now that we have paid our respects to the Teacher, it is usual for Buddhists to continue by affirming their Refuge in Awakenment (bodhi) in three aspects: the Buddha, the rediscoverer of Awakenment; the Dhamma, the way to that Awakenment; and the Sangha, those who are practicing that way have discovered Awakenment for themselves. That which has the nature of the Unsurpassed Perfect Awakenment, unconfused and brilliant with the qualities of Great Compassion, Purity and Wisdom, that is a secure refuge. So we recite this sure refuge as a reminder every day:

To the Awakened One I go for refuge.
To the Way to Awakenment I go for refuge,
To the Awakened Community I go for refuge.

For the second time to the Awakened One I go for refuge.
For the second time to the Way Awakenment I go for refuge.
For the second time to the Awakened Community I go for refuge.

For the third time to the Awakened One I go for refuge.
For the third time to the Way to Awakenment I go for refuge.
For the third tome to the Awakened Community I go for refuge.

There is a reason for repeating each refuge three times. The mind is often distracted and if words are spoken or chanted at that time then it is as though they have not been spoken at all. There is no strong intention behind them and one’s Going for Refuge will be like that of a parrot. Repeating words three times is common in many Buddhist ceremonies (such as ordination) and ensures that the mind is concentrated during at least one repetition.

When one has gone for refuge and so affirmed that one is following the way taught by the Buddha, then it is time to remind oneself of the basic moral precepts for daily conduct.

Dhamma sadhu, kiyam cu dhamme ti?
Apasinave, bahu kayane, daya, dane, sace, socaye.

Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma?
(It includes) little evil, much good, kindness,
generosity, truthfulness and purity.

King Asoka

2. Enumerate the qualities of the Dhamma and write the significance of each quality.

Dhammam saranam gacchami:
I go to the Dhamma for refuge.

There are three levels to the Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha —

A. Pariyatti: studying the words of the Buddha as recorded in the Canon — the Discipline, the Discourses, and the Abhidhamma.

B. Patipatti: following the practice of moral virtue, concentration, and discernment as derived from one’s study of the Canon.

C. Pativedha: Liberation.

A. The study of the Dhamma can be done in any of three ways —

1 Alagaddupama-pariyatti: studying like a water viper.

2 Nissaranattha-pariyatti: studying for the sake of emancipation.

3 Bhandagarika-pariyatti: studying to be a storehouse keeper.

Studying like a water viper means to study the words of the Buddha without then putting them into practice, having no sense of shame at doing evil, disobeying the monastic code, making oneself like a poisonous snake-head, full of the fires of greed, anger, and delusion.

Studying for the sake of emancipation means to study the Buddha’s teachings out of a desire for merit and wisdom, with a sense of conviction and high regard for their worth — and then, once we have reached an understanding, bringing our thoughts, words, and deeds into line with those teachings with a high sense of reverence and respect. To try to bring the Buddha’s teachings into line with ourselves is the wrong approach — because, for the most part, we are full of defilements, cravings, views, and conceits. If we act in this way we are bound to be more at fault than those who try to bring themselves into line with the teachings: Such people are very hard to find fault with.

Studying to be a storehouse keeper refers to the education of people who no longer have to be trained, i.e., of arahants, the highest level of the Noble Ones. Some arahants, when they were still ordinary, run-of-the-mill people, heard the Dhamma directly from the Buddha once or twice and were able immediately to reach the highest attainment. This being the case, they lacked a wide-ranging knowledge of worldly conventions and traditions; and so, with an eye to the benefit of other Buddhists, they were willing to undergo a certain amount of further education. This way of studying the Dhamma is called ’sikkha-garavata’: respect for the training.

B. The practice of the Dhamma means to conduct oneself in line with the words of the Buddha as gathered under three headings:

— Virtue: proper behavior, free from vice and harm, in terms of one’s words and deeds.

— Concentration: intentness of mind, centered on one of the themes of meditation, such as the breath.

— Discernment: insight and circumspection with regard to all fashioned things, i.e., physical properties, aggregates, and sense media.

To conduct oneself in this manner is termed practicing the Dhamma. By and large, though, Buddhists tend to practice the Dhamma in a variety of ways that aren’t in line with the true path of practice. If we were to classify their ways of practice, there would be three:

1 Lokadhipateyya — putting the world first.
2 Attadhipateyya — putting the self first.
3 Dhammadhipateyya — putting the Dhamma first.

To put the world first means to practice for the sake of such worldly rewards as prestige, material gains, praise, and sensual pleasures. When we practice this way, we are actually torturing ourselves, because undesirable things are bound to occur: Having attained prestige, we can lose it. Having acquired material gains, we can lose them. Having received praise, we can receive censure. Having experienced pleasure, we can see it disintegrate. Far from the paths, fruitions, and nibbana, we torture ourselves by clinging to these things as our own.

To put the self first means to practice in accordance with our own opinions, acting in line with whatever those opinions may be. Most of us tend to side with ourselves, getting stuck on our own views and conceits because our study of the Dhamma hasn’t reached the truth of the Dhamma, and so we take as our standard our own notions, composed of four forms of personal bias —

a Chandagati: doing whatever we feel like doing.

b Bhayagati: fearing certain forms of power or authority, and thus not daring to practice the Dhamma as we truly should. (We put certain individuals first.)

c Dosagati: acting under the power of anger, defilement, craving, conceits, and views.

d Mohagati: practicing misguidedly, not studying or searching for what is truly good; assuming that we’re already smart enough, or else that we’re too stupid to learn; staying buried in our habits with no thought of extracting ourselves from our sensual pleasures.

All of these ways of practice are called ‘putting the self first.’

To put the Dhamma first means to follow the Noble Eightfold Path —

a. Right View: seeing that there really is good, there really is evil, there really is stress, that stress has a cause, that it disbands, and that there is a cause for its disbanding.

b. Right Resolve: thinking of how to rid ourselves of whatever qualities we know to be wrong and immoral, i.e., seeing the harm in sensual desires in that they bring on suffering and stress.

c. Right Speech: speaking the truth; not saying anything divisive or inciteful; not saying anything coarse or vulgar in situations where such words would not be proper; not saying anything useless. Even though what we say may be worthwhile, if our listener isn’t interested then our words would still count as useless.

d. Right Action: being true to our duties, not acting in ways that would be corrupt or bring harm to ourselves or others.

e. Right Livelihood: obtaining wealth in ways that are honest, searching for it in a moral way and using it in a moral way.

f. Right Effort: persisting in ridding ourselves of all that is wrong and harmful in our thoughts, words, and deeds; persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to ourselves and others in our thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved; acting persistently so as to be a mainstay to others (except in cases that are beyond our control).

g. Right Mindfulness: being mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak through the power of inattention or forgetfulness, making sure to be constantly mindful in our thoughts (being mindful of the four frames of reference).

h. Right Concentration: keeping the mind centered and resilient. No matter what we do or say, no matter what moods may strike the heart, the heart keeps its poise, firm and unflinching in the four levels of jhana.

These eight factors can be reduced to three — virtue, concentration, and discernment — called the middle way, the heart of the Buddha’s teachings. The ‘middleness’ of virtue means to be pure in thought, word, and deed, acting out of compassion, seeing that the life of others is like your own, that their possessions are like your own, feeling benevolence, loving others as much as yourself. When ‘you’ and ‘they’ are equal in this way, you are bound to be upright in your behavior, like a well-balanced burden that, when placed on your shoulders, doesn’t cause you to tip to one side or the other. But even then you are still in a position of having to shoulder a burden. So you are taught to focus the mind on a single preoccupation: This can be called ‘holding in your hands’ — i.e., holding the mind in the middle — or concentration.

The middleness of concentration means focusing on the present, not sending your thoughts into the past or future, holding fast to a single preoccupation (anapanaka-jhana, absorption in the breath).

As for the middleness of discernment: No matter what preoccupations may come passing by, you are able to rid yourself of all feelings of liking or disliking, approval or rejection. You don’t cling, even to the one preoccupation that has arisen as a result of your own actions. You put down what you have been holding in your hands; you don’t fasten onto the past, present or future. This is release.

When our virtue, concentration, and discernment are all in the middle this way, we’re safe. Just as a boat going down the middle of a channel, or a car that doesn’t run off the side of the road, can reach its destination without beaching or running into a tree; so too, people who practice in this way are bound to reach the qualities they aspire to, culminating in the paths and fruitions leading to nibbana, which is the main point of the Buddha’s teachings.

So in short, putting the Dhamma first means to search solely for purity of mind.

C. The attainment of the Dhamma refers to the attainment of the highest quality, nibbana. If we refer to the people who reach this attainment, there are four sorts —

1 Sukha-vipassako: those who develop just enough tranquillity and discernment to act as a basis for advancing to liberating insight and who thus attain nibbana having mastered only asavakkhaya-ñana, the knowledge that does away with the fermentation of defilement.

2 Tevijjo: those who attain the three skills.

3 Chalabhiñño: those who attain the six intuitive powers.

4 Catuppatisambhidappatto: those who attain the four forms of acumen.

To explain sukha-vipassako (those who develop insight more than tranquillity): Vipassana (liberating insight) and asavakkhaya-ñana (the awareness that does away with the fermentation of defilement) differ only in name. In actuality they refer to the same thing, the only difference being that vipassana refers to the beginning stage of insight, and asavakkhaya-ñana to the final stage: clear and true comprehension of the four Noble Truths.

To explain tevijjo: The three skills are —

a Pubbenivasanussati-ñana: the ability to remember past lives — one, two, three, four, five, ten, one hundred, one thousand, depending on one’s powers of intuition. (This is a basis for proving whether death is followed by rebirth or annihilation.)

b Cutupapata-ñana: knowledge of where living beings are reborn — on refined levels or base — after they die.

c Asavakkhaya-ñana: the awareness that enables one to do away with the fermentations in one’s character (sensuality, states of being, ignorance).

To explain chalabhiñño: The six intuitive powers are —

a Iddhividhi: the ability to display miracles — becoming invisible, walking on a dry path through a body of water, levitating, going through rain without getting wet, going through fire without getting hot, making a crowd of people appear to be only a few, making a few to appear many, making oneself appear young or old as one likes, being able to use the power of the mind to influence events in various ways.

b Dibbasota: clairaudience; the ability to hear far distant sounds, beyond ordinary human powers.

c Cetopariya-ñana: the ability to know the thoughts of others.

d Pubbenivasanussati-ñana: the ability to remember previous lives.

e Dibba-cakkhu: clairvoyance; the ability to see far distant objects, beyond ordinary human powers. Some people can even see other levels of being with their clairvoyant powers (one way of proving whether death is followed by rebirth or annihilation, and whether or not there really are other levels of being).

f Asavakkhaya-ñana: the awareness that does away with the fermentation of defilement.

To explain catuppatisambhidappatto: The four forms of acumen are —

a Attha-patisambhida: acumen with regard to the sense of the Doctrine and of matters in general, knowing how to explain various points in line with their proper meaning.

b Dhamma-patisambhida: acumen with regard to all mental qualities.

c Nirutti-patisambhida: acumen with regard to linguistic conventions. (This can include the ability to know the languages of living beings in general.)

d Patibhana-patisambhida: acumen in speaking on the spur of the moment, knowing how to answer any question so as to clear up the doubts of the person asking (like the Venerable Nagasena).

This ends the discussion of the virtues of the four classes of people — called arahants — who have reached the ultimate quality, nibbana. As for the essence of what it means to be an arahant, though, there is only one point — freedom from defilement: This is what it means to attain the Dhamma, the other virtues being simply adornment.

The three levels of Dhamma we have discussed are, like the Buddha, compared to jewels: There are many kinds of jewels to choose from, depending on how much wealth — discernment — we have.

All of the qualities we have mentioned so far, to put them briefly so as to be of use, come down to this: Practice so as to give rise to virtue, concentration, and discernment within yourself. Otherwise, you won’t have a refuge or shelter. A person without the qualities that provide refuge and shelter is like a person without a home — a delinquent or a vagrant — who is bound to wander shiftlessly about. Such people are hollow inside, like a clock without any workings: Even though it has a face and hands, it can’t tell anyone where it is, what time it is, or whether it’s morning, noon, or night (i.e., such people forget that they are going to die).

People who aren’t acquainted with the Dhamma within themselves are like people blind from birth: Even though they are born in the world of human beings, they don’t know the light of the sun and moon that enables human beings to see. They get no benefit from the light of the sun and moon or the light of fire; and being blind, they then go about proclaiming to those who can see, that there is no sun, no moon, and no brightness to the world. As a result, they mislead those whose eyes are already a little bleary. In other words, some groups say that the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha don’t exist, that they were invented to fool the gullible.

Now, the Dhamma is something subtle and fine, like the fire-potential (tejas) that exists in the air or in various elements and that, if we have enough common sense, can be drawn out and put to use. But if we’re fools, we can sit staring at a bamboo tube [a device for starting fire that works on the same principle as the diesel engine] from dawn to dusk without ever seeing fire at all. Anyone who believes that there is no Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha, no series of paths or fruitions leading to nibbana, no consciousness that experiences death and rebirth, is like the fool sitting and staring at the bamboo tube.

Here I would like to tell a story as an allegory of those who aren’t acquainted with the Dhamma. There once was a man living in the woods who, with his five sons, started growing crops in a clearing about a mile from their home village. He built a small shack at the clearing and would often take his sons to stay there. One morning he started a fire in the shack and told his sons to look after the fire, for he was going out to hunt for food in the forest. ‘If the fire goes out,’ he told them, ‘get some fire from my bamboo tube and start it up again.’ Then he set out to search for food for his sons.

After he had left, his sons got so wrapped up in their play that when they finally took a look at the fire, they found that it was completely out. So they had the first son go get some fire to start it up again. The first son walked over and tried knocking on the bamboo tube but didn’t see any fire. So they had the second son get some fire from the tube: He opened it up but didn’t see any fire inside. All he saw were two bamboo chips but he didn’t know what to do with them. So the third son came over for a look and, since he didn’t see any fire, he took a knife to cut the tube in half but still didn’t see any fire. The fourth son went over and, seeing the two halves lying there, shaved them down into thin strips to find the fire in them but didn’t see any fire at all.

Finally the fifth son went over to look for fire, but before he went he said to his brothers, ‘What’s the matter with you guys that you can’t get any fire from the bamboo tube? What a bunch of fools you are! I’ll go get it myself.’ With that, he went to look at the bamboo tube and found it split into strips lying in pile. Realizing what his brothers had done, and thinking, ‘What a bunch of hare-brains,’ he reached for a mortar and pestle and ground up the bamboo strips to find the fire in them. By the time he ran out of strength, he had ground them into a powder, but he still hadn’t found any fire. So he snuck off to play by himself.

Eventually, toward noon, the father returned from the forest and found that the fire had gone out. So he asked his sons about it, and they told him how they had looked for fire in the bamboo tube without finding any. ‘Idiots,’ he thought, ‘they’ve taken my fire-starter and pounded it to bits. For that, I won’t fix them any food. Let ‘em starve!’ As a result, the boys didn’t get anything to eat the entire day.

Those of us who aren’t acquainted with the brightness of the Dhamma — ‘Dhammo padipo’ — lying within us, who don’t believe that the Dhamma has value for ourselves and others, are lacking in discernment, like the boys looking for fire in the bamboo tube. Thus we bring about our own ruin in various ways, wasting our lives: born in darkness, living in darkness, dying in darkness, and then reborn in more darkness all over again. Even though the Dhamma lies within us, we can’t get any use from it and thus will suffer for a long time to come, like the boys who ruined their father’s fire-starter and so had to go without food.

The Dhamma lies within us, but we don’t look for it. If we hope for goodness, whether on a low or a high level, we’ll have to look here, inside, if we are to find what is truly good. But before we can know ourselves in this way, we first have to know — through study and practice — the principles taught by the Buddha.

Recorded Dhamma (pariyatti dhamma) is simply one of the symbols of the Buddha’s teachings. The important point is to actualize the Dhamma through the complete practice of virtue, concentration, and discernment. This is an essential part of the religion, the part that forms the inner symbol of all those who practice rightly and well. Whether the religion will be good or bad, whether it will prosper or decline, depends on our practice, not on the recorded doctrine, because the recorded doctrine is merely a symbol. So if we aim at goodness, we should focus on developing our inner quality through the Dhamma of practice (patipatti dhamma). As for the main point of Buddhism, that’s the Dhamma of attainment (pativedha dhamma), the transcendent quality: nibbana.

3. Can the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha be called a religious doctrine, or a philosophy, or is it a spiritual path i.e., a way of life that each seeker should adhere to at all times? If you think it is a way of life to be lead every day, how have you tried doing it yourself? It would be good to share your experience with others.

Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?

The Buddha referred to his teachings simply as Dhamma-vinaya — “the doctrine and discipline” — but for centuries people have tried to categorize the teachings in various ways, trying to fit them into the prevailing molds of cultural, philosophical, and religious thought. Buddhism is an ethical system — a way of life — that leads to a very specific goal and that possesses some aspects of both religion and philosophy:

It is a philosophy.

Like most philosophies, Buddhism attempts to frame the complexities of human existence in a way that reassures us that there is, in fact, some underlying order to the Universe. In the Four Noble Truths the Buddha crisply summarizes our predicament: there is suffering, it has a cause, it has an end, and there is a way to reach the end. The teachings on kamma provide a thorough and logically self-consistent description of the nature of cause-and-effect. And even the Buddhist view of cosmology, which some may at first find farfetched, is a logical extension of the law of kamma. According to the Dhamma, a deep and unshakable logic pervades the world.

It is not a philosophy.

Unlike most philosophical systems, which rely on speculation and the power of reason to arrive at logical truths, Buddhism relies on the direct observation of one’s personal experience and on honing certain skills in order to gain true understanding and wisdom. Idle speculation has no place in Buddhist practice. Although studying in the classroom, reading books, and engaging in spirited debate can play a vital part in developing a cognitive understanding of basic Buddhist concepts, the heart of Buddhism can never be realized this way. The Dhamma is not an abstract system of thought designed to delight the intellect; it is a roadmap to be used, one whose essential purpose is to lead the practitioner to the ultimate goal, nibbana.

It is a religion.

At the heart of each of the world’s great religions lies a transcendent ideal around which its doctrinal principles orbit. In Buddhism this truth is nibbana, the hallmark of the cessation of suffering and stress, a truth of utter transcendence that stands in singular distinction from anything we might encounter in our ordinary sensory experience. Nibbana is the sine qua non of Buddhism, the guiding star and ultimate goal towards which all the Buddha’s teachings point. Because it aims at such a lofty transcendent ideal, we might fairly call Buddhism a religion.

It is not a religion.

In stark contrast to the world’s other major religions, however, Buddhism invokes no divinity, no supreme Creator or supreme Self, no Holy Spirit or omniscient loving God to whom we might appeal for salvation.1 Instead, Buddhism calls for us to hoist ourselves up by our own bootstraps: to develop the discernment we need to distinguish between those qualities within us that are unwholesome and those that are truly noble and good, and to learn how to nourish the good ones and expunge the bad. This is the path to Buddhism’s highest perfection, nibbana. Not even the Buddha can take you to that goal; you alone must do the work necessary to complete the journey:

“Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”

Daily training myself to practice of the Dhamma  to conduct myself in line with the words of the Buddha to be Virtuous with proper behavior, free from vice and harm, in terms of my words and deeds.

To train my mind for Concentration: intentness of mind, centered on one of the themes of meditation, such as the breath.

To train my mind for Discernment: insight and circumspection with regard to all fashioned things, i.e., physical properties, aggregates, and sense media.

To conduct myself in this manner I feel is termed practicing the Dhamma by putting the Dhamma first.

To put the Dhamma first means to follow the Noble Eightfold Path —

a. Right View: seeing that there really is good, there really is evil, there really is stress, that stress has a cause, that it disbands, and that there is a cause for its disbanding.

b. Right Resolve: thinking of how to rid ourselves of whatever qualities we know to be wrong and immoral, i.e., seeing the harm in sensual desires in that they bring on suffering and stress.

c. Right Speech: speaking the truth; not saying anything divisive or inciteful; not saying anything coarse or vulgar in situations where such words would not be proper; not saying anything useless. Even though what we say may be worthwhile, if our listener isn’t interested then our words would still count as useless.

d. Right Action: being true to our duties, not acting in ways that would be corrupt or bring harm to ourselves or others.

e. Right Livelihood: obtaining wealth in ways that are honest, searching for it in a moral way and using it in a moral way.

f. Right Effort: persisting in ridding ourselves of all that is wrong and harmful in our thoughts, words, and deeds; persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to ourselves and others in our thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved; acting persistently so as to be a mainstay to others (except in cases that are beyond our control).

g. Right Mindfulness: being mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak through the power of inattention or forgetfulness, making sure to be constantly mindful in our thoughts (being mindful of the four frames of reference).

h. Right Concentration: keeping the mind centered and resilient. No matter what we do or say, no matter what moods may strike the heart, the heart keeps its poise, firm and unflinching in the four levels of jhana.

These eight factors can be reduced to three — virtue, concentration, and discernment — called the middle way, the heart of the Buddha’s teachings. The ‘middleness’ of virtue means to be pure in thought, word, and deed, acting out of compassion, seeing that the life of others is like your own, that their possessions are like your own, feeling benevolence, loving others as much as yourself. When ‘you’ and ‘they’ are equal in this way, you are bound to be upright in your behavior, like a well-balanced burden that, when placed on your shoulders, doesn’t cause you to tip to one side or the other. But even then you are still in a position of having to shoulder a burden. So you are taught to focus the mind on a single preoccupation: This can be called ‘holding in your hands’ — i.e., holding the mind in the middle — or concentration.

The middleness of concentration means focusing on the present, not sending your thoughts into the past or future, holding fast to a single preoccupation (anapanaka-jhana, absorption in the breath).

As for the middleness of discernment: No matter what preoccupations may come passing by, you are able to rid yourself of all feelings of liking or disliking, approval or rejection. You don’t cling, even to the one preoccupation that has arisen as a result of your own actions. You put down what you have been holding in your hands; you don’t fasten onto the past, present or future. This is release.

When our virtue, concentration, and discernment are all in the middle this way, we’re safe. Just as a boat going down the middle of a channel, or a car that doesn’t run off the side of the road, can reach its destination without beaching or running into a tree; so too, people who practice in this way are bound to reach the qualities they aspire to, culminating in the paths and fruitions leading to nibbana, which is the main point of the Buddha’s teachings.

So in short, putting the Dhamma first means to search solely for purity of mind.

4. What do you think of the five Buddhist precepts (Panca Sila) ? If you are parcticing what are the benefits you derive? Please elaborate.

 

Panca Sila

Pãnãti-pãtã
veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi
Adinnã-dãnã
veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi
Kãmesu micchã-cãrã
veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi
Musãvãdã
veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi
Surã meraya-majja-pamã-datthãnã
veramani sikkhã padam samãdiyãmi

I take the precept to
abstain from destroying living beings.
I take the precept to
abstain from taking things not given.
I take the precept to
abstain from sexual misconduct.
I take the precept to
abstain from false speech.
I take the precept to
abstain from taking anything that causes
intoxication or heedlessness.

By my daily training of my mind to practice Panca Sila I have realised that they are

Five faultless gifts

“There are these five gifts, five great gifts — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & priests. Which five?

 

As a disciple of the noble ones, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. In doing so, I have dervived freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings,I gain a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the first gift, the first great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & priests…

“Furthermore, abandoning taking what is not given (stealing), as a true disciple of the noble ones I train my mind to abstain from taking what is not given. In doing so, it gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, I gain a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the second gift…

“Furthermore, abandoning illicit sex, as a true disciple of the noble ones I train my my mind to abstain from illicit sex. In doing so, it gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, I gain a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the third gift…

“Furthermore, abandoning lying, as a true disciple of the noble ones I train my mind to abstain from lying. In doing so, it gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings,I gain a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the fourth gift…

“Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, as a true disciple of the noble ones I train my mind to abstain from taking intoxicants. In doing so, it gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the fifth gift, the fifth great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & priests. And this is the eighth reward of merit, reward of skillfulness, nourishment of happiness, celestial, resulting in happiness, leading to heaven, leading to what is desirable, pleasurable, & appealing; to welfare & to happiness.”

5. How many types of Badhisattas are there ? Eloborate on each of them.

6.What differentiates one type from the other?

The names of 28 Buddhas
Sanskrit name Pāli name
1 Tṛṣṇaṃkara Tanhankara
2 Medhaṃkara Medhankara
3 Śaraṇaṃkara Saranankara
4 Dīpankara Dīpankara  Life span 1,00,000 years

Dipankara (Sanskrit and Pali Dīpaṃkara, “Lamp bearer”; Chinese 燃燈佛 (pinyin Rándēng Fo); Tibetan mi slob; Mongolian Jula-yin Jokiyaγči, Dibangkara, Nepal Bhasa: दिपंखा Dipankha) one of the Buddhas of the past, said to have lived on Earth one hundred thousand years.

Theoretically, the number of Buddhas having existed is enormous and they are often collectively known under the name of “Thousand Buddhas”. Each was responsible for a life cycle. According to some Buddhist traditions, Dipankara (also Dipamkara) was a Buddha who reached enlightenment eons prior to Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha. Generally, Buddhists believe that there has been a succession of many Buddhas in the distant past and that many more will appear in the future; Dipankara, then, would be one of numerous previous Buddhas, while Shakyamuni was the most recent, and Maitreya will be the next Buddha in the future.

5 Kauṇḍinya Kondañña Life span 1,00,000 years
6 Maṃgala Mangala Life span 90,000 years
7 Sumanas Sumana Life span 90,000 years
8 Raivata Revata Life span 60,000 years
9 Śobhita Sobhita Life span 90,000 years
10 Anavamadarśin Anomadassi Life span 1,00,000 years
11 Padma Paduma Life span 1,00,000 years
12 Nārada Nārada Life span 90,000 years
13 Padmottara Padumuttara Life span 1,00,000 years
14 Sumedha Sumedha Life span 90,000 years
15 Sujāta Sujāta Life span 90,000 years
16 Priyadarśin Piyadassi Life span 90,000 years
17 Arthadarśin Atthadassi Life span 1,00,000 years
18 Dharmadarśin Dhammadassi Life span 1,00,000 years
19 Siddhārtha Siddhattha Life span 1,00,000 years
20 Tiṣya Tissa Life span 1,00,000 years
21 Puṣya Phussa Life span 90,000 years
22 Vipaśyin Vipassi Life span 80,000 years
23 Śikhin Sikhi Life span 70,000 years
24 Viśvabhū Vessabhū Life span 60,000 years
25 Krakucchanda

Kakusandha Life span 40,000 years In Buddhist tradition, Kakusandha (Pāli, 拘留孙佛 Ch.) is the name of the twenty-fifth Buddha, the first of the five Buddhas of the present era, and the fourth of the seven ancient Buddhas. In the Buddhist texts in Sanskrit, this Buddha is known as Krakucchanda. In Tibetan, he is known as Khorvadjig.

26 Kanakamuni Konāgamana Life span 30,000 years
27 Kāśyapa Kassapa Life span 20,000 years

In Buddhist tradition, Kassapa (Pāli) is the name of a Buddha, the third of the five Buddhas of the present aeon (the Bhaddakappa or ‘Fortunate Aeon’), and the sixth of the six Buddhas prior to the historical Buddha mentioned in the earlier parts of the Pali Canon(D.ii.7). In the Buddhist texts in Sanskrit, this Buddha is known as Kāśyapa.

28 Gautama Gotama Life Span 80/100

Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from Ancient India and the founder of Buddhism.[1] He is generally recognized by Buddhists as the Supreme Buddha (Sammāsambuddha) of our age. The time of his birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians date his lifetime from circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE; more recently, however, at a specialist symposium on this question,[2] the majority of those scholars who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha’s death, with minorities supporting earlier or later dates.

Gautama, also known as Sakyamuni or Shakyamuni (“sage of the Shakyas”), is the key figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules were summarized after his death and memorized by the sangha. Passed down by oral tradition, the Tripitaka, the collection of discourses attributed to Gautama, was committed to writing about 400 years later.

7. Write an essay on the life of the Bodhisatta Sumeda Pandita.

8. How many perfections a Bodhisatta must fulfil to become a Buddha?

9. Write an essay on ten Paaramis.

10. Explain the difference between an ordinary act of daanaa (giving) and an act of daanpaarami (perfection of giving)

Dasaparamita( The ten perfections)

Introduction

Here Parama means the noblest, highest, or most excel-lent. Therefore Paramitas are the most excellent virtues, or the noblest qualities of the Bodhisattas. In other words Paramitas are the line of conduct or the Pre-requisites for Awakenment.

These ten virtues should be practised by every Buddhist who wishes to attain Nibbana - the final Emancipation, through any Yana or vehicle. Nibbana can be reached through one of the following three Yanas:

l. Samma Sam Buddhahood 2. Pacceka Buddhahood 3. Arahantship

SAMMA SAM BUDDHA

Every Buddhist has a freedom to choose one for himself from the above mentioned three Yanas which is suitable for him according to his temperaments and intellectual capacity in order to attain Nibbana. Here Samma Sam Buddha means fully Awakenment One, the Perfert One, the Holy One, the Omnisrient.

In this world, the appearance of a Samma Sam Buddha is a very rare chance. In comparison with the other Yanas, it is an extremely difficult one. A person who aspires to become a Buddha, at first, should make a firm mental resolution and verbal expression for his object in the presence of the Buddhas. Then he must receive the proclamation or nomination from a Buddha who will publicly declare him to become a Samma Sam Buddha in the future.

Our Buddha, when he was born as Sumedha Pandit, four Asankheyyas and one hundred thousand, 1 Kalpas-aeons ago, received the assurance from the Buddha Dipankara that he would undoubtedly become a Buddha in future.

Thus becoming a fully entitled Bodhisatta, he renounced his personal salvation, began to practise the ten perfertions, with the self-sacrificing spirit to serve the suffering humanity and finally became Samma Sam Buddha.

PACCEKA BUDDHA

The second Yana, to reach Nibbana is Parceka Buddha-hood. Pacceka Buddha is one who attains Awakenment without any spiritual assistance from outside sources. He does not possess the faculty to enlighten others. During the dispensation of a Samma Sam Buddha, Pacceka Buddhas do not appear. Only one Samma Sam Buddha arises at a time but several Pacceka Buddhas can appear at the same time. To become a Pacceka Buddha, one should practise ten perfections for a number of Kalpas.

ARAHANT

The third Yana to reach Nibbana is the Arahantship. This path is comparatively an easy one, and it is open to both men and women. Arahant is the one who has completely eradicated all the defilement including the ten fetters and the one who is worthy of offerings and reverence. As he has attained the ultimate realization, he is also capable to render the spiritual assistance to others for their liberation. Therefore the attainment of Nibbana through even this Yana cannot be regarded as selfish ideal.

To become an Arahant, one should have to fulfil the ten perfection for many series of births.

Dana-charity (First paramita-First perfection)

‘Dana’ literally means giving or offering one’s possessions with pure mind for the welfare of others. The one of the main objects of ‘Dana’ is to subdue the immoral thought of selfishness, miserliness or excessive craving which creates suffering in Samsara.

Another object is to develop the meritorious thoughts of selflessness, doing service to others. A real donor does not expect anything - name, reputation or even the word of ‘Thank’, in return from the recipient. He does not look down on the recipient as his debtor for the service he has rendered. He does not give through fear or shame and never repents for his charity. He gives voluntarily, realizing the Kamma and Vipaka - the cause and effect.

Naturally, as the result of his noble deeds of charity, he will enjoy a happy, fortunate and prosperous life, wherever he will be reborn in Samsara and this perfection of generosity leads him towards the final Emancipation.

Illustration from VESSANTARA JATAKA
THE STORY OF KING VESSANTARA

Once, our Bodhisatta (Sakyamuni Gotama Buddha when he was a Bodhisatta) was conceived in the womb of Queen Phusati, the Chief Consort of King Sanjaya. During her pregnancy, Queen Phusati had a strong desire to do charity. Accordingly, the King ordered six alms-halls (Dana Sala) to be built and everyday the Queen gave alms to Monks, the poor and beggars, spending six hundred thousand Kahapanas.

After ten months, the Queen gave birth to a son and he was named Vessantara and wonderful things happened on that day. When the infant Prince asked for gifts to practise charity the Queen handed over to him a purse containing one thousand Kahapanas. At the same time, a female elephant brought a white baby elephant to the Palace and left it in the Royal stable. This was considered a good omen.

The King appointed sixty nurses to look after the Prince and he made a necklace worth a thousand Kahapanas for the Prince who was then only five years old. The Prince who had a strong desire to practise charity, gave his valuable necklace to a nurse. In this way the King made nine necklaces and each time the Prince gave it away.

At the age of sixteen, Prince Vessantara having mastered all sciences, married a beautiful Princess Maddi Devi. When he was proclaimed King of Sivi, he practised charity to the highest state of perfection. He also built six alms-halls and spent six hundred thousand Kahapanas as charity a day. They led a happy married life and later had a son - Jali and a daughter - Kanhajina.

In the Kingdom of Kalinga, there was a great famine and severe drought. The citizens requested that the white elephant of King Vessantara, considered of good omen, be brought to Kalinga. Vessantara readily agreed and presented the elephant to the citizens of Kalinga when they approached. Vessantara requested his father’s permission to perform ‘Satta Satika Dana’ (i.e. offerings of material things each to a limit of 700).

After the grand celebrations, King Vessantara together with his Consort and two children left the city for Mount Vamka in the Himalayas where the Sakka Deva Raja built a hermitage for them to stay. Before reaching their destination, he willingly dispensed with his four horses and a chariot to Brahmins who asked for them. So they had to walk for the rest of their journey to the hermitage.

They reached the place and lived on wild fruits and roots gathered by Queen Maddi, for seven months. Eventually, King Vessantara whose whole intention was to do charity, had to give away his two children to an old Brahmin - Jujaka who wanted them to assist his wife at the house chores. Sakka finally tested his degree of charity in Vessantara. by disguising himself as a Brahmin and asked for his wife.

The Queen accordingly replied, “From maidenhood I was your wife and you my master still. Let you to whom so you desire give or sell or kill.” Vessantara was perforced to depart his wife to the Brahmin, but the latter gracefully returned the Queen to King Vessantara.
In this way, our Bodhisatta practised Dana Paramita to the highest degree of perfection.

Sila (morality) - (Second paramita-Second perfection)

Sila is morality, good conduct or the observance of precepts. Sila is the foundation of all the meritorious deeds because good behavior is the beginning of the life of purity. Of all the schemes of Buddhist trainings, Sila is the most important preliminary step towards the progress of spiritual life.

It is compared to a golden ship by which one can cross the ocean of Samsara. Without Sila, there is no Samadhi - concentration or meditation. Through lack of Samadhi, Panna or spiritual advancement cannot be achieved. In other words, one must have a solid foundation of Sila, practising at least Five Precepts before starting meditation. Then only can one cultivate Samadhi - one pointedness of the mind which leads one to higher wisdom, the third stage, on the way to Nibbana.

Sila can be divided into two categories namely : Caritta Sila and Varitta Sila.

CARITTA SILA is morality consisting of performances. All those moral instructions which the Blessed One introduced ‘should be done or followed’. In other words all the ethical rules which are in the positive form should be included in Caritta Sila. Fulfilling one’s duty towards one’s parents, wife and children, respecting the elders, ministering of patients, helping the poor and the needy and observing good manners, etiquette, etc., such form of ethical teachings given by the Buddha can be regarded as Caritta Sila.

VARITTA SILA is morality in avoidance. The avoidance of those evils, killing, stealing etc. which the Buddha stated ‘should not be done’. All the precepts which are in negative forms can be included in Varitta Sila. In Buddhism, there are various precepts such as Five, Eight and Ten, out of which the Five Precepts should be practised in one’s daily life and the Eight Precepts on Uposatha days or Sabbath days. Although the Buddhist precepts are not commandments, they should be observed at one’s own free will for the peace, happiness and welfare of the individual and society at large.

Illustration from SAMKHAPALA JATAKA
THE STORY OF THE DRAGON

The Bodhisattva (Sakyamuni Gotama Buddha when he was a Bodhisattva) was once born as a dragon - Samkhapala. He lived in the Realm of Dragons (Nagaloka). As he was not satisfied with his state of life, he used to come to this world to observe the Precepts. On New Moon and Full Moon days, he regularly observed the Eight Precepts and went back to his realm on the following day.

One Holy Day, transforming into a large snake he coiled round an ant-hill at the wayside with the thought: Let those who wish, make use of my skin, flesh, or bones.

On that day, sixteen hunters with stakes in hands were returning without any game. Seeing the serpent king, they went up to him to kill and eat his flesh. At first they weakened the snake by beating it with their stakes and weapons. The serpent did not get angry. He could have killed them all easily, but he did not want to break his precepts even at the risk of his life. He gladly bore all that suffering, without any ill-will towards them. Placing his head inside his coils he lay still, allowing them to do any harm they liked.

Having weakened the reptile, they tied it with ropes and carried it on their shoulders. As the head was dropping down, they pierced the nostril and passing a string through it, hung the head up and carried him, causing much pain. The suffering creature did not even look at them with an angry face.

A rich merchant named Alara, who was passing by with about 500 carts, saw the pitiful state of the poor reptile. Moved by compassion, he gave various presents and money to the hunters, and saved the good serpent-king.

After his Enlightenment the Buddha said: “Though I was pierced by stakes and hacked by weapons, I did not get angry with the hunters. This is my Perfection of Morality.”

‘Nekkhamma’ (renounce worldly pleasures) - (Third paramita-Third perfection)

Nekkhamma’ means to give up or to renounce the worldly pleasures. In other words, it means retirement into solitary life, in search of the highest truth and peace. It is not easy for a worldly man to give up his possessions and the sensual enjoyments at once unless he realizes the real nature of life through his own bitter experience.

The Bodhisattas find that the household life is full of responsibilities and burdens. They regard the homeless life like the open sky free from worldly ties. Naturally, they lead a solitary life and easily realize that all the sensual pleasures in this world are transient, profitless, ignoble, fleeting like a flash of lightning or like a tiny dew-drop on a blade of grass.

Thirst for sensual enjoyment is insatiable and unquenchable. The more one enjoys the thirstier for mundane pleasure one will become. It is like drinking salt water that will never quench the thirst. It also can be compared to the act of licking a honey-drop on the edge of a sharp sword.
That is why Bodhisattas realize the vanity of material pleasures and seek delight in `Nekkhamma’ to get rid of the worldly fetters on their way to Enlightenment.

Illustration from MAKHADEVA JATAKA
THE STORY OF THE KING MAKHADEVA

Long, long ago the Bodhisatta was born as the eldest son of a great king and was named Makhadeva. After his father’s death, he ascended the throne and ruled the kingdom righteously.
With the march of time, he became wiser and wiser. He had no liking for his royal pleasures for he realized their vanity. His desire was to leave the world and retire to the forest to meditate.
One day he asked his barber to tell him if ever he would see a gray hair on his head. The king grew old and his black hair changed. The barber noticing a grey hair on the head told the king. When he was asked to show it, he rotted it with a pair of golden pincers and placed it on the king’s hand. The wise king seeing it, thought that it was time for him to renounce the world as he was overcome by age.

He ordered all his ministers and the people to assemble and said:
“Oh dear people, I see a gray hair on my head. As I am now getting old, please understand that I will leave the world and go to the forest to meditate.” Nobody was able to prevent him from renouncing the world. Whilst his Queens, children and people were all weeping, he left the palace, and went alone to the Himalayas with no attachment to anything.
After His Enlightenment the Buddha said: “Like a drop of saliva did I renounce the Kingdom which I posses. In renouncing there was no attachment. This is my Perfection of Renunciation.”

‘Pañña’ (wisdom)-Fourth paramita-Fourth perfection”

‘Panna’ is wisdom, right understanding or insight. It is not mere wisdom or knowledge, but it is the wisdom which leads to the complete realization nf truths. Panna is the light of truth that brightly illuminates the knowledge, destroying the darkness of ignorance. Panna is the most excellent eye with which one can visualize the objects or possibilities that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Bodhisattas who practise Panna Paramita, endeavour to develop their wisdom in every possible source. They do not feel ashamed to ask questions to clear out their doubts or to gain knowledge from anyone wiser than them, regardless of his social status, caste, creed or colour. They do not wish to exhibit their knowledge, or to hide their ignorance in public with ulterior motives. Panna can be divided into two classes namely: Lokiya Panna and Lokuttara Panna.

LOKIYA PANNA - Mundane wisdom.

All those ‘Puthujjanas’ - worldly people who have no attained the fair stages of sainthood can acquire the mundane wisdom. Mundane wisdom which also gradually leads one to the supra mundane state can be developed in the various ways, such as learning the different Arts and Sciences, listening to the Dhamma, associating with the wise, engaging in profitable conversation, discussion and debates, reading widely and traveling far and wide.

LOKUTTARA PANNA - Supra-mundane wisdom.

All those who have attained the four stages of sainthood can achieve the supra-mundane states of wisdom. This state of wisdom can be developed with the realization of the Four Noble Truths and the Law of Dependent Origination through the attainment of the Four Paths and Fruitions.
To achieve this super-normal state of wisdom, one should have a wider experience in the highest stage of meditation, particularly on the Three Characteristics of life or on any other suitable meditative subjects, according to one’s temperaments. Bodhisattvas go through the most severe course of mental culture to fulfill the perfection of Pañña, for the attainment of Enlightenment.

Illustration from SENAKA JATAKA
THE STORY OF PANDIT SENAKA

In the course of his wanderings in SAMSARA, the Bodhisattva was born as Senaka in a Brahmin family. He was very wise and advised people constantly with regard to their material and spiritual welfare. At that time there was an old Brahmin who had earned a thousand gold coins. He gave this money to a certain family for safe custody.

Unfortunately, as the members of the family spent the whole amount for their own needs, they gave a young maiden in marriage to him. The old Brahmin was pleased with this exchange. The couple lived happily for some time. Later, the wicked woman, wishing to live as she liked, forced her old husband to go fetch a servant girl. She prepared and gave him some fried rice and flour as provisions for the journey.

The poor old man, putting them inside a bag, left his house and wandered from place to place to collect some money. One day as he was hungry, he rested at the foot of a tree and opened his bag to eat some food. He ate a little and, leaving the bag open, went to a stream close by to drink some water. Just then a snake, sensing the smell of flour, crept into the bag. The Brahmin returned, and unaware of the poisonous snake, closed the bag and carried it.

A certain tree deity, in order to make known the wisdom of the Bodhisatta, said: “O Brahmin, if you go home, your wife will die; if on the way you remain, you will die.”

The frightened Brahmin did not know what to do. He could not understand the meaning of those words. Luckily it happened to be a full-moon day. People had gathered in large numbers to listen to the teachings of Pandit Senaka. The worried Brahmin went to the hall and sat crying in a corner.

Pandit Senaka saw him crying and made inquiries. As if he saw everything with his Divine Eye, he understood what actually had happened. He ordered a person to bring a long stick and open the bag. Just then the hiding snake slowly crept out. People drove the snake out without harming it, and the poor Brahmin was saved by the wisdom of the Bodhisatta.

After His Awakenment the Buddha said : “Investigating by wisdom, I then saved the Brahmin, In wisdom there is no equal to me. This is my Perfection of Wisdom.”

`Viriya’ (Perseverance) (fifth paramita-fifth perfection)

`Viriya’ literally means virility, perseverance, effort or energy. It does Iiot mean the physical energy but mental vigor which is one of the most prominent characteristics of Bodhisattvas,
`Viriya’ is also one of the `Indriyas’ - Spiritual faculties, `Balas’ - Mental powers and `Bojjhangas’ - the factors of Enlightenment, out of the thirty-seven principles leading to the Buddhahood.

The person who has `Viriya’ does not withhold his undertaking half-way on account of the obstacles, disappointments or laziness. He does not postpone his work that is to be done today until the next day. He does not waste his precious time. He begins his work straightaway without waiting for opportunity to crop up, looking for auspicious time or gazing at the stars. He never tries to escape from his day-to-day activities by giving his numerous reasons such as cold, hot or rain.

The energetic person considers that it is a sign of sure success when he fails in his undertaking. He redoubles his effort when he meets oppositions. He increases his courage when he faces obstacles. He works hard day and night looking forward to his goal until he succeeds.
Our energetic Bodhisattva exercised his `Viriya’ up to the highest degree when he was fulfilling the ten perfection. Even during his last birth while he was struggling for the Awakenment, the Monk Gotama told the Mara who advised him to give up his effort, “Death in battle (with passions) is more honorable to me than a life of defeat.”

The Monk Gotama, even for the last moment, just before the attainment of Buddhahood, while sitting down beneath the Bodhi Tree, practiced `Viriya’ by making a firm resolution. “Though only my skin, sinews and bones remain, and my blood and flesh dry up and wither away, yet never from this seat will I stir, until I have attained full Awakenment.”

Illustration from MAHA JANAKA JATAKA
THE STORY OF JANAKA

Long ago the Bodhisattva, born as an adventurous merchant named Janaka, journeyed the high seas in search of wealth. Unfortunately in mid-ocean the ship was wrecked. Some who attempted to swim perished, and a few implored gods for help. But the energetic Bodhisattva, relying on himself, besmeared the body with oil and climbing the mast jumped far out into the sea beyond the reach of the fish that had collected near the wrecked boat to eat the flesh of drowning men.

For seven days he courageously swam though no shores on both sides were visible to him. On the eighth day, as usual, even in mid-ocean he resolved to observe the Eight Precepts.
A goddess, seeing him thus struggling for life, appeared before him and offered him a dish of food. As it was after mid-day, and he was fasting, he thanked the goddess and declined the offer though he was fasting for more than seven days. To test him, the goddess spoke discouraging words to him and said that he was only making a foolish attempt in thus swimming with no shore in sight.

‘The Bodhisattva replied that there was no disgrace in making an attempt though he would fail; disgrace lay in making no effort at all through laziness. The goddess was pleased with his lofty principles and perseverance. She saved him from a watery grave and safely led him home.
He was rewarded for his self-reliance and indomitable energy; whilst those who merely prayed perished miserably. After His Enlightenment the Buddha said:
“In mid-ocean was I, not seeing both shores. All the people, too, perished. Still my mind wavered not. This is my Perfection of Energy.”

`Khanti’ (patience) - Sixth paramita-Sixth perfection

`Khanti’ literally means patience, endurance or forbearance. It is the endurance of suffering caused by others, or the forbearance of other’s wrong.
If anyone scolds, insults or even assaults the Bodhisattva, he will not become angry. He will not allow a thought of revenge or retaliation to enter into his mind. By his virtue, he tries to put the wrong doer on the path of Righteousness and extends to him thoughts of love and compassion.
Whenever a Bodhisattva is harmed by someone, he exercises his `Khanti’ to such an extent by putting the blame on himself and thinks that, “This provocation is the outcome of my own action in previous birth. Therefore, it is not proper to cherish ill will towards him who is also a fellow-being.

Secondly, the offender may be my brother or sister in former birth. “Thus the Buddha advised us how to practice `Khanti’ in the following stanzas:
“He abused me, beat me, overcame me, robbed me - in those who harbor such thoughts, hatred does not cease.”

He abused me, beat me, overcame me, robbed me - in those who do not harbor such thoughts, hatred does cease.”
“In this world hatred is never appeased by hatred. Hatred is appeased by love alone. This is the ancient law.”

To practice `Khanti’, one should be able to control one’s temper through the right understanding of the real nature of life. In this world, some people habitually let lose their temper easily even over a trifle matter. They are under the misconception that losing temper is a mark of authority for the subjugation of others.

But one should not forget that losing temper means not only losing of one’s peace, happiness, health, beauty, friendship and popularity, but also the losing of right understanding which enables one to distinguish the good from the bad and the right from the wrong.
Therefore, our Bodhisattva practiced `Khanti’ to such an extent as not to get angry even when his hands and feet were severed.

Illustration from KHANTIVADI JATAKA.
THE STORY OF THE KHANTIVADI ASCETIC

Once upon a time the Bodhisatta, leading the life of an ascetic, was meditating at the foot of a tree in the king’s royal park. He was living there at the invitation of the king’s general.
One day the king went to the park with the ladies of the court. In a drunken state, he slept keeping his head on the lap of a favourite lady. As he was asleep the other went up to the ascetic to listen to his teaching.

On waking up he found the ladies missing. Hearing that they had gone to the ascetic to hear him preaching, the king became annoyed. Burning with anger he went up to the innocent ascetic and questioned him in a harsh tone: “What do you preach, you ascetic?”
`I preach patience your Majesty,” replied the ascetic calmly.

“What is patience?”
“Patience is not getting angry when you are abused or beaten.
“Well, I will then test your patience,” said the king and summoning the executioner, ordered him to throw the ascetic on the ground and beat him with a thorny whip. The innocent ascetic was whipped mercilessly. The ascetic’s skin burst. The whole body was smeared with blood. But the ascetic true to his teaching endured the pain patiently.
“Do you still practise patience, ascetic?”
“Yes, still I do, your Majesty!”
The king then orderd his hands and feet to be cut off and questioned him again. The same calm reply issued from his lips.
Full of wrath the king ordered his nose and ears to be cut off. Mercilessly the executioner chopped off his nose and ears. With mutilated limbs, the good ascetic lay on a pool of blood, the king asked him again:
“Do you still practise patience, ascetic?”
“Your Majesty, please do not think that my patience lies in my skin, or in my hands and feet, or in my nose and ears. My patience lies within my heart. With your superior strength you can over-power my weak body. But, your Majesty, my mind can never be changed,” calmly replied the ascetic.

He harboured no ill-will towards the king. Nor did he look at him with any anger. The king’s anger knew no bounds. Deeply enraged he raised his foot and stamped the chest of the ascetic with his heel. Immediately blood gushed out of his mouth. The General who had invited him heard of his pitiful state, and at once he hurried to his presence.
Quickly he applied some ointment and begged him not to curse the kingdom. The merciful ascetic, instead of cursing the king blessed him, saying:

“He who caused my hands and feet, nose and ears, to be cut off, may that king live long! Men like us never get angry.”
After His Enlightenment the Buddha said: “Though hacked by a sharp axe as if I was inanimate, I did not get angry with King Kasi. This is my Perfection of Patience.”

‘Sacca’ (truthfulness)-Seventh paramita-seventh perfection

‘Sacca’ is truthfulness or keeping one’s promise. Here Sacca does not mean simply telling the truth but fulfilling one’s engagement or keeping one’s word, assurance or promise even at the point of death. Bodhisattas who follow this pre-requisite for the Enlightenment observe ‘Sacca’ as their guiding principle.

Not only do they refrain from speaking untruth, but they also avoid the other evil speeches such as slandering, harsh words and frivolous talk. They never speak slandering words which are harmful and liable to break the friendship, unity and harmony of others. They use words which are polite, gentle, kind, sincere and pleasant to all beings. They never engage in profitless frivolous talk.

Bodhisattas never break their promise under any circumstances. They would not make a promise if they are not able to keep it. Before they make a promise, they consider care-fully whether they can keep it or not. They do not come into hasty decision to make a promise under the influence of others or to show favour or disfavour to others.
Unlike ordinary people, the Bodhisattas never speak against their consciousness. As they speak, they act accordingly; as they act, they speak accordingly. Therefore there is complete harmony in their words and actions.

Our Bodhisatta, when he was Sumedha Pandit, decided to practise this perfection, advising himself in this way: “O, Sumedha, from now onwards, you must fulfil the Perfection cf Truth as well. Even though the thunderbolt may descend upon your head, you must not utter a conscious lie for the sake of wealth and so forth, being actuated by desire.”
Illustration from MAHA SUTASOMA JATAKA

THE STORY OF THE KING MAHA SUTASOMA

Born as King Sutasoma, the Bodhisatta was once ruling his kingdom righteously. At that time there was a man-eater named Porisada. He was formerly a king, but as he fell into the bad habit of eating human flesh, he was forced to leave his kingdom. Under a banyan tree in a forest he lived feasting on human flesh as he liked.
One day a thorn pricked his foot and he suffered long, acute pain from the wound. Thus, in this state of agony, he made a vow to the tree-deity that, if his wound would heal, he would pay back by making a grand sacrifice of a hundred Kings. Due to his fasting and resting, the wound healed in a very short time. Foolishly, he thought that his cure was due to the kindness of the tree-nymph.

In accordance with his vow, he succeeded in seizing a hundred and one kings and made all arrangements for the great sacrifice. The deity resented this human sacrifice and in order to prevent it, he appeared before Porisada and asked him to get King Sutasoma also as a sacrifice.
Porisada lost no time in capturing the wanted king. He went to the pond where the king bathed and hid himself. As the king had finished his bath, Porisada rushed forth whirling a sword above his head and proclaiming his name. At once he carried away the king on his shoulders.

At this moment, the king was not frightened at all but he felt sorry indeed for not being able to keep his appointment with a Brahmin who desired to recite him four advisory verses. As the king was going to have his bath in the park, he sent the learned Brahmin to the city and promised that he would come and hear him after his bath.

So King Sutasoma told Porisada of his promise made to the Brahmin and begged him for a short leave. Porisada allowed him to go on condition that he would return ready for the sacrifice. Porisada had no desire to kill him because they both had been fellow-students in their childhood and he had every reason to be grateful to him. He allowed him to go without expecting his return.

King Sutasoma returned to the palace, heard the words of counsel from the Brahmin and gave him presents. Then the noble king summoned all his courtiers and mentioned about his promise to Porisada. They advised him not to go as he would surely be killed. But the Bodhisatta was a man of principles. He handed over his kingdom and left the palace to keep his promise in spite of the weeping and lamentation of his relatives and subjects.

As Porisada was preparing a fire to offer his human sacrifice, King Sutasoma arrived on the scene and stood before him. Porisada was surprised to see him. He told him: “How foolish are you? I released you, thinking that you would not come. You know well that you would be killed. Why did you come back?”

“O Porisada, in your opinion I may have done a foolish act. But I value my word. I promised to come and I have come now. I prize my promise even more than my life. You may sacrifice me.” Porisada was very much pleased on hearing the speech of his old friend. He yearned to hear more from him and he sat at his feet listening to the advice of the Bodhisatta.

The Bodhisatta preached to him. His innate goodness eame to the surface and he became a changed person after the preaching. Porisada gave up his proposed sacrifice and released all the hundred and one kings and sent them to their respective kingdoms. He himself returned to his kingdom as a reformed king to lead a righteous life.

After His  Awakenment the Buddha said: “Fulfilling my truthful word, I sacrificed my life and saved one hundred and one warrior kings. This is my Perfection of Truthfulness.”

‘Adhitthana’ (Determination)-Eighth paramita-eight perfection

‘Adhitthana’ literally means determination, resolution or fixedness of purpose. ‘Adhitthana’ can be regarded as a foundation for all the perfection, because without a firm determination one cannot fulfill the other Paramitas. Although one’s detention can be extended to either desirable or undesirable way; it should be clearly understood that the determination for the line of unwholesome deeds cannot be regarded as a perfection.

A person with a wavering mind or who sits on the fence cannot succeed in any undertaking. One must have an iron-will, an unshakable determination to overcome any difficulties of hardship in order to achieve success. He who has no determinative mind would easily give up his work before it is successful. Such a person with weak and unsteady mind should get disappointed easily and disheartened quickly. Even a word of criticism would be adequate to put an end to hl his projects.

A Bodhisatta, who has an unshakable resolution and who is a man of principles, will never give up his noble effort even at the point of death. He is capable of setting aside any obstacles in his way and going forward, turning his eyes to-wards his goal.

Our Bodhisatta, when he was Sumedha Pandit, made a firm determination at the feet of the Buddha Dipankara in this way: “O Sumedha, from now onwards you must fulfil the perfect of resolution as well. Be steadfast in whatever solution you make. As a rock, even while the wind beats upon it on every side, does not tremble nor quake but re-mains in its own place, you must likewise be unshaken in your resolution until you become a Buddha.”

Illustration from TEMIYA JATAKA.
THE STORY OF THE PRINCE TEMIYA

Once upon a time our Bodhisatta was born in a royal family. He was named Temiya and was also known as Mugapakkha. While he was only one month old, lying on the lap of his father, he noticed how the king ordered four thieves to ‘be punished. Though he was an infant he thought that his father was acquiring evil Kamma by his kingship.

On the following day as he was sleeping under the royal canopy, he remembered his past life. He recalled how he was suffering in his previous birth owing to his evil Kamma done as a king. He, therefore, resolved to get away from that royal ‘prison’.

A goddess who was guarding the canopy and who had been his mother in a previous birth, advised him thus: “Dear son, if you so wish, behave like a cripple though not a cripple, a dumb though not a dumb, behave like a deaf though not a deaf.”

He accepted the advice of the goddess and made a firm determination to do like-wise. He suffered much, but he did not change his resolution. For sixteen years he acted as advised.
The kind parents then approached him and said: “Dear son Temiya, we know that you are not a cripple, not a deaf or a dumb. Their faces, ears and limbs are not like yours. We longed for you and we got you. Please do not disgrace us Save our good name, son.” But the iron-willed Temiya was silent. He remained as if he did not hear a word. The king could no longer bear this insult. He grew annoyed and mad an order that the prince should be taken in a hearse by the back door and buried alive.

The sorrowful mother queen who received a favour from the king on the birthday of the prince, approached the king, and reminded him of the favour and begged him to ant the kingship for her son for seven days. With difficulty she got the consent of the king and implored the son again and again for seven days to change his attitude but with no success.

On the seventh day the king summoned the charioteer and said: “Tomorrow you should take this wretched child to the cemetery. Dig a grave there; smash his head and bury him. The queen could not bear the fateful order. She came and told her son about it. Prince Temiya was delighted to hear this seemingly news. He was happy because he knew that his determination would be crowned with success after sixteen years.

But the poor mother’s tender heart was about to break through grief. As ordered, the charioteer went to the chamber of the Prince and carried him out of the palace while the mother-queen was weeping and lamenting.

It was a critical moment for the noble Prince. He looked at the mother and thought: “If I do not speak now, my mother will be deeply grieved. If I do speak, then my resolution for sixteen years will be useless. By my silence I will bring happiness to my parents.” In this instance the Bodhisatta cared more for his determination than for the grief of his mother. His adherence to his lofty principle made him firm to follow his perfection.

The charioteer took him in a hearse and stopped it near the cemetery. Leaving the Prince in the hearse, he started digging a grave. Meanwhile the Prince rose up and went to the charioteer. To his great surprise he found out that the Prince was hale and hearty.
As the Prince decided to remain in the forest meditating, the charioteer returned to the palace and reported the whole matter. The Prince lived as an ascetic and later on, others also followed his footstep. After the Enlightenment the Buddha said :
“I did not detest my mother and father, or my great glory: but I preferred `Omniscience’. Therefore did I make that vow.”

‘Metta’ (loving-kindness)-Ninth paramita-Ninth perfection

‘Metta’ - In Pali the word ‘Mitta’ means friend. ‘Mitta’ becomes ‘Metta’ which indicates friendliness, goodwill, ‘benevolence, loving-kindness or the regarding of others as one’s friends.
Although here ‘Metta’ literally explains as loving-kindness, it is not the ordinary love or affection which is the indirect enemy of loving-kindness. While the passionate love leads one to temporary happiness, unrest of the mind and sometimes even to the various sufferings, loving-kindness produces permanent happiness, blessing and peace in the mind. Therefore it should be clearly understood that the ordinary love is entirely different from loving-kindness.

‘Metta’ is one of the Four Brahma Viharas - four sub-lime states of mind, namely:

(i) METTA - loving-kindness (ii) KARUNA - compassion (iii) MUDITA - sympathetic joy (iv) UPEKKHA - impartiality or equanimity

‘Metta’ is also one of the fundamental characteristic features of Bodhisattas. It is this ‘Metta’ that embraces all beings as our own brothers and sisters, without distinction of race, caste, creed or colour. It is this ‘Metta’ that promotes the Bodhisattas to renounce the world for the good and happiness of mankind.

The direct enemy of ‘Metta’ is hatred. As long as enmity, hatred and hostility exist in our mind towards anyone, t is impossible to develop loving-kindness. We should therefore forget enmity and hostility once and for all and concentrate more on practising ‘Metta’ at every possible opportunity. Otherwise, it will continue to exist in us from birth o birth in this Samsara; producing much suffering, misery and unhappiness. At the same time we should remember, that according to the Metta Sutta, various advantages can be obtained in this very life by developing ‘Metta’.

‘Metta’ is also one of the common subjects for meditation. In practising ‘Metta’, at first, one should extend loving-kindness towards oneself. Secondly it should be spread towards one’s parents, husband or wife, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and the rest of the family. Thirdly one should be able to spread loving-kindness among neighbours, villages or towns, then the whole country and finally to all the beings in this world.

Illustration from CULA DHAMMAPALA JATAKA.
THE STORY OF PRINCE DHAMMAPALA

Long ago there lived a king named Maha Pratapa. His queen was Candra Devi. They had a handsome and lovable son named Dhammapala. This was our Bodhisatta. Great were the rejoicings of the people over the birth of this charming hince. The king also was happy, but he was a proud and jealous father. His wickedness knew no bounds.

One day the happy queen was fondling the Prince, placing him on her lap. At that moment, the king happened to pass by. Seeing the king, the queen did not rise to salute him because the child was on her lap. At once the king was offended by this seemingly disrespectful attitude. Deeply enraged, he returned to the upper storey of the palace and summoned the executioner. He came quickly with an axe in his hand and stood before the king awaiting his orders. “My enemy in this palace is that fellow, Dhammapala! Seize him by his feet, drag him before me,” ordered the king in a rage.

The executioner went up to the queen, begged her pardon; gripping the baby Prince by the feet, he mercilessly dragged the seven month old Prince along the ground. Over-come with grief, the queen came crying and begged the king to punish her for her disrespect instead of the helpless, innocent child. But the heartless king was not moved by such pleading and crying. In fact, he was dominated by anger and jealousy.

So he ordered the executioner to cut off the hands and feet of little Dhammapala. With no mercy the executioner chopped off the limbs of the infant Prince. The affectionate mother clasping those severed limbs of her son said, “Your Majesty, a mother’s love for her children is very deep. Please, Your Majesty, allow me to have even this maimed body of my child.”

The hard-hearted king was not moved by such soft words. “Take this child to a place where four ways meet and behead him. Pierce his heart with a sword. Cut off his flesh and throw to the four directions,” was the cruel order of the fearless father Young Dhammapala was only seven months old. Although he was only a suckling, Dhammapala was a highly advanced being. He was a Buddha-to-be. He harboured no malice in his tender heart, instead, radiated his thoughts of loving-kindness towards all.

He thought to himself, “Dhammapala, here is a golden opportunity for you to practise your loving-kindness. In front of you is your father who has ordered you to be killed ruthlessly. On your side is the executioner who is about to kill you. On the other side is your grieving mother whose heart is about to burst. In the centre is your helpless self.

You must surely love your dear mother. But your love for our father should be greater. Your beloved mother does cry for you. But it is your beloved father that has given you this opportunity to practise patience and loving-kindness equally towards all the four.”
“May no misfortune befall my father. May he not be subject to any suffering! May he be free from all ill! May he ever be well and happy! May I be a Buddha in the future by he might of this great deed.” The noble minded Dhammapala was killed; but his boundless love triumphed.

‘Upekkha’ (equanimity)-Tenth paramita-Tenth perfection

‘Upekkha’ is equanimity, impartiality or keeping a well-balance mind. This is the most difficult one among the ten perfection to be practiced by a worldly being. But the Bodhisattas observe this perfection without a slightest feeling of favour or disfavour, attachment or detachment, towards anyone. Particularly, they keep their mind in balance, without being moved or influenced by the ‘Attha Loka Dhamma’ -the Eight Vicissitudes of Life.
Labho Alabho Ayaso Yasoca
Ninda Pasamsa Ca Sukham Ca Dukkham
Gain and loss, fame and ill-fame, praise and blame, and happiness and sorrow.
All these Eight Worldly Conditions rotate like a wheel on everybody’s life. If we meet the first four conditions of these four pairs of vicissitude, we shall be extremely happy and overjoyed. But it is natural and unavoidable, one day or another, we shall have to face the last four conditions. Then, what will happen?

We shall be extremely sorrowful and disheartened and perhaps some people will become crazy. A worldly person who has no right understanding of thc Dhamma cannot stand on his feet or keep his mind well-balanced when he is faced with the vicissitudes of life. On such occasions ‘Upekkha’ is the only remedy that can assist a man to stand up like a firm rock, unmoved or unshakable by the wind.

Our Bodhisatta - Sumedha Pandit, firmly resolved in ‘Upekkha’ advising himself thus:
“O, Sumedha, from now onward you must fulfil the perfection of equanimity as well. Be unperturbed in both prosperity and adversity. As the earth remains indifferent when both pure and impure matter is thrown upon it, you too must remain unperturbed in both prosperity and adversity until you become a Buddha.”

Illustration from LOMAHAMSA IATAKA.
THE STORY OF LOMAHAMSA

Once the Bodhisatta was born in a rich and noble family. His name was Lomahamsa. Having come of age, ht realized the vanity of worldly pleasure. He thought that if he were to become an ascetic, people who knew him well, would pay him great respect and shower him with various gifts an offerings. He, therefore, decided to leave home and wand from place to place practising equanimity.

With only a cloth to cover his body, he left his home and wandered as an ascetic, seeking opportunities to practise equanimity. He preferred to stay long in those places where he was likely to be ridiculed and abused. His object was maintain a balanced mind amidst gain and loss, praise and blame, honour and dishonour, happiness and pain. He succeeded in his noble effort.
In the course of his wanderings, he came to a place where there were mischievous children who found pleasure in abusing and making fun of others, especially old people. The Bodhisatta thought it was the place for him to practise equanimity.

The children were delighted as they had found a suitable person for their amusement. So they made fun of him and Lomahamsa pretended to be displeased with their mischievous doings. As a result, these naughty children ridiculed him more and more. As if greatly offended, he went to a cemetery and slept there, using some bones for his pillow. Taking full advantage of his indifference, these urchins now surrounded him and subjected him to all kinds of insults. But elderly men and women who appreciated the goodness and holiness of the Bodhisatta, came and paid him great respect.

Under all circumstances the Bodhisatta practised perfect equanimity without any change of mind whatsoever. “Equally balanced was I at all times; amidst pain and happiness, praise and blame. This is my Perfection of Equanimity.”

 

 

 

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Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay-For The Gain of The Many and For The Welfare of The Many-C.M. on Punjab and Jammu visit from November 16 -Indian cricketers help spread the message to ‘Bowl Out Polio’ -UP plans big for tapping minerals-UP sugar farmers` anger spills over-’No Indian firm may qualify for Rs 25,000 crore UP expressway’ -Tiger scare in Uttar Pradesh village -UP expressways authority set up
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 8:40 am

Sarvajan Hitay Sarvajan Sukhay-For The Gain of The Many and For The Welfare of The Many

C.M. on Punjab and Jammu visit from November 16

Lucknow : 15 November 2007 The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Km. Mayawati would be on a visit to Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir states from tomorrow (Friday, November 16th). The C.M. would arrive at Ludhiana (Punjab) at 3.30 p.m. tomorrow. On Saturday, November 17th, she would take part in the Bahujan Samaj Party rally being held at the Dal Mandi grounds in Ludhiana. Km. Mayawati would proceed to Jammu in the forenoon of Sunday (November 18), where she would address another BSP rally to be held at the Parade grounds in the city (Jammu). Thereafter, she would come back to Lucknow in the afternoon. ********

For every child Health, Education, Equality, Protection ADVANCE HUMANITY

Indian cricketers help spread the message to ‘Bowl Out Polio’

UNICEF Image: India, cricket, 'Bowl Out Polio'
© UNICEF India/2007
Indian cricketer R.P. Singh presents a special cricket bat with a message on eradicating polio to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Sushri Mayawati as part of the ‘Bowl Out Polio’ campaign.

UTTAR PRADESH, India, 14 November 2007 – After a recent one-day cricket match between India and Pakistan, victorious Indian cricketer R.P. Singh received a special award from the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Sushri Mayawati.

Before accepting the highly anticipated award, Mr. Singh presented Ms. Mayawati with a cricket bat signed by all the players of his team as a show of support for the ‘Bowl Out Polio’ campaign. The message on the bat read: ‘We want to see the children of India run and play. Let’s bowl out polio.’

The Bowl Out Polio campaign was launched in 2003 through a partnership comprised of UNICEF, Rotary International, NPSP-WHO and the Board for Control of Cricket in India. Since that time, Indian cricketers have been involved in the campaign and are helping to spread the message about polio eradication.

“The Indian cricket team will always do its best for India,” Mr. Singh said while being cheered on by a crowd of some 40,000. “We want every parent and everyone associated with the polio programme to do their best, too. We want Uttar Pradesh to bowl out polio.”

A longstanding collaboration

During the India-Pakistan series in 2004, the captains of both teams collaborated to run alongside children who were holding banners bearing the polio campaign slogan. Both countries are polio-endemic, with India reporting 367 cases so far this year.

As part of an ongoing initiative to involve cricketers in the effort, three special bats with messages about polio eradication have been signed by the Indian team. Two of the bats are for the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The third bat will be presented to the Union Health Minister, Dr. Ambumani Ramadoss, at the launch of the next polio immunization round on 25 November at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi.

The immunization round coincides with the cricket test match between India and Pakistan. Indian team players will attend the launch before they start the day’s play.

Motivating communities through cricket

Cricketers have helped to make the campaign more visible by visiting remote districts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where they immunized children and motivated grassroots workers.

Said former Indian cricket captain and winner of the ‘Champion of Champions’ trophy, Ravi Shastri: “If I can be of service … I will feel a great sense of satisfaction of having made a contribution to improve the lives of the people of India, especially those who are marginalized and most susceptible to diseases such as polio.”

This spirit of community is a guiding force in the campaign, and as the cricketers travel from place to place, they are bringing the message of polio eradication with them.



Thursday,Nov 15,2007
UP plans big for tapping minerals
Pallavi Bisaria / New Delhi/ Lucknow November 15, 2007
The Department of Geology and Mining in Uttar Pradesh has chalked out ambitious plans for the coming years, in order to explore and develop the present mineral resources in the state.
 
The department has recently found traces of platinum at Lalitpur and is now busy realising its commercial viability.
 
“We have issued four prospective licenses to De Beers company, engaged in diamond mining, trading and exploration, to carry preliminary investigations in Lalitpur, Jhansi and Sonbhadra for diamond and other precious metals. Research will soon be started on an area about 10, 000 sq km in Lalitpur by the company under the monitoring of the department’s experts,” said MVS Rami Reddy, secretary (industries, mining and geology), Uttar Pradesh.
 
The department, since its inception in 1955, is actively engaged in search of minerals as well as promotion of scientific development of mineral resources, their conservation and development of mineral-based industries in the state.
 
Major mineral resources in Uttar Pradesh after its bifurcation are confined to the southern part of the state. The main reserves comprise coal, china clay, cement-grade limestone, silica sand, rock phosphate, pyrophyllite, etc., at the area stretching from Lalitpur, Jhansi, Banda and Sonbhadra.
 
“The department will give impetus to the mineral exploration activity during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012). The efforts will be focused on re-evaluation of the data generated during exploration work carried out so far in the light of modern technological advancements and information. This will help in determining the commercial value of the deposits which were hitherto considered uneconomical and of low grade,” Reddy said.
 
The department had a revenue collection of Rs 350.50 crore in the year 2006-07. In the next five years, the revenue realisation is envisaged to go up from Rs 364.36 crore in the year 2007-08 to Rs 700.43 crore in 2011-12. The total mineral revenue contribution in the next five years is estimated to be Rs 2,559.73 crore.
 
“We have set a target of Rs 448 crore this year and are positive about the collections, as a number of new initiatives and mining activities will be started soon in the state. The latest and the most important one being the re-functioning of the cement factories at Dala (Sonbhadra) and Chunar (Mirzapur) by Jaypee Group of Industries,” added Reddy.
 
Huge cement-grade limestone reserves are available in Sonbhadra district that fed the now-closed cement factories of the Cement Corporation of Uttar Pradesh.
 
“The high court has permitted the Jaypee group to take up the factories, which will now be revived and modernised by the company,” Reddy said.
 
In addition to this, the department is thinking high on coal production as well.
 
“The current production of coal is about 15 million tonnes per year, which is expected to go up by 3-4 million tonnes considering we have sanctioned another project for Northern Coalfields Ltd at Krishnashila-Sonbhadra, to be grounded by December,” Reddy said.
 
Northern Coalfields Ltd already has three projects in Sonbhadra for exploiting coal.
 
“To provide further momentum to exploration activity, public-private partnerships will also be encouraged to attract private entrepreneurs,” Reddy said.

UP sugar farmers` anger spills over
BS Reporters / Lucknow/New Delhi November 15, 2007
The sugarcane crisis in Uttar Pradesh is taking ominous proportions. With private sugar mills, which buy over 80 per cent sugarcane cultivated in the state, unwilling to start crushing in a hurry, farmers have started getting restive.
 
On Monday, farmers in Meerut staged a demonstration before the office of the divisional commissioner and burnt sugarcane.
 
They served a notice saying they would intensify their agitation and fill the commissioner’s office with sugarcane if the private mills failed to start crushing immediately.
 
A worried sugarcane development minister, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, summoned the representatives of the private sugar mills to Lucknow on Tuesday. The meeting, said an executive of a large mill, remained inconclusive.
 
The minister failed to get a categorical assurance from the mills that they would follow the crushing schedule presented by him in the Assembly. The schedule said the mills would start crushing in phases from November 12.
 
Across Uttar Pradesh, about 15 million farmers sell sugarcane to 146 sugar mills — 83 of which are privately owned and the remaining 63 are either owned by the state or by farmers’ co-operatives.
 
The numbers are huge and the sugar mills expect political leaders to rake up the issue in a big way in the next few days to derive political mileage.
 
Stung by low sugar prices (Rs 12.50 a kg), huge payment arrears to farmers (over Rs 1,400 crore) and high state-advised prices (Rs 125-130 a quintal), the private mills in the state have refused to start crushing. (Some co-operative and state-owned mills have started operations.) “At this price, the loss for the efficient mills will be Rs 5 a kg, while it could be as high as Rs 7 a kg for the inefficient mills,” said an industry source.
 
The mills were expecting the Mayawati government to lower the state-advised price this season. But she kept it at last year’s level.
 
The mills have since moved the Allahabad High Court saying the state government needs to explain how it has fixed the price, which is substantially higher than the statutory minimum price of Rs 81.18 a quintal fixed by the Committee on Agricultural Costs and Prices at the Centre.
 
The state government, on its part, says the Supreme Court has recognised the state’s power to fix sugarcane prices. Privately, bureaucrats admit that any reduction in the state-advised prices could have adverse political consequences for Mayawati and her government.
 
Some mills are known to have offered to buy at the statutory minimum price, but in vain. They cite the example of Maharashtra, where farmers are paid the statutory minimum price and yet crushing is in full swing.
 
Amid this confusion, sugar mills expect the acreage under sugarcane to shrink drastically next year. That could help sugar prices firm up.


Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, November 15, 2007

‘No Indian firm may qualify for Rs 25,000 crore UP expressway’

NEW DELHI: Most of the Indian construction firms may fail to clear the tough norms of the Uttar Pradesh government if they make individual bids for the Rs 25,000-crore Balia-Greater Noida 950 km, eight-lane express state highway, top industry officials h ave said.

“The conditions laid down for the project are such that I doubt whether any Indian company can qualify. The State Government must relax some conditions to provide level playing field for the domestic companies,” Mr M K Agrawal, Vice- President, Unitech E xecutive said at the pre-bid meeting on the Request for Qualification (RFQ) here today.

According to one of the conditions, a company must have completed a single road projects worth Rs 830 crore as a threshold size for meeting the technical requirements. The Uttar Pradesh Government is however, willing to accept the bids in consortia of fi rms, which can jointly meet the criteria.

“An individual company may not be able to meet the criteria, but there can be consortia of two-three firms,” Mr Atul Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary of the UP Government said.

He said this was not only a road project. There would be many other activities like river embankment and real estate development attached to it. “We are looking at combined experience of more than one company for the project,” he said.

Mr S P Agarwal, Executive Director, DLF said, “it is absolutely unachievable for any Indian company to meet the criteria.”

Since no state government has ever taken up the project of this magnitude, not many Indian firms have gained such experience, he said. Starting from Greater Noida, the proposed expressway will run along the banks of the Ganga. - PTI

The Earthtimes
 

Tiger scare in Uttar Pradesh village

Lucknow, Nov 14 - A tiger that strayed into a village in Laklhimpur Kheri district four days ago is giving villagers sleepless nights after it killed two cattle in a row.

The tiger was first spotted in a paddy field, where a local farmer even photographed the animal.

The first kill was made on the night of Nov 10 when it grabbed a calf. But after beating of drums and gunfire by some locals, it abandoned the calf and fled to a neighbouring sugarcane field.

The following day, a carcass of a blue-bull was recovered from the field.

After these two incidents, forest officials are on high alert to catch the animal.

A special team led by M.P. Singh, director of the neighbouring Dudhwa National Park, has been camping near the sugarcane fields to catch the animal.

‘We laid a trap by using the remains of the blue-bull as bait, but the animal was smarter and managed to give us a slip,’ Singh told IANS over telephone from Ramuapur village about 200 km from here.

‘We have been carrying out extensive search in the sugarcane fields and in the neighbouring areas with the help of two captive elephants. But to locate the tiger is proving difficult since it takes cover of the standing crops,’ he said.

‘We are trying to push the animal back into the forest. If we fail, we will lay another trap to capture it and later release it in the forest,’ Singh said.

 


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Thursday, Nov 15, 2007

UP expressways authority set up

Special Correspondent




It will be headed by Chief Executive Officer

Hathras gets new name for the fifth time




LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh Government on Wednesday decided to constitute the UP Expressways Industrial Development Authority to ensure proper implementation and development of the proposed Rs.30,000-crore Greater Noida-Ballia Expressway along the left bank of the Ganga in the State.

This decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mayawati.

The Authority, which will also oversee development of the link expressways which constituted an integral part of the mega road project, will be constituted under the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Act, 1976.

The functioning of the Authority will be monitored by a Board and a separate corpus will be established for meeting its expenditure.

To begin with, the corpus will have Rs.10 crore in the form of grant from Noida (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority), Greater Noida and UP State Industrial Development Authority.

The proposed body will be responsible for acquiring land for the expressway and will also finalise the bid document for the Ganga Expressway and the link expressways.

The Authority would be headed by a Chief Executive Officer, who will be a senior bureaucrat.

To be developed by private players, the 900-km-long Greater Noida-Ballia Expressway will consist of an eight-lane highway linking the eastern corner (Ballia) of the State with its western corner (Greater Noida).

The Cabinet also decided to re-name Hathras district as Mahamaya Nagar. Hathras had been christened Mahamaya Nagar by Ms. Mayawati in her second term as UP Chief Minister in 1997. When the BJP Government headed by Kalyan Singh came to power, the district reverted to its original name in 1998. However, when Ms. Mayawati returned as CM in 2002, Hathras again became Mahamaya Nagar.

In 2006, the Mulayam Singh regime dropped Mahamaya Nagar for Hathras.

It is for an unprecedented fifth time in the last decade that the pendulum has swung from Hathras to Mahamaya Nagar, back to Hathras and again Mahayamaya Nagar.

The district owes its name to Gautam Buddha’s mother Mahamaya.

Another decision pertained to the Cabinet nod for extension of the UP Diversified Agriculture Project (UPDASP).

The project was being implemented in 32 districts but following its success in increasing agriculture productivity, it was decided to extend the scheme to the 38 remaining districts. The project will now cover the entire State.

One farmer’s suicide every 30 minutes

P. Sainath




Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have together seen 89,362 farmers’ suicides between 1997 and 2005.





On average, one Indian farmer committed suicide every 32 minutes between 1997 and 2005. Since 2002, that has become one suicide every 30 minutes. However, the frequency at which farmers take their lives in any region smaller than the country — say a single State or group of States — has to be lower. Because the number of suicides in any such region would be less than the total for the country as a whole in any year. Yet, the frequency at which farmers are killing themselves in many regions is appalling.

On average, one farmer took his or her life every 53 minutes between 1997 and 2005 in just the States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh). In Maharashtra alone, that was one suicide every three hours. It got even worse after 2001. It rose to one farm suicide every 48 minutes in these Big Four States, and one every two and a quarter hours in Maharashtra alone. The Big Four have together seen 89,362 farmers’ suicides between 1997 and 2005, or 44,102 between 2002 and 2005.

K. Nagaraj of the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), who has studied farmers’ suicides between 1997-2005 based on the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, divides the States into four groups. The worst of these is Group II which includes, besides the Big Four, the State of Goa which shows a high farmers’ suicide rate (FSR) — that is, suicides per 1,00,000 farmers. However, Goa’s rate is based on tiny absolute numbers. All Group II States have high general suicide rates (GSR) — suicides per 1,00,000 population — and have seen large numbers of farm suicides.

Of these, Andhra Pradesh shows some decline in 2005. And the government claims the numbers have fallen further in 2006. But there is no NCRB data to support this as yet. In all, if the NCRB data are valid, then Andhra Pradesh saw 16,770 suicides between 1997 and 2005.

Decline in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh was the first State after the 2004 polls to appoint a commission to go into the agrarian crisis. Based on the commission’s advice, it also took some steps towards handling that crisis. It restored compensation for the suicides that had been stopped by the previous regime in 1998. It persuaded creditors to accept a one-time settlement of debt in several cases. This possibly helped see a decline after the terrible years of 2002-04. However, Andhra Pradesh has begun to mimic Maharashtra in one unhappy aspect. The number of “non-genuine” cases — those the government does not accept as distress-linked — keeps mounting each month while the “genuine” suicides decline.

There are other problems too. Several States, notably Maharashtra, have made identification of farmers’ suicides extremely difficult by using indicators that rule out vast numbers from being categorised as such. One problem with such corruption of data is that it will eventually reflect in and distort future NCRB reports as well.

Karnataka too records some decline in 2004 and 2005, after a disastrous five-year period. And the State’s 15 per cent increase in non-farmers committing suicide in the 1997-2005 period is five times higher than the rise in farmers’ suicides (3 per cent). But the damage of those earlier years was huge. Karnataka saw as many as 20,093 farm suicides in the period. Again, it is unclear whether the lower numbers for 2004-05 were largely due to policy measures or whether there have been new and creative accounting techniques.

“Madhya Pradesh appears to have long been a problem State for farmers, though this has not been so far acknowledged,” says Professor Nagaraj. “The increase in farm suicides over the nine-year period 1997-2005 is not so high, at 11 per cent, but the absolute numbers have been very high for a long period. Much higher than in many other States. However, here too, the rise in non-farmer suicides, at 48 per cent, is more than four times the increase in farmers’ suicides.” Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh) saw 23,588 farm suicides in the 1997-2005 period. However, Madhya Pradesh has mostly escaped the media radar as a farm crisis State. In Group II States, farm suicides as a percentage of total suicides reached 21.9 in 2005 against a national average of 15.5. In short, more than one of every five persons taking his or her life in these States that year was a farmer. Also, one in every four suicides in this group was committed using pesticide.

One State outside the Big Four that has seen high numbers of farmers’ suicides is Kerala. It saw a total of 11,516 in 1997-2005. Worse, many of these occurred in small districts such as Wayanad. Kerala shows a fluctuating but declining trend over the nine-year period. The years 1998 to 2003 were clearly its worst period. More than 70 per cent of its farm suicides occurred in those years. From 2004, the numbers begin to drop. So much so that unlike the Big Four, it shows no increases in farm suicides for the whole period. The post-2003 fall, in fact, makes its overall figure minus 7 per cent.

Kerala created a “Debt Relief Commission” soon after the change in government there in 2005. The Commission held a case by case scrutiny of the debt problem, while the government halted aggressive loan recovery measures by banks and money lenders. On the Commission’s advice, the government also decided to declare the entire Wayanad revenue district distress-affected.

Kerala still vulnerable

The improvement is quite fragile and could easily see a downturn. Kerala’s farm suicide rate for the period is very high, and the State remains vulnerable to volatility in the prices of, for instance, coffee, pepper, cardamom or vanilla. A fragility enhanced by the fact that major relief on the debt front requires Central help. Besides, State bureaucracies are extremely hostile to debt relief for farmers. Also, India’s free trade agreements with nations and neighbours that produce the same cash crops as Kerala hurts badly. The State’s balance on the farm suicides front is very delicate. Complacence would be, literally, fatal.

Group I States are those which have very high general suicide rates. That includes Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, West Bengal, and Tripura. “However, Group I’s share of both total suicides and of farmers’ suicides declined between 1997 and 2005, even as that of Group II steadily rose,” points out Professor Nagaraj.

Group III States (Assam, Orissa, Gujarat, and Haryana) are those which have “moderate general and farm suicide rates,” while Group IV States (Bihar including Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh including Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan) report “low general and farmers’ suicides rates.”

Generally speaking, the Gangetic plain region and eastern India have seen fewer farm suicides. States such as Uttar Pradesh (including Uttaranchal), Bihar (including Jharkhand) and Orissa report very few suicides of this kind. These States are in many respects the opposite of the Group II or ‘Suicide SEZ’ States. These are overwhelmingly food crop regions. They are not intensive input zones, and their costs of cultivation are much lower. Use of chemicals is not anywhere at the levels it is in the Group II States. Government support prices for food crop provide some minimal stability. And there is obviously a better water situation.

States such as Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat also report few farm suicides but their data have been challenged. Haryana, for instance, reports fewer suicides but its increase over the nine-year period was 211 per cent. This springs not from the recording of huge increases in recent years, but because the base year data appear highly flawed. For 1997, Haryana reports a spectacularly low 45 suicides. Which distorts the figure of increase in farm suicides across the period, pushing it upwards. “It could just have been that the counting operation was really shoddy or that it collapsed or was incomplete when data were sent in 1997,” says Professor Nagaraj. The numbers after the low 1997 figure remain roughly within a 170-210 range each year. Which again is strongly contested by farm unions and activists.

There are peculiar indications in Gujarat. Pesticide suicides — a common tool in farm suicides — are 84 per cent higher here than farm suicides. At the national level, they are just 28 per cent higher. Why is the gap three times bigger for Gujarat? Even for Group II States, pesticide suicides are only 21 per cent higher than farm suicides. Which raises the question whether several deaths in Gujarat ended up being recorded as just “pesticide suicides” without being acknowledged as suicides by farmers.

 

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Buddha-Abandoning the Hindrances-Let the Wilderness Serve!
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 8:33 am

Buddha

Abandoning the Hindrances

“Endowed with this noble aggregate of virtue, this noble restraint over the sense faculties, this noble mindfulness and alertness, and this noble contentment, he seeks out a secluded dwelling: a forest, the shade of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore.

“Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.

Suppose that a man, taking a loan, invests it in his business affairs. His business affairs succeed. He repays his old debts and there is extra left over for maintaining his wife. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, taking a loan, I invested it in my business affairs. Now my business affairs have succeeded. I have repaid my old debts and there is extra left over for maintaining my wife.’ Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man falls sick — in pain and seriously ill. He does not enjoy his meals, and there is no strength in his body. As time passes, he eventually recovers from that sickness. He enjoys his meals and there is strength in his body. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, I was sick… Now I am recovered from that sickness. I enjoy my meals and there is strength in my body.’ Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man is bound in prison. As time passes, he eventually is released from that bondage, safe and sound, with no loss of property. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, I was bound in prison. Now I am released from that bondage, safe and sound, with no loss of my property.’ Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man is a slave, subject to others, not subject to himself, unable to go where he likes. As time passes, he eventually is released from that slavery, subject to himself, not subject to others, freed, able to go where he likes. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, I was a slave… Now I am released from that slavery, subject to myself, not subject to others, freed, able to go where I like.’ Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

Now suppose that a man, carrying money and goods, is traveling by a road through desolate country. As time passes, he eventually emerges from that desolate country, safe and sound, with no loss of property. The thought would occur to him, ‘Before, carrying money and goods, I was traveling by a road through desolate country. Now I have emerged from that desolate country, safe and sound, with no loss of my property.’ Because of that he would experience joy and happiness.

“In the same way, when these five hindrances are not abandoned in himself, the monk regards it as a debt, a sickness, a prison, slavery, a road through desolate country. But when these five hindrances are abandoned in himself, he regards it as unindebtedness, good health, release from prison, freedom, a place of security. Seeing that they have been abandoned within him, he becomes glad. Glad, he becomes enraptured. Enraptured, his body grows tranquil. His body tranquil, he is sensitive to pleasure. Feeling pleasure, his mind becomes concentrated.

buddha heads. 
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Bhumisparsa, Sakyamuni at point of enlightenment, (Earth Witness). Museum no. IM.227-1920

Dharmachakra, Preaching Buddha, Nepal 10th/11th century, (Preaching). Museum no. IS.37-1988

Abhaya, Standing Buddha, Bihar, 7th century (Reassurance). Museum no. IS.3-2004

Varada, Bodhisattva Padmapani, Tibet, 13th century, (Giving). Museum no. IM 156-1929

Dhyana, Meditating Buddha, Eastern India, 10th/11th century (Meditation). Museum no. IS 239-1950

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Andhakavinda Sutta

Let the Wilderness Serve!

(excerpt)
Translated from the Pali by
Andrew Olendzki
At one time the Buddha was residing in Magadha, near [a place called] Andhakavinda. At that time the Buddha was seated under the open sky, in the deep darkness of the night, and the rain-god was making it rain, drop by drop. Then the Brahma Sahampati, as the night was passing away, lighting up Andhakavinda with his surpassing brilliance, approached the Buddha and stood to one side. As he stood to one side, the Brahma Sahampati offered up these verses in the presence of the Buddha:
Let the wilderness serve for your seat and bed!
From fear; and in the fearless, released.
In places where frightening serpents abide,
Lightning clashes and the rain-god thunders,
In the blinding darkness of the deepest night,
There he sits — the monk who’s vanquished his dread.
	
Let the wilderness serve for your seat and bed!
Go about set free from the ties that bind.
But if, perchance, you don’t find there your bliss, then
Live in a group — but watch over yourself:
Mindful, proceeding for alms from house to house,
Mindful, with guarded faculties — and wise.


Translator’s note

The theme of Sahampati’s first lines is fear, a present issue for the followers of the Buddha who were encouraged to practice alone in the depths of the wilderness. Poisonous snakes are a source of fear, as are the thunder, lightning and profound darkness of the night. The “dread” overcome by the bhikkhu in the last line of the verse is literally the wonderful phrase “the hair standing up on the back of one’s neck.” (In oral presentation the long phrase would be pronounced with contractions in order for the line to fit into the 11-syllable meter of this tristubh poetic form.) It suggests the terrifying, creeping anxiety of threatening forces only partly imagined or understood.

The play on words in the second line is clever, equating freedom from fear with the liberation of nibbana, which is sometimes given the epithet “the fearless.” Since fear is always rooted in protection of the ego, working with fear is a useful practice for overcoming the ego’s instinctive defenses. Awakening results in fearlessness because one lets go of the need to protect the limited view of oneself as one gains a much wider perspective.

The second verse allows that dwelling as a hermit, though a powerful practice, may not be appropriate for everybody; for many it is better to live in community. But one should not thereby consider oneself free from the objects of fear, because ultimately these forces are all within us. Removed from the dangers of the wilderness, a person must be especially attentive to watching over the workings of their own mind. In community, the serpents of ill will, the storms of desire, and the darkness of delusions are equally dangerous for those seeking the peace of liberation. And mindfulness is our greatest ally in watching over or guarding the workings of our minds as we try to get along with others.

Dhamma-Questions and Answers -2
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Posted by: @ 8:12 am

Dhamma

Questions and Answers -2

Q: What about sleep? How much should I sleep?

A: don’t ask me, I can’t tell you. A good average for some is four hours a night. What is important, though, is that you watch and know yourself. If you try to go with too little sleep, the body will feel uncomfortable and mindfulness will be difficult to sustain. Too much sleep leads to a dull or a restless mind. Find the natural balance for yourself. Carefully watch the mind and body and keep track of sleep needs until you find the optimum. If you wake up and then roll over for a snooze, this is defilement. Establish mindfulness as soon as your eyes open.

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Sangha-The Buddha speaks-MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 3 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies-
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Posted by: @ 6:52 am

Sangha

Buddha
Walking Along the Lotus Path,  Bodghaya. Bodhgaya,


Stock Photo of  Indian Red Pond Water Lillies


Stock Photography: Water Lilies

Lotus Stock Photography:

Kindly visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2NLQGrbf5U

 

[The Buddha speaks:] I lived in refinement, utmost refinement, total refinement. My father even had lotus ponds made in our palace: one where red-lotuses bloomed, one where white lotuses bloomed, one where blue lotuses bloomed, all for my sake. I used no sandalwood that was not from Varanasi. My turban was from Varanasi, as were my tunic, my lower garments, and my outer cloak. A white sunshade was held over me day and night to protect me from cold, heat, dust, dirt, and dew.

I had three palaces: one for the cold season, one for the hot season, one for the rainy season. During the four months of the rainy season I was entertained in the rainy-season palace by minstrels without a single man among them, and I did not once come down from the palace. Whereas the servants, workers, and retainers in other people’s homes are fed meals of lentil soup and broken rice, in my father’s home the servants, workers, and retainers were fed wheat, rice, and meat.A Beautiful Bowl of Soup: The Best Vegetarian Recipes

Have a cup of spice tea with me and relax in my kitchen!

Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: “When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to aging, not beyond aging, sees another who is aged, he is horrified, humiliated, and disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to aging, not beyond aging. If I — who am subject to aging, not beyond aging — were to be horrified, humiliated, and disgusted on seeing another person who is aged, that would not be fitting for me.” As I noticed this, the [typical] young person’s intoxication with youth entirely dropped away.

Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: “When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to illness, not beyond illness, sees another who is ill, he is horrified, humiliated, and disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to illness, not beyond illness. And if I — who am subject to illness, not beyond illness — were to be horrified, humiliated, and disgusted on seeing another person who is ill, that would not be fitting for me.” As I noticed this, the healthy person’s intoxication with health entirely dropped away.

Even though I was endowed with such fortune, such total refinement, the thought occurred to me: “When an untaught, run-of-the-mill person, himself subject to death, not beyond death, sees another who is dead, he is horrified, humiliated, and disgusted, oblivious to himself that he too is subject to death, not beyond death. And if I — who am subject to death, not beyond death — were to be horrified, humiliated, and disgusted on seeing another person who is dead, that would not be fitting for me.” As I noticed this, the living person’s intoxication with life entirely dropped away.

Quan Yuan - Compassionate Family | Om Mani Padme HumKoi Carp - From a Dear Friend In Singapore

Dear Dhammachari Jagatheesan Chandrasekharan,,

On  behalf of the Bishops of Karnataka, who organized Kristothsava, I wish to thank you again for being so kind to address the gathering on the 9th.

You had taken a lot of trouble to put together many beautiful thoughts.  In fact with those pictures it would have been a great power point presentation.

Unfortunately that email of mine with its attachment could not be opened and you had to hurriedly address the gathering without having the time to look through the papers again. I like the way you remained calm and cool throughout and read the paper  through.

Many told me that you had many good thoughts to share but the time factor was not favourable.

I have not understood one thing: why you always  say ‘Jambudweepa which is Prabhuddha Bharath” Do enlighten me.

I felt bad that you had to find your own transport to return; I was not aware till you were moving out that you had come by auto.  But it was too late for me to try and arrange some transport (I would have had to approach the transport department and the ones in charge there did not like last minute requests).

Once again let me thank you for your kindness to us.
God bless,
Ronnie Prabhu SJ

MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 3 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies

1. On the fullmoon day of Ashala (July), two months after his enlightenment, the Buddha
 walked all the way from Bodhi Mandapa (Bodhgaya) to Isipatana in Baranasi. Why
 did he choose this mode of travelling rather than using His psychic abilities as in the
 case of other Buddhas?
 
 Then I, walking on tour, in time arrived in Benares, at Isipatana, the Deer Park, and
 there met the five monks.
 After the Buddha attained awaken-ness at Bodh Gaya, he decided to teach the
 liberating truths he had discovered. As his two former teachers, Alara Kalama and
 Uddaka Ramaputta, had both died, he decided to seek out his five former companions
 and present his Dhamma to them. With his supernormal powers he came to know that
 they were staying in the Deer Park (Migadaya) at Isipatana, now called Sarnath, near
 Baranasi, and so he set out to find them. These five companions had abandoned him
 after he gave up his austerities, accusing him of “reverting to the life of luxury.”
 As the Buddha approached Sarnath and the five ascetics saw him, they decided they
 would not stand up for him or greet him. But as he came closer, they were entranced
 
 by the utterly peaceful expression on his face, and one by one they spontaneously rose
 from their seats. At first they refused to believe that he was as he claimed - awakened.
 ”Have I ever spoken to you in this way before?” he asked, and they admitted that he had
 not, and so they decided that they would listen to him. And thus the good Dhamma came
 to be proclaimed to the world for the first time in a discourse now called the
 ”Discourse Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma” (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta).
 Soon afterwards, he taught his second discourse, the Discourse on Non-self
 (Anattalakkhana Sutta), after which the five companions, Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa,
 Mahanama and Assaji, all became Awakened. Later, as the result of listening to the
 Buddha’s teachings, Yasa, the son of a wealthy merchant, and fifty of his friends became
 monks. The Buddha then commissioned them to spread the Dhamma far and wide:
 ”Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of
 compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of both gods and
 men. Let no two of you go in the same direction. Teach the Dhamma which is beau­tiful
 in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end. Explain both the letter
 and the spirit of the holy life, completely fulfilled and perfectly pure.”
 And so it was that from Sarnath the Dhamma began its long journey to the ends of the
 earth. The Buddha spent the first rains retreat after his enlightenment at Sarnath and he
 may have visited it again on several occasions, judging by the number of discourses he
 delivered here.
2. Having in mind whose spiritual well-being did he decide to walk rather than leviate?
 ”Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of
 compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of both gods and
 men. Let no two of you go in the same direction. Teach the Dhamma which is beau­tiful
 in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end. Explain both the letter
 and the spirit of the holy life, completely fulfilled and perfectly pure.”
 And so it was that from Sarnath the Dhamma began its long journey to the ends of the
 earth. The Buddha spent the first rains retreat after his enlightenment at Sarnath and he
 may have visited it again on several occasions, judging by the number of discourses he
 delivered here.
3,4,5,6 & 7 What did the Buddha say regarding the nature of a Supremely Enlighten One as given in
 the five verses?
 Introduction: Given the difficult nature of the law of the deathless, his Dhamma, Buddha
 knew that the Dhamma he has discovered is only for the wise. So when he when Brahma
 Sahampati asked the Buddha to teach, he was indeed communicating with beings outside
 the human realm. There were many deities that he was able to communicate with after
 he attained his Awaken-ness. As Buddhist we must believe in beings outside of our realm,
 even though they are unseen to us through ordinary eye.
 
 Outside of our human realm, there are good Gods and evil Gods like Mara, and other
 spiritual beings that we need to live in harmony with them. That is why Buddhism is so
 difficult for many to comprehend, because it deals with beings outside of this physical
 world. We cannot be a Buddhist, if we just limit our view only to this physical world alone.
 
 Given this difficult Dhamma, Buddha himself had to tutored the five ascetics – Kondañña,
  Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, and Assaji so they could comprehend this new Dhamma.
 Through their newly acquired intuition they all have realized that they were living their
 last existence and are due to attain Awaken-ness. When Buddha dispense his first
 sermon, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, only Kondanna attained the Sotapann. All five
 attained arahatship at the end of the second Sermon - Anattalakkhana Sutta  They were
 the first five Arahats in this world.
 
 The foremost lay disciples, Saputta and Balikka who met the Buddha in person were not
 able to attain arahatship because they were not ordained Monk and they were not living
 their last existence to be worthy of Nibbana then. According to legend, one of them
 attained arahatship later and the other attained Sotapanna to live through seven more
 rebirths in this Samsara.
 
  “He who imbibes the Dhamma abides in happiness with mind pacified. The wise man
 ever delights in the Dhamma revealed by the Ariyas”.
      – DHAMMAPADA
 
  The Dhamma as the Teacher
 
 On one occasion soon after the Awaken-ness, the Buddha was dwelling at the foot of the
 Ajapala banyan tree by the bank of the Nerañjara river. As He was engaged in solitary
 meditation the following thought arose in His mind:
 
 ”Painful indeed is it to live without someone to pay reverence and show deference.
 How if I should live near an ascetic or brahmin respecting and reverencing him?”
 
 Then it occurred to Him:
 
 ”Should I live near another ascetic or brahmin, respecting and reverencing him, in order
 to bring morality (Silakkhandha) to perfection? But I do not see in this world including
 gods, Maras, and Brahmas, and amongst beings including ascetics, brahmans, gods and
 men, another ascetic or brahman who is superior to me in morality and with whom I could
 associate, respecting and reverencing him.
 
 ”Should I live near another ascetic or brahmin, respecting and reverencing him, in order
 to bring concentration (samadhikkhandha) to perfection? But I do not see in this world
 any ascetic or brahman who is superior to me in concentration and with whom I should
 associate, respecting and reverencing him.
 
 ”Should I live near another ascetic or brahmin, respecting and reverencing him, in order
 to bring wisdom (paññakkhandha) to perfection? But I do not see in this world any
 ascetic or brahman who is superior to me in wisdom and with whom I should associate,
 respecting and reverencing him.
 
 ”Should I live near another ascetic or brahmin, respecting and reverencing him, in order
 to bring emancipation (vimuttikkhandha) to perfection? But I do not see in this world any
 ascetic or brahman who is superior to me in emancipation and with whom I should
 associate, respecting and reverencing him.”
 
 Then it occurred to Him: “How if I should live respecting and reverencing this very
 Dhamma which I myself have realized?”
 
 Thereupon Brahma Sahampati, understanding with his own mind the Buddha’s thought,
 just as a strong man would stretch his bent arm or bend his stretched arm even so did he
 vanish from the Brahma realm and appeared before the Buddha. And, covering one
 shoulder with his upper robe and placing his right knee on the ground, he saluted the
 Buddha with clasped hands and said thus:
 
 ”It is so, O Exalted One! It is so, O Accomplished One! O Lord, the worthy, supremely
 Awakened Ones, who were in the past, did live respecting and reverencing this very
 Dhamma.
 
 ”The worthy, supremely Awakened Ones, who will be in the future, will also live
 respecting and reverencing this very Dhamma.
 
 ”O Lord, may the Exalted One, the worthy, supremely Awakened One of the present age
 also live respecting and reverencing this very Dhamma!”
 
  This the Brahma Sahampati said, and uttering which, furthermore he spoke as follows:
 
 ”Those Awakened Ones of the past, those of the future, and those of the present age, who
 dispel the grief of many — all of them lived, will live, and are living respecting the noble
 Dhamma. This is the characteristic of the Buddhas.
 
 ”Therefore he who desires his welfare and expects his greatness should certainly respect
 the noble Dhamma, remembering the message of the Buddhas.”
 
 This the Brahma Sahampati said, and after which, he respectfully saluted the Buddha and
  passing round Him to the right, disappeared immediately.
 
 As the Sangha is also endowed with greatness there is also His reverence towards the
 Sangha.
 
 The Invitation to Expound the Dhamma
 
 From the foot of the Rajayatana tree the Buddha proceeded to the Ajapala banyan tree
 and as He was absorbed in solitary meditation the following thought occurred to Him.
 ”This Dhamma which I have realized is indeed profound, difficult to perceive, difficult to
 comprehend, tranquil, exalted, not within the sphere of logic, subtle, and is to be
 understood by the wise. These beings are attached to material pleasures. This causally
 connected ‘Dependent Arising’ is a subject which is difficult to comprehend. And this
 Nibbana — the cessation of the conditioned, the abandoning of all passions, and the
 destruction of craving, the non-attachment, and the cessation — is also a matter not
 easily comprehensible. If I too were to teach this Dhamma, the others would not
 understand me. That will be wearisome to me that will be tiresome to me.”
 
 Then these wonderful verses unheard of before occurred to the Buddha:
 
 ”With difficulty have I comprehended the Dhamma. There is no need to proclaim it now.
 This Dhamma is not easily understood by those who are dominated by lust and hatred.
 The lust-ridden, shrouded in darkness, do not see this Dhamma, which goes against the
 stream, which is abstruse, profound, difficult to perceive and subtle.”
 
 As the Buddha reflected thus, he was not disposed to expound the Dhamma.
 
 Thereupon Brahma Sahampati read the thoughts of the Buddha, and, fearing that the
 world might perish through not hearing the Dhamma, approached Him and invited Him to
 teach the Dhamma thus:
 
 ”O Lord, may the Exalted One expound the Dhamma! May the Accomplished One expound
 the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes, who, not hearing the Dhamma,
  will fall away. There will be those who understand the Dhamma.”
 
 Furthermore he remarked:
 
 ”In ancient times there arose in Magadha a Dhamma, impure, thought out by the
 corrupted. Open this door to the Deathless State. May they hear the Dhamma understood
 by the Stainless One! Just as one standing on the summit of a rocky mountain would
 behold the people around, even so may the All-Seeing, Wise One ascend this palace of
 Dhamma! May the Sorrowless One look upon the people who are plunged in grief and are
 overcome by birth and decay!
 
 ”Rise, O Hero, victor in battle, caravan leader, debt-free One, and wander in the World!
 May the Exalted One teach the Dhamma! There will be those who will understand the
 Dhamma.”
 
 When he said so the Exalted One spoke to him thus:
 
 ”The following thought, O Brahma, occurred to me –’This Dhamma which I have
 comprehended is not easily understood by those who are dominated by lust and hatred.
 The lust-ridden, shrouded in darkness, do not see this Dhamma, which goes against the
 stream, which is abstruse, profound, difficult to perceive, and subtle’. As I reflected thus,
 my mind turned into inaction and not to the teaching of the Dbamma.”
 Brahma Sahampati appealed to the Buddha for the second time and He made the same
 reply.
 
 When he appealed to the Buddha for the third time, the Exalted One, out of pity for beings,
 surveyed the world with His Buddha-Vision.
 
 As He surveyed thus He saw beings with little and much dust in their eyes, with keen and
 dull intellect, with good and bad characteristics, beings who are easy and beings who are
 difficult to be taught, and few others who, with fear, view evil and a life beyond.
 ”As in the case of a blue, red or white lotus pond, some lotuses are born in the water,
 grow in the water, remain immersed in the water, and thrive plunged in the water; some
 are born in the water, grow in the water and remain on the surface of the water; some
 others are born in the water, grow in the water and remain emerging out of the water,
 unstained by the water. Even so, as the Exalted One surveyed the world with His
 Buddha-Vision, He saw beings with little and much dust in their eyes, with keen and dull
 intellect, with good and bad characteristics, beings who are easy and difficult to be
 taught, and few others who, with fear, view evil and a life beyond. And He addressed the
 Brahma Sahampati in a verse thus:
 
 ”Opened to them are the Doors to the Deathless State. Let those who have ears repose
 confidence. Being aware of the weariness, O Brahma, I did not teach amongst men this
 glorious and excellent Dhamma.”
 
  The delighted Brahma, thinking that he made himself the occasion for the Exalted One to
 expound the Dhamma respectfully saluted Him and, passing round Him to the right,
 disappeared immediately.
 
  The First Two Converts
 
 After His memorable fast for forty-nine days, as the Buddha sat under the Rajayatana
 tree, two merchants, Tapassu and Bhallika, from Ukkala (Orissa) happened to pass that
 way.
 Then a certain deity, who was a blood relative of theirs in a past birth, spoke to them as
 follows:
 
 ”The Exalted One, good sirs, is dwelling at the foot of the Rajayatana tree, soon after His
 Awaken-ness. Go and serve the Exalted One with flour and honey-comb. It will conduce
 to your well-being and happiness for a long time.”
 
 Availing themselves of this golden opportunity, the two delighted merchants went to the
 Exalted One, and, respectfully saluting Him, implored Him to accept their humble alms
 so that it may resound to their happiness and well-being.
 
 Then it occurred to the Exalted One: “The Tathagatas do not accept food with their hands.
 How shall I accept this flour and honeycomb?”
 
 Forthwith the four Great Kings understood the thoughts of the Exalted One with their
 minds and from the four directions offered Him four granite bowls, saying –
 ”O Lord, may the Exalted One accept herewith this flour and honey-comb!”
 
 The Buddha graciously accepted the timely gift with which He received the humble
 offering of the merchants, and ate His food after His long fast.
 
 After the meal was over the merchants prostrated themselves before the feet of the
 Buddha and said:
 
 ”We, O Lord, seek refuge in the Exalted One and the Dhamma. May the Exalted One treat
 us as lay disciples who have sought refuge from today till death. “
 
 These were the first lay disciples of the Buddha who embraced Buddhism by seeking
 refuge in the Buddha and the Dhamma, reciting the twofold formula.
 On the Way to Benares to Teach the Dhamma
 
 On accepting the invitation to teach the Dhamma, the first thought that occurred to the
 Buddha before He embarked on His great mission was —
 ”To whom shall I teach the Dhamma first? Who will understand the Dhamma quickly?
 Well, there is Alara Kalama who is learned, clever, wise and has for long been with little
 dust in his eyes. How if I were to teach the Dhamma to him first? He will understand the
 Dhamma quickly.”
 
 Then a deity appeared before the Buddha and said: “Lord! Alara Kalama died a week ago.”
 
 With His supernormal vision He perceived that it was so.
 Then He thought of Uddaka Ramaputta. Instantly a deity informed Him that he died the
 evening before.
 
 With His supernormal vision He perceived this to be so.
 
 Ultimately the Buddha thought of the five energetic ascetics who attended on Him during
 His struggle for Awaken-ness. With His supernormal vision He perceived that they were
 residing in the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares. So the Buddha stayed at Uruvela till
 such time as He was pleased to set out for Benares.
 
 The Buddha was traveling on the highway, when between Gaya and the Bodhi tree,
 beneath whose shade He attained Awaken-ness, a wandering ascetic named Upaka saw
 Him and addressed Him thus: “Extremely clear are your senses, friend! Pure and clean is
 your complexion. On account of whom has your renunciation been made, friend? Who is
 your teacher? Whose doctrine do you profess?”
 
 The Buddha replied:
 
 ”All have I overcome, all do I know.
 From all am I detached, all have I renounced.
 Wholly absorbed am I in the destruction of craving (Arahantship).
 Having comprehended all by myself whom shall I call my teacher?
 No teacher have I An equal to me there is not.
 In the world including gods there is no rival to me.
 Indeed an Arahant am I in this world.
 An unsurpassed teacher am I;
 Alone am I the All-Awakened.
 Cool and appeased am I.
 To establish the wheel of Dhamma to the city of Kasi  I go.
 In this blind world I shall beat the drum of Deathlessness
 
 ”Then, friend, do you admit that you are an Arahant, a limitless Conqueror?” queried
 Upaka.
 
 ”Like me are conquerors who have attained to the destruction of defilements. All the evil
 conditions have I conquered. Hence, Upaka, I am called a conqueror,” replied the Buddha.
 
 ”It may be so, friend!” Upaka curtly remarked, and, nodding his head, turned into a
 by-road and departed.
 
 Unperturbed by the first rebuff, the Buddha journeyed from place to place, and arrived in
 due course at the Deer Park in Baranasi.
 
 Meeting the Five Monks
 
 The five ascetics who saw Him coming from afar decided not to pay Him due respect as
 they misconstrued His discontinuance of rigid ascetic practices which proved absolutely
 futile during His struggle for Awaken-ness.
 
 They remarked:
 
 ”Friends, this ascetic Gotama is coming. He is luxurious. He has given up striving and has
 turned into a life of abundance. He should not be greeted and waited upon. His bowl and
 robe should not be taken. Nevertheless, a seat should be prepared. If he wishes, let him
 sit down.”
 
 However, as the Buddha continued to draw near, His august personality was such that
 they were compelled to receive Him with due honour. One came forward and took His
 bowl and robe, another prepared a seat, and yet another kept water for His feet.
 Nevertheless, they addressed Him by name and called Him friend (avuso), a form of
 address applied generally to juniors and equals.
 
 At this the Buddha addressed them thus:
 
 ”Do not, O Bhikkhus, address the Tathagata by name or by the title ‘Avuso’. An Exalted
 One, O Bhikkhus, is the Tathagata. A Fully Awakened One is He. Give ear, O Bhikkhus!
 Deathlessness (Amata) has been attained. I shall instruct and teach the Dhamma.
 If you act according to my instructions, you will before long realize, by your own intuitive
 wisdom, and live, attaining in this life itself, that supreme consummation of the Holy Life,
  for the sake of which sons of noble families rightly leave the household for homelessness.”
 
 Thereupon the five ascetics replied:
 
 ”By that demeanor of yours, Avuso Gotama, by that discipline, by those painful
 austerities, you did not attain to any superhuman specific knowledge and insight worthy
 of an Ariya. How will you, when you have become luxurious, have given up striving, and
 have turned into a life of abundance, gain any such superhuman specific knowledge and
 insight worthy of an Ariya?”
 
 In explanation the Buddha said: “The Tathagata, O Bhikkhus, is not luxurious, has not
 given up striving, and has not turned into a life of abundance. An Exalted One is the
 Tathagata. A Fully Enlightened One is He. Give ear, O Bhikkhus! Deathlessness has been
 attained. I shall instruct and teach the Dhamma. If you act according to my instructions,
 you will before long realize, by your own intuitive wisdom, and live, attaining in this life
 itself, that supreme consummation of the Holy Life, for the sake of which sons of noble
 families rightly leave the household for homelessness.”
 
 For the second time the prejudiced ascetics expressed their disappointment in the same
 manner.
 
 For the second time the Buddha reassured them of His attainment to Awaken-ness.
 When the adamant ascetics refusing to believe Him, expressed their view for the third
 time, the Buddha questioned them thus: “Do you know, O Bhikkhus, of an occasion when
 I ever spoke to you thus before?”
 
 ”Nay, indeed, Lord!”
 
 The Buddha repeated for the third time that He had gained Awaken-ness and that they
 also could realize the Truth if they would act according to His instructions.
 
 It was indeed a frank utterance, issuing from the sacred lips of the Buddha. The cultured
 ascetics, though adamant in their views, were then fully convinced of the great
 achievement of the Buddha and of His competence to act as their moral guide and
 teacher.
 
 They believed His word and sat in silence to listen to His Noble Teaching.
 Two of the ascetics the Buddha instructed, while three went out for alms. With what the
 three ascetics brought from their alms-round the six maintained themselves. Three of
 the ascetics He instructed, while two ascetics went out for alms. With what the two
 brought six sustained themselves.
 
 And those five ascetics thus admonished and instructed by the Buddha, being themselves
 subject to birth, decay, death, sorrow, and passions, realized the real nature of life and,
 seeking out the birthless, decayless, diseaseless, deathless, sorrowless, passionless,
 incomparable Supreme Peace, Nibbana, attained the incomparable Security, Nibbana,
 which is free from birth, decay, disease, death, sorrow, and passions, The knowledge
 arose in them that their Deliverance was unshakable, that it was their last birth and that
 there would be no more of this state again.
 
 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which deals, with the four Noble Truths, was the first
 discourse delivered by the Buddha to them. Hearing it, Kondañña, the eldest, attained
 the first stage of Sainthood. After receiving further instructions, the other four attained
 Sotapatti  later. On hearing the Anattalakkhana Sutta, which deals with soul-lessness, all
 the five attained Arahantship, the final stage of Sainthood.
  The First Five Disciples
 
 The five learned monks who thus attained Arahantship and became the Buddha’s first
 disciples were Kondañña, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, and Assaji of the brahman clan.
 
 Kondañña was the youngest and the cleverest of the eight brahmans who were
 summoned by King Suddhodana to name the infant prince. The other four were the sons
 of those older brahmans. All these five retired to the forest as ascetics in anticipation of
 the Bodhisatta while he was endeavoring to attain Buddhahood. When he gave up his
 useless penances and severe austerities and began to nourish the body sparingly to
 regain his lost strength, these favorite followers, disappointed at his change of method,
 deserted him and went to Isipatana. Soon after their departure the Bodhisatta attained
 Buddhahood.
 
 The venerable Kondañña became the first Arahant and the most senior member of the
 Sangha. It was Assaji, one of the five, who converted the great Sariputta, the chief disciple
 of the Buddha.
 
 Note: Introduction was added to clarify how Buddha deals with beings outside of our
 human world that no ordinary human could comprehend..
8&9 IntroductionThe Buddha was not a God, but a historical person, an awakened teacher.
 Over 2,500 years ago He explained the origin of the universe, without the help of a
 supernatural force, an explanation which corresponds very closely to today’s scientific
 theory (The Big Bang). He believed that the God-idea has its origin in fear, when he said:
 â€œGripped by fear men go to sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines”.
 Even today people tend to become more religious during crises. 
 â€œPut an end to evil, fulfill all good, and purify the mind” is Lord Buddha’s advice, and it is
 still so universal and timeless, that anyone can benefit from it, whether you are Christian,
 Muslim, Hindu, Taoist, or Buddhist. It is worth to note that through times Buddhism has
 never had a religious war. Two thousand five hundred and fifty years ago, the historical
 Buddha enjoyed unique circumstances for passing on his teachings. Born into a highly
 developed culture, he was surrounded by exceedingly gifted people. After reaching
 awaken-ness, he shared his methods for discovering the mind for a full forty-five years.
 It is for this reason that his teachings, called the Dhamma, are so vast.The Kanjur,
 Buddha´s own words, consists of 108 volumes containing 84,000 helpful teachings. Later
 commentaries on these, the Tenjur, amount to another 254 equally thick books. This
 makes Buddha´s final evaluation of his life understandable: “I can die happily. I did not
 hold one single teaching in a closed hand. Everything that may benefit you I have already
 given.” His very last statement sets Buddhism apart from what is otherwise called religion:
  “Now, don´t believe my words because a Buddha told you, but examine them well. Be a
 light onto yourselves.”The Buddha, based on his own experience, realized that each one
 of us has the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and
 perfect understanding, and through meditation find solutions to all our problems.
 Buddhism does not force preset ideas on you, and furthermore all other religions are
 tolerated. By showing respect for another person’s religion, a Buddhist demonstrates the
 confidence he has in the strength of his own religion. As a Buddhist you are not dominated
  by an all-knowing, almighty, judging power. And you are definitely not expected to
 blindly believe in the things you read or study about Buddhism. Lord Buddha often asked
 people to go out themselves and find out if what he taught was correct. For a Buddhist
 there is no god he can ask for forgiveness and thereafter carry on with his life as usual.
 He must learn to stand on his own two feet, and will pay for his mistake in either this life
 or the next. That fact might make it easier for you to understand, why seemingly innocent
 people are hit by tragedies in their lives apparently without reason.  Mihintale Buddha,
 Sri Lanka.The ultimate goal of a Buddhist is to reach Nibbana (Sanskrit: Nirvana),
 meaning literally “extinction”, freedom from desire and thus suffering. Effectively it is
 an end not only to suffering and action, but also to the cycle of rebirths. This permanent,
 causeless, effectless, and non-compound state can be reached through mental and moral
  self-purification, while a person is still alive, thus making his physical death the last one.
 To reach Nibbana one has to fully comprehend and absorb the so-called “Four Noble
 Truths”. The Four Noble TruthThe Four Noble Truths The Four Noble Truths are the core
 and the origination point of what the Buddha learned and taught. They state simply that
 desire and attachment keep us bound to our dissatisfaction and we can take steps to
 unbind ourselves.The Four Noble Truths
 1. The First Noble Truth There is Suffering  Suffering exists and is universally
    experienced.
 2. The Second Noble Truth There is a Cause (Arising) of SufferingDesire and
    attachment are the causes of suffering.
 3. The Third Noble Truth There is an End (Cessation) to Suffering
 4. Fourth Noble Truth There is a Path (Way) to the Cessation of SufferingThe end
    to suffering can be attained by journeying on the Noble
    Eightfold Path.
 1. There is SufferingLord Buddha realized that all forms of existence are subject to
 suffering. In the context of the First Noble Truth, suffering means suffering, pain, sorrow,
  misery, imperfection, impermanence, emptiness, insubstantiality, unsatisfactoriness,
 dis-ease, or even conflict (meaning the conflict between our desires and the facts of life).
 There are many kinds of suffering in life (all are forms of physical and mental suffering): ·
 birth · old age · sickness · death · tiredness · association with
 unpleasant persons and conditions · separation from beloved ones and pleasant
 conditions · not getting what one desires · grief,  losing people and things near
 and dear to one · lamentation · fear · irritation · frustration · 
 distress… just to mention a few. An Individual (an I or a Self) is a combination of
 ever-changing mental and physical forces which can be divided into Five Aggregates
 (groups) :· Matter · Sensations · Perceptions · Mental
 Formations · Consciousness Suffering can be described as conditioned states
 produced by attachment to these five aggregates.Pleasant and happy feelings or
 conditions in life are not permanent.  Sooner or later they change. When they change they
 may produce suffering, pain, unhappiness or disappointment. 2. There is a Cause
 (Arising) of SufferingThe principle cause of suffering is the attachment to desire or
 craving.Attachment to desire to have (wanting) and desire not to have (aversion) is cause
 of suffering.The clinging to desire comes from our experience that short-term
 satisfaction comes from following desire. We ignore the fact that satisfying our desires
 doesn’t bring an end to them.These are 3 basic types of desire:· desire for sense-
 pleasures - manifests itself as wanting to have pleasant experiences: the taste of good
 food, pleasant sexual experiences, delightful music. · desire to avoid pain
 (to get rid of) - to get rid of the unpleasant experiences in life: unpleasant sensations,
 anger, fear, jealousy. · desire to become - is the ambition that comes with
 wanting attainments or recognition or fame. It is the craving to “be a somebody”. The
 arising of suffering is man’s constant craving or desire for sensual pleasure and
 existence. We tend to forget, that we got our senses in order to protect our lives, to avoid
 certain dangers, and we use them instead to merely fulfill our desires.3. There is an End
 (Cessation) to SufferingThe end of suffering is non-attachment, or letting go of desire or
 craving. This is the state of Nirvana (also called Nibbana), the non-attachment to
 conditioned experience, where greed, hatred and delusion are extinct.Freedom from
 attachments to the five aggregates of attachment is the end of suffering. To understand
 the unconditioned, we need to see for ourselves that everything that has a nature to be
 born has a nature to die: that every phenomenon that has a cause is impermanent. By
 letting go of attachment to desire for conditioned phenomena, desire can come to an
 end and we can be liberated from suffering.4. There is a Path to the Cessation of Suffering:
  The Noble     Eightfold PathThe Noble Eightfold Path is the fourth of The Four Noble Truths
 that the Buddha experienced with his Awaken-ness. The Buddha taught that alignment
 with this Path will eliminate the cause of suffering and result in faultless peace and
 unblemished happiness. By following the Noble Eightfold Path one will develop three
 qualities required to attain Nirvana: I. WISDOMII. MORALITYIII. CONCENTRATION I.
 WISDOM Wisdom comes from understanding the three characteristics of all compound
 things (existence): · all conditioned phenomena are impermanent · all conditioned
 phenomena are not personal (there is no self) · attachment to desire for
 impermanent phenomena leads to suffering ImpermanenceEverything that has a cause
 has a beginning and an end: conditioned phenomena are transitory. But conditioned
 phenomena (see five aggregates) are also what the self attaches to and when there
 attachment to impermanent objects there will always be suffering.No SelfThere is no
 Enduring Self. All phenomena are conditioned–have a beginning and an end–so there is
 nothing to which they can attach. Suffering arises from the illusion that impermanent
 conditioned states are permanent and can be possessed by a Self.Moreover, there is no
 self or soul which carries on after death. Instead we are merely a collection of groups of
 grasping which are in a continual state of flux. Rebirth is possible only because we are
 driven by our desires and volitions.In the context of the Eightfold path, Wisdom results
 from perfecting the following qualities:1. Right Understanding (also called Wise View)
 2. Right Thoughts (also called Wise Intentions)  Right Understanding -
 understanding that all phenomena are of the impermanent, non-self nature and that
 attachment to them leads to suffering.Right Understanding brings about Right Thoughts.
 Right Thoughts - the aspiration or intention to be liberated from suffering and to
 understand the truth.The deepening of wisdom is enhanced when the lifestyle and mind
 are calmed through the practices of Morality and  Training of the Mind
 ( Right Concentration).II. MORALITY (Virtue)  Adherence to moral guidelines (precepts) is
 an essential protection from causing suffering to oneself and to others. There are 5 basic
 precepts that Buddhist practitioners undertake:· Reverence for Life
 (refrain from killing) · Generosity (refrain from stealing) · Sexual
 Responsibility (refrain from sexual misconduct) · Deep Listening and Loving Speech
 (refrain from lying) · Mindful Consumption (refrain from ingesting intoxicants) In the
 context of the Eightfold path, these precepts imply:3. Right (Wise) Speech
 4. Right (Wise) Action 5. Right (Wise) Livelihood III. TRAINING OF THE
 MINDThe development of Wisdom and Morality demand a certain training of the mind
 (concentration). In the context of the Eightfold path, this training is focused on:
 6. Right (Wise) Effort 7. Right (Wise) Mindfulness  8. Right (Wise) Concentration 
 The Noble Eightfold PathThe Noble Eightfold Path The Noble Eightfold Path, discovered
 by the Buddha Himself, is the only way to Nirvana. It avoids the extreme of self-torture
 that weakens one’s intellect and the extreme of self-indulgence that retards one’s
 spiritual progress.The Noble Eightfold Path is the fourth of The Four Noble Truths. It
 consists of the following eight factors:1. Right Understanding 2. Right Thoughts
 3. Right Speech 4. Right Action 5. Right Livelihood 6. Right Effort
 7. Right Mindfulness 8. Right Concentration 1. Right Understanding
 (also called Wise View)  is the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths.  Wisdom comes from
 understanding of the impermanent, non-self nature of phenomena and that attachment
 to them leads to suffering.These are three characteristics of existence
 (Three Characteristics of All Compound Things):· all conditioned phenomena are
 impermanent (transient) · all conditioned phenomena are not personal, non-self
 (soul-less) · attachment to desire for impermanent phenomena leads to
 suffering The keynote of Buddhism is this Right Understanding. In other words, it is the
 understanding of oneself as one really is.Buddhism is based on knowledge and not on
 unreasonable belief. 2. Right Thoughts (also called Wise Intention)”Right Thought” is the
 aspiration or intention to be liberated from suffering and to understand the truth.Right
 Thoughts are threefold. They are:· The thoughts of renunciation which are
 opposed to sense-pleasures (non-greed, simplicity, non–distractedness in every thought,
 word and deed.) · Kind Thoughts (good will) which are opposed to ill-will. · 
 Thoughts (intentions) of harmlessness which are opposed to cruelty. These tend to purify
 the mind. 3. Right Speech (also called Wise Speech) Wise Speech is speech that originates
 in mindful presence. It means to tell the truth and speak appropriately. Specifically, it
 implies abstaining from: · lying (refraining from falsehood) · rude and
 abusive language (refraining from use of slanderous or harsh words) · speech that
 avoids useless chatter and gossip. 4. Right Action deals with refraining from killing,
 stealing and unchastity.  Wise Action helps one to develop a character that is
 self-controlled and mindful of right of others. It is action that: · preserves and
 does not destroy life;  · action that takes only what is freely given;  · action
 that does not steal;  · sexual action that originates in kindness and respect and avoids
 sexual transgressions. 5. Right Livelihood  Right Livelihood means earring one’s living in
 a way that is not harmful to others. One should not make living dealing in arms, drugs or
 violence; exploitation of others and profiteering. These five kinds of trades should be
 avoided by a lay disciple: · trade in deadly weapons   · trade in animals for
 slaughter   · trade in slavery/exploitation   · trade in intoxicants   · trade
 in poisons/drugs 6. Right Effort is fourfold, namely: · the endeavor to discard
 evil that has already arisen. · the endeavor to prevent the arising of un-risen evil.
  · the endeavor to develop that good which has already arisen. · the endeavor to
 promote that good which has not already arisen. Effort is needed to cultivate Good
 Conduct or develop one’s mind, because one is often distracted or tempted to take the
 easy way out of things. The Buddha teaches that attaining happiness and Enlightenment
 depends upon one’s own efforts. Effort is the root of all achievement. If one wants to get
 to the top of a mountain, just sitting at the foot thinking about it will not bring one there.
 It is by making the effort of climbing up the mountain, step by step, that one eventually
 reaches the summit. Thus, no matter how great the Buddha’s achievement may be, or
 how excellent His Teaching is, one must put the Teaching into practice before one can
 expect to obtain the desired result. 7. Right Mindfulness is also fourfold: · mindfulness
 with regard to body · mindfulness with regard to feeling · mindfulness with regard
 to mind · mindfulness with regard to mental objects. Right Mindfulness is the awareness
 of one’s deeds, words and thoughts. It is present–time awareness; awareness of the
 present moment; noticing the body and breath, feelings, thoughts, and mind states.
 8. Right Meditation (also called Wise Concentration) Meditation means the gradual
 process of training the mind to focus on a single object and to remain fixed upon the
 object without wavering. The constant practice of meditation helps one to develop a
 clam and concentrated mind and help to prepare one for the attainment of Wisdom and
 Awaken-ness ultimately.Wise Concentration is one–pointedness of mind. Related links:· 
 500 BC BUDDHA, THE WORD (The Eightfold Path) · BUDDHA, THE GOSPEL By Paul Carus
 Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Company, [1894]  The Four Sublime States Brahma
 There are four sublime “abidings” for the mind and heart:· Kindness towards all
 beings · Compassion towards those who are suffering · Sympathetic Joy towards
 others · Equanimity toward friend and foe The Buddha’s Words on Kindness:
 Metta SuttaInstructions for the practice of meditation on KindnessThis is what should be
 done by one who is skilled in goodness,And who knows the path of peace: Let them be
 able and upright,Straightforward and gentle in speech.Humble and not conceited,
 Contented and easily satisfied.Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.Peaceful
 and calm, and wise and skillful,Not proud and demanding in nature.Let them not do the
 slightest thingThat the wise would later reprove.Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,May
 all beings be at ease.Whatever living beings there may be;Whether they are weak or
 strong, omitting none,The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,The seen and the
 unseen,Those living near and far away,Those born and to-be-born,May all beings be at
 ease!Let none deceive another,Or despise any being in any state.Let none through anger
 or ill-willWish harm upon another.Even as a mother protects with her lifeHer child, her
 only child,So with a boundless heartShould one cherish all living beings:Radiating
 kindness over the entire worldSpreading upwards to the skies,And downwards to the
 depths;Outwards and unbounded,Freed from hatred and ill-will.Whether standing or
 walking, seated or lying downFree from drowsiness,One should sustain this recollection.
 This is said to be the sublime abiding.By not holding to fixed views,The pure-hearted one,
 having clarity of vision,Being freed from all sense desires,Is not born again into this world.

 

 

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