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08/31/08
Know the BSP-Mayawati announces 9 LS candidates for Bihar -Mayawati removes Delhi unit BSP president-Jagatheesan — Over the last week this race has been transformed.
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 12:46 am


Bahujan Samaj Party
Image:Bahujansamajpartysymbol.png
Party chairperson Mayawati Kumari
General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra
Leader in Lok Sabha Rajesh Verma
Leader in Rajya Sabha Satish Chandra Mishra
Founded 1984
Headquarters 12, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road,
New Delhi - 110001
Seats in Lok Sabha 17
Seats in Rajya Sabha 6
Political ideology Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath Socialism
Publications Adil Jafri, Mayayug
Website http://www.bahujansamajp.com/
See also the politics of India series

The Bahujan Samaj Party (Hindi: बहुजन समाज पार्टी) is a national political party in India with socialist leanings. It was formed to chiefly represent Bahujans(OBC, SC, ST & Minorities), who are thought by some to be at the bottom of the Indian caste system, and claims to be inspired by the philosophy of Ambedkar. It wants to protect only the Dalit section of India, a clear caste based political party. The BSP was founded by the high-profile charismatic leader Kanshi Ram in 1984. The party’s political symbol is an elephant. In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004) it had 14 (out of 545) members and currently in the 14th Lok Sabha has 17. The party has its main base in Uttar Pradesh of Indian state, in UP the BSP has formed government several times. Mayawati is the President of the party and has been so for many years. The deep and mutual hostility between the BSP and the Samajwadi Party – the other leading state party in Uttar Pradesh, whose support is mainly obtained from the OBC has led the BSP into allying itself many times with its erstwhile ideological enemies, the BJP. On 23 June 2008, the party withdrew support of a Congress led alliance called the United Progressive UPA in the Indian Government.[1]

On 11 May 2007 the Uttar Pradesh state assembly election
results made BSP the first single majority party since 1991. After 15
years of hung assembly, BSP won a clear majority in India’s most
populated state. The BSP President Mayawati Kumari began as the new
Chief Minister of UP for the fourth term. She took oath of chief
minister along with 50 ministers (cabinet and state rank) on 13 May 2007 at Rajbhawan in the state capital Lucknow.



Mayawati announces 9 LS candidates for Bihar



Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati and Uttar Chief Minister on Saturday announced names of nine candidates from Bihar for the next Lok Sabha elections.

The names were announced at a meeting between Mayawati and the party’s Bihar unit leaders, a BSP release said in Patna.

The nine candidates are Masihuddin (Nawada), Dev Kishore Rai
(Nalanda), Nilofur Nahid (Banka), Bindeshwar Ram (Samastipur), Premkant
Jha (Madhubani), Indal Singh Naveen (Sitamarhi), Vishwambhar Nath Giri
(Motihari), Paras Nath Pathak (Siwan) and Harendra Kumar Patel
(Pataliputra).

The candidates were also appointed coordinators of the party in
their respective parliamentary constituencies, the release signed by
state BSP secretary Gautam Prasd Kharwar, said.

BSP general secretary in-charge of Bihar
Gandhi Azad, MP, state BSP president Baban Singh Kushwaha,
vice-president Sanjay Kumar Mandal, general secretary Rajesh Tyagi and
former Uttar Pradesh minister Rajendra Kumar were present.


Mayawati removes Delhi unit BSP president

NEW DELHI: Cracking the whip on “indisciplined” party workers, BSP
chief Mayawati on Saturday struck out 12 names from the list of
candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections besides removing the
capital’s state unit president.

Delhi unit president Jageram
Bhati was removed from the post while around 10-12 candidates, whose
names were announced for contesting the Assembly polls, were replaced
by new faces, party sources said.

The new president of the Delhi unit is Braham Singh Bidhuri.

The
decision was announced by Mayawati at a closed door meeting of party
leaders, councillors and the party’s candidates for the assembly
elections here. The meeting lasted for about two-and-half hours.

Sources said the action was taken against these people for indulging in anti-party activities.

“The
replacement of the candidates and the party unit president was a
disciplinary action taken by the party chief. We were asked to put in
all our efforts to win seats for the party in the capital,” a party
leader said.

When contacted, Bhati confirmed that he has been removed from the post but refused to give reasons for the decision.

“It
is an internal matter of the party. Whatever responsibility is bestowed
to me, I will accept it. I have no complaints. We will ensure that
party wins enough seats in the capital,” he said.


Jagatheesan –


Over the last week this race has been transformed.


Barack named Joe Biden as his running mate, and they accepted the Democratic nomination at our historic open convention in Denver.


Our team is complete, and our movement is growing rapidly.
But now we are facing our first major challenge together.



The August financial reporting deadline is tomorrow at midnight, and we
have an opportunity to show that a campaign funded by ordinary people
can go toe-to-toe with the Washington lobbyists and special interests
lined up behind
John McCain and the Republican Party.


Make a donation of $5 or more before midnight tomorrow, and you’ll receive a first edition Obama-Biden bumper sticker.

Fiscal Image

Plan for Restoring Fiscal Discipline

“The
cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the federal
budget. This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities
and states of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges,
ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical
investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of
the retirement and health security they have counted on. . . . If
Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we’d
see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible
fiscal policies.”

— Barack Obama, Speech in the U.S. Senate, March 13, 2006

At a Glance

Speak your mind and help set the policies that will guide this campaign and change the country.

Watch Videos

The Problem

Increasing Debt: Under President Bush, the federal debt has increased from $5.7 trillion to $8.8 trillion, an increase of more than 50 percent.

Irresponsible Tax Cuts:
President Bush’s policies of giving tax breaks for the wealthy will
cost the nation over $2.3 trillion by the time they expire in 2009.

Barack Obama’s Plan

Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington

Make the Tax System More Fair and Efficient

Barack Obama’s Record

The Lotus-like Lay-follower

Thus spoke the Buddha:

A lay-follower (upasaka) who has five qualities is a jewel of
a
lay-follower, is like a lily, like a lotus. What are these five
qualities? He has faith; he is virtuous; he is not superstitious; he
believes in action
(kamma) and not in luck or omen; he does not seek outside (of the Order) for those worthy of support and does not attend there first.

AN 5.175

Ten Virtues of the Lay-follower

These ten, great King, are the virtues of the lay-follower:

He shares the joys and sorrows of the Order;1

He places the Dhamma first;2

He enjoys giving according to his ability;

If he sees a decline in the Dispensation of the Teaching of the Buddha, he strives for its strong growth;

He has right views, disregarding belief in superstitions and omens;
he will not accept any other teacher, not even for the sake of his life;

He guards his deeds and words;

He loves and cherishes peace and concord;

He is not envious or jealous;

He does not live a Buddhist life by way of deception or hypocrisy;

He has gone for refuge to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

Milindapañha, Ch. IV

Notes

1. That is, he is concerned about the welfare of the monastic community, with
which he is connected.

2. That is, he places the Dhamma before self and worldly considerations; this
refers to the three dominant influences (adhipateyya), Dhamma being the
third, after atta (self) and loka (world); see AN 3.40.



Principles of Lay Buddhism [go up]
by R. Bogoda

Introduction

Buddhism should not be thought to be a teaching for monks only, as
it is sometimes wrongly conceived. In a large number of his discourses,
the Buddha has given practical guidance for the lay life and sound
advice to cope with life’s difficulties. Many of our problems and
difficulties for which some people blame circumstances and chance, are,
if correctly viewed, the result of ignorance or negligence. They could
be well avoided or overcome by knowledge and diligence yet of course,
worldly happiness and security are never perfect; they are always a
matter of degree, for in the fleeting there is nothing truly firm.

The central problem of a lay Buddhist is how to combine personal
progress in worldly matters with moral principles. He strives to
achieve this by building his life on the foundation of the Fourth Noble
Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path, and to shape his activities in
accordance with it. The first step of this Path is Right Understanding;
by developing a life style in accordance with it, the other factors of
the Path result from it, namely: Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right
Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right
Concentration. The eight steps of the Path fall into the three
divisions of Wisdom (the first two), Morality (the second three), and
Mental Culture (the last three). The order of development is, however,
Morality (sila), Mental Culture (samadhi), and Wisdom (pañña). The Path outlines the practice of Buddhism, leading to its ultimate goal — Nibbana.

As a householder, the Buddhist is particularly concerned with
Morality. Right Understanding, however, is the prerequisite. Right
Effort is the training of the will, and Right Mindfulness, the
all-round helper. Progress to a lay Buddhist means the development of
the whole man in society. It is, therefore, an advance on many fronts —
the economic, the moral, and the spiritual, the first not as an end in
itself but as a means to an end: the full flowing of the human being in
the onward-carrying stream of Buddhist ideas and ideals.

A Practical Guide

Right Understanding is the beginning and the end of Buddhism,
without which one’s vision is dimmed and the way is lost, all effort
misguided and misdirected. Right Understanding, in the context of the
layman’s Dhamma, provides a sound philosophy of life.

Right Understanding, the first step of the Path, is seeing life as
it really is: the objective understanding of the nature of things as it
truly is (yatha bhuta ñana dassana). All things that have arisen, including the so-called being, are nothing but incessant change (anicca), therefore unsatisfactory (dukkha)
and productive of suffering. It follows then that what is both
impermanent and pain-laden cannot conceal within it anything that is
solid, substantial, or unchanging — an eternal soul or an immanent
abiding principle (anatta).

Right Understanding implies further a knowledge of the working of
kamma — the moral law of cause and effect. We reap what we sow, in
proportion to the sowing. Good begets good and evil, evil. Kamma
operates objectively, and the results show themselves here or in the
hereafter. That is to say, consequences follow causes whether one
believes in kamma or not, even as a fall from a height will result in
injury or even death, irrespective of one’s personal belief or
disbelief in the force of gravity.

Kamma is intentional or volitional action; vipaka is the
fruit or result, and every action affects character for good or bad. We
know that actions consciously performed again and again tend to become
unconscious or automatic habits. They, in turn, whether good or bad,
become second nature. They more or less shape or mold the character of
a person. Likewise, the unconscious or latent tendencies in us,
including inborn human instincts, are merely the results of actions
done repeatedly in innumerable past lives extending far beyond
childhood and the formative years of the present life. Kamma includes
both past and present action. It is neither fate nor predestination.

A Buddhist views life in terms of cause and effect, his own birth
included. Existence (life) was not thrust on him by an unseen Deity to
whose will he must blindly bend nor by parents, for the mere fusing of
two cells from mother and father does not by itself produce life. It
was of his own causing of his own choice: the kammic energy generated
from the past birth produced life — made real the potential, in the
appropriate sperm and ovum of his human parents at the moment of
conception, endowing the new life with initial consciousness (patisandhi viññana), using the mechanism of heredity, duly modified, if necessary.

The arising of a being here then means the passing away of another
elsewhere. This changing personality that constitutes “me” — the
physical and mental make-up that is “I” — the very environment into
which I was born, in which I acted and reacted is more of my own doing,
of my own choice, of my own kamma, of one’s past actions and thoughts.
It is just, it is fair, it is right; what is, is the sum of what was;
effects exactly balance causes. One gets precisely what one deserves,
even as the sum of two plus two is four, never more nor less.

Enough of the past that is dead. What remains is the ever-present now,
not even the future that’s still unborn. The past is dead, yet
influences the present, but does not determine it. The past and the
present, in turn, influence the future that is yet to be. Only the
present is real. The responsibility of using the present for good or
bad lies with each individual. And the future, still unborn, is one’s
to shape. The so-called being which, in fact, is merely a conflux of
mind and matter, is, therefore, born of, supported by, and heir to, his
kamma.

One is driven to produce kamma by tanha or desire which itself is threefold. Where there is tanha, there is ignorance (avijja) — blindness to the real nature of life; and where there is ignorance, there is tanha or craving. They coexist, just as the heat and light of a flame are inseparable. And the beginning of ignorance (avijja) cannot be known.

Because of this lack of understanding of things as they truly are,
we, often unmindful of the rights of others, desire for, grasp at,
cling to, the wrong sorts of things: the pleasures that money can buy,
power over others, fame and name, wishing to go on living forever. We
hope that pleasures will be permanent, satisfying and solid, but find
them to be passing, unsatisfying, and empty — as hollow as a bamboo
when split. The result is frustration and disappointment, dis-ease and
an irritating sense of inadequacy and insufficiency. If we don’t get
all our wishes, we react with hate or take shelter in a world of
delusive unreality or phantasy.

To remedy this, we must correct our understanding and thinking, and
see in our own experiences, so near to us, things as they truly are,
and first reduce, and finally remove all shades of craving or desire
that are the causes of this restlessness and discontent. This is not
easy, but when one does so by treading the noble Eightfold path, one
reaches a state of perfection and calm (Nibbana) thereby bringing to an
end the pain-laden cycle of birth and death.

As long as there is desire, birth leads to death, and death to
birth, even as an exit is also an entrance. Each subsequent individual
born is not the same as the preceding one, nor is it entirely different
(naca so naca añño) but only a continuity; that is to say, each
succeeding birth depends upon, or emerges from, the preceding one. And
both, birth and death, are but the two sides of the same coin, life.
The opposite of life is not death, as some fondly believe, but rest —
the rest and peace of Nibbana, in contrast to the restlessness and
turmoil that is life.

Kamma, as we have seen, is volitional action. It implies making choices or decisions between, broadly speaking, skillful (kusala) and unskillful (akusala)
actions. The former are rooted in generosity, loving-kindness, and
wisdom leading to happiness and progress, and therefore, to be
cultivated again and again in one’s life. The good actions are
Generosity, Morality, Meditation, Reverence, Service, Transference of
merit, Rejoicing in other’s good actions, Hearing the Doctrine,
Expounding the Doctrine, and Straightening one’s views. The unskilled
actions are rooted in greed, hate and delusion, leading to pain, grief
and decline, and therefore, to be avoided. There are ten such actions:
killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slandering, harsh speech,
gossip, covetousness, ill-will and false views. This division of
actions is a natural outcome of the Universal Law of Kamma; Kamma is
one of the fixed orders of existence.

Life is like a ladder. The human being occupies the middle steps.
Above are the celestial worlds of bliss; below, the woeful states of
sorrow. With every choice, one moves upward or downward, ascends or
descends, for each one is evolved according to one’s own actions.
Beings are not only owners of kamma but also their heirs. Actions
fashion not only one’s fortune, how one shall be born, dividing beings
into inferior or superior, in health, wealth, wisdom, and the like, but
also shapes one’s future, where one shall be born, whether in the
human, heavenly or animal world. In short, one can progress or regress
from the human state.

A proper understanding of the Buddhist doctrine of kamma and rebirth
can, therefore, improve and elevate the character of a person. Buddhism
teaches, above all, moral responsibility — to be mindful of one’s
actions, because of the inevitability of action being followed by
reaction. One therefore strives one’s best to avoid evil and to do good
for one’s own welfare as well as for the benefit of others. This
conduct leads to peace within and without. It promotes soberness of
mind and habit together with self-respect and self-reliance. Finally,
this teaching fosters in us a feeling of all-embracing kindness and
tolerance toward all living beings and keeps us away from cruelty,
hate, and conflict.

Man, as a whole, has not made a steady progress toward moral and
spiritual perfection. But the individual can pursue the ideal of a
perfect man — the Arahant — free from greed, hate, and delusion by
treading the Noble Eightfold Path comprising Sublime Conduct, Mental
Culture and Intuitive Insight (or wisdom). It is the perfection of
human living by perfecting one’s understanding and purifying one’s
mind. It is to know the Truth, do the Truth and become the Truth. Such a one has gone beyond the force of all rebirth-producing kamma, skillful and unskillful. He has attained the highest — Nibbana.

As the Blessed One teaches with incomparable beauty:

Sabba papassa akaranam,kusalassa upasampadasacittapariyodapanam:etam Buddhanusasanam
To avoid evil,To do good,To purify the mind,This is the advice of all the Buddhas.

This, in brief and simple outline, is the Teaching of the Buddha as
it affects the householder’s life. It is at once an ideal and a method.
As an ideal, it aims at the evolution of a perfect Man — synonymous
with the attainment of Nibbana — in this very life itself, by one’s own
efforts. As a method, it teaches us that the ideal can become real only
by the systematic practice and development of the Noble Eightfold Path,
at the two levels — that of the monk and that of the layman. Each
develops according to his ability and each according to his needs
whereby man, using the instrument of mind, by his own endeavor comes to
know himself, train himself, and free himself from
the thralldom of base desire, the blindness of hate, and the mist of a
delusive self, to win the highest of all freedoms — freedom from error
and ignorance.

In this Noble Teaching, there is no intellectual error, based as it
is on reason and, in keeping with the finding of science, no moral
blindness; for its ethics are truly lofty, with a rational basis:
namely, evolution in terms of kamma.

That Buddhism is eminently practicable is clearly shown by the
example of the great Indian Emperor Asoka, when Buddhism became the
shaping ideal of the State, and Buddhist ideas and ideals were used to
build a just and righteous society, thus ushering in a period of great
prosperity: material, moral, and spiritual. It is the only true
solution to the manifold problems in the modern world. To this we must
now turn.

Social and Economic Aspects

Buddha was a rebel. He rebelled against the way of thought, and the way of life, of his age.

To the philosophical concept of life as dynamic change (anicca) of no being but becoming (bhava),
no thinker but thought, no doer but deed — he added its social
equivalent: the doctrine of social fluidity and equality based on
nobility of conduct. As the Buddha stated:

Not by birth is one an outcasteNot by birth is one a Brahman.By deeds is one an outcaste,By deeds is one a Brahman.

and again,

A birth no Brahman, nor non-Brahman makes;‘Tis life and doing that mold the Brahman true.Their lives mold farmers, tradesmen, merchants, serfs;Their lives mold robbers, soldiers, chaplains, kings.

What matters then is not the womb from which one came nor the
societal class into which one was born but the moral quality of one’s
actions. As a tree is judged by its fruit, so shall a man be judged by
his deeds.

In this way, the doors of the Deathless and of the unconditioned
freedom beyond, and of social freedom here on earth, were thrown open
to all, regardless of caste, color, or class. In his teaching all men
unite, lose identity, even as do the waters of the rivers that flow
into the sea. No caste, class, or race privileges existed among his lay
followers or in the Order of the Sangha that he founded — a fitting
complement to the doctrine of anatta.

For the Buddha, all men are one in that they belong to one species.
Social classes and castes are nothing but functional or occupational
groupings, neither fixed nor inevitable. They are divisions of society,
man-made, subject to change and resulting from social and historical
factors. A social doctrine based on the alleged superiority of any
caste, class, or race, and advocating to keep it dominant by the use of
force, must necessarily lead to the perpetuation of social tensions and
conflict, and will never bring about harmony and the fraternity of men.

The Buddha’s doctrine of equality does not, however, imply that all
men are alike physically or mentally. That would be identity. It does
mean that each one should be treated equally with human dignity, and
given an equal chance to develop the faculties latent in each, as all
are capable of moral and spiritual progress, and of human perfection,
in view of the common capacity and capability of humanity. Thus the
Buddha’s teaching of a classless society requires the progressive
refinement of man’s nature, as shown by his actions, and the
development of his character.

The Buddha was not only the first thinker in known history to teach
the doctrine of human equality, but also the first humanist who
attempted to abolish slavery, in which term is also included the
traffic in, and the sale of, females for commercial purposes. In fact,
this is a prohibited trade for his followers.

The character of a society depends on the beliefs and practices of
its people as well as on its economy. An economic system based on
Buddhist ethics and principles, therefore, seems the only alternative.
The true nature of man is that he is not only a thinking and feeling
creature but also a striving creature, with higher aspirations and
ideals. If he is aggressive and assertive, he is also cooperative and
creative. He is forever making not only things, but himself. And the
making of oneself by perfecting the art of living is the noblest of all
creative aspirations, yielding the highest happiness and satisfaction
in life.

Progress in the material side of life alone is not enough for human
happiness, as illustrated by today’s “affluent societies.” The pursuit
of material pleasures in the hope that by multiplying them they will
thereby become permanent is a profitless chase, akin to chasing one’s
shadow: the faster one runs, the faster it eludes. True happiness,
contentment, and harmony come from an emancipated mind. Any economic
system is therefore, unsatisfactory, if based on a wrong set of values
and attitudes, and will fail in the fulfillment of its promises.

The only effective remedy for the economic and social ills of the
modern world is a more rational and and balanced economic structure
based on Buddhist ideas and ideals. In a Buddhist economic system1
the people deliberately use the state power to maximize welfare, both
economic and social, from a given national income. The methods employed
are threefold: economic planning, a suitable fiscal policy, and a
comprehensive network of social services assuring to every member of
the community, as a right, and as a badge of citizenship and
fellowship, the essentials of civilized living, such as minimum
standards of economic security, health care, housing, and education,
without which a citizen cannot realize his humanity in full.

In such a system production, distribution, and values take a
different meaning in a new context. Economic activity will be pursued
not as an end in itself but a means to an end — the all-round
development of man himself. There should be a revision of values. A
person’s worth, for instance, ought not be measured in terms of what he
has but on what he is. In short, man or the majority of
men in society should be helped to see life in perspective. Knowledge
and discipline may transform a society into a workshop or a military
camp, but it is the cultivation of a proper sense of values that will
make it truly civilized. Perhaps this may be the clue to the paradox of
the Western civilization that knows how to go through space and sail
across the seas, but not how to live on earth in peace. It is true that
such a change of heart and system may, in the present context of the
world, take a long time to realize. But what else is the alternative?
It is futile to think that reform by revolution will remedy the ills of
the world.

In the opening stanza of the Dhammapada the Buddha declared the supremacy of mind over matter: “Mind precedes things, dominates them, creates them” (Mano pubbangamadhamma mano settha mano maya).

However, this must not be interpreted to mean that Buddhism is
against social and economic reform. It is far from it. Buddhism stands
for a society of equals, in which justice and ethical principles shall
supplant privilege and chaos. But reform must take place by peaceful
persuasion and education without resorting to violence; worthy aims
must be realized by worthy means even as democracy must be maintained
by the methods of democracy.

Buddhism concedes that the economic environment influences
character, but denies that it determines it. A person can use his free
will, within limits, and act according to his conscience irrespective
of the social structure to which he belongs. It all depends on mind and
its development.

Society does not stand still. Like any other conditioned phenomenon,
it changes constantly and Buddhism teaches us that we cannot change
society as something different from its members. Social progress is
their progress, social regress their regress. If the individual
perfects his life, thinks and acts clearly, lives in accordance with
the Dhamma and the moral law of kamma, to that extent will there be
social order and discipline. Initial improvements from within will
result in corresponding changes without. Social order and discipline
follow, not preceded, the state of mind of the individuals comprising
that society. Society reflects the character of its people; the better
the people, the better the society. Every society is a projection or
extension of the collective personality of its members.

But humanity in the mass can be influenced for good by the example
of a few really noble and selfless men with vision and wisdom, with
ideas and ideals to live for and to die for. They provide the guiding
star round which others, too timid to lead but strong enough to follow,
cluster around and become willing followers. It is these few who set
the standards for the many at the bottom, and their impact and
influence on the way of life and thought of the human race can be
tremendous. The message they bring carries with it the indelible stamp
of truth and is, therefore, never obsolete.

Most outstanding among the great teachers is the Buddha Gotama. It
is through his Teachings that all the Buddhist nations, including Sri
Lanka, were molded and into the fabric of national life were woven the
strands of his Teaching.

It is then the duty of every genuine Buddhist to help to make known,
far and wide, the Teaching of the Buddha in all its many aspects, and
thereby make possible tomorrow the seemingly impossible of today — a
new and just socio-economic order based on Buddhist ethics, principles,
and practices. Such a society will be both democratic and socialistic,
with liberty, equality, fraternity, and economic security for all, not
as ends in themselves but as means to an end — the full development of
man into a well-rounded, happy human being in the setting of the
Teaching of Gotama the Buddha, Guide Incomparable to a troubled world.

Buddhism and Daily Life

A follower of the Buddha learns to view life realistically, which
enables him to adjust to everything that comes his way. Buddhism tells
him the meaning and purpose of existence and his place in the scheme of
things. It suggests the lines of conduct, supported by cogent reasons,
by which he should live his daily life. It clarifies what his attitude
should be to specific matters like self, job, sex, and society. Thus it
assists him in the business of living, for to lead a full life four
fundamental adjustments have to be made. He must be happily adjusted to
himself and the world, his occupation, his family, and his fellow
beings.

(a) Himself and The World

A Buddhist tries to see things as they really are. He remembers the
instability of everything and understands the inherent danger in
expecting to find permanence in existence. In this way, he strives to
insulate himself from potential disappointments. So, a discerning lay
Buddhist is not unduly elated or upset by the eight worldly conditions
of gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and
pain. He does not expect too much from others, nor from life, and
recognizes that it is only human to have one’s share of life’s ups and
downs.

He looks at life’s events in terms of cause and effect, however
unpleasant or painful they may be. An understanding layman accepts
dukkha as the results of his own kamma — probably a past unskillful (akusala) action ripening in the present.

He sees the connection between craving and suffering and therefore
tries to reduce both the intensity and variety. As the Dhammapada
states:

From craving springs grief, from craving springs fear,For him who is wholly free from craving, there is no grief — whence fear?

Dhp 215

Therefore, he is mindful of a scale of values — knowing clearly what
is really important to him as a Buddhist layman, what is desirable but
not so important, and what is trivial. He tries to eliminate the
non-essential and learns to be content with the essential. Such a
person soon discovers that to need less is to live better and happier.
It is a mark of maturity. It is progress on the path to inner freedom.

One should wisely seek and carefully choose in one’s actions and
strive to maintain a Buddhist standard of conduct, whatever
disappointments life may bring. And when disappointments come, one
tries to look at them with some degree of detachment, standing, as it
were, apart from them. In this way, a person gains a feeling of inner
security and frees himself from fears, anxieties, and many other heavy
burdens. This attitude to life and the world brings courage and
confidence.

How does a lay Buddhist view himself? In the Buddha Dhamma, the
human being is an impersonal combination of ever-changing mind and
matter. In the flux is found no unchanging soul or eternal principle.
The self or soul is then a piece of fiction invented by the human mind.
To believe in such an absurdity is to create another source of
unhappiness.

One should therefore see oneself as one truly is — a conflux of mind and matter energized by tanha
or craving, containing immense possibilities for both good and evil,
neither overestimating nor underestimating one’s capacities and
capabilities. One must also take care to recognize one’s limitations
and not pretend that they do not exist. It is simply a matter of
accepting what one is, and deciding to make the most of oneself. With
this determination, one’s position in this world will be decided by
one’s efforts. And everyone has a place, however humble it may be, and
a contribution to make as well.

Seeing that no two are alike, physically or psychologically, in the
light of kamma, a wise person should, therefore, avoid comparing
himself with others. Such profitless comparison can only lead to
unnecessary sorrow and suffering. If he thinks that he is better than
others, he may become proud and conceited and develop a superiority
feeling — of an inflated “I.” If the person thinks he is worse than
others, he is liable to develop an inferiority feeling — of a deflated
“I,” and to withdraw from the realities and responsibilities of life.
If he considers that he is equal to others, there is likelihood of
stagnation and disinclination to further effort and progress.

So, instead of keeping pace with, or outdoing others, socially,
financially, and in other ways, the understanding layman proceeds to do
something more useful. He decides to take stock of himself, to know
himself, his true nature in all aspects, as a first step to improving
it: the secular (such as his physical, mental, emotional qualities),
the moral, and the spiritual, through careful self-examination and
observation, by past performance, and by the candid comments of sincere
friends. Seeing himself as a whole, he plans for life as a whole in the
context of the Noble Eightfold Path. Such a plan when drawn up will
include all important events of a normal layman’s life including
occupation, marriage, and old age. Lay happiness and security lies then
in finding out exactly what one can do and in actually doing it.

A plan like this brings order into an otherwise aimless and
meaningless life, prevents drift and indicates the right direction and
drive. A thoughtful lay Buddhist will not simply do what others do. He
can resist the pull of the crowd when necessary. He is ever mindful
both of ends pursued and the means employed. He does not merely go
through life aimlessly; he goes, knowing clearly where he wants to go,
with a purpose and a plan based on reality.

To be born as a human being is hard, but made easier in a Buddha Era
— that is, an age when his teachings are still remembered and
practiced. The more reason then why a lay Buddhist should consciously
direct his life for purposeful living with a right end, by right
endeavor, to a right plan; this is the quintessence of Buddha’s
teachings.

(b) Earning a Living

Men work to satisfy the primary or basic urges of hunger, thirst,
and sex, as well a host of secondary wants and desires created by a
commercial civilization such as ours.

The Buddha’s teaching is a teaching of diligence and right effort or
exertion. The opposite of diligence is negligence — aimless drift,
sloth, and laziness which are hindrances to both material and moral
progress. It is the active man who lives purposefully, who blesses the
world with wealth and wisdom. So work is essential for happy living.
Life without work would be an eternal holiday, which is the hell of
boredom.

A large part of our waking life is spent earning a living. So it is
easy to appreciate why we should be at least moderately happy in our
job. But choosing a suitable career, like choosing a marriage partner,
is one of the most important yet one of the most difficult tasks in
life.

The economic aspect of a community profoundly affects its other
aspects. The Buddha says that society, as with all conditioned
phenomena, has no finality of form and therefore changes with the
passage of time. The mainsprings of social change are ideology and
economics — for men are driven to action by beliefs and desires. Some
systems emphasize the latter; the Buddha the former for an economic
structure can only influence but never determine man’s thought.

Man must live and the means of his livelihood are matters of his
greatest concern. A hungry man is an angry man. And a man poisoned by
discontent is hardly in a fit frame of mind to develop his moral and
spiritual life. The spirit may be willing but the flesh may prove to be
weak. Unemployment and economic insecurity lead to tension,
irritability, and loss of self-respect without which a healthy mental
life is impossible. And one of the essential needs of a man is to feel
he is wanted in the world.

Of human rights the right of work should, therefore, be assured to
all, as a pre-requisite for the good life. It is the duty of the state
to uphold justice, and provide for the material and spiritual welfare
of its subjects.

While Buddhism recognizes that bread is essential for existence, it
also stresses that man does not live by bread alone. This is not all.
How he earns and why he does it are equally relevant. He should not
gain a living by methods detrimental to the welfare of living beings — anakula ca kammanta,
“a peaceful occupation,” as the Discourse on Blessings (Maha-mangala
Sutta) has it. So the Buddha forbade five kinds of trade to a lay
Buddhist, and refraining from them constitutes Right Livelihood, the
seventh step of the Path. They are: trading in arms, human beings,
flesh (including the breeding of animals for slaughter), intoxicants
and harmful drugs, and poisons. These trades add to the already
existing suffering in the world.

Economic activity should also be regarded as a means to an end — the
end being the full development of man himself. Work should serve men,
not enslave him. He should not be so preoccupied with the business (or,
busy-ness, to be more accurate) of earning a living that he has no time
to live. While income and wealth through righteous means will bring
satisfaction and lay happiness, the mere accumulation of riches for
their own sake will only lead to unbridled acquisitiveness and
self-indulgence resulting later in physical and mental suffering. The
enjoyment of wealth implies not merely its use for one’s own happiness
but also the giving for the welfare of others as well.

The Buddha further says that the progress, prosperity, and happiness
of a lay person depends on hard and steady effort — rather
discouraging, no doubt, to many people who want something for nothing.
Efficiency in work, be it high or humble, makes a useful contribution
to the production of socially desirable goods and services. It gives
one’s work meaning and interest, besides enabling one to support
oneself and one’s family in comfort. Conservation and improvement of
one’s resources and talents, acquired or inherited, with balanced
living, living within one’s income, ensuring freedom from debt is a
sure indicator of right seeing or understanding. Lastly, a blameless
moral and spiritual life should be the aim of right livelihood.

Life is one and indivisible, and the working life a part of the
whole. The man who is unhappy at work is unhappy at home, too.
Unhappiness spreads. Likewise, business life is part of life. The
Dhamma of the Blessed One should therefore pervade and permeate one’s
entire life for only wealth rooted in righteous endeavor can yield true
happiness.

(c) Bringing up a Family

In the Maha Mangala Sutta the Buddha teaches us that:

Mother and father well supporting,Wife and children duly cherishing,Types of work unconflicting,This, the Highest Blessing.

Sn 2.4

The essentials of happy family life are then a partnership of two
parents with common aims, attitudes, and ideals who love, respect, and
trust each other; who love and understand their children, on whom they,
in turn, can depend for the same treatment and sound guidance grounded
on true values, living by Right Livelihood, and supporting aged
parents. In Buddhism, however, marriage is not a compulsory institution
for all lay followers. It is optional. This brings us to the important
question of sex.

The sex instinct is a powerful impersonal impulse or force in us all
to ensure the preservation of the race. Nature, to make sure of its
objective, made the reproductive act of sexual union highly pleasurable
so that it is inevitably sought by the individual for its own sake.
There is no special mating season for humans, and males and females may
find that they are physically attracted at any time.

Sex is an essential part of life. In some form or other it affects
us every day, and often ends in choosing a partner for life. It can
make or mar a householder’s life.

What is the Buddhist attitude to sex? For a lay person, there is
nothing sinful or shameful in sex, nor does it carry lifelong burdens
of guilt. Sexual desires, in its personal aspect, is just like another
form of craving and, as craving, leads to suffering. Sexual desire,
too, must be controlled and finally totally eradicated. This happiness2 arises only at the third stage of Sainthood, that of Anagami. When a lay Buddhist becomes an Anagami, he leads a celibate life.

But sexual behavior, in its social context, demands mindfulness of
the fact that at least one other person’s happiness is at stake and,
possibly, that of another — a potential child. And children born of
premarital relations, when deprived and unwanted, often develop into
juvenile delinquents. Besides, pre-marital sex may carry with it the
risks of venereal infection. A compassionate Buddhist, mindful of his
own and others’ welfare, acts wisely and responsibly in sexual matters.
Misconduct for a layman means sexual union with the wives of others or
those under protection of father, mother, sister, brother, or guardian,
including one’s employees.

Adolescence is a period of stress and strain. It is at this time
that the sex instinct becomes active, and sensible parents should guide
and help their children to adjust to the changes. This sexual energy
could be diverted not merely to outdoor games and sports, but also to
creative activities like hand work, gardening, and other constructive
activities.

It is not easy for an unmarried adult to practice sexual
self-restraint till such time as he is able to marry. No doubt he lives
in a sex-drenched commercial civilization where sex is seen, heard,
sensed, and thought of most the time. But the ideal of sex only within
marriage is something worth aiming at. The Buddhist’s ultimate
objective is, after all, to be a Perfect Man — not a perfect beast. And
a start has to be made some day, somewhere — and now is the best time
for it.

At all times in a man’s life, it is mind that dominates man’s
actions. It is mind that makes one what one is. There is no doubt about
this. Truly, it is an encouraging fact — one tends to become what one
wants to be. And, if one wishes to be chaste, one can be. One’s life
will then move irresistibly in the direction of its fulfillment.

Much can be done by sublimating the instinct by diverting the energy
in the sex impulse into other activities. Developing an occupational
interest or hobbies or sports can divert the mind and provide suitable
outlets. Moderation in eating is helpful. But what is most important is
the guarding of thoughts regarding all sexual matters. One must also
avoid situations and stimuli likely to excite sexual desires.3 When sensual desires do arise, the following methods may be tried:

  1. Mindfully note the presence of such thoughts without delay; when
    they tend to arise, merely notice them without allowing yourself to be
    carried away by these thoughts.
  2. Simply neglect such thoughts, turning your mind either to beneficial thoughts or to an activity that absorbs you.
  3. Reflect on the possible end results.

Steps should also be taken to foster and maintain all that is
wholesome, as for instance, wise friendship, and keeping oneself
usefully occupied at all times. If one has succeeded in meditative
practice, the happiness derived from it will be a powerful
counter-force against sexual desires.

This mindfulness is the only way to achieve self-mastery. It is a
hard fight requiring patient and persistent practice; nevertheless, it
is a fight worth waging and a goal worth winning.

(d) Social Relationships

A lay Buddhist lives in society. He must adjust himself to other
people to get on smoothly with them. Human relationships — the
education of the emotions — are the fourth R in education and play an
important part in everyday life. So instead of keeping pace with, or
outdoing others socially, financially, and in other ways, the
understanding layman proceeds to do something more useful. Happiness
and security then lie in finding out exactly what one can do, and doing
it well.

The lay person who practices morality (sila) by reason of his
virtue, gives peace of mind to those around him. He controls his deeds
and words by following the third, fourth, and fifth steps of the noble
Eightfold Path, namely Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood
or by observing the Five Precepts (Pañca Sila).

Such regulated behavior flows from proper understanding of the
Buddhist doctrine of kamma, that a man is what he is because of action
and the result of action. If one is genuinely trying to tread the path,
one’s daily life should reflect it. So, the Buddhist avoids killing
living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, drugs, intoxicants, and
harmful lying, tale-bearing, harsh words, and idle talk.

The Buddha’s attitude toward stupefying drugs and intoxicants is
clear and simple: complete abstinence from both. And why? The immediate
aim of a Buddhist layman is happiness and security, here and now — in
the present existence, while his distant objective is the lasting peace
and security of Nibbana and, therewith, freedom from repeated births
and deaths, with their attendant frustrations, disappointments, and the
pain of temporal life. Now, the one and only tool he has at his
disposal to achieve both of these goals is the weapon of the mind,
which, under the wise guidance of the Master’s teaching, he gradually
learns to use with skill, without ill to himself or others. And one of
the best ways of impairing the efficiency of this precious mental
instrument — to make it dull and blunt, is to partake of intoxicating
drinks and drugs. Even when taken in moderation they have a pernicious
influence on the mind and on the body, as well as on the character and
the moral qualities. Under their baneful effects, mind becomes
confused, and the drinker finds it difficult to distinguish between
right and wrong, good and bad, the true and false. Such a person, then,
wrongs himself, wrongs those who live with him, and wrongs society at
large. On the other hand, he who faithfully follows the Buddha’s advice
and abstains completely from the use of all intoxicants and harmful
drugs, is always sober in mind, and is therefore able to exercise
physical, mental, and moral control. Such a one has always a clear mind
and can easily understand what is going on within, and also without,
one’s mind.

But what of a Buddhist who, as a rule, refrains from alcoholic
drinks and drugs, but occasionally finds himself placed in a delicate
situation such as when offered an intoxicating drink at a party given
by his superior or at an important occasion? Should he accept or
refuse? At least two possible courses are open to him: he could
politely decline excusing himself on medical grounds (which are
justifiable), and ask instead for a non-alcoholic drink, mindfully
noting what is taking place, and impress on his mind that even a single
deviation from the ideal of total abstinence is to open the way, even
temporarily, to heedlessness, recklessness, and mental confusion.
Alcohol does impair the ability to think clearly, to decide wisely, and
to perform any work of an exacting nature. If a Buddhist layman, while
aiming at absolute perfection occasionally lapses, and is content with
approximations, he is free to do so — but at his own grave peril.

Positively, the Buddhist layman is kind and compassionate to all,
honest and upright, pure and chaste, sober and heedful in mind. He
speaks only that which is true, in accordance with facts, sweet,
peaceable, and helpful. Morality is a fence that protects us from the
poisons of the outer world. It is, therefore, a pre-requisite for
higher spiritual aspirations and through it character shines. The
development of personality on such lines results in charm, tact, and
tolerance — essential qualities to adjust oneself to society, and to
get on well with other people.

In the Sigalovada Sutta,
the Buddha explained to young Sigala the reciprocal relationship that
should exist among the members of society. They are worth mentioning in
brief; parents have to look after their children, and guide and educate
them; children have to respect their parents, perform their duties and
maintain family traditions; teachers must train and instruct pupils in
the proper way; and pupils in turn must be diligent and dutiful; a
husband should be kind, loyal, and respectful of his wife, supply her
needs and give her due place in the home, and she in return should be
faithful, understanding, efficient, industrious, and economical in the
performance of her duties; friends should be generous, sincere, kindly,
and helpful to one another, and a sheltering tree in time of need;
employers must be considerate to their employees, give adequate wages,
ensure satisfactory conditions of work and service and they, in return
must work honestly, efficiently and be loyal to their masters; the
laity should support and sustain the monks and other holy men who, in
turn, should discourage them to do evil, encourage them to do good,
expound the teaching and show the way to happiness.

Buddhist morality is grounded on both thought and feeling. A
Buddhist monk does social service when he himself, while not engaging
in the worldly life, so teaches the Dhamma that he makes the lay
followers better Buddhists, and thereby induces them to take to social
work, which is an ideal practical form of the Four Sublime States,
Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity, besides
their practice of these at the meditational levels. They should be the
four cornerstones of genuine lay Buddhist life. The Four Sublime States
form the foundation of individual and social peace, and combine in them
the realism of human nature and the idealism of youth to work for the
social betterment, out of natural sympathy and concern for
fellow-beings.

But social work to be of real value should spring from genuine love,
sympathy, and understanding for fellow-men, guided by knowledge and
training. It is the living expression of Buddhist brotherhood.

The cultivation of the neglect of these duties is a matter for each
one of us, but their promotion will undoubtedly foster healthier
inter-personal relationships, decrease social tension and irritability,
and appreciably increase social good, stability, and harmony.

Mental Health

Life is full of stress and strain, but we have to live in conditions
as they are and make the best of them. Successful adjustment to life in
the light of Buddha’s teachings will, however, ensure the all-round
progress of the lay Buddhist, maximizing happiness and minimizing pain.

The Buddha names four kinds of lay happiness: the happiness of
possession as health, wealth, longevity, wife, and children; the
enjoyment of such possessions; freedom from debt; and a blameless moral
and spiritual life. Yet even the happiest person cannot say when and in
what form misfortune may strike him. Against suffering, the externals
of life will be of little or no avail. Real happiness and security are
then to be sought in one’s own mind, to be built up by constant effort,
mindfulness, and concentration.

So the wise layman while being in this world, will try to be less and less of
it. He will train his mind to look at life mindfully with detachment,
and soon discover that modern civilization is, by and large, a
commercial one, for the benefit of a powerful minority at the expense
of the unthinking majority, based on the intensification and
multiplication of artificial wants, often by arousing and stimulating
the undesirable and lower elements of human nature, and that the
increasing satisfaction of these wants leads not to peace and stillness
of mind, but only to chronic discontent, restlessness, dissatisfaction,
and conflict.

He therefore decides to practice voluntary simplicity and finds a new freedom; the less he wants, the happier and freer he is.

Thinking man realizes that there are but four essential needs for
the body — pure food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Corresponding to
these, there are four for the mind — right knowledge, virtue, constant
guarding of the sense doors, and meditation.

Bhavana, or meditation, is the systematic training and
culture of the mind with Nibbana as its goal. The emotions are
controlled, the will is disciplined, and the instinctive energies are
diverted from their natural ends — led along the Four Great Efforts
(the sixth step of the path) — to the sublimated ideal of a perfect Man
(the Arahant) or Nibbana. If there is an urgent felt need, the ideal
has the power of drawing out all one’s instinctive impulses so that
they are sublimated and harmonized, giving satisfaction to the
individual, and therefore benefiting the community as well.

Closely connected with our instincts are the emotions. By emotion is
meant a feeling which moves us strongly. We get stirred up, as it were.
Examples of emotion are fear, anger, and strong sexual passion. When
emotion floods the mind, reason retreats or disappears, and we often do
things for which we repent later. So some emotional control is
necessary, for, without it, character cannot be developed, and moral
and spiritual progress is impossible.

Fear is a common emotion that darkens our lives. It is anticipation
of deprivations. One tries to live in two periods of time at once — the
present and the future. To know how fear arises enables us to take the
right steps for its removal. It results from wrong seeing, not
understanding things as they really are. Uncertainty and change are the
keynotes of life. To each one of us there is only one thing that is
truly “ours,” is “us”: our character, as shown by our actions. As for
the rest, nothing belongs to us. We can visualize everything else being
taken away, save this. But this, one’s character, nobody and nothing
else can deprive one of. Why then go to pieces when all other things
that are liable to break, do break? Why fret about the fragility of the
frail? Besides, are we so careful of not taking other people’s things,
as we are of preserving ours? Our past actions of depriving others may
only end in others now depriving us. It is only fair and just.

This attitude of detachment to life’s storms is the only sound
philosophy that can bring one a true security and a true serenity.

Or again, there is no such thing as justifiable anger in Buddhism,
for if one is in the right, one should not be angry, and if one is in
the wrong, one cannot afford to be angry. Therefore, under any
circumstances one should not become angry.

A good way to secure emotional control is to practice noticing
mindfully and promptly an incipient hindrance (or any other mental
state of mind); then, of its own, it tends to fade away. If done as
often as possible, it will be very effective. The five hindrances are
undue attachment to sensual desire; ill-will; laziness and inertia;
agitation and worry; and doubt. The last here refers to indecision or
un-steadiness in the particular thing that is being done. One must know
exactly one’s own mind — not be a Hamlet, unable to decide, because one
is always mistrusting one’s own judgment.

Daily practice is the way to progress. Even a little practice every
day, brings a person a little nearer to his object, day by day.

Notes

1. See E.F.S. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, (Blond & Briggs, London, 1973), p. 48ff., “Buddhist Economics”; H.N.S. Karunatilaka, This Confused Society (Buddhist Information Centre, Colombo, 1976); Dr. Padmasiri de Silva, Buddhist Economics (Bodhi Leaves No. B. 69).

2. Complete freedom from the sexual urge.

3. To the latter belong films, pictures, and literature which are chiefly intended to provide sexual titillation.



Right Livelihood:
The Noble Eightfold Path in the Working Life [go up]
by Susan Elbaum Jootla

The question of correct livelihood is of great importance for any
practicing lay Buddhist. So also to the many meditators once they have
done enough meditation courses and work on their own to realize that
they must live a Dhamma life. Just what is Right Livelihood — how broad
is the category of trades a disciple of the Buddha cannot ply? And how
can one best work so that he is developing the other seven Path factors
while earning a living? Is work a total waste — just a means to the end
of supporting oneself in order to meditate? Or can one’s job be used in
a more constructive way so that it brings some direct benefit to those
around us as well? These and many other related issues come to the mind
of anyone who finds himself in the position of the Buddha’s teachings,
and to a large extent each of us has to determine for himself the
details of how to work out the livelihood aspects of his life. In this
essay an attempt is made simply to outline how we can try to use the
Noble Eightfold Path in relation to our work — whether it is in an
office or a factory, in the city or country, whether it is indoors or
outdoors, white collar or blue collar or neither. If the meditator
succeeds in applying sila (morality), samadhi (concentration), and pañña
(wisdom), the three aspects of the Path, at work as well as in all
other life situations, he will be growing in Dhamma even during the
part of the day that is apparently devoted to non-Dhamma work, and at
the same time he will be doing his job well and sharing his peace of
mind and metta (loving-kindness) with those his livelihood brings him into contact with.

Monks, these five trades ought not to be plied by a lay-disciple…
Trade in weapons, trade in human beings, trade in flesh, trade in
spirits [intoxicants] and trade in poison.

Gradual Sayings III, p. 153. (AN 5.177)

And what, monks, is wrong mode of livelihood? Trickery, cajolery,
insinuating, dissembling, rapacity for gain upon gain… And what,
monks, is the right side of merit that ripens unto cleaving to a new
birth? Herein monks, an ariyan disciple, by getting rid of wrong
livelihood, earns his living by a right mode of living…

Middle Length Sayings III, pp. 118-19.

The fields of livelihood which the Buddha prohibited to his lay
followers, as listed in the initial quotation above, are limited to
those in which the disciple would be directly, on his own
responsibility, involved in breaking one or more of the Five Precepts,
which are the very basic moral rules for the Buddhist layman. Anyone
who is attempting to develop morality, concentration, and wisdom, to
grow in compassion and insight, cannot deal in weapons of any sort, at
any level of the business because by doing so he would be involving
himself in causing harm or injury to others for his own monetary gain.
These days the probability of trading in human beings as slaves or for
prostitution is limited, but certainly any job with such overtones is
to be avoided. Breeding animals for slaughter as meat or for other uses
that may be made of the carcasses is not allowed because this obviously
implies breaking the First Precept: I shall abstain from killing. 1
Similarly, anyone trying to follow the teachings of the Buddha should
avoid hunting and fishing, nor can he be an exterminator of animals.
Dealing in alcohol or intoxicating drugs would be making oneself
directly responsible for encouraging others to break the Fifth Precept:
I shall abstain from all intoxicants. While by no means everyone we
meet is trying to keep these precepts, still, to help others directly
in breaking any of them is certainly wrong livelihood. If we
manufacture, deal in, or use insecticides or other kinds of poisons in
our work, we are engaging to some degree in wrong livelihood because
here, too, we are breaking the First Precept and directly encouraging
others to do so as well. However, the motivation behind the use of such
material has a great deal to do with the depth of the kamma being
created. A doctor rightly gives drugs which are harmful to bacteria and
viruses, not because he hates the “bugs,” but in order to help cure the
human being. Here the good more than balances the bad. But if we go
about applying poison to rat-holes and cockroaches’ hideouts with anger
or aversion toward the pests, we would be generating considerably
strong bad kamma.

But these five are the only ways of earning a living which are to be
strictly avoided by one who is walking on the Path. Other fields of
endeavor may seem trivial to the meditator investigating the job
market, or they may appear to be just helping others to create more tanha
(craving), or they may involve some indirect responsibility in wrong
speech or action — but we must find our work within the context of the
society from which we come and within the framework of available job
opportunities. It is not possible first to go about setting up the
ideal Dhamma community and then find work within it; so we must live in
the society and serve its members to the best of our ability. Someone
who finds Dhamma in middle age and is settled into a career with little
reasonable possibility of shifting to one more strictly in accord with
Right Livelihood can — and must — practice Dhamma as it is possible
within his context. For example, only rarely does an army officer serve
in combat — the rest of the time there is ample scope for him to work
wisely, according to pañña, in a detached way, giving the
necessary commands without being overly harsh. There are a substantial
number of police officers in Rajasthan doing vipassana meditation who
already are feeling the benefits of meditation in preserving law and
order and dealing with criminals and the general public with little
anger. Even people whose livelihood is solely dependent on hunting or
fishing can at least develop dana (liberality) and other
virtues — as Burmese fishermen do — even if it is impossible for them
to give up an incorrect mode of earning a living. After all, an
important reason for which serious Buddhists become monks is that “the
householder’s life is full of dust,” and few positions for lay
livelihood can allow one to be completely pure. Due to the
interdependence of all phases of society and today’s complex economic
structures, it is very difficult to live as a layman and keep the
perfect sila the meditator strives for — a farmer has to use
insecticides, public health workers kill mosquitoes and their larvae, a
truck driver may sometimes have to transport arms or poison. Often one
is in a position of having to exaggerate one’s statements or omit
disadvantageous facts, even if one does not like it. So we must earn
our livelihood as we have been trained, and as we find a position for
ourselves in society while constantly making an effort to grow in
Dhamma.

However, if we let the Dhamma slide and allow our daily routine work
to take over and become the thing of paramount importance, then we have
lost track of the goal we set for ourselves in being dedicated
followers of the Buddha, and especially serious vipassana meditators.
One cannot use Dhamma for one’s increased mundane profit and continue
to grow in pañña (wisdom) at the same time because then desire for gain (which is tanha)
will be the root of one’s very Dhamma practice and a complete
distortion of the real purpose of Dhamma — the elimination of craving (tanha) and so of suffering (dukkha).
Occupational work is a means to keep alive and to support one’s
dependents so that one can grow in Dhamma. Trying to use the Dhamma to
help one achieve more at work and ignoring the Noble Eightfold Path or
getting so involved in business that one cannot even sit for meditation
an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening is making a farce of
Dhamma — perhaps keeping the form but surely losing the essence of the
Buddha’s teaching. This is the way of dukkha, productive of suffering. To alleviate dukkha one must live by the Eightfold Path, earning one’s livelihood within its context, trying to practice sila, samadhi, and pañña — morality, concentration, and wisdom — at the workplace as well as while formally sitting in meditation.

Once we have found a suitable job, the more long range task begins — applying the Buddha’s teachings at work. If we can keep sila
only during meditation courses what serious benefit have we gained from
such training periods? If we lose all our mindfulness, concentration,
and wisdom when we are confronted with the vibrations of a big city or
the workplace, where is our wisdom? To grow in Dhamma we have to try
constantly to apply the whole of the Noble Eightfold Path in all life’s
circumstances, and some of the more challenging situations we will come
across are very likely to be those we meet during working hours. Jobs
are particularly important occasions to keep carefully to the Path for
a number of reasons: (1) usually we do not have the support of the
Sangha while at work and so are completely on our own; (2) work tends
to arouse all previous thought associations and our deep-seated
conditionings of greed, competition, and aversion; (3) so many of our
waking hours are inevitably involved in simply earning a living. Yet if
we rightly apply the Path factors on the job, we are still assured of
moving toward success in the supramundane field, and we are quite apt
to find that these factors enable us to do well in our chosen mundane
work as well.

Let us first examine the relationship at work between the three sila
factors of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood. Right
Livelihood was outlined in the first quotation from the Buddha. But
Right Livelihood will not be really pure unless it includes Right
Speech and Right Action as well. We have to strive with determination
to keep all the Five Precepts while we work at a job, as well as for
the rest of the time. The forms of wrong speech and wrong action to be
avoided are all those in which lying, backbiting, or harming of others
would be involved. If we are honest in our speech and actions, our
employers will certainly be pleased with our work and we will be
growing in Dhamma by confronting our mind’s opposing tendencies; we
will note when the mind tries to find the easy way out or to blame
others for our own errors. If we are running our own business, we must
be scrupulously honest in our dealings with our customers and avoid all
“trickery, cajolery… dissembing.” We can make a reasonable profit for
services we perform of bringing our commodity to the consumer, but we
must not let ourselves get caught up in the businessman’s perpetual
tendency toward “rapacity for gain upon gain.” The merchant plays an
important role and function in the community, but the
meditator-businessman must always keep in mind that his job is to serve
the society and provide for the needs of his family — not to make the
maximum amount of money with the least effort as he might previously
have perceived it.

Whatever our work situation is — in an office, factory, or shop — we will always feel the benefits of keeping sila.
If we do not indulge in gossip or slander — “office or academic
politics” — but keep clearly to the side of right and honesty in every
situation that arises with other workers or our employers, we will find
that we are less often at the receiving end of other people’s anger. In
fact, if we are really able to keep on the Path at work, we may well
find ourselves in the position of peacemaker or mediator between the
opposing sides in many a workplace dispute — and in such a role we will
certainly be serving others.

To practice Right Action at work we must scrupulously avoid anything
even remotely related to stealing for our own personal gain. The less
we are involved in anyone else’s taking what was not intended for him,
the better off we are as well. So it is beneficial to all to dissuade
other workers from stealing from the establishment, “liberating”
materials, or otherwise misappropriating the employer’s property. On
the other hand, the kammic implications for us in occasionally having
to exaggerate a bit at the boss’s behest, or to do the firm’s accounts
in a legally dubious way they have always been done, once in a while,
are not so severe because the full responsibility for such occasional
acts is not with us. However, we do bear some responsibility in these
situations and if the job seems to require chronic dishonesty in speech
or action, and this situation cannot be altered by discussion with the
employer, then it may be necessary to change jobs. But we have to keep
a balanced perspective and not keep running after the perfect work —
part of the dukkha of the householder’s life is the necessity to function in an immoral society while keeping one’s own mind clear.

So if we have chosen work which does not involve us in killing, or
trading in living beings, or poisons, or in dealing in intoxicants, we
are earning a Right Livelihood. And if, while on the job we carefully
avoid lying, stealing, and the associated forms of wrong speech and
action, we are doing our work and simultaneously practicing sila on the Path.

The samadhi section of the Path during meditation has effects
in the mundane world, for Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration
will contribute greatly to our success in our career.

Right Effort at work, as elsewhere, must be neither over-exertion
nor laziness, but a Middle Path. For a businessman to spend all his
waking hours involved in the concerns of his firm means that he is
consumed with some strong tanha either for making money or for
some particular set of circumstances to come about, and this is in
direct contradiction with living the Dhamma life. On the other hand,
the employee who sees how inane his work is, or how absurd it is to put
two pieces into a car on an assembly line for eight hours a day, or
that his job just helps people keep revolving in dukkha, and so
sits back and does only the barest minimum required of him, means to be
overcome by defilement of sloth and torpor, and probably ill-will as
well. Right Effort at work means doing our best to accomplish the tasks
before us — without becoming mindlessly absorbed or involved in them to
the point of forgetting equanimity, and without the inertia that comes
of a belligerent mind which thinks itself to be superior to the
position it is in. Unrelenting effort in the mundane sphere is
summarized by the Buddha in a discourse on the householder’s life to
the lay disciple Dighajanu (quoted in “Meditation and the Householder”
by Ven. Acharya Buddharakkhita, in Maha Bodhi, January 1976):

By whatsoever activity a householder earns his living, whether by
farming, by trading, by rearing cattle, by archery, by service under
the king, or by any other kind of craft, at that he becomes skillful
are tireless. He is endowed with the power of discernment as to the
proper ways and means; he is able to arrange and carry out duties. This
is called the accomplishment of unrelenting effort.

Samma sati, Right Mindfulness or Awareness, is the next factor of the samadhi section of the Path, and there are several ways in which the mindfulness we gain from vipassana will help us on the job.

Herein, Dighajanu, whatsoever wealth a householder is in possession
of, obtained by work and zeal, collected by the strength of this arm,
by the sweat of his brow, justly acquired by right means, such he
husbands well by guarding and watching so that kings may not seize it,
thieves may not steal it, nor fire burn it, nor water carry it off, nor
ill-disposed heirs remove. This is the accomplishment of watchfulness.

The quality of mindfulness mentioned by the Buddha here is not the same as the samma-sati
of the Noble Eightfold Path, but this watchfulness is a by-product of
mindfulness important to the lay-follower. The more the meditator has
developed awareness in the supramundane field, the more careful he will
be in all situations of life — meditative, household, or work. If one’s
mindfulness is not “Right,” however, then one will be apt to take this
injunction of the Buddha’s as license to indulge in great upadana,
that is, in clinging, by all possible means, to what one regards as
one’s own. This kind of ignorance-based watchfulness will only lead to dukkha.
What we have to learn to do is care for the possessions we have
acquired so that we and our dependents can make best use of them, but
without making the error of expecting them to last indefinitely, nor of
considering them as a personal possession fully in one’s own control.
To want only to give away one’s hard-earned or inherited goods to
anyone who expresses a desire for them is folly. Dana or
charity can earn us great merit, but only when done in wisdom and when
the quality of the recipient also helps to determine how much merit is
earned. Material possessions in themselves are not the fetters that
keep us in dukkha, so having fewer things or more, for that
matter, will not necessarily bring more happiness; it is our attachment
to them that is the bondage that must be eliminated. So if we apply
Right Mindfulness to the proper taking care of our things, we are only
intelligently providing for our own welfare and for that of those who
are dependent on us, not necessarily generating more tanha (craving).

Increased awareness or mindfulness is intertwined with improved
concentration in enhancing our performance at work. Greater awareness
of all the parameters of a situation will enable a businessman to make
more accurate decisions, a workman to avoid accidents, and a teacher to
really communicate information to his students.

In addition to this mindfulness of external situations, we also have
to try to be mindful of our own minds and bodies while we work, as well
as the rest of the time, of course. Once we become fairly established
in the tradition of vedananupassana (mindfulness of feelings,
as taught in the tradition of Sayaji U Ba Khin), we have acquired a
ready technique for keeping mindfulness always with us. Continual
change is always going on in our bodies, so at no time can it be said
that there are no sensations, since it is the impermanent (anicca)
nature of the body which causes the sensations. Once we have acquired
the skill of feeling these sensations while we are engaged in daily
activities, we would do well to keep some degree of awareness of the anicca feelings, or of anapana
(mindfulness of breathing) awake all the time. Then no matter how
difficult, or how boring, or how exhausting be the tasks that we are
faced with, we will find that we have a relatively equanimous and
balanced mind with which to face them because we will be alternating
mind-moments of mindfulness and wisdom relating to the ultimate nature
of our mind-and-body (nama-rupa) with the mind-moments that are
of necessity fully engaged in the mundane work at hand. Meditators
engaged in contemplating the feelings (vedananupassana), who
have practiced the technique for some time, find that this mindfulness
of the sensations which are caused by the continual flux that is the
nature of the body keeps them in a balanced and detached frame of mind
in all kinds of trying situations — and certainly work experiences can
sometimes be difficult enough to make it well worth our while to
develop the skill of keeping the mindfulness of anicca (impermanence) always with us.

Concentration, the last of the samadhi section of the Path,
obviously is vital to anyone in any task he attempts. The meditator
will find that vipassana has enhanced his one-pointedness and this
skill will be applied in all the spheres of life, including work. But
he must be sure that even at work this concentration is not rooted in
strong craving or ill-will, otherwise the meditator may fall into the
trap of squandering pure Dhamma for material gain, by using the
enhanced concentration without the other aspects of the Path, sila and pañña,
to balance it. Naturally, it is always useful to keep one’s mind
clearly focused on the job at hand — if the mind is constantly running
off in various directions toward irrelevant objects, our work will be
slowed down and perhaps inadequately completed. As the mind is trained
in vipassana meditation to be detached from, not distracted by, the
pleasure and pains of the senses, we will find that when we are working
we will have less and less difficulty concentrating on what has to be
done at this time and tend to worry less about the past or future. This
does not mean that we do not plan our purchases or work schedule or
ignore the future implications of decisions taken now. We do all these
kinds of activities; we make all needed choices and decisions, but once
such action has been taken, the mind settles back down into the job of
the present without being hampered and held back by worries about the
past or fears of the future.

An artist or mechanic or craftsman is much better at his creating if
his concentration is clear and his mind stays firmly with the materials
at hand. A doctor’s or lawyer’s understanding of his client’s situation
will be correspondingly increased as his concentration on what the
client describes is improved — he cannot practice his profession at all
without a fair amount of concentration. Certainly all kinds of teaching
and learning depend on one-pointedness of mind. A merchant or farmer or
businessman will be much better equipped to solve the difficulties of
his work if he can carefully concentrate on all aspects of the problems
at hand, distinguish relevant from tangential issues, and sort out
appropriate solutions. Concentration is one of the mental factors that
is present in any mind-moment, but the degree to which it is developed
varies considerably between individuals. A vipassana meditator
generally has a well-developed faculty of concentration due to his
mental training and if he puts this ability to appropriate use in the
workplace, he will in this way gain mundane benefits from his
meditation.

The remaining sections of the Noble Eightfold Path fall into the category of wisdom. Samma-ditthi,
Right Understanding or Right View, means the ability to see things as
they are in their true nature by penetrating through the apparent
truth. This means understanding the anicca, dukkha, and anatta
nature of all phenomena, mental and physical, that is their
impermanency, unsatisfactoriness, and egolessness. This understanding
should be applied to everyday life — including our work.

Right Understanding (samma ditthi) also requires a basic
understanding of the Four Noble Truths — of Suffering, its Cause, its
Cessation; further, of the Law of Kamma or moral cause and effect, and
the Doctrine of Dependent Origination. By means of Right Thought, samma-sankappa,
the remaining Path-and-Wisdom-factor, one considers all that happens in
life with a mind that is free of greed and of hatred. For this
discussion of the Noble Eightfold Path in the work situation it is not
necessary to separate Right Thought from Right Understanding, as
without one the other could not exist in such situations.

To apply wisdom (pañña) at work means always trying to keep
the mind equanimous and detached while it is engaged in the necessary
mundane activities and interaction with other people. So if the boss
gets annoyed and shouts at us, we remind ourselves that he is at that
moment suffering and generating more suffering for himself. We try to
do the right thing if he is pointing out a reasonable fault, and in any
case we attempt to send him metta and not let anger arise in reaction to his sparks.

Whenever a businessman or professor or other professional gets so
involved in his work that it occupies his mind all the time, keeping it
scheming up more plans or “solving problems” without rest or even time
for meditation, he is acting on the basis of ignorance, not of wisdom.
He has forgotten that all the phenomena he is dealing with are
primarily operating according to laws of cause and effect, and that his
own will and decisions can only do one part of any job; the remainder
is beyond his control.

One is not seeing anatta, the egoless nature of external phenomena if he develops tremendous craving (tanha) for the results of his work. Anicca,
change and decay, is inherent in all phenomena, but we often slip into
ignorance of this factor and unreasonably try to prolong favorable
business conditions or consider our resources infinite or get attached
to any particular situation. If we forget the Four Noble Truths at
work, especially the First and Second — dukkha and tanha as the cause of dukkha
— we will be continuing to generate more and more unhappiness for
ourselves as our craving grows in intensity. Job situations, especially
since they involve money, are very likely to bring up the strong
conditioning for craving we all have from the past, and if this desire
is not observed with wisdom, we will be continually digging deeper
mental ruts that will inevitably lead to future misery. To avoid this
we have to train our minds to see how no situation, however apparently
“pleasant” it may seem to be, is actually desirable because: (1) no
situation can last, all are anicca; (2) the state of craving is itself one of unhappiness; and (3) all craving must lead in the direction of future dukkha.
And, of course, the opposite situation in which the mind reacts with
aversion to the circumstances, be they work-related or otherwise, is
precisely the same — both clinging and aversion are tanha.

If the market for our product is favorable at present, if our
superiors are pleased with our work, if we are getting good grades at
the university, or if any other pleasant situation arises in the course
of our work, we would do well to recall that this situation, too, is
unsatisfactory. Pleasant experiences bring dukkha because they cannot last forever, and any mind which still has conditioning of tanha and avijja
(ignorance), will try to cling to what it likes, striving to perpetuate
the pleasant feelings. If we keep the First and Second Noble Truths in
mind when we encounter both happy and unhappy states on the job, our
minds will be able to remain detached and calm and perfectly equanimous
— the only kind of happiness that can endure — no matter what
vicissitudes we have to face. At any moment we may run into material
gain or loss, be famous or infamous, receive praise or blame,
experience happiness or pain. But if the mind remains free from
clinging, if it has seen dukkha in all craving, then none of
this can really touch us and we are sure of inner peace, no matter what
the outer circumstances may be.

Recalling the law of cause and effect, cultivating this aspect of pañña
at work, is quite important and useful. To create good kamma the mind
has to try to remain free of clinging and aversion, so we have to keep
a close watch on our reactions if we are not to prolong the misery of samsara. We should not, however, expect that just because we have thought of this and are trying to keep ourselves away from tanha that this freedom will easily come about — this would be forgetting the anatta
egolessness nature of the mind. Only gradually can we recondition the
mind to operate in channels based on wisdom, by reminding ourselves
whenever we notice an unwholesome reaction that such actions lead only
to dukkha, and that nothing at all is worth getting attached to
or developing aversion toward. In this way, over a long period of time
we will notice how the force of our reactions does diminish. So when
our superior yells at us and we in turn get angry, we just note the
reaction and the sensations that arise, see their foolishness and as
soon as we can, just let go of them. If a business deal is pending, and
we are getting more and more tense about it as the days go by, we may
not be able to just give up the tension, but if we observe how this
particular conditioning of the mind is happening with some part of the
mind detached and with the sensations (which will be reflecting the
mind-reactions), we are no longer reinforcing the tension sankharas and
so the next time they arise, they will be weaker. Becoming impatient
with the unwholesome tendencies of the mind cannot change them and, in
fact, this would be generating more unwholesome tendencies of a
slightly different sort. If the aversion to work keeps coming up, never
mind; just observe that, too, with the anicca sensations, and slowly it will decrease in frequency and intensity.

Pañña can and must be applied in all situation. It may not be
as powerfully clear as when we are meditating, but if we neglect it
during the part of the day while at work, we are not living by the
totality of the Path; and without trying to understand all the
situations of life in their ultimate nature, we cannot expect to
progress toward the goal of liberation from all suffering.

When we have undertaken the task of removing all the causes of
suffering — which is what it means to be a serious vipassana meditator
— we have committed ourselves to a full-time job. To grow in the wisdom
that can remove dukkha one must at all times try to practice
all the aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path. This is the Way taught by
the Buddha that enables us to find for ourselves real and lasting peace
and happiness. When we are engaged in our mundane work of earning a
livelihood, we must be sure to keep our sila (morality) as pure as possible. Vipassana meditation will have increased our samadhi
(concentration) and we must be sure that it is Right Concentration we
apply on the job, along with balanced Effort. Mindfulness of the true
nature of the external experiences and internal phenomena we come into
contact with when working must be kept alive. And finally, pañña,
Right Understanding, and Right Thought must be developed with respect
to our relationships with our co-workers, the various conditions at the
workplace, and the functioning of our minds while engaged in earning a
livelihood.

As we practice the Noble Eightfold Path and live the life of a
lay-disciple of the Buddha, meditating while working and living in
society, we will find ourselves growing in Dhamma while simultaneously
serving all those we come into contact with in some fashion or the
other. And just this is the essence of the Dhamma life — to eradicate
the causes of one’s own suffering by purifying the mind, and with the
mind thus freed of greed, hatred, and ignorance, full of metta and compassion, help others in their own quest for real happiness.

MAY ALL BEINGS BE PEACEFUL!

Note

1.
The original BPS printed edition includes this sentence here: “Working
on someone else’s beef ranch or selling packaged meat is acceptable as
there is no responsibility for killing involved.” This statement
directly contradicts the author’s previous sentence (”Breeding animals
for slaughter as meat… is not allowed…”) and is plainly at odds
with the Buddha’s own definition of wrong livelihood (AN 5.177). — ATI ed.



Having Taken the First Step [go up]
by M.O’C. Walshe

What does it feel like when one has fairly recently embarked on a
course of Buddhism? The answers will vary a great deal, no doubt, but
there ought to be some general characteristics and some problems common
to the majority of “newborn” Buddhists in the West. Let us assume that
you are a person who has quite recently, or within the last year or so,
begun to take Buddhism seriously as a personal way of life. You may by
now be just looking round a bit in your new mental surroundings and
trying to take stock of what has happened, now that the first novelty
of the situation has worn off. You have, I sincerely hope, tried to do
a bit of meditation, though it would not surprise me in the least to
hear that you have found this difficult and disappointing. If so, I
would like to tell you straight away that you should not be
discouraged. This is quite the normal thing. Meditation may seem
disappointing and even almost useless for quite a long time, but if you
persevere in it, results are bound to come. But these results may not
be at all the sort of thing you expect. And you may not even be the person who first becomes aware of them. So press on regardless, and don’t look
for results. If you can see the point of this piece of advice you have
already in fact made useful progress. Insights often come very subtly.

People’s motives for taking up Buddhism may vary a great deal on the
surface. But fundamentally you have probably come to it because, in one
way or another, it seems to promise you security. If you
haven’t realized before that this was a good part of your motive, you
might usefully use your next meditation period trying to find out
whether I was right or not. If you have realized this, then you may
agree that you find the formula “I go to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and
the Sangha for refuge” strangely comforting. And so it should be in one
way, even though fundamentally you have to learn to be “a refuge unto
yourself.” This is perhaps the first of the many paradoxes you will
encounter attempting to tread the Buddhist path.

Now if we consider this problem of security a little further, we
soon find that we do indeed crave for it. The obvious reason is that we
feel life frankly unnerving, in fact, because insecure. Here, then, we find straight away two of the three “Marks of Existence”: all things are marked by impermanence and suffering. Because
they — and we — are impermanent, they are frustrating and cause us all
kinds of anguish. Buddhism offers a way out of this situation by
treading the Noble Eightfold Path. I am assuming that, having “taken
the first step,” you are now familiar with the Four Noble Truths and
the steps of this Path. So I just want to mention a few points which
may arise at this stage. The first step of the path is known as Right
Understanding or Right View. This is seeing things as they are. There
are large areas of experience which we would much rather know nothing
about. This is the origin of repression, to use a Freudian term which
is misleadingly translated. The German for “repression” in the
psychoanalytical sense is Verdrangung, “thrusting away.” It is
really successful self-deception. Getting rid of our repressions is
therefore not doing what we like, as seems to be popularly imagined,
but ceasing to deceive ourselves.

Fundamentally, Buddhism is just a technique of self-undeception.
This is not easy, though sometimes it may be fun. It needs some study
of theory as well as practice. It is perfectly true that you never gain
enlightenment by intellectual knowledge alone, but if you haven’t
studied the theory to some extent you will almost certainly never be
able to start properly on the practice. Before you can develop your
intuition you must know what it is — or at least what it isn’t — and
self-deception in this respect seems to come terribly easy to many
people. Intuition, or as I much prefer to call it, insight, is not an
emotion, but the best way to develop it is by getting to know one’s
emotions as thoroughly as possible. When these emotions have been
really seen for what are, they no longer stand in the light. Now the
biggest emotional blockage we have is that which surrounds the
ego-idea. Since it is to the ultimate elimination of this idea that the
whole Buddhist training is directed, it may be as well to have a good
look at it. In so doing we may get a shock.

By the ego (or self) in Buddhism we mean of course the concept of “I
am,” though this is much more a feeling than a purely intellectual
concept — which is the very reason why it is so much more difficult to
uproot. From the psychological point of view we must take it to include
not only what in Freudian terms is called the ego, but also the id and
even the super-ego. Though not wholly adequate, the Freudian conception
goes a good way toward giving us the basic idea. This ego of ours is a
complex and dynamic set of functions which are not by any means all
conscious or under any form of normal conscious control. Its nature is
in fact blind ignorance and it fights desperately to maintain that
ignorance. It is most important for us to realize from the outset that
this is the case, because this is the root-cause of all our troubles.
The three unhealthy roots of human nature are greed, hatred, and
ignorance, and all our suffering is due to these three. Ignorance is
the most fundamental, and greed and hate spring from it.

Now the power of ignorance is broken by knowledge, which is seeing
correctly. So all we have to do is to learn to see. A-VID-YA;
“unwitting” or not seeing is no mere passive principle — it is an
active force which opposes discovery of the truth at every turn. No
need to look for an external devil: the Father of Lies is within every
one of us. We all know the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. In
Buddhism the precise opposite of this situation occurs: the clothes go
walking in the procession, but there’s no emperor inside them. The
whole show is laid on for the honor and glory of a character who
doesn’t really exist. Here, then, is our second paradox, and it is
certainly no less startling than the first one: the ego is the most
ruthlessly gluttonous all-devouring monster there is, and yet really
all the time there’s no such thing! All its activities without
exception are simply “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing.” How can we solve this riddle? How can we
ever come to grasp the nature of this peculiar monster that “has no
mouth and no belly, yet gobbles up the entire world” (as some old
Chinese monk might have said, but probably didn’t)?

Clearly there must be a sense in which the self exists and another
sense in which it doesn’t. Let us first of all have a frank look at it
in the sense of something existing. It is not a pretty sight.
Underneath all our lofty ideals, our pious thoughts and holy
aspirations, we are all alike. Our little personal petty self
is the really important thing to us. It is out to grab all it can get,
whether in the way of affection and admiration and sympathy or of more
apparently tangible satisfactions in the way of sex, money, power, nice
things to eat and drink and smell and touch and hear — all
sorts of things and it doesn’t care in the very least how it gets them.
We don’t all want — at least consciously — all of these things perhaps,
but we usually want a lot of credit for not wanting some of them or at
least doing without them, even if by necessity rather than choice. All
these are aspects of greed including the last, which is of course
conceit. They are the things the ego fattens on. Equally impressive and
perhaps even more horrifying is the list of items under the heading of
hate; we are all capable in our minds of murderous rage, sadism,
treachery, and disloyalty of every conceivable kind. Until we have
found and identified the seeds of all these things in our own hearts, we cannot claim to have made much progress in self-knowledge.

Of course most of us will never yield to such impulses, which may
only be very faint; but until a higher stage of development has been
reached they will not be totally eliminated as tendencies. The most
likely way in which they may find some outward expression will be,
perhaps, in the form of over-emotive indignation at the acts of hate
committed by somebody else.

What can we do about this situation? First, face it. Second,
penetrate to its roots. Buddhism is not something airy-fairy or
romantic, it is practical. It is first and last something to do.
To penetrate to the roots of greed, hatred, and delusion is not very
easy and it requires certain methods or techniques. But the great thing
is to keep going at and not be diverted by irrelevancies, interesting
by-paths, plausible excuses or pseudo-mystical fantasies born of
conceit and ignorance. A certain discipline is required, in fact. This
can be summed up in one word — restraint. Restraint is not repression.
In its simplest form it can be something as apparently “easy” as
sitting still. It is just not automatically yielding to every impulse
that arises while not, on the other hand, pretending that that impulse
does not exist. A good part of Buddhism, in modern terms, is
“sales-resistance”: cultivating at least a degree of immunity to the
appeals of the outside world which are today constantly attempting,
quite deliberately and purposefully, to arouse new desires within us.
It is being deaf to the blandishments of the hidden persuaders whether
from within or without, or better perhaps, hearing them without
reacting. Who is the rich man who, like the camel, cannot pass through
the eye of the needle? He is not only the millionaire, the
expense-account johnnie, the take-over charlie: he is anybody who has
too many mental encumbrances, too many wants.

Here then is an exercise: sit down with a straight back for ten
minutes resolved not to make a single voluntary bodily movement during
that time, and just observe what happens. You may get some
surprises, but whatever happens you are bound to learn something. If
you find, as will probably be the case, that a lot of thoughts and
mental images arise, try to discover where they come from, to catch
them at the very moment of arising. You won’t succeed easily, but you
will begin to see something of the mechanism of desires and emotions,
and this is immensely valuable. Perhaps the most widespread
meditational practice in all schools of Buddhism is anapanasati
or mindfulness of breathing. Just watch the ebb and flow of your breath
without interfering and, as far as you can manage, with undivided
attention. This is the surest way to achieve calm, concentration,
self-knowledge, and insight.

There is no Buddhism worthy of the name without practice, but study
is also required. This is especially so in the West, where we have not
the background of Buddhist thought which exists in Eastern countries.
We have to learn as adults what Eastern people have absorbed from
childhood. The study of Buddhist theory should therefore not be
neglected. Those who deny its necessity do so usually out of conceit,
laziness, or ignorance — or a combination of all three.

The obvious problem which arises here is: “Where shall I start?”
There are many schools of Buddhism and their scriptures, even those
readily available in English, are voluminous. There is Theravada and
Mahayana, in the form of Zen, Tibetan Buddhism and several other
varieties. There are numerous books about most of them. Unguided and
indiscriminate reading will only lead to mental indigestion. The
obvious thing is to get down to basics. If we ask where these basic
principles are set out, the answer is in the Pali Canon of the
Theravada school. In fact, the seeds of all later, so-called Mahayana
developments are there in this basic Buddhism.

The only reason why some people find Theravada Buddhism apparently
unsatisfying is its seemingly negative approach. In the Mahayana
schools there is greater explicit stress on two things: compassion and
the higher wisdom. But we need not worry. Compassion grows inevitably
as one trains oneself in Buddhism, and the higher wisdom cannot be
gained until the lower wisdom has been developed. It is to this task
that the basic training is directed. Before we can begin to grasp the
nature of Reality, which is transcendental, we must first grasp the
nature of the mundane, the phenomenal world as our senses present it to
us. This basically means knowing ourselves. Knowing ourselves means
facing our own insecurity. Recognizing the equal insecurity of others
is compassion.

Why do we feel so insecure? If we can answer this question, we are
on the right track. It is due to our recognition that all things are
transient. We seek to achieve a stability in the world which, by the
very nature of things, cannot be. But Buddhism teaches us more than
this: all things are not only transient, they are “empty.” This applies
to our precious selves as much as to anything else. Man, said the
Buddha, is a mere compound of five things, the five khandhas or
aggregates. He has a physical body, feelings, perceptions, emotional
reactions, and consciousness. None of these constitutes any sort of a
“self” which is permanent and unchanging, nor is there any such thing
outside of them. His consciousness is just a series of states of
awareness, conditioned by the other factors, reaching back into a
limitless past. All we are actually aware of is the present moment, or
rather consciousness is just that awareness. There is no separate entity behind it which is aware.
In the jargon of some modern philosophers, everything about man is
contingent or adjectival, not substantival. The further implications of
this must be left for study and meditation, but this is a fundamental
principle of all Buddhism. The search for a “self” behind all this is
futile. If you don’t believe this you can try to take up the Buddha’s
challenge and find it.

There may well be a strong feeling of resistance to the acceptance
of this point. If so, this feeling itself should be very carefully
examined. It is the basis of our habitual ego-reactions. We want
so badly to have a “self” and we expend a vast amount of energy in
trying to build one up and support it in every way we can think of.
That, fundamentally, is why we feel insecure in the world. One could
usefully devote a good deal of time meditating on this point alone.

The most notable contribution made to psychology by Alfred Adler was
his analysis of the inferiority complex. People who, for one reason or
another, feel inferior, says Adler, tend to over-compensate and present
an appearance of conceit and aggressiveness. Since Adler’s psychology
is very much one of social adaptation at not, perhaps, a very profound
level, he did not pursue this idea as far as he might have done. But as
far as it goes it is quite good Buddhism, though we might prefer to
rename his complex the “insecurity complex.” We might even go so far as
to say that for the Buddhist everybody’s ego practically consists of an
inferiority or insecurity complex, for such an assumption certainly
explains a great deal. Every form of ostentation we may indulge in is a
way of bolstering up the ego, whether in cruder or subtle form. The
large car which seems designed as wide as possible is as much an
example of ego-boosting as the padded shoulders worn by the tough:
indeed the resemblance is sometimes striking. Of course the
compensation for insecurity may take a reverse form of exaggerated
modesty and simpering sweetness, or of unnecessary and slightly
ostentatious self-sacrifice. This latter is a form of compensation we
may choose when all else fails, and it has the advantage of making us
feel very holy. Martyrdom is in fact the last consolation of a
disappointed ego. And the hallmark of a person who has really gone far
in the conquest of self is genuine unobtrusiveness.

The formula of Dependent Origination shows by selecting twelve
prominent factors how it is that we go round and round the weary circle
of rebirths, and how karma operates. It is not a simple formula of
“causation” but rather of conditioning. Ignorance (avijja) is a
necessary condition for our being here — hence if we were not ignorant
we would not have been reborn. And birth is a necessary condition for
death — if we had never been born we could not die. Thus, too, feeling
based on sense-impression is a necessary condition for the arising of
craving: if there were no such feeling there would be no craving. But
we can stop the craving from arising or at least prevent its developing
into grasping. This is the point at which karma comes into
play. Karma is volitional activity born of desire, and as such produces
pleasant or unpleasant results in the future. Whatever condition of
body and mind we happen to be in now is due to our past karma; it is vipaka or karma-resultant. In accordance with the vipaka
we are liable to act in the future, but if we have understanding we can
control our future actions, and thus their future effects.

The aim of Buddhist training, of whatever school, is to break away
from the cycle of becoming. This means somehow attaining the
Transcendental Reality which is not karma-bound and therefore
permanent, secure, and free from suffering. We do not, as unenlightened
individuals, know what this is: at best we have a vague intuition of
something wholly other. Its true nature is hidden from us by the veils
of our ignorance. The state of enlightenment is called Nirvana (Nibbana in Pali), which is, be it noted, selfless (anatta).
This means that we cannot grasp it as long as the self-concept (or
feeling) is operative. It is beyond the realm of duality, which is that
of subject and object, or self and other-than-self.

Probably most people have at times had a feeling while in the normal
sense “wide awake” as if really they were dreaming and would soon wake
up. This is actually quite true as far as the first part is concerned.
Life as we know it is in one sense a dream. The Buddha was the Awakened
One, and our normal state is perhaps somewhere about half-way between
ordinary sleep and true enlightenment, or wakefulness. We can therefore
usefully regard the Buddhist training, if we like, as a way of making
ourselves wake up. Sometimes in sleep we become aware of being asleep
and want to wake up. Eventually we succeed, but it is often a struggle.
The struggle to wake up to enlightenment is far greater than this,
because the resistance is stronger. The resistance is stronger for a
very simple reason: to the ego it seems like death. This is fair
enough, since in fact it is the death of ego. And since we have
no real experience of the egoless state, it is unimaginable and
therefore we are skeptical about it, but this skeptiscism too really
springs from fear. We should have to give up all our attachments to
attain it, and that is too hight a price to pay. We are like the rich
young man to whom Christ said “Sell all that thou hast and give it to
the poor.” He went sorrowfully away.

What then must we do, now that we have taken the first step and
embarked on the course of Buddhism? We need to have a chart and compass
to help us on our way. But first we have to know where we are supposed
to be going. The goal of Buddhism is Enlightenment or Awakening or
Nirvana, the Deathless State which is the end of all suffering and
frustration, the one permanent and supremely desirable thing. Buddhism
claims to be a way of attaining this. There are five factors to be
developed which, if they are predominant in our minds, will tend
increasingly to bring us to the goal. They are Faith, Energy,
Mindfulness, Concentration, and Wisdom. The first of these may come as
a surprise to some people. “I thought,” they may say, “you didn’t have
to have faith in Buddhism.” In fact faith is an important
factor to develop. We can call it confidence or trust if we prefer it.
But unless we have some confidence that there is such a goal as
Nirvana, we shall not even start taking Buddhism seriously at all, and
we need also to trust the Buddha as the teacher who has shown the way
to reach that goal. At the very least we need to be free from the sort
of nihilistic skepticism which is so common today and which prevents us
from believing wholeheartedly in anything worthwhile. When we
say “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha” we are
expressing faith in the Teaching and the Order of monks who have
preserved it and handed it on.

If we have faith we next need to put forth effort, so we need
energy. Right Effort is a step of the Eightfold Path. It means getting
rid of wrong states of mind and developing right ones. Clearly a
certain amount of vigor is required to do this, and faith will
strengthen our will to persevere. Clearing up our mental muddle calls
for increased self-knowledge, and this is gained by Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is being aware of one’s own nature and observing one’s own
reactions, being fully cognizant of what one is about all the time. It
is developed by training, such exercises as mindfulness on breathing
and on walking being especially beneficial. With full mindfulness,
self-deception becomes impossible. It is the way of uncovering the
subterfuges of the ego. The Buddha described it as “the one and only
way” to the liberation of beings. It is an absolutely indispensable
factor in all Buddhist training. Being mindful one is, too, in some
degree automatically concentrated, but the practice of mental
concentration can be carried further, to samadhi, which is
mental one-pointedness. By a combination of these two factors, the mind
can be sharpened to an instrument capable of cutting through the veils
of ego-created illusion. The last of the five factors is Wisdom. Wisdom
in this connection means discernment. It includes investigation of all
mental phenomena to their essence, which is voidness. When this lower,
still mundane wisdom has been sufficiently developed, a basis has been
created for the arising of the higher Insight-Wisdom, the perfection of
which is Enlightenment. When this has been attained, the job is done.

But these factors must be developed in such a manner that they are
properly balanced. Faith must be balanced with Wisdom, and Energy with
Concentration. Faith without Wisdom can overreach itself and turn into
that kind of blind faith which Buddhism does not encourage. On the
other hand, Wisdom without Faith is sterile. Energy unaccompanied by
Concentration can easily lead to restlessness, while Concentration
without sufficient Energy leads to sloth. It is the function of
Mindfulness, by watching over the other factors, to see that the proper
balance between them is maintained. These five factors are called indriyas
or “ruling factors.” This means that they can and should dominate the
mind and give it direction. They are the five guides to keep us on the
way. Having taken the first step, and with these as guides, but
especially under the leadership of Mindfulness, let us walk on.



Detachment [go up]
by M.O’C. Walshe

One way of regarding the Buddhist training is to consider it under
the aspect of detachment. Detachment is one of those simple things
which we discover to be very profound and in its higher stages
intensely difficult. By becoming progressively more detached, one
gradually penetrates to the heart of Buddhism. Its importance is
repeatedly stressed under various aspects throughout the whole range of
the Buddhist scriptures. For instance, in the formula describing how
one enters the first jhana: “Detached from sensual objects, O monks, detached from unwholesome states of mind, the monk enters into first jhana which is accompanied by initial and sustained application (vitakka-vicara), is born of detachment (viveka) and filled with rapture and joy.” The second jhana
is then said to be “born of concentration.” We thus see that detachment
is a prerequisite for all concentration. The calm and concentrated mind
is the detached mind. While this is obvious enough when we stop to
think about it, it may help us to realize why it is that, even in
purely mundane matters, we so often fail to concentrate our minds. We
all know the picture of the man with furiously knitted brows and a wet
towel round his head, who is desperately trying to “concentrate” on
some problem. Of course, he usually fails. The reason, surely, is not
far to seek: he is going about it precisely the wrong way. He is not
detached. He is in fact very much attached. He may be detached
from sense-objects for the moment, but not from unwholesome states of
mind. His state of mind is probably dominated by uddhacca-kukkucca
“restlessness and worry,” and so long as this remains the case he will
probably get nowhere with his problem. His body too, reflecting this
mental tension, is probably tense and strained. He should first try to
relax, physically as well as mentally, and then he might make some
progress.

At this point perhaps we might pause to consider an objection which
is not infrequently made to the cultivation of detachment. There are
people who positively regard it as morally wrong to be detached. One
should not, they say, become detached and aloof from life, but should
be actively involved in it — engage as the French say. For
them, detachment is the equivalent of that opprobrious term we used to
hear so much about — “escapism.” Their argument is of course a very
simple one: there is so much evil in the world of one kind or another
that it is our job to go out and fight it. Now I am not going to argue
that such people — let us call them as a generic term crusaders as
opposed to introspectives — do not on occasion do a lot of good. A
society which has a few dedicated crusaders is certainly, in its
mundane way, healthier than one that discourages or represses their
activities. They often succeed in abolishing, or at least reducing,
much genuine evil. Let us take off our hats to them, and perhaps even
on occasion join or support them. But let us also consider their
position a little more closely. Why does the average “crusader” function as he does — irrespective of the particular cause he elects to take up? What really makes him tick? The answer to this question may put the whole matter in a rather different light.

Most of our crusader friends, whether they go in for party politics
or for other similar, perhaps semi-political causes they believe in,
are convinced that they do so out of love for their fellow-beings,
whether human or animal. In part, this is certainly true. They do,
passionately, want to help the poor, the sick, the oppressed, the
suffering. Yet in fact their motives are usually not quite as pure as
they themselves honestly believe them to be. The key to the situation
lies, I think, in the word “passionately.” They are under the sway of
emotions, not all of which are, in the Buddhist view, entirely healthy.
Conceit often plays a large if probably quite unconscious part. And
surprisingly often too they are really moved far more by hate than by
loving-kindness. Hatred, even of the oppressor or the criminal, is not
really the right motive because it is not grounded in the right view.

I am not seeking to disparage these people or belittle their
efforts, but merely to elucidate something of their attitude in the
context of my theme, which is detachment. So let us take a concrete
example: one where I was and remain wholeheartedly in agreement with
their aims. In Britain we have abolished capital punishment, rightly, I
believe, though the increase in crime in recent years has led to
demands for its reintroduction. Those who campaign for this even claim
to be in the majority, though I doubt if this is true, and I certainly
do not share their viewpoint. They too are “crusaders,” and their
reaction is certainly an emotional one. They really seek, without
knowing it, a “safe” or “legitimate” outlet for their own aggression.
These emotions are in turn rooted in their own basic feelings of
insecurity. The trouble is, of course, that such emotions as these (and
this is a comparatively mild example, in the world today!), when held
collectively are always much worse than when merely held by and
individual, not only on account of being multiplied, but because of
being at a more primitive level.

It is possible, though I hope and believe unlikely, that pressures
for the reintroduction of capital punishment in Britain will build up
again to a serious point. Should this be the case, those who wish to
oppose such a trend will need to be very careful indeed of their own
state of mind. They must not let themselves be trapped in an opposite
emotional reaction. They will need to find a way of reducing the
build-up of emotional tension so that in a calmer atmosphere wiser
counsels may have a chance to prevail. Emotional appeals would anyway,
in such a situation, probably be useless, since the stronger emotions
would be ranged on the other side. If you want, in fact, to abolish
capital punishment you must not want to hang the executioner.
Supporters of capital punishment often claim that its opponents show
too much sympathy for the murderer and not enough for his victim. It
does not seem too much to ask that a Buddhist — or a Christian — should
be able to feel compassion for both, and even for the hangman as well,
for he is certainly not creating much good karma for himself.

I am not at all arguing that a Buddhist should necessarily and
always stand aloof from such campaigns as the — now — rather
theoretical one mentioned. I am arguing that whatever he does
he should know his own true motives, his real emotional reasons for
either acting or not acting. I would also suggest that it is truly
necessary for society as a whole, as for the individual concerned, that
there should be those who in fact keep aloof from the current problems
that happen to agitate the world at any moment. It is not for our
crusading friends to disparage those who are genuinely detached. If the
crusader for, say, capital punishment is a victim of his own
unresolved aggression and insecurity, how often is not his opponent in
virtually the same case! A slight shift in viewpoint or circumstances,
and sometimes the roles are even reversed…

The reformer looks around him and sees something wrong in society.
This is usually not difficult, as there are plenty of things wrong with
most societies, and it may be almost a matter of chance what particular
evil or abuse he happens to pick on. What does he do then? He becomes
what is significantly called an agitator. Now you can only agitate
others if you yourself are agitated. What has really happened
to our would-be-reformer is that, his own emotions having been suitably
stirred up, he feels it his duty to go out and stir up the emotions of
other people. I know. I have gone through this phase myself. If you
suggest to him that he should first calm his own emotions he is
aggrieved, thereby developing some more agitation. He will probably
tell you that this is the easy way out, and he may even admit that in
any case he doesn’t know how to do it — thereby, incidentally,
contradicting the notion that it is “easy.” Of course, if you can get him that far it may be possible to indicate to him the contradiction involved. If he cannot help himself
to that extent, how can he expect to be able to help others? Even in
the field of Buddhism there are those who seem to think they can become
Bodhisattvas and “liberate all beings” without first liberating
themselves. They should take to heart the words of the great Zen
patriarch Hui-neng, who told his pupils “to deliver an infinite number
of sentient beings of our own mind.”

Let us leave world-problems now and turn to the problem of our own
minds. What is it that we have to get detached from? In a sense, of
course, it is from the outside world. That at least is how it seems to
us. Let us not get involved in a metaphysical discussion about whether
there really is an outside world or not. In point of fact, from
the standpoint of the Buddhist training it scarcely matters whether
there is or not! Perhaps we just project the whole thing from some
mysterious inner center. In any case, what we have to get rid of is our
excessive preoccupation with it — that is to say, with the things of
the senses. What actually happens is this: we have an unsatisfactory
feeling in the only place we can have it — within ourselves (whatever,
philosophically, that means). This feeling may take many forms, but
whatever its precise nature or mode of manifesting it is something
unpleasant, i.e., what in Buddhism is known as dukkha. It may
be quite vague in character, but we feel it somehow nevertheless. We
therefore look out into the world, either to see what it is, out there,
that is supposedly causing this dukkha, or to help us forget
it, by grasping at something which we assume to be pleasant. The result
in either case is not really very satisfying, because we are not even
looking in the right direction. Both the origin of dukkha and
ensuring its continuance. But creatures of habit as we are, we are
strongly conditioned to look outside, and indeed nature has equipped us
to looking outside with some remarkably efficient sense-organs for
doing so.

With our outward-turned senses we can do various things about the
world we see and hear, smell, taste, and touch. We can try to grasp
something outside and extract enjoyment from it. We can try to alter
what we see in some way to make it conform more to our idea of what it
ought to be like. Or we can vent our ill-temper on it in a fit of
destructiveness. There is a lot of this sort of senseless
destructiveness about nowadays. There always has been, really, but we
have now made it a special problem, the “problem of modern youth.” The
truth is simply that modern youth has in some ways rather more
opportunities for being destructive than is it used to have. This is
due in large measure to the nature and values of the society we live
in, a society which has developed more efficient means of destruction
than were ever dreamed of before. The fact that it has also developed
more wealth and therefore more means of apparent enjoyment, available
to more people than ever before, does not seem to have done very much
to reduce the general feeling of dissatisfaction each one of us has
deep down inside. All this, of course, goes a long way toward
confirming the Buddhist analysis of the situation, that the origin of
this is suffering, this dukkha, lies in craving. Our society is
built up all along the line. We accordingly have the simultaneous
picture of more and more people craving for more and more things, and
quite often getting them, and of both society and individuals showing
more and more taste for bigger and bigger forms of “motiveless”
destruction. Greed and hate, in fact, are perhaps more nakedly at work
in our society than ever before. That means that they are at work in
every one of us, and they can only be dealt with in and by each one of
us individually.

Greed and hate arise from ignorance: from not understanding, not
seeing the true situation as it really is. The individual is a
microcosm of society, and each one of us reflects this situation, in
some form, individually. Now it may be very dreadful, but so far nobody
has found a way whereby society can collectively overcome its ignorance
and set itself fundamentally to rights. Even the Buddha did not show a
method of bringing this about — and if he couldn’t find a way, it is unlikely that anybody else will… But for each individual there is a way:

Sabba papassa akaranam,kusalassa upasampadasacittapariyodapanam:etam Buddhanusasanam

‘Cease to do evil, learn to do good. Purify your own mind: that is
the teaching of all Buddhas.’ And one of the prerequisites of purifying
one’s own mind is the cultivation of detachment. If we ask “Detachment
from what?” — the answer is “from the five hindrances: sensual craving
and ill-will, sloth, restless worry and indecision.” These are things
we all know only too well, and though their final conquest is
difficult, they are things we can detach our minds from temporarily
with a little effort. The first two of these are obviously aspects of
greed and hate. Probably we can see that there is a need to cut these
down as much as possible. But if we fail to do so it may be at least in
part because one of the other three hindrances is preventing us: we may
be too indolent or too excited, or we may dither in a state of
indecision and doubt.

Now the trouble is that we may see quite clearly, in a way, that our
emotions of, say, greed or hate or fear are overmastering us and yet
feel quite unable to do anything about them. Then we probably dismiss
the whole problem with the words “Oh yes, that’s all very well, but I
just haven’t got the will-power.” In fact it is just here that the
value of detachment comes in. What we think of as failure of will-power
may really be much more a failure of technique. Let us take the case of
a man who, as he thinks and as others probably also think, cannot
control his temper. The deeper reasons for this may be various, but
they will probably include some strong form of frustration or
repression. It is not very difficult to see that the chances of gaining
control of any situation are likely to be increased the more one
understands the situation. Now what is called repression in psychology
is really a “thrusting away” — in other words it is basically a refusal
to see something, a form of deliberate (even though “unconscious”)
self-deception. In order to gain insight into the situation, we must
have some willingness to understand it. So we need to realize here,
right at the outset, that there is a form of clinging to ignorance. In
order to cope with this there must be a degree of detachment — we must
be able to regard the situation coolly and simply learn not to mind
too much whatever it is we may be about to discover. We must be
prepared to stop working on the old and foolish principle “Where
ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

It is possible that even this much of the chain of events may be
fairly clear to us, and yet we may still not feel able to go any
further. Intellectual awareness of an emotional situation is not in
itself enough, though this does not mean it is of no use. It is just a
preliminary stage, and it should be strongly emphasized that progress
is in stages. The desire for perfection at a single jump is just
another obstacle born of impatience and conceit. It is not an “all-or
nothing” situation, but a case of “one step at a time.” Perhaps we have
already laid a certain foundation on which progress can be made, even
without realizing it. For the man who has said to himself “I haven’t
the will power to correct this fault” has at least made one vital
admission. He has in some measure accepted his own inadequacy — in fact
he is too much aware of this. He has to learn that what he
really lacks is not necessarily will-power as much as insight. The next
step, then, is merely and simply to recognize this fact. It will prove more helpful than may at first appear. For in fact seeing ourselves as we are is the cure.

The next step, then, is to find out why we do not already “see
ourselves as we are.” The answer is, of course, as already indicated,
that we don’t want to, that there is a clinging to ignorance. Why this
should be so is perhaps after all not hard to see. To the person with
normal eyesight, physical blindness is a terrible thing. We can only
too well imagine the feeling of helplessness and insecurity the blind
person must suffer from. It is therefore not at all nice to think that
though our physical eyes may be all right, we suffer from mental
blindness. So we prefer to be blind to the blindness. This is
attachment to ignorance with a vengeance. No wonder it is frustrating,
for it is a terrible strain to keep up. Most of our unhealthy emotions
are nothing but by-products of this tension, caused by deliberately
keeping our mental eyes tight shut while all the time pretending they
are wide open. Only the practice of mindfulness can help us here.

What is mindfulness? There are professing Buddhists who are
extremely vague about what mindfulness really is, and there are even
some who are so afraid of it that they go about telling themselves and
others that it is not really necessary. In principle, mindfulness is
quite simple. It is just detached watching. Watching one’s breathing is
a method that suits practically everybody. First of all it brings calm,
which enables one to watch one’s thoughts and emotions more easily, and
reduces the fear of what may come up — an important point sometimes. If
mindfulness is pursued for a while, some such experience as the
following may occur: a kind of “unreal” feeling may arise in which one
seems to be aware of various emotional states (perhaps self-pity,
anger, or the like) without being fully involved in them. One may start
thinking “Am I really having this emotion or not? Am I somehow putting
on an act?” What is really happening is that feelings are simply being
experienced with detachment. And in such a state one can allow many
things to come up to the surface which were previously repressed. But
being detached, one is not trapped by these emotional states and sees
them as mere effects of past conditioning. And in this way they can be
harmlessly dissolved.

The interesting thing is that, when such a situation is operative,
everything really seems to go on just as before, with only one slight
difference: “I” am not fully in the situation. There may be even a
distinct feeling of puzzlement as to precisely where “I” am anyway. Am
I, for instance, the emotion or the watcher? Or neither, or both? By
following up this particular clue we may find that the practice leads
us on further to a greater degree of understanding of the impersonality
of all things — of our own fundamental egolessness, in fact. The point
is here simply that by becoming calm and detached we have, so to speak,
“accepted the unacceptable.” As a result of this practice we shall find
a reduction in our own feeling of tension, greater calm and, most
probably, some increased insight into our own nature and the way things
really work.

We can now see the practical answer to our ill-tempered friend’s
problem. He cannot restrain his temper by will-power but by detached
mindfulness he can gradually dissolve it. And the same applies, of
course, to all our failings and weaknesses. But there is one form of
attachment we must guard especially against, because it makes the cure
much more difficult. This is conceit. We all have conceit, of course,
but if it is strong it is a particularly dangerous obstacle to
progress. Conceit is really attachment to a false picture of the ego.
Put negatively, it is a refusal to accept oneself as one is. It may
manifest in the feeling “I cannot possibly have these weaknesses,” or
“I have overcome these weaknesses.” Combined with, for instance, sexual
repression it may take the form of a sort of “purity complex”: “I am
above all these horrid feelings of sex, they no longer exist for me,”
and the like. Perhaps this particular complex has become less common
since greater openness on sexual matters has become usual. In any case,
it is clear that for a person who does have this kind of attitude the
development of true detachment, and hence mindfulness, will be
exceptionally difficult. We must not be ashamed to admit to ourselves (if not perhaps necessarily to others) that we possess our full share of all the normal human weaknesses.

At this point there comes an interesting and subtle twist. You may say “Yes, I suppose that’s true. But somehow there are a few things down there inside me which I just can’t
bring myself to face.” Now this is of course quite different from
denying that they are there at all. It means in fact that repression,
i.e., self-deception, has not been completely successful. Now
it may indeed be true that to face up fully to some of the contents of
one’s unconscious may be too hard to bear. It might be impossible to
maintain detachment. Emotional involvement and perhaps even quite
serious trouble might result. But there is still a way. What we can
do is to accept honestly that precise situation: “There is a dark
corner where I still dare not to look.” It is the mental equivalent of
saying “I have a sore place which I dare not touch.” The technique from
then on is basically the same as before, only at one remove. There is
just a secondary emotion of fear to be dissolved before the primary
situation which is the cause of that fear can be investigated. If that
secondary fear is treated with the detachment we have used on other and
less frightening emotions, it too can be dissolved. Later we may even
look back and wonder why it was that we ever feared to look in that
particular dark corner.

To sum up: detachment is not a kind of selfish flight from the
world, but the necessary precondition for coping with the world. It is
absolutely essential as a means of dealing with our own emotions. Nor
is it in any way incompatible with charity or compassion — as indeed
any doctor or nurse can tell you. It is no “escapism” as is sometimes
alleged, but its very opposite. The degree of physical detachment and
withdrawal which the individual undertakes may vary considerably —
obviously it will be much greater for the monk than for the average lay
person. There can be no successful higher meditation without detachment
from the things of the senses, and it is an essential ingredient of
Right Mindfulness. Incidentally it can even be quite fun. By being
detached we can observe ourselves with ironic amusement. By so doing we
may suddenly discover that some of the things about ourselves that we
took with deadly seriousness are in fact extremely funny. In that way
we may find that detachment actually enables us to enjoy our own dukkha!

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08/30/08
Mayawati magic: BSP chief makes her Forbes debut -Maya among world’s most powerful women -The third affront-Need to impart proper training for maintenance of electrical equipment -Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for India Caste Bias - « உயரே செல்ல உன்னை அறி - My learnings this week - 1-Jagatheesan — On Thursday night, August 28th, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. -Jagatheesan — The first time I ever heard Barack speak was at a community meeting on the South Side of Chicago.
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Mayawati magic: BSP chief makes her Forbes debut


POWER-PACKED: The self-proclaimed leader of a new third front shines at 59th position.

POWER-PACKED: The self-proclaimed leader of a new third front shines at 59th position.

New Delhi: Indian women are being recognised for the power they wield across the world.

Four Indian women feature in the Forbes list of the Hundred Most Powerful Women in the World.

Pepsico
chief Indra Nooyi has climbed up a few rungs to attain the number three
spot. After letting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh call the shots in the
Indo-US Nuclear Deal, Congress president Sonia Gandhi took a backseat
and slid down to the 21st position from the lofty sixth last year.

After
conquering the throne in Lucknow, the self-proclaimed leader of a new
third front, Mayawati, too made her debut in the elite club. The
Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief secured the 59th position in the list of
who’s who of the powerful and popular.

Mayawati has been talking of a possible successor so that she can vie for Manmohan Singh’s job.

Success
stories of Indian women don’t stop there. Ninety-ninth but still making
the list is the founder of Biocon India, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

Forbes recognition means that Indian women have arrived.

 

Maya among world’s most powerful women

Mayawati, the Bahaujan Samaj Party chief and chief minister of Uttar
Pradesh is listed in the annul ranking of
Forbes’100 most powerful women list.

Mayawati is indexed for the first time in the list at the 59th spot.

Mayawati as the head of India’s most populous state has been emerged
as one of the powerful political figure with her Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath stand. However,
realizing that BSP in its old clout wouldn’t be able to make it to the
all corners of the nation and all community, she won the assembly
election by orchestrating her novice ‘social engineering’ formula by
attracting electorates from upper castes and now planning to implement
it across the country.



Forbes described her as the “running to be prime minister”. The
magazine also mentioned about her alliance with upper caste Brahmins
which has subsequently resulted in increasing her party’s national
presence.

The third affront

When CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat visited JD(S) leader
H.D. Deve Gowda last week to convince him about anointing BSP supremo
Mayawati as the prime ministerial candidate of the conglomeration of
regional parties, the quintessential Marxist was introduced to a
celestial prophecy: “My astrologer has predicted that I will become
prime minister again”.

Karat’s designer baby is in tatters as
too many prime minister hopefuls are banking on constellations as well
as political clout in their bid to lead the fledgling Third Front of 10
parties.

With Mayawati insisting that she be declared the prime
ministerial candidate and many regional satraps refusing to hand over
leadership, a massive battle of egos has become a constant irritant in
the Third Front’s effort to take off.

After their joint
meeting on July 23, the leaders of the 10-party alliance had announced
“joint campaigns against the UPA very soon”. Even after a month, those
campaigns are yet to go off the starting block.

There is no Laxman Rekha to it as of now,” said the JD(S) leader post his meeting with Karat.

Also, the seat sharing has become a contentious issue in the new alliance.

Mayawati
has already announced her plans to field candidates across Uttar
Pradesh without conceding even a single seat to the allies.


Her
party is aiming at bagging at least 80 seats from across the country.
When the BSP came to power in Uttar Pradesh after the last Assembly
elections in 2007 by winning 206 of the state’s 403 seats, it had been
leading in 55 of the state’s 80 parliamentary constituencies.


The
Left’s plan of getting a toehold in Uttar Pradesh by contesting in four
constituencies has also been struck down by Mayawati with a barter
proposal.


While the CPI(M) state committee had expressed its
plans to contest from Allahabad and Kanpur, the CPI had been eyeing the
Ghosi and Varanasi seats.


The BSP silenced them by asking for
a seat in Kerala where the party has a small presence with the backing
of Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha, a Dalit outfit, set up by social
reformist Ayyankali.


The CPI(M) does not want further
acceleration of caste-based mobilisation by a dedicated caste party in
its traditional stronghold.


The party had held a Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath
convention at Kochi about a week back—a rare event in communist
calendar—but was aptly ridiculed by the BSP as a “new-found love” for
the
Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath .

In Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa is reciprocating to the UNPA
overtures. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader N. Chandrababu Naidu and
Gowda have also been in touch with the AIADMK leader.


The
CPI(M is on its way of snapping ties with the DMK in the state. “The
Left party has made it clear to the DMK that it should decide whether
it wants to join hands with the Congress or with the CPI(M). “Historically,
the CPI(M has never sided with the communal BJP or the Congress, and
would make all efforts to float a Third Front in Tamil Nadu,” said N.
Varadarajan, CPI(M) state secretary.


Karat, under pressure to keep the Third Front floating, may opt for a tie-up with Jayalalithaa.

The CPI(M insists that Mayawati, after their meeting on August 24,
has agreed to make concessions on seat sharing and the alliance would
soon convene a meeting for planning further campaigns.

 Teething troubles

Thaindian News


Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati on Forbes powerful women list


New York, Aug 28 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Uttar
Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, PepsiCo chief executive Indra K. Nooyi
and Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw have been featured in the latest
annual list of “100 Most Powerful Women” compiled by Forbes
magazine.Nooyi and Gandhi rank high up at third and twenty-first
positions in the list, while Mayawati and Mazumdar-Shaw have been
ranked fifty-ninth and ninety-ninth, respectively.

The top slot in the list published in the magazine’s latest edition
has been given to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, followed next by
Sheila C. Bair, chairperson of the US-based Federal Deposit Insurance
Corp.

“Gandhi, the Italian-born leader of India’s most powerful political
party, the Indian National Congress Party, has by now assumed the role
of an elder stateswoman,” the magazine said.

“Although she remains firmly at the head of the country’s ruling
party, a rising star, known by the single name Mayawati, is challenging
Gandhi’s position as the country’s most powerful woman,” the magazine
added.

“Mayawati has aligned herself with the nationalist Hindu BJP
(Bharatiya Janata Party) and joined its members in vociferously
opposing Gandhi’s party’s historic agreement with the US on nuclear
cooperation.”

According to Forbes, the annual ranking measured power as a
composite of public profile, calculated using press mentions, financial
heft, the money the person controls, job title and past career
accomplishments.

“For the third year running, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is
the world’s most powerful woman. US Sen Hillary Clinton is the woman
with highest public profile, resulting from the intense media scrutiny
of her failed presidential bid.”

Nooyi, the magazine said, continued to grow PepsiCo, the $39 billion
food and beverage giant, through new product offerings like lifestyle
beverages, new line of oatmeal and granola bars, as well as
acquisitions.

“Nooyi orchestrated a major expansion into international markets,
most notably with a $1.4 billion acquisition of a 75 percent stake in
Russian juice giant Lebedyansky,” the magazine added.

Commenting on Mayawati, the magazine said she was in the running for
the post of India’s prime minister, having become chief minister of
India’s most populous state at the age of 39 in 1995.

“In 2007, she shrewdly built an alliance with Brahmins, and the
Bahujan Samaj Party, which she heads, has started to increase its
national presence. Some say she could trail-blaze again as India’s
first Dalit prime minister.”

Mazumdar-Shaw, the magazine said, was trained in Australia as a
brewer but later founded Biocon in 1978 to make industrial enzymes with
a small Irish company - Biocon Biochemicals.

“Now a top-20 global biotech company, Biocon makes drugs, including
insulin and anti-cancer treatments, and its chairman is the dean of
India’s rapidly growing biotech industry.”

Forbes also mentioned that the Biocon founder donates half of her
dividends to fund hospitals and a health insurance programme for poor
villagers, and has won the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest
civilian honours.


Mayawati crashes into top 100 club; Sonia Gandhi slips (Lead, Changing dateline)


Washington, Aug 28 (IANS) With her prime ministerial ambitions,
Indian Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath leader Mayawati has crashed into the club of world’s 100
most powerful women even as Sonia Gandhi, head of India’s ruling
coalition, slipped a few notches.Making her debut at the 59th place in
the fifth annual Forbes list, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader is
said to “in the running to be prime minister, from her perch as chief
minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state”.

Gandhi, the Congress president and chairperson of the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA), has slipped to 21st position from her last
year’s sixth rank, with the “rising star” “challenging Gandhi’s
position as the country’s most powerful woman”, said the US magazine.

At No. 3, up from fifth last year, Indra Nooyi, the Indian-born
chairman of PepsiCo, is the highest-ranked woman in business as she
expands the food and beverage giant globally to counter a fall in
American preference for soda and chips.

Indian biotechnology firm Biocon’s Chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at 99th is the third Indian on the list.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is rated the most powerful woman in
the world, topping the list for the third year running. US Federal
Deposit Insurance Corp chairman Sheila C. Bair follows her at the
second position. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is ranked No. 7.

Gandhi, Mayawati and Shaw are the only three Indians on list, while
Nooyi is the only other person of Indian-origin. Last year’s list
included another person of Indian-origin Vidya Chhabria of the United
Arab Emirates, at 98th place, but she has dropped out this year.

Despite her fall from sixth position last year, Gandhi has outranked
people like Hillary Clinton (28th), Oprah Winfrey (36th), Melinda Gates
(40th), Laura Bush (44th) and Queen Elizabeth II (58th).

Besides, at her 59th position, Mayawati is also ranked higher than
MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath (60th), Finland President Tarja Halonen,
US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hyundai Group Chairman
Hyun Jeong-Eun and Ireland President Mary McAleese.

Gandhi and Mayawati have also outranked Harvard University President
Drew Gilpin Faust, The New York Times Co President and CEO Janet L.
Robinson, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, London Stock Exchange CEO
Clara Furse, Western Union CEO Christina Gold, Time Inc CEO Ann Moore
and Deloitte Chairperson Sharon Allen.

“Gandhi, the Italian-born leader of India’s most powerful political
party, the Indian National Congress Party, has by now assumed the role
of elder stateswoman,” says Forbes.

But “although she remains firmly at the head of the country’s ruling
party, a rising star, known by the single name Mayawati, is challenging
Gandhi’s position as the country’s most powerful woman.

“Mayawati has aligned herself with the nationalist Hindu BJP party
and joined its members in vociferously opposing Gandhi’s party’s
historic agreement with the US on nuclear cooperation,” Forbes says,
taking note of BSP’s withdrawal of outside support to the UPA coalition
on the eve of last month’s trust vote in parliament.

“In the running to be prime minister, from her perch as chief
minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state,” Mayawati at
39, was the youngest politician elected to the post and also the first Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath to head a state government in 1995, notes the magazine.

She “commands a large following and goes simply by Mayawati. In 2007
she shrewdly built an alliance with Brahmins, and the BSP, which she
heads, has started to increase its national presence. Some say she
could trail-blaze again as India’s first  Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath Prime Minister”, it said.

According to Forbes, its annual ranking of the most powerful women
in the world measures “power” as a composite of public profile and
financial heft. The economic component considers job title and past
career accomplishments, as well as the amount of money the woman
controls. In total, the women ranked on the list control $26 trillion
worldwide.

Others in the top 10 include WellPoint CEO Angela Braly, Anglo
American Cynthia Carroll, Kraft Foods chief Irene B. Rosenfeld, Temasek
Holdings CEO Ho Ching, Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon and Xerox Corp CEO
Anne Mulcahy.

Six of the 10 most powerful women are from the US, while one each are from Britain, Germany, France and Singapore.



Need to impart proper training for maintenance of electrical equipment

LUCKNOW:
Proper maintenance of electrical equipment in the power sector is the
requirement of not only Uttar Pradesh but the whole country. There is an
emergent need to address this issue as there is to impart requisite training to
the personnel in the sector.



Addressing a press conference on the
concluding day of the
seminar on ‘reliability and life extension techniques of
electrical equipments in power system’ , director general National Power
Training Institute (NPTI), Dr NS Saxena said electrical equipments require
regular maintenance as there is considerable wear and tear during operation.




The same holds true for power plants which are old but not that old
as to be rejected completely. Such plants require refurbishment as is the case
with the Obra and Harduaganj power plants here. The DG added that high value
transformers should be tested periodically and any problem should be attended
immediately so that their life expectancy could be increased .




Saxena said NPTI aimed at imparting the needed know how to the
engineers and other personnel so that they could address these issues. “The need
for this assumes more importance following the coming into existence of the
Electricity Act 2003 and its increased stress on specialisation . Prior to this
when the system of
Electricity Boards was in force, transfer of personnel was
frequent. There was no specialisation because the business was integrated
leading to cross subsidisation also. This has changed now and hence a greater
need for giving the required training,” he added.



The NPTI which
came under the Ministry of Power had nine institutes all over the country which
were engaged in similar educational and training activities, he said.




Queried if the NPTI had held any talks with the UPPCL on the holding
of training programmes, he said talks had been held with the chairman Pradeep
Shukla on the count.



The institute had offered all possible
assistance for undertaking training need analysis so that programmes could be
arranged.

Asia Pacific



Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for India Caste Bias

Brian Sokol/Rapport, for The New York Times

An untouchable, or Dalit, woman in Azamgarh District in Uttar Pradesh,
India. The country has 200 million Dalits, many of whom remain
uneducated and poor.
More Photos >


AZAMGARH DISTRICT, India
— When Chandra Bhan Prasad visits his ancestral village in these feudal
badlands of northern India, he dispenses the following advice to his
fellow untouchables: Get rid of your cattle, because the care of
animals demands children’s labor. Invest in your children’s education
instead of in jewelry or land. Cities are good for Dalit outcastes like
us, and so is India’s new capitalism.

Skip to next paragraph



Brian Sokol/Rapport, for The New York Times

Chandra Bhan Prasad in front of a flooded field in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India.
More Photos »

Mr. Prasad was born into the
Pasi community, once considered untouchable on the ancient Hindu caste
order. Today, a chain-smoking, irrepressible did act, he is the rare
outcaste columnist in the English language press and a professional
provocateur. His latest crusade is to argue that India’s economic
liberalization is about to do the unthinkable: destroy the caste
system. The last 17 years of new capitalism have already allowed his
people, or Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath , as they call themselves, to “escape hunger and
humiliation,” he says, if not residual prejudice.

At a time of
tremendous upheaval in India, Mr. Prasad is a lightning rod for one of
the country’s most wrenching debates: Has India’s embrace of economic
reforms really uplifted those who were consigned for centuries to the
bottom of the social ladder? Mr. Prasad, who guesses himself to be in
his late 40s because his birthday was never recorded, is an anomaly,
often the lone Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath in Delhi gatherings of high-born intelligentsia.

He
has the zeal of an ideological convert: he used to be a Maoist
revolutionary who, by his own admission, dressed badly, carried a
pistol and recruited his people to kill their upper-caste landlords. He
claims to have failed in that mission.

Mr. Prasad is a
contrarian. He calls government welfare programs patronizing. He
dismisses the countryside as a cesspool. Affirmative action is fine, in
his view, but only to advance a small slice into the middle class, who
can then act as role models. He calls English “the Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharathgoddess,” able
to liberate Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath.

Along with India’s economic policies, once
grounded in socialist ideals, Mr. Prasad has moved to the right. He is
openly and mischievously contemptuous of leftists. “They have a hatred
for those who are happy,” he said.

There are about 200 million Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath, or members of the Scheduled Castes, as they are known
officially, in India. They remain socially scorned in city and country,
and they are over-represented among India’s uneducated, malnourished
and poor.

The debate over caste in the New India is more than
academic. India’s leaders are under growing pressure to alleviate
poverty and inequality. Now, all kinds of groups are clamoring for what Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath have had for 50 years — quotas in university seats, government
jobs and elected office — making caste one of the country’s most
divisive political issues. Moreover, there are growing demands for
caste quotas in the private sector.

Mr. Prasad’s latest mission
is sure to stir the debate. He is conducting a qualitative survey of
nearly 20,000 households here in northern state of Uttar Pradesh to
measure how everyday life has changed for Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath since economic
liberalization began in 1991. The preliminary findings, though far from
generalizable, reveal subtle shifts.

The survey, financed by the University of Pennsylvania,
finds that Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharathare far less likely to be engaged in their
traditional caste occupations — for instance, the skinning of animals,
considered ritually unclean — than they used to be and more likely to
enjoy social perks once denied them. In rural Azamgarh District, for
instance, nearly all Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath households said their bridegrooms now rode
in cars to their weddings, compared with 27 percent in 1990. In the
past, Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath would not have been allowed to ride even horses to meet
their brides; that was considered an upper-caste privilege.

Mr.
Prasad credits the changes to a booming economy. “It has pulled them
out of the acute poverty they were in and the day-to-day humiliation of
working for a landlord,” he said.

To prove his point, Mr. Prasad recently brought journalists here to his
home district. In one village, Gaddopur, his theory was borne out in
the tale of a gaunt, reticent man named Mahesh Kumar, who went to work
in a factory 300 miles away so his family would no longer have to live
as serfs, tending the animals of the upper caste.

When he was a child,  Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath like him had to address their
upper-caste landlords as “babu-saab,” close to “master.” Now it is
acceptable to call them “uncle” or “brother,” just as people would
members of their own castes.

Today, Mr. Kumar, 61 and uneducated,
owns an airless one-room factory on the outskirts of Delhi, with a
basic gas-fired machine to press bolts of fabric for garment
manufacturers. With money earned there, he and his sons have built a
proper brick and cement house in their village.

Similar tales
are echoed in many other villages across India. But here is the problem
with Mr. Prasad’s survey. Even if it chronicles progress, the survey
cannot tie it to any one cause, least of all economic changes. In fact,
other empirical studies in this budding area of inquiry show that in
parts of India where economic liberalization has had the greatest
impact, neither rural poverty nor the plight of Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharathhas consistently
improved.

Abhijit Banerjee, an economist at M.I.T.
who studies poverty in India, says that the reform years coincide with
the rise of  Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath politicians, and that both factors may have
contributed to a rise in confidence among Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath.

Moreover, Old
India’s caste prohibitions have made sure that some can prosper more
easily than others. India’s new knowledge-based economy rewards the
well-educated and highly skilled, and education for centuries was the
preserve of the upper castes.

Today, discrimination continues,
with some studies suggesting that those with familiar lower-caste names
fare worse in job interviews, even with similar qualifications. The
Indian elite, whether corporate heads, filmmakers, even journalists, is
still dominated by the upper castes.

From across India still come reports of brutality against untouchables trying to transcend their destiny.

It
is a measure of the hardships of rural India that so many Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath in
recent years are migrating to cities for back-breaking, often
unregulated jobs, and that those who remain in their villages consider
sharecropping a step up from day labor.

On a journey across
these villages with Mr. Prasad, it is difficult to square the utter
destitution of his people with Dalit empowerment. In one village, the
government health center has collapsed into a pile of bricks. Few homes
have toilets. Children run barefoot. In Gaddopur, the Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath neighborhood still sits on the edge of the village — so as not to
pollute the others, the thinking goes — and in the monsoon, when the
fields are flooded, the only way to reach the Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath’ homes is to tramp
ankle deep in mud. The land that leads to the Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath enclave is owned by
intermediate castes, and they have not allowed for it to be used to
build a proper brick lane.

Indu Jaiswal, 21, intends to be the
first Dalit woman of Gaddopur to get a salaried job. She has persuaded
her family to let her defer her marriage by a few years, an audacious
demand here, so she could finish college and get a stable government
job. “With education comes change,” Ms. Jaiswal said. “You learn how to
talk. You learn how to work. And you get more respect.”

Without
education, the migrants from Gaddopur also know, they can go only so
far in the big cities that Mr. Prasad so ardently praises. Their
fabric-pressing factories in and around Delhi have been losing business
lately, as the big textile factories acquire computerized machines far
more efficient than their own crude contraptions. One man with
knowledge of computers can do the work of 10 of their men, they say.
Neither Mr. Kumar, nor the two sons who work with him, can afford to
buy these new machines. Even if they could, they know nothing about
computers.

The village Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath do not challenge Mr. Prasad with
such contradictions as he travels among them preaching the virtues of
economic liberalization. He is a big man, a success story that makes
them proud.

Among the broad generalizations he favors, he says
that Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath aspire to marry upper-caste Brahmins to step up the ladder.
He married a woman from his own caste, who, he proudly points out, is
light-skinned. Across the caste ladder, fair complexion is still
preferred over dark.

“Economic expansion is going to neutralize caste in 50 years,” he predicted. “It will not end caste.”

“vinaya rakkhita”


Dear All,
 
We don’t need Gods. We need Goods. So let us look for that which
is Good and not that which is called God. If not life will be that of
doG.
 
We never find these Gods coming to the rescue of Humans but it is
humans who are fighting like Dogs to resuce their Gods. So always
remember that:
 
Staute of Liberty stands for freedom
Statue of Buddha stands for virtue & wisdom.
 
Therefore let us have the goods of virtue, wisdom and freedom.
 
with metta,

Ven.Vinayarakkhita

ExpertDabbler


My learnings this week - 1

That joining a political party is not inherently a bad idea. I noticed
someone well known to me trying to join a party. What was even more
interesting was his choice of the party. He was considering joining the
Bahujan Samaj Party. And the reasons put forth by him considering his
background and situation was very interesting.

Jagatheesan –

On Thursday night, August 28th, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.


More than 80,000 people joined him in Denver to be part of the moment,
and tens of millions more shared the experience across the country.


Watch Barack’s historic speech and share it with your friends and family today:


Watch Barack's speech


http://my.barackobama.com/barackspeech

This campaign belongs to supporters like you who have built a nationwide movement for change.

Thank you for everything you’re doing,

Obama for America

Jagatheesan –

The first time I ever heard Barack speak was at a community meeting on the South Side of Chicago.

He won me over with the same message that inspired millions last night.

He told people who’d been knocked down that, despite everything, we
need to set our sights on a better place around the bend — and that
it’s up to each one of us to fight for it.

That’s where you come in.

More than two million supporters already own a piece of this
extraordinary campaign. Will you join them by making your first
donation right now?

Make a donation of $5 or more today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/lastnight

Now that the convention is over, time will fly between now and Election Day.

And the next two days are especially important.

The August fundraising deadline is this Sunday at midnight, and we can
prove that a campaign funded by grassroots supporters can compete with John McCain and the Republicans.

The past four days in Denver — and the amazing event last night — showed the country that Americans are ready for change.

Now it’s up to each of us to make it happen.

Thanks for everything you’re doing,

Michelle

comments (0)
08/29/08
The Buddha Speaks The Sutra On Cause And Effect In The Three Periods Of Time -Mayawati in Forbes’ powerful women list -Drive to repair U.P. roads -Prof. Dr. Suresh Mane-After we walked off the field at Mile High, Barack and I had some official business to attend to — signing the papers to add our names to the ballots. -This night could not have happened 40 years ago — or even 4 years ago. And it could not have happened without you. -When Barack takes the stage tonight, he’ll look out at delegates from every corner of the country and tens of thousands of ordinary people who are here to be part of this historic moment.
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 6:29 am

The Buddha
Speaks The Sutra On
Cause And Effect In The Three Periods Of Time

Translated
by Bhikshuni Heng Tao
Reviewed by Bhikshuni Heng Ch’ih
Edited by Upasaka
David Raunds
Certified by Venerable Abbot Hua
and Bhikshuni Heng Ch’ih

That time, Ananda was on Magic Mountain, together with twelve hundred
fifty in the assembly. Ananda made obeisance with his palms together, circumambulated
the Buddha three times, and knelt with his palms joined. Then he asked Shakyamuni
Buddha this question: “During the Dharma-Ending Age, all the living beings
in Southern Jambudvipa will give rise to much unwholesome karma. They will not
revere the Triple Jewel, or respect their parents. They will be lacking in the
Three Bonds.1 The Five Constants2 that safeguard the universal obligations between
people will be in disharmony and disarray. Beings will be poor, destitute, lowly,
and vile. Their six faculties will suffer impairment. All day long they will engage
in killing and harming. Moreover, they will not be of equal status; some will
be wealthy while others will be poor. What are the conditions leading to these
various different rewards and retributions? We disciples pray that the World Honored
One will compassionately explain each one of these for us.”
The Buddha
told Ananda and the assembly of great disciples, “You should now listen attentively.
Good indeed, good indeed! I will clearly set forth all of this for you. All men
and women of the world, whether they be poor and lowly or wealthy and noble, whether
they be undergoing limitless sufferings or enjoying blessings without end, are
all undergoing the rewards or retributions which are due to causes and effects
from their past lives. What should they do from now on?
“First, they
should be filial and respectful to their parents. Next, they should reverently
believe in the Triple Jewel. Third, they should refrain from killing and instead
liberate the living. Fourth, they should eat pure vegetarian food and practice
giving. These acts will enable them to plant seeds in the field of blessings for
their future lives.”
Then the Buddha spoke these verses on cause and
effect:
Wealth and dignity come from one’s destiny
From causes planted
in lives in the past.
People who hold to this simple principle
Will reap
good fortune in lives in the future.
Kind men and women, listen to the causes,

Hear and remember this Sutra’s reminder
Of the causes and effects of karmic
deeds
In the past, in the future, and in the present.
Cause and effect
is no small care.
True are my words; don’t take them lightly.
Why are
some people officials at present?
Because with gold they gilded the Buddhas

In their past lives, long long ago.
It’s from their practice in lives
in the past
That they reap in this life a rich fruition.
The purple gown
and golden cordon–
The honored marks of higher office:
Should you seek
them, seek with the Buddhas.
Gilding the Buddhas is your own gain;
Robing
Thus Come Ones, you robe yourself.
Don’t say it’s easy to become an official;

It cannot happen if causes aren’t planted.
What are the causes of owning
a carriage
And riding on palanquins? People like that
Were builders and
menders of bridges and roads.
Why are some people wearers of satin?
That
is because in times in the past,
Robes they save as gifts to the Sangha.
Sometimes
people have plentiful goods,
The reason, in fact, again is quite fair.
In
the past those people gave food to the poor.
Others don’t have food or drink,

Who can guess the reason why?
Before those people were plagued with a
fault:
Stingy greed made them squeeze every penny.
The well-to-do among
us dwell
In very tall mansions and vast estates.
The reason is they gladly
gave rice,
Lavishing gifts of grain on monasteries.
Enjoying blessings
and justly prosperous,
Are People who reap a fitting reward.
In times
now past they helped build temples
And saw that the Sangha had huts and shelters.

Some people’s features are fine and perfect,
Surely the reason for such
rewards
Is that beautiful flowers they offered to Buddhas.
Why are some
people gifted and wise?
In former lives they ate pure food
And remembered
the Buddhas with mindful regard.
Look at men whose wives are loyal,
Their
reward comes now for what happened before:
Their conditions are strong in
the Buddha’s door.
Some have marriages lasting and meaningful.
Their happiness
doesn’t happen by chance.
The cause this time is the hanging of canopies
And
streamers before the Buddhas’ statues.
Some happy fellows’ fathers and mothers

Enjoy long lifespans, contentment, and ease.
Where is the source for rewards
such as these?
They protected orphans in times now past
And regarded all
elderly ones as their own.
Orphans must live without fathers and mothers
Since
before they shot down birds for sport.
How does one set lots of children and
grandchildren?
By letting birds fly from their cages to freedom.
In raising
children, some really fail badly.
It’s because before they drowned female
infants.
When barren, people won’t bear any children.
That’s their due
for committing promiscuous deeds.
Some have long lifespans, why are they lucky?

Liberating creatures, they ransomed lives.
Have you seen how many suffer
short lifespans?
Their wanton slaughter of beings is why.
Lonely are men
whom no women will marry.
They’re paying their debt for committing adultery.

Widows bear a sad retribution.
They held their past lives’ husbands in
scorn.
Servants and slaves made that bondage themselves
By neglecting
repayment of goodnesses done them.
Bright are the eyes of some fortunate beings.

Before Buddhus they offered lamps filled with oil.
The blind of this world
bear a heavy burden
For past failure to tell the way clearly to
travellers.

Some people’s mouths are very misshapen.
They blew out lamps on the Buddhast
altars.
To be deaf and mute is a dreary existence.
Reward appropriate
for scolding one’s parents.
How do people get to be hunchbacks?
They berated
and laughed at those bowing to
Buddhas.
Take heed of malformed hands,
my friend.
They betray people prone to evil.
Fellows with crippled and
useless feet
Ambushed and robbed with reckless abandon.
Most cows and
horses were humans before–
People who didn’t settle their debts.
Many
former people are now pigs or dogs
Because they injured and cheated others.

Illness and pain: an effect inevitable
For bestowing meat and wine on
the Buddhas.
Freedom from illness: a fine reward
For relieving the sick
by bestowing medicines.
The fate of imprisonment catches some people
Due
to fiendish deeds and a failure to yield.
Death by starvation: due retribution

For stopping up holes of rats and snakes.
Appropriate that a victim of
poisoning
Caused aquatic poisoning; dammed up waters.
Abandoned, forlorn,
rejected beings
Were cruel of old, abusing others.
The stature of some
is extremely short.
Before, they read Sutras spread out on the floor.
Vomiting
blood? Believe it’s from first
Eating meat, then reciting the Sutras.
Another
deed that determines deafness:
To not listen well to Sutra recitals.
Sores
and scabies bother some people
Who gave stinking fish and flesh to the Buddhas.

People who reek with a terrible stench
Sold inferior scents and phony
goods.
Why do some by their own hand hang themselves?
Before, they used
nooses to capture their prey.
All those widowed, alone, unwed, or orphaned,

Are now paid Justly for former jealousy.
Those struck by lightning, consumed
by fire,
Rigged their scales to better their business income.
Fierce tigers
and snakes that feast on people
Are enemies bearing resentments from lives
before.
In our myriad deeds, whatever we do,
We reap our own rewards,
it’s true.
Who can we blame for our woe in the hells?
Who can there be
to blame but ourselves?
Don’t say that cause and effect is unseen.
Look
at you, your offspring, heirs, and grand children.
If you doubt the good of
pure eating and giving,
Look around and find those enjoying fortune.
Having
practiced of old, they now harvest abundance.
To cultivate now will bring
blessings anew.
Those who slander the cause and effect in this Sutra
Will
fall and have no chance to be human.
Those who recite and uphold this Sutra

Are supported by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Write out this Sutra, study
it hard
And in the future your families will flourish.
Uphold this Sutra
atop your heads
To avert disasters and fatal accidents.
To lecture this
Sutra on Cause and Effect
Is to sharpen your wits in successive rebirths.

Chanting this Sutra on Cause and Effect
Will make one revered, well-regarded
by all.
Print and distribute this precious Sutra
And reap rebirth as a
ruler or king.
To verify former cause and effect,
Regard Mahakashyapa’s
golden body.
A case of future cause and effect:
Bhikshu Good Star slandered
the Dharma
And lost his chance for human life.
If cause and effect contained
no truth,
Why did Maudgalyayana seek to rescue his mother
From the hells
to save her from suffering?
Those who trust the words of this Sutra us true,

Will all be reborn in the Western Land of Bliss.
To speak of present cause
and effect
To proclaim future and past as well,
Is a deed that could never
be done to its end.
Join at the door of the Triple Gem.
With blessings
and wholesome belief one can enter
The door, supported by gods and dragons,

Dragons and sods who won’t let you down.
For every part of giving you
practice,
You’ll reap ten thousand parts reward.
Such blessings are stored
in a solid treasury,
For enjoyment in future rebirths without end.
If
you care to know of past live’s causes,
Look at rewards you are reaping today

If you wish to find out about future lives,
You need but notice what you’re
doing right now.
End Of The Buddha Speaks The Sutra On Cause and Effect In
Three Periods Of Time

(i) dark with a dark result,

(ii) bright with a bright result,


(iii) dark and bright with a dark and bright result,


(iv) neither dark nor bright with a neither dark nor bright result.



Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Friday, Aug 29, 2008

Mayawati in Forbes’ powerful women list



Shanker Chakravarty



NEW YORK: U.P Chief Minister Mayawati has joined in a list of world’s 100 most powerful women compiled by Forbes magazine.

Drive to repair U.P. roads

Lucknow: A special drive will be launched in Uttar Pradesh to repair
all roads in the State which have been damaged due to the torrential
rains this year, PWD Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui said here on
Thursday.

An additional amount will be released this month for the drive which
will continue till September 30, the Minister said. After completion of
the drive, a joint team comprising government and PWD officers will
inspect the work done, the Minister said while chairing a meeting of
the PWD officials. — PTI


Prof. Dr. Suresh Mane

 

Prof.
Dr. Suresh Mane is a renowned Professor of Law as well as a mass leader
of the Bahujan Movement headed by Kumari Bahan Mayawatiji and founded
by Manyawar Shri. Kanshiram.

Sir as
he is fondly called is also the National General Secretary of the
Bahujan Samaj Party and is also the Coordinator for the Southern and
North East States of India Namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondichery (Since
March-2005) & North-East States (Since August-2006). Also Karnataka (2008)

Sir
is not only actively involved into the political affairs and growth of
the BSP but also Looks into the welfare and development of the workers.
He presides the Mumbai Port Trust SC, STand OBC Employee’s Welfare
Association and is the Founder President of BMC SC, ST Employee’s
Welfare Association.

Along with so
many responsibilities Sir also looks over the Workers Union of the
Mumbai Port Trust and is the President of Mumbai Port Trust Workers
Union. for the Rights of the Municipal Workers of the Mumbai Municipal
Corporation. Sir founded the Bahujan Municipal Kamgar Union and was the
Founder President for it.

 Sir is not only a mass leader but also academically superior to other leaders of the day.
He holds multiple degrees into various departments ranging from
Commerce to Law. Namely B. Com. Ll. M. He has also done his Doctorate
from the University of Mumbai and specialized into: Constitutional Law
, Administrative Law and Criminal Law.

Sir
had his Subject of Doctoral Thesis: “The Contribution of Justice P. N.
Bhagwati To The Constitutional Growth in India: A Critical Study”

Sir
is presently the Reader in Law at the University of Mumbai, Fort, in
the Dept. of Law a position he is holding since 12-8-2002. He is also
the Guiding Teacher for Ph. D. at Mumbai University since 26-11-1998

Apart
from all the activities Sir has so far authored 4 Books 5 Monograms
published 35 papers at various Universities and written 31 National
Seminar Papers. He has an academic teaching experience of total 21
years so far.

Jagatheesan —

After we walked off the field at Mile High, Barack and I had some
official business to attend to — signing the papers to add our names
to the ballots.

At that moment, the general election officially began.

Since you’ve been at the core of this campaign every step of the way, we thought you should be there too.


Watch this short behind-the-scenes video and make your first donation to the general election now.

Watch the video and make a donation

This new phase of the campaign will move quickly. By the time you read this, we may even know who John McCain has chosen to be the next Dick Cheney.

No matter who it is, it won’t change the fact that John McCain simply isn’t prepared to bring the change we need.

But far more important than McCain’s choice is the choice of
whether we tackle the general election with the fierce urgency that the
stakes demand.

And that choice is yours.

Please make a donation of $5 or more today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/general

Thanks,

Joe

Jagatheesan —

This night could not have happened 40 years ago — or even 4 years ago.

And it could not have happened without you.


You believed, against the odds, that change was possible. I felt your
passion here tonight, and I know it was shared by millions of Americans
who are building this movement all across the country.


Tonight is your night. But tonight is just the beginning.


The general election is going to be faster and tougher than anything
we’ve faced so far. And our opponents will do everything they can to
tear us down.


I need your support more than ever.

Make a donation of $25 or more right now:

https://donate.barackobama.com/thebeginning

Our party is united. Our purpose is clear. And our goal is in sight.

Thank you for everything you’ve done,

Barack

Jagatheesan —

When Barack takes the stage tonight, he’ll look out at
delegates from every corner of the country and tens of thousands of
ordinary people who are here to be part of this historic moment.

But in the very first row he’ll see a group of people who are
there because they took ownership of the political process. Some gave
just five dollars.

They’re folks just like you, and they represent more than two million
Americans who own a piece of this campaign. Our success would not have
been possible without so many people answering the call by giving
whatever they can afford.

On this final day before Barack formally accepts the
Democratic nomination, please celebrate the moment and lay the
foundation for our victory in November by making a donation of $25 or
more now:

https://donate.barackobama.com/frontrow

Barack is ready. The crowd filling this stadium at this very moment is ready. And America is ready for the change we need.

It’s within your grasp to make that happen.

Thank you,

David

David Plouffe

Campaign Manager


Obama for America

P.S. — Be sure to tune in to watch Barack accept the Democratic nomination tonight.

comments (0)
08/28/08
Mayawati enters Forbes’ power women list; Sonia slips in rank- Club all blasts for CBI probe: Mayawati -Admission racket busted; 7 held -‘Speed up relief measures’ -A few hours ago, Barack Obama was officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.-This has been a convention of extraordinary moments. Ted Kennedy passing the torch to a new generation. Michelle Obama moving the crowd to tears. And tonight, Joe Biden will give the biggest speech of his life. A deeper sense of happiness Buddhism teaches that the mind, not the wallet, is the path to contentment:
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:25 am

Buddha - Buddhism ReligionBuddha, Buddhism Religion: The world is continuous flux and is impermanent.Buddha - Buddhism ReligionBuddha, Buddhism Religion: The gift of truth excels all other gifts.Buddha - Buddhism Religion  of Nirvana and KarmaBuddha, Metaphysics of Buddhism Religion, BuddhaBuddha - Buddhism Religion of Nirvana (Truth) and Karma (interconnection)


Buddha - Buddhism Religion

Mayawati enters Forbes’ power women list; Sonia slips in rank
28 Aug, 2008, 1354 hrs IST,
PTI


Mayawati


NEW
YORK: Making her debut in the club of 100 most powerful women in the world,
Bahujan Samajwadi
Party chief Mayawati has joined Congress President Sonia
Gandhi in a list compiled by US magazine
Forbes.



While Gandhi, also
chairperson of the country’s ruling UPA alliance, has slipped from her previous
year’s sixth rank to 21st this year, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has
made her debut at 59th.



The
list also includes Indra Nooyi, the Indian-origin chief of global soft drink
major PepsiCo, at third position, up from fifth last year, and Indian
biotechnology firm Biocon’s Chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw at
99th.



The list has been topped
by German chancellor Angela
Merkel.



On Gandhi, the magazine
said the Italian-born leader of India’s most powerful political party has by now
assumed the role of elder
stateswoman.


“Although she remains
firmly at the head of the country’s ruling party, a rising star, known by the
single name Mayawati, is challenging Gandhi’s position as the country’s most
powerful woman.”



Mayawati-led
BSP recently withdrew its outside support to Gandhi-led ruling combine in the
country.



The magazine said that
Mayawati has aligned herself with the nationalist Hindu BJP party and joined its
members in vociferously opposing Gandhi’s party’s historic agreement with the US
on nuclear cooperation.



The
magazine described Mayawati as the one “in the running to be prime minister,
from her perch as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state.”



Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Thursday, Aug 28, 2008

Club all blasts for CBI probe: Mayawati

Atiq Khan


Chief Minister rejects Union Govt. proposal for probe into Kanpur blast
by Central agency

Request for CBI probe made by Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal

Two persons alleged to be Bajrang Dal activists killed in Kanpur blast


LUCKNOW: Chief Minister Mayawati has rejected the Union Government’s
proposal for an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
into the Kanpur bomb blast case of August 24. She has suggested that
only if the Centre is willing for a probe by the investigating agency
in the Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi serial bomb blasts in the civil
courts premises, the Gorakhpur blast and the terrorist attack on the
CRPF camp in Rampur, along with the Kanpur incident, would the State
Government recommend a CBI probe into these incidents.

The letter containing the UP Government’s suggestions has been sent to the Union Government, Ms. Mayawati said on Wednesday.

Ms. Mayawati clarified that a CBI probe into the Kanpur bomb blast
case alone would not be recommended by her. She said the Congress-led
UPA Government had not proposed a CBI inquiry into the earlier serial
blast cases but it lost no time in asking for a probe once the name of
Bajrang Dal surfaced in the Kanpur incident. Nor was a CBI probe
proposed by the Centre into the terrorist attack in Ayodhya and Sankat
Mochan blasts in Varanasi during the Samajwadi Party regime, the Chief
Minister said. “This despite the fact that several lives were lost and
many others were injured in these terror-related incidents,” she added.

The Chief Minister told reporters here that the Union Government was
aware that those behind the conspiracy would be exposed in the
investigations being conducted by the UP police, so it proposed a CBI
probe. She alleged that the UPA Government was actually trying to
shield the Bajrang Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

She said CBI inquiries had been recommended in the past into 19
important and sensitive cases but the State Government’s request was
turned down by the Central investigating agency by taking the plea of
paucity of officers and large number of pending cases.

Stating that investigations were being conducted by the Special Task
Force and Anti-Terrorist Squad into the Lucknow, Faizabad, Varanasi,
Gorakhpur and Rampur incidents, Ms. Mayawati said considerable progress
had been made in these cases.

The request for a CBI probe had been made by the Union Minister of
State for Home, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, who is MP from Kanpur, to the
Chief Minister by a letter (No.1850/VIP/MOS (SJ)/2008, dated August 26,
2008). The State Government’s reply has been sent to Satyanand Mishra,
Secretary, Personnel and Training Department, Union Ministry of
Personnel, Public Complaints and Pension, by the UP Principal Secretary
(Home), Kunwar Fateh Bahadur.

Two persons alleged to be Bajrang Dal activists were killed in the
blast in Mishra Lodge in Kanpur’s Rajiv Nagar locality this past
Sunday.

Admission racket busted; 7 held

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested seven “members of a
gang” allegedly involved in a racket of duping people in the name of
providing them admissions in private medical and engineering colleges.

Following an FIR registered by a person from Firozabad that the
gang deprived him of Rs.20 lakh in the name of facilitating admission
in a medical college, a Special Task Force team swung into action and
on the information collected, arrested the seven here. The gang used to
prepare fake documents to hoodwink victims, sources said.

‘Speed up relief measures’

Special Correspondent

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Wednesday asked
officials to expedite relief and rehabilitation measures on a war
footing in the flood-affected areas.

Addressing a press conference, the Chief Minster said 21 districts
had been ravaged by the floods, with 3,691 villages being hit by the
swirling waters of major rivers.

Ms. Mayawati directed Irrigation Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and
Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta to monitor the situation and ensure
the speedy implementation of relief measures. She also ordered the
distribution of money and material to the affected people.

Around 721 people perished in floods and heavy rainfall in Uttar
Pradesh. The Gomti river level has been rising for the past four days.

The flood waters of the river have submerged several areas of Lucknow.

Besides, inundating many outlying localities and villages situated
on the river bank, affecting about one lakh people, flood waters of the
Gomti entered the Vipul Khand area of the posh Gomtinagar locality on
Tuesday.

Some districts, including Kanour Dehat, were in the grip of viral
fever and malaria, causing the death of three dozen people.

Jagatheesan –

A few hours ago, Barack Obama was officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

And just a few moments ago, I accepted our party’s nomination for vice president.

I made my case to everyone watching — Barack Obama will secure America at home and restore our reputation abroad. And John McCain will only extend the failed policies of George Bush.

But this isn’t my moment. It’s all of ours.

And the fight ahead will be like nothing you’ve ever seen.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, and Barack and I need your help right now.

Please make a donation of $5 or more now and support this campaign to bring the change we need:

https://donate.barackobama.com/tonight

Thank you for making this possible,

Joe

Jagatheesan –

 
This has been a convention of extraordinary moments.
Ted Kennedy passing the torch to a new generation. Michelle Obama moving the crowd to tears. And tonight, Joe Biden will give the biggest speech of his life.



Millions of Americans are watching and counting on us to win this election and deliver real change.



They’re not just counting on Barack and Joe — they are counting on
you. Hillary couldn’t have said it better: “None of us can afford to
sit on the sidelines.”


This is our one shot, so let’s roll up our sleeves — or risk
another four or eight years of the same disastrous Bush-McCain
policies.

Sign up right now for events happening this week in your community.


Tomorrow, Barack will accept the Democratic nomination, and
supporters all across the country are getting together to be a part of
this historic moment.



Then, this weekend, we’ll kick off the biggest
voter registration and mobilization drive in the history of politics.



Attend a Convention Watch Party this Thursday evening, and find a Weekend of Action event near you — or host one yourself:


http://my.barackobama.com/organizeforchange

If this convention has shown us anything, it’s how much energy and enthusiasm is out there — and how much passion for change.


Voters in all 50 states are realizing what’s at stake. And
they’re hearing Barack’s message of change in every corner of the
country.



Let’s seize this incredible opportunity and work together to get out the vote like never before.

Attend a Convention Watch Party and host or sign up for a Weekend of Action event near you.



Supporters like you have brought us this far, but there’s still a lot work to be done.



At this crucial time in our campaign, it’s never been more important to get involved.



Thanks,



Jon



Jon Carson


National Field Directo
r
Obama for America

Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati
‘The gift of truth excels all other gifts.’
The world is continuous flux and is impermanent.
Transient are conditioned things. Try to accomplish your aim with diligence. 

(The Exalted, Blessed, Noble, Awakened Great Mind with full awareness)

The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.
It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering
both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious
sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual
as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. (Albert Einstein)

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not
believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do
not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious
books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your
teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have
been handed down for many generations. But after observation and
analysis, when you find anything that agrees with reason and is
conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and
live up to it.
                                                               -(The Exalted, Blessed, Noble, Awakened Great Mind with full awareness)

I will teach you the Truth and the Path leading to the Truth.

One is one’s own refuge, who else could be the refuge? ..The wise man makes an island of himself that no flood can overwhelm.

It is proper for you to doubt .. do not go upon report .. do not go upon tradition..do not go upon hearsay..

Never by hatred is hatred appeased, but it is appeased by kindness. This is an eternal truth.

O
Brahmana, it is just like a mountain river, flowing far and swift,
taking everything along with it; there is no moment, no instant, no
second when it stops flowing, but it goes on flowing and continuing. So
Brahmana, is human life, like a mountain river.

‘Wherefore,
brethren, thus must ye train yourselves : Liberation of the will
through love will develop, we will often practice it, we will make it
vehicle and base, take our stand upon it, store it up, thoroughly set
it going.’

                                                                –(The Exalted, Blessed, Noble, Awakened Great Mind with full awareness)


A deeper sense of happiness

Buddhism teaches that the mind, not the wallet, is
the path to contentment:

Buddhism and human values

ACCORDING to Buddhism, for a man to be perfect there are two
qualities that he should develop equally: compassion (Karuna) on one
side, and wisdom (Panna) on the other.

Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance and
such noble qualities on the emotional side, and wisdom (Panna) on the
other.

Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance and
such noble qualities on the emotional side, or qualities of the heart,
while wisdom would stand for the intellectual side or the qualities of
the mind.

If one develops only the emotional, neglecting the intellectual, one
may become a good hearted fool; while to develop only the intellectual
side neglecting the emotional may turn one into a hard-hearted intellect
without feeling for others.

To be perfect, therefore, one has to develop both equally. That is
the aim of the Buddhist way of life. Those who think that Buddhism is
interested only in lofty ideals, high normal and philosophical values
and that it ignores the social and economic welfare of people are wrong.

The Buddha was interested in the happiness of men. To him happiness
was not possible without leading a pure life based on moral and
spiritual principles.

But he knew that leading such a life was hard in unfavourable
material and social conditions.

Buddhism does not consider material welfare as an end in itself: it
is only a means to an end — a higher and nobler end. But it is a means
which is indispensable, indispensable in achieving a higher purpose for
man’s happiness.

So Buddhism recognises the need of certain minimum material
conditions favourable to spiritual success.

A man named Dighajanu once visited the Buddha and said: ‘Venerable
sir, we are ordinary lay men leading the family life with wife and
children. Would the blessed one teach us some doctrines which will be
conducive to our happiness in this world and hereafter?’

In reply the Buddha tells him that there are four things which are
conducive to a man’s happiness in this world.

First: He should be skilled, efficient, earnest, and energetic in
whatever profession he is engaged, and he should know it well.

Second: He should protect his income, which he has thus earned
righteously, with the sweat of his brow. This refers to protecting
wealth from thieves etc. All these ideas should be considered against
the background of the period.

Third: He should have good friends who are faithful, learned,
virtuous, liberal and intelligent, who will help him along the right
path away from evil.

Fourth: He should spend reasonably in proportion to his income,
neither too much nor too little, i.e. he should not hoard wealth
avariciously nor should he be extravagant — in other words he should
live within his means.

Then the Buddha expounds the four virtues conducive to a lay man’s
happiness hereafter:

(1) Saddha: He should have faith and confidence in moral, spiritual
and intellectual values

(2) Sila: He should abstain from destroying, from adultery, from
falsehood and from intoxicating drinks

(3) Caga: He should practice charity, generosity without attachment
and craving for his wealth

(4) Panna: He should develop wisdom which leads to the complete
destruction of suffering to the realisation of Nirvana.

Buddha encouraged and stimulated each person to develop himself and
to work out his own emancipation for man has the power to liberate
himself from all bondage through his own personal effort and
intelligence.

Today, we hope, with a better understanding of our common humanity
and common values, we can say ‘hatred does not cease by hatred, but it
ceases by love and compassion”. Buddha’s verse is as follows:

Nahi verena verani sammantidha kudha canam

Averena ca sammanti eso dhammo sanamtano.

Conquer anger by love and compassion, evil by good; conquer the miser
with liberality and the lair with truth. Let us think good, do good and
pray good for the welfare of mankind.

Sabbe satta sukhita bhavantu — May all beings be happy. Nibbanam
Paramam Sukham — Nirvana is the supreme bliss of the world.

Courtesy: Daily Star, Bangladesh

——————-

Ancient Buddhist links between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka

THE Palk Strait which lies between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan land
masses, is seen as a divider, separating two different distinct
ethnicities, religions, cultures and political entities.

But there was a phase in history, between the early years of the
Christian era and the 14th century, when Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka
enjoyed very close ties, thanks to a shared interest in Buddhism.

At that time, the Palk Strait was not seen as a divider. Then
Buddhism was a bridge between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.

The land of the Tamils has been called Tamilakum, which means a land
where the language Tamil is spoken. Tamilakum was a region which had the
north-east Ventcata hill or the Tiruppati hill, the southern part of the
modern Andhra Pradesh, as its northern border, Kanniya Kumari or Cape
Comerin as the southern border, the bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea as
its eastern and western borders respectively.

The ancient Tamilakum encompassed modern Kerala too. Tamilakum was
actually located in the southern part of the Indian peninsula. Present
Tamil Nadu State is much smaller than the Tamilakum. Now Tamil Nadu is
the only land where the language Tamil is spoken. At present Tamil
country is famous as Tamil Nadu.

According to Historians, Buddhism began to make an impact on Tamil
Nadu only in the 4th century AD. Buddhism flourished in Tamil Nadu in
Two phases. (1) The early years of Pullava rule (400-650 AD) (2) The
Chola period (mid 9th to early 14th century AD). Buddhism had then
enjoyed a very remarkable popularity in the Tamil soil.

Although Buddhism has almost extinct from Tamil Nadu, it has
contributed a great deal to the enrichment of Tamil culture and has
exerted a significant influence, both directly and indirectly, on the
Tamil religious and spiritual consciousness, present as well as past.

It has expressed itself in exquisite artistic forms and given an
enduring colour and richness to Tamil culture as a whole. It has exerted
a profound influence on the existing religious and social institutions,
language and literature as well as on art and architecture.

The fascinating story of the historical links - Golden threads
between Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka was narrated by Dr. Shu
Hikosake Director Professor of Buddhism, Institute of Asian Studies in
Madras in his book “Buddhism in Tamil Nadu a new Perspective.”

Dr. Hikosaka’s study is based on his doctoral dissertation submitted
to the University of Madras. In the conclusion he explains: “Thus
Buddhism remained orphaned in all spheres without proper patronage and
encouragement.

The Buddhist monks looked for greener pastures in the neighbouring
countries. They found propitious soil in Ceylon and South East Asian
countries.

A comparative study of the development of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and
the neighbouring countries clearly shows the fact that when Buddhism was
in decline in Tamil Nadu, it witnessed tremendous growth in the
neighbouring countries.

The monks of Tamil Nadu, who had left from their native land, have
contributed a great deal for the growth of Buddhism abroad. In this
sense we may say that the Tamil Buddhist genius was not destroyed but
sublimated in another direction where it has grown with fresh vigour and
vivacity.”

The earliest inscriptions in Tamil Nadu belong to the third century
BC. They are written in Brahmi character of the time, on the walls of
the natural caves in the Tamil districts of Madura, Ramnad and
Tirnnelveli.

They are of considerable interest to students of South Indian
Buddhism. It is learnt from these Brahmi inscriptions which
palaeographically belong to 3rd century BC that Buddhism had come into
Tamil Nadu even then.

It was to Asoka and his son Mahinda that the introduction of Buddhism
into Tamil Nadu may be attributed. Epigraphical evidence seems to
confirm this statement.

In his Rock-Edict No. 3, Asoka says that his Dharma Vijaya prevailed
in the border kingdoms of the Colas, Pandyans and at Tambapanni. But it
was his son Mahinda who was responsible for the introduction of Buddhism
in Tamil Nadu.

In this task, he was helped by Maha Aritta, a nephew of the Sri
Lankan king Devanampiyatissa. Mahinda is said to have erected seven
viharas at Kaveripattinum while he was on his way to Sri Lanka.

Some Indian scholars are of the opinion that Aritta or Maha-Aritta
might have lived in the caves of the village of Arittapatti in Madura,
which is in Tamil Nadu.

According to Dr. Hikosaka Buddhism might have gone to Sri Lanka from
Tamil Nadu, contrary to the general impression.

“Taking all evidence into account, we may fairly conclude that
Mahendra and the Buddhist missionaries who went to Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
could have embarked for the island from the East coast of the Tamil
country. So, it is quite probable that the Tamil country received
Buddhism directly through missionaries of Asoka.

Buddhism might have gone to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) from Tamil Nadu by
sea-route, a route by which one can reach Ceylon (Sri Lanka) easily.

Since there existed close cultural affinities between Ceylon (Sri
Lanka) and the Tamil country from time immemorial, the Buddhist
activities in India could have easily influenced in some way or other
the Buddhism of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)” says Dr. Hikosaka.

It is interesting and appropriate to investigate the interactions of
Buddhist monastic centres between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu.

The remains of a Buddhist monastery excavated at Kaveripattinum which
could be assigned to the fourth century, are believed to be the earliest
archaeological relics of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu.

During the Pallava period, Tamil Nadu boasted of “outstanding
Buddhist monks who had made remarkable contributions to Buddhism thought
and learning. A Buddhist writer Buddhadatta or Thera Buddhaatta as he is
called lived during the time of Accyutarikkanta, Kalabra ruler of the
Cola-nadu. Under the patronage of this ruler, Buddhadatta wrote many
books.

In his book Vinayaviniccaya, he says that due to the patronage of
this king he was able to compose this work. In the Abhidhammaratara he
gives a glowing account at Kaveripattinum, Uragapuram, Bhutamangalam and
Kanchipuram and the Mahavihara at Ceylon (Sri Lanka). While he was at
Sri Lanka, he composed many Buddhist works such as Uttara-viniccaya
Ruparupa Vibhaga Jinalankara etc.

Buddhaghosha, contemporary of Buddhadatta composed many Buddhist
commentaries. Buddhaghosha is a Tamil monk, who made a remarkable
contribution to Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

He stayed and studied Buddhist precepts at Mahavihara in Anuradhapura.
The Visuddhimagga was the first work of Buddhaghosha which was written
while he was in Ceylon.

According to Mahavamsa, it is a summary of the three Pitakas together
with the commentary. When Buddhaghosha had been staying at Granthakara
Pirivena at Anuradhapura, he completed his task of rendering Sinhalese
commentaries of Tripitakas into Pali. After a considerable period of
religious service in Sri Lanka, he returned to Tamil Nadu.

After Buddhaghosha, the important Theravada monk from the Tamil
country was Dhammapala. Dhammapala lived in the Mahavihara at
Anuradhapura. He composed paramathadipani which was a commentary on
Buddhaghosha’s work on Khuddaka Nikaya and Paramathamanjusa, which was a
commentary on Buddhaghosha’s Visuddhimagga.

A close study of the three Buddhist monks viz Buddhadatta,
Buddhaghosha and Dhammapala shows that Tamil Buddhists were closely
associated with the Sri Lankan Buddhists around the 5th century AD.

The interaction between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan monks finds mention
in “Manimekalai”. The 6th century Tamil Buddhist work Manimekali by
Sattanar, is perhaps the most famous of the work done in Tamil Nadu. It
is a work expounding the doctrines and propagating the values of
Buddhism.

The interaction between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan monks finds mention
in “Manimekalai” which is set in the Tamil towns of Kaveipumpattinam
Kanchi and Vanchi. There is mention about the presence of wondering
monks of Sri Lanka in Vanchi, which was the capital of the Chera Kings
of Tamil Nadu. The Chinese traveller, Tsuan Tsang, wrote that there were
around 300 Sri Lankan monks in the monastery at the Southern sector of
Kanchipuram.

comments (0)
08/27/08
Religion cannot be separated from politics; what did the Buddha say about Political Involvement? -Living Wage -U.P. launches online monitoring of projects -Did you see Michelle?
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:49 am

Religion cannot be separated from politics; what did the Buddha say about Political Involvement?

Religion cannot be separated from politics; what did the Buddha say about Political Involvement?

By Ashin Mettacara

Allow me to discuss with the reader the subject of the Buddha and
His views on politics. Being a Buddhist monk, I will try to illuminate
you on the right way of life and the best kind of political
involvement, according to Buddha’s teaching. These teachings are not
only for Buddhists, but also for all non-Buddhists: for everyone.

What does “Buddhist” mean? The best answer is that those who are
practicing and living in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings are
Buddhists, because practice is much appreciated by the Buddha. Then,
what are the teachings of the Buddha? The rudimentary and shortest
answer is that we must always endeavor to do good and kindness, rather
than doing evil and harm to others.

Obviously, no one could ever conclude that the current rulers of
Myanmar are Buddhists. They have attached their names in name only, to
affiliate with Buddhists, in order to rule the country. They
essentially tried to become Buddhists without knowing any teachings of
the Buddha. These generals are surviving on truly ignorant and blind
faith. The true Buddhist must be a self-learner and must continually
practice to achieve the highest liberation (nirvana).

Politics and political matters in Buddhism are considered worldly concerns,
yes. But the Buddha did not ignore such worldly concerns, because as a
Prince estranged and removed from his prior worldly concerns, still He
was living in society. Alms food comes from vast numbers of people
constituting society. So should not we work to elevate society to
evolve into a higher form, to be more effective and more just? The
monks were also told by the Buddha to work for the good of many, for
the benefit of all beings and for the betterment of society. The intent
behind the founding of the community of monks  (Sangha in Pali, Pali
being the original language of the Buddha) was entirely for the benefit
of the people.

In the life of Buddha, we find that the Buddha often discussed
politics with the rulers of realms in his time,  such as King Mala,
King Kosala , King Licchavi and King Ajatasattu . The Buddha always
preached the kings that they must rule their kingdoms with dasarajadhamma.
The dasarajadamma in Pali  is based on ten precepts, in order for the
king to best rule the country. They are: (1) be liberal and avoid
selfishness, (2) maintain a high moral character, (3) be prepared to
sacrifice one’s own pleasure for the well-being of the subjects, (4) be
honest and maintain absolute integrity, (5) be kind and gentle, (6)
lead a simple life for the subjects to emulate, (7) be free from hatred
of any kind, (8) exercise non-violence, (9) practice patience, and (10)
respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony. Any government who
wishes to peacefully rule any nation can effectively apply these 10
precepts even today; they haven’t yet and never will “go out of date.”

The Buddha preached non-violence and peace as a universal message.
He did not approve of violence or the destruction of life, and declared
that there is no such thing as a ‘just’ war. From his own words, He
taught:  “The victor breeds hatred; the defeated lives in misery. He
who renounces both victory and defeat is happy and peaceful.”

Not only did the Buddha teach non-violence and peace: He was perhaps
the first and only religious teacher who went to the battlefield
personally to prevent the outbreak of a war, when He diffused tension
between the Sakyas and the Koliyas who were about to wage war over the
waters of Rohini River. He also dissuaded King Ajatasattu from
attacking the Kingdom of the Vajjis

He showed how countries could become corrupt, degenerate and unhappy
when the head of the government becomes corrupt and unjust. He spoke
against corruption and how all governments’ actions must be based on
humanitarian principles.

The Buddha once said, ‘When the ruler of a country is just and good,
the ministers become just and good; when the ministers are just and
good, the higher officials become just and good; when the higher
officials are just and good, the rank and file become just and good;
when the rank and file become just and good, the people become just and
good.’

Clearly, religion and politics are something analogous to paper
money having two sides. The front can be regarded as religion and the
other side can be regarded as politics. They cannot be separated from
each other. Otherwise the value of money is nothing. Similarly,
Buddhist monks and other religious leaders also should not be separated
from politics. I don’t mean to imply that they should rule the country,
but just to present and to advance their Buddhist precepts throughout
the workings of a government in order to prevent so many wars and
conquests, persecutions, such egregious atrocities, rebellions, and the
destruction of works of art and culture.

Perhaps Thailand can be looked at and considered
an example of a successful but not perfect Buddhist Nation. Myanmar has
a long way to go in this regard, and the Burmese Generals, if they were
smart and wanted to survive as a government, would work at a
rapprochement with the Buddhist leaders, who have always had the
support and good will of the vast majority of Burmese people, rather
than crushing them, infiltrating them, jailing them, beating them,
killing them, and otherwise persecuting the Buddhist Monks of Myanmar.



Living Wage

jlepp_journey's picture

Where We Stand: Living Wage

I grew up in South Carolina, the youngest daughter of an Episcopal
minister. So my first taste of work was chasing after children in the
congregation, and I soon became a regular babysitter for a lot of
church families in my early teens. They could hire me at around $10 for
a night out, and – being the minister’s daughter – I was supposed to be
well-behaved, right? I never asked for any specific amount – being too
shy and uncomfortable at valuing my services, I was happy to get any
sort of pocket money. Looking at those green bills, I thought of new
books or the latest U2 or R.E.M tape. At those moments, $10 was a lot
of money. While I was reminded to drop change into the collection plate
at church, and those sad dog faces on the jars for the local pet rescue
would always claim my quarters, I mainly spent my cash to please myself.
My first restaurant job was working at Captain D’s at age 15. I made a
little under $4 an hour, and I learned for the first time how hard it
could be to earn money. This wasn’t cute little Eleanor and watching
cable television. My feet and back hurt, and I got tired of being told
to smile when I just wanted to tell some customers how I really felt. I
didn’t take the work very seriously, and at 16, I thought I’d made a
move up and started working at Fuddruckers. While it was for the same
pay, I worked in the bakery and there were fewer customers and a live
juke box instead of Muzak. These amenities held value to my teenage
mindset, though in the end it wasn’t really much better, and I ended up
getting hives from a poorly placed cleaning chemical that fell on my
head from a high shelf. During my last year in high school, the former
Youth Director at my church - then the manager at Ryan’s Steak house,
hired me. At my other two jobs, I’d mostly worked with teenagers like
myself and salaried management. At Ryan’s I encountered young mothers
working to support children, and regular people trying to get by on
less than than the cost of the meals they served. After three months of
a predictable schedule, I became upset that my hours were cut and
talked to my manager about it. When the person who got my hours heard
about my dismay, she let me know why she needed the hours. She said,
“Do you pay your rent? Do you pay for your food? I do.” I quickly
offered her any of my hours, and she shook her head at me.
I’m glad she spoke to me that day, though I didn’t really understand
the necessity of a decent paying job until college. Then I really
needed money to cover rent, gas, books etc. I worked three jobs while
going to school full time. I nannied, worked in a gym’s day care, and
sold cookies to businesses for a commission. I made more money
babysitting for private families and my sales job than working for
minimum wage at the gym. While it was a struggle balancing work and
education, it pales compared to most who do that dance. My stories
about working for less than stellar pay do not compare to parents that
work three jobs so they can barely raise their children and still not
make enough.
This past year I’ve worked at the Emmaus House Poverty Rights office as
part of my contextual education as a seminary student at Candler School
of Theology. There I work with the homeless, unemployed, working poor,
and generally disenfranchised persons. If I didn’t understand that our
current system fails in so many ways, then working with distraught
people trying to keep on the heat for the winter, helping a recently
released female convict with no place to stay obtain an ID (so she can
find shelter and get a job), and listening to hundreds of stories of
pain and struggle have made an impact.
It is expensive to be poor. If you don’t have transportation, the local
grocery store is more expensive and has fewer fresh food choices, gas
prices are higher in bad neighborhoods and there are often few choices
for retail shopping – as is the case near the Emmaus House in downtown
Atlanta. The sandwiches we hand out at the Poverty Rights Office can
mean a little less hunger, but in the end a sandwich doesn’t fill a
stomach. On a regular basis, I speak with persons on the brink of
making it out of homelessness and transitional housing. Both parents
can be working and maybe even a teenager – and then an injury or
illness happens. There is no paid leave. There is little money for
doctors, and what about getting to the doctor in the first place?
Earning less than a living wage makes it almost insurmountable to break
out of the cycle of poverty. How can you afford a deposit on an
apartment that has fewer sirens waking you at night? What do you tell
your son when you can’t pay for his school band instrument rental – and
he shows so much talent? I’ve only met some of Georgia’s
disenfranchised. I can tell you the majority of them are neither lazy,
untalented, nor undeserving. It is the American Dream that when you
work hard, you get ahead. The American Dream is not working for
millions of people, and it is indeed a nightmare situation for many.
The Rev. Dr. James Forbes said, “Poverty is one of the silent killers
in the life of our nation. Its cumulative effect is as devastating as
earthquakes, floods, forest fires and hurricanes. More people die each
year from poverty-related causes than the combined casualties from war,
natural disasters and homicide. The daily death toll from
poverty-related diseases of body, mind and spirit points to an epidemic
in slow motion. Yet the impoverishing process has been at work so long
and in so many places that the fatal manifestations advance with the
fierceness of a tidal wave. The impact of poverty, while less dramatic,
less visible and rarely reported, is nonetheless lethal. It puts the
lie to all our notions of equal opportunity, denies us the unimpeded
creative potential of families and neighborhoods, and leaves in its
wake costly social consequences, which ultimately affect the fabric of
the whole community.”
Most people remember the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
as the occasion where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his
famous “I Have a Dream” address. A key demand of the march was “a
national minimum wage act that will give all Americans a decent
standard of living.” Certainly, Dr. King did not dream that the value
of the minimum wage would be lower today than it was in 1963.
On March 18, 1968, days before his murder, King told striking
sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., “It is criminal to have people
working on a full-time basis . . . getting part-time income.” King
said, “We are tired of working our hands off and laboring every day and
not even making a wage adequate with daily basic necessities of life.”

In the United States, more than 28 million people (about a quarter
of the workforce between the ages of 18 and 64) are minimum wage
workers – earning less than the poverty level for their families.
Nearly two thirds are women, and almost one third of those women are
raising children. A full-time minimum wage job covers, on average, only
34 percent of a family’s basic costs of living. Meanwhile, U.S.
corporate profits increased 21 percent in 2007 and worker productivity
grew by 111 percent. According to Market Watch, “Profits have been so
high because almost all of the benefits from productivity improvements
are flowing to the owners of capital rather than to the workers.”
Raising the minimum wage above poverty level is perhaps the most
effective instrument for combating poverty and supporting the human
rights of children, women, and people of color in the United States. No
other single issue or movement can so directly improve the lives of the
working poor in this country.
Just wages make economic sense, and
they make ethical sense. On the basis of our faith and our basic
commitment to human dignity, The Unitarian Universalist Service
Committee is working with Let Justice Roll and other groups to improve
the equation for working families. Let Justice Roll (LJR) is a
nonpartisan coalition of more than 90 faith, community, labor, and
business organizations dedicated to the principle that “a job should
keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.” LJR has played a key role
in making wages a values issue and a moral issue. As a broad-based
coalition, LJR reaches across partisan lines, bringing together all
groups: religious, secular, faith-based, community-based, labor,
business people, liberal, conservative – all who believe that workers
deserve a living wage, and all who believe it is immoral that workers
who care for children, the ill, and the elderly struggle to care for
their own families.
In the 2006 Associated Press Article, “Economist Call For Wage to Be
increased,” more than 650 economists, including five winners of the
Nobel Prize for economics, called for an increase in the minimum wage.
Both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament speak
specifically about the just treatment of laborers, and the equitable
payment of wages. There are just too many passages to quote, so I will
mention Deuteronomy, which specifically states, “You shall not withhold
the wages of poor and needy laborers.” Dr. Paul Sullivan, in speaking
of Islam and Economic justice said, “Adel, meaning justice, Mizan,
meaning balance or equilibrium, and Ihsan, meaning compassion, are
crucial words to understand the search for what economic justice means
in an Islamic context. Without justice, balance, and compassion there
is not economic justice… In Islam, people can be seen as stewards of
God’s gifts. Muslims are accountable for the proper stewardship of
those gifts and that wealth.” In the Kutadanta Sutta, The Buddha states
that in order to raise the social and economic conditions of a country,
the farmers and traders should be given the necessary facilities to
carry on their farming and business, and that people should be paid
adequate wages. Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “When the church is true
to its nature, it stands as a moral guardian of the community and of
society.” So what calls us into action?
When I look into the face of a tear-streaked mother at the Poverty
Rights office and she pleads with me to offer an answer – to offer
assistance, how can I not hear that voice – that verbal and distinct
call? When we see the plight of families that are trying to make it
when gas prices are climbing and the price of food is rising, yet the
minimum wage has stayed the same – there is a clear and visible need.
In 2007 Congress passed a federal minimum wage increase – the first in
10 years – which will raise that wage to $7.25 by July 2009. The
federal minimum wage is currently $5.85/hr. While this is a good first
step, there are still many thousands of Georgia workers who can still
be paid $5.15/hr – or less – and will not be legally entitled to a
raise unless the Georgia General Assembly takes action.
In the introduction to his book titled How Much Do We Deserve?,
Unitarian Universalist minister Richard S. Gilbert says he worries that
many of us have “lost the capacity for moral outrage.”
In the midst of prosperity, are we vaguely anxious that millions of
other, living among us, have not enjoyed the same bounty? Is there such
thing as the deserving and the undeserving? What do we owe each other?
. I believe that part of this covenant of community with one another is
in pursuit of the greater good, the greater beloved community. Not of
some people, not just the crowd at Starbucks, or the person that serves
you the latte, but the people that grow and harvest the coffee, the
packagers and warehouse workers who bring the product to this city, the
drivers of the trucks who deliver the milk for your froth-filled
delight, and the road workers that smoothed the potholes so our cars
could safely make it to the coffee house at all. The illusion of
separateness is a finite declaration in the sand.
When we listen with our hearts and see through eyes of compassionate
connection, we understand the sacred interconnectedness between all
things. When we look to this wider family – the brothers and sisters we
have one in another – we share the greater dream. We uphold one
another. When we remember where we stand…There is no weakest link,
but one more person connecting the chain. When we bring our gifts,
passion, and love to the table, we transcend the obstacles that seem so
overwhelming when we are alone.
LET JUSTICE ROLL- Let it roll through our hearts, and have action in our hands and words. Let us stand together.
May it be so.



Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008
U.P. launches online monitoring of projects

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Government has launched an ambitious
scheme of online monitoring of projects being executed by Rajkiya
Nirman Nigam (RNN) in different parts of the country.

For the purpose, cameras would be installed at site offices which
would be further connected through internet, facilitating online
monitoring of the works at the headquarters here, the PWD Minister
Nasimuddin Siddiqui said, launching the scheme here on Tuesday. In the
first phase, cameras would be installed at Rajkiya Nirman Nigam sites
in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangaluru and Delhi, M. Siddiqui said. He said
that the corporation had many quality projects to its credit.-PTI


Did you see Michelle?

Jagatheesan –

I am so lucky to be married to the woman who delivered that speech last night.

Michelle was electrifying, inspiring, and absolutely magnificent. I get
a lot of credit for the speech I gave at the 2004 convention — but I
think she may have me beat.

You have to see it to believe it.

And make sure to forward this email to your friends and family — they’ll want to see it, too.

Watch Michelle's Speech


http://my.barackobama.com/michelle

You really don’t want to miss this.

And I’m not just saying that because she’s my wife — I truly believe it was the best speech of the campaign so far.

Barack

comments (0)
08/26/08
Buddha said ” be an island/light unto yourself “…i shall help myself -Uttar Pradesh to give free bags to schoolgirls- The Democratic convention starts today, and my new running mate Joe Biden and I recorded a message about what we all need to do next.-Strengthening Families and Communities
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:08 am


Uttar Pradesh to give free bags to schoolgirls


Uttar Pradesh has found another way to attract more girls to government-run schools - by distributing school bags free of cost.

The government has earmarked Rs.130 million for the new scheme, officials said Monday.

‘Initially,
girls studying in Class 6 to Class 8 would be able to avail the scheme.
Later, girls of Class 1 to Class 5 will also be included,’ Rakesh
Kumar, an official in the basic education department here, told IANS.

The programme aims to increase the enrolment of girls in schools, he said.

The state government is already providing free school uniforms and books to girls studying in Class 1 to Class 5, Kumar added.

Officials
said that the new scheme would be implemented in the next academic
session and over eight million girls across the state would benefit
from it.


Amar Singh urges Congress to hurry seat sharing talks


Apparently worried by the moves to form a strong third front with
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati in the forefront, the
Samajwadi Party Monday said talks with the COngress on seat sharing in
Uttar Pradesh for the next general elections were “lagging behind” and
bogged down by “unnecessary delays”.

“There has been unnecessary delay (about alliance in Uttar
Pradesh),” Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh told reporters
here.

The Samajwadi Party, which backed the Manmohan Singh government in
the July 22 parliament floor test after the Left withdrew support over
the India-US nuclear deal, had earlier suggested that the Congress
appoint Rahul Gandhi for discussions on seat sharing.

“Other alliances are working very hard and we are lagging behind. We
have to come to a decision this way or that,” said Singh, apparently
referring to the growing clout of Mayawati with the other parties.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash
Karat met BSP leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for
talks on Sunday, while Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief K. Chandrababu
Naidu had met her the day before.

Mayawati has declared that her party would contest general elections from all the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.

“So far, there have been no formal talks (on seat sharing).
Hopefully, we will meet soon. I don’t know how and when, but we will
take a call tomorrow,” said Singh, Rajya Sabha MP.


Buddha said ” be an island/light unto
yourself “…i shall help myself  Grin

How should I teach Buddhism to my children? [go up]

The Buddha’s advice to parents is straightforward: help your children become generous, virtuous, responsible, skilled, and self-sufficient adults [see DN 31 and Sn 2.4]. Teaching Buddhism to one’s children does not
mean giving them long lectures about dependent co-arising, or forcing
them to memorize the Buddha’s lists of the eightfold this, the ten
such-and-suches, the seventeen so-and-sos. It simply means giving them
the basic skills they’ll need in order to find true happiness. The rest
will take care of itself.

The single most important lesson parents can convey to their
children is that every action has consequences. Each moment presents us
with an opportunity, and it is up to us to choose how we want to think,
speak, or act. It is these choices that eventually determine our
happiness. This is the essence of kamma,
the basic law of cause and effect that underlies the Dhamma. It also
happens to be the message behind one of the few recorded teachings the
Buddha gave to his only child, Rahula.1 This sutta — the Ambalatthikarahulovada Sutta (MN 61) — offers parents some important clues about teaching Dhamma to young children — in terms of both the content of what to teach and the method to use.

In this sutta the Buddha reprimands the seven year old Rahula for telling a small lie. The content of the Buddha’s lesson here is clear and simple: it concerns right speech, and helping Rahula keep himself true to the fundamental principles of virtue. There are several noteworthy aspects to the Buddha’s method.
First, by artfully drawing comparisons to an everyday utensil (in this
case, a water dipper), the Buddha makes his point in vivid and
age-appropriate language that Rahula can easily understand. Second, the
Buddha doesn’t launch into a long-winded abstract lecture on the nature
of kamma, but instead keeps the lesson focused on the immediate issue
at hand: choosing your actions carefully. Third, although the five precepts
do indeed constitute the fundamental framework for moral conduct, the
Buddha does not mention them here — presumably because some of the
precepts (concerning sexuality and using intoxicants) are simply not
relevant to most seven year olds. (Perhaps the Buddha had more to say
about the precepts by the time Rahula was a teenager.) Fourth, the
Buddha keeps Rahula engaged during the lesson by asking him simple
questions; this is no dry, soporific lecture. And finally, the Buddha
takes advantage of the opportunity presented by this “teaching moment”
to expand into deeper territory, to explain to Rahula the importance of
reflecting inwardly before, during, and after performing an action of
any sort — whether of body, speech, or mind. The Buddha thus places
Rahula’s original small misdeed into a much broader context,
transforming it into a lesson of deep and lasting significance.

Although most of us who are parents can only dream of teaching our
children as consciously and effectively as the Buddha did, we can still
learn from his example. But before we can translate his example into
action, there is one crucial point to recognize: the Buddha’s
instructions to his son were given by someone who really knew what he
was talking about; Rahula’s teacher was someone who truly practiced
what he preached, a role model par excellence. So the message
is clear: if we hope to instruct our children about matters concerning
the path of Dhamma, we had better be sure that we ourselves are
practicing on that path. If you extol the virtues of skillful qualities
such as generosity, truthfulness, and patience, but your children only
see you being stingy, overhear you telling lies, or see you losing your
temper, then your message will be lost. Of course, you need not have
perfected the Dhamma in order to instruct your children, but for your
instruction to carry any weight your children must be able to witness
firsthand that you are earnestly striving to put these same teachings
into practice yourself. And if you can inspire them by your example and
give them the skills they need to know to live in tune with the Dhamma,
then you’ve given them a rare gift indeed:

The wise hope for a child of heightened or similar birth, not for one of lowered birth, a disgrace to the family. These children in the world, lay followers, consummate in virtue, conviction; generous, free from stinginess, shine forth in any gathering like the moon when freed from a cloud.

Iti 74

If you’re looking for books to read to (or with) a younger child, I recommend the series of colorfully illustrated Jataka2 story books and coloring books available from Dharma Publishing.
These books (in the “Jataka Tales Series”) recount stories of the
Buddha’s former lives and provide many opportunities for discussion of
basic moral principles with children. They are most appropriate for
children under 10.

Notes

1.
Seven years after leaving his home and family to begin his spiritual
quest, Siddhattha Gotama — now the Buddha — returned on the first of
several visits to his family to teach them Dhamma. The only suttas that
record the Buddha’s instructions to his son Rahula are these: MN 61
(Rahula is 7 years old), in which the Buddha explains the importance of
self-reflection before, during, and after performing any action; MN 62
(age 18), in which the Buddha teaches him breath meditation; MN 147
(age 20, just after his ordination as a bhikkhu), in which the Buddha
queries him about impermanence, and Rahula thereby becomes an arahant
(this sutta is identical to SN 35.121); SN 22.91 (= SN 18.21) and SN
22.92 (= SN 18.22), in which the Buddha answers his questions about
uprooting I-making and conceit; and Sn 2.11, in which the Buddha praises to him the virtues of the homeless life.

2. The Jataka, or “Birth Stories,” is a book in the Khuddaka Nikaya
that recounts tales of the Buddha’s former lives prior to his final
rebirth as Siddhattha Gotama. In previous lives he was born a human, or
a bird, or a monkey, etc.; in each life he dedicated himself to
developing and strengthening a wholesome quality of mind (parami). One Jataka story might be about developing patience, the next about developing generosity, and so on.

Strengthening Families and Communities

“”…at
the dawn of the 21st century we also have a collective responsibility
to recommit ourselves to the dream; to strengthen that safety net, put
the rungs back on that ladder to the middle-class, and give every
family the chance that so many of our parents and grandparents had.
This responsibility is one that’s been missing from Washington for far
too long — a responsibility I intend to take very seriously as
President.””

— Barack Obama, Spartanburg, SC, June 15, 2007

The Problem

Over the last few decades, too many
American families have worked hard their whole lives only to find that
sometimes the game is rigged against them. Too many rungs have been
removed from the ladder to middle-class security, and the safety net
that’s supposed to break any falls has grown badly frayed. Many
families face increased anxiety when it comes to paying medical bills
or balancing their home and work life or finding ways to send their
children to college. At the same time, others have tumbled into
poverty, watching jobs disappear, and the chances for their children’s
success slip further and further away.

Providing these
families with the same chances that previous generations have had is a
daunting challenge, but it is certainly one we can meet. Barack Obama
will bring the much needed leadership and vision to Washington to
finally restore the promise of the American Dream to all American
families.

Balancing Buddha Dhamma with family
life

Written by John. D.
Hughes, Vincenzo Cavuoto, Lainie Smallwood, Lisa Nelson and Evelin Halls.

We will illustrate the priorities of a Buddha Dhamma practitioner in
contrast to the norms of the four common forms of Australian culture towards family
life. There is no pure one culture but rather high-bred mixtures in a range from
total denial of any family responsibility or obligation to obsessive clinging
to the family unit as the one and only refuge that matters. Both these extremes
cause considerable emotional suffering over as many as four generations of family
members that could involve a hundred or more persons.
Even in a nuclear family
with one or two children it is becoming apparent that the birth rate is falling.
Just
because you are working hard does not mean you are doing the right things. It
is more important to be doing the right things - than to be doing things right.
One
day, the king of Kukkutavati, Maha Kappina, was out in the park with several ministers.
While in the park, they met some merchants from Savatthi. From these merchants
they heard about the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, and the king and his ministers
decided to leave for Savatthi.
The Buddha saw in his visions Maha Kappina and
the ministers and knew that they were ready to attain Arahanthood. When the king
and his ministers were approaching the Buddha they saw the Buddha with six-colored
rays radiating from his body and paid homage. On hearing a discourse delivered
by the Buddha, king Maha Kappina and his ministers realised the Dhamma and joined
the Holy Order.
Queen Anoja, wife of the king, heard about the king and the
ministers setting out for Savatthi and, together with the ministers’ wives, followed
them to Savatthi. On the way to Savatthi they saw the Buddha surrounded by a halo
of six colors and paid homage to him.
However, the Buddha had made the king
and his ministers invisible with his supernormal powers, because if the women
were to see their husbands in yellow robes and shaven heads, it would have upset
the wives and would have deterred them from realising the Dhamma.
The Buddha
promised the women that they could see their husbands, which made them very happy.
Then the Buddha taught the queen and the ministers’ wives and they reached the
first stage of Sainthood. The king and the ministers attained Arahanthood. Immediately
after the wives’ attainments they were able to see their former husbands as bhikkhus.
Following
these events the wives entered the Order of bhikkhunis and soon attained Sainthood.
(Dhammapada).
The Buddha made the husbands invisible to the wives as otherwise
their attachment to family would have hindered their opportunity to be taught
the Dhamma.
This teaching was given by the Buddha 2500 years ago and is pertinent
today. Being born to a Australian family denotes some form of attachment to parents
and siblings. We inherently adopt our family’s culture which can create circumstances
where it is difficult to learn Buddha Dhamma.
To balance family life and the
Dhamma, the Dhamma should be given priority. As long as the attachment to family
is dominant, this attachment has the capacity to stop persons from learning Buddha
Dhamma. Nevertheless, this does not mean we abandon helping our family.
In
the Buddha’s sermon on What is True Blessedness, titled the Mangala Sutta, the
Lord Buddha stated that ‘to wait on father and mother, to cherish wife and child,
to follow a peaceful calling; this is true blessedness’.
Childbirth is a major
event and denotes religious significance in most cultures. Conceiving a child
can secure the emotional contentment and security of a parent.
A few of our
Members have young families and learn to involve their children in various activities
at our Centre. If the poorly educated grandparents follow another religion beyond
mere lip service, they may express a dislike of the direction their sons and daughters
take by their attendance at our Centre. If they do not follow another religion,
they may still express dislike which often stems from ignorance or fear of losing
control of their children.
The detailed methods given by Buddha on the tolerance
of how to treat parents of different religious belief is well taught at our Centre.
The
net result of even a few months of Dhamma practice shows an obvious improvement
of the mental health and educational level aspiration of practitioners. The tolerant
behaviour towards their parents view on religion causes the grandparents to pause
in their unthinking attack on what they do not know. The grandparents agree to
not stress religious differences over time because they approve of the level of
courtesy they are shown by their children and grandchildren.
It may be that
in their childhood they were taught by their parents who could have been the parochial
kind of Australian person that slandered other religions as an act of misplaced
faith. Such persons experience difficulty in accepting the sight of Buddha Dhamma
followers and fail to see that interfaith services are not uncommon in Australia.
When
family culture has no tolerance for other citizen’s religious beliefs troubles
arise in the short term. Consider the two Christian religions used to promote
conflict in Ireland and elsewhere.
We do not see ourselves wanting to hinder
the ability to balance Buddha Dhamma practice with multifaith family life.
Most
of our Members have been raised in a non-Buddhist family culture because of their
past causes. If people understood the “Law of Karma” cause and effect,
which the Buddha taught they would make the necessary causes to be born in a family
culture conducive to Buddha Dhamma.
At our Centre persons have the opportunity
to make the necessary causes to be born in a family culture that enables the practice
of Buddha Dhamma in future lives.
The Buddha’s teachings provide ethical guidelines
towards the function of family life.
The average person’s common sense version
of being kind, caring and considerate to family members is not correct in most
cases to help us to create a more harmonious community environment.
For example,
we ought to think twice if we plan to pay for a holiday of any sort for our children
or parents where the children are allowed to be foolish by lazing around with
foolish friends and attempting to learn nothing.
To fund an overseas or local
holiday in the long vacation at University or other tertiary learning establishments
may not be the best thing for the mind.
Norman Mackenzie in May 1961 wrote
a paper for the New Statesman detailing how students in the UK spent their long
vacation. The sample size was 500 students from 9 universities.
The students
interviewed were drawn from all social classes. More than 90% of the students
had some sort of award. The first point was to establish how many students worked
during the long vacation. (work at Christmas and Easter was excluded).
77%
of all students worked.
23% did not have paid work.
84% planned to work
in the coming vacation.
17% did not plan to work.
What type of work did
the students do?
The range of jobs was diverse, ranging from general labouring,
farm, and factory work, to employment in offices and shops. Several sold ice-cream
or drove lorries. Many girls worked as waitresses; men worked as waiters, orderlies
and batmen at army camps.
Those taking scientific, technical or foreign language
courses found it easier to get jobs which related to their academic interests.
In certain cases, they were required to do this as part of their studies.
The
average length of employment was 7 weeks and 23 % worked a minimum of 10 weeks.
For
those employed 73% liked their employment and 27% disliked their employment.
There
was some interesting points. It is a fair conclusion that if grants were increased
many students would continue to work.
A Leicester girl said: “Every student
should be compelled to take up some form of work of practical work for a limited
time” ….”this would raise the social status of students and help liquidate
the rumour that students are just parasites on society”.
“How can
any self-respecting student” asked another “expect her parents to support
her for 14 weeks?”.
An Oxford undergraduate observed: ” A change
of reorientation to normal life after a long exercise in social and intellectual
snobbery”.
Teaching persons to develop ways of being lazy and idle and
wasting their leisure time is not any sort of highest blessing.
The correct
view is that even if a fool associates with a wise person all his or her life,
he or she does not anymore perceive the truth than a spoon perceives the flavour
of the soup.
But if even for a moment an intelligent person associates with
a wise person, he or she perceives the truth as the tongue perceives the flavour
of the soup.
To waken up persons, we do not tell them they are too young or
too old to help others who can learn. This is ageism.
But, like it or not
like it, it is true that some persons have wasted this life systematically by
doing the things that destroy their chances of learning.
For learning to occur,
viriya is needed. The Pali word Viriya is popularly translated as vigour and energy.
There
is always some difference or compromise between the popular meaning of words and
that of the meaning in a true Dictionary, which is largely concerned with derivations
and synonyms, and an Encyclopaedia, which sets out a few terms at considerable
length.
When we think of the profile of our average listener’s range of vocabulary,
we have to stay within the “popular” use of words. For a person to meet
with Dhamma the language must suit their knowledge and mind.
At the same time,
we issue cautions from time to time that there are levels of meaning that persons
born overseas and educated in Buddhist terminology would grasp because certain
words are unique in range, depth and complexity.
Ordinary persons in Australia
are not expert in all of these meanings.
Our difficulty of compressing 84 000
terms which are current in key Western translations of Buddhist literature into
a radio script working vocabulary of perhaps 50, 000 words is therefore obvious.
It
follows that the listeners deserve some help to bring them to the mental map in
which the terms described had their place and meaning.
In the field of Buddha
Dhamma, the component parts of the whole are partly visible and objective, and
partly invisible because subjective.
The following may help get to a sketch
map of the relationship of family to Dhamma.

Those who can hold their
mind steady enough to remember the birth process come to recognise that human
life is suffering. No matter how big your family’s desire is to deny suffering,
it will not change the fact that this is so.
Your family cannot be born for
you.
The suffering, large dukkha or small dukkha, comes from past causes and
has to be born by your mind, your feelings.
Because life has this dukkha, the
same applies to sickness, old age pains and death.
Your family cannot help
you other than to tell you to bear up under such dukkha.
Reflection in such
a manner makes you know that your family cannot prevent the life processes of
going from womb to tomb occurring.
When reason appears, we understand why we
ought not bind ourselves tightly in family relationships or go to an extreme view
that our family is our refuge.
Since our family is not suitable as our refuge,
we must free our minds of family clinging if we can understand the way out of
suffering.
All Buddhist schools agree that sooner or later meditation (Bhavana)
must be done.
Our family cannot do this for us, nor can they teach us the path
out of suffering.
We must become rational, practical minded, and cool to plan
the time away from our family for some time to practice.
We must plan ahead
for a year or so to get even five days of few duties for this purpose. This is
why we serve, or help, or fund others to make causes for their retreat. If we
do not do this, we will never come to our time to practice a retreat.
The Shorter
Oxford English Dictionary defines a retreat as, ‘ A period of seclusion or retirement
from one’s ordinary occupations devoted to religious exercise’.
Bhikkhu Piyananda
says, that many people are searching, they are searching, but they are not finding.
Some do not even know what they are searching for, on the other hand, some know
they are searching for some kind of inner peace and harmony. They have found worries.
They
have found so much confusion and disturbances. They found more unsatisfactoriness.
But they have not found the peace and harmony within. Most people are adopting
the wrong methods to find peace and harmony: they are looking outside themselves
into the external world as the source of their troubles, worries and problems.

They look to the solution of their problems in their family, job, partner,
friends, etc. They believe that if they can only change the external conditions
in their environment, they can become peaceful and happy.

The external
conditions change, but they do not become peaceful and happy.

And now
so many people are turning their attention to the real source of their happiness
and their troubles: the mind. To turn persons attention to the mind is to come
to meditation (Bhavana).

Louis van Loon says: “Although the Buddha
had nothing specific to say about the size, composition or limitation of the family
unit, he had some definite advice to give on the time and quality of the relationship
that should be fostered within the members of the family.

The Buddha
considered the family environment a most precious circumstance and opportunity
for spiritual growth, second only to becoming a Monk or Nun.

To be born
in a certain family results from a special type of Kamma. A Kammic relationship
therefore exists between the parents and their child even before the moment of
conception. This Kammic link intensifies from the moment of birth and expresses
itself in the relationship that parents and children establish between themselves
and the family unit.

The parent-child relationship is the basis of human
society. From it flow all the other types of interpersonal and community associations.
In the well known Sigalovada Sutta these relationships are considered of extending
in all ‘directions’. To the East one’s parents and to the West one’s wife (or
husband) and children.

The emotional-psychological need for children
is, as a rule, basic to the life of the family man and women. The desire to get
married is virtually synonymous with the wish to have children of one’s own -
at least until the relatively modern stage of individualism is reached when cohabitation
no longer involves either or wedlock or procreation. The religious ‘needs’ surrounding
childbirth are of a different nature.

The function of religion should,
in principle, be able to provide family members with a set of moral guidelines
which would enable them to face life difficulties and cultural transitions without
falling apart.

In Buddha Dhamma great stress is placed on generating
quality in family relationships. The consequence of this is the creation of quality
within the community. Great emphasis is placed on a child’s education by the parents
in a Buddhists family.

Family & Kinship (Encyclopedia Britannica)

“Family and kinship (relationship by descent; consanguinity or blood
relationship, according to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary) play an important
part in all human societies, both in the regulation of behaviour between persons
and in the formation of social, political, and territorial groups.

Kinship
tends to be of more pervasive importance in the traditional and especially in
tribal societies, in which it exerts far-reaching influence on the social and
economic life of the community.

In industrial societies the domestic
family remains the chief institution based on kinship, but the form and function
of the family has varied over time and among different societies, and continues
to evolve in response to societal changes and pressures.

Modern research
has revealed the nature of the biological continuity between an individual and
his or hers genetic parents. But kinship, as a set of social relations, does not
depend on knowledge of genetics or physiology.

Indeed, some societies
with elaborate kinship systems have held beliefs about the development of the
human fetus that in no way approximate to the actualities of conception and gestation.

Genetic mechanisms are uniform for all humankind, but human groups differ
widely in the significance they attach to kinship.

All cultures recognise
that the human fetus is born from the womb of its mother, on whom it depends for
survival. There is thus, a physically based and culturally defined relationship
between mother and child.

Likewise, all cultures distinguish between
male and female individuals and institutionalise, in varying forms, a second relationship:
that between a man and a woman who copulate in some acceptable way. This relationship
is described, in English, as “marriage”.

There are vast differences
between cultures in the customary entailments of these two relationships- mother
and child, man and woman- and in how they generate other separately identified
relationships such as, in English, father, sibling, mother-in-law, or cousin.

The study of kinship began with the recognition, from at least classical times,
that the names for kin relations in one language cannot always be translated accurately,
on a one-to-one basis into the kin terms of another language.

It was stimulated
by the discovery of an American ethnologist in 1858, that two Indian languages,
Iroquois and Ojibwa, although apparently unrelated, nevertheless possessed common
patterns of kin terms so that one-to-one translation was possible.

Yet
there is more to the study of kinship than the investigation of patterns of names
for kin relations. For such study embraces the investigation of;

(1) The
way in which individuals enter into and leave kin relationships;

(2) How
they use them in private and public life;

(3) How kin relations are made
to define social groups and categories;

(4) What connection kinship has
with other sets of relations between individuals and groups based on political,
residential, religious, and other non kin criteria;

(5) How copulation
and birth are associated with kin relationship;

(6) How ideas about the
development of the human embryo, the acquisition of personal characteristics,
the fate of the “soul” after death, and other matters may be linked
in any culture with a pattern of kin relation; and

(7) What explanations
can be given for the genesis, development, maintenance and decay of these various
beliefs and practice.” Encyclopedia Britannica.

Conflicts arise in
families due to numerous factors and each family has their own mechanism for dealing
with such conflicts.

One reason for such a family conflict would be the
accelerated cultural change a Buddhist practitioner is subject to when he or she
decides to take the Buddha Dharma Path on earnest, while other family members
regard such a Path outside their cultural stream.

The visible changes
in the Buddhist practitioners’ behaviour may or may not have the effect of inspiring
other family members, to investigate more closely the Buddha’s Teachings.

Whether family members like it or not like it, the minds of the practitioner
have a wholesome influence on a family mental environment due to keeping five
precepts of the Buddhist ethical system. (The five precepts are abstaining from
killing, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from lying and from alcohol and
drugs).

Socialising young children for the first four years of their life
and forcing them to share basic family values is the self-imposed task of the
mother, father and relatives. For example, one of our Members knows of a case
where a fourteen year old woman gave birth to a boy nine years ago.

The
boy was subject to two mothers because the biological mother reared the child
in the same residence as her own mother. The kamma of this child was related very
strongly to both women and was bought up with dual mothering and multiple males
who acted for short periods of time in a fatherly role.

What are the
consequences of this type of kamma?

Because of lack of consistency in
mother / father instructions of what is right in family relation and the two mothers
competing for power over the child’s culture, it should not be surprising that
the child is confused about what is the correct view of relating to adults.

The main influence on a child is what they did in past lives. Any such patterning
opens up possibilities - regions of concern that prompt responses, through which
human beings may come to understand themselves in their actually lived situatedness.
Therefore, the facticity of a formal gestalt, as a holistic process, cannot be
reduced to nor confused with any static essence.

Facticity implies that
the pervasive and inherent intelligence of Being, becomes patterned as the mystery
of being human in its most profound sense. So, there are other factors operating
apart from the two mothers and the multiple male surrogate fathers.

In
conventional non-Buddhistic terms, we say when children are young their main influence
is their parents. In conventional non-Buddhistic terms, we say they are indoctrinated
into their parents culture. In Buddhistic terms, we say the main influence of
the child’s value set is their past kamma. In Buddhistic terms, we say nobody
can indoctrinate anybody without their consent. This is why some great children
arise from poorly integrated parents and why some not so great children arise
from what appears to be well integrated parents.

Prince Siddhattha, who
later became the Buddha was born, an ascetic of high spiritual attainment named,
Asita told his Father King Suddhodana that his son would become a Universal Monarch
or a Buddha.

Prince Siddhattha left his family at the palace, renouncing
all his worldly possessions and led a life of poverty to search for the truth.
He later became the Buddha.

With a basis of cultivated wholesome Cetasikas,
the students’ wisdom increases enabling them to practise Dana and Sila actions
with greater understanding, energy and precision. As a consequence, the students
display ever increasing friendliness towards their mothers, fathers, brothers,
sisters and family friends.

Their relatives, seeing the improvements
in the students’ attitudes and circumstances, in gratitude develop warm feelings
towards this Centre and its Members. This is the way we build Buddhist families
in this country.

The re-creation of family amity, although praiseworthy,
is not our primary objective. We never lose sight of’ our primary objective which
has been from our inception to encourage the study, practice and realisation of
Buddha Dhamma.

The study of Buddha Dhamma has been promoted in various
ways by this Centre. The provision of a multilingual Buddhist reference library
and Buddhist archives collection is accessible and for use at a nominal cost.

It is not our intention to devote much space to the issues that stand in the
way of a change of consensus. But to point out that we believe excellence is necessary
in order to preserve our way of life and that the pursuit of excellence may incorporate
values arrived at from religion.

It is not the religion itself that is
to be promoted but an increased awareness that the criteria for sane living should
embody religious traditional values expressed in terms of good behaviour,

Although it may be theoretically argued that social, cultural and economic
development policy can occur within a set of standards, this is not supported
by religious experience. The facts are that without the energies arising from
religious practice these cannot be sustained.

We have used the term energies,
since Buddhism does not accept the notion that human affairs are determined by
a creator god but rather are determined by the conditioning effects of the physical
environment, the physiological condition of body, the social environment, one’s
own present actions and kamma or by way of any combination of these.

Without
elaborating we might say that a factor in the instability of families in Australia
arises from not keeping the precept of not committing adultery and it would appear
from recent changes in Family Law legislation that there is a consensus that adultery
is accepted even though the act of adultery conditions consciousness resulting
in anguish and consequent family unit dissolution.

We assume we will
go through a life process where we might become educated and attain a good job
to support our family and still have the leisure time to read and practice Buddha
Dhamma in later years.

In ancient China, scholars could sit the Government
exams to be an administrator.

Of those who sat in any province, only 2%
passed.

These then went to the national capital to sit the final grading
exams.

Of these only 50% passed to acceptance to Government positions.

It should come as no surprise that, in ancient times, the Chinese Government
service was staffed with an elite of superior skills.

But the mass of
persons never started to study. They were so hard at work they had no time for
anything else. Taxes were paid in grain they grew - about one twentieth of their
total grain.

The Government stores held the grain to distribute in times
of famine.

Slaves were available to help the farmer. These were criminals
or captured enemies.

In ancient China, the average life expectancy of
a farmer citizen was 26 years. This low figure was a function of 80% of the population.

Total population figures from the census tends to give a wrong picture
of the population in absolute figures.

In the Han Dynasty in the year
156 the population was given as 56, 487. 000.

In the Sung in the year
1102 it was 43,822,000.

in the Ming in the year of 1578 it was 60, 693,000.

Population estimates were closely related to the number of taxable cultivators.

This did not include the whole population.

Chen Ta has suggested the
Chinese population may have reached 150 million by the end of the Ming dynasty,
considering the extent of new land under cultivation.

It seems likely
that if you were not in the census your living standard was most likely near famine.

Yet, in spite of all this misery the official view of Confucius was to revere
the family and the ancestors. At lot of this misplaced value of placing family
values too high is found in our culture today.

Buddha Dhamma never makes
you family a refuge. For those who put the family name as number one, there can
only be a mass of suffering to follow as they get sick and die in great suffering
as they reach old age body symptoms and death at the young age of 26 years.

It is easy to see why Buddha Dhamma refuge that explains the truth of suffering
and of how to make merit passing over death found such a strong following in ancient
China.

When you realise the truth of suffering is so real, it cannot be
not masked by the false values of putting your family on a false pedestal as your
refuge, you are ready to begin the practice of Buddha Dhamma where you understand
it is sane to help others in suffering not just you own family.

We raise
money to help many families in many countries and help this week welcomed Monks
at our Centre who were born in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

These
Monks are someone’s children. We help their living family in their countries by
treating them as more precious than our own children and helping them to achieve
respect in this land Australia far from their own country.

One of our
Members serves the Sangha well because she is learning to speak the Cambodian
language and teach several Cambodian Monks English language.

Just as parents
who can speak teach their children to speak, so, our Members, too, have taught
many Monks and Nuns to speak our English language.

But, this happens because
our Members raise money and are wise enough to spend time away from our own children
to do such a Noble work.

If our Members were so selfish and foolish, we
decided we could only spend our time serving our own family, it would be evident
that Buddha Dhamma Teaching would vanish from our Centre.

The concept
of adding value is about creating a physical change for the end user and doings
things right the first time.

Our Teacher created the causes in the past
for our Centre to develop an e-culture today.

When we consider ancient
history in China, we see, by merit from past lives, that the total population
was divided into two categories - the dominant group was the masses the other
comprised of scholars, gentry, officials, merchants and militarists.

Among
the masses who had not made much merit in former lives because they spent too
much time attending to their family and did not enter public life, we find peasants,
artisans and base groups like servants, actors and prostitutes.

Once
again, these poor persons spent a miserable life focused on the narrow view of
their own family.

When famine came they sold their daughters to the brothel
owner.

In conventional terms, we say the underpinnings of this division
were power, wealth and literacy.

But in Dhamma terms, we know that the
great persons are those who built libraries, attended to many and helped fund
orphanages in other countries as we do.

Causes for public service exist
for us by putting on line a new multimedia website to help other families. Our
Member who drove this project to launch is a mother of two young boys. If she
spent all her time looking after them to excess, she would not have studied to
bless many, many others.

Our new site is www.bdcublessings.one.net.au.

In ancient China, eighty per cent of the population were peasants and traditionally,
together the artisans produced the surplus which supported the dominant groups,
which preserved and perpetuated Chinese culture.

Life for the peasants
was very hard and the standard of living usually at subsistence level. Taxes and
social expenses kept families in a state of impoverishment.

One could
say that China was split in two: the many agricultural communities and the city
dwellers made up of absentee landlords, merchants and officials. While the peasants
were doing it hard, the urban citizens had access to tea houses, restaurants,
brothels and theatres.

However, with the development of printing and
the resultant access to education and the rise of popular culture in the form
of novels and plays, a culture formerly restricted to the privileged city dwellers
was made available to the masses.

This increased education had the effect
of facilitating social mobility because the examination system allowed selected
persons to be appointed to official positions.

The development of Imperial
China in ancient times was typical of the times.
The modern age can be better
for the practice of Buddha Dhamma.
To meet with the Dhamma, it must be taught
with a language suited to individual needs.
May you find the Dhamma in this
life.
May You Be Well And Happy.
Bibliography
Beckmann, George M. The
Modernization of China and Japan. A Harper International Student reprint, jointly
published by Harper & Row, New York, Evanston & London and John Whetherhill,
Inc., Tokyo, 1965.
Bhikkhu Piyananda. Why Meditation?. Buddhist Missionary
Society Publication. Kuala Lumpur
Encyclopedia Britannica. Macropaedia, Volume
19, Fifteenth Edition, 1987.
Guenther, Herber V. Matrix of Mystery. Shambhala,
Boulder & London, 1984.
Loon, Louis van. Family Planning and Birth Control,
Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka.

Barack Obama’s Plan

Support Working Families

Provide a “Making Work Pay Tax Cut” for America’s Working Families:
American people work longer and harder than those in any other wealthy
nation in the world. But their hours are getting longer and their wages
aren’t getting any higher. In addition they are being squeezed by
rising health care, education and energy costs. Rather than relieving
the burden on working families, the current administration has provided
tax cut after tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and enacted tax
breaks for the most well-connected corporations. Barack Obama will
restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the
tax relief they deserve. Obama will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax
credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. This
refundable income tax credit will provide direct relief to American
families who face the regressive payroll tax system. It will offset the
payroll tax on the first $8,100 of their earnings while still
preserving the important principle of a dedicated revenue source for
Social Security. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit will completely
eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans. The tax credit will
also provide relief to self-employed small business owners who struggle
to pay both the employee and employer portion of the payroll tax. The
“Making Work Pay” tax credit offsets some of this self-employment tax
as well.

Provide a Living Wage: Barack
Obama believes that people who work full time should not live in
poverty. Before the Democrats took back Congress, the minimum wage had
not changed in 10 years. Even though the minimum wage will rise to
$7.25 an hour by 2009, the minimum wage’s real purchasing power will
still be below what it was in 1968. As president, Obama would further
raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned
Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living
wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs
such as food, transportation, and housing — things so many people take
for granted.

Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit:
In both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate, Obama has
championed efforts to expand the EITC, which is one of the most
successful anti-poverty programs to date. As president, Obama will
reward work by increasing the number of working parents eligible for
EITC benefits, increasing the benefit available to parents who support
their children through child support payments, and reducing the EITC
marriage penalty which hurts low-income families. Under the Obama plan,
full-time workers making minimum wage would get an EITC benefit up to
$555, more than three times greater than the $175 benefit they get
today. If the workers are responsibly supporting their children on
child support, the Obama plan would give those workers a benefit of
$1,110.

Expand Paid Sick Days: Half of
all private sector workers have no paid sick days and the problem is
worse for employees in low-paying jobs, where less than a quarter
receive any paid sick days. Barack Obama will require that employers
provide seven paid sick days per year.

Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):
The FMLA covers only certain employees of employers with 50 or more
employees. Barack Obama will expand the FMLA to cover businesses with
25 or more employees. Barack Obama will expand the FMLA to cover more
purposes as well, including allowing workers to take leave for elder
care needs; allowing parents up to 24 hours of leave each year to
participate in their children’s academic activities at school; allowing
leave to be taken for purposes of caring for individuals who reside in
their home for 6 months or more; and expanding FMLA to cover leave for
employees to address domestic violence and sexual assault.

Encourage States to Adopt Paid Leave:
As president, Barack Obama will initiate a 50 state strategy to
encourage all of the states to adopt paid-leave systems. Obama will
provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist states with start-up costs and to
help states offset the costs for employees and employers.

Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities:
Barack Obama will double funding for the main federal support for
afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to
serve one million more children. Obama will include measures to
maximize performance and effectiveness across grantees nationwide.

Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit:
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to
families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Barack Obama will
reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable
and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit
for their child care expenses.

Protect Against Caregiver Discrimination:
Workers with family obligations often are discriminated against in the
workplace. Barack Obama will commit the government to enforcing
recently-enacted Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on
caregiver discrimination.

Expand Flexible Work Arrangements:
Barack Obama will address this concern by creating a program to inform
businesses about the benefits of flexible work schedules for
productivity and establishing positive workplaces; helping businesses
create flexible work opportunities; and increasing federal incentives
for telecommuting. Obama will also make the federal government a model
employer in terms of adopting flexible work schedules and permitting
employees to petition to request flexible arrangements.

For more information about Barack Obama’s plan to help more Americans succeed in the workforce, please visit the Economic Policy page.

Strengthen Our Schools

Expand Early Childhood Education:
Research shows that half of low-income children start school up to two
years behind their peers in preschool skills and that these early
achievement gaps continue throughout elementary school. Obama has been
a champion of early childhood education since his years in the Illinois
legislature, where he led the effort to create the Illinois Early
Learning Council. Obama has introduced a comprehensive “Zero to Five”
plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents
by investing $10 billion per year to create: Early Learning Challenge
Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts;
quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start and
increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both; work to
ensure all children have access to pre-school; provide affordable and
high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease
the burden on working families; and create a Presidential Early
Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination
across federal, state, and local levels.

Improve Public Schools:
From the moment our children step into a classroom, the single most
important factor in determining their achievement is their teacher.
Barack Obama values teachers and the central role that they play in
education. He will work to ensure competent, effective teachers in
schools that are organized for success. Obama’s K-12 plan will expand
service scholarships to recruit and prepare teachers who commit to
working in underserved districts. To support teachers, Obama will
foster ongoing improvements in teacher education, provide mentoring for
beginning teachers, create incentives for shared planning and learning
time for teachers. To retain teachers, Obama will support career
pathways that provide ongoing professional development and reward
accomplished teachers for their expertise. This Career Ladder
initiative will help eliminate teacher shortages in hard-to-staff areas
and subjects, improve teacher retention rates, strengthen teacher
preparation programs, improve professional development, and better
utilize and reward accomplished teachers.

Reform and Fund No Child Left Behind:
The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act is the right one - ensuring
that all children can meet high standards - but the law has significant
flaws that need to be addressed. He believes it was wrong to force
teachers, principals and schools to accomplish the goals of No Child
Left Behind without the necessary resources. We have failed to provide
high-quality teachers in every classroom and failed to support and pay
for those teachers. Obama understands that NCLB has demoralized our
educators, broken its promise to our children and must be changed in a
fundamental way. Obama will work with mayors and state leaders to
ensure that NCLB reform addresses the need for a broader and better
range of assessments and an accountability system that focuses on
improving schools, rather than punishing them.

Make College More Affordable:
Barack Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating
a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully
refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college
education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover
two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or
university. And by making the tax credit fully refundable, Obama’s
credit will help low-income families that need it the most. Obama will
also ensure that the tax credit is available to families at the time of
enrollment by using prior year’s tax data to deliver the credit at the
time that tuition is due, rather than a year or more later when tax
returns are filed.

For more information on Barack Obama’s education plan, please visit the Education Policy page

Help American Families Stay Healthy

Provide Universal Health Care and Lower Health Costs:
Barack Obama is committed to signing universal health legislation by
the end of his first term in office that ensures all Americans have
high-quality, affordable health care coverage. His plan will save a
typical American family up to $2,500 every year on medical expenditures
by providing affordable, comprehensive and portable health coverage for
every American; modernizing the U.S. health care system to contain
spiraling health care costs and improve the quality of patient care;
and promoting prevention and strengthening public health to prevent
disease and protect against natural and man-made disasters.

For more information on Barack Obama’s health care plan, please visit the Health Care Policy page

Protect Homeownership

Create a Universal Mortgage Credit:
Owning a home is the culmination of the American dream that so many
Americans work so hard for. The tax code is supposed to encourage home
ownership with a mortgage interest deduction, but it goes only to
people who itemize their tax deductions. Like so much in our tax code,
this tilts the scales toward the well-off. The current mortgage
interest deduction excludes nearly two-thirds of Americans who do not
itemize their taxes. Barack Obama will ensure that anyone with a
mortgage, not just the well-off, can take advantage of this tax
incentive for homeownership by creating a universal mortgage credit.
This 10 percent credit will benefit an additional 10 million
homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year.
Non-itemizers will be eligible for this refundable credit, which will
provide the average recipient with approximately $500 per year in tax
savings. This tax credit will also help homeowners deal with the
uncertain state of the housing market today.

Combat Mortgage Fraud and Subprime Loans:
There is a growing epidemic of mortgage fraud crimes in which
sophisticated scam artists cheat homeowners out of their mortgages.
Some have estimated that more than 2 million homeowners with subprime
mortgages are at risk of losing their homes. Barack Obama believes we
must establish stiff penalties to deter fraud and protect consumers
against abusive lending practices. Obama introduced the STOP FRAUD Act,
which would increase funding for federal law enforcement programs,
create new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty
of fraud, and require industry insiders to report suspicious activity.
In March 2007, Obama urged Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to bring together lenders, consumer
advocates, federal regulators and housing agencies for a summit meeting
on preserving home ownership. The bill also provides counseling to
homeowners and tenants to avoid foreclosures. As president, Obama will
continue to fight to ensure more Americans can achieve and protect the
dream of home ownership.

Create Fund to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosures:
In addition to taking important steps to prevent mortgage fraud from
occurring in the future, Barack Obama will establish policies to help
Americans currently facing foreclosure through no fault of their own.
For instance, in communities where there are many foreclosures property
values of innocent homeowners are often also negatively impacted,
driving them toward foreclosure, too. Obama will create a fund to help
people refinance their mortgages and provide comprehensive supports to
innocent homeowners. The fund will also assist individuals who
purchased homes that are simply too expensive for their income levels
by helping to sell their homes. These steps will ensure that
individuals who have to sell their homes will be able to quickly regain
stable financial footing. The fund will be partially paid for by
Obama’s increased penalties on lenders who acted irresponsibly and
committed fraud.

Mandate Accurate Loan Disclosure:
Today’s subprime mortgage problem stems in large part from the lack of
easy-to-understand information that borrowers receive from mortgage
brokers. As president, Barack Obama will enact laws to ensure that all
prospective homebuyers have access to accurate and complete information
about their mortgage options. Obama will create a Homeowner Obligation
Made Explicit (HOME) score, which will provide potential borrowers with
a simplified, standardized borrower metric (similar to APR) for home
mortgages. The HOME score will allow individuals to easily compare
various mortgage products and understand the full cost of the loan. The
HOME score would also help borrowers understand their long-term
obligations and would be required to include mandatory taxes and
insurance.

Close Bankruptcy Loophole for Mortgage Companies:
Barack Obama strongly opposed the 2005 bankruptcy bill, which is
expected to have serious effects on low and middle-income borrowers of
subprime mortgages. As president, Obama will work to eliminate the
federal bankruptcy law’s Chapter 13 provision that prevents bankruptcy
courts from modifying an individual’s mortgage payments. This forces
individuals who seek bankruptcy protection to continue paying the full
amount of their existing mortgage plans. This provision, which provides
unique protection to the mortgage industry, places the interests of big
lenders over than of low and middle-income Americans. Obama believes
that the subprime mortgage industry, which has engaged in dangerous and
sometimes unscrupulous business practices, should not be shielded by
outdated federal law.

Strengthen Families at Home

Strengthen Fatherhood and Families:
Since 1960, the number of American children without fathers in their
lives has quadrupled, from 6 million to more than 24 million. Children
without fathers in their lives are five times more likely to live in
poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school,
and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. Barack Obama has
re-introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act to
remove some of the government penalties on married families, crack down
on men avoiding child support payments, ensure that support payments go
to families instead of state bureaucracies, fund support services for
fathers and their families, and support domestic violence prevention
efforts. As president, Obama will sign this bill into law and continue
to implement innovative measures to strengthen families.

Support Parents with Young Children:
Barack Obama would expand programs like the successful Nurse-Family
Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family
Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to
low-income expectant mothers and their families. The trained nurses use
proven methods to help improve the mental and physical health of the
family by providing counseling on substance abuse, creating and
achieving personal goals, and effective methods of nurturing children.
Proven benefits of these types of programs include improved women’s
prenatal health, a reduction in childhood injuries, fewer unintended
pregnancies, increased father involvement and women’s employment,
reduced use of welfare and food stamps, and increased children’s school
readiness. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
concluded that these programs produced an average of five dollars in
savings for every dollar invested and produced more than $28,000 in net
savings for every high-risk family enrolled in the program. The Obama
plan would assist approximately 570,000 first-time mothers each year.

Strengthen Retirement Security

Create Automatic Workplace Pensions:
Currently, 75 million working Americans ? roughly half the workforce ?
lack employer-based retirement plans. Even when workers are given the
option of joining employer-based plans, many do not take up the option
because it requires considerable work to research plans and investment
portfolios, and enroll in the plan. Barack Obama’s retirement security
plan will automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan.
Under his plan, employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan,
will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA
account that is compatible to existing direct-deposit payroll systems.
Employees may opt-out by signing a written waiver. Even after
enrollment, employees will retain the right to change their savings
levels, reallocate investment portfolios or end contributions to the
account. Obama’s plan will give options to the self-employed and new
small businesses to access new easy-to-enroll savings plans and direct
the IRS to deposit tax refunds into those savings plans for people who
choose to save some of their refunds. Under the Obama plan when
employees change jobs, their savings will be automatically rolled over
into the new employer’s system to ensure continued savings. Experts
estimate that this program will increase the savings participation rate
for low and middle-income workers from its current 15 percent level to
around 80 percent.

Expand Retirement Savings Incentives for Working Families:
Barack Obama will ensure savings incentives are fair to all workers by
creating a generous savings match for low and middle-income Americans.
Obama will expand the existing Savers Credit to match 50 percent of the
first $1,000 of savings for families that earn under $75,000, and he
will make the tax credit refundable. To help ensure that this proposal
actually strengthens retirement investments, the savings match will be
automatically deposited into designated personal accounts by using the
account information listed on IRS tax filings. Coupled with the
automatic workplace pension plan, this proposal will stimulate tens of
millions of new Americans to invest for retirement. Over 80 percent of
the savings incentives will go to new savers, and 75 percent of people
eligible for the incentives who are expected to participate in the new
program do not currently save.

Jagatheesan –

The Democratic convention starts today, and my new running mate Joe Biden and I recorded a message about what we all need to do next.

When we started this campaign, very few people thought we would make it this far.

But we put our faith in the power of ordinary supporters like you
coming together and building a movement for change from the bottom up.
And that’s exactly why we’re here.

I’d like you to watch this special message — and I have a request.

We have our team, and this week the eyes of the entire country will be
on our movement. Now is the time to take the next step and own a piece
of this campaign.

Watch our video message and make a donation of $5 or more today:

Watch the video

You joined this campaign because you’re ready for real change in this country.

Over the next four days, the Democratic convention will define what change means and highlight our differences with John McCain to every voter who’s tuning in.

We’ll show the change we will be bringing the country on the economy, health care, energy, foreign policy, and the issues that affect all Americans.

But make no mistake about what we’re up against. John McCain has
embraced the same old politics of fear, division, and Karl Rove-style
attacks — which makes sense coming from someone who’s voted with George Bush literally 95% of the time.

From the very beginning, this campaign has been in your hands. Now more than ever, we’re counting on you to see it through.

Watch the video Joe and I recorded and make a donation of $5 or more now:

https://donate.barackobama.com/messageofchange

Thank you,

Barack

comments (0)
08/25/08
Prakash Karat holds talks with Mayawati - Delhi Elections : Folk singers will perform for BSP campaign -If Chiranjivi really wants to work for masses. he should ask for blessings from Mayawati and not from Advani. -The Next Vice President
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:08 am


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper

Prakash Karat holds talks with Mayawati

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Taking forward the process of putting together a
formation as a national alternative to the coalitions led by the
Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India
(Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat met U.P. Chief Minister
Mayawati here on Sunday.

Mr. Karat had a luncheon meeting with Ms. Mayawati and held
discussions. “We are trying to work out [an alternative] and are
continuing our discussions,” the CPI(M) leader told The Hindu.

While refusing to disclose details of the discussions, Mr. Karat said any formal announcement would take time.

On Saturday, Mr. Karat and his colleagues had a meeting with Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister later called on Ms. Mayawati.

Last week, he met the former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular)
chief H.D. Deve Gowda and Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh.

Delhi Elections : Folk singers will perform for BSP campaign

Bahujan
Samaj Party (BSP) is resorting to a novel way of winning over the
electorate of the capital-using folk singers of Uttar Pradesh.

A group of folk singers will be coming to Delhi at the behest of BSP
to campaign for candidates of the Mayawati led party which is
contesting in all the 70 seats here.

“The singers will perform across Delhi in the run-up to the assembly
elections. They will inform people of Delhi about the achievements and
the good rule of the BSP government in Uttar Pradesh,” a party leader
said.

The BSP has already announced 66 of the 70 assembly candidates,
becoming the first party to name its nominees for majority of the seats
much before the elections expected before December.

The party so far has no representation in the Delhi Legislative
Assembly. BSP president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati had
recently called party’s Delhi unit leaders to Lucknow to discuss
election preparations. The meeting is to be followed by a convention to
be held here later this month.

ZESTCaste@yahoogroups.com
“Dr. K. Jamanadas”  


If Chiranjivi really wants to work for masses. he should ask for blessings from Mayawati and not from Advani.
 
Thanks
 
K. Jamanadas

The Next Vice President


Jagatheesan –

I have some important news that I want to make official.

I’ve chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.

Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois — the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago.

I’m excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of
us can’t do this alone. We need your help to keep building this
movement for change.

Please let Joe know that you’re glad he’s part of our team. Share your personal welcome note and we’ll make sure he gets it:

http://my.barackobama.com/welcomejoe

Thanks for your support,

Barack

P.S. — Make sure to turn on your TV at 2:00 p.m. Central Time to join us or watch online at http://www.BarackObama.com.

comments (0)
08/22/08
UP blames Centre for price rise-Seventy officials punished in Aligarh: Commissioner-Greater Noida farmers, UP govt arrive on agreement in land row-BSP to release candidates list for assembly polls in Rajasthan
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 3:37 am

UP blames Centre for price rise

LUCKNOW, AUG 21 (PTI)

The
Uttar Pradesh government today held the wrong economic policies of the
Central government responsible for spiralling prices and termed the
charges of prices rising after the implementation of VAT in the state
as false.

Keeping
in view the needs of common man, the tax rates on 436 items were
reduced after the implementation of VAT on January 1, 2008, an official
spokesman of state government said, while giving the information for
the steps being taken to control price rise.

He
said the statement that price rise was due to the VAT was completely
false. In fact the increase in prices was due to the economic structure
and the economic policy of the country, having no connection with VAT.

The
main reason for price rise was the increasing inflation that reached to
12.63 per cent for the week ended August 9, the spokesman added.

The
spokesman pointed out that no changes had been made in the tax rates of
1,376 items and stock limit had been fixed for food grains, pulses, oil
seeds and edible oils.

A committee had been constituted for monitoring the price rise and uninterrupted supply of essential commodities, he added.

The
state government had been suffering losses due to the increase in the
prices on petrol and diesel by the Central government, the spokesman
said.

It might
be mentioned that the issue had come up in the Vidhan Sabha earlier in
the day with the leader of the opposition blaming implementation of VAT
for price rise.

Seventy officials punished in Aligarh: Commissioner

ALIGARH, AUG 22 (PTI)

Seventy
officials of Aligarh division have been punished following “surprise
checks” by the divisional commissioner during the past one month,
Commisioner Aligarh Division P V Jagmohan said here today.


“Similar ’surprise checks’ would continue and if any official repeats
the same offence, his services would be terminated,” Jagmohan said.


The list of those punished includes a number of district level
officers, block development officers, tehsildars and naib tehsildars,
he said.

The officers have been charged with offences varying from negligence, indiscipline and corrupt pratices, he added.

The Commissioner also announced the lauch of ‘New Aligarh township’ project on Aligarh-Delhi national hihgway.

Greater Noida farmers, UP govt arrive on agreement in land row

NEW DELHI, AUG 20 (PTI)

In
an apparent softening of stand, farmers of Ghora-Bachera in Greater
Noida today left it to the UP government to seek legal advice on ways
to provide them with the dues of land acquired from them in 2006.

On
August 13, villagers had clashed with the police, seeking enhanced
compensation for land acquired from them by the state government,
leaving four dead in police firing.

UP
Minister Thakur Jaiveer Singh and State Cabinet Secretary Shashank
Shekhar Singh today held parleys with the Greater Noida Kisan Sangarsh
Samiti here to discuss the issue.

After
the meeting, Cabinet Secretary told reporters that the farmers have
agreed to leave it to the state government to find legal ways to get
them their dues.

He explained that once the compensation is given, no further compensation could be provided for the same land.

“However,
we will take legal advice and look into demands made by the farmers for
more compensation earlier. If there are provisions to give more
compensation it will be handed over to the farmers,” he said.

The
Samiti also submitted their charter of demands to the representatives
of the state government. The demand included withdrawal of police
cases, more compensation to those killed and repair of damaged property
during the clash.

The
state government said no further police action will be taken against
the farmers and also announced to increase the compensation to Rs 10
lakhs each to next of those killed in the police firing.

The
government also agreed to provide a plot to erect statues of the
farmers killed in the clash. It also agreed to bear the entire medical
expenditure of those critically injured in the August 13 incident.

BSP to release candidates list for assembly polls in Rajasthan

JAIPUR, AUG 18 (PTI)

The
Bahujan Samaj Party would release a list of candidates for 150 seats on
August 25 for the coming assembly polls due later this year in
Rajasthan, a senior leader of the party said.

The
names for the remaining 50 seats would be declared later on after
consultation with the senior partymen and reviewing the political
situation, Dharmasingh Ashok, BSP national general secretary and
incharge of Rajasthan affairs, told a press conference here.

Neither
former external affairs minister Natwar Singh, nor his son Jagat Singh,
who recently joined the party, would contest the polls on BSP tickets,
Ashok categorically said, adding “wait for some more surprises during
the polls.”

“Next
government in Rajasthan would be of BSP, and the chief ministerial
candidate would only be decided by party supremo Mayawati,” he claimed.

BSP
would launch a nationwide “janhit chetna andolan” in view of assembly
polls in four states including Rajasthan and the next year’s Lok Sabha
polls, with Mayawati attending some of the important rallies, he said.


comments (0)
08/21/08
Mayawati scotches speculation on successor
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:26 am


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Thursday, Aug 21, 2008
Mayawati scotches speculation on successor
Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has scotched
speculation on the name of her heir apparent, when she appointed Alok
Kumar Verma national vice-president of the Bahujan Samaj Party. He was
a virtual non-entity till now.

The Chief Minister’s decision was made known in a press release sent
by a BSP spokesman late Tuesday night. He rubbished reports in a
section of the press that the other vice-president, Raja Ram, is indeed
Ms. Mayawati’s heir apparent.

Ms. Mayawati had on August 9 announced that her successor would be a
Dalit, 18 - 20 years younger than her and belonging to the Chamar
sub-caste. She said he was being groomed for the top party job. The
Chief Minister said the name was contained in a sealed envelope, kept
in the safe custody of two of her closest aides, and would be disclosed
at the appropriate time.

Mr. Raja Ram, an MLC from Azamgarh district and coming from the
Chamar sub-caste, fitted the bill. This apparently led to speculation
on his being the possible successor .

The former Samajwadi Party MPs, Shahid Siddiqui and S.P. Singh
Baghel, were made national general secretaries of the BSP. Ram Shankar
Pal was appointed State general secretary.

The spokesman said that keeping in view the coming Lok Sabha
elections and the elections to five State Assemblies, a detailed
discussion was held, at the BSP’s national executive meeting here on
August 10, on extending the party’s mass base to sarv samaj.
Ms. Mayawati, who presided, issued directives for increasing the
party’s support base with emphasis on replicating the U.P. model of
“social engineering” in other States.


comments (0)
08/20/08
Pay hike for U.P. Govt. staff, teachers -Is Mayawati’s heir-apparent Rajaram?- Mayawati appoints another BSP national vice president-Chhattisgarh polls-Political analysts say the BSP may surprise everyone else this time with a substantial increase in the number of seats.
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:42 am
Pay hike for U.P. Govt. staff, teachers

Special Correspondent


Mayawati move in line with Central pay commission recommendations



Photo: Subir Roy




Chief Minister Mayawati at a press conference in Lucknow on
Monday.

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday announced a
pay bonanza for over 14-lakh government employees and teachers in
accordance with the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations. The move
would benefit 8.7-lakh State employees and around 5.5-lakh teachers.

Making this announcement on the opening day of the Uttar Pradesh
Assembly session, the Chief Minister said the panel’s recommendations
would be implemented with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006 and
the employees would be entitled for the revised payscales from December
1, 2008.

The Chief Minister said an additional expenditure of Rs.5,179 crore
would be entailed by the State government with the payment of arrears
from January 1, 2006 costing another Rs. 14,775 crore to the State
exchequer.

She said the expenditure would be borne by the State’s resources and
considering that the additional financial burden would leave an impact
on the pace of the development works steps had been initiated to tide
over the resource crunch and to ensure that the burden does not pass on
to the common man.

Cutting down on unproductive and wasteful expenditure, curbing tax
evasion and mopping up additional resources were the measures outlined
by the Chief Minister.

Addressing journalists later, the Chief Minister said a Wages
Committee for revising the existing payscales has been constituted
under a retired bureaucrat, Jagmohan Lal Bajaj.

The committee would submit its report within three months, Ms.
Mayawati added. The Bajaj panel will try to strike a balance as the
existing payscales in the State government do not match those of the
Central employees.

Stating that the State employees were reeling under the impact of
the rising prices of essential commodities, Ms. Mayawati said the move
would provide a huge relief to the employees.

She criticised the Central government for the delay in accepting the
Sixth Pay Commission’s report and said had it been implemented earlier
by the Centre price rise could have been checked. Last week’s inflation
rate of 12.44 per cent was the highest in the last 15 to 16 years, she
said.

She supported the pay hike for the employees and said the Centre
should take steps for sharing the burden incurred by the State
governments.



Is Mayawati’s heir-apparent Rajaram?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 12:22 [IST]
LUCKNOW: Who is Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and Uttar Pradesh
chief minister Mayawatis heir apparent? If party sources are to be
believed, it is none other than its low-profile vice-president Rajaram.

An
intense debate about Mayawatis successor has been raging in political
circles since she told a public rally on August 9 that there was a
conspiracy to assassinate her.

But she told her supporters not to worry, saying her successor had been chosen and that the party would run as usual.

BSP sources say the only likely person to take over the leadership of the party is the 35-year-old Rajaram.

Rajaram,
presently the partys Madhya Pradesh in-charge, is the only one in the
party to don the post of vice-president. It is a post Mayawati held
when her mentor and BSP founder-leader Kanshi Ram was president.

Five feet, eight inches tall, the fair and handsome Rajaram was once the BSPs Delhi unit secretary. He is presently a member of the Uttar Pradesh legislative council. His term expires next year.

Rajaram
is arguably the only person in the party who is part of the legacy of
the late Kanshi Ram. “He is one of very few people of the Kanshi Ram
era who is with Mayawati today. Others joined the BSP later,” a party
source said.

Mayawati had also told the Lucknow rally that she
had handed over a sealed envelope, containing the name of her
successor, to two of her confidants.

She said: “He is 18 to 20
years younger to me, is not from my family and he is from my chamar
community. What is he and where he stays, I have given everything in
the letter in the sealed envelope.”

The description fits Rajaram to the T.

Mayawati
was born in 1956,and Rajaram is younger by as many years as she said.
He does belong to her community, and he is not from her family.
Source : DNA

Mayawati appoints another BSP national vice president

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati appointed Alok Kumar Verma as the
second national vice president of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).


The
move came close on the heels of media reports that the secretly
appointed successor to her legacy was none other than BSP vice
president Raja Ram, a member of the state upper house.


Verma was
as little known in the party as Raja Ram. Political analysts were of
the view that both leaders were given the otherwise all important
position of the party’s national vice president only to confuse BSP’s
political rivals.


Speculation over her successor is rife ever
since Mayawati declared at a BSP conclave here Aug 9 that she had
already made up her mind on her official heir to the party legacy.
“This person is 18-20 years younger to me, belongs to my own - chamar -
community and I have left his name in a sealed packet kept with one of
my close confidantes.”

Chhattisgarh polls

Political analysts say the BSP may surprise everyone else this time with a substantial increase in the number of seats.

Jagatheesan —

As
you may have heard, 10 supporters will be joining me backstage before I
accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

I’m pleased to announce that those supporters have been selected, and I wanted to tell you a little about them.

The people who make up our movement are of all different ages, races, and backgrounds — and these folks are no different.

Lenny is a former naval officer from Emerald Isle, NC. Barb is a
teacher married to a farmer in Fallon, MT. James is a law student in
Massillon, OH. And Anne is a retired budget analyst from Indianapolis.

John from Boulder, CO, believes developing alternative energy is the
answer to an array of policy problems. And Kayla from West Fargo, ND,
didn’t feel like she could ever be part of the political process –
until now.

They each bring their own unique perspectives and experience, and they are united by their hunger for change.

You can read more about these amazing people below. I’m looking forward
to meeting them at the Open Convention, and I hope you will join us in
sharing this important moment.

If you cannot make it to
Denver, you can get together with your friends and family and watch my
acceptance speech at a Convention Watch Party. It’s going to be a big
night, and you can join millions of supporters across the country to
make it a success.

Sign up to host or attend a Convention Watch Party in your community on Thursday, August 28th:

http://my.barackobama.com/organizeforchange

Thank you for your belief in our ability to bring real change to this
country. You continue to grow and strengthen our movement in ways no
one thought possible.

Barack


Donate

Meet the 10 supporters who will join me backstage at the Open Convention in Denver:

Barb Sackman of Fallon, Montana
Barb is a teacher living in Fallon, Montana, a town of 150. She lives
on her family’s wheat and cattle farm, and rising fuel prices are
making it hard to get by. She hopes Barack’s plan for alternative
bio-fuels will help the struggling economy in rural Montana. Barb
volunteers for her church, sits on a hospital board, and organizes
community events in Fallon. Barb says Barack “genuinely cares about the
problems of people like me. We appreciate his continued trips to
Montana to let us know that we are not forgotten.” She will attend the
convention with her husband.

Lenny Julius of Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Lenny is a retired naval officer who believes the Iraq War was a
serious strategic mistake. He says that in 2000 he looked forward to
seeing John McCain, a fellow shipmate, in the Oval Office, having known
and served with him in Vietnam — but no more. “Senator McCain has
become a strong supporter of the Bush policies — policies which have
led to disaster both at home and abroad.” He was won over by Barack’s
communication skills, leadership abilities, and intelligence. Lenny is
an auto parts manager at AutoZone in Emerald Isle, a heavily Republican
town where he says there are many “closet Barack supporters.” Lenny
remembers staying up late when he was young to watch John F. Kennedy
accept the nomination at the last truly open convention in 1960. He
will come to the convention this year with his wife.

Anne Rector of Indianapolis, Indiana
Anne is a retired budget analyst for the federal government. She says
the first time she saw Barack at the 2004 convention, she thought,
“This is Everyman. He is Kansan and he is Kenyan; he is African
and he is Anglo-American; he is common sense and he is eloquence; he is
dynamic and he is down to earth.” Anne is an active volunteer for the
campaign, as well as for a local animal protection group. She hosts a
weekly local radio program named Art and Review, in which she
reads to the blind. Anne strongly believes in the protection of our
civil liberties. She will attend with a friend and fellow campaign
supporter.

James T. Fondriest of Massillon, Ohio
James, a 22-year-old law student and graduate of Ohio State University,
never thought he would vote for anyone other than a Republican. An
active Bush-Cheney supporter in 2004, he became disillusioned with his
state party and Republicans’ handling of Iraq, health care, and
education. “Barack Obama has inspired me to believe in politics again
and, most importantly, the power of the ordinary citizen,” he writes.
“Although I still identify as a Republican and still stand for some
conservative values, I finally feel like America has found a leader it
can look up to and trust.” Leading up to the Ohio primary, James made
over 500 “Buckeyes for Obama” T-shirts and donated the profits to the
campaign. He plans to bring his father with him to the convention.

John Volkmar of Boulder, Colorado
John served in the U.S. Army for 10 years. He says his two tours in
Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group opened his eyes to “the link
between our country’s lack of an effective energy policy and our flawed
foreign policy.” John believes changing this relationship is an
essential step towards ensuring that our government works for the
interest of the American people instead of special interest groups. He
is now pursuing an MBA and hopes to work in the alternative energy
industry. He is coming to Denver with his wife.

Marsha Shearer of Orlando, Florida
Marsha is a retired elementary school principal. She has phone banked
and canvassed for Obama in Florida, and has been a supporter since even
before Barack made the decision to run. Marsha believes that both the
Iraq War and America’s dependence on oil are negatively affecting the
health of our economy. She supports Barack because he is not a typical
politician. “He represents something above and beyond,” she says. “I
haven’t felt so energized since McCarthy, trying to end the Vietnam
War.” She will bring her college-age granddaughter to the convention.

Trinace Johnson of Richmond, Virginia
Trinace is a single mother and disabled veteran who served overseas for
the Iraq War. She currently works for the U.S. Army as a public affairs
specialist. She has voted since the age of 18, but this is the first
time she has actively been involved with a political campaign. Trinace
is inspired by Senator Obama’s message of change and his plans to
address all of the issues that she cares deeply about: veterans’
support, education, stopping the war, tax breaks for the middle class,
gas prices and health care. Trinace became motivated to get involved
when her neighborhood ran out of ballots in the primaries, and is
determined to ensure access to voting in this election. “I wish I could
be there in Denver,” she wrote to Backstage with Barack. “I would love
to be a part of this historical event. [It’s] so long overdue.” Trinace
will attend the convention with her sister.

Eric Melder of Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Eric is a 59-year-old married father of three sons and a grandparent to
seven grandchildren. A retired YMCA director, he has worked at Diakon
Wilderness Center for the past 13 years counseling young men with drug,
alcohol, and family problems. “The boys call me ‘E-rock’ and I do all I
can to make a difference in their lives,” writes Eric. A
self-proclaimed “values voter” and evangelical Christian, Eric switched
his allegiance from Mike Huckabee to Barack, convinced by Barack’s
ability to lead and build coalitions. Eric is bringing Anthony, a
former student at the Wilderness Center, who overcame immense
hardships, including an absent father and a drug-addicted mother, to
ultimately become Program Director of the Center. “Barack needs to meet
him,” Eric says.

Holly Miowak Stebing of Anchorage, Alaska
Holly, a 20-year-old Alaska Native Inupiaq, is spending her summer
break from Stanford University at the First Alaskans Organization
interviewing native elders about their experiences with segregation.
Holly is passionate about improving healthcare access for Native
Americans, and protecting Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from
drilling. The 2008 presidential election is Holly’s first as a voter.
She says: “This was the first campaign I felt I needed to support. I
don’t have a lot of money, but I donate what I can because I believe in
[Barack].” She will attend the convention with her mother who is the
first Native American woman to pass the Alaska bar.

Kayla Whitaker of West Fargo, North Dakota
Kayla is a 20-year-old student and evangelical Christian who credits
Barack for her newfound interest in the political process. “As a
Christian, I have seen it repeated that evangelical Christians are
‘required’ to vote Republican. When I heard Barack’s ‘Call to Renewal’
speech, I was surprised… This is change I can believe in and many
other young, evangelical Christians can believe in, too. For the first
time in my life, I got hooked on politics.” She now plans to register
to vote so that she can cast her ballot for Barack in November. Among
Kayla’s top concerns are health care, teacher pay, and the environment.
In an effort to convince her mom to become involved in politics, she is
bringing her to Denver.


Dear Jagatheesan,

Join the Grassroots Finance Committee
Barack will accept the nomination in less than two weeks, and the pace of this campaign will get faster than ever.

Millions of new people will be paying attention, and you can help bring them into our movement at this crucial time.

Join the Grassroots Finance Committee (GFC), a core group of dedicated supporters who are setting a personal goal to raise $1,000 each in small-dollar donations.

Barack is relying on ordinary people giving only what they can afford
to support this movement. Join the GFC and reach out to your network of
friends, family, and neighbors and encourage them to make a donation
and own a piece of this campaign.

Sign up to join the Grassroots Finance Committee today.

You don’t need to have any prior political experience. This campaign is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

In a few simple steps, you can create a personal fundraising
page on My.BarackObama and start reaching out to the people you know
today. You can track your progress on your page, send email
invitations, and even see who has responded.

We’ve made it as easy as possible, and campaign staff will be
available to make sure your personal fundraising efforts are a success.

The GFC team put together a video of Michelle, a committee member from the spring who wanted to share her experience.

Watch what she has to say and join the GFC today.

Video: Join the GFC

More than a thousand people like you have joined the committee and
helped power this movement through personal contact with fellow
grassroots supporters. That stands in stark contrast to the campaign
being run by John McCain and the RNC.

Right now, McCain and the RNC are raking in huge contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs to fund their increasingly negative attacks.

With just 80 days to the election, we need more supporters like you to join the GFC now.

Even if you have never done anything like this before, you can easily get started today.

Learn more about the Grassroots Finance Committee and have a major impact on this campaign:

http://my.barackobama.com/gfcsignup

Thank you for getting involved as we prepare for our final push,

David

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager

Obama for America

comments (0)
08/16/08
Uttar Pradesh proposes international airport at Kushinagar in a bid to boost ‘Buddhist circuit’ news-State Government committed to take basic facilities to poor -Uttar Pradesh proposes equal inheritance rights for girls-Mayawati accuses Centre of lack of support-ISI agent, terrorist nabbed from Bahraich, Ghaziabad-In 2001, Mehfooz was arrested in Gujarat for delivering a provocative speech in Surat city, the police said. Dear Jagatheesan, Don’t miss a great opportunity to hear Barack Obama speak about his faith and values.- Two weeks from today, Barack will accept the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:32 am

Uttar Pradesh proposes international airport at Kushinagar in a bid to boost ‘Buddhist circuit’ news

New Delhi/Lucknow: The state government of the
north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has floated the idea of an
international airport at Kushinagar in order to boost tourism and
regional development on the ‘Buddhist circuit’. The ‘circuit’ would
cover Sarnath, Kushinagar, Sankisa, Kaushambi, Shravasti and Kapilvastu.

All
these small cities are historical sites associated with the life of
Gautam Buddha, from whom the religion draws its name. These
destinations are expected to attract pilgrims and backpackers from all
over the world, especially Japan and south-east Asian countries, where
Buddhism is the dominant religion.

The state government says
that the immense potential of the circuit still remains to be unlocked
due to lack of infrastructure facilities and general government apathy.

The
state government has invited bids from reputed consultancy firms for
preparing a comprehensive project report for an integrated development
of the Buddhist circuit in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode on
a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis. They will also
prepare bid documents and a concession agreement for the development of
an international airport at Kushinagar. The last date for submitting
bids is 22 August. The winning firm will also officiate as project
management consultant.

Currently only an air strip exists in Kushinagar, which is used
during an emergency. There is a small  airport in the nearby district
of Gorakhpur.

The state tourism department will hold a pre-bid
discussion on 18 August for interested parties to seek clarification or
information regarding the bid.



State Government committed to take basic facilities to poor


Lucknow: August 06, 2008
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Ms. Mayawati, while laying foundation
of various projects amounting to Rs. 250 crore for the development of
infrastructure, community and tourism facilities of the Braj area and
Vrindavan of Mathura district, said that the Uttar Pradesh Government
is committed to ensure regeneration of the cities and also to take
basic facilities to the poor citizen. She said that this is one of the
top priorities of the government. Her government had decided to accord
State level status to the famous Muria Puno Mela of the Vrindavan area,
she added. The schemes included construction of houses for urban poor,
Ashray Sadan for destitute women, hospital, reconstruction and
strengthening of important roads, construction of roads in the wards,
construction of parking places, uninterrupted power supply and setting
up of power sub-centres and lines, construction of bridges and railway
over-bridges and various works will be carried out to provide different
facilities to the pilgrims coming to Vrindavan. Ms. Mayawati directed
the officers of the Tourism Department that a Tourism Master Plan for
entire Braj area should be prepared within a span of three months, so
that future schemes for the development of tourism in this area could
be drawn. She said that the State level committee had sanctioned
projects worth Rs. 90 crore for the sewer-less places of the Vrindavan
area. The work on these schemes would begin within two months. Besides,
a Rs. 25 crore scheme has been sanctioned to solve the problem of water
logging of the Vrindavan area. The work on this scheme would begin in
next two months. The Chief Minister was addressing a function after
laying the foundation of various projects aimed at the all-round
development of Vrindavan area. The function was organised at her
5-Kalidas Marg official residence here today. She said that it was
necessary to ensure proper arrangement of sewer, drinking water supply,
roads, street lighting and sanitation in the cities for their all round
development. Keeping this in view, the State Government was making
efforts to set up sewer system in all the Mahanagars and nagarpalikas.
Focusing on the long term needs, the work on drinking water supply was
also being undertaken. Ms. Mayawati said that work on projects worth
Rs. 4,000 crore was being undertaken presently to ensure urban
regeneration. Besides, projects on the PPP model were also being
prepared. Under it, the foundation of 345 M.L.D. Sewage Treatment Plant
had been laid in Lucknow, which would be constructed within a year. She
said that the Chairman of the U.P. State Advisory Council, Mr. Satish
Chandra Mishra had been directed to prepare a work plan for the all
round development of the Vrindavan area. Mr. Mishra visited the
Vrindavan area and held detailed discussions with the administration
and local people and prepared a plan worth Rs. 250 crore for the all
round development of the Vrindavan. The foundation of the schemes of
the plan is being laid today. The Chief Minister said that these
projects would help fulfilling the long pending demands of the
Vrindavan city and Braj area. These demands were also put forth to the
previous governments, but they never paid any attention to it. She
directed the officers concerned that these projects should be completed
in a time bound manner. Under the sanctioned works of the different
departments and the costs and details of the projects (of which the
foundation was laid), a sum of Rs. 19.52 crore would be spent on the
Vrindavan Parikrama Marg and 11 important roads would be
re-constructed. A sum of Rs. 7.38 crore would be spent on Raya-Matha
road, Rs. 3.77 crore on Maath-Javra-Jaiswa-Bakla road, Rs. 7.41 crore
on Kosi-Kamar-Kotwan road, Rs. 6.72 crore on Chhata-Barsana road, Rs.
6.25 crore on Raya-Baldev road, Rs. 7.11 crore on Dagauli-Vrindavan
Maath road, Rs. 6.04 crore on Gokul-Brahmand Ghat road, Rs. 1.52 crore
on the approach road between Delhi-Kolkata road to Gokul Barrage, Rs.
10.95 crore on Raya-Sadabad road, Rs. 10.28 crore on
Vrindavan-Chhatikara road and Rs. 9.13 crore on widening of
Vrindavan-Mathura road. Besides, a bridge on the Kesi Ghat in Vrindavan
would be constructed at a cost of Rs. 20.66 crore. Besides, a railway
over-bridge would be constructed over the Sau Futa Marg in Vrindavan
area at a cost of Rs. 23 crore. As many as Rs. 11.25 crore would be
spent on the construction of roads in 19 wards of the Vrindavan Nagar
Palika Parishad and Rs. 1.08 crore would be spent on the construction
of roads in the six wards of Vrindavan. A sum of Rs. 5.50 crore would
be spent to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the Vrindavan city and
Parikrama Marg, Rs. 14.12 crore would be spent on the construction of a
100 bed hospital. Rs. 2.31 crore would be spent on the expansion of
Ashray Sadan for destitute women, Rs. 1.79 crore would be spent on the
renovation of the Radha Kund-Shyam Kund. Rs. 18.17 crore would be spent
for setting up a 132/33 K.V. power sub-centre at the Maath tehsil and
on the construction of 25 km long 132 K.V. line in Mathura district and
Rs. 20.66 crore would be spent on the construction of a 132/33 K.V.
power sub-centre two and on the construction of 18 km long 132 K.V.
line in Mathura district. Besides, Rs. 2.50 crore would be spent on the
construction of five parking places, Rs. 12.46 crore on the
construction of 408 houses for urban poor, Rs. 22.71 crore on the Mansi
Ganga Punruddhar Yojana in Vrindavan area. A sum of Rs. 3 crore would
be spent for ensuring drinking water supply on the Vrindavan Parikrama
Marg and Vrindavan city. The Chief Minister said that a committee would
be constituted under the chairmanship of the D.M. Mathura to ensure
high quality in all the works, to monitor their progress and for the
timely completion of these projects. She congratulated the people of
Vrindavan and Braj area on the occasion. U.P. State Advisory Council
Chairman Mr. Satish Chandra Mishra, many members of State Council of
Ministers, senior officers and a large number of prominent citizens
were present on this occasion. *******


Uttar Pradesh proposes equal inheritance rights for girls

The Uttar Pradesh government has proposed amending the law to
enable girls get equal rights of inheritance in their parents’
agriculture land, an official said Wednesday.

The government Tuesday proposed amendment in the UP Zamindari
Abolition and Land Reform (ZALR) Act 1950 to give girls equal rights in
their parents’ agriculture land.

The act would be amended during the monsoon session of the state assembly, starting August 18.

Women social activists have hailed the government’s decision and said the move was long overdue.

“In a way, the move is revolutionary. It is really heartening that
now the daughters will get equal rights in landed properties of their
father,” Roop Rekha Verma, former Lucknow University vice-chancellor
and a social activist, told IANS.

Another social activist Shalini Mathur said: “Women have always been
neglected in areas of ’satta’ (power), ’shiksha’ (education) and
’sampatti’ (property).”


News Update Service
Mayawati accuses Centre of lack of support

Lucknow (PTI): Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister Mayawati today accused the Centre of not supporting her
government and said despite lack of help, the BSP regime in the state
had ensured all round development through its own resources.

“Though the state did not get support
of Centre, the government succeded in ensuring development of
Bundelkhand and other regions by using its own resources,” Mayawati
said in her address after unfurling the national flag at Vidhan Bhawan
here.

“Political freedom was not the ultimate
objectives of the freedom fighters. We should think how much we have
moved forward in ensuring social and economic freedom for the people,”
Mayawati said hailing the contribution of freedom fighters who laid
down their lives for the country.

“Our objective is to make an
egalitarian society and our government is working for “Sarv Jan Hitay
Sarvjan Sukhai” by ending jungleraj in the state”, Mayawati said while
praising policemen for their contribution in maintaining law and order
in the state.

“Rule of law has been established in the state and priority is being given to give justice to poor and needy”, she said.

Claiming that a number of initiatives
had been taken by her government for rural, health and infrastructure
development in the state, Mayawati said the state was moving forward
with its own resources.


ISI agent, terrorist nabbed from Bahraich, Ghaziabad

LUCKNOW: The Anti-Terrorist Squad
(ATS) of the Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday nabbed a Pakistani spy from
Bahraich and a militant of Jamait-Ul-Mujahideen (JuM) from Ghaziabad in
simultaneous raids that continued well past mid-night. Both the accused were
Pakistani citizens and were sent by the ISI to trigger off terror strikes in
India.

Though the investigators were yet to pick up any specific clue
which could establish that they had some plans for the near future, senior
officers have not ruled out possibilities of the module wrecking havoc during
the Independence Day celebrations.

Inspector General (IG) ATS, AK
Jain told TOI that the ISI agent, Mohd Masroor alias Manzoor Ansari had already
established himself at Lucknow and was working at a business house in Lalbagh
area under the alias of Ramesh Chaudhary of Rajasthan. A native of Abdul Jabbar
compound in West Garden area near Nazeer Hotel in Karachi, Masroor completed his
primary education from Ibrahim Ali Bhai Government School in Lasbela area
(Jamaatkhana), Karachi but could not pursue his studies for long, Jain
said.

A local resident, Aqeel introduced him to some officers of ISI
at Shahraah Faisal Airport in Malir Cantonment after which he was sent for a 6
month training. During his training he was given crash courses in reading and
writing Hindi, conducting reconnaissance, reading army tag numbers and rank
structures, mapping and identifying gods and goddesses of Hindu faith. He was
also trained to perform ‘arti’ and ‘puja’.

In 2005, the
ISI provided him with a passport and a visa in his original name and an Indian
driving license in the name of Ramesh Chaudhary, coupled with a fake marksheet
of High School following which he was flown from Karachi to Bangladesh from
where he reached Kathamandu and subsequently entered India through Jogbani
border. In November 2005, he reached Lucknow and started working as a helper at
a business house in Lalbagh Area.

While working at the business
house, he sent a series of e-mails and fax messages to his handlers apart from
phoning them, with the call details showing that he had talked to people in
Pakistan for more than 50 hours in a month (both incoming and outgoing calls
included). “During interrogation Masroor revealed that he had carried out recces
at Jaipur, Agra, Kolkata and Moradabad and sent details to his bosses in
Pakistan. He also revealed that he not only got his ration card made but was
also pursuing his name to be entered in the voters list,” said Deputy IG ATS,
Rajiv Krishna who supervised the operation.

Following sustained
grilling, Masroor revealed that he was presently arranging logistics for some
“visitors” who were to reach UP one by one. He said that one of the guests had
already reached Ghaziabad and was known by the code name, Jaanbaaz. “We
immediately sent the details of this person to our ATS West Zone unit in
Ghaziabad and he was rounded up around mid-night,” Rajiv Krishna
said.

The second accused had identified himself as Faiyyaz Ahmad Mir
alias Jaanbaaz of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Sleuths seized
around 2 kilograms of ammonium nitrate and RDX, a Chinese pistol and 30
cartridges from his possession. A Pakistani passport, an identity card, a
citizenship card, as well as boarding passes of a Karachi to Kathmandu flight
and that of an Islamabad to Karachi flight of Pakistan International Airlines
(PIA) were also seized from his possession. An E-ticket issued by one Flyer
International Travel Agency was also recovered from his bag.

About
his background, Faiyyaz said that he is a native of Listiyar locality under Kala
Arush police station of Kupwara district in Kashmir and had crossed the Line of
Control (LoC) in 2001 with some other youths of his village. In Pakistan he
joined Al-Umar-Mujahideen (AUM) and was trained in use of explosives and
firearms. A couple of years later, he entered into a dispute with his assoc

SIMI activist arrested with fake notes in Uttar Pradesh


Lucknow, Aug 14 (IANS) An activist of the banned
Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was arrested Thursday with
counterfeit currency with nominal value of Rs.6,500 in Allahabad
district of Uttar Pradesh, the police said.

‘Mohammad Amir Mehfooz was arrested near Iradatganj
railway crossing of the district,’ Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar
told IANS.

Mehfooz, who is being interrogated, has been associated with SIMI for the last 10 years, he added.

In 2001, Mehfooz was arrested in Gujarat for delivering a provocative speech in Surat city, the police said.

Dear Jagatheesan,

 Don’t miss a great opportunity to hear Barack Obama speak about his faith and values.

This Saturday, August 16th, at 7:00 pm CDT, Barack Obama will be speaking at the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency hosted by Pastor Rick Warren. The forum will be broadcast live from California on CNN, and I encourage you to tune in.


This will be the first event attended by both Barack Obama and John McCain since winning their respective primaries, and the nation will be watching to learn more about both candidates.

Here are the details:

     Saddleback Civil Forum

     with Barack Obama and John McCain


     Saturday, August 16th at 7:00 p.m. CDT


     Live on CNN (Please check your local listings as well)



This is a great opportunity for people interested in faith to learn
more about Barack, his values, and this campaign for change, so spread
the word.


Invite your friends and family to watch the Saddleback Forum.


Reaching out to people of faith is an important component to growing
this movement for change, and it will require people of all faiths and
backgrounds to get involved.


Your participation and input is crucial to our success.

Thanks,

Joshua

Joshua DuBois

National Director of Religious Affairs


Obama for America



P.S. — If you would like to learn more about our faith outreach
efforts, pledge your support as a person of faith, and more, join
People of Faith for Obama:

Jagatheesan –


Two weeks from today, Barack will accept the nomination at the
Democratic National Convention in Denver.



It will be the biggest night of the campaign so far, and you can share
the moment with millions of fellow supporters across the country.



Sign up to host or attend a Convention Watch Party on Thursday, August 28th.



Invite your friends and family to watch Barack’s speech and build this movement in your community.



At the 2004 convention, Barack spoke about coming together to participate in the
politics of hope.


People like you heard that message and now you are making it
happen all across the country. Just yesterday we made a remarkable
achievement — 2,000,000 donors owning a piece of this campaign.



At Convention Watch Parties, you can celebrate the commitment and hard work it took to get here. And you can help plan
voter registration drives that are being organized in all 50 states on the weekend of August 30th through September 1st.



You’ve been doing an amazing job of opening up the political process and bringing in as many people as possible.



And there’s no better way to reach out to your friends and family than to invite them to be a part of this historic moment.



Host or attend a Convention Watch Party in your community:



http://my.barackobama.com/organizeforchange/



I hope you’ll take this opportunity to continue growing our movement in your community and watch as we make history together.



Thank you for everything you are doing,

comments (0)
08/13/08
Can she rule India? - ‘No force can stop me from becoming PM’-The second most important woman of Indian politics is all set to rock the established hierarchy of power as the ambitious leader of a formidable coalition. The country suddenly gets another prime minister in waiting, writes Prabhu Chawla.
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 7:15 am

http://indiatoday.digitaltoday.in/


FIRST ON INDIA TODAY


Can she rule India?

The
second most important woman of Indian politics is all set to rock the
established hierarchy of power as the ambitious leader of a formidable
coalition. The country suddenly gets another prime minister in waiting,
writes Prabhu Chawla.


‘No force
can stop me from becoming PM’

After her surprise anointment as the UNPA’s
prime ministerial candidate, BSP supremo Mayawati’s confidence levels have
reached a new high. She told Editor Prabhu Chawla that she is
destined to become the country’s prime minister. An exclusive interview:

Q. Finally a Original Inhabitant of
Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath which is one of the top most
communities of the world’s daughter’s name has been finalised for prime
minister. How did this happen?

A. Apart from being a Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that
is the Great Prabuddha Bharath which is one of the top most communities of the
world ’s daughter, I am also the daughter of India. Don’t forget that India’s highest
populated state has given me four chances to be CM. I have worked not just for
the Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath
which is one of the top most communities of the world  but for all sections of
the society. I am born in India
so I am not just Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great
Prabuddha Bharath which is one of the top most communities of the world  ki beti
but also Prabuddha Bharath
ki beti
.

Q. You said there was a conspiracy
against a Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha
Bharath which is one of the top most communities of the world ’s daughter
becoming PM.

A. Everyone saw it. And they (my political rivals) have seen
what a good government I have given in UP, so they are scared that if the BSP
forms a government at the Centre and Mayawati becomes PM, they will have to
wait for a long time to come back to power at the Centre.

That is why they thought it is better we don’t
let her come to power at all. Moreover, the BJP and the Congress I think are
alike—whether at the Centre or at the state, their governments have economic
policies that make rich industrialists richer and the poor poorer. So they know
that once they are removed from power, all their rich industrialist friends
will suffer while the poor, the farmers and small industrialists will benefit,
and they don’t want that.

Q. So they won’t let you become the PM?

A. This kind of question was raised even when the BSP was
improving in UP and there was a chance that I could become chief minister. But
I did become UP chief minister, and I think a day will come when the wishes of
the oppressed, the poor, the downtrodden and beloved Dr Ambedkar will come
true. One day, this section will get political power. If I can become UP chief
minister, then I think a day will surely come when the dreams of our people
will come true.

Q. Will the dream be realised through
Mayawati?

A. Definitely, it will come true.

Q. So you think that your becoming PM is
only a matter of time. Nothing can stop you now.

A. A movement has begun. When the time comes, no one can stop.
No one could stop me from becoming the chief minister of UP.

Q. Will you be able to run the
government? Can you rule India?

A. This question was also raised in UP before I became chief
minister. But from Independence
till today, if you compare all the sarkars to my government and ask
the aam janta of UP, they will tell you that Mayawati is the best. So
if I can give UP-which is India’s
largest state—the best sarkar, why can’t I do the same at the Centre?

Q. Do you have an agenda for governance?

A. Of course I have.

Q. But until now you were limited to UP
and you didn’t even meet leaders of other parties.

A. I did meet other leaders, but I also had to run my party. I
did both.

Q. If you do become the PM, what is your
agenda for governance? What are your views on privatisation and economic
reforms that Manmohan Singh started?

A. Our sarkar’s economic agenda will benefit the country’s
poor and weaker sections. It will benefit all sections of the society.

Q. You are talking like Indira Gandhi,
Gareebi hatao, desh
bachao
“.

A. My party is not against privatisation. Like we have done in
UP, at the Centre too we will see that the country’s Scheduled Castes have the
benefits of reservations. When a government office is privatised, reservation
rights should be protected as I have done in UP. Apart from the Scheduled
Castes, we will take care of the minorities, Backward Classes and also the
economically poor among the upper castes. I have written to the Centre about
reservation in government jobs for the economically poor among upper castes.

Q. Should there be foreign investment in retail?


A. There are different castes and religions in India, lots of
poor and jobless, so we will take all this into account.

Q. Should there be FDI in retail?

A. The interests of the small shopkeepers must be protected.

Q. So you are not against FDI in retail?

A. No I am not.

Q. What about the nuclear deal?

A. The Congress is claiming that because of this deal we will
get cheap electricity. This is wrong. Whatever electricity we get will be much
more expensive and it will take 10-15 years to get it. And the output will be
only 8-10 per cent more than what we are getting. It will be so expensive that
neither the poor nor the small industrialists will be able to use it.

Q. So will you cancel the nuclear deal?

A. When my government is formed, we will rethink this deal and
examine if it’s in the nation’s interests or not. We are told that America has put conditions on India, like if they attack Iran, India will have to offer support.
Such conditions are meant to make India a slave.

Q. Before opposing this deal, you must
have read it.

A. We do not agree with this deal. We will rethink it.

Q. But the Left is totally opposed to America and
they are supporting you.

A. Whenever we do a deal with any country, we must first take
into account the country’s interests. When my party comes to power at the
Centre, we will take into account all sections of the society while making
policies.

Q. Opposition parties claim that your
politics is caste-based. Does this suit a prime minister?

A. The people who make such allegations are the ones who are
indulging in caste politics. The BSP has finished jaativaad in this
country and wants to bring together all sections of the society. The charge
that the BSP is jaativaadi is false.

Q. Maybe this is because
you are now being promoted as the leader of UNPA.


A. I am the leader of BSP. The UNPA is different, the Left is
separate. They all have their own leaders.

Q. But they are promoting you as the PM,
no one else.

A. I welcome this suggestion and I am grateful.

Q. But other leaders of the UNPA like
Chandrababu Naidu and Chautala belong to forward castes. How does
behen
Mayawati fit into all this?

A. The Left parties and other members of the UNPA have
realised that Mayawati in UP has included all sections of the society in the
BSP’s way of thinking. Along with the backward sections and the minorities, it
has also sent upper castes to Parliament and the state assembly and given them
posts in the ministry. They don’t see her as jaativaadi but as one who
takes all sections of the society together.

Q. Well you do have the slogan. But
these leaders first went to Mulayam. When that did not work out, they came
after you in the hope that by sailing in your boat they too will get somewhere.
And then, they will leave you too?

A. The names that you have mentioned did at first go to
Mulayam, and you say that they will leave me too. But in the UPA and NDA too,
there are many allies who are attracted to the BSP. And there will be a time
when they too will join us.

Q. So there will be some attempt to
break parties.

A. I am against breaking any party, but those who come on
their own are welcome.

Q. But you will still need the Congress
or the BJP to become PM. How will a Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is
the Great Prabuddha Bharath which is one of the top most communities of the
world
  ki beti become PM without their
help?

A. With Lok Sabha elections a few months away, I am sure that
the BJP and Congress, along with their allies, will not get more than 200 seats
together. The rest will be 340. So I will not need the BJP or the Congress.

Q. Their company will come to you?

A. No, I will not need their company. They will come to me on
their own.

Q. On one side is the “Note
Gate” and on the other side there is terrorism. But there seems to be
little desire to fight terrorism.

A. I think the way wads of money were placed in Parliament and
MPs are being bought over, this should be condemned.

Q. What about terrorism?
A. The state governments should get together and plan and
strategise to counter it. The borders of our country are not strengthened.

Q. Who do you blame for the rise in
terrorism? Is it minority appeasement, weak governance or the lack of a strong law?

A. We should not link terrorism with politics, but the states
and the Centre should sit and strategise how to contain it.

Q. For this we need a strong law. But
POTA has been removed. Even you are against POTA.

A. No. I think that central and state governments should make
strict laws. Not POTA, but there can be other strict laws.

Q. Like MCOCA in Maharashtra?
Gujarat wanted to make a strong law but was
not allowed.

A. In UP too we have passed a law but the Centre has not
okayed it.

Q. So would you say the Centre is weak
in formulating laws?

A. Yes. Also, our borders are weak. After all, the terrorists
enter our country from across the borders. So it’s up to the central government
to make the borders strong and make a law along with the states.

Q. A law like POTA?

A. Not necessarily but a strong law.

Q. Our Muslim brothers say they are
against terrorism as much as the rest of us, yet they say that to appease the
Muslim vote we won’t make a strong law.

A. If a person commits a wrong, you should not punish the
entire community.

Q. Should Mohd Afzal be hanged? The
Supreme Court has said he should be.

A. This is for the courts and the government to decide.

Q. But in the name of terrorism,
politics is being played.

A. That’s not good.

Q. Will you do anything to stop this?

A. When I become PM, we will try and create such a situation
that there will be no terror incidents.

Q. How will you ensure this? Will you
make a strong law?

A. Maybe there will be no need to make a strong law. There
will be such an environment that there will be no need for it.

Q. The terrorists will feel scared of
you and not come out?

A. (laughs)

Q. The word supremo is often used for
you. It evokes dictatorship more than democracy. It is used for Bal Thackeray
and Jayalalithaa.

A. That title I didn’t give myself. You keep calling me that,
so ask yourself.

Q. But do you work like a dictator?

A. No, I believe in democracy and take everyone’s views into
account.

Q. It is often said that how a Original
Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath which is one of
the top most communities of the world
  ki
beti could collect so much money and have so many houses.

A. The CBI has given a false affidavit to the court. When my
lawyer presents my case, the truth will come out.

Q. But charges are being laid against
you

A. This is all because of political pressure, whether it is
the UPA or the NDA. It is all politics.

Q. There was so much bonhomie between
you and Sonia. She came and wished you on your birthday. What happened between
the two sisters suddenly?

A. Milna julna alag cheez hai and politics is
separate.

Q. And now Amar Singh is
in the central government indirectly. Are you feeling threatened?


A. I am not but I can say for sure that the Congress will be
feeling threatened that if not today then tomorrow he will do something against
them.

Q. Have you gone soft on Amar Singh?

A. No I have not. The UP assembly results threw them out of
the government and installed me. So if the people of UP have already killed
them then why should I bother to do anything? Mare huey ko kyon maarna?

Q. You had earlier made charges of
corruption against them and said you will send them to jail. Have you forgiven
them?

A. No.

Q. Or is it that you did not find
anything?

A. Whatever the charges of corruption against them, the cases
are going on in the Supreme Court. Why should I come in the middle of that? And
why should I feel scared of weak people?

Q. But Amar Singh and Mulayam have been
reborn. They have become more powerful.

A. They are now more dead than ever.

Q. They sit and eat with the PM and meet
Sonia every day.

A. Dining is not everything. The way this government has been
saved, they will get no political gains out of this.

Q. There is talk of pressing ahead with
the cases against you. Don’t you think they must have made some sort of a deal?

A. Whenever there has been a political attack against me, via
the CBI or others, I have emerged stronger.

Q. So you are ready to fight?

A. Absolutely.

Q. So how do you keep so fit? Do you
exercise?

A. I don’t. I just keep busy with my work.

Q. No gym or personal trainer?

A. I don’t get the time for exercise, I just do my work.

Q. Do you control your diet?

A. I eat what I get.

Q. I have seen you for the last 15 years
and there is an image makeover. Was this part of a plan to ready yourself for
chief ministership and prime ministership?

A. I have done nothing. All this has happened naturally. I
keep busy with my work and that is my exercise.

Q. What hobbies do you have?

A. All 24 hours of the day, I think about the movement I am
associated with and how to take my party forward. How to help the backward and
weaker sections of our country. I keep making plans for them and that keeps me
busy.

Q. Weaving conspiracies?

A. No, plans.

Q. But politics is like conspiracy. How
to get to power etc

A. No, I don’t need to. My party is different from others; it
is both a mission and a movement.

Q. In the end, it is politics only-how
to get power.

A. I agree with Babasaheb Dr Ambedkar, who said that if any
section of the society wants to solve its problems, it has to get political
power.

Q. So to fulfill Babasaheb’s dream, this
Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath which is
one of the top most communities of the world
 
ki beti is readying her political arsenal.

A. Not just Original Inhabitant of Jambudvipa, that is the
Great Prabuddha Bharath which is one of the top most communities of the
world  ki beti
but Prabuddha Bharath
ki beti
. I will fulfill Babasaheb’s dream, and those who believe in
Babasaheb are working to make this possible.

Q. I will ask you five questions and you
must answer them in one line. Who do you think is your biggest enemy? I am not
taking Amar Singh or Mulayam’s name.

A. I am against discrimination and untouchability and jaativaad.

Q. And your best friend? The one who
will put you in power?

A. The day our society that is divided on caste lines becomes
one.

Q. I am asking about individuals. There
have been 14 prime ministers in India.
Who do you like the best?

A. If I liked any one then I would not have felt the need to
form my own party.

Q. The worst?

A. They are all the same.

Q. Do you watch films?

A. No, I don’t. I barely get the time. I do watch the news
though.

Q. Do you have a favourite heroine?

A. Well, I don’t watch movies, so how will I have a favourite
heroine?

Q. Your favourite food? You do eat,
right?

A. (laughs) Yes, otherwise how will I stay alive.
Green vegetables, daal…

Q. Which is your favourite tourist spot?

A. Whenever I travel, I am so busy that I don’t have the time
to do any sightseeing.

Q. If you got a chance, where would you
like to go? After all, even Jawaharlal Nehru took a holiday sometimes.

A. I like natural surroundings. I am very fond of nature.

Q. Whom do you see as a political
villain in the country today?

A. (laughs)

Q. Is it Amar Singh or anyone other?

A. There is no shortage of such people in the country today.

Q. You don’t want to take a name?

A. Well you have taken the name yourself, so I don’t need to.