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FREE ONLINE TRAINING ON PRECEPTS AND TRADE-1
WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY & PROSPEROUS BUDDHA JAYANTHI - 2553
In this world of fashion and passion
Buddha stands for compassion and dispassion.
In this world of industrialization and commercialization
Buddha stands for humanization and spritualization.
In this world of diversity and complexity
Buddha stands for unity and clarity.
In this world of consumerism
Buddha stands for contentism.
This world with its attraction for customer oriented dhamma
Buddha stands for truth oriented dhamma.
In this world of conflict and poverty
Buddha stands for peace and prosperity
Statue of Liberty stands for freedom
Statue of Buddha stands for virtue and wisdom.
MAY ALL GET ESTABLISHED IN VIRTUE AND WISDOM.
VENERABLE BHIKKHU VINAYARAKKHITA
Wish you & your family a very Happy
Buddha Poornima (Trigun Paawan Poornima)
Sunil Borkar & Family
Photo by K. Kawasaki.
At this May full moon in year 534 BC the
by completely perfect & utterly unsurpassable self-Enlightenment!
At that time a girl named
Senani lived in
she prayed before a certain Banyan tree, that she might get a good
husband equal to herself in caste & that her firstborn may be a son.
Her prayer was successful, since so indeed did it happen. At the full
moon day of the Wesak month, she rose at early dawn & milked the
cows. As soon as new buckets were placed under the cows, the milk
poured in streams spontaneously all by itself! Seeing this miracle,
she knew something special was going on. Now at that very night the
Buddha had 5 dreams that made him conclude: Surely, truly,
without any doubt, today is the very day, I will reach Enlightenment!
His 5 colored radiance illuminated the whole tree. Then Sujata came
and offered the cooked milk rice in the hands of the Great Being.
After that a grass-cutter came going with a bundle of grass just
harvested from nearby. He offered the Great Being 8 handfuls of
Kusa grass, when he saw that this Sage was a Holy Man. The Future
accepted the grass & proceeded to the foot of the Bo-tree.
Reaching the imperturbable Eastern side, where all the Buddhas take
their seat, he sat down saying to himself: This is verily the immovable
spot, where all the prior supreme Buddhas have planted themselves!
This is the very place for destroying this net of desire! Then the
turned his back to the trunk and thus faced east.
Right there, he then resolutely settled on this mighty decision:
Let just blood & flesh of this body dry up & let skin
and sinews fall
from the bones. I will not leave this seat before having attained the
So determined did he seat himself in this unconquerable seat,
which not a 100 strikes of lightning could make him waver from.
At this very moment the rebel deity
Evil One- raised
will pass beyond my power, but I
will never allow it! And sounding the
shout, he raised
his army & went out for battle. Then
to his evil militia:
This Sakyamuni, son of
is far greater than any other
man, so we will never succeed to fight him up front. We will thus
have to attack him from behind. Frustrated, being unable even to
touch the Wielder of power with 9 mighty hurricanes of wind, rain,
rocks, weapons, red coals, hot ashes, sand, mud, and darkness
somewhat in panic commanded his army: Why do you all stand still?
Seize, kill & drive away this prince. Mara yelled: Siddhattha, leave
this seat. It is not yours, but mine! Hearing this the Well-gone One
replied: Mara, neither have you fulfilled the 10 perfections to the
third degree nor have you given the 5 great donations. Neither have
you striven for insight, nor for the welfare of all the world, nor for
enlightenment! Therefore does this seat not belong to you, but truly
indeed only to me. Suddenly overpowered by fear
fled helter-skelter in all directions. Not two went the same way, but
leaving their weapons in a chaos all behind, they all fled terrified by
metaphysical panic. Seeing them flee, the great assembly of deities
Siddhattha has Won!
Let us celebrate this truly sublime, wonderful and unique Victory!
It was before the sun had set that the
Mara & defeated his army. That same night, after having bathed,
while the Bo tree rained red sprigs on his robe, the Consummate One
gained knowledge of his prior lives in the first watch of the night:
With the mind thus concentrated, purified, bright, fixed, unified,
focused, tractable, compliant, steady & imperturbable, I directed
it to remembrance of my past lives. I recollected many past lives, i.e.,
one birth, two…five, ten…fifty, a hundred, a thousand, 100 thousand,
many eons of cosmic contraction, & many eons of cosmic expansion:
There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan & species, had such
a body. Such was my food, such my life of pleasure & pain, such was
the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there.
There I had such name, belonged to such a sort & family, had such a
form. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such
was the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.
Thus I remembered my various past lives in all their various modes &
manifold details. This was the first knowledge I attained in the first
watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; the knowledge arose;
darkness was destroyed; light arose as happens in one who is alert,
aware, & determined. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way
did not invade my mind nor remain. With the mind thus concentrated,
purified, bright, intact, pliant, malleable, steady, & imperturbable,
I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance
of beings. I saw by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the
human eye & I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I
realized how and why they are high and low, beautiful or ugly,
fortunate and unfortunate all in exact accordance with the intentions
of their prior actions: These beings who were endowed with bad
behaviour of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the
held wrong views & acted under the influence of wrong views, with
the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of
misery, the bad painful destination, the lower realms, even in hell.
But these beings who were gifted with good behaviour of body, speech
& mind, who did not revile the Noble Ones,
who held right views and acted under the influence of right views after
the break-up of the body, after the death, have re-appeared in happy
destinations, even in a divine world…!
Thus by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human I
saw beings passing away & re-appearing, all in accordance with their
particular mixture of
good & bad
kamma. But the satisfaction that
arose in this way did not invade my mind nor remain. With the mind
thus concentrated, absorbed, I directed it towards understanding
the ending of the mental fermentations. I realized how it actually
comes to be, that:
When my mind saw that, it was instantly freed of the fermentation
of sense-desire, it was released from the fermentation of becoming,
and it became fully unobstructed by the fermentation of ignorance.
Fully & perfectly
Enlightened - The
perceiving this immense
glory, spoke these 2 solemn verses, which never has been omitted by
any of countless thousands of prior
Through this round of countless existences have I searched, but yet
failed to find “the Creator”, who framed this construction: What a
Suffering is indeed such Endless Birth, Ageing, Decay & Death!
Now I see that
“the Constructor” of this structure is
Never shall this construction be build again, as all the rafters are
shattered and the main beam is busted & broken… At this calming
Craving, the mind was finally,
irreversibly & ultimately stilled…
Then, friends, this revelation of certainty arose in me: This release
is immutable, this is the very last birth, this endless re-appearance
has finally ceased…
About Absolute Awakening!
Happy Wesak 2U!
“Buddhist principles can help cut inventory and reduce supply chain
That advice was recently published in an information-technology trade
magazine. And while the Buddha might not have had surplus equipment in
mind when he advised his followers to reduce their attachments, it is a
sign of just how far Buddhist teachings are reaching into the
mainstream–even into the dog-eat-dog world of business.
A dozen books on Buddhism and business currently occupy bookstore
shelves, a steady stream of conferences are being held on the topic,
and an army of consultants has stormed the corporate trenches spreading
the doctrine of mindfulness in the boardroom. The message: The Buddha
never said profit was a dirty word.
“If I’m trying to be a compassionate Buddhist, how do I run the human
resources department of my company? What is compassion when I have to
“Right livelihood [not doing work that causes harm to self or
others] is a tenet of Buddhist practice, but that doesn’t mean we
should all be social workers,” says Chuck Slotkin, a New York
investment banker. “Being a Buddhist is not taking a poverty vow, but
it’s also not being an avaricious a–h–e and stabbing people in the
Mindfulness is the key element of Buddhism that many practitioners say
they bring to their business lives. But it isn’t always easy.
“I hear many business people say, ‘If I’m trying to be a compassionate
Buddhist, how do I run the human resources department of my company?
What is compassion when I have to fire someone?’” reports Andy
Ferguson, an investment adviser who is organizing a Buddhism and
business conference next year that will be attended by the Dalai Lama.
“I find it a daily challenge to incorporate the dharma into the rough
and tumble world I work in,” observes Austin political consultant Glenn
Smith, who has worked with such clients as former Texas Gov. Ann
Richards. “I can easily fall into the trap of the competitive world and
start beating my chest like the guy across the table.”
“It’s not like I’m pure and morally or ethically better than someone at
a big Wall Street firm when it comes to money,” agrees Slotkin, a
volunteer director at the New York Shambhala Center. “All I know is
that if I practice regularly, everything is more workable. But does
that guarantee my deals are going to close? No, I have to be out in the
Many practitioners find that their more-measured, aware approach to
business is no longer as alien as it once was. A small army of
consultants is quietly incorporating Buddhist practices into American
corporate life under a variety of other labels. Lama Surya Das, a
well-known American teacher of Tibetan Buddhism and Beliefnet
columnist, calls it “stealth Buddhism.”
The approach is reflected in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mind-body workshops for
corporate executives, the spiritually aware management systems of MIT’s
Peter Senge, and vipassana teacher Mirabai Bush’s work with
corporations like bio-tech giant Monsanto.
“Basically, we’re teaching insight, mindfulness, and metta
[loving-kindness] meditation, but we’re not teaching Buddhism,”
explains Bush, whose Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
coordinates programs on 75 college campuses that incorporate
contemplation into professions from architecture to science–and even
includes a program at West Point military academy.
“Many people fear that when you teach meditation in a business
setting–particularly around a business making controversial
products–you’re increasing their efficiency,” she acknowledges. “Our
hope is that by offering an environment of awakening and trust, as
people grow in the practice they will see more clearly what they are
doing and make wholesome choices.”
Former assistant U.S. attorney Cheryl Conner teaches what she calls
“dharma for lawyers” at the Suffolk University Law School. She also
heads a group of 160 Boston-area attorneys who meet regularly for
meditation and contemplation.
“Being a trial lawyer is the quintessential warriorship job,” she says.
“It really does promote dualistic and intensely competitive work, and
those habitual habits are very deep.”
Conner was already a prosecutor when she met her root guru and began
practicing Buddhism. Even though she found herself striving for the
middle ground that allowed her to settle far more cases than her
colleagues, she began to feel like the black sheep of the courthouse.
“I had the freedom to be a bodhisattva trial lawyer; I didn’t have to
be Darth Vader,” she recalls. “But the pressures were high.”
Now, with funding from the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Fetzer
Institute, she helps young lawyers-to-be prepare to face the stress of
a profession with a high incidence of depression and alcoholism.
“I share with them basic Buddhist principles in a secular dissolution,”
Conner explains. “We look at mind training and how it affects the way
we think and work with others.”
The end result of such efforts is a steady–if slow–ratcheting up of
the level of mindfulness in American business.
“What people see me doing sort of fits with things everyone is learning
about. I never get, ‘Oh, you’re Buddhist, you must have given money to
Gore,’” says Democratic consultant Smith, who adds with irony in his
voice, “though, of course, I did.”
Like many Buddhists in the business world, former Zen monk Josh Baran
has found a way to combine his professional expertise with his
practice. While working with a variety of corporations as head of the
New York office of a high-profile public relations firm, Baran also
seeks out socially active organizations as clients and has offered pro
bono support to the Dalai Lama for the past decade.
“One of the teachings I took from my Zen days is that everything is the
meditation hall. There’s only now, and that doesn’t really change
whether you are in a spiritual environment or a normal environment,” he
says. “It helps me stay calm in a crisis.”
In his book, “The Diamond Cutter,” Michael Roach, a former diamond executive who holds the advanced degree of geshe
in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, argues for an in-your-face
integration of practice into the workplace, including a day off each
week for contemplation to help enhance business creativity.
Roach embraced this approach after finishing his monastic training and
receiving a challenge from his teacher: Join the workworld and turn a
profit–following the Buddhist code of ethics to the letter. As his
book describes, he succeeded, helping build a multimillion-dollar gem
firm before returning full-time to monastic duties.
“You have to let the business be a business and operate within that
framework with a sense of individual responsibility. There’s a subtle
balancing act you have to do,” says author Lewis Richmond.
But can a practitioner really change the company in which he or she
works? Lewis Richmond, author of “Work as a Spiritual Practice,” says
you shouldn’t even try.
“You have to let the business be a business and operate within that
framework with a sense of individual responsibility. There’s a subtle
balancing act you have to do.” But, he adds, “It’s a real challenge.”
Some practitioners decide they can best meet that challenge by leaving
the corporate world and developing businesses based on Buddhist
principles. Smith created a sideline that helps nonprofit organizations
better use the Internet. It has now blossomed into a full-time job.
“That’s a specific example of right motivation producing unexpected,
beneficial consequences,” he says.
But not every Buddhist business executive advocates a kind and gentle
approach. An erroneous interpretation of so-called Samurai Zen, for
example, is the latest fad in Silicon Valley. “Samurai Zen emphasizes
some of the least salutary aspects of American business–killing the
competition, winning at all costs,” says author Richmond, who argues
that it was precisely this corruption of Buddhist teachings that helped
burst the Internet bubble.
“The whole get-rich-quick culture of the dot-coms was fiercely
concentrated on the goal of making money,” he says. “They didn’t take
care of people, they didn’t care about customer service. They didn’t
But at the end of the day, most businesspeople who follow the dharma
say it all boils down to just being a decent human being. Slotkin
offers what amounts to a Zen koan for business: “In Buddhism, you can’t
really help other people until you have your own sh– together. But you
can’t wait until you have your own sh– together before you help other
- noun - is a form of placing great importance on moment-by-moment
awareness and ’seeing deeply into the nature of things’ by direct
experience. Business is no exception.
Road With Curves…Buddhism & Business
I started to study Buddhism it was out of a need to find a spiritual
practice that added value of spirituality to my life where I previously
was lacking (and it’s not because I wasn’t searching). The belief that
a life must be in balance; work, spiritual, personal, is at the
bottom-line 100% the truth. One can’t define themselves by what they do
for work, it is a rather crazy road that will squash your self-worth
with each dip in sales. Buddhism to me became the spiritual practice
that allowed the best overlap in personal, work and spiritual life. For
sure many values inside other spiritual practices offer a road map for
how to be a good person but Buddhism offers a cerebral way to practice
it’s principles daily.
The struggle today is defining how
Buddhism and Business mix. Just like any other concept in business that
may gain book sales, Buddhism has become a growing topic in the
Business book isle of any bookstore. Most of them hit me with a loud
“huh” or “duh”.
To practice Buddhism in the corporate world
which is best to focus on; mindfulness, compassion, right livelihood,
meditation practice? The answer is yes to all, for all the same reasons
one is in the study of Buddhism to begin with; training the mind in a
Buddhist way doesn’t stop at the meditation pillow.
But how does one stay mindful and compassionate during the firing of an employee? What if someone you are negotiating with isn’t as ethical as you? As just a few examples.
guess my thought is, the answer isn’t in the new popular Business
Management book on “If the Buddha Ran a Business“, it’s in the heart of
your practice. Meditation and the benefit of keeping the monkey brain
at bay is critical training for moments in the office when the sky
appears to fall. Being mindful and compassionate are the basics one
must have even if not using Buddhism at work. So you have to fire an
employee, the key is remembering that compassion works at several
angles; compassion towards the employee and what they now have to go
through to find a new job, compassion towards the employee and their
false view of the world that may have led to their termination,
compassion for the other co-workers and the environment they work in,
compassion towards the company (it’s a living entity as well).
As for meeting others not as ethical, one could think that being a Buddhist would be a disadvantage but it’s the opposite. You’ve
trained your mind you are calm, you are mindful of the situation and
you can spot one who lacks ethics. Do you really need to cater to an other’s false view of the world that led to their unethical behavior?
should be natural in the workplace, but not preached as it may lead to
discrimination issues later, Management schools should be teaching
these principles as how to behave in the world and not how to behave as
a Buddhist. The days of greed are not over but the 80’s are and one
doesn’t have to conduct business with an eye on the throat.
is a working thought, I’ve been working on Buddhism for close to 9
years and only now is the time right enough for me to practice, more
like, observe how Buddhism has made me a better businesswoman. My
thoughts may chance in 6 months when I see move of reality and not my
Be present and mindful
according to Buddhist teachings, the ethical and moral principles
are governed by examining whether a certain action, whether connected
to body or speech is likely to be harmful to one’s self or to
others and thereby avoiding any actions which are likely to be
harmful. In Buddhism, there is much talk of a skilled mind. A
mind that is skilful avoids actions that are likely to cause suffering
for Buddhists differs according to whether it applies to the laity
or to the Sangha or clergy. A lay Buddhist should cultivate good
conduct by training in what are known as the “Five Precepts”.
These are not like, say, the ten commandments, which, if broken,
entail punishment by God. The five precepts are training rules,
which, if one were to break any of them, one should be aware of
the breech and examine how such a breech may be avoided in the
future. The resultant of an action (often referred to as Karma)
depends on the intention more than the action itself. It entails
less feelings of guilt than its Judeo-Christian counterpart. Buddhism
places a great emphasis on ‘mind’ and it is mental anguish such
as remorse, anxiety, guilt etc. which is to be avoided in order
to cultivate a calm and peaceful mind. The five precepts are:
undertake the training to avoid taking the life of beings.
This precept applies to all living beings not just humans. All
beings have a right to their lives and that right should be respected.
undertake the training to avoid taking things not given.
This precept goes further than mere stealing. One should
avoid taking anything unless one can be sure that is intended
that it is for you.
undertake the training to avoid sensual misconduct.
This precept is often mistranslated or misinterpreted as
relating only to sexual misconduct but it covers any overindulgence
in any sensual pleasure such as gluttony as well as misconduct
of a sexual nature.
To undertake the training to refrain from false speech.
As well as avoiding lying and deceiving, this precept covers slander
as well as speech which is not beneficial to the welfare of others.
To undertake the training to abstain from substances which cause
intoxication and heedlessness.
This precept is in a special category as it does not infer any
intrinsic evil in, say, alcohol itself but indulgence in such
a substance could be the cause of breaking the other four precepts.
the basic precepts expected as a day to day training of any lay
Buddhist. On special holy days, many Buddhists, especially those
following the Theravada tradition, would observe three additional
precepts with a strengthening of the third precept to be observing
strict celibacy. The additional precepts are:
abstain from taking food at inappropriate times. This
would mean following the tradition of Theravadin monks and not
eating from noon one day until sunrise the next.
abstain from dancing, singing, music and entertainments as well
as refraining from the use of perfumes, ornaments and other items
used to adorn or beautify the person.
Again, this and the next rule.
undertake the training to abstain from using high or luxurious
beds are rules regularly adopted by members of the
Sangha and are followed by the layperson on special occasions.
following the Mahayana tradition, who have taken a Bodhisattva
vow, will also follow a strictly vegetarian diet. This is not
so much an additional precept but a strengthening of the first
precept; To undertake the training to avoid taking the life of
beings. The eating of meat would be considered a contribution
to the taking of life, indirect though it may be.
clergy, known as the Sangha, are governed by 227 to 253 rules
depending on the school or tradition for males or Bhikkhus and
between 290 and 354 rules, depending on the school or tradition
for females or Bhikkhunis. These rules, contained in the Vinaya
or first collection of the Buddhist scriptures,, are divided into
several groups, each entailing a penalty for their breech, depending
on the seriousness of that breech. The first four rules for males
and the first eight for females, known as Parajika or rules of
defeat, entail expulsion from the Order immediately on their breech.
The four applying to both sexes are: Sexual intercourse, killing
a human being, stealing to the extent that it entails a gaol sentence
and claiming miraculous or supernormal powers. Bhikkhunis’ additional
rules relate to various physical contacts with males with one
relating to concealing from the order the defeat or parajika of
another. Before his passing, the Buddha instructed that permission
was granted for the abandonment or adjustment of minor rules should
prevailing conditions demand such a change. These rules apply
to all Sangha members irrespective of their Buddhist tradition.
of the rules, however differs between the Mahayana and Theravada
traditions. The Theravadins, especially those from Thailand, claim
to observe these rules to the letter of the law, however, in many
cases, the following is more in theory than in actual practice.
The Mahayana Sangha interprets the rule not to take food at an
inappropriate time as not meaning fasting from noon to sunrise
but to refrain from eating between mealtimes. The fasting rule
would be inappropriate, from a health angle, for the Sangha living
in cold climates such as China, Korea and Japan. When one examines
the reason that this rule was instituted initially, the conclusion
may be reached that it is currently redundant. It was the practice
in the Buddha’s time for the monks to go to the village with their
bowls to collect food. To avoid disturbing the villagers more
than necessary, the Buddha ordered his monks to make this visit
once a day, in the early morning. This would allow the villagers
to be free to conduct their day to day affairs without being disturbed
by the monks requiring food. Today, of course, people bring food
to the monasteries or prepare it on the premises so the original
reason no longer applies. As many of you would be aware, in some
Theravadin countries, the monks still go on their early morning
alms round, but this is more a matter of maintaining a tradition
than out of necessity. Also, a rule prohibiting the handling of
gold and silver, in other words - money, is considered by the
Mahayana Sangha a handicap were it to be observed strictly in
today’s world. They interpret this rule as avoiding the accumulation
of riches which leads to greed. Theravadin monks tend to split
hairs on this rule as, although most will not touch coins, many
carry credit cards and cheque books.
Let me now
deal briefly with the Buddhist attitude to violence, war and peace.
The Buddha said in the Dhammapada:
breeds hatred. The defeated live in pain. Happily the peaceful
live giving up victory and defeat.(Dp.15,5) and
never cease by hatred in this world; through love alone they cease.
This is an eternal law. (Dp.1,5)
precept refers to the training to abstain from harming living
beings. Although history records conflicts involving the so-called
Buddhist nations, these wars have been fought for economic or
similar reasons. However, history does not record wars fought
in the name of propagating Buddhism. Buddhism and, perhaps, Jainism
are unique in this regard. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama has never
suggested armed conflict to overcome the persecution and cruelty
perpetrated by the Communist Chinese occupation forces. He has
always advocated a peaceful and non-violent solution. Venerable
Maha Ghosananda, the Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia has urged Cambodians
to put aside their anger for the genocide of the Khmer Rouge and
to unify to re-establish their nation. He has written:
of Cambodia has been deep. From this suffering comes great compassion.
Great compassion makes a peaceful heart. A peaceful heart makes
a peaceful person. A peaceful person makes a peaceful family.
A peaceful family makes a peaceful community. A peaceful community
makes a peaceful nation. A peaceful nation makes a peaceful world.
to the early history of Buddhism, Emperor Asoka, who, after a
bloody but successful military campaign, ruled over more than
two thirds of the Indian subcontinent, suffered great remorse
for the suffering that he had caused, banned the killing of animals
and exhorted his subjects to lead kind and tolerant lives. He
also promoted tolerance towards all religions which he supported
financially. The prevalent religions of that time were the sramanas
or wandering ascetics, Brahmins, Ajivakas and Jains. He recommended
that all religions desist from self praise and condemnation of
others. His pronouncements were written on rocks at the periphery
of his kingdom and on pillars along the main roads and where pilgrims
gathered. He also established many hospitals for both humans and
animals. Some of his important rock edicts stated:
ordered that banyan trees and mango groves be planted, rest houses
built and wells dug every half mile along the main roads.
2. He ordered
the end to killing of any animal for use in the royal kitchens.
3. He ordered
the provision of medical facilities for humans and beasts.
commanded obedience to parents, generosity to priests and ascetics
and frugality in spending.
officers must work for the welfare of the poor and the aged.
6. He recorded
his intention to promote the welfare of all beings in order to
repay his debt to all beings.
7. He honours
men of all faiths.
Not all Buddhists
follow the non-violent path, however. A Buddhist monk, Phra Kittiwutthi
of the Phra Chittipalwon College in Thailand, is noted for his
extreme right-wing views. He said that it was not a breech of
the first precept to kill communists. He said that if Thailand
were in danger of a communist takeover, he would take up arms
to protect Buddhism. Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai peace activist, reports
in his book, “Seeds of Peace” that Phra Kittiwutthi
has since modified his stance by declaring “to kill communism
or communist ideology is not a sin”. Sulak adds that the
monk confessed that his nationalist feelings were more important
than his Buddhist practice and that he would be willing to abandon
his yellow robes to take up arms against communist invaders from
Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam. By doing so, he said, he would be preserving
the monarchy, the nation and the Buddhist religion. In contrast
to the views of Phra Kittiwutthi, Sulak Sivaraksa reports that
the Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh is of the view that ‘preserving
Buddhism does not mean that we should sacrifice people’s lives
in order to safeguard the Buddhist hierarchy, monasteries or rituals.
Even if Buddhism as such were extinguished, when human lives are
preserved and when human dignity and freedom are cultivated towards
peace and loving kindness, Buddhism can be reborn in the hearts
of human beings.
I will briefly mention some other issues mentioned in the Syllabus.
precept on training in restraint of the senses includes sexuality.
A Buddhist should be mindful of the possible effects on themselves
and on others of improper sexual activity. This precept would
include adultery because this also breeches the precept of not
taking what does is not freely given. A relationship with someone
who is committed to another is stealing. Similarly in cases of
rape and child abuse, one is stealing the dignity and self respect
of another. One is also the cause of mental pain, not to mention
physical pain so one is causing harm to another living being.
Therefore, such behaviour is breaking several precepts.
is not a sacrament in Buddhism as it is in other religions. Marriage
is governed by civil law and a Buddhist is expected to observe
the prevailing law in whatever country they live. In the Theravadin
tradition, monks are prohibited by their Vinaya rules to encourage
or perform a marriage ceremony. The rule states:
Bhikkhu engage to act as a go-between for a man’s intentions to
a woman or a woman’s intentions to a man, whether about marriage
or paramourage, even for a temporary arrangement, this entails
initial and subsequent meeting of the Sangha.
In many Theravadin
countries, the couple will, following their marriage in a civil
ceremony, invite the monks to their home to perform a blessing
ceremony. They will offer food and other requisites to the monks
and invite their family and friends to participate. In the Mahayana
tradition the same rule conveys an entirely different meaning.
Bhikkshu, seek to establish a conducive situation by means of
which a man and a woman engage in sexual misconduct, either by
himself, by order, or by means of messages, and as a result of
his activities the man and woman should meet, he has committed
does not preclude marriage but, rather, deals with the monk assuming
the role of a procurer for immoral purposes. In Western countries,
following the Christian precedent, many Mahayana monks become
registered marriage celebrants so that, if called upon, a marriage
ceremony can be performed in the temple. Generally, in countries
where the law allows, Buddhists accept de-facto relationships.
Promiscuity would be frowned upon as sexual misconduct but an
ongoing relationship between two people, either within or outside
of marriage would be considered moral conduct. As one of the essential
Buddhist teachings is that everything is impermanent and subject
to change, the irrevocable breakdown of a relationship between
a couple would be understood in this light, so divorce would not
be considered improper.
As far as
bioethical questions are concerned, it is mainly a matter of the
attitude of the different traditions or schools of Buddhism. This
is tied to the concept of rebirth and when it occurs. According
to the Theravadin tradition, rebirth occurs immediately upon death.
The body of the deceased is no longer considered as a part of
the former being, so such things as autopsies, organ transplants
etcetera are allowable. In fact, many Theravadins, especially
in Malaysia, encourage the donation of human organs as being the
highest form of giving. Often, especially at Vesak, the celebration
of the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha, blood
donations are performed in the temple grounds. The Mahayana, on
the other hand, believes that there is an intermediate state between
incarnations, known as Antarabhava. Most people following this
tradition try to avoid touching or moving the body for, at least
eight hours after death. This, of course, means that the organs
would by then be useless for transfer to another human being.
work ethic and business and professional ethics would, ideally
be closely tied to respect for the environment. It is well described
in E.F.Schumacher’s book “Small is Beautiful”:
the materialist is mainly interested in goods, the Buddhist is
mainly interested in liberation. But Buddhism is the Middle Way
and therefore in no way antagonistic to physical well being. The
keynote of Buddhist economics is simplicity and non-violence.
From an economist’s point of view, the marvel of the Buddhist
way of life is the utter rationality of its pattern - amazingly
small means leading to extraordinarily satisfying results.”
in a paper called “Buddhism and Social Action” comments:
“Schumacher outlines a ‘Buddhist economics’ in which production
would be based on a middle range of material goods (and no more),
and on the other a harmony with the natural environment and its
principles suggest some kind of diverse and politically decentralised
society, with co-operative management and ownership of productive
wealth. It would be conceived on a human scale, whether in terms
of size and complexity or organisation or of environmental planning,
and would use modern technology selectively rather than being
used by it in the service of selfish interests. In Schumacher’s
words, ‘It is a question of finding the right path of development,
the Middle Way, between materialist heedlessness and traditionalist
immobility, in short, of finding Right Livelihood’”.
theory surrounding Buddhist business practice, greed still seems
to be the order of the day in many Buddhist countries. In Thailand,
a monk in the north, Acharn Ponsektajadhammo, has been leading
a campaign against the environmental vandalism of the timber industry.
Tree felling in Northern Thailand has caused erosion, flooding
and has economically ruined small farmers. For his environmental
efforts, Acharn Ponsektajadhammo has had death threats and was
recently arrested. In Japan, another country where the majority
of the population is Buddhist, the killing of whales and dolphins
is still prevalent. Animals seem to find no place in the group
culture of Japanese society.
As may be
seen from the foregoing, Buddhist ethical principles are very
noble and in an ideal world their practice would lead to peace
and harmony but, unfortunately, as the Buddha has taught, people
are motivated by greed hatred and delusion - even Buddhists.
Cong not interested in dalits` welfare, says Mayawati
Shahjahanpur, May 07: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on
Thursday accused the Congress of overlooking the interest of dalits in
“Money was not allotted for the special component plan for dalits in
the state and this shows that the Congress is not interested in the
welfare of the dalits,” the Bahujan Samaj Party chief said at an
election rally here.
She said the Congress will not form the government after the Lok Sabha
polls as the party is “misusing” CBI to give clean chit to those
involved in various cases.
Blaming the previous Samajwadi Party government in the state for
deteriorating law and order situation she said: “We inherited a state
which was facing law and order problem and then our government put it
back on track.
“No person in the state can take the law in his hand, even if he
belongs to the Gandhi family or is a son of any politician,” Mayawati
said, referring to BJP`s Pillibhit candidate Varun Gandhi against whom
the state government had invoked NSA for making inflammatory speeches.
Slamming both Congress and BJP, she said that both the parties did
very little to improve the lives of the dalits.
She was canvassing for the BSP candidate Sunita Singh.
The BSP chief also held rallies in Lakhimpur Kheri and Dhaurahra Lok
The two major contenders for the Delhi throne — the Congress and the
BJP — appear to have intensified their hunt for allies as the
likelihood of a hung Parliament increased after the fourth round of
polling on Thursday.
estimated 57 per cent voters braved the heat to cast their votes for 85
Lok Sabha seats spread across eight states in the largely peaceful
polling, barring West Bengal, where four voters were killed in poll
One person died in Rajasthan when security forces opened fire to foil an attempt to capture a booth.
voting now over for 457 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats and only 86 seats
left for voting on the last round on May 13, the focus has now shifted
to post-poll alliances.While West Bengal recorded the highest voting
percentage (75 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir capital Srinagar recorded
the lowest turnout (24 per cent), mainly due to a boycott call by
Capital Delhi saw a 50 per cent turnout on a
typical summer day. In terms of voting, the city scored over Mumbai,
which had seen a mere 41 per cent voting a week back, considered to be
lowest since 1977.
President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President
Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her children Rahul and
Sonia, and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were among those who cast
their votes in the capital.
The ruling Congress is defending six
of the seven seats in Delhi which it had won in 2004. “We are going to
do well this time also. The assembly elections held five months back
had shown which way the wind is blowing,” Dikshit said.
voting now over for 457 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats and only 86 seats
left for voting on the last round on May 13, the focus has now shifted
to post-poll alliances.
The BJP’s managers are counting on
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati to spring a surprise and gravitate
towards them. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister is at present inclined
towards the so-called Third Front, a loosely knit formation of regional
parties propped up by the Left.
Her rival and Samajwadi Party
chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, put forward a pre-condition for those
looking for his support. “We will support whoever dismisses the
Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh,” he said after casting his vote
in Mainpuri. The Congress was quick to reject such a demand but kept
the door open for the SP. Amar Singh, SP general secretary, also hinted
at supporting the Congress.
But, the Left parties appeared to
adopt a wait and watch policy. The focus now shifts to the final round
next week. The most crucial state in this phase will be Tamil Nadu
where all 39 seats will go for polls. Polling for 14 seats in Uttar
Pradesh, 11 in West Bengal, 4 in Himachal Pradesh and 5 in Uttarakhand
will also be held the same day.
BSP angry over refusal of venue for Mayawati rally
DEHRA DUN: Local Bahujan Samaj Party leaders are fuming at the Dehra
Dun district administration’s refusal to allow a proposed election
rally of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and party supremo Mayawati at
the Rangers’ College ground here on May 11.
“The BJP-led Uttarakhand Government has not only asked the
administration not to give permission for holding the rally but also
acquired the buses we had booked a week ago for the rally and the bus
operators are returning the advance money,” said BSP leader Subhash
Kumar on Thursday.
Senior officials, however, ruled out any political interference as
alleged by the BSP leaders. “The Rangers’ College ground is a Central
Government property and no political rally has been held there till
now,” they said, adding that holding a rally there would also attract
action under the code of conduct now in force for the Lok Sabha
The Parade Ground, where such political rallies are normally held,
will be the venue for despatching polling parties from May 10 for the
May 13 polling, it was stated.
The BSP has fielded rebel BJP MLA Munna Singh Chauhan for the Tehri
Lok Sabha seat much to the chagrin of the ruling party as Mr. Chauhan
enjoys considerable clout in the Jaunsar Bawar tribal belt of this
constituency. Indications are that his presence would damage the
prospects of not only the BJP candidate Jaspal Rana but also of the
Congress candidate and sitting MP, Vijay Bahuguna.
BJP spokesperson Vishwas Dabar described the hype being created by the
BSP over the venue issue as a political stunt. “They also know that
the venue being used for electoral arrangements cannot be given for a
rally on May 11,” he said.
The BSP might hold Ms. Mayawati’s rally at Sahaspur in western Dehra
Dun which has a large number of Muslim and tribal voters.
BJP denies mayor’s charge of insulting dalit
7 May 2009, 2214 hrs IST
MYSORE: The arrest warrant issued by a local court against mayor
Purushotham and corporator Sunand Kumar is snowballing into a
controversy as the
mayor has accused the BJP government of insulting a dalit and also
degrading the mayor’s post, a charge which was denied by the city BJP
Refuting the charges of the dalit being insulted, city BJP president B
P Manjunath told reporters that it is the state government which
reserved the seat for the dalit. He also denied that the mayor’s post
is degraded with an arrest warrant issued against them.
Purushotham and others were charged of obstructing the officials
during the torchlight parade in October 2008 and the police had booked
a complaint leading to protests. The Congress and JD(S) had joined
hands to protest it following which it was conveyed that the case will
Purushotham, who was elected as the mayor in February, is charging the
BJP of playing political vendetta. However, Manjunath said the law is
taking its own course as it is the court which has followed up the
After Barrack Obama
declared he would do everything to get back American money stashed away
in Swiss banks, the political leaders in India also started talking
about the Indian money kept in all foreign tax heavens.
According to a news report BJP leader L K Advani, during an election meeting at Dharwad,
dared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come out with the names of those
Indians having stacked money in Swiss banks and take steps to get that
money back to India, which is about Rs. 25 lakh crores according to Professor Vaidyanathan committee. He said
the Swiss banks had already revealed the names of 50 Indians who had
deposited their money in the bank and he accused that the Indian
government had concealed the information.
It is alright to
talk, but have they got political will to bring back all that money?
One Marathi newspaper expressed the opinion that Mr. Advani opened the
topic to warn his own men to ‘do something’ before the official enquiry
and procedure to get back the money starts.
In a discussion on
one TV channel, the opinion was expressed that it is not that easy to
bring back the money. So a nominal tax should be charged and the money
should be given back to the same individual. If this not done it is not
possible to get back anything from these Swiss accounts. Somebody
suggested a stern action against the person concerned and confiscation
of the whole amount. Some people started talking how gainfully that
money could be utilized.
What I like to ask
is who has got the will to deal with this problem. Only if Mayawati
comes to power in centre, she might do something, otherwise it is just
an empty talk.
Similar to money in
Swiss banks, a tremendous lot of money is locked up in Hindu temples.
Can anything be done to bring back that money into circulation and
utilize for public good? The intellectuals must start thinking on this
It is, of course,
more difficult problem than getting back Swiss money. But is it not
time, somebody start thinking about that. Who is going to bell the cat?
Dr. K. Jamanadas, “Shalimar”, Main Road, Chandrapur - 442 402