LESSON 34 DHAMMA NIBBANA PART V The Samsara 19 09 2010 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY
EDUCATE (BUDDHA)! MEDITATE (DHAMMA)! ORGANISE (SANGHA)!
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§ Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , Indian scholar, philosopher and architect of Constitution of India, in his writing and speeches
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NIBBANA PART V-Samsara
The Round of Rebirth
“Hi” - “Wait ’till I get you” - “Help!” - “Watch out!”
What emotional state is visible from this gesture? (source)
“Which is greater, the tears you have shed while this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans?… This is the greater: the tears you have shed…
“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.
“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father… the death of a brother… the death of a sister… the death of a son… the death of a daughter… loss with regard to relatives… loss with regard to wealth… loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.
“Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by and fettered by are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.”
“Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?”
“It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole.”
“It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It’s likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.
“It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating four things that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I. Which four?
“It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating noble virtue that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.
“It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating noble concentration that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.
“It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating noble discernment that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.
“It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating noble release that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.
“But when noble virtue is understood & penetrated, when noble concentration… noble discernment… noble release is understood & penetrated, then for becoming is destroyed, the guide to becoming (craving & attachment) is ended, there is now no further becoming.”
Protection Through Satipatthana
There was once a pair of jugglers who performed their acrobatic feats on a bamboo pole. One day the master said to his apprentice: “Now get on my shoulders and climb up the bamboo pole.” When the apprentice had done so, the master said: “Now protect me well and I shall protect you! By protecting and watching each other in that way, we shall be able to show our skill, make a good profit and safely get down from the bamboo pole.” But the apprentice said: “Not so, master! You, O master, should protect yourself, and I too shall protect myself. Thus self-protected and self-guarded we shall safely do our feats.”
This is the right way,” said the Blessed One and spoke further as follows:
“It is just as the apprentice said: ‘I shall protect myself’ — in that way the foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana) should be practiced. ‘I shall protect others’ — in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.
“And how does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By the repeated and frequent practice of meditation (asevanaya bhavanaya bahulikammena).
“And how does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by loving kindness and compassion.”
This sutta belongs to the considerable number of important and eminently practical teachings of the Buddha which are still hidden like buried treasure, unknown and unused. Yet this text has an important message for us, and the fact that it is stamped with the royal seal of satipatthana gives it an additional claim to our attention.
The sutta deals with the relations between ourselves and our fellow beings, between individual and society. It sums up in a succinct way the Buddhist attitude to the problems of individual and social ethics, of egoism and altruism. The gist of it is contained in those two concise sentences:
“Protecting oneself, one protects others.” (Attanam rakkhanto param rakkhati.)
“Protecting others, one protects oneself.” (Param rakkhanto attanam rakkhati.)
These two sentences are supplementary and should not be taken or quoted separately. Nowadays, when social service is so greatly stressed, people may be tempted to support their ideas by quoting only the second sentence. But any such one-sided quotation would misrepresent the Buddha’s standpoint. It has to be remembered that in our story the Buddha expressly approved the words of the apprentice, that one has first to watch carefully one’s own steps if one wishes to protect others from harm. He who himself is sunk in the mud cannot help others out of it. In that sense, self-protection forms the indispensable basis for the protection and help given to others. But self-protection is not selfish protection. It is self-control, ethical and spiritual self-development.
There are some great truths which are so comprehensive and profound that they seem to have an ever-expanding range of significance that grows with one’s own range of understanding and practicing them. Such truths are applicable on various levels of understanding, and are valid in various contexts of our life. After reaching the first or second level, one will be surprised that again and again new vistas open themselves to our understanding, illumined by that same truth. This also holds for the great twin truths of our text which we shall consider now in some detail.
“Protecting oneself, one protects others” — the truth of this statement begins at a very simple and practical level. This first material level of the truth is so self-evident that we need say no more than a few words about it. It is obvious that the protection of our own health will go far in protecting the health of others in our environment, especially where contagious diseases are concerned. Caution and circumspection in all our doings and movements will protect others from the harm that may come to them through our carelessness and negligence. By careful driving, abstention from alcohol, self-restraint in situations that might lead to violence — in all these and many other ways we shall protect others by protecting ourselves.
We come now to the ethical level of that truth. Moral self-protection will safeguard others, individuals and society, against our own unrestrained passions and selfish impulses. If we permit the “three roots” of evil — greed, hate and delusion — to take a firm hold in our hearts, then their outgrowths will spread far and wide like a jungle creeper, suffocating much healthy and noble growth all around. But if we protect ourselves against these three roots, our fellow beings too will be safe. They will be safe from our reckless greed for possessions and power, from our unrestrained lust and sensuality, from our envy and jealousy; safe from the disruptive consequences of our hate and enmity which may be destructive or even murderous; safe from the outbursts of our anger and from the resulting atmosphere of antagonism and conflict which may make life unbearable for them.
The harmful effects our greed and hate have upon others are not limited to the times when they become passive objects or victims of our hate, or when their possessions become the object of our greed. Both greed and hate have an infectious power which vastly multiplies their evil effects. If we ourselves think of nothing else than to crave and to grasp, to acquire and possess, to hold and to cling, then we may rouse or strengthen these possessive instincts in others. Our bad conduct may become the standard of behavior for those around us — for our children, our friends, our colleagues. Our own conduct may induce others to join us in the common satisfaction of rapacious desires; or we may arouse in them feelings of resentment and competitiveness. If we are full of sensuality, we may also kindle the fire of lust in them. Our own hate may provoke them to hate and vengeance. We may also ally ourselves with others or instigate them to common acts of hate and enmity. Greed and hate are, indeed, like contagious diseases. If we protect ourselves against these evil infections, we shall to some extent at least also protect others.
As to the third root of evil, delusion or ignorance we know very well how much harm may be done to others through the stupidity, thoughtlessness, prejudices, illusions and delusions of a single person.
Without wisdom and knowledge, attempts to protect oneself and others will usually fail. One will see the danger only when it is too late, one will not make provision for the future; one will not know the right and effective means of protection and help. Therefore, self-protection through wisdom and knowledge is of the greatest importance. By acquiring true wisdom and knowledge, we shall protect others from the harmful consequences of our own ignorance, prejudices, infectious fanaticism and delusions. History shows us that great and destructive mass delusions have often been kindled by a single individual or a small number of people. Self-protection through wisdom and knowledge will protect others from the pernicious effect of such influences.
We have briefly indicated how our own private life may have a strong impact on the lives of others. If we leave unresolved the actual or potential sources of social evil within ourselves, our external social activity will be either futile or markedly incomplete. Therefore, if we are moved by a spirit of social responsibility, we must not shirk the hard task of moral and spiritual self-development. Preoccupation with social activities must not be made an excuse or escape from the first duty, to tidy up one’s own house first.
On the other hand, he who earnestly devotes himself to moral self-improvement and spiritual self-development will be a strong and active force for good in the world, even if he does not engage in any external social service. His silent example alone will give help and encouragement to many, by showing that the ideals of a selfless and harmless life can actually be lived and are not only topics of sermons.
We proceed now to the next higher level in the interpretation of our text. It is expressed in the following words of the sutta: “And how does one, by protecting oneself, protect others? By the repeated and frequent practice of meditation.” Moral self-protection will lack stability as long as it remains a rigid discipline enforced after a struggle of motives and against conflicting habits of thought and behavior. Passionate desires and egotistic tendencies may grow in intensity if one tries to silence them by sheer force of will. Even if one temporarily succeeds in suppressing passionate or egotistic impulses, the unresolved inner conflict will impede one’s moral and spiritual progress and warp one’s character. Furthermore, inner disharmony caused by an enforced suppression of impulses will seek an outlet in external behavior. It may make the individual irritable, resentful, domineering and aggressive towards others. Thus harm may come to oneself as well as to others by a wrong method of self-protection. Only when moral self-protection has become a spontaneous function, when it comes as naturally as the protective closing of the eyelid against dust — only then will our moral stature provide real protection and safety for ourselves and others. This naturalness of moral conduct does not come to us as a gift from heaven. It has to be acquired by repeated practice and cultivation. Therefore our sutta says that it is by repeated practice that self-protection becomes strong enough to protect others too.
But if that repeated practice of the good takes place only on the practical, emotional and intellectual levels, its roots will not be firm and deep enough. Such repeated practice must also extend to the level of meditative cultivation. By meditation, the practical, emotional and intellectual motives of moral and spiritual self-protection will become our personal property which cannot easily be lost again. Therefore our sutta speaks here of bhavana, the meditative development of the mind in its widest sense. This is the highest form of protection which our world can bestow. He who has developed his mind by meditation lives in peace with himself and the world. From him no harm or violence will issue. The peace and purity which he radiates will have an inspiring, uplifting power and will be a blessing to the world. He will be a positive factor in society, even if he lives in seclusion and silence. When understanding for, and recognition of, the social value of a meditative life ceases in a nation, it will be one of the first symptoms of spiritual deterioration.
We have now to consider the second part of the Buddha’s utterance, a necessary complement to the first: “Protecting others one protects oneself. And how? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by loving-kindness and compassion (khantiya avihimsaya mettataya anuddayataya).”
He whose relation to his fellow-beings is governed by these principles will protect himself better than he could with physical strength or with any mighty weapon. He who is patient and forbearing will avoid conflicts and quarrels, and will make friends of those for whom he has shown a patient understanding. He who does not resort to force or coercion will, under normal conditions, rarely become an object of violence himself as he provokes no violence from others. And if he should encounter violence, he will bring it to an early end as he will not perpetuate hostility through vengeance. He who has love and compassion for all beings, and is free of enmity, will conquer the ill-will of others and disarm the violent and brutal. A compassionate heart is the refuge of the whole world.
We shall now better understand how those two complementary sentences of our text harmonize. Self-protection is the indispensable basis. But true self-protection is possible only if it does not conflict with the protection of others; for one who seeks self-protection at the expense of others will defile as well as endanger himself. On the other hand, protection of others must not conflict with the four principles of patience, non-violence, loving-kindness and compassion; it also must not interfere with their free spiritual development as it does in the case of various totalitarian doctrines. Thus in the Buddhist conception of self-protection all selfishness is excluded, and in the protection of others violence and interference have no place.
Self-protection and protection of others correspond to the great twin virtues of Buddhism, wisdom and compassion. Right self-protection is the expression of wisdom, right protection of others the expression of compassion. Wisdom and compassion, being the primary elements of Bodhi or Enlightenment, have found their highest perfection in the Fully Enlightened One, the Buddha. The insistence on their harmonious development is a characteristic feature of the entire Dhamma. We meet them in the four sublime states (brahmavihara), where equanimity corresponds to wisdom and self-protection, while loving-kindness, compassion and sympathetic joy correspond to compassion and the protection of others.
These two great principles of self-protection and protection of others are of equal importance to both individual and social ethics and bring the ends of both into harmony. Their beneficial impact, however, does not stop at the ethical level, but leads the individual upwards to the highest realization of the Dhamma, while at the same time providing a firm foundation for the welfare of society.
It is the writer’s belief that the understanding of those two great principles of self-protection and protection of others, as manifesting the twin virtues of wisdom and compassion, is of vital importance to Buddhist education, for young and old alike. They are the cornerstones of character building and deserve a central place in the present world wide endeavor for a Buddhist revival.
“I shall protect others” — thus should we establish our mindfulness, and guided by it devote ourselves to the practice of meditation, for the sake of our own liberation.
“I shall protect others” — thus should we establish our mindfulness, and guided by it regulate our conduct by patience, harmlessness, loving-kindness and compassion, for the welfare and happiness of many.
Help rebuild the paradise called Ladakh - the land where time stands still, the landscape against which any amateur photographer can return with images of a lifetime, finds itself at a crossroads.
A group of young monks lost in prayer, a string of prayer beads with the rudrakash contrasted by a rock of turquoise, a nomadic shepherd with mules, a kettle brewing warm tea, the frown lines of an elderly woman scripting its own tale of life and times in Ladakh… the photographs urge us to revisit the land that most of us would have or wanted to visit at least once in a lifetime.
Ladakh, the land where time stands still, the landscape against which any amateur photographer can return with images of a lifetime, finds itself at crossroads after incessant cloudbursts turned paradise to nightmare early August. The rocky terrains, glaciers, golden sands and crystal blue waters and most importantly its people are still gathering pieces of their lives, washed away by flash floods and mudslides that left behind a trail of destruction in villages.
Can we help?
Sure. One way to do it is to contribute, willingly, without checking if your contribution will help you save on tax. The other way is to bring home a photograph of Ladakh — its landscapes, people — from the ongoing exhibition at Kalakriti Art Gallery. SOS Ladakh Campaign, by NDTV Good Times, in association with the Hope Trust, has 118 photographs sourced from amateur and professional photographers, priced between Rs. 15,000 and 1.5 lakh rupees. The proceeds will go to the people of Ladakh.
The exhibition opened in New Delhi before coming to Hyderabad and will travel to Mumbai and Bangalore. Works of reputed photographers like Purkayastha Prabir, Amit Pasricha and Samar Jodha are juxtaposed with works of well-known personalities — director Kabir Khan, actors Arshad Warsi, Niel Nitin Mukesh, Deepti Naval and Purab Kohli.
Brick walled arches, moored boats that stand still against calm waters, a mirror image of barren branches against the blue waters, star trails and colonies nestled in a valley vividly tell us about the picturesque land. A work by Anu Malhotra is aptly titled ‘Road to Nirvana’. Anyone who has visited Ladakh will agree.
Press Information Bureau
(C.M. Information Campus)
Information & Public Relations Department, U.P.
C.M. greets craftsmen and engineers on Vishwakarma Jayanti
Lucknow : September 16, 2010
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms.
Mayawati has greeted the craftsmen and engineers
of the State on the occasion of Vishwakarma
In a greeting message, the Chief Minister said
that the technical experts had an important role in
the all-round development of the country and
society. Qualitative construction and development
is the symbol of prosperity, she added.
Ms. Mayawati has appealed to the engineers
to adopt latest techniques in construction works
and perform their duties with honesty and
Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
– Buddha (560-483 B.C.)
According to a senior official of the U.P. police, the emphasis this time is on community policing and soliciting the cooperation of the public.
Security has been further intensified in sensitive places in Uttar Pradesh, including Ayodhya and Faizabad, in view of the verdict on the Babri Masjid title suit on September 24.
Forty companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been allotted to the Uttar Pradesh government and their deployment is almost complete. These are in addition to the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and the Rapid Action Force, civil police, village “chowkidars,” and government functionaries in the rural areas who have been pressed into service.
The maximum deployment of the Central forces and the PAC is in Faizabad, Lucknow, Meerut, Moradabad, Aligarh, Varanasi and Kanpur. The State had reportedly asked the Centre for 630 companies of Central forces, which means 6,300 personnel. But till now, only 40 companies of CRPF have been given.
According to a senior official of the U.P. police, the emphasis this time is on community policing and soliciting the cooperation of the public.
He said a comprehensive directory had been prepared containing the names and telephone numbers of the elderly and respected persons in the urban and rural areas. They would be in touch with the local police stations and conduct regular peace committee meetings in their areas.
“Although security measures are imperative, we don’t want to create panic among the people,” he said. The assistance of other government departments has also been sought by the police.
Reports suggested that some schools would be converted into makeshift jails in case of law and order problems.
KEEPING VIGIL: RAF personnel patrol a street in Ayodhya on Saturday as part of the tight security arrangements ahead of the court verdict.
Even as senior police officers tour various parts of Uttar Pradesh to assess the law and order situation ahead of the verdict on the Babri title suit this Friday, their colleagues at the police station-level are doing their bit to ensure that tensions do not rise in the days leading up to it.
At the police station here, a modest canopy shielded gun licence-holders from a harsh post-monsoon sun as the police station office-in-charge took the mike. His stentorian voice struggling to rise above the traffic flowing past on the national highway, the officer listed the dos and don’ts.
The first was for people to refrain from bringing out weapons from their houses. “No one from now on is going to display the weapons on the road or any kind of gathering you might choose to join. Also be wary of friends or relatives who wish to handle your firearm. Under no condition are you going to allow someone else to borrow your weapon.”
The officer had more in store for them: become model citizens by quashing any rumours they might hear because, “after all many of you are from the armed forces.” And, count ammunition carefully and store it in a safe place. Inform police about taking weapon outside your area. “That way we can come to your aid if you are detained somewhere else. But let me tell you that we have been told not to listen to any sifarish [intercession] if you do not follow any of the points I have told you,” the officer rounded off.
The mood among the weapon licence-holders was introspective. “There will be people who will want to create trouble. It is up to us whether we join them or stay away from them,” said a bank security guard.
“The zeal of the previous stir is not there. Those who had participated in all this two decades ago are not going to come out this time. Nor are they going to allow their children to join them. Only a very few gained from the Ram Janam Bhoomi movement. The rest like us went back to our lives. The government here too is of a different type,” Jitender Singh Kundu of local daily Yug Karvat said.
The office-in-charge had the final word after seeing off the last of the gun licence-holders.
“We know they will not misuse their weapons. But when they are going to go back to their villages, they are going to tell others that we are serious about ensuring no incident takes place. Anyway, it is the media which is the most interested in the verdict. Apart from them no one is really bothered,” he said.
If the news broadcasters’ attempt to self-regulate themselves works, you will not be seeing endless footage of the Babri Masjid demolition playing on news bulletins this week.
The News Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) issued specific guidelines to its member-channels on their coverage of the Allahabad High Court’s judgment in the Ayodhya title suit, expected on September 24. In view of the “ultra-sensitive nature of the case…The telecast of any news relating to it should not be sensational, inflammatory or be provocative,” said the statement issued on Friday.
The guidelines on visuals made it clear that “no footage of the demolition of the Babri Masjid is to be shown in any news item relating to the judgment” and “no visuals need be shown depicting celebration or protest of the judgment.”
Similarly, there is to be no speculation about the judgment before it is pronounced, or of likely consequences after the verdict, which could be provocative. Instead, all related news “should be verbatim reproduction of the relevant part of the said judgment uninfluenced by any opinion or interpretation,” said the statement.
Editors have been asked to take extra care in vetting all reporting at the highest level. The NBA asked for “strict adherence,” warning that any violation “may attract strict action.” The heads of major channels said they would comply with the “spirit of the guidelines,” though it was up to each channel to decide the methods to implement them. Several channels have already carried special programming on the verdict, going over the history of the case and replaying the demolition footage.
These guidelines come after the Union Cabinet appealed for peace and order to be maintained in the aftermath of the judgment. Leaders of political parties and religious bodies have also been calling for a peaceful acceptance of the verdict.
However, channels emphasised that this was a voluntary initiative on their part and not in response to any governmental instruction. “It must be understood that this is compliance out of self-regulation, not due to any government pressure,” said Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Times Now. “It shows the immense maturity of the news channels today. It dispels any notion that they are irresponsible.”
“I don’t think this should be seen as censorship,” said Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief of the IBN18 network. “It simply means we must absorb the basic principle of self-restraint…one of the important lessons we have learnt.”