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11/20/11
443 LESSON 21 11 2011 Gutta
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443 LESSON 21 11 2011 Gutta

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 LESSON 443
Practice a Sutta a Day Keeps Dukkha Away

Gutta

Thig 6.7

Gutta
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

[The Buddha admonished me:]

Gutta, devote yourself to the goal for which you went forth, having discarded [hope] for a dear son of your own. Don’t fall under the sway of the mind. Hoodwinked by mind, beings in love with Mara’s realm, roam through the many-birth wandering-on, unknowing. Abandoning these lower fetters, nun — sensual desire, ill will, self-identity views, grasping at precepts & practices, and uncertainty as the fifth — you won’t come to this again. Forsaking passion, conceit, ignorance, & restlessness —cutting through [all] the fetters — you will make an end of suffering & stress. Discarding birth & wandering-on, comprehending further becoming, free from hunger in the right-here-&-now you will go about totally calmed.
 
 
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BSP refutes former Minister’s charges

As Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati countered the crisis in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) by disowning the ‘rebel’ former Minister and her one-time close confidant, Babu Singh Kushwaha, the Congress has upped the ante by backing him.

The former Family Welfare Minister, who had to quit in the wake of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam and the mysterious death of deputy CMO Y.S. Sachan, created a flutter in the BSP circles when he accused a senior Minister and two key government officials of plotting to eliminate him.

In a letter to Ms. Mayawati, Mr. Kushwaha alleged that there was a threat to his life from Public Welfare Department Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and Principal Secretary (Home) Kunwar Fateh Bahadur and demanded security cover.

Copies of the letter were reportedly sent to the Prime Minister, the Governor, Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and the Allahabad High Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation director and the Union Home Secretary.

‘Political drama’

BSP’s State unit president Swamy Prasad Maurya was quick to dub the former Minister’s allegations as a political drama in a press release issued late on Saturday night.

The Congress has supported Mr. Kushwaha’s demand for security cover. State unit president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said on Sunday that his allegations cannot be taken lightly as his “life is in danger.”

Talking to journalists at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters, she alleged that the former Minister served as a conduit for garnering funds for the BSP.

She alleged that the links of the NRHM scam extended up to the Chief Minister’s office. What had created doubts over the former Minister’s allegations, and raised suspicion over behind the scene activity, was that the letter he (purportedly) wrote to the Chief Minister was in English. Informed sources said the language had never been used as a medium of communication by him earlier. Mr. Kushwaha was himself on a sticky wicket.

CBI probe

Following his resignation in April and the CBI probe in the NRHM scam, the Lokayukta had initiated an inquiry against him for allegedly acquiring disproportionate assets.

Besides, a petition alleging that ‘Babu Singh Kushwaha’ was not his real name is pending before the High Court.

In his statement, Mr. Maurya said that since the law was catching up with Mr. Kushwaha, he had resorted to dramebaazi (drama). When Mr. Kushwaha was a Minister there was no threat to his life from Mr. Siddiqui, the Cabinet Secretary or Principal Secretary (Home).

“It is quite surprising that since he is no longer in the Ministry, he was suddenly talking about his life being in danger,” Mr. Maurya said. Describing the charges as baseless, he said he was no longer an active member of the BSP and not associated with party programmes.

From an administrative point of view, Uttar Pradesh is truly an unmanageable State. Cutting it up into four smaller States as Chief Minister Mayawati has proposed, roughly along regional cultural divides — Bundelkhand, Avadh Pradesh, Purvanchal, and Paschim Pradesh — has its merits as an idea. It could lead to more equitable development of these regions, and relieve the pressure on Lucknow. The idea itself is not new. But politically, it is counter-intuitive — the Chief Minister of a State that elects 80 Lok Sabha members wields much more influence than one that sends one-fourth that number. Even with Ms Mayawati’s confidence that her party would rule all four proposed States, the instability of governments in small States makes it an unattractive political proposition. And administrative manageability could be achieved by a more effective decentralisation. So it seems more plausible that the Chief Minister rolled out her promise of a 1×4 division of U.P. in the knowledge that it will not become reality, at least in the near future. In any case, a green light from the State cabinet is only the first step in a long process that involves an approval by the State Assembly, and then by Parliament.

It is certainly a clever political gambit by Ms Mayawati ahead of the elections, and it has already succeeded in confusing the opposition parties. There are no popular agitations for the division of Uttar Pradesh, yet the idea is not without some resonance in the four regions. The Congress has always opposed the creation of smaller States; its dilemma is all the greater now as its reaction to Ms Mayawati’s move would hold immediate significance for the Telangana agitation. Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party is set against any division of U.P. as his party’s backward caste vote base is not as evenly spread as Dalits are across the four regions. Only the Bharatiya Janata Party favours smaller States, but it too has been taken by surprise. As hot air builds under the proposal, it is bound to deflect attention from other issues, such as the BSP government’s track record and allegations of corruption against the Chief Minister. While there is no doubt that Ms Mayawati has stolen a march over her rivals, it is surprising that for a politician with national ambitions, she seems to have not fully thought through the ripple effect of the move on statehood demands in other parts of the country. There is no denying that the disappearance of single party rule at the centre and the growth of regional politics have brought about a more federal polity, and a more equitable sharing of power. But fragmentation of the country on the basis of ever-narrowing identities hardly represents a progressive idea of India.

 — as yet.

 

It’s early evening, and a

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442 LESSON 20 11 2011 Guhatthaka suttaniddeso Upon the Tip of a Needle
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Posted by: @ 5:25 am

442 LESSON 20 11 2011 Guhatthaka suttaniddeso Upon the Tip of a Needle

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 LESSON 438
Practice a Sutta a Day Keeps Dukkha Away
Nm 2.4

PTS: Nd i 42
Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso: Upon the Tip of a Needle
translated from the Pali by
Andrew Olendzki

Translator’s note

This remarkable and powerful poem, found buried amid the rather dry linguistic commentary of the Niddesa (a canonical commentary on the Atthakavagga of the Sutta Nipata attributed to Sariputta), speaks to the dual themes of impermanence and selflessness. In the later systematic psychology called Abhidhamma, these themes are developed into the doctrine of momentariness and the thorough enumeration of impersonal phenomena.

All human experience is ever-changing, but is known in fleeting moments of perceptive and affected consciousness. Close awareness of these moments, using heightened attention which can be developed through concentration and insight meditation, reveal a plethora of non-personal mental factors (dhammas) arising and passing away in innumerable unique combinations.

The poem captures something of this dance of dhammas, yet steers us away from identifying it as “ours.” The elements out of which the mind so quickly constructs these glimpses of experience are universal — pleasure and pain, for example, are felt equally by all.

Every mental state is certainly unique, partly because each moment’s sense data changes and partly because the causal matrix from which they arise, the personality, is so different for each person. But the characteristics of the basic aggregates that comprise all human experience — materiality, feeling, perception, formations and consciousness — have remained similar from time immemorial.

Our subjective world is created by these states emerging in a moment of mind’s awareness, and when no longer aware — in deep sleep or death, for example — our world dies with us. (There is little place in the more profound levels of Buddhist thought for the notion of an “objectively real” world independent of experience).

The image of a tiny seed balancing on the point of a needle is striking — it so poignantly describes the exquisite precision of the human condition. With the past long gone and the future unmanifest, all we have access to is the present moment, and this is only as accessible as we are attentive to it. How much of our legacy we neglect when we fail to attend!

Meditation can train the mind to be as sharp as a needle point, to notice phenomena as fleeting as a flash of lightning. So whether we live 84,000 years or only a few dozen, each life can be as infinitely deep as our mindfulness can penetrate.

Life, personhood, pleasure and pain — This is all that’s bound together In a single mental event — A moment that quickly takes place. Even the spirits who endure For eighty-four thousand aeons — Even these do not live the same For any two moments of mind. What ceases for one who is dead, Or for one who’s still standing here, Are all just the same aggregates — Gone, never to connect again. The states which are vanishing now, And those which will vanish some day, Have characteristics no different Than those which have vanished before. With no production there’s no birth; With becoming present, one lives. When grasped with the highest meaning, The world is dead when the mind stops. There’s no hoarding what has vanished, No piling up for the future; Those who have been born are standing Like a seed upon a needle. The vanishing of all these states That have become is not welcome, Though dissolving phenomena stand Uncombined from primordial time. From the unseen, [states] come and go, Glimpsed only as they’re passing by; Like lightning flashing in the sky — They arise and then pass away.
 
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‘Bodhidharma portrayal wrong in film’
 

Who is Bodhidharma? The question, popularised by the Telugu movie ‘7th Sense’ is shrouded in mystery, and director A. R. Murugadoss has attempted to bring back the forgotten chapter into public gaze after a ‘thorough’ background research.

But, the founder of Sailum Zen Monastery in Bangalore, Babu T. Raghu disputes the ‘historical’ account on ‘Bodhidharma’ in the movie and terms it as ‘completely erroneous’.

“The life and legend of the 28th Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma was distorted to suit the requirement of the movie script, and hence, the character of the monk suffered extensively. None of the ‘historical’ aspects as shown in the movie are correct,” he argues.

“Historical accounts say that Bodhidharma took up Buddhism at an age of seven years and travelled to China, at an age of 150 years, to spread the Dhyana culture of Mahayana Buddhism.

But the movie depicts him as a married man with two children, and that he took to Buddhism on the way to China. And even worse, he was shown as going to China to cure a disease and teach fighting skills to the villagers,” Mr. Raghu said.

“Bodhidharma confined himself to a cave and never spoke to people for nine years, and there was no mention of Bodhidharma fighting with anyone,” Mr. Raghu, a Buddhist researcher said. His life and death were also depicted wrongly in the movie, he added.

“The young Bodhidharma was shown as practicing martial arts in Kanchi town, whereas my research shows that he practiced at the ‘Sri Parvata’ (Nagarjunakonda) area in Andhra Pradesh. Bodhidharma, who attained the ‘vajra kaya’ status, which means that he was immune to diseases and poisons, had to be away from the bustling metropolis like Kanchi town to attain this state,” the researcher maintained.

‘Body never found’

The movie also showed the exhumation of his body, but historical accounts indicate that Bodhidharma’s body was never found when the tomb was reopened, Mr. Raghu said.

Mr. Raghu felt that the director should have exercised caution in declaring his version as authentic.

“While appreciating the freedom of artistic expression, the director should have at least made a disclaimer that this is one of the versions of the available legends, or that he adapted the story to suit the movie. Forgetting or neglecting a history is much better than distorting it,” he felt.

Director Murugadoss was not available for comments

Mayawati: Centre harassing U.P.

“Deliberately creating surcharged atmosphere before Assembly elections”

Taking a tough line on the face-off between the Centre and the State over MGNREGS, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday sought to know from the UPA government whether the implementation of the rural job scheme in Uttar Pradesh should be stopped.

Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh addressed a press conference on behalf of Ms. Mayawati.

Referring to the missives sent to her by Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Ms. Mayawati wanted to know whether similar practices had been adopted in other States as well, considering that the programme was being implemented in the entire country.

She asked whether the other States were being “harassed” and “needled” in a similar manner by the Centre. Indicating that the war of words on the rural job scheme was a poll-eve gimmick (of the Congress), Ms. Mayawati said a “surcharged atmosphere” was being created deliberately.

When such deliberate surcharged atmosphere is created by the traditionally angry domnating hatred & jealousy people against untouchables means that the path followed by them is cent percent correct. Such an atmosphere is not new & they withstand the test of time.

 
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