1028 LESSON 01-09-2013 SUNDAY
FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY
for revival of Buddhism
friends we are conducting one day orientation on Buddhism in Mahabodhi
society Kalidasa Road, Gandhinagar Bangalore 560009 Today the 1st Sept 2013 Sunday from 9.00 am to 5.00pm if your interested in the one day work shop kindly attend. Personal Ceremonies: The Naming of a Child,Housewarming – Family, Friends & Food,Sangha Dana,Marriage / Funeral Rites
5) School of Buddhist Studies,
Philosophy and Comparative Religion;
Spirituality one finds in one’s religion or religious teachings is the
real guide to human peace and happiness. And every religion has some
morals to teach.
REFLECTIONS ON BUDDHISM
I Sense (feel) that is; what I don’t sense (feel) that is not. This is
the common sense (feelings) of all. Sensations (feelings) form an
important part of life. The body exists because one senses (feels) the
body; payn exists because on senses (feels) the pain; and pleasure
exists because one senses (feels) pleasure; and hence the general
understanding that I sense (feel) therefore ‘I am’ appears to be
absolutely right. This in turn leads to all other negativities like Ego.
Pride, selfishness, hatred, jealousy and false view of Soul and Atman.
sense is to feel and to feel is to sense. Thus one sense’s trough
sensations and to observe feelings is to observe sensations. Therefore
on can say that Vedana or feeling is synonymous with sensations which
are arising and passing at the body level. The body sensation is sensor
of mind and matter.
Buddha taking this very subject of
sensations (feelings) as the basis of his teaching, taught his
followers the science of sensations called Vedananupassana, also known
as the observation of sensations and thus leading them on to the path of
Sila, Samadhi, and panya. He finally made them realize the ultimate
truth of Impermanence, Suffering and No-Self.
Buddha in Dighanaka
Sutta of Majjima Nikaya, while explaining the doctrine to Aggivessana
says: “Pleasant sensations Aggivessana are impermanent, conditioned,
dependently arisen, subject to destruction, vanishing, fading away and
ceasing. Painful sensations too are impermanent, conditioned,
dependently arisen, subject to destruction, vanishing, fading away and
ceasing. Neither-painful-nor-pleasant sensations too are impermanent,
conditioned, sependently arisen, subject to destruction,vanishing,
fading away and ceasing.” “Seeing thus, a well taught noble disciple
becomes enchanted with pleasant sensations, disenchanted with painful
sensations,disenchanted with neither -nor-pleasant sensations. Being
disenchanted he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion his mind is
liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: “It is
liberated”. He understands birth is destroyed, the holy life has been
lived, what had to be done has been done; there is no more coming to any
state of being. “He whose mind is liberated thus, Aggivessana, sides
with non and disputes with none; he employees the speech currently used
in the world without adhering to it.”
Modern humanity too is
suffering from three feeling of excitement, feelings of entertainment
and feelings of exhaustion. This triangle of triple E’s i.e.,
excitement, entertainment and exhaution can be equated to the mystical
Bermuda triangle, which pulls anything down to the seabed, by its
strange gravitational power. Same is the case with the triple E’s
triangle.Firstly one gets excited by various things and runs after them
and having entertained himself/herself with them, sooner or later he/she
gets exhausted and distorted. After an interval this process of
excitement, entertainment and exhaustion starts again. This process is
repeated again and again through one’s life till death.
with his own effort and wisdom discovered the anti-dote for these three
evil E’s. He taught Sila, Samadhi and Panya. The anti-dote for
excitement is Sila because it teaches restrain in body and speech and
this restraint is the direct and immediate way to counter excitement.
The anti-dote for entertainment is Samadhi because when compared to the
worldly entertainment with its evil consequences Samadhi is of the real
happiness with no evil consequences at all. The anti-dote for exhaustion
and distortion is Panya, which gives the right understanding, and Bliss
sought by the suffering and exhausted humans and is born out of through
understanding of Impermenance, Siuffering and No_Self (Anitya, Gukkha,
Now the question arises as to how to observe the
impermanence of sensations (feelings) ? Vedana (Sensations) is explained
in Paticcasampaada as follows:
Vedana Paccxaya Tanha; i.e.,
Sensations (feelings) as the base craving arises; Tanha Paccaya
Upadanam; - craving as the base, attachment (clinging) arises; Upadana
Paccaya Bhava; - attachment as base, the process of becoming arises;
Bhava Paccaya Jati; - i.e., process of becoming as the base birth
arises; Jati Paccaya Jara-Maranam; i.e., birth as base, aging and death
arise; Soka-Parideva Dukkha-Domamassupayasa Sambhavanti. Together with
sorrow, lamentation, - physical and mental sufferings and tribulations.
Evam-Tassa Kevalassa Dukkhakkandhassa Samudhayo Hoti. - thus arises this
entire mass of suffering.
According to Paticcasamuppada, as
mentioned above sensations as condition, craving arises. Buddha by
exploring the truths of mind and body realized that between the external
objects and mental reflex of craving, is a link called Vedana - the
sensation of the body. One craves to gain and prolong the pleasant
sensation on the one hand and on the other hand to remove and get rid of
the unpleasant sensations at the earliest.
Pleasant Sensations are Thrilling
Unpleasant Sensations are Chilling
In these Sensations done is Rolling
And experiencing much Suffering.
To get out of this Paining
One has to work towards Gaining
The Vedananupassana Training
To experience Happiness that’s Liberating.
is felt on the body. But it is a part of the mind and thus its
observation means the observation of the mind and matter phenomenon. In
Vedananupassana training one learns to observe all sensations with
Equanimity and understanding of Anicca (impermanence) at the level of
body sensations. Now that which is impermanent is suffering and that
which is suffering is not self. So when these very Vedana (sensations)
are understood properly and one develops un-attachment and equanimity
towards them it leads to the cessation of entire mass of suffering. In
Samutta Nikaya Buddha says: Eradicate the latent tendency of craving
towards pleasant sensations. Eradicate the latent tendency of aversion
towards unpleasant sensations. Eradicate the latent tendency of
Ignorance towards neutral sensations. Buddha has very well explained
through Anicca that fact of Anatta and how delusive are the feelngs of
I, Self, Egi etc. These feel ings when misunderstood develop false views
thereby leading human beings to greed, hatred and delusion.
naturally a question arises. If there is no I or Self, who gets the
results of Kamma. The Buddha in answer said: “I have taught you, O
Bhikkhus, to see conditionality everywhere in all things i.e., Imasmim
Sati Idam Hoti; - when this is, that is; Imassupada Idam Uppajjati; -
this arising, that arises; Imasmim Asati Idam na Hoti; - when this is
not, that is not; Imassa Nirodha Idam Nirujjhati. This ceasing, that
ceases. In addition to the Paticcasamupaada and conditioned genesis as
explained above the Buddha throughout his teaching has stressed to see
the reality has to be seen as it is and the ultimate true nature of all
things has to be experienced i.e.,
Underlying Impermanence in Permanence,
Underlying Suffering in Pleasures and
Underlying No Self in Ourselves.
Einstein the father of modern science has rightly said: “The religion
of future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal god
and avoid dogma and theology covering both the nature 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.
Thus it should be further understood
that through Vedana is part of Nama (mind) it is felt and firmly rooted
in Kaya (body). This is hthe reason why brahmas from Arupa brahma loka
cannot practice Vedananupassana and that is why Buddha could not
teachDhamma to his past teachers Alkara Kalama who had mastered seventh
Jhana and Udakka Ramaputta who had mastered eight Jhana. Both these
teachers after death had born in Arupa brahma loka. In the fifth to
eight Jhana, the mind is set free from body and thus there is no
experience of Vedana (bodily sensations). Since these brahmas of Arupa
loka lack rupa and cannot experience body sensations, the practice of
awareness of Vedana (sensations) is not possible for them and they
cannot walk on the path of Nibbana. Moreover the terms Somanassa and
Domanassa are used for pleasant and unpleasant mental feelings
respectively. Sukha and Dukkha are used in the specific sense of
pleasant and unpleasant body feelings also known as sensations. It is
note worthy that in practicing Samadhi, Somanassa and Domanassa mental
feelings disappear in the third Jhana but Sukha and Dukkha bodily
feelings or sensations disappear only in the fourth Jhana.
Adukkhamasukkha (keith pleasant nor unpleasant) sensations remain even
in the fourth Jhana.
From this one may logically conclude that
bodily sensations give us stronger more continuous hold on reality and
thus are the root cause of Tanha (craving). Through gradual truing one
can clearly comprehend sensations as they are always readily accessible
and thereby obtain a tangible tool to attain one’s own liberation.
Therefore about Buddha and His teachings on Vedananupassana, it can be said that :
Buddha is the ultimate creation
Born of own effort and contemplation.
His teachings welcome examination
And not just devotion,
Acceptance once acne after self-observation.
Observe with equanimity all sensations
And come out of futile temptations.
Base on wisdom, morals and He said concentrations His teachings are Universal Application.
May all Gain Scientific Temperment And Wisdom.
FREE ONLINE eNālandaResearch and Practice UNIVERSITY
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Vice-Chair, Center for Buddhist Studies
University of California
2223 Fulton Street, room 512
Berkeley, CA 94720-2318
Tel: (510) 643-5104
Sub: “The Self as a Process: Rāmakaṇṭha’s Middle Ground Between Brahminical Eternalism and Buddhist Momentariness.”
Venerable Sir, Kindly share the following views on 5th Sep. 2013 with all the esteemed participants on the above subject matter.
Spirituality one finds in one’s religion or religious teachings is the
real guide to human peace and happiness. And every religion has some
morals to teach.
Thus we can say that religion is a Moral
Science. In general every religion teaches morals for peace and unity of
mankind. Without morals there are bound to be quarrels. Albert Einstein
has rightly said the religion of the future will be a cosmic religion.
It should transcend a personal god and avoid dogma and theology covering
both the natural and Spiritual; it should be based on a religious sense
arising from experience of all things, natural and Spiritual, as a
So what could be the test based on which we can have a cosmic religion ?
B.R. Ambedkar the architect of the Constitution enumerating the four
tests a religion must pass says: “(i) Society must have either sanction
of law or the sanction of morality to hold it together. Without either,
society is sure to go to pieces. In all societies law plays a very small
part. It is intended to keep the minority within the range of social
discipline. The majority is left and has to be left to sustain its
social life by the postulates and sanction of morality. Religion in the
sense of morality, must therefore, remain the governing principle in
(ii) That religion has defined in the first
proposition must be in accord with science. Religion is bound to loose
its respect and therefore become the subject of ridicule and thereby not
merely loose its force as a governing principle of life but might in
course of time disintegrate and lapse if it is not in accord with
science. In other words, religion if it is to function must be in accord
with reason which is merely another name for science.
religion as a code of social morality, must recognise the fundamental
tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity. Unless a religion
recognises these three fundamental principles of social life religion
will be doomed.
(iv) Religion must not sanctify or enoble
poverty. Renunciation of riches by those who have it may be a blessed
state. But poverty can never be. To declare poverty to be blessed state
is to pervert religion, to perpetuate vice and crime, to consent to make
earth a living hell.[Buddha and future of his religion]
this world what is reflected on the outer surface is merely a mirror of
what inside. Trying to change the world without working to change mind
is like trying to change the image in a mirror without changing the
object that is being reflected. The physical environment and
circumstances we experience are merely a reflection of our mind. Our
mind is created by our thoughts. Once a deity questioned Buddha as
The inner tangle and the outer tangle.
This generation is entangled in a tangle
and so I ask of Gotama this question:
Who suceeds in disentangling this tangle?
To which the Buddha replies as follows:
a wise man, established well in virtue, Develops Consciousness and
Understanding then as a Bhikkhu ardent abd sagacious. he succeeds in
disentangling this tangle.
One can become virtuous by practicing
morality. Higher consciousness is developed through meditation or so
called mental training. And understanding comes by developing wisdom.
Thus it has been said that the Buddha the guide to humanity taught
Dhamma to experience Reality. He asked not o be obsessed with
Materiality. But to practice the path of Spirituality. And this path He
said is none other than the path of Wisdom, Meditation and Morality.
Through morality one can attain peace in the external world, through
meditation one can attain peace ao mind-the internal world. and through
wisdom one can attain the final peace by transcending both the internal
and external worldand attain the final peace called Nibbana.
very wisdom is developed through the practice of Upekkha or equanimity.
Venerable P.A. Payutto, a leading Thai scholor-monk explains Upekkha as
follows: “Seeing tings as they are with a mind that is even, steady,
firm and fair like a pair of scales; understanding that all beings
experience good and evil in accordance with the causes they have created
; [and the readiness] to judge, position oneself, and act in accordance
with principle, reason and equity.”
The one who has Upekkha
is fully aware of what is going on but without being blinded by
attachment. This does not mean hermetic isolation, apathy or
insensitivity though it is mindful un-attachment that allows the
development of wisdom. Wisdom is what really allows us to help others
with compassion and understanding. Carl Jung and Edgar Cayce, both
spiritually gifted psychologists and healers stated that peace cannot
happen unless every human being becomes involved in peace process. Peace
will not happen by itself. Peace will not happen by accident.
has to be brought about by offering training to enable human beings to
raise their level of consciousness and to establish peace within them.
Peace can only happen if people obtain a higher level of consciousness.
The spiritual training will enable individuals to have metta and
compassion for others. In time it will bring peace in the world. Here
religion or spirituality plays a major role. In the ultimate sense the
spirit to know the reality is spirituality, the spirit to know actuality
Albert Einstein the father of modern
science said: Religion without science is blind and Science without
religion is lame” and if there is any religion that would cope with
modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.
Voice is to have Buddhism
Choice is to take Buddhism
Nice is to think Buddhism
Wise is to practice Buddhism
So come let us all practice Buddhism - Scientific Spirituality
Vasala Sutta: Discourse on Outcasts
translated from the Pali by
Thus have I heard:
one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi at Jetavana at
Anathapindika’s monastery. Then in the forenoon the Blessed One having
dressed himself, took bowl and (double) robe, and entered the city of
Savatthi for alms. Now at that time a fire was burning, and an offering
was being prepared in the house of the brahman Aggikabharadvaja. Then
the Blessed One, while on his alms round, came to the brahman’s
residence. The brahman seeing the Blessed One some way off, said this:
“Stay there, you shaveling, stay there you wretched monk, stay there you
outcast.” When he spoke thus the Blessed One said to the brahman: “Do
you know, brahman, who an outcast is and what the conditions are that
make an outcast?” “No, indeed, Venerable Gotama, I do not know who an
outcast is nor the conditions that make an outcast. It is good if
Venerable Gotama were to explain the Dhamma to me so that I may know who
an outcast is and what the conditions are that make an outcast.”
“Listen then, brahman, and pay attention, I will speak.”
“Yes, Venerable Sir,” replied the brahman.
“Whosoever is angry, harbors hatred, and is reluctant to speak well of
others (discredits the good of others), perverted in views, deceitful —
know him as an outcast.
2. “Whosoever in this world kills living
beings, once born or twice born, in whom there is no sympathy for
living beings — know him as an outcast.
3. “Whosoever destroys and besieges villages and hamlets and becomes notorious as an oppressor — know him as an outcast.
“Be it in the village, or in the forest, whosoever steals what belongs
to others, what is not given to him — know him as an outcast.
“Whosoever having actually incurred a debt runs away when he is pressed
to pay, saying, ‘I owe no debt to you’ — know him as an outcast.
“Whosoever coveting anything, kills a person going along the road, and
grabs whatever that person has — know him as an outcast.
who for his own sake or for the sake of others or for the sake of
wealth, utters lies when questioned as a witness — know him as an
8. “Whosoever by force or with consent associates with the wives of relatives or friends — know him as an outcast.
9. “Whosoever being wealthy supports not his mother and father who have grown old — know him as an outcast.
“Whosoever strikes and annoys by (harsh) speech, mother, father,
brother, sister or mother-in-law or father-in-law — know him as an
11. “Whosoever when questioned about what is good, says
what is detrimental, and talks in an evasive manner- know him as an
12. “Whosoever having committed an evil deed, wishes
that it may not be known to others, and commits evil in secret — know
him as an outcast.
13. “Whosoever having gone to another’s house,
and partaken of choice food, does not honor that host by offering food
when he repays the visit — know him as an outcast.
14. “Whosoever deceives by uttering lies, a brahman or an ascetic, or any other mendicant — know him as an outcast.
“Whosoever when a brahman or ascetic appears during mealtime angers him
by harsh speech, and does not offer him (any alms) — know him as an
16. “Whosoever in this world, shrouded in ignorance,
speaks harsh words (asatam) or falsehood expecting to gain something —
know him as an outcast.
17. “Whosoever debased by his pride, exalts himself and belittles other — know him as an outcast.
“Whosoever is given to anger, is miserly, has base desires, and is
selfish, deceitful, shameless and fearless (in doing evil) — know him as
19. “Whosoever reviles the Awakened One (the
Buddha), or a disciple of the Buddha, recluse or a householder — know
him as an outcast.
20. “Whosoever not being an arahant, a
Consummate One, pretends to be so, is a thief in the whole universe — he
is the lowest of outcasts.
21. “Not by birth is one an outcast;
not by birth is one a brahman. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed
one becomes a brahman.
22. “Know ye by the example I now cite
(the fact that by birth one is not an outcast). There was an outcast’s
son, Sopaka, who became known as Matanga.
23. “This Matanga
attained the highest fame so difficult to gain. Many were the warriors
(kshatriyas) and brahmans who went to attend on him.
“Mounting the celestial chariot (the Noble Eightfold path, and driving)
along the passion-free high road, (Sopaka, now a monk), reached the
Brahma realm having given up sense desires.
25. “His (lowly)
birth did not prevent him from being reborn in the Brahma realm. There
are brahmans born in the family of preceptors, kinsmen of (veda) hymns.
“They are often seen committing evil deeds. In this life itself they
are despised, in the next they are born in an evil state of existence.
High birth does not prevent them from falling into a woeful state, or
27. “Not by birth is one an outcast; not by birth
is one a brahman. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed one becomes an
When the Buddha had thus spoken, the Brahman
Aggikabharadvaja said to the Blessed One: “Excellent, O Venerable
Gotama, excellent! Just as, O Venerable Gotama, a man were to set
upright what had been overturned, or were to reveal what had been
hidden, or were to point the way to one who had gone astray, or were to
hold an oil lamp in the dark so that those with eyes may see things,
even so in many ways has the Venerable Gotama expounded the Dhamma, the
doctrine. I take refuge in the Venerable Gotama, the Dhamma, and the
Sangha, the Order. May the Venerable Gotama accept me as a lay follower
who has taken refuge from this day onwards while life lasts.”
Akkosa Sutta: Insult
have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near
Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary. Then the brahman
Akkosaka Bharadvaja heard that a brahman of the Bharadvaja clan had
gone forth from the home life into homelessness in the presence of the
Blessed One. Angered & displeased, he went to the Blessed One and,
on arrival, insulted & cursed him with rude, harsh words.
this was said, the Blessed One said to him: “What do you think,
brahman: Do friends & colleagues, relatives & kinsmen come to
you as guests?”
“Yes, Master Gotama, sometimes friends & colleagues, relatives & kinsmen come to me as guests.”
“And what do you think: Do you serve them with staple & non-staple foods & delicacies?”
“Yes, sometimes I serve them with staple & non-staple foods & delicacies.”
“And if they don’t accept them, to whom do those foods belong?”
“If they don’t accept them, Master Gotama, those foods are all mine.”
the same way, brahman, that with which you have insulted me, who is not
insulting; that with which you have taunted me, who is not taunting;
that with which you have berated me, who is not berating: that I don’t
accept from you. It’s all yours, brahman. It’s all yours.
returns insult to one who is insulting, returns taunts to one who is
taunting, returns a berating to one who is berating, is said to be
eating together, sharing company, with that person. But I am neither
eating together nor sharing your company, brahman. It’s all yours. It’s
“The king together with his court know this of Master
Gotama — ‘Gotama the contemplative is an arahant’ — and yet still
Master Gotama gets angry.”
there anger for one free from anger, tamed, living in tune — one
released through right knowing, calmed & Such. You make things worse
when you flare up at someone who’s angry. Whoever doesn’t flare up at
someone who’s angry wins a battle hard to win. You live for the good of
both — your own, the other’s — when, knowing the other’s provoked, you
mindfully grow calm. When you work the cure of both — your own, the
other’s — those who think you a fool know nothing of Dhamma.
this was said, the brahman Akkosaka Bharadvaja said to the Blessed One,
“Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place
upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way
to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with
eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama — through many
lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for
refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the community of monks. Let me obtain
the going forth in Master Gotama’s presence, let me obtain admission.”
the brahman Akkosaka Bharadvaja received the going forth & the
admission in the Blessed One’s presence. And not long after his
admission — dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute —
he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the
holy life, for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into
homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here &
now. He knew: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done.
There is nothing further for the sake of this world.” And so Ven.
Bharadvaja became another one of the arahants.
Dona-sutta is a short Buddhist discourse between a brahmin and the
Buddha concerning his nature or identity. It is preserved in five
versions: one in Pali (Anguttara ii.37-30), one in the Gandharan
Buddhist Texts and three in Chinese parallel translations (Taisho vol
2.717c, 2.28a and 2.467a).
According to the Dona-sutta, the
Buddha was once questioned by a brahmin called Dona, or Dhuma according
to two of the Chinese versions. This brahmin comes across the Buddha’s
footprints and notices the wheel marks on the soles of his feet. Amazed
by what he has seen, he follows them until he comes to where the Buddha
is serenely seated. He then poses the Buddha certain questions. At this
point, interpretation of the sutta in English language becomes somewhat
controversial, since there is not a consensus regarding the proper
English translation of the verb bhavissati, a key word used in Dona’s
Translation of ‘bhavissati’
Gandharan, and one of the Chinese versions (T II 467b8), report that the
question of Dona was put in the future tense, in Pali this is the word
bhavissati. In the other two Chinese versions the question of Dona is in
the present tense, but it is acknowledged that all Chinese versions are
a translation from earlier Indian verions of the Dona Sutta, which used
the future tense. Thus the original Indian versions are believed to
have all contained the question of Dona in the future tense, as in the
Literally translated, bhavissati refers to the
future and means “will be, will become”, but, according to a well-known
Pali idiomatic usage, it can also be interpreted as an expression of
uncertainty, confusion or amazement relating to the present. Thus, in
some translations the bhavissati is literally translated as the future
tense, so that the question posed by Dona pertains to what Buddha will
be/become, asking whether he will be/become a god, a gandharva, a yaksha
or a human. The Buddha answers these questions literally, saying that
he will not be/become (na bhavissāmi) any of these beings [in the
future], implying that since he is a Buddha he will not be reborn after
this life. The Chinese translation at T II 467b8 follows this reasoning,
and literally reads “I will not obtain human”.
translation is based on this possible idiomatic usage of the future
tense in Pali, and understands the brahmin Dona to be asking the Buddha
in confusion or amazement what he is — a god (deva), a gandharva, a
yaksha or human. The Buddha answers emphatically that he is not any of
these (na bhavissāmi), but that he is a Buddha. This reasoning is used
in the Chinese translations of T 2.717c and T 2.28a.
idiomatic interpretation of bhavissati can also refer to some
uncertainty which is present. Thus, a translation which would interpret
the future tense as indicative of some uncertainty in the questioner,
the question might be translated as “Whether the Buddha ‘might’ or
‘would’ be a god, a gandharva, a yaksha or a human”. The answer would be
put in the same way as the reply, giving the answer that “I might not
be a god, gandharva, yaksha or human”, or “I would not be a god,
gandharva, yaksha or human”, though this rendering is liable to other
Thus there are three possible translations:
1. I will not be a god, gandharva, yaksha or human. (future tense)
2. I am not a god, gandharva, yaksha or human. (present tense, not allowing uncertainty)
3. I might (or would) not be a god, gandharva, yaksha or human. (subjunctive, allowing uncertainty)
the early Indian versions (in Pali Canon and the Gandharan Buddhist
Texts) are all formally in the future sense and only become formulated
in present tense in one of the possible English translations, the first
version is often used in Theravadin circles. While the Buddha in the
second version states that he is a Buddha, and not a god or human, no
philosophical conclusions are made explicit in this statement, while it
suggests that a Buddha may belong to another category of being in
nature, beyond the human and the divine, by virtue of his enlightenment
and liberation. The third version may be put forward as an attempt to
compromise between the first and second versions.
the several Chinese parallel versions, the one contained in the
Ekottara-āgama, attributed to the Mahāsānghikas, preserves a simpler,
shorter and older form of this sutra. It treats Dona’s questions as
enquiries about the Buddha’s present status, but omits the specific
answer given by the Buddha, that he is a Buddha, found in all other
versions. Here, the Buddha merely states that he knows that attachment
and desire are the sources of the skandhas (the constituents of
individual existence) and through that knowledge he has ended suffering.
Thus, though the Mahāsānghikas are known to have espoused a form of
docetism, the version of the Dona-sutta used by them does not imply that
the Buddha is a transcendental being in human form, while the version
preserved in Pali may be open to that interpretation.
What it Means to be a Brahmin Untouchable (SC/ST)
impassioned plea by a Scheduled Caste woman professional for
acknowledging the prejudices and obstacles even “privileged” people like
her face when confronted with the structure of caste. This personal
experience underlines the context for the Constitutional amendment bill
on allow reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in
Anjali Rajoria is a medical doctor from Delhi.
“A slave cannot be freed save he free himself. Neither can you enslave a free man, the most you can do is kill him.”
- Robert A. Heinlein
case you are wondering what a ‘Brahmin Untouchable (SC/ST)’ means, let
me clarify at the very outset, I claim to be a Brahmin Untouchable
(SC/ST) because I was born with the label “lower caste”. (In fact that
label is given even before one is born, but lets keep that aside for a
while.) However, today I am a relatively well off, educated and an
accomplished Untouchable (SC/ST), hence the epithet, ‘Brahmin
Untouchable (SC/ST)’. Do you think that I am trying to gain your
sympathy by deliberately posing as a victim of the evil caste system
despite being in a much better position than the majority of my fellow
Untouchable (SC/ST) brethren?
The answer is a clear, unequivocal
No! My purpose here is only to help people understand what it really
means to be a Untouchable (SC/ST) and how it is so difficult for us to
get rid of our caste identity, even in this time and age. I writhe in
agony as I give myself the title of ‘Brahmin Untouchable (SC/ST)’. When I
realised that it is my religion that is impelling me to live life with a
degraded status forever, I decided to renounced my religion. I am no
longer a Hindu. When I look back, I feel so proud of having taken that
decision a few years back.
But the stark reality is, even if a
Untouchable (SC/ST) turns into a non-Hindu in her quest for liberation,
her caste status continues to haunt her. Her identity continues to be
shaped by her caste and she continues to grapple with it every single
day. Her society forces her to bear the burden of bondage. It is this
bondage that we wish to break. We wish to be freed from slavery.
the title ‘Brahmin Untouchable (SC/ST)’ is not appropriate. Because a
Untouchable (SC/ST)Hindu can convert to Islam, Christianity or to
Buddhism, but she can never turn into a Brahmin. “Untouchable (SC/ST)”
rigid label for life. It refuses to erode. It is a label that reminds us
constantly of who we are. We stand at the end of centuries of injustice
and oppression. And even today we are treated as second class humans.
We are presumed to be unequal in possibly all aspects - less
intelligent, less capable, less hygienic, less civilised and what not.
The inequality meted out to us is justified on these counts.
even if a Untouchable (SC/ST) accomplishes something in his life, he is
secretly dismissed as an exception. He is not granted his place of
respect. Very few people realise how much he would have struggled to
achieve what he has. Very few people take the pain to empathise with
him. Yet, publicly his example is used to criticise the positive
discrimination extended by the government to the dalits. It is not
uncommon to see such hypocritical attitude of casteists around.
urbanisation and modernisation have diluted the occupational rigidities
and economic disabilities to some extent. Untouchable (SC/ST)s can now
aspire to occupy the highest echelons in terms of occupational status.
But does that mean that we have got rid of this hydra-headed monster of
caste? Definitely not. For those who are still wondering in disbelief,
my suggestion would be to take a closer look at the whole picture. If
you think that caste no longer holds relevance in urban India, go and
personally talk to any of the backward category students studying in any
of the elite institutions of this country. Ask her how many times she
has been disgraced by her teachers and fellow students. Ask her how many
times she has been forced to hide her identity from her professors for
fear of being castigated only because she is a Untouchable (SC/ST). Ask
her how painful and tormenting it is for her to live under the shadow of
untouchability in a free country.
Thorat Committee Report
clearly points towards the continued discrimination and segregation of
students belonging to Untouchable (SC/ST)and tribal communities in
premier institutions of this country like All India Institute of Medical
Sciences and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. For how long will
we turn a Nelson’s eye towards the plight and anguish of these young and
bright minds? How many more Eklavya-like sacrifices do we need to get
rid of Dronacharyas who deliberately fail even deserving students
belonging to backward communities.
It does not need rocket science to
grasp the reality that caste stigmatisation exists even today, a fact
that no well-reasoned person can brush off. A look at the website of
National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for
Scheduled Tribes would easily give you an insight into the horrendous
levels of continuing maltreatment Untouchable (SC/ST)s are being
subjected to. It probably would require an encyclopedia-sized tomb to
mention all the atrocities that have been perpetrated and continue to be
perpetrated in the name of caste.
Let the dead past bury the
dead. We do not hold grievances against injustices of the past because
what has happened cannot be undone. But even in the present times, 90%
of the so called menial jobs are performed by Untouchable (SC/ST)s.
Those living in the hinterland are forced to reside in ghettos or slums.
Government schools and offices continue to witness segregation of
Untouchable (SC/ST)s. The occupation of priesthood is still monopolised
by Brahmins. We still have Hindu temples that continue to deny entry to
Untouchable (SC/ST)s. Inter-caste marriages are the exception rather
than the norm. Honour killings of those who dare to defy the diktats of
their elders by marrying people of “lower castes” are commonplace. In
fact, caste is such a pervasive reality that almost no group of people
(including non-Hindus and even non-resident Indians) and no part of
India is untouched by its immense influence.
I have nothing
against the Brahmins. Being born to the upper caste (or lower caste) is
not a matter of choice. I hate the Brahminical system, not Brahmins.
Vices of the Brahminical system may be found in Untouchable (SC/ST)s and
non-Untouchable (SC/ST)s alike. The ultimate panacea for all such ills
has to be ‘Annihilation of the Caste System’. Its time for us to come
out of our comfort zones, accept the harsh realities and collectively
try to heal the near-permanent wounds of Untouchable (SC/ST)s. It is
time for us to open our hearts and minds to embrace those as equals who
have been disgraced and denied a dignified life for far too long.
am very hopeful that a time will come when caste will lose its raison
d’etre, when people will be treated only as humans and when we will
redefine our identity in terms of secular credentials alone. Babasaheb
Ambedkar had once remarked, “We are all Indians, firstly and lastly.” To
realise this dream, we must ensure that caste is stripped off of all
the functions that it performs for Indian society. We must take
collective action to dismantle this evil structure. There are many
well-intentioned people who are sincere about the goal of eradication of
caste hierarchy. It is these people who continue to give us hope – hope
of ushering in a new era – a caste-less and classless society.
measures can be taken to efface bigoted caste identities, at
governmental and societal levels. Strict enforcement of legal provisions
to proscribe all forms of expressions, rituals and social practices
associated with the caste system is the need of the hour. Alongside
these steps, we also need to ban the use of caste names to prevent
targeting of caste groups and instead replace surnames with the names of
either the father or the mother. (Former union health minister Ambudani
Ramadoss had given a worthwhile suggestion in this regard). Inter–caste
marriages should be freely promoted and incentives should be provided
for those who decide to inter-marry. Government and social agencies
should make inroads into Untouchable (SC/ST) areas to provide equal and
universal access to education, social equality and employment to all.
Upper-caste-dominated occupations, especially in the private sector and
media need to be accessible to people from the backward sections. Most
importantly, we need to infuse the spirit of confidence and self-worth
in our Untouchable (SC/ST) brethren.
Martin Luther King Jr. had
famously observed, “A person who cannot die for a cause is not fit to
live.” To my Untouchable (SC/ST) brothers and sisters, this is my
message: We are not alone in our fight against tyranny. There are many
others outside our net who empathise with us. But we have to be the
prime movers and torchbearers in our struggle. We are ‘chosen’ to fight
and we will keep fighting. This is our only option.
sisters, it is time for a revolution. A revolution that will begin in
our hearts and minds. Liberation of the self from internalised
oppression does not happen quickly or easily. The tiniest bit of
self-liberation needs to be nourished and treasured and consciously
grown. We have come very far, but there is still a long way to go. We
will shape a better tomorrow and we will leave behind footprints for
others to follow.
No jeans, mobile phones for Brahmin girls: BJP MP
are under attack from Western culture, our culture doesn’t teach us to
wear jeans,’ BJP MP Raghunanandan Sharma tells Rediff.com’s A Ganesh
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Raghunandan Sharma has come
up with the following suggestions to check crimes against women: Girls
should not be allowed to use mobile phones before marriage and women
should not wear jeans.
Sharma — a member of the Rajya Sabha and
vice-president of the BJP’s Madhya Pradesh unit -expressed his views at a
meeting of Brahmins in Ratlam district on Sunday.
The BJP MP termed mobile phone usage by students, particularly young girls, as a big menace and the genesis of other evils.
Sharma lambasted girls wearing jeans, saying it was the attire of American cowboys and in no way gelled with Indian culture.
who was born a year before Independence, told Rediff.com on Tuesday, “I
don’t know what the problem with you journalists is. I was at my samaj
meeting. It was a meeting of my society of Brahmins.”
“I am a
representative of the Brahmins and I am their leader. I was trying to
suggest ways to improve my society. The advice was only for Brahmins,
not for the country.”
“I was speaking not as a MP or a BJP
leader, I was speaking as a Brahmin to other Brahmins. I have my ideas
of improving my society, what is your problem?”
“We are under attack from Western culture, our culture doesn’t teach us to wear jeans,” Sharma added.
have every right to tell my society of Brahmins how to dress, not to
use mobile phones and whatever I think is good for my society.”
did I suggest that I am trying to change the country, change my party’s
views or change my state’s views. This was advice only for my people
and meant only for them.