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Paṭisambhidā Jāla-Abaddha Paripanti Tipiṭaka Anvesanā ca Paricaya Nikhilavijjālaya ca ñātibhūta Pavatti Nissāya anto 105 Seṭṭhaganthāyatta Bhāsā

January 2018
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2510 Tue 23 Jan 2018 LESSON 1 Classical Pāḷi Paṭisambhidā Jāla-Abaddha Paripanti Tipiṭaka Anvesanā ca Paricaya Nikhilavijjālaya ca ñātibhūta Pavatti Nissāya anto 105 Seṭṭhaganthāyatta Bhāsā 23 Classical English Analytic Insight Net - FREE Online Tipiṭaka Research and Practice University and related NEWS through in
105 CLASSICAL LANGUAGE Tipiṭaka Studies for University Students in 72 Classical Pashto- کلاسیک پښتو 73 Classical Persian-کلاسیک فارسی 74 Classical Polish,75 Classical Portuguese-Português Clássico, 76 Classical Punjabi-ਕਲਾਸੀਕਲ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ,77 Classical Romanian-Clasicul românesc,78 Classical Russian-Классическая русская,79 Classical Samoan-Faʻasolopito Samoa,80 Classical Scots Gaelic-Gàidhlig Albannach Clasaigeach,81 Classical Serbian-Класични српски,82 Classical Sesotho-Sechaba sa Sesotho,83 Classical Shona-Shona Classical,84 Classical Sindhi,85 Classical Sinhala-සම්භාව්ය සිංහල,
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 2510 Tue 23 Jan 2018 LESSON

1 Classical Pāḷi

Paṭisambhidā Jāla-Abaddha Paripanti Tipiṭaka Anvesanā ca Paricaya Nikhilavijjālaya ca ñātibhūta Pavatti Nissāya anto 105 Seṭṭhaganthāyatta Bhāsā

23 Classical English

Analytic Insight  Net - FREE Online Tipiṭaka Research and Practice University
and related NEWS through in

Tipiṭaka Studies for University Students

in 72 Classical Pashto- کلاسیک پښتو
73 Classical Persian-کلاسیک فارسی

74 Classical Polish,75 Classical Portuguese-Português Clássico,
76 Classical Punjabi-ਕਲਾਸੀਕਲ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ,
77 Classical Romanian-Clasicul românesc,78 Classical Russian-Классическая русская,79 Classical Samoan-Faʻasolopito Samoa,80 Classical Scots Gaelic-Gàidhlig Albannach Clasaigeach,81 Classical Serbian-Класични српски,82 Classical Sesotho-Sechaba sa Sesotho,83 Classical Shona-Shona Classical,84 Classical Sindhi,85 Classical Sinhala-සම්භාව්ය සිංහල,

72 Classical Pashto
72 کلاسیک پښتو

تحلیل انټرنیټ نیٹ - وړیا آنلاین ټپتاټکا څیړنې او عملی پوهنتون او له
اړونده خبرونو سره په کې 105 کلاسیکی ژبو کې

Buddhas of Bamiyan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan (Persian:بت های باميانbott-hâye Bāmiyān) were 4th- and 5th-century[1] monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 kilometres (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an elevation of 2,500 metres (8,200 ft). Built in 507 CE (smaller) and 554 CE (larger),[1] the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.[2] They were 35 (115 ft) and 53 meters (174 ft) tall, respectively.[3]

The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco.
This coating, practically all of which wore away long ago, was painted
to enhance the expressions of the faces, hands, and folds of the robes;
the larger one was painted carmine red and the smaller one was painted multiple colors.[4]

The lower parts of the statues’ arms were constructed from the same
mud-straw mix while supported on wooden armatures. It is believed that
the upper parts of their faces were made from great wooden masks or
casts. Rows of holes that can be seen in photographs were spaces that
held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.

They were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar,[5] after the Taliban government declared that they were idols.[6]
An envoy visiting the United States in the following weeks explained
that they were destroyed to protest international aid exclusively
reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine,[7] while the Afghan Foreign Minister claimed that the destruction was merely about carrying out Islamic religious iconoclasm.
International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the
Buddhas, which in the following years was primarily viewed as an example
of the extreme religious intolerance of the Taliban. Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.[8]


Further information: Buddhism in Afghanistan

Drawing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by Alexander Burnes 1832

Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush
mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley. The Silk Road has been
historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of
the Western world. It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art. Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits
in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs. Most of
these monks embellished their caves with religious statuary and
elaborate, brightly colored frescoes. It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century. Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing sculptures of Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras
performed. The Buddha popularly called “Solsol” measured 53 meters
tall, and “Shahmama” 35 meters—the niches in which the figures stood are
58 and 38 meters respectively from bottom to top.[3][9] Before being blown up in 2001 they were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world (the 8th century Leshan Giant Buddha is taller,[10] but that statue is sitting). Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue
in the world. Plans for the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha
were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas and
China condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of

Smaller Buddha in 1977

It is believed that the monumental Buddha sculptures were carved into
the cliffs of Bamiyan between the 3rd to 6th centuries AD, while the
cave complex in the east, including the 38 meter Buddha, a stupa was
built in the 3rd or 4th centuries AD The 55 meter Buddha is believed to
date from the 5th and 6th centuries AD. Historic documentation refers to
celebrations held every year attracting numerous pilgrims and that
offers were made to the monumental statues ( They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region, and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley. Their color faded through time.[11]

Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang visited the site on 30 April 630 AD,[12][13][14] and described Bamiyan in the Da Tang Xiyu Ji
as a flourishing Buddhist center “with more than ten monasteries and
more than a thousand monks”. He also noted that both Buddha figures were
“decorated with gold and fine jewels” (Wriggins, 1995). Intriguingly,
Xuanzang mentions a third, even larger, reclining statue of the Buddha.[4][14] A monumental seated Buddha, similar in style to those at Bamiyan, still exists in the Bingling Temple caves in China’s Gansu province.

The destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas became a symbol of oppression
and a rallying point for the freedom of religious expression. Despite
the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their
past and many were appalled by the destruction.[15][16]

Attacks on the Buddha’s statue

11th to the 20th century

In 1221, with the advent of Genghis Khan, “a terrible disaster befell Bamiyan.”[17][18] Nevertheless, the statues were spared. Later, the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb,
tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues. Another attempt to
destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.[19]

The enormous statues, the male Salsal (”light shines through the universe”) and the (smaller) female Shamama (”Queen Mother”),[20]
as they were called by the locals, did not fail to fire the imagination
of Islamic writers in centuries past. The larger statue reappears as
the malevolent giant Salsal in medieval Turkish tales.[21]

Afghan king Abdur Rahman Khan destroyed its face during a military campaign against the Shia Hazara rebellion.[22] A Frenchman named Dureau had photographed it in 1847.[23]

Preface to 2001, under the Taliban

Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating around the area, announced
his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997, even before he had taken
control of the valley. In 1998 when he battled off the Hizb-i-Wahdat
militia from the area and took control of Bamiyan, Wahed drilled holes
in the Buddhas’ heads for explosives. He was prevented from taking
further action by the local governor and a direct order of Mohammed Omar, although tyres were later burned on the head of the great Buddha.[24]
In July 1999, Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the
preservation of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. Because Afghanistan’s
Buddhist population no longer exists, and the statues were no longer
worshipped, he added: “The government considers the Bamiyan statues as
an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from
international visitors. The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be
destroyed but protected.”[25]
In early 2000, local Taliban authorities asked for UN assistance to
rebuild drainage ditches around tops of the alcoves where the Buddhas
were set.[26]

However, Afghanistan’s radical clerics began a campaign to crack down
on “un-Islamic” segments of Afghan society. The Taliban soon banned all
forms of imagery, music, and sports, including television, in
accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.[27]

In March 2001, the statues were destroyed by the Taliban of Mullah
Omar following a decree issued by him. The Taliban supreme leader Mullah
Omar explained why he ordered the statues to be destroyed in an

I did not want to destroy the Bamiyan Buddha. In fact, some
foreigners came to me and said they would like to conduct the repair
work of the Bamiyan Buddha that had been slightly damaged due to rains.
This shocked me. I thought, these callous people have no regard for
thousands of living human beings - the Afghans who are dying of hunger,
but they are so concerned about non-living objects like the Buddha. This
was extremely deplorable. That is why I ordered its destruction. Had
they come for humanitarian work, I would have never ordered the Buddha’s

Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press
of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan
declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam. “They came
out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam,” said Jamal.

According to UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, a meeting of ambassadors from the 54 member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was conducted. All OIC states—including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three countries that officially recognised the Taliban government—joined the protest to spare the monuments.[29] Saudi Arabia and the UAE later condemned the destruction as “savage”.[30] Although India never recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, New Delhi
offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts in question to
India, “where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind”.
These overtures were rejected by the Taliban.[31] Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf sent Moinuddin Haider to Kabul to try to prevent the destruction, by arguing that it was un-Islamic and unprecedented.[32] According to Taliban minister, Abdul Salam Zaeef,
UNESCO sent the Taliban government 36 letters objecting to the proposed
destruction. He asserted that the Chinese, Japanese, and Sri Lankan
delegates were the most strident advocates for preserving the Buddhas.
The Japanese in particular proposed a variety of different solutions to
the issue, these included moving the statues to Japan, covering the
statues from view, and the payment of money.[33][34] The second edition of the Turkistan Islamic Party’s magazine Islamic Turkistan
contained an article on Buddhism, and described the destruction of the
Buddhas of Bamiyan despite attempts by the Japanese government of
“infidels” to preserve the remains of the statues.[35]

A statement issued by the ministry of religious affairs of the
Taliban regime justified the destruction as being in accordance with
Islamic law.[36]
Abdul Salam Zaeef held that the destruction of the Buddhas was finally
ordered by Abdul Wali, the Minister for the Propagation of Virtue and
the Prevention of Vice.[37]

Dynamiting and destruction, March 2001

Destruction of the site by the Taliban

Site of the larger statue after it was destroyed

Site of the smaller statue in 2005

The statues were destroyed by dynamite over several weeks, starting on 2 March 2001.[38][39]
The destruction was carried out in stages. Initially, the statues were
fired at for several days using anti-aircraft guns and artillery. This
caused severe damage, but did not obliterate them. During the
destruction, Taliban Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal lamented
that, “This work of destruction is not as simple as people might think.
You can’t knock down the statues by shelling as both are carved into a
cliff; they are firmly attached to the mountain”.[40]
Later, the Taliban placed anti-tank mines at the bottom of the niches,
so that when fragments of rock broke off from artillery fire, the
statues would receive additional destruction from particles that set off
the mines. In the end, the Taliban lowered men down the cliff face and
placed explosives into holes in the Buddhas.[41]
After one of the explosions failed to completely obliterate the face of
one of the Buddhas, a rocket was launched that left a hole in the
remains of the stone head.[42]

On 6 March 2001, The Times
quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, “Muslims should be proud of
smashing idols. It has given praise to Allah that we have destroyed
them.”[43] During a 13 March interview for Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel
stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the
international community for economic sanctions: “We are destroying the
statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious

On 18 March 2001, The New York Times
reported that a Taliban envoy said the Islamic government made its
decision in a rage after a foreign delegation offered money to preserve
the ancient works. The report also added, however, that other reports
“have said the religious leaders were debating the move for months, and
ultimately decided that the statues were idolatrous and should be

Then Taliban ambassador-at-large Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi
said that the destruction of the statues was carried out by the Head
Council of Scholars after a Swedish monuments expert proposed to restore
the statues’ heads. Hashimi is reported as saying: “When the Afghan
head council asked them to provide the money to feed the children
instead of fixing the statues, they refused and said, ‘No, the money is
just for the statues, not for the children’. Herein, they made the
decision to destroy the statues”; however, he did not comment on the
claim that a foreign museum offered to “buy the Buddhist statues, the
money from which could have been used to feed children”.[45]

The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas despite protests from the
international community has been described by Michael Falser, a heritage
expert at the Center for Transcultural Studies in Germany, as an attack
by the Taliban against the globalising concept of “cultural heritage”.[46]
The director general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) Koichiro Matsuura called the destruction a
“…crime against culture. It is abominable to witness the cold and
calculated destruction of cultural properties which were the heritage of
the Afghan people, and, indeed, of the whole of humanity.”[47]

Commitment to rebuild

Though the figures of the two large Buddhas are almost completely
destroyed, their outlines and some features are still recognizable
within the recesses. It is also still possible for visitors to explore
the monks’ caves and passages that connect them. As part of the
international effort to rebuild Afghanistan after the Taliban war, the Japanese government and several other organizations—among them the Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, Switzerland, along with the ETH in Zurich—have committed to rebuilding, perhaps by anastylosis, the two larger Buddhas.

Developments since 2002

In April 2002, Afghanistan’s post-Taliban leader Hamid Karzai called the destruction a “national tragedy” and pledged the Buddhas to be rebuilt.[48]

In September 2005, Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammadi,
Taliban governor of Bamiyan province at the time of the destruction and
widely seen as responsible for its occurrence, was elected to the
Afghan Parliament. He blamed the decision to destroy the Buddhas on Al-Qaeda’s influence on the Taliban.[49] In January 2007, he was assassinated in Kabul.

Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei made a 95-minute documentary titled The Giant Buddhas
(released in March 2006) on the statues, the international reactions to
their destruction, and an overview of the controversy. Testimony by
local Afghans validates that Osama bin Laden ordered the destruction and that, initially, Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan opposed it.[50].
A novel titled ‘An Afghan Winter’ provides a fictional backdrop to the
destruction of the Buddhas and its impact on the global Buddhist

Since 2002, international funding has supported recovery and
stabilization efforts at the site. Fragments of the statues are
documented and stored with special attention given to securing the
structure of the statue still in place. It is hoped that, in the future,
partial anastylosis can be conducted with the remaining fragments. In 2009, ICOMOS
constructed scaffolding within the niche to further conservation and
stabilization. Nonetheless, several serious conservation and safety
issues exist and the Buddhas are still listed as World Heritage in Danger.[52]

In the summer of 2006, Afghan officials were deciding on the
timetable for the re-construction of the statues. As they wait for the
Afghan government and international community to decide when to rebuild
them, a $1.3 million UNESCO-funded project is sorting out the chunks of
clay and plaster—ranging from boulders weighing several tons to
fragments the size of tennis balls—and sheltering them from the

The Buddhist remnants at Bamiyan were included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

In 2013, the foot section of the smaller Buddha was rebuilt with iron rods, bricks and concrete by the German branch of ICOMOS.[53]
Further constructions were halted by order of UNESCO, on the grounds
that the work was conducted without the organization’s knowledge or
approval. The effort was contrary to UNESCO’s policy of using original
material for reconstructions, and has been pointed out that it was done
based on assumptions.[54][55]


Grotto painting in 2008

After the destruction of the Buddhas, 50 caves were revealed. In 12 of the caves, wall paintings were discovered.[56]
In December 2004, an international team of researchers stated the wall
paintings at Bamiyan were painted between the 5th and the 9th centuries,
rather than the 6th to 8th centuries, citing their analysis of
radioactive isotopes contained in straw fibers found beneath the
paintings. It is believed that the paintings were done by artists
travelling on the Silk Road, the trade route between China and the West.[57]

Scientists from the Tokyo Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Japan, the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums in France, the Getty Conservation Institute in the United States, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, analysed samples from the paintings,[58] typically less than 1 mm across.[59] They discovered that the paint contained pigments such as vermilion (red mercury sulfide) and lead white (lead carbonate). These were mixed with a range of binders, including natural resins, gums (possibly animal skin glue or egg),[59] and oils, probably derived from walnuts or poppies.[57]
Specifically, researchers identified drying oils from murals showing
Buddhas in vermilion robes sitting cross-legged amid palm leaves and
mythical creatures as being painted in the middle of the 7th century.[56] It is believed that they are the oldest known surviving examples of oil painting, possibly predating oil painting in Europe by as much as six centuries.[57] The discovery may lead to a reassessment of works in ancient ruins in Iran, China, Pakistan, Turkey, and India.[57]

Initial suspicion that the oils might be attributable to
contamination from fingers, as the touching of the painting is
encouraged in Buddhist tradition,[59] was dispelled by spectroscopy and chromatography giving an unambiguous signal for the intentional use of drying oils rather than contaminants.[59] Oils were discovered underneath layers of paint, unlike surface contaminants.[59]

Scientists also found the translation of the beginning section of the original Sanskrit Pratītyasamutpāda Sutra translated by Xuanzang that spelled out the basic belief of Buddhism and said all things are transient.[60]

Another giant statue unearthed

On 8 September 2008, archaeologists searching for a legendary
300-metre statue at the site announced the discovery of parts of an
unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s Parinirvana.[61]


caution sign, 2017

The UNESCO Expert Working Group on Afghan cultural projects convened
to discuss what to do about the two statues between 3–4 March 2011 in Paris. Researcher Erwin Emmerling of Technical University Munich announced he believed it would be possible to restore the smaller statue using an organic silicon compound.[62]
The Paris conference issued a list of 39 recommendations for the
safeguarding of the Bamiyan site. These included leaving the larger
Western niche empty as a monument to the destruction of the Buddhas, a
feasibility study into the rebuilding of the Eastern Buddha, and the
construction of a central museum and several smaller site museums.[63] Work has since begun on restoring the Buddhas using the process of anastylosis,
where original elements are combined with modern material. It is
estimated that roughly half the pieces of the Buddhas can be put back
together according to Bert Praxenthaler, a German art historian and
sculptor involved in the restoration. The restoration of the caves and
Buddhas has also involved training and employing local people as stone
carvers.[64] The project, which also aims to encourage tourism to the area, is being organised by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

The work has come under some criticism. It is felt by some, such as
human rights activist Abdullah Hamadi, that the empty niches should be
left as monuments to the fanaticism of the Taliban, while NPR reported that others believe the money could be better spent on housing and electricity for the region.[65]
Some people, including Habiba Sarabi, the provincial governor, believe
that rebuilding the Buddhas would increase tourism which would aid the
surrounding communities.[65]

Rise of Buddhas with 3D light projection

After fourteen years, on 7 June 2015, a Chinese adventurist couple
Xinyu Zhang and Hong Liang filled the empty cavities where the Buddhas
once stood with 3D laser light
projection technology. The projector used for the installation, worth
approximately $120,000, was donated by Xinyu and Hong, who were saddened
by the destruction of the statues. With the desire of paying tribute,
they requested permission from UNESCO and the Afghan government to do the project. About 150 local people came out to see the unveiling of the holographic statues on Sunday, 7 June 2015.[66][67]


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73 Classical Persian

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شبکه بینش سنجی تحلیلی - دانشگاه تایپیتاکا رایگان و تحقیقاتی رایگان و مرتبط با NEWS از طریق در 105 زبان کلیدی
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Producing 360-degree and virtual reality videos can be exciting–but
also a little complicated because you’re using a camera with multiple
lenses. Try out these suggestions for a more successful shoot!

Directing the audience
Treat the camera like a person
Stitching it all together
Audio and post production

Try it

Plan out exactly what you would need to shoot a video in 360. First,
decide on a viable idea that would work in 360. What would keep your
audience engaged? How can you lead them from one scene to the next?
Decide on the role of the viewer, and the camera placement in each
scene. Identify the crew you’ll need (actors, editors, post-production
staff, etc.) Which ones should have experience with shooting in 360?
With this information, can you create a budget and workplan for your
Check your knowledge
What is a stitch line?

When an actor moves from scene to scene.

A timeline for 360-degree post-production.

The place where the edge of two camera lenses meet.

Lines that appear when you move your 360-degree camera up to the sky.

How can you encourage your audience to look explore your 360-degree video?

Add text or graphical overlays to highlight an object.

Have an actor gaze intently over to where you want the audience to go.

Use sound effects to emphasize a particular place in your video.

All of the above.

What is a stitch line?

hen an actor moves from scene to scene.bove.

Moving the camera with great intensity makes for an exciting experience for the viewer.



360-degree and virtual reality videos can be exciting–but also a
little complicated because you’re using a camera with multiple lenses.
Try out these suggestions for a more successful shoot!…
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Best of Buddha Bar Remix by Emir Selimi
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3:22 - 7:40 Pustiya (Short Version) [feat. Belonoga] - Billy Esteban

7:41-14:20 Valeron & 7even GR - Desert Dreams (Original Mix)

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1 Hour of Russian Folk Music and Slavic Music
Derek & Brandon Fiechter
Published on Jan 27, 2016
Tracklist and other info :

Buy our music here :

iTunes :
Bandcamp :
Amazon mp3 :

Listen to our music on Spotify:

Spotify (Derek) :
Spotify (Brandon) :

Tracklist :
Russian Music:
0:00 – Russian Winter
3:09 – Night in Russia
6:01 – The Bogatyr
9:39 – Tale of the Firebird
12:42 – Gray River Fort
15:56 – Market of the Northlands
19:11 – Old Stone Ruins
Slavic Music:
22:21 – Slavic Lands
25:48 – Growling Bear Tavern
28:50 – Slavic Warriors
31:59 – Woodland Leshy
35:06 – Forest Vila
38:31 – Alkonost
41:45 – Devana
44:52 – Belobog
48:05 – Czech Castle
51:16 – Kingdom of Serbia
54:32 – Polish Town
57:32 – Poland
1:00:40 – Ukrainian Village
These beautiful pictures are from Ivan Aivazovsky (1st pic), Svet-Svet
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The Buddha’s Manifesto on Miracles and Revelation
Doug Smith | October 22, 2012 | 23 Comments

The Kevaddha Sutta* (Dīgha Nikāya 11) opens with Kevaddha, a
householder, who tells the Buddha that there are many potential converts
to the Buddha dhamma living nearby in Nāḷandā. He suggests that the
Buddha get one of his monks to use miracles to excite and amaze them.
This would, he says, be sure to gain many new adherents.

But the Buddha does not assent:

Kevaddha, this is not the way I teach Dhamma to the monks, by
saying: “Go, monks, and perform superhuman feats and miracles for the
white-clothed laypeople!” (1)

Pressed by Kevaddha, the Buddha
clarifies himself. He says he recognizes just three forms of miracle:
certain psychic powers, telepathic mind reading, and instruction in the
dhamma. However, he is only willing to countenance the “miracle of
instruction” in the dhamma when it comes to attracting new adherents.

Against Miracles

The Buddha gives an argument as to why he does not accept using the two
real kinds of miracle, psychic powers and telepathy. While he
recognizes them as real, he also recognizes that they will not convince
the skeptic. The Buddha says that there are certain charms (the Gandhāra
and Maṇika charms, in particular) that are reputed to give one
miraculous powers, and so any skeptic who sees such powers will
attribute them to the work of a charm rather than to the abilities of
the person performing the miracle. If so, of course, the skeptic will
not be convinced that the miracle worker is one with true wisdom.

For this reason, the Buddha says, using psychic powers and telepathy
are not good ways to bring new adherents. “And that is why, Kevaddha,
seeing the danger of such miracles, I dislike, reject and despise them.”

Now, there are several things one can say about the Buddha’s
argument. The translator, Maurice Walshe, claims that the skeptic’s
position is weak: he or she “does not have a really convincing way of
explaining things away. Modern parallels suggest themselves.” (p.
557n.235). In other words, there is little reason to accept the
existence of the Gandhāra and Maṇika charms, and so the Buddha’s skeptic
would only be dismissing these miracles in an ad hoc fashion. Walshe
apparently believes modern skeptics follow the same pattern.

But I
don’t think this is an adequate interpretation of the passage. For one,
Kevaddha also appears familiar with the existence of the Gandhāra and
Maṇika charms, and there is no independent reason for supposing either
he or the Buddha believed them ineffective. If so, then the skeptic’s
argument would have been convincing at the time, if not to a modern ear.

But to go deeper, why should the Buddha care if some skeptic might
misconstrue the source of this miraculous power? Surely many in a large
audience would be convinced by such marvels as becoming invisible,
walking on water, or flying through the air, to take three of the
abilities that fall under the Buddha’s conception of “psychic power”.
Surely many would accept the Buddha as a powerful, knowledgeable
teacher, even if some skeptics were left to one side. So it is perhaps
more accurate to say that the Buddha doesn’t have a convincing way of
explaining why he should not use miraculous powers, if they are
available to him. Or at least he doesn’t present a very convincing
argument in the sutta.

So what is really going on here? Two
possible explanations come to mind. The first is what the Buddha may
have wanted to get across to Kevaddha, the second is a bit subtler.

Perhaps the Buddha is really saying that these miracles don’t bring
people to the dhamma for the right reasons. They are mere circus show;
the sorts of things that stun and delight the crowd but don’t really
instruct. Thus their contrast with the so-called “miracle of
instruction”. In effect, the miracles are but sense delights; the sorts
of things that lead to attachment and craving. The real miracle is not
supernatural at all. It is the ‘miracle’ of the dhamma: of teaching true

The second explanation is that the Buddha may have known
that his miraculous powers were largely or wholly internal and
subjective: thoughts and images in states of deep meditation, instead of
actual invisibility; subtle demonstrations open to interpretation,
unlikely to sway the unconvinced. If so, it’s not only a few crafty
skeptics who would have been unmoved, since powers such as becoming
invisible, walking on water, or flying through the air would not have
been publicly available, or at least not in a way likely to dazzle the
householders. And it is all too easy for a smart cross-examiner, such as
those “hair-splitting marksmen” mentioned in the Cūḷahatthipadopama
Sutta, to unmask apparent examples of telepathy.

The dhamma, on the other hand, is publicly explicable, hard to find fault with, and more likely to convince.

If this is the correct reading, then the Buddha was right to abjure miraculous folderol and stick to true instruction.

Brahmā Behind the Curtain

The second part of the Kevaddha Sutta contains one of the great satires
of the ancient world. Here the Buddha speaks about “a certain monk” of
his order who wanted to know “where the four great elements … cease
without remainder.” He had meditative capacities that gave him access to
the devas, so rather than investigate the dhamma for himself, he
decided just to ask them to give him the right answer.

This monk
went from deva to deva, asking each his question, however each one
pleaded ignorance and passed him to the next, until the monk arrived at
the Great Brahmā himself, claimed Creator of the Universe. But instead
of answering his question, Brahmā replied with a grand oration,
apparently intended to cow the monk into silence:

Monk, I am
Brahmā, Great Brahmā, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing,
All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Ruler, Appointer and
Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. (81)

But the
monk wasn’t intimidated. He asked Brahmā again, and again Brahmā
responded with the list of his great and fearsome qualities. Once again
the monk said, “Friend, I did not ask you that”. The Buddha continues,

Then, Kevaddha, the Great Brahmā took that monk by the arm, led him
aside and said: “Monk, these devas believe there is nothing Brahmā does
not see, there is nothing he does not know, there is nothing he is
unaware of. That is why I did not speak in front of them. But, monk, I
don’t know where the four great elements cease without remainder. … Now,
monk, you just go to the Blessed Lord and put this question to him, and
whatever answer he gives, accept it.” (83)

As the Great Oz would
say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” This is
Buddhist humanism at its best: Brahmā, self-styled Creator of the
Universe, is revealed to be an ignorant blowhard, vainly hiding his
incompetence by pulling the poor monk offstage before confiding in him
the sad truth.

It’s all too easy to say that this story serves
the Buddha well: it’s a satire of the greatest of gods bowing down to
his wisdom. And of course, it is at least that. But it is more besides.

For it is also a rejection of revealed knowledge: the notion that in
order to become wise, all one need do is to ask the right divinity and
have the answer provided, packaged up in a revelation.

Buddhist Skeptical Humanism?

At first glance it might look as though there is little in common
between the two parts of this sutta. First we have Kevaddha asking the
Buddha to use miracles to attract the people of Nāḷandā, and second we
have a monk asking Brahmā how to attain nibbāna.

But in fact both
parts illustrate the same basic point. The parable of Brahmā, like
Kevaddha’s insistence on using miracles to convince, is about the
pitfalls of trying to find answers through miraculous means. Both reject
using the supernatural to make an end-run around the understanding of
reality for oneself, the hard way.

Both also provide implicit warnings against any who would claim to ground their practice on the supernatural.

The world has witnessed many religious and spiritual leaders over the
centuries. It’s unusual to find any who would eschew displays of
supposed miracles or supernormal abilities in order to gain new
followers. And yet it’s clear from the Kevaddha Sutta that the Buddha
preferred to edify rather than astound.

Or not?

Finally, a
word about the translations: the one available on the web from
Thanissaro Bhikkhu includes many paragraphs (indeed, an entire middle
section) that are apparently not original to the Kevaddha Sutta. They
are passages identical to those from the Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1), and
the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (DN 2). It is only by leaving those passages to
one side that we can see what is original and particular to the Kevaddha
itself; and it is only then that we see the point the Buddha may be
trying to make. Maurice Walshe’s translation for Wisdom excises all that
is not original, which clarifies things considerably.

That said,
copied passages under “the miracle of instruction” include such things
as clairaudience, clairvoyance, mind reading, becoming invisible,
walking on water, flying through the air, indeed all the various
miracles which the Buddha says he “dislike, reject, and despise“. So if
we take the complete sutta literally, it would seem that the Buddha
rejects these miracles under their own guise, but accepts them under the
guise of “the miracle of instruction”. And that seems a contradiction.

Perhaps the compilers inserted the passages from the Sāmaññaphala Sutta
in order to explicate the entirety of the Buddhist path, without
realizing that doing so would introduce such a contradiction in the
sutta. Or perhaps more likely they believed that the Buddha’s
supernormal abilities were not to be presented to laypeople as
introductory instruction, but rather as the sort of thing that would
only come up as a matter of course to those fully involved in
monasticism, where they would play no part in recruitment. In the latter
case, neither would the monastics be in the position of the
“hair-splitting marksmen” mentioned above.

Understanding the
sutta in its fullness deprives it of a measure of skeptical and rational
force, at least for a modern audience: the Buddha clearly did not
reject the miraculous outright. He only did so as an aid to winning over
householders, which is no small thing. However this understanding also
provides a caution against misreading the Buddha. For while his message
was humanist, rationalist and empirical, it was also one that accepted
the supernatural categories of his time and culture.

Noting this, of course, need not deprive us of celebrating skepticism and humanism where we find it in the Buddha’s message.

The Kevaddha Sutta* (Dīgha Nikāya 11) opens with Kevaddha, a householder, who tells the Buddha that…
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