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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Criminology as portrayed in Jataka stories

Criminology as portrayed in Jataka stories

Criminological aspects in Jathaka tales
Sudheera Jayawardene
New Vidyadara publication
175 pages. Rs. 400

According to Martin Wickramasinghe, Jataka book is the best work to be introduced for world literature from Sinhalese literature. In fact Jataka tales have pervaded the local culture in many ways. Much literary research has been done on Jathaka tales too.

Prof. Sunanda Mahendra discovered creative aspects in Jataka tales. Dr. D V J Harischandra discovered psychiatric aspects in Jataka tales. Sudheera Jayaweera, a lecturer from Sri Jayawardenepura University has lately brought out a book on criminological aspects in Jataka stories.

The work contains 6 chapters:

1.Introduction and Methodology

2.Theoretical background of the crimes in the Jathaka Stories

3.Jathaka stories and the types of the crimes

4.Deviance behaviour reflected from the Jathaka stories

5.Criminal investigation methods in the Jathaka society

6.Criminal Justice system of the Jathaka society

Jathaka stories reveal the Indian society that existed thousand years ago. There are hardships a social scientist faces when scanning criminological features in an ancient society. Many scholars argue that the present story of the Jathaka story is not appropriate to the development of the plot.

However Jayawardene’s point is that even the present story sometimes exhibit the required criminology factors. For example Thipallatthamiga Jathaka’s present story brings out child exploitation. As the focus of Jathaka stories is religion, the dealing of crime should be done with utmost care.

Jayawardene also mentions that the study of the whole text is not essential to focus on criminology portrayed in the book. Although the super-human power disturbs criminological interpretation, there are helpful instances. Vedabbha Jathaka for instance relates a story about a super-powered saint who fell into the hands of thieves and how the death of both thieves and the saint follows in the aftermath.

The modern research methodology involves analysis based on data collection. However Jathaka stories reveal the social set up of thousand years ago, hence a different method should be adopted. According to the Jathaka tales, there were villages of thieves too.

Some Jathaka stories have superb detective-style qualities. Ummagga Jatakaya is the best example, where the protagonist solves a number of issues with his detective power.

“In Ummagga Jatakaya and Mahasupina Jatakaya there exist almost all the unconscious mechanisms that Freud described over six centuries later – including symbolisation, condensation, displacement and secondary elaboration.” - Dr. D V J Harischandra. – SM

Some works used by the author

1.Criminology by F Muller and Luafer

2.Sociological Research Methods. An Introduction by M Bulmer

3.Foundation of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice by G R Cadwell

4.The Jataka or stories of the Buddha’s former births by E W Cowell

5.The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

6.New Horizons in Research Methodology by N Ratnapala

7.Crime and Punishment in the Buddhist tradition by N Ratnapala

8.The Buddhist Jataka stories and The Russian Novel by Martin Wickramasinghe

Intellectual discussion

THE BUDDHIST COLUMN:

Intellectual discussion

Survival of the Buddhist philosophy totally depends on the association of wise. Why is the survival of the philosophy needed? The Buddhist philosophy has methods of relief for those unhappy in technologically advanced society.

We have got almost everything we need, and our strong need is to be happy. Intellectual discussion is one way to be happy. Intellectual discussion itself is a broad concept. An intellectual can live in any person, not only among university dons and other scholars.

There are people who know only a little, but essential features, whereas we come across erudite scholars interpreting their knowledge in diverse ways.

An erudite scholar may attempt to interpret and publish another book. They hardly attempt to adopt what they have learned into their daily life. People with little, but essential knowledge, are most practical. They attempt to adopt the essential knowledge they have into the normal life. By hearting thousand stanzas will be useless, if you don’t apply them into practice.

Why intellectual discussion? It is basically required to keep on updating your existing knowledge base. This is helpful to tolerate the pains we come across.

For instance, we keep on listening to Dhamma Chakkapavattana Sutta, which describes the natural disasters we face in life. But when we encounter them personally, we become shocked. We have listened to the Sutta, but did not try to realise the contents. An intellectual discussion is required to work on how to adopt the theory into practice.

People in the Buddha’s period did not have the written form to discuss what they have heard. The absence of a written medium could make them remember what they have heard very clear. They all had a sharp memory. Ven. Ananda is the most common example of the memory strength. They could discuss the Dhamma they have heard.

This hardly happens today. We listen to endless sermons almost everyday. Dozens of books on Buddhism are being published regularly. We listen to and read the philosophy everyday, and we hardly have time to contemplate and review what we have heard and read. We do not discuss but add many things to our head. If we can discuss how to apply essential features of the philosophy in daily life, that will wipe out most of our sorrows.

However intellectual discussion does not help always. What we have discussed some time ago will go away from the memory, which is natural. We should keep on discussing.

Engrossed in Dhamma does not mean escaping from the day-to-day life. Dhamma reminds you the nature of life, when you face things like getting sick and decaying body.

How do we get association of wise? It may be hard to find anybody with a sharp knowledge of the essential features of Dhamma. The best thing, in a case like this, is to write down your inspirational ideas on Dhamma. When you read Dhamma Chakkapavattana Sutta, you slowly realise decaying body is something natural which happens to anybody and unavoidable.

However in another occasion, you will be upset to see the decaying body, because the memory of Dhammachakkapavattana Sutta has faded off. You will have to be watchful of the mind in such instances. When some such thing occurs, you should go back to the Sutta, or the inspirational notes you have written down on the Sutta.

When nobody is around to have intellectual discussion, the best person is your self. Discuss with self. Keep on analysing what we have heard on Dhamma.

There is nothing to be frustrated over in this life. Many people are ignorant and they are subject to do ignorant deeds. What the Buddha’s philosophy teaches us is to be indifferent considering the circumstances. And this is what we keep on forgetting, and what we should write down somewhere to be referred whenever it slips our memory.

sachitra@gmail.com

ABHIDHAMMA IN A NUTSHELL >> The Sixth Sense

ABHIDHAMMA IN A NUTSHELL - V:

The Sixth Sense

Imagine a situation where you had become emotional. You were burning with anger or weeping with sadness or laughing with joy. At such instances you may have experienced that change in your blood circulation and your chest area becomes hot or you would feel the situation in your heart.

Recall a situation where you are concentrating hard to solve a difficult mathematical problem. Even though you had seen the mathematical problem from your eyes many things happen inside your head and you will feel some pain, toughness or hardness in your head.

In a written examination you will see the problem from your eyes. But when you answer, from where you recall and retrieve all the required materials?

When you sleep you dream. You hear sounds when dreaming. Do you really acquire objects from five senses when you dream?

When you are relaxing you will recall many things happened in past. You would go to many places from mind. You would call these things as “Memories”.

To acquire forms, sounds, odour, taste and touches we have five sense organs. But from where the above explained objects are acquired? The “Sixth Sense” comes into act at this instance.

Objects enter through the five sense organs. Therefore they are known as “Doors” (Dhvara) and the five sense organs are also known as “Five Sense-doors” (Panchadhvara).

The sixth sense which acquires any other object and subject to any of the scenarios explained above is know as “Mind-door” (Manodhvara) and the objects acquired by the mind-door are known as Dhamma. For example what we call as “Memory” is acquired and processed by the mind-door.

However, whenever an object interacts with any of the five sense-doors it strikes the mind-door as well which is to be explained in future with thought process (chiththa vithi).

Rootless Functional Consciousness - Ahethuka Kriya Chiththas

15 Types of rootless resultant consciousness (ahethuka vipaka chiththas) were discussed in the last article. Following are the 3 types of rootless functional consciousness;

Kriya Chiththas (3)

Functional Consciousness (3)

16. Upekkha Sahagatha Panchadhvarawajjana Chiththa

Five Sense-door adverting consciousness accompanied by indifference

17. Upekkha Sahagatha Manodhvarawajjana Chiththa

Mind-door adverting consciousness accompanied by indifference

18. Somanassa Sahagatha Hasithuppadha Chiththa

Smile-producing consciousness accompanied by pleasure

It was explained in the previous article that dvipanchavinna chiththas arise at the moment of five sense-object interaction and receiving-consciousness (sampatijjana) arises to receive or accept the object and thereafter investigating-consciousness (santhiranaya) arises to investigate the object received by sampatijjana.

If the object is a five sense-object, the consciousness turned towards one of them is Five Sense-door adverting (Panchadhvaravajjana) consciousness, accompanied by indifference (upekkha sahagatha). If it turns towards the mind-door, then it is Mind-door adverting (Manodhvaravajjana) consciousness, accompanied by indifference (upekkha sahagatha).

The ways of smiling

There are six classifications of smile according to Buddhism. (1) Sita - a smile manifesting itself in expression and countenance; (2) Hasita - smile consisting in the slight movements of the lips just enough to reveal the tips of the teeth; (3) Vihasita - laughter giving out a light sound; (4) Upahasita - laughter accompanied by the movement of the head, shoulders, and arms; (5) Apahasita - laughter accompanied by the shedding of tears; and (6) Atihasita - an outburst of laughter accompanied by the forward and backward movements of the entire body from head to foot.

Arhaths smile only in the ways of Sita and Hasitha. The third kriya chiththa arises at the time an Arhath smiles (hasithuppadha) and it is accompanied by pleasurable feeling (somanassa sahagatha).

There are 20 functional consciousnesses on the 89 types of consciousness. The first two rootless functional consciousnesses (ahethuka kriya chiththas) are the only kriya chiththas arise for ordinary people (puthajjana). The rest of the 18 arise only for Arhaths.

To summarise, following are the 18 types of ahethuka chitthas which are categorised into three classes which was discussed in this article and the previous;

1. Immoral Resultant Consciousness (Akusala Vipaka Chiththa) - 7

2. Moral Resultant Consciousness (Kusala Vipaka Chiththa) - 8

3. Functional Consciousness (Kriya Chiththa) - 3

Reference

Abhidharma Margaya by Ven. Prof. Renukane Chandhawimala Thera,

A Manual of Abhidhamma by Ven. Narada Maha Thera

Path to ‘non extremist’ living - The Buddhist way

Path to ‘non extremist’ living - The Buddhist way

“Oh! Uncle, I stepped on that snail and it was completely crushed, I feel very bad of that.” My colleague’s 8 year old son lamented.

“Don’t worry son, you did not purposely crush the poor snail, so you would not commit a sin.” I responded to him.

“In fact, the Buddha has told us that if you kill someone by accident or without the thought of it, there won’t be a sin in it. That is why it is not an extreme religion, many things happen without our knowledge this is why we need to look around us and be vigilant.” I added.

‘Extremism’ along with ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘fanaticism’ and ‘nepotism’ are some common tags we come across in the modern world. Inception of globalisation has enhanced the utility of these words among socio-political avenues.

Due to interactive media these words have been widely used to render lucrative finances for certain hidden agendas.

However, one must critically analyse why and how these concepts have unfolded over the years.

Sri Lanka, a country with a 2550-year history of Buddhism, can easily brag for its great diversity among many cultures largely due to Buddhist influence and its nature for being a ‘non-extremist’ religion.

Buddhism, as many would acknowledge, is a governing philosophy that has survived through the years in Sri Lanka despite the European invasion and colonisation for over 500 years. So it is significant how it survived in a tiny country like Sri Lanka with a clear majority of Buddhists and others who respect equally.

The Buddha has vehemently shown the lay person that ‘extreme’ nature of living is detrimental to one’s life hence the ‘Middle Path’, (Medum Piliwetha or Madhyama Prathipadawa = abstaining from addictive sense-pleasures and self-mortification) must be cultivated.

He further envisaged that the middle-path leads to Nirvana, which means following of the Noble Eightfold Path (Ari ataga maga or Arya ashtanginga margaya): right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

The nature of the ‘non extremism’ leads to fruitful relations among various communities and most notably the multi-cultural societies of the present day.

It is believed that during the time of the Buddha there lived six known Shramanas or philosophers in India: Purana Kassapa (Amoralism - denies any reward or punishment for either good or bad deeds), Makkhali Gosala (Fatalism - we are powerless; suffering is pre-destined), Ajita Kesakambali (Materialism - with death, all is annihilated), Pakudha Kaccayana (Eternalism - Matter, pleasure, pain and the soul are eternal and do not interact), Niganta Nataputta or Jaina Mahaveera (Restraint - be endowed with, cleansed by and suffused with the avoidance of all evil) and finally Sanjaya Belatthaputta (Agnosticism - I don’t think so.

“I don’t think in that way or otherwise. I don’t think not or not not.”). The aforementioned philosophers were well respected by their followers but logically and conveniently sidelined by the Buddha’s vision of ‘middle-path’ or the non-extremism backed up by Buddhist practical living style.

This was even more obvious when the Buddha expressed that food may be required upon hunger prior to listening Dhamma.

Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike can discover more from this great vision of the middle path or the ‘Non-extremism’ for our contemporary socio-political issues too.

Prime example for such agenda is the so-called ‘war’ in Sri Lanka. The war was primarily created by a segment of separatist extremism than a meaningful justifiable cause.

It was inevitable that such wars were created in the past too by power hungry sectors of extreme nature to reap financial gain than that for constructive humanity.

Some foreign influences vie with different agendas of extremeness which leads to misconception and bewilderment of many Buddhist values to tarnish the great religion.

However, as a philosophy the greatness of Buddhism of being a ‘non extremist’ religion relies on the expediency and its followers with virtues.

--------------------------Daily News --------------

Sunday, September 21, 2008

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The end of Alekeshwara - Mahavamsa

The end of Alekeshwara
This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake Edited and translated by Kamala Silva Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. In both Gorakana and Dematagoda, minister Alakeshwara's armies attacked the Jaffna army and serious fighting continued. The soldiers of Jaffna were defeated. Their ships were at anchor in Panadura harbour. They were all destroyed by the Sinhala soldiers. They even blocked the flight of the few enemy soldiers who could save their lives. In this manner, the country was saved from the enemy. Once the situation improved, King Buwanekabahu came to Gampola.

2. Scholars have come across an inscription put up, in the 9th year of this king's rule. This inscription has been found in a place called 'Sagama' in the Kandy district. This inscription mentions two important things. One - a clue to the effect that there was an invasion by Aryachakravarti and the other to say that there were many enemies for both Alakeshwara and his brother Devamantri. They have been helped by the God Natha. God Natha had appeared in their dreams and told them what to do. They are supposed to have followed this advice.

3. As they acted according to the advice of the God, they were able to defeat the enemy. These little details, cannot be ignored completely, saying it was just a case of belief in gods. Whatever it may be, some scholars point out that King Vickramabahu III ruled at least for 18 years. His successor was King Buwanekabahu V. He became king in the 15th year of King Vickramabahu's rule.

4. When events are considered in this manner, King Vickramabahu's year of kingship, could be either 1371 AD or 1372 AD. That is the year in which Buwanekabahu V came to power. Along with this, there comes another theory. That is to say that this Buwanekabahu belonged to the Alaskeshwara
generation. In a book of poetry, it says that Buwanekabahu's mother, Queen Jayasiri was married to Alakeshwara and his brother.

5. In yet another source, he is referred to as Alagakkonara Buwanekabahu. However, these two kings were both nominal kings. The administration was done by the minister Alagakkonara or Alakeshwara. He was the real ruler of the country. In a book written in 1386 AD there is a reference to him as – 'Alakeshwara Lankadhipathi' – meaning Alakeshwara the ruler of Lanka. His brother Attanayake is also described in detail.

6. For a period of about 20 years, this Alagakkonara had been the most powerful person in the country. It is not only because of his military strength and political success that he became famous but also because of his great contribution to Buddhism, literature and education. The year of death of this famous man, is not clearly stated. It is guessed that it could be either 1382 or 1392 AD.

7. After his demise, it is his son, who succeeded him. He was Kumara Alakeshwara and is also referred to as Alagakkonara. Because he took the name Kumara also for use, there is reason to believe that he was another son of Queen Jayasiri. It was for a very short period that Kumara Alakeshwara could rule. The deceased Alakeshwara's sister's son, wrested power from him.

8. He was Veera Alakeshwara, by name. In certain places, he is referred to as Alagakkonara V. His period of rule was also short. His younger brother wanted to come to power. So the two brothers fought a battle in Raigama, their home town. Veerabahu won and Veera Alakeshwara fled. He had gone overseas.

The Sunday Times

Is it good to eat meat as a human ?

Eating meat

By D P Atukorale

Lakbima News

Living beings (animals, including men) can be classified into the categories according to what they eat for survival:
1) Most carnivores eat meat or flesh
2) Most herbivores eat only herbs or vegetables
3) Omnivores eat both flesh and herbs.
Uncivilised people in ancient times were mostly omnivores. Some in fact practiced cannibalism. On becoming civilised, they gave up eating flesh of others and learnt to live on herbs. The evolution of modern religions gave an impetus towards this end. Ancient religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism gave pride of place to a way of life sans evil deeds. However ,Buddhism became the most compassionate religion of all. In the case of other monotheistic religions or revealed religions which attribute the creation of everything to Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah, their followers were given herbs for meat (food) at the beginning.
If Jews, Christians and Muslims truly believe in their Holy Scriptures (Torah/ Gospel/ Al Quran) and understand them, they must invariably be pure vegetarians, but not Buddhists who may partake in (a) flesh of animals that meet with natural death (b) remnants of carcasses of animals left behind by carnivores who kill the animals or (c) flesh of animals killed not for the purpose of obtaining flesh for sale or consumption.
Buddhists who observe the first precept that “they will abstain from killing” do not endorse wilful killing of any beings in any manner under any circumstances.
The original food (a vegetarian diet) for sustenance given to the adherents of the above three categories of monotheistic religions is described in unwavering terms in the Holy Bible, Chapter “Genesis” vide Genesis, 1:30: “To every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat” (food).

Sacrificed animals

“Thou shall not kill” akin to “I will abstain from killing” in Buddhism is one of the Ten commandments (Holy Bible/ Guidance of Mercy (Al Quran) that was inscribed in Jehovah/Lord God/ Allah’s own handwriting in the stone tables/tablets, to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Men in their ignorance had sacrificed animals to unseen imaginary Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah in the past, but did not partake of the sacrificed meat as food until Noah, after the great Biblical deluge, ate the meat of the sacrificed animals containing blood without the prior permission of Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah as everything on earth was destroyed by floods that prevailed over 200 days. This incident compelled Jehovah/ Lord God/ Allah to make flesh of animals devoid of blood lawful for man to eat. The problem is that it is impossible to obtain flesh devoid of blood even by draining the blood completely.
Scientifically it is impossible for any person to get meat (flesh) without blood as, even after cutting the neck vessels (carotid arteries and jugular veins) all the blood of the animal (eg. cow) cannot be drained away by present day methods of slaughtering, as far as I am aware.
In the old days many uneducated people believed that when an animal got an infection, all the organisms (bacteria, etc) were found only in the blood and this maybe the reason to drain some of the blood of an animal. When animals and man develop an infection due to certain organisms such as bacteria, veterinary surgeons and doctors know that the bacteria is present in almost all the organs and blood of animals and men.

Meat Prohibited To Jews

For Jews, blood, carcasses of animals that die of natural causes and flesh of unclean animals are prohibited. For Muslims, the following four things are prohibited according to Al Quran (a) blood (b) carcasses of animals (c) swine flesh (D) flesh of animals not sacrificed to Allah. So for Muslims swine is the only animals that fall into the category of unclean animals. As far as I am aware the flesh of dogs, cats, crocodiles or even elephants can be consumed by Muslims as only pork has been prohibited.
According to Buddhism (a) alms containing flesh of animal carcasses that die through accidents, goring and other natural causes where there was no intention of killing the animals for consumption of their flesh, (b) carcasses discarded by hunters after obtaining their skin, horns or tusks where the killing was carried out with the intention of supplying flesh to satisfy hunger, (c) eaten and leftovers of the carcasses of animals killed by carnivorous beasts like lions, tigers, leopards, whose motive is only to satisfy their hunger, are suitable to be partaken by individuals (except for Muslims, Jews and Christians who are prohibited even to eat carcasses). The above three items (a), (b) and (c) are suitable (i) to offer as alms to the Enlightened Buddha and other enlightened monks (arahants) who have already eradicated the craving not to be born again, (ii) for laymen to consume as it will not tarnish the first precept they have undertaken to observe as a life long pledge.
Buddha had admonished his followers not to deal in five trades (buying and selling) as it would encourage killing (destruction of life), harming or causing death to animals and mankind. They are as follows.

a) Sale or buying of animals for slaughter (killing)
b) Sale or buying of flesh of animals killed
c) Sale or buying of arms and ammunition that will be used for killing
d) Sale or buying of poisonous, harmful drugs (such as insecticides used for killing)
e) Sale or buying of intoxicants (alcohol, heroine, hashish, opium)
f) Is the selling of flesh by Muslims allowed according to Al Quran?

Ramadan Festival

Religious Festivals

Ramadan Festival

Lakbima News

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Islam uses a lunar calendar and each month begins with the sighting of the new moon.
Because the lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than the solar calendar used elsewhere, Islamic holidays “move” each year. It is the Islamic month of fasting (sawm), in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience, sacrifice and humility. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of God, and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance into the future, ask for help in refraining from everyday evils and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds.

Prominent event

Muslims believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.
The most prominent event of this month is the fasting which should be practiced by all Muslims. Every day during the Blessed month of Ramadan Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and perform the fajr prayer. They do not eat or drink anything after this prayer is said, until the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due. Muslims may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set, until the next morning’s fajr prayer.

In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an. During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam and to avoid obscene and irreligious sights and sounds.

Events of Ramadan

Laylat ul- Qadr literally the “Night of Decrees” or “Night of Measures,” is the anniversary of two very important dates in Islam that occurred in the month of Ramadan. Muslims believe that it was the night in which the Qur’an was revealed from God to Samaa Adunya (the sky of the world we live in). The Qur’an was revealed over many years to the Prophet. Muslims believe that any acts of worship undertaken on this night are rewarded in multiple thousands in comparison to the same act of worship done on any other day.
The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast; a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor, everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.

A sense of generosity and gratitude colors these festivities. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadan.
As the month draws to a close, Muslims are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making contributions to mosques.

Anagarika Dharmapala(1864-1933)

Anagarika Dharmapala(1864-1933)


When talking about national heroes, we can’t forget the name of Anagarika Dharmapala. He was a pioneer in the revival of Buddhism in India after it had been virtually extinct there for several centuries, and he was the first Buddhist in modern times to preach the Dharma in three continents: Asia, North America, and Europe. After 144 years of this great man’s birth let us think about his vision deeply.

Lifestyle

He was born Don David Hewavitarne in Colombo, 17 September 1864, to Don Carolis Hewavitharana and Mallika Dharmagoonewardena. Sri Lanka was then a British colony known as Ceylon, so Hewavitarne’s state education was a Christian one. He attended Christian College, Kotte and the Colombo Academy. But from his young days David liked to conform according to the Buddhism and very soon he came under the influence of two Buddhist leaders of the time, Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera and Miggettuwatte Sri Gunananda Thera. Thus he developed a great attachment to the Buddhist monks. We can get an idea about how much he was attached to the Buddhist monks by one of his statements:
“In contrast to my wine-drinking, meat-eating and pleasure-loving missionary teachers, the Bhikkhus were meek and abstemious. I loved their company and would sit quietly in a corner and listen to their wise discourse, even when it was far above my head.”

Religious contribution

The young Dharmapala helped Colonel Olcott in his work, particularly by acting as his translator. Dharmapala also became quite close to Madame Blavatsky, who advised him in the study of Pali and to work for the good of humanity - which is what he did. It was at this time that he changed his name to Dharmapala (meaning “Guardian of the Dharma”).
In 1891 Anagarika Dharmapala was on a pilgrimage to the recently restored Mahabodhi Temple, where Siddhartha Gautama - the Buddha - attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in India. Here he experienced a shock to find the temple in the hands of a Saivite priest, the Buddha image transformed into a Hindu icon and Buddhists barred from worship. As a result, he began an agitation movement.
The Mahabodhi society at Colombo was founded in 1891 but its offices were soon moved to Calcutta the following year in 1892.
One of it’s primary aims was the restoration to Buddhist control of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, the chief of the four ancient Buddhist holy sites. To accomplish this, Dharmapala initiated a lawsuit against the Brahmin priests who had held control of the site for centuries.
After a protracted struggle, this was successful, with the partial restoration of the site to the management of the Maha Bodhi Society in 1949.
Due to the efforts of Dharmapala, the site of the Buddha’s parinibbana (physical death) at Kushinagar has once again become a major attraction for Burmese Buddhists, as it was for many centuries previously. Mahabodhi Movements in 1890s held the Muslim rule in India responsible for the decay of Buddhism in India. Anagarika Dharmapala did not hesitate to lay the chief blame for the decline of Buddhism in India at the door of Muslim fanaticism.
In 1893 Dharmapala was invited to attend the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago as a representative of “Southern Buddhism” - which was the term applied at that time to the Theravada.
He was a great success and by his early thirties he was already a global figure, continuing to travel and give lectures and establish viharas around the world during the next forty years. At the same time he concentrated on establishing schools and hospitals in Ceylon and building temples and viharas in India.
Among the most important of the temples he built was one at Sarnath, where the Buddha first taught.
Anagarika Dharmapala’s service is of much historical significance both to India and Sri Lanka and even today we are guided by some of his mature views.
He died at Sarnath, 29 April 1933 and his last words were “Let me be reborn. I would like to be born again twenty-five times to spread Lord Buddha’s Dhamma.” His was a life of rich dedication which every human being should strive to emulate.


---------- Lakbima News ---------

Watch "Knight Rider" from this week on "NBC" and ABC TV Streams outside the USA

Howto watch "Knight Rider" from this week on "NBC" and ABC TV Streams outside the USA

This's not my idea and extracted from This Page.
If you know more than this information please let's know via this site or make a link to that site ,
Thanks---- Priyantha,


Now, Read it,,...........................

Posted by Martin in Browsing Tags: , , , , ,

ABC started their streaming service on their website today. Users from the USA are able to watch episodes of Lost, Desperate Houswives, Alias and others right from the website. Unfortunatly they check your IPs origin and decline access if the whois turns out to be from outside the USA. But as always, there is a way around this restriction.

This is slighty complex but you should get used to the procedure. All you need is a http proxy that is hosted inside the USA and does not spill your IP address. To achieve this you need a application that checks proxy servers for those variables. I recommend Charon for this task but you could use other tools as well.

Download Charon from the website mentioned, you don´t need to install it at all, just extract the contents to a directory of your choice.

Fire it up, you have no proxy list yet so you could use google to find some lists or let charon do that for you. Simply select Check Proxies and then Scan Search Engines for new Proxies. Charon will find some proxies that are then displayed in the table. Those are unverified, now select Check Proxies and Check Anonymity of all Proxies. This might take some time. If you only recieve bad and timeouts you have to change one option in charon.

Select Connect Options and chose Use External Judge(s).

Let it test the proxies. If you have enough good ones or a finished test sort the proxies by the Country tab. Only USA proxies are working so we need one of those. The Anonymity tab should state YES. If both are correct right click the line and select Copy to clipboard and Copy selected IP:Port.

Open your browser and paste the proxy address into its proxy settings. For firefox you select Tools >> Options >> Connection Settings >> Manual Proxy Configuration and add the proxy and port there. Close the options and visit the abc streaming site. If you see a Launch button you are ready to enjoy the tv shows. If not try another proxy from the list.

I checked the service with this proxy and it worked flawlessly: 192.104.67.250 port:8080

Enjoy.....................................................................................

Friday, September 19, 2008

I've got this via E-Mail To Publish on this site, For the sake of children

To view all the post, must go to the "No Style" mood , Of Mozila FireFox's tool bar,Select,
View >> Page Style >> No style


Social Media News Release
Your click could mean $1.5 million for
malnourished children around the world.

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International Medical Corps Matched With Top 25 American Express Members Project, “Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children”
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International Medical Corps has been matched to one of the Top 25 in American Express’ Members Projects, ‘Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children.’

Chosen out of 1,190 projects, “Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children” is now eligible to receive up to $1.5 million in funding. The project with the most votes receives $1.5 million, 2nd receives $500,000, 3rd $300,000, and 4th and 5th $100,000. The funding – made possible by your votes – would bring a vital lifeline to hungry and malnourished children around the world.

We need your help between now and September 29th. Voting is easy and doesn’t cost a thing! In just a click, you can save the lives of thousands of malnourished children. Click here to vote:

For severely malnourished children, we offer a step-by-step treatment program that gives them what they need to recover, including nutrient-dense food supplements like the peanut-based product, Plumpy'Nut. Our comprehensive monitoring system saves more than 90 percent of children being treated in our feeding centers. Being one of the Top 5 would mean our nutrition could reach more children around the world who need our help.
CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

Hunger and malnutrition kill more people in the world than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. As food prices rise, this funding is even more critical. More people are being driven deeper into poverty trying to afford basic staples. Many have nothing to eat at all. Your vote makes it possible for fewer young lives to be lost because they do not have enough to eat.

Getting the word out to your friends and family makes a huge difference! Forward this link to a friend and you bring us that much closer to the $1.5 million to help malnourished children around the world!

About International Medical Corps



International Medical Corps (IMC) is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs.

Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, IMC is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide.
By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest risk, and with the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergency situations, IMC rehabilitates devastated health care systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance.


Help IMC


Double your impact. Donate today. Your gift is matched before October 31st.

International Medical Corps has received a pledge of $100,000 in matching funds to provide vital health care to millions of children and families suffering in the global food crisis and other emergencies around the world. Every donation made before October 31st will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. That means that we can double every dollar you provide, multiplying your gift and reaching more children and families who so desperately need our help.


Did you know that hunger and malnutrition kill more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined? As food prices soar, billions of people around the world are more vulnerable to malnutrition and severe food insecurity. Malnutrition often puts children at risk for malaria, diarrhea and respiratory infections – creating a vicious cycle. We see the impact of this emergency at our feeding sites and clinics everyday. By making a donation, you provide a lifeline for children and families who desperately need our help.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anagarika Dharmapala - Illustrious son of Lanka

Anagarika Dharmapala - Illustrious son of Lanka

The 144th birth anniversary of the most illustrious son of Lanka of the 18th century falls today.

Dharmapala was born to a rich aristocratic family of Southern Lanka on 17 September 1864. His parents were Mudliyar Don Carolis Hewavitharana and Mallika.

A major portion of their family silver had to be spent for the upliftment of Dhamma education and the propagation of the Buddha Dhamma. It was because one of their sons, Don David trod the path of the Buddha Dhamma. Young David had his primary education in the Catholic Missionary School Pettah (St. Mary’s) and St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena and later at the Christian Missionary school Kotte (St. Thomas’).

He learnt the Sinhala language and Buddha Dhamma from erudite monks, Rev. Migettuwatte Gunananda and Rev. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala theras.

Dharmapala left school to join the public service as a clerk in 1883. His public service career was limited to three years as he left the service in 1886 to devote his full time for religious activities, joining the Theosophical Society, headed by an American, Col. Henry Steele Olcott. Later, he became the secretary of the society. By now, he changed his Biblical name Don David to Dharmapala Hewavitharana. The Buddhist Theosophical Society, under his guidance was able to establish Buddhist schools throughout the island which saw the birth of Ananda, Nalanda, Mahinda, Dharmaraja Colleges etc., for boys and Visahaka, Mahamaya, Sangamitta etc., for girls. He not only concentrated on education, but also contributed towards the upliftment of the rural economy by starting vocational training centres for carpentry, missionary, handloom textiles and other rural cottage industries. He traversed the entire length and breath of the country, propagating the doctrine of the Buddha in a specially improvised vehicle for this purpose. The families in the hill country associated with his ‘Dhamma Yatras’ were the late A. Ratnayake family, the late Prof. Tennakoon Wimalananda’s family, Beddewela and Dolapihilla families. The living members of these families remember with nostalgia the time spent with Dharmapala, who stayed with them on his ‘Dhamma’ missions in the hill country. The oldest living member of the Beddewela family is 96-year-old Dhatusena Beddewela and the oldest living lady of the Ratnayake family is the 90-year-old sister of the late A. Ratnayake, Mrs. Keppetipola of Matale.

The Landmark of his career began when he met a Russian lady, Mrs. Blavatsky with whom he went to Adayar, South India to study Theosophy.

Role in India

By this time, he had studied the facts from the book, ‘Light of Asia’ by Edwin Arnold which was featured in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ in London. The facts mentioned in the book relating to the atrocious situation of the Buddhists, moved Dharmapala to such an extent that he vowed to fight against such situations, forming a Buddhists Protection Committee and being its secretary from 1886 March to 1890. He participated in a ‘Dhamma’ convention in Adayar.

After this convention, he visited Isipatana in January 1891, accompanied by a Japanese Bhikku, Koshan Gunarathana. They came to Gaya on 22 January and he kept his forehead on the ground and made this strong commitment to clear the premises from foreign domination. The entry made in his personal diary states thus. "An soon as I touched with my forehead the ‘Vajirasana’ a sudden impulse came to my mind. It prompted me to stop here and take care of the sacred spot, so sacred that nothing in this world is equal to this place where prince Sakiyasingha gained Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree."

This incident saw the birth of the ‘Maha Bodhi’ Society on 31 April 1891, under the patronage of Hikkaduwa Sri Sumangala thero. Dharmapala became the secretary of this organization. It is recorded that he donated Rs. 1000.00 to the then Governor, Sir William Manning for the supply of rations to the poor who were hit by a famine in Sri Lanka in 1919. This was the same Governor who was in India when Dharmapala was ordered to leave India by the Courts.

The Governor issued instructions to the Indian IGP not to provide any security to Dharmapala and to secretly observe his movements in India. Buddhism spread in the whole of Asia long before Christianity and Islam. The holy site at Isipatana was destroyed by Mohamad Ghori while Budhagaya, Nalanda and Wickramashila were razed by Bhaktiyar Kilni.

Buddhist places of worship in Kashmir were destroyed by Sikandar. When Dharmapala visited Saranath in January 1891, it was a place for hog breading. Only an area belonging to the Jains, where there was a shrine spared by the hog breeders. It was in January 1901 that Dharmapala was able to purchase a block of land from Isipatana. Today, there are eight schools here managed by the ‘Maha Bodi’ Society. One of these schools was funded by the mother of our hero, who was 85 years old at the time. The school started in June 1904 was funded by Lady Foster. This area was known as ‘Kasirata’ in the olden days.

The writer was able to enjoy the splendour of the area during a visit in March last year. This was possible only due to the untiring efforts of Dharmapala, who brought back the pristine glory of the area. He was not only be able to get the Vesak Poya of 24 May 1918 gazette as a public holiday but also was able to get a Vesak holiday for all the Buddhist children attending schools in Calcutta, Bengal and other cities. It was, Dharmapala who rescued Budhagaya from Saivite Mahanta.

He had to go to courts on many occasions to stop Mahanta from defacing the Buddha statues. He was also jailed as a result of his Buddhist activities. For a period of about 40 years, he lived in Calcutta Benaris Budhagaya and other places holy to Buddhists to protect and safeguard places of Buddhist worship. He corresponded frequently with the Governors of Bihar, Orissa, Patna and such other districts to look after the interests of the Buddhists the world over. Having lived in India for 44 years, he participated in the second anniversary of the ‘Moolagandakuti Vihara’ restoration held on 11 November 1932, with the participation of a distinguish gathering, including Sri Jawaharlal Nehru, his wife, daughter Indira and sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit on 16 January 1933. A ‘Seemamalaka’ area of 50x 50ft with eight stone pillars was built and Dharmapala was ordained as Rev. Siri Devamitta Dharmapala.

The then Anunayaka of the Malwatte Maha Vihara Ven. Madugalla Sidharta, the two Principals of Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara and 10 other senior monks from Sri Lanka participated in this auspicious occasion held in Benaris, where Rev. Siri Devamitta Dharmapala obtained Higher Ordination. Rev. Devamitta Dharmapala lived hardly four months after this event and passed away on 29 April, 1933. The whole Buddhist world mourned the demise of this great son of Lanka.

His name will be honoured and remembered by generations of Buddhists the world over. (Some facts of this article are from the book Anagarika Dharmapala by Rev. Kahawatte Siri Sumeda Thero.)The Island

The Five Sense organs

The Five Sense organs

The first five immoral resultant consciousness and moral resultant consciousness are together called as Dvipanchavinnana as they arise on five sensual organs

at the time they acquire objects related to them

Mind or consciousness is not a single entity. So far some classes and types of consciousness have been elaborated. It has already been explained that consciousness arises in six places: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body (panchindriya) and mind (mano).

When an object is captured by eye, consciousness arise and similar with other places. However, it is not that only one consciousness arises when one of these sensual faculties met with an object. There is a series of chiththas arising and that process is called “Thought Process” (Chiththa Vithi) which is to be explained in future.

Rootless Consciousness (Ahethuka Chiththas)

Out of 89 types of consciousness 2 moha mulika chiththas are caused by one root (ekahethuka) of delusion or ignorance (moha). Rest of the 69 are caused by 2 (dvihethuka) or 3 (thrihethuka) of the six roots (lobha, dwesha, moha or alobha, adwesha, amoha) and thus 71 of them arise with roots (Sahethuka). Remaining 18 chiththas are called Rootless Consciousness (Ahethuka Chiththas) by means as they arise without any of the six roots (hethu). Thorough knowledge on ahethuka chiththas is necessary in understanding the thought process as they arise during a thought process.

18 types of ahethuka chitthas are categorised into three classes:

1. Immoral Resultant Consciousness (Akusala Vipaka Chiththa) - 7

2. Moral Resultant Consciousness (Kusala Vipaka Chiththa) - 8

3. Functional Consciousness (Kriya Chiththa) - 3

An object of a visible form interacts with eyes. There is a particular piece of eye which acquires the visible object and the consciousness arise at that point is known as Eye-consciousness (Chakkhu Vinnana). Similarly when ear, nose, tongue and body met with objects of sound, odour, taste and touches the corresponding vinnana chiththas arise.

When one sees a beautiful painting, his or her mind fills with happy feelings. Conversely seeing some ugly scenery makes ones mind filled with unhappy feelings.

When five sensual organs acquire desirable objects the rootless resultant consciousness becomes moral (kusala vipaka) else they are immoral (akusala vipaka).

The first five immoral resultant consciousness and moral resultant consciousness are together called as Dvipanchavinnana as they arise on five sensual organs at the time they acquire objects related to them. When acquiring an undesirable object by the body the body-consciousness (chakkhu vinnanaya) is accompanied by pain (dhukkha sahagatha) and for a desirable object it is accompanied by happiness (sukha sahagatha). Other 4 pairs of dvipanchavinnas are accompanied by indifference (upekkha sahagatha).

Dvipanchavinna chiththas arise at the moment of sense-object interaction and then consciousness arises to receive or accept the object. That moment of consciousness is called Receiving-consciousness (Sampatijjana) which arises with indifference feeling (upekkha sahagatha). Thereafter the object received by sampatijjana is investigated and that consciousness is called Investigating-consciousness (Santhiranaya).

While immoral resultant consciousness (akusala vipaka chiththa) consists of only one investigating-consciousness accompanied by indifference feeling (upekkha sahagatha), investigating-consciousness in moral resultant consciousness (kusala vipaka chiththa) contains one more accompanied by pleasurable feeling (somanassa sahagatha).

All above 15 rootless resultant consciousnesses (akusala vipaka chiththas) arise without any of the six roots and at the early stage of a thought process. They are followed by either of the two adverting consciousness (dhvaravajjana chiththas) in the 3 types of rootless functional consciousness (ahethuka kriya chiththas).

Reference

Abhidharma Margaya by Ven. Prof. Rerukane Chandhawimala Thera,

A Manual of Abhidhamma by Ven. Narada Maha Thera

the 144th Birth Anniversary of Anagarika Dharmapala

Today is the 144th Birth Anniversary of Anagarika Dharmapala :

A man with untiring spiritual effort

Dharmapala spent in India about 40 years of his life of 69. He worked day and night for Buddhism revival in India. He enlisted the co-operation of

influential men in India and Asian

countries those days for this effort and succeeded in establishing a strong Buddhist presence in India.

Born on September 17, 1864 as Don David Hewavitharne, the Anagarika Dharmapala, who was instrumental in reviving Buddhism in India, also played a central role in changing the minds of Sri Lankan people and made them demand freedom. He was an evangelist, religion-revivalist, social reformer, freedom-fighter and journalist all in one.

Dharmapala was drawn towards the Theosophists at a very early age. That was when he was 14 and joined the S. Thomas’ College in Colombo in 1878. He came to learn about the Theosophical Society and its founders, Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky. Dharmapala frequented to the Theosophical Society, questioning and learning about religions, their philosophy and theosophy, etc.

A delegation of Theosophists came to Sri Lanka in May, 1880. Meeting them in Colombo was an event of permanent delight to Dharmapala. He listened to the speech of Col. Olcott and lost no time in expressing his desire to join the Theosophical Society. Col. Olcott was prepared to admit him even though he was under-aged, for in Dharmapala he saw a mature and sharp mind that can understand non-material/out-of-world things. Sure he was cut out for a different role in the world. The young Dharmapala began to feel that his dreams of a higher life were beginning to come true. With the permission of his parents, Dharmapala left them to do full time work in Theosophical headquarters. He worked hard for the cause of Theosophists in Sri Lanka and enriched himself.

Dharmapala went back to Colombo and was always wailing about the condition of holy places of the Buddha in India. As a first step he founded Maha Bodhi Society on May 31, 1891. The Society stands today, for the preservation of the illustrious heritage that Buddhism has donated to the world. Having started originally with branches in India and several countries of Asia, now the Maha Bodhi Societies have expanded to Europe, United Kingdom and United States of America. The society now reaches to 117 centres of service in the world.

The most momentous landmark in the journey of Buddhism to the Western World was the participation of Anagarika Dharmapala in the World’s Parliament of Religion at Chicago in 1893. The fascinating, magnetic personality of Dharmapala created a tremendous impact., and his speech on Buddha stirred the religious leaders assembled there.

After the first 25 years which he spent in Sri Lanka, Dharmapala was to live another 44 years. He spent some 90% of that period living abroad. He travelled around the world five times, visited Japan on four occasions.

In 1925 and 1926, he toured Europe and the United States before spending a considerable time in London where he established the first Buddhist temple of Europe in 1926. He never settled anywhere (except India) very long, and in a sense he did not live “abroad” at all.

His journal the Maha Bodhi, published his travel schedules and his visits so that his followers in Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Japan and the West could reach him.

Dharmapala spent in India about 40 years of his life of 69. He worked day and night for Buddhism revival in India. He enlisted the co-operation of influential men in India and Asian countries those days for this effort and succeeded in establishing a strong Buddhist presence in India.

Anagarika Dharmapala was a great patriot, who loved his country and t he Sinhala nation. For a brief period he was arrested by the British rulers and detained for five years in prison in Calcutta. He loved his religion and his people more. Both were so endangered to the point of extinction in the island that he had to concentrate all his efforts and energy on saving them. No other community or religion faced such a dire threat.

Yet his outlook was international. He was truly a world figure.

Anagarika Dharmapala died on April 29, 1933 at Saranath, Benares, India as Venerable Sri Devamitta Dhammapala. His last words are “Let me die soon, let me be reborn... I would like to be reborn twenty five times over or more times in India so as to spread the Buddha’s Dharma.” Dharmapala and his mission are of the greatest relevance to the modern world.

Dharmapala was a man with a vision, was born to carry out a greater mission, an inspiring person who carried out social reforms and religious activities simultaneously in two different countries - Sri Lanka and India.

Anagarika Dharmapala: AN illustrious son of the soil

Anagarika Dharmapala: AN illustrious son of the soil

By S.B. Karalliyadda

Dharmapala was born to a rich aristocratic family of southern Lanka on September 17, 1864. His parents were Mudliyar Don Carolis Hewawitharana and Mallika.

Major portion of their family silver had to be spent on the uplifment of Dhamma education and the propagation of Buddha Dhamma.

Path of Dhamma

It was because one of their son Don David trod the path of Buddha Dhamma. Young David had his primary education in the Catholic Missionary School, Pettah (St. Mary’s) and St. Benedict’s Kotahena and later at the Christian Missionary School, Kotte (St. Thomas’).

He learnt the Sinhala language and Buddha Dhamma from erudite monks Ven. Migettuwatte Gunananda and Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Theras. Dharmapala left school to join public service as a clerk in 1883. His public service career was limited to three years when he left the service in 1886 to devote full time for religious activities joining the Theosophical Society headed by an American Col. Henry Steel Olcott.

Later he became the Secretary of the Society. By now he changed his biblical name Don David to Dharmapala Hewawitharana.

Theosophical Society

The Buddhist Theosophical Society under his guidance was able to establish Buddhist schools throughout the island which saw the birth of Ananda, Nalanda, Mahinda, Dharmaraja etc.,for boys and Visakha, Mahamaya, Sangamitta etc., for girls. He not only concentrated on education but also contributed for the uplift of the rural economy by starting vocational training centres for carpentry, masonry, handloom textiles and other rural cottage industries.

He traversed the entire length and breadth of the country propagating the doctrine of the Buddha in a specially improvised vehicle for this purpose.

Families of hill country

The families in the hill country associated with his Dhamma Yatras were late A. Ratnayake family, late Prof. Tennakoon Wimalananda’s family, Beddewela and Dolapihilla families. The living members of these families remember with nostalgia the time spent with Dharmapala who stayed with them on his Dhamma missions in the hill country.

Oldest living member

The oldest living member of Beddewela family – 96-year-old Dhatusena Beddewela and the oldest living lady of the Ratnayake family – 90-year- old sister of late A. Ratnayake, Mrs. Keppetipola of Matale recall their association with our hero in their childhood days.

The landmark in his career began when he met a Russian lady Mrs. Blavatsky with whom he went to Adayar, South India to study Theosophy.

The role in India

By this time he had studied the facts from the book “Light of Asia” by Edwin Arnold which were featured in the Daily Telegraph in London.

The facts mentioned in the book relating to the atrocious situations for the Buddhists moved Dharmapala to such an extent that he vowed to fight against such situations forming a Buddhist Protection Committee and becoming its Secretary from 1886 March to 1890.

Dhamma Convention

He participated in a Dhamma convention in Adayar. After this convention he visited Isipathana in January 1891 accompanied by a Japanese Bhikku, Koshan Gunarathana. They came to Gaya on January 22 and he kept his forehead on the ground and made this strong commitment to clear the premises from foreign domination.

The entry made in his personal diary states thus: “As soon as I touched with my forehead on the Vajrasana a sudden impulse came to my mind. It prompted me to stop here and take care of the sacred spot, so sacred that nothing in this world is equal to this place where Prince Sakyasingha gained Enlightenment

Maha Bodhi Society

This incident saw the birth of Maha Bodhi Society on April 31, 1891 under the patronage of Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero. Dharmapala became the Secretary of this organisation. It is recorded that he donated Rs. 1000 to the then Governor Sir William Manning towards the supply of rations to the poor who were hit by a famine in Lanka in 1919.

This was the same Governor who was in India when Dharmapala was ordered to leave India by the Courts. This Governor issued instructions to the Indian IGP not to give any security to Dharmapala and to secretly observe his movements in India.

Spreading of Buddhism

Buddhism spread in the whole of Asia long before Christianity and Islam. The Holy site at Isipathana was destroyed by Mohamad Ghori while Buddha Gaya, Nalanda and Wickramashila were razed to ground by Bhaktiyar Kilni. Buddhist places of worship in Kashmir were destroyed by Sikandar.

When Dharmapala visited Saranath in January 1891 it was a place for hog breading. Only an area where there was a shrine which was spared by the hog breeders. It was in January 1901 that Dharmapala was able to purchase a block of land from Isipathana.

Eight schools

Today there are eight schools managed by the Maha Bodhi Society. One of these schools was funded by the mother of our hero, who was 85-year-old at the time. The school started in June 1904 was funded by Lady Foster.

This area was known as Kasirata in the olden days and the city has had a population for over five thousand. The writer was able to enjoy the splendour of the area during a visit in March last year. This was possible only due to the untiring efforts of Dharmapala who brought back the pristine glory of the area.

Wesak Poya

He was not only able to get the Wesak Poya of May 24, 1918 gazetted as a public holiday but also was able to get a Wesak holiday for all the Buddhist children attending schools in Calcutta, Bengal and other cities.

It was Dharmapala who rescued Buddha Gaya from Saivite Mahanta. He had to go to courts on many occasions to stop Mahanta from defacing the Buddha statues. At times he was jailed as a result of his Buddhist activities. For a period of about forty years he lived in Calcutta, Benares, Buddha Gaya and other places holy to Buddhists to protect and safeguard places of Buddhist worship.

He corresponded frequently with the Governors of Bihar, Orissa, Patna and such other districts to look after the interests of the Buddhists world over.

Moolagandakuti Viharaya

Having lived in India for forty four years he participated in the second anniversary of Moolagandakuti Viharaya restoration held on November 11, 1932 with the participation of a distinguished gathering including Sri Jawaharlal Nehru his wife, daughter Indira Gandhi and sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit on January 16, 1933.

Ordaining of Dharmapala

A Seemamalaka area of 50 ft. x 50 ft. with eight stone pillars was built and Dharmapala was ordained as Ven. Siri Devamitta Dharmapala.

The then Anunayake Thera of the Malwatte Maha Viharaya Ven. Madugalle Siddharta, the two principals of Vidyodaya Pirivena, Vidyalankara Pirivena and ten other senior monks from Sri Lanka participated in this auspicious ceremony held in Benares where Ven. Siri Devamitta Dharmapala obtained Higher Ordination.

Ven. Devamitta Dharmapala lived hardly four months after this event and passed away on April 29, 1933.

The whole Buddhist world mourned the demise of this great son of Lanka. His name would be honoured and remembered by generations of Buddhists the world over.

(Some facts of this article are from the book Anagarika Dharmapala by Ven. Kahawatte Siri Sumeda Thera.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wisdom knows no gender

Wisdom knows no gender

Binara Full Moon Poya Day falls today:

The Buddha’s decision to allow women enter the Holy Order was extremely radical for the times as the position of women in society was pathetically low during the period of the Buddha. Maha Prajapathi Gothami who inaugurated the Order of Bhikkhuni on a Binara Full Moon Poya day proved the world that women too had the capacity like men to attain the highest position in the religious way of life by attaining arhathood.

Binara poya day which falls within the period of Vas also marks the commencement of Sarath Season (Autumn). The month also bears significance according to the Buddhist literature as the Buddha’s visit to Thavuthisa heaven in order to preach Abhidhamma to Mathru Divya Raja too had taken place during this month.

It was with great effort that Maha Prajapathi Gothami could get the permission of the Buddha to enter the Order. When the Buddha was in Kimbulwathpura, Maha Prajapathi Gothami along with 500 Sakyan women, (the wives of the princes who entered the Order after listening to Kalaha Vivada Sutta) requested the Enlightened one thrice to let women enter the Holy Order. As the response was negative she had to leave the place disappointed on all three occasions.

After spending a few days in Kimbulwathpura the Buddha went back to Vishalapura and observed the fifth Vas retreat in Kootagara hall which was in close proximity to Vishala Nuwara.

The Buddha who then saw in his Divine Eye that King Suddhodana had fallen ill, reached Kimbulwathpura by air along with Arhats. King Suddhodana could attain arhathood by listening to the preachings of the Buddha, the essence of which was the impermanence of all worldly things.

After seven days, Arhat Suddhodana attained Parinirvana. The Buddha went back to Vishalanuwara after the cremation and it was then Princess Yasodara expressed her desire to enter the Order to Maha Prajapathi Gothami.

In fact Princess Yasodara wanted to go to the Buddha on her own to make the request, but Maha Prajapathi Gothami explained to the princess that such a visit would be futile as the Buddha had even rejected her offer despite her being his foster mother! She asked the princess to wait till she enter the Order so that the others can follow her.

Intervention of Ananda Thera

Maha Prajapathi Gothami then visited Ven. Ananda Thera and sought his help. After listening to her pleas attentively, Ananda Thera approached the Buddha and told him how ardent her wish to enter the Order was!

The Buddha then said that the Buddha Sasana which would last ten thousand years would just end in 5000 years as a result of the Bhikkhuni Order. Anyway looking back at her previous births ,he realised that Maha Prajapathi Gothami had wished to be the maternal aunt of the Buddha and to inaugurate the Bhikkhuni Order throughout Sansara.

In a previous birth as Mathika Matha, she had persuaded five hundred of her female followers to engage in meritorious deeds and wish to become Bhikkhunis in the Buddha Sasana. Having considered all that , the Buddha allowed her to enter the Order along with 500 Sakyan ladies if she was willing to abide by the eight major conditions(Ashta Garu Dharma).

Since she was willing to abide by the Ashta Garu Dharma, she could get the Bhikkhuni Sasana established which benefited the entire womenfolk. Thus at the commencement there were five hundred Bhikkhunis in the Bikkuni Sasana.

The eight major conditions are as follows;

* A Bhikkhuni has to pay obeissance even to a day old Higher Ordained Bhikkhu even if she was 100 years old in higher ordination. She should get up from her seat and show her due respects to the Bhikkhus who observe the major precepts.

* A Bhikkhuni should not observe the rainy season precepts in an area where there are no Bhikkhus

* Every fortnight a Bhikkhuni has to request for ‘Pohoya kamma’ from the Bhikkhus. She has to know the time she should obtain advice from the Bhikkhus.

* When a Bhikkhuni concludes her rainy season precepts observation, she has to do it in front of both Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus.

* A Bhikkhuni who has committed a misdemeanour should confess it in the presence of both Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus.

* A Bhikkhuni has to spend two years as a special trainee and then become a higher ordained Bhikkhuni in the presence of both Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis.

* A Bhikkhuni should not scold a Bhikkhu under any circumstances.

* A Bhikkhuni should not advise Bhikkhus, but Bhikkhu should advise Bhikkhunis.

The Buddha had emphasised that Eight major conditions are for the benefit of females themselves though in a way it could also appear as an attempt to degrade women! It was the Buddha who gave women full freedom to participate in religious life. After the Order was established Princess Yasodara too became a Bhikkhuni. Bhikkhuni Khema and Uppalawanna were appointed as the chief female disciples of the Buddha.

Demise of Maha Prajapathi Gothami

Maha Prajapathi Gothami who went to see the Buddha a few days prior to attaining parinirvana at the age of hundred and twenty , addressed the Enlightened One with utmost respect.

“Though I am your foster mother you are the one who taught me the Dhamma. It was because of you that I could enter the Bhikkhuni Sasana. Though titles such as ‘mother of king” and ‘Queen’ are not rare, it is extremely difficult to be known as ‘the mother of the Buddha’ (Buddha Matha).” In order to respect her the Buddha followed her upto the main entrance of the Kootagara hall.

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