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DHAMMA

 

 Editorial

INVOKING SPIRITUAL POWER

-Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita

The Jayamangala Gatha celebrates the triumph of the creative power of goodness over the destructive force of evil. Although pessimists have asserted that evil, being infectious, spreads easily and therefore prevails in the world, goodness is even more infectious and spreads yet more easily. One evil overpowering another can never be a victory, for evil alone is perpetuated. Goodness, however, not only overpowers evil, but triumphs by sublimating and transmuting it. No mere idealistic sentiment, this grand conquest is a verifiable truth. It is the basis of evolution as opposed to jungle law and blind destructivity.

The eight episodes of the Jayamangala Gatha depict the Buddha drawing on subjective sources of power in order to triumph over various threatening malevolent forces. Each verse expresses an act of will born of unshakable faith in the efficacy of spiritual power, which can be tapped for the welfare of oneself and others. This is the central unifying theme of Halo'd Triumphs.

In the Buddhist context, the invocation of spiritual power is more than an earnest wish for transmission from a higher source. It also means evoking, activating and perfecting one's own higher potentials, through volition and strenuous self-effort. These powers are distinct and specific. They are divided into three categories, known in Pali as Parami, bala and iddhipada.

There are ten Paramis, exalted spiritual perfections, which must be consummated in order to achieve spiritual liberation, Nibbana. When fulfilled they enable one to destroy the mental fetters creating bondage to phenomenal existence. They also ensure success in meeting external dangers and challenges. These perfections are :

1. Giving (dana)

2. Moral purification (sila)

3. Renunciation (nekkhamma)

4. Wisdom (panna)

5. Right effort (viriya)

6. Enduring patience (khanti)

7. Truthfulness (sacca)

8. Determination (adhitthana)

9. Universal love (metta)

10. Equanimity (upekkha)

The Paramis are integral to the attainment of sainthood and to the evolution of the Buddha. In accordance with the aspiration, they are fulfilled at three levels of intensity. As a prerequisite to sainthood, they all must be perfected. The seeker treading the Path discovered and taught by the Buddha then becomes an Arahat and attains Nibbana. The aspirant to Buddhahood, however, must stop short of Nibbana in order to make manifest his resolve.

Fulfillment of the Paramis twice over, through the course of many lifetimes, is necessary for the arising of a Paccekabuddha. These numerous hermit-like Buddhas must discover Nibbana for themselves. As they appear during the cycles when the Dhamma is lost to the world, they are unable to impart the Teachings or to help others attain enlightenment.

In order to become the Supremely Enlightened One, the Sammasambuddha, through incalculable aeons the Buddha-to-be, the Bodhisattva, must exert to perfect the Paramis thrice over. The Jataka stories chronicle the great sacrifices made by Gotama Buddha in fulfilling the exalted perfections. The Sammasambuddha not only discover Nibbana by themselves, but enable innumerable beings to experience enlightenment. When they themselves no longer exist physically, the Teachings are perpetuated through their disciples, the Arahats.

There are seven balas, mental powers, which are also known as spiritual faculties, or indriyas. Their cultivation is necessary for the successful development of the Paramis.

These mental powers are:

1. Faith (saddha)

2. Right effort (viriya)

3. Mindfulness (sati)

4. Meditative absorption (samadhi)

5. Wisdom (panna)

6. Moral shame (hiri)

7. Moral fear (ottappa)

 

The four iddhipadas, or bases of psychic powers, are:

1. Creative will (chanda)

2. Right effort (viriya)

3. One-pointedness of mind (citta)

4. Discriminative insight (vimamsa)

When fully developed through meditative absorptions, they give the aspirant supernatural abilities capable of subjugating any malevolent occult forces. They also enable him to provide succor and refuge to those dependent on him for spiritual protection.

The spiritual powers remain dormant until activated and made relevant to a given situation by right effort, which recurs as a common factor in all three categories. Right effort means the persevering and vigorous fourfold application of restraint, overcoming, developing and maintaining. One restrains the evil that has not yet arisen, and overcomes that which has arisen; he develops the good that has not arisen, and maintains that which has arisen.

The Jayamangala Gatha can be construed as a meeting ground of grace and self-effort. While it is an inspirational paradigm for generation, by self-effort, of the various spiritual powers, it also invokes the grace of spiritual glory, tejasa. Here, then, is an integrated approach fusing intellect, emotion and volition.,

Recited daily as a spiritual discipline, and with faith and understanding, these verses lead to systematic unfoldment of the inner faculties wherewith to draw upon the power of the Buddha. Just as a crystal absorbs and emits electromagnetic energy, he who taps this power also shares it. Thus, with boundless compassion, the Buddha has made available an inexhaustible source of spirituality, which overcomes all impediments and dangers from within and without. Hence the earnest invocation of the seeker, "By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!"

 

HALO'D TRIUMPHS

JAYAMANGALA GATHA

-Translated by Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita

 Bahum sahassamabhinimmita sayudhantam,

Girimekhalam udita ghora sasena maram.

Danadi dhamma vidhina jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 Mara, the Evil One, assuming a fierce form with a thousand arms each brandishing a deadly weapon, stormed forward roaring, accompanied by his formidable hosts and riding on his elephant, Girimekhala. Him the Sovereign Sage conquered by evoking the might of his exalted perfection of giving, among others. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

II

Maratirekamabhiyujjhita sabbarattim,

Ghorampanalavakamakkhamathaddhayakkham.

Khantisudantavidhina jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

Even more fiendish than Mara was Alavaka, the impetuous and haughty Yakkha who fought a night long battle with the Lord. Him the sovereign Sage conquered through enduring patience flowing out of his unequaled self-mastery. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

III

Nalagirim gajavaram atimattabhutam,.

Davaggi cakkamasaniva sudarunantam.

Mettambusekavidhina jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

Provoked to run amok, Nalagiri, the king tusker, like a raging forest fire murderously assailed all in his path, and struck such terror as would Indra's thunderbolt, the irresistible destroyer. Him the Sovereign Sage tamed by sprinkling over him the cooling water of all-embracing love. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

IV

Ukkhittakhaggamatihatta sudarunantam,

Dhavanti Yojanapathangulimalavantam.

Iddhibhisankhatamano jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

With sword upraised in expert hands did the savage robber, Angulimala, pursue the Lord for a full three leagues. Him the Sovereign Sage conquered by his supernatural powers. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

V

Katvana katthamudaram iva gabbhiniya,

Cincaya dutthavacanam janakaya majjhe.

Santena somavidhina jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

Posing as a pregnant woman by tying a piece of wood on her belly, Cinca falsely accused with lewd words in the midst of a devout congregation. Her the Sovereign Sage subdued through his imperturbable serenity. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

VI

Saccam vihaya matisaccakavadaketum,

Vadabhiropitamanam atiandhabhutam.

Pannapadipajalito jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

With his perverted intelligence the wandering mendicant, Saccaka, invariably distorted the truth. Pretending to be the very banner of learning, he only blinded his own mental vision as he went about indulging in intellectual disputation. Him the sovereign Sage conquered by his illuminating lamp of wisdom. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

VII

Nandopanandabhujagam vibhudhammahiddhim,

Puttena therabhujagena damapayanto.

Iddhupadesa vidhina jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

The gifted but perverted king of the nagas, Nandopananda by name, possessed great psychic power and was hostile. By instructing the Elder Moggallana, his spiritual son, mighty in supernatural attainments, the Sovereign Sage rendered the Naga king powerless and transformed him. Thus, through a supernormal mode of spiritual instruction intelligible to his kind, did the Master conquer the naga. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

VIII

Duggahaditthibhujagena sudattha hattham

Brahmam visuddhi jutimiddhi Bakabhidhanam.

Nanagadena vidhina jitava Munindo,

Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani.

 

Though a deity of great purity, radiance and power, Baka, the Brahma god, was nevertheless in the grip of pernicious views, like an arm tightly held by a snake's coils. Him the Sovereign Sage curved by means of wisdom. By this mighty triumph may joyous victory be mine!

 

IX

Etapi Buddha jayamangala atthagatha,

Yo vacako dine dine sarate matandi,

Hitvananekavividhani cupaddavani,

Mokkham sukham adhigameyya naro sapanno.

 

Whoso, day after day, without lethargy, recites and recollects these eight hymns of the Exalted One's glorious triumphs - that wise man, having overcome many and diverse obstacles, would attain to the bliss of Deliverance.

ARISE! AWAKE!!

 

- S. Rangaswamy

 

 Uttitthe, nappamajjeyya - "Arise, do not be negligent" was the clarion call of the Buddha, a stirring summon, inspiring the people to abandon the dark way and to adopt the bright path. This exhortation, no doubt, was addressed to the multitude, metaphorically somnolent, in the sense of their aimless wandering through life.

Of the several things that obstruct and hinder happiness, it is thina-middha, rendered as sloth and torpor, that is the most formidable. When indolence is present, meaningful endeavor does not take off; and the hindrance is so insidious that it is eradicated fully only by an arahat.

The central quality of indolence is the absence of joy (rati). This joylessness has a dual role, arati and virati. Arati is joylessness accompanied by boredom, laziness or drowsiness. Virati is joylessness accompanied by indifference, disinclination or unwillingness to act purposefully.

Indolence has to be considered in relation to the available options for action. There are two options. Anna hi labhupanisa, anna nibbanagamini. One is quest for worldly gain, and quite another is the path to Nibbana. When indolence is present in one, the virati element prompts him to shrink away from the path leading to true happiness, and the arati element prompts him to escape from the prevailing joyless state by embarking upon a quest for worldly satisfaction. And the quest continues, fruitlessly, life after life, without an end.

Standing diametrically opposite to indolence, is Viriya, meaningful, purposive, wise and joyous action. Stressing the high importance of energetic endeavor, a great saint says: Araddha viriyassa ayam dhammo, na ayam dhammo kusitassa. The teaching of the Buddha can be practised properly only by one who readily puts forth effort, and not by the indolent. Further it is said in the Dhammapada

Yo ca vassasatam jive

Kusito hinaviriyo

Ekaham jivitam seyyo

Viriyamarabhato dalham

Better it is to live one day strenuous and resolute then to live a hundred years sluggish and dissipated.

So the question arises as to what one could do to abandon indolence. There is a well-known Pali adage which says: Aloka sannaya thina middham, which means indolence is got rid of by perception of light. Drowsiness is overcome by looking at a bright object, but mental lethargy which is a subtle and tenacious hindrance can be overcome only by admitting the light of Dhamma.

It is the light of Dhamma which illuminates the mind and leads to enlightenment. If we can open our mind and admit this light, it would indeed, be a great blessing. But, how can this blessing come? The Buddha says: Kalena dhammassavanam, etam mangalam uttamam. This means: the greatest of blessings accrue by timely listening to Dhamma discourses. Here "listening" is a term which includes reading and studying Dhamma.

In this aphorism the qualifying factor of 'listening' is extremely important. It is not just listening, but timely listening that is of great benefit. What does this mean? It means that learning Dhamma just intellectually is of no benefit. Dhamma should be learnt in such a way that it brings about a transformation. Study of Dhamma should produce the effects described hereunder.

The joylessness of indolence should be replaced by a delight in Dhamma. This is called dhammapiti

* it should generate faith and confidence in Dhamma.

*It should generate a reverential and devotional attitude.

*It should generate a 'will' to put Dhamma into practice.

*It should generate mindfulness, which checks the wandering mind and directs it to the present. In other words, one should always live in the present.

*It should inspire one to live in the present in such a way that he avoids all evil, cultivates good and cleanses his mind, for this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

*Buddha's injunction "Arise! Awake!!" is fulfilled. He becomes suttesu bahujagaro - wide awake among the sleepy.

 

 

DHAMMA QUIZ

 

The reputed journalist, somewhat controversial, nevertheless highly entertaining, Sardar Kushwant Singh, says that, when Swami Vivekananda visited Europe, he was so shocked to see the moral degradation of the people that he predicted that Europe would collapse within a hundred years. Hundred years have passed by, but Europe has not collapsed. On the contrary Europe is very prosperous.

Now this is the quiz to our readers. What was the basis on which the Swamiji made that prediction, and secondly, whey did the prediction fail ? To those of our readers who are in need of a hint, we suggest that reference be made to Maha Kamma Vibhanga Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya.

 

 

Dhammapada 12

 An important but subtle point is that even though we practice, we continue to fall for pleasant feelings, because feelings are illusory on many levels. We don't realize that they are changeable and unreliable. Instead of offering pleasure, they offer us nothing but stress - yet still we're addicted to them.

This business of feeling is thus a very subtle matter. Please try to contemplate it carefully - this business of latching onto feelings of pleasure, pain or equanimity. You have to contemplate so as to see it clearly. And you have to experiment more than you may want to with pain. When there are feelings of physical pain or mental distress, the mind will struggle because it doesn't like pain. But when pain turns to pleasure, the mind likes it and is content with it. So it keeps on playing with feeling, even though, as we've already said, feeling is inconstant, stressful and not really ours. But the mind doesn't see this. All it sees are feelings of pleasure, and it wants them.

Try looking into how feeling gives rise to craving. It's because we want pleasant feeling that craving whispers - whispers right there at the feeling. If you observe carefully, you'll see that this is very important, for this is where the paths and fruitions leading to Nibbana are attained, right here at feeling and craving. If we can extinguish the craving in feeling, that's Nibbana.

In the Solasa Panha, the Buddha said that defilement is like a wide and deep flood, but he then went on to summarize the practice to cross it simply as abandoning craving in every action. Now, right here at feeling is where we can practice to abandon craving, for the way we relish the flavor of feeling has many ramifications. This is where many of us get deceived, since we don't see feeling as inconstant. We want it to be constant. We want pleasant feelings to be constant. As for pain, we don't want it to be constant, but no matter how much we try to push it away, we still latch onto it.

This is why we have to focus on feeling, so that we can abandon craving right there in the feeling. If you don't focus here, the other paths you may follow will simply proliferate. So bring the practice close to home. When the mind changes, or when it gains a sense of stillness or calm that would rank as a feeling of pleasure or equanimity: Try to see in what ways this pleasure or equanimity is inconstant, that it's not you or yours. When you can do this, you'll stop relishing that particular feeling. You can stop right there, right where the mind relishes the flavor of feeling and gives rise to craving. This is why the mind has to be fully aware of itself all around at all times in its focused contemplation to see feeling as empty of self.

This business of liking and disliking feelings is a disease which is hard to detect, because our intoxication with feelings is so very strong. Even with the sensations of peace and emptiness in the mind, we're still infatuated with feeling. Feelings on the crude level - the violent and stressful ones which come with defilement - are easy to detect. But when the mind grows still - steady, cool, bright and so on - we're still addicted to feeling. We want these feelings of pleasure or equanimity. We enjoy them. Even on the level of firm concentration or meditative absorption, there's attachment to the feeling.

This is the subtle magnetic pull of craving, which paints and plasters things over. This painting and plastering is hard to detect, because craving is always whispering inside us, "I want nothing but pleasurable feelings." This is very important, for it's because of this virus of craving that we continue to be reborn.

So explore to see how craving paints and plasters things, how it causes desires to form - the desires to get this or take that - and what sort of flavor it has that makes you so addicted to it, that makes it hard for you to pull away. You have to contemplate to see how craving fastens the mind so firmly to feelings that you never weary of sensuality or of pleasant feelings no matter what the level. If you don't contemplate so as to see clearly that the mind is still stuck right here at feeling and craving, it will keep you from gaining release.

We're stuck on feeling like a monkey stuck in a tar trap. They take a glob of tar and put it where a monkey will get its hand stuck in it, and in trying to pull free, the monkey gets its other hand, both feet, and finally its mouth stuck too. Consider this: Whatever we do, we end up stuck right here at feeling and craving. We can't separate them out. We can't wash them off. If we don't grow weary of craving, we're like the monkey stuck in the glob of tar, getting ourselves more and more trapped all the time. So if we're intent on freeing ourselves in the footsteps of the arahants, we have to focus specifically on feeling until we can succeed at freeing ourselves from it. Even with painful feelings, we have to practice - for if we're afraid of pain and always try to change it to pleasure, we'll end up even more ignorant than before.

This is why we have to be brave in experimenting with pain, both physical pain and mental distress. When it arises in full measure, like a house afire, can we let go of it? We have to know both sides of feeling. When it's hot and burning, how can we deal with it? When it's cool and refreshing, how can we see through it? We have to make an effort to focus on both sides, contemplating until we know how to let go. Otherwise we won't know anything, for all we want is the cool side, the cooler the better... and when this is the case, how can we expect to gain release from the cycle of rebirth?

Nibbana is the extinguishing of craving, and yet we like to stay with craving - so how can we expect to get anywhere at all? We'll stay right here in the world, right here with stress and suffering, for craving is a sticky sap. If there's no craving, there's nothing: no stress, no rebirth. But we have to watch out for it. It's a sticky sap, a glob of tar, a dye that's hard to wash out.

So don't let yourself get carried away with feeling. The crucial part of the practice lies right here.

Courtesy: Reading the Mind - Advice for meditators, published by the Buddhist Publication society, Sri Lanka.

 

Benefits of Paying Homage

Those who pay homage to holy men and attend to the elders gain the following merits in return:

* Ayu - long life, * Vanna - good complexion

* Sukha - comfortable life, * Bala - strength

- Dhammapada 109 -

  

A

TREE

IN A

FOREST

-Similes of

Ajahn Chah

 HANDFUL OF MUD

If you grab a handful of mud and squeeze it, it will ooze through your fingers. People who suffer are the same. When suffering has a squeeze on them, they, too, try to seek a way out.

HEN OR ROOSTER?

Teaching people with different levels of understanding is very difficult. Some people have certain set ideas. You tell them the truth and they say it's not true: "I'm right, you're wrong!" There's no end to this. If you don't let go there will be suffering. It's like the four men who go into the forest and hear a rooster crowing. One of them wonders if it is a rooster or a hen. Three of them decide it's a hen, but the curious one insists it's a rooster. "How could a hen crow like that?" He asks. They answer, "Well, it has a mouth, doesn't it?" They argue and get really upset, but in the end they are all wrong. Whether you say a hen or a rooster, they're only names. We say a rooster is like this, a hen is like that, a rooster cries like this, a hen cries like that., This is how we get stuck in the world! Actually if you just say that there's really no hen or rooster, then that's the end of it.

HERBAL MEDICINE

The theory of Dhamma is like a textbook on herbal medicine, and going out to look for the plants is like the practice. Having studied the book, we know what it says about herbal medicine, but we do not know what the actual herbs look like. All we have are some sketches and names. But if we already have the textbook on herbal medicine, we can then go looking for the plants themselves, and do so often enough so that we can recognize them easily when we see them. In this way we give the textbook value.

The reason we were able to recognize the various herbs is because we studied the textbook. The textbook on herbal medicine was our teacher. The theory of Dhamma has this kind of value. However, if we depend completely on practice and do not take time to learn, then it would be like going out looking for herbal plants without having first done some study. Without knowing what we were looking for, we should not succeed in finding any. So both theory and practice are important.

 HOST AND GUESTS

Your mind is like the owner of a house and the feelings are like the guests that come and go. But have only one chair in your house so you can see each guest clearly. See the moods and emotions that come to bother you, then let them go. Keep mindfulness in every posture. If you just follow your moods, you won't see them.

 HOT IRON BALL

The cultivators of old saw that there is only the arising and ceasing of dhammas, and that there is no abiding entity. They contemplated from all angles and saw that there was nothing stable. While walking or sitting, they saw things in this way. Wherever they looked, there was only suffering. It's just like a big iron ball which has just come out of a blast furnace. It's hot all over. If you touch the top, it's hot. If you touch the sides, they're hot. If you touch the bottom, it's hot, too. There isn't any place on it which is cool.

HOT IRON BAR AND CANDY

It is unlikely that we can really effect the state of mind of a dying person very much, either positively or adversely. It's like if I took a hot iron bar and poked you in the chest with it, and then I held out a piece of candy with my other hand. How much could the candy distract you?

We should treat dying people with love and compassion and look after them as best we can, but if we don't turn it inwards to contemplate our own inevitable death, there is little real benefit for us.

HOTEL

We are all born with nothing, and we die with nothing. Our house is like a hotel and so is our body. We'll have to move out of them both one day and leave them behind.

HOUSEHOLDER

What is the mind? The mind doesn't have any form. That which receives impressions, both good and bad, we call mind. It is like the owner of a house. The owner stays at home while visitors come to see him he is the one who receives the visitors. Who receives sense impressions? What is it that perceives ? Who lets go of sense impressions? That is what we call mind. But people can't see it. They think themselves around in circles. "What is the mind, what is the brain?" Don't confuse the issue like that. What is that which receives impressions? Some impressions it likes and some it doesn't like. Who is that? Is there one who likes and dislikes? Sure there is, but you can't see it. That is what we call mind.

Courtesy: A tree in a forest, published by Dhamma Cultivation Publishing House, Taiwan.

 

SPIRITUALITY

 

Spirituality (Dharma), by definition is above all man-made restrictions. It transcends all institutions and considerations based on caste, ideology, race, religion or sex. It is the universal binding-force that brings all beings together in search of peace and prosperity.

With so many religious and secular institutions vying with each other in a needless, mindless, competitive spirit, spirituality alone can promote interfaith amity and pan-institutional harmony. We wish your effort to promote nonsectarian non -fundamentalist, spiritual values all success !

May the grace of Lord Buddha surround your lives with wisdom and well being!

(Message sent by the Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita to the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya world Headquarters, Mount Abu on the occasion of the conference on 'Spirituality - The Guiding Force for the 21st Century' )

 

-Venerable K Sri Dhammananda

 "Man's Body Turns to Dust, But His Influence Persists"- (Buddha)

Even though our ancestors are dead and gone, we can assume that they still exist with us not physically but through the influence created by them from generation to generation - the influence persists. By the term 'ancestors' we refer not only to our progenitors but also to all those who had contributed for the welfare and happiness of others. In this sense, we can say that the heroes, sages and poets of days gone by, are still existing amongst us - through their influence. As we link ourselves to these martyrs and thinkers we come to share the wisest thoughts, the noble ideals and even fascinating music of the centuries.

The cry of a man's heart for a purpose is the dim recognition of the nature of life. When a man feels his divine or noble nature, he no longer cries for a purpose of life, for he realizes that he is himself that very purpose.

Thinking people have realized that the course of human history is determined not by what happens in the skies, but by what takes place in the mind of men.

The Buddha said that there is no other super natural living being higher than the perfect man.

Man can and must raise himself above limitation of his individuality, following in the footsteps of the Buddha.

 

Make the Best use of Life

The important point about life is that we have it and therefore we must make the best use of it. This indeed is the greatest value of life, the opportunity of making the best use of it. Many people lead narrow, limited, joyless and depressed lives because they do not try to make the best use of life. But this can be done by possessing and obeying ideals. What then should be our ideals? They are to cultivate humane qualities and to lead a happy and peaceful life. This way of life can be regarded as a noble righteous, cultured and religious life which is respected by everybody. A man cannot lead a happy life without making others happy.

Man must try to do his best and at the same time, must, when confronted by opposition, or rewarded by partial success, say to himself "I have done my best", and even when the battle is deemed to be lost, he would remember that the path of salvation lies not in the victory but in the acceptance of the battle.

"The fruit tree's heavy-laden bough

The river's load of fertile soil

The richly flowing milk of cows

The good man's unremitting toil;

This wealth is meant, this work is done,

For other's good, not for their own."

Thus, in essential, is the modern doctrine of Social Service, which also may be said to be the ethical foundation of all the great religions.

 

Nibbana

"If any teach Nirvana is to cease

Say unto such they lie,

If any teach Nirvana is to live,

Say unto such they err."

(Sir Edwin Arnold in The Light of Asia)

The foregoing definition of life should be sufficient for anyone to understand the concept of attainment of Nibbana where such physical and mental pain exists no more, as Nibbana denotes the end of the suffering. The aim of our whole life is to cut off and minimize suffering and to seek happiness. If we really like to have everlasting happiness - the happiness that we experience when our minds are completely free from all disturbances, we must learn how to gain it. By gaining more wealth, power and other worldly conditions, we can never gain real satisfaction, contentment, peace of mind and unchangeable happiness - which is termed 'calming the senses and cooling our burning defilements in the mind.'

It has to be remembered that no one is forcing us to take any particular line of action. There is nobody to punish us or to reward us. It is our own free will and choice. If you think that you can tolerate all the physical and mental pains and sufferings, you can remain within the cycle of birth and death and go on crying, lamenting, suffering, cursing, grumbling, fighting, worrying, and struggling for survival, working like slaves every day and night, confronting enormous problems and hindrances. In fact during our whole lifetime we are spending our time, energy and mind in a battlefield - fighting for survival, fighting for power, gain, name, pleasure and fighting to be free from various dangerous things. Occasionally we gain a little bit of momentary pleasure as an interlude. Every pleasure ends with suffering.

Look at the world, and you can see how people are fighting against each other, killing, burning, bombing, kidnapping, hijacking, and attacking one another. Destroying their fellow human beings has become a hobby or a fun. The whole world is like a mad house. People have forgotten their good human character and have allowed evil thoughts, evil words, and evil deeds to reign over them. Apparently there is no room in man's mind to cultivate good thoughts and deeds. How then can one find peace and happiness, in a battlefield in which one is continually fighting either for gain or escape from some dangers? "Man's inhuman attitude to man makes countless thousands mourn."

If you can understand the uncertainty of life and danger of the world, then you can understand the meaning of attaining Nibbana. You would not delay your effort for the attainment of this blissful state. Today you are fighting to escape from suffering through a worldly mean. But it is a losing battle. There will be disappointments. However, if you try to get rid of your suffering by developing the spiritual aspect of your life, then you can find real peace. That is Nibbana.

 

Worldly Pleasures

We know there are many in this world, even amongst Buddhists, who are not prepared to work for the attainment of Nibbana. For this reason, some have described Nibbana as a paradise where people can enjoy everlasting pleasures. Such a description will appeal to those who have every poor understanding about their life and worldly things and also to those who have very strong craving and attachment to their life and worldly pleasures. They cannot understand that such a concept of Nibbana is but a dream. Nevertheless worldly people always think and pray for this kind of Nibbana. On the other hand there are people who think that it is better to remain in this world in spite of all sorts of sufferings in order to enjoy their life. They fail to understand that due to their carvings and attachments which they have developed, they are unable to appreciate the supreme bliss of Nibbana. The other worldly things which they consider as happiness cannot relieve them of physical and mental suffering.

According to the Buddha, its due to ignorance that people crave for existence within this Samsara- cycle of birth and death - while enduring suffering and running after a mirage in perpetual search for something to please their senses. They should learn to calm their senses instead of placating them by fleeting indulgence.

 

Endless World System

Some people think that if all of us attain Nibbana, this world will be an empty place and there will not be anybody to work for the progress of this world. This is a shallow idea appearing in the minds of such people who lack the real knowledge of existence.

They should understand that this world will never become empty since very few wise people will be able to attain Nibbana. As far as world systems are concerned, there is no limit to them. And there is no such thing as either the beginning or the end of world systems and the universe. World systems will always appear and disappear. When one world system disappears, many other remain. Meanwhile the dispersed world systems reappear due to combination of elements and energies. Living beings also who have departed from other world systems come into existence due to combination of these elements, matters and energies and their mental tendencies. One should not think that there are only a limited number of living beings who go round and round in this universe. Living beings are unlimited and infinite.

 

Progress and Pollution

Are we really working here for the progress of this world ? We think that we are working for the progress of this world, but we are actually damaging this world. We have discovered many gadgets to destroy this world. Nature has produced so many things. To achieve our ends, we are damaging this world by digging, cutting, levelling and destroying the natural beauty of this earth. We are polluting the atmosphere, the rivers and the seas. We are destroying plant life as well as poor animal lives. We never think that in every plant life there are some food or medicinal values. And every living being contributes something for the maintenance of the environment. We should not assume that we human beings are the only people who have the right to live on this earth. Each and every living being has an equal right to live here. But we deprive other beings of their privileges. Not only that, even within our own human community, one race tries to destroy the other race, hindering its progress and not allowing others to live in peace. They declare wars and start to slaughter one another in the name of patriotism.

As long as human beings with polluted minds exist in this world there will be no peace on earth. It is due to the existence of such living beings that this earth has become a place of turmoil. Today we see bloodbaths all over the world. Each person is planning to swindle another person. Selfish ideas always prevail in their minds. Now man cannot trust another man. They view others with suspicion in their hearts. One cannot understand the real character or motive of another man. Although man can escape from animals, it is difficult to escape from another man.

 

Man is Responsible

People always talk about the uncertainty of the world situation. Who is responsible for this unfortunate situation? Is there anybody else other than the so-called smart man? How can we expect a better and peaceful world if men behave worse than animals? How can we enjoy our life in this unreliable world? Scientists seek to conquer nature for material ends. Eastern philosophy aspires to live in harmony with nature for peace of mind and spiritual achievement. You cannot change the worldly conditions according to your wishes but you can change your mind to develop contentment to find happiness. A man who is absorbed in seeking only worldly satisfaction will never reach higher knowledge, for it cannot be found without strenuous search. Materialism degrades man to the brute state while religion elevates man into the divine or noble state. In a materialistic regime men become slaves to their senses. Naturally most people dislike to see the true facts of life. They like to lull themselves into security by day dreaming, imagination and taking the shadow for the substance. The Buddha's attitude to worldly powers and sensual pleasures is this: "Better than absolute sovereignty over the earth, better than going to heaven, better than even lordship over the worlds, is the fruit of a stream-winner - the first state of perfection." By spending his life only for the material worldly progress to feed desire it is impossible for man to see the end of unsatisfactoriness of his life. According to the Buddha this world is based on conflict, friction or unsatisfactoriness. By realizing the real nature of the worldly condition, the Buddha also said that he does not praise the world since it is unsatisfactory and impermanent. Again he says that the way to worldly gain is one and that to final goal - Nibbana - is another.

 

The Man and His Honey

Here is a small parable for us to understand the nature of life and worldly pleasure: A man had lost his way when he was going through a thick forest covered with thorns and rocks. Then he was confronted by a huge elephant which started to chase him. He started to run for his life. While he was running he saw a well and he thought that this would be a good place for him to escape from the elephant. But very unfortunaely he saw a big poisonous snake at the bottom of the well.

However, since there was no other way of escape from the elephant he jumped into the well and managed to get hold of a thick creeper that was growing on the side wall of the well. While he was hanging on to the creeper he saw two mice, a white one and a dark one. To his horror he saw that these two mice were slowly cutting the creeper which he was holding on to. He also found a beehive closeby from which occasional drops of honey trickled down.

While facing his death in three ways in that dangerous position he greedily started to taste the honey drops. Seeing the pathetic situation of this poor man, another kind person who happened to pass by, volunteered to give a helping hand to save his life. But this greedy and foolish man refused to listen to him because of the taste of the honey he was enjoying. The taste of the honey had so intoxicated him that he preferred to ignore the dangerous position he was facing.

Here in this parable, the thorny path of the forest is equated to Samsara - the wheel of existence. The thorny path of Samsara is a very uncertain and troublesome one. It is not so easy for a person to carry on his life through the rough and thorny jungle of Samsara. The elephant here represents death. Death always follows us and makes us unhappy, our old age also creates unhappiness and insecurity in our minds. The creeper is our birth. Just as a creeper goes on growing and coiling with other plants, so also our birth goes on accumulating, holding, clinging to so many other things in this world. The two mice represents the day and night. From the very day that we were born in this world, the passage of day and night goes on cutting and shortening our life span. The drops of honey are the fleeting sensual worldly pleasures which tempt man to remain in this impermanent and uncertain world. The kind man who came to give his helping hand to show him the correct path and to get rid of his dangerous situation is the Buddha.

A man who thinks that it is better for him to remain in this world to enjoy worldly life without trying to attain Nibbana, is exactly like this man who refused to escape from the dangerous situation of his life just to taste a little bit of honey. The purpose of Life is to gain liberation from physical and mental burden.

Courtesy: The Gems of Buddhist Wisdom, Published by the Buddhist Missionary Society, Malaysia and reprinted by the Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan.

 

The immoral woman who later became an Arahat

 

-Venerable Siridhamma

 

Persons of all castes, high and low, women as well as men, sought the teachings of the Buddha - and he gladly received them. To Him, there was no caste in blood and tears. When the Buddha and His disciples stopped at Vesali, a lady named Ambapali offered Him the use of her Garden of mangoes outside the city so that He might rest in the cool shade of her trees.

Ambapali was a lovely as the golden sun rising from the ocean, but was immoral in character. She did not intend to see him, but her servant said to her, "Lady, all the nobles and people went on foot to the Garden of mangoes yesterday. When I asked them why they had gone there, they said that it was because of the man who is resting there. There was none like him. And he was the son of a king and had given up his kingdom that he might find the Truth."

Always ready for some new sight, she leapt to her feet, got on one of her coaches and rode towards the garden, casting proud glances about her. When she arrived at the gate, she descended from the coach and walked through the palm trees and mango trees. It was very quiet, and even the leaves did not stir. Beneath the deep shade of trees, the Buddha was seated with folded hands and feet and behind His head an aura glowed like the midnight moon.

Ambapali stood there amazed, forgetting her beauty, forgetting herself, forgetting all but only the Blessed One. And her heart melted and flowed away in a river of tears. Very slowly, she approached the Buddha and fell before His feet and laid her face on the earth.

The Buddha asked her to rise and be seated, and spoke the Dhamma to her. She listened to these great words with ears that drank them as the dry earth longs for the rain. After she had received the Dhamma, she bowed at His feet and invited the Buddha and His disciples to a meal the following day. The Buddha accepted her invitation.

Now the nobles of Vesali had also come out to meet the Blessed One. On the way they met ambapali who told them that the Buddha had accepted her invitation for a meal the following day.

They said to her, "Sell us the honor of His company for great weights of gold."

And she, glowing with joy, said, "Sirs, even if you were to give me Vesali and all its territories yet I would not give up this honorable meal."

In anger, the nobles went to the Buddha and requested the honor of offering the meal, but the Buddha informed them that He had earlier accepted Ambapali's invitation.

The following day, Ambapali set sweet milk-rice and cakes before the Buddha and His followers, and she herself attended upon them in great humility. After the Buddha had eaten, Ambapali sat on one side, with folded palms and said, "Holy One, I present this garden to the Order. Accept it, if it be your will."

The Buddha accepted the gift, seeing the purity of heart that made it. He then gladdened her with the Dhamma. This was the turning point of Ambapali's life: she understood the Dhamma and became a virtuous woman. Some time later she entered the Order of Nuns and with the heart of Wisdom strengthened in her, she became an Arahant. Just as the lotus does not grow on dry land but springs from black and watery mud, Ambapali, despite her immoral past, managed to achieve the height of spiritual development.

 After this incident, the Buddha and His disciples moved to a little village nearby called Beluva. As the rainy season was about to begin, the Buddha decided to spend the last rainy season at this village.

 

Courtesy: The Life of the Buddha, Published by the Buddhist Missionary Society, Malaysia. Reprinted by the Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan.

] ] ] ] ] ]

  -Bhikkhu Bodhi

Ideally, education is the principal tool of human growth, essential for transforming the unlettered child into a mature and responsible adult. Yet everywhere today, both in the developed world and the developing world, we can see that formal education is in serious trouble. Classroom instruction has become so routinized and flat that children often consider school an exercise in patience rather than an adventure in learning. Even the brightest and most conscientious students easily become restless, and for many the only attractive escape routes lie along the dangerous roads of drugs, sexual experimentation, and outbursts of senseless violence. Teachers too find themselves in a dilemma, dissatisfied with the system which they serve but unable to see a meaningful alternative to it.

One major reason for this sad state of affairs is a loss of vision regarding the proper aims of education. The word "Education" literally means "to bring forth" which indicates that the true task of this process is to draw forth from the mind its innate potential for understanding. The urge to learn, to know and comprehend, is a basic human trait, as intrinsic to our minds as hunger and thirst are to our bodies. In today's turbulent world, however, this hunger to learn is often deformed by the same moral twists that afflict the wider society. Indeed, just as our appetite for wholesome food is exploited by the fast-food industry with tasty snacks devoid of nutritional value, so in our schools the minds of the young are deprived of the nutriment they need for healthy growth. In the name of education the students are passed through courses of standardized instruction intended to make them efficient servants of a demeaning social system. While such education may be necessary to guarantee societal stability, it does little to fulfil the higher end of learning, the illumination of the mind with the light of truth and goodness.

A major cause of our educational problems lies in the "commercialization" of education. The industrial growth model of society, which today extends its tentacles even into the largely agrarian societies of South and southeast Asia, demands that the educational system prepare students to become productive citizens in an economic order governed by the drive to maximize profits. Such conception of the aim of education is quite different from that consistent with Buddhist principles. Practical efficiency certainly has its place in Buddhist education for Buddhism propounds a middle path which recognizes that our loftiest spiritual aspirations depend on a healthy body and a materially secure society. But for Buddhism the practical side of education must be integrated with other requirements designed to bring the potentialities of human nature to maturity in the way envisioned by the Buddha. Above all, an educational policy guided by Buddhist principles must aim to instill values as much as to impart information. It must be directed, not merely towards developing social and commercial skills, but towards nurturing in the students the seeds of spiritual nobility.

Since today's secular society dictates that institutional education is to focus on preparing students for their careers, in a Buddhist country like Sri Lanka the prime responsibility for imparting the principles of the Dhamma to the students naturally falls upon the Dhamma schools. Buddhist education in the Dhamma schools should be concerned above all with the transformation of character. Since a person's character is moulded by values, and values are conveyed by inspiring ideals, the first task to be faced by Buddhist educators is to determine the ideals of their educational system. If we turn to the Buddha's discourses in search of the ideals proper to a Buddhist life, we find five qualities that the Buddha often held up as the hallmarks of the model disciple, whether monk or layperson. These five qualities are faith, virtue, generosity, learning and wisdom. Of the five, two - faith and generosity - relate primarily to the heart: they are concerned with taming the emotional side of human nature. Two relate to the intellect: learning and wisdom. The fifth, virtue or morality, partakes of both sides of the personality: the first three precepts - abstinence from killing, stealing, and sexual abuse - govern the emotions; the precepts of abstinence from falsehood and intoxicants help to develop the clarity and honesty necessary for realization of truth. Thus Buddhist education aims at a parallel transformation of human character and intelligence, holding both in balance and ensuring that both are brought to fulfillment.

The entire system of Buddhist education must be rooted in faith (saddha)-faith in the Triple Gem, and above all in the Buddha as the Fully Enlightened One, the peerless teacher and supreme guide to right living and right understanding. Based on this faith, the students must be inspired to become accomplished in virtue (sila) by following the moral guidelines spelled out by the Five Precepts. They must come to know the precepts well, to understand the reasons for observing them, and to know how to apply them in the difficult circumstances of human life today. Most importantly, they should come to appreciate the positive virtues these precepts represent: kindness, honesty, purity, truthfulness, and mental sobriety. They must also acquire the spirit of generosity and self-sacrifice (caga), so essential for overcoming selfishness, greed, and the narrow focus on self advancement that dominates in present-day society. To strive to fulfil the ideal of generosity is to develop compassion and renunciation, qualities which sustained the Buddha throughout his entire career. It is to learn that cooperation is greater than competition, that self sacrifice is more fulfilling than self aggrandizement, and that our true welfare is to be achieved through harmony and good will rather than by exploiting and dominating others.

The fourth and fifth virtues work closely together. By learning (suta) is meant a wide knowledge of the Buddhist texts, which is to be acquired by extensive reading and persistent study. But mere learning is not sufficient. Knowledge only fulfils its proper purpose when it serves as a springboard for wisdom (panna), direct personal insight into the truth of the Dhamma. Of course, the higher wisdom that consummates the Noble Eightfold Path does not lie within the domain of the Dhamma school. This wisdom must be generated by methodical mental training in clam and insight, the two wings of Buddhist meditation. But Buddhist education can go far in laying the foundation for this wisdom by clarifying the principles that are to be penetrated by insight. In this task learning and wisdom are closely interwoven, the former providing a basis for the later. Wisdom arises by systematically working the ideas and principles learnt through study into the fabric of the mind, which requires deep reflection, intelligent discussion, and keen investigation.

It is wisdom that the Buddha held up as the direct instrument of final liberation, as the key for opening the doors to the Deathless, and also as the infallible guide to success in meeting life's mundane challenges. Thus wisdom is the crown and pinnacle of the entire system of Buddhist education, and all the preliminary steps in a Buddhist educational system should be geared towards the flowering of this supreme virtue. It is with this step that education reaches completion, that it becomes illumination in the truest and deepest sense, as exclaimed by the Buddha on the night of his Awakening: "There arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom understanding, and light."

 

-C. Anjaneya Reddy,

 Right Understanding is simply a knowledge of the four Truths and of such doctrines as are implied in them. It does not imply any philosophical or metaphysical system: the Buddha has shaken off all philosophical theories. All that is required is the knowledge of the several principles of the Dharma.

Ignorance of the real nature of life is primarily ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. It is because of their ignorance of these truths that beings are tethered to becoming and are born again and again.

"Monks, it is through not understanding not penetrating the Four Noble Truths that we have run so long, wandered so long in samsara, in this cycle of continuity both you and I... But when these Four Noble Truths are understood and penetrated, rooted out is the craving for existence, destroyed is that which leads to renewed becoming and there is no more becoming to be."

Right Thought is the resolve to renounce pleasures, to bear no malice and do no harm. Right Resolve is the outcome of Right views, it is the result of seeing thing as they are. The opposites of Right Resolve are sense-desire, ill-will and harm. These unwholesome states of mind are to be overcome by a conscious and sustained effort to shed them. "Impermanent monks are pleasures of the senses, empty, false, unreal (anicca, tuccha, musa, mosa dhamma), this prattle of fools is made of illusion... Here these unwholesome thoughts lead to covetousness, ill-will and quarrels."

Right Speech is to abstain from lying or slandering harsh words and foolish chatter. Speech should not be dominated by such unwholesome thoughts as anger, greed, jealousy pride, selfishness etc. Indulging in too much talk prevents right thinking and disturbs calmness. "Monks, there are disadvantages in talking too much: the glib talker utters falsehoods, indulges in slanders, speaks harsh and idle words.." One should make an effort and learn to avoid harsh words in speech.

"In man's mouth, a hatchet grows

With which fools will cut themselves

When they utter evil words"

One should avoid slander which destroys friendships and prevents reconciliation. Idle talk and frivolous gossip are low and unedifying: "Monks, when you have gathered together, there are two things to be done, either talk about the Dhamma or keep noble silence."

A Tibetan Text on Yoga says:

"Much talking is a source of danger

Through silence misfortune is avoided

The talkative parrot in a cage is shut

While birds that cannot talk fly free"

Right Action is to abstain from taking life, from stealing and from immorality. It is necessary to cultivate a certain measure of mental discipline, because the untamed mind always finds excuses to commit evil in word and deed. No one can bestow the gift of a good character on another. Each one has to build it up by thought, reflection, care, effort, mindfulness and activity. One should be ever vigilant and ever mindful.

In the training of character, the first thing necessary to practice is restraint (samyama) and restraint comes through reflection on virtue and its advantages. One should build up one's own character, forge it on the anvil of resolution.

Says the Dhammapada

"Whoever in this world takes life

Speaks what is not truth

Takes what is not given

Goes to others' wives,

Indulges in drinking

Intoxicating liquors

He even in this world

Digs up his own root"

This is the minimum code of conduct expected of anyone to become a Buddhist, even a lay follower.

Right Livelihood is to abandon wrong occupations and get one's living by a right occupation that is, occupation that does not bring hurt or danger to living beings, such as slave dealer, butcher, poison-dealer etc. The precept about right livelihood was designed to bring true happiness to the individual and society. Unjust and wrong ways of living apply to individuals, families and nations. A wrong and unrighteous way of living brings in its train much unhappiness, disharmony and trouble to the whole society. When a person or community succumbs to the evil of exploiting other, it interferes with the peace and harmony of the society.

Right Effort aims at preventing evil states of mind from arising: suppressing them if they have arisen, producing good states of mind, developing and perfecting them. The thrust is on mental cultivation. The intellect is not fettered by any authority. The practitioner is required to discriminate between good and bad thoughts to develop the one and suppress the other.

Right Effort is instrumental in eliminating evil and harmful thoughts and in promoting and maintaining good and wholesome thoughts. It is likened to the effort of a gardener who pulls up weed before sowing the seed, so the meditator tries to remove unwholesome thought from the field of his mind. Just as a gardener then manures his field, waters it and protects it from animals and birds, so should the meditator watch his mind and nourish it with wholesome thought.

Right Mindfulness. One is required to live as regards the body, observant of the body, strenuous conscious and mindful and rid himself of covetousness and melancholy and similarly as regards the sensations, the mind and phenomena. Mindfulness is considered most important. It is self mastery by means of self-knowledge, which allows nothing to be done heedlessly and mechanically and controls not merely by recognizing acts of volition but also those sense-impressions in which we are apt to regard the merely receptive. It implies that human nature can by mental training be changed into something different, something infinitely superior to the nature of ordinary man.

It is the basis of the doctrine of Anatma by which a great store is put in the dhamma. The belief in permanent self or atman leads a religious man to suppose that to ensure happiness and emancipation, it is considered necessary to isolate the atman by self-mortification and suppressing discursive thought as well as passion. The Buddha considered this a capital error. If it were true emancipation and sanctity would be impossible because human nature could not be changed at all. That which can make end of suffering is not something lurking ready-made in human nature but something that is to be built up: man must be reborn, not flayed and stripped of everything except the core of unchanging atman. The collective name for these higher states of mind which are the result of a deliberate effort is 'prajna'. This concept of transcendental or absolute knowledge is considered to be of cardinal importance in all schools of Buddhism.

Right Meditative Concentration or Rapture is the last of the eightfold path. Though mental concentration is essential for Samadhi, it is more than mere concentration or even meditation. A monk seats himself with his body and with his intelligence alert and intent, purifies his mind from all lust, ill temper, sloth, delusion and perplexity. When these are gone, he is like a man freed, gladness rises in his heart and passes successively through four stages of meditation. Then his whole mind and body is permeated with a feeling of purity and peace. In this state of mind, he realizes the full significance of the Four Truths and understands the origin and cessation of three great evils, love of pleasure, love of existence and ignorance. He sees and understands not only his own birth and death in previous lives, but births and deaths of others. In him thus set free, there arises the knowledge of his freedom and he knows that rebirth has been destroyed and higher life has been led, what had to be done has been done!

 

 

] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

 

-Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita

 

Nibbana = Deliverance from Samsara

Nibbana is called Supermundane or the Beyond. It is beyond three spheres of existence which constitute the mundane universe or the conditioned existence. Being supermundane Nibbana is unconditioned, therefore the dimension of freedom from all worldly bondages. Nibbana has its own intrinsic character or nature (svabhava). It is the highest ultimate reality in the sense of being the deathless element. Samsara is the conditioned, mundane sphere of existence, characterized by birth, death and rebirth.

Nibbana is two fold: 1) The element of Nibbana as experienced by Buddhas and Arahats while living (sa-upadisesa Nibbanadhatu). Their defilements having been extinguished they enjoy total freedom from all clinging to any form of existence. However they still have the aggregates which is called the 'residues' of life. 2) The element of Nibbana attained by the Buddhas and Arahats on their demise (Anupadisesa Nibbana Dhatu). With the demise of the Buddhas and Arahat the residue of aggregates too are discarded. These are otherwise called deliverance through cessation of defilements (Kilesa Parinibbana) and deliverance through cessation of aggregates (Khandha Parinibbana).

I Declension

Feminine words ending in U

Ekavacana Bahuvacana

1/8 u u, uyo

2 um u, uyo

Rest as in feminine words ending in i.

For example: Dhatu = element, relic:

Ekavacana Bahuvacana

1/8 dhatu dhatu, dhatuyo

2 dhatum dhatu, dhatuyo

3/5 dhatuya, dhatya dhatubhi, dhatuhi

4/6 dhatuya dhatunam

7 dhatuya, dhatuyam dhatusu

Similarly declined are:

Yagu= Rice gruel Dhenu = cow

Rajju = Rope Daddu = Eczema

Kacchu = Itch Kasu = Pit

Vijju = Lightening, Sassu = Mother-in- electricity law

Kaneru = She elephant Duhitu = Daughter

Kandu = Itch Dhitu = Daughter

Tanu = Body Pheggu = Wood around the pith

Natthu = Nose Hanu = Jaw

 

II Declension of Numerals

Numerals are declined like the pronouns i.e, in all the genders. Some, however, have their own genders, for instance, dvi, ti and catu. Though in all genders, they are declined differently in each gender.

Eka, of course, has only singular form. From dvi to attharasa, it is in all three genders. From ekunavisati to atthanavuti it is declined in feminine: and from sata upwards to lakkha the declension is in neuter and singular. But all these can be declined in plural when they are needed to express separate entities or quantities such as Cattari Saccani = Four Truths, or Cattari Satani = Four quantities of hundreds. Any compound formed with numerals, like sata or sahassa is also neuter like Pancangam, Tiratanam, Tilokam, Catusaccam, etc. If eka used in plural form it is to express 'some', like eke puggala = some people.

Eka = one

Masculine Neuter Feminine

1 eko ekam eka

2 ekam Rest as in ekam

3 ekena masculine ekaya,

4 ekassa ekaya, ekissa, ekassa

5 ekasma, ekamha ekaya

7 ekasmim, ekamhi ekayam, ekissam, ekassam

 

Dvi = two: It is declined similarly in all three genders: Masculine, neuter and feminine.

1/2 Dve, duve

3/5 dvibhi, dvihi

4/6 dvinnam, duvinnam

7 dvisu

Ti = three: It is declined in all three genders.

Masculine Neuter Feminine

1/2 Tayo tini tisso

3/5 tibhi, tihi Rest as in tihi, tibhi

4/6 tinnam, Masculine tissannam

tinnannam

7 tisu tisu

 

Catu = four: it is declined in all three genders;

Masculine Neuter Feminine

1/2 cattaro, caturo cattari catasso

3/5 catubhi, catuhi Rest as in catubhi catuhi

4/6 catunnam Masculine catassannam, catussannam

7 catusu catusu

 

Panca = five: It is declined similarly in all three genders

1/2 Panca

3/5 Pancabhi, Pancahi; Similarly declined are cha(six) 4/6 Pancannam to attharasa (eighteen)

7 Pancasu

 

III Upasagga - Prefixes

Ni = expresses 'out' and sometimes negation:

ni- kam = nikkamati = goes out; neggacchati = goes out of; ni - vana = nibbana = cessation of craving; ni- asa = nirasa = without hope, hopeless.

 

Pa = expresses 'forward', clarity, advancement, intensification: pa - na = pajanati = knows clearly; pakkamati = goes forward; pasareti = to stretch forward; padhavati = runs in advance; pa - kup (to be angry) = pakuppati = to be very angry.

 

Para = expresses intensity;

para - ji = parajeti = vanquishes, overcomes; parabhava = ruin, disgrace;

parakkama = exertion, strife.

 

Pari = expresses fullness, completeness, 'round', intensity;

pari - na = parijanati = understands fully, completely, perfectly; parivatteti = turns round; paricarati = attends, serves, paribhasati = reviles, abuses; pariharati = bears, uses; paripunna = filled completely; paridhavati = runs about.

 

 

Book Review

GEMS OF BUDDHIST WISDOM

[13 X 19 cm. 520 pages. Published by the Buddhist Missionary Society, Kuala Lumpur. Reprinted by the Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan]

This book is a collection of thirty one articles concerning different aspects of Buddhism, written in a simple and concise manner. The twelve authors who have written these articles are well-known scholars, whose treatises on Buddhism are well reputed, and the authors are highly respected in academic institutions all over the world.

The topics covered are the general views of Buddhism, the Buddha and his teachings, Buddhism and life, Buddhist approach to problems, Buddhist practices, Religion in a scientific age and also subject of general interest. The common aim of the articles, is to clarify a number of misconceptions regarding Buddhism and also to stress the uniqueness of the Buddha's teaching. For deriving the maximum benefit the articles should be read slowly and mindfully, and the arguments presented by each writer should be pondered upon , in order to get an insight of the excellent teaching.

The articles are of such a high value that there is a great demand for this book, which now is in its third edition.