Monan busana ulore asol Buddho dhormot

Onyo dhormoni dane buddho dhormot monan ulore bek gui jhur (bekbhag khowa uye) jyajai. Jai ok, mon mane ki? Yian rup noi (mono biporit) bek bhage monan busare legon ba kon. Asole ki guttyan monk koi naki? Ottoba (nule) cittan ki mon kowa jai naki? Ucu gui kubat sele mon ulore, adhyatik (jyan ama gyabire dege n paya gui age). Mon ulore mana maran (kon) pali bhasai. Ikku monobidyai/monogyan (psychology) koipon guttyan ulore gyat asol ongo (organ) a mon judi kubad ule guttyan mon isabe dwa puibo. Mo busa onujai (doge) syo pagi monobidyai guttyan gobesona (research) gon. Ruploi (gom purikkya gowere kol loiro) kono monan dega ba purikkya gowa no jai, monane jikkya gui dege (koloi ba andait gui pere monan gobesona gotte) andait sara, mo motte (busadoge). Buddho dhormo onujai gyaloi (ruploi) kono busi nope.

Tulona guille koi pajebo monan ki. Jein (duyo) ekjone einan hulot baitseye. Tei te busi paibo hulot lakkyere. Syan bana lakkyere jasai bhasai no guinan kone baitseye. Jokke hulot baitseye sokke hullya peya guibo. Syopagi tattun piya pangot, piya pangot gui mon jya puibo (sriti jyapuibo). Ah onyo doge kubat sele bana sojak ona, hyal ragana. Syopagi godona doge (onujai) mon otto ittuk gui sojak ona jasai bisai (basai) no guinan. Tibboti buddho dhormo motte mon di otte busa jai- ituk gui sojak ona ah sudho mon (pawn mon, puriskar mon). Ikyagui suddho mon otto yo Anguttara nikay ot age.

Bosong monan gorba dukkya gui einan puriskar monan kasor gowe. Suddho/ pown monan tulona guille puriskar panit nanan rong loi misela, sokke kowa jebo nanakkan rong-kala ule kala ah ranga ule ranga guinan. Sokke kowa jai nanan coitosik (nanakkan mono loge kam gowere mon: jen gom monot ule gom coitosik ah bosong monot ule, bosong coitosik egottor oi).Syopagi bhogoban buddha kuyere, monane songsaran salai (cittena niyati loko).

Ekjone judi gom kam gowere oi ta caikaitti sug santi ah ujjol oijebo. Kintu ekjone judi harap kam gowere oi, jyan nijo pagi bosong ah onyo jono pagi yo bosong. Sokke bana jamela ah osanti dega dibo. E doge koi pairye ami mono doge suli, ama doge (jyan ama pagi gom) ami monan kamot no lageinan. Mono doge suli re pagi ami bekbhage bosong kamot lagi tei no laseinan ah no dowenan. Kintu jokke ami monan ama doge (ama gomo pagi) kamot lage tei, hale laseinan ah dowenan ami harap kam no guinan bana gom kam gui paibong. Lasana ah dowan bosong kam gotte ulore diya sonsar rokkha guya niti/niyom.

Puyani pundit e koi giyon, gyani mansyot gom kam gotte uccyua ah bosong kam gotte diddari. Kintu murko mansyot bosong kam gotte uccywa ah gom kam gotte diddari. Karon gyani mainsye busi pon bosong kame dug ane nijo pagi yo ah poriya pagi yo. Kintu murko mainsye bhabonde (jen jone togeinan tenga mai hana). Morkobo busipette mainsye togeinan mui si tengani jyan pai loinan gome kheipain. Kintu mainsye togeinan dowa hele jyalot ja puibore ah sakti heibore syan bhabi no pe. Syo pagi amar nitto bhaba puibo (think) jei kuno kam gotte iyan ki mo pagi ah onyo jono pagi yo gom ubo na bosong ubo. Judi bosong oi syan no gowana ah gom ule syan gowana.

Ikku dorsonot dega jai gom ah bosong kiggui busi pon. Byago pagi judi gom oi ah koi ekjono pagi judi bosong uleyo hale syan je gui pajebo. Syan koire utilitarianism (bek bhago pagi gom). Ikkya mot buddho dhormo motte noi. Siggun ekkwa osohai (bol niya) piba (ant) pagi huti (harm) uleyo si kaman bosong ba okusol.

Syo pagi Dhormasongini othokotha onujai gom ottho (kusala) monot lub, rag ah ogyan niya ruk (mona not judi lub rag no tai sokke koi pa jaire monan rukh nai gui (healthy) no tele gom koipe. Ninda no guya (defame) kam ulore gom kam koi. Siggui busi paire monan judi rukh dukya lub, rag ah ogyan no oirye kam ah ninda no guya kam ulore gom kam (kusala). Syopagi ekjone judi gom kam guillye ohinsa, gyan, santi, sukh pebo ah gyani mainsye yo basundi guibak (praise). Iggui diyan otto loinan gom ki jasai bisai (investigate) gui paibyong. Ah ta biporide bosong guinando busi paibong.

Byago tumot jikya ekjone monan purikkya guitto sat, asol uddiso buddho dhormot ulore mono sobhab businan monan puriskar gowana. Monan businan ting gui towana (keep calm) no luya muino dukkyagui (just like an immovable mountain) toi pailye kono jone nijo sukh santiyan bange di no paibak. Karon tei jyan ot ba gutti jat, te si doge syan busi pe.

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Where does happiness lie?

People have been looking at happiness as if it lies somewhere in time and place. If that is the case, it has two issues. The first issue is that only particular occasions (time) are wonderful moments for experiencing happiness. The second issue is that only particular places are connected with happiness where it meets with their desirable objects.

Should we really experience the world similarly in relation to our happiness? If yes? Why then, do we find enjoyment in almost every place without being limited to time and space? As an example, if a person is happy with eating watermelon he must be satisfied with watermelon only. While enjoying eating watermelon, he also enjoys eating custard Apples. It shows the desire of human beings are not limited to a particular object but on varieties of objects depending on time and place.

Again, should we really call it happiness if it’s dependent on time and place? It is undeniable that it is a sort of happiness. But this happiness is undeniably temporal and conditional. Thus, a wise person does not recognize it as happiness if it depends on time and place. During cool weather, a woolen jacket is a wonderful object but the happiness derived from a woolen jacket is temporarily comfortable. When the climate becomes hot that same woolen jacket will not give any more comfort. So, why does our happiness in regards to a woolen jacket change depending on time? It is the mind that changes its preferred objects due to having the nature of enjoyment from one object to another without any interruption. Therefore, it is essential to look for a sort of happiness which is free from time and place.

What kind of happiness could that be which is free from time and place? Could it really be regarded as happiness if it  is free from time and place? It is not something to be searched from outside our mind but finding a moment in the mind. When we realize clearly a certain kind of happiness that does not require a particular object and place, it is the moment of being observant with every object without showing any liking and disliking, ut just knowing it as it occurs. In this way, we are disclosing ourselves with particular times and objects. Similarly, the identity of a particular object will not come to our mind. But rather a person experiences peace and happiness with a neutral attitude without being limiting to time and place. Happiness without being limiting to object and time is like the sun, moon, and stars which are always shining whether or not clouds block their radiance. This is not the only case of experiencing happiness when one gets one’s desirable objects but also in the moment when a person meets with undesirable objects.

Happiness is not to be attained with a different attitude on desirable objects with an undesirable one and the undesirable attitude with a desirable one. But in fact, it is to be attained through an indifferent attitude towards both the desirable and undesirable using clear comprehension. It is this clear comprehension that understands clearly without any reaction towards desirable and undesirable objects. If one reacts with towards attraction, one will be inclined to accept desirable objects by repelling any undesirable objects. It is through the reaction that one becomes blind on an object without understanding the reality of the ups and downs of human life.

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A message on Happy New Year-2019

Billion people remember the 11:59:00 minute on December 31 of every year. Have we realized what do we unconsciously accept it? In fact, we accept the concept of change. If we can accept the concept change of old year into new year, why we cannot accept the reality of change in our life? This is the reality, when a worse situation changes, it becomes a favourable situation. Like when we are happy, eventually due to the disappearance of happiness, it may lead to unhappiness because of the nature of change. But the reality is when we lose a dear person from us, we do not want to accept the nature of change from taking rebirth to dying. We are only happy when it changes into a favourable condition from an unfavourable situation. It would be unfair to accept it partially of the concept of changing- what we really want the nature to behave according to our will. Let us accept the concept of change not only from an undesirable condition into a desirable condition but also a desirable condition into an undesirable situation. This way we will understand ourselves and our surrounding according to the concept of change which is beyond our control. Through understanding the concept of change, we will able to cope well with our wish, hope, health, prosperity and peace.

May New Year-2019 bring you with bright hope and wish good health, prosperity and peace.


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Investigation of citta in the early discourses (Sutta)

Buddha

Early Buddhism has given the greatest importance on mind because of the concern of suffering and liberation of living beings. For identifying the defilement and purification of mind, the comprehension of mind is essential. It also plays a central role in the moral and intellectual behavior of an individual. This essay shall be focusing on synonyms of citta, types of citta, natures, impermanent and non-self, defilement and purification of citta.

Synonyms for mind

In early Buddhism cittamano, and viññaṇa are synonyms referring to mind. According to W. S. Karanaratna citta represents the subjective aspect of consciousness; mano relates to the rational faculty playing intellectual functioning of consciousness, while viññāṇa is the field of sense and sense-reaction and perceptive activity. However, they are not totally different aspects of mind. Among them, here will be discussing on citta.

Cittais derived from verbal root citwhich means to think. It applies ordinary judgmental thinking, evaluation, decision, or conclusion. According to earlynikāya, there are sixteen kinds of cittaswith eight pairs such as  citta with lust (sarāgacitta)without lust (vītarāgacitta), with hatred (sadosacitta), without hatred (vītadosacitta), ignorance (samoha), without ignorance (vītamoha), with contracted (saṅkhittaṃ), with restlessness (vikkhittaṃ), noble (mahaggataṃ), without noble (amahaggataṃ) surpass (sauttaraṃ), unsurpassed (anuttaraṃ) composed mind (samāhitaṃasamāhitaṃ), liberated (vimuttaṃ) and unliberated (avimuttaṃ). They can be classified into ethically wholesome citta (kusala) and unwholesome citta (akusala).

The concept of Citta

Citta has many functions which could be classified into three-fold such as affective, cognitive and the conative. Some of the contexts of cittafrom the nikāyawill be taken up. Firstly, the cognitive functions of shows in the Saḷāyatanavibhaṅga Suttathat one puts forth the knowing mind (aññācittaṃ upaṭṭhapenti). In SN, the Dutiyakāmabhū Sutta shows the citta which has been previously developed lead the practitioner to the attainment of truth (sacca).

Secondly, the cognition of citta in SN, the Citta Sutta states the world is led by mind (cittena nīyati loka). Moreover, cittaalso shows the character that springs forward (cittaṃ pakkhandati) in the Mahāhatthipadopama Sutta.

Thirdly, the emotional aspect of citta illustrates in the Dīghalomika Sutta that citta is defiled (paduṭṭha cittaṃ), obsessed mind (pariyādiṇṇa citto) with defilements. Consequently, cittais shown as sick (āturacitta) in the Nakulapitu Sutta in the SN. According to Dhammapada verse- 35, controlling the mind brings happiness (cittaṃdantaṃsukhāvahaṃ). One could be able to develop loving-kindness with citta (mettacittaṃ bhāveti). Finally, one could be able to liberate citta from cankers (āsavehi cittāni vimucciṃsū). The liberated mind is calm (santacittā) as mentioned in Paṭisallāna sutta in the Itivuttaka.

Citta is to be developed, cultivated, and cleaned. The four foundation of mindfulness is the way to cultivate minds. So that it can lead to well-being and brings happiness in the present and future existence.

Impermanent and Non-self of Citta

Cittais subjected to impermanence and change in Buddhism. Since citta is subject to impermanent (anicca), suffering (dukkha), thus, it is non-self (anattā) as well.  According to the Assutavā Sutta in SN, cittais quickly changing phenomena because it appears quickly and perishes quickly, the next cittaappears after perishing the previous citta. 

To sum up, understanding citta is essential to release from all defilements. It is only possible to bring happiness and liberation by cultivating mind through the four foundations of mindfulness.

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Gratitude: From moral and philosophical perspectives  

gratitude.jpg

If you have learnt how to express “Thank you” for help, that means you’re grateful. Generally this is how gratefulness is understood. Sometime we practice it in our life, but we never notice as gratefulness. Particularly, among the westerners we could see expressing gratitude by expressing “Thank you at every help.” In fact,  from Buddhist point of view, gratefulness is  far more wider and subtler sense. Thus, this writing aims at understanding gratitude from western philosophical and early Buddhist perspectives.

Etymology of gratitude

The Cambridge Dictionary defines gratefulness is  the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. According to  Random House Dictionary of the English Languagegratitude is ‘the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.’[1]However, to know the etymological meaning, it will refer to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it derived from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin gratitude.

Buddhist concept of gratitude

The word gratitude in Pāli is called kataññū. Literally it means ‘to know what other has done for us.’ Those who know and appreciate for others’ helps, and services, it is also called kataññū. Early Buddhist discourses states, a good person is grateful and thankful. For gratitude and thankfulness are extolled by the good. Gratitude and thankfulness belong entirely to the plane of the good person.[2]Moreover, to measure the degree of gratitude towards one’s parents, ‘One could not repay gratitude to parents  by supporting with requisites, taking care during illness, and acquiring abundant wealth. For two reasons, (i) parents are of great help to their children (ii) they bring them up, feed them, and show them the world.

By establishing faith, virtuous, generosity, wisdom in such a way, one has done enough for one’s parents, repaid them, and done more than enough for them.[3]Establishing one’s parents into the rationality is indeed philosophical. Therefore, one’s parents could decide anything they do with proper understanding.

The concept of gratitude in western philosophy

 The concept of gratitude is as old as the Greek Philosophy. The concept of gratitude was emphasised by Roman Statement and philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca. His concerned was dyadic. In his word, ‘The intentions of both the givers and the receivers of benefits are of the utmost importance in understanding gratitude.[4]  It means the mutual understanding of gratitude both the receiver and the giver. He further explained, “He who denies that a slave can sometimes give a benefit to his master is ignorant of the rights of man; for, not the status, but the intention, of the one who bestows is what counts.”[5]

Following Seneca, Thomas Hobbes focused the concept of gratitude in his Leviathan. That a man which receiveth Benefit from another of mere Grace, Endeavor that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent of his good will”.[6]On this concept, Harpham comments that ‘gratitude is a necessary condition in society to assure us that self-interested people will be willing to act in disinterested ways for the benefit of others and for society in general.’[7]

Samuel Pufendorf supports the concept of gratitude. In his word, ‘Although an ungrateful heart is not an offence in itself, still a name for ingratitude is regarded as baser, more odious and more detestable than a name for injustice.’[8]

David Hume might have learnt  the  concept of gratitude from his experience. He states that ‘of all the crimes that human creatures are capable of committing, the most horrid and unnatural is ingratitude, especially when it is committed against parents, and appears in the most flagrant in- stances of wounds and death.’[9]His expression is rather emotional. Similar to the Buddha,’ doing injustice against parents, Hume has a parallel understanding of gratitude.

Immanuel Kant has similar understanding of wicked as the Buddha. Kant recognizes, ingratitude as one of three vices that are the “essence of vileness and wickedness.[10]Kant might have thought from the rational understanding one should appreciate others for their help and kindness. It has a rationale to accept the expression of gratitude. Though it is associated with emotion.

From the perspective of  moral philosopher, Adam Smith, gratitude is the passion or sentiment that prompts us to reward others for the good that they have done us.[11]Gratitude could be sentiment but it is based on rational understanding of appreciation. Smith began his inquiry by arguing that actions deserve to be rewarded if they are the proper object of gratitude.[12]In addition,  his analysis of gratitude on the dyadic relationship between an actor and a receiver of benefits.

Moreover, through three questions Smith inquired about the concept of gratitude. Under what circumstances do individuals feel gratitude? Second, when is the feeling of gratitude proper and when is it not? Third, how is an individual’s sense of gratitude channeled in directions that are socially beneficial? How are we to know if a recipient’s response of gratitude is appropriate or not?[13]  In his voice these, as well as all the other passions of human nature, seem proper and are approved of, when the heart of every impartial spectator entirely sympathizes with them, when every indifferent by-stander entirely enters into, and goes along with them.[14]

Gratitude in early Buddhist discourses

In the early theistic understanding, gratitude is divinely. But Buddhist understanding of gratitude is humanistic  impression. The Buddha was a historical man, he was not sent or incarnated of a prophet. Thus, gratitude in Buddhism is purely humanistic.

There will be hardly anyone who does not agree with gratefulness. If anyone denies gratefulness that means he does not want to accept the service of others. Gratefulness is recognized valuable in Buddhist discourses. Thus, according to the Dullabha Suttaa grateful person and a kind person are understood rare in the world.[15]As it has mentioned earlier the only way to repay one’s parent gratitude is to mature their spiritual understanding. Moreover, the Mahāmaṅgala sutta recognizes to be gratitude is one of the reasons to be prosperity.[16]Ingratitude is  also recognizes a hindrance in the attainment of jhāna.[17]Therefore, for the cultivation of higher mind, it is essential to be grateful. There are exchanged support between laypeople and monks. While monks teach Dhamma in exchange laypeople support four requisites. The anguish an aging parent feels when his children show no gratitude. The father expressed even his stick is much better than his ungrateful sons.[18]

Application of gratitude in daily life

Through gratitude we could prevent many problems in daily life. For instance, when somebody helps us, they wish to receive gratitude in return. People are not free from greed, pride and envy. Therefore, saying a word of thank  is always a best decision though everybody does not expect to express gratitude. By following gratitude, one will always praise as a duty of other’s service.

Expressing gratitude is a humbleness. Sometimes due to pride we don’t want to express a thank. In that case, gratitude will help to humble ourselves. Consequently, we will able to overcome from the illness of  big head.

Gratitude opens the door to spirituality. When we express thanks to others, that means we appreciate them. When we appreciate them we like to follow their advices. This is just  a BIG Thank’ for sharing  valuable advice. In this way, we can nurture our spiritual growth with their brilliant ideas and values.

One should also be grateful for giving an opportunity to cultivate patience. If one can forgive to enemy, this is the highest form of expressing gratefulness. In this stage one does not differentiate between like and dislike. However, one can change one’s mind by reflecting the benefit of being patient. In this case, one needs to practice kindness. Through kindness one can understand other’s ignorance and immaturity.  This is not the case where one misinterprets the reality. However, due to having positive affect of our life, it is beneficial to see in this way.

References

[1]1967, p. 617.

[2]A I 62; 153; sappurisocakho,bhikkhave,kataññūhotikatavedī.sabbhihetaṃ,bhikkhave,upaññātaṃyadidaṃkataññutākataveditā.kevalāesā,bhikkhave,sappurisabhūmiyadidaṃkataññutākataveditā ti.

[3]A I 62; 153.

[4]Seneca, L. A. (1935). On benefits. In Moral essays, with an English translation by John W. Basore: Vol. III [Loeb Classical Library]. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

[5]Seneca, 1935, p. 161.

[6]Hobbes, T. (1991). Leviathan (R. Tuck, Ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 105.

[7]Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. Mcculloch. (2004). The Psychology of Gratitude. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 27.

[8]Pufendorf, S. (1991). On the duty of man and citizen according to natural law (J. Tully, Ed., & M. Silverthorne, Trans.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, p. 66.

[9]Hume, D. (1888). A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, p. 466.

[10]Kant, I. (1964). The Metaphysical Principles of Virtue: Part II of The metaphysics of morals (J. Ellington, Trans.). Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, p. 466.

[11]Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. Mcculloch. (2004).The Psychology of Gratitude. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 28.

[12]Ibid.

[13]Ibid.

[14]Smith, A. (1982). The theory of moral sentiments (A. L. Macfie & D. D. Raphael, Eds.). Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics, 69.

[15]A I 87.

[16]Snp, 48.

[17]A iii 274; 841.

[18]S i 175.

Posted in Buddhism, Continental Philosophy, David Hume, Early Buddhism, Gratefulness, Gratitude, Immanuel Kant, Kant, kataññūta, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Moral philosophy, Philosophy, Samuel Pufendorf, Thomas Hobbes | Leave a comment

Five kinds of permeations (pharaṇata) in the attainment of tranquility and insight meditation

That concentration (samādhi) can be understood in five ways: permeation of happiness, permeation of pleasure, permeation of cognizance, permeation of light, and sign of concentration. Herein, any permeation of joy, any permeation of happiness, any permeation of cognizance, are Samatha (tranquility), while any permeation of light, and any permeation of reviewing, are Vipassanā (Insight). [1] These expressions are very technical. Thus, it is difficult to grasp their meanings.

The five kinds of permeations are according to the commentary of Dassuttara Sutta (Dīgha Nikāya Sutta no 11; Dasuttarasuttavaṇṇanā: [2]permeation of joy, happiness, cognizance, light and reviewing.

(1) While permeating joy, there arises the knowledge in twofold absorption of (1st and 2nd absorption according to fourfold method of jhāna, Suttanta method) is called the extension of joy.

(2) While permeating happiness, there arises the knowledge in three stages of absorptions (1st to 3rd jhāna according to fourfold jhāna) called the extension of happiness.

(3) While permeating cognizance for others, there arises understanding the cognizance of others’ thoughts is called the cognizance of others’ thoughts.

(4) While permeating light, there arises the knowledge of divine eyes, is called extension of light.

(5) The knowledge of reviewing is called the sign of reviewing.

Here, out of five kinds of permeations, the first three kinds of permeations have a particular object during jhāna attainment whereas the last two have the object of visible object (for knowledge of divine eyes) and nibbāna (for reviewing knowledge) i.e., objects of insight meditation. Thus, they have they have been classified into tranquility and insight meditation. In the first three kinds which are tranquility are just jhāna attainment whereas the last two kinds are the attainment of higher knowledge (jhāna with abhiññā) and reviewing knowledge are with insight knowledge.

Although this commentary is silent in the case of no. 4, the knowledge which is related to divine eyes is called insight knowledge. It should be taken that having seen that object with divine eyes and contemplate it as impermanent, suffering and non-self. In these ways we can understand while differentiating tranquility meditation and insight meditation by means of object and ways of observing objects.

References:

[1]So samādhi pañcavidhena veditabbo pītipharaṇatā sukhapharaṇatā cetopharaṇatā ālokapharaṇatā pacca­vek­kha­ṇā­nimittaṃ. Tattha yo ca pītipharaṇo yo ca sukhapharaṇo yo ca cetopharaṇo, ayaṃ samatho. Yo ca ālokapharaṇo yañca pacca­vek­kha­ṇā­nimittaṃ. Ayaṃ vipassanā. Netti, 89.

[2]Pītipharaṇatādīsu pītiṃ pharamānā uppajjatīti dvīsu jhānesu paññā pītipharaṇatā nāma. sukhaṃ pharamānaṃ uppajjatīti tīsu jhānesu paññā sukhapharaṇatā nāma. paresaṃ ceto pharamānā uppajjatīti cetopariyapaññā cetopharaṇatā nāma. ālokapharaṇe uppajjatīti dibbacakkhupaññā ālokapharaṇatā nāma. paccavekkhaṇañāṇaṃ paccavekkhaṇanimittaṃ nāma. vuttampi cetaṃ “dvīsu jhānesu paññā pītipharaṇatā, tīsu jhānesu paññā sukhapharaṇatā. paracitte paññā cetopharaṇatā, dibbacakkhu ālokapharaṇatā. tamhā tamhā samādhimhā vuṭṭhitassa paccavekkhaṇañāṇaṃ paccavekkhaṇanimittan”ti. Dasuttarasuttavaṇṇanā D-a, iii, 1060.

Posted in concentration, Experiences, Insight, Insight Meditation, Intuition, meditation, Mental States, Nibbāna, Non-self (anatta), Permeation, Spirituality, tranquility | Leave a comment

A Brief History of Pāli Language

Pāli (巴利语) is an Indo-European language, a kind of Prakrit. Prakrit and Vedic Sanskrit (吠陀梵語) are the most ancient Indo-European languages in India.Pāli is a dialect in ancient India. It is regarded as an ancient dialect of Ujjayini (鄔闍衍那) because it stands closest to the language of the Asokan-inscriptions of Girnar, Gujarat, Western India.[1]Pāli is a form of Magadhi called Magadhi Prakrit (摩揭陀俗語) or Suddhamagadhi (Pure Magadhi) while Jainism used Ardhamagadhi (lit. half-Magadhi). Ardhamagadhi is thought to be the predecessor of Magadhi Prakrit. Pāli  does not have a systematized grammar compared to Classical Sanskrit. However, Pāli is older than Classical Sanskrit (古典梵文).

Literally, Pāli means “line, row, or series”. The early Buddhist masters extended the meaning of the term to mean “a series of books”.  Thus, Palibhāsa means “language of the texts”. Pāli Tipiṭaka means the teachings of the Buddha. According to Pāli Grammar, Pāli means protection because it protects the Teaching of the Buddha (Dhamma).[2]It is synonymous with Tanti, Mūlabhāsā (original language), Sabhāvanirutti (natural language), Māgadhi bhāsa (the language of Magadha) (摩揭陀).

During the second Buddhist Council, the Sthavira’s (上座部) elder monks who dwelt in Avanti, Western India, was more influential in this area. Mahāvihāra School of Sri Lanka was a sub-division of Sthaviravāda School. Mahāvihāra School had preserved a complete set of the Pāli Tipiṭaka which was directly introduced from India. Since Mahāvihāra School was a sub-division of Sthaviravāda, it is assumed that the Tipitaka was the original text of Sthaviravāda School.

 After the 3rdBuddhist Council, Emperor Asoka (阿育王) dispatched Venerable Mahinda (摩哂陀) and other monks who were well-versed in Tipiṭaka to Sri Lanka. Because of the good support of King Devanampiyatissa, Buddhism was well-established in Sri Lanka.

Due to famine and turmoil, the elders decided to compile the Tipiṭaka to preserve it because at that time the Tipiṭaka was maintained by oral transmission.[3]In the fourth Buddhist Council in Sri Lanka at the Alu-vihara Temple about 1stcentury B C E , the Pāli Canon was first written down during the reign ofVaṭṭagāmaṇī-Abhaya.Later sometimes palm-leaf manuscripts containing the completed PāliCanon were taken to other countries such as Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

It is assumed that Pali was popular in South India during that period. As the Dipavaṃsa states, many monks from Sri Lanka moved to South India, Kañcipuram. In the fifth Century CE,Venerable Buddhaghosa came from India to Ceylon to study the Sinhalese Commentaries at the Mahāvihāra, under Sanghapāla (probably at that period the entire Tipiṭaka and commentaries were not available in India). To prove his capability, he wrote Visuddhi-Magga, and having thereby won the approval of the Elders of the Mahāvihāra, he translated the Sinhalese Commentaries into Pāli language.[4]  It is the transition period of colloquial Pāli into the period of literal Pāli.

Like any other classical Buddhist languages, studying Pāli has lots of benefits. Pāli is the only classical Buddhist language which preserves a complete set of Tipiṭaka. By understanding Pāli, one may be able to access the original sources. Moreover, one will be able to comprehend the technical terminologies such as Dukkkha, Nibbāna, Kusala, Akusala, Puñña, Sukha etc. The Pāli Nikāyas (collections) and Chinese Āgama are the teachings of early Buddhist Schools. For the academic purpose, one can explore and conduct research and compare and contrast between Pāli Nikāyas and the Chinese Āgama. Pāli language is inevitable for Theravada Buddhism for chanting, taking precepts, listening to Sutta and sharing merits. Theravāda countries value and study the Pāli Tipiṭaka and its commentaries. Sri Lanka emphasizes the Suttapiṭaka, whereas Myanmar focuses on Abhidhammapiṭaka. Furthermore, Thailand gives priority to Vinayapiṭaka.

Notes

[1]https://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebsut059.htm

[2]Pāleti rakkhatīti pāli. Dhammaṃ pāleti, pālayati.

[3]Dīpavaṃsa., and Hermann OLDENBERG. 1879. The Dípavamsa: an ancient Buddhist Historical Record. Edited and translated by H. Oldenberg. Pâli and Eng. Williams and Norgate: London, Berlin.

[4]http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/b/buddhagosa.htm

Posted in History of Pāli Language, Pali Language, Pali Literature, Pāḷi, Pāḷi and Sanskrit, Pāḷi Studies | Leave a comment

Suggested Readings in Buddhism

A Basic Buddhist Reading List from Bodhi Monastery

Including the Theravada and Mahayana Traditions at the Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Levels

(For selected modern applications and interpretations, see the Modern Personal Perspectives on the Dharma List.)

The teachers, students, and friends of Bodhi Monastery have suggested these readings; therefore, this is not a complete or impartial selection.  This list

  • tries to capture the most general and important teachings of various traditions, teachers, etc., that we are familiar with;
  • restricts itself to the titles that deal with basic Buddhist teachings rather than with aspects of Buddhism from highly personal points of view;
  • includes a broad range from beginner to advanced, casual to scholarly, specific to comprehensive; and
  • lists specific teachings of certain genres only if the suggestions were expert.

Our review and editing of the list were based on the presence in the reading materials of fundamental Buddhist principles; that is to say, the main criterion was that the reading material be based on proper Buddhadhamma/ Buddhadharma

  • in accord with Dependent Origination (paticca-samuppada);
  • in accord with the Four Noble Truths (cattari ariya saccani); and
  • in accord with the Three Characteristics (ti-lakkhana).

In terms of practice, the readings were selected

  • in accord with the practice of morality, meditation, and insight-wisdom (sila, samadhi, andpanna).

 

Title, Edition Author, Editor, Translator URL Year Tradition Level Content Type
1 Abhidhamma Studies Nyanaponika Thera (Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed.) 1998 Theravada Advanced “explorations of consciousness and time”
2 Anger Thich Nhat Hanh 2001 Vietnamese Zen Beginning Mindfulness of negative thoughts and emotions
3 Basic Method of Meditation, The Brahmavamso 1998 Theravada Beginning/Intermediate Basic meditation instruction
4 Being Dhamma Ajahn Chah (Paul Breiter, trans.) 2001 Theravada Beginning General
5 Being Nobody, Going Nowhere – Meditations on the Buddhist Path Ayya Khema 1987 Theravada Beginning Introductions to the fundamentals of Theravada Buddhism
6 Bhikkhus Rules: A Guide for Laypeople, The Ariyesako http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyesako/layguide.html 1998 Theravada Beginning Practical reading
7 Buddha’s Path to Deliverance, The Nyanatiloka, trans. 1952 Theravada Intermediate Selected scriptures
8 Buddhist Dictionary Nyanatiloka 1980 Theravada All levels Manual of Buddhist terms and doctrines
9 Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction Damien Keown 2005 General Intermediate/Advanced Basic ethics and specific issues
10 Buddhist Path of Awakening, The, 2nd ed. Rupert Gethin 2001 Theravada Advanced Scholarly study
11 Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction, 5thed. Richard H. Robinson, Willard L. Johnson, Thanissaro Bhikkhu 2004 General All levels History of Buddhism
12 Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, A (Abhidhammattha Sangaha) Anuruddha (Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans.) 1999 Theravada Advanced Text & commentary
13 Connected Discourses of the Buddha, The (Samyutta Nikaya) Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. 2002 General All levels Scripture
14 Dhammapada, The Narada Thera, trans. 1993 General All Levels Scripture
15 Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom, The Red Pine, trans. 2002 Mahayana Beginning Scripture & study
16 Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness Henepola Gunaratana 2001 Theravada All levels Noble eightfold path
17 Essence of the Heart Sutra, The Dalai Lama 2005 Mahayana Intermediate Trans. & Commentary
18 Everyman’s Ethics Narada Thera http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/narada/wheel014.html 1985 Theravada Intermediate Practical reading
19 Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression Taigen Daniel Leighton 2003 Mahayana Intermediate Detailed descriptions of several bodhisattvic archetypes
20 First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening, The Susan Murcott 2006 General Beginning Study of women in scripture
21 Foundations of Buddhism, The Rupert Gethin 1998 General Beginner/Intermediate Buddhism in general
22 Four Foundations of Mindfulness, The Silananda, trans. & author 1990 Theravada All levels Mahasi Sayadaw approach to insight meditation
23 Four Noble Truths, The Ajahn Sumedho http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm Theravada Beginning
24 Great Awakening, The David Loy 2003 Intermediate/ Advanced All levels Buddhist social theory
25 Great Disciples of the Buddha Nyanaponika & Hecker (Bodhi ed.) 2003 General Intermediate Biographies of the Buddha’s personal disciples
26 Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, The (The Lamrim Chenmo), 3 volumes Tsong-kha-pa  (Joshua Cutler, ed. in chief) 2001- 2004 Tibetan Mahayana Advanced Compendium of Buddhist doctrines
27 Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, A (Bodhicaryavatara) Shantideva (Vesna A. Wallace & B. Alan Wallace, trans.) 1997 Mahayana Intermediate Text of poetry and practice instructions
28 Heart of Buddhist Meditation, The Nyanaponika 1965 Theravada Intermediate/Advanced Insight meditation theory, practice, and texts
29 Heart Sutra, The Red Pine, trans. 2004 Mahayana Beginning Scripture and study
30 Illuminating Silence: The Practice of Chinese Zen Sheng-Yen 2002 Chan (Chinese Zen) Beginning/Intermediate Meditation
31
In the Buddha’s Words
Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. & ed. 2005 General All levels Scriptural excerpts
32 Indian Buddhism A.K. Warder 1970 General Indian Intermediate/Advanced Scholarly study
33 Introduction to Buddhism, An Peter Harvey 1990 General All levels Scholarly intro. at undergraduate university level
34 Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, An Peter Harvey 2000 General Intermediate/Advanced General audience and scholarly
35 Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom, The Edward Conze, trans. & ed. 1972 Mahayana Advanced Scripture
36 Life of the Buddha, The Nanamoli, trans. & ed. 1993 General Intermediate Biography from scriptures
37 Long Discourses of the Buddha, The (Digha Nikaya) Maurice Walshe, trans. 1987 Theravada All levels Scripture
38 Lotus Sutra, The Burton Watson, trans. 1993 Mahayana Intermediate Scripture
39 Loving-Kindness – The Revolutionary Art of Happiness Sharon Salzberg 1995 Theravada Beginning Developing loving-kindness
40 Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations Paul Williams 1989 Mahayana Intermediate/Advanced History of Mahayana
41 Meditation on Emptiness Jeffrey Hopkins 1983 Tibetan Mahayana Advanced Philosophical examination of emptiness from Tibetan perspective
42 Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, The (Majjhima Nikaya) Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. 1995 General All levels Scripture
43 Mind and the Way, The Ajahn Sumedho 1995 Theravada Beginning/Intermediate Essays
44 Mindfulness In Plain English Henepola Gunaratana 1991 Theravada Beginning Basic meditation instruction
45 Mindfulness with Breathing Buddhadasa 1996 Theravada Beginning/Intermediate Insight meditation
46 Nature of Buddhist Ethics, The Damien Keown 2001 General Advanced Scholarly study
47 New Social Face of Buddhism, The Ken Jones 2003 General Intermediate Engaged Buddhism
48 Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering Bhikkhu Bodhi http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html 2000 Theravada All levels The Eightfold Path
49 Numerical Sayings of the Buddha, The (Anguttara Nikaya) Nyanaponika and Bodhi, trans. 1999 Theravada All levels Scriptural selections
50 Path of Purification, The (Visuddhimagga), 5th ed. Buddhaghosa (Nyanamoli trans.) 1996 Theravada Advanced scripture commentary
51 Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines & Its Verse Summary, The Edward Conze, trans. 1985 Mahayana Advanced Scripture & scholarly study
52 Platform Sutra: The Zen Teaching of Hui-neng, The Red Pine, trans. 2006 Mahayana All levels Scripture & study
53 Practicing the Path: A Commentary on the Lamrim Chenmo Yangsi Rinpoche 2003 Tibetan Mahayana Advanced Commentary on The Great Treatise
54 Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization Analayo 2003 Theravada Intermediate/Advanced Analysis of a classic meditation scripture
55 Seeking the Heart of Wisdom Joseph Goldstein & Jack Kornfield 1987 Theravada All levels Classic insight meditation instruction
56 Selected Translations of Miao Yun parts 1-7 Yin-Shun (available from Bodhi Monastery) On-going Chinese Mahayana All levels General
57 Selfless Mind, The Peter Harvey 1995 Theravada Advanced Scholarly study
58 Selfless Persons Peter Collins 1990 Theravada Advanced Scholarly study
59 Sutta Nipata, The H. Saddhatissa, trans. 1994 General All levels Scripture
60 Tranquility and Insight Amadeo Sole-Leris 1986 Theravada All levels Insight meditation
61 Treasury of Mahayana Sutras, A (Maharatnakuta Sutra) Garma C.C. Chang, ed. 1983 Mahayana All levels Selected scriptures
62 Tree of Enlightenment, The Peter Della Santina http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/tree-enlightenment.pdf 1997 General Beginning/Intermediate General
63 Verses from the Center Stephen Batchelor 2000 Mahayana All levels Text and commentary
64 Viimalakirti Sutra, The Burton Watson, trans. 1997 Mahayana All levels Scripture
65 Vision of Dhamma, The Nyanaponika Thera (Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed.) 1986 Theravada Intermediate Essays
66 Voices of Insight Sharon Salzberg, ed. 1999 Theravada Intermediate Collection of talks
67 Way to Buddhahood, The Yin-Shun 1998 Chinese Mahayana Advanced Systemized overview of Buddhism
68 What the Buddha Taught Walpola Rahula 1967 Theravada and all Beginning/Intermediate Overview of basic Buddhist teachings
69 Who Is My Self? – A Guide to Buddhist Meditation Ayya Khema 1997 Theravada Intermediate The Potthapaada Suttainterpreted and explained
70 Wings to Awakening, The Thanissaro, trans. & ed. http://www.buddhanet.net/wings.htm 1996 Theravada Intermediate The 37 factors of awakening (bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma)
71 Word of the Buddha, The Nyanatiloka, trans. 1967 Theravada Beginning Selected scriptures

 

Modern and Personal Perspectives on the Dharma List

Including the Theravada and Mahayana Traditions at the Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Levels

(For selected basic readings, see the Basic Buddhist Reading List from Bodhi Monastery.)

 

Students and friends of Bodhi Monastery have suggested the books listed below, which represent a selection of presentations of the Dharma / Dhamma from a variety of interests and perspectives.  Some of these books prompted their readers to study and practice of Buddhism.

 

Title, Edition Author, Editor, Translator URL Year Tradition Level Content Type
1 After the Ecstasy, the Laundry Jack Kornfield 2000 Theravada Intermediate Insight meditation
2 Available Truth Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano 2007 Theravada Intermediate Buddhism in the natural world
3 Awakening Meditation Madawela Punnaji Theravada Beginning An interpretation of meditation
4 Buddhism for Dummies Jonathan Landaw and Stephan Bodian 2002 General Beginner General introduction
5 Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices Thich Nhat Hanh 2006 Vietnamese Zen Beginner Scripture and liturgy study
6 Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi Taigen Daniel Leighton, trans. & ed. 2000 Chan (Chinese Zen) Intermediate Poetry/practice instruction
7 Dhammapada Eknath Easwaran 1985 General Beginner Scripture
8 Eight Gates of Zen: A Program of Zen Training, The John Daido Loori 1992 Zen Beginner Meditation and practice
9 Faith Sharon Salzberg 2002 Theravada Beginner Understanding the role of faith in Buddhism
10 Happy Married Life, A K. Sri Dhammananda http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/dhammananda/marriage.html 1987 Theravada Intermediate Practical reading
11 Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, The Thich Nhat Hanh 1999 Vietnamese Zen All levels Introduction to Core Buddhist teachings
12 Heart of Understanding, The Thich Nhat Hanh 1988 Vietnamese Zen Beginning The Heart Sutra explained
13 Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra Francis Cook 1977 Chinese Mahayana Intermediate Scholarly overview of the Hua Yen school
14 Landscapes of Wonder Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano 1998 Theravada Intermediate Buddhism in the natural world
15 Lessons of the Lotus, The Wimala 1997 Theravada Beginning Easy reading
16 Living Meditation, Living Insight Thynn Thynn 1995 Burmese Theravada Beginner/Intermediate Meditation / mindfulness in daily life
17 Longing for Certainty Bhikkhu Nyanasobhano 2003 Theravada Intermediate Buddhism in the natural world
18 Old Path, White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha Thich Nhat Hanh 1991 Vietnamese Zen Beginner Biography of the Buddha and introduction to Buddhism
19 Pay Attention, For Goodness’ Sake Sylvia Boorstein 2002 Theravada Intermediate The 10 paramis(perfections)
20 Saffron Days in L.A. Piyananda 2001 Theravada Beginner Funny and inspiring stories
21 Start Where You Are Pema Chodron 1994 Tibetan All levels Introduction to lojong (“giving and taking”) practice
22 Still Forest Pool: The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah, A Jack Kornfeld, trans. and ed. 1985 Theravada Beginning Teachings of a forest meditation master
23 Still Point Dhammapada, The Geri Larkin 2003 Zen Beginning Scriptural paraphrase
24 Teachings of the Buddha Jack Kornfield 2004 General Beginner Selected scripture
25 The Meaning of Conversion in Buddhism Sangharakhita 2000 Friends of the Western Buddhist Order Beginning/Intermediate Taking refuge and basic teachings
26 The Miracle of Mindfulness Thich Nhat Hanh 1987 Vietnamese Zen All levels Basic mindfulness meditation
27 Vision and Transformation: An Introduction to the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path Sangharakhita 2000 Friends of the Western Buddhist Order Beginning/Intermediate Basic Buddhist teachings
28 Wherever You Go, There You Are Jon Kabat-Zinn 1994 Mindfulness, Zen Beginning Mindfulness meditation
29 Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? Ajahn Brahm 2005 Theravada Beginning Funny and inspiring stories
30 Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind Shunryu Suzuki 1973 Zen Beginning Talks on meditation

 

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Meditation master traditions

The Thai-Lao tradition

The intuitive Thai-Lao tradition has had many charismatic teachers over the years. They are nearly all of the Thai forest tradition and emphasize practice over study. They don’t generally promote a fixed method, but provide much nuance and inspiration.

They also have an immense amount of literature online:

Tisarana – Vimutti – Abhayagiri – Forest Dhamma – Amaravati – Forest Retreat – Forest Sangha – Thanissaro Bhikkhu– Access To Insight Thai forest library

Ajahn Chah

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

Ajahn Jumnien

http://forestretreat.org/ajahn-jamnian/teachings-written-materials/

Ajahn Maha Bua


The Burmese tradition

The Burmese tends to be more technical or scholarly in some aspects. Some of its methods are very popular and widespread in modern meditation.

Mogok Sayadaw

Mogok Sayadaw gives a central place to the doctrine of dependent origination, which is to be understood in three stages – ñāta pariññā (theoretical knowledge), tirana pariññā (direct investigation), pahāna pariññā (abandoning through seeing).

Ajahn Naeb Mahaniranon

Ajahn Naeb Mahaniranon and Ajahn Prani Samreungrat: https://www.sites.google.com/site/roundfree/texts

Frank Tullius – Vipassana Bhavana – Theory, Practice and Result

Ajahn Sujin Boriharnwanaket and Nina van Gorkom:

Though these are Thai teachers, they are connected to a Burmese tradition going back to the vipassana methods and Abhidhamma teachings of the Burmese monk Bhadanta U Vilasa. Abhidhamma studies really took off in Thailand in the 1950s, but waned after certain prominent people like Buddhadasa Bhikkhu criticized the Abhidhamma as not authentic. However, this is more like a lay study group which has been promoting the study of the suttas and Abhidhamma in Thailand.

Guide to Mindfulness is a good introduction to the mindfulness of postures as taught by Ajahn Naeb, and Taking refuge in Buddhism is a good introduction to Ajahn Sujin’s method of developing paññā at the very outset. Ajahn Sujin’s group has also made useful contributions to the existing Abhidhamma literature.

Mahasi Sayadaw

Ledi Sayadaw – Saya Thetgyi – U Ba Khin – Webu Sayadaw – SN Goenka

Sunlun Sayadaw

Sunlun Sayadaw’s method uses the direct and continuous perception of sensations including pain.

Others

Mohnyin Sayadaw – Dittha Vipassana – Cognitive Insight Exercise – very heavy use of Abhidhamma concepts. Mohnyin Sayadaw was the latter of Ledi Sayadaw’s two main disciples.

Taungpulu Sayadaw – Blooming in the Desert: Favorite Teachings of the Wildflower Monk (Amazon). Like Webu Sayadaw, he followed an ascetic life (dhutanga) and possessed a down-to-earth wisdom.

Pa Auk Sayadaw is not mentioned in the book at all. He has a considerable following today. His system follows the Visuddhimagga closely, including achieving the jhanas via multiple meditation subjects. Knowing and seeing is probably his most comprehensive book:

 

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Can there be thought without language?

Once during my trip a man has asked if there can be thought without a language???” I told it is possible to have a  thought without a language. Language is indeed, embedded in our lives, the way we conceptualise, think, and form an idea. Thought means thinking, something that we are able to conceptualise comprehensively. Some suggest that when we think something we need a language; without a language how can we think it. In fact, there can be thinking without a language. But of course this conclusion is a weird one since even the least undeveloped communities have their own dialect except the people who are able differently.

From Abhidhamma perspective, thinking is one of the six objects called mental phenomena (Dhammāramaṇa). As eye takes visible object, ear receives sound, tongue takes taste, body takes tangibility and mind takes mental object (Dhamma object). The Mahāvedalla Sutta states that five faculties-eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body have their own separate fields and they do not experience each other. However, mind is their resort, and mind experiences their fields and domain [1] Moreover, a clear instance found in the Cūḷavedalla Sutta (M I 301)  about the arising of mental formation before any other formations. During the emerging  of cessation of feeling and perception (saññāvedayitanirodhasamāpatti)  mental formation arise first  among the threefold formation (bodily formation and verbal formation). Therefore, thought could formulate (even before) or without verbal intimation or expression of language.

If an expression by language means medium, it is bodily intimation and vocal intimation. Since a thought needs medium to express an idea or will to others. However, it would not be wrong to say understanding oneself without knowing language or without an expression. Like in the case of a child which does not know how to express its wish.

Regarding this issue, western linguistics and philosophers opine on thinking without a language. Among them Peter Carruthers has argued that there is a type of inner, explicitly linguistic thinking that allows us to bring our own thoughts into conscious awareness. This seems like cognitive awareness of ‘bare seeing’ without being realized shape, figure and size of visible object or direct experience of pain, happiness without being express how we feel. Arika Okrent argues that very few will complain that to experience sensation, impressions, and feeling without language. She further added ‘we may be able to think without language, but language lets us know that we are thinking. But there is a difference between being able to experience, say, pain or light, and possessing the concepts “pain” and “light.’[2]

To observe the issue from a practical understanding, when we eat lemon and we feel sour. If the taste is unbearable, then we may like to have salt or sugar. But how could we think if we wish to have a little sugar or salt without a language? On the other hand if we do not know sugar or salt we may simply dislike the lemon from direct experience. We may not able to name it either salt or sugar but the feeling or thought of that particular taste is inevitable. Moreover, animal may not able to talk as we communicate among human beings. But they do have a medium through which animals can communicate among themselves. In addition, we if we are trying to beat a dog, the dog will think to run away. The problem might raise how the dog thinks to run away to escape from hurting? If that is the case, we can ask further, who taught the dog to run away while someone is trying to beat it. That is perhaps from innate experience, a dog can feel and can understand it by thinking.

Notes

[1]M II 295.

[2]http://mentalfloss.com/article/50684/it-possible-think-without-language

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A spiritual revolution in the history of Ideas

Dhamma-Day-B.E

The Buddha launched a spiritual revolution two-thousand and six-hundred years ago against the common practices (paṭisotagamī) in India. This day is a commemoration day of spirituality, the Dhammacakkapavattana Day. The revolution began against the common beliefs. The Buddha’s concern was doctrinal revolution: what were commonly accepted the empirical personality as permanence (nicca) has pronounced into impermanence (anicca); beauty (subha) into disgusting (asubha); self (atta) into non-self (anatta); and happiness (sukha) into suffering (dukkha). They  not simply muddle but drag far from the things as they occur (yathābhūta). The Buddha could not propagate his teaching with the language of existence. Thus, he utilized the language of becoming to take the venom off from the language of existence. (Kalupaha, David J. The Buddha’s Philosophy of Language, Sri Lanka: Vishwa Lekha, 1999, p. iii). After that he could easily accommodate the language of becoming to explain the central teaching of the Buddha,  dependent arising (paṭiccasamuppāda). It is also called the middle doctrine which avoids the ideas of existence (atthi) and non-existence (natthi) through the doctrine of  interdependence.

The Buddha also revolutionised many popular beliefs and cultures in accordance with his doctrinal criteria, such as the concept of merit (puñña), evil (pāpa), brahma, heaven (sagga), karma, liberation (mokṣa) have been equipped skillfully into the language of becoming. As a result, many scholars still hold that the Buddha borrowed from his contemporary philosophies. Has the Buddha copied and pasted from his contemporaries, he would not have to revolt in the history of ideas. Those conceptual vocabularies were completely reshaped from the concept of static to the ideas of dynamic. The only way we can commemorate the revolutionary day is to verify his teaching by ourselves (ehi passiko). Whether it leads to the appeasement of suffering (upasamaya) or to the path of illusion (maya).

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Dwelling in  suitable places for practicing Dhamma

Dwelling in suitable places (patirūpadesavāso ca) is one of the thirty-eight blessings in the Maṅgala Sutta. The commentary explains that suitable places means where the four kinds of assembly namely Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen are found. Moreover, where there is Master’s Dispensation with its nine factors (navaṅgasatthusāsanā)[1]such as discourses, mixed prose and verse, expositions, or amazing accounts[2]is in evidence; Living there is called a good omen because it is a condition for creatures’ making merits. Suitable places also indicate where teachings are easily accessible to learn and practice.

Now quite a number of points to consider on the commentarial notes in our current era. Firstly, it is an issue of bhikkhuni particularly in Theravada Buddhism due to the motive unwilliness among traditional practitioners. Moreover, commentators are particularly concerned about performing meritorious deeds. Indeed, for constituting a suitable place it does not require the four kinds of assembly. And even nowadays it is impractical with these criteria.

A common believe among Buddhists that only Buddhist countries are suitable places for practicing Dhamma. It is true, in Buddhist countries where giant pagodas, shrines and sacred places are established. But is it only that way that one can earn merits or practice Dhamma? It will be clear by giving the popular saying that Dhamma is inside our heart not outside. Indeed, real practice of Dhamma is the purification of our mind from greed, hatred and delusion. Those unwholesome minds are essential to replace by antidote of non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion. From a practical points of view those are solely done by oneself. But indeed, one needs to eager to learn from discourses or competent guides.

Now technology makes lives more accessible with Dhamma. From Facebook to YouTube many Dhamma learning materials are available on online. They can be accessed at one’s own pace. In fact, just learning does not make us wise. I can be boastful that I know one nikāya or hundred discourses. But as long as Dhamma are not put into practice, they will be good for nothing.

Moreover, performing merit becomes the most popular item in the market of popular Buddhism. In fact, merits is not the ultimate aim of Buddhism. It would be suit to say when Buddha taught to a lay follower to donate these and that. But that is not the case in the discourses. Merit must have been emphasised due to that factor of continuity of our existence[3]as shown in the Brahmajālasutta, the extinction of merit is one of the way that beings could pass away. In fact, it is also not the point to deny the result of merits totally. Otherwise, one will fall in one of the wrong-view of nihilism as shown in the Samaññaphalasutta.[4]But the point is that there are more beneficial ways to practice Buddhism without exclusively focusing on performing merits (puñña).

 A passage from the Mahāparinibbāna sutta will make clear the difference between merits and wholesome. From performing good deed, merit increases, from restrain one does not accumulate foe, the wholesome (mind) abandons evils; the extinction of greed, hatred and delusion; nibbāna is attained.[5]The above passage clearly shows that only by cultivating wholesome mind one can able to eradicate greed, hatred and delusion. So it is time to reconsider about understanding and practicing Dhamma of Dhamma.

Directing on merit also indicates the practice of Dhamma is only for next life. The power of merit may support to calm our restless mind temporarily. But the Buddha expounded the Dhamma to be benefited in this very life. like the instances where the Buddha showed varieties of benefit that one who works diligently could support to family and oneself. Similarly, one can attain result of practicing Dhamma without waiting for next life.

Following the middle way will solve this problem between choosing merits and wholesome practice. It is also our duty to help others not just because we can earn merits. Nonetheless, serving or helping others without expectation of result brings greater result than  helping others with expectation. Expectation (paṭikaṅkha) is associated with cankers (sāsava). Thus, they will extend our visa in the endless birth and death of saṃsāra. But practicing Dhamma with the only aim of performing merits cannot understand the teaching of the Buddha. It is only by cultivating good qualities such as compassion, loving-kindness, patience and restrain in our lives, will bring happiness visible here and now as well hereafter.

Notes:

[1]Commentary of Khuddakapātha, 132; Bhikkhu, Ñāṇamoli, Minor Reading Illustrator, PTS, 142-145.

[2]Numerical Discourses of the Buddha, 811.

[3]Āyukkhayā vā puññakkhayā. D iii 28.

[4]D i 53.

[5]Dadatopuññaṃpavaḍḍhati, saṃyamatoveraṃnacīyati. kusalocajahātipāpakaṃ, rāgadosamohakkhayāsanibbuto ti. D i 137.

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Yathābhutaṃ divasaṃ-vesakha-puṇṇamā

inspirational

Tadahuposathe pannarase komudiyā cātumāsiniyā puṇṇāya puṇṇamāya rattiyā sammāsambuddho mahābodhirukkhamūle catusaccaṃ paṭivijjhī. Yasmā Buddho catusaccaṃ paṭivijjhi tasmā idaṃ divasaṃ catusaccaṃ divasanti vuttaṃ. Aparanayenapi māya dhāretabbo.

Sahasādi kappehi  sattānaṃ dve antimaṃ abhibhavetuṃ asakkoti. Seyyathidaṃ sassattadiṭṭhiñca ucchedadiṭṭhiñca. Yo sassataṃ diṭṭhiṃ gaṇhati tassa upajjati aparivattena cittañca kayañca bhavato bhavaṃ sañcarati. Yathāpi, vuttañhetaṃ mahātaṇhāsaṅkhayasutte Sati gaṇhī tadevidaṃ viññāṇaṃ sandhāvati saṃsarati, anaññan”ti. Saṃyuttanikāye pālileyyasutte vuttaṃ hetaṃ  no cassaṃ no ca me siyā nābhavissaṃ na me bhavissatī’ti. Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, ucchedadiṭṭhi saṅkhāro so. Anekapariyāyenā sāti, paṭiccasamuppannaṃ viññāṇaṃ vuttaṃ bhagavatā, aññatra paccayā natthi viññāṇassa sambhavo”ti. Mahātaṇhāsaṅkhayasutte vyākhyāti dvediṭṭhī sandhāya anekapariyāyenāvuso sāti, paṭiccasamuppannaṃ viññāṇaṃ vuttaṃ bhagavatā, aññatra paccayā natthi viññāṇassa sambhavo”ti. Api ca, imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati, yadidaṃ — avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā, saṅkhārapaccayā viññāṇaṃ, viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ, nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṃ, saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso, phassapaccayā vedanā, vedanāpaccayā taṇhā, taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ, upādānapaccayā bhavo, bhavapaccayā jāti, jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṃ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhavanti. evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti. Esevanayenapi kaccānagottasuttaṃ udīreti sabbaṃ atthī’ti kho, kaccāna, ayameko anto. ‘sabbaṃ natthī’ti ayaṃ dutiyo anto. ete te, kaccāna, ubho ante anupagamma majjhena tathāgato dhammaṃ deseti.

Pariyosāne vesakha-puṇṇamāya rattiyā sammāsambuddho majjhimā paṭipadā  sacchikato yāya paṭipadāya cakkhukaraṇī ñāṇakaraṇī upasamāya abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya saṃvattatī”ti. Tasmā imaṃ divasaṃyathābhutaṃ divasan’ti maññe.

Āyasmā Ariyajyotibhikkhuna

Subodhāramavihāre, Peradeniyanāma nagare, sihaḷadīpe

Ekuna tiṃsa Aprila māse, dvesahassa aṭṭharasasaṃvacchare

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A challenging day

Life is a challenge  irrespective at any place and for any person. Despite challenge we should not lose our hope. A day with challenge on December 13, 2017 was a remarkable day. I woke up early morning and run to bus station since no train is running from Peradeniya to Colombo. It  took more than four hours by bus to get Colombo from Peradeniya. It was one of the days which I had taken risk in my life by getting the flight ticket before receiving my visa. In the afternoon at 3:30 pm I  went  to visa collection centre but the response was not healthy. Normally visa s are given by 5:00 pm however, these days visa collection is late even up to 8:00 pm. I could not imagine how it was going to happen without getting visa on the same day flight. Despite all  inconvenient moment I  never loose my hope. As I know when I am going to do some good things, many obstacles confront as if I am not going to succeed it. It happened many times such kinds of obstacles in my life. Despite such challenging days, but I rarely miss any opportunities. It is one of the great moment to control myself under such tension moment. Because of that I rarely lose my hope. I myself feel a great challenge to such critical situation which is more like at the juncture of life-game. Instead of thinking in a negative way I take a great opportunity how to standstill myself by reorientation of my thought. Rather than seeing from pessimistic  perspective, I look forward in the optimistic point of view. By doing so it is not just turning wrong into right but a way of taking care of our mind. Even in the situation of 90% lost but I rarely loose my hope. Only when I lost 100% then I accept the reality without much bothering on the fact.

Tracing back  of my visa, I was waiting with yawning mood. At the same time I saw how a team managed their mood despite losing their game. This kind of challenge has to face not only while playing game but goals are also related in the same line. As the English saying goes  if there is a will, there is a way.  Way is there but maintaining our hope is a significant factor  of challenging any goal. Challenge also varies with its degree of greatness of goals. The bigger the goal the higher the challenge. Therefore, irrespective of any goal challenges are inevitable phenomena in human survival. It is like a testing ground before one directly experiences it. However, It is a memorable factor for weighing the value of any goal. One could easily differentiate  between getting easily anything without any effort and  obtaining things by hardworking. Hardworking undoubtedly will beget the greater value. Therefore, challenge is part of our life for strengthening our healthy mind.

14/12/2017
@ 02:10 AM
In the sky

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An experience shared by Myanmar disapora in Norway

Yesterday was a blessing day to discuss Dhamma on various points with Myanmar people in Stjørdal in western Norway. Uzin Zanaka shared with the lay devotees how to practise the contemplation of mind (Cittānupassana) according to Shwe Oo Min method. During the Dhamma Discussion the most intriguing questions were on gender issue in contemporary Theravada Buddhism. Happy to know that even young boys and girls learnt about the equal rights. I am sure they learned those discrimination after their visit in Myanmar. As we know many religious places in Myanmar are prohibited for any woman including child and teenager. They asked why woman cannot go up to stick golden colour at Mahamyat Muni Buddha statue and climb on Shwedagon Pagoda? Can a woman become Buddha? Are man, woman and gay have the equal status in Buddhism? If woman cannot go up, does it also include for gay? Have they not studied or grown up in the west they would have rarely asked those questions. In school in Norway they are taught not to bully, discriminate, humiliate, jealous, anger, steal, hurt and disturb to others. These are indeed the foundation for ethical behavior for any human being. Questions on gender issue is regarded as taboo in our culture, which often strikes for open-minded people. In some cases it seems that we have been told that asking question from our senior resembles disrespect. But perhaps asking these kind of question should not regard as taboo. Rather it clears our doubt. All these are culture based practises. These elements entered in our society due to many ancient cults and beliefs. They are neither fitted with early Buddhism nor hindrance to the attainment of enlightenment. Instead they represent what the current attitude of Theravada Buddhism in respective country. We have been also told that woman life is due to bad kamma. Therefore, in the Kathina ceremony women wishes to attain manhood by offering robe. This is a propaganda of degradin woman life. We should not be taken the inferiority simply due to the biological difference. We have ample evidences on praise and empowerment of woman in Tipitaka. The most popular instance is the daughter of king Kosala who thought girl is inferior than boy. But Buddha gave assurance that even a girl could do far better than a boy. But what we are sure on the Buddha’s inferiority is based on action irrespective of gender and status. Buddha taught in Suttanipāta that ‘Not by birth is one an outcast; not by birth is one a brahman. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed one becomes a brahman.’ Indeed, gender issue is one of the hotly debated topics in contemporary Buddhism including the Bhikkhuni ordination. I wish all these inequalities one day will able to settle down for the happiness of all.

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Honesty

If you have a chance will you sell your honesty for the sake of others? For some people it is easy to sell their honesty. It means to them honesty is just as a piece of cake i.e. a means of getting off their ends. It is a popular way to get according to one’s desire by using others instrumentally. It is also a vital factor to explain for the violation of honesty. Some do not  money cannot effort their honesty. Why some sell their honesty and what is their perspective?
Honesty is good of itself. Honesty should be an inherent quality that must be maintained and nourished not just because people will praise you but because of the rationality of a human being. It is simply due to a right thing to integrate with our human value. It is also not because you will get something out of honesty. Some sell their honesty for urgent solution whereas other do not do so. It is required to define by the term honesty. As English maxim goes, honesty is the best policy. I interpret honesty to integrate with fairness, justice, non-deceiving, keeping a promise and abstain from telling lies. One may not get something out of honesty but the goodness of honesty will engulf in muscle and bone. Honesty may not be an emotion but a quality that could enshrine you as a rational being. Indeed, it will cause to joyful feature in your (mental) system. For instance, if a person cannot exert to return money borrowed from other, it is better to tell the truth that he needs his help but could not return it. In that way that person could decide according to his will. Because most people could not understand through the embodiment of honesty, a person will shine. It shines in the sense of integration with nature as it processes without any violation of fairness and goodness. Ask yourselves, will you sell your honesty, again????
Eventyrveien, Norway
31-10-2017
10:00 AM
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Recommended books on Buddhism and Human rights

Buddhism and Human Rights: A Buddhist Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Buddhism and Human Rights: A Buddhist Commentary on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By L. P. N. Perera

It is difficult to think of a more urgent question for Buddhism in the late twentieth century than human rights.

The political, ethical and philosophical questions surrounding human rights are debated vigorously in political and intellectual circles throughout the world and now in this volume.

Buddhism and Human Rights

Buddhism and Human Rights

Edited by Wayne R. Husted, Damien Keown, Charles S. Prebish

  • It is difficult to think of a more urgent question for Buddhism in the late twentieth century than human rights.
  • The political, ethical and philosophical questions surrounding human rights are debated vigorously in political and intellectual circles throughout the world and now in this volume.

Religion and Human Rights: An Introduction

Religion and Human Rights

An Introduction

Edited by John Witte, Jr. and M. Christian Green 

  • The relationship between religion and human rights is complex and problematic throughout the world. Most of the world’s religions have been used for violence, repression, and prejudice. Yet each of these religions can play a crucial role in the modern struggle for universal human rights. Human rights depend upon the values of human communities to give them content, coherence, and concrete manifestation. Religions have constantly provided the sources and scales of dignity and responsibility, shame and respect, restraint and regret, and restitution and reconciliation that a human rights regime needs to survive and flourish.
  • This volume provides authoritative examinations of the contributions to human rights of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and indigenous religions. Each chapter grapples with the concept and origins of “human rights, ” and offers insight into the major human rights issues that confront religious individuals and communities. These include core issues of freedom of religious conscience, choice, exercise, expression, association, morality, and self-determination. They also include analysis of the roles of religious ideas and institutions in the cultivation and abridgement of rights of women, children, and minorities, and rights to peace, orderly development, and protection of nature and the environment.
  • With contributions by a score of leading experts, Religion and Human Rights offers a wealth of knowledge and analysis for understanding the contributions to human rights and the challenges faced by the world’s religions.
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A Truth or The Truth, what Buddha said???

From philosophy to Religion, people are interested in Truths since immemorable time. Each religion claims their religion is true whereas others are false. Moreover, some claims Allah is the Truth, Jesus is the Truth. When they said the Truth their claims are in the sense of absolute, the Absolute Truth. Even Science never claims the Absolute Truth. What scientist claims is the probable truth. It is a verified truth. If a scientist proposes a new theory and later scientists also have a chance to verify or modify it. It is like a temporary/relative truth. Because there is no such things called absolute truth. As it becomes clear according to Punnaji Bhante Einstein has refuted the theory of Gravity by introducing the theory of relativity. In this sense, as long as next scientist could not refute the proposed theory they are probable truths.
Similarly, there is similarity what Buddhism says on truth. It seems Buddha showed no interest on truth. In Suttanipata we can find ascetic claimed there is only one truth. It often misleads to most Buddhists that Buddha claimed there is only one truth. However, it is not the Buddha’s claim but the ascetics view at that time. Further the Buddha said if that is the case they would not have fought for it.
During the night of enlightenment in Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta the Buddha states that vision has arose, light has arose and knowledge has arose. If Buddha would have concerned about truth he should have declared that truth has discovered. He revealed the four truths or fourfold reality according to Punnaji Bhante not in the sense of absolute truth. The four noble truths are simply for the pragmatic purpose of solving the human problems, the probable truths.
The Buddha has invited to the ascetic to verify and challenge when he said all conditioned things are impermanence, suffering and non-self. The Buddha offered an opportunity to verify his claim. If there is anyone who can refute with verified idea of conditioned things as permanent, happiness and self, he would have changed it accordingly. This suggests that Buddha has no inclination on claiming any absolute truth.
In relation to this, many of them translate paramattha Dhamma as Absolute Truth. That is certainly misleading translation and interpretation according to the early Buddhist interpretation.
September 22, 2017
Drammen, Norway
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Can mind and matter be independent existent reality?

In order to present a reality, one needs to present through the concept of monism, dualism, physicalism and idealism. Monism is the independent existent of a single reality. It can be either mental or physical by nature. The fundamental existent of mental by nature is idealism, which is opposed to dualism, of mind and matter in reality. On the other hand, physicalism is the independent reduction to materiality. Among the earliest western philosophers Parmenides and Spinoza each believed that there could only be one kind of self-subsistent, real thing. (Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, ‘monism’). Pāli Tipiṭaka also implicitly expresses the interest of monism, dualism, physicalism (though will be different from modern philosophy) and idealism. Yogacara, practitioner of meditation, who holds that there is nothing independent of mind. Everything what you interpret is the echo of your subjective mind or consciousness. Here, I shall present a short survey on monistic attitude in early Buddhism.

Early Buddhism does not directly claim the monistic doctrine rather on the dual nature of mind and matter. Exclusively the inanimate things are materiality in nature. However, animate things are the dual nature of mind and matter. Implicit inclination of monism shows the interest of monism in early Buddhism. As it explains in one of the eight liberations (vimutti) through the total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness, one reaches the sphere of neither perception-nor-non-perception. Sammādiṭṭhisutta also shows the immaterial existence in the threefold existences, namely sensual existence, material existence and immaterial existence. (Tayome, āvuso, bhavā — kāmabhavo, rūpabhavo, arūpabhavo, M I 51). For the immaterial being or sphere of consciousness, it is so called that it cannot be said either to include perception or to exclude perception. The factor of perception (saññā) has become so subtle that it can no longer perform the decisive function of perception and thus this state cannot be said to have perception. (Bodhi, Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, 2007: 63). It also suggests that the three ways of performing action namely through sense sphere mind (kāma), material absorption mind (rūpa) and immaterial absorption mind (arūpa). It also indicates the plane of existence of particular plain for particular beings. Thus, we could see the analysis of thirty-one plane of existence based on, sense sphere, material sphere and immaterial spehere.

Due to trifle nature of perception they count almost non-existent, which is similar to the neutral monism of James. In ‘Essay in Radical Empiricism’ 1912, that nature consists of one kind of primal stuff it itself neither mental nor physical, but capable of mental and physical aspects or attributes. (Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, ‘neutral monism’). A simile is usually shown for explaining neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasañña-na-sāññā) mind. If a person asks for water where there are only a few drops in the jar, one will say there is no water. Opposite of idealism, it also shows the interest of physicalism (if my understanding permits). For instance, in Pāthika Sutta, a being with matter-only is explained, a class of heavenly beings in the fine-material world. There are, O monks, heavenly beings known as the unconscious ones. As soon, however as in those beings consciousness arises, those beings will vanish from that world. Now, O monks, it may happen that one of those beings after vanishing from that world may reappear in this world. Through the references, Pali cannon suggest the acceptance of monism: idealism and physicalism.

According to the emphasis of arūpa in the Pali cannon, which shows interest on the reduction of reality into mind. I assume the rationale of the idealistic school (Vijñaptimatra) gives rise due to this kind of references in the Pāli cannon. According to Vijñaptimatrasiddhi, it envisages the unreality of phenomena and consequently of the sense-perceptions, apart from the thinking principle, the eternal mind (vijñaptimatra) unmoved by changes and unsoiled by error. (Dutt, Nalinaksha, Buddhist Sects in India, 2012: 338). Moreover, Yogacara denies the existence of any reality independent of consciousness. By a process of meditation, we can come to awareness of truth, and eliminate the illusory distinction between subject and object. Similarly, Berkeley, holds the supreme consciousness serves as a kind of storehouse for perception. (Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, ‘yogacara).

Idealism is possible through mental culture. As it shows that when a person concerns on the danger of the physical body, one tries to transcend the materiality by the development of immaterial absorption (arūpajhāna). However, it should be noted that only after passing away with immaterial absorption the existent of mind-only is possible. Otherwise, during this life a person will simply transcend the sensual sphere (kāma) and material absorption (rūpa) through mental transformation. Similarly, for non-percipient being, when one considers the danger of mind one tries to transcend the mind through the cultivation of mind. Therefore, it is the monistic interest of reality into materiality. It is also possible only through the development of mind. In addition, the inanimate being is also possible to exist independently. We may present Buddhism supports monism, dualism, idealism and physicalism however all ‘isms’ are subject to change, impermanence, and non-self.

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The Bibliotheca Indic

The Bibliotheca Indica, started in 1849 by Royal Asiatic Society, Bengal is perhaps the earliest Indological series. This series consists of a collection of rare and unpublished works belonging to or treating of Oriental literature and contains original text-editions as well as translations into English, and also grammars, dictionaries, bibliographies, and studies. Out of 277 titles published till 1953, only the original texts in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali and other Indian languages and their translations are included in the following collection.
 
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Definition of Buddhism through Bodhi, Dhamma and Sāsana

The definition of Buddhism can be drawn from three words namely Sāsana, Dhamma, and Bodhi.
The term Buddhism has absorbed in English terminology from the word Bodhi. Bodhi means wisdom, knowledge, understanding. In Aṅguttara Nikāya we can find a phrase used with the word of Bodhi as, ‘To believe on the wisdom of Tathāgata’. (Saddahati tathāgatassa bodhiṃ, A V 16). It means wisdom attained by the perfect enlightened Buddha. We can simply say, Bodhi indicates wisdom, enlightenment, awaken state. In English word Bodhi, perhaps the most popular etymology for defining Buddhism.
The second word what Buddha himself called is Dhamma. In Mahāvagga we can find the phrase ‘imasmiṃ dhammavinaye’. (Mahāvagga: 289), which literally means in this Doctrine and Discipline (Dhammavinaya). Dhamma and Vinaya are the two terms for conveying the outcome of forty-five years of missionary. Buddha preaches the Dhamma which is beneficial in the beginning, beneficial in the middle and beneficial in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, and he reveals a holy life that is utterly perfect and pure. (So dhammaṃ deseti ādikalyāṇaṃ majjhekalyāṇaṃ pariyosānakalyāṇaṃ sāṭṭhaṃ sabyañjanaṃ, kevalaparipuṇṇaṃ parisuddhaṃ brahmacariyaṃ pakāseti, D I 63). Without referring the commentarial definition of Dhamma, the phrase defines the word Dhamma clearly what the Buddha taught or meant. Or even the definition of Dhamma also could be drawn from it. Having listen the Dhamma one practises morality, and observe sense restraint. Then, he practises, introspective attention (sati). Since, he has endowed with morality, it is the right time to apply introspection. This procedure is obvious with the gradual practises (anupubbikathā) of the Dhamma as mentioned in Brahmāyusuttaṃ, namely the talk on donation (dānakathā), talk on morality (sīlakathaṃ, talk on heaven (saggakathaṃ), talk on the danger of sensual pleasure (Kāmanaṃ ādinavaṃ), the advantage of renunciation (nekkhamme ānisaṃse) and the four noble reality (ariyasacca) of unsatisfactoriness (dukkhaṃ), cause (samudayaṃ), cessation (nirodhaṃ), and path (maggaṃ) M II, 146). Due to constant practise of introspection (sati), he could overcome the hindrances (nīvaraṇa). If hindrances are transcended, the four absorptions are attained (jhāna). Through the vigorous application of introspective attention (yonisomanasikara), there is the arising of three knowledge (tevijjā). This is the concise version of the teaching of Buddha as shown clearly in the Cuḷahatthipadūpama Sutta in Majjhimanikāya. In brief they are morality (sīla), concentration (samādhi) and wisdom (paññā).
Finally, the term sāsana is translated as dispensation, teaching, message, and doctrine. In order to interpret according to the Buddha, it will refer to the Dhammapada verse 183, to avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one’s mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas. (Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ kusalassa upasampadā Sacittapariyodapanaṃ etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ). Through this verse we can understand by the term sāsana designates all the teaching of the Buddha. Because Buddha taught to perform the wholesome deeds, avoid the unwholesome actions and to cleanse one’s mind, are the teachings of the Buddha.
In summary, the three words have the similar meaning. Therefore, from the contextual and literal meaning they are interchangeable for defining Buddhism.
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Buddha: An Awaken One

The  term Buddha is the most populous tenet for studying Buddhology in Theravada Buddhist tradition. It derives from the word Budh in Pāli which means to understand, know, comprehend. Thus, the word Budha with the past participle (ta, suffix) becomes Buddha which means “one who understood. It has the similar meaning of Bodhi, which means enlightenment, wisdom. It has nothing to do with any personality either only to Gotama Buddha or else with some great personalities. It is the attainment of the knowledge. Buddha is commonly known in english terminology as “Awakened One”. It is questionable from which state does a person needs to wake up. In Buddhist understanding world is illusive which betrayed with many magical objects. The perceiver sees  the objects completely different from their inherent nature. Therefore, Buddha is the person who has awakened having dispelled all such illusive notion by complete comprehension of reality. Literally One becomes Buddha as a result of knowing the four truths (catusacca). (Ud-a I 59; Udāna Commentary English Translation, Volume I, 94).

One becomes Buddha after comprehending the four truths. Therefore, nevertheless Buddha or Arahant, they all regarded as Buddha. Therefore, we can see further classification of Buddha into threefold, namely Sāvakabuddha (disciple Buddha), Paccekabuddha (Individual Buddha) and Sammāsambuddha (Fully Enlightened Buddha). Ud-a I 59); Udāna Commentary English translation, Volume I, 94. In studying Buddhology (on the matter of Buddha’s knowledge,  spiritual and physical endowment), about the knowledge of Buddha, there are many technical terminologies have to deal  with such as Kappa, pārami and ñāṇa etc.

Sammā Sambuddha

Sammāsambuddha realized the Dhamma through own effort and preach other. It is the Perfect enlightenment state attained by a universal Buddha, i.e., one by whom the liberating law (dhamma) which had become lost to the world, has again been discovered, realised, and clearly proclaimed to the world. (Buddhist Dictionary, 2011; 186). Now, someone, in things never heard before, understands by himself the truth, and he therein attains omniscience, and gains mastery in the powers. Such a one is called a Universal Buddha, or Enlightened One. (Puggalapaññāti, 29). The doctrine characteristic of all the Buddha each time they discovered are the four truths viz. suffering, cause of suffering, cessation of suffering and the way leading to the cessation of suffering. After their realisation they preach to all for the welfare and the realisation of highest happiness, i.e. Nibbāna. For fulfilling the perfections of sammāsambuddha it takes four incalculable (asaṅkheyya) and one hundred thousand aeons (kappa). The Gotama Buddha took such long period for fulfilling the attainment of Fully Enlightened Buddha.

Pacceka Buddha

Pacceka Buddha is an Awaken Buddha who attained with self-realization. They appeared in the time when there are no fully enlightened Buddha. They are not restricted with quantity like fully enlightened Buddha. We can see in Isigili Sutta of Majjhima NIkaya, five hundred Pacceka Buddha dwelt for long period of time in the mountain of Isigili.( M III69). It is assumed that they cannot make others to attain enlightenment though serving them with confidence bring incalculable merit. For the attainment of Pacceka Buddha, one has to perform fulfilment of perfection of two incalculable and one hundred thousand aeons. (M-ṭ III 304, Burmese Edition).

Savaka Buddha

Sāvaka literally means hearer, listener i.e. disciple. It designates the holiness of the disciple, as distinguished form the holiness of the Pacceka Buddha and Sammāsam-Buddha. (Buddhist Dictionary, 2011; 186).  Sāvaka Buddha is exclusively referred to the one of the eight classes of noble disciples (aṭṭha-ariyapuggala). The four pairs of eight personalities (cattāri purisayugāni, aṭṭha purisapuggalā, M I 38), are the best fields of acquiring merits. Sāvaka Buddha has to listen Dhamma from a fully enlightened Buddha. After their enlightenment they can make other to attain the four paths (magga) and fruitions (phala).

Sāvaka Buddha has classified into threefold. They are Aggasāvaka (Chief Disciples), Mahāsāvaka (Great Disciples), and Pakati Sāvaka (ordinary Disciples) (Thag-a, III, 205-206). They vary in terms of their wisdom, expertise, attainment and fulfillment of perfections. They are said ‘do to the extent needed for the attainment of arahantship. This come to the fore because of the initial resolve (abhinīhāra)’. (Buddha in Theravada Buddhism, 2002; 283).

There are two Chief disciples during the Gotama Buddha, namely Venerable Sāriputta and Venerable Moggallāna. The former is well-known for wisdom after the Buddha and the latter is known for his supernormal power after Buddha. For the attainment of Aggasavaka, one has to perform fulfilment of perfection (pārami) for one incalculable and one hundred thousand aeons. (M-.t III 304, Burmese Edition). Therefore, two chief disciples are also Great Disciples, besides Chief Disciples.

The number of great disciples are eighty. (asītimahāsāvaka, M-a II, 362). Mahāvakas are so called because of the greatness of aspiration and former connection. (Thag-a, III, 206); (Buddha in Theravada Buddhism, 2002: 279). The Mahasavaka excepting two chief disciples and even the mother, father, the attendant and the son would spend the minimum of a hundred thousand kappas to achieve their expected ends. (ThagA I 11; (Buddha in Theravada Buddhism, 2002, 282). Moreover, for the countless ordinary disciples, commentary coined another technical term called pakatisāvaka. Pakati disciple, attained ordinary discipleship after wandering in samsara for a hundred to a thousand kappas. (Buddha in Theravada Buddhism, 2002, 282).

Thag-a II 208-209 states that one or the origins of the following characteristics or determining principles is desired at the moment (one attains) the supreme path (i.e., the path of arahantship). They are five kinds. Those whose perfection is accomplished (pārami-ppata), namely Sāriputta and Moggallāna who attained the topmost of the disciple’s perfection (sāvakapārami), those whose analytical knowledges are accomplished (paṭisambhidā-patta), those who become endowed with six higher knowledges (chaḷabhiññā) and three kinds of knowledge (tevijjā), and those who become the ones supported by bare-insight (sukkha-vipassakā). Thus, there are five kinds beginning with those who have accomplished perfection. (Thag-a III 209; Buddha in Theravada Buddhism, 2002; 276-277). Sāvaka-pārami is exclusively for the two chief disciples, Sāriputta and Moggallāna. (Puggalapaññāti, 70).

Koezaung Sayadaw calculated 108 classes of noble disciples. But the number is confused with the calculation given in the books. As we know four pair of paths and fruitions of noble disciples. Of those there are three kinds of Sotapatti phala attainers. Puggalapanññati, 16-17); B.C. Law, Designation of Human Types,  London: PTS, 1978: 23-24).

  1. The one who has just one rebirth to undergo (ekabīji)).
  2. The one who has to undergo from two to three rebirths (kolaṅkolo).
  3. The one who has no possibility of rebirth beyond the seventh existence (sattakkhattuparamo).

In terms of their practice there are four mode of practice according to Saṃkhitta Sutta in Aṅguttara Nikāya (A II, 150; Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (A Translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya by Bhikkhu Bodhi, 2012: 528-529).

  1. Practice that is painful with sluggish direct knowledge;
  2. Practice that is painful with quick direct knowledge;
  3. Practice that is pleasant with sluggish direct knowledge; and
  4. Practice that is pleasant with quick direct knowledge. These are the four modes of practice.

Thus, three kinds of Sotapatti-phala with their four modes of practice, they are twelve kinds of Sotapanna (stream enterer). The four modes of practices can be divided into two distinct phase in meditation for insight up to the dispelling of the hindrances (nivāraṇas) is the period of paṭipadā–khetta, practice from that stage upwards till the attainment of path knowledge is the abhiññā khetta, the period of special apperception, ‘(having gained insight). (Bhaddanta Vicittasārābhivaṃsa, Great Chronicle of Buddha Volume Five, translated by U Ko Lay. Yangon: Ti=Ni Publishing Centre, 1996: 499).

Once returner, Sakadāgāmi are also classified into threefold. They are kāma Sakadāgāmi, Sakadāgāmi  rūpa and, arūpa Sakadāgāmi. Again these three once-returners become twelve by means of four modes of practice. (Puggalapaññatti, 17)

The Puggalapaññatti states five kinds of Never-returner (anāgāmi). (Puggalapaññatti, 17-18); B.C. Law, Designation of Human Types, London: PTS, 1978: 24-26). The number of persons in the translation are from 41-46.

  1. Antarā parinibbāyi
  2. Upahacca parinibbāyi
  3. Sasaṅkhāra parinibbāyi
  4. Asaṅkhāra parinibbāyi
  5. Uddhaṃsota akaniṭṭha anāgāmi

The Arahats are of two kinds Sukkhavipassaka arahat and samāthayānika arahat. The former refers to those ariyas who attain Arahattaship without achieving jhāna but through insight development alone, the latter to those ariyas who sue jhāna and consequent psychic powers as the vehicle of attaining Arahata phala.  (Bhaddanta Vicittasārābhivaṃsa, Great Chronicle of Buddha Volume Five, translated by U Ko Lay. Yangon: Ti=Ni Publishing Centre, 1996: 500.)

Arahat is not someone who declared himself as Arahat. It is something to do with the inner transformation of attitude. They have eradicated all the bad qualities of mindset. According to Sutavā Sutta, (A IV, 369-371), there are nine impossibilities to commit by an arahat. They are:

  1. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life.
  2. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to take, in the manner of stealing, what is not given.
  3. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to engage in sexual intercourse.
  4. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to tell a conscious lie.
  5. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to consume stored-up sensual things as he did before, when he was a householder.
  6. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on desire.
  7. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on aversion.
  8. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on fear.
  9. It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on delusion.

An arahant monk whose mental fermentations are ended, who has reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who is released through right gnosis, cannot possibly transgress these nine principles.”

Mingun Sayadaw states two qualities for an Arahant.  (Bhaddanta Vicittasārābhivaṃsa, Great Chronicle of Buddha Volume Three, translated by U Ko Lay. Yangon: Ti=Ni Publishing Centre, 1996.)

  1. Noble arahats always have the welfare of all beings at heart and their sincere wish that “men, devas, and Brahmas acquire the penetrative insight-wisdom which they attained.
  2. They have no desire to reveal their attainment of Arahatship for conspicuous unlike the person who has discovered a pot of gold.

The whole Arahantavagga of Dhammapada from verse 90-99, shows the qualities of arahant.  Here is an instance of arahatta person.

The mindful keep active,

don’t delight in settling back.

They renounce every home,

               every home,

like swans taking off from a lake.

All the noble persons realised the four truths of suffering, cause of suffering, cessation of suffering and the way leading to the cessation of suffering. For comparing their qualities, they are different due to the performance of perfections (pārami). Besides their eradication of defilements, they are also given by the Buddha with different entitlement due to their expert in those fields. In the general categorization, all noble persons fall into three categories such as Sammāsambuddha, Pacceka Buddha and Sāvaka Buddha.

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২৫৬১ বুদ্ধ বস বৈসাগি পুন্নিমা

 বৈসাগি পুন্নিমা উলরে  দনেয়াত ব্যগ বুদ্ধ ধর্ম  পালেয়া আ  মানিয়ানিত এক্ক্বা  দাঙ দিন।  ই দিন্নয়াত বুদ্ধ  জীবনত  তিনান  আসল  গদনা  অইগিয়ে ।  থেরবাদ  বুদ্ধ  ধর্ম  মানিয়া  দগে বধিসত্ত  সিদ্ধাথ  কুমারে লুম্বিনি  সাল গাস্য  বাগানত টলে  ৬২৩  নিত বচ  আগৈ  (বি. চি. ই.)  জর্ম  উয়ে, ৫৮৮  সনত  সম্যক  সম্বোধি গ্যান লাভ গুয়ে, ৫৪৩ সনত কুসিনারা সাল গ্যাস্যত টলে  মহা  পরিনির্বাণ  লাভ  গুইয়ে।  সিঅ  পাগি  ই  দিন্বাত  নানাক্কান  কুশল  কামগুই বুদ্ধ ধর্ম  পালেয়ানিয়ে উৎসব  গন।  বুদ্ধ  দেসত  যেন  থাইল্যান্ড, বার্মা, শ্রীলাঙ্কা, কাম্বদিয়া, আ লাওস  পুরা  দেশত  সুতি দিন  থাই।

ভগবান  বুদ্ধ  পূর্ণিমাত  তা  ধর্ম  মানিয়ানিয়ে  কন  বুদ্ধ  পূজা গুইবাত ন কই। কিন্তু  বুদ্ধ  ধর্ম মানিয়ানিয়ে   মনে  গন্দে  পুন্নিমাত   সময়অত  কুশল  কাম গুইনান ই  দিন্বাত  পালেবাত বুদ্ধে পূজা  গুইপাইলয়ে  হুব  পণ্য  অই  বিলি  মনে  গন।  বুদ্ধ  গুনিনপায়া  কল্প  সময়  সং দইত(১০) পারামি  পুরন  গুয়ে।  স্য আসয়া  বুদ্ধ  পূজা পেবাত  জুগ্য  আগে।

বুদ্ধ  ধর্ম  মানিয়ানিয়ে  মুক্তিপূজা  নগন । বুদ্ধর  গ্যানান  পূজা গুইনান স্রধা  মনত  আনিবাত  পাগি  বুদ্ধে  পূজা  গন।  কারন  বুদ্ধ  ক্লেশ  নাইতগুইগাই    নির্বাণ  সুখপাইরে  পতান  দেগেই জি গিয়ে।  সি কৃতজ্ঞতা  দিবাত  পাগি   বুদ্ধে  আমি বুদ্ধপূজা গুই। বৈসাগি পুন্নিমাত  কিয়  কিয়  বুদ্ধ মুতি  পানি লই  দৈপেলান  আ  বটগাস্যত  পানি দালেজ্যন। ই  কামানি  স্রাদ্ধা  মনে  গুল্লয়ে  পণ্য  অজন  গুইপে।  আ  বুদ্ধ  পুন্নিমা  লক্কে  বুদ্ধ  ধর্ম  আনুচারিনি  তিত্থ  জাগাত  ব্যান্দৈ।  ই-গুই  জুদি  তা  ব্যান্দৈ  সক্কে  মনত  স্রাদ্ধা  আ  গ্যান     বারে  পন।  জি  পন্ন্যায়ানে  জীবনত  সুখ  শান্তি এবাত পাগি  গম মাঙ্গল  গুইদে।

আ  ক্য-জনে ক্যঙত  জেইনান  অইত(৮)  সিল  পালন  গন,   পআন  বলা  জিব  সাই  জ্যন,   ধর্ম  খরা  শুনন,  মৈত্রী  ভাবনা,  আ  আনাপানা  স্মৃতিভাবনা গন।  ভাবনা  গুইনান  জুদি  দিন  খারে  পাইলয়ে  সিয়ান  দুক্ক্যা  কন  পণ্য  গুই  ন পে।  কারন  ধ্যান  ভাবনা  গুইনান  একমাত্র  মন  উচুগুইনান  সিল  সমাধি  মনত  জাগে পে ।  জুদি  সিল  সমাধি  মানত  আনি ন-পাল্ল্যে  কনদিন  সুখ  শান্তি  জীবনত  এর নই।  স্যপাগি  ভাগ্যবান  বুদ্ধ  কুয়ে  জে চারি  আজ্য সত্য  বুসিপে  তে মে দেগে। জে  মে দেগে তে  চারি  আজ্য সত্য  বুসিপে।  সি চারি  আজ্জ্য  বুসি পাইব্যাত  উলে  ধ্যান ভাবনা  গ্বা পুইব।

সিল  পালানা  উলরে  বুদ্ধ  ধর্মর  তিন  দাবত্তুন  পল্ল্যা  দাব।  পঞ্চ  সিল  জেন- পআন বলা  নমআ না, মান্স্য  জিনিত  ন মাক্যাগুই  নলনা,  অন্য  মেলালৈ  বেবিচার  নগ্বানা,  মিসা  খরা  ন ক্বানা আহ  মতবাঙ  ন খানা। ইনি পালেলে  পরি বারত  সুখশান্তি  আস্যে।  পাইত  সিল  পালেনান  জুদি  ভাবনা  গয়ে  হালে  জারি গুই  ভাবনা  গুইপে।  অন্য  কুশল  কাম গুইল্ল্যের  পণ্য  এজ্জন  গুইপে  কারণ  মানান  জুদি তিক  থেলে  হালে  কুশল  কামানত  গমে  গুই মন  দিপে। যকে  মনান  তিকগুই পে  হালে  সত্য  মিত্যা  জিনিস্যানি  জাসাই গুইপে।  জেন  মন  জুদি  তিক  থাই  হালে  বসঙ  খরা  কুলেয়  জে  রাগ  ন  উরে।  ইক্কুই  মনান  জুদি  তিক রাগে  পে হালে  এইত্তে  গুই  আমা   গ্যাত  কি গতে  স্যান  স্মৃতি  ধারাই  বুসি পাজাই।  ইক্ক্যাগুইনান  ভগবান  বুদ্ধ  চারি  আজ্জ্যা  সত্যান  বুসি  পাইব্যাতপাগি  গ্যান  সুখ  ভাসাদে (উতপ্ন অই)।

বুদ্ধ  পুন্নিমাত  জে  জিক্ক্যা  কুশল  কামগুইনান  পালের  সাত  কন বুদ্ধ ধর্মলোই  বিরদ (বারা)  নই।  কারণ  সিল পাল্যেনান, দান  গুইনান, আ ভাবনা  গুইনান    জুদি  মনত  সুখ শান্তি  আনিপে  হালে  স্যান  দুক্ক্যা  পন্য  কাম  নাই।

পন্য  কাম  গতে  মনত (লোভ  নিয়াগুই)   হুসি  অইপাল্ল্যে  হালে  আ  বেক  পণ্য  অজন গুইপে।  স্য  আসস্যা  কুশল  কাম  গুইবাত  আগৈ  হুসি  অনা,  কুশল  কাম গতে  হুসি  অনা  আ কুশল  কাম  গুইগাই  হুসই অনা,  উলরে  পণ্য  বেকগুই  আজন  গুইপে।  পণ্য  ধারি  জর্ম  জর্ম  সুখ  শান্তি  লাভগুইপে  জেরক্কান  সঙ  নির্বাণ  লাভগুই  নপে।

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Management of fear: From Buddhist psychological perspective

 

Introduction

Fear is one of the oldest issues of the mankind, which triggers all beings irrespective of place and personality. The ancient seers have been looking for solving fear in many ways from minute fear to global fear. Although they could able to escape from some fear, the most fundamental fear of getting rid of birth, ageing, death and sickness left unsolved until the Lord Buddha appeared. Buddha’s approach of solution of fear is from the minute to the total cessation.

These days, people are busy with their duties and almost suffering from tense, worry, fear without any interval of hours and days due to unstable of mind. Therefore, this paper tries to explain fear, particularly Buddhist interpretation of fear and the possible way of solving the fear from Buddhist psychological perspective. In the first part, it illustrates what is fear and kinds of fear both from personal and Buddhist psychological point of views. Following part, it talks on fear in Buddhist psychology, its source of fear. Moreover, due to the main theme of management of fear in this paper it explains on overcoming of fear in Buddhism as well.

Keyword:   Fear, moral dread, hatred, overcoming

Buddhist interpretation of fear

Is fear a new term for a person? Moreover, is there anybody who has never feared in their life? It will show through an example, to see what really fear represents? When a person is resting under a shadowy tree suddenly startled due to loud voice of a falling tree. Then, he happened to keep in his mind without expressing what happened to him with others. Days, months passed but he became very lean. Then a certain friend come and asked, what happened to you my friend? What made you upset and gloomy? Consequently, he explained the reason for startling and which was due to the simple loud noise of the falling tree. In the above case, he feared and startled.  But due to startle he becomes upset. Although through the example, it can express what is fear and sadness? In general understanding of fear is something unknown or unwanted pre-experienced such as the dark night, deep forest, and other unknown phobias. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary- 8th Edition defines fear as the bad feeling that you have when you are in danger, when something bad might happen, or when a particular thing frightens you. But it might be asked the Buddhist interpretation of fear. Since, the topic is mostly under the scope of Buddhism, therefore, it is very important to make clear how Buddhist interprets by the word fear? Fear is in various forms and shapes and there is the possibility to be countless even. Some fear of snake, loud noise, while others riding on bus and so forth. Therefore, fear could be beyond counting.

In Buddhism fear explains (bhaya) under three categories. Indeed, the real interpretation of fear (bhaya) in Buddhism cannot give the precise meaning in English. But for showing the rough meaning, it uses fear for the Pāḷi term bhaya. Three kinds of fear as follow: fear based on hatred (dosa), fear based on moral dread (ottappa), fear based on (paññā).

The first fear is fear based on hatred (dosa) which arises due to hatred. When a fearful thing confront, there arises fear. It is common fear because those worldly beings (puthujana) have not yet eradicated the hatred. Due to this fear a person worries of losing one possessed things.  It is a bad state of mind. Since, it is a bad mood definitely it leads to the harmful way. It is not strange to understand Buddhist interpretation of the effect of fear. Since, it is obvious that it leads to the gloomy, and worry states. To clarify it with example, when a person suffers from fear, he is always agitating, restlessness and unstable mind. Personally, once I got a startle and suffered a lot that I may be going to be mad. How would it like if going to be a mad? Uncountable thoughts appeared in me. It is really terrible that I have never experienced such fearful mood in my life. Indeed I would say it affected both physically and mentally.

The second one is the fear based on moral dread (ottappa) is the fear that afraid of doing wrong action because it brings suffering and danger. Indeed, it is the dread (ottappa) means the fear of purgatory. As an iron ball is being hot and burning. The not grasping the hot ball form fear of being burnt should be considered as the not doing evil form fear of purgatory.  (Buddhaghosa 1976, 166). Moreover, illustrating the fear based on moral dread, it is better to see the Buddha’s statement:

Bhikkhus, what is fear of blame from others? And what, bhikkhus, is the peril of self-reproach? Here, someone reflects thus: If I were to engage in bodily, verbal, or mental misconduct, wouldn’t I reprove myself because of my behavior?’ Afraid of the fear of self-reproach, he abandons bodily misconduct and develops bodily good conduct; he abandons verbal misconduct and develops verbal good conduct; he abandons mental misconduct and develops mental good conduct; he maintains himself in purity. This is called the fear of self-reproach.   (T. B. Bodhi 2012, 501).

The final kind of fear (bhaya) is the fear related to sense of urgency (saṃvega) based on wisdom (paññā) for liberation due to understanding what really suffering the life is. According to the Buddha’s statement,” Oh monks there are four kinds of fears namely fear of birth, fear of ageing, fear of illness and fear of death.” (AN.I.435). With regards to these fears, one will strive towards the path of liberation. Thus, these kinds of fears are out of ordinary knowledge. When a person understands through own experience, it is said that he has sense of urgency. In this way, Buddhism understands three categories of fear.

Among three categories of fears (bhaya), only fear based on hatred is needed to overcome in Buddhism. The reason is, it is the fear due to the self idea (atta-diṭṭhi) and brings suffering. However, the last two fears based on moral dread and senses of urgency do not require overcoming. Moreover, the last two fears are very essential to develop for the eradication of all kinds of fears, suffering etc.

From personal understanding, fear again can be classified into twofold. Fear based on fact and fear on unknown fact. Fear based on fact is the fear which has the fact in obviously either known by oneself or others. For instance, a person fears of birth, ageing, sickness, death, suffering of hell etc. Indeed, in some cases one may not experience on a certain fact but the Buddha or Arahant has known it despite of knowing by personally or not discussed in Buddhism. The second part of fear is the fear that a person agitates without any known fact. For example, when a child sat long time on the shoulder of father but did not notice the numbness of the legs.  When suddenly someone burnt the firework, then the child came to know the numbness of its leg. Consequently, whenever the child confronted firework he feared it. The main reason for the child’s numbness is not related the firework as its cause. Therefore, the child fearing of firework had no based fact. Thus, these kinds of fears are called as fear on unknown fact.

Moreover, another classification fear is based on necessity fears and un-necessity fears. Fearing of snake is necessity feared because it has sound reason to feel fear due to ferocious of snake, tiger. Sometime fears have no value to be fear.  Like the above example of the child fear. Fear of hell, aging, death, and birth, fear of wondering in the long existence (saṃsāra) have value to be fear.  This classification is like the fear based on fact and without fact.

Fear is interpret as an unwanted feeling despite of wide topic but it can summarise into twofold, threefold etc. in order to get the rough idea of fear. Fear based on fact is very beneficial rather than on fact on ambiguous condition.

Fear in Buddhist psychology

Ignorance has the rooted cause for fear in according to Buddhist psychology. Whatever names or shape, fear may define or illustrate. But from the Buddhist Psychological aspect, it is fear rooted in two hatred-rooted consciousnesses. Hatred (dosa) is one of the three unwholesome roots. It is the most influencing leader in the hatred-rooted mental factors comprising of hatred, envy, self-appropriating envy, and worry. Hatred manifests in three forms namely through anger, fear and sorrow.  To make clear with example when an elephant comes and attacks to a person. Then, that person opposes the elephant. While he does against the elephant, at a same time there is the intention to destroy the elephant.  Consequently, fear arises being afraid of losing owns possession or harm oneself. Later, when the elephant comes and broke the house of that person, there arises sorrow to him. Thus, the above instance shows the three forms of hatred.

When a person afraid of something it is hatred (dosa) as well, because one has aversion towards the object one is afraid. There are so many things in life we are afraid of: one is afraid of future, of disease, of accidents, of death. (Gorkom 2001, 56). For instance, when a person hates others, he will be suffered from fear too; although that person may not bother hatred towards him. Therefore, it is clear that fear arises due to hatred.  In the enlightened conversation on fear asking by a chief of bandit to a monk:

         The bandit chief: Those who for the sake of sacrifice for the sake of wealth we have killed in the past, against their will have trembled & babbled from fear. But you — you show no fear; your complexion brightens. Why don’t you lament in the face of what’s greatly to be feared.

          Ven. Adhimutta: There are no painful mental states, chieftain, in one without longing. In one whose fetters are ended, all fears are overcome. With the ending of [craving] the guide to becoming, when phenomena are seen for what they are, then just as in the laying down of a burden, there’s no fear in death. I’ve lived well the holy life, well-developed the path. Death holds no fear for me. It’s like the end of a disease. (Th.Ga.A.II.270);  (Thanissaro Bhikkhu, 1995).

A person who got rid of craving, they do not cling the self or I-ness anymore. Therefore, they have no fear either fear of death, future, unknown thing or something else.

In addition, possibility of degree of fear varies from one plane of existence to another with reference to Buddhist psychological perspective (abhidhamma). There are thirty-one planes of existence (bhūmi) where living beings exist comprising of four unhappy planes, human world, six blissful planes, and twenty materials and immaterial planes. But beings in the material planes and immaterial planes have no experience of fear. Due to the power of concentration, there is no chance to arise the hatred-rooted consciousnesses in the material and immaterial planes.  Because of the fearful object in the hell, their level of fear is highest. But for rests three unhappy abodes beings have the possibility to be next most fear. In the case of blissful abode beings, they have no fear of losing but still have fear of death. Since, the beings who born in the respective planes have the cause as kamma, therefore, those respective consciousnesses are not available.

Furthermore, according to the person, degree of fear also distinguishes. Such as Buddha have no fear. Because He fulfillment the perfection in the long process of existence. Moreover, He is the knower of the world (lokavidū). For the arahant as well, there is no fear, because they eradicated all the defilements without any remaining. Although anāgāmī does not eradicate all the defilements but due to the eradication of hatred, there is no fear for them. Moreover, for sakādagāmi and sotāpanna, despite of having fear on death, they have no fear to reborn in the unhappy planes. The main reason is due to the cutting of the defilements which lead to the unhappy planes. But for fearing to die is due to not abandoning the hatred, craving and delusion of underlying tendencies (anusaya).

Sources of fear

Nothing comes without cause; hence fear has its sources. Fear is related with future, because it is unknown. Since it is unknown what will happen, then fear arises. But when the conclusion is favourable then there is no fear. However, when the conclusion is undesirable fear arises. In fact, fear arises due to hatred. Nevertheless, the underlying support of delusion is always activating either to the hatred or craving. But the statement, when it is said; fear arises due to hatred. The reason is simply to show the major cause for the arising of fear.

Moreover, craving and delusion also involve for conditioning the fear. Due to the delusion a person takes there is the I-ness. Thus, the cause of fear is due to selfhood (sakāyadiṭṭhi).  Afraid of losing oneself and the properties of self (I-ness) is due to delusion. Due to delusion a person grasps that there is the self with craving. Because of craving there is always chance to be feared which might lose the possessed things. Therefore, in Dhammapada-212 it states that from endearment springs grief, from endearment springs fear. For one who is wholly free from endearment there is no grief, whence then fear? (Buddharakkhita 1996, 87).

The I-ness has the possibility to grow from the tiny matter to the global state. In the individual case, fear is lossing of self or I-ness or the properties belonging to self. But when there is the right condition to broaden the individuality, it  rises up to the whole community’s level. To illustrate the fact clearly,  the 27th SEA Game is conducting in Myanmar in December. Now some Myannmar people  might be tensed, whether  they could be able to get more  medals than any other ASEAN countries or not. Since, the game is holding in Myanmar, therefore, to keep the pride of Myanmar people, they shuould win most of the medals. In the second case, if the scientists unluckily find  the earth is going to be attacked by UFO which have no other way to prevent from happening it. Then, the scientists should definetely search for a suitable planet where people could survive it. The two cases showed how the fear of individuality grows up to the global arena.

In some cases, fear disguises into other form. Such as commiting suicde. In reality they do not dare to face. But due to confusion or  halucination they are ready to confront it. To show it through example such as people jump from the tall building and suicide readily. Does it mean that they are doing through their clear understanding?  In fact, it does not mean there is no fear to them but there is confusion in reality. Therefore, they are ready to die even for the simple fact of falling into broken heart due to dismissing by their dear person is due to confusion. 

Methods for overcoming of fear

The way to overcome fear is an essential issue. In the ancient time, people could not understand the nature of thunderbolt, heavy flood, typhoon, and dark night. To solve the fear from those things, they sought for favourating others by means of offering to big trees and unknown powerful beings. Although some orthodox still holds those kinds of belief but due to the modern scientific era, intelligent people came to know, that it does not work by doing so. Therefore, they start to look from another perspective. Since, fear is the problem related to all beings in the global world. Hence, psychology, neuroscience, and religions are trying to solve according to their own approaches.

Laura Wright given a method for overcoming of fear that one can try whether it works or not after following the steps: (Wright 2008, 172-73).

  1. Sit comfortably or lie down
  2. Recognize that fear is present. Identify the thoughts that are surfacing. Write about them. Notice if restless anticipation is part of the problem or not.
  • Examine the sensations in the body. Write about them.
  1. Accept that fear is present. Try not to indulge in it or suppress it. Be with it with mindfulness and equanimity. Let the fear flow through you.
  2. Write, pause, and watch the thoughts and sensations.
  3. After doing the above, clarify your positive intentions for dealing with the fear. You may want to bring in loving-kindness and compassion to provide a safe conduit for this emotion.
  • Is there any action you need to take?
  • Write, pause, reflect, and write some more. Allow for answers from deep inside to surface. Answer may or may not come. Simply being with the emotion is much of the work that needs to be done.

 From personal experience

The steps to follow for overcoming of fear in temporary case are from the personal experience. When a person gets fear, he should try to according to the following step.

  1. Try to talk with others on some matter (other than talk on fear).
  2. Take any posture in a silent and comfortable place.
  • Try to do good deeds as much as possible for others.
  1. Recollect the good deeds that one has done. Such as “with the action I did, there will be a great benefit for them”.
  2. Be mindful on the happiness after recollecting it.
  3. Try to maintain the mindful towards happiness to be continue for some hours.

Staring method

When I studied at high school, I have to walk quiet far through forest from our home. Thus, whenever I have fear on the way to go somewhere, I did Staring method. In that way, I overcome fear on unknown or ghost and so on. On should have a look to follow the following step, whenever fear arises especially dark night, unknown things:

  1. When fear arises, stare towards that side without moving the body, and
  2. Fear might be more intense but gaze it until the fear gone completely

Buddhist  psychology

After the explanation of  psychlogical way of overcoming the fear, it is going to discuss on  Buddhist psychological perspective. Buddha taught His teaching in different ways because of various kinds of individuality. One of the common method taught by lord Buddha is the recollection of the triple gems with reference to Dhajaggasutta  in Saṃyutta Nikāya.

Such Indeed is the Blessed One, arahant (Consummate One), supremely enlightened, endowed with knowledge and virtue, welcome being, knower of worlds, the peerless trainer of persons, teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Blessed One. Monks, if you think of me, any fear, terror, or standing of hair on end that may arise in you will pass away. (SN.I.221).

Actually, fear arises due to restless of mind. In other words, because of not having wholesome mind, there is the possibility to arise fear. But when a practisioner recollects the attribute of Lord Buddha, his mind becomes calm and stable, therefore, one can overcome fear. Besides, recollection of attribute of the Buddha, one can also recollect the attribute of Dhamma and Saṅgha. Because Lord Buddha already said in the above mentioned discourse, if one forgets to recollect the attribute of Buddha, one can recollect the other two attributes. This recollections are regarded within the the overcoming of temporary (tadaṅga-pahāna) before the apsorption but after the attainment of apsorption (jhāna)  it is overvoming by opposite (vikkhambhana-pahāna).

Overcoming of fear by means of threee kinds of overcoming

The term overcoming (pahāna) means the state of overcoming the defilement or hindrances(nīvāraṇa). However, The Pāḷi Text Dictionary defines, giving up, leaving, abandoning, and rejection. (Stede 2003, 448).  There are three kinds of overcoming (pahāna). They are overcoming by temporarily (tadaṅga-pahāna), overcoming by opposite (vikkhambhana-pahāna) and overcoming by destruction (samucchada-pahāna).

Overcoming by temporarily (tadaṅga-pahāna) is the course of wrong deeds which can be abandoned by means of morality and concentration (i.e., before the attainment of  apsorption (jhāna)). Generally, morality is the precept or virtue. Indeed, five precepts is for laypeople but for monk it is the Buddhist monastic rules (paṭimokkha). When a person obeserves morality, he is free from the fear of blaming of oneself (attānuvādabhaya) and blaming of others  (parānuvādabhaya). Therefore, practising morality is a way to be free from fear.  ‘It is the pushing back of adverse things, such as the five mental hindrances (nīvāraṇa) through this or that mental concentration (samādhi) just as a pot thrown into moss-clad water pushes the moss aside.’ (Nyanatiloka 2005, 121). People always complian that they dare not to go and talk infront  of the assembly or in the conference. Indeed, from the Buddhist perspective, this mode fear or hesitation is possible to overcome by means of endowment of morality. Since, they have no fault in their living therefore, they could able to approach bravely in the assembly.

Overcoming by opposite (vikkhambhana-pahāna) is the overcoming by opposing factors of absorption (jhāna). Attainment of apsorption(jhāna) supresses the five hindrances (nivāraṇa) for long time, therefore for  hatred has no chance to arise to the person who attained jhāna untill he loses it. In other words, it is the overcoming by means of concentration. It is just like a piece of wood placing  on the grass. Until the wood displaces, the grass has no opportunity to grow it. In the same way, apsorption concentration (jhāna-samādhi) prevents the hindrances (nīvāraṇa).

Overcoming by destruction (samuccheda-pahāna) is on the part of one who is in this or that Path, cultivating the four Ariyan Paths, is called elimination by the removal called extirpation. (Buddhaghosa 1976, 455).  If through the knowledge of the noble path (s. ariya-puggala) the fetters and other evil things cannot continue any longer, just like a tree destroyed by lightning, then such an overcoming is called overcoming by destruction. (Nyanatiloka 2005, 121).

To be more precise, the three kinds of overcoming are distignushed by means of worldly (lokiya)and supramundane (lokuttara) overcoming. Overcoming of  temporarily (tadaṅga-pahāna) is overcome by means of worldly (lokiya) morality (sīla), concentration(samādhi) and wisdom(paññā). In addition, overcoming of opposite (vikkhambhana-pahāna) is by the attainment of worldly concentration (lokiya-samādhi). Moreover, overcoming of destruction(samuccheda) is only by the attainment of supramundane wisdom (lokuttara-paññā). In the eightfold paths, morality group comprises of right-action, right-speech, and right-livelihood. For the concentration group, there are right concentration, right mindfulness. In the wisdom classificaiton, there are right understanding and right-thought.  When a meditator practises the eightfold path, it is the worldly eightfold path(lokiya-magga). But after the development of the noble eightfold, he could able to attain path (magga) and fruition (phala), it comes to be supramundane-eightfold path(lokuttara-magga).

When a meditator practises the eightfold path in the prior stages before the attainment of apsorption (jhāna), he overcomes the fear temporarily by abandoning the course defilements and hindrances. In the attainment of jhāna, he overcomes the fear by overcoming the hindrances for a bit longer period. But the attainment of path and fruition of anāgāmi, he destroyed fear completely  by overcoming of hatred.

Ovecoming of fear is an essential point for all. Despite of eradicating the fear for the normal level, Buddhist goal of overcmoing of fear is anihilation of all the defilements through the attainment of highest fruition of Arahant. One can abandon the fearness of snake but later he could have the fear of another unknown thing. According to Buddhism, untill and unless a person can not eradicate  completely craving (lobha), hatred (dosa), and delusion (moha), there is the possibility to be fear by a person. When the total eradication of defilement comes to be, there is  no  birth, death, ageing and death in the future. Although Buddhist  talks on simple case of  fear of fire, water but the fear that is related to liberation has most priority among  all.

Conclusion

Fear as a common  problem for all, hence, it is rather important to understand what kind of fear is helpful for leading the meaningful life. Fear as a bad emotion, it is seriously concerned in Buddhism due to emphasing on the state of mind. Fear is not into twofold but  it can be classified into many types as well. From the beginning, fear is personal scope but when it reaches  its climax, it becomes wider. Buddhism stresses beyond the normal fear that is for the eradication of all fear. For instance, practising the noble eightfold path  is the way to eradicate with all defilements including fear.

Buddhism offers many methods for the eradicaion of fear. Among them  what it has highlighted in the paper is believed to be sufficient enough to overcome any kind of fear. Indeed, through the moral dread, one can eradicate from the small fear to the highest by means of morality, concentration and wisdom. When person concerns for the eradication of fear, he is aiming for the eradication of all defilements. Therefore, it is very important for a Budhdhist to try for the eradication  of fear particularly who would like to be free from all kinds of suffering. It is similar with “buy one and get many offers” for trying to be free from fear means  free from all defilement.

Bibliography

Aṅguttara Nikāya pāli vol-I, Chaṭṭhasaṅgāyanā edition. Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs, 2008.

Bodhi, Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli & Bhikkhu. The Middkle Length of the Buddha. Boston: Wisdom Publication, 2009.

Bodhi, Edited Bhikkhu. In the Buddha’s Words. Boston: Wisdom Publication, 2005.

Bodhi, Trans. Bhikkhu. The Numerical Discourses of The Buddha . Boston: Wisdom Publication, 2012.

Buddhaghosa, Bhaddanta. The Expositor. Translated by Pe Maung Tin. London: THe Pali Text Society, 1976.

Buddharakkhita, Trans. Acharya. The Dhammapada. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1996.

Dhammapala,  Bhaddanta. Theragātha  aṭṭhakathā vol-II , Chaṭṭhasaṅgāyanā edition.  Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs, 2008.

Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam Books, 1996.

Gorkom, Nina Van. Abhidhamma in Daily Life. Selangore: Selangore Buddhist Vipassanā Mediation Centre, 2001.

Nyanatiloka. Buddhist Dictionary. Taipei: The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, 2005.

Saṃyuttanikāya pāli vol-I, Chaṭṭhasaṅgāyanā edition. Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs, 2008.

Stede, T.W. Rhys Davids & William. Pali-English Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass Publishers, 2003.

Wright, Laura. Quiet Mind, Open Heart. New Maxico: Bristlecone Publishing, 2008.

 Presented:  International Conference on Buddhist Meditation Practices and Buddhist Psychology Focusing on Emotions (Cittānupassanā)” was held at the International Theravāda Buddhist Missionary University at 9:00 am on 14th December 2013.

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Theravada Buddhist attitude of women on Buddhist Practices in Myanmar

 

Introduction

Patriarchal society in ancient India has accepted due to the divine structure of Brahmanism in the Law of Manu (Manusmṛti). It has gone beyond the border of India throughout South Asia without the exception it absorbed in the later Buddhist literature. As Brahmanism spreads, the gender differentiation becomes more obvious from culture to religious practices. The gender discrimination not only exists in ancient India but also in Judeo-Christian religions who have the mythical condemning of Eve for breaching the law of God in Christianity and the strict rules for women in Islam.

Though this issue is a long time back, from 19thcentury onward the gender issue has been debating in the UK and the USA widely. This is indeed, due to the male domain in walks of life in ancient society. The gender discrimination is concerned with domain in politics, freedom of religions and socio-political contribution. According to feminist, it is entirely the latter it is not in nature, nor biological, but completely conditioned by social environment. Due to the discrimination of gender, it has lots of disadvantage that woman can contribute to the society. To the Buddhist ‘the origin of gender is due to the evolutionary process of society’ as states in the Aggaññāsutta in Dīgha  Nikāya. However, in the later Buddhist compilers they have severely condemned on a woman even the spiritual attainment of Buddhahood, which appears as a contradiction against the Buddha’s attitude of woman in the early Pāḷi literature.  The Theravada Buddhist country respects the Buddhist Texts as a result this kind of Brahmanic condemn on woman still exists in the Theravada Buddhist countries in South Asia particularly in Myanmar compared to other Buddhist countries. In this short discussion, it will discuss the early and later Buddhist attitude towards women concerning the Theravada Buddhist practises in Myanmar.

Origin of gender according to Buddhism

Generally gender is a conventional expression but surprisingly the ultimate analysis of sexual orientation is also found in the Buddhist philosophy. Gender is the fact of being either male or female.[1]The Buddha described gender as being distinguished by either male (purisindriya) or female (itthindriya) thoughts, occupation, attire, interests, impulses, voice, appearance, scent, etc.[2]It is clear from this that he saw gender as a combination of material and psychological, inborn and acquired factors. This means that while both genders are determined to a very high degree by their bodies, they do have the ability to transcend the psychological and social aspects of gender. Thus, as far as the potential to attain enlightenment is concerned men and women are equal.[3]In the Commentary of Dhammasaṅgaṇī, both genders come into being during the procedure of the first inhabitants of this cycle, subsequently they arise at conception.[4]This is true in the final features of a person who does have neutrality on both genders. The two distinct characters are neither low nor high distinction male and female but simply due to their dispositional behaviour. Due to that in the Buddha’s understanding of gender, there is no difference and free to enter and practice in his teaching, which will discuss in the subsequent passages.

It would be proper to state the origin of gender according to Buddhist text since gender difference is a matter of social conception. It is said that a gender difference is immersed in the evolutionary process of social order in Aggaññāsutta. At first no gender differences is existed but in the later period due to the cognitive state of greed, hatred and delusion of the Brahama, gender comes into exist.  In the Aggaññā Sutta, it states that:

And, Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja, those beings continued for a very long time feeding on this rice as their food and nourishment. And, Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja, as they continued for a very long time feeding on this rice as their food and nourishment, their bodies became coarser still and among themselves they noticed even greater differences in their looks. Then the female developed female organs[5]and the male developed male organs. And the women became excessively preoccupied with the men, and the men with the women. Owing to this excessive preoccupation with each other, lust was aroused, and their bodies burned [with passion]. Because of this burning, they indulged in sexual activity. But, Vāseṭṭha and Bhāra, dvāja, when (other) beings saw them coupling, some threw dust, some threw ashes [dregs],   some threw cow-dung at them, crying: ‘Away with (this) filth! Away with (this) filth![6]

Though it may be a kind of story but it gives reason how the non-existence of gender comes into being on earth. However, from the Buddhist Abhidhama points of view, the Brahma has no gender differentiation that they have to change male appearance from female gender. It is also rather risk to state for being partial statement on the gender.

Problem of woman in Burmese Buddhism

A non-Burmese will surprise to learn how heavily Burmese culture affects with Brahmanic ideas on woman. As the traditional saying of Burmese goes, ‘a male dog is higher in status than a woman. A dog could be animal but due to the masculinity dog has a higher status.’ But, is it really true according to their saying? Nobody told yet due to the higher status of gender male dog has higher facility than women. It could be due to earlier extreme discriminative attitude on woman, the saying come into exist.

Burmese have been practicing Buddhism from 10thcentury AD of Bagan period untill today; as a result Burmese culture means Buddhist culture. The Burmese Buddhist strongly believes on Buddhism, however in due course to some of the later bias writing on woman they holds them as an authentic teaching of the Buddha.  The later part of Buddhist writings were male domain; as a result the attitude on woman has changed, which has gone against the Buddha’s teaching in many discourses. Hence, Mra  says, ‘some Buddhist teachings have been written by men, monks, have been handed down from the past, but perhaps they are a reflection of the opinion of those men instead of Buddha’s teachings.’ (Mra, 2002: 35). Moreover, he shows that most women I know cannot accept that men would be superior to women, but perhaps that is because one tends to associate with like-minded people. (Ibid: 35). From equality perspective not only Burmese but every woman will not agree.

In Burmese culture the Lokanīti (Ethics of the World), one of the popular manual of monks and nuns has lots of influenced with the Brahmanic understanding on women. For instance in verse-97, it is said that, a wife is ruined when separated from her husband for a month. Despite strong support of the Buddha, the attitude of women in Theravada Buddhist has heavily influenced by the Brahmin caste orders of ancient India. In Brahmanism, the Law of Manu (Manusmṛti) is regarded a divine texts comes from the Brahma. Concerning the behavior of woman, the Laws of Manu dictates, ‘whether it is young woman, girl or matured, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. In childhood, female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead, to her sons. A woman must never be independent.’ (Manu: chapter 5, 147-148).

The misogynist attitude has crossed beyond the social norm of laying down the rule for religious practise. ‘Women were prevented from performing religious rites. And even the knowledge of Veda was to be kept from woman. (Manu: chapter 9. 18). Indeed, in Buddhism such rigid rule has not existed, however, from another aspect it got influenced until today a Buddhist country like Myanmar.

The Buddhist understanding of impurity on woman leads to the prohibition of visiting in the religious place in Myanmar. Mra Win says that ‘women’s clothes are considered dirty just because of menstruation. This is a kind of superstition and a social disease we have to reform these kinds of customs that give us an inferior status. (Mra, 2002: 36-37). Though he thought simply due to menstruation the women cloths are dirty. Perhaps, that effect even instincts the whole motivation of degrading the woman than man. This is not an independent incident in Myanmar culture but due to the Brahmanic understanding of impurity on woman. The Laws of Manu states, ‘When one has touched an Chandala, a menstruating woman, a woman in childbed, a corpse or even someone else who has touched a [corpse], one becomes pure by bathing.[7]Among many reasons in the said verse, ‘a menstruating woman’ is the main reason heavily affected in the Buddhist understanding of impurity towards woman. This is biological incident that should not be taken as a kind of divinely curse bringing bad luck to others also.

This biological incident of woman does not happen all the time but randomly. The Buddhist will be trouble if they say on certain month (menstruating month) that woman should not visit on Kyaitiyo Pagoda, Mahāmyat Muni Buddha etc. Therefore, in order to avoid from such bothersome they completely laid down the prohibition in the sacred places as “Women are not allowed to enter/ ‘Mingale mawin ya bhu” which are far from the Buddha’s teaching. However, it seems less rigid rule for woman for freedom of religious practice in other Buddhist countries in South Asia.

In traditional Theravāda understanding on taking conception of woman is due to acquiring less merit. In his writing, Mra says, ‘if a woman does good deeds in her life, she may be reborn as a man in her next life. However, if a man is cunning or mean, he may be reborn as a woman. These aspects of our religion have a great influence on daily life and I think they cannot be changed. (Mra, 2002: 36)  This statement does not support from the teaching of the Buddha. What traditionally could support is the woman suffers from unshared experience than man like giving birth and menstruation. This is the biological coincident rather than supporting the less merit.

Moreover, another instance also appears in the later compilers, that a woman cannot get prophecy from a Buddha for fully enlightenment. As a result people believe and encourage to woman performing more merit for the attainment of manhood. They do not fit with other sayings of the Buddha. For instance, the Buddha said whether male or female anyone with the vehicle of eightfold path can reach to Nibbāna, which will discuss in the subsequent parts. Less merit concept for woman is also introduced through the meritorious deed of ‘kathicīvaradāna’after the Buddhist monk rain retreat. If a woman wishes for attaining male life during the performance of Kaṭhinacīvaradāna, she will attain man life. This is none other than the misogynist attitude of male compilers.

Another important issue for the prohibition of woman in Buddhism is the traditional Buddhist understanding of losing the True Dhamma. The issue seems before Common Era. In a Post-canonical text, Milindapañhā raises, if the Buddha has not ordained the nun (bhikkhuni) the True Dhamm would have lasted for thousand years. But due to the nun ordination, it will last only five hundred years.[8] Moreover, the Gotamī Sutta in Aṅguttara Nikāya[9] also gives a suggestive issue to make foothold as a negative effect for giving nun ordination. The reasons given in Milindapañha are unreasonable to support the loss of Buddha’s dispensation by giving nun ordination. If a person practices the Dhamma according to the teaching of the Buddha, there would not be empty of attaining liberation as the Buddha uttered in Mahāparinibbāna Sutta. By comparing the two statements, it seems the compilers wanted to maintain the Buddha’s word at the same time by giving another reason to support the negative effect of nun ordination. This nun ordination (bhikkhunī upasampāda) issue is due to the issue of impurity of woman during menstruation as it is strongly recognised in Brahmanism.

Attitude of women in Judeo-Christian religions

The gender attitude is not only in Buddhism but also  found in Judeo-Christian religions seriously based on mythical stories in the Bible. According to the creation of these religions, God created the man first and out of man a woman was created. To see clearly in the Genesis chapter 2 verse 2:22, ‘out of Adam’s rib and flesh, woman was created’, Adam gave that she should be called woman. According to the statement, woman is subsidiary than man. With that using they did not stop, further the God is conceived as a father lives in Heaven and the male domains its role. Like husband dominates upon in the family. In the Old Testament Bible Genesis chapter-3, the Eve ate the forbidden apple due to the convince of Satan; as a result they were casted down and whoever born from the womb of Eve they become sinners.  No human being have appeared before, thus all human beings in this earth are the lineage of Adam and Eve from the Bible point of view. In the John chapter 3 verse 16, ‘God sent the only son i.e. Jesus); whoever believes him they will be free from Sin’ consequently they will get the Heaven but unbelievers will caste down to  the Hell forever. The whole concept of sin and eternal Hell are due to the Eve. If she had not eaten the Apple, all the people would have enjoyed in the Eden Garden with God. The whole concept is none other than blaming to the woman. Hence, Mary says, ‘the entire conceptual of theology and ethics developed under condition of patriarchy of have been the products of male and tend to serve the interest of the sexist of society’.[10]  So Prof. Premasiri says  that ‘if not for a woman Christ has not been necessary to be born. Eve has committed the evil deed as a result God is forced to send his only son Jesus to come for its compensation’.

The Buddhist discrimination is not based on myth but the biological reason whereas in the Judeo-Christian religions discrimination on women is based on myth of Adam and Eve that appeared in the Old Testament of Bible under the chapter of Genesis.

Misogynist in later Buddhist literature

Despite Buddha’s praiseworthy on nun and even woman there are contradictory statements assigned to the Buddha in the Tipiṭaka Pāḷi cannon. In this short discussion those discourses will present as they appear in the Buddhist literature.

In Kamboja Sutta in Aṅguttara Nikāya after asking of Venerable Ānanda, the Buddha replied, why one should not sit together with women. The discourse states that, ‘Ānanda, women are prone to anger; woman are prone envious; woman are miserly; women are unwise; this is why women do not sit in council, engage in business or got Kamboja’.[11]According to the statement all women are envious, miser, unwise as a result one should not sit together in the council with woman. This seems men are generous, wise, so one should always associate with man. By showing the common saying of the Buddha one can be clear. In the Maṅgalasutta in Khaddakapath, ‘one should not associate with ignorant whereas one should associate with wise’. Does the Buddha state such utterance of ignorance based on gender? Indeed, Buddha did not utter such discrimination on their spiritual inherent based on gender difference.

Moreover, Mātāputta sutta[12] in Aṅguttara Nikāya shows a partiality towards the gender basis. ‘Oh monks, a woman thinks on man while walking, standing, sitting, lying, laughing, talking, singing, crying, swollen. If one says rightly entirely the trap of Māra, one has to say the woman as the trap of Māra.[13]’ If the son would have tried to generate wholesome mind, the evil action would not lead to transgression. This could be possible in the real situation but that should not be taken as a general assumption. The same case could happen for a man, who will always think about woman. The problem appears in this discourse is only one side i.e. woman without showing the attitude of man. Unwholesome is concerned whether man or woman even child or old without any gender or age basis in Buddhism, which analyses the mind in Abhidhamma texts. This is certainly without any hesitation the extrapolation in Sri Lanka before the writing of Tipiṭaka with misogynist attitude.

In Dutiyakaṇhasappa sutta the woman is compared with a snake, which is poisonous and untrusted. The discourse goes,women are wrathful, hostile, of virulent venom, double tongued, and they betray friends.[14]As a worldly human being, is it not possible for a man to be endowed with the five above qualities? Certainly without any gender and age basis, those qualities could be endowed by any living beings needless to state only woman. The discourse goes by saying the five disadvantages of a woman. If there is such kind of disadvantages for a man in the Buddhist texts, then one could say the equal emphasis on both genders. With the above partiality one may be sure this is not from the mouth of the Buddha and as a partial emphasis. Moreover, in Aṅguttara Nikāya the statement of ten unwholesome courses of actions is mentioned only female with ten qualities goes to hell[15].

Moreover, partiality statement appears in Uppathasuttaṃ that ‘taint of ascetic practise is woman’[16]. It is true from one perspective. However, from another point of view one can argue, is it not man an obstacle for  woman? When one says ‘ascetic’ it does not identify whether man or woman; rather the practitioner could be man or woman. In the case of the nun Uppalavanna, her cousin has raped soon after her ordination, who was chasing after since after her ordination. Then, one can say not only women are the stain of the holy life but men are also stain of holy life (for woman).

The nun ordination is one the biggest issues in the Theravāda Buddhism since the first Buddhist council if the texts record is factual. In Gotamī Sutta[17], the foster mother of the Buddha, Gotamī asked for thrice for going forth but the Buddha denied. In such conversion they narrated in the sutta to show the intention of the Buddha’s disagreement on nun ordination. The Buddha gave the nun ordination only when the nun follows the eight cardinal rules:

  1. Nun should pay respect to monk ordained on that very day.
  2. Nun should not enter in rains where there are no monks.
  3. Nun should ask two things of uposattha and exhortation in a fortnight.
  4. During rains nun should invite to anything heard, suspect and seen.
  5. Committer of grave offence should observe penance fortnight in both orders.
  6. A probationer should seek ordination from both orders.
  7. A nun should not revile to a monk.
  8. A nun should not admonish to a monk.

One could see how the representation is on the eight rules for nun as assigning to the Buddha himself. Particularly three points are concerned with the earlier discussion. The first (1) point is concerned with menstruating problem of a woman, whom even a new monk should not pay homage. Paying homage for the monastic is based on longer year they ordained but not the gender basis, which is clear in every Buddhist people. Number seven (7) and (8) are concerned for the same reason since a woman is impure due to the menstruation how should she dare to give advice to a monk. One could have doubt on this discourse that the Buddha taught himself by comparing other discourses on nun in the Buddhist literature. The Buddha did not say man is higher than woman. What the Buddha always concerns for superiority is the endowment of morality, concentration and wisdom. Anyone who has overcome all defilements are worthy to respect irrespective of their genders orientation.

Women voices in early Buddhist concept

 In early Indian context during the Buddha’s time woman is regarded as low and less beneficial comparing to men. Once, when the King Kosala got the news that his queen Mallika got a daughter. In response to that the Buddha uttered,

‘A woman, O lord of the people, May turn out better than a man:

She may be wise and virtuous, A devoted wife, revering her mother-in-law.[18]

In this saying the Buddha’s attitude is very clear and strong supporter non-partiality  rather than taking side on  a specific gender. One may be a man if he does not develop the good qualities how the man will earn good reputation from Buddhist lens. Therefore, Buddha’s concept on great or higher is based on their empowerment (inner qualities) towards the happiness and welfare of many.

The Buddha has no gender discrimination for the liberation, which the later Buddhist literature shows a disagreement of the Buddha. However, in Acchāra Sutta in Saṃyutta Nikāya,

This is the only vehicle.

Be it a woman or be it a man.

The one who takes this vehicle,

Can reach the peace of Nibbāna.[19]

The statement shows Buddha strongly support both genders since anybody would like to walk in this path they will eventually find the complete freedom from suffering. Gender is just the conventional term that people conceive; their empowerment towards any task does not bind within the convention of gender.

In the foster mother of the Buddha during her passing away to parinibbāna, the Buddha asked to show the Gotamī abilities:

‘In order to remove the doubts that woman can attain dhamma, please display your psychic power) Then Mahā Pajapati Gotamī performed many wonders per Buddha’s request.[20]

We could see blaming on Mahā Pajapati Gotamī for initiating ordination of woman; this event may act as a counter case to such attitude. If the Buddha believes on the highest that can develop even by woman, how one could think the gender discrimination on the religious practise in his teaching.

The early enlightened nuns prove the empowerment of women in the spiritual attainment. The women attitude in Brahmanism reflects the degradation of women even in their spiritual attainment. Such enlightened story is found in Soma Therī saying in Soma Sutta in Bhikkhuni Saṃyutta. The Māra approached to Soma Therī and recited thus,

“That state so hard to achieve

Which is to be attained by the seers,

Can’t be attained by a woman

With her two-fingered wisdom.[21]”

Her reply is very stunning, which reflects her confidence towards experience in the teaching of the Buddha, as:

What does womanhood matter at all; when the mind is concentrated well, When knowledge flows on steadily; As one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, I’m woman’ or ‘I’ am man’ or I am anything at all- Is fit for Māra to address.[22]

The nuns during the Buddha played an important role in almost all the missionary tasks. In the case of preaching the Dhamma, many were popular either in theoretical or practical aspects. An instance in the Uttama Therī verses, due to incapable of concentration her mind she got advice from a nun; as a result she got freedom from suffering. Her voice recorded in the Therīgāthā,

Four times, five, I ran amok from my dwelling, having gained no peace of awareness, my thoughts out of control. So I went to a trustworthy nun. She taught me the Dhamma: aggregates, sense spheres, & elements. Hearing the Dhamma, I did as she said. For seven days I sat in one spot, absorbed in rapture & bliss. On the eighth, I stretched out my legs, having burst the mass of darkness.[23]

Among many nuns records in the Buddhist literature Khujjuttara was ranked as the best Dhamma preacher in the Buddhist literature. Due to her clever preaching on Dhamma five hundred women headed by Queen Sāmāvatī penetrated noble teaching of the Buddha. Moreover, in the Uddena Sutta in Udāna due to the Māgandiya’s conspiracy five hundred women headed by Sāmāvatī died and the monks reported to the Buddha regarding their destiny. The Buddha said, ‘Bhikkhus, some of these women lay followers were stream-entrers, some once-returners, some never-returners. Not fruitless was the death of any of those women lay followers.’[24]

The relatives of Vaḍḍha brought up since his mother become nun in his childhood. Once while he visited to nun quarter, his mother gave advice on him on liberation. Later Vaḍḍha too become monk.

Vaddha, may you not have craving for the world at any time. Child, do not be again and again a sharer in pain. Happy, indeed, Vaddha, dwell the sages, free from lust, with doubts cut off, become cool, having attained self-taming, (being) without taints. O Vaddha, devote yourself to the way practiced by seers for the attainment of insight, for the putting an end to pain.[25]

The ancient voices of nuns are very powerful. They could give effective preaching that leads to disenchantment. In the above stanza the mother summon to the son, which eventually bended his mind  for seeking liberation.

Among many female disciples Uppalavaṇṇa is one of the popular nuns, whom the Buddha conferred the title of highest in supernormal power[26]. Once while she was taking rest in the Sāla Grove, the Māra was terrifying as mentions in the Uppalavaṇṇa Sutta in Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta. She is confident and her voice is indeed manly.

‘Though a hundred thousand rogues
Just like you might come here,
I stir not a hair, I feel no terror;
Even alone, Mara, I don’t fear you.

I can make myself disappear
Or I can enter inside your belly.
I can stand between your eyebrows
Yet you won’t catch a glimpse of me.

I am the master of my own mind,
The bases of power are well developed;
I am freed from every kind of bondage,
Therefore I don’t fear you, friend.[27]’

She became freed from all kinds of suffering having developed the mind into higher state. As a result she could convey her strong message towards the capability of women in any sphere.

Moreover, the deep philosophical enunciation of dependent arising (paṭiccasamupāda) is found in the Vajirā Sutta in Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta. Once when Vajirā returned from alms-round the Māra came and was terrifying. The Māra says,

By whom has this being been created?
Where is the maker of the being?
Where has the being arisen?
Where does the being cease?”

Her answer is so succinct with deep philosophical meaning in the Buddhism. She replied,

‘Why now do you assume ‘a being’?
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word ‘chariot’ is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There’s the convention ‘a being.’

It is only suffering that comes to be,
Suffering that stands and falls away.
Nothing but suffering comes to be,
Nothing but suffering ceases.’

Venerable Vajirā Therī’s reply is from the analytical perspective of what generally people regard as individual. In this analysis the concept of man and woman has no place to foothold.

Conclusion

In Buddhism, there is no variation  based on gender in every Buddhist practises. It is totally depends on each individual even towards seeking for liberation. The Buddha is always consistence with democratic attitude on each individual needless to say to be concerned with a particular gender.

The incidents appear in the Buddhist literature towards the particular gender is obviously cannot attribute to the Buddha. Some of the sayings in the literature are expressed based on partility. Such expression should be regarded as later extrapolation or insufficient incidents of women in the records.  Monks saying recorded extensively whereas nun sayings get place partially in Therīgāthā and Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta. Such as the life of Khujjuttara did not appear in the Therīgāthā and Bhikkhunī Saṃyutta but found in Commentaries. There could have many female voices if they had preserved it properly with non-partiality.  In the Eye of the Buddha all are equal; no higher or lower gender differences in Buddhism.

Footnotes

[1]A Guide to Buddhism A-Z: 92. “Gender”

[2]AN.i.1.

[3]A Guide to Buddhism A-Z: 92. “Gender”

[4]The Expositor: 420.; with reference to Aggaññāsutta in DN.iii. 73.

[5]DA: That is, those who were women in previous lives. Conversely, the others were men in their past lives.

[6]Away with (this) filth!…” (nassa asuci).

[7]Law of Manu, 5.85: 36

[8]Pañceva dāni, ānanda, vassasatāni saddhammo ṭhassatī’ti yaṃ bhagavā āha, taṃ khayaṃ paridīpayanto sesakaṃ paricchindi, vassasahassaṃ, ānanda, saddhammo tiṭṭheyya, sace bhikkhuniyo na pabbājeyyuṃ.[8] Milindapañhā: 134.

[9]AN.iii.100.

[10]Mary Dairy, 1995:4.

[11]The Numerical Dicourses of the Buddha, 2012: 465.; AN.i.394.

[12]AN.ii.60.

[13]Itthī, bhikkhave, gacchantīpi purisassa cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati; ṭhitāpi…pe… nisinnāpi… sayānāpi… hasantīpi… bhaṇantīpi… gāyantīpi… rodantīpi… ugghātitāpi  … matāpi purisassa cittaṃ pariyādāya tiṭṭhati. Yañhi taṃ, bhikkhave, sammā vadamāno vadeyya – ‘samantapāso mārassā’ti mātugāmaṃyeva sammā vadamāno vadeyya – ‘samantapāso mārassā’’’ti. AN.ii.63.

[14]Nummerical Discourses of the Buddha, 2012: 830. Pañcime ādīnavā mātugāme. Katame pañca? Kodhano, upanāhī, ghoraviso, dujjivho, mittadubbhī. AN.ii.227.

[15]Nummerical Discourses of the Buddha, 2012: 1532.

[16]

[17]AN.iii. 100-103.

[18]Connected Discourses of the Buddha, 2000: 179.; Itthīpi hi ekacciyā, seyyā posa janādhipa; Medhāvinī sīlavatī, sassudevā patibbatā.‘‘Tassā yo jāyati poso, sūro hoti disampati;Tādisā subhagiyā putto, rajjampi anusāsatī’’ti. SN.i.103.

[19]‘‘Yassa etādisaṃ yānaṃ, itthiyā purisassa vā; Sa ve etena yānena, nibbānasseva santike’’ti. SN.i.130.

[20]Thīnaṃ dhammābhisamaye, ye bālā vimatiṃ gatā; Tesaṃ diṭṭhippahānatthaṃ, iddhiṃ dassehi gotamī’. Apadāna.ii. 212.

[21]Yaṃ taṃ isīhi pattabbaṃ, ṭhānaṃ durabhisambhavaṃ; Na taṃ dvaṅgulapaññāya, sakkā pappotumitthiyā’’ti. SN. i. 129.

[22]Connected Discourses: 2000:  223; ‘‘Itthibhāvo kiṃ kayirā, cittamhi susamāhite; Ñāṇamhi vattamānamhi, sammā dhammaṃ vipassato. ‘‘Yassa nūna siyā evaṃ, itthāhaṃ purisoti vā; Kiñci vā pana aññasmi [asmīti (syā. kaṃ. pī.)], taṃ māro vattumarahatī’’ti. SN.i.129.

[23]Therīgāthā 384. Vimānavatthu et al..384.

[24]The Udāna and the Itivuttaka,  2007:  95.

[25]Vimānavatthu et. Al. Verse 404-405: 401.

[26]Iddhimantīnaṃ yadidaṃ uppalavaṇṇā. AN.1. 26.

[27]SN.i. 132.

References

Aṅguttara Nikāya.i., ii & iii (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Apadāna  (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Dīgha Nikāya. iii.  (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Dīgha Nikāya.  Aṭṭhakathā. iii.  (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Itivuttaka  (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.Saṃyutta Nikāya.i.­­­­­ (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Udāna  (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Therīgāthā  (2008). Yangon: Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Bodhi, Bhikkhu, (2000). The Connected Discourses of the Buddha. Boston: Wisdom Publication.

Bodhi, Bhikkhu, (2012). The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha. Boston: Wisdom Publication.

Brenda Belak. (2002). Gathering Strength: Women from Burma on their Rights.

Images Asia: Chiangmai, Thailand.

Dhammika, S. (2007), A Guide to Buddhism: A to Z. Singapore: The Buddha Dhamma Mandala Society.

Pe Maung, Tin, (1976) The Expositor. London:The Pali Text Society

Mary Diary 1995

Old Testament Bible

Pt. Sri Rama Ramanuja Acharya (2009).The Law of Manu

Posted in Buddhist Culture, Burmese Buddhism, Current Trend of Buddhism, Feminism, Monastic live, Monastic Rules, Myanmar Culture | Leave a comment

A terrible fear in my life

In May 2013 vacation, was the day that remains in my heart as the horrible day in my life. When I was in Burma, I went to an outskirts place outside Yangon, Myanmar which takes an hour by car. It is in Mawbi in a quiet place where a monastery named Dhammaduta Jetavana Chekindarama Monastery. In this monastery, the monks devote for studies diligently where they gave me a room.

After ten days of my staying there, a strange fear arose in me. When the night falls, I startled with the sound of a rat. Indeed, fear is nothing more than what we imagine the unreal thing. However, I could not calm down my mind being my understanding of some extends on Buddhism. When I startled for the first time in the dusk, simultaneous fears arose in me. Sometime even I startled by hearing the sound of air condition turning down due to up and down electricity voltage. All my body hairs stood up, and I was as if thrown in the waterless desert. Thus, it made me helpless to stop feeling from fear.

In next two rooms, my friends were sleeping but still I could not calm down my mind. Due to my agitated mind even though I recited the attribute of Dhamma and Saṅgha for calming down the mind, I could not stop my fear. Although Buddha states if you feel fear, recollect attributes of Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha. But I failed to calm my mind. The sole reason for failing from fear was due to unable to concentrate my mind on the attributes of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, as the sole cause.

The mind that is afflicted by worry, agitation and doubt will not concentrate on a certain object successfully. Just as the sun light cannot burn paper. But due to the help of a magnifying glass, it is possible to burn a paper. Why it is so? There is nothing magic behind it, however due to concentrated sun rays it can burn paper. In the same way, my mind was afflicted with worry and agitation, thus, I could not get rid of worry and fear by recollecting the attribute of BuddhaDhammaand Sangha. Besides my failure of recitation, I also tried to be mindful to see my fear as it is but it was helpless.

The following day I told to one of my friend about my fear but he did not pay attention because he thought I was pulling his leg. But I did not give up telling him again whether he will accompany me or I will go and sleep along them. Then, he told me you can come and sleep in one of the bed nearby me. But then the thought arose in me I will go and sleep in their room for a day but after some days how am I going to sleep alone in the room. Thus, I didn’t go to his room, and I persistently stayed at the same room alone.

In order to get rid of fear, I stayed and followed the monastery monks and even helped them whatever I could help. I conversed in Myanmar with the novices to improve my Myanmar spoken skill. Even sometimes I made some jokes for fun. Then, I came to know I could forget my worry and fear during conversation. When I returned to my room I become a bit brave.

At night, sometime I felt as if something like ghosts that were actually my bag and robes during laying on bed. When I closed my eyes, I felt someone or some dark thing proceeding towards me. I know theoretically also all human beings and even ghosts are not more than the elements of water, air, fire, and wind and mind. But still I could not calm my mind. Then, I planned to come back to Yangon after two weeks to get psychotherapist consultant. After I decided, the thought arose in me “if I become mad I would be unimaginable” thus, fear arose in me. Finally, I decided not to go.

I become really helpless but I kept my mind very bravely although I startled with a little sound of a house lizard. With simple sound or with simple things I was nervous. In the meantime of my fear, I woke up very often in the midnight which scared me terribly. When I am healthy I never wake up at night during sleep. Therefore, that made me really mentally weak.

Then, I remembered the methods that I apply to get rid of stress or sadness. The method is very simple and can be applicable for all and can do by anyone. With friends as well as alone, I helped others and dedicated whatever I could help them. Later, I tried to recollect “what a great deed I have done for them”. Due to my helping, there will be a great benefit for them. When I did in this way, I become happy. Similarly, I recollected repeatedly then happiness arose in me. Of course, it should not be thought that I have attained absorption which is far from me.

The reason for sad and happiness could not be in the same moment. It is just like only a king in a kingdom. It can never be two kings in a kingdom. Similarly, there cannot be twofold mind at a moment. The one which is powerful will over exercise on other. That was the same case to me when sadness and agitation were in higher degree, happiness or stable mind had no place in my mind. But when I channeled for happy mind, I could able to settle my fear, which is unwholesome mind.

Later, I came to know the main problem for being so was due to eating lots of chilies which disturbed my gastritis that I got some years ago. I believed due to gastric that made me such troublesome. As we could see in the conditional relation (paṭṭhāna), materiality has the power to condition our mind.

Finally, I could calm down my fearful mind. Thus, I cured my terrible fear even without the help of any single capsule or medicine. I wish all if anyone faces troublesome like me give a try this wonderful technique to empower our mind into supremacy simply by the recollection of good deeds.

 

Posted in Anti-fear, Fear, Reflection method for anit-fear | Leave a comment

A thought in relation to Abhidhamma Day by Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt

This is a worth-reading article on the historical background on End of Buddhist Rain Retreat (Pavāraṇā) including the Abhidhamma Day and Lightening Festival in Myanmar History written by History Professor at ITBMU, Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dhaja Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt. He is the regular contributor of New Light Myanmar articles on Buddhist Cultural Festival in Myanmar.

In the article Professor found the End of Rain retreat is connected with ancient Indian astrology. He stated that since Bagan Dynasty the ceremony have been holding. An archaic on End of Buddhist Lent (Thindingyut) is interpreted by the scholars,   “Early stone inscriptions of Bagan Period used the name “Thun Tu La” for this month. The three words comes from ” Thun” is derived from Vasanta (rainy season), “Tu” indicates the Tula, sign of Libra in Zodiac sign and “La” means month in Burmese. Secondly “Than” means “paddy” the staple crop of Myanmar Tu means “erect” or “upright” and La is month Than Tu La.

In Myanmar History, “the earliest use of the word Thindingyut is found in Tuyin Taung Saw Rahan Thein stone Inscription dated Sakaut year 574 [1212 A.D]. The spelling of the name reads Tha Tin Chut meaning lent is off.” To him, the origin of Lightening Festival is religious origin when the Buddha showed the Twin Miracles at Savatthi. He also relates the historical background of Lightening Festival and modern practices in Myanmar with the commemoration of the Buddha’s Abhidhamma preaching at Tavatiṃsa and descending from Tavatiṃsa to Saṅkassa City. Moreover, many mural paintings are found in Bagan related to Abhidhamma Teaching to Tavatiṃsa, descending to Saṅkassa, displaying Twin Miracles etc.

One of the noticeable things found in Burmese Buddhism is that many folk elements entered as a disguise of Buddhist culture. People usually could not distinguish such culture unless they know the background history of Pre-Bagan period. When Anawratha became the first king of Myanmar Empire in Bagan Dynasty, he tried to cleanse the debased practices with the help of Shin Arahan, Mon monk from Suvaṇṇabhūmī but he could not succeed. Later, he has to modify from Hindu version or folk practice into Buddhist version of Animism. Until today, one could see such practices related to setting of Pagoda with many astrological signs, and Nath Festival. Even among the monastic circle as a Buddhist disguise practices like naming for Buddhist monk according to Birth Day, is certainly the astrological relation of ancient practice in Burma.

Turning again the attention to the writing of light festival, the author relates, in later historic periods- Inwa, Taungoo and Nyaungyan Periods, Thadin Kyut light festival came to be called “Simee Myint Mo Pwe” [Festival of illuminating Mt. Meru by oil lamps]. He showed that the Myanmar Kings unfailingly observed this festival until the last king of Kaungbaung Dynasty, King Thibaw.

Readers with the intention of learning Burmese culture will find this article interesting on Abhidhamma Day, Light Festival with reference to Buddha’s biography.

http://www.globalnewlightofmyanmar.com/abhidhamma-day-and-simee-myintmoe-light-festival-of-the-month-thidingyut/

Posted in Abhidhamma Day, Buddhist Ceremony, Buddhist Culture, Burmese Buddhism, Folk Elements, Light Festival, Myanmar Culture, Thindingyut | Leave a comment

Akusala: Unwholesome states (citta and Cetasika)

Definition

Kusa Ku/si>sa means vices which lie in a person under contemptible conditions. Akusalas are so called because they do not lop off, cut off, what are known as immoralities (akusala). Unwholeosome has the characteristics of having faulty and bad results. (akusala’-saddo sāvajjadukkhavipākatthajotakattena. (Dhammasaṅgaṇī Aṭṭhakathā 40).

Three unwholesome roots

Mūla: ‘roots’, also called hetu  are those conditions which through their presence determine the actual moral quality of a volitional state (cetanā), and the consciousness and mental factors associated therewith, in other words, the quality of kamma. There are 6 such roots, 3 karmically wholesome and 3 unwholesome roots, viz.,: greed, hate, delusion (lobha, dosa, moha), anti-greed, anti-hatred and anti-delusion (alobha, adosa, amoha)

In A. III, 68 it is said that greed arises through unwise reflection on an attractive object, hate through unwise reflection on a repulsive object. Thus, greed (lobha or rága) comprises all degrees of ‘attractedness’ towards an object from the faintest trace of a longing thought up to grossest egoism, whilst hatred (dosa) comprises all degrees of ‘repulsion’ from the faintest trace of ill-humor up to the highest pitch of hate and wrath.

“Killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse, lying, tale-bearing, harsh language, frivolous talk, covetousness, ill-will and wrong views (s. kammapatha), these things are due either to greed, or hate, or delusion” (A. X, 174).

Twelve unwholesome consciousness

The twelve unwholesome consciousness are categorized based on three unwholesome roots

  1. Eight lobha citta (Greed): Lobha (main) and (Moha, subordination
  2. Two paṭigha (aversion) cittas (hatred): (Dosa (main) and ( Moha, subordination)
  3. Two Moha (delusion) citta (only Moha: main)

(F)Feeling (vedanā) sahagata (blended together like two rivers’ water: Sukha (somanassa and sukha), Dukkha (Domanassa and dukkha) and Upekkhā

(A)Association (sampayutta): with wrong-view (diṭṭhigata sampayutta) without wrong-view (diṭṭhigatavippayutta)

(P)Prompted (saṅkhārika): with prompted (sasaṅkhārika) and without prompted (asaṅkhārika): Instigation (payoga) and application of an expedient (upāya) by others or oneself within: bodily (due to citta condition body acts), verbally (other command even persuasion) and mentally (reflection and determination)

Paṭigha: literally striking: all degrees of version from violent rage to subtle irritation. By its nature hatred excludes the possibility of any view. (Y Karunadāsa, Theravada Abhidhamma) . Wrong-view can motive acts of hatred but not arise simultaneously.

Moha (ignorance) momūhacitta (citta with intensification of moha) Sceptical doubt + Restlessness: (MR. S). It is present in all unwholesome cittas but in last two cittas are main role, whereas other cittas as secondary. It is not experienced as desirable and pleasant/unpleasant mental feeling (somanassa/domanassa). When mind is overwhelmed with sheer delusion it is not in position to evaluate the object as agreeable or disagreeable, thus, upekkhā

Vicikicchā: (a) vexation due to perplex thinking (b) being devoid of remedy consisting in knowledge.

Uddhacca-disquietude, mental distraction, found in all akusala citta as secondary but here primary.

Unprompted reasons of Vibhāvinīṭīkā and Mahāṭīkā (Visuddhimagga Ṭīkā)

(a)lack of natural acuteness, and (b) there is not occasions when one deliberately tries to arose them.

Ledi Sayadaw refutation: since these two cittas occur in beings naturally by their own intrinsic nature, they need not be aroused by any inducement. They always occur without trouble or difficulty.

Cetasika

Cetasika: a state that follows the citta (citttena niyuttaṃ cetasikaṃ). Four characteristics of Citta and Cetasika

O! ABC

(a)Arising together with citta (b) Ceasing together with citta. (c) Having same Base with citta and  (d) having same Object as citta.

Fourteen unwholesome mental factors (akusala cetasika)

  • Moha citta cetasika: Delusion, Shamelessness, Fearlessness and Restlessness (DR. From Singapore)
  • Greed: Greed, Conceit, wrong-view (Go or Come With me)
  • Hatred: Hatred, Envy, Avarice, Worry (WHAt is E)
  • Sloth (mind), torpor (body) doubt (STuDy)

NB: Greed (pulling) and hatred (pushing) cannot arise due to different nature/function. Moha group (4) arise in all akusala cittas.

conclusion

Though pleasant cittas are more among the akusala citta, not the number they are in human experience but how often they arise for the suffering of life.

Posted in Akusala, Buddhism, Cetasika, Consciousness, Mental States, Unwholesome roots, Unwholesome state | Leave a comment

Gradual Teaching of Dhammapada

In other religions, they focus on God, Prophet or other deities, whereas in Buddhism it emphasises on mind.Then, what is mind? It is “No matter”, a popular usage for explaining mind. Is it really the brain what we call mind? Or even could it be heart? Simply mind is spirituality. Mind is mano in Pali. The modern neuroscience may claim brain is the main part of the body and what to call mind is none other than brain. That is why they study more on brain according to my understanding. In the case of materiality (with a machine which is matter), it is not possible to see or observe through machine unlike the mind through self-introspection as one understands himself. In order to detect directly the mind the scientist must invent most powerful machine. It seems not possible from Buddhist point of view to study mind with matter other than simply an assumption. It will be clear through an example for defining mind, suppose somebody comes and knocks on your head. Then, you understood something touched (stroke) on your body. Indeed, the simple awareness without going deeper level is the mind. In other words, it is just  bare awareness of happening event. Thus, from its nature the mind is explained having the nature of simple awareness. However, in Tibetan Buddhism, the nature of mind is given twofold one is the bare awareness, and the other is the clarity. By the term clarity is the radiant mind as stated in Anguttara Nikāya. Due to the coming of adventitious mind, the clarity of mind becomes defiled. The clear water example is given for bare mind. When the glass of water is blended with many colours, it is said that varieties of mental factors associated with the mind. The Buddha said that the mind leads the world (cittena niyati loko). If a person does  good deed, all his environment will be pleasant and harmonious. On the other hand, if a person does harm for himself and society , that action will lead to disharmony and unpleasant. Usually, the mind leads us rather than we lead the mind. Thus, one can commit the willed (violent) action without any shame (hirī) and dread(ottappa) of twofold guardian states. Mostly the mind of worldly being enjoys in unwholesome action. In such a case, one has to recollect, for a good person doing good deed is easy and committing unwholesome action is difficult. On the other hand, for an evil person committing bad deed is easy and doing good deed is difficult. Because the wise person sees the benefit for doing a good action and realises the bitter result of bad action. But the evil person confuses with ignorance and enjoys the fleeting sense pleasure having committed many evil deeds and without knowing its unpleasant result and the benefit of doing good action.

The Buddhism emphasises on good and bad (action) like other religions in the world today. Is it similar like the utilitarianism of majority benefit? In fact, Buddhism never validates partially even for suffering of a single helpless being. Thus, in the commentary of Dhammasangani, kusala is the term for good or wholesome, which has the characteristics of healthy (ārogyattha), and blameless (anavajjattha). To explain simply, if a person does good then, no negative thought will arise in him. It is healthy for the mind due to absence of unwholesome thought. And the second meaning is not blameable by the noble person who eradicates all defilements when a person does such good action. Hence, one can be sure with these two criteria for determining for good deed. Contrastly, for akusala (unwholesome) has two criteria which are unhealthy (rogyattha) mind and blameable (savajjattha) by the wise. It is unhealthy because the negativity of greed hatred and delusion make the mind illness and it is indeed, blameable by a virtuous person.

In conclusion, in anyway one may try to analysis or explain the mind but the main purpose of such analytical study of mind is simply for enhancing towards understanding the reality as they are(yathābhuta) without any confusion of the outside world.

Posted in Buddhism, Gist Teaching of the Buddha, Good in Future Lives, Gradual Teaching of Dhammapada, Highest Goal of Buddhism, Human Good Here and Now, Path to Final Good, Path to Happiness | Leave a comment

Odd thing looks crazy but not always

Whatever odd does not mean inappropriate or disadvantage to welfare or happiness. But rather they are very beneficial for personal welfare and peaceful life. Like in the case of not using Facebook seems odd among the billions of people in the world where you can find barely a person not using Social media like Facebook. Facebook has not doubted its own pros and cons: like keeping in touch with friends, family and sharing own opinions. However, on the other hand, there are bundles of disadvantages in the long run of using Facebook.

It might be odd for not using Facebook but rather challenging.  Similarly, we could see  in the historical Gotama Buddha after realising  his Dhamma, which is “against the stream” (Paṭisotagāmiṃ) which He has realised with difficult effort. Therefore, beings its profundity, he decided not to preach the Dhamma. (M I.168). It is against the majority because the majority of the people follow against the path of happiness like the enjoyment of sensual pleasure, seeking for the pleasant objects. According to the Buddha, those who indulge those things they are against the path of truth realisation. Certainly no doubt one can bend towards the path against the stream for the active user of Facebook.

I have been using Facebook since 2008 until the first day morning of January 2017 but I realised it disturbed for my studies and peaceful living. At the beginning it looks not very serious or beneficial but later one cannot do even study due to irrelevant messages by certain people and addiction of Facebook. Therefore, instead of using Facebook one can do other beneficial things like writing thoughtful article or even tea meditation without dispersed mind which is conducive to personal and other welfare. Therefore, I feel Facebook is not the thing that I should be engaging.

To our concept, using Facebook means knowing dozen of knowledge, however they are not so in reality. Thousands of people are simply sharing news to mislead people according to their dogmatism; in order to motivate emotionally based on faith and racist. To say exactly even 40% of news is rarely reliable in the Facebook, from my understanding. Therefore, seeking knowledge from Facebook is not a reliable place like professional journal, blogs, and reliable and authorised websites.

When a user is so addicted on Facebook, he will forget even the time. The user may use an hour while intended just to use for ten minutes. Therefore, if one is not skilful in mind training, it is better to say Goodbye to the Facebook. Facebook is just a waste of time like a dog biting the bone with the expectation of flesh. It is easy to say due to using Facebook one can develop spirituality and one’s horizon; however, in reality only a few could able to accomplish it.

Even if you have many good ideas rarely work since only a few are reading your writing. People may like to read if a line or two but when you have something to say in some paragraphs few will pay attention. Instead of updating the status with great ideas it is better to write in a blog where the bookworms will goggle online on related topics. Good readers rarely seek information from Facebook since they are not reliable with tons of misleading news and information.

Facebook can degrade your thinking capacity. When you are writing something you can do better reflected thought without using Facebook or even internet from my experience. Since your mind disperses from this post to that post, thus, mindfulness and concentration are least concerned while using a social media like Facebook. On the other hand, if you are using offline source you are compelled to pay available sources with sincere attention. Only a mind training person will not be shaken by the Facebook. Certainly 99 percent of Facebook users are far from training one’s mind.

Facebook is so popular among the people in the world with many reasons. Even one might believe using Facebook means becoming a global citizen. It is so attractive or compelling object for the user it works as a very powerful object to bend your mind towards it. Eventually when Facebook will take away your mind you will not realise it. If one is not mindful it can even makes you worse than the advantages you can get from the Facebook in terms of spirituality and health.

Facebook is worse for health. Particularly if you have headache or eyes problem certainly Facebook will make you worse. It will disturb your sound sleep when Facebook notification comes during sleeping. Even on while travelling by bus you may wish to check the notification that will make you headache on running vehicles. Perhaps you may argue even using laptop is the root cause of making serious headache or eye problem. That is no doubt but one will know even worse when using Facebook truly.

You may convince or not with my writing, which is not my goal but just sharing if you could make sense as I do so. Sometimes it looks peculiar to experiment an odd thing but when time passes one can find the real reason for not doing so is the way to happiness. Life has many choices and can give a try on certain thing if you think right what you ought to do. Staying away for sometimes from Facebook is just trying a life experiment that rarely we try in our life. Because when majority of people follow certain things, always it does not mean that is the right thing to do. Despite many things to say its pros and cons but concluding with some remarks from life experience of using Facebook.

If you really want to know the disadvantage of using Facebook, you can read this link. http://techin.oureverydaylife.com/disadvantages-facebook-3355.html

Posted in Buddhism, Facebook, Odd thing, Pros and Cons of Facebook | Leave a comment