20 October, 2017

My Kind Of Buddhism: The Power Of The Mind & Meditation

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Pragmatism of Buddhism

In part one of this three-part series, it was pointed out how Buddhism, very sharply, focuses on the human being living in this world and on his own responsibility for his life. Unlike the authors of Abrahamic religions, the Buddha was not other-worldly. Buddhists have their feet firmly planted on the ground. In My Kind of Buddhism, I even set aside rebirth and samsaric ideas in order to concentrate on this central and practical quality of Buddhist teaching. My kind of Buddhism identifies the vein of Buddhism as something very pragmatic and I pick and choose what accords with such a perception. The notion of rebirth, therefore, doesn’t attract me. Buddhism has many sects and each of these emphasis different aspects. In like manner, my emphasis is on the pragmatism of Buddhism

I find the human-centric approach of this pragmatism very refreshing and very life affirming. The Suttas show us how many times the Buddha avoided brain teasing questions about the ‘ultimate reality,’ and other metaphysical questions. Is the universe finite or infinite, for instance? Renowned Buddhist scholar, KN Jayatilleka pointed out that the Buddha refused to answer such queries deliberately because he considered them to be meaningless in the sense of what contemporary logical positivists  call meaningless. For example, AJ Ayer, in his classic, ‘Language, Truth, and Logic,” stated that any question that is not even in principle verifiable is nonsensical.

The Jayatilleka view in the latter’s  classic, “Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge,” asserted the same. Jayatilleka cites one  instance, where when posed with  metaphysical questions about so-called ultimate reality, Buddha famously remained silent. When asked  by the interrogator why he was silent, the Buddha responded: “I have answered you.” This response is in line with the kind of Ayer thinking, according to Jayatilleka. When a question is meaningless what answer can one give but remain silent?

In the famous Parable of the Bow and Arrow, one observes a similar Buddha focus on practical issues. A man hit by a poisonous arrow should first treat his wound before the poison takes over, said the Buddha. It is silly to rush and try to ascertain the source and other details of the arrow. Living right in this world we are in trouble (dukkha) and let’s fix that, the Buddha seemed to have urged. I am not inclined to regard this as a negative view of  existence, although many expressions of popular Buddhism does seem to believe it that way. Rather, I take it that one has to fix problems in order to live our life well. Extreme greed, for instance, is central to our concerns. The Buddha tried to show a path of enlightened living.

Power of Mind

In pursuing such a human-centric path what is most central is for us to focus on our mind. We are what we are because of what goes on in our minds and we can take control of ourselves by taking control of our minds.One has to develop self-awareness so that one can grasp the structures of one’s thoughts and thinking processes. The Buddha urged that we should attend to our minds as of prime necessity. Examine our minds and be watchful how we live.This is very much what Socrates, many years after the Buddha, said when he urged, “the unexamined mind is not worth living.”

The very first stanza in the Dhammapada is about the foremost power of the mind in our practical lives. “(The mental) natures are the result of what we have thought, are chieftained by our thoughts, are made of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, sorrow follows him  even as the wheel follows the foot of the drawer.”

If I were to put this in very simply in three steps, it would be as follows:

Step One: The quality of our actions and behaviour will determine the quality of our lives.

Step Two: Our actions and behaviour are a result of the thoughts in our minds. Put in another way, our beliefs shape our perceptions, and our perceptions shape our actions.

Step Three: Left to itself, our minds are full of shoddy thinking processes. Our thoughts are biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced.

Step Four: In order to improve our thinking and our mind’s capacity and therefore our quality of life, we must train our minds to be aware of our thought structures. This is self-awareness.

Thus self-awareness and mind training go together. Our minds are habitually laden with a raft of assumptions. Typically, we are not fully conscious of such assumptions. Many of these inbuilt thoughts have come to us from our childhood ‘brainwashing,’ and they tend to get stuck and to position our minds for the future. With the development of mental training and self-awareness we can ferret out the accumulated raft of  false assumptions that are behind our beliefs. Once trained, such a mind will have an autopilot for the future.“The control of of thought, which is difficult to restrain, fickle, which wanders at will, is good. A trained mind is the bearer of happiness,” (Cttavaggo, Dhammapada). Again, in the same textual section it is said: “Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy, whatever a hater may do to a hater, a wrongly directed mind will do us greater harm.”

Meditation Practice

The idea is that a a trained mind can acquire power and control of  its thoughts. This brings us to the role of meditation in Buddhist life.  Meditational practices is meant to do that training. The power of the mind is employed by us to go on the paths we require. I am the jockey of the horse that is the mind and I hold the reins. We can try this out ourselves in simple instances when we virtually order our thoughts to drift away and bring in optional thoughts. Mind training is meant to regulate thinking along wholesome lines. Neuroscience has revealed that the brain once thought to be a static quantity is actually adaptable and that new neuropathways can be built. The new concept is neuroplasticity of the brain. Many claims have been suggested linking meditation practices to improved brain changes. With emerging developments in brain imagery this kind of research  may lead to surprising results.

Even unmindful of such technologies and developments, the  Buddhist practice of meditation has for centuries believed in mind and consciousness improvement through meditation practices. There are two main types of meditation in Buddhism: Samatha Bahvana and Vipassana Bhavana. The first is a training in quietening the mind and keeping it focused through various breathing techniques. The second follows after that state of quiet is achieved. Vipassana is a training in insight. Strangely every religion seems to lay emphasis on some kind of meditation. However, Christaianty, for instance, develops  meditation aimed at the contemplation  of the life of Jesus and the glorification of God. In the Buddhist practice, on the other hand, the goal is to enhance the individual to think better and so improve his life.

Contemplation of Dissolution of Body

For instance, much of Vipassana dwells on the three characteristics of existence: Impermanence (Anicca), tragic potential of Life (Dukkha) and soullessness (Anatta). The third is a follow-up on the first, where the prevailing Upanishadic claim to a permanent substance or soul was repudiated by the Buddha. 

The reality of our impermanence and the inbuilt quality of change in nature and in ourselves is emphasised. That the characteristic of impermanence defines nature and our lives and our relationships has been been reiterated by other thinkers after the Buddha. Plato tells us how Heraclitus, the great Greek philosopher, famously stated: “you cannot step in to the same river twice  for fresh waters will be coming on you.” Buddha’s rejection of the idea of a permanent soul underlined the radical nature of his concept of  impermanence. The Rg Veda, Upanishads, Gita and Christian and Islamic texts are predicated on the belief of something essentially permanent within us that eventually must account to God or, in the Indian sense, be absorbed with Brahama. The Buddha’s impermanence was shatteringly complete and did not stop in a halfway house.

This  uncompromising fixation on impermanence is something that takes primary position in My Kind of Buddhism. I know it helps me in my existential living by giving me a deep philosophical perspective. We have all got to realise that all this will come to an end – sooner in some cases or later in others. “Before long, alas, will this body lie on earth, despised, bereft of consciousness, useless like a burnt faggot,” (Cittavaggo, Dhammapada). One of my most beautiful Buddhist sentiments arise at funerals when I hear the monks’ chant: “Aniccavatha sankhara…” It is so healing and reconciling.

In fact, funeral ritual in any religion is meant to reconcile and such ritual is soothing and calming. The Buddha inculcated his followers to be death conscious (marananussati) while  living. I take this firmly as a base for a good life.  The consciousness of dissolution and death must be ever present and must permeate our conduct. To me, it is the fundamental platform for a good ethic in life and it is fundamental for our mind’s peace. I like to realign Buddhist ethics on this central platform of consciousness. I reject the view that the Buddha’s call for marananussati signifies a devaluation of life. It doesn’t suggest that we stop enjoying life. That is important. My take on marananussati is as follows :do enjoy life; but realise that this will all pass away. Hence, frame your enjoyment accordingly. There is no basis for grabbing and grasping at any cost. Be real to give up.

It is interesting to note that Ignatious Loyala, Spanish Catholic Saint and the founder of the Jesuits, dwelt at length on death consciousness in his  celebrated treatise, “Spiritual Exercises.” These were  a set of meditation practices carried out over a month in retreat. The exercises included a contemplation of the dissolution and death of the body. Loyala invites us to “anticipate our approaching dissolution, fasten our minion the conditions preceding death when our power of sight begins to fade, the sense of hearing grows dim, our mental faculties diminish in vitality, and the ego itself perishes.”

To be continued …

*The writer can be contacted at sjturaus@optusnet.com.au

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Welcome…have you come closer to the supreme bliss of nirvana …?
    You are the true right had person of Lord Buddha ..reincarnation of Arahath Sariputta …
    Living in luxury in Australia…and preaching..
    Hilarious …how people catch wisdom like a common cold in this part of the ..when in luxury…

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      Lion,
      In case you don’t know who Shyamon Jayasinghe is, please do google the name.
      But I don’t think that would make much impression on a brain-dead two-bit talent like yours.

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        Hik…hik…hik…..
        What is the point in knowing who he is…?
        bashing the Buddhist monks in this Country without respect …what is he trying to say through his article about Buddhism .? Is he trying to talk about Buddhism or his wisdom…? According to Lord Buddha’s teachings it is the mind that maketh a man a human being…it is the mind that make this world a hell or heaven…MANO PUBBANGA MA DHAMMAA.. MANO SETTAH MANOMAYAA” …Shaymon has already sown the seed of hatred in this Country against Buddhist monks..Buddhism.

        We are born to this world crying..same way we also die crying…ALONE…we neither bring anything to this world nor take anything of this world ..other than what we have sown in our past & present…according to Lord Buddha ..who you will be tomorrow is what you think ..do today….

        just because one knows even Lord Buddha ..he said in his Dhamma ..that he cannot take anyone to salvation through this “SAMSARA” ….he only showed us the path.. ” ATTHAHI ATTHANO NATHO..KOHI NATHO PAROSIYA..”

        We do not have the right to sow hatred among anyone casting aspersions on Religion that is extremely sensitive….nor have the right to advise Buddhist monks by living in the World.. Because We are dead people..

        Even Lord Jesus said ” leave the dead to dead ” follow Me…Give up…then you will see.

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          Lion,
          “We do not have the right to sow hatred among anyone casting aspersions on Religion that is extremely sensitive”
          Isn’t this exactly what “Buddhist monks” like Dayaratana and Gnanasara do?
          Why don’t you preach to them first?
          If Shyamon’s message is faulty, criticize it. shooting the messenger is an option only for brainwashed Sinhala Buddhist sheep.

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            Buddhadasa….
            It is only in Sri Lanka that English educated Buddhist laymen / Muslims / Christians along with the so called Buddhist parliamentarians voted in by the Buddhists publicly castigate ..bash Buddhist monks with derogatory remarks on their conduct without trying to understand the underlying problem..

            What right do all these people have to castigate/ bash the monks…? what right do Muslims / Christians have….? If one analyze it is always the said two religious faiths through their actions that have instigated the Buddhist monks to behave in the manner they are behaving..

            Muslims / Christians who migrated to Sri Lanka over the last 700 – 800 years do not or cannot have their own historical sites in the East or anywhere in this Country…most sites they claim are Buddhists archeological sites that have been forcibly takenover / destroyed and constructed Muslim / Christian religious shrines over them…..THESE ARE HARD TRUTHS….the Muslims / Christians even todate tightly hold on to the prized catches left behind by their migrated ancestor…Why..? Because they want to maintain their identity… Then what about the true sons of this soil and their prized possessions left by their ancestors…?

            The Buddhist priests have been agitating the Govt to ensure the safety / preserve / takeover such sites declaring those as Buddhist religious sites since independence….

            When the Govts that come to power on Buddhists votes promising to preserve/ uphold Buddhism and values with utmost prominence act in complete contrary ..what alternatives do Buddhists monks have …? In the absence of a Rome…Saudi Arabia… America to turn to with their grievances like Muslims / Christians the Buddhist monks act in the capacity of a de facto security contingent ….safe guarding Buddhism….

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              Lion,
              “It is only in Sri Lanka that English educated Buddhist laymen / Muslims / Christians along with the so called Buddhist parliamentarians voted in by the Buddhists publicly castigate ..bash Buddhist monks with derogatory remarks on their conduct “
              It is only in Sri Lanka that we see “Buddhist monks” assassinate Prime Ministers, operate businesses, engage in insulting other religions,…etc. In the face of this Sinhala Buddhists either keep their mouths shut or support these misceants. Buddhist monks publicly criticize other religions. Why should not others criticize them? One can openly criricize the Pope in Rome. Only monks in SL want everone to keep quiet whatever they do, and there are idiots who support them.

              “…most sites they claim are Buddhists archeological sites that have been forcibly takenover / destroyed and constructed Muslim / Christian religious shrines over them…”

              Well, one could claim that Buddhist sites themselves are built over a previous civilization, which had its own religion. You have only to look at Kataragama for evidence.
              There is in any case no need to preserve and worship every historic toilet pit or pile of bricks . If you go by that theory, every modern building in the country will have to be demolished.
              In the UK, if an archaeological site is found in an inhabited area, it is excavated, fully photographed, and anything movable taken to a museum. It is then covered over. It does not become a new source of money for clergy, unlike in Sri Lanka.

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                Buddhadasa….
                So you live in the UK….?
                No wonder ….your acquired hallucinatory wisdom at this age..
                I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings…on your favourite past time..
                However Sri Lankan Buddhist monks behaviour do not affect you at all…
                Therefore why worry struggling to correct them…let Sri Lankan to look after that..
                After all Sri Lanka is not your Country anymore….

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                  LION,
                  No I have lived here all my life. LAC3 is an Air Force rank.If you think that one has to live in UK to know what is going on in the world, I can only feel sorry for you.
                  Sinhala Buddhist “monks” behavior affects everybody in the country. Is this the way you want your children to behave? Again, I can only feel sorry for you if this is how you want them to behave.
                  I think the quality of Sri Lankan “Buddhism” is shown by the fact that the most respected Buddhist in the world, the Dalai Lama, is not given a visa, while the known terrorist Wirathu is welcomed here.
                  Put that in your hat and smoke it.

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                    Good…
                    then you must demand UK to stop 24hr surveillance on Muslims by the British Police and SIS …they do that to protect their Country which is very wrong in your point of view…because the Muslims are also human..NO..?

                    Buddhist monks behave in the manner they are behaving due to failure of the successive Govts to take appropriate action against accumulated unruly ..unacceptable behaviour of Sri Lankan Muslims.. BESIDES THE MUSLIMS TODAY.. THE BUDDHISTS WHO LIVE THE LUXURY HAVE BEGUN TO CRITICIZE AND PREACH BUDDHIST MONKS HOW TO BEHAVE….What an irony..?

                    They have even begun THEOLOGIZING the teachings of Lord Buddha…in public domain…

                    why are you or Shame-on Jay-singhe ..for that matter Native Vaeddha ..worried about the quality of Buddhism in Sri Lanka at the sunset… Lord Buddha showed us the path for our salvation and those truths will always remain..if one has received discernment & revelation like Shame-on why bash Buddhist monks..instead of living on those truths and serving Lord Buddha’s Dhamma…? Does that action make you a “SOVAN ” or ” SOTHAPANNA”…? After all you identify yourself as a ” BUDDHADASA ” ..besides LAC3 (rtd)..

                    Those who relentlessly bash Sri Lankan Buddhist monks are none but ROOTLESS COSMOPOLITANS ( find the Sinhala translation ) …it is only they who can look up and Spit…

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                  Lion

                  “After all Sri Lanka is not your Country anymore….”

                  However you don’t mind your women folks washing Arab bums in Medieval Middle East Kingdoms for pittance, sending them to you the unemployed/unemployable work shy patriots in this island for you to have jolly good time by gulping imported expensive whisky.

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                    It is the Goverments in Sri Lanka that encouraged our poor people into slavery in ME…
                    not the public or the Buddhist monks….

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                      Lion

                      Had you found a job, worked hard, lived within your means …… there was no need for you to send your women folks to work for Arab masters. You have had easy life since the advent of Pancha Maha Balavegaya.

                      You read the message wrong. You were wrongly led to believe this country exclusively belonged to the Sinhala/Buddhists hence no Sinhala/Buddhist would be required to gainfully employed since the leaders had decided to feed you with free rice and share the state assets with you.

                      Actually you stopped working and still living in your Balavegaya fantasy. The women folks were forced to feed the family including your expensive life style. They decided to leave probably thinking its better to clean Arab bums than living you, feeding you, paying you for your expensive life style, putting up with your 1 minute sexual encounters, ……. satisfying your every demand.

                      I salute the women folks for their hard work, endurance ……………… Why don’t you find a job, earn a decent living and respect. By the way find a job for the Sinhala/Buddhist saffron clad fascists. Since they have too much free time they go around making trouble for others proving the proverb “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” right.

                      Go find yourself a job.

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                      Lion,
                      Ha Ha.
                      “then you must demand UK to stop 24hr surveillance on Muslims by the British Police and SIS “
                      Where did you get this nugget? Have you not heard that the Mayor of London is a Muslim?
                      “t is funny…of all the Schools British Started…Colombo Academy later named as Royal College never produced a true Sri Lankan…but damn bloody cosmopolitans who always look down upon everything…look up and spit on their own faces “
                      Until 1956, the country was run VERY WELL by people from these colleges. The plantations were manned by Indian Tamils. the railways were run by Burghers / Christian Sinhalese, the Police/ Forces had Burgher officers. Who screwed it up? You idiotic incompetent Sinhala Buddhists. And you want to make it even worse, by protecting a rotten “Sangha” who even assassinated a Prime Minister?
                      What the so- called sangha is doing is WRONG . The Buddha never said to use bad language or violence on women and children.
                      If you think that is right, then what is the difference between your “Buddhism” and any other religion??
                      If you keep defending them, we can only assume that you approve of this. In which case you are certainly no Buddhist.
                      As Native says, you guys don’t mind selling your women to Muslims, but want to “save the country” from a few refugees! Please remember that MUSLIM countries provide a large part of our foreign exchange.
                      What IS this great “culture ” you are trying to protect???
                      Ha Ha!!

        • 0
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          Lion;
          Shyamon has not, and is not, sowing the Seeds of Hatred against the Buddhist Sangha;

          What He is pointing out, is that The Buddha’s Name and Dhamma are being used by ‘Thugs in Yellow Robes’ to discredit Buddhism!

          Don’t you think that these People are being paid by Someone, to Destroy Buddhism?

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            it is interesting to understand in the comments published how people defend Shame-on….WHY ? because shame-on theory..his attitude have been criticized and his reputation is under threat …Naturally under such circumstances his close associates need to sit on his side…Fanaticism

            In the same way one must understand …Shame-on at his age…not to be a critique of sensitive areas like religious monks / priests / clerics …that inavriably build hatred creating division among other faiths …because it is not the criticized that is being humiliated but the Leader who introduced the faith / belief system to the world that people hold dearly in their heart and venerate. Monks/Priests/ clerics do not have their own theory above their Leader but sacrifice their lives in keeping that faith / belief of their leader alive …whilst helping the people..

            Shame-on learnt ..might have built his life around Buddhist principles from his younger days not because of a special revelation but perhaps based on his parents guidance…He may have believed in Lord Buddha but that alone does not make him a Buddhist or for that matter hold a Licence to be a critique of disciples or publish theories ( rubbish ) on Buddhism in public domain…that causes hatred.

            It is funny…of all the Schools British Started…Colombo Academy later named as Royal College never produced a true Sri Lankan…but damn bloody cosmopolitans who always look down upon everything…look up and spit on their own faces …try to profess their own theories as truths.

            There was a President who brought in Executive Presidency…a Minister who swallowed ships… now we have a Prime Minister who think he is Trump …Economic Advisor who thinks he is Pence…and swallower of the Central Bank….Highway… Education… Economy… etc., etc., ably supported by their followers at nerve centers from this school..? Just look at their behaviour….THE FARTS HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT RUINED THIS COUNTRY..BY MANIPULATION… the youngsters still follow them..and for them it is FUN…MASTER STROKES…

            As the fitting motto says ..” DISCE AUT DISCEDE ” …LEARN OR DEPART… probably the founders would have thought it was the best motto for idiots…..Shame-on….it is best that those who have not learned DEPART now than further destruction to self and the Country you supposed have been born…

            • 0
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              Lion,
              “because it is not the criticized that is being humiliated but the Leader who introduced the faith / belief system to the world that people hold dearly in their heart and venerate.”
              Are these bogus “Buddhist monks” supported by dimwits like you not humiliating the great founder of Buddhism?
              Before you preach to others, go look in the mirror.

    • 1
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      Shyamon Jayasinghe

      RE: My Kind Of Buddhism: The Power Of The Mind & Meditation

      Pragmatism of Buddhism

      Thanks for a thoughtful write up.

      1. //Again, in the same textual section it is said: “Whatever an enemy may do to an enemy, whatever a hater may do to a hater, a wrongly directed mind will do us greater harm.”//

      Interpretation: The Para-Sinhala “Buddhists” from Bengal, Orissa,, Bihar with South Indian Dravidian genes have wrongly directed minds, and practice Dogmatism of “Buddhism”, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, misdirected nu Monk Mahanama of Mahawamsa.

      Mahawamsa, an Insult to The Buddha, by Sharmini Serasinghe

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/

      2 .// “Mind training is meant to regulate thinking along wholesome lines. Neuroscience has revealed that the brain once thought to be a static quantity is actually adaptable and that new neuropathways can be built. The new concept is neuroplasticity of the brain. Many claims have been suggested linking meditation practices to improved brain changes. With emerging developments in brain imagery this kind of research may lead to surprising results.”//

      However, research has shown that this has to be combined with proper nutrition, as humans are biological beings with multiple metabolic and biochemical processes taking place, and meditation alone won’t cut it.

      3. // “Before long, alas, will this body lie on earth, despised, bereft of consciousness, useless like a burnt faggot,” (Cittavaggo, Dhammapada).//

      Neil de Grasse Tyson on the afterlife. Very moving.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndj5KjKyr3E

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      Power of mind is for educated buddhists and power of muscle is for the born buddhist such the majority you find in countries like srilanka AND Myanmar.

      Western world focus on buddhist principles to seek their inner harmonies today while our men are harboured to their styles of buddhism, latter is no means related to what Buddha taught in his teachings.

      Through medication to achieve the inner peace and higher states of mind is what we the ones who really focus on buddhism should do while leaving all the devisions from our mind sets.
      The manner safron robe wearing monks to abuse tresspassing premises where refugees are sheltered should be condemned by all of us no doubt about that.
      First come that we are all human beings, then the religion.

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        Who is an educated…?
        How one can identify such persons…?
        Appreciate if you can enlighten me on that…

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          Lion

          “Who is an educated…?

          Education does not make you a wise man/woman however it could make you a life long crook.

          “How one can identify such persons…?”

          If you see someone who does not talk garbage like you may be a
          wise person. If anyone talks like you definitely an educated person, indeed a person to be avoided.

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            Who is a ” WISE ” ….?
            What is “GARBAGE ” …?

            Please enlighten …

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              Lion

              Go find a job, then you will find the answers to all your questions. How about a spell in the jungle, in an forest monastery?

              You will begin to value your life as well as others’.

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          The educated : As the entire world sees it, those who respect law and order, disipline and basic human rights and live a non-violent life

          From the behaviour as a leader if he woudl nto react even if own citizen have been brutally attacked by some groups being caught by racism or any other differences, those political leaders belong to the category

          Examples:
          1) Fact finding mission to Hambantota by a group of young UNP MPs were both physically and verbally attacked by a group of thugs set by previous SO CALLED regime.
          There the former president as the minister of defence LOULDY articulated, those victims deserved to have been attacked that way.
          He took the side of his thugs rather than calling for an investigation.

          Got it ?
          In this case Rajapakshe should be hung to have been passive as a leader not doing the least

          Then again

          2) Beruwala or Aluthgama riots – muslims livelyhoods were burnt down by a riots came up through provocations of MOST AGGRESSIVE thugs but disguised in SANGA robes.
          There again SO called Rajathuma shamelessly defended the attackers.

          Remember ? Or were you under HALLOZINATION mode to that recent era ?

          And positive examples:
          Got to the west and how they the leaders defend their own citizens.
          In Germany, Dr Merkel would call for a referendem if Refugees would have been attacked the way, our SO CALLED buddhist monks harrassed them last week betraying us the born budhists..
          Civilized world would have no space for higher criminALSto roam the way as Rajakshes have been in the country today.
          We have BIG BIG PROBLEM IN OUR LAW AND ORDER SYSTEMS.
          That is not to be overlooked

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      Buddhism is a philosphy for educated people.

      All other people born in to buddhism have been abused by politicians of extremists kind.
      Those politicians abuse the place the buddhism earns in the society.
      Like for example in SL, sangayas be them criminals hidden behind the robes ( e.g Ghanasara and the like ULTRA aggressive pseudo monks) or not, people have been made believe to respect them.
      Stupid masses think that they must keep the monks that sacred.
      But the reality as it is – they are obliged to respect even RED ROBE wearting high criminals.
      Most of them the buddhist monk of that kind are hateful and aggressive kind of men.
      They dont respect lanken buddhism once upon a time filled with non-violence.

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      there are many H K P T atu gone wild like you

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        H K P T [ Harak Patau ] .[ Bloody buffalo Calf]

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      Lion, or rather Pseudo-Lion,

      Para-Sinhalese “Buddhists” from Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and South India, do not attain Nirvana or Nibbana as per enlightened Buddhas teachings. The Kallathoni, Hora-Oru, Para-Sinhala have been the curse of the Nsative Veddah Aethho, for quite some tome, and after the Para-Sinhala embraced Buddhism and bastardized to “Para-Sinhala Buddhism”, the curse on the land has multiplied.

      Just check the DNA of the Para-Sinhala “Buddhists”.

      Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations

      Journal of Human Genetics 59, 28-36 (January 2014)

      http://www.nature.com/jhg/journal/v59/n1/full/jhg2013112a.html?foxtrotcallback=true

      From the phylogenetic, principal coordinate and analysis of molecular variance results, the Vedda occupied a position separated from all other ethnic people of the island, who formed relatively close affiliations among themselves, suggesting a separate origin of the former.

      Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

  • 6
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    Thanks for succinct piece well argued and written. Please continue to write and enlighten

  • 3
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    “any question that is not even in principle verifiable is nonsensical.”

    Mr Jayasinghe,

    Who is a Buddhist?

    I am unable to find an answer. I wonder if you are able to answer.

    • 5
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      nimal fernando

      Definitely not Jimsofty, shenal, sach, Champika Ranawake, MR, GR, SSl, lion, ….. Wimal Sangili Karuppan, …..

      How ever please refer to http://www.buddhanet.net for relevant information on Buddhism.
      According to buddhanet “You’re a Buddhist if you’ve taken refuge in the Triple Gem, and you do your best to live by the Five Moral Precepts.”.

      • 3
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        Thanks Native for the link,

        I was told I am not a Buddhist. True, I am not a Buddhist among many other things.

        Then I was thinking “Who is a Buddhist.” Hence the question.

        “live by the Five Moral Precepts.”

        If that’s the criteria then there aren’t that many Buddhists; perhaps none. They are no more Buddhist than I am, with a life of decadence and debauchery without pretence! What’s in a name? And what’s in pretence?

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        As for Shyamon’s 2 pieces on this topic ……….. the thousands of words he has written, revolves around the solitary two-letter pivotal word “MY.” ……… Simply put, that’s Shyamond’s interpretation of this whole shindig. In the absence of Buddha to say what he really meant ……….. all other interpretations are nothing but their own interpretations …….. nothing is carved in stone. ………….. By the same token, I can interpret Buddhism to suit my own life of decadence and debauchery ………. and give overwhelming empirical evidence – starting with the Mahanayakes, Ranil, Sirisena, Mahinda, Gota, CBK, …………….. – to prove my point.

        In the absence of their “creators” all great “works” are open to interpretation and a “definitive” interpretation – if ever there is one – will be arrived at only by consensus. But that interpretation, will not necessary, be true/correct. ……………. 6.5 million thought Sirisena/Ranil is correct; 5.5 million thought Mahinda is correct ………. Upshot of all that …….. 12 million were wrong. “Mass agreement” doesn’t mean something is correct/true.

        continued below ……

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        Continued from above ……….

        There are thousands of different interpretations of Shakespeare’s works ………. none definitive ……….. one of the most absurd interpretations of Antony and Cleopatra was by a old gal named Thelma Z Levine; it was just mind-blowing and yet could be true. ………….. That’s the nature of the beast. Furthermore, Shakespeare would have only brilliantly articulated what was prevalent in the collective human-consciousness of the day; likewise Buddha.

        All great works of classical music have many different interpretations by the conductors, musicians …….. and on instruments that were not even there at the time of the life of their composers/creators; what the composers heard was not what we hear now …….. and some conductors like Simon Rattle try to play them on “period-instrument” to give an air of authenticity.

        Bob Dylan said of Jimi Hendrix’s interpretation of “All along the Watchtower,” that’s not the song I wrote, but now that I’ve listened to him that’s what I meant.

        Interpretations are just that interpretations. No reason to kill each other.

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          Thank all of you for the responses.

          When a longwinded question is asked the question itself provide nooks and crannies for an imprecise longwinded answer to hide in.

          A stripped down bareboned question like “Who is a Buddhist?” trips everyone, even the ones who have undergone a lifetime of Buddhist-education.

          It’s easy to pin-down “who is not a Buddhist” as most of the responses veer in that direction.

          But I am still looking for a simple precise answer to the question I first asked.

          If we cut down all the longwinded claptrap and find a simple answer perhaps we can all start living better lives ………… even the ones who are not Buddhists. ……………….

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      A Buddhist is a person who practices Panchaseela in the converse.
      1. Killing – You should not kill any animals even a bed bug or a snake, but if someone kills an animal for food and gives you, you can have bellyful. You should not kill animals but you can kill Tamils as they are not humans according to Mahavamsa.
      2. Theft- You should not steal from another person, but you can steal from government as well as Buddhist temples.
      3. Intoxication – You should not brew liquor, but if someone else brews it and gives it to you can have it till you are knocked out. Buddhist priests should not buy liquor, but can ask someone else to buy it for him.
      4. Sex – You cannot permit someone else to have sex with your wife, but you can have sex with another person’s wife. Buddhist priests should not have sex with women, but they can sexually abuse Abithayas.
      5 Lying – Normally no, but you can tell lies about your ill gotten wealth and about war crimes committed on Tamils.
      I hope this makes it clear to you.

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      nimal fernando ,

      “Who is a Buddhist?”
      “I am unable to find an answer. I wonder if you are able to answer.”

      There are multiple answers. The question is too broad, as there are multiple sects and racist sects, who call themselves Buddhists. Examples are

      1. Para-Sinhala “Theravada” “Buddhists” of the Land of Native Veddah Aethho( Sri Lanka).

      2. Mayamar “Thereveda” “Buddhists” of the Land of Burma( Mayamar).

      3. Other “Theravada” Buddhists.

      4. Other “Mahayana” Buddhists.

      Other Alternate views, Aren’t they equally viable, if there is support?

      Re Buddhism — ATHEIST POWER!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsgcP65dDOg

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY&t=216s

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I&t=254s

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        Amarasiri,
        What a Buddhist is not is a person like you who is full of hatred, who spews out useless racist garbage. Who a Budhhist is, a person who will pity you, even if you were ugly, bald and covered in warts and brimming with hatred and bitterness.

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    The ethics of modern world is shaped by free thinking and great
    civilizations of many cultures leading to new heights with
    technology evolving unimaginably faster and faster where
    religions have been pushed to a corner . There was a time all
    major religions were held in high esteem in all parts of the
    world and not any more . It is hard to understand why someone
    like Shyamon , supposedly living in a country like Australia
    didn’t catch a glimpse of Australian lifestyle to see the truth .
    Today , religions are fighting to survive from extinction and so
    nobody except some destructive elements wants it around .

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    The proof of the pudding is in the eating!!

    The Sri Lankan sangha has unanimously decided that the Buddhist preaching is no longer compatible with the modern day requirements, hence they have started following the Muslims and have taken all their practices as examples.

    All they preach is about the Muslims and their way of life.

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      The reason why then Shame-on suddenly Published his theory….
      MY KIND OF BUDDHISM…MIND & MEDITATION…
      in his hallucinatory wisdom he think that this a new revelation and that
      Lord Buddha never preached this…he may have received this while sipping a beer
      in MCG…or at the beach..
      he refutes ” maranaanuspathi ” preached by Lord Buddha…
      He does not know that Lord Buddha first preached His disciples …that too to those who had the capacity to understand his teachings…certainly not to laymen…
      He understood laymen’s mind ..and he preached eight fold path for laymen as well as Buddhists monks…
      Therefore how can average laymen read ” SUTHRA PITAKAYA ” and understand same by living in the world…besides deep meditation …in luxury…?
      Lord Buddha realized this phenomenon 2,500 years ago in his own understanding…
      If Shame-on had an understanding of his MIND …he would not have bashed Buddhist Monks in the public domain..

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    Buddhism is fast getting Islamised. Thanks to our monk thugs. Anyone can see hate in their eyes.

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    Beautifully analysed. Cannot disagree

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    The pontifical words of Shyamon Jayasinghe et al are all well and good. But nothing will expunge our immediate anguish at the despicable acts that have been committed by those who claim to be Buddhists.

    The utterly abominable actions of the ‘Buddhists’ of Myanmar (cheered on by many, especially our own Sri Lankan ‘Buddhists’) have brought shame and disgrace on all who profess the Noble Message. Feral, animal-like behaviour has now taken over the once peaceful lands of Myanmar.

    We should all hang our heads in shame. Good Buddhists everywhere should stand up and be counted.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has been a disappointment and let us down, and now St Hugh’s college Oxford has removed her portrait “taken away to a safe place”. Timely!

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    Ranil Wickramasinghe published a book on Buddhism ? Is he a good Buddhist ?

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    The teachings of the Buddha which were documented about 600 years after his lifetime are awe inspiring, but I still have to encounter anyone who can practice it to the letter.

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    Anyway SJ, it is good to know you see buddhism in your eyes differently, even though misinterpret buddhism a lot.

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    Most in the world believe that there is a super power (God). In our world we have few major religions namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism & Buddhism. We also believe that these religions help us to make as good human beings. I don’t think there is a difference between religions in what are characterised as good things and what are characterised as not good things.

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    SJ: You think reading and analysis make you understand Buddhism. that is not true. PRactice and see. Start with rive precepts and mindfulness meditation, to begin with breathing meditation. Your understanding will be very different. You will understand even the things that you do not believe as true. I think you are in the write age to do that.. do tht see.

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    The fact is that Sinhala Buddhism is of a different variety of Buddhism. It is maintained through the hatred of the Tamils and other minorities. This is due to the make-up of the Sinhalese who have to construct an identity. Being people who came from South India in different stages, the construction of identity has largely depended on keeping alive the myths of the Mahavamsa. They are steeped in the hatred of Tamils and fairy stories like their origin in the buggery by the lion. Now, they have turned against the Muslims and the Christians, their erstwhile supporters. There is no point in preaching pure Buddhism. It simply does not exist among most Sinhalese.

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      +MAMA Sinhalam: YOu say you know pure buddhism. Do you know what Vitha Malan Vitha Ragan are. If you don’t know ask a Catholic Priest.

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        Dumb Jimmy,
        Do you practice pure buddhism while you are working in the US toilet?

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    The monk thugs have “wrongly directed minds.” They resort to violence on behalf of Mahinda Rajapakse

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      “Karu!#@” (I know your true identity, thats why all the marks). Stop calling monks thugs you idiotic non-entity. If at 80 years of age you can’t still control your non-mind, how the fruck are you qualified to preach Buddhist psychology. [Edited out]

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        Pothegookaraya

        “Stop calling monks thugs you idiotic non-entity.”

        What do you call a thug when you see one?
        What do you call a saffron clad thug when you see one?
        What you call a saffron clad Sinhala/Buddhist fascist when you see one.

        What you call a stupid when you read his/her/its typing?

        By the way what is your point if there is one?

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    As a non Buddhist I find this analysis to be very revealing. I await further information and analysis on this subject, which I believe is no easy task. Bensen

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    If you are wrong?

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    This article is an eye-opener and should be translated to Sinhala and Tamil.

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    Buddhism is a most valuable philosophy. It has been ruined by the crap of monks. Now it is further bashed by monk thugs who act like hooligans for a fee. I feel ashamed to be called a Buddhist when I see these yellow-robed rascals behaving like this. Buddhism is politicised and destroyed

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    Does any of us including Buddhist monks and real or self-appointed pundits of “Buddhism” know for sure what the Buddha actually taught? I doubt very much. There is no way of verifying either, as the Buddha is not with us today (If he was, I’d guess he’d surely dissociated himself pronto with the “Buddhism” that we practice today.)

    There cannot be any argument that the Buddha was an extraordinarily intelligent person who, through a remarkable understanding of how the human mind works, taught a revolutionary approach to dealing with the human predicament. But the problem is, could we assume that what was written down a long time after the death of the Buddha by one group of “scholars” was truly authentic. We currently have fundamental differences in understanding, interpretation, and practices of Buddhism based on a single written source. For instance, we have various sects, various types of monks ranging from forest monks totally engaged in meditation and temple monks leading luxury lives to those who engage in naked violence. We have a modern-day “Arahant” too, with a large following to boot.

    In an era of under developed mass communication, one could imagine how the Buddha’s original teachings would’ve got interpreted differently, added-on, distorted, etc. over a long period, in the absence of anything in writing.

    So, in my view, by perusing the texts, one could perhaps get a glimpse here and there of what the Buddha’s original massage might have been and then form their own opinions. But these will always be opinions. In my opinion, the Buddha realised that the “Middle Path” was the only sure way of peace. But this isn’t the popularly regarded middle path of being in the mid-point of the physical comfort spectrum. It was simply to do with placing our mind’s reaction to all worldly happenings right in the “neutral middle” between attraction (greed) and repulsion (hatred). Easily said than done!

    To me, the best gem of advice for everyone hidden away in the texts is found in the Kalama Sutta.

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      Hik….hik…..hik…..
      another one like the other one…
      You like ” Kalama Sutta ….” because it suits you way of thinking…
      .” Do not believe anything just because it is said that it was said so by anyone or even me ..but by your own understanding “…said so by Lord Buddha…
      Now who said Lord Buddha said so….? by Kalamas ..? .NO….Because it is written by someone.
      In that sense what prevents you from believing other writings of Lord Buddha’s teachings..?

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    Ha.. Ha.. Lion! You are contradicting yourself. For me, it wouldn’t matter whether Buddha in fact told these things to Kalama or not. That advice makes perfect sense to me and to whoever who wants to explore anything rationally and arrive at evidence based conclusions. So there is no need for me to “believe” in anything else because there is no belief involved in here. Hope you can understand my argument Mr. Lion.

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    Upul. Mr Lion is a Mr Hivala

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      Hik….hik….hik…
      I like what you said…
      At last I found another Hivala
      I thought I were alone in the jungle…

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    Most commentators don’t even bother to read such a wonderful piece. They just keep writing something that is irrelevant to what has been presented by Shyamon Jayasinghe. Shyamon is one of our best rational writers.

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    With all these good things claimed by the different sects of Buddhism, and also being a large majority, why are Buddhists so fearful and insecure about their religion having the foremost place. Other religions are not so paranoic as to go and bash people for their personal religious practice

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