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Lecture delivered on ‘The essence of Buddhism in Dhammapada’ – Daily Pioneer

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A special lecture was held on Tuesday at Sanchi Buddhist-Indian University of Knowledge Studies.

Prof. of Delhi University, monk Satyapal, gave a lecture before students, teachers and staff on the topic The essence of Buddhism in Dhammapada.

Monk Satpal, while addressing the students and teachers, said that sufferings in life can be reduced with the curtailment of needs. He had further said that all the sufferings of life can be eliminated through refuge too.

He said that Buddha used to say that one who leads the simplest form of life, gets maximum benefit because one who lives on ground, is not afraid of falling. If one flies in the sky due to pride, there is a strong chance that he will fall fast. Monk Satyapal said that there is no mention of Buddhism anywhere in the original literature of Pali language, but it is a Sanskrit word and the word Dhamma has come from it.

Monk Satyapala said that there are 84,000 skandas in the Buddhist scripture Tripitaka - that is, three boxes. Its shortest text contains 423 Dharma Skanda called Gatha.

The monk Satyapala said that it is mentioned in Buddhist philosophy that nothing (accidental) in the world is accidental but there is action and reason behind each one and this is the rule of work-cause. He said that the relief of sorrow, happiness, ultimate happiness (nirvana) and sorrow can be found through the ultimate truth.

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Lecture delivered on 'The essence of Buddhism in Dhammapada' - Daily Pioneer

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SOUTH KOREA PAKISTAN A Buddhist temple to boost the friendship between S Korea and Pakistan – AsiaNews

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The Venerable Wonhaeng, leader of South Koreas Buddhist Jogye Order, visited Pakistan for a week. The founder of Korean Buddhism came from what is now Pakistan. The Jogye Orders chief abbot met Pakistans president and prime minister in Islamabad. Peaceful coexistence between religions in Pakistan is possible.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) The Pakistani government has authorised the Jogye Order to build a Buddhist temple at a site that is historically connected to Buddhism. The leader of the order, the Venerable Wonhaeng, made the announcement during a visit to the South Asian country at the helm of a delegation of monks.

The abbot rarely travels and this one carries great symbolic value. His visit to Pakistan lasted from 16 to 24 November. Upon his return, he analysed the results of his visit, speaking about it following a religious ceremony in Seoul a few days ago.

I was deeply moved, he said, when I first stepped into Pakistan because it is the home country of the Ven Marananta, who brought Buddhism to Korea about 1,600 years ago.

During his stay, the abbot met privately with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan followed by another tte--tte with President Arif Alvi.

Khan himself said that he authorised the construction of a temple linked to the Order in one the sites most closely associated with Buddhism.

For his part, the Venerable said: I was impressed by the Pakistani government's ceaseless efforts to preserve historic sites having a trace of Buddhism.

Likewise, President Alvi stressed that religious groups can live peacefully in Pakistan. He went on to say that he hopes to see many South Korean Buddhists visit his country.

At present, Pakistani Buddhists number 1,500 out of a population of 197 million people. South Korea has a population of 52 million citizens with more than 20 million Buddhists (mostly members of the Jogye Order), but their numbers are down as there is no official registration for membership in the group. Christians are 26 per cent of the population, over 11 per cent Catholic.

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SOUTH KOREA PAKISTAN A Buddhist temple to boost the friendship between S Korea and Pakistan - AsiaNews

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Ambedkars legacy is being re-engineered to suit the Hindutva agenda – The Indian Express

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Written by Badri Narayan | Updated: December 7, 2019 9:15:47 am Dr. Ambedkar, Founder and Chairman, the Peples Education Society; in his office at Siddharth College, Anand Bhawan, Fort, Mumbai in 1946.

B R Ambedkar once said, I was born a Hindu but I will not die as a Hindu. Hence, before his death, he chose Buddhism. Inspired by him, a section of Dalits also converted to Buddhism. So soon after his Mahaparinirvan Divas, December 6, we need to ask: What is the relationship between the ideals and lived reality of Dalit life in the context of growing Hindutva?

There is a trend among members of a section of newly-educated Dalits in north India of adopting Buddhism. But during field work in the villages of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, we observed that their conversion, in terms of religious memories from Hinduism to Buddhism, is not yet complete: Some, for instance, are unable to stop themselves from celebrating Hindu festivals and worshipping Hindu deities, alongside worshipping Buddha and Ambedkar.

In UP, one may find Ambedkar statues in and around the Dalit bastis of many villages. Ambedkar is a symbolic inspiration for Dalits and the marginalised. This kind of symbolism provides them social confidence. In some of these bastis, the youth offer their prayers to Ambedkar statues after achieving any success in life or on special occasions. They find a kind of divinity in the symbol of Ambedkar. The Hindu Dalits, Dalit followers of Kabir and Ravidas, worship Ambedkar alongside their panthic deities and gurus: As we know, most Dalits in North India are followers of Hinduism, the Kabir panth and Ravidas panth. Despite criticism of the caste system, these sects comfortably interact and work within various Hindu religious public spheres.

Ambedkar remained strongly critical of the Hindu caste system. However, the Hindutva movement is trying to reconfigure Ambedkar as a symbol that is respectable for everyone by downplaying his criticism of the caste system. They want to extricate the criticism of the Hindu caste system from the version of Ambedkar they are trying to propagate. If all Hindus across castes start respecting Ambedkar, then his criticism of Hinduism maybe sidelined from the memory of Dalits and subaltern communities.

Ambedkar is also projected as the brand ambassador of the samrasta campaign run by the Hindutva parivar. One may find Ambedkar calendars and portraits at many RSS offices and public programmes. The BJP has taken various steps to showcase its concern, and respect, for Ambedkars memories and memorials: More than what the Congress did when it held office.

Although Kabir panthis and Ravidasis presented an alternative religious space and identity, they have a close relationship with Hindu religious memories due to their roots in the Bhakti movement. The aspiration to assert themselves as Hindu is growing among a section of subaltern communities. In villages near Allahabad, Sonbhadra and Mirzapur, smaller Dalit castes like Nats and Mangata who had liminal religious identity till a few years ago are now worshipping Hindu deities.

These communities aspire for social dignity by appropriating mainstream religious identities. Hindutva forces understand these growing aspirations, and try to project themselves as a social-cultural group working for the welfare of all Hindus. They also assert themselves as political-cultural groups following the ideals of Ambedkar. It is not easy for the Hindutva parivar to appropriate the symbol of Ambedkar, but they are consistently producing narratives visual, cultural and political to create a selective remembrance, and forgetting of, the original image of Ambedkar.

The social memories created by the Hindu religion, and the Hindutva version of Ambedkars symbol, are creating a situation where the Hindutva parivar is easily accessible to a section of the larger Dalit community. It is interesting to observe that an emphasis on Hindu religion and values once a major criticism of the RSS by Dalits and subalterns is now providing fertile ground to the Hindutva parivar.

This article first appeared in the print edition on December 7, 2019 under the title Ambedkar without caste. The writer is professor, Govind Ballabh Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad.

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Ambedkars legacy is being re-engineered to suit the Hindutva agenda - The Indian Express

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December 6th, 2019 at 11:43 pm

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As English spread over the subcontinent, India lost forever its rich Persianate literary heritage – Spectator.co.uk

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In the seventh century, the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang made an epic journey through the Gobi desert and over the Himalayas to the holy places of Buddhism in India. On the way, he noted to what extent the world he passed through was dominated by Indic ideas, languages and religions. People of distant places, with diverse customs, he wrote, generally designate India as the land they most admire.

The account that Xuanzang wrote of his journey, Buddhist Records of the Western World, makes it clear that the places he saw on his 17-year, 6,000-mile pilgrimage looked to India as the centre of world learning. In particular, its huge Buddhist universities, such as Nalanda and Vikramashila, with their tens of thousands of learned monks, were regarded with deepest reverence as though they were a sort of cross between Oxbridge, the Ivy League and the Alexandria Library.

For around 1,000 years, from c. 200 to 1200 AD, India was a confident exporter of its own civilisation in all its forms. At the same time, the rest of Asia was the willing and eager recipient of a startlingly comprehensive mass transfer of Indian soft power in culture, religion, art, music, technology, astronomy, mythology, language and literature. Just as Greece had radiated its philosophies, political ideas and architectural forms over an entire continent first to Aegean Turkey and Rome and then to the rest of Europe not by conquest but by sheer cultural sophistication, so at this period the sophistication of Indian civilisation and thought won devotees not just in south-east and central Asia but also, to some degree, in east Asia too.

Out of India came not just artists, sculptors, traders, astronomers and the occasional fleet of warships, but also missionaries of three rival Indic forms of religion:

Shaivite and Vaishnava Hinduism, and Buddhism. Sanskrit, the language of the gods in the world of men, was the lingua franca across the region, as is still clear from place names dotting the map all the way from Kandahar (Sanskrit: Gandhara) to Singapore (Sanskrit: Singhapura), and such fabled Indic monuments as Angkor Wat and Borobudur.

If the scale and breadth of this extraordinary cultural diffusion is not as well known as it should be, then that is partly due to a tendency to study the process as two separate disciplines, each the preserve of a different group of scholars. The many Buddhist monuments scattered around Afghanistan and the Taklamakan desert, through which Xuanzang passed, are usually viewed today as the first step in the story of the spread of Buddhism, or as a dogs-leg in the history of the Silk Road, a term only coined in the late 19th century to describe the trade routes linking China with the Mediterranean.

Conversely, the spread of Indian, and especially Hindu culture, literature and religion south-eastwards to Burma, Thailand, Sumatra, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Java and the Malay peninsula tends to be studied as part of the story of the Sanskritisation of Indo-China. Separated from each other by different university and museum departments, one extraordinary civilisational story has come to be polarised into two very different historical narratives.

Indias golden age as the centre of the Indophilic Sanskrit cosmopolis lasted an entire millennium. From 1200 onwards, however, it was Indias fate to be drawn into a second transregional world. The first Islamic conquests of India happened in the 11th century, with the capture of Lahore in 1021. Persianised Turks, from what is now central Afghanistan, seized Delhi from its Hindu rulers in 1192. By 1323, they had established a sultanate as far south as Madurai, towards the tip of the peninsula, and other sultanates were founded all the way from Gujarat in the west to Bengal in the east.

Today, the 13th-century conquests of the Persianate Delhi sultans are usually perceived as having been made by Muslims, but medieval Sanskrit inscriptions dont identify Indias Central Asian invaders by that term. Instead, the newcomers are identified by linguistic and ethnic affiliation, most typically as Turushka Turks or as the lords of the horses, which suggests that they were not seen primarily in terms of their religious identity. And although the conquests were initially marked by carnage and by the mass destruction of Hindu and Buddhist temples and places of learning, India quickly transformed the new arrivals.

Within a few centuries, a hybrid Persianate, Indo-Islamic civilisation emerged out of the meeting of these two worlds. As Richard M. Eaton writes at the beginning of his remarkable new book India in the Persianate Age 10001765:

The story of the encounter between the Persian and Sanskrit worlds is both rich and complex. Much of Indias history between 1000 and 1800 can be understood in terms of this prolonged and multifaceted interaction.

For the next few hundred years, India was not just the centre of what remained of its own Sanskrit cosmopolis, but also part of a transregional Persianate world, dominated by Persian language and culture and bound together by a canon of texts that circulated through ever-widening networks across much of western Asia. As Eaton writes:

India would quickly grow to become a major centre in its own right for the production, and not just the reception, of Persianate culture. Over the course of the next 600 years, India not Iran would become the worlds principal centre of Persian dictionaries. The first major anthology of Persian poetry would be compiled not in Central Asia or the Iranian plateau, but in the southern Punjab By 1700, India was probably the worlds leading centre for the patronage of Persian literature and scholarship, with an estimated seven times more people literate in Persian than Iran.

By 1264, a bilingual inscription carved on a newly founded mosque in Veraval, near the great Hindu temple of Somnath in Gujarat, gives a picture of a town where two worlds were coming into intimate contact. The Persian text refers to the deity worshipped in the mosque as Allah, and describes the patron who raised it as the sultan of sea-men, the sun of Islam and the Muslims. By contrast, the Sanskrit text identifies the deity worshipped in the mosque as Visvanatha (lord of the universe) and Sunyarupa (one whose form is the void) and Visvarupa (having various forms), while the patron is described as dharma-bhandaya a supporter of dharma, the righteous cosmic order of justice and duty, as understood in classical Indian thought.

At the same time, in the eastern Gangetic plains, the earliest genre of Hindi literature the so-called premkhyans, or Sufi romances were being written in the Persian script. These

narrated the seekers mystical quest for union with God, but did so using characters who were ostensibly Hindu in name and cultural and religious practices, in a landscape saturated with Indian deities, mythology, flora and fauna.

Before long, in medieval Hindu texts from south India, the sultan of Delhi was being talked about as the incarnation of the god Vishnu.

This cultural mixing took place with ever greater thoroughness and complexity throughout the subcontinent over the next 600 years. Entire hybrid languages notably Deccani and Urdu emerged, mixing the Sanskrit-derived vernaculars of India with Persian, as well as Turkish and Arabic words. It was a process that went both ways. The great Hindu rajas of Vijayanagara described themselves as sultans among Hindu kings, and adopted Islamicate dress: Persian tunics of Chinese silks called qabas, and tall, brocaded, brimless Persian headgear called kulahs. At the same time, the Mughal Emperor Akbar adopted a vegetarian diet and shortened his hair in the manner of religious ascetics. He also abolished pilgrimage taxes on non-Muslim institutions and the jizya head tax on non-Muslims, banned the killing of cows and peacocks, and began giving generous land grants to Hindu temples.

In his court, Persian translations of the Mahabharata and Ramayana from Sanskrit were commissioned, just as elsewhere Persian romance narratives such as Nizamis Layli va Majnun and Jamis Yusuf va Zulakha were being translated into numerous Indian languages. By the 17th century, Akbars great grandson, the crown prince Dara Shikoh, had composed a singular study of Hinduism and Islam, The Mingling of Two Oceans, which stressed the affinities of the two faiths, and what he believed to be the Vedic origins of the Koran.

Under the Mughals, India grew to be an industrial powerhouse, overtaking China as the worlds leading exporter, notably of manufactured textiles. The global success of Mughal weavers attracted European traders, among them the East India Company. India is rich in silver, noted the English merchant William Hawkins in 1613, for all nations bring coyne and carry away commodities.

In the 19th century, following the expansion of the Company across India, English gradually replaced Persian, and south Asia was drawn into a third transnational world: the westernising Anglosphere. Mastering English now became the route to advancement, and Indians who wished to get ahead had to abandon, or at least sublimate, much of their own culture, both Sanskrit and Persian, becoming instead English-speaking brown sahibs, or what V.S. Naipaul called Mimic Men. Literacy in Persian has now been lost to most Indians. Richard Eatons brilliant book stands as an important monument to this almost forgotten world.

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As English spread over the subcontinent, India lost forever its rich Persianate literary heritage - Spectator.co.uk

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Nothing else compares to the greatest video game of the decade – National Post

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The Rinzai school of Zen, in Japanese Buddhism, has an unusual tradition of higher thought. As astrophysicist David Darling explains in his book Zen Physics: The Science of Death, the Logic of Reincarnation, it puts the intellect to work on problems that have no logical solution. The point of such exercises, Darling writes, is to induce a kind of intellectual catastrophe, or a sudden jump which lifts the individual out of the domain of words and reason into a direct, non-mediated experience.

Its a kind of holy rite for the super-cerebral: problem-solving as religion.

Darlings account of the intellectual catastrophe in Buddhism appears toward the end of the video game The Witness, hidden on a tape recorder that only the eagle-eyed will find and play. It proves very illuminating. Its not exactly a mission statement, Jonathan Blow, the games reclusive, ridiculously brilliant creator told me several years ago, when I spoke with him for a profile. But it is an analogy. We can do some very interesting things if we put down language as a crutch for communication. Thats the experiment of this game: just dont use language at all. I wanted to see what kinds of knowledge and experience we could build up without it.

Released in 2016, The Witness is a puzzle game. Rather its the puzzle game. By the standards of scale and complexity, it seems pretty much definitive, an unimprovable exemplar of the form. The Witness is set on a large, uninhabited island furnished, maybe by the hand of God, with an enormous number of gridded, chessboard-sized puzzles, elaborately wired and fixed to various doors, walls, fences and trees. Each puzzle has the same objective: to maneuver a slim line from one end of the board to the other. The obstacles introduced over the course of the game to impede that objective, however, are wildly frustrating and utterly ingenious a catalogue of impediments involving sound, light, and colour thatll challenge, and ultimately blow, your mind. There are more than 600 puzzles arranged across the island. It could take a hundred hours or more to solve them all.

The hours I spent immersed in The Witness were some of the most taxing and arduous of my adult life. There are no hints or tips. There are no arrows to guide you, manuals to consult or winning strategies of which to be apprised. There isnt the softest whisper of instruction or council. There is simply your mind and the puzzle direct, non-mediated experience. Sit in front of one hopeless problem for an evening, head aching terribly, as in mounting desperation you attempt to fruitlessly reverse-engineer your way back to an answer you are evidently missing: you will swear with sincere certainty that the game is broken and that no solution insists. But stick with it long enough and the solutions will occur to you. The sensation when they do is indescribable.

Triple-A video games have a tendency toward childishness, broadly speaking. They are like blockbuster movies: entertaining, but superficial. The greatness of The Witness, meanwhile, is less a matter of difficult than seriousness intellectual and philosophical, it is a work of serious thought.

When I sit down to try to make a game, Blow has said, its not that different from what a seriously novelist tries to do. Im seriously wrangling with an idea that Im trying to express in a particular form. What Blow expressed with The Witness is something akin to the intellectual catastrophe of the Japanese Buddhists, forcing with its maddening puzzles the individual out of the domain of words. Its aggravating and beautiful, and there hasnt been anything like it in gaming before or since.

The 10 best video games of the decade:

10. Her Story 9. The Stanley Parable 8. L.A. Noire 7. Undertale 6. Bloodborne 5. Life is Strange 4. Portal 2 3. Cuphead 2. Red Dead Redemption 2 1. The Witness

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Nothing else compares to the greatest video game of the decade - National Post

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My Hero Academia: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Shie Hassaikai – CBR – Comic Book Resources

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My Hero Academiaaka Boku No Hero Academiahas been a massive hit with the fans. It is an example of a classic shonen series and thus far it has entertained with its likable characters, great artwork and intriguing story arcs. One of the most fascinating story arcs in the show is the 'Shie Hassaikai' arc which literally translates to the 'Eight Precepts of Death'.

In order to get Season 4 started, fans need to know who the villain Kai Chisaki of the 'Eight Precepts of Death' and his teammates are. For starters, he heads the Shie Hassaikai Yakuza crime family. He has been catapulted as the biggest antagonist of Season 4.

Here are the top ten facts about Shie Hassaikai.

RELATED:My Hero Academia: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Overhaul

Shie Hassaikai is the branch of Yakuza in My Hero Academiaworld. They are the chief antagonists of the Internships Arc. The Shie Hassaikai consists of eight members who are lead byKai Chisaki, villain name 'Overhaul'. They are the main antagonists of Season 4 of My Hero Academia. After their head became bedridden, Overhaul stepped into his shoes and took control of the Shie Hassaikai.

The Shie Hassaikai aren't the only but the remnants of the Yakuza or Japanese mafia. Along with numerous fractions, they used to control the underworld of Japan. As the hero society rose, Yakuza's power was nullified. They were rendered helpless in wake of Heroes such as All Might. Hence their ideology is committing themselves to the doom of the Hero Society.Yakuza follows a strict code of conduct for the order of business.

The 'Eight Precepts' is a direct reference to Buddhism and its eight founding principles. The Eight guidelines laid down in Buddhism are meant to be strictly followed by Buddhists throughout their lifespan. Lord Buddha prescribed an Eight-fold path for ethical living.

RELATED: My Hero Academia: 5 Times Deku Deserved To Be The Next Symbol Of Peace (& 5 Times He Didn't)

However, in the Shie Hassaikai arc, the members constantly disobey these eight precepts. Shie Hassaikai bases itself on the corruption of Buddhism, more importantly, these eight precepts.

Due to the fall of the Yakuza order, the Shie Hassaikai possesses limited to scant resources. Hence they are known to be a small gang of criminals. As a result, Overhaul, the leader has a pretty lenient recruitment process. He takes in his wing anyone and everyone willing to serve him. This includes thugs and scums with no impressive records, therefore, most of Shie Hassaikai consists of unimpressive thugs.

Not much is known about the Boss, other than the fact that he ran Shie Hassaikai prior to Kai Chisaki. He took Kai under his wing and raised him to be a fierce Shie Hassaikai leader. The Boss firmly believed in Yakuza's strict code of ethics, such as their chivalry. According to him, this is what distinguished Shie Hassaikai from other thugs and villains. He tried to form a level playing field, a way in which villains could survive in the current world. However, Kai Chisaki chose to absolute disobey the Boss in this regard.

Before being inducted into the Shie Hassaikai family, he was living on the streets. As the Crime family took him under his wing, he slowly blossomed into a ruthless villain. Kai is committed to bringing back the lost glory of the Shie Hassaikai family.

RELATED: My Hero Academia: The 10 Best Melee Student and Heroes, Ranked

Along with that, his other obsessions and commitments are to return the world to the way it was before the Quirk phenomenon.

Hari Kurono is the next to Chisaki. He is his assistant and his Quirk 'Chronostasis'. His hair is always hidden under his mask. If Hari stays put, his hair extends, pierces, and slows down time for his enemy.

The General manager is Joi Irinaka who is codenamed 'Mimic'. He's deeply committed to gaining control of society and make Yakuza the single greatest power. His Quirk is mimic. It lets him warp himself into objects and control them. His tiny size, however, is a constant detriment.

The squad consists of members of the 'Eight Precepts of Death' called the Eight Expendables. Each of these is madly devoted to Kai Chisaki. The first one is Shin Nemoto who possesses the Quirk of 'Confession' which lets people confess things to him. After him comes Rikiya Katsukame, a muscular man who possesses the 'Vitality Stealing' Quirk. Rikiya can steal the stamina of literally anyone by touching them.

Deidoro Sakaki with the Quirk 'Sloshed' causes people to trip and lose their balance. Toya Setsuno, is the next member, part of a three-member team within the Expendables. His Quirk is 'Larceny' that lets him teleport things from people into his hand.

Yu Hojo possesses the Quirk 'Crystallization'. He can protrude crystals from his body that can be used in any physical combat. Soramitsu Tabe follows next, who possesses the Quirk 'Food'. It means that he can eat anything, from any indigestible material to his enemy!

Kendo Rappais next, who possesses the Quirk 'Strongarm', that gives his shoulders extreme agility. As a result, Kendo is an ace punching man. He is followed by Hekiji Tengai who possesses the Quirk 'Barrier', and his mind can create a strong line of defense barrier with this Quirk.

The Quirk is a superhuman ability that a being can possess. Starting with a newborn in the city of Qingqing, the phenomenon spread far and wide. Each individual possesses a specific ability, so to say, Quirk.

Not only does Kai look down upon Quirks, he firmly believes in the old theory that they come from rats. Quirks in Kai's opinion have plagued humanity, so he wants to exterminate them from the world. He believes that their so-called heroic sacrifices are a sickness termed "Hero Syndrome".

Beset with the singular goal of being 'Leader of the Underworld", Overhaul believes in the total extermination of the Quirks. In his opinion, once the Earth is rid of them, the Yakuza can reclaim their lost power. The original leader of the Shie Hassaikai was a man named the 'Boss'. Ever sinceKaiwas picked up from the streets and nurtured by Shie Hassaikai, Kai feels indebted to the Boss.

Now that the mantle of Shie Hassaikai has passed on to Kai Chisaki, he is committed to exterminating the Quirks because they ruined the Boss's life.

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Monastic Ordination in Theravada Buddhism – The Good Men Project

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This is the fourth of a series of blog posts looking forward to the British Library exhibition on Buddhism, 25 Oct 2019 23 Feb 2020

The Buddhist rainy season retreat or Buddhist lent, which started on Dhamma Day last month (17 July), is used by many Theravada Buddhists to enter the monastic order, Sangha, for the whole three months of the Buddhist lent. Ordination can also be for a shorter or longer period of time, depending on personal circumstances and decisions.

The practice of monastic ordination goes back to the time of the historical Buddha. Soon after he attained enlightenment, the Buddha founded a community of disciples called the Sangha. He started to form his bhikkhu-sangha with only five monks; but because of the rationality of the Dhamma he soon gained a large number of followers.

Yasa, the son of a rich man, joins the monkhood to become the sixth bhikkhu after the Buddhas five chief disciples. Fifty of Yasas friends followed his example and joined the Sangha. Burmese manuscript, 19th century. British Library, Or 14553, f. 2

The Sangha is central to Theravada Buddhism. In the context of Buddhist monasticism, one who enters into a monastic life should for all purposes aim at the extinction of the three root causes of suffering (dukkha) ignorance, aversion and greed in order to put an end to the cycle of rebirths (samsara). Monastics shave their heads, wear robes in a shade of yellow, orange or ochre, study the Buddhist doctrines, observe a particular number of precepts depending on their religious advancement, practice meditation and spread the Dhamma, the Buddhas teachings. Eight requisites (attha parikkhara) allowed to a monastic include three yellow, orange or ochre robes (i.e. the lower loincloth, the upper inner robe and the large top robe), an alms bowl, a razor to shave the head, a needle for mending clothes, a water strainer, and a cloth girdle.

The eight requisites of monastics and some additional items like a ceremonial fan and a shoulder bag for travelling are normally donated by the lay community as acts of merit, along with food, medicines and objects for daily use. Making merit is at the centre of Theravada Buddhism and shapes the interaction between Sangha and the lay community. High levels of merit-making are regarded as a sign of peace, happy relationships and prosperity within the community or the entire country.

The Sinhala Ordination was introduced into Burma from Sri Lanka in the 12th century. In 1423 CE, twenty-five monks from Chiang Mai and eight monks from Angkor travelled to Sri Lanka and brought the Sinhala Ordination to Thailand. In 1476 CE, twenty-two monks from Burma were sent in two ships to the island. They were duly ordained by the Mahavihara monks at the consecrated sima (ordination hall) on the Kalyani River, near Colombo. Upon the return of these monks, King Dhammaceti (1471-1492 CE) built the Kalyani Sima in Pegu (Bago), where monks from neighbouring countries received their ordination.

In mainland Southeast Asia, two types of ordination ceremonies are held in the sima: ordination for novices (pabbajja), and ordination for monks (upasampada). To become a novice, the follower has to recite the Ten Precepts as well as the Three Refuges of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. In order to become a monk, the Sangha or monastic community will perform the upasampada ordination on fulfilment of the five conditions: Perfection of a person, Perfection of an assembly, Perfection of the sima, Perfection of the motion, and Perfection of the Kammavaca. The most senior elder leads the assembly for the newly-ordained monk, while selected monks will recite the upasampada Kammavaca ordination text taking great care with articulation and pronunciation.

There are 227 monastic rules for a bhikkhu (monks) and 311 monastic rules for a bhikkhuni (nuns) as described in the Vinaya Pitaka under the section of Patimokkha, which includes abstaining from eating after midday and refraining from handling money. After the death of King Suddhodana, father of the Buddha, the widowed queen Mahapajapati Gotami went to the Buddha and asked him to allow women to be fully ordained. The Buddha initially refused her request as the reality of living nunhood posed a hardship for the women. After the Buddhas disciple Ananda pleaded, the Buddha granted the request of Gotami on her promise to accept certain important rules to qualify her for ordination. Gotami, the Buddhas foster mother was the first woman to be ordained in Buddhism to become a bhikkhuni. After Gotamis ordination and the ordination of her five hundred followers, more and more women became nuns during the life time of the Buddha.

Although there is currently no formally acknowledged Order of Bikkhuni in Burma, Thailand or Laos, upasika (women who take vows) play important roles in society. They shave their heads, wear light yellow or white robes, keep eight or ten precepts, study the Buddhist doctrines, practice meditation and spread the Dhamma. They are also educators for women who wish to become upasika. They help carry out religious rituals and ceremonies, and they give support to elderly women, widows and orphans who are left without family. Currently, there are strong endeavours to revive full ordination of women and to get formal acknowledgement of the bhikkhuni-sangha in several Southeast Asian countries. It is said that the bhikkhuni-sangha and ordination of nuns in the Theravada tradition had died out about 1000 years ago. Nonetheless many manuscripts containing the entire Bhikkhuni-patimokkha were still produced in Southeast Asia during the 18th and 19th centuries, and this leads to the question as to why this was done, if the Order of Bhikkhuni had indeed been non-existent for centuries.

San San May, Curator for Burmese Jana Igunma, Lead curator, Buddhism exhibition

This post was previously published on bl.uk and is republished here under a Creative Commons license

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November 23rd, 2019 at 8:46 pm

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How the Question’s evolution from right-wing vigilante to Zen Buddhist inspired Watchmen’s Looking Glass. – Slate

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Looking Glass, Rorschach, and the Question.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by HBO, DC Comics, and DC Comics.

In Little Fear of Lightning, the fifth episode of Watchmen, Looking Glass eats beans from a can.

Its a minor detail in an episode that also features psychic squid attacks and clone dog incineration, but for fans of the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic books on which the show is based, it is a significant detail. When Looking Glass, aka Wade Tillman (Tim Blake Nelson), shovels cold beans into his mouth, readers recall a similar meal enjoyed by Rorschach, the nihilistic detective from the original comic.

Bean dinner is only the latest connection Watchmen has drawn between the two characters, from their mercurial masks to their dire assessments of contemporary society. As a detective for the Tulsa Police Department specializing in psychological profiling, Looking Glass drives one of the most memorable scenes in the series first episode, in which he interrogates a member of the white supremacist group the Seventh Kavalry. Sitting in the Poda circular interrogation room whose walls project charged images, including Klan rallies, Gen. Custer, and the American flagGlass asks his prisoner a series of probing questions. The blur of images on Glass silver mask recall the amorphous blobs that cover Rorschachs face and give him his name, and if the connection was not clear enough, the sequence ends with one last image on the Pod screens: a blot from a Rorschach test, the same one Gibbons and Moore use in a chapter about Rorschachs origin.

Damon Lindelof and co. trouble a clear analogy between Glass and Rorschach by making the latters presence more clearly felt in the form of the Seventh Kalvary. Fully embracing the racist undertones of Rorschachs conservatism, Kalvary members wear discount versions of their heros black-and-white mask and quote from his journal as if its Scripture. But unlike other characters in the new series, Glass does not appear to be a hatemonger in disguise, nor does he even seem to adopt his predecessors violent ways. Glass does not prevent his partner Sister Night (Regina King) from brutalizing suspects, but he doesnt participate either. He doesnt mince words when describing the shortcomings of his murdered friend and colleague Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson), but he doesnt deny the sorrow he feels at his friends loss. In the series first five episodes, Looking Glass has been less a ruthless truth seeker and more an aloof voice of reason, one whose most effective interrogation technique is forcing his subjects to look into their own eyes.

A detail in Little Fear of Lightning reminds us that, despite the superficial similarities between Looking Glass and Rorschach, these are two very different men. As Wade kisses a potential love interest, episode director Steph Green momentarily cuts to a medium shot, which captures the lovers holding each other in silhouette outside a bar. Wade indulges in some very un-Rorschach-like behavior here, and not just because he kissed someone smoking a controlled substance (tobacco, which is outlawed in the world of the show). The image of entwined lovers is a motif Gibbons laces throughout the comic, one that Rorschach describes in less than romantic terms when it appears as graffiti: Silhouette picture in doorway, man and woman, possibly indulging in sexual foreplay. Didnt like it. Makes doorway look haunted. Where Rorschach sees depravity, Looking Glass sees tenuous acceptance.

We have not yet been given a plot reason for the physical similarities between Looking Glass and Rorschachis Wade a fan, or does he see himself as Rorschachs mirror image? But we can trace both of them back to Rorschachs comic book forerunner, the Question.

The brainchild of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, the Question is a faceless crime fighter in a blue fedora and trenchcoat. Conceived for Charlton Comics Action Hero line, the Question gave Ditko a platform to espouse his Ayn Randian objectivist politics: Whenever news anchor Vic Sage uncovered a mystery, he punched his way to answers as the Question, content to let evildoers suffer horrible fates as the just reward for their poor decisions.

The Question and his fellow Action Heroes made appearances over the following decades, but they didnt reach wider audiences until DC Comics acquired the rights to Charltons character in 1983, just as Alan Moore began writing Watchmen. Barred by DC from using the new properties in their superhero deconstruction, Moore and Gibbons made their own analogues, and thus the Question became Rorschachgiving Moore opportunity to draw out and critique Ditkos worldview.

Looking Glass has been less a ruthless truth seeker and more an aloof voice of reason, one whose most effective interrogation technique is forcing his subjects to look into their owneyes.

Watchmens legacy has so defined its source characters that the Question is now commonly written as an unpleasant nut. But in 1987, the same year Watchmens final issue was published, writer Dennis ONeil and artist Denys Cowan launched a Question series with a very different take on the detective. The first issue begins like a Ditko-era tale, with Vic Sage discovering a new wrong and punishing evildoers as the Question, but it ends with him being shot in the head and left for dead. Somehow, Vic survives, and the next 40-plus issues follow the Question as he abandons objectivism for the more peaceful and complex precepts of Zen Buddhism. ONeill and Cowan never show Vic fully completing his transformation. Hes in a constant state of growth and failure, highly conflicted about his superheroic methods. During his meditation states, or when hes debating with his mentor Aristotle Rodor, Vic controls his anger and disavows violence. But when investigating crimes around the city, he constantly feels compelled to fight and even kill, to give criminal scum what they deserve.

ONeil and Cowan acknowledged their characters tangled lineage in 1988, with an issue in which Vic reads a copy of Watchmen while on a plane. Though impressed by the heavy stuff he finds, Vic drifts off to sleep and dreams that he is Rorschach. Although a man in the dream sacrifices himself to save Vic, this hybrid character cannot call him a hero. Maybe there are no heroes and no villains, either, Question/Rorschach opines. Maybe there is not one damn villain in the world.

Thats a concept unfamiliar to not only Rorschach and Ditkos Question, but to superheroes in general. Whether it be Green Arrow, with whom the Question teams later in that issue, or Looking Glasss partner Sister Night, superheroes make distinctions between good guys and bad guys, between the moral good of harming a villain and harming the innocent. But while Vic gets into a fight in nearly every issue of his 80s series, ONeil and Cowan never make him a clear hero. Hes a broken man who cant always tell the difference between himself and the villains.

In the original Watchmen, Moore and Gibbons imagined superheroes as sad people who use costumed adventures to avoid their problems. That concept returns in Sister Night, the protagonist of Lindelofs remix. Sister Night isnt just a good cop looking for justice; shes a deeply violent woman whose simplistic morality obscures her bad deeds.

Little Fear of Lightning shows us that Looking Glass is less like Sister Night or Rorschach, and more like ONeil and Cowans Question. The episode opens with a flashback to young Wade as a Jehovahs Witness missionary in 1985, certain that the world is about to end. But it ends in 2019, with Wade, whos spent three decades living in constant terror that the interdimensional squid that nearly destroyed New York will return, learning that it was all a hoax. Disillusioned and shattered, he betrays Sister Night and delivers her into the clutches of the FBI. As they come to take her away, Wade looks up at his partner and asks, Is anything true?

Thats something Rorschach would never ask. Nor, it seems, would Sister Night or any of her fellow costumed cops. These heroes see right from wrong, and would never compromise, not even in the face of Armageddon.

But as we watch Wade pull the silver mask over his sorrowful face, we know that Looking Glass cannot believe in such certainties. He doesnt have answers. He only has questions.

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How the Question's evolution from right-wing vigilante to Zen Buddhist inspired Watchmen's Looking Glass. - Slate

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November 23rd, 2019 at 8:46 pm

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‘Friends’: Phoebe, the Buddhist Beacon in an Otherwise Rolling Mental Health Crisis – LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

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As Jennifer Aniston broke the Internet by joining Instagram and getting 1.4 million followers in the first five hours, causing the site to crash, and as millions of fans around the world celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the television series Friends this fall, theres one thing worth noting:

Not every Buddhist is a fan.

To many of us, the show was a rolling mental health crisis, says Boston Lama Surya Das, the founder of the Dzogchen Foundation and author of the new childrens bookThe Yeti and the Jolly Lama, (When the legendary Yeti terrorizes a small Tibetan village, the local lamaa cave-dwelling, meditating hermitshows us howgenerosity,patience,and asense of belonging can turn an Abominable Snowman into an adorable one.)

According to Das, who is called The Western Lama by Tibets Dalai Lama,The Friends are silo-ed city apartment dwellers who dont travel, relate to whats outside their area, and seem to have little or no social conscience or ambitions and aspirations. They are often petty and immature, have little or no health consciousness or environmental concerns, dont seem very creative or talented, and their friendships and loves are all they seem to have.

They are rarely if ever in the moment.

AND JOEY DOESNT SHARE FOOD.

The exception, says Das, might be the loving, kindness-filled Phoebe, typecast as the groups airhead.

Phoebe is free and unedited, spontaneous and delightful, goodhearted, Das says. Perhaps the best Buddhist term that might apply to her is the famous and controversial crazy wisdom that the Buddhist pioneer Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche coined and used to great effect in the 70s and 80s.

According to Das, Phoebe has what Tara Wagner of The Daily Positive calls radical honesty.

Instead of taking responsibility for other peoples emotions and reaction, she was radically honest

When faced with a direct uncomfortable question she never sugar-coats things to avoid causing awkwardness or embarrassment, he says. Instead of taking responsibility for other peoples emotions and reaction, she was radically honest, believing that the truth will set you free, even if it makes people angry. (Your collective dating record reads like a whos who of human crap.)

And she clearly has great karma, says Das. In The One With the Thumb, when Phoebes bank gave her $500 and a clock radio by mistake and refused to take it back, she gave the money and clock to a crazy homeless woman, who bought her a can of soda to thank her. The soda contained a severed thumb, and the soda company gave her $7,000 in compensation, says Das. Talk about what goes around, comes around.

WBTV

Coincidentally, a friend of Das in France was over-credited 2,000 Francs by her bank in the 80s when he lived there for eight years in silent contemplation in a Tibetan cloister. She asked the Elder head lama, a Tibetan, and he said: Keep it, unless they ask for it back. Use it generously for good deeds. You mustve done something to receive this little boon.

According to Das, it is hard to quantify karma, but the general principle of sowing what you reap applies: Who the You is and in what decade or lifetime is part of the mysterious equation.

it is hard to quantify karma, but the general principle of sowing what you reap applies

Perhaps Phoebes good Karma was in return for the loving kindness she showed by acting as surrogate mother for her half-brother and his wifes triplets, Das says, or for the care she gives to animals, another Buddhist value.One of the most relatable things about Phoebe is her passion for animals. Not only is she a vegetarian, but shes also against fur unless its a family heirloom, of course, says Das. And we are forever indebted to Phoebe for the Smelly Cat song.

As to rest, says the Lama, Phoebe clearly had some major Buddhist beliefs. In The One With The Cat, Phoebe found a cat that she believed was the reincarnation of her mom.Reincarnation is not only a major tenet of Buddhism, but of Hinduism and many New Age philosophies as well. It was nice to get a shout out to the countrys many religions, even if the writers did mean it mockingly, he says.

Das recalls a recent tweet of composer Lin-Manuel Miranda:

He hopes if the Friends ever do reunite, they will strive to be present and want more.

Meanwhile, heres some helpful Buddhist practices that might help the rest of the gang:

Joey: Could use and start with focusing meditation like Mindfulness of Breathing, a concentrative and mind-quieting meditation practice. Sometimes called Breath Watching, and even using breath counting in zen sitting if needed.

Ross: Buddha Manjusris Wisdom mantra chanting (co-meditation with sound and prana), for sharpening discriminating awareness and developing discernment and wise judgment.

Rachel: Equanimity and detachment meditation, observing impermanence and the ephemeral and contingent nature of things

Monica: Loving-kindness benevolence meditation (Metta), wishing well for others and developing empathic compassion for others as just like ourselves in wanting and needing what we do and suffering from ignorance, anxiety, doubt and insecurity.

Chandler: Mindful anger management and The Sacred Pause (consider before you (re)act.)

The Friends were played by actors Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer (and with Paul Rudd).

Lama Surya Das is the best-selling author of Awakening the Buddha Within and a leading voice in Western Buddhism. The founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Mass., his latest book is a childrens book called The Yeti and the Jolly Lama. Tibets Dalai Lama calls him the Western Lama. He is a resident of Cambridge, Mass.

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'Friends': Phoebe, the Buddhist Beacon in an Otherwise Rolling Mental Health Crisis - LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

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November 23rd, 2019 at 8:46 pm

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2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo to Be Held under the Theme of Meditation: Habit of Being Every Moment ‘Pause: Breathe in, Breathe out’ from…

Posted: October 29, 2019 at 8:45 pm


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SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo (BEXPO) will be held at the Seoul Trade Exhibition & Convention (SETEC) from November 14th to 17th.

PAUSE: Breathe in, Breathe out is the tagline of BEXPO 2019. This year, 488 booths have been registered by 331 companies from home and oversea. The estimated visitors would be more than 70,000.

The exhibition consists of three halls. The 1st hall, Joy of Practice Daily Meditation' will be the exhibition that introduces new meditation trends using mobile applications in the age of technology.

'Joy of Art - The 7th Buddha Art Festival (BAF) will be held in the 2nd hall, where visitors can appreciate Buddhist art from a variety of perspectives and see artworks from traditional to modern styles, such as paintings, statues, and Dancheong.

In 3rd Hall, the Joy of Daily Life has a special interior proposal. It is an interior design and product exhibition where you can explore decorating options of your own meditation room so that you can concentrate on your inner self after a busy day.

On 15th, Being With Dying (BWD) will be introduced for the first time in Korea. You can learn how to connect and care for yourself and others with the basic wisdom of death. Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) will be held on 16th to take care of yourself with warm awareness. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) will be held on 17th to focus on each moment and control the stress.

The Seoul Relax Week program introduces spaces and classes where you can relax your body and mind in Seoul including Bongeunsa Temple. You will find various relaxing spaces and programs such as meditation, yoga, counseling, movement, music, vegetarianism, and temple stay.

Hong Seung-do, Secretary General of the Buddhism Expo (BEXPO), said, "the spiritual cultural heritage and method of practicing Korean Buddhism, like meditation, is one of the best mental and cultural gems that Korea can present to the world. This year's expo will play a key role in leading the spiritual culture of the world."

For more information on the 2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo, please visit http://en.bexpo.kr/.

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2019 Seoul International Buddhism Expo to Be Held under the Theme of Meditation: Habit of Being Every Moment 'Pause: Breathe in, Breathe out' from...

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October 29th, 2019 at 8:45 pm

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