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The Blessings of Pindapata Print E-mail

Introduction

To those who live in lands where the teachings of the Lord Buddha have been long established, the sight of a bhikkhu (Buddhist monk) collecting food in the early morning, is a common one. But where the teachings are newly arrived, or where bhikkhus are few, the practice of giving food to wandering monks is known only by pictures or from written accounts.

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The Buddha and His Dhamma Print E-mail

Introduction

Buddhism originated with an Indian prince known as the Buddha, who taught in Northeast India in the fifth century B.C. Two centuries later, with the support of the Emperor Asoka, Buddhism spread over the greater part of India and from there travelled the full breadth of the Asian continent. In several tidal waves of missionary zeal it rose up from its Indian homeland and inundated other regions, offering the peoples among whom it took root a solid foundation of faith and wisdom upon which to build their lives and a source of inspiration towards which to direct their hopes. At different points in history Buddhism has commanded followings in countries as diverse geographically, ethnically, and culturally as Afghanistan and Japan, Siberia and Cambodia, Korea and Sri Lanka; yet all have looked towards the same Indian sage as their master.

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The Buddha’s Last Bequest Print E-mail

Introduction

The short discourse of Lord Buddha presented here cannot be found within the voluminous pages of the Pali Canon, but so much are its teachings in accord with the canonical tradition there that it deserves to be more widely known. This Sutta, perhaps originally known by some such name as ”Buddha Pacchimovada Parinibbana Sutta,” has reached us only through the Chinese translation of Acarya Kumarajiva (died B.E. 956 = 412 C.E.) while the Sanskrit (?) original used by him has long since been lost. It may be taken as another example of what may well be called ’Root-dhamma’; that is, the Teachings fundamental to all Buddhist traditions.

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Anattá and Nibbána Print E-mail

Introduction

This world, Kaccána, usually leans upon a duality: upon (the belief in) existence or non-existence.… 
Avoiding these two extremes, the Perfect One shows the doctrine in the middle: Dependent on ignorance 
are the kamma-formations.… By the cessation of ignorance, kamma-formations cease.… (SN 12:15)

The above saying of the Buddha speaks of the duality of existence (atthitá) and non-existence (natthitá). These two terms refer to the theories of eternalism (sassata-diþþhi) and annihilationism (uccheda-diþþhi), the basic misconceptions of actuality that in various forms repeatedly reappear in the history of human thought.

Eternalism is the belief in a permanent substance or entity, whether conceived as a multitude of individual souls or selves, created or not, as a monistic world-soul, a deity of any description, or a combination of any of these notions. Annihilationism, on the other hand, asserts the temporary existence of separate selves or personalities, which are entirely destroyed or dissolved after death. Accordingly, the two key words of the text quoted above refer (1) to the absolute, i.e., eternal, existence of any assumed substance or entity, and (2) to the ultimate, absolute annihilation of separate entities conceived as impermanent, i.e., their non-existence after the end of their life-span. These two extreme views stand and fall with the assumption of something static of either permanent or impermanent nature. They will lose their basis entirely if life is seen in its true nature, as a continuous flux of material and mental processes arising from their appropriate conditionsa process which will cease only when these conditions are removed. This will explain why our text introduces here the formula of dependent origination (paþicca-samuppáda), and its reversal, dependent cessation.

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The Abhidhamma in Practice Print E-mail

Introduction

Namo Sammāsambuddhassa
Namo Saddhammassa
Namo Buddhasanghassa

Homage to the Supremely Enlightened One
Homage to the Sublime Teaching
Homage to the Buddha’s Community of Monks

The Abhidhamma forms the third part of the Pali Canon, the Tipiṭaka. The other two parts are the Vinaya Piṭaka, the code of discipline for monks and nuns, and the Sutta Piṭaka, which contains the Buddha’s discourses. The word “Abhidhamma” means the higher teaching because it treats subjects exclusively in an ultimate sense (paramatthasacca), differing from the Sutta Piṭaka where there is often the use of expressions valid only from the standpoint of conventional truth (vohārasacca). In the Abhidhamma the philosophical standpoint of the Buddha is given in a pure form without admixture of personalities, anecdotes, or discussions. It deals with realities in detail and consists of numerous classifications. These may at first discourage the prospective student. However, if one perseveres one will be able to derive much benefit in life-situations from the practical application of the knowledge gained through study of the Abhidhamma.

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