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Greater Discourse on Voidness Print E-mail

Introduction

Often when the mind is tired and stale it needs comfort and encouragement of a soothing kind. At other times such treatment can induce in it a false sense of security, and then it has to be jolted, woken up, even frightened if necessary, and injected with a sense of urgency. This discourse does precisely that. It does not offer comfort (which will be found elsewhere in the Canon). It urges forced marches to the goal; with awareness of present dangers as encouragement.

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Detachment Print E-mail

Introduction

Viveka and viraaga are the two Paali words which have been translated as "detachment." The two, however, are not synonymous. The primary meaning of viveka is separation, aloofness, seclusion. Often physical withdrawal is implied. The later commentarial tradition, however, identifies three forms of viveka: kaaya-viveka (physical withdrawal), citta-viveka (mental withdrawal), and upadhi-viveka (withdrawal from the roots of suffering).

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Compassion Print E-mail

Introduction

Karu.naa is the Paali word translated as compassion. Contemporary writers have spoken of it thus:

“It is defined as that which makes the heart of the good quiver when others are subject to suffering, or that which dissipates the suffering of others. “ (See Naarada Mahaathera, The Buddha and His Teachings, BPS, 1988, p.372)

“Compassion is a virtue which uproots the wish to harm others. It makes people so sensitive to the sufferings of others and causes them to make these sufferings so much their own that they do not want to further increase them.” (See Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India, 1960, Ch.6)

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Protection Through Satipatthana Print E-mail

Introduction

Once the Buddha told his monks the following story (Satipatthana Samyutta, No. 19):

There was once a pair of jugglers who performed their acrobatic feats on a bamboo pole. One day the master said to his apprentice:

"Now get on my shoulders and climb up the bamboo pole."

When the apprentice had done so, the master said:

"Now protect me well and I shall protect you! By protecting and watching each other in that way, we shall be able to show our skill, make a good profit and safely get down from the bamboo pole."

But the apprentice said:

"Not so, master! You, O master, should protect yourself, and I too shall protect myself. Thus self-protected and self-guarded we shall safely do our feats."

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Ministering to the Sick and the Terminally III Print E-mail

Introduction

He who attends on the sick attends on me," declared the Buddha, exhorting his disciples on the importance of ministering to the sick. This famous statement was made by the Blessed One when he discovered a monk lying in his soiled robes, desperately ill with an acute attack of dysentery.

With the help of Ananda, the Buddha washed and cleaned the sick monk in warm water. On this occasion he reminded the monks that they have neither parents nor relatives to look after them, so they must look after one another. If the teacher is ill, it is the bounden duty of the pupil to look after him, and if the pupil is ill, it is the teacher's duty to look after the sick pupil. If a teacher or a pupil is not available, it is the responsibility of the community to look after the sick (Vin.i,301ff.).

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