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Anagarika Dharmapala Print E-mail

Introduction

THE prospects of Ceylon Buddhism in the sixties of the last century were dark indeed. Successive, waves of Portuguese, Dutch and British invasion had swept away much of the traditional culture of the country. Missionaries had descended upon the copper-coloured Island like a cloud of locusts. Christian schools of every conceivable denomination had been opened, where Buddhist boys and girls were crammed with bible texts and taught to be ashamed of their religion; their culture, their language, their race and their colour.

The attitude of the missionaries is expressed with unabashed directness in one of the verses of a famous hymn by the well known Anglican Bishop Heber, a hymn which is still sung, though with less conviction than in the days when it first made its appearance, in churches all over England :

What through the spicy breezes Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle, Where every prospect pleases, And only man is vile ;

In vain with lavish kindness The gifts of God are strown, The heathen in his blindness Bows down to wood and stone.

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A Sketch of the Life of Ñanamoli Thera Print E-mail

Introduction

In the autumn of 1967 I was transferred from Belgium to Thailand. On my first weekend in Bangkok, I went to look at the temples by the river in the old part of the city. In the precincts of one of them, I stopped to look at a bookstall which displayed an assortment of Buddhist texts translated into numerous languages.

The monk behind the counter asked me what country I came from. When I told him I was from England, he picked up one of the texts and handed it to me announcing that it was the work of an Englishman. Its title was ‘Mindfulness of Breathing’, a translation from the Pali Canon by Ñanamoli Thera. Opening it I found on the inside cover a biographical note on the translator. ‘Ñanamoli Thera’, I read, ‘was born in England in 1905 as Osbert Moore.’ The note concluded: ‘His premature death in 1960 was a great loss to the Buddhist world.’

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The Discourse on the Tamed Sage Print E-mail

Introduction

Thus have I heard: At one time, the Lord was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels' feeding place. Now at that time the novice Aciravata was staying in the Forest Hut.[1] Then prince Jayasena,[2] who was always pacing up and down, always roaming about on foot, approached the novice Aciravata; having approached he exchanged greetings with the novice Aciravata; having exchanged greetings of friendliness and courtesy, he sat down at a respectful distance. While he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Prince Jayasena spoke thus to the novice Aciravata:

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Lives of the Disciplees I Print E-mail

Introduction

On one occasion, the Buddha enumerated for the benefit of his bhikkhus the names of twenty-one upasakas (lay disciples) who had attained to Stream-entry. Fourth on this list we find Upasaka Citta of Macchikasanda, near Savatthi (A. VI, 120).* At another time the Blessed One said to his bhikkhus : “Should a devoted mother wish to encourage her beloved only son in a proper way, she may tell him: ‘Try to become like the Upasaka Citta, my dear, and like Hatthaka, the upasaka from Alavi.’" These two, Citta and Hatthaka, bhikkhus, are models and guiding standards to my lay disciples. The mother may then continue: "But if you should decide for the monkhood, my dear, then try to imitate Sariputta and Mahamoggallana." These two, Sariputta and Mahamoggallana, bhikkus, are models and guiding standards for my ordained bhikkhus.” (S. 11, 23). Again, the Buddha said that a devoted lay disciple should foster the wish to become like Citta and Hatthaka, while devoted bhikkhus should aspire to equal Sariputta and Mahamoggallana. Here model standards are set for lay people and monks. A lay follower is not to choose a bhikkhu for his guiding example, but an upasaka; and a bhikkhu should not choose an upasaka for guiding example, but bhikkhus, because the modes of living are quite different and an example taken from one's own background is bound to prove more potent. An upasaka trying to live like Sariputta should take the robe; but if he wishes to fill and permeate his life with Dhamma while still living as a householder, he is wise to look up to householders like Citta and Hatthaka.

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The Light of Asia Print E-mail

Introduction

THOU, who wouldst see where dawned the light at last, 
North-westwards from the “Thousand Gardens” go 
By Gunga’s valley till thy steps be set
On the green hills where those twin streamlets spring, 
Nilájan and Mohana; follow them,
Winding beneath broad-leaved mahua-trees, 
‘Mid thickets of the sansár and the blr,
Till on the plain the shining sisters meet 
In Phalgu’s bed, flowing by rocky banks 
To Gaya and the red Barabar hills.
Hard by that river spreads a thorny waste, 
Uruwelaya named in ancient days,
With sand hills broken; on its verge a wood

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