Composed by Bhante S. Dhammika
Monday, May 30, 2011
Composed by Bhante S. Dhammika
Thursday, May 26, 2011
You have such a great meal (in that bowl),
Like a brahmin with a big handful of rice.
Where did you go for alms?
What funeral did you attend?
On hearing this, the naughty monkey spoke the second verse -
I am truly a foolish monkey,
In that I have touched the untouchable.
If you can release me
I will go back to the mountains.
The Bodhisattva, having compassion for him and addressing the tortoise, spoke this third verse
The Kassapa tribe are tortoises.
The Kondanna are monkeys.
Kassapa, please free Kondanna,
From having sex with you.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Sanctuary was usually given to those accused of committing what were called ‘the five grave offences’ (pancamahaparadha), although exactly what constituted these is unclear. It might have been breaking the five Precepts or five of the six ‘acts of immediate retribution’ (anantariyakamma, Miln.25), i.e. murdering one’s mother, one’s father, an arahat, injuring a Buddha or causing a schism in the Sangha (Atthasalini 358). In this context injuring a Buddha was understood to as stealing or desecrating a Buddha statue or other sacred objects. Other versions of the five grave offences included assault, killing cattle, banditry and rape.
Violating the right of sanctuary could have very serious consequences for those who did it. The Mahavamsa records an example of this. During political upheaval in the reign of King Udaya III (934-937) a number of court officials fled to the monastery of some monks revered for their simplicity and holiness. The king and his soldiers pushed their way into the monastery and summarily executed the officials. As a protest against this violation of the right of sanctuary and the shedding of blood in their monastery the monks rose in a body and left the capital for the forest. In response to this protest riots broke out in the capital, sections of the army rebelled and the life of the king himself was threatened. To calm the situation the king had to send his senior ministers after the monks to beg for their forgiveness and plea with them to return to their monastery. The humiliated and chastened king had to promise never to violate the right of sanctuary again.
There is nothing in the Tipitaka addressing the matter of sanctuary in monasteries although it is may have evolved from a general respect for the Sangha and the Buddha’s teaching allotting punishment with compassion.
I have been unable to find any material showing that the custom of offering sanctuary in monasteries existed in Buddhist countries other than Sri Lanka. Do any of my readers know of any?
Monday, May 16, 2011
One of the genuine delights of Vesakha in Sri Lanka is the lanterns (Vesaka kudu) people make to celebrate the festival. For a week before children and young men spend their spare time making these lanterns out of bamboo and semi-transparent paper. Then they hang them on trees or in front of their houses and put a light inside them. The traditional ones sway gracefully in the breeze, the more innovative ones are slowly with electric motors as they illuminate the night with their subtle pastel colours. Crowds spend Vesakha eve walking around admiring other peoples’ lanterns.