WEEKLY BUDDHISM NEWS & REVIEW
Saturday 21st April 2012
Death is inevitable - The story of Patachara is popular in Buddhist literature. She lost her dear and near ones under tragic circumstances. She went mad and was running about the streets. The Blessed One Gautama Buddha, had compassion on Patachara and consoled her uttering the verses given below:
Contemplating on Death- Dr Padmaka SILVA - We have discussed about the method for practising Ahare Patikkula Sanna. Buddha has mentioned Marana Sati (Meditation on Death) as a meditation that has to be practised always.
Letters of a modern-day Buddhist monk - Part I Ven Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan Thera; From the late nineteenth century, efforts began to revive Buddhism in the land of its birth. Much has been written about this, particularly focusing on Babasaheb Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism and that of vast numbers of his followers.
Erasing mental defilements; C B Ellepola - According to my understanding one who with the help of the Triple Gem strives to attain Nibbana, the one and only salvation from endless suffering in Sansara, is a Buddhist.
Sandasen MARASINGHE - Sri Lankan Air Lines UL 888 touched down at the Suvarnabhumi Airport on March 28 morning with the sun rays touching the land easing the chill in the enormous city of Bangkok, Thailand, where a population of more than 20 million people live. The Grand Palace This is the land where more than 53,600 Sri Lankan tourists visited last year according to the statistics of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Most of the Sri Lankans including many other foreign tourists like Thailand because of the delicacies, beaches, night life and shopping.
If you dont do Buddhism dont worry, youre not going to hell. *Youll just endure countless lifetimes of cyclical suffering. 1. Were not really a religion. As the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and Science disagree, go with science. As the Buddha himself said, dont believe anything I say unless it matches with your experience. We are however a path: there are teachings, meditation practices, rituals with meaning but its all centered on one point. Wake up. Be kind. Be present. Be genuine. Be generous to others.
A few hours drive from the white-sand beaches of Phuketone of the worlds top tourist destinationsa deadly insurgency is terrorizing Thailands south. The separatist movement, made up of mostly ethnic-Malay Muslims, roils the region with daily threats of sectarian violence and has prompted many Buddhist villagers, and even some monks, to take up arms in self-defense. A series of coordinated bombings across two provinces on March 31 alone left 14 dead and hundreds injured.
Ceylon Daily News; Sri Lanka is accepted as the golden casket in which pure Theravadha Buddhist philosophy is enshrined solely due to the unflinching efforts of the Maha Sangha who did every thing possible to protect it from all the evil elements who wanted to destroy it
WHEN pensioner Frank Soo suffered horrific head injuries in a car accident in Cheltenham, doctors gave him little chance of survival. The 73-year-old, who lives in Pittville, was left in a coma for five days, clinging to life by a thread. In a desperate bid to stimulate his senses, relatives played Buddhist chanting in his ward at Cheltenham General Hospital. Amazingly, he began to respond within minutes, opening his eyes for the first time. Now he is talking, moving and eating albeit from his hospital bed and looks set to confound medical experts by making a full recovery
Saturday14th April 2012
Jambuka who became an Arahant - Premasara EPASINGHE; During the time of Buddha, there were a number of Ascetics in India who followed various practices. Out of them, the most outstanding religious leader and thinker, was Mahavira or popularly known as Nigantha Nath Putra, the founder of Jainism. The second contemporary of the Gautama Buddha, was Makkali Gosala, who belongs to the naked one's like Jaina religious leader.
Quintessential monastic personality -Divakara MOHOTTI - Kalutara Corr; The Sangha order was always in the forefront of rural leadership. At the same time they strived to develop noble qualities themselves, fulfilling monastic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Such a monastic personality is Venerable Dediyawala Devasumana Nayake Thera of Kalutara. He is chief incumbent of the Poorwarama Dharma Vijaya Pirivena.
Meditation for daily life: Practising Ahare Patikkula Sanna - Part II- Dr Padmaka SILVA; Some people say although they practise Asubha that they do not understand disgust. Is the name of the meditation disgusting meditation? No. The name is Asubha Sanna. Many people try to generate a disgust forcefully. That is wrong. Disgust is not a pleasure. It is a great sorrow. If one wants to develop disgust there is no need to practise Asubha.
Virtue itself rewards the toil of virtue- Ven Mahanuwara Sasanawansa Thera' He who desires to attain Santam Padam that peaceful gentle region in the blue sky should act in the following manner; Sakko man creates his own idea of self. He should skillful, upright, greatly upright, obedient, gentle and humble.
Philanthropist Robert YC Ho's gift will fund the launch of an MA for research into Buddhist culture, as the British capital prepares to host a Buddhist art forum and film festival. London is set to seal its status as one of the leading western centres for the study and conservation of Buddhist art, following a remarkable private donation of more than £2.5m to the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the 86-year-old Vietnamese Buddhist, is in Ireland to help us transform our lives through small acts of daily life TOMORROW EVENING, up to 2,000 people from all over Ireland will gather in the Convention Centre in Dublin to listen to Thich Nhat Hanh, the 86-year-old Vietnamese Buddhist monk who has largely been responsible for the surge of interest in mindfulness meditation in the Western world.
Ireland may not be a strictly Catholic country any more, as recent census results proved, but it's notable that a lecture on Buddhism and mindfulness would sell out 2,000 tickets. Tonight's talk in the Dublin Convention Centre is given by the revered Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. The 85-year-old Vietnamese monk, peacemaker and writer, once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, lives in France and is held in high esteem by devotees.
I do not really believe in this version of Jesus' life - that he did not die on the cross and then wandered to Asia and became a monk, Buddhist or otherwise. Another popular version of this story is that he did not die on the cross, and he married Mary Magdalene and had children.
by Jagath Asoka ( April 06, 2012, Washington DC, Sri Lanka Guardian) If you read the etymology of the word passion, you will find that the word passion originates from Medieval Latin passio-n, which refers to Christ's sufferings on the cross. So, passion is any of the four canonical Gospel (Mark, Mathew, Luke, and John) accounts that describe the sufferings of Christ from the Last Supper to his death on the cross. As scholars and many textual critics such as Bart Ehrman have pointed out, when you compare Marks and Lukes Gospels in the New Testament, according to Mark, Jesus died on the day after the Passover meal was eaten;
Pat Smith is a physician who has worked as an abortion provider for the past 20 years. She has had a meditation practice for many years and is particularly interested in Buddhist ethics as it applies to her work and the integration of ethical life with the demands and expectations of work, family and relationships.
Saturday 7th April 2012
Premasara EPASINGHE; In the fifth year of Enlightenment, The Buddha, perceived with His Divine Eye, a dispute was brewing in the island of Sri Lanka, between the two Naga factions between the two Naga communities under the Kings Chulodara and Mahodara. The fascinating story according to Mahawamsa the great chronicle was that Mahodara, was the ruler of the Naga Kingdom of the sea. His younger sister was given in marriage to a Naga King who was residing on Kannavaddhana mountain. Her son's name was Chulodara.
Nibbana, the highest bliss DR Senarath TENNAKOON; Nirvana in Sanskrit becomes Nibbana in Pali. In Sinhala either Nirvana or Nivana is commonly used. Several equivalent terms can be offered in English such as cool, peace, calm, serenity, bliss, supreme happiness, emancipation, passionlessness and the Summum Bonum (Anandamatreya, 1993).
Practising Ahare Patikkula Sanna Dr Padmaka SILVA Today we thought of explaining briefly the Ahare Patikkula Sanna (perception of the impurity of material food.) We think that this is something all of us know. Something we practise. If it is not practised it should be practised. Some people ask us how this Ahare Patikkula Sanna has to be practised. It is something that has to be practised extensively. It is a meditation that has to be developed extensively. It has to be practised daily.
VATICAN CITY: A Roman Catholic cardinal on Tuesday praised Buddhism for instilling the values of wisdom, compassion and non-violence in young people in a message to mark the Buddhist feast day of Vesak. "As Buddhists you pass on to young people the wisdom regarding the need to refrain from harming others and to live lives of generosity and compassion," said Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's head of inter-religious dialogue. Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/International/2012/Apr-03/169076-vatican-cardinal-hails-buddhist-wisdom.ashx#ixzz1rIMtO6nz (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
[this is part four of a series of posts based on a 27 February talk I delivered for the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies; click for parts one, two, and three.] As my paper title (Wiggling Eels in a Wilderness of Views*) suggests, the journey of Buddhist ethics, perhaps even more so in the last 35 years, has been a trip through a veritable wilderness of views. This phrase, the wilderness of views, comes from the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta (MN 72, M i. 483) as the Buddhas response to several questions such as: is the cosmos finite or infinite, are the soul and the body (Pa-li: ji-va and sari-ra) the same or different, and so on.
Business schools are beginning to embrace a practice that has grown popular in the corporate worldteaching and studying mindfulness, the originally Buddhist approach to increasing awareness of oneself and one's surroundings.
One Buddhist blog I read regularly is Ven. Sujatos at http://sujato.wordpress.com/ His posts are topical, balanced, informative and usually written from a well-informed perspective. Recently he wrote about same-sex marriage, or if you like, marriage equality, an issue that people can get very hot under the collar about. With his permission I reproduce his post here as I consider it the best such article I have read on the issue from a Buddhist perspective, indeed from any perspective.
In ancient China in 3500 BC monks living in monasteries practiced Buddhism, a religion that originated in India.These monks lived austere, regimented lives waking, eating, praying, meditating and sleeping at specific times each day under the watchful eye of an abbot who would provide a quick whack with his staff for the slightest misdemeanor. The monks main duty was to work toward purifying their minds every minute of every day.
The procession of monks from Wat Phra Dhammakaya through Bangkok's downtown areas is not against Buddhist practice, Office of National Buddhism deputy director Amnart Buasiri said on Wednesday. More than a thousand monks at Wat Phra Dhammakaya are taking part in the thu dong, walking through inner areas of Bangkok from April 2 to April 6, leading to criticism that it is improper and causing problems for traffic. "This action is not contrary to the practices of Buddhist monks. It is just adapted, to make it more suited to a changing society," Mr Amnart said.
Songkran is a centuries-old festival which marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. It is a unique fun-filled event during which we splash others with water in order to give and request a blessing.
His Holiness the Dali Lama will speak at the Royal Albert Hall this June as part of a series of Buddhist teachings and talks across the United Kingdom. The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people will examine the relationship between the heart and mind along with a Q&A session afterwards.
Saturday 31st March 2012
Realizing the bliss of Nibbana: Miran PERERA - By virtue of the fact one is born to Buddhist parents makes one claim to be a Buddhist by religion. In reality one becomes a Buddhist by tradition. However, a true Buddhist is one who takes refuge in the Buddha the Dhamma his teachings and the Sangha the order of venerable monks. Refuge in Buddhist terms means safety from the pursuit and danger from the evil forces of craving, hatred and ignorance the source of defilements that pollute the mind.
Can the Theravada Bhikkhuni Order be re-established?; A statement issued by the Concise Tripitaka Editorial Board states: The re-establishment of the Bhikkhuni Order which was the subject of debate a few decades ago has surfaced once again. Agitation and press conferences were held recently by the parties who claim to have established the Bhikkhuni Order, in a bid to pressurize the Government to recognize the Bhikkhuni Order. Already the Most Venerbale Maha Nayaka Theras have informed the Commissioner-General of Buddhist Affairs that it is not possible to establish a Bhikkhuni Order according to the 'Dharmavinaya' the doctrine of the Buddha.
Practise little by little - DR Padmaka SILVA - What is done at the beginning is contemplating the thirty two body parts in that manner. Subsequently we contemplate how the body arises and how it perishes as mentioned secondly. During the first part Samatha develops. In the second part Vipassana develops. When this meditation is practised both Samatha and Vipassana get performed. Till you get used do it little by little. Initially contemplate the thirty two parts of the body several times. Thereafter contemplate the secondly mentioned part several times. Don't hurry. Do it little by little without hurrying up.
In 1996 during Fall Practice Period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery, I participated in the first chanting of the names of Buddhist women ancestors. San Francisco Zen Center's Abbess at that time, Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts, led the effort and did the difficult research necessary to create this list, which began with Buddha's stepmother and ended in Japan. Tears filled my eyes when everyone, men and woman together, wholeheartedly recited these names.
ibet: Tibet's Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama has won the 2012 Templeton Prize worth $1.7 million for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life, the US-based John Templeton Foundation said on Thursday. The spiritual leader "vigorously focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism as a way to better understand and advance what both disciplines might offer the world", the foundation said in a statement.
In response to the self-immolations of monks and nuns in Tibetan regions recently, two researchers at China Tibetology Research Center, Tenzin Lhundrup and Lian Xiangmin, said during an interview with China Radio International that self-immolation violates the basic tenets of Tibetan Buddhism and must be stopped as soon as possible. They called on all parties to play an active role in avoiding such events from happening again, rather than inciting more self-immolations or politicizing the event.
Wild turkeys and deer usually roam the grounds of the serene Buddhist monastery and meditation center that sits on 16 sprawling acres in Southwest Austin. But for now, the peacefulness at Sitagu Buddhist Vihara has been interrupted. It's become a construction site for what will soon become Austin's biggest meditation center.
Saturday 24th March 2012
Dilemma of Right Knowledge Kavinda Hettiarachchi; In Buddhism the ultimate goal is to attain the ultimate emancipation of knowledge or enlightenment. This theory of reality based on epistemological foundations. We can see that the teachings of Buddha were meant for the intelligent or wise and not for the stupid or the unwise. Specific knowledge in Buddhism considers to be directed to the attainment of the goal of emancipation.
Reclaiming Emperor Ashokas heritage Harish Singhal And Paul Chaffee; Approximately 2280 years ago, Emperor Ashoka, third regent of Indias Maurya Dynasty, ascended the throne. This Iron Age family ruled India first empire, stretching from eastern Iran to Burma, including most of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
The Buddha visits Miyangana; The Miyangana forest-temple land in the ancient kingdom of Lankadveepa developed repeated storms of disputes between tribal Yakkhas and Nagas. The legendary descendants of Ravana, the King and Vibhisana his brother, the enmity between factions grew serious to the extent of a possible showdown.
Studies in Buddhist EthicsAs I mentioned recently, I gave a talk last month at the Oxford Center for Buddhist Studies on the topic of Buddhist ethics, or more specifically, recent studies in Buddhist ethics. As Richard Gombrich pointed out in the Q and A, I didnt mention karma at all in my talk. And I agree with him (see his 2009 book, What the Buddha Thought for details) that karma must play a central role in understanding traditional Buddhist ethics (what nontraditional Western Buddhists make of karma is a whole book in itself just waiting to be written).
Even though most meditators in North America are not Buddhist, there are a significant number who are. Certainly Zen meditation will bring benefits regardless of religious allegiances, but it is particularly well suited to those who study the way, ie, Buddhists. This essay is for them.
Much of our lifetime is spent earning a living. Our economy depends upon the productivity of the workforce. Today I want to introduce the Buddhist concept of right livelihood and suggest that including meditation as part of the workplace would represent an overall improvement for all concerned. Modern studies show that excelling in a variety of emotional competencies, not just a few, is a strong indicator of leadership success.
It is difficult to imagine a life as full of grandeur and drama as that of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but it is more difficult still to imagine how such a life could ever have been lost or forgotten. From 270BC to 233BC, Ashoka ruled every part of the subcontinent except for India's southernmost tip, an empire larger than that of any Indian ruler before .....
Saturday 17th March 2012
Elements of Buddhist State and social philosophy Dr. SENARATH TENNAKOON; During the time of the Buddha the concepts pertaining to the social structure, social stratification, social administration and management were essentially creative and subjective in nature. The rulers (the kings) were the representatives of divine powers. The people were classified into classes as high or low according to their birth and they were not allowed to change their professions.
What the Buddha taught Layananda Alles - Continued from March 7, Medin Poya. We may like BBQ chicken as opposed to curried chicken; deep fried vegetables as opposed to boiled, Chinese flavors as opposed to European and so on. Then we go in search of Thai food, Chinese food etc. As a result, when we eat we only talk about the combinations and not what is underneath. Through this process we develop an attachment or distaste for a combination. We do not enjoy the elemental items, which the nature has designed the taste buds to distinguish;
How a misers ignorance brought suffering Premasara EPASINGHE; In the religious literature of the world, Dhammapada Treasury of Truth, occupies a very esteem position. It consists of 423 verses or stanzas. It has 26 chapters, known as Vaggas'. Dhammapada begins with Yamaka Vagga (twin verses) and ends with Bramana Vagga (the Brahmana or ascetic).
A western Buddhist shares 10 insights into how the religion and its followers have moved on since its arrival in the west . It's 50 years since Buddhist teachers started arriving in the west in the early 60s and Buddhism crash-landed into the counterculture. So what have we learned about western Buddhism?
MONEY worries are driving a record number of Croydonians to seek security and serenity through meditation, according to a leading Croydon Buddhist. The number of people attending classes at the Buddhist Centre Croydon on the High Street has doubled in the past two years.
March 16th, 2012 · No Comments · History Over at The Smart Set, Stefany Ann Golberg has posted a nice piece on Henry Steel Olcott, an American civil war colonel and champion of Sinhalese Buddhism. Olcott was a fascinating character who had major impacts on the construction of Sinhalese Buddhism and Western understandings of that construction.
Shefali Tripathi Mehta, Mar 11, 2012 : Heritage School and college trips invariably took us to Sanchi, just a few hours from Bhopal. We looked forward to such trips, except for the history lessons. Age-old : The Great Stupa at Sanchi, Bhopal.And god knows how difficult it is to run from history when in Sanchi. So, I am not ashamed to confess that we found Sanchi rather monotonous.
Vesak day generally commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Lord Buddha. However, Vesak 2012, which falls on June 4, holds a special significance as it will also mark the 2,600th anniversary of Buddhas Enlightenment.
Saturday 10th March 2012
Importance of Medin Poya Day Premasara Epasinghe - The significance of Medin Poya Day is mainly due to the fact that it was on this day, after the Buddha's Enlightenment, seven years after He left the Royal Palace, that He visited his father's kingdom Kimbulwathpura. It was a moving story.
What the Buddha taught Layananda Alles; Approximately 2600 years ago The Buddha made a significant discovery. Ascetic Siddhartha relentlessly continued his investigation in a highly systematic manner, not unlike a scientist, to culminate in enlightenment as eloquently described in Ariyapariyesana Sutta (Noble Quest). Through various discourses the Buddha, as well as his key disciples captured what they experienced and described how they gained the respective experiences.
Practising the teachings Dr Padmaka Silva; We mentioned that according to what Lord Buddha had preached if we practised at least five meditations we would get an opportunity to get rid of Raga, Dosa and Moha present in our minds. According to the Dhamma preached by the Blessed One it is possible for us to have the confidence of achieving successful results if we practise at least these five meditations.
History of the tallest Samadhi Buddha statue .It was 1970, the time Delicia Jayawardene was working at a Duty Free Shop at Katunayake Airport. A frequent passenger who passed this Duty Free Shop was Ven. Mapalagagama Vipulasara Thera, a Sculptor Priest and Chief Incumbent of the Ratmalana Pirivena. The respected monk never fails to stop at these shops during his frequent sojourns abroad.
On Wednesday, as it was Makha Bucha Day, 300 navy officers from the Coastal Protection Department of the Sattahip Navy Base conducted rituals and prayers to obtain merit. This was followed by a Meditation, to tame their minds and thoughts, following the path of Lord Buddha. Peaceful Mediation will certainly help the officers to stay focused on their daily assignments and in dealing with everyday life.
Indians who havent yet seen Cambodias 12th-century Angkor Wat temple have reason to cheer: the World Heritage site is being recreated on the banks of holy River Ganges, in the eastern state of Bihar.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodia's prime minister has banned spit-roasting cows in front of restaurants, calling it too cruel a sight. Hun Sen said Monday he is ordering the ban after Buddhist monks told him the activity runs contrary to Buddha's teachings on the sanctity of life and encourages violence.
In an episode of mindless vandalism reminiscent of the Aghan Taliban's destruction of priceless historical artefact's in 2001, members of an Islamic mob destroyed priceless Buddhist statues in the Maldives earlier this week.
Saturday 3rd March 2012
Doctrines of the Buddhas six contemporaries ; Lionel WIJESIRI - There are references in Buddhist literature to some six senior contemporaries of the Buddha, for instance, samannaphala-sutta (the second sutra in the Digha Nikaya). It appears from the context of these references that Ajatshatru, the king of Magadha, had met a number of these teachers and asked them each separately to state in clear and unambiguous terms the result of their ascetic practices.
Strengthening concentration power; Dr Padmaka Silva - Continued from February 9. That is why we must do it throughout the day in a balanced manner. Otherwise we will be spending the major portion of the day in a manner in which the sins do not get worn off. If we practise a meditation throughout the day we do so in a manner in which sins get worn off. Therefore do not waste time. Even an individual practicing Samadhi should do the same. If he thinks I now have the Samadhi and neglects to meditate the pleasure he gets from the Samadhi may get weakened. After sometime even the Samadhi might leave him and he will lose the comfort he was receiving.
Shanxi Province in north China is planning to invest 1.8 billion yuan (286 million US dollars) in 14 projects towards transforming Wutai Mountain into an 'Eastern Buddhist Capital', Xinhua reports. The plan aims to fulfill the terms of being enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and transform Wutai Mountain into a tourist center of Buddhist culture. The projects include, repairing and protecting the relics and historical sites;
FIVE leading Buddhist monks delivered sermons to audiences numbering in the tens of thousands at Pyi Thu Yin Pyin public square in Yangon from February 17 to 21, to mark the 2600th anniversary of Shwedagon Pagoda. Sayadaw Dr Ashin Nyanissara, a professor at Yangon-based Sitagu International Buddhist Academy who spoke on February 19, said the study of Shwedagon Pagoda encompassed not only religion, history and culture, but also literature, art, architecture, philosophy, society and politics.
"In the history of the world there have been thousands of kings and emperors who called themselves 'their highnesses', 'their majesties', 'their exalted majesties' and so on," HG Wells wrote in The Outline of History. "They shone for a brief moment, and as quickly disappeared. But Ashoka shines and shines brightly like a bright star, even unto this day."
Indians, over centuries, have lost their Buddhist culture to countries like China, said Charles Willemen, rector, International Buddhist College, Thailand. Willemen was present at the Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies where the Buddhist Studies Series was inaugurated with the release of first volume, Outlining the Way to Reflect - a book by Willemen which explains the basic modules of meditation from the ancient Buddhist culture.
Wisdom at the waterfall February 25, 2012 Set in stone ... Banteay Srei Temple near Siem Reap. Set in stone ... Banteay Srei Temple near Siem Reap. Photo: Getty Images Kate Edgley joins a meditative 'exploration path' through temples, caves and ancient sites. I'm on top of Phnom Kulen, a sacred mountain, in my cossie in the pouring rain. I'm teetering at the edge of the River of a Thousand Lingas beside a wide waterfall, being splashed by a group of pilgrims who sit in the holy water wearing their saris and laughing.
Ten-year-old San Aung is excited: today he becomes a novice Buddhist monk. He and 44 other boys from Mingun village, and other nearby villages just north of Mandalay in Burma, also known as Myanmar, take their first young steps on the path to Buddhism. It is a ritual followed by most boys and young men in this mostly-Buddhist nation.
Even with all these profound scientific theories of the origin of the universe, I am left with serious questions: What existed before the big bang? Where did the big bang come from? What caused it? Why has our planet evolved to support life? What is the relationship between the cosmos and the beings that have evolved within it?
Colombo's annual street art festival, Kala Pola, is the perfect excuse to explore stunning Sri Lanka. Chen Nan reports. A random walk in a city you visit for the first time is a good way to discover something not listed in the travel book. I found such surprises myself during a recent trip to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. I decided to avoid the bustling streets, full of fast motor-tricycles and buses, and went down a quiet alley with no name.
Whats your major? Religious Studies. Oh. Interesting. Pause. Are you religious? The question is nonsensical, but I get it every time I tell someone my major. Its a little bit like asking an Asian Studies major whether or not he is Asian or asking a Horticulture major whether or not he is a vegetable. Yeah, actually, I'm a Buddhist. Oh, cool! Pause. Do you think of Buddhism as a religion, or as more of a way of life? This question is almost as popular as the Are you religious? question, but it takes longer to answer.
For the longest time, Nagadeepa was a word that came up in school textbooks, whether it was History, Social Studies or Buddhism. It was yet another place that could not be visited due to the war but made more special by the mythical aura surrounding it because of all the stories about Nagadeepa;