Monday, March 27, 2006

Presentation to a Volunteer Group of City Glenbow Museum

Brief Presentation
to a Volunteer Group of Glenbow Museum
in the Asian Gallery
who visited the centre in May 28, 2005

Cambodian-Canadian Community in Calgary
History and Resettlement
The influence of Vietnamese War had pushed Cambodia into decades of
interior war. During 1975-1979, Cambodia was controlled by the genocidal regime
called Khmer Rouge and there were about two millions of innocent people were
died by the punishment, starvation, over hard work and sickness.

After the Khmer Rouge was overthrown by Vietnamese invasion in January
7, 1979; there were many people were rescued in the refugee camps along the
border line with Thailand. Those suffered people are supported and helped by the
United Nation. And most of them were welcomed to resettle in the new, hoped
land such as USA, Canada, Australia, French, New Zealand, Swiss, etc.

It is the awareness of Cambodian people in everywhere to love their own
way of lives, identity, culture, heritage, language and religion. Anywhere that has
Cambodian people live more than ten families; they shall create their own
community and afford to construct the Temple to centre their identities.
As well as in Calgary when a few Cambodians had arrived before the war and there were a lot Cambodians had arrived after the war. They have resettled almost everywhere throughout Alberta province such as in Edmonton, Calgary, Brooks, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Let Bridge etc.

Firstly, Cambodian-Canadian Association was created in the year 1980 and
purchased a home to use for monk residence in 1989. Our present Temple was
purchased and renovated in June 22, 2001.

Our Khmer-Canadian Buddhist Cultural Centre here is very useful and
accessible to all people to come and do research independently. As a Non-Profit
Organization, we aim to have our Khmer people enrich the multi-cultural society
of Canada with a sense of peaceful pride.

We give a particular focus to our young, teaching them ethics and self-reliance.
We do this through our Buddhist School, Khmer language classes, insight
meditation, access to internet-computer resources and other youth services and

Other activities taking place in our Centre are religious ceremonies,
spiritual guidance, ethical observation, bhavana meditation and dana offering.

Cambodian History and Culture
Cambodia is like most of other Asian counties were influenced by the Indian
culture. It was Buddhism and Hinduism which played the important role in
developing and integrating Cambodia into a civilized country. Cambodian ancient
scholars had gradually khmerized those influences into unique Khmer. It has a
long journey combining with the glory and collapsing.

Starting her ancient state that was called Funan(AD.100-600),
Chenla(AD.600-800) and Angkorian Empire(AD.802-1431), Khmer has variously contributed her talent and evolution. During Angkorian Empire, Cambodia was expanded her territory widely from the China Sea to the Gulf of Bengal in the west.

Masterminding in Castles Construction
It is common for each Cambodian king who they ascended to the throne,
they have to build castles or temples to identify his/her glory and to leave as the
legacy for their young generations. Starting from the Funan era till the Post-
Angkorian, the researchers and historians have said that there are more than 1,000
castles was erected throughout Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnamese.
Angkor Wat known as the largest monument for human kind. It was
built by King Suriyavarman II(AD.1113-1150). It is very beautiful and
incomparable by its size, bas-relief, sculptures and decoration. In the 14th of
December1992, the UNESCO World Heritage Committees declared the
monument, and the whole city of Angkor, a World Heritage Site.

One of these temples- a rival to that of Solomon, and erected by some
ancient Michael Angelo - might take an honorable place beside our most beautiful
buildings. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a
sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged (
Henry Mouhot, a French naturalist who visited Angkor in the year of 1858 - 60).

To Khmer People, Angkor Wat is more than just an ancient pile of stones, it
is more than just the remains of a highly advanced kingdom, it is more than just a
tourist attraction - to the Khmers it is a symbol of hope.

Angkor Thom or Bayon has the Compassionate Smiles(Bayon Smile) to every one, every corners and all creatures to symbolize the greatness of Cambodian greatest final King; Emperor
Jayavarman VII (AD.1181-1215).

Art Styles
The best of this (Angkor) art combines a sensuous sweetness with luxuriant
magnificence, blending joy with delight with intense intellectual and imaginative
strength!. No film, no photograph, nothing can prepare one for Angkor and its
impact. It is even difficult to speak of it in other than superlative terms. For it is
colossal, enormous, prodigious, startling, awesome...., (By Philip Rawson.),

Khmer language or Cambodian is one of the main Austroasiatic languages,
and has had considerable influenced from Sanskrit, Pali. Some of these influences,
such as Sanskrit and Pali, come from the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism on
Khmer culture; the latter two are the result of linguistic contact and geographic

The Cambodian language is somewhat unusual among its neighboring countries'
languages of Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese in that it is not a tonal language.

Dialects are sometimes quite marked; notable variations are found in speakers
from Phnom Penh (the capital city) and Battambong.
(This analysis comes from my observation as a conversant speaker of Cambodian
without any background in linguistics

A notable characteristic of the Phnom Penh accent is a tendency toward
slang and laziness in pronunciation, much like American urban slang. For
instance, "Phnom Penh" will sometimes be shortened to "m'Penh". Another
characteristic of the Phnom Penh accent is observed in words with an "r" sub
consonant in the first syllable (that is, where r is the second consonant, as in the
English word "bread"). The r is not pronounced, the first consonant is pronounced
harder than usual, and the syllable is spoken with a dipping tone much like the
"hoi" tone in the Vietnamese language. For example, I have heard the word "dre"
(meaning "fish") pronounced "te"; the "d" becomes a "t", and the vowel (long A)
begins low and rises in tone.

Written Cambodian is alphabetic like English (and unlike Chinese). Its
alphabet consists of two separate categories -- consonants and vowels.
Pronunciation is given here in the traditional form (you will need a computer with
Khmer fonts to see the letters below). It is also notable that the Cambodian script
has fewer vowel symbols than the language has vowel phonemes. Instead, each
consonant symbol has two digraphs, each with its own inherent vowel
(incidentally making Khmer script an abugida rather than a true alphabet. The
actual vowel sound represented is therefore indicated by the combination of the
vowel symbol plus the inherent vowel of its associated consonant.

Way of life
By the influences of Buddhism, Cambodian people are full of kindness and
hospitality to all visitors. They are quiet, gentle and polite. They are easy to welcome every visitor with a unique smile.

There are many occasions that they always reunite together such as:
religious ceremonies like Bon Choul Chnam(New Year), Bon Pachum Ben(Feast
Festival for Ancestors), Bon Visakha Day(Birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of
Lord Buddha), Bon Magha Bochea(Caturonghasanipattha, the birth of Sangha community and the announcement of the codes of recluses), Bon Kathin(Saffron robe offering ceremony), Bon Kan Ben(almsfood offering practice), Bon Choul Vassa(Buddhist Lent or Rain Retreat) and Bon
Cheng Vassa(Buddhist out of Lent)…etc. These religious ceremonies are also
regarded as the Traditional Ceremonies.

Buddhism: General Perspectives
The name Buddhism comes from the word 'budhi' which means 'to wake up' and
thus Buddhism is the philosophy of awakening. This philosophy has its origins in
the experience of the man Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, who was
himself awakened at the age of 35. Buddhism is now 2,548 years old and has
about 400 million followers worldwide. Until a hundred years ago Buddhism was
mainly an Asian philosophy but increasingly it is gaining adherents in Europe,
Australia and America.

Who was the Buddha?
Before he became a Buddha, Siddhartha was a prince. But he wasn't just any old
prince, his mother had prophetic dreams before he was born and wise men made
great predictions about his destiny.

Leaving the Palace
During an excursion outside the palace walls, Prince Siddhartha was so deeply
affected when he saw a sick man, an old man and a corpse, he decided to leave the
palace and become a monk.

Under the Bodhi Tree
Nibbana or Enlightenment is the goal of all Buddhists. This means putting an end
to the suffering we experience in life. The Buddha endured six years of physical
hardship as a monk before he attained Enlightenment whilst meditating under the
Bodhi tree.

What the Buddha Taught
The most important Buddhist Teaching is the Four Noble Truths. This explains
why we suffer and what we can do to eliminate suffering from our life. After the
Buddha attained Enlightenment, this was his first Teaching. His first lucky
students were five monks he knew.

The Buddha's Disciples
Sangha - the Buddha's male and female disciples, during his lifetime and right up
to the present day. Although Sangha traditionally refers to monks and nuns, these
days it also refers to lay followers of Buddhism.
The Buddha taught that positive qualities such as loving-kindness should replace
negative ones such as selfishness. One way of doing this is through meditation.
Without developing a good heart, it's impossible to achieve lasting happiness.

The Buddha's Last Days
The Buddha on the last stage of his journey. Even great teachers must die, and the
Buddha was no exception. However, his death was by no means the end of the
story. Today his Teachings are still very much alive.

Who is a Buddhist?
This unit defines a Buddhist as one who takes refuge in the Triple Gem (the
Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha), and willingly follows the Five Precepts. These are
rules for living a moral life, and include not killing, stealing and lying.

Four Noble Truth
1. The truth of suffering such as birth, aged, sick, death, sorrow, lamentation,
physical pain, grief, despair, association with hateful ones, separation from
loved one, not getting what one wants and the five groups of
2. The truths of the cause of sufferings are defilements, ignorance and craving
or greed, hatred and delusion.
3. The truth of the cessation of sufferings is Enlightenment or Nibbana.
4. The truth of the ways leading to the cessation of sufferings: Eightfold Path.

Five Precepts
I undertake to:
1. Abstain from killing living beings;
2. Abstain from taking that which not given;
3. Abstain from sexual misconduct;
4. Abstain from false speech;
5. Abstain from distilled substances that confuse the mind. (Alcohol and Drugs)

The Five Precepts in positive terms
I undertake the training precept to:
1. Act with Loving-kindness;
2. Be open hearted and generous;
3. Practice stillness, simplicity and contentment;
4. Speak with truth, clarity and peace;
5. Live with mindfulness.

The Three Signs of Existence or Universal Properties
1. Anicca — Impermanent;
2. Dukkha — Unsatisfactory, stress inducing;
3. Anatta — Insubstantial or Not-self.

The Four Sublime or Uplifted States
1. Metta — Friendliness, Loving- kindness;
2. Karuna — Compassion;
3. Mudita — Joy, Gladness. Appreciation of good qualities in people;
4. Upekkha — Equanimity, the peaceful unshaken mind.

The Eight Fold-Path
Right, Integral, Complete, Perfected...
1. Right View, Understanding;
2. Right Attitude, Thought or Emotion;
3. Right Speech;
4. Right Action;
5. Right livelihood;
6. Right Effort, Energy, and Vitality;
7. Right Mindfulness or Awareness;
8. Right Samadhi "concentration", one-pointedness. Integration of, or establishment in, various levels of consciousness.

Creation of Sangha(monk) community
A few months after his enlightenment the Buddha founded an order or Sangha of
monks. The purpose of this order was twofold. Its primary purpose was to provide
a community that would give the optimum opportunity for its members to practice
the Dhamma and attain Nibbana. Its secondary purpose was to transmit the
Dhamma and be a witness to its transforming power.

Becoming a Monk
• To become a novice (samanera) all that is needed is to approach a monk of
at least 10 years standing and ask to be accepted. After undertaking several
years training and being at least 20 years old the novice is qualified to be a
fully ordained monk. To do this he must approach an assembly of 10 monks
each of at least 10 years standing who are respected for their virtue and
learning. The candidate is then asked 11 questions to determine his
suitability. (1) Are you free from disease? (2) Are you a human? (3) Are
you a male? (4) Are you a free man? (5) Are you free from debt? (6) Do
you have any obligations to the state? (7) Do you have your parent’s
permission? (8) Are you at least 20 years of age (9) Do you have your robe
and towel? (10) What is your name? (11) What is your teacher’s name? If
the candidate answers these questions satisfactorily and if no objections are
raised by the assembly, he is considered to be a fully ordained monk
(Bhikku). A monk can use property belonging jointly to the sangha but he
himself is supposed to own only eight things - three robes, an alms bowl, a
razor, needle and thread, belt, and a strainer to purify drinking water. He is
also obliged to abide by the 227 rules contained in the Vinaya Pitaka.

• There are two kinds of meditation: Concentration Meditation (Samatha)
and Insight Meditation (Vipassana)
1. Concentration Meditation means you control your mind to be a pointedness
2. Insight Meditation means you are aware or noting every movement of

Seven Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
1. Purification: this mindfulness meditation must be practiced for purification
of beings. This is the first benefit. If you are mindful of any mental or
physical process, if your concentration is good enough, at the moment of
deep concentration on this mental or physical process your mind is purified.
It's free from all kinds of mental defilements, all kinds of hindrances.

2. Overcoming sorrow: then the second benefit is overcoming worry, sorrow
and lamentation. The second benefit is sorrow and worry. You overcome
sorrow and worry even though you failed in your business. You don't worry
about it; you don't feel sorry.

3. Overcoming lamentation: When you have completely realized the mental
and physical processes and their true nature by means of mindfulness
meditation, even though your relative dies, or even though your sons or
parents die you won't cry over it. You have exterminated this lamentation
for the dead.

4. Overcoming grief: Then, the fourth benefit is the overcoming of grief. In the
full retreat you can do away with grief, when your mindfulness meditation is fully
practiced. Here grief means mental suffering. Mental suffering is exterminated,
done away with, by this mindfulness meditation.

5. Overcoming physical suffering: And also pain here means physical suffering.
All kinds of physical suffering are destroyed through mindfulness meditation.
There are some who cured illness by means of mindfulness meditation. The fifth
benefit is overcoming physical suffering, dukkha. Mental suffering is known as
domanassa in Pali. Physical suffering is known as dukkha. Domanassa is mental
suffering, mental dukkha. Physical suffering is dukkha itself. These two aspects of
suffering are removed by means of mindfulness meditation.

6. Enlightenment: Then the sixth benefit is attainment of path knowledge. That's
one of enlightenment. In Buddhism there are four stages of enlightenment a
meditator has to attain through his mindfulness meditation, after he has completed
all thirteen stages of insight knowledge
. The first stage is known as sotapannamagga
. The second stage is known as sakadagami-magga
. Third stage is known anagami-magga
. The fourth stage is known as arahatta-magga.
All these four stages of enlightenment can be attained when you have thoroughly realized
anicca, dukkha and anatta of bodily and mental processes. When impermanence,
suffering, the impersonal nature of body-mind processes are thoroughly realized
then you can attain all these four stages of enlightenment.

7. Nibbana:Then finally you attain to Nibbana by mindfulness meditation. What
do you mean by Nibbana? Where do you see Nibbana, on earth or underground or
in heaven or in the sky? Ah, but the Buddha said Nibbana is in you. The place
where you attain to Nibbana is yours, your body and mind. Unless you have
realized your body-mind processes you cannot attain Nibbana. Only when you
have fully realized your body-mind processes and two levels of understanding,
then you are sure to attain Nibbana. So Nibbana is with you, not very far, very

Compiled and Written by VENERABLE VODANO SOPHAN

Friday, March 24, 2006

Domestic Violence: a silent crisis in our society

Sample Essay of iBT TOEFL TEST
What recent news story has affected you the most? In what ways has it affected you? Use reasons and examples to support your response.
Response Time : 30 minutes

For me, the most affected recent news story is about the domestic violence happened in Calgary last week. I found it in a local newspaper and shook me terribly. It's the most recent affecting news because it intimidates individual's safety, can damage the society's order and has bad consequences for future generation.

Actually, everybody needs safety in daily life. But one of those dangerous things is a person whom she has loved. He(husband) had killed her with a gun and shot himself in the head later. There was blood in the basement as a woman laid on the floor, and a dead man at the garage. Who can we trust for the individual's safety?. It's hard to answer as the domestic abuses are still a silent crisis in our society.

From this silent disaster can leads to the collapsing possibility of our society's infrastructure. Then it will result an instability, disorder and chaos. People feel frustrated, fearful and stressful. So when the important strength of individuals has been disrupted, it can lead to the destruction of the society. We cannot calculate that how many families and individuals have been terrorized by domestic abuses. But one thing which we perceive is the endless fear occurring in our society.

Thirdly, when parents have committed abuses, it affects their children, or leaves their children parentless especially the couple I have mentioned above. They left their three children with aunty. And a three years old baby says that his parents go to heaven. We aren't sure his parents go to heaven or not, but what we are sure now is that he is still crying and calling the name of their parents. So we cannot imagine how the boy suffers and how he grows up in the future?. Truly, the three children will be orphan and experienced an unforgettable history in their life.

Domestic abuse is really horrible thing happening in our society. It has rooted as the slightest thing of individual bad actions and these bad actions gradually grow up if they don’t destroy it primarily. It has secretly planted in individual's dirty mind. It creates a lot of flaws in families and companions; and it seems hard to get rid of it. This news is really affecting me and it promptly inspires me to become an activist to fight against this silent crisis. The most fundamental origin to deal with this crisis requires individuals to understand and effort to cultivate three achievements: to do all good deeds, to avoid all bad deeds and to cleanse our dirty mind.

Note: Any kinds of abuses are wrong in the concept of Buddha’s teachings. It is a sinful action. We have to respect the Dhamma and take it for refuge in order to refine our mind. Mind is the main cause leading to commit such bad actions(unwholesome Kamma). Those bad Kammas are considered as battering, hurting, shouting, swearing, intimidating, sexual humiliating, oppressing, addicting alcohol and drugs..etc.

This sample essay is written by VODANO SOPHAN

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Philanthropic works in a sense of Cambodian

Philanthropic work is for the people who love and share their heart to service human beings. They can do either volunteering or contributing materials to humankind. There are many scattering societies in our planet which need our help and sharing. Those are in need of life necessities, loving-kindness, compassion, education and encouragement etc. Some are affected by civil war, by natural disasters, by pandemics and harsh living conditions. For Cambodians, they have ever had the traumatized experiences during the war of Vietcong and genocidal regime of KR. Through this suffering, they have learned a lot about philanthropy.

Firstly, we share our heart consisting of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and balancing judgment(equanimity). Love or loving-kindness is very important in the first stage of how we can engage to a broader heartfeltness. There are many levels of love such as love between parents and children, siblings and siblings, friends and friends, or girl friends and boy friends. Or we can further our love toward nature or animals, or always love ourselves. There are many definitions focusing on to whom the people love most?. The accurate answer should be the "self" that people love most. For example, I love myself, you love yourself, they love themselves or we love ourselves etc. Aptitude of self's love is boundless. So individuals have to extend the self's love to others indiscriminately. Further more, love or loving-kindness is like an instinct of human nature. In order to better it, they have to develop their love to become "compassion". Love and compassion have two different aspects. Love is like we see a beautiful picture and begin to like it, but compassion will stamp our mind into it or in a deep memory which we will never change our heart. Third advantage is to increase "sympathetic joy" in our loving-kindness and compassion. Mostly, loving-kindness and compassion will never get into implementation. When we develop "sympathetic joy"; it will become an empirical practice. Finally, our works, practices or implementations will not be biased when we have developed our equanimity. Balancing mind or equanimity means not to be biased by love, fear, hate and ignorance.

Secondly, they should volunteer with many other charitable works which focuses on either social or natural issues. For the non-profit social organizations deals with child prostitution, domestic violence, human trafficking, orphanages, poor-conditioned scavengers, child beggars, war-amputees, destitute villagers, remote poor conditioned students or those are in need. Some social issues are concerned in education promotion, ethical outreaching program and public health. For the non-profit natural organizations works to protect deforestation, wild life extinction, global warming, eco system or environment…etc. Those fields of charitable tasks require everyone's participation and contribution. Nowadays, there are many volunteers in Cambodia such as monks, students, officials, soldiers and general public have shared their vision and energy to better their society, especially Buddhist monks who have continually accomplished this. Each temple is the symbol of volunteerism. Individually, at least spend two or three hours per week to join volunteering projects in order to engage us with other and to care our social sustainability.

Thirdly, beside of using our energy to volunteer we should spend a small piece of our income to earn goodness and merits by contributing to non-profit organizations, poor people, or religious charity. In doing so, it means we understand well the welfare of living together. Life's purposes define as how can we share our goodness with others, it is not selfish greed or stinginess. Up to present, there are many Cambodian people who have contributed some of their income to support neighbors, to improve their society and the whole globe. Especially, Cambodian people who are living in abroad always send their money to help develop Cambodia. Each year, hundred of millions of foreign currency flows into Cambodia from Cambodian people in abroad. Some of them send directly to their relatives. Some of them help through various organizations that interest in building temples, schools, digging well and others. In addition, if they send directly, they have shared with only two people between the giver and receiver. But if they send through a trustful organization, they can establish Khmer unity and sustain it in a wider way.

In conclusion, philanthropic works can be called a social work or social participating. Cambodian people are same as other people around the world have taken keen interest in this field. Their vision is to leave the goodness, sacrificing personal greed, selflessness, virtue, compassion and good sample to the young generation. Our life will be ended with empty hands, but only goodness left. I encourage everybody to spend some of our energy and material for the welfare of our neighbors and sustainable, global betterment.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Buddhist Meditation & Scientific Researches

The Pursuit of Happiness
CBC News Online April 23, 2004
Reporter: Eve Savory
Producer: Marijka Hurko
From The National

Erin Gammel is a shoo-in for the Canadian Olympic swim team. Canadian record holder, champion backstroker – unless something wildly unexpected happens, she's going to Athens. But four years ago she was a sure bet for the Sydney Olympics, too.

"Everyone kept telling me you're a shoo-in," she says. "And we had the strategy and everything was perfect. And I thought this is it, I'm going to the Olympics.

"She was racing at the Olympic trials in Montreal. She hit the lane rope, lost her concentration and lost her place on the team.

"It was just extremely disappointing. I was depressed. I was just really sad. I was crying and I couldn't control myself," Gammel says.

Erin Gammel cried for two years. Help was to come in a way she would never have dreamed, from Dharamsala in Northern India, 5,000 kilometres and cultural eons away.

Dharamsala is the home in exile to thousands of Tibetans who followed the Dalai Lama, after China occupied Tibet. For 25 centuries Tibetan Buddhists have practised and refined their exploration.

For generations they probed their inner space with the same commitment with which western science explored the external world and outer space. The two inhabited separate worlds.

But now, they are finding common ground in a remarkable collaboration.

In March 2000, a select group of scientists and scholars journeyed to Dharamsala. They came to share insights and solutions – to human distress and suffering. Among them was Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin. He finds nothing contradictory about doing science with Buddhists.

"There is almost a scientific-like attitude that is exemplified by Buddhist practitioners in investigating their own mind," he says.

"Their mind is the landscape of their own experimentation, if you will.

" The westerners had been invited by the Dalai Lama himself to his private quarters. For five days, monks and scientists dissected what they call "negative emotions" – sadness, anxiety jealousy craving, rage – and their potential to destroy.

One of the participants, Daniel Goleman, author of the book Destructive Emotions, says, "As we were leaving the U.S. to come here the headline was a six-year-old who had a fight with a classmate and the next day he came back with a gun and shot and killed her. It's very sad.

"Why would the scientists seek answers in Tibetan Buddhism?Because its rigorous meditative practices seem to have given the monks an extraordinary resilience, an ability to bounce back from the bad things that happen in life, and cultivate contentment. Richard Davidson's lab is one of the world's most advanced for looking inside a living brain. He's recently been awarded an unprecedented $15-million (Cdn) grant to study, among other things, what happens inside a meditating mind.

"Meditation is a set of practices that have been around for more than 2,500 years, whose principal goal is to cultivate these positive human qualities, to promote flourishing and resilience. And so we think that it deserves to be studied with the modern tools of science," Davidson says.A little over a year later, in May 2001, the Dalai Lama returned the visit to Davidson's lab in Madison, Wis. His prize subjects – and collaborators – are the Dalai Lama's lamas, the monks. "The monks, we believe, are the Olympic athletes of certain kinds of mental training," Davidson says. "These are individuals who have spent years in practice. To recruit individuals who have undergone more than 10,000 hours of training of their mind is not an easy task and there aren't that many of these individuals on the planet.

"The Dalai Lama has said were he not a monk, he would be an engineer. He brings that sensibility – the curiosity and intellectual discipline – to the discussion on EEGs and functional MRIs. But this isn't really about machines.

And it isn't about nirvana. It's about down-to-earth life: about the distress of ordinary people – and a saner world. "The human and economic cost of psychiatric disorder in western industrialized countries is dramatic," says Davidson. "And to the extent that cultivating happiness reduces that suffering, it is fundamentally important.

"The monk and the scientist are investigating – together – the Art of Happiness."Rather than thinking about qualities like happiness as a trait," Davidson says, "we should think about them as a skill, not unlike a motor skill, like bicycle riding or skiing. These are skills that can be trained. I think it is just unambiguously the case that happiness is not a luxury for our culture but it is a necessity.

"But we believe we can buy happiness…if we just had the money. That's what the ad industry tells us. And we think it's true.

People's theories about what will make them happy often are wrong. And so there's a lot of work these days that shows, for example, that winning the lottery will transiently elevate your happiness but it will not persist.There's some evidence that our temperament is more or less set from birth. So and so is a gloomy Gus…someone else is a ray of sunshine – that sort of thing.

Even when wonderful or terrible things happen, most of us, eventually, will return to that emotional set-point.

But, Davidson believes, that set point can be moved. "Our work has been fundamentally focused on what the brain mechanisms are that underlie these emotional qualities and how these brain mechanisms might change as a consequence of certain kinds of training," Davidson says.His work could not have been done 20 years ago. "In fact, 20 years ago, we had dreams of methods that allows you to interrogate the brain in this way, but we had no tools to do it.

" Now that we have the tools we can see that as our emotions ebb and flow, so do brain chemistry and blood flow. Fear, depression, love … they all get different parts of our brain working.Happiness and enthusiasm, and joy – they show up as increased activity on the left side near the front of the cortex. Anxiety, sadness – on the right.

Davidson has found this pattern in infants as young as 10 months, in toddlers, teens and adults.Davidson tested more than 150 ordinary people to see what parts of their brains were most active. Some were a little more active on the left. Some were a little more active on the right.A few were quite far to the right. They would probably be called depressed. Others were quite far to the left, the sort of people who feel "life is great.

"So there was a range. Then Davidson tested a monk.

He was so far to the left he was right off the curve. That was one happy monk.

"And this is rather dramatic evidence that there's something really different about his brain compared with the brains of these other 150 people. This is tantalizing evidence that these practices may indeed be promoting beneficial changes in the brain.

"Here, the Olympic athletes of meditation meet the Cadillac of brain scanners. Khachab Rinpoche, a monk from Asia, came to Madison to meditate in perhaps the strangest place in his life: the functional MRI.

It let's scientists watch what happens inside his brain when he switches between different types of meditation. They want to know how his brain may differ from ordinary people, and whether that change is related to the inner contentment the monks report.

So they test how subjects react to unpleasant sounds and images flashed into the goggles they wear in the MRI.

Normally when we're threatened one part of the brain is tremendously active, but in the monks, "the responsivity of this area is specifically decreased during this meditation in response to these very intense auditory simuli that convey strong emotions," Davidson says.

It's very preliminary work, but the implication may be that the lamas are able to move right through distressing events that overwhelm the rest of us – in other words, one of the keys to their happiness.

It may tell us something about our potential. "Our brains are adaptable, our brains are not fixed. The wiring in our brains is not fixed. Who we are today is not necessarily who we have to end up being," Davidson says. Tibetan Buddhism is said to be one of the most demanding mental endeavours on the planet. It takes 10,000 hours of meditation and years in retreat to become adept. Few of us can imagine such a commitment.

But that doesn't mean the benefits of meditation are out of our reach.

Zindal Segal is a psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. He uses meditation to treat mood disorders.

It's based on Buddhist teachings and its called mindfulness.
Michael Herman, senior partner with the law firm of Goodman and Goodman, meditates in his office.

"Very few of us can sit for 10,000 hours to be able to do this but the interesting thing is that we don't need to. These capacities are available to all of us," Segal says. " We're talking about paying attention, we're talking about returning wherever our minds are to this present moment. These are things that we all have. We don't have to earn them, we just have to find a way of clearing away the clutter to see that they are already there.

" Meditation is now out of the closet. The word is, it eases stress, drops blood pressure, helps put that bad day at the office in perspective.

Meditation is being mainlined by the mainstream, from corporate offices to factory floors.

These days it's not unusual to find hospitals like St. Joseph's in Toronto offering meditation programs. Some 360 people pass through the eight-week course every year. Like most, this program has taken the simplest form of Buddhist teaching and adapted it for busy lives. "Meditation is a skill, and like any skill it needs to be practised. So we use the breath as the place where we start to practise but eventually what we want to be able to do is to be able to use the awareness of the breath in our daily lives," Segal says.

"When we have the ability to do that we can then use the breath when we're standing in line at a bank, or if we're having an argument with a spouse, as a way of grounding ourselves in the middle of something that is disturbing.

" Something disturbing, like the mind movie Erin Gammel couldn't escape: the day when she failed to make the Olympic team.

"I just remember my hand getting caught in a lane rope and thinking to myself, it's over," Gammel says. She lost her focus, her place on the team, and her heart to swim. "It affected my entire life. I cried at the drop of a hat. I wasn't improving and it didn't look like anything was really improving. And I felt everything I did I seemed to fail at," she says. "That was part of the depression and the sadness because I felt like I was failing at the time. Nothing was going well." Until she hooked up with the National Swim Team's sports psychologist, Hap Davis. Davis had been fascinated by scientist Richard Davidson's work.He had a hunch that reliving the trauma was suppressing that part of Erin's brain on the left that Davidson had found was so active in happy people.

He devised a rescue plan – a breathing meditation that she was to do before and after repeatedly viewing the video.

"If a person can ground themselves and feel centred with meditative breathing they can get to the point where they can look at it and view it with a critical mind, with a mind that is capable of being open to the experience and looking objectively at what took place," Davis says.

"You know what it felt like during the race. It felt like I stopped absolutely dead. But in the video I look and it looks like just a little glitch. Nothing.

"It's more than two years since they've needed to study the tape – because it worked. Erin's joy of swimming returned; she's winning race after race.

"She's more resilient emotionally. She's more stable emotionally. She's more consistent in terms of performance," Davis says. "Meditation isn't necessarily about happiness but it makes you happier. I guess that is how you would say it. And I feel more confident. That I know how to work with this stuff and work with bad things that happen in my life," Gammel says.

Once again there's one more race to win – the trials to make the team that goes to Athens.

"This is my year. That's what I keep telling everyone. This is my year to make the Olympic team because making it through all those times there it's just going to happen, I know it is. lt's just going to happen," she says.

"Meditation has been around for 2500 years so it's not like a new practice," Davis says. "But science is catching up to an old tradition and the evidence seems to be emerging that meditation can change the pattern of brain chemistry or blood flow in the brain.

"And now there's proof meditation can change the brains of ordinary people and make them healthier.

Promega is a biotech company in Madison, Wis., where the researchers from the Brain Imaging Lab recruited typical stressed out workers – office staff, managers, even a skeptical research scientist, Mike Slater. "Things were chaotic and crazy. We had a newborn. We had three deaths in the family. So it was a pretty topsy-turvy time," Slater says.

All the subjects had activity in their brain measured…and half – including Mike Slater – were given an eight- week course in meditation.Then everyone – meditators and controls – got a flu shot, and their brains were measured a second time.

The meditators' brain activity had shifted to that happy left side. Mike Slater was almost too successful. "I was pretty happy all the time and I was worried that maybe I was masking some stuff that might really be irritating me so I stopped it and my wife noticed an increase in my irritability, so, you know, I have both sides of the experiment now. It calmed me down and I stopped doing it and my irritability increased," he says.

That wasn't all. Their immune systems had strengthened. "Those individuals in the meditation group that showed the biggest change in brain activity also showed the biggest change in immune function, suggesting that these were closely linked," Davidson says.Davidson and his team had shown meditation could shift not just mood – but also brain activity and immunity in ordinary people.

And they'd answered a potential flaw in the monk study.

"Someone may say, well, maybe these individuals are that way to start out with. Maybe that's why they're attracted to be monks," Davidson says. "And we actually can't answer that on the basis of those data, but with the Promega study, we can say definitely that it had to do with the intervention we provided.

"There are reasons to believe the insane pace and many aggravations of daily life can be dangerous to the health of our minds and our bodies.

We can't push the delay button on a busy world and we can't bail out. But perhaps meditation is a way to encourage a sense of well-being – a deep breath in the centre of the whirlwind.

"As the Dalai Lama himself said in his book The Art of Happiness, we have the capacity to change ourselves because of the very nature, of the very structure and function of our brain," Davidson says.

"And that is a very hopeful message because I think it instills in people the belief that there are things that they can do to make themselves better."

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Who is a Buddha? A Buddha is one who has attained bodhi. By bodhi is meant an ideal state of intellectual and ethical perfection which can be attained by man by purely human means. In order to make clear how the Buddha attained bodhi, let me narrate a brief summary of the Buddhas life.

About 623 years before the Christian era, there was born in Lumbini Park in the neighbourhood of Kapilavatthu, now known as Padaria in the district of modern Nepal. an Indian Sakyan prince, Siddattha Gotama by name. To mark the spot as the birthplace of the greatest teacher of mankind, and as a token of his reverence for him, the Emperor Asoka in 239 B.C.. erected a pillar bearing the inscription. 'Here was the Enlightened One born'.

Gotama's father was Suddhodana, king of Kapilavatthu, the chief town of the Sakyan clan; and his mother, who died seven days after his birth, was Queen Maya who also belonged to the same clan. Under the care of his maternal aunt, Pajapati Gotami. Siddhattha spent his early years in ease, luxury and culture. At the age of sixteen he was married to his cousin, Yasodhara, the daughter of Suppabuddha, the king of Devadaha, and they had a son named Rahula.

For nearly thirteen years Siddhattha led the life of a luxurious Indian prince, seeing only the beautiful and the pleasant. In his twenty-ninth year, however, the truth gradually dawned upon him, and he realized that all without exception were subject to birth, decay and death and that all worldly pleasures were only a prelude to pain. Comprehending thus the universality of sorrow, he had a strong desire to find the origin of it, and a panacea for this universal sickness of humanity. Accordingly he renounced the world and donned the simple garb of an ascetic.

Wandering as a seeker after peace he placed himself under the spiritual guidance of two renowned brahman teachers, Alara and Uddaka. The former was head of a large number of followers at Vesali and was an adherent of Kapila, the reputed founder of the Sassata system of philosophy, who laid great stress on the belief in atma, the ego. He regarded the disbelief in the existence of a soul as not tending towards religion. Without the belief in an eternal immaterial soul he could not see any way of salvation. Like the wild bird when liberated from its trap, the soul when freed from its material limitations would attain perfect release; when the ego discerned its immaterial nature it would attain true deliverance. This teaching did not satisfy the Bodhisatta, and he quitted Alara and placed himself under the tuition of Uddaka.

The latter also expatiated on the question of 'I'', but laid greater stress on the effects of kamma and the transmigration of the soul. The Bodhisatta saw the truth in the doctrine of kamma, but he could not believe in the existence of a soul or its transmigration; he therefore quitted Uddaka also and went to the priests officiating in temples to see if he could learn from them the way of escape from suffering and sorrow. However, the unnecessarily cruel sacrifices performed on the altars of the gods were revolting to his gentle nature, and Gotama preached to the priests the futility of atoning for evil deeds by the destruction of life, and the impossibility of practising religion by the neglect of the moral life.

Wandering from Vesali in search of a better system, Siddattha went to many a distinguished teacher of his day, but nobody was competent to give him what he earnestly sought. All the so-called philosophers were groping in the dark, it was a matter of the blind leading the blind, for they were all enmeshed in ignorance. At last Siddattha came to a settlement of five pupils of Uddaka, headed by Kondanna, in the jungle of Uruvela near Gaya in Magadha. There he saw these five keeping their senses in check, subduing their passions and practising austere penance. He admired their zeal and earnestness, and to give a trial to the means used by them he applied himself to mortification, for it was the belief in those days that no salvation could be gained unless one led a life of strict asceticism, so he subjected himself to all forms of practicable austerities. Adding vigil to vigil, and penance to penance, he made a super-human effort for six long years until eventually his body became shrunken like a withered branch. His blood dried up, the skin shrivelled and the veins protruded, but the more he tortured his body the farther his goal receded from him. His strenuous and unsuccessful endeavours taught him one important lesson, though, and that was the utter futility of self-mortification.

Having this valuable experience he finally decided to follow an independent course avoiding the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, for the former tends to retard one's spiritual progress and the latter to weaken one's intellect. The new path was the Majjhima Patipada, the Middle Path, which subsequently became one of the salient characteristics of his teaching.

Early in the morning on the full moon day of Vesakha, as he was seated in deep meditation under the Bodhi Tree, unaided and unguided by any supernatural agency but solely relying on his own efforts, the consciousness of true insight possessed him. He saw the mistaken ways that all the various faiths maintained, he discerned the sources whence earthly suffering came and the way that leads to its annihilation. He saw that the cause of suffering lay in a selfish cleaving to life, and that the way of escape from suffering lay in treading the Eightfold Path. With discernment of these grand truths and their realization in life, the Bodhisatta eradicated all passions and attained enlightenment - he thus became a Buddha.

Having attained Buddhahood, the supreme state of perfection, he devoted the remainder of his precious life to serving humanity, both by example and precept, without any personal motive whatsoever. In order to deliver his first sermon the Buddha started for Benares, which has been famous for centuries as the centre of religious life and thought. On his way he met one of his former acquaintances. Upaka, a Jain monk, who, being struck by his majestic and joyful appearance, asked, 'Who is the teacher under whose guidance you have renounced the world?' The Buddha replied, 'I have no master, I am the Perfect One, the Buddha. I have attained peace. I have attained Nibbana. To found the Kingdom of Righteousness I am going to Benares: there I shall light the lamp of life for the benefit of those who are enshrouded in the darkness of sin and death.' Upaka then asked 'Do you profess to be the Jina, the conqueror of the world?' The Buddha replied, ' Jinas are those who have conquered self and the passions of self, and those alone are victors who control their passions and abstain from sin. I have conquered self and overcome all sin, therefore I am the Jina.'

At Benares he met Kondanna and his four companions in the Deer Park, now known as Saranath. When these five saw the Buddha coming towards them they addressed him as Gotama, his family name. Then the Buddha said to them, 'Call me not after my personal name, for it is a rude and careless way of addressing one who has become a Buddha. My mind is undisturbed whether people treat me with respect or disrespect, but it is not courteous for others to call one who looks equally with a kind heart upon all living beings, by his familiar name; Buddhas bring salvation to the world and so they ought to be treated with respect.' Then he preached them his first great sermon, the Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta, in which he explained the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. They received ordination and formed the first nucleus of the holy brotherhood of disciples known as the Sangha.

During his active life the Buddha made many converts, high and low, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, brahmans and chandalas, ascetics and householders, robbers and cannibals, nobles and peasants, men and women from all classes and conditions became his countless disciples, both ordained and lay. After a supreme ministry of forty-five years the Buddha, in his last preaching tour, came to the town of Kusinara in the eastern part of Nepal, where he passed into Nibbana at the ripe age of eighty. His last words to his disciples were,'All conditioned things are subject to decay; strive with heedfulness'.

The Buddha was, therefore, a human being. As a man he was born, as a man he lived, and as a man his life came to an end. Though a human being he became an extra-ordinary man, acchariya manussa, as he himself says in the Anguttara Nikaya; he does not claim to be an incarnation of Vishnu, as the Hindus believe, nor does he call himself a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. The Buddha exhorts his disciples to depend on themselves for their salvation, for both purity and defilement depend on oneself. In the Dhammapada he says, 'You yourselves should make the exertion, the Buddhas are only teachers. The thoughtful who enter the Way are freed from the bondage of sin. He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong is full of sloth, whose will and thoughts are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to enlightenment. Strenuousness is the path of immortality, sloth the path of death. Those who are strenuous do not die; those who are slothful are as if dead already.'

Buddhas point out the path, and it is left to us to follow that path to save ourselves. To depend on others for salvation is negative, but to depend on oneself is positive. In exhorting his disciples to be self-dependent the Buddha says in the Parinibbana Sutta, 'Be ye lamps unto yourselves; be ye refuges to yourselves; hold fast to the Dhamma as a lamp; hold fast to the Dhamma as a refuge; seek not for refuge in anyone except yourselves. Whosoever shall be a lamp unto themselves and a refuge unto themselves, it is they among the seekers after bodhi who shall reach the very topmost height.'

Furthermore, the Buddha does not claim the monopoly of Buddhahood which, factually, is not the special prerogative of any specially chosen person. He reached the highest possible state of perfection to which any person could aspire, and he revealed the only straight path that leads thereto. According to the teachings of the Buddha, anybody may aspire to that supreme state of perfection if he makes the necessary exertion; thus, instead of disheartening his followers and reserving that exalted state only for himself, the Buddha gave encouragement and inducement to follow his noble example.

The teaching founded by the Buddha is known in English as Buddhism.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Non-biblical sources in Christian tradition?

Non-biblical sources in Christian tradition?

AT the time of the Buddha, (5th-6th century bce)The Israelites were on exile to Babylon, close enough to India.There were a few benign prophets: Yehezkel, Jeremiah, Daniel, who were propagating new ideas of salvation, humanist religious reforms And abstention from animal sacrifices.Shared with the early Buddhist customs was the absence of Images and their worship, Very much the refusal of fertility gods.

Maybe the decisive justification of both new believes(If an apology is needed it is, as ever, about the obscure appearance of the Clear thought of the Buddhist, as a parable and a hint in religions. Another point of similarity was the reverence toward wisdom and learning In the form of Scriptural knowledge, a non-trivial point in the context.after the death of Alexander of Macedonia, (3rd century bce)His vast occupations were divided among his generals, who soon started fighting Each other, but In fact established a Greek hegemony from the Sindu to The Nile. (a fascinating read is E.Lamotte). These earth shaking political upheavals were contemporaneous of Dharma Asokaa, The Buddhist king who sent Missionaries. There is one remaining Asokan pillar, third of which is in Aramaic, Hebrew Alphabeth (if any one knows more about it, please tell us). The next few centuries saw growing variations on that, with the total decline of Greek Religion, (As it was changed to its Roman version, notably with the alteration of a Ridiculous god of war to the important Mars.

The Roman faith was in fact, an oppressive, planted attempt at consensus.) And a spread of the messages toward central, eastern as well as westward. The Greek in India had certainly adopted Buddhism(King Miliander of the questions of King Milinda). The Greek thought maybe waned, but it's asthetic gained ground. The first Buddha images were probably made in Gandhara, adopting the conventional representation of Apollo.and the idea and representation of a god in a human form appearedin Christian early sects.before so, the symbol of the (mostly schematic) fish was also shared by early Christian and Buddhist alike but that may be of an even earlier origin, when the word 'fish'in ancient India was used as a pun on the word 'light'!. The image and practice of medicine was commonly and directly, in some Areas even today, associated with the Buddhist monks. Buddhist community was established in Alesanda, 1st century BCE.

There was a community of Therapeutic monks and nuns in Alexandria, Egypt.As they were practicing medicine, the word Therapy, came to be (Thor and Thotor, author forgoten,a study in comparative religion) (In a perfectly meaningful circle, the root. Denotes solidity, and necessarily, health) a similar community existed in Israel/Judea of the misleading English name esseness. In Hebrew, the name is... Isi. (Identical to the Pali ascetic sage, living in the wilderness). The mystery of the cult was and still is a subject of fantasies and speculation.

But undoubtly, following the description of the former Jewish general, Roman prote and historian, Josephus Flavius, They were influenced by the Indian ascetic practices: Wearing loin cloth, extreme ascetics, sun worship, ritual bathing, Living in the wilderness. Purity of conduct was strictly kept.The communities were divided to married and celibates, who had to serve a Year of probation to be accepted.The celibates carried metal rod as weapon, as Saivite saadhuu still do today. A farther common idea about relation is that the Dead Sea scrolls, where a Teacher of light. Is mention as leader,were their writing.There is a heated debate on the subject, Initially it was thought that the community of the Isis. Was living close by (the caves where the scrolls where found) in Kumaran (again what is in a name?). The current thought gaining now, sees the place as a military strong hold and the scriptures as work of the city brought to be hidden at the time of the great revolt. However, it may more simply be present ideas of society.Other speculation is that this was a Christian community, who Nurtured Jesus. Actually today, a Christian sect claims the heritage...

These may or may not indicate certain influences,But more than everything else, the late Jewish/Christian books seem to reflect a revolutionary benevolence,the close intimacy with god, the sudden appearance of a Devil(1) useful advices on personal religious attitudes, a formulation of a new understanding, All, up until today, I believe, generated by the influential, even if indirect, Sanity and clarity of the Blessed One.

Jothiko Bhikkhu

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Brief Biographical Essay

Brief Biographical Essay

I have graduated from “10 January 1979 High School” in Siem Reap, Cambodia in 1993. Since then, I have entered a monastic life up to present. I have not worked outside of the religious employment.

I first studied the Buddha's teachings and practised meditation in Wat Preah Indra Korsa, Siem Reap, Cambodia. At the same place, I also taught English language and mathematics to novices and monks. I was offered a fellowship opportunity to pursue higher education and from 1997 to 2000, I pursued furthr studies at Mahachula Buddhist University in Bangkok, Thailand. Each summer, I assisted as a mentor in the Moral Outreach Projects for Thai Young Children held in almost every part of Thailand . In my last two years there, 1999-2000, I managed this project and set up a team of Cambodian monks to instruct Cambodian students in primary schools, secondary schools, and high schools as well as children in remote areas and the general public throughout Cambodia. We focus on eradicating illiteracy and enhancement of ethics. We have instructed almost 15,000 participants now. Presently, this project is still being carried out by the same team. I also co-founded the Khemera Students Association in Thailand in 1998. The Association focuses on strengthening friendship and unity among Cambodian students and helping each other in times of crisis.

I came to Canada on the invitation of the Cambodian-Canadian Association in Canada. Since arriving here, I have coordinated, facilitated activities among the different ethnic groups and mediated for Cambodian community members. I am also an active member of the International Buddhist Foundation of Canada and a steering committee of FaithLink Organization which focuses on ending Domestic Violences. In the meantime, I teach Vipassana meditation to Cambodians as well as the local people, conduct ritual blessings, and teach the Khmer language and culture. As a project coordinator, I also manage the Khmer Language School on Saturday and Sunday to instruct children in morals, Khmer culture and Khmer language. I also organize workshops and conferences. I am consistently promoting peaceful living in families in an effort to end domestic violence. As we know, the happiness of a family is a fundamental basis for peace in the world. I presented "The Buddha's Teaching to End Domestic Abuses" at the Bridging to End Domestic Violence Conference of FaithLink and have participated in many other social workshops.

Presently, I have tried to utilize my knowledge and capacity to better the Cambodian community and other affiliated societies. I also try to seek new experiences by involving myself in current issues. But I am not satisfied with my current abilities which I think is inadequate to meet the philanthropic task I have set for myself. I am still seeking reliable avenues that could help me improve my leadership skills and achieve my passion. I will try to achieve this passion which I have held so long - to rebuild peace and advancement for Cambodia and the world community.

Presently my prime concerns are :

- Focusing on education development for ethical awareness, leadership, reconciliation, unity and peace.

- Strengthening and enhancing Buddhist education and monastic leadership in community-based development.

- Promoting Buddhist education to be equivalent to secular education and to modernize the methodology of instruction following other developed countries. This will be important to encourage the Buddhological pedagogy which encourages full freedom for learners.

- Forming and supporting the concept of Buddhist and secular education as united components in maintaining sustainable development in Cambodia.

- Adapting Buddhist curriculum such that it is applicable for for monk students and strengthening social ethics through the use of Buddhist ethics in secular schools.

Most of my work which I have done on a volunteer basis. I have dedicated myself to serving others, especially the people of Cambodia who are still traumatized by decades of civil war.

Despite, having helped some people and communities, my heart constantly thinks of Cambodians. They continue to suffer from starvation, domestic abuse, human trafficking, child prostitution, high illiteracy rate, high child mortality rate and unequality in social living.

Among these disadvantageous current issues, the high rate of illiteracy is my most concerned. This deficit truly caused by the failure of proper education leadership development.

Preah Bhikkhu Vodano

New Adjustment: July 2006 assisted by Upasaka Yu Ban

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Buddhist Perspectives on Domestic Violences

This article presented at a Conference organized by FaithLink in March 14, 2005

By Preah Bhikkhu Vodano Sophan

Historically, domestic violence has been culturally and institutionally sanctioned
and legitimized within the Asian culture. Consequently, it is a pervasive health,
social, and human rights issue, which has serious repercussions on the victim's
physical health and mental health. Despite its serious consequences and
the scope of the problem, it has been referred to as a "silent crisis". (1)
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Brief History
- In 543 before Christianity, Buddha passed away (Parinibbana or enlightened
by without any substratum of life remaining).
- During King Asoka’s reign, Buddhism was recognized as the golden era. King
Asoka patronized the Monk Community Third Council and sent missionaries to
different nine directions.
- In the Fourth Council, Buddhism was clearly divided into two main streams:
Theravada (the teaching of elders) and Acariyavada (the teaching of recent
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Overview Buddhism
Triple Gem
- Buddha: means the Awakened One or Enlightened One. His former name was
Prince Siddhatta Goutama.
- Dhamma: means nature, rule, discipline, doctrine, truth, way of life or
teaching. Some core teachings are Five Precepts, Four Noble Truth, Three
Roots of Evil, Three Characteristics, Eightfold Path, Kamma…etc.
- Sangha: means monks community or followers that can consist of Bhikkhu,
Bhikkhuni, Laymen and Laywomen.
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Main Teaching
- Buddha’s main teaching goal is to provide his followers happiness, peace
and salvation. He instructed each family member who came to meet him to live
harmoniously together. It is individual responsibility to refrain all kinds of
- In community, the association with others like between employer and
employee, teacher and student, friend and friend, has their own specific codes
in practicing.(2)
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Definition: DV according to BD
Five Abuses
1. Killing any living beings, harming, battering, beating
2. Stealing, robbing, cheating, wrong living.
3. Raping, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct
4. Telling lies, using harsh words, using malicious words and talking uselessly.
5. Consuming drugs, drinking alcohol, other addictions. (3)
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Ten Akusala Kamma or Ten Evil Deeds
1. Physical deed -three(3) : Killing - ending the life of another living being.
Stealing - robbing of others’ property or belongings. Unchaste – nonconfining
to one’s own wife/husband or children
2. By word or speech –four (4): Lying - telling the untruth. Slandering – talk ill
of others. Harsh speech - using bad words or abusive language. Frivolous
talk – utterly vain speech (useless or empty talk)
3. By thought (mind) – three (3): Avidyaa or Abhijjaa (Covetousness) – delusion
or not seeing the truth. Vyaapaada (Illwill)
– hatred, resentment and anger. Michchaaditthi (False view) – living
with false concepts.(4)
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Three Roots of Evil
1. Lobha : greed, desire or ambition is the cause leading to restlessness,
distress and stress when they don’t get what they want.
2. Dosa : when Lobha increases, anger or hatred ignited the mind leading to
the destruction of themselves and others.
3. Moha : when Dosa increases, delusion or ignorance empowers itself making
the perpetrators loss their mindfulness, responsibility and do the evils
vigorously. (5)
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The Sayings of the Buddha
" With gentleness overcome anger. With generosity overcome meanness. With truth overcome deceit."

" The wise harm no one. They are masters of their bodies and they go to the boundless country. They go beyond sorrow."
Dhammapada, Anger : 17
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The Forms of Domestic Violence (6)
1. Physical abuse such as kicking, punching, biting, slapping, strangling,
choking. In Buddhism, these matters are absolutely wrong. Following the first
precept, which doesn’t allow us to kill, batter, beat or harm others.

2. Psychological abuse such as intimidation, verbal abuse, humiliation, putdowns,
ridiculing, threats, threatening to hurt victim's family and children. In
Buddhism, those acts are considered as mental violence. Perpetrators have lost
their mindfulness, consciousness and like to act for their own entertainment. It is
mostly caused by their bad habit or alcohol addiction. This is misconduct of the fourth
or fifth precept.

3. Sexual abuse such as rape, forms of sexual assault such as forced
masturbation, sexual humiliation, refusing to use contraceptives and coerced
abortions. These acts are wrong and breaks the third precept which prohibits
sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.

4. Financial/economic abuse such as withholding of money, refuse to allow
victims to open bank account, all property is in the perpetrator's name or not
allowing the victims to work. This is another type of violence. Perpetrators are
greedy and selfish.
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Observe five precepts regularly such as:
1. Refrain from killing, beating, battering or harming others. One must cultivate
compassion and spread it around.
2. Refrain from stealing, robbing, cheating or corrupting. One must live by a right
3. Refrain from committing sexual misconduct such as raping, sexual
humiliation. One must concentrate on their craving.
4. Refrain from telling lies, using harsh words, using malicious words and talk in
uselessness. One must aware all speech.
5. Refrain from consuming drugs, addictive things or drinking alcohol. One
must be mindful and conscious.
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Prevention and Resolution
Ten Kusala Kamma or Ten Good Deeds
(I).Generosity - Daana, which yields wealth.
(ii) Morality - Siila, which gives birth in noble families and in state of happiness.
(iii) Meditation - Bhaavanaa, which gives birth in Realms of Form and Formless Realms, and
which tends to gain Higher Knowledge and Emancipation.
(iv) Reverence - Apacaayana, the cause of noble parentage.
(v) Service - Veyyaavacca, which tends to produce a large retinue.
(vi) Transference of merit - Pattidaana, which serves as a cause to give in abundance in
future births.
(vii) Rejoicing in others' merit - Pattaanu Moodanaa, which is productive of merit
wherever one is born.
(viii) Hearing the Doctrine - Dhamma Savana, which promotes wisdom.
(ix) Expounding the Doctrines - Dhamma Deesanaa, which promotes wisdom.
(x) Straightening of one's own views - Ditthijju Kamma, which strengthens one's confidence. (7)
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Four Immeasurableness
1. Loving-kindness, Mettaa: is the wish that all sentient beings, without exception, be
happy. It counters ill-will.
2. Compassion, Karunaa: is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering. It
counters cruelty.
3. Appreciative joy, Muditaa: is the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the
happiness and virtues of all sentient beings. It counters jealousy and makes people less selfcentred.
4. Equanimity, Ubekkhaa: is the attitude of regarding all sentient beings as equals,
irrespective of their present relationship to oneself. The wholesome attitude of
equanimity counters clinging and aversion.(8)
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The Threefold Training
1. Training in Higher Morality or Ethics, Sila: consists of right speech, right
action and right livelihood.
2. Training in Higher Mentality or Meditation, Samadhi: consists of right
effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
3. Training in Higher Wisdom or Insight, Panna: consists of right understanding
and right view.(9)
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The Saying of The Buddha
"All beings tremble before violence. All
fear death. All love life. See yourself in
others. Then whom can you hurt?. What
harm can you do?"

"He who seeks happiness by hurting
those who seek happiness, will never find
happiness. For your brother is like you.
He wants to be happy. Never harm him
and when you leave this life, you too will
find happiness."

Dhammapada, violence : 10
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- All problems involving Domestic Violence has its actual cause and effect. So we have to
study about the effect of the problem, the cause of the problem, the extinction of the
problem and the way leading to the extinction of the problem.
- Domestic violence will be easily eradicated if individuals agree to live together with lovingkindness and compassion. They have to response to the Law of Kamma.
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(2) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Pathikavakka
(3) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Pathikavakka
(4) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Pathikavakka
(5) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Pathikavakka
(7) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Pathikavakka
(8) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Mahavakka
(9) Tipitaka, Dhighanikaya, Pathikavakka

March 1, 2006