Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born in 1891 into the ‘untouchables’, a segment of India’s population that was hitherto deprived, degraded, and often mistreated by the other castes. Yet despite his early deprivation, Dr. Ambedkar later rose in stature and prominence through hard work and fortitude to become the first Law Minister of independent India. He is also popularly regarded as the ‘principal architect of the Indian Constitution’ – a social contract that granted liberties, justice, and respectability to India’s dejected millions.Read more
Nalanda Patron’s Day will be observed over 3 days from 16 – 18 March, with a wholesome line-up of meaningful educational programmes. 18 March 2013 marks the 95th birth anniversary of our late Spiritual Advisor, Venerable Kirinde Sri Dhammananda. The late venerable was an erudite monk fondly known as the “Sangha Nāyaka of Malaysia”. In Bro. Tan’s concise article below, we visit the origin and real meaning of this title, and how it can understood by the laity.Read more
Pindacāra, the practice of collecting alms-food, is observed by Theravada Buddhist monks who have gone forth from ‘home-life’ to ‘homelessness’. A Buddhist monk is known in Pāli Language as a ‘bhikkhu’ – meaning ‘one who lives on alms’.Read more
Beginning the day after the full-moon of Asalha month (around July every year), Theravada Buddhist monks are required to observe Vassana or ‘Rains Retreat’ for a duration of 3 months. The Vassana period from July-August to October-November corresponds with the monsoon season in South and Southeast Asia (which were historically Buddhist strongholds), thus making traveling very difficult and even dangerous. Monks and nuns were often invited by Buddhist communities to reside in village Aramas (monasteries and nunneries) for the duration of the ‘rains’.Read more
The Pāli term ‘Sangāyana’ can be translated as rehearsal or communal chanting. The purpose of a Sangāyana is to accurately preserve the original teachings of the Buddha. The reciters’ duty is to rehearse, examine, and review the Canon so that no parts of which are added, omitted or altered, and any such deviations were to be rectified. Throughout history, there had been six such formal occasions where the entire Pāli Canon was rehearsed and authenticated.Read more
The Pāli Language was derived from a Prakrit (folks’ dialect) of Magādha in ancient India. Its grammar is similar to those of Sanskrit and Latin. Pāli was chosen as the language to rehearse and record the Buddhist teachings at the First Rehearsal (Sangāyana) in 543 BCE. Pāli is unique among languages in that it is not used for any other purpose except to record Buddhist doctrines. Thus the meanings of its words were not ‘corrupted’ by common usage or ‘evolution’ over time.
The Buddhist Flag was first hoisted in Sri Lanka on Wesak Day (28 April) in 1885, when the country was still under colonial rule. The majority Sinhalese Buddhist population then felt discriminated against by the colonial authorities when carrying out their religious activities, as well as pressurized by relentless evangelism. The Buddhists needed an icon to peacefully rally around, and hence, the Buddhist Flag was initiated.
“The Buddha had exercised a profound influence on human civilization, and his teachings and example had provided the ethical and moral underpinnings of many societies. His teachings were based on the law of release from suffering, leading to spiritual enlightenment.”
54th Meeting, 2000.
Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang
Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas
Vairocana Buddha. Bronze.
Restored during Edo period, 17th Century CE
Todaiji Temple, Nara, Japan.
Buddhism is a major world religion that developed from the teachings of the Buddha-the Awakened One. It is a uniquely insightful practice that is not based upon beliefs in divinity nor reliance on others for one’s salvation; but on developing right understanding and living a virtuous life to gain liberation from suffering.