Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Dear Shri Katariaji,

Thank you for arranging a conference call with honourable Dr. Swamyji on July 2nd and I hope to attend it. I also wish to pose the following question to him and if he would be kind enough to answer it to dispel my pessimistic view for the future of Hinduism, especially in India:-

1. If we look at the history of India for the past one thousand years or more, we find that Moslems initially invaded India with the active help of our Hindu kings, who were divided and fighting against each other and then the Moslems started to make their hold on India

2. Hindu religion is a religion of peace, non-violence and forgiveness. Mostly it is an other- worldly religion and this world is just a dream world, fleeting and not a real one. This basic philosophy of Hindus makes them a coward. Moreover, they are very much divided as always and in spite of our religious teachings they only want to make their life comfortable here and making money by being servile rather than make sacrifices for the religion.

3. Hindus think and believe that some day a Kalki avtar like Bhagwan Krishna will come and will destroy all the evil ones and save good ones, i.e. Hindus from their slavery of invaders.

4. With the present government, which is only interested in continuing its rule by hook and crook, and acting against the laws and constitution, is very well entrenched and is unlikely to go away for hundreds of years unless a miracle happens! The govenrment sees its continuation by supporting minorities and converting to Islam and to Christianity and doing as much harm to Hindus as possible.

5. Just because Hindu religion is very good and ethical one, the world will not leave it alone and all the vultures of the world will, destroy your religion and eat the country and this is what happened to Afghanistan, etc. and the same is going to happen to India.

6 The cancer of Islam/christianity has already taken over more than half the world and it will not be before long that the rest of the world will be swallowed by these two religions.

7. Kindly advise what and how Hindus have hope of saving their religion and saving India from the clutches of Islam and Christianity, particularly from the former one.

8. It is requested that a write-up of the talk given by Swamyji and of questions and answers is circulated after the event. Thank you.

Thank you and Bhagwan aapki raksha karein.



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[prohindu] In An Ancient Land - A Modern Miracle

Krishan Bhatnagar Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM
Reply-To: prohindu-owner@yahoogroups.com

Note: Here is an article published over a decade ago, but should be of interest to many. Lord Hanuman's blessing cured a hopelessly sick patient.

In An Ancient Land .....

... A Modern Miracle
Pamela Constable (Washington Post Correspondent)
BJP Today : June 1-15, 1999
(It is presumed that this article was published in the Washington Post earlier in 1999, from which it was taken)

It was Hanuman. I know it was Hanuman. Otherwise Ashok would have died, mostly because of the time the doctors had spent four days frowning over their charts and ordering more tests and absently patting him on the arm, by the time he had spent four nights bathed in sweat and clenching his teeth against the unbearable pain in his belly, he believed it.

I could see in his face, in the limp resignation of a wrist too weak to raise off the sheet. " I have to go back to my village," he kept whispering. " I have to go back to and see my mother before I die".

Ashok Pandey was the watchman at my house in New Delhi., where I had arrived only weeks before to take up my new assignment. I barely knew this tall, thin man with the shy smile who was always hovering around the office, trying to practice his English. His wife, Asha, a chirpy and obliging young woman in a vivid chiffon sari, mopped and swept the house each day, and the couple lived over the garage with their 4 year old son.

I realized almost immediately, however, that something was wrong with Ashok. He looked gaunt and his face was too pale. He confided hew had been having problem with his stomach for months, and had been to a number of doctors. But the medicine they gave him never did any good. His wife explained, holding up a plastic bag of prescription drugs he had stopped taking. In the past few days, she said, he had consulted several sadhus, or Hindu wise men. They had advised him to pray and take offerings of flowers and coconuts to his temple.

And one night Ashok collapsed in the driveway and was rushed to a private clinic. For the next four days, he was poked and probed, filled with more medicines and stuck full of medicines, but he did not get any better. He lay on the bed, a skeleton beneath crumpled sheets, too weak and feverish to move, too sick to eat. With each day, I could see, his will to live was slipping.

Asha slumped on the floor beside the hospital bed, clutching a tear stained sari to her face. Their little boy, Ravi, watched gravely from behind the cubicle curtain. Ashok's two other brothers were there, too, having traveled a long distance. They hovered worriedly, conferring in murmured tones and stroking his head. Finally the family reached a decision, and Asha approached me , her voice deferential but her face anguished and determined.

"Please, madam, Let us take him home."she begged tearfully. "Hospital no good. Go home to village, please."

Her request startled me. This was more power than I had ever wished to possess. I Had only known the family for a few weeks, yet their fate was in my hands. How could I let Ashok leave the clinic? Everything I knew, everything I had learned to trust as an educated Western person to;ld me he needed to remain there, that he was getting the best care possible.

After all, I was there to pay for the treatment-- and to periodically remind the clinic staff, simply by appearing each day and inquiring after his progress., that the otherwise anonymous 30-year old night watchman ha had an affluent foreign patron. Although this was new and uncomfortable cudgel for me, I quickly realized how usefully it could be wielded in an emergency.

But Asha's entreaty put a terrible burden on me. If I gave in and allowed the family to take Ashok away, setting off on a hot and long journey to their native village in another state, there was a good chance that he would die on the way. If I insisted that he remained hospitalized and he died of the disease, his family would never forgive me, and they would always believe that Western medicine had killed him.

Here was a country with the best of modern medicine available -- indeed a country that exported many fine physicians and scientists abroad -- and yet millions of Indians remained poorly educated and deeply superstitious, preferring to trust their gods and sadhus when they fell ill. Here was a country where caste discrimination had been barred by law and very adult enjoyed the right to vote, and yet the hierarchy and habit of class emerged instantly and sharply in a crisis.

And here was I, an American raised to be independent and egalitarian, suddenly depending on a household full of servants to do chores I would normally do myself, called upon to take an almost feudal responsibility for their welfare, and finding myself, after disdaining the self- serving rationales of the waited-on classes in third world countries, thinking of this night watchman and his relatives as my family.

I took a deep breath and said no. Ashok had to remain in the clinic, I told his anxious wife and relatives, if they would only trust the doctors I asserted as authoritatively as I could, he would get better soon. The problem was that I knew that he might not get better. He had waited too long, been to too many spiritual advisers and neglected to take too many pills, while his intestines developed dozens of ulcers and finally collapsed. There was a small chance, the specialist with the cell phone at his waist confided to me in a corner, that the patient might never recover.

What I needed, I realized, was extra insurance, some familiar source of healing to persuade Ashok and his family that they were doing the right thing. I knew Ashok was a devotee of the monkey god, renowned in Hindu lore for his cleverness, loyalty and strength. Indeed, it was the monkey god who had saved Lord Ram, the hero of India's "Ramayana" epic, by hoisting the world on his back and seeking a special herb to cure Ram's ailing brother.

Feeling inspired and a little silly, I headed for a shopping area and ducked into the first curio shop. On one shelf was a small monkey figurine, posed in his customary fierce stance, one foot forward, staff held aloft. It cost about $1.25.

When I got back to the clinic the same afternoon, Ashok looked even worse. His cheeks were sunken in shadow., his eyes were too weak to open. Asha was at his side, weeping unconsolably. His brothers were there, too, patting his hair and looking worried. One of them bent down and whispered and Ashok's eyes opened briefly. I put the figurine in his hand, and he immediately pressed it to ho forehead and clutched it to his chest. Then his eyes shut again.

I dreaded going back the next day, dreaded saying hello to Ashok's little boy playing in the garden outside the clinic, dreaded climbing the narrow stairs and seeing the same shrunken feverish head rolling on the pillow, dreaded looking at Ashok's wife and brothers and seeing their eyes - eyes they never dared fully raise to meet mine, but fixed on me in mute hope.

The bed was empty and freshly made. My heart stopped. Ashok must be dead, I thought. But there were murmurs coming from farther down the ward., and I thought I heard laughter. I walked toward the sound and there, surrounding another bed. was Ashoks's family.

And propped up on the pillow, with an enormous grin on his face, was Ashok. He wanted a transistor radio, he said. He wanted to know what was happening in Parliament. He wanted his wife to make some porridge. He felt much better now, thank you very much, and he wanted to go back to work.

I glanced back toward the other end of the ward. Beside Ashok's old bed, half forgotten behind a bedpan and an empty glucose bottle, was a small metal monkey figurine. It was Hanuman.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010



Namaskar and Jai Hind. On the question raised by you upon translation of the word OM to AUM, as is being used in English, I would like to comment as follows:-



Is there an end to these APBHRANSH'S. I think even without translating into English the South Indians, especially the religious people have added an A to the various names of God, which normally end with a small A in the NORTH and not with big AA, for whatever reason I do not know.

Can someone tell me and others why this was done and if it really matters if OM is spelled with AUM or OM, or Ram is spelled and pronounced as RAMA? What really matters, in my opinion, is the faith and devotion with which the name is pronounced! In this connection, I would like to tell an old village story:-

There was a shepherd who used to take care of the cows, buffaloes etc.taking them to the forest for grazing all day, as was the practise in the villages in olden times.

Once a group of sadhus came and had an overnight stay with this shepherd, who served them with food and provided whatever facilities he had available to them. In the morning, when the sadhus were departing on their onward journey, the shepherd approached the head sadhu and said: Sir, I have spent all my life grazing these cows and buffaloes, etc. and have done nothing to take care of my parlok. The sadhu was Krishn Bhakt so he said that he may continue the work he is doing and whenever he has a chance he should repeat the name of Krishnji, i.e. GOPAL GOPAL as his mantr.

The shepherd started to do this all day and night and now when his wife came with his food etc. she also brought some hot news of the village, like, that daughter of so and so ran away with the son of the dhobi, etc. etc. After a few days she noticed that her husband was not listening to her at all and was just repeating something. She got angry and quarelled with him. As a result he forgot the mantr and was very sad about it. He kept taxing his memory but he still could not remember the mantr.

Then one day a buffaloe, jumped into the river, and he heard the voice as CHhAPP and then he remembered that the mantr was something like GAPP or GAPPU and so he happily started repeating the name GAPPU GAPPU.

Now one day Bhagwan Vishnu and Laxmiji were flying over the earth in their VIMAN, inspecting as to how things were going and then Bhagwan said to Laxmiji that this fellow down there is a very great devotee of me. Laxmiji then noticed that the fellow was saying GAPPU GAPPU, how can he be a great devotee. Bhagwan said yes he is. So Laxmiji said that she wanted to find out the reality herself.

NOTE; Before I proceed further with the story, please understand that in UP in the village language some sort of epithet is used as KHASAM for the husband>

So, Laxmiji dressed herself as a very poor village woman and approached the shepherd and asked him that whose name he was chanting. The shepherd did not pay any attention to the woman and continued with his chanting.

Laxmiji went away and then next day again she came as a poor woman and asked him as to whose name he was chanting.

Thereupon, the shepherd got angry at this disturbance in his jap, and he angrily said to the woman that he was chanting the name of her KHASAM. TERE KHASAM KAU NAAM JAP RAHO HOON!

So, Lakshmiji on hearing this answer became speechless and got confirmation of what Bhagwan had told her and therefore we can well say WHAT IS IN A NAME!




On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 9:47 PM, bhagavaandaas tyaagi wrote:

ABOUT " AUM " ---------- In Hindi / sanskrit / Devnagri, अ + उ = ओ , अ + ऊ = औ very true BUT

ओंठ = onth. not aunth. We do not write अउठ in hindii then why in english AUTH. ??? ; ओखली = okhali not aukhali ; We do not write अउखली in hindii then why in english AUKHALI??? ओज = oj not auj ; We do not write अउज in hindii and in Sanskri`t then why in english AUJ ??? ओला = olaa not aulaa ; We do not write अउला in hindii then why in english AULAA ??? in the same way ॐ , ओम् = om NOT "AUM". We do not write अउम् in hindii and in Sanskri`t then why in english "AUM"
ॐ , ओम् = om We do not write अउम in hindii and in Sanskri`t then why in english AUM ???

ॐ , ओम्,ओ३म IS NOT "AUM". which is wrong, absolutaly wrong---but millions of people are writing " AUM " instead of --- OM ---to spoil HINDUU RELIGION AND CULTURE

राम = RAAM | रामा = RAAMAA | योग = YOG | योगा = YOGAA | वेद = VED | वेदा = VEDAA | धर्म = DHARM | धर्मा = DHARMAA ETC. ETC.

The most sacred symbol in Hindu dharma. Aum is the sound of the infinite. Aum is said to be the essence of all mantras, the highest of all matras or divine word (shabda), brahman (ultimate reality) itself. Aum is said to be the essence of the Vedas.
By sound and form, AUM symbolizes the infinite Brahman (ultimate reality) and the entire universe.
A stands for Creation
U stands for Preservation
M stands for Destruction or dissolution
This is representative of the Trinity of God in Hindu dharma (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva)
The three portions of AUM relate to the states of waking, dream and deep sleep and the three gunas (rajas, satva, tamas)
The three letters also indicates three planes of existence, heaven (swarga), earth (martya) and netherworld (patala)
All the words produced by the human vocal organ can be represented by AUM. A is produced by the throat, U & M by the lips
In the Vedas, AUM is the sound of the Sun, the sound of Light. It is the sound of assent (affirmation) and ascent (it has an upwards movement and uplifts the soul, as the sound of the divine eagle or falcon.

all these EXPLATIONS ARE FOISTS AND ABSURD--- can i say --- in aum---a--- stands for---ABSURD , u stands for--ugly-- , ---m -- stands for --- mad --- what will be the answer of those who write ---om---as aum---




अ = a , आ = aa , इ = i , ई = ii , उ = u , ऊ = uu , ऋ = ri` ( रि = ri , री = rii , ऋ =ri` )
ए = e , ऐ = ee or ai , ओ = o , औ = oo or au , अं = an , अ: = a: ]

क = k , ख = kh , ग = g , घ = gh ङ =n. ||| च = ch , छ = chh ज = j , झ = jh , ञ = n`
ट = t. , ठ = th. , ड = d. , ढ = dh. , ण = n~||| त = t , थ = th , द = d , ध = dh , न = n

प = p , फ = ph , ब = b , भ = bh , म = m ||| य = y , र = r , ल = l , व = v , श = sh

ष = sh. स = s , ह = h , क्ष = ksh , त्र = tr ||| ज्ञ = jn.. , श्र = shr , ड़ = ad , ढ़ = ad. ] }

PLEASE NOTE :--हिंदी should be Hindii not Hindi which is = हिंदि ||| हिंदू should be Hinduu not Hindu which is = हिंदु-------


Friday, June 25, 2010



RE: [aryayouthgroup] Re: God as Described in Vedas

Prem Sabhlok Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 11:40 PM
Reply-To: aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com
To: aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com, B-16 V RP Lahiri
Cc: askpublications@yahoo.com, Ind 51 VIJI 123 , agniveer Vedas , Arya K Ahluwalia

The study of Vedas is the supreme virtue. (Bhagavad-Gita)

It is high Time Vedic thoughts, teachings and guidelines reach each and every house/home to save mankind from self destruction and also to revive Vedic Civilization to assist the Supreme Reality in the maintenance of Thy Grand wondrous Design.

The Supreme Reality as described in Vedas

In the Vedas the Universal God (Brahman) is formless, ineffable (nirguna) and Unmoved Mover. As Sankracharya says, “ to describe Brahman even the words recoil.”
However, based on the Vedic metaphysics whatever description of God is given, it can at best be a glimpse of His omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. He makes Himself felt whether as Adrsta - unseen cosmic power or the Supreme Reality as impersonal God. It is mainly because human senses and reason cannot analyze Him.

Rig-Veda 1-164-46 and Y.V 32-1 clearly mention that God is “One”; wise men call Brahman by different names. The souls in all human beings are the subtle particles (ansh) of the same Supreme Soul- Paramatma.

Since the entire cosmos and universe both visible and invisible continues to expand and is described as Brahamand so the Vedic metaphysicists and wise sages (rsis and munnies) found an appropriate epithet for the nameless God as Brahman. In the Rig Veda He is also mentioned as Vishnu- one who spread in Viswa. In Yajur and Atharva Vedas epithets for God are mentioned as Shiva, Shankar Brahma and Shambhu.

Upanishads describe Nirguna Brahma- the ineffable God as, “Whole is that, whole too is this and from the whole, whole cometh and take whole, yet whole remains."

A few Vedic hymns can be mentioned for proper understanding of Nirguna Brahma who is the Universal God.
Rig Veda 6-15-13, 14 mentions that He is a pure illuminator, unifier, remover of all miseries, commands all to observe non-violence and other rules of righteousness, which are a-priori principles beyond any sense experiences.

Rig-Veda 6-47-18 says that for each form, He is the Model. It is His Forms that are to be seen everywhere, in spiritual and material things. His Spirit exists in all animate and inanimate life/things but is manifest in the human beings where God dwells in their hearts (Sama Veda 860). A similar description that He dwells in the human hearts is also there in Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bahgavatam. Rig Veda 1-9-5 and 6 mentions that God is the Lord of knowledge, infinite wisdom and material wealth. He pervades the matter and the whole space (A.V.19-20-2). Hence matter is not inert and has unsuspected vitality.

All the four Vedas describe that He and His cosmic laws (Rta) are the same. Those who follow His laws and commandments can realise Him in one birth. He is unborn (ajo) and incarnation of God as a human being is not visualised (Y.V.34-53, 40-8 and A.V. 10-23-4). He lives within you and you live within Him as one of His tiny living cells.

Nevertheless, the highest concept of divine mercy is reached that HE permits His children all things to be said about Him even if you do not believe in Him. Thus, toleration is an important teaching of Vedic metaphysics. Vedic hymns clearly mention that He is at your disposal but on His terms and not your terms. He expects you not to disturb violently His Design of the earth and the universe.

Every thing belongs to Him, we use it only temporarily, whether it is food, air, water and He expects all of us not to over use these (Sama Veda 274). We should keep wealth and all material possessions only for our preservation lest we become exploiters by taking away some one else’s share. Sama Veda 274 clearly advises need-based living.
According to Rig Veda 10-90-13 to 17, the entire universe is His body. Sun and Moon are His eyes, Earth is His feet and Heaven is His head. Our eyes can see 1/4th of Brahamand (entire cosmos within and beyond visual range). He acts by the necessity of His nature. His decrees are eternal truths and with dedicated and transcendental research, all these truths can be found out for the welfare of self, society and mankind

Yajur Veda 40-5 tells us that He is within the entire universe and surrounds it externally. For those who want to realise Him, they have to follow the path of moderation, righteousness and cosmic laws of necessity (Rta), which are permanent truths and His Commandments. Kena Upanishad 2-5 mentions that God can be realised in one life. If you do not realise in one life, you are a great loser.

The most beautiful description of Brahma is given in the Vedantic School of Indian philosophy, based on Upanishads. There was neither being nor not being, neither vayu (air) nor akash (ether) which is beyond...neither death nor immortality existed, no distinction was yet between day and night, darkness was first concealed in darkness and all this was indiscriminate chaos. In that stage of shuniya (cosmic void), apart from that nothing was there whatsoever. It was when desire as the perennial germ of the mind arose for the first time and the entire cosmos was born out of cosmic Golden Egg (Hiranya garbha). The One, which was covered by cosmic Void (shuniya), was manifested through the light of Tapas (spiritual fire) (R.V X-129-1 to 3).

Thus the One Lord of all that moves and that is fixed, of what walks, what flies became the Lord of all this multiform creation (R.V. III-54-8).

The Cosmic Word OM becomes the raft of knowledge. According to Yajur Veda XL-17, this word OM is Brahma Itself. "OM Khamma Brahma"- OM Thy name is Brahma. Through this Word, He not only created Prakrti and Universe but also protects the same with the divine energy coming out of Shabad Brahma. This cosmic word OM is from the root Ava (to protect).

His all Forms are supreme in design and beauty. As He pervades every where and all material objects are His manifestations, so in this phenomenal world, we can see Him through many forms like the Sun, Moon, mountains, sea and even human beings etc., but He remains Formless. Thus His forms are His creative art Maya (R.V. VI-45-16, VI-47-18. S.V. 1710 and A.V. VI- 36-3). As God’s attributes are infinite being ineffable, the hymns at best only give glimpses of His attributes.

Those who believe in one formless and ineffable God, invariably follow the philosophy of Vedic Iddm Nan Mam- nothing for self all for society.

The believers of One God are invariably transparent and follow the path of truth and non-violence in thought and action.

It is thus quite apparent for the entire mankind that movement is generally towards pluralism, animism, fanaticism, fundamentalism, gurudom, kingdom of priests and extreme materialism. It is for the mankind to decide to live without His divine guidance owing to the vehement effect of Maya- a huge cosmic saw with sharp teeth OR to pass through the gap between these teeth and seek the only One Supreme Realty and remain under His divine guidance by following His commandments and laws. All the main scriptures of major religions have confirmed based on transcendental research that He is pure love, merciful, benevolent and perfect knowledge. Knowing Him is bliss and not knowing Him is ignorance and misery.
For more details about Vedic God kindly read chapter 8 of “Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics” for on line reading/taking print at no cost on Website
http://www.sabhlokcity.com/metaphysics. The book can also be accessed through google.com, yahoo.com and lulu.com. Kindly render divine social service and forward this e-mail to the seekers of Vedic knowledge.
With kind regard,
Prem Sabhlok


Kindly feel free to improve this Vedic message strictly based on Veda mantra/riks/hymns.

2. Incidentally the latest Free e-book on Science of Good Governance and Administrative Reforms in India by an Ex- IAS officer is now available on Website http://bfn.sabhlokcity.com.

To: rplahiri@gmail.com
CC: askpublications@yahoo.com; aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com; viji123@yahoo.com; agniveer@agniveer.com; kahluwalia@rogers.com
From: bcmerja@gmail.com
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2010 10:14:15 +0530
Subject: [aryayouthgroup] Re: God

I think Satyarth-Prakash of Swami Dayananda would be useful. Pl get it and read its 7th chapter very carefully with open mind.
= Bhavesh Merja

On Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 9:36 PM, RATHINDRA PRASAD LAHIRI wrote:


Uplifted souls,
I want to understand the concept of God.
Can any one give me the clear rational concept of God and the activies which some (or many) believe are God's actions.
Please give me the clear concept in very simple terms without quoting any religious books or hymns (or slokas).It will be better if the explanation may be based on scientific truths as are known till date.
Deep reverance to all,

Manage your finance and manage money through MSN Money Special Drag n’ drop

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

whooping cough now epidemic in california

Whooping Cough Now Epidemic in California
Inadequate Vaccination Coverage at Least Partly to Blame, Officials Say
MedPage Today Senior Editor
June 24, 2010—

California is facing what could be the state's biggest outbreak of pertussis since 1958, according to its top public health official. This contagious disease is more commonly known as whooping cough due the distinctive whoop that occurs when sufferers cough and gasp for breath.

"Whooping cough is now an epidemic in California," said Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, in a statement. "Children should be vaccinated against the disease and parents, family members and caregivers of infants need a booster shot."

As of June 15, a total of 910 cases had been confirmed in the state. Another 600 suspected cases are currently being investigated by local health officials, the statement indicated.

The number of pertussis cases is now on a pace to surpass the total of 3,182 seen in the most recent major outbreak, which occurred in 2005, said Ken August, spokesman for the department.

August told MedPage Today that 1,200 cases were recorded in 2005 as of mid-June, meaning the state would probably exceed that this year.

The highest yearly total on record is 3,837 cases, seen in 1958.

So far this year, five children have died, all infants younger than three months.

Dr. Blaise Congeni of Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio said he wasn't surprised, as higher-than-usual numbers of pertussis cases have been reported across the country.

"We are having an outbreak in Ohio," though not as severe as in California, he said.

Oregon public health officials have also reported an unusually high number of pertussis cases in that state.

Both Congeni and August noted that pertussis tends to wax and wane in cycles. But gaps in vaccination coverage may also be playing a role, particularly in California.

Whooping Cough in California Worries Officials
"California is the epicenter of vaccine refusal" in the United States, said Congeni.

Although outright refusal as well as so-called designer schedules for vaccinations that deviate from evidence-based recommendations are occurring throughout the country, including Ohio, "it's not as much as what my colleagues in California tell me," Congeni said.

August explained that California requires that children receive the full slate of vaccinations for pertussis, measles, and other infectious diseases before they can attend school. But the requirement is waived if parents file a "personal belief exemption" (PBE), which need not be based on religion or medical necessity.

He said that the overall rate for PBEs among the state's roughly 7,200 schools is about 2 percent.

But rates are much higher in some schools. Records for 2009 indicated that close to 175 schools had PBE rates of 20 percent or more. A few had rates above 70 percent.

Researchers have found that vaccination rates of at least 93 percent are needed to ensure so-called herd immunity against pertussis, which prevents the disease from spreading quickly to unvaccinated individuals.

However, August said that some parents may use the PBE to withhold just one vaccine from their children. Others may change their minds after filing a PBE and have their children fully vaccinated.

He also noted that, in severe outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, local school officials can declare a health emergency and require that all schoolchildren be vaccinated. Parents who insist on withholding vaccination must then keep their children out of school.

August said he was unaware of any such declarations in the face of the current pertussis outbreak.

The California public health department first warned of a pertussis spike in April, when the case count was running double the rate seen at the same time in 2009.

The current outbreak in California still pales against a major epidemic that swept England and Wales in the late 1970s and early 1980s, after pertussis vaccination coverage dropped to 30 percent in the wake of controversy over alleged vaccine reactions.

Whooping Cough Epidemics Follow Lax Vaccination Rates
From January to September 1982, for example, nearly 50,000 children and adults contracted the disease. As many cases were reported in a single week as are expected in California for the entire year in 2010.

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures

Wednesday, June 23, 2010



Re: Re: [gita-talk] Service Before Self has made our country-men devoid of self-respect!


---------- Original message ---- ------
From:"agrasen"< agrasen@gmail.com >
Date: 24 Jun 10 03:38:21
Subject: Re: [gita-talk] Service Before Self has made our country-men devoid of self-respect!
To: gita-talk@yahoogroups.com, sadhaka_insight@yahoo.com, sadhaka-owner@yahoogroups.com, YOGA4U@zeenetwork.com

The point raised by Lajmiji is quite clear and specific. The whole idea of service without self and our complete non-attachment to things worldly, has led to where India and Hindus stand today, i.e. Bharat has been invaded by the Moslems, British and everyone else; it has been divided into three pieces already and is on its way to further division, complete breakup in small pockets, islamization and as a result of our Hindu philosophy of no-desire, non-attachment, etc. etc. we are already being ruled by the Moslems through one family, as a fox in the garb of a lamb.
Is this what is acceptable to Swamiji that in a few decades or years, India becomes a Moslem country, just like Afghanistan and other countries, etc. Is that for which is the Hindu philosophy?
How on earth the Hindu philosophy, which we and everyone admires very much, has helped prosper India and the Hindu religion? Or is there some good going to come out of it in the opinion of Swamiji?
The Hindu philosophy would appear to be an other-worldly philosophy and perhaps we have no right to live on this earth planet respectably and should accept slavery at the hands of any invader, which has proven time and again from our history of thousands of years.
Is this the Hindu religion of which we are so proud? I suppose Swamiji should be able to answer these specific questions? Does Swamiji and other saints expect a miracle to happen to save Hindus by following its naiive and docile philosophy?
It is something like when your house is on fire or your near and dear ones or your countrymen are being shot, you do nothing, have no attachment, have no desires, and simply watch the game of your destiny!


On Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM, sadhak_insight wrote:

Dear Sir,
You are perhaps seeing the good of all,when you wrote about "The Importance of serving"...
Unfortunately however recent happenings all over the world,show that this Importance of Serving, as taught by you and most of our philosophers is interpreted as servility...and the unassuming nature that our philosophers encourage,together,have perhaps resulted in Indians,over the centuries,
becoming a servile race...and treated as such all over the world...
Therefore,either this philosophy should be adapted to correct this sad image of Indians,in general, in this bad,wicked,greedy and immoral modern world.
Witness how servile and I daresay "stupid",our Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary and thereby the Indian Govt., and Indians as a people, come out on TV,for the entire world to see...in the face of bluff and bluster and most of the time,total lies,by Ministers and Secretaries of Other Countries...... !
Would you not do something to change/shed this image that we seem to be so proud of...? !
The entire world mocks at us...we keep pontificating while innocent Indians are persecuted and even murdered in Australia,the US,Russia,Europe,England especially a country we seem to adore even now...
Will you still continue preaching this "service before self" etc., philosophies even now...
Or would you now like to modify your pontifications in keeping with recent happenings in this world,or would you still say ..."Never mind, continue serving them,show them the other cheek too ..." ? !
Has our facile philosophy made our country-men devoid of all self-respect, scared and impotent ?
With kind regards,
Yogesh Lajmi.

Shree Hari Ram Ram
thank you for bringing up your concerns. To help address the issues you have raised, it will first be beneficial to point out specific statements that Swamiji has made that you need further explanation or understanding off? What particular points were you troubled by? Neither Swamiji nor anyone can respond to generalizations. Kindly share specifics. Thank you!
Gita Talk Moderators, Ram Ram


|| Shree Hari ||
Ram Ram

23rd June 2010, Wednesday, Jyeshth Shukla Dvadashi, Budhvar

Vikram Samvat 2067,Sri Krishna Samvaat 5236

The Importance of Serving - 2
The sentiments of serving will bring about detachment. If you fulfill your duties, do what is righteous, and serve others, then you will develop dispassion - "Dharma te birati jog tein gyaanaa" (Manasa 3/16/1). Just like Swayambhu Manu attained freedom from worldly desires by taking care of his subjects and doing what was beneficial for them, without any self-interest, and following the righteous path.

Hoyi ne vishaya biraag bhavan basat bha chauthpan;
hrdayam bahut dukh laag janam gayau haribhagati binu (Manas 1/142)

On developing detachment, he went to the forest with his wife. He ruled the kingdom for the benefit of the people, therefore he developed detachment. If he were to rule the kingdom for himself, then he would not have developed detachment. Wherever there is desire to take something, there is attraction that manifests over there. Attraction is an impression of delusion. The main way to recognize delusion is - "raago lingambodhasya". He who has attractions, is deluded.

Serving with a desire to take from the other, causes a connection , an affinity of "me" and "mine" with the body and things . He who does not even want to be acknowledged as one who serves, rather is only interested in seeing how the other person can be made happy, how they can get rest and relaxation, how something good and beneficial can happen for them, for all this only, he sees how all can be made happy with the body, mind, speech, wealth, knowledge, intellect, abilities, position, rights etc. In their mind is the sentiment that may all be benefited, such a person attains salvation.

Just like while while trying to stay afloat in the water if you pull the water towards you then you will drown, but if you push the water away from you with your hands and feet, then you will be able to stay afloat and not drown. And he who wishes to give and given only, he never drowns.

God and his devotees (saints and great souls), without any cause are the kind to serve everyone.

"Hetu rahit jag jug upkaari; tum tumhaar sewak asuraari (Manasa 7/47/3)

Therefore they are never bound. Why would they be bound; Simply by beholding them, man will be liberated! Because in them there is no selfishness. They have nothing to take from anyone at all. There is no desire to return a favor. Therefore by serving one will not get bound.

Question: Bharat muni out of compassion adopted the baby deer, but in his next birth he became a deer, why so?

Swamiji – First Bharat muni's aim was to only serve, but later on he developed attachment for the baby deer. The attachment became so intense towards the baby deer, that if the baby deer was not to be seen sometimes, he would become anxious in that separation, just like someone is anxious for his son. He used to remember how the baby deer used to play, how it used to climb into his lab, how he used to talk, how he used to want to be caressed, how he used to jump around and dance with joy – in this way, he used to remember him often. Due to this delusion and attachment, in his next birth he ended up becoming a deer, but not out of compassion.

His delusion and attachment was not out of compassion, rather it was out of mistake. As such the delusion was there from the beginning, that very same delusion took the form of compassion and manifested. It is due to delusion that one is bound. When there is submission out of compassion then one does not get bound.

If someone who is 80, 90 or 100 years old and he dies then one does not feel so sorry; however if a 25 years old youth dies then one feels very sad. Now think as to what the reason is behind this. The elders and grown-ups are very knowledgeable and wise and experienced. Their study is deep, therefore a lot more can be gained from them; then too one does not feel sorry when they die because now there remains no desire to take anything from them. Within the sentiments remain that now there will be nothing gained from them, therefore if they die then no problem. I have personally heard others saying that the death of an old man is like a marriage (an occasion to be rejoiced).

Similarly, a 20 year old man has been ill and bed-ridden for the last five years. All doctors have given up hopes and said he will not live much longer and at the age of 25 he dies, then one does not feel so sad about his dying. The reason is that one feels sad or suffers when there is something or the other to be gained from them, when there is hope of some service. This hope itself is binding. He who does not keep any hope or expectation from anyone, will not be bound. No one can bind him.

When a relative dies, then there is an anniversary event, charity, and some virtuous acts that are done. The meaning of this is that whatever was taken from them, we are repaying that debt, so that the debt is removed. The extent of pleasure that was gained from him, to that extent one remembers him, and to that extent his absence makes us sad.
The pleasures that are gained from feeding a small child while in your lap,the end outcome of that will be sorrow only. Worldly pleasures are the inertness of sorrow. By that pleasure, men will be bound with certainty. If you do not take that pleasure, rather you will only give pleasure, no one will have the strength to bind you. Wherever there is some selfishness or the other, where in the mind there is desire for taking pleasures, rest and relaxation, honor, fame etc., there it self is bondage.

Many years have gone by since I have been giving lectures, but where is the inertness of bondage, this I was unable to grasp quickly. Later on I came to know that the desire to take something or the other itself is inertness of bondage. It is such a rare point! If you become happy seeing anything in this world, then this too is experience of pleasures and will be binding.

If you desire favorable situations then sorrow will definitely come. Therefore at all times remain alert not to take pleasure from anyone, not to take rest and relaxation, not to take honor, not to take praise from anyone. We do not want to take anything from anyone at all. Where to take, there you will be trapped! Simply one must give and only give. One must serve and only serve. By serving the old debts will be paid off and by not desiring to take, new debts will not accumulate and we will be liberated.

From book "Saadhan, Sudha, Sindhu" in Hindi 181 by Swami Ramsukhdasji.

The same message is available in HINDI titled "Seva ki Mahatta - 2" at:


Related Link: http://www.swamiramsukhdasji.org
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Sunday, June 20, 2010



[aryayouthgroup] What Greatest Scientists and Scholars Say about Indian Wisdom!

Rameshwar Singh Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 6:54 PM
Reply-To: aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com

Please read below and appreciate the gifts from our rishis.
Please don't join gita-quran yahoogroup, which a creation by a fanatic Muslim to equate the great scripture of Gita with the rubbish quran.
R. Singh
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Sudhir-Architect
Sent: Sat, February 20, 2010 7:25:50 AM
Subject: [Branded Indian] Here is what greatest scientists, philosophers, writers etc say about the Indian wisdom --- Download the attached PDF

Read the quotes :

Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great

European philosophers look like schoolboys.

---- T. S. Eliot, one of the greatest modern American writers,

There is no language in the world, even Greek, which has the clarity and the philosophical precision of Sanskrit, and this great India is not only at the origin of everything, She is superior in everything, intellectually, religiously or politically and even the Greek heritage seems pale in comparison.

--- Frederich von Schlegel : Great German writer, critic, philosopher, philologist, the most prominent founder of German Romanticism

What we shall find
in Modern Physics is an exemplification,

an encouragement and

a refinement of old Hindu wisdom.
Julius R. Oppenheimer --(1904-1967), One of the world’s greatest physicists, known as ‘the father of the Atomic bomb’

One sentence of the Gita is worth the State of Massachusetts
many times over

--- Henry David Thoreau

To know more please download the book, 'What is India?', attached herewith.

Visit URL:


It has already been published in book form.

Why are we not teaching these facts about our motherland to our school children? Our leaders spend billions of rupees in promoting the culture, tradition and heritage of minority communities but forgetting our own profoundly timeless and secular wisdom and its significance for the modern world.

In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climes and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I am at it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night.

-------- Henry David Thoreau

Let's spread these quotes as much as possible.

Thanks & Regards,

Sudhir Srinivasan
B.Arch, Dip.ID, Dip.CAD, Dip.PM, AIIA, IIID, ARIAI
| Architect |

share your passions! Explore new interests.

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Bhavesh Merja Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 9:57 PM
Reply-To: aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com
Cc: aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com, aryasamajonline@yahoogroups.com

1) Only God (= Brahman) may be called Universal soul. He is 'sat' means existing eternally. He has His own real existence. He is neither 'false' nor 'maya'.

2) Consciousness in simple term is self - inherent - capacity to know. God and Soul(s) are two conscious and non-physical entities. Both are chetan. God is all-knowing = Sarvajya, and Soul is limited-knowing = alpajya. This is the fundamental difference between the two.

3) Universe = creation = jagat is created by God out of Prakriti = original eternal material cause. Prakriti is inert and unconscious subtle substance, physical = ajya = devoid of knowledge.

4) God is Omni-present, means He pervades every thing i.e. all Souls and entire cosmos.

5) 'Energy' as used by modern physicists is not God or Soul. It is used for subtlest physical material or attribute of any physical material. Mass and energy are basically same & convertible into each-other.

Things would be clearer if Maharshi Dayananda's Satyarth-Prakash (Light of Truth) is referred - particularly its 7th, 8th & 9th chapters.

= Bhavesh Merja

Friday, June 18, 2010


EVMs are unconstitutional; that’s why they would go soon

Besides the technical and legal considerations, there are larger constitutional issues involved in the use of electronic voting machines in elections. Use of EVMs for voting in elections is unconstitutional because they store votes only on electronic memory devices and infringe the fundamental rights of the voters. Here is how.

Under our constitution, “right to vote” is a legal right and not a fundamental right. A fundamental right is one guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. A legal right is one given by law. Right to vote is given under the Representation of People (R.P) Act to all Indian citizens over 18 years of age.

Significantly, while the vote per se is only a legal right, how that vote should be exercised by a voter is his/ her individual expression and that is covered by Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution, which guarantees fundamental rights to the citizens of the country. It is this fundamental right, the human right of a voter which is required to be preserved and expanded, if we want to make democracy vibrant and live.

Disclosure of assets and the criminal background of candidates

Relevant in this regard is the 2002 judgment of the Supreme Court of India in the case pertaining to disclosure of assets and the criminal background of candidates. The Supreme Court emphasized that the voter has the right to know the antecedents of the candidates before making his choice so that the choice is not mechanical but an informed choice.

The Supreme Court reasoned:

“Under our Constitution, Article 19(1) (a) provides for freedom of speech and expression. Voter’s speech or expression in case of election would include casting of votes, that is to say, voter speaks out or expresses by casting vote. For this purpose, information about the candidate to be selected is a must. Voter’s (little man-citizens’) right to know antecedents including criminal past of his candidate contesting election for MP or MLA is much more fundamental and basic for survival of democracy.”

Legal experts say that the emphasis should be on making this right absolutely free and transparent from all hurdles created by law and procedure. “A voter has the right to know that his vote which he exercised as a part of freedom of expression to sub-serve the democracy has really gone in favour of the candidate whom he/she has chosen. This right which is fundamental in nature and not merely a legal right is completely absent in the electronic voting system,” says Sanjay Parikh, Senior Lawyer, Supreme Court.

In the traditional paper ballot system, that fundamental right was preserved because a voter knew exactly how his/ her vote was recorded and counted. Seen in this light, the use of EVMs in Indian elections is liable to be held unconstitutional. There is a clear international precedent for this in the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in March 2009 which held use of electronic voting machines as unconstitutional.


Here are some extracts from the landmark Judgment that led to the discontinuation of EVMs in German elections.

“……..the Federal Voting Machines Ordinance is unconstitutional because it infringes the principle of the public nature of elections….The Federal Voting Machines Ordinance does not ensure that only such voting machines are used which make it possible to reliably examine, when the vote is cast, whether the vote has been recorded in an unadulterated manner. The ordinance also does not place any concrete requirements as regards its content and procedure on a reliable later examination of the ascertainment of the result…It was not sufficient that the result of the calculation process carried out in the voting machine could be taken note of by means of a summarising printout or an electronic display.”

Read the summary of the Judgment at the Court’s official website here:


The above observations and ruling also apply to the Indian context and constitution (or for that matter to any democracy in the world). The problems of lack of transparency, verifiability and traceability and in short, lack of public nature of and public control over elections are antithesis of a democracy. By inducting such EVMs and mindlessly insisting on their continuation, the Election Commission of India has greatly harmed the Indian democracy. It is for this reason that the continuation of Indian EVMs is untenable. They would be gone in less than two years either through legislation or a Court verdict. Efforts are afoot in all these directions and an exit-EVM order may be delivered much sooner.

And in the meanwhile, we seem to have become a role model for many dubious democracies of the world to follow our non-transparent, unverifiable, eminently “riggable” electronic voting system. This is a taunt that must make the mandarins of the Election Commission to squirm in discomfort.

I can be reached at nrao@indianEVM.com

This entry was posted on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 10:20 AM and is filed under COUNTDOWN. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, 45, is a leading election analyst and a political commentator in India.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010




agrasen Sun, May 23, 2010 at 7:37 PM
To: sher agrawal
Following the Buddha's Footsteps
Instilling Goodness School
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Talmage, CA 95481


As a child, Siddhartha the Buddha, was troubled by some of the same thoughts that children today have. They wonder about birth and death. They wonder why they get sick and why grandfather died. They wonder why their wishes do not come true. Children also wonder about happiness and the beauty in nature.

Because the Buddha knew what was in the hearts of children and human kind, he taught everyone how to live a happy and peaceful life. Buddhism is not learning about strange beliefs from faraway lands. It is about looking at and thinking about our own lives. It shows us how to understand ourselves and how to cope with our daily problems.


Life in the Palace

Buddhism is one of the major religions in the world. It began around 2,500 years ago in India when Siddhartha Gautama discovered how to bring happiness into the world. He was born around 566 BC, in the small kingdom of Kapilavastu. His father was King Suddhodana and his mother was Queen Maya.

Soon after Prince Siddhartha was born, the wise men predicted that he would become a Buddha. When the king heard this, he was deeply disturbed, for he wanted his son to become a mighty ruler. He told Queen Maya, "I will make life in the palace so pleasant that our son will never want to leave."

At the age of sixteen, Prince Siddhartha married a beautiful princess, Yasodhara. The king built them three palaces, one for each season, and lavished them with luxuries. They passed their days in enjoyment and never thought about life outside the palace.

The Four Sights

Soon Siddhartha became disillusioned with the palace life and wanted to see the outside world. He made four trips outside the palace and saw four things that changed his life. On the first three trips, he saw sickness, old age and death. He asked himself, "How can I enjoy a life of pleasure when there is so much suffering in the world?"

On his fourth trip, he saw a wandering monk who had given up everything he owned to seek an end to suffering. "I shall be like him." Siddhartha thought.


Leaving his kingdom and loved ones behind, Siddhartha became a wandering monk. He cut off his hair to show that he had renounced the worldly lifestyle and called himself Gautama. He wore ragged robes and wandered from place to place. In his search for truth, he studied with the wisest teachers of his day. None of them knew how to end suffering, so he continued the search on his own.

For six years he practiced severe asceticism thinking this would lead him to enlightenment. He sat in meditation and ate only roots, leaves and fruit. At times he ate nothing. He could endure more hardships than anyone else, but this did not take him anywhere. He thought, "Neither my life of luxury in the palace nor my life as an ascetic in the forest is the way to freedom. Overdoing things can not lead to happiness. " He began to eat nourishing food again and regained his strength.


On a full-moon day in May, he sat under the Bodhi tree in deep meditation and said. "I will not leave this spot until I find an end to suffering." During the night, he was visited by Mara, the evil one, who tried to tempt him away from his virtuous path. First he sent his beautiful daughters to lure Gautama into pleasure. Next he sent bolts of lightning, wind and heavy rain. Last he sent his demonic armies with weapons and flaming rocks. One by one, Gautama met the armies and defeated them with his virtue.

As the struggle ended, he realized the cause of suffering and how to remove it. He had gained the most supreme wisdom and understood things as they truly are. He became the Buddha, 'The Awakened One'. From then on, he was called Shakyamuni Buddha.

The Buddha Teaches

After his enlightenment, he went to the Deer Park near the holy city of Benares and shared his new understanding with five holy men. They understood immediately and became his disciples. This marked the beginning of the Buddhist community.

For the next forty-five years, the Buddha and his disciples went from place to place in India spreading the Dharma, his teachings. Their compassion knew no bounds, they helped everyone along the way, beggars, kings and slave girls. At night, they would sleep where they were; when hungry they would ask for a little food.

Whenever the Buddha went, he won the hearts of the people because he dealt with their true feelings. He advised them not to accept his words on blind faith, but to decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them. He encouraged everyone to have compassion for each other and develop their own virtue, "You should do your own work, for I can teach only the way."

He never became angry or impatient or spoke harshly to anyone, not even to those who opposed him. He always taught in such a way that everyone could understand. Each person thought the Buddha was speaking especially for him. The Buddha told his followers to help each other on the Way. Following is a story of the Buddha living as an example to his disciples.

Once the Buddha and Ananda visited a monastery where a monk was suffering from a contagious disease. The poor man lay in a mess with no one looking after him. The Buddha himself washed the sick monk and placed him on a new bed. Afterwards, he admonished the other monks. "Monks, you have neither mother nor father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will look after you? Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me."

The Last Years

Shakyamuni Buddha passed away around 486 BC at the age of eighty. Although he has left the world, the spirit of his kindness and compassion remains.

The Buddha realized that that he was not the first to become a Buddha. "There have been many Buddhas before me and will be many Buddhas in the future," The Buddha recalled to his disciples. "All living beings have the Buddha nature and can become Buddhas." For this reason, he taught the way to Buddhahood.

The two main goals of Buddhism are getting to know ourselves and learning the Buddha's teachings. To know who we are, we need to understand that we have two natures. One is called our ordinary nature, which is made up of unpleasant feelings such as fear, anger, and jealousy. The other is our true nature, the part of us that is pure, wise, and perfect. In Buddhism, it is called the Buddha nature. The only difference between us and the Buddha is that we have not awakened to our true nature.

Unit 2
Chapter 1

One day, the Buddha sat down in the shade of a tree and noticed how beautiful the countryside was. Flowers were blooming and trees were putting on bright new leaves, but among all this beauty, he saw much unhappiness. A farmer beat his ox in the field. A bird pecked at an earthworm, and then an eagle swooped down on the bird. Deeply troubled, he asked, "Why does the farmer beat his ox? Why must one creature eat another to live?"

During his enlightenment, the Buddha found the answer to these questions. He discovered three great truths. He explained these truths in a simple way so that everyone could understand them.

1. Nothing is lost in the universe

The first truth is that nothing is lost in the universe. Matter turns into energy, energy turns into matter. A dead leaf turns into soil. A seed sprouts and becomes a new plant. Old solar systems disintegrate and turn into cosmic rays. We are born of our parents, our children are born of us.

We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything. If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves. Understanding this truth, the Buddha and his disciples never killed any animal.

2. Everything Changes

The second universal truth of the Buddha is that everything is continuously changing. Life is like a river flowing on and on, ever-changing. Sometimes it flows slowly and sometimes swiftly. It is smooth and gentle in some places, but later on snags and rocks crop up out of nowhere. As soon as we think we are safe, something unexpected happens.

Once dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers roamed this earth. They all died out, yet this was not the end of life. Other life forms like smaller mammals appeared, and eventually humans, too. Now we can even see the Earth from space and understand the changes that have taken place on this planet. Our ideas about life also change. People once believed that the world was flat, but now we know that it is round.

3. Law of Cause and Effect

The third universal truth explained by the Buddha is that there is continuous changes due to the law of cause and effect. This is the same law of cause and effect found in every modern science textbook. In this way, science and Buddhism are alike.

The law of cause and effect is known as karma. Nothing ever happens to us unless we deserves it. We receive exactly what we earn, whether it is good or bad. We are the way we are now due to the things we have done in the past. Our thoughts and actions determine the kind of life we can have. If we do good things, in the future good things will happen to us. If we do bad things, in the future bad things will happen to us. Every moment we create new karma by what we say, do, and think. If we understand this, we do not need to fear karma. It becomes our friend. It teaches us to create a bright future.
The Buddha said,

"The kind of seed sown
will produce that kind of fruit.
Those who do good will reap good results.
Those who do evil will reap evil results.
If you carefully plant a good seed,
You will joyfully gather good fruit."

Chapter 2
Once there was a woman named Kisagotami, whose first-born son died. She was so stricken with grief that she roamed the streets carrying the dead body and asking for help to bring her son back to life. A kind and wise man took her to the Buddha.

The Buddha told her, "Fetch me a handful of mustard seeds and I will bring your child back to life." Joyfully Kisagotami started off to get them. Then the Buddha added, "But the seeds must come from a family that has not known death."

Kisagotami went from door to door in the whole village asking for the mustard seeds, but everyone said, "Oh, there have been many deaths here", "I lost my father", I lost my sister". She could not find a single household that had not been visited by death. Finally Kisagotami returned to the Buddha and said, "There is death in every family. Everyone dies. Now I understand your teaching."

The Buddha said, "No one can escape death and unhappiness. If people expect only happiness in life, they will be disappointed."

Things are not always the way we want them to be, but we can learn to understand them. When we get sick, we go to a doctor and ask:

What's wrong with me?
Why am I sick?
What will cure me?
What do I have to do get well?
The Buddha is like a good doctor. First a good doctor diagnoses the illness. Next he finds out what has caused it. Then he decides what the cure is. Finally he prescribes the medicine or gives the treatment that will make the patient well again.

The Four Noble Truths
1. There is Suffering Suffering is common to all.
2. Cause of Suffering We are the cause of our suffering.
3. End of Suffering Stop doing what causes suffering.
4. Path to end Suffering Everyone can be enlightened.

1. Suffering: Everyone suffers from these thing
Birth- When we are born, we cry.
Sickness- When we are sick, we are miserable.
Old age- When old, we will have ache and pains and find it hard to get around.
Death- None of us wants to die. We feel deep sorrow when someone dies.

Other things we suffer from are:
Being with those we dislike,
Being apart from those we love,
Not getting what we want,
All kinds of problems and disappointments that are unavoidable.

The Buddha did not deny that there is happiness in life, but he pointed out it does not last forever. Eventually everyone meets with some kind of suffering. He said:
"There is happiness in life,
happiness in friendship,
happiness of a family,
happiness in a healthy body and mind,
...but when one loses them, there is suffering."

2. The cause of suffering
The Buddha explained that people live in a sea of suffering because of ignorance and greed. They are ignorant of the law of karma and are greedy for the wrong kind of pleasures. They do things that are harmful to their bodies and peace of mind, so they can not be satisfied or enjoy life.

For example, once children have had a taste of candy, they want more. When they can't have it, they get upset. Even if children get all the candy they want, they soon get tired of it and want something else. Although, they get a stomach-ache from eating too much candy, they still want more. The things people want most cause them the most suffering. Of course, there are basic things that all people should have, like adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Everyone deserve a good home, loving parents, and good friends. They should enjoy life and cherish their possessions without becoming greedy.

3. The end of suffering
To end suffering, one must cut off greed and ignorance. This means changing one's views and living in a more natural and peaceful way. It is like blowing out a candle. The flame of suffering is put out for good. Buddhists call the state in which all suffering is ended Nirvana. Nirvana is an everlasting state of great joy and peace. The Buddha said, "The extinction of desire is Nirvana." This is the ultimate goal in Buddhism. Everyone can realize it with the help of the Buddha's teachings. It can be experienced in this very life.

4. The path to the end of suffering: The path to end suffering is known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It is also known as the Middle Way.

Chapter 3

When the Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park, he began the 'Turning of the Dharma Wheel'. He chose the beautiful symbol of the wheel with its eight spokes to represent the Noble Eightfold Path. The Buddha's teaching goes round and round like a great wheel that never stops, leading to the central point of the wheel, the only point which is fixed, Nirvana. The eight spokes on the wheel represent the eight parts of the Noble Eightfold Path. Just as every spoke is needed for the wheel to keep turning, we need to follow each step of the path.

1. Right View. The right way to think about life is to see the world through the eyes of the Buddha--with wisdom and compassion.

2. Right Thought. We are what we think. Clear and kind thoughts build good, strong characters.

3. Right Speech. By speaking kind and helpful words, we are respected and trusted by everyone.

4. Right Conduct. No matter what we say, others know us from the way we behave. Before we criticize others, we should first see what we do ourselves.

5. Right Livelihood. This means choosing a job that does not hurt others. The Buddha said, "Do not earn your living by harming others. Do not seek happiness by making others unhappy."

6. Right Effort. A worthwhile life means doing our best at all times and having good will toward others. This also means not wasting effort on things that harm ourselves and others.

7. Right Mindfulness. This means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds.

8. Right Concentration. Focus on one thought or object at a time. By doing this, we can be quiet and attain true peace of mind.

Following the Noble Eightfold Path can be compared to cultivating a garden, but in Buddhism one cultivates one's wisdom. The mind is the ground and thoughts are seeds. Deeds are ways one cares for the garden. Our faults are weeds. Pulling them out is like weeding a garden. The harvest is real and lasting happiness.


The Buddha spoke the Four Noble Truths and many other teachings, but at the heart they all stress the same thing. An ancient story explains this well.


Once a very old king went to see an old hermit who lived in a bird's nest in the top of a tree, "What is the most important Buddhist teaching?" The hermit answered, "Do no evil, do only good. Purify your heart." The king had expected to hear a very long explanation. He protested, "But even a five-year old child can understand that!" "Yes," replied the wise sage, "but even an 80-year-old man cannot do it."

Chapter 1
The Buddha knew it would be difficult for people to follow his teachings on their own, so he established the Three Refuges for them to rely on. If a person wants to become Buddhists take refuge in and rely on the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. These are known as the Triple Jewel. The Sangha are the monks and nuns. They live in monasteries and carry on the Buddha's teaching. The word Sangha means 'harmonious community'. The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha together possess qualities that are precious like jewels and can lead one to enlightenment.

A refuge is a place to go for safety and protection, like a shelter in a storm. Taking refuge does not mean running away from life. It means living life in a fuller, truer way.

Taking refuge is also like a man traveling for the first time to a distant city. He will need a guide to show him which path to follow and some traveling companions to help him along the way.

The Buddha is the guide.
The Dharma is the path.
The Sangha are the teachers or companions along the way.
There is a special ceremony for taking refuge with the Triple Jewel. With a sincere mind, one recites the following verse in front of an ordained monk or nun.
I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Dharma for refuge.
I go to the Sangha for refuge.

For a Buddhist, taking refuge is the first step on the path to enlightenment. Even if enlightenment is not achieved in this life, one has a better chance to become enlightened in a future life. One who take the precepts is called a lay person.

Chapter 2
All religions have some basic rules that define what is good conduct and what kind of conduct should be avoided. In Buddhism, the most important rules are the Five Precepts. These have been passed down from the Buddha himself.

1. No killing Respect for life
2. No stealing Respect for others' property
3. No sexual misconduct Respect for our pure nature
4. No lying Respect for honesty
5. No intoxicants Respect for a clear mind

No killing

The Buddha said, "Life is dear to all beings. They have the right to live the same as we do." We should respect all life and not kill anything. Killing ants and mosquitoes is also breaking this precept. We should have an attitude of loving-kindness towards all beings, wishing them to be happy and free from harm. Taking care of the earth, its rivers and air is included. One way that many Buddhists follow this precept is by being vegetarian.

No stealing

If we steal from another, we steal from ourselves. Instead, we should learn to give and take care of things that belong to our family, to the school, or to the public.

No sexual misconduct

Proper conduct shows respect for oneself and others. Our bodies are gifts from our parents, so we should protect them from harm. Young people should especially keep their natures pure and develop their virtue. It is up to them to make the world a better place to live. In happy families, the husband and wife both respect each other.

No lying

Being honest brings peace into the world. When there is a misunderstanding, the best thing is to talk it over. This precept includes no gossip, no back-biting, no harsh words and no idle speech.

No intoxicants

The fifth precept is based on keeping a clear mind and a healthy body. One day, when the Buddha was speaking the Dharma for the assembly, a young drunkard staggered into the room. He tripped over some monks who were sitting on the floor and started cursing loudly. His breath reeked of alcohol and filled the air with a sickening stench. Mumbling to himself, he reeled out the door.

Everyone was astonished at his rude behavior, but the Buddha remained calm. "Great assembly!" he spoke, "Take a look at this man! He will certainly lose his wealth and good name. His body will grow weak and sickly. Day and night, he will quarrel with his family and friends until they abandon him. The worst thing is that he will lose his wisdom and become stupid."

Little by little, one can learn to follow these precepts. If one sometimes forgets them, one can start all over again. Following the precepts is a lifetime job. If one kills or hurts someone's feelings by mistake, that is breaking the precepts, but it was not done on purpose.

Chapter 3

Buddhists do not believe that death is the end of life. When one dies, one's consciousness leaves and enters one of the six paths of rebirth.

Heavenly Beings
Asuras are beings who have many good things in life, but still like to fight. They appear in the heavens or on earth as people or animals.
Hungry ghosts are beings who suffer from constant hunger.
These are the six states on the wheel of life. At the top are the heavens, where everyone is happy. Below are the hells where the suffering is unbearable. Beings can rise or fall from one path to another. If one does good deeds, one will be born into the paths of gods, humans, or asuras. If one does evil deeds, one will be born into the paths of animals, hungry ghosts, or hell-beings. From one life to the next one can suddenly change from an human to an animal or from a ghost to a hell-being, according to the things one has done.
How to Escape the Turning Wheel

The wheel of life and death is kept turning by the three poisons of greed, hatred, and stupidity. By cutting off the three poisons, we can escape the wheel and become enlightened. There are four stages of enlightenment.

Buddhas- perfect in enlightenment.
Bodhisattvas- enlighten themselves as well as others.
Pratyekabuddhas- hermits who retreat from the world to enlighten themselves.
Arhats- enlighten themselves.
Unit 4
In Asia, it is considered the highest honor if a member of one's family leaves the home life. Westerners, however, may be shocked at the idea of anyone leaving their family to become a monk or nun. They may think this is selfish and turning one's back on the world. In fact, monks and nuns are not selfish at all. They dedicate themselves to helping others. They don't wish to own a lot of things, or to have money or power. They give these things up to gain something far more valuable--spiritual freedom. By living a pure simple life with others on the same path, they are able to lessen their greed, hatred, and ignorance.

Although monks and nuns live in a monastery, they do not entirely give up their families. They are allowed to visit and take care of them when they are ill.

Chapter 1

A day in a temple begins early for monks and nuns. Long before daybreak, they attend morning ceremony and chant praises to the Buddha. The ceremonies lift one's spirit and bring about harmony. Although the Sangha lead simple lives, they have many responsibilities to fulfill. Everyone works diligently and is content with his or her duties.

During the day, some monks and nuns go about teaching in schools or speaking the Buddha's teachings. Others may revise and translate Buddhist Sutras and books, make Buddha images, take care of the temple and gardens, prepare for ceremonies, give advice to laypeople, and care for the elders and those who are sick. The day ends with a final evening ceremony.

In the daily life of work and religious practice, the monks and nuns conduct them-selves properly and are highly respected. By leading a pure, simple life, they gain extraorinary insight into the nature of things. Although their life is hard and rigorous, the results are worth it. It also keeps them healthy and energetic. The laity, who live in the temple or visits, follows the same schedule as the Sangha and works along with them.

Chapter 2

Ideally, monks and nuns own only a few things, such as robes and an offering bowl. While most people spend lots of time and money on their hair, Buddhist monks and nuns shave their heads. They are no longer concerned with outward beauty, but with developing their spiritual lives. The shaven head is a reminder that the monks and nuns have renounced the home life and are a part of the Sangha.

Offering food to monks and nuns is a part of Buddhism. In Asia, it is not unusual to see monks walking towards the villages early in the morning carrying their offering bowls. They do not beg for food, but accept whatever is offered. This practice not only helps the monks and nuns to be humble, but gives laypeople an opportunity to give. In some countries laypeople go to the monastery to make offerings.

The robes of monks and nuns are simple and made from cotton or linen. Their color varies according to different countries. For instance, yellow robes are mostly worn in Thailand, while black robes are worn in Japan. In China and Korea, gray and brown robes are worn for work, while more elaborate robes are used for ceremonies. Dark red robes are worn in Tibet.

Robes and offering bowls are very important to monks and nuns. The Buddha said, "Just as a bird takes its wings with it wherever it flies, so the monk takes his robes and bowl with him wherever he goes."

Chapter 3

The laity are very important in Buddhism, for they are the supporting members of the Buddhist community. They build the temples and monasteries and give offerings of food, robes, bedding, and medicine to the monks and nuns. This enables the Sangha to carry on the Buddha's work. In this way the Sangha and laity benefit each other and together keep the Dharma alive.

In Buddhism, it is also important to support the poor and needy. Giving to support religious people, however, is considered a very meritorious deed. The Buddha not only encouraged giving to Buddhists, but to any spiritual person who is sincere.

The Buddha taught his disciples to be tolerant of other religions. For example, when one lights a candle from the flame of another candle, the flame of the first candle does not lose its light. Instead, the two lights glow more brightly together. It is the same with the great religions of the world.

Whether one is a member of the Sangha or a lay person, the ideal is to practice Buddhism for the sake of all.


Chapter 1

In the centuries following the Buddha's lifetime, his followers faithfully preserved his teachings and spread them to many countries in Asia. Today, there are two main schools of Buddhism: Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada means 'the teaching of the Elders'. Theravada monks follow the practices that have been passed down by the senior monks from the Buddha's time, such as living in the forests and meditating. The goal in Theravada Buddhism is to become an Arhat, a person who is free of suffering. Theravada is practiced mainly in southern Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar (Burma).

Mahayana stresses following the Buddha's example of going out into the world and doing good. Mahayana means 'Great Vehicle'. The goal in Mahayana Buddhism is to follow the Bodhisattva Path. A Bodhisattva is one who enlightens oneself as well as others. In Mahayana Buddhism, there are many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It mainly spread to northern Asian countries like China, Tibet, Korea, Vietnam and Japan. Recently, both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism have been introduced into the West.

Chapter 2

In this unit, we will pretend to visit different Buddhist temples. When visiting a temple, we should dress modestly and follow the rules and customs of the temple. Buddhists pay their respects to the Triple Jewel by facing the altar and bowing when entering the temple. Visitors may join in the worship rituals or just watch quietly.

In Buddhism, the monks and nuns are treated with great respect. They sit or stand in front of everyone else and take their food first. When we talk to them, we should put our palms together and speak politely.

Theravada Buddhism

Our first visit is to a Theravada Buddhist monastery in the forest in Thailand where only the monks live. We sit in the quietness of a small bamboo temple built on stilts, surrounded by the sounds of chirping birds and rustling trees. A young monk who is our guide explains to us. "The monks live alone in huts called 'kutis'. They are built on stilts to keep the animals and insects out. There they practice sitting and walking meditation, which is very important for their spiritual life. In front of each hut is a path for walking meditation. The monks sweep them clean to keep from stepping on insects and killing them."

The guide continues, "Early in the morning and in the evening, the monks meet together for meditation and recitation. After the ceremonies called pujas, they study the Dharma. Before entering the temple they wash their feet with water carried up to the monastery from a stream below. It is traditional for the monks and nuns to live in the forest as part of their early training. The older ones, however, are not required to do so. Some monks and nuns may live all their lives in the forest, while others live in the temples in towns and cities.

Someone asks, "Living in the jungle, aren't you afraid of tigers?"

The monk answers, "Sometimes, when the monks are walking in the jungle, they sense tigers following them. But since they hold the precept of no killing, they're not afraid and the tigers know they will not be harmed."

Tibetan Buddhism

Next we will visit a Tibetan temple. A young Tibetan boy named Lobsang is our guide. He smiles as he talks, "Our temple is very colorful. It is decorated with many kinds of Buddha images and wall hangings called thankas. On the altars are beautiful lamps and incense holders. Big prayer wheels are set into the walls of the temple. Mantras, written on strips of rice paper, are placed inside the wheels. They are symbolic phrases with deep spiritual meanings. We recite them over and over as we turn the prayer wheels. There are also hand-held prayer wheels that people whirl as they walk about.

"To us Tibetans, Buddhism is a happy religion. My favorite days are the festivals. People in masks and costumes act out dramas about the life of the Buddha. Bright, new prayer flags are hung on these days. They blow in the wind along the hillsides and remind us to live in harmony with nature. Now that your visit is over, may you go with the spirit of the Buddha."

Japanese Buddhism
At a Japanese temple, we are met by Taro. She will tell us about her Sunday School: "We chant 'Namo Amida Butsu' to show our gratitude to Amida Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light. We believe that by reciting his name we will have a good life and be reborn in his Western Pure Land. You can see a statue of Amida in the front of the hall. On the altar you can see other beautiful things, but the most important is the offering of rice cakes.

"I will tell you why. Rice is very important to Asian people. If you were to ask a young Japanese boy or girl, 'What did you eat today?' He or she would probably say, 'Rice'" When we see rice offered, it reminds us to offer our best to the Buddha. In Sunday school, we sit in meditation on cushions called zafus. Japanese meditation is called zen.

Chinese Buddhism

Today we are visiting a Chinese-American monastery in California. It is called the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. There are over ten thousand small Buddha statues inside the main worship hall. Our guide is a young novice named Gwo Cheng from mainland China. She came to the United States when she was 10 years old and became a novice at age 11.

Gwo Cheng: "The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a Buddhist community where people from all over the world come to study Buddhism. The City has its own schools, but you do not have to be a Buddhist to attend our schools or to live here.

"A day at the temple begins at 4:00 a.m. with the morning ceremony. After that we bow, sit in meditation, and recite Sutras. These ceremonies lift everyone's spirits and help us live together in harmony. We do our ceremonies in both English and Chinese. There are many ceremonies throughout the day. We finish off the day with an evening ceremony and a Dharma talk.

"Everyone goes to work or school at 8:00 in the morning. In our school, we learn the way of truth and goodness We also learn both Chinese and English. We young novices attend school and are in training to become nuns. We can become fully ordained nuns when we are twenty-one, so we have time to make up our minds. We are not expected to do everything the nuns do, but we do our best. At first it was difficult to get up so early and to sit in meditation, but now we are used to it. It's a healthy life!

"After school, we help with the temple duties and do other chores. I really like gardening and planting. Many people ask me if the novices ever have any fun. We do! We are very good friends and enjoy studying together. We go on walks and picnics and sing Buddhist songs. The nuns are always thinking of fun things for us to do. We also like to see our families who live here and visit with us."


Chapter 1

The Dharma reveals the Buddha's understanding of life. The Buddha instructed countless people, but he, himself, wrote nothing down, just as Jesus wrote nothing down. They both lived a complete life. His disciples remembered his talks and recited them regularly. These talks were collected into books called Sutras. There are many Sutras, so Buddhism does not have just a single holy book, like the Christian Bible or the Koran of Islam.

The first Sutras were written on palm leaves in Pali and Sanskrit, ancient Indian languages. They have been gathered together in a collection called the Tripitaka, which means 'three baskets'. It is divided into three parts.

Sutra Pitaka~Sutras and their explanations
Vinaya Pitaka~Rules for monks and nuns
Abhidharma Pitaka~The psychology and philosophy of the Buddha's teachings
Buddhists treat Sutras with great respect and place them on the highest shelves in the most respected areas.
Chapter 2

Buddhist symbols have special meanings that remind us of the Buddha's teachings. The main room or building is called a shrine or a Buddha Hall. In the front of this room, there is an altar. There are many beautiful things on the altar. Here are some of them.

Images of the Buddha
Traditional offerings
Dharma instruments
Buddha Images
Some people believe that Buddhists worship idols, but this is not true. Buddhists bow or make offerings of flowers and incense in reverence to the Buddha, not to the image. When they do so they reflect on the virtues of the Buddha and are inspired to become like him. Buddha images are not necessary, but they are helpful. The most important thing is to follow the Buddha's teachings.

There are many different kinds of Buddha and Bodhisattva images that show different qualities. For example, a statue of the Buddha with his hand resting gently in his lap reminds us to develop peace within ourselves. A statue with the Buddha's right hand touching the ground shows determination.

Traditional Offerings

Traditional offerings are to show respect to the Buddha.

Flowers- are offered as reminders of how quickly things change
Light from lamps or candles- symbolizes wisdom
Incense- reminds one to be peaceful
Water- represents purity
Food- reminds us to give our best to the Buddhas.
Dharma Instruments
The instruments used in ceremonies and meditation are called Dharma instruments. Each instrument has a specific use. For instance, the wooden fish is hit to keep rhythm

Bells- gives signals in ceremonies and meditation
Drums-announces ceremonies and keeps rhythm
Gongs- announces ceremonies and activities
Wooden fish-keeps rhythm while chanting
Lotus Flower
The lotus flower represents enlightenment described in the poem.

The lotus has its roots in the mud,
Grows up through the deep water,
And rises to the surface.
It blooms into perfect beauty and purity in the sunlight.
It is like the mind unfolding to perfect joy and wisdom.

The Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi Tree is a pipal tree, a kind of fig tree found in India. After the Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree, it became known as the Bodhi Tree, the Tree of Enlightenment. It is located in Bodhgaya, where people visit to pay their respects to the Buddha. Although the parent tree is no longer alive, its grandchildren are still there.

The Buddhist Flag

As the Buddha sat beneath the Bodhi Tree after his enlightenment, six rays of light came out from his body and spread for miles around. The colors were yellow, blue, white, red, orange and a mixture of all the colors. The Buddhist flag was designed after these colors.

Stupas and Pagodas
Stupas and pagodas are monuments where the relics of the Buddha and high monks and nuns are kept so that people can show their respects. These relics are jewels that remain after cremation.

Chapter 3

Buddhists have many festivals throughout the year. These festivals celebrate events in the lives of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and famous teachers. During these occasions people can also take refuge and precepts, or leave the home life to become monks and nuns.

Buddha Day

For the Buddhist community, the most important event of the year is the celebration of the Birth of the Buddha, his Enlightenment and Nirvana. It falls on the full-moon day in May. On this day, Buddhists take part in the ceremonial bathing of the Buddha. They pour ladles of water scented with flowers over a statue of the baby Siddhartha. This symbolizes purifying one's thoughts and actions.

The temples are elaborately decorated with flowers and banners; the altars are laden with offerings; vegetarian meals are provided for all; and captive animals, such as birds and turtles are set free. This is a very joyous day for everyone.

Dharma Day

Asalha Puja, known as 'Dharma Day', is celebrated during full-moon in July. This holiday commemorates the first sermon of the Buddha to the five monks in the Deer Park at Benares.

Sangha Day

Sangha Day or Kathina Day is usually held in October. In the Theravada tradition, monks and nuns go on a three-month retreat during the rainy season. After the retreat, the laity offers robes and other necessities to them. This day symbolizes the close relationship between the Sangha and laity.


The observance of Ullambana is based on the story of Maudgalyayana, a disciple of the Buddha. When Maudgalyayana's mother died, he wanted to know where she was reborn. Using his spiritual powers, he traveled into the hells and found her suffering miserably from hunger. He brought her a bowl of food, but when she tried to swallow it, the food turned into hot coals.

The distressed Maudgalyayana asked the Buddha, "Why is my mother suffering in the hells?"

The Buddha replied, "In her life as a human, she was stingy and greedy. This is her retribution." He advised, "Make offerings to the Sangha. The merit and virtue from this act will release your mother and others from the hells." As a result of Maudgalyana's offering, his mother and thousands of others were released from their unhappy state. After this, making offerings to release departed relatives and others from the hells became popular in Mahayana countries. Usually, it takes place in September.


Chapter 1

Buddhism was first introduced into Sri Lanka from India in the 3rd century BC by Mahinda, the son of King Asoka. There it achieved great popularity and is still flourishing today.

In the early centuries AD, Buddhism was introduced taken to Southeast Asia by merchants and missionaries. The great monuments like Borobudur in Indonesia and Angkor Thom in Cambodia are evidence of the splendor of Buddhism in these regions.

In the 1st century AD, Buddhism reached China where many Sutras were translated into classical Chinese.

In the 4th century AD, Buddhism found its way to Korea and on into Japan.

Chapter 2

Even before the 17th century, people in the West heard of the Buddha and his teachings from early travelers such as Marco Polo and Christian missionaries.

By the early 20th century, many Europeans had traveled to the East to study Buddhism. Some of them became monks and inspired Buddhism in the West. In the 19th century, Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought many different traditions of Buddhism to America. Today, there are numerous Buddhist centers spread across Europe and North and South America.


The Buddha was a great storyteller and often told stories to get his message across. Stories were also told about the Buddha by his followers both to explain and understand the Dharma. These stories have been passed down to the present day and the most popular ones are the Jataka tales, a collection of hundreds of tales about the Buddha's past lives. They show the kind of life one should lead to become a Buddha one day. In many of these stories, the Buddha appears as an animal to teach the value of qualities such as kindness, compassion, and giving.

The Monkey King and the Mangoes

Once upon a time, the Buddha came into the world as a Monkey King and ruled over 80,000 monkeys. He was very tall and strong and had wisdom like the sun. In his kingdom on the banks of the Ganges River, there was a mango tree as big as the moon. The 80,000 monkeys jumped from branch to branch chattering and eating the lovely fruit that was big and sweet and delicious. Sometimes a ripe mango fell into the river.

One day, the Monkey King strolled downstream and came upon a river palace where a human king lived. "Soon danger will come if the mangoes float downstream," he told the monkeys. "Pick all the mangoes and flowers on the trees and take them deep into the forest."

But one mango, hidden by a bird's nest, was left unseen by the 80,000 monkeys. When it was large and ripe, it fell into the river and floated downstream where the human king was bathing.

The human king, who was very curious, tasted the beautiful mango. "This is delicious!' he exclaimed. "I must have more. Servants, find all the mangoes and bring them to me at once!"

Deep in the forest, the servants found hundreds of mango trees. In the trees were the 80,000 monkeys. When the human king heard about the monkeys, he was very angry, "The monkeys are eating my mangoes. Kill them all!" he ordered his archers.

"Very well," said the archers and chased the monkeys to the edge of the forest where they came to a deep cliff. There was no way for the monkeys to escape. Shivering with fright, they ran to the Monkey King asked, "What shall we do?"

"Don't be afraid. I will save you," said their king. Quickly, he stretched his huge body as far as possible and made a bridge over the cliff to a bamboo grove on the other side.

"Come monkeys, run across my back to the bamboo grove," he called. And so the 80,000 monkeys escaped.

The human king watched all that happened. He was amazed, "This Monkey King has risked his life to save his whole troop! And all I'm doing is being selfish. I have learned a great lesson." Then he called to his archers, "Put down your bows. It isn't right to kill this King of Monkeys."

Forgetting about the mangoes, the human king went back to his palace by the river and ruled kindly and wisely for the rest of his life.

The Deer King

Long ago in a forgotten forest, lived a deer named Banyan. He was golden like the sun and his horns glistened like silver. His body was as large as a colt and his eyes sparkled like jewels-alight with wisdom. He was a King of Deer and watched over a herd of 500 deer.

Not far away, another herd of deer was watched over by another golden deer named Branch. In the tall grass and shadows of the deep forest, the two herds lived in peace.

One day, the King of Benares was out on a hunt and spied the beautiful green forest where the deer lived. "What a perfect hunting ground!" he declared and into the forests he dashed with his thousands of hunters and came upon the two herds of deer. Without a moment's hesitation, he notched an arrow in his bow. Suddenly he spotted the two golden deer. Never had he seen such beautiful creatures! "From this day on," he commanded, "No one is to harm or kill these golden deer."

Thereafter, he came to the forest everyday and killed more deer than was needed for his dinner table. As the weeks went by, many deer were wounded and died in great pain.

Finally Banyan Deer called the two herds together, "Friends, we know there is no escape from death, but this needless killing can be prevented. Let the deer take turns going to the chopping block, one day from my herd and the next day from Branch's herd."

All the deer agreed. Each day the deer whose turn it was went to the chopping block on the edge of the forest and laid its head upon the block.

One day, the turn fell to a pregnant doe from Branch's herd. She went to Branch Deer and begged, "Grant that I be passed over until after my fawn is born. Then I will gladly take my turn."

Branch Deer replied, "It is your turn. You must go."

In despair, the poor doe went to Banyan Deer and explained her plight. He gently said, "Go rest in peace. I will put your turn upon another." The deer king went and laid his golden head upon the chopping block. A deep silence fell in the forest.

When the king of Benares came and saw the golden deer ready for sacrifice, his heart skipped a beat, "You are the leader of the herd," he exclaimed, "You should be the last to die!" Banyan Deer explained how he had come to save the life of the doe.

A tear rolled down the cheek of the king. "Golden Deer King," he exclaimed. "Among men and beasts, I have not seen one with such compassion. Arise! I spare both your life and hers.

"So we will be safe. But what shall the rest of the deer do?" "Their lives I shall also spare." "So the deer will be safe, but what will the other four-footed animals do?" "From now on they too will be safe." "And what of the birds?" "I will spare their lives." "And the fish in the water" "The fish shall be spared- all creatures of the land, sea, and sky will be free."

Having saved the lives of all creatures, the golden deer raised his head from the chopping block and returned to the forest.

The Wounded Swan

One day when Prince Siddhartha and his cousin Devadatta were walking in the woods, they saw a swan. Quickly, Devadatta drew his bow and shot the swan down. Siddhartha rushed to the wounded swan and pulled out the arrow. He held the bird in his arms and caressed it.

Devadatta angrily shouted at Prince Siddhartha, "Give me the swan. I shot it. It belongs to me!"

"I shall never give it to you, You will only kill it!" said the prince firmly. "Let's ask the ministers of the court and let them decide."

The ministers all had different views. Some said, "The swan should be given to Devadatta." Others said, "It should go to Prince Siddhartha." One wise minister stood up and said, "A life belongs to one who saves it, not to one who will destroy it. The swan goes to the prince."
Prince Siddhartha took care of the swan until it could fly again. Then he turned it loose so it could live freely with its own kind.

Aniruddha and the Golden Rabbit

Once there was a poor farmer who offered his only bowl of rice to a holy man who was even poorer than he. This meant he would have nothing to eat that day. He went back to his work and forgot all about having given his rice away. Suddenly a rabbit hopped alongside the farmer and jumped on his back. The surprised farmer tried to brush it off. He tried to shake it off, he tried to knock it off, but the rabbit would not bulge.

He ran home to his wife, crying, "Get this rabbit off my back!" By this time the rabbit had turned into solid gold! The wife flipped the rabbit into the air. It hit the floor with a "Crackkk!" One of its golden legs broke off and another one magically grew in its place.

From that day on, whenever the farmer and his wife needed money, they would break off a piece of the golden rabbit. And from that life onward, Aniruddha was never poor. This was his reward for giving.

Concentration on the Breath

A very simple way of meditating is concentrating on your breath. The breath is like a bridge between your body and mind. When you concentrate on your breath for a while, your body becomes relaxed and your mind becomes peaceful.

Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight.
Place your hands in your lap with the left hand on the bottom.
Keep your eyes half-closed or closed.
Concentrate on the tip of your nose. Notice your breath going in and out.
Lotus posture
Full lotus is the best sitting posture. Begin by sitting in half-lotus, then work your way up to full lotus.

Full-lotus- Sit on the edge of a cushion. Place your left ankle on your right thigh. Then lift your right ankle onto your left thigh.
Half-lotus- Lift your left ankle onto your right thigh.
Note: It is best to sit at the same time and place everyday. Increase your sitting time little
by little. You may sit in a chair or stand if necessary.

asuras: Beings who like to fight.
Bodhi tree: A pipal tree that is known as the 'tree of enlightenment'. The tree under which Gautama achieved enlightenment and became a Buddha.

Bodhisattva: A compassionate being who enlightens himself and helps others to be enlightened.

Buddha: The Enlightened or Awakened One. The word 'Bodhi' means to awaken.

Buddha Hall: The main room inside a Buddhist temple.

Buddha nature:

Dharma: Teachings of the Buddha

enlightenment: Understanding the truth of life, freedom from ignorance.

Five Precepts: The five rules of conduct given by the Buddha to his disciples: no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no false speech, no intoxicants.

Four Noble Truths: The first teachings spoken by the Buddha: the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the Path leading to the end of suffering.

hungry ghosts: Ghosts that suffer a lot because they are greedy.

Jataka tales: stories about the past lives of the Buddha.

karma: 'Action' or the law of cause and effect. For every action there is a cause.

Kathina: A 'festival of giving' held in autumn, where people make offerings to the monks and nuns.

lamas: Tibetan religious leaders.

lotus posture: A meditation posture.

lotus: The lotus symbolizes the purity of the Buddha. It grows out of mud, yet it is not defiled by it.

Mahayana: The tradition of Northern Buddhism.

mantras: Symbolic phrases that Buddhists chant.

meditation: A method of calming and training the mind.

Middle Way: The path in life prescribed by the Buddha, the path between extremes.

Nirvana: An everlasting state of great joy and peace.

Noble Eightfold Path: The Buddha's prescription for ending suffering. It is made up of eight parts: right views, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

offering bowl: A bowl that nuns and monks receive offerings in.

Pali: An ancient language of India that the Buddhist Sutras were originally written in.

Pratyekabuddha: Hermits who become enlightened by themselves.

puja: A Pali word for Buddhist worship.

Sangha: The community of Buddhist nuns and monks.

Sanskrit: An ancient language of India that the Buddhist Sutras were written in.

Six Perfections: The six ideals that a Bodhisattva perfects: giving morality, patience, effort, concentration, and wisdom.

stupas: Monuments to the Buddha

Sutras: The Buddha's teachings in writing.

thankas: Wall hangings found in Tibetan temples.

Theravada: The tradition of Southern Buddhism.

Three Refuges: The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

Tripitaka: The 'three baskets', a collection of the Buddha's written teachings.

Triple Jewel: The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

Ullambana: A Buddhist festival when offerings are given to the Sangha..

Wheel of Life and Death: The six worldly states of rebirth: gods, asuras, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell-beings.

zafu: A round meditation cushion used in Japanese Buddhism.

Zen: Japanese meditation.


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