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Buddhism and Common Wisdom: Memo for Discussion

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By:  Zorba Zorba

Author of this write-up still recalls that loud applaud in our national parliament after Shree Narendra Modi made a statement supporting the wonderful idea, Buddha was born in Nepal. Voices and Applaud in national parliament, in any west-ministerial democracy, can be fairly assumed as voices and applaud of general public. Majority views subsequent to Shree Narendra Modi speech on the fifth estate, that is, Internet, also appears as confirming to the above finding. Is saying “Buddha was born in Nepal” as simple as saying “Kathmandu is in Nepal”? The author here intends to initiate a discussion on this, in light of, inter alia, -(i) idea recognized by Majority of Buddhist sects on the nature and understanding of “Buddha” and (ii) some question the author here finds it interesting to initiate discussion upon. 


Buddha: A state, or a person?

Sanskrit word “Buddha” can be referred, primary as having two different following meaning – (i) Ultimate Truth or absolute mind, and (ii) one who has attained the ultimate realization of truth.In Nepal, as a matter of common wisdom, Buddha is misidentified as god born in Nepal and propounded the religion of Buddhism. The Nepalese common wisdom somehow tends to put the position of Buddha same as the (J)Esus born at (J)Erusalem;  and, identify him as person of similar virtue; or a savior. Even the Nepalese Buddhist communities worship the idol of Gautama the Buddha as if he is some Supreme Deity. Unlike the common wisdom, almost all sect under the Buddhism accepts the historical Buddha, born on or around 539 BC; neither as Supreme deity nor as savior who rescues many by taking upon himself the burden of sins as in Judeo-Christian tradition, rather accept him as a fully awakened human being, who attained liberation of body and mind through his own human effort and not by the grace of any supernatural being. This is just a shallow understanding on who is (the) Buddha. To understand it in broad sense ( in particular, limited sense is no sense under Buddhism) understanding the following statement is something prima facie : “We are all Buddha”. This sentence should be understood in the sense that POTENTIALLY every one is a Buddha that is, inherently endowed with unembellished Buddha nature but the candidates of the Buddha should at least follow all eight percepts and practice Meditation on regular basis so as to have strength to follow eight percepts and as a way toward attaining Buddhahood.The experienced masters (most of the sects under Buddhism emphasize the need of guidance of master who has realized enlightenment and experienced Buddh-nature in the process of meditation) generally maintains that anyone who has recognized Buddha-nature, however faintly, has realized the foremost stage of becoming Buddha (this attainment should not be confused with process of getting hold of human sense; from sixth to eighth human sense), since this realization is no difference in substance, however, the degree of perfection may vary similar like degree of perfection while comparing the mathematics teacher at school level and professor of math at university.   

Non-violence and Buddha as pride of Nepal:

We Nepali, in general, like to take pride on the fact Buddha, the one who preached the message of non-violence was born in Nepal and like to identify ourselves as the carrier of same message throughout the world and relate our country as land of Buddha. We are in reality in a virtual race to secure a proprietorship eligible to hold messenger-ship for this authority.  Any attempt by Indian media or politicians or actors to associate themselves with the land where Shakya Muni realized Buddha hood (nevertheless, this is also equally idiotic) is taken as something against sovereignty of Nepal. Interesting is our common wisdom which brings virtually every utterance relating to Buddha by someone in India should come under public scrutiny. Keeping aside this funny horrible, it is important at least to consider whether the birth place of Buddha being in Nepal is a result of violence or non-violence.Many wars has taken in this Bharatavarsha (areas of land bordered by Himalayas in the North, Indus plain in the North West, Malabar Coast in the south west, Chittagong Hill tracts in the North East, Coromaindel Coast in the east and Kanyakumari in the South) and different territories has been annexed, reclaimed, ceded and acceded by many kingdom under many dynasties from on or around 539 BC to present, and, for this reason, kingdom of the then Shakyamunis cannot be any exception. It can be said without doubt that birth place of Buddha falling in present day Nepal is a chance resulted by wars.  If basic minimum of non-violence is to be accepted, sovereign war in between nation can be taken as a manifestation of extreme forms of violence in between people associating themselves with a separate nation or country. So, non violence was not the mean that resulted birth place of Siddhartha to fall in present day Nepal but violence. Claiming Buddha was born in Nepal means tacitly accepting the glorification of violent past which enabled our ancestors to annex Kapila-vastu within territory of Nepal. A trouble, right?  If we have to accept the violent past of our ancestor’s,  our moral strength on non-violence gets discounted. On the other hand, if we have to accept non-violence and pay little obeisance to core of Buddhist value we will cede our moral strength to accept the valorized violent past of our ancestor and virtual proprietorship over Buddha.On the basis of above write up, intended to serve as basis of discussion; or, point of start- author here likes to initiate discussion, at least on following –(i) Does common wisdom in Nepal toward Buddha portrays Buddha as a Supreme deity who is to be worshipped, (ii) Whether the birth of Siddhartha on territory falling under present day Nepal anything to do with his later attainment of Buddha hood (iii) Does not portraying Gautama the Buddha as single Buddha in world by way of common wisdom discounts the very idea of Buddhism: Everyone is a potential Buddha or tantamount to a portrayal or expression:  there are no other Buddha in world beside Gautama the Buddha. 

Last Line: One among the many reason people exhibit their knowledge is doing so will give them a pleasure, joy. In other word, it nourishes the ego on the exhibitor. While the author aims to highlight some prevalent hypocrisy in common wisdom; he himself is nourishing his deep ego and feels guilty for being hypocritical while lamenting at hypocrisy. 

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Knowledge & Infos

What’s Special Today: November 10

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Chhath:

Historically native to the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand and the southern part of Nepal, Chhath is one of those festivals that transcends the caste system that exists in the society. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartik. The Chhath Puja is a 4-day long ritual specially offered to the solar deity, Surya, to show thankfulness for good health, good life and to request the granting of some certain wishes.

Day 1: On the first day, the devotees after bathing clean their house and eat the food that is offered to the god to protect the mind from the vengeful tendency.

Day 2: On the second day, the devotees are not allowed to drink even a single drop of water but, in the evening, they eat kheer made up of jaggery, fruits.

Day 3: The evening of the third day which is also known as sandhya ‘arghya’ day where a bamboo basket is decorated with various puja materials, fruits, thekuwa, and laddus which are offered as an ‘argya’ to the Sun. Also, the Chhathi Maiya is worshipped.

Day 4: On the last day of Chhath puja again an arghya is offered to the Sun God but this time in the morning. The devotees go to the riverbank to offer arghya to the rising sun and break their fast and conclude their four-day long worship.

Happy Chhath to everyone! Don’t forget to enjoy some thekuwas!!

World Keratoconus Day:

Every year on November 10, World Keratoconus Day is celebrated to focus global attention on keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders. The day was first celebrated by National Keratoconus Foundation.

Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to become weak, leading to the thinning and stretching of the cornea, which may result in the loss of vision. Keratoconus is degeneration of the structure of the cornea. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape which affects the vision. The keratoconus mainly develops in teenagers and young adults and the disease keeps on growing, if not diagnosed in time.  

The disease has no prevention and no treatment. With early diagnosis, the disease can be managed and further damage can be protected. In Nepal, the prevalence of Keratoconus is 1 in 2000 according to the recent journal. So, this world keratoconus day, make a commitment to visit an eye doctor once a year for the early diagnosis of keratoconus as well as other eye diseases.

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KMAG Online Writing Workshop reading materials

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Day 1

Covers communication and types of writing. Please check the following articles.

  1. What is communication and how to communicate effectively?
  2. Types of Writing

Also, check out: How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it)

Day 2

Covers content management system/WordPress, and how to introduce yourself. Please check the following articles.

  1. What is WordPress and How to work in WordPress
  2. How to introduce yourself.

Day 3-5

Covers the basics of expository writing and CV writing.

Day 6

Covers persuasive writing.Please check the following articles.

  1. HOW TO WRITE AN OP-ED: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  2. Handout of video class.

Day 7-9

Covers how to write research-based opinion writing.

  1. How to frame an argument
  2. How to write an opinion piece

Day 10

Personal journal writing (my diary)

Day 11-13

Figure of speech and rhetoric.

Day 14-16

How to frame questions.

  1. Art of questioning

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Types of Figure of Speech with examples (Part 1)

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Accumulation

Accumulation is a figure of speech, in which the points made previously are presented again in a compact, forceful manner. It often employs the use of climax in the summation of a speech.

Examples:

  1. We learned communication, we learned types of writing, we learned rhetoric, we learned figure of speech. In all this, we made new friends, we spent hours together.
  2. He founded Nepal; fought for unification, fought for diversity. Leaving wife and child home, he set to occupy the land of people, land of flowers and trees. And he built a country that we call Nepal.
  3. Your organization, your vigilance, your devotion to duty, your zeal for the cause must be raised to the highest intensity.” Winston Churchill, Speech, 14 July 1941. (This sentence comes after a lengthy passage in which Churchill warns the public that their courage and effort are still needed to defeat the enemy).

Adomination

A figure of speech that refers to the repetition of words with the same root word.

Examples:

  1. I will be somewhere, someday, settled with somebody in some place.
  2. I am nobody, reaching no where in this no man’s land.
  3. In the vastness of universe, I am vastly clueless.

Alliteration

A literary stylistic device, where a series of words in a row have the same first consonant sound.

Examples:

  1. Nepalese never nag about Nepal not nationalising.
  2. Looks like lion likes licking lizard.
  3. Come count my comb.

Adynaton

A figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to insinuate a complete impossibility.

Examples:

  1. I will meet you when sun rises from west.
  2. Before I finish the work, I will grow a horn.
  3. Stone will talk but she won’t.

Anacoluthon

Derives from the Greek word anakolouthon, literally means “lacking sequence”, is a figure of speech which consists in the abrupt disruption in syntax. Opens in new window resulting from two non-parallel grammatical constructions.

Examples:

  1. I am hungry – have you never played football?
  2. I miss the burgher at – did you see my daughter?
  3. Never in my life – what’s in your mind?

Anadiplosis

The repetition of the last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence..

Examples:

  1. It’s midnight. Midnight with stars. Stars with the moon. Moon looking at my window. Window hiding me.
  2. “Fear leads to angerAnger leads to hateHate leads to suffering.”
  3. “Your beliefs become your thoughtsyour thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Anaphora

A rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis.

Examples:

  1. When you felt like giving up, when you felt like crying, when you felt like hitting the wall, just do it.
  2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way
  3. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Anastrophe

A figure of speech in which the normal word order of the subject, the verb, and the object is changed.

Examples:

  1. Instead of I like Nepal, “Nepal I like.”
  2. World I want to change.
  3. I, her will keep loving till the end

Anti-Climax

It is when a specific point, expectations are raised, everything is built-up and then suddenly something boring or disappointing happens.

Examples:

  1. He killed the king, freed the people, and took the sword and killed himself.
  2. People, pets, batteries, … all are dead.
  3. He loved her so much …he killed her.

Anthimeria

is the usage of a word in a new grammatical form, most often the usage of a noun as a verb.

Examples:

  1. Can you please google to find out the meaning of “anthimeria”? (google is actually noun)
  2. The thunder would not peace at my bidding.
  3. Let’s do some eating. (verb being used as noun)

Antimetabole

the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order.

Examples:

  1. Eat to live, not live to eat
  2. All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime.
  3. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

Antistrophe

The repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences.

Examples:

  1. There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.
  2. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
  3. Nepal is beautiful. Nepalese are beautiful. Her style is beautiful. Her heart is beautiful.

Antithesis

is used in writing or speech either as a proposition that contrasts with or reverses some previously mentioned proposition, or when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect.

Examples:

  1. I am rich man who longs for a poverty.
  2. When in war, we long for peace; when in peace, we long for war.
  3. Let’s play with the fire to feel the rain.

Aphorismus

It often appears in the form of a rhetorical question which is meant to imply a difference between the present thing being discussed and the general notion of the subject. Statement that calls into question the definition of a word.

Examples:

  1. You eat meat and you call yourself animal lover?.
  2. How can you call this country a peaceful country when everywhere is chaos?.
  3. How am I even a writer with this kind of writing?

Aposiopesis

A figure of speech wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue.

Examples:

  1. Please leave my home or else – !.
  2. I want to go home now. If not.
  3. And she left with. I don’t even want to share.

Apposition

Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side and so one element identifies the other in a different way.

Examples:

  1. Nepal, my home, is where I want to die.
  2. My brother, Mr. Suresh, is joining me.
  3. Mr. Oli, a famous politician, is giving a speech.

Assonance

Repetition of vowel sounds

Examples:

  1. Reave, please leave.
  2. Hire and fire.
  3. Write so bright that it will frighten right.

ASTEISMUS (not needed but know it anyway)

he rhetorical term for achieving polite or soft mockery whereby the replier catches a sensitive word and redirects it back to the interlocutor with an unexpected twist. Example:

  • Judge: You’re charged with vagrancy. Are you guilty or not guilty?
    Ollie: Not guilty, Your Highness.
    Judge: On what grounds?
    Stan: We weren’t on the grounds. We were sleeping on the park bench.

Asyndeton

A literary scheme in which one or several conjunctions are deliberately omitted from a series of related clauses.

Examples:

  1. He ran, he climbed, he conquered .
  2. I wanted to participate, i made it.
  3. Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Cataphora

Co-reference of one expression with another expression which follows it, in which the latter defines the first. 

Examples:

  1. If you want to eat something, there is pizza in the freeze.
  2. If you want her, she is Ms. Lisa.
  3. He is an idiot. He is a douche. He is lazy. He is my friend, Nishant.

Climax

a figure of speech in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. Or say, a figure of speech in which successive words, phrases, clauses, or sentences are arranged in ascending order of importance, as in “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

Examples:

  1. When there is job, when there is peace, and when there is love, happiness occurs.
  2. We want freedom, liberty and democracy.
  3. Men and women are equal, but above, it’s the responsibility.

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