Friday, 28 May 2010

A Message to Me Sent by My Supervisor

Dear Ven. Janaka,
May I say in return what a pleasure it was reading your material. Both Andrew and I thought yours was particularly interesting. Even though the translations required detailed marking, which is hard when time is short and there are so many papers from larger courses to mark, marking these gave me the greatest pleasure.
I am copying Andrew in because he in fact gave the most detailed consideration to the texts.

I would like to ask you more about the dalhi-kamma, which seems - from what you have written - to be used differently in the Burmese-derived traditions of Sri Lanka, and other forms of strengthening the ordination. Perhaps I could return to the topic when we next meet and when - hopefully - I have finished all my marking! Recognising both your analytical ability and depth of knowledge also made me wonder about ways of extending this work - although perhaps you have other ideas of what you will do next - since you could clearly make very valuable contributions to Western understandings of Theravada Buddhism.

Your overall grade - subject to the external examiner's scrutiny - was a distinction at 71%. Your scholarship and erudition warranted a higher grade. It is the mode of expression that requires most improvement, as might be expected given that you are having to write about sophisticated matters in English. Congratulations.

With all good wishes, Kate


I am greatly encouraged by the positive comment of her response as if the cool mineral water in the creek flows into my burning head. An encouragement and mutual understanding between teacher and student plays a major role in the educational field. A student might be blamed or praised by the teacher who closely supervises or teaches him a relevant subject. 

Whether a blame or a praise, the teacher’s intention upon a student never leads to the wrong destination if a student willingly follows what the teacher instructs him. When being blamed, a student should regard himself as a sick person who is forced to take a strong bitter medicine which is very effective against any diseases he got suffered. Contrarily, when being praised, a student should behave himself as a healthy person who is served with a sweet honey which is incredibly nutritious.

Anyway, her comment makes me encouraged to continue my further study with her in long term, and I am confident of walking on my way to Ph. D.


Thursday, 27 May 2010

My Head Is Burning, but I Am Challenging

Day after day, the sun repeatedly rises in the east and sets in the west. I have consumed the time, two and half years under the four-season-country what we call it Britain. Within those periods, sometimes the aim and objective of what I came here is all but forgettable. Soon after I arrived here, I attended one of the English schools from which I had the benefit of language skill to some extent. Then I tried to take ielts exam three times. What I had achieved the highest score in the exam was band 6.0 which allowed me to join the University of London, but conditionally I had to attend pre-sessional courses which is a stair way to the paradise of UNI because the achievement of band 6.0 at IELTS is not sufficient enough to go straightforwardly to the UNI. 

By attending two-month-pre-sessional courses at London University, I obtained a familiarity with a particular type of writing style for the academic field containing cohesion and coherent, rhetoric, genre, argument, counter-argument and so on which were so beneficial to me during my essay periods. After completion of that course, I got access to enroll for the M.A course (M.A Religion [Buddhist studies]) at the University of London.

I have now already submitted diverse of essays—3 materials of 3000-word essay, 1 material of 2000 word essay, 1 material of 6000 word essay-- to the faculty of Arts and Humanity. And also I have already sat for 3 exams and 1 viva. At the moment my job is nothing but to be waiting the dissertation title from a supervisor and the results of what I have done. The dissertation can be said a last part of M.A course after which I would have all of my works done in connection with the life of Master Students.

In the meantime, I received an offer to continue my study for the Doctorate in the west. Now my head is burning with the fuel of proposal for the Ph.D assessment in addition to M.A dissertation. Still I have no idea which type of field and work I have to be prepared for the Ph.D. The deadline of Ph. D proposal is the last day of June and also the deadline of M.A dissertation is 15th September. How should I do with these two tough works within those limited periods? Therefore, I said previously that my head was burning those hard times.

Now what I am most afraid is to have another fuel put into the burning flame inside my head. However, my energy is still strong enough to extinguish the powerful flame. Challenge!!!!!!


A Question on Aphaggusaradipani tika

Describe how the knowledge of pæ¹i grammar is central to being a commentator on Buddhism in Burmese scholarship, use the Aphaggusæradøpanø ¥økæ as an example.
The identity of a scholar willing to be a great commentator is required to be endowed with the knowledge of pæ¹i grammar. Since ancient period among the majority of Burmese pæ¹i scholars related to the Buddhist literatures, such an identical criterion to identify whether one is learned is mainly used. The majority of Burmese pæ¹i scholars are Buddhist monks who, from the time when they were young novices, have started their study of pæ¹i grammar. Different types of the pæ¹i grammar books are basically prescribed in the monastic education as curriculum texts such as kaccæyana, rþpasiddhi, moggalæna, saddanøtidhætumælæ, saddanøtipadamælæ, saddanøtisuttamælæ, bhedacindæ, abhidhæna ¥økæ and so on. One proverb regarding pæ¹i grammar goes that: “nine times of having studied a complete book of pæ¹i grammar is just to acquire little knowledge of it”. It means nine times is not sufficient; it needs to be studied more. Another saying, “not well-versed in pæ¹i grammar implies not learned in pæ¹i literatures”, also much popular for it. That is why the numbers of pæ¹i commentators always pay careful attention to the grammatical way of defining pæ¹i words.
During the period of Haµsævatø dynasty in 16th century in lower part of Burma, there appeared one of the great commentators by the name of Mahæsuva¼¼adøpa thera, a prince when he was a lay person. As he was a learned monk, he wrote a book known as Aphaggusæradøpanø¥økæ, which is the sub-commentary of Abhidhammatthavibhævinø well known among Burmese Buddhist monks and novices. As a matter of fact, the book of Aphaggusæradøpanø ¥økæ, in which he made much attempt to identify himself his ability of pæ¹i knowledge by inventing diversity of definitions even for a single word, is rarely seen.  Accessibility and acceptability of his work to the public was much significant as he would like to be recognized as a scholar by all the learned persons, so did he such kinds of numerous commentarial definitions.
In the book of Aphaggusæradøpanø there is an example of a word to be defined from Abhidhammatthavibhævinø: Visuddhakaru¼æñæ¼aµ (purest compassion and wisdom) from the very first verse of that book for the purpose of paying homage to the Buddha. He defined the word Visuddhakaru¼æñæ¼aµ into 31 possible definitions by means of particular grammar methods such as dvanda samæsa, kammadhæraya samæsa, bahubbøhi samæsa, etc. It is just like playing with pæ¹i grammar. The intended message of the word is the same though the way to approach it is quite numerous. For instance, among 31 possible definitions, there are 11 definitions with karu¼æ(compassion) as simile, 11 definitions with ñæ¼a(wisdom) as simile and 9 definitions as central message of  karu¼æ and ñæ¼a. Altogether there are 31 definitions.  Herein when compassion is used as simile, the intended meaning is wisdom. On the other way round, when wisdom is used as simile, the intended meaning is compassion. On the other hand, both compassion and wisdom become central message and also the word visuddha (purest) can be used as the qualification of compassion and wisdom.
He did varieties of grammatical definitions in his book. The reason why he used several ways of defining the word is thought that during that period to write a book of commentary or sub-commentary seemed easy, but to be accessible it to the public people was rather difficult. On the other hand, he was from royal family as well as a famous monk around there. Therefore his work had to be excellent. If he made mistakes and his work was not influential on other scholars, it might be inconvenient for him. To identify himself as a scholar, what he did is what he thought that it is good enough; just like that the literature reviews are usually carried out nowadays in order to acquire the identity of who he or she is in the academic field.
Through the significant periods of Myanmar dynasty such as Bagan, Pinya, Innwa, Taungngoo, Nyannyann, Konebaung and till the present time the pæ¹i scholars are well praised. But, nowadays any new pæ¹i books are rarely written by the pæ¹i scholars although the numbers of monks are expert in pæ¹i. If diversities of pæ¹i commentary like the Aphaggusæradøpanø can be composed by anyone, he would be surely appreciated.
In conclusion, to reveal what one possesses is sometimes quite beneficial to those concerned except revealing something with bad intention. If necessary even the Buddha showed his twin miracles to his royal family as to have his identity of Buddhahood accessible to all of his relatives. As hearsay, even only the stanza namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammæ sambuddhassa was taught by a senior monk to the monks and novices long-lasting the whole period of raining season, and also in the examinations of Pathamapyan and Dhammæcariya, more than half percentage of questions come from the diverse grammar techniques.   Likewise, Mahæsuva¼¼adøpa thera, the commentator of Aphaggusæradøpanø ¥økæ also had to classify the pæ¹i grammar into several ways due to that the pæ¹i grammar was strictly emphasized at that time. All of those prove the evidence of how pæ¹i grammar plays as a major role among Burmese Buddhist scholars. 

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A Message I sent to My Supervisor

Dear Kate,
Your question about dalhikamma makes me interested. I wish I could answer such a common question. Although this word “dalhikamma” is not generally used in Burmese tradition, it is thought to be followed by the Burmese Buddhist society.

The word “dalhikamma” is found in the different texts especially in Vinaya treatises. Basically, it emphasizes the sima consecration and higher ordination. The text states that even though the consecration of sima is completely successful as soon as the samanasamvasaka simasammuti kammavaca has been recited by the monks, the aviappavasa simasammuti kammavaca is usually recited again in order to make sure(dalhikamma) the completion of sima.  Whether or not the avippavasa simasammuti kammavaca is recited, the sima is successful. But, it is normally recited. 

In connection with higher ordination, the postulant can surely be a monk at the completion of natticatutthakammavaca recited once by a group of monks. However, the recitation of natticatutthakammavaca usually follows second time and third time in Burmese tradition. It seems to me that such a recitation is for the purpose of firmly confirmation (dalhikamma) of the monkhood. Although the procedure of higher ordination is traditionally performed so, the word “dalhikamma” is not familiar to the majority of monks and novices in Burma.

Moreover, the recitation of natticatutthakammavaca also depends upon one who would be a monk in long term and who would be a temporary monk. In the case of the former, the natticatutthakammavaca is mainly recited three times, whereas the natticatutthakammavaca is regularly recited just one time in the case of a temporary monk. In this regard, the-3-time-recitation can be said as dalhikamma for a long-term monk. If the natticatutthakammavaca is recited only one time and if it meets a wrong recitation, the postulant cannot be a real monk. That is why it is emphatically recited three times. In the case of a temporary monk, it seems less important.  

I knew the real sense of dalhikamma when you asked, but I was confused and got wrong when it came together with punopasammpada. I got ashamed of myself for it. In my view, the punopasammpada totally differs from the sense of dalhikamma in this account. Dalhikamma is by and large focused on the initial stage of higher ordination, not in higher re-ordination. In the monastic life, the seniority is incredibly important. If a monk suspects himself whether he has actually become a real monk and if he desires to receive dalhikamma, he has to disrobe and then again receive the higher ordination. It means he becomes the most junior and he must count his vasa from the very beginning. There was a story of a Burmese monk who suspected the sima where he was ordained. He decided to disrobe and begin his monk life from the beginning at the age of 23 (3 vasas). He did accordingly. I am convinced such a process would be called a dalhikamma. 

In contrary, every monk who receives punopasampada never counts the vasa from the beginning. I myself have received higher re-ordination four times, but my life is stable and I don’t suspect my monkhood, no need to go to the initial stage of higher ordination. The famous monks frequently receive the higher re-ordination. As I said the more famous a monk is, the more higher re-ordination he would receive.

Finally, the dalhikamma is dealt with sima consecration and the initial stage of higher ordination. It is not dealt with the punopasammapada.

-Vinayasangaha atthakatha, p-367
-Parivara atthakatha, p-244
-Vinaya pitaka paccha vissajjana, vol. 2, p-110
-Vinayalankara tika, vol. 1, p-375
-Mahavagga atthakatha, p-323

All of your questions are very beautiful and interesting. Seeing your viva questions, I realize you have carefully read our papers and looked for the suitable and related questions. Really, really I admire you.

With kind regards,
Your student,
U Janaka


Monday, 24 May 2010


ေက်ာင္းသားဗီဇာနဲ႔ ေနထုိင္ရတဲ့ဘ၀ဆုိေတာ့လဲ တစ္ႏွစ္တစ္ခါေလာက္ ဗီဇာတုိးရတဲ့ကိစၥက အာေ၀ဏိကဒုကၡတစ္မ်ိဳးပါဘဲ။ အေရွ ့ႏွင့္အေနာက္ ပညာသင္ယူမႈ သင္ေပးမႈေတြ ကြဲျပားနားတဲ့အတြက္ ေငြေၾကးအေျမာက္အျမားအကုန္အက်ခံ အခ်ိန္ေတြကုိ အမ်ားႀကီးေပးဆပ္ရင္း တကူးတကလာသင္ယူဖုိ႔လာခဲ့တာေတာင္မွ ဗီဇာကႏွစ္မ်ားမ်ားမေပးဘူး။ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံၿဗိတိသွ်သံရုံးမွာ ဗီဇာ၀င္တုန္းက ၁၄ လရခဲ့တယ္။ ေနာက္ထပ္ မႏွစ္က ထပ္တုိးေတာ့ ၁၄ လထပ္ရတယ္။ ဒီႏွစ္ေတာ့ ဘယ္ႏွစ္ႏွစ္ရမယ္မွန္း ေကာင္းေကာင္းမွန္းဆလုိ႔မရဘူး။ ဘာျဖစ္လုိ႔လဲဆုိေတာ့ လာမဲ့စက္တင္ဘာဆုိရင္ မာစတာအတြက္ ကိစၥ၀ိစၥက ၿပီးသေလာက္ျဖစ္ေနလုိ႔ပါဘဲ။ ေဂဇက္ဘဲ ထုိင္ေစာင့္ေနရုံပါ။ ႏုိ၀င္ဘာလမွာ ေဂဇက္ထြက္ေပးမယ္တဲ့။ ဒါဆုိ အခုမွတုိးထားတဲ့ ဗီဇာကုိ သူတုိ႔ဘယ္လုိေပးမလဲ မသိဘူး။ မႏွစ္ကလုိ ၁၄လ ေပးရင္ေတာ့ ကံေကာင္းတာေပါ့ေလ။ လက္ရွိတက္လာတဲ့ ကင္မရြန္းအစုိးရကလဲ ႏုိင္ငံျခားသားေတြကုိ ႏွိပ္ကြပ္ဖုိ႔တက္လာတဲ့ပုံမ်ိဳးဘဲ။ အထူးသျဖင့္ေတာ့ ေက်ာင္းသားဗီဇာသမားေတြ ခံရတာပါ။

အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔ တက္ေနတဲ့ တကၠသုိလ္က Status နဲနဲရွိေတာ့ ဗီဇာ ရီဂ်က္အထုခံရမွာ ေၾကာက္စရာမလုိေတာ့ဘူးေပါ့။ တစ္ခ်ိဳ ့အျပင္ေက်ာင္းက ေက်ာင္းသူေက်ာင္းသားေတြဆုိ တက္ေနတဲ့ေက်ာင္းရဲ့အေျခအေနအရ ဗီဇာရီဂ်က္အထုခံၾကရတယ္။ ၿပီးေတာ့ ဒီထက္ပုိဆုိးတာက ယူေကမွာလဲ အလုပ္အကုိင္သိပ္အဆင္မေျပၾကေတာ့ဘူးတဲ့။ အလုပ္ကရွား ေနထုိင္စရိတ္ကမ်ားဆုိေတာ့ ကုိယ့္ႏုိင္ငံကိုယ္ ျပန္ေျပးၾကရတဲ့သူေတြလဲ မနည္းေတာ့ဘူး။

မႏွစ္တုန္းကဗီဇာတုိးတုန္းကေတာ့ Croydonကုိ သြားရပါတယ္။ ေနရာကၽြမ္းက်င္မႈမရွိတာကတစ္ေၾကာင္း အဂၤလိပ္စကားကုိ နားမလည္မွာ စုိးရိမ္တာကတစ္ေၾကာင္းတုိ႔ေၾကာင့္ သူငယ္ခ်င္းတစ္ပါးျဖစ္တဲ့ ဦးေတာသနကုိ အကူအညီေတာင္းၿပီး ေခၚယူသြားခဲ့ရပါတယ္။ ၿပီးေတာ့ မႏွစ္တုန္းက အဂၤါေမာင္တက္ေနတဲ့ ေက်ာင္းက အဂၤလိပ္စာသက္သက္သင္ေပးတဲ့ေက်ာင္းပါ။ ဒါေၾကာင့္ ဗီဇာသက္တမ္းတုိးဖုိ႔ကိစၥကုိ စာတုိက္က apply မလုပ္ရဲဘူး။ ရီဂ်က္အထုခံရမွာစုိးလုိ႔ပါ။ စာတုိက္ကပုိ႔လုိက္ရင္ သူတုိ႔အတြက္ စစ္ေဆးခ်ိန္ပုိရတယ္ေလ။ ရစ္ခ်င္ရင္ ရစ္လုိ႔ရတာေပါ့။ လူကိုယ္တုိင္သြားလုိက္ေတာ့ သူတုိ႔ရစ္ခ်ိန္သိပ္မရွိေတာ့ဘူး။ ၿပီးေတာ့ အေျခအေနအရပ္ရပ္ကုိ က်က်နနရွင္းျပလုိ႔ရတယ္ေလ။ ဒါေၾကာင့္မုိ႔ မႏွစ္တုန္းက ဗီဇာရုံးကုိ ကုိယ္တုိင္သြားၿပီး သက္တမ္းတုိးခဲ့ပါတယ္။ စာတုိက္ကပို႔ရင္ ၂၉၀ေပါင္၊ ကုိယ္တုိင္သြားေတြ႔ရင္ ေပါင္ ၅၀၀ပါ။ ဒါေပမဲ့ ကုိယ္တုိင္သြားေတြ႔တာက ဗီဇာရတာ ပိုျမန္ပါတယ္။

ဒီႏွစ္ကေတာ့ ဗီဇာသက္တမ္းတုိးရမဲ့ ေစ်းႏႈန္းေတြ ေစ်းတက္သြားပါၿပီ။ စာတုိက္က ပို႔ရင္ ၃၅၇ ေပါင္က်ၿပီး လူကုိယ္တုိင္သြားရင္ေတာ့ ၅၆၅ေပါင္ ျဖစ္သြားပါၿပီ။ ဒီလုိေစ်းတက္ေပမဲ့လဲ ဗီဇာသက္တမ္းတုိးတဲ့သူေတြကေတာ့ ႀကိတ္ႀကိတ္တုိးေနဆဲပါဘဲ။ ဒါေၾကာင့္လဲ ဒီႏွစ္မွာ ဗီဇာသက္တမ္းတုိးလုိ႔ရတဲ့ ေနရာေတြ
တုိးခ်ဲ ့လုိက္ပါတယ္။ အဲဒီအထဲမွာ Elephant and castle ဆုိတဲ့ လန္ဒန္ၿမိဳ့လယ္က ေနရာအပါအ၀င္ေပါ့။ Home Office Biometric Enrolment Centre တစ္ခုအေနနဲ႔ တုိးခ်ဲ့လုိက္တာပါ။ မႏွစ္တုန္းကဆုိ Croydon မွာရွိတဲ့ Lunar House ကိုဘဲ အားလုံးသြားၾကရတယ္။

ဒီႏွစ္ကေတာ့ အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔ တက္ေနတဲ့ လန္ဒန္တကၠသိုလ္ရဲ့ေထာက္ခံမႈနဲ႔ဘဲ စာတုိက္ကေနတစ္ဆင့္ ဗီဇာတင္လုိက္တာပါ။ ဗီဇာေၾကးကိုလဲ Postal Order နဲ႔ ပို႔ရတယ္။ စာတုိက္ကပို႔ၿပီးမၾကာခင္မွာဘဲ တစ္ပတ္အတြင္း အေၾကာင္းၾကားစာေရာက္လာပါတယ္။ Appointment လုပ္ဖုိ႔ေပါ့။ ဒါနဲ႔ဘဲ ဒီေန႔ကုိ ေရြးလုိက္ၾကတယ္ေလ။ အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔ စာေမးပြဲအၿပီးနဲ႔ ခ်ိန္ကုိက္ၿပီး ေရြးလုိက္တာပါ။ ဒါေတာင္မွ မနက္ဖန္ Viva ရွိေသးတယ္။ 

ဒီေန႔မနက္ ၇ နာရီခြဲေလာက္မွာ Elephant and Castleကို ခ်ီတက္ဖုိ႔ အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔ ေနထုိင္တဲ့ သႏၱိသုခ၀ိဟာရကေန ထြက္ခြါခဲ့ၾကပါတယ္။ သူငယ္ခ်င္းျဖစ္သူ ဦးေခမာစာေရာေပ့ါ။ သူႏွင့္အဂၤါေမာင္ႏွင့္က ဗီဇာသက္တမ္းတစ္ရက္ထဲ ကုန္ၾကတာေလ။ တစ္ရက္ထဲကုန္ဆုိ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံက ထြက္လာကထဲက တစ္ရက္ထဲအတူတူထြက္လာခဲ့ၾကတာကိုး။ Appointment က အဂၤါေမာင္အတြက္ နံနက္ ၁၀း၂၀။ ဦးေခမာစာရအတြက္က နံနက္ ၉း၅၀ ပါ။ ဒါေပမဲ့ နာရီ၀က္ႀကိဳေရာက္ဖုိ႔ သူတုိ႔မွာထားပါတယ္။ Elephant and Castle ကုိ နံနက္ ၉ နာရီမထုိးခင္ ေရာက္ရွိသြားပါတယ္။ ရုံးတည္ေနရာက Elephant and Castle station နဲ႔နီးနီးေလးမွာပါဘဲ။ Hannibal House တဲ့။ အထပ္ေတြ အမ်ားႀကီးရွိတယ္။ ေျမညီထပ္ႏွင့္ေဘ့စ္မင့္န္တ္မွာ ေစ်းေတြေရာင္းတယ္။ ရုံးက ၉ ထပ္ေျမာက္မွာပါ။

ေစာေစာေရာက္သြားေတာ့ ေစာေစာအဆင္ေျပသြားပါတယ္။ အရင္ခ်ိန္းတဲ့သူေတြ မေရာက္ေသးတဲ့အတြက္ ၁၀ နာရီေက်ာ္ထိေစာင့္မေနလုိက္ရပါဘူး။ ကုိးနာရီခြဲ၀န္းက်င္ေလာက္မွာဘဲ အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔ ႏွစ္ေယာက္လုံး Finger print ႏွိပ္ျခင္းႏွင့္ ဓါတ္ပုံရုိက္ျခင္းကိစၥၿပီးျပတ္ခဲ့ပါတယ္။ နာရီ၀က္ေစာေရာက္ဖုိ႔ ေျပာထားတာ ဒီလုိအျဖစ္မ်ိဳးေတြ ခဏခဏျဖစ္လုိ႔ထင္တယ္။ အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔အတြက္ေတာ့ အဆင္ေျပသြားတာေပါ့။ ရုံးက ကုိးထပ္မွာဆုိေတာ့ အေပၚစီးကေန ရႈခင္းေတြ ၾကည့္လုိ႔ေကာင္းတယ္။ လန္ဒန္အုိင္းႀကီးကိုလဲ ျမင္ရတယ္ေလ။ ဒါေၾကာင့္ လက္ယားလာတာနဲ႔ ဓါတ္ပုံရုိက္ယူခဲ့ပါတယ္။ 

စာတုိက္က ပုိ႔လာမဲ့ ဗီဇာသက္တမ္းကုိ ေစာင့္ေမွ်ာ္ရင္း အဂၤါေမာင္လဲ ဣတိပိ ေသာ ဘဂ၀ါေတြ ခဏခဏရြတ္ျဖစ္ေနေလရဲ့။ ဒါမွ ဗီဇာမ်ားမ်ားရၿပီး ပညာမ်ားမ်ား သင္ယူႏုိင္မွာ မဟုတ္လား။ မာစတာၿပီးဆုံးသည့္တုိင္ အဂၤလိပ္စာကုိ Accademic က်က်ေရးသားနည္းကို ေလ့လာသင္ယူခ်င္ေသးတယ္။ အေျခအေနႏွင့္အခ်ိန္အခါကုိ ၾကည့္ၿပီး ဆုံးျဖတ္ရေတာ့မွာေပါ့ေလ။


Sunday, 23 May 2010

To what extent do you believe modern cities are unsustainable?

 The majority of factories, business centers and educational buildings are in the cities where the large number of people usually commute from rural areas for different purposes; therefore the cities could be overcrowded and polluted. However, although cities bring some problems, if they manage pollution and crowding well, they can be sustainable. This essay will argue that sustainable cities need to control air pollution by limiting vehicle driving days, and local tree planting, and also need to control water use and pollution. The governments, non-governmental societies and local people are responsible to solve the problems.

The major problem the people in cities face is, of course, air pollution which troubles the environment and local residents as well. For example, Mexico city is one of the air polluted cities which is situated 2000 metres above sea level. Due to the high location, it is very difficult to obtain the natural air consisted of oxygen. Therefore, the cars have to be running with richer fuel and most vehicles use the leaded petrol. (National Geographic website, 2004). It makes the city more unsustainable. There is still in need of effective solution.

Moreover, Sao Paulo is notorious for its foul air which killed thousands of people and Santiago suffers from terminal diseases on account of air pollution. (The Economist, March 27, 2006). It is a great issue for the government concerned. In addition, while a Dutch city issues 10 tons of carbon dioxide a day, a Canadian city does 20 tons of it. (Graham Haughton, 1998). Such an amount of carbon dioxide is too strong for the people in order for their health to be sustained. As a result, several types of diseases occur to the city-people, such as asthma, lung cancer and heart attacks. (The Economist, March 27, 2006).

However, the governments have commenced to take action for the major issue of air pollution respectively though it is very difficult to manage. For example, Mexico’s government challenges the situation by stopping industries, reducing power plants and controlling vehicles occasionally. (Ibid, 2006). Sao Paulo’s government also started to reduce the carbon monoxide in order to save the lives of people. (Ibid, 2006). In the same way, Santiago’s government legislates the right of pollution for the purpose of decreasing the carbon monoxide. (Ibid, 2006). The above governments prescribed a new law, such as non-driving day; non-driving at peak hour and driving with catalytic converters.  Furthermore, instead of vehicles, bicycles, riskshaws and hand-pushed carts are being used in some of the Asian countries, such as Shanghai in China and Jakata in Indonesia. (Finance and Development, vol, 29,  1992). All of these have been effective to some extent.

The other problem the city-people encountered is water contamination. The large number of people migrated from rural to urban area are significantly increasing. According to statistics, 15 percents of population are in the urban in 1900, but nowadays it has gone up to 50 percents. It is estimated that the urban population will probably rise up to 60 percents in 2025. (Girardet, 1996). As a result, the cities became crowded. Dirt, waste, garbage and food waste are thrown away by the people. In addition, some cities have no sewage system and sanitation system. Owing to these reasons, the water turns into polluted and contaminated. (Sachs, 1998).

Nevertheless, the governments might try to control the water pollution not to increase and manage to lessen it by distributing more pure water; starting sewage and sanitation system. Furthermore, some governments might have implemented the project of Greenland in cities by growing trees, creating gardens and parks within cities.

In conclusion, the big cities in developed countries have turned into compact cities. The power plants and vehicles can be reduced to some extent. The governments concerned also contribute to the needs of the people, including improving their health-situation. Cities are still unsustainable now, but if the governments function not to damage ecology for future generations and if city-residents try to make cities green instead of moving to rural green areas, the cities will be sustainable in near future.

-Finance and Development, vol. 29, no.3,  1992.
-Girardet, H. (1996) The Gaia Atlas of Cities, London: Gaia.
-Haughton, G. and Hunter. C, (1998) Sustainable Cities, Jessica Kingsley, London
   and Bristol: Penn.
-Sachs, W. (1998) Greening the North, , London: Zed Books.
-The economist, Print edition, March 27, 2006.


Referencing the books, websites and Newspaper (Magazine)

 အဂၤါေမာင္တုိ႔ လန္ဒန္ယူနီဗာစီတီမွာကေတာ့ ေအာက္မွာ ေဖာ္ျပထားတဲ့အတုိင္းပါဘဲ။ References လုပ္တဲ့အခါမွာ အဲဒီနည္းစနစ္ေတြကုိဘဲ သုံးတယ္။ ဒါေပမဲ့ တစ္ေက်ာင္းတစ္ဂါထာ တစ္ရြာတစ္ပုဒ္ဆန္းဆုိသလုိ ကြဲျပားတာေလးေတြကေတာ့ ရွိေနဦးမွာပါ။ နမူေလးေတြကုိ ေဖာ္ျပေပးလုိက္ျခင္းရယ္ပါ။


-Harvey, P (2000) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, UK: Cambridge Press.

- Lengar, Keshavaram N and Coomaraswamy, Rama P (Ed.) (1999) Hinduism and Buddhism, New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

-Lopez, D. S (Ed.) (1995) Religions of India in Practice, UK: Princenton University Press.

-Pruthi, R and Sharma, B, R (1995) Buddhism, Jainism and Women, 1st edition, New Delhi: Anmol Publication.

-Sharm, J.B and  Sharma, S.P (1999) Buddhist Culture, New Delhi: Sublime Publication.

-Shaw, M (2006) Buddhist Goddesses of India, Oxford: Princeton University Press.


Wikipedia( 2009) . Available at: Aug 2009) 

NTU paper( 2008) . Available at: (Accessed:15 Aug 2009)

Wellskao (2007). Available at: (Accessed:15 Aug 2009)
 Talkaboutcoffee(2008). Available at:  (Accessed:15 Aug 2009)
Newspaper and Magazine:
Sydney (2008) Taipei Times, 04 Aug 2008.

How is the role of women different in Buddhism and Hinduism?

(Word count: 2186)

Women have been involved in religious activities in Buddhism since Buddha’s life time. Compared to men, women are thought to be naturally pious, tender and inclinable to their particular religions. Women have been found to follow religions more than men in several cases. In Buddhism the majority of people in meditation centres, donation centres and religious ceremonies are, of course, women who play an important role throughout Buddhist journey (, 2009). On the contrary, a woman in Hinduism has no individuality of her own and her position in society is virtually related to others as mother or wife (Pruthi and Sharma, 1995). This paper will argue that compared to Hindu women, Buddhism offers women a much more important role to play in the religious activities and a more prominent position in society.

Buddha achieved his enlightenment, which is a perfect status of intellect and ethics, on the soil of India, about 588 years before the Christian epoch. He has established the society of Saµgha, organizing different background of people, and struggled tirelessly for the purpose of promotion of his society, Buddhism, amidst other religions. At that time, a number of cults of religions were in existence there, such as Jainism and Hinduism. Especially, the influence of Hinduism was threateningly overwhelming through India since over three thousand years ago. The Caste system—royal family (Khattiya), Brahmin family (Brahmana), merchant family (Vessa) and peasant family (Sudda)-- was created by Hinduism which affected women’s lives for the worse. At that time, it controlled women in oppressive ways in conjunction with different types of punishments, such as female infanticide, child marriage, dowry and burning of women (, 2009). This shows how women’s rights were wholly lost in ancient India.

There were rituals in Hinduism to prevent the birth of a girl, for daughters tended to be seen as an unwelcome burden until they were married, which was their duty. A wife came to be seen primarily as a child-bearer and as subservient to her husband and his parents (Harvey, 2000). Nevertheless, Buddhism does not just look on women as child-bearers, and marriage was not their only aim. To be an unmarried adult woman was a legitimate role, and women might also become Buddhist nuns (Ibid). On the other hand, while polygamy and polyandry were encouraged in Hinduism for the purpose of procreation and continuation of family lineage in ancient India, Buddhism tended the marriage life as monogamy by prescribing five duties of husband and wife, one of which is to be faithful each other mutually (hinduwebsite. com, 2000: Narasu, 1999).

In pre-Buddhist years the status of women in India was low. What they thought was that a daughter was of nothing of value to the parents—she could not work to supply an income for the family, and it was a scandal and unfavorable to them if they could not marry her. If they could do, however, they were often almost ruined by their plentiful costs on the wedding celebrations and the provision of a dowry (Thittila, 1992). Women could not stand on their feet in their own ways in Hinduism. They were always dependent on what society expected of them. Among the Hindus, a woman is always dependent. When young she is dependent on her parents, when married on her husband, and when old on her children (Sharma and Sharma, 1999).

When the foundation of Buddhism, however, was strong enough during the Buddhist epoch, a change was made and women received benefits from more equal opportunities. They acquired a greater admiration and authority than they could in Hinduism. The caste system was totally eliminated; the Buddha has the same views for the high as for the low, for the wise as for the ignorant, for the noble-minded as for the immoral and he makes no discrimination between noble and ignoble, between rich and poor (Narasu, 1999). It is similar to water which cleanses all without distinction; man and woman also obtained equal rights neither more nor less each other; they could stand independently; married life could be established freely without any worry, and regardless of different religions, intermarriage was possible. For example, a famous story in a Buddhist text tells us about Visakha (a Buddhist noble lady) who got married with Punna (who lived like an ascetic). No one interrupted and troubled their wedding ceremony despite their social differences (Thittila, 1992).

In terms of religious service, only monk’s communities were permitted by the Buddha at first. Five years after his enlightenment, however, asked repeatedly by Ænanda (his permanent attendant), the Buddha allowed women to be Bhikkhunøs (female monks) commencing with Pajæpati Gotami (his step mother). This is also one of the rights for women in Buddhism (Shaw, 2006). All are in the same level and right whether man or woman. They could go and listen to Dhamma talk in the temples, sitting in suitable places respectively, all the time. No discrimination, no racism and no sexism were among them. Many of the women who joined the Bhikkhunø-Order became distinguished for high intellectual attainments as well as for moral earnestness. When the highest rewards were bestowed by the Buddha to those who have achieved a greatest knowledge, not only monks but also Bhikkhunøs obtained the rewards on their concerns. For example, if a Bhikkhunø is qualified with the highest supernatural power, she will be approved, by the Buddha, of the noblest title in Buddhism.

In contrast, the religious duties of women in Hinduism are simply those of serving her husband and looking after the home. She should always obey him and revere him even if he is adulterous or devoid of virtues (Harvey, 2000). At present time, however, in their religious days, a huge number of Hindu-women can congregate freely in the Hindu-temples in order to offer food, flowers, scented sticks and candles to different gods.

On the other hand, the religious roles of the majority of Buddhist women are more involved: their daily chores include offering alms-food, water, flowers, lights and incense before the image of the Buddha at home, offering rice and curry to monks and novices on alms-receiving rounds, and praying. Women invariably comprise the majority of all congregations and they outnumber men at meditation centres too. The proverb goes that: "If you do this good deed, you will become a god in the next existence, with five hundred goddesses on either side." In Buddhism, it is thought that women must be very pious indeed to outnumber men one to a thousand in the abode of gods (, 2009). This saying demonstrates how it is commonly thought that there are more good women in Buddhism than men. Moreover, seasonal festivals occur to Buddhist countries such as Buddha day ceremony in May; Vassa ceremony in July; Kathina ceremony in November and pagoda festival in March. In all occasions above women are zealously taking part in front role without hesitation by offering their activities and performances to Buddhism.

It is important to note that theory men and women are positioned by the Buddha on the same balance of equality; however, sometimes, in practice the latter stands much lower. The reasons for this are not necessisarily from the religion, but could be because a peculiar society or type of Buddhism places more obstructions the way of women attaining equality (Narasu, 1999). For example, it seems that the social influence of Hinduism still affects Buddhism to some extent. To illustrate, in some Buddhist countries, women are not allowed to enter the Sømæ-building where monks are ordained; not allowed to climb on the altar of Buddha statues (Silænandæbhivaµsa, 2002). Even in Buddha’s life time, to establish the women’s Bhikkhuni-Order, it took nearly five years. Even after that, Bhikkhunøs were, less popular and common compared to monks, and there was a shortage of clothes, shelter and other provisions for them. Another inequality is that women have strict rules, 84 more rules than that of monks, which were made for them by the Buddha because he thought their minds were less focused than men’s. While monks observe 227 rules, Bhikkhunøs do 311 (Thanissaro. B). That shows how they received lesser support from the devotees and how strict they were. That might be one of the reasons why Bhikkhunøs have been diminishing in Buddhism today. In modern times, in place of Bhikkhunøs, Buddhist nuns have taken place observing just 8 or 10 precepts.

In Hinduism, the functions of dowry, Purdah and Sati are being prepared by women who never think themselves as victims of their culture, but as active agents in the creation of their own identity and that of their daughters (Leslie, 1992). Nonetheless, these cultural imperatives could be seen as evidence that women are valued less than men. One further oppressive Hindu practice is Sati, the conventional Hindu custom of a widow killing herself on her husband's funeral. A woman who sacrifices burning herself on her husband’s funeral fire was well thought of most virtuous, and was held a belief to reach straight to the heaven, saving all the ancestors decomposing in hell, by this good deed. The woman who committed Sati was worshipped as a Goddess, and temples were well constructed as her recall. Sati was widespread among certain sects of the society in ancient India, who either took the vow or considered it a great honour to die on the funeral pyres of their husbands (, 2009).

On the contrary, although as mentioned above, there are some inequalities for women in Buddhism, no such strict social sacrifices as mentioned above for Hindu women exist in Buddhism at all.

It should also be mentioned that even though the dowry was officially forbidden in 1961 in India, it persists to be vastly practiced by strict Hindus (, 2000). The bridegroom often demands a dowry comprising a large sum of money, farm, animals, furniture and electronics. When the dowry amount is not considered sufficient or is not available when necessary, the bride is often stressed, abused and made depressed. This abuse might turn into the point where the husband or his family burns the bride, often by pouring kerosene on her and lighting it, usually killing her. In Delhi, a woman is burned to death almost every twelve hours (Ibid). The figure of dowry killing is escalating. In 1988, 2,209 women were murdered in dowry and in 1990, 4,835 were killed (Ibid).

In the contrast, no dowry is practised in Buddhism. The system of Buddhism when marrying is very different from that of Hinduism in an opposite way. A bridegroom must pay to his bride’s family when they get married according to Buddhist culture. If the amount of money handed by a bridegroom is thought to be insufficient for the family of a bride, a demand can be made more money or can negotiate each other. If both are not successful, the wedding is impossible. Elopement, however, occurs due to the disagreement of parents or poverty in Buddhism. In Buddhism the ceremony of marriage is very simple. In Ceylon, Tibet, Mongolia, Japan and all other Buddhist countries, marriage is properly witnessed only by parents and guardians. In Burma, when a Burmese Buddhist woman marries, she does not change her name. No stranger can find out either from a woman’s name or by seeing her whether she is married or not, or whose wife she is. A husband has no power over his wife’s property (Sharma and Sharma, 1999).

One final difference between Hindu and Buddhist practices with regards to women is Purdah, which means screen or veil which is the system in some Muslim and Hindu societies by which women live in a separate part of a house or cover their faces so that men do not see them. Purdah is practiced by Muslims and by various Hindus, especially in India (, 2007).

Even the word Purdah cannot be found in Buddhist literature. The system of Purdah is away from Buddhism. Different types of clothes are fit for women wherever they are. Women, nevertheless, when they go to religious places, such as temples, monasteries and pagodas, usually wear the clothes properly not showing any sexy parts of her body as a great respect for the religion.

In conclusion, women’s role in Buddhism and Hinduism is apparently different from each other, in terms of how women participate in the religion as nuns and as devotees, and also in terms of their social role, as wives and members of society. Although women are sometimes considered inferior to men to a small extent in Buddhism, the level of Buddhist women at the period of the influence of Buddhism in India was higher than that of Hindu-women (Pruthi and Sharma, 1995). Nowadays, the idea of gender equality is more common in most societies in theory, but in Hindu society in practice, women basically still have an inferior role. Human rights are all equal; Buddhism is also all equal, therefore women can take part any activities anywhere in Buddhism, yet in Hinduism, women seem to be at a lesser level to men for every aspect. If this situation continues, it might not be compatible for Hindu-women to modern society.

-Harvey, P (2000) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, UK: Cambridge Press.
- Lengar, Keshavaram N and Coomaraswamy, Rama P (Eds.) (1999) Hinduism and Buddhism, New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.
-Lopez, D. S (Ed.) (1995) Religions of India in Practice, UK: Princenton University Press.
-Pruthi, R and Sharma, B, R (1995) Buddhism, Jainism and Women, 1st edition, New Delhi: Anmol Publication.
-Sharm, J.B and  Sharma, S.P (1999) Buddhist Culture, New Delhi: Sublime Publication.
-Shaw, M (2006) Buddhist Goddesses of India, Oxford: Princeton University Press.
-Departments kings (1998) available at:
accessed: 16 Aug 2009)


Compare and contrast of Buddhism and Hinduism

Buddhism and Hinduism were mainly originated in India with similarities and differences of views respectively. Generally, both accept the belief of action and its due result, and the cycle of rebirth after death. With regard to some points of views, however, both are persistently holding their views in opposite ways. This paper will outline some of the key differences, such as the concept of soul, reincarnation and final goal.

First of all, dealing with the concept of soul according to Hinduism, the soul can never be perished regardless of any causes, which means that the ego of individuals is everlasting all the times. On the contrary, to look at from Buddhist point of view connected with soul, there is no soul at all in the universe. What Buddhists believe in is non-soul, non-ego and non-self. Furthermore, living beings and non-living beings are well classified in Buddhism that the former consist of two phenomena which are mentality and materiality, whereas the latter are composed of just one thing--materiality.

Secondly, owing to such a concept in connection with soul or ego, the reincarnation of life after death has been strongly held by the Hindu believers. Reincarnation means the transmigration of soul into anther form of life after being expired—the same soul, but different form of body. To be reborn in the higher family or lower caste is totally based upon what those have done in their past existences. However, though Buddhism accepts rebirth system, it is much different from the idea of reincarnation of Hinduism. Buddhists hold steadfastly that a person comprises only function of mind and matter. Both mind and matter are always changing time by time which means that everything is dying every moment. Just as a proverb goes—one cannot jump into the same river twice-, even a person is dying every instant and the river is also flowing all the times as well. In addition, three characteristics are the major theories of Buddhism regarding the concept of non-soul, namely impermanent (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and non-soul (anatta). Everything is under the law of the nature of these three characteristics.

Thirdly, Hinduism has its final goal, which is to be united with Brahman, the Supreme Spirit eternally, after fulfilling all good things in the cycles of rebirth. Nevertheless, what main aim of Buddhism is to achieve the state of blissful peace (Nibbana= no attachment at all) through eightfold noble paths such as, right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

In conclusion, these two religions existed together in the same lands over thousands of years, therefore, some views are interrelated each other such as the concept of compassion, non-violence, hells and heavens. Some views, however, are totally different between them such as the concept of ego, Brahmam, and Buddha. Finally it is convinced that in spite of some different points, Buddhism and Hinduism can harmoniously go together in the future if their views are adjusted one another.

This essay is composed viewing the passages given in the text.


Sunday, 9 May 2010

မွတ္စု ၉

ဒီေန႔ ဒကာႀကီး ဦးေက်ာ္ညြန္႔ဆုံးတယ္တဲ့။ မနက္ငါးနာရီေက်ာ္ေလာက္ကလုိ႔ ေျပာတာဘဲ။ အသက္က ၈၈ ႏွစ္ရွိၿပီဆုိေပမဲ့ က်န္ရစ္သူ သမီးႏွင့္သမီးရဲ့တူမႏွစ္ေယာက္ထဲရွိေလေတာ့ စိတ္မေကာင္းျဖစ္မိတယ္။ သူတုိ႔က အစကတည္းက သုံးေယာက္ထဲေနထုိင္ၾကတာ။ တကယ္စိတ္မေကာင္းပါဘူး။ ဖုန္းဆက္ၿပီးအားေပးစကားေျပာေတာ့ သူတုိ႔ရႈိက္သံကုိ သဲ့သဲ့ၾကားရတယ္။ သတၱ၀ါတစ္ခု ကံတစ္ခုဆုိေပမဲ့ ရာသက္ပန္ခြဲခြါရမွာဆုိေတာ့ ေတြးၾကည့္ရင္ ေၾကကြဲစရာပါဘဲ။ သူတုိ႔မိသားစုက အဂၤါေမာင္ရဲ့ အမာခံပစၥည္းေလးပါး ဒကာ၊မေတြပါ။ သိမ္ထပ္ထားတယ္ဆုိေပမဲ့ သူတုိ႔ဆီက အေထာက္အပံ့ကုိ အဂၤါေမာင္ အမ်ားဆုံးရရွိခဲ့တာပါ။ ဒကာႀကီးေရ ေကာင္းရာသုဂတိေရာက္ပါေစ။ ဆုေတာင္းအမွ်ေပးေ၀ပါတယ္။

 အဂၤါေမာင္မွာလဲ မနက္ဖန္ စာေမးပြဲကရွိေသးတယ္။ ေပါ့ေနလုိ႔ေတာ့မရဘူး။ ဒကာႀကီးဆုံးတာ စိတ္မေကာင္းေပမဲ့ စာၾကည့္ရဦးမယ္။ ဒီႏုိင္ငံက စာေမးပြဲက ေၾကာက္စရာေကာင္းတယ္။ အေနာက္တုိင္းစတုိင္လ္ေလ။ မနက္ဖန္ ၁၀ရက္ေန႔မွာ တစ္ဘာသာ၊ ၁၄ ရက္ေန႔မွာ တစ္ဘာသာ၊ ၁၈ ရက္ေန႔မွာ တစ္ဘာသာေျဖဆုိရမယ္။