Received: from mp.cs.niu.edu (mp.cs.niu.edu [188.8.131.52]) by library.wustl.edu (8.6.9/8.6.9) with SMTP id VAA27236 for <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Mon, 26 Sep 1994 21:07:36 -0500 Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA17517 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-dist); Mon, 26 Sep 1994 18:59:37 -0500 Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA17513 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-list); Mon, 26 Sep 1994 18:59:35 -0500 Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 18:59:35 -0500 Message-Id: <199409262359.AA17513@mp.cs.niu.edu> Reply-To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> From: The Editor <email@example.com> Sender: "Rajpal J. Singh" <A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu> Subject: The Nepal Digest - Sept 27, 1994 (24 Ashoj 2051 BkSm) To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Content-Type: text Content-Length: 40015 Status: RO X-Status: X-Keywords: X-UID: 36
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The Nepal Digest Tuesday 27 Sept 94: Ashoj 24 2051 BkSm Volume 31 Issue 4
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***************************************************************************** Date: Tue, 13 Sep 1994 18:10:09 -0000 To: email@example.com From: Rajkumar Pant <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Help in tracing an old friend
Dear Rajpal jee,
I was happy to see a notice about the Nepal Digest, and I wish you good
luck in this noble endeavour. I was wondering if someone can help me
in tracing the whereabouts of one of my old classmates. His name is
DIGAMBAR RAJBHANDARI and he was with me at the Deptt. of Aeronautical
Engineering at Panjab Engineering COllege, Chandigarh, for the
Bachelor's degree course during 1979-83. As per our initial info., he
was supposed to join Royal Nepal Airways Corporation. Can someone let
me know his current whereabouts please ??
R. K. Pant
Aero. & Astro. Deptt. Phone:- +44-703-594894
Southampton University FAX:- +44-703-593058
Highfield, SOUTHAMPTON E-Mail:- email@example.com
SO17 1BJ, U.K.
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 1994 23:25:15 PDT
Subject: Taja_Khabar For TND Publication
1994 US Dept of Commerce - NTIS
Foreign Trade Opportunities
September 6, 1994
TITLE: Nepal: DEVELOPMENT BANK COMMENTS:
HIS MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT OF NEPAL HAS APPLIED FROM THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) AND OTHER
(THE FINANCIERS) TO FINANCE THE CONSTRUCTION OF GANDAKI "........
.... PROCEEDS OF THE LOAN WILL BE APPLIED TO ELIGIBLE PAYMENTS UNDER THE CONTRACT FOR WHICH THIS INVITATION FOR PREQUALIFICATION IS ISSUED.
HEADLINE: CHINA: PREPARATIONS FOR "EARLY OPERATION" OF DIRECT
KATHMANDU-LHASA ROAD TRANSPORT REPORTED
Kathmandu, 21st August: A Sino-Nepal road transport inspection team left here this morning for Lhasa by road Kathmandu to the capital of China's autonomous region of Tibet.
The Sino- Nepal united inspection work is being carried out to make
necessary preparations for early operation of direct road transport between Kathmandu and Lhasa in accordance to a traffic agreement signed between the two countries.
HEADLINE: THAILAND: AIR CRASH WIDOW SUES THAI AIRLINE, INSURER FOR B48M
... woman yesterday sued Thai Airways International Co and its insurer Dhipaya Assurance Co for 48.9m baht to compensate for the death of her husband in the July 1992 air crash in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Mina Kumari Thapa, 28, resident of Thailand, demanded 20M baht in punitive damages for alleged "willful misconduct" by the plane's crew which she said led to the death of her husband, Cpl.....
....311 flight crew members, which she said caused the plane to crash on July 31.
HEADLINE: SOUTH KOREA: NEPAL INSTRUCTOR VALUES KOREAN TRAINING,
Would you introduce yourself and your country?
I am a lecturer at Tribhuvan University, the only agricultural university in Nepal. I am now attending the stock raising course offered by KOICA. Nepal as you may know is a typical agricultural country. Some 85 percent of the people are engaged in farming. What's your impression of Korea and the Korean people?.
... 80 in the 1960s to $ 7,000 in the 1990s, I think, has its origin in the diligence and hard work of the Korean people. Koreans I met during the training course were also friendly to me.
*********************************************************************** Date: Sat, 24 Sep 1994 20:33:13 EDT To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com Subject: Why do Nepali women abort? A IIDS/WHO research report
Why nepalese women abort
Hindu religious code based nepalese legal code makes abortion illegal and
equivalent to murder but abortion goes on merrily in this hindu kingdom.
A study was done by a Nepalese research ngo, Institute for Integrated
Development Studies, for WHO recently. The following notes are based on the
cdocument prepared by one of the authors of the study, Mrs. Neera Shrestha who
is at CLark University International Development Program as a Mid Career
Scholar for a semester.
This study is entitles "Determinants of Abortions in Urban Areas of nepal" .
The type of women who go through abortion in urbanareas were those with over 4
children and with at least one son, showing the influence of Hindu civil
values on the need for a male child and the further devaluation of women in
Such aborting women feel additional children as economic burden, and pregnancy
is terminated if it comes in the way of employemnt as in the case of many of
the carpet workers who are trucked into Kathmandu seat factories to work in
Other reasons given for aborting were pregnancy out of wedlock and failure of
family planning devices and the need to sapce births.
The profile of women who have most abortions are urban, ltierate, rich ie able
to pay the cost of service, and aware of the advantages of safe menas of
pregnancy termination, and service holding women. One reason abortions become
necessary is that even so called literate Nepali males prefer "natural" rhythm
method of familty contraception or coitus interruptions, which often fails.
Even literate nepal males feel condoms as constraining their pleasures.
Urban women abortion is legitimized by doctors who sign it as excessive
bleeding needing medical termination and ther is no one to sue them or shoot
them for making palatial houses out of such un-Hippocratic practice and
Nepalese women who indulge in clandestine abortions are rural, illiterate,
poor, and need to maintain secrecy for a variety of reaons including hositle
inlaws, families, and with access to a didi who basically does as she
When trained medical practictioners facilitate abortions m 95% are done i the
first trimester while for untrained, i.e. didis and sudenies, about 1/5 may be
carried up to second trimester.
The study also revealed spontanesous abortions among young girls under 25
years mostly the labour engatged in casual labor of carpet and garment
Why is there a a failur ein successful and preventive contraception? Most
(25%) were just negligent about sterilization while one out five feared "side effects' of contraception. Surprisilngly only 6% had unsuccessful contraceptiond due to opposition from husband.
Another interesting feeling is that despite the soul searching of rightist
women in US and the Hindu values in Nepal, 84% of the women had no guilt
feelings after an abortion. Those few who did feel bad were worried about the
medical costs and possible fear that they may not conceive again.
When going into causes for spontaneous abortions, the researchers found that
the rought rides on the kathmandu buses, tempos, motorbikes were blamed for 1
out 7 abortions, while lifting heavy loads as the "gagro" in Nepali households
for 1 out of 4 abortions.
One woman complained,"
"I was prescribed the anti-worm medicine even though I suspected a two month
pregnancy . But the doctor said the drug will not harm the pregnancy. within
two days of taking medicine for worms I had heavy bleeding and miscarried the
[This doctor need to be hanged, if not sued out for malpractice!"]
Clandestine abortions procedure include:
- the insertion of sticks, sometimes pasted with cow-dung, [itis our deeply
hindu belief in the power of cow things!] or some mixtures,
- injections of unknown medicines/herbal preparation into the uterus, 9the
- insertion of rubber catheter dipped in unknown medicines,
- administration of oral herbal medicinines
- administration of ayurvedic preparations
- administrationso of anti-worm medicines,
[ the foetus must undesirable worms for these wierd doctors and medical practictioners]
- intake of honey
- intake of sindur powder, nir powder
- intake of oral birth control pills
One woman who went through such clandestine abortions recounted as follows:
"I had to get rid of this pregnancy as I already have four children, My
friend took me to a Didi (Sudeni) or midwife, who , after, asking a few
questions regarding the gestations period , inserted three sticks inside me
and told me that I will have the abortion within few hours. But it was only
after two days that I experienced a heavy bleeding . i could see some fleshy
things coming out along with the bleeding . I think it was the sixteen weeks
Despite such gory experiences, 75 to 85% of the women felt no complainsts
after abortions after 15 months. About 2/3 conceived withing 15 months after
abortions and 88% of these subseqeunt pregnancies were planned ones while a
significant portions expressed the intent to abort unwanted babies in the
The study felt that post partum counselling about family planning services
If any one has questins they should direct the queries to :
Study summanrized with comments by
Amulya R. Tuladhar
Date: 11 Sep 94 19:19:48 EDT
From: Rajendra.P.Shrestha@Dartmouth.EDU (Rajendra P. Shrestha)
HEADLINE: former ruling party holds unofficial cwc meeting
DATELINE: kathmandu, september 7; ITEM NO: 0907091
the central working committee (cwc) of nepali congress (nc), the former ruling party, has decided to take severe action against all party workers who did not abide by the party decision concerning nomination of candidates for the november 13 elections of the house of representatives. the cwc's decision said that anyone of the nepali congress presenting himself as a candidate against the official candidate of the party, proposing such candidacy and seconding it will be suspended from party general membership for two years and will not be allowed to become a candidate for any post of any level of the party for six years, the official daily "the rising nepal" reported here today. the decision to this effect was taken by the nc cwc unofficial meeting ended here wednesday. the meeting was chaired by party president krishna prasad bhattarai. prime minister girija prasad koirala was also present. but, party general secretary mahendra narayan nidhi "could not attend the meeting as he is out of the capital". after the meeting, spokesman of the party and former mp tara bhat said wednesday's meeting also decided to field two party representatives to each district as observers. they will also submit reports on the selection of party candidates for the coming election to the party cwc, he added. the decisions taken at the unofficial meeting will be endorsed at the next cwc meeting which will be held immediately after the supreme court gives its verdict on the writ petition concerning the lower house. the supreme court has completed its hearing on the constitutionality of prime minister's recommendation to dissolve the lower house wednesday with the decision to pass the final verdict on september 12.
HEADLINE: japan offers aid to reinforce nepal's power system
DATELINE: kathmandu, september 8; ITEM NO: 0908180
japan will provide a grant assistance equivalent to 17.9 million u.s. dollars to nepal to reinforce the power transmission and distribution system in kathmandu valley and implement a primary school project. two separate exchanges of notes to this effect have been signed and exchanged between the representatives of the two governments at the ministry of finance here today. under the agreements, 14.9 million u.s. dollars will be used for the second phase of the execution of extension and reinforcement of power transmission and distribution system in the kathmandu valley project, the first phase of which is being undertaken with the grant assistance of the japanese government. about three million u.s. dollars will be used for the procurement of equipment and materials necessary for the construction of primary schools.
HEADLINE: Parties accuse Nepalese government of misusing official media
DATELINE: Kathmandu, Sept 9
Four of the five major political parties in Nepal have bitterly criticised the caretaker government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, accusing it of "blatant misuse" of the government media, reports said Friday.
Pradip Nepal, of the Nepal Communist Party (United
Marxist-Leninist) said the four parties, which held a joint meeting
Thursday, agreed that the Koirala government was not governing
impartially and was using the government media to favour its own
Nepali Congress Party.
The other parties at the meeting were the National Democratic
Party, the United People's Front and the Nepal Sadbhavana Party.
The criticism comes in the run up to the general election
scheduled for November 13 and follows increasing criticism of the
official media - both electronic and print - for an alleged
In the last general election, in 1991, Congress won 38 per cent of
the vote, the National Democrats 12 per cent, the United People's
Front 5 per cent and the Nepal Sadbhavana 4 per cent.
Critics pointed out that many Nepalese tended to believe whatever
they read in newspapers or heard on radio or on television.
A month ago, Premier Koirala promised to set up an independent
committee to run the government media, but that had not happened so
Meanwhile, Marich Man Singh Shrestha, 54, who was Prime Minister
from 1986-90, has taken over as head of the ultra-nationalist Rastra
Bachao Andolan "Save the Nation" Party.
Shresta was both hated and feared for his attempts ruthlessly to suppress the pro-democracy movement between February and April 1990 when western-style democracy was restored to Nepal.
But, because of incidents in which Indian police have crossed into
Nepal in pursuit of Indian-based Gurkha militants as well as what
people generally perceive as the pro-Indian stance of the Koirala
government, Shrestha is now winning popularity.
The "Save-the-Nation Movement" was born following accusations that
the government had been making too many concessions to India. The
movement accused the government of "virtually ceding some parts of
Nepalese territory" for India's Tanakpur Dam project.
Singh told the German Press Agency, dpa, that his first priority
as leader of the party would be to instill a sense of nationalism in
Although his party has been registered for the general election,
it was not immediately clear if it would, in fact, contest it. dpa ur
HEADLINE: Nepalese traders allege Indian harassment
DATELINE: Kathmandu, Sept 9
Nepalese traders have accused Indian authorities of abusing their control over Indian ports to prevent the landlocked Himalayan kingdom from importing goods from countries other than India, Nepal's Kantipur newspaper reported.
The traders said that 250 containers loaded with imports destined
for Nepal have been delayed in the Indian port of Calcutta for the
past two months, the newspaper added.
Calcutta in West Bengal is Nepal's nearest port. Nepalese traders have to produce import licences to gain permission to import products through Indian territory.
The Indian authorities described the delayed products as
sensitive. The traders say the containers contain ball bearings,
computer parts and diskettes, antibiotics, car spare parts and video
cassettes, the newspaper added.
Calcutta port authorities have also sent 80 import licences to
Nepal's central bank for investigation. The authorities said they had
"some suspicions" about the authenticity of the licences. The newspaper said unidentified officials were quoted as saying that most of the licences were in order. dpa tm
HEADLINE: 25 injured, 40 detained in party clashes
DATELINE: Kathmandu, Sept 9
More than 25 persons were injured on Friday in clashes between rival supporters of two political parties in Nepal, reports reaching Kathmandu said.
Forty members of the ruling Nepali Congress Party were detained
after the clashes, which occured in the small town of Barabise, 80
kilometres northeast of the capital.
The evening Nepali-language daily Mahanagar said Congress
supporters attacked members of the rival National Democratic Party as
they were preparing to hold a rally.
More than 25 persons were injured in the fighting and taken to the
local health centre for treatment, the newspaper reported. Forty
Nepali Congress activists, including the local leader, Netra Bahadur
Thapa, were detained by police, the report said.
The meeting, which was to have been addressed by National
Democratic Party chief Surya Bahadur Thapa, was intended to gather
support for general elections scheduled for November 13. dpa ms
HEADLINE: nepal's biggest cement factory put into production
DATELINE: kathmandu, september 10; ITEM NO: 0910470
nepal's biggest cement factory has gone into production with a designed yearly capacity of 277,200 tons. the udayapur cement factory, inaugurated friday, can meet about 80 percent of the kingdom's demand for cement, official daily "the rising nepal" reported here today. nepal produced some 80,000 tons of cement in 1992-93 fiscal year. construction of the factory lasted seven years with a loan of 188.13 million u.s. dollars from japan's overseas economic cooperation fund and a share investment of 9.14 million u.s. dollars by the nepali government in 1992. the factory, with a staff of 1,500 people, now turns out 800 tons of cement a day, which can be increased to 1,600 tons.
HEADLINE: Nepalese groan under garbage pile
DATELINE: KATMANDU, Sept. 10
Residents near Katmandu are gagging as nearly 17,600 cubic feet
(500 cubic meters) of garbage piles up daily in the Nepalese capital since the beginning of the week for the lack of a dumping site, municipal and other officials said Friday. ''The problem is how to persuade the local people to accept the garbage in the filling site at Gokarna before another permanent dumping site is developed,'' said Siva Bahadur Pradhananga of the Ministry of Housing and Physical Planning. The site at Gokarna about 3 miles (15 km) east of Katmandu was developed by the solid management and resource mobilization center 10 years ago with German technical assistance. The Germans left nearly two years ago and the locals, fearing epidemics, object to further dumping at the site. The latest problem for the municipal authorities arose when residents along the already polluted Bagmati River, blocked trash haulers from trucking urban garbage to the site near the river. An urban planner and joint secretary in the planning ministry, Umesh Malla, said the government has found a dump site in Nuwakot District 50 miles (80 km) northwest of the capital but it will take at least two years to develop it. The city has formed a 15-member negotiating panel to meet with local residents to negotiate a solution to the trash problem. Meanwhile, the residents' anger stews under the assault on their senses. ''I find it impossible to stay even indoors because of the stench emanating from the garbage heaps,'' said Sarjeen Shrestha, a resident downwind from the growing and ever more odiferous problem. It is common now to see pedestrians walking past yellow bins or heaps of garbage almost every 10 yards (10 m) covering their noses to block out the stench.
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 94 10:35:38 EDT
From: Anita Regmi <AREGMI@ERS.BITNET>
Subject: Women in Nepal
I have not been discussing "Women in Hinduism" as you may perceive,
instead to me it has been a issue of women in Nepal. All religions tend
to have traditions that are somewhat oppressive to women, it is not only restricted to Hinduism. This letter is in response to Mr. Shukla's note. I agree with him, Mr. Mishra may have been very provocative to generate a discussion. Unfortunately, it appears not to have served the purpose. Except for a few "regulars" by and large the issue did not stir anyone else.
My biggest disappointment has been that except for three women (did
I miss anyone) the issue did not rouse others. I realize that women comprise
of a disproportionately small audience of TND. Howevr I know that there are
more than three. Do they not care? Or are they afraid to discuss the topic?
Or is the current situation "just fine"? Perhaps they feel nothing will change by their voicing their opinion. Maybe not. But at least let these men (audience of TND) know how you feel. You never before had the chance!
For a start, I will tell you what irritates me in the US (among Nepali
gatherings). I am sure all can visualize a gathering where the men are
waited upon in the living room carrying on worldly discussions; and the poor
women are huddled in the kitchen or back room confining themselves to worthless
topics of shopping sprees, gossips and other such matters. Can't somebody
start changing the rules whereby such segregated get-togethers don't happen?
Or is that another "cherished wholesome tradition" that we want to preserve?
Another issue (unrelated) that I wanted to point out was on the comment of "a
father being sad at the birth of a daughter.." We cannot think of this issue
bearing in mind the educated crowd that we know, instead think of rural Hindus.
Did anyone listen to the series on public radio? They talked about villages in
Tamil Nadu where ALL baby girls had been killed! Yes, the horrible truth
exists many fathers are so disappointed by the birth of a daughter that they
directly or indirectly cause the death of their newborn daughters.
Date: 12 Sep 94 14:50:09 EDT
From: Rajendra.P.Shrestha@Dartmouth.EDU (Rajendra P. Shrestha)
Subject: News9/12: Supreme Court OKs elections
HEADLINE: Top Nepali court clears way for elections
DATELINE: KATHMANDU, Sept 12
Nepal's Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for national elections in November by a seven to four majority, rejecting a claim that they were scheduled unconstitutionally.
Seven judges ruled that Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was
within his constitutional rights to ask King Birendra to dissolve
parliament and call early elections after the Congress Party leader
lost a key vote in the assembly.
The other four judges said Koirala's decision to resign and ask for
fresh elections at the same time was unconstitutional.
Koirala lost the vote in July because 36 of his party deputies who
wanted him out of the job stayed away from parliament.
Koirala took power in 1991 after the poor Himalayan kingdom's first
democratic elections in three decades. Congress dissidents who had
fought him since then said he should have allowed another party leader
the chance to form a government.
Opposition parties objected to Koirala's appointment as caretaker
prime minister, saying a free and fair election campaign was
impossible with him still running the government machinery.
They launched a protest campaign but failed to dislodge him.
The Supreme Court decision was on a petition brought by four
people, of whom two were members of the dissolved 205-seat
parliament. It appeared to mean the end of legal action to halt the
elections, for which some 65 parties have registered.
''We are all bound to accept the court's verdict gracefully,'' said
Durga Subedi, one of the four who brought the petition.
HEADLINE: gastroenteritis claims 274 lives in nepal this year
DATELINE: kathmandu, september 12; ITEM NO: 0912044
gastroenteritis has claimed 274 lives this year in nepal, announced the home ministry on sunday. over 30,000 people reported symptoms of gastroenteritis this year and over 12,000 have been affected in the kathmandu valley alone. the ministry said that the figure does not take into account the cases treated at the private clinics and nursing homes and most cases in the rural areas have never been reported. gastroenteritis, along with encephalitis, is a widespread disease in the monsoon season every year in the country. cases of both gastroenteritis and encephalitis begin to grow in number this year due to poor sanitation coupled with unclean drinking water.
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 1994 21:43 EST
Subject: Madison conference on Nepal
23RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIA
MADISON, WISCONSIN, USA
(NOVEMBER 4, 5, 6, 1994)
The conference provides a forum and location for
the presentation of a broad range of scholarly papers
related to South Asian Studies.
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Date: November 4, 5, 6, 1994
Registration and Other Fees:
Regular registration (prior to October 1) $50
Regular registration (after October 1) $55
Student registration (prior to October 1) $15
Student registration (after October 1) $20
Selected list of panels (tentative) that might be of interest
- Changing Social and Cultural Geography in South Asia
- Economic and Physical Aspects of South Asia
- Recent Research in Power, Trade and Tourism
- Myths, Politics, Perceptions: Narratives of Changing Envir.
- Perspectives on the Development of Himalayan Studies
- Land, Caste and Occupation
- etc.. (Many panels on Arts, History and Politics etc.)
Please write to the following address for more information:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Center for South Asia
1269 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive., Madison
Wisconsin, USA 53706
Phone: (608) 262-9690 or (608) 262 4884
Fax : (608) 265 3062
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 1994 15:36:07 EST
Subject: Women in Hinduism
First of all I would like to thank Mr. P.K. Mishra for his
comment on my response to his letter. I feel very sorry to his
comment about first menstruation and further relating it to the
general menstruation. Mr. Mishra should know that usually during
menstruation period women don't work outside home nor in the
Sex education in any society doesn't starts with flip charts and
video tapes describing the processes but by 'feeling' of it. Sex
education is debatable, although important, does not have a
Regarding "gunyoo-choolo," it seems Mr. Mishra should know that
gunyoo is not petti-coat, but is a dhoti. I am happy that he at
least accepts this ceremony, but still is ignorant to its value.
This ceremony is not for "covering sexuality" we all know that
nobody at that age runs in birthday suit.
My focus on earlier letter was to suggest readers not to be
flattered by Mr. Mishra's letter. However, for most of the issues
I raised about women achievements and societal changes is
accepted by him (no matter how he defines it). Issues on
religious oppressions (?) will surely unfold as the discussions
proceeds. The historical facts and the societal changes are seen
contradictory in this case. I don't like to stick on the
religious perspectives which I will reserve only after things
Finally, I would like to suggest Mr. Mishra that " infusing fresh
blood int the weak veins of that culture" is a commendable task,
but can be achieved by fair, rational, and just solutions and not
by fostering blatant hatred to the religion or social ethics.
People asked Buddha - 'Are you a god ?'. Buddha replied -
'No'. 'Are you an angel ?'. 'No'. 'Then what are you ?'. 'I am enlightened, I am Buddha'. He asks to throw away all mental chain, and to critically examine any 'belief system'. He will ask - 'on what basis ?' about every thing. 'What is the enlightenment ?'. 'It cannot be taught, as a sleeping person would not know the state of being awake. When you get enlightened then you would know for yourself. I can only show you a way, cannot make you enlightened'. Hindus believe he is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu - the preserver.
He was born 'Sidhart Gautam' in Nepal, a prince, around 560
B.C., married, had a child and lived a luxurious life. But he was
acutely aware of the worldly 'suffering '. It really troubled him
a lot, and finally decided to search for the cure leaving
everything behind. He tried many ways. He tried ascetism and almost
died of hunger. He went to many schools and many masters, but he
failed to find the answer. One day he was meditating under a fig
tree, then suddenly he became enlightened. Thus arose the Buddha.
He taught to hold to the truth objectively and not to be
swayed by emotion. One day a pupil greeted him as the most wise
person of all times. Buddha asked - 'I assume you know about all
the people before me'. 'No Buddha'. 'I assume you know about all
the people after me'. 'No Buddha'. 'Then how do you know I am the
most wise man ?'.
Buddha asks for personal effort - 'Be lamp on to yourself'. He
asks not to be lead by any authority, tradition, book, or miracles;
but to 'know for yourself'. Buddha requests to the people claiming
to be able to perform miracle - 'please lay an egg'. He insists on
the way of knowledge. Miracles/rituals are interesting to observe,
but does not add to your knowledge. What you know for sure, however
insignificant it may be, is lot better than ununderstood miracles,
however spectacular it may be.
Buddha is always focused to his main theme of world's
'suffering'. 'I do not say world is eternal, nor I say world is not eternal. I do not say soul and body is same, nor I say soul and body are different. I do not say this, nor I do say that. Because in any event the suffering exist. Solution for the suffering has nothing to do with any of these metaphysical views. If a person is struck with an arrow, then first thing to do is to pull out the arrow. That is the direct cure for the suffering. Not to sit down and insist that I will not pull this arrow out untill I know what kind of arrow shaft it is, or how the bow is made, or whether the person who shot the arrow is fat or tall.
Buddha is empirical, and asks to go by what we can put our
hands on. 'I do not teach whether soul exist or does not exist.
Because for a human being it is not possible to know for sure the
existence or nonexistence of soul. Why do people 'like' to believe
in existence of soul ?. Because it helps lay down the fear of
death, and helps vanity of being immortal. Here, we can recognize
and do some thing about the fear and the vanity. Therefore instead
of profitless speculation about existence of soul, we should try as
a first order of business to control the fear of death and the
vanity of being immortal'.
Buddha is scientific. 'How to face death ?'. 'As if, you are
about to enter a room where no body has gone in or came out; i.e.
a room of which we know nothing about. Should we be fearful, happy,
cautious, full of expectation ? If there is no information exist
about the room, then we cannot have any frame of mind. If we assume
any of the frame of mind, then it does not reflect what is in the
room, rather it reflects the person's past experiences'.
Buddha's approach to problem of life summarized as four 'Noble
truth' is like that of a therapist. As long as every thing running
smoothly then we would not notice any problem or suffering/dukkha.
When thing does not go smoothly, as a wheel out of joint, then we
feel suffering. The reason for such disjoint is the drive for
private fulfillment or personal craving. This disease can be cured
by overcoming the egoistic drive for separate existence. The way to
the overcoming of self-seeking or ego is through the 'Eightfold
The eightfold path then is a course of treatment. But it is
not external treatment passively accepted by the patient as coming
from outside as a matter of faith. It is not treatment by pill, or
cult, or grace. It is treatment through training. The driving force
behind the stated ethical system is not the commandment and
associated sense of sin and punishment, but through the way of
knowledge and compassion. If you do not steal, then it is not
because of fear of punishment/hell or expectation of reward/heaven.
Because fear and craving it self are the cause of suffering. The
eightfold path is summarized below.
1. Right knowledge, 2. Right aspiration,
3. Right speech, 4. Right behavior,
5. Right livelihood, 6. Right effort,
7. Right mindfullness, 8. Right absorption.
The fourth path 'Right behavior' is further broken down
in to five steps.
a. Do not kill, b. Do not steal,
c. Do not lie, d. Do not be unchaste,
e. Do not drink intoxicants.
What is a Buddha mind ? As a not enlightened person we can
only speculate. Say there is a mind which has searched within
itself and is able to recognize and neutralize all the self ego and
ego related tinted vision, then whatever is left as a bright
conscience without any tint or mental blocks, perhaps is. Coming
down to practical world, Buddha has emphasized again and again on
'compassion' towards all forms of life; and he preached again and again the nonviolence or ahimsa, physical or mental, towards all.
%% END OF "THE NEPAL DIGEST". %%
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