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The Sixth Precept?


Flashback occurred, while reading the very informative article ‘Smoking and the five precepts’ by Bhante Dhammika of Australia (Satmag, 15 July), to mid nineteen-eighties when the late President Premadasa was the Prime Minister, before power inflated his ego resulting in erratic behaviour which, unfortunately, seems to be the norm for the exalted position of the President of Sri Lanka. There is absolutely no doubt Premadasa was a politician with a vision, concepts like ‘Gam Udawa’ standing to his testimony even today. A lesser known project of his was the training of young Bhikkus to be sent as emissaries to propagate Buddha Dhamma all over the world. To equip them for this noble task, they were taught Pali, English and Science in addition to Buddha Dhamma and Sinhala. I accepted with delight, and humility, the invitation to give a lecture and lead a discussion on health issues. The Prime Minister was busy otherwise and sent his apologies but learned, later, that he listened to a recording of the proceedings and was very pleased with what transpired. I could help only once and am not aware what happened to the training programme, which could have had far reaching consequences, not by missionary conversions but by the spread of the science and philosophy of Buddhism, largely ignored by ‘western experts’ even to this day.


‘Ten million aliens’


I’ve just finished reading ‘Ten Million Aliens’ by Simon Barnes, a collection of articles; it looks at animals in a new way. According to Barnes 80% of the living animals on earth are nematode worms. There are 28,000 species, of which...

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