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The mind won’t let you take clear and independent decisions if you become a slave to attachments

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Tomorrow is Nikini Poya Day

Take the letters A and B in the English alphabet. It’s because of A that B exists. If A doesn’t exist, there’s no B. As A was born, B exists and when A disappears, B also disappears. We cannot talk of B without A. B exists until A exists. B vanishes when A vanishes. All these are relative to each other.

There is a Sutta called Nala Kalaapa in Sanyuktha Nikaya. Nala Kalaapa means a stack of firewood. If there are two stacks of firewood leaning upright together, if the right side stack is removed, the one on the left will fall. I reset the two stacks and remove the left one and the right stack falls. Now, do you understand that both are relative to each other? They exist only until they are together. If one is taken, the other falls.

That is the enlightenment. Now, realize that everything is interdependent. It is same even in the physical world. The fan is rotating due to the flow of electricity. When there is no electricity, the fan stops. Devotees listen to sermons because it is necessary to them. That means there is something behind each and everything, an interconnection. Everything functions in a circulatory system. Lord Buddha has explained in Nala Kalaapa Sutta about physical and mental recognition. These two are interdependent. They have a reversible reaction. Living beings exist due to this factor.

I preach on how to look into these two factors within yourself. Consider your own thoughts. Let’s assume one of you feeling hungry. Why am I feeling hungry? Because, I did not eat yet. What do I feel as hunger? There exists a memory in my mind about an occasion of having a full, half full and empty stomach. Compare them now. After the comparison, my mind says, the current situation differs from the previous situation of a full stomach. That is what you feel as hunger. The intention of the fullness is the cause for the emptiness. This is how you practice the cause and effect method.

I have a glass of water. Someone says the glass is full of water. I reduce the amount of water in the glass. Then the person says, “There is some water in the glass.” His reply is relative to two things. Make a response consciously. What are those two? The answer of that person is relative to the glass and the water. Now, I transfer the same amount of water to a smaller glass. Then, he says the glass is full. Here, he answered considering only the water. That is wrong. The answer should be given by considering both the water and the glass.

I talk about the activities of day-to-day life. Make responses by comparing both. My vision is clearer than yours. I see two when you all see one. That is the clearest vision or the reverse thinking pattern. One who perceives, see not only Dhamma but also the exterior more clearly. He is far-sighted. That means he sees everything in advance.

We go to a well around twelve noon and look inside. If the water is clear, then the bottom is seen clearly in the light. All of you have seen it. We stir water in the well by using a stick and look inside. Now, will the bottom be clearly seen? No, because the water is agitated. Think of yourself. You should understand that you cannot see yourself better because your mind is unclear. The reason is the ego.

You think that many things exist in the world should belong to you, they should behave as you wish etc. Such a person does not realize the reality of himself. Not only that, you form attachments to various things. As a result, your mind does not let you take independent, clear and accurate decisions as you have become a slave to the attachments. Think clearly and break all the gyves in your mind. Learn to think like a noble person without being confined to the traditional frames.

When searching for a set objective in life, keep the highest expectations, not the lowest. But, we don’t think that the maximum should be gained. We accept what we gain. Wish for the greatest. Work for the greatest. If it is not fulfilled, at least a lower level will be achieved. That is my idea.

The greatest gift you can give someone is the noble path, which emerges through the exploration of the meanings of Suttas preached by Lord Buddha. When you observe Suttas with wisdom, you will find the noble path in it. Go deep into the meanings of Suttas, only then you will be able to understand it. You cannot find them without a deep investigation. Walk through the path way. It is a different path. Everything exists in a reversible way.

– Ven. Sri Samanthabadra Thera

 



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COVID-19: Jaffna faces serious risk

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Top medical man in North threatens lockdown

Five villages isolated in Ganewatta DS area

20% of IDH patients need oxygen

By Dinasena Ratugamage and Rathindra Kuruwita

Tough restrictions would have to be imposed in Jaffna if religious leaders did not help health authorities, Northern Province Director General of Health Services, Dr. A. Kethiswaran said yesterday. Jaffna was facing a serious risk of COVID-19, he said.

Dr. Kethiswaran said so during a meeting with religious leaders at his office. He said that a large number of devotees were seen at various places of religious worship during the festive period.

“None of these people follow health guidelines. It is impossible to control the virus because of this. At this rate we will have to impose travel restrictions in the Jaffna District. We need everyone’s support, if we are to avoid this fate.”

He then urged religious leaders to inform devotees of the dangers of the virus and not to gather at places of worship in large numbers.

 

Dr. Kethiswaran also said that a large number of policemen in Jaffna had contracted COVID-19. About 258 PCR tests had been carried out on Wednesday after it was found that 13 policemen attached to the Jaffna Police station were infected. Altogether 788 PCR tests were done in the Jaffna District on Wednesday, Dr. Kethiswaran said.

One hundred and forty eight new COVID-19 cases had been detected in several villages in the Ganewatta Divisional secretariat area, Divisional Secretary Niranjala Karunaratne said yesterday.

On Wednesday alone 733 PCR tests had been done there, she said, adding that about 175 individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 there.

Given these developments, Tittawelgala, Hunupola, Siradunna, Aluthgama and Hettigama Grama Niladari divisions at Ganewatta Divisional secretariat area have been isolated.

Travel restrictions were imposed on Kuliyapitiya Town, Thunmodara, Dhandagamuwa – West, Kanadulla and Pahala Weerambuwa as COVID-19 cases were increasing there.

PHI in charge of Divulapitiya said that 84 new COVID-19 cases had been reported from the area during the last 48 hours. However, no decision had been taken to impose travel restrictions in the area, PHI, S.A.U.T Kularatne said.

“Twenty-eight of these patients were among people who attended a sports event organised for the New Year in Aswennawatta Grama Niladari area. Forty-four people who went on a trip at Mellawagedara have also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. If people are not careful, things might rapidly deteriorate,” he warned.

Deputy Director of IDH said that over 130 COVID-19 patients were undergoing treatment there although the hospital could accommodate only 120 patients.

All eight ICU beds at the IDH are occupied and 20% of the patients there need oxygen. The number of people admitted to hospital had increased after the Sinhala and Hindu New year, health ministry sources said.

Director General of Health Services – Western Province Dr. Dhammika Jayalath urged people to refrain from travelling to Colombo unless it was very urgent.

Director General of Health Services, Dr. Asela Gunawardane said that the coming three weeks would crucial.

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Covid figures: Govt. accused of misleading the country

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) yesterday claimed that State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, Prof. Channa Jayasumana was making statements on new strains of SARS-CoV-2 without any scientific proof.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Prof. Jayasumana said that there had been an increase in the spread of Covid virus in the country, especially among the young people and that was due to a new strain of the virus.

President of the CMLS, Ravi Kumudesh said: “The Minister claimed they were doing a research on this. As far as we know, neither the Ministry nor the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has done any research to identify this new strain. The Ministry of Health stopped identifying new variants a long time ago.”

The Ministry of Health could neither plan for new variants of COVID-19 nor determine what vaccine was effective as it simply didn’t have the equipment to identify new strains, Kumudesh said, adding that identifying COVID-19 variants across the country had been outsourced to the University of Sri Jayawardenepura.

“I have repeatedly said that the Health Ministry officials can’t make science and evidence-based decisions or statements on new strains. Institutions under the Health Ministry do not have the ability to identify new strains of the coronavirus; only the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has a gene sequencing machine. We said this was having a disastrous impact on the country’s pandemic response and here we are,.”

Kumudesh said that identifying various strains of COVID-19 was essential to respond to the pandemic as everything from PCR testing to selecting a vaccine, depended on that.

“There are a number of strains of the virus in the world now and we now know that the new variant that led to a lockdown in the UK is here. We have to be ready to identify what strains are coming.”

Kumudesh said that since the country had opened its airports people from various countries would arrive, carrying new strains. He added that there might also be a new strain that originated here without “our knowledge because we don’t do adequate gene sequencing.

“To identify new variants, we must sequence the genes of viruses detected through PCR testing. We need many gene sequencing machines because one cannot identify new strains through a PCR test. However, the Ministry of Health has not provided a single gene sequencing machine to labs under its purview.”

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CEA accused of turning blind eye to cardamom cultivators raping Knuckles Forest

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A government decision to allow cardamom plantations inside the Knuckles Forest Reserve, which came under the Forest Conservation Department,it was already having a negative impact on the ecosystem, Sajeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform (MONLAR) said.

Chamikara said that Knuckles Forest Reserve was not only a unique ecosystem but also an important catchment area for rivers such as Mahaweli and Kalu.

“Illegal Cardamom planters had been operating in the forest area for many decades and there had been many attempts to get rid of them,” Chamikara said

About six years ago, there was an attempt to remove illegal Cardamom planters from the Knuckles Forest Reserve. When the Forest Conservation Department tried to remove these encroachers, based on a court order, several politicians and officials intervened on their behalf, the environmentalist said. Due to those interventions, illegal Cardamom planters could not be removed from the Knuckles Forest Reserve, he added.

“In many areas of the Dumbara mountain range, forest undergrowth has been cleared to make way for cardamom plantations. This has drastically increased soil erosion and the soil that is swept away by rains have been deposited in many reservoirs after being taken downstream to the Mahaweli Ganga. Moreover, many trees have been cut to use as firewood to dry cardamom. There are many structures used to dry the cardamom dotting the Knuckles mountain range and these activities cause significant damages to the ecosystem.”

Chamikara said it was illegal to cut trees, cultivate and clear land in a Conservation Forest. The offences carried jail terms or fines or both. Moreover, the court could estimate the damage done to the forest and make the guilty pay that amount. Under the law, even people who encouraged such violations could be prosecuted.

“The CEA has the power to act against those who carry out such illegal activities. According to Section 23 (a.) (a.) of the National Environmental Act, when a project is carried out without obtaining approval, the CEA can present such people before a magistrate’s court. If found guilty a person can be fined up to Rs. 15,000 or imprisoned up to two years or subjected to both. Unfortunately the authorities concerned are turning a blind eye.”

 

 

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