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Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man

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by Vijaya Chandrasoma

Mary Trump is Donald Trump’s only niece, the daughter of Trump’s alcoholic older brother, who died of a heart attack in 1981 when he was 43 years of age. Dr. Trump has painted a convincing portrait of the president of the United States and the toxic family that has made him “a man who threatens the world’s health, economic security and social fabric.”

Her book, already a New York Times bestseller, has sold over a million copies on the first day of its release on July 14.

Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to stop the publication of Dr. Trump’s book on the basis of a Non-Disclosure Agreement in the litigation of his father’s will, which he says prevents her from disclosing anything regarding the family. However, the Courts ruled that she has not violated the NDA and permitted its release.

Trump has derided the book, saying that “she’s a seldom seen niece who knows little about me, and says untruthful things about my parents, who couldn’t stand her….She’s a mess!”

However, Dr. Trump has made it very clear, by her narrative of some very interesting anecdotes, that she was very much a part of this family till the death of her grandfather in 1999. She says that Donald’s father was oftentimes aloof, and only had time for Donald, his favourite son whom he groomed to be his heir; but she and her grandmother, Mary Anne shared a deep love for each other. She confirms she’s had very little contact with her family after the disputed litigation of her grandfather’s will in 2001.

Dr. Trump gives a vivid description of the toxic influence of Donald’s father, Fred Trump, had on the entire family. Fred built up the family fortune by investing in real estate with the wealth left to him by his father, who had died during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918. He concentrated initially in developing properties in Queens, New York, but later extended his activities to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Fred “had always been vain about his appearance and bemoaned his receding hairline”, which he chose to camouflage with a wig. The “cheap drugstore dye” he used for the wig turned it to a “jarring shade of magenta”. Mary remembers Fred offering her $100 for her hair when she was a teenager. She writes “I laughed” and said “Sorry, Grandpa, I need to hang on to it.” Donald’s obsession with his own blonde hair-weave shows that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Fred died in 1999, aged 93, leaving a fortune of approximately $300 million, the bulk of which went to Donald. Fred Trump had suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease during the last six years of his life. At his funeral, all his children gave eulogies, where the emphasis “was on my grandfather’s material success and his killer instinct …. Donald was the only one to deviate from the script. In a cringe-inducing turn, his eulogy devolved into a paean of his own greatness.” Sound familiar?

She writes very tenderly about her own father, Freddie, Fred’s oldest son, who was a more accomplished, though flawed, man than Donald. Freddie worked for the family business for a time, but got bored with real estate development, boredom his dominant father considered a weakness. He left to get his commercial pilots’ licence and worked for TWA, one of the most prestigious airlines at that time. However, alcoholism severely impacted his life. According to a New York Times article, “He got divorced, quit flying because he knew his drinking presented a danger and failed at commercial fishing in Florida.” By the late 1970s, he was living back in his parents’ house in Queens. Mary makes little reference to her mother, Linda, who was settled with a modest allowance after her divorce and was generally ostracized by the rest of the clan.

Strangely, she has at times turned Donald into a figure deserving of sympathy, being the victim of an abusive father. She says that “Fred destroyed Donald, by short-circuiting his ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotions. By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it.”

When Donald was seven years old, his brother, Freddie, the writer’s father, then 15, dumped a bowl of mashed potatoes on Trump’s head at a family dinner. The laughter which ensued caused Trump severe humiliation, which showed even six decades later; during a toast at a party in the White House in 2017, Donald’s older sister, Maryanne, laughingly recalled this incident, which had become a part of family lore. Trump was deeply humiliated at being the brunt of the joke. He has since learned “to use humiliation as a weapon; from then on, he would use the weapon, never be at the sharp end of it.”

Which immediately brings to mind President Obama’s speech at the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, when he destroyed Trump with contemptuous comments which also drew much laughter, derision and applause from the stellar audience. The humiliation caused by this speech is, we are told, the main reason Trump decided to run for the Presidency in 2016. So maybe Trump is right, maybe the mess the country is in today is really Obama’s fault.

Another time, Trump saw the author in a bikini at Mar-a-Lago, and exclaimed: “Holy shit, Mary, you’re stacked.” This tasteless remark to a niece indicates that his predilection for incest is not only confined to his sick feelings for his daughter, Ivanka, whom he has at various times groped in public, and described as having a “very hot body” and, if he weren’t married, he’d be dating her.

His own daughter. Think about that. Take your time.

Dr. Trump says that she didn’t write the book with any desire for money or revenge. She says she was reluctant to speak up during the 2016 election as she may have been dismissed as a disgruntled, estranged family member. She also thought there would be competent people in his administration who understood how government worked and would be able to curb his worst impulses. “Clearly I was wrong to make that assumption…. The events of the last three years, however, forced my hand, and I can no longer remain silent. By the time this book is published, hundreds of thousands of American lives will have been sacrificed on the altar of Donald’s hubris and willful ignorance. If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy.”

She added that the last straw of so many straws was “the horrors at the border, separating children from their parents, the torture, the kidnapping and incarceration of them in cages was unthinkable, unbearable. When an opportunity presented itself to write this book as a warning, I needed to take the leap.”

A clinical psychologist, Dr. Trump writes, “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a battery of neuropsychological tests that he’ll never sit for.” She says that “a large minority of people still confuse his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment and his superficial interest in them for charisma.” Sadly, “at a very deep level, his bragging and false bravado are not directed at the audience in front of him but at his audience of one: his long-dead father.”

What makes Dr. Trump’s book so credible is that she reveals, with realistic anecdotes, characteristics we have already seen for ourselves in the behaviour of this petty little man during the past three years: his plantation mentality, his narcissistic insecurity, his ignorant incompetence, his contempt for decency, ethics and the rule of law, his apathy for the welfare of everyone but himself, have all made a mockery of the greatest office in the land. He has reduced America from the greatest superpower of three short years ago to be the laughing stock of the world.

At a recent interview with liberal TV commentator Rachel Maddow, she said: “I want people to understand what a failure of leadership this is, and the reason he’s failing at it is because he’s incapable of succeeding at it. It (Leadership) would have required taking responsibility – which would, in his mind, have meant admitting a mistake, which in my family was essentially punishable by the death penalty, symbolic or otherwise. She says she has heard and deplores the racial slurs he constantly uses against African Americans, including the n….. word, his anti-Semitic and misogynistic slurs, and being a lesbian herself, his derogatory comments against the LGBTQ community.

The author opens her book with a quotation from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables:

If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.

When asked by Chris Cuomo of CNN what she meant by this quotation, she said that when Donald was growing up, his grandfather provided the darkness, with his personality and his wealth, under which Donald committed his immoral and fraudulent sins. When he became president of the United States, she hoped that the “best people” he promised to employ in his administration would help him to get out of this darkness into the light of good governance.

Unfortunately, by demanding total loyalty from everyone who worked for him and getting rid of anyone who disagreed with him, Trump has now surrounded himself with a bunch of sycophantic enablers who continue to provide the darkness under which he has openly committed the most egregious of crimes, up to and including treason. Paradoxically, he is committing these crimes right in front of our eyes, obvious to everyone except his enablers (and his storied “base”) who have chosen to remain under the cover of this darkness, to achieve their own racist, political and financial ambitions. “To this day”, she writes, “the lies, misrepresentations, and fabrications that are the sum total of who my uncle is, are perpetuated by the Republican Party and white evangelical Christians…. The lies may become true in his mind as soon as he utters them, but they are still lies. It’s just another way for him to see what he can get away with. And so far, he’s gotten away with everything.”

“The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everyone else. It’s wearing the country down…. changing us even as it leaves Donald unaltered.” The polarization of the country today is evidence of the success of Trump’s strategies of self-serving deception and distraction. “What I think we need to grapple with now is why so many people are continuing to allow it.”

On November 3, voters of America will have the choice to throw light on this darkness, to bring back democracy into a country whose national pride has been, since the drafting of the Constitution, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. National pride which has lost its way.

If voters continue to keep their eyes closed to the evil and the cruelty of this darkness in November, then Democracy would indeed have died in Darkness.



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Impact of security considerations on foreign policy crafting

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To be sure, Sri Lanka is in a tight policy bind as a result of initially granting the Chinese high tech vessel, ‘Yuan Wang 5’, permission to dock at its Hambantota Port for a week, beginning today. The decision did not prove divisive until India objected to it; apparently, over questions relating to its national security.

Consequent to India raising objections, Sri Lanka has requested China to defer its vessel’s Hambantota Port visit, but quite understandably the Chinese side has taken offence at this change of stance by Sri Lanka. Among other things, China has called on India to ‘stop pressuring’ Sri Lanka over the vessel’s visit, which it claims is for purely scientific exploration purposes.

Essentially, the Indian position is that its security interests could be compromised as a result of the Chinese high tech vessel being in a position, once it docks in Hambantota, to bring under close surveillance vital Indian infrastructural assets on the country’s southern coast in particular, such as nuclear power plants and ports. Sri Lanka reportedly received messages of protest by India to the effect that the Chinese vessel possessed the capability ‘to track satellites and intercontinental ballistic missiles’, besides other strengths.

China, for its part has explained, among other things, that the vessel’s visit is part of ‘the cooperation process’ between China and Sri Lanka, which is ‘independently chosen by the two countries and meets common interests. It does not target any third party.’ It added that: ‘Sri Lanka is a sovereign state. It can develop relations with other countries in the light of its own development interests.’

Sri Lanka is bound to see the merit in China’s argument but given its regional policy compulsions it cannot afford to be seen as being at cross purposes with India either. India and China are number one powers and considering Sri Lanka’s geographical proximity to both states, besides its dependence on them in a number of vital areas, it cannot be seen by either of these global powers as being insensitive to their best interests.

A classic small state dilemma, the commentator is prompted to observe. Bluntly expressed, however, Sri Lanka is in a state of utter helplessness in this situation where it cannot afford to offend either of these major powers. But in fairness to Sri Lanka it needs to be said that she has tried to be as ‘Non-aligned’ as possible while relating to the big powers concerned; it’s simply that, given her degree of dependence on them, she is in no position to say ‘No’ to either of them.

Sri Lanka’s damage controllers, if there are any, may need to act swiftly, positively and proactively. They will need to use their best diplomatic skills to facilitate an empathetic response from China in particular to the policy quandaries confronting Sri Lanka in the Yuan Wang 5 connection. Essentially, the message to both countries should be that no wilful harm has been intended to them by Sri Lanka.

This is not going to be the first occasion on which a worrisome tangle of this acuteness in the regional policy sphere is likely to confront Sri Lanka. Going forward, how will it manage quandaries of this magnitude? This is an issue of the highest urgency and complexity. It is compounded by the fact that being in an utterly helpless economic situation, Sri Lanka does not possess any rescue options worth speaking of. While the country needs to persevere with Non-alignment as best as it could, and as the saying goes, be ‘a friend of all’, it would be only working against its best interests by being unaware of the priorities of its closest neighbours and shaping its relations with them accordingly.

Needless to say, India is our closest neighbour and merits extra-carefulness and sensitivity on Sri Lanka’s part when dealing with it. The lessons of the late seventies and early eighties should be fresh in the minds of Sri Lanka’s policy and decision-makers, lest past regional policy blunders are repeated. Put briefly, security concerns prompted India to figure prominently in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict in those times.

Ideally, Sri Lanka should have been left alone to sort out the issues that grew out of its ethnic conflict. But Sri Lanka’s then rulers opted to seek the assistance of some Western intelligence agencies in their fight against the LTTE, which was seen by India as posing a threat to its security interests. Thus, was set in motion a period of antagonistic relations between India and Sri Lanka. This troublesome spell was defused somewhat with the signing of the 1987 Indo-Lanka peace accord.

There are some fundamental truths in foreign policy formulation that need to be addressed by Sri Lankan policy and decision makers, along with the local public, as the country moves into the future, particularly in the face of the current crisis situation. These truths need recalling particularly on account of the fact that some local sections see China and India as dealing with foreign policy questions in basically different ways. For example, China is seen as non-interfering in the internal affairs of countries in this context, while India is perceived as taking ‘a political stance’ on the relevant issues.

This is a misleading understanding of the reasons that compel these countries to adopt the seemingly different stances on the issues in question. To be sure, China is generally ‘non-interfering’ in the affairs of countries but this policy position grows out of what it sees as its best interests.

China prefers non-intervention in the internal politics of countries, for example, because it wishes the world to adopt a hands-off policy with regard to its own affairs as well. That is, China’s policy of non-involvement in the domestic affairs of other countries is dictated by its self-interest, which translates into its national interest. A country’s foreign policy is best understood as an instrument that serves its cherished interests. In China’s case its foreign policy revolves around ‘non-involvement’.

On the other hand, it is in India’s best interests to be concerned about developments in the South Asian region, since being the largest country in the region, it has a phenomenal and wide-ranging asset base to look after. Thus, national security is very much an integral part of India’s foreign policy. Accordingly, an ideal foreign policy is non-existent. Foreign policies are as diverse as the numerous states’ best interests are diverse. Thus, facile labeling of countries is difficult when it comes to foreign policy.

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Right Thought (Samma Sankappa ) in Buddhism

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by Dr. Justice Chandradasa Nanayakkara

Buddhism rests on the pivot of suffering. Lord Buddha declared ‘the world is established on suffering, it is founded on suffering’ (Duke loko patititthhito).

All problems in life bring about suffering (Dukka or unsatisfactoriness) and as we attempt to put an end to them, they give rise to another. Solution of one problem leads to another problem, in many other diverse ways. We are constantly confronted with fresh problems, in our daily life, and problems go on incessantly and interminably. Such is the nature of suffering, and it is the universal characteristic of sentient existence. Suffering can be either physical or psychological. Dukka is inescapable and ubiquitous and it constitutes the first of the four Noble Truths in Buddhism. The Four Noble Truths, which the Buddha himself discovered, and revealed to the world, are the chief characteristics and unshakable foundations of Buddhism.

In the first Noble truth, the Buddha defines the truth of dukka, thus. “What monks, is the Noble Truth of Dukka? Birth is dukka, decay is dukka, death is dukka, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure and despair are dukka; union with the unpleasant dukka, separation from the pleasant dukka, not what one wants is dukka; in brief, the five aggregates of clinging are dukka. These monks, is the Noble Truth of Dukka”.

The solution for the aforesaid problems of dukka (unsatisfactoriness) of life is the Noble Eightfold Path, propounded by Lord Buddha more than 2600 years ago. This is the only way to the cessation of suffering and also a vital step in emancipating ourselves from an interminable cycle of rebirths.

It is said that the Noble Eightfold Path leads to the cessation of dukka. This path consists of a set of eight interconnected factors, or conditions, that when developed together, leads to the cessation of dukka.

The eight factors of the paths are 1. Right Understanding (sammaditthi) 2. Right Thought (sammasankappa) 3. Right Speech (sammavacca). 4. Right Action (sammakammanta) 5. Right Livelihood (sammaajiva) 6. Right Effort, (sammavayama). 7. Right Mindfulness (samma sati) 8. Right concentration (samma samadhi).

These eight factors aim at promoting and perfecting the three essentials of Buddhist training and discipline. For the purpose for coherent and better understanding of, the eight divisions of the path have been grouped according to the under-mentioned three headings.

The first two are classified as Wisdom (panna), the second three as Morality (sila) and the last three as Concentration (samadhi). These three stages in the Eightfold Path are encapsulated in a Buddhist stanza (sabba papassa akaranan – kusalassa upa sammapada – sacitta priyo dapanan – etan buddhanu sasanan). To cease from all evil to cultivate good, in order to purify one’s mind, that is the advice of all Buddhas.

The eight steps of the path are not expected to be realised in sequence, one after the other. Rather, they are considered a unity and an organic whole. They are interdependent and interrelated. All eight factors are preceded by the word “Right” classified as Right, which means perfect. It is a mode of transcendence that leads to sotapanna sakadagami, anâgâmi and arahant. No doubt, it is a difficult feat to be achieved. The Noble Eightfold path is in effect the path to Nibbana. It is a path which avoids the extreme of self-mortification that weakens the intellect and the extreme of self-indulgence that retards moral progress. Although it is generally spoken as a path to be treaded, in actual fact the eight steps signify mental factors to be practised. All eight factors should converge simultaneously, each supporting the other in order to reach a sufficient level of development to experience of sotapanna, sakadagame, anâgâmi or arahant. It is said that the path proceeds from a lower state of purity to higher state and factors of the path should coalesce at a certain level of perfection. Path is not meant to be practiced a little each day.

The Buddha taught the eightfold path in virtually all his discourses, and his directions are clear and practical to his followers, today, as they were when he first disclosed them.

According to Walpola Rahula, the divisions of the Noble Eightfold Path should be developed more or less simultaneously, as far as possible, according to the capacity of each individual. They are linked together and each helps the cultivation of the others.

The second factor of the noble Eight-fold Path, with which this article deals, is called in Pali; samma sankappa, (Right Thought) which is sometimes identified as “Right Intention” in Buddhist literature. In this instance, the word specifically refers to the purposive or conative aspect of mental activity, as the first factor in the Noble Eightfold path (samma ditthi or right understanding) encompasses cognitive aspect of the mental activity. Nevertheless, no clear demarcation can be made between these two divisions because, from the Buddhist perspective, the cognitive and purposive sides of the mind intertwine and interact in close correlation, inducing them into activity. Right Thought is important because it is one’s thoughts which either defile or purify a person. It is one’s thoughts and nature that control one’s destiny. Evil thoughts tend to debase one just as good thought tends to elevate one. Sometimes a single thought can either destroy or save a world. Right Thought serves the dual purpose of eliminating evil thoughts and developing pure thoughts.

Our thoughts are as important to us as our actions because they make up who we are, thus it becomes imperative that we keep thoughts pure.

Buddha, emphasising the value of Right Thought, declared “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much, not even your father or your mother”.

Right Thought (right intention) is threefold. It is comprised of 1. Nekkamma: Renunciation of worldly pleasures, which is opposed to attachment, selfishness and self-possessiveness. 2. Avyapada: Loving Kindness, goodwill, or benevolence which is opposed to hatred, ill will or aversion and 3. Avihimsa: Harmlessness or compassion which is opposed to cruelty and callousness. In a moment of insight, the Buddha, at the time of his enlightment, saw that everything contains all these opposites. He saw the duality in nature and realised that everything can be replaced by the opposite. For instance, each kind of Right Thought counters the corresponding kind of wrong thought or intention, the thought of renunciation (Nekkama) counters the intention of desire, the thought of goodwill counters the intention of ill will and the thought of harmlessness counters the intention of harmfulness.

Buddha declared if one acts and speaks with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him and if he acts or speaks with an impure mind then suffering follows as the hoof of the ox. Right thought means avoiding desire and ill will. The importance of wisdom is evident from this, as the cause of suffering is described in terms of desire, ill will and ignorance. Right understanding removes ignorance and Right thought removes desire and ill will.

Renunciation (Nekkama) is often a difficult task. Grappling with the power of desire and attachment may require a great deal of personal struggle, as the mind does not want to relinquish its hold on the objects to which it has become attached. But that struggle yields many benefits, as putting an end to dukkha depends on eliminating craving thereby directing the mind to renunciation. We develop the inner strength to overcome temptation and compulsion. Attachment coupled with ignorance are the chief causes of all evil prevalent in this deluded world. One can either be attached to desirable objects or is repulsed with aversion if the objects are found to be undesirable. The word “Nekkamma” generally conjures up the idea of leaving your household life for the monastic life by discarding all sensual pleasures completely. But it is not so, as renunciation can apply to lay practice as well. Real renunciation does not require you to give all things inwardly cherished but changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. It is letting go of whatever that binds us to ignorance and suffering. It is only an abandonment of overly material comforts for spiritual enlightment. The degree to which a person renounces depends on his disposition and situation.

It is the attachment or desire that put us on an endless cycle of grasping and keeps us unsatisfied. Therefore, it is important that we maintain an attitude of detachment from worldly pleasures and realise the ephemeral nature of our possessions and to not be selfishly attached to them.

The Buddha says unfulfilled desire is the root cause of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, and the way to overcome such unhappiness is to eliminate the craving or desire by eradicating the root of unwholesome desire through renunciation. The Mind is in the habit of grasping. We have to break this habit and strive to let go of grasping.

When we look realistically at the desire and unhappiness that eventually follows in its wake, it is constantly shadowed by dukkha (unsatisfactoriness). When desire is not fulfilled there is always frustration, disappointment, sometimes despair. Even if the desire is fulfilled it does not a guarantee of happiness and it might not last long and sometimes we lose the object of desire. This is called grasping. When we hang on too hard this becomes a cause of unhappiness. It is important to realize the fulfillment of desire is impermanent, nothing lasts whether it be height of sensual delight, or the achievement of wealth or fame or power. The pursuit of such pleasures brings the pain of separation from the object of desire, which increases in intensity in proportion to the degree of attachment.

Our mental states such as happiness or sadness and consequent actions are determined by our thoughts. The cause for endless suffering, conflict, discontent and injustice does not lie outside the mind. They are all just manifestations of intentions, outcroppings of thoughts propelled by greed, driven by hatred and delusion.

Right thoughts can mean different things and it is essentially directed towards shunning away from the vicious cycle of craving and desire by committing to a life style of self improvement and ethical conduct. The Buddha identified two types of thought: wandering thought(vicara) and logical or directed thought. Normally our mind is filled with scattered, random and wandering thoughts. For instance, when we are asked to perform a task our thoughts are directed towards in a particular direction. Once that task is over our thoughts are directed towards another direction and begin their erratic wandering again. The Buddha making an important observation in this connection and declared “Whatever one thinks about and ponders on often the mind gets a leaning in that way” (M.I)

The Buddha broadly defines Right Thoughts as thoughts of detachment, of love and of helpfulness. Therefore, an important aspect of Buddhist training is to cultivate Right Thought, not to let negative thoughts persist in our mind and to encourage positive thoughts.

Right Thought basically refers to wholesome thoughts, which is closely linked to Right Understanding because it results eventually through the practice and attainment of wisdom.

The first two verses of the first chapter of the Dhammapada by the Buddha would also be relevant in this connection. “All we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him”.

Avyapada as the second constituent of Right thought literally means non-enmity and corresponds to the most important virtue of Metta. In Sanskrit Maittri is loving kindness or goodwill towards all without any distinction or discrimination. The Pali word Metta also connotes loving kindness, goodwill, benevolence friendliness. A person whose mind is full of loving kindness can harbor no hatred towards anybody just like a mother who makes no difference between herself and her only child and protects it even at the risk of her own life. Metta is the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others and devoid of self interest. It is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love. Metta is opposed to hatred, ill will or aversion. A person who radiates metta refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind. It is a love that has no ulterior motive. Metta does not make a distinction among beings. It embraces all and no one falls outside of its domain. Ill will is countered by Metta. The kind of love implied by Metta should be distinguished from sensual love and also from the love involved in personal affection.

The third and the last of the three constituents of Right Thought is Avihimsa or Karuna. It is guided by compassion (Karuna) which is opposed to cruelty, aggressiveness and violent thoughts. Like Buddhist Mettta, Karuna too is limitless and boundless. Karuna (compassion) is a virtue which makes the tender hearts of the noble quiver at the sufferings of others. The characteristics of Karuna are comparable to that of loving mother whose thoughts, words and deeds always tend to relieve the distress of her ailing son. (Narada). Karuna complements loving kindness (Metta). While loving kindness has the quality of wishing for the happiness and the wellbeing others, Karuna (compassion) has the quality of wishing that others be free from suffering. Bhikkhu Bodhi describing the thought of harmlessness (avihimsa) in the context of Right Thought states “The intention of harmlessness is thought guided by compassion (Karuna) aroused in opposition to cruel, aggressive, and violent Thoughts. Compassion supplies the complement to loving kindness. Whereas loving loving kindness as the characteristic of wishing for happiness and welfare of others, compassion has the characteristic of wishing that others be free from suffering, a wish to be extended without limits to all living beings. Like Metta, compassion arises by entering into the subjectivity of others, by sharing their interioty in a deep and total way. It springs up by considering that all beings, like ourselves, wish to be free from suffering, yet despite their wishes continue to be harassed by pain, fear sorrow and other forms dukkha.

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Can Priyanka Chopra do it for Sri Lanka!

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Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra is one celebrity who has actively supported, and worked with charities, and nonprofit organizations, throughout her adult life.

Most recently, the 40-year-old actress completed an emotional trip, working with UNICEF to help mothers and children, in Poland, who fled from the war in Ukraine.

In 2010, Priyanka became the National Ambassador of UNICEF and played a significant role in fostering awareness of children’s needs in India. Additionally, she raised funds, advocated and educated people on UNICEF’s goals, and featured in numerous videos to create awareness about child rights.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Priyanka and husband, Nick Jonas, donated to several organisations, to help fight the outbreak of coronavirus.

Since both Priyanka and Nick Jonas are internationally known celebrities, and their charity work is generally connected with children, it certainly would be a good idea to try and get their attention focused on the situation, in Sri Lanka, especially where hundreds of children are reported to be going without meals, on a daily basis.

If we can get them involved in our scene, I’m sure we would have more support coming our way, from other well-known celebrities…especially those big names, in showbiz, who have been appointed as Ambassadors for UNICEF.

And, who knows, we may have another ‘Live Aid’ concert, put together, very specially for Sri Lanka!

Sri Lankans, based in Australia, are very concerned about the situation, in their land of birth, and some are working on projects to help the needy, back home.

I’m told that a few individuals are trying to work on the possibility of sending some bicycles to their friends, in Sri Lanka, to help them overcome the fuel crisis.

In the meanwhile, Chopra used her social media presence to deliver an emotional message on Instagram about her trip, to Poland, shared alongside photos of herself spending time with refugee children.

A few pictures show Chopra laughing and doing activities with the kids, while the rest focus specifically on the children creating art, or blowing bubbles outside.

The accompanying message focused on the psychological impact of war on refugees, especially children, describing how UNICEF made teams of psychologists available to the refugees.

Chopra wrote: “One of the most effective tools in helping children regain a sense of normalcy is playful interaction. It sounds so simple, but through play, children can find safety and respite, while also being able to explore and process what is happening in their lives.”

She continued by describing specific ways the children use play and art as therapy, saying, “The kids I met, on this mission, love working with art. Coffee beans, salts and regular household items are used for art therapy and sensitivity therapy. When they work with different materials, as well as paints and colours, the therapists are able to understand their emotions.”

Chopra also mentioned the handmade dolls the children made and gifted her, which are “believed to have the power of protection.”

The actress shared another post, on Instagram, soon after, telling the story of one mother who was forced to leave behind her husband, and parents, in Ukraine, to get her son to safety.

Perhaps, UNICEF Sri Lanka can make Priyanka Chopra’s visit here a reality.

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