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Midweek Review

Winning and Losing in Geneva

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Review of Rajiva Wijesinha’s ‘Representing Sri Lanka – Geneva, Rights and Sovereignty’

By Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

Rajiva Wijesinha’s new book “Representing Sri Lanka” (S. Godage & Brothers) spans seven significant years of Sri Lanka’s engagement with the international community, from 2007 to 2014. It is as much a travel diary as a record of his time as the Head of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and as Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights under Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe.

The detailed reminiscence of engagement in both these capacities with international actors and Sri Lankan officials sheds light on hitherto little-known facts of the intense work behind the scenes that had to be carried out in order to obtain the successful outcomes for Sri Lanka, and the bureaucratic roadblocks and erroneous political decisions that resulted in avoidable failures.

While there’s much to learn from descriptions of inter-ministerial and inter-agency dealings at the highest levels during the turbulent years of the last stages of the war against the LTTE, continuing into the post-war years, the book also greatly entertains with its narrative of delightful anecdotes and hilarious pen-sketches of prominent personalities from the author’s interactions with them at close quarters.

Opening A9 from Omanthai

In a frustrated critique of the international actors operating in Sri Lanka during this time, Professor Wijesinha describes the difficulties he faced in his attempt to get the A9 Road opened for supplies to the North during the war. He found that Sri Lanka was blamed for keeping the A9 closed while the Tigers claimed people starved due to restrictions on food supplies. He approached the head of UNOPS in Sri Lanka, Rainer Freuenfeld, to find out why the road couldn’t be opened seven days and was told that the MoD wouldn’t permit it. He approached Secretary/Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa and was informed that the ICRC would not let him open it for the seven days.

Rajiva then approached the ICRC, and its head Toon van der Hooven told him that since they had to monitor the checkpoints, they could do so only if both the government and the LTTE agreed to the opening. Since the government was seeking to open it, he asked Toon Vander Hoovan if the LTTE was against the opening. Incredibly, Toon van der Hooven told him his conversations with the LTTE were confidential. Van der Hooven affirmed the LTTE’s culpability only when it was pointed out that since the Defence Ministry had agreed, the stumbling block had to be LTTE.

Subsequently, finding that the ICRC had dropped from their minutes the request to them to raise it with the LTTE, Prof Wijesinha had to insist on its inclusion, which led to the LTTE finally agreeing to open the road for six days a week. The Norwegian Monitoring Mission then recorded in its minutes that the A9 was opened at the request of the LTTE. (pp. 26-27)

Diplomacy in Geneva

Speaking at a seminar at the OPA in Colombo, Mr. HMGS Palihakkara, former Secretary, Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York during the last stages of the war, once described Sri Lanka’s diplomatic victory in 2009 in Geneva a week after its military victory at Nandikadal, not without a note of dismay, as a “gunfight”. Professor Wijesinha’s book belies this caricatured impression which mostly emerged from the Foreign Ministry.

The May 2009 Special Session at the UNHRC was dramatic and grippingly suspenseful for sure, as a bold new move by Sri Lanka in the Council saw it cease the initiative in the face of formidable odds, and the people in Sri Lanka holding their collective breath included the President and his Cabinet, but for the self-assured Sri Lankan team in Geneva which had put in the work over two years, victory was certain.

In painstaking detail, the book sets out the vast amount of multi-dimensional work that was carried out in Sri Lanka, in the Ministry of Human Rights, the Peace Secretariat, and the Attorney-General’s Department, in addition to the numerous meetings in Geneva and in other major capitals of the world, with a number of international agencies, diplomats, the Sri Lankan Diaspora and the influential media such as the BBC, during the years 2007-2009.

It is when all this came together that “The Triumph in Geneva” as he titles his Chapter 6, was made possible, together with the assiduous and dedicated work of the team at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva and the delegations attending the Council’s sessions which Professor Wijesinha was often a part of as a frequent attendee. This book is essential reading for all who require a look into to how that was done and what it took.

Europe

Professor Wijesinha who travelled often to Europe for work says that when he met the then EU High Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in Brussels, her displeasure at the ban on the LTTE gave him the impression that “She seemed to think that they would have behaved themselves and given up terrorism once she had read them a lecture.”

In London for a few days where he had a BBC World interview, he was invited to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner’s for dinner whereupon he was “astonished at the attempt to create in London the equivalent of a local baila party” which he writes was “not surprising given the ‘machang’ mentality” that was evinced “rather than professional assessments”. He writes that Britain became our worst enemy even though expressing love and affection [for the High Commissioner].

Government Intransigence

In Geneva for UNHRC sessions, he met with WHO officials for he was “deeply conscious that we would need much psycho-social support for those who had suffered from the war”. The WHO was supportive, but back in Colombo, the effort stalled. “For three years I kept knocking my head against a wall, one reason for government intransigence being their view that admitting to psycho-social problems would strengthen the hand of those who claimed our violence had caused them. I continue to be bemused by the stupid callousness of our decision-makers, neglect fueled by the view that they were not accountable to anyone, not even our own people.”

Shady NGOs

As head of SCOPP and as Secretary, he was in constant touch with NGOs which worked in Sri Lanka or had an interest in it, and through his interactions had developed a shrewd evaluation of those who were sincere and those who were opportunists. He was therefore often called upon to respond to NGOs both at the Council and at side events and other meetings.

In Bern, he had lunch with some MPs one of whom “belonged to an NGO that was part of the very shady Solidar Group…headed in Sri Lanka by a rascal called Guy Rhodes…I had no doubt that he was behind the use by the LTTE of heavy earth-moving equipment which the Norwegian component of Solidar…had kept at its headquarters in Kilinochchi”. He says that “the Norwegian Leadership of the NPA travelled to Sri Lanka to apologise” for the “abuse of vehicles” in its custody. He says Guy Rhodes and also Rainer Freuenfeld were members of UN Security Team “…a shadowy outfit that was not under the control of the UN Resident Coordinator.”

The Sri Lankan critical engagement with and responses to NGOs at the UNHRC stopped after Ambassador Jayatilleka was removed from Geneva, because his successor stopped the practice, “claiming that criticisms should be ignored.” Professor Wijesinha writes that “This was disastrous for, since she also stopped networking, the allegations made carried conviction and it was assumed that we could not answer them, not that we had chosen not to.”

‘Slow Self-Destruction’

In Chapter 7 with the above title can be seen the beginnings of the eventual closure of both SCOPP and the Ministry of Human Rights. In September 2009, resettlement of IDPs had begun and Prof Wijesinha flew to Manik Farm with Walter Kalin, Special Rapporteur of the UNHRC. The Ministry of Human Rights was coordinating the aid effort and had developed a Common Humanitarian Action Plan. He writes “But over the next few months Basil Rajapaksa pushed the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights out of the equation”. Instead, the Northern Task Force which Basil Rajapaksa chaired took over that work and informed Prof Wijesinha that he should tell his Minister that “aid was no longer his business”. (p103)

When the John Kerry-Richard Lugar Report was sent to Sri Lanka for comment, Prof Wijesinha tried vainly to get it done, even offering to draft a reply, but to no avail as “nothing happened with the Committee” (p107). After Ban ki Moon appointed the Darusman Panel, President Rajapaksa initiated the LLRC and he was told that the “mandate with regard to the Kerry report was subsumed in that of the LLRC” (p107). This he found was not the case.

Prof Wijesinha reveals that:

“Chairman C R de Silva…worked quickly and issued some Interim Recommendations well before the Darusman Panel issued its own scathing report. But, though Mohan [Peiris] was straight away appointed to chair a committee to work on these recommendations, the committee never met, and in fact he finally confessed to me, having said for weeks that he was trying to get a date from Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the committee to meet, that Gotabaya did not want that to happen”. (p108)

Geneva March 2012: What went wrong?

When President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked Prof Wijesinha to attend the March 2012 UNHRC session in Geneva, he writes “there was no efforts at all to deal with criticism at the Council itself. Previously Dayan and I had responded immediately to attacks on Sri Lanka and, since we both had facts at our disposal and could speak effectively, we soon managed to put a stop to the relentless sniping that had gone before”.

When he wanted to rebut the Amnesty International criticism, “the junior Ministry officer with me told me that they did not respond to such critiques”. He then called Tamara Kunanayakam, PR in Geneva who called Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka in Paris to check, and on being convinced, agreed to let Prof Wijesinha speak. (p115)

However, that was too little, for he writes that “We had a sidebar that day, which was chaotic, for the government had sent a massive delegation which was totally disorganized.

The clear-cut way in which Dayan had organized presentations and responses had been replaced by confused aggression with some of those sent believing and asserting that reconciliation was quite unnecessary.” (p116)

Things were certainly not helped by the battle for supremacy between the Minister of Human Rights and the Minister of Foreign Affairs who were both in Geneva for the session. At a meeting to discuss strategy at the Hotel Intercontinental, “the hostility between them was palpable. The chief thing to be decided it seemed was who would make the closing speech on behalf of Sri Lanka when the resolution was taken up…” (p117) Considering Sri Lanka was almost certain to lose the resolution by this time, it is incomprehensible why either minister would have volunteered for the slot. Eventually when Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe “flung his badge on the table and threatened to go back to Sri Lanka, GL, with no alternative, backed down.” (p117)

There were other incidents which prefigured the 2012 defeat in Geneva. Prof Rajiva discloses that when he asked for the Action Plan with regard to the LLRC which President Mahinda Rajapaksa had wanted presented at the Council, Mohan Peiris “told me it was not yet finalized. When I suggested he let me look at what there was, he told me that it belonged to the Foreign Ministry. I went straight away to GL… ‘What plan?’ he said in bemusement and I realized nothing had been done. It was also clear that GL knew nothing about it. “(p118)

Sri Lanka lost its attempt to stop the Resolution in March 2012 sessions “at which the Americans mustered a solid majority”. (p123)

Infamous incident in New York

On the last page of his book, Rajiva refers to what must surely be one of the most incredible incidents in the history of the Foreign Ministry. Of all the anecdotes told in this book, this one is the most disreputable. In this shocking story the protagonists were Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, the monitoring MP of the Foreign Ministry, and High Commissioner to the UK Chris Nonis, who had won the nation’s applause when he performed exceptionally well in a memorable CNN interview. As most people heard it, the former slapped the latter in New York where they were both part of the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions, which was headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Professor Wijesinha writes “…[When] I went to England on a wholly private visit, I met Chris in London for the last time. He had been beaten up by Sajin Vass Gunawardena in New York and had resigned. But what traumatized him even more was that the President [Mahinda Rajapaksa] took Sajin’s side. Chris was indeed so nervous that…next day when he picked me up for dinner at the Royal Overseas League, having passed me once or twice in his car to make sure I was not being followed.”

This incident was consequential in many ways. It certainly signaled a crisis in the conduct of Foreign Affairs. As for Prof Wijesinha, even though he thought Chris Nonis was “…perhaps exaggerating the present danger, what happened was appalling and I sympathized with him and his fears. That I think more than anything else ensured that I agreed to support Maithripala Sirisena against Mahinda Rajapaksa when he called an early Presidential election a month later. “(p159)

The book also provides highlights of his frequent travels around the world, representing the government of Sri Lanka and in his capacity as the head of the Sri Lankan chapter of the Liberal International including an addendum of his travels in Asia.

Most valuably, Prof Wijesinha has provided a critical evaluation of the conduct of Sri Lanka’s foreign relations starting from 2007 when he was first invited to Geneva to participate in the HNHRC sessions by then Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, through to the last time he represented the government of Sri Lanka in 2014. He has done so using his personal experience of close interactions with government officials both local and foreign, in the international system and numerous NGOs.

He has used his intimate experience in the corridors of power to bring fascinating accounts of instructions given by the highest political authority being ignored but forgiven, personal rivalries laid out and shamelessly played out, of meetings held and not held, reports written and withheld, to reflect on the impact of all these on the interest of the state and citizens of Sri Lanka.

As Sri Lanka struggles to regain its standing in the world, not least at the UNHRC Geneva, the lessons he recounts are worth learning.



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Midweek Review

NADAGAMKARAYO

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By Capt Elmo Jayawardena
elmojay1@gmail.com

Some days ago, a fellow Captain dropped in to see us at home. He was accompanied by his wife. Amidst a light conversation and pleasant chatter, they mentioned NADAGAMKARAYO.  He swore it was a great teledrama and that we should give it a go. I had never watched teledramas because I could not allocate a fixed time for sitting in front of the television. The same goes for my wife, who is ultra-busy with our own dramas in life. Somehow the following day we got a break from a tight schedule and went to YouTube and watched Episode 1 of Nadagamkarayo.

Then we watched Episode 2 and then 3 and 4 and 5.Now after two weeks we are at Episode 184 and well set on Nadagamkarayo to light-up our evenings. I called a dear friend. I know his taste. By profession he is the Head Honcho of a prominent bank.  But he’s still got grass-root vernacular taste, yes, from Spielberg masterpieces to Indika Ferdinando’s ‘Ho Gaana Pokuna’.  The bank boss has not been a tele-drama man. The next day he texted me, “Thank you for the gift my friend, the programme is great, I am hooked on Nadagamkarayo.” A few days later, he emailed me that he was on Episode 58. I called another friend, a leading corporate lawyer married to an ultra-busy surgeon. They have three young children, and the lawyer is a multi-tasker from the ‘A’ Team. She too has taken the Nadagamkarayo drug and was watching the teledrama at 8.00 in the morning, the only interval in her roller-coaster daily road map.   So, what is all this hype about Nadagamkarayo? It certainly is no quick fix for lockdown blues. It is much more. Pure Sri Lankan simple story with excellent creativity.

The cast bar none is acting at Sarasavi or Sumathi level.  Kawadiya, who has traces of Dustin Hoffman, gets the Oscar nomination, and Kukul Bada, the young domestic, deserves an honourable mention purely for his varying facial expressions. The totality created by director Sivagurunathan is amazingly watchable.  The insatiable appetite of the TV audience to watch Nadagamkarayo stems from the clever way the drama rolls on, keeping all characters alive and active. If this is watched by anyone as a ‘Daily Bread’ at 9.30 in the night, that is fine, so long as you have that half-hour free to sit in front of your TV. But like us, if you are a late starter and going through the episodes to catch up with the current stage, then you are in trouble. Watch one and then go to the next and the next and the next in an unstoppable frenzy and the wake-up call comes when you hear the clock striking midnight. That is how strong the addiction could be. I do not know who the scriptwriter is or the brilliant cinematographer who is responsible for depicting rural scenery of high pastoral quality.

There will be so many others who added their smidgen to make this a first-class entertainment to all and sundry.  They say cocaine, LSD and pure Kerala ganja are addictive?

Try Nadagamkarayo, you get bewildered from episode to episode which is hard to switch off until you watch the entire story.  Kukula Mudalali seems a veteran from either stage or screen. As bald as a doorknob and with a ‘Taras Bulba’ moustache he is the perfect all-round villain for the drama. Not only is he a thug selling moonshine but a failed Romeo with any skirt that swings in the wind. Manamalan driving his red imitation Ferrari is difficult to define from the audience point of view. He is brash and bawdy and is always the ultimate liar. That is his role, and he sure brings a different dimension to the bucolic village setting with his patch-work denims and action-filled behaviour which has the unique distinction of being pleasing and annoying at the same time. This is what we traded for Netflix and HBO.

At the start it was curiosity, but in no time Nadagamkarayo became an addiction. We have not seen the evening television news for weeks. No, we missed nothing. We do not want to know who stole the garlic and created the Sudulunu scandal or who runs the rice mafia and hides the harvest. Pandora’s Box and how Uhuru Kenyatta and Vladimir Putin looked for reliable laundries to clean their money is way above what we need to know. The same goes for those who bid for a Cypriot passport at 1.3 million dollars.

We do not want to know how 600 plus items were blacklisted for importing and then in a flash a new magician came on stage like Gorgiya Pasha and swung his multi-coloured wand and Ooppss – the restrictions vanished into thin air. No more dollar-saving cutbacks. We can be clad in St Michael’s underwear and feast on Cadbury chocolates stocked in a brand new two-door refrigerator imported from Germany. No, I certainly do not need all that twisted jargon camouflaged as current head-lines to crowd my evening by watching local television channels. Maybe, it is not the fault of these stations but the politically- dominated mundane news that is available or ‘has to be’ shown by order.

I will gladly trade all that to see Loku Hamuduruwo on Nadagamkarayo screen with his serene behaviour and exemplary attitude to life which soothes our very souls. At all times the soft words of Loku Hamuduruwo are always a simple wisdom-filled lesson in life to all of us. Cap it up with the daily occurrences at the tea kiosk by the paddy field where the shop owner, manager, and tea-maker Mudalali and his golaya Gajaman colour the show.  His customers are the banana-eating and kahata-drinking clan who spice the story with palatable ‘Gamey Talk’.

The champion of this mini-stage is Sirisena the erudite goat-milk-seller who has his own interpretations and anecdotes to anything and everything political that happens in the country.Sudu Chooti comes to the story as a village Juliet. She is the daughter of the Music Master and his comely wife Kusumalatha who is ‘all perfect’ in her role as a village mother. Here the village damsel Sudu Chooti falls in love with the Kassippu-selling Sara, the scourge of the village.  No doubt, Sara carries the show wrapped in a rugged flamboyance which is nothing but raw talent. He sure is the ultimate ‘Village Hampden’ from Gray’s Elegy, a rebel against constant village tyranny. He and his Kassippu boys, Kawadiya, Suddha and Kiri Putha depict clearly to the audience the sadness of the youth of today.

The poverty that plagues their young lives with no answers visible to make a decent living is an unchangeable tragedy. They are outcasts in the village and are branded for life with no avenue for redemption.  That part of Nadagamkarayo is a lesson to us all. The underlying message is clear; It is not the core of the man that is rotting, it is the system that denies him the opportunity. Where and when is the brighter day that would give him a chance to wake up and make attempts to be a decent human being?Rasika is poor, her husband has left her and run off with another woman. Rasika is a single parent taking care of an innocent little daughter. They live in a hovel that is called home. Her father is sick, a heart patient, and the mother is unemployed.

The day that dawns for them is always a struggle.A stranger is kind to her. Gives Rasika a lift to visit her father in hospital and brings her home. She invites him for a cup of tea. He is reluctant and hesitates. Even though we are poor we can afford to give you a cup of tea,” she tells the stranger. That line says it all. It defines the soul of Sri Lanka and what is Sri Lankan.Where would we be without it?

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Midweek Review

Is Buddhism pessimistic teaching?

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By Dr. JUSTICE
CHANDRADASA NANAYAKKARA

Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. Unlike many other religions it does not believe in a god or a creator. It is not only a religion but also a philosophy with a moral discipline. It originated in northern eastern India and was founded by Gautama Buddha. Today, Buddhism has become one of the major religions in the world, with more than 500 million adherents. Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later became Gautama Buddha, having realised the immense human suffering looked for a way of easing their pain and suffering. He pursued strict spiritual disciplines to become an enlightened being. Having achieved enlightenment he preached a path of salvation to his followers, so that they could escape the samsaric cycle of suffering, rebirth and death. In brief, the entire teaching of the Buddha can be summed up in one stanza from the Dhammapada. “Sabba papassa akaranam kusalassa upasampada sacitta pariyodapanam etan buddhana sasanam” (not to do evil, to cultivate merit, to purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of the Buddhas}.

Criticism of Buddhism has taken many forms. Some incline to the view that Buddhism is overly pessimistic in outlook, and always takes a gloomy and melancholic view of life. While others were of the opinion that Buddhism was unscientific, idealistic and impractical. These misconceptions have prevailed from the time of the Buddha to this day. It should be stated that these beliefs are fallacious and misleading, as Buddhism is neither pessimistic or optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic as it takes a realistic and dispassionate view of life and of the world, and teaches us to look at things as they really are. Buddhism promotes rational and empirical investigation, and invites people to put the teachings of the Buddha to test before accepting it. Buddha does not stop at analysing suffering [dukka], but proceeds to show us the practical way out of it, which is the Noble Eightfold Path.

The erroneous view that Buddhism is pessimistic has come about as a result of many scholars giving a restricted meaning to the word dukkha (Suffering) in the First Noble Truth. They have interpreted dukka (suffering) as nothing but suffering and pain. This has led many to regard Buddhism as a pessimistic religion. But viewed from a Buddhist perspective the word dukkha (suffering) has a deeper and wider connotation and dimension.

It should be noted that other than the ordinary meaning of dukkha (suffering), the word dukkha in the First Noble Truth also connotes such things as ‘’imperfection “, “impermanence” and “insubstantiality”.

Dr. Walpola Rahula Thero in his book “What the Buddha Taught” has stated thus: “First of all, Buddhism is neither pessimistic or optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic, for it takes a realistic view of life and world. It looks at things objectively (yathabhutam). It does not falsely lull you into living in a fool’s paradise, nor does it frighten and agonise you with all kinds of imaginary fears and sins. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what the world around you is, and shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness”.

Pessimism is a philosophy of suffering, while Buddhism is a philosophy of the relief of suffering. Had the Buddha in his discourse proclaimed that there was nothing but misery in life, and there was no happiness to be found anywhere, without showing us the way out of it, we would have been justified in characterising Buddhism as pessimistic.

It is true that the Buddha exposed the unhappy part of life. However, while doing so he explained the way to come out of it.

Buddhism does not countenance a melancholic, sorrowful, gloomy attitude to life, and it does not foster an attitude of hopelessness to life. The Buddha didn’t ask his adherents to contemplate only on the gloomy side of life. He did not expect them to brood over misery only, but wanted them to know that both the happy and sad sides of life are equally fleeting and impermanent.

No one can deny the reality of suffering associated with birth, decay, old age, death, association with the unpleasant and disassociation from the pleasant. In reality there is none in the whole world other than the Buddha, who can be described as a preacher of happiness or sukhavadi. A true Buddhist is the happiest of all beings.

Buddhism is a religion of salvation. It is an ethical philosophy which preaches the unsatisfactory nature of the world. Unlike other religions in the world, which talk about an almighty god on whom people depend for salvation. According to Buddhism, one is indeed one’s own lord {attahi attano natho}.

The entire teaching of the Buddha when summed up, amounts simply to insights into “impermanence” [annicca] suffering or unsatisfactoriness” [dukka] and “non-selfhood” [annitta]. These three characteristics were the aspects of teaching, which the Buddhas stressed more than any other. The three characteristics annicca, dukkha and anatta which facts of life can be realized and grasped by everyone. Even the most placid person would admit that dukka is omnipresent and universal. This truth can be easily realized by anyone who can think soberly and dispassionately. It can be seen everywhere around us. Infatuation with transient pleasures prevents us from seeing things as they truly are.

Walpola Rahula Thero in his book states the Buddha does not deny happiness in life when he says there is suffering. On the contrary he admits different forms of happiness, both material and spiritual, for laymen as well as for monks. In the Anguttara-Nikaya, one of the five original collections in Pali containing the Buddha’s discourses, there is a list of happiness (sukhani), such as the happiness of family life and the happiness of the life of a recluse, the happiness of sense pleasures and the happiness of renunciation, the happiness of attachment and the happiness of detachment, physical happiness and mental happiness etc.

Misery arises because of craving and aversion, which in turn arise from tanha. If these causes are eradicated the root cause of misery is eradicated. The Buddha said pain is followed by pleasure, and pleasure is followed by pain. In other words, pleasure and pain follow each other as day follows night.

If you observe the reality around us it is evident it consists of birth, sickness, old age, sorrow, pain, distress, decay, grief, death, lamentation, etc. Empirical observation of human existence makes it clear. Buddha laid emphasis on knowing things as they really are [yatha bhuta nana] if you take a critical look at life and all its concomitants, it is clear to everyone everything is in a state of flux. Life is a succession of fleeting moments of arising and dissolution. And every cell in the body of a being would die and be replaced by a new cell which in turn would die to be replaced by another. From conception to death the process goes on uninterrupted. Buddha’s definition of suffering is clear and empirical to anyone.

The Buddha has preached that the following come into being and pass away. Release from them is bliss—Annicca vata sankara Uppada vaya dhammino Uuppajjitva nirujjhanti Tesam vupa samo sukho).

He also preached “he who sees dukkha sees also the arising of dukkha, sees also cessation of dukkha, and sees also the path leading to the cessation of dukkha“. This does not make the life of a Buddhist melancholy or sorrowful at all.

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Midweek Review

The Runaway Rash

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By Lynn Ockersz

Drained of its nutritional sap,

Thanks to a runaway rash of scams,

The fabled isle sees red on multiple fronts;

On the one hand, it faces an economic slump,

On the other, it’s being greedily milked dry,

By a political class answerable to none,

And on top of it all, people who most matter,

In revered bodies that help build the land,

Are thrusting aside the Voice of their Conscience,

And vitalizing the gangrenous growth of corruption.

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