“ Compassion … Karuna ”

Piyadassi Maha Thera .. ( 1914 – 1998) is best known as a great preacher of the Dhamma. He was born on 8th July 1914 at Kotahena in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At the age of twenty ‘he entered the Buddhist Order and mastered the religion and philosophy of Buddhism under the erudite scholar monk Venerable Pelene Siri Vajiragnana Nayaka Thera, founder of the Vajirarama Bambalapitiya. Venerable Mahathera Piyadassi was one of the world’s most eminent Buddhist monks having travelled widely carrying the message of the Buddha-Dhamma, both to the East and to West, he was able to write in a style that has universal appeal. A few excerpts from the book ” The Spectrum of Buddhism ” by Piyadassi.

” Karuna ” is defined as ” the quality which  makes the heart of the good man tremble and quiver at the distress of others ” .. ” the quality that rouses tender feelings in the good man at the sight of others suffering. ”

Cruelty or violence is the direct enemy of Karuna while .. homely grief is the indirect or masked enemy. Though the latter may appear in the guise of a friend, it is not true Karuna, but false sympathy; such sympathy is deceitful and one must try to distinguish true from false compassion.

The compassionate man who refrains from harming and oppressing others and endeavours to relieve them of their distress gives the gift of security to one and all, making no distinction whatsoever.

” Karuna ” is loving-compassion. It is that sublime quality which makes the hearts of the noble quiver at the suffering of the world.

” Karuna ” has the characteristic of a mother whose thoughts, words and deeds tend to relieve the distress of her babe. It has property of not being able to tolerate the sufferings of others, and the manifestation of perfect non-violence. Its consummation is the eradication of all cruelty. Its proximate cause is the sight of the forlorn state of those in distress.

By precept and example the Buddha was the Great Compassionate One (Mahakarunika). He radiated his great compassion towards all beings, and never encouraged wrangling, animosity and violence.

Addressing the disciples he once said : ” I quarrel not with the world, it is the world that quarrels with me. An exponent of the Dhamma does not quarrel with anyone in the world. “The entire dispensation of the Buddha is permeated with this sublime quality of karuna.

Goodness and violence cannot co-exist ; goodness constructs while violence destroys. Compassion cannot be cultivated by one who is obsessed with thoughts of selfishness. It is the self-sacrificing man who fills his heart with pure thoughts of pity and wishes to help and serve others. The selfish cannot be of real service to others for their selfish motives prevent them from doing good. No sooner do they become selfish and self-possessed than they fail to soften their hearts.

If you remove compassion from the teachings of the Buddha, you remove the heart of Buddhism; for all virtues, all goodness and righteousness have compassion as their basis. as their matrix ( kaurna nidhanam hi silam ).

All the virtues (paramitas) that a Bodhisatta, one bent on Enlightenment .. cultivates are initiated by compassion.

Compassion is guided by wisdom .. and wisdom in guided by compassion. They go hand in hand, they are the Backbone of Buddhism, the guiding principles.

Source : Spiritual India Magazine – Mar – Apr, 2014

According to new research, that also includes making sure they have a healthy diet.

According to a new study led by University of Adelaide, Public Health researcher, Dr. Lisa Smithers in Australia, children fed healthier diets early on have slightly higher lQs, while those with heavier junk food diets have slightly lower IQs.

” Diet supplies the nutrients needed for the development of brain tissues in the first two years of life, and the aim of this study was to look at what impact diet would have on children’s IQs “, Smithers said.

Researchers compared a range of dietary habits from more than 7,000 children, including traditionally prepared food at home, pre-prepared baby foods, breastfeeding and “discretionary “, or junk foods. They looked at a link between the eating habits of children at six months, 15 months and two years, and their IQ at eight years of age.

” We found that children who were breastfed at six months and had a healthy diet regularly including foods such as legumes, cheese, fruit and vegetables at 15 and 24 months, had an IQ up to two points higher by age eight “, said Smithers.

” Those children who had a diet regularly involving biscuits, chocolate, sweets, soft drinks and chips in the first two years of life had IQs up to two points lower by age eight “, she added.

” We also found some negative impact on IQ from ready-prepared baby foods given at six months, but some positive associations when given at 24 months. ”

She went on to say that the study reinforced the need for parents to ensure their children eat right at an early age, to aid in their physical and mental development.

” While the differences in IQ are not huge, this study provides some of the strongest evidence to date that dietary patterns from six to 24 months have a small but significant effect on IQ at eight years of age “, Smithers said. “It is important that we consider the longer-term impact of the foods we feed our children. ”

Along these lines, a separate study found that children with higher IQs at age 10 tended to become vegetarians by the time they reach 30.

The results of that study, published in the British Medical Journal, involved a study of 8,179 men and women. Researchers found that 366 ( 4.5 percent) of them said they were vegetarian, and of those, nine ( 2.5 percent) were vegan.

On average, vegetarians had a higher child-hood IQ score than non-vegetarians, said Britain’s Metro newspaper.

” Vegetarians were more likely to be female, to be of higher social class ( both in childhood and currently), and to have attained higher academic or vocational qualifications, although these socio-economic advantages were not reflected in their income “, the researchers said.

” Higher IQ at age 10 years was associated with an increased likelihood of being vegetarian at age 30 “, they added. “IQ remained a statistically significant predictor of being vegetarian as an adult after adjustment for social class, academic or vocational qualifications, and sex. ”

They concluded: “Our finding that children with greater intelligence are more likely to report being vegetarian as adults, coupled with the evidence on the potential benefits to cardiovascular health of a vegetarian diet, may help to explain why higher IQ in child-hood or adolescence is linked with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in adult life. ”


Source : Spiritual India Magazine – Jan-Feb, 2014


” Meditation ” means ” Observation of One’s Normal-Natural Breath “

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