Category Archives: Spring 2013

REFLECTION ON PROJECT “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE”

REFLECTION ON “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE”

One week ago, I proposed the social project on the Caste System in India.  I used Facebook as media platform under the link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Touch-the-Untouchable/609528329076721 in addition to my posts on Dharma Dialogue.

The discrimination in Indian society has really bothered me for the last ten years.  Why has it lasted for centuries?   I witnessed the unfair treatment and unbelievable misery in that country.  In a country, in which the Buddha reached enlightenment and tried to void the caste system, nothing had changed.  I had hoped to use this project to help understand its endurance.  Even the after the Buddha brought the light of Buddha nature to teach the equality in all beings later generations could not do anything about it.  King Asoka had power.  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi with strong will and voice moved the whole British colony out of India.  So why could they not shake the destructive caste system strongly enough to free the poor?

I really want to dig in this matter.  However, my project only got “likes” from some professors, classmates, friends as supports without any comments that would help me understand this matter of the caste system.  They might agree what I am talking about, but they did not have time to research to help me understand why the caste system has such firm long-lasting history.

I wonder why it did not get much feedback.  Maybe it came in for a short time while the final week of semester coming up.  Maybe it was not good enough to attract other’s discussion because it is an obvious social matter in India due to its long history.  It seems normalized in people’s eyes while there are so many other corruptions occurring in daily lives around us that can danger the whole world.

Anyway, I hope people can assist me to fulfill my wish of helping innocent young generation to have a chance to change their destinies.  Together they might change their society.

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Reflection of the class project

What if one day all of your privacy was deprived 24/7? –Someone always monitors wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do, say, and even think. Moreover, what if one day you noticed this fact, but you were institutionalized at psychiatric hospital by the government just because what you insist sounds schizophrenic? Believe it or not, today’s cutting edge technologies have enabled to do it. Only the matter is who will use it, and who can regulate them.

In March, 2011, The Obama Administration held a public hearing to listen to the victims of allegedly non-consensual human experiments on these technologies. Despite the severity of the problem, the mainstream media did not report the incident. Thus, it is speculated that some people in power may be involved in this issue and sabotage revealing the facts. As one of the victims, I can infer some facts from observation. Unfortunately, however, some facts remain unknown – perhaps only the main perps know.
Nonetheless, we can still share the information which is barely revealed. In fact, I found that sharing the information does help the victims find a way to cope with this difficult problem if not finding a solution.

Therefore, I interviewed two renowned experts in this field, Cheryl Welsh, the representative of Mind Justice, and Derrick Robinson, President of Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS).
I learned from Ms. Welsh the importance of painstaking effort to let people know the imminent crisis through education. I also learned from Mr. Robinson that cooperation among us is more important and effective than confrontation in order to prevent innocent people from being covertly governed.

We know that we cannot change the world overnight. Thus, no one would blame for it. However, if we do not try our best to tackle the imminent issue, we will be blamed by the future generation of people. Therefore, I would like to continue this project until the last victim finds a way to alleviate his or her sufferings.

http://unprecedentedhumanrightsviolations.wordpress.com/

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A Reflection on Water, Health, and Compassion

Water pollution

Water pollution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

H2OcomesPassion is my Pinterest title. Before I started creating this page, I thought of using the name Water, Health, and Compassion. However, upon doing research for this project, I felt that I have been passionate on the issue of water. The more understand about water, the more passion I put into this project. My passion is not only to understanding water, its benefits, and its composition in the human body and in the whole universe, but also learning to appreciate the benefits that water brings and the advantages I have living in U.S., where I can access fresh, clean water everyday. My passion also turns into Compassion. I feel empathy for people who live in drought areas, for people who day by day use polluted and contaminated water for drinking and for cooking. Water has affected me to the point where I consciously feel empathy when reading news about polluted water, and where I share my joy when people have an opportunity to enjoy fresh, clean, water from a new well. I have joined a group of volunteers in Facebook  which volunteers to do fundraising for building wells in Africa. I have learned how this group connects people together to do this charity work and how they devote their lives for the benefits of others.

Counting from the time I posted my proposal, I have received 7 comments. Two comments, from Anonymous and Thaitriplegem, confirm my purpose by saying that water symbolizes compassion and harmony. If one makes oneself to be like water, then one is easy to be with people because water adapts to its environment.

One stated, “Without water we will die, without heath we will painful and without compassion this world would looks like hell.” This helps me understand the main function of water, is nurturing. Water nurtures life, and it is itself a source of compassion.

Thesilverbodhisattva gives me a wonderful source relating to water: water has memory. It helps me understand more about the other sources I have posted on my Pinterest, which is water in prayer and practice.

Mettadharma commented, “Water is symbol of the purity. It is clear, cool, and calm. If people can make their mind like water, it will be very useful.”

Dawn made her comment on my proposal and Pinterest page, and she suggested adding a “Call to Action” board. My thanks to her for a great idea, but I forgot to do that. I didn’t have a specific board to list practical things people can do to better the situation of water.

Minh Tu also suggested that I should have a “water recycling” board. I think his suggestion and Dawn’s are similar. I will create a board named Call to Action, which includes water cycling, and water conserving.

Both Dawn and Minh Tu like the experiments of Dr. Emoto. However, Dawn brought up the point that this work hasn’t been proven by scientists; whereas, Minh Tu emphasized water’s ability of being purified by spiritual practices.

Back to my project on Pinterest, my purpose is to raise people’s awareness of water’s benefits on body, mind, and spirit. I have created so far 12 boards and 173 pins. The titles of my boards are:

  1. Information
  2. H2O resources
  3. Water in Reality: Drought and Contamination
  4. Benefits of Water
  5. Tips in Using Water
  6. Prayer and Practice
  7. Charity Work
  8. Organizations in Action
  9. Video & Movie
  10. Books
  11. Call to Action
  12. Others

This page has been in existence about three weeks and I have 5 followers and 10 people following. With what I have gotten so far, I am not sure that using social media such as Pinterest can help me spread out the message of water to everyone. Based on my observation of my Facebook account, I believe that in order to influence more people of using water appropriately and of helping others, I should take an action by participating in a group consisted of individuals who have the same passion. Although my Pinterest has few followers, I believe that I myself have changed during this project, and at least some others also have changed to be more mindful of using water.

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A Reflection on my Social Media Project about AIDS and the Five Precepts

AIDs in Thailand

I created my Midterm Project this semester using social media. My project is called “Helping Those Living with AIDS.” I got eleven comments from people who participated. Some people  just agreed with my project and gave me advice on how to improve  the article such as the comment from thesilverbodhisattva who said,

“Another point to consider is that some people can acquire the disease through means unknown to them, in cases of unintentional contamination. Without proper medical precautions or sanitation in a variety of medical fields, an aid has the possibility to spread through transfusions, shared needles, and even instances of dental operations. There is also the possibility for those who are born HIV positive.”

This comment reminds me and other people to be careful when we use syringes because penetration and blood transfusion can put people at risk for contracting the AIDS virus.

However, I want those who have not been infected with the AIDS virus to be aware of this point as well. There are many other ways of being at risk of contracting the AIDS’s virus. The AIDS’s virus is a serious issue for the homeless and those on skid row. When society or families ignore people who have AIDS, they end up on the street, become homeless, and live on skid rows throughout the country. Therefore, the Thai monks of the Phrabatnumpu Temple are helping the people who have the AIDS’s virus in Thailand. The abbot organized the temple by himself and it is supported by donations. He provides food, clothing, shelter, and medicine for people with AIDS. The important thing is he has instructional media for people who do not have AIDS. He is teaching about Buddhism and offering counseling for individuals and groups concerned about AIDS. He teaches the way we use precept training to protect sangha from AIDS. He talks about the Five Precepts as a very good way of reducing one’s risk of contracting AIDS. A comment from SmartDC was,

“AIDS is one kind of serious diseases in the world. One of the solutions is to avoid from sexual misconduct and honestly observe Five Precepts (Sila). Taking the Buddha’s teachings into practice, we will be happy without any trouble.”

Therefore, the Five Precepts, especially, the third precept, are a very important way to reduce the prevalence of AIDS virus infections. Just like this comment from Humble Monk:

“There is reason to blame the people who’ve gotten infection, but there are many reasons to blame the people who knew AIDS and didn’t protect themselves. Sexual desire is one aspect of desires caused suffering. Being honest with one’s couple under sexual conduct isn’t enough to stop AIDS completely. The way how to completely stop AIDS is to stop one’s desires.”

This is a very good comment and I agree with his comment. If all of us practice the five precepts, especially the third one, I think we can live without fear and worry as well.

Finally, I would like to thank you very much for all of the comments from both people whom I know and I do not know. Your comments helped influence my work and my ideas. I hope my social media project will help our society in many ways. For instance, by helping people become aware of AIDS and understand the victims of AIDS too. More than that, I hope we can stay happily together. Without loving-kindness and compassion our society would be like Hell.

May all being be happy and peaceful in body and mind,

Dhammakaruna.

Please visit my Facebook Page and my original post here at Dharma Dialogue.

AIDs patient and Theravadin Monk.

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A REFLECTION ON MY EDUCATIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA PROJECT: Spiritual Leadership

Image

Spring 2013

Time flies! The semester has almost ended. I think that all students must be very busy with paperwork or final exams just like I am.  During the Spring Semester of 2013, I had a good chance to learn and a good opportunity to create a personal blog posts under the user name “thaitriplegem. These personal blog posts were something that I have never made before. I also contributed a couple posts here at “Dharma Dialogue” such as my “Skid Row Reflection,” in which I give a reflection based on my trip to Skid Row. My personal blog post was on the topic, “What Does the Theravāda Buddhist Religion Have to Say about the Poverty on Skid Row?”  This reflection considers the poverty of Skid Row from the perspective of Theravada Buddhism. In my previous blog post, I said the following:

If our religion means anything in today’s society, it must be able to address in a significant way the conditions of the poor in places like Skid Row.  What follows is divided into two parts.  First there is a consideration of the Theravāda Buddhist teaching of kamma.  Second, the divine abodes (brahma-vihāra) of loving-kindness and compassion are discussed.

These projects are for the Spiritual Leadership Class taught by Professor Danny Fisher.

The Midterm Proposal Project is my Educational Social Media Project, which I have posted on the same website and created a Facebook group for named “Healthcare Needs to Improve in Thailand.”  In this group I presented information about the healthcare system in Thailand, the problems that it has, and what you can do to help change it.  My media project can be found on my Facebook page.  I am very happy to see all your feedback.  And I would really like to see the healthcare system in Thailand be more like the Healthcare system in European countries.

My personal blog, “thaitriplegem,” has a post on the topic, “What Does the Theravāda Buddhist Religion Have to Say about the Poverty on Skid Row.” It has received seventeen comments as of May 15, 2013. I think this is a very important way to use social media or the Internet in the right way. We should employ right thought and right understanding when using social media in the modern world, a world without borders. At the same time, we can propagate Buddhism worldwide, too. All of your comments have been encouraging for me. Now I feel confident to share more on the Buddha’s teaching.  And all the comments were very helpful for me and my blog posts. They have even been of help to the people who read or who will read my blog posts, too. More than that, the comments also helped me to improve my way of thinking and writing for future blog posts. I would like to share what I have learned from the comments on the blog. These comments encouraged me to write and share more about the teachings of kamma, or in English what we call causes and effects, which the Buddha showed us more than 2,600 years ago.

First, on April 1, 2013 at 8:19 PM, I got the first comment from my classmate named 3ratna3kaya, who said, “Thank you for your teachings, Venerable. Your explanation of kamma was very clear and insightful.”

Second, on May 10, 2013 at 10:52 PM, Anonymous said, “What an interesting topic! I believe the readers must have some idea about the Theravada Buddhist religion on the skid row in order to easily clearly understand what it’s all about the article. However, I have to thank you for providing this useful knowledge in a friendly way.”

And third, on May 11, 2013 at 2:09 AM, there was a very interesting comment from

Du Wayne Engelhart, who stated, “Thank you for the discussion about kamma. What you say can be seen in a wider context. There is not only, roughly speaking, white kamma (with good effects for actions done), black kamma (with bad effects for actions done), and black and white kamma (with mixed effects for actions done). As the Buddha teaches us, there is also no kamma at all. No kamma at all is the state of Enlightenment. I think many times we worry too much about getting the effects of good kamma (in this lifetime or in future lifetimes) for the good actions we perform. We should, however, not worry too much about simply good kamma. We should try to reach the state where we are beyond kamma–where we are enlightened. We can reach this happy state by letting go of everything in the world, and that means everything–even letting go of trying to get the results of good kamma.”

Next, my project proposal titled, “Healthcare Needs to Improve in Thailand” has received fifteen comments as of May 15, 2013. I have gotten comments both in Thai and in English.   In the project proposal, many people agreed with my opinion on the subject.  For instance, on May 10, 2013 at 8:22 AM, Saranya Kim said, Yes, I agree with you. I had an experience about this ‘Only wealthy families can afford health insurance. If the average Thai becomes sick, unfortunately they have to pay their medical bills by cash. If they have to go to the hospital, they would have to wait in line for a long time before seeing the doctor. If a wealthy person needed to go to the hospital, on the other hand, they would just pay extra to see the doctor right away.’” This must be painful situation for the oppressed group because of privilege and poverty in Thai society. Also, Wattana Suriyawararak agreed with my project and said, Yes, I am sure that someday Healthcare in Thailand will be better! (Someday, I do not know not how long.) This comment comes with the hope that good healthcare will improve in Thailand someday.

I wish her dream will come true soon.

Also on May 10, 2013 at 11:53 PM, Daniel Terestenyi, my good Dhamma friend who just moved to Europe made a comment. His comment helped me get more understanding about the healthcare system in Europe. He said, “Andrew, you might consider being specific to one country in Europe, rather than the whole of Europe. Mainly, because healthcare does change some radically from country to country, and is not based upon EU law. France has an extremely good healthcare system, which I have used while living there.” Thank you very much, Daniel, for your information.

Lastly, Facebook’s group page still does not get many comments or much feedback. I am not sure if the members have enough time to read it all. Mostly, they just click on the “Like” button, but that made me happy enough. I got a nice comment from Anonymous that I would like to share. People should understand about the healthcare system in Thailand more, because many people like she or he just hear the news from friends who have enough money to go to get good treatment in Thailand. The comment from Anonymous on May 11, 2013 at 1:51 AM says: Thank you very much for the information in your Facebook group. I thought what you said was very informative. It is a good idea to make information available about the health care system in Thailand. I did not really have a good understanding of the situation. I thought the system was much better than what you describe. I didn’t really know: I based my ideas on what I heard from Thai friends waiting to go back to Thailand to have dental work done or to get glasses. I thought the health care was pretty good and the costs low. Now I understand that many Thais are not able to participate in the health care system. Now I understand the need for reform. Thanks for the information.”

Once again, thank you very much for all the comments that I have received on my Skid Row Reflection, my Project Proposal, and also on my Facebook page. All your comments were a very good source of encouragement for me. Thanks again for all the comments made by family members, my classmates, friends, professors, and also from people I do not know.  You can find my blog posts and my Facebook page at these URLs:

https://dharmadialogue.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/what-does-the-theravada-buddhist-religion-have-to-say-about-the-poverty-on-skid-row/#comments

https://dharmadialogue.wordpress.com/author/thaitriplegem/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/273506612786732/

With much Metta,

Palms together,

thaitriplegem

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What Do You Know? Reflection

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Media is a fascinating subject.   Do a quick web search for how to create a great social media project and you are inundated with “how-to’s” and “don’t do’s” all of them saying different things.  The commercial world has lept into social media.  In your search you will find that to many social media now means corporate advertisements using “social” media.  No longer is social media a way for people to connect.  It has quickly become just another, more subtle way, to sell mostly unneeded stuff to increasingly poor customers.   “Social Media” also has a dark, hidden, side.  Go to news or progressive action site that tells a story different than allowed in the mainstream (corporate) media and you will find the comments filled with rebuttals, all taking a very similar pro-corporate, pro-inequality, pro-oligarchy line.  Almost always the first few comments are in support of the economic and social policies that are creating and increasing income, wealth, and power inequality and slowing killing the middle-class society constructed after WWII.  A groundswell of opposition by “Real Americans” to the DFH’s (look it up)?  Or the comments of “astro turf” organizations and companies paid big money to counter small-d democratic thinking and organization?

That said, for those of us trying to address various problems around the world, social media and the internet is a great resource.  Since most of our mainstream media outlets no longer discuss or present any options other than those that support the status quo (and domination of society by a very small group of extraordinarily wealthy men), the internet and social media is one of the best ways we have to communicate with people who know something is seriously wrong with society but don’t know what to do about it.  It is the only game in town.

In my project I didn’t get much in the way of comments, likes or followers.  I’m not sure at this point that I can call it a success.  The most people that have taken one of my quizzes is three (and one of them was me).   I can think of several reasons for this:

  1. Any social media project has to hit a sweet spot.  In other words, a need in people to express themselves or solve a common problem.  The areas that I covered (inequality, the distortion of capitalism to maximize profit for banks, etc.) are covered in great depth by other social media actors.  Perhaps potential readers are overwhelmed with bad news since so much is going wrong.
  2. I think a good social media project allows people to interact and contribute.  It is not enough to just push ideas out into the “blogosphere” and hope people will read it.  How can the person reading your post, quiz, Pin, etc., join in helping solve the problem?  How can they express their own concerns?  How can they self-organize?  My project at this point is too much push and not enough interaction.
  3. I wonder if I am taking on too many subjects?  Do I need to concentrate on a more specific social issue?
  4. Consistency.  A general rule of thumb is that a content provider (me) needs to put out some sort of post (quiz) every week.  With the demands of school and my general sense of fatigue caused by nearly a year of school, I’ve not had the energy to generate quizzes and posts on a consistent basis and to keep new viewers coming back to my site.
  5. Time.  I think this just takes time to grow an audience.
  6. Perhaps quizzes aren’t the best way to present this type of information.

I plan to continue this effort over the summer and see if I can grow an audience.  I’m going to investigate how to use Pinterest as the core to my project rather than a blog.  That way I can post my quizzes, images and other media in a place where people can interact and respond to the issues I present with their own thoughts and media.  I can then respond to the interests of my audience based upon what they post.  I also want to use twitter to present my posts to those that are interested so they can keep track of my project without having to pay close attention.   I will look around to see what other, new, mechanisms are available, and there are a lot of them.   It will be very interesting to see how this project has evolved by the end of summer and the start of a new school year at University of the West.

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THE FIFTH PRECEPT PROJECT REDUCING SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THAILAND: REFLECTION

Buddha statue from the Gandhara-culture (1st c...

What I Learned from My Two Blogs Posts on Dharma Dialogue.

As the internet is fast becoming the main means to communicate, spread ideas, and raise awareness across the globe, dharma messages should follow suit too.  With guidance from my professor and also as requirement for the class, I wrote two blogs posts on Dharma Dialog and also created a Facebook group page.  All three generated some discussion but mostly people just viewed the posts and only a few decided to be brave and comment.

It was very interesting and fascinating to post and read everyone’s comments.  I wrote about the Fifth Precept and about the dangers of drugs and alcohol which is what the Fifth Precept is all about.  I wrote those articles based on what I know and what I have learned from living nearly my entire life as a Buddhist monk.  There were four comments for The Fifth Precept blog and seven comments for the Dangers of Drugs and Alcohol blog.  I was excited to find new comments each time a new one got posted.

For the blog about the fifth Precept, my writing was focused on drug and substance abuse in Thailand.  The last two comments were very useful.  One person commented that although Buddhism is the main religion in Thailand and everyone is well aware of the Fifth Precept (which is to refrain from taking substance and outside influence), it is evident that just that knowledge alone is not enough to keep them from taking and abusing drugs and alcohol.  The problem may be psychological and sociological, and I agree.  Every case of addiction cannot be all the same as everyone is different.  Why they became addicted and abused is something much more complicated than just knowing about religion.  The last person wrote about death.  He commented that if everyone would keep in mind that death eventually happens to all of us, we could probably focus on things that matter more and live better.  That is called awareness and I also agree with this person’s comment.

My second blog about dangers of drug and alcohol addiction had seven comments that followed.  Here, there was one person that disagreed with me that addiction caused people to become homeless.  He or she argued that the addiction probably happened to them after they became homeless and the point of the comment was to mostly point a finger at the U.S. government.  I can understand that logic and I do agree it could be the case.  But my point of view about addiction still sides with what the Buddha taught.  Usage and addiction to substance cause nothing but harm – harm to self, harm to others, harm to properties, and alter your consciousness.

Another person commented about attachment which was a very good point.  Although the people on Skid Row were homeless, as in having no home to go to and having to sleep on the street, we all are in a sense, “homeless” as well.  He wrote “We have no true home on earth, no true refuge in earthly things.  The only refuge we have is ourselves, and the Dhamma as our refuge.  To hold on to the idea that we have a home on earth is to keep on suffering.”  I read that and thought wow!  I was glad my blog got people to think and this person’s comment was good reminder of what life was really all about.  We should learn to let go and not be so attached or be too materialistic.  We came into this world with nothing and we can only leave with nothing.  All the money we make in this lifetime, we cannot take with us after death.  The only thing that follows us is our good and bad karma.  What good deed we have done will help protect us and guide us into the next life.

For my Facebook group page, only 3 people commented on my post about drugs and alcohol.  One person asked if it is considered okay in Buddhism if alcohol is used medicinally.  Another person commented in response that she thinks it should be acceptable if substance is being used for medical reason.  She went on further to say that she thinks drinking socially and moderately is okay.  I responded by saying drugs or alcohol should not be consumed at all, per Buddha’s Fifth Precept.  It is better to stay away and keep our mind clear from any altering substances.

The blog writing and Facebook group page was a fun project and I did get to learn by reading other people’s comments.  The world of technology allows for faster communication and social media is a good way to get your ideas out with fast feedback.  I am thankful for the people who commented on my blog and group page, and grateful for my professor too for giving me the opportunity.

With Love and Compassion (Metta)

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Calm Reflection or Our Inner Pipeline

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vietnam during his 2007 trip

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vietnam during his 2007 trip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PART ONE

I am a seed planter.  This does not, in any way, mean that I don’t have the highest respect for those who reap.  What I always say is that we all need to have the pipeline to our inner voice of wisdom in good working order, (you can also use the words conduit or channel if pipeline sounds too colloquial for you).  And then we follow that wisdom.  For many years now, the message I have received has clarified that I am a member of the Seed Planter Sangha.

I want to reach out to people who may be interested in balancing their hectic, multitasking and media overrun lives with some quiet time to reconnect with their true selves, or as Thich Nhat Hanh would say, find their true home.  I know true self may rub many Buddhists the wrong way, but my pipeline wisdom says it’s a starting point.

I have established my own Blog Page called CalmReflectionblog.com, and a Facebook page entitled Calm Reflection.  I will use these modalities to try to make quieting the mind seem less like a skill, and more like something we all might want to do.   I am using this approach in response to the ten long years I had to struggle to establish a meditation practice I would want to do.  This goes back to the pipeline thing.  My inner voice, and to be fair, some wise outer voices over the years, have helped me understand that my past life experiences can be used to help others overcome things that I have been able to overcome already.  Today, I enjoy meditating.  Experts in the Counseling and Chaplain fields say we need to meet folks where they are.  So that’s what I want to do here, meet others, who, like myself, have perfectionistic, fear based, organic brains running the show, and teach them how to sneak around this self-absorbed grey matter, and find their very own pipeline.

It is my hope that some of the seeds I am able to help plant will grow into full-grown meditators.  I say help plant because, in this case, the ground in which I plant must be a mind which provides some fertility of curiosity, willingness, and desire for more connection within, and less distraction and reliance on the outside world.

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Touch the “Untouchable” Caste

Indian Caste System

TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES

On a tour in India, I witnessed an Untouchable man who was forced to bend down and touch his head to shoes of  an upper caste person.  Why?  Because he had accidently touched the body of the upper caste person while walking down a very crowded street  It was his fault that he did not step aside and let the upper caste person pass through first, our tour guide said.

Also, I witnessed a impoverished untouchable teenage girl who was about 4-months pregnant who had joined other villagers in begging group.  She accepted her misery as her way of life.  Her husband beat her because he blamed her for not able to beg enough money for dinner and his drinking.  Everything was her fault because her fate was to be Dalit, also called Untouchable.  She believes it is her karma to be poor. so it was okay to beg for food and money during the day.  That is how she views her life, a life of untouchable caste because nobody educates her about her human rights.  Something the powerful mainstream of the Brahmin  and Kshatriya castes, never wants to see happen.

Since seeing Indian Caste discrimination both my mind and heart are troubled.  I understand that I, myself cannot change the world, but I can change a life of a person who suffers from poverty as result of the caste system or racism even if I can help only one person in my lifetime.

The Buddha deeply disapproved of the injustice of the Caste system in India.  The Buddha himself not only preached about the humanity the “lower classes”, but also ordained the disciples from Untouchable caste such as Upâli – a barber, Sunita – a scavenger,  Punnâ and Punnikâ – slave girls.  Although before his awakening, he was born as a Kshatriya, the Buddha considered the Castes unjust.  He strongly condemned the debasing caste system.  In his Order of Monks all castes unite as do the rivers in the sea. They all become known as members of one community, the Sangha. Thus, I propose the social project “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES” regarding to the caste difference in India and choose Facebook as media platform in order to have others share related stories or observations to assist me in exercising compassion, right view and right action.

For those who want to make a difference in the lives of those impoverished Untouchables, I believe that any comments or suggestions you can provide gives us the opportunity to lighten or end their suffering even though it might take a long time to accomplish.

For those unaware of what the Caste System is and how the Caste System works in India, I will provide some resources such as books, videos (Youtube), and entries on the Facebook page: “TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE” .  I hope after exploring the world of those Untouchable lives, your comments will give some insights about the following:

1. In the ancient time, King Asoka, who was powerful emperor and sincere Buddhist.  However, he did not  dismantle the Castes during his reign?  Why did he not?  How did he treat the “Untouchables?”

2. In modern times, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was famous for practice of nonviolence to win Indian Independence from British.  Gandhi lived with the poor, and called the poor “children of God”, but he was criticized that he never worked for the elimination of the Caste System.   Did Gandhi do enough?  What or who influenced him to accept the Caste?

Any comments on the destruction of the Indian Casted Society!  Any suggestion about transformation of the Untouchables’! Please share your thoughts on my Facebook page.   All will be greatly appreciated.

TOUCH “UNTOUCHABLES 

To understand their suffering

To love them as human beings

To raise them up from the mud of poverty

To have their lives blossomed as lotuses

To remove the Caste System

You opinion can made difference to their fates

Thank you

With Metta

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Touch-the-Untouchable/609528329076721

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Helping Those Living With AIDS

English: The Army in conjunction with the Thai...

The Army in conjunction with the Thai Ministry of Public Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the National Institutes of Health, Sanofi Pasteur and Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases have uncovered successful results for an AIDS vaccination. The study was conducted at the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Thailand. (USAMC-AFRIMS photo) *Do not reproduce image, for DOD use only. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Problem:

AIDS has become a major problem within Thailand in the last twenty years. The disease has taken so many lives that the amount has become immeasurable. The main problem is that Thai society has felt animosity towards the people affected by this disease. The people affected with AIDS are mostly shunned and turned away. Society lacks acceptance of this particular group of people. Because we cannot control the spread of the disease, there are more than 1 million Thai people affected with AIDS. Most of the people are not even aware that they are infected. Because they are unaware of their sickness, this disease is continually spread through the population. Another problem with AIDS is the lack of knowledge and awareness about the disease. The population of Thailand is careless due to this fact. They take fewer precautions, especially in the teenager and college student population. There has been an increase of infection by 35% in the past few years. This is the worst problem within Thailand in the present time.

Plan and Explanation:

Those infected with the disease become so usually due to their sexual behaviors or the sexual behaviors of their partners. For example, it could be due to alcohol, drugs, prostitutes and etc. The increase in the infection rate is also due to sexual misconduct (which is the third precept within Buddhism).  Monks perform the teachings of good moral conduct for the entire Buddhist community. This project is to prevent the further spread of AIDS and spread the awareness within society to be accepting of those living with the disease. This project would also teach kindness and understanding.  This basic teaching of the Buddha is necessary for us to live together and to not shun those with the disease. Most important, this is for the motivation to show those living with AIDS that they are not alone. The Buddhist religion teaches that we should have kindness for each other. This project is intended to be the medium to show this kindness, to spread the awareness of AIDS, and provide a support network for those living with AIDS.

The three rules that have to be remembered:

1. The way to understand those living with AIDS: We have to understand that those living with AIDS have been rejected from society and they live in emotional turmoil due to this neglect. Thus, monks have to be the leaders by showing compassion from the heart. They must fill in the gap where society can not. The things that must be provided for the population living with AIDS are clothes, food, shelter and medicine. This also includes schools, hospitals and employment for this particular population. This is to help those living with the disease go on with their normal lives. They must also be provided with love and kindness so their morale increases.

2. The correct method of living with those who have AIDS: We have to set an example using our practice of the Buddhist religion.  This includes showing kindness, be caring of other people, especially those with the infection who are sick. There has to be no animosity and disgust between anyone.

3. Method of educating about AIDS and the prevention of AIDS: This is a way to teach the morality and ethics that could not only contribute to the prevention of AIDS but helping the AIDs victims gain the approval of society. The main teachings are those of the Five Precepts are: to not be greedy, to not envious, be happy with what you have, do not lie, and have awareness of the present time.

My purpose:

  • This is to provide an action plan on how to solve this terrible problem.
  •  To decrease the spread of infection within Thailand and the world.
  •  To build an awareness and kindness for those living with the disease.
  • To provide a resource for world organizations on how to handle and solve this important problem.
  • To be a prime example on how to solve this problem by using the teachings of Buddhism as the base of understanding.

Expected results:

  • The population would have a better understanding of how to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • The decrease in the percentage of people contracting the infection and disease.
  • Society and family members would be able to live in harmony with those infected by the disease.
  • Organizations would put a further emphasis on the prevention of AIDS.
  • An increase in support for those affected by the disease.
  • Monks would have the responsibility of spreading awareness to Thai society as well as kindness to those affected.
  • The image of Thailand would improved throughout the world.

My Facebook Page can be found here.

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