Sunday, February 5, 2017

Unconditional Love?

I don't think the love between two people can ever be called unconditional love. The moment the love becomes exclusive to two people, the love becomes conditional. If your lover cuts your ear off, can you still love him/her? The person we love can change, for the bad or good but will we ever be able to sustain the same love throughout?

Image result for buddha and jesus

Unconditional love is always directed to all beings, without judgment, good and bad, towards people of different moralities, to the person who ran his/her car over your dog, etc. It sounds impossible, impractical and naive, and that's why unconditional love is rare. Only an enlightened person can love unconditionally, which is often reflected in the stories of great humans such as Lord Buddha and Jesus.

Do you concur?

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Perspective of Sri Lankan Bus Conductors

You judged already! Didn't you? If you thought that this blog post is a negative, complaining rant about the cussed behaviour of Sri Lankan bus conductors, you mind find me irritating (or wise) at the end of this post.

Sri Lankan bus conductors are often criticized for treating passengers as goods and not returning change, among many other 'bad' traits. Is it always true? Are we being judgy? Maybe we should put ourselves in the slippers of a bus conductor to step into the world of bus conducting.

For me, being a bus conductor in the over-utilized transport sector is worse than a nightmare. Imagine spending most of the day in often-moving-slow-due-to-traffic? Being a tropical country, we get more than enough sun which peaks at the peak hours which is also the busiest hours for the bus conductors.

Related image
An over-crowded Sri Lankan bus

Let's look at the job description of a bus conductor:
  1. Loading passengers to the bus by calling out the destinations
  2. Conducting the passengers through the bus (as people often stay near the entrance because it's convenient for them to get down)
  3. Signalling the driver when passengers are nearing their destinations
  4. Collecting fees and vending tickets (the conductors are now required to mention the pick-up location, destination and the fee in the ticket through the electronic ticket vendor)
  5. If the conductor does not have change to return, they need to memorize the passenger and the change due and return money when possible
  6. Helping the driver to steer the bus through the traffic
Although not a responsibility, the passengers expect their direction in doing the following:
  1. Make sure that pregnant women, clergy and elderly get seats in the bus.
  2. Making sure that elderly, pregnant women get off the bus safely.
  3. Sometimes they courteously announce the passengers to beware of pit-pockets/thieves.
  4. Break off fights often between drunkards or when people step on someone else's foot knowingly or unknowingly
  5. Save women from touchy-feely pervs and kicking them off the buses
Night time is no different. With the scarcity of buses, buses often run jam packed. I had the joyful opportunity to take the 120 (Colombo to Horana, nearly 50 KM ride that lasts for 2.5 hours) bus from Pettah Central Bus station a few years ago. The bus was the last bus for the day and getting into the bus itself was a nightmare. Being typical Sri Lankans, there was no queue formed to get into the bus. The moment the bus arrived and stopped, about 100 people rushed through the doors of the bus with the aim of securing a seat. This sight reminds me of the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

For others, stepping into the bus itself is a big win. In the process, greed for comfort gets the best of chivalry. Women are pushed away and some of them end up hurt, mostly their egos sometimes physically too. There is a minority of people who'd patiently witness the riot hoping they would get a change in the next bus, if there is a one. This happens every night at Pettah. In a jam-packed bus, there is nothing much a bus conductor can do. They are almost immovable, often pushed through by the current of passengers in the bus. The job of collecting fees and vending tickets become secondary. Their primary goal is to ensure the safety of the passengers, making sure that the bus does not move while disembarking (more like squeezing/popping out) passengers. Also, late night buses are full of drama. They are often full of drunkards, and weirdos and grumpy burned-out employees over-working at off hours.

Under these circumstances, it is no wonder why the bus conductors, drivers and passengers are grumpy and often be inconsiderate to each other.

Bus conductors or drivers do not own the buses they run. At the end of the day, they empty their earnings to the pockets of the bus owners. Bus owners expect them to meet the set demands. I need to do more research (perhaps a documentary) about the how bus conductors and drivers are compensated. The research should reveal many interesting facts.

There is also a scarcity of change; where have they all gone, stuck in piggy banks? I find coins valuable because it allows me to tender the exact fee to the bus conductor. This is one way we can make the lives of bus conductors easier. I think it's good karma and if we all do it will make the bus conductors happy and less grumpy.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Buddhism and Astrology

Even though my favorite Dhamma teacher Ajahn Brahm rejects astrology, I believe that astrology is not all untrue. Among other things, astrology deeply fascinates me. In my grandfather's horoscope, it is clearly said that his first born son will die prematurely and he will not have a sound relationship with his sons. His newborn son did not survive a week, and I know much about his relationship with his only son to say that his horoscope reading was true. Can that prediction be a coincidence? I don't think so.

Though highly debated, there is scientific evidence to prove that planetary movements affect the human psychology and physiology together with other natural changes. 81 percent of mental health professionals, according to a University of New Orleans study, believe that lunar cycles affect human behavior.

12 Zodiac Signs

For more information see:
The term lunar effect refers to the belief that there is correlation between specific stages of the Earth's lunar cycle and behavior in animals, including humans, that cannot simply be explained by variation in light levels. A considerable number of studies have examined the belief: by the late 1980s, there were at least 40 published studies on the purported lunar-lunacy connection,and at least 20 published studies on the purported lunar-birthrate connection.
Ajahn Brahm even though rejected astrology, never said that astrology is false. :) From his perspective, talking about astrology is a waste of time and I agree with his decision. Also, in my opinion, things that concerns astrology are not concerns of Buddhism.

Why would someone want to get their horoscope read? Most of the time, people seek astrological readings if they are not healthy, if their relationship is going south or they are not happy with their career. Buddhism will not help you with these material problems but teaches the right attitude to look at those problems. In other words, the fact that you are going to experience a rough patch in your 40s is not a concern of Buddhism. But, with the right attitude, we can face the rough patch with less unhappiness. In other words, Buddhism teaches that change is inevitable and natural that there is no use of worrying about it whereas astrology is obsessed with change. If you learn to accept or realize the changing nature of existence, you would not want to check your horoscope.

Noble Eight-fold Path

If your horoscope predicts that you will become a millionaire in your 40, don't get your hopes up. Being rich does not necessarily mean that you will be happy. There are so many rich but unhappy people. There are people living in big mansions alone. Some have said that winning the lottery was the worst thing happened to them.

I read horoscopes just out of the fascination and the mystery that surrounds the oneness of the universe.

Monday, September 8, 2014

How Does Mindfulness Reduce Depression? An Interview with John Teasdale

How does being aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it help with depression?

There are a number of ways in which being mindfully aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it can help with depression.

Depression is often kept going, from one moment to the next, by streams of negative thoughts going through the mind (such as “My life is a mess,” “What’s wrong with me?” “I don’t think I can go on”). Redirecting attention away from these ruminative thought streams by becoming really aware of what we’re doing while we’re doing it can “starve” the thought streams of the attention they need to keep going. That way, we “pull the plug” on what is keeping us depressed, and our mood can begin to improve.

John D. Teasdale Ph.D. was a leading researcher at Oxford University, and then in the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. Teasdale was a pioneer in the cognitive therapy advancements in the United Kingdom. He was one of the founders of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, MBCT

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Meditatation is the way

I had the greatest opportunity to learn Meditation (the proper word is Bhavana, Ill explain why), from three great teachers: Professor Sumana Ratnayaka (, Mr. Gamini Priyantha, and Mr. Vipula Wanigasekara.

Mr. Gamini Priyantha and Mr. Vipula Wanigasekara ( had two short but important discourses on meditation while Mr. Sumana Ratnayaka was with us for the  whole day observing Sil, in occasion with the Binara Poya that falls today (8th September).

One person had a question for Mr. Sumana Ratnayaka: How do we benefit from Meditation in out day today life?. The answer was brilliant. Mr. Ratnayaka explained that it is impossible to separate Bhavana from the day today life. Western notion of Meditation, does not cover the meaning of Bhavana. Bhavana is to be practiced not just when we are sitting on our meditation cushion, but to practice with our day-today actions, speech and thinking. In other words, there is no path to meditation; meditation is the way. :) There is no path to peace, peace is the path. There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path. :)

He suggested Mindfullness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana as a good book on mindfullness. You can read a full online copy here:  Buy it here - or on Amazon.

If you are interested in reading Tripitaka Sutta in plain Sinhala, He recommended the translation by Mr. Soyza. I found an on-line copy here.

We ended the day with the Karaneeya metta sutra. I also learned that Metta sutta extends kindness to the mother nature, including the trees.  Buddhism is totally my type of religion.

Metta to you. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Judging other People!

My friend says that she doesnt judge me. She means well but I don't believe so. Unless you  (or she) have attained some sort of a spiritual status through meditation, you can't prevent yourself from judging other people. We not only judge others, but ourselves. Most of the time, we judge ourselves negatively- I did bad. I was wrong. According to Jahan Brahm :), judging (which can be dangerously erroneous)  is one of the major causes of depression.

We judge the input we receive from all six senses. We judge what we see, hear. feel, smell, taste and even what we think. (Yes, mind that can emulate all the other senses is the most powerful of senses.). We judge our thoughts. Not being able to let go of thoughts prevents us from proceeding in meditation.

I judge everything too and suffer the consequences of not being able to perceive things as they are. But, Id be careful not to state my judgements. I know that the conclusions that I make, leading to judgements are highly erroneous. Stating my half-baked judgements can hurt someone, can lead to bad things.

Even Though we receive sensory inputs as they are, we look at them with distorted lenses. If the conclusions I make are dubious, then my judgements should be too. When I meditate, I let go judging my thoughts. As a result, when I don't meditate, I'm inclined to let go of the judgement of what I receive from the sensory inputs.- I see things as they are. When we don't judge, we see the beauty. :) This is my theory for now.

Love. ♥

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Too much to Read

What do you call it when you feel that you are "overwhelmed" by the amount of interesting books, information that is freely available for you to read. I went to this website that let the users download books in PDF, EPub, kindle formats and I felt so uncomfortable seeing the large collection-- Made me bite my teeth.
Just like a bodybuilder who is in a frenzy to build their muscles. Like a thug who wants to beat and get beaten.