Thursday, March 18, 2010

Innovation At Its Best: Peepoo Bag Comes To The Rescue Of The Underpriviledged In Using Proper Sanitation

Innovation At Its Best: Peepoo Bag Comes To The Rescue Of The Underpriviledged In Using Proper Sanitation

In response to the article “Bag and Baggage”, by Elizabeth Flock in ‘WhatIf Cloumn’ of Forbes India (Volume 2, Issue 4, February 19, 2010, pp: 20), I would like to draw further attention that its a very successful idea in a developing country like India where almost 56% of the population remains under the poverty line. Indeed with Global Climate Change on the verge of reducing fresh water resources to minimum troughout the globe, Peepoople’s credibility in launching this brave project is highly plaudible.

Elizabeth Flock’s presentation on the launch of Peepoo Sanitation bags creates a lasting impression on the reader’s mind. Indeed countries like India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and many other African nations can look forward to this newer approach of healthy sanitation, albeit social taboo permits them to do so. The idea or innovation will be possible if the developing nations look at it with a wider range of anti-scepticism and broader mind to look ahead of times.

Moreover the bag not only improves the chances of safer sanitation in scarcity of water but also is a novel technology of converting human wastes into fertillizers. Professor Eric O. Odada is right in pointing out that the Peepoo bag could hasten India towards it’s Millenium Development Goal for Hygiene. He is an honorary member of UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation. The organization is also in the middle of parley with organizations like UNICEF, Oxfam, WaterAid, and UN Refugee Agency to maximize the effect. The bag could also play a major role during emergencies like natural calamities, such as floods and earthquakes or droughts.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teachings of Khentse Rinpoche at Thimphu, Bhutan on November 22, 2009

Teachings of Khentse Rinpoche at Thimphu, Bhutan on November 22, 2009

On November 20 – 22, His Eminence Dzongsar Rinpoche, Jamyang Khentse gave teachings on “Wisdom”, the Nine’th Chapter of Mahayana Buddhist Text, Jangchug Sempai Chenjug (Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life) in English to about 400 strong Bhutanese devotees in Thimphu.

Jangchug Sempai Chenjug was originally written in Sanskrit by Gyalshey Zhiwala (Shantideva), a Buddhist monk at Nalanda University in India around 700 A.D.

Wisdom, as the Rinpoche explains, is a completely Natural Mind. The nature of wisdom is indestructible and so is emptiness. Emptiness, wisdom, nirvana, enlightment and mind are synonymous and some of the components of wisdom are generosity, patience, and honesty, he said.

There are two kinds of truth in Buddhism, and the ultimate truth is that it does not exist on its own and that itself is emptiness. Citing an example of owning a car in a dream, he said, relative truths are all illusions and therefore life is like a dream and the dreamer does not realize that he is dreaming. Relating to the dream of a car, he said, wisdom has the capacity to understand and make sense of life. Wisdom is within ourselves but we need to recognize it. Then, how do we do so? By listening to the essential instructions of the Guru (Guru Padmasabha, the man who brought Buddhism to Bhutan) and following the vows of Bodhisattva.

On the aspect of differentiating between wisdom and intelligence, the Rinpoche uttered, intelligence is being clever, smart, alert and having the capacity to understand and memorize things easily, but wisdom has nothing to do with intelligence.

He also said that it has been seen that humans do not want sufferings, but we are actually attached to the cause of sufferings. Suffering doesn’t simply mean physical pain or misfortune, but also the suffering one has to go through to get money or buy a mobile phone. Then there is suffering to take care and protect the mobile from loss or damage.

To be happy – is not the aim of Buddhism but is the aim of mortal beings. If you are looking for happiness you are also looking for sufferings, he said. Sufferings and Happiness are inseparably intertwined.

The Rinpoche also explained, dualistic minds see impermanence as permanent. We care for our body as if it will last forever. We care for our arms with moisturizing creams, but how long will it continue? Hence, wisdom is non-dualistic mind that really sees the truth. All phenomena are like a dream and subject to change. Most of us today do not realize this and go on minting money. Life is like a dew drop on the grass, no matter how we try to fight off age. We are there to die one day and it has to be seen how we lead our life rather than how we make it comfortable. Bodhisattva sees how one makes life comfortable for others. That is when we realize we have attained nirvana. What we need to do is to realize this and be truthful, honest and kind to others, said His Eminence Dzongsar Jamyang Khentse Rinpoche.

Everything in life is determined by views. Views establish values. Bad views cause war, inflation and disharmony, while good views lead to Buddhahood. Of the nine views in Nyingma tradition, shame and fear of wrong-doings is the foundation of all Buddhist values.

The teaching of the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life was started in 2005 on the request of Bhutanese devotees. The ten chapters of the text were completed on November 22 and I was a lucky one to listen to these enlightening lines from Mahayana Buddhist texts.

At the conclusion, the Rinpoche said his dedication was for the wellbeing of the earth, its beings and the leaders of Bhutan and the Bhutanese.

Reproduced with permission from “Kuensel Corporation, Thimphu, Bhutan”. Written by Arunava. Note: The article has also been published in the online version of American Chronicle and Riverside Chronicle