Buddhist Song: THE THREE SIGNS
-Geraldine E. Lyster
Dukkha, Anicca, Anatta
The leaves are falling fast,
The reign of the rose is ended,
The sky is overcast.
The whole world is filled with sadness,
From city and Jungle rise;
The cry of life’s suffering children
The daylight slowly dies.
Our lord looked with love and pity
Upon every living being,
From the lowliest child of nature
To the mightiest crowned king.
For hatred, delusion, passion
Still claim and enslave us all,
And each alike on the wheel of change
Must suffer, and rise, and fall.
Dukka, Anicca, Anatta,
Tho’s every life knows pain;
He who faithfully walks the Path
Will not look for help in vain.
The law of the Tathagatha
Forever will light the way;
It is our moon to shine by night,
Our sun to illume the day.
In lord Buddha we take our refuge,
His Law of Good our guide,
To pilot us as we toss and drift
On being’s remorseless tide.
With the Dharma’s light to steer by
Some day we’ll fear rocks no more,
But, merit won, each will moor his barge,
On Nirvana’s changeless shore.
Video: Ottawa sunny & snowy day.
FOR PUBLICATION AHRC-ETC-004-2012
January 17, 2012
An article by Dr. Gaffar Peang-Meth published by the Asian Human Rights Commission
CAMBODIA: Toppling cambodian dictators is not impossible if we think smart and act smart
My grandson, 12, a seventh grader, read “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror” (2004), a bestseller by a former Soviet prisoner, Natan Sharansky. He passed the book to me, saying I might be interested in reading it.
I had read about Sharansky, 9 years a prisoner in the Soviet gulag; I hadn’t read his book. I immediately opened the book to pages my grandson had bookmarked: Sharansky’s distinction between “free societies” and “fear societies”; Sharansky’s description of believers, dissenters and the millions of “double thinkers” who don’t speak their thoughts because of fear of arrest, imprisonment and physical harm so they speak with their “eyes” but go through the motion of supporting rulers who are interested only in remaining forever in power.
Sharansky contends that elections are not enough to dub a society free – a free press, an independent judiciary, the rule of law must exist before genuine free elections are held. He became controversial as he blasted conservatives for placing “stability” above human rights in international relations, and liberals for failing to distinguish between struggling democracies and authoritarian regimes that overtly trample human rights. Sharansky advocates the universality of freedom and human rights.
As I browsed through the book, a Khmer saying came to my mind: “Tumpaeng snorng russey,” referring to young bamboo shoots that grow to replace aging bamboo trees – the future is in the making.
Popovic tells us we need analytical skills in “unity, planning, and nonviolent discipline” to succeed in a revolution. He tells us of the working of the dynamics of enthusiasm and humor vs. fear and apathy: As enthusiasm and humor go up, fear and apathy go down, and vice versa. And he tells us to select strategy and tactics: Start small and pick the battle one can win.
I ended 2011 with a column on Lord Buddha’s teachings from 2,500 years ago about man as an activist, an “actionist,” and a maker of the world. As 95 percent of Cambodia’s 14 million people identify themselves as Buddhist, I deduced that Cambodians are activists and “actionists” who can transform autocratic Cambodia into a Buddhist country of civil rights, justice, and compassion.
The people profess to want those changes. Yet change has not happened.
After my column, I received an email from a former Khmer monk, Bouawat Sithi, a graduate of Thailand’s Djittabhawan College, which was founded to provide opportunities to students from poor families to pursue higher education. He affirmed that my interpretation of Buddhism is what he learned as a monk and still practices daily — that Buddha never taught man to believe in fate, but “to believe in our own action (karma).” He lamented Buddhism is not taught or understood correctly and “egoism, anger, greed, delusion, desire, craving, hate and aversion” overwhelm many Cambodians.
Heng Sreang, Royal University of Phnom Penh professor, sent an article, “The Scope and Limitations of Political Participation by Buddhist Monks,” that contains his belief that Khmer Buddhist monks “should play not only a legitimizing but also a critical role” as a “constructive force for the improvement and reconstruction of the social well-being and political life of the country.”