November 13, 2019
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    A group of foreign election observers are set to arrive in the country within today (12) and tomorrow (13), according to the Commissioner General of Elections Saman Sri Rathnayake.Accordingly, these 14 observers from India, Indonesia, Maldives, South Africa, Bhutan and Bangladesh will monitor the Presidential Election 2019, set to be held this Saturday.

    Psychic powers of meditation

    Dr Senarath Tennakoon

    According to Pali sources, at the fourth level of trance (dhyana) in deep meditative practices, eight kinds of psychic power generated in the human mind. These powers are: to project replicas to oneself to become invisible; to pass through solids; to sink into solid ground, to walk on water; to fly; to touch the sun and moon, and to ascend to the world of god Brahma respectively.

    Not only the Buddha and some of his disciples but also some non-Buddhist ascetics were said to have possessed these psychic powers. However, the Buddha prohibited his disciples performing these psychic feats before laymen. But the Mahayana adopted a different attitude and promoted their display by a Bodhisattva as a legitimate claim to attract converts. There are non-Buddhist texts which describe miracles performed by religious leaders and saints.

    An ordinary person living in the 21st century would refuse to believe such magical displayed or without the aid of scientific technology. In the original Pali texts, and the classical Sinhala texts the amazing feats performed by the Buddha and the Arahant have been described using appropriately relevant semiotic linguistic signs, idioms, proverbs and metaphors so that the readership is inspired to believe because of their ardent faith in the Triple Gem. The ordinary laymen are no Arahant endowed with psychic power.

    These descriptions carry pragmatic meanings – presuppositions, implicatures and entailments, not only the literary meanings. The communicated message differed that he acquired the ability to know the minds of others (para-citta-vinnaya), knowledge of soullessness (vidarshana nana), radiating his astral body to a desired place (manomaya-erdi nana), divine eye (divya cakku nana), ability to hear distant voices (dibbasota nana), divine eye (divya cakku nana), ability to recall previous births (pubbenivasntsatti nana), divine eye (divya cakku nana), ability to recall previous births (pubbenivasntsatti nana), and the ability to eradicate defilements (asavakkshayakata nana).

    It has been said that a Licchavi bhikkhu at Vesali named Sunnakattha insulted the Buddha that the Buddha did not possess supramundane psychic powers. Arahant Sariputta on hearing this comment had to take this bhikkhu to the presence of the Buddha. The Buddha clarified the insult by giving a lucid account of his psychic powers, such as: Ten powers of knowledge (dasabala nana) which include his knowledge of karma, rebirth, death and meditation; fourfold wisdom (chaturvidaradha nana) pertaining to his incomparable supreme wisdom, four forms of birth (chatur yoni paracceda nana) and his knowledge about the five worlds where beings were reborn (pancagathi paraicitta nana).

    The miraculous psychic mental states actualized by yoga, meditation, jhana and concentration have been overlooked by modern scientists. The Buddhas, Pacceka Buddhas (silent Buddhas) and Arahant (Holy Ones) who developed their minds to the highest level were the greatest minds. Those yogis and ascetics, who had attained higher mental states, lost their psychic power the moment a blemished thought occurred to them as it happened to King Mahamandhatu. It has been said that Sakka the king of gods being pleased with the righteous rule of King Mahamandhatu, accompanied him to heaven and offered half of his kingdom. King Mahamandhatu while enjoying a heavenly life of supreme bliss became jealous of Sakka and the moment he developed the thought of usurping Sakka than he dwindled from heaven back to his earthly kingdom.

    The legend says that after his enlightenment (bodhi) the Buddha spent a week revolving the complex higher doctrine of (Abhidharma) in all their details in his mind. The Buddha just before the 7th annual rain retreat (vas) I.e. Seven years after enlightenment ascended to the Tavatimsa heaven to deliver the sermon on Abhidhamma to Devas, Brhamas and his mother. By that time his mother was born as a Deva in Thusita Heaven and had come to Tavatimsa Heaven to listen to the Buddha.

    The Buddha seated on the Pandukambala stone seat of God Sakra preached the Abhidhamma for a continuous period of three months. In the Tavatimsa Heaven, one day equals 100 years in the human plane. The Buddha returned every day to this world to the shore of Anotatta lake, Sankassapura in north India for his meals and to attend to other needs. At the same time, the Buddha gave rev. Sariputta, a gist of his Abhidhamma teachings to the gods on the previous day. Thus the Buddha had been ascending and descending heaven daily for three long months. The twin miracle (Yamaka-pathihariya) of the Buddha, in which he caused fire and water to issue from opposite sides of his body, has been described in exquisite figurative language. So is the battle of the Buddha with his arch-enemy Death (Mara).

    The Buddha’s second-best disciple Mahamoggallana was renowned for miraculous psychic powers (riddhi). He could change himself into any form at will. He could travel and penetrate other worlds any fly about like a bird. The Vimanavattu describes his visits to the heavens and there are accounts of his encounters with non-human subjects like the petas.

    There was another disciple, Pindola-Bharadvagga, who displayed a miraculous flight in Rajagaha when he ascended into the air to retrieve a sandalwood bowl placed on top of a tall bamboo pole. Originally Pindola-Bjaradvalga had been a greedy monk who carried a large bowl which he kept under his bed at night. In due course, he conquered his lion’s appetite and by perseverance became an Aahat.

    When he performed this miracle he was an Arahant. However, the Buddha came to know of this act and rebuked him, not to display miracles before the public. Once the Buddha was dwelling in the mango groove called Pavaraka near Nalanda when a householder named Kevaddha appealed the Buddha thrice and urged him to order his disciples to perform miracles. The Buddha refused. The Buddha even ridiculed an ascetic who walked on the water of a river to, cross over to the other bank. He verified from the ferryman that the fee charged by him was just one half a maska (a coin of very low value to take one across the river. The Buddha observed that the endeavour of the ascetic has been wasted and its worth was just half a maska.


    India train collision: Lucky escape for passengers in Hyderabad
    Hundreds of passengers had a lucky escape after two trains collided head-on in the southern Indian cityof Hyderabad.Twelve passengers suffered minor injuries and are being treated at a local hospital.An inquiry has been ordered into the incident.India has one of the largest train networks in the world but accidents are fairly common because much of the railway equipment is out of date.The government has promised to modernise the network but the pace of the change has been slow.
    Man hit by train in quest for perfect selfie
    By Victoria Park
    BBC UGC and Social News
    25 January 2018
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    Media captionVideo showing the train and Mr Siva prior to the accident
    A self-filmed video of a man who was hit by a Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) train in Hyderabad, India, has been viewed thousands of times online.

    Gym trainer T Siva ignored warnings from a person nearby and the train driver while filming near Borabanda railway station on 21 January.

    Mr Siva survived but has suffered head injuries, according to South Central Railways Police.

    He has appeared in court and been fined 500 rupees ($7.87, £5.50).

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    The 21-second-long video was shared thousands of times on Facebook on Wednesday. In it, Mr Siva is seen standing in the foreground as an MMTS train approaches.

    There is an audible warning from a person nearby and a repeated horn blaring from the train. Mr Siva does not move and continues filming, saying "one minute".

    The train strikes him on the right side of his head and body and the phone falls to the ground.

    Taking a video while standing in front of a fast-approaching train is a deadly trend in India.

    In October 2017 three teenagers were run over by a train while trying to take a selfie in Karnataka state, and two teenagers were killed while taking selfies on railway tracks in Delhi.

    Image copyrightASIF SAUD
    Image caption
    A local man points to the spot where three students were run over by a train while taking a selfie in Karnataka
    Experts say youngsters obsessed with social media are going to extreme lengths in the quest for reckless selfies. Many cases involve young men.

    The majority of selfie deaths across the world have taken place in India. Of the 127 global selfie deaths researchers identified between March 2014 and September 2016, 76 occurred in India and most of the victims were reported to be young people, according to US PhD student Hemank Lamba and his team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

    In India, most selfie deaths are related to trains, which Mr Lamba said was due to "the belief that posing on or next to train tracks with their best friend is regarded as romantic and a sign of never-ending friendship."

    Many people on Twitter sharing the video have called Mr Siva's actions "shocking," "crazy," or "risky".

    "The person persisted with his attempt to take a selfie, due to which he was hit by the speeding MMTS train and fell down by the side of the track and sustained a head injury," a spokesperson for South Central Railway of India told the BBC.

    "The person was also booked under the Railways Act by the Railway Protection Force. Any act of taking selfies and photographs by trespassing on the railway tracks and premises and on trains will entail punishment under section 147 of the Railways Act, 1989."
    Disheartened by the accidents happened due to selfies and stunts in the last few days. Urge all of you to not to risk your lives, instead, channelise our energy in more productive areas and help in building a New India.

    India engineless train rolls back for miles
    9 April 2018
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    Media captionThe engineless train sped backwards for seven miles
    Seven employees have been suspended after 22 carriages carrying 1,000 passengers detached from a train and sped backwards for 11km (seven miles) in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.

    The runaway carriages were halted by railway staff after they placed rocks on the tracks.

    None of the people on the train were injured in the incident, which occurred on Saturday night, officials said.

    More than 22 million Indians commute daily on about 9,000 trains.

    A video of the incident, caught on a mobile phone camera, showed onlookers screaming as the carriages rolled backwards and past a railway platform.
    The suspended employees allegedly did not follow protocol and an investigation has been launched, JP Mishra, a spokesman for the railway ministry, told AFP news agency.

    Officials believe that the brakes that are normally applied when a carriage is detached were incorrectly used or overlooked.

    "Something ghastly could have happened and it was averted by alert staff," Mr Mishra said.

    Such incidents are not uncommon in India. Across the country, trains carry more than 22 million passengers every day but much of the equipment is out of date.

    Last November, a group of Indian farmers woke up to find that the train they were travelling on had sped 160km (99 miles) in the "wrong direction". In August 2017, at least 23 people were killed when a train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
    India train crash in Uttar Pradesh leaves 23 dead
    Carriages piled on top of each other after coming off the rails
    At least 23 people were killed and more than 60 injured when a train derailed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.Police said that at least eight carriages jumped the tracks near Muzaffarnagar, about 130km (80 miles) north of the capital Delhi.The cause of the crash, which happened on Saturday evening, is not yet clearRescuers worked into the night to find survivors. TV footage showed carriages piled on top of one another.The train had been travelling to the Hindu holy city of Haridwar, in the foothills of the Himalayas, from Puri, in eastern Odisha state."We are struggling to pull out the injured and are waiting for gas cutters to arrive," said police officer Ajay Pandey at the scene."It's too dark to launch a fully fledged search operation but our teams are trying their best."
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences to families of the victims and pledged all possible assistance.Train accidents are fairly common in India. The railway system carries more than 22 million passengers a day and much of the equipment is out of date.An accident in Uttar Pradesh last November killed 150 people and another in the same state a year before killed 39.

    India train travels 160km in 'wrong direction'
    23 November 2017
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    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    Image caption
    India runs 11,000 trains every day, of which 7,000 are passenger trains
    A group of Indian farmers say they woke up shocked to find that the train they were travelling on had sped 160km (99 miles) in the "wrong direction".

    About 1,500 farmers were travelling overnight to the western state of Maharashtra after taking part in a protest rally in Delhi.

    But several hours into their journey, the group realised that the chartered train was not following the agreed route.

    The railway firm denies the allegation.

    The farmers said that the train was due to reach Maharashtra via Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat states, but the route had been changed without their knowledge.

    "We started the journey at 10pm on Tuesday and reached Mathura in Uttar Pradesh state past midnight. At around 4am, we realised that the train had reached the central state of Madhya Pradesh, which wasn't on our agreed route," Sagar Shambhushete, who was on the train, told the BBC.

    Mr Shambhushete said they stopped the train and started protesting at a small station called Banmore in Madhya Pradesh.

    "Our lives were at risk. The train was on a wrong route, an accident could have happened. We agreed to get back on the train after the railway authorities promised us that we were safe," he said.

    But railway officials say the farmers' safety was never at risk.

    "Special trains are run through a route which is conveniently available to the railway operation. The passengers might have felt confused because of the different route used in their return journey. There was no negligence and diversion," the railways said in a statement.

    But this is not the only time Indian trains have ended up at unexpected destinations. Here are a few more instances.

    The engine that ran away
    One railway engine made a break for it in the southern Indian state of Karnataka last week and managed to make it 13km (eight miles) before its panicked driver, who had been chasing it on a motorcycle, finally caught up with it.

    Newspaper reports said that the "dramatic chase" ended when the train, which had been moving at a speed of about 30km/h finally slowed down.

    It is unclear how the train started moving on its own, but reports said it had been uncoupled from a passenger train and had been stationary on the tracks when the driver got off. Fortunately an accident was averted thanks to quick thinking officials who notified stations ahead to stop trains coming in the opposite direction.

    An inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

    Holy shock
    A group of about 1,000 furious pilgrims, who were travelling to the northern Indian city of Varanasi from the southern city of Tirupati in 2011, suddenly found themselves at a station 260km away from where they were supposed to be.

    Railway officials were only alerted to the error when the passengers stormed the station master's office in Kazipet in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, demanding an explanation.

    The train was routed back to Vijayawada, where the mistake had taken place, so that it could be rerouted to its original path.

    Passengers said that although the journey had been "harrowing" they were relieved that the train route was corrected, and they did not collide with any other trains while travelling for so long in the wrong direction.

    The Navy, on 10th November 2019, rendered assistance to bring a stone Samadhi Buddha statue to the Thalathuduwa Forest Hermitage located on an island by Koggala Oya in Galle.Upon a request by the Dayaka Sabha of the forest hermitage from the Navy, this meritorious task was assigned to a diving team attached to the Southern Naval Command. Accordingly, the stone Buddha statue was brought from the Koggala Air Force Base Jetty to the forest hermitage, crossing the Koggala Oya by a barge.The Navy’s contribution for the successful conduct of this meritorious deed was praised by Venerable Elle Indasobhitha Thero of the Thalathuduwa Forest Hermitage and devotees present on this occasion.


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