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Citizens' Mail

Z-score dilemma

The most candidates in a dilemma due to two Z-scores computed for New Syllabus and Old Syllabus.

The contenders who are in the border line in District quota system now are in utterly confused state on the programme of their preferences specially in highly competitive programmes such as Engineering, Medicine etc.

UGC has published their policy during month of April referring to the Supreme Court case in 2012. According to UGC policy, the students are admitted on the ratio which is calculated based on the composite average for last five years (from 2017) for a given programme in the respective district between first timers and rest of the candidates. Nevertheless, the ratio was not stated in the public notice issued by UGC.

According to the historical records, it takes nearly 6 to 8 months for UGC to finalize the admission even for one syllabus. Thus, it will be December of 2020, if the UGC adopt the same approach.

Hence students’ future will be at a great risk, unless a fast track mechanism is adopted.

Eng P. W. Sarath

On meditation

Most of us have done meditation either on a regular basis or on an one off attempt. The idea is to concentrate on one thing ie on your breathing or on a concept loving kindness. Those who have done so would have noticed that it is impossible, I mean impossible, to keep your thoughts focused on one particular item. This is because other thoughts will invariably come to your mind. Furthermore, is there anything more boring than watching your breath go in and out?

There is absolutely nothing you can do about it and it is the ultimate lie to say that your concentration will improve with time. This is because the outside thoughts coming to the mind is a natural phenomenon. Please note that there is a big difference between trying to force your mind on one thought ie breathing or on a subject like a mathematical problem or reading an interesting book. It is possible to get engrossed in reading a book when you may not even be aware of time passing or other distractions.

It hurts a lot to know that thousands of people are wasting their time, some even on a lifelong quest in Buddhist Aranyas to meditate.

Is it just an accident that, say during the last 100 years, not a single person has stated that he, following Buddhist methods of meditation has reached the only goal of Nirvana. Obviously something is very wrong somewhere.

So, is it impossible for the mind to become completely still? Actually no, there is a way. One has to go to the source of all thoughts and concentrate on this point. It is a pin point location on the right side of the chest. It is through this point that all thoughts emanating from the Universal Consciousness enter the body. So, the method, yes the only way is to hold on to this spot and gradually less and less thoughts come. This I have experientially confirmed. The ultimate outcome is the absence of all thoughts which means that the body (the body is also thought created and has no independent existence) and with it the external world (the external world has no independent existence, it is an only a creation of thoughts) will vanish leaving the only reality, Universal Consciousness. No, I have not confirmed that but I can see that happening.

So, the million dollar question is how do you locate the crucial point on the right side of the chest? I have no answer to this. By some unbelievable fortune in my case, it appeared on its own without my even knowing what it is. Only when I read what Ramana Maharishi has said, I realized what it meant.

I am not sure whether you realize the enormous implications of what I have said here, if it is true. I dare not even speculate on that, because it affects the fundamental propositions of Buddhism (Samatha and Vipassana meditation). Christianity is silent on this because as far as I know there is no specific method (unlike in Buddhism) stated to find the Kingdom of Heaven (Universal Consciousness) within you.

Dr. Asoka Thenuwara


A basis for our actions?

I think this is an important question as it concerns all of us irrespective of our religious beliefs, conscience etc.

An interesting incident will make a starting point. There were two Buddhist priests seated together. One priest saw a mosquito descending on to the head of the other person and raised his hand to kill it before it stung the head of the other priest. As the hand was falling he remembered the Buddhist precept “Panathipatha veramani siksha padan samadiyami” – I will refrain from taking the life of others. So, he stopped the hand falling. The other priest was able to understand the situation and said: “You might as well complete your action because the thought of killing has already entered your mind”!

This is a frightening concept. Because it gives pride of place to “intention” and not to the action following it. This was confirmed by the Buddha himself when he said “Chethanaham Bikkawe Kamman Vadami” – “I say that Karma is intention”. Now, the million-dollar question is who or what decides whether an intention is correct or not. For example, those who committed the Easter massacre will say in all sincerity, their actions were based on right intentions based on their religion. So, now the question is how the Karmic Retribution (Buddhist), “You will be paid back with the same coin” (Christian version) decide whether an intention is right or wrong.

With unconditional respect to the Buddha, I would say for practical purposes it is the consequences of one’s action (not thoughts) that must determine how one should act. In the quoted example, killing the mosquito is wrong because it hurts a living being. So, he should have brushed it aside and not killed it. On the same token, the Easter massacre is wrong because it killed so many people and caused untold suffering to so many.

But I realize that the way the world is made, complete non-violence is impossible. Example, one has to irradiate the Dengue carrying mosquito as there is no option. But an act like dropping the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is definitely terrible and any excuse like, that was the only way to stop the war is inadmissible because the people who suffered ie the inhabitants of Hiroshima had nothing to do with the war and the people who were inside the churches that were bombed were simply minding their own business.

So in conclusion, I would say, check whether your action hurts somebody and if so, refrain from doing it unless there is no choice (ie Dengue mosquito, medical experiments on live animals etc). I hardly need to say that even speech, if it hurts the feeling of others, must be designated as wrong.

This is my opinion on what is the right action and consequently the right way of living. Of course, I hardly need to say that in the ultimate sense, all this is irrelevant because to end the Samsara here and now and find the Kingdom of Heaven within you is (I say “is” because they are the same) the only action.

Wathsala S. Dulanjalee


Relieve the pain and travails of teachers

Over the past few years during the previous regime, there has been a tendency to overburden the duties of teachers with irrelevant, unfair, unreasonable assignments forced by crazy officials and authorities (not all, by the way!) who are guided by outdated systems. They believe that teachers should be overloaded with extra work with filling in forms and that carrying out projects be the criterion for salary increments.

Teachers and teacher unions are campaigning against and complaining of disruption of their normal duties by forcing extra work which prevents them from carrying out their regular work in the classroom. Apart from getting the teachers to do a host of paper work one major burden heaped up on them is having to carry out a number of so-called projects as a prerequisite for the annual salary increments or promotions. This is unfair treatment because their main role is teaching which requires a lot of commitment at work and home.

Most of the dedicated teachers bring their pupils’ work to their homes and spend hours marking and correcting work books, preparing wall display posters, role play cards, pictures and so forth.

Having to work with around 40 pupils teaching a number of subjects particularly in the primary section itself is a massive project. What more and why more projects? The annual appraisal of them should be based on their key role of teaching and not on the completion of project files which can be fake and fabrications. So why do officials put emphasis on such a futile documentation chore again and again.

These projects, if ever needed, are to be done by teachers who are in excess on the staff and by the non-teaching staff officers who pass their time in air-conditioned rooms.

The normal routine of work particularly for a primary level teacher is already tight. Having to prepare the term notes every semester by their own handwriting, making preparation notes daily and getting them endorsed by the principal, checking and correcting pupils exercises of all subjects within the period of those subjects, teaching and explaining the lessons while maintaining order and discipline in the noisy plus overcrowded classrooms, taking the register and making calculations of students attendance, being in charge of religious observances in the morning assembly and rehearsing and preparing pupils for creative presentations at the assembly, taking children for zonal or district level arts or sports competitions, sports practices, having to deal with emergency situations in the classroom like accidents, quarrels, injuries, sudden illnesses, hospitalization of pupils etc.

Aren’t these already enough for the suffering teacher population?

The majority of teachers in our country are not happy with the present state of affairs, weakening career prospects, difficulties of teaching and administrative irregularities. As a result, the act of teaching is becoming unproductive. Therefore, instead of further overloading their major role of teaching with undue elements, the new Minister of Education and the newly appointed officials must sympathetically do away with the above mentioned extra work burden on teachers.

Let them perform their major role enthusiastically without being subjected to unnecessary assignments.

The introduction of the appointments of the new cadre of educational assistants by the new government is a welcome transformation which will enhance the quality of teaching by having a support staff for teachers. It will help to solve the above issue and relieve the pains of the current teacher population.

Kiwulegedara Madduma Bandara Navarathne



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