The fate of the Buddha’s begging bowl

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A depiction of devotees worshiping the bowl, Gandhara 4th century CE

One of the most revered relics in the ancient Buddhist world was the Buddha’s begging bowl.


A rough outline of its long convoluted history is this – it was supposedly given to the people of Vesali by the Buddha when he passed through the city on his way to Kusinara. In the 1st/2nd century King Kanishka took it to Pushapura, now Peshawar, where a string of Chinese pilgrims reported seeing it between the 3rd and the 9th centuries. The importance of the bowl is attested by numerous depictions of it in Gandhara art, usually shown on the pedestal of Buddha statues. During the Islamic period it was taken from one palace or mosque to another until at a date unknown it ended up in Sultan Way’s Baba’s shrine on the outskirts of Kandahar Afghanistan. Several British officers report seeing it there in the 19th century, one attempting to translate the inscription on it, and another, Alexander Cunningham, trying to trace its history, a fact I mention in my Middle Land Middle Way (1992, p.136). In the late 1980s during Afghanistan’s civil war President Najibullah had the bowl taken to Kabul’s National Museum. When the Taliban came to power, their Minister of Culture ordered all Buddhist artefacts in the museum smashed although the bowl remained undamaged, no doubt because of the Quranic verses inscribed on its outer surface. Today it can still be seen in the museum.

The bowl is not small. It is a stone hemispherical vessel of greenish-grey granite with a diameter of about 1.75 meters, a height of about three ¾ of a meter, and a thickness of about 18 cm at its rim, rather thicker elsewhere particularly at its middle and the base. It has no cracks or abrasions, except for a portion about the size of the palm of one’s hand that has flaked away from near the rim. There is a delicate lotus petal design chiselled around its base, attesting to its Buddhist past, and inscribed in beautiful large calligraphic script horizontally along the rim of the bowl, are six rows of verses from the Quran, reflecting its Islamic continuum and its status through the ages as an object of special religious interest. Traces of similar calligraphic script are visible on the surface on the inner side of the bowl. The bowl is about 350 to 400 kg in weigh, far too heavy to lift.

This bowl was probably an early larger copy of the Buddha’s actual bowl placed in a monastery in Vesali for people to offer their first fruits in, a custom common in ancient India and which survived even in Sri Lanka and elsewhere up to the 19th century. The bowl’s great size may well have encouraged the acceptance of the widespread belief amongst ancient Buddhists that the Buddha was 18 feet tall. Only someone that big could have used or even lifted a bowl this size.

It is interesting to keep in mind that Sri Lanka claimed to have the Buddha’s begging bowl, although any legend of how it got to the island has not been preserved. This Sri Lankan relic is mentioned several times in the Culavamsa as being as precious and holy as the Tooth Relic. The chronical tells us for instance, that when King Manabharana moved from Rohana to Polonnaruva he brought the Tooth Relic and the Bowl Relic with him. It also gives us a description of an elaborate ceremony during the reign of Parakramabahu I in which the two relics were drawn through the streets of the capital in a wheeled pavilion made of gold. Sometime after the fall of Polonnaruva the Bowl Relic disappeared and was forgotten

I am writing about the Buddha’s begging bowl because after being in obscurity for so long it recently hit the headlines in India when it was mentioned in the Lok Sabha, India’s parliament. I reproduce below from the Ministry of External Affairs website. “MP Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh asked; ‘Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state: (a) whether the Government has recently got the information that the begging bowl of Buddha, given to the people of Vesali by him, has been found in the Kabul museum; (b) if so, the details thereof; (c) whether the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan has sent a photo of the said bowl to the Government; (d) if so, the details thereof; (e) whether the Government has initiated the process to recover the said bowl; (f) if so, the details thereof; (g) whether the travelogues of the Chinese pilgrim Faxian and the writings of Dr. Cunningham and Shri S.V. Sahni mention the said bowl; and (h) if so, the details thereof?’.”

The Minister Prenteet Kaur in reply answered; “The Embassy of India, Kabul has made enquiries in the matter. It is learnt that the item purported to be Lord Buddha’s begging bowl was apparently in Kandahar until the regime of former President Najibullah. It was later brought to Kabul and is currently in the Kabul Museum. It has been pointed out that the begging bowl, a photo of which our Embassy has obtained, is rather large, besides having inscription in Arabic and Persian, thus calling into question its provenance. The Archaeological Survey of India has been requested to convey any information or advice it may have regarding the provenance of the bowl currently in Kabul Museum.”


Source  :  The Nation Multimedia

Escalator at Chiang Mai airport partially collapses

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Breaking News November 18, 2017 10:14

By The Nation

There was panic at Chiang Mai International Airport on Saturday morning when a few steps of an escalator collapsed, scaring passengers.


Nobody was injured in the incident that happened at 6am at the inbound passenger lobby.

A few steps near the ground floor fell off when the escalator started to move up.

The escalator was closed pending an investigation.


Source  :  The Nation Multimedia

Phuket to mount new tender for lifeguard service

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Photo from Phuket Gazette

The OrBorJor Phuket has announced it will launch another auction for the provision of lifeguard services, this time offering a budget of Bt16 million, Satien Kaewpraprab, its deputy secretary said on Saturday.

The date will be confirmed this month.

“We believe that this second round of auction will get more people interested in tendering during the auction. However if there are no new contractors tendering, we have already found a solution for it by hiring individual lifeguards as we are doing now,” said Satien.

He noted that for the next budget year the OrBorJor is planning with the local administration offices to let them run their own tender auctions to provide lifeguards in their areas. This is one way to avoid the issue faced in the past of trying to find a single contractor for all of the island’s beaches.

“We believe that the problem won’t happen again, as we have had discussions with the local administration offices and we will support them with the budget while allowing them to hire lifeguards by themselves.”

He also revealed that the organisation has been hiring individual lifeguards to staf seven beaches from November 1, including Nai Harn Beach, Yanui Beach, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach, Surin Beach, Bangtao Beach, Nai Thorn Beach and Maikhao Beach.

The total number of lifeguards at 24 spots around the seven beaches is 63.

However the OrBorJor is still searching for individual lifegaurds for Kata, Karon and Nai Yang beaches, which will add another 32 people to the lifeguard roster it employs.

Currently only Royal Thai Navy officers, Civil Defence volunteers and Tourist Security Guard volunteers are servicing those three beaches.



Source  :  The Nation Multimedia

Updated: PM Abadi says army freed last IS bastion in Anbar in record time

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Baghdad ( The Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has congratulated the armed forces and Iraqi people on liberation of Rawa, the last Islamic State’s stronghold in western Anbar, in record time.

“Our champions freed Rawa in record time and are resuming the combing of the Jazeera region as well as the desert and securing the Iraqi borders,” Abadi said in a statement on Friday.

“Liberation of Rawa in few hours shows the power and capability of our armed forces as well as the successful plans of the battles,” he added.

Moreover, the Iraqi Interior Minister has said that the military presence of IS is over after the liberation of Rawa in western Anbar.

Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of Jazeera and Upper Euphrates Combing Operations, announced, an hour earlier, liberation of Rawa and raising the Iraqi flag above buildings there.

This came after the command announced liberation of many districts in the town.

Previously on the day, the War Media Cell said operations launched on the dawn of Friday for the “liberation of Rawa”.

Naeem al-Kaoud, chief of Anbar province council’s security committee, was quoted saying that operations to retake Rawa will possibly not take more than 24 hours, noting that most of IS militants had fled to Syria.

The Iraqi army announced on Thursday erecting a floating bridge between Annah and Rawa.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced on Friday liberation of Qaim in record time. Troops also freed Ebeidi and Krabla regions in western Anbar.

Operations were launched, late October, to liberate Qaim and Rawa towns. Both have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”.

According to United Nations counts, the war against IS has displaced five million people.


Source  :  Iraqi News

Security forces repel Islamic State attack, northeastern Diyala

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Diyala ( Security troops managed to repulse an attack by Islamic State militants against checkpoint in northeastern Diyala, a security source said.

“Police checkpoints deployed near Tawakol region, north of Muqdadiyah were attacked by IS cells,” the source told Alghad Press on Friday.

“Troops managed to repel the attack without casualties,” the source added. The region, from where fire was opened, was combed. Situation has been under control.

A government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and the coalition has been fighting, since October 2016, the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.

Though the group is nearing a total loss of its territorial influence in Iraq through the Rawa battle, with tens of thousands of local and foreign fighters either killed or remaining at large, many believe it will still pose a security threat in Iraq by maintaining dormant cells and staging lone wolf attacks.

Earlier on the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi congratulated the armed forces and people on liberation of Rawa in record time.

Interior Minister Qassim al-Aaraji said that the liberation of Rawa marked an end for the military presence of IS in Iraq.

According to United Nations counts, the war against IS has displaced five million people.


Source  :  Iraqi News

Three persons of same family killed, injured in armed attack, south of Mosul

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Nineveh ( Two persons were killed, while a third from the same family was wounded in an attack launched by Islamic State militants against their house in south of Nineveh, an official was quoted saying on Friday.

“A group of IS members attacked, today, a house in Jahouni village, in Hammam al-Alil. They opened fire against the residents, which caused death of the father and one of his sons and injury of another son,” Khalaf al-Jabouri, head of Hammam al-Alil town, said.

“Security troops headed to the accident spot and transferred the wounded to nearby hospital and took the victims to forensic medicine department,” he added.

Earlier on the day, Jabouri called for opening the floodgates of Mosul dam to force the hiding militants get out of their havens, which they use to attack civilians in Hammam al-Alil.

Despite declaring the victory over IS in Mosul in July, the group’s former bastion in Iraq, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.

114 Iraqi civilians were killed, while 244 others were wounded as result of terrorism, violence and armed conflicts, according to a monthly release by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), issued on Wednesday.

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, coming in the first place with 177 civilian casualties (38 killed, 139 injured). Anbar province followed with 36 killed and 55 injured, and then Kirkuk with 18 killed and 33 injured.


Source  :  Iraqi News

Five-year-old Indian girl dies of fever in Abu Dhabi

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Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 18, 2017 | Last updated on November 18, 2017 at 06.32 am 

She was suffering from fever for one week

An Indian girl died due to fever in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Five-year-old Rayeesa was a student of the kindergarten section of The Model School Abu Dhabi.

She is the only child of her parents who hail from the Malappuram district of the South Indian state of Kerala. Her father Rafi works at a private company in Baniyas.

With changing weather conditions there has been a spurt of fever cases in the Capital.
Rayeesa was suffering from fever for one week.



Source  :  The Khaleej Times

Now, get 50% discount on traffic fines in Ajman

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Filed on November 18, 2017

Starting from November 26 till December 31

Ajman Police have decided to offer 50 per cent discount on traffic fines starting from November 26 till December 31, 2017.

The decision has been made following directives of Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman and Chairman of the Executive Council, to mark the Year of Giving and 46th UAE National Day.

Major General Sheikh Sultan Bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi, commander-in-chief of Ajman Police, said that Ajman Police decided to reduce the fine on all types of traffic violations in the emirate by 50 per cent on the occasion of the UAE’s 46th National Day to bring about happiness and enable residents of Ajman enjoy during the holidays.

He added that the 50 per cent discount will cover all traffic violations which its owners committed in the emirate before November 11, 2017.

He added that the payment of fines during the discount period would be only through the Ajman Police or the ministry of interior application.

Major General Al Nuaimi said the discount decision would help those who have accumulated traffic violations. He called on the public to grab this opportunity and speed up the payment, while benefiting from the discount granted.

He urged motorists to abide by the traffic rules and regulations to avoid horrific accidents and hefty fines.


Source  :  The Khaleej Times

UAE to issue law against buying antibiotics without prescription

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Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on November 18, 2017

The new draft law aims to regulate the pharmaceutical profession addresses in detail the topic of drugs that strictly require prescriptions.

The UAE Health Ministry will issue new health legislations to put an end to the dangerous practice of dispensing antibiotics without medical prescription.

Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for public policy and licensing at the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), said the legislations are in the context of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) reports on the prevalence of the threat created by bacterial resistance to antibiotics which is caused by changes that occur in the bacteria and render antibiotics less effective.

Dr Al Amiri pointed out that global reports have shown that between 50 and 80 per cent of germs have developed strong resistance to antibiotics, which leads to the deterioration of the immune system. This, he explained, prolongs the duration of the disease and makes treatment more difficult, consequently increasing the risk for complications that can lead to death. Reports indicate the death of 700,000 people annually worldwide for this reason.

The indiscriminate use of antibiotics leads to epidemics unless there is intervention and radical solutions, which has prompted the WHO to allocate the period from November 16 to 22 every year as World Awareness Week on Antibiotics.

Dr Al Amiri said that MOHAP is currently preparing appropriate legislation to prevent misconduct related to the dispensing of antibiotics without a prescription. He pointed out that the new draft of the federal law aims to regulate the pharmaceutical profession so it addresses in detail drugs that strictly require prescriptions. He added that this is an important and positive aspect which helps in the prevention of practices that aggravate drug resistance.

The assistant undersecretary further emphasised that all pharmacies must abide by the rules and local regulations governing their operations in the UAE. The ministry and the local health authorities will intensify the supervision and inspection of pharmacies in the country.

MOHAP will also raise awareness among doctors on the rationalisation of prescriptions, particularly the need to be strict in the prescription of antibiotics so that such medicines are dispensed only when medically required and used at accurate dose.

He also noted that the importance of health education for the public to raise awareness on the importance of adherence to the prescription and continued use of the antibiotic for the prescribed duration even in the case of earlier improvement. He also called for individuals to avoid self-medication with leftover antibiotics from previous medical treatments.

He explained the need to strictly adhere to the doses and their prescribed timings and the health risks associated with discontinuing the medication abruptly which he explained can lead to the re-emergence of bacteria and the development of resistance to the antibiotic. Children, he warned, should not be given antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

According to scientists, antibiotics will be the biggest health challenge of the 21st century, requiring a change in global behaviour by individuals and communities. The increasing resistance to antibiotics is a global health crisis. In the near future, these medications are capable of causing a malfunction in the current drug system. Doctors warn that neglecting rules may lead to serious health complications.

WHO noted that an increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms threatens our return to the pre-penicillin era in the 1920s when the mildest infection could be fatal. International medical sources confirmed that many of the characteristics of modern medicine – from bowel surgery to cancer treatment and organ transplants – depend on our ability to treat infections.

If this ability is lost, then the foundations of entire modern medicine would collapse. It is very important to understand that combating the emergence of antibiotic resistance means combating supporting the whole modern medicine systems.


Source  :  The Khaleej Times

Northcote byelection: Beef snags edge out veggos in the democracy sausage stakes

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Both the frontrunners battled to convince voters of their progressive pedigree in the Northcote byelection.

But even here, deep behind Melbourne’s inner-city hipster-proof fence, the beef “democracy” sausage reigned supreme.

That was according to a volunteer behind the barbecue at Thornbury Primary School at least.

“It’s about 95 per cent beef sausages,” Jo Sierkis said.

So it was that Labor candidate Clare Burns was among the minority as she ate a vegetarian sausage at the school gates and tried to convince voters of the Andrews’ government forward-thinking credentials.

 “We’re really lucky in Victoria to have the most progressive government in the country,” she said.

She said voters were talking about local issues – but that one theme was dominating.


“What they’re talking to us about is housing, and how fairness really needs to be put back into the housing market,” she said.

Labor’s key message was enough to convert 29-year-old Hayley Marks.

She cast her vote at Santa Maria College – where the only sausage for sale was beef.

“I always vote Greens,” she said. “Today I voted Labor first and Greens second”.

The medical researcher and renter said her decision was “purely” down to housing.

The people of Northcote have a chance to make history today by electing the first Aboriginal woman to the Victorian parliament.

Richard Di Natale

“I’m getting to that stage now where I want to buy a house,” she said. “I’m trying to save for a deposit … But it’s hard.

Ms Marks said she believed Greens candidate Lidia Thorpe saw housing affordability as a federal issue while Ms Burns thought the state government could help make the market fairer.

“That was enough to change my vote,” she said.

For others, the Labor message was wide of the mark.

Daniel Aspinall, 42, said he voted Greens first, Labor second.

“I feel Greens better represent me in terms of marriage equality and other progressive policies,” he said.

The publisher said he was not primarily influenced by local issues but was not impressed by Labor’s “single issue” campaign.

“Also, I think you’ve got to keep them honest,” he said.

“I like state Labor and I like what Daniel Andrews is doing, but if you keep returning the same party they start to take you for granted”.

Another factor which drew Mr Aspinall to the Greens in Northcote was a theme driven home at the polling booth by Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale. He and state leader Samantha Ratnam flanked Ms Thorpe while she cast her vote at  Thornbury Primary School as the Greens rolled out their big guns.

“The people of Northcote have a chance to make history today by electing the first Aboriginal woman to the Victorian parliament,” Senator Di Natale said.

Mr Di Natale portrayed the campaign as one of a party funded by corporate donors, developers, and the alcohol and gambling industries against a grassroots campaign.

But for others trying to influence the vote, neither party was sufficiently progressive nor independent.

Retired union official Mick Doran was handing out how to vote cards for Dr Joe Toscano – despite admitting the anarchist’s vote was likely to be “not very much”.

“I probably voted Labor in 1983 – but never again after that,” he said.

“The Greens are probably my number two choice but, with all the shirts and the posters, you can see they are going the way of the other parties.”

Another long-term resident said the very people who had made Northcote a Labor fortress for 90 years had been forgotten in all the talk of progressive politics – the working class.

The one-time Labor voter stood out among the crowd of younger volunteers at the gates. Frank Argondizzo said he had voted Labor in every election since emigrating from Italy to Northcote 50 years ago.

This time, he was handing out how to vote cards for an independent candidate

Mr Argondizzo said he worked on a Ford factory line for two decades before “the Greens destroyed my job”.

“They never talk about poverty and they never talk about jobs,” he said.

“You never meet a poor greenie, they’ve all got wealthy parents.

“They don’t even work, they suck on coffee.”

With all its diversity, an argument might be made Northcote’s voter were better reflected by another item volunteers were selling at the polling booth – a rainbow flavoured pack of ice blocks. And even they weren’t giving any indication of which way the seat would swing.

“We can’t tell yet whether there have been more green or red zooper doopers sold yet, there’s too much of a mix of colours,”  Ms Sierkis said.


Source  :  The Canberra Times