Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC –28th June to 5th July, 2020
Dharma Chakra Diwas
Dharma Chakra Diwas: 4th July
In India, we see Buddhism as a fresh expression of the sublime truth. Lord Buddha’s enlightenment, and the subsequent preaching by hima for over four decades, were in line with India’s tradition of respect for intellectual liberalism and spiritual diversity. In modern times, two exceptionally great Indians – Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Ambedkar – found inspiration in the words of the Buddha and went on to shape the destiny of the nation.
“Buddhism was not just a religious revolution, but a social revolution too.”
Buddha did not intend to establish new religious or social order. But the simplicity of his teaching of truth connected with masses in such a manner that Buddhism became a completely new approach to look at religion and society. It became a new religious and social order.
- Explanation of Sufferings through 4 simple noble truths and the the wheel of dhamma was understandable by ordinary people unlike the scriptures interpreted by priests only.
- Focus was on ethical living of astangika marga rather than rituals, animal sacrifices, etc.
- A great stress was led to individual search of the truth and authority of Vedas was challenged. Faith was given rational basis.
- It preached atheism that is, there is no God that will help us in Moksha but we ourselves are the makers of our destiny.
- Further proliferation of multiple sects (Hinayana, Mahayana, etc) in Buddhism brought out characteristically new religious approaches
- Intimate connection between religion and society in those times led to the manifestation of Buddhism as egalitarian doctrine. It opposed caste and varna system, any form of hierarchy and discrimination.
- Women were given equal status as men which was against the Shastras like Manusmriti (social code).
- Use of Pali language as opposed to Sanskrit which could be read only by Priests, broke the monopoly over knowledge
- Emphasis on ahimsa, avoidance of extremes led to establishment of peaceful society.
- It became conducive to the progress in the areas of art, architecture, sculpture, literature.
- Trade flourished and India’s political power spread far and wide in subcontinent.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana Extended
(Topic: Welfare schemes)
PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will be extended by five months till the end of November. The scheme was announced as part of the first relief package during the COVID-19 pandemic for a three-month period.
Rationale behind the scheme –
- To ensure that the poorest of the poor were not left hungry.
- Under this scheme, for the next five months, 5 kg of free rice or wheat, and 1 kg of chana will be provided free.
- 80 crore individuals would be covered under this scheme.
- It is a Rs 1.7-lakh crore financial package announced by the government to minimise the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on economy and poor.
Do you know?
- The existing National Food Security Act provides 5kg of foodgrain per person monthly at a subsidised rate of Rs 2-3 per kg to the country’s poor.
- Under the PMGKY, the ration quota was enhanced by another 5 kg for free for the next three months in March. (and now extended till November)
National Food Security Act
- Government of India enacted the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
- The Act covers upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population.
- The targeted population shall receive subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System, thus covering about two-thirds of the population.
- Ministry involved: Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
Bamboo sector to propel the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan in the North Eastern Region
(Topic: Welfare schemes)
Bamboo is essentially a type of grass, but its classification as a tree for 90 years prevented the northeast, which grows 67% of India’s bamboo, from exploiting it commercially unlike China, the only country with richer bamboo genetic resources.
Though bamboo comes from the grass family (Poaceae), it is considered a woody grass and qualifies as a structural material far superior in strength than timber yielded by several species of trees. In fact, it excels over steel when it comes to volume versus strength ratio.
- Northeast part of India grows 67% of India’s bamboo.
- India has the world’s largest fields of bamboo. It grows on nearly 13% of the country’s forest land.
- The eight North-eastern States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura – grow 67% of India’s bamboo and have 45% of global bamboo reserves.
- Nearly 35 species of superior quality bamboos are found in the region.
Called the green gold, bamboo’s multiple uses as well as rapid regeneration make it the ideal agro-forestry choice, vis-a-vis monoculture plantations.
Bamboo cultivation yields enormous environmental dividends.
- It is known to produce 35% more oxygen than trees. It yields enormous amount of biomass ideal for pulp industry.
- Research in Japan has shown that bamboo can absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
- Dense planting of bamboo on the banks of the Yamuna will not only absorb CO2 but also bring down particulate matter.
- The plant is an “excellent scavenger,”; its roots do not go below two feet, so it can absorb rich nutrients in raw sewage that flow untreated into the rivers like Yamuna and raise its biological oxygen demand.
- During the monsoon, the clumps will slow the flow and reduce the chances of flooding downstream.
- Submergence does not affect the plants. There will be economic benefits in the form of employment and income.
Though its role in purifying the air is well known, the plantation owners would like more economic uses of the material for expanding the area under its cultivation.
- More than Rs 400 crore worth of roundly cut bamboo sticks are imported from China and Vietnam by agarbatti manufacturers. This can be substituted by bamboo from Northeastern states
- Bamboo plays an important role in the preparation of food items and traditional cuisines; from blending raw bamboo shoot, fermented bamboo shoot to dry bamboo shoot, almost every tribe is familiar with these dishes.
About restructured NBM: The Mission is expected to establish about 4000 treatment/ product development units and bring more than 100000 ha area under plantation during the period 2018-19 & 2019-20. The restructured NBM strives to –
- To increase the area under bamboo plantation in non forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change.
- To improve post-harvest management through establishment of innovative primary processing units, treatment and seasoning plants, primary treatment and seasoning plants, preservation technologies and market infrastructure.
- To promote product development at micro, small and medium levels and feed bigger industry.
- To rejuvenate the under developed bamboo industry in India.
- To promote skill development, capacity building, awareness generation for development of bamboo sector
PM FME (PM Formalization of Micro Food processing Enterprises) Scheme
(Topic: Welfare schemes)
The PM FME (PM Formalization of Micro Food processing Enterprises) scheme would leverage organic food production, and the food processing industry in the North East states stand to benefit immensely.
- Launched under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, it would directly benefit farmers and micro entrepreneurs who contribute significantly to the Indian economy.
- Under this scheme, facilities of warehouses, cold storage and marketing and branding will be provided in the clusters of fruits and vegetables
PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme
(Topic: Food Processing)
As a part of “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”
The unorganized food processing sector comprising nearly 25 lakh units contribute to 74% of employment in food processing sector.
Nearly 66% of these units are located in rural areas and about 80% of them are family-based enterprises supporting livelihood rural household and minimizing their migration to urban areas. These units largely fall within the category of micro enterprises.
The unorganised food processing sector faces a number of challenges which limit their performance and their growth, and ends up contributing much less in terms of value addition and output despite its huge potential.
- Lack of access to modern technology & equipment
- Lack of training
- Lack of access to institutional credit
- Lack of basic awareness on quality control of products
- Lack of branding & marketing skills etc
The Scheme: With a view to providing financial, technical and business support for upgradation of existing micro food processing enterprises, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has launched an all India “Centrally Sponsored PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM FME) scheme” to be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.
- The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODODP) approach to reap benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.
- The States would identify food product for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
- The ODOP product could be a perishable produce based product or cereal based products or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors.
- The Scheme also place focus on waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts.
- The Scheme places special focus on capacity building and research.
Hope from the scheme:
- Generate total investment of Rs 35,000 crore
- Generate 9 lakh skilled and semi-skilled employment
- Benefit 8 lakh units through access to information, training, better exposure and formalization
Clean Energy Can Support India’s Economic Recovery post-Covid-19 – NITI Aayog
Report: Towards a Clean Energy Economy: Post-Covid-19 Opportunities for India’s Energy and Mobility Sectors
- Advocates for stimulus and recovery efforts that work towards building a clean, resilient, and least-cost energy future for India; these efforts include electric vehicle, energy storage, and renewable energy programs.
- Identifies how Covid-19 is beginning to influence the clean energy transition in India, specifically for the transport and power sectors, and recommends principles and strategic opportunities for the country’s leaders to drive economic recovery and maintain momentum towards a clean energy economy.
- India’s transport sector can save 1.7 gigatonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions and avoid about 600 million tonnes of oil equivalent in fuel demand by 2030 through shared, electric, and connected passenger mobility and cost-effective, clean, and optimized freight transport. Significant savings are also achievable in the power sector through the adoption of renewable energy, energy storage, efficiency, and flexible generation and demand.
The report lays out four principles as a framework for policymakers and other key decision-makers considering programmes to support India’s clean energy future:
- Invest in least-cost-energy solutions
- Support resilient and secure energy systems
- Prioritize efficiency and competitiveness
- Promote social and environmental equity
India needs to identify strategic opportunities for economic recovery in the short, medium, and long terms that can translate challenges posed by the pandemic into clean energy transition opportunities
- Opportunities in the transport sector include making public transport safe, enhancing and expanding non-motorized transport infrastructure, reducing vehicle kilometres travelled through work-from-home where possible, supporting national strategies to adopt electric vehicles in the freight and passenger segments, and making India an automotive export hub.
- In the power sector, opportunities include improving the electricity distribution business and its operations, enabling renewables and distributed energy resources, and promoting energy resilience and local manufacturing of renewable energy and energy storage technologies.
Development in Medical Technology
A. Eco-friendly Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles from Antarctic Bacteria for Therapeutic Use
The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) and the Goa University (GU) have successfully synthesized gold nanoparticles (GNPs) using psychrotolerant Antarctic bacteria through a non-toxic, low-cost, and eco-friendly way.
Through this study, NCPOR and GU have established
- 20-30-nm-sized spherical-shaped GNPs could be synthesized in a controlled environment.
- These GNPs can be used as a composite therapeutic agent clinical trials, especially in anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-diabetic, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- Revealed genotoxic effect of GNPs on a sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB). The GNPs displayed enough anti-bacterial properties by inhibiting the growth of SRB and its sulphide production by damaging the genetic information of the DNA of the bacterial cell. Genotoxicity describes the property of a chemical agent that is capable of damaging the genetic information of DNA and thus causing mutation of the cell, which can lead to cancer.
Nanoparticles (NPs) have wide variety of potential applications in the fields of biomedical, optical and electronics research. Metallic NPs have been efficiently exploited for biomedical applications and among them GNPs are found to be effective in biomedical research.
B. INST synthesises inorganic-organic hybrid compound that can inhibit breast, lung & liver cancer cells
- The solid compound based on phosphomolybdate cluster, an inorganic salt of phosphomolybdic acid, belongs to the Polyoxometalates (POMs) family. The team has chalked out the mechanism by which the compound kills the cancer cells.
- POMs are an evolving class of inorganic metal oxides, which over the last decades, established promising biological activities by the virtue of their great diversity in structures and properties.
- In the past few decades, POMs have evolved as a promising candidate for future metallodrugs for combating cancer. The compound synthesized by the INST team could open new avenues for antitumor applications.
C. A non-caloric natural sweetener that can make cancer therapy using magnetic nano particles more efficient
- Stevioside (STE), isolated from the leaves of Honey yerba and widely used as the non-caloric natural sweeteners, can sweeten our lives in more ways than one
- Stevioside, a natural plant-based glycoside found in leaves of Honey yerba (‘Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni’) when coated on nanoparticles can increase the efficiency of Magnetic hyperthermia-mediated cancer therapy (MHCT).
- MHCT method of cancer therapy is based on heating the tumor tissues using magnetic nanoparticles in comparison to the routinely used surfactant moieties (oleic acid and polysorbate-80) and is based on generation of localised heat at the tumour site on exposure to AMF (alternating magnetic field) in the presence of magnetic nanoparticles.
D. Genetics could help diagnose type-1 diabetes in Indians: study reveals
A genetic risk score is effective in diagnosing type-1 diabetes in Indians.
What is this genetic risk score?
Developed by the University of Exeter, the genetic risk score takes into account detailed genetic information that are known to increase the chance of developing type-1 diabetes. The score may be used at the time of diabetes diagnosis to help decide if someone has type-1 diabetes.
The escalating epidemic of diabetes in young Indians makes it imperative that we diagnose the type of diabetes correctly to avoid mistreatment and its long-term biological, social, and economic implications. The new genetic tool will be a great help in this. It will help decide the contribution of failing pancreatic B-cells against reduced action of insulin due to excess fat and smaller muscle mass in the body of Indians (‘thin-fat Indians’).
RRI comes up with simulation toolkit to ensure safety in secure quantum communication platforms
(Topic: Awareness in the field of IT)
There is an increasing need for measures to ensure security in the virtual world as Covid-19 confines most day to day activities to the digital space.
The secure part of any information transfer protocol is in the distribution of the key used to encrypt and decrypt the messages. Such standard key distribution schemes, usually based on mathematical resolution of problems, are vulnerable to algorithmic breakthroughs and possibility to run new codes on the up and coming quantum computers. The solution to ensuring the security of the key transfer process lies in using the laws of quantum physics, wherein any eavesdropping activity will leave tell-tale signs and hence will be easily detected. This is achieved by using Quantum Key Distribution or QKD.
Researchers have come up with a unique simulation toolkit for end-to-end QKD simulation named as ‘qkdSim’, which is based on modular principles that allow it to be grown to different classes of protocols using various underpinning technologies.
Status of India’s first human space mission “Gaganyaan”
(Topic: Awareness in the field of Space)
The launch of India’s first human space mission “Gaganyaan” will not be affected by COVID pandemic and preparation are carrying on in the right direction. The training of astronauts has now been resumed and the launch is scheduled to take place as planned, before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022.
- It is a ₹10,000-crore Indian human space flight scheduled for 2022.
- The chosen astronauts will be sent to space on-board Gaganyaan, a crew capsule, to be launched with the help of Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
- If Gaganyaan is successful, India would become the fourth nation to achieve the feat
- India has signed agreements with Russia and France for cooperation on the Gaganyaan mission.
- DRDO signed MoUs with ISRO to offer technologies for the mission, including space food, survival kits for crew, radiation protection equipment and parachutes.
- A regulatory body called “Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)” is to be established. This will help provide a level playing field to private players and encourage their participation.
- Besides enhancing the capacity and resources of our space missions, increased participation of private players will also discourage the brain drain of talented space scientists and experts who were otherwise moving out of India in search of a break.
Must Read: Link
Government Bans 59 mobile apps which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order
(Topic: Steps taken by Government for sovereignty and integrity of India)
The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.
The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
Nine individuals Declared as designated terrorists under provisions of UAPA Act
Government had amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in August 2019, to include the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist. Prior to this amendment, only organizations could be designated as terrorist organizations.
By invoking the said amended provision, in September 2019, the Central Government designated four individuals as terrorists, viz. Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafeez Saeed, Zaki-ur-RehmanLakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim.
Reinforcing the commitment to strengthening national security and its policy of zero tolerance to terrorism, the Union Home Ministry has declared the following nine individuals as designated terrorists under the provisions of the UAPA Act 1967 (as amended in 2019) and included their names in the Fourth Schedule of the said Act. Their details are as under:-
- Wadhawa Singh Babbar: Pakistan based Chief of terrorist organization, “BabbarKhalsa International”.
- Lakhbir Singh: Pakistan based Chief of terrorist organization, “International Sikh Youth Federation”.
- Ranjeet Singh: Pakistan based Chief of terrorist organization, “Khalistan Zindabad Force”.
- Paramjit Singh: Pakistan based Chief of terrorist organization “Khalistan Commando Force”.
- Bhupinder Singh Bhinda: Germany based key member of terrorist organization, “Khalistan Zindabad Force”.
- Gurmeet Singh Bagga: Germany based key member of terrorist organisation, “Khalistan ZindabadForce”.
- Gurpatwant Singh Pannun: USA based key member of Unlawful Association, “Sikh for Justice”.
- Hardeep Singh Nijjar: Canada based Chief of “Khalistan Tiger Force”.
- Paramjit Singh: United Kingdom based Chief of terrorist organization,“BabbarKhalsa International”.
About Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
- The UAPA, an upgrade on the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act TADA (lapsed in 1995) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act – POTA (repealed in 2004) was passed in the year 1967
- It aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
- Till 2004, “unlawful” activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory.
- The 2004 amendment, added “terrorist act” to the list of offences.
- Under the act, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.
- Powers to Union Government: If Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
- It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
2019 Amendment of UAPA
- The act was amended to designate individuals as terrorists on certain grounds provided in the Act.
- Earlier only organisations could be declared as such
- Not designating individuals as terrorists, would give them an opportunity to circumvent the law and regroup under different name
- It empowers the Director General of NIA to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by NIA
- Earlier it required the consent of State Police which delayed the process
- It empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism
- This will help solve the human resource crunch in the NIA.
Criticism of UAPA
- Experiences of Anti-terror laws in India such as POTA and TADA reveals that they are often misused and abused.
- The law could also be used against political opponents and civil society activists who speak against the government and brand them as “terrorists.”
- Critics argue that the law, especially after 2019 amendment gives unfettered powers to investigating agencies.
- Some experts feel that it is against the federal structure, given that ‘Police’ is a state subject under 7th schedule of Indian Constitution.
Do you know?
- NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008.
- NIA is the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency of India and it works under overall guidance of Ministry of Home Affairs.
COVID-19 Recovery Rate increases; touches 59.43%: As a result of the coordinated steps taken by Government of India along with States/UTs for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19, there are 1,27,864 recovered cases more than the active COVID-19 cases, as on date. This has resulted in the recovery rate further increasing to 59.43%.
Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 (DDH2020):
- A first of its kind National Initiative for supporting drug discovery process
- Will be focussing on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while CSIR will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing for efficacy, toxicity, sensitivity and specificity
Unique Urban Forest
- CAG of New Delhi has taken steps to establish an Urban Forest in the Office Park.
- Keeping in view the limited area, local material was adopted to enable intensive afforestation.
- The forest is made up of trees which are native to the area and are three dimensional, multi-layered communities having 30 times the surface area of the greenery of single-layered lawns, and have more than 30 times the ability to protect against natural disasters and to conserve the environment.
Road Transport Ministry notifies standardised transport vehicles dimesions on international norms: These amendments would provide for standardization in the dimensions of the Motor Vehicles which would be in line with international standards and further a step by the Ministry to improve the logistics efficiency in the country as the enhanced dimensions would provide for extra passengers or extra carrying capacity within the prescribed weight.
Plan to kick start cashless treatment of motor accident victims:
- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has prepared a blue print for implementing the scheme of cashless treatment of motor accident victims, as contemplated under the MV Act 2019. This includes treatment of victims during the crucial Golden hour.
- It has been envisaged in the scheme to provide compulsory insurance cover to all Road users in the country.
- The Fund would be utilised for treatment of road accident victims and for payment of compensation to the injured or to the family of person losing life in hit and run cases.
- The proposed modalities of the scheme have been designed in a way that they allow access to quality care at the right time for all individuals, irrespective of their capability to pay.
In Detail: Buddhism
Buddhism and Art
- Stupas: were to commemorate important events or mark important places associated with Buddhism or to house important relics of Buddha. The best examples of stupas are those constructed at Amaravati, Sanchi, Barhut, Saranath and Gaya. One of the most striking architectural remains of ancient India and the earliest and largest of the three stupas found in Sanchi was built by Ashoka (273-236 B.C.)
- Viharas or monasteries: constructed for prayer with a running verandah on three sides or an open courtyard surrounded by a row of cells and a pillared verandah in front. These cells served as dwelling places for the monks. These monastic buildings had a Chaitya hall or Chaitya mandir attached to a stupa – the chief object of worship. Some of the important Buddhist viharas are those at Ajanta, Ellora. Nasik, Karle, Kanheri, Bagh and Badami.
- Paintings: Paintings which has been an accepted art since early times attained heights of excellence in Gupta period. These exquisite paintings or frescos are to be seen in the caves of Ajanta. The entire surface of the caves is exquisitely painted and shows the high standard reached in mural painting.
- Sthambas or Pillars: with religious emblems were put up by pious Buddhists in honour of Buddha or other great Buddhists. Fragments of sthambas belonging to Mauryan times and later were found at Sanchi, Sarnath, Amaravati and Nagarjunkonda.
- Literature: The canonical literature is best represented by the “Tripitakas”, that is, three baskets -Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka. The non-canonical literature is best represented by the Jatakas.
Role played by Indian sculptures to express the ideas of Buddhism
- Jataka stories became part of stupa decoration in post mauryan phase. Depiction of showing Queen Mayadevi’s dream; mother of Siddhartha Gautam indicates ideas of Buddhist symbolism used in sculpture.
- The empty seat was meant to indicate the meditation of the Buddha, and the stupa was meant to represent the mahaparinibbana. Another frequently used symbol was the wheel. This stood for the first sermon of the Buddha, delivered at Sarnath. As is obvious, such sculptures cannot be understood literally – for instance, the tree does not stand simply for a tree, but symbolises an event in the life of the Buddha.
- The shalabhanjika motif suggests that many people who turned to Buddhism enriched it with their own pre-Buddhist and even non-Buddhist beliefs, practices and ideas.
- Various schools of Buddhist sculpture emerged in India like Mathura school in which, abhayamudra of Buddha or depiction of bodhisattvas, in Gandhara school depiction of meditated peace and in Amravati school depiction of jataka tales propagate lessons of Buddhism.
- With the rise of Vajrayana Buddhism many Boddhisattva images were added as a part of the personified representations of certain virtues or qualities as propagated by the Buddhist religious principles for the welfare of the masses.
- Lomus rishi caves of 3rd century BCE exhibit Chaitya- prayer hall of Buddhists.
- Buddhist caves of Viharas and Chaityas included sculptures, paintings with frescos. Sculptures in the caves gives idea of religious traditions of those times. For examples, Hinayana Buddhist caves lacked sculpture of Buddha, whereas Mahayana caves have enormous sculpture of Buddha.
- Caves on the trade routes give idea of economic linkages of caves to the traders, who used to give donations to the monasteries of Buddhists, Jains or Hindus. For example density of caves in the western ghat is quite high.
- Painting of the caves depicts stories from the Jatakas, which are based on previous births of Buddha. Ajanta caves are the most elaborated cave complex significant for painting.
Bojjannakonda: Buddhist site in Andhra Pradesh
- Bojjannakonda and Lingalametta are twin Buddhist monasteries dating back to the 3rd century BC.
- These sites have seen three forms of Buddhism —
- The Theravada period when Lord Buddha was considered a teacher;
- The Mahayana, where Buddhism was more devotional; and
- Vajrayana, where Buddhist tradition was more practised as Tantra and in esoteric form
- The site is famous for many votive stupas, rock-cut caves, brick-built edifices, early historic pottery, and Satavahana coins that date back to the 1st century AD.
The Fourth Buddhist Council
- Held in Kashmir under the patronage of king Kanishka in 1st Century A.D
- It was presided over by Vasumitra
- Its main purpose was to settle the difference between all the 18 sects of Buddhism and to compose the commentaries.
- It led to the division of Buddhism into two sects, the Hinayanism and the Mahayanism.
- Codification of Sarvastivadinn Doctrines into Mahavibhasa
- The whole Council was conducted in Sanskrit instead of Pali as was done earlier.
- It led to the spread of Hinayanism to Burma and Sri lanka and Mahayanism to Central Asia, China and Japan.
- The Tripitaka was compiled and arranged in its present form by those Arahants who had immediate contact with the Buddha.
- Immediately after the final passing away of the Buddha, 500 distinguished Arahants held a convention known as the First Buddhist Council to rehearse the Doctrine taught by the Buddha.
- Ananda, the faithful attendant of the Buddha who had the special privilege of hearing all the discourses the Buddha ever uttered, recited the Dhamma, whilst the Upali recited the Vinayapitaka, the rules of conduct for the Sangha. The Tripitaka consists of three sections of the Buddha’s Teachings.
- They are the Discipline (Vinaya Pitaka), the Discourse (Sutta Pitaka), and Ultimate Doctrine (Abhidhamma Pitaka).
- The Sutta Pitaka consists chiefly of discourses delivered by the Buddha Himself on various occasions.
- The Abhidhamma is, to a deep thinker, the most important and interesting, as it contains the profound philosophy of the Buddha’s teaching in contrast to the illuminating but simpler discourses in the Sutta Pitaka.
- It was composed at a later stage than the other two Pitakas, which were compiled at the First Council itself.
The Original Pipal tree at Boudh Gaya was cut down by: Pushyamitra Sunga
- Pushyamitra Sunga was the founder of Sunga Dynasty of Magadha. Pushyamitra Sunga was a military general in the Mauryan Army. He became the King by killing King Brihadratha, the last Mauryan emperor.
- Pusyamitra was a staunch Hindu, a champion of Brahmanism and that is why the Buddhist texts show him as a cruel man.
- The tree was again cut down by King Pushyamitra Shunga in the 2nd century BC, and by King Shashanka in 600 AD.
Symbol and Event:
- Lotus or Bull: Birth of Buddha
- Horse: The Great Renunciation (Mahabhinishkramana)
- Bodhi tree: Enlightenment (Nirvana)
- Wheel: First Sermon (Dhammachakraparivartan)
- Stupa: Death of Buddha (Mahaparinirvana)
Pavarana ceremony in Buddhism
- Pavarana is a Buddhist holy day celebrated on Aashvin full moon of the lunar month. It marks the end of the 3 lunar months of Vassa.
- During the three-month rainy season, the Monks live indoors, at the end of rainy season, Pravarana ceremony takes place where every monk irrespective of rank, accept, if any, violation of the code of conduct on their part.
Guru Padmasambhava (also known as second Buddha): Founder of Tibetan Buddhism
There is a 19-foot-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Jirang in Gajapati district, Odisha. The statue is placed in the middle of ‘Padma Sarovar’, a large tank near Padmasambhava Mahavihara, the largest Buddhist monastery in eastern India. The Dalai Lama had inaugurated this monastery in 2010. Tibetan refugees settled in this region over six decades ago.
- Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is considered to be the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.
- Historians claim that Guru Padmasambhava, also known as second Buddha, was born and brought up in Odisha before he left for Tibet.
- An International Conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi.
- The conference was organised as part of events to commemorate 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan.
- There is an image or painting of the Guru Padmasambhava in every Bhutanese home or temple.
- Guru Padmasambhava is also considered to be the founder of Nyingma tradition, oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.