Friday, July 30, 2010

Siddhartha, Enlightenment and Us [Sajeewani Kasthuriarachchi]

Siddhartha, Enlightenment and Us

"I have stopped, You stop."
-From Buddha to Angulimala-

Just as you ask
How can we stop?

We run…
Separately and lonely
Not to be enlightened
But looking for
A small contentment…
Here,  we run…

“A contentment?”

Yes ,Siddhartha,
Any sort of contentment

A job with a small increment of wage
A land just to put up a hut to survive 
A decent clothe to wear
at least when have to go out..

Yes , Siddhartha,
We run…
And seeking

“Magha”* and his gang
Who were bundling
And clustering with us
Seeking for liberation…
Now are enjoying 
The heavenly pleasures
Just passing through
Without even paying us a glance

No one can be trusted
No one who comes like “Magha”
Hence ,
We run…
Separately and lonely
Not to be enlightened
But looking for
A small contentment
Yes Siddhartha,
We have to run…

By : Sajeewani Kasthuriarachchi
[Translated by: Kalpana Ambrose]

“Magha”* - Magha /Magha manavaka is a character we meet in “Jathaka katha potha” which describes the several before lives of Gauthama Buddha. Magha  and his friends used to work for social well being and, as a result of that he was born as  “Shakraya” (a superior God who can feel the distresses of the worldly beings) , in the heaven.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Long Lost Inspiration [Samodh Thaveesha & Sachitra ]

Long Lost Inspiration

That long-lost inspiration
It was dangling in a murky dungeon
Now seeps through inch by inch.

That was the pain of separation
Forgotten and left in an unknown junction-
Still a memory of the crunch.

Memory darts across the wall
And I, a happy being, walk up the hill.

Clouds veil the dazzling ball,
Why, the same-way going, never hanging still?

That inspiration
You lie sweetly solemn
Wildly wooden
Filling my gouged soul with elation.

The fascination
We never cursed 'damn'
Beautifully laden
Spares the moments of dejection.

By: Samodh Thaveesha together with Sachitra

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dream of Escape [Ajith C. Herath]

Dream of Escape

As the night watch drags
to an end,
the August moon
over the watch tower
flees upon
the gray wings of a lone moth.

The southern sea
gives up her dead
unto the leaden shore,
while a solitary turtle
digs a shallow grave
beneath indifferent starlight.

Blood clots
under mist-cloaked skies
on the road to Galaha,
as leaches cower
from silent footfall.

The Mahawatte hills look down,
a cottage burning in silence.
A mimosa on the threshold
sheds its filaments
in a dream
from a long time ago.

Bride of the Night blooms
over rusted barbed wire
amongst smashed pot shards.

And the jasmine spreads its scent
on the shreds of a baby’s shirt.
A doll’s head guillotined
stares on with one unblinded eye,

as Mother, Brother and Sister emerge
from the silent waves
of a river flowing darkly
to the sound of laughter.

The sun pours down
on a boy seated on a threshold
from a long time ago,
his mother with a plate of food,
is laying her hand on his shoulder.

Moths wings burnt
in the incandescence of searchlights
blow over shafts of a metal-grey dawn,
as morning sirens drag in
the carcass of yet another bloodied dream
from a long time ago.

*In memory of a fellow comrade detained in Boossa Detention Camp, who suffered severe psychological trauma after his entire family was massacred in 1989 by the State armed forces in Mahawatte, a remote village in the central highlands of Sri Lanka.

By: Ajith C. Herath
Hiru /Nimthera/ August 1996
[Translated By- Hiranjaya]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Urgent secret I need share. [Prof. Chandima Wijebandara]

Urgent secret I need share.

Tell me not that I play fool
Please help me play it cool

Neither New Year, Christmas not;
I know well that I admit
Not your birthday; neither mine
Day is not that o’ Valentine.

Cannot wait till New year day
You never tell me your birthday
Don’t care for Valentine
Today’s the day I think fine.

Don’t ask me how you dare
Secret I have I need share.
Roses ‘n’ chocolates tell you all
Let me play my Romeo roll.

By: Prof. Chandima Wijebandara

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Stranger Analysis- The Victory of Man When Faced With the Absurd

The Victory of Man When Faced With the Absurd

“Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know.”  This famous first line of The Stranger introduces the curious character Meursault.  He appears to have no reaction, negative or positive, to his mother dying beyond wondering what day she died on.  This strange detachment from any emotion continues throughout the novel, presenting the reader with a curious insight into the workings of Meursault’s mind.  The worldview presented from Meursault’s point of view is pure nihilism, taken from its infancy of thought in the beginning of the book to its inevitable conclusion at the end of the book.  To him, nothing really mattered because everyone dies in the end no matter what they do.  To this attitude, society has no way to react because society is full of meaning and purpose, while Meursault sees everything as meaningless and purposeless, himself included.  This kind of existence is remarkably similar to Sisyphus described in Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus”, in which Sisyphus is condemned to roll a large stone up a hill only to have it roll back down for all of eternity.        

Both The Stranger and “The Myth of Sisyphus” deal directly with a nihilistic situation, a situation in which the entire existence of people and effort is meaningless.  In the beginning of The Stranger, Meursault is oblivious to the deeper meaning of his worldview and drifts along with a detached ease.  Only later in the novel, when he has had time to think and analyze his situation, does he come to the full realization that existence and life is absurd.  It is at this point that Meursault’s life begins to resemble Sisyphus in “The Myth of Sisyphus” in a few different respects.

Both Meursault’s and Sisyphus’s existence are meaningless.  Sisyphus’s meaningless existence is found in the same task that he is set to do over and over again with no result.  Meursault realizes the purposeless of life when Raymond gives him the gun.  As he holds the gun, he realizes that “you could either shoot or not shoot.”(Stranger, 56), making no distinction between the option of living or dying.  To him either option could happen with equal chance; no preference is given to one or the other.  A little while later, while in prison, Meursault realizes that the same sentiment could be applied to him as well, that “life isn’t worth living”(Stranger, 114), that it doesn’t matter whether he dies now at thirty or if he were to die at seventy.  It is in this realization that Meursault brings the worldview of nihilism to its ultimate conclusion – a seeming depressing and despair-stricken existence.

This type of existence, Camus writes in “The Myth of Sisyphus”, is only tragic because of the complete self-knowledge the character possesses of his completely useless existence.  This absurd existence is only absurd to those who know of its absurdity.  In the beginning of The Stranger Meursault led a relatively blissful life of ignorance.  He wasn’t happy, precisely – such emotion seemed beyond him at that point –, but he was content with his life.  He was so content with his life, thinking that “one life [is] as good as another”(Stranger, 41), that his boss complained that his lack of ambition “was disastrous in business”(Stranger, 41).  It isn’t until Meursault comes to realize this tragedy of self-knowledge when he concludes, “Nothing, nothing matters.”(Stranger, 121).  Not his life, not his friends’ lives, not any life at all.  Nothing matters.

 From this ultimate conclusion there are only two possibilities – to sink into utter despair or to rise above that and to claim victory in the knowledge of the uselessness of life.  When the nihilistic man contemplates his own absurd condition, a condition that is pure torment to any man, Camus writes in “They Myth of Sisyphus”, he “silences all idols”, with the “universe suddenly restored to its silence”.  In this silencing of outwardly desires the man comes to find a peace within himself and the universe.  Meursault chooses the latter of the two afore-mentioned possibilities, and contemplates his existence, opening himself up to “the gentle indifference of the world.”(Stranger, 122).  He realizes that his life is meaningless, but that living life in itself is enough for satisfaction, even though it is not purposeful.  With his execution on the way, all that is left for him to feel satisfaction for is for a “large crowd of spectators”(Stranger, 123) to “greet [him] with cries of hate.”(Stranger, 123).  He finds satisfaction in the end of his life, Camus writes, the same way the “struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill [Sisyphus’] heart.”  For the first time in a long time, Meursault “was happy again”(Stranger, 123).

Meursault came to realize, over the course of his life, the meaningless of life, and eventually found his fulfillment in the simple fact that it was his life he was living, and he was living it his way.  He finds a final joy at the end of his life in the fact that he is living his own life, just as Camus remarks that Sisyphus must feel happy because he also is living his own life, living his own fate.  This, Camus writes, is the ultimate realization of nihilism, a realization that is consummated at the end of Meursault’s life, a realization that is all of Sisyphus’s existence.  It is ultimately a realization of peace.

[Published by ToughBasics, September 12, 2009]