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FIRST STAGE of the four stages of enlightenment.

In Buddhism, a Sotāpanna (Pali), Srotāpanna (Sanskrit), or “stream-winner” is a person who has eradicated the first three fetters (sanyojanas) of the mind. Sotapanna literally means “one who entered (āpanna) the stream (sota)”, after a simile that compares attaining nibbāna with crossing a stream and reaching the farthest shore. Sotapannaship is the first of the four stages of enlightenment.
According to Tripitaka Master Bhikshu Hsuan Hua’s Commentary on the Vajra Sutra, “A Shrotaapanna is a first stage Arhat. Certification to the first fruit of Arhatship, which is within the Small Vehicle, comes when the eighty-eight categories of view delusions are smashed.”
Venerable Hsuan Hua continues, “The first fruit is that of Srotāpanna, a Sanskrit word which means “One Who Has Entered the Flow.” He opposes the flow of common people’s six dusts and enters the flow of the sage’s dharma-nature. Entering the flow means entering the state of the accomplished sage of the Small Vehicle.”
The first moment of the attainment is termed the path of stream-entry (sotāpatti-magga), which cuts off the first three fetters. The person who experiences it is called a stream-winner (sotāpanna). The Sotāpanna is said to attain an intuitive grasp of dhamma (right view) and has complete confidence in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha). The Sotapanna is said to have “opened the eye of the Dharma” (dhammacakkhu), because they have realized that whatever arises will cease (impermanence). Their conviction in the true dhamma would be unshakable.
The three fetters which the Sotāpanna eradicates are:
Identity view – The speculative view that a so-called self exists in the five aggregates (physical forms, feelings/sensations, perception, mental formations and consciousness) is eradicated because the Sotāpanna gains insight into the selfless nature of the aggregates.
Skeptical Doubt – Doubt about the Buddha and his teaching is eradicated because the Sotāpanna personally experiences the true nature of reality through insight, and this insight confirms the accuracy of the Buddha’s teaching.
Clinging to rites and rituals – Clinging to the view that one becomes pure simply through performing ritual or rigid moralism, such as praying to God for deliverance, slaughtering animals for sacrifice, ablutions, etc. is eradicated because the Sotāpanna realizes that rites and ritual are nothing more than an obstructive tradition, repetitious rites and dead dogmas; Deliverance can be won only through the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path.
According to the Pali Commentary, six types of defilement would be abandoned by a Sotāpanna: At least there will be no major transgressions.
A Sotāpanna will be safe from falling into the states of misery (they will not be born as an animal, ghost, or hell being). Their lust, hatred and delusion will not be strong enough to cause rebirth in the lower realms. A Sotāpanna will have to be reborn at most only seven more times in the human or heavenly worlds before attaining nibbana.[9] It is not necessary for a Sotāpanna to be reborn seven more times before attaining nibbana, as an ardent practitioner may progress to the higher stages in the same life in which he/she reaches the Sotāpanna level by making an aspiration and persistent effort to reach the final goal of nibbāna.
In the Pali Canon, qualities of a Sotāpanna are described as:
…those monks who have abandoned the three fetters, are all stream-winners, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening. This is how the Dhamma well-proclaimed by me is clear, open, evident, stripped of rags.
—Alagaddupama Sutta
Sotāpanna is not capable of committing six wrong actions:
Murdering one’s own mother.
Murdering one’s own father.
Murdering an Arahant.
Maliciously injuring the Buddha to the point of drawing blood.
Successfully creating a schism in the monastic community.
Choosing anyone other than a Buddha as one’s foremost Teacher.
The Buddha spoke favorably about the Sotapanna on many occasions, and even though it is the first of Ariya Sangha members, he or she is welcomed by all other Sangha-members for he or she practices for the benefit and welfare of many. In the literature, the Ariya Sangha is described as “the four” when taken as pairs, and as “the eight” when taken as individuals. Thus, the first one of the pairs is referred to as the Sotapanna, a stream enterer; however, when taken as eight individual, the Sotapanna acts not only with stream-entry present but also a Sotapanna (plus), a Noble One who acts for the fruit of stream-entry:
‘The Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced well… who have practiced straight-forwardly… who have practiced methodically… who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four types [of noble disciples] when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types — they are the Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.’
—Anguttara Nikaya, 11.12
The fifty-fifth Samyutta of the Samyutta Nikaya is called the Sotāpatti-saṃyutta, and concerns Sotapannas and their attainment. In Sutta-numbers of chapter 1-4, 6-9, 11-14, 16-20, 22-36, 39-49, 51, 53, 54, Sotapannas are praised as Sangha members by and to the sick, layfollowers, people on their deathbed, bhikkhunis, bhikkhus, and devas, and end up for the wellbeing and benefit of many.

Dhammapada 178:
Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry
excels them.


The externment order of Hyderabad police expelling Mr. Kathi Mahesh is highly objectionable.

The externment order passed by the Commissioner of Police , Hyderabad expelling Mr. Kathi Mahesh from the limits of Hyderabad is highly objectionable. The law which is meant for Goondas and bootleggers is used against a critique. Mr.Kathi Mahesh never incited any mob to injure the feelings of any religious group. In fact it is the apologists and protagonists of Hindutva brand politics and the self styled Sadhus that are inciting the mobs to make physical attacks on Mr Kathi Mahesh.

The Commissioner , in his externment order, described the TV debate of Mr. Kathi Mahesh as equivalent to an act of Goonda. In essence Mr.Kathi Mahesh is branded as Goonda by the police. The police without reason felt that the expressions of Mr. Mahesh in a TV debate attract Section 505 (2) of Indian Penal Code and registered a crinal case in Banjara Hills police station. He is not proved guilty in any Court in an impartial trial. Police gave a Judgment without even examining a single witness!!! Police in the externment order said that not a single person in Hyderabad is coming forward to give evidence against Mr. Mahesh. Then on what basis the police could conclude that his presence in Hyderabad posed danger and threat to fraternity of the members of different groups of people and created enmity among different groups ?

The act of the police in expelling Mr Mahesh is uncalled for and it is unconstitutional. The externment order infringes his constitional rights.

The police , in a bid to suppress the voice of a critique, gave encouragement to Hindutva forces. Th externment order gives courage to those who are brazenly inciting violence.

We demand the Govt of Telangana to direct its police to respect constitution and withdraw the externment order issed against Mr. Kathi Mahesh .

Gorrepati Madhava Rao , President , G.Mohan, General Secretary
Human Rights Forum ,
Telangana State Committee.

Condemning lynching of Nomadic Tribes in Maharashtra! – Mangesh Dahiwale

Yesterday, five nomadic tribals were mercilessly lynched by a mob of 50 people in the Dhule district on the suspicion that they were kidnapping the children. This is not the first time, in the same week, another person was lynched in the North Eastern state on the similar issue.

Why is the mob behaving this way in India? This is certainly not a civilised way to deal with anything. It indicates that we are still living in the uncivilised and barbarian society in which the “tribal” morality is more powerful than the “human” morality. The cases of mob lynching of the tribals, Muslims, Dalits are so common in this country that all the ideals of the constitution are destroyed and they are not at all respect.

The response of the government is meek and in some cases the government itself is supporting such cases through its network of agencies that are directly or indidrectly linked with RSS ideology.

The Sanatan Sanstha has compiled a list of the people who were to be killed along with the list of the shooters. This is so draconian that the government has been complacent. To be complacent is to connive with the criminals is clear by the way the inquiries in the murder of Panse, Dabholkar, and Kalburgi are going on.

There must be some program or revolution to change the consciousness of Indians. In the absence of such an intervention, the country will soon be a bloodbath as desired by those who win the power through supporting such a tribal consciousness.

– Mangesh Dahiwale

Human Rights Forum demands not vandalise beela wetlands by the Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC).

Press Release

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the government initiate steps immediately to ensure that the Sompeta wetland (known locally as the beela) in Srikakulam district is not vandalised further by the Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC). All attempts by the NCC to set up an “industrial park” must be disallowed since it will devastate the lives of thousands of farmers and fisher-folk in the region and will destroy an area that has significant ecological value.
A HRF team along with activists of the Sompeta-based Paryavarana Parirakshana Samithi (PPS) visited the beela on Wednesday. We were shocked to see land abutting the beela dug up in an area of almost 200 acres ostensibly to undertake aqua farming by Savitra Agri Industrial Park Pvt Ltd, a company set up by the NCC. Following protests by local farmers, the digging, which took place in mid-May this year, was halted. The threat of this precious wetland and immediate surroundings being destroyed in future, however, remains.

It may be recalled that the government facilitated the proposal by the NCC to set up a thermal plant in the area by alienating 972 acres, constituting a substantial portion of the beela, through G.O 1107 in 2008. Ever since, there was a sustained agitation by the people against the project leading to three farmers losing their lives in police firing on 14-7-2010. Subsequently, the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) revoked the environmental clearance accorded to the project.
The HRF and many organisations, concerned citizens and environmentalists have repeatedly pointed out that handing over of the beela to the NCC was illegal and riddled with gross irregularities. We have emphasised that any industrial activity in a precious wetland is deeply flawed since it will destroy rich biodiversity and subvert the livelihood of farmers, fisher-folk and members of the occupational classes. In fact, any such construction is in contravention of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules as well as the Biological Diversity Act. The NEAA order vindicated our stand.

Instead of resuming the 972 acres given to the NCC as well as several hundred acres of the wetland ajdacent to this extent that the NCC had purchased from farmers in a patently illegal manner, the government issued G.O 329 in September 2015 facilitating the setting up of a ‘multi-product industrial zone’ by the NCC! This compounds the collective criminality. Governments are supposed to preserve precious ecosystems for future generations, not be actively complicit in their wanton destruction.

The deleterious impacts of aqua farming are well known. It destroys local ecosystems and pollutes the land and water. In the beela area this would mean the discharge of waste, pesticides and other chemicals directly into a fragile and priceless wetland. This is a low-lying swamp area serving as a rich biological wetland with high ecological importance. This unique habitat ought to be preserved, not handed over to corporate criminals out to inflict irreversible damage.
We demand that the government take immediate steps to halt any construction by the NCC in the area. G.O 329 must be rescinded, the government must resume the land with the NCC and concrete measures taken, in consulation with the local people, to preserve this valuable wetland.

KV Jagannadha Rao (HRF AP State vice-president)
K Sudha (HRF AP State general secretary)
VS Krishna (HRF AP&TS Co-ordination Committee member)

The Buddha’s guidelines on how to look after your money

It’s like a bee gathering pollen in harmless ways to bring it back to the hive – the tiny pollen that it collects, over time, becomes huge stores of honey that is able to feed the whole colony.

Now you might be surprised that the Buddha didn’t just teach about letting go and renunciation and giving up money. To the monks and nuns, he usually spoke about that. But not all the Buddha’s teachings are like that.

We lay followers of the Buddha have families to take care of. The Buddha was not against lay people making money – as long as it was earned rightfully. And we need to be careful with our money, which we’ve worked hard for so that it won’t be squandered or wasted away or lost to some stupidity – then this money can be used to look after our family, our selves and used to do good works.

The Buddha didn’t automatically hate rich people – in fact, different Kings used to go to the Buddha for advice. The Buddha never subscribed to “They are rich and powerful – therefore they are evil” mentality.

Now if someone is rich and powerful because they came to their money through corruption – through cheating people, stealing and harming others. Now this is wrong.If, on the other hand, someone came to their money through honest means, through right livelihood, through working hard – then this is okay. Remember, right livelihood is one factor of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Maybe some people are millionaires or even billionaires – it does not automatically make them evil. It is a person’s deeds which make a person good or evil – not the amount of money they have in the bank.

Maybe you know someone who is rich but they earned their money rightfully – don’t hate them for it. And if someone has earned their money through honest means, ethically and not cheating anyone else – don’t be jealous of them.

Maybe instead of partying and going out all the time – they worked many hours a day, 6-7 days a week for many, many years, paying all their taxes throughout, sacrificing their social life, sacrificing time with their family and even sacrificing their health for years – to be able to save enough to get to where they are now – to be able to look after their families and to do good works.

Now if you don’t want to accumulate wealth, then you don’t have to follow this particular piece of advice from the Buddha. But I do know that some of you are struggling financially, so there might be some tips here that you can take up if you so choose.

The Buddha’s advice to lay people like us if we want to look after our families – is to accumulate wealth – then family and household life can follow:

The wise endowed with virtue Shine forth like a burning fire.

Gathering wealth as bees do honey and heaping it up like an ant hill. Once wealth is accumulated, family and household life may follow.

By dividing wealth into four parts, True friendships are bound;

One part should be enjoyed;Two parts invested in business;And the fourth set aside Against future misfortunes.

So, in the Sigalovada Sutta (which has lots of good advice for lay followers), the Buddha said – divide your pay (after tax) into 4 parts:

25% – 1 Part to be enjoyed and used however you want50% – 2 Parts to be invested in business25% – 1 Part to be saved for emergencies

Obviously you don’t have to have exactly these percentages – but it gives you a rough idea cos each part can be a smaller part of a bigger part according to your personal circumstances.

So you need some money to be able to enjoy your life – otherwise, what’s the purpose of lay life? Only spend about a quarter of your pay after tax to enjoy yourself.

Notice also that the Buddha recognized that investing and owning a business (rather than just be an employee) can be a good way to accumulate your wealth – and a large part of your earnings ~50% should be devoted to this.

Now obviously, you’ll need to be wise with your money, make good business decisions and develop skills to run a business well. So you still need to put in effort and watch the bottom line – otherwise you can still go broke. Nothing is a guarantee in life – life is uncertain (anicca).

No matter what you do – whether it be investing it in managed funds, investing in property or investing in your own business – you still need to understand what you’re doing – otherwise you can still lose money easily. So a good mantra is – if someone wants you to invest in something where they talk big with promises of how you’re certain to make money – if you don’t understand it, don’t do it. Protect what you have.

And you also need a quarter of your pay saved up as emergency funds (this includes buying insurance for the different areas of your life). Don’t just spend your whole pay packet as soon as you get it – you need to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

Don’t expect the government or other family members to always be able to look after you (i.e., free healthcare or free pension benefits) because what if the laws change? Governments change and will do whatever they do – don’t rely on them. Take some responsibility to ensure that you have enough spare cash saved up so that can pay your own way if a disaster ever strikes.

And with this 25%, you can also make sure that you have adequate insurance bought – which can save you money, say – if something happens to your car or house or your health or something happens such that you can’t work anymore, or if someone else gets hurt by your car accidentally. Make this a priority or you will forget to do it or say you were too busy.

And by doing these things with your after tax pay packet, little by little, you gather money in harmless ways – just like how bees, little by little, gather pollen in ways that do not harm other creatures – to build up huge stores of honey back at the hive. And then sooner or later, before you know it, the amount of wealth becomes large like an anthill. And once gathered, you can look after your family with it – you can look after your parents with it, you can look after your husband or wife with it and you can look after your kids with it. Just like how the stores of honey can feed the whole hive of bees including the Queen bee.

So that’s how lay people can create a financial foundation for themselves (rather than living your life broke and destitute and having to rely on others for charity), according to the Buddha.


21st June 2018

The Indian Association of People’s lawyers (IAPL) condemns the arrest of Advocate Vanchinathan by the Chennai police in the early hours of Thursday, 21 June 2018. Following the brutal police crackdown in Tuticorin on people protesting against Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant in which 13 people were shot dead, Tamilnadu Police has continued the crackdown on various people who have been associated with the protests against Sterlite Copper. This includes lawyers who helped with filing various cases against Sterlite. The authoritarian and coldly calculated actions of the Tamilnadu government to break down anti-Sterlite protests and smother the voice of people are highly condemnable and is unfitting for any civilised democratic polity.

Advocate Vanchinathan has been the counsel for many cases filed against Sterlite by the people of Tuticorin and Sterlite protest groups. Advocate Vanchinathan was arrested in Chennai Airport for the Tuticorin incident in Crime no. 190 of 2018 Sipcot Police Station under sections 147, 148, 188, 353, 506(2) and Sec. 3 TNPPDL Act. He is the State Co-ordinator of Makkal Urimai Paadhugaapu Maiyam (People’s Right Protection Centre) and a practicing lawyer at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court at Madurai.

After shooting dead unarmed civilians in cold blood, the Tamilnadu Government has gone a step further and is now putting the blame for the incidents of 21st May on public spirited lawyers who came to the legal aid of people of Tuticorin. It is important to note that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had initially directed the police to refrain from arresting Advocates Vanchinathan and Hari Raghavan till the hearing of their anticipatory bail application and demanded that the Police produce material evidence that the two ‘engineered’ the violence. Vanchinathan and other lawyers were present in Tuticorin on the day to provide legal assistance and to facilitate talks with Government representatives. However on June 18th, the court dismissed the anticipatory bail filed by Vanchinathan and Hari Raghavan, merely stating that they cannot avoid interrogation.

All over India – in Bhangor (WB), Tuticorin (TN), Jagatsinghpur (Odisha), Raigarh (Chhattisgarh), Sanand (Gujarat), Singbhum (Jharkhand) or Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) – affected people and activists protesting against corporate land grab and environmental devastation are being attacked, implicated in false cases, and arrested under draconian laws. The latest trend in this is to attack the people’s lawyers who are trying to fight corporates whether as labour lawyers, environmental lawyers or lawyers challenging land acquisition and denial of tribal rights.

The arrest of Vanchinathan and continued intimidation of other lawyers by Tamilnadu police who helped file cases against Sterlite is vindictive, cowardly and an indefensible act. These arrests are intended to produce a chilling effect to scare other lawyers from appearing in sensitive cases challenging undemocratic and anti-constitutional policies and actions of the government. IAPL unequivocally condemns the arrests of Vanchinathan and demands for his immediate release.

_Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vice-President, IAPL_
_Adv. D. SureshKumar, Joint Secretary, IAPL_

Release The 5 Activists Immediately, Unconditionally – Human Rights Forum

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly condemns the arrest of social activist and editor Sudhir Dhawale, advocate Surendra Gadling of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, land rights activist Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners and Prof Shoma Sen of Nagpur University by police at Delhi, Nagpur and Bombay on Wednesday.
These arrests are part of a concerted attack by the State to clamp down on politics that is inconvenient to the ruling dispensation. Slapping the label Maoist has become the routine option for the State to lock down on dissent. The discovery of incriminating Maoist literature/letters is of a piece with this dubious strategy.

And the invoking of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 – a draconian legislation that is in open contempt of fundamental political freedoms and should not have any place in a civilised society – makes the State’s job that much easier since even bail is difficult. The real intent is to criminalise the democratic activity of these activists, harass them and ensure their prolonged incarceration.
We demand the immediate dropping of the spurious charges against the five and their unconditional release.

S Jeevan Kumar (HRF AP&TS Coordination Committee member)
VS Krishna (HRF AP&TS Coordination Committee member)