DRAFT ON ONCE IN A BLUE MOON ACADEMIA’S PROPOSED FUTURE PROJECT: ĀTMADIPA

10/02/2021

Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Akhar Bandyopadhyay ⤡

Abstract

  1. A SHORT NOTE ON THE MEANING OF ĀTMADIPA

“tasmātihānanda, āttadīpā viharatha āttasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā,

dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.”

Mahaparinibbana sūtta (DN 16)

Translation 1: “So, Ānanda, be a lamp unto yourself,
Refuge unto yourself,

Without taking recourse to other,
With Dhamma as your lamp,
Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”

Translation 2: “Thus, Ānanda, be an island unto yourself, Refuge unto yourself, Without taking recourse to other,
With Dhamma as your island,
Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”

This was the advice of the Buddha to disciple Ānanda, while Ānanda was distressed about the deadly sickness of the Blessed One. The Tathāgata uttered these words a short while before their final journey to Kusinara (Kushinagara), where he achieved mahā-parinirvāna. (He gave this advice also at another time as recorded in āttadipa sūtta, Samyutta nikaya 22.43.)

Regarding two translations:

We have got two different translations of ātmadipa in two different target language-texts as source language-text shows different spellings of “dipa”. Sometimes it was written in the manuscripts as “dvipa” and sometimes it is “dipa”. We are taking the meaning of “dvipa” as “lamp” in the context of this society, without discarding the other translation fully.

Statutory Warning

Rabindranath Tagore, in his song akarane akale mor porlo jakhan dak, gave a warning: one might get dazzled by the light of one’s own lamp. Tathagata also emphasized on this aspect as he spoke, “yatha sarvejanagata tathagata buddhhapi”, i.e., “Buddha goes on the way where all the people are going.”

Even Rabindranath said amar mukti sarvajaner maner majhe (“My liberation is in the minds of all the people”). At a time subscribing “all” and advising to be a lamp may seem to be self-contradictory from the standpoint of Aristotelian logic. However, simultaneously managing oneself and all is not at all contradictory from the perspective of Buddhist logic, viz., anekaṁsikatavada, which is almost similar to Jaina anekantavada. This type of logic leads to the concept of horizontal mutual-aid, wherein one can be self-reliant and give aid to others as well.

Thus, this society follows the dictum of Buddha along with many other thinkers like Mahavira, Rabindranath, Gandhi and Marx, with an aim to achieve commensurability.

2. CONSEQUENCES THAT LEAD US TO EXECUTE THIS PROJECT: ĀTMADIPA

Two major crises have led us to think about such green village, viz.

  • Anthropogenic Global heating;
  • Global economic crisis clubbed with fascism.

3. The Goals of the Project

While keeping in mind the problems of Anthropogenic Global Heating and crises of money-sign based economy, this society tries to achieve the following goals:

To establish a green self-reliant village without:

  • Pesticides and chemical fertilizers in case of producing food;
  • High-yielding varieties (HYV) and Genetically Modified (GM) seeds in case of producing food;
  • Anti-green architecture;
  •  Anti-green toxic factory-produced textile industry;
  • Fossil fuel-based energy usage, which leads to the emergence of energy-slaves.

To establish a deschooling society for the children where:  

  • To establish a deschooling society for the children where:  
  • The banking concept of “education” will have no place, which is one-way traffic (teachers are transmitting knowledge and the students are passive receivers). Participants will learn with the help of mentors without being suffered from degree-disease;
  • There is no question of being alienated from the so-called binary of nature and culture as it is found in the mainstream education system. Both the human and non-human neighbors of the participants are to be dealt with empathy;
  • Optimum utilization of the Online Study Materials, Tutorials and Virtual Classes, keeping in mind the scarcity of metals used in electronic gadgets and their spurious non-biodegradable features along with radiation.
  • For the 18+ persons, self-made syllabus will be encouraged along with compulsory training in socially necessary labour that includes natural farming/permaculture, gathering, animal domestication, fishing, manufacturing clothes with handlooms (without using toxic dyes) etc.

They will compulsorily be trained in the following four disciplinary technologies:

  • Survival Skills
  • Disaster Management
  • History of Science (both Natural/Physical and Social Sciences)
  • Philosophy of Science including Research Methodology (both Natural/Physical and Social Sciences)

Apart from these, self-made syllabus for oneself will be encouraged for each and every participant. No designation of “teacher” or “Professor” will be there as the society will be emphasizing on the role of “facilitator” or “mentor”.

In this way, this society at a time handles self-reliance and horizontal mutual-aid simultaneously.

[Within the ambit of moral capitalism (an oxymoron?), the need of the hour is to produce green entrepreneur. This educational enterprise would offer such an opportunity]

  • A cooperative society will be established keeping in mind the Gandhian and Tagorean concept of “samavaya” in the context of de-centralized local resource-based economy. A Cooperative Bank will be established where one can minimize the use of money-based system by condemning “riba” as it is found in Islamic Literature and Sufism.
  • From sick-society to healthy society: to avoid medical nemesis, the emphasis will be on the community health, holistic health and to encourage a life without medicines. A Medicinal Plant Garden will be the part of this programme.
  • Though, no religious practices are to be held within the premises of the cooperative society to reach the concept of manavagotra/ homosapiens/species being. A Vipassana Meditation Centre will be established in its place for searching the relationship between the self and the other.

4. PROPOSED COURSE OF ACTIONS: WATERFALL TECHNIQUE 

There are four consecutive legal parts of ONCE IN A BLUE MOON:

  • A Society, i.e., a non-profit organization
  • A Trustee
  • A Cooperative
  • A Limited Company (for selling the green products produced by the initial produces)

All these will have full commensurability without disturbing legal norms.

To achieve the goal described above, we will follow the Waterfall Model. Let us start with our plans and programmes following this technique:

  1. Requirements: a) dedicated volunteers (advocates, chartered accountant, bankers, green civil engineer, bureaucrats along with planners and permaculture specialists); b) initial capital; c) land; d) to contact funding agencies and donors; e) to contact and visit Schumacher College, Bija Vidyapith, Swaraj University, NCERT, Ekalavya (Hosengabad), Sramajibi Hospital, Indian Navy and Army;  f) Preparing Return on Investment for the next ten years with a help of a CA.
  2. Design: The infrastructure of the green village will be as follows:
  • A green building for hospital  
  • Two green buildings for de-schools and anti-universities
  • A green building for IT Cell
  • A Lake
  • Guest House
  • Students’ Hostel
  • Vipassana Grha
  • Animal Farm
  • Three energy resources: solar cells, windmills and biogas technology
  • Infrastructure for Eco-Tourism as well as Heritage Tourism
  • Residential complex for cooperative society
  • A green building for cooperative bank
  •  An Amphitheatre
  • An indigenous Seed bank
  • Publication Unit
  • Implementation: Without finishing the above two, there is no question of further action.
  • Verification: … yet to be decided
  • Maintenance: … yet to be decided
  • BREAKING UP THE INTERNATIONAL DIVISION OF LABOUR: “For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in higher economic society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.”

VIEW PPT PRESENTATION @ https://www.academia.edu/45089871/DRAFT_ON_THE_PROPOSED_PROJECT_%C4%80TMADIPA

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