Devil Dancing to Cure Illness 1 2392

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By: T.V Perera

Masked dancing is practised in various forms in certain Asian countries notably India, Bhutan, Tibet, China, Korea, Thailand Malaysia and Sri Lanka as well as among different tribes in Africa. In India, Bhutan, and Tibet masked dancing known as Cham, takes the form of a Buddhist monastery festival where the ritual dance is accompanied by chanting, sounds of cymbals, longhorns and drums with the dancers wearing wooden and brightly coloured larger than life papier mache, intricately painted.

 Devil-Dancing-Sri-Lanka-02In Sri Lanka, masked dancing which has a tradition all its own is considered a sort of ceremonial dance. Commonly known as ‘Devil dancing’ due to the masks worn  being related to malignant beings such as the Gara Yaka, Reeri Yaka, Mahasona and Suniyan Yaka it is believed to have prevailed in the country even before the introduction of Buddhism and is still largely resorted to especially in the Southern and Uva Provinces. The chief characteristic of mask dancing is that all forms are directed to a super human being.

‘’According to folk belief, demons exhort offerings from human beings by sending on them sicknesses ranging from deafness to cholera and other calamities including fear of death.’’

These misfortunes it is believed can be eliminated by proper offerings accompanied by suitable ceremonies. There are 18 physical and psychological ailments known as sanni in Sinhala tradition, attributed to demons.  Masked dance healing liturgies referred to as sanni yakuma are adopted to liberate people from these sicknesses caused by unscrupulous hideous demons.

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Commonly known as a Thovile, the mask dance itself is the representation of the super natural being by a dancer or a troupe of dancers and the descending of the invoked-being into the dancer, and sometimes even into some of the onlookers. Several forms of mask dances (thovils) exist, each for a specific purpose. A thovil ceremony performed in times of sickness has always been interesting and although elaborate, is merely an exorcism to expel the demon (yaka) by which the sick person is believed to be possessed.

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The Festival of lights! – Vesak Poya 1 1025

Vesak, commemorates the three most important milestones in the life of Gautama Buddha – His Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana (Nirvana after Death).

 

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Festival of lights, Vesak is celebrated on the day of the full moon in the month of May. It is one of the biggest days of the year and is celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. Buddhists commemorate the important events that took place in the life of the Buddha on this day which also brings with it shifting seasons; namely, thundering south west monsoon rains and the calling of the seas in the east coast.

First comes the birth of Siddhartha Gauthama in Lumbini in Nepal. It is said that his mother Queen Mahamaya was travelling from Kapilavasthu (her husband’s kingdom) to her father’s kingdom to give birth to her first child, as was the tradition. On the way, her son prince Siddhartha Gauthama was born under a Sal tree in the garden of Lumbini. 

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The second event was Siddartha Gauthama’s supreme attainment as the Buddha, the Enlightened One. At the age of 29, he left his father’s palace in search of the truth, renouncing all worldly possessions and begging for alms in the streets. His search continued through the next few years, until at the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment seated under a Bodhi tree, in a place called Bodh Gaya in India. 

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The third event was Lord Buddha’s parinibbana over 2500 years ago at Kusinagar. The Buddha was 80 years, travelling with Ananda Thero preaching the Dhamma, but his health was steadily deteriorating. His parinirvana (Passing away) occurred in a peaceful grove of Sal trees in Kusinagar, surrounded by his disciple monks. It is said that the Sal trees, in spite of not being in season, bloomed and shed their pale yellow petals on him as he passed away into Nirvana. 

It’s Time for Professional Societies to Be Bold and Wise 0 1123

Boldness is a leadership trait to be mastered. Here are actions that make bold people admirable.

The day I went off to university, a friend gave me this quote. Over the years it has inspired me and I have seen it posted on the walls and bulletin boards of many entrepreneurs and leaders.

Bold people stand out from the group. They are confident, courageous, and directed. I believe there is boldness in most people. Given the right set of circumstances, many will take action to better the world around them.

People who choose to be bold are inspiring not just because they get big things accomplished, but because they also instigate growth, progress, and movement for themselves and others around them. Sadly, far more people wait for someone who is bold to lead the way, hoping somehow luck will shine success upon them.

Perhaps it is time to unleash the bold leader in you. Try adding these actions to your daily repertoire and see how much faster the magic of boldness takes you toward success.

01. They own their flaws and strengths. There is a difference between boldness and carelessness. Bold leaders have strong self-awareness. They know when they should take bold action and when they are out of their element. They minimize the risk for themselves and others by constantly reassessing themselves and engaging others to accommodate for personal weakness.

Want to be a bold leader?

Be more self-aware. Engage others who can complement your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

02. They keep clear priorities. Someone who constantly jumps into action without a plan is not bold- just foolish. Bold people know their objectives and prioritize them clearly. They can afford to be bold because they can recognize the right opportunity when it comes along.

Want to be a bold leader?

Know clearly what you need to accomplish and seek those changes that will move the team forward. Avoid unimportant activities that lead to distraction.

03. They speak up. Bold people are not necessarily loud or boisterous, but when they have something to say they say it. More importantly, they understand when and how to say it. Being bold does not equal being a bully or a loudmouth. Bold leaders must be better at tact and empathy because the very nature of their words will carry power and impact. Bold leaders also understand that silence is often the greatest statement one can make, and they use it judiciously.

Want to be a bold leader?

Say what needs to be said before the silence derails the team.

04. They pair action with knowledge. Even though bold leaders are prone to action, they are rarely considered rash. They apply the same sense of action to learning and due diligence as they do to any other activity. Bold leaders want to make sure their actions lead to success, so they investigate before leading their team to the charge.

Want to be a bold leader?

Improve your odds of success by doing your homework. You’ll increase your confidence and your success rate.

05. They accept the value of failure. No one is totally comfortable with failure, but bold leaders understand that greater rewards stem from greater risk. Still, they know how to mitigate catastrophic risk and how to protect their team. Bold leaders also know how to use risks to their advantage. They harness the energy and adrenaline and make sure that every failure is a learning opportunity.

Want to be a bold leader?

Make failure an acceptable part of your process. Teach the team how to assess and limit risk, so missteps can happen without total destruction. Then get people to learn and reboot.

06. They make the most of small wins. Many people sit and wait around for the “right opportunity” before they are willing to step up and take action. Sadly, sometimes that right opportunity never comes. Bold people understand that rarely is any situation perfect from the beginning. They look to make the most of any given set of circumstances that can lead to victory, even a small one. Cumulatively, consistent little wins spell success, attracting followers.

Want to be a bold leader?

Start with a small battle you think you can win, map out a plan, and take the field. Winning builds confidence as well as your reputation.

07. They build momentum. Bold people recognize that a single victory is not enough to sustain leadership. They work to create a series of actions that help the team gather confidence, speed, and power. They have a sense of when to add energy to drive forward and when to let the momentum itself carry things forward efficiently.

Want to be a bold leader?

Craft your plan so that each action takes advantage of the success from the last. Take advantage of any win that gains attention, respect, and popularity. Activate your fans, cultivate relationships, build buzz. Don’t coast!

By: Chantal D.