Making Buddha Smile

by Pranav Kulkarni, Express India, Feb 16, 2009

Mahesh Deokar's life is the quinesstial of what it takes to follow the teachings of Buddha

New Delhi, India -- Living life as per Buddha's teachings – Neti-Neti, meaning "not this-not this", that guide one to transcend beyond materialistic possessions and worldly sorrows to find permanent happiness, professor Mahesh Deokar's story is a true example of what it takes to follow the teachings word by word.

"Pain exists and one has to accept it to find the solution. Buddha says that pain lies in hurting someone and dependency is painful. Calling this as the only thing that Buddha said, will be an injustice to Buddha's philosophy that goes ahead to explain how one can concur the sorrows," says Deokar who got introduced to Buddha's philosophy, through his love for the language- Sanskrit. It was this philosophy that later inspired him to take up Pali, also known as Magadhi, the language that Buddhist philosophy is documented in.

"In the year 1992 after finishing my graduation from Mumbai University, I wanted to pursue my career in Sanskrit. Pune being the cultural center of Maharashtra, I shifted to Pune.

Pali was the subordinate subject that I chose during my MA in Sanskrit. While Sanskrit has been the language of scriptures, Pali is much more comprehendible," says Deokar, who during the student days, came in contact with the book- Milinda Panno that unveils Buddha's philosophy in a question- answer format. "It was due to the Buddhist philosophy that I decided to do a second MA with Pali as the main subject and Ardhamagadhi as the subordinate subject," smiles Deokar, who also decided to start his career as a professor of Pali language in University of Pune.

"While my teaching career began in 1996, I also got an opportunity to visit Kanzava University in Japan to study Tibetan grammar in the year 1999. After returning from Japan in the year 2000, I further decided to do PhD in Pali language," adds Deokar. He has also taught at various colleges and universities across India. Recalling one of the most memorable moments of his life, Deokar says, "In the year 2006, Pali, which was earlier affiliated to the Department of Sanskrit language, was declared an independent Department and I was given the honour of becoming the Head of Department (HOD), Pali Language."

Today, it has been three years that Deokar has been serving the language he loved as the HOD. Looking back at the years gone by also means recollecting some of the biggest challenges that life threw in front of him and Deokar says, "I lost my eyesight at the age of eight due to an unsuccessful operation. Life was not an easy walk especially given the fact that no books were available for us in Braille language for Sanskrit and Pali.
At these times, my professors and friends stood by me. They recorded the textbooks and made cassettes for me. I did my schooling, college and both MAs listening to the recorded books and lectures. There were times when some of my fellow professors objected to me being promoted as the head of Department or even a professor for that matter doubting my ability to communicate with the students, but today, I not only teach the language to students of the Department, but also explain the grammatical intricacies of the language for them on the black board."

Accepting what life offered to him, occupying his life with a better cause without exaggerating the challenges faced, Deokar, HOD, Pali Language, MA in Sanskrit and Pali, recipient of the Junior research fellowship by the University Grant Commission, respected scholar and faculty at countless Universities across India, has it all to make Buddha smile, Isn't it?

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: