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Nalanda

Nalanda was an ancient Mahavihara, a large and revered Buddhist monastery, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha in India. The site is located about 95 kilometres southeast of Patna near the city of Bihar Sharif, was an important centre of learning from the fifth century CE to c. 1200 CE. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the formalized methods of Vedic scholarship helped inspire the establishment of large teaching institutions such as Taxila and Vikramashila, which are characterised as India's early universities. Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries, under Harsha, the emperor of Kannauj; the liberal cultural traditions inherited from the Gupta age resulted in a period of growth and prosperity until the ninth century CE. The subsequent centuries were a time of gradual decline, a period during which the tantric developments of Buddhism became most pronounced in eastern India under the Pala Empire. At its peak the school attracted scholars and students from near and far, with some travelling from Tibet, China and Central Asia.

Archaeological evidence notes contact with the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia, one of whose kings built a monastery in the complex. Much of our knowledge of Nalanda comes from the writings of pilgrim monks from Asia, such as Xuanzang and Yijing, who travelled to the Mahavihara in the 7th century CE. Vincent Smith remarked that "a detailed history of Nalanda would be a history of Mahayanist Buddhism." Many of the names listed by Xuanzang in his travelogue as alumni of Nalanda are the names of those who developed the overall philosophy of Mahayana. All students at Nalanda studied Mahayana, as well as the texts of the eighteen sects of Buddhism, their curriculum included other subjects, such as the Vedas, Sanskrit grammar and Samkhya. Nalanda was rebuilt only twice. Nalanda was likely ransacked and destroyed by an army of the Mamluk Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate under Bakhtiyar Khalji in c. 1200 CE. While some sources note that the Mahavihara continued to function in a makeshift fashion after this attack, it was abandoned all together and forgotten until the 19th century, when the site was surveyed and preliminary excavations were conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Systematic excavations commenced in 1915, which unearthed eleven monasteries and six brick temples neatly arranged on grounds 12 hectares in area. A trove of sculptures, coins and inscriptions have been discovered in the ruins, many of which are on display in the Nalanda Archaeological Museum, situated nearby. Nalanda is now a notable tourist destination, a part of the Buddhist tourism circuit. On November 25, 2010, the Indian government, through an Act of Parliament, resurrected the ancient university through the Nalanda University Bill, subsequently a new Nalanda University was established, it has been designated as an "International University of National Importance." A number of theories exist about the etymology of the name, Nālandā. According to the Tang Dynasty Chinese pilgrim, Xuanzang, it comes from Na al,lllam dā meaning no end in gifts or charity without intermission. Yijing, another Chinese traveller, derives it from Nāga Nanda referring to the name of a snake in the local tank. Hiranand Sastri, an archaeologist who headed the excavation of the ruins, attributes the name to the abundance of nālas in the area and believes that Nalanda would represent the giver of lotus-stalks.

Nalanda was a prosperous village by a major trade route that ran through the nearby city of Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha. It is said that the Jain thirthankara, spent 14 rainy seasons at Nalanda. Gautama Buddha too is said to have delivered lectures in a nearby mango grove named Pavarika and one of his two chief disciples, was born in the area and attained nirvana there; this traditional association with Mahavira and Buddha tenuously dates the existence of the village to at least the 5th–6th century BCE. Recent archaeological discoveries have pushed back Nalanda's history to 1200 BC; the earliest occurrences of Northern Black Polished Ware have been recorded and carbon dated from the site of Juafardih. A mud brick stupa has been carbon dated to 6th-5th century BC which bolsters the case for Nalanda as an important Buddhist site since its early period. Not much is known of Nalanda in the centuries hence; the 17th-century Tibetan Lama, states that the 3rd-century BCE Mauryan and Buddhist emperor, built a great temple at Nalanda at the site of Shariputra's chaitya.

He places 3rd-century CE luminaries such as the Mahayana philosopher and his disciple, Aryadeva, at Nalanda with the former heading the institution. Taranatha mentions a contemporary of Nagarjuna named Suvishnu building 108 temples at the location. While this could imply that there was a flourishing centre for Buddhism at Nalanda before the 3rd century, no archaeological evidence has been unearthed to support the assertion; when Faxian, an early Chinese Buddhist pilgrim to India, visited Nalo, the site of Shariputra's parinirvana, at the turn of the 5th century CE, all he found worth mentioning was a stupa. Nalanda's datable history begins under the Gupta Empire and a seal identifies a monarch named Shakraditya as its founder. Both Xuanzang and a Korean pilgrim named Prajnyavarman attribute the foundation of a sangharama at the site to him. Shakraditya is identified with the 5th-century CE Gupta emperor, Kumaragupta I, whose coin has been discovered at Nalanda, his succes

H.O.P.E Beach Volleyball Charity

The H. O. P. E Beach Volleyball Charity Tournament is a philanthropic volleyball tournament that aims at earning money and gaining awareness on behalf of various charitable organizations; the first tournament took place in the summer of 1989. The tournament is nonprofit and is put together by unpaid volunteers; the program reaches out to smaller, local charitable organizations. The tournament is held on Toronto Island and in Ottawa, Ontario; the acronym H. O. P. E stands for "Helping Other People Everywhere"; the tournaments take place annually during the summer months. Since the first tournament in 1989, HOPE has raised more than $650,000 for local charities. Annually the tournament treats to up to six thousand people; the ages range from 18-to mid-40s. To apply for the tournament you must be at least eighteen years old. Teams must have six to ten players. Everyone is guaranteed to play six games, must pay a three hundred dollar entrance fee. There are six divisions. Different rules may apply for different divisions.

All divisions are separated my amount of experience. The tournament is the largest in southern Ontario and it caters to 400-500 teams annually; the tournament brings people from all parts of the United States. The event gets extensive media coverage which has helped it grow and spread its cause extensively throughout its history. Since it is a non-profit organization the charity receives most of its resources and funds through donations; the tournament is located on Toronto Island, Canada. To arrive on the island players and family members must take the Queens Quay Ferry and pay a small fee; the island is small and has been chosen for its short distance from Toronto and its view of the city. The island provides a beer garden for the players and their families; these facilities are in no way connected with the charity. The tournament brings people from all parts of the United States. HOPE chose volleyball as its charity. Statistics show. Volleyball is a inexpensive sport to play which makes it much easier for every class to become involved in.

To enter the tournament all teams must pay around three hundred dollars. Individual players are required a smaller fee. Individuals may pledge to donate a set amount annually. All funds that are collected go straight towards the two chosen charities and are in no way used for profit; the tournament raises all of its funds through donations. To emphasize donations the organization has created an incentive program that delivers prizes to the highest donating individuals. A large number of charities have received money from the tournament over its history. In junction to the HOPE tournament, the annual summer fest has become a part of the annual HOPE tradition; the fest provides their families free of cost. The event has live entertainment and food; the event is publicized which helps to spread knowledge of the tournament as well. HOPE Volleyball official website

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms

"Believe Me, if All Those Endearing Young Charms" is a popular song written in 1808 by Irish poet Thomas Moore using a traditional Irish air. Moore's young wife had been worried that she would lose her looks, he wrote the words to reassure her. The tune to which Moore set his words is a traditional Irish air, first printed in a London songbook in 1775, it is wrongly credited to Sir William Davenant, whose older collection of tunes may have been the source for publishers, including a collection titled General Collection of Ancient Irish Music, compiled by Edward Bunting in 1796. Sir John Andrew Stevenson has been credited as responsible for the music for Moore's setting, it is thought that after Moore's wife, was badly scarred by smallpox, she refused to leave her room, believing herself ugly and unlovable. To convince her his love was unwavering, Moore composed the ‘Endearing’ poem which he set to an old Irish melody and sang outside her bedroom door, he wrote that this restored her confidence and re-kindled their love.

The lyrics, as published in 1808 in A Selection of Irish Melodies, are as follows: Other than "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms", the tune is best known as the melody to "Fair Harvard", the alma mater of Harvard University. A seventeenth-century folk song, Matthew Locke's "My Lodging is in the Cold, Cold Ground", was set to this tune some time after its original setting to a different traditional, air. Simone Mantia, a pioneer of American euphonium music, composed a theme and variations on the melody, which remains a staple of the solo euphonium literature; the first verse, as written, was sung by the character Alfalfa in a 1936 episode of MGM's The Little Rascals entitled Bored of Education. The tune, with the Endearing Young Charms title became a staple of Warner Brothers cartoons, appearing first in the 1944 Private Snafu short "Booby Traps". Subsequent uses included the 1951 Merrie Melodies animated cartoon Ballot Box Bunny, 1957 Looney Tunes short Show Biz Bugs, 1965 and 1994 Road Runner cartoons Rushing Roulette and Chariots of Fur and in a new twist on the gag, with Slappy Squirrel's 1993 introductory episode, "Slappy Goes Walnuts", from Animaniacs.

Variations were done in the 1963 Andy Griffith Show episode "Rafe Hollister Sings", the 2010 South Park episode "Crippled Summer". In its cartoon appearances, the song is the cue for a classic "bomb gag" wherein the playing of the first line of the song sets off a rigged explosion on the final note. However, the target misses, forcing the perpetrator to play it himself and fall for his own trap; the gag is so well known that it is called "The Xylophone Gag". Little Virgie sings the song to her father in the 1935 film The Littlest Rebel; the first line appears in some versions of Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen" as an introduction played by a solo fiddle. A short version of the tune appears at the end of some versions of the song. Roger Quilter's setting of the song was included in the Arnold Book of Old Songs, published in 1950. Debbie Reynolds and Barbara Ruick sing the first stanza in the 1953 film The Affairs of Dobie Gillis. Walter Huston plays the melody on harmonica in the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Bing Crosby included the song in a medley on his album 101 Gang Songs. The song is performed at a Christmas party of the Adams Family at the beginning of "Chapter VIII: John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State" of The Adams Chronicles. An instrumental version of the song plays around the midpoint of the 1963 Twilight Zone episode "Passage on the Lady Anne". Choral Public Domain Library Piano version