Saturday, 26 March 2011

Buddhist Revaluation to India Society


1. As a response to different theories of the origin or the main cause/causes behind the function of the world such as creation theory (IssaranimmAnavAda), non-efficacy of kamma (åkiriyavada), determinism (niyativada/ niyatisaGgativAda/ adhiccasamuppannavAda), Eternalism (sassatavada) and Nihilism (ücchedavAda) the Buddha presented the Buddhist theory of causality or dependent origination (PaTiccasamuppAda).
The Buddha realized the Buddhist way of causality when He was examining the reality on the causes of decay and death with the middle way of understanding. Thus, He realized the futility of other views and the uniqueness of His theory of cause and effect.

2. The second factor that made Buddhism unique is its realization of soullessness (anatta). According to Buddhism, there is no unchanging, everlasting and ever transmigrating soul behind the changing reality. Therefore, Buddhism rejects the soul theory of Brahmanism, which led to making the soul happy through self-indulgence (kAmasukAllikanuyoga), and the Jainist theory of free of soul through self-mortification (attakilamatAnuyoga). Buddhism also rejects the temporary soul theory of nihilists and their practice of self-enjoyment.

3. The third unique factor in Buddhism is recommending middle path of practice (µajjhimApaTipadA) of ten limbs (dasaGgikamagga) and three trainings (tisikkhA i.e. paJJA (Wisdom), sīla (Morality) and samAdhi (Concentration).

SammA diTThi (Right Understanding)

Panna (Wisdom)
SammA saGkappa (Right Thought)

SammA vAcA (Right Speech)

Sila (Morality)
SammA kammanta (Right Action)

SammA AjIva (Right Livelihood)

SammA vAyama (Right Effort)

Samadhi (Concentration)
SammA sati (Right Mindfulness)

SammA samAdhi (Right Concentretion)

sammA JAna (Right Knowledge )

Panna (Wisdom)
sammA vimutti (Right Liberation)

Number 1, 2, 9 and 10 are grouped under PaJJA, number 3, 4 and 5 are grouped under sīla, and number 6, 7 and 8 are grouped under samAdhi. The Buddha said this teaching as “this teaching is for the wise not for the unwise (paJJAvantassa ayaM dhammo, nAyaM duppaJJassa) because the Buddhist path of practice begins with wisdom and ends with higher wisdom. In the ñagarasutta of SN, the Buddha says “I saw this ancient path, the ancient way that was traversed by the ancient Buddhas (. . . addasaM purAnaM maggaM purANaJjasaM pubbakehi sammA sambuddhehi anuyAtaM).

4. In His society the Buddha saw spiritual advancement and their results in the higher knowledges and attainments by realizing the reality of samsāra and its causes and conditions the Buddha was able to upgrade that knowledge and attainments. The higher knowledges in pre-Buddhist society included the following. They were the five attainments (PaJcAbhiJJA) that developed in the Indian religious arena for a considerable long time.

1.  îddhividha – The higher knowledge of psychic power
2.  ∂ibbasota – The higher knowledge of divine ear
3.  ∂ibbacakkhu – The higher knowledge of divine eye
4.  ParacittavijAJAna – The higher knowledge knowing the minds of others
5.  PubbenivAsAnussatiJANa – The higher knowledge knowing the past births                                                        

To this field of attainments Buddhism introduces ĀsavakkayaJANa (The higher knowledge of destroying cankers). The pre-Buddhist religious people also knew and some attained eight higher knowledges (aTThasamApatti).

1.  PaThamajjhAna – The attainment of first absorption
2.  ∂utiyajjhAna – The attainment of second absorption
3.   TatiyajjhAna – The attainment of third absorption
4.  CatutthajjhAna – The attainment of fourth absorption
5.   ĀkAsAnaJcAyatana – The attainment of infinite space
6.  ViJJAnaJcAyatana – The attainment of infinite consciousness
7.   ĀkiJcaJJAyatana – The attainment of infinite nothingness
8.  ñevasaJJAnAsaJJAyatana - The attainment of neither perception nor non-perception

To this, field of attainments the Buddha introduced ßaJJAvedayitanirodhasamApatti (The attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling). Because of these new contributions, Buddhism was the most new thought and practice of religions in sixth century B.C. The new attainment of Buddhism is described in the ßaGgAravasutta of MN as follows,

“. . . kAmAsavApi cittaM vimuccittha, bhavAsavApi cittaM vimuccittha avijjAsavApi cittaM vimuccittha. VimuttasmiM vimuttamIti JAnaM ahosi, khInA jAti, vusitaM brahmacariyaM, kataM karaNIyaM nAparaM itthatthAyAti abbaJJAsiM.

=Mind freed from cankers of sensual sphere, of becoming and of ignorance. There was knowledge of freedom in what is freedom, I had the higher knowledge birth destroyed, and noble life was led, done what is to be done and nothing to be done more.” 

5. The fifth contribution to Indian society by Buddhism is the rejection of divine creation theory of human beings. Buddhism rejects the divine creation of human society as well as the caste system based on that the åggaJJasutta of DN explains the natural evolution theory of human society and the origin of social classes depending on reasons arisen within human society.

6. Buddhism also rejected the caste based on duty system and religious life and Buddhist religious education was therefore opened to everybody. Higher social statuses were opened even for low caste people because of the new ideas of the Buddha women as well. Buddhism understands there is no low by birth or sex but by deed one becomes low caste and on the other hand one becomes high caste by good deed not by evil deed.

7. Because of the new social order that the Buddha established as bhikkhu and bhikkhunI, upasaka and upasikA equal opportunities of higher social value were given to both male and female members of the society irrespective of their castes.

8. On behalf of Brahmanic sacrifices that consumed a lot of wealth and resources the Buddha introduced a new concept of dhamma yaga. In Buddhism the yAga is generous donation (dAna) which is good for both the giver and the receiver. Buddhist yAga includes different steps of spiritual progress from taking refuge up to destruction of cankers and attaining liberation, “this has been declared as the best of all yāgas.”

îmAya ca brahmaNa yaJJa sampadAya aJJe yaJJa sampadA uttaritarA vA paNItatarA vA natthi.
                                                                                 (KUTadantasutta, DN)

These factors show the nature of new philosophy of life explained by the Buddha introducing a new way of thought, new mode of practice and direct path to final liberation. Buddhism in a way shows the culmination of Indian religious thought and its reaching climax by producing the Enlightened One and the final path of true liberation.

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