Thursday, 31 March 2011

Social Unsatisfactoriness


Society is defined s the mass collection of individual human being. Individual makes up family. Families make up the society.
      Buddhism not only talks about individual welfare, it also teaches to overcome difficulties as a society. Social problems are those phenomena which came to suffering many human beings as a whole. Poverty and war are two practical examples of social problems. Both these experiences have put human life into many difficulties during the long history of human beings. Therefore, some sociology identifies the story of human beings’ history as a war between the poor and the rich.
      Buddhist teachings analyze the social problem depending on the theory of causality. Not only it analyses the problem but explains way by which the social problem could be solved.
      The åggaJJasutta of DN explains the origin and the evolution of social problem. According to that history human beings at the beginning were known as “sattA”, gradually they evolved from a mind-made state to a physical body. Then they came to use material things. Due to the decline of ethical values private consumption of natural resources became prominent instead of common property system. The evolution was followed by theft, lie, punishment, judgment and is the origin of kingship. This process of evolution absorbed a long long period of time. By that time the beings changed to be human beings. In this sutta we would observe a few factors that led the evolution of human society.
1.   Craving (taNhA): Beings lost their selves luminance and ability to wander in the sky for their bodies became rough by consuming material foods that were available on the earth. This was caused by craving. Then the same quality, that is craving, led to next development, like stealing from others, putting up fences and so on.  
2.   Imitation (diTThAnugati): Imitating others or following the misbehaviour of others made individual qualities a social phenomenon. When one stole from someone then the others followed its example. By that it becomes individual, social problem. In the same when one hoarded food, the others followed it in hoarding. Thus hoarding became human’s habit.
3.   Laziness (AlassaM): The laziness promoted human weakness to develop. As given in the above example stealing and hoarding food were promoted by laziness of those beings.
      The åggaJJasutta of DN highlights the above three causes as the cause of social problem. If we careful examine the social problems in recent history we are evidenced that those causes are existence as cradles as modern social problems. 
      “Tadagge kho pana VAseTTha adinnAdAnaM paJJAyati garahA paJJAyati, musAvAdo paJJAyati, daNDA dAnaM paJJAyati
=At the end of that O VAseTTh! Stealing appears, blame appears, lying appears, punishing appears.
      Another important sutta of Buddhist analysis of social problem is that CakkavattisIhanAdasutta of DN. According the explanation of the Buddha social problems are caused by poverty or economical factors that caused suffering to the people. When such a situation arose in one kingdom at the ancient time the wise chief minister of the king explained the way to get rid of difficulties faced by the king.
      “Ye ca te tAta vijite adhanA assu tesaJca dhammanuppadeyyAsi
=O son! Let the poor people in your kingdom get money.
      When this advice was given at first the king misunderstood it. He just distributed some money among poor people. With the intention of taking money people did more and more corrupted the activities. The action did not work as a proper remedy for the problem of the poverty. So the above advice is reiterated in the discourse.
      “ño ca kho adhanAnaM dhanamanuppadAsi. adhanAnaM dhane ananuppadIyamAne dAliddiyaM vepulla magamAsi. dAliddiyaM velullaM gate aJJatara purisa paresaM adinnaM theyyasminkhAtaM Adiyi
=The ways of money were not made for poor people. When the wealth is not born for the poor, poverty increases. When the poverty increased one man took from others with the idea of stealing. 
      This example was followed by many that encouraged robbering, looting, kidnapping, killing and the destruction of villages or towns. On the other hand, punishments were given both by people and state. Such crime in the society destroyed the harmony and peace, each and everybody began to suspect others. Nobody could believe others. Consequently the entire society was in a state of turmoil.
      “åJJamaJJamhi tibbo AghAto paccuppaTThito bhavissati. Tibbo manopadeso tibbaM vadhakacittaM aJJamaJJaM jIvitA voropessanti
=Sharp idea of destroying (other) will be established in each other, sharp displeasantness and a sharp view of each harming others will deprive each other from their lives.
      The massage this sutta is that an enormous number of society problems are created by poverty. If the ruling authority does not plan to set people from poverty the emergence of social problems is inevitable. Less poverty causes fewer problems. When the basic necessities of man are satisfied they will plan to live a peaceful and contented life. Once the basic needs are not satisfied they will not allow other to enjoy the life. This principle is highlighted in the present sutta. What it says is that the government of the society should very careful understand the psychological and physical causes of poverty. Then solution must be well planed to create a longer standing peace and harmony in the society.
      The µahAnidhAnasutta of DN explains in a new context the function of causality, in the development of internal conflicts in mind of being and how they lead to create a social problem. According to Buddhist understanding defiling and purification of human mind depends on human mind itself.
      “îti kho panetaM Ānanda vedanaM paTiccataNhA, taNhaM paTicca pariyesanA lAbho vinicchayo chandarAgo ajjhosanaM pariggaho macchariyaM Arakkho daNDAdAna, satthAdAna kalaha, viggaha, vivida pesuJJa, musAvAda aneke pApakA akusalA dhammA sambhavanti
=O Ānanda! Due to this feeling craving is born, due to craving searching for … receiving, … judgment … attachment … misery … desire to own other’s things … stinginess … protection … taking clubs, weapon, quarreling, fight, depute, slandering, falsehood, (thus) various evil and unwholesome phenomena are born.
      With explanation like this, Buddhism attempts to explain various reasons for individual and social suffering. With this comprehension social members and leaders are advised to find solutions in their efforts. What Buddhism does is explaining the psychological and historical reasons of social suffering depending on the theory causality. 

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