Saturday, 26 March 2011

Views Expresses by Millionaires (Setthi)


In the contemporary society of the Buddha one significant social factor was the rich people named Setthis, they were a new class of wealthy men who earned money from local and international trade. They had enough wealth that even they could challenge the kings with their wealth. Many of the millionaires in the Buddha’s time were great supporters of religions. All religious men and people were greatly supported with the massive collection of wealth they had. Some of them expressed their pleasantness in the Buddha. They too help us to know how the contemporary people understood the Buddha.

Millionaire Sudatta or AnāthapiNDika having heard the ‘Buddha’ for the first time was very pleasant and wanted to meet the Buddha as soon as possible. The sudattasutta of SN explains his intention in the night to see the Buddha on following day with the below given stanza.

ßataM hatthi sataM assA - sataM assatharI sathA,
sataM kaJJA sahassAni - AmuttamaNi kundalA,
ekassa padavitihArassa - KalaM nagghanti soLasiM.

=Going to see elephants and horses, Mares and vehicles in hundred;
To see women in hundred thousand; (also) to see pearl, gem and earring
Do not worth one sixteen of the steps going to see the Buddha.

Having met the Buddha and followed His dhamma to the best he was great supporter of the BuddhasAsana and himself was a ßotapanna.

Other householders became Buddha’s followers not only by faith but being pleased to philosophical expositions of the Buddha. Potaliya who has been in the MN was such one who changed his attitude after a discussion with the Buddha. The Buddha addressed him as a Gahapati but Potaliya did not agree then discussed on the nature of real ascetic at last Potaliya change his views and became a Buddhist.

Once, Nigantanātaputta thought of sending Dīghatipassi or Upāli to discuss with the Buddha on the theory of kamma of two religions. Dīghatipassi did not want himself but Upali wanted to go and to see the Buddha, Gīghatipassi says to the other as follows,

ßamaNo gotamo hi mAyAvi, avattaniM mayaM jAnAti yayaM aJJatitthiyAnaM sAvakAnaM Avatteti.

=Indeed recluse Gautama is a magician, He knows a magic which turns the disciples of other religions (to Him).”

Upāli who never met the Buddha said “I will go to Him and make Him tired as a goat would be made tired by turning his hair here and there, like a drunker would wash his strainer in water putting it here and there and making him like an elephant bathing in water moving here and there.”

In the argument introducing the Jaina view Upāli said bodily actions are most significant but the Buddha said mental actions are most significant, in course of the discussion Upāli realized that the Buddha was correct and he was wrong and at the end he declared himself as a disciple of the Buddha until his life lasts.

abhikkantaM bho gotama . . .”
                                           (üpAlisutta, MN)

When Upāli requested for discipleship the Buddha rejected. He again requested twice and on the third time the Buddha said,

ånuviccakAraM kho gahapati karohi. anuviccakArakaM tumhA disAnaM JatamanussAnaM sAdhu hoti.

=O Householder! Think and decide, deciding after thinking is good for well known people like you.”

Upāli was marveled at the Buddha’s saying then üpAli says if I am becoming a disciple of other religions they are so glad that they hoist flags in this NAlanda but the Buddha is different, I heard many incorrect news before I came to the Buddha.

ßutaM metaM bhante samaN gotamo evaM hi mayhameva dAnaM dAtabbaM haJJesaM mayhameva sAvakAnaM dAnaM dAabbaM nAJJesaM sAvakAnaM . . . mayhameva dinnaM mahaphalaM nAJJesaM dinnaM mahapphalaM . . . atha ca pana bhagavA maM niganthesu dAnaM samadapeti.

This was uttered by üpAli when the Buddha instructed him to continue support to Nigantas even though he became a disciple of the Buddha.

These evidences show how the contemporary rich people viewed the Buddha and His personality

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bookmark Digg Bookmark Bookmark Facebook Bookmark Reddit Bookmark StumbleUpon Bookmark Yahoo Bookmark Google Bookmark Technorati Bookmark Twitter Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...