[Advaita-l] Buddha confirmed to preexisting social norms of the Vedic society of his time

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 19 03:23:52 EDT 2018

Namaste Subbu ji
That was a very interesting reference you provided.

Y. Krishan provides a nuanced presentation of Buddhist neutrality w.r.t.
the caste structures. Buddha taught individual emancipation and *not an
advocate of overthrowing Varnas and ashramas based social structures*  as
desirable for attaining nirvana.

There are many relevant ideas for example (  please excuse the font
On page 85
'Regarding the concept of the purity of caste blood, in the
Assalayana Sutta of the Majjhima (II 154), the Buddha maintains
that all castes are of equal purity: catu vannim suddhim paccaagato.
But he attacks the claims of the caste conscious brahmana to
social superiority (not on merit but.. )on the ground that his purity of
blood might
be suspect: jananti pana . . . yaa janimatu maataa yaava sattamaa maataa
mahayugaa braahmanam yeva agamaasi no abraahmana: "Do you know
for certain that your mother's mother and your grandmother
for seven generations had intercourse with brahmanas only and
never with non-brahmanas?" The Buddha goes on to repeat
the same for the father's side (sattamdpita mahayuga).

In the Ambaitha Sutta of Dighanikdya III, the Buddha recognises the
caste-superiority of ksatriyas over brahmanas by point-
ing out that the ksatriyas do not admit a child born of an
anuloma or pratiloma marriage into their caste, even though
the mother or father might be a ksatriya and the other a
brahmana. Such a child was admitted to the brahmana caste.
The Buddha therefore concludes that when one compares
women with women (itthiya va itthim) or men with men (purisena
va purisam), the kshatriyas are superior (settho i.e., shreShTha) to the
who are lower (hina). The Buddha avers: khattiyo parama
nihinatam patto hoti, even when a ksatriya is fallen in the deepest
degradation, khattiyo va setfha hino brahmano, the ksatriya is
superior, brahmana inferior. The Buddha quotes Sanam Kum-
ara, a Brahma god, to the effect that the ksatriya is the best
among those who believe in caste lineage (gotra): khattiyo setfho
jani tasmin ye gotta patisdrino.
Again, in the Esukdri Sutta, the Buddha's reaction to occu-
pational restrictions and rigidity in relation to various castes is
equivocal; all that he emphasises is that "if the service makes a
man bad and not good, it should not be rendered but if it makes him better
and not bad, then it should be rendered." He em-
phasises: "I assert that uccakullna, high class family, does not
enter into a man's being either good or bad, nor do good looks
or wealth, for you will find a man of noble birth who is a mur-
derer, a thief, a fornicator; therefore I assert that noble birth
does not make a good man . . . ."
 In other words, the Buddha
recognises the existence of the caste system and only emphasises
that it is the moral conduct of a person and not his caste that
determines whether he is good or bad. **This is saying the obvious;
it is no challenge to the caste system. **

On Mon 19 Mar, 2018, 11:51 AM V Subrahmanian, <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>

> Here is a study that cites the Buddhist texts to show that the caste
> system was happily accepted therein:
> https://www.jstor.org/stable/29757366?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
> And also this:
> [PDF]Buddhism and the Caste System
> <https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jiabs/article/download/8676/2583>
> https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jiabs/article/download/8676/2583
> <https://www.google.co.in/search?q=does+buddhism+accept+the+caste+system&oq=did+buddha+accept+caste&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l3.19970j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#>
>    1.
>    <https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:bzGUv731GvcJ:https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jiabs/article/download/8676/2583+&cd=21&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in>
>    2.
>    <https://www.google.co.in/search?q=related:https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jiabs/article/download/8676/2583+does+buddhism+accept+the+caste+system&tbo=1&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJpYeC3ffZAhVB6Y8KHfCJCGoQHwjYATAU>
> by Y Krishan - ‎Cited by 8
> <https://scholar.google.co.in/scholar?um=1&ie=UTF-8&lr&cites=5116982854571116670>
>  - ‎Related articles
> <https://scholar.google.co.in/scholar?um=1&ie=UTF-8&lr&q=related:fsh5mMssA0fOOM:scholar.google.com/>
> regards
> subbu
> On Sun, Mar 18, 2018 at 10:21 AM, Raghav Kumar Dwivedula via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Namaste
>> The relevance of the above topic is I admit somewhat indirect to
>> Vedic/vedantic study. But since it's claimed by a few that Vedic society
>> was supposedly inequitous while the Buddha was ostensibly a reformer, i
>> wanted to share this blog post from the blog of Dr.Koenraad Elst.
>> http://koenraadelst.blogspot.in/2012/05/buddha-and-caste.html?m=1
>>                Indians and Westerners who know Buddhism through Dr.
>> Bhimrao
>> Ambedkar and other modern pamphlet literature,  sometimes believe that the
>> Buddha started a movement of social reform, mobilizing against caste and
>> recruiting among low-caste people. As against this, Chinese and Japanese
>> Buddhists who have studied their religion only through its source texts,
>> think that Buddhism was an elite movement, recruiting among the upper
>> castes and patronized by kings and magnates. We will argue that these
>> believers are right, while the neo-Buddhists in India and outside
>> enthusiasts in the West are wrong.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list