Buddhist principles on social relationship.

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<ul><li><p>POSTGRADUATE INSTITUTE OF PALI AND BUDDHIST STUDIES BUDDHIST PRINCIPLES ON SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP BY PHAM THI MINH HOA (Rev: DHAMMANANDI) 2003/MA/796 AN ESSAY </p><p>SUBMITTED TO THE POSTGRADUATE INSTITUTE OF PALI AND BUDDHIST STUDIES, </p><p>UNIVERSITY OF KELANIYA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF </p><p>MASTER OF ART 2003 </p><p>1</p></li><li><p> TABLE OF CONTENTS </p><p>I- Introduction: </p><p>The Buddhas teaching. 1 </p><p>Buddhist attitude on human relationship. 3 </p><p> II- Buddhist perspective on life and world. 5 </p><p> The state of social relationships at the Buddhas time 10 </p><p> III- Classification of social relationship. 13 </p><p> IV- The ten meritorious deeds as the skillful means 21 </p><p> V- Pancasila, the Five Precepts as the basic moral law. 24 </p><p> Social conflict, its causes and solutions. 27 </p><p> Conclution. 29 </p><p> ABBREVIATIONS </p><p> Digha Nikaya DN </p><p> Majjhima Nikaya MN </p><p> Samyutta Nikaya SN </p><p> Anguttara Nikaya AN </p><p> Khuddaka Nikaya KN </p><p> Dhammapada Dhp </p><p> Vinaya pitaka Vin. </p><p> Mahavagga Pali Mh. </p><p>2</p></li><li><p>I. Introduction:</p><p> The Buddhas Teaching</p><p>Among the religious founders of the world, Gotama Buddha left behind the greatest content of</p><p>teaching which was latter categorized into three divisions or Three Baskets (Tipitaka) or Five</p><p>Collections (nikya). All the Buddhas Teaching was written down which made up a huge file of fifty-two books that are deal with 84000 dhammas- Topics. Beside that there are Commentaries (Atthakath)and sub-commentaries (Tika). One may be surprised at it vast content and wonder how Buddhas</p><p>followers learn and practice the Teachers Messages!</p><p>Scholarly approach to the Buddhas Teaching would lead one to Philosophy, Psychology,</p><p>Sociology, Ethic, History, Linguistic, etc. Practical approach claims that Buddhism is a way of life.</p><p>When we speak of some thing as a way of life, it indicates principles that are accepted and lived by</p><p>people. These principles cover not only philosophical, psychological and social aspects, but ethical</p><p>value.</p><p>The Buddha often used the word Dhamma-Teaching, Vinaya-Discipline denoting his Teaching.</p><p>This Dhamma- Vinaya is a practical system leading to liberation from suffering. Ehi bhikkh,</p><p>svkhato Bhagavato dhammo cara brahma cariya dukkhassa antakiriya1- Come, bhikkhus, well</p><p>taught is this teaching, lead the holy life which will make an end of suffering.</p><p>In the very first Sermon the Buddha proclaimed his Middle Way (Majjhima piipada) and(Cattari ariya saccani) The Four Noble Truths which were considered as the fundamental teaching of</p><p>the Buddha. They are:</p><p>The Noble Truth of unsatisfactoriness (Dukkha sacca)</p><p>The Noble Truth of the Origin of suffering (Samudaya sacca)</p><p>The noble truth of cessation of suffering (Niroddha sacca) and </p><p>The Noble Truth of the path leading to cessation of suffering (Dukkha paipada niroddha-sacca).</p><p>1 Dhammacakkapavattanasutta,</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>The second Sermon is also addressed to the same group of listeners, the five ascetics at the Dear</p><p>Park. In this sutta the Buddha pointed out the three marks of existence: the changing nature (anicca) of</p><p>the five aggregates (khandha), what is constantly changing is unsatisfactory (yadanicca</p><p>tadadukkha), what is unsatisfactory and beyond subjective control has no substance to be enjoyed as</p><p>self (yadadukkhamtadanatta). The five ascetics grasped the meaning of the Buddhas words,</p><p>developed insight knowledge which penetrates into the real nature of existence and made an end of</p><p>suffering and they attained Arahantship, the highest stage of sainthood. We see in many suttas that the</p><p>audience listening to the sermon, developed insight and attained different stages of sainthood, or became</p><p>established in the Dhamma. The Buddha did not teach the same topic to everyone. Instead, knowing the</p><p>inclination of his listeners, he gave suitable teaching for the ripened beings in the audience. To some</p><p>groups he gave a progressive talk on the Dhamma, that is, to say, talks on charity (dna), talks onmorality (sla), talks on a better existence or heavenly states (sagga), the renunciation from sensual</p><p>pleasure (nekkhamma), etc. The ultimate goal of Buddhas Teaching is the liberation from samsra,the cycle of suffering of birth and rebirth, the extinction of all suffering, by attaining Nibbna, the</p><p>eternal peace.</p><p>The Buddha appeared in the human world and His Teaching is mainly concerning with human</p><p>affairs, human problems, and human nature within their conditions of worldly existence. For the</p><p>happiness, welfare, and betterment of people in this very life, he expounded the Dhamma. In the huge</p><p>content of the Buddhas Teaching, many discourses are concerned with social relationships, and the</p><p>ethical instructions on the matter, such as SingalovAdasutta, Cakkavattisutta, Ambalahasutta,</p><p>Aggaasutta ,Sakkapahsutta (DN), Magandiyasutta, Rahulvdasutta, Kosambiyasutta, (MN),</p><p>Kesamuttisutta, Mangalasutta, Mettasutta,(KN), and many events and accidents that are recorded in</p><p>the Viniyapitaka.</p><p>Buddhist Attitude on Human Relationship</p><p>Buddhism is a Homo- centric Religion, it means the Buddha teaching focuses on human matters,</p><p>human problems, human characters and human behavior, and these Dhammas deal with human</p><p>relationship.</p><p>4</p></li><li><p> No one doubts that human being is a social species. Man was born alone but for security, pleasure</p><p>and happiness he joins others. How does this come about? Since he was born, he was placed in a family</p><p>consisting of mother, father, and may be brothers and sisters. He has, in some way or other, influenced</p><p>by them. Later on he is sent to school. There are teachers and other students to whom in due course he</p><p>has to be accustomed. During his course of existence, he joins small or large groups of society, leaving</p><p>his influence on, or being influenced by them. In this way he is not an absolutely isolated island.</p><p>Associations and intimacies do not always provide security, pleasure and joy; but confusions, upsets and</p><p>conflicts are also bound to arise. Man must learn how to live harmoniously and happily among his</p><p>fellows and his environment. Positive religious and ethical teaching is this art of living with wise</p><p>reflection, understanding, toleration and responsibilities. Otherwise, if man just lives according to his</p><p>instinctive nature and impulsion, it would lead to many conflicts and suffering within each individual,</p><p>among other individuals and society.</p><p>What is the Buddhist attitude on human relationships? A message from the</p><p>Ambalahikrahulovdasutta throws some light on moral responsibility: </p><p>Rahula, when you wish to do an action with the body (speech, or mind), you should reflect on thatsame bodily (verbal, or mental) action thus: would this action that I wish to do lead to my ownaffliction, to others affliction, or to the affliction of both? Is it an unwholesome action with painfulconsequences, with painful results? When you reflect, if you know this action would lead to yourown conflict, or the conflict of others, or the conflict of both, with evil consequences, with painfulresults, then you definitely should not do such an action. But when you reflect if you see the actionwould not lead to any affliction, it is a wholesome action with pleasant consequence, pleasant result,then you may do such an action.</p><p>While you are doing an action, you should reflect</p><p>After you have done an action, you should reflect2</p><p>This message obviously expresses a sense of moral responsibility for ones own actions and the</p><p>consequences that would affect oneself or others. This sense of moral responsibility is base on wisdom,</p><p>the discriminative knowledge of good and bad, the knowledge of morality and immorality; and the</p><p>ability to reflect on each action and its consequences.</p><p>In another sutta, the Loving-kindness Discourse, a positive approach with concern to others is</p><p>taught: mt yath niya putta. Ayus ekaputta anurakkhe, evam pi sabbabhtesu, mnasa</p><p>2 M61, p524</p><p>5</p></li><li><p>bhvaye aparimna. Thus as a mother, might guard her son, her only child with all her life. Shouldone maintain unboundedly, ones good will for every living being.</p><p>It can be said that two main principles leading to Buddhist social philosophy are Wisdom (pa)and Compassion ( Krun). Wisdom manifests in wise attention (yonisomanasikara) which is the cause</p><p>for arising of right view3, reflection, and understanding things as they are (yathbhta dassana). TheBuddha said: whatever wholesome states, all of them are rooted in the proper attention (Ye keci kusala</p><p>dhamm, sabbe te yonisomanaraka ml). See things as they are or understanding is the higher degree</p><p>of wisdom, it implies a discriminative but calm and equable mind without agitation caused by likes or</p><p>dislikes.</p><p>Compassion (karun) and kindness (metta) manifests in deep awareness of the suffering and need ofother beings. Buddhist concept of compassion does not limit itself to humankind, compassion should be</p><p>suffused to all living beings without discrimination. Metta and Karun are two of the four</p><p>Brahmaviharas: Metta is kindness and care for others as well as for oneself; Karun is compassionate</p><p>feeling at seeing the suffering of others and arousing a wish to remove or relieve their suffering; Mudita</p><p>is sympathetic joy at seeing the success of others; Upekkh is equanimity, by viewing that living beings</p><p>have their own kamma. If every body practices the four Brahmaviharas, this world would be a perfect</p><p>place to live in, and there would not be a need to design a paradise!</p><p>II Buddhist perspective on life and world</p><p>Before we proceed to the Buddhist Principles on human Relationships I would like to take a</p><p>glimpse at the Buddhist perspective on life and world. Life (jiva), or being (bhta), or existence (bhva)</p><p>according to Buddhism is a phenomena that come into being by the force of kamma, volitional action</p><p>that performed in the past, and craving for existence: kammtah- craving for sense pleasures,</p><p>bhvatah- craving for better existence, Vibhavatah- craving for non-existence. Once venerableAnanda asked the Buddha: existence, what is called existence Lord? (bhavo bhavoti bhante vuccati).</p><p>Thereupon the Buddha answered:</p><p>Iti kho ananda kamm khetta vina bija, tah sineho. Avijjhanivarna sattnatanhsamyojanna hinaya dhatuy vina patihitna. Eva ayati punabbhabhinibbatti</p><p>3 M43,p390 , M117,p 934</p><p>6</p></li><li><p>hoti. Evam kho Anando bhavo hotiti4 In this way, Ananda, action is the field, consciousness is theseed, and craving is the moisture. For beings that hindered by ignorance, fettered by craving,consciousness is established in lower (middle and higher) world. Thus in the future there is repeatedrebirth. In this way there is becoming.</p><p>According to Buddhist philosophy, a human being is a combination of the five khandhas-</p><p>aggregates:</p><p>1. Rupakkhandha- the aggregate of materiality,</p><p>2. Vedanakkhandha- the aggregate of sensation,</p><p>3. Sannakkhandha- the aggregate of perception,</p><p>4. Sankharakkhandha- the aggregate of mental formation,</p><p>5. Vinnanakkhandha- the aggregate of consciousness.</p><p>The five khandhas are the object of clinging (upadanakkhandha) as I, mine, myself. The</p><p>Buddha always affirmed that his teaching is for the removing of this wrong notion. He teaches that none</p><p>of the five khandhas should be held as self or soul, also the combination of the five should not be</p><p>grasped as self or soul 5</p><p>. What is the world in Buddhism? World (loka) consists of three kinds:</p><p>1. Satta loka: World of sentient beings or the animate world.</p><p>2. Sakhra loka: The conditioned world (mental and physical phenomena)</p><p>3. Okasa loka: Space-world or inanimate world which form the habitat of living beings.</p><p>Buddhism views the world in the dynamic state of formation and ever changing. Sabbe sankhr</p><p>anicca: all conditioned things are impermanent. The beginning and the end of the world are</p><p>unperceivable. The Buddha does not encourage his disciples to speculate on the inanimate world.</p><p>Instead, he draught them to the inner world: the world of physical and psychological. It is in the fathom</p><p>long body of oneself with its perception and its mind that the Buddha describes the world, the origin of</p><p>4 AN i, sutta 76,775 Mahapunnaka sutta,MN</p><p>7</p></li><li><p>the world, the cessation of the world, and the way leading to the cessation of the world.6. Buddhism</p><p>rejects the existence of an almighty God, who created the world and every thing at will. The</p><p>Brahmajala sutta (DN 1) enumerates sixty-two kinds of views on beings and the world. The Buddha</p><p>stated that these views are either speculative or fanciful or based on limited and subjective experience,</p><p>all of them are incorrect views.</p><p>According to Buddhism, a person perceives the world through six sense bases: </p><p>o Eye perceive the visible object</p><p>o Ear .audible object.</p><p>o Nose ..olfactory object.</p><p>o Tonguetestable object.</p><p>o Body..tangible object.</p><p>o Mind perceives cognizable objects.</p><p>When the eye and visible object come into contact, eye-consciousness arises, there is no need for</p><p>interference of a divine-object (God or Brahma). Similar is the way of other sense organs in their</p><p>respective fields (visaya). In that way a person relates to the world; the process would run on like this: if</p><p>the object is attractive and agreeable, he likes it (tah arises), wants to seize it in order to have it longer</p><p>and intensify the pleasure (updna), and have it (bhva); if the object is undesirable and ugly, hedislikes it (dosa), wants it to be destroyed (vibhvatah), and shuns from it; if the object is not muchimpressive, he tend to be indifferent toward it, does not care for what is going on (moha or avijja</p><p>manifests here). It is very important to see the mechanical working of the sense bases, their objects, and</p><p>the psychological reactions. Then one would be disillusioned about a supernatural power outside who</p><p>would give rewards or punishments to him. Seeing how the mind working helps one to control over</p><p>himself in whatever controllable. </p><p> But things are ever changing: desirable object would give no more pleasure, and become</p><p>undesirable; sweetness would ferment to be sour; and tasty things overnight turn out bitter.6 Udana, p</p><p>8</p></li><li><p>Impermanence and evanescence of conditioned things give rise to a sense of un-satisfactoriness</p><p>(dukkha). No body would deny the fact of un-satisfactoriness of life; in Buddhism it is termed</p><p>dukkhasacca. In the first Sermon preached at Dear Park to the Five ascetics, the Buddha stated: Birth,</p><p>old age, disease and death are suffering; association with the undesirable, separation from the beloved,</p><p>and inability in getting what one wishes are suffering; in brief, the five aggregates of...</p></li></ul>


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