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“Buddhism and Its Social Aspects”

What is the Buddhism? ...................................................................................................................1
The Aim of Buddhism......................................................................................................................1
The Way to Achieve the Final Goal..................................................................................................1
Political Theory in Buddhism ..............................................................................................................2
Buddhist Economical View .................................................................................................................5
Buddhist vision on Education ..............................................................................................................7
Buddhist attitude on illegalities, war and punishments ...........................................................................8
Position of women in Buddhist society...............................................................................................12
Social harmony peace and happiness..................................................................................................13
Conclusion .......................................................................................................................................15
Bibliography ....................................................................................................................................15
“Buddhism and Its Social Aspects”

What is the Buddhism?
Buddhism can be taken into two divisions that as religious and philosophical part. Mostly
religion is based on faith or beliefs. Believe in God, Christ, Allah, Free will, predestination,
heaven and hell, an afterlife, and reincarnation etc 1 . The origin of the word “religion”, that comes
from Latin “Religio” means obligation or to bind something2 . In this way, there is no anything to
bind in Buddhism. Therefore Buddhism is based on faith and there is nothing to believe. In the
particular activities such as chanting, rituals (Pūjā), homage, they are in religious part of
Buddhism. The philosophical part of Buddhism can be pointed out with particular systems of
philosophical thought such as reality, existence of five aggregates, study of the fundamental
nature of knowledge (phenomena), and sp ecially experience of practice or cultivation of the
mind. The origin of the word “philosophy” that comes from Old French “Philosophie”, via Latin
from Greek “Philosophia” means love of wisdom3 .

The Buddhism can be concluded mainly as a philosophy or as a path to cessa tion of

suffering of the world, and secondly as a religion with difference traditions and cultures without
non-Buddhist beliefs (Animism, Taoism, Jainism, and so on).

The Aim of Buddhism

Every religions or philosophies have the final goal or achievement. The Buddhist final
goal is actually Nibbāna (liberation) or transcendental happiness. In general interpretation of the
happiness is that can be explained in mundane happiness and supramundane happiness. The
elimination of the secular suffering leads to mundane happiness, and elimination of the ultimate
suffering leads to the transcendental or the supramundane happiness.

The Way to Achieve the Final Goal

If there is a goal and there should be a way to achieve it. Buddhist final goal can be
achieved through proper examination of Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Way in Pali called
Ariyo aṭṭhangiko maggo or Sammā paṭipadā. It is a gradual method (Anupubba paṭipadā). To

“Religion” Oxford dictionary. Eight edi.
“Philosophy” Oxford dictionary. Eight edi.

follow the noble eightfold path, we need to avoid sensory gratification or self- indulgence in Pali
Kāmasukallikānuyogo, which is following the way of satisfaction of the senses. The attachment
of the sensory pleasure is a cause of suffering. Also need to avoid self- mortification in Pali
Attakiḷamatānuyogo, which is giving suffering to life for the cessation of suffering.

Society means the interaction between two individuals or rather than two with sharing
their culture, tradition, and so on. “A large group of people who live together in an organized
way, making decisions about how to do things and sharing the work that needs to be done. All
the people in a country, or in several similar countries, can be referred to as a society”4 . The
Buddhist society is categorized into four groups; they are Bhikkhu (Monk), Bhikkhuṇī (Nun),
Upāsaka (Lay man) and Upāsikā (Lay woman). All the people are in the society included in this
category. The Buddha preached the doctrine for this society to promote their happy life in
righteous way.

Here, this article will be conducted with several subject areas of social philosophy such
as Political Theory in Buddhism, Buddhist Economical View, Buddhist vision on Education, and
Buddhist attitude on illegalities, war and punishment, Position of woman in Buddhist society,
Social harmony peace and happiness.

Political Theory in Buddhism

One of very important aspect of social philosophy is politics. In the time of the Buddha
there was monarchy as a political system of country. Nowadays it is changed into system of
republic, democracy etc. There is no matter with Buddhist principles of social politics whether
they are ancient political systems or present. Buddhism has recommended politics which can be
solved the entire social problems, because those are coming under the administration or
governance. It will be proved according to the Buddhist political theory.

There are several Suttas and Jātakas can be po inted out as Buddhist political principles.
There are seven consensuses are detailed in the Mahāparinibbāna sutta in Majjhimanikāya called
Satta aparihāniya dhamma (seven important rules), the Buddha referred to the group of
republican kings namely Licchavi5 .

1. as long as the Vajjians meet frequently and hold many meetings

2. as long as they meet together in unity, rise in unity and perform their duties in unity

“Society”. Cambridge Dictionary. Web 01 Feb. 2017

< >

Mahāparibbāna sutta, Dn II. pp.72-74

3. as long as they enact nothing not enacted, abrogate nothing that has already been
enacted, act in accordance with the already established ancient vajjian principles
4. as long as they support, respect, venerate and honor the vajjian elders, and pay regard
to their worthy speech
5. as long as no women or girls of their families are detained by force or abduction
6. as long as they support, respect, venerate those honor objects of worship, internal and
do not neglect those righteous ceremonies held before
7. as long as the rightful protection, defense and support for the Arahants shall be
provided by the vajjians so that Arahants who have not come may enter the
government and those who have entered the government may live in peace-so long
may the vajjians be expected not to decline, but to prosper

By following those rules the state will be pleased and recovered from any social problems.
The state fortified by the rules as a unity and confidence of the people. Those are not just rules,
and important principles to keep going on the government without any problem.

Another important political theory called Dasa Rāja Dhamma (Ten duties of the king) is
found in Jātakapāli. They are;

Charity (Dāna) – the king or governor has to reduce own defilements specially craving,
hatred and ignorance, and also defilements of people who are living under the state. Charity or
giving up is the best practice to reduce defilements.

Virtue (Sila) – virtue which is mainly prohibited unwholesome actions of verbal and
bodily. Within this principle the king, people and properties are safety in the county.

Altruism (Pariccāga) – altruism is practice of selfless or disinterestedness that is wishing

well-being of others.

Honesty (Ajjava) - behavior of the king or governor must be honest and right-minded, he
has to follow rules and regulations without taking partiality that will be made t he confidence of

Gentleness (Majjhava) – which has softness of actions, is called gentleness. When the
king gives punishment to the people, he should not give punishment roughly or not being careful
and gentle.

Self-control (Tapa) – the king has to have ability to eliminate own emotions, feelings,
thought and behavior which are in temptations and impulses, also having sensory pleasure, using
properties of country.

Non-angry (Akkodha) – usually a person becomes annoyance for the others by angry.
The ruler should not be a person who has anger.

Non-violence (Avihinsā) – the peace of the world is destroyed by violence. People cannot
be free from the fear if violence is performed in the society. Therefore, the king must have the
responsibility to get rid of fear using attitude of non- violence.

Tolerance (Khanti) – tolerance or patience is a willingness to tolerate something such as

others’ opinions, ideas, actions, behaviors etc and also to tolerate any problems or happens in
particular way of environment, people, animals or others.

Uprightness (Avirodha) – the king should not go against to righteous things such as
religious beliefs and activities or rituals. The king should be righteous person becoming a
example to the others, and should not allow anything in the country to occur corruption, crimes,
inequality, injustice, and so on.

Ulūka Jātaka 6 is pointed out that how to elect a king who can be accepted as own
governor or ruler with particular qualities. It gives us more information on a mechanics of
electing a ruler as anticipated in the Buddhist political system.

In Gandhatīndu jātaka 7 there was a king by name of Pañcāla, and he governed the
country unrighteously. Therefore the people in the country had miserable life and plundered by
robbers. Because of the careless governed it was going to ruin. Then the bodhisatta came to the
king and gave advices to him. There are unsuitable things which should be avoided by the king.
Some of them are sloth, pride, careless, disorder, astray, and so on, within those sinful things the
country can be gone into annihilated. Therefore the king should effort to control harms which are
helpful for the people to live without fear, trouble, worry, and within peacefully and happily.

According to Aggañña sutta of Dīghanikaya, there is political source that showing how
government or politics came into the society. In the very beginning of society people separately
partitioned the properties (rice- land) among them. One who was greedy, often he stole which is
not given to him. In this case, the people quarrel each other using stones, sticks etc. To solve this
problem the first king by the name of Mahāsammata was nominated by assembly of the people 8 .
They agreed to pay their harvest for him.

The Cakkavattishanāda sutta of Dīghanikāya pointed out ten political principles named
Noble Wheel-turner (Ariya cakkavatti)9 . When the divine wheel was disappeared, the king of
Dalhanemi who renounced the kingship became a sage-king. He recommended the crowned king
to follow the Noble wheel-turner. they are; yourself depending on the Dhamma, honoring it,

Ulūka jātaka, Jātakapāli I. p 136
Gandhatīndu jātaka, Jātakapāli II. p 156
Aggañña sutta, Dn III. p 93
Tena hi tvaṃ tāta dhammaṃ yeva nissāya dhammaṃ sakkaronto, dhammaṃ garukaronto, dhammaṃ mānento,
dhammaṃ pūjento, dhammaṃ apacāyamāno, dhammaddhajo, dhammaketu, sammādhipateyyo dhammikaṃ
rakkhāvaraṇaguttiṃ saṃvidahassu antojanasmiṃ. CakkavattisIhanāda sutta, Dn III. p. 61

revering it, cherishing it, doing homage it, venerating it, having the dhamma as your badge and
banner, acknowledging the dhamma as your master, you should establish guard, word and
protection according to dhamma for your own household, your troops, your noble and vassal,
for Brahmins and householders town and country folk, ascetics and Brahmins, for beasts and
birds. 10

According to those Buddhist political principles, the politics can be developed in better
and righteous way avoiding all the illegalities in a country.

Buddhist Economical View

Buddhism is reached beyond the worldly happiness to ultimate happiness. During achieve
it; people have to live in society without struggles in their life. The main absicht of the Buddhism
is none other than elimination of suffering. The Buddha said poverty as a suffering in the world 11 .
The economy is the system which poverty can be eliminated. The main point of economy should
be elimination of poverty. Why poverty is suffering? If there is poverty the people cannot have
even primary requirements to recovery their families. The primary requirements are food, clothes,
shelter and medicine. The Buddha pointed out the way to eliminate the suffering though the
eliminating of secular suffering that leads to secular happiness. The elimination of ultimate
suffering that leads to supramundane happiness. There are four kinds of happiness which can be
obtained from sound economy.

01. Atthisukha – the happiness of having

02. Bhogasukha - the happiness of enjoyment
03. Aṇanasukha - the happiness of non-debt
04. Anavajjhasukha - the happiness of false less

The Cakkavattisīhanada sutta of Dīghanikāya described how poverty comes into society
and which way can be removed it from society. If the king careless own people in the country
without providing capitals for them then the poverty will be raised 12 . Within this matter there are
so many social problems will be occurred such as stealing, killing, lying, slandering, after that
lifespan of the people will be degenerated until ten years old, also the people become ugly.
Therefore, the king has to have responsibilities to provide necessaries for the people. Farther
explanation, if a farmer the king has to provide good seeds, field, fertilizer etc. for him, if a
merchant the king should provide for him das capital, goods etc.

The long discourses of the uddha a translation of the Dīgha ikāya. pp.396-397
dāliddiyaṃ bhikkhave dukkhaṃ lokasmiṃ. Cakkavattisīhanāda sutta Dn III.p.70
adanānaṃ dhane anuppadiyamane daliddiyaṃ vepullamagamāsi. Cakkavattisīhanāda sutta Dn III.p.70

According to the Noble Eightfold Path there is right livelihood that can be considered as
living way of economy. The person should select the legal business for his economy. The
Buddha mentions specifically five kinds of livelihood which are brought harm to others and
therefore to be avoided such as, the business in weapons (sattha vanijjā), the business in human
beings & animals (satta vanijjā), the business in meat (māṃsa vanijjā): "meat" refers to the
bodies of beings after they are killed, he business in intoxicants (majja vanijjā), the business in
poison (visa vanijjā).

The Vyaggapajja sutta of Anguttaranikāya gives us four constituents as economical

development. They are

“Uṭṭhāna sampadā – Attainment of effort”. Effort or attempt of a person depend on own

capabilities. Therefore people have to effort to work continually without laziness. How to get
effort? There are several qualities such as, by persistent effort (Uṭṭhāna viriyādigatehi bhogehi),
with power of aims that means own effort (Bhāhābala paricitehi), flowing sweat that means
dedication of working (Sedā vakkhittehi), the way of earn weal should be righteously or right
livelihood (Dhammikehi), the receiving righteously (Dhamma laddhehi) 13 .

Ārakkasampadā - Attainment of watchfulness or protection. There are five ways of annihilation

the wealth. They are wealth may be lost in flood; wealth may be burned in fire, wealth may be
lost to king, wealth may be lost to thieves; wealth may be lost to unloving families 14 .

Kalyāṇamittatā – Association of people who are able, constructive and endowed with good
qualities. The companionship is one of very important factors in Buddhism. The Sigālovāda sutta
emphasizes there are eight types of companionships good and bad 15 .

Samajīvikatā - A balance life. The Sigālovāda sutta is described how to spend our wealth. “He
divides his wealth into four, one part he should enjoy, with two he invests in his work and the
fourth he should save should there be any misfortune 16 . How we spend wealth in our works?
Every person in the society has own responsibilities according to his interpersonal relationship.
He has to make happy and satisfies own self with keeping up and in the same way he have to
make satisfying the parents, wife and children, workers, friends, religious masters 17 . Another
four types of descriptions of spending wealth called Pañcabali. They are treatment for guests
(Atithibali), paying income tax for government (Rājabali), religious offering (Devatābali),

Pañcabhogādiya sutta, An III. p 45
Bhoga sutta, An III. p 420
Sigālovāda sutta, Dn III. pp 186-187
Ekena bhoge bhuñjeyya dvīhikammaṃ payojaye, ca tutta mpi nidāpeyya āpādīsu bhavissati.Sigālovāda sutta, Dn
III. p 188
Bhoga sutta, An III. p 420

treatment for the relatives (Ñātibali), and transferring merits to who departed relatives
(Pubbapetabali) 18 .

There are another certain qualities of a person who can successful economy, in Pali term
“Patirupakāri dhuravā uṭṭhātā vindate dhanaṃ”. “Patirupakāri” means the person who does
appropriate things for his economy. People have the different capacity to do something, and here,
according to own capacity he has to select the business which is capable for him. “Dhuravā”
means one who has the responsibilities according to what he selected for wealth. “Uṭṭhātā”
means one who has great attempt on his works.

Buddhist vision on Education

Buddhism has responsibilities in any aspect of social philosophy. The Buddhist vision on
education can be interpreted as a personality transformation into a highest form of the humanity
through ethical, intellectual, spiritual perfection and those are leading a person through secular
happiness to ultimate happiness which is the highest achievement we all are equally looking for,
that is called the perfect ultimate wisdom in Pali Nibbāna or Anuttaraṃ Sammāsambodhiṃ. In
this way the Buddhist education is grounded on the physiological and psychological of all living
beings. The Buddhist education is all round development of a person’s personality, which is
including physical, mental, moral and intellectual development. According to that there is not
any harmful, immoral, wicket, cruel, or unwise person in the society. Society will be the most
happiness secularly.

The system of the Buddhist education mainly depend on three divisions called
Tividhasāsana. They are Teaching (Paññatti), practice (Paṭipatti) and comprehension or
penetration (Paṭivedha). Firstly person needs to have primary knowledge of phenomena then he
should practice it without only collection of the doctrine. Both teaching and practice are essential
of Buddhist education like both legs of a man. There is nothing to do in penetration and it will be
after qualifying our practices.

There are four elements those are talking in Buddhist educational field (mainly for the
developing mind) such as Listening more (Bahusutā honti), known by heart or keeping mind
(Dhatā), practice in repeating (Vacasā paricitā), looked at with mind or pay consideration to it
(Manasānupekkhitā), thoroughly understanding without wrong view (Diṭṭhiyā suppaṭividdhā)19 .

Usually Buddha taught to the people concerning mental and environmental situation.
When Angulimāla murder asked uddha to stop, the uddha replied him “I am already stopped,
you should stop”. Then he confused and immediately asked uddha “if you already stopped,

Pañcabhogādiya sutta, An III. p 45
Kusinārā sutta, An V. p 80

why I cannot catch you?” Then Buddha explained him what does it means that he said. The
uddha’s idea was he already stopped all of unwholesome actions. Ultimately Angulimāla
attained in to ibbāna.

When Kisagotami took dead body of her son and asked medicine to cure the dead son. Then
Buddha let her find a handful of mustard seeds where the house does not have funeral. She went
house to house and she realized herself that there is no house which has not funeral, she came to
conclusion everyone dies, not only it is with own son.

After death of Sirimā who was one of famous and beautiful courtesan in India at the
uddha’s time, the Buddha wanted to teach about nature of the human body though her dead
body. Then the dead body was kept in the cemetery for three days. After that the king imbisāra
assembled people and asked them to buy her body. So there is nobody to buy her dead body even
giving the free. But when her alive there were so many people had bought her body paying very
higher amount of money. Then Buddha preached to them the real nature of the beings or five

The practical way of the Buddhism usually depends on true understanding of own five
aggregates. After that true understanding of five aggregates others, finally right understanding on
it comparing between own and other five aggregates 20 . Then he comes to fully realization of all
round the world.

Mostly the Buddha preached the doctrine which is regarded the non-attachment, non-
hatred and non-delusion. When a person is free from those three roots of unwholesome, he will
be free from all the suffering in the circle of the birth (saṃsara).

Buddhist attitude on illegalities, war and punishments

Whatever not allowed by the law can be considered as illegalities such as crimes,
corruptions, commit suite, drunken addiction, violence, conflict, and so forth.

Conflict can be interpreted as a disagreement of between two individuals or a group,

which is containing difference between two or more beliefs, ideas, or interests. There are many
conflicts such as organization conflict, employment conflict etc.

Commit suite is another social problem in the world. There are many issues for the
commit suite such as economical problems, love matter, unethical relationship, and failing of

Mahāsatipattāna sutta, Dn II. p 292

Drunken addiction is also increasing that is not easy to give solution today. Most of
people are addicted to intoxicants without age stratification because of misguiding, bad
friendship, love affair, tension and so on.

Violence; today violence is one of big matter with human, mostly domestic violence.
Social violence can be defined that physical force or power, threatened or against oneself,
another person, or against a group or community, with resulting in injury, death, psychological
harm or deprivation. Unethical relationship, sexual unsatisfaction, economy problem and
misunderstanding can be regarded as causes of violence in the present. The Buddhism does not
allow violence, war and conflict to occur in the society.

According to Buddhism, three unwholesome roots are the main causes for all the
illegalities. Also another barrier in our mind is five hindrances (Nivaraṇa). They are sensual
desire (kāmacchanda), ill-will (vyāpāda), lethargy and laziness (thīna-middha), restlessness
regrets (uddhaccha-kukkuccha), and skeptical doubt (vicikicchā). Another psychological cause of
illegalities is partialities those are prejudice of sensual desire (chandāgati), prejudice of hatred
(Dosāgati), prejudice of fear (Bhayāgati), and prejudice of delusion or ignorance (Mohāgati).

According to the Ariyapariyesana sutta of Majjhima Nikaya, there are two researching
such as Noble Research and Non-Noble Research. Usually human being has to face birth (Jāti),
Decay (Jarā), Disease (Vyādhi), Death (Maraṇa), which is mentioned as non-noble research.
The noble research should be to deny those sufferings in the life 21 .

According to the Mahānidāna sutta of Dīghanikāya feeling is the root for social conflicts
and keeping on this as based desire which leads to searching more and more greedy, which leads
to receiving, which leads to decide to have more receiving, which leads to sensual desire, which
leads to grasping, which leads to niggardliness, which leads to protection, which leads to
conflicts 22 . Therefore person should avoid desire which can be led to more greedy and leading to
until become a conflict.

According to the Cakkavattisīhanāda sutta person should abstain from poverty. Poverty is
root for all the conflicts. When government does not give social welfare to the people, then they
become poor. Then poverty leads to stealing, killing, lying, slandering, etc. Likewise human’s
moralities are decaying gradually. In this time, human lost their human qualities and dignity,
finally they become as animals who engage sexual intercourse with own family members, and
also their lifespan is decreased till ten years old 23 .

Ariyapariyesana sutta, Mn I. p. 161
iti kho panetam ānanda vedanaṃ paṭicca taṇhā, taṇhāṃ pa ṭicca pariyesanā, pariyesana ṃ paṭicca lābho,
lābhaṃ paṭicca vinicchayo, vinicchayaṃ pa ṭicca chandarāgo, candarāgaṃ paṭicca ajjhosānaṃ, ajjhosānaṃ paṭicca
pariggaho, pariggahaṃ paṭicca macchariya ṃ, macchariyaṃ pa ṭicca ārakkho, ā rakkhādhikaraṇaṃ paṭicca
daṇdādāna satthādānakalahaviggahavivādatuṃ. Mahānidāna sutta, Dn II. pp 58-59
Cakkavattisīhanāda sutta, Dn III.p 70

According to the Aggañña sutta of Dīghanika explained greedy as a main cause of
illegalities. Their coarser body also became in different such as beautiful and ugly, sex between
male and female, so on. Because of this matter they looked at each other with lustful volitions
and had sex, these processes of being gradually were increasing much defilement such as greedy,
attachment, hatred, jealous, etc 24 .

efore promulgating Vinaya rules uddha used to straighten bhikkhu’s offence ( yati
samvara through sīla sikkha. Related to this there are enough references in the Sāmagāma Sutta
of Majjhimanikāya. The Sutta mentions six influences of occurring conflicts (cha vivāda mūlani).

1. Being endowed with anger and hatred

2. Considering oneself as compared with other great people
3. Being endowed with envy and avarice
4. Being cunning and trickster
5. Expecting respect by pretending highness
6. Trying to prove mere one’s opinion with not bearing another party’s idea. 25

Furthermore, the sutta mentions four reasons of occurrence of a conflict (cattāro adhikaraṇā).

01 ivadhikaraṇa (problems arose of determining a complain toward a monk or a

complain done by monk)
02 nuvādādhikaraṇa (problems arise of deciding the characteristic or a criteria of
offence and complain done by monk)
03 Āpatyādhikaraṇa (problem arise of deciding that in which the offences and
complains falls among sikkhāpada category)
04 Ki ādhikaraṇa (problem arise of directing penalty for offender monk) 26

The method of settlement of case in uddhism can be referenced from Anguttaranikāya.

There are five types of committee to resolve the social conflict 27 .

01 Sabhaggata - Interrogating individually by calling him forth

02 Parisabhaggata - Interrogating group by calling them forth
03 Ñāti majjha ata - Interrogating at the middle of relations
04 P amajjha ata - Interrogating at the middle of grade
05 ājakula majjha ata - Interrogating at the middle of ministers

Aggañña sutta, Dn III. p 92
ā ā ā ā ā
mi ā ā ā ā ā …Sā agā a S a, Mn II. p 245
Sā agā a S a, Mn II. p 247
Tikanipāta, puggalavagga, An I. p 118

This regards us the present method of questioning for the evidence in courts. Hence the
discourse mentions there were three sorts of people who were to appear for evidences.

01. utha hāni

02. Puppha hāni and
03. adhu hāni 29

Here, uthabhāni refers to be a liar such as a witness who is presented to forth for testify.
His characteristic is pretending as unknown though being known, pretending as known though
being unknown, pretending as seen through being unseen, pretending as unseen though being
seen30 . Pupphabhāni is a witness who utters only truth 31 . Madhubhāni is a witness who utters
noble and moral words other than harsh words 32 .

There are five recognized courts in uddha’s era such as

Saha at ti sahayaṭhit , Sa hā - When conflict arises between group of people or

relatives firstly they attempt to resolve conflict keeping a person who is respected from both
sides as a judgment.

Parisaha at ti āmaparisāya ṭhit - If the case is not solved in following manner the
groups are taken to a committee which is appointed of accepted elders of particular village.

Ñātimajjha at ti dāyādānam majjhe ṭhit - Again if it unsolved they are presented to

the committee appointed of relatives.

P a majjhe at ti seṇinam majjhe ṭhit , p a - Thus, if the case is enough strong that
even could not solve by the relative committee, they are judge in a grade that can be considered
as present district court which has enough power rather than mentioned before.

ājakula majjha at ti rājakulassa majjhe mahā vini haye ṭhit - If the case is rather
extended that could not solved even by committee of grade the case are handed to royal court.

The aforementioned some information on five types of courts is similar characteristic of

the current court in Sri Lanka. Sabhā is similar to the Samatha Maṇḍalaya, Pūga is similar to the
high court and Rājakula is similar to the Supreme Court.

ā ᷉ā ā
ā ā … a nipāta, puggalavagga, An I. p 118
ā ā ā ā ā
ā …”sa e”
Idha bhikkhave ekacco ā ā ā
āā ā ā āā ā ā ā same”
ā puris ā ā
veddeti…”sa e”
ā ā ā ā ā ā
pahaya hoti“sa e”

The sanga society too has a court by the name of Sanghādhikaraṇa. In here, both
complainer and accused monk are uestioned whether they are satisfied or not their judgment to
court begins the progress. The commentary of Vinaya pitaka, Samantapāsādikā mentions that if
in that way the case is not resolved in the Sangha members then case will take into special
committee is Ubbāhika. After that there is long process for purification of accused monk.

The Vinayapiṭaka has mentioned there are seven Adhikaraṇasamathas to settlement of

any sort case related with discipline of a monk (Adhikaraṇāni samanti vūpasamantīti
Adhikaraṇa samathā). Buddha informed to sangha to settle the case which arise in bhikkhu
bhikkhuni in seven doctrinal methods namely:

01. Sammukhāvinaya (interviewing accused monk or disputants)

02. Sati Vinaya (being capable to remind the offence done by accused monk)
03. mu havinaya (accused monk had worked in unconsciousness)
04. Paṭiññātakaraṇa (accepting offence by accused monk)
05. e huyyasikā (taking decision in accordance with vote of sangha)
06. assapāpiyyasikā (declaring as offender to accused monk)
07. inavatthāraka (settlement of the case by removing complaint and penalty) 33

Position of women in Buddhist society

The topic that position of women comes under the one of main considerations in the
society which is more confabulated. Before giving introduction of the Buddhist attitude towards
women need to brind forward the situation of women in the Buddhist era, it is can be traced from
early Vedic literature such as the Rig-Veda and other scripture. In the brahmanical view point the
women are very lower than the man. Women were considered as burden and lower intelligent.
Therefore the religious higher achievement cannot be obtained. Manusmrti says there are no
specific sacrifice, no rite, and no ritual for the women34 . Their liberation can be obtained by only
treating husband well. She has to be obedience for him. Furthermore, says in Manusmrti “a
woman in childhood is protected by her parents, in her youth she is to be protected by her
husband and in her old age she is to be protected by her children” 35 . At the time of the Buddha
there was an idea of knowledge of two fingers. Whatever the place which should be achieved my
wise men and difficult to achieved, that position cannot be achieved by women who have
knowledge of two fingers 36 . In the Buddhist view point of women has the equal position to the
men. When Prajāpatidevi was going to pass away, she paid respect to the Buddha. Then Buddha

Vinayapiṭaka, pācittiyapāli, adhikaraṇasamathā. p 558
nāsti strīnāṃ prthak yajño, nāvrtaṃ napyaposataṃ - patim susrūyate yena, tena sarga mahīyate.
Buddhist monastic discipline. p 261
The Law of Manu.p.199
yaṃ taṃ isīhi pattabbaṃ, ṭhānaṃ durabhi sambhavaṃ - nāta ṃ dvangula paññāya, sakkā
pappotumitthiyā.Manusmrti. Sn I. p 129

re uested her that “in respected of the realization of the dhamma by the women some foolish
people have the doubt, in order to remove their wrong view perform miracle” 37

There is information in the Saṃyuttanikāya when the king Kosala was discussing with
Buddha a royal servant came and informed the king that daughter was born to the queen. Then
the king was sad concerning girl as lower place in society. Then the uddha mentioned “O’ king
a female child is more helpful than male child. In so far as the procreation is concerned. Women
may give birth to a male child that can become a King. She can be a devoted wife. A son that is
born to her can be a brave and wiser ruler 38 . the description of the Sigālovāda sutta about duties
of a husband and those duties are the mutual relation, husband must respect her and not to
despise, husband should not neglect own wife and go to other women and satisfy with them,
husband has to give the house responsibilities for her, finally should treat well giving ornaments
and dresses 39 . In the same way wife also have responsibilities such as house activities should
organized properly, providing hospitality to family member and other people at home, she also
have to satisfy with own husband without going to other men, should care the whatever collected
by husband, and she have to be clever and enthusiastic 40 .those duties are helpful to keep family
in happy.

Social harmony peace and happiness

The aim of the Buddhism is social peace and harmony which is leads to secular happiness
and finally supramundane happiness. Social harmony is the unity with peace. Happiness cannot
be obtained by war, conflict, violence etc. Disputation and conflict can be developed into a war.
Disputes arise because of non-accepted of one’s view. When one has a view he tries to expand it
to others. In the case, if others do not accept and they try to make popular own views then
dispute and conflict will be in the society. Firstly conflict arises in the mind then it spread into
the world. There are collective concepts which can be considered as seeds of a conflict such as
religionism, nationalism or racialism, language, traditionalism, and so on. Collective concepts
are grasped very hardly and difficult to remove them. The Buddhist advice is on this not to be
anger or pride (nākkositabbaṃ, nābhinanditabbaṃ) on that and must understand whether it is
good or bad, right or wrong. The Buddhism always tries to stop violence, conflict or any kind of
illegalities. For a instance, look at the external world comparing to own self with others do not
harm, do not kill because all frighten at violence, all fear death. Buddhist achievement is always
based on internal and external peace of the world (person). The special characteristic of Buddhist
purpose is not to take but to give up. Taking or grasping is the result of suffering. The

thīnaṃ dhammābhisamaye, ye bālā vimatiṃ gatā - tesa ṃ diṭṭhi pahānattaṃ, iddhiṃ pubbehi gotami. Buddhist
monastic discipline. p 266
Itthī ā ā ā ī ā ā ā ā
disaṃpati tā ā ā . Dhītā sutta, Sn I. p 86
Sigālovāda sutta, Dn III. p 190

Suttanipāta gives a reference that “if whoever grasped concept and view they live in the world
conflicting each other”41 . The Buddha advised that not to grasp even the doctrine “o’ monks, I
preach doctrine in comparison to a raft, it is only for the crossing over not to take” 42 .
Furthermore, he said “you should give up even the doctrine and no need to talk adhamma
(unwholesome) 43 . The seeds of the war are hidden in the mind those are grasping of desire
(kāmūpādāna), grasping of becoming (bhavūpādāna) and grasping of view (diṭṭhi upādāna).

The five precepts are the best seeds which can be sown in the mind to harvest peace and
harmony in the society. They are abstaining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and
intoxicating. Observation of five precepts should be done by individually but benefits of
practicing them are going to both individual and the society. It is as individual purification and
social well- fare. Also four cardinal virtues are other special factors such as

Loving kindness (Mettā) – is attitude of friendliness (mittassabhāvo mettā), wishing

others to be happy (Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā).

Compassion (Karuṇā) – is looking at whatever pain of others the nature of shaking heart
is called karuṇā.

Sympathy (Muditā) – is to be joyful looking at others happiness.

Equanimity (Upekkhā) – is patience or tolerance.

There are other principles for the social harmony and peace called ten bases of
meritorious activities in Pali dasa puññakiriya vatthu. They are giving up (Dāna), morality (Sīla),
cultivation of mind (Bhāvanā), transferring merits to other (Patti), rejoicing merits which is
given by others (Pattānumodanā), social and religious duties (Veyyāvacca), homage
(Apacāyana), talking good things (Desanā), listening good things (Suti) and right view (Diṭṭhiju).

The Sigālovāda sutta explained how to keep the interpersonal relationship without
occurring conflict, worry, upset, anger, and so forth. There are six interpersonal relationships
which are covered all relationships in a society such as parents and children, husband and wife,
teacher and student, friend and companion, employer and employee, religious master and
devotee. There are five duties for each relationship and there are six responsibilities only for the
religious master 44 .

Saññāca diṭṭhiñca, ye aggahetuṃ - te ghaṭṭhayantā, vicaranti loke. Māgandiya sutta, suttanipāta. p 166

kullupamaṃ bhikkhave dhamma ṃ desissāmi nittaraṇa tthāya no gahanatthāya. Alagaddūpama sutta, Mn I. p
Kullūpamaṃ vo bhikkhave ajānantehi dhammā vo pahātabbā, pageva adhammā. Alagaddūpama sutta, Mn I.
p 335
Sigālovāda sutta, Dn III. pp 188-189

When the society follows all those principles of Buddhism society will be a peaceful in
one unit.

We can come to conclusion the doctrine of the Buddha that he preached for forty five
years which was regarded to society, and contained all aspects of the society. The Buddhist
aspiration is “to abstain from all the unwholesome or evils and cultivate wholesome, purify the
mind”45 . Referring to the Visuddhimagga the people are usually in the inner tangle and the outer
tangle 46 , whoever able to establish well in virtue, develop ment of mind and wisdom, he succeeds
in disentangling this tangle 47 . Keeping mundane happiness as a chief purpose of Buddhism the
Buddha pointed out the principles which can be sown for the secular happiness concerning all
the aspects of society such as Political Theory, Economical View, Education, and those
principles are leading to avoid social conflict, war, crime, corruption, it will be guided social
harmony peace and happiness. Whoever achieves to mundane happiness of Buddhism then it will
take him in ultimate happiness which is fully freedom in the mind.

Anguttaranikāya I. ed. R.Morries, Warder, A.K. PTS., 1961

Anguttaranikāya III. ed. Hardy, E. PTS., 1976

Anguttaranikāya V. ed. Hardy, E. PTS., 1958

Suttanipāta. ed. Andersen, Dines and Smith, Helmer. PTS., 1913

The Jātaka I. ed. Fausboll, V. PTS., 1962

The Jātaka II. ed. Fausboll, V. and Rhys Davids, T.W. PTS., 1963

The Dīghanikāya II. ed. Rhys Davids, T.W. and Estlin carpenter, J. PTS., 1966

The Dīghanikāya III. ed. Estlin carpenter, J. PTS., 1976

The Majjhimanikāya I. ed. Trenckner, V. PTS., 1979

Sabba pāpassa akaranaṃ, kusalassa upasampadā-sacitta pa riyodapanaṃ, eta ṃ buddhānasāsanaṃ.
Dhammapadaya, Buddhavagga. p 91
The Path of Purificat ion, Visuddhimagga.p.5


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Ven. Dorapane Chandananda,

International Buddhist College,