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Buddha and His Dhamma by Dr. Ambedkar [ Book Part- 3 ]

What the Buddha Taught

Buddha and His Dhamma by Dr. Ambedkar [ Book Part- 3 ]

  • Part I — His Place in His Dhamma.
  • Part II — Different Views of the Buddha's Dhamma.
  • Part III — What is Dhamma.
  • Part IV — What is Not Dhamma.
  • Part V — What is Saddhamma


The Buddha claimed no place for Himself in His own Dhamma

1. Christ claimed to be the Prophet of Christianity.

2. He further claimed that he was the Son of God.

3. Christ also laid down the condition that there was no salvation for a person unless he accepted that Christ was the Son of God.

4. Thus Christ secured a place for Himself by making the salvation of the Christian depend upon his acceptance of Christ as the Prophet and Son of God.

5. Mohammad, the Prophet of Islam, claimed that he was a Prophet sent by God.

6. He further claimed that no one could get salvation unless he accepted two other conditions.

7. A seeker of salvation in Islam must accept that Mohammad is the Prophet of God.

8. A seeker after salvation in Islam must further accept that he is the last prophet.

9. Salvation in Islam is thus ensured only to those who accept these two conditions.

10. Mohammad thus secured a place for Himself by making the salvation of the Muslim depend upon his acknowledgement of Mohammed as the Prophet of God.

11. No such condition was ever made by the Buddha.

12. He claimed that he was no more than the natural son of Suddhodana and Mahamaya.

13. He carved for himself no place in his religion by laying down any such conditions regarding himself for salvation as Jesus and Mahommad did.

14. That is the reason why we are left to know so little about himself even though abundant material was available.

15. As is known, the first Buddhist congregation was held soon after the death of the Buddha at Rajagraha.                                             

16. Kassyappa presided over the congregation. Anand, Upali and many others who belonged to   Kapilavatsu and who wandered with him wherever he went and were with him till his death were present.

17. But what did Kassyappa the President do ?

18. He asked Anand to repeat the Dhamma and put the question to the congregation, " Is this right?" They answered in the affirmative. And Kassyappa then closed the question.

19. Thereafter he asked Upali to repeat the Vinaya and put the question to the congregation, " Is this right ?" They answered in the affirmative. Kassyappa then closed the question.

20. Kassyappa then should have put the third question to someone present in the congregation to record some important incidents in the life of the Buddha.

21. But Kassyappa did not. These were the only two questions with which he thought the Sangh was concerned.

22. If Kassyappa had collected the record of the Buddha's life we would have had today a full-fledged biography of the Buddha.

23. Why did it not strike Kassyappa to collect the record about the Buddha's life?

24. It could not be indifference. The only answer one can give is that the Buddha had carved no niche for himself in his religion.

25. The Buddha and his religion were quite apart.

26. Another illustration of the Buddha keeping himself out of his religion is to be found in his refusal to appoint a successor.

27. Twice or thrice the Buddha was requested by his followers to appoint a successor.

28. Every time the Buddha refused.

29. His answer was, "The Dhamma must be its own successor.

30. " Principle must live by itself, and not by the authority of man.

31. "If principle needs the authority of man it is no principle.

32. "If every time it becomes necessary to  invoke the name of the founder to enforce the authority of Dhamma then it is no Dhamma."

33. Such was the view he took of his own position regarding his Dhamma.

 The Buddha did not promise to give Salvation. He said He was Marga Data (Way Finder) and not Moksha Data (Giver of Salvation)

1. Most religions are described as revelations. But the Buddha's religion is not a revelation.

2. A revealed religion is so called because it is a message of God to His creatures to worship their maker (i.e., God) and to save their souls.

3. Often the message is sent through a chosen individual who is called a prophet to whom the message is revealed and who reveals it to the people. It is then called Religion.

4. The obligation of the prophet is to ensure salvation to the faithful.

5. Salvation of the faithful means the saving of their souls, from being sent to hell provided they obey God's commands and recognise the prophet as his messenger.

6. The Buddha never claimed that he was a prophet or a messenger of God. He repudiated any such description.

7. A more important point than this is that his religion is a discovery. As such it must be sharply distinguished from a religion which is called Revelation.

8. His religion is a discovery in the sense that it is the result of inquiry and investigation into the conditions of human life on earth and understanding of the working of human instincts with which man born, the moulding of his instincts and dispositions which man has formed as a result of history and tradition and which are working to his detriment.

9. All prophets have promised salvation. The Buddha is the one teacher who did not make any such promise. He made a sharp distinction between a moksha data and a marga data, one who gives salvation and one who only shows the way.

10. He was only a marga data. Salvation must be sought by each for himself by his own effort.

11. He made this very clear to the Brahmin Moggallana in the following Sutta.

12. " Once the Exalted One was staying at Shravasti, in the East Park, at the storeyed house of Migara's mother.

13. " Then, the Brahmin Moggallana, the accountant, came to the Exalted One and gave him friendly greeting and after the exchange of courtesies sat down at one side. So seated, the Brahmin Moggallana, the accountant, said this to the Exalted One :

14. " ' Just as. Master Gautama, one gets a gradual view of this storeyed house, a progress, a graduated path, and so on right up to the last step of the stairs, just so is the progressive training of us Brahmins : that is to say, in our course of study in the Vedas.'

15. " ' Just as in a course of archery, Gautama, with us the Brahmins, the training, the progress, the approach is step by step; for instance, in counting.'

16. " ' When we take a private pupil we make him count thus: 'One one, twice two, thrice three, four times four, and so on up to a hundred.' Now is it possible. Master Gautama, for you to point to a similar progressive training on the part of your followers in your Dhamma.'

17. " ' It is so, Brahmin. Take the case, Brahmin, of a clever horse-trainer. He takes a thoroughbred in hand, gives him his first lesson with bit and bridle, and then proceeds to the further course.'

18. " ' Just so. Brahmin, the Tathagata takes in hand a man who is to be trained and gives him his first lesson, thus : ' Come thou, brother ! Be virtuous. Abide, constrained by the restraint of the obligation.'

19. " ' Become versed in the practice of right behaviour ; seeing danger in trifling faults, do you undertake the training and be a pupil in the moralities.' 

20. " ' As soon as he has mastered all that, the Tathagata gives him his second lesson, thus : ' Come thou brother ! Seeing an object with the eye, be not charmed by its general appearance or its details.'

21. "'Persist in the restraint of that dejection that comes from craving, caused by the sense of sight uncontrolled, these ill states, which would overwhelm one like a flood. Guard the sense of sight, win control over the sense of sight.'

22. " ' And so do with the other organs of sense. When you hear a sound with the ear, or smell a scent with the nose, taste a taste with the tongue, or with body touch things tangible, and when with mind you are conscious of a thing, be not charmed with its general appearance or its details.'

23. " ' As soon as he has mastered all that, the Tathagata gives him a further lesson, thus : ' Come thou, brother ! Be moderate in eating ; earnest and heedful do you take your food, not for sport not for indulgence, not for adding personal charm or comeliness to body, but do it for body's stabilising, for its support, for protection from harm, and for keeping up the practice of the righteous life, with this thought ; ' I check my former feeling. To no new feeling will I give rise, that maintenance and comfort may be mine.'

24. " ' Then, Brahmin, when he has won restraint in food, the Tathagata gives him a further lesson thus : ' Come thou, brother ! Abide given to watchfulness. By day, when walking or sitting, cleanse your heart from things that may hinder you. By night spend the first watch walking up and down or sitting and do likewise. By night in the second watch, lie down on the right side in the posture of a lion, and placing one foot upon the other, mindful and self-possessed, set your thoughts on the idea of exertion. Then in the third watch of the night rise up, and walking up and down, or sitting, cleanse the heart of things that may hinder.'

25. " ' Then, Brahmin, when the brother is devoted to watchfulness, the Tathagata gives him a further lesson, thus : ' Come thou, brother !   Be possessed of mindfulness and self-control. In going forth or going back, have yourself under control. In looking forward or looking back, in bending or relaxing, in wearing robes or carrying robe and bowl, in eating, chewing, tasting, in easing yourself, in going, standing, sitting, lying, sleeping or waking, in speaking or keeping silence have yourself under control.'

26. " ' Then Brahmin, when he is possessed of self-control, the Tathagata gives him a further lesson thus : ' Come thou, brother !  Seek out a secluded lodging, a forest or root of a tree, a mountain or a cave or a mountain grotto, a charnel field, a forest retreat, the open air, a heap of straw.' And he does so. And when he has eaten his food he sits down crosslegged, and keeping his body straight up, he proceeds to practise the four ecstacies.'

27. " ' Now, Brahmin, for all brothers who are pupils, who have not yet attained mastery of mind, who abide aspiring, for such is the manner of my training.'

28. " ' But as to those brethren who are arhants, who have destroyed the asavas, who have lived the life, done their task, laid down the burden, won their own salvation, utterly destroyed the fetters of becoming, and are released by the perfect insight, for such as those these things are conducive to ease in the present life and to mindful self-control as well.'

29. "When this was said, the Brahmin Moggallana, the accountant, said to the Exalted One :

30. " ' But tell me, Master Gautama. Do the disciples of the worthy Gautama,—do all of them win the absolute perfection which is Nibbana : or do some fail thus to attain?'

31. " Some of my disciples. Brahmin, thus advised and trained by me, do so attain. Others do not,"

32. " But what is the reason, Master Gautama ? What is the cause, Master Gautama ? Here we have Nibbana. Here we have the Path to Nibbana. Here we have the worthy Gautama as instructor. What is the reason, I say, why some disciples thus advised and  trained do attain, while others do not attain ? "

33. "That, Brahmin, is a question that I will answer. But first do you answer me this, so far as you think fit. Now how say you. Brahmin—Are you well skilled in the road to Rajagraha?"

34. " I am, master, ' Skilled indeed am I in the road to Rajagraha ! '

35. " Well, thus instructed, thus advised, he takes the wrong road, and off he goes with his face set to the west.

36. " Then a second man comes up with the same request and you give him the same instructions. He follows your advice and comes safe to Rajagraha.

37. " 'That is my business?'

38. " ' What do I in the matter. Brahmin ? The Tathagata is one who only shows the way. ' "

39. Here is a full statement that he does not promise salvation. He only shows the way.

40. Besides what is salvation?

41. With Mohammad and Jesus salvation means saving the soul from being sent to hell by the intercession of the Prophet.

42. With Buddha salvation means Nibbana and Nibbana means control of passions.

43. What promise of salvation can there be in such a Dhamma ?

The Buddha did not Claim any Divinity for himself or for his Dhamma. It was discovered by man for man. It was not a Revelation

1. Every founder of religion has either claimed divinity for himself or for his teachings.

2. Moses, although he did not claim for himself any divine origin, did claim divine origin for his teachings. He told his followers that if they wished to reach the land of milk and honey they must accept the teachings because they were the teachings of Jehovah the God.

3.  Jesus claimed divinity for himself. He claimed that he was the Son of God. Naturally His teachings acquired a divine origin.

4. Krishna said that he was God himself and the Gita was his own word.

5. The Buddha made no such claim either for himself or his Sasana.

6. He claimed that he was one of the many human beings and his message to the people was the message of man to man.

7. He never claimed infallibility for his message.

8. The only claim he made was that his message was the only true way to salvation as he understood it.

9. It was based on universal human experience of life in the world.

10. He said that it was open to anyone to question it, test it and find what truth it contained.

11. No founder has so fully thrown open his religion to such a challenge.


What others have understood Him to have Taught

1. "What are the teachings of the Buddha?"

2. This is a question on which no two followers   of the Buddha or the students of Buddhism agree.

3. To some Samadhi is his principal teaching.

4. To some it is Vippassana (a kind of Pranayam).

5. To some Buddhism is esoteric. To others it is exoteric.

6. To some it is a system of barren metaphysics.

7. To some it is sheer mysticism.

8. To some it is a selfish abstraction from the world.

9. To some it is a systematic repression of every impulse and emotion of the heart.

10. Many other views regarding Buddhism could be collected.

11. This divergence of views is astonishing.

12. Some of these views are those of men who have a fancy for certain things. Such are those who regard thai the essence of Buddhism lies in Samadhi or Vippassana, or Esoterism.

13. The other views are the results of the fact that the majority of the writers on Buddhism are students of ancient Indian history. Their study of Buddhism is incidental and occasional.

14. Some of them are not students of Buddhism.

15. They are not even students of anthropology, the subject matter which deals with the origin and growth of religion.

16. The question that arises is—" Did the Buddha have no Social Message ? "

17. When pressed for an answer, students of Buddhism refer to the two points. They say—

18. "The Buddha taught Ahimsa."

19. "The Buddha taught peace!"

20. Asked—" Did the Buddha give any other Social Message ?"

21. " Did the Buddha teach justice ? "

22. "Did the Buddha teach love?"

23. "Did the Buddha teach liberty?"

24. "Did the Buddha teach equality?"

25. " Did the Buddha teach fraternity ? "

26. " Could the Buddha answer Karl Marx ? "

27. These questions are hardly ever raised in discussing the Buddha's Dhamma.

28. My answer is that the Buddha has a Social Message. He answers all these questions. But they have been buried by modern authors.

The Buddha's Own Classification

1. The Buddha adopted a different classification of Dhamma.

2. The first category he called Dhamma.

3. He created a new category called Not-Dhamma (Adhamma) though it went by the name of Dhamma.

4. He created a third category which he called Saddhamma.

5. The third category was another name for Philosophy of Dhamma.

6. To understand His Dhamma one must understand all the three—Dhamma, Adhamma and Saddhamma.


To Maintain Purity of Life is Dhamma

1. "There are these three forms of purity... And of what sort is purity of body ?

2. "Herein a certain one abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sinful living. This is called ' purity of body.'

3. " And of what sort is purity of speech ?

4. "Herein a certain  one abstains from falsehood...

5. " And of what sort is purity of mind ?

6. " Herein a monk, if he have some personal sensual desire, is aware: ' There is in me sensual desire.' If there be none he is likewise aware of it. Also he is aware of how the arising of sensual desire not yet arisen comes about, and how it is abandoned when it has arisen, and how in the future there is no such arising.

7. "If he have some personal malevolence, he is aware ; ' There is within me malevolence.' Also he is aware of the arising . . . and the abandoning thereof, and of how in future there is no recurrence thereof.

8. " If he have some personal sloth-and-torpor . . . excitement and flurry . . . if he have some personal doubt-and-wavering, he is aware of the fact. Also of how (each of these) arises, is abandoned and recurs not again in future. This is called ' purity of mind.'

9. " He who is pure in body, speech, and mind, " Sinless and clean and blessed with purity,— " *Sin-washer' is the name men give to him."

1. " There are three forms of purity . . . Purity of body, purity of speech, purity of mind."

2. " And of what sort is purity of body ?"

3. " Herein a certain one abstains from taking life, from stealing from wrong practice in sensual lusts. This is called ' purity of body'."

4. " And of what sort is purity of speech ? "

5. " Herein a certain one abstains from falsehood . . . from idle babble. This is called 'purity of speech.' "

6.  " And of what sort is purity of mind ? "

7. "Herein a certain one is not covetous or malevolent of heart and has right view. This is called * purity of mind.' These are the three forms of purity."

1. There are these five weaknesses, which are a source of weakness to training. What five ?

2. Taking life; taking what is not given; lustful, evil practices ; lying ; and indulging in spirituous liquors, which cause idleness.

3. These are the five causes which lead to failure.

4. When these five sources of weakness to training are put away, four arisings of mindfulness should be made to become.

5. Herein a monk abides contemplating the body as body, strenuous, mindful and self-possessed, having overcome both the hankering and discontent common in the world.

6. He abides contemplating the feelings as feelings ...

7. He abides contemplating the mind as mind . . .

8. He abides contemplating ideas as ideas, strenuous, mindful and self-possessed, having overcome both the hankering and discontent common in the world.

9. When these five sources of weakness to training are put away, these four arisings of mindfulness should be made to become.

1. There are these three failures. Failure in morals, failure in mind, failure in view.

2. And of what sort is failure in morals? A certain one takes life, steals, is a wrong-doer in sensual desires, a liar, a slanderer, of bitter speech, an idle babbler. This is called " failure in morals."

3. And of what sort is failure in mind ?

4. A certain one is covetous and malevolent of heart. This is called " failure in mind."

5. And of what sort is failure in view ?

6. Herein a certain one holds the depraved, the perverse view that there is no (virtue in) alms giving, in sacrifice, in offerings : that there is no fruit, no result of good and evil deeds: that this world is not, that there is no world beyond: that there is no mother, no father, no beings of spontaneous birth : that in the world are no recluses and Brahmins who have won the summit, who have won perfection, who of themselves by their own in tuitional powers have realised the world beyond and can proclaim it. This, monks, is called " failure in view."

7. Monks, it is due to failure in morals, failure in mind and in view that beings, when body breaks up after death, are reborn in the Waste, the Way of Woe, in the Downfall, in Purgatory. Such are the three failures.

8. Monks, there are these three successes. What three ? Success in morals, success in mind, success in view.

9. Now of what sort is success in morals ?

10. A certain one abstains from taking life and the rest . . . from bitter speech and idle babbling. This is called " success in morals."

11. And of what sort is success in mind ?

12. Herein a certain one is not covetous or malevolent of heart. This is called " success in mind."

13. And of what sort is success in view ?

14. Herein a certain one has right view: he holds with certainty that there is (virtue in) almsgiving, in sacrifice, in offerings: that there is fruit and result of good and evil deeds: that this world is, that there is a world beyond: that mother, father and beings of spontaneous birth do exist: that in the world there are recluses and Brahmins who have realised the world beyond and can proclaim it. This, monks, is called " success in view." 15. It is owing to success in these three things that beings, when body breaks up after death, are reborn in the Happy Lot, in the Heaven World. Such, monks, are the three successes.

To Reach Perfection in Life is Dhamma

1. There are these three perfections.

2. Perfection in body, speech and mind.

3. And of what sort is perfection in mind ?

4. By the destruction of the asavas, realising in this very life himself, knowing it thoroughly—the heart's release, the release by insight which is free from the asavas, having attained it abides therein. This is called "perfection in mind." These are the three bodily perfections.

5. There are other perfections. The Buddha explained them to Subhuti.

6. SUBHUTI : What is a Bodhisattva's perfection of giving ?

7. the lord : Here a Bodhisattva, his thoughts associated with the knowledge of all modes, gives gifts, i.e., inward or outward things, and, having made them common to all beings, he dedicates them to supreme enlightenment ; and also others he instigates thereto. But there is nowhere an apprehension of anything.

8. SUBHUTI : What is a Bodhisattva's perfection of morality ?

9. the lord : He himself lives under the obligation of the ten ways of wholesome acting, and also others he instigates thereto.

10. subhuti : What is a Bodhisattva's perfection of patience ?

11. the lord : He himself becomes one who has achieved patience, and others also he instigates to patience.

12. subhuti : What is a Bodhisattva's perfection of vigour ?

13. the lord: He dwells persistently in the five perfections, and also others he instigates to do likewise.

14. SUBHUTI : What is the Bodhisattva's perfection of concentration (or meditation) ?

15. the lord : He himself, through skill in means, enters into the trances, yet he is not reborn in the corresponding heavens of form as he could ;   and others also he instigates to do likewise.

16. subhuti : What is a Bodhisattva's perfection of wisdom ?

17. the lord : He does not settle down in any dharma, he contemplates the essential original nature of all dharmas ; and others also he instigates to the contemplation of all dharmas.

18. It is Dhamma to cultivate these perfections.

To Live in Nibbana is Dhamma

1. "Nothing can give real happiness as Nibbana." So said the Buddha.

2. Of all the doctrines taught by the Buddha the doctrine of Nibbana is the most central one.

3. What is Nibbana ? Nibbana as taught by the Buddha has a totally different meaning and content than what has been given to it by his predecessors.

4. By Nibbana they meant the salvation of the soul.

5. Thus there were four ways in which Nibbana was conceived of: (1) Laukik (material, eat, drink and be merry type) ; (2) Yogic ; (3) Brahmanic and (4) Upanishadic.

6. There was one common feature of the Brahmanic and Upanishadic conceptions of Nibbana. They involved the recognition of a soul as an independent entity—a theory which the Buddha had denied. The Buddha had therefore no difficulty in rejecting the Brahmanic and Upanishadic teaching of Nibbana.

7.      The Laukik conception of Nibbana was too materialistic to appeal to the Buddha. It meant nothing but the satisfaction of man's animal appetites. There was nothing spiritual in it.

8.       To accept such a conception of Nibbana the Buddha felt was a gross wrong that can be done to a human being.

9. For the satisfaction of appetites can result only in creating more appetites. Such a way of life could bring no happiness, he thought. On the contrary, such happiness was sure to bring more unhappiness.

10. The Yogic conception of Nibbana was a purely temporary state. The happiness it brought was negative. It involved disassociation from the world. It avoided pain but gave no happiness. Whatever happiness it may be said to bring lasted as long as the yoga lasted. It was not permanent. It was temporary.

11. The Buddha's conception of Nibbana is quite different from that of his predecessors.

12. There are three ideas which underlie his conception of Nibbana.

13. Of these the happiness of a sentient being as distinct from the salvation of the soul is one.

14. The second idea is the happiness of the sentient being in Samsara while he is alive. But the idea of a soul and the salvation of the soul after death are absolutely foreign to the Buddha's conception of Nibbana.

15. The third idea which underlies his conception of Nibbana is the exercise of control over the flames of the passions which are always on fire.

16. That the passions are like burning fire was the text of a sermon which the Buddha delivered to the Bhikkus when he was staying in Gaya. This is what he said:

17. " All things, O Bhikkus, are on fire. And what, 0 Priests, are all these things which are on fire ?

18. " The eye, O Bhikkus, is on fire ; forms are on fire ; eye-consciousness is on fire ; impressions received by the eye are on fire ; and whatever sensation, pleasant, unpleasant, - or indifferent, originates in dependence on impression received by he type, that also is on fire."

19. "And with what are these on fire?"

20. " With the. fire of passion say I, with the fire of hatred, with the fire of infatuation ; with birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief and despair are they on fire."

21. "The ear is on fire ; sounds are on fire ;   the nose is on fire ; odours are on fire ; the tongue is on fire ; tastes are on fire ; the body is on fire ; ideas are on fire ; and whatever sensation, pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent, originates in dependence on impression received by the mind, that also is on fire.

22. "And with what are these on fire?"

23. " With the fire of passion, say I ; with the fire of hatred ; with the fire of infatuation ; with birth ; old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, and despair are they on fire."

24. " Perceiving this, O Bhikkus, the learned and noble conceives an aversion. And in conceiving this aversion, he becomes divested of passion, and by the absence of passion he becomes free, and when he is free he becomes aware that he is free."

25. How can Nibbana give happiness ? That is the next question which calls for explanation.

26. The common notion is that man is unhappy because he is in want. But this is not always true. Man is unhappy even though he is in the midst of plenty.

27. Unhappiness is the result of greed, and greed is the bane of life of those who have as well as of those who have not.

28. This the Buddha has made clear in a sermon delivered to the Bhikkus in which he said.

29. " Excited by greed (lobha), brothers, furious with anger (dosa), blinded by delusion (moha), with mind overwhelmed, with mind enslaved, men reflect upon their own misfortune, men reflect upon the misfortune of others, men experience mental suffering and anguish.

30. If, however, greed, anger and delusion are done away, men reflect neither upon their own misfortune nor on mental suffering and anguish.

31. Thus, brothers, is Nibbana visible in this life and not merely in the future ; inviting, attractive, accessible to the wise disciple."

32. Herein lies the explanation of what consumes man and makes him unhappy. By using this analogy of burning fire to the working of human passions the Buddha has given the most forceful explanation for the unhappiness of man.

33. What makes man unhappy is his falling a prey to his passions. These passions are called fetters which prevent a man from reaching the state of Nibbana. The moment he is free from the sway of his passions, i.e., he learns to achieve Nibbana, man's way to happiness is open to him.

34.These passions, according to the Buddha's analysis, fall under three groups.

35. First: that which refers to all degrees of craving or attachment—such as lust, infatuation and greed (lobha).

36. Second: that which refers to all degrees of antipathy—hatred, anger, vexation or repugnance (dosa).

37. Third: that which refers to all degrees of ignorance—delusion, dullness and stupidity (moha or avidya).

38. The first and second fires relate to the emotions and over the whole scale of one's attitudes and feelings towards other beings, while the third fire relates to all ideas that are in any way removed from the truth.

39. There are certain misunderstandings about the Buddha's doctrine of Nibbana.

40. The word Nibbana etymologically means outblowing, extinguishing.

41. Taking hold of this root meaning of the word, critics have tried to make nonsense of the doctrine of Nibbana.

42. They hold that Nibbana means extinction of all human passions which is equivalent to death.

43. They have by this means tried to throw ridicule over the doctrine of Nibbana.

44. That such is not the meaning of Nibbana is quite clear if one examines the language of the fire sermon.

45. The fire sermon does not say that life is burning and death is extinction. It says passions are on fire.

46. The fire sermon does not say that the passions must be extinguished completely. It says do not add fuel to the flame.

47. Secondly, critics have failed to make a distinction between Nibbana and Parinibbana.

48. As the Udana says: "Parinibbana occurs when the body becomes disintegrated, all perceptions become stopped, all sensations die away, the activities cease and consciousness goes away. Thus Parinibbana means complete extinction."

49. Nibbana can never have this meaning. Nibbana means enough control over passion so as to enable one to walk on the path of righteousness. It was not intended to mean. anything more.

50. That Nibbana is another name for righteous life is made clear by the Buddha himself to Radha.

51. Once the venerable Radha came to the Exalted One. Having done so he saluted the Exalted One and sat down at one side. So seated the venerable Radha thus addressed the Exalted One: " Pray Lord, what for is Nibbana?"

52. " Nibbana means release from passion " replied the Lord.

53. " But Nibbana, Lord,—what is the aim of it?"

54. " Rooted in Nibbana, Radha, the righteous life is lived. Nibbana is its goal. Nibbana is its end."

55. That Nibbana does not mean extinction is also made clear by Sariputta in the following sermon:

56. " Once the Blessed Lord was staying at Shravasti in Anathpindika's Arama where Sariputta was also staying.

57. "The Lord, addressing the brethren, said : ' Almsmen, be ye partakers not of the world's goods but of my doctrine; in my compassion for you all I am anxious to ensure this.'

58. " Thus spoke the Lord, who thereupon rose and passed to his own cell.

59. " Sariputta remained behind and the brethren asked him to explain what is Nibbana. 

60. " Then Sariputta in reply to the brethren said : ' Brethren, know ye that greed is vile, and vile is resentment.

61. "'To shed this greed and this resentment, there is the Middle Way which gives us eyes to see and makes us know, leading us on to peace, insight, enlightenment and Nibbana.

62. " ' What is this Middle Way ? It is naught but the Noble Eightfold Path of right outlook, right aims, right speech, right action, right means of livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration; this, almsmen is the Middle Way.

63. " ' Yes, sirs: anger is vile and malevolence is vile, envy and jealousy are vile, niggardliness and avarice are vile, hypocrisy and deceit and arrogance are vile, inflation is vile, and indolence is vile.

64. " ' For the shedding of inflation and indolence there is the Middle Way—giving us eyes to see, making us know, and leading us on to peace, insight, enlightenment.

65. " 'Nibbana which is naught but that Noble Eightfold Path.' "

66. Thus spoke the revered Sariputta—Glad at heart, the almsmen rejoiced at what he had said.

67. That the idea underlying Nibbana is that it is the path of righteousness. No one will mistake Nibbana for anything else.

68. Complete annihilation is one extreme and Parinibbana is another extreme. Nibbana is the Middle Way.

69. So understood all confusion about Nibbana will disappear.

To Give up Craving is Dhamma

1. In the Dhammapada the Buddha says: " There is no greater benefit than. health and there is nothing more valuable than the spirit of contentment."

2. This spirit of contentment is not to be understood to mean meekness or surrender to circumstances.

3. Because that would be quite contrary to the other teachings of the Buddha.

4. The Buddha has not said, " Blessed are they who are poor."

5. The Buddha has not said that the sufferer should not try to change his condition.

6. On the other hand, he has said that riches are welcome and instead of listless suffering he taught Virya which is energetic action.

7. What the Buddha meant when he said that contentment is the highest form of wealth is that man should not allow himself to be overpowered by greed which has no limits.

8. As the Bhikku Rathapala has said: " Rich men I see who, folly-led, never give, but still amass, athirst for pleasures new; the king whose conquests to the sea extend, for sway over empires overseas will pine, still craving, kings and subjects pass away; lacking, still lacking, they their bodies quit; never on earth can pleasures' measure be filled."

9. In the Maha-Nidan-Suttanta the Buddha has explained to Ananda the necessity of controlling greed. This is what he said.

10. "This it is, Ananda, that craving comes into being because of desire for gain, when desire for gain becomes a passion for possession when the spirit of possession gives rise to tenacity of possession it becomes avarice.

11. " Avarice or possession due to uncontrolled acquisitive instinct calls for watch and ward.

12. " Why is this craving or greed to be condemned ? Because of this," said the Buddha to Ananda, " many a bad and wicked state of things arises—blows and wounds, strife, contradiction and retorts ; quarrelling, slander and lies."

13. That this is the correct analysis of class struggle there can be no doubt.

14. That is why the Buddha insisted upon the control of greed and craving.

To believe that all compound things are impermanent is Dhamma

1. This doctrine of impermanence has three aspects.

2. There is the impermanence of composite things.

3. There is the impermanence of the individual being.

4. There is the impermanence of the self nature of conditioned things.

5. The impermanence of composite things has been well explained by the great Buddhist philosopher Asanga.

6. " All things," says Asanga, " are produced by the combination of causes and conditions and have no independent noumenon of their own. When the combination is dissolved, their destruction ensures.

7. " The body of a living being consists of the combination of four great elements, viz., earth, water, fire and air, and when this combination is resolved into the four component elements, dissolution ensues.

8. "This is what is called the impermanence of a composite entity."

9. Impermanence of the living individual is best described by the formula—being is becoming.

10. In this sense a being of a past moment has lived, but does not live nor will he live. The being of a future moment will live but has not lived nor does he live ; the being of the present moment does live but has not lived and will not live.

11. In short, a human being is always changing, always growing. He is not the same at two different moments of his life.

12. The third phase of the doctrine of impermanence is somewhat difficult for a common man to follow.

13. To realise that every living being will die sometime or other is a very easy matter to understand.

14. But it is not quite so easy to understand how a human being can go on changing—-becoming— while he is alive.

15. "How is this possible?" The Buddha's answer was, "This is possible because all is impermanent."

 16. This later on gave rise to what is called Sunnya Vad.

17. The Buddhist Sunnyata does not mean nihilism out and out. It only means the perpetual changes occurring at every moment in the phenomenal world.

18. Very few' realise that it is on account of Sunnyata that everything becomes possible ; without it nothing in the world would be possible. It is on the impermanence of the nature of all things that the possibility of all other things depends.

19. If things were not subject to continual change but were permanent and unchangeable, the evolution of all of life from one kind to the other and the development of living things would come to a dead stop.

20. If human beings died or changed but had continued always in the 'same state what would the result have been ? The progress of the human race would have come to a dead halt.

21. Immense difficulty would have arisen if Sunnya is regarded as being void or empty.

22. But this is not so. Sunnya is like a point which has substance but neither breadth nor length.

23. All things are impermanent was the doctrine preached by the Buddha.

24. What is the moral-of this doctrine of the Buddha? This is a much more important question.

25. The moral of 'this doctrine of impermanence is simple. Do not be attached to anything.

26. It is to cultivate detachment, detachment from property, from friends, etc., that he said "All these are impermanent."

To believe that Karma is the instrument of Moral Order is Dhamma

1. There is an order in the physical world. This is proved by the following phenomenon.

2. There is a certain order in the movements and actions of the starry bodies.

3. There is a certain order by which seasons come and go in regular sequence.

4. There is a certain order by which seeds grow into trees and trees yield fruits and fruits give seeds.

5. In Buddhist terminology these are called Niyamas, laws which produce an orderly sequence such as Rutu Niyam, Bija Niyam.

6. Similarly is there a moral order in Human Society. How is it produced ? How is it maintained?

7. Those who believe in the existence of God have no difficulty in answering the question. And their answer is easy.

8. Moral order, they say, is maintained by Divine Dispensation. God created the world and God is the Supreme Governor of the world. He is also the author of moral as well as of physical law.

9. Moral law, according to them, is for man's good because it ensues from Divine will. Man is bound to obey God who is his maker and it is obedience to God which maintains the moral order.

10. Such is the argument in support of the view that the moral order is maintained by Divine Dispensation.

11. The explanation is by no means satisfactory. For if the moral law has originated from God, and if God is the beginning and end of the moral order and if man cannot escape from obeying God, why is there so much moral disorder in the world ?

12. What is the authority of the Divine Law ? What is the hold of the Divine Law over the individual? These are pertinent questions. But to none of them is there any satisfactory answer from those who rely on Divine Dispensation as the basis for the moral order.

13. To overcome these difficulties the thesis has been somewhat modified.

14. It is said : no doubt creation took effect at the command of God. It is also true that the cosmos entered upon its life by his will and by his direction,   It is also true that He imparted to the cosmos once for all the energy which served as the driving power of a stupendous mechanism.

15. But God leaves it to Nature to work itself out in obedience to the laws originally given by him.

16. So that if the moral order fails to work out as expected by God, the fault is of Nature and not of God.

17. Even this modification in the theory does not solve the difficulty. It only helps to exonerate God from his responsibility. For the question remains, why should God leave it to Nature to execute His laws ? What is the use of such an absentee God ?

18. The answer which the Buddha gave to the question,—" How is moral order maintained ? " is totally different.

19. His answer was simple. "It is the Kamma Niyam and not God which maintains the moral order in the universe." That was the Buddha's answer to the question.

20. The moral order of the universe may be good or it may be bad. But according to the Buddha the moral order rests on man and on nobody else.

21. Kamma means man's action and Vipaka is its effect. If the moral order is bad it is because man does Akusala (Bad) Kamma. If the moral order is good it is because man does Kusala (Good) Kamma.

22. The Buddha was not content with merely speaking of Kamma. He spoke of the law of Kamma which is another name for Kamma Niyam.

23. By speaking of the law of Kamma what the Buddha wanted to convey was that the effect of the deed was bound to follow the deed, as surely as night follows day. It was like a Niyam or rule.

24. No one could fail to benefit by the good effects of a Kusala Kamma and no one could escape the evil effects of Akusala Kamma.

25. Therefore, the Buddha's admonition was: Do Kusala Kamma so that humanity may benefit by a good moral order which a Kusala Kamma helps to sustain ; do not do Akusala Kamma for humanity will  suffer from the bad moral order which an Akusala Kamma will bring about.

26. It may be that there is a time interval between the moment when the Kamma is done and the moment when the effect is felt. It is so, often enough.

27. From this point of view, Kamma is either (1) Ditthadamma Vedaniya Kamma (Immediately Effective Kamma); (2) Upapajjavedaniya Kamma (Remotely Effective Kamma); and (3) Aporapariya Vedaniya Kamma (Indefinitely Effective Kamma).

28. Kamma may also fall into the category of Ahosi Kamma, i.e., Kamma which is non-effective. This Ahosi Kamma comprises all such Kammas which are too weak to operate, or which are counteracted by a more Kamma, at the time when it should have worked.

29. But making allowance for all these considerations, it does not in any sense derogate from the claim made by the Buddha that the law of Kamma is inexorable.

30. The theory of the law of Kamma does not necessarily involve the conception that the effect of the Kamma recoils on the doer of it and there is nothing more to be thought about it. This is an error. Sometimes the action of one affects another instead of the doer. All the same it is the working of the law of Kamma because it either upholds or upsets the moral order.

31. Individuals come and individuals go. But the moral order of the universe remains and so also the law of Kamma which sustains it.

32. It is for this reason that in the religion of the Buddha, Morality has been given the place of God.

33. Thus the Buddha's answer to the question— "How the moral order in the universe is sustained?" is so simple and so irrefutable. 34. And yet its true meaning is scarcely grasped.

34. Often, almost always, it is either misunderstood or misstated or misinterpreted. Not many seem to be conscious that the law 'of Kamma was propounded by the Buddha as an answer to the question—" How the moral order is maintained ?"

35. That, however, is the purpose of Buddha's Law of Kamma.

36. The Law of Kamma has to do only with the question of general moral order. It has nothing to do with the fortunes or misfortunes of an individual.

37. It is concerned with the maintenance of the moral order in the universe.

38. It is because of this that the law of Kamma is a part of Dhamma.


 Belief in the Supernatural is Not-Dhamma

1. Whenever any phenomenon occurs, humanity is always wanting to know how it has happened, what  is the cause of it.

2. Sometimes cause and the effect are so proximate and so close that it is not difficult to account for the occurrence of the event.

3. But often-times the effect is so far away from the cause for the effect is not accountable. Apparently there appears to be no cause for it.

4. Then the question arises: How has this event occurred?

5. The commonest answer is that the occurrence of the event is due to some supernatural cause which is often called a miracle.

6. The Buddha's predecessors gave very different answers to this question.

7. Pakauda Katyana denied that there was a cause for every event. Events, he said, occurred independently.

8. Makhali Ghosal admitted that an event must have a cause. But he preached that the cause is not to be found in human agency but is to be sought in nature, necessity, inherent laws of things, predestination or the like.

9. The Buddha repelled these doctrines. He maintained that not only every event has a cause but the cause is the result of some human action or natural law.

10. His contention against the doctrine of Time, Nature, Necessity, etc., being the cause of the occurrence of an event, was this.

11. If Time, Nature, Necessity, etc., be the sole cause of the occurrence of an event, then who are we ?

12. Is man merely a puppet in the hands of Time, Nature, Chance, Gods, Fate, Necessity ?

13. What is the use of man's existence if he is not free ? What is the se of man's intelligence if he continues to believe in supernatural causes ?

14. If man is free, then every event must be the result of man's action or of an act of Nature. There cannot be any event which is supernatural in its origin.

15. It may be that man is not able to discover the real cause of the occurrence of an event. But if he has intelligence he is bound one day to discover it.

16. In repudiating super-naturalism the Buddha had three objects.

17. His first object was to lead man to the path of rationalism.

18. His second object was to free man to go in search of truth.

19. His third object was to remove the most potent source of superstition, the result of which is to kill the spirit of inquiry.

20. This is called the law of Kamma or Causation.

21. This doctrine of Kamma and Causation is the most central doctrine in Buddhism. It preaches Rationalism and Buddhism is nothing if not rationalism.

22. That is why worship of the supernatural is Not—Dhamma.

Belief in Ishwara (God) is Not Essentially Part of Dhamma

1. Who created the world is a common question. That the world was created by God is also a very common answer.

2. In the Brahmanic scheme this God is called by a variety of names—Prajapati, Ishwar, Brahma or Maha Brahma.

3. To the question who this God is and how He came into being there is no answer.

4. Those who believe in God describe Him as a being who is omnipotent, i.e., all-powerful. Omni  present, i.e., he fills the whole universe, and Omniscient, i.e., he knows everything.

5. There are also certain moral qualities which are attributed to God. God is said to be good, God is said to be just and God is said to be all-loving.

6. The question is did the Blessed Lord accept God as the creator of the universe,                 

7. The answer is, " No. " He did not.

8. There are various grounds why he rejected the doctrine of the Existence of God.

9. Nobody has seen God. People only speak of God.

10. God is unknown and unseen.

11. Nobody can prove that God has created the world. The world has evolved and is not created.

12. What advantage can there be in believing in God ? It is unprofitable.

13. The Buddha said that a religion based on God is based on speculation.

14. A religion based on God is, therefore, not worth having.

15. It only ends in creating superstition.

16. The Buddha did not leave the question there. He discussed the question in its various aspects.

17. The grounds on which he rejected the doctrine were various.

18. He argued that the doctrine of the Existence of God is not based on truth.

19. This he made clear in his dialogue with the two Brahmins, Vasettha and Bhardvaja.

20. Now a dispute arose between them as to which was the true path of salvation and which false.

21. About the time the Blessed One was journeying through Kosala with a great company of the brethren he happened to halt at the Brahmin village called Manaskata and stayed in the mango grove on the bank of the river Akiravati.

22. Manaskata was the town in which Vasettha and Bhardvaja lived. Having heard that the Blessed Lord was staying in their town, they went to him and each one put forth his point of view.

23. Bhardvaja said : " The path of Tarukkha is the straight path, this is the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahma."

24. Vasettha said: "Various Brahmins, 0 Gotama, teach various paths. The Addhariya Brahinmins, the Tittiriya Brahmins, the Kanchoka Brahmins, the Bheehuvargiya Brahmins. They all lead those who act according to them, into a state of union with Brahma.

25. " Just as near a village or a town there are many and various paths yet they all meet together in the village—just in the same way all the various paths taught by the various Brahmins lead to union with Brahma."

26. " Do you say that they all lead aright, Vasettha?" asked the Buddha. "I say so, Gautama," replied Vasettha.

27. " But Vasettha, is there a single one of the Brahmins versed in the three Vedas who has ever seen Brahma face to face."

28. "No, indeed, Gautama."

29. " Is there a  single one of the teachers of the Brahmanas versed in the three Vedas who has seen Brahma face to face ? "

30. "No, indeed, Gautama."

31. "Nobody has seen Brahma. There is no perceptual knowledge about Brahma." " So it is," said Vasettha. " How then can you believe that the assertion of the Brahmins that Brahma exists is based on truth ?

32. " Just, Vasettha, as when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other, neither can the foremost see nor can the middle one see nor can the hindmost see—just even so, methinks, Vasettha, is the talk of the Brahmins nothing but blind talk. The first sees not, the middle one sees not, nor can the latest one. The talk of these Brahmins turns out to be ridiculous, mere words, a vain and empty thing.

33. "Is this not a case, Vasettha, of a man falling in love with a woman whom he has not seen ? " " Yes, it is," replied Vasettha.

34. " Now what think you Vasettha ? If people should ask you, 'Well! Good friend ! This most beautiful woman in the land, whom you thus love and long for, who is she?  Is she a noble lady, or a Brahmin woman, or of the trader class, or a Sudra ? '                                       

35. " With regard to the origin of Maha Brahma, the so-called creator," the Blessed Lord said, addressing Bhardvaja and Vasettha, " Friends, that being who was first born thinks thus : I am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the All-seeing, the Disposer, the Lord, the Maker, the Creator, the Chief, the Assignor, the Master of Myself, the father of all that are and are to be. By me are these beings created.

36. "This means that Brahma is the father of those that are and are to be.

37."You say that the worshipful Brahma, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, Father of all that are and are to be, he by whom we were created, he is permanent, constant, eternal, unchanging, and he will remain so for ever and ever. Then why are we who are created by that Brahma, have come hither, all impermanent, transient, unstable, short-lived, destined to pass away ?"

38. To this Vasettha had no answer.

39. His third argument had reference to the Omnipotence of God. " If God is Omnipotent and is also the efficient cause of creation, then because of this man cannot have any desire to do anything, nor can there be any necessity to do anything, nor can he have the will to do anything or to put forth any effort. Man must remain a passive creature with no part to play in the affairs of the world. If this is so, why did Brahma create man at all?

40. To this also Vasettha had no answer.

41. His fourth argument was that if God is good then why do men become murderers, thieves, unchaste, liars, slanderers, abusive babblers, covetous, malicious and perverse ? The cause of this must be Ishwara. Is this possible with the existence of God who is good ?

42. His fifth argument was related to God being Omniscient, just and merciful.

43. " If there is a supreme creator who is just and merciful, why then does so much injustice prevail in the world?" asked the Blessed Lord. "He who has eyes can see the sickening sight ; why does not Brahma set his creatures right ? If his power is so wide that no limits can restrain, why is his hand so rarely spread to bless? Why are his creatures all condemned to suffering ? Why does he not give happiness to all ? "Why do fraud, lies and ignorance prevail? Why does falsehood triumph over truth ? Why does truth and justice fail ? I count your Brahma as one of the most unjust, who made a world only to shelter wrong.

44. " If there exists some Lord all-powerful to fulfil in every creature, bliss or woe, and action, good or ill, then that Lord is stained with sin. Either man does not work his will or God is not just and good or God is blind."

45. His next argument against the doctrine of God was that the discussion of this question about the existence of God was unprofitable.

46. According to him the centre of religion lay not in the relation of man to God. It lay in the relation between man and man. The purpose of religion is to teach man how he should behave towards other men so that all may be happy.

47. There was also another reason why the Blessed Lord was against belief in the existence of God.

48. He was against religious rites, ceremonies, and observances. He was against them because they were the home of superstition and superstition was the enemy of Samma Ditthi, the most important element in his Ashtangmarg.

49. To the Blessed Lord belief in God was the most dangerous thing. For belief in God gave rise to belief in the efficacy of worship and prayer and the efficacy of worship and prayer gave rise to the office of the priest and the priest was the evil genius who created all superstition and thereby destroyed the growth of Samma Ditthi.

50. Of these arguments against belief in the existence of God some were practical but the majority of them theological. The Blessed Lord knew that they were not fatal to the belief in the existence of God.

51. It must not, however, be supposed that he had no argument which was fatal. There was one which he advanced which is beyond doubt fatal to belief in God. This is contained in his doctrine of Patit Samutpad which is described as the doctrine of Dependent Origination.

52. According to this doctrine, the question whether God exists or does not exist is not the main question. Nor is the question whether God created the universe the real question. The real question is how did the creator create the world. The justification for the belief in God is a conclusion which follows from our answer to the question how was the world created.

53. The important question is : Did God create something out of nothing or did he create something out of something ?

54. It is impossible to believe that something could have been created out of nothing.

55. If the so-called God has created something out of something, then that something out of which something new was created has been in existence before he created anything. God cannot therefore be called the Creator of that something which has existed before him.

56. If something has been created by somebody out of something before God created anything then God cannot be said to be the Creator or the first Cause.

57. Such was his last but incontrovertible argument against belief in the existence of God.

58. Being false in premises, belief in God as the creator of the universe is Not—Dhamma. It is only belief in falsehood.

Dhamma Based on Union with Brahma is a False Dhamma

1. When the Buddha was preaching his religion there was current a doctrine called Vedantism.

2. The tenets of this doctrine are few and simple.

3.  Behind the universe there is omnipresent a common principle of life called Brahma or Brahman.

4. This Brahma is a reality.

5. The Atman or the individual soul is the same as Brahma.

 6. Man's liberation lies in making Atman to be one with Brahma. This is the second principle.

7. This unity with Brahma the Atman can achieve by realising that it is the same as Brahman.

8. And the way to make the Atman realise that it is the same as Brahman is to give up Sansara.

9. This doctrine is called Vedantism.

10. The Buddha had no respect for the doctrine. He regarded it as based on false premises and producing nothing of value and, therefore, not worth having.

11. This he made clear in his discussion with two Brahmins, Bharadvaj and Vasettha.

12. The Buddha argued that there must be proof before one can accept a thing to be a reality.

13. There are two modes of proof, perception and inference.

14. The Buddha asked, "Has anybody perceived Brahma ; have you seen Brahma ; have you spoken to Brahma ; have you smelt Brahma ? "

15. Vasettha said, " No.

16. " The other mode of proof is inadequate to prove the existence of Brahma."

17. " From what is Brahma the inference of?" asked the Buddha. There again was no answer.

18. There are others who argue that a thing exists although it is invisible. So they say that Brahma exists although it is invisible. 19. In this bald statement it is an impossible position.

20. But for argument's sake let it be granted that a thing exists although it is invisible.

21. The best illustration of it is electricity. It exists although it is invisible.

22. This argument is not enough,           

23. An invisible thing must show itself in some other form that is visible. Then alone it can be called real.

24. But if an invisible thing does not show itself in any visible form then it is not a reality.

25. We accept reality of electricity although it is invisible because of the results it produces.       

26. Electricity produces light. From light we accept the reality of electricity although it is invisible.

27. What does this invisible Brahma produce? Does it produce any visible results ?

28. The answer is in the negative.

29. Another illustration may be given. In law too it is common to adopt as a basic concept a fiction— a proposition, the existence of which is not proved but which is assumed to be true.

30. And we all accept such a legal fiction.

31. But why is such a legal fiction accepted?

32. The reason is that a legal fiction is accepted because it gives a fruitful and just result.

33. " Brahma is a fiction. What fruitful result does it give?"

34. Vasettha and Bharadvaj were silent.

35. To drive the argument home he turned to Vasettha and asked " Have you seen Brahma ? "

36. "Is there a single one of the Brahmanas versed in three, Vedas who has ever seen Brahma face to face ? "

37. " No, indeed, Gautama."

38. " Is there a single one of the teachers of the Brahmanas versed in the three Vedas who have seen Brahma face to face?"

39. " No, indeed, Gautama."

40. "Is there, Vasettha, a single one of the Brahmanas upto the seventh generation who has seen Brahma face to face?"

41. "No, indeed, Gautama."

42. " Well then, Vasettha—did the ancient Rishis of the Brahmanas—did even they speak thus, saying : We know it, we have seen it, where Brahma is, whither Brahma is ? '

43. " Not so, Gautama."

44. The Buddha continued his questioning of the two Brahmin boys and said :

45. " Now what think you, Vasettha ? Does it not follow, this being so, that the talk of the Brahmanas about union with Brahma turns out to be foolish talk ?

46. " Just, Vasettha, as when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other, neither can the foremost see, nor can the middle one see, nor can the hindmost see—just even so, methinks, Vasettha, is the talk of the Brahmanas all but blind talk? The first sees not, the middle one sees not, nor can the last one. The talk of these Brahmanas turns out to be ridiculous, mere words, a vain and empty thing.

47. "Just, Vasettha, as if a man should, say, How I long for, how I love the most beautiful woman in this land.'

48. " And people should ask him, ' Well ! good friend ! This most beautiful woman in the land, whom you thus love and long for, do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady or a Brahmin woman, or of the trader class, or a Sudra ? '

49. "But when so asked, he would answer: 'No.'

50. " And when people should ask him, ' Well ! good friend ! This most beautiful woman in all the land, whom you love and long for, do you know what the name of that most beautiful woman is, or what her family name, whether she be tall or short or of medium height, dark or brunette or golden in colour, or in what village or town or city she dwells ? ' But when so asked, he would answer : 'No. '

51. "Now what think you, Vasettha? Would it not turn out that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk ? "

52. " In sooth, Gautama, that would be so, " said the two Brahmins.

53. So Brahma is not real and any religion based upon it is useless.

Belief in Soul is Not Dhumma

1. The Buddha said that religion based on soul is based on speculation.

2. Nobody has seen the soul or has conversed with the soul.

3. The soul is unknown and unseen.

4. The thing that exists is not the soul but the mind. Mind is different from the soul.

5. Belief in soul He said is unprofitable.

6. A religion based on soul is therefore not worth having.

7. It only ends in creating superstition.

8. The Buddha did not leave the question there. He discussed it in all its aspects.

9. Belief in the existence of soul is as common as the belief in the existence of God.

10. Belief in the existence of soul was also a part of the Brahmanic Religion.

II. In the Brahmanic Religion the soul is called Atma or Atman.

12. In the Brahmanic Religion, Atman is the name given to an entity which was held to be abiding separate from the body, but living inside the body constantly existing from the moment of his birth.

13. Belief in the soul included other beliefs, connected with it.

14. The soul does not die with the body. It takes birth in another body when it comes into being.

15. The body serves as an external clothing for the soul.

16. Did the Buddha believe in the soul? No. He did not. His doctrine about the soul is called An-atta, no soul.

17. Given a disembodied soul various questions arise : What is the soul ? Where did it come from ? What becomes of it on the death of the body ? Where does it go ? In what form does it exist " hereafter." How long does it remain there ? These questions the Buddha tried to argue out with the upholders of the doctrine of the soul.

18. He first tried to show how vague was the idea about the soul by his usual method of cross examination.

19. He asked those who believed in the existence of the soul, what the soul was like in size arid in shape.

20. To Ananda he said the declarations concerning the soul are abounding. Some declare : " My soul has a form and it is minute." Others .declare the soul to have form and to be boundless and minute. Others declare it to be formless and boundless.

21. "In so many ways, Ananda, are declarations made concerning the soul."

22. " How is the soul conceived by those who believe in the soul?" was another question raised by the Buddha. Some say, "My soul is feeling." Others say, " Nay, my soul is not feeling, my soul is not sentient " ; or again : " Nay, my soul is not feeling, nor is it non-sentient ; my soul has feeling, it has the property of sentience." Under such aspects as these is the soul conceived.

23. The Buddha next asked those who believed in the existence of the soul as to the condition of the soul after the death of the body.

24. He also raised the question whether the soul was visible after the death of the body.

25. He found infinite number of vague statements.

26. Does the soul keep its form after the death of the body ? He found that there were eight different speculations.

27. Does the soul die with the body? There were innumerable speculations on this.

28. He also raised the question of the happiness or misery of the soul after the body is dead. Is the soul happy after the death of the body ? On this also the Recluses and Brahmins differed. Some said it was altogether miserable. Some said it was happy. Some said it. is both happy and miserable and some said it is neither happy nor miserable.

29. His answer to all these theories about the existence of the soul was the same which he gave to Cunda.

30. To Cunda he said : " Now, Cunda, to those recluses and Brahmins, who believe and profess any   one of these views, I go and say this : ' Is this so, friends ? ' And if they reply: ' Yes.   This alone is true, any other view is absurd.'  I do not admit their claim. Why is this? Because persons hold different opinions on such questions. Nor do I consider this (or that) view on a level with my own, let alone higher."

31. Now the more important question is what were the arguments of the Buddha against the existence of the soul.

32. The general arguments he advanced in support of his denial of the soul were the same as those which he advanced in support of his denial of the existence of God.

33. He argued that the discussion of the existence of the soul is as unprofitable as the discussion of the existence of God.

34. He argued that the belief in the existence of the soul is as much against the cultivation of Samma Ditthi as the belief in the existence of God.

35. He argued that the belief in the existence of the soul is as much a source of superstition as the belief in God is. Indeed in his opinion the belief in the existence of a soul is far more dangerous than the belief in God. For not only does it create a priesthood, not only is it the origin of all superstition but it gives the priesthood complete control over man from birth to death.

36. Because of these general arguments it is said that the Buddha did not express any definite opinion on the existence of the soul. Others have said that he did not repudiate the theory of the existence of the soul. Others have said that he was always dodging the issue.

37. These statements are quite incorrect. For to Mahali he did tell in most positive terms that there is no such thing as a soul. That is why his theory of the soul is called Anatta, i.e'., non-soul.

38. Apart from the general arguments against the existence of the soul, the Buddha had a special   argument against the existence of the soul which he regarded as fatal to the theory of the soul.

39. His theory against the existence of the soul as a separate entity is called Nama-Rupa.

40. The theory is the result of the application of the Vibhaja test, of sharp, rigorous analysis, of the constituent elements of Sentient being otherwise called Human Personality.

41. Nama-Rupa is a collective name for a Sentient Being.

42. According to the Buddha's analysis, a Sentient Being is a compound thing consisting of certain physical elements and certain mental elements. They are called Khandas.

43. The Rupa Khanda primarily consists of the physical elements such as earth, water, fire and air. They constitute the Body or Rupa.

44. Besides Rupa Khanda, there is such a thing as Nama Khanda which goes to make up a Sentient Being.

45. This Nama Khanda is called Vinana, or consciousness. This Nama Khanda includes the three mental elements : Vedana (sensation springing from contact of the six senses with the world), Sanna (perception); Sankhara (states of mind). Chetana (consciousness) is sometimes spoken of along with the three other mental states as being one of them. A modern psychologist would say that consciousness is the mainspring from which other psychological phenomena arise.  Vinana is the centre of a sentient being.

46. Consciousness is result of the combination of the four elements, Prithi, Apa, Tej and Vayu.

47. An objection is raised to this theory of consciousness propounded by the Buddha.

48. Those who object to this theory ask, " How is, consciousness produced ? "

49. It is true. that consciousness arises with birth and dies with death. All the same, can it be said that consciousness is the result of the combination of the four elements ?

50. The Buddha's answer was not that the   co-existence or aggregation of the physical elements produces consciousness. What the Buddha said was that wherever there was rupa or kaya there was consciousness accompanying it.

51. To give an analogy from science, there is an electric field and wherever there is an electric field it is always accompanied by a magnetic field. No one knows how the magnetic field is created or how it arises. But it always exists along with the electric field.

52. Why should not the same relationship be said to exist between body and consciousness?

53. The magnetic field in relation to the electric field is called an induced field. Why cannot consciousness be called an induced field in relation to Rupa-Kaya.

54.' The Buddha's argument against the soul is not yet complete. He had further to say something of importance.

55. Once consciousness arises man becomes a sentient being. Consciousness is, therefore, the chief thing in man's life.

56. Consciousness is cognitive, emotional and volitional.

57. Consciousness is cognitive when it gives knowledge, information, as appreciating or apprehending, whether it be appreciation of internal facts or of external things and events.

58. Consciousness is emotional when it exists in certain subjective states, characterised by either pleasurable or painful tones, when emotional consciousness produces feeling.

59. Consciousness in its volitional stage makes a being exert himself for the attainment of some end. Volitional consciousness gives rise to what we call will or activity.

60. It is thus clear that all the functions of a sentient being are performed by the sentient being through and as a result of consciousness.

61. After this analysis the Buddha asked what in    are the functions which are left to be performed by the soul? All functions assigned to the soul are performed by consciousness.

62. A soul without any function is an absurdity.

63. This is how the Buddha disproved the existence of the soul.

64. That is why. the existence of the soul cannot be a part of Dhamma.

Belief in Sacrifices is Not—Dhamma


1. The Brahmanic religion was based upon sacrifices.

2. Some sacrifices were classified as Nittya and other sacrifices were classified as Naimitik.

3. The Nittya sacrifices were obligations and had to be performed whether one got any fruit therefrom or not.

4. The Naimittitik sacrifices were performed when the performer wanted to gain something by way of worldly advantage.

5. The Brahmanic sacrifices involved drinking, killing animals and merry-making.

6. Yet these sacrifices were held as religious observances.

7. The Buddha declined to regard a religion based on sacrifices as worth having.

8. He has given his reasons to many a Brahmin who went to have a controversy with him as to why sacrifices were not part of religion.

9. It is reported that there were three Brahmins who had a controversy with him on the subject.

10. They were Kutadarita, Ujjaya and the third was Udayin.

11. Kutadanta the Brahmin requested the Blessed One to tell him what he thought about the value of a sacrifice.

12. The Blessed One said: " Well then, 0 Brahmin, give ear and listen attentively and I will speak."                                             

13. " Very well, sir, " said Kutadanta in reply ; and the Blessed One spoke as follows :

14. " Long ago, 0 Brahmin, there was a king by name Maha Vigeta, mighty, with great wealth and large property; with stores of silver and gold, of aids to enjoyment, of goods and corn ; with his treasure-houses and his garners full.

15. "Now when King Maha Vigeta was once sitting alone in meditation he became anxious at the thought: ' I have in abundance all the good things a mortal can enjoy. The whole wide circle of the earth is mine by conquest to possess. It were well if I were to offer a great sacrifice that should ensure me weal and welfare for many days.'

16. " Thereupon the Brahmin who was chaplain said to the king : ' The king's country, sire, is harassed and harried. There are dacoits abroad who pillage the villages and townships and who make the roads unsafe. Were the king, so long as that is so, to levy a fresh tax, verily his majesty would acting wrongly.

17. " ' But perchance his majesty might think : 'I'll soon put a stop to these scoundrels' game by degradation and banishment, and fines and bonds and death ! '  But their licence cannot be satisfactorily put a stop to. The remnant left unpunished would still go on harassing the realm.

18. " ' Now there is one method to adopt to put a thorough end to this order. Whosoever there be in the king's realm who devote themselves to keeping cattle and the farm, to them let His Majesty the King give food and seed-corn. Whosoever there be in the king's realm who devote themselves to trade, to them let His Majesty the King give capital. Whosoever there be in the king's realm who devote themselves to government service, to them let His Majesty the King give wages and food.

19. '' ' Then those men, following each his own business, will no longer harass the realm; the king's revenue will go up; the country will be quiet and at     peace.; and the populace, pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children in their arms, will dwell with open doors without fear.'

20. "Then King Maha Vigeta, 0 Brahmin, accepted the word of his chaplain, and did as he had said. And those men, following each his business, harassed the realm no more. And the king's revenue went up. And the country became quiet and at peace. And the populace, pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children in their arms, dwelt with open doors.

21. " When peace and order was restored. King Maha Vigeta had hischaplain called again and said : * The disorder is at an end. The country is at peace. I want to offer that great sacrifice—let the Venerable One instruct me how—for my weal and my welfare for many days.'

22. " The chaplain, replying to the king, said, * Be it so. Let His Majesty the King send invitations to those in the town and the country in his realm who are Kshatriyas, vassals of his; who are ministers and officials of his or who are Brahmins of position, or who are householders of substance, saying: ' I intend to offer a great sacrifice. Let the Venerable Ones give their sanction to what will be to me for weal and welfare for many days.'

23. "Then the king, 0 Brahmin Kutadanta, accepted the word of his chaplain, and did as he had said. And they each—Kshatriya and Ministers and Brahmins and householders—made a like reply: ' Let His Majesty the King celebrate the sacrifice. The time is suitable, 0 King ! '

24. " King Vigeta was wise and gifted in many ways. And his chaplain was equally wise and gifted.

25. " The chaplain, 0 Brahmin, before the sacrifice had begun, explained to the king what it would involve.

26. ' ' Should His Majesty the King, before starting on the great sacrifice or whilst he is offering the great sacrifice, or when the great sacrifice has been offered, feel any such regret as : ' Great alas, has been the portion of my wealth used up herein,' let not the king harbour such regret,                             

27. "And further, 0 Brahmin, the chaplain, before the sacrifice had begun, in order to prevent any compunction that might afterwards arise as regards those who had taken part therein, said: ' Now there will come to your sacrifice, sire, men who destroy the life of living things, and men who refrain therefrom— men who take what has not been given, and men who refrain therefrom, men who act evilly in respect of lusts, and men who refrain therefrom, men who speak lies, and men who do not, men who slander, and men who do not, men who speak rudely, and men who do not, men who chatter vain things and men who refrain therefrom, men who covet, and men who covet not, men who harbour ill will and men who harbour it not, men whose views are Wrong, and men whose views are right. Of each of these let them, who do evil, alone with their evil. For them who do well let Your Majesty offer, for them, sire, arrange the rites, them let the king gratify, in them shall your heart within find peace.'

28. " And further, 0 Brahmin, at that sacrifice neither were any oxen slain, neither goats, nor fowls, nor fatted pigs, nor were any kinds of living creatures put to death. No trees were cut down to be used as posts, no Dabbha grasses mown to strew around the sacrificial spot. And the slaves and messengers and workmen there employed were driven neither by rods nor fear, nor carried on their work weeping with tears upon their faces. Whose chose to help, he worked who so chose not to help, worked not. What each chose to do, he did; what they chose not to do, that was left undone. With ghee, and oil and butter, and milk and honey, and sugar only was that sacrifice accomplished.

29. " Let your sacrifice be such as that of King Vigeta if you at all wish to perform any sacrifice. Sacrifices are a waste. Animal sacrifices are cruelties. Sacrifices cannot be part of religion. It is a worst form of religion which says you can go to heaven by killing an animal."


30. I was inclined to ask " Is there, 0 Gautama, any other sacrifice with more fruit and more advantage than killing animals ? "

31. " Yes, 0 Brahmin, there is."

32. " And what, 0 Gautama, may that be ? "

33. "When a man with trusting heart takes upon himself the precepts—abstinence from destroying life; abstinence from taking what has not been given; abstinence from evil conduct in respect of lusts; abstinence from lying words; abstinence from strong, intoxicating, maddening drinks, the root of carelessness that is a sacrifice better than open largesse, better than perpetual alms, better than the gift of dwelling places, better than accepting guidance."

34. And when he had thus spoken, Kutadanta the Brahmin said to the Blessed One: " Most excellent, 0 Gautama, are the words of thy mouth, most excellent. "


1. Now the Brahmin Ujjaya said this to the Exalted One:

2. "Pray does the worthy Gautama praise sacrifice?"

3. " No Brahmin, I do not praise every sacrifice. Yet I would not withhold praise from every sacrifice. In whatever sacrifice. Brahmin, cows are slaughtered, goats and sheep are slaughtered, poultry and pigs are slaughtered and divers living creatures come to destruction—such sacrifice. Brahmin, which involves butchery, I do not praise." " Why so ? "

4. " To such a sacrifice. Brahmin, involving butchery, neither the worthy ones nor those who have entered on the worthy way draw near.

5. " But in whatever sacrifice. Brahmin, cows are not slaughtered—and living creatures come not to destruction, such sacrifice not involving butchery,

I do praise; such as, for instance, a long-established charity, an oblation for the welfare of the family."

6. "Why so?" "Because, Brahmin, the worthy ones, those who have entered on the worthy way, do draw near to such- a sacrifice which involves not  butchery."


1. The Brahmin Udayin asked the same question to the Exalted One as was asked by the Brahmin Ujjaya:

2. "Pray, does the worthy Gautama praise sacrifice ? " The Buddha gave the same answer which he gave to Ujjaya. 3. He said:

" Fit sacrifice performed in season due And free from cruelty, to such draw near Those well trained in the God-life, even those Who have the veil rolled back while (yet on earth),  Who have transcended time and going. Such do the enlightened praise,' those skilled in merit, " Whether in sacrifice or act of faith, Oblation fitly made with heart devout To that good field of Merit,—those who live . The Good—life, sacrificed, conferred,—so given Lavish the offering; devas therewith are pleased, Thus offering, the thoughtful, thereby becoming wise, Wins the blissful world from suffering free"

Belief Based on Speculation is Not—Dhamma


1. It was usual to ask such questions as (1) Was I in ages past ? (2) Was I not in ages past ? (3) What was I then ? (4) From what did I pass to what? (5) Shall I be in ages to come? (6) Shall I not be in ages to come? (7) What shall I then be? (8) How shall I then be ? (9) From what shall I pass to what? Or, again, it is Self today about which he is in doubt, asking himself—(1) Am I? (2) Am I not? (3) What  am 1? (4) How am I? (5) Whence came my being ? (6) Whither will it pass ? "

2. As regards the Universe various questions were raised. Some of them were as follows -

3. " How was the Universe created ? Is it everlasting ? "

4. In answer to the first question some said everything was created by Brahma—others said it was created by Prajapati.

5. In answer to the second question some said it was everlasting. Others said it was not. Some said it was finite. Others said. it was infinite.

6. These questions the Buddha refused to entertain. He said that they could only be asked and entertained by wrong-headed people. –

7. To answer these questions required omniscience which nobody had.

8. He said that he was not omniscient enough to answer these questions. No one could claim to know all that is to be known nor what we wish to know at any time is known at the time. There is always something that is unknown.

9. It is for these reasons that the Buddha excluded such doctrines from his religion.

10. He regarded a religion which made such doctrines a part of it as a religion not worth having.


1. The doctrines with which the contemporaries of the Buddha had made the basis of their religion were concerned with (1) Self; and (2) the origin of the Universe.

2. They raised certain questions about the self. They asked : "(1) Was I in ages past? (2) Was I not in ages past ? (3) What was I then ? (4) From what did I pass to what ? (5) Shall I be in ages to come ? (6) Shall I not be in ages to come ? (7) What shall I then be ? (8) How. .shall I then be ? (9) From what shall I pass to what ? Or, again, it is Self today about which he is in doubt, asking himself—(1) Am I ? (2) Am I not? (3) What am 1, (4) How am 1, (5) Whence came my being ? (6) Whither will it pass ? "

3. Others raised the question regarding the origin of the Universe.

4. Some said it was created by Brahma.

5. Others said it was .created by Prajapati sacrificing himself.

6. Other teachers had other questions to raise : "The world is everlasting,—the world is not everlasting—the world is finite,—the world is infinite, the body is the life (jiva),—the body is the one thing and the life another,.—truth-finder exists after death,—a truth-finder does not exist after death,—he both exists and does not exist after death,—he neither exists nor does not exist after death."

7. These were questions which the Buddha said could be asked by wrong-headed persons.

8. There were three reasons why the Buddha condemned these religious theories.

9. In the first place, there was no reason to make them part of religion. '

10. In the second place, to answer these questions required omniscience which nobody had. He emphasised this in his addresses.

11. He said that at one and the same time, no one can know and see everything. Knowledge is never final. There is always something more to be known.

12. The third argument against these theories was that they were merely speculative. They are not verified nor are they verifiable.

13. They were the result of imagination let .loose. There was no reality behind them.

 14. Besides of what good were these speculative theories to man in his relation to men? None whatever.

15. The Buddha did not believe that the world was created. He believed that the world had evolved.

Reading Books of Dhamma is Not— Dhamma

1. The Brahmins put all their emphasis upon knowledge. They taught that knowledge was the be-all and end-all of every thing. Nothing further was to be considered.

2. The Buddha was on the other hand an upholder of education for all. Besides, he was more concerned with the use of knowledge a man is likely to make than with knowledge itself.

3. Consequently he was very particular to emphasise that he who has knowledge must have Sila (Virtue) and that knowledge without Sila (Virtue) was most dangerous.

4. The importance of Sila as against Prajna is well illustrated by what he told the Bhikku Patisena.

5. In olden times when Buddha was residing at Sravasti, there was an old mendicant called Patisena who being by nature cross and dull, could not learn so much as one Gatha by heart.

6. The Buddha accordingly ordered 500 Arahatas day by day to instruct him, but after three years he still was unable to remember even one Gatha.

7. Then all the peoples of the country (the four orders of people) knowing his ignorance, began to ridicule him, on which the Buddha, pitying his case, called him to his side, and gently repeated the following stanza :  " He who guards his mouth, and restrains his thoughts, he who offends not with his body, the man who acts thus shall obtain deliverance."

8. Then Patisena, moved by a sense of the Master's goodness to him, felt his heart opened, and once he repeated the stanza.

9. The Buddha then addressed him further— " You now, an old man, can repeat a stanza only, and men know this, and they will still ridicule you, therefore, I will now explain the meaning of the verse to you, and do you on your part attentively listen."

10. Then the Buddha declared the three causes connected with the body, the four connected with the mouth, and the three connected with the thoughts, by destroying which men might obtain deliverance, on which the mendicant, fully realizing the truth thus explained, obtained the condition of an Arahat.

11. Now, at this time, there were 500 Bhikkhunis dwelling in their Vihara, who sent one of their number to the Buddha to request him to send them a priest to instruct them in the Dhamma.

12. On hearing their request the Buddha desired the old mendicant Patisena to go to them for this purpose.

13. On knowing that this arrangement had been made, all the nuns began to laugh together, and agreed on the morrow, when he came, to say the Gatha wrong (backward), and so confuse the old man and put him to shame.

14. Then on the morrow when he came, all the Bhikkhunis, great and small, went forth to salute him and as they did so, they looked at one another and smiled.

15. Then sitting down, they offered him food. Having eaten and washed his hands, they then begged him to begin his sermon. On which the aged mendicant ascended the elevated seat, and sitting down, began:

16. " Sisters! My talent is small, my learning is very little. I know only one Gatha, but I will repeat that and explain its meaning. Do you listen with attention and understand."

17. Then all the young nuns began to attempt to say the Gatha backwards; but lo! they could not open their mouths ; and filled with shame, they hung down their heads in sorrow.

18. Then Patisena having repeated the Gatha, began to explain it, as the Buddha instructed him.

19. Then all the Bhikkhunis hearing his words, were filled with surprise, and rejoicing to hear such instruction, with one heart they received it, and became Arahatas.

20. On the day after this, the King Prasenjit invited the Buddha and the whole congregation of priests to assemble at his palace to partake of hospitality.

21. The Buddha therefore recognizing the superior and revered appearance of Patisena, desired him   to bear his alms-dish and follow him as he went.

22. But when they came to the palace gate, the porter, knowing his character (antecedents), would not let him go into the hall, saying: "We have no hospitality for a priest who knows but one Gatha ; there is no room for such common fellows as you— make place for your betters and begone."

23. Patisena accordingly sat down outside the door.

24. The Buddha now ascended the dais, after having washed his hands, and to  the arm of Patisena, with the alms-dish in its hand, entered the room.

25. Then the king, the ministers, and all the assembly seeing this sight, were filled with astonishment, and said, " Ah ! Who is this ? "

26. On which the Buddha replied, " It is Patisena, the mendicant. He has but just obtained enlightenment, and I desired him to bear my alms-dish behind me; but the porter has refused him admission."

27. On this he was admitted and entered the assembly.

28. Then Prasenjit, turning, to Buddha, said : " I hear that this Patisena is a man of small ability, and knows only one Gatha, how, then, has he obtained the supreme wisdom ?"

29. To which Buddha replied : " Learning need not be much, conduct (Sila) is the first thing.

30. "This, Patisena, has allowed the secret virtue of the words of this one Gatha to penetrate his spirit ; his body, mouth, and thoughts have obtained perfect quietude; for though a man knows ever so much, if his knowledge reaches not to his life, to deliver him from the power which leads to destruction, what benefit can all his learning be ? "

31, Then the Buddha . " Although a man repeats a thousand stanzas (sections), but understands not the meaning of the lines he repeats, his performance is not equal to the repetition of one sentence well understood, which is able when heard to control thought. To repeat a thousand words without understanding, what profit is there in this? But to understand one truth, and   hearing it, to act accordingly, this is to find deliverance.

33. " A man may be able to repeat many books but if he cannot explain them what profit is there in this ? But to explain one sentence of the law and to walk accordingly, this is the way to find supreme wisdom."

34. On hearing these words, the two hundred bhikkhus, the king and his ministers were filled with joy.

Belief in the infallibility of Books of Dhamma is Not— Dhamma

1. The Brahmins had declared that the Vedas were not only sacred but in point of authority they were final.

2. Not only were the Vedas declared by the Brahmins to be final but they were declared by them to be infallible.

3. The Buddha was totally opposed to the Brahmins on this point.

4. He denied that the Vedas were sacred. He denied that whatever the Vedas said was final. He denied that the Vedas were infallible.

5. There were many teachers who had taken the same position as he had done. However, later on they or their followers all gave in order to win respect and goodwill from the Brahmins for their systems of philosophy. But the Buddha never yielded on this issue.

6.     In the Tvijja Sutta the Buddha declared that the Vedas were a waterless desert, a pathless jungle, in fact perdition. No man with intellectual and moral thirst can go to the Vedas and hope to satisfy his thirst.

7.     As to infallibility of the Vedas, he said nothing is infallible, not even the Vedas. Everything, he said, must be subject to examination and re-examination.

8.     This he made clear in his sermon to the Kalamas.

 9. Once the Blessed One, while passing through the land of the Kosalas accompanied by a large following of disciples, came to the town of Kesaputta which .was inhabited by the Kalamas.

10. When the Kalamas came to know of his arrival they betook themselves thither where the Blessed One was and sat down on one side. So seated, the Kalamas of Kesaputta spoke thus to the Blessed One :

11. " There are. Lord, some ascetics and recluses who come to Kesaputta and who elucidate and exalt their own views, but they break up, crush down, revile and oppose the views of others. And there be other ascetics and recluses. Lord, who come to Kesaputta, and they too expound and magnify their own beliefs, but destroy, suppress, despise and set themselves against the beliefs of others.

12. "And so. Lord, we are in uncertainty and doubt, knowing not which among these venerable ascetics speaks truth and which falsehood."

13. " Good cause, indeed, have you Kalamas to be uncertain ; good cause have you to doubt," said the Blessed One. "Truly, upon just occasion has uncertainty and doubt arisen in you."

14. " Come, 0 you Kalamas," continued the Lord, " do not go merely by what you hear ; do not go merely by what has been handed down from one to another ; do not go by what is commonly reported ; do not go merely by what is found written in the scriptures ; do not go by subtleties of reasoning, do not go by subtleties of logic ; do not go merely by considerations based upon mere appearances ; do not go merely by agreeable beliefs and views ; do not go merely by what looks to be genuine ; do not go merely by word of some ascetic or superior."

15. "What, then, should we do? What test should we apply?" asked the Kalamas.

16. "The tests are these," replied the Blessed One; " ask. yourselves, do we know whether : ' These things are insalutary ; these things are blameworthy ; these things are reprehended by the wise ; these things being done or attempted lead to ill-being   and to suffering.' '

17. " Kalamas, you should go further and ask whether the doctrine taught promotes craving, hatred, delusion, and violence.

18. "This is not enough, Kalamas, you should go further and see whether the doctrine is not likely to make a man captive of his passions, and is not likely to lead him to kill living creatures ; take what has not been given to him ; go after another's wife ; utter falsehood, and cause others to practise like deeds ?

19. " And finally you should ask : ' Whether all this does not tend to his ill-being and suffering.'

20. " Now, Kalamas, what think you ?

21. "Do these things tend to man's ill-being or well-being ? "

22. -"To his ill-being, Lord," replied the Kalamas.

23. " What think you, Kalamas,—are these things salutary or insalutary ? "

24. "They are insalutary. Lord."

25. "Are these things blameworthy?"

26. " Blameworthy, Lord," replied the Kalamas.

27. " Reprehended by the wise or approved by the wise?"

28. " Reprehended by the wise," replied the Kalamas.

29. " Being done or attempted, do they lead to ill-being and to suffering ? "

30. " Done or attempted, Lord, they lead to ill-being and to suffering."

31. "A scripture which teaches this cannot be accepted as final or infallible ? "

32. " No, Lord," said the Kalamas.

33. " But this, 0 Kalamas, is just what I have said. What I have said is " do not go merely by what you hear; do not go merely by what has been handed down from one to another; do not go merely by subtleties of reasoning; do not go by subtleties of logic ; do not go by considerations based upon mere appearances ; do not go merely by   agreeable beliefs and views ; do not go merely by the word of some ascetic or superior.

34. " Only when of yourselves you indeed know : These things are insalutary ; these things are blameworthy ; these things are reprehended by the wise ; these things being done or attempted lead to ill-being and to suffering '—then, Kalamas, you should put them away."

35. " Wonderful, Lord, most wonderful! We go to Lord, the Blessed One, for refuge, and to his Teachings. As followers. Lord, may the Blessed One accept us, from this day henceforth long as life shall last, we take our refuge in you."

36. The substance of the argument is plain. Before you accept anybody's teachings as authoritative, do not go by the fact that it is contained in the scriptures, do not go by the subtleties of logic ; do not go by considerations based upon mere appearances; do not go merely by the fact that beliefs and views preached are agreeable ; do not go merely because they look to be genuine; do not go merely by the fact that the beliefs and views are those of some ascetic or superior.

37. But consider whether the beliefs and views sought to be inculcated are salutary or insalutary, blameworthy or blameless, lead to well-being or ill-being.

38. It is only on these grounds that one can accept the teachings of anybody.



To Cleanse the Mind of its Impurities

1. Once when the .Blessed Lord was residing at Shravasti, Prasenjit,the king of the Kosalas, came to the place where he was staying and descending from his chariot, approached the Teacher with the deepest reverence.

2. And invited him on the morrow to enter the city and partake of his hospitality, with a view to exhibit to the people the excellence of his person and        doctrine, that they might believe in him.         

3. The Buddha having consented, on the morrow entered the city with all his disciples, and having passed through the four cross streets of the town, he came to the place appointed and sat down.

4.     After finishing the meal, he began, on the request of the king, to preach in the midst of the four highways, whilst his auditors were very many.

5.       At this time there were two merchants listening to him.

6.     One of them reflected, " What excellent wisdom on the part of the king to have such doctrines as these publicly preached! How wide their application, how searching their character ! "

7. The other reflected thus, " What folly is this on the part of the king, bringing this man here to preach!

8. "Like the calf that follows the cow, here and there, fastened to a vehicle she draws, by eating as it goes, so is- this Buddha following the king." The two merchants having departed from the city came to an inn where they put up.

9. In taking some wine the good merchant was restrained and protected by the four guardian spirits that watch over the world.

10. The other on the contrary was incited by an evil spirit to drink on, till he was overpowered by sleep, and lay down in the road near the inn.

11. Early in the morning, the merchants' wagons leaving the place, the drivers not perceiving the man lying in the road, crushed him to death by the wagon wheels.

12. The other merchant, having come to a distant country, was selected by the genuflection of a sacred horse to succeed the king ; and he accordingly was appointed to the throne.

13. After this, considering the strange turn, events had taken, he returned and invited the Buddha to visit him, and preach to his people.

14. On which occasion the World-honoured One declared the reason of the death of the evil-minded merchant, and the prosperity of him who thought wisely, and then added these lines :

15. " The mind is the origin of all this is; the mind is .the master, the mind is the cause.

16. " /f in the midst of the mind there are evil thoughts, then the words are evil, the deeds are evil, and the sorrow which results from sin follows that man, as the chariot wheel follows him (or it) who draws it,

17. " The mind is the origin of all that is ; it is the mind that commands, it is the mind that contrives.

18. " If in the mind there are good thoughts, then the words are good and the deeds good, and the happiness which results from such conduct follows that man, as the shadow accompanies the substance."

19. On hearing these words, the king and his ministers, with countless others, were converted, and became disciples.

To Make the World a Kingdom of Righteousness

1. What is the purpose of Religion ?

2. Different religions have   given different answers.

 3. To make man seek after God and to teach him the importance of saving his soul is the commonest answer one gets to this question.

4. Most religions speak of three kingdoms.

5. One is called the kingdom of heaven. The second is called the kingdom of earth and the third is called the kingdom of hell.

6. This kingdom of heaven is said to be ruled by God. The kingdom of hell is described to be a place where the supremacy of the Evil One is undisputed. The kingdom of earth is a disputed field. It is not under the dominance of the Evil One. At the same time God's sovereignty does not extend to it. It is hoped that one day it will.

7. In some religions the kingdom of heaven is said to be a kingdom in which Righteousness prevails no doubt because it is directly ruled by God.

8. In other religions the kingdom of heaven is not on earth. It is another name for heaven. It can be reached by one who believes in God and his Prophet. When he reaches heaven all the carnal pleasures of life are placed within the reach of all those who are faithful.

9. All religions preach that to reach this kingdom of heaven should be the aim of man and how to reach it is the end of all.

10. To the question " What is the purpose of religion ? " the Buddha's answer is very different.

11. He did not tell people that their aim in life should be to reach some imaginary heaven. The kingdom of righteousness lies on earth and is to be reached by man by righteous conduct.

12. What he did was to tell people that to remove their misery each one must learn to be righteous in his conduct in relation to others and thereby make the earth the kingdom of righteousness.

13. It is this which distinguishes his religion from all other religions.

14. His religion emphasizes Panch Sila, the Ashtanga Marga and the Paramitas.

15. Why did the Buddha make them the basis of his religion ? Because they constitute a way of life which alone can make man righteous.

16. Man's misery is the result of man's inequity to man.

17. Only righteousness can remove this inequity and the resultant misery.

18. That is why he said that religion must not only preach but must inculcate upon the mind of man the supreme necessity for being righteous in his conduct

19. For the purpose of inculcating righteousness religion, he said, had certain other functions to undertake.

20. Religion must teach man to know what is right and to follow what is right.

21. Religion must 'teach man to know what is wrong and not to follow what is wrong.

22. Besides these purposes of religion he emphasised two other purposes which he regarded as of supreme importance.

23. The first is training of man's instincts and dispositions as distinguished from offering prayers or performing observances or doing sacrifices.

24. This the Buddha has made clear in his exposition of Jainism in the Devadaha Sutta.

25. What Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, affirmed was that whatsoever the individual experiences—be it pleasant or unpleasant, all comes from acts done in former births.

26. That being so, by expiration and purge of former misdeeds and by not committing fresh misdeeds, • nothing accrues for the future: as nothing accrues for the future, the misdeeds die away; as misdeeds die away, misery dies away : as misery dies away, feelings die away : and as feelings die away, all misery will wear out and pass.

27. This is what Jainism affirmed,

28. On this the Buddha asked this question: "Do you know that, here and now, wrong dispositions have been got rid of and right dispositions acquired?"

29. The answer was " No."

30. " What is the use," asked the. Buddha, " of a purge for former misdeeds, what is the use of not committing fresh misdeeds, if there is no training of the mind to turn bad disposition into good   disposition."

31. This was in his opinion a very serious defect in religion. A good disposition is the only permanent foundation of and guarantee of permanent goodness.

32. That is why the Buddha gave the first place to the training of the mind which is the same as the training of a man's disposition.

33. The second thing to which he gave great importance is courage to stand by what is right even if one is alone.

34. In the Sallekha-Sutta the Buddha has emphasised this point.

35. This is what he has said :

36. "You are to expunge by resolving that, though others may be harmful, you will be harmless.

37. " That though others may kill, you will never kill.

38. "That though others may steal, you will not.

39. "That though others may not lead the higher life, you will.

40. "That though others may lie, traduce, denounce, or prattle, you will

41. " That though others may be covetous, you will covet not.

42. "That though others may be malignant, you will not be malignant.

43. "That though others may be given over to wrong views, wrong aims, wrong speech, wrong actions, and wrong concentration, you must follow (the Noble Eightfold Path in) right outlook, right aims, right speech, right actions, right mode of livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

44. "That though others are wrong about the truth and wrong about Deliverance, you will be right about truth and right about Deliverance.

45. " That though others may be possessed by sloth and torpor, you will free yourselves therefrom.

46. "That though others may be puffed up. you will be humble-minded.

47. "That though others may be perplexed by doubts, you will be free from them.

48. " That though others may harbour wrath, malevolence, envy, jealousy, niggardliness, avarice, hypocrisy, deceit, imperviousness, arrogance, forwardness, association with bad friends, slackness, unbelief, shamelessness, unscrupulousness, lack of instruction, inertness, bewilderment, and unwisdom, you will be the reverse of all these things.

49. "That though others may clutch at and hug the temporal nor loose their hold thereon, you will clutch and hug the things that are not temporal, and will ensue Renunciation.

50. " I say it is the development of the will which is so efficacious for right states of consciousness, not to speak of act and speech. And therefore, Cunda, there must be developed the will to all the foregoing resolves I have detailed."  51. Such is the purpose of religion as conceived by the Buddha.


 Dhamma is Saddhamma when it  Makes Learning Open to All

1. The Brahminic doctrine was that acquisition of knowledge cannot be thrown open to all. It must necessarily be limited to a few.

2. They permitted acquisition of knowledge only to the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. But it was only to the male sex of these three classes.

3. All women, no matter whether they belonged to the Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishyas, and all Shudras, both males and females, were prohibited from acquiring knowledge, even from acquiring literacy.

4. The Buddha raised a revolt against this atrocious doctrine of the Brahmins.

5. He preached that the road to knowledge must be open to all—to males as well as to females.

6. Many Brahmins tried to controvert his views. His controversy with the Brahmin Lohikka throws great light on ,his views.

7. The Exalted One, when once passing on a tour through the Kosala districts with a multitude of the members of the Order, arrived at Salavatika, a village surrounded by a row of sala trees.

8. Now at the time, Lohikka the Brahmin was living at Salavatika, a spot teeming with life, with much grassland and woodland and corn, on a royal domain granted him by King Pasenadi of Kosala, as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king.

9. Lohikka the Brahmin was of opinion that if a Samana or a Brahmana acquired knowledge, he should not communicate it to the women or to the Shudras.

10. Then the Brahmin Lohikka heard that the Blessed Lord was staying in Salavatika.

11. Having heard of this he said to Bhesika the barber : " Come now, good Bhesika, go where the Samana Gotama is staying, and, on your arrival, ask in my name as to whether his sickness and indisposition has abated, as to his health and vigour and condition of ease ; and speak thus : " May" the venerable Gotama, and with him the brethren of the Order, accept tomorrow's meal from Lohikka the Brahmin."

12. "Very well, sir," said the barber.

13. Acquiescing in the word of Lohikka the Brahmi'i, he did so even as he had been enjoined. And the Exalted One consented, by silence, to his request.

14. Early next morning, the Exalted One went robed, and carrying his bowl with him, with the brethren of the Order, towards Salavatika.

15. Bhesika, the barber, who had been sent by Lohikka to fetch the Blessed One, walked step by step, behind the Exalted One. On the way he told the Blessed One that Lohikka the Brahmin held the wicked opinion that a Samana or a Brahmana shall not communicate any knowledge or learning to women and the Shudras.

16. " That may well be, Bhesika, that may well be," replied the Blessed One.

17. And the Exalted One went on to the dwelling place of Lohikka the Brahmin, and sat down on the seat prepared for him.

18. And Lohikka the Brahmin served the Order, with the Buddha at its head, with his own hand, with sweet food both hard and soft, until they refused any more.                           

19. And when the Exalted One had finished his meal, and had cleansed the bowl and his hands, Lohikka the Brahmin, brought a low seat and sat down beside him.

20. And to him, thus seated, the Exalted One said : " Is it true, what they say, Lohikka, that you hold the view that a Samana or a Brahmana should not communicate any knowledge or learning to women and Shudras,? "

21. "That is so, Gotama," replied Lohikka.

22. " Now what think you, Lohikka? Are you not established at Salavatika ? " " Yes, that is so, Gotama."

23. "Then suppose, Lohikka, one were to speak thus: ' Lohikka the Brahmin has a domain at Salavatika. Let him alone enjoy all the revenue and  all the produce of Salavatika, allowing nothing to anybody else!' Would the utterer of that speech be a danger-maker as touching the men who live in dependence upon you or not ? "

24. " He would be a danger-maker, Gotama."

25. " And making that danger, would he be regarded as a person who sympathised with their welfare?"

26. " No. He would not be considering their welfare, Gotama," replied Lohikka.

27. " And not considering their welfare, would his heart stand fast in love towards them or in enmity ? "

28. " In enmity, Gotama."

29. " But when one's heart stands fast in enmity, is that unsound doctrine, or sound ? "

30. " It is an unsound doctrine, Gotama."

31. "Now what think you, Lohikka? Is not King Pasenadi of Kosala in possession of Kasi and Kosala?"

32. " Yes, that is so, Gotama."

33. " Then suppose, Lohikka, one were to speak thus : ' King Pasenadi of Kosala is in possession of Kasi and Kosala. Let him enjoy all the revenue and all the produce of Kasi and Kosala, allowing nothing to anybody else.' Would the utterer of that speech be a danger-maker as touching the men who live in dependence on King Pasenadi of Kosala—both you yourself and others—or not ? "

34. " He would be a danger-maker, Gotama."

35. " And making that danger, would he be a person who sympathised with their welfare ? "

36. " He would not be considering their welfare, Gotama."

37. " And not considering their welfare, would his heart stand fast in love towards them, or in enmity ?"

38. " In enmity, Gotama."

39.  " But when one's heart stands fast in enmity, is that unsound doctrine, or sound?"

40. " It is an unsound doctrine, Gotama."

41. " So then, Lohikka, you admit that he who should say that you, being in occupation of Salavatika, should therefore yourself enjoy all the revenue and produce thereof, bestowing nothing on anyone else ; and he who should say that King Pasenadi of Kosala, being in power over Kasi and Kosala, should therefore himself enjoy all the produce thereof, bestowing nothing on anyone else, would be making danger for those living in dependence on you; or for those, you and others, living in dependence upon the king. And that those who thus make danger for others, must be wanting in sympathy and have their hearts set fast in enmity. And that to have one's heart set fast in enmity is unsound doctrine.

42. " Then just so, Lohikka, is he who should say that a Samana or a Brahmin should not communicate his knowledge and learning to women and Shudras.

43. " Just so, he who should say thus, would be putting obstacles in the way of others and would be out of sympathy for their welfare.

44. " Being out of sympathy for their welfare his heart would become established in enmity ; and when one's heart is established in enmity, that is unsound doctrine."

Dhamma is Saddhamma when it Teaches that Mere Learning is Not Enough: it may Lead to Pedantry

1. Once when the Buddha was residing in the country of Kausambi, in a certain Vihara called the " Beautiful Voice," preaching to the people assembled there was a certain Brahmacharin.

2. The Brahmacharin felt that he was unrivalled for knowledge of scriptures and being unable to find anyone equal to himself in argument, was accustomed to carry, wherever he went, a lighted torch in his hand.

3. One day a man in the market place of a certain town, seeing him thus, asked him the reason of his strange conduct, on which he replied:

4. " The world is so dark, and men so deluded, that I carry this torch to light it up so far as I can." 

5. Seeing this the Buddha forthwith called out to the Brahmacharin, "What ho there ! What are you about with that Torch ? "

6. The Brahmacharin replied, " All men are so wrapped in ignorance and gloom, that I carry this torch to illumine them."

7. Then the Blessed Lord asked him again, " And are you so learned as to be acquainted with the four treatises (Vidyas) which occur in the midst of the Sacred Books, to wit, the treatise on ' Literature ' (Sabdavidya) ; the treatise on the ' Heavenly Bodies and their Paths ' ; the treatise on ' Government ' and the treatise on 'Military Art'?"

8. On the Brahmacharin being forced to confess he was unacquainted with these things, he flung away his torch, and the Buddha added these words:

9. " If any man, whether he be learned or not, considers himself so great as to despise other men he is like a blind man holding a candle—blind himself, he illumines others."

Dhamma is Saddhamma when it Teaches that what is Needed is Pradnya

1. The Brahmins regarded Vidya (Knowledge, Learning) as in itself a thing of value. A man of mere learning and knowledge was to them an object of veneration irrespective of the question whether or not he was a man of virtue.

2. Indeed they said that a king is honoured in his own country but a man of learning is honoured all over the world, suggesting thereby that a man of learning is greater than the king.

3. The Buddha made a distinction between Vidya and Pradnya, i.e.,

4. It may be said that the Brahmins also made a distinction between Pradnya and Vidya.

5. That may be true. But there is a vast difference between the Pradnya of the Buddha and the Pradnya of the Brahmins.

6. This distinction has been well brought out by the Buddha in his sermon reported in Anguttara Nikaya.

7. On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Rajagraha, in the bamboo grove at the squirrels' feeding ground.

8. Now on that occasion Vassakara the Brahmin, a great official ofMagadha, came to visit the Exalted One, and on coming to him greeted him courteously, and after exchange of greetings and courtesies sat down at one side. As he' sat thus Vassakara the Brahmin said this to the Exalted One :

9. " Master Gotama, we Brahmins proclaim a man, if he possesses four qualities, as one of great wisdom, as a great man. What are the four qualities ?

10. " Herein, Master Gotama, he is learned. Of whatsoever he hears he understands the meaning as soon as it is uttered, saying: ' This is the meaning of that saying! ' Moreover, he has a good memory, he can remember and recall a thing done long ago, and said long ago.

11. " Again, in all the business of a householder he is skilled and diligent, and therein he is resourceful and capable of investigating what is proper to be done, what should be arranged.

12. " Now, master Gotama, if a man possesses these qualities, we proclaim him as one of great wisdom, as a great man. If the worthy Gotama thinks me worthy of commendation herein, let him commend me. On the contrary, if he thinks me blameworthy, let him blame me therefor."

13. "Well, Brahmin I neither commend you nor blame you herein. I myself proclaim a man to be one of great wisdom, if he possesses the following four qualities which are quite different from those mentioned by you,

14. " Herein, Brahmin, we have a man given to the welfare of many folk, to the happiness of many folk. By him are many folk established in the Ariyan Method, to wit : in what is of a lovely nature, in what is of a profitable nature.                           

15. "To whatsoever train of thought he wishes to apply himself, to that train of thought he applies himself : to whatever train of thought he desires not to apply himself, to that train of thought he applies not himself.

16. "Whatever intention he wishes to intend, he does so or not if he so wishes. Thus is he master of the mind in the ways of thought.

17. " Also he is one who attains at will, without difficulty and without trouble the four musings which belong to the higher thought, which even in this very life are blissful to abide in.

18. " Also by destruction of the asavas (fetters) in this very life thoroughly comprehending it by himself, he realises the heart's release, the release by wisdom, and attaining it abides therein.

19. " No Brahmin, I neither commend nor blame you herein, but I myself proclaim a man possessed of these four different qualities to be one of great wisdom, to be a great man."

20. " It is wonderful, Master Gotama! It is marvellous. Master Gotama, how well this has been said by the worthy Gotama !

21. " I myself do hold the worthy Gotama to be possessed of these same four qualities. Indeed, the worthy Gotama is given to the welfare of many folk, to the happiness of many folk. By him are many folk established in the Ariyan 'Method, to wit: in what is of a lovely nature, in what is of a profitable nature.

22. " Indeed, the worthy Gotama, to whatever train of thought he wishes to apply himself, to that train of thought applies himself . . Surely the worthy Gotama is master of the mind in the ways of thought.

23. " Surely the worthy Gotama is one who attains at will . . . the four musings . . . Surely the worthy Gotama by destruction of the asavas . . . realises the heart's release, the release by wisdom . . . and attaming it abides therein."             

24. Herein is stated in the clearest terms the   difference between Pradnya according to the Buddha and Pradnya, according to the Brahmins.

25. Herein is set out his case why the Buddha regarded Pradnya as more important than Vidya.


Dhamma is Saddhamma only when it Teaches that Mere Pradnya is Not Enough: it must be accompanied by Sila

1. Pradnya is necessary. But Sila is more necessary. Pradnya without Sila is dangerous.

2. Mere Pradnya is dangerous.

3. Pradnya is like a sword in the hand of a man.

4. In the hand of a man with Sila it may be used for saving a man with danger.

5. But in the hand of a man without Sila it may be used for murder.

6. That is why Sila is more important than Pradnya.

7. Pradnya is Vichar Dhamma or thinking aright. Sila is Achar Dhamma, acting aright.

8. The Buddha prescribed five basic principles regarding Sila.

9.   One relating to taking life.

10. Second relating to stealing,

11. Third relating to sexual immorality.

12. Fourth relating to telling a lie.

13. Fifth relating to drink.

14. On each of these the Blessed Lord directed the people not to kill; not to steal; nor to tell a lie; nor to indulge in sex immorality and not to indulge in drinking.

15. The reason why the Buddha gave greater importance to Sila than to knowledge is obvious.

16. The use of knowledge depends upon a man's Sila. Apart from Sila, knowledge has no value. This is what he said.

17. At another place, he said, " Sila is incomparable in this world.

18. " Sila is the beginning and the refuge, Sila is the mother of all good. It is the foremost of all good conditions. Therefore, purify your Sila."

Dhamma is Saddhamma only when it Teaches that besides Pradnya and Sila what is Necessary is Kamna

1. There has been some difference of opinion on the issue as to foundation of Buddha's Dhamma.

2. Is Pradnya alone the foundation of his religion? Is Kanma alone the foundation of his religion ?

3. The controversy had divided the followers of the Buddha into two schools. One school held that Pradnya alone is the foundation of the Buddha's religion. The other school held that Karuna alone is the foundation of the Buddha's religion.

4. These two schools still remain divided.

5. Both the schools seem to be wrong if judged in the light of the Buddha's own words.

6. There is no difference of opinion that Pradnya is one of the two pillars of the Buddha's religion.

7. The dispute is whether Kamna is also a pillar of his religion.

8. That Karuna is a pillar of his religion is beyond dispute.

9. His own words can be quoted in support of it.

10. In days gone by there was a country called Gandhara, in which was a very old mendicant afflicted with a very loathsome disease, which caused him to pollute every place he occupied.

11. Being in a certain Vihara belonging to the place, no one would come near him or help him in his distress.

12. On this Buddha came with his 500 followers, and obtaining all sorts of necessary utensils and warm water, they together visited the place where the old mendicant lay.

13. The smell in the place was so offensive that all the Bhikkus were filled with contempt for the man; but the World-honoured, causing Sakra-deva to bring the warm water, then with his own hand began to wash the body of the mendicant and attend to his maladies.

14. Then the earth shook, and the whole place was filled with a supernatural light, so that the king and the ministers, and all the heavenly host (Devas,   Nagas, etc.) flocked to the place, and paid adoration to Buddha.

15. Having done so, they all addressed the World-honoured, and quired how one so highly exalted could lower himself to such offices as these, on which Buddha explained the matter thus :

16. "The purpose of Tathagata in coming into the world, is to befriend those poor and helpless and unprotected, to nourish those in bodily affliction, whether they be Samanas or men of any other religion—to help the impoverished, the orphan and the aged, and to persuade others so to do."

Dhamma is Saddhamma only when it Teaches that More than Karuna what is Necessary is Maitri

1. The Buddha did not stop with teaching Karuna.

2. Karuna is only love for human beings. Buddha went beyond and taught Maitri. Maitri is love for living beings'.

3. The Buddha wanted man not to stop with Karuna but to go beyond mankind and cultivate the spirit of Maitri for all living beings.

4. This he has well explained in a Sutta when the Blessed One was staying in Shravasti.

5. Speaking about Maitri, the Blessed Lord told the almsmen:

6. " Suppose a man comes to dig the earth. Does the earth resent?"

7. " No, Lord," the almsmen replied.

8. " Supposing a man comes with lac and colours to paint pictures in the air. Do you think he could do it?"

9. "No, Lord."

10. " Why ? " " Because there are no dark patches in the air, " said the Bhikkus.

II. "In the same way you must not have any dark patches in your mind which are the reflections of your evil passions."

12. " Suppose a man comes with a blazing wisp of bracken to set the River Ganges on fire. Could he do it?"

13. " No, Lord."

14. "Why?" "Because the Ganges has no combustibility in its water."

15. Concluding his address, the Blessed Lord said : " Just as the earth does not feel hurt and does not resent, just as the air does not lend to any action against it, just as the Ganges water goes on flowing without being disturbed by the fire so also you Bhikkus must bear all insults and injustices inflicted on you and continue to bear Maitri towards your offenders.

16. "So almsmen, Maitri must flow and flow for ever. Let it be your sacred obligation to keep your mind as firm as the earth, as clean as the air and as deep as the Ganges.. If you do so your Maitri will not be easily disturbed, by an act however unpleasant. For all who do injury will soon be tired out.

17. " Let the ambit of your Maitri be as boundless as the world and let your thought be vast and beyond measure in which no hatred is thought of.

18. " According to my Dhamma, it is not enough to practise Karuna. It is necessary to practise Maitri."

19. In the course of the sermon the Blessed Lord told a story to the almsmen which is worth remembering.

20. " Once upon a time there lived in Shravasti a lady named Videshika, who was reputed gentle and meek, and mild. She had a maid servant named Darkie, a bright girl, an early riser and a good worker. ' I wonder,' thought Darkie, ' whether my mistress, who is so well spoken of, has really got a temper of her own which she does not show or whether she has got no temper atall? Or do 1 do my work so well, that though she has got a temper, she does not show it? I will try her.'

21. " So next morning she got up late. ' Darkie ! Darkie ! cried the mistress.' ' Yes, madam,' answered the girl. ' Why did you get up so late ? ' ' Oh, that's nothing, madam.' ' Nothing , indeed, you naughty girl! ' thought the mistress, frowning with anger and displeasure.

22. " ' So she has got a temper, though she does not show it," thought the maid : ' It is because I do my work so well that she does not show it ; I will try her further.' So she got up later next morning. 'Darkie! Darkie!' cried the mistress. 'Yes, madam,' answered the girl. ' Why did you get up so late ? ' ' Oh that's nothing, madam.' ' Nothing, indeed, you naughty girl ! ' exclaimed the mistress, giving vent in words to her anger and displeasure.

23. " ' Yes,' thought the maid, " she has got a temper though she does not show it because I do my work so well; I will try her yet further.' So next morning she got up later still. ' Darkie ! Darkie ! cried her mistress.' ' Yes, madam,' answered the girl. ' Why did you get up so late?' 'Oh, that's nothing, madam.'

24. " ' Nothing indeed you naughty girl, to get up so late!' exclaimed the mistress and in her anger and displeasure she picked up the lynch-pin and struck the girl on the head with it, drawing blood.

25. "With her broken head streaming with blood, Darkie roused the neighbourhood with shrieks: ' See, lady, what the gentle one has done! See, lady, what the meek one has done ! See, lady, what the mild one has done. What for ? Just became her only maid got up late, she was so angry and displeased that she just jumped with the lynch-pin to strike her on the head and break it.'

26. "In the result the lady Videshika got the reputation of being violent, anything but meek and mild.

27. " In like manner an almsman may be gentle and meek, and mild enough so long as nothing unpleasant is said against him. It is only when unpleasant things are said against him that you can test if he has Maitri—fellowship in him."

28. Then he added, " I do not call an almsman  Charged with the spirit of Maitri if he shows it only to get clothes and food. Him only do I recognise as a true almsman whose Maitri springs from the doctrine."

29. " None of the means employed to acquire religious merit, 0 Monks, has a sixteenth part of the value of loving kindness. Loving kindness, which is freedom of heart, absorbs them all ; it glows, it shines, it blazes forth.

30.. " And in the same way, 0 Monks, as the light of all the stars has not a sixteenth part of the value of the moonlight, but the moonlight absorbs it and glows and shines and blazes forth ; in the same way, 0 Monks, none of the means employed to acquire religious merit has a sixteenth part of the value of loving kindness. Loving kindness, which is freedom of heart, absorbs them; it glows, it shines, it blazes forth.

31. "And in the, same way, 0 Monks, as at the end of the rainy season, the sun, rising into the clear and cloudless sky, banishes all the dark spaces and glows and shines and blazes forth ; and in the same way again, as at night's end the morning star glows and shines and blazes forth; so, 0 Monks, none of the means employed to acquire religious merit has a sixteenth part of the value of loving kindness. Loving kindness, which is freedom of heart, absorbs them; it glows, it shines, it blazes forth."


Dhamma .to be Saddhamma must break down barriers between Man and Man

1. What is an ideal society ? According to the Brahmins, the Vedas have defined what is an ideal society and the Vedas being infallible, that is the only ideal society which man can accept.

2. The ideal society prescribed by the Vedas is known by the name Chaturvama.

3. Such a society, according to the Vedas, must satisfy three conditions.

4. It must be composed of four classes. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.

5. The interrelations of these classes must be regulated by the principle of graded inequality. In other words, all these classes are not to be on equal level but to be one above the other, in point of status, rights and privileges.

6. The Brahmins were placed at the top ; the Kshatriyas were placed below the Brahmins but above the Vaishyas; the Vaishyas were placed below the Kshatriyas but above the Shudras and the Shudras were placed the lowest of all.

7. The third feature of Chaturvama was that each class must engage  itself in an occupation assigned to it. The Brahmins' occupation was to learn, teach and officiate at religious ceremonies. The Kshatriyas' occupation was to bear arms and to fight. The occupation of the Vaishyas was trade and business. The Shudras' occupation was to do menial service for all the three superior classes.

8.     No class is to transgress and trench upon the occupation of the other classes.

9.   This theory of an ideal society was upheld by the Brahmins and preached to the people.

10.  The soul of this theory, it is obvious, is inequality. This social inequality is not the result of historical growth. Inequality is the official doctrine of Brahminism.

11. The Buddha opposed it root and branch.   

12. He was the strongest opponent of caste and the earliest and staunchest upholder of equality.

13. There is no argument in favour of caste and inequality which he did not refute.

14. There were many Brahmins who challenged Buddha on this issue. But he silenced them completely.

15. The story is told in the Assalayana-Sutta that once the Brahmins persuaded one of them, by name Assalayana, to go to the Buddha and controvert his views against caste and inequality.

16. Assalayana went to the Buddha and placed before him the case in favour of the superiority of the Brahmins.

17. He said, " Brahmins maintain, Gotama, that only Brahmins form the superior class, all other classes being inferior ; that only Brahmins form the white class, all other classes being black fellows ; that purity resides in Brahmins alone and not in non-Brahmins; and that only Brahmins are Brahma's legitimate sons, born from his mouth, offspring of his, creations of his, and his heirs. What does Gotama say hereon ? "

18. The Buddha's answer simply pulverized Assalayana.

19. The Buddha said :  " Assalayana, are not the Brahmin wives of Brahmins known to have their periods, and to conceive, and to lie and give birth? Notwithstanding this do Brahmins really maintain all what you have said though they are themselves born of women like everybody else ? "

20. Assalayana gave no answer.

21. The Buddha went further and asked Assala;-yana another question.

22. " Suppose, Assalayana, a young noble con-softs with a Brahmin maiden, what would be the issue ? Will it be an animal or human being ? "

23. Again Assalayana gave no answer.

24. " As to the possibility of moral development, is it only a Brahmin and not a man of the other three classes, who in this country, can develop in his heart the love that knows no hate or ill-will ? "           

25. " No. All four classes can do it," replied Assalayana.

26. " Assalayana ! Have you ever heard," asked the Buddha, " that in the Yona and Kamboja countries and in other adjacent countries, there are only two classes, namely, masters and slaves, and that a master can become a slave and vice versa ? "

27. " Yes, I have heard so," replied Assalayana.

28. " If your Chaturvarna is an ideal society, why is it not universal ? "    .

29. On none of these points was Assalayana able to defend his theory of caste and inequality. He was completely silenced. He ended by becoming a disciple of the Buddha.

30. A Brahmin by name Vasettha had embraced the religion of the Blessed Lord. The Brahmins used to abuse him for his conversion.

31. One day he went to Buddha and disclosed to him what the Brahmins said of him.

32. Then Vasettha said : " The Brahmins, Lord, say thus : ' Only a Brahmin is of the best social grade ; other grades are low. Only a Brahmin is of a clear complexion ; other complexions are swarthy. Only Brahmins are of pure breed ; not they that are not of the Brahmins. Only Brahmins are genuine children of Brahma, born of his mouth, offspring of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.

33. " ' As for you, you have renounced the best rank and have gone over to that low class, to the shaven recluses, to vulgar rich, to them of swarthy skins, to the foot-born descendants. Such a course is not good, such a course is not proper, even this, that you, having forsaken that upper class, should associate with an inferior class, to wit, with shavelings, fair folks, menials, swarthy of skin, the offspring of our kinsmen's heels.'

34. " In these terms. Lord, do the Brahmins blame and revile me with characteristic abuse, copious, not at all stinted. "

35. "Surely, Vasettha," said the Buddha, "the   Brahmins have quite forgotten the ancient lore when they say so. On the contrary, the wives of Brahmins, like all women of other classes, are seen to be with child, bringing forth and nursing children. And yet it is these very womb-born Brahmins who say that Brahmins are genuine children of Brahma, born from his mouth ; his offspring ; his creation ; and his heirs ! By this they make a travesty of the nature of Brahma."

36. Once the Brahmin Esukari went to the Buddha to argue with him three questions.

37. The first question he raised related to the permanent division of occupations. In defence of the system he began by saying : "I have come to ask you a question. The Brahmins say they shall serve nobody because they stand above all. Everyone else is born to serve them.

38. " Service, Gotama, is divided into four— service of Brahmin, service of noble, service of a middle-class man, or by a peasant; while a peasant may be served only by a peasant,—for who else could ? " What does the reverend Gotama say hereon ? "

39. The Buddha answered him by asking a question : " Is the whole world in accord with Brahmins in their fourfold division of service ? " asked the Lord.

40. " For myself, I neither assert that all service is to be rendered nor that all service is to be refused. 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.

41. "This is the guiding consideration which should decide the conduct alike of nobles, of Brahmins, of middle-class men and of peasants ; each individual should refuse service which makes him bad and should accept only the service which makes him a better man."

42. The next question raised as by Esukari.  " Why should ancestry and lineage not have a place in determining the status of a man ? "

43. To this question the Buddha replied thus : " As against pride of ancestry, the station into which a man happens to be born determines only his desig-   nation be it noble or Brahmin or middle-class or peasant. Even as a fire is called after the material out of which it is kindled, and may thus be called either a wood-fire, or a chip-fire, or a bracken-fire, or a cowdung fire, just in the same way the noble, tran-scendant doctrine, I aver, is the source of true wealth for every man, birth merely determining his designation in one of the four classes.

44. " Lineage 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 murderer, a thief, a fornicator, a liar, a slanderer, a man of bitter tongue, a tattler, a covetous person, a man of rancour or of wrong views, and therefore I assert that noble birth does not make a good man. Or again you will find a man of noble birth who is innocent of all these vices ; and, therefore, I assert that it is not lineage which makes a man bad."

45. The third question which Esukari raised was with regard to the ways of earning a living assigned to each class.

46. The Brahmin Esukari said to the Lord: " Brahmins give a fourfold assignment of income, from alms, for Brahmins ; from his bow and arrows, for the noble; from ploughing and tending cattle, for the middle-class man ; and for the peasant, by the carriage of crops on the pole slung over his shoulder. If anyone of these deserts his vocation for something else, he does what he should not do, not less than a guardian who appropriates what is not his. What does the reverend Gotama say on this ? "

47. "Is the whole world in accord with this Brahmin classification ? " asked the Lord.

48. "No," replied Esukari.

49. To Vasettha he said : " What is important is high ideals and not noble birth.

50. " No caste ; no inequality ; no superiority ; no inferiority ; all are equal. This is what he stood for.

51. "Identify yourself with others. As they,   sol. As I, so they," so said the Buddha.

Dhamma to be Saddhamma must Teach that Worth and not Birth is the Measure of Man

1. The theory of Chaturvama, preached by the Brahmins, was based on birth.

2. One is a Brahmin because he is born of Brahmin parents. One is a Kshatriya because he is born of Kshatriya parents. One is a Vaishya because one is born of Vaishya parents. And one is a Shudra because one is born of Shudra parents.

3. The worth of a man according to the Brahmins was based on birth and on nothing else.

4. This theory was as repulsive to the Buddha as was the theory of Chaturvama.

5. His doctrine was just the opposite of the doctrine of the Brahmins. It was his doctrine that worth and not birth was the measure of man.

6. The occasion on which the Buddha propounded his doctrine has its own peculiar interest.

7. Once the Blessed One was staying in Anath-pindika's Asram. One day in the forenoon he took his begging bowl and entered Shravasti for alms.

8. At that time a sacrificial fire was burning and an offering was prepared. Then the Blessed One, going for alms from house to house in Shravasti, approached the house of the Brahmin Aggika.

9. The Brahmin, seeing the Blessed One coming at a distance, became angry and said : " Stay there, 0 Shaveling ! There, stay, ye wretched monk ! Stay there, ye miserable outcast."

10. When he spoke thus, the Blessed One addressed him as follows: " Do you know, 0 Brahmin, who an outcast is, or the things that make a person an outcast ? "

11. " No, Gotama, I do not know who an outcast is. Nor indeed do I know what things make a man an outcast."

12. The Lord pleaded that nothing would be lost in knowing who is an outcast. " Now that you insist   on my knowing it," the Brahmin Aggika said, " well go on and explain."

13. The Brahmin having responded, the Blessed One speak as follows :

14. " The man who is irritable, rancorous, vicious, detractive, perverted in views, and deceitful— know ye that he is an outcast.

15. "Whosoever in this world harms living beings once-born or twice-born, in whom there is no compassion for living beings—know ye that he is an outcast.

16. " Whosoever destroys and besieges villages and hamlets, and is known as an oppressor—know ye that he is an outcast.

17. "Whether in the village or in the forest whosoever appropriates by theft what belongs to others, or what is not given—know ye that he is an outcast,

18. " Whosoever, having really taken a debt, flees, when pressed, saying, ' There is no debt to you,'— know ye that he is an outcast.

19. " Whosoever, desiring some trifle, kills a man going alone on the road, and pillages him—know ye that he is an outcast.

20. " Whosoever for his own sake, or for the sake of others, or for the sake of wealth, utters lies when asked as a witness—know ye that he is an outcast.

21. "Whosoever by force or with consent is seen transgressing with the wives of relatives or friends - know ye that he is an outcast.

22. "Whosoever, being rich, does not support aged mother and father who have passed their youth— know ye that he is an outcast.

23. "Whosoever, when questioned about what is good, counsels what is wrong and teaches in a concealing way—know ye that be is an outcast.

24. " No one is an outcast by birth—and no one is a Brahmin by birth."

25. Aggika, on hearing this, felt greatly ashamed for the abuse he had buried against the Blessed Lord.

Dhamma to be Saddhamma must Promote Equality between Man and Woman

1. Men are born unequal.

2. Some are robust, others are weaklings.

3. Some have more intelligence, others have less or none.

4. Some have more capacity, others have less.

5. Some are well-to-do, others are poor.

6. All have to enter into what is called the struggle for existence.

7. In the struggle for existence if inequality be recognised as the rule of the game the weakest will always go to the wall.

8. Should this rule of inequality be allowed to be the rule of life?

9. Some answer in the affirmative on the ground that it results in the survival of the fittest.

10. The question, however, is: Is the fittest the best from the point of view of society.

11. No one can give a positive answer.

12. It is because of this doubt that religion preaches equality. For equality may help the best to survive even though the best may not be the fittest.

13. What society wants is the best and not the fittest.

14. It is, therefore, the primary reason why religion upholds equality.

15. This was the viewpoint of the Buddha and it was because of this that he argued that a religion which does not preach equality is not worth having. 16. Can you respect or believe in a religion which recommends actions that bring happiness to oneself by causing sorrow to others, or happiness to others by causing sorrow, to oneself or sorrow to both oneself and others ?

17. Is not that a better religion which promotes the happiness of others simultaneously with the happiness of oneself and tolerates no oppression.

18. These were some of the most pertinent questions which he asked the Brahmins who opposed Equality.

19. The religion of the Buddha is perfect justice springing from a man's own meritorious disposition.

< Part-1 , Part-2 , Part-4 >

  Editors Note- The source of the text for this electronic version was: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. 11 (Bombay: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, 1992). Our site also makes available, from the same series, Vol. 11 Supplement: Pali and Other Sources of The Buddha & His Dhamma with an Index, by Vasant Moon. The original publication was by Siddharth College Publications, Bombay, in 1957.

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