16 HUMANISTIC VIEWS IN PALI LITERATURE

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 12:06
by Upender Rao




 
HUMANISTIC VIEWS IN PALI LITERATURE

by Upender Rao*




 
  1. BUDDHA

Name of Buddha was derived from Sanskrit root Budh. Sānkhya system made Buddhi (intellect) as its great principle (Mahat) and the Śatapatha brāhmaṇa called a man who has attained to perfect Knowledge of Self ‘Prati Buddha1. With this back ground of understanding, it is not difficult to notice that what Lord Buddha had preached was undoubtedly unique but similar to Upaniṣadic wisdom. The doctrines which were grown out of the Knowledge of Buddha were called Dharma (Dhamma in Pali) using the very same term employed by Vedic and Upaniṣadic literature. This form expresses how it is most comprehensive in Buddha dharma too. It includes the physical laws of the universe as well as the moral and social duties. But one great distinction between Vedic tradition and ‘Buddha-dhammais that the later does not contain the esoteric (rahasya) and metaphysical doctrines with regard to the matter and spirit. But some of its root ideas were just modifications of Sāṁkhya, Yoga and Vedānta systems of Vedic philosophy. In fact there was no distinction in knowledge systems in ancient times as we have made it today. It may be ‘Upaniṣadic-dharma’ or ‘Buddha- dhamma’ or any other system, these systems always tried to find the truthful solutions to the philosophical problems.

Buddhas path leads us towards the knowledge of truth that all life is a link in a series of successive existence and inseparably bound up


*. Prof. C., Chairman, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India.
    1. Professor A. Weber has expressed this idea first and the same was endorsed by Sir M. Monier Williams in his book ‘BuddhismP-82.
 


with misery. There are two causes of misery; lust and ignorance, so there are two cures too. The first cure is the suppression of lust and desire, especially of all kinds of desires for continuity of existence.

The second cure was the removal of ignorance. Indeed according to Gautama ignorance causes the first factor in the misery of life. This stands first in his chain of causation. This ignorance however is different with the Vedāntic ignorance. In Vedānta ajñâna is the cause of all illusions is defined as that which is beginning-less, yet positive and removable by Knowledge.2 Though it manifests itself in all ordinary things (veiled by it before they become objects of perception) which have a beginning in time, yet it itself has no beginning, for it is associated with the pure consciousness. But this is not an ignorance of the fact that man and the universe are identical with the God, but the ignorance of the four truths. Ignorance that life is misery and that misery of life is caused by indulging in lusts and will cease to be by suppressing them.

Buddhas teachings have influenced all nations in Europe as well as in Asia. It was a favourite idea with the stoics and it found favour with Schopenhauer, Von Hartmann and other modern philosophers. Buddhism offers a large field of knowledge which has not only entered, but also influenced large part of the world, such as India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries in South East Asia and Tibet, Central Asia, China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. The humanistic values hidden in the teachings of Lord Buddha have influenced the history and culture of these countries. They gave rise to many literary, philosophical works and art etc. in these regions.
  1. SPIRITUAL POWER OF BUDDHAS TEACHINGS

The values of Buddha-dharma are in fact not only humanistic values but they are also spiritual. After Buddha, when his path turned to be a religion named Buddhism, it has also spread spiritual values. In fact Buddhism was a powerful spiritual force in the world. It indicates the positive attitude in human beings. Not only in human beings, in animals too. When Nālāgiri, (an elephant
 
    1. Adibhâvarupatve sati jñânanivartyatvam. A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1 p. 454.
 


in Rajagṛha) was freed and sent to attack Buddha while he was walking on the street of Rājagha along with his disciples, it initially ran towards Buddha in anger, but became quiet and composed soon after nearing the Buddha. Nalagiri was the name of the royal- elephant belonging to King Suppabuddha3. This king was the father of Devadatta. Devadattha, who was jealous of the Buddha, plotted to kill Him while He was in Rājagṛha (the present town Rājgir in India). They brought this huge tusker and gave it alcohol, then hurt and wounded it with spears and irritated it so much that it was enraged beyond compare. Then they let it out loose from a special gate at Rājagṛha into the narrow streets of Rājagha, where the Buddha was coming down on alms round. The intoxicated elephant started running down this street furiously tearing down everything on its sight. Everybody ran helter-skelter, when they saw this huge enraged elephant come charging down the street. The Buddha and his faithful attendant Venerable Ānanda alone, stayed-on, without running away. Bhikṣu Ānanda stood in front of the Buddha, so that the elephant would get him instead of the Buddha. (this Ānanda Thero was quite different to St. Peter). However, the Buddha, came forward and with his immense mettha, relieved him off his pain and calmed the animal, who bowed down at his feet with tears running down his elephantine face. Buddha did not think about Himself, He only felt the urgency of ending the pain from which this huge animal was suffering and thats just what He did. With His immense metta, He ended the suffering of that animal, and the poor animal felt His loving kindness in his entire gigantic body thus, curing him off his pain and intoxication. He bowed down at the Blessed Ones feet crying in gratitude. That was the spiritual power of Buddha.

Several attitudes developed through Buddhist ethics benefit us. One of them is the Adhimukti(open-mindedness) this is the most interesting value. It is the capacity of the mind to keep itself open during the times of new messages, to grasp and comprehend them4. Tolerance is another positive attitude which allows other to

 
    1. Rājagahe nāḷāgiri nāma hatthī caṇḍo hoti, manussaghātako. Atha kho devadatto rājaga- hapavisitvāVinayapiṭaka, Cūḷavaggapāḷi 7. Saṅghabhedakakkhandhakaṃ.
    2. Sampāpakatāya ‘pāpā’’ti vuccanti. Tenākārena pavatna nti yo pāpamittassa khanti
 


have ideas different from his own ones and to think that their ideas are the best and the true ones. Intolerance limits ones freedom and it is accompanied by aggressive nature. Today Religious hatred is spreading mainly due to this intolerance. It also enhances the religious wars, forced conversions and ideological prosecutions.

The five fundamental rules of moral conduct (Śīla) were taught by Buddha are:
      1. Kill not any living beings
      2. Steal not others’ belongings
      3. Commit not adultery
      4. Lie not
      5. Drink no intoxicants.
The Five Precepts in Pali are as follows5,
  1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
  2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
  3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
  4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
 
  1. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
The English translation of these five precepts is as follows,

I  undertake  the  precept  to  refrain  from  destroying  living creatures.

I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.


ruci adhimutti-  Aṅguttaranikāya (ṭīkā) Ekakanipāta-ṭīkā 7. Vīriyārambdivaggavaṇṇanā,
    1. Pañca sikkhāpadāni – ātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ, adindānā veramaṇī sik- khāpadaṃ, kāmesumicchācārā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ, musāvādā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ, surāmerayamajjapamādaṭhānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ- Abhidhammapiṭaka Vibhagapāḷi 14. Sikkhāpadavibhaṅgo.
 


I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

This is a fivefold law for all people including lay men. But five more laws were lied down by Buddha for monks, they are as follows-
  1. Eat no food except at stated times
  2. Use no ornaments or perfumes
  3. Use no high or broad beds for sleeping
  4. Abstain from dancing, singing, music and worldly affairs
  5. Own no gold, silver or any metal and do not accept gifts

All these ten laws were prescribed for monks but only first five for laymen. But sometimes first eight were held to be binding on laymen. In later period another precept was added. “Never think that your own religion is the best one and never denounce the others religion. Tevijja sutta has prohibited all kinds of gambling and games. The same was said by Manu in Manusmti6.
Lord Buddha laid stress on conduct and not on caste. He said: Mā jātiṃ puccha caraṇañca puccha,
Kaṭṭhā have jāyati jātavedo; Nīkulīnopi muni dhitimā, Ājānīyo hoti hirīnisedho. Saccena danto damasā upeto, Vedantagū   vusitabrahmacariyo; Yñopanīto tamupavhayetha, Kālena so juhati dakkhieyye’ti.
Addhā suyiṭṭhasuhutaṃ mama yidaṃ, Yatādisavedagumaddasāmi; Tumhādisānañhi adassanena,
Añño jano bhuñjati habyasesanti7.
    1. Manusmṛti IX. 221-228.
    2. Sundarikasuttaṃ of Brāhmaṇasayuttaṃ of Saṃyuttanikāya Sagāthāvaggapāḷi.
 


To establish harmony in society it is essential to understand and to follow these words of the Buddha in practical way. A person should be given importance on the basis of his/her deeds and merits and should not be discriminated on the basis of the accidental birth.

Buddha spoke on the importance of purity of Mind. Mind is the fore-runner in all mental phenomena and all activities. Therefore Buddha laid stress on the purity of mind and not of body, for which one has to remove the mental defilements. Taking bath in different rivers does not purify a man. If he has given up his mental defilements, he is treated as taken bath without taking physical bath.

Wrongly directed mind is most harmful to men. It motivates them to perform wrong and sinful deeds. Buddha said
Diso disayataṃ kayirā, verī vā pana verinaṃ; Micchāpaihitaṃ cittaṃ, piyo naṃ tato kare’ti8.
On the contrary, a rightly directed mind does more welfare than any person or thing in world. Buddha said,

FOUR BRAHMA VIHĀRAS

The word Brahma Vira variously translated by scholars as follows,
Sublime or divine state of mind”, Pious conduct”,
Perfect state”, Good moods”,
Sublime  occupation”, Excellent states”, Divine states”,
“The highest condition”, etc.

But I have used the translation “Divine state of mind” for this term in this article. The four Brahma Vihāras remain in the cultivation of four feelings, viz., Maitrī (Friendliness), Karuṇa

8. Dhammapada, Cittavaggo, gāthā 42.
 


(Compassion), Muditā (Sympathetic joy or Kindliness) and upekṣā (Equanimity or indifference)9. These four are the supreme states of the consciousness. Brahma means supreme, the great. Since, the result of these feelings is to be born in Brahmaloka i.e. the world of celestials and to enjoy the delighted things. Therefore, these are called Brahma Vihāras. These are supreme sources of the purification of mind. The person, who practises the four divine states of mind, wishes the welfare of all beings.

Through these Brahma Vihāras an ascetic removes the impurities like lust, hatred, jealously, envy etc. Yoga is the source of self-welfare, but Brahma Vihāras do well to others also.

Enmity arises due to clash of interests, feeling of supremacy and rivalry. Finding an opportunity, a defeated person attacks his adversary and thus enmity is born, therefore, the Buddha Says:
Jayaṃ veraṃ pasavati, dukkhaṃ seti parājito; Upasanto sukhaṃ seti, hitvā jayaparājayanti10.
In order to get rid of the feeling of enmity one should not have the feeling of victory and defeat. To establish pleasure and peace in life one should keep in mind the following Buddha Vacana:
Akkocchi maṃ avadhi maṃ, ajini [ajinī (?)] maṃ ahāsi me; Ye ca taupanayhanti, veraṃ tesana sammati.
Akkocchi maavadhi maṃ, ajini maṃ ahāsi me; Ye ca tanupanayhanti, veratesūpasammati. Na hi verena verāni, sammantīdha kudācanaṃ; Averena ca sammanti, esa dhammo sanantano11.
He abused me, he ill-treated me, he got the better of me and he stole my belongings. The enmity of those harbouring such thoughts can never be ceased. But of those not harbouring on such

 
  1. Abyāpādena mettāpi abyāpādena mettā gahitā, upekkhāti tatramajjhattatāya ca ga- hitā yasmā kāraṇā, tasmā ubhopetā bhagavatā na gahitā.- Tīkā Abhidhammapiṭaka (īkā) Abhidhammāvatāra-purāṇaī, Dutiyo paricchedo.
  2. Dhammapada pali-Sukhavaggo, thā 201.
  3. Khuddakanikāye, Dhammapadapāḷi, 1. Yamakavaggo-gāthā-3-5.
 


thoughts can be ceased.

Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving kindness. This is an Ancient Law.

To cherish the feeling of affection and friendship for being is friendliness. Friendliness becomes for the pleasure and welfare of others. In practical life, we see that friendliness is caused by affection (rāga), which is not the feeling of pure friendliness. It is to be remembered that friendliness must be unmotivated, without craving (taṇhā). Affection is caused by greed and ignorance, but friendliness  isassociatedwiththeknowledge.Thenatureoffriendliness is bereft of malice and is associated with absence of greed.

After seeing the grief of others, the trembling which arises in the hearts of gentle persons, is called Karuṇā (Compassion). Compassion removes the grief of others. A compassionate person neither kills beings nor tolerates the grief of others. The feeling of violence disappears when the feeling of compassion. Being subdued by compassion a true follower of the Buddha thinks in this way:

If I and others find fear and grief equally unpleasant, then what is the special thing in me that I should save myself, not others?

यदा मम परेषां भयं दुक्खं प्रियं तदात्मनः को विशेषो यत्तं रक्षामि नेतरं12
The  sigh  of  kindliness  (muditaā)  is  delight.  The  person,
who practises kindliness, becomes happy when he sees others
prosperous. He has no feeling of hatred and jealousy towards
anybody. Seeing the wealth and merits of others, he neither feels
enmity nor jealousy. Kindliness removes discontent. There is lack
of kindliness in the joy of unenlightened persons, because it arises
from affection.

FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS AND NOBLE EIGHT FOLD PATH:

The realization of Four Noble Truths is essential for humanism as well as emancipation of mankind13. The Four Noble Truths are
  1. Bodhicaryāvara-8.96.
  2. Cattāri ariyasaccāni – dukkhaariyasaccaṃ, dukkhasamudayaṃ [dukkhasamudayo (syā.)]               ariyasaccaṃ,             dukkhanirodhaṃ   [dukkhanirodho        (syā.)]                      ariyasaccaṃ,
 
 
  1. Suffering (Dukkha),
  2. Cause of suffering (Dukkha samudaya),
  3. Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha-nirodha)
 
  1. Way  leads  for  cessation  of  suffering  (Dukkha-nirodha gāminī Paṭipadā).

To get rid of suffering, it is essential to follow the fourth Noble Truth- Dukkha-nirodha-gāminī Paidapadā. The fourth Noble Truth is Āraānga Mārga (the Noble Eight Fold Path). Noble Eight Fold Path is as follows-
  1. sammā-diṭhi
  2. sammā sakappa
  3. sam-vā
  4. sammā-kammanta
  5. sam-āva
  6. sam-vāyāma
  7. sam-sati
  8. sammā-samādhi14

Right understanding: Understanding that the Four Noble Truths are noble and true.
Right thought: Determining and resolving to practice Buddhist faith.

Right speech: Avoiding slander, gossip, lying, and all forms of untrue and abusive speech.

Right conduct: Adhering to the idea of nonviolence (ahimsa), as well as refraining from any form of stealing or sexual impropriety.


dukkhanirodhagāminī   paipadā   ariyasaccaṃ-   Abhidhammapiṭak Vibhaṅgapāḷi   4th Saccavibhaṅgo.
14. Idāni tadanantare maggavibhaṅge ariyo aṭhaṅgiko maggotiādi sabbaṃ saccavibhaṅge dukkhanirodhagāminīpaipadāniddesevuttanayenevaveditabba.Bhāvanāvasenapāiyekka dassite dutiyanayepi sammādiṭhiṃ bhāveti vivekanissitantiādi sabbabojjhagavibhaṅge vuttanayeneva veditabbaṃ. Evamidadvinnampi nayānaṃ vasena suttantabhājanīya lokiyalokuttaramissakameva kathitaṃ- Sammohavinodanī- Abhidhammapiṭaka (aṭhakathā), Maggagavibhaṅgo.
 


Right means of making a living: Not slaughtering animals or working at jobs that force you to violate others.

Right mental attitude or effort: Avoiding negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger and jealousy.

Right mindfulness: Having a clear sense of ones mental state and bodily health and feelings.

Right concentration: Using meditation to reach the highest level of enlightenment.

The Noble Eight fold path is the source of Buddhist moral conduct. If anybody follows it rightly, he would destroy suffering and contributes to the welfare of mankind. Out of eight, three, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood are essential for a lay man. In the absence of these, the social harmony cannot be established. A follower of the Buddha will refrain himself from falsehood, malicious speech, harsh speech and frivolous speech. One has to refrain himself for establishment of peace around him.

Performing Right Action one can do the welfare of society. Abstaining from taking life, taking what is not given and immoral sex-life are included in Right Action. The conception of Right Livelihood has become most relevant today in the society. The financial corruption has spread all over the world. Now, the world has become the place of corruption. We must follow the Buddhas sermon of Sammā Āvo. One should give up false or dishonest ways of earning ones livelihood or way which causes injury or harm to others. All professions which do not come up to this standard should be given up. The spirit of honesty and service of mankind should be the prevailing motive. As these three are directly related to lay persons and society. If the Noble Eight Fold Path is practised rightly, it enables a person to get rid of suffering as well as salvation. This is considered the best among all the paths. The lord Buddha says:
Maggānaṭṭhagiko seṭṭho, saccānacaturo padā; Virāgo seṭṭho dhammānaṃ, dvipadānañca cakkhu15.

 
  1. Dhammapadapāḷi 20. Maggavaggo-273
 


Loard Buddha regards this Dhamma as most dependable for purification of knowledge, which also destroys evils,
‘Esova  maggo natthañño, dassanassa visuddhiyā;
Etañhi tumhe paṭipajjatha, mārassetapamohana16.

ŚĪLA. SAMĀDHI AND PRAJÑĀ

The elaboration of Śīla Samādhi and Prajñā is eight fold path. In Noble Eight Fold Path, Sammā Vācā, Sammā Kammanta, Sammā Āvo are included in Śīla. Sammā Vayāma, Sammā Sati, Sammā Samādhi are included in Samādhi and Sammā Ditthi, Sammā Sankappo are included in Prajñā. Buddha, perhaps for the first time in the history of Indian culture, laid a great stress on moral life in its two aspects- (1) self restraint and (2) compassion for all living beings. The cultivation of moral values was regarded by the Buddha as an essential part of spiritual perfection. Moral life thus becomes in Buddhism, the very core of religious life.

If the Noble Eight Fold Path is practised well, it means Śila, Samādhi and Prajna are practised and consequently the kingdom of peace and pleasure will be established in the world. Only by the sermon of Atthangika Magga one cannot obtain the end of suffering. The duty of Tathāgata is only to show the path. A person should follow the path to get rid of suffering.

भवतु सब्बमंगलम्








***








 
  1. Idid-274.



 

Bibliography

Pali and Sanskrit


दीघनिकायपालि,  धम्मगिरि-पालि-ग्रन्थमाल,  विपश्यना  विशोधन विन्य, इगतपुर, प्रथम आवृत्ति, 1998.

धम्मपदपालि,    शास्त्र,  द्वारिकादास  (सं.    अनु.),  बौद्धभारती, वाराणस, 2002.

बोधिचर्यावतार, शान्तिदेव, (अनु.) शास्त्री, शान्तिभिक्षु, गौतम बुक सेन्टर, दिल्ली, 2001.

मज्झिमनिकायपालि,    धम्मगिरि-पालि-ग्रन्थमाल,      विपश्यना विशोधन विन्या, इगतपुर, प्रथम आवृत्ति, 1998.

विनयपिटकधम्मगिरि-पालि-ग्रन्थमाल,    विपश्यना    विशोधन विन्यास, इगतपुर, प्रथम आवृत्ति, 1998.

संयुत्तनिकायपालि,(खण्ड 4),  शास्त्र, द्वारिकादास (सं. अनु.), बौद्धभारती,  वाराणस, 2000.

सुत्तनिपातपालि, शास्त्री, द्वारिकादास (सं. अनु.), बौद्धभारती, वाराणस, 2005.

English


Akira, Hirakawa. A History of Indian Buddhism: From Sakyamuni to Early Mahayana. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990.

Bapat, P. V. 2500 Years of Buddhism. Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information, 1956.

Dasgupta, S.N. History of Indian Philosophy (Vol. 1), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975.

Dhammananda, K. The Dhammapada. Taiwan: The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, 1998.

Eliot, Charles, Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch, Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, London, 1921.

Garbe, Richard. The Philosophy of Ancient India. Chicago: The open court publishing co, 1897.

Rahula, Walpola. What the Buddha Taught. New York: Grove Press, 1974.

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