7 BUDDHIST APPROACH TO GLOBAL EDUCATION IN SOCIAL HARMONY: AS DEPICTED IN TITTIRA JATAKA

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 12:26
by Prerna Bhardwaj



 
BUDDHIST APPROACH TO GLOBAL EDUCATION IN SOCIAL HARMONY: AS DEPICTED IN TITTIRA JATAKA

by Prerna Bhardwaj*






ABSTRACT

As the scholar Patrick Olivelle writes, “It is clear that the Buddhists did not invent the stories. It is quite uncertain whether the author of the Panchatantra borrowed his stories from the Jataka or the Mahabharata, or whether he was tapping into a common treasury of tales, both oral and literary, of ancient India.1

This paper is all about the Importance of Social Harmony2 in our Society and Teachings of The Shakyamuni Buddha3 regarding the same as applicable to his Sangha as well. I am delighted to find a reasonable answer about the tradition to pay respect by an old bikkhuni4 to a young bhikku5. As per my understanding and with the evidences available in the Jataka6. It seems that this



*. M.Phil., Lecturer, Department Of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi, India.
  1. Olivelle, Patrick (2006), The Five Discourses on Worldly Wisdom, Clay Sanskrit Library. (vide wikipedia).
  2. Social harmony means peaceful interaction of human dynamics among members of a social group or groups.
  3. Buddha, also known as, Shakyamuni, the sage who belong to shakyaclanis considered as The Buddha of present age on whos teachings The Buddhism is founded.
  4. A Bhikkhunī (Pali) or bhikuī (Sanskrit) is a fully ordained nun who observes 311 monastic rules.
5. A Bhikkhu (Pali, Sanskrit: bhiku) is a fully ordained monk who observes 253 monastic rules.
6.The Jātaka tales are a voluminous body of narrative literature concerning the previous births of The Shakyamuni Buddha.
 


Tittira Jataka7 has also guided the teachings of the Buddha. As this Jataka underlines that it is Because of the reason that Bhikku Sangh is older than bhikkuni sangh; so being a member of senior organization a young bhikku is entitled for all due respect by an old Bhikkuni she being a member of Junior order therefore it is nothing to do about the unequal position of female in our society. During the life of the Buddha whatever problem arose related to the social conduct; he gave instructions how to sort out that particular problem and gave an example of his past lives. All Jataka are the combination of all these teachings. This Tittira Jataka is 37th story of the collection of 547 Jataka stories.
***
For they who honour ages, in Truth are versed (wise);
Praise now, and bliss hereafter, is their meed (reward).8

“The Panchatantra shares many stories in common with the Buddhist Jataka tale, purportedly told by the historical Buddha before his death around 400 BCE. As the scholar Patrick Olivelle writes, It is clear that the Buddhists did not invent the stories. It is quite uncertain whether the author of [the Panchatantra] borrowed his stories from the Jataka or the Mahabharata, or whether he was tapping into a common treasury of tales, both oral and literary, of ancient India.9

During the Life of the Buddha whatever problem arose related to the social conduct; he gave instructions how to sort out that particular problem and gave an example of his Past Lives. All Jataka are the combination of all these teachings. This Tittira Jataka is 37th story of the collection of 547 Jataka stories. The prelude of this Tittira Jataka goes as under: Once when Anātha-piṇḍika10 had built his monastery


7. The Tittirajatak is 37th story of the collection of 547 Jataka stories. The same kind of narrative story is also find place in the Chullavagga,(VI,6,3) and the AvadanKalplata;as The Kapinjalaavdana.(kapinjalo aham eva aso; Shariputrah shasho abhvat.kapinch mudagraptya;Aananado gaj yoothpah /22/p.492
8. The Jataka. p. 94.
  1. Olivelle, Patrick (2006), The Five Discourses on Worldly Wisdom, Clay Sanskrit Library. (vide wikipedia).
  2. Anathapindika was the richest lay follower of the Shakyamuni Buddha who also known as Sudatta.He has bought Jetavana :the pleasure garden of prince Jeta by placing each inch of land with gold coin for the sake of building monastery for the Buddha and his Sangha.
 


and sent an invitation to The Buddha to visit the place. After the invitation The Buddha Shakyamuni left the Rājagaha and reached Vesā. When this story was told by the Master he was on his way to Sāvatthi, where the Elder Sariputta11 was kept out of a nights lodging.

There were ‘Disciples of the Sixhurriedly gone ahead and occupied the whole of the available lodgings before they quarters could be taken for other Elders, and offered those accommodations to their superiors, their teachers, and themselves. When the other Elders came up later, they could not find any quarters at all for their stay. Even the most senior disciple Sariputta could not get any lodgings for him.So without lodging, He passed the whole night at the foot of a tree near the Masters quarter. At early dawn as usual the Buddha coughed when he came out of his lodging. The Sariputta coughed too then the Buddha asked to Sariputta about his presence at that early time. Then the Sariputta told him about what ever had happened lastnight,After hearing entire story The Buddha thought that, if now, in front of him the disciples were lacking courtesy then what will happen after he is gone. And this thought made him very uncomfortable he was full of anxiety for this Truth.The Buddhasoon addressed the assembly and narrated them, about the hadhappened last night.And asked,Is it true, as I heard, that the adherents of the Sixwent ahead and occupied allthe Lodgings and the senior most brother the Sariputta kept out of lodgings for the night?” After getting the positive reply The Buddha understood that the main problem is in their understanding of seniority So, to give them all the clarity upon this issue and as a lesson to all, he asked them all that as per their understanding who deserves the best lodging, the best water, and the best food?

In that assembly The Buddha received much kind of answers. Some of them answered a nobleman before he became a Brother (monk). Others said a Brahmin, or a man of means. Other said, the man who can expound the Law; an Arahat12; one who knows the Three Great Truths; one who has the Six Higher Knowledges.


 
  1. Sāriputta or Sanskrit Śāriputra was one of two chief male disciples of TheShakyamuni Buddha.
  2. A person who has successfully destroyed the all kalesas or defilement factors.
 


After listen all thoughts of them The Buddha answered “In the religion which I teach, the standard by which precedence in the matter of lodging and the like is to be settled, is not noble birth, or having been a Brahmin, or having been wealthy before entry into the Order; the standard is not familiarity with the Rules of the Order, with the Sutras, or with the Metaphysical Books; nor is it either the attainment of any of the four stages of mystic ecstasy, or the walking in any of the Four Paths of salvation.(p.93)

Then The Buddha explained that as per the Nobel Religion called Buddhism it is seniority which claims all due respect and all due service; it is seniors who should enjoy the best lodging, the best water, and the best food. This is the true standard, and therefore the senior Brother ought to have these things. Then the Buddha turned to Sāriputta, and starts to explain about the position of him who has set rolling the Wheel of Minor Truth, and who deserves to have best lodging next after the Master. But on opposite he has spent the whole night without lodging at the foot of a tree.

To explain the importance of the harmony in the society The Buddha gave a reference of past that even animals came to the conclusion that it was not proper for them to live without respect, or without the ordering of their common life; even these animals decided to find out which among them was the senior. So they
looked into the matter, and having found out which of them was the senior,theyshowedhim all forms of reverence, whereby they passed away their lives in perfect harmony and in heavenly pleasure and story goes under:

Once on a time, it is said that there was a  great   banyan-tree on the slopes of the Himalayas, there dwelt
 


three friends,--a partridge13, a monkey, and an elephant. They lost the vision of mutual respect as subordinate to one an another, in their present lives. And the thought came to them that it was not seemly for them to live in this way, and that they ought to find out which of their number was the senior and to honour him.

As they were engaged thinking which the oldest, one day an idea was struck them. All three decided to talk with mutual sittings, so with this idea under the banyan tree their meeting held and asked about the tree length and size of banyan tree when elephant noticed it first time in his childhood. Elephant replied and gave information that it was just a bush, and was able to walk over it and its top most branch reached till elephants belly only.

Next the monkey was asked the same question by the other two; and he replied, that was the time this tree was too short, in fact that much baby monkey was able to eat the sprouts of this banyan with just effort to stretch his neck towards it.

Then the partridge was asked the same question by the two others; and he replied to them with this fact that, there was an old banyan-tree at the same place and the bird ate seeds of that and voided this place in past. Because of that reason only the presence of this tree occurred. This statement proved the bird to senior most among them.

The after hearing this fact the elephant and the monkey both greeted to the sage partridge and said that the bird was the elder one and also paid honour and veneration and requested to the bird to teach them about the respect of the elders.

Then after hearing these words from them the sage bird gave them directions, and helped them to establish in the ordinance, Being thus established in the ordinance, they started to pay respect to elders in order to subordination among them. All of them by following the correct path and understand the value of the precept, got an opportunity to get rebirth in haven.
The aims of these three continued the master--came to be

 
  1. A brown bird with a round body and short tail that is often hunted for food and sport also called Tittira.
 


known as the holiness of the partridge, and if these three animals, Brethren, lived together in respect and subordination, how can you, who have embraced a Faith the Rules of which are so well-taught, live together without due respect and subordination? Henceforth I ordain, Brethren, that to seniority shall be paid respect of word and deed, salutation, and all due service; that seniority shall be entitled for the best lodging, the best water, and the best rice; and nevermore let a senior be kept out of a lodging by a junior. Whosoever so keeps out his senior commits an offence? When the Master had finished speaking of the virtue of reverencing age, he made the connexion and identified the Birth by saying, moggallāna was the elephant of those days, sariputta the monkey, and I myself the sage partridge.14(p.94)

Precisely the Sum total of my presentation is summarised as follow:

It mentioned  in  Panchatantra and  the  Buddhist Jataka  the importance of maintaining balance of ecosystem and the harmony in society is highlighted. Animals, Forest and Human beings are equally represented.

It also resolves the issue that due to being a member of senior order a young monk command respect and honour from an elderly nun because she being a member of joiner order. It is due to reason the bhikku sangh was formed earlier to the bhikkuni sangh.

Brahmanical anBuddhist traditioInculcating religious  and moral values among their followers.

And it is also to be underline that the Buddha in his every previous birth where he was an animal, bird or human being he was the best an chosen leader among them.










 
  1. The Jataka, p. 94.
 


 

References


Shaw, Sandra. The Jatakas Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta, New Delhi:Penguin Books India, 2006.

Cowell, E.B,The Jataka or Story of the Buddhas former Births,voli- iii;Delhi.Low Price Publications, 2001.

Caroline, A F, Rhys Davids, Dialogues of the Buddha. Delhi motilal banarsidas, 2001.
Pali-English dictionary, Chipstead: The Pali Text Societys,1925. Buddhist    Dictionary,          Ven.Nyanatiloka,forth,Kandy:                Buddhist
Publication society,1980.(4th revised edition)

Davis,T.W.Rhys and Hermann Oldenberg, tr.the Cullavagga iv-xii, Motilal Banarsidas,1883.

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