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Gautama Buddha: Human Religion and Peace

Gautama Buddha: Human Religion and Peace

By Dr. Ravindra Kumar

A consideration has been continuing since utmost early stage of human life. The consideration is regarding controlling others. A person wants to keep him or herself in a higher position in comparison to others. This factor has been responsible for disintegration of society. Many nations faced degradation on this accord. A person forgets that he cannot be master of others. He is master of self only. Sooner or later, we shall have to admit and adopt the concept of equality and it indicates friendliness. Lord Gautama Buddha preached this in times past:

“Attahi Attano Natho Ko Dwinatho Parosiya

Attana Va Sudanten Natham Labhati Dhullabham”

That is: Man is himself his master. No other one can be his master Hard earned mastership is gained only after sublimating oneself adequately.

Lord Buddha was in favour of equality amongst all human beings. ‘Man’ or ‘woman’, all were equal for him. There was no caste or class in his vocabulary. He was not only deadly against the words - master and slave; he struggled during whole of his life to eliminate them. It was during this struggle that he established human religion based on equality in order to ensure that all may tread path of peace He wished that no one should exploit any other. All must control themselves. We must give up desire to become masters: such a desire is false and should be given up heartily.

There has been a tendency in human society to control others or to keep others as slaves. This tendency has been there since quite long. The tendency has been at all levels: personal, social and national. It was on this account that not only human blood was shed in personal, social or national struggles but societies were also disintegrated. The existence of humanity was challenged and its peace was disturbed.

Lord Gautama Buddha induced human-beings to know his reality. He did not permit concealment of innumerable evils that emerge from policy of non-equality. He stressed perpetual need of equality based on affection and friendliness. This was propounded by him as Human Religion. It is a remedy to all problems He initiated a non-violent movement-cum-revolution against mastership spirit of human beings. A particular class had been keeping its all-out hold on society. This class had been prescribing false and selfish rules again and again. Human society was being made fearful of God in order to achieve selfish goals. Lord Buddha alerted this class and stated:

“These persons believe in one God. We can be up to that God only through them. The Human Beings can enter ‘Pawana Pawananam’ only after their permission.”

It was, as such, made mandatory for people to offer them things in form of Dakshina. They were required to worship them and to be on the way shown by them. They were as a way asked to give all of theirs to them.

“This tendency of such persons in World-history is like that of a beastly thirsty and hungry lion. This is actually the nature of people who consider themselves born to exploit others. These persons prescribe and manage thousands of regulations.”

He said:

“They are motivated to establish their hold on society. They want control on the people in any deliberate manner. They describe simple regulations in a complex way so as to keep their position intact. They produce stories before people for this very purpose. The stories are enframed in a way so as to get their doctrines confirmed. Thereafter, they combine these stories with human service pertaining to others so that people may remain obedient out of fear. How sweet the dream shown by them is - they say - in case a person wants to flourish in his life and wishes to be in heaven after death, he can expect so only through them. The people shall have to perform various rituals and rites etc. in accordance with the path shown by them. They have made life so unreal and complex. They have made mind so perplexed that life cannot go on adequately - this can be straightforwardly stated. A man can learn nothing except dissatisfaction. This is like reducing a man in a state of idiotness after intoxicating him very gravely.”

Gautama Buddha came forward to save human society from these rites and false rituals etc. He said.... A man shall get welfare in proportion to his being away from these vices..... Lord Buddha accorded such a warning against the class that was arbitrary. Distressed people at large at once comprehended that. They put their attention to what he said. Lord Buddha continued struggle against the class dominating since centuries in a broad perspective - this class was exploiting human society arbitrarily. He achieved victory ultimately. Human religion based on equality could spread itself and the concept of peace could find its way.

That class in Buddhist era was in favour of policy of inequality in humanity through false rituals or regulations etc. The people belonging to this class were not in favour of equality to all. A spirit of fear was forced unto people’s mind through attractive things like God, or Heaven. These things were done by the so called higher class. A particular class was not permitted to exercise rites, activities pertaining to education or to perform rituals. Behaviour towards them was worse than that towards animals. The people belonging to this class were called Shudras.

All know that it was prescribed.... no Shudra should get even a word of Vedas in to his ears. If so happens in any eventuality molten lead must be poured into his ears. This class could not reside with other classes. The persons belonging to this class were refused to eat with, keep company or sit with persons of other classes. This class was without rights. The position of this class in society was next to animals. Lives belonging to this class were dedicated to one aim: this aim was to remain subordinate to the will of other classes and to do whatever people of other classes would want. A person belonging to Shudra class could only breathe as per their indications.

Ultimately, Gautama Buddha could not tolerate this all. He perused ghastly sin in this policy of inequality. He had acquired intellect and energy. His heart was as open as the open sky. He observed the extent of unjustness in those who were leading the people. He could also realize a feeling of glory in them along with their unjust power. Afterwards, Lord Buddha opened his mouth fiercely and cleared the way to human society through compassion and affection. Gautama did not want to force any right on anyone.

He intended to break spiritual and mental obstructions pertaining to humanity. It was for this reason that open hearted Buddha suggested ways and means to salvation and liberty to those persons who were downtrodden and devoid of rights. He suggested simple ways and means through his exquisite intellect.

Lord Buddha could know the real reasons that aggrieve us. He searched a way to put an end to agonies. He collected the treasure of all solutions in his great mind and thereafter opened that way equally for all without any distinction. He was a master. He inspired all to gain “Sambodhi” peace. Such a person, Lord Buddha, was-an inspirator who was peaceful, one who sermoned human religion and who could accord liberation. He said:

“Jachcha Na Baslo Hoti, Jachcha Na Hoti Brahmno,

Kammana Baslo Hoti, Kammana Hoti Brahmno”

It means - No one is Brahmin by birth. No one is low. A man is Brahmin or low as per his deeds.

Mahatma Buddha, who accepted the doctrine of “Karma Shreshtha”, achieved a victory by stipulating human beings as equal in struggle between priests or saints and then Lord Buddha paved an easy way that was for emancipation of humanity. It has been described in Lord Christ’s ‘Sermons on the Mount’ as well as in the Gita. The priestly or saintly class had negated it. This class had adopted the diction pertaining to “great by birth and position by fate”. They had expressed that no truth could be known by simple or straightforward way. These people used to talk about 2000 hells and heavens and public in general was dreadful of them. These people used to suggest that salvation of public was possible only through the ways prescribed by them. Only then they will get entry in to heaven or shall have to suffer hell.

Innumerable persons of society were in want of knowledge vividly. The sphere of Vedas had been made limited and mysterious. The human society was chained to misbelieves and deceptions. Lord Buddha gave the message to human society of leading life through non-violence, compassion, affection and intellectual ingredients. Non-violence, compassion and affection are true and fundamental assumptions. These assumptions are sacred and non-complex. They are mighty basis of human religion. Lord Buddha adopted these basic assumptions in his sermons. His sermons were grasped by people in general very soon.

Behaviour of Lord Buddha was simple but that of equality. His language was that of a common man. His tongue became sacred on this account for all: educated & non-educated or rich and poor. Undoubtedly, Lord Buddha raised the voice of perpetual compassion and peace on this earth which was suffering and was under duress. He visualized agony and its cause. He clarified sacrifice and saintliness of high order. He gave truthfulness of indifferent order, welfare of others and sublimity to human character. These were means to liberation. He made people understand the factors behind disasters and cause of agonies. He stated that whenever there is some grief or disaster, we must clearly understand that there is certainly some evil within ourselves. As such, we must know both “Samvrattik” and “Pramarthik” truths.

Lord Gautama Buddha advised people to ponder over their shortcomings and said:

“We very easily see a defect in others. It is difficult to see any shortcomings unto self”. A man spreads shortcomings of his neighbours like straw whereas he tends to hide any shortcomings unto self. The truthfulness of life lies in the fact that a man should examine his own shortcomings and causes of agony.

Lord Buddha dedicated himself to eradicate many evils including that of finding faults with others. He also conveyed a message about absolute integrity through non-struggle device. He stressed upon understanding the reality of this life without any discrimination. His message was for all. Human equality was not only a message of his religion: it was also an all-sided basis.

Morality is integrally connected with humanity. In case it is separated from humanity, it shall be a social irony It so happened in the time of Lord Buddha; morality was out of scene. Free inspiration regarding development was under deep pressure. The class which was required to be a source of inspiration became instigator of darkness in society as per their deeds. The people of this class began to accord unfair claims on power and privileges. A person from this class could even murder someone and was not liable to be punished Anyone born in a home belonging to this class automatically controlled other persons. A person of this class was worthy of reverence even if he was characterless. Such were the dictums. A person belonging to that class could commit a sinful act and even then he was patron of religion along with being representative of God. A Shudra was not authorized to worship freely unto Almighty even if he carried out sublime activities. Such were the moral circumstances. Lord Buddha said on this very account:

“Those cannot be learned who cannot control themselves. They cannot be full of wisdom, who do not make themselves fit according to their education. Those cannot be learned people who cannot engage themselves in sublime activities.”

In his own words:

“Attana Evam Pathamam Pathirupe Nivesayam,

Athamjamanusayeyaya Na Kilissepya Pandito”

It means - first of all, we should engage ourselves at adequate actions and it is only after that we may accord sermons to others. The learned man can be without disaster only by doing so. He also said:

“Attanache Tatha Kapira Yathanjmanusasati,

Sudantovata Dammetha Attahi Kiraduthdhamo”

It means that we should upkeep our conduct in accordance with the sermons which we are scheduled to pass over to others. We must first control ourselves and only then we should say to others. It is very difficult to control own self. This is a reality. This was a simple but real message of Gautama Buddha. This was amazing and sadly that the regulations framed by a specific class were symbolical of injustice. They were only to sub dice the Shudras. These rules had no need or utility. Truth is ubiquity to us. Why can we not approach a truth straightforwardly? In case God is true, the way to Him should be straightforward. Why God and man cannot meet each other in a direct manner? Persons indulging themselves in evil deeds hide themselves from God under the pretext of religion and its epitaphs. The nature of truthful God cannot be such that someone should be meddling between Him and a human being. When God is real, such distinctions cannot be spiritual and cannot constitute a religion. Only a class cannot be worthy of truthfulness. Why should not people in general be capable of that? All these questions were before Lord Buddha. He announced these queries and said:

“In case it is so, Man does not need such deliberate truth, religion or spirituality, He should refuse such a false conduct.”

Lord Buddha negated the unreality of rituals and he held that a society must have clean and developed moral standards because if the moral position of society is inferior [as it was then in human society], any force shall lead only to disaster. Resultantly, political situation shall also be degrading. All evils including causing grief, misutilization, corruption and arbitrariness that can break society shall flourish. In such a situation, the politics shall also be such that will fully turmoil human values. In contradiction, the mental plane of people shall be selfless in case there is adequate moral force in society. The life shall be based on equality and it shall be simple. It will be real and peaceful. Political situation shall also be accessible. It shall be leading to progress. Lord Buddha found society ‘devoid of moral values’. He also found monarchy to be centre of misdeeds. Even then he did not attack any religious dogma. He permitted others also to equally march forward. Subsequently, he took upon himself those people in general who were exploited and did not possess rights. He took society towards a simple, practical and real objective.

Lord Buddha did not wish to gain power. He did not need to prescribe complex regulations. He had no reason to impart education of might to his followers. He was well acquainted with the amazing weaknesses of so called priests. He knew that it was essential in this world to take a human being to a right path. He did this all as a brave warrior and a person of the era who was really mighty. He stressed on human religious establishments and said:

“A hungry person cannot have religion and action. We shall have to fulfill his want in order to get religion and action unto him. As such we cannot control anger also in someone by making him without a want.”

He emphasized that it is the religion of a human being to understand first the reality of life. This is the religion of a good order. One who cannot foresee and adopt good religion lives uselessly a life of 100 years. A life of a day is good in case it is full of knowledge of good religion. It means that a person has become familiar with reality of life. In his own words:

“Yo Cha Vassatatam Jeeve Apassam Dhamma Muttam,

Ekamha Jivitam Seyoo Passato Dhamma Muttam”

Why after all there is agony in our life. Mahatma Buddha considered it. He deliberated and said:

“Because we are full of selfishness; we are narrow-minded in our thoughts. We work in selfishness. We aspire for personal pleasures and amenities.”

He also said:

“We forget humanity while doing so. Result of all these things is bound to be agony. Then what to do? Should we give up soul? Should we consider that there is no rule of God and this deceiving world is at rule? We observe only this world directly. There is no element like soul after the cycle of Birth and Death. It is all a notion. A science subsequently follows other. Every science gets existence within a moment. That very moment that one becomes out of scene. A significant thing is that there is no scientist of science. As such, there is no soul. Body undergoes changes every time. Consciousness and intellect also change in the same manner. As such, soul is dubious dogma which we cherish. Selfishness occurs when we try to remain attached to this dubious spirit of soul. This is the truth. As such, we can be gay if we realize the truth that there is no soul.”

Not only that, we shall render happiness unto others This was Lord Buddha’s logical sermon. He himself spent his life in accordance with this sermon.

Lord Buddha stressed on compassion towards every living being and not only towards man. He questioned:

“In case it is good to sacrifice an animal as per slaying, it shall be better to utilize a person in this regard.”

He offered himself for such a sacrifice. He considered animal - sacrifice to be very disastrous belief which was irrational. Lord Buddha said all this emphatically. He prescribed that all are slaves equally to deed and result. What shall be the justification of creation of Universe in case we do not stick to the rule of result as per deed? He refused that ruler is there in some heaven. That ruler may rule as per his wish and may leave us here to suffer agonies.

According to him:

“It is all a lie. Our whole life is perpetual disaster. There is no use of exercising false rituals and different rites etc.”

Lord Buddha prescribed that there is only one ideal in the World. All religious-rites are false. We have to discard attachment. After that, only truth shall be in balance. Sun will shine when clouds shall not be there. Do not work towards any misbelieve and adopt this principle in total. Sacrifice in real spirit even for the lowest creature. Do not work to please someone or to have an award. Work in order to get salvation through demise of soul. He also said:

“Do not accord regards and worship someone about whom you are ignorant.”

Really, Lord Buddha opposed the regulations that were framed for selfish ends on the ground of deceptions and misendeavours. Inhumanity, beastly-ness, poverty and exploitation were the forces of these regulations. These regulations had combined Soul and God. Humanity was destroyed. As such, he undertook real deliberations and explained agony, its cause, its remedy and the ways that were required for this purpose. This explanation grasps the basic tenets of humanity. He called upon to remove the obstacles in the practical aspect of these doctrines through eight middle ways. Middle way i.e., to come out of extreme harshness and simpleness that is not possible.

Eight ways are:

  • Samyak Drishti;
  • Samyak Vaak;
  • Samyak Sankalpa;
  • Samyak Vyayaama;
  • Samyak Karmanta;
  • Samyak Aajivika;
  • Samyak Smriti; and
  • Samyak Samadhi

Mahatma Buddha is a champion of equality. As such, his religion is human-religion. This is directly connected with humanity. Non-violence, Compassion, Sacrifice, alliance, that is friendliness and peace are integrally associated with it.

These are all fundamental and best grounds of human-equality. Above mentioned ingredients must be practiced as far as possible. This will lead to establishment of a human society based on equality. Our way to peace shall be in broader sight.

Lord Buddha considered behaviour to be the foremost. He was one who equated a principle with practice. He was a preacher of a clan in which preachers make a truth, a perfect truth. He presented a burning example while investigating Truth. We shall have to be aware of prime reason behind the calamities that render sufferings unto whole of human-world today. We have ourselves nourished all disasters as per selfishness unto us.

Our old ailment is that of human-distinction. This will have to be finished at all planes: personal, national and international. Spirit of inequality at all levels is basic reason behind evil and turmoil.

The way shown by Lord Buddha is clear. He does not at all compromise with so called priests. He has no attachment with those with might or with rulers. He does not cherish a man to be a means to misconduct. Lord Buddha did not cherish that a human-being should stop before traditions based on misbelieves: to whatever extent old they might be. He did not want that a person should adopt rituals that have been continuing since very long in case they happen to be the means of exploitation. He only wants equal welfare of every human-being. This is also foremostly significant and contextual today. We shall make our lives meaningless if we follow the policy of human-exploitation being guided by and having within ourselves spirit of inequality. This is the sermon of Lord Buddha. This is the essence of his peace-oriented human religion.


Universally renowned Gandhian scholar, Indologist and writer Dr. Ravindra Kumar is the Former Vice-Chancellor of CCS University of Meerut [India]

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