[INDOLOGY] Caste system and Buddhism

David and Nancy Reigle dnreigle at gmail.com
Sun Jun 5 13:47:41 UTC 2016

Many thanks to Matthew and Dan for providing references to where the
Bodhisattva-bhūmi describes situations in which a bodhisattva may perform
an act such as killing, which is otherwise prohibited by the Buddhist
precepts. In the new English translation by Artemus Engle these can be
found on pp. 276-282.

I had heard the story from the Buddhist Jātakas of a ship captain who
killed a robber on board his ship. The captain was actually a bodhisattva,
who with his infallible prevision knew that the robber would kill all 500
of the merchants on board the ship. So to prevent this, and to prevent the
awful karma that the robber would generate by doing this, the bodhisattva
captain out of compassion took upon himself the negative karma of killing
and killed the robber.

To me, such examples do not at all show that Asanga in his Bodhisattva-bhūmi
"categorically stated that a devout Buddhist may deviate from any of the 5
Panchasheelas if he finds anybody who is violating the ethical code viz.
showing scant respect to parents or elder brother, or to a fellow Bhikkhu."

Best regards,

David Reigle
Colorado, U.S.A.


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