The Buddha and slavery

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Modus.Ponens
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The Buddha and slavery

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:53 am

Hello

I read yesterday a post by Digger that quoted a scripture that seemed to be suportive of slavery. The post is here: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6521&view=unread#p103510 . This got me worried, so I started to investigate about the position of the Buddha regarding slavery. I found a refference to a scripture, in a notation system that I don't understand, in which the Buddha forbade monks and nuns to have slaves. The refference is D.I,5. Can anyone link me to this sutta?

Thanks :)
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: The Buddha and slavery

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:57 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Hello

I read yesterday a post by Digger that quoted a scripture that seemed to be suportive of slavery. The post is here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... ad#p103510 . This got me worried, so I started to investigate about the position of the Buddha regarding slavery. I found a refference to a scripture, in a notation system that I don't understand, in which the Buddha forbade monks and nuns to have slaves. The refference is D.I,5. Can anyone link me to this sutta?

Thanks :)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: The Buddha and slavery

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:24 am

Thanks tilt. I'm more relieved. Still, it's not a prohibition to all monks. But monks of course should follow the Buddha's example. I wonder if the Buddha didn't want social agitation by strictly forbiding monks or lay people to have slaves.

There's also a passage that seems to have a different notion of slave than we in the west do:

In five ways should a master minister to his servants and employees:

by assigning them work according to their ability,
by supplying them with food and with wages,
by tending them in sickness,
by sharing with them any delicacies,
by granting them leave at times.


Sigalovada sutta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: The Buddha and slavery

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:49 am

The Buddha was Awakened. By implication that means that he had great compassion and Insight into the human condition.
He also lived 2500 years ago.
His "role" if you like was to outline the means to Awaken others. We must be careful not to project on to him sensibilities that are a modern concern that might have little relevance to the mores of his own day. He did not come to reform society.
He came to show the way out of conditioned existance.
See also his leaving his wife and child, and so on.
We cannot project onto him our current preoccupation with "romance" and the nuclear family. Or modern concerns with egalitarianism.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

Bankei
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Re: The Buddha and slavery

Postby Bankei » Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:17 am

see

Schopen, Gregory 1994 "The Monastic Ownership of Servants or Slaves: Local and Legal Factors in the Redactional History of Two Vinayas" JIABS Vol 17/2 pp. 145-73 in Vol 2.


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Kim OHara
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Re: The Buddha and slavery

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:47 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Thanks tilt. I'm more relieved. Still, it's not a prohibition to all monks. But monks of course should follow the Buddha's example. I wonder if the Buddha didn't want social agitation by strictly forbiding monks or lay people to have slaves.

There's also a passage that seems to have a different notion of slave than we in the west do:

In five ways should a master minister to his servants and employees:

by assigning them work according to their ability,
by supplying them with food and with wages,
by tending them in sickness,
by sharing with them any delicacies,
by granting them leave at times.


Sigalovada sutta

Hello, M.P,
I can't see anything about 'slaves' in the passage you quote - neither 'servants' nor 'employees' are slaves, however much we grumble about our bosses being slave-drivers :tongue: so why do you think you have found 'a different notion of slave'?
Anyway, there is no guarantee that any of those three words - slave, servant, employee - corresponds exactly to any of the social relationships the Buddha was talking about. Some of our really old terms, like serf, villein, vassal or peasant, may be a better match. :shrug:

:namaste:
Kim


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