DooDoot wrote: ↑
Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:44 am
No. Of course not. However, similar to doctrines such as Divine Right of Kings, my speculation is logical & probable to me. Imho, it is a very careless and dangerous sutta; similar to the Hindu Caste System. Personally, I can't imagine the Buddha ever spoke it. Even more embarrassingly, it was reportedly spoken to a Baby Brahmin Boy.
Are you sure you are talking about the right Sutta? Because in The Shorter Analysis of Action (MN 135), the Buddha talks to a student, actually one who can ask a direct and well-thought out question about the nature of Kamma. And I can find nothing careless in the answer of the Buddha.
See (quotes from there): https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Then Subha the student, Todeyya's son, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the cause, why baseness & excellence are seen among human beings, among the human race? For short-lived & long-lived people are to be seen, sickly & healthy, ugly & beautiful, uninfluential & influential, poor & rich, low-born & high-born, stupid & discerning people are to be seen. So what is the reason, what is the cause, why baseness & excellence are seen among human beings, among the human race?"
Also see: https://suttacentral.net/mn135/en/sujato
, which concurs that the boy was able to hold an argumentative conversation with the Buddha, even asking for further detail as the initial answer seemed too short-hand. I would not think that a 'boy' in the sense of a little child or even a baby would have been able to do this.
Going on, the paragraph of the Sutta talking about respect, I read this as meaning respect to whom it should be expressed, mainly the Sangha, but also to your elders, your parents, and yes, those in a social position above you.
Still, I see little glorification of a caste system here, merely an acceptance by the Buddha that human nature (with our inherent delusions and the resulting suffering) will not allow us to live in some kind of communist utopia, but that social strata are an indelible fact of life... if we insist to stay laypeople instead of entering monkhood.
"There is the case where a woman or man is obstinate & arrogant. He/she does not pay homage to those who deserve homage, rise up for those for whom one should rise up, give a seat to those to whom one should give a seat, make way for those for whom one should make way, worship those who should be worshipped, respect those who should be respected, revere those who should be revered, or honor those who should be honored.
It is to be noted, I think, that this advice was directed to somebody being tightly bound into such a stratified society, accepting it, so instead of encouraging pointless social revolution the Buddha instructed that it might be better to achieve a well-fulfilled, rounded and as wholesome as possible life, an advice he repeated to other laypeople and householders.
As such I think it significant that Subha the Student became nothing more than a dedicated lay follower, any higher path to enlightenment was not opened to him (unlike many other people who received the Dhamma from the Buddha, who became Arahants immediately).
Actually, the Buddha then goes further and criticizes blind acceptance of clerics or monks, instead they should always be scrutinized if they really live up to the ideal of leading a wholesome life. The inherent criticism of Brahmanism does not read subtle to me.
"There is the case where a woman or man when visiting a brahman or contemplative, does not ask: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'
At least, that is how I read MN 135, but maybe my sight of it is distorted by expecting the Buddha objecting to the caste structure of his time and expressing a more egalitarian view. Maybe you will illuminate where your interpretation comes to differ.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.