TODAY -

Buddhism is free from compulsion and coercion and does not demand of the follower blind faith

Thangjam Sanjoo Singh *

 A Buddhist Temple at Tamu , Myanmar in 2014
A Buddhist Temple at Tamu , Myanmar in 2014 :: Pix - WT



The Buddha appeared at a time when autocracy was prevalent in India. But his teaching was somewhat of a threat to such autocratic government. He did not, however, interfere with the politics and the government of the country; for he was never a meddler in things were interference was useless, but that did not deter him from giving voice to his democratic thoughts and views.

The Buddha’s teaching definitely encourages democratic ideas and institutions. Though the Buddha wisely refrained from interfering with the then existing governments, he made the sangha, the community of the monks, an absolutely democratic institution.

As the Marquess of Zetland, a former Viceroy of India said:
‘ It is probable that the tendency towards self-government evidenced by these various forms of corporate activity received fresh impetus from the Buddhist rejection of the authority of the priesthood and further by its doctrine of equality as exemplified by its repudiation of caste. It is indeed to the Buddhist books that we have to turn for an account of the manner in which the affairs of these early examples of representative self-government institutions were conducted. And it may come as surprise to many to learn that in the assemblies of Buddhists in India two thousand years and more ago are to be found the rudiments of our own parliamentary practice of the present day.

The dignity of the assembly was preserved by the appointment of a special officer – the embryo of “Mr. Speaker” in our House of Commons. A second officer was appointed to see that when necessary a quorum was secured – the prototype of the Parliament Chief Wip, in our own system. A member initiating business did so in the form of a motion which was then open to discussion. In some cases, this was done once only, in others three times, thus anticipating the practice of Parliament in requiring that a Bill be read a third time before it becomes law. If discussion disclosed a difference of opinion the matter was decided by the vote of the majority, the voting being the ballot.’

Characteristic, again, is the Buddha’s method of teaching the Dhamma. The Buddha disapproved of those professed to have ‘secret doctrines’ saying: ‘I have taught the Dhamma, Ananda, without making any distinction between exoteric and esoteric doctrine, for in respect of the Truth, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such things as the “ closed fist” of a teacher, who hides some essential knowledge from the pupil. He declared the Dhamma freely and equally to all. He kept nothing back and never wished freely to extract from his disciples blind and submissive faith in him and his teaching. He insisted on discriminative examination and intelligent inquiry.

Buddhism is free from compulsion and coercion and does not demand of the follower blind faith. At the very outset the sceptic will be pleased to hear of its call for investigation. Buddhism, from beginning to end, is open to all those who have eyes to see and mind to understand.

The Buddha never interfered with another man’s freedom of thought; for freedom of thought is the birthright of every individual. It is wrong to force someone out of the way of life which accords with its outlook and character, spiritual inclination and tendencies. Compulsion is every form is bad. It is coercion of the blackest kind to make a man swallow beliefs for which he has no relish; such forced feeding cannot be good for anybody, anywhere.

The Buddha’s sole intention was to make clear that seeing things as they are is not the result of mere belief in, and fear of, some external power, either human, superhuman or even infra-human. In the understanding of things, belief and fear do not play any role in Buddhist thought. The truth of Dhamma can be grasped only through insight, never through blind faith, or through fear of some known or unknown being. The history of religion reveals that it is fear in man, enmeshed in ignorance, which creates the idea of an omnipotent external agency; and once that idea is created, men move in awe of the child of their own fear and untold harm to themselves, and, at times, to others, too.

Instructing the monks, the Buddha says: ‘Those who have mere faith in me, mere affection in me, they are bound for a good state of existence (but they do not attain the highest, arahatta, final emancipation). Those who are stiving for Dhamma, who are bent on the path, they are bent on the path, they are bound for awakening, for arahatta.

These are clear indication that the Buddha did not want his followers to recognize anything indiscriminately and without reason.

Not only did the Buddha discourage blind belief, and fear of the omnipotent as unsuitable approachh es for understanding the truth, but he also denounced adherence to unprofitable rites and rituals because the mere abandoning of outward things, such as fasting, bathing in rivers, animal sacrifice and similar acts, do not tend to purify a man or woman, do not make a man/woman holy and noble.

We find this dialogue between the Buddha and the Brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja. Once the Buddha addressing the monks explained in detail how a seeker after deliverance should train himself and further added that a man whose mind is free from taints, whose life of purity is perfected, and the task done, could be called one who bathes inwardly.

Then the Brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja seated near the Buddha heard these words and asked him:
- Does the Venerable Gautama go to the bathe in the river Bahuka?
- Brahmin,what good is the river Bahuka?
- Indeed, Venerable Gautama, the river Bahuka is believed by many to be holy. Many people have their evil deeds (papa) washed away in the river Bahuka.

Then the Buddha made him understand that bathing in rivers would not cleanse a man of his dirt of evil and instructed him thus:
‘Bathe just here (in the Doctrine and Discipline – Dhamma-vinaya), Brahmin, give security to all beings. If you do not speak falsehood, or kill or steal, if you are confident and are not mean, what does it avail you to go to Gaya. Your well at home is also a Gaya. The Buddha proclaimed a path free from all superstition and cruelty, that is, he made it impossible for his followers to behave in any way detrimental to the welfare of living beings by outlawing all oppression, spoliation and plunder.


* Thangjam Sanjoo Singh wrote this article for Imphal Times and The Sangai Express
The writer is a lay Buddhist and a Vocalist of a Rock Band called ‘No Name’.
This article was posted on 12 October, 2018 .


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • A scientific view to uniqueness of Kangla
  • Citizenship Bill 2016: An unjust Bill
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #1
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Flight at the land of clouds :: Poem
  • Stop occupation at Moreh Chikim village
  • Contribution of Rani Gaidinliu
  • Police Day Marathon #2: Gallery
  • Kayada Ningthijaba Eseino :: Review
  • Stop religious encroachment of Kangla
  • Cry of a Dying River - 50 :: Poem
  • Money- laundering and juveniles
  • To drive or to be driven
  • The barricade cordoning CMO
  • October 31 rally : Manipur is a reality !
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Tribes, Castes & Development :: Book
  • Durga Puja celebration in Manipur
  • Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis
  • Life did put me into darkness :: Poem
  • Matrimonial sites: Dangerous proposals
  • Absentee in history
  • Of KTC and demand of UMLA
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Chunglenyanba, Awa Leima :: eMing
  • Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 #1
  • 7th anniversary of PCRM
  • Funding TB response is smart investment
  • The Broken Stone:: Poem
  • 15 Ceremonial Horses handed to Myanmar
  • Needs for realizing the truth
  • Time to put education on track
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #1 : Gallery
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #2
  • Finance knowledge to make better decision
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Bunglawn Remembers Dr Kalam's Visit
  • No baab tree :: Poem
  • Official website of Sangai Photo Festival
  • Beauty care with natural ingredients
  • Deportation of Rohingya against intl law
  • Noting efforts to put MU on track
  • MU: Teachers/students released : Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Ithai Barrage Impact on Environment
  • Rural development as career option
  • Put the kibosh on ochlocracy
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in women
  • India International Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Marketing Assistant @ PiCiDi, Canchipur
  • 'Ram Madhav is wrongly briefed' : NPF
  • Uniforms for school teacher: What purpose?
  • Marangwon at @Mt Khorung #3 : Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #1: Gallery
  • I call it life :: Poem
  • International day for Disaster reduction
  • Contested territorial demands in Manipur
  • WhatsApp & mobile usage study results
  • Physics Programme in Nowgong College
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [15 October]
  • Stop bluffing Nagas
  • The state of the states
  • Gearing up for Oct 31 rally
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #4
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #2: Gallery
  • X-Jam -Extreme Sports & Music festival
  • Urban Local Govt in Mizoram :: Book
  • 3 perspectives in context of present Manipur
  • Figures in the Shadows :: Poem
  • To UNC, Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui on ST
  • HC acted in good faith for MU
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • The undeniable subtlety of Atingkok
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #1
  • Let me shower moonlight :: Poem
  • On allegations issued by NPF : NDPP
  • Challenges to the digital dreams
  • Eyes now on K Yugindro
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #3: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #2 : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe wont grab land of Hill Tribes
  • Making a tangible difference
  • Contradicted journey of IPC Section 377
  • Free open defecation & open pee
  • Act East & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Vacancies at Multimind Software
  • Waiting for "Sorry"
  • Out Yugindro in Jarnail Singh
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #1 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Management Convergence at Mizoram Univ
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 49 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is free from compulsion...
  • 7th AGM / Cultural evening of AMAND, Pune
  • Forsaken farmers - food for thought
  • Second police raid at MU
  • NESO opposes Indo-Nepal Treaty in NE
  • British Council, NEC sign MoU
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #1 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • University :: Poem
  • Remembering class boycott 2009-2010
  • Hair stylist as career option #2
  • Training of Trainers on Gender Justice
  • Manipur University fresh violence by police
  • MU Crisis- admissions and omissions
  • Issues besetting State before LS polls
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba #2 : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Opening of Moreh-Tamu Border Gate
  • Forest Cover of Nagaland :: Book Review
  • Ingocha Chingtham: Cycling from Mumbai ..
  • Blood Transfusion service- future in Manipur
  • IT Enabled Employment Generating Course
  • NDPP condemns statement of NPF
  • Beyond the reality
  • Need for MUTA to approach Court
  • Kang Tournament @Kongba #2: Gallery
  • Elangbam Sonamani : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Celebrating the rights of wildlife- Are we
  • The sky's gone wonderful :: Poem
  • Communal Harmony and Integration
  • Opportunity for India in Indo-Pacific Region
  • To be a good man
  • Education : Why no private players here ?
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • MN Singh promoted as IG of CBI felicitated
  • Loktak from different perspectives #2
  • The Journey of Happiness :: Poem
  • A personal discourse of Manipuri people
  • Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur
  • Art Exhibition @Art College #3: Gallery
  • Sudip Kongbrailatpam -recording engineer
  • Dismantled 9th times & safer in 10th times
  • Remembering Irawat: Are we following ..
  • State Level Archery Championship 2018
  • Stop religious encroachment at Kangla
  • Navratri (festival) make up
  • khongjang changsinnaba sem sarey : ST
  • MU crisis: Emerging questions
  • Lining up five days blockade
  • Dhol Chollom @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #2
  • Maroi napakpi in Manipuri dishes
  • National Integration Tour Team
  • Cry of a Dying River - 48 :: Poem
  • Ending antimicobial resistance to #endTB
  • Condoles death of Pu Kaikhokam Kipgen
  • Rejoinder to NDPP (5th Oct) : NPF
  • Responsibility required - not restriction
  • After Thuingaleng Muivah who ?
  • Paddy dry up due to deficit rainfall
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram : RAW in WAR Award
  • Agribusiness & Carbon Management : Book
  • Is Gandhi (ian) relevant today ?
  • Guidelines for Hostels for Children
  • ATM based frauds : Router compromise
  • 'Rio's announcement as just mockery'
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • 'Chadong' - the victim of development
  • Poles apart : Pandey and Singh
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #2
  • Why has Egg become Danger for Manipur?
  • Speech by Atif Anik on Irabot Day 2018
  • Wounded tree :: Poem
  • Hair stylist as career option
  • Synopsis of Sizo Festival 2018
  • Traffic regulation still a Flop show
  • In the evening of his life : Th Muivah
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba : Gallery
  • World Bamboo Day #2: Gallery
  • Where have all the lights gone ?
  • Mahatma and non-violence
  • Detention of students/professors of MU
  • Gandhi Jayenti at Itanagar
  • IBSD cleans Imphal City
  • MU: Abide by wisdom of Sr citizens
  • Power of humility
  • Ghost of Pandey : Four teachers suspended
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #1: Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Looking at Loktak from perspectives #1
  • Morning - a Haiku :: Poem
  • R&V Art House curates 'Land of Polo'
  • Show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park
  • Indigenous People: Stand against Fascist
  • Clarification on Tamei Residential School
  • Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim
  • System error- or is this real democracy
  • Autonomy for Naga- Stakeholders on board
  • Th. Muivah hospitalized
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #1
  • The day after Sahnit-Ni
  • ..but Irabot may still shed tears in heaven
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Tingmila Doungel : Manipuri Boxer
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #3
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #2 :: Gallery
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly :: 18 Oct 1948
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS