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Under Brahmanism, education was a monopoly while

Buddhism opened it for all. Discuss it.


The system of education that Brahmanism followed was monopoly: only the Brhmaas
had full education; Katriyas got education of only what is necessary for ruling; for Vaiyas got
education only for merchant things; and udras got nothing. Thus, education was monopoly in the
hands of Brahmins. In addition to that, they believed the theory of creation. When they accepted
the theory of the divine creation, it means no one can change the caste because it is will of God.
Education could do nothing because it is unchangeable. Under Brahmanism, education is not
opened to all.
On the contrary, Buddhism did not accept the theory of creation so that it did not accept
the duties related to the four castes either. In the Madhur Sutta (MN), it is said that all four
castes are equal (cattro va samasam). Anybody can have any profession. Even the udra can
become a religious teacher.
In the S ma aphala Sutta (DN), you can see the description of the six teachers as given
by the king Ajtasattu. One day the king thought that the lay men can learn arts and crafts; get
married and enjoy life here in this very life. Then he asked that is it also possible for the monk to
enjoy the aims of his religious life in this very life. It was quite useful question: whether the life of
monk is meaningful in this life. The answers of the six teachers were not so satisfactory to him.
Then, his minister Komrabhacca directed him to the Buddha. The Buddha gave him
answer: the fourteen points of the advantages of living the religious life. Two points are very
relevant to this life: (1) if anybody, whatever his caste is, joins the Order, he will get respect from
all faction of the people including the king; (2) even the ordinary person joins the Order, he will
receive the same respect. The king was very pleased by the Buddhas answer because he pointed
out the relevant to this life. There are many important aspects that the religious teachers could get
from the Buddhas teaching.
There is a very striking instance. Upli who was the lowest caste was a barber of the king
Suddhodanas palace. But, when he entered the order, the equal opportunity was given to him. He
was senior to the Buddha by age. He learned the Vinaya very well and he became the Vinaya
master. Later he held the leading position of the first Buddhist Council. That is the benefit of the
Buddhist education. Even a barber, he became equal to Ven. Sriputta who came from a rich
Brahmanical family and the other disciples of the Buddha who came from different castes. That is
very practical advantage of the Buddhist education.
We have seen three directions given by the Buddha in the Sig lov da Sutta(DN).
Nowhere under these three directions, is the education limited. When the teachers are offering the
education, he is not expected to look for one caste of the students. He has to teach everything and
look after their safety also. In this sutta we can see not only in terms of social or economical
advices but also it relevant to education especially under three directions: the East, the South, and
the Zenith. They imply that education is open to all.
548
While in the Vedic tradition education was not open to all and in the rama a tradition
only some teachers were open to all, in Buddhism, education was open to all.