Education is the teacher of teachers. Education creates best thinking; knowledge is the real sense of wisdom. Gautam Buddha, a preacher of religion, believed in latent inconceivable possibilities and the creative power of man: follow some adequate principles if you want to lead a pious life; control greed instinct, it is the root cause of all evils. The Buddhists also set up free inns and temples as a social welfare measure. Buddha Viharas are like ‘doors of heaven’, opened to the lower castes of Hindu society who were tormented, oppressed and grossly discriminated. Buddha’s coaching of ‘equality of all humans’ was like a whiff of fresh air for those who were getting suffocated in Hindu society’s caste system. The inmates of Buddha Viharas had to abide by certain rules and regulations as enlisted below:
Although the Master has left no written records of His Teachings, the discovery of the holy reliquary wrapped in a gold casket, supposed to be that of Lord Buddha from a stupa at Lalitagiri, is a priceless heritage of the state. Law demands an absolute objection to its rules and commands whereas morality demands that men should act from a sense of ethical duty. Law cannot be changed into morals, whereas morals sometimes, can be converted into law. For example, donation to charitable institutions is a moral principle. Natural law roots lie in the realm of ethics. Law focusses on protecting the life, liberty, property and reputation of every individual and/of community as a whole. Society, friendship and love are divinely bestowed upon man for the welfare of the society. The author has tried his level best to unturn every possibility to outline the core aspects in every endeavour.
Key Words: Law and morality, Buddhist monuments, Ethical values, Enlightenment of legal education
India has a long record of producing great souls in every age or century. India being a traditional society, contains many traditions, owing their origin, in part, to the different religions that exist here. It has, so far, managed to retain the secular character of its polity. Ours is a society with souls who gave new thoughts to the mankind to show it the right path to ‘enlightenment’. Education is the manifestation of perfection in man.
Education manifests the human beings, and transfigures the mankind. Education is the teacher of teachers. Education creates thinking. Therefore, education is the training by which the current expressions of will are brought under control and become fruitful. The very essence of education is concentration of mind. It is that virtue by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, intellect is extended and by which one can stand on one’s own feet. Knowledge is the real sense of wisdom. Gautam Buddha, a preacher of religion, believed in latent inconceivable possibilities and the creative power of man. Follow some adequate principles if you want to lead a pious life. Also, control the instinct of greed as it is the root cause of all evils.
Buddha Deva also preached messages against violence, casteism, racialism and casteism dogmas. Buddha’s wisdom and teachings could work as medicine to the sickness of today’s world. The thoughts of Buddha and above messages are grave and carry us away from disintegration. Indeed, as the time goes by His messages of mercy, non-violence, compassion, equality of all humans and brotherhood of mankind become more and more relevant.
In this age of violence and intolerance the messages and the words of Buddha are most significant, and the only way by which the human race can be saved from meaningless wars and conflicts. He set up monasteries called Buddha Viharas. The Buddhists also set up free inns and temples as a social welfare measure. Buddha Viharas are like ‘doors of heaven’ opened to the lower castes of Hindu society who were tormented, oppressed and grossly discriminated. Buddha’s coaching of ‘equality of all humans’ was like a whiff of fresh air for those who were getting suffocated in Hindu society’s caste system. The inmates of Buddha Viharas had to abide by certain rules and regulations as enlisted: Violence is strictly prohibited; One shall not tell a lie, and; No drugs and intoxications will be allowed to any sacred member of Buddhism.
Although the Master has left no written records of His Teachings, His distinguished disciples preserved them by committing them to memory and transmitting them orally from generation to generation. In observing the principles of morality, a Buddhist should not only regard his own self but also should have a consideration for others as well — animals not excluded. Morality in Buddhism is not founded on any doubtful revelation, nor is it the ingenious invention of an exceptional mind, but it is a rational and practical code based on verifiable facts and individual experiences. Buddhism appeals more to the intellect than to the emotion.
It is concerned more with the character of the devotee’s strength as per law and morality. From Buddhism a study opines categorically that true Buddhism is not a religion that has a strong legal component. To be sure, the Buddhist term Dharma could be, and often was, translated as ‘Law’. But ‘Law’, when it was used as a translation for Dharma, was used with cosmic, philosophical, and /or ethical connotations that were never associated—in any really intrinsic or crucial way—with legal systems or codes. In addition, the notion that true Buddhism was an other-worldly contemplative religion, or—in less extreme formulations—a religion concerned with individuals but not with issues of social, political, and economic order, created a situation in which the study of Buddhist secular law was given even less attention than the study of monastic law. Religion is the belief which binds spiritual nature of man to super natural beings. It includes worship, belief, devotion, faith etc. and extends to rituals. Religious rights are the rights of a person believing in a particular faith to practice it, preach it and profess it.
Modern civilization is in danger through a great socio-economic metamorphosis. Population explosion has posed a serious challenge to our economic growth and modern warfare has given a traditional output. Civilized societies are so complex that they cannot exist without a well-developed system of law. Scholars, therefore conclude that, people began to formulate laws in prehistoric times. Before the first civilization arose, prehistoric people had no system of writing, and so they left no record of their laws. The earliest laws were customary laws, i.e., laws that became established by customs and were handed down civilizations, which are evident from the monuments. Almost all spiritual messages are enshrined from monuments.
Indian societies are always a pluralistic society, with people of different faiths, languages, cultures and ethnic walks of life. In India, secularism is a link which establishes a harmony in religious freedom. Secularism in India is not a particular creed or colour, but a way of life which does not recognize superiority but equality and harmony. Pluralism is the key stone of Indian culture and secularism is its bedrock. It acts as a bridge between religions in a multi-religious society to cross over the barriers of diversity. A religious faith may not only lay down a code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, but also prescribes rituals’ observances. Ceremonies and modes of worship were regarded as an integral part of the religion.
India is a vast sprawling garden where you find plants and trees of different sizes and flowers of different colours and aromas. The almighty God has provided variety everywhere. The framework for ethical behaviour is more comprehensive and goes beyond just being legal. Acting ethically does involve making moral decisions. Professionals have to set a procedure for developing a code of ethics with provisions to scrutinize policies and practices by a process of self-evaluation.
The word ethics is derived from the Greek word ‘ethos’ which means a system of moral principles, the basis of deciding right and wrong actions. Law is crystallized common sense of the society. It is social engineering which is meant to cure social evils and act as panacea for all, in establishing peace and harmony in the society. The main sources of law in India are the parliament and state legislatures, customs and connections and the Holy Scriptures. Every relevant law should conform to the provisions of the constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.
Buddhist Monuments and Sculptures:
Buddhism started becoming a tradition of the visuals, wherein the message of the sutras was translated through images and murals. With the passage of time, devotion combined with needs and aspirations of people gave way to creation of a variety of Buddhas manifested in various forms, attributes and characteristic features in different countries across the world. One of the most significant events in history related to Buddhism is linked to Kalinga, the ancient name for Odisha.
The famous Kalinga War 261B.C at Dhauli not only transformed emperor Ashok from Chandasoka to Dharamasoka, but also expanded Buddhism from a local religion, originated from the Himalayan region to an International religion. The religion, however, started losing its ground owing to several political and social developments until it was rediscovered in the 20th century through the spade or archaeology. More than 200 Buddhist sites have been explored in recent times.
The archaeological excavations at Ratangiri, Lalitagiri, Udayagiri and Langudi have unearthed spectacular Buddhist establishments with magnificent monasteries, stupas and scores of sculptures of Buddha and Buddhist divinities, making the state a veritable store house of Buddhist heritage. Odisha is one of the five states in India with rich concentration of Buddhist heritage; the other four being Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. But Odisha has a rich tradition of Buddhist Heritage in India. Recent archeological explorations and excavations have brought to limelight more monasteries (viharas) and stupas, Buddhist cult images and scores of material objects of stone, metal, terracotta etc. that amply clarify that Buddhism existed for a long period of time extending from the pre-Christian era. In a way, these establishments speak in eloquent silence the genesis, efflorescence and decay of a great tradition of Buddhist religion, art, architecture and learning spreading over more than 1500 years until it succumbed to the all-absorbing force of Hinduism, which adopted the Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu.
There are definite literary references that Buddhism in Odisha dates back to the time of the Buddha himself. The early Vinaya texts and the Nikkayas mention of two merchants of Utkala (ancient Odisha) who received the first sermons of the Buddha immediately after his enlightenment. Rock Edict XIII of Emperor Asoka mentions of sramanas (Buddhist Monks) along with other adherents who suffered in the Kalinga War, which clearly indicates the existence of Buddhism in Odisha even before the Kalinga War. The war was turning point in the era of religion which transformed Buddhism from a local religion of the Tarai region into an international religion and the Buddha as the Light of Asia through the missionary activities of the emperor himself following the Kalinga War.
It was after the Kalinga war and during the rule of Asoka that Buddhism made considerable headway in Kalinga because of the systematic propaganda carried out in missionary zeal by the protagonists of different schools under the royal patronage of Asoka. Buddhism continued to be the religion of the state and was considered as the golden epoch of Buddhism in the state of Odisha.
The religion expanded leaps and bounds as the state religion at every endeavour. Tantric Buddhism with its offshoots of the Vajrayana, Kalachakrayana and Shajayana involving all sorts of esoteric practices dominated the religious life of the people of Odisha. Since then, Buddhism has played a very prominent role in the religious and cultural life of Odisha. The glorious past of Buddhism lies in Odisha. Archeological excavations conducted at Ratanagiri, Lalitagiri, Udayagiri, Langudi and Kuruma have brought to limelight spectacular monastic establishments, amply testifying the glorious past of Buddhism in Odisha.
The discovery of the holy reliquary, wrapped in a gold casket and supposed to be that of Lord Buddha from a stupa at Lalitagiri, is the priceless heritage of the state. As a mark of befitting tribute, the government of Odisha is contemplating to enshrine the sacred bone relic in a shrine cum exhibition hall in the site itself for the benefit of all.
Law and Morality:
Law is the common heritage and trust of mankind which is governed by it. The ideas and ideologies must in time touch with the heartbeat of the people. The administration of justice is one of the fundamental functions of the State. Therefore, the progress of the society depends upon proper application of law to needy in achieving the constituent goal i.e., justice, liberty, equality, peace, purity and happiness. In this context, humanistic, democratic and prospective laws should be developed. Progressive fold and fraternity of Justice Law is developed from the natural principles of justice. It is a public declaration by the state. Law is meant to maintain peace in the country. It acquires force from the public and from their customs. Further it guards the society. No doubt, legislation stands in a superior position in the administration of justice. But, at the same time, it should be considered that no legislation will dare to make a law which is opposed to the moral of the society. All human conduct and social relations cannot be regulated and governed by the laws, and morals also regulate the conduct of men with their sensitive teachings. But many of them are inter circled and overlap each other. Still, there are some differences between them.
Law demands an absolute adherence to its rules and commands whereas morality demands that men should act from a sense of ethical duty.
Law has enforcing authority derived from style whereas morality has such enforcing authority from the state.
Law is heteronymous (being imposed upon man and upon the other life of man) whereas morality is autonomous (coming from the inner life of man). Law regulates man’s relations with others and with the society whereas morality governs the inner life of man. ‘Legal disputes can only be settled by an appropriate court of law, whereas, moral disputes can be solved by the mediation of village elders etc.’.
Law is narrower than morality. It extends to a great number of such acts whereas morality applies to every human act.
The law applies to all the citizens whether they want it or not, whereas, morality also applies to all persons, but if differs from person to person, from religion to religion and society to society. It is his pleasure and wish to follow the same or not. The main sources of law in India are the parliament and state legislatures, customs and connections and the Holy Scriptures. Every relevant law should conform to the provisions of the constitution which is the supreme law of the land.
Law cannot be changed into morals, whereas, morals sometimes, can be converted into law. For example, donation to charitable institutions is a moral principle. Natural law roots lie in the realm of ethics. There have been different doctrines of natural law at different points of time, having common principles which can be discovered by human reasons. ‘Lex injusta non est lex’ doctrine says that man made laws which conflict these principles are not valid laws.
Law should prohibit certain conduct simply because it is immoral. Undoubtedly, obedience to law is moral concept and ground norm of every legal system which is absolute but conditional. The word morality and all other associated or nearly synonymous terms like ‘ethics’ have their own area of vagueness or ‘open texture’. There are certain forms of principles which some would rank as moral and others would not. Contents of natural law are not precise because they are based on values which require analysis and interpretation and it is difficult to resolve as to whose interpretation regarding moral values should be accepted. Translating such moral principles into specific codes is task of legislators and sometimes it is difficult to achieve it. Positive school of thought believes in the laws of human beings than laws of God.
Permitting each individual to interpret the law according to his own moral principles results in virtual anarchy in the society. Precision is in contrast to Natural laws’ vagueness and uncertainty. Another added advantage is practicable application of law to the society of diverse races, religions, classes and cultures. Moral and ethical principles have emerged out of long practice and usage which are bound to be beneficial, otherwise, people would not have accepted them. There are certain customs based on the superstitions and beliefs which are either given up or banned by the law because today’s society is more educated or matured.
One who aspires to become a Buddha is called a Bodhisattva, which literally means a wise-being. This Bodhisattva ideal is the most beautiful and the most refined course of life that has ever been presented to this ego-centric world, for what is nobler than a life of service and purity! As a man He attained Buddhahood and proclaimed to the world the latent inconceivable possibilities and the creative power of man. Instead of placing an unseen Almighty God over man who arbitrarily controls the destinies of mankind, and making him subservient to a supreme power, He raised the worth of mankind.
Irrespective of caste, colour or rank, He established for both deserving men and women a democratically constituted celibate order. He did not force His followers to be slaves either to His teachings or to Himself, but granted complete freedom of thought. The non-aggressive, moral and philosophical system expounded by the Buddha, which demands no blind faith from its adherents, expounds no dogmatic creeds, encourages no superstitious rites and ceremonies, but advocates a golden mean that guides a disciple through pure living and pure thinking to the gain of supreme wisdom and deliverance from all evil, is called the Dharma and is popularly known as Buddhism.
Lord Devlin has described morality as a base of society structure and fundamental agreement about good and evil. This common thought holds society together otherwise society would crumble. The justification for the enforcement of this recognized morality is simply that the law may be used to preserve anything essential to a society’s existence. There is disintegration when no common morality is observed and history shows that the loosening of moral bonds is often the first stage of disintegration. Immoral acts are likely to cause intolerance, indignation and disgust.
Every society must have minimum morality based on the minimum content of natural law to which everyone subscribes. Otherwise, coherence of society is difficult to sustain and with respect to rest of morality, an individual has freedom either to share or have his own morality. The society consisting of different ethnicity, religions, races and castes is called pluralistic and claims that all of a society’s morality that ‘forms a single seamless web’ would be extravagant. The permitting of activities which the majority feels are immoral is positively beneficial because it is possible to prove that majority may be wrong and deviant behaviour provides opportunity for taking more informed judgments. Article – 25 merely protests the freedom to practice rituals and ceremonies etc. which are an integral part of the religion. Article – 26 permits every religious denomination or section (subject to public order, morality and health) –
Religion is the belief which binds spiritual nature of man to supernatural beings. It includes worship, belief, devotion, faith etc. and extends to rituals. Religious rights are the rights of a person believing in a particular faith to proactive it, preach it and profess it. Religious matters of belief undoubtedly have their basis in a system of beliefs and doctrines which are highly regarded by those who profess that religion is conducive to their spiritual well-being. But it is also something more than merely doctrine or belief as the entire social fabric in a civilized state is woven by the strings of law. If a society is not governed by law, life becomes nasty, brutish, and short. Law aims at protecting the life, liberty, property and reputation of every individual and of the community as a whole. Society, friendship and love are divinely bestowed upon man. The rule of law is the foundation of the democratic society.
Prof. (Dr). Krushna Chandra Dalai
Prof & Head to Department of law
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