佛學講座 - 佛學問答(English) - Buddhism being about equality, illustrate how that be.
Buddhism being about equality, illustrate how that be.

 

Buddhism is about the most tangible equality: the Buddha was

thoroughly articulate in saying that all living beings possess the

fundamental nature for awakening and ability to be liberated from

transmigration between rebirths and redeaths, traverse and exit

from the three realms, transcend and exit from the six destinies,

and attain Buddhahood.

The Buddha, on enlightenment, returned to the palace. The other

character in the story was Upali, at the time a barber from the caste

of serfs.

Upali learned that three princes had shaven head and beard and taken

the path of learning under the Buddha. He wanted to do the same but

was afeared of his own subservient status. He was crying under a tree

when the Buddha passed by. In the end, the Buddha admitted Upali

into the Sangha as a bhiksu—proof that someone like Upali, though a

serf, was eligible to leave home because he was determined in initiating

the vow and that serfs and nobles were equals in the monastic setting.

Back in the vihara later, the Buddha asked the princes to prostrate

before Upali out of reverence. The fact that Upali the serf accepted

tribute from the nobles indicated this:

‘Four rivers, running into the sea,

Are no longer known by their names;

All four castes, having left home,

Take on the same last name as Shi.’

News of what happened sent shock waves across the community.

It was deemed a bloodless revolution. Such spirit of equality fully

demonstrated what it means by equality in Buddhism.