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White Path Message for Rev. Yugo Fujita for March 2019

As you know, Buddhism started in India. When Shakyamuni Buddha was still living in this world, many people heard his wise teachings and became interested in Buddhism and joined the Buddhist Sangha. One of the reasons many joined the Buddhist Sangha or group was because of the virtue of Shakyamuni Buddha and because He taught the equality of all life. This idea of the equality of all life was something new at that time in India because the Indian class system was based on the caste system that originated from the Hindu religion based on the creator god Brahma. In the Indian caste system, the highest class was the Brahmins who were mainly teachers and are believed to have come from the Brahma’s head. Then came the Kshatriyas, which are the warriors and rulers of the land, and they supposedly came from Brahma’s arm. These warriors I am talking about are NOT the Warriors that play basketball! They are not the Golden State Warriors, ok? These are the warrior soldiers who protected the kingdom. Then the third level was made up of the Vaishyas, or the traders and merchants, who were created from Braham’s thighs. At the bottom of the social scale were the Shudras, who were said to have come from Brahma’s feet and this class of people did all the menial jobs in India. The main castes were then further divided into about 3000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes, each based on their specific occupation. There was so much discrimination in this system, and so many people suffered because of it and had a very hard life. For those suffering people who were discriminated against, the Buddha’s teaching was a great attraction, a new opportunity at life. The Buddha said “people should not be judged by one’s birth. By birth alone, one does not rise to the top.  What determines whether we are going to be a Brahmas or low caste is determined by our behavior and conduct.” The Buddha taught us how important it is to know and practice the Dharma and to realize that our existence in this world is only temporary and not determined by position or birth.


Yugo Fujita  



皆様ご存知の通り、仏教はインドで始まりました。当時、多くの人々が仏教の教えをきき、お釈迦様のサンガに入りました。お釈迦様の人徳と共に、仏教が説く「平等」の教えに深く感動したと言われています。仏教教団(サンガ)に入った人々は、社会における身分・階級に関係なく。いのち皆平等でした。当時のインドではカースト制度よって支配されていた社会なので、この「平等」というのは新しい価値観であり、驚くべきことでした。カースト制度とは生まれによって、司祭者(バラモン)、王族(クシャトリア)、平民(ヴァイシャ)、奴隷(シュードラ)の4つの身分・階級に分けられる制度です。私は1つの国の文化としてカースト制度を全否定するつもりはありませんが、奴隷(シュードラ)の階級の人々は苦しまれたと思います。仏教はこれに対していのちの平等を教えてくれています。お釈迦様は 「生れによって賤しい人となるのではない。生れによってバラモンとなるのではない。行為によってバラモンともなる。」という言葉を残されています。お釈迦様は教えを通して、私たちは無常の中で暮らしていて、常に変わっている事を教えてくださっています。変わりゆく日々の暮らしのかなで、今皆様と仏法を聞かせていただけている事に感謝するばかりであります。