Prosperity in Society: The Buddhist View

Article Posted in: Research Articles


By – Faiyaz Haidar (introduction at the end of the paper), Vol.III, Issue.XXIX, June 2017



Siddhartha Gautama who later became Gautama Buddha was born in the year 563 B.C in Lumbini, now (came under) Nepal, strived hard for the welfare of the contemporary society. He stressed on unity among different factions of society. As the contemporary society in his era was lacking coordination, uniformity, coherence & balance. Because of prevailing different religions views, casteism & narcissism. This led to the creation of flaws or faultiness in the society which was countered by Buddha with His, ideal teachings. The teaching of Buddha was so effective that it created a prosperous society which remain on the tract of under & consonance even centuries after Him. According to Buddha’s teaching a man should opt simplicity & pragmatic was of life instead of longing for inordinate desires. As inordinate desires ravel the man in the wheel of selfishness ‘n’ meanness which cast a bad effect on society & paves the way for vicious society.

Keywords. Prosperous, Religion-caste, Buddhist Teaching , Selfishness Coherence.

   “Bahujan Sukhaye Bahujan Hitaya Cha”

 (for the happiness of the many for the welfare of the many)

The five precepts given by Gautama Buddha, were all in regard to the above-mentioned saying. The five precepts are known as Dharma Chaka Pavahana Sutta.1 These five precepts show that the main target of Gautama Buddha was the welfare of the society because .without caring the interests of others society cannot prosper.

To get this target (welfare of society) accomplished Gautama disseminated teachings, which are of different levels & forms

  • Four noble truth
  • 2) Eight fold path
  • 3) five precepts, etc

In under to deal with. How to get a prosperous society by these teachings Buddha gave sutra’s aphorisms. The first teaching fourth noble truth- in whose it said that the sorrow is opposite & absence of happiness & we should strive to get rid of sorrow. The building block of society man in order to satisfy his inordinate desires give birth to pain n’ sorrow. For e.g. if a person wants to become a civil servant & unfortunately gets unsuccessful in his attempt then he would observe more sorrow then a person who wants to become the same for the service of others. This shows that the harm to self-interest is the reason for sorrow.

The first of the four truths:

The whole world is full of sorrows ‘n’ suffering. The entire life of man lacks peace. Suffering consists of disease, old age & death; fear of separation from those we love; of craving for what one cannot obtain & of hating what we can’t avoid”.

The second of the four truths.

“All sufferings is caused by desires & the attempt to satisfy our desires”. The longing for the worldly things & inordinate desires causes agony when not achieved or lost after achieving.

The third of the four truths2

“Therefore suffering can be our come by ceasing to desires.”

Hence the end of pain can be achieved by removing the causes of sorrow. The cessation of suffering will certainly usher harmony in life. This is the ultimate goal of Buddha’s teaching. The end of sufferings will pave the way for achieving Nirvana.

Nirvana instead of destroying sorrows & sufferings of life stops the desires of life. For the peace of society the sorrows ‘n’ suffering shall be gat rid diff. because harmony of society gives goodwill and positive attitude among its units members. Which is most necessary in an associable society.3A renowned religious scholar Pakud kaveyan believes that just like earth water, air & light, are basic elements of life similarly sorrow ‘n’ happiness Are internal to life. 3

Last (fourth) of the four truths.

The way to end desire is to follow Eight fold path.” Gautama Buddha had given eight fold paths to get rid of all sufferings of this world. The effectiveness of their principles are proven up to considerable limits. These eight fold path are given to cast a positive effect on the society.4-5

  1. Right opinion:- it realizes to us the suffering ‘n’ sorrows of this world i.e. it in concern with the understanding of four noble truths.
  2. Right Intention:- It makes a person to set his/her life on the correct path.
  3. Right Speech:- It makes a person less afraid and straightforward because consist of not lying; not criticizing others unjustly or gossiping.
  4. Right Conduct: It is related to spirituality i.e. to abstain from killing; stealing; cruelty as lustful activities.
  5. Right livelihood: Illegal or indecent things should be not part of one’s earnings. A person must earn a living in a way that does not harm any others living thing.
  6. Right Effort: A person must conquer all evil thoughts & strive hard to arouse & maintain only good thoughts.
  7. Right Mind fullness. It has a special meaning in Buddhism in which a person becomes intensely aware of all the states of his/her body, feeling& mind. That leads to the final stage.
  8. Right Concentration: It is deep meditation that leads to a higher stage of consciousness. A person who practices right concentration will come to the stage of enlightenment that Siddhartha attained.

These principles clearly show us the path of modesty, handwork, meditation, etc 6 to get rid of the suffering & sorrow of this world.

These pragmatic principles if achieved in actions would certainly create a balance in society, because all the principles are based on ethics& modesty so, they can reduce the load of wrong doings which causes sufferings. Gautama Buddha chalked out the basic principles to safeguards moral, values in the form of five precepts which are called as ‘sheel’.

  1. Don’t kills living being or life;

The basic aim behind this principle is to make human non-violent. Because violence creates resentment in the suppressed section & as a result anarchy & chaos would follow.

2        One should refrain from taking, what in not given.

It is a principle based on the notion that we should opt well & abstain from evil. If we takes what do not belongs to us then it would certainly snatch some ones else rights, which would create resentment in him/her & as a result we would result face the same.

  1. One should refrain from sexual misconduct:

The sexual misconduct by individuals negatively affects, the personality of individual causing the loss of conscience &spirituality. The suppressed individual always remains in agony & Sometimes vow to revenge, this in something disastrous to the consonant society causing unrest. It’s a curse for a peaceful society.

  1. One should refrain from false speech:

A society practicing this principle will pave the way for the trusts believe & certainty among its members whereas individuals speaking lies or doing forgery creates uncertainty doubt

  1. One should refrain from intoxicants that stupefy the mind
    By using intoxicant (alcoholic beverages) as man lost his senses & consciousness doing what he/she himself/herself don’t wants to, in a conscious state sometimes major crimes creating violence in the society & effecting law &’ order of the state.

Gautama Buddha’s these thought upgraded the status of (contemporary) society. Gautama Buddha’s famous sayings include.

  1. Anger should be overcome by mercy & calm
  2. Evil should be overcome by good.
  3. Success gives birth to hatred because an unsuccessful person becomes irritated so hatred can only be winning or overcome by love ‘n’ affection.

Dr. Prabhat Tandon says that many of the people say Buddhism is a religion of sorrow but, He opines if the precepts given by Lord Buddha analyzed carefully then it gave a easy way of life. These fives precepts are not the parameters of judging what is right & what is wrong instead it gives us a peek into the life cycle & show us how in our life some of our actions causes pain to others &hence causes a worry to us similarly some actions gives joy to others making our selves happy. 7

Therefore by this Buddha’s four truths, eight fold, path five precepts & other teachings upgraded the ethical values of the society. Ethical up gradation helps in prevailing brotherhood in the society. The ultimate target of Buddha’s teaching & struggles is also the same because a peaceful prosperous society itself becomes paradise.

Lord Buddha’s quotes related to social welfare: 8

  1. All what we are is the result of what we leave thought If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follow him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him. Like a shadow that never leaves him.
  2. Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
  3. Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon. The truth
  4. You will not be punished for your anger , you will be punished by your anger
  5. Do not overrate what you received nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.
  6. Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by care; this is the eternal rule.
  7. Holding on to anger in like grasping a not cool with the intent of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.’
  8. There is nothing more dreadful than habit of doubt, doubt separates people-it is poison that disintegrate friendship and break up pleasant relation. It is a thorn that irritate and hurts. It is a sword that kills.
  9. In a controversy the instant we feel anger. We have already ceased starving for the truth and have begun striving for ourselves.

Women in society:

   The woman is an inseparable part of society who has given birth to the world the life-cycle of birth in Buddhist ideology passes through her. All historians united on the fact that Gautama Buddha don’t want to include women in his group or community of ascetics.

Mahpajapati was unshaken in her decision. after the Buddha had gone. She a along with 500(sakhyan women) from the royal court shared their heads and donned the yellow robe-They followed him on foot until they arrived at Vasaali where the Buddha’ resided. Upon arriving at the residence they did not ask to have an audience with Buddha for fear of being rejected again Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and personal attendant, found them at the entrance cover with dust, with torn robes and bleeding feet. Many of them mere miserable and in tears of desperation approached the Buddha. Again, the Buddha for bade Ananda in the same manner, Ananda please do not ask so. Ananda also tried to understand the Buddha’s refusal. is it because women are not capable of achieving spiritual enlightenment? If that is so then ordination, a spiritual path is open only to men. To this, the Buddha, made it clear that both men and women have equal potentially to achieve spiritual enlightment. 9

In Buddhism, there is no restriction for women Amarpali Dancer in an evident proof .who embraces Buddhist Teaching. According to me, it may be possible at that juncture the ascetic community (sangh) was not capable & strong enough fr allowing women in the sangha gradually when sangha became capable of allowing women then the famous Bhikuni was contracted in kantars. Other e.g are canada, sona, vuddhanatu.

Another Buddhist famous women visakha was house wife who served the Buddha and his order. House holder (upasaka) formed an important part of Buddha religion and vishakha was the most prominent amongst female lay devotes. She was very prominent upasika(House wife) and ported in Vinayapitaka and Nikays. 10

While the Buddhist doctrine insist that men and women have the same potential to achieve the spiritual goal of nirvana or enlightment. 11

From all these sources, we got to know that Buddhism as a religion respects women in real sense. In five precepts sexual harassment with women is totally prohibited. Not to honor women is just like not to respect social matrix. If women is enjoying special & respectable niche in the society then that society get prosperous & flourishment. The respect women’s are getting in present era in upto some on extent, an affect of Buddhism.



The prosperity of a society is very necessary as it causes growth of society. In 600 B.C. when the drawbacks of society was creating uncertainty in its members a that juncture Gautama Buddha stood up with his teaching to show the path of hope & vision. In present era, dismal& disorders are running high in the society at each & every level from national level, state level& now even up to family level. Meanness & selfishness are gaining over hand in day-today affairs. Greediness, envious nature, intentionally harming others etc. are wide spread. The free mobility of women are at stake. The families are getting parted &spoiled because of materialism. Human living in nucleus family in order to keep their families cheerful instead are in a forlorn state, students are getting overconfident& mean resulting in spread of despair in the society. The gift. Of life is now been wasted in suicide & affairs..Materialism in posing threat to human as well as ecological relationships. All this is leading to dark end of human kind dooms day.

The remedy to the aforementioned suffering can Buddha’s teaching also. One thing should be noted that Gautama Buddha’s teaching is net related to only one religion. Because Buddhism is having ethics as its roots. Therefore one should practice Buddha’s teaching without discriminating on the basis of religion caste, creed, race, etc. To get prosperous & flourishing society. In this way when the healthy society takes shapes welfare & prosperous state based on good will & sustainability for coming generations would be inevitable.


Introduction to the Author:

FAIYAZ HAIDAR is a research scholar in the faculty of theology at Aligarh Muslim University-UP. Interested in religion studies such Islam Buddhism &comparative religion.



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  11. j.kassapa Mahavaga, Wold in The Buddhist Tradition Page 306-310
  12. V.A K. Numair ,Women in Religion, Bostan College Page 105
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