"Neither of his parents could read or write.He grew up in a small and ignorant village."
Of Shakespeare, Col. Ingersol
"Human inequality springs from two sources, nature and nurture."
J.B.S. Haldane.The inequality of Mankind" p.23.
According to Buddhism this inequality is due not only to heredity, environment, nature and nurture, but also to the operation of the law of Kamma or ,in another words, to the result of our own inherited past actions and our present doing.
Perplexed by the seemingly inexplicable, a young truth-seeker named subha approached the Buddha and questioned him regarding it.
The Buddha's reply was
"All living beings have actions as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Kamma that differentiates beings into low and high state.
The problems posed by Subha
1) Short-lived and Long-lived
2) The diseased and the healthy
3) The ugly and the beautiful
4) The powerless and powerful
5) The poor and the rich
6) The low-born and the high-born
7) The ignorant and the wise
1) "If a person destroy life, is a hunter.....as a result of his killing when born amongst mankind, will be shorted-lived."
"If a person avoids killing.......as a result of his non-killing when born amongst mankind, will be long-lived.
2) "Harming. As a result of harmfulness,........he will suffer from various diseases."
"Not harming.................will enjoy good health."
3) "Is wrathful, turbulent, irritated......as a result of irritability,.......will become ugly."
"Is not wrathful..............................as a result of amiability,.......will be beauty."
4) "Is jealous, envies, stores jealousy in his heart. As a result of his jealousy,............,will be powerless."
"Is not jealous, does not envy,.........................as a result of his absence of jealousy,.......,will be powerful.
5) "Does not give any anything for charity, as a result of his greediness,....will be poor."
"Is bent on charitable giving, as a result of his generosity,.....,will be rich."
6) "Is stubborn, haughty, honors not those who are worthy of honor, as a result of his arrogance and irreverence,.....,will be of low-birth.
"Is not stubborn...................................will be of high-birth.
7) "Does not approach the learned and the virtuous and inquire what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong, what should be practiced and what should not be practiced, what should be done and what should not be done, what conduces to one's welfare and what to one's ruin,....as a result of his non-inquiring spirit,...will be ignorant.
"Does approach the learned..........will be intelligent."
It is obvious that kammic tendencies could not only influence our physical organism, but also nullify the potentiality of the parental cells and genes-hence the significant of the Buddha's enigmatic statement "We are the heirs of our own actions."
Depending on this difference in Kamma, appears the difference in the birth of beings, high and low, base and exalted, happy and miserable.
Depending on this difference in Kamma, appears the difference in the individual features of beings, as beautiful and ugly, high-born and low-born, well-built and deformed.
Depending on this difference in Kamma, appears the difference in the worldly condition of beings, as gain and loss, fame and disgrace, blame and praise, happiness and misery.
From a Buddhist standpoint, our present mental, moral, intellectual, and temperamental differences are preponderantly due to our own actions and tendencies, both past and present.
Further more info.
Kamma is the law of moral causation. Rebirth is its corollary. Both Kamma and rebirth are interrelated.
What is the cause of the inequality of mankind?
How do we account for the unevenness in this ill-balanced world?
Either there is a definite cause for this inequality or there is not. If there is not, the inequality is purely accidental.
The majority of mankind attribute this inequality to a single cause such as the will of a Creator Now, how do modern scientists account for the inequality of mankind?
Confining themselves purely to sense-data, they attribute this inequality to chemico-physical causes, heredity, and environment.
-chemico-physical phenomena are vital but Why should identical twins who are physically alike, inheriting like genes, enjoying the same privileges of upbringing, be temperamentally, intellectually and morally different?
-Heredity. Heredity alone cannot account for these vast differences. Strictly speaking, it accounts more plausibly for some of the similarities than for most of the differences.
-The theory of heredity cannot satisfactorily account for the birth of a criminal in a long line of honorable ancestors, for the birth of a Saint in a family of evil of genius and great spiritual teachers.
Ref:The Buddha and His teaching. Naradathera.P.333-343