Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh (early history)

by Prakash Narayan | 2011 | 63,517 words

This study deals with the history of Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh (Northern India) taking into account the history and philosophy of Buddhism. Since the sixth century B.C. many developments took place in these regions, in terms of society, economic life, religion and arts and crafts....

Kula, Kamma, and Sippa: Inter-relation

Some of the categories of the Buddhist texts can be classified under different heads. For example, kasi, vanijja and gorakkha are both kamma and sippa. In the Majjhima Nikaya, Kulaputtas are associated with certain sippas such as kasiya (agriculture), vanijjaya (trade), gorakhena (cattle keeping), issatthena (bowmanship), rajaporisena (king’s service), and with muddaya (reckoning on fingers), gananaya (accounting) and sankhanena (computing).[1]

Nevertheless, regardless of the heads under which the classifications are made, groups are always consistently high or low. For example, whatever the classification, kasi, Vanijja and gorakkha were invariably ranked as high. Thus kulaputtas or young or young men of good family who are always from khattiya, brahmana or gahapati families are associated with agriculture, trade, or cattle keeping[2], or with computing, accounting, and writing, all of which are rated as high work or skills.[3] On the other hand, individual barbers and potters are described as being of low birth and the skills of the barber and the potter are identified as low as low.[4] One of the low kulas, the pukkusa is described as flower sweepers. This had parallel in the low kamma of the pupphachaddaka whose function is to sweep flowers.[5] In the same way the low kula of vena described as basket-weaver has a parallel among one of the low sippas in the craft of the nalakara or basket maker. It is thus possible to establish a correlation between kulla, kamma, and sippa in the Buddhist literature especially in the context of categories that were ranked as high. In the same way one can draw a correlation between low kulas, low kamma, and low sippa.

Footnotes and references:


M.N., p. 119.


A.N., III, pp. 375, 378.


M.N., I, p. 119.


Pacittiya, p. 421; M.N., II, p. 272.


Theragatha, Khuddaka Nikaya, Vol. II, p. 272.

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