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Chandala

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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chandala
旃陀羅 (Skt, Pali; Jpn sendara )

    A class of untouchables, below the lowest of the four castes in the ancient Indian Caste system. People in this class handled corpses, butchered Animals, and carried out other tasks associated with Death or the killing of living things. The MayaSutra mentions a chandala who drives sheep or oxen to the slaughter-house. Nichiren (1222-1282) declared himself to be a member of the chandala class because he was born to a fisherman's family. In his letter Banishment to Sado, Nichiren says, "Nichiren is the son of a chandala family who lived near the sea in Tojoin Awa Province, in the remote countryside of the eastern part of Japan" (202). In his Letter from Sado, he also described himself as one "who in this Life was born poor and lowly to a chandala family" (303). Through such statements Nichiren implied that even someone from the lowest rung of society, such as himself, can attain supreme Enlightenment; hence, his teaching is meant particularly for those without Wealth or status.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org