Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part VII by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(93) Questions raised by Subha

“O, Ashin Gotama! People are born in this world of existence as humans. Though all of them are equally human beings, why should there be inequalities – as for example, one is inferior, and another superior. Why has there been an imbalance in creation? What are the reasons for these inequalities?”

  1. Some are short-lived and perished in infancy, or while young, whereas some have longevity. Why is it so?
  2. Some are sick and infirm, ridden with various kinds of diseases, whereas others are strong, robust and healthy. Why?
  3. Some are ugly, whereas some are pretty and have a fair complexion. Why?
  4. Some have few attendants whereas some are endowed with a large retinue. Why?
  5. Some are poor, needy and indigent, whereas some are rich, wealthy and affluent. Why?
  6. Some are born to a low caste family, whereas some belong to the nobility from birth (a noble family). Why?
  7. Some are lacking in knowledge or born idiot whereas some are highly intellectual or born genius. Why?

These were the questions put for clarification to know the cause of the inequalities that exist in the World. Yes, all these points deserve consideration and reflection. Some are brothers born of the same parents. There are even twins. From the astrological point of view, they are born almost at the same time with little or no difference in hour, minute or second. However, there is unevenness in the quality of benefits derived by them individually. There may be a world of difference between them in health, longevity, in the accomplishment of attendants, wealth, prosperity, knowledge, wisdom and education. If they are the creations of the Powerful Almighty Being, there should have been no inequalities or disparity among humans or beings. If there is any imbalance in the creation of mankind, it needs serious reflection as to why they are so created. As such, the questions raised by the young man Subha are proper, reasonable and sensible. To these questions, Buddha gave the following answer in brief.