Human Supremacy - Buddhist Insight

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Ven, Bodhimalkada Sumanarathana M.A. Student, International Buddhist College, Thailand. Email:


This paper is aimed at an inquiry into the nature of human being as revealed by the Buddha in his discourses in order to find the way how a human being becomes supreme in his destiny. It is a very famous statement of the Buddha that “One is indeed one's own lord. What other lord would there be?” (attā hi attano nātho ko hi nātho paro siyā-Dhammapada) which rejects the supremacy of others over oneself. This clearly points out the fact that there is no other force or entity such as God, self, Kamma and fate which can govern the man over his activities and the responsibility of one’s progress or downfall depends on oneself.

Buddhism ascribes supremacy to the human being on the conditions that he has the potential capacities to promote him to the utmost position of perfection and that he has the power of choice of whatever he wants to do for making his own destiny. In this respect Buddhism rejects all kinds of deterministic theories such as God-determinism, Karmic determinism and strict determinism which deny power of human beings to take decision of his own. Kālāma sutta is the ideal specimen to show that Buddhism accept the human supremacy in taking the decision regarding what should be done and what should not be done.

Buddhism points out that if a man makes use of his own capacities which are potentially latent for his development materially as well as spiritually, he would not be failed to acquire the desired end. This paper will try to find out the teachings of the Buddha which emphasize the way how man becomes supreme and the elements which are shown in Buddhist teachings which make him supreme.

Key words: Nature of Human beings, Determinisms, Pubbekata hetuvada,
Issaranimmana vada, Strict determinism