Universities Research Journal - myanmar

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The Government of
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Ministry of Education
Department of Higher Education (Lower Myanmar)
and
Department of Higher Education (Upper Myanmar)
Universities
Research Journal
Vol. 4, No. 7
December, 2011
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Contents
Page
Historical Sources in the Stone Inscriptions of
Shwe- Bon- Myint Pagoda of Maubin
Soe Soe Maw
1
Urbanized Culture of Sriksetra
Su Su Myaing
19
A Study of Self-reliance as a Moral Criterion in Myanmar Buddhist
Society
Aye Aye Mar
37
The Concept of ‘Li’ in Confucius’ Social Ethics
Toe Nilar
51
Myanmar Customary Law as a Standard of Morality
Kyaw Thura
63
The Role of Non-egoistic Tendency in Environmental Ethics
Thandar Moe
73
The Concept of Gratitude in Myanmar Ethical Thought
Lay Nwe
85
Three Major Aspects Relating to the Material Prosperity
Soe Myint Thein
103
The Coincidence of Buddhist Ethics in the Tamil Treatise, the
Thirukkural: on Preface
Myint Myint Than
113
A Critical Study of Responsibility in Theravāda Buddhist Philosophy
Tun Pa May
125
A Comparative Study of Self-Esteem between Normal Students and
Students Who Have Problem-Behavior Proneness in High School
Ni Ni Lwin
137
The Contribution of Personality Factors to Career Success in Some
Organizations
Phyu Phyu Khaing and Nilar Kyu
151
The Construction of a Scale to Measure Environmental Concerns
Tin Aung Moe, Khin Sann Hlaing, Aye Aye Htwe, Thiri Hlaing, Khin
Ya Mon and Ei Ei Khin
167
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Page
Hazardous Wastemanagement Among ASEAN Countries
Tin Htay Ei
179
Comparison of Shipowner’s Liability under Hague Rules, (Hague /
Visby Rules) and Hamburg Rules
Mon Sanda
207
Protection of New Plant Varieties under the TRIPS Agreement
Nyo Nyo Tin
223
The Making of Indonesia’s Concept of ASEAN Security Community
Kyawt Kyawt Khine
237
The Government of
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Ministry of Education
Department of Higher Education (Lower Myanmar)
and
Department of Higher Education (Upper Myanmar)
Universities
Research Journal
Vol. 4, No. 7
December, 2011
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Historical Sources in the Stone Inscriptions of
Shwe- Bon- Myint Pagoda of Maubin
Soe Soe Maw
Abstract
Ancient manuscripts on stones, votive tablets, palm-leaves, folded papers,
bells etc. reflect the political, economic and social conditions of the times
they were written. In the study of ancient Myanmar history these
manuscripts are reliable as primary sources for a researcher. There are
many records in sector-wise concerning the history of Maubin. However,
there is no record based on the epigraphic evidence and thus efforts are
made to present the historical sources from the stone inscriptions of
Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda. These inscriptions have such various subjects as
the basic causes for the construction of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti, the
upgrading of Maubin from village to town, the emergence of Paw-dawmu Ceti and its reconstruction, the construction of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti,
the ceremonies to pay homage to the relics, relics-housing ceremonies and
hti-hoisting ceremonies, and the cultivation in farmlands and gardening of
Maubin. This paper is written with the purpose to illustrate that both
monks and laity of Maubin made collective efforts to construct the ceti
although they were under the administration of the British colonialists.
Key words: Town History, Stone Inscriptions, Pagodas
Introduction
The stone inscription of Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda was written by
Second Dhammayon Sayadaw Bhaddanta Kumāra (Gaing-Ok of the Shwegyin Sect) in Pali in 1927, who resided in Dhammayon Shwe-gyin
Monastery located in the north of the pagoda and returned to his native
place, Wet-lu-aing Village of Budalin Township in Monywa District. This
inscription was edited by Ashin Obhāsābhivamsa, compiler of Myanmar
dictionary at the request of Third Dhammayon Sayadaw U
Nandavamsamālā and published as a book in 1947. An attempt is made in
this paper to present the historical evidence from the printed book of stone
inscription, the stone inscription recording the brief history of the Paw-daw-
Professor, Dr., Department of History, Maubin University
2
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
mu Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda erected in its platform 1 and No (1) stone
pillar. 2
Maubin Village of Ya-ma-nya Division
Line 24 of the book version of Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda Inscription
reads thus:
--- In 1237 Buddhist Era
′ (AD 1875) Maubin or Ye-wa-di
situated on the Na-bu Bank of the Toe River, which is within
the area of the Ya-ma-nya Division of Mons or Talaing--- 3
According to the epigraphic evidence Maubin was called Yewadi in
ancient time; it was situated on the bank of the Toe River and was inhabited
by the Mons of the Yamanya Division. Compared to the other epigraphic
evidence, Yamanya Division including Hanthawady 32 Towns, Mottama 32
Towns and Pathein 32 Towns was one of the Konbaung territories under the
rule of King Alaungmintaya and it was resided by the people known as
Talaings or Mons. Lines 9 to 18 of the Bon-san-tu-lut Stone Inscription
erected in 1127 M.E (AD 1765) reads thus:
---Yamanya Division known as Ok-thar Bago of
Hanthawady, Kuthima and Mottama which has 33 satellite
towns and 99 towns in the residential place of the Mons--- 4
The above evidence clearly shows the names of towns, number of
towns, their inhabitants and races.
After the downfall of the Nyaungyan Dynasty due to the invasion of
the Mons of Hanthawady, U Aung Zeya under the title of Alaungmintaya
occupied Hanthawady in order to unify the broken kingdom, and conquered
the Mons’ power. After that, the Mons of Inwa and the Mons of
Thayekhittya, Dagon, Dala, Thanlyin, Hanthawady, Taungoo and Pyay were
brought under his rule and U Aung Zeya enabled to take the above towns
The Stone Inscription recording the Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti,
Two Faces, Sakkaraj 1304, Now in Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti of Maubin, See
Figure- 2(a,b), (Henceforth: Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Inscription)
2
No 1 Stone Pillar, Three Faces, Sakkaraj 1347, now in Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint
Ceti of Maubin, See Figure-3
3
Printed Book of the Stone Inscription of Shwe- bon- myint Ceti, Sakkaraj 1289, Line 24,
Yangon, Chitsays Press, 1947 ( Henceforth: Printed Book, 1947)
4
Stone Inscription of Bon-San-Tu-lut Monastery, two faces, Obverse, Sakkaraj 1127,
Historical Research Department ( List 1126) ,Line 9-18
1
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
3
and their adjacent areas under his domain. These events were recorded in
Lines 1 to 3 of Shwe-moat-htaw Pagoda erected in 1126 M.E (AD 1764) as
follow:
---In Tagu of 1113 M.E (AD 1751) or 2295 B.E the palace of
Inwa Kingdom, Yadanapura was destroyed by the enemies-- 5
Moreover, the inscription of Ti-law-ka Pagoda erected in 1119 M.E
(AD 1757) reads thus:
---After gaining victory over the Mons of Yadanapura Inwa
who marched with elephants and horses to take an oath
(from him), Alaungmintaya attacked the Mons of
Thayekhitta, Dagon, Dala, Thanlyin and Hanthawady and
occupied those territories--- 6
The Shwe-zi-gon Inscription of Bago dated 1130 M.E (AD 1768)
reads thus:
---Since (King Alaungmintaya) conquered Taungoo,
Hanthawady, Moattama, and Pathein and completed his
unification of the whole Kingdom--- 7
According to the above epigraphic evidence, King Alaungmintaya
conquered the Mons and enabled to rule the whole kingdom. The
inscriptions provide the knowledge that after unifying both Upper Myanmar
and Lower Myanmar without Rakhine, the kingdom was divided into ten
divisions including Yamanya for administrative purpose. 8 According to the
line 24 of the Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda Inscription, Maubin Village, under
the administration of King Alaungmintaya was included in Yamanya
Division.
King Alaungmintaya conquered Dagon in AD 1755 after defeating
the Mon fleets that were resisting in Panhdaing of Thanlyin. Then he
renamed Dagon as Yangon. It was possible that the fleets of King
Stone Inscription of Shwe-moat-htaw Ceti, One face, Sakkaraj 1126, situated near the
Sima of Shwemothtaw Ceti, Nagabo Village of Dipeyin Township, Shwebo District, Line
1-3
6
Stone Inscription of Ti-law-ka Ceti, Two Faces, Reverse, Sakkaraj 1119, Historical
Research Department (List) 2943,Line 17-19
7
Shwe-zi-gon Stone Inscription of Bagan, Two Faces, Obverse, Sakkaraj 1130, Historical
Research Department (List) 1155,Line 19-21
8
Stone Inscription of Ti-law-ka Ceti, Line 17-19
5
4
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Alaungmintaya came down along the Toe River when they marched to
Yangon. At that time, Maubin may have been a small village far from
Yangon and Dala. It could be reached from Yangon through Twan-tay
Canal and then Toe River. About two miles in going up the Toe River there
is the Kayin Creek on the left bank and the Ye-kyaw Creek on the right. The
territories on the eastern banks of these creeks are Twan-tay Township and
the territories on the western banks are Maubin Township of Ayeyawady
Region. 9
Founding of Maubin
The Third Myanmar Empire founded by King Alaungmintaya lost its
territories of Rakhine and Tanintharyi after the First Anglo-Myanmar War
of 1824, and those of Lower Myanmar including Bago and Mottama after
the second war to the British colonialists. Only after the British annexation
of Bago, the establishment of Maubin came to be known because the
colonial government divided Lower Myanmar into eleven districts and
Maubin included in Thonegwa District. Later, towns of Thonegwa District
were situated far from their headquarters and thus the headquarters of the
district was moved to Maubin. Therefore, in1875 a town was founded in
Maubin or Ye-wa-dy Village situated on the left bank of the river. 10 Line 24
of Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda Inscription recorded the above evidence as
follows:
---In 1237 M.E (AD 1875) Maubin or Yewadi was founded
with human quarters on the Na-bu Bank of the Toe River-- 11
It is known that the founding of Maubin was accompanied by the
construction of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti as evidenced by the stone inscription.
Construction of Paw-daw-mu Ceti
When dense forests were cleared in 1875 to found Maubin an
ancient pagoda of the monarchical period was found. It was named “Pawdaw-mu Ceti” after the founding in the clearing of the forests. It was
evidenced by the stone inscription of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti as follows:
9
rtlyifNrdKYe,fordkif;rSwfwrf; (Historical Record of Maubin Township), Township History
Compiling Committee, Maubin, Sit Aung Press,1980, p 17 (Henceforth:, Record of
Maubin Township)
10
See Figure-1
11
Printed Book, 1947, Line 24
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
5
---When the clearing of the forests for the construction of
Maubin was under way an old pagoda covered with the trees
and bushes was found. This old pagoda was repaired as new
one and named Paw-daw-mu Ceti--- 12
Although plots of land were marked off for human settlement, a
ruined bell- shape ceti was found while the forests were cleared by the
townspeople. The boatmen who took rest under the shape of Ma -u tree
(Nauclea orientalis, Rubiaceae) located near the site of the ruined pagoda
also saw this ceti. A new ceti was constructed for the first time in 1875 with
the diameter of 78 taung (1 taung = 1 ½ inches) in the base and 30 taung of
height by enveloping the ruined one and washed with the lime. It was named
Muni-Ramayana Paw-daw-mu. 13 The construction of the ceti was recorded
in Line 4 of the printed book of the Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda
Inscription, which reads thus:
---In the east of Maubin, Paw-daw-mu Pagoda with the base
of 78 taung of diameter and the height of 30 taung which
was constructed by all the four social classes of ancient time-- 14
Ten years after the construction of Paw-daw-mu Pagoda, it was
going to be damaged by sliding of the Toe River and a plan was drawn to
move it from the river bank to the safe place which was evidenced by lines
26-27 as follows:
---The river bank near Paw-daw-mu Pagoda was collapsed by the
waters from the Toe River ten years after the construction of
Paw-daw-mu Pagoda. In order to save the pagoda from toppling
down, it was moved from the river bank and a new one was
reconstructed in the safe new location--- 15
The construction of a new pagoda was the main cause for the
existence of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti which is being worshipped as of today.
12
Printed Book, 1947, Line 25
ed&mrm½kaP NrdKUOD;ay:awmfrla½TapwDawmfordkif;(History of Niramarune Myo-U Paw-dawmu Ceti), Pagoda Board of Trustee , Maubin Township, 2007, type-writing (Henceforth:,
History of Myo-U Paw-daw-mu Ceti ,2007)
14
Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti, Line 4
15
Printed Book, 1947, Line 26-27
13
6
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Line 4 of the stone inscription of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti
reads thus:
---In the morning of 11 waxing moon of Tawthalin 1253
M.E(30 August 1891)the finial Paw-daw-mu Ceti, one silver
casket weighing ten ticals ten pe six ywe, one silver peacock
cup, one silver bracelet imbedded with precious stone, 570
silver images, eight bronze images and Lord Buddha’s relics
without the exception of broken bricks were carried by a
great audience accompanied by the soldiers of the
government to Nanda Zayya Hill, west of Maubin where a
new pagoda was constructed and that pagoda is being
worshipped as of today as Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint
Pagoda--- 16
It is known from the picture that a new pagoda with the height of 54
feet, the circumference of 56 feet, the plinth of 120 feet and the platform of
300 feet was constructed by the townspeople at the site of old pagoda 17 in
1258 M.E. (AD 1896). Thus, field study was made and a picture of two
silver and bronze images coming out of the relic chamber from the collapse
of ceti in 2003 was found. From the letters” donation by Ko Pu and Ma May
Chyok in 1254 M.E. (AD 1892)” in the silver image and “donation by Ko
Po Nyun and Ma Thin in 1258 M.E. (AD 1926)” in the bronze image, it may
be assumed that a ceti was constructed for the second time in 1258 M.E(AD
1896). Moreover, a silver plate bearing the letters” donation of the umbrella
by U Tha Lwin and Daw Nyin Ma on the fullmoon day of Kason 1288 M.E
(May 1926) was also found in the field study. 18
Although the ceti was maintained by the townspeople of Maubin
with religious zeal under the colonial administration, the ceti began to ruin
in its brick walls on the side of riverbank due to the currents of the rainy
season in 1999. That brick wall broke up on 16 January 2001 and the whole
building toppled down on 10 June of the same year. 19
Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Inscription, Line 4
History of Myo-U Paw-daw-mu Ceti ,See Figure-4
18
Evidence from field study (6.12.2010), See Figure-5
16
17
19
rtlyifNrdKYe,fat;csrf;om,ma&;ESifhzGHNzdK;a&;aumifpD\ NrdKYOD;ay:awmfrlapwDawmfr[m&HwHwdkif;
NyefvnfwnfaqmufNyD;pD;rltajcaewifjycsuf(Report on the Reconstruction of the Brick Walls
of Myo-U Paw-daw-mu Ceti by Ma-u-bin Township Peace and Development Council),
Pagoda Board of Trustee of Myo-U Paw-daw-mu Ceti, 2002, See Figure-6
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
7
The Construction of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti
Although the townspeople of Maubin including Buddhist monks had
to live under the yoke of the colonial administration, they not only repaired
the old pagodas for the promotion and propagation of Buddha Sāsanā but
also held many meetings for the construction of the new pagoda. According
to the tradition of Myanmar Buddha Sāsanā, the auspicious place for a new
pagoda had to be searched and townspeople, both Buddhist monks and lay
persons performed this traditional task which was evidenced by line 28 of
the stone inscription as follows:
---After holding discussions many times persons of dignity
and good characters were searching the auspicious for the
construction of the new ceti (pagoda) --- 20
Nanda Zayya Hill (The auspicious place)
Finally, the auspicious place was found on the hill which looks like
the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and that hill was
named "Nanda Zayya” as it was situated far from natural disasters and
human settlements and it was a broad surface. Lines 29 and 30 of the stone
inscription read thus:
---The suitable auspicious place known as Nanda Zayya,
which was a broad and pleasant place, which was situated far
from the human settlements and which was one of the
auspicious places of the Southern Island where Lord Buddha
attained enlightenment, was finally found--- 21
Moreover, the reasons for the selection of “Nanda Zayya Hill” for
the construction of the pagoda were recorded in Lines 31 to 33 of the stone
inscription which read thus:
---To the east of the hill named Nanda Zayya lays Ye-wa-di
or Maubin which was inhabited by many different national
races including those from Saint (China), India and Europe.
To the south, right side and the north, left side of the hill
were the monasteries of the Buddhist monks who made
efforts for the propagation of Buddhism. The west of the hill
was full of gardens and farmlands. Nanda Zayya Hill was the
20
21
Printed Book, 1947, Line 28
Ibid, Line 29-30
8
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
place free from dangers and disasters. It was also the
auspicious place for those who were seeking for both secular
and religious developments--- 22
The stone inscription indicates that Maubin was situated to the east
of the auspicious hill. Probably, the monasteries on the left and right sides of
the hill mentioned in the inscriptions were “Myo-Lei Monastery” founded
in 1875, Maha-baw-dhi Monastery in 1870, “ Di-pe-yin Dwa-ra Monastery”
in 1878 and” Gu-gon Monastery of Ma-let-to Village in 1870, all of which
were established even before the town of Maubin was founded. 23
Lower Myanmar prior to the colonial administration followed the
traditional economic patterns of the monarchical periods till the Konbaung
Period. The economy of that period was based on agriculture. Gardening
saw its development under the rule of King Badon (1781-1819). 24The
epigraphic evidence points out the fact that cultivation on paddy land and
gardening were practised in Maubin.
After choosing the site for the pagoda, townspeople who wanted to
do meritorious deeds came to the hill and cleared the land. Thus, the hill was
seen and the people donated their labors to make the hill a flat plain. Line 36
records their efforts as follows:
---Those who wanted to do meritorious deeds went to Nanda
Zayya Hill to participate in the clearing of lands. After that
the surface of Nanda Zayya Hill became a broad plain--- 25
The formation of “Sāsana Nutgaha Association”
Line 38-40 mentions that “Sāsana Nutgaha Association” was formed
with government officers such as Myo-ok and Wun-dauk, the wealthy
persons, honourable persons and other responsible persons to construct the
ceti as follows:
---With a view to building the ceti, government officers such as
Myo-ok and Wun-dauk, the rich men, and the dutiful persons
Printed Book, 1947, Line 31-33
Record of Ma-u-bin Township , p 182-188
24
The Stone Inscription of Maha-mu-ni Image, Sakkaraj 1145, Two Faces, Line 51
25
Printed Book, 1947, Line 36
22
23
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
9
of Maubin were chosen to form the religious association and it
was named Sāsana Nutgaha Association-- 26
Line 2 of the inscription states those who took part in the stakedriving ceremony as follows:
---In the stake-driving ceremony which was held on Nanda
Zayya Hill to construct the ceti, the honurable men who took
part, were Sub divisional Officer of Maubin U Ba, Myik U
Yod, Certificated Pleader U Chet, Saya Za, Saya Thant, Ko
Aung Gyi, Ko Shwe Yon,etc:--- 27
From the above evidence, it may be assumed that all or some of the
persons taking part in the stake-driving ceremony were members of “Sāsana
Nutgaha Association”.
Holding the Ceremony of Paying Respect to the Relics
The stone inscription recorded the detailed account of holding the
ceremony of paying respect to the relics. The preparations for holding the
ceremony such as the construction of a temporary building with five
encircling gradations, painting of floral designs inside it, hanging of
festoons and garlands, offering of bent bamboo sticks, pennants, paper
streamers and flowers to the relics, preparing of the road inside the building
to be flat and smooth and scattering of the sand, erecting of the lattice fence,
growing of banana in the pot full of water and so on. 35
The inscription continues to record in its lines 47-50 that the relics of
Lord Buddha from the ruined Paw-daw-mu Ceti of the lower part of Maubin
which was destroyed by flooding and silver images were temporarily housed
in the temporary building. Moreover, these lines state that the Buddha
images from the ruined pagoda which was constructed at the junction of
Htani, Ma-let-to and Ayeyawady Rivers were also housed in the temporary
building for public observance. 28
The holding of such ceremony was in accordance with the tradition
since the monarchical periods. The relics of Lord Buddha from the ruined
pagodas and in the surrounding areas were collected by King
Printed Book, 1947, Line 38-40
Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe -bon- myint Inscription, Line 2
35
Printed Book, 1947, Line 44-46
28
Printed Book, 1947, Line47-50
26
27
10
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Alaungmintaya for his pagoda to be built on the hill northeast of the capital
city29 and probably, townspeople of Maubin followed suit. On the full moon
day of Tabodwe the ceremony to pay homage to the relics of Lord Buddha
was held for the whole day with alms, water, pop-corn, fragrant substances,
gold umbrellas, gold pennant, paper streamers, and musical
entertainments. 30
After holding the ceremony to pay homage to the relics, members of
“Sāsana Nutgaha Association” took part in the stake-driving ceremony on
the fullmon day of Tagu 1252 M. E. (April 1891). Then the inscriptions
mention that two relic chambers, each with 7 taungs length and 3 taungs
width and 3 taungs distance between them were built. Above the relic
chambers were caves where Buddha images were enshrined and the
sculptures of the guardian gods were placed at the doors and sculptures were
carved in the north and south walls of the chambers. 31 The pagoda is 73
taungs high from the plinth to the end of the plantain bud with four storeged
relic chambers. In the ground relic chamber, 2538 Buddha images were
enshrined on the fullmoon day of Tabaung 1253 M.E. (AD 1757) In the first
storeyed relic chamber measuring six taungs length and six taungs width 84
Buddha images were enshrined. The silver plate bearing the Pali letters,
silver Buddha images and gold casket were housed in the second storeyed
relic chamber and the third storeyed relic chamber was for bronze, iron,
metal, silver, and stone Buddha images and artificial gold flower. 32
Concerning the housing of the relics of Lord Buddha in the relic
chambers of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti, the stone inscription recording the brief
history of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti mentions in its lines 5 to 8
that sculptures made of gold and silvers, images made of timber, gold, silver
and copper, small stupas, paintings of royal palace and trees, umbrellas and
pennant and a gold umbrella were put atop the ceti. 33
U Maung Maung Tin, ukef;abmifqufr[m&mZ0ifawmfBuD; (The Great Chronicle of
Konbaung Dynasty) Vol I, Yangon, Yadana Mon Press, 1989, p 258
30
Printed Book, 1947, Line53-57
31
Ibid, Line59-69
32
Printed Book, 1947 , Line 72-82
33
Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe -bon -myint Inscription, Line 5-8
29
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
11
Together with the hoisting the finial of the ceti, the construction of
the satellite stupas, Gandakuti (special chamber), four- cornered iron edifice,
and brick flagstaff was also stated in the inscription. 34
Hoisting Gold Umbrellas atop the spire of Ceti
Shwe-bon-myint Stupa had constructed for ten years and a gold
umbrella with nine spire-like roofs were hoisted atop the stupa as evidenced
by the inscription which reads thus:
---After ten years of efforts, the construction of Shwe-bonmyint Stupa in Maubin was completed in Nadaw of 1261
M.E. (November 1899). The final work of applying mortar
was being done. The valuable umbrella of nine spire-like
roofs hang with bronze and silver small bells had been
hoisted atop the ceti-- 35
The first gold umbrella hoisted atop the ceti was made of iron and
had a ten height of twelve taungs (18 feet). 36
The golden umbrella was hoisted atop the ceti for the second time,
the inscription reads thus:
---The repair of the ruined umbrella was started on 5 waxing
moon day of Nadaw 1281 M.E(9 November 1919) by the
people of Maubin under the leadership of U Nandamedha,
the first Dhammayon Sayadaw who was founder of
Dhammayon Shwegyin Monastery and also the Gaing-ok
(local monk head of Shwe-gyin Sect). Under the advice of
Brahman Saya Bwint Gyi, a new hti of nine spires like roofs
with the circumference of its first roof having 5 taungs two
maiks and with the height of 15 taungs, which valued more
than ks. 2,000, was hoisted atop the pagoda on Monday, 13
waxing moon day of Tabaung 1282 M.E (9 February 1920)
with the ceremony--- 37
Printed Book, 1947, Line 92-97
Ibid, Line 87-88
36
Ibid, Line 80
37
Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Inscription, Line 11
34
35
12
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
From the evidence mentioned above, it is noted that the golden umbrella
hoisted atop the stupa for the second time was made of iron and had 15
taungs height.
Line 1 of the No 1 stone pillar erected on the platform of the pagoda
in 1985 read thus:
---The construction of the ceti was completed on Tuesday,
the fullmoon day of Tabodwe 1261 M.E (AD 1899) when
the umbrella was hoisted atop the ceti. This umbrella became
ruined and it was replaced in 1354 (1992) with the new
copper umbrella- 38
The epigraphic evidence provides the knowledge that the original umbrella
which was hoisted atop the ceti two times was made of iron and a new
umbrella made of copper was hoisted atop the ceti in 1992. 39
Conclusion
In conclusion, Lower Myanmar including Maubin Village was
located under the rule of Konbaung Kings before the British colonial
administration. To support the religion is the prime duty of the kings who
took the titles of religious donors. The Konbaung Kings followed suit and
introduced reforms for promotion and propagation of Buddhism.
Concerning the sending of missionary monks to the tours of ten
divisions including Pathein, Mottama, Dawei, and Myeik of Yamanya
Division, Shwe-zi-gon Inscription of Bagan provides the historical data that
six monks with one complete set of Tipitaka were sent to each town or
district and a total of 246 monks with 56 sets of Tipitaks were sent to less
shining places of Sāsanā. Moreover, the stone inscription of Maha
Maygawin Sima (Ordination Hall) mentions that Tipitaka Sayadaw was sent
to seven mountainous districts and town on the east and west banks of the
Ayeyawady River at the exhortation of elder monks. Although ancestors of
Maubin had to live under the rule of the British colonial administration, they
collectively contributed funds for the religious interests as evidenced by the
stone inscription of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti. The historical data recorded in
the inscription is invaluable as it provides socio-economic and religious
conditions of Maubin in the colonial period.
38
39
No 1 Stone Pillar, line 1
See Figure 7
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
13
References
Primary Sources
Original in Chronological Order
Stone Inscription of Ti-law-ka Ceti, Two Faces, Reverse, Sakkaraj 1119
Stone Inscription of Shwe- moat- taw Ceti, One face, Sakkaraj 1126
Stone Inscription of Bon -san- tu -lut Monastery, two faces, Obverse, Sakkaraj 1127
Shwe-zi -gon Stone Inscription of Bagan, Two Faces, Obverse, Sakkaraj 1130
Stone Inscription of Maha-mu-ni Image, Two Faces, Sakkaraj 1145
Stone Inscription recording the Brief History of Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti, Two
Faces, Sakkaraj 1304
No 1 Stone Pillar, Three Faces, Sakkaraj 1347
Secondary Sources
Printed Book of the Stone Inscription of Shwe-bon-myint Ceti,
Chitsayas Press, 1947
Sakkaraj 1289, Yangon,
Maung Maung Tin, U-ukef;abmifqufr[m&mZ0ifawmfBuD; (The Great Chronicle of Konbaung
Dynasty) Vol, I, Yangon, Yadanamon Press, 1989
rtlyifNrdKYe,fat;csrf;om,ma&;ESifhzGHNzdK;a&;aumifpD\NrdKYOD;ay:awmfrlapwDawmf
r[m&HwHwdkif;NyefvnfwnfaqmufNyD;rltajcaewifjycsuf
(Report on the
Reconstruction of the Brick Walls of Myo-U Paw-daw-mu Ceti by Maubin
Township, Peace and Development Council), Pagoda Board of Trustee of
Myo-U Paw-daw-mu Ceti
(Historical Record of Maubin Township), Township History
Compiling Committee, Maubin, Sit Aung Press, 1980
rtlyifNrdKYe,fordkif;rSwfwrf;
(History of Niramarune Myo-U Paw-daw-mu
Ceti), Pagoda Board of Trustee, Maubin Township, 2007, type-writing
ed&mrm½kaPNrdKUOD;ay:awmfrla½TapwDawmfordkif;
14
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Figure–1 Maubin Township
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
15
Figure-2(a) Obverse
Figure–2(b) Reverse the Stone Inscription recording the brief History of Paw
daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Ceti
16
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Figure-3 No (1) Stone Pillar
Figure – 4
Muni -yama -gu -nay Paw-daw-mu Ceti (Original Ceti)
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Figure–5
Lord Buddha’s Relics and Images from damaged Paw-daw-mu Ceti
17
18
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Figure- 6 The Ceti after being damaged by flood
Figure – 7 Paw-daw-mu Shwe-bon-myint Pagoda
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
Urbanized Culture of Sriksetra
Su Su Myaing
Abstract
Myanmar began to see the appearance of city states, with considerable
urbanization, since the beginning of the Christian era. About that time
the city states were widespread inhabited by the Mons in Lower
Myanmar, Rakhines along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, and the Pyus
in central Ayeyawaddy basin. Among Pyu city states Sriksetra was the
most urbanized as well as longest-lived. It was probably the most
prosperous and culturally advanced Pyu city. It achieved the status of a
big Pyu city state with the grandest culture in early Myanmar history;
this has been testified by the urbanized culture existing there at that time.
Introduction
Ancient Myanmar cities were usually administrative centres, and
with the ruler residing there they became royal cities. A monarch residing in
a royal city means when the latter fell into enemy hands the kingdom might
well be considered destroyed. As such, a monarch usually took great pains
to select urban settlement and meticulously construct it to be secure. These
tendencies, first found in the Pyu period, became clearer when one looks at
ancient Sriksetra. Evidences pertinent to building of a kingdom at Sriksetra
solidly explain that Sriksetra was a highly developed city state. For a city
state to have a developed urbanized culture it must be favoured by many
factors, namely: location, climate, topography, economic activities, security
and defences, rulers' wisdom and martial prowess, and external relations. In
this paper a study has been made about the geographical position and
location of Sriksetra, its security system and the establishment of royal city.
Moreover a study has been made of Sriksetra's rulers based on the
chronicles, contemporary records and evidences on funeral urns. In
addition, Sriksetra's military campaigns, external relations, and her
nationalities living together have also been studied.
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Yangon
20
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
Urbanized Culture of Sriksetra
Geographical position of Sriksetra
Sriksetra, locally called Thayekhettaya, an ancient city of Pyu or the
land of splendour is situated between Lat.18 75' N and Long. 95 25' E and is
about five miles to the southeast of Pyay. Sriksetra is somewhat circular in
shape and the walled area measuring 5.5 square miles and the north-south
length is 2.76 miles and the east-west 2.46 miles, and the circumference
comes up to 8 miles and 5 furlongs. 1As such Sriksetra was larger than
other Pyu cities and one of the biggest Myanmar cities of yore.
Sriksetra appeared a little later than other Pyu cities like Maingmaw,
Beikthano and Halin but it surpassed them in size, cultural development and
longevity. Sriksetra existed for long with a refined state of culture due to its
geographical position, ability of its successive kings and advanced socioeconomic life.
One factor among many making for the advanced cultural state of
Sriksetra is the right choice of urban settlement. It is very favourable
geographically. Pyu cities including Sriksetra did not choose to be situated
on the Ayeyawaddy bank. Far from these rivers they lie in a river basin
transversed by its tributaries. Sriksetra was built in Nawin Valley, 2 A river
valley is crucial to prosperity of a city state in ancient times. Benefits to
building a city in a river basin are manifold: it is safe against a riverine
attack by the enemy; in the tributaries the enemy could be destroyed
without much effort, with a dammed tributary the enemy can be flushed out
by opening up the dammed-up water. Moreover, reservoir water makes for
favourable cultivation of crops, adding to very fertile plains of a river
valley. The Pyu's choice of a city site in a river basin shows their
geographical knowledge and vision in regard of the city's security was
advanced. As such Sriksetra, the latest Pyu city, is found to have benefited
from their past experiences in addition to better positioned site.
o a&acwå&mjr dK
ha[ mif; wl;azmfrIo kawo ev kyfi ef;yP mr awG
U
&S
dcsu ft pD
&i fcH
pm?(1997-98)(Report on
Preliminary Findings of excavation work ),1997-98, Ministry of culture, Archaeology
Department, 1997,p.2 (Hereafter cited as Report,1997-98)
2
(a) Ba Shin, "AdóEdk;jrdKUa[mif;ESifhordkif;tjrif" ("Historical Aspects and Ancient Visnu city")
Tekkatho Pyinnya Padetha,i,iii, Yangon, University Press,1966, p.185(Hereafter cited as
Ba Shin, , "Historical Aspects and Visnu"
(b) Junice Stargardt, The Ancient Pyu of Burma,Vol. I Singapore, Paesea
Cambridge,1990,p.48(Hereafter cited as Stargardt, The Ancient Pyu of Burma)
1
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
21
Sriksetra was deemed very secure geographically and its environs
were very fertile. To its east are Nawin and Lotho creeks, flowing east to
west. They were useful as natural moat for Sriksetra. 1 They were good for
transportation as well as cultivation. To the east and north-east of Sriksetra
is the currently-named Pinle Inn (Lake or Tank) which was contiguous to
the city. 2 This is where a large artificial water tank existed formerly. This
tank was large enough to close the gap between the ends of the triple walls
on the north-east and the south-east corners. 3 Small tributaries from the
Laotho creek flowed into that lake, which served as a natural moat for the
city and a major source of water for cultivation. It was also a major part of
the ancient irrigation system. Like the earlier Pyu cities, Sriksetra was
dependent on well-filled bodies of water.
To the south and south-west of Sriksetra is Myinberhu Mountain
which is covered with indaing forest. These together served as water
catchment area for the city. 4 However Myinberhu range was also of use to
Sriksetra in water management. According to the new archaeological map
of Sriksetra, there was a water diversion system to supply it with enough
water. In this system water flowing down from Myinberhu range flowed
into moats, drains and tanks stage by stage. 5
In the west, between the Ayeyawaddy and ancient Sriksetra lie the western
mountain ranges more than 450 feet high. 6 Those ranges stood as natural
walls against enemy attacks from the river-side. The lands in the north and
north-east of Sriksetra are alluvial plain and very good for cultivation of
crops. Fields for vital crops inside a city means self-sufficiency in food and
even when besieged by the enemy it can make a stand against them for
long. 7 Apart from natural bodies of water for irrigation, Sriksetra was also
Dr Than Tun, acwfa[ mif;jrefr m&mZ0i f, (Ancient Myanmar Chronicle), Yangon,
Inwa Press, December 2002, Third addition, p.66 (Hereafter cited as Than Tun,
Ancient Myanmar Chronicle)
2
(a) Ba Shin, "Historical Aspects and Visnu",p.187
(b) Stargradt, The Ancient Pyu of Burma, p.86
3
Stargradt, The Ancient Pyu of Burma, p.90
4
Ibid
5
Stargradt, The Ancient Pyu of Burma, p.87
6
(a) Ba Shin, "Historical Aspects and Visnu",p.185
w f35? wl;azmfo kawo ev kyfi ef;t pD
&i fcH
pm (1998- 99) (Report for excavation at
(b) u kef;t r S
HMA 35,1998-99, p.5 (Hereafter cited as Report ,1998-99)
7
U Sein Maung Oo, "oa&acwå&mjrdKUa[mif;",( "Old city of Sriksetra"), Ancient Myanmar
cities, Yangon, Myanmar's Alin Newspaper Press, March 1993, 2nd edt , p.114 (Hereafter
1
22
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
endowed with abundant rain, the annual rainfall averaging 51.5 inches. 1 At
Sriksetra the weather conditions are not different from those of yore. 2 It was
more favorable to human settlement than other Pyu cities. Geographical
position of Sriksetra, natural bodies of water and rivers and creeks,
watershed areas, and hills contributed much to the city's security, defence
and agriculture. The Pyu's ability to find a site like Sriksetra shows their
kingdom-building experience, knowledge and their intelligence were of a
high degree.
The Pyus were able to find the lands with rich natural resources of
water where a city could be built; moreover they were knowledgeable
enough to set up irrigation systems to benefit the city's defenses and
agriculture. Like other Pyu cities Sriksetra boasted a system of moats, tanks
and lakes with a good flow pattern inside the city, showing its citizens, to be
well-versed in use of water resources. 3
The location of Sriksetra
The location of Sriksetra was conducive to its security and defense,
while the well-run agriculture could have made for its prosperity. It was
also well-positioned for administrative purposes. In Sriksetra Pyu Period
there were Funan, East India, Nan Chao and the seas to the east, west, north
and south of the Pyu Kingdom respectively. 4
The Pyus were spread between Lat. 16 30' N and Lat. 24 N (from
upper reaches of the Shweli to Mottama), and between Long.95'E and 98
30' E. They were widely scattered from the west bank of Than Lwin, Shan
State (North) to Ye Oo or its environs up to western Yaw region such as Hti
Lin. 5 According to New History of Tang Dynasty there were thirty two Pyu
towns, from Shweli in the north to Mottama in the south. 6 The already
certified Pyu towns are Momein, Wantin, Kyukok, Yebawmi (upper reaches
cited as Sein Maung Oo, "Old city of Sriksetra")
Dr Daw Thin Kyi, Geographical Setting of Sriksetra,Vishnu and Halingyi, The Guardian,
Vol.XII No. 10,October 1965, p.50 (Hereafter cited as Daw Thin Kyi, Geographical
Setting of Sriksetra )
2
Daw Thin Kyi, Geographical Setting of Sriksetra , p. 50
3
Stargardt , Ancient Pyu Cities, P.95,99
4
Dr Than Tun,"wG'AH;('Gwåabmif)t&ifteSpf600ausmfuausmfMum;cJhwJhysLol&Jaumif;("TDABAM
(DWATTABAUNG) A Pyu Hero of the 4th century BC", Moe Journal, 2005,No.3, p.154
(Hereafter cited as Than Tun, "A Pyu Hero")
5
Than Tun, "A Pyu Hero", p. 154
6
Ibid
1
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
23
of the U Ru river), Tagaung Sin-aing (near Tagaung), Yin Byin ( near
Shwegu), Hti Lin ( Yaw region), Thabeikkyin, Alon (Monywa' environs),
Allakkappa (Sagaing, Tamote (confluence of the Zawgyi and Ponglong
rivers), Bagan, Zeyawaddy (near Taungoo), Daik U, Didoat (40 miles north
of Yangon), Bago, Khabin (12 miles west of Yangon), Zokthok and
Madama (Mottama). 1
With the scattered positions of Pyu towns, the country extended
from northern Shan region to Madama on the south and from the western
bank of the Thanlwin on the east to Rakhine ranges on the west. For the
defense of a Kingdom which was nearly the size of modern Myanmar, the
Pyu had the following nine garrison towns only:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
Hsipaw (Shweli basin)
Kan Thida (near Nga O on the Shweli)
Myingyan (Western bank of the Ayeyawaddy)
Moriya
Halin
Thegon (southeast of Hmawza)
Taungdwingyi
Thigyint
Maingmaw (a) Htoomein (5 miles south-east of
Kume). 2
The capital of these widely scattered Pyu settlements, or its political centre,
was Sriksetra. 3
The location of Sriksetra was conducive to centralization of power
regarding the territories under its rule, prevention of rebellions that might
happen, or creating peace and order in the country. Centrally located, the
capital could not be besieged easily by the enemy. In fact, it endured for
long. Despite Sriksetra's prosperous times in the fourth century AD,
scholars reckoned that it had been founded by the first century AD. 4
Chinese records say Nan-Chao warriors attacked and destroyed Sriksetra in
Dr Than Tun, jr efr mo r dkif;yHk, ( Pictures of Myanmar History), Yangon, Monywe Press,
July 2004, pp. 107-108 ( Hereafter cited as Than Tun, Pictures of Myanmar History )
2
Than Tun, Pictures of Myanmar History, p.95
3
U Yi Sein ," ysLwyfjrdKYtcsdKUwnfae&m" ("Location of some Pyu garrison towns"), Nyan Lin
Dammasarpadatha, 1984, p.95 (Hereafter cited as Ye Sein, "Pyu garrison towns")
4
Than Tun, "A Pyu Hero" p.143,152
1
24
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
AD 832. 1 With an existence of nearly over 800 years, Sriksetra had a longer
life than Bagan of King Anawrahta.
Security system of Sriksetra
The founder-king of Sriksetra was very discriminative and
meticulous in choosing the site and building the city thereupon. The
emphasis being on security and endurance of the city, the king used the
divination of the cosmos and the mandala in constructing it. The stillsurvived moats, city walls and gateways testified to the high standard of its
architecture.
Sriksetra old city is enclosed by maoats and massive brick walls.
The southern side of the walls still remains in nearly good condition, with
triple moats and walls. On the west are double moats and walls. As it
stands now, the moat is 35-80 feet wide. 2 At present paddies are being
grown there.
The remains of city wall which still survive in Sriksetra are one of
the most remarkable evidence of Pyu architectural monuments. In every
civilization of the world the royal city was enclosed by huge walls to
prevent invasions by the enemy. The people of Sriksetra, like other
civilizations, established the walls for their security when they planned the
city.
In Myanmar tradition, there is an urban architectural rule which is
called "Myo angar Khunipar" (Seven characteristics of a royal city). The
rule has seven principles, namely : city walls, moats, gateways, jambs ( side
posts of door way ), guardians of gateways, soldiers, passage for soldiers on
the battlements which consists of banquette, protective hole(Kasway bauk),
block house, passage for soldiers on the battlement of a fortification,
catwalk of planks bridging the twin turrets flanking a fortified gateway, and
turrets. 3 It is very important to complete these components when a royal
city is being established.
1
U Yi Sein, "c&pfESpf 802 ckESpf w½kwfEdkifiHa&mufysLoHtzGJU" ("Pyu mission to China in 802"),
Historical Research Journal ,No. 3, Yangon, Ministry of culture,1979, p. 36 (Hereafter
cited as Ye Sein, " Pyu mission")
2
Report, 1997-98, p.4
3
Hla Tun Phyru, Pyu Cultural Study About City Wall Architecture at Sriksetra,
Unpublished Research Paper , Department of Archaeology, Yangon University,
2004-2005 , p.5 (Hereafter cited as Hla Tun Phyru, Pyu Cultural Study )
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
25
According to this theory, it is to be understood that establishment of
city wall is one of the essential components of Myanmar urban architectural
rule. It is credible that the Pyu would have known these principles because
their urban arrangements are comparatively very systematic. Sriksetra old
city has two kinds of fortress walls-one is the main city wall and the second,
palace wall. The main city wall, somewhat circular, encloses the whole area
of city enclave. Due to the elements and manmade causes the original
features of the wall have now disappeared completely. ; Some portions of
the wall are also submerged in the ground. But archaeological surveys say
that the current remains of the city wall in some places show that it is about
15 feet 4 inches high and 17 feet wide. 1
The southern part of the wall in present condition is still intact
though covered thickly with scrub. There are two walls and two moats
(double ones) in the south and west parts of the city while the south-east
portion has three walls and three moats (triple ones). 2 The eastern part of
the wall is now badly damaged and flattened due to the encroachment of
cultivation. Excavations at Sriksetra show that city walls were solidly built
and the gateways and doors well-constructed. Regarding the city door U
Kala Maha Raja Wan has it thus:
…32 main gates and 23 small ones, moats, drains,
banquettes, wooden catwalks and turrets, i.e being endowed
with the seven characteristics of a royal city… 3
However, the Glass Palace Chronicle describes that the wall has 32 main
gates and 33 small gates. 4 Chinese records claim there were 12 doorways. 5
By the latest excavations done by the Department of Archaeology, the
definite doors to be counted, in clockwise direction, are Nat Bauk, Twinbye
Bauk, Nagabataing Tagar, Mhuhto Bauk, Thayawady Bauk, Biluma Bauk,
Rahanda Bauk, Mahlwe Tagarbauk, Lulinkyaw Bauk, Shethenkan
Tagabauk, Mhushe Bauk, Shwedagar Bauk and Negatwaint Bauk. 6 Out of
1
Sein Maung Oo, "Old City of Sriksetra", p. 112
Ibid, p. 114
3
U Kalar, r [ m&mZ0i fawmfB
uD
; (Great Chronicle ), Three Vol., Yangon, Hantharwaddy
Press,1963, p.116 (Hereafter cited as U Kalar, Great Chronicle)
4
rS
efeef;&mZ0i fawmfM
uD
; (The Glass Palace Chronicle), Yangon, Monywe Press,2008, p.94
(Hereafter cited as The Glass Palace Chronicle)
5
Ye Sein, "Pyu mission to China in AD 802", p.34
6
Hla Tun Phyru, Pyu Cultural Study, p.8
2
26
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
these Shwedagar Bauk in the west and Lulinkyaw Bauk in the south-west
have been excavated and studied. Nagatwaint Bauk and Lulinkyaw Bauk are
still visible today.
Most remarkable remains of city the wall structure which still
survives on its perimeter are valid evidence for study of city wall
architecture. The excavation site recorded by Department of Archaeology as
HMA 5, located at the northern part of west wall, was unearthed by U Sein
Maung Oo in the years 1963-64. The excavation exposed a gateway which
is called Shwedagar Bauk or Shwedagar Myo Bauk. The gate in site pierces
the city wall wherefrom a projection with two arms extends inwards to a
distance of some hundred feet. The walls and arms are built with burnt
bricks. The two arms slightly curve into the interior from the entrance of
main wall. The remains of the two arms are not equal in length: the north
arm is 113 feet long and the south arm is 225 feet. The breadth of the arms
is also not of the same size; the widest place is 15 feet 6 inches and the
narrowest about 10 feet 3 inches. The passage between the two arms was
constructed allowing a wider space at the entrance of the gateway and
becoming gradually narrower towards the enclosure. It now has a width of
17 feet at the narrowest between the two arms. 1
The next excavation was done at the northwest part of the main city
wall. It is locally called Nagatwaint Bauk, and archaeologically named
HMA 25. There were two terms of excavation: the first was done by U
Than Swe in 1970-71 and the second in 1992-1993. 2 The first excavation
exposed some part of the city wall and gateway which are still preserved.
The second excavation continued the digging at some part of the mound left
untouched at the first time. The second excavation revealed some extant
part of the outer wall which measures 1 ½ feet to 2 ½ feet in average height,
3 feet in breadth and 330 feet in length. The wall has a width of about 20
feet, of which the exterior edge is laid by bricks and the interior is filled up
by brickbats, debris and earth to be hardened. 3 The eastern portion of the
wall now lies buried under Pyay-Paukkhaung motor road and the western
portion badly damaged. The bricks in a variety of sizes-18"x9"x3",
1
Sein Maung Oo," Old City of Sriksetra", p.115
Hla Tun Phyru, Pyu Cultural Study, p.10
3
Hla Tun Phyru, Pyu Cultural Study, p.10
2
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
27
18"x8"x3", 13 ½ x6 ½ x2 ½, 13x 8 ½ x 2 ½ were used to build the wall, and
flat and tall courses of bricks were alternately used in its construction. 1
The Archaeological Department began to excavate the Lulinkyaw
Bauk, naming it Mound HMA-34 in 1997-98. 2 As the result shows, a
Lulinkyaw Bauk the two arms contiguous to the city wall curve gradually
together outside of it and at a little distance they continue in parallel. In this
aspect- gradually narrowing of a gateway Sriksetra city gate is similar to
those of other Pyu cities. The remains of the southern arm are 166 feet long
while that of the northern one is 167 feet long. 3 The space between the two
arms is 76 feet at the widest and 32 feet at the narrowest. Their heights,
from 10 feet to 20 feet, are more or less similar. 4 The main city wall
originally was built by piling up the large flat bricks one upon another on
earth of 1 foot 8 inches breadth. The walls height from original base to
extant top is 18 feet 6 inches, with 70 courses of bricks. These large bricks
were meticulously piled up. 5 Lulinkyaw Bauk is different from other
gateways in that it has a strong rampart outwards. The brick arms extending
from the original gateways stand as if they are ready to embrace the
entrance. So they were constructed to be sort of obstruction against the
entry of the enemy and their elephants and horses. 6
In establishing a city-state, the royal fortification is the heart land of
the Kingdom. As such it can get destroyed by falling into the enemy’s
hands because of the weakness of a King. So survival of Kingship and
perpetual of power is dependent on the security of the royal fortification.
Knowing these, the Pyu of Sriksetra not only considered the geographical
position, security, communication, security and defense conditions etc. but
also created obstacles literal or otherwise for those purposes. Apart from the
physical defences there also were psychological ones based on the occult
arts. Archaeological excavations at Sriksetra strongly suggest that the Pyu
o a&acwå&mjr dK
U
a[ mif;wl;azmfrI t pD
&i fcH
pm?(1992-1993)ckESpf? (Report on excavation work of
Sriksetra),1992-1993, pp. 6,10 (Hereafter cited as Report, 1992-93)
2
o a&acwå&mjr dK
U
a[ mif;? u kef;t r S
w f 34? v kv i fau smfjr dK
Y
0i faygu fwl;azmfrIt pD
&i fcH
pm?(1997-98)ckESpf
(Report for excavation work of HMA 34 ,The Gate of Lulinkyaw ),1997-98, Ministry of
Culture, Archaeological Department, pp. 1-16 (Hereafter cited as Report, HMA 34 )
3
Report ,HMA 34, p.10
4
Ibid, pp. 5-6
5
Report ,HMA 34, p. 10
6
Ibid
1
28
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
seem to have a superstition that iron has magical power to prevent the
influence of evil spirits. 1
At the excavation sites of Shwedagar Bauk and Lulinkysw Bauk
seven and six iron nails (thanmenas) fixed close to the city wall have been
found respectively. Fixing big iron nails close to the city wall seems to be a
mundane idea of the Pyu for protection against evil spirits. Moreover, the
long-lasting quality of iron could be assumed to have some appeal to the
Pyu. In addition to the use of iron nails as such, another evidence in the line
of mundane undertaking for protective purposes has been found at
Lulinkyaw Bauk. At Lulinkyaw Bauk Excavation a funeral urn, 1 foot, 1
inch high, with cover has been found at a depth of 14 ½ feet in the ground
close to the base of the city wall. It seemingly belonged to the Pyu. The
contents inside the urn are well-placed in three sections-bone pieces, ashes
and powdery earth. In all probability it was a mundane action to give
protection to the city wall. 2
Again steles, with Buddhist-text inscriptions for protective purposes,
were erected at the gateways. At Shwedagar Bauk a stone stele, with Mora
sutta and Mangala sutta inscriptions, stands by the gateway and close to the
wall on the left. 3 Similarly a broken stele, with Ratana sutta inscription in
the script of ancient south India, has been found at Twinbye Bauk near
Konyoe village, Paungtamot village tract. 4 Again, another stele, completely
broken down, found near Nagatiwaint Bauk. So it can be deduced that in the
prosperous Sriksetra period every gateway had a stele with Buddha
Dhamma inscriptions by way of supramundane protection for the city. In
addition there stand three massive stupas- Bawbawgyi, Phayagyi and
Phayama to the southwest, northwest and northeast respectively outside of
city walls in a triangular pattern. It could be assumed that they were built as
a Buddhist refuge conducing to security, peace and prosperity of Sriksetra.
Therefore steles with Buddhist inscriptions standing around the city and the
massive stupas nearby supposedly provided for peace and security of the
Kingdom, in addition to the mundane arrangements for the same purpose.
Apart from well-constructed structures like moats, city walls,
gateways and doors, a palace area has been found at about the centre of
1
Sein Maung Oo, "Old City of Sriksetra" , p.116
Report, HMA 34, p.11
3
Sein Maung Oo, "Old Cit y of Sriksetra ", p. 115
4
Ibid, p.116
2
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
29
Sriksetra old city. The palace plan is rectangular. There is a raised platform
which measures 1700 feet long and 1125 feet wide. 1 Excavation had
revealed that the palace area had its own moat and walls. Palatial buildings
are no more, but the plan of Sriksetra is found to be somewhat circular, with
the palace area at the centre and multiple moats and city walls all round.
Cakkavartin concept and Kings of Sriksetra
Sriksetra's early contacts were with Andhra and it was from there
that decisive early Buddhist literacy and other influences came to Beikthano
and Sriksetra between the late 3rd and 6th centuries A.D, bringing Buddhist
teaching of the Pali canon together with some knowledge of Sanskrit,
Buddhist architecture and art. 2 The symbol suggested by the form of
Sriksetra shows its plan was based on the Buddhist Cosmology. At Sriksetra
it is likely that the fortification of citadel or palace site was intended to
symbolize the summit of Mount Meru, which is surrounded by seven
concentric mountains and presents the cardinal centre of the world.
Just as Sriksetra Pyus built their city and palace based on deeply
held views on Cakkavala, the system of various kingdom-building
monarchs seems to have come out of the Cakkavartin concept. In the
Buddhist manifestation of the Cakkavartin, much less emphasis was placed
on universal power through conquest and military prowess and much more
on the possession of exceptional moral qualities as taught by the Dhamma.
There is thus some parallel between the Dhamaraja and the Cakkavartin.
However, the magical Cakka appeared only to kings who had, by their
Buddhist devotions, attained an exceptional spiritual state. This cakka then
rolled across the four continents of the Buddhist cosmos, pursued by the
emergent Cakkavartin and his four- fold army. When the cakka came to
rest, local kings swore allegiance to the Cakkavartin. 3Contemporary
monarchs in the four directions- the east, west, south and north- are
subordinates only to the Cakkavartin. On his death, the Cakkavartin's
remains are wrapped with 500 sets of new cloth and cotton to be put in a
golden coffin, which then is placed on a funeral pyre of scented woods and
1
Sein Maung Oo, "Old Cit y of Sriksetra ", p. 116
Junice Stargardt, "City of the Wheel, City of the Ancestors: Spatial Symbolism
in a Pyu Royal City", Indo-Asiatische Zeitschrift 6/7 (2002-03): 144-167. p.156
( Hereafter cited as Stargardt, "City of the Wheel")
3
Stargardt, "City of the Wheel",p.163
2
30
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
cremated. Being one among the four- stupa- worthy ones - - Buddha,
Pacceka Buddha, Arahart and Cakkavartin, the Cakkavartin's bony remains
are set up as a shrine at the junction of four roads. 1 Thus the large funerary
urns excavated near Payagyi pagoda of the Pyus to the north-west of old
Sriksetra and the Payataung funerary urn dug up as an enshrinement object
could be assumed to be part of their Cakkavartin concept.
Moreover, the descriptions in chronicle regarding the establishment
of Sriksetra and its founder-kings are found to be largely based on
Cakkavartin concept. The Rajawans usually describe Dwattabaung as a
powerful king. One description goes: 'Three-eyed and Incomprable
Dwattabaung'. 2 Regarding Dwattabaung, Rajawangyi has it thus:
… Dwattabaung's might and power is such that whenever he
walks on the ground, the earth sinks in under his ever steps.
And Deva-King through his supernormal power places an
iron- piece under each the king's steps … 3
The chronicles also describe King Dwattabaung and he was so powerful
that he exercised control over the countries nearby, which swore allegiance
to him.
Various data in the chronicles reveal that the founding monarch of
Sriksetra was King Dwattabaung, saying he was like a Cakkavartin.
Chronological records say there were twenty seven kings in the dynasties
which ruled over Sriksetra. The king's names as shown in the chronicles are
completely different than those known through research by the scholars
who pored over the Pyu writing found on stone and silver image's thrones
and Phayagyi funeral urn and Phayataung funeral urn. According to them,
there are fifteen kings who actually ruled over Sriksetra. 4 The kings who
actually ruled over Sriksetra are, alphabetically, as follows:
1
Union of Myanmar's Buddha Sasana Council, wdyd#u ygV-djr efr mt b d"mef/p- 0*f/t wG
J(7)/
(Tipitaka Pali-Myanmar Dictionary, Ca-vagga , Vol ,vii ), Yangon, Buddha Sasana
Council Press, March 1970, p.28 (Hereafter cited as Tipitaka Pali-Myanmar Dictionary)
2
Ibid, p. 109
3
Ibid, p. 117
4
Dr, Toe Hla, ajr ay:ajrat mu fau smu fpmrS
w fw r f;r sm;u ajymao ma&S
;a[ mif;jr efr mEdkifi H
o r dkif; (History of
ancient Myanmar told by inscriptions and records of above and underground),Yangon,
Zaw Press,September 2004, p. 16-17 (Hereafter cited as Toe Hla, History of ancient
Myanmar told by inscriptions)
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
31
(A)dityavikrama
Brithuvikrama
Dammaditravikrama
Devamitra
Gupata, Sri
Harivikrama
Janantravaraman
Jatratativikrama
Jayasandravarman
Pravarman
Pyanapanavikrama
Rawriseindra, Sri
Sihavikrama
Suriyavikrama
Verrivikrama
Having identified these Kings, we know that there were about three
dynasties inclusive of Vikrama and Verman. Upon analyzing the kingly
names known through archaeological excavations at Sriksetra, they suggest
meaning like 'heroes of ability, power, or worrier-like skills'. Even the name
'Dwattabaung ' described in chronicles mean ' mighty and powerful '.
Dwattabaung is derived from the Pyu language 'Tada Bam ' (wG'AH;) In the
vernacular is ' mingyi ' (Great King). Consequently 'mingyi' could mean an
emperor who rules over minor kings. The titular names of Sriksetra's kings
are not ordinary but composed of the terms which suggest they are empire
builders, 1 viz:
Devamitra
Harivikrama
Sihavikrama
Suriyavikrama
Crithuvikrama
Jatratativikrama
Aditayavikrama
(The beloved of God)
(The Might of Visnu)
(The courage of lion)
(The power of sun)
(The protection of Armor)
(The Terror of Race) and
(The Glory of Sun Race)
The above names, possessed of profound meaning, could claim that
Vikarama kings were successful unifiers creating a vast country. Taking the
1
Toe Hla, History of ancient Myanmar told by inscriptions, p. 18
32
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
hint from the Wet Gaung Kan Gon Sanskrit Pyu inscription, scholars take
Harivikrama as the founder of Sriksetra. 1
Chronicles say there were nine kings in Dwattabaung dynasty and
we can also know there are nine kings in the Vikarama line according to the
archaeological excavations. All their names have a prefix Tda Bam.
Therefore all Vikrama kings identified through excavations were Tda Bam
(mingyi or Great Kings), and they could well be the nine kings belonging to
Dwattabaung dynasty, who were described in Rajawan. The chronicles say
the Ngataba dynasty, succeeding the Dwattabaung dynasty, had 16 kings.
Thus, Sriksetra under the rule of those two dynasties lasted from about the
first century AD to the ninth century AD.
Sriksetra’s military campaign and foreign relations
Various evidences representative of building of Pyu cities and their
rulers strongly show that Sriksetra Pyu city state was a highly cultured one
even at the beginning of the Christian Era. Moreover, evidences on its
military campaigns and foreign relations of that time indicate that more than
the status of a city state, Sriksetra was marching towards the status of an
empire.
An evidence on going into war on the part of Sriksetra’s rulers have
been found in 1970 excavation at Sriksetra. It is a stone stele with low relief
works, and could be dubbed Hero stone. 2 That slab, 5 feet 2 inches in height
and 3 feet 3inches in breadth, bears relief works both faces. The relief
depicts a warrior-king, with a club on his right shoulder, accompanied by
two attending- soldier figures, holding a garuda-dhvaja and a chakradhvaja respectively.That ‘dhvaja’, which is a ubiquitous weapon held by
warriors belonging to ancient Indian legends, stands for the symbol of
victory in battles. As such, the slab could be a Hero Stone of early times
erected in memory of a great general who had fallen in battle. 3
Upwards on the west side of the stele is seen the mythical sea
monster as a backdrop, like those seen at the backward side of Buddha
images of early Sriksetra period. The upper portion of the sea-monster
backdrop contains flowery motifs and at their centre is seen a headdress. On
Than Tun, Ancient Myanmar Chronicle, p.173
John Guy, "The art of Pyu and Mon" , Marg, Vol. 50, No.4, June 1999, p.17
(Hereafter cited as John Guy, "The art of Pyu")
3
John Guy, "The art of Pyu"),17
1
2
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
33
each side of the throne is an attendant woman figure holding that seat with
one hand. Therefore that general could be a king (warrior-king). Around the
edges of the east and west faces of the slab and along the side are decorated
with floral arabesque. Erecting Hero Stone (also known as chaya or
stanbha) dates back to the first century AD in India. They were set up in
memory of outstanding persons, be he or she a king, queen, general (or)
warrior, or even religious teacher or respected artists. 1 In Myanmar the
above mentioned stele was first found only in Sriksetra.
Contemporary historical records of Tang Dynasty (AD 606 - 918)
indicate that in Pyu Period, Sriksetra was having extensive foreign
relations 2. That city state had relationships with neighboring countries like
India, Nan Chao and China based on trade. In Sriksetra of the Pyus land
routes and waterways were developed enough for them to have exchanges
with faraway countries, in addition to neighboring ones. New chronicles of
Tang Dynasty say there were twenty countries having relationships with
Sriksetra. 3 By land there were trade routes connecting Sriksetra with land of
the Mons, Khmer, southern Vietnam, Nan Chao, China and North India;
and by sea the trade routes reached South India, Malay Peninsula, Indonesia
and up to the Philippines Islands. A table contained in New Chronicles of
Tang Dynasty shows Sriksetra had carried out relations with nearly the
whole of Southeast Asia.
In consideration of its relations with ancient Philippine Island,
Sriksetra could be conjecturally said to have enjoyed considerable
development in sea trade and relations abroad. With regard to the Pyu’s sea
travel the Myanmar Chronicles has it thus: “The king himself, riding on a
naga-scale boat offered by Naga, sailed around Jambudivipa island to
collect revenue." 4
Various evidence found at Sriksetra- concerned with its
establishment, dynastic kings, military activities and external relations- could well be used to claim that Sriksetra had an advanced urban culture
and was under way to becoming an empire.
1
Ibid, p.18
U Ye Sein, "ysLacwfjrefrmEdkifiH-EdkifiHjcm;qufqHa&;" ("Foreign Relations of Myanmar in Pyu
Period"), Historical Research Journal , No.4, Yangon Sarpaybeikman Press, 1979, p.39
(Hereafter cited as Ye Sein, "Foreign Relations")
3
Dr Than Tun, "A Pyu Hero", p. 157
4
Glass Palace Chronicle , p. 99
2
34
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
Conclusion
Sriksetra achieved the status of a big Pyu city state with the grandest
culture in early Myanmar history; this has been testified by the urbanized
culture existing there at that time. Evidences found through the study of its
still-existing features and archaeological excavations point to its existing
status of a Pyu city with developed urbanization. Compared with other Pyu
cities, Sriksetra was more viable from an economic or security point of
view. It had good defences, with moats and city walls and works created in
a regular way or through an idea out of Buddhist cosmological beliefs.
Sriksetra's circumstances were prosperous because of the wisdom of its
monarchs. Hard evidences have revealed the names of the nine Vikrama
kings who really ruled Sriksetra one after another. It is already known that
king Dwattabaung founded Sriksetra, according to the chronicles. Now it
could be conjectured that he was Harivikrama, out of the nine kings bearing
the epithet 'Vikrama'. 'Dwattabaung' is found to be not a king's title, but a
prefix only. Moreover wG'AH; was not one king, but numbered up to nine.
Based on the definition of wG'AH; (rif;juD;) (Great King), their expeditions, the
status of urbanization of Sriksetra, and its external relations, it could be
deduced that those kings had martial prowess. So it could well be used to
claim that Sriksetra of Pyus had a favourable geographical location, leading
to its economic prosperity. The Pyu’s enjoyment of enough food, clothing
and shelter leads to the progress of knowledge to flourishing of Buddhist
culture. It was under way to becoming an empire, even before Bagan, with
peace, economic prosperity, and people intelligent enough to be able to
create and use work of art with main fold flavor.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
A Study of Self-reliance as a Moral Criterion in Myanmar
Buddhist Society
Aye Aye Mar
Abstract
This paper is an attempt to answer the problem why the concept of selfreliance can be possible as a systematic criterion for right moral judgment
and conduct of Myanmar Buddhist Society. The moral criterion of selfreliance is constructed on the basis of the Kammassakata Sammā Ditthi
in accordance with Theravāda Buddhism. This paper will contribute to
the realization of the criterion of self-reliance to enhance moral
development in Myanmar Buddhist society.
Introduction
The main purpose of this paper is to show the concept of selfreliance as a subject of study in the field of philosophy of culture which is
firmly founded on basic moral concepts such as duty, right and
responsibility. In other words, adequate evidence will be sought for
throughout this paper, to prove that the concept of self-reliance has sound
moral foundation based on these moral concepts.
In the way through the history of philosophy, human beings are
searching for truth. History of philosophy is therefore history of the search
of truth. The duty of those who study philosophy is not completed for only
keeping its reality, but they are to enhance such reality to encompass human
society. Progress is made only after accepting the wrong concept and idea
and then realizing what is right. Believing wrong thing as right is not
desirable not only for the man himself but also for the whole world.
The great obstacle to truth is accepting a wrong concept. To
overcome such obstacle and to make an attempt for the realization of the
truth is the duty for those who are studying philosophy. But knowing the
truth is only representative for one’s life goal and it also supports one’s
destination.
So the right concept can be encouraged and stimulated in each
person to develop oneself and work out one’s own emancipation, for one
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, East Yangon University
38
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
has the power to liberate oneself from all bondage through one’s own effort
and intelligence.
One would say that Buddhism plays a vital role in the area of
forming Myanmar cultural concepts. The majority of Myanmar is
Buddhists. It is therefore clear that Buddhism is regarded as philosophy
because it is related with right actions based on right understanding in order
to achieve the betterment of human life.
From ancient times to the present day, many Myanmar people are
open to new ideas, concepts, thoughts and beliefs etc. They reshape them in
order to fit in with Myanmar temperament. Myanmar people have valuable
concepts such as the concept of self-reliance as a moral criterion which they
receive from Theravāda Buddhism.
Most of Myanmar Buddhist people attempt to construct Myanmar
society on a moral ground which is self-reliance. The practice of selfreliance is a criterion that will be enduring and morally useful as well as
socially effective for the whole society.
The Moral Criterion of Self-reliance in Theravāda Buddhist Philosophy
If one wishes to show the moral criterion of self-reliance in
Myanmar Buddhist society it would first be necessary to explain the
meaning of the term self-reliance. Some scholars who study the concept of
self-reliance in Western Philosophy maintain self-reliance as the ability to
decide what to do by yourself, without depending on the help or advice of
other people.
However, the aim of this paper is to give intellectual expression of
the term self-reliance that is contrary to the Western sense. According to
Theravāda Buddhists scholars, they define the concept of self-reliance as
follows: man’s improvement must come from his own knowledge,
understanding, intelligence, effort, experience and self-confidence and not
from supernatural beings. It means it must be faith in the good of man rather
than faith in unknown forces; in other words, ‘oneself is indeed one’s refuge
(attahi attano natho)’. This message is a vital theme in the moral view of
Theravāda Buddhism.
It does not mean that the concept of self-reliance entirely neglects
the help and advice of others. It can be applied to society which is interrelated with personal, social and moral aspects. It can be said that although
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
39
one’s achievement is absolutely based on one’s personal performance it
must also be beneficial to others.
In Myanmar the majority of the people are Theravāda Buddhists.
Accordingly Buddhist culture is the main foundation of Myanmar culture. It
is regarded as the Myanmar standard of morality which is mainly based on
the living customs of Myanmar Theravāda Buddhism. So the Buddhist
moral criterion of self-reliance represents one of the more essential elements
in the moral foundation of Myanmar society.
It can be said that there is the moral foundation of Myanmar
Buddhist Culture. They come from the teachings of the Buddha such as
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, Mangala Sutta and Dhammapada which
have provided guidelines for the moral development of the Myanmar people
and moral character in Myanmar society. One can be morally good if one
follows the guidelines provided in these teachings.
So, it can be said that among these moral foundations self-reliance is
the most important. Self-reliance is the driving force in Myanmar culture.
Kammassakata Sammā Ditthi and Formation of Self-reliance
The Theravāda Buddhist doctrine of Kammasakata Sammā Ditthi
represents one of the essential elements of Myanmar morality. This doctrine
of self-reliance can make a person morally upright and spiritually strong. In
other words, the criterion of self-reliance is one of the main ingredients in
the law of kamma.
According to Theravāda Buddhism for the progress of human
character one should emphasize Kammassakata Samma ditthi that is the
view that any conscious action kamma can produce good or bad results.
It is said that Kammassakata Sammā ditthi involves a correct grasp
of the absolute truth which is the law of kamma in accordance with
Theravāda Buddhism. Its literal name is right view of the ownership of
action, and it finds its standard formulation in the statement: Beings are the
owners of their actions, (Sabbe Satta Kammasaka); the heirs of their
actions; (Kamma dayada); all beings are the descendants of their own
kamma, (Kamma yoni); kamma alone is one’s real own kamma, (Kamma
bandhu), kamma alone is the real Refuge of all beings, (Kamma
patisarana).
40
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
It is said that whatever deeds they do good or bad, of those they
shall be the heirs. More specific formulations have also come down in the
texts. One stock passage, for example, affirms that virtuous action such as
the giving and offering alms has moral significance, that good and bad
deeds produce corresponding fruits, that one has a duty to serve mother and
father, that there is rebirth and a world beyond the visible one and that
religious teachers of high attainment who expound the truth about the world
on the basis of their own superior realization can be found.
It can be said that Kamma is the law of cause and effect in the
ethical realm. The understanding of the law of Kamma helps one to have
self-reliance and responsibility.
According to Buddhism, good result comes naturally from good
deeds and bad result comes from wrong deeds. Such phenomena can be
called moral doctrines. Indeed, one’s own good will play the main role in
every action he does. This is what Kammassakata Samma ditthi means. In
fact the moral criterion of self-reliance is constructed on the doctrine of
kammassakata Samma ditthi.
There is a great amount of moral foundation in Myanmar Buddhist
Culture, such as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the Mangala Sutta, the
Dhammapada which guide Myanmar people for moral development and for
the progress of moral character in Myanmar Society. So it can be said that
these moral foundations have as common character and that is self-reliance.
It is said that each of Myanmar people should accept the criterion of
self-reliance and to deny the belief of reliance on others. It is undeniable
that moral concept of self-reliance plays an essential role in Myanmar
Buddhist society. So by the analysis, of the concepts the practice of selfreliance will be enduring and morally useful as well as socially effective for
the whole society.
The Criterion of Self-reliance in Dhammacakkappavattana-Sutta
The criterion of self-reliance can be seen in the
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta which is a major teaching of the Buddha
and His very first discourse. In the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the
knowledge of the moral foundation is based on the apprehension of the Four
Noble Truths. According to the Noble Truths, the whole of existence is
transitory in nature, is subject to suffering and is void of any essential
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
41
reality. So one should be convinced that true and enduring happiness cannot
be found in material possessions and worldly achievement, but that true
happiness must be sought only through mental purity and the cultivation of
wisdom.
So it can be assumed that the Four Noble Truths are important
aspects of the moral teaching of the Buddha. The four Noble Truths are as
follows:
(1)
The truth that life in the world is full of suffering (Dukkha)
(2)
The truth that there is a cause of the suffering (Samudaya)
(3)
The truth that it is possible to stop suffering (Nirodha)
(4)
The truth that there is a path which leads to the cessation of
suffering (Megga)
The First Noble Truth is generally translated by almost all scholars
as suffering or pain or unsatisfactoriness, but this term contains not only the
ordinary meaning of suffering, but also deeper ideas. The conception of
dukkha may be viewed from three aspects as follows:
(1)
Dukkha as ordinary suffering (dukka-dukka)
(2)
Dukkha as produced by change (viparinama-dukkha)
(3)
Dukkha as conditioned states (samkhara-dukkha)
According to Buddhism it is extremely important to understand this
First Noble Truth clearly because one who sees dukkha sees also the arising
of dukkha, sees also the cessation of dukkha and sees also the path leading
to the cessation of dukkha. Some people may have impression that views
life in terms of Dukkha is a rather pessimistic way of looking at life. This is
not a pessimistic but a realistic way of looking at life. There are various
methods with which one can gain more happiness in one’s daily life in
accordance with the teachings of Buddha.
The Second Noble Truth is that of the arising or origin of dukkha.
According to Buddhism thirst, craving, desire, greed, manifesting itself in
various ways is the cause of suffering.
The Third Noble Truth is called Nirodha Sacca. It is said that there
is emancipation, liberation, freedom from suffering, suffering from the
continuity of dukkha. So Nirodha is known as the extinction of thirst, the
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
cessation of suffering, end of craving. This state is so sublime that no
human language can express it.
To apprehend the nature of Nibbana, it can be illustrated that this is
a state which is free from suffering and rounds of rebirth. This is a state
which is not subject to the laws of birth, decay and death. According to
Buddha, Nibbana is unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. If there
were not this unborn, this uncreated, this unformed, then escape from the
conditioned world would not be possible.
Nibbana is beyond logic and reasoning. To apprehend the truth of
Nibbana it is necessary for one to walk the Eightfold Path, and to train and
purify ourselves with diligence and patience. This is the only way to
practice spiritual development to realize the Third Noble Truth. Its practice
brings benefits to oneself and the whole world.
The Fourth Noble Truth is the Way leading to the Cessation of
Suffering. This is known as the “Middle Path, because it avoids two
extremes: one extreme being the search for happiness through the pleasure
of the senses, which is “Low, common, unprofitable and the way of the
ordinary people”; the other extreme being the search for happiness through
self-mortification in different forms of asceticism, which is painful,
unworthy and unprofitable.
It can be said that, the Noble Eightfold Path lays down the criterion
of self-reliance for moral progress of Myanmar Buddhist society.
The Noble Eightfold Path is composed of eight categories or
divisions, namelyWisdom 1.
Right Understanding (Sammā ditthi)
2.
Right Thought
(Sammā Sankappa)
3.
Right Speech
(Sammā Vāca)
Morality 4.
Right Action
(Sammā kammanta)
5.
Right Livelihood
(Sammā ajiva)
6.
Right Effort
(Sammā vayama)
7.
Right Mindfulness
(Sammā Sati)
Right Concentration
(Sammā Samadhi)
Mental
Culture 8.
Paññā
Sila
Sammādhi
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
43
In this case, if one is to carefully examine the Eight categories of the
Path one will come to understand that they should not be followed and
practiced one after another in the numerical order above. But they are to be
developed more or less simultaneously. They are all linked together and
each helps the cultivation of the person.
The Eightfold Path is intended to promote and perfect the three
essentials of Buddhist training and discipline. These three are:
(a) Ethical conduct or morality (Sila)
(b) Mental Culture or Mental Discipline (Samādhi) and
(c) Wisdom (Paññā )
These three disciplines show that a person must first develop his
morality and he does this by observing the precepts of abstaining from
killing, slandering, stealing, becoming intoxicated or being lustful. As he
develops his morality, his mind will become more easily controlled; his
power of concentration will develop. Finally, with the development of
concentration, wisdom will arise. Here his function is to realize the
Nibbana, the absolute Truth, the ultimate Reality.
One can conclude that the path is not a theoretical doctrine but a
practical conviction for the whole world. A person should practice this Path,
the guide for moral conduct, not out of fear of any super-natural agency, but
out of the intrinsic value following this way.
It can be said that this path allows a gradual development of
morality in a society. This path clearly shows that man can manage to help
free from all miseries. So it can be concluded that the Eightfold Noble path
guides Myanmar people to cultivate self-reliance and live in dignity. They
will be people who do not put the blame on an external power when evil
befalls him. But he can face misfortune with equanimity because he knows
that he has the power to escape from all suffering and to attain liberation.
Therefore it is evident that the eightfold path lays down the criterion to have
self reliance for moral progress of Buddhist Myanmar society.
The Criterion of Self-reliance in the Mangala Sutta
Mangala Sutta is one of the most well-known of Buddhist
scriptures. In the Mangala Sutta there are thirty eight rules that can promote
good moral development of an individual and a society. The criterion of
44
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
self-reliance can be seen in the Mangala Sutta. In other words, Mangala
Sutta contains thirty-eight conditions that can ensure one every success and
all kinds of prosperity. A detailed analysis will be made of the Mangala
Sutta particularly, with special reference to the concept of self-reliance.
In Mangala Sutta, Attasammapanidhi Mingala is included.
Attasammapanidhi Mingala can be regarded as a source of the moral
criterion of self-reliance.
Attasammapanidhi Mangala is one of the foundations of
Human society. Attasammapanidhi Mangala ie., to set oneself in
the right course and to try hard.This means one must make a
1
strenuous effort to achieve one’s goal.
This means that everyone must observe these Mangala for the
desired goal through one’s own effort. This encourages self-reliance, and
discourages dependence upon the others. There is a saying that without
making any effort nothing can be achieved. This means that
whatever one does whether it concerns religion or economics or
2
politics one must strive hard to achieve one’s goal
In delivering the Attasamapanidhi Mangala, the Buddha did not
mention help and support of various natural super powers; he showed that
the Attasamapanidhi Mangala from a practical and more useful aspect.
It is said that Attasamapanidhi Mangala consists of the discovery
that ‘one is responsible for one’s deeds (kamma). This means that one is the
cause of one’s predicament. So, one is the creator of oneself. Its essence can
be taken as self-reliance.
It can be said that the Buddha had condensed the criterion of selfreliance into Attasamapandhi Mangala or mode of conduct. If this Mangala
is obeyed or adhered to, one can become a moral person. One should
practice and train oneself to nurture self-reliance in order to be able to
contribute to the good of the world.
As the Venerable Ashin Thittila stated that
1
Daw Mya Tin (1994) A Guide to the Mangala Sutta, Yangon: Department for the angon:
Department for the Promotion and Propagation of the Sasana. p. 14
2
Ibid, p. 14
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
45
the Buddhist method is always to deal with oneself first, for by
so doing we are helping ourselves to be in a position to help
3
others more effectively
It means that a man should first establish himself in a proper
position (in knowledge coupled with good conduct), only then would he be
entitled to instruct others. If a man could make himself what he instructs
others to be and have himself well-trained first, he may train others.
The Criterion of Self-reliance in Dhammapada
The Buddhist Text Dhammapada is one of the major factors to
establish Myanmar culture and society based on Buddhist philosophy.
Dhammapada, a collection of the teachings of the Buddha will be analyzed
as a special reference. It consists of 423 verses arranged according to topics
in 26 chapters. The concept of self- reliance will be described and evaluated
to show how one realizes moral value and morality as a way of life.
According to Buddha
Explanatory Translation (Verse 160), one is one’s own refuge,
who else could be the refuge? He admonished his disciples to be
a refuge to themselves, and never to seek refuge in or help from
4
anybody else.
This means that there is no one to rely on but one self. So it is said
that the Buddha's teaching encouraged and stimulated each person to
develop himself and work out his own emancipation, for man has the power
to liberate himself from all bondage through his own personal effort and
intelligence. It can be said that the criterion of self-reliance is the standard
of morality which has supported the freedom and progress of mankind. It
can also be said that the criterion of self-reliance as stated in Dhammapada
is one of the main ingredients in law of kamma.
Explanatory Translation (Verse-276), the effort must be made
by yourself. The Buddhas (The Teachers) only show the way
and direct you. Those contemplative mediators, who follow the
5
path fully and totally escape the snares of death
Ashin Thittila (1992) Essential Themes of Buddhist Lectures. Rangoon: Department of
Religious Affairs Press. p. 91
4
Daw Mya Tin (1995), The Dhammapada Verse & Stories. Yangon: Myanmar Pitaka
Association. p. 375
3
5
Ibid, p. 587
46
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
This means that anyone who travels along the path, indicated by the
Buddha to reach purity of vision, must practice the technique of meditation
by which purity of vision is to be achieved. It is said that Buddhism taught
that mere belief or outward rituals are insufficient for attaining wisdom and
perfection. In this sense outward conversion becomes meaningless. To
promote the morality of Myanmar society would be meaningless but it can
be accomplished only by Myanmar people's effort and self-confidence.
It can be said that the moral concept 'Responsibility' is found in the
moral concept of self-reliance as stated in the Dhammapada, means that
there is no one to rely on but oneself. So, self-reliance is closely related to
the moral concept of Responsibility.
According to the Dhammapada, the practice of self-reliance is said
to be autonomous in that human beings abide by ethic without any coercion.
In other words, ethical rules are not arbitrarily decreed commandments but
rules of training which can be voluntarily observed. Therefore it can be said
that the concept of self-reliance is a moral criterion for the character
progress and moral improvement of Myanmar society.
Conclusion
Morality is concerned with man’s conduct and behavior and human
practice and activities are considered to be right or wrong. The morality of a
society, a political system or a public organization is concerned with what is
considered to be right or wrong for that group. In other words, morality can
be defined as a subset of ethical rules that are of particular importance and
transcends the boundaries of any particular situation. It can be said that
morality consists of the basic rules of conduct of a society. Morality lays
down the rules, principle, regulations, norms, criteria and ideals of human
conduct.
Myanmar Society, like other societies, has its own standards of
morality. Myanmar Buddhist people attempt to construct Myanmar society
on a moral ground of the concept of self-reliance. The main purpose of this
paper is to demonstrate that the moral concept of self-reliance is the
concrete application of the Myanmar standard of morality in society.
The concept of self-reliance is rooted in the law of Kamma which
makes its principles both useful and acceptable to the whole world. The fact
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
47
that the Buddhist ethical standard was formulated over 2500 years ago does
not detract from its timeless character.
In Myanmar society there is a moral concept of self-reliance that is
concerned with practical life in the society as a whole. It is a virtue, a noble
ideal and a norm to do and to be practiced by every Buddhist in Myanmar.
The social duties taught by the Buddha are indispensable to everyone who
resides in Myanmar Buddhist society. In fact the Buddha did not encourage
his followers to believe his teaching on blind faith but wanted them to
accept these with one's own understanding, intelligence and experience.
The criterion of self-reliance, its procedures and its thinking are
mainly based on reflective consideration and rational criticism of morality.
This is one of the reasons that the moral criterion of self-reliance appeals to
the intellectual.
The criterion of self-reliance, which represents one of the essential
elements of Myanmar culture was also shown that the Noble Eightfold Path
lays down the criterion of self-reliance for moral progress of Myanmar
society. In fact the Noble Eightfold Path is intended not as an intellectual
exercise of self-reliance but as a practical undertaking.
In this case, it is carefully examined that the practice of the criterion
of self-reliance in accordance with the Noble Eightfold path is applied to
Myanmar society for the development of ability to gain a synoptic view, a
view of a harmonious way of life with morality (Sila), knowledge (Panna)
and mental concentration (Samādhi). These three elements show the unity
of relation in morality, knowledge and mental concentration that make up
the mutual benevolence of human being. Anyone who possesses the unity
of these elements, as a synoptic view or a harmonious view of himself and
his society will be very pleasant to live. Self-restraint or self-control,
patience and benevolence can provide the synoptic view. They are various
types of virtues in Buddhism.
So it can be said that as knowledge makes morality clean, morality makes
knowledge and mind will become more easily controlled and power of
concentration will develop. Knowledge and morality are reciprocally
related.
According to Theravāda Buddhism the moral criterion of selfreliance is centered on the three primary moral concepts or ethical concepts
of “Happiness”, “Duty” and “Responsibility” for application in daily life.
48
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
So it can be said that from the Buddhist perspective the concept of
self-reliance is a moral criterion principally based on the happiness of man.
But the happiness mentioned is not the pleasures of the sense. It is for the
establishment of a peaceful and moral society where each person by
providing for himself and his society with the basic necessities of life with a
right livelihood could live a good life by cultivating virtue and knowledge.
This is an outlook that is acceptable at any time anywhere by anybody.
From the Buddhist perspective, the criterion of self-reliance is based
on the moral concept or ethical concept of Duty, and there are many
discourses like the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the Mangala Sutta, the
Dhammapada etc, in which the Buddha taught how man should lead a noble
life. The criterion of self-reliance provides a practical guide to harmonious
living in society and deals with many aspects of social life also based on the
concept of Duty. The Buddhist concept of duty in accordance with the
criterion of self-reliance can be both a categorical and a practical
imperative; it also holds that ‘man is not a means, but an end because
ultimately whether he fulfils his duty or not depends on his will or cetana
and not on any other supernatural power. So duty and self-reliance are the
essence of Myanmar Theravāda Buddhist Ethics.
To cultivate a good attitude to succeed in life, to live with people
harmoniously in society and to enjoy true happiness, through self-reliance,
explicitly perform the duties that must be done by those who live in society,
but also to fulfil these duties one must develop good cetana and discipline.
They are so useful and practical in daily life that all good and able person
ought to apply them in order to achieve a happy life.
It can be said that the moral concept ‘Responsibility’ is found in the
moral concept of self-reliance as stated in the Dhammapada. It means that
there is no one to rely on but oneself. So this criterion is assigned to man
and that power by asserting that each person is his own creator, responsible
for his own salvation. It gives men a great sense of dignity. At the same
time it also gives him great responsibilities.
Throughout this paper, efforts have been made to prove that selfreliance is the standard of morality which has supported the freedom and
progress of mankind. This criterion has stood for the advancement of
knowledge and freedom for humanity in every sphere of life. It is said that
self-reliance is based on the moral doctrine of “freedom of will and freedom
of choice”. Man should be allowed to choose his moral development which
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
49
is in accordance with his own conviction. The criterion of self-reliance is
very much related to the Buddha's preaching of the law of Kamma. The
more one understands the law of Kamma, the more one learns certain
lessons from this doctrine. The lessons that one learns, included selfreliance according to Ashin Thittila
Self- reliance. As we in the past have caused ourselves to be
what we now are, so by what we do now will our future be
determined. A knowledge of this fact and that the glory of the
future is limitless give us great self-reliance, and takes away that
tendency, to appeal for external help which is really no help at
6
all.
A detailed study of the concept of self-reliance can be seen how its
practical application has been a valuable contribution towards preserving
Myanmar society and Myanmar cultural identity throughout its history.
In conclusion, it can be inferred that as the criterion of self-reliance
has played a significant role in the perception and attitudes of the Myanmar
people up to this day, self-reliance is an important ethical and social
criterion to which one must live up to because it is a guide to a good life.
One should practice and train oneself to nurture self-reliance in order to be
able to contribute to the good of the world.
References
Ashin Thittila (1992). Essential Themes of Buddhist Lectures. Rangoon: Department of
Religious Affairs Press.
Dahammanada, K. Sri (1993). What Buddhist Believe. Taiwan; The Corporate Body of the
Buddha Educational Foundation.
Mya Tin, Daw (1994). A Guide to the Mangala Sutta. Yangon: Department for the
Promotion and Propagation of the Sasana.
Mya Tin, Daw (1995). The Dhammapada Verse & Stories. Yangon: Myanmar Pitaka
Association.
Pa Auk Tawya, Sayadaw (2000). The Workings of Kamma. Singapore: Pa Auk Meditation
Centre Press.
Titus, Harold H. (1957). Ethics for Today. New Delhi: Eurasia Publishing House (Pvt.)
Ltd.
Walpola Rahula (1967). What the Buddha Taught. Malaysia: Gordon Fraser.
6
Ashin Thittila (1992) Essential Themes of Buddhist Lectures. Rangoon: Department of
Religious Affairs Press. p. 187
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
The Concept of ‘Li’ in Confucius’ Social Ethics
Toe Nilar
Abstract
This paper is an attempt to investigate why the concept of li in
Confucianism plays an important role in Chinese society. The research
methods, which will be used, are the descriptive method and the
evaluative method. The research finding is that the concept of li in
Confucianism is a factor that promotes peace in Chinese society. An
evaluation will be made in the light of the principle of analogy. This
paper will contribute to the knowledge that the practice of li plays a
significant role in promoting discipline and harmony in society.
Key words: Confucianism, Li, Analogy, Peace
Introduction
This paper is an attempt to solve the research problem why the
concept of li in Confucianism plays an important role in Chinese society.
Confucianism is an important and indigenous philosophy in China.
Confucianism is not a religion, but a philosophy and a system of ethics. The
greatness of Confucianism is that, though its aim was not religious, it has
taken the place of religion. Confucianism is a family religion. The essence
of Confucianism is that the filial piety due to parents makes a man good in
his relations with his fellow men. Confucianism is the philosophy of social
organization, and the philosophy of daily life. Confucianism emphasizes the
social responsibilities of man. In Confucianism, human beings are
teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal
endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation. The main
idea of Confucianism is the cultivation of virtue and the development of
moral perfection. Confucianism emphasizes human relationships and
teaches men how to live in harmony with one another.
Confucianism is a complex system of moral, social, political, philosophical,
and religious thought in the culture and history of East Asia. It might be
considered a state religion of some East Asian countries, because there is
state promotion of Confucian way of thought in all aspects of life.
Assistant Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Yangon
52
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
Confucianism lays great stress on proper relations of rational
justification or theoretical expression as characteristic “humanness” or
“humanity”. It can be said that man’s personality reflects it-self in his
actions and behavior in the five relationships: governmental, parental,
conjugal, fraternal, and friendship. Every man must be in his proper place
and with his proper responsibilities and duties. Every man in the social
relationship has certain responsibilities and duties. Confucian philosophy
holds that if every man knows his duty and acts accordingly social order
would be secured. In other words, such person fulfills his duty as a human
being his relationships: (1) with himself, (2) with his family, (3) with the
community, (4) with the nation, and (5) with the world. The relation with
the family however is foremost.
It can be said that Confucian philosophy is a set of ethical ideas
oriented toward practice. It may be characterized as an ethics of virtue in the
light of its conception of virtues: jen (human heartedness, goodness,
benevolence), yi (rightness, righteousness), and li (rites, propriety) and chih
(wisdom). There are also notions of dependent virtues such as filial piety,
loyalty, respectfulness and integrity. These basic virtues are considered
fundamental, as being leading or action guiding. They are therefore the
cardinal virtues. Four key principles are emphasized in Confucianism.
These principles are jen (human heartedness, goodness, benevolence), yi
(rightness, righteousness), li (rites, propriety), and chih (wisdom).
For getting the solution to the problem, the descriptive method and
the evaluative method as research methodologies are used. The research
problem is described and then the research finding is drowning from the
above questions. These questions are tried to answer and the research
finding is achieved. The research finding is that the concept of li in
Confucianism is a factor that promotes peace in Chinese society. This
research finding proved and evaluated in the light of the principle of
Analogy. This paper will contribute to the knowledge that the practice of li
plays a significant role in promoting discipline and harmony in society. The
key words which will be investigated in this research are Confucianism, Li,
Analogy, and Peace.
In this paper, it will be discussed the crucial role of li in
Confucianism and its contribution to human societies in world wide scale.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
53
The Concept of Li
Confucius used the term li 1 to stand for the completely conventional
and social complex with a moral connotation. The word li literally means
ceremonies or rituals, propriety or code of proper conduct, and rules of
social conduct. It was specially emphasized in ancient Chinese society
under the influence of Confucius’ teachings.
The first concept of li is ceremony or ritual is a religious service
which involves a series of actions performed in a fixed order. In other
words, ritual is a way of behaving or a series of actions which people
regularly carry out in a particular situation because it is a custom to do so. It
can describe as a ritual action when it is done in exactly the same way
whenever a particular situation occurs. Li and Music (harmony) are two
important institutions in Confucianism.
The second concept of li is propriety or code of proper conduct.
Confucius used the term Li to stand for the completely conventional and
social complex with a moral connotation. It means a system of well-defined
special relationships with definite attitudes toward one another, love in the
parents, filial piety in the children, respect in the younger brother, friend in
the elder brothers, loyalty among friends, and respect for authority among
subjects and benevolence in rulers. It means moral discipline in man’s
personal conduct. It means propriety in everything. From the ethical and
religious point of view, li means a religious sacrifice but has come to mean
ceremony, rituals, decorum, rules of propriety, good form, good custom,
etc., and has even been equated with Natural Law. Obviously, the
translation “ceremony” is too narrow and misleading. Another meaning of li
is ‘sacrifice’, which refers to the ritual used in sacrifice and later, was
extended to cover every sort ceremony and ‘courtesy’. The conception of li
was extremely important in Confucius’ teaching.
The third notion of li refers to rules of social conduct. It means the
customary law or common morality. Li is a positive law. It does not bring
with it automatic punishment. Li has the conception of Law: Li versus Fa.
In the ancient Chinese feudalistic society, there were two kinds of codes.
One is the code of honor, known as li, and the other is the code of
1
Ch’u Chai and Winberg Chai .(1962). The Humanist Way in Ancient China. New
York. The American Library of World Literature, Inc,p.370.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
punishments, known as fa (laws) or hsing (punishments), which governed
the conduct of the common people. The Li Chi, or Book of Rites, says:
Li do not go down to the common people; the hsing do not go up to
1
the ministers.
Confucius discussed the notion of li as a spectrum of rites and
rituals, i.e., a code of conduct, that focused on such things as learning, tea
drinking, how to dress, mourning, governance, and interaction with humans.
Li is what the sage uses to find that which is appropriate; it is both
the means, which sets the example for others, and the end, which maximizes
understanding, pleasure, and the greater good. In this way, the words and
behaviors one uses to show respect for another are contained within the
framework of li.
As the practice of Li was continued through centuries, one central
theme began to stand out; the natural tendency to be decent and kind
towards ones fellow human beings.
Li is a classical Chinese word, which finds its most extensive use in
Confucian and post-Confucian Chinese philosophy. Li encompasses not a
definitive object but rather a somewhat abstract idea; as such, it is translated
in a number of different ways. Most often, li is described using some form
of the word ‘ritual’ or 'rites' or 'ritual propriety', but it has also been
translated as ‘customs’, ‘etiquette’, ‘morals’, and 'rules of proper behavior',
among other terms.
The Practice of Li in Chinese Culture
The rites of li are not rites in the Western conception of religious
custom. Rather, li embodies the entire spectrum of interaction with humans,
nature, and even material objects. Confucius includes in his discussions of li
such diverse topics as learning, tea drinking, titles, mourning, and
governance. Xunzi cites "songs and laughter, weeping and lamentation...rice
and millet, fish and meat...the wearing of ceremonial caps, embroidered
robes, and patterned silks, or of fasting clothes and mourning
clothes...spacious rooms and secluded halls, soft mats, couches and
benches” as vital parts of the fabric of li.
1
Ch’u Chai and Winberg Chai . (1962). The Changing Society of China. New York.
The American Library of World Literature, Inc,p.101.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
55
Li consists of the norms of proper social behavior as taught to others
by fathers, village elders and government officials. The teachings of li
promoted ideals such as filial submission, brotherliness, righteousness, good
faith and loyalty. The influence of li guided public expectations, such as
loyalty to superiors and respect for elders in the community. Continuous
with the emphasis on community, following li included the internalization
of action, which both yields the comforting feeling of tradition and allows
one to become "more open to the panoply of sensations of the experience".
However, it should also maintain a healthy practice of selflessness, both in
the actions themselves and in the proper example, which is set for one's
brothers. Approaches in the community, as well as personal approaches
together demonstrate how li pervades all things, the broad and the detailed,
the good and the bad, the form and the formlessness. This is the complete
realization of li.
The rituals and practices of li are dynamic in nature. Li practices
have been revised and evaluated throughout time to reflect the emerging
views and beliefs found in society. Although these practices may change,
which happens very slowly over time, the fundamental ideals remain at the
core of li, which largely relate to social order.
Li is a principle of Confucian ideas. Contrary to the inward
expression of jen, li was considered an outward practice, wherein one acts
with propriety in society. Acting with li and jen led to what Confucius
called the "superior human" or "the sage". Such a human would use li to act
with propriety in every social event.
It can be seen that Confucius advocated a genteel manner, where one
is aware of their superiors and inferiors. Confucius felt that knowing ones
rank in a feudalistic society would lead to the greatest social order. Li as
described in Confucian classics (The Book of Rites and the Analects) gave
clear instruction on the proper behaviours expected of individuals based on
their roles and placement in feudalistic society. Confucius regarded the
disorder of his era as society's neglect of li and its principles. In the
Analects Confucius states, "Unless a man has the spirit of the rites, in being
respectful he will wear himself out, in being careful he will become timid,
in having courage he will become unruly, and in being forthright he will
become unrelenting”.
Li is the appropriate manner of overt behavior needed to express
one's inner thoughts or intentions. It includes socially proper ways of acting,
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and acting toward others in ways such that they will not mistake your
intentions. One's outer expression should reflect one's inner nature, or at
least one's intention in this situation. This involves a measure of chung,
described below. There is considerable subjectivity involved in determining
li, but yi, jen, and shin (trust) all require li.
For Confucius, li included proper etiquette or good manners, as
agreed on by family and community. One who fails to make use of them is
more likely to be misunderstood. However, deceivers can also make use of
such rules of etiquette or polite behavior in society, and someone who is
taken in by a false use of good etiquette is likely to become mistrustful.
Confucius shows that learning the customary forms of external
behavior should not be done blindly, but with an explanation and
understanding of their inner significance--why they are important.
Formalism occurs when one's external forms do not correctly reveal one's
internal attitudes, and this should be avoided.
The Role of ‘Li’ in Chinese Culture
In this paper, it can be found that li comprises the principles of gain,
benefit, order, and propriety which are concrete guides to human action. Li
have two basic meanings. One is concrete guide to human relationships or
rules of proper action that genuinely embody jen and the other is general
principle of the social order or the general ordering of life. Confucius
recognized that you need a well-ordered society for jen to be expressed. In
the first sense, it is the concrete guide to human relationships. It has two
ideas. One, the way things should be done or propriety which must be
positive rather than negative ("Do's rather than Don'ts) and another main
component of propriety emphasizes the openness of people to each other.
The main components of propriety are(1) The rectification of names which is language used in accordance with
the truth of things.
(2) The Doctrine of the Mean which is so important that an entire book is
dedicated to it in the Confucian canon, which is the proper action, is the
way between the extremes.
(3) The Five Relationships which are the way things should be done in
social life; none of the relationships are transitive. (Note that 3 of the 5
relations involve family; the family is the basic unit of society).
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
57
(a) father and son (loving / reverential)
(b) elder brother and younger brother (gentle / respectful)
(c) husband and wife (good / listening)
(d) older friend and younger friend (considerate/deferential)
(e) ruler and subject (benevolent / loyal)
(4) Respect for age: age gives all things their worth: objects, institutions,
and individual lives.
The second sense of li is social order, ritual, ordering of life,
conforming to the norms of jen (the limits and authenticity of li). In this
sense, there are four parts. They are;
a. Every action affects someone else--there are limits to
individuality.
b. Confucius sought to order an entire way of life.
c. You should not be left to improvise your responses because you
are at a loss as to how to behave.
d. For well-conducted people, life presents no problems. Li is very
important and fundamental in social life. Thus, li is a factor that promotes
peace in Chinese society.
The research finding is that the concept of li in Confucianism is a
factor that promotes peace in Chinese society because li shows men how to
establish good relationship with one another and live together in harmony.
The finding it will be evaluated in the light of analogy principle of
ethics. Confucius said that li is the source of right action in all behavior that
living life from a place of respect for all others was at the heart of living a
harmonious and worthwhile life. The beneficial consequences of living in
accordance with li will be demonstrated.
However, li does not come to ones consciousness naturally. Li has to
be cultivated. One must first learn and then practice the art of having
integrity, respecting the dignity of every human being and then being
committed to, and disciplined in, the practice of li.
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The practice of li runs the gamut from smiling at a co-worker, to
holding a door open for another. To serving others, to being selfresponsible, to questioning practices that are unethical, corrupt, and
disrespectful or demeaning of others, each behavior having a conscious
focus and intentionality on working toward and supporting the well-being
of the workplace, and those who work there.
Li is being natural, honest, sincere, self-responsible and relaxed
when we interact with another. Practicing li does not mean that men must
stop being to believe something strongly and not change people mind and
expressing opinions, stops holding others accountable, stop telling the truth,
stops telling the bad news, etc.
Confucius believed that in order to truly achieve the principles of
consequence and the character of the true person, one must look within
oneself. Cultivating the practice of li supports men to live their life at work
from a place of self-responsibility, honesty, decency, integrity, strength,
courage, and humaneness even when it might be inconvenient. Each man is
born with li.
Conclusion
As above mentioned factors, the concept of li has played as an
important role in Chinese culture since early days. To sum up, li can be
defined as at least three concepts. They are li as ceremonies or rituals, li as
propriety or code of proper conduct, and li as rules of social conduct.
By using the principle of analogy, it can be evaluated that the
concept of li in Confucianism is a factor that promotes peace in Chinese
society. The concept of ‘li’ means ‘to regulate’. If people live in harmony
with each other, they live together peacefully. If people live in harmony
with li, they live together peacefully in daily life. Li is a principle of
Confucian ideas. Li means rites or ritual. The Chinese character for "rites",
or "ritual", previously had the religious meaning of "sacrifice". It ranges
from politeness and propriety to the understanding of each person's correct
place in society. It can therefore be said that they lead to good
consequences—the greatest happiness for the greatest number. This is the
Utilitarian principle first propounded by John Stuart Mill in the West (180673). But here it can be seen that Confucian theory of li is its forerunner.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
59
Ritual is extended to include secular ceremonial behavior, and
eventually referred to the propriety or politeness that colors everyday life.
Rituals are codified and treated as a comprehensive system of norms. It can
be found Confucius himself tried to revive the etiquette of earlier dynasties.
After Confucius death, people regarded him as a great authority on ritual
behaviors.
It is important to note that "ritual" has developed a specialized
meaning in Confucianism, as opposed to its usual religious meanings. In
Confucianism, it can be found the acts of everyday life are considered ritual.
Rituals are not necessarily regimented or arbitrary practices, but the routines
that people often engage in, knowingly or unknowingly, during the normal
course of their lives. One purpose of Confucian philosophy is shaping the
rituals in a way that leads to a contented and healthy society, and to content
and healthy people.
Ritual is used to distinguish between people; their usage allows
people to know at all times who is the younger and who the elder, who is
the guest and who, the host and so forth.
Internalization is the main process in ritual. Formalized behavior
becomes progressively internalized, desires are channeled and personal
cultivation becomes the mark of social correctness. Though this idea
conflicts with the common saying that "the cowl does not make the monk,"
in Confucianism sincerity is what enables behavior to be absorbed by
individuals.
Obeying ritual with sincerity makes ritual the most powerful way to
cultivate oneself: Respectfulness, without the Rites, becomes laborious
bustle; carefulness, without the Rites, become timidity; boldness, without
the Rites, becomes insubordination; straightforwardness, without the Rites,
becomes rudeness.
Ritual can be seen as a means to find the balance between opposing
qualities that might otherwise lead to conflict. It divides people into
categories, and builds hierarchical relationships through protocols and
ceremonies, assigning everyone a place in society and a proper form of
behavior. Music, which seems to have played a significant role in
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Confucius' life, is given as an exception, as it transcends such boundaries
and "unifies the hearts".
It can be found that Ritual and filial piety are indeed the ways in
which one should act towards others, but from an underlying attitude of
humaneness. "Filial piety" is considered among the greatest of virtues and
must be shown towards both the living and the dead (including even remote
ancestors). The term "filial" (meaning "of a child") characterizes the respect
that a child, originally a son, should show to his parents. This relationship
was extended by analogy to a series of five relationships. The Five Bonds
are: Ruler to Ruled, Father to Son, and Husband to Wife, Elder Brother to
Younger Brother and Friend to Friend.
Specific duties were prescribed to each of the participants in these
sets of relationships. Such duties were also extended to the dead, where the
living stood as sons to their deceased family. This led to the veneration of
ancestors. The only relationship where respect for elders was not stressed
was the Friend-to-Friend relationship. In all other relationships, high
reverence was held for elders.
The idea of filial piety influenced the Chinese legal system: a
criminal would be punished more harshly if the culprit had committed the
crime against a parent, while fathers often exercised enormous power over
their children. A similar differentiation was applied to other relationships.
At the time, the power was too much on the parent's side. Now filial piety is
also built into law. People have the responsibility to provide for their elderly
parents according to the law. Filial piety has continued to play a central role
in Confucian thinking to the present day.
Relationships are central to Confucianism. Particular duties arise
from one's particular situation in relation to others. The individual stands
simultaneously in several different relationships with different people: as a
junior in relation to parents and elders, and as a senior in relation to younger
siblings, students, and others. While juniors are considered in Confucianism
to owe their seniors reverence, seniors also have duties of benevolence and
concern toward juniors. This theme of mutuality is prevalent in East Asian
cultures even to this day.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
61
Social harmony is the great goal of Confucianism. This results in
part on every individual knowing his or her place in the social order, and
playing his or her part well. When Duke Jing of Qin asked Confucius about
government, by which he meant proper administration to bring social
harmony, Confucius replied: “There is government, when the prince is
prince, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is
son.”
Confucianism exhorts all people to strive for the ideal of a
"gentleman" or "perfect man". The great exemplar of the perfect man is
Confucius himself. Perhaps the tragedy of his life was that he was never
awarded the high official position, which he desired, from which he wished
to demonstrate the general well-being that would ensue if humane persons
ruled and administered the state.
Therefore, Confucianism is a philosophy and a system of ethics,
based on the principle of consequentialism, although it is not stated
explicitly. But the li of Confucianism is not mere theory. It is a detailed
practical guide to establishing a society of human beings where peace and
happiness would prevail. Yet its teachings touched the hearts of the Chinese
people to such an extent that it has become more of a religion than just a
social philosophy.
References
Carsun Chang.(1963). The Development of Neo- Confucian Thought. New
Haven,Conn, United Printing Services, Inc.
York:
Ch’u Chai & Winberg Chai. (1962). The Changing Society of China. New York: The
New American Library of World Literature, Inc.
Ch’u Chai & Winberg Chai. (1965). The Humanist Way in Ancient China: Essential
Work of Confucianism. New York: Bantam Books, Inc.
Fung Yu-Lan .(1948). A Short History of Chinese Philosophy. New York: A Division of
Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.
Kyaw Win, Mg. (1992). A Critical Study of Confucius’ Philosophy. (M.A Thesis),
Yangon:
Department of Philosophy, University of Yangon
(Unpublished).
Liu Wu-Chi. (1964). A Short History of Confucian Philosophy. New York: A Delta Book
Published by Dell Publishing Co., Inc.
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Wing-Tsit Chan. (1969). A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. NewJersey New Jersey
Princetion University Press.
Wright , Arthur F. (1964). Confucianism and Chinese Civilization. New York: Published
Stanford University Press.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_(Confucian)
http:// philosophy. lander.edu/ oriental/test topics. html
http://www.spiritheart.net/, [email protected] or phone 770.804.9125
http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Peter_Vajda,_Ph.D
http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/part 2 section 3.html
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
Myanmar Customary Law as a Standard of Morality
Kyaw Thura
Abstract
This research paper is intended to point out the standard of morality that
prevails in Myanmar Buddhist Society. The standard of morality that
possesses normative as well as coercive force can be found in Myanmar
Buddhist Society under the name of Myanmar Customary Law. In this
law normative force can be seen as moral significance whereas coercive
force can be viewed as legal significance. Based on them, Myanmar
Customary Law is proved as the standard of morality in the maintenance
of social order.
Key words: Category-Discipline, Moral Significance, Legal Significance
Introduction
According to Titus, the author of Ethics for today, a standard of
morality can be found in four areas. They are (1) in the customs of a
society, (2) in law, (3) in the conscience of the individual, (4) in the
authority of a particular religion. The term standard in this context means a
level of behavior that is morally and legally acceptable in society. Myanmar
Buddhist Society like other societies has its own standard of morality. But
to maintain a standard of morality and see that it is adhered by people in a
particular society coercive force is needed along with the normative force.
This requirement is fulfilled adequately in Myanmar Customary
Law. It is unique in that this law encompasses many areas of moral
standard. It can be found that the authority of Buddhist religion and the
conscience of Myanmar people in moral thinking have played an important
role in shaping the age-old customs of Myanmar society to provide a
standard of morality in Myanmar Customary Law as we know it today.
Myanmar Customary Law clarified, organized and systematized the
ancient habitual customs and traditions of Myanmar society into categorical
disciplines. It brought forth clearly the basic moral concepts of Duty,
Responsibility and Right. Based on its moral and legal binding force,
Assistant Lecturer, Dr., Department of Philosophy, Mawlamyine University
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Myanmar Customary law stands as the standard of morality for Myanmar
Buddhist Society.
The problem of this research is to prove whether Myanmar
Customary Law can be termed as an organized standard of morality. In this
paper (1) Descriptive method, (2) Analytical method and (3) Evaluative
method are applied.
Customary Law as a Category-Discipline of Customs and Traditions
The Myanmar standard of morality is mainly based on the living
customs and traditions in the Myanmar Buddhist society which may
therefore be viewed as what Gilbert Ryle termed category-habits. They are
category-habits in the sense that these customs and traditions arose
according to the changing needs of society. As societies grew larger and
more complex human relationships also changed. For instance human
relationships in a primitive society where hunting is the main livelihood
would certainly be simpler than those in a more developed agricultural
society which produces a surplus of goods that needs to be bartered for
other necessities. If hunting was the only means of livelihood all its
members would simply share the spoils as fairly as possible among them.
This would be their standard of morality for group survival. Whereas in a
society where goods are bartered there would arise other standards such as
to ascertain for example, how much grain would be a fair exchange for a
piece of clothing. When agreement has been reached on how the meat
should be shared and who deserves more or less in the hunter group or as
what should be the standard of exchange in the more developed society
where goods are bartered, these automatically would become the customs of
a particular society. This applies to other social relations as to how
marriages should take place or how children should be brought up, or what
they should be taught. The hunters would teach their children to hunt; the
farmers would teach their offspring to till the soil and plant crops; traders
would teach the art of trade and so on. So in a manner of speaking
depending upon the needs of each member as well as the group, customs
and traditions would be agreed upon. Certain kinds of behavior would be
allowed and others would be tabooed depending on what is beneficial or not
for the group as a whole, and surely there would also be punishment for
those who go against these customs and traditions. But as stated above,
because such ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ arises as and when there are needs, in this
respect they differ from law. In this sense they are category-habits.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
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Law is a well thought out body of knowledge, which organizes and
systematizes those customs and traditions as specific rules to be adhered to
by all, whether leader or led. No one is said to be above the law. It is a
codified body of knowledge which lays down as precisely as possible what
a citizen can do and what he or she cannot do, as well as the penalties for
infringing the provisions of the law. So generally a law consists of rules
enacted and promulgated for the common good. No citizen can claim to
have violated a law through ignorance. In other words a law is a categorydiscipline which lays down the rights, duties and responsibilities of the
members of a society. No doubt, laws also change with changes in time and
circumstance, but these changes are amendments based on experience
gained in ministering the law. This point is that habits and customs are
changed haphazardly whereas amendments in law are orderly and carried
out after reflecting on the pros and cons. As to the question of who is
responsible for drafting and enacting laws depends on the political system,
but it is an issue that does not directly concern this dissertation. But there
can be no question that laws, especially customary laws are based on
customs and traditions. In other words, when customs and traditions, which
are category- habits, are revised and organized into a category-discipline,
they come to constitute a law.
Moral Significance of Myanmar Customary Law
Most moral philosophers do not regard customary morality as the
standard of morality but they do regard reflective morality as the standard
of morality. According to the late Professor K.N. Kar, Professor and Head
of the Department of Philosophy, of Yangon Arts & Science University, the
native man in different societies in the undeveloped stage depends on
customary morality for moral guidance. At such a stage there is no
distinction between what is right and what is customary, or between the
moral and the social. But with the rise of reflective morality the distinction
becomes unavoidable. 1 Titus, an ethicist also points out the reflective
morality as the stage of moral development in which men formulate moral
judgments on the basis of a reflective evaluation of principles and a careful
examination of facts in their relation to human life. From his view we can
understand the growth of law as distinct from customs and conflicts
1
K. N. Kar (1959) Ethics. Calcutta: The Pooran Press. p.48.
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inevitably arise in this process. Such condition stimulates the growth of
reflective criticism. It is clearly seen that the old customs are too rigid to
apply to the guidance of conduct under new situations. As exceptional
circumstances and new difficulties arise, men are subject to reflect upon the
rules underlying custom, law, and conscience in general. Reflection is thus
taken into account. It is also said that the conduct of most thoughtful men is
guided to a large extent by convention and custom and by legal enactment,
as well as by ideas which are contributed by the intellectual atmosphere of
the day.
Although Myanmar Customary Law is termed as customary law, its
procedures and its thinking are mainly based on reflective considerations of
morality. For this law is centered on the three primary moral concepts or
ethical concepts of “Duty”, “Right” and “Responsibility” for application in
daily life. Some ethical thinkers maintain that all practical questions of
morality can be classified under three heads: What ought we to do? What
ought we to have? What ought we to be? It is also suggested that the first
question can be answered with the aid of the moral concept–“Duty”, the
second question with the help of the moral concept–“Right”, and the last by
means of the moral concept- “Responsibility”.
The term ‘primary’ in this context is used as being of principal
importance and the most basic. It is said that the uppermost requirement in
social control of whatever kind requires emphasis on “Duty”, but it is the
concept of human rights that gets people’s attention when they turn from
the subjective to the objective, from the personal to the more social aspects
of morality. Duty must be counter-balanced with rights. So in a manner of
speaking basic duties can be described as respect for rights. A classification
of duties would be but a classification of rights in another form. It is said
that duties like rights are relative and functional, therefore it is impossible to
determine their nature and scope except in their specific contexts, for
example- property and the family. The concept “Responsibility” can be
viewed as the subjective approach of the individual to the former two moral
concepts. It can be said that every one has responsibility for the betterment
of their respective societies. An individual should be a responsible person
for the objective good of moral life which involves “Duty” and vested rights
at the same time. Through these moral concepts we can say that we ought to
be responsible persons in order to do our duties and claim our rights.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
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Myanmar Customary Law adjusts these moral concepts according
to circumstances. Myanmar Customary Law is, in fact, a case law based on
these moral concepts or in other words, it is the reflective morality based on
the three primary moral concepts.
Legal Significance of Myanmar Customary Law
Myanmar Customary Law can be approached from morally as well
as legally. There is an important question - what is the legal significance of
Myanmar Customary Law? According to the Cambridge Dictionary of
Philosophy, philosophy of law is the study of conceptual and theoretical
problems concerning the nature of law as such, or common to any legal
system. 1
From the western point of view, theoretical positions in the
philosophy of law tend to group into three kinds. They are (1) legal
positivism, (2) natural law, and (3) legal realism. The study of Myanmar
Customary Law from moral point of view made in this paper is mainly
related to natural law theory. This theory is concerned with questions such
as, whether a legal system is morally and politically legitimate, or whether a
legal norm grants a legal right etc. It also emphasizes the relation between a
legal system and justice as determinative of the normative force.
It is also said that the problems in the philosophy of law can be
divided into two groups.
The first contains problems internal to law and legal systems as
such. The second group of problems concerns the relation between
law as one particular social institution in a society and the wider
political and moral life of that society. 2
Myanmar Customary law is more concerned with the second group
of the above problems in which (a) the authority of law: whether it has
political or moral or legitimacy, (b) the nature of legal obligation: why a
man should obey law, (c) the relation between legal rights and moral rights
(d) the legal concept of responsibility: comparative to its relation to moral
concepts: duty and responsibility, (e) the role of a legal system in the
maintenance of social justice, etc. can be studied.
Robert Audi (1997) The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. United Kingdom:
Cambridge University Press. p. 589.
2
Ibid., p. 590.
1
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Throughout the paper, efforts have been made to prove that
Myanmar Customary Law is the standard of morality because its authority
is mainly based on morality. This law also answers other questions by
means of the three primary moral concepts; it is a man’s duty to obey
morally accepted law. Based on duty there is a close relation between legal
rights and moral rights as well as legal responsibility and moral
responsibility. With the help of case studies, attempts can be made to prove
that the Myanmar Customary Law provides the maintenance of social
justice in Myanmar Buddhist society.
The Role of Moral Judgments in the Myanmar Buddhist Society
Concerning moral judgments, Marcus George Singer points out that
they are of many different kinds, and can be about many different things.
He also points out that every moral judgment involves a generalization. A
moral judgment possesses the characteristic of implicit generality. 1 This
means that the action that is right for one person must be right for every
similar person in similar circumstances. In other words, the judgment A
ought to do x implies that everyone similar to A ought to do x in similar
circumstances. Generally speaking this characteristic of implicit generality
is possessed by any statement that is used as an explanation, or to give
evidence or a reason for something. Explanations, evidence, and reasons are
governed by general rules or laws, which establish a connection between
the fact to be explained or established and the fact used to explain or
establish it.
It is undeniable that moral judgments play an essential role in every
society and Myanmar Buddhist society is no exception. They can guide
people to distinguish right from wrong also good from evil. In order to
make moral judgments we need such standards of morality. Myanmar
Customary Law can be said to provide such a standard of morality for
Myanmar Buddhist society. As mentioned earlier, every society has its own
mores and norms of behavior. Moral rules and prescriptions are mainly
found in religious teachings and social mores in codes of etiquette. There,
as explained earlier, were handed down and revised when necessary, from
generation to generation, some in written and many in unwritten form. Then
the principal moral tenets universally taught by all religions such as
1
Marcus George Singer (1961) Generalization in Ethics. New York: Alfred A Knope.
pp. 35-38.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
69
forbidding the taking the life of another, stealing what belongs to another,
committing sexual misconduct such as adultery, telling falsehoods to the
disadvantage of another and the taking of intoxicants to the detriment of
society at large, have been embodied as law. They have been enacted as law
for the stability and survival of society. Some of these proscriptions are so
vital that almost every society has enacted them into criminal law.
But so far as civil law is concerned there are vast differences due to
differences in morality, culture and traditions. To give an obvious exampleat one time slavery was customary in almost every society. It was taken for
granted that ‘Might is right’ and that the weak would submit to the strong.
This way of thinking changed slowly over the years. Yet as recently as the
18th century, slavery was practiced in the United State of America legally.
Any person could buy another human being as a slave and own him or her
out right including the right to the life and family of a slave. So not all laws
are grounded in morality. We have already known the famous German
philosopher Immanuel Kant (1721-1824) said “so act as to treat humanity,
whether in their own person or in that of another, in every case as an end,
never only as a means.” Yet in America about the same period the law
permitted slavery.
In ancient Myanmar slavery was practiced over certain periods of its
history, but at no time was it legally justified. This, in my view is because
Myanmar laws, especially Myanmar Customary Law have been guided by
the Buddha’s teachings which regard all human beings as equal. Any
differences there are, are done to their Kamma- what they themselves have
done. One is a slave and another a master due to their respective Kamma. It
is not the law that made a person a slave. Moreover not every one knows
the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and as stated
earlier, standards of morality may be found in religious teachings but not in
society at large. People only know vaguely the morals, customs and
traditions of their society, for these are in the words of Gilbert Ryle
‘category-habits’. It is only when clearly embodied in law do they constitute
‘category- discipline’, and it is through this law that we come to be clearly
aware of the moral standards and value that operate in society.
We have already shown that Myanmar Customary Law is judgemade law based on Myanmar Dhammathas and previous legal decisions
also known as rulings. These decisions of judges are no doubt legal
judgments. But this law helps us to study and put into practice moral
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judgments. In legal procedures one of the tasks of the judge is to explain the
public why such and such judgment was passed. This can be regarded as
legal education for the public. Focusing on the duties and rights we can
learn the object of moral judgments from Myanmar Customary Law. This
law recognizes the respective duties of the family members and provides the
moral judgments connected with the certain rights of the family members.
Conclusion
In Myanmar Customary Law we can find the essence of reflective
morality which is the ability and the willingness to weigh all relevant facts
in moral conduct and to base choices upon the results of such reflection.
Reflective morality consists not only in forming judgments but in setting
forth the reasons for one’s moral judgments. Through the study of some
leading cases of this law Myanmar Buddhist people can learn how to make
moral judgments in their daily life when faced with moral and social
conflict. Furthermore, by abiding by the law, we come to appreciate and
abide by the morality of Myanmar Buddhist society. Being as the provider
of moral judgments based on three primary moral concepts this law can be
called the standard of morality.
Although Myanmar Customary Law as law is theoretical sound but
it is important to note that it is administered by human judge who are
fallible. If a judge is biased or ignorant of the moral implications he may
pass wrong judgments. Therefore the judges should know moral and ethical
aspects of this law and the public in the Myanmar Buddhist society should
also understand the primary moral concepts of this law and apply them in
their daily life. And it can be said that the ultimate goal of Myanmar
Customary Law is to protect those who live in accordance with the moral
values and teachings of Buddhism. If members of the Myanmar Buddhist
family understand and follow the primary moral concepts-“Duty”, “Right”
and “Responsibility" they need not to go to Court for the settlement of
family affairs. As it is a living law of society, it will always need to
adjustment and refinement according to changing situations and customs of
Myanmar.
In this paper, I have tried to prove that Myanmar Customary Law
provides a standard of morality for the betterment of Myanmar Buddhist
society. If I have succeeded in providing adequate evidence Myanmar
Customary Law that is a category-discipline that provides a sound standard
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
71
of morality I hope to have fulfilled two of the four social objectives of
Myanmar (1) to uplift the national spirit and the morality of people and (2)
to preserve national identity and cultural heritage. Concerning Myanmar
Customary Law, the late Rector of Yangon University, Dr. Htin Aung gave
concluding remarks in his paper entitled, Customary Law of Burma as
follows;
Burma has borrowed freely from the great cultures of her
neighboring countries, but at the same time, she has been able to
preserve her own national character and her own institutions. The
Burmese people have evolved a system of law as fair and just as
the Common Law of England which lawyers and jurists all over
the world to admire and respect. 1
Based on the primary moral concepts “Duty”, “Right” and
“Responsibility” Myanmar Customary Law can be defined as the cultural
heritage of the Myanmar Buddhist people which serves as the standard of
morality for the Myanmar Buddhist family and stands as a common ground
for other religious practices. In conclusion, this law can be regarded as the
chief guardian of Myanmar’s national identity.
References
Audi, Robert (1997). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. United Kingdom:
Cambridge University Press.
Kar, K.N. (1959). Ethics. Calcutta: The Pooran Press.
Maung Maung (1963). Law and Custom in Burma and the Burmese Family.
Netherlands: The Hague, Martinus.
Singer, M.G (1961). Generalization in Ethics. New York: Alfred A Knope.
Titus, Harold H (1957). Ethics for Today. New Delhi”: Eurasia Publishing House (Pvt)
Ltd.
(2007) Legal Traditions of Southeast Asia, Yangon: SEAMEO Regional Centre for History
and Tradition.
1
(2007) Legal Traditions of Southeast Asia, Yangon: SEAMEO Regional Centre for
History and Tradition. p. 146.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
The Role of Non-egoistic Tendency in Environmental Ethics
Thandar Moe
Abstract
This paper is an attempt to show the role of Non-egoistic tendency (wu-wei)
in Taoism which may be applied to bring forth the reciprocal relationship
among the societies and cultures in world-wide sense. It provides the ethical
guidance for holistic ethics of environmental conservation for its tendency
of controlling or modifying the egoistic attitudes of human beings. The aim
of this paper is to point out a way that can be applied to reduce the extreme
attitude of human beings. From this research it can be expected that the
proper understanding of the Non-egoistic tendency will be guidance for
reconciling and changing the egoistic attitude of human beings which is the
main course of several environmental issues in today's world.
Key words: wu-wei, Taoism, environmental ethics
Introduction
In this paper the Non-egoistic tendency (wu-wei) of Taoism will
be defined as the proportional synthesis of extreme views of egoism and
altruism. At this point, the conceptual significance of Non-egoistic tendency
is chiefly concerned with the conceptual modification of egoism and
altruism. In philosophical studies, egoism is the theory that one’s self is, or
should be, the motivation and the goal of one’s own action and thinking
about one’s happiness more than anyone else. On the contrary, altruism is
the view that one's actions ought to further the interests or good of other
people and caring about the happiness of other people more than one’s own.
These two are poles apart in this respect.
From studying these two polar opposing moral philosophies, it is
clear that both insist on their uncompromising attitudes and there is no
inclination to reconcile their opposite way of thinking. Nevertheless, the
concept of Non-egoistic tendency may be a way to reconcile the polar
thoughts of egoism and altruism. In this paper, an attempt will be made to
bring about a “reconciliation of egoism and altruism” in the light of this
conception.
According to Lao Tzu, Tao is the ‘Way’ to act for one to preserve
nature in the same way as one preserves his life, to avoid harm and danger
Assistant Lecturer, Dr., Department of Philosophy, West Yangon University
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as well as to live sagely in the world. Thus, the goal of human beings is to
achieve and to know the laws of the nature in Taoism. Accordingly, one
must be humble and must be content because human being is just a part of
the whole universe or natural world. In this respect by knowing and acting
in accordance with the laws of nature is living and acting with Tao, the
‘Way’ for human being. For Lao Tzu, right action for human being is to do
with wu-wei (not over doing). The literal meanings of the term wu-wei are
‘less activities’ (doing less) or avoiding artificiality (restricting one's
activities to what is necessary and natural). Thus, one should follow the
concept of wu-wei in order to live with Tao for keeping up the harmonious
co-existence between human society and nature. In conformity with Tao,
human being must avoid having too much desire and too much knowledge.
It means that human being must avoid any extreme actions. Therefore, one
should be in harmony with the fundamental laws of the universe and not
against it. This is the basic principle of Taoism. In Taoism, the goal of a
human being is to know and to act the Way by which one comes to be in
harmony with nature. It is a moral virtue which should be the aim of human
beings.
Generally, in the Eastern tradition such as Taoism, Buddhism and
Hinduism, the moral conduct of human being is not limited to relation
among human beings, but also suggested for the relation between human
beings and natural environment. Therefore, a study of these relations could
provide some appropriate answers to today’s environmental issues.
Human beings today are facing with several environmental issues
in addition to other social problems. In the early age of history there may
not have been such problems because the population was not as large as
today and the environment in which they lived provided the basic needs of
the human beings adequately. Today's exploding world population has led
to over-exploiting of natural resources which have led to environmental
degradation and the extinction of many animal species there may be many
other causes of environmental degradations, but the essential cause may be
a rapid population growth. Therefore, ecological-minded persons are
attempting to change the current life style of consumerism and exploitation
of the natural resources by introducing an environmental ethics as a guide.
That ethics must not be theoretical but an applied ethics based on ecocentrism rather than ego-centrism. Then, what is the real cause of
exploitation on the nature? In fact, the real cause is not only the
development of sciences and technologies but the greed of human beings'
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based on ego-centrism. Hence, moral-minded persons warn against such
exploitation of nature and give a new way to care for and preserve the
environment by the method of self-control and self- sacrifice. Accordingly,
there is a need for changing the attitudes of human beings from egocentrism to eco-centrism.
This paper aims to show that the concept of Non-egoistic
tendency may be applied to bring forth social harmony and reciprocal
relationship between human society and natural environment. In this paper
descriptive method, evaluative method and reflective method will be used
for achievement of the aim of research.
Non-egoistic Tendency in Western Philosophy
In search of the concept of the ‘Non-egoistic tendency’ in Western
philosophy it needs to be noted that the term ‘egoism’ is always found
accompanied with the term ‘altruism’. Non-egoistic tendency as a special
usage in this paper is defined as the proportional synthesis of the view of
egoism and altruism. Thus the term Non-egoistic tendency is different from
egoism, as well as from altruism.
Ethics involves decisions between already-established possibility
and already–available reasons when those already-established factors are
considered. Ethical egoism is frequently enquired into in the field of moral
theory. But the concept of Non-egoistic attitude is very hard to discuss as a
moral theory because most philosophers accept the opposite trend of two
extreme views, namely egoism and altruism in their discussions. In Western
tradition, the dichotomy between acting out of own self-interest and acting
for the benefit of others has been marked by the terms egoism and altruism
in general.
At this point, there is the question as to whether the ethical tendency
which is able to achieve a compromise between the egoistic attitude and an
altruistic attitude namely Non-egoistic Tendency found in Western
philosophy.
In philosophy, egoism is the theory that one’s self is, or should be,
the motivation and the goal of one’s own action. In Western philosophy
there are various kinds of egoism, namely psychological egoism, descriptive
egoism, rational egoism, ethical egoism, normative egoism and conditional
egoism. In this paper, ethical egoism will be discussed.
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Ethical egoism is the normative theory that the promotion of
one’s own good is in accordance with morality. In the strong version, it is
held that it is always moral to promote one’s own good. In the weak
version, it is said that although it is always moral to promote one’s own
good, it is not necessarily moral. That is, there are conditions in which the
avoidance of personal interest may be a moral action.
Ethical egoism is generally classified into three forms: The first
form is concerned with the Individual. “Everyone should or ought to act in
self-interest.” The second form is concerned with Personal. “I thought to act
in my own self-interest; I make no claims about what others ought to do.”
The third form is concerned with the Universal. “Everyone ought to act in
his or her own self-interest.
Individual ethical egoism is closer to the term ‘selfishness. It
demands that everyone should act in personals interest, which obviously
excludes the interest of everyone else. It is totally self-centered. It is
extremely individualistic and subjective because it does not apply to more
than one person, at least not in its essence.
Personal ethical egoism is more moderate than the individual
form, because the former allows others to follow what ethical system they
want and does not demand that they act in only one person’s interest.
Universal ethical egoism applies to all human beings as most other ethical
theories do. Therefore it is the most commonly presented version. This form
of egoism states that everyone ought to act in his or her own self-interest,
but give all a high degree of freedom, individuality, and equally.
Psychological egoism is the view that human motivation is
essentially selfish. This means that people are basically self-centered, out
for themselves, and never really concerned about the other fellow. All
society, asserted the greatest egoist philosopher Thomas Hobbes, is either
for gain, or for glory, that is of our selves.
In the Western tradition, hedonism assumes that happiness
usually accompanies the good life. But a good life is not followed by
happiness. The functional theory means the Good life is a successful living.
People prize creative work of any kind, invention, exploration, and
adventure. People prize the artistic creation and the exercise of the faculty
of appreciation. The highest good is found in the normal activity of the
highest powers.
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In contrast to egoism, altruism is the ethical doctrine that one
must emphasize the good of another over one’s good. Benevolence,
compassion, and humanity were not major virtues for the ancient
philosophers.
But modern moral philosophers generally agree that altruism is
important to morality, although they disagree about what it is, how to
explain it, and what its scope should be. The nineteenth-century French
theorist Comte, who first coined the term altruism, claimed that the way to
end social conflict is by training people to "live for others," rather than
themselves. In a popular sense, altruism means something like noble selfsacrifice. A more minimal understanding, one that many philosophers favor,
is an acknowledgment that the interests of others make claims on us and
limit what we may do.
Altruism is unselfish concern for the welfare of others. It is a
traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious
traditions. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness and there are some general
definitions of Altruism which are given by some philosophers. They are;
1. Loving others as oneself
2. Behaviour that promotes the universal chances of others at a
cost to one’s own and
3. Self-sacrifice for the benefit of others
However, altruism should be distinguished from the feelings of
loyalty and duty. Altruism focuses on a motivation to help others or a want
to do good action without reward, while duty focuses on a moral obligation
towards a specific individual, a specific organization. Some individuals may
feel both altruism and duty, while others may not. Pure altruism is giving
without looking for reward or the benefits of recognition and need.
The concept ‘altruism’ has also become more recently a topic for
evolutionary sociology, evolutionary biology, and ethnology. Therefore,
ideas from one field can have an impact on the other fields. But there are
different methods and focal points that lead to different perspectives on
altruism.
Nevertheless, altruism can be defined that one's actions ought to
further the interests or good of other people and one’s action must not be in
one's own interests. For that reason, altruism is distinguished from ethical
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egoism, according to which one's actions ought to further one's own
interests.
Altruism, in practice, is the performance of duties to others
without any sort of personal gain for one's efforts. If one performs an act
beneficial to others with a view to gaining affection, respect, reputation, or
any form of gratitude or remuneration then it is not an altruistic act. It is in
fact a selfish act because the principal motivation was to reap some benefit
for oneself. The desire of this benefit exists equally each form of desirable
benefit whether it is psychological, emotional, intellectual, or material each
form of desirable benefit is philosophically identical as a motivation.
In altruism, the ideal moral conduct is decided by the rightminded man: the virtuous man is the standard and measure of things. The
highest good for man, then, is self-realization. Thus, one have realizes to his
true self by means of one’s rational ability. The virtuous man will act often
in the interest of his friends and of his country, and if need be, will even die
for them. He will surrender money, honour, and all the goods. Man is a
social being and willing to live with other.
To sum up, the Non-egoistic attitude can be found in several
ethical theories of Western tradition. Especially it can be found in the
ethical views obviously. The idea of Non-egoistic attitude can be found in
some Western philosophies different from that of Taoists conception. Both
are the same in emphasizing in on the relation of individual and society but
the Taoists lay down a unique method of avoiding two extremes of egoism
and altruism which is called wu-wei (not over doing).
The Role of Non-egoistic Tendency in Environmental Ethics
Taoism is one of the main Chinese trends of thought. Taoism is
more than just a philosophy. It is one of the bases of Chinese culture and
religion. It has been continuously guiding the Chinese culture in behavior
and governance. Chinese philosophy is generally categorized as humanism.
But it thought of man is not only as being the centre of the universe like
other humanism; but as being a part of the whole universe. Thus in Chinese
tradition the individual is considered as an element or a part in the whole
universe. Accordingly the Chinese are taught to merge the self into the
environment as a whole or there is no self at all.
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As the guidance of human conduct, Tao means ‘the way’ (the
path) or ‘moral truth’. In Taoism the concept of wu-wei means “not over
doing”. It does not mean “taking no action” that is contrary to nature. The
usual interpretations of wu-wei as non-interference and passively yielding
view not-acting as a kind of action.
One must do what one needs to do and must not do what one
does not need. In other word, one must not to do unnecessary things. Thus,
it means not over doing. It seems its appearance is static, but it is active
with thinking, planning, making ready in one’s inner part which is dynamic
or changeable.
The well known Taoists theory of wu-wei can be deduced from
the general theory of Tao. It can be translated as ‘not acting willfully’,
‘acting naturally’, or non-assertive activity. Some scholars define the
meaning of wu-wei as “acting without artificiality” and arbitrariness. Lao
Tzu promotes the theory of wu-wei (not over doing). Wu- wei means to
avoid all extreme activities to do which follows the Way of nature.
Actually, it means to engage in lesser activity or doing less that is to act
truly by means of true understanding of the Way. It asserts that too much
activity become harmful, instead of good. Since literally the term means
‘not doing’ or non action. Its real meaning is that avoiding any extreme
activities by restricting one’s activities to what is necessary and natural.
Necessary means only essential to the result of a certain purpose and never
overdoing.
In Taoism, activities which is more than necessary for achieving
one’s aim becomes harmful rather than good. The purpose of doing
something is to have something done. But if there is over-doing it results in
something being over-done, that is may be worse than not having the thing
done at all. In a Chinese story namely Drawing First. One of the drawers,
having indeed finished his drawing, saw that the other man was still far
behind, so decided to improve it by adding feet to his snake. There upon the
other man said: “You have lost the competition, for a snake has no feet”.
This is an illustration of over-doing which defeats its own purpose. In the
Lao-tzu we read: “Conquering the world is invariably due to doing nothing;
by doing something one cannot conquer the world”. At this point the actual
meaning of the term ‘doing nothing’ indicates the conceptual suggestion of
‘not overdoing’. In this respect, it can be reinterpreted the Taoist concept of
wu-wei to that artificiality and arbitrariness are the opposite of naturalness
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and spontaneity. Here, the illustrative example of metaphorical statement of
Chuang Tzu is noteworthy. He said that “The duck’s legs are short, but if
we try to lengthen, the duck will feel pain”. The crane’s legs are long but if
we try to shorter, the crane will feel grief.
As above mentioned, the conceptual suggestion of Wu-wei is
“avoiding overdoing or unnecessary things”. For that reason, it is clear that
this concept can support the conservation of the balance of ecological world
in its superficial meaning. However its conceptual significance can also be
extended to the guidance for controlling man’s desire and promoting the
attitude of contentment. Thus this attitude can be extended in the mutual
relationship between human being and his natural environment. For that
reason, the Taoists method of wu-wei can be considered as one of the
important guidance to resolve the above several problems which are human
beings confront into this global age.
The basic principle of Taoism is that one should be in harmony
with the laws of nature or the process of the whole universe. It is a
theoretical conception for human beings to follow and its applied guidance
is wu-wei. For practicing this guidance it should be noted that wu-wei does
not mean to waste time or to delay time to do but to avoid over doing
without necessities. It means that man must choose the proper time, place
and conditions to do by his intelligence. Man must not do before its proper
time falls. Attempting or endeavoring before the right time comes is one
extreme; it is a kind of wasting energies. But delaying or wasting time to act
even when the proper time falls is another extreme; it is a kind of delusion
or doubt and out of alert. To avoid those extremes a man must act as a good
goal keeper. A goal keeper is always alert and he is neither always standing
nor moving but waiting but and preparing the conditions to challenge when,
where and how goal ball comes into goal area. So also a man must do like
the way of wu-wei. He must be mindful to challenge the obstacles of life
and use the opportunities which offer him to overcome them and to get
successes. But attempting before right time is an empty and, no fruitfulness
will be enjoyed. So also delaying time to do even when its proper
conditions fall is a loss of good chances.
Nowadays, the earth came into being for man and other living
beings including wild life. At present, the world has been degraded for
hundreds of years. Its wild life species have been devastated and its
ecosystem upset. If the world on which who a human and other living
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beings is ruined then, all of life forms will cease to be. Man responsibility to
save the world or the planet earth and all who live on it will be completely
devastated. The present condition of earth is declining in every aspect,
because of man’s greed to consume its valuable resources. So, man is
responsible for repairing and restoring the degradation of the earth. How
can man manage to restore the earth’s terrible condition? As science
developed, man has used up its valuable resources to create luxury goods.
Greed and desire are emotional states which cure. The only way to stop the
escalating desire for luxury goods is by controlling. The idea or view that
one must take what can be got and the conception that the world cannot be
exhausted resources should be discarded. In other words there should be a
code of ethics to control man’s attitudes and behaviour with respect to
Nature.
Ethics is concerned with the study of human conduct. Ordinarily,
ethics and morality are used interchangeably. Environmental ethics is an
applied ethics that examines the moral basis of environmental
responsibility. In recent times, everyone becomes to agree that all people
should be environmentally responsible for environmental conservation and
sustainable development of natural world as well as human culture.
Therefore, ethical theory is needed to resolve the several environmental
issues and it often concerned with international action.
Important as ethical theory is, contemporary problems call for
more than theory if they are to be solved, and for more than personal
reorientation or commitment too. Solution will need to be considered
solution; and often international action and policies are involved.
Both theory and practice needs values outside of human subjects,
while environmental ethics is more biologically objective and not
anthropocentric. It also challenges the separation of science and ethics, and
tries to reform a science that finds nature value free and ethics that assumes
that only humans count morally. Environmental ethics tries to escape
relativism in ethics, and to discover centuries of hard science and humanist
ethics that there is little compassion for animals.
Human beings have confronted with the diverse problems in
different areas of social, political, economic, through the history of human
culture. Nowadays human beings are facing with a new crucial problem
namely, the environmental problems in addition to the problems of human
affairs. One primary cause is the rapid increase of population. Today’s
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exploding world population threatens with extinction an ailing environment.
Though there may be many causes which give rise to environmental
degradation the essential cause may be rapid population growth. More
pollution is generated, more habitats are destroyed and more natural
resources are used up. So, ecological-minded persons are attempting to
change current life style of ‘consumerism’ and ‘exploitation of the natural
resources’ by introducing and suggesting the
environmental ethics as
guidance. It should be noted that environmental ethics must not be
theoretical but an applied ethics which is based on eco-centrism than egocentrism. Then, the questions what is the real cause of exploitation of
nature? Is it the development of sciences and technologies? The answer is
that human beings’ over-greed based on egoism is the main culprit in the
current crises. Hence, the moral-minded persons suggest that such
exploitation of nature give a way to caring and preserving the environment
by the method of self-control and self-sacrifice.
The Taoists use the term Tao to stand for the totality of all things,
equivalent to what some Western philosophers have called ‘the absolute’. It
is a basic principle of Taoism that one should be in harmony with, not in
rebellion against, the fundamental laws of the universe. The Taoist seek to
become one with the nature.
The above arguments of the East and West are concerned with
the problems of relation between human beings and his natural
environment. Therefore, the basic idea of environmental ethics can be found
in the Eastern as well as Western traditions. Besides the Taoism of Chinese
tradition, preserving the natural environments and ecosystem have been
advocated as the basic idea of human ethics in other Eastern traditions. In
Hinduism, the principle of the ‘sanctity of life’ is deeply fixed and ‘love of
the flora’ is very explicit. According to it, only God had sovereignty and
God creates all. So, the people’s paying respect of His created things shows
their love of God. Under Hinduism, people must avoid destroying the living
beings and non-living things; all must be in their proper order of God. Here
the noteworthy statement of Mahatma Gandhi is the best suggestion for all
human beings. Gandhi said that “Nature have enough for everybody’s needs
but not for everybody’s greed.”
Like other conceptual contributions to promote the attitude of
environmental conservation and ethical conscience of human responsibility
to Nature, there are precious conceptions in Buddhist philosophy to
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preserve or protect the living beings and the natural phenomena in ethical
sense. For example the “Four Cardinal values” and the “Five precepts” are
fundamental moral guidance to respect all forms of life are also considered
as the significant conceptions of preserving nature.
Conclusion
The basic principle of Taoism is that one should be in harmony
with the laws of nature. Taoists use the term Tao to stand for the totality of
all things, equivalent to what some Western philosophers have called the
absolute. The Tao represents the ultimate reality, which cannot be
described, but which is the origin of all things. For Taoists life is lived well
only when man is completely in turn with the whole universe.
Man should not change what is natural into something that is
artificial. Thus, Taoists advocate a free development of one's proper nature
and the importance of ecological balance for sustainable development of
nature.
In the history of culture, accordingly to the development of
sciences and technology human beings change the natural phenomena for
human’s needs and utilities. The natural environments are destroyed and
changed for human social welfares. Accordingly, the rain forests of the
world are destroyed and the natural resources are extremely used up and
become to be depleted. As the result, the world of today is threatened by the
problem of ecological imbalance which occurs the several natural disasters.
The problems facing the environment are vast and diverse.
Destruction of the world's rain forests, global warming, and their depletion
of the ozone layer are the current issues human beings have to face. The
planet Earth which is mankind's home has been devastated, their wild lives
are depleting and ecological system is out of balance. To find out the
appropriate solution for preserving the natural environment that can be
accepted into all countries becomes to the responsibility of human being.
Sustaining the world ecological balance, human beings have to
take overall responsibility. Because most environmental problems are the
consequences of human's extreme egoism, greed and ignorance. However,
there is in need of a consensus of opinion on resolving these environmental
issues. To find out the appropriate approach for it, a deep mutual respect
and understanding needs to develop among all countries or cultures. For
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that reason, all human beings have to control their extremes of self-centered
attitude and cultivate the attitude of reverence for others in which either
human being or other living creatures in nature are included.
In this respect, the naturalistic or eco-centered attitude of Taoism
is more appropriate rather than the anthropocentric or ego-centered attitude
of Western philosophy finding out a way of avoiding extreme egoism. Here
the Taoist concepts of ‘Non-egoistic tendency’ or the method of wu-wei is
very noteworthy as a basic concept to avoid extreme egoism. Wu-wei
means avoid 'overdoing' or unnecessary things. By means of the method of
wu-wei, it can be deduced the common understanding in human
relationship. Then this attitude can be extended in the mutual relationship
between human being and his natural environment. Therefore the method of
wu-wei can be considered as one of the important approaches to resolving
the above several problems which are human beings confront into this
global age.
Nevertheless, individual person and society, egoism and altruism
are interrelated each other. In the everyday actions of human beings and
their social relationship, the harmonious balance of merit and demerit of
individual and other members of his society depends on the right or wide
attitude of avoiding the two extremes, egoism and altruism. Thus, human
beings must moderate and synthesize both extreme attitudes in their actions.
However, in order to practice the Non-egoistic tendency as the
moral conception, there is in need of the concrete way or method which can
be accepted as the common way among all societies. In this respect, it can be
said that wu-wei of Taoism is also important like the way of avoiding
extremes known as the Middle Way in some philosophies of the East and
West.
References
Chu Chi & Winberg Chai. (1961). The Story of Chinese Philosophy. New York:
Washington Square Press.
Dhammananda, K.Sri .(1989). How to Live Without Fear &Worry. Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia: Publication of the Buddhist Missionary Society.
Fung Yu-Lan(.1966). A Short History of Chinese Philosophy. New York: A Division of
Macmillan Publishing
Lao Tzu (Chu’Ta-Kao(trans.) .(1960). Tao Te Ching. London: Published for the Buddhist
Society by Gorge Allen & Unicon Ltd
Michael, Page .(1988). The Tao of Power. London: Green prints an imprint of the Merlin
press.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
The Concept of Gratitude in Myanmar Ethical Thought
Lay Nwe
Abstract
The word ‘gratitude’ means the awareness of one’s obligation to another
person who has previously done some act of kindness towards one. From
the Buddhist point of view the Pāli word kataññuta is gratitude. The word
kataññuta consists of two parts: kata means that which has been
especially done to one or to oneself; and aññuta means knowing or
recognizing what has been done to one for one’s benefit. In common
sense, if a person does and repays gratitude to others, he would be
regarded as a morally good person. In this paper, gratitude will be
discussed as a moral concept of Myanmar Buddhist society. Especially,
the focal point of this paper is that the concept of gratitude plays as an
essential role not only in Myanmar Buddhist society but also in every
society in the world.
Key words: gratitude, kataññuta, aññuta
Introduction
The word gratitude is frequently used among people in the world.
There are many definitions of gratitude. In daily life, the word gratitude can
directly be defined as “thanks”. From the Buddhist point of view the Pali
word kataññuta is gratitude. The word kataññuta consists of two parts: kata,
which means it has been done, especially to one or to oneself, and aññuta,
which means knowing or recognizing what has been done for one’s benefit.
Gratitude means the awareness of one’s obligation to another person who
has previously done some act of kindness towards one. Most people accept
that sense of gratitude is one of the characteristics of a good person. With
no one to practice gratitude the situation in a society will be chaotic. Since
man is a social animal, gratitude is very important for social relationship.
Most Myanmar people are Theravāda Buddhists and Buddhist
teachings can be considered as Myanmar way of living. Myanmar people
are serious about gratitude because they have been brought up by the
Buddhist teaching since they were young. In Buddhist philosophy gratitude
is one of the most important concepts. The Buddha explained not only
gratitude is important but the sense of gratitude is also important. The
Tutor, Dr, Department of Philosophy, Yadanabon University
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gratitude practiced by Myanmar people trains them to be cultured and
guides them how to live harmoniously in the society. It can be said that the
concept of gratitude plays an essential role in Myanmar Buddhist society.
Myanmar Thought on Gratitude in Myanmar Poems
It can be studied that most ancient Myanmar poems are
admonitions. Among ancient Myanmar scholars, Shin Mahā Ratthasāra,
Kandaw Min Kyaung Sayādaw, Nyaungpinthar U Pon Nya, Thingazar
Sayādaw and so on are popular in ancient Myanmar society and nowadays
as well. Nyaungpinthar U Pon Nya wrote many poems concerning
gratitude. Among them, one of the famous poems is;
“Ten kinds of khinpoon who should not be wronged
One who wronged them will get ten kinds of sufferings
One knowing the gratitude to khinpoon tastes higher happiness.” 1
This poem said that there are ten kinds of Khinpoongyi (great
benefactors) whom should not be wrong. If one wronged them he may be
faced with ten sufferings. If one knows and practices gratitude to one’s
benefactors he will get a great deal of happiness both physically and
mentally.
According to Buddhist teachings, there are ten great benefactors.
They are (1)Buddha (2) personal Enlightened One (3) Arahat, venerable
monk (4) the chief disciples of Buddha (5) one’s mother (6) one’s father (7)
an honorable person (8) one’s mentor (9) preacher of the Buddha’s
teachings and (10) one’s benefactor.
Among ten great benefactors, the Buddha is the greatest benefactor
because Buddha has supreme compassion and wisdom for the sake of
liberating from samsarā (round of rebirth). He guided living beings who
have a lot of desires of lust, hatred, delusion, etc. And He taught the Noble
way of liberation leading to Nibbāna.
The personal Enlightenment Ones are great benefactors because
they gave human, gods and higher gods to a sort of reward wishing them to
1
yef;wkdifOD;oef;armif (2001)
yef;wkdifpmay? pm-115 /
av mu a&;&mq kH
;rpmysdK
U
u Asmrsm;? &efukefNrdKU?
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87
be fulfilled what they want to attain. All the arahats (Noble One) are also
benefactors because they are the example masters of later generations who
will enter the teachings of the Buddha.
The chief disciples of Buddha preached the Dhamma to living
beings on behalf of the Buddha. So they are the first teachers because they
give good advice to the people to live in the world. So they are the
benefactors. An honorable person, one’s mentor and preacher of the
Buddhist teachings guide the people to think correctly. So they are
considered as great benefactors.
Most Myanmar Buddhist people believe that those who know
gratitude and practice as they know for ten great benefactors will receive
good results both in this present life and next life of existence.
“Pay homage to the parents, benefactors, as a pagoda with
love and respect, cherish the senior relatives respectfully, and
venerate them for peace.” 1
This poem is extracted from Lawkathāra Pyo written by Kandaw
Min Kyaung Sayādaw. Myanmar people believe that one pay homage to
parents and benefactors as a pagoda because pagoda is one of sacred shrines
that should be paid homage in Buddhism. They can give help and guidance
the present life and hereafter. Moreover Myanmar people think that one
should venerate and cherish to the senior relatives respectfully for peace as
well because supporting relatives is one of the obligations in Myanmar
society. One has to support his relatives in a suitable way. Myanmar
Buddhist people are encouraged by Mangala Sutta to support their
relatives. If one repays the debt of gratitude to his parents and benefactors,
then he is considered as a good person. Another famous poem is one of the
poems of Ledi Panita U Maung Gyi,
“Feeling bad with old parents
Paying no attention to them though they were brought up
If no cherishing and feeding them back.It is called a bad person”
1
2
2
OD;jrifhMunf(wnf;jzwf) (1991) jrefr mpmñ T
efY
aygi f;u srf; (yxrwGJ)? &efukefNrdKU?
pmayAdrmeftzGJU? pm-14??
OD;odef;armf(wnf;jzwf) (1953) o H
k;q , fh&S
pfjzmr*F
v maygi f;csK
yf (yxrwGJ)?
&efukefNrdKU? [Hom0wDyd#uwfyHkESdyfwdkuf?pm-239/
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Although a person can support his parents, he actually avoid
supporting and paying attention to his parents. This one is regarded as a bad
one by Myanmar society.
It is possible that one will provide his parents worthily when he
becomes rich but at that time, his parents may have probably died. One is
not necessary to be very rich for repaying one’s debt of gratitude to one’s
parents but he offers whatever thing to one’s parents. He or she is regarded
as a good offspring in Myanmar society.
The poem of five duties of offspring was written by Thingazā
Sayādaw. In this poem, duties to be followed by every offspring are
mentioned. In Myanmar society, it is accepted that every offspring ought to
do this duties in relation to their parents. This poem is;
“To support one’s aged parents.
To manage family business
To behave as worthy son and daughter deserve inheritance
To offer alms and sharing merit in memory of dead person
To mantain the honour and tradition of the family” 1
This poem means that one should support to his parents. While
parents are still living, offspring should perform their duties such as
providing their parents with food, clothing and shelter, cherishing them
tenderly and affectionately. By paying homage to parents and taking care of
them respectfully, members of family can possess the peaceful and happy
life.
One manages not only family's business but also other affairs such
as health, education, social affairs etc. It is accepted that one should perform
all affairs to become better than the status of parents. At the time of parents,
what they were unable to be successful in some affairs the offspring try to
behave these affairs. These offspring are called the persons who deserved
inheritance.
Myanmar people usually accept that the worthy offspring offer alms
and sharing merit in memory of the departed. One should marry another one
1
OD;atmifodef; (wnf;jzwf) (1960) [ H
o m0wD
q kH
;r pmaygi f;csK
yfB
uD
;? &efukefNrdKU?
[Hom0wDykHESdyfwkduf? pm-363/
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
89
who is similar to one’s own family background such as culture, religious
faith and so on in order to keep the values of family and generations.
Just as the gratitude one owes to his parents is infinite, also the
gratitude he owes to his teachers is infinite as well. In this world, the most
important thing for all human beings is wisdom. Wisdom is first acquired
from parents. It is not, however, enough for one. One also has to learn from
teachers. So the teacher must have duties as a teacher, and the pupil also
must be dutiful as a pupil. There is also a poem which is closely connected
with the duties of the pupils;
“To be always on the alert and to live in harmony with
each other
To obey the teacher’s word of advice
To pay respect and welcome the teacher anytime and
anywhere
To be of service to the teacher
To learn, to think, to recite and to read what the teacher
has taught.” 1
This poem was written by Thingazā Sayādaw. The poem is widely
accepted by Myanmar people. This poem encourages all of Myanmar
Buddhist people to keep good relation between teachers and pupils.
A pupil in former days had to serve as close attended to his teacher
for three years at least to gain knowledge. However in the present days, a
pupil learns knowledge from primary school and then colleges and
universities. There are a great deal of gratitude done by the teacher to
pupils. According to Myanmar tradition it is accepted that if one gives a
single knowledge to another, he is regarded as a teacher. So Myanmar
people pay attention to the teacher.
Another one is;
“by deeds of loving kindness; by word of loving
kindness; by thought of loving kindness; by keeping the house
1
OD;atmifodef; (wnf;jzwf) (1960) [ H
o m0wD
q kH
;rpmaygi f;csK
yfB
uD
;? &efukefNrdKU?
[Hom0wDykHESdyfwkduf? pm-363/
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open to them; by supplying them with material needs (such as
alms-food).” 1
The monks exhort people to do good deeds and to restrain from evil.
Moreover they give how to live in a peaceful life. So people are grateful to
monks.
There are another noteworthy poem was written by Nyaungpinthar
U Pon Nya for suggesting the concept of gratitude as follows;
“Repay the debt of gratitude specially
Appreciation can make both benefactor and beneficiary live happy.
Ingratitude makes one pain and poor.
Gratitude makes one wealthy like to be full moon.” 2
This poem suggests that there may be a man who has become a
leader, or a man who has become a rich man, or a man who has claimed the
social ladder, each of them is under obligation to such benefactors like
parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, friends etc. to whom they owe a debt
of gratitude which must be paid for some people realize gratitude to their
benefactors but they have no chance to repay their debt of gratitude. In
Myanmar philosophical point of view, one who realizes the gratitude of
others can experience happiness in both lives here and there after.
It is believed that one who just forgets the debt of gratitude can
experience unsatisfactory conditions. It will be worse for those who destroy
the gratitude to their benefactors. Talking about gratitude is easier but hard
to practice it even property. According to Myanmar Buddhism, everybody
should try to repay what they have owed as much as they can. Generally
most Myanmar people believe that those who repay the debt of gratitude
will bear good fruits in many rebirth of the future till the day realized
Nibbāna.
Myanmar Thought on Gratitude in Myanmar Proverbs
Proverbs are usually introduced in written or spoken language by
words “like as” and “as it were.” They are essentially similes and it is
1
Burma Pitika association(1948). Dīgha Nikāya.Rangoon: Burma Pitika association,
p.444.
2
rmP0
(wnf;Nzwf)
(1985)
ESvkH;vSpmayjzefYcsda&;? pm-95/
qH
k;rpmaygi f;csK
yfM
uD
;?
&efukefNrKdY?
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91
probable. Proverbs are at least as old as the spoken language and almost
certainly older than the written language. Myanmar have enriched and
embellished the literary as well as the everyday styles. Many Myanmar
people still use proverbs frequently, whether in formal speech or in daily
conservation.
Most Myanmar proverbs express human characteristics, human
behavior and human relationship. In Myanmar proverbs, the concept of
gratitude can be found as a Myanmar thought. In Myanmar culture,
gratitude plays a very important role in moral conducts of social
relationships.Myanmar people accept that anyone who should follow to
repay the debt of gratitude and must refrain from ingratitude to their
benefactors.
In one of the famous proverbs, “Kataññuta Katavedi (uwnKw
uw a0'D)”means that a person who knows gratitude and practices as he
knows, it is preached by the Buddha as one of the highest Blessings.
Besides the another proverb, “Feeding is reciprocated by feeds,
tending by tending.”(auR;wkHUauR;vSnfh?arG;wkYHarG;vSnfh) suggests the traditional
belief of Myanmar people who believe that offsprings should repay their
debt to their parents in the latter’s old age. In addition, there are some
famous proverbs mentioned the great gratitude of parents as follows;
“ The gratitude of parents is greater than Mount Meru.”
(rdbaus;Zl; jrifhrkd&fOD;)
“Great is the gratitude of the parents.”
(aus;Zl;BuD;vS rdESifhz)
The gratitude of parents to their offspring is greater than Mount
Meru that is accepted by Myanmar ontology. Myanmar people sincerely
perform the responsibility to repay their debt of gratitude to their parents.
According to Myanmar thought, every man is indebted to the
parents because the parents have done a lot for him since he was young.
Parents in any background and in any religion may do the same thing to
their offspring.
Furthermore, the proverb, “One must be brave when one is fed.”
(olYqefpm;&JrS) shows that if one is fed by parents, teachers and employers
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etc, one should be brave for them who are the benefactors. There are such
people who feed other people by good will without thinking any benefit for
themselves. If we are fed by those people, even though one takes a bit of
rice, one must be brave for them regardless of life as for practicing sense of
gratitude.
In addition, “Even for a mouthful of food eaten, one owes gratitude
to the food giver.” (wvkwfpm;zl; olYaus;Zl;) is a well-known proverb that
means even that if one takes a bit of meal from anyone, one should be
grateful. However, if one is fed by greed, hate and ignorance for persuading
to do what they wanted, one will not feel grateful. When one is fed by a
good will, one will feel whole heartedly grateful. Then they willingly repay
the debt of gratitude.
However, most people try to forget what they have done for others
by patiently. Dishonesty, crookedness and betrayal of trust are bad traits of
human nature, but ingratitude is considered as one of the characters of a bad
person in Myanmar Buddhist society. Contrast to above mentioned proverbs
of ‘gratitude’, there are also the proverbs concerning ‘ingratitude’ as follow;
“Taking shelter in the shade, breaking off branches.“
(t&dyfaeae? tcufcsdK;csdK;)
“It sleeps on leather and gnaws the edges.”
(om;a&ay:tdyf om;a&em;pm;)
These mean that a person makes to be aggrieved to his benefactor
when he is staying with him. In this world, there are a lot of benefactors,
some are animates but some are inanimates. Among them, building is one
of the benefactors. The buildings give the shelter and safe of the human
beings. They support to health as well. Moreover they protect human beings
from bad climate. So the buildings are inanimate; even so, which are
benefactors. There are a lot of benefactors such inanimate matter in the
world. Some people who stay in the buildings owned by the state destroy
those buildings. Myanmar people say that if one takes shelter in the shade,
he should not break off branches. Most Myanmar people accept that
although one took shelter in the shade of a tree in a few moments he should
understand the sense of gratitude of the tree.
“Where there owes gratitude, then there is only alternate way to
be ungrateful.” (aus;Zl;&SdrS aus;pGyf)
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93
“An ungrateful person loses his way.” (aus;Zl;uef; vrf;aysmuf)
It means that if a person is ungrateful to his benefactor then he will
lose his ambitions. According to Myanmar Buddhists, a person does wrong
physically, mentally and verbally by any way, he will face a lot of
sufferings; moreover he will lose ambitions in his life.
These proverbs express that one should not do the behavior of
ingratitude. So the concept of gratitude plays an essential role in Myanmar
thought and it can be decisive factor to a person who is good or bad.
The Concept of Gratitude in Lokaniti and Dhammaniti
The Pali word Niti is equivalent to 'conduct' in its abstract, and
'guide' in its concrete signification. Treatises of Niti are popular in all ages,
and serve as a most effective medium of instruction. The term Niti in
Myanmar is found connected with the following works: the Lokaniti, the
Dhammaniti and the Rājaniti. In this paper, it will be focused on the first
two treatises in order to achieve the aim of research.
The Concept of Gratitude in Lokaniti
The Lokaniti is the literature in which there is so much advice for
the world. It gives broad minded knowledge for the whole world.
According to Lokaniti,
"To dwell in a foul and cramped place is unpleasant. More
unpleasant than this is to dwell with a hated enemy; most
unpleasant of all is to dwell with one who knows not gratitude.” 1
In this sense living with one ungrateful is a greater hardship still
because ungrateful person is most of the time careless for other's gratitude
or other qualities of anyone. Actually, gratitude is closely connected with
other qualities. However, people are more serious gratitude for those who
are in good qualities such as morality and who give advice such as teachers.
According to Buddhism, gratitude is like precious jewels. Every jewel can
be worn by anyone who makes physically beautiful, but the jewel of
gratitude can make everyone mentally beautiful when it is practiced with
heart.
1
U Sein Tu (1962). The Lokaniti. Mandalay University research council publication.
p.129.
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According to Buddhism, we should not destroy not only animate
gratitude but also the gratitude of inanimate. Therefore, one should not
destroy even the branches of the tree under which once one took a rest
because he had much greater hardship in his life. The ungrateful person can
easily break the gratitude of animate and inanimate. So, he is considered as
a bad person.
The man who knows the gratitude is considered as a good man. And
the man who does not know the gratitude is considered as a bad man.
"A person grieves not at all, having put aside anger; the sage
praises the abandonment of hypocrisy; bear with the harsh language of
all: the righteous say that this forbearance is excellent.” 1
Generally good people have a characteristic remembering gratitude
of the others. Particularly, when they are angry with one who is their
benefactor, they are not happy to be angry with such persons. Even when
they are angry with them, they try to remember their gratitude to get rid of
the anger with them. According to Myanmar Buddhist culture, remembering
gratitude of others is one of the ways to get rid of anger. In Lokaniti, it can
be seen that getting rid of the anger, remembering gratitude of others and a
character of a good person are closely connected with one another.
The Concept of Gratitude in Dhammaniti
The Dhammaniti gives all good spiritual values of human being. If
one follows the instructions of Dhammaniti, one will be a good person,
praised by the wise, and will be in success without any interference.
One of the well-known verses in Dhammaniti is;
"That wise man, certainly, who is imbued with gratitude
and knows how to perform a grateful act is a good friend, a
devoted and a staunch one; he does zealously what is necessary
for one in distress: people in this world say that one of such a
nature is a good man." 2
Actually in daily life, everyone must accompany with one or more
friends. It is necessary to find good friends. According to Dhammaniti, one
who knows a sense of gratitude is called a good friend and a wise man.
Therefore, gratitude is an important factor to find a good friend. The
1
2
James Gary (1886) The Niti Literature of Burma, London: Trubner & Co..p.13.
Ibid., p.61.
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95
Buddha is not only a teacher to guide people to Nibbāna but also social
teacher who shows us how to find a good friend. The other verses in
Dhammaniti are,
"A wise man should spurn one who is avaricious irritable,
proud, arrogant, idle, and covetous; he should spurn also one who
is remiss, addicted to drink, slothful, hypocritical, and
niggardly." 1
"One given to sleep, one discontented, one ungrateful,
and one without confidence in himself - these are four never able
to acquire good behavior." 2
In this world, one who neglects gratitude is included in those who
should not accompany, according to Dhammaniti. In Myanmar culture,
most Myanmar people understand the gratitude of parents. They try to help
the parents' activity as much as they can for the debt of gratitude to the
parents because they are well-nourished and brought up by the parents in
different ways when they were young. The Buddha preached the gratitude
of the parents. According to Dhammaniti,
"Compare with a mother's love, the earth is like a
bamboo-leaf, a Cakkavâla like a needle's eye, Mount Meru an anthill, the ocean a water-bowl." 3
Dhammaniti, we can see how much the Buddha was serious about
the mother love. The Buddha sometimes gave example the mother’s love as
Mount Meru, sometimes as Cakkavâla, sometimes as earth and sometime as
ocean. When compared the mother's love with Mount Meru, it is as small as
ant-hill; Cakkavâla is as small as a needle's eye, the ocean is as small as a
water-bowl and the earth is as small as a bamboo-leaf.
Another verse of Dhammaniti also mentions the gratitude of parents
in another point of view as follow:
"Parents are the first teachers of their offspring: they are
spoken of as Brahmas, and are worthy of reverence." 4
In this verse, the parents are the first teachers because all the
children in the world were closely taught by the parents when they were
1
Ibid., p.42.
Ibid., p.107.
3
Ibid., p.115.
2
4
Ibid., p.116.
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young before they attended the school. All the children have to learn at
home what they should do or should not do things right or wrong, good or
bad, correct or incorrect by the parents.
The Buddha compared the parents with Brahmas which is known as
God. In the Buddhist point of view, Brahma is a highest spiritual being
imbued with loving-kindness (Mettā), compassion (Karunā), appreciative
joy (Muditā), equanimity (Upekkhā). The parents are also imbued with
loving-kindness (Mettā), compassion (Karunā), appreciative joy (Muditā),
equanimity (Upekkhā) for the children. So the Buddha compared the parents
with the Brahmas.
Another verse of Dhammaniti is:
"Therefore should they reverence them: they should
honour them by food and by drink, by appeal and by bedding" 1
"By anointing and by bathing, by washing the feet, by
attending to their wants and by waiting upon them, should a wise
man cherish his parents: people will praise him in this existence;
in the next he will find delight in heaven." 2
Because of such highest and profound gratitude of the parents,
Myanmar people believe that offsprings should reverence and honor them,
by supporting whatever they need such as food, clothing and so on. Those
kinds of offspring who provide the parents their necessities will be praised
by the wise and they will experience good rebirth hereafter. Therefore
Myanmar people accept that every offspring should respect and honor to the
parents and take care them as much as they can for repaying the debt of
gratitude they owed.
In Dhammaniti, ten persons are those whom we should not do
wrong and ungrateful behaviors. If one does wrong and he is ungrateful
behavior for them, one will experience bad result in samsarā. The following
statement shows this conception.
"Buddha, a Paccekabuddha, an Arahat, a chief disciple, a
mother, a father, one worthy of reverence, a teacher, a benefactor,
a preacher–these ten by the wise should be known as non
offenders." 3
1
Ibid., p.116.
Ibid., p.116.
3
Ibid., p.104.
2
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97
As the time went on, the way of thinking, the way of behaving and
the way they define such social values are also changed through the
development. In these days cherishing the parents or taking care of them is
not a really essential role for getting a good position of one's job but the
one's skill on his job, education and experience are more important than
fulfilling social duties in the ancient time. However, this sense and practice
of gratitude is still in the heart of the Myanmar people.
The Significant Role of Gratitude in Solving the Ethical
Problems
Ethics is one of the branches of philosophy. It is an attempt to clarify
how people ought to live. It elucidates the nature of a good person and good
life, telling us how to flourish or live well and it characterizes the
obligations we have, enabling us to identify what we must do. Ethics is the
wide ranging study of right and wrong, as well as good and bad, insofar as
these pertain to conduct and character. In this respect, there are five
categories of the concept of gratitude can be defined from the viewpoint of
ethics.
The Gratitude as the principle of “Ought”
There may be three ways concerning gratitude: doing gratitude,
repaying gratitude and doing ingratitude. They exist as the “is”. However
doing and repaying gratitude exist as the “ought”. So, it can be said that
gratitude is the principle of ought.
The Gratitude as the Deontological Principle
A person who keeps promise and knows gratitude on the state is
prescribed by the constitution of a particular country. The country may be
difficult to be governed without the sense of gratitude. If the people are
ungrateful, the country may be in chaos and irrespective of time or era. If
people lack a mutual sense of gratitude towards one another, there would be
something unwanted like a disaster. A person who knows gratitude to the
state is a good citizen.
Myanmar people accept that there are clear obligations they have as
human beings, such as the duty to thank those who helped them. The
Myanmar philosophical thoughts of duties are found in the verse of
Thingazā Sayādaw. In Myanmar society, most people do their duties in
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relation to others such as repaying debt of gratitude. Most Myanmar people
follow these rules of duties. According to Myanmar Buddhist tradition, if
they perform these duties, they are morally good. In Myanmar society, if a
person neglects the gratitude of others, he can be regarded as a bad man.
While a person supports and ministers one’s parents, he should not expect
such good consequences as obtaining inheritance, and achieving great
praise. In the case of repaying and doing gratitude one should do by good
cetanā. So it can be said that gratitude is the deontological principle.
The Gratitude as the Principle of Universalistic View
Everyone ought to act his or her interest but their motives are to
bring about good results to human society. For example, Mother Teresa did
what she wanted (i.e. helping others). According to Buddhist philosophy,
one should not do anything in extreme way. The Buddha preached that there
are three kinds of man who work for the benefits: the first one is working
for oneself alone, the second one is working for the others only, the third
one is working for both oneself and others fairly. However the Buddha
praised the third one who is working for both oneself and others fairly. If
one does an action, he needs to consider the balance between altruism and
egoism. The practice of doing and repaying gratitude is concerned with the
relationship of both one’s member of family and others in society. And
there should be benefactors who are grateful. Only then will a particular
society be at peace and convenience. So gratitude is considered as the
principle of universalistic view which is to work for all including oneself.
Egoism is original in man’s nature, while altruism is connected with
learning or being encouraged by personality. So one should serve a
beneficial work for people including oneself. Thus it can be said that
gratitude is the principle of universalistic view.
Gratitude as the Absolute and Repaying Gratitude as the
Relative
According to Myanmar Buddhist tradition, every offspring must
repay the debt of gratitude to their parents. They should not be ungrateful to
their parents under any circumstance. This doctrine should be accepted as
the absolute. But some ideas cannot be considered as an absolute truth. For
example, people repay the debt of gratitude to their benefactors who either
are good or immoral persons by proper and improper means. One needs to
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99
think critically to do repaying gratitude. If one does not have true
knowledge, one may practice gratitude in a wrong way. In the case of
repaying gratitude, one should notice one’s own benefactor who is either
morally good or bad and should he try to help his benefactor to be a good
person. And he chooses a means of repaying gratitude. In Buddhist
philosophy one must do everything with wise attention.
There is the gratitude in the world certainly. But there may be
various means to repaying gratitude; or there may be many ungrateful
people in the world. So it can be said that gratitude is the absolute; while
repaying gratitude is the relative.
Doing Gratitude as the Principle of Keeping Balance between
“Subjective” and “Objective”
People made to fulfil the aims of themselves and human society in
which they live. This is a form of ethical objective. If one does for what all
human beings need, what makes them beneficial and for fulfilling their
aims, it is called objective. A person does gratitude to one’s family or
relatives or race or country and repays gratitude to his or her benefactors.
On the other hand, one may do gratitude to all human beings or to loka
(world). So, doing and repaying gratitude is objective in one ethical aspect
and it is subjective in another aspect. So it can be said that doing gratitude is
the principle of keeping balance between subjective and objective.
Conclusion
In Myanmar society, a person who knows gratitude can be regarded
as a good person. According to Buddhism, there are five characters of a
good person. Among them, understanding gratitude of others and repaying
the debt of gratitude to the benefactors are essential characters of a good
person. The disposition of the ungrateful man, who does not bear in mind
any good rendered to him, is the character of the wicked person. Knowing
and practicing gratitude is one of the characters of a good man in Myanmar
society.
Most Myanmar people believe that those who know gratitude and
practice for ten great benefactors will receive good result both in this
present life and the next life of existence. Moreover their repaying debt of
gratitude is one of the highest blessings. If a person does not know and
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neglect gratitude to others or he is ingratitude, he can be regarded as a bad
man.
In Myanmar Buddhist society, there may be two aspects in
practicing gratitude. They are Act and Agent. In the aspect of Act, there are
two parts, namely, the characteristics of the Act itself and the consequences.
The Act itself must be good physical deeds, good verbal deeds and good
mental deeds. It means that the act itself must not be morally bad.
The consequences of Act may be good either person concerned or
all human beings. In the aspect of Agent, there are two parts, namely,
intention and wisdom (ñāna). The Agent has to do with good intention
(good cetanā) and he or she to do with wise attention.
In practicing gratitude, one does not violate rights and laws. In
Buddhist philosophy, one must do everything with wise attention and hiriottapa (moral shame and moral dread). In the case of repaying gratitude,
one should notice one’s benefactor who is morally good or bad. If a
benefactor told him/ her to do something for repaying the debt of gratitude,
one should think that it is good or bad. If it is hard to refuse his authority, he
should do with careful consideration. If one's benefactor is a bad person or
immoral person, he should guide a right way to his benefactor. This is a
good man repaying the debt of gratitude. When a person does or repays
gratitude, he or she should do to get good consequences for one’s family or
relatives or race or country. At the same time, one may do gratitude for
welfare of all human beings or for loka (world).
In society when one does gratitude to others; or one repays gratitude
to one’s benefactors, one should not expect anything for one’s. Everyone
ought to do gratitude by good will (cetanā) and to have good results to
human society.
The concept of gratitude as an ethical principle is based on the
Buddhist teachings that indicates how should one practice to be a good
person. Therefore the concept of gratitude plays an essential role in
Myanmar thought and it can be a decisive factor to a person who is good or
bad.
The Basic Education syllabus should invariably be drawn up lessons
on gratitude of animal world as well as of natural world. Then the youths
will realize the essential role of appreciation gratitude and they would be
practiced how to do for the benefits of their surroundings. If people lack a
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101
mutual sense of gratitude towards one another, whatever plans and
programs are set up for their country and whatever is done, will come to
nothing. That is why kataññuta Mangala is essential in human society. So,
gratitude still plays an active role in every society. Nevertheless it should be
considered as a crucial factor for promoting personal virtue as well as
common moral conscience of public sector in order to sustain the
development of social relationship of local and global welfare in the Age of
Knowledge.
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ykHESdyfwkduf/
csrf;[ef? trfat/ (2008)? Ak'p̈mayv mjrefr mh½kd;&m pu m;ykH
r sm;? rEÅav;NrdKU?
omoemawmf xGef;um;jyefYyGm;a&; OD;pD;Xme/
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P mw&m;awmf? tr&yl&NrdK?
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mES
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102
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
okc (2007)?av mu eD
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
Three Major Aspects Relating to the Material Prosperity
Soe Myint Thein
Abstract
This paper, describes whether prosperity of wealth or non-prosperity of wealth
is solely dependent upon the three main factors, namely action (kamma),
wisdom (ñãÓa) and diligence (vīriya). Since the kamma doctrine of the
Buddha is based on these three main primary factors, those factors are
determined through discrimination completely together with the references
and evidences.
Key words: Action (kamma), Wisdom (ñãÓa) and Diligence (vīriya)
Introduction
According to the Buddha's doctrine, all the resultant effects are
caused by causal factors (Yedhammāhetuppabhavā, tesa· hetu·tathāgato
āha, tesaácayonirodho, eva· vādī mahāsamano, ( Vin.Mah¿vagga.1971,51).
The wealth in the present life is the cumulative effect of the one's actions,
foresight, perseverance (kamma, wisdom and effort) in the past and present
lives. Therefore this paper will be devoted to elucidating the relationship of
the causal factor and the resultant effects.
In the CūÊakammavibhaÒga Sutta, the Buddha preached, "Longliving and short-living, poverty and prosperity, ugliness and beauty, etc. are
dependent on the actions of a person in the previous existence. This
preaching is directly concerned with "wealth" which the present paper is
presenting. The extent of the relationship between wealth and kamma,
wisdom and effort will be elucidated. Of the three factors, kamma is the
vital factor while wisdom and effort are supporting factors.
Although kamma is the main or essential factor, without the two
supporting factors of wisdom and effort, the karmic effect may not be
effective. Therefore ManleSayadawgyi wrote a verse as follows:"Sammāsambuddha expounds Kamma is the primary factor."
But to develop prosperity, long-living and happiness, exertion of
wisdom and effort are necessary in the world of humans"
(MahāsutakārīMaghadevaLaÒkā (new) 245).
Assistant Lecturer, Dr., Department of Oriental Studies, West Yangon University.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
The Exalted One expounded that all living beings have kamma as
their own property. Kamma is the main cause. Kamma is the relative.
Kamma is one's only refuge. One performs good or evil deeds. He will have
to inherit those good deeds or bad deeds (UparipaÓÓāsa pāli 1954, 243249).In SubhaSutta, ((UparipaÓÓā pāli 1954, 243-244) the Buddha also
expounded that one sows seeds. He will get fruits from the kind of tree he
sowed seeds. Similarly if a person does good deeds he will have good
results. If he does bad deeds he will have bad results. The basic factor of
kamma and the supporting factors of wisdom and effort will be analyzed
and they will be presented part by part.
Action (Kamma)
The Myanmar word "ka· ” is derived from the Pāli word
"kamma". This word means action, work. The "ka· " that
Myanmar people use has the same meaning as the word "deed"
that the Hindus use(Kan LetSwai. 1980, 5).“Ka· ” is of two
kinds, namely good “ka· ” and bad “ka· ”. The Buddha
preached in the CūÊakammaVibhaÒgaSutta (UparipaÓÓāsa pāli.
1954,243-249)in UparipaÓÓāsapāli, that there are two kinds of
“ka· ”, and that good ka· is resulted from good deeds and the
bad ka· is resulted from evil deeds.
The power of kamma is found to be preached by the
Buddha in SāratthaDīpanīÝīkā and Suttanipāta. Because of
kamma all the creatures came into existence.(Suttanipāta 1972,
379) Due to the power of kamma of all the creatures, the world
of nature came into existence which became the abode of these
creatures (Sāratthadīpanī¸īkā (Pathamobhāgo.¸ .I.1960,287).
Moreover, Kamma has the power to give prosperity(Khuddakapātha
pāli1972, 9-10). The attaining of Aggasāvaka, Mahāsāvaka, Pakati-sāvaka,
the Buddha and Pacceka Buddha is due to the power of kamma
(Khuddakapātha pāli1972, 9-10). For the sentient beings kamma is the only
property they have. They can only receive the inheritance given by the
kamma. Kamma is the only cause. Kamma is able to determine the low,
middle and high station in the life of the sentient beings(UparipaÓÓā
pāli.1954, 243: Trace lediSayadaw’s Maggaªga dīpanī).
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
105
According to SankyaungSayadaw of Shwehintha sylvan glade of
Nyaungdon with reference to Kammasays "at present such religious
buildings as zayat (way side public resthouse), tazaung (prayer halls),
monasteries etc. and other grand buildings built by people. Likewise human
being of the past as well as present existences is created by one's activities
of the past life (Kan Nyan Viriya akyae Let SwaiKyan 1980, 28)."
Moreover kamma determines the lives in the thirty-one planes of
existence. Passing away in those planes of existence is also due to kamma.
Referring to Visuddhi-magga, the world was destroyed by fire, water and
wind. Then it is described that the world was destroyed by weather when
rāga (greed) was prevalent. The world was destroyed by water when dosa
was prevalent. The world was estroyed by wind when moha was prevalent
(Visuddhimagga Aṭṭhakathā.1970, 52). The destruction of the world was not
created by the Sakka, or the Brāhmās, with their power. It is described that
the world was destroyed by the power of the kammas of the worldlings.
That the world was created by the meritorious deeds was referred to
in AggaññaSutta (Pāthikavagga pāli.1986, 66-80) of SuttapātheyyaPāli. One
enjoys good results because of good kamma of the past meritorious deeds.
One suffers bad results because of bad kamma of demeritorious misdeeds.
The Sayadaw described that kamma is like an impartial judge who
administers justice without favouritism.
It is known that kamma cannot be effective beneficially in human
life without the support of wisdom and effort. The kamma can only be
beneficially effective only when a person is endowed with five kinds of
Sampatti (Sammohavinodanī Aṭṭhakathā.1968, 241). Regarding this matter,
Sakka asked a deva to take him to an abode where one can enjoy happiness
without the support of effort and wisdom. Based on this instance, it is
known that even celestial beings and Sakka cannot be wealthy and happy
without exertion of effort and wisdom (Sagāthāvagga nidānavagga pāli.
Moreover,
in
MahādhanaseÐÐhiputta-vatthu
1957,218).
(Dhammapadaṭṭhakathā (Dutiyobhāgo).1992, 81-84.) of Dhammapada
commentary the son of Mahādhana, a wealthy man inherited from his
parents about on hundred crone of wealth because of his kamma for having
performed meritorious deeds in the past existence. This wealthy man died
as a beggar for he lacked wisdom and effort to keep his wealth. Again, there
is another instance of lack of wisdom and effort to keep inherited wealth.
He was faced with many dangers and then was ruined. In SirīJātaka
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(Jātakaṭṭhakathā
(Pathamo bhāgo).1962, Vr.99), a man inherited great wealth
from his parents. But for lack of wisdom, he consulted with a wicked friend.
He became a poor man because he kept a wicked friend.
Therefore, those who want to be rich should not rely on the past
kamma alone. They need to make an effort, making use of wisdom. The
Buddha did not accept the idea to rely on the past kamma in everything.
This is shown in SīvakaSutta (Khandhavagga SaÊāyatana vagga pāli.1957,
428). The Buddha preached in this sutta as follows:"The Venerable Gotama, a living being experiences certain
happiness, a certain suffering or a certain Upekkhā. There are some
SamaÓas and BrāhmaÓas who say these feelings are due to the past kamma.
Venerable Gotama, how do you preach in this case?"
The Buddha preached "In this human world, the feelings are caused
by bile or phlegm or wind or by the combination of these three things, or
the irregularity of climate, or inequality of motion or magical influence of
someone or because of kamma. These causes should be known. Loka, the
nature, can be said as truth. I tell you that the word of SamaÓa or BrāhmaÓa
is wrong who says the feelings are caused by the previous kamma.”
According to the answer of the Buddha, the prosperity, poverty,
success and failure in the present life is not due to only the past kamma but
they are also due to wisdom, effort and circumstances in the present life.
Wisdom (ÑāÓa)
The Myanmar word, "nyan" is derived from the pāli word "ñāÓa".
Its synonymous words are dhi, paññā, buddhi, mati (Abhidhānappadīpikā
1973, vr. 152-153), etc. Similarly the apparent nature of "ñāÓa" is described as
paññā,
pajanānā,
vicaya,pavicaya,
dhammavicaya,
etcin
DhammasaÓgaÓīPāli (Dhammasaṅīgani pāli.1982, 19-20. 25.).
ÑāÓa is found in worldly knowledge and lokuttara knowledge. The
power of ñāÓa and its greatness is described by San KyaungSayadaw as
"ÑāÓa is more deadly than the weapons such as sword, spear, gun, cannon,
motor, etc. It can kill the opposing enemies so that they dare not raise their
heads. In the same manner, the ñāÓa is capable of dispelling the
unwholesome dhammas( Kan Nyan Viriya akyae Let SwaiKyan .1980, 94).
The great power of ñāÓa is thus expounded in the Pāli Buddhist texts.
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107
Inability of ñāÓa to give beneficial effects to man without kamma
and effort is thus described in CāÓakyaNīti text as "Buddhināsāyaadhanaó
(Cāṅakya nīti. 1955, Vr. 91)" (Lack of prosperity is due to lack of ñāÓa).This
expression illustrates inefficacy of ñāÓa in the absence of kamma.
Moreover, in this world, there can be seen people who are successful in
whatever enterprise they are engaged in when their past kamma is strong
and effective. But when the past kamma suppresses, the ñāÓa disappears,
everything becomes disarrayed and a laughing stock of the people. For
example, during the life-time of the Buddha, the Venerable Sudinnathought
that it was not wrong when his former wife came and seduced him to have
sexual relationship. Thereby he committed a defeat offence (Pārājika pāli.
1986, 1). Regarding this matter, it is described in Vajira-buddhisubcommentary
thus
"Kammaparādhasattāna· ,
vināsepaccupatthite.
Anayonayarūpena, buddhimakkammatiṭṭhati (Vajirabuddhi¸ īkā 69)" (When
the time is ripe for destruction, the ñāÓa is dull and something good is seen
as bad and something bad is seen as good." In a similar vein, a person may
be great in wisdom. When he has no past kamma, he is bound to meet with
failure as shown in the GijjhaJātaka (Jātakaṭṭhakathā (Tatiyobhāgo). 1959,
459-461).As described above, without past kamma, ñāÓa cannot be effective.
Similarly without effort the objective cannot be achieved. There can be
success or achievement only when kamma is combined with ñāÓa and effort
(Kan Nyan Viriya akyae Let SwaiKyan . 1980, 109).
Effort (Vīriya)
Effort is the habit of those who are persevering and diligent. In this
world, perseverance and diligence are not the qualities possessed by the
lazy and indolent persons. It is the work of the valiant ones. The meaning of
effort is given in Abhidhan as ussaha, atapa, paggaha, padhana,dhiti
(Abhidhānappadīpikā. 1973, Vr. 135. 156). Regarding the effort, it is described
in JanasandhaJātaka (Sakyarūpa· pure santa·, mayāsippa·nasikkhita·,
kicchāvittiasippassa, itipacchālatappati Jātakaṭṭhakathā (Pathamobhāgo)1962,
Vr.51) that if one does not seek education when young, he will have to
greatly repent when he gets old.Thus "I could seek knowledge when I was
young yet I did not. To earn a living for the one lacking in education is a
great hardship. It is greatly repented for wasting the young life." Moreover,
it is described in Sa· yuttaNikāya that because of perseverance and
diligence one is liberated from poverty[S. I. 1957, 217 (vīriyenadukkhāacceti)]. A
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
fine example to cite is Prince Janaka in MahājanakaJātaka (Jātakaṭṭhakathā
(Pathamobhāgo).VI. 1959, 39-84.). When the ship was wrecked, Prince Janaka
swam in the wide ocean with great perseverance.
The Celestial maiden named MaÓimekhalā asked Prince Janaka,
"Why do you swim in the wide ocean for a long time?" Prince Janaka
replied "The industry of the man who is exerting effort to be liberated from
the present Sa· sāra is never fruitless. Sukha will be attained either in the
present life or in the Sa· sāra. In accordance with the habit of thoughtful
consideration, I swim in the wide, expansive ocean without relinquishing
the industry of a man seeing that there is certain effect. Seeing the good
effect, why should I give up my effort because I do not see the shore?
Whether I see the shore or not, I will not give up my effort." Similarly in the
VaÓÓupathaJātaka(Jātakaṭṭhakathā (Pathamobhāgo). 1959, 122-126.) the effort and
perseverance of the cart caravan chief is exemplary.
Again, the San KyaungSayadaw extolled the great power of effort as
in " The ability ought to be replete to be free from the sufferings undergone
by the denizens in the four miserable reins-hell, animal world, the Peta
world and Asurakāya, the life of the appear, vagabond, vile fellow, varied
and diverse sufferings, anxiety, lamentation, misery, and danger of fire,
waterand robbers (Kan Nyan Viriya akyae Let SwaiKyan 1980, 125.)."The
Sayadaw continued to extol the importance of effort a work or a task cannot
be done by mere thinking. The actual exertion or effort is necessary to get
the work done. The Sayadaw even quoted Hitopadesa text in which he
pointed out that no prey comes into the mouth of a lazy and sleeping lion
[Hitopadesa. Vol.I. 1959, vr.34 (nidānakathā)].
Then again the effort alone cannot give beneficial results to human
beings. It also needs kamma and ñāÓa. Although there is exertion of effort,
if there is no past kamma it cannot give fruitful results. It is elucidated in
SirīJātakastory. In the SirīJātaka, a fire-wood gatherer knew that he would
become a king if he ate the flesh of a fowl. He brought the fowl and had his
wife cook it well. He went into the Ganges river to take a bath before eating
the cooked fowl. While he was bathing in the river, the pot in which the
fowl was cooked got adrift in the river. The elephanteer got the curry pot.
Under the instruction of a hermit who was possessed of Dibbacakkhu, the
elephanteer, his wife and the Venerable hermit ate the fowl curry together.
Accordingly they became king, queen and king's teacher respectively. In
this Jātaka, the fire-wood gatherer was industrious yet he had not the
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
109
kamma. Therefore he could not enjoy kingship as he lacked the kamma
(Jātakaṭṭhakathā. (dutiyobhâgo). 1959, 368-372).
To describe the ineffectiveness of effort without ñāÓa, in
RohiÓīJātaka, the slavewomanRohiÓī of the wealthy man AnāthapiÓ¡ika
saw a mosquito biting on the forehead of her mother. As she lacked the
reasonable thinking, she hit the mosquito with the pestle in her hand thereby
killing her mother (Jātaka. (Pathamobhāgo).. 1962, 11. Jātakaṭṭhakathā
(Pathamobhāgo). 1959, 266-267). In the CūladhanuggahaJātaka, the daughter
of a Taxila teacher, as the saying goes "Smoked fish is thrown away on
seeing a fresh one", killed her bridegroom and followed after a thief. She
lost both the greater husband and the lesser husband when the thief left
her(Jātakaṭṭhakathā (Tatiyobhāgo). 1969, 205-210.).
Moreover, although one possesses diligence but lacks in penetrative
knowledge and has no teacher to teach the method of execution, he will be
like a blind elephant foraging in a jungle without ability to distinguish
between good or bad (Jātakaṭṭhakathā (Tatiyobhāgo). 1959, 343-349).
In summing up, it is warned in SahassaVagga of
Dhammapadagāthā to exert effort thus "Better than a hundred
years in the life of a person who is idle and inactive, is a day in
the life of a person who makes zealous and strenuous effort
(Dhammapada pāli .1972, Vr. 110.)."
Conclusion
In the case of the acquisition of wealth, the process of seeking
prosperity could not be developed if there were no meritorious deeds though
there was so much wisdom and diligence. It can be successful and prosper
only when three conditions are met with, namely action, wisdom and
diligence. Kamma is of two kinds, namely the past kamma and the present
kamma. The actions performed in the previous existences as well as the
actions performed previously in this existence are called “past kamma”. The
past kamma cannot be modified. The present kamma can be improved by
making use of paññā and effort. In fact the present kamma is the fruition of
the paññā and effort. For those who make use of paññā and effort are good
in the present kamma. Thus the past kamma has the chance to bear results.
Then how much past good kamma one has can be assessed by comparing it
to the present kamma. One can be successful and prosper only when three
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4. No. 7
conditions are met with, namely, past kamma, paññā and effort. Although
one is not successful because of the past poor kamma, he should not lose
courage. If he continues to exert his effort using his intelligence, the present
kamma will be improved and he will certainly enjoy the fruit of making
effort and making use of paññā.
Acknowledgement
I would like to express my sense of gratitude to Professor (Retd.) U Tin Lwin,
Department of Oriental Studies, University of Yangon, for his valuable guidance and
supervision.
References
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SuttaNipātaPāli(1972). Yangon: Myanmar Buddha Sāsana Council Press.
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Ācāra, Ashin (1959). Hitopadesa.Vol.I . Yangon: Sudhammāvatī Press.
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Buddhaghosa Mahāthera, Bhaddanta, Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā, Vol. II (1992). Yangon:
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
The Coincidence of Buddhist Ethics in the Tamil Treatise,
the Thirukkural: on Preface
Myint Myint Than
Abstract
The Thirukkural is an ethical work of the Tamil. "Thiru" means holy or
sacred and "kural" is metre. So it is a holy work composed in verse. The
poet is Thiru Valluvar. It is a guiding light to humanity. The text is
composed of 12,000 words. The author used about 50 Sanskrit words and
the rest are Tamil original words. It consists of 133 chapters of 10 verses
each and the total is 1330. It has three parts: Part one is on Virtue; Part
two is on wealth; and Part three is on Love. The preface is under Part one.
It consists of ethics, the praise of Buddha; the blessing of rain; the merit
of ascetics; and the power of Virtue. Being a famous poem, the
Thirukkural has been translated into many languages. It seems that
Buddhism flourished in the Tamil land of South India, Buddhist ethics
are found in the text.
Keywords: Buddhist Ethics, praise of Buddha, blessing of Rain, merit of
Ascetics; Power of virtue.
Introduction
In the preface of the Thirukkural, there found four subjects: the
praise of Buddha; the blessing of Rain; the merit of Ascetics and the power
of virtue. Regarding the praise of Buddha, His attributes are mentioned
beginning with 'Adi Bhagavan'. The word 'Bhagavan' means the Buddha
who is endowed with pure Wisdom. To take refuge in the Buddha,
Dhamma, and etc. is mentioned. Regarding the praise of Rain, people are
related to the ecology. If there is lack of their respective duties, the rain will
not fall and there will be suffering for food. Regarding the praise of
ascetics, they all have to abandon the five sensual pleasures for the sake of
morality, concentration and wisdom. They are endowed with compassion
towards all beings. Regarding the power of virtue, it is advised to do good
things and to abandon the evil actions. In this research the doctrine of do's
and don'ts are mentioned. They are identical to the teachings of the Buddha.
All praise of virtues will be explained as follows:
Lecturer, Dr.,Department of Oriental Studies, Hinthada University.
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The Praise of Buddha
As the preface is the beginning of the book, it gives praise to the
God except Buddhist book. God is praised with attributes such as 'BhagavÈ',
'Buddho' and so on. Then, this word ‘Bhagavā’ means the Exalted one. The
Buddha is a praiseworthy person who gives shelter to the living beings.
Many have to cross the vast and turbulent sea of life. If they take the shelter
of the Buddha, they are able to solve their problems and manage to cross the
sea of life smoothly. This concept can be seen in many suttas. That is
“BuddhaÑ saranaÑ gacchÈmi, DhammaÑ saranaÑ gacchāmi, SamghaÑ
saranaÑ gacchāmi” - “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the
Dhamma and I take refuge in the SaÑgha”.
The first verse states that ‘A’ is the first letter of Tamil (Alphabet),
so Adi Bhagavan is the Exalted one. The rest verses also express the
attribute of the Buddha. The aforesaid account may also be mentioned
briefly as follows:
Bhagavā; One who is endowed with pure knowledge; One who is
without desire and hatred; One who burns away the senses; One who is
unrivalled one; One who is endowed with all virtues; One who is endowed
with eight virtues; One who makes the people free from the cycle of births.
However, the attributes contained in Pāli literature are as follows:
(1)
“Bhagavāti gāravādhivacanaÑ”
Bhagavā means the respectable Teacher, Buddha.
(2)
“Bhagavāti garu, garumhi loke bhagavāti vadanti”.
Bhagavā means the Exalted one in the three worlds.
(3)
“UddhaÑ tiriyam apācìnam, Yāvatā jāgato gati.
Sadevalokassa lokassa, Buddho aggo pavuccatìti”.
The Buddha is called the Exalted One among men including Devas
in the whole world - above, middle, below and across.
(4)
“Sambuddho dvipadaÑ settho”.
The Buddha is the Excellent One among men,
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(5)
115
“Aggohamasmi Lokassa, jetthohamasmi Lokassa, Setthohamasmi
Lokassa”.
I am the chief of the world,
I am the best of the world,
I am the supreme one in the world.
(6)
“YaÑ kiñci vittaÑ idha vā huraÑ vā,
saggesu vā yaÑ ratanaÑ panvìtaÑ
Na no samam atthi tathāgatena,
idhamhi buddhe ratanaÑ panìtaÑ”.
Whatever treasure there is either here or in the world beyond, on
whatever precious jewel is in the world of the deities, there is none
equal to the Accomplished One. In this world Buddha is the
precious jewel.
(7)
“Varo varaññú varado varāharo, anuttaro dhammavaram adesayi”.
The Unsurpassed Excellent One, the knower of the excellent, the
bestower of the excellent, the bringer of the excellent, has taught the
excellent doctrine.
(8)
“TuvaÑ no satthā tva manuttarosi”.
You are our Teacher,
You are the Excellent One.
(9)
“Na me ācariyo atthi, sadiso me na vijjati.
SadevakasmiÑ lokasmiÑ, natthi me patipuggalo”.
There is no teacher for me,
There is even no one like me, in the world including Devas, no rival
to me.
(10)
“EtaÑ kho saranaÑ khemaÑ,
etaÑ saranaÑ muttamaÑ.
EtaÑ sarana māgamma,
sabba dukkhā pamuccati”.
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“Indeed, this is the safe refuge; this is the best refuge. Having come
to this refuge, one is liberated from all dukkhas”.
Concerning the attributes of Bhagavā, as mentioned above it is
explained in a variety of ways in the Mahā Niddesa and Visuddhimagga.
Bhaga means “the six exalted qualities and vanta, being possessed
of”. Therefore the literal renderings of the word is “he who is endowed with
six forms of glory”.The Buddha is called Bhagavā because he is endowed
with the exalted qualities (unattainable by the disciples) namely: (1)
Issariya, (2) Dhamma, (3) Yasa (4) Sirī, (5) Kamma, (6) Payatta.
(1) Issariya (supremacy)
It is the innate power of the Buddha to bend things to his will. It is
of two kinds: supermundane will power and mundane will power.
(2) Dhamma (knowledge of the Nine Supermundane Factors)
The mind factors of the supermundane sphere are the four Maggas,
the Four phalas and Nibbâna, that destroy all defilements so completely that
no faint suggestion of their presence due to past habits remains.
(3) Yasa (fame and followership)
The Buddha’s reputation is pure, unadulterated, unflated. The fame
of the Buddha spreads in the fine material sphere and the sensuous sphere.
The Buddha is praised with the following pali verse:
“O stead fast one!
You are attributed with glorious fame spreading over the three
worlds, purely deserved by you,
O paragon of personal repute!
May this be my humble adoration to you.
(4) Sirī (splendour of physical perfection)
The Buddha is endowed with the thirty two great marks and eighty
small marks. So he is endowed with physical excellence.
(5) Kâma (power of accomplishment)
The Buddha has the power of accomplishment for himself and for
others.
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117
(6) Payatta (diligence)
The Buddha always strived for the welfare of all beings and this
energetic effort is called the glory of Payatta.
Because the Bhagavā possesses infinite glory, infinite merit
(through the Ten perfections), infinite wisdom and infinite power, he is
known as Bhagavā.
The kural guides the people to take shelter of the God is to take
refuge of the Buddha in pāli.
The Blessing of Rain
The Thirukkral expresses the praise of Rain as follows: Rain is
essential for the life process. If rains do not occur in time, there will not be
plants and man will neglect his duties in all respects because of scarcity of
food. Rains make water which falls onto the earth having the cloud
collected the water vapour from the sea. So if there is scanty rainfall from
the cloud, it is the sea as the main source that is blamed for that. Man is
related to the ecology. If there is shortcoming in his duties, he is to be
blamed. If he is careful in discharging his duties in all respects, he can make
rains and bear the wealth. There will be scanty rainfall and not available
food if man lacks his duties.
It is mentioned concerning the Rain in Pāli as follows.
The CariyāpiÐaka and JātakaÐÐhakathā state that to make the rainfall
punctually is to observe the five precepts namely ‘garudhamma sīla’. In the
kuru country, as the king and his people observed the five precepts each,
there was rain-fall; the country was prosperous; and they freed from the
three disasters: the disaster by famine (Dubbhikkhantarakappa), the disaster
by weapons (Satthantara kappa) and the disaster by epidemics (Rogantara
kappa). The king had offered alms-giving of six hundred thousand.
At the same time, there occurred the scanty rainfall in the kaling
country and the people of that country had to suffer for that. Having studied
the cause of the fine weather and prosperity of the kuru country, the king
and the people of that country came to know that they had observed the
garudhamma sīla. So they sent the brahmins to the kuru country to copy the
garudhamma sīla on the gold plate. The brahmins took permission from the
king of the kuru and they copied the garudhamma sīla on the gold plate.
The garudhamma sìla is as follows:
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(1)
Pānona hantabbo-not to kill;
(2)
ādinnaÑ na ātabbaÑ-not to steal;
(3)
kāmesumicchā na caritabbā-not to do sexual misconduct;
(4)
musā na bhanitabbā-not to tell lie; and
(5)
majjaÑ na pātabbaÑ-not to take intoxicants.
As the king and people of the kali~ga country observed the
garudhamma sÊla their country also became prosperous.
The paloka sutta of A~guttara Nikāya states that if the three
misconducts such as lust (Adhamma rāga), greed (visamalobha) and wrong
conduct (Micchādhamma) occur in the beings mostly, there is drought of
rain.
“Manussā
adhammarāgaratta
visamalobhabhibh|tā
adhammarāgarattānam
micchādhammaparetā.
tesaÑ
visamalobhābhibh|tānaÑ
micchādhammaparetānaÑ
devona sambādhāraÑ anuppavecchati tena dubbhikkhaÑ
hoti dussassaÑ setathikaÑ salākavuttaÑ tena bah|
manussā kālaÑ karonti”.
Men are craved by misconduct and greed. They are fortuned by the
unequal greed. They are endowed with misconduct. Thus the rain does not
fall for them who are craved by misconduct, greed, fortuned by the unequal
greed and endowed with misconduct. Therefore famine occurs. The crops
do not grow well. They are destroyed by the insects. They remain in
skeleton. Many people have to die for that reason.
In addition, there are five causes of scanty rainfall as follows:
(1)
ākāse tejodhātu pakuppati.
destruction of tejo element in the sky;
(2)
ākāse vāyodhātu pakuppati
destruction of vāyo element in the sky;
(3)
puna caparaÑ bhikkhave rāhu asurindo
sampaticchitvā mahā samudde chaddeti.
pāninā
udakaÑ
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119
Rāhu Asura throws away the rainfall into the sea having taken in his
hands;
(4)
puna caparaÑ vassavalāhakā devo pamattā honti.
negligence of the gods of Rain; and
(5)
puna caparaÑ bhikkhave manussā adhammikā honti.
The king and his people do not keep the law.
Netti and A~guttara Nikāya state that if the kings do not follow the
dhamma, the people will not follow the dhamma.
Adhammika sutta and JātakaÐÐhakathā state that there will be the
disadvantages such as the rain does not fall in the proper time, short life,
ugliness and epidemic if the kings do not follow the law. In turn if the kings
follow the law, the rain occurs in time, longevity, beauty and freedom from
diseases, etc.
In this way the ethical guides for the people in the kural related with
the Rain mentioned are equal to the Buddhist ethics such as the rainfall in
time, being freed from famine and prosperity of the country if the kings and
the people observe the precepts.
The Merit of Ascetics
Kural states that the five senses should be abandoned by the sages.
As they are noble men, they do the difficulties, they control speech and
anger. As they are endowed with compassion towards all beings, they are
called ‘Anandā’.
To abandon the five senses is mentioned in the Dhammika Sutta,
Suttanipāta, C|lavagga as follows:
“R|pāca saddāca - - - kālena se pavise pātarāsaÑ”.
The monk should enter the place for the alms-food having removed
the visible object, sound, odour, taste and touch which cause drowsiness in
beings.
The Samghabheda Sutta, Udāna, Sonavagga states that to do the
good is easy for the good and it is difficult to do for the evil.
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It is mentioned in the Aññatarabhikkhu vatthu, Dhammapada,
kodhavagga as follows:
“Yo ve uppatitaÑ kodhaÑ, - - - itaro jano”.
“He who restrains his rising anger as a skilful charioteer checks a
speeding chariot -- him I call a true charioteer; other chorioteers only hold
the reins.”
The Nālaka Sutta, Suttanipāta, Mahāvagga states as follows:
“Yo ca jānaÑ saÑyatatto, - - - samunÊ monamajjhagāti”.
"He who knows the dhamma controls his mind. He who knows the
dhamma does not speak much. That monk deserves to attain Arahatship and
he attained Arahatship." Thus the Buddha said.
It is mentioned in the Bālisika vatthu, Dhammapada, Dhammattha
vagga as follows:
“na tena ariyo hoti, - - - ariyo” ti pavuccati”.
“He who harms living beings is, for that reason, not an ariya (a
Noble one); he who does not harm any living beings is called an ariya.”
In this way, as mentioned in the kural that the monks are the noble
ones, they do the difficulties, they could control their speech and anger, they
discard the five senses and they are endowed with compassion towards all
being, they are equally mentioned in the pāli literature that is the monks
have the practices such as to discard the five senses, to control the anger and
speech, etc.
The Power of Virtue
Kural guides to make effort in morality as it is a noble practice.
Morality is mentioned as a practice of the four factors instigating evil acts
(agati): instigated by partiality (chanda); instigated by anger (dosa);
instigated by ignorance (moha); and instigated by fear (bhayâ) are to be
abstrained. It guides to do the merit immediately as it is a requisite for the
death. It is encouraged to do merits repeatedly as it could prevent the one
from the misfortunes in the cycle of births. The peace produced from the
good deed is a real one. In addition it guides that Cāritta SÊla Do's and
Vāritta SÊla Don'ts should be practised.
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121
Concerning sÊla, the four factors instigating evil acts (agati) is
mentioned in the vibhaªga Visuddhimagga, Vinaya and DÊgha as follows:
(1)
chandāgati
- evil is committed instigated by partiality;
(2)
dosāgati
- evil is committed instigated by anger;
(3)
mohāgati
- evil is committed instigated by delusion;
(4)
bhayāgati
- and evil is committed instigated by fear.
The noble ones ‘ariyā’ do not go to those evil acts.
It is encouraged to do the good deeds quickly in the story of
Goghātakaputta, Dhammapada, Malavagga as follows:
“So karohi dÊpamattano, - - - dibbaÑ ariyabh|miÑ upehisi”.
“Make a firm support for yourself; hasten to strive hard; and be
wise. Having removed impurities and being freed from moral defilements,
you shall enter the abodes of the ariyas. (i.e., Suddhāvāsa Brahmā realm)”
In the story of Nandiya, Piyavagga, Dhammapada the merit is
mentioned as a requisite in the next existence.
“Cirappavāsim purisaÑ, - - - , piyaÑ Òāti ca āgataÑ”.
“A man who has long been absent and has returned home safely
from a distance is welcomed with joy by relatives, friends and well-wishers
on his return.”
“In the same way, his good deeds will receive him who has done
good when he goes from this world to the other as relatives receive a dear
one on his return.”
“It is also mentioned as real peace in the story of Mahākappina
thera, Pandita vagga Dhammapada”.
“Dhammapìti sukhaÑ seti, - - - sadā ramati pandito”.
“He who drinks the Dhamma lives happily with a serene mind; the
wise man always takes delight in the Dhamma (Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma)
expounded by the Noble Ones (ariyas).”
“To do good deeds is instructed in the story of Suddhodana,
Dhammapada, Lokavagga”.
“DhammaÑ care sucaritaÑ, - - - asmim loke paramhi ca”.
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“Observe proper practice (in going on alms-round) do not observe
improper practice. One who observes proper practice lives happily both in
the world and in the next.”
“Uttitthe nappamajjeyya, - - - asmim loke paramhi ca”.
“Do not neglect the duty of going on alms-round; observe proper
practice (in going on alms-round). One who observes proper practice lives
happily both in this world and in the next.”
Thus concerning morality as mentioned in the kurral such as the
four factors instigating evil acts (agati) are to be abstrained; and to do good
deeds are the morality of the righteous ones; the good deed is to be the
support in the next existence; to do the good deeds quickly; the good deed is
to be a real one; to abstrain from the evil deeds and to do good deeds are
equal to the morality as mentioned in the pāli literature.
In the preface of kural, it is mentioned that as the one who takes
shelter in the God can cross the sea of births so it is also mentioned that
there is no refuge except the Buddha in the Pāli literature. On praising Rain,
kurnal mentions that men cannot fulfil their duties without rain. If there is
scanty rainfall, there will be the disaster of famine. In the Pāli literature, if
the men are lack of their duties, there will be scarcity of water and they have
to suffer from famine. On praise of the sages or monks, it is mentioned that
they should be endowed with morality and they have to abstain from the
five senses.
In Pāli it is mentioned that Cāritta SÊla (Do’s) and Vāritta SÊla
(Dont’s) should be practised.
Therefore it can be said that the ethical guides mentioned in the
kural are equal to the Buddhist ethics mentioned in the Pāli literature.
Discussion and Conclusion
The Triukkural is a wisdom text (niti). It teaches the ascetics,
monks, kings, ministers and citizens to become good ones. It is like the
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
123
Dhammapada which guides every one of any religion or non-religion to
lead a good life. In the praise of God, everyone can have to take refuge in
his or her respective God. For the Buddhists, have to take refuge in the
Buddha and to follow His teachings. The Buddha can save all worldly
beings to be free from the cycle of rebirths. All have to do their individual
duties. These are mentioned in the Si~gāla Sutta and others in Buddhism.
The monks are to control the sensual pleasure to be endowed with morality,
concentration and wisdom. Concerning the kamma is also found. To do
merit and abandon demerits are also mentioned. So the coincidence of the
Buddhist ethics and the Thirukkural can be seen in the Tamil wisdom
poetry.
References
The following texts refer to the Chatthasa~gayanā edition printed in Buddha Sāsanā
Council Press, Yangon, Myanmar:
A~guttara Pāli, Vol, I,II,II, Vol. II . Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
C|laniddesa Pāli, Vol. II . (1960). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs. 1960
Cariyāpitaka Pāli, Vol. II (1991). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
SÊlakkhandhavagga Atthakathā, Vol. II (1955). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
Jātaka Pāli, Vol, I,II, Vol. II(1959). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
Khuddakapātha Pāli, Vol. II(1992). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
Udāna Pāli, Vol. II (1958). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
Mahāvagga Pāli, Vol. II (1958). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
Parivāvagga Pāli, Vol. II (1958). Yangon: Department of Religious Affairs.
Bapat, P.V and other scholars (1997). 2500 Years of Buddhism, Published by the Director
Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Government of India Patila House, New Delhi.
Bharati, Shuddhananda (1968). Thirukkural Translation, The South India Saiva Siddhanta
Works Publishing Society, Tinnevelly, Limited.
Das, G.N (2000). Readings from Thirukkural, Abhinav Publication, 2000 Indian Gyan,
Com Pvt Ltd.
Department for the promotion and Propagation of the Sāsanā (2001). The Teaching of the
Buddha (Higher Level) Volume I, Myanmar.
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Dhammananda, K.Sri (1988). The Dhammapada, Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society ,
123 , Jalan Berhala, 50470 , Kula Lumpur , Malaysia.
Mya Tin, Daw (1993). The Dhammapada, Department for the Promotion and Propagation
of the Sasana, Yangon, Myanmar.
Satguru Sivaya Subramunlyaswami (2000). Sangan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,
2000, Himalayan Academy Publications.
Vaiyapuri, Pillai (1956). History of Tamil Language and Literature (beginning to 1000
AD.) New Century Book House 199, Mount Road, Madras -2.
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(r*dkvrf;) &efukefjrdK./ Translation From English into Burmese.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
A Critical Study of Responsibility in Theravāda Buddhist
Philosophy
Tun Pa May
Abstract
In Buddhist thought, the personality of an individual is identified with
what his or her kamma makes of it. This paper is an attempt to solve the
problem of why Theravāda Buddhist thought responsibility is an essential
element of human dignity. Theravāda Buddhist thought recognizes the
crucial role of the decisions of the individual man and emphasizes ‘SelfReliance’. In this paper descriptive and evaluative methods are used. The
principle of reciprocity is applied to show that man can fulfil his sense of
dignity and integrity through responsibility. In Theravāda Buddhist
thought, man should put into consideration the classical distinction
between merely living and living well. To live just for the sake of living
will not lead to a worthy life. So, this paper tries to present the fact that
our mode of living should contribute to spiritual good as well as to the
good of society.
Keywords: human dignity, self-reliance, responsibility, Kamma.
Introduction
The problem of the role of responsibility is important for all men
and it demands an idea that is in accord with the solution. Physical wellbeing and subsistence are basically important for all men because these are
the most necessary goals and without them, one can do nothing. But, it is
more appropriate and essential for a man that man should live with the
knowledge of his responsibility because it contributes to a virtuous life.
The problems which are attempted to be solved by the philosophers
of the West and East are almost the same. But, since the cultures are
different, there are differences in solving the problems. Sometimes, man’s
status in society is often being judged by the material wealth he has
accumulated in life. In ancient times as well as in modern times, people
used to hold the view that material wealth is important for men. But some
observe that this is a narrow and destructive view of human life. Some
philosophers tried to set up a scale of goods of the mind, character and
health. This is in agreement with the popular saying which is explained in
Tutor, Department of Oriental Studies, Hinthada University
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
the book of “The Purpose and the Goal of Life” by Dr. Min Tin Mon as
follows:
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost,
something is lost; when character is lost, everything is lost.1
Hence, in Myanmar Buddhist thought the character of man
constitutes the most important and the most pressing practical problem of
all philosophical problems since it concerns all men so intimately. In the
history of philosophy, philosophers have made various attempts to define
what man is, what man’s authentic existence is and what the values in his
life are, because the task of philosophy is to examine the nature, meaning,
purpose and dignity of man.
Theravāda Buddhist thought accepts that responsibility is important
in moral values. The Myanmar Buddhist criterion of responsibility is an
essential element of moral development and character progress in Myanmar
society. It can be said that responsibility is traditionally accepted in
Myanmar society. It is accepted to be the driving force in Myanmar culture.
That the moral concept of responsibility is essential is substantiated by
Paticca-Samuppāda (Law of Dependent Origination), the law of Kamma,
the five precepts and four cardinal values.
Paticca-Samuppāda (Law of Dependent Origination)
Theravada Buddhist thought believes in the principle of “Ye
"r®m a[wkyÜb0g), “Ye dhamma
dhammâ hetuppabhava” (a,
hetuppabhava” which means that everything is conditional. The “condition
or cause” which Buddhism believes in is not supernatural. It means that
everything happens in accordance with the related condition. It also believes
in “life circle” or “ocean of existence”. It believes that there is causal
relation between everything, whether it is nature or human life.
In Theravāda Buddhist thought there are twelve causal relations
which explain the conditionality and dependent nature of uninterrupted flux
of manifold physical and mental phenomena of existence. It explains how
each individual is involved in the wheel of existence undergoing the rounds
of rebirths and misery in the long chain of existences. Myanmar Buddhism
calls it “Samsāra”. According to Buddhism, all physical and mental
phenomenons are conditional. The arising of a phenomenon depends on a
specific condition. According to “Paticca-Samuppāda”, action takes place
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127
through twelve factors and these factors are: (1) There is a cause for jarā
and marana, ageing and death. (2) Jarā and marana, ageing and death, are
due to jāti, new existence. (3) Jāti, new existence, is due to bhava, the
kammic causal process. (4) Bhava, the kammic causal process, are due to
upādāna, clinging. (5) Upādāna, clinging, is due to tanhā, craving. (6)
Tanhā, craving, is due to vedanā, sensation. (7) Vedanā, sensation, is due to
phassa, contact. (8) Phassa, contact, is due to athtāyatana, six organs of
cognitions. (9) Athtāyatana, six organs of cognition, is due to nāmarūpa,
mind-and-body. (10) Namarūpa, mind-and-body, is due to viññanā,
consciousness. (11) ViññāÓa, consciousness, is due to sa~khÈra, volitional
activities. (12) sa~khÈra, volitional activities, is due to avijjā, ignorance.2
Thus it is believed that life is continued by law of cause and effect
and then man receives the good and the bad in accordance with his actions.
The Law of Kamma
Theravada Buddhist thought emphasizes the role of an individual’s
action and responsibility as a dignity of man. It accepts the law of kamma. It
can be applied to human problems and looks at man as a being who is
responsible for his actions and that man’s actions are determined by the law
of kamma. Each person has to develop himself and to work out his own
emancipation, for man has the power to liberate himself from all bondage
through his own personal effort and intelligence. Everyone should do his
work, for the Buddha who has discovered the Truth only teaches the way.
The Buddha teaches the principle of individual responsibility and freedom.
This freedom is necessary because, man’s emancipation depends on his own
realization of Truth.
According to Myanmar Buddhist thought, man is not thrown into the
world by chance or by created by a supernatural being. Man comes into
being in this world by his actions or deeds which he himself did in the past.
On the other hand, man is born in this world because of his own craving and
attachment. So, man cannot be separated from his own kamma, self-reliance
and responsibility.
For Myanmar Buddhist thought, man is made up of matter and
mind. Mind is composed of four aggregates such as feeling, perception,
mental formation and consciousness. According to it, in the mental
formation Cetanā is the most important one which co-ordinates the other
mental factors. Cetanā is a mental potentiality which together with man’s
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consciousness is like a commander-in-chief who fulfils its responsibility
and regulates the work of others as well. Cetanā fulfils its own function and
regulates the function of other mental factors associated with it. Cetanā
plays a predominant role in all actions of man. Man’s Cetanā creates the
will, volition, intention, motivation, conation, drive, stimulus, disposition,
determination, effort, choice, etc. Since Cetanā stimulates the mind, so man
is committed by deed, speech and thought. Therefore Cetanā, mental
potentiality, is called Kamma.
Myanmar Buddhist thought accepts that kamma is intimately related
to merit. Kamma refers to volitional action, of which there are two types,
one is Kusala (good) and the other is Akusala (bad). Kusala kamma or good
kamma produces merit for which there is favorable or pleasurable
retribution and while akusala kamma or bad kamma produces demerit for
which there is unfavorable or unpleasant retribution. Hence, one’s fate is
determined by his kamma and one’s life is the consequence of his own prior
action (kamma). Myanmar Buddhist thought not only believes in the endless
cycle of births and rebirths but also accepts that human may not always be
born as human and they may be born as celestial beings or as lower forms
of life. Anyone can be born again as an animal or an insect.
Believing in this law, Myanmar Buddhism accepts that each living
being is the result of his deeds, words and thought throughout the cycle of
birth and rebirth till they are liberated and attain Nibbāna. According to
Buddhism, depending on one’s kamma man is born and dies again and
again as sentient beings. Men are trapped in this cycle of birth and rebirth
because of their ignorance and false understanding of reality. Theravāda
Buddhist thought accepts that what they suffer is due to their own kamma,
their own misdeeds. So an individual bears sole responsibility for what he
does (kamma).
Myanmar Buddhism accepts that the law of kamma plays a key role
in a man’s ethical life. So the law of kamma is the heart of Myanmar
Buddhist ethics. Buddhism accepts that man has responsibility because each
action leads to another and this goes on throughout the “cycle of existence”;
“life cycle” or “ocean of existence”.
In Myanmar Buddhist thought, involuntary, unintentional or
unconscious actions, though technically deeds do not constitute kamma,
because of volition (Cetanā), the most important factor in determining
kamma, is absent. Kamma does not necessarily mean past actions. It
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129
embraces both past and present deeds. One’s present lot, whether it is good,
bad or indifferent, is the result of past deeds. The deeds of the present and
some of the past will be the cause of pleasant or unpleasant situations in the
future.
The Five Precepts and Responsibility
In Myanmar Buddhism, Samsārā is characterized by a continuum of
pleasure and pain. This differential distribution of pleasure and pain is a
direct retribution for action performed. According to the law of kamma,
action performed in conformity with Buddhist precepts produces well
whose kammic recompense is a pleasant rebirth. Conversely, action, which
violates the Buddhist precepts produces bad, whose kammic retribution is a
bad rebirth. So, according to Myanmar Buddhism, the merit obtained from
conformity with precepts leads to a better existence and to live in
accordance with the five precepts which is an important source of merit.
Good moral deeds and bad immoral deeds exist in life. Good begets
good, and bad begets bad. As one sows, so one shall reap. In verse 119 of
Dhammapada the Buddha gives noble guidance for all persons as follows;
Those who have committed evil may have enjoyment and
happiness so long as their immoral deeds do not yet mature.
In this period they look blissful. However, when evil deeds
become time to mature, to bear-suitable fruits these bad
persons experience various kinds of sorrow and suffering.
Conversely in the Dhammapada verse 120 the Buddha gives noble
guidance for all persons as follows:
A man may find pleasure in evil as long as his good has not
given fruit, but when the fruit of good comes then that man
finds good indeed.
Although good persons have done good deeds, they experience poor
condition so long as the good deeds do not yet ripen. However, when such
good deeds have ripened, they experience happiness of good action.
Understanding the law of kamma teaches man self-reliance and sense of
responsibility because what one enjoys or suffers is a result of one’s
own kamma (own deeds). So man should try with self-reliance and
responsibility to keep his dignity. Besides if man believes in the five
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precepts and abides them then he serves his responsibility. By abiding sÊla
he can keep his dignity.
The precepts (Sīla) which comprise the core of Myanmar Buddhist
morality include three sets of prohibitions which are a minimum set of five,
and an expanded set of eight or ten. The five precepts, which are incumbent
on every Myanmar Buddhist, include abstention from killing, stealing, illicit
sexual relations, lying, and imbibing any intoxicant conductive to
“slothfulness”.
The Meaning of Precept
The word of 'precept' is defined by Mingun Tipitakadhara Sayadaw
in the book of “Obeisance and Taking the Precepts”as follows:
The precept means sikkhāpada. Sikkhāpada is code of
conduct. The code of conduct to be practiced is threefold:
precept, concentration and wisdom. These threefold, codes
of conduct to be practiced, are: (1) Sīla-sikkhā: precept to
be practised (2) Samādhi-sikkhā: concentration to be
practiced (3) Paññâ- sikkhā: wisdom to be practised
According to Sayadaw, one will not succeed if one practises
concentration and wisdom without abiding the percepts. Precept is like the
earth. All enterprises to be successful need to be firmly established on the
ground of precept. Thus precept is the base for the upper stages of
concentration and wisdom. Myanmar Buddhism asserts that all of our
thoughts, our speeches and our actions are directed by our mind. But our
mind seems to be not very powerful. This is so because our mind is not
concentrated but dispersed, not clear but defiled by ignorance (moha),
craving (lobha), anger (dosa) and other defilements. So, the first step in
purifying the mind is to observe the five precepts. These five precepts
constitute the basic moral training (or) the first stage in the noble way of
life. In Myanmar Buddhism, moral training seems to be very simple and
easy to practise. Yet it bears great significance and it is not as easy to
practise as one thinks.
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Establishing the Five Precepts
The first precept is Pā÷ātipātā Veramani Sikkhāpada½
Samādiyāmi. It means that one can establish, accept and practise the precept
by abstaining from killing and taking one’s life.
The second precept is adinnādānā Veramani Sikkhāpada½
Samādiyāmi, It means that one can establish, accept and practise the precept
by abstaining from taking what is not given to him by the owner.
The third precept is Kāmesu micchācārā veramani sikkhāpada½
Samādiyāmi. It means that one can establish, accept and practise the precept
by abstaining from misdemeanor in sexual relations.
The fourth precept is Musāvādā Veramani Sikkhāpada½
Samādiyāmi. It means that one can establish, accept and practise the precept
by abstaining from speaking falsely.
The fifth precept is Surāmeraya majjhappamadatthānā Veramani
Sikkhapada½ Samādiyāmi. It means that one can establish, accept and
practise the precept by abstaining from taking intoxicants.
To abstain from killing any sentient being is a noble way of
cultivating loving-kindness, forbearance, patience, forgiveness, courage,
justice and other virtues. For Theravāda Buddhist thought, Man does not
like to be killed by others for all sentient beings love themselves and all are
afraid to die. It is unjust to kill other beings. Killing is performed under the
influence of ignorance and anger. Ignorance here means being ignorant of
the law of kamma. Since Myanmar Buddhism believes in the law of kamma,
man must control his anger and abstain from killing. So to abstain from
killing is one of the best forms of self-control, and it is an act of goodwill to
let all beings live in peace.
The same kind of reasoning can be applied to the remaining four
precepts. It is unjust and degrading to steal the property of others and to
take what is not given to him. The person whose property is stolen will be
sad and the peace in the community is disturbed. So, to abstain from
stealing is an act of courtesy and goodwill to the community, and it is also a
form of self-control, restraining one’s greed and covetousness. Furthermore,
if everyone abstains from killing and stealing, from committing sexual
misconduct, from lying and cheating and from indulging in intoxicants, then
everybody will be happy, and the whole community and the whole world
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will be at peace. So, abiding by the five moral precepts constitutes the
foundation of morality. So, the happy and peaceful life of everybody and of
the whole community and the whole world depend on man’s responsibility
and self-control.
In order to fulfil his responsibility man should not only abide
precepts but also four cardinal values. If a man holds the moral precepts and
the four cardinal values, he has fulfilled his responsibility. At the same time
his action is an act of courtesy and good will to the community.
Consequently he is a dignified person. Therefore, everyone should know
how to behave, especially, how he should fulfill his responsibility which
leads to dignity. Everyone wants his life to be peaceful and stable. The five
precepts are basic values to practice moral uprightness. If everybody
maintains and preserves himself with the five precepts then the whole of his
community would be peaceful and stable. Myanmar Buddhist thought
believes that man’s life is like bubbles in water in the life cycle and if he
cannot live by a peaceful life then his life is meaningless. So Myanmar
Buddhists believe that resolution of life problems depends on the values that
man holds.
According to Myanmar Buddhist thought, in order to obtain a
pleasant human life in this world only Dāna (giving), Sīla (taking and
keeping moral precept), Bhāvanâ (mental development or meditation)
Samādhi (concentration) and Paññâ (knowledge) are not sufficient without
abiding the four cardinal values. For example, if it stands at the prow then
the stern is bow (or) if the stand in the stern then the prow is bow as a boat.
So, according to Myanmar Buddhist thought, in order to fulfill one's
responsibility and to be in harmony with society man should try to build up
one’s character or one’s intelligent which is based on the four cardinal
values.
Four Cardinal Values and Responsibility
According to Myanmar Buddhist thought it is essential that man
must fulfil his responsibility to get benefit for him as well as for others. In
Myanmar Buddhist thought, an individual has to fulfil his responsibilities;
these are responsibility of a child, responsibility of parents, responsibility of
a teacher, responsibility of a husband, responsibility of a wife, responsibility
of master, responsibility of servants or employees, responsibility of a friend,
responsibility of a householder, responsibility of a holy monk and
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
133
responsibility of a lay follower, etc. Man has to fulfil these responsibilities
in his life step by step. In doing so, it is necessary to go along with the
values of life which lead to his dignity. One has to live in accordance with
Brahmā Vihāra. Brahmā Vihāra means the four cardinal values which are
essential for a man's life.
Theravāda Buddhist thought strongly accepts that abstaining from
killing and making effort to prolong life of others depends on the concept of
mettā. Mettā means loving kindness, Karu÷ā means compassion, Muditā
means joy in other’s good fortune, and Uppekhā means equanimity.
Myanmar Theravāda Buddhist thought believes that these basic values are
norms. These values can be applied as norms in fulfilling the responsibility
of man.
According to Visuddhimagga, loving-kindness or Metta is
characterized as the aspect of welfare. The function of mettā is to prefer
other people's welfare. It sees lovable aspects in all beings.
Compassion or Karu÷ā is characterized as a way of allaying
suffering. The function of compassion is to sympathize with the sufferings
of others and to help them. It is to help others in their misfortunes. It is to
help others to overcome suffering.
Gladness or Muditā is joy in the success of others. It is sympathetic
or appreciative joy which tends to destroy jealousy. The way for developing
Muditā is the same as that for developing loving-kindness and compassion.
Equanimity or Uppekhā means an equally balanced mind taking a
neutral attitude without discrimination. One should develop by reminding
oneself that it is equanimity: sabbe sattâ kammassaka, which means that the
state of all beings is determined by their individual kamma. Either good or
bad depends upon their own actions done in the past as well as present
which bring happiness or misery. These actions bear fruits as resultant
effects which have inherited according to the law of kamma. These four
principles are the moral foundation of man. At the same time these are the
values which can be applied as norms to fulfill the responsibility of man.
According to Buddhism, a man of virtue has a strong desire for the
welfare of all beings. Buddhism maintain that beings are interrelated and
interconnected and also realize that the concept of mettā is a most
appropriate state of mind which can guide Myanmar people in their
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relationship with the world and other sentient beings. In these four cardinal
values mettā must be extended to all beings.
Conclusion
Theravāda Buddhist thought states that man has the responsibility to
fulfill. In order to fulfil one's responsibility one should follow the four
cardinal values and five precepts. By doing so, man can fulfil one kind of
his responsibility to bring peaceful and pleasant community. Only if man
has good character he can try to give pleasure to living beings and nonliving beings. Hence a man should try to have a good character so that he
could carry on the welfare for others. Therefore, another kind of
responsibility is man’s effort to have a good character.
First, this paper tries to consider the social dealing of man and his
human environment. In fact, although a man develops mettā only in himself
he cannot be said that he has taken full responsibility, because he needs to
serve the welfare for the whole community and environment. For Myanmar
Buddhism, man cannot live alone. He has to live by the support of his
environment. So it is important for a man to know that he has responsibility
to know the gratitude of his environment. His environment consists of both
living beings and non-living things. Therefore, man is responsible for the
welfare of his nation. In doing so, he can preserve the welfare of his
environment and repay the gratitude of his nation and his state and his
environment. If a man can construct only for his own life then it cannot be
said that he fulfils his responsibility as a man. Furthermore, this man is no
more valuable than that of a tree, upon which many birds rely and stay.
Myanmar Buddhism believes that it is an intrinsic value for a man to
act for the benefit of his own life as well as to conserve the welfare of
others. When a man fulfils his responsibility he has to know that there is
interrelation between others and him. In the field of health, doctor and
patient, in the field of economics, seller and buyer, in the field of
sovereignty, the government and citizens, in the field of society, one and his
friends (or) associates, and in the field of education, teachers and his pupils,
are interrelated with each other. Man cannot live alone so that he has
responsibility to fulfil in his community and environment.
Hence man has to take the full responsibility in his life. These are
responsibility of children, responsibility of parents, responsibility of pupil,
responsibility of teacher, responsibility of husband, responsibility of wife,
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
135
responsibility of a servant, responsibility of a master, responsibility of a
friend, responsibility of a householder, responsibility of a lay follower,
responsibility of a holy monk, responsibility of citizens, responsibility of a
government.
Myanmar Buddhist thought accepts that responsibility is an essential
element of human dignity. Theravāda Buddhist moral values urge that man
should realize that his responsibility can lead to a peaceful and happy life
for himself, his environment and mankind. To be a good citizen, man must
understand his responsibility. But, it is more important for a man how to
live with the knowledge of reality. Myanmar Buddhist thought believes that
since all men are artisans of their future it is essential for a man to control
himself with the sense of responsibility. It also believes that although man
cannot be free from mistake, it is essential to abstain from these mistakes as
much as he could. So a man who wants to live with dignity must take
responsibility completely realizing that responsibility is a dignity of man. If
he does not fulfil this, then he may be engulfed in overwhelming despair at
the meaninglessness of life. Believing in the law of causality or Law of
Kamma, establishing precepts and holding Brahma Vihāra, man can fulfil
his responsibility. These are the steps to build up ones’ moral life. In this
way, man can accumulate good Kamma till he achieves moral perfection or
Nibbāna. These are the responsibilities man has to fulfil and it is the dignity
of him.
References
Frechtman Bernard. (1974). Existentialism. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc.
Frost, Jr. (1942). Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers. New York: Garden City,
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Hla Pe, Dr. (2004). The Myanmar Buddhist: His Life from the Cradle to the Grave.
Yangon: 33 Street (middle block).
Mahanidana Sutta. Maha Vagga (2003). Digha Nikaya. Yangon: Myanmar Pitaka
Association. Myanmar.
Mingun Tipitakadhara Sayadaw (2006). The Safeguard of the Discourse on Loving
Kindness. Yangon: No. (12), Sacawar Street, Tipitaka- Nikârâ Press.
Mingun Tipitakadhara Sayadaw (2006). Obeisance and Taking the Precepts. Yangon: No.
(12) Sacawar Street, Tipitaka- Nikârâ Press.
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Mingun Tipitakadhara Sayadaw (2006). The Three Refuges and the Five Precepts. Yangon:
No. (12) Sacawar Street, Tipitaka- Nikârâ Press.
Mya Tin,Daw. (1995). Dhammapada. Yangon: Pitaka Association Press. Myanmar.
Spiro, Melford E. (1970). Buddhism and Society. New York: Evanston, San Francisco,
London, Haper & Row, Publishers, Inc.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
A Comparative Study of Self-Esteem between Normal
Students and Students Who Have Problem-Behaviour
Proneness in High Schools
Ni Ni Lwin
Abstract
The primary purpose of this study was to compare the self-esteem
between normal students and students who exhibit problem behaviour
proneness in high school. This study also attempted to develop a
Myanmar version of the Mandalay Self-Esteem Inventory (MSEI) and
Teacher's Rating Scale of Problem-Behaviour (TRSPB). Based on the
Sociotropy-Autonomy Scale originally developed by Beck and colleagues
(1983) and the Contingencies of Self-worth Scale originally developed by
Crocker and colleagues (2001), the MSEI was developed. In addition, the
correlation between academic achievement, self-esteem and problembehaviour were investigated. The participants were 276 high school
students and 88 teachers from Basic Education High Schools in Magway
and Monywa. The final version of the MSEI consisted of 57 items and
the TRSPB consisted of 20 items. The reliability coefficient of the MSEI
was found to be 0.87. The validity coefficient of the TRSPB was found
to be 0.88. As a result, problem-behaviour proneness group had lower
self-esteem than the normal group. Problem-behaviour was significantly
negatively correlated with self-esteem (r = −.16, p < .01) and sense of
significance (r = −.15, p < .05), but not with social competence (r= −.11,
ns) and autonomy (r = −.01, ns). It was also found that problembehaviour was significantly positively correlated with feelings of
inadequacy (r = .20, p < .01). Moreover, students' academic achievement
was significantly positively correlated with their self-esteem (r = .13, p <
.05) and negatively correlated with problem-behaviour (r = −.39, p < .01).
Key words: Mandalay Self-esteem Inventory, feeling of inadequacy,
sense of significance, social competence, autonomy
Introduction
The primary purpose of this study was to compare the self-esteem
of normal students and that of the students who have problem-behaviour
proneness in high school. This study also examined how self-esteem
manifests in their behaviour and what factors influence the self-esteem of
problem-prone students.
Associate Professor & Head, Dr., Department of Psychology, Monywa University
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Self-esteem is defined as a global attitude toward the self
(Rosenberg, 1965). Self-esteem (or self-regard), is an evaluative measure of
our self-image, that Coopersmith (1967) terms "a personal judgment of
worthiness, that is expressed in the attitudes the individual holds towards
himself". These personal evaluations will be based on the values of the
social groups, and the society. When one of the personal characteristics that
make up our self-ideal, fails to match that corresponding quality, which we,
through society's eyes have placed in our ideal-self, there is a fall in selfesteem. Campbell (1981) found that self-esteem was the most important
predictor of subjective well-being. According to Higgins (1989), our selfesteem is defined by the match between how we see ourselves and how we
want to see ourselves.
For many personality theorists, such as Carl Rogers, the selfconcept represents the single most important aspect of one's total
personality (Benesch & Page, 1989; Lynch, Norem- Hebcisen, & Gergen,
1981). Much of the research on individual differences in self concept has
concentrated on how people evaluate themselves — self-esteem. In part,
self-esteem depends on how closely an individual perceived self
characteristics match his or her concept of an ideal self (Moretti & Higgins,
1990). Of all the attitudes we hold, this central attitude about self is
probably the most important.
For most adolescents, low self-esteem results in only temporary
emotional discomfort (Damon, 1991). But in some adolescents, low selfesteem can translate into other problems (Du Bois, Felner, & Brand, 1997;
Zimmerm, Copeland, & Shope, 1997). Low self-esteem has been implicated
in depression, suicide, anorexia nervosa, delinquency, and other adjustment
problems (Fenzel, 1990, Harter & Marold, 1992). The seriousness of the
problem depends not only on the nature of the adolescent's low self-esteem
but on other conditions as well. When low self-esteem is compounded by
difficult school transitions or family life, or by other stressful events, the
adolescent's problems can intensify.
In many schools, some teachers encountered a classroom in
which one or a few students exhibit persistent or significant problembehaviours ─ those that are disruptive, oppositional, distracting or defiant.
Sometimes when a number of students in a classroom demonstrate such
behaviours, it can create a chaotic environment that is a serious impediment
to learning for all students. In these cases, teachers have exhausted their
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
139
classroom management strategies without successfully eliminating the
obstacles to learning that problem-behaviours pose. Problem-prone
behaviour among the adolescent school population has become an important
problem to be considered in our society.
Furthermore, the question arose as to what recommendation due for
teachers to render assistance and support to problem-prone students, in
order to prevent or change problematic behaviour and to promote those
students' self-esteem. Moreover, these problem-prone students cannot
conform to the school discipline and usually disturb the teachers and
learners, acts including illegal substance abuse, drinking, stealing, fighting,
aggravated assault and bullying with group. Therefore, in order to prevent
these delinquent behaviours before they become too ingrained in youths, the
self-esteem of problem-prone students that may have influenced them to
perform these acts. So, will be examened and identified programs which
aim to increase the self-esteem of students, to render assistance and to deal
with problematic students' behaviour can be recommended.
Problem and Purpose
Previous research has demonstrated that the students who exhibit
problem- behaviours are more likely to have low self-esteem. However,
studies on the relationship between low self-esteem and problem-prone
behaviour remain few in our country. Taking the above into account, the
research problem focused on the nature of self-esteem in normal students
and students who have problem-behaviour proneness in high school and
how it manifests in their behaviour. In order to achieve this goal, we
examined theoretically relevant variable that might account for the effect of
self-esteem on problem-prone behaviour, including students' academic
achievement will be examined.
Hypotheses
Based on the literature, the present research generated the following
hypotheses.
1. Problem-prone behaviour will be negatively correlated with selfesteem. In other words, problem-behaviour proneness group
will be more likely to report lower self-esteem than normal
students.
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2.
Problem-prone behaviour will be negatively correlated with
sense of significance, social competence and autonomy.
3.
Problem-prone behaviour will be positively correlated with
feelings of inadequacy.
4.
Students' academic achievement will be positively correlated
with their self-esteem and negatively correlated with problemprone behaviour.
Methodology
Participants
Total of 276 high school students and 88 teachers from No (1)
BEHS, No (2) BEHS and No (3) BEHS in Magway and Monywa,
participated in the study. Demographic characteristics of the students
(N=276) were shown in Table 1.
As shown in Table 1, all samples were only male high school
students. The age of the respondents ranged from 14 to 18 years. The mean
age was 15.41 years (SD=.61). Of the participants, 61 % were 15 years of
age. Of 276 respondents, 79.7% were in the 10th grade.
Procedure
The researcher contacted Headmasters in the 6 high schools from
Magway and Monywa, who gave their permission to conduct the research.
Self-Esteem Inventory was administered individually to 276 high school
students. To reduce rating bias, each student had two teachers answer
questions about their behaviour. A total of 44 class teachers and 44 subject
teachers who participated as raters in this study. All participants, students
and teachers, were told that their responses were kept confidential and also
explained that there was no right or wrong answer so they can choose one
which they agreed most.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
141
Table 1 Demographic characteristics of the students (N=276)
Variables
Frequency
%
Gender
Male
276
100.0
14
2
0.7
15
167
61.2
16
97
35.1
17
3
1.1
18
4
1.4
missing
3
1.1
Grade Χ
220
79.7
Grade ΧI
56
20.3
Students from Magway
126
46.0
Students from Monywa
150
54.0
Age
Education
Some of the items which were not responded fully by the
participants and which have more than one answer were rejected. The time
required to complete the Self-Esteem Inventory was approximately 25
minutes. Similarly, the time required to complete the teacher's rating scale
was approximately 10 minutes. Data collection started in June, 2009 and
ended in January, 2010.
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Measures
Two types of scales (Mandalay Self-Esteem Inventory and Teacher's
Rating Scale of Problem-Behaviour) were used in this study. Furthermore,
a demographic questionnaire was used.
Mandalay Self-Esteem Inventory: The Mandalay Self-Esteem
Inventory contains 57 items. To assess self-esteem, participants were asked
to rate each item. Responses were rated on 4 point scale ranging from 1
(strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree). Items were summed within scales:
scores could range from 57 to 228 with higher scores indicating higher level
of self-esteem. Sample items include, ''I prefer to make my own plans, so I
am not controlled by others'' ''I get uncomfortable when I am not sure how I
am expected to behave in front of others'' ''I think people like only those
who are good looking''. Reported coefficient alphas were as follows:
feelings of inadequacy, 0.86, sense of significance, 0.84, social competence,
0.77, autonomy, .63 and MSEI (total), .87.
Teacher's Rating Scale of Problem-Behaviour: The Teacher's
Rating Scale of Problem-Behaviour contains 20 items. Raters assessed
"Yes" or "No" to a series of questions related to students' behaviour, e.g.
''Making a disturbance in class'' ''Do not respect the teachers'' ''Teasing the
girls''. Ratings were summed for items with higher scores reflecting greater
problem behaviour. Scores could range from 20 to 40. When the score was
less than 25, it was the normal behaviour. Reported Spearman Rho
correlation coefficient was 0.88.
Academic Achievement: As a measure of academic achievement,
examination marks for each student for the first half of the school year were
collected from the schools.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
143
Results
The correlation matrix calculated between study variables is shown
in Table 2.
Self-Esteem
Intercorrelations were computed for each of the self-esteem
subscales. Feelings of inadequacy correlated negatively with sense of
significance (r = −.33, p < .01), and social competence (r = −.47, p < .01).
However, there is no evidence of feelings of inadequacy being related to
autonomy. Sense of significance was significantly related to the autonomy
(r = .16, p < .01) and not related to social competence. There is no evidence
Table 2. Means, Standard Deviations (SD), and Intercorrelation among
study variables
ean
D
4.92
.94
7.19
.77
-.33**
8.45
.21
-.08
3.35
.81
.47** .10
56.14
5.36
.80**
5.20
.46
.20** .15*
78.32
4.37
.21** .06
11
5.41
61
.07
.12
09
.04
.04
.04
.10
1.20
.40
-.01
.04
−.03
.01
.11
.18**
- .06
1) FOI (α=.86)
2) SOS (α=.84)
3) Auto (α=.63)
.16**
4) SC (α=.77)
01
5) SES (total) (α=.87)
.70**
6)Problem Behaviour
.31**
−.01
.59**
−.11
.16**
7)Academic Achievement
.07**
.13*
.39**
8) Age
9) EDU
Note. FOI = feelings of Inadequacy; SOS = sense of significance; Auto = autonomy; SC =
social competence; SES (total) = self-esteem (total); EDU = education.
*p < .05, ** p < .01.
27**
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of the relation between autonomy and social competence. The four
subscales were summed up to produce a total score for self-esteem
(Cronbach's alpha coefficient .86). Regarding total self-esteem, significant
positive correlations were found with sense of significance (r = .70, p <.01),
autonomy (r = .31, p < .01) and social competence (r = .59, p < .01). Selfesteem had a significant negative correlation with feelings of inadequacy
(r=−.80, p < .01).
Problem-behaviour
Problem-behaviour was significantly negatively correlated with
self-esteem (r = −.16, p<.01) and sense of significance (r = −.15, p < .01),
but not with autonomy (r = .01, ns) and social competence (r = -.11, ns).
Moreover, problem-behaviour was significantly positively correlated with
feelings of inadequacy (r = .20, p < .01).
Academic achievement
The relation between academic achievement and study variables
were also tested. Significant positive correlations were found between
academic achievement and self-esteem (r = .13, p < .05). Moreover,
academic achievement was significantly negatively correlated to problembehaviour (r = −.39, p < .01) and feelings of inadequacy (r = −.21, p < .01).
However, academic achievement was not significantly correlated with sense
of significance (r = .06, ns), autonomy (r = .11, ns) and social competence (r
= .07, ns).
Age
There is no evidence of age being related to self-esteem, problembehaviour and academic achievement.
Education
There is no evidence of education being related to self-esteem
and academic achievement. However, positive correlation was obtained
between problem-behaviour and education (r = .18, p < .01). The results
indicated that, 11th grade students scored significantly higher than the 10th
grade students on problem-behaviour.
"t" test analysis
Table 3 presents the summary of means and SDs computed for
normal students and students who have problem-behaviour proneness and
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"t" value that emerged from this analysis. Means and standard deviation for
self-esteem (total) was significantly different from normal students and
problem-behaviour proneness students, M = 158.12, SD = 15.90 Vs M =
153.44, SD = 14.22, t(274) = 2.52, p < .05. Similarly, means and standard
deviation for academic achievement was significantly different from normal
students and problem-behaviour proneness students M = 194.09, SD =
47.81 Vs M = 155.49, SD = 55.39, t(274) = 6.02, p < .001. According to "t"
analysis, there were no significant differences on autonomy and social
competence in the means for normal and problem-behaviour proneness
groups.
Moreover, normal group scored higher than problem-behaviour
proneness group on sense of significance, M=48.01, SD=6.36 Vs M=46.08,
SD = 7.17, t(274) = 2.36, p < .05. Also, there was problem-behaviour
proneness group scored higher than normal group in feelings of inadequacy
M= 46.68, SD = 7.42 Vs M = 43.62, SD = 8.09, t (274) = -3.21, p < .001.
Table 3.Means and SDs of self-esteem for normal students and problembehaviour proneness students (t-test on outcome measures)
Normal
students
( N = 159 )
Problembehaviour
proneness
students
( N = 117 )
"t"
Value
Feelings of inadequacy
43.62 (8.09)
46.68 (7.42)
-3.21***
Sense of significance
48.01 (6.36)
46.08 (7.17)
2.36*
Autonomy
28.40 (3.09)
28.52 (3.37)
-0.32
Social competence
23.74 (4.79)
22.82 (4.81)
1.58
Self-esteem (total)
158.12 (15.90)
153.44 (14.22)
2.52*
Academic achievement
194.09(47.81)
155.49 (55.39)
6.02***
*p < .05, ***p < .001
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Discussion
The main goal of current study was to determine whether there was
a significant difference in self-esteem between normal students and students
who exhibit problem-behaviour proneness in high schools. To explore this
purpose, two groups of high school students were compared. The result of
"t" test analysis indicated that problem-behaviour proneness group had
lower self-esteem than the normal group (t = 2.52, p < .05). It may be likely
that people with low self-esteem have some psychological problems. As
indicated by Rosenberg (1965) and Hirachi (1969), low self-esteem
weakens ties to society and weaker ties to society decrease conformity to
social norms and increase delinquency.
In addition, the outcome of correlation analysis indicated that selfesteem was negatively correlated with problem-behaviour. This finding was
consistent with prior research findings that individuals with low self-esteem
are prone to real-world externalizing problems such as delinquency and
antisocial behaviour (Fergusan & Horwood,2002; Rosenberg, Schooler, &
Schoerbach, 1989; Sprott & Doob, 2000). Studies of Hoyle, Kernis, Leary
& Baldwin (1999) also found that high self-esteem is associated with less
delinquency, greater anger control, greater intimacy and satisfaction in
relationships, more ability to care for others, and a heightened capacity for
creative and productive work. Therefore, the results of this study supported
hypothesis 1.
This study also tested whether problem-behaviour was negatively
correlated with sense of significance, social competence and autonomy. It
was found that the sense of significance was negatively correlated with
problem-behaviour at .01 level (r = − .15). The students who have problembehaviour may be likely to think that they were not admired by other people
who were important to them. According to Maslow, people need to feel a
sense of significance and those they are respected and valued by other
people in their life. This quality (sense of significance) is necessary for
psychological adjustment and healthy personality. So, if the person's
problem-behaviour score is high, his score on sense of significance will be
low. This finding is consistent with the results of previous studies on the
relation of sense of significance to problem-behaviour. As for the remaining
two components and problem-behaviour, it was found that problembehaviour score had a very weak negative relationship with social
competence (r= −.11, ns) and autonomy (r= −.01, ns). Although many
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147
researchers have found that good relationship with others, being
independent and being self determined are strongly correlated with
psychological adjustment and psychological well-being, it was not
identically found in the current study. It was indicated that the individuals
who exhibited problem-behaviour may not necessarily decrease in social
competence and autonomy. One possible explanation is that the character of
students who have problem-behaviour proneness in this study may not be
equally serious as delinquent behaviour. Thus, more research work is
needed. Nevertheless, these findings partially supported hypothesis 2.
In addition, the present study tested the third hypothesis. It was
concerned with whether there are the positive relationship between
problem-behaviour and feelings of inadequacy. As we hypothesized, the
findings indicated that problem-behaviour was positively correlated with
feelings of inadequacy at .01 level (r = .20). A student who has problembehaviour may obtain negative feedback about himself / herself from others
(e.g. parents, teachers ..... etc). This may be one possible factor that would
translate into his feelings of inadequacy. Moreover, according to Horney
(1950) and Adler (1956), aggression and antisocial behaviour are motivated
by feelings of inferiority. Therefore, hypothesis 3 was supported.
Finally, the present study tested the fourth hypothesis. It was
hypothesized that students' academic achievement will be positively
correlated with their self-esteem and negatively correlated with problembehaviour. Regarding this hypothesis, the result of correlation analysis
indicated that academic achievement had positively correlated with selfesteem and negatively correlated with problem-behaviour. The result of "t"
test analysis also showed that there is a significant difference in the means
of academic achievement between normal students and students who exhibit
problem-behaviour proneness. These findings are consistent with the results
already indicated by Jessor (1991). He pointed out that problem-behaviour
proneness in the personality system includes lower value on academic
achievement, lower self-esteem, and higher values on independence, greater
social criticism and higher alienation. The results in the present research are
also similar to those reported by Montague et al. (2005) and Nelson et al.
(2004). Their reviews of research on the retrospective observations of
students who exhibit problem-behaviours have concluded that these
students are also likely to have poor academic performance. Thus,
hypothesis 4 was supported.
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Specifically, the findings suggest that the problem-behaviour
proneness students exhibit low self-esteem. As indicated in the relevant
literature, their feelings, internalized thoughts, revealed attitudes and
experiences commonly linked with their low self-esteem. This low selfesteem manifested itself in their problem-behaviour, which was categorized
as disobedient, disruptive, and distracting, or defiant.
This study provides useful information of the importance of
preventing significant behaviour problems and the importance of enhancing
students' self-esteem for different kinds of practitioners such as
psychologists, educationists or social workers. This study also
acknowledges that primary caregivers of these problem-prone students
(parents and guardians) and teachers seem to be in an ideal position to
improve the students' internal and external environment, in order to enhance
their self-esteem.
Based on the previous research findings, it is considered that many
problem-prone students experience a lack of love, and rejection of their
parents. So, it is recommended that parents should contribute to foster
healthy self-esteem and acceptance to their children. Research has
demonstrated that parents can enhance self-esteem of their children by the
following ways (Sheslow, 2008). These ways are to praise their child, to
behave positive role model, to identify and redirect their child's inaccurate
beliefs, to show affection, to give positive, accurate feedback, to create a
safe loving home environment and to help kids become involved in
constructive experiences.
Moreover, in order to promote students' self-esteem, it is also
recommended that such school-based intervention programme developed by
Lawrence (1987) should be practiced regularly. This programme includes
10 activities: circle-time, trusting, sharing fears, hopes and aspirations,
empathizing, showing pride, remembering good times, thinking positively,
positive feedback, role playing and making a friend. In doing so, teachers
help students with problem-behaviours learn how, when and where to use
their skills; and increase the opportunities that the students have to exhibit
appropriate behaviours.
To sum up, from this study, it can be appreciated that the findings
provide meaningful insight into the nature of self-esteem and better
understanding of how the components of self-esteem are related to problembehaviour proneness. The results of this study also give specific information
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149
that self-esteem should be considered as a main form of improving a
person's adjustment and well-being.
Conclusion
The current study compares the self-esteem between normal
students and students who have problem-behaviour proneness in high
schools. One important finding resulting from this research was that
problem-behaviour proneness group had lower self-esteem than the normal
group on the self-esteem measure. Correlation analyses revealed that
personality variable of sense of significance was negatively correlated with
problem-behaviour, but a weak correlation was found for autonomy and
social competence. Correlation analysis also showed that problembehaviour was positively correlated with feelings of inadequacy. Finally,
the positive relation was found between self-esteem and academic
achievement.
In conclusion, this study suggests that problem-prone behaviour was
negatively correlated with self-esteem and students' academic achievement
was positively correlated with their self-esteem.
Limitations
It is important to highlight several limitations of the current study.
Although the result is most readily generalizable to high school students, it
may not be representative of the youth population. It is one of the possible
weaknesses. Another possible limitation is that the current sample
contained only males, therefore, gender effects were not found.
Acknowledgements
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my
supervisor U Khin Maung Than (Retired), Head of Department of Psychology, University
of Mandalay, and Dr. Daw Khin Mar Mar, Head of Department of Psychology, University
of Mandalay, for their encouragement and support in conducting this research work.
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Nilar Kyu, Lecturer, Department of
Psychology, University of Mandalay, for her statistical consultant in data processing.
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References
Adler, A. (1956). The individual psychology of Alfred Adler: A systematic presentation in
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Fergusson, D.M., & Horwood, I. J. (2002). Male and female offending trajectories.
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Hoyle, R. Kernis, M., & Baldwin, M. (1999). Selfhood; Identity, esteem, Regulation,
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Horney, K. (1950). Neurosis and human growth. New York: Norton.
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Maslow A.H. (1987). Motivation and Personality (3rd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
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Higgins,E.T.(1990). Relating self-discrepance to self-esteem:The
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Nelson,J., Bemer,G., Lane,K.,& Smith,B.(2004).Academic achievement of K-12 students
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Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and Adolescent Self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
The Contribution of Personality Factors to Career Success in
Some Organizations
Phyu Phyu Khaing1 and Nilar Kyu2
Abstract
This study examined the relationship between the ‘Big Five’ personality
dimensions and career success by surveying a sample of 285 employees in a
diverse set of occupations and organizations. Hierarchical regression analyses
were used to examine the incremental variance contributed by the five
personality traits after controlling for several career-related variables. Results
showed that, as expected, extraversion was related positively to career
satisfaction and that neuroticism was related negatively to salary level,
promotions, job satisfaction, life satisfaction and career satisfaction. However,
some results differed from expectations: conscientiousness and agreeableness
were mostly unrelated to extrinsic and intrinsic career success. Examination of
moderators revealed that there were no significant relationships between
agreeableness and extrinsic and intrinsic career success among individuals in
people-oriented occupations. Moreover, occupation type did not moderate the
relationships between extraversion and extrinsic and intrinsic career success.
Key Words: personality, career success
Introduction
Career success has been an important and popular focus of
investigation in the management literature. In the extensive research
conducted to understand the antecedents of career success (Tharenou,
1997), demographic, human capital, industry, and organizational variables
have been examined. As organizations face more complex business
environments, however, career paths become increasingly ambiguous and
individuals must take on increased responsibility for managing their own
careers. Thus, some research has explored the effects of individual traits or
behavioral styles on career success. Recently, in the Western countries,
researchers have begun to understand the role of personality in career
success. To date, however, there has been no prior research relating to
personality and career success in Myanmar, a gap filled by the present
study. Thus, the primary purpose of this study was to explore the
relationship between big five personality traits and career success (intrinsic
and extrinsic) after controlling for several career-related variables.
1. Lecturer, Dr, Department of Psychology, University of Mandalay
2. Lecturer, Dr, Department of Psychology, University of Mandalay
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Career success has been defined in terms of the positive
psychological and work-related outcomes accumulated as a result of one’s
work experiences (Judge et al., 1999; Boudreau & Boswell, 2001; Seibert et
al., 2001). Following these authors, we distinguish between extrinsic and
intrinsic career success. Extrinsic career success, measured in terms of
salary and promotions, refers to outcomes that are both instrumental
rewards from the job or occupation and are objectively observable.
Intrinsic career success was measured in terms of career satisfaction,
job satisfaction and life satisfaction. Career satisfaction refers to factors that
are inherent in the job or occupation itself and is dependent on the
incumbent’s subjective evaluation relative to his or her own goals and
expectations. Career satisfaction is derived from the individual’s appraisal
of his or her career development and advancement across many jobs
(Greenhaus, Parasuraman & Wormley, 1990). Job satisfaction has been
defined as a positive emotional state resulting from an appraisal of one’s job
(Locke, 1976). Life satisfaction refers to a judgmental process in which
individuals assess the quality of their lives on the basis of their own set of
criteria (Shin & Johnson, 1978). A comparison is made between one’s
perceived life circumstances and a self–imposed standard. The degree to
which one’s life circumstances match up to the standard determines one’s
life satisfaction.
Researchers have modelled the effects of an extensive set of factors
on career success. These studies have shown that a number of demographic
variables are associated with career success, including age, gender, marital
status, spouse employment, ethnic background, and socio-economic status.
Variables based on human capital theory also have been associated with
career success, including level of education, years of work experience, the
number and length of employment gaps, and occupational background.
Finally, differences in career outcomes have been associated with type of
industry, organization size, and urban area in which the person is employed.
Only recently have researchers attended to the relation of personality
and career success (Judge et al., 1999; Boudreau & Boswell, 2001; Seibert
& Kraimer, 2001). These studies provide initial empirical support for the
relation of personality to aspects of career success. Given the high degree of
consensus regarding the structure of the personality domain that has
emerged among personality researchers during the past decade (Mount &
Barrick, 1995), it seems reasonable to extend previous research on careers
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by examining the unique contribution of the Big Five dimensions of
personality to career success.
According to the emerging consensus, the five major dimensions of
personality are neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience,
agreeableness and conscientiousness (e.g., Costa & Mc Crae, 1985; Mount
& Barrick, 1995). Neuroticism indicates poor emotional adjustment versus
emotional stability. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are
characterized by high level of anxiety, hostility, depression and selfconsciousness. High levels of extraversion indicate sociability, warmth,
assertiveness, and activity, whereas individuals low on extraversion may be
described as reserved, sober, aloof, task–oriented, and introverted.
Openness to experience is defined in terms of curiosity and the tendency for
seeking and appreciating new experiences and novel ideas. Individuals who
score low on openness are characterized as conventional, unartistic, and
narrow in interests. Agreeableness is one’s interpersonal orientation,
ranging from soft-hearted, good–natured, trusting, and gullible at one
extreme to cynical, rude, suspicious, and manipulative at the other. Finally,
conscientiousness indicates the individual’s degree of organization,
persistence, and motivation in goal-directed behavior. Achievementorientation and dependability or conformity have been found to be primary
facets of conscientiousness.
Prior literature suggests that neuroticism may relate to career
success through a number of mechanisms. A recent meta-analysis indicated
a negative relationship between neuroticism and job performance (Salgado,
1997). Although the relationship between job performance and career
success may be complex, one should expect neuroticism to be related
negatively to extrinsic career outcomes through its association with job
performance. Traits associated with low neuroticism such as optimism,
self-confidence, self-assurance, achievement motivation, and decisiveness
have been correlated positively with managerial advancement, occupational
level, executive pay, job success. Emotional stability may be particularly
important at higher organizational levels characterized by high stress and
external stimulation (Seibert & Kraimer, 2001). Neuroticism has related
negatively to job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Boudreau & Boswell,
2001), ostensibly because neuroticism is linked to the experience of
negative affect (Judge et al., 1999). Neuroticism and affectivity thus appear
to be stable individual differences that determine the way in which
individuals react to life and work situations, so we expect this relationship
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with job satisfaction and life satisfaction to generalize to intrinsic career
success.
Hypothesis 1a. There is a negative relationship between an individual’s
level of neuroticism and extrinsic career success.
Hypothesis 1b. There is a negative relationship between an individual’s
level of neuroticism and intrinsic career success.
Conscientiousness has been linked positively to managerial job
performance, salary, and occupational status (Judge et al., 1999; Salgado,
1997). Achievement motivation and leadership motivation also have been
linked to managerial advancement. Conscientiousness is associated with
being goal-directed, persistent, and well- organized, which seem likely to
associate with career success. We expect these goal-setting effects to
generalize to careers and career accomplishments.
Hypothesis 2. There is a positive relationship between an individual’s level
of conscientiousness and extrinsic career success.
Extraversion associates with activity, dominance, a tendency to be
energized by social situations, and the tendency to act to rectify
unsatisfactory work situations, which are all linked with executive or
leadership success (Seibert & Kraimer, 2001). Empirical research suggests
extraversion positively relates to salary and to job and life satisfaction
(Boudreau & Boswell, 2001), presumably because extraverts are
predisposed to experience positive emotion (Judge et al, 1999). Due to
extraverts’ general positive reaction to events and their greater tendency to
take action to deal with unsatisfactory situations, we expect a positive
relation between extraversion and career success.
Hypothesis 3a. There is a positive relationship between an individual’s level
of extraversion and extrinsic career success.
Hypothesis 3b. There is a positive relationship between an individual’s
level of extraversion and intrinsic career success.
The emphasis on person-job match in theories of career
development further implies, however, that some personality traits are more
appropriate in certain careers or occupations than others, leading to greater
extrinsic rewards and perceptions of career success. Occupations and jobs
within occupations can be characterized by the degree to which they require
interaction with other people. Sociability, a preference for social activity,
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155
and interpersonal warmth are major components of extraversion. We
therefore expect an interaction between extraversion and people-oriented
job demands such that extraversion is related more strongly to extrinsic and
intrinsic career success in jobs involving a high level of interaction with
people than in jobs that do not require dealing with people. In this metaanalysis, Salgado (1997) found that extraversion was related more strongly
to job performance for occupation involving a strong interpersonal
component. This research suggests the value of attending to the
interpersonal nature of occupations as a moderator of the extraversion and
career success relation.
Hypothesis 3c. Occupational type moderate the relationship between
extraversion and career success (extraversion is more strongly related
to extrinsic and intrinsic career success in people oriented occupation
than in occupation without a strong interpersonal components)
The relation of agreeableness to career success also may be
complex. To the extent that work involves teamwork and interaction with
others, agreeableness may be a positive individual attribute. It is less clear,
however, the extent to which being well liked or considered a ‘team player’
leads to career success; nice guys may finish last. The impression
management literature demonstrates the importance of being able to claim
credit or shed blame and other research has shown that chameleons (high
self monitors) and machiavellians (individual with a cynical and
manipulative orientation towards others) tend to get ahead in their career.
Individuals high on agreeableness are characterized as soft-hearted, trusting,
gullible, and not manipulative, and thus would be associated with the
negative pole of these personality dimensions. Moreover, Howard and Bray
(1998) reported agreeableness also associates with being trusting,
submissive, and complaint, which could be perceived as naïveté, docility,
and a tendency to follow rather than lead.
Further, although Barrick & Mout (1991) and Salgado (1997)
expected to find a positive relationship between agreeableness and job
performance, especially for jobs involving a strong interpersonal
component, Barrick and Mount (1991) found little evidence for any
relationship between agreeableness and job performance. Furthermore,
Salgado (1997) found agreeableness related positively to job performance in
occupations that were not people-oriented (professionals and skilled
laborers), but related negatively to performance in a people-oriented
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occupation (managers). Finally, empirical evidence also supports a negative
relation between agreeableness and extrinsic career success (Judge et al.,
1999). Consistent with these findings, we expect agreeableness to be related
negatively to extrinsic career success. We also expect a negative
relationship between agreeableness and career satisfaction. Little empirical
research has examined the relationship between agreeableness and affective
attitude, but one should expect a negative relationship based on the
theoretical arguments presented above. If agreeable people are less likely to
shed blame and take credit, and more likely to be taken advantage of, they
also may be more likely to be dissatisfied with the intrinsic rewards they
derive from their careers.
Hypothesis 4a. There is a negative relationship between an individual’s
level of agreeableness and extrinsic career success.
Hypothesis 4b. There is a negative relationship between an individual’s
level of agreeableness and intrinsic career success.
The inconsistent findings describing the relationship between
agreeableness and job performance (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Salgado,
1997) further suggest the value of examining whether the interpersonal
nature of an occupation moderates the relation of agreeableness to extrinsic
and intrinsic career success.
Hypothesis 4c. Occupational type moderates the negative relationship
between agreeableness and career success (agreeableness is more
strongly related to extrinsic and intrinsic career success in people
oriented occupation than in occupation without a strong interpersonal
component)
Purpose of the Study
The primary purpose of this study was to explore the relationship
between big five personality traits and career success (intrinsic and
extrinsic) after controlling for several career-related variables.
Method
Participants
Survey booklets were handed out to a sample of 300 employees in a
diverse set of occupations and organizations in Mandalay. Participants filled
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157
out and returned booklets anonymously. The final usable sample for the
present study was 285 employees, 95% response rate.
Measures
Five–factor model of personality. The personality traits of the five
factor model were measured using Saucier’s (1994) minimarkers. The
measure consists of 40 single adjectives (8 adjectives per personality traits).
Responses were made on a 9-point scale from 1(extremely inaccurate) to 9
(extremely accurate). High scores indicate higher levels of the named trait.
Recently, San Zaw Hlaing (2006) and Nwet Yee Yee Aung (2007)
attempted to modify Saucier’s (1994) Big Five Mini-markers scale to suit
Myanmar conditions. According to their results, all of the items on each
scale were significant at either .01 level or .001 level. The Test-Retest
Reliability coefficients obtained were .77, .77, .75, .83, and .81 for
Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Openness and Neuroticism
respectively. Cronbach’s alpha indicated acceptable reliabilities for all five
scales in the current study: .56 for Extraversion, .80 for Conscientiousness,
.72 for Agreeableness, .72 for Openness to Experience, and .68 for
Neuroticism.
Career Satisfaction. Career satisfaction was measured with the fiveitem scale developed by Greenhaus, Parasuraman, and Wormley (1990),
which asks individuals to report their satisfaction with five aspects of their
career
(overall success, progress toward career goals, income,
advancement, development of new skills). The scale is ranging from 1 (very
dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). A sample item is “The progress I have
made toward meeting my goals for advancement”. Cronbach alpha for this
scale was .89.
Job Satisfaction. Job satisfaction was measured with the Job
Satisfaction Survey (JSS) originally developed by Spector (1985). The JSS
is a nine subscale measure of employee job satisfaction. The nine subscales
are (1) Pay; (2) Promotion; (3) Supervision; (4) Fringe Benefit; (5)
Contingent Rewards; (6) Operating Procedure; (7) Coworkers; (8) Nature of
work; and (9) Communication. The measure consists of 36 statements to be
rated by employees on a 6- point scale from disagree very much to agree
very much. According to the results of test-retest reliability analysis, the
reliability coefficient was found to be .61 for Pay; .62 for Promotion ; .67
for Supervision ; .58 for Fringe Benefits; .69 for Contingent Rewards; .64
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for Work Condition; .62 for Coworkers; .59 for Nature of Work; .51 for
Communication and .75 for total score. The alpha (internal consistent
reliability ) were as follow: Pay, .67 ; Promotion, .65; Supervision , .77 ;
Fringe Benefit , .74 ; Contingent Reward, .55; Operating Procedure , .61;
Coworkers , .53; Nature of work , .69; and Communication , .57 (total
score = .91).
Life Satisfaction. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener,
Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) measure asks individuals to respond to
five general statements about their life (e.g., if I had to life my life over
again, I would change almost nothing ). The alpha of this scale was .80.
Extrinsic career success was measured by two self-reported
variables; promotions and salary.
Other career success predictors. The control variables were chosen
based on previous empirical research regarding the predictors of career
success (Judge et al., 1995; Seibert et al., 1999) and were measured with
specific items in the questionnaire. These variables were years of work, area
(1 = inside the city, 2 = outside the city), size of organization or number of
employees in their organization, people occupation, and marital status
(1 = unmarried, 2 = married).
Procedure
Sampling of full-time employees was pursued through a random
selection of general organizational units. Three hundred full-time workers
of 11 governments and 6 private sector organizations were polled, and
survey were administered to all full-time workers present in the
organization on the scheduled day. Surveys were conducted in groups of
varying size, depending on the basis of the nature of the facility in which
they were employed. Participants were instructed to complete their surveys
and to return it directly to the author in the return envelopes provided.
Confidentiality was ensured. Valid responses were obtained from 95% of
the respondents, 285 full-time workers.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No.7
159
Results
The demographic breakdown of the respondents is as follows:
average age was 34.1 years, 58% were females, 54% were married, 51%
had a Bachelor’s degree as their highest degree attained, and 17 % had a
Master’s degree or a Ph D.
Correlations analyses
Table 1 displays the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations
among the variables in the study. The results indicated that extraversion had
a significant positive correlation with job satisfaction (r =.22, p<.001) and
career satisfaction (r =.21, p< .001), but not with salary (r = .06, ns) nor
with promotions (r = .10, ns) and life satisfaction (r = .06, ns).
Conscientiousness was significantly positively correlated with job
satisfaction (r =.18, p<.01), and life satisfaction (r =.12, p<.05). but not
with salary (r =.05, ns), promotion (r =.11, ns), and career satisfaction
(r =.09, ns). Openness to experience showed a significant positive
correlation with job satisfaction (r =.19, p<.01) and career satisfaction
(r =.14, p<.05), but not with salary (r =.09, ns), promotion (r =.03, ns) and
life satisfaction (r =.11, ns). Agreeableness was significantly positive
correlated with job satisfaction (r =.20, p<.01), but not with salary (r =.06, ns),
promotion (r =.02, ns), career satisfaction (r = .10, ns) and life satisfaction
(r = .07, ns). Neuroticism had a significant negative correlation with salary
(r = -.16, p<.05), promotion (r = - .14, p<.05), job satisfaction (r = - .23,
p< .01) and life satisfaction (r = -.14, p<.05), but not with career satisfaction
(r = - .10, ns).
Regression analyses
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to assess the
unique contribution of the Big Five personality traits to career success, after
controlling for the relevant variables identified in previous models of career
success. Five regression equations were estimated: one for each measure of
career success (salary, promotion, job satisfaction, career satisfaction and
life satisfaction). We entered the control variables in step 1(including
occupational type), the personality variables in step 2, and the two
hypothesized interaction terms in step 3 (extraversion-occupational type and
agreeableness-occupational type). Change in R2 at each step was considered
significant if p < .05. When a change in R2 was significant, we examined
the beta weights for each of the forms in the step.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No.7
Table 2 provides the results of the three hierarchical regression
models (one model for each dependent variable). Hypothesis 1a predicted
that neuroticism would be related negatively to extrinsic career success.
This hypothesis was supported. Neuroticism was a significantly negatively
correlated with salary (beta = -.16, p < .05) and promotions (beta = -.13, p <
.05). Moreover, the regression results did support hypothesis 1b, which
predicted a negative relationship between neuroticism and intrinsic career
success. Neuroticism displayed significant negative beta weights when
predicting career satisfaction (beta = -.18, p < .05), job satisfaction (beta = .19, p < .01) and life satisfaction (beta = - .15, p < .05).
Table 1 Means, Standard Deviation (SD), and Intercorrelations among
Study Variables
Variables
Means
SD
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
1.Salary
1.73
0.77
-
2.Promotion
1.10
1.29
.11
-
3.JS
146.49
30.16
.16*
.10
-
4.CS
17.69
4.81
.01
.20**
.54***
-
5.LS
20.90
6.53
.02
.21***
.48***
.56***
-
6.Exatraversion
32.21
6.07
.06
.10
.22**
.21***
.06
-
7.Con
54.73
10.41
.05
.11
.18**
.09
.12*
.58***
-
8.Agreeableness
57.95
9.23
.06
.02
.20***
.11
.07
.52***
.67***
-
9.OE
53.35
8.84
.09
.03
.19***
.14*
.11
.56***
.68***
.60***
10.Neuroticism
36.65
10.73
.16
-.24*** -.40***
-.24***
-.14*
-.23***
-.10
-.14*
11.sex
1.61
0.49 -.25***
-.15**
.06
-.11
.03
-.23***
.03
.09
12.Age
1.95
0.96
.02
.51***
.02
.07
.22***
.03
.12
-.09
13.Education
4.36
1.56
.40
-.29***
-.06
-.22***
-.09
-.12*
.01
.09
14.MS
1.57
0.49
-.14*
.35***
.16**
.15*
.18**
.07
.09
.04
15.PO
3.04
0.70
.16*
-.11
.09
.17**
-.05
.23***
.08
.18**
16.YW
2.43
1.26
-.04
.47***
-.03
-.03
.16*
.03
.09
-.14*
17.Bonus
1.76
0.43 -.26***
-.02
-.17*
-.04
-.06
-.02
.09
.03
18.FE
1.90
0.31 -.23***
-.03
.07
.11
.07
.02
.02
.01
19.SO
2.54
1.18 -.23***
.21***
-.02
.07
-.01
.07
.06
.05
Note. JS= Job Satisfaction, CS= Career Satisfaction, LS= Life Satisfaction, Con= Conscientiousness,
OE= Openness to Experience, MS= Marital Status, PO= People Oriented, YW=Years of Work, FE= Foreign
Experience, SO= Size of Organization
N=285, *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No.7
161
Hypothesis 2 predicted that conscientiousness would be related
positively to extrinsic career success. The relationship failed to reach
statistical significance for salary or for promotions. Thus hypothesis 2 was
not supported.
Hypothesis 3a and 3b predicted that extraversion would be related
positively to extrinsic and intrinsic career success, respectively. The
regression results showed that extraversion had a statistically significant
positive relationship with career satisfaction (beta = .32, p < .01), but not
with salary, promotions, job satisfaction and life satisfaction. The
correlation results also indicated that extraversion was related positively to
career satisfaction (r = .22, p < .001) and life satisfaction (r = .21, p < .001).
Thus, partially supported the hypothesis 3b, but not for 3a. Hypothesis 4a
and 4b predicted a negative relationship between agreeableness and
extrinsic and intrinsic career success, respectively. The beta weights for
agreeableness with salary, promotion, job satisfaction, life satisfaction and
Table 1~ Continued
Variables
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
1.Salary
2.Promotion
3.JS
4.CS
5.LS
6.Exatraversion
7.Con
8.Agreeableness
9.OE
10.Neuroticism
11.sex
12.Age
-.23***
-
-.08
.04
-
-.02
-.07
-.11
-
.16**
-.02
.16**
-.35***
-
14.MS
.03
.05
.15*
-.42***
.28***
-
15.PO
.13*
-.02
-.16**
-.29***
.12
.18**
-
13.Education
16.YW
-.02
-.03
-.07
.71***
-.32***
-.39***
-.20**
-
17.Bonus
.09
.03
.19**
.20***
-.02
.07
-.16*
.25**
-
18.FE
-.7
.06
.06
-.03
-.16*
.12
-.07
-.10
-.00
19.SO
-
.02
.09
-.01
.16**
-.20***
-.11
-.04
.18**
.12
-.05
Note. JS= Job Satisfaction, CS= Career Satisfaction, LS= Life Satisfaction, Con= Conscientiousness,
OE= Openness to Experience, MS= Marital Status, PO= People Oriented, YW=Years of Work, FE= Foreign
Experience, SO= Size of Organization
N=285, *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No.7
career satisfaction were not significant. Thus, hypothesis 4a and 4b were
not supported.
Hypothesis 3c and 4c predicted that occupational type moderates the
relationship between extraversion and agreeableness (respectively), and
extrinsic and intrinsic career success. When the two interaction terms were
added as a set to the five regression models (see the bottom of Table 2),
results revealed that both types of interaction were not significant in
predicting salary, promotion, job satisfaction, career satisfaction and life
satisfaction.
Discussion
Using a sample of 285 government and private employees, it was
found that the Big Five personality traits explain additional variance in
career satisfaction, even after controlling for a number of variables
previously related to career outcomes. Intrinsic career success was
associated with
Table 2 Results of Multiple Regressions
Salary
Variable
Promotion
Career
Satisfaction
Job Satisfaction Life Satisfaction
B
Beta
B
Beta
B
Beta
B
Beta
B
Beta
YW
-0.06
-.10
0.46
.46***
-0.45
-.12
-2.48
-.11
0.35
.07
Area
4.29
.02
0.33
.11
-1.65
-.14
-10.58
-.16*
-2.78
-.18*
SO
-0.14
-.20**
0.10
.09
0.41
.10
0.66
.03
5.63
.01
PO
0.44
.38
6.85
.04
1.88
.27
9.66
.24
1.35
.14
-0.32
-.21**
-0.55
-2.12
-.16*
Control variable
MS
Change in R
2
.11***
-.22*** -2.25
-.23**
-12.18 -.22**
.37***
.12**
.09**
.06**
Big Five
Extraversion
3.49
.03
1.40
.01
-0.29
.32**
0.92
.18
0.10
.09
Con
-1.12
-.13
-1.30
-.10
-5.91
-.11
-4.77
-.12
-3.93
-.06
Agreeableness
1.82
.18
1.80
.12
-6.11
-.10
-3.85
-.01
3.44
.04
1.10
.10
-7.20
-.04
-3.24
-.05
-8.31
-.02
3.49
.04
-1.21
-.16*
-1.58
-.13*
-8.29
-.18*
-0.49
-.19*
-9.46
-.15*
OE
Neuroticism
Change in R
2
.03
.02
.05*
.04
.03
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No.7
Salary
Variable
163
Promotion
Career
Satisfaction
Job Satisfaction Life Satisfaction
B
Beta
B
Beta
B
Beta
B
Beta
B
Beta
-9.16
-.04
5.37
.01
-5.23
-.32
-0.34
-.37
-4.90
-.23
-4.93
-.31
-5.34
-.02
2.21
.22
0.10
.19
6.84
.05
Personality× OT
Extra × OT
Agreeable ×OT
2
.01
.00
.01
.01
.01
Final R2
.15
.39
.18
.14
.10
Final Adjusted R2
.08
.35
.13
.09
.04
Change in R
Note. YW=Years of Work, SO= Size of Organization, PO= People Oriented, MS= Marital Status,
Con= Conscientiousness, OE= Openness to Experience, OT=Occupational Type.
N=285, *B and beta significant at p < .05, ** B and beta significant at p < .01.
extraversion and, with more consistency, neuroticism. Specifically,
individuals who were higher on extraversion experienced higher levels of
career satisfaction than did these lower on extraversion. Individuals who
were less neurotic experienced higher levels of job satisfaction, life
satisfaction and career satisfaction than their more neurotic counterparts.
Extrinsic career success was associated only with neuroticism.
Individuals who were less neurotic received higher salaries and more
promotions than their more neurotic counterparts. Moderated regression
analysis involving extraversion and agreeableness failed to find any
significant effects against extrinsic and intrinsic career success, suggesting
that these effects are consistent across occupation requiring different levels
of interpersonal interaction.
Neuroticism was related most consistently to career success,
exhibiting negative relationships with salary, promotions, job satisfaction,
life satisfaction and career satisfaction. Consistent with our hypothesis and
research by Turban and Dougherty (1994), the negative relationship of
neuroticism to intrinsic career success implies that individuals who scores
higher in neuroticism evaluate their careers more negatively, perhaps due to
a general tendency toward negative affective reactions. Myanmar
employees who scores higher in neuroticism may place themselves in
situations where failure, anxiety, and disappointment are likely and
Myanmar organization also may accept positive self- image (low
neuroticism).
The positive relationships found between extraversion and intrinsic
career success are consistent with previous research on career success (e.g.
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Seibert & Kraimer, 2001) and further highlight the important role that
extraversion plays in career satisfaction of persons in people-oriented and
non-people-oriented occupations. Although being in a people-oriented
occupation may moderate the relationship between the extraversion and job
performance (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Salgado, 1997), in this research no
such pattern was found for career success. Perhaps extraverted persons may
display a general tendency to react more positively to a range of situations
(Watson & Clark, 1997), including their career situations, leading to greater
intrinsic rewards. Or as a more substantive explanation, extraverted persons
may be more likely to take corrective action when their career situations are
not to their liking (Crant, 1995). Future research needs to examine the
mechanisms behind the positive relations of extraversion to extrinsic and
intrinsic career success.
Contrary to the expectations and empirical evidence provided by
Judge et al. (1999), it was found that there was no support for the
hypotheses that conscientiousness and agreeableness are related to the five
measures of extrinsic and intrinsic career success, salary, promotion, job
satisfaction, life satisfaction and career satisfaction. These hypotheses were
based on the notion that agreeableness (negatively) and conscientiousness
(positively) are related to job performance and that job performance in
related positively to extrinsic and intrinsic career success.
Finally, the results of the control variables examined in this study
generally are consistent with previous career research. Specifically, years
of work experience was related positively to promotion (Stroh et al., 1992;
Whitely et al., 1991); size of organization was related positively to salary
(Judge et al., 1995); and residing in a major metropolitan city was related
positively to job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Seibert et al., 1999). The
one finding with respect to our control variable that contradicted previous
research is the non-significant relationship found between years of work
and salary (Cox & Harquail, 1991; Judge et al., 1994). Overall, the general
consistency between the findings in the present research and those of the
previous research lends credence to the present report that the Big Five
personality traits explain significant variance in career success beyond that
accounted for by the control variables.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No.7
165
Limitations and Future research
When considering the generalizability of the present findings,
potential limitation must be noted. The predominantly less than 40 years old
sample (73%) precludes generalization to persons of other age groups.
Future research should examine personality and career success with a more
diverse sample. A second limitation is the cross-sectional design of the
study and the corresponding inability to draw causal conclusions. Yet,
considerable research has been conducted on the longitudinal stability of the
personality constructs examine in this study. Finally, we relied on selfreport data to access dependent variables of this study. The limitations of
self-report data are well-known (Podsakoff & Organ, 1986), and future
research should attempt to include other sources of data for the dependent
variables of interest. This is one of the first studies to take a comprehensive
personological approach to the effects of personality on career success in
Myanmar. The results in the present research are thus preliminary, but
suggest several additional opportunities for future research. As discussed
above, more theoretical work needs to be done to understand the
intervening processes through which personality affects career outcomes.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
The Construction of a Scale to Measure Environmental
Concerns
Tin Aung Moe1, Khin Sann Hlaing2, Aye Aye Htwe3, Thiri Hlaing4, Khin Ya Mon5 and
Ei Ei Khin6
Abstract
Measurement issues and structure of environmental concerns (ECs) were
assessed in this study. The present paper compared two different scales
used in previous research to measure beliefs about awareness of
consequences (ACs), or concerns, for egoistic, altruistic, and biosphericvalued objects. One hundred and ten participants from two separated
Universities in Myanmar completed both the ACs and ECs scales. The
findings have theoretical and practical implications for research into ECs,
and for applications of the value-belief-norm (extended norm activation)
theory. The important finding was that the ECs scale is superior to the AC
Beliefs scale in terms of reliability and dimensionality of sub-scales in
Myanmar samples. Thus, in order to further study the environmental
attitudes, values, intention, and behaviour of the people in Myanmar, the
ECs scale would be essential, beneficial, and useful for future research.
Key words: Environmental Problems, Environmental Concerns (ECs),
the AC Beliefs
Introduction
Environment problems have been an important issue in the past
several decades. Global warming and climate change due to Greenhouse
effects, deforestation and species extinction, exhaustion of fisheries,
agricultural land, and pollution of air and water supplies are some of the
main dangers to earth’s environment (Oskamp, 2000). These environmental
problems may be viewed as caused by maladaptive human behaviour (Kyi
Kyi Hla, 2010; Maloney and Ward, 1973).
It has been argued that environmental problems are largely ingrained
into the traditional values, attitudes, and beliefs of a given society. More
than three decades ago, Maloney,Ward, and Braucht (1975) pointed out that
“we must determine what the population knows, thinks, feels, and actually
does regarding ecology and pollution” (p. 787). According to Johnson,
1. Tutor, Department of Psychology, Sittway University
2. Dr., Asso. Professor and Head, Department of Psychology, Sittway University
3. Asst. Lecturer, Dr., Department of Psychology, Sittway University
4,5,6 Tutor, Department of Psychology, Sittway University
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Bowker, and Cordell (2004), different populations with specific social
practices and cultural traits are likely to hold different values on and
attitudes toward nature or environment. Therefore, an empirical study of
environmental attitudes for one's culture is of particular importance.
Recently, Myanmar like some Asian neighbours badly felt the full impact of
the world ecological imbalance caused by global warming and climate
change on 3rd-4th May, 2008, when parts of Yangon and Ayeyarwaddy
Regions were battered by the Cyclone Nargis causing many death and
destruction (Kyi Kyi Hla, 2010). Again, more recently some parts of the
Rakhine State also suffered many damages and losses by hitting Cyclone
Giri on 22nd -23rd October, 2010. As a result, Myanmar learnt that it is the
time to emphasize the interests of this crucial environmental conservation
and sustainable development although its natural environment has not yet
reached the dimensions of deterioration as in developed countries. No
studies, however, have yet been empirically conducted to examine the
attitudes toward the environmental problems in Myanmar. Thus, the main
objective of the study was to construct a scale to measure the environmental
attitude of the Myanmar people.
Measurements of Attitude toward Environmental Problems
There have been two main approaches to measurement, the first by
Stern et al. (1993, 1995) and more recently by Schultz (2000). Each group
developed scales for the measurement of beliefs about ACs for, or attitudes
of concern towards, valued objects that are representative of egoistic,
altruistic, or biospheric value orientations. Studies using those scales are
reviewed below. Schultz’s scale is the more recent, but Stern’s scale is still
being used by some researchers. Indeed, there has not been a previous
empirical investigation into which of the two scales has better reliability and
dimensionality, except one study by Snelgar (2006).
Awareness of Consequences Beliefs Scale (The AC Beliefs Scale)
Stern et al. (1993, 1995) reported tests of their value-belief-norm
model. As described above, they theorized that beliefs about ACs could
arise for three types of valued object: they used the terms egoistic AC,
altruistic AC and biospheric AC. To measure these AC beliefs, they
constructed three scales. Items retained for each AC belief were selected by
Stern et al. (1993) using a theta scaling procedure. In this procedure,
devised by Armor (1974), items for one scale are entered into a principal
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
169
component analysis and those that load on the first component are retained.
Then theta reliability is obtained; it is the internal consistency when each
item is weighted by its loading. This procedure is carried out for each scale
separately. Thus Stern et al. (1993, 1995) do not appear to have assessed the
dimensionality overall of the items in their AC scales. Using this procedure,
Stern et al. (1993) produced AC Belief scales containing three items each.
They reported that the reliabilities of the three AC Beliefs scales were only
moderate (thetas were .66, .62, and .56).
Stern et al. (1995) used items modified from their 1993 paper, again
using a theta scaling procedure. The resultant items were somewhat
different from those of Stern et al. (1993), with two items for egoistic AC,
two for altruistic AC, and four for biospheric AC. Theta reliabilities for the
three sub-scales were better: .77, .71, and .73. Other researchers have also
used the AC Beliefs scales. Joireman, Lasane, Bennett, Richards, and
Solaimani (2001) used items from Stern et al. (1993, 1995) to measure
beliefs about egoistic (four items), altruistic (five items) and biospheric
(four items) ACs. They did not conduct factor analysis for the items, but
reported that the alpha values were moderate (.67, .76, and .65). Garling,
Fujii, Garling, and Jakobsson (2003) measured egoistic AC, altruistic AC,
and biospheric AC using three items for each from Stern et al. (1993). They
then carried out principal component factor analysis and reliability analysis
to improve the sub-scales. After eliminating one question from each of the
three sub-scales, Cronbach’s α’s were .45, .42, and .54. Thus, these studies
show that the reliabilities of each of the AC Beliefs scales tend to be
moderate and poor, and it is not clear whether each is uni-dimensional.
Environmental Concerns Scale (ECs Scale)
An alternative approach to measurement was taken by Schultz
(2000), in order to investigate what he termed ECs toward valued objects
that are representative of the egoistic, altruistic or biospheric value
orientations. He developed an EC scale in which several objects for each
value orientation are assessed on a 7-point scale for the importance of that
object as a matter of concern to the participant in terms of environmental
issues. Example objects are, for egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric value
orientations respectively, my health, children, and birds. In developing his
scale of 12 items Schultz initially used a larger number of items. The
specific 12 items used in the EC scale varied somewhat between the studies
reported next. Schultz (2000, 2001), Schultz, Shriver, Tabanico, and
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Khazian (2004), and Schultz et al. (2005) collected data with the ECs scale
from a range of samples including USA adults and students, and students in
Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, New Zealand, India, and several
countries in Latin America. For most of the countries, the highest mean
score was for altruistic concerns. Of egoistic and biospheric concerns,
which is the higher varies between countries. Schultz (2001) showed that
the USA and Spanish samples gave higher egoistic, than biospheric, mean
concern score, but the reverse tended to be seen in South and Central
America samples. Samples from Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, New
Zealand, and India gave higher biospheric, than egoistic, mean concern
score, whereas the Russian sample showed the opposite pattern (Schultz et
al., 2005). These differences between egoistic and biospheric concerns are
not large; the direction of the difference is the issue.
Schultz has assessed the factor structure of the ECs scale using
structural equation modeling. In his initial report on the scale, Schultz
(2000) tested three structural models: a one-factor model, of unidimensional EC; a two-factor model; and a three-factor model. The twofactor model was of biospheric items loading on one factor with both
egoistic and altruistic items loading on another factor, following Thompson
and Barton’s (1994) suggestion that there are ecocentric attitudes (nature
valued for its own sake) and anthropocentric attitudes (nature valued for its
contribution to humanity). Schultz (2000) demonstrated that the three-factor
model, of egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric concerns, fitted the data well,
thus providing further support for the notion that three value-orientations
underlie beliefs about ACs (Stern et al., 1993; Stern, 2000). Moreover, the
three-factor model gave a significantly better fit than did the two-factor
model. Schultz (2001) replicated the outcome on further samples: the threefactor model fit the data better than did the two-factor model for samples
from Spain and Latin America. Reliabilities of the three sub-scales were
high (.91, .92, and .94) for Schultz’ (2000) sample. Reported reliabilities
from other samples (Mayer & Frantz, 2004; Schultz, 2001; Schultz et al.,
2004, 2005) were not always so high; nonetheless they were mostly good to
high.
These studies suggested that concerns resulting from biospheric and
altruistic value orientations are indeed distinct from one another. It also
contains indications that Schultz’ ECs scale has a better factor structure and
more reliable sub-scales than does Stern and colleagues’ AC Beliefs scale.
The issue of which scale gives better measures of these constructs is
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
171
important for research questions into ECs or beliefs about ACs involving
value orientations towards egoistic, altruistic and biospheric valued objects.
It appears, however, that the two scales have not been directly compared.
The AC Beliefs scale, which consists of a series of statements about
consequences of environmental aspects for a valued object, is a different
type of scale to the ECs scale, in which a series of objects for each value
orientation is assessed in terms of how much ECs they evoke. Nonetheless,
both scales were constructed in order to assess beliefs about consequences
for, or concern towards, valued objects related to the three value
orientations proposed by Stern et al. (1993) for their extended normactivation model, the value-belief-norm theory. Thus after empirical making
a comparison of the two scales, selecting one which is most appropriate for
Myanmar culture is theoretically and practically useful.
Methods
Participants and procedure
Data were collected from 110 students at the East Yangon
University and Sittway University in 2010. Cases with missing data were
excluded listwise from the relevant scale data: 108 gave complete data for
the AC Beliefs scale and the EC scale. This is a relatively small sample.
Nonetheless, it is sufficient for exploratory factor analysis, provided that
there are at least five participants per variable and three or more variables
per factor (Gorsuch, 1983).
Materials
A set of questionnaires contained both the AC Beliefs and ECs
scales.
AC Beliefs scale: For this study, all 13 items published in Joireman
et al. (2001, after Stern et al., 1993, 1995) were used. The egoistic AC subscale consisted of four items, altruistic AC, five items, and biospheric AC,
four items. The items were placed in random order. The researcher asked
participants to respond on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 was strongly
disagree, 4 was neutral, and 7 was strongly agree. High scores indicate
beliefs that environmental degradation adversely affects valued objects and
that environmental protection benefits them. The 1–7 scale was chosen to
allow for easy comparison with data from the ECs scale. Joireman et al.
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(2001) used a 7-point scale, but Stern et al. (1993) used a 4-point scale, and
Garling et al. (2003) used a 9-point scale.
ECs scale: The items making up the ECs scale have also varied
somewhat between studies (Schultz, 2000, 2001; Schultz et al., 2004). For
this study 12 items were all used with the standard instructions. The items
used for each concern were: egoistic: me, my future, my lifestyle, my
health; altruistic: all people, children, people in Myanmar, future
generations; and biospheric: plants, marine life, birds, animals. The item
order was mixed. The researcher asked participants to respond to a scale
from 1 to 7, where 1 was not important, 4 was neutral, and 7 was supreme
importance.
Results
Exploratory component factor analysis was carried out on each scale
separately. The aim was to explore dimensionalities and so various methods
were used. Bivariate correlations for each pair of sub-scales are shown in
Table 1.
Table 1. Correlations between sub-scales from both the AC Beliefs scale
and the ECs scale
____________________________________________________
AC ego AC alt
AC bio EC ego
EC alt
ECbio
____________________________________________________
AC ego
-
AC alt
.157
-
AC bio
.062
.124
-
EC ego
.060
.075
-.044
-
EC alt
.185
.125
.036
.534**
EC bio
.208*
.194*
-.05
.401**
.477**
____________________________________________________
Note. *p<.05. **p<.01. All two-tailed.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
173
The AC Beliefs Scale
Exploratory component factor analysis: For the AC Beliefs scale,
there were five components with eigenvalue greater than one. The scree plot
had no clear break. Table 2(i) shows the loadings obtained when three
components (following theory) were extracted in a principal component
analysis with varimax rotation. The items from each sub-scale do not fall
onto the same component.
In order to check all possibilities that the AC Beliefs scale may
show dimensionality, other analyses were carried out. When five
components (following eigenvalues) were extracted, the heaviest loadings
on each component were as follows: two altruistic and one egoistic item on
the first; one biospheric and three altruistic items on the second; two
biospheric items on the third; two egoistic items on the fourth; and one
egoistic and one biospheric item on the fifth. An analysis was carried out in
which the number of components extracted was reduced to two, in line with
Stern et al. (1995) the suggestion of. Also, the principal component analyses
were repeated with direct oblimin rotation, as correlations have previously
been reported between the AC Beliefs sub-scales. Furthermore, two, three,
four, or five factors were extracted using principal axis factoring both with
varimax and with direct oblimin rotations. No clear structure was obtained
with any of these analyses. Thus, it is not appropriate to attempt to label any
of the factors/components. None of the AC Beliefs sub-scales is unidimensional.
Reliability: Values of Cronbach’s α for each of the AC sub-scales
were: for egoistic AC, .26; for altruistic AC, .39; and for biospheric AC,
.44.
Magnitude of ACs: The mean (SD) values were as follows; for
egoistic AC, 5.53 (0.75); for altruistic AC, 5.59 (0.75); for biospheric AC,
4.20 (1.07).
The ECs Scale
Exploratory component factor analysis: For the ECs scale, three
components had eigenvalue greater than one. Moreover, the scree plot
showed a clear break between the third and fourth factor. There is
sometimes debate about whether the factor after the break should also be
extracted. In this case when three components were extracted, the items
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from each sub-scale separated clearly with principal components analysis as
shown in Table 2(ii). Other analyses were carried out as for the AC Beliefs
scales. Interestingly, the same pattern of loadings was obtained for other
methods as when three factors were extracted.
Reliability: Values of Cronbach’s α for each sub-scale of the EC
scale were: for egoistic concern, .78; for altruistic concern, .74; and for
biospheric concern, .79.
Magnitude of ECs: The mean (SD) of each concern were as
follows; for egoistic, 5.28 (1.04); for altruistic, 6.05 (0.88); for biospheric,
5.72 (1.09).
Table 2
Rotated Component Metrix (i) for AC Beliefs items and (ii) for
ECs items measured in Study
Components
(i) AC Beliefs Scale
ACalt11
ACalt13
ACego10
ACego1
ACalt8
ACbio6
ACalt5
ACalt2
ACego4
ACego7
ACbio12
ACbio3
ACbio9
(ii) EC Scale
Me (ECego1)
My future(ECego4)
My health(ECego10)
My lifestyle(ECego7)
Birds(ECbio9)
1
2
3
0.735
0.716
0.661
0.448
0.708
0.702
0.587
0.511
0.364
0.348
0.819
0.761
0.743
0.567
0.79
0.684
0.617
0.586
0.433
0.354
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
175
Components
1
Plants (ECbio3)
Marine life (ECbio6)
Animals (ECbio11)
People in Myanmar
country(ECalt5)
All people (ECalt12)
Future generations (ECalt8)
Children (ECalt2)
0.325
2
3
0.776
0.747
0.638
0.834
0.676
0.674
0.313
0.601
For each scale separately, three components were extracted in a
principal component analysis with varimax rotation. Loadings less than .3
are omitted. Bold numbers are the largest loadings over .5 for that item.
Discussion
This study showed that the ECs scale is superior, in both factor
structure and sub-scale reliabilities, to the AC Beliefs scale. Each of the
ECs sub-scales has good reliability. The findings confirm indications found
in previous research, reviewed in the measurements of attitude towards
environmental problems section. In the present study data for both scales
were obtained from the same sample, which has less previously been done.
Issues about the sample should be considered. This was a relatively small
sample, of around 100, but for that N there were sufficient participants per
variable, and sufficient variables per factor. It was a non-probability sample
and from a student population, which can lead to reduced variation in
responses. Such samples are often used in this type of research, but the
conclusions should be considered with reference to the nature of the sample.
Further research may be appropriate. Nonetheless, in terms of
dimensionality the poor performance of the AC Beliefs scale relative to the
ECs scale was marked (see Table 2). Many of the statements in the AC
Beliefs scale include more than one aspect, thus it is likely that these items
do tap more than one of the AC beliefs. This would also explain why the
correlations between ACs and ECs equivalent pairs of sub-scales are absent
(see Table 1).
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The results demonstrate clearly that the ECs scale is superior to the
AC Beliefs scale for measurement of egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric
ECs. The reliabilities of the three sub-scales were better for the ECs scale
than for the AC Beliefs scale. Furthermore, in exploratory factor analyses
the ECs scale gave fairly clear dimensions that agreed with theory, whereas
items in the AC Beliefs scale loaded on factors in a haphazard manner. This
is the second time that the reliability and dimensionality of these two scales
have been investigated in the same sample. Further research may be
appropriate, however, in samples drawn from other populations. The
finding has consequences for applications of the value-belief-norm theory
(Stern et al., 1993, 1995). Both scales were developed in order to assess the
concern towards, or beliefs about consequences for, the three value
orientations proposed by Stern et al. (1993) as part of their theory. That
theory, or similar modifications, has been applied to explanations of a range
of environmental attitudes and behaviour. In some of those investigations
the AC Beliefs scale was used to measure egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric
concerns, yet the subscales do not distinguish those dimensions. Thus, the
ECs scale is recommended for any research requiring separate measures for
these dimensions. In other words, the ECs scale should be used, in
preference to the AC Beliefs scale, to measure concerns about the
environment resulting from egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric value
orientations.
Methodological problems with measurement in this field should be
mentioned. Social desirability can affect responses and may be responsible
for mean scores being relatively high. This has been commented by others
(e.g. Garling et al., 2003; Schultz et al., 2004). Some researchers have
measured egoistic, altruistic, and biospheric concerns or ACs using scales
other than those used in this paper. Stern, Dietz, Abel, Guagnano, and Kalof
(1999) asked, with nine items and a 3-point response scale, whether each of
three environmental issues would be a problem for self and family, the
country as a whole, or for other species of plants and animals. A future
study could assess whether these types of scale and the EC scale have
different levels of social desirability response.
In summary, the research finding reported in this paper has
theoretical and practical implications for research into ECs, and for
applications of the value-belief-norm (extended norm activation) theory.
The important finding was demonstrated that the ECs scale is superior to
the AC Beliefs scale in terms of reliability and dimensionality of sub-scales
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
177
in Myanmar samples. Therefore, in order to study the environmental
attitudes, values, intention, and behaviour of the people in Myanmar, the
ECs scale would be essential, beneficial, and useful for future research.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank Rector, Professor U Ba Shwe (Deputy Minister for
Education at present) and Pro-Rector, Professor Dr. Win Maung (Retired), Sittway
University for giving us an opportunity to conduct the present departmental research.
Then, we would like to thank Professor Ohbuchi Ken-ichi from Tohoku University of
Japan and Professor Dr. Khin Aye Win (Retired) from University of Yangon for their
kind support and encouragement. Next, we are indebted to all participants involved in
this project from East Yangon University and Sittway University. Finally, we wish to
express special thanks to our families for their kind support.
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Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Hazardous Waste Management Among ASEAN Countries
Tin Htay Ei
Abstract
In recent years, the rapid industrial development of many ASEAN
countries has been accompanied by serious public health and
environmental problems related to the improper disposal of hazardous
wastes. All ASEAN countries have formulated environmental
management and pollution control plans and policies. To ensure safe and
proper management of hazardous waste , most of the ASEAN countries
have adopted a number of effective legislations and ratified the the Basel
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous
Waste (1989).In the overall framework of environmental protection in the
ASEAN region, greater awareness for the Hazardous Waste management
should be encouraged.
Key words: Environmental Law, Hazardous Waste Management,
ASEAN
Environmental
Cooperation,
Industrial
Environment
Introduction
It is now widely believed that the planet faces a diverse and growing
range of environmental challenges which can only be addressed through
international co-operation. The growth of international environmental issues
is reflected in the large body of principles and rules of international
environmental law which apply bilaterally, regionally and globally, and
reflects international interdependence.
Most countries now have environmental laws and regulations in
place to provide at least minimum environmental standards to which
industry is expected to adhere. Each country must develop its own
institutional mechanisms to achieve its environmental priorities, according
to its particular social, economic and political setting.
As for hazardous waste management, the ASEAN countries aim to
comprehensively adopt a “cradle-to-grave” concept. Recycle, reuse,
recovery and exchange of wastes will be promoted. All countries will place
more emphasis on waste minimization and clean production technologies
while expanding waste treatment and disposal facilities to meet greater
Professor; Dr , Department of Law , University of Mandalay.
180
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
demand. A long-term goal has been adopted by member countries to
minimize, if not completely eliminate, transboundary movement of
hazardous wastes. All ASEAN countries have formulated environmental
management and pollution control plans and policies and have moved
towards the preparation and implementation of Agenda 21 which was
agreed at the UNCED held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.
The ASEAN Heads of Government agreed that, ASEAN should
continue to enhance environmental cooperation, particularly in issues of
transboundary pollution, natural disasters, forest fires and in addressing the
anti-tropical timber campaign.
Hazardous Waste Management is an important issue for human
health. So there should not only be Hazardous Waste control by a state itself
but also cooperation in the control of Hazardous Waste Management and
transboundary pollution with regional countries. In addition, developed
countries should facilitate developing countries in this field of Hazardous
Waste Management through the transfer of technologies, the establishment
of standardizations and by enhancing environmental education for
Hazardous Waste Management. It is without doubt that by cooperation, the
ASEAN regional countries will gradually be able to attain a peaceful and
sustainable level of development.
Materials and Methods
A comprehensive analysis was made of the legal and practical
aspects of Hazardous Waste Management among ASEAN countries,
covering the institutions involved at national and sectoral levels, related
laws and bylaws, current practice and the relevant international conventions
and legislation. Moreover, analysis was made on the ASEAN Regional
Environmental Cooperation.
Results
In the overall framework of environmental protection in the ASEAN
region, greater awareness for the protection of the environment should be
encouraged. The ASEAN member countries should focus on the legalistic
control of Hazardous Waste and on cooperation in their environmental
education programmes, working closely together and with greater
commitment, in collaboration with other regional and international
agencies/organisations. All ASEAN member countries should ratify the
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
181
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of
Hazardous Wastes.
Discussion
The Nature of Hazardous Waste
Dangerous waste is variously described in different legal regimes as
special waste, hazardous waste and toxic waste, as well as dangerous waste.
A proportion of the wastes generated by industry are deemed to be
“hazardous wastes” because they contain substances that are toxic to
humans, plants or animals, are flammable, corrosive, or explosive, or have
high chemical reactivity. "Hazardous wastes" means wastes other than
radioactive wastes which, by reason of their chemical reactivity or toxic,
explosive, corrosive or other characteristics causing danger or likely to
cause danger to health or the environment, whether alone or when coming
into contact with other wastes, are legally defined as hazardous in the State
in which they are generated or in which they are disposed of or through
which they are transported. 1
Public-health concerns
Health problems, environmental pollution, accidents and explosions
are frequently the results of hazardous wastes. Inappropriate and often
careless handling of hazardous wastes can result in severe human-health and
serious environmental pollution problems. Childhood leukemia, birth
defects, prenatal mortality, and gastrointestinal disorder has been associated
with hazardous wastes containing lead, arsenic, and trichloroethylene.
Cancer, skin allergy, kidney ailment, and miscarriages may be connected
with toxic wastes containing benzene, chloroform, trichloroethylene,
acetone, and methylene chloride. These are therefore the common issues.
1
Principles of International Environmental Law I, Phillipe Sands, 1995, Pg.495
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Legislations Relating to the Management of Hazardous Waste in
ASEAN Countries
Most countries now have environmental laws and regulations in
place to provide at least minimum environmental standards to which
industry is expected to adhere.
Each country has its own cultural and legal context by which antisocial or criminal behavior is dealt with. But permits and inspections need
to be carried out in a way that facilitates later remedial action if required.
Financial penalties can contribute to the overhead and running costs of the
inspectorates as well as having a deterrent and penalty function.
Among the ASEAN countries, it is an accepted fact that hazardous
waste is potentially damaging to the environment and must therefore be
controlled. Increasing numbers of countries in the ASEAN region are in the
process of formulating policies and strategies to manage hazardous waste.
In this snowballing movement, it is accepted that public education plays a
vital role to a successful national waste management system.
BRUNEI Darussalam
Negara Brunei Darussalam (Brunei) is a small country and it
occupies a land area of 5,270 square kilometers 1.
Environmental Institutions - There is no single Ministry or Department in
Brunei which is specifically responsible for environmental matters.
Responsibility for environmental management is fragmented amongst
several ministries, departments and units according to the sector concerned.
Even though there is no separate Ministry for environmental matters, there
exist two institutions ,the National Committee on the Environment (NCE)
and the Environmental Unit of the Ministry of Development. The NCE was
established in 1993 by the Brunei Government.
Environmental Legislation - Brunei has no framework or umbrella
legislation on the environment. Matters pertaining to the environment are
regulated by existing sectoral laws governing the various economic
activities.
1
AirNinja.com - Population of Brunei 2000-2007
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
183
EIA Legislation-Brunei does not have specific laws requiring mandatory
environment impact assessments (EIAs) for projects. The Town and
Country Planning (Development Control) Act gives the Minister of
Development discretionary powers to require an impact assessment and to
regulate development in areas designated as development control areas.
New industries must submit plans to the Ministry of Industry and Primary
Resources indicating measures to be taken to alleviate environmental
impacts. 1
The Kingdom of CAMBODIA
The Kingdom of Cambodia is located in mainland Southeast Asia
bordering the Gulf of Thailand and it occupies a total land area of 176,520
square kilometers.
Environmental Institutions - Overall management of the environment
lies with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), which was created in 1993.
The MOE has wide responsibilities, which are spelled out in the Law on
Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management. At the
provincial and city levels, there are corresponding Provincial/City
Environment Departments. These local departments have the responsibility
of enforcing the environmental legislation coming under the competence of
the MOE.
Environmental Legislation - Article 59 of the Cambodian Constitution
provides for the protection of the environment. In November 1996, the
Cambodian National Assembly passed the Law on Environmental
Protection and Natural Resource Management (the framework Law). The
Law was prepared with technical and financial assistance from the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID).
The framework Law calls for EIAs to be conducted for every private
or public project, to be reviewed by the Ministry of Environment before
submission to the Government for a final decision. 2
1
2
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/brunei/reporti.html#sec 3,4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/cambodia/reporti.html#sec1-4
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The Republic of INDONESIA
The Republic of Indonesia is a sprawling archipelagic nation of
13,500 islands occupying a land area of 1,826,440 square kilometers.
Environmental Institutions- In Indonesia, the institution
responsible for environmental management and coordination is the Office
of the State Minister for the Environment (sometimes known as the State
Ministry for the Environment). In 1990, the Indonesian government
established an environmental institution known as the Badan Pengendalian
Dampak Lingkungan (BAPEDAL) - the Environmental Impact
Management Agency.
Environmental Legislation -The framework environmental legislation in
Indonesia was the Environmental Management Act No. 4 of 1982. The
enactment of this Act and the establishment of the Office of the State
Minister for the Environment followed from the flurry of environmental
interest and activity generated by the 1972 UN Stockholm Conference on
the Environment. On 19 September 1997, a new Act was passed to replace
Act No. 4 of 1982 - this was Act No. 23 of 1997 concerning the
Management of the Living Environment (the 1997 Environmental
Management Act). 1
The LAO People’s Democratic Republic
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is a landlocked,
relatively less developed state in mainland South East Asia, occupying
230,800 square kilometres of land area.
Environmental Institutions- Following the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the
Science, Technology and Environment Organisation (STENO) was
established directly under the Prime Minister’s Office. Other sectoral
ministries and agencies possess vast powers over environmental matters
falling within their respective spheres of competence.
Environmental Legislation - Article 17 of the 1991 Constitution of the
Lao PDR provides that: "All organizations, all citizens must protect the
environment and natural resources: land, subterranean, forests, fauna, water
source and atmosphere." Pursuant thereto, a national policy framework
1
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/indonesia/reporti.html#sec1-6
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
185
known as the Environmental Action Plan (EAP) was passed in November
1993 (and subsequently revised in 1995).In 1999, the Lao PDR
promulgated the Environmental Protection Law.The main sectoral laws in
existence include the Forestry Law, the Mining Law and the Water and
Water Resources Law.
The EIA Process- At the present moment, the EIA system utilised in the
Lao PDR is informal and ad hoc in nature. Every major development
project in the Lao PDR is required to carry out an EIA study according to a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the project’s
investors and the Government. 1
MALAYSIA
Malaysia, comprising Peninsular Malaysia and the Eastern
Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island.
Environmental Institutions- Environmental management is conducted at
the federal level by the Department of Environment (DOE) of the Ministry
of Science, Technology and Environment. Within each state, the state
governments have corresponding authorities and officials in charge of
environmental matters.
Environmental Legislation - The main framework environmental
legislation in Malaysia is the 1974 Environmental Quality Act (hereinafter
"EQA) and the regulations enacted thereunder. The 1974 EQA has been
substantially amended in recent years, principally by the Environmental
Quality (Amendment) Act 1996 (Act A953). References to the EQA will be
taken to mean the amended EQA.The EQA employs a regulatory
framework based upon the issuing of licenses and the prescription of
premises to be regulated.
There is also a specific provision on the dumping, import and export
and transit of "scheduled wastes" (hazardous materials).Amongst the major
federal laws are the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and its amendments
and subsidiary legislation, the Fisheries Act 1985, the Pesticides Act 1974
and the Plant Quarantine Act 1976. 2
1
2
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/laos/reporti.html#sec1-4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/malaysia/reporti.html#sec1-4
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The Union of MYANMAR
The Union of Myanmar occupies a land area of 657,740 square
kilometres on the north-western portion of the South East Asian mainland.
Environmental Institutions - Waste management is carried out by
various institutions for pollution control at the national and sectoral levels.
In 1989, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) began to assume authority
over domestic environmental protection issues, while the Cabinet retained
responsibility for international environmental matters. At present, the
Ministry of Forestry deals with matters concerning the National
Commission on Environmental Affairs ( NCEA ). The NCEA’s main
mission is to ensure sustainable use of environmental resources and to
promote environmentally sound practices in industry and in other economic
activities. The Government of Myanmar formed the Committee on
Conservation of Natural Environment on 26th March 2004 and (10) special
working groups for the conservation of the environment were subsequently
formed under this Committee on May 19th 2004 to protect soil, air and
water from pollution.The important sectoral agencies in the area of
environmental protection are the Ministry of Forestry ,Ministry of Industry
(1) and (2) and the Department of Occupational Health in the Ministry of
Health.
Environmental Legislation - There are several environment-related
sectoral laws in Myanmar . Although most of related laws were enacted for
other objectives rather than for environmental protection, some provisions
contain environmental elements. Criminal Enforcement is dealt with in
Chapter 14 of the Penal Code (1860 ) .With the formation of the NCEA in
1990, a National Environmental Policy (NEP) has been formulated.
The environmental management effort in Myanmar is currently
sectoral in nature. However, efforts have been taken since 1995 to formulate
the Myanmar Agenda 21, a policy document which provides an integrated
framework of programmes and actions aimed at securing the aims of
sustainable development.
EIA Legislation - EIAs are conducted on an ad hoc basis for
projects funded by international organisations and some foreign
corporations. The Myanmar Agenda 21 recognises the need for EIA laws. 1
1
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/myanmar/reporti.html#sec1-4
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The Republic of the PHILIPPINES
The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands in
the South China Sea occupying a land area of 298,170 square kilometres,
with a coastline of over 36,000 kilometres in length.
Environmental
InstitutionsEnvironmental
management,
conservation and development in the Philippines is administered on a
national level by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR), which was created in 1987. Within the DENR are several natural
resource management bureaus, the most important of which are the
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the Forest Management Board
(FMB), the Land Management Bureau (LMB), the Mines and Geosciences
Bureau (MGB) and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB). The
management, conservation, development, protection, utilisation and
disposition of all fishery and aquatic resources of the country (except for
municipal waters, which are under the control of the municipal or city
governments), are within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources, a line bureau constituted under the Department of
Agriculture.
Environmental Legislation - The Philippine Environment Code, in
turn, contains general principles dealing with the major environmental and
natural resource concerns of the Philippines.
The Philippines has the only specific legislation relating to the
prospecting of biological and genetic resources, as well as the most
advanced EIA, mining, fisheries, protection of ancestral domain and
protected areas legislation in the region. The main legislation mentioned
above have been supplemented in varying degrees by subsidiary legislation,
primarily in the form of DENR Department Administrative Orders
(commonly known as DAOs). In December 1996, DAO 37/1996 was issued
by the Secretary for the Environment to streamline the EIA system.
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System - The
Philippine Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System requires all
government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations, and
private companies to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
for any project or activity that significantly affects the quality of the
environment. The Philippine EIS system is extremely comprehensive and
entails an EIA being conducted to study the relationship between a
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proposed project and its surrounding environment. Unlike in several other
countries, the EIS system does not merely emphasise the regulation of
industrial pollution, but is also aimed at the protection of natural resources,
fragile ecosystems and the rights of local communities. 1
The Republic of SINGAPORE
The Republic of Singapore is a small island state lying at the tip of
the Malayan Peninsula at the crossroads of South East Asia. Consisting of
the main island of Singapore and some 60 islets, Singapore has a land area
of 637 square kilometres and a coastline of 193 kilometres. 2
Environmental Institutions- Overall management of the
environment lies with the Ministry of Environment (ENV). The ENV was
first established in the 1970s as a department within the Prime Minister’s
Office before eventually becoming a full-fledged Ministry. The Pollution
Control Department (PCD) within the ENV is in charge of environmental
planning and building development control, air and water pollution control
and the regulation of hazardous substances and wastes.
Environmental Legislation- The Constitution of the Republic; Acts
enacted by Parliament; Subsidiary legislation (in the form of Regulations
and Orders) issued by the Ministers.The Singapore Constitution does not
contain any provisions on the environment. Neither does Singapore have a
framework law on environmental protection and management.
Two general categories of environmental legislation exist - that
dealing primarily with the regulation of wastes and emissions from
industries, hospitals, households and vehicles (pollution control laws), and
that dealing with the protection of natural areas and wildlife (nature
conservation laws).
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) - There is at present
no legislation in Singapore making EIAs compulsory for major
developmental projects. However, as and when the Ministry of
Environment deems a particular project to have sufficient potential for
pollution that may affect public health, an EIA may be required. The Master
1
2
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/philippines/reporti.html#sec1-5.3
AirNinja.com - Population of Singapore 2000-2007
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Plan Committee in practice, has required EIAs of developmental projects
which have pollutive potential. 1
The Kingdom of THAILAND
The Kingdom of Thailand occupies a land area of 514,000 square
kilometres on the South East Asian mainland, with a coastline some 3,219
kilometres in length. The Thai economy is largely dependent upon
agriculture, industry and services, with the main income earners being
manufactured goods, rice and other agricultural products, fisheries, minerals
and tourism.
Environmental Institutions- Environmental management is
conducted on a national basis by the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment (MONRE). The main departments are the Office of
Environmental Policy and Planning (OEPP), the Pollution Control
Department (PCD) and the Department of Environmental Quality
Promotion (DEQP). These are further divided into several divisions and
regional offices which take charge of specific environmental concerns at the
national and provincial levels.
In Thailand, the responsibility over natural resource management
resides primarily with the sectoral ministries. In particular, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Interior, together with
their constituent departments, enjoy broad jurisdiction over numerous
natural resource sectors.
Environmental Legislation -The main framework environmental
legislation is the Enhancement and Conservation of the Natural
Environmental Quality Act of 1992 (hereinafter "EQA). The EQA is a
fairly-substantive piece of legislation which contains several progressive
provisions designed to enhance the protection of the environment. 2
The Socialist Republic of VIET NAM
The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam occupies a land area of 325,360
square kilometres, with a coastline some 3,444 kilometres in length. The
economy is largely agricultural, and major exports include rice, crude oil
1
2
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/singapore/reporti.html#sec1-5.3
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/thailand/reporti.html#sec1-4
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and natural gas, marine products, textiles and garments, and manufactured
goods.
Environmental Institutions- Environmental management in Viet
Nam is administered on a national level by the Ministry of Science,
Technology and Environment (MOSTE). The environmental arm of
MOSTE, the National Environmental Agency (NEA), is the body
specifically tasked with the environmental protection mandate. Apart from
MOSTE, the various line Ministries have Science, Technology and
Environment Divisions within their hierarchy. In addition to these
Ministries, there are a host of agencies, committees, general departments
and research centres which may have powers and jurisdiction equivalent to
those of a conventional ministry.At the provincial level, the relevant
management authorities are the Departments of Science, Technology and
Environment (DOSTEs), which carry out the environmental protection
activities through their respective Environment Divisions.
Environmental Legislation - The framework Law on
Environmental Protection (LEP) was passed by the National Assembly on
27 December 1993, and came into effect on 10 January 1994. The 55
articles of the LEP broadly establish the country’s policies on
environmental protection. The LEP is a very broad and general document
which sets out only a basic framework.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process- The EIA
system in Viet Nam is implemented through Article 18 of the LEP and a
series of implementing regulations, particularly Decree 175/CP and Decree
26/CP. Chapter III of Decree 175/CP contains requirements for the
submission of EIAs by investors and enterprises, both foreign and local.
Provisions prescribing the format and content of EIA reports are set out in
the appendices to Decree 175/CP. 1
Participation of ASEAN countries in international
Environmental Conventions
The long term goal of hazardous waste control is to minimize, if not
eliminate, the transboundary movement of hazardous waste in the ASEAN
countries. The ASEAN countries are expected to ensure that “cradle-to-
1
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/brunei/reporti.html#sec1-4.3
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191
grave” concept is comprehensively adopted for hazardous waste
management, together with hazardous waste classification and measures
that restrict import and export, storage and labeling, transport, treatment and
disposal and so on.
There are a growing number of multilateral agreements that address
common environmental concerns of the global community. There are many
Conventions relating to industrial hazardous waste management. However,
only two out of these conventions will be presented here, i.e. The Basel
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous
Waste and Their Disposal 1989 and The Stockholm Convention on
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), since these are the two conventions
which were convened on a global level.
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal 1989 (The Basel
Convention)
There are a number of reasons why a country exports hazardous
waste. Often, the nearest waste management facility capable of handling a
particular waste stream may be just over the international border from the
point of generation. In other cases, there may be a facility in another
country that specializes in treating, disposing of, or recycling a particular
waste. In some cases, hazardous wastes constitute “raw” material inputs
into industrial and manufacturing processes. This is the case in many
developing countries where natural resources are scarce or non-existent. In
addition, the use of hazardous wastes is often preferable to natural resource
extractions or hazardous waste disposal which can be very costly. 1 When
this activity was revealed, international outrage led to the drafting and
adoption of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Waste which was initially signed by 116 nations
in Budapest, Hungary in October, 1989 and which now has 172(up to 26th
March 2010) 2 member nations. Among these (8) are ASEAN member
countries. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Union of
Myanmar have not signed the Convention as yet. Several ASEAN member
countries (Indonesia, Malaysia Philippine, Singapore, Thailand and
1
2
http://www.basel,int/pub/basic.html#intro
http://www.basel.int/ratif/ratif.htlm
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Vietnam) have prepared legislation to fulfill their obligations following
their accession to the Convention.
The Convention went into force on May 5; 1992.It has twenty-nine
articles and six annexes that regulate, from cradle to grave, all hazardous
wastes that are to be shipped across national borders.
The objectives of the Basel Convention are,to minimize the
generation of hazardous wastes in terms of quantity and hazardousness;to
dispose of them as close to the source of generation as possible; and to
reduce the movement of hazardous wastes.
Since there have so far been no known cases of transboundary
movements of hazardous waste in Myanmar, in order to be able to maintain
this desirable situation, it would be more appropriate for Myanmar to
completely ban all transboundary movement of hazardous waste rather than
just to control its movement as required under the Basel Convention and at
the same time, Myanmar should aim to minimize the generation of all
hazardous wastes. This method of hazardous waste management would
contribute to the safe and sustainable development of the country and the
conservation of its environment.
Stockholm Convention
(The POPs Convention)
on
Persistent Organic Pollutants
2001
Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs pose a particular hazard
because of four characteristics: they are toxic; they are persistent, resisting
normal processes that break down contaminants; they accumulate in the
body fat of people, marine mammals, and other animals and are passed
from mother to fetus; and they can travel great distances on wind and water
currents. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
(POPs) is designed to eliminate or severely restrict production and use of
POPs pesticides and industrial chemicals; ensure environmentally sound
management and chemical transformation of POPs waste; and prevent the
development of new chemicals with POPs- like characteristics. Its thirty
Articles and six Annexes have been drawn up with this end in view.
Finalized in Stockholm on May 23, 2001, the Convention has now been
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193
ratified by the requisite 50 parties and became binding international law for
those governments on May 17, 2004. 1
Most of the pesticides targeted by the Convention are slated for
immediate bans once the treaty takes effect. A longer phase-out (until 2025)
is planned for certain Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) uses. For
DDT(1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane), the agreement sets the
goal of ultimate elimination, with a timeline determined by the availability
of cost-effective alternatives for malaria prevention, limiting use in the
interim to disease vector control in accordance with World Health
Organization guidelines. 2
To date,152 countries have signed the Convention, the last party
being Afghanistan which singed on 18th July 2007. Among these all the
ASEAN countries are signatories, Myanmar having acceded to the
Convention on 18th April, 2004. The Stockholm Convention on Persistent
Organic Pollutants entered into force on 17 May 2004 in accordance with
paragraph 1 of Article 26 of the Convention.
Implementation of the POPs Convention by ASEAN Member Nations
It has resulted in several national legal statutes being enacted. For
example on the regulation of hazardous waste reductions, Singapore has
banned the production and use of POPs (10 out of 12) mentioned in the
MEA regulations and the Lao PDR has included regulations on chemicals
and waste contamination in its environmental laws. Indonesia has been
reported to have started a national inventory on the use of chemicals in
industrial production, while Cambodia has submitted a proposal for a
national implementation plan to the GEF. The Lao PDR on the other hand
has proposed a case study on national POPs and pesticide use to UNEP.
ASEAN has conducted awareness activities such as the ASEAN-UNDP
Regional Training Seminar on Toxic and Hazardous Wastes in 1998
followed up by the ASEAN/UNEP Workshop on the Effective
Implementation of Toxic and Hazardous Wastes” in 2001.
1
2
WWF, Stockholm POPs Convention , Overview & Status of US Ratification and
Implementing Legislation , Pg . 2
Ibid , Pg .1.
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Countries like Myanmar, who have ratified or acceded to the
Convention can, therefore, be said to have taken a step in the right direction.
They should follow up this initial step by the establishment of necessary
legislation and other measures to fulfill their obligations under the
Convention.
ASEAN Regional Environmental Cooperation
Generation of Hazardous Waste in ASEAN
As members of ASEAN continue to develop, it is expected that
there will be increasing use of toxic chemicals and generation of hazardous
wastes.The estimated annual production of hazardous waste from some
selected ASEAN Countries is given in Table 1.
Table 1: Estimated Annual Production of Hazardous Waste in Selected
Countries, Thousand Tons
1993
2000
2010
Indonesia
5,000
12,000
23,000
Malaysia
377
400
1,750
Philippines
115
285
530
Singapore
28
72
135
460
910
1,560
882
2,215
4,120
Vietnam
Thailand
Source: Hernandez 1993:UNEP 1994: United Nations 1995; and
Nelson1997
Hazardous wastes in Myanmar included metabolic wastes, organic
compounds, and toxic heavy metals from dyeing, printing and finishing
processes of the textiles and photoengraving industries.
In Hanoi, Vietnam, about 22,000 tons of hazardous wastes were
generated in 1999. Eighty-nine percent came from industry and 11 percent
from hospitals. 1
1
State of Waste Management in South East Asia,2006, Pg.2.
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195
Hazardous Waste Control in ASEAN Countries
To ensure safe and proper management of hazardous wastes, most of
the ASEAN countries have launched a number of effective programs and
measures to control waste, starting from waste collection, minimization,
recycling, reuse, recovery, collection and transport, and trough treatment
and disposal. Treatment and disposal methodologies for hazardous wastes
(secured landfill, incineration, stabilization and solidification processes)
have been introduced and put into operation in many ASEAN countries. 1
Most ASEAN member countries have ratified or acceded to the
Basel Convention to forge strong partnerships in preventing the illegal
traffic of hazardous wastes. It has been reported that since 1978 illegal
shipments of more than 300 barrels (200 liters each) of chemicals from
other countries have arrived at the Bangkok port. These unwanted
chemicals create problems for concerned authorities who have limited
financial resources to use for their disposal. 2
To ensure effective enforcement, the ASEAN countries require any
transport of hazardous wastes from the generator’s premises to conform
with safety requirements, including packaging, allowable load, route
selection, timing and emergency plans. Only licensed operators are allowed
to transport hazardous and toxic wastes. In 2000, the Singapore Ministry of
the Environment renewed the license of 122 operators who provide disposal
services for toxic industrial wastes.
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have implemented a
scheme to tighten control concerning the cleaning of tankers and the
disposal of sludge and slop oil generated. Waste minimization and cleaner
technologies were introduced in several ASEAN countries as indicated by
the establishment of MAWR (Malaysian Agenda for Waste Reduction)
Program. 3
1
2
3
ASEAN Achievements and Future Directions in Pollution Control, ASEAN , May
2002. Pg. 14
ASEAN Achievements and Future Directions in Pollution Control, ASEAN , May
2002. Pg. 15
ASEAN Achievements and Future Directions in Pollution Control, ASEAN , May
2002. Pg. 56-58
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ISO and Environmental Management - ISO 14000 is primarily
concerned with "environmental management". This means what the
organization does to minimize harmful effects on the environment caused
by its activities, and continually to improve its environmental performance.
It has developed more than 350 International Standards (out of a
total of more than 12,000) for the monitoring of such aspects as the quality
of air, water and soil. The ISO 14000 standards are practical tools for the
manager who is not satisfied with mere compliance with legislation.
Within the ASEAN community, Indonesia , Malaysia , Philippines ,
Singapore and Thailand are five member nations who have started to
implement ISO standards in their environmental Management systems .
At least there should be ISO legislation ( especially ISO 14001 ) for
new Industrial Zones and the special Industrial Park which has been
relocated from abroad . Undoubtedly, also, ISO legislation must be put in
place for all industries emitting any form of hazardous waste.
ASEAN Institutional framework for Environmental Management
Recognizing the benefits of collective action to address
environmental problems, ASEAN formulated a framework for ASEAN
cooperation on the environment within the first few years of its
establishment. An early initiative was the preparation of an ASEAN Sub –
regional program (ASEP) in 1977 with the assistance of the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP). In the following year, the newly
established ASEAN Experts Group on the Environment (AEGE) adopted
the first of what became a series of ASEPs. ASEP I was endorsed by the
First ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment endorsed ASEP II
and III.A formally instituted structure exists in ASEAN where
environmental issues are considered at various levels up to the ASEAN
Heads of States/Government.
Deliberations of the Environment Ministers are also considered by
the Foreign Ministers at their ASEAN Ministerial Meetings, especially in
terms of enhancing co-operation. The ASEAN Senior Officials on the
Environment (ASOEN) meet annually and are responsible for formulation,
implementation, and monitoring of regional programs and activities on the
environment.
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197
Policy Framework - ASEAN co-operation in general is guided by
the vision and broad strategic thrusts provided by the Heads of
State/Government. In 1998, the ASEAN Heads of State/Government, after
reviewing the last three decades of successful regional solidarity and cooperation, promulgated the ASEAN Vision 2020. The Vision renews
ASEAN’s commitment to regional cooperation, taking into account past
achievements, present realities and future opportunities. Among the various
priority areas of concern addressed by the ASEAN Heads of
State/Government, environment is an integrated manner to help realize their
Vision of ASEAN as “a concert of Southeast Asian Nations, outward
looking, living in peace, stability in partnership in dynamic development
and in a community of caring nations”.
While ASEAN Vision 2020 and the Hanoi Plan of Action define
the broad strategic and policy framework for environmental co-operation in
the ASEAN Region, the Environment Ministers at every scheduled formal
meeting issue declaration/resolution on the environment and sustainable
development. These declarations, among others , assess the current status
and developments both regionally and globally, articulate ASEAN’s
concerns and responses in addressing these issues, and provide Senior
Officials with policy guidance on future work initiatives. 1
Achievements of the ASEAN Ministerial Bodies- The AMM ,
supported by the ASEAN Standing Committee and the ASEAN Senior
Officals Meeting (SOM), oversees ASEAN's community -building efforts,
external relations, strategic policy and development cooperation. The AMM
implements the decisions of the ASEAN Leaders, working with the other
sectoral bodies in ASEAN. The AMM is also responsible for the
management of ASEAN's institutional and organisational affairs through
the ASEAN Standing Committee. 2
Standards and ConformanceThe ASEAN Policy on
Standards and Conformance was endorsed by the AEM in September 2005
as a supportive measure for the AEC. Concrete results were seen on several
1
2
Prof.Dr.Surin Setamanit , Dr . Prayoon Fongsatilul, Dr. jakkris Sivadechathep ,
ASEAN Achievement and Future Directions in Pollution Control , 2002, Thailand ,
Pg.60-63
ASEAN Annual Report 2005-2006,P.16
198
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fronts: (a) 140 standards to-date have been harmonised in ASEAN; (b) the
Agreement on ASEAN Harmonised Electrical and Electronic Equipment
Regulatory Regime was signed on 9 December 2005; (c) six laboratories in
Malaysia, Singapore , Thailand and Viet Nam have been selected as
ASEAN Reference Testing Libraries in the areas of mycotxsins, pesticide
residues, veterinary drugs, microbiology, heavy metals and genetically
modified organisms; (d) the ASEAN Common Food Control Requirements
(ACFCR) have been finalized to provide guiding principles on food control
systems, labeling and food hygiene; and (e) the Post Marketing Alert
(PMA) System for defective and unsafe health care products was adopted. 1
As an ASEAN environmental cooperation, - ASEAN Ministerial
Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) which was established in
1979, meets annually.
ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) - which was
established in 1980, meets annually.
ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Minerals (AMMin) which was
established in 2005, meets at least once in three years.
ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology
(AMMST) - which was established in 1980, meets every year.
ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment (AMME) which was established in 1981, meets once in three years.
ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Haze (AMMH) - which was
established in 1997, meets as the need arises.
ASEAN Labour Minsters Meeting (ALMM) which was
established in 1975, was scheduled to meet once in two years after 2004. 2
ASEAN Cooperation Plan on Transboundary Pollution
In 1992, the issue of transboundary pollution was addressed by the
ASEAN Heads of Government. The Singapore Declaration issued at the
conclusion of the Fourth Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of Government held
on 27 - 28 January 1992 states that "ASEAN member countries should
continue to enhance environmental cooperation, particularly in issues of
1
ASEAN Annual Report 2005-2006,P.21
ASEAN Annual Report 2005-2006,P.38
2
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199
transboundary pollution, natural disasters, forest fires and in addressing the
anti-tropical timber campaign."
On 26 April 1994, the ASEAN Ministers for the Environment issued
the Bandar Seri Begawan Resolution on Environment and Development
which inter alia adopted the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on the
Environment.
In view of the increasing periodicity and worsening impact of
transboundary pollution in the region and recognizing the complexity of the
problem, the Ministers agreed to the formulation of an ASEAN Cooperation
Plan on Transboundary Pollution.
To control the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, all
ASEAN member countries should accede to the Basel Convention as soon
as possible.In subscribing to the provisions of the Basel Convention the
following activities shall be undertaken:
(a) identification of focal points in each ASEAN country;
(b) exchange of information on list of hazardous wastes and
control procedures on the movement of such wastes as adopted by
each country;
(c) training programmes and capacity building on the
management of hazardous wastes; and
(d) development of national legislation to control the management of
hazardous waste within the country as well as for its movement from
abroad.
UNEP can assist ASEAN by not only strengthening its existing ties
but also looking to the possibility of establishing new areas for cooperation.
These include environmental monitoring and assessment, promotion and
support of regional and sub-regional cooperation providing technical, legal
and institutional advice, assessment and assistance in cases of
environmental emergency information exchange, public education and
awareness. 1
1
http://www.aseansec.org/8938.htm
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The ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan
The ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan 2000-2005
(AEEAP) was adopted by the Environment Ministers of ASEAN in October
2000. The AEEAP provides a regional framework to undertake coordinated
action at the national and regional levels to promote environmental
education in order to ensure that the people develop from their own social
and cultural values a sense of civic responsibility to care for the
environment. The AEEAP aims to empower people through formal and
non-formal education to acquire the necessary values, knowledge and skills
that will enable them to participate in the development of an ecologically
sustainable community.
The Plan outlines strategies and actions at the national and regional
levels in four target areas: (1) Formal Education; (2) Non- Formal
Education; (3) Manpower Capability Building; and (4) Networking,
Collaboration and Communication. At the regional level, an ASEAN
Environmental Education Inventory Database (AEEID) has been developed,
and at the national level, various activities are being implemented in line
with the AEEAP. 1
Conclusion
Most ASEAN countries are in the process of shifting their economy
from an agriculture to a manufacturing base. With this transition, the
quantity and diversity of chemicals present in toxic and hazardous wastes
generated from industries and other non-industrial sources (domestic
households, hospitals, and agriculture) are on the rise. Malaysia, the
Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are facing serious problems in the
management and disposal of hazardous wastes.
During the past decades, the ASEAN countries have been
confronted with problems of air and water pollution and improper disposal
of hazardous wastes. Hazardous wastes generated from industrial and
1
UNEP, ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan 2000-2005: Mid-Term Review
and Partnerships for Implementation Meeting , Pg.34.
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201
agricultural activities, hospitals and private clinics have become a serious
problem throughout ASEAN.
Illegal dumping and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes
have been increasing and are recognized as pressing environmental issues
that require immediate action by the ASEAN countries.
All ASEAN countries have formulated environmental management
and pollution control plans and policies and have moved towards the
preparation and implementation of Agenda 21.
Industries that generate hazardous wastes are required to be located
in appropriate industrial estates. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have
relevant institutions and appropriate legislation in place. Industrial zoning
for water pollution control is practiced in all the ASEAN countries using
mostly existing town planning laws. In four ASEAN countries, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) has been introduced to regulate development projects for the benefit
of the environment. In these countries, projects or activities with potential
impact on the environment are subjected to EIA regulations and EIA
reporting before actual implementation.
In some ASEAN countries, although no specific environmental law
has been enacted to date, there are a number of laws with provisions for
pollution control, with the authority for enforcement distributed to different
ministries and departments.
The ASEAN countries have enforcement programs that are typically
implemented in a step-wise process, covering the setting up of standards
and criteria, licensing, inspecting and monitoring and legal sanction. Some
programs allow industries to self-regulate if they are able to comply with
official standards and criteria. For example, wastewater can be discharged
into public reservoirs if the quality of effluent is within acceptable
standards.
As for hazardous waste management, the ASEAN countries aim to
comprehensively adopt a “cradle-to-grave” concept. To ensure effective
enforcement, the ASEAN countries require any transport of hazardous
wastes from the generator’s premises to conform with safety requirements,
including packaging, allowable load, route selection, timing and emergency
plans. Only licensed operators are allowed to transport hazardous and toxic
wastes. Recycle, reuse, recovery and exchange of wastes will be promoted.
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All countries will place more emphasis on waste minimization and clean
production technologies while expanding waste treatment and disposal
facilities to meet greater demand. A long-term goal has been adopted by
member countries to minimize, if not completely eliminate, transboundary
movement of hazardous wastes. This has been complemented by the
ratification of the Basel Convention and enactment of legislation to meet
obligations under the Convention. All ASEAN countries should ratify the
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of
Hazardous Wastes and their disposal 1989.
The Convention regulates transboundary movements of hazardous
wastes and encourages environmentally sound treatment and disposal of
such wastes. These obligations include identification of focal points in the
ASEAN country, exchange of information on listed hazardous wastes and
control procedures on the movement of such wastes, organization of
training programs and capacity building activities on the management of
hazardous wastes and development of national legislation to control the
management of hazardous wastes within and between countries.
Moreover all ASEAN member countries have ratified the POPs
Convention. Other common measures adopted by the ASEAN countries
include enactment of national environmental quality acts and regulations,
establishment of new environmental agencies and units within existing
departments and organizations, and implementation of such procedures as
granting of permits, monitoring and enforcing EIA requirements. All
countries recognize the need for greater public awareness and participation.
Most of the ASEAN countries have adopted ASEAN’s environmental
quality goals concerning both air and water qualities. Tax incentives have
been adopted as instruments for water pollution control in a number of
ASEAN countries.
In the overall framework of environmental protection in the ASEAN
region, greater awareness for the protection of the environment should be
encouraged. Although it may be difficult to achieve in practice, dialogue
and good relations must be cultivated between government and
business/industry groups who will have to respond to enforcement measures
or even to anticipate them.
For the effective management of hazardous waste, the following
must be taken into proper account:
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203
- There should be separate laws and regulations for the management
of Hazardous Waste;
- Measures should be established for the proper sitting or location of
industries generating Hazardous Waste;
- Effective monitoring must be carried out to ensure that established
rules and regulations are complied with;
- Legislation should be put in place compelling all industries liable
to generate Hazardous Waste to adhere to ISO standardization relating to
environmental management;
- Provisions on criminal and civil liability for the improper disposal
of hazardous waste must be regarded only as a support measure;
- The authority responsible for prosecution might need to be
informed and educated, since offences under Environmental Protection Law
are still often regarded as “gentlemen’s offences”;
- Centralization with a specialized and specifically trained
prosecution authority is an effective means of improving enforcement and
should therefore be considered; and
- Civil liability should provide for damages as a result of illegal
hazardous waste management. Responsibility will therefore be based on the
polluter pays principle and on the principle of torts, which requires the
plaintiff to prove negligence.
After the formulation of the first regional cooperation programme on
the environment, known as the ASEAN Sub-Regional Environment
Programme (ASEP) in 1997, there have been a number of regional
programmes concerning pollution control, covering a wide range of areas of
mutual interest.
The global environment is a closed system. The countries of the
world are not nearly compartmentalised. The mixing effect of currents in
the atmosphere and hydrosphere makes it impossible to enhance man’s
quality of life on Earth and to preserve its resources unless countries all
over the world jointly pursue environmental protection and
conservation. Indeed it seems that the imperative of the day is
environmental education for sustainable development through regional and
international cooperation.
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The ASEAN member countries should focus on the legalistic control of
Hazardous Waste and on cooperation in their environmental education
programmes, working closely together and with greater commitment, in
collaboration with other regional and international agencies/organisations.
Acknowledgements
My special thanks are due to Dr.Mya Aye, Rector, Mandalay University for
allowing me to do this research and Professor Dr. Nu Nu Yi , Head of the Department, Law
Department , Mandalay University for her kind support in my research. My grateful thanks
go to every one, who from the early stages to the final writing up of this research paper
have each in their own way, contributed to its completion.
References
AirNinja.com - Population of Singapore 2000-2007
AirNinja.com - Population of Brunei 2000-2007
ASEAN Annual Report 2005-2006
ASEAN, ASEAN Achievements and Future Directions in Pollution Control, May 2002.
Phillipe Sands , Principles of International Environmental Law I, , 1995
State of Waste Management in South East Asia,2006
Surin Setamanit, Prof.Dr, Prayoon Fongsatilul, Dr. jakkris Sivadechathep , ASEAN
Achievement and Future Directions in Pollution Control , 2002,
Thailand
UNEP, ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan 2000-2005: Mid-Term Review and
Partnerships for Implementation Meeting
WWF,Stockholm POPs Convention , Overview & Status of US Ratification and
Implementing Legislation
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/brunei/reporti.html#sec3-4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/cambodia/reporti.html#sec1-4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/indonesia/reporti.html#sec1-6
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/laos/reporti.html#sec1-4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/malaysia/reporti.html#sec1-4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/myanmar/reporti.html#sec1-4
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/philippines/reporti.html#sec1-5.3
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/singapore/reporti.html#sec1-5.3
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/thailand/reporti.html#sec1-4
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
205
http://law.nus.edu.sg/apcel/dbase/vietnam/reporti.html#sec1
http://www.basel,int/pub/basic.html#intro
http://www.basel.int/ratif/ratif.htlm
http://www.aseansec.org/8938.htm
Conventions
The Basel Convention on the control of Transboundary Movement
of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal 1989 (The Basel Convention)
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants 2001(The POPs
Convention)
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Comparison of Shipowner’s Liability under Hague Rules,
(Hague / Visby Rules) and Hamburg Rules
Mon Sanda
Abstract
At common law the parties to a contract of afffreightment covered by a
bill of lading or similar document had complete freedom to negotiate
their own terms as had the parties to a charterparty. Abuse of the carrier’s
stronger bargaining position during the nineteenth century, however,
resulted in the curtailment of this freedom and the formulation of the
Hague Rules in 1924. The object of the Rules, and their successors the
Hague / Visby Rules, was to protect cargo owners from widespread
exclusion of liability by sea carriers. This object was achieved by
requiring standard clauses to be incorporated into bills of lading, defining
the risks which must be borne by the carrier and specifying the maximum
protection he could claim from exclusion and limitation of liability
clauses. The Hague Rules and Hague / Visby Rules still have
deficiencies. The modifications to the Hague Rules effected by the
Brussels Protocol in 1968 did not gain universal approval. They were
regarded by many cargo owning countries as unduly favorable to
shipowners and unfair to cargo interest, and there was a growing demand
for a thorough reappraisal of carrier liability designed to produce a
comprehensive code covering all aspects of the contract of carriage. This
movement culminated in the drafting of a new Convention known as the
‘Hamburg Rules’ The differences between the Hague Rules, Hague /
Visby Rules and the Hamburg Rules are considerable, especially when it
is realized that the former seems to assume that the carrier is not liable
unless he fails to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy. The
Hamburg Rules presume that the carrier is liable for loss of or damage to
or delivery of the goods unless he proves all reasonable measures were
taken to avoid the occurrence and its consequences. Perhaps this is the
main reason why the Hamburg Rules have taken such a long time to
come into force. However, it must also be said that the Hamburg Rules
do modernize the law of carriage of goods by sea to the benefit of the
cargo interest and also, in some way, the carriers.
Introduction
When cargo was received by the carrier, a bill of lading would be
issued as a receipt for the goods. In the very early days of commerce and
carriage of goods by sea, the document gradually began to include
Assistant Lecturer, Department of Law, Dagon University
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statements of the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage between
the shipowner and the cargo owner. Originally the carrier was a ‘common
carrier’ and subject to very strict liability. There was no formal contract
under which he could protect himself and exclude or limit his liability for
loss or damage to or delay in delivery of goods.
Gradually, however, parties to a contract began to enter into formal
contracts and were being permitted to insert clauses benefiting for one or
other of the parties. In contract of carriage of goods by sea, the shipowners
(usually in Europe) which are generally more powerful countries than the
cargo interest’s countries removed the carrier’s ‘common carrier’ status and
strict liability. Some carriers even attempted to exclude liability for their
own negligence or that of their servants or agents. Bills of lading in which
liability was excluded were also in danger of losing their value as
transferable documents of title in international trade.
The legislators in some ship-using countries (cargo interest
countries) began to legislate to protect their own shippers’ interests. The
Hague Rules, 1924 were an attempt to reach agreement at an international
level. The correct title of the Hague Rules is: ‘The International Convention
for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law relating to Bills of Lading 1924’
but the traditional, short name is used. The rules define the minimum
responsibilities and liabilities as well as the maximum rights and
immunities of carrier. The Principle obligations of carriers are to exercise
due diligence before and at the beginning of the voyage to make the ship
seaworthy, to properly man, equip and supply the ship and to make the ship
fit and safe to receive, carry and take care of the cargo. Other obligations
are to handle the cargo with care and to issue bills of lading showing the
leading marks, the quantity of the goods and the apparent order and
condition of the goods. The maximum rights and immunities are clearly
defined in the Rules.
In 1959, the Committee Maritime International (CMI) formed a sub
committee to study amendment to the Hague Rules. Finally, in 1963, the
CMI adopted the text of a draft protocol. This was not the text of an entirely
new set of rules, a complete change being resisted by shipowners, but an
agreed set of amendment to “the Hague Rules. The result was formally
called the Hague Rules amended by the Brussels Protocol 1968 but more
easily as the Hague / Visby Rules”.
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209
The Hague Rules still applies, by domestic legislation, to bills of
lading issued in some countries. However, the paramount clause in many
charterparties and bills of lading incorporates the Hague Rules and also the
later Hague-Visby Rules, depending on where the carriage takes place and
where disputes are heard.
The Hague Rules and Hague / Visby Rules still have deficiencies.
The modifications to the Hague Rules effected by the Brussels Protocol in
1968 did not gain universal approval. They were regarded by many cargo
owning countries as unduly favorable to shipowners and unfair to cargo
interest, and there was a growing demand for a thorough reappraisal of
carrier liability designed to produce a comprehensive code covering all
aspects of the contract of carriage.
This movement culminated in the drafting of a new Convention
which was adopted, at an international conference sponsored by the United
Nations in Hamburg, in March 1978. The Convention, known as the
‘Hamburg Rules’, became effective on 1st November 1992. To date 25
states have adhered to the Convention, although it has not yet been ratified
by any major maritime nation. Resistance to the provisions of the Hamburg
Rules generally comes from countries in which shipowners are a powerful
group because of the potential for additional liability on this group. The
differences between the Hague Rules, Hague / Visby Rules and the
Hamburg Rules are considerable, especially when it is realized that the
former seem to assume that the carrier is not liable unless he fails to
exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy. The Hamburg Rules
presume that the carrier is liable for loss of or damage to or delivery of the
goods unless he proves all reasonable measures were taken to avoid the
occurrence and its consequences. Perhaps this is the main reason why the
Hamburg Rules have taken such a long time to come into force. However it
must also be said that the Hamburg Rules do modernize the law of carriage
of goods by sea to the benefit of the cargo interest and also, in some way,
the carriers.
Hague Rules and Hague / Visby Rules
The object of Hague Rules and Hague / Visby Rules was to protect
cargo owners from widespread exclusion of liability by sea carriers. This
objective was achieved incorporating standard clauses into the bills of
lading, defining the risks which must be borne by the carrier and specifying
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the maximum protection he could claim from exclusion and limitation of
liability clauses.
Hague Rules and Hague / Visby Rules are substantially the same.
The Hague / Visby Rules thus have a common base on Hague Rules. Some
completely new rules are added and the original Hague Rules were
repealed.
Period of Liability
Hague / Visby Rules
The purpose of Hague / Visby Rules the term ‘contract of carriage’
is defined as constituting, ‘the period from the time when the goods are
loaded on to the time they are discharged from the ship.’ The Hague –
Visby Rules apply from tackle to tackle, that is, from loading to discharging
of the goods. It is therefore clear that carrier liability is subject to the Rules,
not only during the actual carriage, but also during the loading and
discharging operations. On the other hand, the Rules do not apply to any
additional time during which the goods are under the control of the carrier
outside the tackle – to – tackle period.
Article 1(c) defined the term ‘contract of carriage’ for the purpose of
the Rules, specifies contracts of carriage covered by bills of lading in so far
as such document relates to the carriage of goods by sea. The Rules will not
cover any period during which the cargo is lying on the dockside awaiting
transshipment. Thus in Captain v Far Eastern Steamship Co 1 The Court
held that the carrier was entitled to rely on the contractual clause excluding
liability during this period since the Hague Rules did not apply to the period
during which the goods were stored on the dock, because it does not relate
to the carriage of goods by water.
If the parties envisage that the contract of carriage will be covered
by a bill of lading, it would appear that the Rules will take effect even
though, in the event, no such document is in fact issued. This was
established in the case of Pyrene Co Ltd., v Scindia Navigation Co Ltd.2
Whilst a fire tender was being loaded on board a vessel in London, but
before it had crossed the ship’s rail, it was dropped and damaged through
1
2
(1979) I Lloyds Pep 200
(1954) 2 All E.R. 158
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211
the negligence of the stevedores employed by the shipowners. No bill of
lading was ever issued but the shipowners claimed that they could limit
their liability under the Hague Rules because the transaction under which
the goods were shipped was a contract of carriage covered by a bill of
lading within the meaning of art 1(b). It was held by the Queen’s Bench
Division that they were entitled to do so.
The Hamburg Rules
The Hamburg Rules extend this period of responsibility from when
the carrier takes over the goods from a person until delivery. 1 Hamburg
Rules covers the period during which the carrier is in charge of the goods at
the port of loading during the carriage, and at the port of discharge. Carrier
is deemed to be in charge of the goods at the time of receipt of goods to the
time of delivery.
The Hamburg Rules also apply to contracts of carriage by sea which
are defined as ‘any contract where by the carrier undertakes against
payment of freight to carry goods by sea from one port to another’. 2 Where
the contract envisages some form of multimodal carriage the application of
the Rules will be restricted to the sea leg. This approach differs from that of
either Hague / Visby Rules which concentrate on ‘contracts of carriage
covered by a bill of lading or any similar document of title’ 3. So far as the
Hamburg Rules are concerned, it is immaterial whither a bill of lading or a
non negotiable receipt is issued
Cargo Excluded
Hague / Visby Rules
Two types of cargo are expressly excluded from the application of
the Rules in Article I (c). These consist of live animals and cargo which
by the contract of carriage is stated as being carried on deck and is so
carried. In both cases the parties are free to negotiate their own terms of
carriage for such cargoes.
In respect of deck cargo two requirements need to be satisfied in
order to avoid the operation of the Rules. First, the cargo must actually be
1
Article 4
Article 1, rule 6
3
Article I, (b)
2
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stowed on deck and, secondly, this fact must be clearly stated on the bill of
lading. Unless both requirements are met, the contract of carriage will still
be controlled by the Rules. So they will continue to be applicable where the
bill makes no reference to deck carriage but the goods are nevertheless
stowed on deck, or where the bill contains a statement that the goods are to
be carried on deck but in fact they are stowed in the hold.
A clause in the bill of lading liberty on the carrier to stow cargo on
deck would be insufficient, since the transferee would not know whether
that liberty had been exercised. So in the case of Svenska Traktor v
Maritime Agencies 1 a consignment of tractors had been shipped from
Southampton under a bill which conferred a liberty on the carrier to stow
the cargo on deck. When one of the tractors was washed overboard during
the voyage, the shipowner sought to rely on a clause in the bill excluding
his liability for loss or damage to deck cargo. The Court held that he was
unable to do so since ‘a mere general liberty to carry goods on deck is not a
statement in the contract of carriage that the goods are in fact being carried
on deck’ Accordingly the carrier was held liable for a breach of Art III rule
2 in the failing to look after the cargo properly and carefully during transit..
In the case of Encyclopedia Britannia v Hong Kong Producer 2 it
was held that a clause in a bill of lading providing that the carrier is entitled
to carry deck cargo is not within the specific reference to the carriage of
goods on deck.
Hamburg Rules
Hamburg Rules cover all kinds of cargo including live animals.
The carrier is not liable for loss, damage or delay resulting from any special
risks inherent in that kind of carriage. 3
With respect to deck cargo the carrier is entitle to carry the goods on
deck only if such carriage is in accordance with an agreement with the
shipper or with the usage of the particular trade or is required by statutory
rules or regulations. 4If the carrier and the shipper have agreed that the
goods shall or must be carried on deck, the carrier must insert in the bill of
1
[1953] 2 QB 295
[1969] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 536
3
Article 5, rule 5
4
Article 9, rule 1
2
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213
lading a statement to that effect. In the absence of such a statement the
carrier has the burden of proving that an agreement for carriage on deck has
been entered into. But the carrier is not entitled to invoke such an agreement
against third party, including a consignee, who had acquired the bill of
lading in good faith. 1
Carrier’s Basis Liability
Hague / Visby Rule
Under the Hague / Visby Rules the carrier must exercise only due
diligence before and at the beginning of the voyage, 2 and if he can prove
that he has done this, he may be able to exclude all liability for loss of or
damage to the goods or limit liability. The phrase has been interpreted as
covering the period from at least the beginning of the loading until the
vessel starts on her voyage. In Maxine footwear Co Ltd v Canadian
Government Merchant Marine 3 when the cargo had been loaded on a
vessel, she was destroyed by fire before she sailed on her voyage. The fire
had been caused by negligence when some scupper pipes had been thawed
out by an employee of an independent contractor on the authority of the
master of the ship. The bill of lading incorporated the Hague Rules. The
shippers claimed to recover damages for non- delivery of the goods.
But the shipowners contended that they had exercised due diligence
to make the ship seaworthy "before and at the beginning of the voyage"
within the meaning of art III r.1, since the ship was seaworthy at the time of
loading, and the moment of the beginning of the voyage was never reached.
Held that the obligation to exercise due diligence was a continuing one
which the shipowners had no fulfilled since the negligence had occurred
during the relevant period.
Under Hague / Visby Rules the obligation of the carrier to provide a
seaworthy ship was limited to a duty to exercise due diligence, while he was
required to look ' properly and carefully after the cargo through the
carriage'.
Article III rule 2 provides that: the carrier must properly and
carefully load, handle, stow, carry, keep, care for and discharge the cargo.
1
Article 9, rule 2
Article III, rule 1
3
[1959] 2 All ER. 740
2
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This point was considered by the House of Lords in Albacora v. Westcott
and Laurance Line 1 In this case Lord Reid expressed the view that
‘properly’ meant in accordance with a sound system which is sound in light
of all the knowledge which the carrier has or ought to have about the nature
of the goods.
Another obligation of shipowner is to issue a bill of lading to the
cargo owner. Article III rule 3 provides that:
‘After receiving the goods into his charge the carrier or the master or agent
of the carrier shall, on demand of the shipper a bill of lading showing
among other thingsa) The leading marks necessary for identification of the goods as
furnished in writing by the shipper before the loading of such goods starts,
provided such marks are stamped or otherwise shown clearly upon the
goods if uncovered, or on the cases or coverings in which such goods are
contained in such a manner as should ordinarily remain legible until the end
of the voyage;
b)
Either the number of packages or pieces, or the quantity, or weight, as
the case may be , as furnished in writing by the shipper;
c)
The apparent order and condition of the goods.
The obligation imposed on the carrier is however, subject to two
provisos. First he is not bound to acknowledge the above facts if either he
has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the information supplied by the
shipper is inaccurate, or he has no reasonable means of checking it.
Secondly, the shipper in return is deemed to have guaranteed the accuracy
of the information supplied by him and is required to indemnify the carrier
in the event of the latter suffering loss as a result of its inaccuracy. 2
Article III further provides that the bill shall be prima facie evidence
of the receipt by the carrier of the goods as therein described, which shall
become conclusive when the bill has been transferred to a third party acting
in good faith. 3
Hamburg Rules
1
[1966]2 Lloyds Rep 53 190,247
Article III rule 5
3
Article III, rule 4
2
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215
The Hamburg Rules increase the opportunity for the carrier’s
liability. The carrier will be liable if the goods are lost or damaged or
delayed while he is in charge of them unless he can show that all
reasonable measures were taken to avoid the occurrence and its
consequences. 1 Therefore the carrier will be liable for unseaworthiness
through ought the voyage not only before and at the beginning of the
voyage.
In Hamburg Rules The carrier liability only based exclusively on
fault and that a carrier responsible without exception for all loss of and
damage to cargo that results from his own fault or the fault of his servants
or agents. The only issue remaining to be resolved will be on the carrier’s
duty to take all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the
occurrence and its consequences.
The Hamburg Rules deal specifically with delay in delivery of the
goods and establish the carrier’s liability for delay. 2 The Hague / Visby
Rules did not deal with liability for delay.
With respect to carrier liability in issue of bill of lading under the
Hamburg Rules Article 14 provides that once the carrier has taken the
goods into his charge he is required on demand of the shipper to issue a bill
of lading containing a variety of information listed in Art 15. Among the
particulars specified he is required to state the general nature of the goods,
the leading marks necessary for identification of the goods, an express
statement, if applicable, as to the dangerous character of the goods, the
number of packages or pieces and the weight of the goods or their quantity
otherwise expressed, all such particulars as furnished by the shipper. He is
also required to acknowledge the apparent condition of the goods. After the
goods have been loaded on board the shipper is also entitled to demand the
issue of a shipped bill of lading which must state that the goods are on
board a named ship or ships together with the date of loading. 3 In return, the
shipper is required to indemnify the carrier against any loss resulting from
inaccuracies in the particulars supplied by him.
These provisions covering the receipt function of the bill of lading
generally follow the pattern established by the Hague and Hague / Visby
1
Article 5
Article 5, rr. 2 and 3
3
Article 15. rule 2
2
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Rules, but there are significant variations in details. Thus while the carrier is
excused from acknowledging particulars which he knows or has reasonable
grounds for suspecting are inaccurate, or which he has no reasonable means
of checking, he is now required to insert in the bill of lading reservation
specifying these inaccuracies, grounds of suspicion or the absence of
reasonable means of checking. Again while such particulars in a bill are
prima facie evidence against the carrier they only become conclusive in
favour of a bona fide transferee of the bill of lading if he has acted in
reliance on the description of the goods therein. 1
Carrier’s Immunities
Hague / Visby Rules
The Hague / Visby Rules set out a list of “excepted perils”, and if
loss or damage is caused by them, the shipowner will not be liable provided
he has fulfilled his duties under the Rule. 2In other words no protection will
be afforded by the exception where the excepted peril could have been
avoided by the exercise of reasonable care or where the operative cause of
the loss was the unseaworthiness of the vessel or the fact that it had
deviated from the agreed course.
Whenever loss or damage had resulted form unseaworthiness the
burden of proving the exercise of due diligence shall be on the carrier. In
the case of Riverstons Meat Co Ltd. V Lancashire Shipping Co Ltd 3 a
fitter employed by ship repairers negligently refixed some inspection covers
on some storm valves. Water entered the valves during the voyage, and
damaged the cargo. Held by the House of Lords, that the negligence of the
fitter was a lack of due diligence to make the ship seaworthy under art III
r.1 of the Hague Rules, for which the shipowners were responsible.
He is permitted to surrender the protection afforded by these
exceptions in whole or in part, but he is not allowed to add to the list of
excepted perils. 4
Hamburg Rules
1
Article 16.3
Article IV
3
[1961] 1 All E.R 495
4
Article V
2
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217
Under the Hamburg Rules, while there are no general exceptions
to liability, he may benefit slightly under Art. 5 rr. 4, 5 and 6 which deal
with fire, live animals and deviation.
For loss or damage by fire, the cargo claimant will have to prove the
carrier’s negligence. With respect to live animals, the carrier is not liable for
loss, damage or delay in delivery resulting from any special risks inherent in
that kind of carriage if the carrier proves that he has complied with any
special instructions given to him by the shipper respecting the animals.
Another exception given to the carrier in Hamburg Rules provide that the
carrier is not liable, except in general average, where loss, damage or delay
in delivery resulted from measures to save life or from reasonable measures
to save property at sea.
The carrier may also be free from liability if dangerous goods are shipped
without appropriated declarations by the shipper. 1
Limitation of Liability
Hague / Visby Rules
The Hague / Visby Rules provide for limitation of liability using the
“franc” or the “SDR” (Special Drawing Rights) as the unit of account
depending on whether certain countries gave accepted the Brussels Protocol
of 1979 changing the units of account from francs to SDRs. These rules also
allow limitation of liability being based on gross weight. The Hague / Visby
limits are 666.67 SDRs per package or unit (the package limitation) or 2
SDR per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged. 2 The right
to limit will be lost if the damage was caused intentionally or recklessly.
Hamburg Rules
The Hamburg Rules limits are higher, 835 SDRs per package or
other shipping unit or 2.5 SDRs per kilograms of gross weight of the goods
lost or damaged. The liability of the carrier for delay in delivery is related to
the freight payable for the goods delayed. The Hague/ Visby Rules does not
provide for delay in delivery. 3
1
Article 13
Article IV, rule 5
3
Article 6
2
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The Hamburg Rules also provide that the carrier is not entitled to
limit his liability if it is proved that the loss, damage or delay in delivery
resulted from an act or omission of the carrier done with intent to cause
such loss, damage or delay or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss,
damage or delay would probably result.
Loss of Right to Limit Liability
Hague/ Visby Rules
Hague/Visby Rules provides that: ‘Neither the carrier nor the ship
shall be entitled to the benefit of the limitation to liability provided for in
this paragraph if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or
omission of the carrier done with intent to cause damage or recklessly and
with knowledge that damage would probably result’. 1
Similar conduct on the part of a servant or agent of the carrier will
deprive him personally of the benefit, not only of the limitation provisions
but also of any other defences provided for in the Rules. It is not intended
that misconduct by the servant or agent will break the limit so far as the
carrier’s personal liability is concerned.
Hamburg Rules
The provisions of Hamburg Rules loss of right to limit liability are
similar with the provisions of Hague/Visby Rules. Article 8 specifically
denies the carrier the right to limit his liability for any loss, damage or delay
which results from an act or mission of the carrier ‘done with intent to cause
such loss, damage or delay , or recklessly and with knowledge that such
loss, damage or delay would probably result’. A similar clause bars a
servant or agent of the carrier from invoking the limitation clause to cover
his personal liability where he has displayed a similar intent, or
recklessness.
1
Article IV, rule 5 (e)
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
219
Burden of proof
The Hague/Visby Rules
Article IV rule 1 provides that the carrier shall not be liable for loss
or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness unless caused by want
of due diligence on his part to make the ship seaworthy, as defined in Art III
rule 1. The section then continues: ‘Whenever loss or damage has resulted
from unseaworthiness the burden of proving the exercise of due diligence
shall be on the carrier or other person claiming exemption under this
article’. The shipowner would only be prevented from relying on the
exception if the shipper could prove that the loss resulted from the vessel
being unseaworthy before and at the beginning of the voyage.
Hamburg Rules
In Hamburg Rules all cases of loss or damage to cargo imposing a
burden of proof on the carrier. Only in the case of damage caused by fire
is the burden shifted away from the carrier, presumably for the reason that it
is difficult to establish the precise origin of a fire at sea. Article 5 rule 4
provides that the carrier is only liable for loss caused by fire if the cargo
owner proves either that the fire arose from fault or neglect on the part of
the carrier, his servant or agents, or from their fault or neglect in not taking
all measures that could reasonably be required to put out the fire and a void
or mitigate its consequences.
Limitation of Actions
The Hague/ Visby Rules
The Hague/ Visby Rules impose a one – year time limit which can,
however be extended by agreement of the parties after the cause of action
has arisen Article III rule 6 provides that:
‘Subject to paragraph 6 bis, the carrier and the ship shall in any event be
discharged from all liability whatsoever in respect of the goods, unless suit
is brought within one year of their delivery or of the date when they should
have been delivered. This period may, however, be extended if the parties
so agree after the cause of action has arisen.
Hamburg Rules
Actions are time-barred under the Hamburg Rules if judicial or
arbitral proceedings have not been instituted within a period of two years
220
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
from the time the goods have been delivered or should have been delivered.
This limit applies irrespective of whether proceedings have been instituted
by the cargo owner or the carrier. This compares with a period of 12 months
under the Hague/ Visby Rules, applicable only to proceedings against the
carrier or the ship. 1
Conclusion
There is a widespread agreement on the need for revision of the
Hague Rules but the amendments proposed in the Brussels Protocol have
not proved generally acceptable. The adoption of the Hamburg Rules,
which has strong support among some developing countries, offers the only
hope of achieving the desired uniform regime in the foreseeable future. At
present they have not been ratified by any major maritime nations but have
been implemented in 25 states estimated to represent overall some 5 percent
of world trade. Implementation of Hamburg Rules is opposed by
shipowning interests fort her following factors. The first one is the abolition
of the catalogue of exceptions and removal of the traditional exclusion of
liability for negligent navigation. Secondly the limitation period for
instituting proceedings is extended to two years. The third one is the
substantial rise in liability limit of the carrier.
Acknowledgements
I wish to express my thanks to those who offered comments, suggestions, supports
and encouragements on this study. I would like to express my special thanks and gratitude
to Professor Dr. Mon Mon Tar, Head of the Department of Law, Dagon University for
allowing me to do this study and her encouragement during the study. I am grateful to my
teacher, Professor Dr. Daw Kyu Kyu Swe, Department of Law, Dagon University for her
valuable suggestions and guidance throughout the study.
References
Conventions
Brussels Protocol, 1968 (Hague Visby Rules)
International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of
Lading, 1924 (Hague Rules)
1
Article 20, rule 1
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
221
United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea, 1978 (Hamburg Rules)
Cases
Albacora v. Westcott and Laurance Line [1966]2 Lloyds Rep 53 190,247
Captain v Far Eastern Steamship Co (1979) I Lloyds Pep 200
Encyclopedia Britannia v Hong Kong Producer [1969] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 536
Maxine footwear Co Ltd v Canadian Government Merchant Marine [1959] 2 All ER 740
Pyrene Co Ltd., v Scindia Navigation Co Ltd. (1954) 2 All E.R. 158
Riverstons Meat Co Ltd. V Lancashire Shipping Co Ltd. [1961] 1 All E.R 495
Svenska Traktor v Maritime Agencies [1953] 2 QB 295
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Protection of New Plant Varieties under the TRIPS
Agreement
Nyo Nyo Tin
Abstract
Intellectual property refers to property in creation of human mind.
Intellectual property rights are exclusive rights given to the results gained
by intellectual activities of human beings. They are intangible rights,
important for economic development and have economic values. Since a
new kind of plant results from the creation of the breeder, it needs to
protect the intellectual property rights resulted from such plant. The
Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS Agreement) is the first treaty which establishes universal
minimum standard for the protection of intellectual property, including
patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, integrated circuits and
trade secrets. The TRIPS Agreement also provides for the protection of
new plant varieties in article 27.3(b), and under this article, member states
have to provide for the protection of new plant varieties either by patent
or by sui generis system or by a combination of two.
Key words: Intellectual property, plant varieties, sui-generis, article
27.3(b), IPR.
Introduction
Today, possession of land, labour and capital are not enough to get a
success for a country, and it needs creativity and innovation as the new
drivers for development. Therefore, intellectual property plays an important
role in an increasingly broad range of areas, ranging from the Internet to
health care to nearly all aspects of science and technology and literature and
the arts. Normally, plant and plant varieties are regarded as common
property. However, because of the development of technology and more
investment of private sector in plant breeding, it needs to provide for
breeders to be able to recoup their investments in breeding new varieties.
The TRIPS Agreement provides for the protection of new plant varieties
either by patent or by sui-generis system or by a combination of two in
article 27.3(b).
Tutor, Department of Law, University of Mandalay
224
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Materials and Methods
A review was made of the various concepts to intellectual property
rights and plant varieties and an analytical study of the TRIPS Agreement
and the UPOV Convention.
Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Right and Plant Varieties
According to Article 1(2) of the Agreement on Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs Agreement) 1994,
"intellectual property refers to all categories of intellectual property,
namely, copyright and neighbouring right, trademarks, geographical
indications, industrial designs, patents, layout design of integrated circuits
and undisclosed information".
Article 2(vii) of the Convention establishing the World Intellectual
Property Organization 1967 provides that intellectual property shall include
the rights relating to Literary, artistic and scientific works; performances of
performing artists, phonograms, and broadcasts; inventions in all fields of
human endeavour; scientific discoveries; industrial designs; trademarks,
service marks, and commercial names and designations; protection against
unfair competitions, and all other rights resulting from intellectual activity
in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields. According to this
article, the scope of intellectual property rights covers anything arising out
of human mind. So, it covers not only writings of authors but also a plant
variety bred by man because they are made from the knowledge and
creativity of man. If there is no such right on plant variety, it makes the
breeder to deprive the opportunity to profit from his investment since a
plant variety can be easily reproduced.
Originally, the need for protecting new varieties was raised by the
breeders of ornamental plants. The rationale for plant variety protection
(PVP) is to provide an opportunity for breeders to gain returns from the
investment made in developing a new variety. It is also believed that
protection may stimulate private sector investment and facilitate technology
transfer, thereby benefiting the framers and consumers. 1
The definitions of plant varieties are many and varied. Although the
TRIPS Agreement recognizes the protection of new plant varieties, it does
1
Plant breeding and farmer participation, FAO of the United Nations, Rome, 2009, p.630.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
225
not provide an exact definition of protectable plant varieties. A full legal
definition can be seen in article 1(vi) of the International Convention for the
Protection of New Varieties of plants (UPOV Convention) as follows:
“Variety” means a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of
the lowest known rank, which grouping, irrespective of whether the
conditions for the grant of a breeder’s right are fully met, can be
(a) defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given
genotype or combination of genotypes;
(b) distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of at least
one of the said characteristics; and
(c) considered as a unit with regard to its suitability for being
propagated unchanged.
Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights 1994
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights (TRIPS Agreement) was made between the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
It is an integral part of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World
Trade Organization concluded on 15 April 1994 and entered into force on 1
January 1995. The Agreement binds all Members of the WTO. WTO has
153 member states, as on 10 March 2011. Myanmar is a founder member of
the WTO and therefore, also a party to the TRIPS Agreement.
The Agreement is based on the principles of national treatment and
most-favoured- nation treatment. The objective of the Agreement is stated
in article 7 that the protection and enforcement of intellectual property
rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovations and
to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of
producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner
conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and
obligations.
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Provisions for the Protection of New Plant Varieties
The provisions relating to plant varieties are stated in Article 27.3(b)
as follows:
“Members may also exclude from patentability plants and animals
other than micro-organisms, and essentially biological processes for the
production of plants or animals other than non-biological and
microbiological processes. However, Members shall provide for the
protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis
system or by any combination thereof.”
Article 27.3(b) appears to establish clear lines of protectability:
(i)
Plants, animals and essentially biological processes for the
production of plants and animals which may be excluded from patent
protection;
(ii)
Inventions concerning micro-organisms, non-biological and
microbiological processes for which patent protection must be available;
and
(iii)
Plant varieties for which protection must be provided, whether by
patent and/or effective sui generis right. 1
Although the protection of plant varieties is recognized in the Agreement, it
fails to provide any definition as to what is a plant variety. In addition, the
distinction between a “plant”, that is, a living organism that belongs
interpretation to the plant kingdom and a “plant variety” must be borne in
mind for the interpretation of this clause. For example, when a pest-resistant
gene is introduced by means of genetic engineering in a certain number of
cotton plants, one or more “transgenic” plants are obtained. The
patentability of these plants may or may not be admitted under national law.
These plants, however, do not necessarily constitute a “plant variety”,
unless whenever cultivated, the resulting plants retain certain predetermined
characteristics and can be propagated unchanged. 2
1
Margaret Llewlyn and Mike Adcock, European Plant Intellectual Property, Hart
Publishing, 2006, p.117.
2
www. iprsonline.org/unctadictsd/…/RB2.5-Patents-2.5.5-update.pdf,p.389.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
227
According to article 27.3(b), it can be said in brief that members
must provide for the protection of plant varieties either by patent or sui
generis system or by a combination of them.
Patent Protection under the TRIPS Agreement
The provisions relating to patent protection are stated in Article 27.
Under the TRIPS Agreement, members must grant patent protection for
any inventions in all fields of technology, whether products or processes.
But, they must be new, involve an inventive step and are capable of
industrial application. 1 This article establishes the primary obligation.
However, the TRIPS Agreement contains no definition of ‘invention’. The
requirement is that anything which bears the qualities of novelty, inventive
step and capacity for industrial application is patentable. The general
principle is, therefore, that any invention involving genetic material must
be regarded as patentable provided it meets the threshold for protection. 2
For patent protection, it is also required to disclose the invention.3
Exclusions form patentability can also be seen in article 27.2 and article
27.3(a). According to these articles, members may exclude from
patentability: inventions to protect ordre public or morality, human, animal
or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment 4, and
diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans
or animals 5.
Under the patent protection, the patent owner has the right to
prevent third parties from making, using, offering for sale, selling or
importing the product, 6 the patent process and product obtained directly by
that process. 7 The term of protection shall not end before the expiration of
twenty years from the date of filing. 8
1
Article 27.1 of the TRIPS Agreement.
Margaret Llewlyn and Mike Adcock, op.cit, pp.104-105.
3
Article 29 of the TRIPS Agreement.
4
Article 27.2 of the TRIPS Agreement.
5
Article 27.3(a) of the TRIPS Agreement.
6
Article 28.1(a) of the TRIPS Agreement.
7
Article 28.1(b) of the TRIPS Agreement.
8
Article 33 of the TRIPS Agreement.
2
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Protection under the Sui Generis System
The TRIPS Agreement does not give any definition for the term sui
generis. It is a Latin word which means ‘specific’ or ‘of its own kind’.
Under the sui generis system, member states have the chance to set the
protection system with their own discretion. However, it needs to comply
with the requirements of the Agreement such as national treatment and
most-favoured-nations treatment, under which member states are obliged to
grant to nationals of other states the same rights as to its own nationals.
It is important here to observe that IPR protection for plants and
plant varieties was in practice in some countries much earlier than the
Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations or the establishment of WTO. In
1930, a legislative instrument was established in the USA for patenting
varieties of asexually propagated plants. 1 In addition, in 1920s and 1930s
several countries introduced legislation that gradually evolved into a sui
generis system of protection (“breeders’ rights”) distinct from the patent
system. Based on requirements of distinctness, novelty, uniformity and
stability, breeders’ rights have typically been permitted to control the
commercialization of propagating materials (like seeds), without interfering,
however, either with the use of saved seeds by farmers on their own land
(“farmers’ privilege”) or with the development of new varieties by a third
party taking as a starting point a protected variety (breeders’ exemption”).
Such sui generis regime obtained recognition at the international level in the
1960s with the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection
of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention). The Convention
introduced minimum standards for the recognition of breeders’ rights. 2
Even before the language of the TRIPS Agreement was finalised, a
member of the Secretariat of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT) said that TRIPS would oblige parties to “provide for the protection
of plant varieties, but would leave them free to decide whether to grant such
protection through patents, through an effective sui generis system such as
1
Sudhir Kochhar, System Perspective for IPR Protection in the Plant Kingdom, vol.9, July
2004, Journal of African Law, 45, 1(2001), p.344.
2
www. iprsonline.org/unctadictsd/…/RB2.5-Patents-2.5.5-update.pdf, p.394.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
229
the UPOV system, or through any combination of two”. This statement
identifies UPOV as an effective sui generis system. 1
However, the provisions of TRIPS on plant varieties do not refer to
or incorporate any pre-existing intellectual property agreements, including
the UPOV Convention. This omission contrasts sharply with other fields of
intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights and trademarks, for which
TRIPS expressly requires WTO Members to comply with the standards of
protection contained in pre-existing IPR agreements, such as the Berne
Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Paris
Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. As a result of this
omission, WTO Members are neither required to become members of
UPOV nor to enact national laws consistent with the UPOV Convention in
order to comply with their obligations under TRIPS.
International Convention for the Protection of New
Varieties of Plants (UPOPV Convention) 1961
The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants
(UPOV Convention) was established in Paris in 1961, and from which
International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
emerged. Since 1961, the Convention was revised three times: in 1972,
1978 and 1991. The 1991 Act entered into force on 24 April 1998 and on
that same date the 1978 Act was closed to future accessions except by a few
states already in the process of adhering to it. 2 As of January 15, 2011, the
UPOV has 68 member states. Among them, 45 states were parties to the
1991 Act, 22 states to the 1978 Act and 1 to the 1962/1972 Act. Myanmar is
not a member of this Convention. The purpose of the Convention is to
recognize and ensure the interests of the breeders of new plant varieties by
giving the property right in accordance with defined conditions. 3 The
UPOV Convention establishes a national treatment system under which
citizens of any member state are treated as citizens of all member states in
obtaining plant breeders’ right.
Biswajt Dhar, Sui Generis Systems for Plant Variety Protection: Options under TRIPS,
April 2002, p.7.
2
Laurance R. Helfer, Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Varieties: International Legal
Regimes and Policy Options for National Governments, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, 2004, p.21.
3
Article 1 of the 1961 Act.
1
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Under the 1991 Act, “breeder” means:
-the person who bred, or discovered and developed, a
variety,
-the person who is the employer of the aforementioned person or who has
commissioned the latter’s work, where the laws of the relevant Contracting
Party so provide, or
-the successor in title of the first or second aforementioned person as
the case may be. 1
“Variety” means a plant grouping within a single botanical taxon of
the lowest known rank, which grouping, irrespective of whether the
conditions for the grant of a breeder’s right are fully met, can be
-
defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting
from a given genotype or combination of genotypes,
distinguished from any other plant grouping by the
expression of at least one of the said characteristics and
considered as a unit with regard to its suitability for being
propagated unchanged. 2
The Convention covers all genera and species for protection 3 and it
grants dual protection for the same genus. 4 The scope of the breeder’s right
extends not only to production or reproduction, conditioning for the purpose
of propagation, offering for sale, selling or other marketing, exporting,
importing and stocking for any of the above mentioned purposes of the
propagating material of the protected variety5 but also to the harvested
material, including essentially derived varieties. 6 The minimum period of
protection is 25 years for trees and vines, and 20 years for other plants. 7 In
order to be protectable under the UPOV Convention, the variety must meet
with four conditions: distinctness 8, uniformity 1, stability2 and novelty 3. In
In addition, the variety must have a denomination. 4
1
Article 1(iv) of the 1991 Act.
Article 1(vi) of the 1991 Act.
3
Article 3 of the 1991 Act.
4
Article 2 of the 1991 Act.
5
Article 14(1) of the 1991 Act.
6
Articles 14(2-5) of the 1991 Act.
7
Article 19 of the 1991 Act.
8
Article 7 of the 1991 Act.
2
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
231
There are two major exceptions and limitations to exclusive rights
existed under the UPOV Convention: a breeders’ exemption and a farmers’
privileges. Article 15(1) of the 1991 Act states the compulsory exception
that the breeder’s right shall not extend to(i) acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes,
(ii) acts done for experimental purposes and
(iii) acts done for the purpose of breeding other varieties, and,
except where the provisions of Article 14(5) apply, acts referred
to in Article 14(1) to Article 14(4) in respect of such other
varieties.
With regard to farmers’ privilege, an optional exception is
stated in Article 15(2) as follows:
“Notwithstanding Article 14, each Contracting Party may, within
reasonable limits and subject to the safeguarding of the legitimate interests
of the breeder, restrict the breeder’s right in relation to any variety in order
to permit farmers to use for propagating purposes, on their own holdings,
the product of the harvest which they have obtained by planting, on their
own holdings, the protected variety or a variety covered by Article
14(5)(a)(i) or Article14(5)(a)(ii).”
From Article 15, it can be noted that private and non-commercial
activities, including using protected varieties to create new varieties are
outside the control of the breeder. However, this exception is itself
restricted in its application to such new varieties as are not “essentially
derived” from protected varieties. The drafters added this restriction to
prevent second generation breeders from making, within merely cosmetic
changes to existing varieties in order to claim protection for a new variety. 5
In addition, this article states farmers’ privilege explicitly. But there are
conditions: first, the permit to use the variety must be within reasonable
1
Article 8 of the 1991 Act.
Article 9 of the 1991 Act.
3
Article 6 of the 1991 Act.
4
Article 20 of the 1991 Act.
5
Laurence R. Helfer, Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Varieties: International Legal
Regimes and Policy Options for National Governments, Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations, 2004,p.28.
2
232
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
limits. In addition, the use of the protected variety must be on their own
holdings and not for commercial purposes.
Under the Convention, the breeder can file his first application for
breeder’s right in any member state and also apply to other member states
without waiting for the grant of his first application. 1 It also sets up a
multilateral priority filing system, under which an application for protection
filed in one member state establishes a filing date for applications filed in
all other member states within one year of that original filing date. This
allows a breeder to file in any one member country within the one-year
period required to preserve the novelty of his variety, and the novelty of the
variety will still be recognized when he files in other member countries
within one year of his original filing date. 2
From the above facts, the UPOV Convention can be said as a readymade sui generis system in which the standards required for the protection
of plant varieties are stated. Although it grants monopoly right to breeders,
it recognizes the farmers’ privileges and the use for research activities over
the protected variety. In addition, it also provides national treatment and
breeders of the member states can get the right of priority in filing the
application for the grant of breeder’s right on the same variety in any of the
member states. In contrast to the patent right, the eligibility requirements
are more flexible. So, it is suitable for member states of the TRIPS
Agreement to resort to the UPOV system as an effective sui generis system.
Comparison of Main Provisions of Plant Breeders’
Rights under UPOV 1991 and Patent 3
Provisions
Protection
coverage
Requirements
1
1991 UPOV Act
Plant varieties of all genera
and species
Patent
Inventions
• Novelty
• Distinctness
•Novelty
•Inventive step (or non-
Article 10 of the 1991 Act.
http//en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Plant-Breeders’-rights.
3
Graham Dutfield, Intellectual Property Rights, Trade and Biodiversity: The Case of Seeds
and Plant Varieties, Background Paper, Intersessional Meeting on the Operations of the
Convention, 28-30 June 1999, p.21.
2
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Provisions
233
1991 UPOV Act
• Uniformity
• Stability
• Variety denomination
Patent
obviousness)
•Industrial application
•Enabling disclosure
Protection
term
20-25 years
20 years
Protection
scope
Minimum
scope:
Producing,
conditioning,
offering for sale, selling or
other marketing, exporting,
importing, stocking for
above
purposes
of
propagating material of the
variety.
Plus, some acts in relation
to harvested material if
obtained
through
an
unauthorized
use
of
propagating material and if
the breeder has had no
reasonable opportunity to
exercise his right in relation
to the propagating material.
In respect of the product:
Making,
importing,
offering for sale, selling
and using the product;
stocking for purposes of
offering for sale, etc.
Breeders’
exemption
Yes. However, essentially
derived varieties cannot be
exploited
without
permission of holder of
rights in the protected
initial variety.
No.
Farmers’
privilege
Up to national laws.
No.
Prohibition of
double
protection
No.
Up to national laws.
In respect of a process:
Using the process; doing
any of the above-mentioned
acts in respect of a product
obtained directly by means
of the process.
234
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
Conclusion
Plant genetic resources are the foundation of food production. But,
the process of plant breeding is a long-term investment and a plant variety,
once produced, can be easily reproduced and propagated. Therefore, it is
difficult to recoup their investments and it would undermine the incentive to
engage in plant breeding. Only if there is a sound protection system,
breeders can recover their investments and can get an incentive for future
investments. In addition, protection of plant varieties is a way of promotion
of food security, and it should be taken into account as a matter of national
development.
The TRIPS Agreement provides for the protection of new plant
varieties either by patent or by a sui generis system or by a combination of
them. Therefore, member states have the right to choose the system which
is more suitable with the situation of the state concerned. Under the patent
protection as stated in the Agreement, the right conferred is the exclusive
right and there is no exemption such as breeders’ exemption and farmers’
rights. Under the provisions of the UPOV Convention, a ready-made sui
generis system, the requirements to be protectable are more flexible and
there can be exemptions such as breeders’ exemption and farmers’ rights.
Therefore, member states should opt for an effective sui generis system for
the protection of new plant varieties.
Myanmar, a member of the TRIPS Agreement, is an agricultural
country rich in plant genetic resources, and most of its exports are
agricultural products such as rice, maize, beans, etc. Therefore, agriculture
plays an important role in national economy and the development of
improved seeds will help in the development of national economy. Thus, as
a member of the TRIPS Agreement, Myanmar should provide for the
protection of new plant varieties under the sui generis system. In addition,
Myanmar should sign the UPOV Convention because it is compatible with
the TRIPS Agreement. Besides, most of its contracting parties are
developed countries and by becoming a member of the UPOV Convention,
national treatment and right of priority can be obtained and therefore, it
could be an incentive for local breeders to make more investments and a
support for the development of national economy.
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
235
Acknowledgement
I sincerely express my gratification to Dr Nu Nu Yi, Professor and Head of
Department, and Dr Tin Htay Ei, Professor, Department of Law, Mandalay University for
their guidance and advice.
References
Books
Biswajt Dhar, Sui Generis Systems for Plant Variety Protection: Options under TRIPS,
April 2002.
Graham Dutfield, Intellectual Property Rights, Trade and Biodiversity: The Case of Seeds
and Plant Varieties, Background Paper, Intersessional Meeting on the
Operations of the Convention, 28-30 June 1999.
Laurence R. Helfer, Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Varieties: International Legal
Regimes and Policy Options for National Governments, Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2004.
Margaret Llewlyn and Mike Adcock, European Plant Intellectual Property, Hart
Publishing, 2006.
Plant breeding and farmer participation, FAO of the United Nations, Rome, 2009.
Sudhir Kochhar, System Perspective for IPR Protection in the Plant Kingdom, vol.9, July
2004, Journal of African Law, 45, 1(2001).
Conventions
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights 1994.
International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 1961, as revised in
1972, 1978 and 1991.
Websites
http//en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Plant-Breeders’-rights.
www. iprsonline.org/unctadictsd/…/RB2.5-Patents-2.5.5-update.pdf.+
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
The Making of Indonesia’s Concept of ASEAN Security
Community
Kyawt Kyawt Khine
Abstract
th
In June 2003, at the 36 ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Phnom
Penh, Cambodia, Indonesia formally proposed to transform ASEAN into
a Security Community and its idea has become ASEAN’s official policy
since October 2003 when ASEAN leaders endorsed it at their 9th Summit
in Bali, Indonesia. Indonesia’s idea of ASEAN Security Community
(ASC) attracted the attention of media and scholars within the region as
well as international community since some of its components were
demanding the modification of ASEAN’s traditional diplomatic
practices. This article explains how the Indonesian government
formulated its idea of ASEAN Security Community (ASC) in the
changing global, regional and domestic political environment. This
article argues that Indonesia’s ASC concept which includes new norms
and values like human rights; democracy, good governance, rule of law,
etc. reflect the changing ideas and values of its foreign policy elites.
Although the government tried to get inputs from various domestic
sources to its ASC concept, a small group of people from Indonesian
Foreign Ministry and policy experts from think-tank, like Centre for
Strategic and International Studies were mainly involved in formulating
ASC concept.
Key Words: Indonesia; ASC Concept; Liberal Values; Domestic Political
Change; State-Society Relations; Foreign Policy-making; Elite’s Ideas
Introduction
In June 2003, at the 36th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Indonesia formally proposed to transform ASEAN
into a Security Community and its idea has become ASEAN’s official
policy since October 2003 when ASEAN leaders endorsed it at their 9th
Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The rationale behind its proposal of ASEAN
Security Community is to respond to the new security challenges in the
changing global, regional and domestic security environment, its desire to
regain its international credibility and to balance ASEAN’s cooperation
between the areas of economic and political-security. That is why, building
on Singapore's proposal that ASEAN evolves into an Economic
Community, Indonesia proposed the creation of an ASEAN Security
Lecturer, Dr., Department of International Relations, University of Mandalay
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Community by the year 2020. Indonesia’s ASC idea attracted the attention
of media and scholars within the region as well as international community
since some of its components were demanding the modification of
ASEAN’s traditional diplomatic practices.
With the country’s political transformation since 1998, the ideas and
thinking of Indonesia’s foreign policy elites have become more liberal.
They realized that being a democratic country, Indonesia’s foreign policy
should reflect the liberal values and norms like democracy and human rights
in its foreign policy. Indonesia’s domestic political change has also
significant effect on its foreign policy formulation process. The changing
nature of state-society relations within Indonesia affects the country’s
foreign policy-making process. The policy making process has now become
much more complex than that of Soeharto’s Indonesia. The government
(executive) is not the sole actor in the policy making process. Various nonstate actors such as Parliament, NGOs, think-tanks, media, academics, have
been seeking to intervene and influence the policy making process. As a
response to the changing domestic political environment, Indonesian
Foreign Ministry has initiated the ‘Total Diplomacy’ since 2002 which
allows the society to intervene in the foreign policy making process through
informal discussion, expert roundtable discussion, workshop, foreign policy
breakfast, etc The purpose of ‘Total Diplomacy’ is to legitimize the
government’s policies/decisions. In formulating the ASEAN Security
Community Concept, Indonesian government (in this case the Foreign
Ministry) closely worked with the Centre for Strategic and International
Studies (CSIS), Jakarta based think-tank.
Some scholar commented on Indonesia’s idea of ASEAN Security
Community “not as a sort of deliberated doctrine of the Indonesian
government” but “rather a serendipitous case” originated in a “Track III”
basis idea which was taken over by the Indonesian government. However,
the Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials who deeply involved in the ASC
making process totally disagreed with this comment. Any detailed research
explaining how the Indonesian government formulated its ASEAN Security
Community (ASC) Concept is so far yet found. Therefore, this research
aims to explore how the Indonesian government formulated its idea of ASC
in the changing global, regional and domestic political environment. In
doing so, it will also explain how the government cooperated with its
society in formulating the ASC concept.
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Democratization and the Changing Nature of Foreign Policy-making in
Indonesia
Although all of the Foreign Ministers were civilians under the
Suharto government, the President and the Military had dominated in most
of the foreign policy issues during Soeharto era. There is no institutional
change for the power sharing between the Presidential office and Foreign
Ministry under the constitutional reform . However, the status of the
Foreign Ministry has been enhanced in its relations with the Presidential
office in foreign policy making although it needs to get approval from the
President for any foreign policy issue. For example, President Megawati
appointed the professional and career diplomat, Hasan Wirajuda, as a
Foreign Minister to lead the Foreign Ministry. She also appointed the late
Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and Nana Sutresna, a well-experienced senior
diplomat, as her adviser and special envoy. According to Hadi Soesastro of
CSIS, President Megawati rarely initiated the policy and did not seek advice
from a variety of sources and just relied on the Foreign Ministry to initiate
and articulate policies. Therefore, the Foreign Ministry under Minister
Hassan Wirajuda was as strong as it has ever been. President Susilo
Bamband Yudhoyono reappointed Hassan Wirajuda as a Foreign Minister
in his first term of presidency (2004-2009) and appointed Marty
Natalegawa, a young career diplomat, as a Foreign Minister in his second
term of presidency (2009-2014).
Another development is generational and normative changes within
the Foreign Ministry. Most of the officials working in the Foreign Ministry
now are young and are western educated people. They are around age of
43/45. For example, the current Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa born
on 22 March 1963 is also a young career diplomat. He has become the
Foreign Minister at his age of 46. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the
Australian National University and Master degree from Cambridge
University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Umar Hadi, Director of Public Diplomacy (2005-present), the leading figure
in organizing Bali Democracy Forum in 2008, who has got the director
position at his age of 38, noted that before Hassan Wirajuda, most directors
were closer to 50 years old. According to him, Hassan Wirajuda
restructured the missions abroad and reformed the way the Ministry recruits
and trains diplomats with a special attention to the education of Indonesian
diplomats both at home and abroad. Jusuf Wanadi of CSIS also said:
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“Today Indonesia has a group of young diplomats who are well-educated
and eloquent in English and have remarkable sense of purpose. Despite
the crisis and budgetary constraints, Indonesia has been able to develop
this solid and effective group.”
Western educated, younger and more confident officials have been
emerging in Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry and they have strong ambitions
that Indonesia should do more international and regional affairs. Their
confidence is backed by Indonesia’s democratic transformation. They
strongly believe that as the most democratic country in Southeast Asia,
Indonesia should share/reflect its democratic experience with fellow
ASEAN members through cooperation. Contrary to the general perception
that Indonesia’s domestic political and economic situations are messy, they
have a strong confidence in Indonesia’s internal political transformation (its
democratization and political liberalization). They regard themselves as the
key promoters of democratic principles at the regional (ASEAN) level.
They are convinced that Indonesia could greatly contribute to enhancing
ASEAN’s unity and cooperation by commonly committing the democratic
causes.
Indonesia’s foreign policy making is basically elitist. This has not
changed in spite of the political transformation. Rizal Sukma of CSIS put it
as: “In Indonesia, foreign policy community is a small community”.
However, outside actors who had not yet been engaged in the foreign policy
deliberations before are now allowed to be engaged in the process of
formulating new foreign policy. Since Reform period, doors have been open
to many individuals from Parliaments, Think-tanks, Research Institutes,
Academics (Universities), NGOs and media even though the government
(the President/Foreign Ministry) is still the main actor. Sometimes, to some
extent, these groups’ pressure is effective for the change of the
government’s position on some foreign policy issues. For example, Political
parties within Parliament now can influence, at least, could give pressure to
follow the parliament’s desire. Think-tanks, academics from universities
and NGOs also can freely give their opinions/comments to foreign policy
issues.
Outside experts like researchers from CSIS are eager to put their
policy recommendations in the official process. Personal links between
officials and outside experts have been promoting frequent dialogues among
themselves. Actually, there is no special division/department in Foreign
Ministry to work with CSIS. Through their personal links, CSIS directly
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works with Foreign Minister and some Director- Generals from the Foreign
Ministry. In 2003, when Indonesia prepared the ASC idea, CSIS provided
the policy inputs to Foreign Ministry and closely worked with them
throughout the negotiation process at the regional level. For example, Rizal
Sukma of CSIS closely worked with the Foreign Ministry through his
friends working in Foreign Ministry like Marty Natalegawa (the current
Foreign Minister), and Umar Hadi (Director of Public Diplomacy) who was
the former personal assistant to the Minister Hassan Wirajuda. They are his
friends or classmates at the university. Through them, he worked with
Foreign Minister and Director-Generals from respective departments from
Foreign Ministry. Rizal Sukma’s involvement in most of the works for the
formulation of ASC concept in 2003 and the follow-up negotiation at the
regional level in 2003-2004 was based on his personal connections with
Foreign Ministry. Rizal Sukma remarked “It is personal network.” He
explained:
“For the ASC concept, the people from CSIS, especially myself and my
friends from Foreign Ministry, (worked together) we spoke together; we
hang out together all the time. Because of personal understanding and
friendship and personal net work make easier for us to work with the
Foreign Ministry.”
Apart from working closely with the policy experts from thinktanks, since 2002, Foreign Minister, Hasan Wirayuda, initiated the “Total
Diplomacy”. Foreign Ministry created a special forum called “Foreign
Policy Breakfast” which aimed at getting different perspectives from public
on international issues especially highly related to Indonesia’s interest.
Foreign Minister invited the people with different backgrounds, some from
the academic community, religious community and NGOs to the Foreign
Policy Breakfast Meeting in order to obtain their inputs and ideas for
specific internal issues. The people invited to the meeting are different
from issue to issue (depending on the issues). Foreign Policy breakfast is
conducted normally at 7 in the morning. It is held once per month or more
than one or two per month depending on the emergence of international
issues.
Another kind of regular meeting is Expert Round Table Meeting.
Foreign Ministry invited 14/15 people (usually less than 20 people)
especially from think-tanks, universities, NGOS, government departments,
research centers, religious groups and media, etc. And they discussed their
own opinions and point of views with regard to the respective issues.
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Another type is the General Public Seminar. A lot of people from political
groups, religious groups can attend the general public seminar and
expressed their point of views about the related issues.
The purpose of these meetings is to get the society’s inputs in
foreign policy making. Another purpose is to socialize their policy among
the community so that their foreign policy becomes more accountable. Now
the people from Foreign Ministry talked to ordinary people about the
foreign policy issues. The foreign policy elites including the President and
Foreign Minister now realize that being a democratic country, Indonesia
needs to bring the consent of its society in decision-making including the
foreign policy and tried to engage more with their societies.
ASEAN Security Community: From an Academic Work to an
ASEAN’s Official Policy
This section will explain how the concept of ASEAN Security
Community came into being as an ASEAN’s official policy in 2003. Before
going to the historical account to the emergence of the idea of ASEAN
Security Community, it will start with the brief conceptual understanding of
Security Community. Security Community as a conceptual framework was
first developed by Karl W. Deutsch and his colleagues in their book,
Political Community and the North Atlantic Area: International
Organization in the Light of Historical Experience, in 1957. According to
Karl W. Deutsch, “sense of community” or “we feeling” is the key feature of
a security community. In 1998, Michael Barnett and Emanuel Adler in their
book, Security Communities, defined a “pluralistic security community” as
“a transnational region comprised of sovereign states whose people
maintain dependable expectations of peaceful change”. In other words,
Security Community is a regional grouping that has renounced the use of
force as a means of resolving intra-regional conflicts.
According to the views of Karl W. Deutsch and later other scholars
like Emanuel Adler and Michael Barnett, the “economic interdependence
and liberal democracy” are the essential preconditions for the development
of a security community and a true security community, according to them,
is a “democratic security community”. Some scholars like Amitav Acharya
considered that if the development of security community is linked to
liberal democratic politics and economics, then the possibility of such
communities in the Third World like Southeast Asia would be very low
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since ASEAN members neither shared liberal democratic values, nor were
bound by a high degree of mutual interdependence since the time of its
formation.” Since the conceptual framework of security community
developed by Karl W. Deutsch was originally aimed at explaining the
development in North Atlantic (North America and Europe) countries, it is
difficult to be applied for developing world like Southeast Asia.
That is why, Amitav Acharya proposed an alternative security
community framework applicable for developing countries. His definitions
of security community are concerned with Pluralistic Security Community.
According to Acharaya, the development of security community does not
require shared democratic political systems, at least initially. He argued that
“While common values are necessary for community building, these
need not be liberal democratic values. A shared commitment to economic
development, regime security and political stability could compensate for
a lack of a high degree of economic interdependence. …interdependence
could follow, rather than precede, an initial and deliberate attempt at
community formation.”
He also viewed that ASEAN’s existing rules and principles like
ASEAN Way, quiet diplomacy, consultation and consensus, noninterference principle, etc. were already shared by member states and these
principles contributed to the necessary preconditions for the development of
ASEAN Security Community.
Until 2003, the ASC concept had been just an academic debate.
Amitav Acharaya expressed his surprise in an interview in March 2006.
According to him his articles and book did not advocate that ASEAN
should become a security community. They were not policy-oriented
studies, but rather very academic in nature. He said: “.... It was quite
surprising when Indonesia, in 2003, proposed the idea of an ASEAN
security community and it became official ASEAN policy.”
In late 2002, the Foreign Ministry, the former Minister Hassan
Wirajuda started to think about things on how Indonesia would chair
ASEAN for the year 2003-2004. There are two main considerations within
the Foreign Ministry leading to the emergence of ASC idea at that time.
First is to maintain the relevance and effectiveness of ASEAN in a wider
Asia-Pacific region and the second is to balance the cooperation within the
ASEAN context. As already noted, important factors which lied behind the
thinking of Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry were the changes in global,
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regional and domestic context after 1997 financial crisis. The consequences
of the financial crisis were more than the crisis but comprising of political,
economic, social, security challenges as well as reform. After the crisis,
ASEAN’s prime occupation was economic recovery and members tried to
renew ASEAN’s concept and idea mainly focusing on economic. Therefore
in November 2002, Singapore came up with the idea of ASEAN Economic
Community (hereafter AEC). In order to balance Singapore’s ASEAN
Economic Community proposal and to cope with the post-Cold War new
security challenges, Indonesia proposed to transform ASEAN into a
Security Community by 2020 at the 36th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in
Cambodia, in June 2003.
With the above mentioned considerations, Indonesia formally
proposed to transform ASEAN into a Security Community by 2020 at the
36th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Cambodia, in June 2003. When
ASEAN leaders endorsed its proposal in October 2003, ASEAN Security
Community Concept is no longer academic work but has become an
ASEAN’s official policy.
The Making of ASEAN Security Community Concept
Soon after its proposal to transform ASEAN into a security
community in June 2003, there arose some comments on its initiation
within the media and academic world. For example, in his interview with
Radio Singapore International on 20 September 2003, Donald K.
Emmerson, Director of Southeast Asia Forum, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific
Research Center, Stanford University, commented on Indonesia’s idea of
ASEAN Security Community “not as a sort of deliberated doctrine of the
Indonesian government” but “rather a serendipitous case” originated in a
“Track III” basis idea which was taken over by the Indonesian government.
However, the Foreign Ministry officials totally disagreed with that
comment. Within the Foreign Ministry, ASC idea is the “brainchild” of
former Minister Hassan Wirajuda. So far, any detailed research explaining
how the Indonesian government formulated its ASEAN Security
Community (ASC) Concept is yet found. Therefore, this section will
explain how the Indonesian government formulated its idea of ASC in the
changing global, regional and domestic political environment and who were
deeply involved in this process.
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Around the end of 2002 soon after Singapore came up with the
AEC, the Foreign Ministry asked the CSIS (Centre for Strategic and
International Studies), a think-tank in Jakarta, to provide inputs to its idea to
balance ASEAN’s cooperation between economic and security. Then the
informal and intensive discussions started between the Foreign Ministry
including former Minister Hassan Wirajuda himself and some senior
officials who were dealing with regional cooperation at that time like
Makarim Wibisono, Director-General for Regional Cooperation Asia and
Africa, Gary M. Jusuf, Director for ASEAN Cooperation, and a few young
diplomats working at the Foreign Minister’s office and some researchers
from CSIS like Jusuf Wanadi, Hadi Soesatro and mainly, Rizal Sukma. The
discussion mainly focused on what are the main challenges of the ASEAN,
how those challenges can be overcome and how Indonesia could achieve its
role back in ASEAN.
During the discussions, Foreign Minister Hasan Wiyaruda expressed
his concerns over ASEAN at that time. The first concern was about the
imbalance in ASEAN’s cooperation. He felt that over the last 35 years,
since the establishment of ASEAN, there was somehow imbalance in
ASEAN’s cooperation. Even though ASEAN was created within the
political context at that time, to overcome the conflict between Indonesia,
Malaysia and Singapore, but over the years, ASEAN had focused heavily
on economic cooperation. And he also thought that ASEAN needed to
correct the balance in its cooperation and how to overcome the impasse and
achieved the political and security cooperation.
The second concern is the ASEAN’s relevance in the changing
global and regional security environment. He felt that due to its enlargement
process, ASEAN suffered from diversity among its members in terms of
political as well as economic development. The non-traditional security
challenges in the changing global and regional security environment
required ASEAN’s integrated and effective response. Minister Hassan
Wirajuda’s concern at that time was how ASEAN can be integrated and
consolidated in order to maintain its relevance in the changing world. Rizal
Sukma said: “From then I helped the Foreign Ministry in thinking how we
can balance the ASEAN cooperation and how we can heighten ASEAN’s
integration in the changing security environment.” The intensive
consultation between the Foreign Ministry and CSIS took place throughout
the end of 2002 to March 2003. However, the meetings and consultations
were informal in nature and it is difficult to trace the exact dates and the
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meeting records. According to Rizal Sukma, the term “ASEAN Security
Community” was born through a series of these informal discussions and
first appeared in his unpublished concept paper dated January 2003.
Rizal Sukma prepared the concept paper for ASEAN Security
Community and submitted it to the Foreign Minister in January 2003. In his
initial concept paper dated January 2003, Rizal Sukma, argued that ASEAN
is yet to develop into a full-pledged “Security Community”, but still a
“Security Regime”. Therefore, he proposed that ASEAN should develop
into a “Comprehensive Security Community” which he felt is more
compatible with the region’s own needs and characteristics. Comprehensive
Security Community, according to him, incorporates elements of nonmilitary security emphasizing more on “human security” than the “state
security” and more room for people to people interaction. He said: “We are
talking about “A…..SEANNN” Security Community”. When he said that
word, he stressed the word “ASEAN” with very loud voice in order to make
the word “ASEAN” more obvious than the other words. He explained that
the ultimate goal of the ASEAN Security Community is similar to
Deutsch’s, where war and the prospect of war will no longer happen.
However, a different approach will be used with focusing more on nonmilitary security issues like human rights, maritime security, environment,
terrorism, etc. According to him, ASEAN Security Community does not
resemble that of the Security Community envisaged by Karl W. Deutsch for
North Atlantic countries which is based only on the notion of security in
military terms.
While regarding the existing rules and principles such as “Respect
for National Sovereignty”, “Principle of Non-Interference”, “Consensus
based Decision-making” and “Renouncement of the Threat or Use of Force”
as the highest principles that rule interstate relation within ASEAN, Rizal
Sukma suggested that ASEAN should adjust these cardinal principles to the
current reality in order to meet the new challenges. For example, he
proposed that in the case of non-interference, sovereignty should be
exercised in an appropriate way. Furthermore, he suggested that ASEAN
should develop the “Coalition of the Willing” principle which allows some
members to proceed the cooperation in certain aspects of political and
security fields without the participation of others at the beginning but open
to them whenever they are ready to participate.
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He strongly urged the ASEAN to apply the non-interference
principle in a flexible way, especially, “in trans-boundaries issues (internal
issues with clear regional implications) and issues with identifiable
humanitarian dimension (such as gross violations of human rights and in the
event of humanitarian crisis).” He suggested that ASEAN members should
be “more open to friendly advice offered by fellow member state and less
reactive to voices of civil society of other member states”. As the
institution-building, he suggested to establish the ASEAN Defence Minister
Meeting (ADMM), ASEAN Centre for Combating Terrorism, ASEAN
Peacekeeping Training Centre, and ASEAN Maritime Surveillance Centre.
After submitting his initial concept paper on ASC to the Foreign
Minister in January 2003, some differences occurred between Rizal Sukma
and Foreign Ministry over the issues of “how” to achieve the ASC. Rizal
Sukma drafted his concept paper based on the arguments of Amitav
Acharaya’s book, Constructing a Security Community in Southeast Asia:
ASEAN and the Problem of Regional Order (2001). While agreeing with
Amitav Acharya’s argument that “liberal democracy is not necessarily an
essential precondition for developing a security community in developing
world” Rizal Sukma did not mention about “democracy” in his concept
paper. Instead, he focused more on “human rights” since he believed that
“human rights” is more universal. Rizal Sukma believes that democracy
cannot be imposed from outside and there are a lot of forms of democracy
and there is no consensus model for democracy. He thought that it was
impossible to impose democracy in ASEAN. In that context, he did not
propose “democracy” as part of ASEAN political and security cooperation.
However, the Foreign Ministry felt that it was not enough to
improve only human rights in ASEAN but also need to develop the
members’ internal political conditions. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda
himself believed that it was critical important to give priority to good
governance, democratic institutions, people’s participation in politics, and
human rights as well in order to alleviate the members’ diversity in political
development. He felt that no matter what form of cooperation might change
later, Indonesia needed to start to raise this issue or at least, needed to bring
it for discussion. Therefore, Indonesian Foreign Ministry included “the
promotion of democracy” under the “Political Development” section when
it drafted the ASC in Bali Concord II. With regard to Indonesia’s bold
initiative for “Political Development” in it ASC proposal, the former
Minister Hassan Wirajuda explained:
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“…Our ten countries of ASEAN are comprised of countries of different
political system……Talking about politics within ASEAN is regarded as
a sensitive issue. …We have talked about economic cooperation but we
don’t touch the politics. …If we don’t fix this problem, it will be
handicapped for ASEAN and it cannot be a strong ASEAN. That’s why,
I proposed the idea of “political development” in order to narrow down
the political orientation within ASEAN but we are not talking about one
model of democracy.”
Another difference between the Foreign Ministry and Rizal Sukma
is “when” to achieve the ASEAN Security Community. Rizal Sukma
proposed 2030 when ASEAN Security Community is to be implemented.
He believed that the regional community building process would require a
long process. Therefore, in his initial concept paper dated January 2003, he
mentioned ASEAN Security Community should be achieved within next 30
years. But the Foreign Ministry argued that in the diplomatic process, openended idea would be difficult to be realized. After discussions with the
Foreign Ministry, Rizal Sukma revised its concept paper and submitted it
again in March 2003. Therefore, in the revised paper, the deadline for
achieving ASC was mentioned as 2020 reduced from 30 to 20 years.
The Foreign Ministry also invited the researchers within the CSIS
who were working on security and foreign policy issues, like Dr. Edy
Prasetyono, Luhu Lima, Bantarto Bandoro, some researchers from
Indonesia Institute of Sciences like Dr. Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, some academics
from the University of Indonesia like Adi, Mak Murkeliat and some
Parliamentarians in order to get their feedback and suggestions on
Indonesia’s ASC concept. The Foreign Ministry’s consultations with the
various stakeholders were held informally in the form of round table
discussion.
Before proposing its ASC concept at the Bali Summit, there were
also discussions by the government with some parliamentarians from
Commission I of Indonesia’s Parliament which is dealing with the foreign
and defense policy issues. But the mechanism was not like the ratification
process. It was conducted in the form of reporting what the Foreign
Ministry was going to do as a host of the coming ASEAN Summit and
about its proposal of ASEAN Security Community concept by the Foreign
Minister to the Parliament. Then the government listened to what the
Parliament’s advice and suggestion on the case. In August 2003, when
President Megawati Sukarnoputri presented her progress report at the
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Annual Session of the People’s Consultative Assembly, she also explained
Indonesia’s idea of ASEAN Security Community for the coming 9th
ASEAN Summit.
After it got inputs from various sources mainly from CSIS (esp.
from Rizal Sukma’s Concept Paper), the Foreign Ministry prepared the
Indonesia’s Non-Paper for ASEAN Security Community under the
comment of Makarim Wibisono, Director-General for Regional
Cooperation Asia-Pacific and Africa who was the Indonesia’s SOM leader
at that time. The Non-Paper was later circulated at the Senior Official
Meeting (SOM) and the 36th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in
Phnom Penh, Cambodia on June 13-14 and 16-17 2003 respectively. In
early June 2003, not long before Indonesia circulated its non-paper for
ASEAN Security Community among the ASEAN members, Rizal Sukma
launched the ASC idea at the seminar sponsored by Indonesian Permanent
Mission to the United Nations in New York. The public version of his ASC
concept is almost the same with the second draft dated March 2003.
Since Rizal Sukma first launched the ASC concept before Indonesia
formally proposed it at the 36th AMM meeting, there arose comments
regarding Indonesia’s ASC proposal in the academic world. For example, in
his interview with Radio Singapore International on 20th September 2003,
Donald K. Emmerson, director of the Southeast Asia Forum (SEAF) at
Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Centre (APARC), Stanford University,
commented on Indonesia’s idea of ASEAN Security Community “not as a
sort of deliberated doctrine of the Indonesian government” but “rather a
serendipitous case” originated in a “Track III” basis idea which was taken
over by the Indonesian government.
However, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials totally disagreed
with his comments. According to Umar Hadi who was the Personal Assistant
of Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda at that time, Indonesia already had the
“Laundry List: ASEAN Security Community” before the Phnom Penh AMM
in June 2003. He said: “at the Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) AMM in July
2002, Indonesia came up with the Laundry List.” Discussions on how to
deepen ASEAN’s integration in the area of economic and political-security
overwhelmed this Brunei AMM. The “Laundry List” was just the wish list
which ASEAN should do in the area of political and security cooperation
with no specific time frame. He said: “we talked about it (ASEAN’s political
and security cooperation) in the informal ministerial meeting in Brunei but
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orally. We did not have any paper at that time.” However, he acknowledged
that as a member of regional network think-tanks, ASEAN-ISIS, Rizal
Sukma’s policy inputs and his cooperation with the Foreign Ministry during
the regional level negotiation process was invaluable for the Foreign
Ministry.
In the “Laundry List”, the five elements were mentioned for
deepening the ASEAN’s cooperation in the area of political and security,
namely, norm setting, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, post-conflict
peace-building and political development. “Norm Setting” under the
Foreign Ministry’s Laundry List suggested “identifying all existing
agreements such as Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, Southeast Asia
Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the
South China Sea. It also proposed to identify the “High Council” under the
Treaty of Amity and Cooperation as a “conflict resolution mechanism”.
Under the heading of “Conflict Prevention”, it focused on finding
the solution for such border-related problems as border delimitation, land,
sea, air, and access for land-locked country. In order to prevent the conflict
in the region, the member states need to cooperate in tackling the transborder crimes such as drugs and human trafficking, arms smuggling, piracy,
and terrorism, etc. for example, it proposed to conduct joint border patrol
against the piracy, terrorism and various smugglings. It also listed to find
solution for area based problems like the problem in South China Sea.
For Conflict Resolution, it mentioned the institutionalization of the
dispute settlement mechanisms like the establishment of ASEAN Institute
for Peace and Reconciliation for mediation and the Regional Peace-Keeping
Operation. In order to build peace after the conflict, it proposed to utilize
the mechanism under the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation and the United
Nations practices.
To build democracy, good governance, to promote the national
institutions for Human Rights and to establish ASEAN Human Rights
Mechanism are mentioned as the necessary foundations of ASEAN Security
Community under the rubric of “Political Development”.
“Laundry List” reflected the Foreign Ministry’s concerns over the
peace and security in Southeast Asia region and the ASEAN’s relevance in
the changing global and regional security environment at that time. Later, it
can be found that the five elements of AEAN Security Community
Universities Research Journal 2011, Vol. 4, No. 7
251
mentioned in “the Laundry List” have become the main components of
ASEAN Security Community under Bali Concord II and the ASEAN
Security Community Plan of Action.
Although its title was “Laundry List: ASEAN Security
Community”, the Foreign Ministry did not seem to have the conceptual
framework for the term “ASEAN Security Community” at that time.
Therefore, the Laundry List did not explain what the ASEAN Security
Community was. It just mentioned the lists what ASEAN should carry out
in the area of political and security cooperation.
After it got the inputs from various sources especially from Rizal
Sukma of CSIS, the Foreign Ministry in its “Non-Paper” defined the
ASEAN Security Community as:
“A group of countries that have achieved a condition in which each
member regards its own security as fundamentally linked to those of the
others. They deem their collective destiny as bound by common norms,
history, political experience, and geographic location and rule out the use
of force as means of problem-solving”.
An ASEAN Security Community, according to Indonesia’s concept,
is “regional grouping that has completely renounced the use of force as a
means of resolving intraregional conflicts.”
Unlike Rizal Sukma, the Foreign Ministry assumed that ASEAN
already possesses the elements of all the characteristics of a Security
Community since it has already established the formal and informal
mechanisms and practices that serve to reduce, prevent, and manage
conflicts within ASEAN. Therefore, it proposed that in order to become a
Security Community, ASEAN (just) needs to enhance its capability to
resolve conflicts and reduce disorder and suggested that the TAC should be
served as the foundation for an ASEAN Security Community with the
meaning that disputes and conflicts among member states must be resolved
in peaceful ways. However, the Non-Paper did not mention any details on
how and when ASEAN should reach the ASEAN Security Community.
Indonesia’s Non-Paper was circulated at the 36th AMM in June 2003. When
the ASEAN leaders endorsed its ASC concept at the 9th Summit in Bali in
October 2003, Indonesia’s ASC concept has become an ASEAN’s official
policy.
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Conclusion
With its domestic political change, it is found that the ideas and
thinking of its foreign policy elites have been changing. Indonesia’s
ASEAN Security Community concept which includes new norms and
values like human rights, democracy, good governance, rule of law, etc.
reflect the changing ideas and values of its foreign policy elites. With the
country’s democratization, various stakeholders tried to intervene in the
area of foreign policy making. Unlike under the President Suharto, the
government in the Reform era can no longer ignore peoples’ aspirations and
views in formulating and conducting foreign policy. Although it tried to get
inputs from various domestic sources like the academics from the
Universities and Research Institutes and the Parliament to its ASC concept,
in formulating the ASC Concept in 2003, a small group of people from
Indonesian Foreign Ministry and policy experts from think-tank, Centre for
Strategic and International Studies were mainly involved. This does not
mean other stakeholders like Parliament or NGOs were not allowed to
involve in the ASC making process at that time. Because ASC concept was
very expertise in nature and was regional security related issue, other
stakeholders could not follow up and were not interested in this issue at that
time in 2003.
References
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“RI Strives to Regain Role as Regional Pillar”, The Jakarta Post, August 8, 2003
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