[Buddha-l] Re: Men and women of good family

Dhammanando Bhikkhu dhammanando at csloxinfo.com
Mon Feb 19 21:36:42 MST 2007

Vicente Gonzalez:

> What's the real meaning of "men or women of good family"?

It translates the Pali kulaputta (Skt. kulaputra). The Pali 
commentators (e.g. (MA. i. 111)) distinguish two kinds: one who is a 
kulaputta on account of his birth or caste (jaatikulaputta), and the 
other on account of good conduct (aacaarakulaputta).

In the former type the term kula is glossed as either "high-class 
family" (uccaakula, meaning a k.satriya or braahma.na family) or 
"prominent family" (aggakula, meaning a family possessed of wealth or 
power). The arahant Ra.t.thapaala is given as an example of a 
jaatikulaputta. As for aacaarakulaputtas, these are men of any 
background who go forth out of faith; the fact that one is going forth 
out of faith (and not for some other reason) automatically makes one a 
kulaputta. Most occurrences of kulaputta in the Suttas are glossed as 
referring to aacaarakulaputtas.

> I wonder how this use was able to travel among different countries
> across times without special variations.
> Why existed a general acceptance of this formula in all Asiatic
> countries?.
> It was understood as a kammic requisite for the way or it was only
> a protocol use to talk about anyone engaged in the Buddha way?

In Thailand the loanword 'kulabut' is most often used when referring to 
a man who's preparing to become a monk; occasionally it's used in the 
more old-fashioned style of sermon and seems to denote any devout 
layman (with 'kulathida', from the Pali kuladhiitaa, denoting his 
female counterpart). So I'd say that here at least it's just a 

Best wishes,
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