|IV. The Buddhist Law.
In Buddhist Law,1 the position of woman was different. The religion
was more practical and elastic as well as highly ethical due to the eight principles of
life enjoined on each man:
Right livelihood ;
In Buddhism every human being-man or woman is a free agent able to work
out his own salvation independent of any supernatural agency or the medium of priests or
rituals. The inequality between man and woman is wiped out. Hence woman in the Buddhist
Law has a special place.
Buddhist marriage is a simple ceremony it is purely a civil contract.
The age at which a girl is allowed independent choice is twenty. If a
girl contracts a marriage before this period without the consent, expressed or implicit,
of her guardians or parents, it is null and void. This rule is not binding on widows and
divorcees as their first marriage has already freed them from paternal control.
Polygamy is allowed in Buddhist Law. A man can marry a second time
during the lifetime of the first wife; but a woman has not a similar choice.
Wives of inferior status, who can
how ever inherit the Property of their husbands, are mentioned and Buddhist Law speaks of
them as wives and concubines. Concubines have a legal status and can inherit
property, hence illegitimacy of children is avoided.
1. The Bombay Law Reporter,