Caste

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  • Caste — rigs, the traditional class-distinction of Indian society associated with different psychological types and the kind of work or social function deemed appropriate to them. In the course of time, the caste system became extremely complex. Buddhist texts refer only to the original fourfold system and repudiate it in the sense of rejecting the idea, still current in Indian society, that such distinctions are immutably dictated by the circumstances of birth. These four classes are the royal or ruling class (kshatriya, rgyal rigs), the priestly class (brahmin, bram bze rigs), the merchant class (vaishya, rje'u rigs) and the menial class (shudra, dmangs rigs). [AJP] from The Great Image ISBN 1-59030-069-6