chapter  4
44 Pages

Why the Buddha has no Rights: Peter Junger

As has been often noted, the concept of "human rights" tends to be based on modern Western European assumptions that, to a larre extent, can be traced to earlier Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman concepts; assumptions that are alien to many, if not all, of the innumerable Buddhist traditions. It is not so often noted that it-is difficult, if not impossible, to make sense of the concept of human rights - as opposed to some of the particular items that are lumped together under that rubric - within the common law tradition that prevails in England, in the English speaking nations of North America, in the British Commonwealth, and in other countries whose political and judicial institutions have been inherited from England, a legal tradition that can be traced back without interruption to feudal practices and that is based on centuries of judicial precedents, not on rational deductions drawn from positive legislation or abstract principles.