In this passage from the Ambaṭṭha Sutta emphasizing again the fact that human beings are fundamentally equal the Buddha declares that ideas such as caste (jāti)[i] or clan (gotta) as well as ideas of being (socially) superior or inferior are incompatible with truly following his Teachings – referred to here as practice (caraṇa) and wisdom (vijjā. Only by abandoning such ideas can liberation be achieved.
But what, Gotama, is the righteousness, and what the wisdom spoken of in that verse?’
‘In the supreme perfection in wisdom and righteousness, Ambaṭṭha, there is no reference to the question either of birth, or of lineage, or of the pride which says: “You are held as worthy as I,” or “You are not held as worthy as I,” It is where the talk is of marrying, or of giving in marriage, that reference is made to such things as that. For whosoever, Ambaṭṭha, are in bondage to the notions of birth or of lineage, or to the pride of social position, or of connection by marriage, they are far from the best wisdom and righteousness. It is only by having got rid of all such bondage that one can realise for himself that supreme perfection in wisdom and in conduct,’
Ambatthasutta, Dīgha Nikāya 3
[i] As the discerning reader will notice the translations are somewhat different in the text. The value of consulting the Pāli original shows the need for cautious interpretations when only translations are at hand.