What are the 4 traditional castes, and what role has caste played in Hindu religion, especially Buddha's response to spiritual hierarchy of caste?

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In certain forms of Hindu religion, caste denotes one's duties, obligations, and life processes. Each caste has a different set of ritual obligations relating to the worship or specific gods or spirits. People from different castes may also have different social obligations. There may be limits on who you can marry or work with based on caste. While the caste system is still operative in India, individuals deal with the system in a variety of ways, with some people more relaxed in their interpretations of caste protocol than others.

According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha critiqued the caste system of India and encouraged his disciples to disregard it. Tradition holds that the Buddha, born to the Brahman caste, rejected his privileges as a high-caste individual in order to pursue a life based on ascetic and ego-effacing principals.