IT is a common misconception that Buddhism is mainly concerned with individual salvation and with the ethical and metaphysical aspects of life. What is little known is that Buddhism has a social gospel and is one of the earliest sources of political theory. The Buddha's concern for society is reflected in the Sigalovada Suttanta where he defined the interrelationships between parent and child, teacher and pupil,
father and dependents, friend and friend, master and servant. The significance of Buddhism in political theory is derived from its being the first philosophy to espouse (1) universal equality, and (2) a contractual relationship between the ruler and the ruled. Its development of the Hindu concept of the universal emperor is also of particular interest to students of politics.