Brahma not worshipped in India(influence suttas?)

Do you see Brahma not being worshipped in India as influencing Suttas?

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Can you be more specific?

It’s hard to say whether Brahma was actively worshiped in the Buddha’s day. It seems so from the suttas, but there’s no corroborating archeological evidence. I’m not sure what the position of the contemporary texts would be, but I can’t offhand think of any active worship of Brahma.


I’m just asking because I came across the question in google. Why Brahma is not worshipped. And I searched and found many of the stories why. Maybe Brahmins did but I don’t think ascetics sects. On internet I saw that probably many sects made their own story to make their favorite god look higher than Brahma. I don’t know when this shift happened.

Lord Shiva admonished Brahma for demonstrating behaviour of an incestuous nature and chopped off his fifth head for ‘unholy’ behaviour. Since Brahma had distracted his mind from the soul and towards the cravings of the flesh, Shiva’s cursewas that people should not worship Brahma.24 Aug 2009

@sujato see one Story example. So I’m thinking that in the same period that these stories started to come out they could have influenced suttas also. Since Buddhist already got persecuted by a Hindu King. I remember Wikipedia saying Buddhist temples was broken. So imagine sutras. And imagine suttas had to be rewritten and that’s when the influence might have come. I’m just thinking

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Brahma in the suttas is a transfer of the idea of supremacy (applied to the conditioned realm), and is a replacement of the Hindu Brahman. The idea of Brahman is further opposed by emptiness.

Yes. That I know. It means like the highest. The first teachers. (our ancestors since all gods was humans in Buddhism)

In the Chinese Brahmajala sutra translated by Fan Dong Jing it’s omitted that Buddha doesn’t worship Mahabrahma. That I remember reading also. And I mentioned in the forum. Pali suttas might have added later in the period I’m suggesting came the influence.

Well, the thing is, there’s no real evidence of a bhakti practice as known today. Nor were there images or temples that might have survived. The rites would have been, in the old Vedic style, conducted in the open air. Presumably the brahmins were reciting in accordance with the Vedas and Brahamanas, so if there is wrship of Brahma there, it may well have been carried out.

However, times change, and even by the time of the Buddha, many of the Vedic gods are not mentioned, and many new ones have appeared. While the brahmins would have used the Vedas, that doesn’t mean that they actually practiced every ritual or chant therein. I mean, they would have been chanted, but they must have selected passages for sacrificial liturgy and the like.

Not very satisfactory, I admit, but there are limits to what we can say. I’m sure an expert in the field could give a clearer picture.


Sure thing. It’s complicated to know exactly what happened.

Just on a side note.

Copy from Wikipedia

The origin of Bhairava can be traced to a conversation between Brahma and Vishnu which is recounted in the Shiva Mahapuranam. In it, Vishnu inquired of Brahma, “Who is the supreme creator of the Universe?” Arrogantly, Brahma told Vishnu to worship him as Supreme Creator. One day, Brahma thought “I have five heads. Shiva also has five heads. I can do everything that Shiva does and therefore I am Shiva.” Brahma became a little egotistical as a result of this. Additionally, he began to forget the work of Shiva and also started interfering in what Shiva was supposed to be doing. Consequently, Mahadeva (Shiva) threw a small nail from his finger which assumed the form of Kala Bhairava and casually went to cut off one of Brahma’s heads. The skull (Kapala) of Brahma is held in the hands of Kala Bhairava, Brahma’s ego was destroyed and he became enlightened. From then on, he became useful to himself and to the world, and deeply grateful to Shiva.

Just interesting to read. :joy:

I think this statement is true for the period you probably were thinking about, but to be clear there is a surviving temple to Brahma. This reinforces the likelihood that there was a continuous tradition of Brahma worship from ancient times, through to the period of it’s founding. Though of course because this is Indian History we’re talking about, nothing is certain.

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That ain’t old. The temple structure dates to the 14th century, partly rebuilt later.

We’re reasonably confident the site was dedicated in the 8th century CE.

What was happening in between ~5th century BCE and then? Who knows. But given the few snapshots we have showing Brahma worship, it is likely that it was present in some form. The alternative is that there was an unknown decline of Brahma worship, followed by an unknown resurgence, followed by the known decline.

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few Temples are there for Brahmma in India (in Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Rajstan). in Tamilnadu in most of Siva Temple Towers (gopurams), Brahmaa statue /sculpture also fitted alongwit Muurgar, Pillaiyaar, Ganapthi, Vishnu, Sivan, Ramar. Many Brahmins even today chanting Brahmma gayathri, Brahmma related Manthras slogas Vedas- so I wonder from where the thought came as Hindus dont have temples for Brahmma


I wonder, is Brahma worshipped in Sri Lanka’s Buddhist and Hindu temple?

There is some Hindu Brahma temple in Thailand but I don’t know Sri Lanka

Well I think there’s a difference between a “temple to Brahma” and a temple with a Brahma icon. Just as another example, I believe Agni icons are nearly universal, and he is mentioned frequently in chants, but I am not aware of any temples dedicated to him as the primary deity.

I think the idea that Brahma has “no” temples and is not worshipped comes from an exaggeration of the truth that, over time, he has declined in prominence. The Suttas portray a world in which he is the most prominent god of the Brahmins. It doesn’t elaborate on whether or not they had temples per se, but if they did, you get the impression that most would have been dedicated to him. Now, he is worshipped and has some temples, but far fewer. It’s easy for people to exaggerate, “X has lost most of their Y” to “X has lost all of their Y” (in this case, X = Brahma and Y = Temples).

Really? Okay.

It seems not, from the extant texts and archeology. Vedic worship was outdoors. Substantial temples came later, I believe. This is a bit similar to the situation in the Bible, where the old worship was under the sky. It makes sense, the old Indo-Europeans were nomadic, and many of their stories and deities are reflected in the skies.

But then the stories in return reflect our mind. Like I am believing they made the story where Brahma was egoistic. It reflect back in us because subconscious mind is hard to control. The chopping of Brahma head then is to show control of the mind. So why not accepting Brahma as main deity is because the Indians seeked from early control over the part of us that create. So the subconscious. Like Buddha emphasizes that every start with the mind. Buddhism we have Theravada which used Indra, which is the Hindu god of thunder to represent the create part still. Thunder is symbolism for how fast thoughts are created. Thunder reflects impermanence. Light.

What do you mean? Why are we talking about Hinduism? I believe that Buddhism is the one true religion but Buddhism itself is not sufficient to explain all the phenomenons in life. So I also study other religions too. But Buddhism is still supreme compared to other faiths.

Mostly comes from Vedic influence. Indra is also in Pali text but isn’t downplayed so much as Brahma was. My question actually should be if it was Indian culture itself that influenced Buddhism to downplay Brahma. In pali texts we find even mention of the vows Indra took to be king of gods. And other nice dialogues between Indra and Buddha. But not anything for Brahma. Which doesnt make sense. Because Buddhism still believed Brahma is the highest being in heaven. In Anguttara Nikaya, Ananda mentions even that it’s the highest you can see.

Both Indra and Brahma are mentioned in and parts of Samyutta/Samyukta collections. See Choong Mun-keat’s comparative studies:

“A Comparison of the Pāli and Chinese Versions of the Brahma Saṃyutta, a Collection of Early Buddhist Discourses on Brahmās, the Exalted Gods”, Buddhist Studies Review, vol. 31.2, pp. 179-194 (2014)

"A comparison of the Pali and Chinese versions of the Sakka Samyutta, a collection of early Buddhist discourses on ‘Sakra, ruler of the gods’ ", in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 22, issue 3-4, October 2012 (Cambridge University Press), pp. 561–574.

But it seems only Brahma is worshipped in Thai Buddhist tradition?

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