I said once in a bad way but I still think that we did not understand the point of Buddha stories. For example the point is people make illusions of what it is. Even the being believing he was Brahma. But it is evidently that it’s explaining how the world is under illusions. His real opinion is probably that every being comes out of the mouth of Brahma. So in Buddhist language. Everything comes out the Divine.
May I suggest that if you want to propose a different interpretation from the orthodox one and one that, in my opinion, is very difficult to support, you do not just provide a statement and an entire sutta but actually provide a study or an argument well-formed? But, unfortunately, without such process, what you state remains your own belief and, from what I can see, at least in my tradition, a very mislead one. So try to develop your point in a well-documented argument, and maybe people can add their thoughts. Thanks
Ah, in this text, the brahmins are said to insult the Buddhists. The brahmins says that only brahmins (i.e. not other castes) are born from the mouth of Brahma, as children of Brahma, and that all other people are inferior. This is a non-Buddhist position that they were using to insult Buddhists.
Sir, the brahmins say: ‘Only brahmins are the first caste; other castes are inferior. Only brahmins are the light caste; other castes are dark. Only brahmins are purified, not others. Only brahmins are Brahmā’s rightful sons, born of his mouth, born of Brahmā, created by Brahmā, heirs of Brahmā. You’ve both abandoned the first caste to join an inferior caste, namely these shavelings, fake ascetics, riffraff, black spawn from the feet of our Kinsman. This is not right, it’s not proper!’ That’s how the brahmins insult us.
The Buddhist position, presented later in the text, is that Buddhists who have faith in the Buddha, are born from the Dharma, as true children of the Buddha. This is a Buddhist view based on the Triple Gem. This view subverts the earlier prejudiced view held by the brahmins.
When they ask you what you are, you claim to be ascetics, followers of the Sakyan. But only when someone has faith in the Realized One—settled, rooted, and planted deep, strong, not to be shifted by any ascetic or brahmin or god or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world—is it appropriate for them to say: ‘I am the Buddha’s true-born child, born from his mouth, born of principle, created by principle, heir to principle.’
The translation of DN 27 by Bhante Sujato is probably better for modern readers than the very old one by Rhys Davids.
DN says Buddha doesn’t worship Mahabrahma as Brahmins and ascetics
Chinese version doesn’t have that. Has everything almost the same but that it’s missing.
Brahmā the creator is the known. Pali text is only about that.
But Mahabrahma is the unknown. That’s why it can be called anything
That’s why Buddha said to ascetics, like you say Absolute
Most ascetics where on same page as Buddha.
Gone to the beyond. Unknown
Are you sure of that?
Maybe our in-house translator @cdpatton could confirm that statement?
BTW, I took the freedom of amending the topic’s title and move it to Discussion category as there is a legitimate point of EBT discussion here.
Brother I am sure. I lost the source. Well atleast in the version I read. I don’t want to disrespect the Theravada Sangha. But I saw many suttas that shows Buddha had a certain attitude also towards what society called Brahmā. I’m sorry for lack of sutta again. But there was even a sutta or sutra I don’t remember. Where someone said to Buddha I see you as Brahmā, and Buddha replied I can’t accept that only if you mean… he later says what he became free from.
I feel those kinda sutta in my opinion says a lot of how Buddha really felt. I think also that there came a lot trying to be a different doctrine in Sangha next Hindus. That’s why the change probably happened. Even Theravada history is that in Burma Or Thailand it had to by cleaned from the big Hindu influences. So for me thats what they did in the Pali text also.
It would be good to know what passage or sutra that’s being recalled. There are a couple cases where the Theravada add in encounters with Brahma that don’t occur in the Agamas. I’m thinking of the famous episode of Brahma beseeching the Buddha to teach after his awakening, as an example. It doesn’t get bundled together with the rest of the enlightenment story in Agamas, but does exist as it’s own sutra.
Examples of that can be seen by comparing the accounts in MN 26 to MA 204 and EA 24.5. But the encounter does occur as a separate sutra in EA 19.1.
I saw it once in a pdf in google with the following sutta. Brahma net in a Chinese version that came from Sanskrit.
The following is missing in that version.
I don’t want to disturb the peace in here. But by certain verses I came with the conclusions. That Buddhism just used Mahabrahma also for any of the higher beings. It doesn’t mean thy Great Brahma. Remember my point is Buddha clearly said the story goes about the beings that clearly made illusion in their mind who they are. That’s why the first being Buddha said and he “thinks”
And others beings believe he is the creator because they came after him.
But actually EBT also said in AN by Ananda that Brahma is the highest thing one can see in this world. That’s why I said it’s about the known Brahma. Does it can be seen. The unseen one by Vedanta was always said to be unknown. That’s what Buddha is clearly aiming in his teaching. The world beyond. Meaning unknown. He doesn’t talk about it because it’s beyond. Unknown. Like the Tao that can be named is not the real Tao.
Mind-made in Buddha words. The source of our problems is the mind.
The source of creation is mind-made. Like the big one.
Oh, you are meaning the list of wrong livelihoods among non-Buddhists. It’s true that DĀ 20 and 21 lack a list of Brahmanistic beliefs among its examples. It’s not that they are missing from DĀ, though. They are mentioned in other passages in the sutras dealing with the priests.
In DĀ, Mahābrahmā is a king, so it must be a particular god in the Brahma heavens in those cases. It doesn’t support this conclusion very well. It’s true, though, that there’s a heaven named after this god, so Mahābrahmā might sometimes refer to the gods there, too.
Mahābrahmārāja is basically a title like Śakrodevānāmindraḥ. Devānāmindraḥ actually means “Lord of the Gods” rather than being a name, even though that god is often called Indra today. EBTs considered Śakra to be his name. Mahābrahmārāja doesn’t usually get named in Āgamas the way he does in the Nikāyas, but he’s still the king of the Brahma world.
This confuses conditioned reality with unconditioned. All the brahma realms are within conditioned reality. The unconditioned is the aim of Buddhist teaching but first skillful use of the conditioned should be developed.
According to the early scriptures, the Buddha learned the two formless attainments from two teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta respectively, prior to his enlightenment. It is most likely that they belonged to the Brahmanical tradition. However, he realized that neither “Dimension of Nothingness” nor “Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception” lead to Nibbana and left. The Buddha said in the Ariyapariyesana Sutta:
"But the thought occurred to me, “This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.” So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.”—-MN 26
I understand what you said.
I meant that Brahma world is used for where the highest gods dwell. That’s conditioned true. But what I mean that to certain people he accepted them to name nirvana as Brahma. Because it’s just a name used by the world for what is highest. But he knew the mind of the persons. And don’t think like a “being in heaven” just the Most High thing which without the path couldn’t be possible. It’s beyond explanation. The unconditioned which makes it possible for conditioned. And visa versa.
Unfortunately, your argument seems to make the mistake of seeing Nirvana equivalent to heaven or a location. It is not. The Buddha clearly described it as part of an extinguishing process. Nibbana is unconditioned, so it can not be the same as Brahma or Haven. The Buddha on this it has been precise.
Unfortunately, I find it extremely difficult to follow your points because it is all very vague (read here, saw in Google…in a certain Sutta).
That makes nearly impossible beyond the generic to understand or consider the argument. May I suggest you first may collect your data, prepare a clear statements with references and so it may be easier for people to address your points?
I hope this may help
Tried already once here got banned. But I don’t see it as a heaven. But then Will di next time. Buddha never explained even if he exists after Nirvana because it’s identity but then again it must be understandable the Nirvana is like the rivers going to the ocean. There names are lost. Evidently going back to source. Ying and Yang. The world beyond Buddha called it. And this world. Two sides of same coin. The world things are born. The other side is unborn.
“I am a true son of the Blessed Lord, born of his mouth, born of Dhamma, created by Dhamma, an heir of Dhamma.” Why is that? Because, Vasettha, this designates the Tathágata: "The Body of Dhamma[dhammakayo]," that is “The Body of Brahma[brahmakayo],”  or “Become Dhamma,” that is "Become Brahma.[brahmabhuto], "
Taking the real to be unreal,
And the unreal, real;
This is false thinking,
And one will not get the benefit of the real.
Knowing the real as real,
And the unreal, unreal;
This is right thinking,
And one surely gets the benefit of the real.
This is one of my points
It’s not the whole sutta. Of course at the end is Nibbana.
But Here in AN, I quote foremost sight. Meaning something that can be seen. That is using the sense of sight. That is the known.
The Venerable Ananda then said to him:
“Friend Bhaddaji, what is the foremost of sights? What is
the foremost kind of hearing? What is the foremost happiness?
What is the foremost perception? What is the foremost among
states of existence?”
"(1) There is, friend, Brahma, the vanquisher, the unvanquished, the universal seer, the wielder of power. Getting to see Brahma is the foremost sight.
iii202 Sutta170 785. By Bhikkhu Bodhi
And Nibbāna is the unknown. Beyond the senses. Senses is known to us.
That’s why it’s not explained further than Nibbana. But some used Absolute in time of Buddha. Still unknown Brahma is used. And known Brahma.
The known Brahmā as seen in this sutta was still something seen as the highest before Wisdom which seeing things as they are.
That’s why I tried previously say Buddhism is almost like gnostic. Or gnostic met Buddhist. Gnostic is about Sophia, Wisdom being higher than the “God”
We have seen in Aggana Sutta saying
Why is that? Because, Vasettha, this designates the Tathágata: "The Body of Dhamma[dhammakayo]," that is “The Body of Brahma[brahmakayo],”  or “Become Dhamma,” that is "Become Brahma.[brahmabhuto],
And in AN then I found the next
thus: The Blessed One is… teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One/ When a noble disciple recollects the Tathagata, his mind becomes placid, joy arises, and the defilements of the mind are abandoned. This is called a noble disciple who observes the uposatha of Brahma,who dwells together with Brahma, and it is by considering Brahma that his mind becomes placid, joy arises, and the defilements of the mind are abandoned.
P. 296 By Bhikkhu Bodhi
This coming close to my point. EBT aim was to go past all illusions and realize the illusions real nature was made in your mind. Which why Tathagata becomes Brahma. Not the Brahma that is in the illusion. Like the real past all illusions. It’s when you finally realize you are that.
I think I understand your basic idea. It’s familiar to me as part of later Buddhist philosophy, and perhaps the more mystical or monotheistic philosophies found in Hinduism (about which I’m not very well informed). I’m not myself a sectarian, and I’ve read late and early Buddhist texts quite widely as a translator of their Chinese versions. There’s quite a difference between them philosophically.
However, we do see in EBTs a kernel of what would become known as śūnyavāda, or teaching of emptiness, that dominated late Buddhist thought. It existed side-by-side with the realism of the Abhidharma tradition, which was built on the basic teachings in EBTs. This continued for a long time, until close to the end of Buddhism in India, when Abhidharma finally fell out of general favor. Today, Śūnyavāda is identified as Mahāyāna because they coined the name for it, but its basic ideas began among early Buddhists such as the Mahāsāṃghika and were adopted by Mahāyānists.
The kernel of Śūnyavāda and non-dualism is found in the passages where the Buddha refuses to answer questions about Nirvana, such as whether someone who has been Nirvana-ed (it’s really a verb meaning “extinguished” or “doused”) exists or doesn’t exist afterward. He also refused to engage in speculative philosophy about the nature of the world, personality, and self.
In general, he took a “middle way,” appearing to say with his silence that dualities like existence and non-existence, permanence and impermanence, etc. aren’t meaningful in reality. Rather, they are conventions of language that people mistake for realities and then argue about them. At least, this is how later Buddhists like Nagarjuna understood it.
So, you are not entirely wrong that there is a basis for this type of idea in EBTs. Some Buddhists came to those conclusions a couple thousand years ago. Others interpret it differently. There are many Theravadins on the forum here who can provide other ways to understand it. I think standard rebuttal is to cite the Handful of Leaves Sutta to show that the Buddha was being pragmatic as a teacher and avoiding subjects that would lead to endless arguments. Which is a valid way of looking at it, I think, though it dodges the whole question about Nirvana that Nagarjuna and others were attempting to solve.
As to these passages that equate Dharma with Brahma or sramanas with brahmanas, I think you’ve taken them too literally. In these sutras, the Buddha is building bridges with people who at times despised him as a heretic, and this probably reflects conflict between Buddhists and Brahmanism after the Buddha’s Parinirvāṇa. Buddhists used words and ideas central to Brahmanism to try to show the commonality between the two sides. It’s a common type of rhetoric not meant to be taken literally. It bends the strict meanings of words in order to create an overlap between world views. So, these uses of Brahma are metaphorical to me. It’s a way of peacemaking by encouraging people to not think rigidly.
It’s like the famous (non-Buddhist) poem:
“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!”
I understand these explanations because it’s all over internet as a reply.
But in EBT the brahmas which are gods
The others are lower because they are human beings that developed less in universal Dharma. A little search for illusion in suttacentral you will understand that is the world is the only thing that is considered like a mirage. Nirvana is Real. That’s why all beings in samsara is just in “ranks” according to their Dharma development. But all is in realm of death. They are unreal. Nirvana is real. Nirvana as said by Buddha is uncreated. When he says that Tathagata is Brahma is because it’s a being that gone beyond. Brahma as that power you have in you to reach it. Is literally the god in you. So Brahmā. It’s simple.
“One possessing the triple knowledge,
Peaceful, with being all destroyed:
Know him thus, O Vāseṭṭha, “As Brahmā and Sakka for those who understand.”
The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha
Nanamoli & Bodhi
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@Upasaka_Dhammasara if I understand correctly, you are trying to find within the Buddha’s words something to support the notion of an Ultimate Principle/Reality (Brahman) which is taught in vedanta. Similarly for “the world is the only thing that is considered a mirage”. This is also part of Sankara’s philosophy of “maya” within medieval Brahmanism.
Neither was stated by the Buddha. Of course, it has been a long-established project of vedantists to try to appropriate Buddhism; Sankara was likely not even the first one.
@cdpatton post is very informative about how the Buddha directed a middle path between eternalism and nihilism and although Mahayana innovation flirted with eternalism in indirect ways, they never got as far as vedanta.
Not really. Because identity is ended when becoming a Tathagata. Or Arahant. Just like they keep saying I am but without attachment. They truly know why they can be called Brahma. Just realizing you have been in ignorance and creating all of the illusions in samsara. That’s enough to say Brahma. Since you been creating illusions life after life.
So, what do you make of non-returners being born in the Pure Abodes that are placed far above the Brahma heavens? They attain Nirvana there. If Brahma was really considered equal to Nirvana, then one would think they’d be born with Brahma instead.
There are also sutras that present a progression of meditative attainments that pass through four dhyanas and four formless samadhis on the way to complete cessation of mental activity, which is sometimes considered it’s own attainment to make nine. These attainments were considered by some to be ways to directly access the form and formless heavens. Brahma’s Heaven is the first dhyana, which then is transcended when a person moves on to the second dhyana. It doesn’t sound to me like Brahma was considered such an important milestone.
We really need to consider the whole context of Buddhist teachings and history to understand the passages you’ve chosen for this theory. Which, as Vic pointed out, is really a later philosophical idea. And as I’ve pointed out, the passages occur in sutras in which the Buddha converts brahmins or makes them look like amateurs by explaining to them how to attain their own religion’s highest goal. He doesn’t call himself Brahma when talking to ascetics.
It’s easy to project later philosophies onto texts written before them. It happens to best of us, even great teachers like Thich Nhat Hahn, who translated EA 12.1, one of the Four Abodes of Mindfulness sutras in Chinese. In the contemplation of feeling, his translation reads:
As feelings arise, the practitioner recognizes and is aware of them and their roots, and he is not dependent on them and does not give rise to feelings of attachment to the world. At that time there is no fear, and having no fear, he liberates himself forever from illusion and realizes nirvāṇa.
The trouble is that “he liberates himself forever from illusion” isn’t in the Chinese:
This is actually really bad translation if we want to read the text without later philosophical ideas being added to it. It’s like if someone were translating Isaac Newton’s Principia and just dropped ideas from the theory of relativity into it here and there. Then people who had no knowledge of history would think, “Oh, Newton invented relativity, not Einstein!”