Recollecting the Buddha and living with Brahma

AN 3.70 records a set of teachings on the ariyuposatha - uposatha of the noble ones. It includes a set of recollections along with keeping the 8 precepts that are said to be conducive to a heavenly rebirth. So, an uposatha spent recollecting the Dhamma is called a Dhammuposatha and the disciple is said to live together with the Dhamma. Similarly for the Sangha, one’s own ethical conduct, deities. However, strangely, uposatha of recollecting the Buddha is said to be a Brahmuposatha and living together with Brahma. It is said that because the disciple thinks of Brahma, their mind becomes clear, joy arises and mental corruptions are given up. Bhikkhu Bodhi in his notes cites the commentary which says that it is the Buddha who is called Brahma here.
I couldn’t find any other occurrences of Brahmuposatha in the Nikayas. I know in some cases, something having the characteristics of Brahma just means that it is associated with spirituality and is holy. Even then, the text has a specific pattern and symmetry which is broken, and only recollecting the Realized one comes with this peculiar Brahmanical terminology.
Is this an error in the oral tradition specific to this text?

Buddha can be referred as Brahma.

Just find the term BrahmaBhuto - Become Brahma (GOD - not regular deva)

See DN 27 and many others.

For these are terms for the Realized One: ‘the embodiment of truth’, and ‘the embodiment of holiness’, and ‘the one who has become the truth’, and ‘the one who has become Brahma’.

Tathāgatassa hetaṁ, vāseṭṭha, adhivacanaṁ ‘dhammakāyo’ itipi, ‘brahmakāyo’ itipi, ‘dhammabhūto’ itipi, ‘brahmabhūto’ itipi.

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“Living with Brahma” means the meditation produces a level within the fine-material realm. This is reiterated in the conclusion with the reference “heaven,” and the concluding passages of the sutta are on the theme of rebirth there.

“So whoever — man or woman —
is endowed with the virtues
of the eight-factored Uposatha,
having done meritorious deeds,
productive of bliss,
beyond reproach, goes
to the heavenly state.”

When the Buddha is addressing a layperson the information is often set in the context of mundane right view (ie within conditioned experience). Anguttara Nikaya 11.13 has an almost identical list of recollections, except in that case the addressee is a male layperson, so the meditation on the subject of arahants is omitted. There recollection of the Buddha is said to produce joy connected with the Dhamma. Joy is a result of tranquillity, and a mind state in the fine- material realm.

• In interpreting suttas it’s elucidating not to rely on individual words, but strive to recognize the overall theme.

No. It is not merely meditation.

Living with Brahma means associate with pure people (Ariya), practice the teaching, understood it, so You can become Brahma yourself.

So, it seems that based on the usage in DN 27, MN 18 of the term brahmabhuto (thanks @Joe.C ), the suttas sometimes equate the Buddha with Brahma as Brahma was seen as something epic and awesome in the Indian culture at the time i.e. something worthy of faith and reverence.

But then wouldn’t you expect this passage about Brahma to come with every recollection mentioned in the sutta? For ex. both recollecting the Dhamma and Sangha should also produce a mind in the fine-material realm. As you say, each of these recollections are taught in this sutta for the purpose of a heavenly rebirth. That is already evident in the rather long explanation of the sentence

When the sabbath of the noble ones is observed like this it’s very fruitful and beneficial and splendid and bountiful.

in the latter half of the sutta.

In Vedic Cosmology, it is said that if a certain Brahma is unfit to perform their task of Creation, sometimes Vishnu takes the place and incarnates as Brahma. In the Bhagavatam Purana Buddha is described multiple times as appearing as the Supreme Lord to secretly bring people to Himself. In the Vaishnava Culture, the Supreme Lord is both known as Vishnu and Krishna, Narayan (who is a part of Buddhist Cosmology and is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra and it’s Dictionaries.)

5 posts were split to a new topic: Re: Recollecting the Buddha and living with Brahma

Buddha is a Master of words. Surely a True Arahant know how and when to use certain words to convey the right meaning to the audience. :slight_smile:

o Btw, If one enter the stream, one will be called son of Buddha, born from his mouth. :slight_smile:

‘I am the Buddha’s true-born child, born from his mouth, born of principle, created by principle, heir to principle.’

bhagavatomhi putto oraso mukhato jāto dhammajo dhammanimmito dhammadāyādo’ti.