Before You put up your information, I never gave much thought to which gods belonged to the Thirty-three. But they are so often mentioned in the Pali literature (including the commentaries) that I discovered vague ideas in my head: Sakra = Indra is the king. He has four queens, and the 33 did good deeds together in a former life. That is a Jataka story, of course.
Pancasikkha is mentioned in the Suttas: Sakkapanhasutta (DN?). The commentary explains that he has five hairknots (panca + sikha), like an adorable child. It is one of the few places in the Suttas, where music is mentioned.
The Vedic antecedents, must be earlier than Buddhism, particularly, if they already show an historical development within the early Sanskrit literature like 3 x 11 gods, and 11 + 8 + 12 gods + atman. That later list looks very artificial to me, as if it was derived from the earlier list with a specific purpose in mind. It seems unlikely to me, that it was taken over into Buddhism.
Since when is Aatman a Buddhist deity? How old is the concept of 12 Nakshatras?
A fool can ask more questions, than many wise people can answer, it is said. But you seem to be well acquainted with Vedic gods, so you can probably answer this.
If the gods mentioned are found all around: in the sky, the clouds, and even lower, they cannot belong to the realm of the 33, because that is already a stratified plane of existence, situated at the top of Mount Meru, between Catu-mahaa-raajika below and Yaama above.
This concept is still active in modern Theravada Buddhism. In Sri Lanka the daily recitations morning and evening mostly consist of late Pali verses, which are well known throughout the country, because the are taught to children in Buddhist Sunday schools.
Near the end of the recitation the merits are shared as follows :
punyam mam anumoditvaa/
ciiram rakkhantu …(sammaa-sambuddha-saasana.m)/
repeated three times, also for … sammaa-sambuddha-desana.m and sammaa-sambuddha-saavaka.m.
ciira.m rakkhantu …
ciira.m rakkhantu …
Six times, daily.
… It tends to reverbate in your memory, and follow you into your dreams.
But who are these “powerful devas and naagas living in the sky (aakaasa) and on the earth (bhumma)”?
Do the naagas (mythical snake-like or dragon-like beings, who can assume human shape) really protect the Triple Gem?
The deities may be different in different countries. At least they are not the same in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, except a few like Sakra, and others mentioned in the Tipitaka.
Sri Lanka has a much stronger influence from Tamil Hinduism here.
- In the Californian desert I get the feeling that the “local deities” are mostly connected to the indigenous population, that originally lived there.
– In Scandinavia, I somtimes feel that “local deities” may tend in the direction of the spiritual world prevalent in pre-Christian Northern Europe.
Talking about old Indian “gods” mentioned in Buddhist scriptures. I have two questions:
.1) has anyone made a detailed study of the deities mentioned in the Aa.taa.naa.tiya Sutta (in DN)? Many of these are obviously ancient pre-Buddhist deities, which were still well known and highly respected when this Sutta was compiled.
But little is known about many of them now.
- There is a very late Pali text compiled in Chiangmai in the 15th century AC with the title “Uppata-santi-gaathaa”.
It is used as a Paritta recitation when the danger of war is eminent. There are nearly 400 verses, mentioning all Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, Aggasaavakas, Mahaasaavakas, Arahant monks, Arahant nuns, and so on down the ladder of living beings. Even powerful evil beings are implored to give protection and peace. …
I find it interesting, because it seems to be a complete pantheon of beings considered important in almost contemporary Theravaada Buddhism.
The new huge pagoda, resembling the Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon, but built in 2005 by the military head of state in the new capital of Myanmar, is named “Uppata-santi pagoda”.
Not all the human beings mentioned in this text were identified by me so far, e. g. there are 80 Mahaasaavaka, but where is the list of 80 such monks? … It must be quite late, of course.