Brahmins

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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one_awakening
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Brahmins

Post by one_awakening » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:10 am

Why do the suttas refer to Brahmins so often?
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Dinsdale
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Re: Brahmins

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:51 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:10 am
Why do the suttas refer to Brahmins so often?
I think partly to demonstrate the Buddha's divergence from the establishment view espoused by the priestly class.
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DooDoot
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Re: Brahmins

Post by DooDoot » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:55 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:10 am
Why do the suttas refer to Brahmins so often?
I think partly to demonstrate the Buddha doesn’t wish any harm upon the community of brahmins (apāpapurekkhāro brahmaññāya pajāya) - MN 95.
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Antaradhana
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Re: Brahmins

Post by Antaradhana » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:46 pm

Because the brahmans, along with the samans (forest hermits) constituted the spiritual elite of the Indian principalities in the time of the Buddha.
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

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Re: Brahmins

Post by JohnK » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:17 pm

Another reason: The discourses of the Buddha are actually that -- discourses (conversations, teachings), and he was often approached and engaged by Brahmans in such conversations (sincerely or cynically).
The Buddha also used the term in more than one way -- the first being the standard way (referring to the actual Brahmans and their traditions), the second being a re-definition (a type of teaching tool) where he would describe the characteristics of a "true" Brahman contrasting that with the assumptions of the Brahmans (assumptions about the power of rites and rituals and about the importance of what social group one is born into).

Edit: For some related discussion see Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Introduction to his translation of the Sutta Nipata:
"...understanding how the Buddha and his early followers dealt with the brahmans can actually help in understanding how the message of the Sutta Nipata applies to our time as well."
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/S ... ction.html
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SarathW
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Re: Brahmins

Post by SarathW » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:18 pm

There were many people who claimed themselves as Brahmins.
Buddha said they are not true Brahmins.
So he gave a new meaning to the word "Brahmins"
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one_awakening
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Re: Brahmins

Post by one_awakening » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:04 pm

Four different explanations. Looks like we don't really know.
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JohnK
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Re: Brahmins

Post by JohnK » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:22 pm

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:04 pm
Four different explanations. Looks like we don't really know.
I don't think the answers are especially contradictory -- there can be multiple reasons for something and/or "another way of putting it," and then additional related observations.
The basic answer is that Brahmanism was the predominant context, and so the Buddha would sometimes place his teachings in that context, showing how his teachings were different. So I think there is general agreement that we do know. (General agreement often being hard to find.)
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

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Re: Brahmins

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:53 am

one_awakening wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:04 pm
Four different explanations. Looks like we don't really know.
You'd really need to survey all the references to Brahmins in the suttas, and form a view based on that. Looking at the search results for "Brahmins" from Sutta Central, it could take quite a while! Though you could probably get an impression quite quickly by having a browse.

https://suttacentral.net/search?query=Brahmins
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