Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

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mikenz66
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Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:04 am

Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta.
Translated by Bhikkhu Sujato


A family where the children honor their parents in their home is said to live with Brahmā.

https://suttacentral.net/an4.63

“Mendicants, a family where the children honor their parents in their home is said to live with Brahmā. A family where the children honor their parents in their home is said to live with the first teachers. A family where the children honor their parents in their home is said to live with the old deities. A family where the children honor their parents in their home is said to live with those worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods.

‘Brahmā’ is a term for your parents. ‘First teachers’ is a term for your parents. ‘Old deities’ is a term for your parents. ‘Worthy of an offering dedicated to the gods’ is a term for your parents. Why is that? Parents are very helpful to their children, they raise them, nurture them, and show them the world.

Parents are said to be ‘Brahmā’
and ‘first teachers’.
They’re worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods from their children,
for they love their offspring.

Therefore an astute person
would revere them and honor them
with food and drink,
clothes and bedding,
by anointing and bathing,
and by washing their feet.

Because they look after
their parents like this,
they’re praised in this life by the astute,
and they depart to rejoice in heaven.”

Note: AN 3.31 is similar: https://suttacentral.net/an3.31

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Sam Vara
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Re: Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:50 am

Many thanks Mike.

There are some interesting equivalences here: "brahma", "first teachers", "old deities" and "worthy of an offering dedicated to the gods" as designations for one's parents.

This might be a form of useful hyperbole on the Buddha's part, encouraging listeners to increase the level of veneration and care expressed for their parents because the "correct" amount far exceeds what was current among the listeners; or to say that there is no limit to the amount of appropriate veneration. Alternatively, the intention might have been to draw people's devotional attention away from the veneration of traditional metaphysical entities such as gods and long-dead teachers, and direct it to where it would be doing some practical good. If so, I wonder whether other references to brahma approve of such devotion over and above that directed to one's parents, or whether the Buddha considered it to be a complete waste of time. The term for both the gods and the teachers is pubba, which I believe has the sense of "before" or "former". It might even be the case that the Buddha is here being iconoclastically critical of former (useless) practices, and urging a new form of practical and useful veneration instead.

In either case, my guess is that this sutta is predicated upon some vernacular expressions, i.e. to say that a family was living with brahma or the old teachers, etc., was in those days to express very strong approval of that family.

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Re: Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:23 am

Thanks Sam,

Here's a comment from Obo:
Four terms of admiration applied to families where mother and father are honored and treated with respect: "With Brahma", "with the First Teachers", "with the First Gods", and "Worthy of Offerings."
The veneration given to parents in the Buddha's time is almost unimaginable today — to our great disadvantage when it comes time to review one's life and think about those who have been of great service to us ... not to mention the guilt eminating from neglect or actual mistreatment. The names for mother and father given here are of deep psychological importance. For the infant, the parents are indeed the Creator, the first teachers, the first gods and for the service they do for their child when it is young and helpless they are indeed worthy of offerings. Even the most neglectful parents have given their child life, food, clothing and much else. Most parents will have done more for their child than anyone else in the world will ever do. Those ideas which were not well articulated in infancy do not abandon the individual but underlie and support his entire relationship with the world throughout his life and returning again in old age they ask for their due and for the one who has neglected his parents this is a heavy debt to pay. If you have living parents now, make an effort now. Do not regret hereafter.
http://obo.genaud.net/dhammatalk/dhamma ... w.2014.htm

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Re: Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:28 am

I came across this article, which I don't have access to, but the abstract is intriguing.
THE TEACHING AND PRACTICE OF FILIAL PIETY IN BUDDHISM
Guang Xing (a1)
https://doi.org/10.1017/jlr.2016.20 Published online: 15 July 2016

Abstract
Buddhist scholars like Kenneth Ch'en have argued that the teaching of filial piety was a special feature of Chinese Buddhism as a response to the Chinese culture. Others, among them John Strong and Gregory Schopen, have shown that filial piety was also important in Indian Buddhism, but Strong does not consider it integral to the belief system and Schopen did not find evidence of it in early writings he examined. In this article, through an analysis of early Buddhist resources, the Nikāyas and Āgamas, I demonstrate that the practice of filial piety has been the chief good karma in the Buddhist moral teaching since its inception, although it is not as foundational for Buddhist ethics as it is for Confucian ethics. The Buddha advised people to honor parents as the Brahmā, the supreme god and the creator of human beings in Hinduism, as parents have done much for their children. Hence, Buddhism teaches its followers to pay their debts to parents by supporting and respecting them, actions that are considered the first of all meritorious deeds, or good karma, in Buddhist moral teachings. Moreover, according to the Buddhist teaching of karma, matricide and patricide are considered two of the five gravest bad deeds, and the consequence is immediate rebirth in hell. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed the idea of filial piety further and formulated the four debts to four groups of people—parents, sentient beings, rulers, and Buddhism—a teaching that became very popular in Chinese Buddhism and spread to other East Asian countries.

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Re: Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:38 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:28 am
I came across this article, which I don't have access to, but the abstract is intriguing.
Here's the complete article:


.
Xing Guang.pdf
(350.13 KiB) Downloaded 22 times

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Re: Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:08 pm

Thanks Bhante!
Dhammanando wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:38 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:28 am
I came across this article, which I don't have access to, but the abstract is intriguing.
Here's the complete article: ...
Xing Guang discusses AN 2.33, Mother and Father, which we discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=31931 with the comment:
This text is an essential discourse on the teaching of lial piety, and it is quoted by many texts from different Buddhist schools and traditions developed later. This suggests that the idea of lial piety has been an important ethical teaching of Buddhism since its inception, continued with strong emphasis even within Indian Buddhism after the arising of Mahā yā na in the rst century CE. The text emphasizes children’s gratitude towards their parents as well as the difculties in repaying their debts to their parents only by providing them with material support and comfort, as well as honor, since they have done much for their children. Instead, four ways of repaying debts to one’s parents are recommended, all of which lead to spiritual progress: faith, virtuous behavior, the practice of generosity, and wisdom. (It is particularly interesting to note that bad parenting is specially mentioned in this context: children have a duty to correct their parents if they are on
the wrong path.) ...
and goes on to reference some related suttas.

As for the current sutta, AN 4.63:
In the rst and second paragraphs, the text contains a pun: it is better to pay your lial duty to your parents, who are the real creators of you as they give birth to you, rather than paying lial duties to the Brahmā , who created human beings according to the teachings of Brahmanism. The text also emphasizes the idea of parents as educators of their children in their early years, and thus the parents’ role in building their characters and temperaments. That is why parents are called those who deserve gifts. In other versions of the same discourse, mother and father are also respected and In the rst and second paragraphs, the text contains a pun: it is better to pay your lial duty to your parents, who are the real creators of you as they give birth to you, rather than paying lial duties to the Brahmā , who created human beings according to the teachings of Brahmanism. The text also emphasizes the idea of parents as educators of their children in their early years, and thus the parents’ role in building their characters and temperaments. That is why parents are called those who deserve gifts. In other versions of the same discourse, mother and father are also respected and honored as the Worthy Ones and Buddhas. This reects some Brahmin teachings that mother and father are considered as gods together with teachers and guests in the Taittirı̄ ya Upanishad.

The teaching on respecting one’s parents was important when Buddhism was introduced to China, where Confucianism was the dominant ideology. According to the Confucian teachings, children’s respect for their parents in the practice of lial piety is emphasized much more than their material and physical support. As the Analects says, “Nowadays ‘lial’ means simply being able to provide one’s parents with nourishment. But even dogs and horses are provided with nourishment. If you are not respectful, wherein lies the difference?” In such a circumstance, this Buddhist text With Brahmā is quite important in that it shows Chinese people that Buddhism also teaches children to pay respect and reverence to their parents.
He goes on to discuss some other texts, such as: Dutiyaaggi Sutta AN 7.47 https://suttacentral.net/an7.47/ which, in common with many other suttas, redefines Brahminical ideas, in this case to do with fire:
And what is the fire of those worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods? Your mother and father are called the fire of those worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods. Why is that? Since it is from them that you’ve been incubated and produced. So you should properly and happily take care of this fire, honoring, respecting, esteeming, and venerating it.
https://suttacentral.net/an7.47/
:heart:
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Re: Brahma Sutta AN 4.63. Brahma Sutta

Post by SarathW » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:42 am

A family where the children honor their parents in their home is said to live with the first teachers.
One of the monks said.
Parents are your first teachers.
Buddhist monks are your second teachers.
He used the teaching of Dukkha.

============
Within the Buddhist sutras, dukkha is divided in three categories:

Dukkha-dukkha, the dukkha of painful experiences. This includes the physical and mental sufferings of birth, aging, illness, dying; distress from what is not desirable.
Viparinama-dukkha, the dukkha of the changing nature of all things. This includes the frustration of not getting what you want.
Sankhara-dukkha, the dukkha of conditioned experience. This includes "a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence, all forms of life, because all forms of life are changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance."[web 1] On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards.

============
Your parents teach you how to eliminate the Dukkha-dukkha
Buddhist monks teach you to eliminate the other two
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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