Brahma worship in Buddhism

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No_Mind
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by No_Mind »

It is quite odd that Brahma seems to be popular in Thailand because Brahma is an important God in Hinduism but not worshipped as a primary deity.

In traditional Hindu trimurti (three forms/faces of divinity) Brahma is the creator aspect, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer/transformer and since his task as a creator is over that aspect is no longer worshipped.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Goofaholix »

Kim OHara wrote:At what point do we have to start calling them "Buddhist" deities, I wonder? :tongue:
When they have something to do with the goal or purpose of Buddhism as outlined in the original texts.
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thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

I personally feel that worshiping Brahma far more makes sense than Ganesh for Buddhism. According to Pali texts, Brahma invited the Buddha to teach Dhamma for humans. When the Buddha's dying, Brahma was there for him and his followers.

The story between Bahama and the Buddha in the early Buddhist texts may be a useful and interesting topic.

Thomas
Last edited by thomaslaw on Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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No_Mind
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by No_Mind »

After some research I doubt if Hindu Brahma is same as Buddhist Brahma (although both have four faces .. one facing each direction).

However rise and fall in popularity of of deities in the subcontinent between 2000 BC and 500 AD gave rise to many mixed concepts with one deity being absorbed into another as time went by such as Vedic God Rudra became Puranic God Shiva.

I myself am struggling for last one month with untangling Bodhisattva Tara from Tibet who seems to have merged at some point around 500 AD with Hindu Goddess Kali to become Hindu Goddess Tara who is worshipped with intense fervour in eastern India. The exact point at which both stories merged is difficult to pin point (and why did they merge). But net result is Tara as worshipped in Eastern India bears no resemblance to Bodhisattva Tara apart from the name and the lotus in her hand. But there is strong support from mythological sources that the worship of Tara as practised in Eastern India actually began in Tibet.

When studying religious history of the subcontinent I sometimes wish I had a time machine. How did these tangled skeins start out .. what were the original stories and why did they tangle in such a way?

The unforgiving hot and humid climate of the subcontinent along with rivers that constantly change course and widespread pillaging and burning of Hindu and Buddhist monasteries by Muslim invaders has robbed us of so much historical material.

:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

No_Mind wrote:After some research I doubt if Hindu Brahma is same as Buddhist Brahma (although both have four faces .. one facing :
No, they never be the same. See Choong Mun-keat published an article on a comparative study on Brahma Samyutta in Buddhist Studies Review.

Thomas
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Mkoll
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Mkoll »

No_Mind wrote:I myself am struggling for last one month with untangling Bodhisattva Tara from Tibet who seems to have merged at some point around 500 AD with Hindu Goddess Kali to become Hindu Goddess Tara who is worshipped with intense fervour in eastern India. The exact point at which both stories merged is difficult to pin point (and why did they merge). But net result is Tara as worshipped in Eastern India bears no resemblance to Bodhisattva Tara apart from the name and the lotus in her hand. But there is strong support from mythological sources that the worship of Tara as practised in Eastern India actually began in Tibet.
How interesting! I wonder if there are similar parallels with other deities from Tibet and India.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by ancientbuddhism »

These are Thai talismans

A Brahma-Buddha?

Image

Buddha riding Garuda. Could this be an influence from later Hindu attempts to assimilate Buddha into the deity of Vishnu?

Image

Image
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Caodemarte »

ancientbuddhism wrote:These are Thai talismans...Could this be an influence from later Hindu attempts to assimilate Buddha into the deity of Vishnu?
I awould guess it would more likely that it was the other way around: Buddhist assimilation of the Hinduism or Hindu religious symbols present in Thailand before Buddhism, much as temples were repositioned in SE Asia from Tantric Hinduism to Tantric Buddhism.
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by ancientbuddhism »

Caodemarte wrote:
ancientbuddhism wrote:These are Thai talismans...Could this be an influence from later Hindu attempts to assimilate Buddha into the deity of Vishnu?

I awould guess it would more likely that it was the other way around: Buddhist assimilation of the Hinduism or Hindu religious symbols present in Thailand before Buddhism, much as temples were repositioned in SE Asia from Tantric Hinduism to Tantric Buddhism.
The reason I mentioned the Hindu assimilation of Buddha with reference to Garuda, is that the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (1.3.24) and Gita Govinda mention Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu, the vehicle of whom was Garuda. Both an obvious later Hindu attempt at assimilation.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara »

It seems plausible that (dominant) Hinduism in India attempted to absorb the symbolism and doctrines of (fading) Buddhism there, and vice versa in Thailand. I don't know for sure if that matches the facts, though.

:coffee:
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu »

thomaslaw wrote:
No_Mind wrote:After some research I doubt if Hindu Brahma is same as Buddhist Brahma (although both have four faces .. one facing :
No, they never be the same. See Choong Mun-keat published an article on a comparative study on Brahma Samyutta in Buddhist Studies Review.

Thomas
In order to keep them straight, some Buddhists are wont to use the Páli term "Mahábrahmá" for the Buddhist Brahma who was allegedly venerated chiefly by a certain group of Brahmins during the Buddha's time, and reserve "Brahmá" proper for the Hindu deity, but not everyone uses that terminology.
The Buddha, from within his seat of samādhi, emitted a great circle of light from his head, casting luminous prajñā towards Mañjuśrī and the eighty-four thousand monks. A sword of wisdom appeared from the top of Mañjuśrī's head, and from his side emerged a golden-haired lion. [...] The Tathāgata spoke:

The supreme path of all Buddhas
is marked by perfect luminosity and eternal dwelling.
Those who enter the dhyāna samādhis together with the Buddhas,
in the same way as they, realize bodhicitta.

(Nihon Daizōkyō Hensankai, Shugendō Shōso 1, Bussetsusanjinjuryōmuhenkyō, excerpts)
thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Coëmgenu wrote:
thomaslaw wrote:
No_Mind wrote:After some research I doubt if Hindu Brahma is same as Buddhist Brahma (although both have four faces .. one facing :
No, they never be the same. See Choong Mun-keat published an article on a comparative study on Brahma Samyutta in Buddhist Studies Review.

Thomas
In order to keep them straight, some Buddhists are wont to use the Páli term "Mahábrahmá" for the Buddhist Brahma who was allegedly venerated chiefly by a certain group of Brahmins during the Buddha's time, and reserve "Brahmá" proper for the Hindu deity, but not everyone uses that terminology.
According to the Choong MunKeat's article, different names of Brahma in the early Buddhist texts were presented by Buddhism.

Thomas
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Mkoll
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Mkoll »

My impression is that the early Buddhist texts feature different Brahmas altogether. They have different names because they are different Brahmas.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

Mkoll wrote:My impression is that the early Buddhist texts feature different Brahmas altogether. They have different names because they are different Brahmas.
Nevertheless, there is only one image style of Brahma in both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Thomas
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw »

I just visited Vat Sisaket, a very old Buddhist temple in Vientiane, Laos, and saw a Brahma image in the main hall. The Brahma image is put under the Buddha's images. This may suggest Brahma is respected in the Buddhist tradition.

Regards,

Thomas
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