Brahma worship in Buddhism

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Kim OHara
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:30 pm

thomaslaw wrote: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.
Beautiful temple.
This may suggest Brahma is respected in the Buddhist tradition.

Regards,

Thomas
That's too big a jump. Vientiane is just over the river (big river, I know, but still ... ) from Thailand borders have varied over the last few hundred years. (Have you caught up with the Thai and Lao versions of the Emerald Buddha story?)
All it really shows is that Brahma veneration is not strictly Thai. The Buddhist tradition doesn't exist - there are dozens.

:namaste:
Kim

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Goofaholix
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Goofaholix » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:35 pm

thomaslaw wrote:The Brahma image is put under the Buddha's images. This may suggest Brahma is respected in the Buddhist tradition.
That suggests to me that Brahma is considered lower than the Buddha. Just a deity rather than the all encompassing creator.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Mkoll
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:59 pm

thomaslaw wrote: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
Devas are such because of the fruition of good kamma. Brahmas are there own class of devas above the sense-sphere devas, so they're such because of the fruition of really good kamma. One of the contemplative recollections is of the devas, and I've found this recollection to be helpful myself:
AN 11.13 wrote:"Furthermore, you should recollect the devas: 'There are the Devas of the Four Great Kings, the Devas of the Thirty-three, the Devas of the Hours, the Contented Devas, the devas who delight in creation, the devas who have power over the creations of others, the devas of Brahma's retinue, the devas beyond them. Whatever conviction they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of conviction is present in me as well. Whatever virtue they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of virtue is present in me as well. Whatever learning they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of learning is present in me as well. Whatever generosity they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of generosity is present in me as well. Whatever discernment they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of discernment is present in me as well.' At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, and discernment found both in himself and the devas, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the [qualities of the] devas. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.
But the Buddha teaches that even a great Brahma's existence is impermanent and thus unsatisfactory and not fit to consider as self. So it's not a state to be aimed for as the ultimate goal. So while we should respect Brahmas, they are not worthy of veneration the way that the Noble Sangha is. The best thing you could do for a Brahma should you meet one would be to teach them the Dhamma if they didn't know it already. :)
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 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:01 am

Kim OHara wrote: All it really shows is that Brahma veneration is not strictly Thai. The Buddhist tradition doesn't exist - there are dozens.

:namaste:
Kim
So far, the Brahma worship is found in the Thai, Laos Buddhist traditions. Some Chinese in South-east Asia are just following the worship.

Thomas

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Kim OHara
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:39 am

Brahma gets a mention - and a photo - in this older thread - http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=27614
As various people there have said in different ways, Buddhism in SE Asia is complex and messy. I find the complexities interesting (and fun, if I can say so) but not profoundly important. Almost the only important point to be derived from them, IMO, is that they remind us not to be too attached to views.
That said, I think that if you really want to understand current practices you should look at the (political) history since the time of Angkor.

:namaste:
Kim

thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:04 pm

Kim OHara wrote: That said, I think that if you really want to understand current practices you should look at the (political) history since the time of Angkor.

:namaste:
Kim
Do you consider Brahma worship is also found in the Angkor's Buddhist tradition (s)?

Thomas

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Kim OHara
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:29 pm

thomaslaw wrote:
Kim OHara wrote: That said, I think that if you really want to understand current practices you should look at the (political) history since the time of Angkor.

:namaste:
Kim
Do you consider Brahma worship is also found in the Angkor's Buddhist tradition (s)?

Thomas
I'm no expert, Thomas. I've only visited the region a couple of times, for a couple of weeks each time, and read enough about it to satisfy my own curiosity. I know enough to know that it's messy and that almost any statement you care to make will be partially correct.
Start here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Wat#History - if you like. Better still, visit local wats and check out the statuary ... and then note which images are getting attention and which aren't.

:reading:
KIm

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:32 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
thomaslaw wrote:
Kim OHara wrote: That said, I think that if you really want to understand current practices you should look at the (political) history since the time of Angkor.

:namaste:
Kim
Do you consider Brahma worship is also found in the Angkor's Buddhist tradition (s)?

Thomas
I'm no expert, Thomas. I've only visited the region a couple of times, for a couple of weeks each time, and read enough about it to satisfy my own curiosity. I know enough to know that it's messy and that almost any statement you care to make will be partially correct.
Start here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Wat#History - if you like. Better still, visit local wats and check out the statuary ... and then note which images are getting attention and which aren't.

:reading:
KIm
Wasn't Angkor originally a Hindu temple? It was taken over later by Buddhists as I recall...
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:33 pm

KIm[/quote]Wasn't Angkor originally a Hindu temple? It was taken over later by Buddhists as I recall...[/quote]

It does not mean Brahma worship should be presented in the location.

Thomas

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Coëmgenu » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:42 pm

thomaslaw wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Wasn't Angkor originally a Hindu temple? It was taken over later by Buddhists as I recall...
It does not mean Brahma worship should be presented in the location.

Thomas
Whether or not it is appropriate to venerate devas, it would explain the presence of a great deal of Brahmá statues and iconography at Angkor.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Kim OHara
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:46 pm

:rolleye:
umm ... guys ... click on the link I provided?

:namaste:
Kim

thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:30 am

Kim OHara wrote::rolleye:
umm ... guys ... click on the link I provided?

:namaste:
Kim
Thanks for the links. It is useful.

You may also read the suggested article in Buddhist Studies Review on Brahma Samyutta, a comparative study between Pali and Chinese versions by Choong Mun-keat.

Thomas

thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:11 am

Dear All,

There is a four-faced statue of Buddha in the south gate of Angkor Thom, Cambodia. A similar statue is also found in Bayon (at Angkor).

Is this Brahma statue?

Thomas
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Kim OHara
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:23 am

Highly unlikely.
The faces on the 23 m towers at the city gates, which are later additions to the main structure, take after those of the Bayon and pose the same problems of interpretation. They may represent the king himself, the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, guardians of the empire's cardinal points, or some combination of these.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Thom
:reading:
http://www.theangkorguide.com/cgi-bin/M ... /bayon.htm
:reading:
While early Angkor temples were built as Hindu temples, Jayavarman VII converted to Mahayana Buddhism c. 1200 and embarked on a prodigious building spree, building the new capital city of Angkor Thom including Bayon, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and many more as Buddhist structures. However, his successor Jayavarman VIII returned to Hinduism and embarked on an equally massive spree of destruction, systematically defacing Buddhist images and even crudely altering some to be Hindu again.
http://wikitravel.org/en/Angkor_Archaeological_Park
:reading:

:namaste:
Kim

thomaslaw
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Re: Brahma worship in Buddhism

Post by thomaslaw » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:51 am

Thanks, Kim

Thomas

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