[Buddha-l] angels

r.g.morrison sgrmti at hotmail.com
Wed May 25 03:58:23 MDT 2005

Piya writes:

Brahma Sahampati has been somewhat maligned due to lack of focussed study.
Actually he is a non-returner from the time of Kassapa Buddha. In other 
he is a arya (saint of the path).

As such, his invitation to get the Buddha to teach is not suprising. Even if
this is only Buddhist mythology.

Can you point me to where this 'focussed study' is to be focussed.  There is 
no mention in the Pali suttas of old Brahma Sahampati being a non-returner. 
It seems more likely to me that it is this 'fact' that belongs to (later) 
Buddhist mythology, the sort created by later commentators.  Just as the 
later brahmanical Puranic tradition tried to incorporate the Buddha into 
their fold, making him an avatara of Visnu, so these later Buddhists try and 
incorporate Brahma Sahampati into their fold by making him a Buddhist!  Just 
the usual Indian eclectism.  If I had to give a lecture where there were 
some Christian fundamentalists present, I used to tell them that to get the 
full import of this episide they have to imagine their god going down on one 
knee, with hands raised in supplication, pleading with the Buddha to teach, 
otherwise the light of wisdom will vanish from the world.  I think that this 
is more the message of this sutta.


Robert Morrison

More information about the buddha-l mailing list