[Buddha-l] angels

r.g.morrison sgrmti at hotmail.com
Thu May 26 04:00:45 MDT 2005

Gad Horowitz writes:

: perhaps God COMMANDEDthe Buddha to teach and the Buddha accepted this as 
: OBLIGATION.  This is the burden of a Levinasian critique/contribution to
: Buddhism that I wrote a few years ago titled "Emmanuel, Robert".  (Robert 
: Robert Magliola, author of Derrida on the Mend, an exCatholic Buddhist
: deconstructionist who teaches in Hong Kong.)

Well here's what the sutta says (using Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation):

'.. Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the brahmaa world and reappeared 
before the Blessed One.  He arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, knelt 
down with his right knee on the ground, raised his hands in reverential 
salutation towards the Blessed One ...', and then asked the Buddha to teach. 
There is nothing here that could possibly suggest a 'command'.  Brahma 
Sahampati, like all the other brahmas one meets with in the suttas, is of 
inferior spiritual status to the Buddha.  The very next sutta makes it clear 
that the Buddha could not see any other among the maras, devas, brahmaas, 
ascetics, etc. that he could look up to and honour as, being a buddha, he 
had no equal in the universe.  One can make of this what one will, but I 
think any 'contribution to Buddhism' should take into consideration what the 
Buddhist texts actually say, and not just one's own beliefs and prejudices. 
And if one looks at what these suttas have to say about gods who think they 
created the world, one will see that such beings are treated as objects of 
ridicule and satire.

Robert Morrison

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