[Buddha-l] Re: angels

r.g.morrison sgrmti at hotmail.com
Thu May 26 05:05:12 MDT 2005

Robert Morrison:

: > There is no mention in the Pali suttas of old
: > Brahma Sahampati being a non-returner.

Dhammanando replies:

: It is in the Sahampati Sutta of the Sa.myutta Nikaaya (SN.
: v. 232-3) that Brahmaa Sahampati describes his practice at
: the time of Kassapa Buddha. And its outcome:
: kaamesu kaamacchanda.m viraajetvaa kaayassa bhedaa para.m
: mara.naa sugati.m brahmaloka.m upapanno
: "Having eliminated desire for sensual pleasures, upon the
: breakup of the body after death, I was reborn in a good
: destination, in the Brahma world."
: Compare this with the words of the Suddhaavaasa devas in the
: Mahaapadaana Sutta and you will see why the Buddhava.msa
: Atthakathaa takes it that Sahampati was an anaagaamii.

Yes, here we also have kaamesu kaamacchanda.m viraajetvaa, and this seems to 
be the cause of beings being reborn in the 'Pure Abodes' [suddhaavaasa], 
making them non-returners.  And, interestingly, here it is not Brahma 
Sahampati who pleades with the Buddha to teach, but Mahaa Brahmaa.  But, 
although Lance has mentioned elsewhere that trying to date these texts is 
very difficult, to me this Mahaapadaana Sutta reads like a later 
compilation.  So one question is whether overcoming the desire for sensual 
pleasures alone is enough to make one a non-returner.  But I see no way of 
resolving this textually, not to mention why it had to be pointed out to the 
Buddha by a brahma that some would listen to him.  To my way of looking at 
this, it makes more sense to see brahmaa here as representing the Buddhists 
putting the brahminical tradition on a lower level whilst incorporating them 
into their scheme of things.



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