Brahma & Brahmā

I. Brahman

neuter [cp. Vedic bráhman nt. prayer; nom. sg bráhma]

  1. the supreme good; as a buddhistic term used in a sense different from the brahmanic (save in controversy with Brahmans); a state like that of Brahmā (or Brahman) AN.ii.184 (brahmappatta). In compounds brahma˚.
  2. Vedic text, mystic formula prayer DN-a.i.244 (brahmaṃ aṇatī ti brāhmaṇo).

II. Brahmā

[cp. Vedic brahmán, m., one who prays or chants hymns, nom. sg. Brahmā]

  1. the god Brahmā chief of the gods, often represented as the creator of the Universe (vasavattī issaro kattā nimmātā) DN.i.18 DN.iii.30, also called Mahābrahmā (DN.i.235 sq., DN.i.244 sq. DN.iii.30; Iti.15; Vism.578; Dhp-a.ii.60); and Sahampati (Vin.i.5; DN.ii.157; SN.i.136 sq.; Vism.201; Kp-a.171; Snp-a.56) and Sanaṅkumāra (DN.ii.226; DN.iii.97). The duration of his life is given as being 1 kalpa (see Kv.207, Kv.208)
    ■ nom. Brahmā Vin.i.5; DN.ii.46;; Mil.224; Vism.2 (brahmānaṃ atibrahmā, epithet of Buddha Bhagavā); Snp-a.229 (B. mahānubhāvo); gen abl. Brahmano DN.ii.209; Vism.205; Snp-a.177; instr Brahmanā DN.i.252; DN.ii.239; Dhp.105, Dhp.230; Vism.48, Vism.405; Dhp-a.ii.60; acc. Brahmānaṃ DN.ii.37; voc. Brahme SN.i.138.
  2. a brahma god, a happy & blameless celestial being, an inhabitant of the higher heavens (brahma-loka; in which to be reborn is a reward of great merit); nom. sg. brahmā SN.i.142 (Baka br.) MN.i.327 (id.); AN.iv.83; Pv-a.138 (˚devatā for brahma˚?) gen. abl. brahmuno SN.i.142, SN.i.155; instr. brahmunā DN.iii.147, DN.iii.150 & brahmanā Pv-a.98; voc. sg. brahme MN.i.328. pl. nom. brahmāno Mil.13, Mil.18 (where has Mahā-brahmā in id. p.); Dhs-a.195; gen brahmānaṃ Vism.2; Mhbv.151
    ■ paccekabrahmā a br. by himself SN.i.149 (of the name of Tudu; cp. paccekabuddha)
    sabrahmaka (adj.) including the brahma gods DN.i.62; AN.ii.70; Vin.i.11; DN-a.i.174.

III. brahma

adjective noun [cp. brahmā II. 2; Vedic brahma˚ & Sk. brāhma]

  1. holy, pious, brahmanic (m.) a holy person, a brahmin-(adj.) Ja.ii.14 (br vaṇṇa = seṭṭha vaṇṇa C.); Kp-a.151 (brahma-cariyaṃ brahmaṃ cariyaṃ)
    ■ (m.) acc. brahmaṃ Snp.285; voc brahme (frequent) Snp.1065 (= brahmā ti seṭṭhavacanaṃ Snp-a.592); Ja.ii.346; Ja.iv.288;,; Pv.i.12#9 (= brāhmaṇa Pv-a.66).
  2. divine, as incorporating the highest & best qualities, sublime, ideal best, very great (see esp. in compounds), AN.i.132 (brahmā ti mātāpitaro etc.), AN.i.182; AN.iv.76.
  3. holy, sacred, divinely inspired (of the rites, charms, hymns etc.) DN.i.96 (brahme mante adhiyitvā); Pv.ii.6#13 (mantaṃ brahmacintitaṃ) = brāhmaṇānaṃ atthāya brahmaṇā cintitaṃ Pv-a.97, Pv-a.98)
    Note. The compound form of all specified bases (I. II. III.) is brahma˚; and with regard to meaning it is often not to be decided to which of the 3 categories the cpd. in question belongs.

-attabhāva existence as a brahma god Dhp-a.iii.210 -ujjugatta having the most divinely straight limbs (one of the 32 marks of a Great Man) DN.ii.18; DN.iii.144, DN.iii.155 -uttama sublime Dhs-a.192. -uppatti birth in the brahma heaven SN.i.143. -ūposatha the highest religious observance with meditation on the Buddha practice of the uposatha abstinence AN.i.207. -kappa like Brahmā Thag.909. -kāya divine body DN.iii.84; Ja.i.95. -kāyika belonging to the company of Brahmā, N of a high order of Devas in the retinue of Br (cp. Kirfel, Kosmographie pp. 191, 193, 197) DN.i.220 DN.ii.69; AN.iii.287, AN.iii.314; AN.iv.40, AN.iv.76, AN.iv.240, AN.iv.401; Thag.1082 Vism.225, Vism.559; Kp-a.86. -kutta a work of Brahmā DN.iii.28, DN.iii.30 (cp. similarly yaṃ mama, pitrā kṛtaṃ devakṛtaṃ na tu brahmakṛtaṃ tat Divy.22). See also under kutta. -giriya (pl.) name of a certain class of beings possibly those seated on Brahmagiri (or is it a certain class of performers, actors or dancers?) Mil.191 -ghaṭa (= ghaṭa2) company or assembly of Brahmans -cakka the excellent wheel, i.e. the doctrine of the Buddha MN.i.69; AN.ii.9, AN.ii.24; AN.iii.417; AN.v.33; Iti.123; Pts.ii.174; Vb-a.399 (in detail); -cariya see separate article. -cārin leading a holy or pure life, chaste, pious Vin.ii.236; Vin.iii.44; SN.i.5, SN.i.60; SN.ii.210; SN.iii.13; SN.iv.93, AN.ii.44; MN.iii.117; Snp.695, Snp.973; Ja.v.107, Ja.v.382; Vv.34#11 (acc. pl. brahmacāraye for ˚cārino); Dhp.142; Mil.75; DN-a.i.72 (brahmaṃ seṭṭhaṃ ācāraṃ caratī ti br. c.) Dhp-a.iii.83; SN.iv.181; Pp.27, Pp.36. -cintita divinely inspired Pv.ii.6#13 = Vv.63#16 (of manta); expln at Pv-a.97 as given above III.3, differs from that at Vv-a.265 where it runs: brahmehi Aṭṭhak’ ādīhi cintitaṃ paññācakkhunā diṭṭhaṃ, i.e. thought out by the divine (seer Aṭṭhaka and the others (viz. composers of the Vedic hymns: v. s. brāhmaṇa1, seen with insight). -ja sprung from Brahmā (said of the Brāhmaṇas) DN.iii.81 DN.iii.83; MN.ii.148. Cp. dhammaja. -jacca belonging to a brahman family Thag.689. -jāla divine, excellent net Name of a Suttanta (D No. 1) Vism.30; Vb-a.432, Vb-a.516 Kp-a.12, Kp-a.36, Kp-a.97; Snp-a.362, Snp-a.434. -daṇḍa “the highest penalty,” a kind of severe punishment (temporary death sentence) Vin.ii.290; DN.ii.154; Dhp-a.ii.112; cp. Kern Manual p.87*-dāyāda* kinsman or heir of Brahmā DN.iii.81, DN.iii.83. -deyya a most excellent gift, a royal gift, a gift given with full powers (said of land granted by the King) DN.i.87 (= seṭṭha-deyyaṃ DN-a.i.246; cp. Dial. i.108 note: the first part of the cpd. (brahma) has always been interpreted by Brahmans as referring to themselves But brahma as the first part of a cpd. never has that meaning in Pali; and the word in our passage means literally “a full gift.”-Cp. id. p. Divy.620 where it does not need to mean “gift to brahmans,” as Index suggests); DN.i.114; Ja.ii.166 = Dhp-a.iii.125 (here a gift to a br., it is true, but not with that meaning) (sudinnaṃ +); Mhbv.123. We think that both Kern (who at


s. v. unjustly remarks of Bdhgh’s expln as “unjust”) and Fick (who at “Sociale Gliederung” p. 126 trsls it as “gift to a Brahman”) are wrong, at least their (and others’) interpretation is doubtful. -devatā a deity of the Brahmaloka Pv-a.138 (so read for brahmā˚). -nimantanika “addressing an invitation to a brahma-god,” title of a Suttanta MN.i.326 sq., quoted at Vism.393. -nimmita created by Brahmā DN.iii.81, DN.iii.83. -patta arrived at the highest state, above the devas, a state like the Br. gods MN.i.386; AN.ii.184. -patti attainment of the highest good SN.i.169 SN.i.181; SN.iv.118. -patha the way to the Br. world or the way to the highest good SN.i.141; AN.iii.346; Thag.689 Cp. Geiger, Dhamma 77. -parāyana devoted to Brahmā Mil.234. -parisā an assembly of the Brahma gods DN.iii.260; MN.i.330; SN.i.155; AN.iv.307. -pārisajja belonging to the retinue of Br., Name of the gods of the lowest Rūpa-brahmaloka SN.i.145, SN.i.155; MN.i.330; Kv.207; cp. Kirfel, Kosmographie 191, 194. -purohita minister or priest to Mahābrahmā; ˚deva gods inhabiting the next heaven above the Br- pārisajjā devā (cp. Kirfel loc. cit.) Kv.207 (read ˚purohita for ˚parohita!). -pphoṭana [a-pphoṭana; ā + ph.] a Brahmaapplause divine or greatest applause Dhp-a.iii.210 (cp Mil.13; -bandhu “brahma-kinsman,” a brāhmaṇa in descent, or by name; but in reality an unworthy brahman, Thig.251;; Thag-a.206 cp. Fick, Sociale Gliederung p.140*-bhakkha* ideal or divine food SN.i.141. -bhatta a worshipper of Br Ja.iv.377 sq. -bhavana Br- world or abode of Br. Mnd.448. -bhūta divine being, most excellent being, said of the Buddha DN.iii.84; MN.i.111; MN.iii.195, MN.iii.224; SN.iv.94; AN.v.226; Iti.57; said of Arahants AN.ii.206; SN.iii.83 -yāna way of the highest good, path of goodness (cp brahma-patha) SN.v.5; (C. ariyabhūmi: so read for arāya˚). -yāniya leading to Brahmā DN.i.220 -loka the Br. world, the highest world, the world of the Celestials (which is like all other creation subject to change & destruction: see e.g. Vism.415 = Kp-a.121) the abode of the Br. devas; Heaven
■ It consists of 20 heavens, sixteen being worlds of form (*rūpa-*brahmaloka) and four, inhabited by devas who are incorporeal (arūpa˚). The devas of the Br. l. are free from kāma or sensual desires. Rebirth in this heaven is the reward of great virtue accompanied with meditation (jhāna) AN.i.227 sq.; AN.v.59 (as included in the sphere called sahassī cūḷanikā lokadhātu)
■ The brahmās like other gods are not necessarily sotāpannā or on the way to full knowledge (sambodhi-parāyaṇā); their attainments depend on the degree of their faith in the Buddha Dhamma, & Sangha, and their observance of the precepts
■ See e.g. DN.iii.112; SN.i.141, SN.i.155, SN.i.282; AN.iii.332; AN.iv.75, AN.iv.103; Snp.508, Snp.1117; Ja.ii.61; Pts.i.84; Pv.ii.13#17; Dhs.1282; Vb.421; Vism.199, Vism.314, Vism.367 Vism.372, Vism.390, Vism.401, Vism.405, Vism.408, Vism.415 sq., Vism.421, Vism.557; Mhbv.54 , Bv.83, Bv.103 sq., Bv.160; Vb-a.68; Pv-a.76; Vb-a.167, Vb-a.433 Vb-a.437, Vb-a.510. See also Cpd. 57, 141 sq.; Kirfel, Kosmographie 26, 191, 197, 207, and cp. in BSk. literature Lal.171. The Br- l. is said to be the one place where there are no women: Dhp-a.i.270
■ yāva Brahmalokā pi even unto Br.‘s heaven, expression like “as far as the end of the world” MN.i.34; SN.v.265, SN.v.288 -˚ûpaga attaining to the highest heaven DN.ii.196; AN.v.342; Snp.139; Ja.ii.61; Kv.114. -˚ûpapatti rebirth in Heaven Snp.139. -˚parāyana the Br- loka as ultimate goal Ja.ii.61; Ja.iii.396. -˚sahavyatā the company of the Br. gods AN.iv.135 sq. -yāna the best vehicle SN.v.5 (+ dhammayāna). -vaccasin with a body like that of Mahābrahmā, combined with -vaṇṇin of most excellent complexion, in ster. passage at DN.i.114, DN.i.115; MN.ii.167, cp. DN-a.i.282: ˚vaccasī ti Mahābrahmuṇo sarīra-sadisena sarīrena samannāgato; ˚vaṇṇī ti seṭṭhavaṇṇī -vāda most excellent speech Vin.i.3. -vimāna a palace of Brahmā in the highest heaven DN.iii.28, DN.iii.29; Iti.15; Vism.108. -vihāra sublime or divine state of mind, blissful meditation (exercises on a, altruistic concepts; b, equanimity; see on these meditations Dial i.298). There are 4 such “divine states,” viz. mettā karuṇā, muditā, upekkhā (see Vism.111; Dhs-a.192 and cp. Expositor 258; Dhs trsl. 65; BSk. same, e.g. Divy.224); DN.ii.196; DN.iii.220 (one of the 3 vihāra’s dibba˚, brahma˚, ariya˚); Thag.649; Ja.i.139 (˚vihāre bhāvetvā… brahmalok’ ûpaga), Ja.ii.61; Dhs.262 Vism.295 sq. (˚niddesa), 319. -veṭhana the head-dress of a brahmin Snp-a.138 (one of the rare passages where brahma˚ = brahma III. 1). -sama like Brahmā Snp.508; Snp-a.318, Snp-a.325; Dhs-a.195. -ssara “heavenly sound, a divine voice, a beautiful and deep voice (with 8 fine qualities: see enumerated under bindu) DN.ii.211 = DN.ii.227; Ja.i.96; Ja.v.336.

fr. bṛh, see brahant. Perhaps less with regard to the greatness of the divine principle than with ref. to the greatness or power of prayer or the ecstatic mind (i.e. holy enthusiasm). On etym. see Osthoff, “Bezzenberger’s Beiträge” xxiv.142 sq. (= Mir bricht charm, spell: Oicel. bragr poetry)