Brahmajala Sutra means something in Buddhism , Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article. The name comes from brahma perfect wisdom and jala net which embraced all views.
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Cula-sila deals with the Ten Precepts to be practiced by devout buddhists, while Majjhima-sila gives a detailed description of the practice of the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth precepts, together with a further delineation of virtuous practices and abstentions. The second and third parts of the sutta discuss the 62 beliefs ditthi which are clung to by ascetics in India.
These are divided into: 18 beliefs related to the past pubbantanuditthino , and 44 beliefs about the future aparantakappika. Many of these beliefs are still relevant in the modern world and thus the sutta provides Buddhist scholars with much information to ponder about the Buddha 's teachings. The elaboration of these beliefs is very detailed, focusing on how the beliefs faiths come to be and the way they are described and declared.
Believers of these faiths are compared to small fish in a pond which will be captured by a fine net no matter how much they want to escape, while those who see reality as it is are beyond the net of samsara. The sutta starts with the Buddha travelling with his disciples between the cities of Rajagaha and Nalanda. At the same time, a Brahmin called Suppiya, with his young apprentice, Brahmadatta, were also travelling in the same direction, tailing the convoy of the sangha.
Suppiya uttered some insulting words about the Buddha, his teachings, and his disciples. However, Brahmadatta praised and revered the Buddha, Dhamma , and Sangha. The two continued debating until they arrived at the King's resting place in Ambalatthika.
Hearing this conversation, some monks discussed the nature of conflicting students and teachers the next morning. They wondered how marvellous it was that the Buddha knew the various kinds of views to be found in people. The Buddha arrived and asked what they were discussing.
As a monk finished telling him, the Buddha responded,. If, because of this, you become angry or annoyed, then it will become an obstacle in your quest to liberate yourself, and cause you upset. However, if someone speaks insulting or false accusations about me, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, then you should state which is wrong and point out the mistake by explaining that because of this proof and that, then that is not true, or it is not like that, that kind of thing is not us, or occurring in us.
If you act like that, then it will become an obstacle in your efforts to achieve your own final liberation. If someone speaks like that, you should state which is right and show the fact by saying, 'Based upon this and that fact, it is indeed so; that thing does indeed exist in us, or is true about us.
In the first part, the Buddha elaborates precepts that made people praise him or the Sangha as worthy of reverence. The list of the Buddha's higher precepts are categorized as follows:. In the second part, the Buddha explains the major beliefs of ascetics in India. He begins by saying, " Monks, there are other things which are very deep profound , very hard to understand, very difficult to perceive, so holy and sacred, unreached by means of mind, so subtle, that they are only to be understood and experienced by the wise.
These things were perceived clearly, seen clearly and were discarded by the Tathagata , and by this act based on the truth that people praise and revered Tathagatha. What are those things? Eternalism is described in the sutta as the belief which is based upon the past, and holds that the universe loka and the soul or self attha are eternal as a 'rock mountain or strong-fastened pole'.
The world doesn't create new souls and therefore, the souls are living in an eternal cycle of death and rebirth, differing only in name, location, and time. These kind of beliefs have four origins:. The abovementioned ascetics and Brahmins recalled how they had name, family, heirs, food, joy and sadness, then death and rebirth in their past lives.
Based on their experience, they concluded that the universe and the soul must be eternal. The Buddha said that there are 18 types of eternalistic belief, all based on one of these four origins. All of the followers of these beliefs defended and clung to their faith and did not give credence to other faiths.
The semi-eternalistic belief is described as belief that is based on the past, where the dualistic notion is asserted that there are things which are eternal and things which are not eternal. There are four ways these beliefs come to be faith, where one believer never acknowledged the other beliefs:.
The Buddha told a story about a time when the Earth was not yet formed. The sentient beings in this time normally lived in the realm of Abhassara , in radiant light and nourished by celestial joy. Then came a time when the Earth was in the process of forming yet still uninhabitable.
One of these beings in the Abhassara realm died due to the exhaustion of his karma and was reborn in the higher realm called the Brahma realm and lived alone in the palace there. From living alone for so long a time, this being grew distressed and longed for a companion.
He then uttered, "O, let it be that another being may come here and accompany me. I am the source of all life, Father to everything which exists and will come to exist.
These creatures are my creations. How can I conclude this? Because, just as I was thinking, "Let it be that another being may come here and accompany me", then my wish made that being come into existence. Beings that came after thought the same thing. They worshipped and revered the Brahma because, "He was here even before I existed!
Surely he is the Lord and Creator of All. So, a probability existed that the latter being died in the Brahma realm, and then was reborn as a human. This human abandoned worldly affairs and became an ascetic, then by his devotion and practice, achieved the power to remember his one past life.
As he recalled it, he came to the conclusion that creatures, including himself, are not eternal, had limited age, were vulnerable to change, but that Brahma is eternal, ageless, and changeless.
The second semi-eternalistic belief came from ascetics who were once Khiddapadosika gods, celestial beings that were too busy to experience desire-based joy and fun, forgot to take their nutriments and therefore, died. As they were reborn as ascetics and achieved the ability to remember their past life, they came to a conclusion analogous to the 'Fall from Grace': "If only we were not so greedy and overzealous in our previous life, if only we had been able to control ourselves, we would not have suffered death.
Now that we had made this error, we have to suffer this mortal life". Here, they concluded that the gods were eternal, and others were not. The third semi-eternalistic belief came from the Manopadosika gods.
These were the gods who always envied the other gods. This illness of mind caused their death. In the same cycle, they were reborn as ascetic Manopadosika gods, achieved the ability to remember their past life, and came to the conclusion, "Had we not been envious, we would have stayed strong and intelligent. We would never have died or fallen forever from the realm of gods.
The fourth semi-eternalistic belief is based on logic and reflection. The people who embraced this belief concluded their faith based on their thoughts and logics as follow: "Here is what is called atta of eyes, nose, tongue, and our physical body, which are always changed. But, there is also atta of mind: the state of mind, awareness of 'atta', which is eternal.
All of the followers of these beliefs defended and clung to their faith and didn't believe in other faiths. The beliefs on the universe is based on the speculation about the infinite or the limited nature of the universe. There are four ways these beliefs were expressed:.
The concept of ambiguous evasion or eel-wriggling Pali: Amaravikkhepa is introduced in the Brahmajala sutta. When hearing Buddhist teachings, the Buddha claims that people would react with four forms of ambiguous evasion:. In other words, when a person would hear the dharma , they would respond, "I don't know. Maybe it is true. Maybe it is not true. I can't say it's true because I don't know and I can't deny it's true because I don't know. The idea is that the person isn't considering the arguments presented see Kalama Sutta , but stubbornly adhering to irrational agnosticism out of feelings of fear or hatred.
The Non-causality beliefs stated that the Universe and the Souls happened coincidentally. Here, they concluded upon their past life that, "Before this, there were no Atta and Loka. So, the Atta and Loka were created without a cause. They simply arise spontaneously. Why do I deem so?
Because I didn't exist and now I do exist. All of the followers of these beliefs defended and clung on their faith and didn't believe in another faiths. There are ascetics who based their beliefs on the future. The proponents of one of these beliefs, adhered that:.
The proponent of these beliefs declared that after death, existence simply vanished Atta vanished. These beliefs were described in seven type of authorities and basis:. The proponents of these faiths proposed that Nibbana's state of bliss could be attained in the current life. They based their faith because:. He also knows the dhamma which surpasses them.
Knowing that dhamma, he does not view it in the wrong way. Since he does not view it in the wrong way, he realizes by himself the extinction of defilements i. Buddha finally concludes the exposition of these 'wrong' beliefs by stating that these 62 beliefs, if they are believed, will certainly cause agitations and cravings.
It implies that the beliefs come to conclusion due to the inability to see the truth, as they are seized by craving clinging , agitated by longing feeling.
The Buddha further explains that the beliefs are originated from Contact Phassa as the cause. The contact is a phenomenon when the perception recognised an object beyond our Self.
Then, from this brief event like lightning in the sky, in the comparison drawn by Nagasena in Milinda Panha , rise up feelings. Buddha states that there are no possibilities of feeling without contact. Thus, according to the law of Twelve Related Chain of Cause and Effects Pratitya-samutpada , the people who believe in one of many of these sixty-two beliefs, will end up in round cycle of sufferings; as they have not found the truth on the cease of sufferings. Due to their faith, they will experience feelings as a result of repeated contact through the six sense bases.
In them feeling gives rise to craving; craving gives rise to clinging; clinging gives rise to current existence upapatti bhava and the kammic causal process kamma bhava ; the kammic causal process gives rise to rebirth; and rebirth gives rise to ageing, death, grief, lamentation, pain, distress and despair.
The Buddha then makes an analogy of a fisherman using a fine-meshed net to catch the fish in the pond. The fish represent the ascetics who cling to their beliefs.
Brahma Net Sutra
Bodhisattva Mind-Ground Chapter. Second Part 9. Vairocana Buddha. What he said represents but an infinitesimal part, the tip of a hair, of His innumerable teachings -- as numerous as the grains of sand in the river Ganges. He concluded: "The Mind-Ground has been explained, is being explained and will be explained by all the Buddhas -- past, present, and future.
The sutra is traditionally regarded as having been recorded in Sanskrit and then translated by Kumarajiva in , but scholars also speculate that it was written in East Asia by unknown authors in the mid-5th century CE. These precepts came to be treated in China as a higher ethic a monk would adopt after ordination, in addition to the monastic rules. In Japan, they came to displace the monastic rules almost completely starting with Saicho and the rise of the Tendai sect. The name of the sutra derives from the vast net that the Vedic god Brahma hangs in his palace,  and how each jewel in the net reflects the light of every other jewel:. He said: "The innumerable worlds in the cosmos are like the eyes of the net. Each and every world is different, its variety infinite.
Brahmajala Sutra, Brahmajala Sutta: 1 definition
Cula-sila deals with the Ten Precepts to be practiced by devout buddhists, while Majjhima-sila gives a detailed description of the practice of the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth precepts, together with a further delineation of virtuous practices and abstentions. The second and third parts of the sutta discuss the 62 beliefs ditthi which are clung to by ascetics in India. These are divided into: 18 beliefs related to the past pubbantanuditthino , and 44 beliefs about the future aparantakappika. Many of these beliefs are still relevant in the modern world and thus the sutta provides Buddhist scholars with much information to ponder about the Buddha 's teachings.