Thursday, 23 June 2016

Brahmin contribution for the promotion of Buddhism in ancient time

As per the Indian philosophical scriptures such as Mahabharat, Manusmriti (also known as the law of Manu), Bhagawad Gita including others the top most caste that is consider in Hindu society is Brahmin (the caste as per the caste system coined by sage Manu who is considered first man on this earth) based on the skin colour "White" who are born from Brahma, the creator's mouth and their main duty includes priesthood, teacher, adviser and administrator. 
Observing, hearing and reading about their practices and belief related to faith in Nepal and India I used to think that Brahmins are only Hindu. My elder sister, who became Buddhist Nun in 2005 brought his Guru (teacher), a Buddhist Monk who belong to Brahmin caste, Timilsina surname from Sindhupalchowk district of Nepal. My sister told me his story saying that he has been threaten from Brahmin community for becoming a Buddhist Monk. It was a great surprise for me how any Brahmin member can become such a renowned Buddhist Monk "Khenpo" in Nepal. I could not believe. Since then I had the question in my mind about Brahmin and Buddhism. During my study in Australia from Feb 2011 to March 2015 many questions that I had in my mind related to marginalisation and deprivation of Tamang and high prevalence of girls trafficking in Tamang ethnic, Brahmin and Buddhism, the root cause of gender-based discrimination as a fruit, how self transformation can be obtained, and many more that I had related to religion, discrimination, deprivation, underdeveloped, and so forth for almost all I was able to get satisfactory answer based on the evidence. Some of the information that I thought like sharing I used to share from the facebook status and some of the facebook users who belong to Brahmin caste group used to threaten and accuse me saying Bhoteni (Tibetan), Bhalu (Prostitute), Anti- Brahmin, Anti-Hindu and Anti-men. 
Being a female from Tamang ethnic background who belong to Tibeto-Burmese language speaking community it was acceptable for me to be threatened and accused by Indo-Aryan language speaking community member, Brahmin since they are not aware and informed about historical background due to the tendency not to dig out fact, truth and reality for the sake of humanity either because of their own ignorance or fear of destroying their cultured cemented frozen beliefs and thoughts indoctrinated during early childhood on the process of socialisation. 
Acknowledging the fact, truth and reality what Arthur Schopenhauer, (1788–1860), a German philosopher, best known for his 1818 work "The World as Will and Representation" had said,
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." 

However, sometime I used to ignore the commentators and sometime I used to respond them with more information based on the available evidence. To discuss and debate on social media like facebook about different pertinent issues  that are doing more harm and damage to human society I found it very safe, secure and comfort space because no one can harm physically but could harm psychologically if we are suffering from our own ignorance. I came to realised that before 1st AD Tibeto-Burmese origin people had nothing to do with Buddha teachings since almost all, it is said around 45% Buddha students and followers were Brahmins and rest were else. 

Also as per the historical evidences there were many Brahmins who promoted Buddhism in Asia in ancient time. But after Indian philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya put effort to abolish Buddhism then both in India and Nepal in 9th century started to hate Kshatriya king's son Gautam Buddha philosophy and those who follow Buddha thoughts. 
Brahmins in Buddhism:
Brahmins feature extensively in Buddhist canonical texts i.e. the Tripitaka, and are found among the chief disciples of the Buddha. The Brahmana Varga (section on Brahmins) contained in the Dharmapada lists down the Buddha's views on Brahmins
Brahmin bhikshus
  • Abhaya Raja (built Mahabouddha temple with his descendants in Patan, Nepal in year 1604)
  • Asvaghosa (wrote the 'Buddhacharita' and is considered along with Nagarjuna to have founded the Mahayana in 1st AD). His philosophy was favoured in the court of King Kanishka, of Kushan Empire,  an empire in South Asia, originally formed in the early 1st century CE under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of the former Greco-Bactrian Kingdom around the Oxus River (Amu Darya), and later based near Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • Atapa
  • Bakula
  • Bhitka (Buddha's fifth successor)
  • Cuda Panthaka
  • Dignaga
  • Gopaka
  • Guhyashila
  • Harita (wrote the "Harita Dharmasutra")
  • Humkara
  • Jnanadharma
  • Kacanna
  • Kamashila (Kashmiri Pandit)
  • Kalika
  • Kumarajiva (was imprisoned in China for spreading Buddhism)
  • Kanaka (Yamantaka Tantra)
  • Kukuraja
  • Manjushri (The mentor of Asoka)
  • Padma (woman)
  • Palden Dekyong
  • Pingala-Koccha (preached to the Buddha the Cūlasāropama Sutta, after which he became a    dedicated student of the Buddha)
  • Radhasvami (another mentor of Asoka)
  • Majnushrimitra
  • Nagasena
  • Narpola (student of Tipola)
  • Sahara (master of Tipola)
  • Sariputra
  • Shantideva
  • Shantarakshita (Kashmiri Pandit)
  • Subha
  • Subhadra
  • Subrahman (coming father of Bodhisattva Maitreya)
  • Tipola (Mahasiddha, from modern-day Bangladesh)
  • Vakkali
  • Vanavasi
Brahmin Bodhisattvas
Aryadeva (successor of Nagarjuna) Asangha (from Hinayana sect and Peshwar city founded the Yogacarya and established the Classical age of Buddhism)
  • Nagasena (the famous teacher of the milindapanha)
  • Bodhidharma (royalty of Pallava, from Kanchi) that went to China
  • Brahmadatta
  • Nagarjuna (founded the Shunyata concept and considered along with Asvaghosa to have founded the Mahayana in 1st AD)
  • Vasubandhu (Brother of Asanga and one of founders of the yogacara school - only historical Buddhist to be called the 'second Buddha')
  • Dignaga (5th century Buddhist logician from Kanchipuram)
  • Dharmakirti (7th century Buddhist logician from Andhra)
  • Buddhaghosa (5th century Pali scholar who led the revival of the Theravaada)
  • Kusanda Buddha
  • Konagamana Buddha
  • Kasyapsa Buddha
  • Kshitagarbha
  • Maitreya (Bodhisattva to come)
  • Padmasambhava (Founder of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism in 8th Century
Scriptures dedicated to Brahmin bhikkus
Because of the aim of the Brahmins, and the Buddha following on their path, several Buddhist texts have been dedicated to them.
  • Annatara Brahmana Sutta: To a Brahmin
  • Aññatra Sutta: To a certain Brahman (SN XII.46)
  • Brahmana Sutta 1: To Unnabha the Brahman
  • Cankii Sutta: To the Brahmin Cankii
  • Esukaari Sutta: To the Brahmin Esukari
  • Janussoni Brahmana Sutta: To the Brahmin Janussoni
  • Ganakamoggallaanasuttam B: To the Brahmin Ganakamoggallaana
  • Paccha-bhumika Sutta: To Brahmins of the Western Land (SN XLII.6)
  • Saleyyaka Sutta A: The Brahmins of Sela
  • Saleyyaka Sutta B: The Brahmans of Salahar"
In kingdoms
There have been Brahmin Buddhists too in Buddhist kingdoms.
  • In Cambodia (Sanskrit Kambhoja) there is an edict saying that King Jayavarman and his son Rudravarman build a monument in dedication of Lord Buddha and appointed a Brahmin to protect it.
  • In Sri Lanka, Maha Adigar was the first Buddhist emperor of Sri Lanka, converting many to Buddhism.
  • In 120 BC, the Indo-Greek King Milinda converted to Buddhism under sage Nagasena.
  • The Shunga Dynasty is thought by neo-Buddhists as an anti-Buddhist dynasty but the Shungas themselves built a stupa dedicated to the Buddha at Baharut.
(Posted on facebook in 14 December 2014)


  1. Replies
    1. About what? You can write down your thoughts so that I can put my as well in that way we can start our discussion here.