What Were the Fundamental Ideas of Brahmanism?

发布日期:2018-08-03   字体大小:   


Brahmanism was polytheism with monotheistic leanings. It worshipped various deities of nature, offered sacrifices and prayers for blessings and warding off calamities, but believed in Brahma as the superior lord who created the entire universe. Brahma gave birth to Brahmanas from his mouth, Ksatriyas from his shoulder, Vaisyas from his abdomen and Sudras from his feet. Thus, the social standing of the tour castes, noble or humble, was decided according to this. Thus people had to abide by the will of Brahma and keep faith in Veda. Ordinary people had to serve Brahmins, and strictly obey the caste system. With the development of Brahmanist doctrines, on one hand Brahma was recognized as the noumenon of the universe or the ultimate principle of origin of the universe in the abstract sense; on the other hand, viewed from individual, Atta was considered the dominator and noumenon of the individual, the personal body as well as one’s actions. Thus the phenomena of the external world also arise from Atta. Hence an inference: Brahma and Atta should not be two but one and the same. So what people had to strive to reach was a state of harmony between Atta and Brahma through self-cultivation. In this way, they could avoid the suffering of samsara and attain ultimate emancipation. (From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)