Buddhist Dictionary By Nyanatiloka Mahathera – Br, Bu

Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
By Nyanatiloka Mahathera


brahma-cariya: ‘pure (chaste) or holy life’, is a term for the life of the monk. Also a lay-devotee who observes the 8 moral precepts (sikkhāpada, q.v.), takes as the third precept the vow of chastity, i.e. full abstention from sexual relations. The highest aim and purpose of b. is, according to M. 29, the ‘unshakable deliverance of mind’ (akuppā ceto-vimutti).

brahma-kāyika-deva: The ‘heavenly beings of the Brahma-world’ inhabit the first 3 heavens of the fine-material world, (rūpaloka), corresponding to the 1st absorption (jhāna, q.v.). The highest ruler of them is called the Great Brahma (Mahā-Brahmā). With caustic humor he is said (D. 11) to pretend: “I am Brahma, the Great Brahmā, the Most High, the Invincible One, the Omniscient One, the Ruler, the Lord, the Creator, the Maker, the Perfect One, the Preserver, the Controller, the Father of all that was and will be.” Cf. deva (II. 1-3).

brahma-loka: ‘Brahma-world’, in the widest sense, is a name for the fine-material (rūpa-loka) and immaterial world (arūpa-loka); in a narrower sense, however, only for the first three heavens of the fine-material world. Cf. Brahma-kāyika-deva.

brahma-vihāra: the 4 ‘Sublime’ or ‘Divine Abodes’, also called the 4 Boundless States (appamaññā), are: Loving-kindness (mettā), Compassion (karuṇā), Altruistic (or sympathetic) Joy (muditā ), Equanimity (upekkhā).

The stereotype text on the development of these 4 sublime abodes (brahma-vihāra-bhāvanā; s. bhāvanā), often met with in the Suttas ,- is as follows: “‘There, o monks, the monk with a mind full of loving-kindness pervading first one direction, then a second one, then a third one, then the fourth one, just so above, below and all around; and everywhere identifying himself with all, he is pervading the whole world with mind full of loving-kindness, with mind wide, developed, unbounded, free from hate and ill-will.” Hereafter follows the same theme with compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.

Literature: Detailed explanation in Vis.M. IX. – For texts s. “Path”, 97ff; texts on mettā in The Practice of Loving Kindness, by Ñāṇamoli Thera (WHEEL 7). – The Four Sublime States, by Ñaṇaponika Thera (WHEEL 6). – Brahma Vihāra, by Narada Thera (Vajirarama, Colombo, 1962).

breathing, mindfulness of in-and-out-breathing ānāpānasati (q.v.) .


Buddha: s. sammā-sambodhi.

buddhānussati: ‘recollection of the Enlightened One’; s. anussati.

Buddha-sāsana: s.sāsana.

Add Comment