Brahmajala Sutra (Mahayana)

From HinduismPedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Vairochana as described in the Brahmajala Sutra

The Brahmajala Sutra (originally from ब्रह्मजाल सूत्र in Sanskrit, Template:Zh, Japanese: bonmōkyō), also called the Brahma's Net Sutra is a text of the Mahayana Buddhist canon.[1] It is related to the Indra's net metaphor.

It is not related to the Brahmajala Sutta of the Theravada Buddhist Pali Canon.


The sutra is traditionally regarded as having been recorded in Sanskrit and then translated by Kumarajiva in 406, but scholars also speculate that it was written in East Asia by unknown authors in the mid-5th century CE.[1][2][3][4] The sutra itself claims that it is the final chapter of a much longer Sanskrit text, but such a text has never been found.[1]


This sutra introduces Vairocana Buddha and his relation to Shakyamuni Buddha and states the 10 major precepts for Bodhisattvas 十重戒 and the 48 minor precepts one should follow to advance along the path. 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.[5] So, when the Meiji period government allowed monks to marry, there weren't vinaya rules to forbid it, leading to most Japanese clergy now being married. The name of the sutra derives from the vast net that the Vedic god Brahma hangs in his palace,[6] and how each jewel in the net reflects the light of every other jewel:


The sutra is also noteworthy for describing who Vairocana Buddha is, as the personification of the Dharma itself, or more specifically the Dharmakaya or Truth-Body of Buddhism:[6]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cho, Eunsu. Fanwang jing in Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, Volume One
  2. Buswell, Robert E.; ed. (1990). Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0585349630, p. 8
  3. Muller, Charles, Digital Dictionary of Buddhism: 梵網經
  4. Swanson, Paul (1998). Apocryphal Texts in Chinese Buddhism. T'ien-t'ai Chih-i's Use of Apocryphal Scriptures: In: Arie Van Debeek, Karel Van Der Toorn (eds.), Canonization and Decanonization, Leiden; Boston: Brill, ISBN 9004112464, p. 248
  5. Keown, Damien (2008). "Fang wang ching", in A Dictionary of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. ISBN 0192800620, p. 93
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sutra Translation Committee of the US and Canada (2000). The Brahma Net Sutra, New York

Further reading

External links

Template:WP content

Page is sourced from Brahmajala Sutra (Mahayana)