Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Buddha is not a Divine Messenger but an Incomparable Noble Human Being (Uttarītaramanussa)


Buddhism or the Buddha as a teacher never recognizes His teachings or Himself as a divine revelation or divine messenger, He did not reveal something on behalf of the God or He did not bring any message from the heaven while other religions claim to be they are the messengers of God. According to the old testament of the Bible, The ten commands were taught by the God to a person called Moses who was a shepherd in the hill named Horab. Jesus Christ is the son of Moses. In other major religions, too the founder has been recognized to it with some divine relationship or as a revealer of divine message. The Prophet Mohamed is the founder of Islamist religion and he too claim to be the messenger of the God Allah.

The information of the Buddha, as we find them in early Pāli sources, shows that He was an incomparable human being. The Donasutta of AN says how the Buddha once met a Brahmin called Dona and introduced himself. The meeting occurred between the cities UkkaTTha and Setavyā. The Brahmin observed the characteristic of sole of the Buddha but could not decide the nature of the person to whom he belongs. He followed the Buddha and questioned Him whether He was a God (deva), musician (Gandhabha), demon (yakkha) or a human being (manussa). The Buddha answer in negative of such questions put by the Brahmin. The Buddha answered He is neither of mentioned in above nor what he is thinking to be, because He does not possess the features of those beings at all. He explained further the nature of the Buddha with the simile of a lotus. The lotus, which is born from the mud and that is living in the mud and water remains with its beauty and fragrance being untouched by the mud and the water. The Buddha lives, being born among human beings devoid of defilements and weaknesses that are common to all human beings. Therefore the best to call him or keep in mind is the Buddha.

åhaM brahmaNa loke jAto, loke saMvaddho, loke abhibhuyya viharAmi, anuppalitto lokena. Buddhoti maM brahmaNa dhArehi.

=I live in the world over it, having born and having grown in the world (but) untouched by the world. O Brahmin! Keep me in mind as the Buddha.”

The Buddha is not a normal human being especially with reference to His spirituality in His spiritual achievements none is comparable to Him. It makes the Buddha supra-mundane being among beings. Another way of explaining the Buddha’s uniqueness is He was the teacher of Gods and men (satthAdevamanussAnaM). Other religious founders Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohamed and ancient Brahmins were the messengers or envoys who taught those doctrines in the world on behalf of creator the God. The Buddha was only the religious founder who truly claimed to be the teacher of Gods and men.

Just after enlightenment having stayed sometime around Bo-tree when the Buddha was leaving towards BAranasi on the way He explained Himself to a person called Upaka like this; recorded in the µahAvaggapAli of the Vinaya Pitaka.

BuddhohaM bodhayissAmi - muttohaM mocaye pare,
sadevakasmiM lokasmiM - natthi me paTipuggalo.

=I the Buddha will enlighten others. I the liberated one will liberate others,
In the world including heavenly beings there is no an equal person to me.

The Buddha taught, instructed, advised and gave directions to God in so many occasions; especially the late night of the Buddha’s daily routine was given for the meeting of gods and Brahmas. The DevatasaMyutta and DevaputtasaMyutta of SN show many examples for these facts.

In the åyogulasutta of SN, a discussion between the Buddha and venerable Ānanda shows that the Buddha could travel to heavens and Brahma worlds with His mental body or physical body. Venerable Ānanda declares this as one of the wonderful performance of the Buddha. “TayidaM bhante bhagavato acchariJca abbhUtaJca (that is one of the marvelous, wonderful things of the Buddha).”

In the original texts we read some quotations in which we observe the natural human characteristics of the Buddha, in this regard µahAparinibbAnasutta of DN is very important, there once the Buddha addresses Ānanda by the following,

. . . me tvaM Ānanda catugguNaM sanghAtiM paJJApehi, kilantosmi Ānanda nisidissAmi . . .  me tvaM Ānanda pAnIyaM Ahara, pipAsitosmi Ānanda pivissAmi.

=O Ānanda! You prepare robe fourfold for me, I am tired O Ānanda! I will sit . . . bring O Ānanda! Some water for me I am thirsty, Ānanda! I will drink.”

The same sutta says how the Buddha explained His physical position when He was old to venerable Ānanda.

åhaM kho Ānanda etarahi jiNNo vuddho mahallako addhagato vayo anuppatto AsItiko me vayo vattati. seyyathApi Ānanda jajjarasakaTaM veghamissakena yApeti, evameva kho Ānanda veghamissakena maJJe tathAgatassa kAyo yApeti.”

=O Ānanda! Indeed, I now decayed, grown old, aged, have passed more than half of life, my age exist eighty. Just as Ānanda!  a decayed cart exists just by the maintenance like that indeed, Ānanda! I think the body of the Well Gone One exists.”

A similar passage is found in the JarAsutta of SN, it shows how the Buddha’s body was old and decays in the last day of His life. In the occasion of this utterance the Buddha was living at Pubbārāma and heating the body with sun-rays and massaging by Himself.  Seeing this venerable Ānanda says the following,

åcchariyaM bhante abbhūtaM bhante nacevadANi bhante bhagavato tAva parisuddho hoti chavivaNNo pariyodAto sithilAni ca gatAni, sabbAni valijAtAni purato pabbAro va kAyo dissati, indriyAnaM aJJetatthaM . . . .”

=Venerable Sir it’s wonderful and unknown thing that before the Blessed One’s body’s color was very clean and pleasant, the body was soft all that now grew old, the body appears bend forward, and faculties have changed.”

Then the Buddha replies as follows,

EvaM hetaM Ānanda hoti jarAdhammo yobbaJJe, byadhIdhammo Arogye maraNadhammo jIvite . . .”

“This indeed, is like this, Ānanda! there is decay in youth, there is disease in health and there is death in life.”

This information shows that natural changes of nature is even faced by the Buddha because He was not a divine being, He was a supreme human being due to His unparallel knowledge (vijja) and conduct (caraNa).

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