Maha Brahma, also known as Brahma, is the ruler of the Brahma world (a Heavenly Realm), and is considered to be a protector of the dharma. He is depicted as having four faces and four arms, in Buddhist depictions. In Hinduism, he is one of the three major gods, and is considered the Creator, and as such, is also suggested to be the equivalent of the Christian God.
Grandmaster refers to Maha Brahma in the Vishnu Uncommon Practice, as found on TBSN.org:
There are three major gods in India; Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Shiva, the Mahesvara Destroyer. Shakyamuni Buddha had an extraordinary dharma conch. He passed it to Sariputta, who later passed it to Vishnu. Without telling anyone about it, Vishnu then hid the conch. Tsongkhapa was the one who found it. After digging it up, Tsongkhapa passed it on to a disciple, instructing him to, ”Carry this conch with you, blowing on it wherever you go. When you are able to make a sound come out of it, build a temple at that very place.” The disciple was finally able to make a sound come out from the conch where Drepung Monastery in Tibet now stands, that is, the disciple constructed Drepung Monastery at that place. This is how, of the three major Tibetan monasteries, Drepung Monastery came to be established first.
How does Vishnu, the Preserver of the three major gods in India, go about protecting? Although Mahabrahma originally had five heads, he has since become a four-faced god with only four heads. Do you know why? I know, but you don’t. Once, during a time when the three gods were all present, Brahma and Shiva were in a competition as to who had greater power. Brahma claimed, ”My power is greater.” In rebuttal, Shiva claimed, ”My power is the greatest. Your creator’s power is not as great as my destroyer’s power.” Brahma was the kinder one and a gentleman, although I’m not saying that Shiva is a villain. As the saying goes, ”One who strikes first prevails; one who strikes later suffers; and one who does not strike at all gets it even worse.” Brahma was the one who did not strike at all. Shiva drew his sword and instantly chopped off one of Brahma’s heads, leaving Brahma with only four heads. It appeared that Shiva was going to keep slashing Brahma. Vishnu, the Preserver, felt he had to stop Shiva from bullying Brahma, the gentleman. Vishnu therefore took out the conch and blew it. Although the sound of the conch impaired Shiva’s hearing, he was still able to see. Shiva continued raising his sword to cut off Brahma’s heads and at that very moment, Vishnu dropped two petals of the lotus held in his hand. Even though the lotus petals covered two of Shiva’s eyes, Shiva still had a third eye left to see but this eye could not see Brahma’s remaining heads. As a result, Shiva was only able to shoot fire from his third eye to burn Brahma. Vishnu then cast his indestructible mace at Shiva’s third eye. Shiva quickly ran back to the peak of Mt. Everest in the Himalayas. So, tell me, of the three gods, which has the greatest power? Vishnu’s power is considerable as Brahma was born through Vishnu. In Buddhism, Mahesvara, namely Shiva, resides in the highest heaven of the Desire Heaven. Brahma resides in the Form Realm Heaven, which is one level above the Desire Heaven. Vishnu resides in the third meditation heaven which is one level above the Form Realm Heaven. In this heaven, everything is bright. This shows that Vishnu is at a level higher than Brahma. In Nepal, one will see Vishnu lying upon the water with his navel exposed. Brahma takes birth from a lotus growing out of Vishnu’s navel, which signifies that the creator was born through Vishnu.
The form heaven is the closest to true escape from Samsara (enlightenment) while still being in the Realm that allows for “Form”, similar to our current existence. It makes sense that God would be the ruler of the Form Realm Heaven, which even surpasses Desires! To bring a piece of this realm to our own existence, we need to act without desires, to give without expectation of receiving, which we can still do while existing with a physical form. And to be a good person (Christian, Buddhist, Atheist or any other religion or denomination), we must practice this heart of bodhicita (just like Jesus’ compassion) throughout the entire year – not just when the season warrants it!
Happy Holidays – Enjoy this Christmas Holiday in Edmonton with our Candy Cane Lane (in which we donate to the Food Bank) and other Christmas Festivities.
Lunar New Year/ Chinese New Year – January 2023
Just a reminder, Chinese New Year will fall on January 22nd, 2023. It will be just as fun this year, starting with celebration of Maitreya Buddha’s Birthday on the first day of the Chinese New Year. Every year, our volunteers help package our Chinese New Year gifts to the public and members, consisting of a mandarin orange and candy to signify auspiciousness and prosperity for the coming New Year. As usual, we will also be distributing a free vegetarian meal along with Lion Dance and Drumming performances from our resident Lion Dance Troupe: the Jing Qing Athletic Society.
I will post more in January’s newsletter.
Lu, Sheng-Yen (2022, August 20th). True Buddha School Dharma-character Treasury – Vishnu. True Buddha School Net. https://en.tbsn.org/news/detail/284/True_Buddha_Dharma-character_Treasury_-_Vishnu.html://en.tbsn.org/master/detail/15/Amitabha%3Cbr%3E%28Buddha_of_Infinite_Light_%26_Infinite_Life%29.html
True Buddha Dharma Discussion (2022, July 14th). Red Padmakumara Emitted the ‘Red Vow Light’. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/tbsenglish/permalink/10159315611274790/