Subrahma, Subrahmā: 3 definitions


Subrahma means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Subrahma. A Devaputta. He visits the Buddha at Veluvana and tells him that his heart is full of dismay. The Buddha replies that the only path out of sorrow is by way of wisdom, renunciation and restraint (S.i.53). According to the Commentary, (SA.i.88f.; DA.iii.750; MA.i.190f ), he was a devaputta of Tavatimsa, and one day went to the Nandana Park with one thousand nymphs. Five hundred of them sat with him under the Paricchattaka tree, while the others climbed the tree, from which they threw garlands and sang songs. Suddenly all of them vanished and were born in Avici. Subrahma, discovering their destiny and investigating his own, finds that he has only seven days more to live. Full of grief, he seeks the Buddha for consolation. At the end of the Buddhas discourse he becomes a sotapanna.

2. Subrahma. A Pacceka Brahma. He was a follower of the Buddha, and, after visiting him together with Suddhavasa, he went on to another Brahma, who was infatuated with his own importance. There, by a display of magic power, Subrahma convinced him that he was far more powerful than the Brahma, but declared that his own power was as nothing compared with that of the Buddha (S.i.146f). On another occasion,

Subrahma visited the Buddha to declare the folly of Kokalika and of Katamoraka Tissa (S.i.148). Subrahma was present at the preaching of the Mahasamaya Sutta. D.ii.261.

3. Subrahma. A brahmin who will be the father of Metteyya Buddha. His wife will be Brahmavati (DhSA.415; Vsm.434). He will be the chaplain of King Sankha (Anagat.vs.96). According to the Mahavamsa (Mhv.xxxii.82) he is identical with Kakavannatissa.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Lokottaravāda

Subrahma (सुब्रह्म) is the name of a Buddha under whom Śākyamuni (or Gautama, ‘the historical Buddha’) acquired merit along the first through nine bhūmis, according to the Mahāvastu. There are in total ten bhūmis representing the ten stages of the Bodhisattva’s path towards enlightenment.

Subrahma is but one among the 500 Buddhas enumerated in the Mahāvastu during a conversation between Mahākātyāyana and Mahākāśyapa, both principle disciples of Gautama Buddha. The Mahāvastu is an important text of the Lokottaravāda school of buddhism, dating from the 2nd century BCE.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Subrahma (सुब्रह्म) is the name of a Śrāvaka mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Subrahma).

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Subrahma (सुब्रह्म).—(n) (1) name of a former Buddha: °maḥ Mahāvastu i.137.4; (2) name of a purohita among the gods (= 3?): °mā Lalitavistara 44.11; (3) (compare Pali id., Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names) ?), name of the leader of the brahmakāyika gods: Lalitavistara 359.16; 360.7; (whether the same or not,) called devarāja Lalitavistara 387.8; (acc. °mānaṃ) a devaputra, employed as messenger by Brahmā Sahāpati, Lalitavistara 61.15.

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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