Brahmanical Terminology and The Straight Way in the Tevijja Sutta

Brett Shults


The Tevijja Sutta (DN 13) has long been the subject of multifaceted scholarly debate. In the sutta the young Brahmins Vāsettha and Bhāradvāja talkof brahmasahavyatā, a term understood by Buddhist tradition to mean ‘companionship with Brahmā’, the overall theme of the sutta. Much of what has been written about the sutta concerns the Buddha’s lengthy response to the young Brahmins, but in this paper I would like to contribute to the discussion by focusing on what the Brahmins say in the sutta. I will argue that hidden in plain sight among the words of Vāsettha and Bhāradvāja there is a remnant of an attested Brahmanical expression, and that this, with other evidence, provides a context for understanding the Brahmins in the Tevijja Sutta, and therefore for understanding the Buddha’s teaching in the sutta.

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