Mahābrahmaṇa (T. tshangs pa chen po ཚངས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་; C. dafan tian), is translated as "the great Brahma," etc. It is the highest of the three sub-realms of the "Brahma worlds" (Brahmaloka), which are the first three sub-realms of the form realm (rupadhatu). The beings in this realm are immersed in the bliss of the first meditative absorption (dhyana).
This term can often appear in plural form (mahābrahmāṇah), implying that there are more than one Brahmas, or multiple forms of Brahma, residing in this realm. However, the early Buddhist texts typically identify a single Brahma in this realm, who is given the name Brahma Sahampati.
The Brahma of the "great Brahma" realm is the ruler over the lower two realms of the "Brahma worlds" (brahmaloka).
In the Brahmajālasutta, it is said that the first mahābrahmaṇa to be born in this realm (at the beginning of a world cycle) mistakenly believed himself to be the creator of all the beings who were reborn after him.
Like all beings in the form realm, one is reborn in this realm through, in a previous lifetime, attaining the same level of absorption (dhyana) as the beings of this realm.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. brahmakāyika