Until Koṇḍañña and the eighteen koṭis of brahmās were established in the fruit of stream-entry the Blessed One was still setting in motion (pavatteti nāma) the Wheel of the Dhamma; but when they were established in the fruit, then the Wheel had been set in motion (pavattitaṃ nāma).
The mistaken idea that there is no dhamma in the Brahma Realm or Deva realms are false except for the asaññasatta beings. I’m also not sure about the arūpa realms. But for sure there are devas and brahmas who attained during the dhammacakka sutta and other times as well that are still there. It was just a mere day or two ago for them.
Firstly, how did Buddhaghosa come by this information about the eighteen kotis of brahmas? I know of no utterance by the Buddha that supports it. The account of the first teachings in MN26 makes no mention of brahmas. Secondly, the brahmas obtained only the fruit of stream-entry. For enlightenment they would have to attain human birth.
It’s an interesting question. The Buddha was the Great Brahma 7 times and Sakka, chief of the devas, 36 times (MN 12). Yet he had to take human form as Jotipala the brahmin student to take refuge with the Buddha Kassapa to gain even stream-entry or the status of once-returner (he does not tell us) (MN 81), and then take human form as Gautama and struggle to attain the Three Knowledges. I guess the cosmos is just constructed that way. There is a sutta in the AN where he explicitly tells us that human birth is required, but I don’t have the reference to hand.
Yes the path of a Sammāsambuddha is such that in his last birth he is always born in Jambudipa as a human.
However this is not extrapolated to savakas - the disciples of a Buddha- who may attain all levels from sotapanna to arahant as human or devas or Brahma gods.
Thus the Buddha:
That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ ‘itipi so bhagavā arahaṁ sammāsambuddho vijjācaraṇasampanno sugato lokavidū anuttaro purisadammasārathi satthā devamanussānaṁ buddho bhagavā’ti.SuttaCentral
I’m wondering if you have a source for this assertion? When the Buddha says in DN 19 that the holy life of the brahma-viharas does not lead to arahantship he is saying it to a brahmin, so not to one of his disciples, true. But I don’t recall him saying to any of his bikkhus or bikkhunis that for them the brahma-viharas do lead to arahantship. That could of course just be my faulty reading of the Canon!
On another note, I have the feeling that the idea of attaining arahantship in the higher deva worlds might be the basis for the Pure Land schools. Would you agree with that?
Brahmaviharas is the practice of metta, karuna mudita and upekkha. They lead to jhānas. IF that is all they do, it will only lead to the brahma plane. I understand your point, but it is possible to attain in the brahma realm. They can speak and hear, but they do not smell, taste, or touch. They can discuss the dhamma and learn the dhamma, actually quite quickly and easily.
I think you might be confusing the development of the pāramī besides (concentration). The human realm can help develop that easier. But this is the path of the bodhisatta. A brahma can practice and attain very easily. Your logic also seems to point to the fact that further fruition cannot be attained in the brahma realm. But that is not true. It can be attained.
It is only the arūpa realms where the first path fruition cannot be attained there. Perhaps that is your confusion.
Just to clarify.
The Bodhisatta when he took his last birth as the human Gautama had attained none of the paths. He was a putthujana, a worldling.
On the night he attained, his wisdom and paramis fully ripened and he experienced all the vipassana nanas and attained the 4 paths and fruits stage by stage.