Brahmanism is a particular type among the many Hindu traditions and dates back to the Buddha’s lifetime. In Buddhist texts, the Brahmins were often the focus of criticism and ridicule, or accused of arrogance. They considered themselves the elite in a hierarchical society. As the priestly caste they formed the top level, followed by the military caste of nobles, then the merchant and land-working class, with artisans and day labourers at the bottom. At the heart of Brahmin religious practice lay complex sacrificial rites. Buddhism questioned their effectiveness and disputed the authority of the Brahmin sacred texts, the Vedas.