Buddhism Buddha: An Atheist Or God?

A common view among some Buddhist is that Buddha said there was no such thing as God. Well, he also said there is no such thing as self also. Does that mean you don't exist just as God doesn't exist? Who or what is reading this if you don't exist?

The teachings of Buddha about God have to be taken within the context of the culture of his day. Buddha grew up and became enlightened in India. Even though this event happened approximately 2,500 years ago, the religious thought of his day was already ancient. The original religion of the Indus people was Brahman worship. This is confirmed in the Vedas.

I'm not using the term Hinduism because that is a British term coined around 1830 and it inaccurately lumped all of the religious and moral teaching of India under one very broad term.
All of the quotations used here to explain the teachings of Buddha come from The Gospel of Buddha
This best selling English book was Compiled from ancient records by Paul Carus, 1894
This book combines narrative of the life of Buddha coupled with his saying as recorded in the Tipitaka (Buddhist Sacred Scripture).
If Buddha claimed there is no such thing as God, why is he discussing God with Brahmans?
The Two Brahmans
Here he is quoted as saying:
"Thus," replied the Buddha,
"the Tathagata knows the straight path
that leads to a union with Brahma.
He knows it as one who has entered the world of Brahma and has been born in it.
There can be no doubt in the Tathagata." [30]
For those not familiar with these terms:
Tathagata: The 'mind of clear and pure reflection,' or 'reality + mental body in various state of mind. The Buddha mind-nature hidden within every being.
Brahma: The creative force of Brahman.
Brahman: The trancendent absolute being that pervades and supports all reality." Another definition of Brahman is that which is Absolute, fills all space, is complete in itself, to which there is no second, and which is continuously present in everything, from the Creator down to the lowest of matter. It, being everywhere, is also in each and every individual.
In the ancient Vedic religion, God was described as having three attributes. Creator, preserver and destroyer. Over time these three attributes were personalized and became known as the Gods of Brahma (creator) Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer).
By Buddha claiming to know the path to Brahma he was also claiming to know the path to Brahman. Another way to understand the teachings of Buddha is that he taught that there are two realms. One is the Uncreated Realm and there is the Created Realm.
The Three Characteristics and the Uncreate
"There is, O monks, a state where there is neither earth,
nor water, nor heat, nor air;
neither infinity of space nor infinity of consciousness,
nor nothingness, nor perception nor non-perception;
neither this world nor that world, neither sun nor moon.
It is the uncreate. [9]
This definition would also apply to Brahman, for Brahman resides in the Uncreated Realm. However, even these words are poor approximations of the Uncreate.
Buddha also stated that he became one with the Uncreate.
"That, O monks, I term
neither coming nor going nor standing;
neither death nor birth.
It is without stability, without change;
it is the eternal which never originates
and never passes away.
There is the end of sorrow. [10]
...
"There is, O monks,
an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed.
Were there not, O monks,
this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed,
there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. [12]
"Since, O monks,
there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, and unformed,
therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed." [13]
When Buddha said he knew the path that lead to oneness to Brahma, he was stating that through Brahma one accesses Brahman (Uncreated Realm).
Another important concept to keep in mind when contemplating Buddha is that his quest and subsequent message was how to achieve the permanent cessation of Sorrow. Buddha discovered that unless complete non-attachment to desire and the material created world was achieved, one would still cling to the illusion of self and would inevitably be drawn back to the created realm and be reborn to explore whatever it was that was still desired.
This is explained in:
Enlightenment
There is self and there is truth.
Where self is, truth is not.
Where truth is, self is not.
Self is the fleeting error of samsara*;
it is individual separateness and that egotism which begets envy and hatred.
Self is the yearning for pleasure and the lust after vanity.
Truth is the correct comprehension of things;
it is the permanent and everlasting,
the real in all existence,
the bliss of righteousness. [17]
The existence of self is an illusion,
and there is no wrong in this world,
no vise, no evil,
except what flows from the assertion of self. [18]
The attainment of truth is possible only when self is recognized as an illusion.
Righteousness can be practised only when we have freed our mind from passions of egotism.
Perfect peace can dwell only where all vanity has disappeared. [19]
Blessed is he who has understood the Dharma.
Blessed is he who does no harm to his fellow-beings.
Blessed is he who overcomes wrong and is free from passion.
To the highest bliss has he attained who has conquered all selfishness and vanity.
He has become the Buddha, the Perfect One, the Blessed One, the Holy One. [20]
*SAMSARA: The world of illusion, the opposite of Nirvana. Samsara is where lust, desire, passion and attachment exist. Nirvana by definition is free of Samsara/Illusion.
Buddha discovered that everything within the Created realm is an illusion. Especially the concept of self. The reason we are caught in the cycle of death and birth is this: As long as we participate in the illusion called reality and believe in the individual self, we will constantly incarnate and play in the illusion. If, like Buddha we can achieve total non-attachment, we too can become one with the Uncreate. Once Buddha was free from desire and saw past the illusion of self, he became the omniscient enlightened one. In western terms he became totally one with God.
"Reality is an illusion; albeit a very persistent one!" Albert Einstein
So why do some Buddhist claim that Buddha said there is no such thing as God?
Once again the teachings of Buddha must be examined in context of the culture of his day.
</A href="http://reluctant-messenger.com/gospel_buddha/chapter_23.htm">Anathapindika
"Who is it that shapes our lives?
Is it Isvara, a personal creator?
If Isvara be the maker,
all living things should have silently to submit to their maker's power.
They would be like vessels formed by the potter's hand;
and if it were so, how would it be possible to practise virtue?
If the world had been made by Isvara
there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or evil;
for both pure and impure deeds must come from him.
If not, there would be another cause beside him,
and he would not be self-existent.
Thus, thou seest, the thought of Isvara is overthrown. [5]
This appears at first that Buddha has contradicted himself. He claimed to know the path to Brahma, yet discounts the existence of the Supreme Lord Isvara, the creator.
In the context of his day. Lord Isvara corresponds roughly to the western misconception of God as the white haired, long bearded almighty dispensing justice from his throne in heaven. The Lord Isvara is a personal, understandable God Being sitting on a throne that must be worshiped and appeased. Common practice of the day was making animal sacrifice to Lord Isvara.
Buddha also taught the futility of animal sacrifice which once again relates to the worship of Isvara.
Identity and Non-identity
Kutadanta said:
"I am told that thou teachest the law,
yet thou tearest down religion.
Thy disciples despise rites and abandon immolation,
but reverence for the gods can be shown only by sacrifices.
The very nature of religion consists in worship and sacrifice." [5]
Said the Buddha:
"Greater than the immolation of bullocks is the sacrifice of self.
He who offers to the gods his evil desires
will see the uselessness of slaughtering animals at the altar.
Blood has no cleansing power,
but the eradication of lust will make the heart pure.
Better than worshipping gods
is obedience to the laws of righteousness." [6]
Buddha's teachings were totally focused on how one achieves non-suffering. The laws of righteousness that he taught are called the eightfold path.
The Eighthfold path is Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
Buddha's taught why righteousness is so important:
Chapter 53 -
"Verily, I say unto thee:
Not in the heavens,
not in the midst of the sea,
not if thou hidest thyself away in the clefts of the mountains,
wilt thou find a place where thou canst escape the fruit of thine evil actions. [63]
"At the same time thou art sure
to receive the blessings of thy good actions. [64]
Animal sacrifices to Lord Isvara will never bring an end to suffering. Only walking the path of righteousness will bring about the end of suffering. Just as all of the Created realm and your sense of individuality is an illusion, so is Lord Isvara. Once the fullness of the teachings of Buddha are comprehended, one can understand that Buddha was not an Athiest nor did he become a god. No, he became one with the Eternal Absolute Uncreate. In western terms he became one with God.
 

pk70

Writer
SPNer
Feb 25, 2008
1,582
627
USA
Rabjot_Singh ji

Thanks for posting it, a lot of people have totally assumptive concept about Lord Budha. It was needed. People over time, did this kind of modifications at their own in almost every faith.
 
Jun 1, 2008
183
13
Sat sri akal :D,

Shri Gautam buddha never denied the fact that god exists on the other hand never did he supported the fact that god exists .
what he tried to explain to the world was that no one can expect change to come from outside we hav to bring that change in ourselves from inside and no one can do this only we can do for ourselves. How right he was:yes:

I'm not using the term Hinduism because that is a British term coined around 1830 and it inaccurately lumped all of the religious and moral teaching of India under one very broad term.
wrong :p. The term "Hinduism" was first used by Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

:yes::D
 

BhagatSingh

SPNer
Apr 25, 2006
2,921
1,650
SaintSoldier ji i think you are right. He didn't really care about that but he believed that a belief in God holds men back from progressing.

A quote from Wikipedia on the views of Buddha on God:
God in early Buddhism

In early Buddhism, the Buddha clearly states that "reliance and belief" in creation by a supreme being leads to lack of effort and inaction:[29] This is a significant hindrance in the path to liberation in the Buddha's view. It may be noted that the Buddha did not criticize veneration of the noble, veneration of the wise and learned, but only said that the belief in the existence of a creator God fetters the mind to samsara.
Having approached the priests & contemplatives who hold that...
'Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation,'
I said to them: 'Is it true that you hold that... "Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation?"'
Thus asked by me, they admitted, 'Yes.'
Then I said to them, 'Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of a supreme being's act of creation. A person is a thief... unchaste... a liar... a divisive speaker... a harsh speaker... an idle chatterer... greedy... malicious... a holder of wrong views because of a supreme being's act of creation.'
When one falls back on creation by a supreme being as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done.' When one can't pin down as a truth or reality what should and shouldn't be done, one dwells bewildered and unprotected. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative. This was my second righteous refutation of those priests and contemplative who hold to such teachings, such views.


It is also noteworthy that gods in Buddhism have no role to play in liberation. Sir Charles Eliot describes god in early Buddhism as such[30]:
The attitude of early Buddhism to the spirit world — the hosts of deities and demons who people this and other spheres. Their existence is assumed, but the truths of religion are not dependent on them, and attempts to use their influence by sacrifices and oracles are deprecated as vulgar practices similar to juggling. The systems of philosophy then in vogue were mostly not theistic, and, strange as the words may sound, religion had little to do with the gods. If this be thought to rest on a mistranslation, it is certainly true that the dhamma had very little to do with devas.
Often as the Devas figure in early Buddhist stories, the significance of their appearance nearly always lies in their relations with the Buddha or his disciples. Of mere mythology, such as the dealings of Brahma and Indra with other gods, there is little. In fact the gods, though freely invoked as accessories, are not taken seriously, and there are some extremely curious passages in which Gotama seems to laugh at them, much as the sceptics of the 18th century laughed at Jehovah. Thus in the [Pali Canon] Kevaddha Sutta he relates how a monk who was puzzled by a metaphysical problem applied to various gods and finally accosted Brahma himself in the presence of all his retinue. After hearing the question, which was "Where do the elements cease and leave no trace behind?" Brahma replies, "I am the Great Brahma, the Supreme, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Controller, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be." "But," said the monk, "I did not ask you, friend, whether you were indeed all you now say, but I ask you where the four elements cease and leave no trace." Then the Great Brahma took him by the arm and led him aside and said, "These gods think I know and understand everything. Therefore I gave no answer in their presence. But I do not know the answer to your question and you had better go and ask the Buddha."
Even more curiously ironic is the account given of the origin of Brahma. There comes a time when this world system passes away and then certain beings are reborn in the "World of Radiance" and remain there a long time. Sooner or later, the world system begins to evolve again and the palace of Brahma appears, but it is empty. Then some being whose time is up falls from the "World of Radiance" and comes to life in the palace and remains there alone. At last he wishes for company, and it so happens that other beings whose time is up fall from the "World of Radiance" and join him. And the first being thinks that he is Great Brahma, the Creator, because when he felt lonely and wished for companions other beings appeared. And the other beings accept this view. And at last one of Brahma’s retinue falls from that state and is born in the human world and, if he can remember his previous birth, he reflects that he is transitory but that Brahma still remains and from this he draws the erroneous conclusion that Brahma is eternal.

Brahmins and communion with God

The Brahmins of the day apparently claimed that they were the link between humans and the devas. Often this would place the priestly class at an advantageous position. But the Pāli suttas dismiss the folly of those religious teachers who would lead others to what they themselves do not personally know, as "foolish talk", or "ridiculous, mere words, a vain and empty thing"[31].
[edit] Brahma in the Pali Canon

Brahma is among the common gods found in the Pali Canon. Brahma (in common with all other devas) is subject to change, final decline and death, just as are all other sentient beings in samsara (the plane of continual reincarnation and suffering). In fact there are several different Brahma worlds and several kinds of Brahmas in Buddhism, all of which however are just beings stuck in samsara for a long while. Instead of belief in such a would-be Creator God as Brahma (a benign heavenly being who is in reality not yet free from self-delusion and the processes of rebirth), the wise are encouraged to practise the Dharma (spiritual truth) of the Buddha, in which the Noble Eightfold Path are paramount and are said to bring spiritual Liberation and Awakening.
Other common gods referred to in the Canon

Many of the other gods in the Pali Canon find a common mythological role in Hindu literature. Some common gods and goddesses are Indra, Aapo (Varuna), Vayo (Vayu), Tejo (Agni), Surya, Pajapati (Prajapati), Soma, Yasa, Venhu (Visnu), Mahadeva (Siva), Vijja (Saraswati), Usha, Pathavi (Prithvi) Sri (Lakshmi) Kuvera (Kubera), several yakkhas (Yakshas), gandhabbas (Gandharvas), Nāgas, garula (Garuda), sons of Bali, Veroca, etc.[32] While in Hindu texts some of these gods and goddesses are considered embodiments of the Supreme Being, to early Buddhists this is a ridiculous idea. In the Buddha's view all gods and goddesses were bound to samsara. The world of gods according to the Buddha presents a being with too many pleasures and distractions.
God as a maintainer and the force behind the world

One of the views emerging in the time of the Buddha and seen even today was the view that even though the world was not created by a creator God[citation needed], there is a driving force, a guiding principle behind the workings of the world. As an example, in ancient India, some Hindu sects considered God to be the dispenser of the results of action. According to the Buddha, this view was very dangerous in two ways.
One of the primary reasons is that this places a limitation in ones understanding of the mechanism of karma. Understanding the mechanism of karma is central to the understanding the Dharma leading to the cessation of stress and hence to complete unbinding (nirvana). In fact, when the Buddha attained enlightenment, he first used his insightful awareness to view his past lives and the past and future lives of all other beings and observed the law of karma in action. Belief that a Supreme God is the force behind this law of nature places a significant road-block in spiritual progress, thus disabling the person from understanding the mechanism of karma, in terms of paticcasamuppada (or dependent causality).
The second reason the Buddha considered this notion as egregious is that this belief makes God a dispenser of the results of our actions. Given this, we could try to bribe God or as was common in those days and even today, one would worship God (or confess) to ask for forgiveness. According to the Buddha, this only makes a person irresponsible. If he were solely responsible for the results of his own actions (as he truly is) he will have no one to ask for pardon. The tendency of the human mind to look for such a God is mainly due to its tendency to indulge and yet expect to be forgiven. However, only when we understand that we are entirely responsible for our own actions, and that results accrue as a law of nature and not due to some benign or judgmental being, will we understand the importance of skillful action and reflection that leads to happiness and escape from samsara.
Another view quite popular today which was also present at the time of the Buddha in India was that God is the principle of the law of nature that causes events to occur in a causal manner. In this belief he is not considered a being whose behaviour could be influenced by human endeavour, but nevertheless was a personified image that 'governs' the world. However this is essentially an egregious personification of the laws of causality that the Buddha ascribed to the workings of the world. According to the Buddha, the law of causality could be described briefly as:
When this arises, that arises
When this ceases, that ceases.

A detailed exposition of the dependent causality was needed to understand the more subtle function of the mind-body complex of the human world. The law of causality is not intended to explain the workings of every single phenomenon in the world, but to understand the nature of samsara, the round of birth and death and karma. Personifying this law of nature into a God is of no special benefit as seen from the Buddhist standpoint.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,214
Sat sri akal :D,

Shri Gautam buddha never denied the fact that god exists on the other hand never did he supported the fact that god exists .
what he tried to explain to the world was that no one can expect change to come from outside we hav to bring that change in ourselves from inside and no one can do this only we can do for ourselves. How right he was:yes:


wrong :p. The term "Hinduism" was first used by Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

:yes::D

This is actually a concise explanation that is also consistent with many reputable sources related to Buddhism. Note that Saint Solider ji has said Buddha never denied "the fact" that god exists and never supported "the fact" either.

Note The term "Hindu" was first used by the Persians to describe peoples living in the Indus valley. Guru Nana also uses the term Hindu, again it is a reference to peoples who are not Muslim living in what was then considered "Hindustan."
 

Randip Singh

Writer
Historian
SPNer
May 25, 2005
2,936
2,948
53
United Kingdom
The question is what exactly is God? Bani describes God as Beyond Time, beyond space etc.

From what I gather Buddha seems to have a concept that through knowledge we gain enlightenment and a concept of Truth.

Can God not be described as Truth?

PS As a side note, the word of Buddha spread all the way up to Egypt. They say that Jesus simply regurgitated Buddist thought and philosophy.

http://www.thezensite.com/non_Zen/Was_Jesus_Buddhist.html

JESUS: "A foolish man, which built his house on sand."
BUDDHA: "Perishable is a city built on sand." (30)

JESUS: "Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed."
BUDDHA: "Confess before the world the sins you have committed." (31)

JESUS: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the foregiveness of sins."
BUDDHA: "Let all sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered." (32)

JESUS: "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
BUDDHA: "Consider others as yourself." (33)

JESUS: "If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also."
BUDDHA: "If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon all desires and utter no evil words." (34)

JESUS: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."
BUDDHA: "Hatreds do not cease in this world by hating, but by love: this is an eternal truth. Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good." (35)

JESUS: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
BUDDHA: "Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world." (36)

JESUS: "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her."
BUDDHA: "Do not look at the faults of others or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done." (37)

JESUS: "You father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous."
BUDDHA: "The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low." (38)

JESUS: "If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven."
BUDDHA: "The avaricious do not go to heaven, the foolish do not extol charity. The wise one, however, rejoicing in charity, becomes thereby happy in the beyond." (39)

makes you think hmmm :03:
 

Randip Singh

Writer
Historian
SPNer
May 25, 2005
2,936
2,948
53
United Kingdom
Randip Ji.

Heh yes indeed it does make you think, but once you have thought and the that thought brings the realisation that all revealed 'dharma' comes from but one source, then it is hardly supprising when we encounter so much simularity huh!

Indeed, there is only one "Truth". There is only one dharma. There is only one god, and Truth is its name! :)
 

Lee

SPNer
May 17, 2005
495
377
53
London, UK
There was this forum I visited, where a Sikh fellow had made a similar comment. And an atheist asked him" Why call God truth? Truth is something different. Why muddle things up by saying that?" something like that. I ask you that same question.


Bhgat ji,

I know you asked this of Randip ji, but allow me to give you my input, heh indeed do not think I could not give you my input if I tried.

God as truth to me means that the whole of existance is subjective, that is the only objective truth is God.

Again I'll equate it with politics. We all have different ideas of what the ideal way to run things is, to run society, to run goverment. I belive politicaly in Social Democracy, that it is the goverments job to not only provide and run the infrastructchor of the country but to provide aid for the who for whatever reasons are less able to provide for them selves and their dependants.

Others take the opposite view, that a goveremnts job is just to provide and run the infrastructchor that a country needs to function, and that goverement should keep out of peoples lives and allow then the freedom to succede or fail by their own merits.

Now which one is objectivly better?

The answers to that will just not be found, we can debate and argue saleint points forever and still only reach subjective conclusions, and in the end we can do no more than agree to disagree.

God though is a differant matter, whether you belive or not that such a being exists, just does not matter. God is, God is true, and teh only objective truth that we have.

Of course an Atheist is bound to disagree, why call something Truth that you simply do not belive in. Again though this does not matter, as God will give even the Atheist chances to meet God.
 

AusDesi

SPNer
Jul 18, 2009
347
211
Dharmashtere Australiashtre
God though is a differant matter, whether you belive or not that such a being exists, just does not matter. God is, God is true, and teh only objective truth that we have.

Of course an Atheist is bound to disagree, why call something Truth that you simply do not belive in. Again though this does not matter, as God will give even the Atheist chances to meet God.

Then maybe everyone should stop praying. If an atheist will meet god then so will everyone else. whats the difference.

The second problem with this argument is this

God to me....

This I think is a massive problem. Everyone has their own opinion of god and they want everyone else to follow that opinion. Yet no one knows for sure what that opinion is.
 

Lee

SPNer
May 17, 2005
495
377
53
London, UK
Then maybe everyone should stop praying. If an atheist will meet god then so will everyone else. whats the difference.

The second problem with this argument is this



This I think is a massive problem. Everyone has their own opinion of god and they want everyone else to follow that opinion. Yet no one knows for sure what that opinion is.


AusDesi ji,

Thank you for asking additional questions.

I said that God will give even the Athiest chances to meet God. This of course as we Sikhs know means that 'if you take but one footstep towards God, then God will 1000 towards you'.

You cannot (if it is your desire to meet God) just do nothing and expect God to come a-calling. That is you can of course choose to do nothing, that is your choice garrenteed by God, your free will. Doing nothing will, actualy do noting though.

Yes Sir everybody has their own concept of what God is, or what God wants of us, and of course again as Sikhs we know that God is all pervading and unfathamable.

Which I guess means that any perception you have of God, even if it does not agree with mine, must be true.

Ikonkar. God is 1. Now this is the thing isn't it? What does this mean to you personaly?

For me, it shows that God is all, there is nothing in this universe that is not God, so then all perceptions of God are valid.

Hah I once told an atheist friend of mine the same thing and he, trying to riel me up, suggested that must mean that when you take a **** that too is God, or that the man that murders another man is also God. I laughed at him and said yes that is correct.

The upshoot of it is, that I really don't mind what your perception of God is, or wheter or not it differs from mine, I will accord you every curtesy, I will never denigrate your beliefes, I will not attempt to interfer in your free will, and here is the rub, if you choose to do the same for me, then we can be freinds, if you choose not to, and instead attack me, then I will walk away and simply have nowt to do with you.

Ahhh now if we all did this huh. Allowed people to live as they will, heh in accordance with the laws of the land, of course.
 

AusDesi

SPNer
Jul 18, 2009
347
211
Dharmashtere Australiashtre
The upshoot of it is, that I really don't mind what your perception of God is, or wheter or not it differs from mine, I will accord you every curtesy, I will never denigrate your beliefes, I will not attempt to interfer in your free will, and here is the rub, if you choose to do the same for me, then we can be freinds, if you choose not to, and instead attack me, then I will walk away and simply have nowt to do with you.

Ahhh now if we all did this huh. Allowed people to live as they will, heh in accordance with the laws of the land, of course.

doesn't actually work. Case in point: America. The founding fathers of America had similar beliefs to yours. It doesn't mean that it produces a better society/
 

JimRinX

SPNer
Aug 14, 2008
166
148
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
SPN jis
As one of the 'resident Buddhists' on SPN, I'm both grateful for this expose - and sorry that my Personal PC is 'down' right now, as I have only a few moments left on the PC I'm using; which means I haven't read all of this post, and cannot possibly write all that I actually have to say about it.
One or two points I will, however, make.
I believe that the Buddha did indeed talk - and believe in God (OM, by any other name, would still be OM); though I'm frequently rather irked by people who call me an Atheist - especially when they're quoting certain Theravadans who actually DO seem to have disobeyed the Buddha by allowing a 'schism' to form within our Sangha.
These latter also deny the Atman (or 'self' as you called it); but I think the Buddha was actually being a Sikh before his time, and denying the Caste associations inherent within the traditional Hindu system of Karma/Dharma; or, in other words, he acknowledged the Atman (Clear Light, in Tibetan Buddhism - Mahayana, Hinayana), but taught that ones Status in their next incarnation has nothing to do with the Status in the previous one.
I see Monks getting their heads chopped off for telling the truth - and a religion being corrupted by Politics, as so aften happens, as being responsible for the advent of these strangely nihilistic sounding Theravadan Beliefs.
Another Good Point would be the fact that the Sutras were NOT written down until almost 300 years after the Buddha died!
Thus, it's not at all wrong for a Buddhist to look into ones own Heart - rather than to rely entirely on Books for what one sees as ones Faith; as the Christian Gospels have the same problem (read: Misquoting Jesus, or anything else by that Author, if you're interested).
If you've read my other posts, then you know I speak from some very real personal experience; I've experienced this 'uncreated state' - seen my past lives, experienced their memories and emotions.
To (crudely) paraphrase the Guru Granth Sahib, I've walked, though I had no feet; seen, though I had no eyes; heard, though I had no ears.
That passage, read several years ago, is why I like SPN - and the Sikhi in general!:D
 

Lee

SPNer
May 17, 2005
495
377
53
London, UK
doesn't actually work. Case in point: America. The founding fathers of America had similar beliefs to yours. It doesn't mean that it produces a better society/


Heh good point AusDesi ji,

Or is it? I can't really say much about the state of the States (pun intended BTW), being a naturaly born and bred Brit, I have never even been to America, and only know what little I do from freinds that live there, as it is indeed foolish to gain an opinion from anything you see on TV, and I disrust all sources of news.


The thing is, it's al about people isn't it? In another thread I agree with Narayanjot that it is society that oppresses woman, and all societies are made up of people. I have talked offten here about my wonderment every time I dwell on the massive veriaty of 'mindsets' that humans have, that is that each of us think in differant ways, even when you can group people together by 'mindsets' you'll still find differaces, hah indeed as is evidanced by this very discussion.

Ultimatly I do not have any utopian dream (and this is surly what you alludes to, when you say it does not work, look at America?), as this would mean all of humanity thinking with one mind. Not somethink that I shall see in my life, and I doubt that we shall ever.

When I am dead and gone, then my ideas also die with me, if I have made a mark on my children then perhaps these ideas will survive me, perhaps. Then again, I am the complete opposite of my dad, so who knows huh.
 

Randip Singh

Writer
Historian
SPNer
May 25, 2005
2,936
2,948
53
United Kingdom
There was this forum I visited, where a Sikh fellow had made a similar comment. And an atheist asked him" Why call God truth? Truth is something different. Why muddle things up by saying that?" something like that. I ask you that same question.

Ok, lets say as per Bani, God is without fear, without hatred, anger, rancor etc, can see beyond space and time (Akaal Moorat) he/she is capable of looking at any given situation with total objectivity. Total objectivity for me is being able to see things truthfully and for what they are.

So why not call this concept of God Truth?;)
 

JimRinX

SPNer
Aug 14, 2008
166
148
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
SPN jis
Many interesting points of view expressed here; and, now that my laptop is back up, I'll try to address some more of them, as both an SPN-lovin' Buddhist - and an American!
All are right in their observations about Atheist's - they will meet God, whether they believe that or not; and, in it's always hard to comprehend manner, Karma (and they themselves - no matter how lost they may seem to we believers) is served by this; as having both Faith, and a lack of it, has a similar affect upon pones Dharma as learning to understand and truly appreciate Good through the experience of knowing Evil; as, in the long, slow slog through the mud towards enlightenment - where, like God, we will be free from our Mortal Kleishas (and, therefore, be allowed to live like a Demi-God, and interact with those Mortals still bound by Samsara; as only then will we have the True Wisdom required to be so trusted), many things that may not at first seem apparent - or to make any sense at all - are a necessary part of the process.
You simply will never be without Fear, Hatred, Anger, rancour, etc., without first experiencing them all, in order to see the evil of them; only then will we be allowed to do more than merely 'peek' at the Formless Realms - to see beyond Space and Time with total objectivity.
AusDesi ji. You are, of course, quite correct about the Founding Fathers (or, more appropriately, the man who so influenced them, Thomas Paine) sharing Beliefs that would do any Sikh or Buddhist Proud.
As far as today is concerned - I've personally been victimized by so-called Patriotic Americans who would (litterally!) like to go back to burning people at the stake! They haven't a CLUE what the Founding Fathers would have to say about these things; some even think we were rightly punnished, on 9/11, for the same reasons Osama bin Laden used to launch those attacks (I, BTW, am Pro-Peace, Pro-Palastinian, AND Pro-Jewish - as I'm of mixed heritage, and lost relatives to the Holocaust; I also have the Chingas to have scolded a Holocaust Survivor/Haganah-IDF {Predecesor to the Israeli Defense Force} friend of mine for treating Palastinians like "Vermin"! Very naughty of me to use THAT word - but it worked! he actually expressed sorrow for the 'Operation Cast Lead'/Gaza Bombing Victims several months later!); they think our allowing Homosexuals, Abortions, Women in Power, etc. have brought down Gods Wrath, blah, blah, blah.
When I rain on their parade with a little of their own 'Turn the other Cheek', or "You say Homs are 'sick' - soooooo, did Jesus KILL the Leper then?" (really all just the Bodhi-Dharma, put into Scriptural Words that they will recognize), or - last but not least - 'Love Thy Neighbor aas thou Love Theyself', that's when they rant and rave that I don't 'count' - I "don't have Jesus", I'm a 'Godless Idolitor' (they all think of Buddhist as Atheists - or start in on the 'Our God' vs 'Your God' Stuff. That, of course, leads to my saying, 'But you teach there's only ONE God' - at which point they stick their fingers in their ears and start going La, La, La....).
Do I, you may ask, have a Point?
YES - I DO!
I look at it like Churchill looked at Democracy when he said that, "Democracy is the worst possible form of Government in the world - with the possible exception of every other form of Government that's ever been tried before."
The First Amendment of our Constitution (First of the Ten 'Bill of Rights' Ammendments) forbids the State to do anything - pass a Law, erect a Statue with Public Funds, put the word 'God' in a Civic Document, require Prayer as part of a Civic Ceremony/Process - that might be construed as a move that would seem to be 'establishing' one Religion over another (or any religion at all, for that matter).
While the Founding Fathers created a Nation that was full of Racists (I've just learned of a certain Sikh Lumber Jack who was denied Citizenship! A Very Sad Story!), full of Puritans, full of 'Old World' ideals regarding Patronage, Fealty, Serfdom; I believe that, on the whole, we've done a pretty good job of changing the way that we see and react towards the world - and each other - because of these Great Ideals that were written into our Highest Laws.
Knowing the International Readership of SPN; let me say - I'm no fool! I know we've 'sinned' - politically, militarily, ethnically - but I also know that your average Supreme Court Justice (who've oversee the enforcement of these Bill of Rights Rights with Great Zeal) sees things the way i do; and we've come a long way - bringing many other Peoples with us (The French, the Average Brit - no more Oliver Twist, at least!) - because of these Noble Mens Vision.
At least three of them deserve the monicker 'Bodhisatva', in my opinion; what with all of the Good that came out of such a small thing.......
But then I've seen a Jewish ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union - also tasked with upholding the Bill of Rights) defend a NAZI Skinheads Civil Rights! But then, even though the NAZI would just as soon complete Hitlers Final Solution, the ACLU knows that it's only these Rights that have prevented us from sliding into a NAZI-type Tyranny ourselves - even if they've been slow to bring these benefits to Sikh-American Lumberjacks.
I'm reading Tacitus (Roman Consul, First Century CE) right now; so nothing could be more clear!
Next: Women, and their oppression by society. It's all up to that Monthly Thing, you know? Primitive Man not knowing about Ovum, Sperm, etc. - all that ******, stinky.....they couldn't understand! It, and therefore THEY, MUST be 'bad' - right? - they thought. Only time will erase the last of this unfair and ignorant relict (FGM - and teen brides too, I hope!) of our primitive past.
We will all be (or have been) Women in our past lives. Take a step towards God - and recieve the thousand back - by being the first on your street to join me in being a 'Liberated, Feminist, 21st century Man'.:yes:
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,214
JimRinX ji

You made some very interesting observations about women and their rights in the post above. And earlier you spoke about Theraveda Buddhism. It would be very interesting if you would start a thread in Interfaith Dialogs regarding the status of women, both today and in the early history of Buddhism. Theraveda has historically had a view very different from that of the Mahayana tradition regarding women. I think members would enjoy reading your comments and perspectives on that issue. Thanks.
 
Jan 16, 2010
36
69
I think it was Buckminster Fuller, in reference to the whole Universe, who said: " God is all there is." What I understand this to mean is that God is not someone or something which is apart from you. That the whole Universe is an inter-connected web. That everyone and everything is part of the whole. The creator, the creation and everything in between is one. Where then is the question of God existing or not? This is the Buddha's definition, by implication, of God, a term he never used. If, by this, people choose to term the Buddha an atheist, it is their choice. It never can be mine.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,214
I think it was Buckminster Fuller, in reference to the whole Universe, who said: " God is all there is." What I understand this to mean is that God is not someone or something which is apart from you. That the whole Universe is an inter-connected web. That everyone and everything is part of the whole. The creator, the creation and everything in between is one. Where then is the question of God existing or not? This is the Buddha's definition, by implication, of God, a term he never used. If, by this, people choose to term the Buddha an atheist, it is their choice. It never can be mine.


Many Buddhists themselves would echo your words, rakhra ji. Two common misconception about buddhism: 1) there is no "God" and 2) there is no soul. Neither is correct, and the misunderstanding results from both language and the abstract way in which the concept of the "divine" and the concept of "atma" are cast in Buddhism.
 
MEET SPN ON YOUR MOBILES (TAP)

Latest posts

Top