The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:37 pm

Jechbi wrote:Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:I have presented a textually supported argument. You have done no more than gainsay.
That's not a fair assessment of what I've done.


You have not shown otherwise.

Go back and look at the four summaries of the Dhamma as presented in the text. What is their context? Your idea to draw God into the discussion is your idea. You can pretend that you've supported this with texts, but that's not what you've done.


Again, you are doing nothing more than gainsaying. In context of the passage and in broader context of the suttas, reading abh-issaro in terms of a god - a supreme protector - is not out of context. Keeping in mind that the Buddha has addressed god- issara - notions quite directly, what would be the supreme protector of the world? Not a king, not dad, not mom. In life there is no supreme protector to appeal to. The immediate and broader textual context supports my reading.

tiltbillings wrote:The Buddha seemed to have thought otherwise.
Hmmmm ... there seems to be a whole lot of atta in your anatta.


There is no argument from you here; just variations of gainsaying.

The Buddha did not advise that we take refuge in kamma. The quotes that you offer need to have their appropriate context and understanding. You said, "Kamma is our refuge." To me that appears to be a statement frought with misunderstanding about what it means to take refuge.


And I have supplied textual context for what I have said. You have offered nothing.

---------
J wrote:Hi Marie,
imagemarie wrote:i'm sorry, but what then of "right effort"? That we are able to "(1)prevent unwholesome states of mind from arising,(2) to get rid of
unwholesome states that have already arisen, (3) to produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome states of mind
not yet arisen, (4) to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states of mind already present".

Is this "energetic will" ( Right Effort - Walpola Rahula), not kamma? And does it not provide a "refuge" then?
You still have to watch out for that stubborn self-identity-view with regard to right effort.


Cultivating, by choice, Right View, the precepts, bhavana does not necessitate cultivating a stubborn self-identity-view. The reality also is, however, that until we awaken we are stuck with a self-view, which is why we have the precepts, which is why we have Right View and all the practices that help us see through the self. We cannot will the self away. It comes to an end with insight. Following the Buddha’s path - which is an ongoing moment to moment process of choice - is a way of freeing ourselves from the bondage of the delusion of self. In this process we keep the self in check with the precepts, with mindfulness, with Right View.

You may find it helpful to think in terms of nutriment. What are you feeding this mass of suffering? Also remember that right effort is one of eight spokes in the wheel. Underlying it all is an understanding of anatta.


The there is nothing in what she said that is not feeds the idea of self.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:50 pm

Hi Tilt,

What of a being who has taken birth in the animal realm? Or the formless realm?
Is the triple gem still an object of refuge, or the animal's kamma? Remember that there are many, many beings other than those in the human realm.

:anjali:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:55 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
It is our choice to go for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, and this is an ongoing - moment to moment - thing as we, by our choices, cultivate the precepts, mindfulness, and Right View. Kamma is not a mechanical process, as the I gave shows, which is why we can in time step out of its hold.


Oye, this is sort of problematic. It's true that it's our intention, choice, and action when we go for refuge. Absolutely, that's kamma.


Okay.

But here we're claiming that it's our own choices in which we seek refuge rather than the teachings.


If you pay attention to what I have written, the choices are grounded in the teachings. I have said nothing other than that.

But the teachings do exist outside of our own action.


In one sense, but they only have real meaning when they are put into action by our choices. It is what brings them truly alive, figuratively speaking.

So the triple gem remains, despite our relationship to it.


Where does it remain? In each moment we choose to follow the teachings, we are going for refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

We should pursue the path as you said, and rejoice in our merits and wholesome activities, but not literally go to them for refuge.


Except as the teachings unfold in our lives, that is the Triple Gem manifest. I am not saying we do not bow before a Buddha-rupa, honor the monastic Sangha, listen to the teachings, while we choose to do that, we make all of that alive in our lives by the choices we make in each moment. And it is only by the choices we make that the path is followed, manifest, and completed.

If we look to our own selves, no matter how wholesome our activities are, I think that's misguided. If nothing else, it would certainly extend our time in samsara!


The question is: To whom do we look when following the path laid out for us?

So I think it's still the Buddha Dhamma and Sangha that are proper objects of refuge. Regardless of our relationship to them at any given moment.


Sure. I have not said anything otherwise than what the Buddha said.

What do you think?


The above.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:57 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:Hi Tilt,

What of a being who has taken birth in the animal realm? Or the formless realm?
Is the triple gem still an object of refuge, or the animal's kamma? Remember that there are many, many beings other than those in the human realm.

:anjali:


See if the above msg answers those questions.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:12 pm

Hi Tilt,

You've given some good responses, I'll have to think it over.
It's kind of complex, for me. I know you're not denying that in a conventional sense the triple gem exists.
But I understand what you are saying, that it is through us that he teachings are manifested and alive.

Will return to this...
Thanks, good conversation! :)

Best,
Drolma
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:14 pm

Hi again Tilt,

I know that you have 20+ years of practice and study under your belt.
It's possible that you're explaining something that I can't see now, with my rather concrete thinking.

Kindly,
Drolma
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:18 pm

Hi Tilt,

Once again we have differing perceptions of what I did, and what you did, in our respective posts.

From my perspective, the four summaries of Dhamma as presented in the text are profound, and to assert that one of the summaries of Dhamma is the proposition that there is no God strikes me as a woeful oversimplification. Looking at the text itself, and looking at the overall context, I don't see this alleged abnegation of the God concept present anywhere in the text. It is absent. You may regard this as gainsaying, but basically all you're doing is saying that, no, you're correct that an abnegation of the God concept is present in the text. So it's basically two different interpretations. I really don't think the text is about God. You really think it is about God.

It seems to me the burden is on you to show that this text can only be interpreted as referring to God, and my assessment is that you have not met this burden. Again, you may regard this as gainsaying.

As you wrote earlier, God is an irrelevant idea in the Buddhadhamma. So why then do you imagine the abnegation of the God concept would be one of the summaries of Dhamma? Why would the Buddha put such great emphasis on a concept that is irrelevant?

With regard to your repeated contention that I have offered nothing, there is nothing I can say about that. It has not been my intent to offer nothing to this discussion, but if there is nothing here for you to take away, nothing here for you to think about or to consider, nothing here of possible benefit to you, then that's the reality as you see it, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Metta
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby appicchato » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:
appicchato wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Kamma is not our refuge?


Mmm, no...if this were true we'd be in a lot more trouble than we already are...


If it is not by our own actions, by our own choices, by own deeds to follow the Eightfold path, who is going to do it for us? God? Some bodhisattva?


Well, I can't argue with the text (MN II 68), and there (unambiguously) it is...I stand corrected, and thank you...and no, it's not (a) God or bodhisattva, but ourselves who make the choices we live (and die) by...(Dhammapada 1)...but you knew that... :smile:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:16 am

Jechbi wrote:
From my perspective, the four summaries of Dhamma as presented in the text are profound, and to assert that one of the summaries of Dhamma is the proposition that there is no God strikes me as a woeful oversimplification.


That does not tell us anything other than what I said strikes you as a woeful oversimplification.

Looking at the text itself, and looking at the overall context, I don't see this alleged abnegation of the God concept present anywhere in the text.


Looking at the text itself, we see that Ven Ratthapala is addressing laity and he is relating what he heard of the Dhamma as a lay person. Now, I asked you: “Keeping in mind that the Buddha has addressed god- issara - notions quite directly, what would be the supreme [abhi] protector [issaro] of the world?” You did not address this question.

The word issara could have been used in the text, which might imply a god notion or a maybe a worldly ruler, but abhi-issaro was used, which is far more emphatic. So, tell us what would be the supreme [abhi] protector [issaro] of the world? Also, do not forget that theism in various forms was not at all foreign to the Buddha’s milieu.

In negating an abhi- [higher, supreme] protector of the world, what is being negated? Maybe the idea that something, or someone, can protect one from the inevitabilities of life? The most potent protector would be a god, if such a thing existed.

You may regard this as gainsaying, but basically all you're doing is saying that, no, you're correct that an abnegation of the God concept is present in the text.


I have presented textual support and an actual argument for my position.

It seems to me the burden is on you to show that this text can only be interpreted as referring to God, and my assessment is that you have not met this burden. Again, you may regard this as gainsaying.


Who knows what your assessment is based upon. It is not something you shared with us. I certainly could be wrong, but at least I gave a careful textual contextualization in an attempt to support my position.

As you wrote earlier, God is an irrelevant idea in the Buddhadhamma. So why then do you imagine the abnegation of the God concept would be one of the summaries of Dhamma? Why would the Buddha put such great emphasis on a concept that is irrelevant?


The Buddha addressed the idea of god more than once in the suttas. The idea of a god as a supreme protector of the world is a potent idea. Abhi-issaro is a powerful way of making a point that there is no thing, no one, no force outside us that can protect us.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby imagemarie » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:43 pm

Cultivating, by choice, Right View, the precepts, bhavana does not necessitate cultivating a stubborn self-identity-view

:smile:


From Wings to Awakening..Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"In his effort to master kamma in such a way as to bring kamma to an end, the Buddha discovered that he had to abandon the contexts of personal narrative and cosmology in which the issue of kamma first presented itself. Both these forms of understanding deal in categories of being and non-being, self and others, but the Buddha found that it was impossible to bring kamma to an end if one thought in such terms. For example, narrative and cosmological modes of thinking would lead one to ask whether the agent who performed an act of kamma was the same as the person experiencing the result, someone else, both, or neither.In the Buddha's case, he focused simply on the process of kammic cause and result as it played itself out in the immediate present, in the process of developing the skillfulness of the mind, without reference to who or what lay behind those processes". (my emphasis)

:anjali:
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:34 pm

Hi Marie,
imagemarie wrote:For example, narrative and cosmological modes of thinking would lead one to ask whether the agent who performed an act of kamma was the same as the person experiencing the result, someone else, both, or neither.In the Buddha's case, he focused simply on the process of kammic cause and result as it played itself out in the immediate present, in the process of developing the skillfulness of the mind, without reference to who or what lay behind those processes". (my emphasis

That is excellent. It also points to another possible "supreme protector" that a person might turn to: the perceived self. As you correctly point out (in my view), this entire teaching should be understood to mean that there is no supreme protector, period.
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But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby Jechbi » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Tilt, just to be clear, even when I disagree with you, I think you are an insightful scholar, and I appreciate your comments. In this case, I still disagree with you.

tiltbillings wrote:“Keeping in mind that the Buddha has addressed god- issara - notions quite directly, what would be the supreme [abhi] protector [issaro] of the world?” You did not address this question.
I'm sorry, I thought I had answered. I'll try to be more clear.

Keeping in mind these things that you say, I would argue that supreme [abhi] can mean some form of God but does not necessarily mean some form of God. The definitions you provided earlier make clear that there are layers of possible meaning. (There's Abhidhamma, for example.)

Moreover, I think it's important not to lose sight of the overall thrust of this text. These are key characteristics of Dhamma. Generally, they seem to describe misperceptions of self. They seem to be geared toward helping address the core Dhamma message of dukkha and the cessation of dukkha. In that regard, I believe layers upon layers of deep meaning are lost if we narrowly interpret "supreme protector" as meaning God and only God, and nothing other than God. Keeping in mind everything you've said, and keeping in mind the context of Dhamma as it is taught throughout the texts, I don't think it's possible to justify limiting the translation to merely "Supreme God," a term that itself reflects a very narrow viewpoint.

Not only that, but to me it looks like this: When the text is translated so narrowly, highlighting an abnegation of the God concept, it seems like an agenda-setting translation rather than one that's true to the underlying meaning of the text itself. I think we fail to do the text justice if we pull it out and use it as a tool to advance an atheist viewpoint. The text loses too much in the process.

Here is my first post responding to your translation, which prompted your objections:
Jechbi wrote:As I read it, the importance of this passage is not that it discusses the existence or non-existence of God, but rather that it points to our own individual accountability for the dukkha that we experience. It's basically restating that I am the owner of my kamma. I think that if we try to use the passage as support for the atheist viewpoint, we're missing the point.

I still think -- based on my understanding of this text in particular, based on all that you've said here with regard to the definitions of these words, based on my understanding of the Buddhadhamma as it is taught throughout the texts -- that if we think this particular text is only about God, then we're missing the point.

I hope I have answered your question in a way that you will not regard as mere gainsaying. If not, I will try to do better.
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Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:39 pm

I believe layers upon layers of deep meaning are lost if we narrowly interpret "supreme protector" as meaning God and only God, and nothing other than God.


This is your basic complaint, and as I said: “The Buddha addressed the idea of god more than once in the suttas. The idea of a god as a supreme protector of the world is a potent idea. Abhi-issaro is a powerful way of making a point that there is no thing, no one, no force outside us that can protect us.”

In other words, I do not subscribe to your limited interpretation of what I have said.

The question is how do you want to get at the layers of meaning, which I have not denied are there?

The problem with leaving abhi-issaro translated as "supreme protector" is the question of what is included in that somewhat odd expression and it would require a footnote to draw out what is actually meant by it.

Reading it in the Pali, it is rather clearer what the range of that expression would be, and it would be inclusive of a god notion of whatever sort that one might turn to as a refuge. Translating it as “Supreme God,” by virtue of the capital letters, suggests, as you complain, a limited reading. In either translation one needs to tease out the meanings.

One might leave “supreme god” in lower case, which would be suggestive of a broader range of meanings, making it easier to tease out what is intended.

I am open to suggestions. Abhi, is an intensifier: supreme god, higher god, godly god. That sort of thing. Give us an expression that would illustrate - unambiguously - the range of meanings.

Sometimes that requires a clumsy compromise: “supreme protector/supreme god” sort of thing. Or “higher power,” which sort blows the 12 steppers away.

So, enough wrangling, let have some fun with this.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:38 pm

Hi Tilt and Jechbi.

I'm going to wade back into this conversation for a sec, but do not intend to stick around for long. Many seem to agree with Tilt, that the Buddha is quoted as you described. There is the issue of how to interpret the meaning of these comments, translated across languages, as Jechbi suggests. Another even bigger question mark in my head though is how sure can we be that the Buddha really made these statements? I think its simply impossible to know.

In the 1960s Shunryu Suzuki gave lectures, which were tape recorded. His words were transcribed by followers and then made into a book, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. In recent years the tapes have been listened to again, and many descrepencies were noted. Some have complained that in numerous passages the book does not represent his meaning accurately.

Who is the author of these statements about God, attributed to the Buddha, and have phrases been edited, mistranslated or added over time? How can we verify these statements about metaphysics, conversations with Gods and the underlying unseen nature of the Universe as truths?

The Buddha's teachings about how our minds work, about the 4 noble truths, 8 fold path, importance of precepts, the 4 brahma viharas, dependent origination and the ending of suffering have been verified by hundreds of thousands of practitioners across the ages. This is a recipe that has been handed to us, that we can test and apply ourselves, bringing observable results. Unfortunately, when it comes to statements about Gods and metaphysics, these teachings are unverifiable, we need to take them on faith.

In another thread PeterB wrote:

PeterB wrote:I think that we can honour each other's position and at the same time recognise that their are real differences. For example [it is recorded that] The Buddha did clearly state that the God view ( in terms of an objectified out-there entity ) is not compatible with the Enlightenment that he rediscovered. There appears to be no way to resolve that issue.. so yes, maybe the most realistic option is, to quote a medieval English mystic, to leave it in "the cloud of unknowing" and walk away. It seems to me that dissonance of any kind provides us with an opportunity to develop Upekkha.


Perhaps some things simply do not have answers, and so will remain as mysteries and question marks. The idea of God arising in one's mind is not needed for liberation, may indeed by incompatible with Enlightenment. This is a sensible view for a Buddhist to hold.

I just wonder how helpful the idea of "No God" is for our practice, if asserted to as an essential truth to defend. It could obscure and hinder one's practice as much as the idea of God, if made too important, or held too tightly.

But at this point i have too many questions, few or no answers...

tiltbillings wrote:
So, enough wrangling, let have some fun with this.


Indeed! Or turn one's mind to something else.

It's up to each of us to decide for ourselves.

End of rant.

:soap:
Last edited by christopher::: on Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:46 pm

Jechbi wrote:...if we narrowly interpret "supreme protector" as meaning God and only God, and nothing other than God.

Tilt has not done this. What he has said is that any interpretation will include, but not be limited to, common ideas of God as the supreme protector.

Jechbi wrote:As I read it, the importance of this passage is not that it discusses the existence or non-existence of God, but rather that it points to our own individual accountability for the dukkha that we experience. It's basically restating that I am the owner of my kamma. I think that if we try to use the passage as support for the atheist viewpoint, we're missing the point.

You seem to be trying to oppose two ideas here which are in fact not opposed.

1] The passage basically restates that I am the owner of my kamma.
2] Therefore the passage cannot be used to support the atheist viewpoint.

Is that a fair restatement of your point? If so then it is, in my view, an incorrect point.

Either god is supreme or kamma is supreme. Both can't be supreme. Either I am subject to kamma or a god to intervene. It can't be both. Therefore, if a passage says "It's kamma" then it is also saying "It isn't a supreme god".

if we think this particular text is only about God, then we're missing the point.

I do not think tilt, nor anyone else, has said it is only about God. It seems, however, that you are saying it is NOT about God at all.
- Peter

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:54 pm

christopher::: wrote:Another even bigger question mark in my head though is how sure can we be that the Buddha really made these statements? I think its simply impossible to know.

Completely irrelevant. If you want to dismiss any uncomfortable teaching with "Well, how do we know he really said that" then you are shooting yourself in the foot. If you aren't up to discussing a teaching then don't discuss it. But this sort of argument is beyond useless and ventures into reckless.

How can we verify these statements about metaphysics, conversations with Gods and the underlying unseen nature of the Universe as truths?

Whether one can or can't verify them as truths, one cannot do so on an internet discussion forum. All we can do here is discuss what the recorded scriptures do or do not say. Beyond that is a matter for you and your meditation cushion.

Let me say this again (for all the good it will do)...

We do not discuss truth here or on any other internet forum. We discuss what is and is not the recorded teachings of Buddhism.

The Buddha's teachings about how our minds work, about the 4 noble truths, 8 fold path, importance of precepts, the 4 brahma viharas, dependent origination and the ending of suffering have been verified by hundreds of thousands of practitioners across the ages. Unfortunately, when it comes to statements about Gods and metaphysics, they are unverifiable, we need to take them on faith.

Not true at all. As I said in my previous post, there is either kamma or there is a god calling the shots. There isn't both. Put another way, there is suffering and the cause of suffering. Hundreds of thousands of practitioners across the ages verified for themselves that the cause of suffering is not God but is in fact craving of our own making.

I just wonder how helpful the idea of "No God" is for our practice, if asserted to as an essential truth to defend.

Either you assert that God is the cause and end of your suffering or you assert that you cause and end your suffering. Seems to me it makes all the difference in the world. Either you are going to strive to develop the Noble Eightfold Path or you are going to pray to God and hope he hears your prayers. Really, it couldn't be more different.
- Peter

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:58 pm

Let me just add... maybe you accept kamma and the four noble truths and all the rest of Buddhism... but still cling to the idea that there is a God out there somewhere, doing something. But if this God is not related to you or your suffering or the way out of suffering in any way whatsoever (which he could not be if you do in fact accept Buddhism) then of what relevance is this God at all? If you can't see it or smell it or hear it or interact with it in any way AND it does not interact with you in any way either... then of what point is there to speak of it?

If it makes you feel better... it's not that Buddhism denies God, rather it denies God as relevant in any way shape or form.
- Peter

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby imagemarie » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:34 pm

it's not that Buddhism denies God, rather it denies God as relevant in any way shape or form


touché

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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:54 pm

Peter wrote:
Jechbi wrote:...if we narrowly interpret "supreme protector" as meaning God and only God, and nothing other than God.

Tilt has not done this. What he has said is that any interpretation will include, but not be limited to, common ideas of God as the supreme protector. ...
I do not think tilt, nor anyone else, has said it is only about God. It seems, however, that you are saying it is NOT about God at all.


Thanks, Peter, for the incisive clarification. Sometime I get a bit too close to what is being said see some of what is going on. What you have written here helps.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.

Postby christopher::: » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:02 pm

Peter wrote:Let me just add... maybe you accept kamma and the four noble truths and all the rest of Buddhism... but still cling to the idea that there is a God out there somewhere, doing something. But if this God is not related to you or your suffering or the way out of suffering in any way whatsoever (which he could not be if you do in fact accept Buddhism) then of what relevance is this God at all? If you can't see it or smell it or hear it or interact with it in any way AND it does not interact with you in any way either... then of what point is there to speak of it?

If it makes you feel better... it's not that Buddhism denies God, rather it denies God as relevant in any way shape or form.


Hi Peter. I really do not want to get drawn into another debate about this. I don't think its helpful to my practice, to anyone's practice. And i do not hold an anthropomorphic view of a being watching over us, in line with the traditional Christian, Muslim and Hebrew presentations of God.

I feel a kinship with the Native American Indian approach to this, which focuses more on Nature and the Universe as our home, and our kinship with all other sentient beings, with the mountains, rivers, stars. How all this came into being is a "Great Mystery" but i honor that mystery, have an interest in science and ecology, and am deeply thankful for all that exists.

The fact that we live here in the midst of billions of galaxies, all mysterious to us, is something that is meaningful, for me. The Universe itself, Nature and the Great Circle of Life, is in my mind a refuge of sorts. Something that we do touch and interact with, every single day.

I've talked about this at length in the Evolution and Creative Design discussion, but do not wish to continue spinning in heated debate about it, again.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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