Agnostic

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Agnostic

Postby Sucitto » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:12 pm

:buddha1:
Namo Buddhayya All, I just want to ask.

Is Buddhism Agnostic? What does it mean?
Anumodana with Metta to whom answer my question.
:anjali:
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Re: Agnostic

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:20 pm

What do you mean by agnostic Sucitto ?
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Re: Agnostic

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:33 pm

Sucitto wrote::buddha1:
Namo Buddhayya All, I just want to ask.

Is Buddhism Agnostic? What does it mean?
Anumodana with Metta to whom answer my question.
:anjali:


Hello Sucitto,

Where I am from, when people say they are agnostic they mean they do not know if an all knowing all powerful creator God exists or not. Buddhism as a tradition does not advocate the contemplation of such a concept. Also I think it is directly refuted in a number of discourses said to be given by the Buddha. That being said it is generally my understanding that it is best for our practice to be clear about what our experience tells us and what it does not. So although there is no reason to entertain the idea of an all knowing all powerful God and it is not in line with the basic principles of the tradition, I might say I am agnostic simply because I personally dont know through my own experience if it is the true or not.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Agnostic

Postby texastheravadin » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:46 pm

I'm my limited understanding, agnosticism is the belief or opinion that the existence of God cannot be known, or cannot be proved or disproved. Thus, the agnostic would say that the only true statement one can make about God's existence is "I don't know". This agnosticism could also be applied to other supernatural claims, such as the belief in a soul or in an afterlife. An agnostic would say that since there is no convincing evidence one way or the other, we cannot really say whether or not such things exist or do not exist. This is similar to atheism, but the two are not exactly the same. An agnostic may say something like "I don't really see any evidence for God, but I can't be sure, so I really don't know", whereas an atheist (depending on the "strength" of their atheism) would probably say something like "The lack of evidence for the existence of God leads me to believe such a being does not exist".

So is Buddhism agnostic? Again, I've only been on the Buddhist path for about a year, but in my understanding Buddhism (at least my own interpretation of Buddhism) is not agnostic. The Buddha addressed the idea of a Creator God and quite vocally rejected it as being false on several fronts. He argued that 1.) If a Creator God existed, then nobody could be held accountable for their actions, because ultimately if we are all creations of an all-powerful God. Therefore, such a God would bear final responsibility for the existence of both good and evil people, 2.) If the universe were truly created by a God, then who or what created God? This was in response to those who asserted that God must exist, because everything needs a cause, and since the universe didn't cause itself, it must have been created by God. The Buddha pointed out the flaw in this assertion by then further asking the obvious question - since everything needs a cause, then what caused God? My understanding is that Theravada Buddhism has always considered the God-idea to be a form of wrong view.

However, where all of this gets tricky is that while the Buddha rejected the idea of a Creator God, he didn't reject the existence of the devas, or "gods". In fact, one of the titles of the Buddha is "Teacher of celestials and men", and the Buddha is said to have taught Dhamma to human as well as heavenly beings. My understanding is that these devas, although more powerful and long-lived than humans, are of no importance in Buddhist practice. They are bound by kamma and trapped in samsara as we are. Since virtually nobody (without some kind of supramundane vision) can see or communicate with devas, there's no point in really wasting too much time speculating about them. The devas were apparently believed by the ancient Brahmins (now modern-day Hindus) to be powerful gods and goddesses worthy of worship and sacrifices. They even believed one of these beings, named Brāhma, was the creator of the universe. But the Buddha ridiculed such beliefs as false. So the devas have no real important place in Buddhism - they exist, but aren't worthy of worship. It might be accurate to then call Buddhism "non-theistic", because even though the Buddha taught that godlike beings exist, he also taught that they are not worthy of any special consideration or attention.

:anjali:

Josh
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Re: Agnostic

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:56 pm

agnostic |agˈnästik|
noun
a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.


This is from my mac dictionary.
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Re: Agnostic

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:57 pm

Agnostics in the Brahmajāla Sutta

"Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin is dull and stupid. Due to his dullness and stupidity, when he is questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: 'If you ask me whether there is a world beyond — if I thought there is another world, I would declare that there is. But I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that is neither this nor that.'
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Re: Agnostic

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:21 pm

"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.095x.than.html MN 95 Canki Sutta
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Re: Agnostic

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:44 am

Sucitto wrote::buddha1:
Namo Buddhayya All, I just want to ask.

Is Buddhism Agnostic? What does it mean?


Yes, in the sense that Buddhist practice doesn't depend on belief in a creator God.

Spiny
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