Do Buddhist believe in god?

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:25 am

sunyavadin wrote:
Tiltbillings wrote:when asked to provide sutta texts to uphold, support, and maintain your claim of this "Dhamma, 'that which upholds . . . .", none were forth coming


The fact that the word 'dharma' (or dhamma) is derived from the root dhr - meaning, 'to hold', and is generally translated as 'moral law', is not something in the Buddhist scriptures. It is the meaning of the term. There is also the word 'adhamma', which means contrary to the dhamma.
How a word means is based upon how the word is used, which is in the suttas.

As for 'the dhamma upholding and supporting the teaching', the Buddha said at the time of the awakening: "What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?" (SN 6.2) (as distinct from any Brahmas, Maras, Devas, and so on.)
That certainly does not support your contention.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:00 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is, Cittasanto, in reading your writing it is not always easy getting what you are trying to say. Also, you are simply going around in circles with all of this, which is your choice, but it is kind of a waste of time. The fact of the matter is that "atheism" does not have a hard and fast definition that would not allow us to talk about Buddhist athesim in the ways I have indicated above.

circles? you should realize I am responding to what you say, so look at yourself first.

although just to correct myself I also realised I used the term pantheist which is something different to a polytheist which I meant to use.

However I do believe I have found a compromise, and one I was unaware of/forgotten about & not known it being used in regard to Buddhism
Non-theistic
its benefit is that it does away with one aspect of theism (namely the connotations of theology which not all theistic religions have in the way christianity does) and doesn't sugest that there are no gods in Buddhism, and as the wiki article quotes Pema Chödrön
The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby daverupa » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:How a word means is based upon how the word is used, which is in the suttas.


This is worth emphasizing, as it pertains to the word 'deva' as well as 'dhamma' and a host of others.

For example, suppose we didn't know English, but we had some text fragments and we were puzzling over the word "interesting". The definition of this word, which we don't know, in this case happens to be "drawing attention" due to how it is used. But if we were to look at the word origin from Latin, we would see "interesse", lit. 'to be between', from interess 'a thing between'.

Now, going from "between" to "drawing attention" is possible, but arcane and liable to mistake without essential context clues. Word origin is only part of the story with words.

(A useful rule of thumb is to consider that it is never words which have good translations, but sentences.)
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
sunyavadin wrote:The fact that the word 'dharma' (or dhamma) is derived from the root dhr - meaning, 'to hold', and is generally translated as 'moral law', is not something in the Buddhist scriptures. It is the meaning of the term. There is also the word 'adhamma', which means contrary to the dhamma.
How a word means is based upon how the word is used, which is in the suttas.

not to mention the root doesn't always indicate the precise meaning, dhṛ also means support, and is not generally translated as 'moral law' that is only one of the possible translations for Dhamma, "thing" "reality" "phenomena" "teaching" "scriptures" are all possible translations.
Roots also do not give the precise meaning of a word, they only give an indication, the context a word is in would also influence what is being meant by the word.
although the PED points us to Dhāreti which means
1. to carry, bear, wear, possess; to put on, to bring, give
2. to hold back, restrain
3. to bear in mind, know by heart, understand:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:06 pm

It seems like Buddhism is polytheistic...
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:42 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The problem is, Cittasanto, in reading your writing it is not always easy getting what you are trying to say. Also, you are simply going around in circles with all of this, which is your choice, but it is kind of a waste of time. The fact of the matter is that "atheism" does not have a hard and fast definition that would not allow us to talk about Buddhist atheism in the ways I have indicated above.

circles? you should realize I am responding to what you say, so look at yourself first.
Since you posted first and I responded to you . . . .

However I do believe I have found a compromise, and one I was unaware of/forgotten about & not known it being used in regard to Buddhism
Non-theistic
I have no problem with that, except you would need a book to explain what it means, but, oh, look, it has already been done: BUDDHISM: A Non-Theistic Religion by Helmuth Von Glasenapp, a very good work, worth reading.

its benefit is that it does away with one aspect of theism (namely the connotations of theology which not all theistic religions have in the way christianity does) and doesn't sugest that there are no gods in Buddhism,
Non-theistic, especially the way you have been using the word god(s), certainly does suggest there are no gods at all in Buddhism. The locution Buddhist atheism, on the other hand speaks to the issue that there is no omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos in Buddhism. It says nothing about the mortal "gods."


and as the wiki article quotes Pema Chödrön
The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
The problem with this, however, is that in Indian Buddhism the idea of a creator god was beat up and rejected quite strongly. The mortal "gods" were pretty much left alone.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:33 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:However I do believe I have found a compromise, and one I was unaware of/forgotten about & not known it being used in regard to Buddhism
Non-theistic
I have no problem with that, except you would need a book to explain what it means, but, oh, look, it has already been done: BUDDHISM: A Non-Theistic Religion by Helmuth Von Glasenapp, a very good work, worth reading.

A book?
Pema seamed to do a good job in less.
although I don't know of the trustworthyness of the link you give (not in terms of viruses...) so I wont be reading that doc sorry.
its benefit is that it does away with one aspect of theism (namely the connotations of theology which not all theistic religions have in the way christianity does) and doesn't sugest that there are no gods in Buddhism,
Non-theistic, especially the way you have been using the word god(s), certainly does suggest there are no gods at all in Buddhism. The locution Buddhist atheism, on the other hand speaks to the issue that there is no omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos in Buddhism. It says nothing about the mortal "gods."[/quote]
how have I been using it?
I have been refering to a being, so I do not see how I have used it is such a way that would negate them.
although Atheism as in the linited scope (i think the third or fourth) explanation you give earlier would be a polytheist, polydeist, agnostic, i.e they either believe in multiple or don't give a thought to it. I believe one would be hard pushed to find an atheist who would acually believe in multiple gods and not the monotheistic model.

although I remember in one of Venerable Analayos lectures (first intake) he mentions how the refutation doesn't refute a deistic, or pan-deistic god although that being would probably fall in the creator god category talked about a few posts back, not really payed more attention to it other than enough to spring to mind.

and as the wiki article quotes Pema Chödrön
The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
The problem with this, however, is that in Indian Buddhism the idea of a creator god was beat up and rejected quite strongly. The mortal "gods" were pretty much left alone.

although they weren't regarded as a support or refuge.
there are references to appeasing the gods through offerings (one in another thread live at the moment) and I have mentioned a few times in the past the Karaniya metta sutta being an example through the origin story, but then it isn't a strong suggestion by any stretch.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:30 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:However I do believe I have found a compromise, and one I was unaware of/forgotten about & not known it being used in regard to Buddhism
Non-theistic
I have no problem with that, except you would need a book to explain what it means, but, oh, look, it has already been done: BUDDHISM: A Non-Theistic Religion by Helmuth Von Glasenapp, a very good work, worth reading.

A book?
Pema seamed to do a good job in less.
Not really. Not at all, actually, particularly when one considers how the idea of a god was dealt with in India, where Buddhists had to contend with god religions. As I said, the Buddha and those doctors of the faith that came after him beat up and rejected the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos.

I have been refering to a being, so I do not see how I have used it is such a way that would negate them.
You have been referring to beings, gods, which you tell us that the word theism would encompass because there are many differing ideas of god(s) and that atheism would negate any acknowledgement of those gods within the Buddhist suttas. It would seems, then, that to say Buddhism is non-theistic would suggest that there are no gods at all in the Buddhist suttas.

although Atheism as in the linited scope (i think the third or fourth) explanation you give earlier would be a polytheist, polydeist, agnostic, i.e they either believe in multiple or don't give a thought to it. I believe one would be hard pushed to find an atheist who would acually believe in multiple gods and not the monotheistic model.
I have used atheism strictly and only in terms of the idea of omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos as well as in terms of the idea of a self-existing, eternal being(s).
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.

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:29 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Pema seamed to do a good job in less.
Not really. Not at all, actually, particularly when one considers how the idea of a god was dealt with in India, where Buddhists had to contend with god religions. As I said, the Buddha and those doctors of the faith that came after him beat up and rejected the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos.

So her comment does not take the Buddhist attitude of gods into account?

You have been referring to beings, gods, which you tell us that the word theism would encompass because there are many differing ideas of god(s) and that atheism would negate any acknowledgement of those gods within the Buddhist suttas. It would seems, then, that to say Buddhism is non-theistic would suggest that there are no gods at all in the Buddhist suttas.

as I have said
its benefit is that it does away with one aspect of theism (namely the connotations of theology which not all theistic religions have in the way christianity does) and doesn't sugest that there are no gods in Buddhism

This actually moves the importance away from the theological aspect, which was the one thing I had a problem with theism as a term.
so maybe a more precise "non-theistic approach" would be better.

I have used atheism strictly and only in terms of the idea of omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos as well as in terms of the idea of a self-existing, eternal being(s).

you are either being strict or inclusive which is it?

you have only argued from one (which only addressed the view of a being claiming such characteristics) not of the existence of the being making the claim, other than them being delusional.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:34 am

Cittasanto wrote: . . .
Keeping this simple, when asked about God and its role within Buddhism, we could either say that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, or we could talk about Buddhist atheism. In either case, either position would need a fair amount of exposition to make clear what is meant, given that neither locution "Buddhism is non-theistic” or “Buddhist atheism” by themselves tell us much of anything useful.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: . . .
Keeping this simple, when asked about God and its role within Buddhism, we could either say that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, or we could talk about Buddhist atheism. In either case, either position would need a fair amount of exposition to make clear what is meant, given that neither locution "Buddhism is non-theistic” or “Buddhist atheism” by themselves tell us much of anything useful.

can you address the other questions please!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:01 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: . . .
Keeping this simple, when asked about God and its role within Buddhism, we could either say that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, or we could talk about Buddhist atheism. In either case, either position would need a fair amount of exposition to make clear what is meant, given that neither locution "Buddhism is non-theistic” or “Buddhist atheism” by themselves tell us much of anything useful.

can you address the other questions please!
They already have been addressed, more than once.
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.

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:They already have been addressed, more than once.


So Pema Chondron quote is not accurate why?
sorry you have by far not addressed this
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:17 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:They already have been addressed, more than once.


So Pema Chondron quote is not accurate why?
This quote?:


The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
Non-theism suggests that there are no gods of any sort within Buddhism.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:35 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:They already have been addressed, more than once.


So Pema Chondron quote is not accurate why?
This quote?:


The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
Non-theism suggests that there are no gods of any sort within Buddhism.

That was a responce to something else earlier!

and as the wiki article quotes Pema Chödrön
The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
The problem with this, however, is that in Indian Buddhism the idea of a creator god was beat up and rejected quite strongly. The mortal "gods" were pretty much left alone.

You were only specific with the quote in this regard and what I said with you responce on non-theism, which was being discussed.
you had a problem with the depiction of god/s specifically with what Pema said, and this is what I have been responding to with regard to Pema Chodron.

Also have you been specific or general with your use of the term atheist?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:39 am

Cittasanto wrote:You were only specific with the quote in this regard and what I said with you responce on non-theism, which was being discussed.
you had a problem with the depiction of god/s specifically with what Pema said, and this is what I have been responding to with regard to Pema Chodron.
Unclear what you are saying here.

Also have you been specific or general with your use of the term atheist?
I have spelled out how I have been using the term, but maybe you need to clarify, in lucid, concise English what you mean here. Unless I know what you are saying, there is no way I can respond to you.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:43 am

and as the wiki article quotes Pema Chödrön
The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God.[...] Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold [...] Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves [...] Nontheism is finally realizing there is no babysitter you can count on.
The problem with this, however, is that in Indian Buddhism the idea of a creator god was beat up and rejected quite strongly. The mortal "gods" were pretty much left alone.


you had a problem with the depiction of god/s specifically with what Pema said, and this is what I have been responding to with regard to Pema Chodrons quote specifically.

Also have you been specific or general with your use of the term atheist?
I have spelled out how I have been using the term, but maybe you need to clarify, in lucid, concise English what you mean here. Unless I know what you are saying, there is no way I can respond to you.

which is in a strict sense, not in a way which would require "as well as".
I have used atheism strictly and only in terms of the idea of omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos as well as in terms of the idea of a self-existing, eternal being(s).


strange I have been asking what you are saying here, maybe you should look at yourself and your use of English before criticising another's in such a way.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:04 am

Cittasanto wrote:you had a problem with the depiction of god/s specifically with what Pema said, and this is what I have been responding to with regard to Pema Chodrons quote specifically.
I have a "problem" with what she said in as much as it really does not account for what is actually going on in the texts and how the doctors of Buddhism in India have dealt with the issue.

As for the rest of it, it is clear enough. As I said either option "Buddhism, a non-theistic religion" or "Buddhist atheism" woud require a fair amount of explanation.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:05 am

I think that one of the issues here seem to be arising from not agreeing on what constitutes theism.

Oxford English Dictionary wrote:Theism: belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe


I am going to take the specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe, as an important qualification in the definition. And if I were to use the above definition then I would conclude that while gods exist within the Buddhist cosmology, it is essentially an atheistic doctrine because of the rejection of a creator who intervenes in the universe.
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tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:17 am

Ben wrote:I think that one of the issues here seem to be arising from not agreeing on what constitutes theism.

Oxford English Dictionary wrote:Theism: belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe


I am going to take the specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe, as an important qualification in the definition. And if I were to use the above definition then I would conclude that while gods exist within the Buddhist cosmology, it is essentially an atheistic doctrine because of the rejection of a creator who intervenes in the universe.
kind regards,

Ben
That is pretty much it. No need to complicate things, unless one wants to write a book. And, of course, opinions vary.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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