Do Buddhist believe in god?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:46 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

Hi Ben,
Yet the definition includes "belief in the existence of a god or gods" which is the aspect I stated was being used here. not the narrow but the wide definition.
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."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:50 am

for whatever reason my reply hasn't appeared so second attempt.
tiltbillings wrote:
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.

Still doesn't answer the questions.
how is what she said against the Buddhist attitude toward gods?
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."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:50 am

Cittasanto wrote:
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

Hi Ben,
Yet the definition includes "belief in the existence of a god or gods" which is the aspect I stated was being used here. not the narrow but the wide definition.
Can't talk about god in Buddhism without talking about gods.
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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:51 am

Cittasanto wrote:for whatever reason my reply hasn't appeared so second attempt.
tiltbillings wrote:
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.

Still doesn't answer the questions.
how is what she said against the Buddhist attitude toward gods?
Did I say anything about "against?" Her warm and fuzzy point was hardly complete, which is the point.
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:14 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Did I say anything about "against?" Her warm and fuzzy point was hardly complete, which is the point.

When I am having to ask the question in as many ways as possible because you are not being clear on your objection....
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."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Can't talk about god in Buddhism without talking about gods.

yet you have stuck with the deluded view of such beings instead of dealing with my point, even when you noted that my point is possible,
as quotes on page 4.
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."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:35 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Can't talk about god in Buddhism without talking about gods.

yet you have stuck with the deluded view of such beings instead of dealing with my point, even when you noted that my point is possible,
as quotes on page 4.
After looking at page 4, damdifino what you point is. Maybe you could restate it in lucid concise English.
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

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:36 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Did I say anything about "against?" Her warm and fuzzy point was hardly complete, which is the point.

When I am having to ask the question in as many ways as possible because you are not being clear on your objection....
You might want to rephrase your question, but quite frankly, I have answered your question.
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:48 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Did I say anything about "against?" Her warm and fuzzy point was hardly complete, which is the point.

When I am having to ask the question in as many ways as possible because you are not being clear on your objection....
You might want to rephrase your question, but quite frankly, I have answered your question.

No you have not, and not interested.
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."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:50 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Can't talk about god in Buddhism without talking about gods.

yet you have stuck with the deluded view of such beings instead of dealing with my point, even when you noted that my point is possible,
as quotes on page 4.
After looking at page 4, damdifino what you point is. Maybe you could restate it in lucid concise English.


it is lucid, and I am not staying in your cyclic opinion of the deluded view of such beings which has been stated as not the point being looked at several times.
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."

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:08 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
it is lucid, and I am not staying in your cyclic opinion of the deluded view of such beings which has been stated as not the point being looked at several times.
If there is a specific missive you have in mind, then provide the link to it rather than just saying Page 4. Providing a link is easily done, and if you actually want a response to your questions, you would make that effort.

Is it this msg:


viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13029&start=60#p195910

or this:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13029&start=60#p195928

or this:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13029&start=60#p195940

or this:

memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=54

or this:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13029&start=60#p195966

Now, I did the work for you, tell me which of these msgs I am supposed to be responding to. And I have no idea what this is trying to say: "I am not staying in your cyclic opinion of the deluded view of such beings which has been stated as not the point being looked at several times."
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

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16348
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:38 pm

Not directed at anyone in particular...

Please "play nice".

Thanks for your cooperation.

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 20080
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:25 pm

To restate my point of view of what is found in the suttas in response to the question: "What about God in the Buddha's teachings?"

Simply, the Buddha addressed the idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos, finding such an idea wanting, and the Buddha also acknowledged the notion of a multiplicity of gods in the culture of his time, and he characterize these gods as being mortal, kamma bound beings.

That is the bare bones of what is found in the suttas and one can flesh this out in far greater detail. One very good example is found here in the essay The Buddhist Attitude to God.

Buddhism and the God-idea

http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/1 ... a-buddhist
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

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:44 pm

from the OP
personally I believe this misrepresents Theravada as there are gods found in the texts, how Buddhism Vissions Gods may not be in the same light, but that doesn't mean that they aren't included.
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."

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 8291
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:07 pm

Ben wrote: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.


I agree with this definition. Opinions, definitions will vary, but I think this one applies to Buddhism, especially Theravada.

Cittasanto, what would you call Buddhism, theistic or non-theistic? Or what other label? If theistic, which type, monotheistic or polytheistic?

Monotheism does not apply for obvious reasons.
Polytheism does not apply since the gods are not eternal and are samsaric beings, sometimes with attainments and powers, sometimes with no attainments and full of delusion.
Non-theistic applies the most and is how Buddhism is most often described, which makes it de facto atheistic too in the definition above.

User avatar
mpcahn
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Boulder, CO, USA

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby mpcahn » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:06 pm

This may help:

Achaan Chah asked a monk who was leaving if he was planning to teach when he got back to the West. No, he had no particular plans to teach Dharma, he replied, although if someone asked, he would do his best to explain how to practice.

"Very good," Achaan Chah said, "it is beneficial to speak about the Dharma to those who inquire. And when you explain it," he went on, "why not call it Christianity. They won't understand in the West if you say anything about Buddha.

"I speak of God to Christians, yet I have not read their books. I find God in the heart. Do you think God is Santa Claus, who comes once a year with gifts for children? God is Dharma, the truth; the one who sees this sees all things. And yet God is nothing special - just this.

"What we are really teaching is how to be free from suffering, how to be loving and wise and filled with compassion. This teaching is the Dharma, anywhere in any language. So call it Christianity. Then it will be easier for some of them to understand."

Achaan Chah had this advice for an aspiring Dharma teacher:
"Don't let them scare you. Be firm and direct. Be clear about your own shortcomings, and acknowledge your limits. Work with love and compassion, and when people are beyond your ability to help, develop equanimity. Sometimes teaching is hard work. Teachers become garbage cans for people's frustrations and problems. The more people you teach, the bigger the garbage disposal problem. Don't worry. Teaching is a wonderful way to practice Dharma. The Dharma can help all those who genuinely apply it in their lives. Those who teach grow in patience and understanding."



http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... t_Pool.htm
is the mind us? Is it ours? Slash on down! Whatever is going to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. We feel no regrets. We want only the truth. (Ajahn Maha Boowa)

User avatar
Wesley1982
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 8:22 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:13 pm

It sounds alot like the Creationism vs Evolution controversy :juggling:

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 8291
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:58 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:It sounds alot like the Creationism vs Evolution controversy :juggling:


Except that I can see why there is some diverging opinions on what to call Buddhism, but in regard to creationism vs. evolution it is much more simple: some cling to mythology and some prefer to look at the mountain of evidence in support of evolution. Here is the sum total of arguments that evolution is a hoax:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Scientific ... ing_a_hoax

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:32 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Ben wrote: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.


I agree with this definition. Opinions, definitions will vary, but I think this one applies to Buddhism, especially Theravada.

Cittasanto, what would you call Buddhism, theistic or non-theistic? Or what other label? If theistic, which type, monotheistic or polytheistic?

Monotheism does not apply for obvious reasons.
Polytheism does not apply since the gods are not eternal and are samsaric beings, sometimes with attainments and powers, sometimes with no attainments and full of delusion.
Non-theistic applies the most and is how Buddhism is most often described, which makes it de facto atheistic too in the definition above.

well I have used Theism initially as it is also an umbrella term for the different varying beliefs about god/s, i.e. its broadest meaning is a belief in at least one god, so I would not call it either poly or mono-theistic, although poly does have more advantages as a term for descriptive purposes due to the implication of the immortality it could only be used in explaining later.
Atheistic does not apply due to the illiberality of the beings in the canon, as noted in the OP, and its strictest meaning an affirmation that there is no monotheistic god does not mean that they would accept after evaluation polytheistic views, it is just an affirmation against the cultural backdrop view which allot of people who call themselves atheists are within. Although this literal depiction does not discount applying the lessons for anyone.
I did initially consider deistic although as this still implies the first cause i find it a tricky term, although as noted earlier Ven Analayo does note the refutation does not necessarily apply to the deistic conception, although I would suspect it would fall in one of the categories of gods listed in the hierarchy, doesn't mean that it does, only that the beginning point, whether deistic or otherwise is not knowable.

non-theistic "approach" (with the qualifier) seams to fit best, as it is not discounting the literalistic stance the canon takes on gods within the text like atheism (and thus causing more problems than it is worth) and most importantly regarding the theistic view removes the centrality of the gods (which is a similar problem with the term theology when talking about Buddhist studies). with my initial support for theism being based on the umbrella term rather than any specific theoretical views implied.
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."

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 8291
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:12 pm

Theism just doesn't sound right at all. Imagine a monk saying, "I'm going to Nalanda University to get my doctorate." Another person, "what degree program"? Monk: "I going for a Doctor of Theology degree."

Or how about Buddhist Theological Society?


Return to “Theravāda for the modern world”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests