Who is GOD in Buddhism?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:19 pm

Basically, god is an unnecessary concept.
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: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:25 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Basically, god is an unnecessary concept.


Maybe not. Remember that the majority of people in the world believe in God. If a future Buddha arises and wants to save all beings, numberless as they are, from suffering and death, then the Buddha would have to speak to them in terms of what they accept "God."

Now consider the following way in which the concept of God and the faith in God can be useful even to a Buddhist, especially if a Buddha tried to convert the whole world of theists who believe in God to Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings:

All theistic religions believe that love is the key to understanding God, and that love is of God.

But the love that all human beings possess in the present is not perfect. It is usually primarily self-centered and then secondarily family-and-friends-centered. In some cases with some human beings love is primarily family-and-friends-centered and then secondarily self-centered.


All human beings are flawed in that their love is not perfect.


If there are any words in language that could be used to describe God it would be "Perfect Love".


Even Jesus himself, who willingly allowed himself to be crucified, when he walked the earth as a man would not dare have anyone call him God.


Luke:18:18: And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19: And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.


If one were able to perfectly describe "Perfect Love" in words, then one would be able to describe God.


"Perfect Love" -- in order to be truly considered perfect -- would have to encompass ALL BEINGS.


In our known recorded history it is in the religion of Buddhism that Siddhartha Gotama, understanding that all beings in the world were suffering because of craving, illness and death, first expressed a love that encompasses ALL BEINGS:


"Although beings are numberless, I vow to save them all from suffering."


That is "Perfect Love" described perfectly, and hence it is Siddhartha Gotama who ulitmately described God -- the being who had the knowledge of the salvation of all beings, numberless as they are, from suffering and death."


Siddhartha Gotama -- when he made that vow -- did not rely on any God or gods to save all beings from suffering, because he himself witnessed that beings were suffering, and so concluded there was noGod or gods capable of saving all beings from suffering, otherwise there would have been no suffering for him to witness.


Siddhartha Gotama -- when he made that vow -- also did not have faith in any external God or gods who may have been capable of saving all beings from suffering in the future, because he also had no direct personal knowledge of them.


But to say that the Buddha did not have faith would be the greatest lie ever told.


Faith is believing in something that is unknowable. Siddhartha Gotama's vow was therefore the expression of having absolute faith in "Perfect Love" which all religions call God.


Siddhartha Gotama therefore had absolute faith in the Unknowable-Perfect:


"Although beings are numberless, I vow to save them all from suffering."


That is "God's Spirit In Words", and in our known recorded human history Siddhartha Gotama was the first person to have known them. Hence in our known recorded human history, Siddhartha Gotama was the first to have God's Spirit.

In Buddhism God could be considered as the bodhisattva's vow fullfilled.
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:06 pm

Son of man wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Basically, god is an unnecessary concept.


Maybe not. Remember that the majority of people in the world believe in God. If a future Buddha arises and wants to save all beings, numberless as they are, from suffering and death, then the Buddha would have to speak to them in terms of what they accept "God."


Not necessarily. The Dalai Lama, who teaches among god believers, does not see a necessity in god-language:
In THE GOOD HEART: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (pub by Wisdom), the Dalai Lama comments on a number of
Gospel passages and has dialogues with a number Christians about this.
It is a wonderful book, showing that dialogue is possible and showing
the kind of work that such dialogue entails, in this book the Dalai Lama
states:

"The entire Buddhist worldview is based on a philosophical standpoint
in which the central thought is the principle of interdependence, how all
things and events come into being purely as a result of interactions
between causes and conditions. Within that philosophical world view, it
is almost impossible to have any room for an atemporal, eternal,
absolute truth. Nor is it possible to accommodate the concept of divine
Creation [page 82]"


The Buddha, himself dealt with the idea of a singular creator god:

"That Worshipful Brahma, the Great God, the Omnipotent, the
Omniscient, the Organizer, the Protection, the Creator, the Most Perfect
Ruler, the Designer and Orderer, the Father of All That Have Been and
Shall Be, He by Whom we were created, He is permanent, Constant,
Eternal, Unchanging, and He will remain so for ever and ever."


God, in time, became a good Buddhist, recognizing that he too was bound by kamma and mortal.

Now consider the following way in which the concept of God and the faith in God can be useful even to a Buddhist, especially if a Buddha tried to convert the whole world of theists who believe in God to Shakyamuni Buddha's teachings:

All theistic religions believe that love is the key to understanding God, and that love is of God.


...it is important to realize that Buddhists are atheists only insofar as they reject the hypothesis that the world had a single benevolent intelligent creator, and the hypothesis that any transcendent source communicates directly to human beings individually or collectively.

In rejecting these hypotheses, however, the Buddhist does not reject the virtues that are usually attributed to God. The Buddhist believes, for example, in the power of love and in trust and forgiveness and patience and compassion. But rather than saying that God is love, we prefer to say that love is love; in this way, even if it should be proven that God does not exist, the ideal of love would remain unimpaired. Similarly...we Buddhists prefer to say that good is simply good and beauty is simply beauty and justice is simply justice, and there is no need to confuse these principles with the bewildering and controversial concept of divinity.

--Land of No Buddha: Reflections of a Sceptical Buddhist by Richard P. Hayes, pub: Windhorse Publications, 1998, chapter 6.


The theistic religions’ god is not so perfect or loving as these Buddhist texts show:

"If God designs the life of the entire world -- the glory and the misery,
the good and the evil acts, man is but an instrument of his will and God
alone is responsible."
Jataka V.238

"He who eyes can see the sickening sight, why does not God set his
creatures right? If his wide power no limits can restrain, why is his hand
so rarely spread to bless? Why are his creatures all condemned to pain?
Why does he not to all give happiness? Why do fraud, lies, and
ignorance prevail? Why triumphs falsehood, -- truth and justice fail? I
count your God unjust in making a world in which to shelter wrong."

Jataka VI.


That is "Perfect Love" described perfectly, and hence it is Siddhartha Gotama who ulitmately described God -- the being who had the knowledge of the salvation of all beings, numberless as they are, from suffering and death."


And the Buddha made it neatly clear that one does not need a god notion to attaint to perfect love and compassion.

Faith is believing in something that is unknowable. Siddhartha Gotama's vow was therefore the expression of having absolute faith in "Perfect Love" which all religions call God.


Not at all.

Siddhartha Gotama therefore had absolute faith in the Unknowable-Perfect:


Not at all. What the Buddha had faith - confidence - in is the possibility of knowing all that is needed to be known. Nothing unknowable. To the contrary, what the Buddha knew, he taught we, too, could know. No need for some unknowable being, ultimately imperfect being, that people call god.

"Although beings are numberless, I vow to save them all from suffering."


That is a later construct and a pious hyperbole. While it is inspiring and noble, the reality is that the Buddha did not save all sentient beings; rather, he made the way known for awakening, but each of us must make the effort ourselves.

A god is simply not needed in the Buddha’s teaching, present or future.
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: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:04 pm

The Buddha, himself dealt with the idea of a singular creator god:

"That Worshipful Brahma, the Great God, the Omnipotent, the
Omniscient, the Organizer, the Protection, the Creator, the Most Perfect
Ruler, the Designer and Orderer, the Father of All That Have Been and
Shall Be, He by Whom we were created, He is permanent, Constant,
Eternal, Unchanging, and He will remain so for ever and ever."

God, in time, became a good Buddhist, recognizing that he too was bound by kamma and mortal.


But I never spoke about a "creator god" in my argument. I only spoke of the concept of "God" being in common that all theistic religions believe "love is of God". Furthermore the God that I am describing, never existed in the past and remains the God-to-be fullfillment of all beings, numberless as they are, being saved from suffering all having eventually found their way to the Deathless. The God-to-be is a CONCEPT that could indeed be helpful to THEISTS who both believe in God and also that love-or-compassion is of God. Remember the argument here isn't that Buddhists need a "God" concept but theists certainly do.


That is "Perfect Love" described perfectly, and hence it is Siddhartha Gotama who ulitmately described God -- the being who had the knowledge of the salvation of all beings, numberless as they are, from suffering and death."


And the Buddha made it neatly clear that one does not need a god notion to attaint to perfect love and compassion.


Yes people need a God notion if they will not give up the belief in God. Look around you. Again, it's too late to say people don't need God. It's already well established and so well established among the much greater majority of the population in the world.



Siddhartha Gotama therefore had absolute faith in the Unknowable-Perfect:/

Not at all. What the Buddha had faith - confidence - in is the possibility of knowing all that is needed to be known. Nothing unknowable. To the contrary, what the Buddha knew, he taught we, too, could know. No need for some unknowable being, ultimately imperfect being, that people call god.


I disagree that the Buddha had faith. I didn't say the Buddha had faith, I said Siddhartha Gotama had faith. And he did, because he was not yet enlightened as to whether or not it was possible, and he so he was believing in something that was to him -- before his enlightenment -- utterly unknowable.


That is a later construct and a pious hyperbole. While it is inspiring and noble, the reality is that the Buddha did not save all sentient beings.


What if the Buddha had knowlegde of the salvation of all beings, but at the same time he also knew that it depended upon his teachings and also the teachings of future Buddhas?

Looking at the smaller picture in the concept of time you could say that the Buddha did not save all beings from suffering in his own time, nor in the present time. That does not mean that all beings will not be saved, nor does it mean that the Buddha did not possess the knowledge of the salvation of all beings [no matter how long it would have taken].
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Tex » Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:52 pm

Remember that the majority of people in the world believe in God. If a future Buddha arises and wants to save all beings, numberless as they are, from suffering and death, then the Buddha would have to speak to them in terms of what they accept "God."


Buddha teaches the way to end delusion; if this future Buddha you mention included the God Delusion in his teachings he would be reinforcing that delusion, not getting the student closer to ending the delusion. A Mahayanist might allow for this future Buddha teaching that way as "skillful means", but a Theravadin won't. A perfected one isn't even capable of lying.

Remember the argument here isn't that Buddhists need a "God" concept but theists certainly do.


A "God" concept is not only not needed, it is part of the problem that Buddha's teachings are the solution to.

Siddhartha Gotama therefore had absolute faith in the Unknowable-Perfect:

"Although beings are numberless, I vow to save them all from suffering."


I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a Theravadin who believes Gotama ever said this.

Son of man, with all due respect, you sound as if you're approaching Buddhism expecting or wanting it to be compatible with theism, and looking for proof that they are compatible (which isn't there, because they aren't).
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:05 pm

Siddhartha Gotama therefore had absolute faith in the Unknowable-Perfect:

"Although beings are numberless, I vow to save them all from suffering."


I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a Theravadin who believes Gotama ever said this.


I really don't know if that's true or not. Where did the bodhisattva's vow originate from? I thought that it was well accepted that was the Buddha-to-be's vow.
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:24 pm

Son of man wrote:
But I never spoke about a "creator god" in my argument. I only spoke of the concept of "God" being in common that all theistic religions believe "love is of God"


If the god is not a creator god, what good is it? As for a god of love, we really do not see much evidence of that. As Mark Twain supposedly said: If there is a God, he is a malign thug. Love is a human emotion.

Furthermore the God that I am describing, never existed in the past and remains the God-to-be fullfillment of all beings


Such a construct, which obviously then has no basis in reality, is not needed as the Buddha himself has shown, as has the Dalai Lama. Also, it ignores the fact that capital g god carries a great deal of baggage that runs counter to the Dhamma.

Remember the argument here isn't that Buddhists need a "God" concept but theists certainly do.


And your way is the way to do it? Based upon what? You think a Buddha would be that poor of a teacher?

Yes people need a God notion if they will not give up the belief in God. Look around you. Again, it's too late to say people don't need God. It's already well established and so well established among the much greater majority of the population in the world.


And it was well established at the time of the Buddha.

I disagree that the Buddha had faith. I didn't say the Buddha had faith, I said Siddhartha Gotama had faith. And he did, because he was not yet enlightened as to whether or not it was possible, and he so he was believing in something that was to him -- before his enlightenment -- utterly unknowable.


Not quite correct. Best go back and reread the suttas that talk about his struggle to awakening.

What if the Buddha had knowlegde of the salvation of all beings, but at the same time he also knew that it depended upon his teachings and also the teachings of future Buddhas?


What if? It still does not necessitate using a concept so highly freighted and so highly problematic as a god, as a center piece.

Looking at the smaller picture in the concept of time you could say that the Buddha did not save all beings from suffering in his own time, nor in the present time. That does not mean that all beings will not be saved, nor does it mean that the Buddha did not possess the knowledge of the salvation of all beings [no matter how long it would have taken].


In other words, it is not a meaningful concept.
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: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:47 am

Winny wrote:Hi guys, I've just graduated from a Christian high school. In my school, there are 15% of Buddhist students. All of the students must learn the religion lesson for 3 years, which in the end, we had to do the final test. In that test, the teacher asked me: Do you fear of God?
That was a tricky question for me, because I don't believe in God. It's sad to say, but the teacher also mocked Buddhism, when I said Buddhism doesn't teach to fear of God. Am I wrong? So based on my answer, I might got a bad score. :cry: Sometimes I could hardly explain what is 'God' in Buddhism to my friends. And actually, I don't even know whether we have a God. What is the concept of God in Theravadin? So, please explain to me. :thanks:


I think the question should rather be: Where is God in Buddhism? Which one could answer then simply with: he isn't there. Son of man gave a rather smart answer with: "Understanding the law of cause and effect which is an aspect of God,the fear of God in Buddhism would be the contemplation of the consequences of wrongful thoughts and actions." That's very diplomatic. However, your question goes to show -above all- what a nonsense compulsory religious education is and how pitifully inadequate the teacher's criteria are.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:24 am

Son of man wrote:
Siddhartha Gotama therefore had absolute faith in the Unknowable-Perfect:

"Although beings are numberless, I vow to save them all from suffering."


I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a Theravadin who believes Gotama ever said this.


I really don't know if that's true or not. Where did the bodhisattva's vow originate from? I thought that it was well accepted that was the Buddha-to-be's vow.


In the form you quoted it, it something composed 7+ centuries after the Buddha's death by Mahayanists.
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: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:47 am

God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, then he is weak - and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful - which is equally foreign to god's nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful, and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?



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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:06 am

Hello all,

These may be of interest:

Buddhism and the God Idea ~ Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... didea.html
Buddhism and the God-Idea ~ Ven. S. Dhammika
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda03.htm
The God Idea ~ Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda
http://mail.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha019.htm

metta
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:50 pm

Remember the argument here isn't that Buddhists need a "God" concept but theists certainly do.


And your way is the way to do it? Based upon what?


:offtopic:

http://home.comcast.net/~sonofman2/JEHOVAH.txt

:focus:

This was my best effort.

:namaste:
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:54 pm

Son of man wrote:
Remember the argument here isn't that Buddhists need a "God" concept but theists certainly do.


And your way is the way to do it? Based upon what?


:offtopic:

http://home.comcast.net/~sonofman2/JEHOVAH.txt



This was my best effort.


It really does not show much insight into the actual teachings of the Buddha, as we seen. Your link gives us a lot of bible quotes, but nothing to show how they supposedly relate to the Buddha's actual teachings.
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: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:55 pm

Hey Son of man

hope you dont mind if i ask you some questions

The Father is the Buddha unbound


What does this mean?
What is the "father"?

Jesus entered into the Father's eternal glory becoming Christ
/

What does this mean?

Christ is the door to the Father's eternal kingdom


How is he?

Christ gives the Spirit of the Father to those who believe in him


So the rest can burn?

When the Spirit of the Father is received in us it is called the Holy Ghost


How do you know the Holy Ghost exists?

God is the unity of the Father, the Christ glorified in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in us


What created God?

The Father is greater than all


What does this mean?


metta
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:24 pm

clw_uk wrote:Hey Son of man

hope you dont mind if i ask you some questions

The Father is the Buddha unbound


What does this mean?
What is the "father"?

Jesus entered into the Father's eternal glory becoming Christ
/

What does this mean?

Christ is the door to the Father's eternal kingdom


How is he?

Christ gives the Spirit of the Father to those who believe in him


So the rest can burn?

When the Spirit of the Father is received in us it is called the Holy Ghost


How do you know the Holy Ghost exists?

God is the unity of the Father, the Christ glorified in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in us


What created God?

The Father is greater than all


What does this mean?

metta


The Father: the total unbinding of Shakyamuni Buddha

Jesus was Sariputta the spiritual son of the Blessed One Shakyamuni Buddha.

Jesus entered into the Father's eternal glory becoming Christ:

Metaphorically the only way I can answer is that it is the same metaphor that Sariputta gave of the gatekeeper [the dhamma] being the only way to the Castle [the deathless] only now the gateway and the castle is Sariputta [Jesus] in unity with the total unbinding of Shakyamuni Buddha [The Father].

How do you know the Holy Ghost exists:
It wouldn't matter if I told you..you would still need to experience it for yourself to know.

What created God: The Absolute-Unfailing-Faith of the Son in the Father and his compassion for all to be eternally saved by the Father

The Father is greater than all: The total unbinding of Shakyamuni Buddha is Incorruptible, Immortal

:popcorn:
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:31 pm


It really does not show much insight into the actual teachings of the Buddha, as we seen. Your link gives us a lot of bible quotes, but nothing to show how they supposedly relate to the Buddha's actual teachings.


It isn't meant to show much insight into the actual teachings of the Buddha, that's what the Pali Cannon is for. What it IS meant to do is to ignite the spark of curiousity into the teachings of the Buddha :jumping:
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:34 pm

The Father: the total unbinding of Shakyamuni Buddha

Jesus was Sariputta the spiritual son of the Blessed One Shakyamuni Buddha.

Jesus entered into the Father's eternal glory becoming Christ:

Metaphorically the only way I can answer is that it is the same metaphor that Sariputta gave of the gatekeeper [the dhamma] being the only way to the Castle [the deathless] only now the gateway and the castle is Sariputta [Jesus] in unity with the total unbinding of Shakyamuni Buddha [The Father].

How do you know the Holy Ghost exists:
It wouldn't matter if I told you..you would still need to experience it for yourself to know.

What created God: The Absolute-Unfailing-Faith of the Son in the Father and his compassion for all to be eternally saved by the Father

The Father is greater than all: The total unbinding of Shakyamuni Buddha is Incorruptible, Immortal



It seems you are just using Abrahamic terminology to express Dhamma (mostly), why not trust in the wisdom of the Buddha and use the terms he did. Terms that arent loaded with images and themes of immortal beings and souls (which go against Dhamma)?


Either that or your a christian trying to change Dhamma into Gods message?

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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:11 pm

It seems you are just using Abrahamic terminology to express Dhamma (mostly), why not trust in the wisdom of the Buddha and use the terms he did. Terms that arent loaded with images and themes of immortal beings and souls (which go against Dhamma)?


Can you point me to the Theravada Buddhist teachings of the gods of the Pure Abode? Didn't Shakyamuni Buddha say that in his long journey to enlightenment that he had passed through all the rounds of rebirth except in the realm of the gods of the Pure Abode? And if he had been reborn there he never would have returned as Shakyamuni Buddha? Isn't the realm of the gods of the Pure Abode a place where beings eventually attain the deathless and non-returners?

Either that or your a christian trying to change Dhamma into Gods message?


Why not a buddhist trying to change Gods message into Dhamma?

:stirthepot:

:yingyang:

:rofl:
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Re: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:47 pm

Son of man wrote:
Why not a buddhist trying to change Gods message into Dhamma?


There is no need.
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: Who is GOD in Buddhism?

Postby Son of man » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Son of man wrote:
Why not a buddhist trying to change Gods message into Dhamma?


There is no need.


Only God, The Unknowable-Perfect-All-Beings-Are-Saved-To-Be, knows.
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