Where is God in Buddhism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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VinceField
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Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by VinceField »

My understanding of Buddhism is that the idea of God is not taught or believed in. I am curious as to people's opinions about this, what your belief in God is and how it ties in with the Buddhist philosophies and practices that you follow. It seems a bit odd that an enlightened being such as the Buddha wouldn't have first hand knowledge or insights into the true nature of God. Perhaps I am missing some perspective that can be offered by those more knowledgeable on the subject.

I understand that there are different definitions of God- the definition I am referring to is the core divine consciousness that is fundamental to all creations in existence, comprising the very core essence of the entire multidimensional infinite universe, God is an incomprehensibly vast, intelligent and unconditionally loving power, the creator of everything, experiencing itself in an infinite variety of expressions through it's own creations.

I have experienced the reality of God in the terms I have just described during some of my higher-level out of body experiences in which I shed through the coarser levels of my self and accessed a higher divine aspect of my being, experiencing myself as One with God and all consciousness in existence in a state of inconceivable divine bliss and unconditional love, and experienced direct knowledge of the higher/deeper dimensions of my being which included experiencing the nature of God first hand, although much of the insight gained during these experiences cannot be fully comprehended by my limited physically-oriented mind or accurately translated or described by our limited terms and language.

So if an unenlightened being such as me, or many of the other explorers of consciousness in higher spiritual realms, or individuals having near death experiences, if us laymen can gain glimpses into the true nature of God, why is there a disconnect from this in Buddhist philosophy?

K.Dhamma
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by K.Dhamma »

My understanding of Buddhism is that the idea of God is not taught or believed in. I am curious as to people's opinions about this, what your belief in God is and how it ties in with the Buddhist philosophies and practices that you follow. It seems a bit odd that an enlightened being such as the Buddha wouldn't have first hand knowledge or insights into the true nature of God. Perhaps I am missing some perspective that can be offered by those more knowledgeable on the subject.


YMMV - It's not that we don't believe in a god or gods. It's that it really isn't of much concern. I'm not sure how else to put it into perspective for you other than, it's just not important for many buddhists to worry about.

I understand that there are different definitions of God- the definition I am referring to is the core divine consciousness that is fundamental to all creations in existence, comprising the very core essence of the entire multidimensional infinite universe, God is an incomprehensibly vast, intelligent and unconditionally loving power, the creator of everything, experiencing itself in an infinite variety of expressions through it's own creations.

This is paradoxical to me. If god was all that and more then why would a god need to create anything? Wouldn't the god be happy by itself?

I have experienced the reality of God in the terms I have just described during some of my higher-level out of body experiences in which I shed through the coarser levels of my self and accessed a higher divine aspect of my being, experiencing myself as One with God and all consciousness in existence in a state of inconceivable divine bliss and unconditional love, and experienced direct knowledge of the higher/deeper dimensions of my being which included experiencing the nature of God first hand, although much of the insight gained during these experiences cannot be fully comprehended by my limited physically-oriented mind or accurately translated or described by our limited terms and language.

:namaste:

So if an unenlightened being such as me, or many of the other explorers of consciousness in higher spiritual realms, or individuals having near death experiences, if us laymen can gain glimpses into the true nature of God, why is there a disconnect from this in Buddhist philosophy?

IMO - There isn't a disconnect. It's just that there are more important things to consider. Such as Sila, Samadhi, and Pañña.
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah

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Aloka
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by Aloka »

VinceField wrote: My understanding of Buddhism is that the idea of God is not taught or believed in. I am curious as to people's opinions about this, what your belief in God is and how it ties in with the Buddhist philosophies and practices that you follow
This might help:

1. Buddhism and the God Idea - Good Question, Good Answer with Ven S.Dhammika

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda03.htm


2. Buddhism and the God Idea by Nyanaponika Thera

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... didea.html

.

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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist »

The Buddha never denied the existence of a Deity.
He merely indicated that speculation on the existence of an omnipotent everlasting God was a complete waste of time.

Prove without a shadow of a doubt a God exists? Impossible.
Prove without a shadow of a doubt no God exists? Impossible.

So, such a process is pointless and immaterial.

I always say that it is of little consequence whether 'Heaven' exists or not.
The importance is to live life AS IF IT DID.

That is sufficient.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by culaavuso »

VinceField wrote: I understand that there are different definitions of God- the definition I am referring to is the core divine consciousness that is fundamental to all creations in existence, comprising the very core essence of the entire multidimensional infinite universe, God is an incomprehensibly vast, intelligent and unconditionally loving power, the creator of everything, experiencing itself in an infinite variety of expressions through it's own creations.
DN 11 discusses this creator as the Great Brahma and includes a dialog of a monk speaking with the Great Brahma. It's also not a coincidence that Brahma would be described as unconditionally loving given that the attitudes of good will, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity are called the Brahma-Viharas or the abodes of Brahma.
DN 11: Kevaddha Sutta wrote: When this was said, the Great Brahma said to the monk, 'I, monk, am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be.'
...
Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, 'These gods of the retinue of Brahma believe, "There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not see. There is nothing of which the Great Brahma is unaware. There is nothing that the Great Brahma has not realized." That is why I did not say in their presence that I, too, don't know where the four great elements... cease without remainder. So you have acted wrongly, acted incorrectly, in bypassing the Blessed One in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Go right back to the Blessed One and, on arrival, ask him this question. However he answers it, you should take it to heart.'
The Brahmas are still subject to ignorance, however, as discussed in MN 49. Confusing the results of bright kamma for something constant, they continue in the cycle of birth and death. Mara is described as encouraging this misconception.
MN 49: Brahmanimantanika Sutta wrote: The Blessed One said: "On one occasion recently I was staying in Ukkattha in the Subhaga forest at the root of a royal sala tree. Now on that occasion an evil viewpoint had arisen to Baka-Brahma: 'This is constant. This is permanent. This is eternal. This is total. This is not subject to falling away — for this does not take birth, does not age, does not die, does not fall away, does not reappear. And there is no other, higher escape.'
...
When this was said, I told Mara the Evil One, 'I know you, Evil One. Don't assume, "He doesn't know me." You are Mara, Evil One. And Brahma, and Brahma's assembly, and the attendants of Brahma's assembly have all fallen into your hands. They have all fallen into your power. And you think, "This one, too, has come into my hands, has come under my control." But, Evil One, I have neither come into your hands nor have I come under your control.'
The way that the Great Brahma comes to this state of misunderstanding and ignorance is explained in DN 1
DN 1: Brahmajāla Sutta wrote: While the world is expanding, an empty palace of Brahmā appears. Then a certain being, due to the exhaustion of his life-span or the exhaustion of his merit, passes away from the Ābhassara plane and re-arises in the empty palace of Brahmā. There he dwells, mind made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And he continues thus for a long, long period of time.

Then, as a result of dwelling there all alone for so long a time, there arises in him dissatisfaction and agitation, (and he yearns): ‘Oh, that other beings might come to this place!’ Just at that moment, due to the exhaustion of their life-span or the exhaustion of their merit, certain other beings pass away from the Ābhassara plane and re-arise in the palace of Brahmā, in companionship with him. There they dwell, mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And they continue thus for a long, long period of time.

Thereupon the being who re-arose there first thinks to himself: ‘I am Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And these beings have been created by me. What is the reason? Because first I made the wish: “Oh, that other beings might come to this place!” And after I made this resolution, now these beings have come.’

And the beings who re-arose there after him also think: ‘This must be Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And we have been created by him. What is the reason? Because we see that he was here first, and we appeared here after him.’
VinceField wrote: So if an unenlightened being such as me, or many of the other explorers of consciousness in higher spiritual realms, or individuals having near death experiences, if us laymen can gain glimpses into the true nature of God, why is there a disconnect from this in Buddhist philosophy?
The Buddha understood the nature of the Great Brahma and the actions that lead to arising in such a condition, but also understood and taught the path to Nibbana as superior to birth in the Brahma worlds.

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SDC
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by SDC »

I did some quick research on the term Brahmābhu'to (God become/became) and it appears in several suttas including MN 1.341, DN 3.84, DN 1.248, DN 1.249, SN 3.83 and SN 5.5 to name a few. Sorry I do not have the time to pull them up but wanted to get them into the discussion early because I think they can shed some constructive light on this issue. In several lectures by Ven. Punnaji he emphasizes that it is the concept of God as “the ideal of human perfection” that Buddha was referring to in these passages and thereby encouraging people to become that ideal; an ideal that they knew well and could relate to. While this is not an all out rejection of a creator God it surely far from a confirmation.

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Mkoll
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by Mkoll »

VinceField wrote:Where is God in Buddhism?
If by God you mean the definition of God your put forth, then it is something else to let go of, IMO. I don't speak for Buddhism, but only for my current understanding of what I think are the Buddha's teachings.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

LXNDR
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by LXNDR »

culaavuso wrote: The Buddha understood the nature of the Great Brahma and the actions that lead to arising in such a condition, but also understood and taught the path to Nibbana as superior to birth in the Brahma worlds.
VinceField is most likely speaking not of mortal gods, such as Brahma, but rather of Brahman
VinceField wrote:It seems a bit odd that an enlightened being such as the Buddha wouldn't have first hand knowledge or insights into the true nature of God.
Maybe he did, but didn't call it that

culaavuso
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by culaavuso »

LXNDR wrote: VinceField is most likely speaking not of mortal gods, such as Brahma, but rather of Brahman
If information on Brahman is of interest, then it might be helpful to read the posts by ancientbuddhism in another thread, such as this one:
ancientbuddhism wrote: With reference to the Tathāgata’s epithet for Nibbāna – Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, this is likely another case where he was punning on a similar epithet for the Ātman (=Brahman) in the Upaniṣads
...
In other words, the Tathāgata applied the epithet for the Upanishadic Ātman (=Brahman) to what truly is ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ.
and this one:
ancientbuddhism wrote: In the Kāḷakārāma Sutta mentioned above, the Tathāgata likens the Ātman to a mere imagining (maññati) = delusion. The use of maññati for Ātman is also found at Sn.3.12 - Dvayatānupassanā Sutta, that further likens the Ātman to a falsehood and delusion (musā/mosa)
...
However, Nibbāna is by its nature without falsehood (amosadhamma) and true (sacca).
...
This clearly separates Nibbāna as the opposite of Ātman.
The links above have much more detail and references to support the quotes. Other related posts from that thread of quality and relevance can be found here, here, and here.

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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by bharadwaja »

SDC wrote:I did some quick research on the term Brahmābhu'to (God become/became) and it appears in several suttas including MN 1.341, DN 3.84, DN 1.248, DN 1.249, SN 3.83 and SN 5.5 to name a few. Sorry I do not have the time to pull them up but wanted to get them into the discussion early because I think they can shed some constructive light on this issue.
Why the apostrophe and long ā in this word, when there is no Brahmā-bhuto found in the canon?

I found only the following forms (meaning "become Brahman", not "become Brahmā"), as attested in the canon:
1. brahmabhūtā
2. brahmabhūtena
3. brahmabhūto
4. brahmabhūtaṃ

Brahmabhūtaṃ (become Brahman) is called atitulaṃ (incomparable) only AFAIK used for the tathāgata.

The phrase brahmabhūtena attanā viharati "the atta having become (united) with brahman stays"... note the use of the instrumental case signifying "with".

I contrast this with devabhuto (become a deity/god) which is attested in the following forms but never used AFAIK for the tathāgata:
1. devabhūtānaṃ
2. devabhūto
3. devabhūtassa

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SDC
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by SDC »

bharadwaja wrote:
SDC wrote:I did some quick research on the term Brahmābhu'to (God become/became) and it appears in several suttas including MN 1.341, DN 3.84, DN 1.248, DN 1.249, SN 3.83 and SN 5.5 to name a few. Sorry I do not have the time to pull them up but wanted to get them into the discussion early because I think they can shed some constructive light on this issue.
Why the apostrophe and long ā in this word, when there is no Brahmā-bhuto found in the canon?

I found only the following forms (meaning "become Brahman", not "become Brahmā"), as attested in the canon:
1. brahmabhūtā
2. brahmabhūtena
3. brahmabhūto
4. brahmabhūtaṃ

Brahmabhūtaṃ (become Brahman) is called atitulaṃ (incomparable) only AFAIK used for the tathāgata.

The phrase brahmabhūtena attanā viharati "the atta having become (united) with brahman stays"... note the use of the instrumental case signifying "with".

I contrast this with devabhuto (become a deity/god) which is attested in the following forms but never used AFAIK for the tathāgata:
1. devabhūtānaṃ
2. devabhūto
3. devabhūtassa
If the construction is incorrect I apologize, my research was admittedly brief and that is what I was able to find. I was mainly interested in noting the suttas in which it appears and to share an explanation of its usage of which I’ve found to be very helpful. I am in no position to debate the Pali.

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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by tiltbillings »

bharadwaja wrote:
Brahmabhūtaṃ (become Brahman) is called atitulaṃ (incomparable) only AFAIK used for the tathāgata.
One can't become what one already is. And the term tathagata is also used for one who is arahant, which your being an arhat and master of all things Buddhist, knowing via your direct knowledge, you would have known that.

As for "Brahmabhūtaṃ (become Brahman)," we have here another example of the Buddha taking bramanical terminology and giving it a different meaning. There is no need, or justification for reading brahman into this locution, given that there is not a thing in the suttas to support it.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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tiltbillings
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by tiltbillings »

'There are [states the Buddha], Bhaggava, some ascetics and Brahmins who declare as their doctrine that all things began with the creation by God [issara, or ishvara, skt], or Brahma. I have gone to them and said: "Reverend sirs, is it true that you declare that all things began with the creation by a God, or Brahma?" "Yes", they replied.'

-- Digha Nikaya 24

And this god is characterized so:

"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."

which is a nice characterization of the brahmanical notion of the creator god one finds in the early brahmanical literature, particularly the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, and it seems to fit for most every other creator god notion that has come down the pike. It is important to note that it is not a concern here with a multitude of gods, but of a singular omniscient, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos.

And this is rejected by the Buddha. This not indifference as is sometimes claimed of the Buddha's stance towards a god notion. Though the Buddha's particular rejection is not a philosophical argument against a creator god, it is rather a religious statement that is consistent with the underlying dynamic "ontology" of becoming that characterizes what the Buddha taught as opposed to the ontology of being that characterizes the god notion of brahman/brahma.

The Buddha gives a bitingly funny caricature of Brhadaranyaka Upanisad's creation story. It is, rather, the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad's god notion serves as a basis for the rejection of the idea of "an omniscient, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos."

This is not an indifference to an omniscient, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos, but a pointed rejection of it as having ultimate significance and reducing it to a lesser status. What also needs to be kept in mind is that Brahma is the personification of the notion of the impersonal brahman, the godhead, the underlying principle, the all, which finds expression in us as the unchanging eternal atman. This rejection by the Buddha of any sort of underlying being, essence has then been taken up and expanded upon by any number of Buddhist doctors from that time on, both from the early schools and the later Mahayana schools.

Anguttara Nikaya 3.61: "Again, monks, I [the Buddha] approached those ascetic and brahmins and said to them: 'Is it true, as they say, that you venerable ones teach and hold the view that whatever a person experiences...all that is caused by God's creation?' When they affirmed it, I said to them: 'If that is so, venerable sirs, then it is due to God's creation that people kill, steal ...[and otherwise act badly]. But those who have recourse to God's creation as the decisive factor, will lack the impulse and the effort doing this or not doing that. Since for them, really and truly, no (motive) obtains that this or that ought to be done or not be done...."'

"If the pleasure and pain that beings feel are caused the creative act of a Supreme God [Issara-nimmana-hetu], then the Niganthas [Jains] surely must have been created by an evil Supreme God." MajjhimaNikaya II 222.

"There is no Supreme God." MN II 68.

And in the 50th discourse MN I 338 of the Middle Length Sayings:

"God [Brahma] truthfully answers [the questions of the Buddha] in succession: 'Good sir, those views I previously held are not mine; I see the radiance the world of God as passing; how could I say that I am permanent and eternal?'"

The Buddha states (Anguttara-Nikaya X 29):

As far as the suns and moons extend their courses and the regions of the sky shine in splendour, there is a thousandfold world system. In each single one of these there are a thousand suns, moons, Meru Mountains, four times a thousand continents and oceans, a thousand heavens of all stages of the realm of sense pleasure, a thousand Brahma worlds. As far as a thousandfold world system reaches in other words, the universe, the Great God is the highest being. But even the Great God is subject to coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.'

Let me further add from Klaus Klostermaier's A SURVEY OF HINDUISM, pgs: 137-8,
149-50.

== "In the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad we read a dialogue in which
Yajnavalkya is asked the crucial question: Kati devah, how many
are the devas [gods]? His first answer is a quotation from a Vedic text:
'Three hundred and three and three thousand and three." Pressed
on, he reduces the number first to thirty-three, then to six, then to
three, to two, to one-and-a-half and finally to One. 'Which is the
one deva [god]?' And he answers: "The prana (breath, life). The
Brahman. He is called tyat (that).' Though the devas still figure in
sacrificial practice and religious debate, the question 'Who is God?' is
here answered in terms that has remained the Hindu answer ever since.==

Also from the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad"

== 10. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman. It knew only itself
(atmanam): "I am Brahman!" Therefore it became the All. Whoever of
the gods became awakened to this, he indeed became it; likewise in the
case of seers (rsi), likewise in the case of men. Seeing this, indeed, the
seer Vamadeva began:-

I was Manu and the sun (surya)!

This is so now also. Whoever thus knows "I am Brahman!" becomes this
All; even the gods have not power to prevent his becoming thus, for he
becomes their self (atman).

So whoever worships another divinity [than his Self], thinking "He is
one and I another," he knows not. He is like a sacrificial animal for the
gods. Verily, indeed, as many animals would be of service to a man,
even so each single person is of service to the gods. If even one animal
is taken away, it is not pleasant. What, then, if many? Therefore it is
not pleasing to those [gods] that men should know this.
11. Verily, in the beginning this world was Brahman, one only. ==

The Buddha responds (SN IV 15):

"Monks, I will teach you the all. And what is the all? The eye and forms, the ear and sounds the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and touch, the mind and mental phenomena. This is called the all. If anyone, monks, should speak thus: ' Having rejected this all, I shall make known another all' --that would be a mere empty boast."

Let us keep in mind here that maya is brahman/brahma/god’s energy:

Bhagavad Gita Ch 7 14 Divine indeed is this illusion [maya] of Mine, made up of three qualities, And difficult to penetrate; Only those who resort to Me Transcend this illusion [maya].

Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 7, Verse 25: (Sri Bagawan Krishna says:)I (Knower of the field) am never manifest to the foolish and ignorant. For them I am covered by My eternal creative potency [yoga-Maya]; and that is why the deluded world knows Me not, Who am unborn and infallible.

Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 18, Verse 61: Arjuna, God abides in the heart of all creatures, causing them to revolve according to their Karma (Desires) by His illusive power (Maya) as though mounted on a machine.

Brahman (ब्रह्मन् brahman) is "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world" Brahman is conceived as Atman. The personal God is impersonal reality reflected upon the mirror of ignorance and illusion. In Visishtadvaita and Dvaita, God is Saguna Brahman with infinite attributes and is the source of the impersonal Nirguna Brahman, and God's energy is regarded as Maya.

In the Gita, chapter 16, 8:

'The universe," they say, "is without truth [asat that which open to destruction and change, without an atman/brahman, the Absolute within each of us],"
Without basis/unstable [having no solid ground apratis.t.ham], without a God;
Brought about by a mutual union,
How else? It is caused by lust alone.'


This is a good caricature of the Buddhist position, and certainly the Buddhist position is that the world is unstable, constantly in change, without a basis or essence - an atman/brahman, and is without a god, "Brought about by a mutual union," and "caused by desire," all of which could be used to describe the Buddhist position, but no one else of the time.

And the Gita goes on, 16, 9:

Holding this view,
These men of lost souls, of small intelligence,
And of cruel actions, come forth as enemies
Of the world for it destruction.


Samyutta Nikaya III 144:

"Bhikkhus [monks, the Buddha said, holding a fleck of dung on his fingernail], if even if that much of permanent, everlasting, eternal individual selfhood/metaphysical being (Pali: attabhava, Sanskrit atmanbhava), not inseparable from the idea of change, could be found, then this living the holy life could not be taught by me."

J VI.208"

"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."

J V.238:

"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."
  • MN 22:
    "There are, monks, these six grounds for false views. What are the six? There is here, monks, an uninstructed worldling who has no regard for Noble Ones, who is ignorant of their teaching and untrained in it; who has no regard for men of worth, who is ignorant of their teaching and untrained in it: he considers corporeality thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; he considers feeling... perception... mental formations thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; and what is seen, heard, sensed, and thought; what is encountered, sought, pursued in mind, this also he considers thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'; and also this ground for views (holding): 'The universe is the Self.[19] That I shall be after death; permanent, stable, eternal, immutable; eternally the same, shall I abide in that very condition' — that (view), too, he considers thus: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self.'
    • 19."The universe is the Self," lit.: "This (is) the world, this (is) the self" (so loko so attaa). That, in fact, an identification of the two terms is intended here, will be shown in the following comments. The best explanation of the passage is furnished in the Brahmajaala Sutta (DN 1) where a similar phraseology is used: "There are, monks, some ascetics and brahmans who are eternalists and who proclaim self and world to be eternal" (sassatavaadaa sassata.m attañca lokañca paññapenti); subsequently the theorist is introduced as stating his view in similar terms: "Eternal are self and world... they exist as eternally the same" (sassato attaa ca loko ca... atthi iveva sassatisama.m). The last term appears likewise in our text; see Note 21. From this we may safely conclude that it is the identity, or unity, of the Self (or soul; mahaatman, paramaatman) with the universe (or the Universal Spirit, Brahman) which is conveyed by our text.
  • MN 22:

    25. "If there were a self, monks, would there be my self's property?" — "So it is, Lord." — "Or if there is a self's property, would there by my self?" — "So it is, Lord." — "Since in truth and in fact, self and self's property do not obtain, O monks, then this ground for views, 'The universe is the Self. That I shall be after death; permanent, stable, eternal, immutable; eternally the same shall I abide, in that very condition' — is it not, monks, an entirely and perfectly foolish idea?" — "What else should it be, Lord? It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea."[30]
    • [30]
      The two supplementary statements in this section suggest the following implications: The concepts of "I" and "Mine" are inseparably linked; so also, in philosophical terms, are substance and attribute. If there is personality-belief or self-theory, there will be necessarily acquisitiveness or possessiveness in some form or other; at least these views themselves will be held with strong tenacity and be regarded as an "inalienable property" (see Note 22). There is no pure, abstract self or substance without its determination, property or attribute. On the other hand, acquisitiveness and possessiveness — even if of a quite unphilosophical character — cannot be without at least a tacit assumption of a proprietary self; this applies also to materialistic doctrines (annihilationism). Since in truth and fact neither an abiding property (or attribute) can be established nor an abiding self (or substance), either of these terms is left without its essential referent. Hence the conception of individual immortality as formulated in the sixth ground for views, is found to be devoid of any basis and is, therefore, rejected by the Buddha as a fool's doctrine, being outside of serious consideration.

      Comy: Here a "two-fold voidness" is shown, that of self (atta) and of property (or properties) belonging to a self (attaniya).
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Sylvester
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by Sylvester »

Masterful, Tilt.

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VinceField
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by VinceField »

Thanks for the informative posts guys. I would also be interested in hearing your personal beliefs regarding the nature of God if anyone cares to share. I assume that no one here believes there is no God, as knowledge comes from experience, not lack of experience.

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