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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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:How else do we learn if our 'accurate' is as accurate as we think?

Debate is a big part of some Buddhist sects... Isn't it?
Discussing the Dhamma (dhammasācchaka) is one of the 38 Blessings in the Mangala Sutta, but one should do it without being confrontational and contentious. Try, “Are you sure that is correct?” or “Where does it say that?” rather than “That's wrong!” or “That's BS.” Those with more knowledge than you will soon weary of explaining if you exhibit the wrong attitude.
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VinceField
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by VinceField »

How else do we learn if our 'accurate' is as accurate as we think?

Debate is a big part of some Buddhist sects... Isn't it?
It's all about intention and motivation. Are you posting to genuinely learn, or to genuinely teach others? Or are you posting to impose your viewpoint upon others? Are you posting in search for agreement and validation of your viewpoint as a false sense of comfort? Are you posting to display that your viewpoint is the best, or that others are wrong about something that you "know" the truth about? Or are you posting to give people an impression about yourself as the identity that you wish to project?

My feeling is that many people engaged in debates are generally under the influence of one of the more ego-influenced motivations. I say this from experience, for in my past 14 years of spiritual forum activity I have been guilty of succumbing to the urges of my ego to uphold my viewpoints and sense of identity, and having witnessed this same activity from countless others, and so it is not difficult to discern when others are engaged in the same behavior. This is the reason I previously mentioned the hypocrisy of pushing teachings of the Buddha- teachings of dissolving ego attachments and identity- while simultaneously partaking in ego-strengthening activities and succumbing to ego-driven impulses, clinging to one's own perspectives and sense of self. I brought it up with the hopes of inducing the awakening of awareness to these contradictory motivations within those battling them.
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by K.Dhamma »

"I brought it up with the hopes of inducing the awakening of awareness to these contradictory motivations within those battling them."

I'm confused to why it took 6 pages of posts to get this point across. Can you elaborate?
"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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TheNoBSBuddhist
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:How else do we learn if our 'accurate' is as accurate as we think?

Debate is a big part of some Buddhist sects... Isn't it?
Discussing the Dhamma (dhammasācchaka) is one of the 38 Blessings in the Mangala Sutta, but one should do it without being confrontational and contentious. Try, “Are you sure that is correct?” or “Where does it say that?” rather than “That's wrong!” or “That's BS.” Those with more knowledge than you will soon weary of explaining if you exhibit the wrong attitude.
well, Bhante, I have occasionally asked for citations if someone has claimed something is written, without quoting their source... I do not think it conducive to constructive dialogue, when someone says "The Buddha says *this*" or "The Sutta states that..." so yes, I have, both here and elsewhere, asked that those posters in particular, provide a reliable source/link...
And more often than not, I have not entered into debate here, unless I have been very, very sure of my own sources, experience and discernment.

Besides, there's no point in saying something, If I don't really mean that.
I'd rather be accused of Harsh Speech than False.
I call a spade a ruddy shovel, and I'd rather engage in a good, animated discussion, with no hypocrisy, than pussyfoot around massaging egos and tip-toeing around verbal constructs.

There is no gentle way of shelling a nut, Reverend.... You have to break the hard part to get to the nutritive centre.
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You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Mkoll
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by Mkoll »

No_Mind wrote:LXNDR it is not a question of if Nirvana and Brahman are same but if Nirvana and Moksha are same. The equivalence you are trying to draw is between Nirvana and Moksha. I just wanted to correct the term used. I have no opinion on the topic. Trying to compare Buddhism and Hinduism is something any intelligent person must steer clear of. Google "Nirvana vs Moksha"

It is a debate that has lasted 2 millenia and not going to be resolved in few pages of to and fro. Just choose the religion you like and proceed with it. If like me you have your own cocktail of beliefs (mostly Theravadin but ample flirtation with other faiths, science, humanism, rationalism) you must be careful not to bring it out in the open where it might be provocative.

Buddhism has no belief in Atman, Hinduism has Atman and Param-atman (Ishvara when with attributes and Brahman when without attributes). To compare the two religions is not possible. They have a fundamental difference and all comparison stops at that point.

The good people who opened this Forum did not do so to be challenged.

If I met you with your Buddhist hat on in a Catholic, Islamic, Hindu Forum I would advise the same. It is provocative not intellectual.
:goodpost:

It's like me going on a monotheistic forum and arguing that Buddha = God just because they share some characteristics. It's a ridiculous position to begin with and pushing it on others even more so.
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Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by ancientbuddhism »

VinceField wrote:
How else do we learn if our 'accurate' is as accurate as we think?

Debate is a big part of some Buddhist sects... Isn't it?
It's all about intention and motivation. Are you posting to genuinely learn, or to genuinely teach others? Or are you posting to impose your viewpoint upon others? Are you posting in search for agreement and validation of your viewpoint as a false sense of comfort? Are you posting to display that your viewpoint is the best, or that others are wrong about something that you "know" the truth about? Or are you posting to give people an impression about yourself as the identity that you wish to project?

My feeling is that many people engaged in debates are generally under the influence of one of the more ego-influenced motivations. I say this from experience, for in my past 14 years of spiritual forum activity I have been guilty of succumbing to the urges of my ego to uphold my viewpoints and sense of identity, and having witnessed this same activity from countless others, and so it is not difficult to discern when others are engaged in the same behavior. This is the reason I previously mentioned the hypocrisy of pushing teachings of the Buddha- teachings of dissolving ego attachments and identity- while simultaneously partaking in ego-strengthening activities and succumbing to ego-driven impulses, clinging to one's own perspectives and sense of self. I brought it up with the hopes of inducing the awakening of awareness to these contradictory motivations within those battling them.
I’m not sure what you are looking for with the question in the OP. You mentioned that you have “14 years of spiritual forum activity”, yet you come into a very traditional Buddhist forum, ask for definition on what is known to even a student of an elective class on religious humanities as anathema to its central tenets, only to criticise most of the respondents as ‘egotistical’ in their replies.

But for what it is worth, in the OP you mentioned…
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.
Assuming there is intellectual honesty in this statement, that you really don’t have a working knowledge of Buddhism, I can only suggest that your definition of ‘enlightened being’ is not a property of a Tathāgata.

You have given a cogent display of your definition of what God is, based on your understanding…
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.
This is very close to the accretion of brāhmaṇa viewpoints current during the period the Nikāyas were given. And were vigorously denied by the Tathāgata. Simply said: because the Ātman in the Upaniṣads represents both the creator and sustainer of the created, the Tathāgata’s denial of Ātman as non-existent (asat) is a denial of both God and soul.

You mentioned …
VinceField wrote: 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…
All you and I can agree on here is that you had an ‘experience’. That this is an experience of God is a product of your own, a manomaya as it were.

And you asked for our personal experience of God (an amusing question put to Buddhists)…
VinceField wrote: 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.
There are some Buddhists, not given to meditation, that simply accept the non-existence of God doctrinally without any ‘personal’ thoughts on the matter. But the doctrinal assertion that God is non-existent is attainable through direct experience. Even the Tathāgata’s most outright refutations of an Ātman were usually couched well within a contemplative analysis through which one can directly know it. Early-Buddhist contemplative work is engaged in direct, empirical experience of psychophysical reality. This is the range all of us are given, but for the Dhamma contemplative what is relevant is sensate, what is suspect is conceptual, and what is wisdom is the ability to know the difference and keep the dynamic of experience in the real. Any thoughts and imaginings that spin outside of that filter is simply regarded as not relevant.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by Goofaholix »

VinceField wrote:My feeling is that many people engaged in debates are generally under the influence of one of the more ego-influenced motivations. I say this from experience, for in my past 14 years of spiritual forum activity I have been guilty of succumbing to the urges of my ego to uphold my viewpoints and sense of identity, and having witnessed this same activity from countless others, and so it is not difficult to discern when others are engaged in the same behavior. This is the reason I previously mentioned the hypocrisy of pushing teachings of the Buddha- teachings of dissolving ego attachments and identity- while simultaneously partaking in ego-strengthening activities and succumbing to ego-driven impulses, clinging to one's own perspectives and sense of self. I brought it up with the hopes of inducing the awakening of awareness to these contradictory motivations within those battling them.
Yes, it's not difficult to judge the motivations of others, just as it's not difficult to experience a God one creates in ones own image according to the conceptual framework of what one thinks such a God should be like.

Discerning ones own ego-strengthening activities and on'e own ego-driven impulses is much harder though isn't it?

You asked a question that you should already know the answer to after 14 years of spiritual forum activity, the concept of God isn't considered very useful in Buddhist practice, go figure.

That doesn't mean we know for certain that he/she/it doesn't exist, the question is just not relevant to Buddhist practice and methodology, much like it's not relevant to the practice of say carpentry or mathematics.

It's just another example of how belief in God motivates his/her/it's believers to try to impose their views on others.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
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SDC
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by SDC »

VinceField wrote:It's all about.....
Like I said two pages ago, if you had an axe to grind or even just a simple bone to pick regarding conduct on religious forums then it should have been said outright rather than under the guise of a topic such as “God” of which you knew full well how it was likely to go. Your digression into this borderline self-righteous analysis regarding the conduct of the membership is so blatantly pre-planned and devious.

Thanks for stopping by, and you stay classy, San Diego.
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by K.Dhamma »

The Buddha continues:
" Have you heard the voices of deities who have been reborn in an entirely happy world, saying 'The attainment of an entirely happy world has been well and rightly gained, and we, gentlemen, have been reborn in such a realm?'" and they replied: "No." What do you think, Potthapada? Such being the case, does not the talk of those ascetics and Brahmins turn out to be stupid?"


---Ayya Khema quoting the Buddha in her book "Who Is My Self?" Page 126 first Quote.
"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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VinceField
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by VinceField »

If I had originally wanted to start a discussion on the contradictory conduct that takes place on spiritual forums, then I would have done so in an appropriately titled thread in an appropriate section of the forum. I am not afraid to speak my mind and I tend to cut right to the point, although I do try to practice controlling my ego and hence try to limit my postings to avoid engaging in the behavior that I have spoken out against. To be accused of starting this thread in hopes of this behavior arising just so that I could later condemn it when it arose is absolutely ridiculous and absurdly hilarious. Talk about a wild fabrication! Perhaps someone's been watching too many soap operas or private detective programs. :spy: :woohoo:

If you hadn't noticed, my second post was thankful and encouraging, as members were simply sharing their views in a balanced manner and there was no egoic oneupmanship taking place. I have not discussed the topic of God with many Buddhists(in fact I only took an interest in Buddhism not even two months ago), and a search for "God" with the forum's search tool yielded zero results, so I felt a thread of this nature would be helpful, as it is something I have been discussing with some spiritual friends lately and wanted to hear some Buddhist viewpoints, as I am trying to bridge my own experiences and beliefs with the philosophies of the Buddhist practices which I am currently engaged in.

I could have simply chosen just about any preexisting thread on this forum and pointed out the clinging and pushing and battling of personal views if that is what my intentions were. I don't need to fabricate a thread as bait. I simply expressed myself at the exact moment I felt compelled to do so and stated something that I felt some people needed to hear because there is obviously some unconscious behaviors and motivations at hand. I would think that such an absurd accusation as deceitfully creating a thread as bait to later criticize forum behavior is nothing more than a projection of the deceit within one's own self. No need for that, come on, let's hug it out! :hug:
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by tiltbillings »

VinceField wrote: . . .
Or it could be that you were rather ham-handed in your approach here.

The Dhamma wheel search function does not work, but google -- Dhamma Wheel God -- does:
https://www.google.com/search?q=Dhamma+ ... gws_rd=ssl
>> 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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SDC
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by SDC »

VinceField wrote:No need for that, come on, let's hug it out! :hug:
You just seemed very “prepared” when it went south, but if you insist… :hug:

And to answer the OP: I am not looking for a God, nor do I expect to find one. That position above all creation is of no concern to me.
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by SarathW »

SarathW wrote:Hi Lxnder
I have no problem if you want to call Niravan as Brahman or vice versa.
Even Buddha used about thirty different words to describe it.
The question to me is what is the path to enter Brahman?
Do you have Noble Eight Fold Path in advaita-vedanta?
Do you accept that Noble Eight Fold Path is the way to enter Brahman?
If not what item of the path you oppose to? (Four Noble Truths)
:group:
Hi You did not give an answer to my question.
You said:


it's really like saying that two different bus routes cannot lead to the same bus terminal :)
===========
Ok I would say that two different itinerary.
Buddha very clearly demonstrated that you can't attain nirvana by following those Brahamana teachings.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind »

SarathW wrote:
SarathW wrote:Hi Lxnder
I have no problem if you want to call Niravan as Brahman or vice versa.
Even Buddha used about thirty different words to describe it.
The question to me is what is the path to enter Brahman?
Do you have Noble Eight Fold Path in advaita-vedanta?
Do you accept that Noble Eight Fold Path is the way to enter Brahman?
If not what item of the path you oppose to? (Four Noble Truths)
:group:
Hi You did not give an answer to my question.
Sarath get in line behind me brother :console:

Vesak2014 issued dire warnings to me about my impending birth in lower realms and then disappeared. Vesak2014 you have 3 questions pending from me.
No_Mind wrote:
vesak2014 wrote:
No_Mind wrote: I am an agnostic theist. I cannot prove there is a God but I tend to believe there is one.
If you are really serious with Buddhism, demonstrate unshakeable faith in Buddha Dhamma, make yourself your own refugee. Completely get rid of that tendency to believe or any form of such belief, whatever it is God or Brahman. Because if you still have such belief it will block you from understanding the teaching (believe it or not, it will.) You will remain uninstructed no matter how hard and how long you try to learn. You won't be in the same track as the Buddha's path to liberation, which means the chance for the next becoming in lower realm is still wide open. Therefore it is a deadly serious advice. The choices, to believe or not to believe, are yours. You have been told.

One ) Please quote the part from Pali Canon where it says that belief in existence of God is an obstruction to understanding teachings of Buddha. It says to seek or inquire about God is an obstruction.

Two ) And if you can kindly answer this - in your opinion did Gandhi and Mother Teresa go to lower realms? (Yes / No reply please to this one)

Three ) If you did not see fit to send dire warnings of lower birth towards LXNDR why do so with me :thinking:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus
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Re: Where is God in Buddhism?

Post by LXNDR »

SarathW wrote:
SarathW wrote:Hi Lxnder
I have no problem if you want to call Niravan as Brahman or vice versa.
Even Buddha used about thirty different words to describe it.
The question to me is what is the path to enter Brahman?
Do you have Noble Eight Fold Path in advaita-vedanta?
Do you accept that Noble Eight Fold Path is the way to enter Brahman?
If not what item of the path you oppose to? (Four Noble Truths)
:group:
Hi You did not give an answer to my question.
i'm sorry i withdrew from the argument and thought answering these questions lost its relevance and polemic value

the path to enter Brahman, or rather to become one, or achieve emancipation through knowing it, is various kinds of meditation practices, leading to realization that one is that

as far as i know advaita doesn't have such a beautifully and coherently delineated system of practice as Buddha Dhamma does

everything i know the Dhamma posits as existing and right i mostly agree with, it's more difficult to agree with certain things it posits as non-existing and wrong
SarathW wrote:Buddha very clearly demonstrated that you can't attain nirvana by following those Brahamana teachings.
he demonstrated that by stating that his two teachers weren't liberated and that ascetics he knew of were misguided, however that doesn't necessarily mean that other people who followed different paths weren't liberated, either in his time or thereafter
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