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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:06 pm

mint wrote:God's answer to the 'question of suffering' is not a logical discourse/explanation (cf. Job 38).


God is clearly confused about the nature of causality. Suffering exists due to causes for it arising. To defer to him is most unwise.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Jikan » Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:31 pm

mint wrote:
You're still trying to confine God to our understanding. Our understanding, logic, and knowledge is limited to the rules and confines of our existence. God's existence is greater than ours, therefore our understanding isn't capable of encompassing His being.


Shorter version: you posit a category, things that are beyond our knowing or reason. Then you call that category "God," and point to it as a reality. Which is to say, you are conflating a concept of your creation with something real. You're assuming what you set out to prove.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby tobes » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:44 am

Huseng wrote:
mint wrote:You're still trying to confine God to our understanding. Our understanding, logic, and knowledge is limited to the rules and confines of our existence. God's existence is greater than ours, therefore our understanding isn't capable of encompassing His being.


You are mistaken.

"God" is equivalent to Mahā-brahma, a deity in the form realm (rūpa-dhātu) in the first dhyāna heaven. Some accounts state he is convinced he himself is the creator of the universe and many lesser deities and humans believe this to be the case as well. Other accounts state he is aware of his purported status as creator, but in reality was merely the first being to appear when the universe was last reborn. The lesser deities who appeared after him looked to him as a father and out of pity for them he announced himself as the father of creation.

A normal human being with no experience of dhyāna might not understand or be able to truly encompass his existence as you state, but anyone with mastery of the first dhyāna and beyond would have superior understanding of the universe to him.


I'm sorry to stride in on my epistemological horse again.....

But this is tantamount to saying: my cosmologically grounded claim trumps your cosmologically grounded claim because......

Well, because why?

Because you accept the verbal testimony of those within your tradition (and the cosmology of that tradition), but not the verbal testimony (and the cosmology) of those outside of your tradition. For what reason and with what justification?

These kinds of conversations are really quite bizarre.

"God isn't God, he's one of the god's......" A creative hermeneutical approach to western theism and Indian religion, but you can't honestly claim a logical basis for that can you?

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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:33 am

Jikan wrote:
mint wrote:
You're still trying to confine God to our understanding. Our understanding, logic, and knowledge is limited to the rules and confines of our existence. God's existence is greater than ours, therefore our understanding isn't capable of encompassing His being.


Shorter version: you posit a category, things that are beyond our knowing or reason. Then you call that category "God," and point to it as a reality. Which is to say, you are conflating a concept of your creation with something real. You're assuming what you set out to prove.


Perfectly put.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:16 am

mint wrote:
You're still trying to confine God to our understanding. Our understanding, logic, and knowledge is limited to the rules and confines of our existence. God's existence is greater than ours, therefore our understanding isn't capable of encompassing His being.


This statement also confines "god" to being male in gender, and to having a relative state of existence ("...existence is greater than ours...") which doesn't even make sense. What does "greater existence" mean?

In fact, even if the theory that everything was created by a "god", as many believe, were valid,
No concept of god can be greater than what can be produced by the human imagination.
This, I think, is precisely what you are saying. But it also negates any argument asserting whatever qualities describe such a god. Anybody can make up any description of God, and if you think that God is infinite, then all those descriptions are right.
God is divine, God is poop. God is not God. Whatever you like. They are all correct.

If you think that God is everywhere, and you believe that thoughts are produced in the brain, then God must exist in every atom of every human brain. If that is the case, and non-belief is a kind of thought, then an atheist is merely God not believing in God. So you see, it is even possible, for a God for whom nothing is impossible, for God not to believe in God.

If it is possible for God not to believe in God,
then what is the point of discussing God with mere humans who do not believe in God?

You can believe in god-beings if you want to, or don't if you don't want to.
Belief or non-belief in God does not amount to anything.
They are essentially the same thing.
Buddhist teachings are not concerned with that.
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.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:02 am

tobes wrote:
These kinds of conversations are really quite bizarre.

"God isn't God, he's one of the god's......" A creative hermeneutical approach to western theism and Indian religion, but you can't honestly claim a logical basis for that can you?



Śabda-pramana, knowing through the testimony of an authoritative source, is traditionally an accepted source of knowledge by Buddhists. In this context deferring to the Buddha's word is perfectly acceptable provided we can establish the Buddha as a valid authority. Non-Buddhists will not accept it just as I do not accept the word of the Vedas or Bible as authoritative, but this is a Buddhist forum so I may employ the aforementioned pramana to prove a point.

In reality though what I wrote there was done just for shits and giggles.

If we want to talk logic, then we can demonstrate the fallacy of an omnipotent uncaused creator deity, but a devout Christian will deny this by deferring to the idea that god is beyond causality, which can neither be witnessed or inferred.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:16 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:You can believe in god-beings if you want to, or don't if you don't want to.
Belief or non-belief in God does not amount to anything.
They are essentially the same thing.
Buddhist teachings are not concerned with that.
.
.
.


Buddhist teachings are concerned with right view, which includes right understanding of causality which clearly means an unconditional rejection of a creator deity, i.e., god.

The Buddha himself is on record having stated his rejection of Brahma as a creator god. Later Buddhist thinkers went to great lengths to explain precisely why god as defined by monotheists is a fallacious view to hold.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:08 pm

Huseng wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:You can believe in god-beings if you want to, or don't if you don't want to.
Belief or non-belief in God does not amount to anything.
They are essentially the same thing.
Buddhist teachings are not concerned with that.
.
.
.


Buddhist teachings are concerned with right view, which includes right understanding of causality which clearly means an unconditional rejection of a creator deity, i.e., god.

The Buddha himself is on record having stated his rejection of Brahma as a creator god. Later Buddhist thinkers went to great lengths to explain precisely why god as defined by monotheists is a fallacious view to hold.


Yes, of course this is true.
My point is that if somebody wants to call their way of thinking "god" or not, it doesn't matter.
They are still suffering because of attachment.
Buddhism is concerned with ending the cause of suffering.
Buddhist teachings go beyond what people want to believe and not believe.
...
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby mzaur » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:05 am

If I remember correctly, Buddha Shakyamuni gave the noble silence to such metaphysical questions... so couldn't it be argued that Buddhism (at least the kind stemming from the historical Buddha) is agnostic?
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:39 am

mzaur wrote:If I remember correctly, Buddha Shakyamuni gave the noble silence to such metaphysical questions... so couldn't it be argued that Buddhism (at least the kind stemming from the historical Buddha) is agnostic?


No, the Buddha rejected the existence of a monotheist god outright.

'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.' -- Anguttara-Nikaya X 29



Make no mistake the Buddha and Buddhism rejects god. There were individuals who believed Brahma created the universe, but the Buddha very clearly rejected this.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Malcolm » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:10 pm

Huseng wrote:
Śabda-pramana, knowing through the testimony of an authoritative source, is traditionally an accepted source of knowledge by Buddhists. In this context deferring to the Buddha's word is perfectly acceptable provided we can establish the Buddha as a valid authority. Non-Buddhists will not accept it just as I do not accept the word of the Vedas or Bible as authoritative, but this is a Buddhist forum so I may employ the aforementioned pramana to prove a point.



Actually, that also does not work too well, since for example, if I read a sutra you don't, you will not accept it as an authority. For example, you are not likely to accept the Kulayarāja sūtra, the root text of sems sde in Dzogchen, as authoritative.

So this notion of authority only functions among those who accept the exact same set of texts and hermenteutical criteria for deriving authority.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:43 pm

Namdrol wrote:So this notion of authority only functions among those who accept the exact same set of texts and hermenteutical criteria for deriving authority.


The challenge then is to convince me your canonical text is authoritative.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby LightSeed » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:53 pm

Huseng wrote:
the Great God is the highest being. But even the Great God is subject to coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.' -- Anguttara-Nikaya X 29



Make no mistake the Buddha and Buddhism rejects god. There were individuals who believed Brahma created the universe, but the Buddha very clearly rejected this.


While I don't disagree with you, I would love it if you could expand on this a little for me. I'm not sure I understand the interpretation following the quote, I'm still learning. :thanks:
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:34 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:So this notion of authority only functions among those who accept the exact same set of texts and hermenteutical criteria for deriving authority.


The challenge then is to convince me your canonical text is authoritative.


Unlike religion, it is not necessary to prove that the Buddha ever really said what people believe he said.
It is not necessary to prove it, and it is not necessary to accept it on faith.
We can take what are thought to be his teachings, and examine them for ourselves.
If we discover that what he supposedly said is true, then we can accept it.
If we discover that what he supposedly said is not true, then we can reject it.
It is possible that many of the words reported to be his are not his.
It is possible that what he spoke was misinterpreted.
Consider the Pali Canon, first written down a century after he died
and preserved 5,000 miles away from where he supposedly taught.
There is a lot of room for error.
But if you apply the teachings and you find that in your own life they are true, that is all that matters.
If there is a teaching that you cannot apply to your own life situation and test out for yourself,
celestial events, realms you cannot see, beings you can only imagine or whatever,
then whether it is true or not, and whether the Buddha even said it or not does not matter in your own life.

The teachings of the Buddha are called the Dharma, and Dharma means the true way that things are.
The way things are would be the same whether Buddha had explained them or not.
This is different from, say, quoting Jesus, and needing to have faith that these are his words, and that they are true, and that he even existed, in order to validate them.
In Buddhism "scriptural authority" begins when you apply the teachings in practice.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:50 pm

mzaur wrote:If I remember correctly, Buddha Shakyamuni gave the noble silence to such metaphysical questions... so couldn't it be argued that Buddhism (at least the kind stemming from the historical Buddha) is agnostic?


The Buddha said that there are questions that people ask that have nothing to do with liberation from samsara.
But this may not have as much to do withe the subject matter as with the basic assumptions that people based the questions on, assumptions that would be misunderstandings to begin with. If you ask how big the universe is, the question suggests that, for example, the universe is always the same size, or that "big" and "small" have any real meaning when discussing the universe.

the basic flaw in the divine creator theory is that it makes the assumption of finite things, to which the notion of 'creator" is used as an explanation of how those finite things came to be. So, if from your perspective the earth is made up of solid land masses, desserts and mountains and such, surrounded by water, then it is natural to wonder how they came to be. So, you might ask "who made the Earth?" and so the concept of a god is invented, and a mighty powerful one at that, because you'd have to be pretty powerful to make all this stuff.

But the Earth isn't really at all what people thought. Everything is in constant motion, constant change, even though we don't usually see it. So, whenever there were earthquakes or Tsunamis or volcanic eruptions or floods, or insect epidemics people said God was angry or something like that. The notion of a god is based on a general misunderstanding of the way things really are. So, the question of whether a god exists or not becomes pointless. It is a moot point because the notion of a god is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of phenomena.

The point is that a creator implies the inherent existence of things, and also of a self. Buddha taught that it is possible to see that no inherent self exists, and that objects are also void of any inherent or finite reality. Without this kind of existence or reality, nothing has been created. If nothing has been created, there is no creator.


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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:39 pm

LightSeed wrote:While I don't disagree with you, I would love it if you could expand on this a little for me. I'm not sure I understand the interpretation following the quote, I'm still learning. :thanks:


There are deities that live inconceivably long lives in higher realms, but they are subject to birth and death, just as we are. Hence, they are samsaric beings and not a source of refuge. Moreover, they do not create the universe and are not responsible for the fate of beings.

In the time of the Buddha many individuals believed that Brahma was the deity responsible for the creation of the universe. The Buddha outright rejected this. He said that Brahma was a high but ultimately mortal deity.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby In the bone yard » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:55 pm

I think what Jesus was teaching in the Bible was the Pointing Out, pointing out God.

"Where once I was blind now I can see"

Jesus cured the blind.
Ignorance makes us think he literally cured blind people who were clinically blind in the medical sense.
I was raised a Catholic and believed this at one time... my parents still believe this. :shrug:

We also have to consider that all translations we have of the Bible were based off one single translation from hundreds of years ago. We have many different translations and each one is a little different. Translating that which cannot be understood intellectually must be translated by someone of Source, of purity, who can actually see and understand the teachings in the way they were meant. Otherwise understanding that comes from it it is pure duality and full of intellectual speculation.

God is everywhere. Lift a rock and he is there.
God is Mahamudra, rigpa, the Universal Ground, etc...
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Norwegian » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:00 pm

To me God sounds more like a preta anyways...

But, I agree with Namdrol.

For me, what's important when I look at another religion, let's say Christianity, since this is the topic here - or rather the God of that specific religion - I look at what this God teaches. How does this God behave? And so on.

All in all, my conclusion is that if this being exists, then it's an atrocious being, utterly devoid of compassion, and just through and through cruel. I want nothing to do with that. Then there's the supposed omnipotence of this God, which is another problem altogether.

So, I don't really need Buddhist texts for this one. I rejected the Christian God long before I started studying Buddhism.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby In the bone yard » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:17 pm

Norwegian wrote:To me God sounds more like a preta anyways...



Of course, it is the biggest concept we have.

There is no worry regarding translations, even with good translations we will each carry away a different meaning according to our karma or spiritual dispositions/beliefs/concepts.
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Re: Buddhism on God

Postby Sönam » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:57 pm

I must be deep stupid, I still do not understand what God could be instead of being a word and a sound ... No one has yet given me any answer concerning any quality and how it could be seen or heard or experimented or anything ... it's just that some peoples have "decided" that they have been "physically" created by someone or something "at the very beginning" of a physical creation chain. How do they know that there is a very beginning? on what they base their assumption? Is'nt it that this idea more than being eternalist is just in a way materialist?

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