God in Buddhism

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God in Buddhism

Postby Kyosan » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:08 am

Hi Moksha. Welcome to the board.

moksha wrote:is the existence of a god completely ruled out in Buddhism?


It's not the same thing that most people consider God, but in Buddhism we do have the Dharmakaya Buddha. You might be interested in reading about that. Both the Saddharma Pundarika (Lotus) Sutra and the Mahaparinirvana Sutra discuss this. Complete versons of both of these sutras are available on the Internet. The Saddharma Pundarika Sutra is easy to find. The Mahaparinirvana Sutra is harder to find but you can find a complete version on Dr. Tony Page's website. His version isn't convenient to read because it is spread across many files, but that will soon change. There is a single-HTML-file version in the works. It has a table-of-contents with links to all the chapters so they are easy to find. You might find his website interesting because he discusses God and Buddhism.

:namaste:
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:04 am

moksha wrote:I still hold a belief in a God [is the existence of a god completely ruled out in Buddhism?

Hey prabhu, I'm a (sort of*) theistic Buddhist, so hit me up sometime for a chat.
(*I don't believe in a Christian-style God, but a "Ground of All beings, who is beyond being personal and rewarding and punishing and stuff)

I don't find the view of God and Buddhism, or even True Self ("soul") to be against Buddhism.

It may be worth reading the Kunjed Gyalpo (aka Kulayarāja Tantra). That's like, a goldmine. Here's two excerpts:

" ... everything is Me, the All-Creating Sovereign, mind of perfect purity ... I am the cause of all things. I am the stem of all things. I am the ground of all things. I am the root of all things ... There is no other Buddha besides Me, the All-Creating One."

"I am the core of all that exists. I am the seed of all that exists. I am the foundation of all that exists. I am the root of existence. I am 'the core', because I contain all phenomena. I am 'the seed', because I give birth to everything. I am 'the cause', because all comes forth from me. I am 'the trunk', because the ramificationsof every event sprout from me. I am 'the foundation', because all abides in me. I am called 'the root', because I am everything."



There is also the Dharmakāya, Sokei-an, the Japanese Zen monk, said:
"Dharmakaya [is] the equivalent of God ... The Buddha also speaks of no time and no space, where if I make a sound there is in that single moment a million years. It is spaceless like radio waves, like electric space - intrinsic. The Buddha said that there is a mirror that reflects consciousness. In this electric space a million miles and a pinpoint - a million years and a moment - are exactly the same. It is pure essence ... We call it 'original consciousness' - 'original akasha' - perhaps God in the Christian sense. I am afraid of speaking about anything that is not familiar to me. No one can know what IT is ..."


Bear in mind, prabhu, there are some Buddhists who are opposed to these views, but there are many who are not.

Hope you enjoy your time here.

:namaste:
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby ram peswani » Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:08 pm

Kyosan wrote:Hi Moksha. Welcome to the board.

moksha wrote:is the existence of a god completely ruled out in Buddhism?


Emptiness/void/Suniata is the cause and you me and all life, non life is the effect.
Suniata fractionlises while coming down and we in our Wisdom collect those fractions, convert them into memory, logic and Wisdom and rule over this combinations with our ego. Ego space time are the first products of Suniata.
With Wisdom we grow a big mountain of fractions till our ego climbs and tries to reach almost as high as to go beyond space and time.
Surrounded and protected by these fractions of Wisdom, memory,logic (Dharamkaya) and going beyond space time and ego we become Buddhas.
These Buddhas grow to become single entity (without ego partition) and become One Buddha , who grows younger and younger ascending and conquering the time and space. (Chapter 16, Lotus sutra ...life span of Buddha...Time beyond eternity and yet Buddha has not used half of his life of Bhoddhisattva)

Without Ego there is no need of God. It is you and me who reflect God. Once you and me are above Ego, God no more remains.

Below Ego we become Atma or soul and say I am atma or I am soul. and if we are a sub-fraction come from higher Ego (say Krishna, Christ or Rama) and are connected with it then He is our soul or atma.

Some one asked as to who produced Suniata but even the one asking does not remain beyond Ego so the question and reply are unnecessary.

Hence Mahayana Buddhism does not talk about God or Atma. In fact God or Atma is fallacy as it stops one's growth below ego.
In Hinayana Boddhisattva or Buddha is our God because hinayanist is always below ego and "I" is always present and "I" needs a God.
Last edited by ram peswani on Sat Apr 30, 2011 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:57 pm

Define "God." If you mean a personal God, then yes, you can find plenty of those. We can describe a whole realm of them.

If you mean God in the sense of a theological Absolute, as in Hegel for instance, then... this is where the earlier comments in this thread get tricky. One can claim some kind of equivalence between the Absolute in any particular tradition (Adwaita, or Sufism...) and Dharmakaya, but on what basis? If you begin from Dharmakaya, and want to posit that X is like Dharmakaya, then what about X will be God-like? Or you could go the other way, and say Dharmakaya is like Y (Parabrahma maybe), but then what about Dharmakaya will be Y-like?

My point is that it takes a lot of abstract reasoning to cobble such a thing together. Why manufacture complications? Professionals in the field of stringing-it-all-together find it a hopeless task, or fail to see their own contradictions and lacunae. like this: http://www.integralworld.net/meyerhoff4.html

EDIT: put shortly, why worry about God? put cynically, what has God done to deserve your attention?
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby KeithBC » Fri Apr 29, 2011 9:24 pm

moksha wrote:is the existence of a god completely ruled out in Buddhism?

The existence of a creator is completely ruled out. A creator must necessarily exist without cause, and Buddhism is clear that all phenomena arise from causes.

While that is a problem for adherents of Western religions who want to dabble in Buddhism, there is nothing in Buddhism that rules out the existence of a god who is not a creator. However, such a being would not have the importance that the Western religions give him.

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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:48 am

Brahma visited Buddha at his enlightenment and requested him to teach the Dharma.

In the cosmology there are plenty of deva and other deities, though they are not objects of refuge. They are unenlightened beings in samsara just as we are.

That being said, historically most Buddhist cultures have been fine with respecting and venerating worldly deities.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby moksha » Mon May 02, 2011 11:12 pm

Thanks, everyone. I have to admit to being slightly overwhelmed by the responses to this topic. There seems to be so many different paths and branches to Buddhism, as well as that, a lot of the terminology here has no meaning to me as yet. I suppose I should start by reading the Kunjed Gyalpo. I hope it's easy to get hold of, there's a lot here I don't understand.

As for how I would define God, I would define God as the power and force existent in all things to whom we are ultimately answerable and who has complete control over the universe. So I mean God in a very absolute sense. I have always felt a connection with that God - or what I would define as such. And God has always been good to me when I have needed help [for which I ask very very rarely]. So when one says "what has God ever done for you?" I would answer with, "the things I have asked for".
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 03, 2011 4:24 am

Keshin wrote:
I don't find the view of God and Buddhism, or even True Self ("soul") to be against Buddhism.

It may be worth reading the Kunjed Gyalpo (aka Kulayarāja Tantra). That's like, a goldmine. Here's two excerpts:

" ... everything is Me, the All-Creating Sovereign, mind of perfect purity ... I am the cause of all things. I am the stem of all things. I am the ground of all things. I am the root of all things ... There is no other Buddha besides Me, the All-Creating One."

"I am the core of all that exists. I am the seed of all that exists. I am the foundation of all that exists. I am the root of existence. I am 'the core', because I contain all phenomena. I am 'the seed', because I give birth to everything. I am 'the cause', because all comes forth from me. I am 'the trunk', because the ramificationsof every event sprout from me. I am 'the foundation', because all abides in me. I am called 'the root', because I am everything."



This is not a sort of Buddhist theism.

Bodhicitta aka Kun byed rgyal po gives rise to everything when it is not recognized for what it actually is i.e. the nature of one's mind. Very similar statements are found in Mahāmudra literature.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 03, 2011 4:25 am

moksha wrote:Thanks, everyone. I have to admit to being slightly overwhelmed by the responses to this topic. There seems to be so many different paths and branches to Buddhism, as well as that, a lot of the terminology here has no meaning to me as yet. I suppose I should start by reading the Kunjed Gyalpo. I hope it's easy to get hold of, there's a lot here I don't understand.

As for how I would define God, I would define God as the power and force existent in all things to whom we are ultimately answerable and who has complete control over the universe. So I mean God in a very absolute sense. I have always felt a connection with that God - or what I would define as such. And God has always been good to me when I have needed help [for which I ask very very rarely]. So when one says "what has God ever done for you?" I would answer with, "the things I have asked for".


There is no God. It doesn't exist. There is no force that has complete control over the universe.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 7:37 am

Namdrol wrote:This is not a sort of Buddhist theism.

Bodhicitta aka Kun byed rgyal po gives rise to everything when it is not recognized for what it actually is i.e. the nature of one's mind. Very similar statements are found in Mahāmudra literature.

"I am the core of all that exists, I am the seed of all that exists, I am the trunk of all that exists",

"I am the existential ground (gnas chen) of all Buddhas" and "... the root of all things is nothing else but one Self ... I am the place in which all existing things abide.",

" ... everything is Me, the All-Creating Sovereign, mind of perfect purity ... I am the cause of all things. I am the stem of all things. I am the ground of all things. I am the root of all things ... There is no other Buddha besides Me, the All-Creating One."

That's not a sort of Buddhist theism? :shrug:
What kind of theism are you thinking of that this is not? Because from my angle, this is definitely panentheism.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 7:45 am

moksha wrote:Thanks, everyone. I have to admit to being slightly overwhelmed by the responses to this topic. There seems to be so many different paths and branches to Buddhism, as well as that, a lot of the terminology here has no meaning to me as yet. I suppose I should start by reading the Kunjed Gyalpo. I hope it's easy to get hold of, there's a lot here I don't understand.

As you're in the UK (like me! :D) you can get the Kunjed Gyalpo from Amazon or even order it through Waterstone's buy-and-sell second-hand-thingy. I'm getting them for my birthday which is coming up. :twothumbsup:

Bear in mind though, man - theistic Buddhists on forums are usually a rarity, but there are some. We'll usually be called wrong, ignorant, foolish, misinterpreting things, etc. A lot of harshness comes our way. Are you prepared for that kind of hassle? That's why it's good to have a group of accepting Buddhists as friends and for sangha.

Your Hindu knowledge will be good here, too. I have noticed with Westerners, they have very little understanding of what Hinduism teaches, or a very outdated or small sect's knowledge of it.

It may also be worth you checking out "Call of the Infinite" by John Paraskevopoulos, and some Jonang texts. Jetsun Taranatha does a very good commentary on the Heart Sutra.

If you want to be most accepted as a theist, your best bet is a Shingon or Honen forms of Pure Land Buddhism, or maybe the Jonang - the Jonang have a wonderful theology for theists. What philosophy were you raised with btw? Dvaita? Dvaitadvaita? Vishishtadvaita? Or Chinta-bheda-abheda?
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Sherab » Tue May 03, 2011 7:58 am

Keshin wrote: That's not a sort of Buddhist theism? :shrug:
What kind of theism are you thinking of that this is not? Because from my angle, this is definitely panentheism.

The idea of a creator-God is loaded with logical problems. If Buddhism is theistic, I would not want to be associated with it.
Personally, I don't think you should read the Kunjed Gyalpo in such a literal fashion as that manner to interpretion goes completely against the grain of all other Buddhist teachings and is not the way the teaching is traditionally explained.
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 8:02 am

Namdrol wrote:Bodhicitta aka Kun byed rgyal po

Bodhicitta is jang chub sem, isn't it?
For one, the Kulayaraja Tantra (Kunjed Gyalpo) is "All Creating King". Raja = King after all.

Or am I missing what you are trying to say, that Bodhicitta is the All Creating King?
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby moksha » Tue May 03, 2011 8:34 am

Namdrol wrote:There is no God. It doesn't exist. There is no force that has complete control over the universe.


How can you be sure of this? And what difference does this have to atheism?

Keshin wrote:Bear in mind though, man - theistic Buddhists on forums are usually a rarity, but there are some. We'll usually be called wrong, ignorant, foolish, misinterpreting things, etc. A lot of harshness comes our way. Are you prepared for that kind of hassle?


I'm quite used to internet forums, so it should be fine. However, it could get tiring being shot down the whole time, so I@ll also check out other communities. On the other hand, I do like exploring ideas and theologies.

Keshin wrote:If you want to be most accepted as a theist, your best bet is a Shingon or Honen forms of Pure Land Buddhism, or maybe the Jonang - the Jonang have a wonderful theology for theists. What philosophy were you raised with btw? Dvaita? Dvaitadvaita? Vishishtadvaita? Or Chinta-bheda-abheda?


Advaita Vedanta. When I was at school I didn't know [or didn't pay attention to] all the types of Hinduism, it was just taught to us. But looking it up, this seems to be the one. Thanks for all your help, very useful.
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue May 03, 2011 8:41 am

Keshin wrote:
Namdrol wrote:This is not a sort of Buddhist theism.

Bodhicitta aka Kun byed rgyal po gives rise to everything when it is not recognized for what it actually is i.e. the nature of one's mind. Very similar statements are found in Mahāmudra literature.

"I am the core of all that exists, I am the seed of all that exists, I am the trunk of all that exists",

"I am the existential ground (gnas chen) of all Buddhas" and "... the root of all things is nothing else but one Self ... I am the place in which all existing things abide.",

" ... everything is Me, the All-Creating Sovereign, mind of perfect purity ... I am the cause of all things. I am the stem of all things. I am the ground of all things. I am the root of all things ... There is no other Buddha besides Me, the All-Creating One."

That's not a sort of Buddhist theism? :shrug:
What kind of theism are you thinking of that this is not? Because from my angle, this is definitely panentheism.


You might say this tantra is an allegorical pointing out of the nature of your own mind and the nature of its display. Your own mind is the "All-Creating King" because, when not realized as it is, it goes awry and is the architect of samsara. This tantra belongs to a system of practice and philosophy (for lack of a better word) that is as far away from supporting a belief in a creator god or a soul as you can get. If you want to really understand what this tantra is saying, you must find a Dzogchen master and request the teachings from him or her. If you want to interpret this teaching according to your own predilection and map it onto what you want to believe about reality, rather than discovering how your mind and reality are, I don't see how that's going to benefit you or anyone. The tradition of the Great Perfection is not about accepting and rejecting tenets. It is about discovering your own nature experientially - as it is rather, than how it's said by someone to be - and allowing that realization to continue unobstructedly.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby moksha » Tue May 03, 2011 8:48 am

Keshin wrote:If you want to be most accepted as a theist, your best bet is a Shingon or Honen forms of Pure Land Buddhism, or maybe the Jonang - the Jonang have a wonderful theology for theists.


This part is particularly helpful. Which do you think is closest to my belief system and/or the advaita?
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 8:59 am

moksha wrote:This part is particularly helpful. Which do you think is closest to my belief system and/or the advaita?

Probably Jonang, prabhu. Jonang is good stuff.

Pure Land groups are more for bhaktas.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue May 03, 2011 9:04 am

Keshin wrote:If you want to be most accepted as a theist, your best bet is a Shingon or Honen forms of Pure Land Buddhism, or maybe the Jonang - the Jonang have a wonderful theology for theists.


First off, who cares what anyone else thinks about your beliefs. It's not like your beliefs are disrespectful or offensive. Just believe what you want to... Why feel like you have to be defensive about them or justify them to others? On the other hand, there is such a thing as people honestly finding fault with your views because they see holes in them. In the face of that, you can either close down and bury your head in the sand lest your views might turn out to be faulty, or you could explore the points people make and then 1) discover you were right after all, or 2) realize that there actually were holes in your view and then be thankful that you now see things more clearly.

Second, I can't see how you could interpret the Buddha Nature of the Jonangpas as God. It's quite clearly explained to be your own nature. It's not said to be some substance that every being shares, quantitatively. Otherwise, when one attains Buddhahood, all would. The Buddha Nature is explained to be identical in all beings qualitatively, in the way that all water is identical but not all bodies of water are one in the same.
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Re: Exploring Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 9:11 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:You might say this tantra is an allegorical pointing out of the nature of your own mind and the nature of its display. Your own mind is the "All-Creating King" because, when not realized as it is, it goes awry and is the architect of samsara. This tantra belongs to a system of practice and philosophy (for lack of a better word) that is as far away from supporting a belief in a creator god or a soul as you can get. If you want to really understand what this tantra is saying, you must find a Dzogchen master and request the teachings from him or her.


I've stated many a few times, I don't believe in a "creator God". Why is God always seen as an Abrahamic concept? :shrug:
Define soul, I suspect there is an Abrahamic slant on this.

So, where should I look for a Dzogchen master to get this transmission?
I've mentioned my view to my Buddhism mentor, and he hasn't said anything against my view. Just on here, a couple of other Buddhists telling me I'm wrong and saying it's about things which I don't see it as being about at all. :shrug:

It may also help people to know I can't not see what I use the "God" for. I take a closer affiliation with the Jonang and Pure Landers than I do other groups, especially ones who focus on absolute non-self-ness.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 9:15 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:Second, I can't see how you could interpret the Buddha Nature of the Jonangpas as God. It's quite clearly explained to be your own nature. It's not said to be some substance that every being shares, quantitatively. Otherwise, when one attains Buddhahood, all would. The Buddha Nature is explained to be identical in all beings qualitatively, in the way that all water is identical but not all bodies of water are one in the same.


That's exactly what I believe, but people are re-interpreting my belief to a Christian-God for me when I don't hold those views. I stated in my first post, I use the terms 'God' and 'soul', for Buddhist terminology because I'm used to them.


To me God is our Enlightened Nature within us. "The Whole", which we are part of. Not some external lightning bolt throwing guy who sends people to Hell.
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