God in Buddhism

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 4:14 pm

Astus wrote:Could you elaborate?

It's usually used to explain Nirvāṇa not being the same as nothingness with a turtle coming to see a fish. However, I see it as relevant, personally, when it comes to denying the existence of things we can't measure.

Once upon a time there was a fish. And just because it was a fish, it had lived all its life in the water and knew nothing whatever about anything else but water. And one day as it swam about in the lake where all its days had been spent, it happened to meet a turtle of its acquaintance who had just come back from a little excursion on the land.

"Good day, Mr. Turtle!" said the fish. "I have not seen you for a long time. Where have you been?"

"Oh", said the turtle, "I have just been for a trip on dry land."

"On dry land!" exclaimed the fish. "What do you mean by on dry land? There is no dry land. I had never seen such a thing. Dry land is nothing."

"Well," said the turtle good-naturedly. "If you want to think so, of course you may; there is no one who can hinder you. But that's where I've been, all the same."

"Oh, come," said the fish. "Try to talk sense. Just tell me now what is this land of yours like? Is it all wet?"

"No, it is not wet," said the turtle.

"Is it nice and fresh and cool?" asked the fish.

"No, it is not nice and fresh and cool," the trutle replied.

"Is it clear so that light can come through it?"

"No, it is not clear. Light cannot come through it."

"Is it soft and yielding, so that I can move my fins about in it and push my nose through it?"

"No, it is not soft and yielding. You could not swim in it."

"Does it move or flow in streams?"

"No, it neither moves nor flows in streams."

"Does it ever rise up into waves then, with white foams in them?" asked the fish, impatient at this string of Noes.

"No!" replied the turtle, truthfully. "It never rises up into waves that I have seen."

"There now," exclaimed the fish triumphantly. "Didn't I tell you that this land of yours was just nothing? I have just asked, and you have answered me that it is neither wet nor cool, not clear nor soft and that it does not flow in streams nor rise up into waves. And if it isn't a single one of these things what else is it but nothing? Don't tell me."

"Well, well", said the turtle, "If you are determined to think that dry land is nothing, I suppose you must just go on thinking so. But any one who knows what is water and what is land would say you were just a silly fish, for you think that anything you have never known is nothing just because you have never known it."

And with that the turtle turned away and, leaving the fish behind in its little pond of water, set out on another excursion over the dry land that was nothing.








Namdrol wrote:Jonangpas are not theists.

Neither did I claim that they were.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Tue May 03, 2011 4:36 pm

I see. Well, the Buddha was clear about the nature of skandhas and dhatus. Nagarjuna also have some nice arguments against a soul outside the skandhas, if you're interested. It is all right to do some speculations about far away lands and never seen entities, however, if the point is to establish it as something acceptable to Buddhism, it's better supported by the teachings.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: New to this

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 4:38 pm

Keshin wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:Keshin, you can't acknowledge the three marks of existence and still believe in a God in the Christian sense. They are mutually exclusive.

It's a good job I don't then, isn't it?

So what do you mean by God? :smile:
Perhaps we should do this in another thread, no? I think there's one already.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 4:41 pm

If you haven't done so already, perhaps you should define what you understand by God and soul, keshin. :smile:
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 4:42 pm

I wonder if he is calling soul to the gandharva...
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 4:46 pm

Astus wrote:I see. Well, the Buddha was clear about the nature of skandhas and dhatus. Nagarjuna also have some nice arguments against a soul outside the skandhas, if you're interested.

I will pass. I've had enough "You're wrong, it doesn't teach that!" from people within the last 12 hours to last me a while.

Dechen Norbu wrote:If you haven't done so already, perhaps you should define what you understand by God and soul, keshin. :smile:

Please see this post for clarification.
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Re: New to this

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 4:49 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:So what do you mean by God? :smile:
Perhaps we should do this in another thread, no? I think there's one already.

Please see the thread in the Free-For-All that has been hijacked because of my views. :oops: We can discuss it there. :smile:
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 5:04 pm

Thanks keshin. I see, not what is taught by Buddhists, but also far from more traditional views of God and soul.
But you believe in such version of God and soul why? Does it make more sense to you?

Listen, don'y get upset with us. You are completely free to have your own beliefs. Folks are just saying what is accepted in Buddhadharma and the views you shared aren't. This doesn't make you a bad person! :lol:

I guess if you want to know for sure, you'll need to spend a lot of time practicing, but keep in mind that the answer we get from practice can be conditioned by the question we make. If we have our minds fixated in the existence of a God or a soul the way you define them, we can close our experience to the realization of something different. Otherwise all the contemplative traditions of the world would get us to the same result and they don't. So intellectual analysis and/ or a very qualified teacher are quite important.

But alas, I've thought already if it's perhaps karma that gets in the way and makes it so difficult for some to even question the hypothesis of not existing a God or a soul, not mattering how much they try. I'm not saying this is your case, but I've seen people so attached to the idea of a God that instead of reading Dharma as explained, they were always seeking a way to sneak a God inside it. :lol:

Just don't feel frustrated. You have the right to your beliefs. But even your subtler definition of God and soul isn't compatible with the three marks of existence, as I've said in the other thread, mate. From a Buddhist perspective this doesn't mean you can progress in the path (there are great contemplatives in other traditions) but makes it impossible to realize enlightenment as we conceive it.
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Re: New to this

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 5:07 pm

Thanks! I gave my two cents already. :cheers:
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 03, 2011 5:15 pm

Keshin wrote:
[quote=Keshin, first post]

but I do believe in a transcendent all-pervading unity...



This is not the message of the Kun byed rgyal po. A transcendent all-pervading unity is Advaita Vedanta or Kashmir Shaivism.

and I don't believe in a "soul" that is separate from this Unity.


Advaita or Kashmir Shaivism again.


I'm also one of those people who seems to be pre-programmed by his mind to believing in something that could be called as "God". I'm a panentheist and see everything as what I consider as God, but that God to transcend everything too, and that our "souls" are a part of that being.


Advaita or Kashmir Shaivism again.



I'm comfortable using the term 'God' when referring to the Adibuddha/Dharmakaya Unmanifest/Amitābha (*from the "Eternal Buddha" perspective), and I'm comfort able using the term 'True Self' or 'Soul', when referring to the Buddha-nature/Mindstream & Base Consciousness together. I use "God", because that's an immediately accessible term for me - but I use it in a panentheistic (God is in all and beyond all) and transpersonal (does not intervene and make prophets and stuff, but is not an unfeeling, personality-less, non-sapient entity).


You are not using these terms as intended.

Regarding Soul: Effectively, it's our "True Selves", free some skandhic-ness: one with the Dharmakāya, our Buddha-nature, and pretty much the Buddha-nature/Mindstream & Base Consciousness together. Possibly even a Self of Nirvāṇic permanency beyond the skandhic mundane world, but I'm not sure at the moment.


There is no basis. Dharmakāya is not something which exists. It is something, according to Dzogchen, that completely lacks any basis or foundation. Dharmakāya is a complete and total emptiness. It is not however a void emptiness, like space i.e. mere absence. Dharmakāya is original purity.

Soul = Buddha-nature from a Tathāgathagarbha Sūtra and Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra interpretation. Not an "I" or ego-self.


The Lanka-avatara sutra was written to correct the misunderstanding that some gained from the ten tathāgatagarbha sutras that tathātagarbha was equivalent to a soul.

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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 5:33 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:But you believe in such version of God and soul why? Does it make more sense to you?

Pretty much because I can't not see these things.
It's like being argued with because I use the wrong hand, or because I'm not the right ethnicity to be accepted. The forms of Buddhism espoused here do not feel like the Buddhism I learned from others. It feels more like Cārvāka than it does Buddhism.

You have the right to your beliefs.

Honestly, it doesn't feel that way here, at all. It's come across like I've committed a thoughtcrime.




Namdrol wrote:There is no basis. Dharmakāya is not something which exists. It is something, according to Dzogchen, that completely lacks any basis or foundation. Dharmakāya is a complete and total emptiness. It is not however a void emptiness, like space i.e. mere absence. Dharmakāya is original purity.

That doesn't make sense to me.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Astus » Tue May 03, 2011 5:45 pm

Keshin wrote:That doesn't make sense to me.


Here are some useful teachings by Thrangu Rinpoche:

"Thus we can conclude from the foregoing analysis that there is no way for there to be any particular single real nature or essence to anything. And if there is no single real nature, there also could not be any multiple real nature, because multiplicity is based on single units. If there is no single unit, there can be no multiplicity. These being the only possible modes that a real nature or quality might exist, we can see from this one method of examination that there is no self in any appearance, no self in any dharma, no essential nature to anything at all."
The Third Madhyamaka Analysis: Seeking the Essential Nature

The Buddha Nature
Opening the Door to Emptiness Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Directly Experience the Nature of Mind
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 5:50 pm

Astus wrote:Here are some useful teachings by Thrangu Rinpoche:

"Thus we can conclude from the foregoing analysis that there is no way for there to be any particular single real nature or essence to anything. And if there is no single real nature, there also could not be any multiple real nature, because multiplicity is based on single units. If there is no single unit, there can be no multiplicity. These being the only possible modes that a real nature or quality might exist, we can see from this one method of examination that there is no self in any appearance, no self in any dharma, no essential nature to anything at all."
The Third Madhyamaka Analysis: Seeking the Essential Nature

Yeeeeaah... that still does not make sense to me.

That doesn't mean I don't understand what is being said: It just doesn't make sense to me at all.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 6:13 pm

Keshin wrote:Pretty much because I can't not see these things.

But you can't see God or the soul, can you?
It's like being argued with because I use the wrong hand, or because I'm not the right ethnicity to be accepted. The forms of Buddhism espoused here do not feel like the Buddhism I learned from others. It feels more like Cārvāka than it does Buddhism.

Not at all. If your beliefs were differing only at the surface, no big deal. There are a lot of different Buddhist schools and some have deep divergences. The problem is that a belief in a God and a soul clashes with the core teachings of Buddhadharma. I'm amazed how you seem unable to see this if you more or less know the Buddhist theory.

[
Honestly, it doesn't feel that way here, at all. It's come across like I've committed a thoughtcrime.

I said you were entitled to your own beliefs, not to your own facts. And it is a fact that Buddhists reject both your ideas of God and soul. Nobody here will force you to believe in anything. You can believe in a God and a soul and you are still very welcome. I think I speak for everyone on this. You just can't expect to convince others that such ideas are compatible with the Buddhist tenets.



Keshin wrote:
Namdrol wrote:There is no basis. Dharmakāya is not something which exists. It is something, according to Dzogchen, that completely lacks any basis or foundation. Dharmakāya is a complete and total emptiness. It is not however a void emptiness, like space i.e. mere absence. Dharmakāya is original purity.

That doesn't make sense to me.

Of course it doesn't. To make sense you need much more theoretical bases than those you have.Otherwise it would be like expecting to understand quantum mechanics without knowing algebra.
To truly realize it, you need a lot of practice.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 03, 2011 6:17 pm

Keshin wrote:Honestly, it doesn't feel that way here, at all. It's come across like I've committed a thoughtcrime.


No, you just are laboring under misapprehension about what Buddhism in general teaches.



Namdrol wrote:There is no basis. Dharmakāya is not something which exists. It is something, according to Dzogchen, that completely lacks any basis or foundation. Dharmakāya is a complete and total emptiness. It is not however a void emptiness, like space i.e. mere absence. Dharmakāya is original purity.

That doesn't make sense to me.


Dzogchen, of which kun byed rgyal po is a key text, does not make sense to a lot of people. This is why you need transmission to understand it.
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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue May 03, 2011 6:20 pm

As Namdrol said. I forgot to add that LITTLE detail: transmission. :oops:
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 6:30 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:But you can't see God or the soul, can you?

I thought about responding to this, but then I realized it's pointless.

Not at all. If your beliefs were differing only at the surface, no big deal. There are a lot of different Buddhist schools and some have deep divergences. The problem is that a belief in a God and a soul clashes with the core teachings of Buddhadharma. I'm amazed how you seem unable to see this if you more or less know the Buddhist theory.

Because this isn't the Buddhism I encountered. This is more nihilistic than the Buddhism I am used to. My friends never had a problem with my views and considered themselves. My mentor and some Shin priests with whom I am in contact with haven't said anything against it, either.

So, who's had a problem? This board, and a few glorified nihilists in the real world.

I said you were entitled to your own beliefs, not to your own facts.

No difference. We don't know what lies beyond this life.

You just can't expect to convince others that such ideas are compatible with the Buddhist tenets.

I never tried. Others have tried with me.
If I was truly allowed my views, as you claim, they would be accepted. 84,000 Dharma-doors and all that.


To truly realize it, you need a lot of practice.

To delve into a form of Buddhism indistinguishable from Cārvāka? No thanks.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby adinatha » Tue May 03, 2011 6:33 pm

God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Buddha is best two out of three, not omnipotent, b/c can't change karma. But comes close, with multitude miraculous powers, like generating worlds.
CAW!
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Keshin » Tue May 03, 2011 6:42 pm

You know what, guys. Forget it. This is going to keep going on and on, and I'm bored of it now.

If you guys have such a problem with my views that I can't not hold, would you rather I give up Buddha Dharma?
Do you want me to donate my Buddha statues and sūtras, and thangkas, and so on to the local Buddhist temple, simply because you guys can't accept my view?

The way you guys have presented it is not the Dharma I was learned, I know that much. The way I am told Buddhism is here, like other forms of nihilism and embracing nothingness, are certainly not the beautiful Dharma I learned.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Postby adinatha » Tue May 03, 2011 6:46 pm

Consider not have a view and leaving reality undistorted. It ain't no thing.
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