All Buddhists Are Atheists

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

Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:15 pm

Lhug-Pa wrote:Then the question is, do Abrahamic gods appear in other dimensions (whether Sambhogakaya, or Deva, Asura dimensions, etc.) to those with the ability to perceive other dimensions? Or are Abrahamic gods only totally made-up intellectual fabrications who do not appear anywhere other than the minds of those who first spoke of them/those who believe in them?


Yes, those are the questions. :tongue:

Also, the same questions arise in relation to established figures in Buddhism. Rather than taking Buddha's word for it, or a teacher's word for it, or a scripture's word for it, I'm trying to work my way through on reason and whatever personal experiences I have to work with.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:16 pm

Pero wrote:
catmoon wrote:So if these beings are at root the same as you and I, why apply the western term "deity" to them? Again they are an entirely different breed of cat (god I love that phrase) and as such deserve a completely separate and unique term, like "deva".

Ah I guess I see your point now. Buddha deities are reffered to as devas too though.


What? All of them?
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:21 pm

And that's part of why we practice.

Vajrayana: It is taught that it is possible to see Sambhogkaya dimensions in this very lifetime, so we don't have to have only mere belief/blind-faith; we can actually see, depending on our diligence and motivation.

It seems exoteric Christianity is basically: "We'll only find out after we die, so better believe/have blind-faith just in case."

Although it's possible that Elohim, Yehowah, Shekinah, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, etc. appear in other dimensions (i.e. are as 'real' as you and I), instead of only existing as imaginary intellectual fabrications like cartoon characters.

Of course it's a negative motivation to practice out of mere curiosity to see if gods and supra-dimensional Buddhas 'exist'.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:35 pm

catmoon wrote:
Pero wrote:
catmoon wrote:The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.

Uhm, Tara is a Buddha. Medicine Buddha is a Buddha (should be obvious lol). What we generally call deities in Vajrayana are not some worldly deities like Indra. So your argument doesn't really make any sense.


Well that's the actual point, really. Deities in Buddhism are an entirely different breed of cat, so Western terms like polytheism, deity, God, and so forth do not apply. If you look at it that way, the Buddhists deal with no entities that are gods in the western sense of the word, which I think makes us atheists. Then throw in the Vajrayana take on the existence of these beings... they become just skilful means of rebuilding the mind in Buddha's image. Sort of a glorified Jedi mind trick, except it works.


Kinda off topic but I like the idea the gods are constructs of the mind that could be meditated on.But in Buddhism there are still devas and asuras,even if they live and die,don't they qualify as deities?(I personally worship worldly deities,usually Celtic ones,I see them as powerful beings who are mortal and will die.)
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:08 am

catmoon wrote: If Buddha did so believe, and he is our teacher, then we should all follow him, and devote ourselves to the worship of Indra. This might not leave much room for Dharma though.


This is misleading and a mischaracterization of my conclusions.

Having respect for and venerating such deities is likely not going to eat up all your time. Where do you even get that idea?


The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.


In Tibetan Buddhism it might be like that, though not elsewhere. Guardian deities like the Four Deva Kings and Indra are there to protect, not be sources of refuge.


Let us continue with with the supposition that deities do exist. Since they are powerful and wise, they can intervene in human affairs on our behalf, should they wish to do so. So, if it is enlightenment we seek, why follow the arduous methods of the Buddha at all? Why not simply pray to the gods to grant us enlightenment right away, or ask them to create the causes and conditions for enlightenment preferably by next Tuesday afternoon? Why not get them to pull us out of the wheel of samsara immediately? If it doesn't work, we can always claim it is due to our failings rather than the failings of the gods.


This is not what I said at all.

A king might be wise and powerful, but is not a source of refuge. Nevertheless, the security he might provide is not something to reject.



catmoon wrote:
Lhug-Pa wrote:The Buddha Dharma teaches that there are Deities who—even though all is ultimately unreal—are just as 'real' as you and I; however that they are generally not visible to those who cannot perceive the Sambhogakaya dimension.

Buddha Dharma may not be theistic, yet it sure isn't atheistic.


Hm. So, what reason then do we have to denote the Abrahamic God as unreal? Why do we not regard every deity ever invented as just as real as the Buddhist ones?




Some gods are personifications of natural phenomena. Some gods are human constructs. Some gods are deva....
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby greentara » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:13 am

I agree with Oushi's contribution and Huseng 'Buddhism is polytheist. It has been from the start. The Buddha never denied the existence of gods, and he even had dialogues with them at times"
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:48 am

Huseng wrote:
catmoon wrote: If Buddha did so believe, and he is our teacher, then we should all follow him, and devote ourselves to the worship of Indra. This might not leave much room for Dharma though.


This is misleading and a mischaracterization of my conclusions.



Not at all. This neither a characterization nor a mis- characterization of your conclusions. What it is, is an entirely new (to this discussion) extrapolation from your premises, leading directly into a reductio ad absurdum. It's not in any way a characterization of your conclusions, which are completely different and not referred to.





Having respect for and venerating such deities is likely not going to eat up all your time. Where do you even get that idea?


From observing two of my friends, one in Karma Kagyu and the other in GKG's organization. Each is spending from two to four hours daily in formal practice busily propitiating protectors, devas and dakinis of all kinds. Both have full time jobs. It leaves little time for meditation, a problem that afflicts even the Dalai Lama.


The recurring problem with gods in Buddhism is that they, like any other deities, steadily accumulate powers and virtues over time as their followers compete with each other. Eventually they surpass the Buddha in power and importance, and worship becomes centred on them, even as today, most pujas revolve around Tara, Medicine Buddha or that Other Protector, among others.


In Tibetan Buddhism it might be like that, though not elsewhere. Guardian deities like the Four Deva Kings and Indra are there to protect, not be sources of refuge.


Let us continue with with the supposition that deities do exist. Since they are powerful and wise, they can intervene in human affairs on our behalf, should they wish to do so. So, if it is enlightenment we seek, why follow the arduous methods of the Buddha at all? Why not simply pray to the gods to grant us enlightenment right away, or ask them to create the causes and conditions for enlightenment preferably by next Tuesday afternoon? Why not get them to pull us out of the wheel of samsara immediately? If it doesn't work, we can always claim it is due to our failings rather than the failings of the gods.


This is not what I said at all.

A king might be wise and powerful, but is not a source of refuge. Nevertheless, the security he might provide is not something to reject.


I'm not claiming to quote or interpret your work, I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God. (s)

If Indra IS wiser and more powerful than Buddha, then the rational course is to abandon Buddha in his favor. If Indra is NOT more powerful and wise than Buddha, then surely Buddha could handle things better than Indra, and Indra can be safely ignored.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby greentara » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:56 am

Perhaps Indra and other gods are senior officials in a cosmological hierarchy which looks after the affairs of the world. Whilst individuality exists it's possible all these gods exist as well.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:10 am

greentara wrote:Perhaps Indra and other gods are senior officials in a cosmological hierarchy which looks after the affairs of the world. Whilst individuality exists it's possible all these gods exist as well.


That's neither provable nor disprovable, so I have nothing to offer there. What would you see as the consequences for Buddhists if you are correct? Would you view these officials as inferior or superior to the Buddha? (He said, unleashing the most vicious form of dualism possible).
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:44 am

catmoon wrote:I'm not claiming to quote or interpret your work, I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God. (s)

If Indra IS wiser and more powerful than Buddha, then the rational course is to abandon Buddha in his favor. If Indra is NOT more powerful and wise than Buddha, then surely Buddha could handle things better than Indra, and Indra can be safely ignored.


But there is nothing in the sutras nor Huseng's assertions that this is the case at all. In fact, I think you might not have a clear understanding of how gods (Devas and Brahmas) fit into the Buddhist schema of samsara. The gods are neither wiser nor more powerful than Buddhas. In fact, they are not even the equal of the Arhats. Maudgalyayana once rocked the Indra's palace with his toe to shake him off his complacency in practicing the dharma.

What the Buddha did teach in the Agamas/Nikayas is that gods can be propitiated to protect one's nation, clan, personal self, etc. And in these matters, they can be helpful, and are indeed willing to help those who call out to them. So in fact, in the early periods of Buddhism, the gods fulfill such roles of offering worldly well-being, whereas now we mostly see various Bodhisattvas and enlightened (i.e. non-worldly) dharmapalas fulfilling such roles.

Gods are just like us stuck in Samsara. The difference is they are far more powerful and long-lived than we are, and some of them learned the dharma from the Buddha himself, and other Buddhas from previous eons as well (for eg, Sanatkumara(skt)/Sanankumara(p) of the Agamas). So we ought to respect them (not worship) them for various reasons.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby ram peswani » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:47 am

[*]
catmoon wrote:
greentara wrote:Perhaps Indra and other gods are senior officials in a cosmological hierarchy which looks after the affairs of the world. Whilst individuality exists it's possible all these gods exist as well.


That's neither provable nor disprovable, so I have nothing to offer there. What would you see as the consequences for Buddhists if you are correct? Would you view these officials as inferior or superior to the Buddha? (He said, unleashing the most vicious form of dualism possible).



This question arose in my mind 20 years back--- that I should understand, follow, rever only that God, who is the most successful of all in evolution.


I analysed Lords Krishna, Indra, Rama, Christ,Nanik,Guatam Buddha,and many others.
Today after 20 years and a lot of meditation No God comes near Buddha even 1%.
I have seen enormous power of Krishna, Rama, Nanik on a person who are blessed by these Gods.

One of my known person is Asha Ram. He is of my community. He lives in Ahmdabad, India. He was very ordinary person in 1992. He was suddenly blessed by God Rama thro a Guru. With in a year his life started soaring. He is a billioner. He has lakhs of followers who worship him like a God.

Lord Krishna and Nanki has had also tremondous effect on many and there life has changed.

I do not find any person who is so directly effected by Guatam Buddha.

YET NONE OF THEM COME NEAR HIM. IN MY OPINION GUATAM BUDDHA IS THE ONLY ONE.
What are powers, what are followers, what are billions, all of them are here today, away tomorrow.
People judge Gods by immediate temporary benefits.
Buddha worship or Buddha meditation directly changes mind and body and makes them totally healthy.
Healthy mind and body is the start and end is shown in Lotus sutra.
In the end ,one indivitual can become ETERNAL, Ruler and maker of Huge Universes, Allow many Gods like Indra to live in that universe. This is science that Guatam Buddha wants us to understand. One does not GROW, if one seeks protection of any God, But if one lives, learns, gains Wisdom, he can on his own become Buddha, God or anything.

Read Lotus sutra man , read it again and again. Gain that science. Grow, surpass Indra, Krishna, Rama
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby Indrajala » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:49 am

catmoon wrote:I'm not claiming to quote or interpret your work, I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God. (s)

If Indra IS wiser and more powerful than Buddha, then the rational course is to abandon Buddha in his favor. If Indra is NOT more powerful and wise than Buddha, then surely Buddha could handle things better than Indra, and Indra can be safely ignored.



Indra is not wiser or more powerful than the Buddha, hence he came to receive teachings from the Buddha.

Indra is a figure who uses his vajra to fend off evil forces. Hence, he employs violence to defend the Buddhadharma. The Buddha, however, never employed violence.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:07 am

pueraeternus wrote:
catmoon wrote:I'm not claiming to quote or interpret your work, I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God. (s)

If Indra IS wiser and more powerful than Buddha, then the rational course is to abandon Buddha in his favor. If Indra is NOT more powerful and wise than Buddha, then surely Buddha could handle things better than Indra, and Indra can be safely ignored.


But there is nothing in the sutras nor Huseng's assertions that this is the case at all. In fact, I think you might not have a clear understanding of how gods (Devas and Brahmas) fit into the Buddhist schema of samsara. The gods are neither wiser nor more powerful than Buddhas. In fact, they are not even the equal of the Arhats. Maudgalyayana once rocked the Indra's palace with his toe to shake him off his complacency in practicing the dharma.

What the Buddha did teach in the Agamas/Nikayas is that gods can be propitiated to protect one's nation, clan, personal self, etc. And in these matters, they can be helpful, and are indeed willing to help those who call out to them. So in fact, in the early periods of Buddhism, the gods fulfill such roles of offering worldly well-being, whereas now we mostly see various Bodhisattvas and enlightened (i.e. non-worldly) dharmapalas fulfilling such roles.

Gods are just like us stuck in Samsara. The difference is they are far more powerful and long-lived than we are, and some of them learned the dharma from the Buddha himself, and other Buddhas from previous eons as well (for eg, Sanatkumara(skt)/Sanankumara(p) of the Agamas). So we ought to respect them (not worship) them for various reasons.


When you say this is not the case at all, it is unclear to me whether "this" refers to:

Huseng claiming Buddha believed in gods
Indra being wiser than Buddha
Buddha being wiser than Indra

or one of several other possibilities.

In any event if you read back in the thread you will find Huseng giving a link to an article on his blog page. In that article he raised the example (possibly hypothetical) of Buddha believing in Indra's existence, which led to the current line of discussion. Doing some more reading, you will also find that I used the point about devas being samsaric beings myself.

My current position is, that that devas are substantially less enlightened than the Buddha and therefore any propitionary prayers would be better sent to the Buddha himself than anyone else, since he would be wiser and more capable than any samsaric being. That is, assuming Buddha is in the business of granting prayers at all.

The point has also been raised that the term deva is sometimes applied to beings such as Tara, and that there is some difficulty separating Tara from Buddha in any case. So thats pretty much what's on the table so far.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:16 am

Huseng wrote:
catmoon wrote:I'm not claiming to quote or interpret your work, I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God. (s)

If Indra IS wiser and more powerful than Buddha, then the rational course is to abandon Buddha in his favor. If Indra is NOT more powerful and wise than Buddha, then surely Buddha could handle things better than Indra, and Indra can be safely ignored.



Indra is not wiser or more powerful than the Buddha, hence he came to receive teachings from the Buddha.

Indra is a figure who uses his vajra to fend off evil forces. Hence, he employs violence to defend the Buddhadharma. The Buddha, however, never employed violence.


It seems very reasonable to me to assume that if Indra can fend off evil using violence, then surely the Buddha, with his infinite knowledge and superior siddhis and insight, could accomplish the same, do it better, and not employ violent means. Witness the stories about him calming the wild elephant and Angulimala. So poor old Indra is out of a job. Superceded. Redundant.




ps I would like to mention how terribly distraught I am that not one single person has commented on how cute my Halloween avatar is. Scuze me I have to go cry in the corner now.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:26 am

catmoon wrote:
When you say this is not the case at all, it is unclear to me whether "this" refers to


"This" refers to your statement: " I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God"

There are several issues with the statement as it is. The primary issue is:
"a Buddha who believes in God": this mis-characterize how the sutras really record what the Buddha taught regarding gods. First, the Buddha did not "believe" in gods, since he can see them and converse with them normally. Second, the Buddha explicitly said there is no God with a capital G (see the Brahmajala Sutta), so the statement "a Buddha who believes in God" is both misleading and entirely false.


catmoon wrote:In any event if you read back in the thread you will find Huseng giving a link to an article on his blog page. In that article he raised the example (possibly hypothetical) of Buddha believing in Indra's existence, which led to the current line of discussion. Doing some more reading, you will also find that I used the point about devas being samsaric beings myself.


Again, there is no such thing as "Buddha believing in Indra's existence", it totally mangles the narrative of the sutras, and create a false impression on what they really say vis a vis an Abrahamic subtext.

catmoon wrote:My current position is, that that devas are substantially less enlightened than the Buddha and therefore any propitionary prayers would be better sent to the Buddha himself than anyone else, since he would be wiser and more capable than any samsaric being. That is, assuming Buddha is in the business of granting prayers at all.


Which is why initially such prayers are directed at devas, not at the Buddha, nor Maitreya, since granting worldly prayers are not the domain of Buddhas. Of course they have the power to do so, but in the Agamas, they rather teach you how to renounce samsaric goals and turn your mind towards nirvana.

catmoon wrote:The point has also been raised that the term deva is sometimes applied to beings such as Tara, and that there is some difficulty separating Tara from Buddha in any case. So thats pretty much what's on the table so far.


Well, the whole middle to late Mahayana developed in its peculiar way, and so we end up with celestial Bodhisattvas fulfilling all sorts of worldly functions (Avalokiteshvara is probably the 1st, then followed by a string others, such as Akasagarbha, etc). Then these celestial Bodhisattvas got promoted to Buddhas, or rather they were revealed to have always been Buddhas in the first place. Tara is a complex figure, having various sources and then promoted to full Buddhahood.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:41 am

So even in the earliest strata of Buddhism, the Buddha is shown to never use any force or violent means, though he did not object when his followers did it on his behalf. Of course, it always ends well and the antagonists eventually changed their ways and repented.


Another poignant episode is during the time of Upagupta, more than a century after the parinirvana of the Buddha. After Mara tried to disrupt his sermons, the Arhat Upagupta bounded him with a garland of corpses that only Upagupta can release. Mara weeped and said that the Buddha never did anything so unkind to him. Hence, even to Mara, the Buddha was the epitome of compassion and gentleness.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:46 am

pueraeternus wrote:
catmoon wrote:
When you say this is not the case at all, it is unclear to me whether "this" refers to


"This" refers to your statement: " I am simply working out what I see as the logical consequences of a Buddha who believes in God"

There are several issues with the statement as it is. The primary issue is:
"a Buddha who believes in God": this mis-characterize how the sutras really record what the Buddha taught regarding gods. First, the Buddha did not "believe" in gods, since he can see them and converse with them normally. Second, the Buddha explicitly said there is no God with a capital G (see the Brahmajala Sutta), so the statement "a Buddha who believes in God" is both misleading and entirely false.



I'd have to agree with you, except for one tiny detail. You misquoted me. The term I used was not "God" it was "God(s)" and should be read "God or gods".
Or substitute in "Indra" if you like.



catmoon wrote:In any event if you read back in the thread you will find Huseng giving a link to an article on his blog page. In that article he raised the example (possibly hypothetical) of Buddha believing in Indra's existence, which led to the current line of discussion. Doing some more reading, you will also find that I used the point about devas being samsaric beings myself.


Again, there is no such thing as "Buddha believing in Indra's existence", it totally mangles the narrative of the sutras, and create a false impression on what they really say vis a vis an Abrahamic subtext.


If you claim there is no such thing, isn't that the same as you claiming Buddha did NOT believe in Indra's existence? You seem to be contradicting your own position. It has to be one or the other, surely?

catmoon wrote:My current position is, that that devas are substantially less enlightened than the Buddha and therefore any propitionary prayers would be better sent to the Buddha himself than anyone else, since he would be wiser and more capable than any samsaric being. That is, assuming Buddha is in the business of granting prayers at all.


Which is why initially such prayers are directed at devas, not at the Buddha, nor Maitreya, since granting worldly prayers are not the domain of Buddhas. Of course they have the power to do so, but in the Agamas, they rather teach you how to renounce samsaric goals and turn your mind towards nirvana.


If Buddhas are not in the business of granting prayers, why do we pray to Tara, Medicine Buddha and so many others? If you are correct, none of them can be Buddhas because they grant prayers, and you just said Buddhas don't do that.

catmoon wrote:The point has also been raised that the term deva is sometimes applied to beings such as Tara, and that there is some difficulty separating Tara from Buddha in any case. So thats pretty much what's on the table so far.


Well, the whole middle to late Mahayana developed in its peculiar way, and so we end up with celestial Bodhisattvas fulfilling all sorts of worldly functions (Avalokiteshvara is probably the 1st, then followed by a string others, such as Akasagarbha, etc). Then these celestial Bodhisattvas got promoted to Buddhas, or rather they were revealed to have always been Buddhas in the first place. Tara is a complex figure, having various sources and then promoted to full Buddhahood.
[/quote]

So who did all this promoting?
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:06 am

pueraeternus wrote:
So even in the earliest strata of Buddhism, the Buddha is shown to never use any force or violent means, though he did not object when his followers did it on his behalf. Of course, it always ends well and the antagonists eventually changed their ways and repented.


Another poignant episode is during the time of Upagupta, more than a century after the parinirvana of the Buddha. After Mara tried to disrupt his sermons, the Arhat Upagupta bounded him with a garland of corpses that only Upagupta can release. Mara weeped and said that the Buddha never did anything so unkind to him. Hence, even to Mara, the Buddha was the epitome of compassion and gentleness.


Confronted with such tales there are two paths to choose from. One is to takes these stories at face value.

The other is to think, "It is not possible for a situation to be so dire that it would be beyond the powers of a Buddha to walk in and settle matters peacefully."
If this is so, then tales containing such situations must be untrue.

I had not heard the the Upagupta story before. I like it. :)
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:11 am

catmoon wrote:I'd have to agree with you, except for one tiny detail. You misquoted me. The term I used was not "God" it was "God(s)" and should be read "God or gods".
Or substitute in "Indra" if you like.


Don't blame me, what you wrote was "God." With a full stop, and the next line you added "(s)". In any case, the thrust of your whole argument still stands, since you also wrote:

If Buddha did so believe, and he is our teacher, then we should all follow him, and devote ourselves to the worship of Indra. This might not leave much room for Dharma though.



catmoon wrote:If you claim there is no such thing, isn't that the same as you claiming Buddha did NOT believe in Indra's existence? You seem to be contradicting your own position. It has to be one or the other, surely?


Not at all. In fact, the problem with your whole argument is "believe". The Buddha did not have to believe, since he could interact with them as easily as we interact with the person next to us. Do you have to "believe" in your neighbour in order to talk to him? Do you have to "believe" in the existence of your cat before you could see or pet him? You are asking the wrong question and have the wrong premise in your questioning.

catmoon wrote:
If Buddhas are not in the business of granting prayers, why do we pray to Tara, Medicine Buddha and so many others? If you are correct, none of them can be Buddhas because they grant prayers, and you just said Buddhas don't do that.


That is the case in the earliest phase of Buddhism, but it changed as it developed. So now Buddhas can grant all sorts of delightful things. It all came about due to the development of the upaya aspect. Initially such skillful means were the domain of Bodhisattvas on the path, so since they are not Buddhas yet, they can grant such wishes. In fact, their path demands it, since it is through such acts one develops the paramitas. Which is also the reason why Bodhisattvas are usually depicted with the adornments of a prince - all those jewels, necklaces and crowns represent their abundance and endowments, among other symbolism.


catmoon wrote:So who did all this promoting?


Probably humans. And probably with good intentions. All that bhakti have to go somewhere.
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby pueraeternus » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:45 am

catmoon wrote:The other is to think, "It is not possible for a situation to be so dire that it would be beyond the powers of a Buddha to walk in and settle matters peacefully."
If this is so, then tales containing such situations must be untrue.


Well, then I would say in this case, then one is not following what the sutras record what the Buddha taught and what happened back then. Now, the only way we know what the Buddha taught (and the situation involving those lessons) is via the sutras. Any other way, we are just imagining what we think the Buddha ought to have taught. There is a main difference between those who are termed "traditionalist" and those who might be termed "modernist or revisionist".

If we look at the sutras, we know that the Buddha clearly didn't object when Vajrapani threatened to split Ambattha's head into pieces if he persist to refuse to answer the Buddha's questions (Ambattha was so terrified that he promptly asked the Buddha what was the question again and answered quickly). So there are indeed situations where such "persuasions" are necessary. In fact, there are situations where the Buddha could not "settle matters peacefully", such as stopping the massacre of his Sakya clan - so there are some things that are indeed "beyond the powers of a Buddha".
When I set out to lead humanity along my Golden Path I promised a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern humans deny with words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, conditions they call peace. Even as they speak, they create seeds of turmoil and violence.

- Leto II, the God Emperor
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