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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:42 pm 
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I just want to hear serious, non-insultuous, opinions about this verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Atheists do not want any God, and Lord Buddha therefore said that there is no God, but he adopted the means to instruct his followers for their benefit. Therefore he preached in a duplicitous way, saying that there is no God. Nonetheless, he himself was an incarnation of God.
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 5.15.1, Translation and Purport:


Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: The son of Mahārāja Bharata known as Sumati followed the path of Ṛṣabhadeva, but some unscrupulous people imagined him to be Lord Buddha himself. These people, who were actually atheistic and of bad character, took up the Vedic principles in an imaginary, infamous way to support their activities. Thus these sinful people accepted Sumati as Lord Buddhadeva and propagated the theory that everyone should follow the principles of Sumati. In this way they were carried away by mental concoction.

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
Those who are Āryans strictly follow the Vedic principles, but in this age of Kali a community has sprung up known as the ārya-samāja, which is ignorant of the import of the Vedas in the paramparā system. Their leaders decry all bona fide ācāryas, and they pose themselves as the real followers of the Vedic principles. These ācāryas who do not follow the Vedic principles are presently known as the ārya-samājas, or the Jains. Not only do they not follow the Vedic principles, but they have no relationship with Lord Buddha. Imitating the behavior of Sumati, they claim to be the descendants of Ṛṣabhadeva. Those who are Vaiṣṇavas carefully avoid their company because they are ignorant of the path of the Vedas. In Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) Kṛṣṇa says, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: "The real purpose of the Vedas is to understand Me." This is the injunction of all Vedic literatures. One who does not know the greatness of Lord Kṛṣṇa cannot be accepted as an Āryan. Lord Buddha, an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, adopted a particular means to propagate the philosophy of bhāgavata-dharma. He preached almost exclusively among atheists. Atheists do not want any God, and Lord Buddha therefore said that there is no God, but he adopted the means to instruct his followers for their benefit. Therefore he preached in a duplicitous way, saying that there is no God. Nonetheless, he himself was an incarnation of God.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:58 pm 
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Vaisnavas believe that Buddha was an incarnation of Visnu. Indian religions are often distinguished by Hindus whether they follow the Vedas or not (Āstika and nāstika). So the above commentary criticises the Jainas because they are neither orthodox Hindu nor Buddhists,

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“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."

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:50 pm 
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I had a very devout Muslim friend who upon hearing I was Buddhist proposed to Muslims all founders of religions were true prophets of god but their followers lost their way over time and these religions became corrupt. I suppose we all have a different way of seeing the Buddha.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:01 pm 
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If you are a follower of Vishnu, worshipping Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, then the abovementioned quotes are 100% true (within the specific religious framework). If you are a Buddhist, then realistically, the abovementioned quotes shouldn't concern you in the least. They are basically irrelevant to your path. If you are trying to walk a tight rope between the two notions, well, I am sad to say that sooner or later somebody will make you fall off the rope.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:15 pm 
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jonaz108 wrote:
... Lord Buddha therefore said that there is no God...


He did not say this.

Gassho,
Seishin

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:57 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
If you are a follower of Vishnu, worshipping Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, then the abovementioned quotes are 100% true (within the specific religious framework). If you are a Buddhist, then realistically, the abovementioned quotes shouldn't concern you in the least. They are basically irrelevant to your path. If you are trying to walk a tight rope between the two notions, well, I am sad to say that sooner or later somebody will make you fall off the rope.


I am not "trying" anything Greg, I just want to hear every opinion
in order to analyse and learn.
I've read the Koran, the Torah, the Bible, Countless Buddist and
Vedic Sutras, but I am not trying to create a new dharma or religion.
Just want to hear every opinion about this specific verse, just that.
:reading:
J.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:06 pm 
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jonaz108 wrote:

I am not "trying" anything Greg, I just want to hear every opinion
in order to analyse and learn.
I've read the Koran, the Torah, the Bible, Countless Buddist and
Vedic Sutras, but I am not trying to create a new dharma or religion.
Just want to hear every opinion about this specific verse, just that.
:reading:
J.
My dear Jonaz,
I did not say that you are trying to do anything at all. I merely outlined the three options that are available. I was not trying to imply anything.
:namaste:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:18 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
If you are a follower of Vishnu, worshipping Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu, then the abovementioned quotes are 100% true (within the specific religious framework). If you are a Buddhist, then realistically, the abovementioned quotes shouldn't concern you in the least. They are basically irrelevant to your path. If you are trying to walk a tight rope between the two notions, well, I am sad to say that sooner or later somebody will make you fall off the rope.


:thumbsup: Straight to the point.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:29 pm 
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jonaz108 wrote:
Those who are Vaiṣṇavas carefully avoid their company because they are ignorant of the path of the Vedas. In Bhagavad-gītā (15.15) Kṛṣṇa says, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: "The real purpose of the Vedas is to understand Me." This is the injunction of all Vedic literatures. One who does not know the greatness of Lord Kṛṣṇa cannot be accepted as an Āryan. Lord Buddha, an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, adopted a particular means to propagate the philosophy of bhāgavata-dharma. He preached almost exclusively among atheists. Atheists do not want any God, and Lord Buddha therefore said that there is no God, but he adopted the means to instruct his followers for their benefit. Therefore he preached in a duplicitous way, saying that there is no God. Nonetheless, he himself was an incarnation of God.


Isn't it ironic that Prabhupada quotes from itihasa to talk about the "real purpose of the Vedas"? Where exactly in the four Vedas do we find the injunction for nama sankirtana? This whole Gaudiya tradition is a very late, highly polemical and sectarian thread of Vaishnavism that has very little relation to Vedic thought. Consequently, they gloss everything in the Puranic literature as justifying their own parochial viewpoint.

In point of fact, throughout the Puranic literature, Buddha is presented as an avatar that is sent to mislead the asuras and lead them to give up the Vedic sacrifices so that they don't get an upper hand in their battle with the devas. Atheists don't enter into it. It's all politics and venality and the authors of it should be ashamed of themselves. (And I say that as a Hindu).

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:07 pm 
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Not all Vaishnavas consider Lord Buddha and incarnation of Lord Vishnu. At the temple I go to where Vishnu is the presiding deity, there is no depiction of Buddha as an incarnation. Rather, in his place are depictions of Balarama and Dhanvantari. I think it's interesting to note that Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita:

42-44. O Arjuna! There are people who delight in the eulogistic statements of the Vedas and argue that the purport of the Vedas consists in these and nothing else. They are full of worldly desires; paradise is their highest goal; and they are totally blind in a spiritual sense. They expatiate upon those florid Vedic texts which describe the means for the attainment of pleasure and power, which provide attractive embodiments as the fruits of actions and which are full of descriptions of rites and rituals (through which these fulfilments are obtained). In the minds of these votaries of pleasure and power, addicted to enjoyments of the above description, steadfast wisdom (capable of revealing the Truth) is never generated.

45. O Arjuna! The Vedas deal with material ends. But you be established in the Spirit, in the immutable purity of it, having abandoned all material values, attachment to possessions, and concern with the contraries of life like pleasure and pain, heat and cold.

46. What use a pond has got when a whole country is flooded, that much of use only the Veda has got to a Brahmana who is full of wisdom.


I think this paves the way for Buddha's reform. The (mis)use if the Vedas is not unlike the (mis)use of the Torah by the Pharisees, that Jesus tried to reform. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism_a ... uism#Vedas

Quote:
Buddhism does not deny that the Vedas in their true origin were sacred although have been amended repeatedly by certain Brahmins to secure their positions in society. The Buddha declared that the Veda in its true form was declared by Kashyapa to certain rishis, who by severe penances had acquired the power to see by divine eyes.[65] In the Buddhist Vinaya Pitaka of the Mahavagga (I.245)[66] section the Buddha names these rishis, and declared that the original Veda the Vedic rishis "Atthako, Vâmako, Vâmadevo, Vessâmitto, Yamataggi, Angiraso, Bhâradvâjo, Vâsettho, Kassapo, and Bhagu"[67] but that it was altered by a few Brahmins who introduced animal sacrifices. The Vinaya Pitaka's section Anguttara Nikaya: Panchaka Nipata says that it was on this alteration of the true Veda that the Buddha refused to pay respect to the Vedas of his time.[68]
The Buddha is recorded in the Canki Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 95) as saying to a group of Brahmins:
O Vasettha, those priests who know the scriptures are just like a line of blind men tied together where the first sees nothing, the middle man nothing, and the last sees nothing.
In the same discourse, he says:
It is not proper for a wise man who maintains truth to come to the conclusion: This alone is Truth, and everything else is false.
He is also recorded as saying:
To be attached to one thing (to a certain view) and to look down upon other things (views) as inferior - this the wise men call a fetter.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas#In_Buddhism
Quote:
Also in the "Brahmana Dhammika Sutta" (II,7)[64] of the Suttanipata section of Vinaya Pitaka[65] there is a story of when the Buddha was in Jetavana village and there were a group of elderly Brahmin ascetics who sat down next to the Buddha and a conversation began.
The elderly Brahmins asked him, "Do the present Brahmans follow the same rules, practice the same rites, as those in the more ancient times?"
The Buddha replied, "No."
The elderly Brahmins asked the Buddha that if it were not inconvenient for him, that he would tell them of the Brahmana Dharma of the previous generation.
The Buddha replied: "There were formerly rishis, men who had subdued all passion by the keeping of the sila precepts and the leading of a pure life...Their riches and possessions consisted in the study of the Veda and their treasure was a life free from all evil...The Brahmans, for a time, continued to do right and received in alms rice, seats, clothes, and oil, though they did not ask for them. The animals that were given they did not kill; but they procured useful medicaments from the cows, regarding them as friends and relatives, whose products give strength, beauty and health."

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:09 pm 
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Karma Dorje wrote:
This whole Gaudiya tradition is a very late, highly polemical and sectarian thread of Vaishnavism that has very little relation to Vedic thought. Consequently, they gloss everything in the Puranic literature as justifying their own parochial viewpoint.


^ This.

Quote:
In point of fact, throughout the Puranic literature, Buddha is presented as an avatar that is sent to mislead the asuras and lead them to give up the Vedic sacrifices so that they don't get an upper hand in their battle with the devas.


I have read this too. I think it ties in with the misuse of the Vedas.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:14 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
If you are a Buddhist, then realistically, the abovementioned quotes shouldn't concern you in the least.


Uh... only a God could know that there are no Gods. You may not think it matters if Buddha is a God, or is thought of as a God, but you would be wrong.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:33 pm 
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shel wrote:
Uh... only a God could know that there are no Gods. You may not think it matters if Buddha is a God, or is thought of as a God, but you would be wrong.
:shrug: I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:46 pm 
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I know.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:52 pm 
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shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
If you are a Buddhist, then realistically, the abovementioned quotes shouldn't concern you in the least.


Uh... only a God could know that there are no Gods. You may not think it matters if Buddha is a God, or is thought of as a God, but you would be wrong.


I will assume this refers to the monotheistic idea of a god. To Buddhism the Buddha is omniscient and thus would know if there is a creator god or not. Whether he chooses to share this information is entirely another story.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:02 pm 
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freakpower70 wrote:
shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
If you are a Buddhist, then realistically, the abovementioned quotes shouldn't concern you in the least.


Uh... only a God could know that there are no Gods. You may not think it matters if Buddha is a God, or is thought of as a God, but you would be wrong.


I will assume this refers to the monotheistic idea of a god.


Well, obviously, being that a God knowing another God would equal at least two Gods. Perhaps all the other Gods know Buddha and merely never mentioned his existence.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:32 pm 
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Quote:
This whole Gaudiya tradition is a very late, highly polemical and sectarian thread of Vaishnavism that has very little relation to Vedic thought.


Srila Prabhupada himself stated that he did not "scrutinizingly study" the entire Vedic corpus, but instead focused on the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam (Sometimes called Bhagavata Purana) which is Puranic literature. In ISKCON to this day it is these two scriptures that are emphasized, along with the volumes of teachings and biography of the Saint Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita(Chaitanya is regarded by Gauudiya Vaishnavas as an incarnation of Krishna, but not by most other Hindus). So ISKCON is Vedic in the sense that it bases its philosophy around two important Vedic Scriptures.

So we could say that ISKCON is selectively Vedic- simply it has its points of emphasis, as do many traditions within Hinduism because the Vedas are so impossible vast. Just as Pure Land focuses on one genre of Sutras, or Tiantai, or Madhyamika (at least according to the Gelug interpretation) for that matter, which accepts the second turning of the Wheel and its teachings as definitive and the others as provisional. In fact, I would argue that especially in Mahayana Buddhism where there is an almost impossibly vast corpus of literature, there are approaches amongst the various schools of Buddhism to emphasize the important points or present what they see as the essence of the sutras in commentarial literature. In Chinese Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism you see schools that advocate exhaustive study of one Sutra as the ultimate sutra- especially in the Huayen, Pure Land, Tian Tai and various Nichiren schools.

My main point of contention with Bhaktivedanta Swami (Prabhupada) is that he seems to present a vision of the Vedas that is all embracing, and almost wishy-washy here: http://www.srilaprabhupad.com/dloads/20 ... ations.htm

Quote:
Veda means knowledge. Vetti veda vido jnane. Vid-dhatu is called veda, vetti. Jnane when there is question of knowledge, these three forms are used: vetti, veda, vido, jnane. Vinte vid vicarane vidyate vid saptayam labhe vindati vindate. (?) This is the vid-dhatu description. So vid-dhatu means to know. So ultimate knowledge is to know God.


Quote:
So God is purest. Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan [Bg. 10.12]. How one can approach God if he leads a sinful life? That is our propagation. You give up this sinful life. Then you'll be able to understand God. You follow Christianity or Mohammedanism or Buddhism. It doesn't matter. You give up this sinful life.


Then in many other passages in his writing Prabhupada insists that the only way to truly approach god is through Srimad Bhagavatam, as only it reveals the supreme aspect, or personality of god-head: http://www.prabhupadavani.ca/main/Bhagavatam/004.html

Quote:
So Krsna appeared for reestablishing the real principles of dharma, or religion. So He did not come or did not appear for establishing the so-called religious system, Hindu religion and Muslim religion or Christian religion or this religion, that... Not that type. Real religion. Therefore He says, sarva-dharman parityajya: [Bg. 18.66] "Give up all these. Simply surrender unto Me." So any religious system which is teaching to divert the attention of the follower to so many things, that is cheating religion.


Prabhupada's books are interesting but his sectarianism is unfortunate, with acidic criticism of "Mayavadis" (impersonalists, who are actually proponents of Advaita Vedanta and other fascinating, sophisticated strands of Hinduism) coming page after page. This means that unfortunately many well-translated passages and interesting commentary may be disregarded in the field of Indo-religious studies because such rhetoric would lead one to think there is a strong bias.

The amount of commentary and translation produced by Prabhupada and his disciples is amazing, and I respect the huge amount of discipline required to really be a follower of his teachings. However, the "Mayavadi" philosophers also have a great deal of interesting ideas, as do proponents of philosophies like Saiva Siddhanta. So if one is interested in Gaudiya Vaishnavism as a path Prabhupada's books are all that is required, but if one wants to understand in a broad way Hinduism or Sanatana-dharma, it is necessary to read other texts and commentaries.

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Last edited by JKhedrup on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:39 pm 
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In the late 19th century a Russian journalist wrote a book about Jesus having traveled to India to learn Buddha's Dharma. Nobody that checked his "sources" found evidence of any such thing. Yet the idea persists even to this day. That doesn't make it true. :focus:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:47 pm 
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My opinion is that it's a really convenient way to attempt folding Buddhism into another belief system, especially since Buddhism refutes some of the ideas about causality and the "personal' nature of the absolute inherent in most traditional theism(s).

Personally i've always found it to sound like a really silly claim, but then again i'm no scholar whatsoever so maybe there's some important insight i'm missing :shrug:

One of the things that attracted me to Buddhism when I was a younger person was that I really liked the lack of speculation about "the nature of God" and similar exercises..most of which always struck me as building a big artifice of one's own projections anyway.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:59 pm 
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Seishin wrote:
jonaz108 wrote:
... Lord Buddha therefore said that there is no God...


He did not say this.

Gassho,
Seishin


Buddha Shakyamuni indeed talked about the so-called supreme deity/creator god in a Pali sutta and explained that this god was simply the first to be reborn in his particular pure realm and just assumed he was an all-powerful creator. Ad then of course Madhyamaka teachings, which simply clarify fundamental teachings given by the Buddha, destroy the argument for the possibility of a creator god. So...


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