Interfaith Dialogue

Anything goes (almost).

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:51 pm

Yes.
User avatar
Dechen Norbu
 
Posts: 2755
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:50 pm

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:55 pm

To be honest I wouldn't take much notice of Wikipedia. There are better websites such as the Rigpa wiki or the Rangjung Yeshe shedra.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
User avatar
Paul
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:12 pm

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:57 pm

Hayagriva wrote:To be honest I wouldn't take much notice of Wikipedia. There are better websites such as the Rigpa wiki or the Rangjung Yeshe shedra.


Would you consider Soyen Shaku, who was greatly responsible for introducing the Western world to Zen Buddhism, a reputable source?

THE TEACHINGS OF SOYEN SHAKU

THE GOD-CONCEPTION OF BUDDHISM 1

AMONG the many critical opinions which are passed upon Buddhism by Christian or Western scholars, there are two which stand out most conspicuously and most persistently. One of them declares that Buddhism is a religion which denies the existence of the soul, and the other that it is atheistic or at best pantheistic, which latter term implies what is practically tantamount to the rejection of a God, that is, a personal God as believed in by the Christians. The object of this discourse is to see to what extent the second criticism is, if at all, justifiable. In other words, I propose here to elucidate the Buddhist conception of God.

At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience. Again, Buddhism is not pantheistic in the sense that it identifies the universe with God. On the other hand, the Buddhist God is absolute and transcendent; this world, being merely its manifestation, is necessarily fragmental and imperfect. To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, "panentheism," according to which God is πᾶν καὶ ἕν (all and one) and more than the totality of existence...

We must not, however, suppose that God is no more than the sum-total of individual existences. God exists even when all creations have been destroyed and reduced to a state of chaotic barrenness. God exists eternally, and he will create another universe out of the ruins of this one. To our limited intelligence there may be a beginning and an end of the worlds, but as God surveys them, being and becoming are one selfsame process. To him nothing changes, or, to state it rather paradoxically, he sees no change whatever in all the changes we have around us; all things are absolutely quiet in their eternal cycle of birth and death, growth and decay, combination and disintegration. This universe cannot exist outside of God, but God is more than the totality of individual existences; God is here as well as there, God is not only this but also that. As far as he is manifested in nature and mind, they glorify him, and we can have a glimpse of his image and feel, however imperfectly, his inner life. But it will be a grievous error, let us repeat, to think that he has exhausted his being in the manifestation of this universe, that he is absolutely identical with his creations, and that with the annihilation of the world he vanishes into eternal emptiness...

When the Dharmakâya is most concretely conceived it becomes the Buddha, or Tathâgata, or Vairochana, or Amitâbha. Buddha means "the enlightened," and this may be understood to correspond to "God is wisdom." Vairochana is "coming from the sun," and Amitâbha, "infinite light," which reminds us of the Christian notion, "God is light..."

Lastly, Paramârtha and Satya are the terms used to designate the epistemological phase of the Dharmakâya. Paramârtha is the first or highest reason, and Satya is truth or that which truly is. And for the psychological aspect of the Dharmakâya, or as it is manifested in the human consciousness, we have Bodhi or Hridaya. Bodhi is the divine wisdom incarnated in our limited intelligence, or the divine love as reflected in our human sympathy and compassion. Hridaya is the inner life of existence which prompts and quickens us to do the will of the Dharmakâya, and which is awakened to its full dignity and glory when intelligence passes over the limits of relativity. The reason why we are able to have an insight into the nature of the ultimate being and to recognize the truth that sameness and difference are co-existent and really identical, is because our Bodhi or Hridaya is essentially one with the Dharmakâya. When the Bodhi comes to know itself, it also knows the inner being of Dharmakâya, however fragmentary the knowledge be, and we lie blissfully at rest in the bosom of eternal motherliness.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/zfa/zfa04.htm
Serenity509
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:21 am
Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:07 pm

Would you consider Soyen Shaku, who was greatly responsible for introducing the Western world to Zen Buddhism, a reputable source?


I would not. Japanese scholars of his era were too much enamored of western philosophy.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12735
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:13 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Would you consider Soyen Shaku, who was greatly responsible for introducing the Western world to Zen Buddhism, a reputable source?


I would not. Japanese scholars of his era were too much enamored of western philosophy.


If that is your opinion, perhaps we should agree to disagree in peace then. One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that a wide variety of interpretations about God are tolerated.
Serenity509
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:21 am
Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby muni » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:22 pm

God creates people or people create Gods?
muni
 
Posts: 3043
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:59 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:36 pm

Serenity509 wrote:If that is your opinion, perhaps we should agree to disagree in peace then. One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that a wide variety of interpretations about God are tolerated.


I haven't seen very many interpretations of, on, or about God among Buddhists. I have seen much tolerance, though.

Would you please explain which views on God you've found among Buddhists?
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5769
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:41 pm

Jikan wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:If that is your opinion, perhaps we should agree to disagree in peace then. One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that a wide variety of interpretations about God are tolerated.


I haven't seen very many interpretations of, on, or about God among Buddhists. I have seen much tolerance, though.

Would you please explain which views on God you've found among Buddhists?


I think much of your apprehension about the concept of God arises from however you interpret the meaning of the term. Is there a compassionate presence that pervades the universe? Is there a power greater than ourselves? Can we personally experience this presence?
Serenity509
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:21 am
Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:16 pm

muni wrote:God creates people or people create Gods?


One of my favorite sayings I have heard:
"it is stupid to believe in God, and even stupider to believe in the species that created him"
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Josef » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:19 pm

Serenity509 wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:If that is your opinion, perhaps we should agree to disagree in peace then. One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that a wide variety of interpretations about God are tolerated.


I haven't seen very many interpretations of, on, or about God among Buddhists. I have seen much tolerance, though.

Would you please explain which views on God you've found among Buddhists?


Is there a compassionate presence that pervades the universe? Is there a power greater than ourselves? Can we personally experience this presence?


No. No. No.
We can however fully experience and manifest our nature.
There is no need for God or Gods whatsoever. If they do exist they are samsaric, which makes them irrelevant and an inappropriate source of refuge for Buddhists.
Last edited by Josef on Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Josef
 
Posts: 1565
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:22 pm

Serenity509 wrote:I think much of your apprehension about the concept of God arises from however you interpret the meaning of the term. Is there a compassionate presence that pervades the universe? Is there a power greater than ourselves? Can we personally experience this presence?


Honestly, this isn't much of an issue for Buddhists who are culturally Buddhist or were never part of a monotheistic religion. It's more of an issue for those who identify as Theists, especially monotheists, coming to Buddhism. I would also point out that much has to do with how THEY, rather than "we," define or interpret the meaning of the term. Frankly, for many (most?) monotheists, your ideas of "God" don't square with their understanding or evaluation of the term. God, for many monotheists, is very much "Other."
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:29 pm

Nangwa wrote:No. No. No.
We can however fully experience and manifest our nature.
There is no need for God or Gods whatsoever. If they do exist they are samsaric, which makes them irrelevant and an inappropriate source of refuge for Buddhists.


Buddhists consider God a projection of the mind. We also consider a chair to be a projection of the mind. So, aside from what we like and don't like because of our ego, what's the difference? sometimes I want a chair and sometimes I don't.

The only real problem I see with the Islamic/Judeo-Christian God, is that he has all these unresolved anger and jealousy issues, and a lot of his children seem to have inherited that. If he went and hung out with Buddha for a weekend and maybe just had some tea and talked it all out, he could learn to relax more, learn how to cut through all that baggage. I mean, he's God...so he could do that, right?
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2845
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Paul » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:31 pm

Serenity509 wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:If that is your opinion, perhaps we should agree to disagree in peace then. One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that a wide variety of interpretations about God are tolerated.


I haven't seen very many interpretations of, on, or about God among Buddhists. I have seen much tolerance, though.

Would you please explain which views on God you've found among Buddhists?


I think much of your apprehension about the concept of God arises from however you interpret the meaning of the term. Is there a compassionate presence that pervades the universe? Is there a power greater than ourselves? Can we personally experience this presence?


"God" is a very, very powerfully loaded term - and many of the meanings implicit in the term are just not present in Buddhist teachings. Many are in fact explicitly rejected, such as in the Abhidharmakosha's comments about the notion of the world being created by Ishvara. So it's best IMHO to stick with the terms that the Buddha and the lineages that preserve his teachings. We know what a buddha is meant to be within the Buddhist context, but things become very unclear if we try to introduce modified versions of very alien concepts.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
User avatar
Paul
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1060
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:12 pm

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:35 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:I think much of your apprehension about the concept of God arises from however you interpret the meaning of the term. Is there a compassionate presence that pervades the universe? Is there a power greater than ourselves? Can we personally experience this presence?


Honestly, this isn't much of an issue for Buddhists who are culturally Buddhist or were never part of a monotheistic religion. It's more of an issue for those who identify as Theists, especially monotheists, coming to Buddhism. I would also point out that much has to do with how THEY, rather than "we," define or interpret the meaning of the term. Frankly, for many (most?) monotheists, your ideas of "God" don't square with their understanding or evaluation of the term. God, for many monotheists, is very much "Other."


I don't believe in Abrahamic theism. Believing in a force higher than ourselves isn't automatically theism.
Serenity509
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:21 am
Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:05 pm

Serenity509 wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Would you consider Soyen Shaku, who was greatly responsible for introducing the Western world to Zen Buddhism, a reputable source?


I would not. Japanese scholars of his era were too much enamored of western philosophy.


If that is your opinion, perhaps we should agree to disagree in peace then. One of the things I appreciate about Buddhism is that a wide variety of interpretations about God are tolerated.


There is no god in Buddhism. Dharmakāya is not God.

All Hindu theistic notions are refuted in Buddhism since they contradict Buddha's basic insight into reality, dependent origination.

N
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12735
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:07 pm

Serenity509 wrote:
Believing in a force higher than ourselves isn't automatically theism.


There are no higher and lower forces: there are only sentient beings in samsara, bodhisattvas on the path out of samsara and buddhas who show the way out of samsara having traversed that path.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12735
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:16 pm

Namdrol wrote:There is no god in Buddhism. Dharmakāya is not God.


Dharmakaya is not a theistic God. Is Dharmakaya a compassionate presence that can be personally experienced?
Serenity509
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:21 am
Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:18 pm

Serenity509 wrote:
Namdrol wrote:There is no god in Buddhism. Dharmakāya is not God.


Dharmakaya is not a theistic God. Is Dharmakaya a compassionate presence that can be personally experienced?


Dharmakāya is beyond mind. So it cannot be experienced with the mind. It is a state of realization. It can only been seen by Buddhas. The limitless compassion of a buddha unfolds upon the realization of dharmakāya. But dharmakāya is not itself something real.

N
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12735
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Serenity509 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:21 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:
Namdrol wrote:There is no god in Buddhism. Dharmakāya is not God.


Dharmakaya is not a theistic God. Is Dharmakaya a compassionate presence that can be personally experienced?


Dharmakāya is beyond mind. So it cannot be experienced with the mind. It is a state of realization. It can only been seen by Buddhas. The limitless compassion of a buddha unfolds upon the realization of dharmakāya. But dharmakāya is not itself something real.

N


Are you willing to recognize that your views may not be universally shared within Buddhism? That doesn't make your views illegitimate.
Serenity509
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:21 am
Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:23 pm

Serenity509 wrote:
Are you willing to recognize that your views may not be universally shared within Buddhism?


What I described to you above is a normative definition shared by all schools of Buddhism grounded in Mahāyāna sutra, including Dzogchen.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
User avatar
Malcolm
 
Posts: 12735
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

PreviousNext

Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 14 guests

>