Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

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Nicholas Weeks
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Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

If Indrajala or anyone else is interested & knows the answer to the queries below, let us hear.

The Heaven of the 33 is ruled by Lord Shakra, King of Gods, also known as Indra, and the God of the Christian Bible. I first ran across this identification of the Xtian God with Shakra-Indra in the teachings of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua.

Three questions (at least) - 1) Where and when did this notion of identity appear in the buddhadharma?

2) Cannot now recall where, but the clear suggestion is that Shakra-Indra-God is a disciple of Buddha. He appears in the first chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra giving his Dharma door, for example. Where else is there an explicit (or another implicit one) dharma saying so?

3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
Last edited by Nicholas Weeks on Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Motova »

Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm If Indrajala or anyone else is interested & knows the answer to the queries below, let us hear.

The Heaven of the 33 is ruled by Lord Shakra, King of Gods, also known as Indra, and the God of the Christian Bible. I first ran across this identification of the Xtian God with Shakra-Indra in the teachings of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua.

Three questions (at least) - 1) Where and when did this notion of identity appear in the buddhadharma?

2) Cannot now recall where, but the clear suggestion is that Shakra-Indra-God is a disciple of Buddha. He appears in the first chapter of the Avatamsaka giving his Dharma door, for example. Where else is there an explicit (or another implicit one) dharma saying so?

3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
I think a discussion of the class of being of god is on here or on VC....

If I remember correctly Malcolm thinks god is a powerful gyalpo.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Here is that verse from ch. 1 of the HuaYen Sutra:
Moreover, Celestial King Shakra-Indra gained a passage into liberation of experiencing great happiness of recollecting the appearance of Buddhas of the three periods and clearly seeing everything including the formation and decay of their lands.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Seeker12 »

Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm If Indrajala or anyone else is interested & knows the answer to the queries below, let us hear.

The Heaven of the 33 is ruled by Lord Shakra, King of Gods, also known as Indra, and the God of the Christian Bible. I first ran across this identification of the Xtian God with Shakra-Indra in the teachings of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua.

Three questions (at least) - 1) Where and when did this notion of identity appear in the buddhadharma?

2) Cannot now recall where, but the clear suggestion is that Shakra-Indra-God is a disciple of Buddha. He appears in the first chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra giving his Dharma door, for example. Where else is there an explicit (or another implicit one) dharma saying so?

3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
No sources, but I would guess that a sort of deeper, mystical Christian God entity is more likely to be something like Mahabrahma than Shakra, but the term God may refer to quite a number of different things.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: “I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.” “The ocean?” the older fish says, “that’s what you’re in right now.” “This”, says the young fish, “this is water. What I want is the ocean!”
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Huseng »

Not quite sure if this is going to answer your questions, but here's a good overview of lore related to Indra/Sakka (it is lengthy!):

http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... /sakka.htm
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Indrajala wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:57 pm Not quite sure if this is going to answer your questions, but here's a good overview of lore related to Indra/Sakka (it is lengthy!):

http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... /sakka.htm
Thanks Jeff; it does answer #2, that Shakra is a good devotee of Buddha & his dispensation.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Stefos »

Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm If Indrajala or anyone else is interested & knows the answer to the queries below, let us hear.

The Heaven of the 33 is ruled by Lord Shakra, King of Gods, also known as Indra, and the God of the Christian Bible. I first ran across this identification of the Xtian God with Shakra-Indra in the teachings of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua.

Three questions (at least) - 1) Where and when did this notion of identity appear in the buddhadharma?

2) Cannot now recall where, but the clear suggestion is that Shakra-Indra-God is a disciple of Buddha. He appears in the first chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra giving his Dharma door, for example. Where else is there an explicit (or another implicit one) dharma saying so?

3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
Hi Nicholas,

1. Indrajala is NOT the God of the Bible

2. Not sure about that

3. "Christian God" is a very vague term actually

When you examine the New Testament carefully, you'll see that there is a Non-duality between God and the believer.
"God's spirit becomes one with your spirit" and also "Before the foundation of the world, we were in Christ."

That's nonduality right there.

Stefos
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by MiphamFan »

1. It would be unlikely that there is was an identification of YHWH and Indra at any point prior to modern times, the only premodern period that Christianity and Buddhism came into contact with each other in any organised way was Tang dynasty China, but Nestorian Christianity was destroyed in China soon after. There were previous limited cultural exchanges, such as Clement of Alexandria apparently learning of the Buddha's life story. It's just Hsuan Hua's own identification.

3. Christians would certainly think so. The Jews themselves are more mixed on that and of course the Gnostics don't.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by DGA »

Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm If Indrajala or anyone else is interested & knows the answer to the queries below, let us hear.

The Heaven of the 33 is ruled by Lord Shakra, King of Gods, also known as Indra, and the God of the Christian Bible. I first ran across this identification of the Xtian God with Shakra-Indra in the teachings of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua.

Three questions (at least) - 1) Where and when did this notion of identity appear in the buddhadharma?

2) Cannot now recall where, but the clear suggestion is that Shakra-Indra-God is a disciple of Buddha. He appears in the first chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra giving his Dharma door, for example. Where else is there an explicit (or another implicit one) dharma saying so?

3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
I think this topic will be of interest to many here. I don't think we're going to make much progress until we establish what Master Hsuan Hua meant in his equation of Indra with "the Christian God" (the content of that phrase is debated among Christians). We need to understand better what he meant by "the Christian God" and the context he made that equation in.

Anyone have a textual source on this? Once we have that, we can start unpacking.

I think Miphamfan is right on the money here:
MiphamFan wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:59 am 1. It would be unlikely that there is was an identification of YHWH and Indra at any point prior to modern times, the only premodern period that Christianity and Buddhism came into contact with each other in any organised way was Tang dynasty China, but Nestorian Christianity was destroyed in China soon after. There were previous limited cultural exchanges, such as Clement of Alexandria apparently learning of the Buddha's life story. It's just Hsuan Hua's own identification.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

I will (and others are welcome to help) spend more time researching Master Hua's remarks. I have other projects now, so this enquiry was just a thought I wondered about.

Yet it seems not unlikely that only Jehovah is what is meant. Shakra is not a non-dual principle, nor like Mahabrahma a very great Deva.

The link Indrajala provided says that Sakka/Shakra was flawed, not to bright, temperamental etc. Just like Jehovah.

The improvement in his character came when Shakra, after the Old Testament times, began to worship Buddha and his Arhants.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Here is Master Hua talking about the varied heavens:
The second heaven in the Desire Realm is the Trayastrimsha Heaven. Trayastrimsha (Trayastri) is a Sanskrit word. You don't know what that means? Then let's call it the "Don't Know Heaven." The Don't Know Heaven is just the Trayastrimsha, a Sanskrit word that means thirty-three. Shakra, known as yin tuo la ye (Indra) in the Shurangama Mantra, resides in the center of these heavens. He is the "God" revered in Christianity, and in China he is known as the Jade Emperor. The Book of History (Shu-jing) refers to him as the Supreme Lord and says, "Bathe and observe purity in order to worship the Supreme Lord."

In ancient China no one knew about the Buddha; they knew only about the Supreme Lord. In the Shang Dynasty, Emperor Tang used a black bull as an offering to the Supreme Lord and said, "I, Lü, but a small child, presume to use this black bull in venturing to make known to the Supremely Exalted Ruling Lord that if I have offenses, they are not the people's, and if the people have offenses, the offenses rest with me."

Emperor Tang's name was Lü, and he referred to himself as a small child out of respect for the Supreme Lord. He very sincerely offered a black bull and told the Supreme Lord that if he made errors, the citizens should not be blamed, and that if the common folk of his country committed offenses, the responsibility should rest with the Emperor for not having taught them correctly.

The ancients blamed themselves in that way, unlike people of today who clearly know that they are in the wrong but say, "Don't look at me! It's his fault! How can you blame me?" and complain, "God is unjust.

Why does he confer wealth on others and make me so poor? Why does he bestow honor on some and leave me so wretched?" They blame heaven and curse mankind, looking for faults in others instead of admitting their own wrongs. The ancients acknowledged their own mistakes.
Sounds pretty Jehovah-like to me. Of course, if one is convinced that these Devas are geographically confined or focused to one part of globe Earth - then so be it.

As you might gather, I am not looking at this as a matter of intellectual sharing or influence among humans, but as the actual presence of Devas influencing inwardly our minds - wherever our bodies may reside.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by MiphamFan »

I personally accept the existence of spirits, but a few points:

1) This is the academic forum, and we should have some common basis of discussion based on the historical data. Otherwise I can claim some other Buddhist teacher equated the Abrahamic god with Mara and it's just his word against Hsuan Hua's.

2) The main way spirits interact with humans is still indirect -- unless you are going to tell me they have physical bodies we can all observe. This indirect interaction often does come in the form of influence and implanting ideas into human minds which then get them to do things. C.f. gyalpo spirits as commonly known in Tibetan Buddhism, various spirits who send visions/possess humans all across the world

What evidence is there that the god of Yeshua ben Maryam converted to Buddhism (through identification with Indra//Shakra) besides Hsuan Hua's word? I would expect that if such a momentuous thing occurred, he (if he is one entity surviving from circa 33 BCE to the present) would have at least sent some word to his most devout followers over the years through visions. Instead, Christian saints and mystics have never reported any such occurrences over the centuries while reporting many messages reiterating Jesus redeeming mankind's sins, penance etc.

In the case of Indra, we see that his worship more or less seems to have faded out in India itself, which is quite interesting.

I can more easily claim that Indra is Zeus from a linguistic and historical perspective.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by ItsRaining »

Saying a all-power god is Indra or Shakra is probably a common trope. In China many Buddhists will say the Jade Emperor is Indra/Brahma/Sakkra due to being the highest god so people applying that trope the the Christian God is pretty understandable. After all didn't the Brahma believe he created the world?
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by ItsRaining »

Stefos wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:17 pm
Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm If Indrajala or anyone else is interested & knows the answer to the queries below, let us hear.

The Heaven of the 33 is ruled by Lord Shakra, King of Gods, also known as Indra, and the God of the Christian Bible. I first ran across this identification of the Xtian God with Shakra-Indra in the teachings of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua.

Three questions (at least) - 1) Where and when did this notion of identity appear in the buddhadharma?

2) Cannot now recall where, but the clear suggestion is that Shakra-Indra-God is a disciple of Buddha. He appears in the first chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra giving his Dharma door, for example. Where else is there an explicit (or another implicit one) dharma saying so?

3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
Hi Nicholas,

1. Indrajala is NOT the God of the Bible

2. Not sure about that

3. "Christian God" is a very vague term actually

When you examine the New Testament carefully, you'll see that there is a Non-duality between God and the believer.
"God's spirit becomes one with your spirit" and also "Before the foundation of the world, we were in Christ."

That's nonduality right there.

Stefos
That's Hindu/Vedantic non-dual monilism of the Self and Brahma not Buddhist non-duality.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

ItsRaining wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:20 pm Saying a all-power god is Indra or Shakra is probably a common trope. In China many Buddhists will say the Jade Emperor is Indra/Brahma/Sakkra due to being the highest god so people applying that trope the the Christian God is pretty understandable. After all didn't the Brahma believe he created the world?
Thank you - Master Hua was not inventing a unique notion regarding God=Jade Emperor=Shakra-Indra.

The reason I put this thread in the Academic arena is so Indrajala-Jeff or some scholar knowing Chinese would investigate their vast corpus and see if there are some textual bases for such a belief.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Caoimhghín »

Nicholas Weeks wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:04 pm
3) Does the "Christian God" mean Jehovah of the O.T.?
"Jehovah" doesn't even mean Jehovah of the O.T.

Which Jehovah? The one who rules the council of other gods? The one whose wife is Ashera? The one who had a son named Jesus not with that wife (scandelous!)?
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Just using 'Jehovah' as a respectful shorthand for YHVH -HaShem, the God of Moses.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Motova »

I think I remember Malcolm saying Devas aren't interested in sacrifices, only hungry ghosts are.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Motova wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:33 pm I think I remember Malcolm saying Devas aren't interested in sacrifices, only hungry ghosts are.
Maybe, but there are many kinds of devas with differing qualities.
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Re: Shakra-Indra as Xtian God

Post by Virgo »

Motova wrote: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:08 pm
I think a discussion of the class of being of god is on here or on VC....
Unfortunately, VC was terminated on December 3'rd, 2017.

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