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mudra
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by mudra »

serenity509: You don't have to use the term "God" to understand Amida Buddha as a power greater than ourselves.
Would you agree the Buddha has great compassion?

So if the Buddha was this Supreme Power presumably he could stop all suffering by snapping his fingers? Yet he didn't. Why? because he wasn't a Omnipotent but only (!) Omniscient. That omniscience is something we all can attain. It is a potential we all have, because it is a quality of mind.

Or perhaps you think it's some kind of divine sport to let all the suffering continue. Yet he taught the Four Noble Truths, saying that suffering is self (!) created. Grasping on to the self in other words.

What is 'supreme' about the Buddhas is their omniscience which makes them uber-skilfull in inspiring others. But we still have to do the work. Why? Because there is no supreme power to help us along.

SO that's the Buddhist perspective 101.

I suggest you let go of your persistent conceptions about what Buddhism is (or more like 'should be'). You have tried everything. :stirthepot: :soapbox: :alien: :tantrum:

If it isn't what you want that's ok, it isn't for everybody. :shrug:
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

mudra wrote:
serenity509: You don't have to use the term "God" to understand Amida Buddha as a power greater than ourselves.
Would you agree the Buddha has great compassion?

So if the Buddha was this Supreme Power presumably he could stop all suffering by snapping his fingers?
Don't millions of Buddhists make supplications to the Buddha to help them toward Enlightenment?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Serenity509 wrote:I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household.

I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person.

This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha.

I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure.

Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It.

I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all.

Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me.

I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.
That is the original post. I broke it up into separate lines. What are we talking about?
EMPTIFUL.
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Josef
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Josef »

Serenity509 wrote:
mudra wrote:
serenity509: You don't have to use the term "God" to understand Amida Buddha as a power greater than ourselves.
Would you agree the Buddha has great compassion?

So if the Buddha was this Supreme Power presumably he could stop all suffering by snapping his fingers?
Don't millions of Buddhists make supplications to the Buddha to help them toward Enlightenment?
Sure they do. But the Buddha already did his part. Our liberation is up to us.
The Buddha is the teacher, through the teachers knowledge the student progresses.
Supplicating the teacher is an act of devotion to him or her and the teachings they bestow.
It is not like supplicating a higher power.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.
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mudra
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by mudra »

Don't millions of Buddhists make supplications to the Buddha to help them toward Enlightenment?
Yes. What does that prove? It's just us turning our minds to the Buddha and what he taught. Those who expect divine intervention are lost. Even the term blessing in Buddhist view means deep inspiration.

I supplicate my teacher to explain some finer points so I can better understand and practice. What I am essentially doing is asking for inspiration. And if I listen well, think clearly, and do it I might get to Enlightenment. But if I don't nothing happens.

I ask the guy in the service station where the next restaurant is. If he is trustworthy, and I listen well, understand, and follow the instructions I have a good chance of getting there. But if I don't, then well I go hungry.
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:I am a Westerner raised in a Christian household.

I've been attracted to Buddhist principles for some time, especially as it relates to making oneself a more peaceful and compassionate person.

This Sunday, I attended a Buddhist service for the first time, and was surprised to hear its supplications to the Buddha.

I've always heard that Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that doesn't regard Siddhārtha Gautama as a divine figure.

Are these supplications interpreted in a non-literal sense, in which "I take refuge in the Buddha" really means "I take refuge in your teaching"?

While I believe in a higher power, I am very open and loose in terms of defining It.

I believe that there is a compassionate Spirit that pervades the universe and indwells us all.

Whether one terms this Spirit as the cosmic Buddha or the cosmic Christ doesn't make too much of a difference to me.

I believe that the historical Buddha and the historical Jesus were in contact with the same spiritual reality.
That is the original post. I broke it up into separate lines. What are we talking about?
While Buddhism might not have a Creator God, it believes in the Eternal Buddha, the Absolute, and other concepts that can be interpreted as a power greater than oneself.

Since the temple I've attended is Shin Buddhist, learning their understanding is what I'm most interested in.
In Shin Buddhism, Amida Buddha is viewed as the eternal Buddha who manifested as Shakyamuni in India and who is the personification of Nirvana itself. The Shin Buddhist priest, John Paraskevopoulos, in his monograph on Shin Buddhism, writes:

'In Shin Buddhism, Nirvana or Ultimate Reality (also known as the "Dharma-Body" or Dharmakaya in the original Sanskrit) has assumed a more concrete form as (a) the Buddha of Infinite Light (Amitabha) and Infinite Life (Amitayus)and (b) the "Pure Land" or "Land of Utmost Bliss" (Sukhavati), the realm over which this Buddha is said to preside ... Amida is the Eternal Buddha who is said to have taken form as Shakyamuni and his teachings in order to become known to us in ways we can readily comprehend.'[2]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Buddha" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Josef
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Josef »

Serenity509 wrote:
While Buddhism might not have a Creator God, it believes in the Eternal Buddha, the Absolute, and other concepts that can be interpreted as a power greater than oneself.
They can be interpreted in that way. However, those interpretations do not accord with the teachings.
Buddhas are not powers higher than oneself. Every sentient being has the capacity for Buddhahood.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Higher than oneself means higher than your natural, mortal self, not your potential Buddha nature. When people offer prayers to the Buddha for compassion, does he hear them?
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Josef
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Josef »

Serenity509 wrote:Higher than oneself means higher than your natural, mortal self, not your potential Buddha nature. When people offer prayers to the Buddha for compassion, does he hear them?
Ones potential Buddha nature is nothing more than their natural capacity and condition.
Practitioners don't need his compassion. We already got it when he taught the dharma.
People can pray to Buddha all they want but their liberation is in their hands, not his.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Nangwa wrote: People can pray to Buddha all they want but their liberation is in their hands, not his.
Why can't it be both, as millions of Buddhists believe it to be?
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Josef
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Josef »

Serenity509 wrote:
Nangwa wrote: People can pray to Buddha all they want but their liberation is in their hands, not his.
Why can't it be both, as millions of Buddhists believe it to be?
The Buddha never liberated anyone but himself. He gave the teachings on how others can do the same.
The reason it cant be both is simple. Putting the Buddha's teachings in to practice is effective. Expecting the Buddha to do the work for you is not.

A better question would be, "why do people want to rely on an external force rather than their own dedication?"
The answer is probably fear and lack of self-confidence because they haven't worked with the dharma directly.
There is no need for an external force. All we need is a teacher who gives us the knowledge we need to discover and manifest our capacity.
And then we have to put those instructions into practice.
Last edited by Josef on Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.
Serenity509
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Location: United States

Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Nangwa wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:
Nangwa wrote: People can pray to Buddha all they want but their liberation is in their hands, not his.
Why can't it be both, as millions of Buddhists believe it to be?
The Buddha never liberated anyone but himself. He gave the teachings on how others can do the same.
The reason it cant be both is simple. Putting the Buddha's teachings in to practice is effective. Expecting the Buddha to do the work for you is not.
Millions of Buddhists disagree with you. Devotion to Buddha for his compassionate help is popular. A monk might do things all by himself, yet the common people often want a little help.
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Josef
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Josef »

You sure are confident for someone who has been to a Buddhist temple once.
You disagree with me, not "millions of Buddhists".
Devotion to the Buddha is of course popular, he is the founder of our tradition.
Common people already have access to help, in the form of teachers, teachings, and other practitioners.
Monks rarely do things by themselves actually. They usually live in communities with a network of assistance.
You are going to be consistently disappointed in your efforts to force God into Buddha's robes.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Nangwa wrote:You sure are confident for someone who has been to a Buddhist temple once.
You disagree with me, not "millions of Buddhists".
I've studied Eastern philosophy for years. The idea of a bodhisattva is to work toward the Enlightenment of all beings by transferring merit to those who supplicate.
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Josef
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Josef »

Serenity509 wrote:
Nangwa wrote:You sure are confident for someone who has been to a Buddhist temple once.
You disagree with me, not "millions of Buddhists".
I've studied Eastern philosophy for years. The idea of a bodhisattva is to work toward the Enlightenment of all beings by transferring merit to those who supplicate.
You should keep studying.
That is a gross oversimplification of the bodhisattva principle that you have adapted in order to support your fixation on a higher power.
There is a lot more to bodhisattva activity than transfer of merit.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Nangwa wrote: There is a lot more to bodhisattva activity than transfer of merit.
Of course, there is. The point stands that we need not only rely on our own power to attain Enlightenment, that a power higher than ourselves, such as a bodhisattva, can help us. I am not saying this because I made it up but because such supplications are made everyday.
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mudra
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by mudra »

Serenity509 - you don't listen, you continue to insist on your interpretation of things. You received a lot of very clear and useful replies from long term practitioners who have studied and practiced with real masters and you continue to try and twist it your way.

There really isn't much of value left on this thread. Good luck. :namaste:
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Didn't the Buddha encourage us to form our own interpretations? What I've brought to your attention is various traditions within Buddhism.
Huseng
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Huseng »

Serenity509 wrote:
Nangwa wrote: People can pray to Buddha all they want but their liberation is in their hands, not his.
Why can't it be both, as millions of Buddhists believe it to be?
A lot of people assume Buddha, Guanyin or some other figure will pluck them out of this sea of suffering, but in reality that's just devotional sentiments.

At the end of the day realization of impermanence and emptiness comes down to the individual. No other being can force you to have such a realization.
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LastLegend
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by LastLegend »

Serenity509 wrote: I've studied Eastern philosophy for years. The idea of a bodhisattva is to work toward the Enlightenment of all beings by transferring merit to those who supplicate.
If you recite a Buddha's name, you must also practice the way of Buddha. Your own effort is always required. And true merits come from a pure mind, so an inherent of the mind. So when karma has lessened, wisdom and merits will naturally increase. If you seek enlightenment through attachments, you are deluded and superstitious. The path of enlightenment is the path of detachment, if you are attached to your vehicle, you are deluded.

If you recite karma of body, speech,and mind, then you will be cycling in the 6 realms of death and rebirth. If you truthfully recite a Buddha such as Amitabha, you will realize enlightenment at Pure Land. This is karma.
Serenity509 wrote:Didn't the Buddha encourage us to form our own interpretations? What I've brought to your attention is various traditions within Buddhism.
Yes but with correct reasoning
LastLegend wrote:The inherent nature of the mind is empty, because it's empty it can take many manifestations. To name it a Self or High Power is to give it attributes but it's nature is empty and is not limited by anything. To give it attributes is to create an identification which inherently lack of since it's empty. The reason why we here because at some point we had a thought of self due to ignorance...so use the Buddhist terms such as Buddha Nature or mind, not Self or Higher Power.

But if you truly understand the teachings, it is neither Self nor Non-Self, it is neither self nor non-self, yet it lack nothing, truly empty but full of all. So to give attributes is to limit it to those attributes only, and this is so called individual self we have. Buddhism seeks to liberate from this individual self which we have mistaken for so long.

Gods or God is with particular attributes, truly empty mind (Buddha) is without particular attributes but lack nothing.

To give it a name is to give it a form. Name and Form from dependent origination. But it's empty so neither form or non-form. No duality yet not lack of anything. I hope you will get.

It's not easy to digest sometimes.
It’s eye blinking.
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