Interfaith Dialogue

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padma norbu
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by padma norbu »

Serenity509 wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Sorry I thought Serenity is a female's name. Lol. Anyway good luck with your journey.
It's not a name, it's a state of mind.
But why at 509? Why not Serenity NOW! (this is a Seinfeld reference). There's no God in Buddhism like the kind generally discussed in other religions, but you probably gathered that from the other responses. TNH either kind of uses a technique for teaching that other people can relate to without being scared away or else he doesn't really understand Buddhism. I think the former is probably the case rather than the latter. Other Buddhist teachers talk perhaps even more flippantly about this distinction as if it doesn't really matter, such as Lama Surya Das and Robert Thurman. They're wrong and I think it's wrong to mislead people like this, although in Thurman's case, he clearly doesn't think he's misleading anyone since his scholarly opinion is that it's just "semantic." He's wrong. Also Ken Wilber and Adyashanti talk like this. They're wrong, too. It's not like Buddha didn't know what he was saying; he was incredibly precise, actually. Vedantists have said that he was an avatar of Vishnu who intentionally taught falsehoods to sway the minds of already corrupted teachers. Then again, there are Vedantists who, like Robert Thurman, think he was really teaching the same thing but it was just a matter of semantics. :quoteunquote:

Buddhists take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha and that means the Buddha (a real being, also your real nature and the Guru), the dharma is his teaching (also truth and Wisdom energy) and the sangha which is the community that respects his teaching and tries to follow it, which is a physical support of refuge (also dakinis). There are many levels of this according to which tradition you're following, but Buddha is not seen as a God and the Buddha nature within you is not seen as a "spark of God" or whatever like you will find in theistic traditions. There is no brahman (divine consciousness) or atman (soul) in Buddhism.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Serenity509 wrote:
Since the temple I've attended is Shin Buddhist, learning their understanding is what I'm most interested in.
VERY GLAD you mentioned that little tid bit. It really clears a lot up.

Serenity, something that you understand is that just as there are a lot of rivers that lead to the same ocean, there are a lot of paths that can lead to the same realization and development of wisdom and compassion.

But this is not only comparing Buddhism to Christianity or to Hinduism or whatever. Within each tradition there are many different paths, or rivers. So, if you ask, "does buddhism........" you are going to get a lot of different answers.

Shin Buddhism is very different from most other commonly practiced schools of Buddhism, and even different from other Pure land schools. its founder, Shinran, insisted that all efforts toward realization one does are useless, and that it is by the grace of Amida (Amitabha) alone that beings are 'saved'.

Followers of other schools take this as nothing less than turning Buddha into some kind of Jesus. On the surface, and for many Shin followers, that would seem to be an accurate assessment.

However, if one probes deeper into the teachings of Shin Buddhism, which insists on placing total "faith" in Amida, there is a profound, subtle meaning. Amida means infinite. "Faith" is actually a western word which is a very poor substitute for "ShinJin" which really means (well, sort of means) relying totally, without any hesitation at all, on Mind's true nature, which, when all clouds of self-clinging are removed, is itself infinite.

Shinran's insistence is on the assertion that you can't cling onto your own limited, confused mind (and by extension, various methods) and realize buddhahood at the same time (it's like that saying, 'you can't serve two masters'. --is that a jesus quote?). The mind of ShinJin in the person who practices this type of buddhism, this complete reliance, is said to be inseparable from the mind of Amida.

When Shin buddhists talk about 'other power' as opposed to 'self power', they employ the method of seeing Buddha as out there reaching to us over here. Actually, this method is not entirely different from Vajrayana yidam visualization (although it is Sutrayana, not Vajrayana, and I know I am going to get flack for suggesting there is any similarity) as it a way of visualizing one's so-called, "true nature".

And it is also not entirely different from Zen, in that it requires a complete and total letting go. Shin Buddhists have one practice, chanting the name of Amida, and this can be likened to the Zen koan IN THAT it has nothing to do with relying on some type of rational analysis...it is just direct experience.

As a vajrayana student, I have noticed that it is not hard to find oneself conversant in all sorts of very complicated 'spiritual logistics' . Shin buddhism cuts through every shred of clinging one has to any level of intellectual expertise. It is, and I mean this in a very complimentary way, "enlighteningly stupid".

So, there can easily be the impression that Buddha is considered as a 'higher power'. Clarity can certainly be considered to be a few notches higher than confusion. But strictly speaking, no, Buddha isn't a god, and doesn't function as a god.

Functions very well, however, as a garden ornament.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Kyosan »

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.
What you mean by supplicate? I thought that bodhisattvas give their merits away to other beings without discrimination. :namaste:
Serenity509
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: So, there can easily be the impression that Buddha is considered as a 'higher power'. Clarity can certainly be considered to be a few notches higher than confusion. But strictly speaking, no, Buddha isn't a god, and doesn't function as a god.
Buddha can be a "higher power" or a "power greater than oneself" without being a God. The point is that "higher power" is such a broad term that even an atheist can have one. I've heard people say that their "higher power" is the universe itself or the collective conscience of the twelve step group.
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adinatha
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by adinatha »

Serenity509 wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote: So, there can easily be the impression that Buddha is considered as a 'higher power'. Clarity can certainly be considered to be a few notches higher than confusion. But strictly speaking, no, Buddha isn't a god, and doesn't function as a god.
Buddha can be a "higher power" or a "power greater than oneself" without being a God. The point is that "higher power" is such a broad term that even an atheist can have one. I've heard people say that their "higher power" is the universe itself or the collective conscience of the twelve step group.
The Buddha can only show the path. You have to walk it.
CAW!
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Fa Dao
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Fa Dao »

borrowed this from a friend...seems so applicable to this entire thread...
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"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Grigoris
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Grigoris »

Serenity509 wrote:The point is not that twelve step is Buddhist but that Buddhists have found their own concepts of a "higher power," however metaphorically understood, in the twelve step program.
Well bully for them! This, however, is not Buddhism, it is has to do with Buddhists adapting their beliefs to fit the twelve step model. It is a mutation designed to survive in a specific environment for a specific purpose.
Buddhism and the God-idea

by

Nyanaponika Thera

© 2004. BuddhaNet edition © 1996.–2011


Quite contradictory views have been expressed in Western literature on the attitude of Buddhism toward the concept of God and gods. From a study of the discourses of the Buddha preserved in the Pali canon, it will be seen that the idea of a personal deity, a creator god conceived to be eternal and omnipotent, is incompatible with the Buddha's teachings. On the other hand, conceptions of an impersonal godhead of any description, such as world-soul, etc., are excluded by the Buddha's teachings on Anatta, non-self or unsubstantiality.

In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct.

Theism, however, is regarded as a kind of kamma-teaching in so far as it upholds the moral efficacy of actions. Hence a theist who leads a moral life may, like anyone else doing so, expect a favorable rebirth. He may possibly even be reborn in a heavenly world that resembles his own conception of it, though it will not be of eternal duration as he may have expected. If, however, fanaticism induces him to persecute those who do not share his beliefs, this will have grave consequences for his future destiny. For fanatical attitudes, intolerance, and violence against others create unwholesome kamma leading to moral degeneration and to an unhappy rebirth.

Although belief in God does not exclude a favorable rebirth, it is a variety of eternalism, a false affirmation of permanence rooted in the craving for existence, and as such an obstacle to final deliverance.

Among the fetters (samyojana) that bind to existence, theism is particularly subject to those of personality-belief, attachment to rites and rituals, and desire for fine-material existence or for a "heaven of the sense sphere," as the case may be.

As an attempt at explaining the universe, its origin, and man's situation in his world, the God-idea was found entirely unconvincing by the Buddhist thinkers of old. Through the centuries, Buddhist philosophers have formulated detailed arguments refuting the doctrine of a creator god. It should be of interest to compare these with the ways in which Western philosophers have refuted the theological proofs of the existence of God.

But for an earnest believer, the God-idea is more than a mere device for explaining external facts like the origin of the world. For him it is an object of faith that can bestow a strong feeling of certainty, not only as to God's existence "somewhere out there," but as to God's consoling presence and closeness to himself. This feeling of certainty requires close scrutiny. Such scrutiny will reveal that in most cases the God-idea is only the devotee's projection of his ideal — generally a noble one — and of his fervent wish and deeply felt need to believe. These projections are largely conditioned by external influences, such as childhood impressions, education, tradition and social environment. Charged with a strong emotional emphasis, brought to life by man's powerful capacity for image-formation, visualization and the creation of myth, they then come to be identified with the images and concepts of whatever religion the devotee follows. In the case of many of the most sincere believers, a searching analysis would show that their "God-experience" has no more specific content than this.

Yet the range and significance of God-belief and God-experience are not fully exhausted by the preceding remarks. The lives and writings of the mystics of all great religions bear witness to religious experiences of great intensity, in which considerable changes are effected in the quality of consciousness. Profound absorption in prayer or meditation can bring about a deepening and widening, a brightening and intensifying of consciousness, accompanied by a transporting feeling of rapture and bliss. The contrast between these states and normal conscious awareness is so great that the mystic believes his experience to be manifestations of the divine; and given the contrast, this assumption is quite understandable. Mystical experiences are also characterized by a marked reduction or temporary exclusion of the multiplicity of sense-perceptions and restless thoughts, and this relative unification of mind is then interpreted as a union or communion with the One God. All these deeply moving impressions and the first spontaneous interpretations the mystic subsequently identifies with his particular theology. It is interesting to note, however, that the attempts of most great Western mystics to relate their mystical experiences to the official dogmas of their respective churches often resulted in teachings which were often looked upon askance by the orthodox, if not considered downright heretical.

The psychological facts underlying those religious experiences are accepted by the Buddhist and well-known to him; but he carefully distinguishes the experiences themselves from the theological interpretations imposed upon them. After rising from deep meditative absorption (jhana), the Buddhist meditator is advised to view the physical and mental factors constituting his experience in the light of the three characteristics of all conditioned existence: impermanency, liability to suffering, and absence of an abiding ego or eternal substance. This is done primarily in order to utilize the meditative purity and strength of consciousness for the highest purpose: liberating insight. But this procedure also has a very important side-effect which concerns us here: the meditator will not be overwhelmed by any uncontrolled emotions and thoughts evoked by his singular experience, and will thus be able to avoid interpretations of that experience not warranted by the facts.

Hence a Buddhist meditator, while benefiting by the refinement of consciousness he has achieved, will be able to see these meditative experiences for what they are; and he will further know that they are without any abiding substance that could be attributed to a deity manifesting itself to the mind. Therefore, the Buddhist's conclusion must be that the highest mystic states do not provide evidence for the existence of a personal God or an impersonal godhead.

Buddhism has sometimes been called an atheistic teaching, either in an approving sense by freethinkers and rationalists, or in a derogatory sense by people of theistic persuasion. Only in one way can Buddhism be described as atheistic, namely, in so far as it denies the existence of an eternal, omnipotent God or godhead who is the creator and ordainer of the world. The word "atheism," however, like the word "godless," frequently carries a number of disparaging overtones or implications, which in no way apply to the Buddha's teaching.

Those who use the word "atheism" often associate it with a materialistic doctrine that knows nothing higher than this world of the senses and the slight happiness it can bestow. Buddhism is nothing of that sort. In this respect it agrees with the teachings of other religions, that true lasting happiness cannot be found in this world; nor, the Buddha adds, can it be found on any higher plane of existence, conceived as a heavenly or divine world, since all planes of existence are impermanent and thus incapable of giving lasting bliss. The spiritual values advocated by Buddhism are directed, not towards a new life in some higher world, but towards a state utterly transcending the world, namely, Nibbana. In making this statement, however, we must point out that Buddhist spiritual values do not draw an absolute separation between the beyond and the here and now. They have firm roots in the world itself for they aim at the highest realization in this present existence. Along with such spiritual aspirations, Buddhism encourages earnest endeavor to make this world a better place to live in.

The materialistic philosophy of annihilationism (ucchedavada) is emphatically rejected by the Buddha as a false doctrine. The doctrine of kamma is sufficient to prove that Buddhism does not teach annihilation after death. It accepts survival, not of an eternal soul, but of a mental process subject to renewed becoming; thus it teaches rebirth without transmigration. Again, the Buddha's teaching is not a nihilism that gives suffering humanity no better hope than a final cold nothingness. On the contrary, it is a teaching of salvation (niyyanika-dhamma) or deliverance (vimutti) which attributes to man the faculty to realize by his own efforts the highest goal, Nibbana, the ultimate cessation of suffering and the final eradication of greed, hatred and delusion. Nibbana is far from being the blank zero of annihilation; yet it also cannot be identified with any form of God-idea, as it is neither the origin nor the immanent ground or essence of the world.

Buddhism is not an enemy of religion as atheism is believed to be. Buddhism, indeed, is the enemy of none. A Buddhist will recognize and appreciate whatever ethical, spiritual and cultural values have been created by God-belief in its long and checkered history. We cannot, however, close our eyes to the fact that the God-concept has served too often as a cloak for man's will to power, and the reckless and cruel use of that power, thus adding considerably to the ample measure of misery in this world supposed to be an all-loving God's creation. For centuries free thought, free research and the expression of dissident views were obstructed and stifled in the name of service to God. And alas, these and other negative consequences are not yet entirely things of the past.

The word "atheism" also carries the innuendo of an attitude countenancing moral laxity, or a belief that man-made ethics, having no divine sanction, rest on shaky foundations. For Buddhism, however, the basic moral law is inherent in life itself. It is a special case of the law of cause and effect, needing neither a divine law-giver nor depending upon the fluctuating human conceptions of socially conditioned minor moralities and conventions. For an increasing section of humanity, the belief in God is breaking down rapidly, as well as the accustomed motivations for moral conduct. This shows the risk of basing moral postulates on divine commandments, when their alleged source rapidly loses credence and authority. There is a need for an autonomous foundation for ethics, one that has deeper roots than a social contract and is capable of protecting the security of the individual and of human institutions. Buddhism offers such a foundation for ethics.

Buddhism does not deny that there are in the universe planes of existence and levels of consciousness which in some ways may be superior to our terrestrial world and to average human consciousness. To deny this would indeed be provincial in this age of space travel. Bertrand Russell rightly says: "It is improbable that the universe contains nothing better than ourselves."

Yet, according to Buddhist teachings, such higher planes of existence, like our familiar world, are subject to the law of impermanence and change. The inhabitants of such worlds may well be, in different degrees, more powerful than human beings, happier and longer-lived. Whether we call those superior beings gods, deities, devas or angels is of little importance, since it is improbable that they call themselves by any of those names. They are inhabitants of this universe, fellow-wanderers in this round of existence; and though more powerful, they need not be wiser than man. Further, it need not be denied that such worlds and such beings may have their lord and ruler. In all probability they do. But like any human ruler, a divine ruler too might be inclined to misjudge his own status and power, until a greater one comes along and points out to him his error, as our texts report of the Buddha.

These, however, are largely matters beyond the range and concern of average human experience. They have been mentioned here chiefly for the purpose of defining the Buddhist position, and not to serve as a topic of speculation and argument. Such involvement can only divert attention and effort from what ought to be our principal object: the overcoming of greed, hatred and delusion where they are found in the here and now.

An ancient verse ascribed to the Buddha in the Questions of King Milinda says:

Not far from here do you need to look!
Highest existence — what can it avail?
Here in this present aggregate,
In your own body overcome the world!
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... didea.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Grigoris
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Grigoris »

You may want to check out this teaching by the Buddha: Brahma-nimantanika Sutta: The Brahma Invitation http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A small snippet:
In this sutta, the Buddha faces two antagonists: Baka, a brahma who believes that his brahma-attainment is the highest attainment there is; and Mara, who wants (1) to keep Baka under his power by allowing Baka to maintain his deluded opinion, and (2) to prevent the Buddha from sharing his awakened knowledge with others. Of the two, Mara is the more insidious, a point illustrated by the fact that Mara always speaks through someone else and never directly shows his face. (Another interesting point is illustrated by the fact that Mara is the source of the demand that one obey a creator god.)
:namaste:
Last edited by Grigoris on Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
muni
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by muni »

Fa Dao wrote:borrowed this from a friend...seems so applicable to this entire thread...
BeatDeadHorse.gif
Rest now you poor exhausted mind, so tired by chasing and hitting your projections. _/\_
*I do not teach separation.* sz.

Wisdom beings know that we are not separate. This is why they are able to grant blessings."
https://garchen.net/wp-content/uploads/ ... ditate.pdf
Enochian
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Enochian »

Serenity,

Relying on a higher power encourages laziness.

Noone would be achieving rainbow body your way.

I can pray to become a billionaire, but it ain't going to happen.
There is an ever-present freedom from grasping the mind.

Mind being defined as the thing always on the Three Times.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Enochian wrote:Serenity,

Relying on a higher power encourages laziness.
What if, by "higher power", one means one's inherent buddha nature (if one believes in such a thing)?
What if, by "higher power" one is referring to the blessings of one's lineage (if one believes in such a thing)?

We can't always assume that our own definition of a term as ambiguous as "higher power"
is the same as what someone else means.

If "higher power" means a "power greater than myself", which I think is the common understanding,
and Buddhists assert that clinging to some solid concept of "myself" is at the root of suffering,
Then why couldn't the term "higher power", refer to the cause of liberation, which is going beyond clinging to "myself"?

WORDS!
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
Malcolm
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Serenity509 wrote:
Nangwa wrote:It is antithetical to liberation.
Not if you believe liberation to be oneness with the cosmic Self.

Meher Baba and the Evolution of Consciousness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNEkQmxM4d0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Meher Baba is not a Buddhist.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Malcolm
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Malcolm »

Serenity509 wrote:
Is there a spiritual layer to existence that we all can experience or is Nirvana simply nothingness? If you believe that the goal of religion is to attain nothingness, why have a religion at all?
I could care less about the goals of religion -- the goal of Buddhism is simply to overcome ignorance with knowledge. No spiritual layers necessary.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Serenity, your views of 'cosmic self' are valid but they are not valid buddhist views.
It's like comparing oil painting to watercolors. You may end up with a similar picture but the method and tools are very different.

If you keep trying to redefine buddhism, or keep asking 'isn't this the same as' people will just argue with you.

My favorite quote:
"When you cannot agree on an answer, you are probably not asking the right question"
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Vajrahridaya »

Serenity509 wrote:
Enochian wrote:Read my signature

It really is that simple.
Does the interconnectedness of all things rule out there being a spiritual force to the universe? If the universe always existed, thus not needing a Creator God, that wouldn't rule out there being a cosmic Self.
Everything is interconnected but empty of inherent existence, thus, no cosmic over Self, nor can you say that the sum of all things is a Self.

That would be an eternalistic extreme view according to Buddhadharma.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Enochian wrote:Serenity,

Relying on a higher power encourages laziness.
It's not either or. In Shin Buddhism, and in the twelve step program, one relies both on the help of an "other-power" and one's personal effort.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Namdrol wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:
Nangwa wrote:It is antithetical to liberation.
Not if you believe liberation to be oneness with the cosmic Self.

Meher Baba and the Evolution of Consciousness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNEkQmxM4d0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Meher Baba is not a Buddhist.
Meher Baba wasn't exclusively any religion, yet he was influenced by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. What matters is whether or not he spoke the truth.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Serenity509 »

Amida Buddha is the compassionate "other-power" of Shin Buddhism, the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life. I am reading An Introduction to True Land Buddhism by Siegen Yamaoka, bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America. The following articles make the same points that Yamaoka does regarding belief in Shin Buddhism:
The Pure Land school established on this basis may be called the way of salvation by a "power outside of ourselves," or "other power" (i.e., the power of Amida Buddha)...

However, when we come to Pure Land Buddhism, God and Amida Buddha seem to be the same. Both are believed in as a savior by devotees. Among the branches of Buddhism, the Pure Land school particularly emphasizes "faith." Devotees of the school realize that they do not attain enlightenment by their own power, but by simply having faith in Amida's power of salvation.
We have buddha-nature within ourselves but we cannot reveal its true nature by ourselves. Its revelation is achieved only by Amida's grace. Our salvation is entirely dependent upon Amida Buddha. Thus as far as this aspect of Amida as a savior is concerned, we may see that Amida and God appear to be the same, but Amida also has a different aspect from that of God. Amida Buddha is not the creator or ground of all being.
http://www.jodo.org/about_plb/what_plb.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
An important feature of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism is the doctrine of anatman or 'no-self' which is the idea that nothing in our empirical self is stable, permanent or enduring and that the fleeting constituents of the ego do not comprise our real self. Shin Buddhism develops the logical implications of this doctrine and insists that we cannot rely on our unreliable and fickle egos (ie. jiriki or 'self-power') to deliver us from the bondage of this very same egoism. The only way out of the self-defeating futility of such efforts, it would seem, is to rely on a power other than one's own, a power that is not subject to the imperfections and weaknesses of the human self. Shin Buddhists call this tariki or 'Other-power' which is none other than the power of Amida Buddha.

When one relies solely on Other-power for one's enlightenment, the influence of the ego is increasingly diminished by a gradual process of attrition as Amida Buddha's Light begins to take hold of one's entire being, sustaining it with its wisdom and compassion. This is not, of course, to say that the ego disappears in such cases - rather one is more aware of it than ever - but that its manifold poisons and distractions no longer constitute a karmic impediment to one's eventual enlightenment because it is Amida that is doing the work for our passage to the Pure Land. By relying thus on the Buddha alone, our realization of Buddhahood is assured since there is nothing that can impede the will and power of the Absolute itself.
http://www.nembutsu.info/primshin.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Jiriki means self-power and Tariki means Other Power. While Jiriki is the finite power of man, Tariki is the infinite Power of Amida' s Compassion and Wisdom.

Salvation in Jodo Shinshu is through the grace of Amida Buddha; thus it is known as "salvation through absolute Other Power."
http://www.shindharmanet.com/shinbasics ... uction.htm
Shin Buddhism entrusts in the “Other Power” of Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion and does not rely upon our self-centered attempts to attain Enlightenment. The Historic Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, is recognized as a human manifestation of Amida Buddha who appeared to share the Nembutsu Dharma or Teachings of the Nembutsu. In Shin Buddhist Temples, Amida Buddha is the Object of Reverence.
http://www.moiliilihongwanji.org/Inform ... buddha.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Please stop accusing me of reading my own beliefs into Buddhism, when I am trying to make sense of Shin teaching, since the temple I've attended is Shin Buddhist. We can peacefully agree to disagree about particular doctrines, but please don't accuse me of simply making them up.
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Re: God in Buddhism

Post by catmoon »

There are many forms of Buddhism.

It seems to me that some of the major sects have in fact deified Buddha, asking him to grant enlightenment, prosperity, mystical powers and so on. Even if it is not official doctrine, it's there at the grass roots level. The other day I overheard two people discussing the correct way to chant for a new car.

But every time I have referred back to the Pali sutras, such ideas have been blown to smithereens.

So, if you want to believe in higher powers and such, you will certainly be able to find those who will practice with you that way. And you will make progress too. But at some point you will have to confront the spare, logic-based mental techniques taught by the Buddha, as related by the early sutras. There you will find no statuary, no thangkas, not much in the way of Heaven, and no monasteries. Ritual was almost nonexistent, and scriptures were passed on by word of mouth, not pen and paper. Laypeople were expected not to lie, steal, kill, drink or bonk the neighbour's wife and that was about it. Maybe throw in listening to a bit of teaching now and then.

Even today, the best monks from all traditions lead exceedingly simple lives, from a material standpoint. It really is too bad that so many have been caught up in classes and retreats, cooking and advertising, counselling and scholastic pursuits. Many a monastic I have spoken to leads a kind of desperately frenetic existence that is under such pressure they have trouble finding time for meditation. But there are still some out there with strong, deep practices.
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Vajrahridaya
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 2:08 pm

Re: God in Buddhism

Post by Vajrahridaya »

Serenity509 wrote:
Meher Baba wasn't exclusively any religion, yet he was influenced by Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. What matters is whether or not he spoke the truth.
Meher Baba was a Hindu, and Hinduism has the all subsuming dogma of an all mighty universal essence, which gives the delusion that all paths come from one being and lead to the same being. This is known as Monistic Idealism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monistic_idealism. This same view leads people to say that the Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu, and such things as this.

It's fine to be inspired by many religions, and see the love in the great teachers, but there is a subtle difference between the teachings of the different religions which are important to note. As the 8 fold path is predicated upon the first of the 8 fold path which is "right view", it is right view alone that leads to Buddhahood. Right View is dependent origination/emptiness according to Buddhas. Meher Baba teaches Independent origination/consciousness. Which is Monistic Idealism, a nice view, but not the view that liberates one from unconscious rebirth, it only leads to higher rebirth.

Meher Baba did not speak about Buddhahood, he spoke about the type of stuff that leads to higher rebirth in long lived god realms, but not Buddhahood. So, it's a truth, but not the truth that leads to Buddhahood. I know this as I grew up Hindu, and I have studied all the major Hindu texts, and have read the autobiographies of many Hindu saints. They do not teach the same thing as Buddhahood. Because the cosmologies are different, the goal of the two paths are not the same. Meher Babas teachings lead to a long lived happy life in a heaven realm, but not Buddhahood which is a different goal.
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