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Encyclopedia > God in Buddhism

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Buddhism
Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ...



Image File history File links Lotus-buddha. ...

History
The History of Buddhism spans from the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. ...

Timeline· Buddhist councils
563 BCE: Siddhārtha Gautama, Buddha-to-be, is born in Lumbini, Ancient India. ... // Main article: First Buddhist council Ananda reciting the Sutta Pitaka According to the scriptures of all Buddhist schools, the first Buddhist Council was held soon after the nirvana of the Buddha under the patronage of king Ajatasatru, and presided by the monk Mahakasyapa, at Rajagaha (todays Rajgir). ...

Foundations
Several Buddhist terms and concepts lack direct translations into English that cover the breadth of the original term. ...

Four Noble Truths
Noble Eightfold Path
Buddhist Precepts
Nirvana · Three Jewels
The Four Noble Truths (Pali: Cattāri ariyasaccāni, Sanskrit: Catvāri āryasatyāni, Chinese: Sìshèngdì, Thai: อริยสัจสี่, Ariyasaj Sii) are one of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings. ... The Dharma wheel, often used to represent the Noble Eightfold Path The Noble Eightfold Path (Pāli: Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo; Sanskrit: Ārya ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ; Chinese: 八正道, Bāzhèngdào; Japanese: 八正道, Hasshōdō, Thai: อริยมรรคแปด, Ariya Mugg Paad, Mongolian qutuɣtan-u naiman gesigün-ü mör) is, in... Śīla (Sanskrit) or sīla (Pāli) is usually rendered into English as behavioral discipline, morality, or ethics. ... Symbol of the triratna, as seen in the Sanchi stupa, 1st century BCE. The Three Jewels, also rendered as Three Treasures, Three Refuges or Triple Gem are the three things that Buddhists give themselves to, and in return look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge. ...

Key Concepts
Several Buddhist terms and concepts lack direct translations into English that cover the breadth of the original term. ...

Three marks of existence
Skandha · Cosmology
Samsara · Rebirth · Dharma
Dependent Origination · Karma
According to the Buddhist tradition, all phenomena (dharmas) are marked by three characteristics, sometimes referred to as the Dharma seals, that is dukkha (suffering), anicca (impermanence), and anatta (non-Self). ... The skandhas (Sanskrit: Pāli: Khandha; literally: heap or bundle) are the five constituents or aggregates through which the functioning and experience of an individual is created according to Buddhist phenomenology. ... Buddhist cosmology is the description of the shape and evolution of the universe according to the canonical Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ... Rebirth in Buddhism is the doctrine that the consciousness of a person (as conventionally regarded), upon the death or dissolution of the aggregates (skandhas) which make up that person, becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new group of skandhas which may again be conventionally considered... Dharma (Sanskrit: धर्म) or Dhamma (Pāli: धम्म) in Buddhism has two primary meanings: the teachings of the Buddha which lead to enlightenment the constituent factors of the experienced world In East Asia, the character for Dharma is 法, pronounced fǎ in Mandarin and hō in Japanese. ... The doctrine of Pratītyasamutpāda (Sanskrit: ) or Paticcasamuppāda, Pali: ; Tibetan: ; Chinese: ) Dependent Arising is an important part of Buddhist metaphysics. ... Karma (Sanskrit: कर्मन karman, Pāli: कमा Kamma) means action or doing; whatever one does, says, or thinks is a karma. ...

Major Figures
A number of noted individuals have been Buddhists. ...

Gautama Buddha
Disciples · Later Buddhists Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ... A number of noted individuals have been Buddhists. ...

Practices and Attainment

Buddhahood · Bodhisattva
Four Stages of Enlightenment
Paramitas · Meditation · Laity
Bodhi (Pali and Sanskrit. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Scriptures Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History 4th Buddhist Council Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      A statue of a Bodhisattva, Akasagarbha. ... The four stages of enlightenment in Buddhism are the four degrees of approach to full enlightenment as an Arahant which a person can attain in this life. ... Pāramitā or PāramÄ« (Sanskrit and Pāli respectively): Perfection or Transcendent. In Buddhism & Jainism, the Paramitas refer to the perfection or culmination of certain practices. ... Buddhist meditation encompasses a variety of meditation techniques that develop mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight. ... In canonical Buddhism, householder refers to a particular strata of society whose individuals are typified by having a home life and family. ...

Countries
Buddhism - Percentage by country The percentage of Buddhist population of each country was taken from the US State Departments International Religious Freedom Report 2004 [1]. Other sources used were CIA Factbook [2] and adherents. ...

Bhutan · Cambodia · China
India · Indonesia · Japan
Korea · Laos · Malaysia
Mongolia · Myanmar · Nepal
Singapore · Sri Lanka
Thailand · Tibet · Vietnam
Western countries The grounds of Koreas Buryeongsa Temple. ... Buddhism in Myanmar is predominantly of the Theravada tradition or the southern school. ... Tibetan Buddhism is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Ladakh), Mongolia, Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia (Russia), and northeastern China (Manchuria: Heilongjiang, Jilin). ... The Indo-Greek king Menander (155-130 BCE) is the first Western historical figure documented to have converted to Buddhism. ...

Branches

Theravāda · Mahāyāna
Vajrayāna
Early and Pre-sectarian Theravada (Pāli: theravāda (cf Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda); literally, the Teaching of the Elders, or the Ancient Teaching) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia... Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ... Vajrayāna Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayana, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Esoteric Buddhism, Diamond Vehicle, or 金剛乘 Jingangcheng in Chinese; however, these terms are not always regarded as equivalent: one scholar[1] speaks of the tantra divisions of some editions of the Kangyur as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts) is... Divisions among the early Buddhist schools came about due to doctrinal or practical differences in the views of the Buddhist Sangha following the death of the Buddha. ... The term pre-sectarian Buddhism is used to refer to the Buddhism that existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being. ...

Texts
Chinese Song Period Maha-prajna-paramita Sutra Page The texts can be categorized in a number of ways, but the most fundamental division is that between canonical and non-canonical texts. ...

Pali Canon · Mahayana Sutras
Tibetan Canon Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ... Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of... The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. ...

Comparative Studies
Culture · List of topics
Portal: Buddhism
The cultural elements of Buddhism vary by region and include: Buddhist cuisine Buddhist art Buddharupa Art and architecture of Japan Greco-Buddhism Tibetan Buddhist sacred art Buddhist music Buddhist chant Shomyo Categories: Buddhism-related stubs ... Contents: Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z The following is a List of Buddhist topics: A Abhidharma Ahimsa Ajahn Ajahn Chah Ajanta Aksobhya Alexandra David-Néel...

Image File history File links Dharma_wheel. ...

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Conceptions of God
Bahá'í
Buddhist
Christian
Islamic
Jewish
Hindu
Mormon
Sikh
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Buddhism is sometimes regarded as a religion (or a spiritual philosophy) without an Absolute Creator God (who created the universe ex nihilo and to whom worship and adoration are due). This separation between a creator and creation are absent in Buddhism as every being's true essence resides in the timeless Dharma. With constant practice of meditation and moral perfections beings cause the dispelling of ignorance by which all beings become inheritors of the Dharma. [1] In later Nikaya Buddhism, dispute arise as to the ontological aspect of Dhamma and Buddha because enternal Dhamma stating that reality is non eternal, seems to contradict itself. The theological solution(s) to this contradiction form the major portion of Mahayana theology. Consequently, Mahayana Buddhism as opposed to Theravada Buddhism is much closer to Abrahamic religion, and various European scholars who studied it commented on its similarity. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the Christian Trinity. ... Islam reveres the one God, who is considered the only Creator and Lord of the Universe. The main fundamental creed (shahadah) of Islam is There is but (one) God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God. The Arabic word for The God is Allah (الله); Muslims consider him the same deity... The Conception of God in Judaism is henotheistic or (as Rabbinic Judaism) monotheistic. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Mormonism, depending on era and denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement, has accomodated a diverse range of views of the the concept of the Christian Godhead including forms of modalism, binitarianism, tritheism, henotheism, and trinitarianism. ... The fundamental belief of Sikhism is that God exists, not merely as an idea or concept, but as a Real Entity, indescribable yet knowable and perceivable to anyone who is prepare to dedicate the time and energy to become perceptive to His persona. ... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... God is the divine being that created the omniverse. ... Ex nihilo is a Latin term meaning out of nothing. It is often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning creation out of nothing. Due to the nature of this, the term is often used in philosophical or creationistic arguments, as a number of...


Even though an Absolute Creator God is absent in most forms of Buddhism, veneration and worship of Gautama Buddha (and other Buddhas) do play a major role in both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Another difference is that all have the opportunity to strive for Buddhahood, whereas in Abrahamic version of theism, it is impossible to strive to become the God due to a strict separation between man and God. Although it should be mentioned that the doctrine of Theosis has played an important role in Christian thought. However, there are number of theistic variations of Hinduism where a man can strive to become the Godhead. Similarly, in some major traditions of Mahayana Buddhism (the Tathagatagarbha and Pure Land streams of teaching) there is the notion of the Buddha as the omnipresent, omniscient, liberative essence of Reality, and the idea of the Buddhas as generators of vast "pure lands", "Buddha lands" or Buddha Paradises, in which beings will unfailingly attain Nirvana. Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ... Media:Example. ... Theravada (Pāli: theravāda (cf Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda); literally, the Teaching of the Elders, or the Ancient Teaching) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia... Relief image of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin from Mt. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      In Eastern Orthodox and... The Tathagatagarbha doctrine says that each sentient being contains the potential to become a Buddha. ... The Buddha Amitabha, 13th century, Kamakura, Japan. ... Omnipresence is defined, in a general sense, as: the ability to be present in every place at the same time; unbounded or universal presence. ... For the album by Swans, see Omniscience (album). ...


Huston Smith in his popular comparative religions book, "The World Religions", describes Buddhism as being psychological and not metaphysical like theistic religions. Unlike theistic religions which begin with notions of God and the creation of the universe, Buddhism begins with the human condition as enumerated in the Four Noble Truths. Buddhists do not normally speak in terms of an Absolute Creator God. Huston Cummings Smith (born May 31, 1919) is among the preeminent religious studies scholars in the United States. ... The Four Noble Truths (Pali: Cattāri ariyasaccāni, Sanskrit: Catvāri āryasatyāni, Chinese: Sìshèngdì, Thai: อริยสัจสี่, Ariyasaj Sii) are one of the most fundamental Buddhist teachings. ...


In Mahayana and Tantric Buddhism, however, there is far less reticence on the part of the Buddha (or Buddhas) to discourse upon metaphysical matters than is found in the Pali scriptures.


Some tantras paint a portrait of the Buddha on a cosmological scale and in cosmogonic terms as the emanator of all beings and all universes (see, for instance, the Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra). This primordial Buddha is viewed by the Jonangpa school of Tibetan Buddhism as absolute, eternal, omnipresent, supreme Knowingness/Awareness (jnana) beyond the limitations of ordinary consciousness. Vajrayāna Buddhism (Also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayana, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Esoteric Buddhism, Diamond Vehicle, or 金剛乘 Jingangcheng in Chinese; however, these terms are not always regarded as equivalent: one scholar[1] speaks of the tantra divisions of some editions of the Kangyur as including Sravakayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana texts) is... The Kunjed Gyalpo (All-Creating King) is a Buddhist Tantra written in Tibetan which centres upon the direct teachings of the primordial, ultimate Buddha (Adibuddha), Samantabhadra, who presents himself as the essence of the utterly pure Buddhic Mind (bodhichitta). ... The Jonang or Jonangpa school of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in the early 14th century by Sherab Gyeltsen, a monk trained in the Sakyapa school. ... Tibetan Buddhism is the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet, the Himalayan region (including northern Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Ladakh), Mongolia, Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia (Russia), and northeastern China (Manchuria: Heilongjiang, Jilin). ...


The Tibetan adept, Dolpopa, writes: "It is absolute, never relative. It is the true nature ... It is gnosis, never consciousness. It is pure, never impure. It is a sublime Self, never a nothingness ... It is Buddha, never a sentient being." (The Buddha from Dolpo, Cyrus Stearns, SUNY, New York, 1999, pp. 149-150). The Tibetan Sangpa Kagyu school of Buddhism speaks of the Ultimate Reality as pure, spotless, changeless Mind that is present in all things, all times and in all beings and which can never die. Kalu Rinpoche elucidates: " ... pure mind cannot be located, but it is omnipresent and all-penetrating; it embraces and pervades all things. Moreover, it is beyond change, and its open nature is indestructible and atemporal." (Luminous Mind, Kalu Rinpoche, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 1997, pp.20-21). Other Mahayana Buddhists, however, are averse to the idea of an Absolute and speak only of a chain of ongoing causes and conditions as the ultimate Truth (this is especially true of the Gelukpa School of Tibetan Buddhism). The Geluk (dge lugs) School was founded by Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), Tibets best known religious reformer and arguably its greatest philosopher. ...


In Buddhism, one venerates Buddhas and sages for their virtues, sacrifices and struggles for perfect enlightenment (one can see this in the Jatakas) and as teachers who are embodiments of the "Dhamma" or "Law". In Buddhism, this supreme victory of the human spirit and humanity's ability for jnana or perfect gnosis is celebrated in the concept of human saints known as Arahants which literally means "worthy of offerings" or "worthy of worship" because this sage overcomes all defilements and obtains perfect gnosis to obtain Nirvana.[2] The Jatakas form a part of Buddhist canonical literature. ... A garden featuring depictions of various arhats (Hsi Lai Temple, California) An arhat (also arahat or arahant; Chinese: 阿羅漢, aluohan; Tibetan: dgra-bcom-pa; Jp. ... This article is about the Buddhist concept. ...


Buddhism is a way of life which does not hinge upon the concept of a Creator God but depends upon the practice of the Eightfold Path which includes contemplation. In Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, however, veneration and worship of all Buddhas, as the transmitters and embodiments of Dharma and its blessings, is highly significant and is seen as extremely important for spiritual development. While Buddhism does not deny the existence of supernatural beings (e.g., the devas, of which many are discussed in Buddhist scripture, and indeed the Buddhas themselves, whose powers are of a supernatural calibre), it does not ascribe power, in the typical Western sense, for creation, salvation or judgment to the "gods". They are regarded as having the power to affect worldly events and so some Buddhist schools associate with them via ritual. All unenlightened supernatural beings are caught in samsara, the ongoing cycle of death and subsequent rebirth. Theravada (Pāli: theravāda (cf Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda); literally, the Teaching of the Elders, or the Ancient Teaching) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia... Relief image of the bodhisattva Guan Yin from Mt. ... For other uses, see Dharma (disambiguation). ... This article is about Buddhist deities. ... There is great variety in Buddhist texts. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ...

Contents

First Cause in Buddhism - Ignorance

What is deemed as 'the creation of the universe by an all-powerful creator deity' in many other religions is not accepted by any school of Buddhism. Look up creation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


Avidya, or 'ignorance', is the closest thing in Buddhism to the First Cause of creation, but is not attributed to any God or Buddha. The Gautama Buddha explained the origin of the world of samsara in this way, but refused to answer questions about the origin of the unconditioned ‘things as they are‘ in the Pali Canon. Avidya is the Buddhist term for ignorance. ... Categories: Wikipedia cleanup | Stub | Philosophy of science | Religious Philosophy | Theology ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Media:Example. ... Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ... Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. ...


The Uncreated in Buddhism

According to Gautama Buddha the unborn is what allows there to be nirvana, an escape from the cycle of samsara. Siddhartha and Gautama redirect here. ... This article is about the Buddhist concept. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ...


Thought as the Creator

In Buddhism, there is no Supreme Being named that is the creator of all. However Gautama Buddha does state that our thoughts make the world. The Buddha considers thought as the creator of the world. The term Supreme Being is often defined simply as God,[1] and it is used with this meaning by theologians of many religious faiths, including, but not limited to, Christianity,[2] Islam,[3] Hinduism,[4] Deism[5] and Scientology. ...

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.

Dhammapada, 1.1-3

The Dhammapada (Pali, translates as Path of the Dharma. ...

God in early Buddhism

In early Buddhism, in the Titha Sutta AN 3.61, Buddha clearly states that "reliance and belief" in creation by a supreme being leads to lack of effort and inaction:

Having approached the priests & contemplatives who hold that...
'Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation,'
I said to them: 'Is it true that you hold that... "Whatever a person experiences... is all caused by a supreme being's act of creation?"'
Thus asked by me, they admitted, 'Yes.'


Then I said to them, 'Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of a supreme being's act of creation. A person is a thief... unchaste... a liar... a divisive speaker... a harsh speaker... an idle chatterer... greedy... malicious... a holder of wrong views because of a supreme being's act of creation.'


When one falls back on creation by a supreme being as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done.' When one can't pin down as a truth or reality what should & shouldn't be done, one dwells bewildered & unprotected. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative. This was my second righteous refutation of those priests & contemplative who hold to such teachings, such views.

The Buddha of the Pāli suttas (discourses) dismisses as “foolish talk”, as “ridiculous, mere words, a vain and empty thing” (Digha-Nikaya No. 13, Tevijja Sutta) the notion that Brahmins (the priestly caste), who according to the Buddha have not in fact seen Brahma face to face, can teach others how to achieve union with what they themselves have never beheld. This is not a denial of the existence of Brahma, however, but merely intended (by the Buddha) to indicate the folly of those religious teachers who would lead others to what they themselves do not personally know. The Sanskrit word denotes the scholar/teacher, priest, caste, class (), or tribe, that has been traditionally enjoined to live a life of learning, teaching and non-possessivenes . ... A Brahmā in Buddhism is the generic name for a type of exalted, passionless deity (deva), of which there are a very large number in Buddhist cosmology. ... A Brahmā in Buddhism is the generic name for a type of exalted, passionless deity (deva), of which there are a very large number in Buddhist cosmology. ...


Yet Brahma himself (see Brahmajala Sutta), for example, while not denied by the Buddha, is in no way viewed by him as a sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God. Brahma (in common with all other devas) is subject to change, final decline and death, just as are all other sentient beings in samsara (the plane of continual reincarnation and suffering). Instead of belief in such a would-be Creator God as Brahma (a benign heavenly being who is in reality not yet free from self-delusion and the processes of rebirth), the wise are encouraged to practise the Dharma (spiritual truth) of the Buddha, in which right vision, right thinking, right speaking, right acting, right living, right effort, right attentive awareness, and right meditative absorption are paramount and are said to bring spiritual Liberation. The “God idea” forms no part of Theravada Buddhism's doctrine of release from suffering - although some see in the “deathless realm of Nirvana” a hint of an impersonal, transcendental Absolute. A Brahmā in Buddhism is the generic name for a type of exalted, passionless deity (deva), of which there are a very large number in Buddhist cosmology. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ... Dukkha (Pāli दुक्ख ; according to grammatical tradition from Sanskrit uneasy, but according to Monier-Williams more likely a Prakritized form of unsteady, disquieted) is a central concept in Buddhism, the word roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including sorrow, suffering, affliction, pain, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress... Theravada (Pāli: theravāda (cf Sanskrit: स्थविरवाद sthaviravāda); literally, the Teaching of the Elders, or the Ancient Teaching) is the oldest surviving Buddhist school, and for many centuries has been the predominant religion of Sri Lanka (about 70% of the population[1]) and most of continental Southeast Asia (Cambodia... This article is about the Buddhist concept. ...


Sir Charles Eliot in his Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch correctly describes God in early Buddhism as:

The attitude of early Buddhism to the spirit world—the hosts of deities and demons who people this and other spheres. Their existence is assumed, but the truths of religion are not dependent on them, and attempts to use their influence by sacrifices and oracles are deprecated as vulgar practices similar to juggling.


The systems of philosophy then in vogue were mostly not theistic, and, strange as the words may sound, religion had little to do with the gods. If this be thought to rest on a mistranslation, it is certainly true that the dhamma had very little to do with devas.


Often as the Devas figure in early Buddhist stories, the significance of their appearance nearly always lies in their relations with the Buddha or his disciples. Of mere mythology, such as the dealings of Brahma and Indra with other gods, there is little. In fact the gods, though freely invoked as accessories, are not taken seriously, and there are some extremely curious passages in which Gotama seems to laugh at them, much as the sceptics of the 18th century laughed at Jehovah. Thus in the [Pali Canon] Kevaddha Sutta he relates how a monk who was puzzled by a metaphysical problem applied to various gods and finally accosted Brahma himself in the presence of all his retinue. After hearing the question, which was “Where do the elements cease and leave no trace behind?” Brahma replies, “I am the Great Brahma, the Supreme, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Controller, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be.” “But,” said the monk, “I did not ask you, friend, whether you were indeed all you now say, but I ask you where the four elements cease and leave no trace.” Then the Great Brahma took him by the arm and led him aside and said, “These gods think I know and understand everything. Therefore I gave no answer in their presence. But I do not know the answer to your question and you had better go and ask the Buddha.”


Even more curiously ironic is the account given of the origin of Brahma. There comes a time when this world system passes away and then certain beings are reborn in the “World of Radiance” and remain there a long time. Sooner or later, the world system begins to evolve again and the palace of Brahma appears, but it is empty. Then some being whose time is up falls from the “World of Radiance” and comes to life in the palace and remains there alone. At last he wishes for company, and it so happens that other beings whose time is up fall from the “World of Radiance” and join him. And the first being thinks that he is Great Brahma, the Creator, because when he felt lonely and wished for companions other beings appeared. And the other beings accept this view. And at last one of Brahma’s retinue falls from that state and is born in the human world and, if he can remember his previous birth, he reflects that he is transitory but that Brahma still remains and from this he draws the erroneous conclusion that Brahma is eternal.


He who dared to represent Brahma (for which name we might substitute Allah or Jehovah) as a pompous deluded individual worried by the difficulty of keeping up his position had more than the usual share of scepticism and irony. The compilers of such discourses regarded the gods as mere embellishments, as gargoyles and quaint figures in the cathedral porch, not as saints above the altar. [3]

Mahayana and tantric mystical doctrines

Shakyamuni as Tathagata

In Mahayana traditions, it is believed that there are countless Buddhas, all of one essence--that of "Tathata" ("suchness" or "thusness") – and it is in this sense that the Buddha proclaims himself as "Tathagata" and exalts himself in theistic terms beyond all other "gods" when he declares, (Lalitavistara Sutra), "I am the god above the gods, superior to all the gods; no god is like me – how could there be a higher?" There are also many examples in the Pāli Canon, where the Buddha shows his magical superiority over the Brahma class of gods. So this was already present in the Pāli scriptures/ agamas. The Mahayana schools take the "akalikam" ("timeless") or eternal Dhammakaya of the Buddha in the earliest Tipitika and take it to its furthest understanding. His realm (“dhatu”), of which he is the "Holy King" (Nirvana Sutra), is further said to be inherent in all beings. This indwelling, indestructible, incomprehensible, divine sphere or essence is called the “Buddha-dhatu” (Buddha-sphere, Buddha-nature, Buddha-realm) or “Tathagatagarbha” in such sutras as the “Mahaparinirvana Sutra” and the “Anunatva-Apurnatva-Nirdesa”. Tathata is a Sanskrit word variously translated as thusness, suchness, or the true nature of things. ... Tathāgata (Sanskrit; Pali The one thus-come or The one thus-gone; Chinese: 如來; Pinyin: Rú lái; Japanese: nyorai) This is traditionally interpreted as one who comes and goes in the same way (as the previous Buddhas). Tathāgata is the name which the historical Buddha Sakyamuni (Siddhattha Gotama... Genera Many: see text Agamas or Agamids are the Agamidae family of lizards, containing more than 300 species in Africa, Asia, Australia, and a few in Southern Europe. ... Buddha-nature (originally in Sanskrit, Buddha-dhatu - Buddha Element, Buddha-Principle) is a doctrine important for many schools of Mahayana Buddhism. ... The Tathagatagarbha doctrine says that each sentient being contains the potential to become a Buddha. ... Nirvana Sutra or Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra (Chinese: Niepan Jing (涅槃經); Japanese: Nehangyō (涅槃経)) is one of the major texts of Mahāyāna Buddhism. ... The Anunatva-Apurnatva-Nirdesa (Instructions on Non-Decrease and Non-Increase) is a Buddhist sutra belonging to the Tathagatagarbha class of sutras. ...


A further name for this irreducible, time-and-space-transcending mysterious Truth or Essence of Buddhic Reality is the Dharmakaya (Body of Truth). Of this the Zen master, Sokei-An, says (Zen Pivots, Weatherhill, NY, 1998, pp. 142, 146): The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ... Sokei-an Shigetsu Sasaki (1882 - 1945) was a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest who was the first Zen Master to take residence on United States soil. ...

... dharmakaya [is] the equivalent of God ... The Buddha also speaks of no time and no space, where if I make a sound there is in that single moment a million years. It is spaceless like radio waves, like electric space - intrinsic. The Buddha said that there is a mirror that reflects consciousness. In this electric space a million miles and a pinpoint - a million years and a moment - are exactly the same. It is pure essence ... We call it 'original consciousness' - 'original akasha' - perhaps God in the Christian sense. I am afraid of speaking about anything that is not familiar to me. No one can know what IT is ...

The same Zen adept, Sokei-An, further comments:

The creative power of the universe is not a human being; it is Buddha. The one who sees, and the one who hears, is not this eye or ear, but the one who is this consciousness. This One is Buddha. This One appears in every mind. This One is common to all sentient beings, and is God.

The Zen Eye, Weatherhill, New York, 1994, p. 41

The Rinzai Zen Buddhist roshi, Soyen Shaku, discusses how in essence the idea of God is not absent from Buddhism, when understood as ultimate, true Reality:

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 ... 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 ... all and one and more than the totality of existence .... As I mentioned before, Buddhists do not make use of the term God, which characteristically belongs to Christian terminology. An equivalent most commonly used is Dharmakaya ... When the Dharmakaya is most concretely conceived it becomes the Buddha, or Tathagata ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ...

Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot, by Soyen Shaku, Samuel Weiser Inc, New York, 1971, pp.25-26, 32

Primordial Buddhas

Main article: Eternal Buddha

The idea of an eternal, all-pervading, all-knowing, immaculate, uncreated and deathless Ground of Being (the dharmadhatu, inherently linked to the sattvadhatu, the realm of beings), which is the Awakened Mind (bodhicitta) or Dharmakaya (“body of Truth”) of the Buddha himself, is promulgated in a number of Mahayana sutras and in various tantras as well. Occasionally, this principle is presented as manifesting in a more personalised form as a primordial buddha, such as Samantabhadra, Vajradhara, Vairochana, and Adi-Buddha, among others. A stone image of the Buddha. ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ... Samantabhadra (also Viśvabhadra, 普賢 Chinese: Pǔxián; Japanese: Fugen) is the Lord of the Truth (理) in Buddhism, who represents the practice and meditation of all Buddhas. ... vajradhara (lit. ... Categories: Stub | Buddhist philosophical concepts ... In Buddhist context, the Adi-Buddha is the Primordial Buddha. ...


In the Mahavairocana Sutra, the essence of Vairocana is said to be symbolised by the letter “A”, which is claimed to reside in the hearts of all beings and of which Buddha Vairocana declares, in (The Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra, p. 331), “[the mystic letter ‘A’] is placed in the heart location: The Mahavairocana Sutra is an important Buddhist sutra used in esoteric schools of Buddhism, particularly the Japanese Shingon school. ... This article is about the primordial Buddha Vairocana. ...

it is Lord and Master of all,
and it pervades entirely
all the animate and inanimate.
‘A’ is the highest life-energy …

The text refers to Vairocana Buddha as the "Bhagavat" ("Blessed One," a term traditionally linked in Indian discourse with "the Divine"], "Master of the Dharma, the Sage who is completely perfect, who is all-pervasive, who encompasses all world systems, who is All-Knowing, the Lord Vairocana” (p. 355).


The Tantric text, The Sarva-Tathagata-Tattva-Samgraha, characterizes Vairocana as follows: This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ...

He is universal Goodness, beneficial, destroyer [of suffering], the great Lord of Happiness, sky womb, Great Luminosity … the great All-perceiving Lord … He is without beginning or end … [He is] Vishnu [God] … Protector of the world, the sky, the earth … The elements, the good benefactor of beings, All things … the Blessed Rest, Eternal … The Self of all the Buddhas … Pre-eminent over all, and master of the world.

Similar God-like descriptions are encountered in the All-Creating King Tantra (Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra), where the universal Mind of Awakening (in its mode as “Samantabhadra Buddha”) declares of itself: The Kunjed Gyalpo (All-Creating King) is a Buddhist Tantra written in Tibetan which centres upon the direct teachings of the primordial, ultimate Buddha (Adibuddha), Samantabhadra, who presents himself as the essence of the utterly pure Buddhic Mind (bodhichitta). ...

I am the core of all that exists. I am the seed of all that exists. I am the cause of all that exists. I am the trunk of all that exists. I am the foundation of all that exists. I am the root of existence. I am ‘the core’ because I contain all phenomena. I am ‘the seed’ because I give birth to everything. I am ‘the cause’ because all comes from me. I am ‘the trunk’ because the ramifications of every event sprout from me. I am ‘the foundation’ because all abides in me. I am called ‘the root’ because I am everything.

The Supreme Source, p. 157

Another important primordial Buddha is Ādibuddha (Adi-Buddha), who figures prominently in the Kalachakra tantra. Ādibuddha is believed to be a primordial, self-existent, self-created Buddha who is the personification of Shunyata or emptiness [freedom from confining substance or conceptual graspability) enshrining the infinitely Knowing Mind of Great Compassion; all phenomena lack true separate existence yet still appear, and their basis is the undifferentiated and inconceivable Mind of Buddha (empty of all defects and ignorance). However, all these seemingly God-like figures, i.e Samantabhadra, Vairochana, Vajradhara etc. are traditionally understood to be personifications of emptiness-and-compassion --the ungraspable, limitless, invisible, inconceivable, unimpeded benevolent Reality of Buddha-Mind--the true nature of all phenomena. Some Buddhists see the above Samantabhadra Buddha quote as radically subjective psychology, while still others will insist that the words mean what they say and do communicate the sense of an actual sustaining Buddhic force or spiritual essence behind and within all phenomena. In Buddhist context, the Adi-Buddha is the Primordial Buddha. ... Kālacakra (Sanskrit कालचक्र; Tibetan དུས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོ་ dus kyi khor lo) is a term used in Tantric Buddhism that means time-wheel or time-cycles. It refers both to a Tantric deity (Tib. ... Śūnyatā, शून्यता (Sanskrit), Suññatā (Pāli), stong pa nyid (Tibetan), Kuu, 空 (Japanese) qoÉ£usun (Mongolian), generally translated into English as Emptiness or Voidness, is a concept of central importance in the teaching of the Buddha, as a direct realization of Sunyata is required to achieve liberation from the cycle of...


God as Manifestation of Mind

One of the Mahayana Sutras, the Lankavatara Sutra, states that the notions of a sovereign God, Atman are figments of the imagination or manifestations of the mind and can also be an impediment to perfection as this leads to attachment to the concept of "God": Lands Bhutan â€¢ China â€¢ Korea Japan â€¢ Tibet â€¢ Vietnam Taiwan â€¢ Mongolia Doctrine Bodhisattva â€¢ Bodhicitta Karuna â€¢ Prajna Sunyata â€¢ Buddha Nature Trikaya â€¢ Eternal Buddha Mahayana Sutras Prajnaparamita Sutra Avatamsaka Sutra Lotus Sutra Nirvana Sutra VimalakÄ«rti Sutra Lankavatara Sutra History Silk Road â€¢ Nagarjuna Asanga â€¢ Vasubandhu Bodhidharma      Mahayana sutras are a very broad genre of... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

All such notions as causation, succession, atoms, primary elements, that make up personality, personal soul, Supreme Spirit, Sovereign God, Creator, are all figments of the imagination and manifestations of mind.


No, Mahamati, the Tathágata’s doctrine of the Womb of Tathágata-hood is not the same as the philosopher’s Atman.[4]

Instead of a personal creator God, the sutra speaks of creative Mind, and of Suchness (tathata - universal Truth-as-it-is), which is defined as: "... this Suchness may be characterised as Truth, Reality, exact knowledge, limit, source, self-substance, the Unattainable". (Suzuki, Lankavatara Sutra, p. 198).


Moreover, the same sutra also sees the Buddha reveal that he is the unrecognised One who is actually being addressed when beings project from their unawakened minds notions of Divinity and address themselves to "God". The many names for such ultimate Being or Truth are in fact said by the Buddha to be unwitting appellations of the Buddha himself. He states:

The same can be said of myself as I appear in this world of patience before ignorant people and where I am known by uncounted trillions of names.


They address me by different names not realizing that they are all names of the one Tathagata.


Some recognize me as Sun, as Moon; some as a reincarnation of the ancient sages; some as one of "ten powers"; some as Rama, some as Indra, and some as Varuna. Still there are others who speak of me as The Un-born, as Emptiness, as "Suchness," as Truth, as Reality, as Ultimate Principle; still there are others who see me as Dharmakaya, as Nirvana, as the Eternal; some speak of me as sameness, as non-duality, as un-dying, as formless; some think of me as the doctrine of Buddha-causation, or of Emancipation, or of the Noble Path; and some think of me as Divine Mind and Noble Wisdom.


Thus in this world and in other worlds am I known by these uncounted names, but they all see me as the moon is seen in the water.


Though they all honor, praise and esteem me, they do not fully understand the meaning and significance of the words they use; not having their own self-realization of Truth they cling to the words of their canonical books, or to what has been told to them, or to what they have imagined, and fail to see that the name they are using is only one of the many names of the Tathagata.


In their studies they follow the mere words of the text vainly trying to gain the true meaning, instead of having confidence in the one "text" where self-confirming Truth is revealed, that is, having confidence in the self-realization of noble Wisdom.[5]

In the "Sagathakam" section of the sutra (which contains some striking statements contradictory of earlier chapters of the sutra), one also reads of the reality of the pure Self (atman), which (while not identical to the atman of the Hindus) is equated with the Tathagatagarbha (Buddha-Essence): Atman is a Sanskrit word, normally translated as soul or self (also ego). ... The Atman or Atma (IAST: Ātmā, sanskrit: आत्म‍ ) is a philosophical term used within Hinduism and Vedanta to identify the soul. ... The Tathagatagarbha doctrine says that each sentient being contains the potential to become a Buddha. ...

The atma [Self] characterised with purity is the state of self-realisation; this is the Tathagatagarbha, which does not belong to the realm of the theorisers.[6]

This Tathagatagarbha is in the Lankavatara Sutra identified with the root or all-containing Consciousness of all beings, the Alaya-vijnana. This Tathagatagarbha-Alayavijnana is stated not to belong to the realm of speculation, but can be understood directly by Store consciousness (Sanskrit ālayavijñāna; Tib. ...

those Bodhisatva-Mahasattvas [great Bodhisattvas] who like you [Mahamati] are endowed with subtle, fine, penetrative thought-power and whose understanding is in accordance with the meaning ...[7]

Such an all-containing Buddhic Matrix (Tathagatagarbha) or basis of universal consciousness (Alayavijnana) has resonances with a conception of divinity which posits the latter as the underlying reality behind and within all things. This "Self" is in some Mahayana Buddhist scriptures and tantras equated with the original, primal, all-sustaining cosmic Buddha himself (viewed either as Samantabhadra or Mahavairochana). "God" in such a context can then be understood as an eternal and intelligent mental/spiritual substrate of the entire visible and invisible universe.[citation needed]


Devas

Though not believing in a creator-God, there do exist deva-realms or god-realms in Buddhism, as part of the various possible types of existence in Buddhist cosmology. These gods may perhaps be somewhat similar to the Greek gods; imperfect beings who live in heavenly circumstances. Like any existence within the cycle of rebirth (samsara), a life as god is only temporary, without guarantee for a fortunate rebirth. Buddhist cosmology is the description of the shape and evolution of the universe according to the canonical Buddhist scriptures and commentaries. ... For other uses, see Samsara (disambiguation). ...


See also

As Lord Krishna and Lord Rama were incanations of Lord Vishnu, the Aditya (Solar Deity) so too is Shri Buddha an incarnation of Shri Vishnu (too Hindus) as he too was born into the Sakya, Suryavamsha (Solar heritage) caste. ... Faith (saddha/ sraddha) is an important constituent element of the teachings of the Buddha - both in the Theravada tradition as in the Mahayana. ... This article needs cleanup. ... Nontheism or non-theism is the absence of belief in any gods. ... The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally Three bodies or personalities; 三身 Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. ...

References

  1. ^ Aganna sutta: He whose faith in the Tathágata is settled, rooted, established, solid, unshakable by any ascetic or Brahmin, any deva or mara or Brahma or anyone in the world, can truly say: "I am a true son of the Blessed Lord, born of his mouth, born of Dharma, created by Dharma, an heir of Dharma." Why is that? Because, Vasettha, this designates the Tathágata: "The Body of Dharma," that"The Body," [3] or "Become Dharma," that is "Become Brahman."
  2. ^ The Ten Titles of the Buddha
  3. ^ Sir Charles Elliot. "Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch" (English).
  4. ^ Lankaavatar Sutra, Chapter VI
  5. ^ Lankavatar Sutra, Chapter XII Tathagatahood Which Is Noble Wisdom, translated by Suzuki and Goddard
  6. ^ (see Suzuki, op. cit. p. 282)
  7. ^ (op. cit. p. 193)

Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot (born January 8, 1862 at the village of Sibford Gower near Banbury, Oxfordshire, England; died March 16, 1931 at sea in the Straits of Malacca) was educated at Cheltenham College. ...

Literature

  • Fozdar, Jamshed K. [1973] (1995). The God of Buddha. Ariccia (RM), Italy: Casa Editrice Bahá'í Srl. ISBN 8872140315. 
  • Hodge, Stephen (tr.) (2003). The Maha-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra. London, UK: Routledge Curzon. 
  • Norbu, C.; A. Clemente (1999). The Supreme Source. New York, USA: Snow Lion Publications. 
  • Yamamoto, Kosho (tr.); Dr. Tony Page (ed. and revision) (1999-2000). The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra. London, UK: Nirvana Publications. 
  • Sokei-an, 1998, Zen Pivots, Weatherhill, New York, Tokyo.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary - God in Buddhism (761 words)
Buddhism is generally regarded as a non-theistic religion.
Although it does teach the existence of “gods” (devas), these are merely heavenly beings who temporarily dwell in celestial worlds of great happiness.
Such beings, however, are not eternal in that incarnational form and are subject to death and eventual rebirth into lower realms of existence.
God - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2692 words)
Buddhism is non-theistic (see God in Buddhism): instead of extolling an anthropomorphic creator God, Gautama Buddha employed negative theology to avoid speculation and keep the undefined as ineffable.
Buddhism also teaches of the existence of the devas or heavenly beings who temporarily dwell in celestial states of great happiness but are not yet free from the cycle of reincarnations (samsara).
The God of monotheism, pantheism or panentheism, or the supreme deity of henotheistic religions, may be conceived of in various degrees of abstraction.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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