Author Topic: Do Buddhists Believe in God?  (Read 811 times)

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« on: September 04, 2017, 02:09:16 pm »
According to the Pew Research Center, 29% of American Buddhists are “absolutely certain” that God exists, while 29% are “fairly certain” that God exists:
http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/buddhist/

This is somewhat misleading, since the actual survey question asked whether you “believe in God or a universal spirit,” which can be interpreted in many different ways:
http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/11/201.11.03_RLS_II_questionnaire.pdf

According to the Pew Research study, only 23% of American Buddhists believe in a personal god, while 42% instead believe in “an impersonal force”:
http://www.pewforum.org/2015/11/03/u-s-public-becoming-less-religious/pf-2015-11-03_rls_ii-27/

There is no creator in Buddhism, since the universe has always existed in some form. However, there is belief in the Dharmakaya, the wisdom and compassion in all things.

All the celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas, like Amitabha and Avalokitesvara, are believed to be embodiments of the one Dharmakaya or universal Buddha-nature.

The Dharmakaya or universal Buddha-nature can be described as a universal spirit, in which we are all connected, since we all possess Buddha-nature as well.

Unlike a theistic god standing above us, the buddhas and bodhisattvas have the same Buddha-nature as ourselves, but they’ve reached a higher state of spiritual realization.

We all have the potential to become buddhas ourselves, no matter how many lifetimes it takes. The celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas compassionately help us along the way.

According to the above Pew Research study, 43% of American Buddhists pray daily, 16% pray at least once a week, and 10% pray on a monthly basis.

The word “pray” or “prayer” also might have a different meaning among Buddhists than it does in other religions, such as chanting the name of a buddha or bodhisattva.

Chanting the names of buddhas and bodhisattvas can be seen as supplicating an external being or as a method of cultivating their enlightened qualities within oneself.

Buddhists might also interpret karma as a universal spirit which rewards and punishes, and Nirvana as a universal spirit which the Buddha realized in his enlightenment. 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 04:40:59 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline ground

  • Member
  • Posts: 2091
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2017, 11:20:39 pm »
Authentic buddhists do not believe in god. However Americans are deeply conditioned by theistic belief. Their history is one of theistic believers. I guess it is different with European buddhists due to the historical influence of the age of European enlightenment.

However buddhists believe in deities, some traditions have more than one, like e.g. tibetan buddhism, and some traditions have only one deity which is the main figure of the narratives in the pali canon.

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2017, 11:33:04 pm »
Authentic buddhists do not believe in god. However Americans are deeply conditioned by theistic belief.

There is a difference between believing in a theistic god and believing in a universal spirit or collective consciousness.

While there is no concept of a creator god in Buddhism, there are such concepts as Buddha-nature, Dharmakaya, karma, etc., which one might interpret as a universal spirit.

That's why it's important to question a survey that says a majority of American Buddhists believe in God, when the actual survey question asked if they believed in God or a universal spirit, which are two different things.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 12:25:14 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline ground

  • Member
  • Posts: 2091
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2017, 11:39:38 pm »
Authentic buddhists do not believe in god. However Americans are deeply conditioned by theistic belief.

There is a difference between believing in a theistic god and believing in a universal spirit.

While there is no concept of a creator god in Buddhism, there are such concepts as Buddha-nature, Dharmakaya, karma, etc., which one might interpret as a universal spirit.

That's why it's important to question a survey that says a majority of American Buddhists believe in God, when the actual survey question asked if they believed in God or a universal spirit, which are two different things.
People usually do not differentiate ideas in a very detailled manner. They merely follow gut feelings or intuitions. For them the difference between 'god' and 'universal spirit' may be an academic but irrelevant difference.

Also concepts like 'Buddha-natura' and 'Dharmakaya' may be understood as variants of the belief in 'soul' which is a characteristic of theistic belief or may be understood as variants of the belief in 'self' from an early-buddhist perspective.

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2017, 11:56:31 pm »
For them the difference between 'god' and 'universal spirit' may be an academic but irrelevant difference.

For Buddhists of Asian descent, who aren't from a theistic background, that might not be true.

Offline Samana Johann

  • Not a member, just an endured/enduring guest.
  • Member
  • Posts: 580
  • Doing forest monk in Cambodia
    • View Profile
    • sangham.net
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 12:17:51 am »
For Asian "Buddhist" there is also kind of God, mystic being, soul, Buddha-nature... their underlying evidence. People are not different by birth, cultur or nation, religion they are born into, but by their merits an deeds, Dharma Flower. E.g. right view and tendency to it. There is just giving lables to the same delusion to maintain a base for "you and I", "we and they" under equal deluded.

It can be understood analog this sutta:

(Replace high and low with "under people with right view" and not, and sensual pleasure with the true Dhamma.
Quote
Tamonata Sutta: Darkness

"There are these four types of people to be found existing in the world. Which four? One in darkness who is headed for darkness, one in darkness who is headed for light, one in light who is headed for darkness, and one in light who is headed for light.

"And how is one the type of person in darkness who is headed for darkness? There is the case where a person is born into a lowly family — the family of a scavenger, a hunter, a basket-weaver, a wheelwright, or a sweeper — a family that is poor, with little food or drink, living in hardship, where food & clothing are hard to come by. And he is ugly, misshapen, stunted, & sickly: half-blind or deformed or lame or crippled. He doesn't receive any [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, or vehicles; garlands, perfumes, or ointments; bedding, shelter, or lamps. He engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. This is the type of person in darkness who is headed for darkness.

"And how is one the type of person in darkness who is headed for light? There is the case where a person is born into a lower class family — the family of a scavenger, a hunter, a basket-weaver, a wheelwright, or a sweeper — a family that is poor, with little food or drink, living in hardship, where food & clothing are hard to come by. And he is ugly, misshapen, stunted, & sickly: half-blind or deformed or lame or crippled. He doesn't receive any [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, or vehicles; garlands, perfumes, or ointments; bedding, shelter, or lamps. He engages in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct. Having engaged in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world. This is the type of person in darkness who is headed for light.

"And how is one the type of person in light who is headed for darkness? There is the case where a person is born into an upper class family — a noble warrior family, a priestly family, a prosperous householder family — a family that is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions, with a great deal of money, a great many accoutrements of wealth, a great many commodities. And he is well-built, handsome, extremely inspiring, endowed with a lotus-like complexion. He receives [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, & vehicles; garlands, perfumes, & ointments; bedding, shelter, & lamps. He engages in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct. Having engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, & mental misconduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. This is the type of person in light who is headed for darkness.

"And how is one the type of person in light who is headed for light? There is the case where a person is born into an upper class family — a noble warrior family, a priestly family, a prosperous householder family — a family that is rich, with much wealth, with many possessions, with a great deal of money, a great many accoutrements of wealth, a great many commodities. And he is well-built, handsome, extremely inspiring, endowed with a lotus-like complexion. He receives [gifts of] food, drink, clothing, & vehicles; garlands, perfumes, & ointments; bedding, shelter, & lamps. He engages in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct. Having engaged in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, & good mental conduct, he — on the break-up of the body, after death — reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world. This is the type of person in light who is headed for light.

"These are the four types of people to be found existing in the world."

« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 12:26:34 am by Samana Johann »
[ sangham.net Online monastery ✦ accesstoinsight.eu ✦ old used account Hanzze ]

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 12:24:47 am »
For Asian "Buddhist" there is also kind of God, mystic being, soul, Buddha-nature...

Buddha-nature and a theistic creator god are two different things.

Offline Samana Johann

  • Not a member, just an endured/enduring guest.
  • Member
  • Posts: 580
  • Doing forest monk in Cambodia
    • View Profile
    • sangham.net
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2017, 12:33:48 am »
Investigate, not really in reagard of it's underlying view. Worthy a read: Freedom From Buddha Nature

Why thinking that western are so attracted from those later ideas? Because it fits well to their Jesus and Saver ideal, and soul concept, but don't worry, it's not different in Asia. People seek for purposes to continue their meaningless rounds and rejoice in sensuality and becoming.

Like given above:
Quote
"There are these four types of people to be found existing in the world. Which four? One in darkness who is headed for darkness, one in darkness who is headed for light, one in light who is headed for darkness, and one in light who is headed for light.

And not "Buddhists" and what ever.

And there are two types on a deeper level: those bound to Samasara and those having changed their ancestor-ship and on way beyound, who are of course only found within this Dhamma-Vinaya what ever birth they might had before.
A "Bodhisatta", by nature, counts under the first big group od wordlings altought he/she could also be destinated to light by his/her ways.

So rather to think about ones "origin" and birth go, if blessed, after light, or seek for it.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 12:44:24 am by Samana Johann »
[ sangham.net Online monastery ✦ accesstoinsight.eu ✦ old used account Hanzze ]

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2017, 12:53:50 am »
Investigate, not really in reagard of it's underlying view. Worthy a read: Freedom From Buddha Nature


I'm sorry. That's a Theravadin article that only reflects a Theravadin perspective. I'm a Mahayana Buddhist, as are perhaps a majority of the world's Buddhists, though I regard Mahayana and Theravada as equally valid forms of Buddhism.

Offline ground

  • Member
  • Posts: 2091
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 01:01:45 am »
For them the difference between 'god' and 'universal spirit' may be an academic but irrelevant difference.

For Buddhists of Asian descent, who aren't from a theistic background, that might not be true.
Maybe yes, maybe no. E.g. hinduists beliefs are compatible with both, 'creator god' and 'universal spirit'.

The topic is endless since all these religious beliefs are mental fabrications and mental fabrications arise on the level of the individual not on the level of a collective. Thus even within Asian or western collectives there is a diversity of ideas.

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2017, 01:20:40 am »
For them the difference between 'god' and 'universal spirit' may be an academic but irrelevant difference.


For Buddhists of Asian descent, who aren't from a theistic background, that might not be true.

Maybe yes, maybe no. E.g. hinduists beliefs are compatible with both, 'creator god' and 'universal spirit'.

The topic is endless since all these religious beliefs are mental fabrications and mental fabrications arise on the level of the individual not on the level of a collective. Thus even within Asian or western collectives there is a diversity of ideas.


This quote is from The Religion of the Samurai: A Study of Zen Philosophy and Discipline in China and Japan by Kaiten Nukariya:

Quote
Enlightened consciousness is often called Buddha-nature, as it is the real nature of Universal Spirit… When we are Enlightened, or when Universal Spirit awakens within us, we open the inexhaustible store of virtues and excellencies, and can freely make use of them at our will.
http://www.templeofearth.com/books/religionofthesamurai.pdf


The book is from 1913, which I believe makes it public domain.

When Zen masters refer to the Big Mind or the One Mind, this is what Kaiten Nukariya meant by Universal Spirit.

If the Buddha was right about dependent origination, then all life, as well as all consciousness, is interconnected:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 01:53:21 am by Dharma Flower »

Offline Samana Johann

  • Not a member, just an endured/enduring guest.
  • Member
  • Posts: 580
  • Doing forest monk in Cambodia
    • View Profile
    • sangham.net
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2017, 01:35:02 am »
Investigate, not really in reagard of it's underlying view. Worthy a read: Freedom From Buddha Nature


I'm sorry. That's a Theravadin article that only reflects a Theravadin perspective. I'm a Mahayana Buddhist, as are perhaps a majority of the world's Buddhists, though I regard Mahayana and Theravada as equally valid forms of Buddhism.


There is Dhamma and not Dhamma. Such is equal a religious, national, birth rasistic view and not conductive:

Quote
The Four Great References
7. And there the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Now, bhikkhus, I shall make known to you the four great references. [37] Listen and pay heed to my words." And those bhikkhus answered, saying:

"So be it, Lord."

8-11. Then the Blessed One said: "In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."

12. And also at Bhoganagara, at the Ananda shrine, the Blessed One often gave counsel to the bhikkhus thus: "Such and such is virtue; such and such is concentration; and such and such is wisdom. Great becomes the fruit, great is the gain of concentration when it is fully developed by virtuous conduct; great becomes the fruit, great is the gain of wisdom when it is fully developed by concentration; utterly freed from the taints of lust, becoming, and ignorance is the mind that is fully developed in wisdom."


But act as you are fit and wish since it's not possible to help one directing to darkness especially if also comming from there.
[ sangham.net Online monastery ✦ accesstoinsight.eu ✦ old used account Hanzze ]

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2017, 01:44:43 am »
But act as you are fit and wish since it's not possible to help one directing to darkness especially if also comming from there.

If you regard Mahayana Buddhism, which comprises perhaps a majority of the world's Buddhists, as a form of spiritual darkness, then I cannot further discuss anything with you. I'm sorry.

Offline Samana Johann

  • Not a member, just an endured/enduring guest.
  • Member
  • Posts: 580
  • Doing forest monk in Cambodia
    • View Profile
    • sangham.net
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2017, 01:46:07 am »


If the Buddha was right about dependent origination, then all life is interconnected.
The Buddha never had such ideas, but yes, beings are bound to each other according to their tendecies and meet each other again and again. But it's not a inherent nature, just lack of certain amount of free-will according to their past and present actions. They like to make all the world theirs. As for dependent co-arising, it's a very individual issue and individual to go beyound, each kind of being and desire for becoming. With you your world and all your outward actors disappear.
[ sangham.net Online monastery ✦ accesstoinsight.eu ✦ old used account Hanzze ]

Offline Samana Johann

  • Not a member, just an endured/enduring guest.
  • Member
  • Posts: 580
  • Doing forest monk in Cambodia
    • View Profile
    • sangham.net
Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2017, 01:50:25 am »
But act as you are fit and wish since it's not possible to help one directing to darkness especially if also comming from there.

If you regard Mahayana Buddhism, which comprises perhaps a majority of the world's Buddhists, as a form of spiritual darkness, then I cannot further discuss anything with you. I'm sorry.
It's the nature of beings that wise are seldom. Now think that even leading is today directed by the mass. Much joy, really no problem with it, and hope and believe hard on the mass's Buddha-Nature. Best starting tomorow when stepping on the street and observe them and your.
[ sangham.net Online monastery ✦ accesstoinsight.eu ✦ old used account Hanzze ]

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal