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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => The Dharma Express => Topic started by: Dharma Flower on September 04, 2017, 02:09:16 pm

Title: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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/ (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 (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/ (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. 
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann 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 ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.085.than_en.html[/url])

"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."

Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann 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 (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature_en.html)

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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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 ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature_en.html[/url])


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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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.
[url]http://www.templeofearth.com/books/religionofthesamurai.pdf[/url] ([url]http://www.templeofearth.com/books/religionofthesamurai.pdf[/url])


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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann 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 ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/freedomfrombuddhanature_en.html[/url])


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 ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji_en.html[/url])
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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann 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.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 05, 2017, 02:00:00 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.

(https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/250x250/46318866/cool-story-bro-changed-my-life.jpg)
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 05, 2017, 02:22:52 am
Jesus and "Bodhisattas" would be impressed and rescue you. The poor worrier for the poor in troubles and not praised by the "bad".

First with guns into war, now calling for a rescue team...

Quote
“Everybody and every religion has something that is respected as the Highest ( called "God" ). Those who have not developed much wisdom have to believe in a personal God or gods in heaven and pray to them asking for favours in a superstitious way. But those who are wise have God in their heart: they respect the highest principle of nature (conditionality or idappaccayata) and can rely on themselves by living in the appropriate way.”

by Bhikkhu Buddhadasa

What do you think, at least a "Theravadin" Buddha Nature approach, or another doubter?
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 05, 2017, 02:30:05 am
There seem to be scientists today who also believe in the existence of a universal consciousness:

Quote
New theories in neuroscience suggest consciousness is an intrinsic property of everything, just like gravity. That development opens a world of opportunity for collaboration between Buddhists and neuroscientists.
https://www.lionsroar.com/christof-koch-unites-buddhist-neuroscience-universal-nature-mind/ (https://www.lionsroar.com/christof-koch-unites-buddhist-neuroscience-universal-nature-mind/)
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 05, 2017, 02:54:20 am
As Ground sad, views and believes are as manifold as beings and this is a 100% Hindu track not assosiated with the Dhamma at all. Classical Brahmanism.

Scientists (Cosmologist (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.048.than_en.html)) are that way and the mass runs after the Brahmans.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 05, 2017, 03:55:23 am
As Ground sad, views and believes are as manifold as beings and this is a 100% Hindu track not assosiated with the Dhamma at all. Classical Brahmanism.

Scientists (Cosmologist ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.048.than_en.html[/url])) are that way and the mass runs after the Brahmans.


While Mahayana Buddhism might sound like Hinduism, it's worth noting that Hinduism may have copied Mahayana Buddhism, and not the other way around:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta#Relationship_with_Buddhism
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 05, 2017, 04:31:44 am
Matthew, Matthew was able to give up his US-nationalistic view by removing the flags and the tendency on his website by well meant advice. Obiviously that gave some release. Why try to take on other flags and let wrong personal view burden him another time.

He would not even have success on any Buddhist forum, as he had seen, with his approches.

Start to practice and study the good Dhamma as long as there are possibilities to gain first of all your self release from yourself, God, conceit.

Social nationalism of all its various kind never brough anybody much benefit.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 05, 2017, 05:12:04 am
....
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
'interconnectedness' is a strange concept in context of dependent origination. But one may say that since the source of all is unknowingness everything that arises is metaphorically connected through being the manifestation of this unknowingness.
One linguistic step further one arives at the concept of 'oneness': everything is one in being the manifestation of this unknowingness.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 05, 2017, 06:39:03 am
....
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
'interconnectedness' is a strange concept in context of dependent origination.

It means that all life is interdependent.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 05, 2017, 01:35:23 pm
....
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
'interconnectedness' is a strange concept in context of dependent origination.

It means that all life is interdependent.
Ok, if that  means that life is empty of true existence then agreed. But if that means that life is truly existent although being interdependent then that's irrational  belief.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 05, 2017, 03:01:52 pm
....
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
'interconnectedness' is a strange concept in context of dependent origination.

It means that all life is interdependent.
Ok, if that  means that life is empty of true existence then agreed. But if that means that life is truly existent although being interdependent then that's irrational  belief.

That sounds like a semantic difference to me.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 05, 2017, 03:33:28 pm
....
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da)
'interconnectedness' is a strange concept in context of dependent origination.

It means that all life is interdependent.
Ok, if that  means that life is empty of true existence then agreed. But if that means that life is truly existent although being interdependent then that's irrational  belief.

That sounds like a semantic difference to me.
What do you expect from different linguistic expressions other than semantic differences?  :teehee:
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Spiny Norman on September 06, 2017, 04:07:08 am
There seem to be scientists today who also believe in the existence of a universal consciousness:

It depends what you mean by "universal".  Consciousness is certainly ubiquitous, but is there any direct evidence for panpsychism?

But to answer your OP this question, I think this verse from the Vissuddhimagga sums it up quite nicely:

"No God, no Brahma can be found,
No maker of this wheel of life,
Just bare phenomena roll on,
Dependent on conditions all."
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Spiny Norman on September 06, 2017, 04:14:51 am
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.


I'm not convinced that Dharmakaya means "universal Buddha-nature", given that Dharmakaya is specific to Buddhas, and given that Buddha-nature is the potential for enlightenment.  I'm even less convinced that Dharmakaya can be accurately described as a "universal spirit".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmak%C4%81ya
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Spiny Norman on September 06, 2017, 04:18:02 am
Discussions about God make me want to recite my atheist catechism:

Who made me?
Evolution made me.

Why did evolution make me?
To praise Saint Dawkins and annoy God-botherers. :teehee:
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 06, 2017, 08:12:06 am
To give the Science-Gods some food... just say in a mailing, that a 5,7 million years old foot print was found in greek... maybe that was you in an previous world-circle. "But we will find scientifical explaining for it." Maybe a previous creator or another universal soul.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 11:47:56 am
I'm not convinced that Dharmakaya means "universal Buddha-nature", given that Dharmakaya is specific to Buddhas, and given that Buddha-nature is the potential for enlightenment.  I'm even less convinced that Dharmakaya can be accurately described as a "universal spirit".
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmak%C4%81ya[/url] ([url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmak%C4%81ya[/url])


Several different sects and schools of Mahayana Buddhism explicitly teach that Dharmakaya is more or less synonymous with the Buddha-nature in all things and beings. I've never seen a Mahayana school or sect which rejected this teaching:

Quote
In his Notes on 'Essentials of Faith Alone', Shinran, in commenting on a hymn from Shan-tao, makes the following observations about Nirvana[20]:

"Nirvana has innumerable names. It is impossible to give them in detail; We will list only a few. Nirvana is called extinction of passions, the uncreated, peaceful happiness, eternal bliss, true reality, Dharmakaya, dharma-nature, suchness, oneness and Buddha-nature. Buddha-nature is none other than Tathagata. This Tathagata pervades the countless worlds; it fills the hearts and minds of the ocean of all beings. Thus, plants, trees and land all attain Buddhahood. Since it is with these hearts and minds of all sentient beings that they entrust themselves to the Vow of the dharma-body as compassionate means, this shinjin is none other than Buddha-nature. This Buddha-nature is dharma-nature. Dharma-nature is the Dharmakaya."
[url]http://www.nembutsu.info/aof.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.nembutsu.info/aof.htm[/url])


Quote
The Dharma body is the same as the intrinsic, pure Buddha nature that resides in all things everywhere. The deluded self can find peace when it understands that it inherently possesses Buddha nature, that this nature pervades all things. Our wish to find what is real and permanent can only be resolved by attaining the Dharma body.
[url]http://hsingyun.org/the-three-bodies-of-the-buddha/[/url] ([url]http://hsingyun.org/the-three-bodies-of-the-buddha/[/url])


Quote
Despite the names and forms given to the dharmakaya Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, the dharmakaya is an abstract concept - it is the primordial truth that is beyond form, space and understanding, where all beings are united and phenomena unmanifested. It is the unchanging, eternal absolute, where everything is united in Buddha nature...

The dharmakaya is also identified with Buddha nature, where there is no distinction between the Buddhas and everyone else. Buddha nature is a Mahayana belief that everyone is already a Buddha, and that Buddhahood is not something to be achieved, but to be revealed or uncovered by clearing away our ignorance and confusion with the practice of wisdom and compassion as guided by the Dharma.
[url]http://pemanorbuvihara.my/buddhism/buddha.html[/url] ([url]http://pemanorbuvihara.my/buddhism/buddha.html[/url])



Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 11:49:28 am
Discussions about God make me want to recite my atheist catechism:

Who made me?
Evolution made me.

Why did evolution make me?
To praise Saint Dawkins and annoy God-botherers. :teehee:

The purpose of this thread is to clear up any possible misconceptions that were created by a misleading Pew Research study which claimed that a majority of American Buddhists believe in God.

It turns out that the actual survey question asked if you believe in God or a universal spirit, which are two different things. I’m sure there were Theravada Buddhists who participated in the survey, as well as Mahayana Buddhists.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 02:17:34 pm
Pure Land Buddhism is the largest school of Buddhism in East Asia, especially in China and Japan. While Zen is more popular in the West, the Jodo Shinshu sect of Pure Land Buddhism is the largest Buddhist tradition in Japan.

It might seem strange to Westerners that Amida Buddha, rather than the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, is the main object of devotion in Pure Land Buddhism, and statues of Amida Buddha are often mistaken for Shakyamuni.

It also might seem like Amida is a theistic god who answers petitionary prayer, but that’s if one focuses solely on the outward form of Pure Land Buddhism, without delving into the ultimate meaning of Pure Land doctrine and practice.

A central concept of Mahayana Buddhism is skillful means:

Quote
Expedient means (Skillful means, Skill-in-means, Upaya)
Refers to strategies, methods, devices, targeted to the capacities, circumstances, likes and dislikes of each sentient being, so as to rescue him and lead him to Enlightenment. “Thus, all particular formulations of the Teaching are just provisional expedients to communicate the Truth (Dharma) in specific contexts.” (J.C. Cleary.) “The Buddha’s words were medicines for a given sickness at a given time,” always infinitely adaptable to the conditions of the audience.
[url]http://www.ymba.org/books/mind-seal-buddhas/glossary[/url] ([url]http://www.ymba.org/books/mind-seal-buddhas/glossary[/url])


Upaya or skillful means, however, is not a concept exclusive to Mahayana Buddhism:

Upāya: Skillful means
Bringing the truth to the level of the people for their benefit and liberation
A study by Piya Tan ©2009
http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/30.8-Upaya-Skillful-means.-piya.pdf (http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/30.8-Upaya-Skillful-means.-piya.pdf)

While it might seem, on a surface level, that Amida is a literal flesh and blood Buddha from a world galaxies away, eons before the Big Bang, who magically grants our wishes like a god, this isn’t the ultimate truth of Amida Buddha.

Amida is, in an ultimate sense, allegorical of Dharma-body itself, the ultimate truth beyond time and form:

Quote
Amida (Amitabha in the original Sanskrit) is the Buddha of Infinite Light and Eternal Life. He is a manifestation of the absolute and supreme reality which is known in Mahayana Buddhism as the Dharmakaya. The Dharmakaya completely transcends time and space but is also, at the same time, to be found in all things and within all sentient beings. It constitutes the fundamental essence of all existence and possesses, pre-eminently, the qualities of absolute wisdom, compassion and bliss…

Amida Buddha and the Dharmakaya are, in fact, identical, differing only in function. One could say that Amida Buddha is the ‘personal’ face of the formless Absolute and the only medium through which ordinary beings can ever get to know its treasures. In this sense, the revelation of Amida Buddha to the world can be seen as an act of compassion (upaya or skillful means) which serves to illuminate one’s path in this turbid world of birth-and-death (samsara)…
[url]http://www.nembutsu.info/primshin.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.nembutsu.info/primshin.htm[/url])


Amida’s Pure Land is, in an ultimate sense, the realm of Nirvana itself, rather than a theistic heaven:

Quote
Although the descriptions of the Pure Land that we find in the sutras (eg. jewelled ponds, celestial music, exquisite flowers raining down from the sky etc.) appear too fantastic and incredible, they are none other than a means (upaya) of conveying the blissful and permanent nature of Nirvana - which is quite inconceivable to ordinary people - in terms and images taken from our every-day world that are more familiar to those who are not aware of any other reality…

When the tradition speaks of Amida, the Pure Land, suffering sentient beings etc., it should not be thought that it is speaking of fundamentally different things. The Buddha and his land of bliss are essentially one and the same reality, these terms merely designating different functions or aspects of the Dharmakaya.
[url]http://www.nembutsu.info/primshin.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.nembutsu.info/primshin.htm[/url])


In reciting the name of Amida Buddha, Namu-Amida-Butsu, the inexplicable and otherwise inexpressible reality of Dharma-body is made accessible to unenlightened beings, as a form of upaya or skillful means, rather than petitionary prayer to a theistic god.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Pixie on September 08, 2017, 02:49:15 pm
Quote from: Dharma Flower

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.

Aren't you a man who calls himself "Santi253 "and posts every day at Dhamma Wheel Theravada forum? (and also posts as "Dharma Flower" at Dharma Wheel Mahayana forum.)

 I recognise your style of posting.

.


Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 02:52:28 pm
Aren't you a man who also calls himself "Santi253 "and posts every day at Dhamma Wheel Theravada forum? (and also posts as "Dharma Flower" at Dharma Wheel) I recognise your style of posting.

It's common for Buddhists on the internet to use multiple forums and message boards. As far as I know, the Buddha didn't teach against it.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Pixie on September 08, 2017, 02:57:27 pm
Quote
It's common for Buddhists on the internet to use multiple forums and message boards. As far as I know, the Buddha didn't teach against it.

LOL! Somehow I don't think the Buddha knew about the internet 2,500 years ago.

 :wacky:



Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 03:03:44 pm
Quote
It's common for Buddhists on the internet to use multiple forums and message boards. As far as I know, the Buddha didn't teach against it.

LOL! Somehow I don't think the Buddha knew about the internet 2,500 years ago.

 :wacky:

I don't know about that. At least Mahayana traditionally teaches the Buddha was all-knowing. Even the Pali scriptures contain instances of the Buddha using extra sensory perception.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Pixie on September 08, 2017, 03:33:06 pm
Quote
I don't know about that. At least Mahayana traditionally teaches the Buddha was all-knowing. Even the Pali scriptures contain instances of the Buddha using extra sensory perception.

You might find this article of interest by (Professor) Bhikkhu Analayo : "The Buddha and Omniscience".

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/buddha-omniscience.pdf (https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/buddha-omniscience.pdf)'

.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 03:40:18 pm
Rather than the Dharmakaya being a substitute or a stand-in for belief in God, I actually think that the Dharmakaya is superior as a concept to that of a theistic god. Since the Dharmakaya is not a creator, Buddhists don't have to attempt to answer the problem of evil:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 08, 2017, 05:41:14 pm
Dhammakaya -> Body (rupa) of the Dhamma, of what is senseable through the sense faculties. Gross or subtil, hard to see. "Who ever sees the Dhamma, sees the Tathagata, who ever sees the Tathegata, sees the Dhamma". Who ever sees Unskillful means as Skillful means, even if labeled as such, sees Mara, who ever seeks after Mara, will prais his means. Common is it under the mass, running after Mara is a feature of maha-moha-yana.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 05:48:34 pm
Who ever sees Unskillful means as Skillful means, even if labeled as such, sees Mara, who ever seeks after Mara, will prais his means.

Upaya or skillful means, however, is not a concept exclusive to Mahayana Buddhism:

Upāya: Skillful means
Bringing the truth to the level of the people for their benefit and liberation
A study by Piya Tan ©2009
[url]http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/30.8-Upaya-Skillful-means.-piya.pdf[/url] ([url]http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/30.8-Upaya-Skillful-means.-piya.pdf[/url])
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 08, 2017, 08:13:42 pm
Piya Tan is a Mohayana teacher althought he takes the Buddhas teachings, good means for that, still it is for a deluded intent. A corrup mind will get the best means wrong, what ever lable he/she tries to cover it nice.

But yes, actuall Buddhas teachings are all about skillfull means (http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,7829.0.html) but not, as the corrupt mind tries to missues it "unskilfull use of skillful means, for deluded purpose"

Anyway, read and study Piya Tans study, is good to learn a lot of Buddhas teachings so to have the outwardly means and do nor "unskillful with bad means" and call it Dhamma. Even a wise could not find any useful in it.

Before coming into Dhamma, it's necassary that Matthew does not only abound the believe in a creator God, but also the ideas of such a cultur attitude. For still he is a believer in creation, a beginning, an end and of a perfect state. Son of God.

Quote
Awareness Itself ([url]http://www.zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/thai/fuang/itself_en.html[/url])

§ "When we see Hindus worshiping Siva lingas it looks strange to us, but actually everyone in the world worships the Siva linga — i.e., they worship sex, simply that the Hindus are the only ones who are open about it. Sex is the creator of the world. The reason we're all born is because we worship the Siva linga in our hearts."
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 08, 2017, 10:31:30 pm
Piya Tan is a Mohayana teacher


No, he's a Theravada teacher, as far as I know:

Quote
Piya Tan, a former Theravada monk of 20 years, is doing an annotated translation of the early Pali Suttas (The Sutta Discovery Project), harmonizing between the historical critical method and Dharma-moved inspiration, and teaching them. Piya specializes in early Buddh­ism and its application today. His Sutta translations are especially popular with the forest monastics.
[url]http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/about-2[/url] ([url]http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/about-2[/url])
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 01:16:55 am
And you are because you think and call your self this and that... by doing, by deeds one becomes. Don't think that those clinging to Therevada, are therefor free from Mohayana like Mahayana, when obsessed by Mara, "Dharma"-moved in-spiration...
Quote
Paṭisalla Sutta: Seclusion ([url]http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.6.02.than_en.html[/url])

"Matthew, as a layman enjoying sensual pleasures; living confined with children; using Kāsī fabrics & sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, & creams; handling gold & silver, it's hard for you to know whether these are arahants or on the path to arahantship.

"It's through discussion that a person's discernment may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning."


So start as suggested, read, study, think put into practice and see for your self, to be able to judge.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Spiny Norman on September 09, 2017, 01:52:19 am
It turns out that the actual survey question asked if you believe in God or a universal spirit, which are two different things.

"Universal spirit" is such a vague term though - it could be interpreted as deism, pantheism, pan-psychism, cosmic consciousness, spirit, etc. 
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 02:45:27 am
Quote
THIS SET OF VALUES, which gives preference to happiness over justice when there’s a conflict between the two, doesn’t sit very well with many Western Buddhists. “Isn’t justice a larger and nobler goal than happiness?” we think. The short answer to this question relates to the Buddha’s compassion: Seeing that we’ve all done wrong in the past, his compassion extended to wrong-doers as well as to those who’ve been wronged. For this reason, he taught the way to the end of suffering regardless of whether that suffering was “deserved” or not.
For the long answer, though, we have to turn and look at ourselves.

Many of us born and educated in the West, even if we’ve rejected the monotheism that shaped our culture, tend to hold to the idea that there are objective standards of justice to which everyone should conform. When distressed over the unfair state of society, we often express our views for righting wrongs, not as suggestions of wise courses of action, but as objective standards as to how everyone is duty-bound to act. We tend not to realize, though, that the very idea that those standards could be objective and universally binding makes sense only in the context of a monotheistic worldview: one in which the universe was created at a specific point in time—say, by Abraham’s God or by Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover—with a specific purpose. In other words, we maintain the idea of objective justice even though we’ve abandoned the worldview that underpins the idea and makes it valid.

For example, retributive justice—the justice that seeks to right old wrongs by punishing the first wrongdoer and/or those who responded excessively to the first wrong—demands a specific beginning point in time so that we can determine who threw the first stone and tally up the score of who did what after that first provocation.

Restorative justice—the justice that seeks to return situations to their proper state before the first stone was thrown—requires not only a specific beginning point in time, but also that that beginning point be a good place to which to return.

Distributive justice—the justice that seeks to determine who should have what, and how resources and opportunities should be redistributed from those who have them to those who should have them—requires a common source, above and beyond individuals, from which all things flow and that sets the purposes those things should serve.
Only when their respective conditions are met can these forms of justice be objective and binding on all. In the Buddha’s worldview, though, none of these conditions hold. People have tried to import Western ideas of objective justice into the Buddha’s teachings—some have even suggested that this will be one of the great Western contributions to Buddhism, filling in a serious lack—but there is no way that those ideas can be forced on the Dhamma without doing serious damage to the Buddhist worldview. This fact, in and of itself, has prompted many people to advocate jettisoning the Buddhist worldview and replacing it with something closer to one of our own. But a careful look at that worldview, and the consequences that the Buddha drew from it, shows that the Buddha’s teachings on how to find social harmony without recourse to objective standards of justice has much to recommend it. ([url]http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,8199.msg13012.html#msg13012[/url])
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 09, 2017, 03:07:33 am
Quote
...

Many of us born and educated in the West, even if we’ve rejected the monotheism that shaped our culture, tend to hold to the idea that there are objective standards of justice to which everyone should conform....
 ([url]http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,8199.msg13012.html#msg13012[/url])



The western standards do not need theism and are not standards of justice but objective standards of law.

There is no need for morality or ethics if everybody sticks to law. That is the secular western view which is valid.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 03:18:11 am
Those are child thought, not knowing the world, especially pain, and the sentence "if everybody sticks to law" shows exact that the God-idea is not abounded. Still deep in objektivication and papanca caught and that philosophy does not set free a mind...  :wink1:

(Ex) Brothers and sisters here, you all have the same problem and do not see that you "fight" just your self in disputing with others. Start to learn and serious practicing!
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 09, 2017, 03:20:35 am
Those are child thought, not knowing the world, especially pain, and the sentence "if everybody sticks to law" shows exact that the God-idea is not abounded. Still deep in objektivication and papanca caught and that philosophy does not set free a mind...  :wink1:


you can see in Myanmar what happens when religious morality replaces secular law which is based on constitutional human rights in western societies:
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/general-buddhism-discussion/buddhist-mobs-cause-muslims-to-leave/msg89921/?topicseen#new (http://www.freesangha.com/forums/general-buddhism-discussion/buddhist-mobs-cause-muslims-to-leave/msg89921/?topicseen#new)
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 03:22:36 am
Aja... ground has fallen to ground... and vibes in pain from papanca... who ever thought that such can happen, is still present...m  :teehee:
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 09, 2017, 03:24:19 am
Aja... ground has fallen to ground... and vibes in pain from papanca... who ever thought that such can happen, is still present...m  :teehee:
your irrational talk won't eliminate the superiority of law over religious morality.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 03:28:42 am
Religious moral, law... thats the same clinging to rituals. If there is no right view: wisdom, the best thesis will be beateb by its antitheseis and one fall on the ground.  :wink1:

Why is that, because a aharahant naturally has nothing direct perceived, sitting in his livingroom looking that what was prepaired for supplying his believes.

anger... (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3rFoGVkZ29w) and lost is  :lmfao: in the wheel.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 09, 2017, 03:35:51 am
Religious moral, law... thats the same clinging to rituals.
The efficiency of law in regulating social life can be observed. It is a matter of evidence.

If there is no right view: wisdom, the best thesis will be beateb by its antitheseis and one fall on the ground.  :wink1:
Can you try different English?

Why is that, because a aharahant naturally has nothing direct perceived, sitting in his livingroom looking that what was prepaired for supplying his believes.
Is this meant to be a rational expression in context of this communication?
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 03:41:24 am
Aharahat Groun needs to percive it by him self, there is no way to help him and guidiance he refuses, feeling save in his house surounded by laws, frigid if reallities enter "no, no, how can it be, that is against my standard how it should be" can terrible burden, this ratio, can't it?
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 09, 2017, 03:46:06 am
Aharahat Groun needs to percive it by him self, there is no way to help him and guidiance he refuses, feeling save in his house surounded by laws, frigid if reallities enter "no, no, how can it be, that is against my standard how it should be"

If you only accepted once and for all that there is no way other than getting to validly knowing for oneself then it would be the most natural fact for you that no individual needs any help from another and you could stop preaching.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 03:54:52 am
Thats wrong again, swifting from one extrem to the other. If means of generosity, virtue and universal goodwill can be hold, the way to gain wisdom can be supplied. For sure it would be not possible to heal an angry biting sick dog. He is neither capable to perceive goodness nor gratitude. So the giver has really no problems and is also not a magician. Does look good for many, not able to trace the way to direct perception by themselves and aversive against authority to stick on. Like "heros" they die... on their cross.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 09, 2017, 04:00:03 am
Thats wrong again, swifting from one extrem to the other. If means of generosity, virtue and universal goodwill can be hold, the way to gain wisdom can be supplied. For sure it would be not possible to heal an angry biting sick dog. He is neither capable to perceive goodness nor gratitude. So the giver has really no problems and is also not a magician. Does look good for many, not able to trace the way to direct perception by themselves and aversive against authority to stick on. Like "heros" they die... on their cross.
If this is what you validly know for yourself and is not just mere belief then fine for you. However I know better when I validly know for myself. And so it is as to all individuals: every individual knows better than everybody else. Can you accept that every individual knows better than everybody else? I can because I am liberated from belief.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Samana Johann on September 09, 2017, 04:04:33 am
You are... and delight to perceive it. That's ok, if that perception is fine for you., and is not breaking apart all the time, or never perceived. Every worldling does in that way and his certain perception is of cause the best.

Undestructable - oompf (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iPEEd8Ei5lQ)

Son of creation.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 10, 2017, 12:12:42 am
It turns out that the actual survey question asked if you believe in God or a universal spirit, which are two different things.

"Universal spirit" is such a vague term though - it could be interpreted as deism, pantheism, pan-psychism, cosmic consciousness, spirit, etc.

Exactly, which is why the survey shouldn't be used to claim that a majority of American Buddhists believe in God.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 10, 2017, 12:13:58 am
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.



I'm not convinced that Dharmakaya means "universal Buddha-nature", given that Dharmakaya is specific to Buddhas, and given that Buddha-nature is the potential for enlightenment.  I'm even less convinced that Dharmakaya can be accurately described as a "universal spirit".
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmak%C4%81ya[/url] ([url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmak%C4%81ya[/url])


According to The Avatamsaka Sutra, the Dharma-body is embodied in all bodies, not just the bodies of buddhas:

Quote
The Dharmakaya, though manifesting itself in the triple world, is free from impurities and desires. It unfolds itself here, there and everywhere responding to the call of karma. It is not an individual reality, it is not a false existence, but is universal and pure. It comes from nowhere, it goes to nowhere; it does not assert itself, nor is it subject to annihilation. It is forever serene and eternal. It is the One, devoid of all determinations. This body of Dharma has no boundary, no quarters, but is embodied in all bodies. Its freedom or spontaneity is incomprehensible, its spiritual presence in things corporeal is incomprehensible. All forms of corporeality are involved therein, it is able to create all things. Assuming any concrete material body as required by the nature and condition of karma, it illuminates all creations. Though it is the treasure of intelligence, it is void of particularity. There is no place in the universe where this Body does not prevail. The universe becomes but this Body forever remains. It is free from all opposites and contraries, yet it is working in all things to lead them to Nirvana.
[url]http://www.nembutsu.info/absolute2.htm[/url] ([url]http://www.nembutsu.info/absolute2.htm[/url])


Perhaps the most well-known sutra example of the Dharmakaya is the Eternal Buddha of the Lotus Sutra:

Quote
In chapter fifteen we are told how a vast multitude of bodhisattvas spring up from the earth in a miraculous manner in order that they may undertake the task of transmitting and protecting the teachings of the Buddha. When the Buddha is asked who these bodhisattvas are, he replies that they are persons whom he has taught and guided to enlightenment. His questioner quite naturally asks how Shakyamuni could possibly have taught and converted such immeasurable multitudes in the course of only forty years of preaching.

In chapter sixteen Shakyamuni reveals the answer to this riddle. The Buddha, he says, is an eternal being, ever present in the world, ever concerned for the salvation of all beings. He attained buddhahood an incalculably distant time in the past, and has never ceased to abide in the world since then. He seems at times to pass away into nirvana, and at other times to make a new appearance in the world. But he does this only so that living beings will not take his presence for granted and be slack in their quest for enlightenment. His seeming disappearance is no more than an expedient means that he employs to encourage them in their efforts, one of many such expedients that he adopts in order to fit his teachings to the different natures and capacities of individual beings and insure that those teachings will have relevance for all. From this we see that in the Lotus Sutra the Buddha, who had earlier been viewed as a historical personality, is now conceived as a being who transcends all boundaries of time and space, an ever-abiding principle of truth and compassion that exists everywhere and within all beings.
https://books.google.com/books?id=t9s7D0mIt44C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false (https://books.google.com/books?id=t9s7D0mIt44C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false)
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 10, 2017, 10:13:20 pm
While certain Buddhist doctrines and practices might seem like prayer or worship of a theistic god, that’s usually how it appears on the surface level, rather than on the ultimate level of truth:

Quote
In studying and speaking the Dharma, we especially need to be aware of the conventional (or worldly or cultural) level and the ultimate (param’attha) or spiritual or Dharma) level of teaching. The conventional language is only useful and wholesome when they point, even remotely, to the true Dharma. And at the proper time, this reference should be clarified to the follower or practitioner. The point is that the spiritual should in due course transcend the worldly and cultural.
1.2 The Neyy’attha Nīt’attha Sutta (A 2.3.5-6) records an important reminder by the Buddha on how we should approach every sutta and text, that is, we must carefully consider whether the language is conventional (based on everyday language describing causes and conditions) or ultimate (that is, Dharma language, pointing to the fact that things have no intrinsic nature or abiding essence).
Those suttas or teachings that tell stories, describe ritual acts, or that talk of “beings,” “gods,” etc, need to have their meaning drawn out (neyy’attha), as they do not directly refer to true reality. They use language and words in the form of a story or images to talk about true reality. Their meaning is indirect.
They are provisional (pariyāya) teachings, unlike say some Abhidhamma doctrines, which are said to be explicit (nippariyāyena).1
[url]http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/2.6b_Neyyattha_Nitattha_S_a2.3.5-6_piya.pdf[/url] ([url]http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/2.6b_Neyyattha_Nitattha_S_a2.3.5-6_piya.pdf[/url])


While it might appear, for example, that Tibetan Buddhists pray to Avalokitesvara for worldly blessings, the deeper goal of such prayer is to cultivate Avalokitesvara’s enlightened qualities within oneself.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Spiny Norman on September 14, 2017, 05:15:03 am
While it might appear, for example, that Tibetan Buddhists pray to Avalokitesvara for worldly blessings, the deeper goal of such prayer is to cultivate Avalokitesvara’s enlightened qualities within oneself.

I think that's right, though when I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism a lot of people believed these were real entities, "out there".
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Solodris on September 14, 2017, 06:26:48 am
While it might appear, for example, that Tibetan Buddhists pray to Avalokitesvara for worldly blessings, the deeper goal of such prayer is to cultivate Avalokitesvara’s enlightened qualities within oneself.

I think that's right, though when I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism a lot of people believed these were real entities, "out there".

This seems to be a product of western distributed doctrine. To see the practice, is it possible to compare chanting "Om" with simply slowing down the breathing? At least as a beginning cultivating practice, when the word is meditated upon we see breathing as an alternative to mindless thinking. Add more words and it becomes a symphony of practical means to expand one's own clarity.

So the difference between practice and faith that seem for some to intertwine is that the goal of one's own practice can produce faith, while faith to depend on a deity or a God is completely irrelevant to a practice of a life-style.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Dharma Flower on September 14, 2017, 03:25:45 pm
While it might appear, for example, that Tibetan Buddhists pray to Avalokitesvara for worldly blessings, the deeper goal of such prayer is to cultivate Avalokitesvara’s enlightened qualities within oneself.

I think that's right, though when I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism a lot of people believed these were real entities, "out there".

There's nothing wrong with that, as long as it's not for the purpose of being granted wordly blessings.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: ground on September 15, 2017, 08:24:07 pm
While it might appear, for example, that Tibetan Buddhists pray to Avalokitesvara for worldly blessings, the deeper goal of such prayer is to cultivate Avalokitesvara’s enlightened qualities within oneself.

I think that's right, though when I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism a lot of people believed these were real entities, "out there".

On the other hand many theravadins believe that the figure in the suttas is real.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Solodris on September 15, 2017, 09:29:36 pm
While it might appear, for example, that Tibetan Buddhists pray to Avalokitesvara for worldly blessings, the deeper goal of such prayer is to cultivate Avalokitesvara’s enlightened qualities within oneself.

I think that's right, though when I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism a lot of people believed these were real entities, "out there".

On the other hand many theravadins believe that the figure in the suttas is real.

From the Mahayana perspective there seems to be various radiant experiences within the workings of a mind that are interesting to note.
Title: Re: Do Buddhists Believe in God?
Post by: Solodris on September 15, 2017, 10:21:51 pm
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