God!

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

Re: God!

Postby alan » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:10 am

Well said, andrer.
I'd still direct our OP away from the idea of God if he is to ever become a Buddhist.
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Re: God!

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:38 am

Viscid wrote:
And to know the truth of this, it is only necessary to cleanse the heart of its egoistic impurities and defilements, which have been accumulating by virtue of our subjective ignorance. When this fundamental purification is completed, "we all, with unveiled face reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory." Again, we are glorified with the "glory which he had with him before the world was." When we arrive at this exalted stage of spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism declares that we have attained Nirvâna.


That's really quite beautiful, and corresponds wonderfully to my own personal view about the goal of a spiritual life. However, I think you'll encounter many Western Buddhists who flatly deny the existence or influence of anything called 'God' within Buddhism. If someone experience peace, bliss and inner radiance within deep states of meditation, you can call it 'God' or you can call it 'peace, bliss and inner radiance.' The difference is language, not so much experience.



All depends on what a person means by "God"
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan
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Re: God!

Postby octathlon » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:11 am

mettatrader wrote:For your interest, The quote I was referring to is below:
... <snip> ...
He can destroy this whole universe and raise it again in the twinkling of an eye ...
... <snip> ...

Sounds about right.
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Re: God!

Postby vanquisher91 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:03 am

I would say that to believe in a Christian God would be to place your faith in that God. This is completely counter to the guidance given by the Buddha.

33. Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.
-DN 16
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Re: God!

Postby andre9999 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:12 pm

alan wrote:Well said, andrer.
I'd still direct our OP away from the idea of God if he is to ever become a Buddhist.


I said something right on here?! Score! :)

And yeah, I don't feel that Jesus and Buddhism match up particularly well either. But I figure that if people read a little of the basics and sit on a cushion once a day for a couple weeks, they'll start down that path on their own...

Or not. I certainly don't have it all figured out, so what do I know?
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Re: God!

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:05 am

"Buddhists do not share most of the core beliefs of historical Christianity and many of the less critical beliefs accepted by some Christians. Buddhism does not teach:

An original golden era in the Garden of Eden, and a subsequent fall of humanity.

Original sin shared by all present-day humans, derived from Adam and Eve.

A world-wide flood in the time of Noah, causing the greatest human genocide in history.

The need for a sinless personal savior whose execution enabled individual salvation through atonement.

A god-man savior who was born of a virgin, executed, resurrected and ascended to heaven.

Salvation achieved:

Through good works (a common liberal Christian belief) or

Specific actions and beliefs (as in repenting of one's sin and trusting Jesus as Lord and savior as taught by many conservative Protestant faith groups) or

Sacraments (e.g. the ritual of baptism within the Roman Catholic Church, followed by confession later in life).

Most Christians believe in the soul: the essence of a person that lives on, unchanged, after death for all eternity. Buddhists have no such belief.

Return of a savior to earth at some time in the future.

An end of the world as we know it, in the near future with a war of Armageddon and the genocide of over two billion people who will be targeted because of their religious beliefs.

The belief that their religion will continue forever. Most Christians believe that Christians will increase in numbers until essentially the entire world is of this one faith. Some Buddhists believe in Miroku, the "future Buddha." They expect that Buddhism will eventually fade from the scene. This belief is compatible with their principle that all objects, religions, etc. are impermanent. However, they expect that at some future time in the future, another person will attain Buddhahood -- the state of perfect enlightenment -- and will recreate a religion similar to Buddhism.

While some shared beliefs are that:

Life continues after death:

Almost all religions teach that life continues after death. In fact, many religious historians believe that this belief was the prime reason that originally motivated people to create religions. However, Christianity and Buddhism conceive of life after death in very different forms:

Buddhism teaches that humans are trapped in a repetitive cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Each successive rebirth may be into a better, a worse life, or a similar life, depending upon the person's Kamma -- the wrong-doing and merits that have accumulated during their present and previous lives. One's goal is to escape from this cycle and reach Nibbana. Once this is attained, the mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. Suffering ends because desire and craving -- the causes of suffering -- are no more.

Christianity has historically taught that everyone has only a single life on earth. After death, one's beliefs and/or actions are evaluated in the Final Judgment. An eternal life awaits everyone. Depending on the judgment, it will be either in Heaven or Hell. There is no suffering in Heaven; only joy. Torture is eternal without any hope of cessation for the inhabitants of Hell.

Ethic of Reciprocity: Buddhism, Christianity and all of the other major world religions share a basic rule of behavior which governs how they are to treat others. Two quotations from Buddhist texts which reflect this Ethic are:
"...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353.

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18.
This compares closely to Christianity's Golden Rule, which is seen in:

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12.

"...and don't do what you hate..." Gospel of Thomas 6. This Gospel was widely used in early Christianity but never made it into the official canon because of its Gnostic content. However, it remains valuable today because it seems to have preserved many unique sayings of Jesus that do not appear in other gospels.

Themes of morality, justice, love: These themes are found through both the Buddha's teaching and the Hebrew and Christian Bible.

Got the whole thing from here, and it explains what the differences are.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism4.htm

Personally I think as a person there's several things that are directly incompatible. Buddhism not only doesn't acknowledge the divinity of Christ, it does not recognize divinity at all as a serious category. All Gods are born, live and eventually die (even though their time-frame is measured in eons) these are the only kind of gods acknowledged, and they are inferior to the Buddha and not of equal merit.

Imagine a creature is born with an unfathomably slow aging process. It sees all creature appear and disappear before him. He ages so slowly that he begins to believe he is the one who brought them forth. That is how Gods regard humanity. It is not Gods that created us. We became what we are because we wanted to. We created ourselves.

In Christianity there is an immortal soul, that is cursed by God and can only be cleansed by God. In Buddhism there is no soul or souls and that very idea is not only problematic to a Buddhist but it can destroy Buddhist practice. Buddhist Cosmology is that people are made of mind and matter. Mind occurs in a continuum or "stream" that may be split into a variety of incarnations caused by the mind clinging to matter. If circumstances are correct for that this clinging meets conditions that leads to birth, suffering, sickness, and death. In Buddhism, you don’t “reincarnate” exactly (as you don’t have a soul there’s nothing to “re” anything). Your mind-stream just finds itself helplessly in another body due to clinging. The personality in the subsequent body is not you, in fact you are not the same person from instant to instant. Coherence in personality as a being is what the Buddha says we are empty of, and it is this emptiness of coherence that we can finally achieve coherence. This is the attainment of enlightenment. Enlightenment is an ontological category that is personal and unfathomable and it can only be achieved through the accomplishment of total purity in virtue, mental development, and actions. This and the intention to encourage and help others achieve the same goal is the life mission of a Buddhist. While we may all try our hardest, only a very, very few are going to be able to practice Buddhism in this lifetime seriously enough to accomplish this end, even though it is the goal of all Buddhists, whether of the Theravadin (Southern) or Mahayana (Northern) traditions. It may take many tens of thousands of years (or more) and possibly uncountable lifetimes are required to accomplish this goal. In the end, enlightenment is possible and your goal is to be the same as the Buddha. Ceasing of suffering.

In Christianity it doesn't matter what you say, do, or think. All who put their unflinching faith in Jesus may be saved. Even if you’re a terrible person. You only receive salvation not for what you do, but for placing all hope in an external deity who might not even grant that salvation promised to his own believers (one just needs to look at all the death, aging, suffering, sickness, and ignorance to see that.). It doesn't matter because regardless of how faithful you are, it'll always be "Thy will be done". This means that putting total faith in God will still mean absolutely nothing within the confines of the Christian faith. Now, in Buddhism, suffering is something brought upon the mind because of conscious choices and it keeps happening until one exhausts all the bad karma. The principle aim of Buddhism is to end pointless suffering. To be a Buddhist (as opposed to someone who pretends to be one), you must have three supreme refuges, forsaking all others: Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. This explicitly excludes Christ, God, and the Bible, the Church, etc. Now, there are some Buddhist traditions that are vague about this but it is ultimately what makes or breaks practice.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir
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Re: God!

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:37 am

mettatrader wrote:Once I started to read some Buddhist texts and words of Buddha ... It just feels like this is the religion or philosophy I have been looking for, but that I didn't didn't know existed before. It just seems to fit me better.

To be clear though, I have no complaint against Christianity at all, it's just a matter of preference.

Thanks for this discussion, mettatrader. One thing to bear in mind is that we are bound to have certain beliefs and inclinations. While they might change and develop over time, the underlying phenomenon remains: that one believes this or that, one holds this or that point of view. And you might notice that these beliefs and viewpoints aren't 100% in your control. You can't just make yourself believe something if in your gut you really don't buy it.

In that respect, the practice of Dhamma is not dominated by doctrines and beliefs in the way that many of us might have experienced religions in the past. While there are doctrines and beliefs associated with various Buddhism traditions, many of these traditions share in common a practical approach that involves seeing one's beliefs for what they are, and understanding their nature. So sure, anyone here might have certain beliefs about what God means, and whether God exists or doesn't exist, but as we roll along with our practice, we understand that when you get right down to it, it's not helpful to worry too much about these beliefs. In Dhamma practice, what really matters is our experiential understanding of suffering, its conditions, and the path.

Everybody desires to be happy and not to suffer. Christians or anyone, if they listen and give appropriate attention, might understand that the Dhamma message resonates with that universal experience. Hearing the Dhamma is important, as is appropriate attention. Forcing oneself to adopt certain beliefs regarding God is not important. Beliefs will bubble along and change according to the conditions that arise along this path. You don't have to force it. And it's fine to continue to have an appreciation for your roots. I hope that's helpful in your search.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: God!

Postby ground » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:59 am

mettatrader wrote:My understanding from some things I have read is that Buddhists deny the existance of God, but other Buddhist publications say that God is all around us (e.g. in a beautiful flower, in a nice view, in a thunderstorm, even in us!)

My question is, which of the above, (if either) is correct.

The thought "God" simply is irrelevant for buddhist practice. To argue about existence or non-existence would just be distraction.

mettatrader wrote:Also, if there is no God, who do you thank when you see a beautiful view or other pleasing event and just feel great to be alive, and so thankful for what you have - who do you pass the feeling of gratitude onto!? Finally, how do you deal with painful times, if there is no one to ask for help.

The precious human life is appreciated because of its opportunities in the context of the buddhist path.
To experience beauty or pleasure is seen as conditioned experience. That attitude does not despise beauty or pleasure but it entails not being attached to it, not seeking it, being aware of the impermanence of beauty or pleasure.
IMO humility replaces gratitude if one practices the right way.


Kind regards
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Re: God!

Postby mettatrader » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:48 pm

Jechbi wrote: Hearing the Dhamma is important, as is appropriate attention. Forcing oneself to adopt certain beliefs regarding God is not important. Beliefs will bubble along and change according to the conditions that arise along this path. You don't have to force it. And it's fine to continue to have an appreciation for your roots. I hope that's helpful in your search.


Very helpful indeed! Thanks! So this is exactly what I intend to do - continue my "voyage of discovery" into Buddhism whilst not worrying too much about what I think my beliefs were or should be. I will just let things happen and see where my journey takes me.

What I can say with a lot of certainty though, is that since starting to study Buddhism and trying (in my own very basic and probably confused way) to apply the concepts such as mindfulness and meditation I am starting to feel a lot more calm and centered. Also I feel like my life is proceeding in the right direction. So, I'm happy so far, and I look forward to seeing what other changes I observe in myself as time goes on and my understanding grows.

On a different subject, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has posted on this thread and provided feedback. As a complete novice, I appreciate your wisdom!

Oh one final thing - if its not changing the thread too much - I'd just like to ask - How does Zen compare with Theravada, because I had read somewhere that Zen is a way of life and therefore is compatible with other religions...or is this also not strictly true!

With very best wishes to all,

Mettatrader.
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Re: God!

Postby andre9999 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:02 pm

mettatrader wrote:What I can say with a lot of certainty though, is that since starting to study Buddhism and trying (in my own very basic and probably confused way) to apply the concepts such as mindfulness and meditation I am starting to feel a lot more calm and centered. Also I feel like my life is proceeding in the right direction. So, I'm happy so far, and I look forward to seeing what other changes I observe in myself as time goes on and my understanding grows.


Just a little heads-up, that calm and centered feeling is probably going to waver occasionally. Be sure to stick with the practice even (especially) when things get tough. Like Gil Fronsdal says about when things start to go wrong, "Great! Now the real work can begin!"
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Re: God!

Postby zavk » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:31 pm

Hi mettatrader

I think you'll find that as you interact with more so-called Buddhist converts, especially those in the West, you'll find that many come from a Christian background, or at the very least have been exposed to some general Christian influence in their lives. For me, I attended church occasionally when I was little, right through till my teenage years. I can't say I was a devout Christian; I probably attended church to hang out with friends more than anything else.

Nevertheless, having been exposed to Christianity since I was little, 'God', 'Christ', and all of the rest of it are powerful concepts that have conditioned my way of thinking, whether I like it or not. The conditionings of our lives, especially those from the early parts of our lives, run very deep. I think this applies to everyone, regardless of whether they were Christians or not. I'm reminded of Ajahn Sumedho, the highly esteemed senior Western representative of the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. I think it's in his book The Sound of Silence where he talks about how the habitual behaviour patterns from his childhood/adolescence would somehow come back whenever he was in the presence of his parents--the same goes for his parents who would somehow treat him like a kid, even when he was well into his middle-age (and a senior monk no less!). I suspect this happens to most of us. In any case, I mention this as an example to show how powerful the conditionings of how lives can be.

Given this to be the case, and following what I vaguely remember of Ajahn Sumedho's advice, I think it would be best to become aware of our conditionings, to become familiar with them, to be patient with them, and to learn from them, rather than deny them or attempt to cut ourselves off from them with one clean swoop. It seems to me that this what you are trying to do: to find new ways of understanding the conditionings of your life.

With regards to 'God'. Curiously for me, at my last retreat I unexpectedly came to the realisation that I've somehow learned to be at peace with 'God'. To be more precise, I should say that I have come to be at peace with the concept of 'God'. I do not believe in a Creator; I do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that he was resurrected, etc. I do not know what to make of all these. At the same time, I also no longer feel bothered by them. This is not to say that I have figured them out, but merely that I'm at peace with these concepts. I no longer feel the urge to invest my energy into proving or disproving them nor do I feel the urge to tell people what to think or not to think about them.

In place of this I feel a greater sense of curiosity. Curiosity about what? Erm... I'm not quite sure... all I know is that I'm directing this sense of curiosity towards the Dhamma, amongst the other interests I have in life. This is not something that happened over night. It is something that happened gradually. But I suppose it began to develop when I started to think of 'God', 'Christ', etc, as concepts rather than 'real' entities. This really helped me to come to terms with the Christian conditionings which--whether I care to admit it or not--have left an imprint on me, even though I've long stopped calling myself a Christian or engage in activities a Christian typically engages in.

Just sharing my experience, hope it is of relevance. All the best.

:anjali: :smile:
With metta,
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Re: God!

Postby alan » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:34 am

Consider the God idea a hinderance. File it under precepts and practices if you like.
Drop it. It will be in your best interest.
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Re: God!

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:14 am

Greetings,

The main problem associated with a creator god from a Buddhist perspective is that it would be nicca (permanent), outside the web of causality, whereas the Buddha repeatedly stated that sabbe sankhara anicca (all formations are impermanent). This is reflected in the Buddha's treatment of various god realms and his dealings with Brahma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: God!

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:35 am

mettatrader wrote:Oh one final thing - if its not changing the thread too much - I'd just like to ask - How does Zen compare with Theravada, because I had read somewhere that Zen is a way of life and therefore is compatible with other religions...or is this also not strictly true!

Hi, Mettatrader,
Zen is a Mahayana school and is therefore peripheral to the path most of us prefer to follow. You will ultimately find the same incompatibilities between Zen and theism as between Theravada and theism, because Zen is ultimately based on the same teachings as Theravada even though they are conceptualised rather differently. If you want more on this, I think a new thread might be a good idea.
:namaste:
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Re: God!

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:02 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The main problem associated with a creator god from a Buddhist perspective is that it would be nicca (permanent), outside the web of causality, whereas the Buddha repeatedly stated that sabbe dhamma anicca (all things are impermanent). This is reflected in the Buddha's treatment of various god realms and his dealings with Brahma.

Metta,
Retro. :)

hm actually he said sabbe sankhara anicca - all conditioned things are impermanent. It wouldn't make any sense to speak of "deathless" if that was impermanent.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: God!

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:23 pm

On the creator God concept, I think it's nettlesome, contrary to all reason and experience, and can't withstand the questioning of a child. Despite that, and despite just about everyone feeling that deep down, it is clung to anyway, perhaps out of fear and social pressure. I find it freeing to discard the idea altogether.

There are some re-interpretations of the God concept which make it less grating to reason and sound a bit more like a meditation experience, but I still don't think those fit in very well with Buddhism either. The reason being, Buddhism is not about "seeing God" it is about seeing the cause of suffering - clinging.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: God!

Postby Nibbida » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:38 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Viscid wrote:
And to know the truth of this, it is only necessary to cleanse the heart of its egoistic impurities and defilements, which have been accumulating by virtue of our subjective ignorance. When this fundamental purification is completed, "we all, with unveiled face reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory." Again, we are glorified with the "glory which he had with him before the world was." When we arrive at this exalted stage of spiritual enlightenment, Buddhism declares that we have attained Nirvâna.


That's really quite beautiful, and corresponds wonderfully to my own personal view about the goal of a spiritual life. However, I think you'll encounter many Western Buddhists who flatly deny the existence or influence of anything called 'God' within Buddhism. If someone experience peace, bliss and inner radiance within deep states of meditation, you can call it 'God' or you can call it 'peace, bliss and inner radiance.' The difference is language, not so much experience.



All depends on what a person means by "God"



I agree with this point. It's often been said that instead of God making man in his image, man has made God in his image (i.e. anthropomorphizing). Orthodox forms of Western religions tend to have a more personified version, where God is the bearded man in the sky, in it's simplest interpretation. This is not necessarily the orthodox Theravada interpretation, but Eastern religions like Taoism and Buddhism have the notion of oneness, unity, ultimate reality, emptiness, etc. Mystical traditions of Western religions (Christianity, Sufi Islam, Jewish Kabbalah) also have less personified versions of God, somewhat akin to their Eastern counterparts. But if one says God is everywhere and in everything (panentheism), then that's similar to the notion of oneness, emptiness, unbounded by concepts, etc. (i.e. the kingdom of Heaven is within you) Or pantheism says that "God" is the universe itself and we are all parts of it.

So there's a great deal of latitude for interpretation. I don't favor a personified version of God, nor do I use the word "God" much or spend much time fussing about it. However, it makes more sense to me that people all over the world are using different vocabulary to describe the same or similar sublime experiences, which I believe are universal to humans and have been rediscovered across cultures and time. I do think some interpretations are more conducive to awakening than others, where dogmatism gets in the way rather than facilitating awakening.

The Buddhist framework not only distills the principles very clearly (e.g. Eightfold Path) but it also gives us clear methods for advancing. I grew up Catholic and heard a lot of ideals (compassion, forgiveness, etc.), but never got strategies for how to develop them other than devotion and stories about heaven. On the other hand, I have interacted directly with many Buddhist teachers (lay and monastic) who are awakened (i.e. stream entry or beyond) and it shows in their speech, in their body language, and in their actions. I never got this sense from any clergy I ever interacted with in my life. That to me indicates that the Buddhists are onto something.

So no, there's no concept of a personified, eternal, creator God in Buddhism, but this perspective can be useful to someone who has grown up and lived with that concept but is coming to Buddhism. It's more like making peace with our past rather than fighting against it. It's just a skillful means, in my view.
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Re: God!

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:23 pm

mettatrader wrote:My understanding from some things I have read is that Buddhists deny the existance of God, but other Buddhist publications say that God is all around us (e.g. in a beautiful flower, in a nice view, in a thunderstorm, even in us!)
My question is, which of the above, (if either) is correct.
Also, if there is no God, who do you thank when you see a beautiful view or other pleasing event and just feel great to be alive, and so thankful for what you have - who do you pass the feeling of gratitude onto!? Finally, how do you deal with painful times, if there is no one to ask for help.

If any of you can assist, perhaps even those who have made the transition from one faith to another, I would love to know how you feel.
Thanks for answering these questions, I appreciate it!


Hello mettatrader,

A little reading matter:

Two Suttas:

"So the monk approached the Great Brahma and, on arrival, said, 'Friend, where do these four great elements — the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, and the wind property — cease without remainder?'
"When this was said, the Great Brahma said to the monk, 'I, monk, am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be.'
A second time, the monk said to the Great Brahma, 'Friend, I didn't ask you if you were Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. I asked you where these four great elements — the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, and the wind property — cease without remainder.'
"A second time, the Great Brahma said to the monk, 'I, monk, am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be.'
"A third time, the monk said to the Great Brahma, 'Friend, I didn't ask you if you were Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. I asked you where these four great elements — the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, and the wind property — cease without remainder.'
"Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, 'These gods of the retinue of Brahma believe, "There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not see. There is nothing of which the Great Brahma is unaware. There is nothing that the Great Brahma has not realized." That is why I did not say in their presence that I, too, don't know where the four great elements... cease without remainder. So you have acted wrongly, acted incorrectly, in bypassing the Blessed One in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Go right back to the Blessed One and, on arrival, ask him this question. However he answers it, you should take it to heart.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... #bigbrahma

"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 & contemplatives who hold to such teachings, such views.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The God-Idea - Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha019.htm

Buddhism and God - Ajahn Jagaro
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha068.htm

The Buddhist Attitude to God by Dr V. A. Gunasekara
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha268.htm

There are gods, miracles do happen - Ajahn Brahmavamso
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha297.htm

The God Idea - Bhikkhu Dhammapiyo
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha185.htm

Morality with and without a creator God. Radhika Abeysekera
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha169.htm

Buddhism and the God-idea by Nyanaponika Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... didea.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: God!

Postby Justsit » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:52 pm

Some Buddhists enter the mandala through the Christian gate and proceed quickly; others, less so. You might be interested in some of their writings - Robert Kennedy Roshi, SJ, is a Jesuit priest and Zen master, author of "Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit;" William Johnston, "Christian Zen;" Lawrence Richardson, David Steindl-Rast, Thomas Merton (Trappist monk who actually ended up asking HH the Dalai Lama for Dzogchen teachings, but that's another story :smile: ), and others. You might also enjoy Thich Nhat Hahn's Living Buddha, Living Christ. It can be a difficult journey for those used to having answers presented rather than discovered. Letting go of "God" can be very scary, but it's kind of like removing a band-aid; some folks pull it off slowly and gently, and others just rip it and get it over with.
Best wishes,
Justsit
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Re: God!

Postby Nibbida » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:00 am

:goodpost:
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

Facebook Meditation Page: http://snurl.com/yoga9vipassana
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