Do Buddhist believe in god?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Cittasanto
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:34 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Of course atheism is appropriate when talking about an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos in the context of the Buddha's teaching and how the Buddha regarded such a claim.
but not when talking about Buddhism.
Thank you for sharing your opinion, but other opinions carry as much, if not more, weight than does yours. What atheism means, as has been clearly shown, is not set in stone and can be used variously.
yes and highlighted.
you havn't shown anything regarding the term, although "how a word means is based upon how the word is (commonly) used"; which the YA question did highlight certain usages, something you are yet to show.
christians used to be called atheists because they didn't believe in the roman pantheon, and later when christianity became mainstream monotheism was included, and atheisms range widened to all forms yet, continued to be used as a derogitory term for non believers of a particular religion, which happened to be christianity.
and it is easier and more precise/less misleading to just state a monotheistic God is not accepted in Buddhism, rather than just stating buddhist atheism and then having to explain why gods are found in the canon. because one thing that was noticable in the Yahoo Answers question was the requirement of proof in many of the posts, and texts would not supply that proof, and to then call buddhism atheistic raises the question "where is this atheism considering all the supernatural beings?"
Yahoo Answers. Yes, well, there is a source of high quality thinking. The issue is not a matter of trying to prove that what the Buddhist texts say is somehow objectively true; rather, the point is: here is what the Buddha taught. What people opt to do with it is their business.
I do not see the point in dispraising YA! here.
yes what people opt to do with that is their business so there can be buddhists who are atheists (as said - I believe - three times now)
the issue is how to classify Buddhism which does not give the wrong impression, as Buddhist atheism is starting up and taking stances along the lines of there is no rebirth with one leader of the movement being Stephen Batchelor. there are those who are Buddhist monotheists, or hold other philosophic views hand in hand with Buddhist but I would no sooner say that any combination is good description.
Yet none of this escapes the fact that Buddhism is not (a)without (theos)a god in one shape or form.
Accepting one god but denying another isn't actually atheistic by any definition I have seen
Then obviously you have not been paying any attention, or you are simply and willfully, ignoring that which is contrary how you think we should all think about the Buddha's teachings.
I am sorry but the exact same could be said to the other side here!
just to refer back to Bens dictionary quote at the bottom of page six http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 00#p196178" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
theism actually expanded its range to include monotheism, and still includes other views of divinity today.
the problem here is that the specificity referred to is actually due to the term being used as an insult by the current cultural norm regarding god views, please look at the link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism#Range" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
Sorry the problem you are having is the fact that Buddhism isn't actually atheistic, because of the Gods found within the canon, whether they are subject to rebirth or not they are gods. I say this because the Buddha didn't call a butcher a potter, i.e. he called thing what they were, & said what he meant.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism#Range" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I don't have a problem with how the Buddha taught his Dhamma. The "gods" within the suttas are certainly not what they were in the Brahmanical texts/teachings from whence they came. The Buddha directly rejected an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos, which is essentially a theological statement, putting the Buddha's teachings in that context of talking about agent driven creation in an atheist context, and the gods, while having been retained by the Buddha, have been severely demoted, subsumed, and markedly subordinated by the Buddha's teachings, putting the Buddha in a superior position. You can call the devas in the suttas gods if you want, but they are very limited, at best figurehead gods, and, indeed, markedly different from how the Hindus view them. While the gods in general have not been rejected as has the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos, they have been subsumed and subordinated, leaving them with no actual significance or power in terms of the core of the Buddha's teachings, and all of this is what gives the unique characteristics to Buddhist atheism.
yet they are still gods and the atheist context would remove gods entirely due to a lack of solid proof.
You don't have to call it Buddhist atheism, but others who may opt to are no less justified in their opinion than are you in yours.
as I have said before, a personal preference to be associated with one or more "philosophic" approaches is not the issue, someone can be a pastafarian wiccan for all I care, But I am not concerned with what individualls want to practice, or believe here, rather how to define Buddhism appropriately.

Buddhism has a nontheistic approach as although it is inclusive of gods, they are not involved or important to the practice; it is not a atheistic approach as the belief in gods is still present.
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... atheist__2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definitio ... heistic__2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

but there comes a point of agreeing to dissagree so have the last word if you wish.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:11 am

Cittasanto wrote: you havn't shown anything regarding the term [atheism],
Except where I discussed the term, it various usages, and quoting and referencing, as necessary, various sources to make my point: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p196260" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p196204" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Buddhist Attitude to God.

Buddhism and the God-idea

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p196024" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I do not see the point in dispraising YA! here.
All one has to do read the responses to your posting.
the issue is how to classify Buddhism which does not give the wrong impression, as Buddhist atheism is starting up and taking stances along the lines of there is no rebirth with one leader of the movement being Stephen Batchelor. there are those who are Buddhist monotheists, or hold other philosophic views hand in hand with Buddhist but I would no sooner say that any combination is good description.
Yet none of this escapes the fact that Buddhism is not (a)without (theos)a god in one shape or form.
Batchelor is expressing his own particular point of view, which is not an accurate reflection of what the Buddha taught. As for the "gods" I have dealt with that at length and in detail. To repeat:
  • The "gods" within the suttas are certainly not what they were in the Brahmanical texts/teachings from whence they came. The Buddha directly rejected an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos, which is essentially a theological statement, putting the Buddha's teachings in that context of talking about agent driven creation in an atheist context, and the gods, while having been retained by the Buddha, have been severely demoted, subsumed, and markedly subordinated by the Buddha's teachings, putting the Buddha in a superior position. You can call the devas in the suttas gods if you want, but they are very limited, at best figurehead gods, and they are, indeed, markedly different from how the Hindus view them. While the gods in general have not been rejected as has the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos, they have been subsumed and subordinated, leaving them with no actual significance or power in terms of the core of the Buddha's teachings, and all of this is what gives the unique characteristics to Buddhist atheism.
Accepting one god but denying another isn't actually atheistic by any definition I have seen
The point is that the creative omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos function is what has been denied, and in the process the gods as a whole have been severely suborbninated. The atheistic feature is that there is simply no creator god. There is no:

“Supreme being, Creator and Ruler of the Universe.” -- The Concise Oxford Dictionary

"“There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts or passions;
of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and
invisible ….” -- The Book of Common Prayer

"That Worshipful God, the Great God, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Organizer, the Protection, the Creator, the Most Perfect Ruler, the Designer and Orderer, the Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be, He by Whom we were created, He is permanent, Constant, Eternal, Unchanging, and He will remain so for ever and ever." -- DN 24

In that the Buddha's teachings are atheistic, and they are atheistic in the radical reduction of the gods to naught more than mortal beings which have no necessary significance in the striving for awakening.
yet they are still gods and the atheist context would remove gods entirely due to a lack of solid proof.
As I have already stated, in presenting the Buddhist point of view, the issue is not trying to provide proof for the existence of the devas. It is, rather, simply pointing out what it is that the Buddha taught and what are the underlying principles. In other words: This is what the Buddha taught, these are the underlying principles at play.
Buddhism has a nontheistic approach as although it is inclusive of gods, they are not involved or important to the practice; it is not a atheistic approach as the belief in gods is still present.
And we have seen the problem with calling Buddhism non-theistic. As you said above: "Yet none of this escapes the fact that Buddhism is not (a)without (theos)a god in one shape or form." If the devas are gods, then Buddhism is, in fact, theistic. Being non-theistic, as the word suggests, would mean being without (non) gods (theism), but that is not the case. "Non-theism" is a non-starter. What is the case is the core function attributed to a capital "G" God has been rejected and the "gods" of the suttas have, in terms of the goal of the Buddha's teachings, no significance. In other words, the Buddha's teachings, in terms of the capital "G" God, is a form of atheism.
but there comes a point of agreeing to dissagree so have the last word if you wish.
Thank you for the last word.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Cittasanto
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:19 am

I do feel a need to ask (generally to those who agree with tilts possition) as to why the limited definition?
because it looks to me that there is a twisting or picking the facts to suit the theory.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:24 am

Cittasanto wrote:I do feel a need to ask (generally to those who agree with tilts possition) as to why the limited definition?
because it looks to me that there is a twisting or picking the facts to suit the theory.
Twisting and picking what facts? Obviously, I don't get the last word here, as you said. You seem not to want to let this go.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I do feel a need to ask (generally to those who agree with tilts possition) as to why the limited definition?
because it looks to me that there is a twisting or picking the facts to suit the theory.
Twisting and picking what facts? Obviously, I don't get the last word here, as you said. You seem not to want to let this go.
don't assume I was replying to it, as if I was I would of quoted it.
Last word in that discussion, you certainly had as I am not discussing how to define Buddhism anymore, but that does not mean I am not curious about some aspect which is for me quite obvious.
the fact of that theism and atheism does refer in general to all gods, not just the specific monotheistic one.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:00 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I do feel a need to ask (generally to those who agree with tilts possition) as to why the limited definition?
because it looks to me that there is a twisting or picking the facts to suit the theory.
Twisting and picking what facts? Obviously, I don't get the last word here, as you said. You seem not to want to let this go.
don't assume I was replying to it, as if I was I would of quoted it.
You are stating directly that it looks to you that I am twisting and picking facts, a rather serious accusation of a lack of honesty. It certainly looks like you are responding to what I said in a rather negative, harmful way.
the fact of that theism and atheism does refer in general to all gods, not just the specific monotheistic one.
It all depends upon how one opts to use the words and in what contexts. You are the one who keeps going on about narrow and broad definitions, which are, of course, legitimate ways of approaching an issue. If one uses a narrow definition, that is the context and the basis for what is said, and it is a legitimate in that way. Why would that be a problem? One does not necessarily rule out the other.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:06 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: because it looks to me that there is a twisting or picking the facts to suit the theory.
Twisting and picking what facts? Obviously, I don't get the last word here, as you said. You seem not to want to let this go.
don't assume I was replying to it, as if I was I would of quoted it.
You are stating directly that it looks to you that I am twisting and picking facts, a rather serious accusation of a lack of honesty. It certainly looks like you are responding to what I said in a rather negative, harmful way.
no more or less than some of your comments, although I would sooner challenge my views now, rather than yours, but the view does need expressed for specificity, for understanding, plus if I am ever asked I can explain rather then give a bias opinion I can answer appropriately.
I am fond of precision BTW.
the fact of that theism and atheism does refer in general to all gods, not just the specific monotheistic one.
It all depends upon how one opts to use the words and in what contexts. You are the one who keeps going on about narrow and broad definitions, which are, of course, legitimate ways of approaching an issue. If one uses a narrow definition, that is the context and the basis for what is said, and it is a legitimate in that way. Why would that be a problem? One does not necessarily rule out the other.
yes, if someone of no religion says they are a atheist they mean all gods
if someone of a religion says you are a atheist they are referring to their gods (and has a derogatory sense)
if someone of a religion says they are a atheist christian they are referring to the named religion.
as an example of the latter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Judai » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:05 pm

Hey tiltbilling
You asked where is the Buddha,and did he crwate the cosmos.

My reply:if you are implying nhilism,and anhilation of the existing being then,all i can say is the Buddha taught thoae things were wrong view,the Buddha never taught that life ceases not once not ever.The Buddha stated that after death their is always the continuation of an existing being,whether its eternal life in rebirth,or eternal life as the Buddha life itself is eternal.their is no nhilism,or anhilationism doctrine in Buddhism its simply listed as wrong view.

With that said the Buddha is eternal,everlasting,unborn,and uncreated and as he stated the teacher of immortality so where do you think he is?

As far as the cosmos is voncerned the cosmos is samsarasan its not of the Buddha its of mara,and have u ever heard of emanationIsm?more in line with karma than creatiSm.

Lastly the TOS is do Buddhists belive in god the answer is YES
You mono and poly ideas of god or gods either way they are still gods whether its the god odin or the god of the bible or the gods in buddhism.
And an atheist doesnt belive that a god exists PERIOD,whether is mono or poly idea of god or gods,
An agnostic is one one states a god Might exist.

So no we are not atheists,also gods in Buddhism are literal not metophoric if you want ill let the suttas tell you that for me?

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by cooran » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:29 pm

Hello all,

This might be of interest:

The Buddhist Attitude to God - by Dr V. A. Gunasekara
Statement made to a Multi-religious Seminar
________________________________________
CONTENTS
1. Introduction
2. Buddhism as a Non-Theistic religion
3. The Notion of God
4. The Buddhist View of God
5. The God-Concept and Buddhism
6. The Persistence of the God-Idea
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha068.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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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tiltbillings
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:35 pm

Cittasanto wrote: I am fond of precision BTW.
Your claim of precision seems to be exemplified by your claim of me that "you havn't shown anything regarding the term [atheism]", but as I have shown you, that was less than precise.
tilt wrote:
the fact of that theism and atheism does refer in general to all gods, not just the specific monotheistic one.
It all depends upon how one opts to use the words and in what contexts. You are the one who keeps going on about narrow and broad definitions, which are, of course, legitimate ways of approaching an issue. If one uses a narrow definition, that is the context and the basis for what is said, and it is a legitimate in that way. Why would that be a problem? One does not necessarily rule out the other.
yes, if someone of no religion says they are a atheist they mean all gods
if someone of a religion says you are a atheist they are referring to their gods (and has a derogatory sense)
if someone of a religion says they are a atheist christian they are referring to the named religion.
as an example of the latter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
And given that one can reasonably talk about Buddhist atheism.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Kamran
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Kamran » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:47 am

Thanks for the link cooran.

Instead if refuting the existence of gods, the Buddha was teaching people not to believe in or follow any god. Seems to have simular objectives as atheism.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha068.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"The gods are all eternal scoundrels
Incapable of dissolving the suffering of impermanence.
Those who serve them and venerate them
May even in this world sink into a sea of sorrow.
We know the gods are false and have no concrete being;
Therefore the wise man believes them not
The fate of the world depends on causes and conditions
Therefore the wise man may not rely on gods."
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Way~Farer » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:47 am

Note, 'the gods'. The Gods' that are referred to here are rather more like the Roman and Greek pantheon.

When Christianity was formed, it did inherit some of the attributes of the pagan faiths which proceeded it. Nevertheless, God as Jesus Christ ought not to be confused with the pagan Gods of either East or West. Nor should Christianity be understood as the worship of a pantheistic deity.

It would be preferable to understand what Christianity and Buddhism have in common - which is a great deal - than to engage in sectarian polemics. All the spiritual traditions in the world, East and West, are equally threatened by scientific atheism, which has no more regard for the the Buddha Dhamma that it does for Hanuman or Zeus.

Just advice, that's all.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:52 am

sunyavadin wrote:Note, 'the gods'. The Gods' that are referred to here are rather more like the Roman and Greek pantheon.

When Christianity was formed, it did inherit some of the attributes of the pagan faiths which proceeded it. Nevertheless, God as Jesus Christ ought not to be confused with the pagan Gods of either East or West. Nor should Christianity be understood as the worship of a pantheistic deity.

It would be preferable to understand what Christianity and Buddhism have in common - which is a great deal - than to engage in sectarian polemics.
One need not engage in sectarian polemics in order to understand that the Buddha rejected an omniscient, omnipotent, permanent, independent, unique agent that is the cause of the cosmos and why.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Cittasanto
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:13 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: I am fond of precision BTW.
Your claim of precision seems to be exemplified by your claim of me that "you havn't shown anything regarding the term [atheism]", but as I have shown you, that was less than precise.
please read all of what I say instead of snipping qualifying terms to suit.
tilt wrote:It all depends upon how one opts to use the words and in what contexts. You are the one who keeps going on about narrow and broad definitions, which are, of course, legitimate ways of approaching an issue. If one uses a narrow definition, that is the context and the basis for what is said, and it is a legitimate in that way. Why would that be a problem? One does not necessarily rule out the other.
yes, if someone of no religion says they are a atheist they mean all gods
if someone of a religion says you are a atheist they are referring to their gods (and has a derogatory sense)
if someone of a religion says they are a atheist christian they are referring to the named religion.
as an example of the latter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
And given that one can reasonably talk about Buddhist atheism.
and given that you can reasonably talk & understand the meaning about it in the way Stephen Batchelor is applying it... which follows its application in other religions, I do not comprehend from any stand point why it means what you claim it to.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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tiltbillings
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Re: Do Buddhist believe in god?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:31 am

and given that you can reasonably talk & understand the meaning about it in the way Stephen Batchelor is applying it... which follows its application in other religions, I do not comprehend from any stand point why it means what you claim it to.
This "sentence" of yours is so gammatically confused, I am not sure what you are tying to say here.

But if you are trying to say that I am doing what Batchelor is doing, you are patently wrong. I can see that you, indeed, do not understand what I am doing, but given that we have gone around all of this repeatedly in the same circle, I would say that going around the same circle is likely to continue to be the case.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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