Did Buddha say gods exist?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by SarathW »

Did Buddha say gods exist?
But Master Gotama, do gods absolutely exist?” “I’ve understood the existence of gods in terms of causes.” “But Master Gotama, when asked ‘Do gods exist?’ why did you say that you have understood the existence of gods in terms of causes? If that’s the case, isn’t it a hollow lie?” “When asked ‘Do gods exist’, whether you reply ‘Gods exist’ or ‘I’ve understood it in terms of causes’ a sensible person would come to the definite conclusion that gods exist.” “But why didn’t you say that in the first place?” “It’s widely agreed in the world that gods exist.”
https://suttacentral.net/mn100/en/sujato

I fond that the above discussion is a bit ambiguous to me.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Bundokji
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by Bundokji »

The words exist or does not exist here can be understood not as ontological terms, but as drivers of human behavior.

For instance, an atheist who is obsessed about the non-existence of god (ontologically) seem to be engaged in a form of self-deception in the sense that the amount of energy and time he spends on this issue makes it as if it really exist for all the practical reasons.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
form
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by form »

He said deva, form realm and formless realm beings exist. But the god that created the world.... no.
ToVincent
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by ToVincent »

:hello:
form wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:17 pm He said deva, form realm and formless realm beings exist. But the god that created the world.... no.
Really?

https://justpaste.it/19m0u (Ajo)
(A dharman created by ignorance, maybe?)

Buddhism as nāstika is a late hinduist concept.


.
.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

I, Brahmā, knowing devas to be devas, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of the deva's devahood, do not think: ‘It is a deva, (of self) in (regard to) devas, (of self) as a deva, devas are mine’. I do not salute devas. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahmā, knowing Pajāpati to be Pajāpati, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of Pajāpati's Pajāpatihood, do not think: ‘It is Pajāpati (of self) in (regard to) Pajāpati, (of self) as Pajāpati, Pajāpati is mine’. I do not salute Pajāpati. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahmā, knowing Brahmā to be Brahmā, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of Brahmā's of Brahmahood, do not think: ‘It is Brahmā, (of self) in (regard to) Brahmā, (of self) as Brahmā, Brahmā is mine’. I do not salute Brahmā. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahmā, knowing the Radiant ones to be the Radiant ones, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of the Radiant-ones’ radiance, do not think: ‘It is the Radiant ones, (of self) in (regard to) the Radiant ones, (of self) as a Radiant one, the Radiant ones are mine’. I do not salute the Radiant ones. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahmā, knowing the Lustrous ones to be the Radiant ones, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of the Lustrous ones’ Luster, do not think: ‘It is the Lustrous ones, (of self) in (regard to) the Lustrous ones, (of self) as a Lustrous one, the Lustrous ones are mine’. I do not salute the Lustrous ones. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahmā, knowing the Vehapphalas to be the Vehapphalas, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of the Vehapphalas’ Vehapphalahood, do not think: ‘It is the Vehapphalas, (of self) in (regard to) the Vehapphalas, (of self) as a Vehapphalan, the Vehapphalas are mine’. I do not salute the Vehapphalas. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahmā, knowing the Overlord to be the Overlord, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by means of the Overlord's Overlordship, do not think: ‘It is the Overlord, (of self) in (regard to) the Overlord, (of self) as the Overlord, the Overlord is mine’. I do not salute the Overlord. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?

I, Brahma, knowing the all to be the all, to that extent knowing that which is not reached by the allness of the all, do not think: ‘It is all, (of self) in (regard to) all, (of self) as all, all is mine“. I do not salute the all. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater that you?”

https://suttacentral.net/mn49/en/horner
:anjali:
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ToVincent
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by ToVincent »

Lucas Oliveira wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:25 pm
You have to explain the context.

This is what is somewhat said in MN 49 and its parallel:
"Bhikkhus, on one occasion I (the Buddha) was living at Ukkaṭṭhā in the Subhaga Grove at the root of a royal sāla tree. Now on that occasion a pernicious view had arisen in Baka the Brahmā thus: ‘This is permanent, this is everlasting, this is eternal, this is total, this is not subject to pass away; for this is where one is neither born nor ages nor dies nor passes away nor reappears, and beyond this there is no other escape.’
.....
When this was said, I told Baka the Brahmā: ‘The worthy Baka the Brahmā has lapsed into ignorance; he has lapsed into ignorance in that he says of the impermanent that it is permanent, of the transient that it is everlasting, of the non-eternal that it is eternal, of the incomplete that it is total, of what is subject to pass away that it is not subject to pass away, of where one is born, ages, dies, passes away, and reappears, that here one is neither born nor ages nor dies nor passes away nor reappears; and when there is another escape beyond this, he says there is no other escape beyond this.’"
......
Brahmā, there are three other bodies, which you neither know nor see, and which I know and see. There is the body called [the gods of] Streaming Radiance, from which you passed away and reappeared here. Because you have dwelt here long, your memory of that has lapsed, and hence you do not know or see it, but I know and see it. Thus, Brahmā, in regard to direct knowledge I do not stand merely at the same level as you, how then could I know less? Rather, I know more than you.

“‘There is the body called [the gods of] Refulgent Glory… There is the body called [the gods of] Great Fruit. You do not know or see that, but I know and see it. Thus, Brahmā, in regard to direct knowledge I do not stand merely at the same level as you, how then could I know less? Rather, I know more than you.
MN 49
What the Buddha says is that Brahmās know only realms up to the Great Brahmas (Maha brahma # 14) realm; not above.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dha ... /loka.html
But that him, Buddha, knows (in the rupa loka) realms above that.

---------

This is what Analayo says about the parallels.

The Madhyama-āgama discourse reports that the Buddha affirmed that he really knew earth, since he did not consider earth (etc.) to be ‘I’ or ‘mine’. A parallel to this statement occurs in the Brahmanimantaika-sutta, according to which the Buddha similarly proclaimed that he did not claim earth (etc.) to be ‘mine’.
....
In the Madhyama-āgama version the progression of thought is smoother, since here Brahmā had just affirmed his superior knowledge in regard to earth (etc.), an affirmation that came as a reply to the Buddha’s disclosure of heavenly realms unknown to Brahmā. The Buddha then counters Brahmā’s presumption to have superior knowledge by highlighting that true knowledge requires going beyond the notions ‘I’ and ‘mine’. By declaring that he belongs to those who truly know, the Buddha implicitly indicates that Brahmā does not truly know, because of being under the influence of notions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’.


The falsity is to believe that at death time, the "mine", the "I" and the great Brahmā, can make a permanent One.
This is the Eternalist view.

_

Now again, this and the rest (knowledge of the higher rupa loka and arupa loka), does not preclude the existence of a self/Self or something beyond that.
Something beyond paṭiccasamuppāda, (the Buddhist dharman) - in the Avyakata - like the Ajo (the Unborn) https://justpaste.it/19m0u

Precluding this, is the Annihilationist view.
.
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Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

ToVincent wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:02 pm
Lucas Oliveira wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:25 pm
You have to explain the context.


.
The Buddha quotes so many Devas that it would cater to many beliefs in God.

Within each Religion, there are many versions of what God would be.

Would one of these versions of God be Nibbana?

:namaste:

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thang
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by thang »

SarathW wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:41 am
“But Master Gotama, when asked ‘Do gods exist?’ why did you say that you have understood the existence of gods in terms of causes? If that’s the case, isn’t it a hollow lie?” “When asked ‘Do gods exist’, whether you reply ‘Gods exist’ or ‘I’ve understood it in terms of causes’ a sensible person would come to the definite conclusion that gods exist.” “But why didn’t you say that in the first place?” “It’s widely agreed in the world that gods exist.”
https://suttacentral.net/mn100/en/sujato
above discussion is a bit ambiguous to me.
May be what the Blessed One said was that it is such a widely agreed belief and there is no need to say 'yes'.
I think the world mentioned here was the ancient society that was different than the modern materialistic society.
Those days many believed that heavenly beings exist.

Following passages of the suttas prove that gods exist.
The Blessed One said, "Monks, once the devas & asuras were arrayed for battle. Then Sakka, the chief of the devas, addressed the devas of the Thirty-three: ... [SN 11.3 Dhajagga Sutta]
Thus Sakka asked his first question of the Blessed One, and the Blessed One, when asked, replied: "Devas, human beings, asuras, nagas, gandhabbas, & whatever other many kinds of beings there are, are fettered with envy & stinginess, .. [DN 21 Sakka-pañha Sutta]
Following passages of the suttas prove both facts: gods exist and repeated-birth.
I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its deities, Maras & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'" [SN 56.11 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta]
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."
santa100
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by santa100 »

SarathW wrote:I found that the above discussion is a bit ambiguous to me.
Ven. Bodhi's version is a bit clearer:
MN 100 wrote:[the brahmin student Sangārava:] But how is it, Master Gotama, are there gods?”

[the Buddha:] “It is known to me to be the case, Bhāradvāja, that there are gods.”

“But how is this, Master Gotama, that when you are asked, ‘Are there gods?’ you say: ‘It is known to me to be the case, Bhāradvāja, that there are gods’? If that is so, isn’t what you say empty and false?”921

“Bhāradvāja, when one is asked, ‘Are there gods?’ [213] whether one answers, ‘There are gods,’ or ‘It is known to me to be the case [that there are gods],’ a wise man can draw the definite conclusion that there are gods.
And footnote to provide the context:
MA says that Sangārava had the idea that the Buddha spoke thus without actual knowledge, and he therefore accuses the Buddha of false speech. The sequence of ideas in this passage is difficult to follow and it is likely that the text is corrupt. K.R. Norman has proposed a reconstruction of this portion of the dialogue, but it is hard to follow him in details. See Norman, Collected Papers, 2:1–8.
2600htz
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by 2600htz »

Hello:

Emm its a weird text.
"gods exist" is a broad answer. “I’ve understood the existence of gods in terms of causes.” its a more profound answer (gods are subject to conditions, they arise, they cease, they are not eternal, and i know the laws which govern that process)
But no idea if thats actually what the pali is saying.

Regards.
thang
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by thang »

I think the Pali passage is not ambiguous.
Kinnu kho bho gotama, atthi devāti. Ṭhānaso metaṃ bhāradvāja, viditaṃ yadidaṃ atthi devāti.
Kinnu kho bho gotama, atthi devāti puṭṭho samāno, ṭhānaso metaṃ bhāradvāja, viditaṃ yadidaṃ atthi devāti vadesi? Na nu kho bho gotama, evaṃ sante tucchā musā hotī'ti.
Atthi devā'ti bhāradvāja, puṭṭho samāno, atthi devā'ti yo vadeyya. Ṭhānaso me viditāti yo vadeyya, atha khevattha viññūnā purisena ekaṃsena niṭṭhaṃ gantabbaṃ yadidaṃ atthi devāti.
Kissa pana me bhavaṃ gotamo, ādikeneva na byākāsīti
Uccena sammataṃ kho etaṃ bhāradvāja, lokasmiṃ yadidaṃ atthi devā'ti.
[AWAKE]
ṭhānaso : (adv.) with reason and cause. (Source): Concise Pali-English Dictionary
thanaso, adv. (Jtha) causally, suddenly. (Source):THE STUDENT'S PALI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY.
thanaso: in comb" w. hetuso with reason & cause, causally conditioned [The Pali-English Dictionary edited by T. W. Rhys Davids, William Stede]
Good Gotama, are there gods?'
“Bhāradvāja, it should be known with reasons, whether there are gods.
“Good Gotama, when asked, are there gods, it was said, it should be known with reasons, whether there are gods. Are not these words useless lies?'
“Bhāradvāja, when asked are there gods, whether told there are gods, or told it should be known with reasons, a wise man should conclude that there are gods.
“Why did good Gotama not declare this to me earlier?'
“Bhāradvāja, it is taken for granted, that there are gods in the world.' [AWAKE]
But now, good Gotama, are there devas?"
"Certainly, Bhāradvāja, it is known to me that there are devas."
"But why do you, good Gotama, on being asked if there are devas, say that it is certainly known to you that there are devas?
Even if this is so, good Gotama, is it not a vain falsehood?"
"If on being asked, Bhāradvāja, 'Are there devas? one should say:'There are devas' and should say: 'Certainly they are known to me,'
then the conclusion to be reached by an intelligent person is indubitable, namely that there are devas."
"But why did not the revered Gotama explain this to me at the beginning?"
"It is commonly agreed in the world, Bhāradvāja,
that there are devas." [I.B. Horner]
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."
thang
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by thang »

I think this part is enough to conclude. (from pali with above translations)

[The Buddha says:]

viññūnā purisena ekaṃsena niṭṭhaṃ gantabbaṃ yadidaṃ atthi devāti.
  • a wise man should conclude that there are gods.
  • the conclusion to be reached by an intelligent person is indubitable, namely that there are devas.
  • a wise man can draw the definite conclusion that there are gods.
  • a sensible person would come to the definite conclusion that gods exist.
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."
form
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by form »

The Buddha supported evolution as seen in DN sutta about world creation. It is not created by a single being.
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Volo
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by Volo »

K.R. Norman (Collective papers, II, 1-8) suggests that the text got corrupted and in some places "atthi devā" should be substituted by "atthi adhidevā" (there are "super-devas", like Sakka). He also suggests that by "adhideva" the Buddha might refer to himself and other Buddhas (this epithet is used for him in some early texts). I cannot say I'm fully convinced by his reasoning, but he might be right that the correct reading at least in some sentences is adhidevā (as some editions have it, but not PTS).
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thang
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Re: Did Buddha say gods exist?

Post by thang »

form wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:41 pm The Buddha supported evolution as seen in DN sutta about world creation. It is not created by a single being.
Here (in Buddhism) 'deva' means the beings of heavenly realms or heavenly beings not a creator as in Abrahamic religions.
Volo wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:22 am K.R. Norman (Collective papers, II, 1-8) suggests that the text got corrupted and in some places "atthi devā" should be substituted by "atthi adhidevā" (there are "super-devas", like Sakka).
Even according to Norman's suggestion, the following part of the passage will not be changed. It is regarding the first answer of the Buddha and not about the following part.
thang wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:26 pm I think this part is enough to conclude. (from pali with above translations)
[The Buddha says:]
viññūnā purisena ekaṃsena niṭṭhaṃ gantabbaṃ yadidaṃ atthi devāti.
  • a wise man can draw the definite conclusion that there are gods.
"Bhikkhus, whatever the Tathāgata speaks, _ all that is just so and NOT otherwise."
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