Author Topic: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?  (Read 23718 times)

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2012, 03:11:38 PM »

I've read somewhere before that states Christianity do have text that talks about reincarnation... but it was taken off the general bible so that the mass public that receive the teachings will not delay seeking redemption due to the believe that 'this is the only life they have on earth'...

The main stream Christian faith do not preach reincarnation for the reason you stated.

However what you are referring to regarding the text on reincarnation came about from the early christian writings which revealed that there are more than just the gospels we are familiar with in today's bible.

There is a collection of gospels known as the Gnostic Gospels which comprises of many more other gospels which are hidden. These text were written down from the secret teachings given by Jesus to a smaller group of disciples.

These writings were discovered at different times but a huge collection of it was discovered in Nag Hammadi Library (by chance) in the 1950s. These writings dates back to the 2-4th century.

Interestingly, Gnosis means knowledge/enlightenment.. indicating that the Gnostic believers know the deeper meaning of resurrection that it is about attaining spiritual rebirths which cannot be attained in just one life time...thus, the believe in many rebirths, based on logic and not just faith.

Thank you DS friend, that is very interesting indeed.

And to start with, even when one believes in life in heaven (or hell), then one believes in re-incarnation already... how otherwise?

I had been thinking about heaven for a quite a while before, what is heaven?
A place where one can relax and enjoy nice stuff, nice food, never getting sick, always leisuring, goinf for little walks... well, at least that is the picture I grew up to have of it, and it never attracted me (not that hell attracted me neither though!), and neither did I find attractive the "eternal life" described to me by Jehovah's witnesses.
But perhaps, heaven is like a "pure land" (in the Buddhist sense) in which one can move further on a spiritual path? In fact, what else could heaven possibly be!

So resurrection = "attaining spiritual rebirths which cannot be attained in just one life time", and sped up by creating conditions to go to "heaven".  8)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 12:44:05 PM by DSFriend »

Q

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 557
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2012, 06:20:34 AM »

I've read somewhere before that states Christianity do have text that talks about reincarnation... but it was taken off the general bible so that the mass public that receive the teachings will not delay seeking redemption due to the believe that 'this is the only life they have on earth'...

The main stream Christian faith do not preach reincarnation for the reason you stated.

However what you are referring to regarding the text on reincarnation came about from the early christian writings which revealed that there are more than just the gospels we are familiar with in today's bible.

There is a collection of gospels known as the Gnostic Gospels which comprises of many more other gospels which are hidden. These text were written down from the secret teachings given by Jesus to a smaller group of disciples.

These writings were discovered at different times but a huge collection of it was discovered in Nag Hammadi Library (by chance) in the 1950s. These writings dates back to the 2-4th century.

Interestingly, Gnosis means knowledge/enlightenment.. indicating that the Gnostic believers know the deeper meaning of resurrection that it is about attaining spiritual rebirths which cannot be attained in just one life time...thus, the believe in many rebirths, based on logic and not just faith.

Wow, thank you! That's very clear explanation. I didn't know that Christians believed in reincarnation until I read a book on past life regression... done by a Christian psychologist. The Dr actually accidentally tap into one of his patient's past life while hypnosis therapy. He then explained being a Christian, he found it difficult to accept initially, until he did more research on his faith where he discovered there are text that talks about reincarnation in Christianity. Unfortunately, he didn't elaborate the details in the book so I only know that much haha! Now I know more =)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2012, 12:43:27 PM by DSFriend »

Big Uncle

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1995
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2012, 07:30:31 AM »
The Wheel of Life can answer this very clearly.

Gods, not God, exist, they are one of the 6 realms.

They do die and reincarnate into any of the 6 realms depending on their karma, unless they practice and achieve liberation from samsara.

Therefore, Buddha is not God because Buddha is already out of the 6 realms.

There is no creator God, there is not only one single God, these are false theory made up by other religion because they cannot explain many things in the universe, so they attribute it to GOD, made up in their own mind.
I think the philosophical belief in 'God' of the monotheistic religions of the Islamic Judeo-Christians and the 'Gods' of the polytheistic traditions of other major religions are fundamentally very different from the Buddhist belief in Gods and Karma. Whether mono or polytheistic of the non-Buddhist traditions, the belief system places faith and the creation process to a higher force outside of ourselves.

As for Buddhists, faith and the creation process is not placed to a higher force but onto the force of cause and effect of everyday actions called karma. The gods of the Buddhist tradition still exists but it is not the creative force like the God(s) of other faiths but powerful beings still trapped within the shackles of death and impermanence.

vajratruth

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 706
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2012, 10:18:18 AM »


By placing reliance on an external god, we actually deny ourselves the empowerment to liberate ourselves. We are in fact saying that we are incapable of doing anything for ourselves. "Worship" becomes the reinforcement of that incapability.

In contrats, Karma tells us that we are personally responsible for the creation of our own lives. That being the case, we are also capable of creating our own salvation. There is nothing "supernatural" about it and the ability to reach salvation is within the grasp of anyone as is the know-how and the training to attain such salvation.

In Buddhism, "Salvation" is not merely notional and once a person accepts that he/she is responsible for his/her own salvation, the person becomes an integral part of the process, not merely an anxious spectator.

In my opinion the single most empowering truth that the Buddha taught is that salvation/heaven/nirvana or any other name that one may call that special place that transcends this physical life of suffering, could be achieved by anyone if they trained hard enough for it.

This is very logical. To say salvation depends on a relationship with an external deity is to say that I don't have to train to win the race. Instead I will spend all my time developing a relationship with  judge of the race. What if the "judge" of who wins is the tape across the winning posts. How do you develop a relationship with a tape?

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2012, 11:17:58 AM »


By placing reliance on an external god, we actually deny ourselves the empowerment to liberate ourselves. We are in fact saying that we are incapable of doing anything for ourselves. "Worship" becomes the reinforcement of that incapability.

In contrats, Karma tells us that we are personally responsible for the creation of our own lives. That being the case, we are also capable of creating our own salvation. There is nothing "supernatural" about it and the ability to reach salvation is within the grasp of anyone as is the know-how and the training to attain such salvation.

In Buddhism, "Salvation" is not merely notional and once a person accepts that he/she is responsible for his/her own salvation, the person becomes an integral part of the process, not merely an anxious spectator.

In my opinion the single most empowering truth that the Buddha taught is that salvation/heaven/nirvana or any other name that one may call that special place that transcends this physical life of suffering, could be achieved by anyone if they trained hard enough for it.

This is very logical. To say salvation depends on a relationship with an external deity is to say that I don't have to train to win the race. Instead I will spend all my time developing a relationship with  judge of the race. What if the "judge" of who wins is the tape across the winning posts. How do you develop a relationship with a tape?

Thank you VT for this.

Actually, I had a friendly discussion with a Christian yesterday and that person told me that:
"the main difference between Christianity and Buddhism is that Jesus expiated all our sins (including Adam and Eve's original sin) through his suffering, so we only need to rely upon him to be saved, he has done the work for us; while in buddhism we still need to do the "salvation work" ourselves".

My thoughts on this then were:
On a karmic level, the only way this could possibly make sense is that the reliance in Jesus makes its followers engage in karmic causes to be reborn in a Pure Land (next life or further lives ahead) where Jesus would then make them continue their spiritual journey to attain arhathood or enlightenment. That explanation would also imply that Jesus would be a Buddha, or relies upon a Buddha.

Of course I did not share that with my Christian friend. Why would I do that? It would be perceived as me putting down her belief by integrating them into "my" "system".

DSFriend

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 955
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2012, 01:10:07 PM »
Reincarnation poses a direct challenge to the Biblical God, the creator.

Irregardless of religion, culture, race and age, there has been records of people recalling their past lives. It is much easier to have claims and proofs of people recollecting their past lives than to proof the existence of God.

However, for many there is no need to proof the existence of God but just to believe in the grace of Christ for salvation. Salvation is the reason why so many people believe in God. It's insurance for the after life without having to pay any premium.






Midakpa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 624
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2012, 03:00:21 PM »
I don't believe in a creator god anymore, thanks to Buddhism and its perfect logic. But I do believe Jesus was a Bodhisattva who took rebirth out of compassion for the people in that particular time and place. I'm sure some Buddhist bodhisattvas today had been Christian saints before.

Funny, but the fact that Christians are still waiting for the second coming of Jesus proves that they believe in reincarnation. Sometimes I wonder why Jesus is taking so long to come back. Our Tibetan masters reincarnate within a few months or years.


DSFriend

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 955
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2012, 06:44:30 PM »
I don't believe in a creator god anymore, thanks to Buddhism and its perfect logic. But I do believe Jesus was a Bodhisattva who took rebirth out of compassion for the people in that particular time and place. I'm sure some Buddhist bodhisattvas today had been Christian saints before.

Funny, but the fact that Christians are still waiting for the second coming of Jesus proves that they believe in reincarnation. Sometimes I wonder why Jesus is taking so long to come back. Our Tibetan masters reincarnate within a few months or years.

Well, one thing most of all religion believes in is that we don't cease to exists after death...at least i have not come across any.

Different faith has different versions of what comes AFTER death...which foretells that we continue to exist.

If we cannot be "destroyed" after death even after we have shed off our physical body... then who are we really?  Who were we before we entered our mother's womb?

Anyway, every religion has their own book written and message propagated, but in all the differences, I do find rest in thinking about the similarities which can be found. Afterall, aren't we all the same, one human race?

dondrup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 816
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2012, 09:10:49 PM »
The differences in the religions of the World today are due to the different beliefs that humans have.  We have also seen many common characteristics of these religions.  What causes these similarities and differences?  Buddhism offers a clear explanation on these through Karma.  Because of differing karma, humans perceive (and hence believe) things and their environment differently.  Buddhism explains that every phenomenon that we perceive e.g. Buddha or God is merely a label.  Hence, we should look into the functions or nature of a label instead of the labels.

In Buddhism, there are six realms of existence i.e. God realm, Demi-God realm, Human realm, Animal realm, Hungry Ghost realm & Hell Being realm. The beings of these 6 realms are sentient beings in the samsara. 

Buddha is fully enlightened and hence out of samsara.  But God and the 5 other sentient beings are not yet enlightened and remain in samsara.

There are many Buddhas and Gods. Buddha can manifest as God, hence God may be an emanation of a Buddha. But God cannot manifest as Buddha because God is not Buddha yet.

Practitioners of other faiths believe God is the creator of everything in Universe.  However the Buddhists believe the creator of the Universe is our own mind.

Others believe their refuge is in the God.  Buddhists' refuge is in the Three Jewels.

All authentic religion if practised correctly will lead the practitioners to its intended goal.  Other religions bring their followers towards happiness of heaven etc.  But the Buddhists strive for the ultimate happiness of a fully enlightened Buddha.



hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2012, 04:44:36 AM »
All authentic religion if practised correctly will lead the practitioners to its intended goal.  Other religions bring their followers towards happiness of heaven etc.  But the Buddhists strive for the ultimate happiness of a fully enlightened Buddha.

I do think that all religions lead to the same excellence. In one life or in many lives.
A heaven created through the practices of love, compassion, generosity, patience, selflessness is not different according to the religion we belong to. Only the path is different.
Buddhism embraces all religions.

Heaven is not a place where we are born with a silver spoon in our mouth, I don't think so.
I think Heaven is an opportune environement to better ourselves and practice spirituality.

I beleive that by creating more and more conditions to better ourselves, we will access the teachings that will lead us to Buddhahood.

samayakeeper

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 398
    • Email
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2012, 08:57:55 AM »
Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?

I had discussed this subject with others who believe in the one god creator and some who say they are 'free thinkers.' I think it would be better to discuss this, if it was brought up in work or social parties or anytime, depending on the person(s) who asked. It would be gentler to opine rather than to debate because I am not out to convert people. If the person believes strongly in his/her faith, then I give my opinions maintaining that he/she has total freedom to express his/hers. To have a heated debate with neither side wanting to 'lose' means losing in the end. Unless I have studied Buddhism for 20 years, engage in debates logically and passed Buddhist philosophy with a degree, I rather give my views.


 

pgdharma

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2012, 03:39:06 PM »
All religion believes in God. In some religion, God is the Creator or the Supreme. In Buddhist context, we believe the six realms of existence which include the Demi God and God realm. However we do not view this God as the Creator or the Supreme as they are not out of samsara.

Whether one believes in God or Buddha is dependent on one's faith. Every religion has their own method and approach, but there are some similarity in the teachings. As long as one practices correctly then the intended goal can be achieved. The only difference is that for those who believes in God, their intended goal is to achieve happiness, but for Buddhists the intended goal is to achieve ultimate happiness and Enlightenment.

hope rainbow

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 947
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2012, 04:43:52 AM »
Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?

I had discussed this subject with others who believe in the one god creator and some who say they are 'free thinkers.' I think it would be better to discuss this, if it was brought up in work or social parties or anytime, depending on the person(s) who asked. It would be gentler to opine rather than to debate because I am not out to convert people. If the person believes strongly in his/her faith, then I give my opinions maintaining that he/she has total freedom to express his/hers. To have a heated debate with neither side wanting to 'lose' means losing in the end. Unless I have studied Buddhism for 20 years, engage in debates logically and passed Buddhist philosophy with a degree, I rather give my views.

Actually SK, I do agree with you.
Until we know two "systems" or "methods" to the core we are not qualified to "compare" them.
We certainly are not.

However, I also think it can be good to give a try at this exercise with the aim to get more knowledgeable and strengthen our faith in Buddhism (as Buddhists), or in Christianity as Christians (for example).
And I think this can be done without invalidating another religion.
It is not a spiritual practice to put down someone else's spiritual vehicle.

We cannot validate something by putting something else "down", this is not logical, we can only validate something by establishing the causes for the validation and become convinced of their truthfulness.

My conviction that apples are good for my health is not based on the facts that I am allergic to pears.

yontenjamyang

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 733
    • Email
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2012, 05:23:07 PM »
The Dalai Lama was quoted in an interview about God:

"Why did the Buddha not say anything about God? Because he talked about the law of causality. Once you accept the law of cause and effect, the implication is that there is no 'creator'. If the Buddha accepted the concept of a creator, he would not have been silent; everything would have been God! "

In the ame interview, he said:

"Talking of God, who created God? There is no point arguing. Dharmakeerti and Shantideva debate the existence of God and reach the conclusion that if we believe in a benevolent creator, how do we explain suffering?"

Just like to share this.

vajratruth

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 706
Re: Who is God? Why so many believe is God? How to explain God in Buddhism?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2012, 08:26:51 PM »
Discussions about God usually involves the theory of a Creator-God i.e. that God or a God created the earth and everything in it, including us human beings. It is a very inviting subject to debate and usually the debate becomes heated because there just isn't any empirical evidence that a God created life etc.

I cannot remember the exact quote of whether it was the Buddha himself who said this but I remember this analogy very well and it explained why the Buddha refused to be drawn into the Creator-God theory, either to affirm it or to refute it.

The analogy is this: debating whether there is a Creator-God or not and whether a God created us, is like being shot by a poisonous arrow and refusing treatment until we find out (i) who shot the arrow (ii) why did the person shoot me (iii) what wood is the arrow made of (iv) where is such a tree that produces the wood that made the arrow (vi) what the shooter of the arrow is tall or short and so on. You get the picture.

Buddhism is practical. We are in Samsara and we have poison coursing through our veins. Instead of wasting time asking questions which are after the fact, we should just get treatment quickly. I would also like Christians and people of other faiths who believe in a creator-God to consider this two questions:

(i) If you found out that God did not create you and still insists that you can go to heaven "through" him, does that change your faith? Would you abandon your faith if you were not created by God?

(ii) Is it more beneficial to ourselves and those around us to focus on what has passed i.e. where we came from or what is to come i.e. where we are heading?

I find Buddhism applicable and it is crucial that we are able to apply our beliefs and observe the fruits of applying what we believe, otherwise religion is merely a notion.