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Featured The Eternal Covenant of God: Does it exist within Hinduism and Buddhism?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Aug 14, 2019.

?
  1. It’s unique to the Abrahamic Faiths

    54.5%
  2. It’s universality is apparent within Dharmic Faiths

    27.3%
  3. It’s somewhat relevant to Dharmic Faiths but mostly Abrahamic

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. I don’t know

    4.5%
  5. This poll doesn’t reflect my understanding

    13.6%
  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The Eternal Covenant of God is an enormously important part of the Abrahamic Faiths whether it be Judaism, Christianity, Islam or the Baha’i Faith. At its heart is a binding agreement between God and man. God asks man to recognise His Great Spiritual Teachers and follow Their Teachings. In return God promises to protect and care for man and to bless Him. Various Covenants are recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures through Noah, Abraham, Moses and David. Similar narratives are at work through Christ, Muhammad, the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh. Conceptually the Covenants are well established and progress through each Revelation.

    However, Hinduism and Buddhism have developed parallel and usually seperate from their Abrahamic sister Faiths. Their narrative evolved over thousands of years is quite different. Yet Buddhism emerged from Hinduism as did Christianity from Judaism and the Baha’i Faith from Islam. Societal laws and those for spiritual development have successfully been put into practice and evolved over centuries or even Millenia. So in that sense there are clear parallels.

    How about the Eternal Covenant of God that is so well established in the Abrahamic Faiths? Are there parallels in Buddhism and Hinduism? Perhaps the traditions based on the Dharmic Faiths have diverged so far from Abrahamic Faiths the concept of an Eternal Covenant is rendered meaningless. Is the Eternal Covenant of God uniquely Abrahamic or is it more Universal and applicable to both Hinduism and Buddhism?

    Comments or questions as you will.
     
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  2. rocala

    rocala Active Member

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    Not in Buddhism. We do not do deals for favours, it is all our own work.
     
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  3. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Not in Hinduism either. Very different paradigms. Yesterday was the first day in my life I've heard of such a thing.
     
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  4. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    So you reap what you sow?
     
  5. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium सच्चितानन्द
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    There is no such concept in my flavor of Hinduism either. Nirguna Brahman has no qualities with which to ask, agree, protect, care, bless, etc.

    I am exclusively responsible for my dharma.
     
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  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Dualism versus monism here?
    1) God is separate, (Abrahamic view) so you need to make agreements, like contracts with other people.
    2) You are God in essence (dharmic) so if it's not separate, how can there be any contract. Even vow taking in Hinduism, is really a vow just to yourself.
     
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  7. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am an advaitist Hindu and a strong atheist. Hinduism is a pagan religion.
    IMHO, there is only one book in Hinduism which talks of 'covenant' with God - BhagawadGita. Otherwise we (the four 'dharmic religions) have a 'covenant' with 'dharma' (duties and righteous action).
     
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  8. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    No, for two reasons I can think of off the top of my head:
    1. In Hinduism there is no central authority or dogma that governs beliefs and behavior.
    2. God, in any of His or Her forms doesn't give laws or commandments. There is nothing we are required by divine law to do. So there is nothing to adhere to or be punished for.
    People speak of the "authority of the Vedas", but the Vedas are not law books, neither is the Bhagavad Gita. Given that I understand "authority" to mean genuineness, validity, having truth, of not-human origin. They are referred to as apauruṣeyā, (lit. "not of a man", i.e. not written by humans).

    So, no covenants or agreements I can think of. :shrug:
     
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  9. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Even then, if you're thinking the same as I am, it's a promise from Krishna, but there's no retribution if it's not followed.

    "And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt." 8.5

    "Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend." 18.65
     
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  10. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Yeah, pretty much. Karma. But Karma, as I rail and drone on about, because people use the word karma too fast and loose, is not "paybacks are a *****", or divine justice, retribution, crime and punishment, "let karma do its work on him/her". Those poachers in Africa, for example, being eaten by lions wasn't necessarily a karmic reaction for killing the lions. Funny, yes; karma, I don't think so. The gods certainly wouldn't do something so violent, no matter what the "crime".
     
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  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am an advaitist Hindu and a strong atheist. Hinduism is a pagan religion.
    Hindu philosophers have defined 'apourusheya' (not of man) variously. The great grammarian Panini said "apourusheya' means that the words change but the ideas are eternal, not that any God needs to have spoken them.
    You are correct, because Krishna says even if you are worshiping any other God, then also the benefits are given by him only. No retribution, no punishment till the third or the fourth generation. No anger that you are worshiping some other God and you need to be beheaded.

    "Yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥ, śraddhayā arcitum icchati;
    tasya tasyā acalāṁ śraddhāṁ, tām eva vidadhāmy aham." BG 7.21


    As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity.

    "Sa tayā śraddhayā yuktah, asya arādhanam īhate;
    labhate ca tataḥ kāmān, maya iva vihitān hi tān." BG 7.22


    Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone.
     
    #11 Aupmanyav, Aug 14, 2019
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  12. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    I did not know that! :)
     
  13. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    In my path there is a Covenant of God.
    Surrender all your thoughts, words and deeds to me, and I will take care of you.
    And a few others also
     
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  14. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    If you take God out of the equation, the Kalama Sutta can somewhat parallel as a guide--reject teachings that preach greed, hatred and delusion as leading towards long-term harm, and accept teachings that lead to a lack of greed, hatred, or delusion as leading to long-term benefit.
     
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  15. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    The language of "covenants" is a product of the Hebrew peoples being situated in the context of empires, with their suzerain and his subordinate vassal kings. They would bind themselves to him through sacred covenants sworn before multiple mutual Gods with divinely sanctioned curses for infidelity and blessings for fidelity. This originated with the Hittite culture. This became a metaphoric model to describe the relationship between God and humanity at large, and God and Israel in a sharper focus, as his "chosen people".

    The specific tone and lists of blessings and cursing changes in the Biblical tradition reflecting the tone of the surrounding empire at the time. The original Hittite model of covenant was full of blessings and hopeful promises, with few cursings for lapses. Later under the Assyrian empire, with the Deuteronomic tradition came down from northern Israel out of this direct exposure to their ruthlessness with their God Ashur, Yahweh's covenants from them now reflect the Assyrian style of brutality with heavy sanctions and few blessings. God becomes very fierce and vengeful.

    This is a shift you see within the Pentateuch. In both cases, it is against the cultural backdrop of these ruling style empires that serves as how people related to God, and envisioned how that God would relate to them, like their suzerain and them as a vassal kingdom to their God.

    Now, how does this fit in with the Dharmic religions? It really doesn't. They didn't evolve such a way of modeling their relationship to God as the great king and vassal kingdoms. That was not their language, or their metaphor for basing their societies in some form of theocratic system as it was for those Near East empire ruled systems with binding covenentants with vassal kings.

    The important takeaway here, is to realize that "covenant" is not something literal from God. It is simply a language, which actually barely makes any sense outside of a Near Eastern based theocratic system. It doesn't even make a good metaphor in modern times, since we live in entirely different sorts of systems of government and rules of power.

    I had always struggled with the concept of covenant or kingship as a way of looking at God. It's the superimposition of a metaphor that doesn't really resonate beyond a culture where it originally would have. It doesn't really translate meaning in a meaningful, spiritual way. And that would in fact be why. Unless you knew what it was to live in a vassal kingdom as part of your daily reality, such a metaphor is too abstracted from daily reality to convey meaning.

    To try to find any possible parallels, you have to first strip away "covenant" and its original cultural contexts away, and try to understand underneath that metaphoric language of suzerain and vassal king relationships. What was it really trying to impart about the relationship between the Divine and the human realities, something which might express itself in other metaphors, other than "covenant"?

    To try to get behind "covenant" at an existential level, I would suggest it has to do, originally, beginning in the priestly or more mystically oriented tradition with the realization of the blessings of following a spiritual life, and the human consequences for taking the path of death and destruction, selfishness and greed, and so forth. Those would in fact be basically the doctrine of Karma at its essence. Do good, reap the rewards from the Divine which is Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. Do bad and reap the consequences of "sin" or not following Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.

    That's basically it in a nutshell, I would think just now off the top of my head. But I suspect there is quite a lot more basic human truth at the bottom of that convent metaphor.

    BTW, as noted before once that priestly covenant metaphor got adopted by culture at large, then it becomes more influenced and representative of actual human social concerns, where violence and force is more prevalent. God's covenants then shift from "follow God and be blessed", to "Do it or else you'll be destroyed by God's anger!". That is a clear shift in tone, and a different application of the same metaphor.

    If you understand covenant to mean follow the Way of God, then you'd find that in Taoism, with the "Eternal Tao", or the Way. You'd find that in any basic religion that holds the the Ultimate Reality is Absolute Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, The Hindu term Satchitananda, "being, consciousness, bliss" echos that vision of the Divine Reality.

    So all religions have somewhere at its core the recognition of the Absolute as Ultimate Goodness, or Perfection, and that to follow that as a pathway in life results in blessings and healthier and happier existence, free from suffering and illusions. That's the "covenant" right there. "Do this, receive the blessings. Don't do this, and reap the results of following the ways of the world." It's eternal, because this is the way of the Absolute. Everyone just uses different language to talk about it. The Hebrews chose "covenant". It made sense given their cultural backdrop. It was, and still is, a metaphor.
     
    #15 Windwalker, Aug 14, 2019
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  16. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Yeah, Buddhism really is not connected to the herdsman philosophy at all.
     
    #16 crossfire, Aug 14, 2019
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  17. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    Except the heart pumping the blood around etc.
     
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  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am an advaitist Hindu and a strong atheist. Hinduism is a pagan religion.
    'Kalama Sutta' is the original 'Ockham's Razor' and it has guided me in life, kept me away from all superstitions.
     
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  19. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    It sounds similar to the God of Abraham who is an unknowable essence transcendent above all human virtue.

    I’m not sure what you mean by that or if it’s even possible.
     
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  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    So none of the gods in Hinduism requires anything from humans? It sounds deist. On the surface it would appear the complete opposite of the God of Abraham. Viewed from a more mystic lens probably not so different. What god(s) are important to you if you don’t mind me asking?
     
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