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Featured To what extent was Gautama Buddha a theist or an atheist?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Jun 3, 2019.

?
  1. Yes

    36.0%
  2. No

    28.0%
  3. Perhaps

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. We can't possibly know

    8.0%
  5. I don't know

    4.0%
  6. This poll doesn't reflect my thinking

    24.0%
  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I don’t believe the Buddha was an atheist but I’m aware many Buddhists, particularly those from a Western background do. If Buddha was a theist why did He have so little to say about theism?

    Buddhist Teachings emerged within Hinduism about 2 1/2 thousand years ago. The religions of the Indian subcontinent were not called Hinduism back then. Could it be that faiths on the Indian subcontinent were struggling to enable their followers to achieve enlightenment and had become overly concerned with obscure metaphysical discussions and concerns that had no practical benefit? Buddha instead taught the futility of such preoccupations and emphasised a path of practical living. The parable of the poisoned arrow depicts this well.

    Parable of the Poisoned Arrow - Wikipedia

    So on the matter of God or gods was Buddha undeclared?

    The unanswered questions - Wikipedia

    If not, what did He do or say that provided an answer to the existence or non-existence of God or gods?

    I'm not a Buddhist but I have strong family connections with Buddhism. The question of Buddha and theism is an intriguing one. I'm interested to hear from Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike and have posted in the religious debates thread to enable open discussion. As I am a student in this area, I may or may not have much to say.
     
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  2. Amanaki

    Amanaki Well-Known Member

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    Buddha's teachings contain talks about Devas but not about create Gods. But there are realms of Devas and brahmans.
     
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  3. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    I don’t pretend to know anything about Buddha apart from the stories and sayings that have been recorded. In one of those stories I see that he rejects worship of imagined gods, but he also rejects the argument that there is no maker.
     
  4. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    https://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/btg/btg24.htm
     
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  5. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    I haven’t figured out if the Buddha was a historical person or not.

    If the Buddha wasn’t historical it is pointless trying to determine if He was theist.
     
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  6. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Based on what I have heard and read , Buddha was completely silent on the issue. I don't think there would be a better answer than that. Emptiness.
     
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  7. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I am not a scholar of history but it would seem there is general support for the historicity of Gautama Buddha.

    Scholars are hesitant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life. Most people accept that the Buddha lived, taught, and founded a monastic order during the Mahajanapada era during the reign of Bimbisara (c. 558 – c. 491 BCE, or c. 400 BCE), the ruler of the Magadha empire, and died during the early years of the reign of Ajatasatru, who was the successor of Bimbisara, thus making him a younger contemporary of Mahavira, the Jain tirthankara. While the general sequence of "birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death" is widely accepted, there is less consensus on the veracity of many details contained in traditional biographies.

    Gautama Buddha - Wikipedia

    I have asked a question about the authenticity of Buddhist scriptures recently.

    How Authentic are Buddhist Scriptures?

    Although I believe we can not possibly know the answer to this question, I personally feel the next step for me is to make the best use of the writings that have been attributed to Buddha and His early followers. It is worthwhile to consider a question, even if it turns out we can't possibly know the answer. That in itself is an answer and just as satisfying as if there were a definitive answer.
     
  8. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    It would not have mattered either way as the original man or myth is no longer approachable.
     
  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The Buddha being silent is my understanding too, but are silence and emptiness synonymous?
     
  10. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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  11. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Which of the writings attributed to Buddha or is followers would best reflect this discussion about Devas and brahmans?
     
  12. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    The value for me in religious stories has no more to do with their historicity than the value of Aesop's fables, “Lord of the Rings,” or “Charlotte’s Web.” My only interest in this question is in what Buddha says in the stories about him.
     
    #12 Jim, Jun 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  13. Amanaki

    Amanaki Well-Known Member

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    The Buddha teaches deities when they visit the human plane where he normally resides,[5] and sometimes too by visiting them on the higher planes. On some occasions devas and brahmas come to the Buddha for clarification of Dhamma problems. On other occasions the Buddha becomes aware, through his supernormal knowledge, that a god needs some instruction to correct a wrong view or to goad him further on the path to awakening. Then the Buddha travels to the higher plane and gives the deity a personal discourse.

    Once a brahman admirer of the Buddha recounted as best as he could evidence of the greatness of the Buddha. He was trying to convince other brahmans to meet the Buddha. His proof included the fact that "many thousands of deities have gone for refuge for life to the recluse Gotama" (MN 95.9). Devas, like humans, develop faith in the Buddha by practicing his teachings. In Chapter III we will see how grateful devas express this confidence. When devas come to visit the Buddha late at night, their luminous bodies light up the monastery as they pay respects to the Exalted One and ask their questions.

    We will start with a god who was agitated by fear arisen from his sensual desire, and conclude with one who becomes a stream-enterer during his conversation with the Buddha.
     
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  14. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I think so. Primarily along the lines that you notice silence because it's gets broken from time to time. It has duration and dissipation. Much like all thoughts and views. Even theism and atheism. I associated this with the Heart Sutra and while contemplating the koan concerning original face .
     
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  15. Samana Johann

    Samana Johann Restricted by request

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    The Sublime Buddha was in any case no what ever -ist. He is called unexceled teacher of "Gods" and humans, was asked to teach the Damma by Sakka, the King of Gods, Devas. Taught the way to reunion which all levels of Gods and beyond. High respected from Devas and deities.

    He often met up with "the creator God(s)" and also talked about him, them, Upasaka Amanaki.

    This question is actually raised just for entertainment or... no, my person can not, does not like to think... deliberated clothing off ones senses.

    The Sublime Buddha, as well as his good disciples have/had always best relation with Gods and Deities and the base of any right view is to Venerate, Serve and respect more Sublime and those who have given particular realm of ones existence.Rejecting Gods would be like rejecting Moderators, Admins and founders of this fine material realm here. Jet whether the founder might think "I am the almighty creator..." that's up to him, as well as his fellow crowd. Also they could deny him.

    Actually the Buddha im self, on this level, was a creator God:

    But one who does not desire to bind, but teaches, gives way for release from relations with his Dhamma.

    Devas, Gods, had been on his side all his way, and not seldom he visited them because also Devas and Gods are certain bound, have a hard to leave their horizons...
     
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  16. Samana Johann

    Samana Johann Restricted by request

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    Googlefree (as this God, like Mara, serves just your desires that he knows well), householder Daniel: The Buddha: A sketch of the Buddha's life, based on excerpts from the suttas.
     
  17. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Does not apply. Read the Four Solaces at verse 17 of the Kalama Sutta.
     
  18. Samana Johann

    Samana Johann Restricted by request

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    To "crossfire" here: and Lost in Quotation as well A Look at the Kalama Sutta in addition...

    "Some popular contemporary teachings claim that the Buddha advocates putting one's trust solely in what one can know and experience directly for oneself. In fact, when we take into careful consideration the context of this sutta, it becomes clear that this interpretation altogether misses a much more important point...."​
     
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  19. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    One can be atheist and theist simultaneously. Atheist to one version of 'God' yet theist to another version. Not all 'God' concepts are equal.
     
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  20. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Venerable Samana Johann:
    • Sentient beings posses a subjective mind. This is what makes them sentient.
    • The fact that one possesses a subjective mind makes one vulnerable to delusion. (Delusion being the confusing of subjectively derived content for objectively derived content.)
    • Therefore, all sentient beings are vulnerable to delusion. This flies in the face of modern theism suggesting that there is an all knowing, all powerful, ever-present sentient being that is not vulnerable to delusion.
    • All sentient beings are capable of awakening to the realization that they are vulnerable to delusion, and can take steps of overcome that delusion.
    • Therefore, all sentient beings are worthy of compassion. Hence, Buddha is known as "teacher of the gods."
     
    #20 crossfire, Jun 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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