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

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Dawnofhope, 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. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    There is an exception.
    Muhammad also said something like the above:
    Arabic[​IMG] وَيُطْعِمُونَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِينًا وَيَتِيمًا وَأَسِيرًا [​IMG]
    Transliteration[​IMG] WayutAAimona alttaAAama AAala hubbihi miskeenan wayateeman waaseeran
    [The Monotheist Group] (2011 Edition)[​IMG] And they give food out of love to the poor and the orphan and the captive.
    al-Insan 76:8

    Regards
     
  2. Kartari

    Kartari Active Member

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    Hi Adrian,

    You're very welcome. Japanese religious history is an extremely interesting study that I've had the fortune to undertake. It actually gets more complicated and nuanced than a story of simple harmony between the two, but there certainly was quite a bit of co-mingling and sharing of ideas between Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan since the latter's import from Korea and China.

    I'm basically a non-theistic atheist myself as far as gods go, though I'm so disinterested in theism that I simply identify as Buddhist, LOL. I've been a theist in the past, and have respect for whatever anyone wants to believe about a god or gods (as long as they don't harm others).

    I have not studied Baha'i a lot yet, but Baha'i was not the first theistic religion to elect to view the Buddha as either a deity or godlike in some way. Hinduism did that much earlier. I found it interesting to learn that one of the reasons why Buddhism disappeared from the land of its origins was because Hinduism basically integrated and absorbed Buddhist teachings into its own, and thereby attracted many Buddhists into the Hindu fold. As a history instructor of mine once put it, the Bhagavad Gita was in part a response to the rise of Buddhism: a response which basically said, "Yeah, you Buddhists have a great thing going here, but that's really a part of Hinduism you know." :)

    In fact, some within the Buddhist fold deified the Buddha even earlier. That's another story, but check out this journal article if interested on the influence of Hellenism on Buddhism as it spread to central Asia in the aftermath of Alexander the Great's conquests. This was the first time the Buddha had been deified, though he was regarded as a particularly wise human being for centuries before that. Ghandaran art is particularly interesting IMO; I'll never forget one sculpture I saw in a museum once that depicted Heracles (aka Hercules) meditating with the Buddha!
     
    #162 Kartari, Jun 7, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
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  3. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    "one of the reasons why Buddhism disappeared from the land of its origins"

    I understand that at the time of Buddha, Hinduism were Atheistic while Buddha was against it, After Buddha's death slowly his followers were influenced from the Atheistic-Hinduism and sort of integrated into it, and that's why Buddha is thought to be Atheistic/Agnostics. Is it so, please?

    Regards

    _____________
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/buddhism-origin-spread-decline_b_939679
     
    #163 paarsurrey, Jun 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  4. Kartari

    Kartari Active Member

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    Hi paarsurrey,

    Sorry, I just spotted your response.

    Though a small handful did gravitate towards atheism, it's not at all the case that Hinduism became atheistic at any point in time, including the time of the Buddha. Nor was the Buddha against atheism; nor was he for it either, for that matter. Nor was this a reason why Buddhists might be thought to be atheists; I think rather that Buddhism may be regarded as non-theistic, which is something different.

    The Buddha lived and taught at a time in Indian history when there was much spiritual and political upheaval. Hinduism experienced a low-point in the 6th century BCE. As nations collapsed and reformed, Indian society and culture were thrown for a loop, and the people were losing faith in the old rituals and practices. In the midst of the chaos, the time was ripe for new ideas to manifest and flourish. Buddhism and Jainism were perhaps the most successful new systems of belief to emerge from this period. But they were not the only new belief systems and philosophies to come about. A man named Charvaka did actually teach philosophical materialism and atheism at this time. But it's not the case that he brought atheism to Hinduism; rather, he and his followers abandoned Hinduism. Charvaka also did not attract a particularly large audience. Hinduism is a religion which contains a great diversity of beliefs and practices within its fold, though. Offhand, I do believe there are a few sects within the broader religion that are either non-theistic or possibly atheistic (do not quote me on that; I would instead defer to a practitioner who knows better than me). But in general, Hinduism has never broadly been regarded as atheistic at any time.

    As I have explained in a previous post, Buddhism is regarded as non-theistic because the Buddha's own teachings were entirely unconcerned with any or all gods. The Buddha never took a stand on the existence or non-existence of any god or gods. Understand that non-theism is not the same as atheism; according to the Collins English Dictionary, a non-theist is, "a person who rejects as unimportant both theism and atheism." There's a large contingent of Buddhists today who are atheists, and there are also many theistic Buddhists; the truth is that it really does not matter in Buddhism whether you believe in a god or gods or not. You can be a Buddhist either way, it's not an important point.

    Peace.
     
  5. SugarOcean

    SugarOcean ¡pɹᴉǝM ʎɐʇS

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    If one reviews the Tripitaka they may find that Gautama was what some call an ironic atheist. Though he referred often enough to multiple god's in his teachings, writings, he denied the existence of a creator god.

    [​IMG]
     
    #165 SugarOcean, Jun 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  6. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
    Premium Member

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    The Lankavatra Sutra is very concise; unlike some of the other Sutras, and calls the Source the Universal Mind.

    People just like to be oppositional; which isn't discernment (Buddhist).

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
    #166 wizanda, Jun 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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