Modern Buddhism leaves a lot of room for personal beliefs, meaning that an individual can believe in god while still being a Buddhist. You aren’t any better than me except to the extent that you serve me and others better than I do. Answer Save. Many people, not familiar with Buddhist thought, assume that the label of “religion” means Buddhists must believe in some type of God. Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that focuses on following the teachings of the Buddha and bodhisattvas to become free from suffering. Of course, devotion requires an object. Relevance. Merely "believing in" enlightenment and nirvana is pointless. Tibetan Buddhism also has … Tibetan Buddhism teaches that through the systematic practice of its timeless methods, one's mind can be transformed into its highest potential of wisdom and compassion. A similar form of functional … The Buddha has condemned godlessness by which He meant the denial of worship and renunciation, the denial of moral and social obligations, and the denial of a religious life. There are three additional issues, however, which complicate the relationship between Buddhism and theism even further. Serving is leadership. Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. Many of us think of Buddhism as a practice-based psychology rather than a belief-based religion. According to the Buddhist teachings, we are all … Baha'i Forums. In other words, God is unnecessary in Buddhism, as this is a practical religion and philosophy that emphasizes practical results over faith in beliefs or deities. Yes, Buddhism is a religion. But Buddhism is non-theistic. Buddhists, like Siddhārtha before them, seek to reach nirvana: the state beyond all suffering. What did they mean? Buddhism is non-theistic. As compared to Islam, Judaism or Christianity, Buddhism does not have a God who created this world. The “deity” of Mahayana Buddhism is not a personal being but an impersonal, all-encompassing force. If Buddha was not a god, why bow to Buddha-figures? One doctrine agreed upon by all branches of modern Buddhism is that “this world is not created and ruled by a God.” {1} The Buddha himself rejected metaphysical speculation as a matter of principle, and his teachings focused entirely on the practical ways to end suffering. Buddhism is a non-theistic tradition. We only believe in things that we can find to be true. But Buddhism goes beyond most of these other religions in that it is positively anti-theistic because the very notion of God conflicts with some principles which are … I was raised a fundamentalist Pentecostal and then became Catholic in college. In saying that the ideas of god that Hinduism retains are essentially metaphors for different energies and states of being, is it right to call it theistic if they didn't believe in corporeal beings such as an elephant god or gods with multiple hands but rather in them being representative. For this reason, the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate devotional and reverential habits of mind. What "exists"? Rather than the founder of a new religion, Siddhartha Gautama was the founder and leader of a sect of wanderer ascetics (Sramanas), one of many sects that existed at that time all over India. Whether the doctrine is factual or not is not the point. The Buddha taught that the biggest barrier to realization is the notion that "I" am a permanent, integral, autonomous entity. Rather, Buddhism affirms many forms of spirituality and belief in gods as means to elevate and improve worldly life. Jul 2011 1,747 n ireland Sep 29, 2015 #1 I'm confused about this and have not found a definitive answer . So, we get to the question Is Buddhism Polytheistic Or Monotheistic? It's not just belief in gods that are irrelevant to Buddhism. For this reason, Buddhism is more accurately called nontheistic rather than atheistic. The many mythological creatures and beings that populate Mahayana Buddhism art and literature are often called "gods" or "deities." Whether or not it can be termed a religion is debatable—the etymology of the word ‘religion’ refers to God. Any doctrine or practice that enables realization is an upaya. It might be shocking fro some of you. Understanding the non-theistic nature of Buddhism When we talk about Buddhism, it is neither polytheistic nor monotheistic. After a very long, and perhaps still ongoing, battle with matters of faith, I feel that the teachings and practices are the most in line with how I feel I should be. For more discussion of this kind of devotion, see the essay "Devotion in Buddhism" by Nyanaponika Thera. The Buddha also plainly said that he was not a god, but was simply "awakened" to ultimate reality. Same goes for kami. Buddhism is Not a Theistic Religion . Buddhism is Non-theistic. Atheism is associated with a materialistic doctrine that knows nothing higher than this world. Further, these religions meet the 3rd and 4th criteria that give a system power to legitimize political orders and change history. I’ve always tried to explain it that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, but definitely not atheistic. Where do you find the self? However, it is not a theistic … Thus, that is what defines religion for philosophy. In most schools of Buddhism, it is understood that enlightenment and nirvana cannot be conceptualized or explained with words. Rather, the historical Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Are these corruptions of the Buddha's teachings? Anonymous. Yet, throughout Asia, it is common to find people praying to the Buddha or to the many clearly mythical figures that populate Buddhist iconography. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. And, Buddhism is beyond religion. They may even grant favors, protection, etc. But what about the "naïve, petitionary, and superstitious" trappings that Harris spoke of? Buddhism would not be considered a religion under this definition, because it is basically non-theistic: it does not generally involve worship of a supernatural entity. Buddhism rejects a sense of self and Hinduism retains it. Working with those questions is not a corruption of Buddhism; it is Buddhism. This sect came to be known as Sangha to distinguish it from other similar communities. Buddhism is not about either believing or not believing in God or gods. To what is the Buddhist devoted? But Buddhism goes beyond most of these other religions in that it is positively anti-theistic because the very notion of God conflicts with some principles which are … God. But in Buddhism, merely believing in doctrines is beside the point. Some in the West dismiss these devotional and worshipful aspects of Buddhism as corruptions of the original teachings of the Buddha. If atheism is the absence of belief in a God or gods, then many Buddhists are, indeed, atheists. As Buddhism continues to take hold in the West, many are finding a sense of compatibility between their Western/Theistic beliefs and practices and those of Buddhism … Barbara O'Brien is a Zen Buddhist practitioner who studied at Zen Mountain Monastery. The Ultimate Goal of Buddhism Is Reaching Nirvana. Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. Furthermore, it is a system of faith and worship. This religion is based on … Hence, it represents up … For instance, like Buddhism, Communism is a religion based on natural laws, a non-theistic … Now there are other questions, that you might think of. To lead is to serve. But Buddhism do not really specifically say there is an existence of an intelligence singular being that created everything and manipulated accordingly. Another, called Yogachara, teaches that things exist only as processes of knowing and have no intrinsic reality. As a religion, Buddhism is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. That is to say, they do not believe in the existence of a supreme being. But in the end, for our practice, I maintain the question of God is not important. Soon the idea of past and future Buddhas developed, with Maitreya, the Buddha y… To lead is to serve. Buddhism is commonly distinguished on doctrinal grounds from monotheistic and polytheistic religions by the fact that it refutes the existence of a divine Creator, and indeed there is ample textual evidence in early Buddhist, Mahayana, and Vajrayana treatises to support this claim.' Indeed most Asian religions (with the possible exception of some extremely devotional forms of Hinduism) are essentially non-theistic, in that God does not occupy the central place that is accorded to him in monotheistic religious traditions. Do Buddhists believe these creatures exist? What's "fantasy"? One might say that in Buddhism, the big question is not whether gods exist, but what is the nature of existence? Even I was shocked when I first read about the core beliefs of Buddhism. Some medieval Christian mystics, such as the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, argued that it is incorrect to say that God exists because existence amounts to taking a particular form within a space of time. Shortly after the Buddha's death, a devotional element formed within Buddhism. When you bow, you are bowing to yourself." Anonymous. While Buddhism is a tradition focused on spiritual liberation, it is not a theistic religion. Some schools of Buddhism are deeply devotional. There’s the opposite nihilistic extreme — those who have studied a little about Buddhism — and assume that the Dharma of Buddha is atheistic or non-theistic. For this reason, Buddhism is more accurately called nontheistic rather than atheistic. Deity yoga is a practice within the Tibetan Vajrayāna edited 9 years ago Buddhism doesn't have a God, rather it has a broad and complex pantheon of gods. Buddhism is unique amongst the religions of the world because it does not have any place for God in its soteriology. On the other hand, the Buddha did not explicitly rule out the existence of a God or gods. Some theistic beliefs could contradict with Buddhist views. Is buddhism theistic or nontheistic? The translation of Bodhisattva into English is God and into Arabic is Allah The God is the creator and you are the creator of your present dream. However, God is. We only believe in things that we can find to be true. It is by seeing through the delusion of ego that realization blooms. Opportunities and Challenges in Teaching Big History, Beyond Intelligent Design: Evolution and Culture Wars. Many of us think of Buddhism as a practice-based psychology rather than a belief-based religion. Taking Buddhism at face value as a system of ethical precepts, a philosophy of life, and a set of meditative practices, many Christians and Jews have found it quite possible to affirm major aspects of Buddhism without abandoning their own faith. Devotion is an upaya for breaking the bonds of ego. Most religions are defined by their beliefs. it can be both. Interfaith. It was and still is fascinating for me. Trungpa Rinpoche always described Buddhism as “non-theistic.” We aren’t a-theistic, he’d say—we don’t not believe in God, or gods. These religions are both universal and missionary. In Mahayana Buddhism, which is the dominant form of Buddhism in China, Tibet, Nepal, Japan and Korea, all phenomena are empty of intrinsic existence. For instance, like Buddhism, Communism is a religion based on natural laws, a non-theistic religion. The Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. It is quite clear that Buddhism has no concept of a creator. How do you understand it? It literally means, “to blow out,” or “to quench.” Nirvana ends the cycle of samsara, the cycle of death and r… Some branches allow for elements of theism (belief in deities) but this is often considered to be optional. All Mythological Creatures, Great and Small, Buddhism: 11 Common Misunderstandings and Mistakes, The Buddhist Teachings of Self and No-Self, Nirvana and The Concept of Freedom in Buddhism. These religions are both universal and missionary. Although the majority of Buddhists are atheist, some believe in one God and others believe in multiple gods. Serving is leadership. Buddhism “rejects the theological impulse,” the philosopher Owen Flanagan declares approvingly in The Problem of the Soul. That said, if God or gods show up, we’ll be happy to believe. Nontheistic religions are traditions of thought within a religious context—some otherwise aligned with theism, others not—in which nontheism informs religious beliefs or practices. It can be either, depending on the person. Is there Theistic Buddhism? Buddhism is non-theistic, which holds that everything in this world is the result of the combination of causes and conditions, not created by an eternal being as the Creator. In Buddhism, the devas are also trapped in the cycle of rebirth and are not necessarily virtuous. Western Buddhists are the foremost promulgators of the idea that Buddhism is non-theistic. Yet, throughout Asia, it is common to find people praying to the Buddha or to the many clearly mythical figures that populate Buddhist iconography. In addition, about an estimated 488 million in the world practice Buddhism. There are three additional issues, however, which complicate the relationship between Buddhism and theism even further. The Buddha himself rejected metaphysical speculation as a matter of principle, and his teachings focused entirely on the practical ways to end suffering. Buddhism is unique amongst the religions of the world because it does not have any place for God in its soteriology. More so, Buddhism has sacred texts, temples, leaders, teachers. So, why does a Buddhist practice? Buddhism, a non-theistic religion, is often described as a "mind-science." Buddhism is a non-theistic system. There are a few non-theistic or semi-theistic religions to consider as well. In Buddhism, all doctrines are provisional and are judged by their skillfulness. It doesn't seem right to call that non-theistic to me, but it depends how you decide to define the term. Excellent post! God. Buddhism is non-theistic. Buddhism has many gods and set standards and ways of life. For example, if you believe that God is only savior, that is contradiction of belief in karma.Or, if you believe that God judges your experience, that contradicts with karma again. The Buddha said that doctrines should not be accepted just because they are in scripture or taught by priests. I have addressed the question of whether Buddhism is a philosophy or a religion elsewhere, arguing that it is both philosophy and religion, and that the whole "philosophy versus religion" argument is unnecessary. Western Buddhists are the foremost promulgators of the idea that Buddhism is non-theistic. Theism, the view that all limited or finite things are dependent in some way on one supreme or ultimate reality of which one may also speak in personal terms.In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, this ultimate reality is often called God.This article explores approaches to theism in Western theology and philosophy.. Theistic views of God. Let me explain my understanding. It's not essential as far as the basic dharma goes (or 4 noble truths and the eightfold path). But Buddhism is non-theistic. Like … Each individual is ultimately responsible for his own present and future happiness. Tibetan Buddhism is one example of a theistic Buddhism, while Theravada Buddhism is not exclusive. Buddhism is commonly distinguished on doctrinal grounds from monotheistic and polytheistic religions by the fact that it refutes the existence of a divine Creator, and indeed there is ample textual evidence in early Buddhist, Mahayana, and Vajrayana treatises to support this claim.' Most of the time, it's more accurate for Westerners to think of the iconographic devas and bodhisattvas as archetypes rather than as supernatural beings. Stupas were built to contain relics of the Buddha and pilgrimages were made to places where he had walked. The Buddha also plainly said that he was not a god, but was simply "awakened" to ultimate reality.

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