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Are Buddhists Atheists?

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by vajradhara, Jul 24, 2003.

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  1. vajradhara

    vajradhara Diamond Thunderbolt of Indestructable Wisdom

    +434
    Buddhist
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    Namaste all,

    i've seen some discussion across the various threads offering various opinions regarding this topic and i thought that, perhaps, a few of you might be interested to know what the Buddhist position actually is.

    Buddhists are not atheists. we believe that there are, in fact, gods. in the Sutras the Buddha teaches both gods and men the Dharma, so it's incorrect to say that Buddhists don't believe in gods.

    it is quite correct, however, to say that Buddhists don't worship a god nor do they hold to a concept of creationism as generaly held by the monotheistic traditions.

    the Buddhist view of such things is one that most monotheists have trouble coming to terms with, and that's perfectly ok, for we don't insist that only our view is correct. Buddhist respect and encourage people to explore the various faith traditions and find the one that is appropriate for them. in our tradition, it is said that the Buddha opened 84,000 doors to the Dharma to account for the varying dispositions and abilities of the myriad sentient beings.
     
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  2. ObbiQuiet

    ObbiQuiet Eating Heart

    +144
    Atheist
    Single
    US-Others
    I believe it is totally possible to be atheist and to be buddhist.
     
  3. ByGrace

    ByGrace Well-Known Member

    +33
    Christian
    Call it what you will but buddhism is not Christianity and Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. Please understand that and know that following the thoeries of man is not going to do anything for you. You must accept Gods plan or face the seperation that will come. Buddhism- atheist or not? Doesnt matter as all that are not in Christ will suffer the same as the next. Please dont allow that to be you.
     
  4. Oholiab

    Oholiab New Member

    22
    +1
    What you will find when looking at Buddism is that God Himself is not an issue. There are a lot of simularities to Christianity in that Buddism is a reform of Hinduism just as Protestant theology was a reform of Catholicism.Siddhartha Gottoma was making the claim that anyone could be enlightened which was contrary to Hinduisms caste system. There is also an appealling simularity to the Christian philosophy of Theodicy and original sin being egocentic and thats about it. To ask the question of whether or not the Buddist is going to Hell is a question that is frankly, forbidden in Scripture. "But the righteousness that is by faith says: 'Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven (that is to bring Christ down.' or 'Whow will descend into the deep?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).' But what does it say? 'The word is in your mouth and in your heart' that is the faith we are proclaiming." (Romans 10:6-8)

    The primary tenants of Buddism are as follows:

    The four Nobel Truths:
    a. That suffering exists and realizing this is key
    b. That healing is possible from the inside out
    c. That the source of suffering is our ego centered desire
    d. That healing can be accomplished by following the eight-fold
    path

    The Eight-fold Path consists of a right:
    1. View of Reality
    2. Thought (reflective)
    3. Speech (try listening)
    4. Action (physical)
    5. Vocation (not harmful)
    6. Diligence (deliberate effort)
    7. Mindfulness (focus)
    8. Concentration

    If the question is whether or not the Buddist is bound for Hell I cannot speak to that. If the question is: Is a Buddist an atheist? That would depend on the Buddist wouldnt it? You can be a Buddist and be an atheist or not. There is no qualification that Im aware of that they be atheists.
     
  5. vajradhara

    vajradhara Diamond Thunderbolt of Indestructable Wisdom

    +434
    Buddhist
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    er.... well... thank you for your post... but it's completely off the topic.

    the topic is "are Buddhists atheists" not "do Buddhists believe in Christianity". as you may well imagine, atheism is not confined to simply not believing in the Christian God... and that is what the post was going to.

    gassho.
     
  6. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

    +276
    Christian
    That's strange. There have been a lot of buddhists that came here to CF and said that buddhists ARE atheists because they don't strictly believe in a deity, they believe that the spiritual nature of the entire universe is one, and that one is not God or gods as we understand them.

    Are you saying those buddhists were wrong?
     
  7. vajradhara

    vajradhara Diamond Thunderbolt of Indestructable Wisdom

    +434
    Buddhist
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    Namaste Oholiab,

    thank you for the post.

    you are correct, there is no qualification for a Buddhist to be an atheist or not. generally speaking it doesn't really matter much in the day to day practice. however, it is pointed out in Scripture, in many locations that the Buddha taught gods and men... on more than one occassion. so on that basis we can conclude that Buddhism, as a lingua franca, does not espouse atheism in any form.

    though you should be very careful to post too much information on buddhism or you will violate one of the rules of this site.
     
  8. TWells

    TWells Active Member

    510
    +15
    Other Religion
    Ive been pretty suprised recently at the amount of young atheist Buddhists popping up on various message boards that I post on. My best friend being a Buddhist and having many other friends that are Buddhist i've been even more suprised that these people seem to believe Buddhism is exclusively atheistic as its not a belief ive come across associated with it.
     
  9. vajradhara

    vajradhara Diamond Thunderbolt of Indestructable Wisdom

    +434
    Buddhist
    In Relationship
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    Namaste Travis,

    thank you for the post.

    i think alot of that opinion comes from misunderstanding (from non-Buddhists) and institutionalized Western Buddhism (for the Buddhists). there seems, in my opinion, to be a growing trend amongst the Western Buddhist tradition to disconnect any references to Diety in any shape, form or fashion. it is my opinion that this is due to the way in which people equate diety with monotheistic God in western culture.

    generally speaking the word "God" connotes the Creator God of the Bible and Qur'an. the Buddhist view specifically does not agree with a creator God, and as such, i think that is why it is so strongly protrayed as "atheist" in the West.... and one of the reasons why that aspect is, perhaps overly, emphasized in Western Sanghas.
     
  10. vajradhara

    vajradhara Diamond Thunderbolt of Indestructable Wisdom

    +434
    Buddhist
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    Namaste ll,

    i cannot say if they were wrong or not for i am not reading their posts, simply your summation of them. your summation is, however, not complete with regards to the Buddhist view of diety.

    your summary is correct in regards to the way in which those in the West understand the concept of God as opposed to how the concept is understood in the East, or more particularly, in Buddhism. though i'm not fond of such terms for i think them to be inaccurate.
     
  11. Ryoko Ozaki

    Ryoko Ozaki Lunar Mystery

    418
    +10
    Buddhist
    Well, I myself am Buddhist and can tell you that we do not believe in any Gods. I'm not sure where you read that Buddhism is a denomination of Hinduism but to my knowledge it is not. It was created by the Buddha because he wanted to understand human suffering, and as he studied he became enlightened and taught.

    This was all over 500 years before Christianity if anyone cares to know the history. By the way, another important part of Buddhism are the five precepts:

    I undertake to:

    1) Abstain from killing living beings
    2) Abstain from taking that which is not given
    3) Abstain from sexual misconduct
    4) Abstain from false speech
    5) Abstain from the use of distilled substances that confuse the mind

    There's a lot more to Buddhism than some seem to think, and buddhanet.net is a great place to learn about it. If anyone wants to know anymore about Buddhism just ask me, I'm here to answer questions.
     
  12. vajradhara

    vajradhara Diamond Thunderbolt of Indestructable Wisdom

    +434
    Buddhist
    In Relationship
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    Namaste Ryoko,

    thank you for the post.

    You may want to consider reading the Lotus Sutra or the Shurangama Sutra, however these are both from the Mahayana schools.

    I'm guessing, that since you've referenced Buddhanet, you are a Theravedan. If so, i'd ask that you consider reading the Mulapariyaya Sutta.

    it is clear in all the Sutras/Suttas referenced that the Buddha taught men and gods.

    it is true, however, that Buddhists don't have a concept of a creator deity and for some folks, that is the only definition of god that is used. since this is not a concept held in Buddhism, the useage of the word is a bit different.

    I'm not sure that anybody is asserting that Buddhism is a denomination of Hinduism.. however, it is analgous to Protestantism/Catholisim and as such, makes is easier for westeners to understand the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism.

    i agree... Buddhanet.net is a wonderful resource for the Theravedan tradition.
     
  13. Tariki

    Tariki Guest

    +0
    Possibly in a technical sense Buddhists are atheists................given that a Theist believes in a Being transcendant to this world and who created it etc etc. To put the "A" in front of the word means to in effect to not take any such "being" into account in any way, shape or form.........as Stephen Batchelor says in his book "The Awakening of the West"...........(directing his words at the Christian Theistic tradition)......."the idea of a God who breaks into history to save human beings from their sins through the death of his only son makes no sense......"

    Certainly to my mind, taking the teachings of both Faiths at face value, a "Buddhist" theist is as nonsensical an idea as a "Christian" atheist..................

    From a Buddhist perspective, it is interesting to me that when the Buddha was asked if he was a god.........he replied "No". When he was asked if he was a man.....he again replied "No". When asked to say exactly what he was he replied.........."I am awake"........

    Buddhism wends its middle way between "eternalism" and "annihilationism"...........
     
  14. Ryoko Ozaki

    Ryoko Ozaki Lunar Mystery

    418
    +10
    Buddhist
    Actually, Buddhanet was just a site that I went to in order to learn the basics and such of Buddhism. I myself am a Zen Buddhist.

    By denomination, I didn't mean that. I meant that it wasn't derrived from it, I just couldn't think of the right words at the time.
     
  15. Herecy

    Herecy New Member

    15
    +0
    very simply: you are wrong
     
  16. Herecy

    Herecy New Member

    15
    +0
    Prove it. seriously. you can't aside from, 'it says so in the bible', ok, who wrote the bible. man. 'wait', you respond, 'it was god's word through man's hand', ok, i say, prove it. how exactly do you know 100% god spoke to those people and told them what to write. i challange any of you devout christians who are wasting your lives trying to convert people, to PROVE to me without a shadow of a doubt that god wrote the bible. you do this, and my tune will entirely change. unfortanately it is impossible.
     
  17. Herecy

    Herecy New Member

    15
    +0
    i am, because atheism in it's trueist form means "you believe in nothing" literally, you don't believe in any higher power aside from what you see in front of you, so obviously buddhists are not atheists
     
  18. ej

    ej hopeless romantic

    +310
    Catholic
    Quit flaming.

    Lambslove is quite correct, as are the Buddhists.
    Buddhism is a philosophy. Buddha is not a deity.
     
  19. Herecy

    Herecy New Member

    15
    +0
    i am not flaming, i am adding my opinion onto interesting topics. and you have a point, i might add.
     
  20. ej

    ej hopeless romantic

    +310
    Catholic
    Then find something positive to say:p
     
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