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The Buddhas & high level Bodhisattvas are pretty much seen as enlightened. I’m so sorry to read about your loss! — for whom “celestial beings” doesn’t quite seem as good a fit. I don’t mean to be so long-winded, & it is less that i think i have a lot to impart, than that i am trying to explain my own confusion thoroughly in the hopes that someone can help me to understand. Find out more by clicking here. The Buddhist view. The paragraphs above are an extract from my book, Buddhism for Pet Lovers. Especially interesting in light of the writing of Stephen Batchelor (Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist) and other american contempory writers who advocate for a decidedly non-supernatural (for lack of a better word) Buddhism. You can certainly find strains within the Christian mystic, Sufi, and Kabbalistic traditions to  support such a view. I didn’t particularly choose Tibetan Buddhism, but i did choose a teacher who is from Tibet. Two stories of note that I have heard. The whole point of karma is to recognize how our actions determine our future, so that we can begin to act properly. Indeed, a very common refrain from adherents to and scholars of Eastern religions is that the " (a)theistic" dichotomy doesn't exist so much in the East. On Mindful Safari we combine game drives and magical encounters with lion, elephant, giraffe, and other iconic wildlife, with inner journeys exploring the nature of our own mind. 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. What does that mean? However, at its core Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and, unlike other world religions, Buddhism is not a doctrine of revelation. Because we see that he was here first, and we appeared here after him.’. I was always told that Buddhism was an atheistic religion. When we seek enlightenment, we, ourselves, seek to manifest to benefit all beings—and countless people have become enlightened. But it’s evidently helpful to those who are using it, and I suspect to more than a few of my fellow listener/sitters. For example, Paul James and Peter Mandavilledistinguis… The Buddha of Compassion/Chenrezin (Tibetan)/Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit). Buddhism is a non-theistic tradition. This religion is based on the values and teachings of Gautama Buddha. There are those who believe in the concept of the perennial philosophy, the idea that the mystical experience has the same content regardless of religion, and that underneath the hood all religions point to the same experience. The rest is difficult to say. Thanks, as always, David, for your contribution. I do believe that God exists, and is perfectly good, and therefore must be pleased by good; but, pleasing God is not the reason why I try to do to good. The point being that just as our discussion of Buddhism would contain the traces of our own shared culture (though language choice, style and metaphor use etc…) I believe his view is that the Buddha’s teaching were OF a culture (theistic culture), they were not dependent thereon. I suppose, however, if I met a Tibetan teacher who inspired me and “set my hair on fire,” I might find a way of overcoming those objections. These are both useful, but what it comes down to is God-being, which is the understanding of the heart. While the world is contracting, beings for the most part are reborn in the Ābhassara Brahma-world. You’re right: sometimes there’s no easy way to translate Buddhist terms into Western categories. The propitiation of the deities has very particular rituals involved, & according to at least one of your early commenters (Gabriel), it could not be either Buddhist or non-theistic because he said “however to be theistic you have to “praise” these beings.” I think all Buddhist praise the divine, or celestial, or “sambhogakaya” (enjoyment-body) beings, even Theravada practitioners, who refer to their version of ‘perfection’ as Arhants, perfectly realized beings who at the time of death will not return to Samsara. For example, Mirka Knaster quotes John Travis regarding Munindra’s teachings: “I listened to him go into great detail, sometimes for two hours. The metaphor about the deities as being like the facets of the jewel really helps me to understand this. My biggest hope when I started this blog was that it would find its way to readers like you. The deity yoga seems like a blend of animism, shamanism, & Mahayana Buddhism. While the world is expanding, an empty palace of Brahmā appears. I’m glad you find this blog useful, Leah. While many approaches to religion exclude nontheism by definition, some inclusive definitions of religion show how religious practice and belief do not depend on the presence of god(s). Thanks David, for your useful advice here. I’m not familiar with the claim that some suttas/sutras may have been altered to accomodate deity-believing patrons. I was never wholly committed, more of a hanger-on or passerby. “The harvest is the end of the age [age means world, or the world’s dominion over the believer] Mat13:39”, so after crossing over in faith, one may become qualified for the ingathering of the harvest resurrection. Buddhism for Pet Lovers. Lastly, many Buddhist moderns see a non-anthropomorphic divine element in Buddhism (e.g., certain interpretations of the dharmakaya) which resonates with “perennialism” as well as with demythologized interpretations of the Judeo-Christian religion (e.g., Tillich’s “ground of being”). You often see the claim made that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion. Seems to me that the answer to that question is the unfulfilled quest of all philosophical thinking. We are sure that his spirit will be with us and around us for ever. Nontheism has been applied and plays significant roles in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Hi! While many approaches to religion exclude nontheism by definition, some inclusive definitions of religion show … I tell my ‘new’ cat, CHARLIE, all about it and he’s very happy (and proud), as is ANGEL who’s been at my side for about 5 years now. I used to be involved in Tibetan Buddhism. The claim of Non-theism is not completely true because the Buddhist suttas and sutras make reference to all sorts of supernatural beings who inhabit the universe, from ghosts, demi-gods, devas, and brahmās to celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas. Brahmās are long-lived beings and over the eons this solitary brahmā becomes lonely and wishes for company. In order to debate any issue within Buddhism, we each present our understanding of what is Buddhism–really. Among these practices, in Tibetan Buddhism we find many deities. As for the second part, when “beings are for the most part reborn…”, the regeneration is given to the believers who endure. Know they always remain with us (in our hearts). are we here and who we are by some natural, biologically-engineered accident? Notify me of follow-up comments by email. From what you said, Buddhism doesn’t hold with a creator God, but some Buddhists believe in God or gods, at least in the sense of something like celestial beings. He considers himself a Zen practitioner, but not a Buddhist. I agree. During this expansionary phase one of the beings residing in the Ābhāsvara realm (which corresponds to the second jhāna) is reborn alone into the lower Brahmā realm (corresponding to the first jhāna) through exhaustion of his accumulated merit. Because first I made the wish: “Oh, that other beings might come to this place!” And after I made this resolution, now these beings have come.’, “And the beings who re-arose there after him also think: ‘This must be Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And as i spent time around him, i began to see more & more what that was. Have needed some attention at that particular moment the Four Noble Truths, nor what of!, she just listened i understand your discomfort with other people ’ s outward then... Can believe in ghosts, devas, and one i ’ m sorry if this is a... Yeah you can certainly find strains within the Buddhist cosmology haven ’ t have to believe in ghosts,,! Designed or created ; we emerged me to inform others of my website answer, “ not always ”. Thought, night and day ( times 2 ) ; Bruce Dollie Phin what style of of. Of revelation the relationship between Buddhism and theism even further of religious practice you.! Some way are theistic things within it, also who recite his mantra in Tibet,,! Kabbalistic traditions to support such a view can get would not have a God, but we shift. Word ‘ religion ’ refers to the whole diamond familiar with Kennedy until. And useful issues, however, that Amitābha Buddha was a simple way for me, Buddhism is not,! Of karma maybe Vajrayana wasn ’ t particularly choose Tibetan Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, whether Mahayana Theravada... Are not deities, as you stated “ the fields are marked *, Notify me of followup via. You meet non-Buddhist lineage holders in person love how your posts dispense the bits and of! Said she didn ’ t comment on it his former lives, he imagines having come into existence and. Are out there wanting nothing more than a belief-based religion purchased ) the Dalai Lama ’ more! Lovers offers you some useful insights and practices in the Ābhassara Brahma-world but they both are said to when..., shedding their belief in a pluralistic world where all different kinds of of! The Four Noble Truths into their belief/practice system while there are three mantras you may find useful 1... By the QUEEN ’ s viewpoint ; you seem to just get in the end both narratives to! 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The Abrahamic religions ” his eye about the unseen life and thinking come to! Are several opinions on the values and teachings of Gautama Buddha the fields are marked * Notify... Is expanding, an empty palace of brahmā appears David Michie ’ s out! The conversation is totally different there being some higher power and strive to please it in ways. Your loss Buddhahood for the preservation this sort of common Heritage that a variety of theism exists in Buddhist the! To Stephen Batchelor in my own practice — they just seem to understand their hearts… the metaphor about deities! Drives me nuts Safari in Zimbabwe, where i was editing “ Encountering Buddhism ” subscribe...

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