It might be shocking fro some of you. But Buddhism do not really specifically say there is an existence of an intelligence singular being that created everything and manipulated accordingly. Buddhism is so different from other religions that some people question whether it is a religion at all. So, we get to the question Is Buddhism Polytheistic Or Monotheistic? For this reason, the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate devotional and reverential habits of mind. Serving is leadership. So what's "real"? One might say that in Buddhism, the big question is not whether gods exist, but what is the nature of existence? N. noogan. Pilgrims flock to stupas that are said to hold relics of the Buddha. Thus while Buddhism includes … Baha'i Forums. For example, a Buddhist might evoke the Bodhisattva of compassion in order to become more compassionate. Considering the arguments that scholars provide on whether Buddhism is theistic, atheistic or non-theistic, compatible explanations could be provided for all these three philosophical positions. I think many Western converts come, as you said, shedding their belief in a creator God. Now there are other questions, that you might think of. We only believe in things that we can find to be true. It entirely depends upon your understanding of a theistic religion and how you would describe an act of worship. Western Buddhists are the foremost promulgators of the idea that Buddhism is non-theistic. Buddhism doesn't have a God, rather it has a broad and complex pantheon of gods. Buddhism is non-theistic. Further, these religions meet the 3rd and 4th criteria that give a system power to legitimize political orders and change history. Most people think that learning is the key to self-development It’s how we were raised – when we were young, we studied algebra, read history, and memorized the names of elements on the periodic table. 1 decade ago. 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.' Buddhism is a non-theistic system. Whether or not it can be termed a religion is debatable—the etymology of the word ‘religion’ refers to God. Buddhism is Non-theistic. 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. Barbara O'Brien is a Zen Buddhist practitioner who studied at Zen Mountain Monastery. Furthermore, it is a system of faith and worship. In Mahayana Buddhism, which is the dominant form of Buddhism in China, Tibet, Nepal, Japan and Korea, all phenomena are empty of intrinsic existence. Modern Buddhism leaves a lot of room for personal beliefs, meaning that an individual can believe in god while still being a Buddhist. Mar 2013 522 _ Sep 29, 2015 #2 Depends on who's practicing. I was raised a fundamentalist Pentecostal and then became Catholic in college. But Buddhism begins with the premise that the way we understand the phenomenal world is delusional to begin with The quest is to realize, or perceive, delusions as the delusions they are. If Buddha was not a god, why bow to Buddha-figures? Serving is leadership. Buddhism is essentially non-theistic. In addition, about an estimated 488 million in the world practice Buddhism. 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. For instance, like Buddhism, Communism is a religion based on natural laws, a non-theistic religion. Yet, throughout Asia, it is common to find people praying to the Buddha or to the many clearly mythical figures that populate Buddhist iconography. There are three additional issues, however, which complicate the relationship between Buddhism and theism even further. Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. There is no personal god or monotheistic creator God in Buddhism, as there is in Christianity, Judaism or Islam. 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. Deity yoga is a practice within the Tibetan Vajrayāna tradition. Shortly after the Buddha's death, a devotional element formed within Buddhism. On the other hand, the Buddha did not explicitly rule out the existence of a God or gods. Buddhism is Not a Theistic Religion . After Hinduism, the fourth largest world religion is Buddhism. Do Buddhists believe these creatures exist? Philosophy means the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.Even if you can find “Buddhism” on every list of world religions, it is still a science of mind. For more discussion of this kind of devotion, see the essay "Devotion in Buddhism" by Nyanaponika Thera. They may even grant favors, protection, etc. Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that focuses on following the teachings of the Buddha and bodhisattvas to become free from suffering. 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. Neither concept is right or wrong. 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. Buddhism is unique amongst the religions of the world because it does not have any place for God in its soteriology. 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. A similar form of functional … For this reason, Buddhism is more accurately called nontheistic rather than atheistic. More so, Buddhism has sacred texts, temples, leaders, teachers. The Buddha also plainly said that he was not a god, but was simply "awakened" to ultimate reality. Libraries have been filled with the answers to those questions. The Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. For example, Sam Harris, a self-identified atheist who has expressed admiration for Buddhism, has said Buddhism should be taken away from Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhism also has … Is Buddhism atheistic? 28 Answers. In the Zen monastery where I first learned about Buddhism, the monks liked to point to the Buddha representation on the altar and say, "That's you up there. Yes, Buddhists are theists. But in the end, for our practice, I maintain the question of God is not important. It's not just belief in gods that are irrelevant to Buddhism. However, God is. These religions are both universal and missionary. While Buddhism does not argue that gods don’t exist, gods are seen as completely irrelevant to those who strive for enlightenment. There are three additional issues, however, which complicate the relationship between Buddhism and theism even further. Buddhism is a philosophy which does not include the belief in a creator deity, or any eternal divine personal being. 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. Many people, not familiar with Buddhist thought, assume that the label of “religion” means Buddhists must believe in some type of God. Soon the idea of past and future Buddhas developed, with Maitreya, the Buddha y… It can be either, depending on the person. Buddhism would be so much better, Harris wrote, if it could be cleansed of the "naive, petitionary, and superstitious" trappings of religion altogether. But in Buddhism, merely believing in doctrines is beside the point. 1 decade ago. The Buddha himself rejected metaphysical speculation as a matter of principle, and his teachings focused entirely on the practical ways to end suffering. According to the Buddhist teachings, we are all … Understanding the difference requires looking deeply beneath the surface of Buddhist teaching and practice. You aren’t any better than me except to the extent that you serve me and others better than I do. Many people, not familiar with Buddhist thought, assume that the label of “religion” means Buddhists must believe in some type of God. 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. Webster's New World Dictionary (Third College Edition): defines religion as: "any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy." You aren’t any better than me except to the extent that you serve me and others better than I do. But the nature of existence is something Buddhism looks at deeply and in a different way from the way people ordinarily understand "existence.". Yes, Buddhism is a religion. And what is the self? However, it is a way of life. ‘Buddhism is a non-theistic religion that claims that suffering is unavoidable, and that the root of suffering is attachment, greed and desire.’ ‘Overall, based on my experience in both camps (theistic and non-theistic), I venture to claim that activists of either breed have a greater tendency to be "religious" rather than non-activists.’ One might bow just to show gratitude for the Buddha's life and practice. The Buddhist canon mentions devas, celestial beings, spirits, even Brahma who thinks he/she/it is the creator. To what is the Buddhist devoted? I’ve always tried to explain it that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, but definitely not atheistic. He recognized most emphatically the existence of moral and spiritual values. It literally means, “to blow out,” or “to quench.” Nirvana ends the cycle of samsara, the cycle of death and r… … Rather, Buddhism affirms many forms of spirituality and belief in gods as means to elevate and improve worldly life. Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. It is quite clear that Buddhism has no concept of a creator. 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.' 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. Any doctrine or practice that enables realization is an upaya. 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 … it can be both. 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. These are non-theistic religions. No gods, no beliefs, yet Buddhism encourages devotion. 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. Same goes for kami. Stupas were built to contain relics of the Buddha and pilgrimages were made to places where he had walked. Merely "believing in" enlightenment and nirvana is pointless. Source(s): why because I said so. Hence, it represents up … 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. But Buddhism is non-theistic. God. A similar form of functional … To lead without serving is selfish and useless and silly. Western Buddhists are the foremost promulgators of the idea that Buddhism is non-theistic. That said, if God or gods show up, we’ll be happy to believe. Although the majority of Buddhists are atheist, some believe in one God and others believe in multiple gods. However, a careful analysis of Vajrayana Buddhist cosmogony, specifically as presented in the Atiyoga tradition of Indo-Tibetan … Is Buddhism Polytheistic Or Monotheistic? Another, called Yogachara, teaches that things exist only as processes of knowing and have no intrinsic reality. Actually, Buddhism is functionally theistic, even if it avoids the “G” word. The Buddha taught that the biggest barrier to realization is the notion that "I" am a permanent, integral, autonomous entity. For this reason, Buddhism is more accurately called nontheistic rather than atheistic. Many of us think of Buddhism as a practice-based psychology rather than a belief-based religion. For Buddhists, the universe has a sacred non-personal essence that is the ground nature of all things. The Buddha also plainly said that he was not a god, but was simply "awakened" to ultimate reality. What's "fantasy"? When you bow, you are bowing to yourself." Of course, devotion requires an object. Excellent post! Like belief in reincarnation. 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 8 0. In most schools of Buddhism, it is understood that enlightenment and nirvana cannot be conceptualized or explained with words. Buddhism is Non-theistic. The “deity” of Mahayana Buddhism is not a personal being but an impersonal, all-encompassing force. As compared to Islam, Judaism or Christianity, Buddhism does not have a God who created this world. Rather, the historical Buddha taught that believing in gods was not useful for those seeking to realize enlightenment. And, Buddhism is beyond religion. Working with those questions is not a corruption of Buddhism; it is Buddhism. Relevance. Following this belief, practitioners of Mahayana simultaneously worship Buddha and maintain a non-theistic worldview. The Sanskrit word for this is upaya, or "skillful means." Anonymous. Even I was shocked when I first read about the core beliefs of Buddhism. 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. The individual may believe in a deity although it is not expressed in the Buddhism itself. Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that focuses on following the teachings of the Buddha and bodhisattvas to become free from suffering. Nevertheless, Buddhism has some of the outward trappings of a religion, such as temples, iconography, prayers and incense. 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. As a religion, Buddhism is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. How do you understand it? Buddhism Is Distinctly Different From Other Religions . While Buddhism does not argue that gods don’t exist, gods are seen as completely irrelevant to those who strive for enlightenment. Taoism is a belief that the Tao is a metaphysical law of nature, and if you open your mind to the idea that god doesn't have to be a personified entity, you could call the Tao god I suppose. Such a peaceful religion with no God. Buddhism is unique amongst the religions of the world because it does not have any place for God in its soteriology. Like … We only believe in things that we can find to be true. While Buddhism is a tradition focused on spiritual liberation, it is not a theistic religion. Buddhism is a non-theistic tradition. Answer Save. One school of Buddhist philosophy, Madhyamika, says that phenomena exist only in relation to other phenomena. 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. It was and still is fascinating for me. Even in the nondevotional schools, such as Theravada or Zen, there are rituals that involve bowing and offering food, flowers, and incense to a Buddha figure on an altar. 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 … This religion is based on … Which means that Buddhism has not God or deities. They must be intimately experienced to be understood. 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. Yet, throughout Asia, it is common to find people praying to the Buddha or to the many clearly mythical figures that populate Buddhist iconography. Buddhism is one of the biggest religions on earth. The many mythological creatures and beings that populate Mahayana Buddhism art and literature are often called "gods" or "deities." The Ultimate Goal of Buddhism Is Reaching Nirvana. Or, if you believe that teaching given by God is best, that is contradiction with refuge in Buddha as best teacher of gods and men. Each individual is ultimately responsible for his own present and future happiness. 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 … It's not essential as far as the basic dharma goes (or 4 noble truths and the eightfold path). In Buddhism, the devas are also trapped in the cycle of rebirth and are not necessarily virtuous. But, again, just believing in them is not the point. Forums. Nirvana is the highest state and marks the end of human pain and suffering. The Buddha said that doctrines should not be accepted just because they are in scripture or taught by priests. It teaches that there are divine beings or gods, heavens and rebirths in its doctrine of saṃsāra, but it considers none of these gods as a creator or as being eternal. Some in the West dismiss these devotional and worshipful aspects of Buddhism as corruptions of the original teachings of the Buddha. Almost all Buddhists live in Asia, but there are a significant number of followers in the U.S. Buddhism has much in common with Hinduism; it is concerned primarily with ethics and morals, sees each daily action as having spiritual consequences, and believes in reincarnation. 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. Some branches allow for elements of theism (belief in deities) but this is often considered to be optional. What did they mean? Although it is a popular religion, not many people know its core beliefs. Thus, devotion is not a "corruption" of Buddhism, but an expression of it. That said, if God or gods show up, we’ll be happy to believe. Many of us think of Buddhism as a practice-based psychology rather than a belief-based religion. But the Buddha figure also represents enlightenment itself and the unconditioned true nature of all things. 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. Since its creation, Buddhism has evolved into a wide variety of forms. These religions are both universal and missionary. Buddhism is centered upon the life and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who came to be known as the Buddha — the enlightened one, or one who is awake — whereas Christianity is centered on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.Buddhism is a nontheistic religion or philosophy, i.e., it does not believe in a supreme creator being a.k.a. For elements of theism ( belief in deities ) but this is upaya, or any divine! Theravada Buddhism is unique amongst the religions of the world practice Buddhism corruption '' of Buddhism ; it is Zen. Awakened '' to ultimate reality individual can believe in things that we can find to be true other.. Is ultimate reality he had walked expressed in the Buddhism itself our practice, I maintain the question God... South and east Asia, but all over the world because it does have... To Buddhism south and east Asia, but asking and pondering these questions can be experienced everyday. 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