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Buddha claimed that he witnessed the cessation of all things, including God. How could this be explained by a Christian?


#1

When one reaches enlightenment in Buddhism, they experience the cessation of aggregates: Consciousness, Material Phenomena, Mental Phenomena. Buddha apparently witnessed the cessation of all these.

This means that where some talk of transcendental consciousness, of exalted consciousness, of limitless consciousness, he, Gotama, went one step further. He succeeded in observing the disappearance of this cognition, the disappearance of this consciousness. Where there is talk of god, he saw the non-god. Where there is talk of “Buddhahood”, he saw its absence, he saw its disappearance. Where there is talk of nirvana, he saw the absence of nirvana.
http://en.dhammadana.org/dhamma/nibbana.htm

I am interested to know what the Christian perspective of this could have been. Obviously God exists, so Buddha was deceived in some way? I was just wondering how he could have experienced the cessation of God, since God is all-pervading in existence?

Buddhists claim that this is not the same thing as deep sleep. One is still conscious during Nirvana, but since there is not mental or physical phenomena for consciousness to cling to, it has a similar effect to deep sleep, but it’s not the same thing according to them.


#2

Buddha was a shut in who didn’t even know people suffered, until he escaped his palace… in his 30s!

He also had a kid btw… and wife… and then abandoned them to become a bum, begging for rice.

I’m sure he found something… there is truth in that Desire breeds Suffering. But I always found his whole approach to “retreat” and disappear as kind of sad (and this teaching above about his idea of God is just more of the same). Just like abandoning his family. Even when he says something like the Golden Rule, it’s done in the negative, rather than positive sense: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.” Rather than Jesus: “DO to others as you would have them to do you.”


#3

Eating too much gives me nightmares too.


#4

Being non-catholic, Buddha did not understand God. Therefore, If he thought that all things ceased, it would simply mean that he did not know about God. Buddha was searching for the truth, but did not have the fullness of it. I like to think of him as something of an eastern Aristotle, as Fulton Sheen did. An ancient pagan philosopher seeking the truth, but not having full understanding of it. Fulton Sheen once said that Buddha and Confucius would someday be regarded as the ancient Greek philosophers are, and I think this is very insightful. If Buddha had known about Christ, he would likely have converted.

So, Buddha did not really understand God, as such, he was deceived about many things. He likely did not even have a “cessation of all things”.


#6

Aristotle, like Plato, benefited from and promoted a system of slavery… and further, directly tutored a tyrant. I don’t think he was all that great. I’ll give Buddha more credit than that.


#7

I think people read more into this than it could logically mean. Was he cognitively aware of having no cognition or having cessation of this what ever that could possibly mean? What ever he experienced, logically speaking, cannot possibly be what he appears to be implying.


#8

Good question.

The source seems to kind of contradict itself.

Any experience that we can do, in any field whatsoever, in any manner whatsoever, where ever or whenever we do it, these are still aggregates being set in motion. When nibbāna is known, when nibbāna is reached, as soon as nibbāna is observed, these are still the five aggregates being set in motion.
http://en.dhammadana.org/dhamma/5_aggregates.htm

_In Gotama’s vision, does prevail a possibility to attain the complete extinction of the appearance of these phenomena, so that they CEASE to appear, so that aggregates cease to appear as well.

Thus, although the five aggregates have ceased to arise, immediately after, consciousness projects itself again. As there no longer are material and mental phenomena to be cognized, it projects itself onto the remaining phenomenon. And it is nibbāna indeed. Owing to this simple fact, Buddha did remember this experience. Thus, he could talk about nibbāna. Because if he had merely lost consciousness, how could he had said that he had known nibbāna? nibbāna cannot be known while we are unconscious, to know it, one has to be conscious. Thus, the Buddha SAW nibbāna, he KNEW nibbāna, he touched nibbāna.
http://en.dhammadana.org/dhamma/nibbana.htm

It keeps going back and forth saying he ceased consciousness but also says he was conscious of this cessation and he wouldn’t be able to know this if he was simply unconscious.


#9

We don’t have to explain another religion’s teachings.

We have the words of Our Lord about the end of time.


#10

I want some of what he was smokin’ dude. :herb::smoking:


#11

What’s the problem with, “Buddha was friqqin wrong”?

Why do we even need to reconcile his false opinion with ours?


#12

I am Buddhist. In the Buddhist analysis, anything that changes in impermanent. Change means that either something that was not present before is now present, or something that was present before is now not present. In either case that “something” is not eternal because there was/is a time when it did not exist.

In the Buddhist analysis God changes, so God is impermanent. God changes from “I will not create now” to “I will create now”, obviously so as creation is not co-eternal with God. God changes from “I will not part the sea now” to “I will part the sea now” to “I will not part the sea now”. Anything which changes cannot be eternal. God changes, so God is not eternal.

The God of the Bible is not an unchanging God. An unchanging God’s Bible would read differently:

On the first day God said, “Let there be light,” and on the second day God said, “Let there be light,” and on the third day God said, “Let there be light,” and on the fourth day God said …

The Bible God changes, so the Bible God must be impermanent. The Buddha was right.

rossum


#13

People in intense meditation and perhaps coupled with starvation may experience weird mental states. One practice that requires extended periods of darkness may cause such mental abnormality as well. People who consume certain herbs/mushrooms/elixirs are also able to induce weird mental states too.


#14

The main thing I remember about Buddhism is that no words accurately describe reality. So the word “God” and all the ideas about God are perhaps seen for their inability to truly describe the transcendent truth.


#15

However, it is so simple that it is inaccessible. Mostly, it does reduce to naught all our dreams of transcendence, our dreams of divinities, whereas we are allegedly fated to become God, divine, to become the eternal “buddhahood”, the essence, the cosmos, the whole universe. We got the promise to gain this omniscience rooted in this capacity to be all phenomena of the universe and to therefore know all of them and this….He agrees with the point that we can reach those things. He doesn’t deny their existence as such, he doesn’t deny these teachings and he doesn’t say that those masters are mere pretenders. He simply says that this is not the end of suffering yet.
http://en.dhammadana.org/dhamma/5_aggregates.htm

Some more contradictions. It says Buddha believes eternal and all-knowing beings exists…but then a few sentences before that he said nothing is permanent and eternal and these beings still suffer.

If they were all-knowing and eternal, they wouldn’t be ignorant of anything and suffer. Would they not?

Am I reading too much into this?


#16

From strictly a logical standpoint if what you are saying is true, that all things are impermanent, then nothing would exist at all.

I would argue that your interpretation of the bible is the flaw in your argument. But that’s beside the point. If there is not a being that does not move from potentiality to act and is necessarily actual, then there is certainly no possibility of any potentiality or possibility becoming actual because they would have no source for their actuality in the first place.

Thus, you and the Buddha in this regard, are necessarily wrong.


#17

The Buddha is clearly not infallible, and is not being reasonable here either.


#18

Why? A car is impermanent. Many years ago it was iron ore in the ground. In some years time it will be scrap metal melted down for reprocessing into something else. Are you trying to say that cars do not exist? Is the keyboard you typed your post on over 13.5 billion years old? If not then it too is impermanent.

You say “move from potentiality to act”. Movement is change. You are merely confirming that things change. Potentiality is not act, otherwise the sea would have been parted in Abraham’s time, and Moses would not have had to ask for it to be parted for him. Potentiality is not act, and so the movement from potentiality to act is a change. An eternal entity cannot change, since if it did it would not be eternal. Hence any change requires some other non-eternal co-operating entity to effect change. That co-operating entity was not present in Abraham’s time, it was present in Moses’ time and was absent again in Jesus’ time. God may be a necessary cause, but He is not always a sufficient cause. If He were a sufficient cause then all His effects would be co-eternal with Himself. When the sufficient cause is present then the effects are also present.

rossum


#19

Again, logically speaking, if all that exists are beings or natures or acts or states or emergent properties that were once potentialities and have now become actual or real, then there is no ultimate reason why any of them would exist. Which would mean that no act is necessary. In other-words they should not exist because no potentiality or possibility is the source of reality.

Yet things exist, so there must be a being that is not in any way shape or form an actualized potential or a series of actualized potentialities. Thus there is a being that is necessarily actual or necessarily exists and therefore does not change, and is the existential cause of possibilities becoming real things…Otherwise absolutely nothing can exist.

So the Buddha is necessarily wrong. The errors that you think are in the bible is besides the point and is irrelevant insofar as Buddhas claim that all things are impermanent… He is making an ontological claim that is logically impossible.


#20

There is simply no possible way to reconcile certain Buddhist concepts with Christian thought.

There are various explanations a Christian could use for such variant Buddhist beliefs:

Buddha was simply wrong or mistaken

Buddha’s actual thoughts or words were corrupted by later followers of his and aren’t accurately reported today

Buddha was demonically deceived

I tend to believe either Buddha was simply mistaken, or his teachings were corrupted by later disciples - I believe he was a very holy man, and is in fact now a Saint, and that Buddhism helped pave the way for many places to accept Christ, and helped give those who didn’t hear about Christ but did hear of Buddha a belief system which leads to greater love and compassion.


#21

I don’t intend to imply an equality but both Jesus and Buddha struggled to help others understand and were both often misunderstood and misinterpreted. I think Buddha went as far as he could as a human being for his time. But Buddhism is very inner focused though it does speak of compassion.


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