Did Buddha claim to be a god & request to be worshiped? If not, will we see him in heaven?

Based on when Buddha was alive, he would not have been exposed to the Gospel…unless her allegorical taught he was God and requested to be worshiped he can’t justly beer held accountable because billions off people over the centuries have chosen to worship him, right? Might we be surprised to bump into him in Heaven should we get there?

Actually Buddhists do not worship Buddha. They do not consider him a God or even a prophet, Buddhists view Buddha as a man who achieved enlightenment. They venerate him as the ultimate teacher.

Buddhists do not believe in a God (as in a supreme being).

That depends on which type of Buddhism you’re talking about. I’m no expert on the subject, but even I know that some of the variants found in Northern India revere the Buddha. Other forms, particularly those found in Sri Lanka as well as Zen Buddhism, don’t. The difference, I think, is due to the influence of Hinduism on the northern Indian forms, though I could be totally wrong on that point.

There are different strands of Buddhism, but none of them regard the Buddha as a god. Central to Buddhism is the view that enlightenment is achieved through completely separating oneself from the material world which is regarded as evil. Buddha is simply a man who achieved this completely. Buddhists do not believe in a god, Revering the Buddha is not the same as regarding him as a god.The existence of a god runs counter to the main reason for Buddhism, i.e. to achieve enlightenment through ridding oneself of all attachments (including ultimately removing attachment from devotion to the Buddha and his teachings). There is a Buddhist saying that goes something along the lines of, “If you ever meet the Buddha you should try to kill him”.

Buddhists do not regard Buddha as a god, although some Hindus regard Buddha as an incarnation of god, in the same way that some Hindus regard Jesus as an incarnation of god, in the same way that they regard Shiva, Ganesh, Kali etc.

During my period away from the Church I spent a few years as a follower of Theravada Buddhism, which is the oldest and probably the most orthodox strand. the Buddha himself was rarely mentioned in discourses, and his veneration, while carried out by some, was viewed as being a practice to aid those on a lesser level of understanding on their journey to enlightenment (the monks told me that).

Buddha, as others who hadn’t had a chance to faithe on Christ because of when or where they were born, will be held accountable to what was revealed to them, through nature, revelation, or exposure to the teaching of the Israelites that may have happened to reach them, teachings passed from human to human since the beginning.

The Buddha was not, and did not claim to be, a god. A mere god is well below the status of a Buddha. The Buddha is recorded as ascending into one of the heavens to preach to the gods, and to his dead mother, and then returning to earth. Buddhas are enlightened, ordinary gods are not. A god who attains full enlightenment becomes a Buddha.

In theory, Buddhists respect and reverence the Buddha, but do not worship him, in the same way that Catholics respect and reverence Mary and the Saints, but do not worship them. In practice, the difference can be very hard to see.

You will not see him in heaven. The Buddha has attained parinirvana so his current status is covered in the last four of the unanswerable questions:

[The Buddha said:] “Malunkyaputta, did I ever say to you, 'Come, Malunkyaputta, live the holy life under me, and I will declare to you that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is finite,’ or ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ or ‘The soul and the body are the same,’ or ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata (Buddha) exists,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata both exists and does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’?”

“No, lord.”

– Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya 63

The Buddha also explained why he didn’t answer those questions:

“Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, unbinding. That is why they are undeclared by me.”

There is an apocryphal story which applies here as well:

It is said that soon after his enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha’s extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. The man stopped and asked,

“My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?”

“No,” said the Buddha.

“Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard?”

Again the Buddha answered, “No.”

“Are you a man?”


“Well, my friend, then what are you?”

The Buddha replied, “I am awake.”


The Buddha never claied to be a God. Nor did he encourage worship but reverence is ok. The rest of the question eludes me a bit. Because I guess if he were a god it would be logical to see him in the heavens? But anyway…

There are three types of Arahants or enlightened beings.

Sammasmabuddhas. Selfawakened beings that are able to teach others the Path.
Pratyekkabuddhas. That are selfawakened but do not know how to convey the Path and
Sravakabuddhas. Those that reach the goal by following the teaching of a sammasambuddha.

Neiter of these will ever again encumber the universe. Either on Earth or in the Heavens nor Hells after death. That is the one of the “official” points of Nirvana.


As numerous members of this board have articulated, Buddhism is a giant family of religions that view Buddha differently. Pure Land Buddhism and other, theologically inclined strands of Mahayana and Vajrayana would see Buddha as “God” in the sense of 'Highest Reality" (because the Enlightened Being is the supreme being, above the “gods”).

Theravada and other, predominantly Japanese strands and those popular in the West are either atheistic or encourage agnosticism regarding divine beings.

The historical reality is that no one is more right than the other. Buddha thrived in a millennium that saw the close of Vedic religion and the formation of Ascetic Hinduism. He likely rejected the traditional ritualism that permeated Vedic thought, and clearly endorsed ascetic practices. But beyond this we can’t know much else: no original text survives, and what ancient texts still exist are all intentionally slanted toward Chinese thought. Many schools of Buddhism developed centuries after the Buddha’s death and wrote their own texts.

It’s historically false and historically arrogant to assume we have any ability to claim one school’s perspective is more “orthodox” than any other. What’s important is that Buddhism as practiced both does and does not worship the Buddha figure. So you’d need to find various different Buddhists to discern their answers before coming to one yourself.

I agree with all you say except this. Gotama actually tried at least one of these ascetic practises and rejected it. He almost starved himself to death and only at the end realised that it was getting him nowhere.

So he rejected the ritualistic veda tradition built by rich and powerful priests and also the extreme ascetic practises like dog ascetics.

But I guess maybe that is what you meant?

Another thing that I would like to point out is that even though it is foolish to try to pinpoint which tradition is more orthodox it is possible to see which traditions lead to Arahants (enlightened ones) or Aryans (noble individuals or saints) or not.

And that is all that matters IMO.

Still the debate rages on in the Buddhist community about just that. :slight_smile:

Yet another thing I am curious about is what do you mean by “no original texts survive”? I thought there were tons of texts?

Plus how are they slanted towards Chinese influence?


Whether or not the Buddha will be in heaven cannot be answered by anyone here. That is God’s judgment, not ours. I hope he will be.

Couple of clarifications:

  1. This statement about killing the Buddha does not refer to actually killing the Buddha (or anyone else). This was made in reference to experiences people have during meditation. If in your meditation, you see a vision of the Buddha, you need to kill him (ie this vision - which is not the real Buddha), in order to get past this vision and make further progress in your meditation. In fact you need to kill all your visions during meditation in order to get past them.

  2. Hindus do regard Buddha as an incarnation of God just as many of them (not all) regard Jesus as an incarnation of God. But neither is considered similar to Shiva, Ganesh and Kali - these are actual Gods not incarnations.

According to Buddhism (and Hinduism), the Buddha has attained Nirvana (in Hinduism that would be Mokhsha), so he is a liberated soul who does not reside in heaven.

Heaven is a place we visit between lifetimes for rest and as a reward for good deeds during our lifetime.

A soul who has achieved Nirvana does not reside in heaven. He is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and kind of ceases to exist as a separate being - he is united with Brahman (Hindu term) or the Sunyata (Void - Buddhist term)… See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana

So I doubt that you will bump into him in heaven.

Well, since we do not believe in any cycle of birth and death and believe that heaven is complete union with God for eternity, this has little bearing on whether or not he will be there from a Christian perspective. So I still hope to see him there. :slight_smile:

I can just see you and the Buddha and Mother Teresa chatting together and basking contentedly in God’s presence - Good luck!

Thanks. I just hope I make it. :slight_smile:

Correct. Whatever it is you meet on the road, it is not the Buddha:

Some people come to Zen expecting that Enlightenment will be the Ultimate Peak Experience. The Mother of All Peak Experiences. But real enlightenment is the most ordinary of the ordinary. Once I had an amazing vision. I saw myself transported through time and space. Millions, no, billions, trillions, Godzillions of years passed. Not figuratively, but literally. Whizzed by. I found myself at the very rim of time and space, a vast giant being composed of the living minds and bodies of every thing that ever was. It was an incredibly moving experience. Exhilarating. I was high for weeks. Finally I told Nishijima Sensei about it. He said it was nonsense. Just my imagination. I can’t tell you how that made me feel. Imagination? This was as real an experience as any I’ve ever had. I just about cried. Later on that day I was eating a tangerine. I noticed how incredibly lovely a thing it was. So delicate. So amazingly orange. So very tasty. So I told Nishijima about that. That experience, he said, was enlightenment.

Source: Zen is Boring.


If he is there, it is only because he has embraced Christ and His Body, the Catholic Church.

My Buddhist exchange students from Japan have each said they DO worship Buddha and that they believe there are so many gods, they described out as a mountain of gods. They worship Buddha as one of their main gods.

:slight_smile: I didn’t have the intention to start and abandon this thread. Soon after starting it, I had to take the baby to the ER & she was admitted & has had 2 surgeries already & we’re still here at hospital. Prayers requested :slight_smile:

That depends on how you define the term ‘god’. Is a god a human person who has achieved enlightenment and lives on in spiritual form in the cosmos, or is a god an onmipotent spiirtual being? Using that Buddhist view of what is a ‘god’ then our saints would be classified as ‘gods’.

My prayers are with you and your child.

God bless you both

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