Question about Bhuddism.


#1

I’m generally confused about who Bhuddists worship and pray to. Some I’ve heard worship God, some I think are nontheistic, some worship the Bhuddas. Are there others? Which of those are the most common? How does a Bhuddist believe in God if (and I may be wrong here, I forget where I heard this so I’m taking it with a grain of salt) Guatama Bhudda criticized the concept of an omnipotent god?


#2

Yeah, I’m pretty confused too. But I think they worship Bhudda because he achieved some really good state I think, I’m not sure, and they want the same to happen to them.


#3

The Eastern religions Hinduism and Buddhism are very mystical yet bluntly seek righteousness same as our own more severe religion born from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroaster followers, Mani followers; in these religions Good and Evil are opposing forces usually with the end being Good will prevail.

But like wise the Buddha taught an evil person will have evil follow him and a good person will have good things follow him. The Buddha wanted to know in-depth what suffering was and how to overcome it through self discipline.

My favorite quote by the Buddha is -* 'A good dog isn’t called good by how well he can bark, just as a good man isn’t called good by how well he can talk."*


#4

The Buddhas (there are several, and anybody who achieves enlightenment is one) are only teachers and guides, not gods. Buddhism originated as a Hindu heresy, but has become rather indifferent to the question of divinity in some places; others still have gods in a way. But on the whole, it is more concerned with the human and the possibilities within humanity than with the divine.

Buddhists treat Siddartha Gautama almost the same way Catholics treat Mary: with extreme reverence, but they do not deify him. He is not considered an intercessor in mainline Buddhism.

And the H comes after the Ds, people :wink:


#5

As well you should be.:smiley:

Some I’ve heard worship God

Define ‘God’.

some I think are nontheistic,

Define ‘theistic’.

some worship the Bhuddas.

Define ‘worship’.

Are there others? Which of those are the most common? How does a Bhuddist believe in God if (and I may be wrong here, I forget where I heard this so I’m taking it with a grain of salt) Guatama Bhudda criticized the concept of an omnipotent god?

Good place to start: Buddhanet. You’ll find that Buddhists come in all shapes and sizes. The common thread that binds them all is (1) cultivation of wisdom; and (2) practice of compassion; and (3) the realization of the Uncreated. If believing in ‘God’ helps you do all 3, then, from a Buddhist perspective, go for it!:smiley:


#6

I think I should say something. You know that big bellied laughing statue popularized in American Pop Culture as the Buddha, well it actually has its roots as a Chinese demon; You’ll never see Tibetans bow down to such an aghast as that!


#7

I’ll define God as an omnipotent being.

Theism is the belief in one or multiple supernatural beings great enough to deserve worship.

Worship is the acknowledgement of a being’s omnipotence and a vow of serviyude (I guess…)


#8

The major critique Buddhism makes against the idea of an “omnipotent being” centers on this idea: the omnipotent being is the cause of everything that happens, both good and bad; whatever you do, is foreordained and caused by this omnipotent being, whether what you do is evil or good. “Omni” means “all”, and “potent” means “power”. If a being is TRULY omnipotent, then that being has ALL the power, and we humans have NONE. We humans are simply puppets being made to do things, beyond our control.

From a Buddhist perspective, that particular notion of ‘omnipotent being’ is morally and ethically dangerous, because it takes away a person’s urge to do good and abandon selfishness.

Having said that, I would also say that, even though Christianity teaches that God is all-powerful, Christianity doesn’t teach that God actually causes everything to happen, or causes people to do good or do bad. (Unless, of course, you’re a Calvinist. Buddhists would critique the Calvinist idea of Predestination, that’s for sure.:smiley: But Catholics aren’t Calvinists.) So, from a Buddhist perspective, a Buddhist would say that the Christian idea of God doesn’t fully equate to a truly ‘omnipotent being’.

Theism is the belief in one or multiple supernatural beings great enough to deserve worship.

Let me check your definition of worship…

Worship is the acknowledgement of a being’s omnipotence and a vow of serviyude (I guess…)

Well, if a being is truly, actually, and really omnipotent, that means that it has ALL the power. If so, there can be only ONE such being, so if we go back to the “theism” definition you proposed, we can re-write that “theism” definition thusly:

Theism is the belief in ONE, All-Powerful, omnipotent being who deserves servitude.

This would get back to the Buddhist critique of an ‘omnipotent being’: if this being is truly omnipotent, then that means that this being is causing ALL and EVERYTHING (including human actions) to happen. If that is the case, there is no human free-will, and we might as well just close-up shop and watch Survivor.:smiley:

I would suggest, however, that the Christian God, though thought to be all-powerful in theory, is not truly all-powerful (in the way that the Buddhists define it).


#9

The fat “Laughing Buddha” is a Chinese form of Maitreya, the Future Buddha who will follow Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha. The Tibetans certainly reverence Maitreya, though a Tibetan Maitreya will look more like this:

rossum


#10

Gods are an optional extra in Buddhism. The scriptures have tens of thousands of gods, whose main purpose seems to be to applaud the Buddha at the appropriate points in his teaching. You can pray to gods for material things if you want to, but no god has the power to get you to nirvana. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (Buddhas-to-be) are reverenced rather than worshipped.

Which of those are the most common?

Pass.

How does a Bhuddist believe in God if (and I may be wrong here, I forget where I heard this so I’m taking it with a grain of salt) Guatama Bhudda criticized the concept of an omnipotent god?

We do not believe in an omnipotent God. No god can be omnipotent because no god has the power to get me to nirvana, only I can do that.

Buddhists believe in the Four Noble Truths:
[list]*]the world is suffering,
*]the cause of suffering is selfish desire,
*]when the cause ceases the suffering will also cease,
*]the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.[/list]

Only you can walk the path for yourself, no other person or god can walk it for you.

rossum


#11

Actually, u r wrong.

Demons are evil spirits according to Buddhist beliefs. I think they would know the difference between Buddha and demons (who are never depicted to look anything like Buddhas, arahans,boddisatvas etc.).

Is this another case of Christians misrepresenting and degrading other cultures and religions…:frowning:


#12

Well that at least certainly looks more a product of divinity. :wink:


#13

Another question:

Someone on this forum said (jn that topic about respecting people’s different beliefs) that Buddhist monks get up every morning to pray. Who are they praying to? Devas, bohdisattvas, bhuddas, what?


#14

I’m sorry but when I read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, I didn’t in the slightest picture that repulsive gluttonous giggle feast!


#15

Hesse’s Siddartha has exactly the same relation to Buddhism as Nietzsche’s Also Sprach Zarathustra does to Zoroastrianism.


#16

For what I know they pray to Buddha and for enlightenment.
However they dont consider Buddha as a God but as a holy person, and a holy teacher


#17

Buddhists pray but they do not pray to anyone. Prayer is a form of concentration a way to focus the mind on virtues and morality. Even the most beautiful prayer of the Metta Sutta is more a well wishing to all beings and is not a prayer to a god or to the Buddha.

The multitude of “gods” in Buddhism are actually devas or beings that live in a different plane of existence. They are somewhat like angels although mortal. When they die, they are reborn into another life unless through moral action and concentration they become enlightened.

There is quite a bit of variation between Buddhist traditions. The closest to Catholicism is the Tibetan form of Buddhism. I believe that is why the Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul got along so well.

Zen seems to attract Catholics who want to learn meditation in order develop better concentration for Catholic prayer. There is quite a bit of ritual in Zen although not nearly as much as in Tibetan Buddhism.

I have always felt that Theravada was closest to the Quakers. There is very little ceremony or ritual and a great deal of quiet. Theravada is also the most bookish of the main traditions with a great deal of emphasis on study of the suttas, teachings.

The Pure Land tradition from China comes closest to actual prayer as Christians understand it. Pure Land believes in chanting the name of a bodhisatva (a sort of saint) in order to be reborn in Pure Land. They believe that reaching enlightenment will be easier on that plane of existence.

The fat Buddha or laughing Buddha is actually the Chinese Santa Claus. The bag he carries is full of treats for children. :slight_smile:

I hope I haven’t confused people with this post. It is much easier to answer a direct question and I can answer based on my understanding as a practicing Theravadan.


#18

If by “pray”, you mean “the process of asking for help”, then Buddhists may indeed “pray”. The ultimate prayer would be directed towards the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. In The Way of the Bodhisattva, Shantideva writes this “prayer”:

"To the Buddhas, Those Thus Gone,
And to the Sacred Law, immaculate, supreme, and rare,
And to the Buddha’s Offspring, oceans of good qualities,
That I might gain this precious attitude [that is, the attitude of total compassion], I make a perfect offering…

The Buddhas and their Bodhisattva Children –
I offer them myself throughout my lives.
Supreme Courageous Ones, accept me totally.
For with devotion I will be your servant.

For if You will accept me, I will be
A benefit to all, and freed from fear.
I’ll go beyond the evils of my past,
And ever turn my face from them."
[2.1, 2.8, 2.9]


#19

Are you a Buddhist? If so, what Tradition do you follow? Your quote sounds Tibetan.

Theravada Buddhists do take Refuge in the Buddha which is a way of showing a desire to follow the path that the Buddha took. We take refuge in the Dhamma which is a way of saying we follow the teachings of the Buddha. We take Refuge in the Sangha which is a way of showing respect for the monks and nuns who have preserved the teachings. But the way we express these things is not as “worshipful” as the prayer you quote. Each tradition has its own way of expressing these thoughts.

We seek help from the Suttas (the teachings as found in the Pali Canon) and from various teachers both living and dead. But we don’t pray for help from the Buddha, beyond what his teachings offer, because we believe he is beyond, well gone.

When Theravada monastics start the day, they do so by taking refuge and chanting or meditating on the Suttas. Each tradition has its own way of expressing these thoughts.

I think it is important for non Buddhists to realize there is no Creed in Buddhism that must be adhered to in order to be a Buddhist. Although the core of all Traditions is consistent, there are many variations in the practice. Each culture incorporates its own ways into Buddhism and its own understanding. I expect that as Buddhism grows in the West, there will be a unique Western “flavor” to the way it is practiced.

Metta
Notself


#20

Yes, the quote is Indo-Tibetan.

Theravada Buddhists do take Refuge in the Buddha which is a way of showing a desire to follow the path that the Buddha took. We take refuge in the Dhamma which is a way of saying we follow the teachings of the Buddha. We take Refuge in the Sangha which is a way of showing respect for the monks and nuns who have preserved the teachings. But the way we express these things is not as “worshipful” as the prayer you quote. Each tradition has its own way of expressing these thoughts.

We seek help from the Suttas (the teachings as found in the Pali Canon) and from various teachers both living and dead. But we don’t pray for help from the Buddha, beyond what his teachings offer, because we believe he is beyond, well gone.

If by “worship”, you mean “expressive devotion”, then, yes, Theravada does not evidence as much “worship” as other Buddhist traditions.

However, having said that, Theravada does recognize the reality of “praying” to the Buddha, as part of the Triple Gem:

Repeat Namo… three times.

Then:

  •            Ratanattaye pamaadena, dvaarattayena katam,
          Sabbam aparaadham khamatu no bhante.*
    

May the Triple Gem forgive us for any wrong we have done out of carelessness in thought, word, or deed.

One could suggest that such a “prayer” (as I’ve defined “prayer”) does not assume that the Buddha “actually” exists. Perhaps, but we cannot assume that the Buddha “merely” does not “actually” exist, either. In precisely what way the Buddha “exists” in the “thus-gone-state” is best described thusly. That is, whatever our conceptions of the Buddha’s state of reality, our prayer to the Buddha can do no harm, and will actually help.

I think it is important for non Buddhists to realize there is no Creed in Buddhism that must be adhered to in order to be a Buddhist. Although the core of all Traditions is consistent, there are many variations in the practice. Each culture incorporates its own ways into Buddhism and its own understanding. I expect that as Buddhism grows in the West, there will be a unique Western “flavor” to the way it is practiced.

Yep, Buddhism comes in 84,000 flavors.:smiley:

Are you a Buddhist? If so, what Tradition do you follow?

Yes, I’m Buddhist, of the Theravada school, Dhammayut Nikaya, which, in my estimation, contains everything Mahayanic and Vajrayanic (and, indeed, everything Dharmic), if only in bija, or seed, form.


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