Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: TT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

03. Buddhism and the God-idea

06/05/201109:51(Xem: 970)
03. Buddhism and the God-idea

GOOD QUESTION, GOOD ANSWER

Bhikkhu Shravasti Dhammika

[03]

Buddhism and the God-idea

-ooOoo-

Do Buddhist believe in god?

No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists, believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origin in fear. The Buddha says:

"Gripped by fear men go to the sacred mountains,
sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines
". -- Dp 188

Primitive man found himself in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes was constantly with him. Finding no security, he created the idea of gods in order to give him comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong. To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha's teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration. The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding.

The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. There are numerous religions, all claiming that they alone have god's words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand god's nature, that their god exists and that the gods of other religions do not. Some claim that god is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existence of their god but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existence of another god. It is not surprising that with so many different religions spending so many centuries trying to prove the existence of their gods that still no real, concrete, substantial or irrefutable evidence has been found. Buddhists suspend judgement until such evidence is forthcoming.

The third reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin on the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god. Some claim that belief in god's power is necessary because humans, being weak, do not have the strength to help themselves. Once again, the evidence indicates the opposite. One often hears of people who have overcome great disabilities and handicaps, enormous odds and difficulties, through their own inner resources, through their own efforts and without belief in a god. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attention from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding.

But if there are no gods how did the universe get here?

All religions have myths and stories which attempt to answer this question. In ancient times, when many simply did not know, such myths were adequate, but in the 20th century, in the age of physics, astronomy and geology, such myths have been superseded by scientific fact. Science has explained the origin of the universe without recourse to the god-idea.

What does the Buddha say about the origin of the universe?

It is interesting that the Buddha's explanation of the origin of the universe corresponds very closely to the scientific view. In the Aganna Sutta, the Buddha described the universe being destroyed and then re-evolving into its present form over a period of countless millions of years. The first life formed on the surface of the water and again, over countless millions of years, evolved from simple into complex organisms. All these processes are without beginning or end, and are set in motion by natural causes.

You say there is no evidence for the existence of a god. But what about miracles?

There are many who believe that miracles are proof of god's existence. We hear wild claims that a healing has taken place but we never get an independent testimony from a medical office or a surgeon. We hear second-hand reports that someone was miraculously saved from disaster but we never get an eye-witness account of what is supposed to have happened. We hear rumours that prayer straightened a diseased body or strengthened a withered limb, but we never see X-rays or get comments from doctors or nurses. Wild claims, second-hand reports and rumours are no substitute for solid evidence and solid evidence of miracles is very rare.

However, sometimes unexplained things do happen, unexpected events do occur. But our inability to explain such things does not prove the existence of gods. It only proves that our knowledge is as yet incomplete. Before the development of modern medicine, when people didn't know what caused sickness people believed that god or the gods sent diseases as a punishment. Now we know what causes such things and when we get sick, we take medicine. In time when our knowledge of the world is more complete, we will be able to understand what causes unexplained phenomena, just as we can now understand what causes disease.

But so many people believe in some form of god, it must be true.

Not so. There was a time when everyone believed that the world was flat, but they were all wrong. The number of people who believe in an idea is no measure of the truth or falsehood of that idea. The only way we can tell whether an idea is true or not is by looking at the facts and examining the evidence.

So if Buddhists don't believe in gods, what do you believe in?

We don't believe in a god because we believe in man. We believe that each human being is precious and important, that all have the potential to develop into a Buddha – a perfected human being. We believe that human beings can outgrow ignorance and irrationality and see things as they really are. We believe that hatred, anger, spite and jealousy can be replaced by love, patience, generosity and kindness. We believe that all this is within the grasp of each person if they make the effort, guided and supported by fellow Buddhists and inspired by the example of the Buddha. As the Buddha says:

"No one saves us but ourselves,
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path,
But Buddhas clearly show the way". -- Dp 165

Gửi ý kiến của bạn
Tắt
Telex
VNI
Tên của bạn
Email của bạn
08/07/202009:09(Xem: 1664)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not over yet. We need to keep looking after ourselves and our community to stop the virus spreading. Due to increased cases in Victoria, some restrictions have changed. From 22 June 2020: · You cannot have more than five visitors in your home · You cannot gather outdoors with more than 10 people · Schools, libraries, places of worship and businesses remain open · Stay close to home and do not travel if possible
12/08/202013:37(Xem: 599)
Hungry Ghosts is a suspenseful, character-driven ghost story with heart, humour and scares. Set in contemporary Melbourne during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the Vietnamese community venerate their dead, four families find themselves haunted by ghosts from the past. As these hauntings intensify, they threaten to unleash their deepest fears and expose secrets long buried. Through an ensemble of characters, both Vietnamese and Anglo, Hungry Ghosts explores the concept of the inherent trauma we pass down from one generation to the next, and how notions of displacement impact human identity - long after the events themselves. Can you ever really leave behind the trauma of your past? Is it possible to abandon both spiritual and physical culture, or does it form part of your fundamental DNA? To free themselves and those they love, each character in Hungry Ghosts must atone for their sins and confront their deepest fears or risk being swallowed by the shadows of their p
22/06/202013:23(Xem: 719)
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero (Sinhala: අග්ග මහා පණ්ඩිත බලංගොඩ ආනන්ද මෛත්‍රෙය මහා නා හිමි;23 August 1896 – 18 July 1998) was a Sri Lankan scholar Buddhist monk and a personality of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century.[3][4] He was highly respected by Sri Lankan Buddhists, who believe that he achieved a higher level of spiritual development through meditation.[2][5] Sri Lankan Buddhists also considered Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero as a Bodhisattva, who will attain Buddhahood in a future life.
23/05/202015:18(Xem: 970)
Dr. Gagan Malik Interview: Mother Nature's Fury with Human Beings | 4 ways to 'overcome' Covid-19, With the rapidly rising number of covid-19 cases in the world's second most populous country, India, and the world's largest lockdown still continuing, I caught up with my friend who is a Bollywood actor, UN Peace Ambassador for South-East Asia and a passionate Buddhist, Dr. Gagan Malik. In this fascinating 47min interview, he shares his various concerns about the covid-19 situation, such as the lack of clear information available on how covid-19 patients are being treated in hospitals, the wastage of time during the lockdown, our mistreatment of Mother Nature/Earth, and also addresses his Buddhists friends on some concerning matters. He also provides some wise suggestions to everyone from a Buddhist point of view on how we can make the most of the lockdown and how collectively as a human race, we can do something about our current dire plight. Thank you so much Dr. Malik for al
21/05/202009:20(Xem: 1032)
Victorian United Nations of Vesak 2644 (Saturday, 23 May 2020)
23/04/202020:05(Xem: 1307)
In June of 1957, the senior members of the Youth Circle of the Penang Buddhist Association formed a committee to explore the possibilities of forming a Dharma school to convene each Sunday morning for the systematic instruction of Buddhist children in the truths of our religion. Fifteen members of this committee volunteered to prepare themselves to take over teaching duties. This group of volunteers found no great lack of material suitable for instructing adults in the Dharma, but when they turned their search towards lesson material for children, they found a most startling lack of anything remotely approaching the needs of a modern Sunday school. A certain amount of Buddhist literature for children was found in Chinese and Japanese language presentations, but there are few Chinese in Malaya who are completely at home in written Chinese. Moreover, even the children enrolled in the Dharma classes are well versed only in colloquial Chinese, in Penang usually the Hokkien dialect, and the
22/03/202010:11(Xem: 1384)
Hòa Thương Thích Như Điển đã làm lễ khánh thọ lần thứ 70 trong năm qua. Thầy đã mang truyền thống dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam sang nước Đức và là người truyền thừa có ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Phật Giáo tại đây. Đồng thời, Thầy đã đóng góp triệt để cho sự hội nhập của người Việt trong nước Đức – và do đó cũng là một đoạn đường quan trọng cho tính đa dạng của Phật Giáo trong đất nước này. Trong bài tiểu luận này, ông Olaf Beuchling đã vinh danh cuộc sống và những Phật sự của vị Pháp Sư đồng thời giới thiệu tổng quan dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam.] Người ta đứng chen chúc trong khuôn viên an bình của ngôi Chùa Viên Giác tại Hannover: Có hàng ngàn người khách hiện diện trong những ngày hè của tháng sáu năm 2019. Họ đến hỷ chúc 70 năm khánh thọ của Hòa Thượng Phương Trượng Chùa Viên Giác – Thầy Thích Như Điển, vị Tỳ Kheo người Đức gốc Việt.
14/03/202009:22(Xem: 1916)
The Book was first published in 1942. The present edition has been revised and expanded. Though primarily intended for the students and beginners rather than scholars, the reader will find it an extremely valuable handbook, offering a sound foundation to the basic tenets of Buddhism as found in its original Pali tradition.
14/01/202009:00(Xem: 1655)
I consider myself to be one of the extremely lucky ones to study the Dharma at the Phap Bao temple every Sunday with awise, caring and compassionate teacher like Ven. Bhikkuni Giac Anh. The classes are like an endless supply of cool and pure water from a gentle stream that my Dharma friends and I can always drink from to quench our thirst and purify our body and mind.Over the years, I have seen incremental improvements in myselfsuch as being calmer, learning and practicing the Dharma better and applying the practical advice from my Teacher to better deal with everyday challenges.
03/01/202019:51(Xem: 1241)
The Gift of Well Being, Joy, Sorrow and Renunciation on the Buddha’s Way by Ajahn Munindo, Among the many books about Buddhism that have recently been brought to my attention this one is unique. It is not a text; it neither exhorts, compares nor expounds. Quite simply, it opens a way through the landscape of life, ageing and death. Reading, one joins the author of the Way. It is vivid; it is honest; it is profound. All, all flows naturally, revealing a terrain of trust.