SuttaCentral

Does God(s) Exist and Does it Matter?

Let me explain better.

Like a commentary.

What Buddha says we perceive gods as gods, that’s probably is meaning, we accept them as we accept them without consideration to the possibility it’s not real.

I don’t understand what you are trying to say?

The phrase that something is possible comes up a fair amount in Christian apologetics. But life is of limited duration–at a certain point one needs to not worry about following up on every possibility and focus on what’s known, or at least what’s probable. I am quite comfortable focusing my remaining years on Buddhism. :slightly_smiling_face:

Is there a possibility of Mr. Brooks changing the title. As it’s centered on existence of something most of us probably can’t see. It can create wrong view as we discuss if they exist or not. Which both the two extremes. There is possibility of just sharing the positive side of maybe doing such things as recommended in the suttas. Recollection that as same wisdom etc the gods have, we have it in us.

It doesn’t help us saying if we believe or not. What are the suttas recommendation about using the believe in god to our advantage?

Sadhu. My focus is also on the Buddha, the Buddha’s teachings, and the Dhamma. And deities are mentioned a LOT in the EBTs, or this topic wouldn’t be worth discussing here it seems.

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We should take this teaching of Agamas Kalamas version.

Kālāmas, do not doubt! Why? When there is doubt, hesitation arises. Kālāmas, you yourselves do not have clear knowledge about whether there is a next life or whether there is no next life. Kālāmas, you your- selves also do not have clear knowledge about what action is an offense and what action is not an offense.

That’s a nice one. We as householders should consider.

MN60
“So, householders, is there some other teacher you’re happy with, in whom you have acquired grounded faith?”

“No, sir.”

“Since you haven’t found a teacher you’re happy with, you should undertake and implement this guaranteed teaching. For when the guaranteed teaching is undertaken, it will be for your lasting welfare and happiness. And what is the guaranteed teaching?

There are some ascetics and brahmins who have this doctrine and view: ‘There’s no meaning in giving, sacrifice, or offerings. There’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There’s no afterlife. There’s no obligation to mother and father. No beings are reborn spontaneously. And there’s no ascetic or brahmin who is well attained and practiced, and who describes the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight.’

And there are some ascetics and brahmins whose doctrine directly contradicts this. They say: ‘There is meaning in giving, sacrifice, and offerings. There are fruits and results of good and bad deeds. There is an afterlife. There is obligation to mother and father. There are beings reborn spontaneously. And there are ascetics and brahmins who are well attained and practiced, and who describe the afterlife after realizing it with their own insight.’

What do you think, householders? Don’t these doctrines directly contradict each other?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Since this is so, consider those ascetics and brahmins whose view is that there’s no meaning in giving, etc. You can expect that they will reject good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and undertake and implement bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind. Why is that? Because those ascetics and brahmins don’t see that unskillful qualities are full of drawbacks, sordidness, and corruption, or that skillful qualities have the benefit and cleansing power of renunciation.

Moreover, since there actually is another world, their view that there is no other world is wrong view. Since there actually is another world, their thought that there is no other world is wrong thought. Since there actually is another world, their speech that there is no other world is wrong speech. Since there actually is another world, in saying that there is no other world they contradict those perfected ones who know the other world. Since there actually is another world, in convincing another that there is no other world they are convincing them to accept an untrue teaching. And on account of that they glorify themselves and put others down. So they give up their former ethical conduct and are established in unethical conduct. And that is how wrong view gives rise to these many bad, unskillful qualities—wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, contradicting the noble ones, convincing others to accept untrue teachings, and glorifying oneself and putting others down.

A sensible person reflects on this matter in this way: ‘If there is no other world, when this individual’s body breaks up they will keep themselves safe. And if there is another world, when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. But let’s assume that those who say that there is no other world are correct. Regardless, that individual is still criticized by sensible people in the present life as being an immoral individual of wrong view, a nihilist.’ But if there really is another world, they lose on both counts. For they are criticized by sensible people in the present life, and when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. They have wrongly undertaken this guaranteed teaching in such a way that it encompasses the positive outcomes of one side only, leaving out the skillful premise.

Since this is so, consider those ascetics and brahmins whose view is that there is meaning in giving, etc. You can expect that they will reject bad conduct by way of body, speech, and mind, and undertake and implement good conduct by way of body, speech, and mind. Why is that? Because those ascetics and brahmins see that unskillful qualities are full of drawbacks, sordidness, and corruption, and that skillful qualities have the benefit and cleansing power of renunciation.

Moreover, since there actually is another world, their view that there is another world is right view. Since there actually is another world, their thought that there is another world is right thought. Since there actually is another world, their speech that there is another world is right speech. Since there actually is another world, in saying that there is another world they don’t contradict those perfected ones who know the other world. Since there actually is another world, in convincing another that there is another world they are convincing them to accept a true teaching. And on account of that they don’t glorify themselves or put others down. So they give up their former unethical conduct and are established in ethical conduct. And that is how right view gives rise to these many skillful qualities—right view, right thought, right speech, not contradicting the noble ones, convincing others to accept true teachings, and not glorifying oneself or putting others down.

A sensible person reflects on this matter in this way: ‘If there is another world, when this individual’s body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. But let’s assume that those who say that there is no other world are correct. Regardless, that individual is still praised by sensible people in the present life as being a moral individual of right view, who affirms a positive teaching.’ So if there really is another world, they win on both counts. For they are praised by sensible people in the present life, and when their body breaks up, after death, they will be reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. They have rightly undertaken this guaranteed teaching in such a way that it encompasses the positive outcomes of both sides, leaving out the unskillful premise.

:nerd_face:

(The last paragraph encompasses a bit of astute reasoning that Pascal rediscovered in 1657 AD! Yet, Western Philosophy considers itself ‘advanced’.)

The Kalamas in Pali and Agamas talk about having the right view that there is afterlife. But I myself don’t think Buddha forced extreme beliefs that householders can’t handle on them.

For example the ending of Pali and Agamas say almost the same assurance we can have if keep morality.

In this way, Kālāmas, the mind of a learned noble disciple is free from fetters and resentment, without ill will or quarrel, and he obtains four assurances. What are the four?
[He thinks:]
[If] there is this world and another world, [if] there are results of wholesome and unwholesome actions, then upholding and being endowed with this right view and action in conformity with it, at the breaking up of the body, after my death, I will certainly go to a good realm of existence, be reborn in a heavenly realm.
Thus, Kālāmas, this is the first assurance obtained by a learned noble disciple whose mind is free from fetters and resentment, without ill will or quarrel. Again, Kālāmas, [he thinks:]
[If] there is neither this world nor another world, [if] there are no results of wholesome and unwholesome actions, then in this case, in this lifetime I am not censured by others for this belief, but am praised for having right attentiveness, as one who is diligent and one who is said to have right view.
Thus, Kālāmas, this is the second assurance obtained by a learned noble disciple whose mind is free from fetters and resentment, without ill will or quarrel. Again, Kālāmas, [he thinks:]
Whatever I have done, I have certainly done no evil, and I recollect no evil. Why? Since I have done no evil, whence could suffering arise?
Thus, Kālāmas, this is the third assurance obtained by a learned noble disciple whose mind is free from fetters and resentment, without ill will or quarrel. Again, Kālāmas, [he thinks:]
Whatever I may have done, I have certainly done no evil, and I have not violated the [customs of the] world, either out of fear or without fear; I have always had compassion and empathy for the entire world. My mind has been free of contention with beings, untainted, and delighted.
Thus, Kālāmas, this is the fourth assurance obtained by a learned noble disciple whose mind is free from fetters and resentment, without ill will or quarrel. These, Kālāmas, are the four assurances obtained by a learned noble disciple whose mind is free from fetters and resentment, without ill will or quarrel.

That should atleast be the teaching for householders to keep morality

Good point. My hope is the question in the title doesn’t encourage someone to solidify a view that seems contrary to the EBTs. For example, a view such as “there’s no heavenly realms,” which would seem to necessitate there are no hell realms either.

Perhaps for those who don’t believe in deities because they can’t see or measure them can adopt an agnostic view toward deities as @Gillian mentions above. That seems safer than taking up a view that contradicts phenomena described in the EBTs like devas, for example.

That said, the Buddha gives us plenty of teachings that we can verify here and now, including AN 6.48: Visible in This Very Life.

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Actually I believe that Buddha did want us to have that attitude. See what the Kalamas sutta says for example . It’s like leaving the possibilities open. But this might been the reason Buddha kept teaching about gods. As we can see the suttas of Buddha and disciples going to heaven or a lot in hell as in Mahavastu, can make faith in them. And this might have been the intention. But still maybe Buddha just kept the possibilities open out of compassion until a disciple doesn’t bother with such things.

I think like a user in this forum has explained to slowly make the transition.

So we can’t see if he was teaching monks in training for example.

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Maybe, but the Buddha seems to make it clear he only says what’s true, what’s beneficial, and he only says it at the right time. (I forget the sutta citation at the moment).

I think this is where faith comes in:

“Is it possible, Bhante, to point out a directly visible fruit of giving?”

“It is, Sīha,” the Blessed One said.

(1) “A donor, Sīha, a munificent giver, is dear and agreeable to many people. This is a directly visible fruit of giving.

(2) “Again, good persons resort to a donor, a munificent giver. This, too, is a directly visible fruit of giving.

(3) “Again, a donor, a munificent giver, acquires a good reputation. This, too, is a directly visible fruit of giving.

(4) “Again, whatever assembly a donor, a munificent giver, approaches—whether of khattiyas, brahmins, householders, or ascetics—he approaches it confidently and composed. This too is a directly visible fruit of giving.

(5) “Again, with the breakup of the body, after death, a donor, a munificent giver, is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world. This is a fruit of giving pertaining to future lives.”

When this was said, Sīha the general said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, I do not go by faith in the Blessed One concerning those four directly visible fruits of giving declared by him. I know them, too. For I am a donor, a munificent giver, and I am dear and agreeable to many people. I am a donor, a munificent giver, and many good persons resort to me. I am a donor, a munificent giver, and I have acquired a good reputation as a donor, sponsor, and supporter of the Saṅgha. I am a donor, a munificent giver, and whatever assembly I approach—whether of khattiyas, brahmins, householders, or ascetics—I approach it confidently and composed. I do not go by faith in the Blessed One concerning these four directly visible fruits of giving declared by him. I know them, too. But when the Blessed One tells me: ‘Sīha, with the breakup of the body, after death, a donor, a munificent giver, is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world,’ I do not know this, and here I go by faith in the Blessed One.”

“So it is, Sīha, so it is! With the breakup of the body, after death, a donor, a munificent giver, is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.”

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The Kalama Sutta is for non-buddhists. Its not for someone who has already gone to refuge and accepted the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. For those who have taken refuge then faith (saddha) is part of the practice until the first stage of awakening.

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What about the parallels do we have a study to show parallels agree to the exact same cosmology? if there is one like that Mahavastu being a 2 CE text doesn’t have to be included. But besides what we have. I have the open the possibilities that Vedic religion joined Buddhism and tried to add Buddha as is done still today as Vishnu. It’s seen in Mahayana text. The Hindu influences is still there. And exactly when that happened Mahayana maybe started to be a movement. Around 2 BCE. So just before Nikayas was written down.

Atleast the comparison of some Agamas and Pali have showed that Pali has more types of Brahma.

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In the Agamas version then they went to Buddha out of Faith. It’s faith makes you want hear Buddha’s teachings

For instance, Mahamati, Indra is [sometimes known as] Sakra, [sometimes? as] Purandara; hand is hasta, kara, pani; the body is tanu, deha, sarira; the earth is prithivi, bhumi, vasumdhara; the sky is kha, akasa, gagana; all these objects each in its way are designated with many names, synonymously used and discriminated; but on account of these different names different objects are not to be imagined, nor are they without their self-nature. The same, Mahamati, can be said of myself, for I come within the range of hearing of ignorant people, in this world of patience, under many names, amounting to a hundred thousand times three asamkhyeyas, and they address me by these names not knowing that they are all other names of the Tathagata. Of these, Mahamati, some recognise me as the Tathagata, some as the Self-existent One, some as Leader, as Vinayaka (Remover), as Parinayaka (Guide), as Buddha, as Rishi (Ascetic), as Bull-king, as Brahma, as Vishnu, as Isvara, as Original Source (pradhana), as Kapila, as Bhutanta (End of Reality), as Arishta, as Nemina, as Soma (moon), as the Sun, as Rama, as Vyasa, as Suka, as Indra, as Balin, as Varuna, as is known to some; while others recognise me as One who is never born and never passes away, as Emptiness, as Suchness, as Truth, as Reality, as Limit of Reality, (193) as the Dharmadhatu, as Nirvana, as the Eternal, as Sameness, as Non-duality, as the Undying, as the Formless, as Causation…

Lankavatara Sūtra

I think the supposed visit of Buddha to Sri Lanka Mahayana Sūtra. This is a example what they tried to do by including Buddha as part of all their gods.

The EBTs say they exist in the heavenly realms. It seems like the heaven realms and deities are inextricably linked. One danger of the view: “deities don’t exist” is that view seems to necessitate the view that heaven doesn’t exist. Without heaven, the Buddha’s teachings on rebirth start to unravel.

Incidentally, one possibility is that realms are not as physical as the the material reductionism view holds. One current theory that seems to make some sense is that the brain/body is a filter for consciousness. The Buddha’s teaching on the immaterial jhanas suggest there is an infinite base of consciousness, but I currently don’t have time to flush the filter theory out as it relates to deities.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with not being able to directly see deities. I can’t see viruses, bacteria, many frequencies of light, etc., subatomic particles, etc. In fact, we can’t even see gravity, but we can feel it’s effects. It seems like there’s probably more of the universe we can’t see than we can.

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did Mr. Brooks think of the possibility that believe in rebirth doesn’t necessarily mean there is heaven? What if the real purpose of the teaching was that we have to believe in rebirth because we have to be aware of it as a morality after effect? I wonder why the kids that remember their former life doesn’t mention what happens in between. But they confirm past life.

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It’s start around 6:29 min

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