22 September, 2020

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God In Buddhism? A Response To Dr Jagath Asoka

By Shyamon Jayasinghe –

Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

I read with profound interest the long piece written by Dr Jagath Asoka (JA) captioned “From Siddhartha Gautama to God,” that appears in the Colombo Telegraph today.

JA displays a creative ingenuity that is a consequence of a mind that has got off the hook of the conventional framework he had inherited. JA suggests a pertinent point, namely that popular Buddhism hasn’t done away with the concept of an almighty God. I like to develop on that idea and assert that early Buddhism failed to take root in India and disappeared from the land of its birth due to its rational rejection of a Brahma who supervises us from the sky and who gives us good return for being good while punishing the bad.  The masses were not ready for the Kalama sutra. How many of them are ready for that now? People reverted to the Hindu gallery of deities as that gave them solace, which pure reason could not deliver. Buddhism survived later and spread to other lands only by reincorporating the spiritual vacuum filled by the lost divine.

Sri Lanka practices a popular form of Buddhism that seems to assume a spiritual subtext. Buddha is worshipped as a God in our temples by the vast majority of the population. Our people say: “Budu Saranayi,” as the Christians invoke: “God bless!” How could a mortal Buddha who is dead and gone give us protection or sarana?

In many temples monks have added a kind of divine appeal after the pansil by pleading forgiveness from the Buddha:  “mata kama karanu mena.” (Forgive me for my wrongs). This might evolve into a Christian kind of confessional someday and we may have to confess before the BBS Gnanasara! Furthermore, temples preach that the Buddha was all-knowing (like God). The Buddha himself did not claim such knowledge while he encouraged his followers to think for themselves and test for themselves if what he said was right. In iconic image Buddha is represented with a Christian-type halo.

Popular Buddhism also refers to miracles occurring. When I was working at Polonnaruwa the rumour spread that golden rays were emanating from the historic Somawathie Chaityaya, which I also joined in restoring. Thousands flocked to see and worship what later was found to be the reflection of the glass of a car!

Look at the depth of veneration that people give the Buddha. It is certainly not the detached genuflection that one gives a Guru, which is what Buddha basically had been. Again, just as Christians believe that Christ will come to earth Buddhists believe that the Buddha, too, will manifest again. At temple we give ‘Buddha poojawa,” namely samples of food to the statue. Examples and illustrations are many that go to bolster the point suggested by JA. Commentators can, perhaps, help this discourse by adding to such illustrations.

On a more serious and philosophical plane I wonder if the doctrine of Karma and rebirth presupposes a God  or spiritual agent who does the job of assigning the dead to his/her subsequent post-mortal states as frogs, Kings or princesses?

I write as an atheist and a Buddhist minus rebirth

However, I feel a bit nonplussed to note how JA, having made such a valuable finding ends justifying a kind of miscellaneous eclecticism by supporting all religions and even accepting a God! From clarity he slips on to confusion. Would like to see him clarifying this U-turn.

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    While it is true some people need a theistic god, there is no reason to assume the people in general could not gave accepted Buddhism were it not for the scheming and destruction unleashed on Buddhists by Brahmins. The proof of this lies in the fact that Buddha was against Brahminism and were Buddhism to permanently take hold, the Brahmins would have lost their influence and power, so they had to wipe out Buddhism to retain their power.

  • 0
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    Mrs Sandy do you have a point? Why not bring out that and show us instead of going round and round.

  • 1
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    W H O S A I D T H E R E I S N O GOD IN BUDDHISM.??????????????

    JUST READ ON UNTIL THE LAST LETTER OF THE LAST SENTENCEWHEN the Buddha was staying at the Veluvana, the bamboo grove at Rajagaha, he addressed the brethren thus: “Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and the fixed and necessary constitution of being that all conformations are transitory. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it, he announces, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations are transitory.

    “Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and a fixed and necessary constitution of being, that all conformations are suffering. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it, he announces, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations are suffering.

    “Whether Buddhas arise, O priests, or whether Buddhas do not arise, it remains a fact and a fixed and necessary constitution of being, that all conformations are lacking a self. This fact a Buddha discovers and masters, and when he has discovered and mastered it, he announces, teaches, publishes, proclaims, discloses, minutely explains and makes it clear that all conformations are lacking a self.”

    And on another occasion the Blessed One dwelt at Savatthi in the Jetavana, the garden of Anathapindika. At that time the Blessed One edified, aroused, quickened and gladdened the monks with a religious discourse on the subject of Nirvana. And these monks grasping the meaning, thinking it out, and accepting with their hearts the whole doctrine, listened attentively. But there was one brother who had some doubt left in his heart. He arose and clasping his hands made the request: “May I be permitted to ask a question?” When permission was granted he spoke as follows:

    “The Buddha teaches that all conformations are transient, that all conformations are subject to sorrow, that all conformations are lacking a self. How then can there be Nirvana, a state of eternal bliss?”‘

    And the Blessed One, this connection, on that occasion, breathed forth this solemn utterance: “There is, O monks, a state where there is neither earth, nor water, nor heat, nor air; neither infinity of space nor infinity of consciousness, nor nothingness, nor perception nor non-perception; neither this world nor that world, neither sun nor moon. It is the uncreate. That O monks, I term neither coming nor going nor standing; neither death nor birth. It is without stability, without change; it is the eternal which never originates and never passes away. There is the end of sorrow.

    “It is hard to realize the essential, the truth is not easily perceived; desire is mastered by him who knows, and to him who sees aright all things are naught. There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. Since, O monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed.”

  • 1
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    There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. Since, O monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed.”

    SURELY THIS IS A REFERENCE TO GOD!!!!!!!

  • 0
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    Thank you for asking Plain Talk..well,

    It’s about how nothing and no one can fill the terrible emptiness within us, except our Creator Himself- The Holy Spirit of God.

    We try to stuff the ’emptiness’ inside of us with various things – T.V., Books, Religion, wealth, relationships, hobbies. But none of these things really satisfy us – which leaves one wondering, “Is this all?”

    Ecclesiastes.ch.2. says,

    ‘I thought in my heart, “Come, now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.But that also proved to be meaningless.. I tried cheering myself with wine and embraced folly..I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do, during the few days of their lives.

    I made reservoirs..owned herds and flocks..I amassed silver and gold, treasures of kings and provinces..I had a harem as well.I denied myself nothing..my heart took delight in all my work.Yet, when I surveyed all that my hands had done, and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’

    The God of The Bible is The True and Living God.The God of Relationship.He is not a Religion. He invites us to a Relationship with Him.He reveals Himself to us through His Word, The Holy Bible.

    “Here I AM! I stand at the door and knock.If anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in …”.
    (Revelations.3.20)

    Many seek ‘a way’ through religion, philosophy or their own intellect. But Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”.

    When His Holy Spirit comes to live within us, at our invitation,we have Rest.He is our Rest.He never leaves us.He gives us meaning and purpose in Life and thereafter.

    He is the Only Way. That’s all I wanted to say..

  • 0
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    Ayman, are you the same person as Miss Sandy?

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      Plain talk, can’t you see that Ms Sandy is an Evangelist, but Ayman is trying to make a bit more sense, although he tries to twist the Buddha’s words to his own way of thinking?

  • 0
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    I’m not Ayman.

  • 1
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    A quote from Bertrand Russell who had four wives and many mistresses –

    “..the root of the whole thing is loneliness.. I have a very internal

    and terrible spiritual loneliness..”

    ( ‘Long Journey Home’ – a Guide to your search for the meaning of Life
    by Os Guinness.)

  • 0
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    I AM AYMAN, NOT A “MISSIE” OR “SISSIE”
    Rahula was the historical Buddha’s only child. He was born shortly before his father left on his quest for enlightenment. Indeed, Rahula’s birth appears to have been one of the factors that fueled Prince Siddhartha’s determination to become a wandering mendicant.

    According to Buddhist legend, Prince Siddhartha already had been shaken deeply by the realization he could not escape sickness, old age, and death. And he was beginning to think of leaving his privileged life to see peace of mind. When his wife Yasodhara gave birth to a son, the Prince bitterly called the boy Rahula, which means “fetter.”
    BUDDHA HAD A SON TOO………

  • 0
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    BEFORE FURTHER QUESTIONS, THIS TOO WAS SUPPOSEDLY AN “IMMACULATE
    CONCEPTION” LIKE THAT OF MARY.

    SO JOSEPH AND SIDDHARTHA WERE BORN WITHOUT ANY PHYSICAL CONTACT
    WITH THEIR WIVES.

    HOWS AND WHYS DO NOT MATTER

    THE BUDDHA HIMSELF SAID NOT TO ACCEPT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING,
    EVEN WHAT HE SAID. SO WE ARE BACK AT SQUARE ONE.

  • 0
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    Miss Sandy tell us how Jesus was born of a virgin

  • 0
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    Amarey….with all your reference you made were all dupes. Because, Buddha did not leave any written piece of advice or records anywhere in the world. All the writings came 300 years after the death of Buddha.

    Nobody knows how these words appeared after 300 years whether its original or duplicate or adulterated…there’s no way to check or verify.

    Satan fooled everyone like he did to all other religions after its originators passed away. Satanic way of doing things is very simple. He would appoint someone in the place of the original teacher after their deaths and feed them with strange ideas totally opposed to the original teachings to promote his misguidance. Buddha fought against idols and Satan made an idol out of Buddha and then named it “The Buddhism” the brand name for a product which is causing havoc in the 21st century.

    Darwin or Dawkin, nobody can prove their theory of evolution. ITS A BLATANT LIE….and its not science but the science of magic in fooling people.

    With all your bloody teaching, you still can’t find a way to stop spreading hate, racism & killing by the followers of Buddha.

    • 2
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      What does it matter whether it is Buddha’s word or not. As Buddha (or who so ever later said) “Inquire, question and test them and if they agree with your mind and they do good to you and others and do no harm to you and others follow them, otherwise reject them”.

      Unlike some other religions, Buddhism is not hung-up on the “Almighty” son of God or the Messenger of God or the God itself, but only on the message.

  • 0
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    ‘The Virgin Birth’ – Luke.Ch.1.Holy Bible.

    “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin?”
    The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the Power of the Most High will overshadow you.So the Holy One to be born, will be called The Son of God.”

    • 0
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      This is not possible unless Holy spirit was an airborne sperm..;-)

  • 1
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    “Busy Mind” is not busy enough learning. The theory of evolution by natural selection has so been established with recurring firm evidence that even Christian fundamentalist in America don’t reject it.
    Better if Busy Minds is busy in areas he can grasp

  • 0
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    ” Is not the truth of the matter really this, that man is just like a
    child who would rather be free from being under his parents eyes.
    Is not this what men want?
    To be free from ‘being under the Eyes of God?’

    -SOREN KIERKEGAARD-

    ” I am the Alpha and the Omega”, says the Lord God, Who is, and Who was
    and Who is to come, the Almighty”. – Book of Revelation.Ch.1.

  • 0
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    Ayman, you refer to Siddhartha leaving home when Rahula was born. Was that not an inhuman act? You give up your responsibilities as a father and head of family and leave as a wanderer. A selfish act.

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