Ādi Buddhā

Ādi-Buddha,  among some sects of Mahāyāna Buddhism, the first, or self-existing, Buddha, from whom are said to have evolved the five Dhyāni-Buddhas (see Dhyāni-Buddha). Though the concept of an Ādi-Buddha was never generally popular, a few groups, particularly in Nepal, Tibet, and Java, elevated Vairocana to the position of Ādi-Buddha or named a new deity, such as Vajradhara or Vajrasattva, as the supreme lord. The Ādi-Buddha is represented in painting and sculpture as a crowned Buddha, dressed in princely garments and wearing the traditional ornaments of a bodhisattva (“buddha-to-be”).

Encyclopedia Britannica

In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Adi-Buddha, or Adibuddha (Tibetan: Dang-po'i sangs-rgyas), is the "Primordial Buddha." The term refers to a self-emanating, self-originating Buddha, present before anything else existed. Samantabhadra/Samantabhadri and Vajradhara are the best known names for Adi-Buddha, though there are others. Adi-Buddha is usually depicted as dark blue.

The concept of Adi-Buddha is the closest to monotheism any form of Buddhism comes. Even then, Adi-Buddha is recognized as the center of an extended array of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, which are considered reflections of it. All famous sages and Bodhisattvas are said to be reflections of Adi-Buddha, and many are identified as the "personality" of it.

Adi-Buddha is better compared to the abstracted forces of Brahman, Ayn Sof or Arche rather than a personal creator God in the mold of Yahweh or Ishvara. Also, Adi-Buddha is not said to be the creator, but the originator of all things. Adi-Buddha is a deity in an Emanationist sense.

Names of Adi-Buddha

Though all Buddhist figures are said to be emanations of the Adi-Buddha, certain Bodhisattvas are revered as its actual personality. This personality is often referred to as Dharmakaya, or "buddha-body of reality."

Samantabhadra/Samantabhadri

The Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, who, according to the Avatamsaka Sutra made ten great vows, is revered as Adi-Buddha in the Nyingma school of Vajrayana, along with his consort Samantabhadri. The two are usually depicted in union together in Tantric union. Samantabhadra is dark blue, while Samantabhadri is white. They appear together as Adi-Buddha in the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead), at the center of the assembly of Peaceful Deities. Their wrathful forms are Mahotta Heruka and Krodheshvari.

There is some confusion over whether or not the Adi-Buddha Samantabhadra and the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra are in fact the same. Both appear as separate figures in the Bardo Thodol.

Vajradhara

Vajradhara (Dorje Chang) is regarded as Adi-Buddha in the Gelug and Kagyu schools. Vajradhara is also considered the Tantric form of Sakyamuni, the Great Sage of Humans. He also is depicted as dark blue in color. His esoteric doctrines were said to have been handed down to Marpa Lotsawa.

Vairocana

In Mahayana Buddhism, Vairocana is interpreted as the Bliss Body of Shakyamuni, and appears as such in the Avatamsaka Sutra. However, in the Vajrayana text the Mahavairocana Tantra, Vairocana is depicted as the Adi-Buddha. The Mahavariocana Tantra is the basis for Shingon Buddhism, the oldest esoteric school of Buddhist thought in Japan, where Vairocana is called Dainchi Nyorai (大日如來). Francis Xavier used the word "Dainchi" for the Christian God when he met with Shingon monks in the 16th Century. Upon learning that the word applied to Vairocana, Xavier dropped it.

Other Adi-Buddhas

Ati Yoga

Ati Yoga (or Primordial Yoga), which is another name for the Tibetan tradition of Dzogchen, employs an Adi-Buddha sadhana, or practice. NB: Ati and Adi are different orthographic representations of phonemes of the language of Uddiyana which equate to 'primordial' according to Ch÷gyal Namkhai Norbu.

In Hinduism

In Vaishnavism, the term Adi-Buddha applies to original form of Shakyamuni as an avatar of Vishnu. Shakyamuni is included as one of the ten avatars [1] See also: Sugata Buddha

Wikipedia

Adi Buddha  a Buddhist deity, also referred to as Adinath (God, Creator, First Saviour) and Swayambhu Lokanath (He who saves the world through self-incarnation) or Swayambhu (Self-incarnated Lord). In Chinese Adi Buddha is called 'Pen-Chu-Fo' or 'Seng-Chu-Fo' which means 'First Buddha' or 'Progenitor Lord'. In Tibetan he is called 'Don Pohi-Sans-Ragyas' which means 'He is the Buddha of all Buddhas' or 'Machog-Gi-Don Pohi Sansa-Ragyas' which means 'He is the self-incarnated first Buddha' or 'Thogamahi-Sans-Ragyas' which means 'He is the first true Buddha'.

The Buddha did not include the divine in his teachings. buddhism is thus generally called an atheistic religion. The mahayana cult, however, introduced the divine in the form of Adi Buddha. According to this cult, Adi Buddha is the cause of creation, thunder, and of the void. He is described as omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. The idea of Adi Buddha is believed to have originated in Bengal, from where it spread to other parts of India, Nepal and Tibet.



The cult of Adi Buddha was at first accepted by the Kalachakrayana group of the vajrayana sect belonging to the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. The principal temple situated on the Swayambhu Mountain near Kathmandu has been consecrated to Adi Buddha. According to a legend narrated in Swayambhupurana, Adi Buddha was first manifested in the shape of a flame. Buddhist creation myths describe how Adi Buddha created the Avalokiteshvar, Maheshvar, Brahma, Narayan, Saraswati, the moon, the sun, the wind, the earth, and the ocean.

Adi Buddha is considered to be the incarnate symbol of the void and the possessor of five kinds of virtue from which five kinds of meditation originated. From these meditations the five medidating Buddhas appeared. When Adi Buddha is represented in human form, he is called Vajradhar. Representations of Adi Buddha Vajradhar show him in a seated position, with his legs crossed in a meditative vajrasan or in the sitting posture known as vajraparyanka.

With his bodhisattva crown, fine dress and jewels, the deity looks like an Indian prince. His two hands are folded across his chest. He holds a lightning bolt in his right hand and a bell in the left.

Vajradhar has also been represented as a pair, especially when he is paired with power. This power of Vajradhar is named 'prajnaparamita'. These single and paired images have been variously explained. For example, the single image symbolizes the void, while the paired image symbolizes enlightened intellect; one is the living soul, the other is the eternal soul, etc. [Bhikhhu Sunithananda]

Bangladeshapedia

Undoubtedly the universal Buddha (ADI BUDDHA) of the Kalachakra Tantra exhibits all the characteristics of a universal god, a world ruler (pantocrat), a messiah (savior) and a creator; he undoubtedly possesses monotheistic traits.

 The idea of an omnipotent divine being, many of whose characteristics match the Near East concept of a creator god, was already accepted in Mahayana Buddhism and was taken up from there by the early tantras (fourth century C.E.). It first found its maturity and final formulation in the Kalachakra teachings (tenth century). Many western researchers are led by the monotheistic traits of the ADI BUDDHA to suspect non-Buddhist, primarily Near Eastern influences here. Convincing references to Iranian sources have been made.

The ADI Buddha: His mystic body and his astral aspects

Samantabhadra

[Universal Kindness]

Samantabhadra is regarded as Adi-Buddha and as first Dhyani - Bodhisattva

Among the ancient Northern Buddhist sects and the unreformed Lamaist sects in Tibet, SAMANTABHADRA was looked upon as Highest Intelligence, a primordial Buddha, or Adi-Buddha. He is figured seated with the legs locked; but unlike the other representations of Adi-Buddha, he has neither crown nor ornaments, and in his esoteric form was represented nude in blue color embracing his Sakti [consort] in white color.

An Adi-Buddha infinite, omniscient, self-existing, without beginning and without end, the source and originator of all things, who by virtue of five sorts of wisdom [jnana] and by the exercise of five meditations [dhyana] evolved five Dhyani Buddhas. When this Adi-Buddha is represented with his female energy, he is called Yogambara and the sakti Digambara [Jnanesvari].

Samantabhadra Tib.: "Kun tu bzang po"

Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Adi-Buddha, the primordial and highest being, created the Dhyani Buddhas by his meditative powers.

The Five Dhyani Buddhas are celestial Buddhas visualized during meditation. The word Dhyani is derived from the Sanskrit dhyana, meaning "meditation." The Dhyani Buddhas are also called Jinas ("Victors" or "Conquerors") and are considered to be great healers of the mind and soul. They are not historical figures, like Gautama Buddha, but transcendent beings who symbolize universal divine principles or forces. They represent various aspects of the enlightened consciousness and are guides to spiritual transformation.

Each Dhyani Buddha is associated with certain attributes and symbols. Each one embodies one of the five wisdoms, which antidote the five deadly poisons that are of ultimate danger to man's spiritual progress and keep him tied to worldly existence. Buddhists teach that the Dhyani Buddhas are able transmute the five poisons into their transcendent wisdoms. The Tibetan Book of the Dead recommends that the devote meditate on the Dhyani Buddhas so that their wisdoms will replace the negative forces he has allowed to take hold within.

Each Buddha rules over one of the directions of space al one of the cosmic realms of ether, water, earth, fire and air. The Dhyani Buddhas also personify the five skandhas, components that make up cosmic existence as well as human personality. These components are consciousness, form, feeling, perception and volition.

The Five Dhyani Buddhas

Vajradhara

Vajradhara (Sanskrit: वज्रदेहर Vajradhāra, Tibetan: རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས་དཔའ། rdo rje 'chang (Dorje Chang); Chinese: 多杰羌佛; Javanese: Kabajradharan; Japanese: 執金剛神; English: Diamond-holder) is the ultimate primordial Buddha, or Adi Buddha, according to the Gelug and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Vajradhara displaced Samantabhadra who remains the 'Primordial Buddha' in the Nyingma, or 'Ancient School' and the Sakya school. However the two are metaphysically equivalent. Achieving the 'state of vajradhara' is synonymous with complete realisation.

According to Kagyu Vajradhara, the primordial buddha, is the dharmakaya buddha, depicted as dark blue in color, expressing the quintessence of buddhahood itself and representing the essence of the historical Buddha's realization of enlightenment.[1].

As such Vajradhara is thought to be the supreme essence of all (male) Buddhas (his name means the bearer of the thunderbolt). It is the Tantric form of Sakyamuni which is called Vajradhara. Tantras are texts specific to Tantrism and are believed to have been originally taught by the Tantric form of Sakyamuni called Vajradhara. He is an expression of Buddhahood itself in both single and yabyum form.[2]. Vajradhara is considered to be the prime Buddha of the Father tantras [3] (tib. pha-rgyud) such as Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, and so on [4].

From the primordial Vajradhara/Samantabhadra were manifested the Five Wisdom Buddhas (Dhyani Buddhas):

Vajradhara and the Wisdom Buddhas are often subjects of mandala.

Vajradhara and Samantabhadra are cognate deities in Tibetan Buddhist cosmology with different names, attributes, appearances and iconography. Both are Dharmakaya Buddhas, that is primordial Buddhas, where Samantabhadra is unadorned, that is depicted without any attributes. Conversely, Vajradhara is often adorned and bears attributes, which is generally the iconographic representation of a Sambhogakaya Buddha. Both Vajradhara and Samantabhadra are generally depicted in yab-yum unity with their respective consorts and are primordial buddhas, embodying void and ultimate emptiness.

Dharmakaya as part of the Trikaya

The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally "Three bodies or personalities"; 三身 Chinese: SānshÚn, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. By the 4th century CE the Trikaya Doctrine had assumed the form that we now know. Briefly the doctrine says that a Buddha has three kayas or bodies: the nirmanakaya or created body which manifests in time and space; the sambhogakaya or body of mutual enjoyment which is an archetypal manifestation; and the Dharmakaya or reality body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries.[5] In the view of Anuyoga, the 'Mindstream' (Sanksrit: citta santana) is the 'continuity' (Sanskrit: santana; Wylie: rgyud) that links the Trikaya.[5] The Trikaya, as a triune, is symbolised by the Gankyil.

Literature

'Shining Relics of Enlightened Body' (Tibetan: སྐུ་གདུང་འབར་བWylie: sku gdung 'bar ba) is numbered amongst the 'Seventeen Tantras of Menngagde' (Tibetan: མན་ངག་སྡེའི་རྒྱུད་བཅུ་བདུནWylie: man ngag sde'i rgyud bcu bdun) within Dzogchen discourse and is part of the textual support for the Vima Nyingtik. In the Dzogchen tantric text rendered in English as "Shining Relics" (Tibetan: སྐུ་གདུང་འབར་བWylie: sku gdung 'bar ba), an enlightened personality entitled Buddha Vajradhara and a Dakini whose name may be rendered into English as "Clear mind" engage in discourse and dialogue which is a common convention in such esoteric Buddhist literature and tantric literature in general.[6]

Vajradhara (Sanskrit: वज्रदेहर Vajradhāra, Tibetan: རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས་དཔའ། rdo rje 'chang (Dorje Chang); Chinese: 多杰羌佛; Javanese: Kabajradharan; Japanese: 執金剛神; English: Diamond-holder) is the ultimate primordial Buddha, or Adi Buddha, according to the Gelug and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Vajradhara displaced Samantabhadra who remains the 'Primordial Buddha' in the Nyingma, or 'Ancient School' and the Sakya school. However the two are metaphysically equivalent. Achieving the 'state of vajradhara' is synonymous with complete realisation.

According to Kagyu Vajradhara, the primordial buddha, is the dharmakaya buddha, depicted as dark blue in color, expressing the quintessence of buddhahood itself and representing the essence of the historical Buddha's realization of enlightenment.[1].

As such Vajradhara is thought to be the supreme essence of all (male) Buddhas (his name means the bearer of the thunderbolt). It is the Tantric form of Sakyamuni which is called Vajradhara. Tantras are texts specific to Tantrism and are believed to have been originally taught by the Tantric form of Sakyamuni called Vajradhara. He is an expression of Buddhahood itself in both single and yabyum form.[2]. Vajradhara is considered to be the prime Buddha of the Father tantras [3] (tib. pha-rgyud) such as Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, and so on [4].

From the primordial Vajradhara/Samantabhadra were manifested the Five Wisdom Buddhas (Dhyani Buddhas):

Vajradhara and the Wisdom Buddhas are often subjects of mandala.

Vajradhara and Samantabhadra are cognate deities in Tibetan Buddhist cosmology with different names, attributes, appearances and iconography. Both are Dharmakaya Buddhas, that is primordial Buddhas, where Samantabhadra is unadorned, that is depicted without any attributes. Conversely, Vajradhara is often adorned and bears attributes, which is generally the iconographic representation of a Sambhogakaya Buddha. Both Vajradhara and Samantabhadra are generally depicted in yab-yum unity with their respective consorts and are primordial buddhas, embodying void and ultimate emptiness.

Notes

1.   ^ Kagyu office

2.   ^ Dharmapala Thangka Centre Vajrayana View

3.   ^ Father Tantra

4.   ^ Dharmapala Thangka Centre Vajradhara is an emanation of Adibuddha, some people say.

5.   ^ a b Welwood, John (2000). The Play of the Mind: Form, Emptiness, and Beyond. Source: http://www.purifymind.com/PlayMind.htm (accessed: Saturday January 13, 2007)

6.   ^ Martin, Dan (1994). 'Pearls from Bones: Relics, Chortens, Tertons and the Signs of Saintly Death in Tibet'. Numen, Vol. 41, No. 3. (Sep., 1994), p.274.

Wikipedia

Among the many endowments with which Nepal Mandala is blessed, few are more significant than its Buddhist heritage. The closely packed Viharas distinguishing the townscapes, the glittering Stupas add lustre, and the glory of stone sculptures is everywhere.  Bronzes, paintings, and manuscripts on Buddhist themes have spread the Valley's name far afield. But it is perhaps of great significance that here alone Mahayana Buddhism has survived as a living tradition. The Kathmandu Valley is not an immense museum of Buddhist antiques, but it is unique oasis of surviving Mahayana Buddhist doctrine, cultural practices and colorful festivals. These opening remarks of Mary Shepherd Slusser in Nepal Mandala, vol. 1, chapter 10, need no commentary as her sharp observation with academic understanding is a well established factor among the Nepalese Buddhism-scholars. Buddhism in the Valley, is believed to have influence people from the Buddha's time as there is ample evidence of Ananda's, the dearest disciple of the Buddha, visit of the Valley. But the traditional Buddhists believe that this Valley-a big lake in the pre-historic time was chosen by the Adi-Buddha-the Primordial or the Self-existent Buddha- who had revealed himself in the form of a flame issuing out of a lotus (Swayambhu Purana-a Buddhist chronicle- supports this belief). This Adi Buddha concept was conceived by Vajrayana-tantric sect in Mahayana- as an afterthought to five Dhyani Buddhas (meditating Buddhas). But he was accepted as the progenitor of the five Dhyani Buddhas and their families. In Nepal he is worshipped as Swayambhu-unborn or self-created- and the main stupa in Kathmandu is devoted to him.

Originally, since there were no divinities in Buddhism, there were no objects of worship, but during Hinayani phase the symbolic stupa, foot-prints, empty throne, bodhi tree, and the Dharma chakra filled this void and, at length, the image of Buddha himself-the credit for image cut goes to Mathura Art School of India, started most probably during the 1st century B. C. and 1st century A. D. As time went on, the orthodox Mahayana was superseded by more humane and liberal tantric aspect resulting in the powerful Vajrayana Buddhism which swept the religion-culture scene of India since 7th century A. D. Because of the free communications between India, Nepal and Tibet, this Vajrayana spread in the same century with changes as in Tibet it accepted the native Bon shamanism and the result was a powerful Lamaist tradition- hitherto maintained with great respect. In Nepal it seemed to have accepted the local Shivite cult. The rituals performed by the tantric Buddhist Priests of Nepal, Tibet and Shingon sect of Japan are based on the same tantric texts. Anyway, from 7th century onwards, we have ample evidence of this influential tantric Buddhism flourishing in the Valley. Lord Buddha had revealed the path of Mantra- later it was termed as Vajrayana- to his disciples having exceptional power as a shorter path to achieve enlightenment of buddhahood in a single life-span.

Adi Buddha & Principal Buddhist deities: Concept & Practice in Vajrayana Buddhism in Nepal

 

If we place Buddha in his unique time and culture in which he was raised, we will come to appreciate why his teachings were not theo-centric. The hindu religious tradition in which Buddha was born already had a very mature understanding of all pervading Brahma (Divine). Buddha rephrased the absolute transcendence aspect of Brahma which is non-describable, which is beyond word and called it the Ultimate Reality, the Ultimate Goal, the Ultimate Void or Sunnyata. As a mystic Buddha very well knew that the Ultimate Reality is beyond word; every attempt to describe that Reality must come to fail, hence he maintained his silence on the direct question of God. But in his teaching, the concept of Sunnyata, the Great Void (Emptiness) is the pointer to That Which is Unspeakable….

 

In some major traditions of Mahayana Buddhism (the Tathagatagarbha and Pure Land streams of teaching) there is a notion of The Buddha as the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Liberative Essence of Reality (not the historical Buddha, but The Buddha). The Buddha is spoken of as generators of vast "pure lands", "Buddha lands", or "Buddha paradises", in which beings will unfailingly attain Nirvana.

 

The concept of Adi-Buddha or Primordial Awakened One is present there in Buddhism which is also notion of the Divine. The concept of Adi-buddha is from the Kalachakra (Cycle of Time) teachings in Buddhism. As presented in the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Adi-buddha is beyond words, beyond concepts, unimaginable. That exactly is the Transcendence attribute of the Divine, its just the difference in terminology but in essence the concept of the Divine Reality is there.

 

Is there God in Buddhism?

 

 

Shakyamuni Buddha was the first human being who was awakened to the Dharma. Although we ordinary people can hardly grasp it, when we think of it in the form of the Buddha who communicates to us and regards all of us with compassion, we can form an image clearly in our minds. Through the image of the Buddha, we can be aware of the loving power of the Dharma, which is the life-force sustaining all of us.

For Buddhists, it is most natural to symbolize the Dharma with an image of Shakyamuni Buddha, who appeared in the world and not only preached what became Buddhism but was a living example of it. He is called the Eternal Buddha Shakyamuni, Great Benevolent Teacher, the World-honored One. Rissho Kosei-kai members express reverence before his image.

The Eternal Buddha is omnipresent in the universe and is the life-force that sustains and guides everything-human beings, animals, plants, and all other living and nonliving beings. To support and guide them, the Buddha appears in various forms appropriate to the particular time and place for their salvation by means suited to their capacity to understand his teachings.

Thus, the Eternal Buddha exists permanently everywhere from the infinite past to the infinite future, ready to help and relieve all living beings in the universe. He saves them in such a way that all can fully develop and manifest all the good potential they have within themselves. Since the Eternal Buddha is one with the truth of the universe, we have only to adjust the wavelength of our minds to that of the Buddha, and the Buddha will then appear to us. In other words, we become aware of the Buddha's calling us and working for us.

Rissho Kosei-kai

 

 

 

Il-Won (O) is the circular symbol of the Dharmakaya Buddha and the Buddha Nature of all beings. In Won Buddhism, the image of the human Buddha is replaced by Il-Won (O) which represents the perfect nature of the Buddha’s heart and mind that is not different from our original nature.


Master Sotaesan said,


"In our order, we enshrine Il-Won-Sang in the same way that Buddhists in the past have enshrined Buddha images. However, a Buddha image manifests the physical form of the Buddha, but Il-Won-Sang manifests the mind-essence of the Buddha. The physical form represents only his human form, but the mind-essence is vast and infinite, combining being and nonbeing and sustaining itself through the three times periods of past, present, and future. Hence, it is the original source of the myriad things in heaven and earth and the realm of Samadhi beyond all words and speech. Confucianism calls it the grand ultimate or the ultimate of nonbeing; Daoism calls it nature or the Way; Buddhism calls it the pure Dharmakaya Buddha. In principle, however, all of these are different expressions for the same thing."
Therefore Il-Won Symbol is like a picture of Buddha’s mind. Through the Il-Won symbol Master Sotaesan showed the world's essential Truth.

 

Il-Won-Sang: Buddha Nature

 

Eternal Buddha

 

The idea of an eternal Buddha is a notion popularly associated with the Mahayana scripture, the Lotus Sutra, and is also found in other Mahayana sutras.

The Eternal Buddha in the Lotus Sutra and Other Mahayana Sutras

The Lotus Sutra portrays the Buddha as indicating that he became awakened countless, immeasurable, inconceivable myriads of trillions of aeons ("kalpas") ago and that his lifetime is "forever existing and immortal". From the human perspective, it seems as though the Buddha has always existed. The sutra itself, however, does not directly employ the phrase "eternal Buddha"; yet similar notions are found in other Mahayana scriptures, notably the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, which presents the Buddha as the ultimately real, eternal ("nitya"/ "śāśvata"), unchanging, blissful, pure Self (Atman) who, as the Dharmakaya, knows of no beginning or end.

Commenting on this sutra, Dr. Guang Xing writes:

'One of the main themes of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra is that the Buddha is eternal, a theme very much in contrast with the Hinayana idea that the Buddha departed for ever after his final nirvana. The Mahayanists assert the eternity of the Buddha in two ways in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. They state that the Buddha is the dharmakaya, and hence eternal. Next, they re-interpret the liberation of the Buddha as mahaparinirvana possessing four attributes: eternity, happiness, self and purity. In other words, according to the Mahayanists, the fact that the Buddha abides in the mahaparinirvana means not that he has departed for ever, but that he perpetually abides in intrinsic quiescence. The Buddha abiding in intrinsic quiescence is none other than the dharmakaya ... This dharmakaya is the real Buddha. It is on this doctrinal foundation that the Mahaparinirvana Sutra declares:"the dharmakaya has [the attributes of] eternity (nitya), happiness (sukha), self (atman) and purity (subha) and is perpetually free from birth, old age, sickness, death and all other sufferings ... It exists eternally without change ..."'[1]

The All-Creating King Tantra additionally contains a panentheistic vision of Samantabhadra Buddha as the eternal, primordial Buddha, the Awakened Mind of bodhi, who declares: "From the primordial, I am the Buddhas of the three times [i.e. past, present and future]."

 

The Eternal Buddha in Shin Buddhism

In Shin Buddhism, Amida Buddha is viewed as the eternal Buddha who manifested as Shakyamuni in India and who is the personification of Nirvana itself. The Shin Buddhist priest, John Paraskevopoulos, in his monograph on Shin Buddhism, writes:

'In Shin Buddhism, Nirvana or Ultimate Reality (also known as the "Dharma-Body" or Dharmakaya in the original Sanskrit) has assumed a more concrete form as (a) the Buddha of Infinite Light (Amitabha) and Infinite Life (Amitayus)and (b) the "Pure Land" or "Land of Utmost Bliss" (Sukhavati), the realm over which this Buddha is said to preside ... Amida is the Eternal Buddha who is said to have taken form as Shakyamuni and his teachings in order to become known to us in ways we can readily comprehend.'[2]

John Paraskevopoulos elucidates the notion of Nirvana, of which Amida is an embodiment, in the following terms:

'... [Nirvana's] more positive connotation is that of a higher state of being, the dispelling of illusion and the corresponding joy of liberation. An early Buddhist scripture describes Nirvana as: ... the far shore, the subtle, the very difficult to see, the undisintegrating, the unmanifest, the peaceful, the deathless, the sublime, the auspicious, the secure, the destruction of craving, the wonderful, the amazing, the unailing, the unafflicted, dispassion, purity, freedom, the island, the shelter, the asylum, the refuge ... (Samyutta Nikaya)'[3]

This Nirvana is seen as eternal and of one nature, indeed as the essence of all things. Paraskevopoulos tells of how the Mahaparinirvana Sutra speaks of Nirvana as eternal, pure, blissful and true self:

'In Mahayana Buddhism it is taught that there is fundamentally one reality which, in its highest and purest dimension, is experienced as Nirvana. It is also known, as we have seen, as the Dharma-Body (considered as the ultimate form of Being) or "Suchness" (Tathata in Sanskrit) when viewed as the essence of all things ... "The Dharma-Body is eternity, bliss, true self and purity. It is forever free of all birth, ageing, sickness and death" (Nirvana Sutra)'[4]

To attain this Self, however, it is needful to transcend the 'small self' and its pettiness with the help of an 'external' agency, Amida Buddha. This is the view promulgated by the Jodo Shinshu founding Buddhist master, Shinran Shonin. John Paraskevopoulos comments on this:

'Shinran's great insight was that we cannot conquer the self by the self. Some kind of external agency is required: (a) to help us to shed light on our ego as it really is in all its petty and baneful guises; and (b) to enable us to subdue the small 'self' with a view to realising the Great Self by awakening to Amida's light.'[5]

When that Great Self of Amida's light is realised, Shin Buddhism is able to see the Infinite which transcends the care-worn mundane. John Paraskevopoulos concludes his monograph on Shin Buddhism thus:

'It is time we discarded the tired view of Buddhism as a dry and forensic rationalism , lacking in warmth and devotion ... By hearing the call of Amida Buddha we become awakened to true reality and its unfathomable working ... to live a life that dances jubilantly in the resplendent light of the Infinite.'[6]

Sources

Wikipedia

Happy Science, is an organization of people who aim to achieve true happiness by deepening and widening their love, and reaching a higher level of enlightenment, based on the teachings (the Truth) taught by Ryuho Okawa. By building a wonderful life, we spread our happiness to those around and to society, with the aim of creating an ideal world on earth.

We have faith in Lord El Cantare, Eternal Buddha, who has been guiding humanity throughout eternity. In the past, the consciousness of El Cantare was incarnated as Shakyamuni Buddha (Gautama Siddhartha) in India, and as Hermes in Greece. Now, His core consciousness has descended on earth as Master Ryuho Okawa and preaches the Truth.

The happiness that is taught at Happy Science is the happiness that runs through this world and the next; it is another name for “enlightenment.” The teachings of Happy Science are based on the Buddhist spirit. Through learning and practicing the Truth, you will be able to deepen your character, build better relationships with others, create a harmonious family, and improve work skills. In the process you will gain much “nourishment for the soul,” which has the power to shine through to your next life as well. To lead everyone to true happiness, we continue our activities every day.

About Happy Science

 

Encyclopaedia of the Hindu World: A-Aj

by Ganga Ram Garg

 

God in Buddhism

While many traditional Buddhists venerate the Buddha, the refutation[1] of the notion of a supreme God or a prime mover is seen as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religions. Hence, Buddhism is often aptly described as a "spiritual philosophy" whose sole aim is the complete alleviation of stress in samsara,[2][3] called nirvana. The Buddha explicitly rejects a creator,[4] denies endorsing any views on creation[5] and states that questions on the origin of the world are worthless.[6][7] Some theists beginning Buddhist meditation believe that the notion of divinity is not incompatible with Buddhism,[8] but belief in a Supreme God is eminently considered to pose a hindrance to the attainment of nirvana,[9] the highest goal of Buddhist practice.[10]

Despite this nontheism, Buddhists consider veneration of the Noble ones[11] very important[12] although the two main schools of Buddhism differ mildly in their reverential attitudes. While Theravada Buddhists view the Buddha as a human being who attained nirvana or arahanthood, through human efforts,[13] some Mahayana Buddhists consider him an embodiment of the Dharmakaya, who was born for the benefit of others, and not merely a human being.[14] In addition, some Mahayana Buddhists worship their chief Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara[15] and hope to embody him.[16]

Buddhists accept the existence of beings in higher realms (see Buddhist cosmology), known as devas, but they, like humans, are said to be suffering in s

God in early Buddhism

As scholar Richard Hayes describes, "the attitude of the Buddha as portrayed in the Nikayas is more anti-speculative than specifically atheistic," although "Gotama regarded the belief in God as unhealthy."[20]

As Hayes describes it, "In the Nikaya literature, the question of the existence of God is treated primarily from either an epistemological point of view or a moral point of view. As a problem of epistemology, the question of God's existence amounts to a discussion of whether or not a religious seeker can be certain that there is a greatest good and that therefore his efforts to realize a greatest good will not be a pointless struggle towards an unrealistic goal. And as a problem in morality, the question amounts to a discussion of whether man himself is ultimately responsible for all the displeasure that he feels or whether there exists a superior being who inflicts displeasure upon man whether he deserves it or not . . .the Buddha Gotama is portrayed not as an atheist who claims to be able to prove God's nonexistence, but rather as a skeptic with respect to other teachers' claims to be able to lead their disciples to the highest good."[21]

Citing the Devadaha Sutta ('Majjhima Nikaya 101), Hayes remarks "while the reader is left to conclude that it is attachment rather than God, actions in past lives, fate, type of birth or efforts in this life that is responsible for our experiences of sorrow, no systematic argument is given in an attempt to disprove the existence of God."[22]

Brahma in the Pali Canon

Brahma is among the common gods found in the Pali Canon. Brahma (in common with all other devas) is subject to change, final decline and death, just as are all other sentient beings in samsara (the plane of continual reincarnation and suffering). In fact there are several different Brahma worlds and several kinds of Brahmas in Buddhism, all of which however are just beings stuck in samsara for a long while. Sir Charles Eliot describes attitudes towards Brahma in early Buddhism as follows:

There comes a time when this world system passes away and then certain beings are reborn in the "World of Radiance" and remain there a long time. Sooner or later, the world system begins to evolve again and the palace of Brahma appears, but it is empty. Then some being whose time is up falls from the "World of Radiance" and comes to life in the palace and remains there alone. At last he wishes for company, and it so happens that other beings whose time is up fall from the "World of Radiance" and join him. And the first being thinks that he is Great Brahma, the Creator, because when he felt lonely and wished for companions other beings appeared. And the other beings accept this view. And at last one of Brahma’s retinue falls from that state and is born in the human world and, if he can remember his previous birth, he reflects that he is transitory but that Brahma still remains and from this he draws the erroneous conclusion that Brahma is eternal.[23]

Other common gods referred to in the Canon

Many of the other gods in the Pali Canon find a common mythological role in Hindu literature. Some common gods and goddesses are Indra, Aapo (Varuna), Vayo (Vayu), Tejo (Agni), Surya, Pajapati (Prajapati), Soma, Yasa, Venhu (Visnu), Mahadeva (Siva), Vijja (Saraswati), Usha, Pathavi (Prithvi) Sri (Lakshmi) Kuvera (Kubera), several yakkhas (Yakshas), gandhabbas (Gandharvas), Nāgas, garula (Garuda), sons of Bali, Veroca, etc.[24] While in Hindu texts some of these gods and goddesses are considered embodiments of the Supreme Being. The Buddhist view was that all gods and goddesses were bound to samsara. The world of gods according to the Buddha presents a being with too many pleasures and distractions.

Abhidharma and Yogacara analysis

The Theravada Abhidhamma tradition did not tend to elaborate argumentation against the existence of god, but in the Abhidharmakośa of the Sarvāstivāda, Vasubandhu does actively argue against the existence of a creator god.[25]

The Chinese monk Xuanzang studied Buddhism in India during the 7th century CE, staying at Nālandā University. There, he studied the Consciousness Only teachings passed down from Asanga and Vasubandhu, and taught to him by the abbot Silabhadra. In his comprehensive work Cheng Weishi Lun (Skt. Vij˝aptimātratāsiddhi Śastra), Xuanzang refutes the Indian philosophical doctrine of a "Great Lord" (Ishvara) or a Great Brahma, a self-existent and omnipotent creator deity who is ruler of all existence.[26]

According to one doctrine, there is a great, self-existent deity whose substance is real and who is all-pervading, eternal, and the producer of all phenomena. This doctrine is unreasonable. If something produces something, it is not eternal, the non-eternal is not all-pervading, and what is not all-pervading is not real. If the deity's substance is all-pervading and eternal, it must contain all powers and be able to produce all phenomena everywhere, at all times, and simultaneously. If he produces phenomena when a desire arises, or according to conditions, this contradicts the doctrine of a single cause. Or else, desires and conditions would arise spontaneously since the cause is eternal. Other doctrines claim that there is a great Brahma, a Time, a Space, a Starting Point, a Nature, an Ether, a Self, etc., that is eternal and really exists, is endowed with all powers, and is able to produce all phenomena. We refute all these in the same way we did the concept of the Great Lord.

Mahayana and Vajrayana doctrines

In the pramana tradition, Dharmakīrti advances a number of arguments against the existence of a creator god in his Pramāṇavārttikakārika, following in the footsteps of Vasubandhu.[27] Later Mahayana scholars such as Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla continued this tradition.[28]

Tathagatagarbha and God

Mahayana Buddhism, unlike Theravada, talks of the mind using terms such as "the womb of the Thus-come One". Such positive statements arose as a correction of the common misunderstanding that emptiness is the same as nothingness – a nihilistic view.[citation needed] The affirmation of emptiness by positive terminology is radically different from the early Buddhist doctrines of Anatta and refusal to personify or objectify any Supreme Reality. Mahayana Buddhism includes a sphere of devotion, where the Buddha is taken as the Supreme Reality – a kind of God who assumed human form in order to benefit all humanity:[29]

Mahayana Buddhism is not only intellectual, but it is also devotional ... in Mahayana, Buddha was taken as God, as Supreme Reality itself that descended on the earth in human form for the good of mankind. The concept of Buddha (as equal to God in theistic systems) was never as a creator but as Divine Love that out of compassion (karuna) embodied itself in human form to uplift suffering humanity. He was worshipped with fervent devotion... He represents the Absolute (paramartha satya), devoid of all plurality (sarva-prapancanta-vinirmukta) and has no beginning, middle and end ... Buddha ... is eternal, immutable ... As such He represents Dharmakaya.

According to the Tathagatagarbha sutras, the Buddha taught the existence of a spiritual essence called the tathagagatagarbha or Buddha-nature, which is present in all beings and phenomena. Dr. B. Alan Wallace writes of this doctrine:[30]

the essential nature of the whole of samsara and nirvana is the absolute space (dhatu) of the tathagatagarbha, but this space is not to be confused with a mere absence of matter. Rather, this absolute space is imbued with all the infinite knowledge, compassion, power, and enlightened activities of the Buddha. Moreover, this luminous space is that which causes the phenomenal world to appear, and it is none other than the nature of one's own mind, which by nature is clear light.

Vajrayana views

In some Mahayana traditions, the Buddha is indeed worshiped as a virtual divinity who is possessed of supernatural qualities and powers. Dr. Guang Xing writes: "The Buddha worshiped by Mahayanist followers is an omnipotent divinity endowed with numerous supernatural attributes and qualities ...[He] is described almost as an omnipotent and almighty godhead.".[31]

Buddhist scholar, Dr. B. Alan Wallace, has also indicated that saying that Buddhism as a whole is 'non-theistic' may be an over-simplification. Wallace discerns similarities between some forms of Vajrayana Buddhism and notions of a divine 'ground of being' and creation. He writes: "a careful analysis of Vajrayana Buddhist cosmogony, specifically as presented in the Atiyoga tradition of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, which presents itself as the culmination of all Buddhist teachings, reveals a theory of a transcendent ground of being and a process of creation that bear remarkable similarities with views presented in Vedanta and Neoplatonic Western Christian theories of creation."[32] In fact, Wallace sees these views as so similar that they seem almost to be different manifestations of the same theory. He further comments: "Vajrayana Buddhism, Vedanta, and Neoplatonic Christianity have so much in common that they could almost be regarded as varying interpretations of a single theory."[33]

Yogacara and the Absolute

Another scholar sees a Buddhist Absolute in Consciousness. Writing on the Yogacara school of Buddhism, Dr. A. K. Chatterjee remarks: "The Absolute is a non-dual consciousness. The duality of the subject and object does not pertain to it. It is said to be void (sunya), devoid of duality; in itself it is perfectly real, in fact the only reality ...There is no consciousness of the Absolute; Consciousness is the Absolute."[34]

While this is a traditional Tibetan interpretation of Yogacara views, it has been rejected by modern Western scholarship, namely by Kochumuttom, Anacker, Kalupahana, Dunne, Lusthaus, Powers, and Wayman.[35][36][37] Scholar Dan Lusthaus writes: "They [Yogacarins] did not focus on consciousness to assert it as ultimately real (Yogācāra claims consciousness is only conventionally real since it arises from moment to moment due to fluctuating causes and conditions), but rather because it is the cause of the karmic problem they are seeking to eliminate."[36]

Zen and the Absolute

A further name for the irreducible, time-and-space-transcending mysterious Truth or Essence of Buddhic Reality spoken of in some Mahayana and tantric texts is the Dharmakaya (Body of Truth). Of this the Zen Buddhist master Sokei-An, says:[38]

... dharmakaya [is] the equivalent of God ... The Buddha also speaks of no time and no space, where if I make a sound there is in that single moment a million years. It is spaceless like radio waves, like electric space - intrinsic. The Buddha said that there is a mirror that reflects consciousness. In this electric space a million miles and a pinpoint - a million years and a moment - are exactly the same. It is pure essence ... We call it 'original consciousness' - 'original akasha' - perhaps God in the Christian sense. I am afraid of speaking about anything that is not familiar to me. No one can know what IT is ...

The same Zen adept, Sokei-An, further comments:[39]

The creative power of the universe is not a human being; it is Buddha. The one who sees, and the one who hears, is not this eye or ear, but the one who is this consciousness. This One is Buddha. This One appears in every mind. This One is common to all sentient beings, and is God.

The Rinzai Zen Buddhist master, Soyen Shaku, speaking to Americans at the beginning of the 20th century, discusses how in essence the idea of God is not absent from Buddhism, when understood as ultimate, true Reality:[40]

At the outset, let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists. However, the followers of Buddhism usually avoid the term God, for it savors so much of Christianity, whose spirit is not always exactly in accord with the Buddhist interpretation of religious experience ... To define more exactly the Buddhist notion of the highest being, it may be convenient to borrow the term very happily coined by a modern German scholar, 'panentheism', according to which God is ... all and one and more than the totality of existence .... As I mentioned before, Buddhists do not make use of the term God, which characteristically belongs to Christian terminology. An equivalent most commonly used is Dharmakaya ... When the Dharmakaya is most concretely conceived it becomes the Buddha, or Tathagata ...

Primordial Buddhas

Main article: Eternal Buddha

Theories regarding a self-existent "ground of being" were common in India prior to the Buddha, and were rejected by him: "The Buddha, however, refusing to admit any metaphysical principle as a common thread holding the moments of encountered phenomena together, rejects the Upanishadic notion of an immutable substance or principle underlying the world and the person and producing phenomena out of its inherent power, be it 'being', atman, brahman, or 'god.'"[41]

In later Mahayana literature, however, the idea of an eternal, all-pervading, all-knowing, immaculate, uncreated and deathless Ground of Being (the dharmadhatu, inherently linked to the sattvadhatu, the realm of beings), which is the Awakened Mind (bodhicitta) or Dharmakaya ("body of Truth") of the Buddha himself, is attributed to the Buddha in a number of Mahayana sutras, and is found in various tantras as well. In some Mahayana texts, such a principle is occasionally presented as manifesting in a more personalised form as a primordial buddha, such as Samantabhadra, Vajradhara, Vairochana, and Adi-Buddha, among others.

In some Buddhist tantric and Dzogchen scriptures, too, this immanent and transcendent Dharmakaya (the ultimate essence of the Buddha’s being) is portrayed as the primordial Buddha, Samantabhadra, worshipped as the primordial lord. In a study of Dzogchen, Dr. Sam van Schaik mentions how Samantabhadra Buddha is indeed seen as ‘the heart essence of all buddhas, the Primordial Lord, the noble Victorious One, Samantabhadra’.[42] Dr. Schaik indicates that Samantabhadra is not to be viewed as some kind of separate mindstream, apart from the mindstreams of sentient beings, but should be known as a universal nirvanic principle termed the Awakened Mind (bodhi-citta) and present in all.[43] Dr. Schaik quotes from the tantric texts, Experiencing the Enlightened Mind of Samantabhadra and The Subsequent Tantra of Great Perfection Instruction to portray Samantabhadra as an uncreated, reflexive, radiant, pure and vital Knowing (gnosis) which is present in all things:

‘The essence of all phenomena is the awakened mind; the mind of all buddhas is the awakened mind; and the life-force of all sentient beings is the awakened mind, too … This unfabricated gnosis of the present moment is the reflexive luminosity, naked and stainless, the Primordial Lord himself.’[44]

The Shingon Buddhist monk, Dohan, regarded the two great Buddhas, Amida and Vairocana, as one and the same Dharmakaya Buddha and as the true nature at the core of all beings and phenomena. There are several realisations that can accrue to the Shingon practitioner of which Dohan speaks in this connection, as Dr. James Sanford points out: there is the realisation that Amida is the Dharmakaya Buddha, Vairocana; then there is the realisation that Amida as Vairocana is eternally manifest within this universe of time and space; and finally there is the innermost realisation that Amida is the true nature, material and spiritual, of all beings, that he is 'the omnivalent wisdom-body, that he is the unborn, unmanifest, unchanging reality that rests quietly at the core of all phenomena'.[45]

Similar God-like descriptions are encountered in the All-Creating King Tantra (Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra), where the universal Mind of Awakening (in its mode as "Samantabhadra Buddha") declares of itself:[46]

I am the core of all that exists. I am the seed of all that exists. I am the cause of all that exists. I am the trunk of all that exists. I am the foundation of all that exists. I am the root of existence. I am "the core" because I contain all phenomena. I am "the seed" because I give birth to everything. I am "the cause" because all comes from me. I am "the trunk" because the ramifications of every event sprout from me. I am "the foundation" because all abides in me. I am called "the root" because I am everything.

The Karandavyuha Sutra presents the great bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, as a kind of supreme lord of the cosmos. A striking feature of Avalokitesvara in this sutra is his creative power, as he is said to be the progenitor of various heavenly bodies and divinities. Dr. Alexander Studholme, in his monograph on the sutra, writes:

'The sun and moon are said to be born from the bodhisattva's eyes, Mahesvara [Siva] from his brow, Brahma from his shoulders, Narayana [Vishnu] from his heart, Sarasvati from his teeth, the winds from his mouth, the earth from his feet and the sky from his stomach.'[47]

Avalokitesvara himself is linked in the versified version of the sutra to the first Buddha, the Adi Buddha, who is 'svayambhu' (self-existent, not born from anything or anyone). Dr. Studholme comments: "Avalokitesvara himself, the verse sutra adds, is an emanation of the Adibuddha, or 'primordial Buddha', a term that is explicitly said to be synoymous with Svayambhu and Adinatha, 'primordial lord'."[48]

The Eternal Buddha of Shin Buddhism

In Shin Buddhism, Amida Buddha is viewed as the eternal Buddha who manifested as Shakyamuni in India and who is the personification of Nirvana itself. The Shin Buddhist priest, John Paraskevopoulos, in his monograph on Shin Buddhism, writes:

'In Shin Buddhism, Nirvana or Ultimate Reality (also known as the "Dharma-Body" or Dharmakaya in the original Sanskrit) has assumed a more concrete form as (a) the Buddha of Infinite Light (Amitabha) and Infinite Life (Amitayus)and (b) the "Pure Land" or "Land of Utmost Bliss" (Sukhavati), the realm over which this Buddha is said to preside ... Amida is the Eternal Buddha who is said to have taken form as Shakyamuni and his teachings in order to become known to us in ways we can readily comprehend.'[49]

John Paraskevopoulos elucidates the notion of Nirvana, of which Amida is an embodiment, in the following terms:

'... [Nirvana's] more positive connotation is that of a higher state of being, the dispelling of illusion and the corresponding joy of liberation. An early Buddhist scripture describes Nirvana as: ... the far shore, the subtle, the very difficult to see, the undisintegrating, the unmanifest, the peaceful, the deathless, the sublime, the auspicious, the secure, the destruction of craving, the wonderful, the amazing, the unailing, the unafflicted, dispassion, purity, freedom, the island, the shelter, the asylum, the refuge ... (Samyutta Nikaya)'[50]

This Nirvana is seen as eternal and of one nature, indeed as the essence of all things. Paraskevopoulos tells of how the Mahaparinirvana Sutra speaks of Nirvana as eternal, pure, blissful and true self:

'In Mahayana Buddhism it is taught that there is fundamentally one reality which, in its highest and purest dimension, is experienced as Nirvana. It is also known, as we have seen, as the Dharma-Body (considered as the ultimate form of Being) or "Suchness" (Tathata in Sanskrit) when viewed as the essence of all things ... "The Dharma-Body is eternity, bliss, true self and purity. It is forever free of all birth, ageing, sickness and death" (Nirvana Sutra)'[51]

To attain this Self, however, it is needful to transcend the 'small self' and its pettiness with the help of an 'external' agency, Amida Buddha. This is the view promulgated by the Jodo Shinshu founding Buddhist master, Shinran Shonin. John Paraskevopoulos comments on this:

'Shinran's great insight was that we cannot conquer the self by the self. Some kind of external agency is required: (a) to help us to shed light on our ego as it really is in all its petty and baneful guises; and (b) to enable us to subdue the small 'self' with a view to realising the Great Self by awakening to Amida's light.'[52]

When that Great Self of Amida's light is realised, Shin Buddhism is able to see the Infinite which transcends the care-worn mundane. John Paraskevopoulos concludes his monograph on Shin Buddhism thus:

'It is time we discarded the tired view of Buddhism as a dry and forensic rationalism , lacking in warmth and devotion ... By hearing the call of Amida Buddha we become awakened to true reality and its unfathomable working ... to live a life that dances jubilantly in the resplendent light of the Infinite.'[53]

Devas and the supernatural in Buddhism

While Buddhist traditions do not deny the existence of supernatural beings (e.g., the devas, of which many are discussed in Buddhist scripture), it does not ascribe powers, in the typical Western sense, for creation, salvation or judgement, to the "gods". They are regarded as having the power to affect worldly events in much the same way as humans and animals have the power to do so. Just as humans can affect the world more than animals, devas can affect the world more than humans. While gods may be more powerful than humans, none of them are absolute (unsurpassed). Most importantly, gods, like humans, are also suffering in samsara, the ongoing cycle of death and subsequent rebirth. Gods have not attained nirvana, and are still subject to emotions, including jealousy, anger, delusion, sorrow, etc. Thus, since a Buddha shows the way to nirvana, a Buddha is called "the teacher of the gods and humans" (Skrt: śāsta deva-manuṣyāṇaṃ). According to the Pali Canon the gods have powers to affect only so far as their realm of influence or control allows them. In this sense therefore, they are no closer to nirvana than humans and no wiser in the ultimate sense. A dialogue between the king Pasenadi Kosala, his general Vidudabha and the historical Buddha reveals a lot about the relatively weaker position of gods in Buddhism.[54]

Though not believing in a creator God, Buddhists inherited the Indian cosmology of the time which includes various types of 'god' realms such as the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, the Four Great Kings, and so on. Deva-realms are part of the various possible types of existence in the Buddhist cosmology. Rebirth as a deva is attributed to virtuous actions performed in previous lives. Beings that had meditated are thought to be reborn in more and more subtle realms with increasingly vast life spans, in accord with their meditative ability. In particular, the highest deva realms are pointed out as false paths in meditation that the meditator should be aware of. Like any existence within the cycle of rebirth (samsara), a life as a deva is only temporary. At the time of death, a large part of the former deva's good karma has been expended, leaving mostly negative karma and a likely rebirth in one of the three lower realms. Therefore, Buddhists make a special effort not to be reborn in deva realms.

It is also noteworthy that devas in Buddhism have no role to play in liberation. Sir Charles Eliot describes God in early Buddhism as follows:

The attitude of early Buddhism to the spirit world — the hosts of deities and demons who people this and other spheres. Their existence is assumed, but the truths of religion are not dependent on them, and attempts to use their influence by sacrifices and oracles are deprecated as vulgar practices similar to juggling.

The systems of philosophy then in vogue were mostly not theistic, and, strange as the words may sound, religion had little to do with the gods. If this be thought to rest on a mistranslation, it is certainly true that the dhamma had very little to do with devas.

Often as the Devas figure in early Buddhist stories, the significance of their appearance nearly always lies in their relations with the Buddha or his disciples. Of mere mythology, such as the dealings of Brahma and Indra with other gods, there is little. In fact the gods, though freely invoked as accessories, are not taken seriously, and there are some extremely curious passages in which Gotama seems to laugh at them, much as the sceptics of the 18th century laughed at Jehovah. Thus in the [Pali Canon] Kevaddha Sutta he relates how a monk who was puzzled by a metaphysical problem applied to various gods and finally accosted Brahma himself in the presence of all his retinue. After hearing the question, which was "Where do the elements cease and leave no trace behind?" Brahma replies, "I am the Great Brahma, the Supreme, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Controller, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be." "But," said the monk, "I did not ask you, friend, whether you were indeed all you now say, but I ask you where the four elements cease and leave no trace." Then the Great Brahma took him by the arm and led him aside and said, "These gods think I know and understand everything. Therefore I gave no answer in their presence. But I do not know the answer to your question and you had better go and ask the Buddha."[23]

The Pali Canon also attributes supernatural powers to enlightened beings (Buddhas), that even gods may not have. In a dialogue between king Ajatasattu and the Buddha, enlightened beings are ascribed supranormal powers (like human flight, walking on water etc.), clairaudience, mind reading, recollection of past lives of oneself and others. Yet, according to the Buddha, an enlightened person realizes the futility of these powers[citation needed] and instead unbinds himself completely from samsara through discernment.

Attitudes towards theories of creation

Reflecting a common understanding of the Buddha's earliest teachings, Nyanaponika Thera asserts:

From a study of the discourses of the Buddha preserved in the Pali canon, it will be seen that the idea of a personal deity, a creator god conceived to be eternal and omnipotent, is incompatible with the Buddha's teachings. On the other hand, conceptions of an impersonal godhead of any description, such as world-soul, etc., are excluded by the Buddha's teachings on Anatta, non-self or unsubstantiality. ... In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world.[55]

In addition, nowhere in the Pali Canon are Buddhas ascribed powers of creation, salvation and judgement. In fact, Buddhism is critical of all theories on the origin of the universe[56] and holds the belief in creation as a fetter binding one to samsara. However, the Agga˝˝a Sutta does contain a detailed account of the Buddha describing the origin of human life on earth. In this text, the Buddha provides an explanation of the caste system alternate to the one contained in the Vedas, and shows why one caste is not really any better than the other.[57] According to scholar Richard Gombrich, the sutta gives strong evidence that it was conceived entirely as a satire of pre-existing beliefs,[58] and he and scholar David Kalupahana have asserted that the primary intent of this text is to satirize and debunk the brahminical claims regarding the divine nature of the caste system, showing that it is nothing but a human convention.[59][60] Strictly speaking, the sutta is not a cosmogony, as in Buddhism, an absolute beginning is inconceivable. Since the earliest times Buddhists have, however, taken it seriously as an account of the origins of society and kingship.[58] Gombrich, however, finds it to be a parody of brahminical cosmogony as presented in the Rig Vedic "Hymn of creation" (RV X, 129) and BAU 1, 2.[61] He states: "The Buddha never intended to propound a cosmogony. If we take a close look at the Agga˝˝a Sutta, there are considerable incoherencies if it is taken seriously as an explanatory account - though once it is perceived to be a parody these inconsistencies are of no account." In particular, he finds that it violates the basic Buddhist theory of how the law of karma operates.[58] However, scholar Rupert Gethin strongly disagrees, stating

While certain of the details of the Aggainia-sutta's account of the evolution of human society may be, as Gombrich has persuasively argued, satirical in intent, there is nothing in the Nikayas to suggest that these basic cosmological principles that I have identified should be so understood; there is nothing to suggest that the Aggafinia-sutta's introductory formula describing the expansion and contraction of the world is merely a joke. We should surely expect early Buddhism and indeed the Buddha to have some specific ideas about the nature of the round of rebirth, and essentially this is what the cosmological details presented in the Aggafifia-sutta and elsewhere in Nikayas constitute ... far from being out of key with what we can understand of Buddhist thought from the rest of the Nikayas, the cosmogonic views offered by the Agga˝˝a Sutta in fact harmonize very well with it . .I would go further and say that something along the lines of the Agga˝˝a myth is actually required by it.[62]

In Buddhism, the focus is primarily on the effect the belief in theories of creation and a creator have on the human mind. The Buddhist attitude towards every view is one of critical examination from the perspective of what effect the belief has on the mind and whether the belief binds one to samsara or not.

The Buddha declared that "it is not possible to know or determine the first beginning of the cycle of existence of beings who wander therein deluded by ignorance and obsessed by craving."[63] Speculation about the origin and extent of the universe is generally discouraged in early Buddhism.[64]

Theravada

Huston Smith describes early Buddhism as psychological rather than metaphysical.[65] Unlike theistic religions, which are founded on notions of God and related creation myths, Buddhism begins with the human condition as enumerated in the Four Noble Truths. Thus while most other religions attempt to pass a blanket judgement on the goodness of a pre-fallen world (e.g. 'He then looked at the world and saw that it was good.' Book of Genesis, Old Testament, Christian Bible) and therefore derive the greatness of its Creator, Early Buddhism denies that the question is even worth asking to begin with.[66] Instead it places emphasis on the human condition of clinging and the insubstantial nature of the world. This approach is often even in contrast with many of the Mahayana forms of Buddhism. No being, whether a god or an enlightened being (including the historical Buddha) is ascribed powers of creation, granting salvation and judgement. According to the Pali Canon, omnipotence cannot be ascribed to any being. Further, in Theravada Buddhism, there are no lands or heavens where a being is guaranteed nirvana, instead he can attain nirvana within a very short time, though nothing conclusive could be said about the effort required for that. In this sense therefore, there is no equivalent of the Mahayana "Pure Land" or magical abode of Buddhas where one is guaranteed to be enlightened, in Early Buddhist tradition.

However, Theravada Buddhism does mention the 'Pure Abodes' (pali: Sudhavasasa) [67] in which Non-Returners (pali: Anagami) are born and there they attain Nibbana.

Vajrayana

Tibetan schools of Buddhism speak of two truths, absolute and relative. Relative truth is regarded as the chain of ongoing causes and conditions that define experience within samsara, and ultimate truth is synonymous with emptiness. There are many philosophical viewpoints, but unique to the Vajrayana perspective is the expression (by meditators) of emptiness in experiential language, as opposed to the language of negation used by scholars to undo any conceptual fixation that would stand in the way of a correct understanding of emptiness. For example, one teacher from the Tibetan Kagyu school of Buddhism, Kalu Rinpoche, elucidates: "...pure mind cannot be located, but it is omnipresent and all-penetrating; it embraces and pervades all things. Moreover, it is beyond change, and its open nature is indestructible and atemporal."[68]

Veneration of the Buddha

Although an absolute creator god is absent in most forms of Buddhism, veneration or worship of the Buddha and other Buddhas does play a major role in all forms of Buddhism. In Buddhism all beings may strive for Buddhahood. Throughout the schools of Buddhism, it is taught that being born in the human realm is best for realizing full enlightenment, whereas being born as a god presents one with too much pleasure and too many distractions to provide any motivation for serious insight meditation. Doctrines of theosis have played an important role in Christian thought, and there are a number of theistic variations of Hinduism where a practitioner can strive to become the godhead (for example Vedanta), but from a Buddhist perspective, such attainment would be disadvantageous to the attainment of nirvana,since it would be normally based in a reality external from the mind.

In Buddhism, one venerates Buddhas and sages for their virtues, sacrifices, and struggles for perfect enlightenment, and as teachers who are embodiments of the Dhamma.[69]

In Buddhism, this supreme victory of the human ability for perfect gnosis is celebrated in the concept of human saints known as Arahants which literally means "worthy of offerings" or "worthy of worship" because this sage overcomes all defilements and obtains perfect gnosis to obtain Nirvana.

Professor Perry Schmidt-Leukel comments on how some portrayals of the Buddha within Western understanding deprive him of certain 'divine' features, which are in fact found in the earlier scriptures and in certain Eastern contexts. Schmidt-Leukel writes:

What a difference between the presentation of the Buddha within the genuine context of religious veneration, as in [the Doi Suthep Thai] temple, and the image of the Buddha - currently so widespread in the West - according to which the Buddha was simply a human being, free from all divine features! Indeed this modern view does not at all correspond to the description of the Buddha in the classical Buddhist scriptures.[70]

There's some uncertainty whether such worship has any effects beyond purely spiritual. East Asian doctrines, particularly the flavor of Zen popular in the West, teach that the Buddha and other Buddhas are immutable and therefore cannot or do not intervene in human affairs; at best, prayer to them may facilitate one's own enlightenment, even that due to conscious efforts of the one who prays rather than through the intervention of the supreme being. For that and other reasons, Buddha worship is rarely, if ever, practiced in Mahayana. Buddha worship is common among laymen in Theravada countries such as Thailand, and it often assumes forms more reminiscent of prayers to gods and saints in Christianity or other religions, where worshippers may ask Buddha for help in practical matters.

At the same time, this objection does not apply to worship of Bodhisattvas. Prayer to and meditation on Bodhisattvas such as Avalokitesvara are integral elements of Tibetan Buddhism.

See also

References

1.   ^ Bhikku, Thanissaro (1997) (in translated from Pali). Tittha Sutta: Sectarians. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.061.than.html. "Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of a supreme being's act of creation... When one falls back on lack of cause and lack of condition as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done.' When one can't pin down as a truth or reality what should & shouldn't be done, one dwells bewildered & unprotected. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative." 

2.   ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (2004). "Alagaddupama Sutta: The Water-Snake Simile" (in translated from Pali into English). Access To Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.022.than.html#dukkha. "Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of stress." 

3.   ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (2004). "Anuradha Sutta: To Anuradha" (in translated from Pali into English). Access To Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.086.than.html. "Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress." 

4.   ^ Thera, Nyanaponika. "Buddhism and the God-idea". The Vision of the Dhamma. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/godidea.html. "In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct." 

5.   ^ Bhikku Bodhi (2007). "III.1, III.2, III.5". In Access To Insight. The All Embracing Net of Views: Brahmajala Sutta. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html. 

6.   ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (1997). "Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable" (in translated from Pali into English). AN 4.77. Access To Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.077.than.html. "Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it." 

7.   ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (1998). "Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya" (in translated from Pali into English). Access To Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.063.than.html. "It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him. In the same way, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,'... or that 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata." 

8.   ^ Dorothy Figen (1988). "Is Buddhism a Religion?". Beginning Insight Meditation and other essays. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. pp. Bodhi Leaves. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/figen/bl085.html. "So to these young Christians I can say, "Believe in Christ if you wish, but remember, Jesus never claimed divinity either." Yes, believe in a unitary God, too, if you wish, but cease your imploring, pleading for personal dispensations, health, wealth, relief from suffering. Study the Eightfold Path. Seek the insights and enlightenment that come through meditative learnings. And find out how to achieve for yourself what prayer and solicitation of forces beyond you are unable to accomplish." 

9.   ^ Nyanaponika Thera (1994). Buddhism and the God-idea. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/godidea.html. "Although belief in God does not exclude a favorable rebirth, it is a variety of eternalism, a false affirmation of permanence rooted in the craving for existence, and as such an obstacle to final deliverance." 

10.                     ^ Mahasi Sayadaw,Thoughts on the Dhamma, The Wheel Publication No. 298/300, Kandy BPS, 1983, "...when Buddha-dhamma is being disseminated, there should be only one basis of teaching relating to the Middle Way or the Eightfold Path: the practice of morality, concentration, and acquisition of profound knowledge, and the Four Noble Truths."

11.                     ^ Buddhists consider an enlightened person, the Dhamma and the community of monks as noble. See Three Jewels.

12.                     ^ Thera, Nyanaponika (1994). Devotion in Buddhism. Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanaponika/devotion.html. "It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that the Buddha disparaged a reverential and devotional attitude of mind when it is the natural outflow of a true understanding and a deep admiration of what is great and noble." 

13.                     ^ Bhikku, Thanissaro. "The Meaning of the Buddha's Awakening". Access to Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/awakening.html. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 

14.                     ^ Donald K. Swearer (2004). Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691114354. 

15.                     ^ Hong, Xiong (1997). Hymn to Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Taipei: Vastplain. ISBN 978-9579460897. 

16.                     ^ Lama Thubten Yeshe; Geshe Lhundub Sopa (June 2003). Robina Courtin. ed. Becoming the Compassion Buddha: Tantric Mahamudra for Everyday Life. Wisdom Publications. pp. 89–110. ISBN 978-0861713431. 

17.                     ^ John T Bullitt (2005). "The Thirty-one planes of Existence". Access To Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html. Retrieved May 26, 2010. "The suttas describe thirty-one distinct "planes" or "realms" of existence into which beings can be reborn during this long wandering through samsara. These range from the extraordinarily dark, grim, and painful hell realms all the way up to the most sublime, refined, and exquisitely blissful heaven realms. Existence in every realm is impermanent; in Buddhist cosmology there is no eternal heaven or hell. Beings are born into a particular realm according to both their past kamma and their kamma at the moment of death. When the kammic force that propelled them to that realm is finally exhausted, they pass away, taking rebirth once again elsewhere according to their kamma. And so the wearisome cycle continues." 

18.                     ^ Susan Elbaum Jootla (1997). "II. The Buddha Teaches Deities". In Access To Insight. Teacher of the Devas. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html. ""Many people worship Maha Brahma as the supreme and eternal creator God, but for the Buddha he is merely a powerful deity still caught within the cycle of repeated existence. In point of fact, "Maha Brahma" is a role or office filled by different individuals at different periods.", "His proof included the fact that "many thousands of deities have gone for refuge for life to the recluse Gotama" (MN 95.9). Devas, like humans, develop faith in the Buddha by practicing his teachings.", "A second deva concerned with liberation spoke a verse which is partly praise of the Buddha and partly a request for teaching. Using various similes from the animal world, this god showed his admiration and reverence for the Exalted One.", "A discourse called Sakka's Questions (DN 21) took place after he had been a serious disciple of the Buddha for some time. The sutta records a long audience he had with the Blessed One which culminated in his attainment of stream-entry. Their conversation is an excellent example of the Buddha as "teacher of devas," and shows all beings how to work for Nibbana."" 

19.                     ^ Bhikku, Thanissaro (1997). Kevaddha Sutta. Access To Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.11.0.than.html#bigbrahma. "When this was said, the Great Brahma said to the monk, 'I, monk, am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be... That is why I did not say in their presence that I, too, don't know where the four great elements... cease without remainder. So you have acted wrongly, acted incorrectly, in bypassing the Blessed One in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Go right back to the Blessed One and, on arrival, ask him this question. However he answers it, you should take it to heart." 

20.                     ^ Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.) pg 9

21.                     ^ Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar) pgs 5-6, 8

22.                     ^ Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar) pgs 9-10

23.                     ^ a b Sir Charles Elliot. "Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch". http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/e#a4887. 

24.                     ^ Mahasamaya Sutta, DN 20

25.                     ^ Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar) pg 10

26.                     ^ Cook, Francis, Three Texts on Consciousness Only., Numata Center, Berkeley, 1999, pp. 20-21.

27.                     ^ Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.) pg 12

28.                     ^ Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.) pg 14

29.                     ^ Professor C. D. Sebastian, Metaphysics and Mysticism in Mahayana Buddhism: An Analytical Study of the Ratnagotravibhago-mahayanaottaratantra-sastram, Bibliotheca Indo-Buddhica Series 238, Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 2005, pp. 64-66

30.                     ^ B. Alan Wallace, "Is Buddhism Really Non-Theistic?" Lecture delivered at the National Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Boston, Mass., Nov., 1999. sbinstitute.com/.../Is%20Buddhism%20Really%20Nontheistic_.pdf pp. 2-3

31.                     ^ Guang Xing, The Three Bodies of the Buddha: The Origin and Development of the Trikaya Theory, RoutledgeCurzon, Oxford, 2005, pp.1 and 85

32.                     ^ B. Alan Wallace, "Is Buddhism Really Non-Theistic?" Lecture delivered at the National Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Boston, Mass., Nov., 1999. sbinstitute.com/.../Is%20Buddhism%20Really%20Nontheistic_.pdf p. 1, accessed 14 August 2009

33.                     ^ B. Alan Wallace, "Is Buddhism Really Non-Theistic?", p. 7

34.                     ^ Dr. A. K. Chatterjee, The Yogacara Idealism, Motilal, Delhi, 1975, pp. 133-134

35.                     ^ Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation by Jay L. Garfield. Oxford University Press: 2001. ISBN 0-19-514672-7[1]

36.                     ^ a b Dan Lusthaus, What is and isn't Yogacara. [2].

37.                     ^ Alex Wayman, A Defense of Yogacara Buddhism. Philosophy East and West, Volume 46, Number 4, October 1996, pages 447-476. "Of course, the Yogacara put its trust in the subjective search for truth by way of a samadhi. This rendered the external world not less real, but less valuable as the way of finding truth. The tide of misinformation on this, or on any other topic of Indian lore comes about because authors frequently read just a few verses or paragraphs of a text, then go to secondary sources, or to treatises by rivals, and presume to speak authoritatively. Only after doing genuine research on such a topic can one begin to answer the question: why were those texts and why do the moderns write the way they do?"

38.                     ^ Zen Pivots, Weatherhill, NY, 1998, pp. 142, 146:

39.                     ^ The Zen Eye, Weatherhill, New York, 1994, p. 41

40.                     ^ Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot, by Soyen Shaku, Samuel Weiser Inc, New York, 1971, pp.25-26, 32

41.                     ^ Noa Ronkin, Early Buddhist metaphysics: the making of a philosophical tradition. Routledge, 2005 , page 196.

42.                     ^ Dr. Sam van Schaik, Approaching the Great Perfection: Simultaneous and Gradual Methods of Dzogchen Practice in the Longchen Nyingtig, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2004, p. 55

43.                     ^ Dr. Sam van Schaik, Approaching the Great Perfection, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2004, p. 55

44.                     ^ Dr. Sam van Schaik, Approaching the Great Perfection, Wisdom, Boston, 2004, p. 55

45.                     ^ Dr. James H. Sanford, 'Breath of Life: The Esoteric Nembutsu' in Tantric Buddhism in East Asia, ed. by Dr. Richard K. Payne, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2006, p. 176

46.                     ^ The Supreme Source, p. 157

47.                     ^ Dr. Alexander Studholme, The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum: A Study of the Karandavyuha Sutra, SUNY, 2002, p. 40

48.                     ^ Dr. Alexander Studholme, The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum: A Study of the Karandavyuha Sutra, SUNY, 2002, p. 12

49.                     ^ John Paraskevopoulos, Call of the Infinite: The Way of Shin Buddhism, Sophia Perennis Publications, California, 2009, pp. 16 - 17

50.                     ^ John Paraskevopoulos, Call of the Infinite: The Way of Shin Buddhism, California, 2009, p. 21

51.                     ^ Paraskevopoulos, Call of the Infinite: The Way of Shin Buddhism, California, 2009, p. 22

52.                     ^ John Paraskevopoulos, The Call of the Infinite: The Way of Shin Buddhism, California, 2009, p. 43

53.                     ^ John Paraskevopoulos, The Call of the Infinite: The Way of Shin Buddhism, California, 2009, p. 81

54.                     ^ Kannakatthala Sutta, (MN-90)

55.                     ^ " bBuddhism and the God-idea" by Nyanaponika Thera[3]

56.                     ^ Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1)

57.                     ^ M. Walshe: The Long Discourses of the Buddha, p. 407: "On Knowledge of Beginnings", Somerville, MASS, 1995.

58.                     ^ a b c Richard Gombrich, How Buddhism began: the Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, page 82.

59.                     ^ Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988, page 85: [4].

60.                     ^ David J. Kalupahana, Mūlamadhyamakakārikā of Nāgārjuna: The Philosophy of the Middle Way. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1991, page 61: [5]

61.                     ^ Richard Gombrich, How Buddhism began: the Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, page 81.

62.                     ^ Gethin, Rupert. "Cosmology and meditation: from the Anganna Sutta to the Mahayana" in Williams, Paul. Buddhism, Vol. II. Routledge 2004. ISBN 0-415-33228-1 pgs 104, 126 [6]

63.                     ^ David Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii, 1975, page 111.

64.                     ^ David Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. The University Press of Hawaii, 1975, pages 111-112.

65.                     ^ Smith, Huston (1991) [1958]. The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions. HarperCollins. ISBN 0062508113. http://books.google.com/books?id=1G4eNRWYT6gC. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 

66.                     ^ Life Isn't just suffering, Thanissaro Bhikku

67.                     ^ Anāgāmi

68.                     ^ Kalu Rinpoche, Kyabje (1997). Luminous Mind. Boston: Wisdom Publications. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-86171-118-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=eWVgoVByVhcC. 

69.                     ^ Johnson, Peter (2001). "The Ten Titles of the Buddha". http://www.tientai.net/teachings/dharma/buddha/10titles.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 

70.                     ^ Professor Perry Schmidt-Leukel, 'Buddha and Christ as Mediators of the Transcendent', in Buddhism and Christianity in Dialogue, ed. by Professor Perry Schmidt-Leukel, SCM Press, Norfolk, 2005, p. 152

Literature

Wikipedia