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Post Do Buddhists Have a God? From Ric Mauricio
Created by John Eipper on 01/11/18 4:36 AM

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Do Buddhists Have a God? From Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA, 01/11/18 4:36 am)

Ric Mauricio writes:

Istvan Simon wrote on January 10th:  "A Buddhist's view of God is very different from the Jewish point of view."

May I point out that a Buddhist has no view of a god?  Buddhists have really no god, contrary to the belief that a mythic jolly fat man is their depiction of god. But like many beliefs (religions?), people lose sight of the original pure teaching.

Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BCE.

The Buddha can be compared to the Christian Holy Spirit, which is symbolic of enlightenment.

But returning to Istvan's main point, that of the schisms within religions. There is a giant schism that everyone seems to not touch on. That is the schism between a motley crew of Jewish disciples and the Jewish religion. Did Jesus really intend to start a new religion, or did he seek to enlighten us and free us from the bonds of religious micro-managers? It seems that when I read His teachings, that He was always pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

In the movie The Shack (quite a comical movie really), Octavia Spencer (one of my favorite actresses, whose starring roles include The Help and Hidden Figures) plays God. The movie indeed did get it right with a real Semitic Jewish actor playing Jesus (sorry, no dirty-blond blue-eyed surfer dude here). I liked the Holy Spirit character. She was played by a beautiful Asian actress. But I digress. There was one line in the movie, where the main character asked Jesus about religion. Jesus's responded with a smile: "Ah, religion, hmmm." Those words and the way he said it says it all.  This Jesus did not think much about religion (although he was indeed greatly knowledgeable in the Jewish law).

The journey continues, following the WAIS of enlightenment.

JE comments:  The Buddhist non-god is very difficult for monotheists and culturally monotheistic folks to understand.  Buddhist practice suggests the existence of a deity--they have temples, monks, and conduct chanting prayers and meditation.  But Buddhism self-identifies as a philosophy rather than a religion.  This explains how Buddhist societies can combine a variety of religions/philosophies.  Consider Japan, for example, with Shintoism, Buddhism, and elements of Christianity impacting people's spiritual lives.

A random thought:  Adrian College has a single department of Philosophy & Religion.  WAIS of late has really dissected the Science vs Religion distinction.  How about the difference between Religion and Philosophy?

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  • Religion, Philosophy, and the Jesuits (John Heelan, UK 01/12/18 4:53 AM)

    JE asked on 11 January: "How about the difference between Religion and Philosophy?"

    Regrettably, philosophy was hijacked by religionists from Medieval times onwards, using their intellectual domination of the then universities to promulgate their beliefs and arguments. It was not until the Enlightenment (some 300 years later) that their religious-influenced philosophy was challenged.

    Of the Oxbridge colleges, the first houses were monastic halls. Of the dozens established during the 12th-15th centuries, none survived the Reformation. Campion Hall (Oxford) still maintains its Jesuitical overtones, perhaps the best arguers in the business?

    JE comments:  What came first, Philosophy or Religion?  More or less at the same time?  Can't we see religion as an applied philosophy?  We need to pose this question to the Buddhists, as well as to the Jesuits.

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    • Religion, Philosophy, Chickens and Eggs (Tor Guimaraes, USA 01/15/18 5:10 AM)
      What came first, the chicken or the egg? Obviously the chicken came first because it had to contribute the first-chicken genetic material for the first egg. The environment changes the species over time to produce a hopefully more successful evolved species. Nevertheless, one can imagine that an egg of a prior species could be zapped by some rays and muted to produce the first chicken immediately after hatching. Possible but unlikely?

      Which came first philosophy or religion?  (See John Heelan, 12 January.) Once a cave person thought that fire was a god or from the gods, a modern professor would have called this process philosophizing, producing "the first philosophy."

      John Eipper and I are both right; Madame Currie knew about radioactivity but not enough to save her life. That is a major reason why I wrote my book God for Atheists and Scientists: we must take science more seriously because sooner or later our lives and welfare will depend on it. No time for laziness and time-wasting.

      JE comments:  In our chicken-religion-egg-philosophy analogy, is religion the chicken or the egg?  For his part, John Heelan places myth as the progenitor of both philosophy and religion.

      Whew, this is heavy stuff.  Let's turn our attention instead to hoaxes.  Eugenio Battaglia (next) gets the ball rolling.

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