Buddhism, and theistic religions.

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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tellyontellyon
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Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tellyontellyon » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 pm

Hello, I've probably asked this question or one similar to it, but didn't explain myself well... So I'll ask in this forum and explain myself a bit better.

I'm a Buddhist and follow the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, though I also like to read some translations of the Pali suttas and I like to hear Ajahn Amaro podcasts.
I trained as a psychotherapist that included a Universalist spiritual dimension to it, Jungian, Archetypal and Sufi ideas were included.
I like the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan (Sufi mysticism), I also like to read the New Testament.
However, as I said, I am firmly in the Buddhist camp.

I do sometimes feel a bit jealous of the Christians and the Sufis though....
.... I have a sense that they have the feeling of a god right there with them at all times and someone to save them and help them.

Is there something similar in Buddhism? Is the Buddha or Bodhisattvas 'right there' to hear you or help you or guide you in the same sense?
What is the view of Tibetan Buddhism of this and Mahayana schools more widely.

Sometimes as a Buddhist I feel lonely and would like there to be a 'god' like being or beings around me to listen, help and guide me... .. but I don't want to fool myself either.

Western practitioners often have a more secular or 'scientific' background to their approach to Buddhism that doesn't emphasise as much of the more 'spiritual' or supernatural aspects as much as Asian Buddhists, or at least that is how it seems to me (I might be wrong).
As a westerner, have I developed a view of Buddhism that is too 'scientific' and therefore cut myself of from the more spiritual aspects that the theistic religions seem to focus much more on..?
... Or is that just wishful thinking?

What would you say in your opinions on this?

Thank you.
"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself."
- Rumi

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tkp67 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:50 pm

There are parallels in all belief that reveal the true dimension of the human condition and experience

Belief of all kinds have some very common themes in regard to the human condition and experience

The buddhism I practice puts them into context of the ten realms, the pervasiveness of which comforts me as deeply as a connection to a diety.

It also (for me personally) takes away some of the differation between beliefs and makes them all relevant in a sense commensurate with my understanding of the buddhism I practice.

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:07 pm

Have you looked into the Chenrezig or Amitabha practices? They both involve a continual sense of the buddha, which is beneficial to self and others. In the Kagyu lineage, Bokar Rinpoche and Kalu Rinpoche have some helpful teachings on these buddhas.

In Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, he says the buddhas have unobstructed vision, and we stand in front of them. Especially if you practice some form of buddha-remembrance over time, this statement becomes less abstract.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by KathyLauren » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:29 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 pm
Is there something similar in Buddhism? Is the Buddha or Bodhisattvas 'right there' to hear you or help you or guide you in the same sense?
What is the view of Tibetan Buddhism of this and Mahayana schools more widely.
Years ago, when I was just starting out with Tibetan Buddhism, I had serious doubts about the reality of bodhisattvas and meditational deities. As a scientist, I did not believe in anything supernatural.

And then I came across one line in a puja that made it clear. "You [the deity] are the manifestation of the emptiness and awareness of my own mind." You can not get more real and more immediate than that! Being a manifestation of my own mind is about as "right there" as you can get.

The abilities and powers attributed to the deities are abilities and powers in my own mind, if only I can develop the concentration to access them. To the extent that I can access them (limited to say the least!), they most assuredly do help me and guide me.

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by gedatsu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:36 am

tellyontellyon wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 pm

Sometimes as a Buddhist I feel lonely and would like there to be a 'god' like being or beings around me to listen, help and guide me... .. but I don't want to fool myself either.
"Theos," "God," "pure Mind," "tathata," and so on, are simply metaphors for the unconditioned (asaṃskṛta) which we can only guess at unlike a Buddha who awakened to it. Buddhism (the religion of awakening) tells us that we already have the buddha or awakened nature. One just has to transcend the illusion that makes it seem unrealized (the hard part of the journey).

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:42 am

You can ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for help, they have been ‘there’ for me. The downside of relying exclusively on devotion devoid of wisdom is that once your devotion lessens (as it is bound to) you fall further.

Anyway, IME most Tibetan practitioners believe that Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas are actively available to help.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:03 am

tellyontellyon wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 pm
Hello, I've probably asked this question or one similar to it, but didn't explain myself well... So I'll ask in this forum and explain myself a bit better.

I'm a Buddhist and follow the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, though I also like to read some translations of the Pali suttas and I like to hear Ajahn Amaro podcasts.
I trained as a psychotherapist that included a Universalist spiritual dimension to it, Jungian, Archetypal and Sufi ideas were included.
I like the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan (Sufi mysticism), I also like to read the New Testament.
However, as I said, I am firmly in the Buddhist camp.
what makes you feel buddhist?

I do sometimes feel a bit jealous of the Christians and the Sufis though....
.... I have a sense that they have the feeling of a god right there with them at all times and someone to save them and help them.
be carefull with the extremes, by relying in a mundane god one is bounded to it's power.

having respect for religious diversity is enough to make everyone happy.
Is there something similar in Buddhism? Is the Buddha or Bodhisattvas 'right there' to hear you or help you or guide you in the same sense?
What is the view of Tibetan Buddhism of this and Mahayana schools more widely.

yes, but "help" is not much like by making samsara more comfortable. for example, if one is hungry then the "help" is of the kind "look at hunger, find it's cause, put end to it" and not a sandwich.

somethimes help can come as more normal things like a sandwich, yes, but it isn't really the point.
Sometimes as a Buddhist I feel lonely and would like there to be a 'god' like being or beings around me to listen, help and guide me... .. but I don't want to fool myself either.
man, when you do buddhist practice -be i postrations, mantra, reading sutra, etc.- you are never alone.


Western practitioners often have a more secular or 'scientific' background to their approach to Buddhism that doesn't emphasise as much of the more 'spiritual' or supernatural aspects as much as Asian Buddhists, or at least that is how it seems to me (I might be wrong).
As a westerner, have I developed a view of Buddhism that is too 'scientific' and therefore cut myself of from the more spiritual aspects that the theistic religions seem to focus much more on..?
... Or is that just wishful thinking?
i don't know, buddhism is a matter of facts. we don't expect to be saved but do our best to open our eyes. it's damn difficult.

this is how i understand it. somethimes is like a burden haha the burden of being responsible.

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:15 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:42 am
You can ask Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for help, they have been ‘there’ for me. The downside of relying exclusively on devotion devoid of wisdom is that once your devotion lessens (as it is bound to) you fall further.

Anyway, IME most Tibetan practitioners believe that Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas are actively available to help.
yeah! sometimes i don't know how to go ahead, then i remember and call for avalokiteshvara, GP, and alike, is really encouraging. is something like faith or my imagination, but It feels good, like being emotionally nurtured for a while, like when you're a kid and comes back with mom to recharge batteries. and then one can get ahead..

now i read and sounds ridiculous, but it actually is that way haha even the Dalai Lama relies on Avalokiteshvara for find courage when feeling discouraged and alike, so he said.

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by smcj » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:02 am

Anyway, IME most Tibetan practitioners believe that Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas are actively available to help.
Yes. They are (or can be) available to help with life problems and spiritual growth both. Obviously as Buddhist deities then premise is that samsara cannot be made satisfying, so the latter application is the most important. It’s in the latter application that you see them as you open mind.

Or so I think today.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:14 am

Yeah, to continue on this theme, the more noble ones prayers and aspirations, I think the more the ‘help’ feels tangible.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:53 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:03 am
... i don't know, buddhism is a matter of facts. we don't expect to be saved but do our best to open our eyes. it's damn difficult.

this is how i understand it. somethimes is like a burden haha the burden of being responsible.
:thumbsup:

Well said!

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Grigoris » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:33 am

Karmapa Khyenno! ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Simon E. » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:56 am

Student to Chime Rinpoche. “ Is Tara symbolic of a functioning of the mind”. ? Chime R..” yes it’s ok to think like that...just as long as you remember that you are also a symbol of HER mind.”
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Astus » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:11 am

Some relevant materials available online:
Chan Practice and Faith by Chan Master Sheng Yen
Popular Deities of Chinese Buddhism by Kuan Ming

In book:
Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin by John Blofeld
Discovering Kwan Yin, Buddhist Goddess of Compassion by Sandy Boucher
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tellyontellyon » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:41 am

At the moment I'm reading 'The Teaching of The Buddha', produced by Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai. It talks about the Eternal Buddha,
"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself."
- Rumi

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by tkp67 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:40 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:41 am
At the moment I'm reading 'The Teaching of The Buddha', produced by Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai. It talks about the Eternal Buddha,
there where many concepts that seemed impossible to grasp that years later make total sense to me and this is one of those

From a Mahayana POV if everyone has a latent buddhist potential that need just be realized then from human perspective buddha nature is all encompassing over the term which is those context relative to humanity itself is "eternal"

this is why for me the teachings themselves comfort me as if buddha was in attendance although I admit it may seem convoluted or a bit of a grasp it seems minimally as if there are writings on the walls of the cave and more manifest it is as if the unseen mind of buddha is here for us at all times

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by ford_truckin » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:35 pm

“Householder, there are these five things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. What five? Long life, householder, is wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. Beauty … Happiness … Fame … The heavens are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. These are the five things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world.

“These five things, householder, that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world, I say, are not obtained by means of prayers or aspirations. If these five things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world could be obtained by means of prayers or aspirations, who here would be lacking in anything?"
https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/an5.43
"We should not express outwardly signs of wisdom, goodness, or diligence, for inwardly we are filled with falsity."
- Shinran Shonin

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Queequeg » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:54 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:41 am
At the moment I'm reading 'The Teaching of The Buddha', produced by Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai. It talks about the Eternal Buddha,
If you have not done so, read the Lotus Sutra. That's about the Eternal Buddha you find in East Asia - the one that is referred to in BDK's outline of Buddhism. Read the sutra as a novel - it doesn't have pithy instructions - that's not the message conveyed. Just let the story play out. Let the literary devices play in your mind. Don't skip around. Its meant to be read through.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by rory » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:11 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:54 pm
tellyontellyon wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:41 am
At the moment I'm reading 'The Teaching of The Buddha', produced by Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai. It talks about the Eternal Buddha,
If you have not done so, read the Lotus Sutra. That's about the Eternal Buddha you find in East Asia - the one that is referred to in BDK's outline of Buddhism. Read the sutra as a novel - it doesn't have pithy instructions - that's not the message conveyed. Just let the story play out. Let the literary devices play in your mind. Don't skip around. Its meant to be read through.
Well said, especially read Ch. 25 the famous chapter about Guanyin/Kannon Bodhisattva

AT THAT TIME Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his palms together, and facing the Buddha, said, "World Honored One, for what reason is the Bodhisattva Guanshiyin called 'Guanshiyin'?"

The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, "Good man, if any of the limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings who are undergoing all kinds of suffering hear of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and recite his name single-mindedly, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will immediately hear their voices and rescue them.....
http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/reso ... otus25.htm

I have great faith in Kannon sama and so does most of East Asia!
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Buddhism, and theistic religions.

Post by Matt J » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:21 am

One interesting thing to think about is that experiences arise, but they arise with out any labels. We don't really know what, if anything, they are pointing to outside of our experience. So an experience of God may be the experience of something else, but we label it an experience of God. From a Buddhist perspective, an experience of God may be a just a fleeting emotion, or an experience of one's inherent Buddha nature, or it may be energy passing by. An experience of the "Holy Spirit" from Christianity is, in my experience, the same as an experience of prana or qi. Christians take it as evidence of an external God, but non-Christians do not.

It becomes more problematic because when we consider emptiness, there is really no separation. So the idea of an external deity, or even an external world, is problematic since both the mind and the world are empty and interdependent.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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