Gods in religions

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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cck123
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Gods in religions

Post by cck123 » Mon May 29, 2017 2:57 pm

Hello friends,

i would like to hear your opinion about one thing that goes on my mind:
do you think that there are beings/gods standing behind all the religions over the world? Or are they human-made systems alone, a kind of collective karma? Is it plausible to talk of one god in the old monotheistic religions? Do believers come to "their" god when they die?

And, in your opinion, if they exist:
Do they give power to their believers? Or are all these wonders the product of meditation, wishes, merit and prayer?

Thank you!
Chris

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by DNS » Mon May 29, 2017 9:20 pm

cck123 wrote: i would like to hear your opinion about one thing that goes on my mind:
do you think that there are beings/gods standing behind all the religions over the world? Or are they human-made systems alone, a kind of collective karma? Is it plausible to talk of one god in the old monotheistic religions? Do believers come to "their" god when they die?
No, I don't think believers can come to their god when they die. Most (maybe all) of those gods don't even exist and yes are human-made stories. It's a nice New Agey sentiment to say that all religions are true and completely correct and that Christians go to Christian heaven, Muslims go to Muslim heaven, etc. but there are many ways the religions of the world contradict each other so much so that they can't all be correct. There are some basic morality and proverbs which can help those from any religion, but in terms of cosmology, after-life destinations, they can't all be correct. We can have tolerance for those of other religions, see people as being at different levels and places on their own path and wish them well.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by smcj » Mon May 29, 2017 9:44 pm

My interpretation of the last chapter of the "Uttaratantra" lends itself to perennialism. But that doesn't make every religion the same.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Jesse » Tue May 30, 2017 12:41 am

Many people whom have had near death experiences, experience them within the context of their own religion. Christians will see angels, Buddhists will see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I think this is probably the best 'evidence' we have in regards to these kinds of questions.

It makes me think that likely what we perceive in the afterlife (if anything) would be based around our own minds, and beliefs. Either due to the nature of belief influencing our perceptions, or perhaps even those that we share strong karmic connections with would only appear to us in such forms as to make us at ease. Who really knows though.

Certainly, if there is any sort of God, (very unlikely.) I will very much enjoy our chat once I'm dead.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Anonymous X » Tue May 30, 2017 11:02 am

Jesse wrote:Many people whom have had near death experiences, experience them within the context of their own religion. Christians will see angels, Buddhists will see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I think this is probably the best 'evidence' we have in regards to these kinds of questions.

It makes me think that likely what we perceive in the afterlife (if anything) would be based around our own minds, and beliefs. Either due to the nature of belief influencing our perceptions, or perhaps even those that we share strong karmic connections with would only appear to us in such forms as to make us at ease. Who really knows though.

Certainly, if there is any sort of God, (very unlikely.) I will very much enjoy our chat once I'm dead.
I don't think you'll be there when this life ends........When asleep, you've already forgotten everything you know. The little dreams you have are just little blips. In deep sleep, you are really forgotten. Why would you think you'll be there when die?

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by AlexanderS » Tue May 30, 2017 1:43 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Jesse wrote:Many people whom have had near death experiences, experience them within the context of their own religion. Christians will see angels, Buddhists will see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I think this is probably the best 'evidence' we have in regards to these kinds of questions.

It makes me think that likely what we perceive in the afterlife (if anything) would be based around our own minds, and beliefs. Either due to the nature of belief influencing our perceptions, or perhaps even those that we share strong karmic connections with would only appear to us in such forms as to make us at ease. Who really knows though.

Certainly, if there is any sort of God, (very unlikely.) I will very much enjoy our chat once I'm dead.
I don't think you'll be there when this life ends........When asleep, you've already forgotten everything you know. The little dreams you have are just little blips. In deep sleep, you are really forgotten. Why would you think you'll be there when die?
In the tibetan book of the dead, it is taught that there is a intermediate state after death and before rebirth that lasts up to 49 days, I believe, where we inhabit a subtle body, and because our body is light, our mind is also very light and clairvoyant, and we behold terryfying and awe-inspirering displays of deities.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by tingdzin » Tue May 30, 2017 4:13 pm

If you are willing to think outside the box, for an absolutly original take on "gods" and their relationship to people, read "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by the late Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes. It's available (of course) on Amazon, where you can also find a load of reviews.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by muni » Tue May 30, 2017 7:02 pm

Do they give power to their believers?
Fellows seek comfort and encouragement in their religion. A friend who is Christian lost her husband and daughter. Without her belief she said, she would not be able to bear this.

How would it be if she would be told: "your God is not existing"?
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Grigoris » Tue May 30, 2017 7:13 pm

Ever tried convincing somebody having a psychotic delusion that what they think is not real/true?
"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: Gods in religions

Post by Mantrik » Tue May 30, 2017 7:45 pm

Grigoris wrote:Ever tried convincing somebody having a psychotic delusion that what they think is not real/true?
Reality is the key.

Truly deluded people think there is a 'normal' kind of reality. You leave it when you believe you have a deity in front of you, or self-generate as a deity and enter their reality, and then return to 'normal'. You don't. You move on to a new reality, and grasp at old reference points which are still evident.

Some also think this way about people whose reality is not widely shared. They call it delusion rather than difference, because we are hard-wired to believe that reality is a matter of norms, of majority. Terms like 'psychosis' are just labels society uses because they would rather people adhere to norms. I dare say people are really inconvenient if they wander about shouting at demons and staring wildly at people - and 'abnormal' behaviour has always drawn reactions of horror or derision...............

Yet sometimes it is regarded it as real and 'normal' if it happens with an oracle or shaman in a society which accepts that behaviour.

If at the point of death you see a particular deity, it is real. Sure, we share communal elements of 'reality' and expectations of it as Buddhist, as Vajrayana practitioners, etc. , such as what happens as we pass through to rebirth.

I would agree with your words in the sense that we should not try. We have no place telling anyone that their reality is a delusion, even if they were able to relatae to that. Yet with a desire to be kind, we can perhaps help them experience a reality which improves their happiness and karma (action).
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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Jesse » Tue May 30, 2017 7:56 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Jesse wrote:Many people whom have had near death experiences, experience them within the context of their own religion. Christians will see angels, Buddhists will see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I think this is probably the best 'evidence' we have in regards to these kinds of questions.

It makes me think that likely what we perceive in the afterlife (if anything) would be based around our own minds, and beliefs. Either due to the nature of belief influencing our perceptions, or perhaps even those that we share strong karmic connections with would only appear to us in such forms as to make us at ease. Who really knows though.

Certainly, if there is any sort of God, (very unlikely.) I will very much enjoy our chat once I'm dead.
I don't think you'll be there when this life ends........When asleep, you've already forgotten everything you know. The little dreams you have are just little blips. In deep sleep, you are really forgotten. Why would you think you'll be there when die?

I never said I thought that. I said the only evidence we have is from people who have died and been resuscitated. Near Death Experiences. Which still isn't very good evidence, but it's all we have.

In sleep you don't forget anything, there is only a difference in the cohesion of these memories, the lucidity of the experiences. Everything is there. We simply do not have the same faculties of logic while dreaming. We can't peice things together as well as when we are awake. However, there are lucid dreams where this changes entirely. In a lucid dream it's really no different than being awake.

As far as deep sleep in concerned, I don't think anyone knows what really happens, as to know you'd have to be able to first remember. I think that in deep sleep we simply are not storing memories of the experiences, that's all. It doesn't mean nothing is happening at all.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Anonymous X » Wed May 31, 2017 4:39 am

AlexanderS wrote:
Anonymous X wrote:
Jesse wrote:Many people whom have had near death experiences, experience them within the context of their own religion. Christians will see angels, Buddhists will see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I think this is probably the best 'evidence' we have in regards to these kinds of questions.

It makes me think that likely what we perceive in the afterlife (if anything) would be based around our own minds, and beliefs. Either due to the nature of belief influencing our perceptions, or perhaps even those that we share strong karmic connections with would only appear to us in such forms as to make us at ease. Who really knows though.

Certainly, if there is any sort of God, (very unlikely.) I will very much enjoy our chat once I'm dead.
I don't think you'll be there when this life ends........When asleep, you've already forgotten everything you know. The little dreams you have are just little blips. In deep sleep, you are really forgotten. Why would you think you'll be there when die?
In the tibetan book of the dead, it is taught that there is a intermediate state after death and before rebirth that lasts up to 49 days, I believe, where we inhabit a subtle body, and because our body is light, our mind is also very light and clairvoyant, and we behold terryfying and awe-inspirering displays of deities.
Why think about these things? You can only imagine, and imagination is not real.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Anonymous X » Wed May 31, 2017 4:42 am

Jesse wrote:
Anonymous X wrote:
Jesse wrote:Many people whom have had near death experiences, experience them within the context of their own religion. Christians will see angels, Buddhists will see Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I think this is probably the best 'evidence' we have in regards to these kinds of questions.

It makes me think that likely what we perceive in the afterlife (if anything) would be based around our own minds, and beliefs. Either due to the nature of belief influencing our perceptions, or perhaps even those that we share strong karmic connections with would only appear to us in such forms as to make us at ease. Who really knows though.

Certainly, if there is any sort of God, (very unlikely.) I will very much enjoy our chat once I'm dead.
I don't think you'll be there when this life ends........When asleep, you've already forgotten everything you know. The little dreams you have are just little blips. In deep sleep, you are really forgotten. Why would you think you'll be there when die?

I never said I thought that. I said the only evidence we have is from people who have died and been resuscitated. Near Death Experiences. Which still isn't very good evidence, but it's all we have.

In sleep you don't forget anything, there is only a difference in the cohesion of these memories, the lucidity of the experiences. Everything is there. We simply do not have the same faculties of logic while dreaming. We can't peice things together as well as when we are awake. However, there are lucid dreams where this changes entirely. In a lucid dream it's really no different than being awake.

As far as deep sleep in concerned, I don't think anyone knows what really happens, as to know you'd have to be able to first remember. I think that in deep sleep we simply are not storing memories of the experiences, that's all. It doesn't mean nothing is happening at all.
The one who is dying is not an entity, a person, a cohesive self. Why do you entertain all these thoughts? What do you hope to get out of it? Belief?

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by muni » Wed May 31, 2017 8:54 am

It was the Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh who said that some fellows do not see "their" God as a separate entity, separate from an own entity and these 'Christians' could benefit from his teachings. Since I heard some from other religions were following his Zen teachings.

In Buddhism there is no one who is going to solve our problems, our confusion. There is no entity/creator of all things outside who is going to fix it and free us from delusion because it is all home-made. The confusion must be found in seeing that very home-made. Buddha looked within, many statues/pictures are demonstrating this. He saw the cause of all problems could only be erased there.

Not easy, not at all.

There is no all mighty goodness outside, acting as a compassionate power toward/for us.
Even there is guidance as Primordial Goodness to help to see, to help to free out of confusion and to "invite" to recognize Nature. All-Embracing Wisdoms' Compassion.

* Primordial Goodness * = our Nature.

o o
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Kaccāni » Wed May 31, 2017 1:19 pm

cck123 wrote: do you think that there are beings/gods standing behind all the religions over the world? Or are they human-made systems alone, a kind of collective karma?
As this is a Buddhist forum:

Get over the illusion of inherent existence, souls, driving gods, other personifications and anthropomorphisms, and all that jazz. "Beings" necessarily are a projection of characterizing human experience in human minds, calling that existence. To think of some phenomena as beings or gods is a phenomenon of the human mind that naturally occurs at a certain stage of ignorance. There's a path out from there.

Once that step is taken, let's proeed to Mahayana and talk about how to deal with the world from that point of view, where Dostojevsky, Nietzsche and some others had difficulties to find any reasonable answer to avoid the next layer of fear. (Hint: replacing hate and fear of the void with compassion may have something to do with it).

Best
Kc
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Re: Gods in religions

Post by AlexanderS » Wed May 31, 2017 6:02 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
AlexanderS wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: I don't think you'll be there when this life ends........When asleep, you've already forgotten everything you know. The little dreams you have are just little blips. In deep sleep, you are really forgotten. Why would you think you'll be there when die?
In the tibetan book of the dead, it is taught that there is a intermediate state after death and before rebirth that lasts up to 49 days, I believe, where we inhabit a subtle body, and because our body is light, our mind is also very light and clairvoyant, and we behold terryfying and awe-inspirering displays of deities.
Why think about these things? You can only imagine, and imagination is not real.
From the perspective of emptiness everything is imagination and unreal.

If our minds become subtle & clairvoyant enough, we can experience these beings in this as real relative reality as we can experience humans.

I agree though, that most of the time, there is not a necessarily a great benefit in thinking about these things.

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Jesse » Wed May 31, 2017 7:38 pm

Kaccāni wrote:
cck123 wrote: do you think that there are beings/gods standing behind all the religions over the world? Or are they human-made systems alone, a kind of collective karma?
As this is a Buddhist forum:

Get over the illusion of inherent existence, souls, driving gods, other personifications and anthropomorphisms, and all that jazz. "Beings" necessarily are a projection of characterizing human experience in human minds, calling that existence. To think of some phenomena as beings or gods is a phenomenon of the human mind that naturally occurs at a certain stage of ignorance. There's a path out from there.

Once that step is taken, let's proeed to Mahayana and talk about how to deal with the world from that point of view, where Dostojevsky, Nietzsche and some others had difficulties to find any reasonable answer to avoid the next layer of fear. (Hint: replacing hate and fear of the void with compassion may have something to do with it).

Best
Kc

The next step imho is probably learning equanimity and learning to stop grasping at our beloved ideas, and beliefs about the way we thought things are and will be. I believe relative Bodhichitta is just another tool. Someone once said "We can not maintain two opposing emotions in our minds at the same time", for example, hatred and love. One always counters the other. I'm sure r-bodhicitta has other uses, but as of now I believe it's best use is that of a tool to maintain equanimity, and to reduce afflictive states, which is conducive to genuine practice. )
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by Grigoris » Wed May 31, 2017 10:03 pm

Jesse wrote:Someone once said "We can not maintain two opposing emotions in our minds at the same time", for example, hatred and love. One always counters the other.
Jealousy is attachment and aversion together.
"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: Gods in religions

Post by Jesse » Wed May 31, 2017 10:11 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Jesse wrote:Someone once said "We can not maintain two opposing emotions in our minds at the same time", for example, hatred and love. One always counters the other.
Jealousy is attachment and aversion together.
This quote had more to do with base emotions like acceptance/compassion, and anger & hatred. I really can't imagine being both simultaneously filled with compassion, and hatred... can you?

It's the entire basis of replacing afflictive emotions with beneficial ones such as equanimity, compassion, joy.

I probably could have stated the quote in more accuracy, but that's the actual meaning of the quote, more or less.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Gods in religions

Post by PuerAzaelis » Wed May 31, 2017 10:17 pm

Anonymous X wrote:... imagination is not real.
Imaginings, concepts, ideas, daydreams - they're in my experience. What makes my experience unreal?
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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