Questions regardin God and Nirvana

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Matt J
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Re: Questions regardin God and Nirvana

Post by Matt J » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:12 pm

I've been reading Karen Armstrong's History of God which makes it clear (to me) that the God of Judeo-Christianity is not one God, but a series of changing Gods that makes it difficult to define. For instance, there is an anthropomorphic war god among others, a Hellenized, apathetic, "unmoved mover", a God that is both immanent and transcendent, etc.

A more fruitful comparison, perhaps, might be made between Brahman and Nirvana. David Loy has done such a comparison here:
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Questions regardin God and Nirvana

Post by Nosta » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:24 pm

Thanks for the answers and links provided to all of you.


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Re: Questions regardin God and Nirvana

Post by odysseus » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:58 pm

Sorry if this discussion has ended. I just want to clarify that the "clear warm light" that some report in near-death experiences is supposedly the realisation of Sunyata (emptiness) as described in scripture. What else could it be?
This realisation is of course possible in living life too.

Ehm, uhm yes I said this is possible by psychedelics and it´s reported from before. But if psychedelics can give you this, Sunyata seems like something mundane. The realisation of Sunyata is said to be a profound insight and I don´t know why this is possible by psychedelics by that´s maybe a topic of it´s own. Maybe the psychedelic needs some understanding from before and Sunyata comes into fruition by several circumstances? A little paradox for us. Maybe Sunyata is not so difficult to know after all?

We´re still not in Nirvana though we are on our way there by this realisation...

Last edited by odysseus on Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions regardin God and Nirvana

Post by waimengwan » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:14 pm

1) I dont know how to answer this question. Does god depend on our interpretation or there is an absolute truth ascribed to it. To new agers it is different, to mono theistic practitioners it is different.

2) Rinpoche told us the white light is our subtle mind actually .

3) I have read an heard that enlightened beings hanging out together is like pouring water into another more WATER! Are they one, yes they are of the same nature but are they also distinct, I dont have the answer for that.

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Re: Questions regardin God and Nirvana

Post by » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:41 am

I know this is an old post, but It's an important topic for me and probably for everyone who has grown up in and around a Christian church. So I just wanted to add a couple of things I have found that helped me.

I grew up in Tennessee in a Church of Christ, but I stopped going when I left home at 18. I got tired of the rhetoric. Everyone I had known believed in the Bible as if it were handwritten by God himself as a record of history, spirituality, and everything else. God created the heavens and the Earth. His son Jesus was born to a virgin on Christmas day, etc, and I was supposed to believe in it in the same way as everyone else did.

Buddhism, as some of you have mentioned, is sometimes referred to as "a finger pointing to the moon." I personally believe that most of what Jesus said in the New Testament could fall into that "finger pointing to the moon" category. I recently read "Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian" by Paul Knitter, and he elaborates more on this idea. (I still haven't come to terms with the A-hole God of the Old Testament, but the book a previous poster suggested sounds interesting)

...but I said all of that to say that if, as Jesus suggested, God is love, then I can see Nirvana and God or heaven being close to the same idea. Knitter talks about this in more detail, but the love(God) that Christ spoke of parallels the compassion roused in the Buddha.

Oh, and here is a picture of a flying saucer. :alien:

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Re: Questions regardin God and Nirvana

Post by Skywalker » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:52 am

I have no idea what Nirvana is. Is it just another word for enlightenment? Enlightenment cannot be called God, one might be able to say it is the direct knowledge of God. But what is God? If you are talking about a creator man with a beard named JHVH or Jehovah then no, they cannot be the same. But of course that is not what you mean by God. You can make up any definition for God you want. You can define God as Nirvana. But others might misunderstand.

But why reify it and call it God? the word God implies a thing, even if it is "everything". In other words, at the very least, the word god implies a substance, like the Hindu Brahman. Since Buddha nature is empty and not made of any substance, eternal or otherwise, it is hard to call it "God" especially since it also doesn't create anything, cannot affect anything or bless anything, has no real qualities at all, nothing that we could identify as a deity. If you think of this experience of living as a human on Earth and of seeking enlightenment as a dream, and enlightenment is waking up from the dream, who wakes up? Who is the dreamer? Is it God? Well, it is not other than you. Not that you are one with God. Is the dream made of a substance? Is the dream made of God?

YOu can use the word God but people will think you are talking about a deity. You must realize that the enlightened mind is made of nothing, it is empty, but it is shiny.

You asked if attaining Nirvana, one becomes one with all who have attained it? Hmmm... If one dies does one become one with all the dead? If I peel all the layers off an onion does the onion become one with all onions I have peeled the layers off of? There is nothing to be one with anything or not. There is oneness just because there is not twoness. If you have a nightmare When the dream ends do the dream characters that seem so real when you are dreaming do they become one? Do they become one with you? Do you become one with others who woke up from dreams?


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