||ngày 12 tháng 5, 2009|
Generally, we use the term ‘God’ to
designate a supreme power, who is the creator of the entire universe and
the chief law-giver for the humans. The God or Almighty is considered to
be concerned with the welfare of His creations and the ‘moksha’ or
salvation for those who follow His dictates. Different religions and
sects follow the God differently by different names, but as far as
Buddhism is concerned, it has a different perception for Him.
The Origin Of God – Myth and Reality:
The Buddhist system of religion do not believe in the concept of a
personal God. The theory of Buddhism rejects the notion of an abstract
principle of God operating in the universe. They rather believe that the
concept of God is a response to fear and frustration. According to the
Buddhist ideology, when primitive humans found themselves in a dangerous and
hostile world, the fear of wild animals and of natural phenomena like
thunder and lightning, they created the idea of Gods to console themselves.
Lack of Evidence
However, it was the Buddha who preached to try to understand the fears,
to lessen the desires and courageously accept the things one cannot change.
He tried to replace fear, not with irrational belief but with rational
understanding. Secondly, the Buddhists do not believe in God because there
has been no real and concrete evidence to prove the idea of God. Even the
research on God for thousands of year has not proved the existence of God.
Thirdly, the Buddhists argue that belief in God is not necessary to have a
happy and meaningful life as there are millions of Buddhists, atheists and
free thinkers who are happy without belief in God.
God’s Role in Determining Heaven or Hell
There has been a popular belief that, it is God who acts as the final
judge and determines if an individual would go to heaven or hell! But, the
Buddhist theory strongly refutes this belief and says that it is nobody
else, but the Karmas of an individual, which decides the destination of an
individual. Even a Buddha cannot pardon or interfere with the karmic
process. Therefore, in Buddhism, there is simply no place for a God even if
The Buddhist ideology also raises a question on the authenticity of God’s
role in Salvation. The Buddhists argue that, it was Buddha who realised that
each and every person has a capacity to purify his soul and mind and
therefore he encouraged people to find solutions to their problems
themselves. He asked people to follow the path from Heart to Heaven rather
than from Heaven to Heart. And therefore, the Buddhist path to salvation
does not go through prayers, but is rather based on deeds including mental
culture through meditation.
Buddhism and God
The concept of Buddhism refutes the idea of a God, who throws the sinners
into everlasting torments. In fact, the Buddhists believe in the existence
of an Enlightened being, who vows to save all sentient beings from their
sufferings. The concept of enlightenment is principally concerned with
developing a method to escape from the illusions of the materialistic world.
According to the Buddhist ideology, anyone can enlighten himself by
undertaking a method of mental discipline and a code of conduct.
The importance of Buddha as God
Almost all the sects of Buddhism do not believe in the myth of God.
Indeed some of the early Indian Mahayana philosophers denounced God-worship
in terms which are even stronger than those expressed in the Theravada
literature. Some later Mahayana schools, which flourished outside India,
ascribed some degree of divinity to a transcendent Buddha, considering
living Buddhas to be a manifestation of the Adi-Buddha. But even then it
cannot be said that the Buddha was converted into a Divinity comparable to
the God of the monotheistic religions. In the Brahmajâla Sutta and the Aggaa
Sutta texts, the Buddha refutes the claims of Maha Brahmâ(the main God) and
shows Him to be subject to karmic law (i.e. cosmic law). Even though
long-lived Mahâ Brahmâ will be eliminated in each cycle of inevitable world
dissolution and re-evolution. In the Khevadda Sutta Mahâ Brahmâ is forced to
admit to an inquiring monk that he is unable to answer a question that is
posed to him, and advises the monk to consult the Buddha. This clearly shows
the Brahmâ acknowledges the superiority of the Buddha. This is view that the
Buddha is some kind of God figure. In the Theravada tradition the Buddha is
regarded as a supremely enlightened human teacher who has come to his last
birth in samsára (the Buddhist cycle of existence). But, Mahayana
traditions, which tend to think in terms of transcendental Buddhas, do not
directly make a claim for Buddha as God. Thus the Buddha cannot be
considered as playing a God-like role in Buddhism. Rather the Buddha is
considered as an enlightened father of humanity.
Therefore, instead of believing in the God, the Buddhists
believe in humanity. They believe that each human being is precious and
important and all have a potential to develop into a Buddha – a perfect
human being by replacing hatred, anger, spite and jealousy with love,
patience, generosity and kindness. Even the Buddha had said, ” No one saves
us but ourselves, No one can and no one may! We ourselves must walk the
path, but Buddhas clearly show the way. Buddhism is, therefore, more of a
moral philosophy, an ethical way of life.
But, since Buddha never emphasized upon his concept of the divine,
Buddhism is left with some of life’s deepest questions unanswered. Questions
such as the origin of the Universe and the purpose of man’s existence…are
yet to be answered.
See also: What is Buddhism? (Trần Chung Ngọc)