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Thread: Buddhism=Pantheism?

  1. #1

    Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Sorry if this has been asked before but....Does treeleaf hold the same position as Nishijima Gudo that god is the universe and that Buddhism is not atheistic?

  2. #2

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    From my own understanding, Buddhism believes in 'Gods/devas/beings in higher realms'.

    But not a creator God.

    I suppose you could call the universe anything really :roll: .. It doesn't really make a difference :P

    Namaste

  3. #3

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaintop Rebel
    Sorry if this has been asked before but....Does treeleaf hold the same position as Nishijima Gudo that god is the universe and that Buddhism is not atheistic?
    Well, first off, I do not know what everyone in Treeleaf holds ... just what ideas I hold (and/or ideas I try to put down!). I will mention that Nishijima Roshi sometimes has a very simple way to say things, and does not have detailed ideas on these topics. So, do not assume that what he means by "god is the universe" is what you think he means, or even that he has a very detailed idea on what he himself means.

    I think what he means by "universe" is more like "everything, whatever is the Big Enchilada, not just the material universe but what really is the whole show whatever that ultimately is" ... and what he means by "god" is more like "is somehow sacred".

    As to my own beliefs, I once wrote this ...

    Hi Guys,

    Here is my simplistic view:

    If there is a "God" ... whether in the Judeo-Christian way or some other ... I will fetch water and chop wood.

    If there is no "God", I will fetch water and chop wood.

    If there is a "God" or "Power" or "Spirit" who has kindly given us life, I will honor that fact by living that life fully and seeking to be a human being who does little harm to others of his/her/its/whatever's creatures and creations.

    And if there is no such "God" or "Power" or "Spirit", I will still live this life fully and seek to do little harm.

    I think that, in our Zen Practice, we do taste a truth that some people may call "God" or "That" or "Thou" or "Buddha" or some such name. It is the sensation that there is some intimate connection to this universe, some profound basis to our being born, some deep beauty behind it all. In fact, we experience that this Reality, and all creatures, are just who we are ... that we are just That.

    But my attitude remains much like a newborn infant lying in a crib, not understanding anything beyond the fact that shadows are passing before its eyes. The world contains many mysteries that the infant cannot fathom. Yet somehow we were allowed the wonder of life, and something in this world provides the sun and air and nutriment and drink we need to survive. Here we are, and some wonderful cause(s) let us be so!

    If it is just the world, mechanical and unthinking, I express my gratitude to that.

    If it is a "god" or "power" or "consciousness" or something else far beyond our understanding, I express my gratitude to that.

    Our Zen Way is said to be about "Not Knowing". This "Not Knowing" provides Wisdom in several ways.

    For one, sometimes we can better understand this world by dropping our ideas and preconceptions ... for example, when we drop our sense of separation from this world, and drop our small human categories, judgments and resistance to its ways. Then, we experience a new face, another way of being who we are. We are the world and each other, the world is just who we are.

    But for another, "Not Knowing" means that there are mysteries that even the greatest minds, the prophets and mystics, even a Buddha, cannot know ... for we are small human creatures. Thus, the Buddha refused to speak to such topics. He did not need to. He did not need to in the very same way that a gardener need not know the name and origin of every blade of grass and flower in order to tend the garden, and a sailor need not know every inch of the sea and its coastlines in order to sail the sea in front of him. The gardener or the sailor need not know who or what created the garden or sea in order to know what best to do.

    Thus, we are instructed by the Buddha to tend this garden well, sail this vessel well.

    Pardon all the flowery language. Having said too much, I now will go chop wood, fetch water.

    Gassho, J
    By the way, if you are interested in babblings on BIG QUESTIONS like this, please have a look at the "Jundo Tackles the BIG QUESTIONS' series of threads I have been doing ... starting here ...

    viewtopic.php?p=16814#p16814

    In fact, I was thinking of doing another one in the series today or tomorrow. Gassho, J

  4. #4
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    I've alway held that whether there was a God (or many gods) was considered irrelevant in Buddhism. Hence, it's called a 'non-theistic' religion.

    IMHO, IANAT.

    Chet

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Chet,

    What does IANAT stand for?

    Ron

  6. #6

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by rculver
    Chet,

    What does IANAT stand for?

    Ron
    I believe it stands for:

    I Am Not A Teacher.

  7. #7

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaintop Rebel
    Sorry if this has been asked before but....Does treeleaf hold the same position as Nishijima Gudo that god is the universe and that Buddhism is not atheistic?
    Just speaking for myself: no.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  8. #8

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I've alway held that whether there was a God (or many gods) was considered irrelevant in Buddhism. Hence, it's called a 'non-theistic' religion.

    IMHO, IANAT.

    Chet
    Hi.

    Doesn't 'non-theistic' religion imply the belief in "no god"?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Thanks.

    Ron

  10. #10

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Thanks Jundo, I found that very illuminating.

  11. #11
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by rculver
    Chet,

    What does IANAT stand for?

    Ron
    I believe it stands for:

    I Am Not A Teacher.
    Gassho!

    It's meant to remind people that although I 'speak' very strongly, I have no recourse to authority, transmission, or lineage and that everything I say must be examined very, very closely.

    Chet

  12. #12
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I've alway held that whether there was a God (or many gods) was considered irrelevant in Buddhism. Hence, it's called a 'non-theistic' religion.

    IMHO, IANAT.

    Chet
    Hi.

    Doesn't 'non-theistic' religion imply the belief in "no god"?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    I don't think so. I think it implies the viewpoint that the question itself is not very important. Believe it or not, in my experience this can sometimes be a lot more shocking to a theistic religious person than holding to the belief that there is no God.

    To a Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist, for instance, the very idea that one could live a satisfying life without resolving the question of God for him or herself is very perplexing.

    Chet

  13. #13

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by rculver
    Chet,

    What does IANAT stand for?

    Ron
    I believe it stands for:

    I Am Not A Teacher.
    Gassho!

    It's meant to remind people that although I 'speak' very strongly, I have no recourse to authority, transmission, or lineage and that everything I say must be examined very, very closely.

    Chet
    Indeed Chet! and so does every saying and doing by anyone.
    Ps-your a teacher

    For me a creator gods existence is something i do not sweat too much. Today I could say NO!! yet Last week watching a new life litterally spring forth i had to say OMG YES!! Doesnt matter - I still have to (happily btw) fetch wipe rags and change shitty pants.

    Gassho, Shohei

  14. #14
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,901

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Hi,

    The universe? I don't know, really. Impermanent as our perception or ideas. Nothing is stable in there. No continuum that would imply something maintaining itself and changing but, every moment, it appears and disappears. No self behind the curtain. No plan. No identity.As Dogen puts it wood doesn t become ashes, Winter deosn't turn into Spring. Not a movie, but one frame at a time, everytime a different frame. God in the picture? Well as Jundo puts it Nishijima means something sacred, something that we can have reverence for, gratitude too. You believe what you want knowing that the concept of God as described in our monotheisms is foreign to what most buddhist teachers have taught and experienced. So is pantheism. Hei Ji-kim work may help you to understand Dogen's teaching about the nature of this universe, a vision that is beyond monotheism and pantheism. As far I am concerned, I am only interested in practising with a speck of dust. only interested in this nowness of now which contains everything.

    On my way to kyoto yesterday, I wrote this very simple poem to answer your question, Mountain-Rebel. No verb in there. Not much and yet...

    this ever changing
    dream
    the pearl



    Gassho

    Taigu

  15. #15

    Re: Buddhism=Pantheism?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I've alway held that whether there was a God (or many gods) was considered irrelevant in Buddhism. Hence, it's called a 'non-theistic' religion.

    IMHO, IANAT.

    Chet
    Hi.

    Doesn't 'non-theistic' religion imply the belief in "no god"?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    I don't think so. I think it implies the viewpoint that the question itself is not very important. Believe it or not, in my experience this can sometimes be a lot more shocking to a theistic religious person than holding to the belief that there is no God.

    To a Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist, for instance, the very idea that one could live a satisfying life without resolving the question of God for him or herself is very perplexing.

    Chet
    Hi.

    I've been "fugenised"...
    Of course it doesn't, it implies everything non- theistic.
    Thank you for the lesson.

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

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