The Concept of God
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
Fear: 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
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
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