Talk:Buddha – God or Man

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Old discussion[edit]

Deos anyboy know how to get the <ref></ref> command properly working?Sacca 02:47, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Done -- Ritchy 02:49, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
thank you Sacca 03:01, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

From talk:Buddha[edit]

Merge with God in Buddhism?[edit]


article deals with essentially the same topic as the article Talk:God in Buddhism. Therefore, the two talk pages should be merged.

Buddha: God or Man ?[edit]

This section is too long and includes an irrelevent quotation. The basic fact is quite straight-forward. The Buddha was asked whether he was a man or a god and he replied that he is neither, but is a Buddha. The source of this well known quotation should be located and the quote + citation provided. Though this quote will be found in the Pali Canon, all Buddhists will have no difficulty with this.

This topic could then logically include some information of the state of a Buddha when alive and when dead, though this is still not strictly needed for this section. The Theravadin views on this (with citations please), as outlined at the end of this section, should be clearly identified as such. Historically and currently, the majority of Buddhists would raise objections to various aspects of these views. These other views should be reported. Some of them were well covered in the Eternal Buddha section, but somebody has seen fit to drastically truncate this section.

The whole of the Gunasekara quote should be cut -- it has no bearing on the topic of this section. It belongs with material on Buddhist views on gods/God. Note also the typical confusion between "god" and "God".--Stephen Hodge 23:42, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, it does seem too long now. The quote is not really relevant here, it is not about superiority, but about whether Buddha was a god or man. Personally I have never heard the mention where Buddha denies his human-hood, and implying that a Buddha is above manhood and godship, and a diffeent species alltogether. It would be quite a curious quotation for me. In Theravada it is often emphasized that Buddha was a man, I would be quite surprised i this was negated by the Pali Canon. For now, until somebod actually shows the place where it can be found, I hold it's one of the common misconceptions concerning quotes in the Pali Canon (I see quite a few on Wikipedia). This quotation might actually come from the Mahayana sutras.
Yes the other views should be reported; maybe we could just make a new article. Sacca 01:27, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Dear Sacca, the quote is found in the Dona-sutta (Ang ii.37-30), where a brahmin called Dona comes across the Buddha and asks him, "Are you are god (devo)? Are you a gandharva ? Are you a yaksa ? Are you human (manusso) ?" The Buddha says no to all of these questions, he is none of these beings because he has eliminated desire. He finally says, "I am a Buddha". The original dialogue is a bit repetitious, as things tend to be, so it might be best to include a summary with the Pali reference.
I am glad to see that the section has been pruned a bit.--Stephen Hodge 02:44, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Not really wishing to stick an oar in, but I feel that the issue of Man/God is one that is found being raised a lot in the large number of pages authored by User:PHG relating to his (and McEvilly's) views that Mahayana Buddhism is not much more than a rebranding of Greek religion and philosophies. See e.g. Greco-Buddhism#The_Buddha_as_an_idealized_man-god, Kushan_Empire#The_Kushans_and_Buddhism etc. (20040302 10:23, 17 July 2006 (UTC))
Well stephen you found that one quickly! I have however not change my stance on the issue, although it can be included in the article if you wish. Maybe also provide a reference to the whole sutta on access to insight. I personally feel that on this occasion Buddha was trying to explain why he was looking so serenely. Not because he was a god or a human or a gandhabba (or any other class of being), but because he was a Buddha (completeley awakenened). Sometimes he was also flexible and inventive in his use of language, for example when he says a brahmin is defined not by birth but by the 'inner result from his practice', so by implication he might call himself a brahmin (I don't know if he ever did) although he was a khattiya (warrior class). greetings, Sacca 03:13, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo Stephen and Sacca. Very interesting discussion above - thanks for that. Having just studied the Dona Sutta, it is very apparent to me that the Buddha is, as I think Stephen would agree, quite clearly, simply and unambiguously denying that his nature is that of a human being. Of course he is not saying "I don't have a human body". It is obvious that he does. But he is saying that he is inwardly not a human being - and that is what truly counts. So it is simply factually false to state in blanket, unqualified terms that the Buddha qua Buddha "is a human being". He is not. He could not have made it clearer that he is not. It is obvious that a perfect Buddha is a different nature of being from that of a human, and to call the Buddha "human" is essentially as wrong as it would be to call him a ghost or a gandharva! I think one must face up to what the Buddha clearly says here (and note, too, what he says, corroboratively in the Mahayana) and not try to wriggle out of it (not that I would dream of accusing Sacca of doing such a thing!). All best wishes to you, Sacca and Stephen. From Tony. TonyMPNS 06:58, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, I am sure you are happy to interprete this quote as a justification of your previous beliefs. But now that I have read the whole Sutta for myself (at Access to Insight - the server was down previously), let me try to help you understand the Sutta.


Sorry, just wanted to get your attention, because actually, I just found out what's really going on here. The sutta has in this respect been too freely translated, as is actually mentioned in footnote number 2. I will quote from those footnotes here: (for more details read footnote 2 for yourself: ]])

Dona phrases his question in the future tense and ... the Buddha's answers to Dona's questions — which, like the questions, are put in the future tense...'

Is it clear to you now what happened? The translator (Ven. Thanissaro) didn't put the translations in the future tense, but in the present tense! So in fact the questions, when rightly translated, are: "Shall you be a deva, shall you be a Gandhabba, shall you be a Yakkha, shall you be a human being?" And the answers are: "No, , brahmin, I shall not be ... a human being". He then goes on to give the causes that can give rise to birth as a deva,gandhabba, yahhkaa and human, and says of each of them that the fermentations by which he shall be a deva/gandhabba/yakkha/human: those are abandoned by him, are cut off, etc.

And at the end he still does not claim to be a seperate class of being, and just tells him to remember him as awakened (according to the translator).

Also pay attention to the verse, which is correctly translated:

"The fermentations by which I would go to a deva-state, or become a gandhabba in the sky, or go to a yakkha-state & human-state: Those have been destroyed by me, ruined, their stems removed. Like a blue lotus, rising up, unsmeared by water, unsmeared am I by the world, and so, brahman, I'm awake."

Again, he's speaking about going to a deva-state, become a gandhabba, and go to a yakkha-state & human-state.

I am really diappointed in Thanissaro bhikkhu by the way, for publishing this in this way, but he probably thought it wouldn't do much harm. But that's another story.

This has indeed been a very good exercice for me, and has really shown me that making compromises in translating to make a sutta more 'readable', can indeed give rise to meanings which Buddha never intended. My utmost regard for you all, Sacca 08:28, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Dear Sacca, Thanissaro is well-known for his very free, "poetic" renderings -- he is very unreliable for settling philological disputes. However, it is the use of the future tense here that is confuses everybody with beginner's level Pali. It is a mistake to think that the "bhavissati" here means "will be". The future tense in Pali (and Sanskrit) has other well-known meanings apart from the simple future. Among those other usages, the one which is relevent here is its use to express perplexity, surprise or wonder. This is quite normal usage. Warder gives the example kim ev' idam bhavissati -- 'What can this be ?', 'What is this ?'. In the context of the Dona-sutta, it is obvious that Dona is perplexed and hence the future tense is used but with a present menaing, something like "Could it be that you are a deva ?" etc. As user Tony mentions below, it is obvious that the Buddha is not denying that he has a human body, but is indicating that he can no longer be classed as any samsaric form of being in essence.--Stephen Hodge 14:52, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo again Sacca. Thanks a lot for your interesting comments. I had a look at that footnote which you kindly gave me the reference for, and it seems to indicate that it is not at all certain that the future tense is being used here in the sense of future - that it is a way of expressing surprise over a present situation. We say in English things like, "This person here will be your son, I assume?" It is referring to the present but expressing a degree of uncertainty or doubt. I think the key thing is that the Buddha has destroyed all the taints that attach to a human being and so already, here and now, he has ceased to possess a "human nature". He is a different order of being altogether. He is a Buddha. Sacca, I think we have different understandings of this matter, but I appreciate your very interesting comments. It may be that I am, in fact, wrong in my interpretation of that passage. But it is interesting that it is precisely this view of the Buddha (that he is no longer, inwardly, a "human" once he becomes Buddha) which is celebrated and promulgated by major Mahayana sutras. One can see in the difference of view between us over this sutta how the Theravada-style of understanding and the Mahayana-style of understanding regarding the nature of the Buddha perhaps existed from very early on and transmitted themselves in different streams of Dhamma/Dharma. Thanks again for the very thought-provoking comments. All the best to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 08:45, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Hello Tony, I would say the Buddha doesn't posses a 'defiled' nature any more, and that he is a pure human, because those defilements are not inherent to being a human. Remember further that that particular comment in note 2 (a 'Buddha' cannot be defined at all) is not relevant any more if Buddha said "The fermentations by which I would go to the human state" (or deva/yakkha/gandhabba-state). That comment in note 2 refers to "I am not human", which is wrongly translated. Also the doubts concerning the precise meaning of Dona's questions (whether they are meant for future or present), do not apply to Buddha's answers. "I will not go there" is stating his own path or intention, it is not a question any more and the future tense is thus not ambiguous nor in doubt. greetings, Sacca 11:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Thanks again, Sacca, for your very worthwhile comments. I concede that the future tense is used in the relevant passage of the Dona Sutta, but I still believe one should not dismiss out of hand the idea that this tense can be used to refer to both a future and present state (this is what Bhikkhu T. states in the note to his translation). As for the Buddha's "human nature": well, we are here entering fundamental Buddhology, if you like, so we probably won't get very far (I as a Mahayanist and you perhaps as a Theravadin). But I would say that the "human" realm is just one of the 5 or 6 modes ("gatis") of samsaric existence into which a consciousness can be born. A Buddha is essentially out of that - "crossed over to the other shore." By its very nature, being born human (unless that form of incarnation is deliberately chosen by a Bodhisattva) indicates tendencies (or a karmically-generated, temporary "nature") which is of the human sphere. But Buddhas, once they have become Buddhas, are not human any longer (although the body is human): in essence, they are something way beyond that, as they have obliterated all the specific kleshas and ashravas that typify the human condition and transcended samsara. They don't have to wait until they "die" to become fully "Buddha"! So in sum I would say: the Buddha's body remained human (although a very unusual human body - with its 32 marks of a superman) after his Awakening, but that physical body is not in toto the Buddha! But of course this is my Mahayana vision of the matter - so we'd probably best leave it at that and see what other editors think on this profound question! Best wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 13:56, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I totally agree with your represantation of 'fundamental Buddhology' and I believe this is the Theravada position also, just a few small and insignificant details here and there and maybe some the wording would not be used in the Pali Canon. But in essence it's just the same.

I would not really typify myself as a 'true' Theravadin, since I do not attach authority to the commentaries like the Atthakathas and even the Abhidhamma, which are both part of Theravadin buddhism. I know some 'Theravadin' bhikkhus who have the same opinion, and some are very senior monks. For me only the remaining two Pitakas (Vinaya and Sutta) have Buddha-authority since all the other texts are composed by later monks. But I totally agree with the original orthodox Theravadin position of not adding to the Tipitaka and trying to ascertain the original teachings of Buddha, and not trying to change them. It's just that this is sometimes not really practiced in Theravada nowadays, because of its large commentarial tradition. So, like the Abhidhamma, I also do not attach Buddha-authority to the Mahayana Sutras. To me they are just later writings, put into the mouth of the Buddha to give them more authority. This is just the historical background-information. So, I like to always make the historical status of a text clear, and I think the historicity of texts does matter. The historicity is mostly verifiable (the scientific community is into this kind of thing) and relevant for people who think like me (and there are enough). I thus think this is relevant information to attach to articles on various texts, so please forgive me, and rest assured that I will do the same for later Theravadin scriptures, and would not do this for the Agamas and the various recensions of Vinaya (Dharmaguptaka, Mulasarvastivada), which are almost as reliable as the Vinayapitaka and Suttapitaka (only that they have been translated one or two times inbetween, once to Sanskrit, and after that somtimes to Chinese also). Best wishes to you, too, greetings, Sacca 15:00, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Hi Sacca. Thanks very much for your friendly comments. I respect the sincerity of your beliefs. I share your view that it is best to defer to the suttas/vinaya (and for me as a Mahayanist, above all else, to the Mahayana sutras) rather than to all the commentaries if one wants to know of the Buddha's teachings. In the final analysis, it is a matter of (reasoned) belief and faith as to which scriptures one puts one's trust in. Anyway, thanks for your willingness to discuss these controversial matters in a reasonable manner (not always the case on Wiki, unfortunately!). Cheers. From Tony. TonyMPNS 18:05, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Hallo once more, Sacca. Yes, I totally agree with you on the beauty of that the passage from the "Lankavatara Sutra" on how what people address as "God" etc. is in fact the Buddha. One thing, though: I notice in the translation you have put up (the Suzuki/Goddard one) that a key clause is missing. This is: "Then there are others who recognize me as Brahma, as Vishnu, as Ishvara". This is enormously important for this article on "Buddha: God or Man" as "Ishvara" is the general Sanskrit term for "God", and of course many people in the Buddha's India (or later) worshipped Brahma or Vishnu as "God". So I think it is vital that we include this sentence. Also, if you quote from a text and you miss out some words (to shorten your quote), then you must put a series of three full-stops ( ... ) where the deleted part is, so that the reader knows that something has been removed. I am not sure if your Suzuki/Goddard version of the "Lankavatara" is exactly as you have posted it, or not (words or clauses removed for the sake of brevity?). A better, revised version by Suzuki is the one which he did himself (without Goddard) and which I used in my original posting of that part of the text. Anyway, I just wanted to recommend that you put in that key sentence about "Ishvara" - and add in brackets after it, perhaps, [God] - so the reader realises the relevance. Thanks a lot. Glad you love that part of the Lanka. Be careful: you might soon be turning into a Mahayana Buddhist ! All the best to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 11:50, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Dear Tony, I am SO sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't put those parts from the Lankavatara Sutra in the article, it was the anonimous user, I think. So all the compliments go to him. greetings, greetings, Sacca 13:29, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Hi Sacca. Thanks for your message above. Oh, such a disappointment for me: I was getting decidedly excited, thinking that you were on the verge of crossing over to join the Mahayanists: in fact, I was shocked (just joking!). Anyway, the new "Buddha: God or Man" page that you set up is a very stimulating one. I may have to add the missing sentence from the "Lankavatara Sutra" myself, to make the quote more directly relevant. I think lots of readers will find the whole entry of great interest. Best wishes to you. From Tony. TonyMPNS 14:00, 19 July 2006 (UTC)


Hello, I feel maybe we could merge God - Buddha or Man (just kidding, I mean off course Buddha - God or Man with Eternal Buddha. I think both these page are really about the Nature of the Buddha, which would be an appropriate name for the new merged article.

Right now I have some info on the Nature of Buddha which I would like to add, but which just doesn't fit into any of the two mentioned existing articles. greetings, greetings, Sacca 00:57, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

If all these bits and pieces are going to be merged, wouldn't an article title Buddhology be the most suitable ? After all, that's what all this is about. Also rather than stick the bits together on an ad hoc basis, I suggest an article sandbox should be set up. There the various necessary elements can be arranged and built up in a structured manner, with input from all interested parties. A planned frame-work would be most desirable -- less work in the long run. I think an article sandbox can be set up as a sub-file of the talk page.--Stephen Hodge 01:14, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I still prefer Nature of Buddha, I doubt many people would understand what Buddhology stands for. I myself am quite omfortable with just merging - these things always seem to work out ok. But if you make a planned frame-work please go ahead, I will add my ideas to it. greetings, Sacca 03:02, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo Stephen and Sacca. I think it makes sense to bring the information contained in the two articles together in some way. As Stephen says, what we are really talking about here is "Buddhology" - the study of the nature of the Buddha. Personally, I don't mind "Nature of the Buddha" or "Buddhology" for a new ("combined") entry. We should preserve most of the material in the two existing articles, though, I feel. I think Stephen's idea of planning a basic structure for the entry is a good and sensible one. Maybe there could be a general Introduction on the basic differences and similarities of view of the Buddha as between Theravada, Mahayana and Tantrism, and then topic subheadings such as the already existing "Eternal Buddha" and "Buddha: God or Man?", followed by such as "The Buddha of the Pali Scriptures"; "The Theravada View of Buddha"; "The Buddha of the Mahayana Sutras"; "The Buddha of Tantrism", etc. Sections could be added as/if appropriate: e.g. "The Yogachara Vision of the Buddha". This could make for a very informative article. What do you think? All best wishes. Tony. TonyMPNS 14:31, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Sounds interesting. I agree with seperating 'Pali Canon' from 'Theravada'. I must say I myself am not totally clear on what the differences hear would really be, but still think this would be best because there probably are some differences. However, if you say 'Pali Scriptures' then it becomes similar to 'Theravada'. Pali scriptures includes all the commentaries, and these commentaries are what defines Theravada. The Pali Canon is the more authenic view, the information whithout the sometimes distorting information from the Theravada commentaries.
One note is that the section of Pali Canon would then probably end up to just be some quotes. And there is a sensitive point there, because I noticed that the Mahayana view of Buddha is often based on quotes from the Pali Canon which are taken out of context and subsequently take on a different meaning. Also these adopted meanings sometimes disregard contradicting statements that the Buddha made on other occasions. So my question here is: what to do with these kind of quotes? I would prefer to put quotes like this in the Mahayana section, because they are used with the 'out of context' meaning, and do not take into account the message that is delivered in the Sutta in which the sentence is pronounced. Maybe the section on pali canon can be more than quotes, if the text there is still very much aimed at the Suttas themselves and not at building up theories based upon them. I think that it would be ok as long as the 'not this', not 'that', not 'neither this nor than', not 'both this and that' statements of the 'undefinable nature' of Buddha are respected. These occur many times throughout the Canon, especially when the Buddha is specifically asked about how or what he is. These quotes should thus be fundamental in the section Pali Canon.
Also, I would prefer to keep the info under the sectarian heading wherever possible. So, this would mean that the info under 'Buddha- god or man' would be put under 'Pali Canon' and/or Theravada, and that Eternal Buddha would either fall under Mahayana, or else be seperated into two pieces: Eternal Buddha in Mahayana and Eternal Buddha in Tantra/Vajrayana. Or any other way. It's just that as 'Eternal Buddha' is not universally accepted, it should fall under a sectarian heading. It would also allow for the Theravadin views on Universal Buddha to be moved to Theravada. greetings, Sacca 16:09, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo Sacca. Thank you for your helpful comments and suggestions. I personally share your view that a distinction should be drawn between the "Buddha of the Pali Suttas/Vinaya" and "The Theravada View of the Buddha". Other Theravadins might, however, object to this. But I would still go ahead with it and see what kind of reaction it elicits - and decide after that what might further need amending/modifying.

Yes, I think it is a sound idea to put things like "Eternal Buddha" solely in the section dealing with the Mahayana (or Mahayana/Tantra). When I originally wrote that piece on "Eternal Buddha", it was intended as stating what the Mahayana view of the matter was; but other editors felt that it was unbalanced, so they added Theravada rejections of the "eternal Buddha" belief. I personally think that was unnecessary, as I had specifically stated that this was a view embodied within Mahayana Buddhism (thus implicitly excluding Pali Buddhism/Theravada from this understanding of the Buddha). On the question of quotes taken out of context and elaborated into theories (from your own point of view and that of the Theravadins) about the Buddha: firstly (and I don't mean to be harsh here), it is irrelevant within the Mahayana section whether you or the Theravadins think that certain quotes from the "Pali Buddha" were taken out of context by the Mahayanists; we would deny that. This can only be POV on both sides, so best to leave that. It could become a topic of endless debate. Instead, I think we (editors of this new entry) should simply use relevant quotes in each section and explain the meaning given to them by the adherents of the particular branch of Buddhism (or by the suttas/sutras) we are discussing. Thus: if you wrote a piece on "He who sees Dhamma sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma" in the Pali Buddha section, you would give the interpretation of this which is relevant to the Buddha-vision presented by the Pali suttas (or, if it is similar, by Theravada). Then, if I, for example, did a piece on the Eternal Buddha, I could quote any Mahayana usage of that same quote (or a similar version of it) and explicate it according to the explanation given within the Mahayana sutras. Do you see what I mean? I think each side should simply and honestly post the general understanding of such matters that typifies the branch (or school) which is being discussed. There may be two or three points of repetition, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is valuable, as it shows how different Buddhists can see the same statement in different ways. I'd be interested to hear what you and Stephen think about these suggestions. I think the main thing is accuracy and honesty. We should respect different (accurate) viewpoints - and be allowed to express them without the other party's reaching for the censor's scissors! I do think, though, that it is best for the "Theravadin" view not to start invading the Mahayana section, or vice versa. As long as the sections are clearly labelled as "Pali Buddhism/Agamas", "Mahayana", "Tantra", etc., the reader will know to whom the various views in each section belong. The Introduction could perhaps state common ground, e.g. that the Buddha was the highest level of being that it is possible to find in the entire cosmos. What do you and Stephen think? Good wishes to you. Yours, Tony. TonyMPNS 16:42, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes that's fine with me. Just the Theravada view, and don't have a general Pali Canon section which would have to be shared. Witin that Theravada section the PaliCanon can be mentioned, just as with the Mahayana section the same can be done. greetings greetings, Sacca 17:29, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
So in the end it will actually be pretty simple I think, to integrate the two articles. Shall we just begin then?greetings, Sacca 17:31, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Hallo again Sacca. Thanks very much for the above. Yes, please feel free to start writing the Theravada section, and then I shall add (perhaps over this weekend) a section on the Mahayana, incorporating the "Eternal Buddha" material. I think Stephen's idea of utilising a "sandbox" is excellent. Perhaps we should now create that and add our various pieces, and when it is ready post it as a main entry on Wiki proper. Perhaps Stephen could write something on the Tantric view of Buddha/Adibuddha, or anything else (time permitting)? Good luck! From Tony. TonyMPNS 18:37, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I have just noticed that Stephen has already set up a good "stub" for "Buddhology" - which can perhaps serve as a framework for the new article? Tony. TonyMPNS 21:25, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, the article on Buddha is currently not very long by Wikipedia standards (informal consensus allows articles quite a bit longer than the 30KB that the software implicity recommends). If we are to have a coherent article on the nature of the Buddha—which I think would be a great addition—why don't we place at the Buddha article. I have periodically wished that article were more fleshed-out.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 04:39, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Hi Nat. I think your suggestion of simply putting all of this material into the main "Buddha" entry is very defensible and sound - although I have no objections, either, to a separate article on "Buddha: God or Man" or "Buddhology/Nature of Buddha". It might be more conventient for the reader to have most of this material together, in the "Buddha" article. I personally would have no objection to that. But I am not sure what Stephen, Sacca and others would feel? On this one (i.e. where to locate this material), I myself am willing to go with the majority view. Best wishes, from Tony. TonyMPNS 14:56, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
  • If you want to put the whole future 'Buddhology' article into Buddha it will be a very long adn confusing article. It will not deal with just the basic info people are looking for. Much of it will be too detailed for a general article on Buddha. Also the goal of Wikipedia is not to have long articles, I never heard about that. I did hear about limitations on the lenght. So I am in strongly favor of continuing with our plan for Buddhology. Maybe you should just look how that's going to work out first and then make up your opinion again. It seems nobody is quite satisfied witht the current setup (including me) Greetings, Sacca 00:02, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Article.... why?[edit]

Buddha, the awakened, is simply that. Not man, nor god, nor neither nor both. To take position on these four would be wrong because in Buddhism, there is no fixed nature. No same thing, nor different things. Nor both nor neither. Can't be same because that would mean you right now is the same as you 10 years ago. Can't be different, saying that you in the picture taken 10 years ago is different than you right now would mean you are independent of others(which cannot be true). Can't be both because they are opposites. Cannot be neither, because it cannot "be".

So why create the article? Bah.. Maybe I'm thinking too much again.. Monkey Brain 04:23, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

A silly question[edit]

There is no God in Buddhism, boy. God or Gods exist in Christianity or Islam or other various religions, but there is simply no entity equal to that God in Buddhism. If you think there is, it is most likely a misconception created during translations between languages. So add this into the wiki and move on. -- G.S.K.Lee 12:17, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

It's funny, when I saw "A silly question", I assumed that you would be asking something. Instead, it seems that you have decided to call everyone else's work silly. How interesting.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 12:47, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Indeed it's really funny isn't it? I didn't say silly work, I said silly question, dude. -- G.S.K.Lee 13:02, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
But there are beings who think they are God (the Creator), similar to the god of Christianity and Islam. For example Baka Brahma and Maha Brahma.Greetings, Sacca 13:53, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
And obviously they are the extreme minority. This is not worthy of a new article, you should merge this article with Buddha and state these minor interprets there. -- G.S.K.Lee 14:10, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I don't even think merging is necessary, maybe a deletion of the article is in order, these speculations confuse the general reader! I mean why try to confuse Buddha with "God" (probably abrahamic god), it's kinda silly like G.S.K.Lee said. Monkey Brain 14:34, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
These gods do NOT represent the teaching of Buddha. But they ARE gods recognized in the Pali Canon. They do not have eternal life and did not create the world. Since a few of these deluded 'I-think-I-created-the-world'-gods occur in the Buddha's teaching it is appropriate to have an article explaining the position of Buddha (who was not a god, but a man).Greetings, Sacca 23:54, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I disagree, they are not gods/God, they are like-gods but essentially not gods. God/gods does not exist in Buddhism or that the matter is unimportant. Yes, there were few deluded ones who think they are creator-god/god, but why is there an article about Whether Buddha Is God or Not? I can see a valid reason in creating an article on Buddhist god-like beings, but why this article on whether Buddha was God or Not? This article seems to point at a Abrahamic related POV(speculation). I see no valid reason to keep this article, although the editors may have had good intentions in creating this article and have worked hard to keeping this article updated. It still does not justify why there is an article about a speculation? It should be/already is stated in the Biography of Gautama Buddha. Monkey Brain 05:45, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Firstly, just read a few suttas in the Pali Canon. It is very clear there are devas (which is generally translated as either gods or angels)). Non of these gods created the world, so they are not of the christian God-variety. I understand many people do not know much of Buddhism and subsequently think it is a-theistic religion.

Secondly, the title of this article does not apply any more. Buddhology it is. --Greetings, Sacca 07:05, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Listen, this is the English Wikipedia, and when you say God, the majority of the average readers will immediately think of the kind of being depicting in this article, because that is what is called the God in English/Western culture. By that the existence of this article is a misguidance. Reading your comments, I strongly doubt you do not and still not understand the point and the meaning of the word God in English. I would like to see some useful content of this article be merged with Buddha following a deletion of this page. -- G.S.K.Lee 12:12, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Added article for deletion. Since some people(like me, G.S.K.Lee, and other) find this article to be purely an absurd/silly/unnecessary! Monkey Brain 00:05, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


I do not understand why gsklee put this tag up. The article treats different points of view, from the points of view of different traditions in buddhism. Also user gsklee doesn't give any reasons for putting up the tag. I suggest to remove it as it has no basis. Greetings, Sacca 14:02, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I have yet to see a powerful reference within the article explaining the whos and whys. I even do not see the name "Baka Brahma". -- G.S.K.Lee 14:10, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Still you do not give a reason. A reference is not a reason. Baka Brahma is not a reason. But never mind.... Greetings, Sacca 07:37, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

If you're interested in Baka Brahma, check out the Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta number 49. This sutta is very briefly summarized in the following way:

49. Brahmanimantanika Sutta: The Invitation of a Brahma.

   Baka the Brahma, a high divinity, adopts the pernicious 
   view that the heavenly world over which he presides is 
   eternal and that there is no higher state beyond. The 
   Buddha visits him to dissuade him from that wrong view 
   and engages him in a contest of Olympian dimensions.

However I do encourage you to actually read the whole sutta, as it gives much more detailed info on the views that Baka Brahma held. Greetings, Sacca 07:47, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

What exactly is disputed about the accuracy of this article? If no one can raise specific points, I'll remove the dispute tag.—Nat Krause(Talk!) 17:27, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Beside the Point[edit]

Ummm... this whole thing is beside the point. The end goal of Buddhism doesn't really have anything to do with gods. Yes, there are devas, and they're sort of like the western 'god' concept. But that doesn't really have anything much to do with Nirvana or Enlightenment, does it? Any mind can awaken through enough effort, and in that sense you could argue that the potential for the divine exists in all living things. And one could argue that Nirvana isn't the same thing as the deva realm, and therefore that those who attain it are not gods. But to argue back and forth as to whether Sakyamuni Buddha was a god confuses the issue. Look, it doesn't really matter if he was/is, or wasn't/isn't, does it? Concentrate on your own enlightenment. Appreciate the techniques he taught us. Take refuge in the three jewels and remember the noble truths. The Eightfold Path will help you awaken, not silly debates over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Wandering Star 05:05, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

the discussion of God in Buddhism is "why should I become a Buddha"?, what's so great about Nirvana? and why should I follow Buddha if he was "just a man"? what's so special about becoming a Buddha? and there in lies the reason to explain if Buddha is God or Man or what is "Buddha nature".--Sangha 12:44, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Remember Buddhists posit that we can all become "Buddha"s some day, so this is not a question of deifying Buddha, but trying to discern "Buddhahood" and it's complete understanding for Buddhists on attainment to Buddhahood - so this is different from the Abrahamic God concepts where God is generally held to be a separate being.
Sangha (nice username, btw), I am new to Buddhism, and as such my understanding is very limited. I welcome anyone that can assist me in developing by challenging the concepts I post here. Namaste.
That said, I cannot speak for why others would follow Buddhism. I can only tell you why it is that I have adopted this as my religion. "What's so great about Nirvana?": well, you don't have to experience any more rebirths, you free yourself from the wheel of karma, and you don't have to deal with the pains and hassles that existence brings with it. Some religions describe the ideal afterlife as one where people are in a state of ecstasy all the time. Personally, that would burn me out pretty quickly. When everything is always bliss, then bliss becomes ordinary, and the 'void' comes back. By that I mean the sensation that something is missing, and that existence is blase. Kinda like getting rich. You have everything you ever wanted, and for a while, that's really cool. Then, when it becomes ordinary, you want more. If you get more, you still feel like you need something. I don't want to need anything. I want to be happy. Also, I don't really like the idea of an eternal anything. It's just not consistent with reality. Things are in a constant state of flux, and while all this change might seem disorienting to alot of people, it's kind of comforting to me. Eternity would be boring. I guess in that sense, I lean towards Therevada. Of course, I have no real idea what Nirvana is like. If I did, I wouldn't be here to tell you about it. I guess only the Buddhas know for sure. "Why should I follow Buddha is he was 'just a man'?" Why not? If he knew the way to enlightenment, then who cares if he was just a man? If someone is polite enough to open a door for me, especially a door that leads to something that will bring me peace of mind, does it matter if that person was god or man? I'll take my wisdom where I can get it. "What's so special about becoming a Buddha?" Seeing yourself as a part of the greater whole, to which all living things are a part of. Not being blinded by your own illusions. Being able to see things more clearly. The ability to grow and develop as a human being, and reach your fullest potential. Not being attached to desires or objects anymore, being capable of a truly lasting happiness. Not having to stuff the void anymore, with objects or people or power. Becoming truly able to love. Letting go of your ego. "What is Buddha nature?" Something wonderful. Wandering Star 16:43, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
"What is Buddha-nature?" As you have said, being a buddha means letting go of the illusion. When we let go of the illusion, then we have the empty-nature(aka Shunyata). "Empty-nature" is kinda of an oxymoron word. How can an empty nature be "something wonderful"? Unless you are enlightened, something wonderful is a still an illusion. Monkey Brain 03:56, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
True. But in any event, it is still irrelevant as to whether Sakyamuni Buddha was a god or a man. Although, I must say that I like to concieve of him as a man. After all, if he was merely human, and attained enlightenment, then other mere humans (ourselves included) can too. If he were a god, it would be all to easy to dismiss it, saying, "Oh, well, that's something no human can do. So why should I even try?". Wandering Star 14:23, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

This article survived AfD in July 2006[edit]


I am not sure if I have done things the "correct" Wiki way, but I have transferred the Dona-sutta section to a separate article as it is disproportionately in the context of the overall article. I have also moved all the discussion for this section to the new Dona-sutta Discussion Page. I hope everybody is happy with this move. I have left Anon 216's comments here, because although they are now largely irrellevent, there are some points that do concern the main article that some might wish to address--Stephen Hodge 00:54, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The Dona Sutta irrelevent to discussion[edit]

The Dona Sutta is irrelevent to the discussion on GOD the creator, omniscient, omnipresent etc... A deva, gandharva or yaksha in Dona sutta are minor dieties in the Vedic Pantheon. The Equivalent to Yahweh, Allah or any other diety is similar to the Hindu Trinity.-- 14:23, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Dear anon, were you to read a few paragraphs above, you would find responses to this statement (made preemptively, no less). TonyMPNS: "I think the point is more whether the Buddha denied that he was a human being in the Dona Sutta (rather than denying that he was a deva)" Sacca: "You're right Tony, that's it - it's not so much about the god-thing as about the human-thing."—Nat Krause(Talk!) 18:11, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
this is not about me reading the above paragraph, but what reader sees and understands when he reads the article:

"While the Buddha in the third version states that he is a Buddha, and not a god or human, no philosophical conclusions are made explicit from this statement."

There is no implication that the Buddha is anything other than a human being by birth and in form, while it suggests that a Buddha belongs to another category of being in nature, beyond the human and the divine, by virtue of his enlightenment and liberation (while still being a human being)."

This reaches absolutely no conclusion.

So does this answer, is Buddha God or Man? Was Buddha a human to begin with if he came out in the fantastical way he did, from the side of Queen Maya standing up, while having taken 7 steps right after birth "declaring to the world that this is the last birth, there is no one like me, etc. etc."? The Dona sutta inclusion just confuses the issue even more by putting in deva, gandharvas, and yakshas to boot

Perhaps it is a question wrongly asked and it's indeterminate nature should be explored. It is better to deal with it from perspective of different schools/

Theravada - he is a man perfected, who took several eons to do so, with the bodhisat birth being the last one, which is why it is so powerful and miraculous in nature as he had obtained most of the perfections.

How is God commonly understood?

Buddha is more closer to the monistic brahman or tao rather than the theistic or monotheistic version of God which is omniscient, omnipotent, etc as told in the "Brahmajala sutta". -- 19:36, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Anon 216: Suggest you read all the previous discussions above first so you cabn make informed comment.--Stephen Hodge 01:01, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Deletion Discussion[edit]

Since the Afd page is in use, we should use this here.

This article has an unencyclopediac title, more like the opening of a debate or TV documentary. It is alos made pretty clear in Buddhism that the Buddha is NOT a god. That kills the entire idea of Buddhism. The sugestion that any Buddha can take the role of a monotheistic god is ever worse, as there is more than one Buddha in the first place... Zazaban 06:24, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

If you want to nominate it for deletion again, you should start new deletion discussion. Like Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Buddha_-_God_or_Man, 2nd nomination or something like that.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 08:30, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I think that the "Buddha: God or Man" information could perhaps be brought into the "Buddhology" entry or the "God in Buddhism" article. I myself certainly don't think that "God in Buddhism" should be deleted (I'm not sure if that is being proposed here - probably not): that article contains a lot of interesting and useful info. By the way, the fact that there are many Buddhas does not militate against the concept of one, essential Buddha - an Adibuddha or Dharmakaya - which is the unifying Reality of all Buddhas and all beings/things. This is actually taught in some Mahayana sutras and certainly in some tantras. Similarly, Hinduism has many gods, but that does not prevent the idea of an essential, ultimate, monistic Brahman from being promulgated. Best wishes. Tony. TonyMPNS 10:27, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

What?! The talk for "Buddha god or man" just redirects here. Zazaban 23:56, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I moved the talk page for Buddha - God or Man here during the first deletion vote on that article. It looked like it was going to be deleted, and I wanted to save the discussion, at least. However, it was eventually decided not to delete the article at that time, and it's remained in a sort of limbo since then.—Nat Krause(Talk!·What have I done?) 00:02, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm going to go ahead and move this back to the proper location. Also removing the afd notice - please relist this properly. --- RockMFR 21:20, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


How about renaming this article Buddha in the Pali Canon? — goethean 17:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Deletion Request Again[edit]


Looking at this article, it's very highly subjective, and shouldn't require an article all by itself. There already is a section under Buddha for the divine nature (if any) of the Buddha. This article is just redundant and not very professionally done.

--Ph0kin 21:03, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and redirected. Feel free to revert the redirect if you disagree, or open a second afd nomination if you want this deleted. Ask me on my talk page if you need help with the afd process. --- RockMFR 04:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC)