Could someone explain the Buddhist belief system to me?

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On 11/3/2012 at 4:23 AM, DreamBliss said:

Well I have read your posts and will let myself digest them for now. But I have to say, at this moment I am more confused :/ Is it possible to put it very simply for someone like me who is having a hard time understanding? Something along the format, speaking generally, of:


Christians = God, Jesus (His son), and the Holy Spirit (the holy trinity.)

Yogic/Advaita = I am God, you are God, we are all together seperately yet collective God and connected to each other.

Buddhist = ???


I must admit, the whole alien origin idea throws me, but I remember something from Arthur C. Clark. He said something along the lines that an alien race could have a technology so advanced it would seem like magic to us. Thinking about that, if one of us went back in time and showed someone in the 15th century a cell phone, well they would think all sorts of strange things about us and our device. It would seem like magic to them. So the theory that aliens in essence created us is plausible.


I hear what the Buddha is saying in those 3 verses, and have to admit they echo some of my own thoughts and feelings. My whole journey started when I began to ask questions. Things that Christians never talk about. Such as if Heaven is a perfect place, meaning no imperfection, then where did the pride and sins of Lucifer come from that caused him to be cast out? More troubling to me, after reading some of Thich Nhat Hanh's work, was, " Could a holy, loving and perfect God cast such a man into hell simply because he was not a Christian?" Now I have never met Master Hanh, I would like to someday, but from what I can tell in his words the man probably acts more like a Christian than most Christians.


But the problem still remains, what if? As unfair, as wrong as it looks from all viewpoints, what if God is exactly as detailed in the Bible, what if the Bible is telling the truth, what if there is only Heaven and Hell? All faiths that hold this Heaven/Hell belief are a trap, because you have no way of proving them right or wrong to the point of safely ensuring the security of your own soul. Nobody gets to know for sure until they die. So whatever your religion, or lack thereof, you are still forced to take that final leap in faith, hoping that whatever you believed or didn't believe was true.


Trust me when I say I don't think there is anything harder in this life than moving past and in many cases moving on from long held and ingrained beliefs from your religion. I am scared, and not afraid to admit it. At the very least I know I make my journey in this physical portion of my life harder, because my parents and my grandmother are all Christians. Some of the views I hold now, the realizations I have had, I can't share with anyone in my family for risk of offending them. It hurts and it sucks to not have anyone outside of some forums I access through my computer screen to talk to about this stuff.


Anyhow I would appreciate some simplication here. Thank you sharing and your patience -

- DreamBliss


I too am learning the comparisons between buddhism and other schools of thought. 


From what I can glean from all the translated information is below.  The first thing to bring up is that there has to be a real objective understanding of the historical context of buddhism within the larger world at the point in time it was sprouting.  In the time when the being we call the "buddha" was alive, the word - "god" meant a physical being or sentient entity; like the gods of Hinduism and all other religions.  The word we now subscribe to "god" as the "source of all existence" is different than it was then way back in the day... hence why buddhism does not talk about the validity of a creator god that is eternal everywhere doing everything.  As if, if someone were to ask the buddha what is God, he would have replied - Who? 


Buddhists have different names for the same things across other religions for core concepts;


Christian/Jewish concept of God ( The uncreated causer or initiator ) - Hinduism concept of the Supreme Unmanifest - Buddhist concept of Base of Mind ( Zhang Zhung Dzogchen calls the "Primordial Base Energy" ) - Taoists call it the Wu Chi.  

------ They all talk about it.  How it relates to a person is understood in different ways by the different schools of thought per their specific time, place in history, and overall what they could find out about it or discern.  


What you are referring to below, is what is called Dogma - or belief structure, which like above is peculiar to people, political events, etc... so don't take it as the actual real absolute truth about things --- it can't be, because it's just a way of organizing what people see, not what actually is there..... the buddhists take the absolute objective approach to everything and define things by how they function, so how things act and relate with one another is how they describe things.  It is very much an outlook based in reason and deductive logic.  What is actually true everywhere is beyond words - trees are not trees; thats just the name that we give them.  So God is just a name we give the thing, etc. 



Christians = God, Jesus (His son), and the Holy Spirit (the holy trinity.)

Yogic/Advaita = I am God, you are God, we are all together seperately yet collective God and connected to each other.

Buddhist = ???


First of all - allow me to comment on your dogma stated.  Point #1 - Jesus of Nazareth never ever called himself the Son of God.  He called himself the Son of "Man".  In that time period - saying you were a son also meant that you were a servant.  You served something or someone... like the son of the blacksmith serves the blacksmith... etc.   It was not until after Jesus died that people started to create Christianity and form dogma around what Jesus said, after all Jesus was raised by jewish rabbis and other jewish people.  So, when understood correctly in the right historical context - Jesus just said that he was a servant of man, mankind - which if you believe it all - his actions mostly attest to the truth of that phrase.  The Bible that you and I have now - is not the same as the original versions of the Bible that were created over hundreds of years by different authors.  Christianity was appropriated by many different political groups for their own purposes - the most notable of which was the Roman Empire.  


Jesus called God - the Father.  As in the generator, because this makes it easy to understand for people.  He said "I am in the father, and the father is in me". Said another way = I am in the light of all existence, and the light of all existence is in me.


Point #2 - Yogic/Advaita - your understanding is wrong.  There is no mention of the word "god" in the vedas.  They refer to the "absolute".  As in - the unchanging.  For yogic and hindu schools of thought believed that the word we now use called "real" in their time had to be a description of something that did not change.... because to them if it changed it could not be "real"... as the thing observed over time - became something else and hence was not "real" or worthy of worship or contemplation.  


Point #3 - The Buddhists???       --- well well well, the real buddhists define things using reason and logic.  To buddhists - everything in existence everywhere arises out of somewhere... out of the primordial base of mind ( source of all existence ).  They separate out things like the mind, the physical body, and energy to understand them - but they realize that all these things are connected and influence one another.  The buddhist believe in "potentiality". as in - this very moment that you are reading this will flow into the future as some shape or form of an experience--- i.e. existence itself continuing.  And they deductively reason from that fact - that the past also behaves in the same way - so, therefore existence itself is an "un-ending present moment"...... the words we use to describe time as past, present, and future - are understood a little differently - there is the past, there is the ongoing potential of now ( the present ) and the eventual outcome that is the future ( potential reflected or realized or manifested )....       Which in the end - when understood correctly to the literal meaning of the word "dukkah". makes total and complete sense with what Buddhism is all about.  The word "dukkah" at that time in history meant - "not sitting correctly on a hinge"..... so translated into the first noble truth - actually means - "Life does not sit correctly on it's hinge."   In other words - Life is un-predictable.  Which is imbibed with the concept that life is always full of potential and cause and effect ( karma and dependent origination ) determine potentials ( life events and experiences ).  So what it all comes down to in the end - for buddhists mostly is to avoid unpleasant and unwanted life events and experiences..... they want to be happy or have no experiences at all ( abiding in the restful open awareness of the natural state of mind)  In order to do this they follow a way of life and philosophy so organized to nullify effects of bad/good karma - because both are only bad or good from a subjective point of view and hence neither label is true, and to eventually render karma completely under their control, so they live happily with themselves and with each other.  So buddhists believe in action-consequence realities ( karma ) and believe in being good people because it is good to do based on the facts that they observe of how it affects their lives and those around them.  Is there anything else that anyone really needs?  The existence of God? Endless pontificating ideas and philosophy?  ...... not really.  Buddhism was created and spread for everyone to understand and to use - because it's basic tenants are always true.  The most highest adept to the most lowly layman can understand and use the basic tenants of buddhism to live happily in the world and share in the happiness of those around them.  While there may be ultimately more to learn and to understand about everything in the entire phenomenal universe... buddhism does not really assert that knowing such things will really help you live with the facts of the realities of this life - so those things are not it's main objective.  


To begin to inquire into the eastern schools of thought; you should ask yourself the following- 

1.  What is the difference between truth and belief?

2.  What is the difference between self-identity and actual presence?

3.  How do I understand the nature of light, frequency, sound, color, and vibration?

4.  Is it at all possible for a literal separation between the past, the present, and the future?

5.  Without an absolute standard, how can ethics or morality be established?

6.  How could there be a purpose to life?


On Heaven and Hell - and asking yourself these types of questions out of what sounds like being afraid to let go of such concepts for others.   Know that, there are heavens and hells talked about in judaism, islam, buddhism, and Hinduism.   These places attract souls, energy bodies, people, (whatever term you want to say). to them by nature of the persons karma, vibration, or essence.  Again with that driving force behind such a trip being karma itself.  As in - if you are a terrible person your whole life you are drawn to hell by the fact that your karma delivers you there, if you are an outstanding, loving, and benevolent/well natured brilliant person your whole life you are drawn to Heaven.   So - I'd venture to say that it doesn't matter if you believe in them or not, just like the fact of tomorrow.  They exist, but only in the sense that they are both the extremes of the spectrum of vibration.  Hence - low vibration ( fear, sadness ) is hell - High vibration ( love, inspiration, true joy, bliss ) is Heaven.  


AND - people do go there while still alive.  That's what spiritual adepts do.  Thats why we have awareness of them even being an idea.  




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On 11/8/2012 at 10:56 AM, Simple_Jack said:

Some quotes from DW[http://www.dharmawhe...=9709&start=160] putting it into dzogchen terms:

" SSJ3Gogeta wrote:
1. Rigpa is not a thing.

2. Rigpa means knowledge.

3. If anything the universe appears because of ignorance (marigpa) as explained by Malcolm above.

Malcolm wrote: Rigpa, in all Dzogchen texts, is constrasted with Ma rigpa. Because of not knowing [ma rig pa] our real state we enter samsara. Through knowing [rig pa] our real state, we attain liberation.

Thought is not a problem for one who has rigpa. It is only a problem for those who do not."


No.  Rigpa does not mean knowledge.  You're wrong. Knowledge is just learned memory - bits of data.  Rigpa is the true natural way of being aware or intelligent ( rough translation.)


No.  The universe does not appear because of ignorance - it is self arising and spontaneously manifested continuously because of its nature to do so ( the path ).


Liberation in this sense is a bad word to use.  You aren't liberated from anything - you're just in a state of mental bliss.  Non-existence and liberation are just philosophical paradoxes.  

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Maybe I can help..... Buddhism, life is suffering, You get to be reincarnated if you screw everything up, no creation story so a God is necessary even if you steal it from a foreigner source.


The best possible outcome is that you become Taoist. Life is heath, wealth and happiness, don't be lazy and reach heaven when you are alive. We all come from no thing and return. At the same time we never left anywhere. The best part, no speculation or made up stories that keep you a mortal until you die.  Now that is liberating. IMO this is completely biased even if it is the same story being told Buddhist or Taoist

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Posted (edited)


About Buddhism and God.

There's a tale Gautama the Buddha tells in one of the sermons about a man seeking an answer to the question, "where is the end of suffering?".  He goes to the realm of the gods, they tell him they can't answer that question and direct him to Brahma, the supreme god.  Brahma replies to the question three times by declaring he's Brahma, the supreme god, and causing lightning bolts with thunder.  When the question is repeated again, Brahma takes the man aside, and confesses he can't answer the question, the man will need to find Gautama the Shakyan (the Buddha) and ask him.

That's about it for the Buddhist belief system, regarding gods and God.

If you are interested in the original teaching, as an answer to the question of what is the Buddhist belief system (although it's not really the same thing), I recently completed a sketch of that.  My sources are all in the first four collections of the Pali sermon volumes (I provide chapter and verse).  These collections are considered the most historically accurate, and I only quote the man himself, not his disciples (their teachings I find have a slightly different flavor).  Here's the first part of my sketch, and a link if you're interested:


In that early record, Gautama is concerned with action, a certain kind of action:


…I say that determinate thought is action. When one determines, one acts by deed, word, or thought. 


‚ÄúWhen one determines‚ÄĚ‚Äďwhen one makes up one‚Äôs mind, action takes place.


Gautama taught the ceasing of action:


And what‚Ķ is the ceasing of action? That ceasing of action by body, speech, and mind, by which one contacts freedom,‚Äďthat is called ‚Äėthe ceasing of action‚Äô.‚Ä̬†


Gautama taught that action ceases first with regard to speech, then with regard to the body, and finally with regard to the mind. He described the culmination of the process as follows... 






Edited by Mark Foote

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