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CONCEPT OF GOD IN BUDDHISM


Buddhism is a religion to about 500 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago. Founder of the Buddhism was Gautama Buddha. The religion Buddhism is based on Gauthama Buddha’s teachings.

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, was born into a royal family in Lumbini near Kapila Vastu, in the sixth century 563 B.C. in what is now modern Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler of the Sakya people and Siddhartha grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince. According to custom, he married at the young age of sixteen to a girl named Yasodhara. His father had ordered that he live a life of total seclusion, but one day Siddhartha ventured out into the world and was confronted with the reality of the inevitable suffering of life.

 

Four realities of life

According to legend, an astrologer foretold his father, the king, that young Gautama would give up the throne and luxury and renounce the world the day he would see four things (i) an old man, (ii) a sick man, (iii) a diseased man and (iv) a dead man. Hence, the king confined Gautama in a special palace which was provided with all worldly pleasures. He was married at the age of sixteen to Yasoddhra.

 

At the age of 29 after the birth of his first son, Gautama on the same day saw an old man, a sick man, a diseased man and a dead man. The impact of the dark side of life made him renounce the world that same night and he left his wife and son and became a penniless wanderer. He realized that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness.

 

Teachings on God

Buddha was silent about the existence or non-existence of God. It may be that since India was drowned in idol worship and anthropomorphism that a sudden step to monotheism would have been drastic and hence Buddha may have chosen to remain silent on the issue of God. He did not deny the existence of God. Buddha was once asked by a disciple whether God exists? He refused to reply. When pressed, he said that if you are suffering from a stomach ache would you concentrate on relieving the pain or studying the prescription of the physician. "It is not my business or yours to find out whether there is God – our business is to remove the sufferings of the world".

Buddhism provided Dhamma or the ‘impersonal law’ in place of God. However this could not satisfy the craving of human beings and the religion of self-help had to be converted into a religion of promise and hope. The Hinayana sect could not hold out any promise of external help to the people. The Mahayana sect taught that Buddha’s watchful and compassionate eyes are on all miserable beings, thus making a God out of Buddha. [1]

 

Conclusion

Therefore, instead of believing in the God, the Buddhists believe in humanity. 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, whom should they worship, how to deal in different departments of life...are yet to be answered. [2]

 

See also

Introduction to Buddhism; BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES; Prophet MUHAMMAD IN BUDDHIST SCRIPTURES; Introduction on Buddhism;

 

References

http://irf.net/buddhism_concept_god.html

http://www.buddhist-tourism.com/buddhism/god-in-buddhism.html

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