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Posted by Harvey on July 12, 2003 01:00:48 UTC

Glenn,

You may not find in any of the Buddhist realms an omnipotent god with the love and hatred that is associated and projected upon gods by the human imagination but, if you set on a search for the ‘god’ as the eternal basis that governs all phenomena in the universe and is in all and every one of us you may be on to something. This Divine-omnipresence is the essence of the world and, though not openly expressed, is latent in all and everything, extant or not extant. It transcends all categories and limitations; however, it will only be revealed to those being free from the veil of illusory phenomena, those who fight and win pure love and wisdom over earthily desires obtain this inner-self to be one with that of the universal... The ultimate and all-abiding law that the Buddha perceived may be another name for some people's concept of God. On the other hand, a person who cannot believe in an anthropomorphic God can see an underlying energy to the universe. The breadth of Buddhism encompasses both views and focuses on the individual.

Here you were much more on track to the heart of Buddhism. For example, here is a perfect example of theism in Buddhism:

"Maudgalyayana was beaten to death by bandits, the Buddha was able to tell that this event was the effect of something Maudgalyayana had done in a previous life when he had taken his aged parents to the forest and having beaten them to death, had then reported that they had been killed by bandits. The effect of this unwholesome action done many lives before was manifested only in his last life. At death we have to leave everything behind - our property and our loved ones, but our karma will accompany us like a shadow. The Buddha has said that nowhere on earth or in heaven can one escape one’s karma."(http://www.buddhanet.net)

Here we see clearly a theist reference by the Buddha to a belief in God. The concept of a law of karma that tracks human behavior from one life to another qualifies as a very theistic philosophy. I think the confusion that many Buddhists have who might be new to Western philosophy is that 'God' is generally not defined as it were in Buddha's day (i.e., as a Hindu god). The term is much more universal and certainly Buddhism is a theistic religion.

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