This would correspond to the Christian doctrine of juxtaposition over the doctrine of postponement. It’s not a cosmological or philosophical matter. Buddhism is not an add-on. Seth, actually I don’t believe I have ever met one of these non-Buddhist lineage holders in person. But they are restricted in what they can do by our own karma. People always overthink things…to put it simply, Buddhism shouldn’t be termed Non-theistic. It maybe for Buddhist scholars and such, but asking and pondering these questions can be a distraction from our practice. As this is within the range of contemporary Buddhist thought, someone with this belief may further believe that such a pre-existent God may be a creator God, as such a belief cannot be proscribed by the Buddha, who was admittedly not a god. You’re right, I wasn’t thinking of Pure Land Buddhism when I wrote the phrase that there was “no Divine Intercessor” in karma. Enlightenment is a state beyond concept or description. The yidam is seen as having an existence within relative reality (within a Pure Land saṃbogakāya realm), but as being essentially empty in terms of absolute reality, so that it’s both real and unreal at the same time. Part of the genius of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, was that he taught different and complementary versions of the Dharma to different audiences according to their temperament and abilities. Can a human come back as a cat – and vice versa? We live in a pluralistic world where all different kinds of shades of belief and syncretic heterodox and heteropractic possibilities exist side by side. In his culture they take it for granted that there are unseen beings who intervene in our lives. I understand your discomfort with practitioners of other religions being Dharma heirs and lineage holders. I think many Western converts come, as you said, shedding their belief in a creator God. “albeit, the God in whom I believe is more the God of philosophical theism than the God of the Abrahamic religions”. So glad you found that helpful, Palden! In order to debate any issue within Buddhism, we each present our understanding of what is Buddhism–really. Secondly, for me, there’s the question of how much of this stuff was part of the Buddha’s original teachings and how much was added on later. The Buddha did not claim to be the bearer of a message from on high. Asking a celestial Buddha for assistance is a practice within Pure Land Buddhism. And he continues thus for a long, long period of time. Western Buddhists are the foremost promulgators of the idea that Buddhism is non-theistic. And these beings have been created by me. The experience of theism, on the natural level is like the big dipper, which always points towards the north star, whether it is morning or evening, or midday or midnight. They interacted, & propagated with humans, and so on, all not part of Buddhism as far as i know. When i do Vajrayana practice i try to focus on the emptiness of self, & other, & to see the generation of celestial beings as a cosmic restructuring of mind, rather than as an acknowledgement & plea for assistance from another realm. A steady-state universe has been precluded as a result of the discovery of spontaneous particle decay into light energy, while there’s been no observation of the reverse process, and no observation of self-emergent light or matter (the theoretical Hawking radiation, which begins with virtual particle pairs, originates either inside or outside of an event horizon, which would seem to not allow half of the emergent particle pair to escape if inside, and to not become emergent if outside). Taking formal refuge is an integral part of all strains of Buddhism of which i am aware. He had that twinkle in his eye about the unseen. Nontheism has been applied and plays significant roles in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The more we practice, the more, different experiences we have of the deity, both while awake and in dream states. While there are clearly theistic aspects to Buddhism, I’m actually close to Stephen Batchelor in my own personal practice. As such, there’s nothing accidental about our being here, but neither is there anything intentional about our presence. No? Its always hard to compare one’s own phenomenological experiences to those of others, but it seems to me there must be someplace where these two experiences overlap. This is probably pretty ‘monistic’. “There comes a time, bhikkhus, when after the lapse of a long period this world contracts (disintegrates). Many of us think of Buddhism as a practice-based psychology rather than a belief-based religion. It’s sort of like the Classical Greek cosmology. The propitiation of the deities has very particular rituals involved, & according to at least one of your early commenters (Gabriel), it could not be either Buddhist or non-theistic because he said “however to be theistic you have to “praise” these beings.” I think all Buddhist praise the divine, or celestial, or “sambhogakaya” (enjoyment-body) beings, even Theravada practitioners, who refer to their version of ‘perfection’ as Arhants, perfectly realized beings who at the time of death will not return to Samsara. While many approaches to religion exclude nontheism by definition, some inclusive definitions of religion show how religious practice and belief do not depend on the presence of god(s). Like you as sharing his spiritual eternal life time ” it boils down for me, that Amitābha was... Disintegrates ) so sorry for your loss the interventions of Amitābha please it in way. 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