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The Buddha Gave Teachings To Gods, Yet Taught Non-Theism To His Human Followers?

DakiniDakini Veteran
edited January 2015 in Philosophy

It recently came to my attention that one of the names/epithets used to refer to the Buddha is "Teacher of the Devas", meaning that he gave teachings to deities. Yet he is known to have said to his mundane followers that the question of whether or not there were gods or a supreme deity was irrelevant to Dharma practice.

Is there a contradiction here, between the Buddha being referred to as Teacher of Devas, while maintaining a non-theistic doctrine? Or not? This news took me by surprise, causing me to puzzle a bit, so I thought it would be a good topic to explore.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html

Buddha_Fan22
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Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited January 2015

    Well I am sure the Buddha did talk to mind constructions. My sponsor Mr Cushion would like to say a few words . . . sadly he can not really talk [Note from Mr Cushion: Don't believe everything you read . . . or that cructacean]

    Just because we tell stories, does not mean there is no benefit. Just because we do or do not talk to Cods, Gods or dogs does not make us delusional or free of attachments.

    Never trust a unicorn unless they are real . . .

    Earthninja
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    From my time in Thailand, I thought a deva was more this definition from Wikipedia: "A deva (देव Sanskrit and Pāli) in Buddhism is one of many different types of non-human beings who share the characteristics of being more powerful, longer-lived, and, in general, much happier than humans, although none of them are worthy of worship."

    EarthninjaRowan1980personBunks
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    On this blog, which the author describes as "Dharma without dogma," he provides an ambiguous response for an ambiguous Buddhist attitude in the different traditions:
    http://www.existentialbuddhist.com/tag/devas/

    This author finishes his blog with the quotation:

    So is Buddhism theistic or non-theistic?
    As Suzuki Roshi was fond of saying, “not always so.”

    Francis Story, from the Buddhist Publication Society, explains that devas are not gods:
    http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh180-p.html#GodsandtheirPlaceinBuddhism

    "A deva is not a God in the usual sense, and the word is apt to be misleading through its association with Western theism. If modern man could enter into the spirit of ancient Greek thought and understand the attitude of, say, Socrates [2] towards the Greek gods he would come closer to the Buddhist view of the devas. The likeness is not perfect, for the devas, unlike the Greek deities, are not immortal; but they resemble them in being neither omnipotent nor omniscient. They are not creators of the world, but are themselves subject to the law of causality in much the same way that the Greek gods were subject to ananke, the higher law of necessity. They exhibit many of the weaknesses of human beings, and often less than their wisdom. Their present relatively happy circumstances, as well as such power as they possess, are the result of previous merit acquired as human beings."

    Devas seem to feel the void for what has usually been considered paranormal presences since the dawn of humanity, as Story explains in this paper.

    person
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    That is a great question LOL! And some fantastic answers.

    EarthninjaBunks
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    I remember devas still being on the wheel of samsara.
    So it makes sense Buddha taught the path.
    They just have less suffering than hungry ghosts or hell beings. But no less bound.

    I have never heard of them being referred to as gods or am object of worship.

    But then again what do I know, I don't even know who I AM. XD
    Dakini
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited January 2015
    I don't think there is a contradiction if I'm looking at it right. I don't think the devas/gods were actually sitting there on the grass alongside humans but in their minds, which is really a kind of prison for the gods. And a delusion of humans.

    As much as constructs as they may be, they still may be more real than any power or control we assign them.

    To free the human of their delusion is perhaps to free the god from their prison. They can't stay gods forever.

    Buddha had compassion for Mara even as it was likely just a construct so why wouldn't he have compassion for Brahman imprisoned in my mind?
    lobsterBuddhadragon
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    I don't see any contradiction. The Buddha said there are other beings in god realms, but just that they aren't important to how humans should practice. Saying they are irrelevant is not the same as saying they don't exist. He said, to humans, that they do exist.

    Although, I would not say he called a "supreme being" creator type God irrelevant. He did say such views are "wrong views" and a wrong view I would say is definitely relevant!

    BuddhadragonJeffrey
  • @ourself‌ You raised an interesting possibility that I hadn't thought of. In the same way that a teacher needs students in order to be a teacher, perhaps gods and devas need believers in order to exist or at least to be perceived. Creating a non-theistic movement does whip the platform right out from under them, doesn't it?

    Great posts, everybody!

  • @seeker242 said:
    I don't see any contradiction. The Buddha said there are other beings in god realms, but just that they aren't important to how humans should practice. Saying they are irrelevant is not the same as saying they don't exist. He said, to humans, that they do exist.

    Although, I would not say he called a "supreme being" creator type God irrelevant. He did say such views are "wrong views" and a wrong view I would say is definitely relevant!

    Your first paragraph is the conclusion I originally came to. But could you elaborate on your second point? Where did he say belief in a supreme being or Creator was "wrong view"?

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dakini said:

    .....perhaps gods and devas need believers in order to exist or at least to be perceived. Creating a non-theistic movement does whip the platform right out from under them, doesn't it?

    Great posts, everybody!

    As Voltaire wryly put it,

    "If God did not exist, it would be necessary for us to invent him."

  • I think the key is that devas do not teach Buddhism rather they learn it. Buddha is Buddha because he teaches the dharma. Devas do not teach the dharma rather they learn the dharma from Buddha.

  • I read it is a better condition towards enlightenment to be human because the suffering they have helps them somehow such as a motivation to practice rather than being in ecstasy of love or whatever.

    DavidRowan1980
  • Sunspot5254Sunspot5254 Explorer
    edited January 2015

    This is where I'm not positive on Buddhism, I just don't believe in Devas. Well I should correct myself because I'm still not positive what a Deva is. Is it a metaphor for something? I'd have to do research before I could convince myself of this.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Sunspot5254 said:
    This is where I'm not positive on Buddhism, I just don't believe in Devas. Well I should correct myself because I'm still not positive what a Deva is. Is it a metaphor for something? I'd have to do research before I could convince myself of this.

    You are not alone. While I will keep an open mind about, I've yet to see any evidence.

    lobster
  • There be treasure in them there sutr argggh!

    @vinlyn said:
    You are not alone. While I will keep an open mind about, I've yet to see any evidence.

    In the interests of impartiality, I suggest contacting your local Pastafarian Devi/Davi Pastor Pirate at the Church of the Flying Speghetti Monster. If you can provide the deity diet, they can provide the Buddha balls.

    Rowan1980silver
  • Well said @federica‌ I think you explained it well. <3

    Though it is perfectly true that some Buddhists believe in literal Devi and Deva, it is much simpler and more appropriate for most westerners and the thoughtful to think in terms of representations. The powerful sadhana visualisations of Buddhist Tantra have never made me think of Buddha Tara and her siblings as other than one of my inner Gals.

    Sunspot5254BuddhadragonDavidsilver
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ^^That's^^ an amazing picture, @lobster‌, any info on it....? :astonished:

  • @federica said:
    ^^That's^^ an amazing picture, lobster‌, any info on it....? :astonished:

    It has its own relevant story . . .

    http://bebeautifulanddance.com/2014/10/28/storiesparableskoans-the-hidden-golden-buddha/

  • People tend to overlook the religion that Buddha was born into. While we don't know a lot about the Vedic religion, we know it had a Brahman or Priest class and ceremonies and rituals and sacrifices to the gods were an important part of it. Yet I've never heard of anywhere in the sutras it is recorded him saying this was a false religion or people should not sacrifice to the gods. As a young noble if not Prince, he would have watched and participated in many of these rituals. The sutras don't say, but he must have had discussions with the Priests about the nature of the world and suffering. He certainly knew about the forest yogas and their quest for enlightenment, because he immediately went to join them once he'd made up his mind he didn't want to be a Prince.

    I know, there is a myth that he led such a sheltered life that he'd never seen or heard of sickness or old age or death until that famous ride in the countryside after he was already a young married man. Lets get real. Certainly he could have been sheltered from the worst of it or taught that it didn't matter, but he was being groomed to take over a small kingdom and could hardly have been locked into a room and fed through a keyhole.

    So he most likely believed in the gods as these beings were defined at the time, in the same way he believed in reincarnation if you believe the sutras. He just didn't think they were the answer to eliminating suffering in your life.

    vinlynDakiniRowan1980
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    In fact, "attachment to rites, rituals and ceremonies" is one of the ten hindrances in Buddhism.

    Alluding to the tradition of sacifices in the religious practice of his times, in the SN, the Buddha is quoted as saying "I lay no wood, brahmin, for fire on altars."

    CinorjerRowan1980
  • @DhammaDragon said:
    In fact, "attachment to rites, rituals and ceremonies" is one of the ten hindrances in Buddhism.

    Alluding to the tradition of sacifices in the religious practice of his times, in the SN, the Buddha is quoted as saying "I lay no wood, brahmin, for fire on altars."

    That's marvelous. I hadn't heard that before. One of the unanswered questions then about his ministry is why the powerful Brahman class didn't do something about this upstart that was preaching they weren't needed. Maybe it had something to do with Buddha coming from a powerful family and that protected him. Or maybe in his own lifetime his Sangha never got big enough to become a threat and it was only later Buddhism came to be embraced by the noble class. It's fascinating to think about.

    Jeffrey
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    This may be another reason why there is, strictly speaking, no marriage rite in Buddhism....

  • This, to me, is one of those "questions which tend not to edification." With regard to the central Buddhist goal, it's irrelevant.

    Bunks
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    I don't think it was that he no longer believed they existed but that they were of little consequence and had no power over an awakened mind. Maybe in some way the gods we picture do exist but then maybe our dreams exist on some level too.

    I doubt he believed in these gods just because he was born into a society that believed in them. I would imagine he had little choice in the matter until he left home. However, that was before awakening. After awakening, I imagine he paid tribute to them only as a means to loosen their grip.
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @just_so said:
    This, to me, is one of those "questions which tend not to edification." With regard to the central Buddhist goal, it's irrelevant.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, but I'm not aware of any specific sutra which backs this up. Do you have any references? I'm aware of the "four imponderables" but I don't think this is one of them. Or maybe I should just see if my experience confirms it??

  • @nakazcid‌ - to me it's pretty much everywhere in the Buddha's teaching. I mean, if he was here and we could ask him then it would be cleared up but I think he would tell us we're wasting our time on a question that doesn't make a difference to the goal. I know it's fun to talk about it, and non-Buddhists love to bring this kind of thing up, but if it can't be resolved, it doesn't matter. Taking it a step further, if it's not air, water, fire or earth, it's in our heads, and that's where the trouble starts.

  • @Cinorjer said:
    That's marvelous. I hadn't heard that before. One of the unanswered questions then about his ministry is why the powerful Brahman class didn't do something about this >upstart that was preaching they weren't needed. Maybe it had something to do with Buddha coming from a powerful family and that protected him. Or maybe in his own lifetime his Sangha never got big enough to become a threat and it was only later >Buddhism came to be embraced by the noble class. It's fascinating to think about.

    I think you're onto something here. Recently in my readings on the history of Buddhism I came across mention that his movement was largely one of the lowest castes, and the Brahmans (centuries after the Buddha's death) didn't approve. At that point (roughly--6th -8th centuries) they set about stamping it out by various means, and to a great extent, succeeded.

  • @ourself said:
    I don't think it was that he no longer believed they existed but that they were of little consequence and had no power over an awakened mind. Maybe in some way the gods we picture do exist but then maybe our dreams exist on some level too.

    I doubt he believed in these gods just because he was born into a society that believed in them. I would imagine he had little choice in the matter until he left home. However, that was before awakening. After awakening, I imagine he paid tribute to them >only as a means to loosen their grip.

    I don't think he paid tribute to them. The sutra says he gave teachings to them, as if they were just another group in need of Enlightenment. That's radically different from paying tribute to them or praying to them.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited January 2015
    Sorry @Dakini, that was perhaps a bad choice of wording... When I say paid homage/tribute, I merely meant acknowledging them along with the human students.

    As if he respected their right to exist even if they only existed in the mind.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @ourself said:
    Sorry Dakini, that was perhaps a bad choice of wording... When I say paid homage/tribute, I merely meant acknowledging them along with the human students.

    As if he respected their right to exist even if they only existed in the mind.

    Well, this is a very interesting sutra. Here's a little bit from the introduction. Apparently, the devas were more than mental constructs (we're lead to believe...). From the introduction:

    The gods came to the Buddha to request instruction and clarification, to support his Sasana or Dispensation, to praise his incomparable qualities, and to pay homage at his feet. Devas and brahmas are often mentioned throughout the Pali canon. They regularly manifest themselves on the human plane and participate in many episodes of the Buddha's career. *

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited January 2015
    @Dakini;

    Yes, but we have to read between the lines in any commentary about the dharma as well. The gods may very well have come to Buddha but did they come by themselves or were their "host" believers usually pretty close by?

    With all due respect to the translators and commentators, the commentary on the Sutta is not the Sutta. If the commentary was meant to be a part of the teaching, Buddha would include it.

    It is entirely possible he was speaking to only those present at the time and telling them in such a way as to make them understand.

    If his students were all non-theist I doubt he would bother talking about gods except perhaps in metaphor and analogies.
    Rowan1980Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I just misread the thread title as "The Buddha Gave Teachings To Cods...."

    Am I turning into a lobster or something? ;)

    federica
  • or "The Buddha gave teachings to Dogs..."

    lobster
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Yesterday I was reading the Dhammapada, Max Müller's translation, and in the chapter "The Thousands," there is a footnote to verses 104/105 with reference to the Buddhist tradition of mentioning Devas in the scriptures:
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/sbe1010.htm

    "The Devas (gods), Gandharvas (fairies), and other fanciful beings of the Brahmanic religion, such as the Nâgas, Sarpas, Garudas, &c., were allowed to continue in the traditional language of the people who had embraced Buddhism. [...]
    Sâstram Aiyar, On the Gaina Religion, p. xx, says: 'Moreover as it is declared in the Gaina Vedas that all the gods worshipped by the various Hindu sects, viz. Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganapati, Subramaniyan, and others, were devoted adherents of the above-mentioned Tîrthankaras, the Gainas therefore do not consider them as unworthy of their worship; but as they are servants of Arugan, they consider them to be deities of their system, and accordingly perform certain pûgâs in honour of them, and worship them also.' The case is more doubtful with orthodox Buddhists. 'Orthodox Buddhists,' as Mr. D'Alwis writes (Attanagalu-vansa, p. 55), 'do not consider the worship of the Devas as being sanctioned by him who disclaimed for himself and all the Devas any power over man's soul. Yet the Buddhists are everywhere idol-worshippers. Buddhism, however, acknowledges the existence of some of the Hindu deities, and from the various friendly offices which those Devas are said to have rendered to Gotama, Buddhists evince a respect for their idols.' "

  • @DhammaDragon That's interesting. Then if I'm one of the Buddhists who insists on taking the Sutras literally, I have to acknowledge that Buddha endorsed the Hindu religion and only that religion. The Hindu gods and Devas might be irrelevant to my practice, but they're the real ones. Says so in the Sutras. If he's all-knowing then I could be a Hindu-Buddhist as the original Sangha was, but never a Christian-Buddhist or whatever.

    Of course, there's no evidence at all that Buddha did much traveling and definitely didn't travel out of his own land. That's something that would have been passed down in the Sutras. Buddha's education didn't include other cultures and religions.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited January 2015
    @Cinorjer;

    I have a feeling it would work for any and all gods unless India is the only place gods hung out and everybody else is delusional.

    Even the same god will have different attributes depending on the region so it's hard to give external form to any of them except poetically.
    Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:

    Buddha's education didn't include other cultures and religions.

    I think it probably did, because he was of noble birth and would have received a good education. From what I've read there was a wide diversity of religious and philosophical beliefs at the Buddha's time, including what we'd now called materialism and atheism. And we know that the Buddha spent time with a range of different teachers after he left home.
    The Brahman priesthood would have been dominant, but they weren't the only players on the block - perhaps not dissimilar to the dominance of Christianity in the west.

    Cinorjer
  • Heh. All good points. This is why I do so love the rock bottom attitude Buddha had that beliefs in the nature of gods and such were irrelevant and only resulted in endless debate.

    silver
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    Your first paragraph is the conclusion I originally came to. But could you elaborate on your second point? Where did he say belief in a supreme being or Creator was "wrong view"?

    DN 1, Brahmajāla Sutta: The All-embracing Net of Views.

    Although, it quite a long read since it's just one of the 62 beliefs that he denounces as wrong.

    Articles like this are an easier read! Buddhism and the God-idea by Nyanaponika Thera

    @Dakini said:
    Well, this is a very interesting sutra. Here's a little bit from the introduction. Apparently, the devas were more than mental constructs (we're lead to believe...). From the introduction

    Reading the actual scriptures, I think it's hard to say that he was talking of only mental constructs. There are entire scriptures that talk about these beings, who they are, how they behave, why they aren't enlightened, how they got to their heaven realm, how they will fall from their heaven realm, etc.

    As far as it being a cultural thing, he seems to be saying here that is not the case.

    This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world.

    It is not from having heard this from other brahmans & contemplatives that I tell you that I have seen (these) beings.

    It is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen beings who — ...have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world. "

    Of course, not everyone believes that, but that is what he says! :)

    bookworm
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited January 2015
    @Seeker242;

    That sounds more like a promise of heaven than a revelation that gods exist in this world of form.

    He says he's seen good people reappear in the good destination, the heavenly world, not that heavenly beings appear here.

    Quite interesting, that.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @seeker242 said:
    Of course, not everyone believes that, but that is what he says!

    Thanks for all of this, seeker. It's been a long time since this particular "wrong view" discussion came up on the forum, it's good to have a review. I suppose that still doesn't necessarily mean he's saying there is no Supreme Being or Creator deity. Usually that teaching is construed to mean that believing in one or more deities isn't relevant to Dharma practice and reaching Enlightenment. Is that splitting hairs, or should we understand that passage as saying there is no God?

    I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that he taught devas who came to him in the material realm, asking for advice.

    But regarding your last point, I think it's possible that after spending so much time in meditation, the Buddha had many profound "intuitive" experiences. Meditation quiets the busy, intellectual mind, and opens the door to intuition. So it's possible that he saw 32 realms of existence, and other beings on other planes (realms). I don't doubt his word, that that is what he saw.

    The problem with a tradition in which practitioners are encouraged to rely on their own visions accessed through meditation (Gnostic Christianity being another example) is that conflicting or contradictory visions can arise among visionaries. It's still subjective experience. There's no way to know for sure that everyone is accessing a one-and-only Ultimate Reality, or aspects thereof.

    ...or so it seems, from our limited human existence. :)

    lobster
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited January 2015
    There doesn't have to be a creator of the universe for there to be supreme being.

    In light of DO, how could there be a being that created all?
  • @ourself said:
    There doesn't have to be a creator of the universe for there to be supreme being.

    In light of DO, how could there be a being that created all?

    Well, yes. Excellent point. That's why belief in that sort of thing would be "wrong view".

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    I sometimes think that what makes most sense is that supreme being is realizing and fully knowing that one is not something separate from the rest of the universe. That the very cosmos is waking up one aspect at a time. Instead of an all knowing God type figure, a type of growing consciousness that learns as it goes.

    Like the popular ocean and wave analogy for absolute and relative being except that with every relative awakening, a spark of recognition ignites within the absolute.

    I don't bother believing such things but it does amuse me to think about it.

    I have a feeling Maitreya is a mindset and will likely manifest as a spirit of the age rather than another individual awakening. I think it's inevitable actually.
    Dakinilobster
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @ourself said:
    Seeker242;

    That sounds more like a promise of heaven than a revelation that gods exist in this world of form.

    I think of it as him saying "There are these higher realms, apart from this world, where these beings are born. I've seen them for myself first hand. And if you do wholesome action, that is a cause for rebirth there"

    Maybe you could say that is a promise of heaven, but not entirely because there is no promise, except to oneself, that one will engage in only wholesome action. I see it more as a statement of the facts regarding the law of karma. :)

    @Dakini said:
    I'm still trying to get my mind around the fact that he taught devas who came to him in the material realm, asking for advice.

    As for myself, I reconcile that with this. :)

    Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable

    "There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

    "The Buddha-range of the Buddhas[1] is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

    1. i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha.

    If one was to say "The Buddha had powers that ordinary beings can't begin to comprehend, because he was fully enlightened". That's good enough for me to put the issue to rest! :)

  • @seeker242 said:
    If one was to say "The Buddha had powers that ordinary beings can't begin to >comprehend, because he was fully enlightened". That's good enough for me to put the >issue to rest!

    That's fine, but my perplexity relates more to the fact that devas apparently were real, live entities and we're supposed to accept that fact....?? I simply don't know what to do with this information.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Dakini said:
    but my perplexity relates more to the fact that devas apparently were real, live entities and we're supposed to accept that fact....?? I simply don't know what to do with this information.

    Become a Secular Buddhist!

    "Do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjecture or with logical inference or with weighing evidence or with liking for a view after pondering over it or with someone else's ability or with the though [that] the monk is out teacher. When you know in yourselves" 'These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness," then you should practice and abide int hem..."

    seeker242CinorjerlobsterDakini
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    That's fine, but my perplexity relates more to the fact that devas apparently were real, live entities and we're supposed to accept that fact....?? I simply don't know what to do with this information.

    I don't think I would go so far as to say your supposed to. I would say whether or not actual devas actually visited the Buddha here in this world, really doesn't matter to one's own daily practice. So it really does not matter what people believe about that, IMO.

    However, if a person believes that it's ok to steal things, or something like that, THEN they have a problem! :D

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