Sunday, June 8, 2008

Little dust in our eyes (Comment)

I have little dust in my eyes. I chose the "half-full" glass interpretation. At least I am not blinded by all the dust. Most of the dust have cleared, leaving just a little dust! This was what I wrote:

Hi, Thank you for asking me. It is in the sharing that we can learn more.
You wrote: (i understand that buddhists don't believe in God )
My answer: It is the most common question asked by most westerners who have been indoctrinated since birth that religion means something to do with God. In the Christian concept there is this one and only Creator God. In Buddhism the term god or gods are not directed towards this Creator God. For a lack of a better terminology in the English language the word "gods" is used to denote those higher spiritual beings in the higher planes of existence. In Buddhism there is definitely no such entity as the Creator God who is almighty and absolute. This is the most important revelation by the Buddha and is the only religion that rejects the existence of a higher agent that can totally control our lives. The Buddha revealed that there were 31 planes of existence that a life could be reborn. Those gods that you referred to in the sutta were the higher beings existing in the higher planes.
You wrote: (like to think that he gave his first sermon when he met an ascetic on the way to Varanasi)
My answer:
It was just a conversation with the ascetic Upaka who could not help being impressed by the glow and serenity of the Buddha. When we read stories during the Buddha's life, quite often we will come across slight variations in details. What I usually do is to disregard these variations and concentrate on the important main events. The gist of this meeting was to point out that if one is deluded, one can even missed the Buddha even if he is infront of us. This happened to Upaka.
Upaka asked the Buddha whether he was some extraordinary man and the Buddha said no. Then Upaka asked whether the Buddha was a god, and again the Buddha said no. "Then who are you?" asked Upaka. "I am the Buddha," proclaimed the Buddha. Then Upaka shook his head and went away.
You wrote: (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta )
My answer:
This Sutta is the first sermon. When the Buddha expounded this sutta, he set the wheel of truth in motion and nothing could stop this motion from then on. The meaning of this sutta is "the setting of the wheel of truth in motion". This wheel has reached us and we are now benefitting from it, and it will go on rolling.
You wrote: (However, while the Buddha was thinking this way, Brahma Sahampati, the creator deity in Hinduism, came to the Buddha and convinced him that he should go and teach.)
My answer:
Brahma Sahampati is (I am using the present tense) one of the rulers in the higher plane which we call the Maha Brahma realm. He is just one of the gods in that realm of existence. You wrote: (Brahma Sahampati persuaded the Buddha that there were beings who would understand, beings who had only a little dust in their eyes) My answer: It is said that this is the tradition of the Buddhas, that someone of a great stature will have the honour to invite the Buddha to expound the truth out of great compassion for the people. It is just like our diplomatic protocol whereby someone has to invite the VVIP to give his speech.

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