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Buddha – Buddhists About God

Buddhists thinkers debated with Naiyahikas and refuted their logic in favor of god’s existence. But Buddha himself never did so. He neither supported nor refuted the existence of God or the eternity of atma (self). Whenever asked about God or atma, he either remained silent or pointed out the unanswerability of such questions. He concerned himself with how the sufferings and sorrows experienced by the people could be removed.

But later Dharmakirti, Santarakshita, Kalyanarakshita, Jnanasrimitra, Kamalasila and other Buddhsits thinkers explicitly argued against the category of God. For them, the Nyaya theory of an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient God as the creator of the world from the atoms of the four bhutas (elementary physical matter) in space, like the creation of a pot by the potter, from the clay or a cloth by the weaver from the cotton is untenable because these are unmatched examples as the craftsmen are mortal beings with limited knowledge and capability while God is eternal, omniscient, omnipotent. Hence, here is sadhyavaikalya dosha, a fallacy or error in the logic of Nyaya. God’s existence is not proved by this (Pramanavartika by Dharmakirti).

The making of a pot or the weaving of a fabric cannot prove God as the creator of mountains, oceans or the cosmos because vyapti (concomitant association) does not take place as the sadhya god is never seen associated with the mountains, oceans etc. We infer the existence of fire on the mountain because we seem smoke which always accompanies fire. But the association of mountains, oceans, etc. or anything else is nowhere seen with. Here, the vyapti is asiddha and hence fallacious. In the case of the potter, the weaver, the goldsmith and other craftsmen we find that a particular time one person crates only one thing, hence these cannot be the instances to infer a creator who creates all the things at the same time. It is also not tenable to say that it is in the nature of God to create. If creation is god’s nature, then annihilation should not take place, because one cannot have two opposite nature.

Palaces, temples, etc. are seen to be built by sculptors, masons etc., and therefore one can infer builders also to be some sculptors, masons and so on. But the stars, the planets, the mountains, the seas etc. are never seen being created by anyone. Therefore, it is not right to infer them as someone’s creation (Tattvasamgraha by Santarakshita).

If God is perfect in himself, he can have no purpose or aim to achieve by the creation of the world. Compassion for the creatures can be no reason of Srishti (creation) because people in the world have to face many sufferings and sorrows. Therefore, God cannot be the creator of the world, otherwise his action will be no different from that of an insane person mentons Kalyanarakshita in his Ishvarabhangakarika. Nothing exists without a purpose and God has no purpose, therefore God also does not exist.

Thus Buddhists do not believe in God, but they, too, worship the Buddha with the kind of devotion akin to that of believers in God.