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Thoughts on the Karmaic religious denial of the first cause?

Eamonomae

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The Karmaic religions - Hinduism and Buddhism for example - explicitly reject the notion that the universe had a first cause to existence, that first cause being without beginning and without end (what we call "God"), but rather assumes that the universe itself is eternal in its being, without beginning and without end.

The thought goes like this.

Rather than

Infinite God, who just is, --> creates ---> time and space, the universe and its laws, matter, Earth, etc.

the Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains hold that

The Universe itself, just is, with infinite cycles of birth and death, creation and recreation.

and then

The Universe = God

or

The Universe --> creates --> God

I'm not too familiar with the Jainist conception of how God relates to this, but I know that the Hindus identify God with Existence, and the Buddhists place God subject to existence.

Hinduism:

The Universe, and all existence = God

For Hinduism, everything is God, and the distinctions within reality are just illusions.

This is made most clear in the dialogue of Krishna and Prince Arjuna, where Krishna reveals to the Prince the ultimate Cosmic Reality, that there is no distinction between Krishna and the rest of the gods, and all of reality.





Buddhism:

For Buddhism, God is subject to the infinite universe.

Universe --> creates God, subject to the cycles of death and rebirth.

This is made most clear in the story of the Buddha and Baka Brahma.

In this story, Baka Brahma is a deity who meets with the Buddha, who believes that he dwells in eternity, is omnipotent, and that he created all the heavens and the Earth. The Buddha explains that there are realms higher than Baka Brahma's comprehension, and that he too is subject to death and rebirth. To prove it, the Buddha ascends to higher realms of reality that Baka Brahma cannot comprehend, humiliating Baka Brahma and forcing the Baka Brahma to recant of his heresy.






So, two questions.

1. Aside from the fact that you more likely than not grew up in a Western culture that assumes the truth of the First Cause, that the Universe and its laws are subject to God Himself, who is without beginning and without end, is there any reason why the First Cause belief is superior to the Karmaic comprehensions of the Universe and God?

2. Between the Buddhist and Hindu conceptions of how God relates to the Universe, which one is superior / less offensive / closer to Christianity?
 

Stinky

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Yes
 

sestir

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Hinduism:

The Universe, and all existence = God
Isn't the idea that so much of nature exhibit divine properties, that something to worship Brahma through, can be found everywhere? If so, it looks compatible with Romans 1:20:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse [...]
and Matthew 25:31-46, where the Son of Man says: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
 

mcarmichael

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No they do not believe reincarnation. There was a church father, who was later anathematized, who taught something like that, but as I mentioned he was anathematized, which hey he said some weird stuff, barely enough to make anyone believe he was a Christian in any contemporary way.
 

Eamonomae

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Isn't the idea that so much of nature exhibit divine properties, that something to worship Brahma through, can be found everywhere? If so, it looks compatible with Romans 1:20:

and Matthew 25:31-46, where the Son of Man says: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Short answer: No.

Long answer: The problem with Hinduism (and Buddhism too) is that there are so many sects that you can't adequately summarize their beliefs, into a single philosophy (there are monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, and atheistic sects of Hinduism). However, the Vedas / Upanishands on their face seem to be pretty explicit that nature is divine, is Brahman.

The Upanishands, for example, give metaphors of this "grand truth". One metaphor states that beings are like a river; the rivers are supposedly distinct, but they eventually all flow into the ocean, and in that ocean they don't know if they are this river or that river. Another metaphor gives the metaphor of sparks from a fire; a spark from a fire may flow up from the fire, but it is still a part of that fire and will eventually fall back down into that fire.

The Mahvakyas, or the "Four Great Sayings" of the Vedas, include"

"Insight is Brahman"

or more explicitly,

"[1] Who is this self (ātman)? - that is how we venerate. [2] Which of these is the self? Is it that by which one sees? Or hears? Smells [etc...] But these are various designations of cognition. [3] It is brahman; it is Indra; it is all the gods. It is [...] earth, wind, space, the waters, and the lights [...] It is everything that has life [...] Knowledge is the eye of all that, and on knowledge it is founded. Knowledge is the eye of the world, and knowledge, the foundation. Brahman is knowing."


"This Self is Brahman"

or more explicitly:
" this whole world is that syllable! Here is a further explanation of it. The past, the present and the future - all that is simply OM; and whatever else that is beyond the three times, that also is simply OM - [2] for this brahman is the Whole. Brahman is this self (ātman); that [brahman] is this self (ātman) consisting of four quarters. "

"The essence of beings is you"

or

"In the beginning, son,, this world was simply what is existent - one only, without a second. [6.2.3] And it thought to itself: "let me become many. Let me propagate myself." [6.8.3] It cannot be without a root [6.8.4] [l]ook to the existent as the root. The existent, my son, is the root of all these creatures - the existent is their restingplace, the existent is their foundation[7] The finest essence here - that consitutes the self of this whole world; that is the truth; that is the self (ātman). And that's how you are, Śvetaketu. "


"I am Brahman"

or

" In the beginning this world was just a single body (ātman) shaped like a man. He looked around and saw nothing but himself. The first thing he said was, 'Here I am!' and from that the name 'I' came into being. [1.4.9] Now, the question is raised; 'Since people think that they will become the Whole by knowing brahman, what did brahman know that enabled it to become the Whole? [1.4.10] In the beginning this world was only brahman, and it knew only itself (ātman), thinking: 'I am brahman.' As a result, it became the Whole [...] If a man knows 'I am brahman in this way, he becomes the whole world. Not even the gods are able to prevent it, for he becomes their very self (ātman)
 

muskogee22

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the advaitists believe that all is brahman indeed,but how can brahman split into many and be ignorant of itself thru maya?they believe you and I are the same hypostasis,and trillions of other beings...this makes no sence.

also any unconditioned reality must be immutable in its nature,as karlo broussard has shown here https://strangenotions.com/the-key-...tely-unique-and-simple-unconditioned-reality/

if we were all brahman or tathagatagarbha or whatever,how would we not know it?

as for the Jains,any unconditioned reality must be immaterial as shown above.this also refutes buddhists.buddhism has its own problems with shunyata(Emptiness empty of itself or that there is no unconditioned reality,or even their idea that there is no arising or cessation as Nagarjuna said yet somehow impermanence),kshanabhangavada and pratityasamutpada.

Adi shankara also refutes kshanabhangavada and the jains in his brahma sutra bhasya.


here is a christian refutation of pratityasmutpada https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/58820065.pdf
 
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muskogee22

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the only hindu philosophy that somewhat makes sence is Dvaita or dualistic hinduism,where Brahman,matter and souls are eternally distinct.but any unconditioned reality must be absolutely unique and also immaterial so even dvaita is false.
 
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The Karmaic religions - Hinduism and Buddhism for example - explicitly reject the notion that the universe had a first cause to existence, that first cause being without beginning and without end (what we call "God"), but rather assumes that the universe itself is eternal in its being, without beginning and without end.

The thought goes like this.

Rather than

Infinite God, who just is, --> creates ---> time and space, the universe and its laws, matter, Earth, etc.

the Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains hold that

The Universe itself, just is, with infinite cycles of birth and death, creation and recreation.

and then

The Universe = God

or

The Universe --> creates --> God

I'm not too familiar with the Jainist conception of how God relates to this, but I know that the Hindus identify God with Existence, and the Buddhists place God subject to existence.

Hinduism:

The Universe, and all existence = God

For Hinduism, everything is God, and the distinctions within reality are just illusions.

This is made most clear in the dialogue of Krishna and Prince Arjuna, where Krishna reveals to the Prince the ultimate Cosmic Reality, that there is no distinction between Krishna and the rest of the gods, and all of reality.





Buddhism:

For Buddhism, God is subject to the infinite universe.

Universe --> creates God, subject to the cycles of death and rebirth.

This is made most clear in the story of the Buddha and Baka Brahma.

In this story, Baka Brahma is a deity who meets with the Buddha, who believes that he dwells in eternity, is omnipotent, and that he created all the heavens and the Earth. The Buddha explains that there are realms higher than Baka Brahma's comprehension, and that he too is subject to death and rebirth. To prove it, the Buddha ascends to higher realms of reality that Baka Brahma cannot comprehend, humiliating Baka Brahma and forcing the Baka Brahma to recant of his heresy.






So, two questions.

1. Aside from the fact that you more likely than not grew up in a Western culture that assumes the truth of the First Cause, that the Universe and its laws are subject to God Himself, who is without beginning and without end, is there any reason why the First Cause belief is superior to the Karmaic comprehensions of the Universe and God?

2. Between the Buddhist and Hindu conceptions of how God relates to the Universe, which one is superior / less offensive / closer to Christianity?
Thank you for posting. This is a very interesting topic.

I can't really comment on the second question as I lack knowledge of the nitty-gritty of both Hinduism and Buddhism.

As for the first question, theistic philosophers usually use the cosmological argument to prove the existence of God, the First Cause. The argument is fairly simple:

1) Everything that began to exist must have had a cause.
2) The universe began to exist.
3) Therefore, the universe had a cause.

This argument was first developed by medieval Muslim scholars. It has been recently reformulated and expanded by William Lane Craig.

Traditionally, atheists used to argue that the universe is most probably eternal, and, therefore, there's no need for a first cause. The idea that the universe is eternal comes from ancient Greece.

Some modern cosmologists disagree.

In 2003, according to Tufts Now, Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University, along with several colleagues, "proved a mathematical theorem showing that, under very general assumptions, the universe must, in fact, have had a beginning."

To me, the idea that universe is eternal (or just is) just doesn't make sense and ultimately leads to the loss of objective meaning and morality.

This does not mean whatsoever that atheists or followers of Karmaic religions can't be moral. Surely they can and many of them are. It just means that a first cause not only explains the existence of the universe but also of morality in its objective form.

Best,
Ζαχαρίας
 
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