(Last Updated on : 01/10/2010)
Concept of God in Buddhism is considered as one of the key distinctions between Buddhist philosophy and other theories. At times, Buddhism is also defined as spiritual philosophy and its sole aim was to complete lessening of stress known as nirvana
. Lord Buddha did not support the existence of God. That is why he did not present any view on creation further stating that the questions regarding the origin of world are valueless. According to some believers, the Concept of God or the notion of divinity is not incompatible with Buddhist philosophy but the belief in the Supreme Being is highly considered to create a hindrance in the achievement of nirvana (the uppermost goal of the practice of Buddhism). However, Lord Buddha did not deny the existence of God. As per the theologies of Buddhism, any person can elucidate himself by attempting the method of a code of conduct and of mental discipline.
In the prevailing religion of the period of Lord Buddha
, the dominant feature was the spirit of trade established between gods and men. The unrestrained license of a wild imagination deified all possible objects of the world, and as if these were not enough, added to them monsters, shapes and symbols of fancy. The Upanishads, no doubt, shattered the authority of these gods in the world of thought, but did not disturb their sway in the world of practice. So men believed that gods, the creators of the world and governors of the universe, can affect for good or ill the destiny of man. Buddha realised that the only way to remove the haunting fear of the gods, the threatened torments of the future and the corruption of the human spirit, inclined to buy the goodwill of the gods by flattery and praise, was to destroy the gods once and for all. According to the Buddhist philosophy, if at all God exists then he must be the sole cause of all that happens, good as well as evil, and man can have no freedom of his own. Buddhism
rather provided Dhamma or `impersonal law` in place of the concept of God.
Lord Buddha opposed the prevailing view regarding God and declared that virtue and happiness, vice and suffering are organically related. The uncertain nature of philosophical assumption which indulged in all sorts of fancies, and the practical conviction which made men throw the burden on gods rather than rely on their own efforts, led Lord Buddha to confine his teaching to this world. A strictly scientific attitude sees no god in the thunderbolt or angels in heaven. Religious delusion was dissolved by the natural interpretation of things. The hypothesis of a personal God seemed inconsistent with it. The law of karma in Buddhism reject all notions of favouritism, caprice and arbitrariness. The majesty of God pale before this principle of karma. Buddhist philosophy suggests that the suffering of the world is intelligible only on the hypothesis of karma. It explains all about the world of living beings, inhabitants of hell, animals, ghosts, men and gods. There is nothing superior to karma. The traditional arguments in support of the existence of God were disputed by the early Buddhists.
Many of the followers of Buddhism adopted the concept of local god and eventually the religion of so called `No-God` transformed into a religion of `Many-Gods`.