The Buddha’s Perspectives On ‘God’

If there is an omnipotent, omnibenevolent,
omniscient and omnipresent ‘creator’ of all,
all of ‘his creation’ should be similar to ‘him’.
As this is not so, this ‘creator’ does not exist.


The Buddha argued, ‘If Brahma [‘creator God’, if he exists] is venerable, victorious, invincible and the father of them all from whom we are born; if that Brahma is permanent, constant, imperishable, unalterable and eternal, then why are we, whom Brahma has created, impermanent, alterable, unstable and ephemeral?’ No theist has any convincing reply to that. The Buddha made another argument. He said, ‘If God is omnipotent and the absolute cause of creation, a man should not have a will to do anything. Nor would he have any resolve to try anything. If it is so, why did God create us at all?’ There is no convincing reply to the Buddha’s argument. The Buddha put up also an ethical argument. He said, ‘If God is propitious and gracious, why do men become killers, thieves, adulterers, liars, backbiters, babblers, greedy, malicious and wicked? Is it possible in the presence of a good, kind and propitious God?’

The Buddha put up another irrefutable argument. He said, ‘If there is a great creator who is also just and kind, why are there so many instances of injustice?’ Lord Buddha said, ‘Could he, who has eyes, tolerate such an awful plight? Why does Brahma not ameliorate his creation? If he is almighty and cannot be stopped by anyone, why does he not use his hands to perform propitious deeds? Why is his creation suffering as it is? Why does falsehood prevail over truth? I consider your God unjust, who created this world only to shelter injustice.’ The Buddha said, ‘If an almighty God permeates all the creatures and makes them happy or unhappy, and makes them do right or wrong, then such a God is also tainted with sin; and either man is not under God’s command or God is not just and good, or God is blind.’…

The Buddha came out with an argument, which proved fatal for theism. It comes under his theory of Dependent Origination, which argues: ‘The prime question is not whether there is a God or not. The prime question is whether God created the world or not. The actual question is how the creator created the world. If we could correctly answer how the world was created, we could justify the doctrine of God’s existence to some extent… The important question is whether a God created something out of something or out of nothing. It is not possible to believe that something was created out of nothing.’ The Buddha also said, ‘If God created something out of something, then that something out of which something new was created has been in existence before he created anything. Therefore, God cannot be called the creator of that something which existed before him.’ The Buddha argued that ‘If something has been created by somebody out of something before God created anything, then he cannot be said to be the First Cause of creation.’ It was this last argument of the Buddha, which was absolutely fatal for the belief in God. It was an incontrovertible argument, and still is.

Why Am I An Atheist?
Dr. Dharmakirti


  • You don’t seem to invite dialog, as your comments seem more absolutist than reasoned. They are also also substantially misattributed, as I recognize very little of what you are quoting from the published Sutras or Dhammapada. Many are in fact arguments loosely derived from Hellenistic philosophy. Buddhist scholars waste little time on debating the existence of anything, let alone a god. The great contribution of the Buddha was teaching a path toward transcendance over distinctions of existance and non-existance.

    You also base your analysis on premises that are internally inconsistent. If God is in fact omnipotent, he is unconstrained in the nature and quality of his creation. His would be fully capable of creating beings that are imperfect and weak. Unless you yourself are omniscient, there is little argumentative value to your assertion that you can see no reason for his doing so. If it interests you to actually study them, you will find that Judeo Christian thinkers view the cosmos as having been created perfect, and having devolved into this flawed, unjust state as a result of the deception of Humankind, created with free will, and the capacity to love god or reject him.

    The argument of uncaused cause (again, a Greek one) has been well hashed in freshman philosophy courses. What many derive from Buddhism is a path toward freedom from the chain (indeed cycle) of causality, via understanding of its emptiness as a principle.

    Doctor, you may wish to read and meditate a bit more on actual Buddhist literature as well, as its discourse on causality is one of Buddhism’s great contributions to world philosophy.

    One question it has inspired in me relates less to the origin of the physical universe than to where we ourselves – highly complex intelligent human beings – came from? Life itself is an intricate and elaborate order: consider DNA, the varigeation of species, the human brain. Have you ever in the physical universe observed complexity and order arising spontaneously out of simplicity and chaos? Modern Physicists describe the oppostite process – universal entropy, or the natural devolution of order into chaos. Can systems in random simple states transition naturally into complex, ordered states?

    I invite dialog on this.

  • [1] The above reflect the Buddhist stance, of the Buddha. Please read the whole book to see the whole picture.

    [2] Buddhists don’t waste time arguing existence of God. They know there isn’t one.

    [3] If there is an omnipotent God who is omnibenevolent, he would not create or allow a single trace of suffering.

    [4] If there is an omniscient God, he would know there is no point creating doubt and sending anyone to eternal hell. But it’s okay for Buddhists, as he isn’t real.

    [5] If there is an perfect creator God, his creation would not be able to devolve a little bit since his creation would be perfect, including humans.

    [6] It is impossible for anyone to create anyone with free will as the created has no free will in the first place to decide whether to be created or not.

    [7] Do read up on ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ by Richard Dawkins, a leading evolutionist scientist who is also the author of ‘The God Delusion’, to learn the basics of how complex lifeforms are possible through billions of years of evolution. Buddhists add in the law of karma. For the universe itself, cyclical Big Bang and Big Crunch is how matter forms and collapses upon itself. The Buddha spoke of expansion and contraction of world systems too. Order arises given enough conditions and time. Think a shaken snow globe having its flakes settled neatly eventually. In the mean time, there is lots of chaos because not of being short-sighted in terms of time span. Entropy is just part of the cycle of renewal in the long run. Order and chaos is cyclical. Think a messed up room cleaned again, and messed up again…

    Do read this other whole book on interesting views on the G idea: tinyurl.com/beyondbelief1

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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