Creator in Buddhism

Buddhist thought consistently rejects the notion of a creator deity[1][2] and posits that mundane deities such as Mahabrahma are misconstrued to be a creator.[3]

Mahabrahma as a false Creator

After the planes below the Ābhāsvara plane come to an end, a deity from the Ābhāsvara plane dies, and is reborn in the next lower level as a Mahabrahma.[3] More Ābhāsvara deities die and are reborn as Mahabrahma's ministers.[3] The retinue erroneously believes Mahabrahma created them.[3] When one of these ministers die, he is reborn as a human, remembers his previous life and mistakenly teaches a creator deity.[3]

Medieval Indian philosophers

The 5th-century Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu argued that a creator's singular identity is incompatible with creating the world.[4]

The 7th-century Buddhist scholar Dharmakīrti advances a number of arguments against the existence of a creator god in his Pramāṇavārtika, following in the footsteps of Vasubandhu.[5] Later Mahayana scholars such as Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla continued this tradition.[6]

The 11th-century Buddhist philosopher Ratnakīrti challenged the arguments for the existence of God, developed by the Navya-Nyaya school of Hinduism, in his “Refutation of Arguments Establishing Īśvara” (Īśvara-sādhana-dūṣaṇa).[7]

See also


  1. Taliaferro 2013, p. 35.
  2. Blackburn, Anne M.; Samuels, Jeffrey (2003). "II. Denial of God in Buddhism and the Reasons Behind It". Approaching the Dhamma: Buddhist Texts and Practices in South and Southeast Asia. Pariyatti. pp. 128–146. ISBN 978-1-928706-19-9.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Harvey 2013, p. 36-8.
  4. Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition", Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.) pg 11-15.
  5. Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.) pg 12
  6. Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition," Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.) pg 14
  7. Parimal G. Patil. Against a Hindu God: Buddhist Philosophy of Religion in India. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. xi + 406 pp. $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-231-14222-9.


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