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The Four Noble Truths and Eight Noble Paths are the main principles of the Buddha and every person can be a Buddha if he/she follows these principles.

As far as I've heard the Buddha didn't believe in the existence of God, in the immortality of the soul, and the soul itself.

  • Was the reason why the Buddha didn't speak about God and the soul, because he couldn't provide the proof for it?

  • He wanted to be more practical than theoretical (so that the practicality ultimately leads one to believe in God and soul)?

  • He wanted to attract the atheists to Buddhism? Please what is the truth behind it?

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    Your third paragraph is entirely speculation. You're speculating that there was an ulterior motive to what the Buddha taught instead of what is apparent from the Buddhist texts. We can't give you any non-speculative answer because you're doubting the only source we have for what the Buddha taught. – Hugh Nov 23 '16 at 18:34
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    I'm not sure I'd vote to close this. Asking why the Buddha did not teach of a soul is eminently answerable. He also had quite a bit to say about gods albeit not in a Judeo Christian sense and only rarely in a Vedic creationist sense. The third paragraph needs to go, though. – user698 Nov 24 '16 at 0:28
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    Promoting Hinduism appears to be the intention behind this question. – Sankha Kulathantille Nov 24 '16 at 8:32
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    I don't think closing the question is necessary. At root the question is straightforward: Why did the Buddha reject the notions of God and self? The statement in para. 2 that "I think he believed in God in the existence of soul" and the first, third, and fourth sentences in para. 3 should be removed. Also the first sentence in para. 1 is unnecessary. – user4970 Nov 24 '16 at 14:17
  • No body knows 'exactly' what Buddha said or believed. – john Nov 25 '16 at 7:56
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The Buddha did speak about God or Brahma. He said that God is the chief of the realm of the Brahmas, the lowest realm of the Form world, but that he is deluded and others are deluded by virtue of being the first to be reborn in a new universe, thus being deceived and others being deceived that he was the creator of the universe.

One can regard this as a mythological expression of the truth, also stated in the suttas, that God as a First Cause is an unnecessary speculation because the question then becomes, "Who created God," thus positing an infinite regression and begging the question of the origin of things. The Buddha taught that there was no singular origin point, that the phenomenal world of samsara is eternally self-perpetuating, with no beginning, since to posit an absolute beginning is to posit an uncaused cause, which violates the law of karma and the identity of cause and effect. (This appears to be the direction that modern physics is heading too, with the infinite complexity of interconnected black and white holes, multiverses, etc.)

As for the soul, the Buddha taught that the Upanishadic notion of a 'little man in the heart' (atta; see PED) is undemonstrable and that no self is found anywhere, since a self must be permanent and everything observable is impermanent and dependent on conditions. Both God and the self are also objects of attachment and thus suffering, and thus merely another form of error. Ultimately the Buddha rejected both theism and the soul theory because they are delusions and objects of attachment. We see this being played out today in the internecine strife of theists around the world.

I think this interlocutor may be confused by the occurrence of the word "brahma" in the Pali Canon, where it does not mean "God" but rather "ultimate" or "divine" (e.g., the title of the first sutta of the Digha Nikaya, the Four Divine Abidings, etc.).

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I'm Influenced by the teaching of Buddha. The Four Noble Truths and Eight Noble Paths are the main principles of Buddha, and every person can be a Buddha if he/she follows these principles.

There is no real 'person' in Buddhism (please refer to SN 5.10) apart from 'view' (refer to SN 5.10) and conventional speech (refer to SN 1.25). In Buddhism, the idea or view of a 'person', 'being' or 'self' is dependently originated from ignorance, craving & becoming (refer to SN 22.81; MN 44, etc).

In Buddhism, what becomes a Buddha is the mind (citta). The Buddha is not really a 'person' (refer to SN 22.85, for example).

As far as I've heard Buddha, didn't believe in the existence of God, in the immortality of the soul, and the soul itself;

Correct. These matters are discussed in suttas such as DN 1 & AN 3.61.

Dhp279 & SN 20.7 state all things whatsoever are not self & the whole universe is void of self.

..but I think he believed in God and in the existence of soul. Since he wanted to make Buddhism a unique and separate religion from other religions in that time, he made the principle of Buddhism more practical or scientific than other religions.

This is just a personal opinion about something completely unknowable. The Buddha Gotama may have never existed. All that can be known is what is written in the scriptures. It is the scriptures rather than an imaginary person that lived 2,600 years ago that is Buddhism.

The Pali scriptures say the Buddha was only concerned about one primary matter, which was/is the complete cessation/freedom from suffering (dukkha) or the unshakeable freedom of mind (refer to MN 22, MN 29, MN 30, etc).

Was the reason why the Buddha didn't speak about God and the soul, because he couldn't provide the proof for it?

Yes. AN 3.61 gives reasoning for refuting the idea of an existence of a creator god.

The Buddhist scriptures speak extensively of the 'world of gods' or 'deities' (deva loka) but these gods seem to be just people with worldly power (e.g. kings & queens); great wealth & luxury; or great spiritual powers (such as great love, supernormal meditative attainments or psychic powers).

For example, it is said the Buddha had a psychic power called the 'Divine Eye' or 'Eye of God'.

Or, He wanted to be more practical than theoretical (so that the practicality ultimately leads one to believe in God and soul)?

No. There is no soul or creator God to be found. In Buddhism, all of the gods or deities have minds with ignorance & are destined for 'hell' (suffering) if they do not realise the Four Noble Truths (refer to AN 4.123; SN 56.102-113; etc).

Or He wanted to attract the atheists to Buddhism?

No. Buddhism is for people who wish to find freedom from suffering & perfect peace. The Buddha is called the 'teacher of gods & humans'. The scriptures report most of the Buddha's leading disciples were formerly Brahmans. If the history of religion is studied, both Indian & Western, it will be found great changes to religion occurred after the Buddha. For example, the Jewish Bible is divided into pre-exile & post-exile writings, in which many of the post-exile writings sound very similar to Buddhist ideas. The novel teachings of Jesus are closer to Buddhism than to pre-exile Judaism. For example, in the Tevijja Sutta, it is taught the way or path to Brahma (God) is to radiate perfect unconditional love in all directions (which is similar to what the Christians later taught).

In summary, SN 12.23 states the supporting condition for faith in Buddhism is the clear experience of suffering (and thus wanting to end suffering). The Buddha is the Spiritual Doctor; the Healer of Suffering.

Please what is the truth behind it?

As explained.

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I'm by no means an expert in this, but based off of what I've studied, I would say that there is grounds for there being a "soul", but I don't think that there is much for there being God or a god.

In regard to the soul, when I say that I do get the sense that the Buddha believed in a soul, I'm not referring to it in its colloquial sense. In many sutras (e.g. The Heart Sutra), the Buddha says that there is no soul in the sense that every individual doesn't have their own soul that would go somewhere after death or is separate from the body. However, he did believe in something of that sort.

For example, in The Lotus Sutra, in the "life span of the thus come one" chapter, the Buddha addresses the great assembly and says:

"Since I attained buddhahood the number of kalpas that have passed is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions, trillions, asamkhyas. Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting countless millions of living beings, causing them to enter the buddha way, all this for immeasurable kalpas. In order to save living beings, as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana but in truth I do not pass into extinction. I am always here, preaching the Law. I am always here, but through my transcendental powers I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement do not see me even when close by. When the multitude sees that I have passed into extinction, far and wide they offer alms to my relics. All harbor thoughts of yearning and in their minds thirst to gaze at me. When living beings have become truly faithful, honest and upright, gentle in intent, single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their lives, then I and the assembly of monks appear together on Holy Eagle Peak. At that time I tell the living beings that I am always here, never entering extinction, but that because of the power of expedient means at times I appear to be extinct, at other times not, and that if there are living beings in other lands who are reverent and sincere in their wish to believe, then among them too I will preach the unsurpassed Law. But you have not heard of this, so you suppose that I enter extinction. When I look at living beings I see them drowned in a sea of suffering; therefore I do not show myself, causing them to thirst for me. Then when their minds are filled with yearning, at last I appear and preach the Law for them. Such are my transcendental powers. For asamkhya kalpas constantly I have dwelled on Holy Eagle Peak and in various other places. When living beings witness the end of a kalpa and all is consumed in a great fire, this, my land, remains safe and tranquil, constantly filled with heavenly and human beings. The halls and pavilions in its gardens and groves are adorned with various kinds of gems. Jeweled trees abound in flowers and fruit where living beings enjoy themselves at ease. The gods strike heavenly drums, constantly making many kinds of music. Mandarava blossoms rain down, scattering over the Buddhaand the great assembly. My pure land is not destroyed, yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire, with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings filling it everywhere. These living beings with their various offenses, through causes arising from their evil actions, spend asamkhya kalpas without hearing the name of the three treasures. But those who practice meritorious ways, who are gentle, peaceful, honest, and upright, all of them will see me here in person, preaching the Law. At times for this multitude I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable, and to those who see the Buddha only after a long time I explain how difficult it is to meet a buddha. Such is the power of my wisdom that its sagacious beams shine without measure. This life span of countless kalpas I gained as the result of lengthy practice. You who are possessed of wisdom, entertain no doubts on this point! Cast them off, end them forever, for the Buddha’s words are true, not false. He is like a skilled physician who uses an expedient means to cure his deranged sons. Though in fact alive, he gives out word he is dead, yet no one can say he speaks falsely. I am the father of this world, saving those who suffer and are afflicted. Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people, though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction. For if they see me constantly, arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds. Abandoning restraint, they give themselves up to the five desires and fall into the evil paths of existence. Always I am aware of which living beings practice the way, and which do not, and in response to their need for salvation I preach various doctrines for them. At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a buddha?"

I know it's a bit of a lengthy excerpt, but I think it outlines you point quite well. The Buddha said that his life span is countless kalpas, but that through his transcendental powers, he appears dead. One however, can not say that he is living in the normal sense- you can't meet him in person or anything like that. Basically, he is saying that his "soul", is immortal. The term that is used to describe this in my experience is, "life force". Although his body has long been gone, his life force is never born and nor does it die. We all have this, "life force", and for that reason, one can say that he is "immortal".

This is really the closest thing I can think of that really describes what you're terming a "soul".


As for the existence of God or a god(s), I think that there is little evidence for this. Although there is mentioning of gods that "strike heavenly drums" in the excerpt above, that is a metaphor. When the Buddha describes his "pure land", he is referring to the Saha world, saying that, if one acts is gentle, peaceful, upright, etc., one will find that the Saha world is in fact, the pure land. Another reason that I don't think that there are any gods in Buddhism that the Buddha believed in is just by logic. Some of this is my own personal inference and from my studying of Absurdism and Existentialism, but there, to me, is no reason that there would be a god or God. That however, is personal opinion, so to back it up, here is an exerpt, also from The Lotus Sutra, in the "expedient means" chapter. Here, the Buddha is also addressing the great assembly and, among other things, is talking about the nature of reality:

"What the buddhas have achieved is the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Law. The true aspect of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.”

This would indicate that reality consists only of things occurring. This reality is then divided into 10 parts as listed above. Suppose there were no living things in the universe. If the sun were to explode and planets to collide, would it really make any difference? Because there is nothing to, in essence, care, it doesn't really matter if there is total destruction of planets or stars or anything. This is the reality we live in. However, we cannot say that no living things exist, for we see them every day. The difference is that, now, were planets to collide and stars explode, people would care- it would then affect living things. Really, when we say something is bad, evil, etc., really what is happening is that the events that occurred that cause our displeasure are just happening to be against what would allow us to live most easily. People say they don't understand how evil or other such things exist in the world. In reality, it exists in our mind. That's not to say that it's nor real, but that it has no existence in reality.

As such, I don't think that the Buddha was trying to manipulate people or cause them to slowly believe in something (at least not God). I think that many people want to believe in God , and so it makes sense for it to exist, but since the Buddha knew that no event has any intrinsic implications, there was really no need for a desire for a god or God. This is the main reason that I see no evidence for a god and nor does it seem like something that would exist.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions or things that I should clarify, feel free to comment.

  • Why I'm close votes in my question? It's merely my curiosity that why Buddha didn't believe in God and in soul, did he want to be different than other or let's say he wanted to lead one to enlightenment(Godness) without believing in God or soul ? – yubraj Nov 24 '16 at 2:22
  • @yubrajsharma I think it was downvoted because it included, "I think he believed in God and in the existence of soul", which is more or less contradicted by the Buddhist suttas. Anyway Lanka edited the question a bit, I think the question is less controversial now without having lost what it was asking. – ChrisW Nov 24 '16 at 16:13
  • Sorry for just now responding, I just saw your comment. I agree with ChrisW in that your question was worded in a slightly controversial way. It also has some personal opinion which goes against the community guidelines, but I think that now, as the question is, it is okay. – Morella Almånd Nov 24 '16 at 16:25
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It's a matter of translations and concepts here. Let's take the concept of God. In other religions god is an entity or a divine being that created all of existence. Buddhism rejects the idea. There is no divine being that created the existence. Or no-one has. That type of God concept is rejected. But there are gods in buddhism. They are beings just like humans.

Buddha understood that there are 3 types of realms.

  1. Realm of Desire(Kaama)

  2. Realm of Form(Rupa)

  3. Realm of Non-Form(Arupa)

In the Desire realm there are 11 planes(worlds in our conventions). 4 myseries, human plane and 6 Deva heavens.

In the Form realm there are 16 Brahma(much more superior to Devas) planes. In the Non-Form realm there are 4 Brahma planes.

So as you can see they are just beings in the universe. They are also have a life expanse. They also die. You can be born in any type realms too.

So basically the term God in Buddhism is basically referred to the "Devas" in the Deva realm, and beings from "Brahma" realm are referred to as "Brahma Devas" or "Brahmas" itself.

Everything changes in all the these realms. So nothing is actually Divine or everlasting up there. Divine is just a way to express a superior lifestyle relative to humans.

Now regarding the Soul let's take the concept.

According the definition of Soul by Oxford it says

The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

Buddhism accepts the soul as the mind as it is the immaterial part of a being but rejects the idea of immortal.

So it's basically your mind that we refer as the soul in our normal lives. The mind cannot live without the body. And vice versa. Then when the body dies, how can the mind exists? How can it be immortal? The mind also comes to and end. It your things you collect (Sanskara/Fabrications/Formations) in this life creates your conscious to your next life.

It is like Newton's third law.

Every action has a equal opposite reaction.

In other words Karma. The past tense of things you collect or in other words Sanskara/Fabrications/Formations, is Karma. They become karma. So basically your thoughts is the starting place of Fabrications. And they become Karma. Based on your karma, you will be born as per your karma itself. So if you are born as a Dog, you will have eye,ear,nose,tongue,body and mind(Soul) of a Dog. Therefore your soul is never immortal. Even your mind/Soul comes to an end. Everything changes.

As far as I've heard Buddha, didn't believe in the existence of God

It is not the fact of believing. Because the Buddha has access to direct knowledge. So he knew the there is no existence of an almight God and an Immortal soul.

Was the reason why the Buddha didn't speak about God and the soul, because he couldn't provide the proof for it? Or, He wanted to be more practical than theoretical (so that the practicality ultimately leads one to believe in God and soul)? Or He wanted to attract the atheists to Buddhism? Please what is the truth behind it?

Well, Since he has access to Direct Knowledge of all of existence, he understood there's is no need to show proof that an almighty god and an immortal soul exists. Rather than that he taught something anyone has never taught before. The four Noble truth. When you understand them, you will see for yourself that there is no possibility to an almighty god and an immortal soul to exist.

Read more on Paticca-Samuppada and the Three Marks of Existence. Read the DammaCakka Pavattana Sutta and Ananta-Lakkana Sutta. Check on the Five Aggregates. once you understand these things, meditate on them. Then you will be able to see the connection of all the above, and the answer to your question as a personal experience.

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There is no proof that God (Creator, the first living being who rule/manage the new comers and their fate/destiny) exists in scientifically, biologically, historically, philosophically and logically. Set aside Buddha, there is no one who can prove that God exists, never before and never will be.

Immortality never exists in any form (both physical and mental). There is no such thing (or state mind) that exists eternally or that exists along with something eternal. There is no such thing (or state of mind) that never perish or that exists along with something never perish. Also in science, biology, history, philosophy and logics no a single person can define something everlasting beyond time or eternity.

In any practical way/mean, no one can find the above two.

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I heard it said that when Buddha was asked about God and what is, he just laughed. I heard it said that he laughed because it is not something for words. Like the Buddha taught different things in different places(The all is illusion, that nothing is illusion and that there is illusion[coming from you] and reality from outside ~ Or maybe that's the other way around ;) and like there are saint from all walks of life, with all sorts of stature. God is not something to be described because God is not something. God is in nothingness.

There are no right or wrong answers.

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