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I take 'pantheism' to be the belief that all our talk about God can resolve into "the world", while retaining the divine status of "God", perhaps because our words about God retain their structure.

What would Buddhists say about the idea that the world or universe is God?

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The people of the world can be categorized into two groups. The ones who believe in a single God, accept eternalism (sassata ditthi) after death. The other group are the ones who are in Communist countries, who do not believe in a single God, & accept nihilism. Nihilism (ucceda ditthi) is the direct opposite of eternalism. The Buddha, in many ways, has avoided these two extremes. The faith of the people who believe in a God is different those who have the confidence in the Triple Gem. Faith in the Buddhist perspective derives through proper understanding and realisation of truth and not through fear of the divine or a need to satisfy the emotions. Real faith appears in the mind when it reaches the unshakable state. Blind faith or religious beliefs have no place in the Buddha's Teaching. There is no such thing as ‘God’ in the Teachings of the Supreme Buddha.

  • hm, i think you are right, that pantheists would retain the idea of a self caused and substantive thing. thanks! – user3293056 Feb 17 '17 at 21:39
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I think that Buddhists don't assume that there's a "one God". So there's no need to explain the relationship between God and World.

Wikipedia's Pantheism in religion mentions many religions, but not Buddhism. Maybe the concept (of "pantheism") is meaningless when there's no concept of (no meaning attributed to the word) "God".

I suppose the nearest Buddhist analog might be the concept of Buddha-nature.

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What would Buddhists say about the idea that the world or universe is God?

That it is purely speculation, a belief, contained in the 4th aggregate of mental formations.

This is clearly visible through the practice of insight meditation.

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Now I remember, that the Kyoto school of Buddhists / comparative philosophers claim that Buddhism is not "pantheism" but closer to "panentheism": especially the term "transcendental immanence".

See e.g. The Nothingness Beyond God, which is a commentary on Nishida's philosophy.

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