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Recently I encounter a situation where one of my close people and I went see a patient. While we were about to leave the place, my close person said May God Bless you. Me and my close person are both Buddhist. I asked why didn't you say May the triple gem bless you. And close person replied saying since they Christians I said God bless you. But I also observed that the patients people said May God bless you.

Does saying May God bless you comes under a wrong view or wrong speech or etc or is it okay to tell? I'm just curious to know since my close person is also a Buddhist"

  • It wouldn't be wrong but if you'll say someone "May triple gem bless you." Does patient know what is tripple gem or any other person who isn't Buddhist. If you wouldn't use god then you can use "May you'll be fine soon" and something like this. May this will help you. – Swapnil Mar 11 '17 at 15:05
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Just think of the flip side of it @Akila… If the patient is a devout Buddhist.. still almost all will say "may god bless you" at the time of leaving. Will they ever say "Namo Buddhaya" when arriving, or at the time of leaving? I doubt it. It is because very few know that we Buddhists say 'Namo Buddhaya' whenever we meet or depart. At the time when the Supreme Buddha was alive, it was the practice observed by His disciples to place both hands together in a gesture of worship and greet each other by saying ‘Namo Buddhaya’, whenever they met. Today, whenever Hindus meet one-another, they too bring their hands together and say ‘Namo Narayana’ or ‘Oh Namah Shivaya’. Some say ‘Namo Sairam’ when they enter the ashram of Sai Baba.

But in a way it is OK to say “may god bless you" as the point of the Buddhist teachings isn't to reinforce the identity of "I am a Buddhist and this is what I believe." It's to cultivate compassion and loving kindness and purify anger and aversion from your life. Then your focus would be on "How can I compassionately reply to these people in a way that feels authentic to me?" You need to be able to connect with the human being in front of you, and look past beliefs and value systems and connect with their humanity.

So focus less on yourself and focus more on the other. What words can you say to bring this being happiness and reduce his/her suffering? Intention is the most important factor and can often supersede other factors. If you feel that by replying "God bless you," (which is personally my own response), this person might experience a sense of comfort, ease, and happiness that would not be experienced otherwise, then there is nothing wrong in saying it.

  • Thank you for the response. I think I got a good conclusion :) Maybe I shouldn't intervene with what other people do. Better to focus on what I do and what I say. – Akila Hettiarachchi Mar 12 '17 at 13:39
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If the patient is a devout Christian and saying "may god bless you" helps him to recover, by all means say "may god bless you".

If the patient is a BUDDHIST, saying "Namo Amitabha" and remembering the three refuge can be helpful..

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Not as so far as some one saying "May the minister help you", "May X help you find a job", etc. This might not make it a wrong view.

If you hold on to the view that God, controls everything, can give you salvation, is almighty, etc., then perhaps yes, it might be wrong views. But there are Deities who can help you perhaps like any other person. Getting the blessing of say someone who can help you out is not wrong. Think of deities like entities who are well wishers due to past connection of they need to do good karma to keep their blissful existence.

  • Okay I understand that. But what if you are saying it for the sake of the other person's believes? Just to blend in? – Akila Hettiarachchi Mar 11 '17 at 14:09
  • By just saying this do you renounce all your existing views and solely subscribe to belief system which might fall into being wrong. Merely saying it does not change your belief system? If it does not. What is wrong in blending in? Are you trying to deceive any one as to you are believer in God? In which case why not? – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Mar 11 '17 at 14:14
  • So if the other person is decieved as to the other one is a believer in God and if that person believed that the other person believes in God, does it comes under wrong speech especially "Idle speech(His wachana)"? – Akila Hettiarachchi Mar 11 '17 at 14:19
  • This is a grey area. Question is of all what you have said in a day will this be the only Idle Speech? If so maybe avoid. Also look at the motivation. If it blending in perhaps which might not be idle chatter after all. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Mar 11 '17 at 14:26
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In my opinion, saying "May God bless you" is a very Buddhist thing to do.

According to the Buddha in Mettanisamsa Sutta, there are 11 benefits that would be experienced by one who practises loving kindness or metta, as follows:

"1. He sleeps in comfort. 2. He awakes in comfort. 3. He sees no evil dreams. 4. He is dear to human beings. 5. He is dear to non-human beings. 6. Devas (gods) protect him. 7. Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch him. 8. His mind can concentrate quickly. 9. His countenance is serene. 10. He dies without being confused in mind. 11. If he fails to attain arahantship (the highest sanctity) here and now, he will be reborn in the brahma-world."

Note that No. 6 states that the devas (which could be translated as gods) would protect one who practises metta.

Hence, saying "May God bless you" is indeed Buddhist, because it is supported by the words of the Buddha.

Of course, the Buddhist should keep to himself the view that the God(s) are not permanent (anicca). If one has the view that God is permanent and eternal, then that would be a wrong view, from a Buddhist perspective.

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