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Sorry, I'm a beginner to Buddhism but at least from whatever I have heard buddhism seems atheistic. But I've also heard claims like the Buddha is higher than the 'devas' and all that. Does buddhism believe in god? are there any suttas which can prove otherwise?

marked as duplicate by Sankha Kulathantille, Lanka Aug 6 '17 at 11:08

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Buddhism teaches about higher consciousness such as Deva or gods. However, Buddhism does not teache a one creator God or one and only god overpowering you.Gods can help you like any other human can help you but not with eliminate your suffering, unfortunately.

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Scattered throughout the suttas are references to as many as thirty-one distinct "planes" or "realms" of existence into which beings can be reborn during their long wandering through samsara. These range from the extraordinarily grim and painful hell realms all the way up to the most exquisitely refined and blissful heaven realms. Existence in every realm is temporary; in Buddhist cosmology there is no eternal heaven or hell. Beings are born into a particular realm according to their past kamma. When they pass away, they take rebirth once again elsewhere according to the quality of their kamma: wholesome actions bring about a favorable rebirth, while unwholesome actions lead to an unfavorable one. And so the wearisome cycle continues.

The realms of existence are customarily divided into three distinct "worlds" (loka), listed here in descending order of refinement:

The Immaterial World (arupa-loka). Consists of four realms that are accessible to those who pass away while meditating in the formless jhanas. The Fine-Material World (rupa-loka). Consists of sixteen realms whose inhabitants (the devas) experience extremely refined degrees of mental pleasure. These realms are accessible to those who have attained at least some level of jhana and who have thereby managed to (temporarily) suppress hatred and ill-will. They are said to possess extremely refined bodies of pure light. The highest of these realms, the Pure Abodes, are accessible only to those who have attained to "non-returning," the third stage of Awakening. The Fine-Material World and the Immaterial World together constitute the "heavens" (sagga). The Sensuous World (kama-loka). Consists of eleven realms in which experience — both pleasurable and not — is dominated by the five senses. Seven of these realms are favorable destinations, and include our own human realm as well as several realms occupied by devas. The lowest realms are the four "bad" destinations, which include the animal and hell realms. The information on this page was assembled from a variety of sources. In the interests of economizing space I have not attributed each fact to its respective source.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html

  • in which suttas or whatever does buddha talk about devas – SciGuy Aug 6 '17 at 5:38
  • I edited my post to include answers to your question -) – SarathW Aug 6 '17 at 5:42
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There is faith in the Dhamma, the Buddha and the Sangha. Faith is based upon observational proof as described in MN27 and Kalama. 'devas', heavens, hells - are subject to the same Dhamma as people, just living under different conditions (longer time span, material/immaterial). They are scattered around the Pali canon, but MN1 gives a nice list, and sums up Buddhist opinion on them.

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I have heard buddhism seems atheistic.

Correct. AN 3.61 states happiness & suffering are not caused by a creator god, such as Ishvara, Yahweh or Allah.

But I've also heard claims like the Buddha is higher than the 'devas' and all that.

The gods are the kings, queens, politicians, billionaires, etc, or very special spiritual people who have extraordinary love or psychic powers. In short, the 'gods' are merely people.

For example, the story in SN 11.5 about the deva (benevolent) & violent (asura) gods debating how to rule people is obviously powerful people debating political methods (such as democracy vs communism).

This is found in Judaism (a punishing violent god) & Christianity (a forgiving loving god).

Does buddhism believe in god?

In the ordinary sense, no, Buddhism does not believe in god.

are there any suttas which can prove otherwise?

AN 3.61 says happiness & suffering are not due to a creator god such as Ishvara, Yahweh or Allah.

SN 12.44 and AN 4.45 (at the very end) say the world is created by ignorance & the mind.

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