As far as i know , there is no mention of god ( the word God in local parlance) in buddhist texts ,the term used is Devas (beings in the higher realm). In ancient hindu texts there is mention of devas and asuras .Devas representing good and asuras evil .The term asura is thought to be a corruption of the word Ahura of the ancient iranian Ahura mazda (possibly be a tribal conflict between hindus and zorastrian followers during ancient times).

Since the versions of buddhism practiced today are not the exact replicas of what was buddhism during buddha's times.

could this element be a corruption of the original meaning through influence of hinduism...? I have read somewhere about the heavy persecution of buddhists (to bring buddhists back to the hindu fold) by brahmins and hindu kings after the death of king Asoka.

Rebirth,reincarnation etc becomes more believable as metaphorical terms. So could the term may have had the meaning like good individuals or similiar in the past.?

  • Brahma is the Buddhist equivalent of God, and Buddhism is pretty clear in its stance on Brahma. Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 11:06
  • But Brahma is a a god in Hinduism ..
    – jathin
    Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 11:11
  • Yes, and Buddhism is pretty clear where it stands on Brahma. Commented Apr 17, 2015 at 11:15
  • buddhists argued against a first cause too. it's difficult to answer your question until you define "gods"
    – user2512
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 3:30

2 Answers 2


In buddhism there are 31 realms of existence and each realm is inhabited by beings: animal, petas, asuras, humans, devas, brahmas.

Now these are just inhabitants: beings with different appearances and abilities according to their kamma.

Now if we translate brahma as god then it is different form the Hindu brahma in that the buddhist brahma does not create the universe etc.. buddhist do not unite with brahma in the end. Buddhist brahma dies after a few hundred aeons etc...

These are some of the definitions of the buddhist brahma which is different from the Hindu brahma. See Buddhism and the Brahma concept


Since many many many suttas has mention of devas, and even the homage to Buddha himself called him as teachers of gods and men, it is unlikely that Buddhism got devas from Brahmanism (pre-Hinduism). What concept that was wrong in Brahmanism like the caste system, the Buddha was not afraid to dismantle that concept. Since the Buddha didn't dismantle this concept of devas (as well as rebirth), it is more likely that this is how the world really works and the sages of Vedic times got somethings right and other things wrong from their meditation experiences (like they believe in soul and ultimate Brahma).

Anyway, Rebirth has empirical evidence (google Ian Stevenson) and should not be a doubt at all, but an accepted fact of life. One just has to abandon the pervasive notion of nihilism from materialistic philosophy that says after death there is nothing. And the notion of eternalism from Abrhamic religions which says after death there is eternal heaven or hell.

Devas are possibly a few things:

  1. Aliens/ future development of humans until they become as powerful as devas (eg. Thor). If we can evolve to become that, there are certainly some aliens who are already as powerful out there already.
  2. Beings from higher dimensional realm (4D beings looking at 3D beings like us) or another universe with rules so awesome, the people there live long and have powers.
  3. Beings made of Dark Matter/ Dark Energy (which are more than 90% of the mass of the Universe) We call them Dark because we hardly know anything about them. Neutrinos (one of the Dark Matter candidate) in Physics are called ghost particles because billions and more of them are going through us every second and we don't feel them at all. They rarely interact with normal matter.
  4. Advanced form of intelligence. Eg. Artificial intelligence that has transcended the need for material base or limitations.
  5. Simulated universes hierarchy, with one nested under the other, and the devas are programmers.

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