The Buddha a Deist?

I’ve always loved this quote from the Buddha.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.       ~ Buddha

It is similar to a quote by one of the Deist Saints (ok, so Deists don’t have a hierarchy of saints but if we did this guy would be on the list)

It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.    ~Thomas Paine

So how ’bout that!  Who knew. Ok so perhaps my title should be the other way around… Deist saint really a Buddhist.
Either way, my Buddhist and Deist tendencies reinforced.


8 responses to “The Buddha a Deist?

  1. Love the quotes. Two of my favorite “saints” are Thich Nhat Hanh from the Zen tradition and Thomas Merton from Catholicism. Merton is deceased now but his writings live on to inspire. Here’s a quote from him I think might harmonize with the two you’ve posted:

    “…the perfection of each created thing is not merely in its conformity to an abstract type but in its own individual identity with itself. This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do.”

    What do you think?

  2. I love these quotes. I think Deists can learn a great deal from Buddhism. I don’t really buy into the reincarnation aspect, but the meditation designed to enhance concentration and the focus on ourselves as the cause of our suffering resonate with me.

  3. LOVE IT! Awesome quote. Kinda reminds me of a scene from a documentary Emmie and I saw a little while back. It’s called “America the Beautiful”.
    There’s a scene where Eve Ensler who wrote the Vagina Monologues talks about a conversation she had with a Masai woman during a trip to Africa. It went like this after Eve asked Leah whether she likes her own body:

    Leah: Do I like my body? Do I like my body? My body. My body. I love my body. God made this body. God gave me this body. My body. Oh goodness, I love my body.
    My fingers, look at my fingers. I love my fingernails, little crescent moons.
    My hands, my hands, the way they flutter in the air and fall, they lead right up to my arms- so strong-they carry things along- I love my arms – and my legs, my legs are long. Masai people, we are tall, I get there fast. My legs can wrap around a man and hold him there. My breasts … My breasts, well look at them, they’re mine, my breasts still round and full and fine.
    Eve: Leah, wait, I don’t know how to do this. I want to feel like you. I want to love my body and stop hating my stomach.
    Leah: What’s wrong with it?
    Eve: It’s round. It used to be flat.
    Leah: It’s your stomach. It’s meant to be seen. Eve, look at that tree? Do you see that tree? Now look at that tree. (points to another tree) Do you like that tree? Do you hate that tree ’cause it doesn’t look like that tree?
    Do you say the tree isn’t pretty ’cause it doesn’t look like that tree? We’re all trees. You’re a tree. I’m a tree. You’ve got to love your body, Eve. You’ve got to love your tree. Love your tree.

    It kinda speaks to the idea of “the perfection of each created thing” in your Merton quote above.

  4. Hi Dave… thanks for stopping by. I was just having a discussion with my dad (who is a staunch 7th Day Adventist) after he asked about my belief in past lives and he was poking fun at my belief in reincarnation and that he needed proof. (not saying that you are poking fun… just that i happened to be discussing the subject)

    Anyway, I was telling him that no religious belief or philosophy can be proven absolutely to be true. It goes on faith. Religion is a man made construct in an attempt to give meaning as to why we are here, what happens when we die, how should we interact with each other and other “big” questions. So really it’s all just speculation.

    Well, because Deism doesn’t have a personal eschatology, the idea of reincarnation resonates and works for me. It could be argued it goes against reason. Now that I think about it, I suppose it does but that is where the faith part comes in. There are some hypnotherapists who have documented deep regressions that suggest the validity of reincarnation but that is probably as close to scientific as humanity will get on the subject. And I’m not sure how much credence hypnotherapy gets in the scientific world. : )

    • It would be foolish for me to discount the possibility of reincarnation. I have not studied it much. I am not entirely sure I would want to come back, depending on the day. 😉

      • Hey Dave! thanks for stopping by again. I’ve been snooping around the Unified Deism site a little bit.
        Very cool!

        by the way… I find it very funny that y’all are using a WP theme called “Genesis” LOL!!! 😀

  5. Looks like I have another movie to watch. It totally fits with the Merton quote.

    Regarding reincarnation (if you don’t mind my butting in for a sec): I have this theory–and it is just a theory–that when you look at nature, everything gets recycled. Simply put, it starts out as dust, turns into something sentient and then turns back into dust. Everything gets used and reused, for lack of a better way of putting it. So, reincarnation, the recycling of the soul, fits in with the flow of nature.

    That said, my particular feelings one way or the other are, I don’t really care what happens to my soul when the body is finished. My goal at this particular juncture is to burst out the seams of my physical existence with my unique divine spark, leaving the planet as close to heaven on earth as I can.

    Love talking about this stuff. Thanks for providing such a forum.

    – Sherry

  6. Hey Julian…I never really thought about the Genesis theme…that is a great catch!

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