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Thread: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

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    Question What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    As a former Buddhist who is now learning about Hinduism as a wish to convert, I have seen several pictures of Buddha statues in the thread where people post pictures of their shrines. Now I'm curious what role the Buddha plays to Hindus? Is it simply Shakyamuni Buddha or do other Buddhas such as the Medicine Buddha and others play different roles. I look forward to learning (and maybe not having to get rid of my statue)!!!

    Namaste,

    OmAspie

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Namaste OmAspie,

    I used to be Theravada Buddhist too. In hinduism, we believe the Lord Buddha is one of avatar of Lord Vishnu. So that you can see some shrines have Lord Buddha state there. My house has both Hindu and Buddhist shrine (My family members are Buddhist). When I do the Aarti, I also aarti to Lord Buddha as the avatar of Lord Vishnu also. Even in some Hindu temple in my country has Lord Buddha status available and they puja him too

    If you are going to convert to Hinduism already. This is not necessary to rid your statue. Just puja him as Lord Vishnu.

    Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Great Men who have had great positive transformational capability of the society from one state to another are supposed to be avatars.

    Buddha is one among them definitely.

    Other part is that Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are out of Hinduism. They have 70-90% commonalities in their thought processes. Over the centuries and due to propagation in different cultures, they have added some more variations to their original ideas.

    However the basic principles remain almost the same.

    One part to add :

    Hinduism is a culmination of the realisations and thoughts of great Saints of yore and there is no one author to it. It is a research and revalidation carried out by great people and that the basic principle remained the same proves its robustness.

    Buddha, Jain, Guru Nanak are singular entities, trying to rediscover same truth. They defined the same TRUTH in their own perceived way. Just like in Hinduism, there are different thought lines out of different perceptions, these three also add to those. So we take all of them as different ways to see the TRUTH and arrive at the same point.

    However I believe, studying the scriptures with self analysis under tutulage of a Guru will help see the commonalities better.
    Love and best wishes:hug:

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Vannakkam: Depends on who you talk to. I have no idea really, but not everyone feels Buddha is an avatar because not everyone believes in avatars. Vaishnavites, yes. But Vishnavism isn't all of Hinduism.

    For me personally, other than my acknowledgment that Buddha was a great teacher whose teachings are closer to Hinduism than other religious founders, he has no role whatsoever. There is no Buddha on my shrine, although we do have a couple of smiling Buddha sitting statues in the house somewhere.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Buddha himself strongly believed he was teaching something new and buddhism represents a paradigm shift in understanding the locus of reality. No form of Hinduism is anyway close to Buddhism and vice a versa. The avatar of vishnu thing is a meaningless cultural appropriation and has nothing to do with the religion and teachings.

    Paying homage to a personality or icon of a teacher is a personal choice, and it does not need Buddhism to be compatible with Hinduism and vice-a-versa. Since Buddhist religion is strict and sectarian it prohibits from buddhist taking refuge in other Gods - no such problem with Hinduism.
    Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 per cent Of everything you think, And of everything you do, Is for yourself —And there isn't one

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilightdance View Post
    B. Since Buddhist religion is strict and sectarian it prohibits from buddhist taking refuge in other Gods - no such problem with Hinduism.
    But taking refuge with Buddha and his teaching does not prohibit the buddhist from worship of deities, it just means that ultimate freedom from rebirth cannot be obtainend from the devas since they are subject to rebirth as well.
    So it is not objectionable for a buddhist to worship other deities to procure worldly attainments as long as he does not expect them to be able to confer ultimate enlightment, and in fact that is a common practice in many varities of buddhism.
    In the case a deva has acquired Buddhahood or ultimate enlightment of course he can in that case also be an object of refuge for a budhhist.
    Sometimes devas are considered Emanations of enlightened beings, according to Mahayana teachings for instance Shiva is an emanation of Buddha Lokeshvara. Actually Buddhism has assimilated traditions of worship of early vedic deities like Indra and Brahma that have not become as prominent or even are not at all assimilated into later medieval Hinduism like in the case of Indra. Also non vedic, agamic deites deities like Mahesvara are sometimes considered objects of refuge in Mahayana since in some cases they are enlightened beings or Emanations of Buddhas.

    ``Again the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Akshayamati said to the Lord: How, O Lord, is it that the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokitesvara frequents this Saha-world? And how does he preach the Dharma? And which is the range of the skilfulness of the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokitesvara?
    So asked, the Lord replied to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Akshayamati: There are worlds, young man of good family, where the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokitesvara preaches the Dharma to creatures in the form of a Buddha ... To some he preaches the Dharma in the form of a Pratyekabuddha. To some he preaches the Dharma in the shape of a Brahma ...to those who are to be converted by Mahesvara, he preaches assuming the form of Mahesvara. `
    Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra

    Of course when these Devas have become enlightened Buddhas, or are emanations of Buddhas, they will teach according to the principles of Buddhism not Vedanta.
    Last edited by MahaHrada; 27 February 2013 at 08:08 AM.

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    The whole 24th chapter of the Lotus sutra, with lots of references to different forms of Lokeshvara:
    http://reluctant-messenger.com/lotus_sutra_24.htm
    Matsyendranath the Guru of Gorakhnath and therefore Adi Guru of Natha sampradaya who is also the current Yuga Guru (for the Kali Yuga) of the entire Kaula Parampara is worshipped by the Vajrayana buddhists in Nepal as an Emanation of Lokeshvara or Karunamaya during the famous Rato Matsyendranath Yatra which is a very impressive function, also the Hindu Nath Siddhas of Nepal are doing what is called a chakra puja at the beginning of the festival.
    It is also a general opinion not restricted to Buddhism, that the devas due to their limited capacities, cannot grant ultimate liberation, only the Guru can do that, in Hindu as well as in the buddhist Siddha traditions.


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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Quote Originally Posted by OmAspie View Post
    As a former Buddhist who is now learning about Hinduism as a wish to convert, I have seen several pictures of Buddha statues in the thread where people post pictures of their shrines. Now I'm curious what role the Buddha plays to Hindus? Is it simply Shakyamuni Buddha or do other Buddhas such as the Medicine Buddha and others play different roles. I look forward to learning (and maybe not having to get rid of my statue)!!!

    Namaste,

    OmAspie
    Buddha is probably the very first psychiatrist known to humankind. Buddha himself did not come up with anything ground breaking. He was, at heart, an agnostic. Later Buddhists, however, in their zeal to forge an identity for themselves separate from Hinduism, ended up adding layers over layers of nihilistic stuff onto his message which in essence is a particular type of psychology.

    In terms of philosophy, there is no common meeting ground between Hindu darshanas and Buddhist schools of thought. These schools of thought developed after the death of the historical Buddha. Buddha himself, if he were alive today, would probably distance himself from "Buddhist" schools of thought!

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Quote Originally Posted by MahaHrada View Post
    But taking refuge with Buddha and his teaching does not prohibit the buddhist from worship of deities, it just means that ultimate freedom from rebirth cannot be obtainend from the devas since they are subject to rebirth as well.
    So it is not objectionable for a buddhist to worship other deities to procure worldly attainments as long as he does not expect them to be able to confer ultimate enlightment, and in fact that is a common practice in many varities of buddhism.
    In the case a deva has acquired Buddhahood or ultimate enlightment of course he can in that case also be an object of refuge for a budhhist.
    Sometimes devas are considered Emanations of enlightened beings, according to Mahayana teachings for instance Shiva is an emanation of Buddha Lokeshvara. Actually Buddhism has assimilated traditions of worship of early vedic deities like Indra and Brahma that have not become as prominent or even are not at all assimilated into later medieval Hinduism like in the case of Indra. Also non vedic, agamic deites deities like Mahesvara are sometimes considered objects of refuge in Mahayana since in some cases they are enlightened beings or Emanations of Buddhas.

    ``Again the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Akshayamati said to the Lord: How, O Lord, is it that the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokitesvara frequents this Saha-world? And how does he preach the Dharma? And which is the range of the skilfulness of the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokitesvara?
    So asked, the Lord replied to the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Akshayamati: There are worlds, young man of good family, where the Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Avalokitesvara preaches the Dharma to creatures in the form of a Buddha ... To some he preaches the Dharma in the form of a Pratyekabuddha. To some he preaches the Dharma in the shape of a Brahma ...to those who are to be converted by Mahesvara, he preaches assuming the form of Mahesvara. `
    Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra

    Of course when these Devas have become enlightened Buddhas, or are emanations of Buddhas, they will teach according to the principles of Buddhism not Vedanta.
    Thanks. I meant refuge which is for enlightenment of self and others and not general veneration or worship.
    Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 per cent Of everything you think, And of everything you do, Is for yourself —And there isn't one

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    Re: What Role Does Buddha Play in Hinduism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilightdance View Post
    Thanks. I meant refuge which is for enlightenment of self and others and not general veneration or worship.
    There are also a lot of traditions in hinduism that implicitly do not seek to achieve enlightment or freedom from rebirth by worship of deities, but by tapas or meditation i.e samadhi, renunciation of action, etc. Buddhist only make the refuge in an enlightened teacher, his teaching and community, explicit steps and part of sadhana.

    Even in early vedic Sannyasin traditions in some sects of renunciates the aspirant had to even give up, or at least internalise, all sacrifical acts directed to deities, when he aspired to obtain moksha. So i don´t think this is specific to Buddhism, even in kashmir shaivaism, with its strictly theistic, almost monotheistic approach, the sort of religious activities that lead to rebirth in deva loka and the subsequent acquiring of a bhogadeha, instead of a human body, a karmadeha, are criticised since they cannot lead to liberation. So also here ultimate refuge in worldly deities is not recommend and may lead to inferior results.

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