Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
Atheism is associated with a
materialistic doctrine that knows nothing higher than this world.
Buddha has condemned godlessness by which He meant the denial of worship
and renunciation, the denial of moral and social obligations, and the
denial of a religious life. He recognized most emphatically the existence
of moral and spiritual values. He acclaimed the supremacy of the moral
law. Only in one sense can Buddhism be described as atheistic, namely, in
so far as it denies the existence of an eternal omnipotent God or God-head
who is the creator and ordainer of the world. The word 'atheism', however,
frequently carries a number of disparaging overtones or implications which
are in no way applicable to the Buddha's Teaching. Those who use the word
'atheism', often associate it with a materialistic doctrine that knows
nothing higher than this world of the senses and the slight happiness it
can bestow. Buddhism advocate nothing of that sort.
There is no justification
for branding Buddhists as atheists, nihilists, pagans, heathens or
communists just because they do not believe in a Creator God. The Buddhist
concept of God is different from that of other religions. Differences in
belief do not justify name-calling and slanderous words.
with other religions that true and lasting happiness cannot be found in
this material world. The Buddha adds that true and lasting happiness
cannot be found on the higher or supramundane plane of existence to which
the name of heavenly or divine world is given. While the spiritual values
advocated by Buddhism are orientated to a state transcending the world
with the attainment of Nibbana, they do not make a separation between the
'beyond' and the 'here and now'. They have firm roots in the world itself,
for they aim at the highest realization in this present existence.
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