Vishwa Yoga | Buddha explanation on existence of God

Vishwa Yoga

Authentic Tantric Perspective - Ancient teachings for the modern life

Buddha explanation on existence of God

Once it happened: Buddha entered a village. A man asked him as he was entering the village, "Does God exist?" He said, "No, absolutely no."

In the afternoon another man came and he asked, "Does God exist?" And he said, "Yes, absolutely yes."

In the evening a third man came and he asked, "Does God exist?" Buddha closed his eyes and remained utterly silent. The man also closed his eyes. Something transpired in that silence. After a few minutes the man touched Buddha's feet, bowed down, paid his respects and said, "You are the first man who has answered my question."

Now, Buddha's attendant, Ananda, was very much puzzled: "In the morning he said no, in the afternoon he said yes, in the evening he did not answer at all. What is the matter? What is really the truth?"

So when Buddha was going to sleep, Ananda said, "First you answer me; otherwise I will not be able to sleep. You have to be a little more compassionate towards me too. I have been with you the whole day. Those three people don't know about the other answers, but I have heard all the three answers. What about me? I am troubled."

Buddha said, "I was not talking to you at all! You had not asked, I had not answered YOU. The first man who came was a theist, the second man who came was an atheist, the third man who came was an agnostic. My answer had nothing to do with God, my answer had something to do with the questioner. I was answering the questioner; it was absolutely unconcerned with God.

"The person who believes in God, I will say no to him because I want him to drop his idea of God, I want him to be free of his idea of God -- which is borrowed. He has not experienced. If he had experienced he would not have asked me; there would have been no need.
"The person who believed in God, he was trying to find confirmation for his belief from me. I was not going to say yes to him -- I am not going to confirm anybody's belief. I had to say no, I had to deny, just to destroy his belief, because all beliefs are barriers to knowing the truth.” Theist or atheist, all beliefs, Hindu or Christian or Mohammedan, all beliefs are barriers.

Buddha  further said "And the person with whom I remained silent was the right inquirer. He had no belief, hence there was no question of destroying anything. I kept silent. That was my message to him: Be silent and know. Don't ask, there is no need to ask. It is not a question which can be answered. It is not an inquiry but a quest, a thirst. Be silent and know.

I had answered him also; through my silence I gave him the message and he immediately followed it -- he also became silent. I closed my eyes, he closed his eyes; I looked in, he looked in, and then something transpired. That's why he was so much overwhelmed, he felt so much gratitude, for the simple reason that I did not give him any intellectual answer. He had not come for any intellectual answer; intellectual answers are available very cheap. He needed something existential -- he needed a taste. I gave him a taste."

Source: I read this on a website, this story was told by Osho.

Comments (7) -

  • shubha

    3/2/2010 12:30:44 PM | Reply

    Went over my head !!!

  • Adina

    3/5/2010 2:50:41 PM | Reply

    This is a beautiful story.

  • SteveL

    5/6/2010 1:06:55 AM | Reply

    My friend, the agreed-upon consensus of the lifetime of Buddha has been stated, by most early 20th-century historians, to be c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE and, more recently (in year 2009-2010), the majority of scholars give dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha's death, with others supporting earlier or later dates (e.g., between 411 and 400 BCE). The point is that the time span of the alleged existence of Jesus Christ (and then the resulting formation of the religion called Christianity) did not come into being for some 400 - to 500-something years AFTER the death of Buddha. So how could Buddha himself have made any mention of the term "Christian" or, for that matter, "Mohammedan" (i.e., Mohammed's lifespan was said to be 570 BCE - 632 BCE . . . some 550- to 600-something years AFTER the time of Jesus Christ)? It is not possible. As well, it is extremely, extremely doubtful that terms such as "atheist" and "agnostic", or any equivalent terms for them, prevailed during Buddha's lifetime. Perhaps a term connoting non-belief in any god of any type existed back then, but "agnosticism", as a school of thought, was not formulated until 1860 by Thomas Huxley. As it is also rather unlikely that, back in Buddha's time, phrases analogous to "theist" and "atheist" prevailed in common (or even uncommon) vernacular.

    So, in summary, this story provided here, which you said you read on a website as a story told by "Osho", cannot be anything but a fabrication (a made-up story). Why would it benefit the cause of any belief system (in this case, Buddhism) to invent stories ascribing words or thoughts or deeds to an historical figure (in this case, Buddha) that never occurred or to describe events that obviously never happened? (I'm not saying that you yourself invented it, as you said you were just passing on this story which came from another website). A pejorative phrase that some have used in reference to the behavior of (some) Christians through the ages is to attribute to them the misdeed of "lying for Jesus". Can this story be said to be an example of what one can call "lying for Buddhism"? In a similar vein, if we can't find it in ourselves to advance our cause (whatever that may be) without engaging in make-believe or deception, how does that reflect well on the merit of the cause we are trying to promote (in this case, Buddhism)? I'd be interested in hearing your view of what was said by me here.


  • YogiVishwa

    5/6/2010 1:22:31 AM | Reply

       I had copied the text as I had read from website, however it appears to me that when Osho was telling this story, he added his own comments "Theist or atheist, all beliefs, Hindu or Christian or Mohammedan, all beliefs are barriers", which was not seperated by person who posted this story at first. I have tried to correct it. So if you read the article again. You will not be confused. I believe there is a deeper message behind this story. I do not think there is any blame to any religion or Jesus, Buddha or Mohamad. The story is basically saying that instead of blind beliefs on anything just because it was read in a scripture or some great people said, have your personal experience. Because once you have your personal experience you do not need someone's affirmation, it becomes your realization. Let me know if this clarification helped.


  • SteveL

    5/6/2010 3:40:19 AM | Reply

    So, by simply inserting an ending quotation mark at the end of the following sentence:

    "The person who believed in God, he was trying to find confirmation for his belief from me. I was not going to say yes to him -- I am not going to confirm anybody's belief. I had to say no, I had to deny, just to destroy his belief, because all beliefs are barriers to knowing the truth.”  <--  THE PREVIOUSLY MISSING QUOTE MARK

    and based on your statement that "when Osho was telling this story, he added his own comments 'Theist or atheist, all beliefs, Hindu or Christian or Mohammedan, all beliefs are barriers'", you are saying that Osho was relating what he knew to be a TRUE story that really happened in human history involving Buddha and his attendant Ananda. If this is true, then, as well, Osho, AS WELL, most likely inserted his own phrases "theist", "atheist", and "agnostic" in the story . . . as it is highly doubtful that, in Buddha's lifetime, the exact-equivalent words to "theist", "atheist", and "agnostic" in the Buddha's language family were used by the Buddha himself nor by any other persons in those times.

    I'm not quite sure if Osho was stating this story to be a real HISTORICAL  conversation that actually occurred between Buddha and his attendant Ananda OR INSTEAD if this story was meant to serve as an ALLEGORY (a story developed [i.e., invented] to symbolically convey some philosophical, religious or moral lesson). I certainly see the story's value as an ALLEGORY . . . except that when one says that the Buddha himself was involved in this story, one is proclaiming or implying that the story is HISTORICALLY TRUE. If it isn't actually an historically true story, then it somewhat loses its intended impact . . . as it is obviously an invented story rather than a retelling of a true historical event. One (such as Osho) could have told this story (intending to tell it as an ALLEGORY rather than a claimed historical event) without involving the Buddha himself but rather some anonymous follower or teacher of the Buddha's teachings who lived in our modern-day times and used phrases that we use these days such as "theist", "atheist", "agnostic", "Christian", "Mohammedan" et al and accomplised the same deeper message or lesson conveyed by it (which is a lesson I do understand and appreciate). By saying that the Buddha himself was involved and actually made such statements, in my view, this blunts the impact of the story . . . as it is rather apparent to a discerning person of reasonable intellect that the Buddha was highly unlikely to speak in such terms in his historical point in time.

    An analogy to what I am saying here comes from the Christian Bible (I was born and raised a Jew and was later a Protestant Christian for some years but am now agnostic). During the years that I was a believing Christian, I found the New Testament story of Jesus and the adulterous woman (John 8:1-11) to be very moving and inspirational. I had heard the story told in varied sermons and saw it re-enacted very well in the 1977 movie "Jesus of Nazareth". Then I find out later that, even by the biblical world's own confession (for example, even a footnote inserted in the New International Version of the Bible), this was an INVENTED story which did NOT appear in earlier manuscripts closest to Jesus' time but was rather inserted at a much later time by whomever. So, to accomplish the intended religious or doctrinal purpose of the Bible writers and later-day Christianity, they insert a story in the Bible involving Jesus himself that Jesus himself NEVER actually was involved in (for that matter, was Jesus himself a real historical figure? or rather a totally-invented character or a character based somewhat on a real historical person who has been embellished over time with much legendary development? who can say?). I wondered "Gee, if they can find it in themselves to tell such a powerful, moving and impactful story in the Bible, which then turns out to be a conconcted 'make-believe' story, then I suppose I can entertain the possiblity-- or maybe even probability --that there are OTHER stories in the Bible as well which are purported to be factual or real but are, in fact, made-up or invented stories." This is just a small example, among many, of how believers or propagators of some belief system will try to accomplish the advancement of their doctrinaire mission by INVENTING fictional stories which insert real or purportedly-real historical figures into the story to increase the impact of the story. The overall point I'm making in this overall comment (and in my previously-sent comment) is that it comes across as INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST (or perhaps I might say, more fully, it comes across as being INTELLECTUALLY and MORALLY dishonest). I'd say to Osho (and to the writers or promoters of the Jewish and Christian Bible as well) and to any other religionists or promoters of any belief system the following: If you can't win on the truth, then why bother? If you find it necessary to lie or invent stories that you purport, imply or suggest to be true that are most apparently NOT true, it only hurts your cause rather than helps it. Be wiser (as well as more moral) by simply re-writing certain stories you are inclined to pass on to others to be understood by others as being meant as allegorical or anecdotal or legendary RATHER THAN as historical. It doesn't then hurt your cause by discerning persons catching the tellers of said stories in the act of lying or misrepresentation. The deeper meaning or message of the story has a greater likelihood of being accomplished without resorting to misrepresentation of fact or truth (claiming or implying something to be historical that is actually NOT or COULD NOT POSSIBLY be historical).

    Thank you for hearing me out,
    peace to all of you,

  • YogiVishwa

    5/6/2010 4:06:13 AM | Reply

    SteveL, I understand what you are saying. I do not think anyone has any Video Tape or any such thing which will ensure the validity of any truth. I read this story on a website and appeared to be a thought provoking, so I put it here, you have all rights to agree or disagree and I respect that.

    Personally, I really do not care if Buddha exactly said that word or not. What I care is the essence or the knowledge behind this story. Most of the religious people just cling on to their religious beliefs which they got used by believing it because their parents or their society believed in it or by brainwash. Because if you have acquired something by realization, nothing can shake you, it’s your personal experience. I respect all the great spiritual masters in the world, and he can be Buddha, Jesus, Krishna or Mohammad, because they taught the same core principles in different era, if you look carefully, rituals may be different in different faith but the core principles such as love and kindness to each other are same.

    The summary of this article is basically talking about self enquiry and for that you do not need any historical figure or instance to give you proof. If it comes to your realization, good otherwise keep trying. For example if you have pain in your back, you know it you have pain, you cannot show anyone either they believe you or not. That is your own realization that pain exists.  

    Do you think any book (religious or non religious) do not carry the author’s influence? Each one does based on how the author or speaker perceives the information and what exactly he/she wants to convey and when the same info is delivered by other person, that person adds their own spice or way to telling the same fact so over a period of time it never remains the original.

  • Adam

    6/30/2010 11:58:49 PM | Reply

    I think STeveL you are missing the point. Looks like you have very narrow brain.