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Supernatural AgentsWhy We Believe in Souls, Gods, and Buddhas$
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Ilkka Pyysiäinen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380026.001.0001

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Buddhist Supernatural Agents

Buddhist Supernatural Agents

Chapter:
(p.137) 5 Buddhist Supernatural Agents
Source:
Supernatural Agents
Author(s):

Ilkka Pyysiäinen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380026.003.0005

In the Buddhist tradition, buddhas are regarded as omniscient in the sense that everything is directly reflected in the mind of a buddha. In certain “Hindu” schools, the ideas of karma and rebirth seem to have developed as “folk-genetic” explanations of the observed fact that offspring resemble their parents. Problems involved in explaining all states of affairs in the world as based on the past actions of isolated individuals were solved by postulating a God who saw the merits of individuals and fixed their future correspondingly. In Buddhism, both the ideas of an immutable self and God were rejected; all things and events were considered to arise from purely mechanical processes. The Buddha’s mentality now lives in the doctrine which is regarded as the Dharma-body of the Buddha. Relics and Buddha images are used as a means of giving a concrete form to the Buddha’s agency after his death.

Keywords:   karma, rebirth, Dharma-body of Buddha, immutable self, Buddha images

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