THE BUDDHA'S WORDS ON WHETHER THERE'S ALMIGHTY CREATOR OR NOT

(Here: Ishvara means Almighty God/Creator)

 Sudatta was a resident of Shravasti, the capital of the kingdom of Kosala. It was ruled by King Pasenjit. Sudatta was treasurer of the king. From his bounties to the poor, Sudatta was known as Anathapindika. 

  
When the Lord was at Rajagraha, Anathapindika happened to visit the place on some private business of his own. He was stopping with his sister, who was married to the guild master of Rajagraha. 
    
 When he arrived he found the guild master preparing a meal for the Lord and his monks, on so great a scale that he thought that a wedding was in progress or that the king had been invited. 
    

 On learning the truth, he became very eager to visit the Lord, and he set out in the very night to meet the Blessed One. 
    

And the Blessed One saw at once the sterling quality of Anathapindika's heart, and greeted him with words of comfort. After taking his seat, Anathapindika expressed a desire to hear a discourse on some religious subject. 
    

 The Blessed Lord, responding to his wishes ,raised the question, "Who is it that shapes our lives? Is it Ishavara, a personal creator? If  Ishavara be the maker, all living things should have silently to submit to their maker's power. They would be like vessels formed by the potter's hand. If the world had been made by Ishavara, there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or sin; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him.  If not, there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be the self-existent one. Thus, you see, the thought of Ishavara is overthrown. 
    

 "Again, it is said that the Absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause, as the plant comes from the seed; how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike? If it pervades them, then certainly it does not make them. 
    

"Again, it is said that self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did he not make things pleasing? The cases of sorrow and joy are real and objective. How can they have been made by self? 
    

"Again, if you adopt the argument [that] there is no maker, or fate in [=is] such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in shaping our lives, and adjusting means to an end?
    

 "Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Ishavara, nor the Absolute, nor the self, nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil. 
    

 "The whole world is under the law of causation, and the causes that act are not un-mental, for the gold of which the cup is made is gold throughout. 
    

 "Let us, then, surrender the heresies of worshipping Ishavara and praying to him; let us not lose ourselves in vain speculations of profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness; and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practise good so that good may result from our actions." 
    

 And Anathapindika said, "I see the truth of what the Blessed One has said, and I wish to open my whole mind. Having listened to my words, let the Lord advise me what I should do. 
    

 "My life is full of work; and having acquired great wealth, I am surrounded with cares. Yet do I enjoy my work, and I apply myself to it with all diligence. Many people are in my employ, and depend upon the success of my enterprises. 
    

"Now, I have heard your disciples praise the bliss of the hermit and denounce the unrest of the world. 'The Blessed One,' they say, 'has given up his kingdom and his inheritance, and has found the path of righteousness, thus setting an example to all the world how to attain Nirvana.' 
    

 "My heart yearns to do what is right, and to be a blessing unto my fellow-beings. Let me then ask you, must I give up my wealth, my home, and my business enterprises, and, like you, go into homelessness, in order to attain the bliss of a religious life?" 
    

 And the Blessed Lord replied, "The bliss of a religious life is attainable by everyone who walks in the noble eight-fold path. He that cleaves to wealth, had better cast it away than allow his heart to be poisoned by it; but he who does not cleave to wealth, and, possessing riches, uses them rightly, will be a blessing unto his fellow-beings. 
    

 "I say unto thee, remain in thy station of life, and apply thyself with diligence to thy enterprises. It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power. 
    

"The Bhikku who retires from the world in order to lead a life of leisure will have no gain. For a life of indolence is an abomination, and lack of energy is to be despised. 
    

"The Dhamma of the Tathagata does not require a man to go into homelessness or to resign the world, unless he feels called upon to do so; what the Dhamma of the Tathagata requires is for every man to free himself from the illusion of self, to cleanse his heart, to give up his thirst for pleasure, and lead a life of righteousness. 
    

 "And whatever men do, whether they remain in the world as artisans, merchants, and officers of the king, or retire from the world and devote themselves to a life of religious meditation, let them put their whole heart into their task; let them be diligent and energetic; and, if they are like the lotus, which, though it grows in the water, yet remains untouched by the water, if they struggle in life without cherishing envy or hatred, if they live in the world a life not of self but a life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their minds." 
   

 Anathapindika perceived that this was the most excellent system of truth, simple and of wisdom born. 
    

Thus firmly settled in the true doctrine, he slowly bent in worship at the feet of the Blessed One, and with closed hands made his request.

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