The article examines evidence for characteristic Buddhist positions regarding the nature and soteriological status of deities. It establishes that deities are but one of several classes of transient entities that need spiritual guidance and argues that by accepting the existence of such entities Buddhism is, according to the operating definition of the volume, a theistic tradition. It also shows that, whereas later Buddhist thinkers developed sophisticated critiques of concepts of a universal God developed within Indian Hindu tradition and are committed to a strongly atheist stance, texts representing early Buddhism tend to be epistemologically cautious rather than directly atheist. This is picture is explored through the exposition of verses from Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra and supplemented by reference to suttas and jātakas from the Pali canon. Finally, it dismisses a quasi-theistic interpretation of some aspects of Buddhist traditions.
If eschatology is understood to refer to “final things”—that is, the idea that the world will one day come to a definitive end—there is simply no parallel in the Buddhist tradition. This being said, Buddhist sources do refer to what Zwi Werblowsky has aptly termed “relative eschatologies.” On the cosmic level, one can speak of the end of a particular phase of manifestation or non-manifestation of the universe as a whole or, within this larger framework, the end of a specific cycle of devolution or evolution. On the historical level, Buddhist scriptures predict the demise of the Buddhist religion itself, holding that Buddhism—like all causally constructed phenomena—will eventually come to an end. This article deals with Buddhist eschatology, cosmic eschatology, cosmology and modernity, Mahāayāna developments, and the legacy of Śākyamuni Buddha and other Buddhas such as Maitreya.
Class apathy and a selective process of record keeping created fertile grounds for uprise in China. This article throws light on two of the earliest millennialist movements in China, namely, the Taiping Dao and the Wudoumi Dao movements that emerged from havoc, intending to create millennial commonwealth and practiced healing through confession. The Chinese Buddhist millennialism synthesized a modified version of the Indian concept of “kalpa” and the Buddhist teaching of the three ages where each age ends with the demise of a “Bodhisattva” and marks a decline based on the degeneration of Buddha's teachings. It states that the dark age graced by superhuman saviors shall witness the arrival of the Maitreya, the next Buddha incarnate. The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) rhetoric about “a thousand years of prosperity” is also considered reflective of millennial views.
Robert Pearson Flaherty
This article examines some of the main contributors to millennialism in a Korean context. The Korean millennial legacy is a synthesis of diverse influences such as Buddhism, Christianity, and various new-age religions based on pre-Christian Korean myths. These, coupled with various movements of discontent emerging from confusion in the society, have found expression in millennialist movements. This article states that Korean Buddhism believes the Maitreya to have been born to a Brahmin in Varanasi and a disciple of the first Buddha, Shakyamuni. The Donghak revolution (1894) was based on certain millennial assumptions. This article discusses the words of its founder Choe Je-u about the arrival of the “SangJe”, the Jade ruler of the universe to salvage the world. The religion finally revolted against Japanese imperialists and the Korean royalty. Korean Christianity drew heavily from the concept of the pre-tribulation rapture of the chosen ones.