Being a 'not-quite-Buddhist theist'

James Dominic Rooney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Buddhism is a tradition that set itself decidedly against theism, with the development of complex arguments against the existence of God. I propose that the metaphysical conclusions reached by some schools in the Mahayana tradition present a vision of reality that, with some apparently small modification, would ground an argument for the existence of God. This argument involves explanation in terms of natures rather than causal agency. Yet I conclude not only that the Buddhist becomes a theist in embracing such explanations as legitimate, but also ipso facto abandons their metaphysical project and ceases to be a Buddhist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-800
Number of pages14
JournalReligious Studies
Issue number4
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy
  • Religious studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Buddhism
  • God
  • Huayan
  • causality
  • pantheism


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