Steven Seagall: Buddhist God

I’d never seen this video before but it’s absolutely hilarious. It’s Steven Seagall claiming to be a psychic, a “healer” and a Buddhist God. No way. A reincarnated Buddhist God wouldn’t look that stupid when he runs.

I thought that when Steven Seagal claimed he had put “hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of hours into my weapons training,” he was just full of shit. But then I found out that he’s the reincarnation of a Buddhist god and then it all made sense. Checkmate, skeptics.

Comments

  1. says

    Buddhism is essentially atheist. Theravada Buddhism has a few traces of Hinduism, which are largely ignored. Mahayana Buddhism has bodhisattvas rather than gods, men and women who have attained enlightenment and who have delayed their entry into Nirvana in order to reincarnate and teach others. Vajrayana Buddhism has gods, but they are borrowings from Tibet’s indigenous religions and not actually a part of Buddhism itself.

    If Segal is speaking of being a reincarnated god, then he is abjectly ignorant of Buddhism. Aside from which, I cannot imagine any boddhisattva who would be involved in the violent movies he is known for.

  2. says

    Buddhism is essentially atheist.

    No, it isn’t.

    Buddhists (and by this I mean a significant portion of them; not all of them) worship superhuman beings, including but not limited to the Buddha himself. In some cases these are explicitly called gods, others they’re not, but they’re still effectively gods. Buddhist is rife with supernatural concepts– the Dalai Lama holds office because he’s supposedly the reincarnation of Avalokitasvara, a Jesus-like bodhisattva– in some cases it has an afterlife, such as the Pure Land , relics and locations are venerated as holy, rituals give supernatural powers….not atheistic.

    Not even mostly.

  3. says

    I was hoping to be in before someone said “There’s no such thing as Buddhist gods; Buddhists are atheists” but it had to be the first post.

  4. Who Cares says

    It gets even funnier with the ‘The Buddhists are atheists’-line of thinking. Western Land Buddhism. Guess who makes an cameo there. Jesus. Got to dig out the leaflet from storage but from what I remember you just needed to accept bodhisattva followed by this strain of Buddhism and be saved.

  5. dingojack says

    Umm…. I’m not an expert in Tibetan Buddhism but from what I understand they don’t ‘worship’ ‘god-like’ beings at all. Such incarnations are merely dead ends in the pathway toward enlightenment.
    Or at last that is how is was explained to me (by a Tibetan Buddhist).
    Dingo

  6. briank says

    all atheism is, is a lack of belief in acgod or gods. An atheist can still be atheist and believe in an afterlife, magic, superhumans, etc.

    I think some of the commenters are confusing atheists with skeptics. Skeptics are a subset of atheists.

  7. says

    Or at last that is how is was explained to me (by a Tibetan Buddhist).

    You know that not all Buddhism is Tibetan Buddhism, right? That’s like saying you talked to a Unitarian Universalist and he told you Christians believe everyone goes to heaven, therefore Christians believe everyone goes to heaven.

    I think some of the commenters are confusing atheists with skeptics. Skeptics are a subset of atheists.

    No, I’m quite aware of the difference between atheism and skepticism. I’m saying that if you worship superhuman beings with supernatural powers and venerate objects associated with them in the hopes reaching a glorious afterlife, “atheist” is not the word to describe you.

    See Jason Slone’s book Theological Incorrectness for a more thorough explanation of how Buddhists act and think, generally speaking, just like any other kind of theist.

  8. sqlrob says

    Mahayana Buddhism has bodhisattvas rather than gods, men and women who have attained enlightenment and who have delayed their entry into Nirvana in order to reincarnate and teach others.

    How is that not a god (well, demigod)?

  9. Reginald Selkirk says

    Buddhism is essentially atheist.

    I have to agree with Gretchen, this is rather naive. If you look to the writings of the Buddha, he formed no dogma on the existence or nonexistence of gods. I.e., he wasn’t atheistic, he just considered the question of theism to be irrelevant to his goal, which was enlightenment. However, the whole concept of dharma is based on a supernatural belief in reincarnation. And as Buddhism spread from India through southeast Asia, into China and eventually Japan, it syncreted many elements of local religious tradition, including belief in beings who for all practical purposes are gods. Arguing that Buddhist deities are not gods because they were syncreted from other religions is as misguided as claiming that Catholic saints do not constitute a pantheon.

  10. says

    Oh, and then there are Buddhists who believe that there are gods– called gods– but just don’t worship them. They believe that gods are part of the cycle of reincarnation just like everybody else, but with spiffy superpowers. And ironically it’s worse to be a god than a human according to this belief, because only humans can achieve enlightenment and reach Nirvana. Perhaps Seagal believes he was one of those gods.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    On a different tangent, my experience with Aikido has been utterly unlike a Steven Seagal movie. As I learned it, it is a purely defensive art, and one of the least violent of the ‘martial’ arts.

  12. dingojack says

    Gretchen – Yes but (as I understand it) Tibetan Buddhists DON’T WORSHIP gods or even demigods. It like saying Catholics believe that praying to a saint will get you special access to god, therefore that’s true of every single christian*.
    Dingo
    ——–
    * (Fail by your own criterion)

  13. says

    Dingo,

    I didn’t say that every single Buddhist, or even every single Tibetan Buddhist, believes in gods.

    You are the one saying that none of them may.

    I’m saying you’re wrong.

  14. TxSkeptic says

    @7 briank

    I think some of the commenters are confusing atheists with skeptics. Skeptics are a subset of atheists.

    I wouldn’t say this around the big skeptic conferences, it seems to be a sore topic these days. Neither is a subset of the other, they are just two independent, but highly overlapping sets.

  15. says

    Some Buddhists qualify as “dictionary atheists” because they lack belief in gods. Belief in reincarnation, afterlives, and non-god supernatural beings is allowable under “dictionary atheism.”

    But, of course, those supernatural beliefs disqualify them as examples of what most of us mean when we say “atheist,” which has a large overlap with “skeptic.”

  16. observer says

    While I’m not suggesting that Seagall has a coherent sense of what he’s trying to say, there is a big difference between asserting that all living things are part of the divine and declaring “I am God.” Somewhere inside that sloshy kicked-in-the-head-too-many-times brain of his is an idea that’s a bit more nuanced than what the interviewer is trying to imply.

  17. observer says

    BTW, am I the only one who’s having a hard time dinstinguishing between the current Steven Seagall and the old Mad TV Will Sasso parody of him?

  18. abb3w says

    Maybe if he was a reincarnation of Sun Wukong, he might look that stupid when running.
    However, the (internal) logical problem with that explanation is the myth says Sun Wukong was immortal.

    Simpler to posit he’s a deluded doofus who gets beaten up by little girls.

  19. says

    If Segal is speaking of being a reincarnated god, then he is abjectly ignorant of Buddhism. Aside from which, I cannot imagine any boddhisattva who would be involved in the violent movies he is known for.

    I recall reading somewhere that old conman Tenzin Gyatso sold him the title. Since Gyatso is a multiply-reincarnated superior being, he ought to know.

    Buddhism is essentially atheist

    Which version of buddhism are you referring to, other than the california moonbeam kind that Alan Watts created? Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of supernatural beings and prayers in the versions of buddhism that pretty much everyone who isn’t in denial about it practice.

  20. says

    On a different tangent, my experience with Aikido has been utterly unlike a Steven Seagal movie.

    You might enjoy looking on youtube for some old videos of Seagal practicing Aikido back before he got weird. The guy has had a very interesting life. Someone would have to pay me a lot to try to sort out the ratshit from the pepper regarding how much of the guy is for real and how much is fantasy.

  21. says

    the whole concept of dharma is based on a supernatural belief in reincarnation

    Perhaps even more to the point, dharma is connected with our actions here on earth. Which means that not only is there reincarnation there is some kind of supernatural agency (I have never seen this explained) that is concerned about and surveils human actions. The buddhist is acting in order that their behaviors please a supernatural overlord, in other words.

    Buddhism is about as atheist as calvinism is, there are just a lot of california moonbeams who want to be all spiritual and shit about the unexplained cosmic all and are too embarrassed to admit they’re religious.

  22. says

    Tibetan Buddhists DON’T WORSHIP gods or even demigods

    Yeah, that’s why they all look a bit embarrassed about Mr Gyatso’s alleged umpty-ump reincarnations and totally don’t take him at all seriously when he has something to say – since he’s an enlightened reincarnated superior being and all. But he’s totally not a “demigod” he’s a hemi-demi-semigod and all. Oh, divine right and all that. (eyeroll)

    Joking aside, he’s supposedly a “tulku” which is a manifestation of a bodhisattva – a supernatural avatar.

    The current dominant sect of tibetan buddhists are the yellow hat. There used to be black hat and blue hat buddhists but they were mostly slaughtered by the yellow hats, and the fact of that slaughter has been carefully removed from the popular published accounts of tibetan buddhists. That’s a bit embarrassingly religion-like, especially because the causus belli was a doctrinal dispute. The yellow hats are all peace-loving as fuck, now, of course, because there aren’t any of the losers left around to complain.

    Atheist, my great hairy ass.

  23. lsamaknight says

    Gretchen and Marcus beat me to the slapping down the nonsense about “Buddhism being atheistic” so I won’t say too much, but one of the things that has particularly bugged me about that is that not only have some branches of Buddhism picked up local gods along the way, they’ve actually exported them.

    Buddhism was the one responsible for taking the Chinese Guan-yin to Japan to become Kanon, and both are supposed to be linked to another figure from Indian Hinduism who’s name escaped me. Similarly on of Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods, Bishamonten, was believed to have come from China along with Buddhism.

    I’ve also got my sneaking suspicions about the similarities between Hanuman and Sun Wukong.

  24. says

    It was a Tibetan lama named Penor Rinpoche, now deceased, who announced in 1997 that Seagal was a tulku, the reincarnation of Chungdrag Dorje, an important figure in the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Some accused Seagal of buying the title, I suspect it’s just as likely Penor Rinpoche gave him the title hoping to draw the favour of a then successful Hollywood actor, to the benefit of his monastery and sect. Unfortunately for Penor Rinpoche he wasn’t psychic, and therefore didn’t see that Seagal’s career would deterioate over the next few years into straight to video purgatory.

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