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What is the connection between Buddha and the Buddhist gods?

Traditional Buddhists worshipped a pantheon of gods. How do these connect with the figure of Buddha?
The westernised version I’m familiar with elimates the old pantheon of gods.
E.g. This month’s NG magazine includes a couple of 1500 year old paintings of Buddhist gods from Northern India.
I’ve heard of Buddhist gods and demons in ancient Tibetan shrines as well.

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nariko987P'angERIC SKeltasia Recent comment authors
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nariko987
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nariko987

This is quite easy because Buddha in Buddhism is the main god but there is also minor gods who serve under Buddha and can represent such as wealth,luck and love.

But this also depends on which countries in Asia you mean.

A good example could be the Shinto Buddhism on Japan where they combine their old belief whit spirits,gods for rivers, trees demons, and ancestors whit Buddha as the main god.

P'ang
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P'ang

As others have said, Buddhism is agnostic regarding gods and deities and a belief in gods or supernatural power is not part of Buddhism. Our Western eyes automatically see Buddhist bodhisattvas as deities. This is not surprising, since the conceptual structure of Western religion doesn’t easily accommodate the spiritual expressions of other cultures. The gods to which you refer are known in Buddhism as bodhisattvas. (“Bodhisattva” means ‘enlightened existence.’) There are many bodhisattvas and each represents a particular aspect of human energy — compassion, wisdom, action, etc. Most of us have experienced these these energy-states in daily life and we… Read more »

ERIC S
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ERIC S

Buddha was an agnostic, but there are versions of Buddhism that ‘melded’ with local cultures. This is where the pantheon of Buddhist gods come from, from pre-buddhist eastern cultures. The ‘westernised’ version of Buddhism is correct about Buddha not believing in gods, but is wrong about other things. For example, Buddha advocates a strict life of self denial. Few western ‘buddhists’ take these instructions seriously because it goes so strongly against western culture. This phenomenon where a religion ‘melds’ with and incorporates foreign aspects of the culture is called syncretism. It happens with other religions too… consider the Christians who… Read more »

Keltasia
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Keltasia

My husband was born and raised in Viet Nam. There are no Buddhist gods or goddesses in Buddhism.