Thanks for summarizing the discussions from yesterday's talk by Rev. Heng Sure. I left a bit early since I did not to stay very late--your excellent summary helped me a lot to catch up with later part of discussions. I would like to respectfully differ on certain issues and represnt a very different perspective to certain points that came during discussions.
The discussions on gods ( with the lower case), referred to as the "devas" without giving enough background was a disappointment. The language of heaven and hell as well as doctorines associated with this language have their origin in the monotheistic religion of the Abrahmic tradition. There is no mention of this in Vedic Philosophy. It was later adopted in our Puranic books--the origin was from some where else. The concept of Devas enjoying all kind of things that they did not have on earth was an attempt to fool ignorant people. In a certain faith, drinking is bad on earth but heavens have rivers of wine. Same is true in Purans--heaven where Devas enjoy Som Ras ( Wine). This whole concept of Devas and Heaven was a tool to exploit poor people. This has nothing to do with spirituality and Vedic Philosophy.
I would like to further point out that Vedic philosophy is monotheistic. The word "Deva" is from the Sanskrit language meaning "a being of brilliant light"--for example Sun referrred to as Deva in Veda.
I will quote from Vedic literature that shows that the terms "Devas" were used to described various attributes of the same God--known as "Ohm" in Vedas.
"AUM is the Great God who is Omnipresent (like ether)" Yajur Veda XL-17
"He is called Brahma--the Creator of the Universe; Vishnu-All-Prevading; Rudra-Punisher of the wicked; Shiva-Vlissful and Benefactor of all; Akshara-Imoortal, Omnipresent;Swarat-Self effulgent; Kalagni-Cause of the dissolution of the world and regulator of time; Chandrama-the source of Happiness.: Kaivalya Upanishad
"All the Vedas and Shastras declare AUM as the primary and natural name of God. All others are his secondary names." Manduk Upanishad.
Gita and Budha
I found the question regarding Gita and Budhha very interesting and amusing. I have to be honest here--I think that Budhhism provides a path of escapism. I am sure a Budhhist monk would have advised Arjun to run away from batte field and meditate in Forest. Krishna first used the path of diplomacy with Duryodhana but he realized that war was the only way out. I do not think that Arjun did not want to fight just because he was standing against his relatives--he was coward. King Ram also had sent a yogi and diplomat Hanuman to Ravan for a truce but Ravan did not get the message--Ram then went for War--in this case Ravan was not related to Ram. Ancient Vedic wisdom says that if diplomacy does not work then you have to go for War as a last resort.