Gautama Buddha rejected the existence of a creator deity, refused to endorse many views on creation, and stated that questions on the origin of the world are not ultimately useful for ending suffering. Buddhism instead emphasizes the system of causal relationships underlying the universe (pratītyasamutpāda or Dependent Origination) which constitute the natural order (dharma) and source of enlightenment. No dependence of phenomena on a supernatural reality is asserted in order to explain the behaviour of matter. According to the doctrine of the Buddha, a human being must study nature (dhamma vicaya) in order to attain prajñā “wisdom” regarding the nature of things (dharma). In Buddhism, the sole aim of spiritual practice is the complete alleviation of dukkha (“suffering”) in saṃsāra, which is called nirvana.
Some teachers tell students beginning Buddhist meditation that the notion of divinity is not incompatible with Buddhism, and at least one Buddhist scholar has indicated that describing Buddhism as nontheistic may be overly simplistic; but many traditional theist beliefs are considered to pose a hindrance to the attainment of nirvana, the highest goal of Buddhist practice.
Buddhists consider veneration of arhats and the Three Jewels very important, although the two main traditions of Buddhism differ mildly in their reverential attitudes. While Theravada Buddhists view the Buddha as a human being who attained Buddhahood through human efforts, some Mahayana Buddhists consider him an embodiment of the cosmicdharmakāya, born for the benefit of others. In addition, some Mahayana Buddhists worship Avalokiteśvara and hope to embody him.
Some Buddhists accept the existence of beings in higher realms , known as devas, but they, like humans, are said to be suffering in saṃsāra and are not necessarily wiser than us. In fact, the Buddha is often portrayed as a teacher of the gods, and superior to them. Despite this there are believed to be enlightened devas.
Some variations of Buddhism express a philosophical belief in an eternal Buddha: a representation of omnipresent enlightenment and a symbol of the true nature of the universe. The primordial aspect that interconnects every part of the universe is the clear light of the eternal Buddha, where everything timelessly arises and dissolves.