I started this thread to discuss the major beliefs of Advaita Vedanta, such as found in the major Hindu scriptures. I'll mention the Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita, as they sum up the entire teachings of the Vedic tradition. I'll mention Buddhism and Philosophical Taoism in relation.
I'll keep this post short, and open with a definition of God in Hinduism. Hopefully, people will find this interesting and discuss it with me.
Brahman/God: according to the root definition of Brahman, it means, "The one who grows, or the one who expands." Brahman is the very substance of all things, who becomes the world, by growing into the world. All is Brahman. Brahman is pure bliss being, untouched by the stain of forms.
These views of God fall into Panentheism, which say God is the substance of the known universe and beyond the known universe. God is inside and outside all seeming individuals; the one unified and only substance.
Taoism calls this same substance and life-force Tao. Taoism doesn't believe this universe came into being by thought, but by Nature's (Tao's) intrinsic nature. Tao grows into forms according to its nature. - (I, personally, hold to this view) - This differs with some schools of Hinduism, which believe the universe came into being due to the desire or will of God, such as Ishvara; this view is transtheism, as it believes the universe is created by a theistic god, but ultimately God is only a player in an illusory play, and God's true nature is Brahman, who is beyond all thought, form, and duality; so, God would know his true nature is Brahman beyond seeming individuality.
Buddhism's view is like that of Taoism. They hold to one unified nature, Buddha nature, which is a manifestation of Dharmakaya, the ground reality. Due to the intrinsic nature of Dharmakaya, it grows into complexity through a co-dependent play of causes and conditions. Again, I lean toward this idea of universal growth.
I'll mention more stuff in the next post...