Is there a God?
HH Rangjung Dorje, the Third Karmapa (1284-1339) gave a teaching entitled Treatise Distinguishing Consciousness and Wisdom in which he taught that "the three realms are merely mind, . . . phenomena arise interdependently." By so locating all that exists in our minds, he showed that how our perceptions arise is a more central question than how the world got here, because the reality of an external world is a function only of mind.
He also, in the better known Prayer of Mahamudra, emphasizes that we continually wander in the misapprehension that this projection of our mind is inherently existent, but even then and at the same time, we are all fully awake.
The historical Buddha also referred to this when, in The 14 Questions of King Milinda, he refused to answer directly any questions about the existence of a supreme being. By the way, this was one of four skilful ways of his handling queries; he did not reply to questions that were unhelpful to people, or that were irrelevant within the scope of his Teachings.
HE Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, of the 18th-century, writes in the first book of The Encompassment of All Knowledge, that our world system is but one of many. It is impermanent, and can best be understood as the field of beings' awakening.
The protector Nagarjuna (ca. 2nd century CE) in his Five Treatises on Reason explained that "I and Mind deviate from ultimate reality." Therefore, the same is true then, of "He/Her" and "His/Hers" (in Sanskrit, the Creator -- Ishvara). He/She could not arise from Itself because its production either already happened or will happen. If not yet existing, how can It serve as a cause? If It already exists, how can It possibly become Its own result?
He/She does not result from others because they are different substances from Him/Her. Think of the following analogy: Darkness does not come from flame, which is by nature, light. Gods can't arise from a combination of themselves and others because both concepts are faulty.
They don't arise from the past because that could mean that they no longer have any power (so what difference would their existence make?) And, they don't come from the present because they can't be both creator and creation. Also, they don't come from the future because that would make a mockery of our understanding of causality (itself an empty concept).
These explanations can be easily found in the Perfection of Wisdom sections of Aryadeva's Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, and in Graduated Path texts by Gampopa, Tsongkhapa, and many other Tibetan lamas.
~ lightly edited from Dirk's comments at the Kagyu email list, in response to a question on the role of a Creator.
Nagarjuna's concept of Shunyata or Zero-ness:
Respecting Other Religions
It is important to remember that both HH Dalai Lama and the present Karmapa's advice is that we ought to respect all religions. For just because a philosophical or devotional system may not serve to allow its followers to escape samsara (Skt. sangsara: the flow of existence) does not mean that it is not helpful within the bounds of samsara. An example of the respect accorded other religions follows:
KTD reported in 2001 that:
"September 9: The Karmapa was the guest of
honor at a lunch given by the Ladakh Muslim Association (LMA), where His Holiness enjoyed traditional
Muslim sweets and tea.