Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:42 am

gregkavarnos wrote:What are you talking about? Has everything that has been said up until now just flashed straight past you or something?


I am talking about the widely accepted world view in relation to reincarnation. If you don't know what that means, you could glance briefly at the topic, for ex http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/glossary/Period.shtml
And apply your reasoning capability to it with some more detail and accuracy.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:46 am

Go back and reread the thread. It's been explained to you on (at least) three different occasions. I personally can not be bothered explaining it again. Any other takers out there?
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:47 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
Aemilius wrote: Is that your personal feeling when you contemplate through all the geological eras on this planet? I.e. that you have been in some other world, or other world system, meanwhile? What are your genuine feelings when you look through or think about the geological eras on Planet Earth?


I can't say I give it much thought really.

Actually when we are taught the "four thoughts that turn the mind towards the Dharma" one of the contemplations we do about the rarity and preciousness of human rebirth is to take a square kilometre of earth (like the square kilometre around where we are sitting) and consider how many humans dwell there, how many animals, insects, bacteria, etc... How may purely mental beings (take for example when you do a refuge tree visualisation, how many mental beings exist in the space when you do that?) exist there, etc... Then we can clearly see how precious and rare this human existence really is.

Based on this logic it clearly stands to reason then that we have passed through many-many-many more non-human existences than human ones.
:namaste:


I do admit that you have said it, but mainly as an implication, which isn't enough, it can easily be glossed over. You don't realize what magnitude this question has for all modern and future buddhism. So could you please spell it out, i.e. describe the eons and eras in such a way that we have all been part of it. It makes a great difference, I can assure you.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:40 pm

The essential nature of the mind of all beings throughout time is the same as Buddha. This is because the essential nature of mind is free of confusion which leads to suffering. That's all. That's essentially what Buddha mind is.

It doesn't matter where or when. We do not have first-hand knowledge about how dinosaurs thought or behaved, but we can draw what are probably very good conclusions based on evidence we have about them, about what they ate, if they lived in groups or not and so forth. We can also guess, that being animals, they struggled to survive. When hunted, they tried to escape. When hunting, they tried to catch their prey. They probably tried to avoid being burned by fire. In some way or another, beings want to be free from suffering. This is universal, regardless of time or place.

Buddhism talks about the 6 reams. What is a "realm"? A realm occurs when the mind arises with conditions. And unobstructed mind (Buddha) will arise with conditions in an clear way and an obstructed mind (unenlightened beings) will arise in a confused and grasping way. Some say that the conditions are also produced by the mind. Others say it is only the experience of conditions that are produced by the mind. Either way, a realm (loka) appears with the activity of the mind, meaning that the mind experiences itself within an external environment.

If the conditions for a certain experience are not there, then that experience will not occur. If a planet cannot support life, then mind cannot arise with an experience of being alive on that planet. Over time, if a planet can support life, if those conditions develop, then mind can arise as the experience of living on that planet. If the conditions only exist for tiny organisms to live in an environment, then mind will only arise with the experience of a tiny organism. It may be attracted by moisture or warmth, not in any conceptual or intellectual way, but attracted just the same, and not attracted to cold or dry.

Over millions of years, this same behavior manifests, regardless of the evolution of the species. So, even though there was no animal realm or human realm or maybe any other realm on earth hundreds of millions of years ago, this does not contradict the teachings. That is because the mind is not limited by time and space. Mind arises with conditions. Do you see the Sun? That is a condition that exists 93 million miles away. In fact, we only see the Sun as it was eight minutes ago. But because we experience it, because solar radiation reaches our planet, mind arises with it.

We only say "human realm' and 'animal realm" and so forth because these are convenient ways of having a greater understanding of the Dharma. But, are playfulness, fear, loneliness, and contentment animal realm traits or human realm traits? Is unquenchable dissatisfaction a human realm trait or a hungry ghost trait? There is a lot of overlapping. A lot of traits are shared, because realms do not exist without being experienced by the mind. This doesn't mean that they are only figments of the human imagination. But it is the mind that creates the experience and the experience is what is roughly categorized as one realm or another.

Are there really hungry ghosts and hell beings and devas and asuras and so forth? I don't know. I can't prove their existence one way or the other. My teacher says there are, so i ask him a lot of questions. But if we only go by "exist" or "not exist" then we are missing the whole point. We are still clinging to the question of 'are the other realms as real as this one?' and they are not any more real than this one.

Reincarnation and rebirth are not the same thing. Rebirth is a clumsy word. A better word would be "approximate spontaneous replication of recent events" but that is too long. "You" are only an approximate replication of the events that manifested as "you" a moment ago. Over time, as those conditions change, "you" change. Before this life time, the circumstances did not arise for you to be who you are today.

It's all about arising conditions. So, as you seem to imply, if the earth did not have those conditions a long time ago, then mind could not arise with the experience of living here at that time.

But minds tend to wander.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:17 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If the conditions for a certain experience are not there, then that experience will not occur. If a planet cannot support life, then mind cannot arise with an experience of being alive on that planet. Over time, if a planet can support life, if those conditions develop, then mind can arise as the experience of living on that planet. If the conditions only exist for tiny organisms to live in an environment, then mind will only arise with the experience of a tiny organism. It may be attracted by moisture or warmth, not in any conceptual or intellectual way, but attracted just the same, and not attracted to cold or dry.



It is a false view to assume that matter, or a material world, exists prior to consciousness. So how do you put it in a buddhist perspective?



There are many different ways of classifying existence into worlds in buddhism: we have three worlds, five worlds or six worlds, when the pure abodes are also considered we have four worlds or ten worlds, in Shurangama sutra there is a scheme of seven worlds, we also have a scheme of twenty worlds, and so on..
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:05 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Aemilius wrote:


1.On Planet Earth there have been forms of life and living creatures for a thousand million years before the advent of human beings. According to modern science.
2. How do we interpret the reincarnation scheme of the six lokas during this first thousand million years? Or the first three thousand million years? Especially concerning the beings that are born as the present humanity.
3. Is there a basis for this view in the Abhidharma and Sutra pitakas? They nevertheless say that reincarnation is beginningless, and therefore we have existed during the mentioned geological eras.
4. If you want to counteract the teaching of Batchelor et al you must have a coherent teaching of reincarnation, a teaching that explains the geological eras in a logical and believable way.


If we only define "human realm" as meaning mammal/primate/homo sapiens, then yes, of course. You are right. There can be no human realm on Earth before a certain time, before certain conditions arise (it's always about conditions arising). But "human" is only a term that we homo sapiens have invented. When we talk about the "human" realm in Buddhist terms, we are referring to a state of mind which is experiences temporary happiness and sadness, is never fully content, which changes a lot, and so on. It also is a state of mind which can also grasp the teachings of the Dharma.

So, Buddhism is not talking specifically about hairy bipeds. In fact, no two humans are exactly the same. From that aspect, you could even argue that there is really no such thing as a human realm, or of humanity, or the human race. It depends on how you categorize things. We are also a member of the ape family. So, we are also a little bit animal. We can also experience the various traits of the other realms. But usually we do not see hungry ghosts or devas (although we meet people who exhibit some of those qualities), because the conditions are not there for that to happen. We experience humans and animals, because the conditions are there...carbon, water, a suitable planetary environment for now.

This does not mean that the six realms only describe psychological states in literal terms, as is sometimes suggested. When someone asks if the other realms are 'real' or are we just talking about mental states, feeling greedy or horny or proud or jealous whatever, 'real' becomes a problematic term. The other 5 realms are no more 'real' than this one. So, depending on how 'real' your experience if this realm is, you can guess how 'real' a mind experiencing another realm is.

When the dharma texts refer to 'beings wandering in the realms of samsara since beginningless time' or whatever, that is because the mind, or more accurately, the causes of cognition, of awareness, do not depend on one set of physical properties or another, or any duration of time. But when the conditions are right, mind manifests as apparently tangible reality, just as the one we are experiencing right now.
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That fact is that in evolutionary terms we are very close even to beings/things like the yeast! So much so that the ground breaking research on human chromosomes was done with the help of yeast chromosomes!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast_artificial_chromosome
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:54 pm

Aemilius wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If the conditions for a certain experience are not there, then that experience will not occur. If a planet cannot support life, then mind cannot arise with an experience of being alive on that planet. Over time, if a planet can support life, if those conditions develop, then mind can arise as the experience of living on that planet. If the conditions only exist for tiny organisms to live in an environment, then mind will only arise with the experience of a tiny organism. It may be attracted by moisture or warmth, not in any conceptual or intellectual way, but attracted just the same, and not attracted to cold or dry.



It is a false view to assume that matter, or a material world, exists prior to consciousness. So how do you put it in a buddhist perspective?


Two misleading words occur here: "prior" and "consciousness". That is why it seems to be so puzzling.
"Consciousness" is not a single, solitary thing that persists from one life to the next.
"Prior" inaccurately suggests a sequential arising of events.

Do you think there was no physical environment 30 seconds ago?
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:19 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:If the conditions for a certain experience are not there, then that experience will not occur. If a planet cannot support life, then mind cannot arise with an experience of being alive on that planet. Over time, if a planet can support life, if those conditions develop, then mind can arise as the experience of living on that planet. If the conditions only exist for tiny organisms to live in an environment, then mind will only arise with the experience of a tiny organism. It may be attracted by moisture or warmth, not in any conceptual or intellectual way, but attracted just the same, and not attracted to cold or dry.



It is a false view to assume that matter, or a material world, exists prior to consciousness. So how do you put it in a buddhist perspective?


Two misleading words occur here: "prior" and "consciousness". That is why it seems to be so puzzling.
"Consciousness" is not a single, solitary thing that persists from one life to the next.
"Prior" inaccurately suggests a sequential arising of events.

Do you think there was no physical environment 30 seconds ago?
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.
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Yes there was, but not before your consciousness of it.
Like the Buddha says in Pali scriptures, that the world arises from the 12 ayatanas or the 18 dhatus. (found in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Wings of Awakening). Similar view is also in Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka Karika. In the chapter of Prior Entity and elsewhere. Momentariness of consciousness doesn't change it at all.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:24 pm

Padma Von Samba wrote:Do you think there was no physical environment 30 seconds ago?

Aemilius wrote:Yes there was, but not before your consciousness of it.
Like the Buddha says in Pali scriptures, that the world arises from the 12 ayatanas or the 18 dhatus. (found in Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Wings of Awakening). Similar view is also in Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamaka Karika. In the chapter of Prior Entity and elsewhere. Momentariness of consciousness doesn't change it at all.


Are you saying that the Great Wall of China wasn't there until you knew about it?
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:47 pm

Without possessing paranormal vision we can make a logical exercise: Reincarnation is beginningless, a beginning can't be found. Therefore:
I existed during the 1,8 million years of the Quaternary Period. ( Here "I" is the merely nominal I, imputed on the the phenomenon of reincarnation and on life in general.)
I existed during the 63,2 million years of the Tertiary Period.
I lived during the 81 million years of the Cretaceous Period.
I lived during the 62 million years of the Jurassic Period.
I lived during the 40 million years of the Triassic Period.
I existed during the 32 million years of the Permian Period.
I existed during the 80 million years of the Carboniferous Period
I lived during the 48 million years of the Devonian Period.
I lived during the 30 million years of the Silurian Period.
I existed during the 67 million years of the Ordovician Period.
I existed during the 40 million years of the Cambrian Period
I lived during the 1960 million years of the Proterozoic Eon
I lived during the 1400 million years of the Archean Eon
I existed during the 1700 million years of the Hadean Eon
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:08 pm

Aemilius wrote: Here "I" is the merely nominal I, imputed on the the phenomenon of reincarnation and on life in general.


Please explain the meaning you give to these two terms:
1.reincarnation
2.life in general

Also, what defines, for you, the differences in all those periods you listed?

Thank you.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:27 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Aemilius wrote: Here "I" is the merely nominal I, imputed on the the phenomenon of reincarnation and on life in general.


Please explain the meaning you give to these two terms:
1.reincarnation
2.life in general

Also, what defines, for you, the differences in all those periods you listed?

Thank you.


By 'reincarnation' I mean the process that is described in the teaching of Pratitya samutpada or Conditioned genesis, which is explained in Stalk of the Rice sutra or Salistambha sutra, in Sravakayana sutras, in Lalitavistara sutra and other sutras that describe Buddha's enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

By 'life in general' I mean: 1. all the various forms of life that you see with your own eyes, 2. life forms that you know through interfence on the basis of bone fragments etc., 3. life forms that you know through the testimony of reliable persons, this means various kinds of beings that are not normally seen by the physical eyes, and 4.there are life forms that you know from video films, pictures and photographs, that you haven't seen yourself, but you see no reason to doubt their authenticity.

I take the difference in eons to be how they are described in the books and literature about the geological eons and eras. The eons and periods are distinctive, you don't need to add the existence of other realms of the wheel of life, for them to be different.

You can consider reincarnation through these eons and eras in terms of the life forms of creatures that are known and described by science. Or you can add the existence of the three realms to it, and thus enlarge your view a little. It is up to you, there isn't as yet a canonized buddhist explanation of it.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Wesley1982 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:47 pm

How about visions of the past?
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:45 am

Wesley1982 wrote:How about visions of the past?


There are many such visions in buddhism, there is a classification of sutras into twelve (or nine) scriptural categories. Several of these categories describe events in former lives and in former times. This means there are lots of visions and stories of the past in buddhist sutras. You just have to start reading them or start searching through them. Which again is a vast undertaking, but if you want to know buddhism why not read the sutras themselves?
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:08 am

Aemilius wrote:
Wesley1982 wrote:How about visions of the past?


There are many such visions in buddhism, there is a classification of sutras into twelve (or nine) scriptural categories. Several of these categories describe events in former lives and in former times. This means there are lots of visions and stories of the past in buddhist sutras. You just have to start reading them or start searching through them. Which again is a vast undertaking, but if you want to know buddhism why not read the sutras themselves?


I can start reading the sutras if they are translated into English. In another thread, several gave some links to cover the basics.

You want to share a link to a specific sutra for reading? thanks.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:30 am

In the Small Vehicle Canon there is the Maha Sinhanada Sutta, The Great Lion's Roar Scripture. In it the Buddha tells about his clairvoyant powers, about his other powers and his own past practice. Essential.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012.ntbb.html

There is the Agañña Sutta, Knowledge of the Beginnings of the Humankind Scripture.
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/AggannaSutta.pdf

There are many Mahayana sutras in the Fodian.net
http://www2.fodian.net/world/index.html
good transalations, and useful.
Visions of the Past occur in in several Mahayana Scriptures, like The Lotus Sutra, The Amitabha Sutra, etc... those two contain also visions and knowledge of the future.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:19 am

According to the buddhist world view, and the buddhist view of evolution, human beings on this planet were much larger bodied before, and they lived much longer. Their lifespan and stature gradually diminished untill they reached the present small stature and the short life of about 80 to 100 years.
Before Buddha Shakyamuni there were other Buddhas, who were much taller and had a much longer lifespan. Here is information about one of these earlier Buddhas, his name is Buddha Krakucchanda. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakusandha_Buddha
The subject is interesting, if you have an open and flexible mind and you can imagine the history of this planet in a different way. The world is empty of inherent existence, & without essence.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Son » Fri May 11, 2012 10:21 pm

Aemilius wrote:
It is a false view to assume that matter, or a material world, exists prior to consciousness. So how do you put it in a buddhist perspective?


There are all the higher spheres filled with conscious beings, including the four highest spheres which are immaterial and completely mental. Nothing exists prior to consciousness because it extends eternally into the past. Even as all the worlds in our billion world cluster dissolve, other worlds are forming, and other worlds exist throughout infinity. There are no circumstances in which material worlds would exist prior or after to consciousness.

There are many different ways of classifying existence into worlds in buddhism: we have three worlds, five worlds or six worlds, when the pure abodes are also considered we have four worlds or ten worlds, in Shurangama sutra there is a scheme of seven worlds, we also have a scheme of twenty worlds, and so on..


Three worlds refers to the sense world, the form world, and the formless world. Each of those have several spheres of living beings in them. but in the sense world alone there are six paradise spheres (catumaharajika, tavatimsa, yama, tusita, nimminarati, and paranimmi tavatavasi). There are sixteen spheres in the form world which is very heavenly. Finally in the formless world there are four spheres. The pure abodes mentioned are five spheres in the highest region of the form world. This includes a scheme of 31 spheres of living beings, and three levels of the universe which encompass a thousand of our worlds, a million, and a billion. The wheel of samsara depicts the many, many heavenly spheres as "one world," but this isn't according to the traditional teachings.

Just as people wanted to depict the sphere of pretas as being where "ghosts of the dead" live, for the sake of religious culture people tend to generalize the teaching of the many higher spheres as being "heaven," or "where gods live." In reality, the cosmos are comprised of a multitude of spheres, it's not a wheel. The wheel is merely an artistic and mystical depiction. The teachings never say, "you can imagine other worlds of existence however you want," and pretend some of them aren't there for the sake of classification. What about the innumerable beings living in the spheres you ignore? They don't just go away. The sphere is a real place where real living beings live.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Aemilius » Sat May 12, 2012 10:12 am

In the Aggañña sutra, and I believe the same is found in the Abhidharma, it says that the world expands and then the world contracts. If you have read something of modern astromony and physics, like Stephen Hawkins' Short History of Time, that is a very interesting idea. The system that is expanding is much larger than the thousand million worlds of Saha universe, which means the Milky Way Galaxy. It is all the galaxies in our space and time continuum.
K. N. Jayatilleke and Mahayana authors of Abhidharma have in fact said that there are more world systems in the universe than this local galaxy of Saha world, and that this is mentioned in the sutras.
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Re: Does anyone have an experience of visions of the future?

Postby Son » Sun May 13, 2012 3:09 am

Aemilius wrote:In the Aggañña sutra, and I believe the same is found in the Abhidharma, it says that the world expands and then the world contracts. If you have read something of modern astromony and physics, like Stephen Hawkins' Short History of Time, that is a very interesting idea. The system that is expanding is much larger than the thousand million worlds of Saha universe, which means the Milky Way Galaxy. It is all the galaxies in our space and time continuum.
K. N. Jayatilleke and Mahayana authors of Abhidharma have in fact said that there are more world systems in the universe than this local galaxy of Saha world, and that this is mentioned in the sutras.


Actually, the correct translation is not "expand" and "contract." The Buddha didn't teach the expansion and contraction of the universe, sorry.

Also, Saha world does not refer to the galaxy. It refers to the land on Earth.
I think you should study some of these translations more carefully and read the texts yourself. It's very bad to confuse the Buddha's teachings into different terms so you can apply them to modern theory. Scientific theory is scientific theory.
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