Where is Mount Sumeru?

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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:07 am

Aemilius wrote:
catmoon wrote:
Aemilius wrote:All movement is relative, i.e. all movement occurs in relation to other bodies (moving or stationary). There is no error in conceiving earth as stationary and sun as moving. It is a matter of perspective. Nevertheless, you have to be more accurate in geometry and physics. The ancient descriptions say that sun and moon move around Mount Sumeru.
A perceiver on earth will see that sun moves above equator and that sun thus makes a perfect circle around the South pole or the North pole. As a conclusion the only correct place for Sumeru is either the South Pole or the North Pole. For several reasons it seems logical that the South pole is the actual place of Mt Sumeru. I think the Mount Sumeru world map is hugely old, indians have inherited it from an earlier civilisation. It must be more than 200 000 years old, or come from that period in earth's history.
Experientally humans still perceive sun as moving and earth as stationary, it is very difficult to experience earth as moving and sun as stationary.


Good post except for one minor detail. The sun does not move above the equator. It does cross the equator twice a year but it's only in the right spot to fit this theory for a moment and the direction of motion is kind of wrong even then. For details Google "ecliptic".


Ecliptic is the sun's annual apparent path. But here I am referring to sun's apparent path during one 24 hour period, i.e. to the fact that when you are in the Northern hemisphere the sun at midday is in the South, and when you are in the Southern hemisphere the sun at midday is in the North. If you are in Athens at 12:00, you see the same sun as do the people in Johannesburg, but in Johannesburg they see it in the Northern direction.
Equator is the point in sun's 24 hour path, where it is right above you. This is how it is defined in classical geography. The point where sun is above you makes a circle around the globe during one 24 hour period, (or if you follow this point in imagination for 24 hours). If you now transfer this circle of equator into a flat earth cartogaphical presentation of Earth, it makes a circle around the Antartica or Southpole (or alternatively the Northpole, if you like). In this way sun's apparent path circles Mount Sumeru, which is here thought to be the Southpole or the axis that goes through Antarctica.


You are not making things any better, you are just piling new errors on top of old. You can trust me when I tell you that you have it all completely bassackwards, in spite of the fact that you opened with a correct statement. Now why can you trust me? I would suggest that it is because I was an amateur astronomer for twenty years, was president of the local astronomical society, and have studied physics at university.

BTW just for example....

Equator is the point in sun's 24 hour path, where it is right above you.


This is wrong like nine different ways. First off, there are many places on the Earth where the Sun is NEVER directly overhead. Like every single point outside the tropics ok? Next, even when the Sun is as high as it gets, it is not on the equator or a projection of the equator on the sky. Worse still, at noon on the summer solstice, when us northerners see the sun as high in the sky as we ever can, the sun isn't on the equator- it is in fact, as far as it can be from the equator, the full 23.5 degrees of the earth's inclination.

At some point here I'm hoping you will realize just how badly you have misconceived all this. Your attempt at astronomy, well it's kind of a nine-car pile-up on the freeway, you know? You really..... shouldn't be trying to do this. Please?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:32 am

Just stick to the issue at hand, and don't mind my person. We don't need to take in any summer solstice, just the sun's daily apparent path. I don't see any fundamental error in what I have said, even if the circle that the sun makes isn't exactly the same as equator, because the Earth's axis of rotation is tilted, it is still a circle around the earth. On this circle sun is once a day overhead. And therefore the rest of what I have said is still valid.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:54 am

Map projection is a systematic transformation of the locations on the surface of sphere into locations on a plane. All normal maps of planet Earth are such projections. There are many different mathematical systems for making geometrical map projections.
This means that all our normal maps are in fact flat, they are representations of a spherical planet Earth in a plane, as a flat surface. The Mount Sumeru & Four Continents map is not in principle different from modern maps.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:28 am

Malcolm wrote:But your mind too does not exist from its own side...so what does it depend on?


Mind depends upon many factors such as its parts, energy winds, previous moments and objects.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:01 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:But your mind too does not exist from its own side...so what does it depend on?


Mind depends upon many factors such as its parts, energy winds, previous moments and objects.


Uh huh -- so why privilege mind as the arbiter of external appearances?

Why don't you just simple say "If you have the dependent origination to perceive x, then you will"?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby zamotcr » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:11 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:Mind depends upon many factors such as its parts, energy winds, previous moments and objects.


But such energy winds, objects or parts are mind made too :rolling:
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:49 pm

Aemilius wrote:Just stick to the issue at hand, and don't mind my person. We don't need to take in any summer solstice, just the sun's daily apparent path. I don't see any fundamental error in what I have said, even if the circle that the sun makes isn't exactly the same as equator, because the Earth's axis of rotation is tilted, it is still a circle around the earth. On this circle sun is once a day overhead. And therefore the rest of what I have said is still valid.


Well except for one thing. Your location for Mt Sumeru will not logically land on the North or South poles, it would be on the ecliptic pole, thus it would be somewhere on either the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Circle, which means there is about an 80% chance the location prescribed by your scriptural analysis is in open ocean. Worse, due to precession, that location migrates around the (Ant)Arctic Circle once every 23,000 years or so, which in turn means that Mt Sumeru, wherever it is, has moved hundreds of miles since the time the scriptures were first written down.


Now we know that the location can't be the north pole for the simple reason that there is no land for hundreds of miles, maybe even thousands, around the north pole. And it can't be at the South Pole because the area is essentially flat for hundreds of miles in all directions. It can't be on the ecliptic poles either, as shown above, because that gives us a wandering Mt Sumeru. In short, there is no reasonable location for Mt Sumeru on this planet.

However, if you allow for the historical fact of an isolated society whose world view barely exceeds Tibet, then there is one obvious candidate - Mt Kailash.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby catmoon » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:03 pm

A footnote for the sake of fairness.

We go around the sun once a year, which means the sun shifts its position against the background stars by roughly one degree per day. To a pretty good approximation, this means the sun in one day traverses a circular path on the sky very similar to the paths of the stars, centered on either the north or south poles, depending on your POV and latitude. For periods of time exceeding one day, this approximation fails rapidly.

The above argument was really problem of differing assumptions, for the most part, about which system of co-ordinates is best to approach the problem.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:18 am

catmoon wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Just stick to the issue at hand, and don't mind my person. We don't need to take in any summer solstice, just the sun's daily apparent path. I don't see any fundamental error in what I have said, even if the circle that the sun makes isn't exactly the same as equator, because the Earth's axis of rotation is tilted, it is still a circle around the earth. On this circle sun is once a day overhead. And therefore the rest of what I have said is still valid.


Well except for one thing. Your location for Mt Sumeru will not logically land on the North or South poles, it would be on the ecliptic pole, thus it would be somewhere on either the Arctic Circle or the Antarctic Circle, which means there is about an 80% chance the location prescribed by your scriptural analysis is in open ocean. Worse, due to precession, that location migrates around the (Ant)Arctic Circle once every 23,000 years or so, which in turn means that Mt Sumeru, wherever it is, has moved hundreds of miles since the time the scriptures were first written down.


Now we know that the location can't be the north pole for the simple reason that there is no land for hundreds of miles, maybe even thousands, around the north pole. And it can't be at the South Pole because the area is essentially flat for hundreds of miles in all directions. It can't be on the ecliptic poles either, as shown above, because that gives us a wandering Mt Sumeru. In short, there is no reasonable location for Mt Sumeru on this planet.


The matter is very simple: Sun goes around Southpole in a circular path. Because the Earth's axis is tilted, the centre of this circle is not exactly in the Southpole. That the centre of this circle wanders a little during the course of time is true ofcourse. But Mount Sumeru is in the Southpole because indian buddhists, like the writers of Abhidharma, knew that when it is day in Jambudvipa (ie India), it is night in the Kuru Continent (ie South America). Southpole is thus the only logical alternative for Mount Sumeru.

Mount Sumeru is blue in the daytime, and it is the sky overhead, it is not something else. The blueness of the sky is what we humans see of Mount Sumeru, this was said in the teachings of Ngondro in Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in 1990's, by a Lama that is called Omzela. I had heard this same thing before, about Mount Sumeru and the blue sky, it is not something unique to Lama Omzela.
Logically then the crystal side of Mount Sumeru is the night sky; crystal is transparent and therefore we see into the space at night.
The teachings do say that it (Sumeru) turns around slowly. Thus also the axis of Earth's rotation is a logical place for Mount Sumeru.

Ecliptic pole http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecliptic_pole
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:59 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:But your mind too does not exist from its own side...so what does it depend on?


Mind depends upon many factors such as its parts, energy winds, previous moments and objects.


Uh huh -- so why privilege mind as the arbiter of external appearances?

Why don't you just simple say "If you have the dependent origination to perceive x, then you will"?


It's a good question that I've been giving some thought. I think it's because Buddha did - he said there is no creator other than mind, so although mind doesn't exist from its own side it's still the creator of all our experiences. In the Mahamudra teachings Buddha said "if you realise your own mind, you will become a Buddha. You should not seek Buddhahood elsewhere." I think it's possible to assert the primacy of mind without being a Chittamatrin, especially because karma arises from intention, which is part of mind, and the world arises from conceptual imputation which is the major function of mind.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:03 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
It's a good question that I've been giving some thought. I think it's because Buddha did - he said there is no creator other than mind, so although mind doesn't exist from its own side it's still the creator of all our experiences. In the Mahamudra teachings Buddha said "if you realise your own mind, you will become a Buddha. You should not seek Buddhahood elsewhere." I think it's possible to assert the primacy of mind without being a Chittamatrin, especially because karma arises from intention, which is part of mind, and the world arises from conceptual imputation which is the major function of mind.


You do realize that line of reasoning suffers from infinite regress?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby catmoon » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:23 am

Aemilius wrote:
The matter is very simple: Sun goes around Southpole in a circular path. Because the Earth's axis is tilted, the centre of this circle is not exactly in the Southpole. That the centre of this circle wanders a little during the course of time is true ofcourse. But Mount Sumeru is in the Southpole because indian buddhists, like the writers of Abhidharma, knew that when it is day in Jambudvipa (ie India), it is night in the Kuru Continent (ie South America). Southpole is thus the only logical alternative for Mount Sumeru.

Mount Sumeru is blue in the daytime, and it is the sky overhead, it is not something else. The blueness of the sky is what we humans see of Mount Sumeru, this was said in the teachings of Ngondro in Dhagpo Kagyu Ling in 1990's, by a Lama that is called Omzela. I had heard this same thing before, about Mount Sumeru and the blue sky, it is not something unique to Lama Omzela.
Logically then the crystal side of Mount Sumeru is the night sky; crystal is transparent and therefore we see into the space at night.
The teachings do say that it (Sumeru) turns around slowly. Thus also the axis of Earth's rotation is a logical place for Mount Sumeru.

Ecliptic pole http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecliptic_pole


So what are you saying? It sounds like you are saying that if we all go to the South Pole, we will find there a mountain that isn't a mountain, blue on one side and made of crystal on the other, some part of which can be seen from any part of the world at any given time.

Don't you think the many people who have actually been there might have reported something a little out of the ordinary, if this were the case?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby kirtu » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:46 am

Aemilius wrote:Mount Sumeru is blue in the daytime, and it is the sky overhead, it is not something else. The blueness of the sky is what we humans see of Mount Sumeru,... Logically then the crystal side of Mount Sumeru is the night sky; crystal is transparent and therefore we see into the space at night.
The teachings do say that it (Sumeru) turns around slowly. Thus also the axis of Earth's rotation is a logical place for Mount Sumeru.


So either Earth's rotation itself is Mt. Sumeru or we can take Mt. Sumeru to be the sky itself.

But there is really no massive mountain at the North or South Pole (although there are massive mountain ranges in Antarctica).

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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Aemilius » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:10 am

In ancient India they perceived Mount Sumeru to be higher than the orbit of the sun, (the exact measures of the height of the Sun's path and of Mount Sumeru in the Abhidharma have been given earlier by Zhen Li). Indian buddhists perceived that the blue sky is behind the sun and that it is therefore higher than the sun's path. Thus Sumeru is higher than the sun's orbit around it.
Sumeru is an imaginary (or real) inverted pyramid shaped mountain, one side of which is the blue sky.

Sumeru is also the axis of Earth's rotation.
All movement is relative: we can think that either the trains move, or that the stations move and trains are stationary. In modern times we think that the Earth rotates and its axis is stationary; in ancient India they held that Earth is stationary but its axis (Mount Sumeru or the sky) rotates.

Mount Sumeru is real in the view that perceives Indra's Palace and the Trayastrimsa Devas, and the god realms above Trayastrimsa devaloka. Incidentally, in ancient Europe too the gods Jupiter, Zeus, etc.. live above the blue sky.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby catmoon » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:53 am

Aemilius wrote:

Mount Sumeru is real in the view that perceives Indra's Palace and the Trayastrimsa Devas, and the god realms above Trayastrimsa devaloka. Incidentally, in ancient Europe too the gods Jupiter, Zeus, etc.. live above the blue sky.


Right. And the vast majority of people have no difficulty at all in rejecting the idea (Zeus et al) on the grounds that it is completely bonkers. You probably reject it yourself. What puzzles me is the way most organizations exercise reasonable skepticism selectively, subjecting the beliefs of others to laughter yet hold their own mythologies to be holy and true.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:13 pm

Why do people think there has to be some correlation between the earth as it appears and the description of Mount Sumeru, etc, in the Abhidharmas?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:14 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
It's a good question that I've been giving some thought. I think it's because Buddha did - he said there is no creator other than mind, so although mind doesn't exist from its own side it's still the creator of all our experiences. In the Mahamudra teachings Buddha said "if you realise your own mind, you will become a Buddha. You should not seek Buddhahood elsewhere." I think it's possible to assert the primacy of mind without being a Chittamatrin, especially because karma arises from intention, which is part of mind, and the world arises from conceptual imputation which is the major function of mind.


You do realize that line of reasoning suffers from infinite regress?


I'm curious why - please explain Malcolm :smile:
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:17 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:
It's a good question that I've been giving some thought. I think it's because Buddha did - he said there is no creator other than mind, so although mind doesn't exist from its own side it's still the creator of all our experiences. In the Mahamudra teachings Buddha said "if you realise your own mind, you will become a Buddha. You should not seek Buddhahood elsewhere." I think it's possible to assert the primacy of mind without being a Chittamatrin, especially because karma arises from intention, which is part of mind, and the world arises from conceptual imputation which is the major function of mind.


You do realize that line of reasoning suffers from infinite regress?


I'm curious why - please explain Malcolm :smile:


Well, there are two problems: one your mind is not the only mind. This automatically means that unless you are a solipsist, you automatically must accept the existence of external entities that are not products of your mind, i.e. other minds.

Second, when you claim that everything is a product of one's own mind, including the causes and conditions that give rise to the mind itself, you are locked in an infinite regress, essentially asserting that the mind causes itself.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Lindama » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:42 am

So, is it turtles all the way down?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Kunzang » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:51 am

Although it's almost certain that Meru doesn't actually correspond to any real geographical location -- certainly not in any literal way as the abhidharma literature describes -- yet, like others, I often indulge in speculating on other and non-literal interpretations of Buddhist cosmology.

Maps are useless without their keys. Perhaps Meru and the associated abhidharmic geography once referred to real locations, but if that's true, then we long ago lost the keys to the maps (abhidharma, etc.) that we now have. And without those keys the maps got transmitted in increasingly distorted ways until we get what we have now: something that can't be made to fit modern geographical and cosmological knowledge in a convincing way.

Like Aemilius, the Meru-as-atmosphere/sky hypothesis is one I've also considered. Especially with the north pole as the center, it has some satisfying features. For instance, at the north pole the sun does appear to circle the sky/Meru as described in abhidharma cosmology. And when we create this map centered at the north pole, Antartica appears as if it is a narrow landform that encircles the world (see, for instance, the attached picture of a "polar projection" map), very similar to the way the "Iron Ring" mountain is described in the abhidharma literature.

meru.jpg
meru.jpg (18.95 KiB) Viewed 176 times


But it's far from a really satisfying and persuasive answer - it raises more questions than it answers. I guess I'll just have to wait until I develop the abhijñās so I can see for myself what the traditional cosmology really means.

Presently, our conventionally valid perceptions have been aided by technological advances. Just in my ~half-century lifetime, they've given us vast views of our universe that I think are splendidly congruent with some "macro" descriptions of Buddhist cosmology (e.g. some descriptions in the Avatamsaka Sutra that compare favorably to modern descriptions of galaxies and galactic clusters, etc.).
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