Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

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Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby carlinosin » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:29 am

Worlds, becoming, subsisting, and decaying,
Are measurless, unspeakable in number;
The differentiantions of the ten directions are unutterable,
The arrays of the oceans of worlds cannot be all told of…

What are the ten directions?
Could there be any connection to between "directions" and "dimensions"

In each of those rays of light…
…with untold beautiful forms in the lights,
With untold pure lights in the forms;
In each of those pure lights
Also appear various subtle lights
These lights also radiate varios lights

is this the basis for for the formation os Indra's net?
Indra's net is said to originate in this Sutra... is this it, or is there a definite description?

Reading this makes me think of visualisations of the universe from supestring theroy and holography...
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby Aemilius » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:05 pm

Ten directions are: North, South, East, West, Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest, Zenith, and Nadir

There is a chapter in Avatamsaka sutra about Indra's palace and the Tathagata's visit there, -can't remember its number, but the net should be there, hanging over Indra's palace.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby carlinosin » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:24 pm

Thanks
At 2500 BC, did the Buddha use a common language term, saying "ten directions"?
Could "North, South...Zenith, Nadir" be a latter interpretation?

If he was living today, with the existence of quantum mathematical language,
might he have said, while describing a universe seen with enlightened eyes,"ten dimensions"?
I ask, because his description is surprisingly similar to what Quantum Mechanics,
holography and super string theory describe as the building blocks of the universe.

The strange thing with superstring theory, which is a bit like Kabballa to Bible studies,
or Zen to Buddhism is that it does not work on a universe with three dimensions.

The mathematics of quantum physics and superstring theory is that it only works in a
universe with 10 dimensions.

I am working on my first book, "Journey through the caves of the mind".

I wish to create a "floating question". Could this be possible?

Could Siddharta Gautama have sent us a message through time?
Could he be saying to us "yes, you are in the right direction, I saw the math. I saw energy transformed to matter.
It is unspeakable. Only through the language of Mathematics can it be described."

Thanks for your time.
Carlos
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby cdpatton » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:55 am

carlinosin wrote:Thanks
At 2500 BC, did the Buddha use a common language term, saying "ten directions"?
Could "North, South...Zenith, Nadir" be a latter interpretation?

If he was living today, with the existence of quantum mathematical language,
might he have said, while describing a universe seen with enlightened eyes,"ten dimensions"?
I ask, because his description is surprisingly similar to what Quantum Mechanics,
holography and super string theory describe as the building blocks of the universe.

The strange thing with superstring theory, which is a bit like Kabballa to Bible studies,
or Zen to Buddhism is that it does not work on a universe with three dimensions.

The mathematics of quantum physics and superstring theory is that it only works in a
universe with 10 dimensions.

I am working on my first book, "Journey through the caves of the mind".

I wish to create a "floating question". Could this be possible?

Could Siddharta Gautama have sent us a message through time?
Could he be saying to us "yes, you are in the right direction, I saw the math. I saw energy transformed to matter.
It is unspeakable. Only through the language of Mathematics can it be described."

Thanks for your time.
Carlos


Well, to begin with, this type of text does not date back to 6th c. BC - rather, probably roughly the time of Christ, a couple centuries before or after. The Buddha lived during the 5th or 6th century BC (not 2500 BC). It's murky with Buddhist texts - it was all an oral tradition for centuries after his passing - and we infer general ideas about their dating based on translation records to Chinese and Tibetan, and comparing the contents of the texts to each other. Its fairly clear texts like this one were original documents composed by other people inspired by the Buddha centuries later.

I don't think it's possible to interpret the ten directions as ten dimensions in the way superstring theory is conceptualizing. They are directions (Sanskrit: diśa) in three dimensional space. I don't know if it goes back to the Buddha's time, but it is found in classical Indian literature generally, not just in Buddhist texts. Is there some code for quantum mechanical mathematics here? No. There are some ideas in Buddhism, such as a kind of radical relativity of things to one another in their existence, that strike a cord with modern physics. I think people get a little carried away going from there.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby carlinosin » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:36 am

Thanks Charlie.
I meant to write 2500 years ago.
I thought this sutra was in the original words of the Buddha.

Are there any original texts which are actually his words?

Thanks
Carlos
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby Aemilius » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:14 pm

I am of the opinion that in buddhism there are the three dimensions of space, plus time as the fourth, and a fifth dimension represented by Mountain Sumeru. Above Mountain Sumeru there are the levels of God Realms. Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 13 describes Tathagata's visit to the level where the god Indra resides and lives. Time scale is different in different god realms, their lifespans are much longer, and the size of their bodies larger. You could see this dimension of god realms as consisting of several subdimensions, like: the four Form dhyanas, the four Formless dhyanas, and the levels of Kamaloka devas. This way we get more than ten dimensions, however.

Traditionally these god realms exist, everything that was spoken in the god realms also exists. It is not the case that Buddha spoke only for humans, or only in the human realm, using only human language.
Modern scholars do not understand this, they can only think that many sutras were "invented and composed later".
They can accept only certain type of teachings as "early". In contrast, traditional chinese masters have classifies Avatamsaka sutra as belonging to the first period of Dharma, that followed immediately after the enlightenment of Buddha Gautama.

In the early period of Dharma the monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen, who attained the various levels of Dhyana, could communicate with the beings on those levels, for example with Indra and other deities, with departed buddhists, with the Trikaya of Buddha Shakyamuni, and so on... The world view was radically different in the time of Buddha Gautama and in the centuries and millennia that followed it. The criteria for valid knowledge and valid perception were vastly different than in the modern era.
The arising of the canonical sutras is really difficult to understand in the modern era. It is difficult to understand the functioning of the oral tradition, what it was like, when we no longer have it.

There were also political upheavals in India, that affected the formation of different buddhist schools and traditions. The worldly powers also played their role in the arising of buddhist religion, like it or not. There were many different states and kingdoms in ancient India, and thus the centralized view of the history of Dharma doesn't sound true and convincing.
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby Will » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:10 am

carlinosin wrote:Worlds, becoming, subsisting, and decaying,
Are measurless, unspeakable in number;
The differentiantions of the ten directions are unutterable,
The arrays of the oceans of worlds cannot be all told of…

What are the ten directions?
Could there be any connection to between "directions" and "dimensions"

In each of those rays of light…
…with untold beautiful forms in the lights,
With untold pure lights in the forms;
In each of those pure lights
Also appear various subtle lights
These lights also radiate varios lights

is this the basis for for the formation os Indra's net?
Indra's net is said to originate in this Sutra... is this it, or is there a definite description?

Reading this makes me think of visualisations of the universe from supestring theroy and holography...


The ten directions are usually in the context of worlds or realms or buddhas of the ten directions. So if one wants to apply the misnomer 'dimension' to a realm or world or buddha wisdom - OK.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby cdpatton » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:21 pm

carlinosin wrote:Thanks Charlie.
I meant to write 2500 years ago.
I thought this sutra was in the original words of the Buddha.

Are there any original texts which are actually his words?

Thanks
Carlos


Carlos,

Not in the sense that they are an exact verbatim transcriptions of what he said. The oral traditions - there were likely many regional versions - had very gradual accretions or edits over time themselves. We are talking about generation after generation of oral tradition, after all. But this was probably a good thing. Written documents were less reliable over such a vast passage of time. They are very easily doctored, mis-attributed, edited with additions and deletions,etc, by the editors who control their copy and circulation. Anyone involved in studying or translating carefully ancient texts runs into all of that very quickly.

With Buddhist texts what we have is a very large body of literature expressing a set of ideas in innumerable different ways. It doesn't lend itself very well to literalism of any kind. There will always be some variation found elsewhere that is different. Buddhists tried to avoid the "word of god" problem of other religions. They are more interested in what is true than in who said it originally. They assume everything the Buddha said was true, yes; but not that only what he said was true. So it was a more open canon than other religions.

This particular text is not part of the oral tradition originally. At least, it is not contained in the later written versions of the oral tradition that exist, such as the Theravadins' Nikayas or the Sarvastivadins' Agamas. It belongs to a genre of Buddhist literature that seems to have begun after writing was introduced and was part of the Mahayana movement that espoused the bodhisattva path.

Many of these texts have this kind of cosmic imagery you've found here. Some sound like candidates as the original science fiction. For example, they wrote about an infinite number of inhabited worlds in all directions from ours, which also had Buddhas. There was a literary device of having a disciple of a Buddha in some unimaginably faraway world hear about something happening on our world and coming to pay our Buddha a visit.

If you want to delve into the closest thing to the oral tradition that still exists in English, I would suggest checking into the translations of the Pali canon. It has been translated completely at least once, and now most of it has been re-translated into a more modern language. Wisdom Publications has been publishing the new translations.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby cdpatton » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:27 pm

Aemilius wrote:I am of the opinion that in buddhism there are the three dimensions of space, plus time as the fourth, and a fifth dimension represented by Mountain Sumeru. Above Mountain Sumeru there are the levels of God Realms. Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 13 describes Tathagata's visit to the level where the god Indra resides and lives. Time scale is different in different god realms, their lifespans are much longer, and the size of their bodies larger. You could see this dimension of god realms as consisting of several subdimensions, like: the four Form dhyanas, the four Formless dhyanas, and the levels of Kamaloka devas. This way we get more than ten dimensions, however.


I can certainly see that point of view - after all, is heaven physically above the earth? But Carlos is asking about a specific kind of theory which supposes space actually has ten dimensions of which we are only aware of three. It would be like a line (one dimension) on a page not being aware of width or depth. I suppose it is similar - but not the same thing either.

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Re: Avatamsaka Sutra Chapter 30

Postby Aemilius » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:15 pm

I have read a little about the multiuniversum theories they have put forward in recent years in Astronomical Journal, there must be some reason behind these kind of views, they speak of even 22 dimensional universes.
What is meant by any additional dimensions beyond the three plus time as fourth is not so difficult to understand when you read what they actually say, for example in the wikipedia article Multiverse there is one model of six parallel universes, which not so far fetched from the normal buddhist world view, when you think about it.
http://en.wikpedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

Vasubandhu says in Ahidharmakosa that beings in one realm are (normally) not aware of other realms or their beings. So this fulfills the criterion for the existence of other dimensions in buddhism, because these other realms exist.

In some ways buddhists are aware of these other dimensions, when they think about the five or six realms of rebirth, or about the three dhatus, or about the pure realms of buddhas and bodhisattvas or realms of anagamins in sravakayana.
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