Cosmology

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Re: Cosmology

Postby Will » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:30 pm

aemillus: Using samadhi-vision to see atoms in the human body is not cosmology, but occult biology.

Could you give a sutta or two where samadhi-vision is mentioned as seeing the mandala cosmology, with Mt Meru in the center etc.?
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: Cosmology

Postby Aemilius » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:11 pm

What comes to mind directly is a Sutta where Ananda asks Tathagata whether he has been in the Brahma world with his mindmade body? -Tathagata answers in the affirmative. Then Ananda asks if he has been in the Brahma world with his physical body? In answer Tathagata explains the procedure of suffusing the body with one's mind and suffusing the mind with one's body, like heating an iron ball for a whole day. Then the body becomes so light that it just floats in the air and it easily rises upwards even to the Brahma world.
Having done that means that he has had a direct vision of the world, he has seen what it is like, has seen what is its structure.

This Sutta is in the Wings to Awakening, an anthology of suttas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. (Samyutta Nikaya LI.22.)

World is seen differently in today's collective consciousness. It does not invalidate the earlier vision of the world, which corresponded with the general of consciousness of humanity at that particular time and epoch.
It is a concrete truth that the world is empty of inherent existence.
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Re: Cosmology

Postby Aemilius » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:48 pm

Huseng wrote:Classical Indian astronomy actually has a lot of accurate, scientific knowledge contained within it. This will be worth reading if you're interested:

http://www.bhaktivedantacollege.org/bvc ... ronomy.pdf

Richard Thompson's theory is that a more accurate model of cosmology was available in earlier times, but the vicissitudes of the kaliyuga has corrupted that tradition of knowledge. He has his own ideas too about what all the "mythological" elements of said cosmology mean, but nevertheless it is interesting.


Richard Thompson's discussion about the lenght of Yojana is interesting. In Buddhism Yojana is considered to be 6,4km, 12km or 16 km according to the glossary of The Threefold Lotus Sutra.

The same glossary of The Threefold Lotus Sutra says that according to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa the distance between two worlds in a Chiliocosm is 1 203 450 yojanas, which multiplied by 12 gives 14 441 400 kilometres. It is curious that Vasubandhu gives such an exact number. But it isn't quite enough, in modern knowledge the distance between Earth and Proxima Centauri is 4,3 light years, which is 40 678 000 000 000 km. It is possible find out the distances between other suns/stars in the Milkyway galaxy if you are interested.
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Re: Cosmology

Postby Will » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:25 pm

Aemilius wrote:What comes to mind directly is a Sutta where Ananda asks Tathagata whether he has been in the Brahma world with his mindmade body? -Tathagata answers in the affirmative. Then Ananda asks if he has been in the Brahma world with his physical body? In answer Tathagata explains the procedure of suffusing the body with one's mind and suffusing the mind with one's body, like heating an iron ball for a whole day. Then the body becomes so light that it just floats in the air and it easily rises upwards even to the Brahma world.
Having done that means that he has had a direct vision of the world, he has seen what it is like, has seen what is its structure.

This Sutta is in the Wings to Awakening, an anthology of suttas by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

World is seen differently in today's collective consciousness. It does not invalidate the earlier vision of the world, which corresponded with the general of consciousness of humanity at that particular time and epoch.
It is a concrete truth that the world is empty of inherent existence.


Thanks for the effort, but the vision of higher realms of kama dhatu or rupa dhata do not (as far as I know) reveal the mandala vision. Some sutras or suttas may very well give such a description, but I am not aware of them. I would like to know them though.

Here is a link where such a mandala is seen inwardly. Whether the visionary is seeing such because he is familiar with the idea and general appearance of a mandala or anyone, no matter their background would see the same, I do not know. There was some Xtian visionary (Hildegard?) whose visions resembled mandalas.

The link: http://www.dzogchencenter.cn/page3_2.htm
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: Cosmology

Postby Aemilius » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:45 am

Will wrote: Thanks for the effort, but the vision of higher realms of kama dhatu or rupa dhata do not (as far as I know) reveal the mandala vision. Some sutras or suttas may very well give such a description, but I am not aware of them. I would like to know them though.

Here is a link where such a mandala is seen inwardly. Whether the visionary is seeing such because he is familiar with the idea and general appearance of a mandala or anyone, no matter their background would see the same, I do not know. There was some Xtian visionary (Hildegard?) whose visions resembled mandalas.

The link: http://www.dzogchencenter.cn/page3_2.htm


I'm not sure what you mean? -The vision of the world like a mandala, with Mt Meru and the continents etc., is a not the same thing as a Mandala of Deities, that we find in Tantrism.

I understand the expression of "rising high as the Brahma World" implying the existence of Mt Meru, because Brahma worlds are above Mt Meru.

There is the Atanatiya Sutta where the Four Great Kings come from Mt Meru to discuss with Bhagavan Shakyamuni.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.32.0.piya.html
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Re: Cosmology

Postby Will » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:43 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Will wrote: Thanks for the effort, but the vision of higher realms of kama dhatu or rupa dhata do not (as far as I know) reveal the mandala vision. Some sutras or suttas may very well give such a description, but I am not aware of them. I would like to know them though.

Here is a link where such a mandala is seen inwardly. Whether the visionary is seeing such because he is familiar with the idea and general appearance of a mandala or anyone, no matter their background would see the same, I do not know. There was some Xtian visionary (Hildegard?) whose visions resembled mandalas.

The link: http://www.dzogchencenter.cn/page3_2.htm


I'm not sure what you mean? -The vision of the world like a mandala, with Mt Meru and the continents etc., is a not the same thing as a Mandala of Deities, that we find in Tantrism.

I understand the expression of "rising high as the Brahma World" implying the existence of Mt Meru, because Brahma worlds are above Mt Meru.

There is the Atanatiya Sutta where the Four Great Kings come from Mt Meru to discuss with Bhagavan Shakyamuni.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.32.0.piya.html


In an earlier post you wrote: "The root of buddhist cosmology is in the supranormal vision attained in samadhi." This may very well be true. So some Buddha of long ago may have had a samadhi "vision of the world like a mandala, with Mt Meru and the continents etc." The link I gave is an example of a type of mandala vision, so if a modern non-buddha can have such a vision, then a long-ago buddha could have visioned the basic cosmological model mandala. Thus supporting the notion that the Mt Meru model is a true vision of the universe, just not one seen with eyes of flesh.

But I was hoping to find a sutra that does not "imply" but states plainly and describes the basic cosmological mandala.
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: Cosmology

Postby Aemilius » Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:45 pm

Huseng wrote:I'm of the mind that India probably had a vast scientific tradition that was largely lost, just as the author Thompson suggests. The knowledge of astronomy, atomic theory and other things is curious and suggests it.

If you want to see an example of lost science, check out this thing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

Until they pulled it up from the sea, they had no idea some people at the time had the knowledge to make such things.


The Antikythera is amazing.
The very famous Ikaros actually had a teacher named Daedalos or Daidalos. Daidalos built for himself a flying machine and did not perish with it.
But then his failure pupil is the only thing that we are told of.
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Re: Cosmology

Postby Aemilius » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:01 pm

Will wrote:In an earlier post you wrote: "The root of buddhist cosmology is in the supranormal vision attained in samadhi." This may very well be true. So some Buddha of long ago may have had a samadhi "vision of the world like a mandala, with Mt Meru and the continents etc." The link I gave is an example of a type of mandala vision, so if a modern non-buddha can have such a vision, then a long-ago buddha could have visioned the basic cosmological model mandala. Thus supporting the notion that the Mt Meru model is a true vision of the universe, just not one seen with eyes of flesh.

But I was hoping to find a sutra that does not "imply" but states plainly and describes the basic cosmological mandala.


One of Buddha's epiteths is Knower of the Worlds. You might look up how Buddhaghosha explains "Knower of the Worlds" in Vishuddhimagga, the Path of Purification. It is considered that Buddhaghosha wrote down vast amount of knowledge that existed during his time as oral explanations, oral commentaries. The sutras/suttas themselves first existed as oral tradition, so what is the difference?
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Re: Cosmology

Postby Will » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:13 pm

Aemilius: The sutras/suttas themselves first existed as oral tradition, so what is the difference?


The Buddhist tradition itself discriminates between shastras by Dharma sages and sutras that reflect most accurately Buddha's teachings. Therefore if it is not a sutra or sutta is less likely to be based on what Buddha taught, but may only be views that some of his disciples think Buddha taught.
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: Cosmology

Postby Aemilius » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:40 pm

Will wrote:
Aemilius: The sutras/suttas themselves first existed as oral tradition, so what is the difference?


The Buddhist tradition itself discriminates between shastras by Dharma sages and sutras that reflect most accurately Buddha's teachings. Therefore if it is not a sutra or sutta is less likely to be based on what Buddha taught, but may only be views that some of his disciples think Buddha taught.


The thing is that if you are at the circle, or a follower of, a teacher say like Venerable Hsuan Hua, or Chögyam Trungpa, or any other Dharma teacher, you will get to know a lot of things that the teacher has said and that he has done, and none of these are in the publicised teachings. These things that you hear, in various ordinary situations, are essential, are important. I am sure it has been similar during the early days of Gautama Buddha's Sangha or circle of followers. We can be sure there are important authentic things in the extra canonical oral teachings.
If you read the Ñanamoli Bhikkhu's translation of Vishuddhimagga you can get this feeling of genuine oral teachings, it certainly is there.

The Atanatiya Sutta contains information about the mandala world view, the Four Great KIngs guard over the four sectors of the world, that is to say the eastern, southern, western and northern quarters. Thus the mandala world view is strongly implied, and even described a little, Mt Sumeru is Sineru in pali texts.
In the beginning of the Sutta there is a mandala of Deities with Gautama Buddha at the centre, and Yakkhas and Deities in the four quarters around him.
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