Validating Mount Meru

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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MrKoala
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Validating Mount Meru

Post by MrKoala »

I would genuinely like to know the general consensus among modern Therevadan buddhists as to the cosmology of Mount Meru. Myth, skillful means or other?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Ceisiwr »

To teach a point it’s sometimes wise to use concepts the audience are familiar with.
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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MrKoala
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by MrKoala »

Thank you for your reply.

Considering that perspective, (as a new buddhist) how then, do we separate out preta, deva, etc.. from that which is used to teach a point?
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Kim OHara
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Kim OHara »

MrKoala wrote: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:26 am ..."modern Therevadan buddhists" ...
Nearly all of them are Sri Lankan, Thai, etc., and have grown up with Mount Meru just as Westerners have grown up with the Garden of Eden.

That probably gives you a fairly accurate idea.

:coffee:
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santa100
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by santa100 »

MrKoala wrote:I would genuinely like to know the general consensus among modern Therevadan buddhists as to the cosmology of Mount Meru. Myth, skillful means or other?
There was a similar discussion here
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Ceisiwr »

MrKoala wrote: Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:32 pm Thank you for your reply.

Considering that perspective, (as a new buddhist) how then, do we separate out preta, deva, etc.. from that which is used to teach a point?

Those also teach a point. The difference is that rebirth is an important concept in the Dhamma. Ancient geography isn’t.
“His deliverance, being founded upon truth, is unshakeable. For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.

Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta
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Aloka
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Aloka »

MrKoala wrote: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:26 am I would genuinely like to know the general consensus among modern Therevadan buddhists as to the cosmology of Mount Meru. Myth, skillful means or other?
Hi Mr Koala,

This talk about "Meaningful Myth and Buddhist Cosmology" by Ajahn Amaro the abbot ofAmaravati Monastery is definately worth listening to:

https://www.amaravati.org/audio/gods-de ... -cosmology


:anjali:
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cappuccino
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by cappuccino »

Mount Kailash (Kailasa) is known as Mount Meru in Buddhist texts.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kailash
dharmacorps
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by dharmacorps »

Also recommend Ajahn Punnadhammo's book A Buddhist Cosmos. Gets into this issue deeply.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

Buddhist view
In Buddhism
Main articles: Buddhist cosmology and Mount Meru (Buddhism)
According to Buddhist cosmology, Mount Meru (or Sumeru) is at the centre of the world[16] and Jambūdvīpa is south of it. It is 80,000 yojanas wide and 80,000 yojanas high according to the Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam[17][18] and 84,000 yojanas high according to the Long Āgama Sutra.[4] Trāyastriṃśa is on its peak, where Śakra resides. The Sun and the Moon revolve around Mount Meru and as the Sun passes behind it, it becomes nighttime. The mountain has four faces, each one made of a different material—the Northern face is made of gold, the Eastern one is made of crystal, the Southern one is made of lapis lazuli, and the Western one is made of ruby.[16]

In Vajrayāna, maṇḍala offerings often include Mount Meru, as they in part represent the entire universe.[19][20] It is also believed that Mount Meru is the home of the buddha Cakrasaṃvara.[21]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru
Current View of Science on the Universe
Dark matter is a form of matter thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe and about a quarter of its total energy density. Its presence is implied in a variety of astrophysical observations, including gravitational effects that cannot be explained by accepted theories of gravity unless more matter is present than can be seen. For this reason, most experts think that dark matter is abundant in the universe and that it has had a strong influence on its structure and evolution. Dark matter is called dark because it does not appear to interact with observable electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and so it is undetectable by existing astronomical instruments.[1]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
What Is Dark Energy?
More is unknown than is known. We know how much dark energy there is because we know how it affects the universe's expansion. Other than that, it is a complete mystery. But it is an important mystery. It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the universe. Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn't be called "normal" matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the universe.
https://science.nasa.gov/astrophysics/f ... ark-energy
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Stephen18
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Stephen18 »

I don't think that the Buddha taught about Mount Meru. These must have been insertions in the texts.

The texts have been dabbled with, I'm telling you. Reason with the texts and don't believe everything there. I don't believe in most legends, either.
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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Wizard in the Forest »

Mount Meru is figurative language to describe the kind of lives Devatā live. It is both beautiful and pristine and entirely distant from all things worldly to the point where leaving it seems inconceivable.

As such most stories referring to Mount Meru are often stories to show unfathomable distance heightwise and also complete emotional distance. It's the same way most cultures have an ocean reference to describe unfathomable depths and unfathomable distance as well. If you went even further than that it would be using words that no one in the time period would be remotely familiar with and even with metaphor there's only so much, like the Buddha describing a kalpa as rubbing a silk brocade against a mountain once every hundred years and eventually turning it into dust.
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Aloka
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Aloka »

Here's an article by Ajahn Punnadhammo : "The View from Mount Meru" in which he begins the last paragraph with:
In the West, we no longer remember the old myths very much, but there is a huge market for new-coined ones like Star Wars and Harry Potter. There is no doubt that human beings seem to need and crave myths that speak to a deep place within.

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-view-from-mount-meru/
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Caodemarte
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by Caodemarte »

Most, if not all, Buddhists throughout Buddhist majority countries, accept modern science and geography as more factually accurate. They have no problem accepting Mt. Meru and traditional cosmology as symbolic or mythical at best (or worse?). This is really not a problem.
chownah
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Re: Validating Mount Meru

Post by chownah »

Aloka wrote: Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:49 am Here's an article by Ajahn Punnadhammo : "The View from Mount Meru" in which he begins the last paragraph with:
In the West, we no longer remember the old myths very much, but there is a huge market for new-coined ones like Star Wars and Harry Potter. There is no doubt that human beings seem to need and crave myths that speak to a deep place within.

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-view-from-mount-meru/
.
I think it is an overly broad statement to say that human beings in general seem to need and crave myths. Some people do and some people don't. If humans in general craved myths then the old ones wouldn't be forgotten. I think that mostly the people who claim that humans crave myths are people who are heavily invested in myths usually either by believing in them or in believing in their value or studying them and writing about them. People who believe in myths like to read things which validate their beliefs and saying things like "There is no doubt that human beings seem to need and crave myths that speak to a deep place within" is the kind of thing which provides that validation.....it also validates and makes a market for those studying myths and who receive earnings from writing about myths.

I think it is wrong to consider star wars and harry potter to be equivalent to myths. They are fantasies and are taken as fantasies while myths were taken to be realities.....big difference.

chownah
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