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Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:15 pm
by gavesako
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BUDDHIST COSMOLOGY



"Now there comes a time, Vasettha, when after a long period of time

this world contracts. When the world contracts beings are for the

most part born in the realm of Radiance There they exist made of

mind, feeding on joy, self-luminous, moving through the air,

constantly beautiful; thus they remain for a long, long time.

Now there

comes a time, Vasettha, when after a long period of time this world

expands. When the world expands beings for the most part fall from

the realm of Radiance and come here [to this realm]; and they exist

made of mind, feeding on joy, self-luminous, moving through the

air, constantly beautiful; thus they remain for a long, long

time." (1)

This striking and evocative passage introduces the well-known

account of the evolution of the world and human society found in the

Agganna-sutta of the Pali Digha Nikaya.(2) It marks the beginning of

a particular line of thought within Buddhist tradition concerning

the world and its cycles of expansion and contraction. It is this

line of thought that I wish to investigate in the present article.

....

The assimilation of cosmology and psychology
found in early Buddhist thought and developed in the Abhidharma must
be seen in this context to be fully understood and appreciated. I
can do no better than to finish with the words of the Buddha:

"That the end of the world . . . is to be known, seen or reached by
travelling -- that I do not say. . . . And yet I do not say that one
makes an end of suffering without reaching the end of the world.
Rather, in this fathom-long body, with its consciousness and mind, I
declare the world, the arising of the world, the ceasing of the
world and the way leading to the ceasing of the world." (80)


From: Cosmology and meditation: from the Agganna-Sutta to the Mahayana. (Buddhism)

Rupert Gethin

http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-EPT/rupert.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:57 pm
by alan
Link isn't working.

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:51 pm
by Ron-The-Elder
From: Cosmology and meditation: from the Agganna-Sutta to the Mahayana. (Buddhism)

Rupert Gethin
Is this sutta found in The Tipitaka or The Pali Canon?

If not, what is the point of investigation?

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:06 pm
by piotr
It's in Dīgha-nikāya.

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:50 pm
by mikenz66
piotr wrote:It's in Dīgha-nikāya.
Yes, DN 27.

And I don't recall being able to find an English translation in any of the on-line sources I know about.

Like quite a few interesting suttas... One shouldn't assume that sites like Access to Insight are comprehensive.

:anjali:
Mike

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:58 pm
by mikenz66
Here is Gethin's article from another source:
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha190.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Mike

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:17 pm
by piotr
Here's translation of Aggañña-sutta by T. W. Rhys Davids (1899)

http://www.buddhistlibraryonline.net/en ... ganna.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:27 pm
by mikenz66
Thanks!

:anjali:
Mike

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:21 pm
by piotr
BTW, if I remember correctly, our venerable Dhammanando once wrote about this essay: “Excellent article by Rupert Gethin!”

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:08 pm
by Will
mikenz66 wrote:
piotr wrote:It's in Dīgha-nikāya.
Yes, DN 27.

And I don't recall being able to find an English translation in any of the on-line sources I know about.

Like quite a few interesting suttas... One shouldn't assume that sites like Access to Insight are comprehensive.

:anjali:
Mike
Here is Walshe's translation: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/religion/f2 ... asutta.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:32 am
by alan
What is the purpose of this thread?
Cosmology is meaningless. That is the point of the "fathom-long body" quote.

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 2:24 pm
by Will
alan wrote:What is the purpose of this thread?
Cosmology is meaningless. That is the point of the "fathom-long body" quote.
Nothing Buddha taught is without a helpful purpose. He taught the Agganna Sutta.

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:58 am
by pulga
From one of Ven. Ñanavira's early letters to Ven. Ñanamoli:

I also met (while bathing in the field) two Englishmen who have been in Ceylon doing underwater photography and writing books about it. (Seeing me, they stopped their car and got out.) One of them is interested in space-travel, but since he is now getting too old for travelling in space (but I thought it made you younger) he has turned to underwater photography (what is the connexion?). Apart from the Ven. C. Thera, he is the first such enthusiast I have met, but is doubtless typical of millions of others in the world today.

I was asked what the Buddha had to say about space-travel, and I managed to remember Rohitassa Devaputta (in A.IV and elsewhere) who space-travelled for a hundred years without coming to the end of the world. The Buddha told him that it is not by going that one comes to the end of the world, as doubtless you will remember. This rather fascinated them; but I fear that the Buddha's "end of the world" remained a mystery. The would-be-space-traveller is also, it seems, a bit of a philosopher—he has even written a book of philosophical essays, now in the press. What is his philosophy? Answer: we only have to wait another hundred thousand years before we shall have met (through space-travel) beings far, far more intelligent than any we know of, who will tell us all the answers. What faith in Science! What hopes for the future! What confidence that by going the end of the world will be reached! After the encounter I felt rather as if I had read all the scientific articles in fifty London Observers.3


[3] London Observers: These Englishmen are probably Mike Wilson and Arthur C. Clarke.

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:53 pm
by Ron-The-Elder
mikenz66 wrote:
piotr wrote:It's in Dīgha-nikāya.
Yes, DN 27.

And I don't recall being able to find an English translation in any of the on-line sources I know about.

Like quite a few interesting suttas... One shouldn't assume that sites like Access to Insight are comprehensive.

:anjali:
Mike
You may want to add this to your online Tipitaka sources:

http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Agganna_Sutta" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: Buddhist take on the "End of the World"

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:40 pm
by gavesako
New video with nice graphics to illustrate the meaning:


Bhante Anandajoti: Devolution and Evolution

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFaoyp_wrlY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This video is built around a talk given in the Vivekavana Buddhist Society, Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia on January 6th 2013.

The talk is illustrated with infographics describing the planes of existence and with photographs and complimentary text.

The talk describes the various ways the universe comes to destruction, and how it re-evolves.

It also talks about the moral devolution of humans, before a reversal happens which eventually leads to the emergence of Metteyya (Maitreya) Buddha.

The talk is mainly based on two discourses in the Dīghanikāya, Aggaññasutta (DN 27) and Cakkavattisīhanādasutta (DN 26).

The first video in this series on The Planes of Existence is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzPIeCaV-is" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;