Where is Mount Sumeru?

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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:34 pm

"In the same way, monks, there are many more things that I have found out, but not revealed to you. What I have revealed to you is only a little. And why, monks, have I not revealed it?

"Because, monks, it is not related to the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment or Nibbaana. That is why I have not revealed it. And what, monks, have I revealed?

"What I have revealed is: 'This is Suffering, this is the Arising of Suffering, this is the Cessation of Suffering, and this is the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
In terms of an individual's spiritual progress it doesn't matter what cosmological system they believe in. I think the Buddha knew how the universe really exists but worried that if he deviated from the contemporary view: 1. people would find fault with Buddhism on that basis alone and 2. his disciples would be more interested in learning about that than about Buddhism.
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-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby wayland » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:52 pm

chokyi lodro wrote: From our perspective, as earth-bound beings, the sun does indeed make its daily appearance, on its inexorable daily grind from east to west. …just as it does make sense to visualize the universe we would desire as a mandala, an idealized form, even as small as a disc, despite that the universe could never possibly fit into a disc, and even a largely two-dimensional one at that!

I suppose what I am trying to say is that although it is definitely not physically how depicted, it does make sense to the human mind to visualise the universe under the guise of that symbol.

Very much my take on it too. Insomuch as it is used in mandala practice, it has a "location" of sorts and a purpose.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Nosta » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:16 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
"In the same way, monks, there are many more things that I have found out, but not revealed to you. What I have revealed to you is only a little. And why, monks, have I not revealed it?

"Because, monks, it is not related to the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment or Nibbaana. That is why I have not revealed it. And what, monks, have I revealed?

"What I have revealed is: 'This is Suffering, this is the Arising of Suffering, this is the Cessation of Suffering, and this is the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
In terms of an individual's spiritual progress it doesn't matter what cosmological system they believe in. I think the Buddha knew how the universe really exists but worried that if he deviated from the contemporary view: 1. people would find fault with Buddhism on that basis alone and 2. his disciples would be more interested in learning about that than about Buddhism.


But at same time, Buddha saying something that he knew to be wrong, is causing doubts about the things he say. For example, I can question myself: if Mount Sumeru is just something unreal/not correct, can I say that other teachings like the existence of Pure Land, Karma Law, realms of existence, etc are correct too?
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Caz » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:14 am

My teacher said it was real, I just get the feeling its not physically present on earth but rather present on a grand cosmological scale. Perhaps as something only seen with pure eyes. :namaste:
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby plwk » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:00 am



Short excerpt from a meeting between HHDL and a Thai delegation in Dharamsala in March 2011.
Interesting to hear what HHDL opines on Mt Meru, cosmology, the Abhidharmakosa, the essence/focus of the Buddha's Teaching, Big Bang... the focus starts at 2:59-8:11
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:20 am

Nosta wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:
"In the same way, monks, there are many more things that I have found out, but not revealed to you. What I have revealed to you is only a little. And why, monks, have I not revealed it?

"Because, monks, it is not related to the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment or Nibbaana. That is why I have not revealed it. And what, monks, have I revealed?

"What I have revealed is: 'This is Suffering, this is the Arising of Suffering, this is the Cessation of Suffering, and this is the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
In terms of an individual's spiritual progress it doesn't matter what cosmological system they believe in. I think the Buddha knew how the universe really exists but worried that if he deviated from the contemporary view: 1. people would find fault with Buddhism on that basis alone and 2. his disciples would be more interested in learning about that than about Buddhism.


But at same time, Buddha saying something that he knew to be wrong, is causing doubts about the things he say. For example, I can question myself: if Mount Sumeru is just something unreal/not correct, can I say that other teachings like the existence of Pure Land, Karma Law, realms of existence, etc are correct too?
He was more concerned about getting Buddhism going than doubts that might arise in 2000 years I'd imagine.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Jinzang » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:50 am

If you press a Tibetan lama on this question, they will say all phenomena only exist in the mind, so some beings have the karma to perceive Mount Meru and others do not.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Ramon1920 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:37 am

I wouldn't get too caught up on details like that. The end of suffering is possible through human effort. We are Mahayana here, Nagarjuna divided the scriptures into interpretable and categorical a long time ago to reconcile these problems. It could be that Sumeru doesn't exist, or it's really something out in the cosmos, or maybe reality is fundamentally different than we imagine it to be right now and there's also a gigantic mountain here, it's not a critical teaching, your liberating yourself doesn't hinge on it.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby dorjeshonnu » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:29 am

purify the senses with concentration and so on - then find out
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:58 am

I think "Mount Sumeru/Meru" may have been once understood as an intangible nexus connecting unseen realms to the material world. I think that some ancient śramaṇas, shamans, and meditators in cultures with the concept of an ethereal world axis may have entered heightened states of consciousness and then followed this axis into what they perceived as other planes of existence. In this sense it may have been understood as something like the main road into unseen worlds of samsara, found only with the mind. I think that there is some evidence suggestive of this possibility.

First, there are the many hints that Mt. Sumeru was not viewed as an actual mountain. For example, it was thought to be higher than any actual mountain. It could be portrayed as a pillar or a post. It could be depicted as penetrating the spiritual universe "from top to bottom." (See Buddhist Cosmology by Akira Sadakata. On the other hand, the name of the "mountain" may have been derived from the sacred Persian mountain Merv.)

Second, there are similar concepts in other ancient cultures. When I used to study ancient Norse religion, I remember reading that a scholar suggested that the Norse shamans might have used the "world axis," conceived as the mighty tree Yggdrasil ("The Steed of Ygg") in the center of the world disk, connecting all spiritual realms to the material one, to visit unseen worlds inhabited by gods, spirits, and the like. Perhaps there is also a connection to "Jacob's ladder."

It's just an idea. If it is correct, however, it suggests that ancient people in different parts of the world may have used a similar "map" to approach "unseen realms."
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:25 pm

sukhamanveti wrote:It's just an idea. If it is correct, however, it suggests that ancient people in different parts of the world may have used a similar "map" to approach "unseen realms."


I agree with your ideas.

Also, to add to it, Sumeru is the abode of gods and so forth, many of which are non-corporeal from our perspective. It logically follows this is not a material place on earth.

I think what might have happened is that later thinkers indeed categorized it as physical geography and used it to help explain night and day (the sun going behind Mt. Meru causing darkness).
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby pueraeternus » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:32 pm

Indrajala wrote:
sukhamanveti wrote:It's just an idea. If it is correct, however, it suggests that ancient people in different parts of the world may have used a similar "map" to approach "unseen realms."


I agree with your ideas.

Also, to add to it, Sumeru is the abode of gods and so forth, many of which are non-corporeal from our perspective. It logically follows this is not a material place on earth.

I think what might have happened is that later thinkers indeed categorized it as physical geography and used it to help explain night and day (the sun going behind Mt. Meru causing darkness).


The shape of Sumeru is also described as hourglass, which would be weird for a massive mountain. The hourglass shape brings to mind tree iconography.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby TaTa » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:10 am

I recall my lama mention that is more likley the center of the universe
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:00 pm

There is an interesting description of Mt Sumeru in Abhidharmakosa of Vasubandhu. What lies atop Mt Sumeru is equally important, also vividly told by Vasubandhu.
In Torch of Certainty and other books about Ngondro practices it is said that Mt Sumeru is shaped like an upside down pyramid.
Being able to visualize the god realms is beneficial, it is included in the six or ten Anu-smriti practices. God realms nevertheless exist, so why not Mt Sumeru? If you have abundant merit, enough to be reborn there, you should be able to see or visualize them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby smcj » Wed May 29, 2013 7:15 am

catmoon wrote:There used to be a Mt. Sumeru in Africa, according to Google maps. But I just checked and it isn't there any more!

There's a Mt. Meru in western Africa. I read newspaper clip about an airplane crashing into it. :shrug:
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Aemilius » Wed May 29, 2013 11:12 am

I found it, Mt Meru, Arusha National Park, Tanzania.
There is also Meru Peak, Uttarkashi, Uttarkhand, India.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Zhen Li » Wed May 29, 2013 11:48 am

The Kamadhatu/Desire Realm:
Image
This is to scale as described in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam.

You can figure out what and where everything is with these:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Sumeru
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cosmology

I also made images for the form and formless realms, but I'm afraid the distances described are so vast as to render the pictures somewhat uninteresting expanses of space.

And no, nothing in this picture is supposed to be "immaterial" from our perspective. It is all rupa, form. That does not mean we have to try and figure out its location. Not everything needs to be presumed true prior to investigation. On the other hand, if you enjoy reveling in fantasy and mythological cosmologies, this can be a whole load of fun to imagine (and in the end, that's the point of it "all," isn't it?).
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Nothing » Thu May 30, 2013 12:48 am

Ben Yuan wrote:.....
The image is interesting.
The inverted triangle at the centre.....the blue sky above.....the planes of existence represented by the horizontal lines.....the white dot on the extreme left of the triangle with black surround.....the opposite to this on the right hand side is a yellow dot with blue sky.....the darker blue and cream columns.....the blue/red vertical bar on the right.....the orange base.

The yellow dot must be the sun among the blue sky.
The white dot must be the moon among the dark sky.
The darker blue/cream columns must be the oceans and the relevant lands on earth.....4 continents on either side.
The blue/red vertical bar.....?
The orange base.....earth?
The inverted triangle.....this should be Mount Sumeru.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Zhen Li » Thu May 30, 2013 3:10 am

The darker blue/cream columns must be the oceans and the relevant lands on earth.....4 continents on either side.

This is a side view, so the columns are the rings of mountains. If you save the image to your destop and open it in an image viewer and zoom in close, you will see that the continents are green lines in the final layer of blue oceans. There are two continents depicted in this cut away: Jambudvipa (right) and Uttarakuru (left). A top down view would reveal the four continents separated by vast expanses of ocean in the final layer of blue oceans. The blue columns are the rings of oceans, each one deeper than the next. The final blue column is 1 pixel deep (representing under 1000 yojanas).
The blue/red vertical bar.....?

The blue levels are the gold hells, the red levels are the hot hells. They're described as being under Jambudvipa. So I put them there.

Some however put it in the earth in between sea level and the golden layer, or within the golden layer. You can rearrange it if you prefer it that way.
The orange base.....earth?

The orange base is the Golden Layer of Earth, which is 320,000 yojanas deep (320 pixels). In the diagram I made of the form realm, you will be able to see the layers beneath this also (water and the cycle of wind).

For thinking of it in 3 dimensions (though not in the correct measurements), one image I like is this one, but I couldn't find a larger one.
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Re: Where is Mount Sumeru?

Postby Nothing » Thu May 30, 2013 1:14 pm

Ben Yuan wrote:.....

What is interesting also is that the image shows the extent of samsara, different planes of existence above the sky, the immediate earth/ocean/land relationships with the sun/moon existence. At the lower levels to this per the vertical blue/red bar representing lower realms. In addition, the general depth of earth itself with a thin blue line at the bottom representing the movements of wind/water in relation to the earth itself.

Clearly, the image shows nothing but existence itself representing samsara.....the extent of the immediate environment where one finds oneself.....this would directly correspond to the teaching where existence is suffering by itself.....what is more interesting is what is OUTSIDE the image.....which also corresponds to the teaching that anything outside the aim of escaping samsara is not taught as it is not required.

As everything is nothing but an illusion, the image would also relate to this too in a sense. If one were to relate these as the real thing then we fall into the trap that we are looking for something physical on earth which clearly is delusional. This is the same as trying to answer the question of the chicken and egg or did man arrive before the woman.....as everything is nothing but cause and effect, the answer lies within the understanding of the effect to establish the cause.

Yet at the very heart of the image, there is an inverted triangle (inverted pyramid/cone in 3d) which is the main object/subject in direct relationship with the surrounding environment as everything evolves around this. So clearly, this Mount Sumeru (inverted triangle/pyramid/cone) has a direct link to one who is situated in such an environment.....the viewer!

This Mount Sumeru cannot be some magical physical place where if one locates it and enters the place, it means one can escape the cycle of existence because existence itself is an illusion therefore the physical place will also be an illusion.....the illusion itself cannot escape an illusion, the illusion must be understood first.

The image shows where one sees oneself in an environment beyond their control and conditioned to exist.....as an effect one caused.
The inverted triangle (inverted pyramid/cone in 3d) can be further investigated.....to establish exactly what it is.

thoughts?
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