Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
theanarchist
Posts: 820
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:26 pm

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by theanarchist » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:28 pm

If I remember Myriad Worlds by Jamgon Kongtrul right, in Buddhism has several different cosmological doctrins.

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 25065
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Malcolm » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:49 pm

theanarchist wrote:If I remember Myriad Worlds by Jamgon Kongtrul right, in Buddhism has several different cosmological doctrins.
Three in fact: the Kośa, the Avatamska and the Kalacakra cosmologies. The much vaunted Dzogchen cosmology is actually nothing of the sort, and is just a restated version of the Kośa cosmology complete with a world tree.

It also seems that the authors of the Kalacakra Tantra knew full well that the Meru cosmology was merely symbolic because their calculations for the movements of the sun, moon, stars and planets ignore it, even though it is used to set up a hierarchy of the three lokas.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Relax, don’t worry about all the problems of samsara. Everything is relative. But try to be present.


— Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

haha
Posts: 88
Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by haha » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:32 pm

In pre-buddhist literatures (some Brahmanas and Aranyakas), there are many different assumptions about realms. The conception of buddhist realms base on karma theory or meditative absorptions, in contrast, the vedic literature has different basis and sometimes more symbolic. One can compare the realm of 33 gods: it is symbolic in vedic literature, whereas abhidharma regards 33 as sentient beings.

I heard that in Puranic literature gods and demons (asura) had used Mt. Sumeru to churn the oceans. :stirthepot:

So one can put this mountain anywhere to churn out the butter – buddhist cosmology or puranic cosmology.

User avatar
Aemilius
Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Aemilius » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:28 pm

There is the interesting event of Buddha Shakyamuni's descent from Trayastrimsa heaven and from Mount Sumeru, after He had preached the Abhidharma Pitaka there to His former mother. In this story He comes on three staircases or ladders provided for Him by the gods. The three staircases were of gold, silver and jewels. In this story Mount Sumeru is definitely in another dimension, it is above the sky. In traditional paintings the three ladders seem to descend from the sky.

Sankassa is the name of the place in India where Buddha's descended from Mount Sumeru, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sankassa
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
(Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1.)

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 1025
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Coëmgenu » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Malcolm wrote:Pretty hard to square this opinion with the Buddha's recognition that the Gayatri Mantra is the supreme among mantras (tat savitur...etc.) in the Pali Canon.
Do you have a credible source for this? I very much doubt this is "in the Pali Canon"...

Maitri,
Retro. :)
This is a very old post, but I have a tendency for lurking the dead threads at DharmaWheel for interesting information. The reference is Snp 3.4, the pretty obscure Sundarikabhāradvājasutta from the Suttanipāta in the Khuddakanikāya:
Brāhmaṇo hi ce tvaṃ brūsi mañca brūsi abrāhmaṇaṃ, taṃ taṃ sāvittiṃ pucchāmi tipadaṃ catuvīsatakkharaṃ.

If you call yourself a brahman but call me a non-brahman, then I ask you about the Sāvittī with three lines and twenty-four syllables.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

BuddhaFollower
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:41 pm

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by BuddhaFollower » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:25 am

Buddha says the Gayatri mantra is the supreme mantra in Samyutta Nikaya 111, Majjhima Nikaya 92 and Vinaya i 246 of the Pali Canon.

aggihuttamukhā yaññā sāvittī chandaso mukham.
Sacrifices have the agnihotra as foremost; of meter the foremost is the Sāvitrī.


Described on page 119 of this:
http://jocbs.org/index.php/jocbs/article/view/76/96

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1565
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:00 am

Malcolm wrote: the Kośa
This is from vasubhanduu right?

BuddhaFollower
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:41 pm

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by BuddhaFollower » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:06 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
Malcolm wrote:Pretty hard to square this opinion with the Buddha's recognition that the Gayatri Mantra is the supreme among mantras (tat savitur...etc.) in the Pali Canon.
Do you have a credible source for this? I very much doubt this is "in the Pali Canon"...

Maitri,
Retro. :)
This is a very old post, but I have a tendency for lurking the dead threads at DharmaWheel for interesting information. The reference is Snp 3.4, the pretty obscure Sundarikabhāradvājasutta from the Suttanipāta in the Khuddakanikāya:
Brāhmaṇo hi ce tvaṃ brūsi mañca brūsi abrāhmaṇaṃ, taṃ taṃ sāvittiṃ pucchāmi tipadaṃ catuvīsatakkharaṃ.

If you call yourself a brahman but call me a non-brahman, then I ask you about the Sāvittī with three lines and twenty-four syllables.

This is another instance of the Buddha talking about the Gayatri mantra.

The Buddha of the Pali Canon seems obsessed with Srauta.

User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6316
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Indrajala » Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:36 pm

BuddhaFollower wrote:Buddha says the Gayatri mantra is the supreme mantra in Samyutta Nikaya 111, Majjhima Nikaya 92 and Vinaya i 246 of the Pali Canon.

aggihuttamukhā yaññā sāvittī chandaso mukham.
Sacrifices have the agnihotra as foremost; of meter the foremost is the Sāvitrī.


Described on page 119 of this:
http://jocbs.org/index.php/jocbs/article/view/76/96

It is also a part of the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna.


Chapter 4 ( 'Inquiries' 衆相問品) sees Puṣkarasārin now delighted and convinced before asking Triśaṅku about his background, past lives and knowledge. Triśaṅku recites mantras highlighting how even he as a caṇḍāla can know them, one of which notably appears to be the Gāyatrī mantra from the Ṛg Veda (3.62), but called the 'brahmin mantra' 婆羅門呪:

菴 浮婆 蘇婆 旦 娑婆鬪婆利茹 被瞿 提婆斯 提麼 提由 那 婆羅提那

*oṃ bhūrbhuvaḥ svaḥ tat saviturvareṇyaṃ bhargho devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)

tingdzin
Posts: 910
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by tingdzin » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:02 am

A very good book on the early days of Buddhism and what grew into what is now called "Hinduism" is Geoffrey Samuel's The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. A lot of popular assumptions about both are shown to be distorted.

Dharma Flower
Posts: 868
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:03 am
Contact:

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Dharma Flower » Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:06 pm

What if, instead of the Buddhist cosmology being similar to Hindu cosmology, it's the other way around? In the Agganna Sutta, the Buddha describes the universe as being in a cycle of contraction and expansion, and as the human race on this planet originating in a process of devolution from beings of a higher realm. What if the Buddha reached these profound insights in the Agganna Sutta from a state of samadhi, and then Hinduism copied the Buddha's insights afterward?

User avatar
Invokingvajras
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:11 am
Location: 33
Contact:

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Invokingvajras » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:30 am

Indrajala wrote:Buddhist cosmology and Vedic cosmology are understandably similar given that they both stem from Indo-European cultural backgrounds. You can see similar cosmologies to Mt. Meru in Iran and Europe too such as Olympus in the Hellenic world.
This is a fascinating point. While Mt. Meru essentially functions as the axis-mundi in several Indian traditions, cosmologies could potentially overlap in certain traditions. Imagine the Germanic Yggdrasil replacing Mt. Meru if Buddhism had become standardized in European territories before Christianization. Alexander Duncan compared certain aspects of Buddhist cosmology to the Tree of Life in Kabbalah, though this may or may not be somewhat contrived.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fSXBhutn-U (Chart introduced at 5:30)

It's nevertheless an interesting idea.

User avatar
Indrajala
Posts: 6316
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Is Buddhist cosmology essentially Vedic?

Post by Indrajala » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:57 am

Invokingvajras wrote:Alexander Duncan compared certain aspects of Buddhist cosmology to the Tree of Life in Kabbalah, though this may or may not be somewhat contrived.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fSXBhutn-U (Chart introduced at 5:30)

It's nevertheless an interesting idea.
Remember that Jewish traditions are rooted in Semitic and Mesopotamian traditions, which are ultimately different from Indo-European traditions.

Similarities between Buddhist cosmology and that found elsewhere are largely due to a shared Indo-European heritage.

In India, perhaps starting around the fifth century onward, Indian intellectuals became truly aware that the world was spherical in shape, following the introduction of what was originally Hellenistic mathematics that provide proofs for a round earth (such material was even translated into Chinese in 718, but it never caught on).

Before this time there is little evidence to suggest that anyone in India believed in a round earth. It seems that Buddhists never really accepted this new knowledge, which is why the flat-earth Mt. Meru cosmology was maintained, perhaps because the Buddha's testimony was not to be contradicted. Buddhadharma is also not inherently interested in mathematics and science. Buddhadharma is comprised of systems of thought and practice designed at liberation from suffering.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests