What is Mount Meru?

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Grigoris »

Since this discussion has strayed out of the bounds of Mahayana theory, into a comparative thread in the vein of "Science vs Buddhism, who is the bestest?" I have moved it to the lounge.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Grigoris »

joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:57 pm If Buddha was truthful...
So the Buddha is lying?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Simon E. wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:22 am
ryan_oliveira wrote: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:35 pm Is it possible to believe in Mount Meru and believe in contemporary science?

This.
Pretty much the same applies to all aspects of Buddhist cosmology.
But it’s perhaps important to see that saying something is not literally true does not mean that it has no meaning or is unimportant.
Some of the most profound teachings in Buddhadharma are metaphors and symbols rather ontological statements.
Yeah. Btw :namaste: hi :)
When I was a child experimenting with the telescope belonging to the 13th Dalai Lama, I had a vivid experience of the power of inference based on empirical observation [looking at the moon].... to my surprise, I saw what looked like shadows. I was so excited that I insisted my two tutors come and peer through the telescope. I argued that the presence of shadows on the moon was proof that the moon was lit by the sun's light in the same way as the earth. They looked puzzled but agreed.... (2005: 31-2)

[Abhidharma cosmology] gives very exact measurements of the distance from the earth to the moon and sun and the stars, as well as the size of the sun and moon. The problem is, these measurements are wrong from the modern scientific point of view. For example, the sun is only bigger than the moon by a tiny fraction, and they are the same distance from the earth. These measurements are just crazy (2004: 97)

My own view is that Buddhism must abandon many aspects of the Abhidharma cosmology (2005: 80).
https://web.ccsu.edu/astronomy/cosmolog ... cience.htm

Dear Simon, I kind of messed up the quote I think.

With peace and love.

Posted then deleted then PM'd
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Grigoris wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:22 pm
joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:57 pm If Buddha was truthful...
So the Buddha is lying?
No. I very frequently talk about this. Almost a majority of my posts mention that Buddha said we are in the pure land.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21590
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Grigoris »

joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:32 pm
Grigoris wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:22 pm
joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:57 pm If Buddha was truthful...
So the Buddha is lying?
No. I very frequently talk about this. Almost a majority of my posts mention that Buddha said we are in the pure land.
But he is lying about Mt. Meru?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 11530
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It is a spiritual cosmology.

If I asked one person who was a spiritual seeker or meditator "what is your body", their response would be based on experience via whatever their spiritual path teaches as a means to attain knowledge of the reality of this question. For such a person, this question is as much an existential one as it is a technical one.

The answer would be a completely different one than if I asked a person inclined to the scientific method and it's explanations of reality "what is your body", the answer would likely be a description of the various systems and observable, repeatable functions of the human form divorced from the observer of said functions.

It seems to be the same question in both cases, but it really isn't.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

No, I said maybe Mount Meru is like this (the pure land). Then I talked about the scientitic view. Then I returned to Cosmology, the central point.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

One of the central points of cosmology that they are stacked, one on top of the other. I.e., Sumeru is not somewhere distant.

Does this help?

If you think I was saying Buddha was lying, I do not think you understand me very well. The main thing I often say is the importance of truthfulness.

Wishing you well, with peace and love.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11044
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

Grigoris wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:39 pm
joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm Or as the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and science disagree, science should be deferred to.
Where did he say that and in relation to what?
Lots of places.
If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.
https://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/opin ... ience.html
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11044
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

Turtles... all the way down...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
tatpurusa
Posts: 616
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:17 am

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa »

joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm Or as the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and science disagree, science should be deferred to.
Unfortunately there exists a "half life of science".

Should Buddhism continuously adapt to ever changing scientific theories and views?
Like: as long as Darwinism and the principles of accidentality are the official doctrine
Buddhism should accept it. When science proves it wrong Buddhism should readapt to
the newest findings. And so on with everything.

Why should we not just skip Buddhism and embrace science instead? At least we will
never get bored always having to think the same way (eventually for thousands of years??? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: )
User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 11044
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

tatpurusa wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:17 pm
joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm Or as the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and science disagree, science should be deferred to.
Unfortunately there exists a "half life of science".

Should Buddhism continuously adapt to ever changing scientific theories and views?
Like: as long as Darwinism and the principles of accidentality are the official doctrine
Buddhism should accept it. When science proves it wrong Buddhism should readapt to
the newest findings. And so on with everything.

Why should we not just skip Buddhism and embrace science instead? At least we will
never get bored always having to think the same way (eventually for thousands of years??? :mrgreen: :mrgreen: )
:roll:

And here we go.

Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
Bristollad
Posts: 640
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:39 am

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Bristollad »

tatpurusa wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:17 pm
joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm Or as the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and science disagree, science should be deferred to.
Unfortunately there exists a "half life of science".

Should Buddhism continuously adapt to ever changing scientific theories and views?
Like: as long as Darwinism and the principles of accidentality are the official doctrine
Buddhism should accept it. When science proves it wrong Buddhism should readapt to
the newest findings. And so on with everything.

Why should we not just skip Buddhism and embrace science instead? At least we will
never get bored always having to think the same way.
I wanted to reply to this but... I can’t think where to begin :thinking:

All I can say is those who misunderstand similes and metaphors, and take them as literal explanations often have a problem with science. Those who understand the use of similes and metaphors often do not.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
Posts: 7149
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

I’ve never seen a Valentines Day card with a scientifically accurate heart depicted. It would be unappealing. Does that invalidatethe sentiment in which it is offered?

If tradition has an appealing way to offer the universe that utilized “Mt. Meru” at its center, I’m just as ok with that as I am with an “I Love Lucy” heart shape on my Valentines card.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Hi Tatprurusa. Hope you are well.

So, I didn't begin with the scientitic view, nor did I end with it. Both views are interesting, and what people believe is up to them. It's quite possible to explore both views. For instance, in Sumeru's Cosmology, does "the world" (located in Jambudvipa) refer to this globe, (planet,) or could that mean the universe?

But that one question aside, I don't believe in making absolute answers on such questions. Buddhist cosmology is often referred to as being more related to consciousness.

Certainly, any of friends who know me know how often I reference Buddha saying we are in the pure land, in the here and now. Meditating on Buddha, and pure lands.

The question of Sumeru is very interesting. So what is your view or Sumeru? Please do share. (With peace and metta.)

We don't have to answer for all, and nor does it have to be answered immediately.

On the larger question of Cosmology, some points are clearer than others.

The size and orbits of the sun and moon are certainly this category. Astronomy (which is basically based on observation with telescopes), gives the sun size as 1,400,000 km across, while the moon is only 3,474. In terms of model size, earth is about a ball bearing compared with a basketball, - and earth is many times the moon size.

So, the Dalai Lama gave this as an example. He said abhidharma cosmology considers the sun only slightly larger.

With peace and love.

And, the Dalai Lama is not leaving Buddhism defenceless. There are some things beyond the scope of science.

Peace,
J.

By the by I am not saying anyone else should view things as I view.

Peace and love,
J.
Last edited by joy&peace on Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
User avatar
Kim O'Hara
Former staff member
Posts: 4464
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Bristollad wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:57 pm
tatpurusa wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:17 pm
joy&peace wrote: Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:52 pm Or as the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and science disagree, science should be deferred to.
Unfortunately there exists a "half life of science".

Should Buddhism continuously adapt to ever changing scientific theories and views?
Like: as long as Darwinism and the principles of accidentality are the official doctrine
Buddhism should accept it. When science proves it wrong Buddhism should readapt to
the newest findings. And so on with everything.

Why should we not just skip Buddhism and embrace science instead? At least we will
never get bored always having to think the same way.
I wanted to reply to this but... I can’t think where to begin :thinking:

All I can say is those who misunderstand similes and metaphors, and take them as literal explanations often have a problem with science. Those who understand the use of similes and metaphors often do not.
Does this help? :tongue:

Image


:coffee:
Kim
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Well, I do not think some people answering one way, and some the other, with good manners, is out of control. Nothing was off topic, or irrelevant, or emotionally charged,. . . . Unless I'm missing something.
:heart: :broke:
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
joy&peace
Posts: 1115
Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 4:53 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Interesting topic as always (I love cosmology), and great discussion.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
User avatar
PeterC
Posts: 2627
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by PeterC »

The Buddha taught people according to the model they were using at the time of the universe. Just like he taught them in the language they were used to. So when we do the mandala offering - which is pretty much the only time we need to think about this stuff - we can either think of offering “the universe” using the model that was used then and think that it’s just a representation, or we can use the more accurate model that we have now (since thousands of years have passed and we have more accurate means of observing the world), or just not overthink it too much and visualize that we’re offering everything.

If anyone *actually* suspects that the world looks like mount meru and the four continents, I challenge them to travel to the center, climb the mountain and have a drink with some Devas.
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 4206
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Paucity of imagination here.

Is the magnetosphere of our Earth 'literally' true? Cannot be seen with the naked eye - ergo - it cannot be.

Buddha early on gave colored disks as objects for meditation.

Why all the symmetrical geometry in a mandala? Is it 'literally' two dimensional or three or...?

Why meditate only on the shape of the letter Hrih?
May all seek, find & follow the Path of Buddhas.
Post Reply

Return to “Lounge”