What is Mount Meru?

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tatpurusa
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa »

Simon E. wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:47 pm There are a number of problems here..but to focus on one of the more obvious ones..the meaning of omniscience. We are talking about the translation of a term being used in an ancient culture in a language which no longer exists. That term was then translated into Pali, an artificial language which has never been used as an everyday tongue at all. From Pali was then translated into modern European languages by people who were steeped in a Eurocentricview of the meaning of things.
Well, I am using it in the sense Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche used to use it referring to Buddhas - and it is pretty much straightforward, understandable exactly from Latin.
BTW the meaning of sarvajña is exactly, word-by-word the same. The rest is interpretation.
There might be some who would prefer to introduce something like "relative omniscience" vs. "absolute omniscience" :mrgreen: :geek: :mrgreen:
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Grigoris »

Omniscience, in regards to the Buddha, means he has complete knowledge of any phenomenon he turns his attention to.

That is how it is defined.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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"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."
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Simon E.
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Simon E. »

I don’t accept that the translation from the Latin covers all the nuances of the Pali. But that is a secondary point.

The fact is Shakyamuni Buddha was living in a culture vastly different to ours, among people whose characteristic mindset had been shaped in a particular way. Even if the Buddha had access through siddhis to all the intricacy of Quantum Mechanics (for example) how could he relay that to those whose world view was mythic and poetic rather than analytic and factual? And why would he need to?

There are various spheres of functioning where we are revisiting the Buddhas recorded teachings and reworking them for our times..they include areas of cosmology, gender politics and sexuality.
Not because the Buddhas teachings were deficient in their essence, but because the packaging is no longer congruent with the age.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
tatpurusa
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa »

Grigoris wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:52 pm Omniscience, in regards to the Buddha, means he has complete knowledge of any phenomenon he turns his attention to.

That is how it is defined.
Exactly.
tatpurusa
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa »

Simon E. wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:11 pm The fact is Shakyamuni Buddha was living in a culture vastly different to ours, among people whose characteristic mindset had been shaped in a particular way. Even if the Buddha had access through siddhis to all the intricacy of Quantum Mechanics (for example) how could he relay that to those whose world view was mythic and poetic rather than analytic and factual? And why would he need to?
This was exactly my point ... if you had read it carefully.
whose world view was mythic and poetic rather than analytic
Mythic and poetic is much closer to the ineffable direct experience of reality.
This is the reason why arts (music, poetry, dance) exist in the first place. Because they are capable of transmitting at least a portion of that experience, as opposed to the intellect, analysis, and science which all are based purely on (arbitrary) concepts and conceptual reality. They create objects and a comfortable feeling of dualism.
Concepts, objects, dualism and conceptual thinking based on them are the ultimate hindrance to experience reality as it is.
Last edited by tatpurusa on Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Even if the Buddha had access through siddhis to all the intricacy of Quantum Mechanics (for example)....
Shakespeare was probably misinformed about science. Yet he was perspicacious about life. Sakyamuni likewise may have been misinformed, yet he saw even more profound truths about the cycle of life, death, and why we suffer.
Omniscience, in regards to the Buddha, means he has complete knowledge of any phenomenon he turns his attention to.
Hence my fondness for Guenther’s translation of it as “consummate perspicacity”.
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)
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PeterC
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by PeterC »

smcj wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:30 pm
Even if the Buddha had access through siddhis to all the intricacy of Quantum Mechanics (for example)....
Shakespeare was probably misinformed about science. Yet he was perspicacious about life. Sakyamuni likewise may have been misinformed, yet he saw even more profound truths about the cycle of life, death, and why we suffer.
We don't have to consider the Buddha as being misinformed, or to question his omniscience. There's a much simpler explanation, as QQ mentioned above: he taught people according to their different capacities. The model of the world that people used in his day was the one we're familiar with - Mt Meru and the four continents, etc. So he worked with that. After all, an accurate understanding of astrophysics is not really necessary to achieve liberation, and his teachings would have confused a lot of people if he'd started by saying, "ok, so everything you think about the universe is actually wrong, it turns out we live on a rotating spherical object that travels around an exploding ball of superheated gas...".

Different sutras say different quite things about the path to liberation, and we're ok with explaining that in terms of provisional vs. ultimate teachings. Why do we need to fabricate some kind of ontological crisis when it comes to cosmology?
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Bristollad »

tatpurusa wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:29 pm Mythic and poetic is much closer to the ineffable direct experience of reality.
This is the reason why arts (music, poetry, dance) exist in the first place.
I simply disagree with you I'm afraid. Myths and poems are also conceptual, dualistic. They are no closer to a direct realisation of reality than other concepts.
and science which all are based purely on (arbitrary) concepts and conceptual reality.
No. This exposes your fundamental misunderstanding of science. If science was based on purely arbitrary concepts then experiments by different people in different labs would not produce repeatable results, scientists would always gain the results that they expected. But that just isn't the case. It is true that scientists try to explain the results using concepts but those concepts stand or fall (as an explanation) to the degree that they match and explain the results.

Have there been widely held explanations which we now know are false? Yes.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersede ... in_science

Have there been good explanations ignored because it didn't match the current consensus? Yes. A good example was the opposition to the theory of continental drift in the United States.
This criticism is illustrated by reports from a symposium on continental drift organized in 1928 by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. The mood that prevailed at the gathering was expressed by an unnamed attendant quoted with sympathy by the great American geologist Thomas C. Chamberlin: “If we are to believe Wegener’s hypothesis, we must forget everything which has been learned in the last 70 years and start all over again.” The same reluctance to start anew was again displayed some 40 years later by the same organization when its publications provided the principal forum for the opposition to plate tectonics.
https://www.britannica.com/science/plate-tectonics

Have results been overlooked because they did not match the expectations? Yes, for instance, the ozone hole over Anarctica was discovered by British scientists rechecking the raw data gathered by Americans, including the data points that had been automatically discounted because they were outside of the expected range.

From Roger Jackson's part three of Is Enlightenment Possible, a translation of rGyal tshab rje's commentary on the Pramanasiddhi Chapter of
Dharmaklrti's Pramanavarttika (added emphasis, mine):
(30) [THE] IGNORANT, HAVING CHOSEN A TEACHER [AND]
BEING CONCERNED THAT THEY ARE MISTAKEN [IN THEIR CHOICE],
SEEK SOMEONE WHO KNOWS [A METHOD OF PACIFYING SUFFERING],
SO THAT THEY MAY MAKE AN EFFORT TOWARD THAT [GOAL] EXPLAINED BY THAT [PERSON].

(31) THEREFORE, [WITH REGARD TO] WHAT [SPIRITUAL] PRACTICE OUGHT TO BE,
ONE MUST INVESTIGATE WHETHER THIS [TEACHER] HAS THE KNOWLEDGE [THAT KNOWS THAT];
FOR US, THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF HOW MANY INSECTS THERE ARE
IS NOT AT ALL USEFUL

[THEREFORE'] one must consider whether this teacher knows or does not know [the methods whereby] one engages with and exits from samsara, WHAT the [spiritual] PRACTICE OUGHT TO BE that is manifestly desired by those intent on freedom. ONE MUST INVESTIGATE
WHETHER or not THIS [TEACHER] HAS THE KNOWLEDGE that knows that. One should not first investigate whether or not they know how many insects there are, because FOR those of us intent on freedom, THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF HOW MANY INSECTS THERE ARE IS, for the time being, NOT AT ALL USEFUL, because we are intent on freedom.
tatpurusa
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa »

Bristollad wrote: Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:20 am
tatpurusa wrote: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:29 pm Mythic and poetic is much closer to the ineffable direct experience of reality.
This is the reason why arts (music, poetry, dance) exist in the first place.
I simply disagree with you I'm afraid. Myths and poems are also conceptual, dualistic. They are no closer to a direct realisation of reality than other concepts.
You may disagree but you are still wrong. Of course myths and some arts like poetry, based on words and language, use concepts because language is based on concepts.
And of course concepts are dualistic.
But myths, arts and poetry use those elements in a symbolic, metaphoric way. And this is the real difference. Symbols exist because they are capable of pointing to the ineffable, inexpressible. Because I know they are neither perfect, I wrote "capable of transmitting at least a portion of that experience".
Than there exist also fully nonconceptual arts like music for example.
and science which all are based purely on (arbitrary) concepts and conceptual reality.
No. This exposes your fundamental misunderstanding of science. If science was based on purely arbitrary concepts then experiments by different people in different labs would not produce repeatable results, scientists would always gain the results that they expected. But that just isn't the case. It is true that scientists try to explain the results using concepts but those concepts stand or fall (as an explanation) to the degree that they match and explain the results.
No, you do not understand me again. I did not say that science itself is based on purely arbitrary concepts.
What I am saying is more fundamental: all concepts are more or less arbitrary divisions of reality. What I mean by that exactly
you can read here:
viewtopic.php?f=39&t=29403&p=469251#p469251

As said above the difference between science and arts is that science uses concepts directly, whereas myths and arts use it either allegorically or not at all.
This is a fundamental difference.
Last edited by tatpurusa on Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

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)
tatpurusa
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa »

Buddha himself and Buddhist masters have always used language and concepts in order to communicate with other human beings.

Sanskrit, Pali, terminology of Samkhya/Yoga, mythical langauge of the time, English, terminology of Western psychology and
scientific language have all been used in order to communicate Buddhadharma to those understanding those kind of languages.

But Buddhism is not Sanskrit, not Pali, not myths, not English, not (Western) psychology and not science.
In fact Buddhism is fundamentally unsanskrit, unpali, unenglish, unmythical and unscientific.
It points to the nonconceptual and unexpressible.

One could say that from a Buddhist perspective, science is 100% valid within the framework of ignorance (avidyā)
Last edited by tatpurusa on Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

tatpurusa wrote: Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:48 pm You may disagree but you are still wrong. Of course myths and some arts like poetry, based on words and language, use concepts because language is based on concepts.
And of course concepts are dualistic.
But myths, arts and poetry use those elements in a symbolic, metaphoric way. And this is the real difference. Symbols exist because they are capable of pointing to the ineffable, inexpressible. Because I know they are neither perfect, I wrote "capable of transmitting at least a portion of that experience".
Uhhh. There is some Buddhist literature that is as dry as a peer reviewed article on some occasional phenomena in chemical bonding, exhibiting the same affinity to mind numbing detail. The point where I put down the Abhidharmakosa Bhasyam was explaining how devas in one formless heaven fall down several heavens because of the causes of their deaths in a particular heaven. Its interesting to consider what that means for dhyana, but it is so esoteric it amounts to counting angels on a pin with the austerity of an autistic accountant. Not all Buddhist teachings are poetic.
Than there exist also fully nonconceptual arts like music for example.
Music depends entirely on relativity. As Miles Davis pointed out, "Music is the space between the notes. It's not the notes you play; it's the notes you don't play." Tones are relative - you can play a major scale starting with any note - its all about the relationship with Do. Rhythms are likewise relative. And all of it depends on time, which is relativity itself. I don't think any musician would deny that there are concepts in music - its just a different language. There is something primordial in music - its about proportions that we can feel intuitively: rhythms, timing, the difference between a major chord or a minor chord or just banging on a keyboard.
As said above the difference between science and arts is that science uses concepts directly, whereas myths and arts use it either allegorically or not at all.
This is a fundamental difference.
I would say its a difference of degrees. Its all communication.
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
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

This argument... :shrug:
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
joy&peace
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Well, for what it's worth, you are writing some wonderful posts. Well written and appreciated.

I would be curious to know what are tatpurusa's views on Sumeru, but he didn't answer it.

Queequeg, one thought that occurs is related to the question, do we all see the same colors? I.e. is blue to me the same as blue for you? If we attain siddhis, and enlightenment, perhaps Sumeru will become visible and accessible.

There are other things Buddha has done, such as transforming all the canopies in Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra into one great one.

Interestingly, when I looked this up, Sumeru was mentioned right after.
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

joy&peace wrote: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:28 pm Queequeg, one thought that occurs is related to the question, do we all see the same colors? I.e. is blue to me the same as blue for you? If we attain siddhis, and enlightenment, perhaps Sumeru will become visible and accessible.

There are other things Buddha has done, such as transforming all the canopies in Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra into one great one.
Do we see the same blue? That's a good question... Blue looks... blue.

My perspective, I'm coming from a Lotus Sutra devotional background... I love that story. I love that sutra. I think it is an incredibly rich and profound sutra.

Its a totally batshit crazy story if you take it literally. If you take it literally, it will break your head. And I think that's the point. It starts out normal. The Buddha and his disciples are hanging out on Grdhakuta, just like many sutras. But then the Buddha tells everyone, "I've never told you the full truth because you wouldn't get it." And then goes along upending the foundation of the sravaka views by telling everyone, "Arhatship is a rest stop, you're all bodhisattvas that I've been teaching for aeons and aeons. You just don't remember." And then a giant stupa rises up out of the Earth with a talking mummy inside, and everyone floats up into the air. Then, the Buddha asks who he can entrust with his deepest teachings. Maitreya raises his hand to volunteer and the Buddha says, No thank you. Then Bodhistattvas that no one has ever seen before pour out of the Earth in hordes and they greet the Buddha like old acquaintances, and everyone, the sravakas and all the bodhisattvas like Mtreya are bewildered. And then the Buddha delivers a teaching that is basically a math equation that if you try to follow, will break your head. At that point, the Buddha basically says, "I just tell stories to get you to do what's good for you," and then relates a story about a doctor who tells his children he's dead to shock them into taking medicine, and as soon as they take the medicine, he comes back. (I think at that point, you're supposed to read between the lines and realize that the Lotus Sutra is itself another one of these stories that the Buddha tells... if you didn't get it already - he explicitly says, "Sometimes I tell stories about Dipamkara, sometimes I tell stories about myself, sometimes others, sometimes I show you my body, sometimes I show the body of others... its all to get you to wake up.") When he entrusts the teaching, he entrusts the bodhisattvas who come out of the Earth and who are supposed to appear in the future. At the end, all the fireworks stop, the buddhas and bodhisattvas all go home, and I imagine Sariputra and company sitting around Shakyamuni on Grdhakuta with their jaws hanging open and nothing but the sounds of crickets in the middle of the night.

The Vimalakirti Sutra is similarly nuts. That whole part about everyone fitting in his bedroom, sitting on chairs as tall as the distance to the moon. The point, I think, is to draw one along a train of thought until the train of thought breaks under its own weight - like a koan.

These wild stories that are logically impossible - its the device employed in Mahayana texts to short circuit our grasping mind. In the Surangama Samadhi sutra, the Buddha appears to each deva who wants to be the ONE who gets to give the Buddha a seat to sit on. Vairocana in the Avatamsaka Sutra who is presented as the fabric of reality. And in the middle of all this, Sumeru... so tall it touches heaven...

Jaws hanging open. Crickets.
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
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

I'm sorry to hear that. . . Do you think nothing beyond Western science has happened? That siddhis are all logically impossible?

To me the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra is one of the absolute best and most wonderful sutras ever written.

Have a good day,
Peace and love,
J

I hope this quote is not too long.

Thus, surrounded by an incalculable number of people circumambulating to pay their respects, the Buddha was about to expound the Dharma. Like the towering Mount Sumeru emerging from the great ocean. He sat comfortably on the lion throne eclipsing the imposing assembly.

A son of an elder (grhapati), called Ratna-rasi, came with five hundred sons of elders, with canopies decorated with the seven gems to pay respect and offer them to Him. By using His transcendental powers, the Buddha transformed all the canopies into a single one which contained the great chiliocosm.

With Mount Sumeru and all the concentric ranges around it, great seas, rivers, streams, the sun, the moon, planets and stars, and the palaces of devas, dragons, and holy spirits appeared in the precious canopy, which also covered all the Buddhas who were expounding the Dharma in the ten directions.

All those present, who witnessed the Buddha’s supernatural powers, praised the rare occurrence which they had never seen before, brought their palms together and gazed at Him without pausing for an instant. Thereupon, Ratna-rasi chanted the following gatha of praise:

“I salute Him whose eyes are broad like the green Lotus, whose mind is unchanging and serene, who has accumulated countless pure deeds that lead all beings to the extinction of mortality.

I have seen the great saint use His transcendental powers to create in the ten directions countless lands in which Buddhas still proclaim the Dharma; all this has the assembly seen and heard.

The power of your Dharma surpasses all beings and bestows on them the wealth of the Law. With great skill your discernment all while unmoved in Reality.

You are from all phenomena released; hence, to the King of Dharma, I bow down. You preached neither is nor is not for all things by causes are created. There is neither self nor doing nor thing done, but good or evil karma is infallible.

Under the Bodhi tree You conquered Mara, obtained Ambrosia, realized Nirvana and won Bodhi. From mind, thought and feeling are You free, thereby, overcoming heresies, turning thrice in the chiliocosm the wheel of the Law that is pure and clean at heart.[/quote]

-translator Lu Kuan Yu, aka Charles Luk
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

Nothing to be sorry about.

People have been telling epic stories since long before Hollywood. The human imagination is a wonderful thing.

"Let my inspiration flow
in token lines suggesting rhythm
that will not forsake me
till my tale is told and done
While the firelight's aglow
strange shadows in the flames will grow
till things we've never seen
will seem familiar"

I may well be hopelessly deluded with a dire paucity of faith. Call me icchantika.
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
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by joy&peace »

Icchantika, what's that?

I do not understand the issue of answering questions.. tatpurusa, what is your view of Sumeru?

Or lately, do you think no siddhis are real?

I would never descry you for any answer you gave.. you should know that ..

Peace and love,
J.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg »

icchantika - a person of incorrigible disbelief. In some teachings, they are categorically unable to attain enlightenment.

Siddhis?

I think the authors of Mahayana sutras had a profound understanding of Buddha dharma, of how the mind works and were excellent story tellers as well.
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
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tkp67 »

Queequeg wrote: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:29 pm
joy&peace wrote: Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:28 pm Queequeg, one thought that occurs is related to the question, do we all see the same colors? I.e. is blue to me the same as blue for you? If we attain siddhis, and enlightenment, perhaps Sumeru will become visible and accessible.

There are other things Buddha has done, such as transforming all the canopies in Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra into one great one.
Do we see the same blue? That's a good question... Blue looks... blue.

My perspective, I'm coming from a Lotus Sutra devotional background... I love that story. I love that sutra. I think it is an incredibly rich and profound sutra.

Its a totally batshit crazy story if you take it literally. If you take it literally, it will break your head. And I think that's the point. It starts out normal. The Buddha and his disciples are hanging out on Grdhakuta, just like many sutras. But then the Buddha tells everyone, "I've never told you the full truth because you wouldn't get it." And then goes along upending the foundation of the sravaka views by telling everyone, "Arhatship is a rest stop, you're all bodhisattvas that I've been teaching for aeons and aeons. You just don't remember." And then a giant stupa rises up out of the Earth with a talking mummy inside, and everyone floats up into the air. Then, the Buddha asks who he can entrust with his deepest teachings. Maitreya raises his hand to volunteer and the Buddha says, No thank you. Then Bodhistattvas that no one has ever seen before pour out of the Earth in hordes and they greet the Buddha like old acquaintances, and everyone, the sravakas and all the bodhisattvas like Mtreya are bewildered. And then the Buddha delivers a teaching that is basically a math equation that if you try to follow, will break your head. At that point, the Buddha basically says, "I just tell stories to get you to do what's good for you," and then relates a story about a doctor who tells his children he's dead to shock them into taking medicine, and as soon as they take the medicine, he comes back. (I think at that point, you're supposed to read between the lines and realize that the Lotus Sutra is itself another one of these stories that the Buddha tells... if you didn't get it already - he explicitly says, "Sometimes I tell stories about Dipamkara, sometimes I tell stories about myself, sometimes others, sometimes I show you my body, sometimes I show the body of others... its all to get you to wake up.") When he entrusts the teaching, he entrusts the bodhisattvas who come out of the Earth and who are supposed to appear in the future. At the end, all the fireworks stop, the buddhas and bodhisattvas all go home, and I imagine Sariputra and company sitting around Shakyamuni on Grdhakuta with their jaws hanging open and nothing but the sounds of crickets in the middle of the night.

The Vimalakirti Sutra is similarly nuts. That whole part about everyone fitting in his bedroom, sitting on chairs as tall as the distance to the moon. The point, I think, is to draw one along a train of thought until the train of thought breaks under its own weight - like a koan.

These wild stories that are logically impossible - its the device employed in Mahayana texts to short circuit our grasping mind. In the Surangama Samadhi sutra, the Buddha appears to each deva who wants to be the ONE who gets to give the Buddha a seat to sit on. Vairocana in the Avatamsaka Sutra who is presented as the fabric of reality. And in the middle of all this, Sumeru... so tall it touches heaven...

Jaws hanging open. Crickets.
These methods all had potent value at the time of their creation and this is the underlying nature of our reality that the LS describes, that emanations will be realized in forms relevant to the needs and capacities of the people at the time as the various teaching over his lifetime arose relevant to the needs and capacities of the people.

The equanimity of the great physician reveals the absolute nature of buddha potential which is essential in understanding why the teachings would be need to be relative to conditions.

The physician analogy made much more sense to me after I was a father. Having had problems with my sibling and frustration with my mother's lack of taking sides I later on had children with similar issues and understood it from a personal perspective. Seemed to give it a bit more substance.
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