What is Mount Meru?

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
PeterC
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by PeterC » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:42 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:05 am
Indian sadhu explaining how the early maps came into existence

Entertaining. Well, we have a pretty good idea of how medieval European and Asian cartographers created maps, because they occasionally also wrote books describing the process. We don’t really know how Vedic civilisations in the Iron Age developed maps, because they left no written accounts of it, but I’m not really going out on a limb here by saying I’m pretty sure Mr orange robes doesn’t have a clue either...

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Aemilius
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Aemilius » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:46 am

Babylonians, that were neighbors to India, are known to have had world maps, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonia ... _the_World

Some Buddhist authorities, like Ajahn Brahmavamso, accept as fact that Buddhist yogis or meditators and ascetics of other schools have traveled in space. Brahmavamso tells a story from the Tipitaka where an ascetic flies in space trying to find the end of space. He flies for many years, and finally dies on his journey to the end of space. After being reborn on earth again, he goes to the Buddha and tells what he has done. Buddha rebukes him and says that the beginning and end of space lie inside his body (and mind, presumably).
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

PeterC
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by PeterC » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:06 am

Aemilius wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:46 am
Some Buddhist authorities, like Ajahn Brahmavamso, accept as fact that Buddhist yogis or meditators and ascetics of other schools have traveled in space.
It's entirely possible that people have attained mundane siddhis of this kind - in any case, one could not prove that they hadn't, as one cannot prove a negative proposition. However Ajahn Brahm, unless he's actually seen floating meditators, can't possibly know whether they have attained these, or whether those stories are simply allegorical or instructional. The one you cite certainly feels instructional rather than factual. I don't think people should make these claims in the absence of evidence, even if they do believe them personally. On the one hand, it tends to attract people to the Dharma who want to believe in magical flying monks; and on the other hand, it makes more evidence-based people think that the Dharma is just fantasy. In other words, it doesn't help the Dharma or its practitioners at all.

Simon E.
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:32 am

Ajahn Brahm is apart from anything else, an expert and notorious wind up merchant. 8-). Just sayin’.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Aemilius
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Aemilius » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:00 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:06 am
Aemilius wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:46 am
Some Buddhist authorities, like Ajahn Brahmavamso, accept as fact that Buddhist yogis or meditators and ascetics of other schools have traveled in space.
It's entirely possible that people have attained mundane siddhis of this kind - in any case, one could not prove that they hadn't, as one cannot prove a negative proposition. However Ajahn Brahm, unless he's actually seen floating meditators, can't possibly know whether they have attained these, or whether those stories are simply allegorical or instructional. The one you cite certainly feels instructional rather than factual. I don't think people should make these claims in the absence of evidence, even if they do believe them personally. On the one hand, it tends to attract people to the Dharma who want to believe in magical flying monks; and on the other hand, it makes more evidence-based people think that the Dharma is just fantasy. In other words, it doesn't help the Dharma or its practitioners at all.
This is more or less eternal topic of disagreement, atleast in the modern era of Dharma. It is "evidence" if it conforms to your prejudices. You probably haven't seen for example whales with your own eyes. And still you believe them to be real! Our worldview is almost entirely based on faith in what others have seen and experienced and told to us. There is very little of our own experience in this mass of information that we call "the world". Some things are rare and some are common. From childhood on we gradually build up this collection of things that we regard as real. It differs very much from one person to another. People have had different experiences in their lives. They have listened to different authorities in their respectives surroundings, they have come to accept different phenomena as real and existing. Ajahn Brahmavamso has a university education and has lived in London, and yet he believes that the siddhi of flying in space is real. That is quite amazing! And excellent in my personal view.
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

Simon E.
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Simon E. » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:32 am

Very important for all of us to check our facts. Particularly those of us who spend a lot of time speculating about the uncheckable, so with that in mind..1) Ajahn Brahm does not live in London and hasn’t for decades. He lives in Western Australia.
2) I would take what he says about levitation etc with a lot of caution and a large pinch of salt.

I suspect that you are not well acquainted with his thinking and presentation. You might want to start by reading
“Who Ordered This Load Of Dung?
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

PeterC
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by PeterC » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:52 am

Aemilius wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:00 am
PeterC wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:06 am
Aemilius wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:46 am
Some Buddhist authorities, like Ajahn Brahmavamso, accept as fact that Buddhist yogis or meditators and ascetics of other schools have traveled in space.
It's entirely possible that people have attained mundane siddhis of this kind - in any case, one could not prove that they hadn't, as one cannot prove a negative proposition. However Ajahn Brahm, unless he's actually seen floating meditators, can't possibly know whether they have attained these, or whether those stories are simply allegorical or instructional. The one you cite certainly feels instructional rather than factual. I don't think people should make these claims in the absence of evidence, even if they do believe them personally. On the one hand, it tends to attract people to the Dharma who want to believe in magical flying monks; and on the other hand, it makes more evidence-based people think that the Dharma is just fantasy. In other words, it doesn't help the Dharma or its practitioners at all.
This is more or less eternal topic of disagreement, atleast in the modern era of Dharma. It is "evidence" if it conforms to your prejudices. You probably haven't seen for example whales with your own eyes. And still you believe them to be real! Our worldview is almost entirely based on faith in what others have seen and experienced and told to us. There is very little of our own experience in this mass of information that we call "the world". Some things are rare and some are common. From childhood on we gradually build up this collection of things that we regard as real. It differs very much from one person to another. People have had different experiences in their lives. They have listened to different authorities in their respectives surroundings, they have come to accept different phenomena as real and existing. Ajahn Brahmavamso has a university education and has lived in London, and yet he believes that the siddhi of flying in space is real. That is quite amazing! And excellent in my personal view.
My friend, I suspect you are fearlessly attacking straw men here. I am familiar with various different perspectives on epistemology. I can give a decent account of the "justified true belief" interpretation and Robert Nozick's "truth tracking" argument. I can explain from a Bayesian perspective how we form inferences about observable events. And on a good day I can probably give a reasonable summary of the various Indo-Tibetan Buddhist approaches to phenomenal knowledge. So I'm quite aware that I might be a disembodied brain in a vat of chemicals in Alpha Centauri manipated by an evil operator, and that blue whales might simply not exist *even if* I think I've seen one with my own eyes. (I haven't seen one, by the way.) I don't thoughtlessly categorize things into "true" and "untrue" - and for that reason, I absolutely accept the possibility of flying monks, just as I accept the possibility that the earth is flat. However I don't consider it very likely that the world is flat, the balance of evidence supports it being a spheroid. I believe that it's far more likely that monks can fly than that the world is flat: but beliefs are informed by evidence. I have not to date seen a flying monk. I know of no recorded images showing flying monks, or of eyewitness accounts of them, or reputable premodern sources written from an unbiased perspective that describe monks in flight. We do have premodern sources with a lot of intrinsic bias which tended to engage in hagiographic exaggeration that describe flying monks, and our assessment of whether the siddhi of flight actually exists needs to consider that bias and tendency.

So I'll file it in the "possible but unproven" category for the time being. And if you ever meet a flying monk, please do let me know, as I would love to meet them too!

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Aemilius
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:39 am

Some biologists say that individuals do not really exist, the smallest unit is population. I can accept every thing that you say. And I know far less epistemology. Nevertheless all experience happens in a social context. Actually I haven't said "a flying monk", in the story of Brahmavamso the flying person is an ascetic from another sect, or a shramana of another lineage. But as far as I know shramanas were generally monks in the European sense of the word. There are other instances of flying in space or moving instantaneously from one place to another in the Tripitaka. May be you know about them? Or you have skipped over them, or you are spontaneously protected from coming across anything of that kind? The phenomenon is mentioned also in the Vishuddhimagga or Path of Purification of Buddhaghosha. And even in atleast one Zen story (I don't mean the Bodhidharma crossing a river magically, there is another story). I still think this phenomenon (of paranormal teleportation or moving in space through meditation) exists. It is rare and it is socially sanctioned, i.e. you are declared mad, insane, unstable, or something else.., if you see a person flying or moving in space. May be you get a vacation from your job temporarily for that. This is that only social units or populations exist. The social units spontaneously handle all witnesses in this way so that there is no "reputable evidence".
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

PeterC
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by PeterC » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:00 pm

Ah - so the absence of evidence is actually proof of a cover-up? I wonder where I had that argument before...?

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Aemilius
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:12 pm

No, not quite, I mean that photographs, or videos and such do no prove much anything, if you have made up your mind already, beforehand, so you will not see what is before your eyes, normally... So what is the point?





Etc... Etc...

Vishuddhimagga chapter XII, Supernormal powers, gives much details in this rather esoteric topic, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visuddhimagga
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Aemilius
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Aemilius » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am

ryan_oliveira wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:35 pm
Should Mount Meru be taken in literally? Is it possible to believe in Mount Meru and believe in contemporary science?
It is possible to think that stations move and trains are stationary. You step into a train and then the station moves to another location. This is mathematically possible.

Likewise: In the explanatory texts on Mount Meru mandala it is said that Mount Meru is turning slowly. It is turning in relation to the earth, which is thought to be stationary. What is it that is turning here? It is the sky above your head. It turns slowly and changes colour into the evening sky of ruby red, then into the night sky of crystal colour, then the morning sky of golden yellow or reddish colour, and then the day sky of safir blue colour.

In ancient times they had noticed, especially at night, that he sky is turning slowly. This is wholly logical, and true to the perceptions of people of ancient times in India. In modern times the earth is turning and the sky (i.e. the stars at night ) or space is stationary.

What is Mt Meru then in modern terms? It is the sky with its distant stars (at night), and the axis of earth's rotation. Distant stars are stationary (in modern times). But in ancient times they were part of Mount Meru.
The First Jamgon Kongtrul says that "Asuras live in the crevices of Mount Meru". This would mean that Asuras are beings coming from the distant stars! ( in Myriad Worlds of Jamgon LodroThaye)
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.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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