What is Mount Meru?

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Queequeg
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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:05 pm

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 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:00 pm

Ok. But could we talk about the topic?

If you don't believe it exists, that's all good, but what about those who do?
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by smcj » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:54 pm

If it exists as anything other than a symbol, it is on another plane of existence that is invisible from here.

So the question becomes; is what we see the ONLY realm of existence?
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
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)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:10 am

joy&peace wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:21 pm
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.
Hi joy&peace

Sorry for not responding to this specific question, I thought my opinion was understandable from other posts I wrote.
This is a vast subject and I am not sure if I will be able to really explain it in a short post, but I will try anyway.

Sumeru is at the heart of Indian mythology and cosmology included in all Indian religions (with different stories though)
As I mentioned in other posts further above in this thread, I consider myths allegorical language. They refer to the truth,
but use symbols and metaphors as a device in order to point to experiences otherwise difficult or impossible to communicate,
because they are not graspable through objectification by concepts.

Another fundamental and unignorable Indian system of thought that became in a way or other integrated with all Indian religions (at least in its terminology even Buddhism) and philosophies is Sāṃkhya (and its practical side, yoga). I do not mean classical Sāṃkhya, but its original, much older form that in my opinion predates the arrival of Indoeuropean/Indoarian tribes to India.
Sāṃkhya and Yoga are the basic worldview, the bedrock of all philosophical, spiritual and religious systems of Indian origin.
It is a description and analysis of the manifestation of the world out of the unmanifested state (avyakta prakṛti) to the now percievable world
both in its universal (outer) and individual (inner) forms. It describes the unfolding of Avyaktam (unmanifest) into Vyaktam (manifest), its components and the process of "backfolding" (returning to its unmanifest state of balance) through the practice of yoga.

The myth of Sumeru and Sāṃkhya are very much connected IMO. Sumeru is the allegorical representation of the base of both these universal and individual worlds and there are stories connected to Sumeru (like the Hindu story of churning of the Milk Ocean) describing the "unfolding" process in an allegorical way.

On the universal level, Sumeru represents the center or axis of the world: its "bearer" (dharma).
In the myth of Churning of the Milk Ocean a spur of Sumeru (called Mandara) is used to churn the ocean that lead to the emergence of the world.
The Milk Ocean is a symbol of Avyakta Prakṛti and Mount Mandara is the symbol of Puruṣa (primordial conciousness).
According to Sāṃkhya the presence of Puruṣa (though in no way connected to Prakṛti) causes the unmanifest (balanced) state of Avyakta Prakṛti to lose its inner balance and manifest its elements and later all appearances of the empirical world. This losing of balance is symbolised through the process of churning.

So Sumeru is a symbol for the primordial conciousness Puruṣa (both in the dimension of universal and individual). In the universal dimension it is the symbol of Mahat (universal conciousness).
In the individual dimension it is the symbol of center of the human being: in the physical body it is the spine (the spine is called Merudanda in sanskrit).
On deeper levels it is the symbol of individual Puruṣa (individual primordial consciousness). In a Buddhist context this would be nature of mind or Buddha nature.

Buddha had a profound knowledge of Sāṃkhya and had practiced Yoga before awakening. He used Sāṃkhya terminology and the myths connected to it in order to communicate with members of a society profoundly influenced by these.

Regarding your other question about siddhis - my short answer is: yes, I consider them real.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:25 am

What has not yet been discussed is: who says what Mount Meru is? The Pali Canon mentions it only a few times (mainly: SN 13.11; 22.99; 56.49; 56.50; AN 3.80; 7.66; 10.29). Most of the cosmological explanations are found in commentaries, and not even the Abhidhamma elaborates on it. However, the commentators, including here Vasubandhu's AKB, do not take these matters as metaphors but rather as the accurate description of the world (see: The Buddhist Cosmos by Punnadhammo, section 4:7 on p 697-700).
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:49 am

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:25 am
What has not yet been discussed is: who says what Mount Meru is? The Pali Canon mentions it only a few times (mainly: SN 13.11; 22.99; 56.49; 56.50; AN 3.80; 7.66; 10.29). Most of the cosmological explanations are found in commentaries, and not even the Abhidhamma elaborates on it. However, the commentators, including here Vasubandhu's AKB, do not take these matters as metaphors but rather as the accurate description of the world (see: The Buddhist Cosmos by Punnadhammo, section 4:7 on p 697-700).
I do not know about it in Theravada, but in Mahayana and Vajrayana they are still allegorical.
These are descriptions of the way how to visualize it for certain meditative practices.
Similar to how mandalas are recreated during visualization. Or the visualization of chakras, channels and winds.
The same way in case of chakras there is the very diffused misunderstanding that those descriptions relate to something
similar to physical reality. Those are just instructions connected to a certain practice and vary in many details depending
on the particular practice.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:11 am

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:49 am
These are descriptions of the way how to visualize it for certain meditative practices.
That does not negate the cosmological view. Just because there is meditation on the six realms, it does not mean those realms do not actually exist. Quite the opposite, one meditates on them because they are real.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:23 am

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:11 am
tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:49 am
These are descriptions of the way how to visualize it for certain meditative practices.
That does not negate the cosmological view. Just because there is meditation on the six realms, it does not mean those realms do not actually exist. Quite the opposite, one meditates on them because they are real.
I never said these realms do not exist; of course they do.
But those descriptions are schematic (not necessarily "real") representations full of symbolism meant as instructions for visualization, just like mandalas.
It does not mean that they appear exactly like this in their respective realms.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:50 am

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:23 am
I never said these realms do not exist; of course they do.
But those descriptions are schematic (not necessarily "real") representations full of symbolism meant as instructions for visualization, just like mandalas.
There is nothing symbolic in describing the so called receptacle world (bhajanaloka), since it is meant to be an object of perception common to all beings in that place, and it is generally made of insentient matter. Or would you say the descriptions found in various texts from Asanga's Abhidharmasamuccaya (p 82) to Mipham's Gateway to Knowledge (vol 2, ch 8) are somehow meditation instructions?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:55 am

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:50 am
Or would you say the descriptions found in various texts from Asanga's Abhidharmasamuccaya (p 82) to Mipham's Gateway to Knowledge (vol 2, ch 8) are somehow meditation instructions?
In order to understand mythology and cosmology it is important to consider karmic vision.
It is said that all beings are only capable to percieve anything according to their own karmic vision.
The very same thing that we for example percieve as a lake and drink its water Pretas percieve as blood or dirt or something else that they cannot drink and therefore continue being thisty as long as they are in that realm.
We are only capable to percieve our realm filtered through our human senses and processed (altered) through our common human mind, all according to our karmic vision.
In order to connect to, visualize, imagine or understand other realms and other beings we need symbols.
Devaloka is only percievable directly with the karmic view of a Deva. Mount Meru is their abode, belonging to their loka.

If we want somehow connect to this for our karmic view unpercievable reality we need symbols, metaphors and allegories.
Just like in case of divinities who are directly unpercievable to our human karmic view, in order to connect to them we need visualization of their symbolic forms, mandalas (symbolic representation of their realms), seed syllables (powerful abstract symbols of their mind essence) and mantras (abstract symbolic representation of their power).

Similarly, these realms inaccessible to our karmic vision are represented by those allegorical cosmological descriptions.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:40 pm

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:55 am
In order to connect to, visualize, imagine or understand other realms and other beings we need symbols.
There are four major and eight intermediate continents around Sumeru, all populated by humans, so easily perceptible to us. The southern one, where all of us is supposed to be, is described just as India is known with its rivers and mountains. What is symbolic about that? Also, this Japanese map from 1710 does not look like an allegory to me, even though it contains locations like Lake Anavatapta whence the four great rivers flow.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:53 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:40 pm
tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:55 am
In order to connect to, visualize, imagine or understand other realms and other beings we need symbols.
There are four major and eight intermediate continents around Sumeru, all populated by humans, so easily perceptible to us. The southern one, where all of us is supposed to be, is described just as India is known with its rivers and mountains. What is symbolic about that? Also, this Japanese map from 1710 does not look like an allegory to me, even though it contains locations like Lake Anavatapta whence the four great rivers flow.
What is the point you are trying to make?

That the world is exactly like this?
Or that these descriptions are simply wrong and irrelevant and should be replaced by science?
Or that historically there have been persons who have interpreted these stories literally?

With the last one I could agree.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:07 pm

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:53 pm
What is the point you are trying to make?
That the descriptions of the world written by various authors were intended as they were written, how they imagined the world to be.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:10 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:07 pm
... how they imagined the world to be.
The clue is imagined.
In order to imagine something unpercievable to us we need symbols.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:37 pm

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:53 pm
What is the point you are trying to make?

That the world is exactly like this?
You were the one talking about karmic vision a second ago...
"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

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:08 pm

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:10 pm
The clue is imagined. In order to imagine something unpercievable to us we need symbols.
Beyond the room I'm sitting in the rest of the world I can only imagine. And even where I now sit is processed by the mind. But it doesn't mean the idea of a street outside refers to something imperceptible. Similarly, they did know and could perceive those rivers and mountains, while the rest beyond the known lands was assumed to be similarly real and perceptible, if one can go there. Hence there are stories of people physically visiting various realms.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:06 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:37 pm
tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:53 pm
What is the point you are trying to make?

That the world is exactly like this?
You were the one talking about karmic vision a second ago...
Yes. Meaning that we as humans are not able to percieve Devaloka.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:09 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:08 pm
tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:10 pm
The clue is imagined. In order to imagine something unpercievable to us we need symbols.
Beyond the room I'm sitting in the rest of the world I can only imagine. And even where I now sit is processed by the mind. But it doesn't mean the idea of a street outside refers to something imperceptible. Similarly, they did know and could perceive those rivers and mountains, while the rest beyond the known lands was assumed to be similarly real and perceptible, if one can go there. Hence there are stories of people physically visiting various realms.
You are just talking about distant things from our own realm.
But can you see devas and asuras? Are you able to percieve their realm?
Than please describe us truthfully what you have seen with your own eyes.

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by Astus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:22 pm

tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:09 pm
You are just talking about distant things from our own realm.
Exactly. And Mount Meru is within our realm too according to the descriptions. That's where the four great rivers, like the Ganges, come from. One just needs to follow them back to their source.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: What is Mount Meru?

Post by tatpurusa » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:27 pm

Astus wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:22 pm
tatpurusa wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:09 pm
You are just talking about distant things from our own realm.
Exactly. And Mount Meru is within our realm too according to the descriptions. That's where the four great rivers, like the Ganges, come from. One just needs to follow them back to their source.
And that is the center of the universe?

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