Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Buddhist Concept of World Systems


Modern science produces a wealth of knowledge about the universe spread in a vast area of space. Today it has become a part of general knowledge. According to that there are a large number of planets, suns and moons. There are also numerous solar systems. Modern research in space has revealed an experience such solar systems. Buddhism also has same ideas given about world system and space objects. For all this Buddhism uses the term loka. The term sometimes means universe, sometimes it means the experienced world of the individuals.

The årunavatIsutta of SN records an incident where the Buddha once told to Ānanda that in the time of the Buddha ßikkI, one elder named åbhibhU recited one verse do it to be heard in the one thousand world system (sahassilokadhAtu). On that occasion Ven. Ānanda put the following question to the Buddha.

BhagavA pana bhante arahaM sammAsambuddho kIvatikaM pahoti sarena viJJApetuM
=How long the blessed one indeed, the worthy one, the enlightened one is able to acknowledge by voice.
The Buddha replied: “ßAvako so Ānanda appameyyathAgata (O Ānanda! He is a disciple the thus gone one limitless (in acknowledging by voice). The Ānanda questioned again and again on the subject. In response to him the Buddha made an analysis of world system as recorded in same sutta.

1. YAvatA Ānanda candimasuriya pariharanti, bhanti virocamAnA tAva sahassadhA loka dhAtu
=So long, O Ānanda! The thousand suns disperse their lights, lighten the direction and illuminate so long is thousand fold world system. So thousand world systems has thousand suns, thousand moons, thousand Meru mountains, thousand JambudIpas, thousand four great oceans, thousand Āparagoyanas, thousand üttarakurudIpas, thousand Pubbavidehas, thousand four quarter kings, thousand CatummahArAjikas, thousand TAvatiMsas, thousand Yamas, thousand Tusitas, thousand ñimmANartis, thousand Paranimmitavasavattis, thousand Brahma worlds.                                                 
“… ayaM vucca tAnanda sahassI cULanikA lokadhAtu (O Ānanda! This is called thousand fold minor world systems).

2. YAvatA Ānanda cUlanikA sahassI lokadhAtu tAva sahassadhAtu loko. ayaM vuccatAnanda dvisahassI majjhimA lokadhAtu
=O Ānanda! So long the minor world systems up to that world are thousand fold. This is called O Ānanda! Twice thousand fold middle world systems.

Lectured on 19.10.2005
3. YAvatA Ānanda dvisahassI majjhimA loadhAtu tAva sahassadhA loko. ayaM vucchatAnanda tisahassI mahAsahassI lokadhAtu – O Ānanda! So long, the twice thousand fold middle world systems up to that, world is thousand fold. This is called O Ānanda! Trice thousand fold great world systems.

This talks about a world system of one thousand millions suns in his analysis of mirror world system. It is said as thousand JambudIpa etc. It means that they were habitual of beings. A similar view has been accepted by the modern sciences also. Accordingly modern sciences too there are innumerate-able planets where there can be life existence.
Buddhism explains three spheres of existence as kAmabhava, rUpabhava and arUpabhava. In the analysis of minor world system from thousand JambudIpas upto thousand Paranimittavasavatti is kAmabhava, thousand brahma worlds mean rUpabhava and arUpabhava. Accordingly Buddhism accepts the existence of life beyond this universe. The åGghuttaranikAya says that no two fully enlightened one being in one worldly system simultaneously. This means that a Buddha appears in one world. It means in many worlds there can be many Buddhas what can not happen is the appearance of two Buddhas in one world in the same time. 
åTThAnametaM bhikkhave anavakAso yaM ekissAya lokadhAtuyA dve arahantA sammAsambuddhA apubbaM acarimaM uppajjeyyuM netaM ThAnaM vijjati. ThAnaM kho etaM vijjati sammAsanbuddho uppajjeyyuM ThAnametaM vijjati

=O monks! The fact that two enlightened ones would be born at one time in one world, this can not be happened. The fact that one fully enlightened one would be born in a world at a time. This is a thing that can happen.       
This enumeration of the Buddha talks about a gigantic world system which comprises with trillion suns. The modern science too is holding an idea similar to this. Commenting on the existence of thousand JambudIpas in minor world systems, Prof. Jayatilaka says that those terminologies inhabited religious of beings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bookmark Digg Bookmark Bookmark Facebook Bookmark Reddit Bookmark StumbleUpon Bookmark Yahoo Bookmark Google Bookmark Technorati Bookmark Twitter Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...