Friday, November 23, 2012

Where is the center of the world? Mt. Sumeru

Cho (Chotography on Facebook); Seven Dharmachari, Wisdom Quarterly
Buddhist cosmology: Mt. Sumerus run through the center of "world-systems" or galaxies like our own and are surrounded by "continents" or planetary clusters (Wisdom Quarterly).
QUESTION: Where is Mount Sumeru? (Great Meru)

ANSWER: Sumeru is the name of the galactic center in Buddhist cosmology. So it is in the center of the Milky Way as seen from outside of it, a sight attainable through meditative development.
Cosmology in a sand mandala (Wonderlane) 
As the insert suggests, it is analogous to the main tower (1).  
Mandalas such as those used as the foundation for Buddhist temples, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Boudanath in Nepal, are laid out in a pattern reflecting the Buddhist conception of our world in the multiverse.
Boudanath Mandala/Pagoda, Nepal (Gulmuhor)
Known categories and worlds (general spheres and particular planes) are depicted as concentric circles and levels, with pagodas (elaborate reliquaries or stupas) emulating the central pole, the world tree or world axis (Axis Mundi), which is Sumeru. 
Mt. Sumeru could never refer to a mountain on this planet, which may have its own mini Meru in the invisible lines of magnetic force emanating from the poles of this living Bhumi (Gaia). 
Of course, all of this is speculative and remains unsettled.
The first problem is determining the meaning of a popular ancient Indian measure of distance, the yojana. The most sensible meaning is the distance a draught ox can travel before needing to be un-yoked. This is or was roughly seven miles in agrarian Greater India (Bharat). Even then it was a colloquial generalization, never an exact measure.
Space with innumerable inhabited worlds in all 10,000 directions (
But it is what the Buddha and others used as a well understood convention. Exact measures are given of the height of Sumeru and the distance to other mountain ranges extending out with "oceans," certainly bodies of space rather than briny terrestrial waters, between them. 
Likewise the "continents," as also shown in the insert (2-5), are habitable worlds (lokas, worlds) on this "human" plane, with its ill-born, ghosts, titans, animals of all kinds, humans, devas, and brahmas.

1 comment:

Vijay said...

The most logical explanation of the meru! Brilliant!