Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

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Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby Viscid » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:58 am

I hear it repeated that the Buddha had some knowledge of Stars, Galaxies and Planets.

David N. Snyder's book says:

"It was believed that Earth was at the center with all of the stars and the Sun revolving around Earth. The prevailing philosophy was this Earth-centered, human-centered idea. If the Earth were bit the center of the universe, it was concluded, then our planet would just be another planet and nothing special in relation to the universe.

Then came the Buddha and in his revolutionary way proclaimed that there are numerous other planets each with its own life forms. He said that these planets are great distances apart from each other (Jayasuriya, 1963) (Majhima Nikaya 3.124) The Buddha said there are "thousands and thousands of suns, thousands of moons, thousands of continents. " Anguttara Nikaya 1.227"


I can't seem to find where these things are said, as much as I google. Any help?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:04 am

Viscid wrote:I hear it repeated that the Buddha had some knowledge of Stars, Galaxies and Planets.
The interesting question is how much of this was already part of the background og the Buddha's time?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:09 am

Viscid wrote:
The Buddha said there are "thousands and thousands of suns, thousands of moons, thousands of continents. " Anguttara Nikaya 1.227"


I can't seem to find where these things are said, as much as I google. Any help?


Hi Viscid,

The reference is right there in your post: Anguttara Nikaya 1.227

Here are some more references:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Aliens
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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:36 am

In Majjhima Nikaya, it's in 3.123 not 124. I'll quote the sutta Acchariya-abbhuta for you:

I heard and learned this from the Blessed One's own lips: 'When the Bodhisatta passed away from the Tusita heaven and descended into his mother's womb, then a great immeasurable light surpassing the splendour of the gods appeared in the world with its gods, its Maras, and its Brahmas, in the generation with its recluses and brahmins, with its princes and its people. And even in those abysmal world interspaces of vacancy, gloom, and utter darness, where the moon and the sun, mighty and powerful as they are, cannot make their light prevail--- there too a great immeasurable light surpassing the splendour of the gods appeared. And beings reborn there perceived each other by that light: "So indeed sir, there are other beings reborn here!" And this ten-thousandfold world system shook and quaked and trembled, and there too a great immeasurable light surpassing the splendour of the gods appeared.' This too I remember as the wonderful and marvelous quality of the Blessed One.


The term "ten-thousandfold world system" is referring to a galaxy according to Buddhist cosmology.
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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby Viscid » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:24 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Hi Viscid,

The reference is right there in your post: Anguttara Nikaya 1.227


Right, and I can't find this on the Internet. Is it just not translated yet?

David N. Snyder wrote:Here are some more references:

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Aliens


Well, that page is an article you wrote yourself on your own site and it's sorta impossible to verify what you're saying is true without having the entire Pali canon translated and available to myself. Also, when I try to look for other sources to the quotes you attribute to the Buddha such as (from your "Aliens" page)
The Buddha stated that "the infinite world spheres are incalculable" (KN, Buddhavamsa 1.64).

http://www.google.ca/search?sourceid=ch ... culable%22

I only get your writing, so I assume you're the one interpreting and translating these passages?

Sorry to be a little aggressive, but I am very interested in what is said in the suttas describing what the Buddha knew (or what anyone believed at this time) regarding the physical universe around them.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:41 am

Viscid wrote:
Right, and I can't find this on the Internet. Is it just not translated yet?



They are translated but not yet available online. Bhikkhu Boddhi has translated most of the Nikayas. I have some of them and the passage I wrote above is from his translations. I recommend attaining the Books from Wisdom Publishing.
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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby Anicca » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:42 am

Howdy Viscid!

Try here: AN 10.29 Kosala Sutta: The Kosalan

Hope this helps

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Re: Buddha's knowledge of Galaxies

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:50 am

Viscid wrote: it's sorta impossible to verify what you're saying is true without having the entire Pali canon translated and available to myself.


The Pali Text Society has the entire Canon available in print editions (except for one or two books of the Abhidhamma). I have that set, plus also portions of the Canon by other publishers, such as Wisdom Publications (all of Bhikkhu Bodh's translations). The Canon is not completely online, but it is available in print.

Also, when I try to look for other sources to the quotes you attribute to the Buddha such as (from your "Aliens" page)
The Buddha stated that "the infinite world spheres are incalculable" (KN, Buddhavamsa 1.64).

http://www.google.ca/search?sourceid=ch ... culable%22

I only get your writing, so I assume you're the one interpreting and translating these passages?


No, not interpreting or translating, just reporting from the Canon as translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Rhys Davids, Norman and the other great Pali scholars who translated the Tipitaka. If I provide my own interpretation or paraphrase, I mention that or quote a monk or nun and their interpretation, otherwise if a Tipitaka reference is made, then it is real.

Sorry to be a little aggressive, but I am very interested in what is said in the suttas describing what the Buddha knew (or what anyone believed at this time) regarding the physical universe around them.


No problem, that is good to question. I hope this inspires you to gain access to the complete Tipitaka. It is worth it! :smile:
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