Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

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Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby Dhammakid » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:15 pm

Does the Buddhadhamma say anything that can be related to the cosmological idea of the multiverse (or omniverse, many worlds theory, etc)? I've been reading about this theory for a while now and find it very intriguing even though a bit daunting as well. I know Buddhism postulates the 32 planes of existence and that sentient beings are numberless, but does it say anything about there being multiple separate universes out there?

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby Sobeh » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:58 pm

It seems rather superfluous to the Dhamma, as I see it. Metaphysical speculations, in other words.
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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby OcTavO » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:10 pm

I've read essays that tried to stretch the definition of what Brahmin's believed during the Buddha's era to fit the current M-theory and multiple universes interpretations of quantum physics, but I think that's a pretty gross misinterpretation. To the best of my knowledge the Buddha didn't bother much with the metaphysical questions of the time.
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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby Anicca » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:48 pm

Someone wanted this in the Pali canon - for what it's worth: AN 10.29 Kosala Sutta
As far as the sun & moon revolve, illumining the directions with their light, there extends the thousand-fold cosmos. In that thousand-fold cosmos there are a thousand moons, a thousand suns, a thousand Sunerus — kings of mountains; a thousand Rose-apple continents, [1] a thousand Deathless Ox-cart [continents], a thousand northern Kuru [continents], a thousand eastern Videha [continents]; four thousand great oceans, four thousand Great Kings, a thousand [heavens of the] Four Great Kings, a thousand [heavens of the] Thirty-three, a thousand [heavens of the] Yamas, a thousand [heavens of the] Tusitas, a thousand heavens of the Nimmanaratis, a thousand heavens of the Paranimmitavasavattis, [2] and a thousand Brahma worlds.


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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby Mawkish1983 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:42 am

I.e. The universe is big.
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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:57 am

Sobeh wrote:It seems rather superfluous to the Dhamma, as I see it.

Agreed. The dhamma is concerned with "suffering and the ending of suffering" and, from that point of view, it doesn't matter whether there is one universe or a crore of them. One life, one body, one breath ... that'll do for now.
Sobeh wrote:Metaphysical speculations, in other words.

Metaphysical speculation for most of us, but physical speculation, actually, for the scientists. They don't ask the "why" questions. :tongue:

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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:49 am

Hi DK,
Dhammakid wrote:Does the Buddhadhamma say anything that can be related to the cosmological idea of the multiverse (or omniverse, many worlds theory, etc)? I've been reading about this theory for a while now and find it very intriguing even though a bit daunting as well. I know Buddhism postulates the 32 planes of existence and that sentient beings are numberless, but does it say anything about there being multiple separate universes out there?

I don't see anything in Buddhism resembling the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

The many-worlds interpretation is an attempt to get around the "collapse of the wave function in the measurement" that some physicists, such as Einstein, found hard to accept by saying that each "measurement" causes a bifurcation into parallel, distinct, universes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

In what way would that be connected with the Buddhist planes? It seems to me that they are presented as different "places" in one universe.

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Re: Buddhism and the Multiverse Theory

Postby Dhammakid » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:21 pm

It does seem likely that any attribution of Buddhist cosmology to the modern-day theory of the multiverse is a stretch. It also seems that it is a bit outside of the realm of the Dhamma, if only based on the fact that having such knowledge wouldn't necessarily bring one closer to the cessation of suffering.

Mike:
Yes, I've read the Wiki page as well as others and have a general understanding of the basic physics of the theory. I was just wondering if the Buddha said any such thing since he did spend some time speaking about cosmology and reality as he experienced it. To answer your question, it doesn't seem like there is any multiverse idea in Buddhism from what I gather from the responses. The passage quoted seems to be talking about different places in one universe (as you put it).

Thanks for the responses everyone.

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