Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā - Three Worlds

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Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā - Three Worlds

Postby gavesako » Mon May 21, 2012 7:22 pm

Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā ไตรภูมิกถา/เตภูมิกถา

te/trai = three, triple
bhūmi = plane, level, sphere
kathā = talk, discussion

:buddha2:

Note: it should read กถา (kathā) instead of คาถา (gāthā), which means "verses"

ไตรภูมิคาถา (3D animation - very nice)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylaZvvO3gag :-)

บันทึก ไตรภูมิ (cartoon, shorter version, also nice)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WJcY2PVkHg

ไตรภูมิพระร่วง (slideshow of the main contents)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lriHpL99ww

ไตรภูมิพระร่วง ตอน มนุสสภูมิ (overview with text)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ePpUo8qBAQ

ไตรภูมิกถา หรือ ไตรภูมิพระร่วง
http://buddhism.hum.ku.ac.th/topics/trai_bhumi.htm


English translation:
Frank E. Reynolds: Three Worlds According To King Ruang, a Thai Buddhist Cosmology. Berkeley 1982.

In the 14th century, the heir apparent to the throne of the central Thai kingdom completed the first truly literary work of a Thai author. Phya Lithai entitled his work Sermon on the Three Worlds but it later became known as Three Worlds of King Ruang. It is the culmination of a long history of visionary and cosmological literature within the Theravada tradition, representing in a vivid and concise form, the religious universe within which Thai Buddhists have traditionally lived. In particular, the description of death and the fates which await beings who die in the thirty-one realms of the Three Worlds portray the process of dying and depict the relative absence of suffering and pollution at high levels of attainment.Because of the prestige of its author, its claim to orthodox authority and its strong popular appeal, this text exerted a powerful influence on the religious consciousness of the Thai, on their literary and artistic development and on their social and ethical attitudes. Despite harsh criticisms to which the texts have been subjected by a number of Buddhist modernists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this influence has persisted to the present day. Thus, not only from a buddhological point of view, but also from a historical or anthropological perspective, it is no exaggeration to say that the Three Worlds of King Ruang is the most important and fascinating text that has been composed in the Thai language.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Worlds-Acco ... 0895811537
http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/ojs/ ... /8586/2493


Creation Myth in 'Three Worlds According to King Ruang': A Teaching of Buddhist Philosophy
by Suchitra Chongstitvatana

The ‘creation’ myth in the text is found in the chapter concerning the destruction of the Mahakappa, explaining the cosmic destruction by the fire, water and wind. After the destruction, the text describes the cosmic devolution and the devolution of society. It is found that the text explains the ‘natural’ cycle of creation and destruction. The most interesting aspect is the explanation of the ‘origin’ of human beings and society. According to the text, human beings have in fact the 'divine' origin. The details of the 'creation myth' in this Buddhist cosmology reflect a significant evidence that the myth is employed ultimately for the purpose of teaching Buddha Dhamma. Firstly, the myth focuses on the 'divine' origin of human beings and nature so as to enhance the faith in the concept of 'merit'. By practising Dhamma, all beings could attain a state of 'divinity' and otherworldly qualities. This reflects the 'humanistic' dimension of Buddhist philosophy. Second, by emphasising 'virtues' as the 'norm' for the status of the leader of kings, the text is functioning as a didactic text for the readers. Thirdly, the myth also serves as enhancement of the faith in the supreme bliss of Enlightenment or Nibbana. The myth obviously illustrated how human defilements are the cause of human suffering and hardship in life and significantly the 'cause' of the loss of their 'divinity' and 'magical power'. Moreover, the myth reflects the impermanence of all the cosmos, the cycle of creations or destructions, and therefore emphasises the most desirable goal of Nibbana where the cycle of impermanence or suffering ends.

Nice PDF presentation with colour paintings from Thai temples illustrating the Three Worlds:
http://apec.ucol.mx/Sem11/ponencias/37/ ... vatana.pdf

The political and social aspect of the text remaining in SE Asia until today:
http://asu.academia.edu/JulianeSchober/ ... tic_Polity

:group:

“Cosmology as Described in the Trai Phum Phra Ruang”
By Dr. Sumalai Ganwiboon

The Trai Phum Phra Ruang or the Three Worlds according to King Ruang was the most important element of Thai Buddhism for at least five hundred years.[1] It was regarded to be almost as important as the Pāli Tipitaka.[2] The three worlds are: (i) the sensual worlds, (ii) the form world, and (iii) the formless world.[3] These three worlds may be mentioned as Buddhist cosmology. Generally, cosmology seems to have nothing concerned with Buddhism. However, if we look at the term properly, we may find the connection therein.
Cosmology is the term for the study of cosmic views in general and for the specific view or collection of images concerning the universe held in a religion or cultural tradition. The twofold meaning of the term is reminiscent of the double meaning of mythology, which is at the same time the study of myths and the dominant or representative assemblage of myths in a given tradition. However, the double usage of the term, it relates also to inquiry in the natural science. It is customary in the natural science to associate the term primarily with the first meaning given; more specifically, these science reserve cosmology for the scientific study of the universe considered as a whole. Thus, it is the most encompassing task of astronomy and is distinct from, even if presupposed by, sciences with a comparatively more limited object, such as physics or geology.[4] We may say that, Buddhist cosmology seems to have connection with the myth part. ... Buddhist cosmology is also mentioned in the The Three Worlds according to King Ruang. However, its significant should be mentioned here. The Trai Phum Phra Ruang was written about seven hundred years ago, in Khmer script, ancient Thai language.[11] The original text was based on the Pāli Canon and its Commentaries,[12] by Phya Lithai, a Thai king. Its original title was the Traibhumikathā or the Sermon on the Three Worlds, later on it became well known as theTrai Phum Phra Ruang or the Three Worlds according to King Ruang. King Ruang, Phra Ruang, or Phya Lithai was the name of a son of King Lelithai who reigned in the city of Sri-Sajjanālaya of Sukhothai dynasty.[13]
According to Sulak Sivalaksa,[14] the book has strong political connotations, especially concerning the concept of Kamma. After Sukhothai, Ayudhya was the capital for almost five hundred years. The Three Worlds according to King Ruang still played a significant role in transmitting, and transforming popular Buddhism into the Thai worldview. Indeed, the text also influenced the neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia. The Three Worlds according to King Ruang remained the supreme text even after the destruction of Ayudhyaabout two hundred and fifty years ago. As soon as the new dynasty was established at Dhonburi, and laterBangkok, The Three Worlds according to King Ruangwas copied and distributed widely under royal mandate, and mural paintings adorned new royal temples. However, the text pays an important rolled until the modernized of king Rama V who reformed the kingdom improved the western colonial administration under a centralized bureaucracy and absolute monarchy with modern army to suppress its citizens or provincial governors to be totally loyal to the Crown and Bangkok. Western education introduced by the king was entirely secular, with no room for developing Buddhist ethics or meditation. Although Buddhism was taught in the schools, it was taught ineffectively. ...
The concept of the three worlds is also mentioned in the Pāli texts. The Anguttaranikāya[21] mentions about the three Dhātus. The term Dhātu is used in a cosmological sense to mean the three spheres or planes into which the entire universe is analyzed from an ethical and spiritual point of view. This analysis gives the different aggregates (Khandha) or the elements (Dhātu2 or Dhamma 2) that obtain in the three sphere, indicating the different levels of spiritual and ethical progress reached by beings belonging to the three spheres. The spheres are (i) the sensual sphere (Kāma-dhātu), (ii) the material sphere (Rūpa-dhātu), and (iii) the immaterial sphere (Arūpa-dhātu). They are also called the three worlds (Loka): the sensuous world (Kāma-loka), the material world (Rūpa-loka), and the immaterial world (Arūpa-loka), as well as the three regions (Bhūmi): the sensuous region (Kāmāvacara-bhūmi), the material region (Rūpāvacara-bhūmi), and the immaterial region (Arūpāvacara-bhūmi).

http://sumalai.multiply.com/journal/item/1/1
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā - Three Worlds

Postby gavesako » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:22 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā - Three Worlds

Postby gavesako » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:21 am

Still relevant?

A 14th-century text on cosmology has much to teach us about the essence of Buddhism and the roots of Thai culture, scholars insist, recommending that it be given a more prominent place on the school curriculum


Mention the Traibhumi to a group of Thais, young or old, and the reaction is likely to be an outbreak of yawns. If, that is, anyone even knows what you are referring to.


A classic image of a preta (spirit). The Traibhumi divides preta into categories depending on the type of karma earned by them in their previous life. For example, a dishonest judge who accepts bribes is fated to be reborn in the domain of Pretabhumi. There, during daylight hours he lives like a god, but after dark he becomes a preta, condemned to consume his own flesh eternally.

But how could a text written more than seven centuries ago have any relevance to the lives of people in today's modern society?

Regarded as the most important literary work to survive from the Sukhothai era, the Traibhumi has significantly shaped the thinking of Thai people in a host of different ways, experts say. Its influence can be seen in traditional painting, sculpture, literature and architecture. Anecdotes from, and references to, this huge body of writing pop up again and again in court art, music and folk tales.

The original version - scholars now refer to this as Traibhumikatha - is accredited to King Lithai of Sukhothai who ruled from 1347 to 1376. Legend has it that this devoutly religious monarch consulted more than 30 ancient texts before having the fruits of his research into Buddhist cosmology engraved on folded palm leaves (this was long before the advent of paper).

Damage caused to this delicate manuscript by insects, humidity and tropical moulds made it necessary for scribes to continually produce new copies of this valuable text as the years went by. Some were faithful to King Lithai's original, others - like Traibhumlokavinijjai, commissioned by King Rama I in the 18th century - were modified or altered in various ways.


Phra Sumeru, the central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology, with Tavatimsa, the abode of Indra, on its peak.

One of the most recent versions, a bilingual Thai-English edition, was published in 1985 as Traibhumikatha: The Story Of The Three Planes Of Existence. This ambitious translation was undertaken by the Asean Committee on Information and Culture as part of "Anthology of Asean Literatures", a project to promote understanding among members of the bloc.

This text was chosen, explained Khunying Kullasap Gesmankit, who chairs a committee on Thai literature set up by the Fine Arts Department, because it is widely regarded as the best example of literature from the Sukhothai period.

Khunying Kullasap was speaking at a seminar held in Bangkok late last month entitled ''Traibhumi And Its Influence On Thai Society''.

This massive text - the first volume of the Asean-sponsored edition contains 11 separate books and runs to almost 500 pages - contains illustrations and a detailed account of the origins of the Buddhist universe. All existence is divided into three planes - kamabhumi (sensuous), rupabhumi (corporeal) and arupabhumi (incorporeal) - which are further subdivided into domains - 31 in all - existing at different levels, ascending from animals and other creatures at the very bottom through the realms of spirits, demons and human beings to the abode of deities at the summit.

In addition to keeping it extant by making new copies, the essence of this cosmology has also been kept alive in the popular imagination through the media of painting, especially temple murals, and architecture.

A good example of the latter can be found in the layout of Bangkok's Wat Arun, whose main stupa - meant to represent Phra Sumeru, the central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology - is surrounded by four smaller, satellite stupas which signify the four continents.

The skilled craftsmen who built temples around the Kingdom would also incorporate subtle references to the Traibhumi into some part of the sacred structure, expecting educated Buddhists to be able to decode the symbols.


Asubhumi, Nagabhumi and Ananda, the giant fish that maintain the Earth.

For instance an architectural feature called plong chanai, which links the topmost spire to the body of a stupa, is often made up of 31 separate layers; in the Traibhumi, 31 is the total number of domains inhabited by different life-forms.

The Traibhumi has also served over the centuries as a social tool to maintain peace and order among the populace. This is because a significant portion of it deals with the cycle of birth and death in all creatures, human and non-human, and, in particular, with the assertion that the good or bad karma of each creature is what predetermines the domain in which he or she will be reborn in his/her next life.

At the seminar in June, hosted by the Ministry of Culture at a Bangkok hotel, Wattana Boonjub, an expert from the literature and history section at the Fine Arts Departments, said that King Lithai's aim in writing Traibhumikatha was to clarify the Lord Buddha's teachings on various points.


Anodat and the mystical forest of Himavana.

''But at the same time, the text allows each reader to interpret it differently, depending on background.

''But, all in all, this sacred text is like a guidebook for those seeking an end to the cycle of life and death,'' said Wattana, who did research on the Traibhumi and religious architecture for his PhD thesis.

''Some of its facts are obsolete - like the part that describes the Earth as flat and as being at the centre of the universe.

''But we have to take into account that it was written in ancient times and the writer had limited access to knowledge. Even so, there are parts that are scientific, like the section on the birth of mankind.''

It's important for young learners to have well-rounded teachers to guide them, he said, going on to voice concern that belief in some parts of the Traibhumi, especially the section involving good and bad deeds, appears to have faded especially in the younger generation.


The four dvipa (continents) that surround Phra Sumeru.

''That's probably because the Traibhumi is not included on any school curricula nowadays. Parts of the text have been included on the optional external reading list,'' he said, comparing this to centuries past when Traibhumi philosophy was not just readily accessible, but strongly embedded in people's minds.

Since this text is at the root of every branch of Thai culture, it is vital that young people get a chance to study it, Wattana said.

Thanya Sangkhaphanthanon, a lecturer at Maha Sarakham University's Department of Humanities and Social Science, and a past winner of the Seawrite Award for literature, agreed with the importance of making the Traibhumi available to young learners.

While this text may look out of place in the modern world, the opposite is the case, he said. Content that dwells on the Lord Buddha's teachings is timeless, said Thanya, who did a doctoral thesis focused on the relations between humans and nature in the Traibhumi.


This illustration from the Traibhumi depicts the 27 constellations in Buddhist cosmology.

This ancient text deals with the issue of impermanence, as stated by the Lord Buddha, and that can be linked closely with dialectical theory in Western philosophy, he said.

''When it comes to the ecology, the Traibhumi refers to the state when nature is in balance and when it has lost its balance,'' said the lecturer, who writes under the pen name Paitoon Thanya. While the scholars at the seminar see the beauty of the language used in the Traibhumi, it was generally agreed that the archaic Thai terms used in the text may make it too difficult for young people today to follow. They agreed that new tools, like 3D animation, should be developed to make this ancient text more appealing to young learners.

They cited some of the graphic illustrations in the Traibhumi, especially those showing the different parts of hell and the suffering endured by the spirits - or preta (creatures) - consigned to its depths, that would make anyone who sees them more aware of the results of karma and encourage them to refrain from committing bad deeds.


Matsi as depicted in the ‘Phra Vessandorn’ episode of the Jataka (tales of previous lives of the Buddha).

Mae Chee Vimuttiya, a Buddhist nun who chairs the International Tripitaka Hall at the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, said that everyone who studies the Traibhumi should realise that its ultimate objective is to help the reader achieve nibbhana (nirvana).

Although it may seem that most people nowadays have little time for the concept of karma, she said, dismissing it as an old-fashioned belief, the truth is that the consequences of good and bad karma - barb (sin) and boon (good deeds) - never become outdated.

''Sin and good deeds and their consequences are deep inside our hearts,'' she said.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/feature/reli ... l-relevant
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā - Three Worlds

Postby gavesako » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:46 pm

A nice description of the 31 planes of existence by Ven. Pannobhasa comparing some of them to the Greek gods:

http://www.nippapanca.org/articles/31%2 ... stence.pdf
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Traibhūmikathā/Tebhūmikathā - Three Worlds

Postby gavesako » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:04 am

A classic sermon on

This Present Life Is So Important
For The Well-Being of The Future
delivered by
His Holiness
Somdech Phra Nyanasamvara
The Supreme Patriarchof Thai Sangha
The sermon was delivered by His Holiness Phra Nyanasamvara
The Supreme Patriarch on New Year’s Day A.D. 2005 or B.E. 2548
Translated by S.Nopporn
ชีวิตนี้สำคัญนัก
เพื่อความสุขสวัสดีแห่งเบื้องหน้า
สมเด็จพระญาณสังวร สมเด็จพระสังฆราช สกลมหาสังฆปริณายก


1. This present life is so miniscule in scope and so small

Lives of all kinds whether humans or animals do not exist only in the present existence, but they also have past and future ones.
This short life means that the present existence is a bit brief and so miniscule.
Life , of course, is subject to ageing . The present existence of each individual does not exceed one hundred years in terms of the average age. It is a very short period when compared with the past uncountable existences and those in the future.
When the sages or learned persons utter that this present life is so unfocused , they are comparing it with past and future uncountable existences . Those people of incomplete understanding can not be delivered from suffering

2. Life and Performed Kamma

Present existence of all kinds before becoming humans or animals used to be something else. This is not separate from kamma, whether it be past or present , good or bad, before or after. Kamma can not occur at the same time. It can not be put in perfect order and is limitless. The effect of past kamma is incalculable and even exceeds the present existence.
All good and bad deeds give effects . Though the effects may not occur at the same time chronologically , the outcome will definitely happen due to the cause. Whatever the outcome, each of them will occur to be experienced.

3. Kamma that has been done gives result exact to its cause

Where there is cause, there is effect. Person who does the kamma will definitely receive its outcome . When the person is happy, whether he or she is that person, it can be realized that good deed will give effect. That person is enjoying the effects of its cause.
The ordinary person may not realize this, but it should be understood that the good cause of happiness is the outcome good effect. Good result does not arise from bad cause.
When an individual is suffering misery whether it may be ourself or other person , it is definite that unwholesome cause produces bad effects.
Though an ordinary person may not realize this , he or she should understand that cause of suffering is due to unwholesome action . Unwholesome effects are due to bad causes, never from good ones. ...

7. Differences of Birth

Existence or life of each individual has differences of birth. Whether the persons may be Thai, Chinese, Indian or Westerners have differences in family tradition and social strata. Inteligence and wisdom are not the same. One may be wise or may be foolish . Living standard is also different in terms of property.
All the differences can be varied. This indicates belief in kamma and also its consequences. Each person had differences in past existences which lead to differences in present one . All undergo different births and lives due to different kamma in the past.

http://www.nkgen.com/3001.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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