What is a "World System"?

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What is a "World System"?

Postby Stephen K » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:46 pm

For the refuge in the Buddha to be genuine, it must be accompanied by a commitment to the Buddha as an incomparable teacher, as unexcelled and unsurpassed. Strictly speaking, the historical Buddha is not unique since there have been earlier Fully Enlightened Ones who have arisen in past epochs and there will be others who will arise in future epochs as well. But in any one world system it is impossible for a second Buddha to arise while the teaching of another Buddha is still extant, and thus in terms of human history we are justified in regarding the Buddha as a unique teacher, unequalled by any other spiritual teacher known to humanity. It is this readiness to recognize the Buddha as "the unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, the teacher of gods and humans" that is the hallmark of an authentic act of taking refuge in the Buddha.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_21.html



What does "world system" here stand for? Planet Earth? The Solar System? The Universe? Something else?
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
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Re: What is a "World System"?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:31 pm

Stefan wrote:What does "world system" here stand for? Planet Earth? The Solar System? The Universe? Something else?


In this instance, probably planet earth. The Buddha did talk about "thousands of suns, thousands of moons, thousands of continents" (Anguttara Nikaya 1. 227), but in this and some other places it appears to refer to the 31 different planes of existence and this world we live in.

Otherwise, it could be a solar system.
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Re: What is a "World System"?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:07 am

Greetings Stefan,

Setting aside the particular word that Bhikkhu Bodhi has used, the point seems to be about, semantically, what differentiates a Buddha from a (non-Buddha) Arahant?

This differentiation is namely that the Buddha rediscovers the ancient path and (as opposed to a 'Silent Buddha') establishes a dispensation (sasana).

Therefore the geographical expanse in question seems less important than the idea that (wherever it is) there is not already an existing Buddhasasana there.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: What is a "World System"?

Postby pelletboy » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:52 am

From what I know, its the 31 planes right from the lowest hell to the highest heaven of neither perception not non-perception. This is a vertical set up. The other realms that stretch out left to right are other world systems that also have 31 planes of existence.
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