What is a "World System"?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
Upasaka Sumana
Posts: 891
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

What is a "World System"?

Postby Upasaka Sumana » 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?
Do not think lightly of evil, saying, "It will not come to me." A drop at a time is the water pot filled. Likewise, the fool, gathering it little by little, fills himself with evil.
Do not think lightly of good, saying, "It will not come to me." A drop at a time is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

—Gotama Buddha, Dhammapada 121-122

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 8864
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

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.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Posts: 15729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

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. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

pelletboy
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue May 10, 2011 12:58 pm

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.


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine