Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Santi253
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Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by Santi253 »

According to mainstream science, the universe began approximately 13.8 billion years ago, after expanding from a singularity in the Big Bang. Buddhism traditionally teaches that the universe is vastly older than this, undergoing countless cycles of creation and dissolution.

While mainstream science can tell us the universe expanded from a singularity, where did that singularity come from, and what existed before it expanded? The Buddhist answer might be there have been countless Big Bangs, followed by countless Big Crunches.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by Sam Vara »

Santi253 wrote: While mainstream science can tell us the universe expanded from a singularity, where did that singularity come from, and what existed before it expanded? The Buddhist answer might be there have been countless Big Bangs, followed by countless Big Crunches.
Another Buddhist answer might be to not worry about it, as that type of speculation is fruitless.
Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.77
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Aloka
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by Aloka »

Sam Vara wrote:
Santi253 wrote: While mainstream science can tell us the universe expanded from a singularity, where did that singularity come from, and what existed before it expanded? The Buddhist answer might be there have been countless Big Bangs, followed by countless Big Crunches.
Another Buddhist answer might be to not worry about it, as that type of speculation is fruitless.
Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.77

:clap: That's one of my favourite suttas.
Santi253
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Sam Vara wrote:
Santi253 wrote: While mainstream science can tell us the universe expanded from a singularity, where did that singularity come from, and what existed before it expanded? The Buddhist answer might be there have been countless Big Bangs, followed by countless Big Crunches.
Another Buddhist answer might be to not worry about it, as that type of speculation is fruitless.
Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.77
Certain teachings of the Buddha wouldn't be true if the universe began only 14 billion years ago. I guess we could just interpret them metaphorically.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Santi253 wrote: Certain teachings of the Buddha wouldn't be true if the universe began only 14 billion years ago. I guess we could just interpret them metaphorically.
Agreed. If there's a potential clash between cosmology and soteriology, then I wouldn't bother at all with the cosmology. The Buddha never claimed to be any type of cosmologist.
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Sam Vara wrote:
Santi253 wrote: Certain teachings of the Buddha wouldn't be true if the universe began only 14 billion years ago. I guess we could just interpret them metaphorically.
Agreed. If there's a potential clash between cosmology and soteriology, then I wouldn't bother at all with the cosmology. The Buddha never claimed to be any type of cosmologist.
Interestingly, an oscillating universe model is taught by many scientists, which is what the Buddha also taught.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model
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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by Sam Vara »

Santi253 wrote: Interestingly, an oscillating universe model is taught by many scientists, which is what the Buddha also taught.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model
I'm not sure that the Buddha did teach this at all, or indeed any other form of objective cosmology. It doesn't really help, knowing that one is going to get badly squeezed and then exploded again ad infinitum...
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by cappuccino »

Santi253 wrote:Certain teachings of the Buddha wouldn't be true if the universe began only 14 billion years ago. I guess we could just interpret them metaphorically.
Certain teachings?

Buddhism is a cosmology teaching, first and foremost.

The first noble truth is suffering that is 99% in the possibility of hell.
Last edited by cappuccino on Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Guys, the buddha taught that the universe is divided into ages and that it collapses and expands. Who says there has only been one big bang? why not bang, collapse, bang collapse, bang collapse. Sounds like rebirth to me. The big bang is evidence, for me, that the buddha was spot on.
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by Dhammanando »

Santi253 wrote:Interestingly, an oscillating universe model is taught by many scientists, which is what the Buddha also taught.
Not really, for the "big crunch" posited in the oscillating universe model amounts to a total dissolution. By contrast, in traditional Buddhist cosmology there is a plurality of cakkavāḷas ("world-systems"), with each cakkavāḷa being conceived as quasi-eternal, in the sense that it never undergoes total destruction. Rather, a cakkavāḷa is periodically subjected to severe damage by fire, water or wind, with wind-damage being the severest of the three. When damage by wind occurs, every realm of existence from the lowest hell up to the Parittasubha Brahmā realm gets wiped out. But the Brahmā realms from Abhassara up to the Nevasaññānāsaññāyatana remain completely intact and unaffected (except that they are more crowded than usual, because of all the "refugees" from the lower realms). After that there ensues the cosmogenetic and anthropogenetic re-creation narrative described in the Aggañña Sutta.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
santa100
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by santa100 »

The "Brane" concept in M-theory suggests that there's no single Big Bang. There're were many Bangs before and will be many more Bangs in the future, just like what the Buddha said.
Santi253
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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BasementBuddhist wrote:Guys, the buddha taught that the universe is divided into ages and that it collapses and expands. Who says there has only been one big bang? why not bang, collapse, bang collapse, bang collapse. Sounds like rebirth to me. The big bang is evidence, for me, that the buddha was spot on.
Exactly.
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Santi253
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Dhammanando wrote: Not really, for the "big crunch" posited in the oscillating universe model amounts to a total dissolution.
There are several cyclical models for the universe that scientists have proposed. Some might be closer to what the Buddha taught than others.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

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Santi253
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

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Sam Vara wrote:
Santi253 wrote: Interestingly, an oscillating universe model is taught by many scientists, which is what the Buddha also taught.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model
I'm not sure that the Buddha did teach this at all, or indeed any other form of objective cosmology.
The Buddha taught that the universe has undergone incalculable cycles of creation and dissolution, as far as I know.
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Re: Buddhism & Big Bang Cosmology

Post by Dhammanando »

Santi253 wrote:The Buddha taught that the universe has undergone incalculable cycles of creation and dissolution, as far as I know.
This is not to be found in any Pali texts. What are to be found are accounts of the lower portions of a cakkavāḷa (a 31-plane world-system) periodically devolving (saṃvaṭṭati) and then re-evolving (vivaṭṭati), while the upper portions of the cakkavāḷa are preserved throughout:
There comes a time, Vāseṭṭha, when, sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period, this world devolves (ayaṃ loko saṃvaṭṭati). And when this happens, beings are mostly reborn in the Abhassara heaven; and there they dwell, made of mind, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, traversing the air, continuing in glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. There comes also a time, Vāseṭṭha, when sooner or later this world begins to re-evolve...
(Aggañña Sutta)
If a cakkavāḷa were destroyed in its entirety, then there wouldn't be any Abhassara heaven for deceased beings to go to.
If the entire universe (i.e. the collectivity of all cakkavāḷas) were destroyed, then there would be no other cakkavāḷas for those beings to transmigrate to who don't have the requisite jhānic merit to be reborn in the Abhassara heaven in their own cakkavāla.

Moreover, even in Mahayana texts I don’t think there is any talk of a cakkavāḷa being completely annihilated. The Mahayana's sole innovation in this matter is the idea that certain Bodhisattvas can dedicate their vast accumulations of merit to constructing new Ariyan-friendly cakkavāḷas called “Buddha-fields”. Then by ritualistic adoration of one of these Bodhisattvas one can supposedly be reborn in his Buddha-field, whereupon enlightenment will be attainable with ease. By contrast, in mainstream Indian Buddhism there was no conception of an arising of new cakkavāḷas by any means.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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