rhinoceroshorn wrote: ↑Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:33 pm
“There are these eight reasons, eight causes, Ānanda, for the occurrence of a great earthquake.
This great Earth, Ānanda, stands in the water, the water stands in the atmosphere, the atmosphere stands in space. There comes a time, Ānanda, when great winds blow, with the great winds blowing, the waters move, the waters having moved, the Earth moves. This is the first reason, the first cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.
Please, don't try to convince me this is any right. It's obviously wrong.
How to explain this blatant error? The Buddha was not omniscient? The Buddha only knew about suffering and its end? Scribal error? Later addition (this part of the sutta is not in the equivalent Agama. Some could explain it's the Mahāyāna influence
Please vote and/or post!!
The earth stands in the water because certain rocks and/or rafts made of trees, etc., float. The water stands in the atmosphere because that is how there is mist, clouds, and rain. The atmosphere stands in space based on the previous principles just set out. None of these assertions are scientific, but each is observable in its way to an ancient person. When you don't have a sense of "gravity," what holds the cosmos together becomes the innate mutually-corresponding properties of the 4-5 mahābhūtas, such as the coarser element standing amidst the more refined and subtle element as we see in the above quote.
There is no "fire" in the above, but the five elements here are listed from coarse to subtle and we can see the Buddha observing this ordering in the quote. We can see the same order in the creation of the elements by Brahma in the Rigveda, but I'm having trouble finding the quote to substantiate. He creates the world in reverse order, starting with space that he may hear, air that he may smell, fire that he may see, water that he may taste, and earth that he may touch. Other para-Vedic cosmologies have these as empty blackness beneath, then howling winds, then a lake of fire, then subterranean waters, then the earth on top. That is observing this same coarse-to-subtle or subtle-to-coarse principle.
For instance, there is no reason for Buddhists to place the arupya dhyanas "above" the rupa dhyanas in diagrams of the Iron Age "classical" Buddhist cosmos. But this is done based on the principle of coarse-to-subtle, bottom-to-top.