Buddhist Cosmology: Philosophy and Origins
This extensively researched and illustrated volume offers Western readers a rare introduction to Buddhism's complex and fascinating views about the structure of the universe. The book begins by clearly explaining classical cosmology, with its symmetrical, India-centered universe and multitudinous heavens and hells, and illuminates the cosmos's relation to the human concerns of karma, transmigration, and enlightenment. It moves on to discuss the Mahayana conception of the universe as a lotus flower containing uncountable realms, each with its own buddha. Then, examining changes in the notions of hell and the gods, the author traces Buddhism's gradual shift from a religion to a mythology. Throughout, treatment of Buddhism's historical, geographical, and doctrinal origins complements detailed cosmological descriptions. Finally, the author shows us how this ancient philosophy resembles the modern scientific view of the cosmos, and how even today it can help us lead more fulfilling lives.
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List of Figures
The Structure of Matter and the Universe
Hells Heavens and Other Realms
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Abhidharmakosa abode Acala According Amitabha Anavatapta ancient appears asura atoms Avalokitesvara Avici bodhisattva body Brahma Buddha buddha-lands Buddhist cosmology called century C.E. Chinese translation Commentary concept deities demons depicted devas Dharma Dhyana Dhyana heavens elements evil evildoers existence figure Flower Garland Sutra four landmasses golden earth layer Greek Hindu hot hells human hungry spirits idea Indian Indra inhabitants intermediate kalpas Jambudvipa Japan Japanese kalpa karma Krsnapaksa Ksitigarbha living lotus flower Lotus Repository World Mahayana Buddhism Maitreya means Mochizuki's month moon Mount Sumeru mountain originally pre-Mahayana Pure Land realm of desire realm of form realm of formlessness rebirth river Saha Sakyamuni samadhi Sanskrit Sanzu no kawa Second Dhyana seven six paths span stupa suffering Sukhavati Suklapaksa Taisho Tripitaka theory thirty-three gods thought thousand Tokyo trans transmigration trees Tusita Tusita heaven unclear unclear unclear universe Uttarakuru Vairocana vinitaka wind circle world system Yama yqjanas