Talk:Buddhist cosmology

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Neutral POV[edit]

I dispute the reasoning for the dispute over the neutrality of this article as it places undue doubt on the facts contained within.

Please reply with reasoning for dispute so we can get it resolved.


Jesus said that there are many mansions in my father's house. To me that can mean that there are many planes of heaven in the Universe of God. Similarly, in the Buddha's teaching he also describes various planes of existence where different kinds of beings exists. The devas in some planes can be similar to angels in Jesus' teaching. According to the Pali canon, the Buddha was able to see and travel to other frequencies of vibrations ( planes) that are much finer than our ordinary eyes can perceive. This ability comes with the successful practice of jhana meditation.

Throughout the Pali Canon, there are in suttas that mentioned incidences where being from these realms came to visit and learn from him. He also mentioned how various actions lead to rebirth in certain planes within the 31 planes of existence. Beings keep on going around in these planes existence without end. Some lay Buddhist, Hindus, might look forward to rebirth in a heaven realm. The Buddhist monk or nun however aim for liberation from the entire cycle of rebirth rather than heaven. According to the text, it is possible for an awakened person to go to any of these planes in this very life while living as in the case of the Buddha and his arahant disciples.

The 31 planes of existence mentioned in Buddhist cosmology are simply a description of various planes human beings are not able to perceive with our physical eyes. It is not important nor is it necessary for a practitioner to believe in these planes. The focus is more on the cultivation of purity & simplicity, compassion & wisdom through the Buddha's teaching and meditation. The goal is to transcend these realms rather than fixating on them, whatever realm it may be. That's why the Buddha doesn't instruct his monks/ nuns to devote all their time in rituals or worship. These states can be access through jhanas meditation though.

Simpliciti (talk) 21:33, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

This article has been written very carefully to comply with Wikipedia's NPOV standards. It does not improve the article to insert either sectarian or personal interpretations. RandomCritic (talk) 13:44, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Random critic, I am sorry if something is not according to your liking. Feel free to discuss what is it that is out of place before removing all the citation I added. Maybe I shouldn't use the word big bang as a description for the expansion of the universe. I can take that out. That was how my teacher called it. He is a monk for over 30 years and was also physicist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Simpliciti (talkcontribs) 14:12, 23 September 2010 (UTC)


I think that addition is a total cultural bias. It's no different If I came in and called Angels, or Jinns Fariy Tale creatures. Zazaban 06:20, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Both occasionally are (and jinn very frequently are), and it's hardly "cultural bias" to say so. That's a matter of fact, not of point-of-view. But imposing your private sense of what is "cultural bias" to censor articles might very well be considered POV, you know. I wonder if you consider the qualifier to be negative or positive -- perhaps you're unaware that "fairy tale" denotes a class of literature and is not a term of opprobrium? RandomCritic 15:07, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure Christians or Muslims would agree that angels are "fairly tale creatures". likewise Buddhists see these beings as levels of reincarnation and not fictional. I don't see people going into the articles mentioned above and condemning their existence. What's there know is better, but could still be improved. Zazaban 19:21, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Your concept that fictionality has been asserted (or denied) or that existence has been "condemned" is false and fallacious. The fairy tale is simply an identifiable body of literature that deals with a wide variety of subjects, which may or may not exist. There are Buddhist fairy tales as well as European, African, Chinese, and Native American ones. And Buddhist fairy tales (and Indian fairy tales in general) typically deal with such beings as yakshas, nagas, and similar creatures, and this is the context in which most people are likely to become aware of them. Regardless of whether you believe in their existence or not, reading or hearing about a yaksha in a fairy tale is surely far more common than meeting one in the wild.
And what is your objection to the term "minor spirits"? From the Buddhist point of view, that is precisely what they are -- supernatural beings whose power and influence is much less than that of the greater devas. What would make you think that a yaksha -- in Buddhist stories, often a kind of troll lurking in lakes in the wilderness, seeking to devour travellers -- is comparable to an angel? RandomCritic 20:06, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Use of Pali[edit]

I think the various descriptors used in this item should have Pali equivalences throughout; rather than here and there, it's not consitent. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:23, 6 February 2007 (UTC).

---It's incredibly disingenuous to suggest that mention of fairy-tales does not bring with it connotations of fictionality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Spirit suggests a ethereal or immortal being. These are mentioned in religious texts and thus calling them fairy-tale is like calling the Bible a fairy-tale. Zazaban 00:26, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Spirit may point a way to many different things. There is no scientific clarification that A spirit is either ethereal nor immortal. Different sources give different explanations. Spirit can also been seen as substance (as ethereal), adjective, part of whole being (like mind and soul), type of drink, sphere of knowledge about everything tied together with the word spirit (spirit in WOD Mage games) to name those closest to hand. As individual 'classifiable' beings many can be seen as ethereal, some can be mortal in some levels of their being. You can also say that spirit is composed from of electricity, music, wind, water, information etc rather than ethereality. There can be said to be spirit in wine as well as in blood and - not to be offencive - shit. Conversation or situatian can be seen to have a spirit, that doesn't require any kind of ethereality nor does it rule it out. Creatures of fairy-tale, folklore and holy texts can be seen to be composed from spirit, ethereality or both or neither. They can be seen as mortal or immortal or some other state that descirbes their state towards the death

Good idea[edit]

Use of Mandarin Chinese[edit]

Is the addition of the Mandarin Chinese names for the realms acceptable to everyone? Many Chinese Buddhists don't know the Sanskrit names and only identify the realms through Mandarin Chinese. The addition of Chinese would help greatly. (I can add the names) –- kungming·2 (Talk) 08:28, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

That is what the Chinese Wikipedia is for, I don't suggest to put Dutch words in the English Wikipedia either?rudy 21:50, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Buddhism would be sad tiny little religion if it were not for the Chinese Sinicizing it and spreading it across East and Southeast Asia. This Pali/Sanskrit crap all over the place is pure revisionism. It's the equivalent of trying to explain Christianity using only Hebrew and Aramaic terminology, and not Latin. -Naus (talk) 01:57, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
The Gautama Buddha did not preach his doctrine in Chinese. Bhagavan used pali although it is not a tiny religion when researching on Abhidharma (The Higher Doctrine)of Buddhism.JanStovicek (talk) 20:57, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Are these the views of all Buddhists?[edit]

According to this source: , it appears that some Buddhists, such as Nichiren Buddhists, don't believe in these descriptions. For example, they don't believe in "hell" as described in this article. Should this be mentioned? 00:50, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Regardless of whether this or that group of Buddhists believes literally in this cosmology, it is described in Buddhist scriptures and commentaries, and forms a fundamental background to other types of description; the "10 worlds" analysis could not exist without it. The article doesn't make any claim about the cosmology being true, or being believed in by "all Buddhists", just that this cosmology is set forth in Buddhist scriptures; and that's an historical fact that doesn't change with the beliefs of one group or another. RandomCritic 12:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I understand. But the introduction is a little misleading. It doesn't say that all Buddhists believe in this, but it is implied by stating that both major denominations of Buddhism support it. Why not have just a little disclaimer saying in short that these beliefs are not universal, just to make it clear to someone who is unfamiliar with the subject? 23:09, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Not According to Other Buddhist School[edit]

This is not the view of all Buddhist, perhaps it should indicate which Buddhist School it is. It is somewhat different. Simpliciti (talk) 18:14, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Map of The cosmos with Sumeru?[edit]

I would like to see a map of the buddhist cosmos with mount Sumeru and all the realms. Does anyone have a link? I have googled it myself already, even searching the translations in asian languages with google, but no decent map of it.

It is a bit complicated, as the traditions may vary, and it is a fairly complex 3D image really, not just 2D.rudy 21:48, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


Mount Sumeru is a cubic shaped hypothetical establishment which is believed to high as 84,000 Yojanstall. Only people obtained Jhāna can reach on it. There is a sculpture of Mount Sumeru which engraved in 14th century has found in excavation site; it is in the National Museum of Colombo in Sri Lanka. JanStovicek (talk) 20:57, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Use of language[edit]

Can we please remember that this is an English, and not a Sanskrit or Pali encyclopedia? It is simply impossible to read for the non-scholar now. When we follow the normal convention of first using the English terminology, followed by the Sanskrit or Pali terms, it may be turned into a very good and legible article, please?rudy 21:46, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

  • This Pali/Sanskrit crap all over the place is pure revisionism. It's the equivalent of trying to explain Christianity using only Hebrew and Aramaic terminology, and not Latin. There are far, far more Buddhists (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Korean) who recognize the Sinicized terminologies than this Pali/Sanskrit crap. I can't even follow this article and I'm well versed in Buddhism. -Naus (talk) 02:01, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
    • Calling Pali and Sanskrit crap is highly offensive and silly. Chinese words do not appear in all the East Asian Buddhist faiths either. Japan and Korea, for instance, use Japanese and Korean words (some of which are of Chinese origin but are hardly recognisable as Chinese). Not all Buddhists speak Chinese whereas the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism is Pali, and the liturgical language - although they use it less - of Mahayana Buddhism is Sanskrit. (talk) 13:13, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Question for the author only[edit]

Dear Author,

You wrote: “The Vivartakalpa begins with the arising of the primordial wind, which begins the process of building up the structures of the universe that had been destroyed at the end of the last mahākalpa.”

What is this primordial wind? How does it arise? Is it conditioned?

thanks! --Nekkhamma (talk) 05:11, 28 December 2008 (UTC)


the very last phrase: “The higher worlds are never destroyed”. This statement seems to suggest these worlds are unconditioned, i.e. eternal.

But isn’t the question “is the world eternal” unanswerable (quoting the Buddha)?

Are there ignorance, craving and hatred in these higher worlds?

thanks! --Nekkhamma (talk) 05:40, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

To:Nekkhamma There is no ignorance in anywhere other than human civilization. [Abhidharma|Abhidhamma]] Teaches us there are many ways to destroy universe. First destruction is by fire and eliminates up to Abassara Brahmā world. Second destruction is by water and eliminates up to Subakinna & 3rd is by wind and explode up to Vehappala;........only Anāgāmi worlds of enlightenment beings are never destroys. [1]
There is no 'author' of this page, it has been made by many people over time. Zazaban (talk) 00:08, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Re: "Mahayana" edits[edit]

User:Einstein Li 37 added the following:

"Pure land Buddhism believes there are pure land worlds in some of the worlds. "
"Mahayana Buddhism accepted the cosmology as above.[2] But they believe there are pure lands in the universe where buddhas and bodhisattvas teach sentiment life beings.[3] The concept of the universe is further explained in the Worlds, chapter 5 of Avatamsaka Sutra, that we are in the top 8th universe with our Buddha Vairocana from a vertically 20 universes structure."

The first part is inaccurate: A pure land is an entire universe, complete with its own devas and humans, not a world within another universe. As for the second part, while Avatamsaka cosmology is well worth discussing, the remarks about a 'vertically 20 universes structure' are too vague and poorly written to be included as written. (Also, major changes such as these should not be marked with the "minor change" tag.) RandomCritic (talk) 09:52, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

In our current multiverse theories, universes are independent of each other and we cannot travel from an universe to another. In Amitabha Sutra, passing many pure lands in the west we will reach Amitabha's pure land, and Buddhas and bodhisattva are said free to travel between the pure lands and to our world, while believers may go there after dead, and by wish they may come back (乘願再來). So pure lands are worlds interacting with other worlds but not a universe itself.Einstein Li 37 (talk) 11:06, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
Megaverse (pop culture)/multiverse (science) may be resolved into Universe with qualification.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 17:11, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


I am going to contemplate whether the majority of this article should be comported to an archive as an annexure accessed from this talk page and start afresh with citations. It is unfortunate that those who iterated this article with such care have been so careless in the provision of their sources. Probity. B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 17:04, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I added citations from Foundations of Buddhism [Gethin 1998] for two claims in the introduction. The text, as written, seems very consistent with that text. Alex Amies (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:09, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Please note proper use of Wylie[edit]

I made a bunch of corrections on the page of improper use of periods ( . ). Periods are rarely used in Tibetan Wylie. They are not used to separate syllables, that's what spaces are for. Periods are only used to indicate that a letter following a prefix is the root letter and is not subjoined, e.g. གཡུ་ is transliterated as "g.yu", while གྱུ་ is transliterated as "gyu". This is the only time that periods are used in Tibetan Wylie.

Please also note that hyphens are never used.

For a full guide to transliteration of Tibetan, see —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Problems with recent additions[edit]

First of all, this article must maintain complete neutrality between Theravada and Mahayana points of view. An editor has tried to insert repeated references to "31 planes". This is inappropriate, as the exact number is disputed between Buddhist sects. The same editor has inserted mentions of Theravada sutra texts in several places. These should be turned into reference notes. The editor has apparently taken issue with the statement that no sutra sets out the complete structure of the Buddhist universe, although, in fact, his references do not contradict the statement. The combined force of these edits is to tilt the article toward a Theravadin viewpoint, rather than maintaining neutrality. Other edits disrupt the structure of the article and delete information, apparently because it is not found in Theravada texts. This is not NPOV.RandomCritic (talk) 15:29, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

Form Realm (Rūpadhātu) and Pure Abodes (Śuddhāvāsa )[edit]

I'm reading this article to learn something about this topic, but some point are somehow not very clear. I'm pointing some of them out to help finding out where and how to improve this article.

1) Are the explanations in "Form Realm (Rūpadhātu)" section introduction regarding beings of all Form realms or regarding beings of all-except-Pure-Abodes Form realms?

For example the sentence «the dwellers in the Rūpadhātu have minds corresponding to the dhyānas (Pāli: jhānas). In their case it is the four lower dhyānas or rūpadhyānas. However, although the beings of the Rūpadhātu can be divided into four broad grades corresponding to these four dhyānas,» But there are five grades listed later (Pure Abodes, Bṛhatphala worlds, Śubhakṛtsna worlds, Ābhāsvara worlds). And the sentence go on «each of them is subdivided into further grades, three for each of the four dhyānas and five for the Śuddhāvāsa devas, for a total of seventeen grades (the Theravāda tradition counts one less grade in the highest dhyāna for a total of sixteen).» unlike as stated before «each of them is subdivided into further grades, three for each of the four dhyānas and five for the Śuddhāvāsa devas, for a total of seventeen grades (the Theravāda tradition counts one less grade in the highest dhyāna for a total of sixteen).». So is the Pure Abode grade not to be counted?

It seems to me as this can be seen as (I do not know at all if I'm explaining in the right way, it's just to check if I've undertood right) : Form Realms are divided into one Pure Abodes and some "normal" Form Realms. "Normal" Form Realms are divided into four broad grades corresponding to the four dhyānas (and then each of them is subdivided into further grades, ..., for a total of seventeen (or sixteen) grades. So the first half of the section introduction is regarding whole Form Realms and the second half is regarding the "normal" Form Realms .

Is it right? (If so, the section introduction should be split in two parts. If not, ... could someone explain or -better- improve the article, please?)

(But it's later stated that the Pure Abodes worlds are five, so the count is messed up)

2) In Pure Abodes section: «those Anāgāmins ("Non-returners") who are already on the path to Arhat-hood and who will attain enlightenment directly from the Śuddhāvāsa worlds without being reborn in a lower plane » But what about higher planes? Short later «Because a Śuddhāvāsa deva will never be reborn outside the Śuddhāvāsa worlds».

Why «Every Śuddhāvāsa deva is therefore a protector of Buddhism.»? -- (talk) 20:51, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

No answer?-- (talk) 08:25, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Your argument is correct i guess, Theravada explains Only 16 plains of existence in Rupa-World(Rupa-Loka). Never heard of the (Rūpadhātu). I believe this article was written to cum Mahayana tradition. I have heard Anāgāmi are refrain from Impermanence(Anicca) & Suffering(Dukkha). Don't know Buddhist artificers will gain access to pure abode section. Other parallel ascetics like Hindu Priests only observe highest plane as Asaññasatta in Rupa-World. And further Lord Buddha didn't praise the being born to Formless realms because you're unable to hear to the preachings Dhamma by future Buddhas and they have no organs to perceive anything relates to Rupa and Kama worlds. [4]සංජය 08:06, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

In theravada school teaching "Form realms Being" can be buddisht or not. someone are Brahm or another priest in "right faith" religion

if you cristian muslim toaist or Hidu if you have "right faith" and practice meditation you can gain jhānas and become "Form realms being" when die.

but Śuddhāvāsa deva is Anāgāmins only and priest or monk in another religion don't believe in buddha practice and don't gain anakami result and don't became Śuddhāvāsa deva

but another question is "Form realms Being" can practice buddha way? I don't known. but in theravada school text told when "Form realms Being" die they come back to samsara but they have life span equal universe and many of them thought they are immortal.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:48, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Which language are these words written in?[edit]

There are some places in this article where a word is given in one or two or three languages (not counting English), but which some language are is not stated. For example:

  • «The vertical (or cakravāḍa) cosmology» (1 non-English language, none stated)
  • «to the dhyānas (Pāli: jhānas).» (2 non-English language, 1 stated)
  • «The Śuddhāvāsa (Pāli: Suddhāvāsa; Tib: gnas gtsang ma)» (3 non-English language, 2 stated))
  • «Avṛha or Aviha» (2 non-English language, none stated)

-- (talk) 21:15, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

No answer? -- (talk) 08:26, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Cakravāḍa, dhyāna, etc. are Sanskrit. Aviha appears to be Pali. mike4ty4 (talk) 03:55, 4 December 2013 (UTC)