is supposedly a Burmese map of either Jambudvipa or the Loka from 1833. The site I got it from said nothing but the date and that it was supposedly “according to the commentaries.” Can anyone tell us more about what’s going on here? What is this representing? Is it a fake? It has Burmese script on it, but it just look so odd, I can’t imagine what it’s supposed to be. I am very interested, though.
There are some elements that I recognize from the Sarvastivada Abhidharma description of Jambudvipa.
There are four rivers running in the four cardinal directions and meeting in a central lake. I think there is a tree near this lake, or maybe it’s that tree in the upper part of the drawing. When this tree’s fruit falls on water, it produces a sound: jambu! Thus the name of this subcontinent, Jambudvipa.
But that is neither coming from an early text nor is it a correct description of the universe. So I don’t think it is so beneficial to pursue its meaning.
Could you provide a reference for that understanding?
I have always thought the name jambudvipa has to do with the presence of jambu/jamun trees:
The word Jambudvīpa literally refers to “the land of Jambu trees” where jambu (also known as jamun) is the Indian Blackberry (Syzygium cumini) and dvīpa has two meanings “island” or “continent” and “planets” situated in the ocean of outer space.
Near this lake is the Jambu tree. Our continent receives
its name Jambudvīpa, either from the tree, or from the fruit of the tree, which
is also called jambu. (page 1057 - translation by Lodro Sangpo. vol II, Motilatl Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 2012).
To which Jamgon Kongtrul commented in the book Myriad Worlds:
“Kongtrul comments (MWBC.112) that “at the shore of the lake stands a fruit tree
called the jambu, which bears a sweet fruit the size of a clay pot, named jambu from the sound made by the ripened fruit falling into the water. Since this continent is adorned by this tree, it is known as the Land of Jambu.””