Burmese map of cosmos according to commentaries


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.


Do you have better quality or link to original book? I will ask my friends to translate few sentences. Btw what is the source?


It’s from Ven Shravasti Dhammika’s blog: dhamma musings: Gaps In The Maps?


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. :laughing:

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.


It looks like the Bodhi Tree/Bodhagaya is on the top, a detail I took from the Venerable’s blog. Do you think that’s Sumeru with the tree on top?

It’s difficult to know if we are viewing Sumeru from the side or Jambudvipa from above.


The word jambu in Indonesian-Malay means ‘rose apple’. The main shape in this map looks like a tree shedding fruits the shape of rose apples. What is the Burmese word for rose apple I wonder.

Rose apple: Syzygium samarangense - Wikipedia


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.


Hi, Gabriel.

This is from Jamgon Kongtrul’s Myriad worlds.

Vasubandhu wrote in the Abhidharmakosha-basyam:

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.””

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