SuttaCentral

Did the Buddha know the Earth is round?


#101

If we start with the ‘assumption’ that a roundish Earth is in the ‘forest full of leaves’ then, we may wonder why it is logical and reasonable to ask questions about it! I did not make that assumption. It may not be in the ‘handful of leaves’ for a number of reasons? Here is a couple of possibilities: 1) the Earth as a ball-like formation had not been discovered yet? or, 2) the Buddha may not have taken a close look when he was checking out the universe with his psychic powers? The Buddha may not have ‘turned’ his omniscient attention to the details when he was observing the structure of the physical universe. There may be other explanations other than the former and the latter?

The Buddha did share cosmological information with us and it must have been important or he would not have bothered. It just so happens that when he talks about the Earth there is no mention of its actual shape and appearance from space.

He also neglected to mention the other spherical planets in our solar system. He may have mentioned those planets - I don’t know - but he does not seem to have taken a look around and noticed the beautiful and unique ‘spheres’ that are our nearest neighbours. In fact, the universe has countless spherical formations in space.

IF THE BUDDHA WANTED TO TELL US ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSE - AND HE DID - WHY WOULD HE NOT TELL US THAT WE LIVE ON A BALL IN SPACE AND THAT THE UNIVERSE HAS COUNTLESS ROUNDISH THINGS IN IT - LARGE, SMALL AND, REALLY TINY? THINK IT THROUGH - IN THE MICRO-WORLD AND THE MACRO-WORLD ROUNDISH THINGS ARE EVERYWHERE.

We can be reasonably sure that whatever the Buddha was seeing ‘out there’ it does not look like a universe full of round things - large and small.

There were no telescopes when the Buddha was around so he must have got his information in some other way. In a way that definitely defies logic!


#102

No, the handful of leaves is not an “assumption”. It’s in the sutta I provided. If it’s an “assumption” to you then you shouldn’t waste your time and other people’s time by raising the question in the first place, 'cuz you don’t have even the slightest provisional belief in any word of any sutta.


#103

Sorry, I corrected that comment - please read it again!


#104

Makes no difference.


#105

I have an open mind about most everything I find in the Buddha’s teachings. I don’t pretend to know what I do not know! I cannot see the problem with that but apparently you do?


#106

Sorry to break it to you but it’s impossible for one to have an open mind without logic and common sense.


#107

Yes, you should work on that! :heart_eyes:


#108

You need a big mirror and look at it first…:grin:


#109

Its fine - we don’t have to see things in the same way. Good luck with your practice - best wishes, Laurence


#110

Sounds about right. Same to you.


#111

Can we agree that whether the earth is flat, or round, cubic, or sitting on the back of a turtle: it is annica, dukkha, anatta?


#112

Yes , I would chime in on that - but that topic is probably going on in another thread?

Our ability to reason is compromised when we start from a ‘fixed position’ and then try to find reasons to believe it? We become the victims of circular reasoning that prevents us from breaking new ground - making new and novel discoveries. Everything is geared to reinforce our preset conclusions. A process of self-affirmation is the only outcome. A lot of the static in this thread is a consequence of this preoccupation.

Why do we need to start with a faith-based belief system? ‘Faith’ (saddha) is problematic when it is blind - just taking things for granted. I don’t believe the Buddha wanted us to do that - I have read a great study of the early teachings that spells it out loud and clear. We need to test the Dhamma - we need to keep our thinking caps on!

There is a tension in this thread ‘operating under the surface’. It is the assumption that we can either believe or disbelieve - you are with us or against us! I feel comfortable in a place where unknown things are recognised and not papered over. I can ask questions, investigate without having to be right or wrong. An open-ended inquiry with no vested interest in or concern about what appears along the way.

If I confuse what I know with what I don’t know I may be prone to all manner of delusions. I know some things about the Buddha’s teachings and I keep an open mind about that which is still a mystery to me. This does not prevent me from learning as I go along, it facilitates learning. I cannot see how any other approach could work?


#113

Is that a question?


#114

It is a question I am inviting you to ask - is ‘anicca, dukkha, anatta’ being discussed elsewhere - I would hope so!


#115

My intention was to find something simple that everyone could agree on - I felt that this was appropriate. Please forgive me if you think it was an unacceptable comment to make.

Yes, I would hope the three marks of existence are being discussed on other threads - they are basically universally applicable and so relevant to every discussion IMO. :grinning:


#116

I understand the sentiment but it is already clear that we are probably on the same page when it comes to the three characteristics - they are fundamental as far as I can tell?


#117

But have we actually penetrated this truth fully?


#118

Good on you! Sorry I thought you said you had! Where are you located in space/time? If you can still find it you might want to head on over to the Anatta thread. xxoo


#119

Are you just being rude or what? I don’t get it.


#120

no Garrib i am just joking - i am sorry you did not get it . i did try!