Did the Buddha know the Earth is round?


Indeed, from PTS dictionary it said:


  1. circle DN.i.134 (paṭhavi˚, cp. puthavi˚ Snp.990); Vism.143 (˚ṃ karoti to draw a circle, in simile), Vism.174 (tipu˚ & rajata˚ lead- & silver circle, in kasiṇa practice); Vv-a.147 (of a fan = tālapattehi kata˚-vījanī).
  2. the disk of the sun or moon; suriya˚; Vv-a.224, Vv-a.271 (divasa-kara˚); canda˚ Vism.174; Pv-a.65.
  3. a round, flat surface, e.g. jānu˚ the disk of the knee, i.e. the knee Pv-a.179 naḷāta˚ the (whole of the) forehead DN.i.106; Snp.p.108
  4. an enclosed part of space in which something happens, a circus ring; e.g. MN.i.446


The turtle is in an ocean! They swim and do not float in space unless, there is a species of space-turtles? There is a full cosmological description in the Srimad Bhagavatam. The turtles name is ‘Akupara’ - in Sanskrit (see below).

If we live in a holographic universe would that mean the Earth is flat? Its ‘information’ may be spread out on a 2D surface?

The turtle must be under no.1 - the Earth - on the following diagram:


I just remembered how the Greek gods live on top of Mt Olympus and how Brahmaloka is at the top of Mt Meru. This would suggest these myths may have an Aryan - pre-Vedic - origin.


or that they both discovered independently a common reality. We’ll never know.


We do know these two cultures have the same root because of the same language family they share. We also find common symbols associated with the Gods - Vedic and Greek. If the language, the gods and, the cosmology have enough in common it is likely that this has come about as a result of Aryan tribal migrations seeding developments in both these civilisations. If the cosmology was radically different e.g. having a rainbow-serpent creator, marsupials and emus involved, it would suggest a different cultural origin?


If there are gods living on top of a cosmic mountain then this must have been ‘seen’ by Aryan spiritual visionaries and past on to their descendents North and South. There were modifications over time - some syncretism - but the correlations are easy to see. Shiva and possibly, earlier Buddha’s, may have been Dravidians - real teachers from what we call the Dravidian culture - pre-Aryan? The ‘wanderers’ and ascetics may not have Vedic origins? The Brahmins seemed more interested in sacred fire ceremonies, devas and, cows.


The ‘Bhagavata Purana’ has detailed cosmological accounts of this nature.

Bhagavata Purana - Wikipedia

I have got the ocean of milk story wrong! Its Maha-Vishnu who lies down on his multi-hooded naga bed that is floating on an ocean of milk and dreams the universes into existence. With every exhalation the universes appear like bubbles from the body of this beautiful cosmic giant and with every inhalation all the universes are absorbed back into his body (a multiverse theory).

The Earth may be in another ocean? “The seven continents of the Puranas are stated as Jambudvipa, Plaksadvipa, Salmalidvipa, Kusadvipa, Krouncadvipa, Sakadvipa, and Pushkaradvipa. Seven intermediate oceans consist of salt-water, sugarcane juice, wine, ghee, curd, milk and water respectively.” - Wikipedia

As this Puranic-cosmography seems to have appeared after the Buddha the ideas they contain may not have been around during his lifetime. The following Wiki-link also includes Buddhist cosmology.




I obviously didn’t read all the posts here, so pardon me if these have already been cited, but you can find some history of how Buddhists reacted to the idea of a spherical Earth (when they met Westerners) in

Buddhism and Science, a guide for the perplexed

and you can find some background of the introduction of Ptolemy’s calculations as the in India in the Vth century C.E. in

L’Astronomie Indienne (in French)

But although Ptolemy made his calculations with the assumption that the Earth is spherical, I’m not sure Indian astronomers really understood that… they removed a few things from his calculations in their derived works, notably the Axial precession, leading to shifts in the calendar between the West and India.



This is parable for duration of one kappa, not for spherical earth :slight_smile:


Yes…, you’re correct, I agree with you, but the selection of parable that using the shape of the unusual stone mountain, which happens to be a spherical symmetrical objects might well be compatible with the facts that the shape of the earth is similar to it and also the age of the planet is also as long as it is depicted, right ?..


I don’t see why the mountain would have to be a sphere? The Buddha could have been referring to the mountains height and base dimensions - like a cone?

A stone mountain without holes or crevices that was one-yojana long, wide and, high would look like this (see below):


I have never seen a mountain shaped like a soccer ball. That would be a huge symmetrical boulder - it may roll around and squash things. Mountains don’t do this - do they?


Most likely this is only a symbolical, it’s true there’s no mountain in the form of a ball, but isn’t the mountain symbolizes something a very vast object ?. this is, again, accurately indicates that ( if we connect it to the existence of planet earth ), what would be symbolized by the mountain is even much enormous in size…



In an empty space or in a state of hanging on the tips of the leaves, liquids substance is tend to form a spherical droplets. The planet Earth was also actually formed from the magma liquid that cools and hardens and then forms the earth’s crust, this magma fluid long before, millions of years ago was gas-shaped. When in the form of magma fluid and hanging in an empty space, it also forming a sphere. This is the mechanism of the law of nature and of course the Buddha must have understood it through his omniscience… :slightly_smiling_face:



For me this is just a symbolic statement to distinguish Buddha from ordinary people, but if you read the Simsapa Sutta, there are indeed words that imply that way :

Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the Simsapa forest. Then, picking up a few Simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, “What do you think, monks : Which Simsapa leaves are more numerous, the one in my hand or those overhead in the Simsapa forest ?”
"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the forest are far more numerous. "
"In the same way, monks, those things that I have noticed have much more [by what I have taught]. And why have not I taught them ? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them…

( A quotes from the Simsapa Sutta )


This stuff about sailing off the edge is a myth.

The earth was known to be round at around the time of the Buddha and Erosthenes calculated it quite accurately about 200 BC.


These points were made earlier in the thread.