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Mount Sumeru? The Center of the Milky Way Might Not Be a Black Hole After All

An interesting article, I have long suspected that Mount Sumeru is located in the center of the galaxy. This was for me another evidence.

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Why would this be in the center of the Milky Way galaxy instead of one of the other countless galaxies?

Also, when you start with a conclusion, then go searching for evidence to support your preconceived conclusion… you fall victim to confirmation bias

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Of course, there are countless Mount Sumerus, and countless world-systems which have a Mount Sumeru as its center, but here I take as an example the present world-system where the Lord Sakya Muni Buddha arises (the Milky Way) and his dispensation is extant

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That’s not what confirmation bias is. You seem to have made the same mistake in another thread.

It’s really just how science works.
For example in physics, theoretical physicists create a working hypothesis and only then experimental physicists design experiments in order to either confirm or disprove that hypothesis through observation and interpretation of the results. This is not bias and there’s nothing wrong with this.

Confirmation bias instead (as the Wikipedia article you linked explains) is when you conveniently ignore evidence that doesn’t fit your initial hypothesis and only take the supporting evidence as valid, therefore giving your mind the impression that you are right (hence the “confirmation” part).

Since these topics have been treated extensively, I won’t engage in the thread further, just wished to make a clarification.

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Sineru is probably just the tallest mountain in Himalayas or a synonym for Himalaya;

  1. 'And the Tathâgata, O king, was not disturbed by that temporary inconvenience (of the falling rain). Just, O king, as Sineru, the king of the mountains, moves not, neither is shaken, by the onslaught of innumerable gales 1–just as the mighty ocean, the home of the great waters, is not filled up, neither is disturbed at all, by the inflow of innumerable great rivers–just so, O king, is a Tathâgata unmoved at temporary inconvenience.

It is like the case of Sineru, O king, the king of the mountains, heavy and ponderous, wide-reaching and mighty as it is,–could now a man, by his ordinary strength and power and energy, root that mountain up 2?’
‘Certainly not, Sir.’
‘But why not?’
‘Because of the weakness of the man, and because of the mightiness of Sineru, the mountain king.’

“Please, revered Nāgasena, give me a reason, convince me by
the reason so that I may know how it is that while there is a
cause for the realization of Nibbāna, there is no cause for the
arising of Nibbāna.”
“Well then, sire, lend an attentive ear, listen closely and I
will tell you the reason for this. Would a man, sire, with his
natural strength, go up from here to the Himalaya, king of the
mountains?”
“Yes, revered sir.”
“But would that man, sire, with his natural strength, be able
to bring the Himalaya, king of the mountains, here?”
“No, revered sir.”
“Even so, sire, it is possible to point out the way for the real-
ization of Nibbāna, but impossible to show a cause for the
arising of Nibbāna. For what reason? Because it is unconditioned.”

From Milindapanha

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The center of the galaxy could also be where a Brahma lives.

I think you may be understanding the notion of a manyfold world system.

The idea of many worlds in EBTs refers to the many-fold observers of the world and every nervous system being a world in a single system of worlds.

This has to be seen as a manyfold frames of reference to the world in the world, as in special relativity and as proven by principles of non simultaneity.

In other words if you and me are looking at a mountain then we can talk about two mountains because the light photons that make contact with your eye are not the same particles that make contact with my eye.

Furthermore If we take into account the speed of causality (speed of light) we will see that no two observers can agree upon simultaneity of events conceived & perceived by their respective nervous systems because if you are further away from the observed mountain then you will be seeing events occur later relative to an observer closer to the observed object.

Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the world, the origination of the world, the cessation of the world, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the world." -an4.45

That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline. And what, friends, is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world? The eye is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world . The ear … The nose … The tongue … The body … The mind is that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world. That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline. -sn35.116

Yeah, I might be very wrong, kind of a frog in the well, thinking that the world is very small just because he was sitting in the well looking out and see the world in a very biased small-minded way.

Anyway, Mount Sumeru is said to be extremely umoving, unmovable. So in my other frog-in-the-well world view, Mount Sumeru could be a black hole. (Another point is that a black hole is actually neither black nor is a hole). But in all, this is a run-of-the-mill interpretation, for our view is nothing compared to a Buddha’s.

It’s literally the definition of confirmation bias, but go ahead and tell me I’m wrong:

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.

A hypothesis is not the same thing as a conclusion or “prior belief”… science is not looking to confirm a hypothesis, rather science wants to know the truth, which could either be confirmation or disconfirmation. Science follows the data, rather than trying to make the data fit the conclusion.

This thread is not about following the data… it is about forming the conclusion, “Mount Sumeru is located in the center of the galaxy”, then searching for “evidence” to support this preconceived conclusion. This is not science, this is a prime example of confirmation bias.

Stop arguing who is right and who is wrong folks, to be clear, the OP here doesn’t reach any conclusions for where a Mount Sumeru is located yet. This is just a way of explaining what the sutta means by a Mount Sumeru. Of course, it could be right and also could be very wrong.

And Moloch is correct to say that it is a biased view, for it is, because my current world view is indeed a biased and skewed view, no doubt about that. For we are run-of-the-mill people, with defilements and distorted views, the way we look at the world therefore is alway biased one way or the other, even the view “I don’t have any bias” is also a bias, this is just trick that the defilements trick us to foolishly believe in, this is quite widespread, especially in the scientific community.

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Can I critique the article you linked? Popular Mechanic isn’t exactly an astronomy magazine…

There are a few claims in this article which appear to contradict science, like:

Dark matter makes up 30 percent of the mass of our universe, yet it’s invisible and, so far, not directly observed. But its presence, along with the related idea of dark energy, makes up a total of 99.5 percent of the mass of the universe

Every source I can find says that regular matter makes up 4-5% of the mass in the universe, not 0.5% as this article claims. This article appears to be off by an order of magnitude.

Dark matter is still kinda new to science, but I’ve never heard any scientist claim that it has the ability to clump into a black hole until the article you linked. This article from Forbes directly contradicts that claim:

But dark matter has a big problem if we want it to form black holes. Normal matter can form these dense collections of objects for one reason: it can collide with other particles of normal matter, and those collisions can dissipate energy. But dark matter does not. As far as we can tell, it neither collides with normal matter or dark matter, and therefore can’t dissipate its energy, and therefore it can’t collapse. Dark matter, as it’s found in the Universe, is always diffuse and never dense, and therefore it’s only the normal matter that can make black holes, never the dark matter.

I suppose we’ll just have to wait for more info. Sometimes the media reports bad science, like when they reported that neutrinos were traveling faster than the speed of light in 2011.

"The world is changed.

Much that once was is lost,
For none now live who remember it."

It is sad to see that discussions nowadays in D&D have always tended to, instead of friendly exchanging of different ideas to expand and improve one’s own well of knowledge and give rise to a better understanding and compassion, but to a kind of a dharma combat, where one view has to establish a superiority above all other views. This leads to conflicts and pointless arguments without end. The Lord calls this a thicket of views, the 62 nets of Brahma [Mara], for which a being is ensnared in his own views and can find no escape. It is my wish that things from on now will change for a better.

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If you find people quarrelsome you can try using the ignore function.

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What are your reasons to believe Mount Sumeru is located in the center of the Milky Way galaxy? How does this article which claims it might be dark matter instead of a black hole make any difference to whether or not it is Mount Sumeru? I don’t even understand how you view this article as evidence of any kind. What does Mount Sumeru have to do with dark matter?

FWIW, all galaxies move… the Milky Way is on a collision course with Andromeda… neither galaxy is unmoving/unmovable.

All stars and blackholes also “wobble” due to the gravitational effects of other objects orbiting around them.

Mount Sumeru, as with Black Hole, the name Black Hole is very misleading to be honest, most people will think that it is literally a pitch-black deep hole.

To call it black because there is no light that can escape it, not because it is as black as space, (It might be very beautiful :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:). To call it a hole because it’s a massive star that has collapse into itself, not because there is an empty hole inside it. Scientists just use this analogous term so that common folks can easily grasp its meaning.

It is like the old story where a southerner comes to the north, the northerners have’t seen a boat and don’t have a clue what a boat is, so the southerner points to their chariots and explain to them: “Our boats are just like your chariots, we use them to carry people and stuff to travel the distances.”

This is borrowing a chariot to explain the boat, not because the boat is the chariot.

So how can a Buddha explain a center of a world-system to the ancient Indian people who doesn’t yet have any concepts such as nebulas, planets, galaxies, supernovas, or superclusters, etc…

I guess he has to borrow the already accepted concepts and knowledge available at the time, to explain to his contemporaries.

Reading the suttas, we must therefore carefully not to ignore this fact and cling to our own pre-conceived concepts and knowledges (which will be in turn obsolete in the future).

So in conclusion, with Mount Sumeru, I think that it is, well, not exactly, and not literally, a mountain as we would normally understand it to be.

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Please think about the following from our FAQ as you debate each other.

Q23 What should I do if debate turns into disagreement? How can I avoid getting into an online quarrel?
A : Rigorous debate can be an important part of Dhamma inquiry and many debates are recorded in the Early Buddhist Texts. However, it’s even more important to recognize the difference between a debate and a quarrel. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with what is being said. Step away from discussions that become combative. In general, if you have replied twice to another poster and they haven’t got your point, they likely won’t! It is better to let such discussions go. Agreeing to disagree or simply disagreeing silently and moving on are mature methods of handling such an impasse.

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If no light can escape it, then it will be as black as black can be when viewed from the outside… it could theoretically look beautiful from the inside if one could survive crossing the event horizon, but that hasn’t happened yet, so it’s difficult to speculate.

I’m not very familiar with Mount Sumeru, but I don’t believe it is meant to describe an actual mountain either. According to wikipedia, it is supposed to be around 1 million kilometers wide and tall (much larger than the entire Earth, but almost exactly the size of the sun), and the sun and moon revolve around it. The black hole in the center of the Milky Way is estimated to be around 32 million kilometers, so it’s actually somewhat close to the description.

But the description fails in other places:

The Sun and the Moon revolve around Mount Meru, and as the Sun passes behind it, it becomes nighttime. The mountain has four faces — each one made of a different material; the northern face is made of gold, the eastern one is made of crystal, the southern one is made of lapis lazuli, and the western one is made of ruby.

I can’t say I’ve ever seen the sun pass behind a black hole and become nighttime… and I have my doubts that a black hole has 4 different sides made of gold, crystal, lapis lazuli and ruby.

Granted wikipedia doesn’t mention the EBTs but instead uses sources such as Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam (4th or 5th century). Is Mount Sumeru mentioned in the EBTs?

The suttas said that there is a Mount Sumeru at the center of a world-system, and each world-system has such a Mount Sumeru.

Now, our current most popular knowledge given by the scientists is that there is a Black Hole at the center of a Galaxy, and most Galaxies has such a Black Hole.

Well, there is some similarities there, if you equate a Black Hole to a Mount Sumeru, and a World-system (Cakkavāla) to a Galaxy.

Now for the evidence, I’ll return to the EBTs:

From DA30 (Excerpted from Forests of Pearls Volume 1, which quotes from DA30, translated by Bdkamerica):

“Later, a great black wind blows on the ocean water and taking the sun and moon that are floating on it, places them securely on the side of Mount Sumeru. They circle Mount Sumeru and illumine the four realms under heaven.”

Now we know that the Solar system do orbit around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy (which could be a Black Hole or something else).

From the Sarvāstivādin’s Lokaprajnaptiabhidharmasastra (again excerpted from Forests of Pearls Volume 1):

“From the peak of this Mount Sumeru to the peak of the other Mount Sumeru is one billion two hundred million three thousand four hundred and fifty yojanas.”

That’s about 50 billions kilometers. The average distance between galaxies is about a few million light years.

Which sutta is that?