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Sumeru, Mount

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Sumeru, Mount
須弥山 (Skt; Jpn Shumi-sen)

    Also known as Mount Meru. In ancient Indian cosmology, the mountain that stands at the center of the world. The Sanskrit name Sumeru was rendered into Chinese as "Wonderful High," "Wonderful Bright," or "Calm and Bright." Explanations of Mount Sumeru differ slightly among the Buddhist scriptures. For example, the Long Agama Sutra describes its height—from its base at the bottom of the sea to the summit—as 168,000 yojanas, rising to 84,000 yojanas above the surface of the sea and reaching 84,000 yojanas below. The Dharma Analysis Treasury describes its height as 160,000 yojanas, 80,000 yojanas above and 80,000 yojanas below the sea. According to The Dharma Analysis Treasury, Mount Sumeru is composed of gold, silver, emerald, and crystal, with four sides facing respectively north, south, east, and west. The god Shakra resides on the summit with his thirty-two retainer gods, while the four heavenly kings live halfway up, one to each of its four sides.

    Mount Sumeru is surrounded by seven concentric mountain ranges made of gold, alternating with seven concentric seas of fresh water. The seventh gold mountain range is surrounded by a saltwater ocean, in which four continents—Purvavideha, Aparagodaniya, Uttarakuru, and Jambudvipa—are situated respectively to the east, west, north, and south of Mount Sumeru. It is said that Buddhism appears and spreads only in Jambudvipa. The saltwater ocean is in turn bounded by the Iron Encircling Mountains, an iron range that runs along the circular rim of the world. A sun and a moon move around Mount Sumeru. A world with a Mount Sumeru at its center is called a Sumeru world, and the universe is said to consist of countless such worlds.

Source

www.sgilibrary.org