by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Lokavidu contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Dhamma Ratanā. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
Loka, the five aggregate that are clung to (upādāna-khanadha); (in another sense), the world of sentient beings (satta-loka), the world of conditioned, phenomena, (saṅkhāra-loka), the world as the bases of various planes of existence (okāsa-loka). Vidu, the one who has analytical knowledge and complete comprehension.
(1) Under the first method, loka is interpreted as the five aggregates that are clung to. These five are understood: (a) as being woeful (dukkha), (b) as originating in craving (taṇhā), (c) as ceasing when Nibbāna is realized and (d) that the Ariya Path is the true path leading to Nibbāna, the cessation of the aggregates. Thus lokavidū means the Buddha that has complete knowledge about the five aggregates that are clung to.
In knowing about the world of the five aggregates that are clung to, the Buddha knows not only the five aggregates but knows them in their four aspects that make His knowledge complete and perfect. The four aspects are: (a) He understands that the five aggregates that are clung to are woeful indeed (dukkha); (b) He understands the originating aspect of these five aggregates, that craving is the origin of the five aggregates; (c) He understands Nibbāna, the cessation aspect of the five aggregates; (d) He understands the way leading to cessation, i.e. the Ariya Path. Thus the Buddha has a complete understanding of the five aggregates that are clung to. That is why the Buddha is called Lokovidū. Under the first method, the complete all-round knowledge from the four aspects of the five aggregates of clinging is the attribute of lokavidū. The five aggregates of the Buddha is the possessor of that attribute.
(2) Although the first method of interpretation is complete about the world of the five aggregates, the method does not describe loka fully yet. Therefore, the Commentary gives a second interpretation.
Under the second method, loka is taken to mean the world of sentient beings (sattaloka), the world of conditioned phenomena (saṅkhāra-loka) and the world constituting the bases for the various planes of existence (okāsa-loka). Loka means that which rises and falls, that undergoes rises and falls. In Abhidhamma point of view, the aggregates of living things are called indriyabaddha-khandā (the aggregates connected with faculties). The aggregates of non-living things are called anindriyabaddha-khandhā (the aggregates divested of faculties).
a) The aggregates of living things are liable to attachment to visible objects, etc. and hence called Satta. Since these aggregates form the bases of merit or demerit that rise and fall, they are (also) called (Loka). Thus, we have the term satta-loka.
b) The aggregates of non-living things, such as the infinite world-systems (cakkavāḷa), the bases of sentient existence (bhūmi) and mansions, etc. are the bases where sentient beings exist, whether they are liable to get frightened as in the case of worldlings, Stream-Enterers and Once-Returners, or are free from fear as in the case of Non-Returners and arahats, and are called Okāsa. And since these bases are the places where sentient beings rise and fall, they are called Loka. Thus we have the term okāsa-loka.
c) Both the living things and non-living things are conditioned by causes and are called Saṅkhāra. The world is subject to rising and falling, and hence called Loka. Thus we have the term saṅkhāra-loka. This saṅkhāra-loka is fully understood by the Buddha.
We shall expand on this as explained in the Visuddhi-magga: (2) “Eko loko sabbe sattā āhāraṭhitikā——all beings have each its own conditioning factors; this is a world in itself” (Paṭisambhidā-magga quoted here). Therefore, loka here means saṅkhāra-loka. (This is because although reference is made to all beings, the crucial point here is the conditioned nature which is causing the rise and fall of all beings.)
(1) The conditioned world
The Buddha has full knowledge about the conditioned world in that He knows it
(i) as a single factor that causes all conditioned things;
(ii) as two conditioned things, mind and matter;
(iii) as three conditioned things in the three kinds of sensation;
(iv) as four conditioned things in the four conditional factors, āhāra;
(v) as five conditioned things in the five aggregates that are clung to;
(vi) as six conditioned things in the internal sense-bases;
(vii) as seven conditioned things in the seven stations of consciousness;
(viii) as eight conditioned things in the eight worldly conditions;
(ix) as nine conditioned things in the nine bases of existence for beings;
(x) as ten conditioned things in the ten corporeal sense-bases;
(xi) as twelve conditioned things in the twelve sense bases;
(xii) as eighteen conditioned things in the eighteen elements.
(2) The world of living beings
Just as the Buddha has full knowledge of the conditioned world, so also He knows fully about the world of living beings in that:
(a) He knows the proclivities of individuals, āsaya.
(b) He knows the latent tendencies in individuals, anusaya.
(c) He knows the habitual conduct of individuals, carita.
(d) He knows the leanings or dispositions of individuals, adhimutti.
He knows individuals who have little dust of defilements in their eye of wisdom, and he knows individuals who have a thick layer of dust of defilements in their eye of wisdom. He knows individuals who have sharp faculties such as conviction, and he knows individuals who have dull faculties. He knows individuals who have a natural desire for liberation and individuals who have little desire for liberation. He knows individuals who are endowed with righteousness such as conviction and wisdom that facilitate them to win Path knowledge, and individuals not so endowed. He knows individuals who are free from drawbacks in their previous deeds, defilements and resultants that mar the attainment of Path knowledge and individuals not so free.
(a) Āsaya (Proclivities)
Āsaya means the mental bent or disposition of individuals. For example, a forest deer is naturally bent to live in the forest; he may go out to the fields to graze but his home is the forest. Similarly, individuals attend their mind to various sense objects but, after wandering about from object to object, the mind of those who are bent on faring in the round of existences remain in wrong views, whereas the mind of those who are bent on liberation from the round of existences, are pure, and remain in knowledge. So wrong views and knowledge are called āsaya (proclivities).
The proclivity of wrong views, diṭṭhi-āsaya, is again of two kinds: the proclivity towards the wrong view of annihilation, uccheda-diṭṭhi, and the proclivity towards the wrong view of eternalism, sassata-diṭṭhi.
The proclivity of knowledge, paññā-āsaya, also is of two kinds: Insight-knowledge tending to Path-knowledge, vipassanā paññā-āsaya, and Path-knowledge itself which is the knowledge in seeing things as they really are, yathābhuta ñāṇa-āsaya.
In knowing the proclivities of individuals, the Buddha knows: (i) that this individual is bent on faring in the round of existences and has a proclivity towards the wrong view of annihilation; (ii) that this individual is bent on faring in the round of existences and has a proclivity towards the wrong view of eternalism; (iii) that this individual is bent on liberation from the round of existences, a pure being, and has Insight-knowledge; and (iv) that this individual is bent on liberation from the round of existences and has Pathknowledge.
(b) Anusaya (Latent Tendencies)
These are defilements that have not been eradicated by magga-ñāṇa and are liable to arise perceptibly whenever circumstances prevail. These anusayas are of seven kinds. They are called the elements of latent tendencies.
(i) Kāmarāgānusaya, the seed element of greed,
(ii) Bhavarāgānusaya, the seed element of attachment to existence,
(iii) Paṭighānusaya, the seed element of hatred,
(iv) Mānānusaya, the seed element of conceit,
(v) Diṭṭhānusaya, the seed element of wrong view,
(vi) Vicikicchānusaya, the seed element of uncertainty,
(vii) Avijjānusaya, the seed element of bewilderment.
In knowing the latent tendencies of individuals, the Buddha knows: that this individual is full of the seed element of greed; that this individual is full of the seed element of attachment to existence, (p:) that this individual is full of the seed element of hatred,... (repeat p:)... the seed element of conceit,... (repeat p:)...the seed element of wrong views,... (repeat p:)... the seed element of uncertainty,...(repeat p:)...the seed element of bewilderment. Anusaya kilesa, it should be noted, is of three degrees according to its tendency to occur, namely: (i) latent seed element of defilements; (ii) defilements that have actually arisen with their three phases of arising (upāda), developing (or momentary presence (ṭhīti)), and dissolution (bhaṅga); (iii) defilements that have exploded into physical or verbal misconduct.
(Let us illustrate this:)
Supposing some worldling in whom defilements have not yet been eradicated by maggañāṇa were making an offering. Even during the meritorious act while sublime meritorious thoughts, mahā-kusala cittas, are arising in his mind, if he were to meet with some pleasant sense object, this circumstance tends to bring alive sensuous thoughts (seed element of greed) in the donor because (being a worldling,) he has not eradicated greed. When further contact occurs with the sense object that is agreeable to him, that seed element of greed grows into decidedly defiled thoughts called Pariyutthāna-kilesa. Then, if he checks himself with right attention, the thoughts defiled by greed may subside. If, however, instead of right attention, he is driven by wrong attention, the defiled thoughts become translated into wicked acts, either bodily or verbally. This is the explosive stage of the defilement of greed, vītikkama-kilesa. This is an example of the way the defilement of greed grows from its latent tendency or seed element to overt acts in three progressive stages. The same principle also applies to other defilements, such as hatred, etc.
(c) Carita (habitual conduct)
Carita means meritorious action or demeritorious action. In another sense, it refers to six kinds of habituated action or habitual conduct that occurs frequently in the present life, namely, attachment or greed (rāga), hatred or anger (dosa), bewilderment (moha), faith, wisdom (bhuddhi), and cogitation (vitakka).
(The two Pāli terms carita and vāsanā should be distinguished. The vague impression of habituated acts, whether good or bad, in previous existences that persist till the present existence, is called vāsanā. The kind of conduct, out of the six kinds described above, the one which is apt to occur for most of the time in the present existence is called carita.)
The Buddha knows the carita of every individual, such as this individual is predominantly of good conduct (sucarita);this individual is predominantly of evil conduct (duccarita); this individual is predominantly of greedy (lustful) conduct (rāga-carita);this individual is predominantly of hateful conduct (dosa-carita); this individual is predominantly of bewildered conduct (moha carita);this individual is predominantly of faithful conduct (saddhā-carita);this individual is predominantly of wise conduct (bhuddhi-carita); this individual is predominantly of a cogitative conduct (vitakka carita). Further, the Buddha also knows the nature of these six types of conduct, the defiling conditions, the purifying conditions, the essential conditions, the results, and the consequences of these six types of conduct.
(d) Adhimutti (Leaning or disposition)
Adhimutti means the natural disposition of individuals. There are two kinds of adhimutti, namely, the natural preference for or leaning towards evil (hīnadhi-mutti), and the natural preference for, or leaning toward noble things (paṇītadhi-mutti). People (generally) associate with persons of like nature; those of evil disposition associate with persons of evil disposition; those of noble disposition associate with persons of noble disposition.
The Buddha knows the type of leaning in every individual, such as whether a certain person is of evil disposition or of noble disposition.
Further, the Buddha knows the degree of disposition in each individual, such as whether it is high, or lower, or lowest. For disposition depends on the degree of faith, endeavour, mindfulness, concentration, and knowledge, which are the Five Faculties.
Thus the Buddha knows fully about living beings in respect of the four proclivities (āsaya), the seven latent tendencies (anusaya); the three volitional activities (abhisaṅkhāras) or the six types of habitual conduct (carita), and the types and degrees of leaning or disposition (adhimutti).
(3) The world of non-living things
Just as the Buddha has complete knowledge of the world of living beings, he also has complete knowledge of the world of non-living things—the places where living beings have their abodes, such as the world-systems (cakkavāḷa), mansions, forests and mountains, etc.
Here is the explanation:
A world-system called Cakkavāḷa or Lokadhātu is bounded on four sides with tall mountains like a stone fencing. (cakka, circular; vāḷa, encircling ring of mountains.) The term Cakkavāḷa comes to be so called because it is a world-system encircled by rocky mountains. A world-system is 1,203,450 (one million two hundred and three thousand, four hundred and fifty) yojanas from east to west, and from south to north. The circumference of this world-system is 3,610,350 (three million six hundred and ten thousand, three hundred and fifty) yojanas.
In a world-system, the earth’s thickness is 240,000 (two hundred and forty thousand) yojanas, the upper half of it being earth and the lower half being rock in structure.
The earth is supported by a mass of water which is 480,000 (four hundred and eighty thousand) yojanas in thickness. Beneath the mass of water there is the mass of air which is 960,000 (nine hundred and sixty thousand) yojanas supporting it. And beneath the mass of air is the infinite expanse of space. This is the foundational structure of a world-system.
At the centre of the earth’s surface, there arises Mount Sineru. The lower part of which is submerged in the ocean that is 84,000 (eighty-four thousand) yojanas deep and rises 84,000 (eighty-fourth thousand) yojanas above the water.
(1) Encircling Mount Sineru, there is the first ring of mountains called Yugandhara, (half) of which 42,000 (forty-two thousand) yojanas is submerged in the ocean and (half) of which 42,000 (forty-two thousand) yojanas rises up above the water.
(2) Beyond (the first) ring of Yugandhara mountains, there is the (second) ring of mountains called Īsadhara of which 21,000 (twenty-one thousand) yojanas is submerged in the ocean and 21,000 (twenty-one thousand) yojanas rises up above the water.
(3) Beyond the (second) ring of Īsadhara mountains, there is the (third) ring of mountains called Karavīka of which 10,500 (ten thousand and five hundred) yojanas is submerged in the ocean and 10,500 (ten thousand and five hundred) yojanas rises up above the water.
(4) Beyond the (third) ring of Karavīka mountains, there is the (fourth) ring of mountains called Sudassana of which 5,250 (five thousand two hundred and fifty) yojanas is submerged in the water and 5,250 (five thousand two hundred and fifty) yojanas rises up above the water.
(5) Beyond the (fourth) ring of Sudassana mountains, there is the (fifth) ring of mountains called Nemindhara of which 2,625 (two thousand six hundred and twenty-five) yojanas is submerged in the ocean and 2,625 (two thousand six hundred and twenty-five) yojanas rises up above the water.
(6) Beyond the (fifth) ring of Nemindhara mountains, there is the (sixth) ring of mountains called Vinataka of which 1,312 (thirteen hundred and twelve) yojanas is submerged in the ocean and 1,312 (thirteen hundred and twelve) yojanas rises up above the water.
(7) Beyond the (sixth) ring of Vinataka mountains, there is the (seventh) ring of mountains called. Assakaṇṇa of which 656 (six hundred and fifty-six) yojanas is submerged in the ocean and 656 (six hundred and fifty-six) yojanas rises up above the water.
Between Mount Sineru and between the encircling rings of mountains, there are seven rings of rivers called Sīdā.
In the ocean, lying to the southern side of Mount Sineru, there is the southern Island Continent called Jambudipa, called after the Rose Apple tree growing at the forefront of the Island, and this Island is surrounded by five hundred lesser Islands.
Similarly, in the ocean, lying to the western side of Mount Sineru, there is the western
Island Continent called Aparagoyāna; on the northern side, the northern Island Continent of Uttarakuru; add on the eastern side, the Eastern Island continent called Pubbavideha, each of them surrounded by five hundred lesser islands.
In the Southern Island Continent of Jambūdīpa, the Himavantā mountain is five hundred yojanas high and three thousand yojanas broad lengthwise and breadthwise. It is graced by eighty-four thousand peaks.
The Rose Apple tree growing at the forefront of Jambūdīpa Island Continent is of these dimensions: its crown is fifteen yojanas across; from the ground up to the trunk where the big boughs branch out, the height of the trunk is fifty yojanas, the big boughs are each fifty yojanas long, each with a foliage a hundred yojanas across, and a hundred yojanas high.
Of the same dimensions, the following six other great trees which last till the end of the world-system: the Trumpet flower tree in the realm of Asurā at the old site of Tāvatiṃsa devas, at the foot of Mount Sineru; the Silk Cotton tree in the realm of Garudas, the Nudea Sessilifolia in the western Island Continent, the wishing tree in the northern Island Continent, the Rain tree in the Eastern Island Continent, and the Indian Coral tree in the Tāvatiṃsa Deva realm.
The circular ring of mountain that marks the limit of the universe has 82,000 (eighty-two thousand) yojanas submerged under the ocean and 82,000 (eighty-two thousand) yojanas rising up above the water.
The shape of the Jambūdīpa Island Continent is a trapezium (the shape of the front purl of a bullock-cart); the western Island Continent is of the shape of a brass mirror (i.e., circular);the Eastern Island Continent is a crescent; and the Northern Island Continent is a square. The inhabitants of those Island Continents are said to have faces that have the same shape as that of the respective Island Continents).
——Visuddhi-magga Mahāṭīkā, Volume I——
In each world-system there is (the mansion of) the Moon which has a diameter of fortynine yojanas; (the mansion of) the Sun which has a diameter of fifty yojanas.
The realm of Tāvatiṃsa devas, the realm of Asuras, the Avīci Niraya, the Jambūdīpa Island Continent–each of these four places is ten thousand yojanas wide. They are called the Four Areas of Ten-thousand (yojanas) width.
The Northern Island Continent is seven thousand yojanas wide; the Eastern Island Continent is of the same size;the Northern Island Continent is eight thousand yojanas wide.
All the above features constitute one world-system. The void spaces where three of the world-systems touch one another are the Lokantarika desolate regions.
In each world-system, the three miserable states, namely, the animal world, the petas' realm and the realm of asurakāyas, have their abodes on the earth, side by side with the human world. Underneath the layer of earth lie the eight niraya realms, each below the other, and each surrounded by lesser realms of continuous suffering called Ussada Nirayas. The Niraya realms, the animal world, petas and asurakāyas are called the four miserable states of apāya.
The human world is located on the earth. The deva realm of the Four Great Kings is located on the summit of Mount Yugandhara, at half the height of Mount Sineru. The Tāvatiṃsa Deva realm is located on the summit of Mount Sineru. These two deva realms are, therefore, terrestrial. Above the Tāvatiṃsa Deva realms lies Yāma Deva realm; above that realm, Tusitā Deva realm; above that realm lies Nimmānarati Deva realm; above that realm lies Paranimmita-vasavatti Deva realm. These six deva realms, together with the human world, are called the Seven Fortunate Sensuous realms (Kāma sugati bhūmi). These Seven Fortunate realms and the four miserable states of apāya together are called the eleven Sensuous Realms (Kāma bhūmis).
Above the six deva realms pertaining to the Sensuous Sphere, there are three Brahmā realms of Brahmapārisajjā (Brahmas' retinue), Brahmapurohitā (Brahmas' Ministers) and Mahābrahmā (Great Brahmas) which are the three Brahmā realms pertaining to the first jhāna of the Fine Material Sphere (Rūpā-vacara). They are on the same plane.
Above the three Brahmā realms pertaining to the first jhāna of the Fine Material Spheres, there are the three Brahmā realms pertaining to the second jhāna of the Fine Material
Sphere on the same plane, namely, Parittābhā (Brahmas of limited radiance), Appamāṇābhā (Brahmas of measureless radiance), and Abhassarā (Brahmas of streaming radiance).
Above the three Brahmā realms pertaining to the second jhāna of the Fine Material Sphere, there are the three Brahmā realms pertaining to the third jhāna of the Fine Material Sphere on the same plane, namely, Parittasubhā (Brahmas of limited glory), Appamāṇāsubha (Brahmas of measureless glory), and Subbhakiṇṇa (Brahmas of refulgent glory).
Above these realms there are two Brahmā realms (also pertaining to the Fine Material Sphere) on the same level, namely, Vehapphala (‘very fruitful’) and Asaññasatta (nonpercipient beings). Above these are the Avihā (‘bathed in their own prosperity’), Atappā (‘untormenting’), Sudassā (‘fair-to-see’), Sudasī (‘clear-sighted’) and Akaniṭṭha (‘Supreme’)–five pure Abodes, lying one above the other successively. Vehapphala, Asaññasatta and the Five Pure Abodes pertain to the fourth jhāna of the Fine Material Sphere. Thus there are altogether sixteen Brahmā realms pertaining to the Fine Material Sphere.
Above the sixteen Brahmā realms pertaining to the Fine Material Sphere, there are the four Brahmā realms pertaining to the Non-Material Sphere, namely, Ākāsānañcā-yatana (Infinity of Space), Viññāṇañcā-yatana (Infinity of Consciousness), Ākiñcaññā-yatana (Nothingness), and Nevasaññāvāsaññā-yatana (Neither-Consciousness-nor-Non-Consciousness), lying one above the other successively.
Thus, there are sixteen Brahmā realms of Fine Material Sphere and four Brahmā realms of Non-Material Sphere, altogether making twenty Brahmā realms. When the eleven realms of the Sensuous Sphere are added to them, there are the thirty-one realms in a worldsystem. This is a brief description of their location.
In the foregoing manner, the Buddha has a complete knowledge of the infinite world-systems as bases for sentient existence. This complete and clear knowledge of the world of living beings, the world of conditioned phenomena and the world of non-living things is the attribute of lokavidū. The five aggregates of the Buddha is the possessor of that attribute. (Refer to the brief meaning given earlier on).