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I've seen this translated as knower of worlds/cosmos and with relation to the senses as what arises, but I still don't have a solid understanding, can someone add clarity?

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Lokavidu is one of the nine qualities of the Buddha.

Here is a definition of the quality:

  1. LOKAVIDU

Lokavidu is the person who knows about the world. What do we mean by Loka? As There are six worlds; the seeing world, the hearing world, the smelling world, the tasting world, the touching world and the thinking world. There are no other worlds than these six. The Buddha understands how they arise and cease. He knows how clashes and harmony happen in this world. He knows why people can be trapped in them or be free from them. That is why He is called Lokavidu. You are in harmony with the world only when you know about it and live accordingly accepting as it is.

Another quote from the book "The Great Chronicles of Buddhas", p. 1164 :

(ii) Āsayānusayan-ñāna:

Knowledge that discuss the natural bent and latent proclivities of individuals. (Ref: original text at pp 597 on the Lokavidu attribute of the Buddha.) The term ÈsayÈnusaya, a compound may be rendered as ‚the seed-germ of an individual’s mental makeup.‛ By this special knowledge, the Buddha knows discriminately that such and such a being has such natural bent of mind, such latent potential for defilements that are dominant in his mental makeup.

It was due to the possession of the above two special knowledges that the Buddha could deliver the right message to the right-hearer. Even the Venerable SÈriputta, being not endowed with these special knowledges, could not know the state of readiness of his hearers to receive the message, i.e. about the ripeness or otherwise of the mental makeup of his hearers, with the result that his discourses, in a few occasions, fell flat on the hearers.

Another quote on the term:

Gautama Buddha's explanation on 'World' or 'Loka'

A very significant word that comes in Gautama Buddha's Sutta discourses is the "Loka" or "Loke" that is commonly regarded today as the "World". One needs to have a proper understanding of what Gautama Buddha considered as the "World" or "Loka " since Buddha is "Lokavidu" , one of the nine qualities Gautama Buddha had been ascribed to. The meaning of the word" Lokavidu" is "knowledge of entire worlds" or "loka".

Another quote on the term from "The Qualities and Virtues of the Buddha" By Mithra Wettimuny:

V) Lokavidu means the seer of the world. He sees everything as it really is, with regard to this world. He sees all the conditions that bring about a situation, that bring about a dhamma, the root causes, the proximate causes, and the results that can come, that can flow from that situation. All that is his knowledge or his ability to see the world as it really is.

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First, we have to understand what is meant by loka. There are three types of loka, according to type (DN-A 2.189):

  1. okāsaloka - the world of space
  2. sattaloka - the world of beings
  3. saṅkhāraloka - the world of formations

According to the commentaries (AN-A 3.40):

lokavidūti tayo loke vidite pākaṭe katvā ṭhito

lokavidū means one who stands having made known, having made clear, the three worlds.

The Visuddhimagga (VII.135) goes into detail about how the Buddha knows each of these three worlds, including quotes from the texts:

“Tis utterly impossible
To reach by travel the world’s end;
But there is no escape from pain
Until the world’s end has been reached.
It is a sage, a knower of the worlds,
Who gets to the world’s end, and it is he
Whose life divine is lived out to its term;
He is at peace who the world’s end has known
And hopes for neither this world nor the next” (S I 62).

-- from Path of Purification VII.36 (Nyanamoli, trans)

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