I have come to learn the fact that the idea if maha meru is not only included in the buddhist canon but in many other beliefs and cultures which are not Buddhist.

This is what Wikipedia says - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru

I belong to the theravada tradition so i am very interested in knowing sources in the canon for further learning if you can mention some. Also if you can ease me into the topic with a small explanation it is also very much appreciated.

I know that this has nothing to do with nirvana but i am curious of this and i also read this


I guess i want an answer to the question "While all other things are logical and also even scientific, why this (Maha meru) makes no sense?"

Namo Buddhaya!

5 Answers 5


As per my understanding in listening to Dhamma the maha meru is the mount Himalya. The anawatapta lake is located in the maha meru as per the scripts & now it is found hat this lake exists in the Himalya range. Hope you will be able to find the stories about Maha meru more logical of you read articles on Himalya region, earth's structure, universal physics etc.

  • 1
    I think Himalaya was called Sineru Apr 29, 2017 at 15:21
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    Sorry but I wasn't sure & I'be never heard of the word Sineru. Thanks
    – Amaani
    Apr 29, 2017 at 16:19

Mt. Kailash as we refer to it in the present day is the Mount Meru of yesteryear. It is in the region around Mt. Kailash that Pacceka Buddhas will reside at a time just before a Supreme Buddha is born to this world. That is when the eminent coming of a Supreme Buddha is talked about amongst the general population of that time.

So Mt. Kailash is a very storied mountain, the equally storied lake and the storied flower in it. Mt. Kailash is the mythical Mt. Meru. Read about it in the "Saptha Suryodgamana Sutta" The Sermon of the Seven Suns (Anguttara Nikaya VII. 62). In it the Buddha explains in detail about the events that would unfold, and in it, this monarch of mountains will get consumed and burnt, that neither ashes not soot will remain.

The Lake Anavatapta is said to be so sheltered and covered that the direct rays from the sun would not fall and the lake would not dry up until the day this world would come to an end, as per the Saptha Suryodgamana Sutta. In this "Sermon of the Seven Suns" the Supreme Buddha, tells us about the end of the earth due to the expansion of the dying sun.

In the Manual of Buddhism by Spence Hardy he has this to say about Mt. Kailash & the Lake Anavatapta - in page 42:

"The great forest is in the northern part of Jambudwipa, which, from the southern extremity, gradually increases in height, until it attains an elevation of 500 yojanas, in the mountains of Gandhamadana, Kailasa, Chitrakuta, and others, there being in all 84,000.. These mountains are inhabited by an infinite number of dewas and yakas, and are beautified by 500 rivers, filled with the most delicious water, and by the seven great lakes, among which is the Anotatta-wila. This lake is 800 miles long, and as many broad and deep; and there are four places in it in which the Budhas, Pase-Budhas, rahats, and rishis are accustomed to bathe; and six other places where the dewas from the six inferior heavens bathe.

..... On the four sides of Anotatta are four mouths or doors, whence proceed as many rivers; they are, the lion-mouth, the elephant, the horse, and the bull. The banks of these rivers abound with the animals from which they take their name. The rivers that pass to the north-east and west flow three times round the lake without touching each other, and after passing through countries not inhabited by man, fall into the sea. The river that runs to the south also passes three times round the lake, then rushes from the midst of a rock, and flows in a straight line 60 yojanas.. It then strikes against another rock, and rises into the sky, like a mount of gems 12 miles in size, flows through the sky for the space of 60 jojanas, and strikes against the rock Tiyaggala. This rock it has broken by its immense force; and after this it violently rushes on a further space of 60 yojanas, after which it flows on an inclined plane, strikes and breaks the ponderous Pansu-parwata or Five Mountains, and again passes on 60 yojanas. It then flows 60 yojanas further, through a cave, strikes the four-sided rock Wijja, and is lastly divided into five streams, like five fingers, that are the five great livers (Ganga, Yumuna, Acirawati, Sarabhu, and Mahi), which, after watering Jambudwipa, fall into the sea."

The five great rivers of India: the Ganga, the Yamuna, the Aciravati, the Sarabhu, and the Mahi, is said to have its beginning in Lake Anavatapta & around Mt. Meru.

  • I should study this more, thank you very much for the answer. Downloading the book now! :-)
    – Theravada
    Apr 30, 2017 at 19:30

I had read that Himalaya is defined as Buddha.
Buddha called Himalaya Pabbatarāja, ‘the lord of mountains’. (S.II,137). The exact meaning of the name Himalaya is uncertain. It may have been formed from the words hima and mala meaning ‘garland of snow’ or from hima and alaya meaning ‘abode of snow’.
But when speaking about cosmology and "Maha Meru"
You can see all Viharas, Chorten or Buddhist temples are built in five layers that are defining "Maha Meru" or "Cosmology".

The Buddha said this about the body of living being (quoting the 7th point at the bottom of page 131 in The Buddha and His Dhamma by Dr B. R. Ambedkar):

The body of a living being consists of the combination of four great elements, viz., earth, water, fire and air, and when this combination is resolved into the four component elements, dissolution ensues.


Abhidharma describes Mount Meru/Kailash as a cosmological system; similar descriptions found in Kalachakra Tantra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru_(Buddhism)#Characteristics https://web.ccsu.edu/astronomy/tibetan_cosmological_models.htm

The tradition of Bon calls the mountain Yungdrung Gutsek; the surrounding realm is termed Tazig Olmo Lung Ring. Olmo Lung Ring is not a location on the Earth; rather, a kind of meditational realm. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagzig_Olmo_Lung_Ring


I heard somewhere that Mount Meru is invisible to the normal eyes. You need powers to see it. And we are all living in Jambudvipa which is the southern island. Buddha doesn't say false speech.

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