I believe I've heard that the earth, after periodical destruction, comes into being because because beings with unexpiated karma exist - some of them will need to be born as humans, some as animals. The earth therefore is necessary, and appears.

Does anyone recognize this description? References will be greatly appreciated.

Please note that my question is not about any absolute beginning of being or the universe (that issue firmly remaining unanswered I believe?)

1 Answer 1


i know of one sources on this which is the Agganna Sutta from the digha nikaya 27

  1. ‘At that period, Vāseṭṭha, there was just one mass of water, and all was darkness, blinding darkness. Neither moon nor sun appeared, no constellations or stars appeared, night and day were not distinguished, nor months and fortnights, no years or seasons, and no male and female, beings being reckoned just as beings.827 And sooner or later, after a very long period of time, savoury earth828 spread itself over the waters where those beings were. It looked just like the skin that forms itself over hot milk as it cools. It was endowed with colour, smell and taste. It was the colour of fine ghee or butter, and it was very sweet, like pure wild honey.

  2. ‘Then some being of a greedy nature said: “I say, what can this be?” and tasted the savoury earth on its finger. In so doing, it became taken with the flavour, and craving arose in it.829 Then other beings, taking their cue from that one, also tasted the stuff with their fingers. They too were taken with the flavour, and craving arose in them. So they set to with their hands, breaking off pieces of the stuff in order to eat it. And [86] the result of this was that their self-luminance disappeared. And as a result of the disappearance of their self-luminance, the moon and the sun appeared, night and day were distinguished, months and fortnights appeared, and the year and its seasons. To that extent the world re-evolved.


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