I know the Avatamsaka Sutra teaches about a multiverse flower garland, which represents all of reality, is made up of infinite universes which all reflect one another.

Is this the only scripture that talks about multiverses?

1 Answer 1


The Avatamsaka Sutra speaks of "worlds" or "realms", not of universes, and certainly not about the scientific theory of the multiverse:

In all atoms of all lands Buddha enters, each and every one, Producing miracle displays for sentient beings: Such is the way of Vairocana.... The techniques of the Buddhas are inconceivable, All appearing in accord with beings’ minds.... In each atom the Buddhas of all times Appear, according to inclinations; While their essential nature neither comes nor goes, By their vow power they pervade the worlds.

The characters written in the text for this are usually 境界 (Jìngjiè), where 境 means "territory" and 界 means "world", usually rendered in English as "realm".

For "universe", the characters 宇宙 (Yǔzhòu) would be used. These do not appear anywhere in the Chinese text.

  • What's the difference between infinite realms/worlds vs universes?
    – Orionixe
    Jan 28, 2021 at 20:56
  • "Multiverse" is a specific concept in theoretical physics.
    – Codosaur
    Jan 29, 2021 at 8:34
  • The Buddhist scripture that aligns most closely with a vision of a potential multiverse is probably the Avatamsaka Sutra (Huayan jing in Chinese or Kegon kyo in Japanese). This sutra, purportedly transferred immediately after Sakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, presents a visionary multiverse reflected in the tiniest particle. -- Buddhistview Door
    – Orionixe
    Jan 29, 2021 at 12:44
  • The difference between a "world-system/lokadhatu/世界" and a "universe" is that a world-system is a series of disks that float in a cosmic ocean surrounded by a cosmic cloud. The ancient Indians conceived of each world as having its own Sumeru, its own four continents, its own sun and moon etc. The idea of a "modern universe" of different orbiting structures in space really isn't to be found in Iron Age Buddhist literature or the literature of latter ages based upon it.
    – Caoimhghin
    Jan 29, 2021 at 17:09
  • Well from what I've read, modern science has been heavily inspired by Buddhist multiverse teachings so I don't know
    – Orionixe
    Jan 30, 2021 at 2:23

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