by K.G. Justin de Silva


During the past years astronomy was not a subject that was used to support understanding religion. Astronomy has advanced so much with the advancements of the space era. It can now support explanations of various philosophies.

I wish to use this opportunity in trying to explain some the principles in Buddhism, so that these could be clearer in the language of science.

First and foremost we shall try to explore some of the astronomical principles.

These astronomical principles explain that all matter is in a set motion with rigid movements in a manner of finding a mutual harmony with all matter and particles of the universe.

  1. Our solar system is helio centric.
  2. The sun rotates around its own axis, while all other planets (Venus, earth, mars, Jupiter Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) rotates around the sun.
  3. Each planet too rotates around its own axis.
  4. The shape of the orbit of each planet marks the figuree of an ellipse. (The shape and size of the ellipse changes depending on the planet).
  5. The axis of each planet is tilted at an angle to the plane of its orbital path. This tilt too changes depending on each planet depending on its distance from the sun.(For the earth it is 23.5degrees)
  6. The axial tilt of the planets and the shape of the trajectory ellipse depends on the distance to each planet from the sun.
  7. Each planet rotates with a speed unique to each planet , and also moves around the sun at a speed unique to each planet. Here again the distance from the sun to the planet is a major factor that governs the speed and the axial rotation.
  8. It has been established that within the ellipse of the path of each planet, the area covered by the line joining the sun and the planet in equal portions of time are equal. (This is why the earth travels in varying speeds at various times along its elliptical path)

Astro Physics has revealed that the composition of each planet in its chemical and physical forms also vary from one planet to another and has a direct relationship to the distance from the sun to the planet.

All these years until two decades ago astronomy was merely a subject used to explain science with the help of physical and chemical qualities of terrestrial studies. Astronomy has developed its sciences to such an extent, that no single person can master it as a whole. Astro Physics , Astro medicine are some such specially developed ares. It is appropriate today to explore avenues of justifying various philosophies through astronomy.

With this in mind let us try to examine and understand some basic facts of astronomy.

First and foremost, we have learnt that our earth is more or less spherical. The planet earth that we are living in rotates around its own axis, and revolves around the sun at the same time. The earth is a planet among the other planets namely Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and Pluto within the Helio centric system.

The astronomer Kepler (1571-1630) developed the following laws in astronomy, with regard to our planetary system.

  1. Earth planet moves in an elliptical path , around the sun with the sun at one of its foci.
  2. The line joining the sun and planet sweeps out equal areas in equal periods of time.
  3. The square of a planet’s period of revolution (T) is proportional to the cube of its average distance (R )
From the sun.

The above laws are inferred on the basis that the whole planetary system rests on a single mode of equilibrium. The positions of equilibrium of the planetary system by another scientist known as Lagrange in locating Lagrange points in space. (These lagrange points located in theory were practically inferred correct after two Polish astronomers photographed dust clouds arrested at these points). These points occur at vertices of triangles , with two base (lagrange) points at the base of the triangle.

Furthermore the astronomer Cavendish ( 1731- 1810) worked out the law of universal gravitation , and found out that it holds good anywhere in the universe. Cavendish proved , if m1 m2 are masses of two bodies with its distance apart as R and the gravity between the two bodies Fg , Then the gravitational forces between the two masses can be calculated as

Universal gravitation then is

Of heavenly bodies , gravity is one such force that acts relative to each other. These gravitationa forces are responsible in creating tides of the sea, variations of wind pressures, thus causing gales, rains and even various movements in the earths crust.

As such we have to realize that rains, gales, earth quakes ,tsunamis, high and low water tides, as well as terrestrial tides are all part of a localized action to maintain the earths’s equilibrium thus maintaining the planetary – solar equilibrium which extends to the outer universe.

In the context of this book, our interest lies with the terrestrial beings and suffering. Hence we shall now investigate , as to how the beings including the humans are related to these events, in equilibrium by becoming a part and parcel connected to this earth and its activities of the planet earth.
The next chapter is a discussion on these aspects.

As beings are part and parcel of the global ecology, which protects the planet earth, the beings thus become one with the universal equilibrium, that cannot be separated under any sequence. By trying to live , as a total separate species with the feeling that we are not related to the ecology, the human society will create its own problems. It is wrong to believe that the humans can control nature by scientific applications. As nature means equilibrium which is universal, we should not try to change nature,. In fact we must understand and live in harmony with nature.

Have we not learnt from our mistakes still, even after seeing the “green house effects “ caused by tries to deviate nature artificially, for the sake of commercial industries meant for so called material comforts. One can only form an insight into our relationship with the ecology , only by disciplined thoughts leading to good moral living.

Such relationship between noble mind and ecology is explained in Budhism in the Agganna Sutta, which is a legend regarding the evolution of the earth , ecology and beings.

This legend from the Agganna Sutta, divulges the knowledge of Lord Buddha, seen through clairvoyance. The legend explains that at the beginning of evolution of life on the planet earth, the earth was covered with a homogenous liquid which served as nutrition for the exsting forms of the beings.Then there was no shortage of foods. Then there was not much suffering too. Reproduction of beings took place asexually.

As time passed on with the beings getting polluted with greed , food became scarce , and reproduction turned into a sexual pattern. The type of beings changed with life styles experiencing more suffering.

May I question from the world of sciences, whether there is much difference in the finding s of science today. The sciences dealing with evolution of the earth in modern science can approve of the facts that at the first stages of life on earth there were no males and females but asexual reproduction.

While the earth at first was covered with homogenous substances.


Astronomy in Buddhism

At various times, there had been conversations with Lord Buddha and disciples regarding celestial bodies. Buddha has mentioned in his teachings that there are many other galaxies, (Loka) qnd that there are thousands of other planets other than ours. This fact is made clear from Buddhist texts at two places. One is the Arunawathie sutra (Mahayana) and the others are the Sihanada Sutraya and which is a sermon to his disciple Ananda Thero with Agganna Sutraya.

It is worthwhile noting that that Lord Buddha explained such facts referring to the outer universe , which even todays astronomy is yet to learn, over 2500 years. He specifically taught the relationship of noble living with high moral values and its relationship to ecology. He taught that good living brought good weather, and the effects and results of immoral thoughts turned the ill effected weather patterns.

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