The meaning of "world" in Tibetan Buddhist philosophy
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The meaning of "world" has been misunderstood because of its primary identification with the physical world as an "external totality of entities within an extensive continuum of time and space." We have traced the development of this view of nature in the Western world up to the 20th century, where new views have begun to appear. With the aid of these new views in philosophy (phenomenology) and the physical sciences, in particular, we have explicated the Buddhist understanding of "world" as it is presented in what has been called "Buddhist Cosmology." To this end, we have primarily relied on the opening chapters from Klong-chen rab-'byams-pa's Yid-bzhin rin-po-che’i mzod, which goes beyond the standard presentation in the AbhidharmaKośa. Following Klong-chen-pa, we deal with the presentation of how the world arises from the Ground of Being, i.e., the epistemological and ontological bases of Buddhist cosmology based on the Citta-mātra and Mādhyamika schools of Buddhist philosophy; the explanation of how our world-system constitutes a Buddha-field; and the evolution of our world-system, with particular attention paid to the concept of the 5 Evolutive Phases (‘byung-ba). Of special interest is Klong-chen-pa’s treatment of these in his sNying-thig writings. We find there a view of the universe which is neither physical nor mental, with many striking parallels to the philosophical implications of quantum physics.