Cosmology and social philosophy

The materials in Lecture two largely deal with the spatial allocation of various Buddhas and saints, occasionally fortified with scanty anthropological perspective on the development of ancient societies.

Perhaps interesting, but most of materials appear to be completely irrelevant to social philosophy, as understood and defined academically. There is a table (p.9-10) of so-called corresponding relationship between human mental development and Buddhism cosmology. But again, it is more related to the domain of psychology, instead of social philosophy. It’s pretty weird to see such a thick chapter of materials inserted in the syllabus.

And to be frank, the cosmology and mythology depicted in Lecture Two does not stand out particularly from the elaborate Egyptian, Indian, Chinese or Greek traditions. One cannot readily perceive more truth from the Buddhist cosmology/mythology than any of its counterparts. Even if students of Buddhism are patient and meticulous enough to comprehend and memorize the clumsy mystical schemes and relationship, what’s indeed its relevance and benefit in our quest for the ultimate truth as expounded by the Buddha?

The obsession of philological (not philosophical) cosmology research by Buddhist scholars in the past thousand years is indeed in naked defiance of the Buddha’s categorical caution against “unprofitable” metaphysical speculation. Arguably, this long scholarly tradition of sidetracking is partly responsible for the prevalence of superstitious thinking and rituals in many Buddhist communities.