The World is not Within You. A Quote from the Buddha

Words of the Buddha can offer inspiration and insight – even if the quote in English from the Pali language may not accurately reflect the original.

Here is an example. There is a frequent quote of the Buddha found in a conversation with Rohitassa. The translation gives readers the impression that the world is within us. Anguttara Nikaya 4. book of the fours 45.

We read that the Buddha said
“I declare that it is in this fathom long body with its perceptions and mind, there is the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world.”

A More Precise Translation
For it is in this fathom-long body/corpse, with its perception and mind, that I make known/declare/recognise the world, its arising, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation.

Original Pali
Api caham, avuso, imasmimyeva byamamatte kalevare sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññapemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagamininca miniñca patipadanti.

Key Terms

imasmimyeva – imasmim – this / that
byamamatte – byama (a fathom) + matta (measure, quantity)
kaevare – kalebara – body, corpse,
sasaññimhi – sa(own) + saññin (conscious, being aware of, perceiving)
samanake – sa(own) + mano (mind)
lokañca – loka – space, world, universe
paññapemi – paññapeti – causative form of pajanati – to make known, to declare, to define

The ‘world’ depends upon perceptions and use of the mind to make it known. The ‘world’ consists of a generalised blanket concept imposed upon dependent arising.

The ‘world’ is not within you, nor is it outside of you.

The Buddha stated the label and the labelled (the description and described) dependently arise upon each other.

We can see with wisdom (pañña) the world, the conditions for its arising, the ending of such arising and know the way to end the world.

If the world was within, we could create any kind of world we liked. We do not create our own reality.

If we could, it would make sense to create a lasting, happy, healthy, emotionally and financially secure reality for ourselves. Dream on!

The Buddha told Rohitassa

The end of the world can never
Be reached by walking. However,
Without having reached the world’s end
There is no release from suffering.

Spot on.

Keep meditating.

Thanks to Ulla for her research

1 thought on “The World is not Within You. A Quote from the Buddha”

  1. yes, i’m dreaming on! the one who can – can choose to create the happiest dream, recognizing our self attachment all over the place and be a light for others.
    some can do it, some can’t. why is that so? buddhists say: karma.
    i say, we don’t know. gratefulness and curiosity
    is my dreamy path…

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