According to the Buddhist view on the universe, the universe is infinite. However, if we speak about the formation of our world system, we can speak about the for-mation process as follows: “In terms of elements that form the universe, wind is the first one. Its basis is space. Then the wind moves, and in dependence on the moving of the wind, heat occurs; then moisture, then solidity or earth.” Buddhist cosmology not only takes into account the existence of innumerable systems of worlds grouped into what we should call galaxies, but has equally vast conceptions of cosmic time. The Buddha proclaimed that on the highest level of understanding the entire cos-mos is the original pure mind. However, on the ordinary level of un-derstanding he painted a picture of a cosmos filled with countless world systems where countless of living beings of every short reside. Thus, our world system is not the only unique or the only one world system in the universe. Other world sys-tems also have their Buddhas who also teach the path of enlightenment. The most ancient Buddhist texts speak of the various phases in the evolution and devolution over enormous time-periods of these galaxies, how they gradually formed and how after a period or relative stability during which life may be found on their worlds, how, inevitably having come into existence, they must in due course de-cline and go to destruction. All this is the working of processes, one vent leading quite naturally to another. As you know that although the Buddha discovered the presence of numerous Gods throughout the universe, he never tried to diminish the importance of the God wor-shipped by the people of his time. He simply preached the truth and that truth does not affect the importance of any Gods. Similarly, the fact that there are nu-merous suns in the universe does not diminish the importance of the sun of our so-lar system, for our sun continues to provide us with light every day. To some other religions, Gods can be very powerful com-pared to human beings, but to Buddhism, they are still not free from sufferings and afflictions, and can be very angry. The life of Gods may be very long, but not eternal as many other religions believe.
Outlook on life and universe has been discussed by a lot of famous scholars in the world. Examination of the origin or nature of life and universe is the task of the metaphysic experts. This problem has a very important position in philosophy. It was examined from the beginning of the Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations. This book is designed to give you only an overview of the Buddhist cosmology. Bud-dhist cosmology not only takes into account the existence of innumerable sys-tems of worlds grouped into what we should call galaxies, but has equally vast concep-tions of cosmic time. According to Buddhist cosmology, the earth goes through peri-odic cycles. In some of the cycles it improves, in others it degener-ates. The average age of a man is an index of the quality of the period in which the person lives. It may vary between 10 years and many hundreds of thousands of years. At the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, the average life-span was 100 years. After him, the world becomes more depraved, and the life of man shortens. The peak of sin and misery will be reached when the average life has fallen to 10 years. The Dharma of Sa-kyamuni Buddha will then be completely forgotten. But after that the upward swing begins again. When the life of man reaches 80,000 years, Maitreya Buddha from the Tusita Heaven will appear on the earth. Besides, the most ancient Bud-dhist texts speak of the various phases in the evolution and devolution over enor-mous time-periods of these galaxies, how they gradually formed and how after a period or relative stability during which life may be found on their worlds, how, in-evitably having come into existence, they must in due course decline and go to de-struction. All this is the working of processes, one vent leading quite naturally to another. The Buddha was the Teacher who discovered the real nature of the uni-versal cosmic law and advised us to live in accordance with this law. The Buddha confirmed that it is impossible for anyone to escape from such cosmic laws by pray-ing to an almighty god, because this universal law is unbiased. However, the Bud-dha has taught us how to stop bad practices by in-creasing good deeds, and train-ing the mind to eradicate evil thoughts. According to the Buddha, a man can even become a god if he leads a decent and righteous way of life regardless of his reli-gious belief. It is to say a man someday can obtain peace, mindfulness, wisdom and liberation if he is willing to cultivate to perfect himself. The Buddha Sakyamuni himself realized the Noble Truths, considered all metaphysical questions are emp-ty. He often kept silent and gave no answers to such metaphysical questions, be-cause for Him, those questions do not realistically relate to the purpose of Bud-dhists, the purpose of all Buddhists is the final free-dom. According to the Buddha, how can a man know what the universe really is when he cannot understand who he really is? Therefore, the Buddha taught: “The practical way for a man is turning back to himself and seeing where and who he is and what he is doing so that he can overcome the destruction of all hindrances to the truth of all things. That is to say, he has to cultivate to purify his body and mind.” For the universe, the Buddha de-clared that the material world is formed by the Four Great Elements as many In-dian thinkers before Him did. These are Earth element, Water element, Fire ele-ment and Air element. These elements are dy-namic and impermanent, therefore, all existing things compounded by them must be impermanent too. The problem about the origin of the four elements becomes senseless and is unacceptable to the truth of Dependent Origination which was discovered and taught by the Buddha.