Mount Meru (also Sumeru (Sanskrit) or Sineru (Pāli), is the name of the central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology.
Etymologically, the proper name of the mountain is Meru (Pāli Meru), to which is added the approbatory prefix su-, resulting in the meaning "excellent Meru" or "wonderful Meru".
According to Buddhist cosmology, Mount Meru (or Sumeru) is at the centre of the world.
The Sun and the Moon revolve around Mount Meru, and as the Sun passes behind it, it becomes nighttime.
The mountain has four faces — each one made of a different material; the northern face is made of gold, the eastern one is made of crystal, the southern one is made of lapis lazuli, and the western one is made of ruby.
In Vajrayāna, maṇḍala offerings often include Mount Meru, as they in part represent the entire universe.
It is also believed that Mount Meru is the home of the buddha Cakrasaṃvara.
The concept of Sumeru is closely related to the central Mount Meru of Hindu cosmology, but it differs from the Hindu concept in several particulars.
Sumeru is often used as a simile for both size and stability in Buddhist texts.
Sumeru is said to be shaped like an hourglass, with a top and base of 80,000 yojanas square, but narrowing in the middle.
Sumeru is the polar center of a mandala-like complex of seas and mountains.
The square base of Sumeru is surrounded by a square moat-like ocean, which is in turn surrounded by a ring (or rather square) wall of mountains, which is in turn surrounded by a sea, each diminishing in width and height from the one closer to Sumeru.
There are seven seas and seven surrounding mountain-walls, until one comes to the vast outer sea which forms most of the surface of the world, in which the known continents are merely small islands.
The known world, which is on the continent of Jambudvipa, is directly south of Sumeru.
The 80,000 yojana square top of Sumeru constitutes the Trāyastriṃśa "heaven" (devaloka), which is the highest plane in direct physical contact with the earth.
The next 40,000 yojanas below this heaven consist of sheer precipice, narrowing in like an inverted mountain until it is 20,000 yojanas square at a heigh of 40,000 yojanas above the sea.
From this point Sumeru expands again, going down in four terraced ledges, each broader than the one above.
The first terrace constitutes the "heaven" of the Four Great Kings and is divided into four parts, facing north, south, east and west.
Each section is governed by one of the Four Great Kings, who faces outward toward the quarter of the world that he supervises.
40,000 yojanas is also the height at which the Sun and Moon circle Sumeru in a clockwise direction. This rotation explains the alteration of day and night; when the Sun is north of Sumeru, the shadow of the mountain is cast over the continent of Jambudvīpa, and it is night there; at the same time it is noon in the opposing northern continent of Uttarakuru, dawn in the eastern continent of Pūrvavideha, and dusk in the western continent of Aparagodānīya. Half a day later, when the Sun has moved to the south, it is noon in Jambudvīpa, dusk in Pūrvavideha, dawn in Aparagodānīya, and midnight in Uttarakuru.
The next three terraces down the slopes of Sumeru are each longer and broader by a factor of two. They contain the followers of the Four Great Kings, namely nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, and kumbhāṇḍas.
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