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Zur Gestalt der Erde im Weltbild des frühen Buddhismus

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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

In the gāthās of the Migālopa-Jātaka and the Gijjha-Jātaka an old Indian narrative is handed down in two basically identical versions which, however, differ from each other, in that the first and older one ascribes a square shape to the earth while the second one conceives it in the form of a wheel. Searching for an explanation for the coexistence of these seemingly contradictory cosmographic pictures in a canonical collection of Buddhist texts, the author of this article discusses in general the archaic cosmological concept of the flat circular disk of the earth, compares relevant sources from vedic and brahmanic literature, and points to some non-Indian tales which are of special interest particularly in regard to the Jātaka versions.


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