Posts written by Bill M. Mak

Buddhist Astral Science in Asia

Buddhist Astral Science in Asia



1 Content of Astral science

2 Buddhist astral science in practice: Astral science in Thai Buddhism (patithin, horasat)

3 Astral science in Pāli Canon (Uposatha and the recitation of Pāṭimokkā; Eclipses; Abhidharma)

4 Mahāyāna texts: Astronomy and astrology in Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna, Mahāsaṃnipāta 

5 Kumārajīva’s astral science and Amoghavajra’s Xiuyao jing

7 Planetary science and planetary worship (navagrahaśāntipūja)

Kumārajīva’s astral learning

On 24 Apr., 2016, I gave a presentation titled “Kumārajīva’s astral learning as seen in his translation/compilation of Dazhidulun” at the “International seminar on Kumārajīva studies” organized by the World Buddhist University. Five years ago I read a paper titled “Kumārajīva and Prajñāpāramitā” in Delhi at the conference “Kumārajīva: Philosopher and Seer” organized by the IGNCA. The paper was published last year. In my presentation, I discussed the source of Kumārajīva’s astronomical and astrological knowledge which he was renowned for. The analysis of Kumārajīva’s “four types of months” (solar, civil, lunar, and sidereal) was presented in 2014, at the XVII Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (Universität Wien, Vienna) and was published in the journal Historia Scientiarum 24-2 (2015): 59-75. The Dazhidulun (*Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa) is truly a Buddhist encyclopedia. Lamotte’s annotated French translation, though not complete, remains one of great works of modern Buddhist scholarship.


Lecture on “Buddhist Astral Science in Asia” at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. April 29, 2016.

 Buddhist Astral Science in Asia

Topics include Buddhist cosmology, Buddhist calendars, sources and transmission of astronomical and astrological systems.