Book: Setting Out on the Great Way
Chapter: The Concept of 'Remodelling the World'
A case study of one of the conceptual building-blocks of Mahāyāna Buddhism, this chapter addresses the idea commonly found in Mahāyāna sūtras that an important aspect of the bodhisattva path is the construction of an ideal world or, in effect, a remodelling of this one (usually referred to as buddha-kṣetra-pariśuddhi, or ‘purification of the domain of an awakened one’). This idea is premised on certain developments in the theory of karma which have major cosmological ramifications. The author traces these developments in various Abhidharma texts, particularly those of the Sarvāstivādin school, compiled during the period in which the first Mahāyāna sūtras were also being written.