The Meaning of the Expression “World of Ten Directions”
In the Buddhist sutras appears the phrase “all ten-direction world,” and there are probably a lot of people who want to know about it, so I explain here.
In between the four cardinal directions of north, south, east, west are the intermediate directions of northeast, southwest, northeast, southeast which make a total of eight directions. Adding the two directions of heaven (above) and earth (below) to the eight refers to the “ten-direction world.” In other words, “ten-direction world” is an expression based on the premise of the earth as the center.
In this regard, what comes to mind is the festival on January 1 when during the times of the emperor system, it was said that the four directions were prayed to, but this arrangement is not perfect. Adding the two directions of heaven and earth to the four, the prayers should be to the six directions. It seems to be that even this much was not perceived, so it is peculiar that the ceremony was called “praying to the four directions.”
Eikô, Issue 86, January 20, 1951
translated by cynndd