Four continents (Wyl. gling bzhi) — the four island-continents (Skt. dvīpa; Wyl. gling) which surround Mount Meru according to the cosmology of the Abhidharma. They are:
- Purvavideha (Skt. Pūrvavideha; Tib. Lüpakpo; Wyl. lus 'phags po; Eng. 'Surpassing the Body') in the East, which is semi-circular and white in colour;
- Jambudvipa (Skt. Jambudvīpa; Tib. Dzambuling; Wyl. ‘dzam bu gling; Eng. 'Rose-Apple Continent') in the South, which is trapezoidal and blue (this is the continent we human beings live in);
- Aparagodaniya (Skt.; Tib. Balangchö; Wyl. ba lang spyod; Eng. 'Enjoyer of Cattle') in the West, which is circular and ruby red; and
- Uttarakuru (Skt.; Tib. Draminyen; Wyl. sgra mi snyan; Eng. 'Unpleasant Sound') in the North, which is square and green.
Each of the four continents is flanked by two subcontinents (Skt. kṣudradvīpāni; Wyl. gling phreng) of the same shape (see eight subcontinents).
Apart from the Chamara subcontinent of Jambudvipa, which is inhabited by rakshasa demons, all the other island-continents are inhabited by human beings of different characteristics, life styles and life-spans. Each continent also has a specific attribute (see four attributes of the four continents).
- Jamgön Kongtrul, Myriad Worlds (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 1995), pages 110-113 & 138-140.
Four continents (catur-dvīpa, 四洲). In the center of a small World in the Three Realms of Existence is Mount Sumeru. It is encircled by eight concentric mountain ranges, and these nine mountains are separated by eight oceans. Rising above the salty ocean between the outermost mountain range and the seventh inner mountain range are four large continents aligned with the four sides of Mount Sumeru. In the east is Pūrvavideha; in the south is Jambudvīpa; in the west is Aparagodānīya; in the north is Uttarakuru, where Life is too pleasant for its inhabitants to seek the Dharma. Between every two large continents are two medium-sized continents and five hundred uninhabited small continents.