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One of the most common functions of religion is cosmology—explaining the origin, structure, and rules of the world in which humans dwell. Typically studied primarily through literature, religious cosmology can better be understood by looking also to rituals, artwork, architecture, and other forms of religiosity. In these circumstances, Buddhist traditions employ cosmological thinking in a wide variety of ways, expressing meanings as varied as simple offerings and the most esoteric meditations for enlightenment. The cosmic structure thus provides a framework for knowledge and practice far beyond merely modeling the world.