In his renowned Encyclopedia of Buddhism,1 the great nineteenth-century Tibetan scholar Kong sprul yon tan rgya mtsho uses the well-known Buddhist ‘three-vehicle’ scheme to structure his discussion of Buddhist cosmology – discussing śravaka, Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna views of the formation and de/evolution of the universe. I propose to follow Kong sprul’s example in this essay with one exception: my remarks will focus principally on the writings of contemporary Buddhist scholars. I say ‘principally’ because there is one aspect of this issue – the Mahāyāna doctrine of the creation of pure fields (dag shing) or buddha fields (sangs rgyas kyi shing) – that is not found in any extensive fashion in the writings of contemporary Buddhist theologians. So I will take the liberty of resorting to more classical sources at that point in the discussion.