The Life Span of the Tathagata

The Life Span of the Tathagata

Postby Queequeg » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:39 pm

OK. Something substantive and Nichiren Buddhism related.

Admit it. You have no real feeling for the size of the solar system. That’s O.K. Nobody else does either. Even knowing the numbers doesn’t help much. If I tell you the Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter and 93,000,000 miles from the Sun, does that give you any sense of the distances involved? No, because the numbers are too big. Things that are so far removed from our daily experience — like quarks, and dinosaurs, and Kim Kardashian — are inherently hard to understand."


http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/visualizing-vastness/?smid=pl-share

“Listen carefully to the Tathāgata’s secret and transcendent powers. The devas, humans, and asuras in all the worlds all think that the present Buddha, Śākyamuni, left the palace of the Śākyas, sat on the terrace of enlightenment not far from the city of Gayā, and attained highest, complete enlightenment. However, O sons of a virtuous family, immeasurable, limitless, hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas have passed since I actually attained buddhahood.

“Suppose there were a man who ground five hundreds of thousands myriads of koṭis of nayutas of incalculable great manifold cosmos into particles. While passing through five hundred thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of incalculable lands to the east, he dropped just a single particle; and in this way he continued to drop the particles as he went toward the east, until they were all gone.

“O sons of a virtuous family! What do you think about this? Can all of these worlds be calculated or not? Can one imagine all of these worlds, calculate, and know their number or not?”

Bodhisattva Maitreya and the others together addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! These worlds are immeasurable, limitless, incalculable, and beyond our powers of conception. Even all the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas, with their knowledge free from corruption, are not able to comprehend them, or know their number. Although we abide in the stage of nonretrogression we cannot understand it. O Bhagavat! Such worlds as these are incalculable and limitless.”

Then the Buddha addressed the assembly of the great bodhisattvas, saying: “O sons of a virtuous family! I will now explain it clearly to you. Suppose all these worlds, whether or not a particle was left in them, were reduced to particles, and each particle represented a kalpa. The period of time since I became a buddha would exceed this by hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of incalculable kalpas. Since then I have constantly been residing in the sahā world, teaching the Dharma and inspiring sentient beings. I have also been leading and benefiting sentient beings in incalculable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of other worlds.

***

At that time the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya, saying: “O Ajita! Those sentient beings who hear about the great length of the Buddha’s lifespan, and can awaken even a single thought of willing acceptance, will all obtain immeasurable merit. If there are sons and daughters of a good family who, for the sake of highest, complete enlightenment, practice the five perfections of giving (dāna), good conduct (śīla), perseverance (kṣānti), effort (vīrya), and meditation (dhyāna), with the exception of the perfection of wisdom (prajñā), for eighty myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas, their merit is not even a hundredth, a thousandth, a hundred thousandth of a myriad of a koṭi of the former person’s merit. It is so small that it cannot be conceived of through calculation or illustration. If there are sons and daughters of a virtuous family who possess such merit as the former, they will never revert from highest, complete enlightenment.”


https://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dBET_T0262_LotusSutra_2007.pdf
Queequeg
 
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Re: The Life Span of the Tathagata

Postby OregonBuddhist » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:08 am

Are you basically saying that The Lotus Sutra was head of its time?

I'm actually taking an Earth Science class this term, and we're studying the universe, galaxies, etc., and I couldn't help but be reminded of this chapter while in class. It actually IS pretty amazing, the similarities.
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Re: The Life Span of the Tathagata

Postby Queequeg » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:16 pm

I don't know if the Lotus Sutra was ahead of its time - it was, quite literally, a product of its time - approximately year 0 to 100 C.E.

In abstract, spiritual terms, I'd suggest the Lotus Sutra is timeless, reflecting a deep and perpetually true, description of reality-as-it-is.

In conventional, common sense terms, I think it tells us that people didn't need giant telescopes and microscopes to understand the nature of reality - that it can be intuited from our lived experience, and that people in ancient times were as sophisticated in their understanding of reality as anyone trying to describe it now. The basis of the observations may differ, but the substance and gist is convergent.

I am actually looking forward to the Buddha Dharma being translated into Math.
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Re: The Life Span of the Tathagata

Postby OregonBuddhist » Sat Oct 20, 2012 12:16 am

I actually saw a book that had the Four Noble Truths translated into a mathematical equation.
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