600, 900 kalpas

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Caoimhghín
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600, 900 kalpas

Post by Caoimhghín »

So I recently made a faux pas and voiced an erroneous belief that in Tibetan Buddhism a dharmakaya has a discreet finite lifespan. Now I am in the process of trying to figure out what I was misremembering. I have a suspicion what it is I might have misunderstood, and it has to-do with an expiry limit on when a supreme nirmanakaya is the supreme nirmanakaya of that world, to-do with Dharma-decline and the ending of their particular dispensation of said Dharma. Anyone have any ideas what this poor frazzled mind is remembering? I distinctly remember the number 900 or 600 kalpas related to this length of time.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
Malcolm
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Malcolm »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:30 pm So I recently made a faux pas and voiced an erroneous belief that in Tibetan Buddhism a dharmakaya has a discreet finite lifespan. Now I am in the process of trying to figure out what I was misremembering. I have a suspicion what it is I might have misunderstood, and it has to-do with an expiry limit on when a supreme nirmanakaya is the supreme nirmanakaya of that world, to-do with Dharma-decline and the ending of their particular dispensation of said Dharma. Anyone have any ideas what this poor frazzled mind is remembering? I distinctly remember the number 900 or 600 kalpas related to this length of time.
https://encyclopediaofbuddhism.org/wiki/Kalpa

We are in the Bhadrakalpa over all, and there are still 998 buddhas to come before it ends. The next Buddha is Buddha Maitreya, as we commonly know who whose advent will be either 5.6 billion or million years hence.

One tradition, seemingly based on the Maitreya Sūtra, maintains that Sākyamuni's dispensation last for 5000 years, which was halved by the admission of bhikṣunis into the Sangha, and is broken into five distinct periods—this being the last five hundred years of the Dharma. So depending on when one considers Buddha's parnirvana to have occurred, we are already beyond the date when Buddha's teaching begins to completely degenerate. However, in some Tibetan Buddhist circles it is maintained that this only applies to sūtra teachings, that Vajrayāna teachings and Dzogchen teachings in particular have a longer "shelflife."

This article summarizes various positions: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/e ... ine-dharma

The calculation of the length of the doctrine is a major concern, and in Tibet, almost every major scholar as tackled it.
Last edited by Malcolm on Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Caoimhghín
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Caoimhghín »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm We are in the Bhadrakalpa over all, and there are still 998 buddhas to come before it ends
That is a good candidate for the ~900 number in my head certainly. I thought it had to do with lifespan though. What is the maximum lifespan of a supreme nirmanakaya? I know that there is a debate as to if a Buddha can extend their lifespan indefinitely, but I don't know what the maximum lifespans postulated are.
Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pmOne tradition, seemingly based on the Maitreya Sūtra, maintains that Sākyamuni's dispensation last for 5000 years, which was halved by the admission of bhikṣunis into the Sangha, and is broken into five distinct periods—this being the last five hundred years of the Dharma.
Well, the Maitreya Sutra (which I presume is a sutra to the bodhisattvas?) is more optimistic than the shravaka scriptures, were he says that the dhammavinaya would have lasted 1,000 years but will now last only 500 after the establishment of the order of nuns.
Last edited by Caoimhghín on Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
Malcolm
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Malcolm »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:18 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm We are in the Bhadrakalpa over all, and there are still 998 buddhas to come before it ends
That is a good candidate for the ~900 number in my head certainly. I thought it had to do with lifespan though. What is the maximum lifespan of a supreme nirmanakaya? I know that there is a debate as to if a Buddha can extend their lifespan indefinitely, but I don't know what the maximum lifespans postulated are.
There are different lifespans, depending on what epoch a Buddha is born into. We are in the Kaliyuga, locally speaking, and so Śākyamuni only had an 80 year lifespan. Maitreya will be born in a golden age, and will have a lifespan of 80,000 years. All supreme nirmāṇakāyas have life spans that are in line with the lifespan of humans in the age into which they are born, just as they are born into either brahmin, kṣatriya, or vaisya families depending on which are more respected at the time.
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Caoimhghín
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Caoimhghín »

Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:25 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:18 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm We are in the Bhadrakalpa over all, and there are still 998 buddhas to come before it ends
That is a good candidate for the ~900 number in my head certainly. I thought it had to do with lifespan though. What is the maximum lifespan of a supreme nirmanakaya? I know that there is a debate as to if a Buddha can extend their lifespan indefinitely, but I don't know what the maximum lifespans postulated are.
There are different lifespans, depending on what epoch a Buddha is born into. We are in the Kaliyuga, locally speaking, and so Śākyamuni only had an 80 year lifespan. Maitreya will be born in a golden age, and will have a lifespan of 80,000 years. All supreme nirmāṇakāyas have life spans that are in line with the lifespan of humans in the age into which they are born, just as they are born into either brahmin, kṣatriya, or vaisya families depending on which are more respected at the time.
Makes sense. Human body = normal human lifespan. I may never find what I was half-remembering. It was some lifespan of something. I'll not vex myself about it too much. Thank you for the resources you did provide though.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
GrapeLover
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by GrapeLover »

Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:33 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:25 pm
Caoimhghín wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:18 pm
That is a good candidate for the ~900 number in my head certainly. I thought it had to do with lifespan though. What is the maximum lifespan of a supreme nirmanakaya? I know that there is a debate as to if a Buddha can extend their lifespan indefinitely, but I don't know what the maximum lifespans postulated are.
There are different lifespans, depending on what epoch a Buddha is born into. We are in the Kaliyuga, locally speaking, and so Śākyamuni only had an 80 year lifespan. Maitreya will be born in a golden age, and will have a lifespan of 80,000 years. All supreme nirmāṇakāyas have life spans that are in line with the lifespan of humans in the age into which they are born, just as they are born into either brahmin, kṣatriya, or vaisya families depending on which are more respected at the time.
Makes sense. Human body = normal human lifespan. I may never find what I was half-remembering. It was some lifespan of something. I'll not vex myself about it too much. Thank you for the resources you did provide though.
A random potential candidate is Avalokitesvara’s lifespan as a Buddha and the duration of his dharma as cited in Karma Chakme’s Sukhavati aspiration prayer

“Avalokiteshvara will attain Buddhahood [...] His lifespan will be extensive, Ninety six trillion kalpas. May I continuously attend by his side [...] Then, he will pass into Nirvana, And his Dharma will remain for six hundred trillion kalpas And a further three hundred thousand kalpas, may I uphold the Dharma.”
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

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Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm One tradition, seemingly based on the Maitreya Sūtra, maintains that Sākyamuni's dispensation last for 5000 years, which was halved by the admission of bhikṣunis into the Sangha, and is broken into five distinct periods—this being the last five hundred years of the Dharma. So depending on when one considers Buddha's parnirvana to have occurred, we are already beyond the date when Buddha's teaching begins to completely degenerate. However, in some Tibetan Buddhist circles it is maintained that this only applies to sūtra teachings, that Vajrayāna teachings and Dzogchen teachings in particular have a longer "shelflife."

This article summarizes various positions: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/e ... ine-dharma

The calculation of the length of the doctrine is a major concern, and in Tibet, almost every major scholar as tackled it.
Interesting article. Thank you.

Did not realize that this was an issue in Tibet, and throughout the Buddhist world. I thought this was a uniquely East Asian concern.

Resolving the problem posed by the loss of the teaching's efficacy is much easier than the problem of us just being of such meager merit that we can't benefit from the teachings.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
Malcolm
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Malcolm »

Queequeg wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:47 pm
Did not realize that this was an issue in Tibet, and throughout the Buddhist world. I thought this was a uniquely East Asian concern.
Sure, also in India, for example, the Chakrasamvara tantra proclaims that in the degenerate age of the last 500 years, it is only through the practice of Heruka that one can attain awakening.YMMV.
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Aemilius
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

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ETIENNE LAMOTTE: HISTORY OF INDIAN BUDDHISM
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE GOOD LAW, p. 191...198

Lamotte gives different views on this topic from many sutras and traditions, the longest period is:
"Year 11,500 or 12,000. - From the sixth century onwards, the majority of the Chinese annalists such as Hui ssu (515-577), Chi tsang (549-623), Huai kan (613-681) and Liang p'i (717-777) were of the opinion that the disappearance of the Law occurs in "Three Degrees" (san chieh) : disappearance of the cheng fa (saddharma), of the hsiang fa (pratirupaka) and finally of the mo fa (pascimadharma). For Hui ssu (T 1933, p. 786c 4-6), the Saddharma lasts for 500 years, the Pratirupaka for 1,000, and the Pascima for 10,000 : in all 11,500 years. For Chi tsang (T 1824, ch. 1, p. 186 2-5), Huai kan (T 1960, ch. 3, p. 48c 7-8) and Liang p'i (T 1709, ch. 7, p. 520c lo), who refer, among other documents, to an inscription engraved on a Jetavanavihara in a foreign land, the Saddharma lasts for 1,000 years, the Pratirupaka for 1,000, and the Pascima for 10,000 : 12,000 years in all."

Lamotte p.197 : "Chinese recension (T 1462, ch. 18, p. 796c)
Is it true that after 1,000 years the Law of the Buddha will disappear entirely? No, not entirely. During that millennium,, one obtains the triple knowledge (trayi vidya [of the Buddhas and Arhats]. In the following millennium, one becomes an Arhat having destroyed thirst (trsnaksaya), but one no longer possesses the triple knowledge. In the following millennium, one becomes an anagamin. In the following millennium, one becomes a sakrdagamin. In the following millennium, one becomes a srota-apanna. Afterwards, there are a further five millennia. Hence, during the [first] five millennia, one accedes to the Path; but in the last five, practise as one may, one will no longer accede to the Path. After those 10,000 years, the texts and literature disappear; there are only people who shave their heads and wear the religious kashaya robe."
Last edited by Aemilius on Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
svaha
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They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

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Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm

https://encyclopediaofbuddhism.org/wiki/Kalpa

We are in the Bhadrakalpa over all, and there are still 998 buddhas to come before it ends. The next Buddha is Buddha Maitreya, as we commonly know who whose advent will be either 5.6 billion or million years hence.
Out of curiosity, has anyone ever put together a list of the 998 buddhas to come? Or at least do we have the name of the Buddha following Maitreya?
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Caoimhghín
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Caoimhghín »

FiveSkandhas wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:52 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:08 pm

https://encyclopediaofbuddhism.org/wiki/Kalpa

We are in the Bhadrakalpa over all, and there are still 998 buddhas to come before it ends. The next Buddha is Buddha Maitreya, as we commonly know who whose advent will be either 5.6 billion or million years hence.
Out of curiosity, has anyone ever put together a list of the 998 buddhas to come? Or at least do we have the name of the Buddha following Maitreya?
Is it in the Bhadrakalpika Sutra? I assume, I haven't actually read it.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
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Aemilius
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Re: 600, 900 kalpas

Post by Aemilius »

svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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