"Dark" Kalpas

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Tlalok
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"Dark" Kalpas

Post by Tlalok » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:02 pm

I'm currently on my second read through Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche, and it is all absolutely amazing stuff of course which I would recommend to anyone, buddhist or not. However, there is this little thing that I'm having difficulty squaring away:

In the contemplation on the advantages of this precious human life PR makes reference to the fact that we are born in a "Bright" kalpa, that is to have 1000 buddhas in it, of which Shakyamuni is the first. We are also in one of the few kalpas where the vajrayana has been propogated. Other kalpas are described as "dark" because buddhas do not manifest in them to liberate beings.

I was wondering how this squared with the bodhisattva vow? If the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not manifest in that kalpa, where do they go? What are they doing if they are not working on liberating beings?

I was thinking that possibly it was like a multiverse kind of deal with different world-systems going through dark and bright kalpas at different times, and the "brightness" of a kalpa was dependent on the collective karma of the beings dwelling within that world system. However, that is entirely my own understanding largely cribbed from science fiction. Are there any canonical sources that help unpack this whole idea?

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PSM
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Re: "Dark" Kalpas

Post by PSM » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:33 pm

It's due to the karma & merit of the beings in that universe at that time. No karma & merit, no opportunity will arise to meet a Buddha.
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

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Losal Samten
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Re: "Dark" Kalpas

Post by Losal Samten » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:49 pm

Pretty sure a dark kalpa refers to when a supreme nirmanakaya does not expound the dharma (and thus people cannot follow the path), but not that buddhas and bodhisattvas do not act for the benefit of beings in general.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨོཾ་ཧ་ནུ་པྷ་ཤ་བྷ་ར་ཧེ་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།།
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Aryjna
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Re: "Dark" Kalpas

Post by Aryjna » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:14 pm

Tlalok wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:02 pm
I was thinking that possibly it was like a multiverse kind of deal with different world-systems going through dark and bright kalpas at different times, and the "brightness" of a kalpa was dependent on the collective karma of the beings dwelling within that world system. However, that is entirely my own understanding largely cribbed from science fiction. Are there any canonical sources that help unpack this whole idea?
I was also wondering if there are supposed to be different worlds going through different phases at the same time, or if everything goes through these phases simultaneously. But I haven't found an answer to that so far.

Varis
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Re: "Dark" Kalpas

Post by Varis » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:41 pm

Tlalok wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:02 pm
I was wondering how this squared with the bodhisattva vow? If the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not manifest in that kalpa, where do they go? What are they doing if they are not working on liberating beings?
They continue to manifest in other world-systems where they're needed most.

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Tlalok
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Re: "Dark" Kalpas

Post by Tlalok » Tue May 01, 2018 2:49 pm

Thanks for the responses guys, it seems to be that the Kalpa refers to a particular period that a given world system goes through, rather than a length of time shared by all world systems. This means that different world systems go through different kalpas at different times. This makes total sense thanks!

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