Life Span of the Buddha

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Queequeg
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Life Span of the Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:14 pm

“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.



“Since sentient beings have various natures, desires, behaviors, thoughts, and distinctions, the Tathāgata, wanting to cause them to plant roots of good merit, has explained various teachings through a variety of examples, explanations, and illustrations. He has not desisted from doing buddha acts even for a single moment and in this way it has been an extremely long time since I attained buddhahood. My lifespan is immeasurable and incalculable. I abide forever without entering parinirvāṇa.

“O sons of a virtuous family! The lifespan that I first attained through practicing the bodhisattva path has not yet expired. It is twice as great as the number previously mentioned. Although I do not actually enter parinirvāṇa I proclaim that I do. It is through this skillful means that the Tathāgata leads and inspires sentient beings.

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

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Queequeg
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Re: Life Span of the Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 17, 2019 6:02 pm

One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.



:group:
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

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Queequeg
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Re: Life Span of the Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:29 pm

Potthapada Sutta:

..."And then, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' the monk enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. His earlier perception of a refined truth of neither pleasure nor pain ceases, and on that occasion there is a perception of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of space. On that occasion he is one who is percipient of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of space. And thus it is that with training one perception arises and with training another perception ceases.

"And then, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' the monk enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. His earlier perception of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of space ceases, and on that occasion there is a perception of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. On that occasion he is one who is percipient of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. And thus it is that with training one perception arises and with training another perception ceases.

"And then, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [thinking,] 'There is nothing,' enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness. His earlier perception of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness ceases, and on that occasion there is a perception of a refined truth of the dimension of nothingness. On that occasion he is one who is percipient of a refined truth of the dimension of nothingness. And thus it is that with training one perception arises and with training another perception ceases.

"Now, when the monk is percipient of himself here, then from there to there, step by step, he touches the peak of perception. As he remains at the peak of perception, the thought occurs to him, 'Thinking is bad for me. Not thinking is better for me. If I were to think and will, this perception of mine would cease, and a grosser perception would appear. What if I were neither to think nor to will?' So he neither thinks nor wills, and as he is neither thinking nor willing, that perception ceases and another, grosser perception does not appear. He touches cessation. This, Potthapada, is how there is the alert step-by step attainment of the ultimate cessation of perception.

*But the Buddha explains, this is not the cessation of suffering... just the limit of perception and the knowledge that follows from perception. This meditation does not lead to liberation. Only Buddhahood itself leads to liberation, so I am told. And Buddhahood is entered only through faith, I am told.
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

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Queequeg
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Re: Life Span of the Buddha

Post by Queequeg » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:38 pm

The conceptual construction of the Buddha's Life Span, even if conceived as infinite, never is more than a proximate estimation of the Buddha's life span, a conditioned notion, even to the limit of the non-regressing bodhisattva's capacity. It falls hopelessly short. The Buddha's life span, I am told, is boundless. As Nagarjuna remarks, the boundless ocean of Dharma is entered only through faith. And so for the boundless life span of the Buddha.

“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 (adhimukti), 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.”
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

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