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 Post subject: How long does it take?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:48 pm 
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I've heard that it took the Buddha 100,000 aeons to attain Samyaksambodhi. Is this true?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:08 am 
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Usually it's said that it took him three eons to attain complete enlightenment.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:22 am 
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Keep in mind that linear time is a product of the human imagination.
Scientists can calculate that the universe is so many billions of years old.
But what is a year? It is the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun one time.
So, before there was the Earth, no such measurement could exist.
The entire history of the universe could be taking place in a single second
or a hundred billion years and it would be the same thing.
In other words, it isn't as though the clock started ticking on its own at some point.
The clock didn't start ticking until it was invented.
Any measurement of time can be cut in half, infinitely.
Since the future has not happened and the past is gone, there is nothing but the present.
But even the present has no duration.
there is only the continual transformation of now.
So whether it takes you a million lifetimes to realization or in the next second
is up to you.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:45 am 
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Jinzang; ah, okay, I have heard this as well. I figure it sounds more reasonable.

PadmaVonSamba: Yes, good point. I try not to get caught up in scriptural time lengths, but I was just curious.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:01 am 
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I read something recently, I think it was in a book about the wandering Pureland monk Ippen, and it was talking about the distance (from here) to Amitabha's Pure Realm, and of course, it's some ridiculously large Buddhist number. But the explanation was that this number isn't really about physical distance, but is meant to illustrate all the many, many various types of mental hindrances. So when a Buddha is described as having taken so many uncountable eons or kalpas to attain full realization, it isn't really talking about time per se, because of course time means very little to a Buddha who is in no hurry to go anywhere. But rather, it is meant as pertaining to us here and now, and about the effort one needs to make. Since buddhahood is basically an egg waiting to hatch, you already have it, essentially. it just has to hatch.

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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:26 am 
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Hmm, I really like that explanation. It makes sense on a realistic level.

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