Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

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Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Aemilius » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:46 pm

What do you think, can the kalpas and yugas of buddhistic world history be tied up with the eras and extinction events of modern archeology ?
See here for a graphical presentation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Extinction_events_graphical_timeline
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Sherab » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:45 am

I thought kalpas are related to the cycle of birth and destruction of the whole universe, not just the earth, and yugas are related to the phases of Buddha Dharma duration in relation to the type of practices and the characteristics of the practitioners.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Aemilius » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:26 am

Sherab wrote:I thought kalpas are related to the cycle of birth and destruction of the whole universe, not just the earth, and yugas are related to the phases of Buddha Dharma duration in relation to the type of practices and the characteristics of the practitioners.


According to the Abhidharma one Great Kalpa consists of four Intermediate Kalpas, an Intermediate Kalpa consists of twenty Small Kalpas, ( one small kalpa consists of four downward going and four upward going yugas. I don't know if this happens in an empty kalpa, which is empty of Buddha & Dharma ). At the end of each small kalpa there occurs a partial destruction af the world by fire and water. And so on... You can check it in the Myriad Worlds of Jamgon Kongtrul I. The extinction event at the end of an archeological era is similar to the ending of a small kalpa.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Nosta » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:12 pm

I would like to believe that such thing about kalpas is real but i think its not:
1- If such things about kalpas and end of eras with destruction were real, so we should find that the massive extinctions in the past were according with that. For example, from one given extinction of life (like the one in the Permic) to the next one (dinossaurs, for example), the time between then should be exactly the time given in the scriptures (one kalpa, one yuga, etc, whatever). And that seems to happen.

2- The end of kalpas and extinctions conected to them speak about humans/people that are very corrupt or no corrupt at all, etc. The problem is that humanity is not that old. Humans arrived at 2-4millions years ago.

3- The concept of kalpa, universe destruction etc are original from hinduism, it seems that buddhism is just using them.

4- Buddhism cosmoly uses other cosmologic concepts that are not real, like the one thats says that all things/earth rotate around the big Sumerian mountain, or something like that. Such concepts are not real.


In fact it would be fun and interesting that those things were real, but i think its hard to believe on them.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Indrajala » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:00 pm

Nosta wrote:3- The concept of kalpa, universe destruction etc are original from hinduism, it seems that buddhism is just using them.


Or maybe Buddhism influenced the religious thought in India long before the 19th century when "Hinduism" was invented?

4- Buddhism cosmoly uses other cosmologic concepts that are not real, like the one thats says that all things/earth rotate around the big Sumerian mountain, or something like that. Such concepts are not real.


Buddhist cosmology is said to be how someone with the divine eye sees things.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Nosta » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:08 pm

But isnt hinduism older?
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Indrajala » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:51 pm

Nosta wrote:But isnt hinduism older?


"Hinduism" didn't exist until 1829. It is a blanket term for the innumerable systems of religious and philosophical thought and practices of India. There is everything from monotheism to panpsychism to atheism and everything in between. To call all of that a single religion stretching back thousands of years would be like saying every tribal religion in Africa forms a single religion called "Africanism".

It simply doesn't work like that.

This idea that "Buddhism comes from Hinduism" and that "Hinduism is older than Buddhism" is a product of poor European scholarship that unfortunately has been passed down. India itself recognizes the existence of a "Hinduism" which even by law encompasses Buddhism.

In any case, Hinduism is not older than Buddhism because Hinduism as an entity, even as shaky as it is, was invented in the 19th century.

So, your statement here...

3- The concept of kalpa, universe destruction etc are original from hinduism, it seems that buddhism is just using them.


...is problematic.

Buddha utilized the cosmological terminology of his colleagues, but his proposed theory was different.

You're allowed to use the mutually accepted vocabulary of others without necessarily agreeing with them.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:40 pm

Just to introduce this into consideration, not for purpose of debate but just to offer a differing view on this particular...

When the iron bird flies attributed to Padmesambhava but found in torma in the first part of the 20th century to my dim recollection.....could by some be meant to mean....iron birds will really be flying.

But to most's interpretations it refers to airplanes which were not birds but approximated the closest thing found at that time and place.

Now, this to my opinion is not differing.
We can take literal interpretations such as this and be always looking for iron birds flying or we can take meaning to be within the scope and knowledge of those that it references.

So we as human look at only humans in our place time and what we percieve to be our solar system in our universe. This discounts all other possibilities and infers only the known to be what is known.
As I have mentioned elsewhere when Padmesambhava explained the largeness of things to one female member of the royal court years ago she fainted dead away at just seeing a very small glimpse of the thing.

So suchly we cannot be expecting iron birds to be flying nor can we relate our teeny tiny view of things and explainations from a differing historical time and context to suffice to understand what exactly was being referenced.

If there are a billion earths and a trillion variants of human form, a million planes of potentiality as regards human presence... can we say all does not direct in a circular fashion, that Mt Samuru in some fashion
is not the center of it all.....

we can say only.... in literal fashion iron birds do not fly and never will and in literal fashion we can say things do not seem to progress in circular fashion as described in this thread here.

To say otherwise in all fashion such things as iron bird flying never occur and things do not progress in the fashion described here is to limit potentiality. To limit potentiality of thngs to occur is generally....untrue to my experience.

AS seeing iron birds flying every minute of the day in todays times speaks of.

ON hinduism(and this may be debated).... many hindus will argue until blue in the face to my experience that buddhism derived from hinduism and is in fact a "empty" aspect to the hindu way of looking at things. Some forms of buddhism in certain geographical areas with much hindu influence are actually very very similiar to buddhism. And some rare forms of hinduism do incorporate empty consideration into things. But as has been aptly described... hindu is a recent invention. Historically one may find the term hindu derives from a certain geographical place in india not a particular religion.

Brahamism of the day was the alternate religion of the time of the buddha and what was referenced most commonly. Brahamism is now incorporated into hinduism, but back in the day, such a hinduism other than as a geographical location did not exist. So the buddha was interacting religiously with brahamins not hindus of the hindu religion, for the most part. Though other religions such as Jainism did also coexist at that time.
I'm pretty sure Jainism has also be abscribed by indian law interpretation into hinduism though as with buddhism it has no such derivitive nor commonality.

But it is a exercise in futility to argue that point to my experience. No buddhism without hinduism is the basic belief. Which we as a buddhist may know(excepting the rare event of hindu buddhist)...is simply not true. (Hindu/buddhist is not rare in certain parts of india but overall globally rare)
Buddhism as core philosophy derivitant is fundamentally differing.

*As a aside american theists typically will abscribe buddhism to hinduism as hinduism is a form of theism most commonly. And these theists for one, to incorporate the freedom of religion in america must allow only that all religions, to be religions, must incorporate belief in a equilivent of the theist god/s and soul. No god/s no soul/s...basically is the thinking, whatever it is.. it is not a religion....perhaps a philosophy. So that belief has variance in display, India and america. People seems very generally inclined to be theist/absolutists is my personal observation. Nihilists having a very minor attribution.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Nosta » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:13 am

Your point is very good ronne. Maybe destruction by fire means big bang /big crunch heat and the universe being destructed by water refers to other things, like plasma forces. Buddha spoke to his fellows in words that they could perceive.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Aemilius » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:43 am

Nosta wrote:2- The end of kalpas and extinctions conected to them speak about humans/people that are very corrupt or no corrupt at all, etc. The problem is that humanity is not that old. Humans arrived at 2-4millions years ago.


I think there have been humans for thousand million years or more, I feel that due to the continuity of reincarnation I have existed here for more then 700 million years. What was before 1000 million years ago is something quite different,... Humans were before much taller, so that the dinosaurs were no threat to them at all. This has been told in the Sutras and the Abhidharma,( although there is no mention of the dinosaurs there.)


It is difficult to break the habit of conceiving the world as real. Buddhist cosmology is real, it is a way of perceiving the world. Had it been taught to you it in kindergarten and by your parents when you were child, you would see it like that. ( Because world is a manifestation of karma and habitual tendencies, that will not be completely true when something else is being taught to other children, however.)
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Indrajala » Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:27 pm

Aemilius wrote: It is difficult to break the habit of conceiving the world as real. Buddhist cosmology is real, it is a way of perceiving the world.


I think if you take the idealist / mentalist position to its logical lengths, the world becomes extremely unstable.

Fossils, geological formations, star systems, gamma waves, etc... do not objectively exist and are just mental perceptions. Outside of collective consciousnesses they don't exist.

That's not something easily swallowed either. However, if reality is none other than the mind and there really is no objective physical universe, then everything we call "hard facts" in materialist science are just predictable and reproduced illusions.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Aemilius » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:57 am

Huseng wrote:
Aemilius wrote: It is difficult to break the habit of conceiving the world as real. Buddhist cosmology is real, it is a way of perceiving the world.


I think if you take the idealist / mentalist position to its logical lengths, the world becomes extremely unstable.

Fossils, geological formations, star systems, gamma waves, etc... do not objectively exist and are just mental perceptions. Outside of collective consciousnesses they don't exist.

That's not something easily swallowed either. However, if reality is none other than the mind and there really is no objective physical universe, then everything we call "hard facts" in materialist science are just predictable and reproduced illusions.


What you say is well put. Vasubandhu answers the criticism that world would be very unstable. It is a difficult thing to experience, if you happen to experience it you will be very aloof. Those who continue to experience the world as stable will regard you as simply deranged what ever you say. The world changes like a dream changes, but the dreamers do not realize it, though it change before their very eyes. There are some who do experience it, but then they want to be accepted by the society, and they start saying that their experience was merely "a hallucination". This does not mean that there are no hallucinations, this point too has been made in the yogachara literature.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Aemilius » Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:00 am

Nosta wrote:4- Buddhism cosmoly uses other cosmologic concepts that are not real, like the one thats says that all things/earth rotate around the big Sumerian mountain, or something like that. Such concepts are not real.

In fact it would be fun and interesting that those things were real, but i think its hard to believe on them.


In order to understand the Mount Sumeru world map you would have to know basic concepts of descriptive geometry, this subject is taught in technical & related universities, so the knowledge is available.
If we take just one aspect of it, we can say that Mount Sumeru world map describes a four dimensional universe. It does this by making a three dimensional representation of the four dimensions.The fourth axis is Mount Sumeru, in this fourth axis are the deva realms.
In the human world we see only a reflection of Mount Sumeru. When we look up to the sky we see the blue sky, which is an image of the Mount Sumeru, it is its saphire coloured side, at night we see its crystal coloured side, at dawn we sometimes se its golden coloured side, at sunset we see its ruby coloured side.
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Re: Kalpas, yugas and extinction events

Postby Nosta » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:05 pm

Thats an interesting point of view.
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