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Buddhist Eschatology - Dhamma Wheel

Buddhist Eschatology

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Pannapetar
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Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Pannapetar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:58 am


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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 31, 2009 7:33 am

The 500 years were if women were allowed to becomes nuns, but with the additional rules for the nuns the strength of the dispensation was protected. At least that how it could be read. The commentarial tradition expands on this:

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache%3Am ... l=en&gl=us

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:FxY ... clnk&gl=us

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:03 am

Hello tiltbillings,

The assertions in the first document you linked above, strikes me as exactly the kind of statements one should seek to avoid after having learned of the mentioned eschatological "mishaps".

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:41 pm

The 500 year quote, as far as I know and have seen, is only mentioned in one place in the Vinaya.

The 5,000 year ending of this dispensation is only in the commentaries, not in any place in the Suttas. In fact, in the Suttas, the Buddha does not give a specific time table for the ending of the Dhamma and states:

"When the letters are wrongly pronounced and there is wrong interpretation of their meaning. For when the pronunciation is wrong, the interpretation will also be wrong" (AN .I,59)

Now that we live in an information age with printed books and the internet, there is even less chance for the Dhamma to be lost anytime soon.
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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:20 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:29 pm

Thomas William Rhys Davids in his Buddhist India (p. 188) has given a chronological table of Buddhist literature from the time of the Buddha to the time of Ashoka which is as follows:

1. The simple statements of Buddhist doctrine now found, in identical words, in paragraphs or verses recurring in all the books.
2. Episodes found, in identical words, in two or more of the existing books.
3. The Silas, the Parayana, the Octades, the Patimokkha.
4. The Digha, Majjhima, Anguttara, and Samyutta Nikayas.
5. The Sutta Nipata, the Thera and Theri Gathas, the Udanas, and the Khuddaka Patha
6. The Sutta Vibhanga, and Khandhkas.
7. The Jatakas and the Dhammapadas.
8. The Niddesa, the Itivuttakas and the Patisambbhida.
9. The Peta and Vimana-Vatthus, the Apadana, the Cariya-Pitaka, and the Buddhavamsa.
10. The Abhidhamma books; the last of which is the Katha-Vatthu, and the earliest probably the Puggala-Pannatti.

The 500 years quote I think is in the SV, #6 above and the 5,000 year quote is in the commentaries, #11 above (if there was a #11).

The higher up on the list, the older the text and probably more likely to be authentic, in my opinion. I'm not saying that #6 to 10 are not authentic, but I prefer to focus on the earliest of texts, found in the Nikayas and the Patimokkha-part of the Vinaya.
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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Pannapetar » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:48 am

Thank you, TheDhamma, that was very interesting.

The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology By Jerry L. Walls gives details on the multiple revisions of the prediction.

Considering that Buddhism itself teaches that the future is not set in stone and that there is no way for us to verify or falsify such long-term predictions, they are of little value.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Dhammakid » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:54 pm

Hello all,
Forgive me if I'm reviving old skeletons. I promise I mean no harm and I don't mean to start a debate or argument. I just never found out the reasoning of the Buddha's proclamation that female ordination shortens the sasana. If anyone has information on this, I would appreciate it. This is just for my own piece of mind.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:02 pm

The Buddha didn't give any reason.

He did give an analogy but the meaning of the analogy isn't obvious.
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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:38 pm

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Dhammakid » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:09 am

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:36 am

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Dhammakid » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:39 am

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:41 am

It's on A2I somewhere. I don't remember where.
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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:46 am

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:51 am

Found it.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch23.html

"Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men is easily plundered by robbers and thieves, in the same way, in whatever doctrine and discipline women get to go forth, the holy life does not last long... Just as a man might make an embankment in advance around a great reservoir to keep the waters from overflowing, in the same way I have set forth in advance the eight rules of respect for bhikkhunīs that they are not to transgress as long as they live." — Cv.X.1
- Peter


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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Pannapetar » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:55 am


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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Dhammakid » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:11 am

TD,
Thanks very much for your explanations and the article you wrote. It really clears up a lot of things for me.

Peter,
Yes, you are right about the analogies. They don't really make the reasoning clear. It's not something I will latch onto, however. It doesn't seem this idea is particularly important for practice anyway.

:anjali: to you both.
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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Sylvester » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:13 am

An anachronism from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, DN 16 -

"42. "There was a time, Ananda, when I dwelt at Uruvela, on the bank of the Nerañjara River, at the foot of the goatherds' banyan-tree, soon after my supreme Enlightenment. And Mara, the Evil One, approached me, saying: 'Now, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away! Let the Happy One utterly pass away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord.'

43. "Then, Ananda, I answered Mara, the Evil One, saying: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by appropriate conduct and, having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.

44. "'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until this holy life taught by me has become successful, prosperous, far-renowned, popular, and widespread, until it is well proclaimed among gods and men.'

45. "And again today, Ananda, at the Capala shrine, Mara, the Evil One, approached me, saying: 'Now, O Lord, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples of the Blessed One — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding in the appropriate conduct, and having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; and when adverse opinions arise, they are now able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma
."

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html

The 1st part highlighted, if tied to the chronology in the Vinaya Mahavagga, First Khandakha, would have taken place sometime during the 2nd week after the Buddha's enlightenment. A bit difficult to see why the Buddha did not plan for the bhikkhuni order (if the "prophecy" were authentic) when this sutta indicates that the establishment of the 4-fold parissa was in the Buddha's mind very early in his career.

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Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:47 am

From what I have heard- they didn't use time spans like we do now- ie- a 1000 years simply meant a long time and 500 means half of that.

I wondered about the timing of the original request for womens ordination- was it around the time of the Buddhas first visit to his home town? If it happened during the early days of the dispensation, it might have been too much of death blow if it was allowed early on, considering the societal view at the time, and how dependant the monks were on general society. However after the sangha grew stronger such blows could be withstood.

We must also consider that there maybe something about the 'female' psyche in a religious setting (not being sexist or steareotyping but generally we must accept that some characterstics are more prevalent in the female mind- helpful and unhelpful in the journey towards nibbana, and similarly in men), that we dont know about, that the buddha did know. Or maybe it was to do with the interaction between monks and nuns and the hindrances that throws up. Maybe he knew of previous religious traditions which were wiped out in this manner. Maybe if this started out as a women's movement there would be similar problems admitting me into ordination. Many maybes..

Looking at the extra 8 vinaya rules IMO these were designed to ofset the balance of power - perhaps to maintain society's perceptions- at the same time allowing women to ordain and practice- certainly they were no hindrance to the practice of attaining nibbana. This may have been the best way forward.
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