TIME ITSELF

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dhammastudier
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TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:44 am

Kalpa (aeon)
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Kalpa is a Sanskrit word (काल्प kālpa) meaning an aeon, or a long period of time in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The concept is first mentioned in the Mahabharata. The definition of a kalpa equalling 4.32 billion years is found in the Puranas (specifically Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana).
Contents
[hide]

* 1 Buddhism
* 2 Hinduism
o 2.1 Names of the Kalpas
* 3 References
* 4 External links

[edit] Buddhism

According to Visuddhimagga, there are several explanations for types of kalpas and their duration. In the first explanation, there are four types:

1. Ayu-Kalpa - a variable time span representing the life expectancy of a typical human being in a particular era or yuga. This can be as high as one Asankya or as small as 10 years. This number is directly proportional to the level of virtue of people in that era. Currently this value hovers around 100 years and is continually decreasing.
2. Antah-Kalpa - time taken for one Ayu-Kalpa to grow from 10 years up to one Asankya and back to 10 years. Ending of one Antah-Kalpa (or mass-extinction) can happen in three ways where majority of the human population gets extinct:
1. Sashthrantha-Kalpa - Mass extinction by wars.
2. Durbhikshantha-Kalpa - Mass-extinction by hunger.
3. Rogantha-Kalpa - Mass-extinction by plague.
3. Asankya-Kalpa - time span of 20 Antah-Kalpas. One is equivalent to a quarter of Maha-Kalpa.
4. Maha-Kalpa - largest time unit in Buddhism. Ending of a Maha-Kalpa (apocalypse) can happen in three ways: fire, water and wind. It is divided into four quarters each equivalent to one Asankya-Kalpa.
1. First quarter - time taken for this world to form.
2. Second quarter - stable duration of this world where all living beings can thrive.
3. Third quarter - time taken for this world to be destroyed.
4. Fourth quarter - empty time period.

In another simple explanation, there are four different lengths of kalpas. A regular kalpa is approximately 16 million years long (16,798,000 years[1]), and a small kalpa is 1000 regular kalpas, or 16 billion years. Further, a medium kalpa is 320 billion years, the equivalent of 20 small kalpas. A great kalpa is 4 medium kalpas, or 1.28 trillion years.

Buddha had not spoken about the exact length of the Maha-kalpa in number of years. However, he had given several astounding analogies to understand it.

1. Imagine a huge empty cube at the beginning of a kalpa, approximately 16 miles in each side. Once every 100 years, you insert a tiny mustard seed into the cube. According to the Buddha, the huge cube will be filled even before the kalpa ends.

2. Imagine a gigantic rocky mountain at the beginning of kalpa, approximately 16 x 16 x 16 miles (dwarfing Mt. Everest). You take a small piece of silk and wipe the mountain once every 100 years. According to the Buddha, the mountain will be completely depleted even before the kalpa ends.

In one situation, some monks wanted to know how many kalpas had died so far. The Buddha gave the analogy:

1. If you count the total number of sand particles at the depths of the Ganges river, from where it begins to where it ends at the sea, even that number will be less than the number of passed kalpas.[2]
[edit] Hinduism

In Hinduism (cf. Hindu Time Cycles), it is equal to 4.32 billion years, a "day of Brahma" or one thousand mahayugas,[3] measuring the duration of the world (scientists estimate the age of the Earth at 4.54 billion years). Each kalpa is divided into 14 manvantara (each lasting 306,720,000 years). Two kalpas constitute a day and night of Brahma. A "month of Brahma" is supposed to contain thirty such days (including nights), or 259.2 billion years. According to the Mahabharata, 12 months of Brahma (=360 days) constitute his year, and 100 such years the life cycle of the universe. Fifty years of Brahma are supposed to have elapsed, and we are now in the shvetavaraha-kalpa of the fifty-first; at the end of a Kalpa the world is annihilated.
[edit] Names of the Kalpas

The names of 30 Kalpas are found in the Matsya Purana (290.3-12). These are:[4]

1. Śveta
2. Nīlalohita
3. Vāmadeva
4. Rathantara
5. Raurava
6. Deva
7. Vṛhat
8. Kandarpa
9. Sadya
10. Iśāna
11. Tamah
12. Sārasvata
13. Udāna
14. Gāruda
15. Kaurma
16. Nārasiṁha
17. Samāna
18. Āgneya
19. Soma
20. Mānava
21. Tatpumān
22. Vaikuṇṭha
23. Lakṣmī
24. Sāvitrī
25. Aghora
26. Varāha
27. Vairaja
28. Gaurī
29. Māheśvara and
30. Pitṛ

The Vayu Purana in chapter 21 gives a different list of 28 kalpas. It also lists 5 more kalpas in the next chapter.

-

seriously cool stuff! it's really interesting how much of this coincides with modern theories on the universe that developed independently! the expanding/contracting universe idea originally presented by hinduism and buddhism is generally agreed upon today. as well as the multi-universe idea. also a kalpa is 4.32 billion years and the age of the earth is 4.54. interesting coincidence and especially profound that these numbers were even conceived during a period of human history when the majority of the world was flunking kindergarten math. these things are some of the reasons i believe in enlightenment! 2500 years ago, when no one knew anything (because they didn't have orbiting telescopes to study the universe and come up with theories), the buddha was saying this stuff and four thousand years ago the rishis said the same things. it seems the only explanation on how someone could come up with such things without any scientific advancement whatsoever (compared to today) is that they tapped into the subconscious which contains all knowledge ie. enlightenment! not to mention all the other things the buddha taught which are today agreed upon by scientists and doctors such as dependent origination, general psychological workings, etc. most of the rest of the worlds religions are very unclear on time and don't even seem to acknowledge the existence of the universe at all and blame happy mind states on god(s) and bad ones on evil spirits. so many religions think the earth is only a few thousand years old, we are the center of the universe (or the universe doesn't exist, it's just us) and the end of the world will be a performance by god(s) whereas the buddha taught world would eventually be destroyed by fire, wind, or water which is what scientists say today: the earth will be destroyed by solar wind (wind), flooding from the ice caps (water), or super volcanoes (fire). not put on by some god(s) but by natural forces. then the buddha said after the world is destroyed, over time, the universe will contract, then expand again and we will start over. modern science agrees here as well.

for a lot more on buddhist cosmology check this out:

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Agent » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:38 pm

Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

PeterB
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:00 pm

Its baggage,its packing. It comes from Buddhadhamma's mother. Its neither necessary to moderns nor does it add anything to our understanding of Buddhadhamma. I.M.O. of course.
Its ok if you like to see things in terms of poetic metaphor. But not to be taken seriously. Or at least , literally.

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Agent » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:54 pm

Agreed. I had big hang ups on these things when I first started studying Buddhism but now my attitude is that I simply don't get it nor see the use of it and that's fine. I'll move on to something that I do find useful and applicable (of which there's plenty). Who knows, maybe there is something profound in these teachings that I'm just not getting and some day it will make more sense.

I do have to admit I'm curious if there is a figurative interpretation of these teachings that isn't too far fetched. But, as you say, it may just be a cultural artifact of the times.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

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acinteyyo
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:21 pm

time itself is relatively irrelevant, isn't it? :roll:
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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dhammastudier
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:50 pm

ok, thanx to the naysayers, good job guys :tongue: . really fun to talk about how, if you take what was said by someone 2500 years ago literally, word for word, and stand it next to what we have come up with today it doesn't fit like a freaking puzzle. i wasn't trying to say that the buddha literally said exactly what modern science says. only that the things he said are very similar and a heck of a lot closer to what we think/theorize today than a lot of other religions. also i'm pretty sure the buddha is talking about hundreds of thousands of alternate universes and if some of the stories he told sound like an image of earth i don't think it's to unlikely that there would be such planets in a few of the universes in such a huge multi-verse or that he was telling stories about other planets that were told to him without detail of landscape, buildings, etc. and was just associating them with his world for his followers to understand.

i do appreciate the enthusiasm though :thumbsup: . you sound very knowledgeable but to be fair i already know the things you're trying to school me on. i'm not some moron who gets all his info on science from ancient scriptures. the main thing to recognize here is that you are criticizing someone on a buddhist web-site for saying something the buddha said was somewhat accurate. if i was on here saying creationism is fact then by all means let me have it :tongue:

but i'm starting to realize there's no point in debating things like this because if you want to enjoy a tradition and talk about the good things in it that are fun and applicable to our reality it's almost impossible to share this notion with people who want to defame things and pick them apart until it sounds like non-sense :shrug: . you can do this with anything in history. even most famous cartographers, astrologists, and scientists in the past have maaaaaaaaany errors when stood up against todays knowledge as will our present thinkers when compared with future thinkers. if you take the stuff said by aristotle that's still true today he sounds amazing but if you really look close, muuuuuuch of his ideas are wrong. it would be easy to just state that he was a guy who was wrong about a lot. it all depends on how you want to look at it.

guy a can say: aren't the similarities cool? and guy b can always say "there's more differences than similarities." personally i think there's more to talk about if you look at the similarities as, for example, if you just said aristotle was wrong about a lot and left it at that, it would be a pretty boring conversation :zzz: .

if you just pick out the errors, yeah, everyone sounds like they are fools.

although i will say it's very nice to hear people so knowledgeable on the subject! thanx for the posts! :clap:

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dhammastudier
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:23 am

basically all i'm saying here is: "look at this thing i came across on wikipedia. isn't it neat? the parts of it that are similar to today's science and space theory are cool." i'm NOT saying "hey all of this is one hundred percent fact! please argue with me and my deranged views on space and time."

namely: multi-universe theory, contracting/expanding universe, and age of the earth. all talked about back then, all ignored or hilariously different in other religions. also all theorized about today.

if you think the other stuff is wrong it's kind of pointless to tell me because i never said it was true. as always, look at the original post. i didn't say that the "brahma years" are true or that the all the 29 buddhas living in different realms for x amount of years is plausible or that the universe is born from brahmas mouth or that the world will be annihilated after a kalpa and we will come back but there will be no evidence of it. actually i didn't say anything was "true" or "fact" just that there are some interesting similarities. so to anyone who wants to talk to me like i'm some moron who believes everything he reads i have this for you :tongue: .

really i just get frustrated when i feel like i'm being argued with on a topic that was just food for thought and not some great debate.

i do love talking to you all though! :heart: :heart: :heart:

:namaste:

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Guy » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:56 am

I am inclined to think that, besides the possible life elsewhere within this universe (and some theorize that there are millions of planets within our galaxy alone which would be capable of supporting life similar to that on Earth), it doesn't sound so far fetched (to me) that maybe there are other universes, maybe an infinitude of multiverses. Perhaps there are a finite (but very very big) number of sentient beings within this universe, but when we try to count the beings in all of the multiverses it becomes countless/infinite. If so, then literally anything is possible. All just speculation, of course, which has never led anyone to enlightenment. :toilet:
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Agent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:15 am

No, you're right, Zac. There is some really interesting stuff and compared with a lot of other religious explanations of the universe, Buddhism did a damn good job on many points. And some of Buddhism's answers are more satisfying, to me, than some scientific explanations. For example the big bang theory does nothing for me. I see it as no more satisfying than "God made it" since it just makes me think, yeah but what caused that? (Although obviously science isn't saying that the big bang is the be all end all of how the universe started, but you know what I mean). In that regard I really like that Buddhism admits and even celebrates that there is no discernible first cause. To me that is a very honest answer. Most religions could never admit that much simply because the idea of God gets in the way.
And I don't mean to criticize in a negative way. It's just that I became interested in Buddhism because of an interest in science. When something doesn't make sense to me I find it helpful to question it. I like to question Buddhism and think it should be questioned. It allows someone to step in and explain it in a way that I may then understand it better. By criticizing something my hope is that someone will criticize my criticism and I'll learn something new. I know what you mean, though, that there's a tendency to start tearing things apart too quickly. I know I need to watch myself a bit better on that.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Agent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:24 am

I think it's also important to keep in mind that we are just discussing ideas here. Nothing said should be taken personally unless it is actually framed as a direct personal attack. Gotta watch that "I" and "my" making and not attach too much to our ideas or statements as an extension of ourselves.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:42 am

some of this stuff might not be as odd as it seems, i used to wonder how it is that life spans will be 10 years, but then i was watching this documentary on ancient Athens and the average life span was 15 so not too far off. i guess some of this just depends on how precise you want these figures to be. i'm sure some of it is just a matter of (mis)understanding how to interpret the data Buddha provides.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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dhammastudier
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:04 am


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dhammastudier
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:05 am


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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:06 am


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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Agent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:00 pm

Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby poto » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:38 pm


PeterB
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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:40 pm

A very common literary device in Indo- Aryan writings..as in "suppose a man had 10 sons or 100 sons or 1000 sons " etc..

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby Agent » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:26 pm

Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:38 pm


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Re: TIME ITSELF

Postby dhammastudier » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:05 pm

one thing i've found very interesting is toying with the idea that our estimations of the age of the earth are waaaaaaay off and that the earth has been around for trillions of years and that every few billion years lava covers most of the earth killing all but a few thousand people. these people would be forced to live like cave men and reading and writing could very well be lost and therefore there would be no record of the past technological advances. the lava would cover all but the highest places on the earth and so it would melt all evidence of past civilization. then there would be a bunch of cave men and few animals and the earth would struggle back to it's former glory and when people started recording things again they would think this was the first time. or if that doesn't work for you because there could still be evidence left in the high places then maybe the lava devours EVERYTHING and the earth is essentially rebooted.

i mean really saying how old the earth is is based on carbon dating which could easily be flawed so technically this is feasible. most of our theories on space and the earth are based on facts that are more "no one has a better idea" than on concrete fact. pangea for example was an "idea" when i was growing up and in today's textbooks it's a "fact" if someone comes up with evidence against it or a better theory then that will be "fact" until it's proven wrong (that is if it is wrong). whereas the two gases that make water when added together are never going to be proven wrong because it can be demonstrated in a lab as opposed to explained by using a bunch of theories about the earths history that themselves are based on even more theories! things like miles per hour to time it takes to get somewhere or how much heat it takes to make a hot air balloon rise are easily demonstrated and not going to change but the methods we use to prove what distant things in space are made out of or their age could easily go out of style with new technological advances allowing us more accurate study results.


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