The end of the world... (as we know it?)

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The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby adamposey » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:34 am

I realize that this doesn't seem to be included in the Suttas, but I'd love to hear some theories on this one. Buddhism in almost all forms that I've read about, acknowledges that all things will eventually pass, right? So.. what happens when this world goes the way of all things?

Let's say that a giant asteroid were to collide with Earth tomorrow, functionally bringing all life on earth to an end. Is rebirth after this possible? Would we all be foisted into one of the upper realms? Different place entirely?

I'm not expecting a real hard answer because this is all theory. I'm just curious and itching for a discussion. We talk about having thousands of rebirths, but wouldn't some world-ending calamity stop all that?
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:35 am

Greetings Adam,

Define "world".

:stirthepot:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby adamposey » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:36 am

The Earth and all life on it. :)
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:35 am

Hi Adam,

There are passages in the Suttas that seem to be about the creation and destruction of the universe.
E.g. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
17. (8) "Again, the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: 'There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared here.' Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. That too is a Tathagata's power...

More details in Digha Nikaya 27 Aggañña Sutta, which I can't see on line.

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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:29 am

mikenz66 wrote:More details in Digha Nikaya 27 Aggañña Sutta, which I can't see on line.


Also the Brahmajala Sutta:

"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or
four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles
of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . . Now there comes a time, when sooner or later,
after the lapse of a long, long period of contraction, this world-system passes away. And when
this happens beings have mostly been re-born in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell
made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, dwelling in
glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. Now there comes also a time,
friends, when sooner or later, this universe begins to re-evolve by expansion
."
(Brahmajala Sutta, Digha Nikaya)

The earth will perish one day, it is conditioned and impermanent. According to the teachings, all beings below #17 deva realm who are not non-returners or arahants, will be reborn in another world system according to their kamma. Those above, will continue in those deva realms until they exhaust their kamma and then continue in samsara unless they attain to the state of non-returner or arahant.

See also: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el414.html
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:46 am

Hi Adam
Please don't take this the wrong way, but, would it not be more fruitful to concentrate on those things that are conducive to liberation?
Life is very short.
metta

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby adamposey » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:50 am

Perhaps it would be. I'm just entertaining a question with this thread. I'm actually surprised at which the answer was already available in the Suttas.
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:53 am

No problem
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:15 am

I realize that this doesn't seem to be included in the Suttas


Yes it is included in the suttas. See A. VII. 62. Suriya.
Here is an alternate version (Lamotte, Mahāprajñāpāramitā Upadeśa, vol. IV):

[Saptasūryodayasūtra].484 – See the Ts’i-je-yu king (Saptasūryopamāsūtra) preached by the Buddha:

The Buddha said to the bhikṣus: All conditioned dharmas are impermanent, changing, and end up in destruction. When the kalpa reaches its end after a long period of aridity, the medicinal herbs and trees completely dry up. – With the appearance of the second sun, the water of the streams dries up. – With the appearance of the third sun, the water of the big rivers is completely exhausted. – With the appearance of the fourth sun, the four great rivers of Jambudvīpa and lake Anavatapta become empty. – With the appearance of the fifth sun, the great ocean dries up. – With the appearance of the sixth sun, the great earth, Mount Sumeru, etc., begin to smoke like a potter’s furnace. – With the appearance of the seventh sun, everything bursts into flames and there is no more smoke: the earth, Mount Sumeru and everything up to the palace of the Brahmā gods is burned up by the fire.

Then, seeing this fire, the gods who have recently been born into the Abhāsvara heaven, become frightened and say: “After they have burned the pace of the Brahmās, these flames will reach here.” But the gods who were born [in the Ābhāsrava heaven] a long time ago reassure the gods born subsequent to them and say: “Previously already, after having burned the palace of the Brahmās, this fire disappeared and has not yet come this far.”485

When the trisāhasramahāsāhasralokadhātu has been burned up by the fire, there remain no ashes or charcoal.

The Buddha said to the bhikṣus: Who could belive such an enormous thing? Only a man who has seen it with his own eyes could believe that. O bhikṣus, in the past, there was a heretic teacher named Siu-nie-to-lo (Sunetra) who had renounced desire and practiced the four four abodes of Brahma (brahmavihāra).486 His innumerable disciples also had renounced desire. Sunetra thought: “It is not fitting that I should be reborn in the same place as my disciples. Today I must therefore develop a mind of loving-kindness deeper [than theirs].”487 Having meditated profoundly on loving-kindness, this man took rebirth in the heaven of the Ābhāsvaras.

The Buddha added: Sunetra was myself.488 At that time, I saw this great event [i.e., the burning of the palace of the Brahmās] with my own eyes. This is why we must know that even solid and real things all end up in destruction.


-------------

484 Saptasūryodayasūtra: Anguttara, IV, p. 100-106; Madhyama, T 26 (no. 28), k. 2, p. 428c-429c; Ekottara, T 125,.
K. 34, p. 735b-738a; Saptasūryodaya, T 30, p. 811c-812c. – For the jātaka of Sunetra that forms the second part of
the sūtra, see also the Dhammikasutta of Anguttara, III, p. 371-372 (cf. Magyama, T 26, k. 30, p. 619b-c), the
Sunettasutta of Anguttara, IV, p. 135-136, and the references given above, p. 520F, note.
The sūtra of the seven suns is aften cited by the authors of sūtras and śāstras: Dīgha, T 1, k. 21, p. 137c-
138b; Ta-leou-t’an king, T 23, k. 5, p. 302c-303b; K’I che king, T 24, k. 9, p. 355; Pitṛputrasamāgama cited in
Śikṣasamuccaya, p. 247, 5-18; Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 75, p. 386b5; k. 82, p. 424c-425a (passage translated above, p.
520F); k. 133, p. 690a14-24; Kośabhāṣya, p. 116, 17-22; Kośavyākhyā, p. 710; Nyāyanusāra, T 1562, k. 32, p.
526c12; Kārikāvibhāṣā, T 1563, k. 17, p. 859a1-2; Yogācārabhūmi, T 1579, k. 34, p. 471a7.

485 Cf. Kośabhāṣya, p. 116, 17-22: Tatra ye sattvā ābhāvare devanikāye ‘ciropapannā bhavanti naiva
saṃvartanīkuśala na vivartanīkuśalā asya lokasya te tām arciṣaṃ dṛṣṭvā bhītāḥ santa udvijante saṃvegam
āpadyante / sahaivaiṣārciḥ śūnyaṃ bhāhmaṃ vimānaṃ dagdgvārvag āgamiṣyatīti / tatra ye sattvā ābhāvare
debanikāye ciropapannāḥ saṃvartanīkuśalā vivartanīkuśalāś cāsya lokasya te tān sattvān bhītān āśvāsayanti /
mābhaiṣṭa marṣāḥ mā bhaiṣṭa mārṣāḥ / pūrvam apy eṣā ‘rciḥ śūnyaṃ brāhmaṃ vimānaṃ dagdhvātraivāntahiteti.

486 Cf. Anguttara, IV, p. 103: Bhūtapubbaṃ bhikkhave Sunetto nāma satthā ahosi titthakaro kāmesu vītarāgo.

487 Ibid., p. 104: Atha kho bhokkhave Sunettassa satthuno etad ahosi: na kho pan’ etaṃ paṭrirūpaṃ yo ‘haṃ
sāvakānaṃ samasamgatiyo assaṃ abhisamparāyaṃ, yan nūnāhāṃ uttariṃ mettaṃ bhāveyyan ti.

488 The Saptasūryasūtra of Anguttara, IV, p. 105, does not identify Sunetra with the Bhagavat; on the other hand,
the Kośa (l.c.) agrees with the Traité in making the comparison.
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:20 am

Ben wrote:Hi Adam
Please don't take this the wrong way, but, would it not be more fruitful to concentrate on those things that are conducive to liberation?
Life is very short.
metta

Ben


It is a contemplation on anicca.
Even more so for those disposed towards eternalist views, especially theists who may be considering eternity (sic) in heaven.
Such a contemplation, which reflects the ultimate futility of any and all worldly ends, may just be the spur to abandon them all.
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby Individual » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:46 am

adamposey wrote:I realize that this doesn't seem to be included in the Suttas, but I'd love to hear some theories on this one. Buddhism in almost all forms that I've read about, acknowledges that all things will eventually pass, right? So.. what happens when this world goes the way of all things?

Let's say that a giant asteroid were to collide with Earth tomorrow, functionally bringing all life on earth to an end. Is rebirth after this possible? Would we all be foisted into one of the upper realms? Different place entirely?

I'm not expecting a real hard answer because this is all theory. I'm just curious and itching for a discussion. We talk about having thousands of rebirths, but wouldn't some world-ending calamity stop all that?

I think pondering this sort of thing will just make you crazy.

It seems likely to me that humanity won't survive the 21st century, for whatever reason. And the universe someday, too, will collapse. Rebirth is still possible because with life on Earth gone, there is the still the possibility of life on a planet elsewhere. And with the universe gone, there is still the possibility for a universe elsewhere to emerge. Or not. Who knows. We'll have to wait and see.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby pink_trike » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:13 am

But it isn't just a contemplation of anicca - it is a real series of events that takes place in this phenomenal realm. Variations of this series of events are found preserved in several other premodern traditions and are regarded as matter of fact. The universe is dynamic with cyclical inundation and conflagration.

---

The Aztec myth of the five ages of the world describes four abortive attempts to create a viable world order. each of the four early suns finally weakened and fell from its station in the heavens, the disaster in each case being accompanied by a cosmic holocaust.

---

Hopi myths state: as on the First World, Sotuknang called on the Ant people to open up their underground world for the chosen people. When they were safely underground, Sotuknang commanded the twins, Palonga-whoya and Poganghoya, to leave their posts at the north and south ends of the world’s axis where they were stationed to keep the earth properly rotating. The twins had hardly abandoned their stations when the world with no one to control it, teetered off balance, spun around crazily, then rolled over twice. Mountains plunged into seas with a great splash, seas and lakes splashed over the land; and as the world spun through cold and fireless space, it froze into solid ice.

---

Central American records tells us that the third era of the world, or “third sun,” is called Quia Tonatiuh, or sun of rain, “because in this age there fell a rain of fire, all which existed burned, and there fell a rain of gravel;” the rocks “boiled with tumult, and there also arose the rocks of vermilion color.” In other words, the traditions of these people go back to a great cataclysm of fire, when the earth possibly encountered, as in the Egyptian story, one of “the heavenly bodies moving round the earth and in the heavens;”

---

Souix records; After the destruction of the fourth sun, the world plunged in darkness during the space of twenty-five years. Amid this profound obscurity, ten years before the appearance of the fifth sun, mankind was regenerated.

The idea of world ages, held by some tribes, is comparable in many ways to the world age concepts held in India. The flood stories, even the most remote, gave rise to the belief that the world is periodically destroyed by flood, fire, or other natural catastrophes, and this idea was held by a number of tribes with stories of some antiquity. Some substance was
given to the belief in periodic destruction by particular stories, and in this sense the people could be said to have had a conception of history. For example, the Sioux explanation was framed in familiar terminology. They held that the world was protected by a huge buffalo that stood at the western gate of the universe and held back the waters that periodically
flooded the world. Every year the buffalo lost a hair on one of its legs. Every age it lost a leg. When the buffalo had lost all its legs and was no longer able to hold back the waters, the world was flooded and renewed.

---

The aboriginals of Sarawak and Sabah (Bornea) recall that “six Suns perished” and that “at present the world is illuminated by the seventh Sun.”

---

World eras come and go....
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: The end of the world... (as we know it?)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:17 am

:goodpost:
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