It is said that gods of pure abodes impart knowledge to humans about arrival of buddha. They in the guise of Brahmanas teach humans necessary things. But then again somewhere it is said that pure abodes can be empty for a very long time as non-returners are born there only because of teachings of buddha. If there are many aeons which pass without the arrival of great teacher then noone takes birth in pure abodes hence they are said to be able to remain empty.
Is it not contradictory?
If gods of pure abodes impart knowledge to humans about arrival of (every)lord buddha, then it must be the case that these pure abodes are never empty!?
Also can anyone plz tell me sutta name where it is said that pure abodes can be empty for a long time? Or is it mentioned in commentaries? Thank you!
Now I will mention what I think the case might be.
Maybe the concept of pure abodes sometimes being empty because of not arising of buddha for a very long time…is from commentaries only…and it does not have any mention in any sutras. (I don’t know what is the real case here)
So I think they are never empty, otherwise who would tell humanity about arrival of lord!?
I wonder what others have to say about this? @NgXinZhao@mudita
Is there any mention of it in sutras?
You are welcome. Some people believe it is very difficult, almost impossible task to get there, nowadays, unlike Buddha’s time , yet another group of people believe the contrary, it is not difficult even today, I am with the latter group. If you trust you can, it is always possible. A leap of faith!
I haven’t read fully Buddhavamsa or Great Chronicles of Buddha. I am not sure if Buddhavamsa has an English translation available online or anywhere.
From the Great Chronicles of Buddha, I can find the past 20+ Buddhas according to when they appeared.
Let’s look at the common 31 realms of existence chart to see the lifespan of pure abode Brahmas. 16000 Mahakappa is the highest of the 5 pure abodes, so say if a non-returner becomes super lack, and go from the lowest of the 5 pure abodes to reborn upwards, can spend 31000 Mahakappa there. I am not sure if they can again choose to not become arahant yet and reborn again in pure abode, or maybe they choose to be reborn as formless some existence, and so on to extend their total time left in samsara. So we have some ballpark figure of how long they are there.
Let’s look at the past Buddhas now. Just need to take note of the time between 2 successive Buddhas, see if they can be longer than the ballpark lifespan of the pure abode non-returners.
Dipankara Buddha: 4 asankhyeyya and 100,000 aeons ago - 1 antara-kappa.
Kondanna Buddha: asankhyeyya aeons later. (Already should be exceeding the lifespan of a lot of pure abode beings. If we take asankhyeyya as 10^140.)
Mangala Buddha: incalculable aeons later.
Same kappa as Mangala Buddha, Sumana, Revata, Sobhita. (I am assuming that aeons=Mahakappa= same universe cycle in this usage, so it’s definitely less than pure abode beings lifespan.)
Anomadassi Buddha: after incalculable aeons of sunna kappas (kappas empty of Buddhas). In this aeon, there’s another 2 Buddhas: Paduma, Narada.
Padumuttara Buddha: another incalculable aeons (one asankhyeyya) has passed, now 100,000 aeons before present aeon. (Maths check out, if we take incalculable to be one asankhyeyya all the time, there’s 4 of them already.)
Sumedha Buddha and Sujata Buddha: 70,000 empty kappas later, now 3,000 aeons before the present one. (Maths error, I think the book has some maths error, maybe the 3,000 should be 30,000 or the 70,000 should be 97,000.)
3 Buddhas: Piyadassi, Atthadassi, Dhammadassi: 1,800 aeons later. (From now on, all the Buddhas appearances can be within the lifespan of the higher levels pure abodes non-returner)
Siddhattha Buddha: 1,706 aeons later, 94 aeons ago. (maths total error). (One way to make this nice is to take this as guide, roll back to number 7, so number 7 should be 3,600 aeons before now, 96.400 aeons passed between no. 6 and 7.)
Tissa and Phussa Buddha: 2 aeons later, 92 aeons ago.
Vipassi Buddha: 91 aeons ago.
Sikhi and Vessabhu Buddha: 60 aeons later, 31 aeons ago.
Conclusion: I don’t trust the maths accuracy of the ancient Indians. Maybe it’s wasted effort trying to be precise using figures recorded by people who are not into maths consistency. Or maybe it’s the Great Chronicles of the Buddha’s authors, editors etc, fault for not doing maths check. (PS. I got my own maths error, corrected now. Phew)
Anyway, it’s a bit funny why the density of Buddha frequency appearing becomes more frequent as it nears the present moment. I doubt if there’s no more Buddhas in between those incalculable aeons… Hard to say.
Thank you for replying sir. It is said When world cycles end, pure abodes are not destroyed. So this must have something to do with this…maybe these pure land pure beings(who are referred as insentient beings contrary to sentient beings) can choose to do whatever the hell they think necessary for dhamma. They have that kind of liberation to do that…as off course they are liberated beings(non-returner) already.
Also I think this pure abodes/lands are out of the world of impermanence if not all beings born there! So beings there, are free to choose about what should be done for dhamma.
I have one analogy, as we live on earth. Earth is there because we are on it, if every single living being perishes from here…there cannot be earth but this doesn’t mean that humans are wiped out from existence! Apparently if this earth is destroyed, beings will take birth and populise another planet earth and even this destruction is absent in pure abodes and they are forever existent. So based on this I think, pure Abodes being empty is self contradictory statement. I also think the places these pure land people talk about also belong to pure abodes only.
As on this earth, Lord buddha was there, arhats were there, arhats still are there, anagami, sakrutagami, sotapannas, Bodhisattvas are there…along with them…most evil kind of beings are also there! So in pure abodes I think, excluding all the evil beings, all the only pure beings are there, including non-returners, and presumably Bodhisattvas (maybe). So we can say that maybe, they never are empty!
And buddhantara can be so long that incalculable of aeons paas but still humanity is there so maybe here in the absense of teachings of Buddha, Bodhisattvas come into action. And I also think one thing…buddha as the highest and supremely compassionate, all-seeing in whole universe must have already taken care of this problem of ‘buddhas not arising for immense time period’. we just don’t know what is that solution. And pure abodes never being empty, seems such solution!
You got mostly speculations there. I dunno why you’re so attached to wanting a solution. The solution is basically, Buddha inspire more people to become Buddhas, that is the Mahayana effort. For us, it’s not to waste this chance of being able to meet the dhamma.
Pure abode empty or not has nothing to do with us right? So what if they are empty or not? Do you hear of practitioners depending on the non-returners there as teachers? What does it being not empty solves? Are you projecting an invisible race of personal god protectors in the heavens? Does it fulfil some attachment/ clinging need of yours?
Also, I think it’s implied that humans realms and many other sensual realms go empty when one cycle ends. So it’s not true that humans are never wiped out of existence.
Also solution talk is like taking the Buddha as God. Note that tendency. “God always have a plan” etc.