Fortunate Aeon

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Fortunate Aeon or Kalpa (Skt. bhadrakalpa; Wyl. bskal bzang) — our current era according to Buddhist cosmogony.

Why is this aeon said to be a Fortunate Aeon? The White Lotus of Great Compassion Sutra relates that at the time the world was destroyed by water, one thousand golden lotuses rose in the ocean. Examining this, the gods knew it to be a portent foretelling the appearance of one thousand buddhas. “How amazing! This aeon is a fortunate one!” the gods said; thus, this aeon became known as ‘fortunate’. The Spread of the Honoured One’s Wisdom Discourse gives the name ‘The Aeon of the Sight of a Thousand Lotus Flowers’ to Fortunate Aeon.

The appearance of one thousand buddhas takes place during the waning period of the world’s abiding, when the human life span decreases from eighty thousand years to one hundred years. Prior to this period, no buddhas appear because there is little disillusionment with the wheel of life, and thus beings do not strive at the teachings. Buddhas likewise do not appear when the human life span declines to less than one hundred years, because that period sees an increase of the five degenerations of life span, sentient beings, destructive emotions, view, and time. Buddhas do not appear while life span increases, because during that time, beings naturally abandon negative actions and, since wealth increases, no disillusionment with cyclic existence occurs.[1]

References

  1. Butön’s History of Buddhism in India & Its Spread to Tibet.

Internal Links

Further Reading

  • Butön, History of Buddhism in India & Its Spread to Tibet translated by Lisa Stein & Ngawang Zangpo, Tsadra Foundation series, published by Snow Lion, 2013. ISBN 978-1-55939-413-0