Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:50 am

StormBorn wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:36 am
Out of all the references posted here that supports a 500-year expiry date, we have to put aside Buddhaghosa and Milinda’s Questions since they are evidently after the Buddha.
Whenever statements are made, we do not have to put them aside just because they were made after the Buddha. One could say the same about your statement!

The quotations from the Milindapañha are themselves quotations from the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta and the Vinaya text on the ordination of women.

When deciding whether to accept or reject any statement we have to compare it to the Dhamma and Vinaya according the The Four Great References stated in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta.
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AgarikaJ
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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by AgarikaJ » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:27 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:51 am
I think this is probably right. Even in the orthodox Theravada there are so many contradictions within traditions. they cant all be right. In fact, at best, only one tradition is right, and everyone thinks its thier own, and if not thier own tradition, its whatever interpretation they made up by themselves using their super smart brains to interpret the suttas and because they are so smart they are right and everyone else is wrong. Basically, people who take this prediction as accurate would say none of the Buddhist traditions alive today are technically right. Anybody who goes around saying they believe in "True" Buddhism is wrong. because none of them are true buddhism.

It should be noted that Buddhaghosa extended this to 5,000 years in his commentary or something. Although i do not know his reasoning.
There is a nice blog post about this topic, here:
http://thebahiyablog.blogspot.com/2012/ ... dhism.html

In this blog, an interesting point is made:
...
4. The Buddha did really say it, and was right. This strikes me as the most intriguing of the possible explanations---that the true Way, the Saddhamma, really did last only 500 years, and that what we've been calling Buddhism ever since has been some kind of cheap imitation.
The Theravadins might derive some grim satisfaction from the idea that Mahayana arose about 500 years after the time of the Buddha, but still it would seem that virtually all Buddhists would prefer to believe that they themselves are following the "real deal" and not some pale shadow of the truth.
(Incidentally, at least one Mahayana tradition has its own interpretation of the case---that there would be five 500-year periods of Buddhism: the first period being a time of genuine, pure Dharma; the second being a time of lesser purity but still strong practice; the third mainly being strong in Buddhist scholarship; the fourth degenerating into more superficial levels of practice and learning, and the fifth being characterized mainly by debate and dissension. If this is the case then we are at or very near the end of the last period.)

Even if this fourth explanation were true, that real Buddhism no longer exists, it would not necessarily mean that people calling themselves Buddhists could not become liberated at all, as Buddhism does not necessarily have a monopoly on liberation. It would just mean that they were not attaining this in the way that Gotama Buddha advised.

Interestingly, a plausible variation on this theme has been stated by the not particularly Buddhist spiritual teacher Paul Lowe: according to him (and I do not know how he arrived at this idea), for 500 years after the time of the Buddha there was an unbroken lineage of enlightened teachers and disciples; that is, there was always at least one teacher with at least one enlightened disciple, with this lineage continuing all the way back to the Buddha himself. After 500 years the lineage was broken, although since then there have been other enlightened lineages arising and passing away.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

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StormBorn
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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by StormBorn » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:45 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:50 am
Whenever statements are made, we do not have to put them aside just because they were made after the Buddha. One could say the same about your statement!
Of course. This is a free society. Buddha never even forced the Dhamma on the society. :smile:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:50 am
The quotations from the Milindapañha are themselves quotations from the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta and the Vinaya text on the ordination of women.
Can you kindly point to the canonical reference for what your below Milindapanha quote says (especially “they are different in the spirit and in the letter”)?
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:50 am
“O king, the Blessed One did make both state­ments, but they are different in the spirit and in the letter. One deals with the duration of the pure doc­trine (sāsanaparicchedo) whereas the other deals with the practice of the religious life (paṭipatti), two things widely distinct.
Even I can see, with my limited Pali knowledge, the both sutta talking about the same thing (see below) as once the dhammavinaye/brahmacariyaṃ/saddhammo expired, there's nothing to practise even. The way I see is: dragging bhikkhunis into this expiry date idea must have been done by a brahmin or a sexist in robes who had a grudge against his mom or some females! However, he also used the opportunity to totally put a stop on practise among the already lazy monks! :twisted:

(1) AN 8.51“Ānanda, if females had not gained the going forth from the lay life to homelessness in the teaching and training (dhammavinaye) proclaimed by the Realized One, the spiritual life (brahmacariyaṃ) would have lasted long. The true teaching (saddhammo) would have remained for a thousand years. But since they have gained the going forth, now the spiritual life will not last long. The true teaching will remain only five hundred years.

(2) DN 16“Subhadda, in whatever teaching and training the noble eightfold path (dhammavinaye ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo) is not found, there is no true ascetic found, no second ascetic, no third ascetic, and no fourth ascetic. In whatever teaching and training the noble eightfold path is found, there is a true ascetic found, a second ascetic, a third ascetic, and a fourth ascetic. In this teaching and training the noble eightfold path is found. Only here is there a true ascetic, here a second ascetic, here a third ascetic, and here a fourth ascetic. Other sects are empty of ascetics. Were these mendicants to practice well (sammā vihareyyuṃ), the world would not be empty of perfected ones (arahantehi).”

By the way, I found Milindapanha in the Kuddaka Nikaya of the Burmese Canon! :o :rofl:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

cookiemonster
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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by cookiemonster » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:24 pm

salayatananirodha wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:16 am
don't forget about paccekabuddhas
Good point! Even if Gotama's sasana expired after 500 years, then arahatta can still be attained outside of those 500 years by reaching Paccekabuddahood.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by Zom » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:32 pm

It should be noted that Buddhaghosa extended this to 5,000 years in his commentary or something. Although i do not know his reasoning.
He said that the text about "500 years" should be interpreted this way: bhikkhuni sangha leads to 500 years instead of 1000 (as sutta says). But. Buddha declared 8 garudhammas for bhikkhuni and this was an additional effective safeguard measure. Because of that true dhamma will last for 5000 years (as he says). However, as far as I remember, he also says that arahants are possible only during the first 1000 years [out of 5000] and now, 2500 years after Buddha, the highest possible attainment is non-returning. That is a commentary, but it shares the trend of "Dhamma degradation" throught the years declared in the suttas by the Buddha himself. As for me, I agree with bhante - there are no arahants in the world today and when someone says "I'm/he/she is an arahant" I take it not with a grain, but with a truckload of salt -). I think last of them died out by the time of the 2nd buddhist council (~100 y. after Buddha's death).

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by dharmacorps » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:42 pm

This is sort of a snake-eating-its-tail argument.

If you believe the Pali Canon includes the true teachings of the Buddha, and take things literally,because the teachings say in one place that the dhamma will die in 500 years because nuns have been ordained, then you would have to conclude the teachings are dead.

I have always found the "there are no arahants anymore, Buddhism has expired, the dhamma is degenerated" statements a great excuse for not practicing or even trying very hard, personally.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:04 pm

StormBorn wrote:I'm confused about how the ordaining of bhikkhunis caused a 500 year expiry date on the dispensation?
A common misconception as explained from another thread here

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by DNS » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:53 pm

The Dhamma has not died out. There is no set date according to the Suttas (the 500 years statement is negated with the additional rules to allow it to continue and last much longer) and it remains and in fact, with printing, books and electronic media it has never before been more secure, more easily available and more widely read.

Even if we use the Commentary account of about 5,000 years for Gotama-Buddha's dispensation, that would be:
563 BCE - 35 years to enlightenment = 528 BCE + 5,000 years = the year 4472

So it is fine, at least for another 2,454 years.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:22 pm

DNS wrote:So it is fine, at least for another 2,454 years.
That'd be a very optimistic number according to one of the smartest guys one earth, Stephen Hawking. The Hawk said that we humans only get less than 600 yrs to go before checkmate unless we find a way to mass migrate to a different earth by then. So that's ominously close to the 500 yr mark except the big difference is that if it eventually does happen, we can't blame the Bhikkhunis Sangha for this. Instead it'd be mostly the fault of the rich old white dudes controlling those gigantic fossil fuel corporations.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by DNS » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:35 pm

santa100 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:22 pm
So that's ominously close to the 500 yr mark except the big difference is that if it eventually does happen, we can't blame the Bhikkhunis Sangha for this.
The 500 year mark, if true, would have expired right around 28 BCE, which of course it did not. (500 years from the start of the dispensation of Gotama-Buddha.)
That'd be a very optimistic number according to one of the smartest guys one earth, Stephen Hawking. The Hawk said that we humans only get less than 600 yrs to go before checkmate unless we find a way to mass migrate to a different earth by then. Instead it'd be mostly the fault of the rich old white dudes controlling those gigantic fossil fuel corporations.
That's possible, but something Hawking or even Malthus did not take into account, was the changing culture where now those in developed nations are having fewer and fewer children. As under-developed nations become more developed, their birth rates might drop too.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:55 pm

DNS wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:35 pm
That's possible, but something Hawking or even Malthus did not take into account, was the changing culture where now those in developed nations are having fewer and fewer children. As under-developed nations become more developed, their birth rates might drop too.
Let's hope that you're right. But as of now, there's a 27% chance for that until 2100, and a toss-up afterward. And this is only 1 variable, the population variable. There's still that climate variable which humans must do what they can before the point of no return.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by SarathW » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:46 pm

santa100 wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:22 pm
DNS wrote:So it is fine, at least for another 2,454 years.
That'd be a very optimistic number according to one of the smartest guys one earth, Stephen Hawking. The Hawk said that we humans only get less than 600 yrs to go before checkmate unless we find a way to mass migrate to a different earth by then. So that's ominously close to the 500 yr mark except the big difference is that if it eventually does happen, we can't blame the Bhikkhunis Sangha for this. Instead it'd be mostly the fault of the rich old white dudes controlling those gigantic fossil fuel corporations.
To be honest with you I do not think that Stephen Hawking is the smartest guy on earth.
This is another end of the world prediction.
By the way, this will be true one day.
We should be worried about only next hundred years if you are born today.
If you are 65 years old better be quick.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

santa100
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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:02 pm

SarathW wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:46 pm
To be honest with you I do not think that Stephen Hawking is the smartest guy on earth.
He might not for there's another obvious candidate for the "smartest guy on earth" title whose famous equation starts with the same letter as his last name. But there's no dispute that those 2 guys are in a league of the their own. They are the arahants of scientific achievements!

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by TRobinson465 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:03 am

The Buddha's insight surpasses Hawking. the earth cant be destroyed because Maitreya has to be born on this earth still. and Maitreya cant be born until Buddhism ceases completely. So we have more than 600 years no worries.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Buddhism Expired, says Gnanananda

Post by salayatananirodha » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:11 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:42 pm
This is sort of a snake-eating-its-tail argument.

If you believe the Pali Canon includes the true teachings of the Buddha, and take things literally,because the teachings say in one place that the dhamma will die in 500 years because nuns have been ordained, then you would have to conclude the teachings are dead.

I have always found the "there are no arahants anymore, Buddhism has expired, the dhamma is degenerated" statements a great excuse for not practicing or even trying very hard, personally.
:goodpost:
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


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