What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Modus.Ponens
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What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:36 pm

Hi.

What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"? Is it about the decline of dharma? About lack of belief? About decline in morality?

:anjali:
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:50 pm

The body of this sutta consists of a narrative illustrating the power of skillful action. The narrative states that, in the past, unskillful behavior was unknown among the human race. As a result, people lived for an immensely long time—80,000 years—endowed with great beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength. Over the course of time, though, they began behaving in various unskillful ways. This caused the human life span gradually to shorten, to the point where it now stands at 100 years, with human beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength decreasing proportionately. In the future, as morality continues to degenerate, human life will continue to shorten to the point were the normal life span is ten years, with people reaching sexual maturity at five. “Among those human beings, the ten courses of action (see AN 10:176) will have entirely disappeared.… The word ‘skillful‘ will not exist, so from where will there be anyone who does what is skillful? Those who lack the honorable qualities of motherhood, fatherhood, contemplative-hood, & brahman-hood will be the ones who receive homage.… Fierce hatred will arise, fierce malevolence, fierce rage, & murderous thoughts: mother for child, child for mother, father for child, child for father, brother for sister, sister for brother.”

Ultimately, conditions will deteriorate to the point of a “sword-interval,” in which swords appear in the hands of all human beings, and they hunt one another like game. A few people, however, will take shelter in the wilderness to escape the carnage, and when the slaughter is over, they will come out of hiding and resolve to take up a life of skillful and virtuous action again. With the recovery of virtue, the human life span will gradually increase again until it reaches 80,000 years, with people attaining sexual maturity at 500. Only three diseases will be known at that time: desire, lack of food, and old age. Another Buddha—Metteyya (Maitreya)—will gain awakening, his monastic Saṅgha numbering in the thousands. The greatest king of the time, Saṅkha, will go forth into homelessness and attain arahantship under Metteyya’s guidance.

The story, after chronicling the ups and downs of human wealth, life span, etc., concludes with the following lesson on kamma and skillful action.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/DN/DN26.html
:anjali:
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DooDoot
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:40 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:36 pm
"degenerate times"?
The mythical DN 26 and DN 27 also refer to "degenerate times", which appears to be a fantasy held by most religions (such as the Biblical Noah's Ark and Sodom & Gomorrah) about a time where there was no degeneracy. The Tibetan Lamas actually ruled Tibet and all they were able to do was impose a feudal serfdom dictatorship upon the peasants.

When we read all of rules in the Vinaya or in the Old Testament, such as not having sex with your mother or with animals, these were probably not things the writers imagined might happen but were probably things actually happening.
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Justsit
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by Justsit » Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:35 pm

You would probably do better to ask your question on the sister site, Dharma Wheel Mahayana https://dharmawheel.net/, where there are many posters who are students of various Tibetan lamas and thus more qualified to provide an accurate answer.

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DooDoot
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:13 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:36 pm
"degenerate times"
Hi. Here is quote from Theravada Jataka:
The Brahmin’s Veda, Khattiya’s [government] policy,
Both arbitrary and delusive
be,

They blindly grope their way along a road
By some huge inundation overflowed.

In Brahmin’s Veda, Khattiya’s policy,
One secret meaning we alike can see;

For after all, loss, gain and glory, and shame
Touch the four castes alike, to all the same.

As householders to gain a livelihood
Count all pursuits legitimate and good
,

So Brahmins now in our degenerate day
Will gain a livelihood in any way
.

The householder is led by love of gain,
Blindly he follows, dragged in pleasure’s train,

Trying all trades, deceitful and a fool,
Fallen alas! how far from wisdom’s rule.

https://suttacentral.net/ja543/en/cowell-rouse
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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tamdrin
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by tamdrin » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:42 pm

It has it's origination in Hinduism, which calls the current age we are in the "Kali Yuga" or age of spiritual degeneration.

dharmacorps
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:26 pm

I can't address this from a Tibetan perspective but in the Thai Forest Tradition, there is a general perspective that things are "getting worse" from a dhamma perspective.

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Kusala
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Re: What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"?

Post by Kusala » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:44 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:36 pm
Hi.

What do Tibetan Teachers mean by "degenerate times"? Is it about the decline of dharma? About lack of belief? About decline in morality?

:anjali:
Buddhist Prophecies of the 21st Century and Beyond https://palisuttas.wordpress.com/2012/0 ... t-century/

"...At that time, the world will be divided between the “barbarian dharma” and Buddhism. The barbarian dharma, about which we can only speculate since it is so far in the future, will then wage a war of final annihilation on the dharma, but its own karma will return upon it and destroy it, resulting in the advent of a planetary dharmic civilization that is identified with the end of the Kali Yuga."
"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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