Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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pink_trike
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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by pink_trike » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:33 am

There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book "The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets."

Source: CNN online http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/02/2 ... index.html
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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by Individual » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:11 am

pink_trike wrote:There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book "The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets."

Source: CNN online http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/02/2 ... index.html
One speculation on how this is possible while paradoxically there is no extraterrestrial contact is that most sentient species destroy themselves before spreading across many planets -- possibly even every sentient species thus far within this universe. Those sentient species which do spread across many planets may be quite different from human beings.
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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:38 am

clw_uk wrote:I dont know if this is going to be to off topic so delete it or move it if you think it is, what is the ten thousandfold world-system? is it the whole universe including the various realms or is it something else?
It's not the whole universe, but rather the portion or extent of the universe that gets shaken when a Buddha first sets the Dhamma Wheel turning.

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Dhammanando Bhikkhu

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by Prasadachitta » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:43 am

Individual wrote: You dont think this is the only place life is found in the universe? Or does world-system mean universe?
I don't know of any other. Anything apart from this ignorance would be speculation.
Speculation is fine as long as you know your doing it and you dont make more of it than it is. Its called an educated guess.

Metta

Gabriel
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by Element » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:42 am

Individual wrote:Why can't there be more than one Buddha at a time?
The Buddha declared this. However, the interesting fact to observe is objectively it is true.

The world only has one Buddhism and one Buddha.

It is not like the theistic who argue about who is 'God's prophet'?

Prophets teaching about kamma are a dime a dozen.

There are many prophets but only one Buddha teaching heartwood.

This shows how rare Buddhism is, despite those who claim the Dhamma cannot be lost.

This is why we should focus our efforts on sharing supramundane heartwood.
Last edited by Element on Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by genkaku » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:12 pm

Interesting discussion, but I would be interested in who or what, precisely, anyone considers "Buddha" to be. If we rely on texts for an answer, OK. If we rely on experience, OK. And if we suggest that relying on anything whatsoever is not appropriate, OK.

I mean no disrespect. I'm just wondering how we can talk about something if we don't nail down the perspective being used to address that 'something.'

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by DNS » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:58 pm

genkaku wrote:Interesting discussion, but I would be interested in who or what, precisely, anyone considers "Buddha" to be. If we rely on texts for an answer, OK. If we rely on experience, OK. And if we suggest that relying on anything whatsoever is not appropriate, OK.
Not sure if I am answering the questions, but:

Buddha = Samma-sam-buddha, the rare fully enlightened one by himself when / after the teachings have died out.
Arahant = Fully enlightened, by from hearing the teachings of a Buddha (during the Buddha's lifetime or after from the Suttas) and practice.
Paccekabuddha = A silent buddha. One who attains full enlightenment, but does not teach others.

I think those who are spiritually advanced will recognize a Buddha after the Dhamma has died out, by his words, deeds, actions and perhaps by a resolve to meet a future Buddha in a previous lifetime.

But needless to say, there is no samma-sam-buddha now or for a very long time, as the good Dhamma is still with us. We are still in 'Gotama's' dispensation.

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by piotr » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:27 pm

Hi,
genkaku wrote:Interesting discussion, but I would be interested in who or what, precisely, anyone considers "Buddha" to be. If we rely on texts for an answer, OK.
According to the Aṅguttara-nikāya there are two types of the Awakened Ones (buddhā):

  • "Dveme, bhikkhave, buddhā. Katame dve? Tathāgato ca arahaṃ sammāsambuddho, paccekabuddho ca. Ime kho, bhikkhave, dve buddhā"ti.

    "There are two, bhikkhus, types of the Awakened Ones. Which two? Truly gone, worthy, rightly Awakened One and privately Awakened One. This are, bhikkhus, two types of the Awakened Ones." — Puggala-sutta 5 (AN 2.56) <i, 77>


According to the same book there can be only one worthy, rightly Awakened One in the same world:

  • "Aṭṭhānametaṃ, bhikkhave, anavakāso yaṃ ekissā lokadhātuyā dve arahanto sammāsambuddhā apubbaṃ acarimaṃ uppajjeyyuṃ. Netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati."

    "lt is impossible, bhikkhus, it cannot happen that two worthy, rightly Awakened Ones, could arise contemporaneously in one world-system. There is no such possibility." — Aṭṭhāna-sutta 10 (AN 1.297) <i, 27>
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by Individual » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:15 pm

piotr wrote:Hi,
genkaku wrote:Interesting discussion, but I would be interested in who or what, precisely, anyone considers "Buddha" to be. If we rely on texts for an answer, OK.
According to the Aṅguttara-nikāya there are two types of the Awakened Ones (buddhā):

  • "Dveme, bhikkhave, buddhā. Katame dve? Tathāgato ca arahaṃ sammāsambuddho, paccekabuddho ca. Ime kho, bhikkhave, dve buddhā"ti.

    "There are two, bhikkhus, types of the Awakened Ones. Which two? Truly gone, worthy, rightly Awakened One and privately Awakened One. This are, bhikkhus, two types of the Awakened Ones." — Puggala-sutta 5 (AN 2.56) <i, 77>


According to the same book there can be only one worthy, rightly Awakened One in the same world:

  • "Aṭṭhānametaṃ, bhikkhave, anavakāso yaṃ ekissā lokadhātuyā dve arahanto sammāsambuddhā apubbaṃ acarimaṃ uppajjeyyuṃ. Netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati."

    "lt is impossible, bhikkhus, it cannot happen that two worthy, rightly Awakened Ones, could arise contemporaneously in one world-system. There is no such possibility." — Aṭṭhāna-sutta 10 (AN 1.297) <i, 27>
The "Savakabuddha" (a person who listens to the Buddha's teachings and becomes an Arahant) is mentioned as another kind, elsewhere, not sure where.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by piotr » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:39 pm

Hi,
Individual wrote:The "Savakabuddha" (a person who listens to the Buddha's teachings and becomes an Arahant) is mentioned as another kind, elsewhere, not sure where.
This is a term from the Commentaries, which is absent in the Canon.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by DNS » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:45 pm

piotr wrote:Hi,
Individual wrote:The "Savakabuddha" (a person who listens to the Buddha's teachings and becomes an Arahant) is mentioned as another kind, elsewhere, not sure where.
This is a term from the Commentaries, which is absent in the Canon.
But still an appropriate term, since the Canon mentions several fully enlightened ones who are not a Paccekabuddha or Samma-sam-buddha.

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by Individual » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:33 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
piotr wrote:Hi,
Individual wrote:The "Savakabuddha" (a person who listens to the Buddha's teachings and becomes an Arahant) is mentioned as another kind, elsewhere, not sure where.
This is a term from the Commentaries, which is absent in the Canon.
But still an appropriate term, since the Canon mentions several fully enlightened ones who are not a Paccekabuddha or Samma-sam-buddha.
If it's in the commentaries, but not the canon, its appropriateness is a matter of debate.

Earlier in this thread, I wanted to say (and now again, I want to say this, so I'll say it): It seems insufficient to me to say that Buddhas and Arahants are of the same wisdom or worldview. This is true, with regards to suffering, but not with regards to wisdom of all things, knowledge of karma, rebirth, siddhis, etc.. An Arahant, for instance, cannot examine the conditions of the world, examine the language of the world, and then create a unique teaching that is capable of bringing benefit. At best, he can correctly recite a supreme Buddha's teaching.

But at the same time, it seems insufficient to me to say that there can be a Buddha above the Arahants, because if such a thing were possible, how would it be possible? And also, if this is the distinction being made (and, contrary to Theravadin views, a supreme Buddha is not merely distinguished from Arahants by being self-taught but has a class of wisdom all his own), then I do not understand why more than one Buddha cannot arise in a single world-system or why the Buddha himself is called an Arahant in the Tipitaka.

Stated briefly: If the Theravada notion of the relationship between Buddha and Arahant (stated simply Buddha=Arahant) is true, then shouldn't the capacity for self-teaching bring with it a class of wisdom entirely its own? But if the Mahayana notion of the relationship between Buddha and Arahant is true (stated simply Buddha>Arahant), then how is it that more than one Buddha cannot arise in the world, and why is the Buddha himself is called an Arahant?

The "Buddha-range of the Buddhas" is one of the four imponderables.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by piotr » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:14 pm

Hi,
TheDhamma wrote:But still an appropriate term, since the Canon mentions several fully enlightened ones who are not a Paccekabuddha or Samma-sam-buddha.
It's true that there is no qualitative difference between the liberation of a rightly Awakened One and that of an his disciples. But there is a difference in an occasion in which this liberation takes place. If we agree to use that term, then — since 'buddha' means 'an awakened' — sāvaka-buddha should awake to something which was previously forgotten and unheard — but I don't see such a thing, because he or she is a disciple of a rightly Awakened One, and has heard dhamma from him.

And if maybe someone wants to put disciples of the Noble Ones on a pedestal, because someone else has put them down, then rather than by calling them 'sāvaka-buddha' (what appears to be contrary to the passage from AN 2.56), I would prefer to see arguments based on a suttas (starting with SN 22.58) which would show that there is no qualitive difference between the liberation of a rightly Awakened One and that of an his disciples.
Last edited by piotr on Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by DNS » Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:19 pm

I agree and that is why I like the term Arahant instead of Savakabuddha.

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Re: Why can there be only one Buddha at at time?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:42 pm

Greetings,

Somewhere I'm pretty sure there's a sutta where the Buddha explains how he is different from the Arahants and the main reason is that he discovered the Dhamma himself... but I can't seem to find it anywhere just at the moment.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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