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Attainment of Buddhahood in the remote past

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Attainment of Buddhahood in the remote past
久遠実成 ( Jpn kuon ᆳjitsujo )

    Shakyamuni's original attainment of Enlightenment in the inconceivably remote past as related in the "Life Span" (sixteenth) chapter of the essential teaching (latter fourteen chapters) of the Lotus Sutra. In this chapter, Shakyamuni discloses that he actually attained Enlightenment in the distant past. He then illustrates in rather awe-inspiring detail the cosmic proportions of the time that has elapsed since then, the magnitude of which is abbreviated as "numberless major World system dust particle Kalpas." Nothing Shakyamuni had taught until this point challenged people's basic assumption that he had attained Enlightenment in his present lifetime after sitting in Meditation under the Bodhi tree near Gaya, India. This is the assumption upheld in the theoretical teaching (first fourteen chapters) of the Lotus Sutra and in the other Sutras. Through this revelation in the "Life Span" chapter, however, Shakyamuni demolishes the belief that he attained Enlightenment for the first time in his present lifetime. The "Life Span" chapter says: "In all the worlds the heavenly and human beings and Asuras all believe that the present Shakyamuni Buddha, after leaving the palace of the Shakyas, seated himself in the place of Meditation not far from the city of Gaya and there attained supreme perfect Enlightenment. But good men, it has been immeasurable, boundless hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas of Kalpas since I in fact attained Buddhahood."

Source

www.sgilibrary.org