Saturday, July 6, 2019

What causes earthquakes? (video)

The Buddha explained the various causes of earthquakes, and he also explained HOW TO MEDITATE. Why meditation? What's so great about sitting down cross legged? "Meditation" is not sitting down in that famous pose. It is an internal state that can be experienced in any position. It is replete with bliss, calm, peace, and ultimately with liberating-insight. We'll explain how. Hugs given. Refreshments served. More

Eight Causes of Mighty Earthquakes
Helmuth Hecker, edited by Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha now dismissed the idea of carrying on (surviving) for an entire kappa (normally "aeon" but also meaning a "normal lifespan" appropriate to that time in the greater cycle or mahakappa/mahakalpa).

He had to specifically let go of this possibility, as it seems to have been the norm for a buddha to carry on for a full lifespan.

When the Awakened One relinquished the will to carry on, there arose a great earthquake and thunder resounded, such was the powerful effect on the elements when he renounced them as a basis for life.

When Ananda became aware of the quake and thunder, he asked the Buddha for their cause. The Buddha replied that there were eight reasons for earthquakes:

1. There are occasions when great forces move, this is the first reason.
  • ["Ananda, this great earth is established on liquid, the liquid on atmosphere, and atmosphere on space. When mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes" - Sr. Vajira and Francis Story (trans.), DN 16.]
2. Or a wandering ascetic or Brahmin may possess supernormal power and have reached a certain kind of meditation (depth of concentration/jhana), that is the second reason.
  • ["Ananda, when a wandering ascetic or Brahmin of great power, one who has gained mastery of this mind, or a deva who is mighty and potent, develops intense concentration on the delimited aspect of the earth element and to a boundless degree on the liquid element, that person, too, causes the earth to tremble, quiver, and shake. This is the second reason, the second cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes" - Sr. Vajira and Francis Story, DN 16.] 
The last six concern the:
  • 3. conception,
  • 4. final rebirth,
  • 5. enlightenment,
  • 6. the setting in motion the Wheel of the Dharma,
  • 7. relinquishing the will to carry on, and
  • 8. the final nirvana (parinirvana) of a buddha.

One can see from this how deeply connected a buddha, the highest of all beings, is with the whole cosmos.

The expositions that follow on eight kinds of assemblies, eight fields of mastery, and eight liberations seem quite unmotivated in this context. It appears to be one of those occasions for a spontaneously arisen discourse.

Scholars speak about insertions into the text because at first there were eight reasons for earthquakes, then three other “eights” were brought in.

In reality there is a deeper connection, designed to bring Ananda from the superficial to the profound and to let him know the quickly approaching final passing of the Buddha in such a way that it would not disturb him.

After the Buddha had helped to direct Ananda on the path towards enlightenment, he related how he had told Mara 45 years ago that he would not attain final nirvana until the Dharma was well established.

Now Mara had appeared before him and he had told him he would carry on only for another three months. Therefore, he had now relinquished the will to carry on. That had been the reason for the earthquake. More

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