The Coming Lord Buddha — Ariya Metteyya 1—5: The Coming of Buddha Ariya Metteyya
Homage to the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Highest Self—Enlightened One!
Saya U Chit Tin
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In the discourse with which we began, the Buddha goes on to describe how morality among human beings grows stronger and stronger. As a result, their life span grows longer until it reaches eighty thousand years, and at that time, Buddha Metteyya will come. Ashin Buddhaghosa explains that the life span increases to an incalculable number of years (Asankheyya) and then begins to decrease again until it reaches 80,000 years, for Buddhas arise only when the life span is decreasing. A tradition in Burma says that Buddha Metteyya will live for 80,000 years and that the human life span will be 100,000 years, just as Buddha Gotama lived for eighty years when the human life span was one hundred years. No definite number of years is given for the period between Buddha Gotama and Buddha Metteyya. The Anagatavamsa (verse 5) says Buddha Metteyya will arise ten million years later (vassa—kotiye), but the commentary says this means after many hundreds of thousands times ten million years.
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This aeon (kappa) is an Auspicious Aeon (bhaddha—kappa), which means that the maximum number of five Buddhas will arise in the same aeon. Some aeons are empty ones, meaning no Buddhas arise. In other types of aeons, one to four Buddhas arise. Buddha Gotama was the fourth Buddha in this Auspicious Aeon, so Metteyya will be the last Buddha in it. The commentary to the Buddhavamsa says that an Auspicious Aeon is very difficult to encounter. Those who are born in such aeons are usually rich in goodness and happiness. They usually have the three root conditions (of non—greed, non—hatred, and non—confusion) and destroy the defilements. Those with the two root conditions (of non—greed and non—hatred) are usually reborn in good planes of existence, and those with no root condition acquire one. In another commentary, it is said that during the time of Buddha Metteyya, the group of sensual pleasures will have little initial power (to distract).
Dbk 55/120 says 82,000 years.
Sv III 885f.
JPTS, 1886, p. 41, n. 5.
Dvp 125/132 says that after the human life span decreases to ten years, there will be seven intervening aeons (sattantara—kappa), then the life span will increase to an incalculable, and when it has decreased again to 80,000 years, the next Buddha will arise.