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Volume 7 no 2


The Arrival

People often ask, "Why are there human beings on earth?", "Where did the ancestors of the human race come from?" or "How did the world come about?" Questions such as these have plagued mankind since time immemorial. In the Abhidhamma Patika and other Buddhist scriptures, it was precisely stated that the human race originated from the Light-sound heaven.
In this Part 2 of The Earth People, Venerable Shen-Kai talks about the first phase of the earth's formation and the arrival of the "earth people".

The evolving world goes through four stages, namely:

1. Formation
2. Existence
3. Destruction
4. Void or Emptiness

Each stage has a time span termed a "medium kalpa" [1]. Twenty "small kalpas" make one "medium kalpa". The four stages, each termed a "medium kalpa", make up a "great kalpa".

When the world reaches the final phase of the Stage of Destruction, there will be great fires burning down hell, planet earth, other stars and their cosmic worlds as well as the various heavens within the Field of Desires. Prior reaching the heaven of the 1st Jhana of the Field of Forms, the Devas, Bodhisattvas, Sages and those sentient beings who have performed great virtuous deeds in the lower worlds will naturally be saved. They have already been ascended to the Heaven of Radiant Lustre where they will enjoy happiness and heavenly bliss.

Following the passing of twenty small kalpas in the Stage of Void or Emptiness, the world will return to the beginning of a new Stage of Formation. A big golden heavenly cloud will appear from the Heaven of Radiant Lustre and heavy rain will fall to drench the burning worlds. After the floodwater has receded, the various heavens below the heaven of the 1st Jhana (or Dhyana) will reappear. The massive forces of swirling on the remaining materials left over by the receding floodwater will gradually solidify. This process is accompanied by the reappearance of various planets in the sky - many are spherical in shape and others, elliptical. This will, of course, include our earth and the orbiting moon, as well as all the worlds below including the lowest level of hell. As the extreme heat energies rotate and concentrate, many suns are formed - this is what the astronomers called the stars, planets and satellites. Within each galaxy system, the stars have their orbits rotating around the sun, planets have their own orbits around the stars, and satellites around the planets. The revolving stars, planets and satellites coupled with their own rotations maintain motions, thus creating day and night. Further, the process produces day, month, year and the four seasons. However, it is to be noted that the time scales are different between earth, the various worlds of existence in heavens and other stellar systems.

For this period, a passage in the Chinese Old Text story "Qiong-Lin" recorded similar description on the formation of the world. The text reads:
"When earth was first separated from heaven;
pure light air float to form the sky and the polluted air sink to form the ground;
the sun, moon and five stars are called the seven-Polis;
the heaven, earth and humans are called the three-lords; and
the sun is the master of the "Yang" [2]
with the moon as the image of the "Yin" [3]

The above description is very close to what the Buddha said. Further, records from Buddhist scriptures match very well with what astronomers of today have found. It is in this manner that the world is returned to the great natural phenomenon of the universe.

During the first phase of the formation of earth, the earth's crust covering the ground was not fully solidified. The ground surface appeared milky in colour. Looking from the celestial plane, the earth shone brightly and afar. In the heaven of Radiant Lustre, many of those celestial beings whose blissful life in the heaven was coming to an end and who by disposition were more restless and impetuous, on seeing the brightness, and out of curiosity, began to travel down to the earth. They used their "clairvoyance feats" to fly down and reached different continents of the earth. They saw fluid springing out from the ground and they dipped their fingers in it. They tasted the fluid and found it extremely tasty, sweet like honey. While the fluid was so tasty, everyone craved for more. Those who had most, their bodies became rough and heavier. They began to lose their light illusory physical forms and their bodies slowly formed into the material body of bone and flesh. The weight forced them to the ground and they lost their "clairvoyance feats" and "natural heavenly clothes", and were unable to fly through the skies to return to the celestial world. They began to lose many of their intrinsic celestial qualities such as celestial colours, fragrant scent, brightness, beauty, wisdom and their innate miraculous quality. In particular, their "clairvoyance eyes" turned into human eyes; and their "clairvoyance ears" became human ears. They became unable to remember their past lives. They lost their special ability to read the minds of others. They were unable to communicate by radiant light from their mouths and they needed to depend on sounds from the movements of their tongues. While without sufficient languages and vocabulary, they needed sign language to assist them to fully communicate with each other. They became ordinary human beings on earth. After running out of the tasty fluid, they resorted to feed on thick weedy plants, then hard crops from the wild. At that time, the life span of human being was long and there was no disease or sickness. Later, they learned to plant crops and vegetables. During the period of feeding from nature, those who were greedy in feeding themselves acquired darker skin colours, ranging from brown to black. Others who did not feed as much and those who arrived later had lighter skin colour, ranging from fair to yellow. As time went on, together with the influence by climatic conditions of different regions (equatorial, temperate and cold regions), various skin coloured races of people were formed.

… to be continued in the next issue, Volume 7, Issue No. 3


[1] Kalpa:
1 small kalpa = 16.8 million years
20 small kalpas = 1 medium kalpa = 336 million years
80 small kalpas = 4 medium kalpas = 1 great kalpa = 1.344 billion years

[2] Yang:
Chinese philosophy; the masculine or positive principle in nature

[3] Yin:
Chinese philosophy; the feminine or negative principle in nature


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre