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I have heard that Lord Buddha once told Ananda thero that a Buddha can live till the end of a Kalpa, if he wishes so. He did this because he wanted Ananda thero to invite him to live till the end of the Kalpa.

But, Ananda thero did not invite him as Maaraya was inside his head.

My question is, if Lord Buddha was able to read minds and see future, why did he asked that question in the first place ?

Why didn't he lived till the end of this Kalpa himself ?

What I am missing here ?

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The Buddha did not ask venerable Ananda to invite him to extend his life. He only hinted that it is possible for him to do so.

Mara's Appeal

  1. And when the Venerable Ananda had gone away, Mara, the Evil One, approached the Blessed One. And standing at one side he spoke to the Blessed One, saying: "Now, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away; let the Happy One utterly pass away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord.

"For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by the appropriate conduct, and having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.' [23]

  1. "And now, O Lord, bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have become the Blessed One's disciples in just this way. So, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord.

"For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until this holy life taught by me has become successful, prosperous, far-renowned, popular, and widespread, until it is well proclaimed among gods and men.' And this too has come to pass in just this way. So, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away, let the Happy One utterly pass away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord." ......................................................

-Maha Parinibbana Sutta

Buddhas do as they proclaim, so once the Sasana is well established, the lord would not extend life without an invitation as Buddhas do not have the desire to live on. Besides, venerable Ananda was the one attending to the Buddha. So it is only proper that the Buddha hinted it to him. Also, it was always going to be someone who has not yet attained Arahanthship that should invite the Buddha to stay on as Arahanths have already achieved what needs to be achieved and do not require the Buddha to stay.

Buddhists do not believe in determinism. The future is not fixed in all situations. Only some things can be predicted to happen for sure. The Mara stopping venerable Ananda from inviting the Buddha was not destined to happen. He would have invited if he was able to overcome Mara at that time.

In any case, the word Kalpa here means an Ayu-Kalpa. Which means the Buddha would have lived 120 years at most, even if ven. Ananda had invited.

  • +1 for the last paragraph :-) – lasan Dec 16 '16 at 15:48
  • @Sankha Kulathantille {Which means the Buddha would have lived 120 years at most, even if ven. Ananda had invited.} This is disputed. The Buddha, in the sutras, addressed as Tathagata, what does it mean? Kalpa is a transitory measured by time. Tathagata however, "This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathāgata is beyond all coming and going – beyond all transitory phenomena." - wikipedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tath%C4%81gata – Mishu 米殊 Dec 16 '16 at 16:04
  • "beyond all transitory phenomena" means he has attained Nibbana. It does not mean that the Karma resultant 5 aggregates are going to last forever – Sankha Kulathantille Dec 16 '16 at 16:11
  • @SankhaKulathantille Buddha was addressed, proclaimed the Tathagata when he achieved perfect enlightenment - anuttara-samyak-sambodhi; he was addressed by students Tathagata during the sermons, check the sutras, Pali if that's your reference. Nibbana is not a word that could be (= "beyond all transitory phenomena") and sent off. I'm concerned that those incorrect explanations, personal opinions polluted the Dharma. – Mishu 米殊 Dec 18 '16 at 17:25
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    I think you follow Mahayana or a derivation of it which we don't consider as the Dhamma in the Theravada tradition. Nibbana by definition is uncaused and beyond all transitory phenomena. That's why it's called Lokuttara – Sankha Kulathantille Dec 19 '16 at 3:59
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Why didn't he lived till the end of this Kalpa himself ?

1st, the life-expectancy for human at this kalpa of this period is 100, Buddha lived till 80, which is within and fits in, to set example that a human can reach enlightenment, same as Buddha who is a human. 2nd, Buddha gave a metaphor in the Lotus Sutra, that a loving father (Buddha) in making his sons (students) to take the curing medicine (Dharma), feigning his death.

...if Lord Buddha was able to read minds and see future, why did he asked that question in the first place ?

To honour the Law of Karma, Buddha would not interfere with the course of events, for any intervention with a subjective purpose is going to flush away by the force of Karma, creates reactions, like an equation with only one correct answer. Thus to "see future", "read minds" is not applicable in this.

Buddha had hinted this 3 times to Ananda, however, Ananda missed all the chances. Then Mara Papman appeared and requested His nirvana, He accepted. Thus chances were given to Ananda, who the sum of all we students on the path of cultivation, a representative of all of us. The path to enlightenment is the overcoming of our nivāraṇa and Mara Papman by ourselves, Buddha could show you the way, but he couldn't do it for you. Thus Ananda must overcome Mara Papman to request Buddha's staying on. To staying on or to enter nirvana is the same to Buddha, who's no longer bound by life/death, black/white, cold/hot... but He will response to request. Same as, if you read the sutras, it always begins with a question asked by someone (Ananda was always the one initiated the teaching), then Buddha answered...

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