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I have heard a story in which a concubine of a certain Deva died while she was with him and other concubines of him in a park. She was born as a human in next life but she remembered who she was in her last life and so she wanted nothing but to return to her deva. So she lived a virtuous life and was born among the very bunch again.

Her death has gone unnoticed and her deva asks her where she's been. Here she tells him about her human life and he is amazed by the short life of humans as they are still in the very same park enjoying it's beauty, remaining there since the last time she was a deva (A whole human life spent in a single visit to a park)

I have often seen this story used as an anchor by monks to explain the length of life in higher realms saying

"It has only been a few days for them since the Parinirvana of Lord Buddha, so there is still thee purest of the teaching as there are ones who saw and listened to lord buddha there still among them. Also there are enlightened one's from that era still living and advising there."

I can't help but think that no mater what no one will spend a human lifetime's length to have a walk in a park.

Perhaps this is a time lapse that is here?

I know this is not a place to play with science and buddhism. but i'm asking this to get an explanation as i've seen many people listen to this and delay their efforts limiting themselves to hording only good karma but no other efforts on much arduous sections of the path.

Before you downvote or delete this please consider the kind of good or harm that can come of this as this is an interpretation that has rallied too many people behind it (At least in my country). And i'm not asking for opinions either

What can we make of this?

Is it a universal phenomenon like time lapse/ Einstein's reletivity?

Or a misinterpretation?

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Your question is: is it scientifically and metaphysically true that there are different time scales for the devas, humans and other beings? If so, my answer is yes.

Metaphysically, there are different realms of beings. Those celestial beings have longer lifespans and their days and nights are longer than humans, depended on the layer of celestial realm they belonged. some's day and night is equal to a year in human's, or equal to thousand years of the human time scale.

Scientifically, these could be proved. In the Solar System, some planets take longer time to circulate the sun, compared to earth's 365.25 days (a year); some planets' self-rotation is longer, compared to earth's 24 hours (a day). It is estimated that the sun takes 25000/26000 years to circulate the galactic center, and the milky way is circulating another astronomical object. Only this will make the time scale different, not to say that there are Einstein/quantum level of force and phenomena.

Buddha also talked about the lifespan for human was co-related, from 84000 (I believe this figure equal to the meaning of numberless in Buddha's time) to 100. When in the 100, it will reduce to 10, as the karma of the kalpa going worser and worser.

This "time lapse" stories not only exist in the Deva stories (Indian), also told in Chinese myths.

  • thanks for the answer friend. the time lapse is a concept of my own but the story is in the Theravada tipitaka. Even though day&night of a planet is like you describe it is hard to believe that an entire human lifetime was spent in a garden. because even if the day can be long in a planet, that does not mean the person feels the time any differently. So that is why i chosed Einstein's Relativity to explain this phenomenon. – Theravada Dec 23 '16 at 13:35

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