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In many suttas, the Buddha affirms his omniscience about the past of all the beings. Why didn't the Buddha say something about his omniscience about the future of all the beings, in suttas?

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The sutta below states that the Buddha doesn't know everything. He is not all-knowing, and not omniscient.

However, he does possess three knowledges for sure:

  • He could recollect his own past existences
  • He is able to see using his supernatural powers, how sentient beings have their existences ceased and renewed based on their karma
  • He is able to understand undefiled freedom of heart and freedom of wisdom, based on the ending of defilements.

There is no indication in the three knowledges above that he could definitely foresee the future states of all beings.

“Sir, I have heard this: ‘The ascetic Gotama claims to be all-knowing and all-seeing, to know and see everything without exception, thus: “Knowledge and vision are constantly and continually present to me, while walking, standing, sleeping, and waking.”’ I trust that those who say this repeat what the Buddha has said, and do not misrepresent him with an untruth? Is their explanation in line with the teaching? Are there any legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”

“Vaccha, those who say this do not repeat what I have said. They misrepresent me with what is false and untrue.”

“So how should we answer so as to repeat what the Buddha has said, and not misrepresent him with an untruth? How should we explain in line with his teaching, with no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”

“‘The ascetic Gotama has the three knowledges.’ Answering like this you would repeat what I have said, and not misrepresent me with an untruth. You would explain in line with my teaching, and there would be no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism.

For, Vaccha, whenever I want, I recollect my many kinds of past lives. That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the world contracting, many eons of the world expanding, many eons of the world contracting and expanding. I remember: ‘There, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn somewhere else. There, too, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn here.’ And so I recollect my many kinds of past lives, with features and details.

And whenever I want, with clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, I see sentient beings passing away and being reborn—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good place or a bad place. I understand how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds.

And I have realized the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. I live having realized it with my own insight due to the ending of defilements.

‘The ascetic Gotama has the three knowledges.’ Answering like this you would repeat what I have said, and not misrepresent me with an untruth. You would explain in line with my teaching, and there would be no legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism.”
MN 71

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  • This sutta rejects only the type of omniscience that constantly and continually present, while walking, standing, sleeping, and waking. It doesn't reject the recollectable-omniscience. The commentary says the Buddha can seen anything if he recollects.
    – Blake
    Oct 3, 2022 at 12:02
  • He can't see anything he recollects e.g. a discernable beginning of Samsara could not be seen.
    – user24100
    Oct 5, 2022 at 10:05
  • A discernable beginning of Samsara is considered Non-existing. Therefore the Buddha can see it as non-existing when he recollects, according to the commentaries.
    – Blake
    Oct 6, 2022 at 0:06
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King Pasadena asked the Buddha about omniscience here:

MN90:5.1: Then the king said to the Buddha,
MN90:5.2: “I have heard, sir, that the ascetic Gotama says this:
MN90:5.3: ‘There is no ascetic or brahmin who will claim to be all-knowing and all-seeing, to know and see everything without exception: that is not possible.’
MN90:5.4: Do those who say this repeat what the Buddha has said, and not misrepresent him with an untruth? Is their explanation in line with the teaching? Are there any legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism?”
MN90:5.5: “Great king, those who say this do not repeat what I have said. They misrepresent me with what is false and untrue.”
...
MN90:8.1: Then the king said to the Buddha,
MN90:8.2: “Sir, might the Buddha have spoken in reference to one thing, but that person believed it was something else?
MN90:8.3: How then do you recall making this statement?”
MN90:8.4: “Great king, I recall making this statement:
MN90:8.5: ‘There is no ascetic or brahmin who knows all and sees all simultaneously: that is not possible.’”

The king accepted the Buddha's answer.

MN90:17.3: So the king said to the Buddha,
MN90:17.4: “Sir, I asked you about omniscience, and you answered.

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  • This sutta rejects only the simultaneous omniscience. It doesn't reject the non-simultaneous omniscience. The commentary says the Buddha has omniscience but not simultaneous.
    – Blake
    Oct 3, 2022 at 11:56

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