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I am sure of my ignorance and apologize.

Is Buddhism effective? There are only 28 Buddha since the beginning of perception, right? What hope is there of ever awakening? I am very discouraged. Though depression is a big thing in my current incarnation. I will likely screw things up anyway.

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  • See also "Good in the begining" etc. in this answer.
    – ChrisW
    Mar 6 at 12:53
  • Note that mentioned in wiki, the current aeon had 4 Buddhas i.e. Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa and Gautama. Maitreya is prophesied to be the last Buddha of this aeon. The 21 additional Buddhas came from Buddhavamsa which is believed to be written during 1st and 2nd century BCE, a later addition....but not to worry as this doesn't affect the effectiveness of Buddhism. ;-)
    – Desmon
    Mar 6 at 15:24

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Buddhism is extremely effective: if you create causes of the experience of suffering - there's experience of suffering, if you don't - there's no experience of suffering. Works like magic, as long as you take it seriously.

And what causes experience of suffering? A mismatch between expectation and reality. And what causes the mismatch? Either the wrong expectation or the wrong reality.

What is a wrong expectation? It is an unrealistic expectation. An expectation based on incorrect, incomplete, outdated information.

And what is wrong reality? It's a reality you create by performing unskilful acts that generate disharmony, such as violence, theft, lying, verbal abuse, sowing discord etc.

How to prevent the experience of suffering? Externally, by not creating disharmony. Internally, by staying in sync with reality, accepting reality, reconciling with reality.

What is false happiness? False happiness is a static situation that depends on a particular combination of conditions. Why is it false? Because all combinations of conditions are temporary.

What does the absence of suffering feel like? It feels like intrinsic peace inherent to any situation. Why is it called unconditional non-abiding Nirvana? Because it does not depend on abiding in any fixed situation either externally or internally. It has only one condition: letting go of attachment to non-reality.

What is awakening? Awakening is realizing that all our experience, positive and negative, is generated by the mind, is dependant on our conceptualization, and consequently going beyond said conceptualization. How is awakening attained? It is attained by letting go of the attachment to our conceptualization habits and opening to the reality beyond preconception.

Do you have to be a Buddha to understand and practice the above? No, as long as you get the principles you can start implementing them in your life, and even partial implementation will lead to reduction of the experience of suffering, and incremental awakening and peace.

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Buddhism is effective for everyone.

It's not just for the Sammasambuddhas, Pacceka Buddhas, Arahants, never-returners, once-returners and stream enterers. It's also useful for the monks, lay people and those of other religions. Please see the sutta quote below.

Let me give you an analogy. If you learn to cook, you can cook a meal for yourself. But you don't have to become a world-renowned Michelin star chef like Gordon Ramsay.

Just because there are only a handful of people in the world like Gordon Ramsay, it doesn't mean that cooking is not effective. It's effective for everyone, in various degrees according to their needs.

“Well then, chief, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think? Suppose a farmer has three fields: one’s good, one’s average, and one’s poor—bad ground of sand and salt. What do you think? When that farmer wants to plant seeds, where would he plant them first: the good field, the average one, or the poor one?”

“Sir, he’d plant them first in the good field, then the average, then he may or may not plant seed in the poor field. Why is that? Because at least it can be fodder for the cattle.”

“To me, the monks and nuns are like the good field. I teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the laymen and laywomen are like the average field. I also teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the ascetics, brahmins, and wanderers of other religions are like the poor field, the bad ground of sand and salt. I also teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Hopefully they might understand even a single sentence, which would be for their lasting welfare and happiness.

Suppose a person had three water jars: one that’s uncracked and nonporous; one that’s uncracked but porous; and one that’s cracked and porous. What do you think? When that person wants to store water, where would they store it first: in the jar that’s uncracked and nonporous, the one that’s uncracked but porous, or the one that’s cracked and porous?”

“Sir, they’d store water first in the jar that’s uncracked and nonporous, then the one that’s uncracked but porous, then they may or may not store water in the one that’s cracked and porous. Why is that? Because at least it can be used for washing the dishes.”

“To me, the monks and nuns are like the water jar that’s uncracked and nonporous. I teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the laymen and laywomen are like the water jar that’s uncracked but porous. I teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the ascetics, brahmins, and wanderers of other religions are like the water jar that’s cracked and porous. I also teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Hopefully they might understand even a single sentence, which would be for their lasting welfare and happiness.”
SN 42.7

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    Thank you! 😊🙏 Mar 10 at 14:47
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There is vastly more that 28 Buddhas that have come into existence. The 28 is the history of 28 Sammāsambuddhas of this aeon (not specifically from the beginning of perception) The Buddha himself gave a massive list of like 500 pratyeka Buddhas.

To explain simply. A sammasam Buddha is what is known as a "great Buddha" they are ones who attain liberation on their own and teach others the path to walk so that they can attain it for themselves. They only arise in a time when there is no dharma in the world (taught from the last sammasam Buddha)

Then there are countless pratyeka Buddhas or "solitary conquerors" these are Buddhas who like the great Buddhas find the path on their own, but do not lead a sangha and teach the path for others. They can teach to others but do not lead to a great, well religion like the last Buddha, Buddha shakyamuni.

The main thing that is shared between both of these Buddhas is that they only arise when there is no dharma in the world. Anyone else seeking liberation when there is dharma in the world will find the last sammasam Buddhas teachings and if practised and realized will reach liberation as an arhant as a "hearer" reaching a hearers enlightenment.

Ultimately the liberation that the 3 types of people find is the same, for conventional sake they are all arhants, just 1 reached liberation by listening to a Buddhas teachings (arhant) the others found it on their own, one did not teach to a vast amount of others (pratyekabuddha) the other taught to others and created a lineage of teachings (Sammāsambuddha)

The real thing you can take from this is that liberation is not reliant upon others to experience, while now we are fortunate to have had others tread the path and teach us the way, there are others (Buddhas) who have tread the path and found it themselves without help from others. Meaning we (in the future, or in different realms or worlds) can ourselves do the same, can ourselves become a Buddha...if one chose to follow a more bodhisatvva path.

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Anyone - even you can become enlightened. There are many individuals beyond the said number of Buddhas that attained nirvana! These realized beings are called arahants. There are a few steps down from arahants who are promised nibbana in x number of lifetimes namely the 'stream-enterer,' 'one-returner' and 'no-returner.' It's actually much more hopeful! :)

You can read up about the Four Stages of Enlightenment in Wikipedia - . enter image description here

Even if you don't get into any of these stages of enlightenment in this lifetime, Buddhism is very helpful for handling the vicissitudes of life. I joined a meditation course recently and it has changed me as a person and how I deal with problems. I see things from a bigger perspective (naturally) and I am much more calm, balanced and non-reactive. Buddha has said that Dhamma (the truths of existence / teachings taught by Buddha) is beneficial in the beginning, in the middle and in the end. I hope this encourages and helps you! :)

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Actually, there has been an infinite number of Buddhas in the past. And there will be in the future. The only problem is Buddha only appears after a vast amount of time has passed from another Buddha. There are many reasons for that.

Like,

1) it's very very hard to be a Buddha. One/Normal person has to pass like 1.2*10^6 (1200,000) another Buddha while he is fulfilling requirements to be a Buddha.

2) There's no need to be a new Buddha in the world if the world has past Buddha's teachings left. (which is now)

Etc...

28 Buddha.

In the time scale used in Buddhism, there are only 28 Buddhas in the time period that we are in now. That's why people say there are only 28 Buddhas. Other Buddhas are very far away from us. Far away like normal people can't grasp the amount of time. So it's less meaningful to explain them to normal people.

Even for the given 28 Buddhas, only 27 have been. And we are in the 27th Buddha's time. The 28th Buddha will be in the future.

What hope do we have?

1) There's still Damma from the 27th Buddha's teaching left. Which is enough for someone to attain Nirvana.

2) There will be another last Desana from Buddha himself 5000 years after his physical death. (which is in the future).

3) It's not necessary to see the Buddha himself physically to attain Nirvana. Because Damma is still present in the world. It's not about seeing Buddha physically with someone's eyes. It's about what Buddha teaches.

Thanks 🙏. Any questions are welcome. ☸.

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