The Buddha's Vision of the End of the World
Source: Humans Are Free
The end time (also called end times, end of time, end of days, last days, final days, or eschaton) is a future time-period described variously in the eschatologies of several world religions which believe that world events will achieve a final climax.
The Abrahamic faiths maintain a linear cosmology, with end-time scenarios containing themes of transformation and redemption.
In Judaism, the term “end of days” makes reference to the Messianic Age, and includes an in-gathering of the exiled Jewish diaspora, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the righteous and the world to come.
Some sects of Christianity depict the world will come to an end through a series of cataclysmic events followed by resurrection of departed souls and judgment day.
According to Vedic tradition, Aditi is mother of eight Adityas or solar deities (suns). At the end of creation these eight suns will shine together in the skies.
In the following sermon, the Buddha speaks of how seven suns will appear in the sky and how the planet earth will eventually be destroyed, after many hundreds and thousands of years, through a series of cataclysmic events which are described below.
The Buddha also clearly mentions that all life forms will vanish before the appearance of the second sun. Thereafter the earth will be a dead planet ready for its eventual destruction.
The seven suns mentioned in the discourse probably are various planets of the solar system that would become hot and shine like stars due to some changes in the activity of the sun or its gravitational force.
The manner in which the drying up of the planet earth is described reminds one of the greenhouse effect and the events that might have happened on planets like Mars which had once oceans and rivers and probably life forms.
The Buddha delivered this sermon to remind his disciples of the impermanent nature of the world and of our existence, which is subject to decay and renewal and from which even a god like Brahma is not free unless he overcomes it by practicing Dhamma and following the eight-fold path.
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