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Thread: Circular time

  1. #1

    Circular time

    Dear Bhante,
    I have seen a couple of talks by Ajahn Brahm in which he says that just like 3-D space is curved (so that, to use an image that I think goes back to Einstein, if we had a strong enough telescope allowing us to see far enough, we would see... the back of our own head) also time si curved, so that we go round and round in samsara. Some philosophers like Nietzsche had also suggested this idea (the Eternal recurrance of the same).
    However, if we take this idea seriously, it would mean that if enough time elapses, the world would come back to the same state as now, so that this very moment would repeat itself again and again (just like in space if you travel far enough you come back to the point where you started from). So my question is: how is this teaching compatible with the idea of parinibbana, according to which an arahant would cease to be after death and never be reborn? If time is circular, wouldn't this imply that the arahant will also exist again in the future if we go ahead far enough? And if so, wouldn't this mean that he/she has ceased to exist, and then somehow come into being again?
    I really cannot reconcile the idea of circular time with that of arahants reaching parinibbana and 'disappearing' for ever, so I would be grateful for your help in understanding this.
    With metta

  2. #2
    Dear Stefano,

    Nice to hear from you again.

    I decided to ask Ajahn Brahm directly, since you are referring to his talk. This is what he has to say:

    Space and time are part of Kama Loka. Parinibbana occurs in Rupa Loka, from the fourth Jhana. If one does not know the escape from Kama Loka, then one may very well go around and around in the loop of time. That is my answer.

    With Mega Metta, Ajahn Brahm
    I hope this helps.

    With metta from Oz.

  3. #3
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    Good reason to abstain from living la vida loka. Ha!

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