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(bskal pa, Skt. Kalpa).

Aeon (bskal pa)

  • A period of cosmic or cyclical time (Skt. kalpa) comprising fourteen secondary cycles (Skt. manvantara), each of which lasts 306,720,000 years. Each secondary cycle is said to contain seventy-one “great ages” (Skt. mahāyuga), and each of these is further subdivided into four ages (Skt. caturyuga) which are of decreasing duration, and known respectively as the Perfect Age (Krtayuga), the Third Age (Tretāyuga), the Second Age (Dvāparayuga), and the Black or Degenerate Age (Kaliyuga). Since these four ages represent a gradual decline in meritorious activities, special meditative practices and spiritual antidotes are associated with each in turn. Specifically, the Perfect Age is most suited to the practice of the Kriyātantra; the Third Age to that of the Caryātantra; the Second Age to that of the Yogatantra; and the Black or Degenerate Age to that of the Unsurpassed Yogatantra. For a general discussion of Buddhist cosmology, see R. Kloetzli, Buddhist Cosmology, and A.L. Basham, The Wonder That Was India, pp. 320-1. For the relationship between the four ages and spiritual practice, see NSTB, p. 268. GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)
  • 1) World-age, period, cosmic cycle. 2) Cosmic period. 3) There are small aeons, intermediate aeons and big aeons. An intermediate aeon consists of two small aeons, and a big aeon consists of 80 intermediate aeons. 4) Aeon of Strife (rtsod dus) [RY]