Author Topic: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice  (Read 11077 times)

yontenjamyang

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According to Buddhism, we are now at the Kaliyuga or Degenerate age. During this age there are 5 categories of degenerations that is increasing. Looking through the list, I shudder to realise that all 5 degenerations are upon us. In the Lamrim, it is said that:

“The five degenerations are rampant
But change them to the path to enlightenment.”
(That is, practise patience, aspiration, tasting [emptiness], compassion, friendliness, and rejoicing.)
If you follow it [the advice], you will be able to convert unfavourable circumstances into the path to enlightenment, despite the fact that the five degenerations – the degeneration of lifespan and so forth – are commonplace.         

The Five degenerations (nyig ma nga) increasing in the degenerate time (kaliyuga) are:
1. degeneration of time (tib.: du kyi nyig) - time of wars, peace does not last long; time of sicknesses with new diseases coming; the decline of quality of things, less nutritious food, famine; people are overwhelmed by spirit harms.
2. degeneration of sentient beings (tib.: sem cen gyi nyig ma) - refers to the decline in physical form, intellect, good health; beings are thick-skulled and difficult to subdue; the majority hold ideas that are morally wrong, many are intolerant to the point of hatred.
3. degeneration of lifespan (tib.: tshei nyig ma) - refers to the fact that the lifespan of beings declines from one hundred years all the way down to ten years.
4. degeneration of actions/views (tib.: le kyi nyig ma) - means that all sentient beings engage in the ten non-virtuous actions, people very easily believe in wrong philosophies and find it difficult to believe the right view.
5. degeneration of afflictions (tib.: nyon mong pe nyig ma) - indicates that the afflictions of ignorance, desire, anger, jealousy, pride and other delusions are becoming so strong that it is very difficult to abandon them.

Sentient beings of that time have small merit, yet, it is said that those capable of training the mind are not vulnerable to the proliferation of the five degenerations and remain contented.

cookie

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2015, 06:57:22 AM »
Buddhist practitioners need to have an honest realisation of this 5 points signifying how degenerate sentient beings have become. The Buddha Dharma did not degenerate. The beings and environment in Samsara are the ones that have degenerated.
If we cannot realise or have the correct view of this situation, we will never make any effort towards liberating ourselves from Samsara. Once we realise and accept, we will be able to take refuge full heartedly in the Buddha Dharma and follow the teachings steadfastly until we reach Enlightment.
It has become harder and harder to meet the pure Dharma or to have the right view to practice. For those who have met the Dharma do not give up no matter how tough the challenges are. It is better for us to have these challenges whilst we are in Dharma then otherwise, because the Buddha Dharma has the perfect methods or antidotes to overcome these challenges.

kris

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 03:23:05 PM »
Thank you @yontenjamyang for sharing such important information. I read it twice and contemplate a bit. It make so much sense, and it is already coming true. Like many (myself included), we engage in many non-virtuous acts, and so many of us have wrong views.

I also agree with @cookie that it is the not the degeneration of Buddhism, but the degeneration of practitioners. I pray I can collect a lot of merits in this live and bring forward to next time and continue my practice.

I will keep these facts in mind to remind me to upkeep my practice.

Midakpa

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2015, 12:29:01 PM »
The term Kaliyuga, sometimes referred to as "degenerate times" is a period when spiritual activity declines. The five degenerations (Tib. snyigs ma lnga) as mentioned by Yontenjamyang are : (1) decrease in lifespan (2) increase in negative emotions (the five poisons) (3) beings are difficult to help (4) times in which wars and famine proliferate (5) false views spread. If we look at what is happening in the world, it is clear that we are living in degenerate times. But looking at the brighter side of things, it is also said that we are living in a fortunate aeon during which one thousand Buddhas will appear. So far, four Buddhas have already appeared and Buddhism is alive and well in many places. And there are many genuine spiritual guides around the world spreading the Buddha's teachings. So if we are fortunate enough or have the merits to encounter a good spiritual guide, receive the Dharma and train the mind, there is hope after all. The important thing is not to waste the opportunity to train the mind.

eyesoftara

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 09:25:56 AM »
It is indeed that these degenerations is upon us and it is easy to see that the teachings is so accurate. With this we should generate faith in the Dharma especially of the antidotes of these degenerations like optimum rebirth, Guru Devotion, the law of karma, impermanence, refuge in the Guru and the 3 jewels, 3 high trainings and the 3 principal aspects.

These are the antidotes to samsara itself. Hence, by contemplating the disadvantage of the times and the sufferings of self and mother beings and the advantages of applying the the teachings we can leverage of the these 5 degenerations.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 05:47:55 AM »
As mentioned by Midakpa, we are very fortunate to have so many great Gurus, Teachers and Lamas living in our time.  As such we must cultivate the right view to practise and study the Pure Dharma which has remained true after being taught to sentient beings 2,600 years ago.

On the other hand, it is also scary to realise that the 5 degenerations are staring us in the face.  It is my sincere hope that more and more will be touched by the Dharma and hold imprints for our current and future rebirths will be within the Dharma.

DharmaSpace

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2015, 08:00:36 AM »
Knowing about the five degenerations, we absolutely have to make real effort in our spiritual practices.

Our precious human rebirth is but a lightning in the long darkness. If we consider that how much time a buddha stays on once they have turned the wheel of dharma, how much time buddhist teachings remain before the next Buddha, the amount time that Buddhas appear in the fortunate aeon, all such times are small in comparison to the endless samsara....... Buddha and his teachings are only available to sentient beings a small fraction compared to the times whereby Buddha and his teachings do not exist.

fruven

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 11:04:58 PM »
In this age people are distracted with materialism. Cherishing ourselves become the focus of living. These can been seen by the effects as mentioned, wars, unrest, and moral degeneration becomes acceptable norm. Our self serving attitude causes great pollution in the environment. More and more diseases have emerged causing sickness, death, and shorten lifespans.

eyesoftara

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2015, 08:26:38 AM »
Generally we all missed being born or otherwise born but not in the right condition to meet the Buddha Shakyamuni while He was alive 2600 years ago. Normally, we will say that the next opportunity is to meet the future Buddha Maitreya but that will be many years to come depending on our interpretations; perhaps another few thousand years or even million years.

Hence, the best bet is that for those who have the 18 opportune conditions to me the Dharma and the Guru, this is the rarest of rare opportunity to practice to leave samsara on either the medium or the great scope. Hence, Guru Devotion is the key to this life.

fruven

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 04:16:16 AM »
It is scary that even one degeneration can have big impact of one's spiritual practice. In war zone area how to practice when one is faced with the decision to stay being alive?

Is the 5 degenerations during this age represent the cumulative manifestation of our negative karma?

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2015, 01:39:51 AM »
Quote
It is scary that even one degeneration can have big impact of one's spiritual practice. In war zone area how to practice when one is faced with the decision to stay being alive?

To be born in war zone areas were karmically related to their previous lives, according to the 8 worldly conditions - where we were born into, the family, the country and its environmental condition are resultant of our throwing karma too. It will be difficult to be born in a country where there is ongoing war, conflicts and no dharma. Where there is no dharma, then it is very difficult to practice.

Quote
Is the 5 degenerations during this age represent the cumulative manifestation of our negative karma?

The Three Ages of Buddhism, also known as the Three Ages of the Dharma, (simplified Chinese: ??; traditional Chinese: ??; pinyin: S?n Shí) are three divisions of time following Buddha's passing. The Latter Day of the Law is the third and last of the Three Ages of Buddhism. Mapp? or Mofa (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Mò F?, Japanese: Mapp?), which is also translated as the Age of Dharma Decline, is the "degenerate" Third Age of Buddhism.

The Three Ages of Buddhism are three divisions of time following Buddha's passing:

The Former Day of the Law, also known as the Age of the Right Dharma (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Zhèng F?; Jp: sh?b?), the first thousand years (or 500 years) during which the Buddha's disciples are able to uphold the Buddha's teachings;

The Middle Day of the Law, also known as the Age of Semblance Dharma (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Xiàng F?; Jp: z?h?), the second thousand years (or 500 years), which only resembles the right Dharma;

The Latter Day of the Law (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Mò F?; mòf?; Jp: mapp?), which is to last for 10,000 years during which the Dharma declines.

The three periods are significant to Mahayana adherents, particularly those who hold the Lotus Sutra in high regard, namely the Tiantai and Tendai and Nichiren Buddhism, who believe that different Buddhist teachings are valid (i.e., able to lead practitioners to enlightenment) in each period due to the different capacity to accept a teaching (?? Cn: j?g?n; Jp: kikon) of the people born in each respective period.

Further, in the Mah?sa?nip?ta Sutra, the three periods are further divided into five five-hundred year periods (???? Cn: w? w? b?i sùi; Jp: go no gohyaku sai), the fifth and last of which was prophesied to be when the Buddhism of Sakyamuni would lose all power of salvation and a new Buddha would appear to save the people. This time period would be characterized by unrest, strife, famine, and natural disasters.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Ages_of_Buddhism

With logic, everything of nature will go up or arise and go down or decline and back again in the same cycle. The degeneration age we live in now is fed by very strong Desire and the importance of satisfying "me" and this will get worse as time goes. It is right in front of our eyes already. We can see it in our coming future. So it is not that Dharma declines. It is because the strength of the degenerate times takes stronger holding in our Minds, that creates the karma not to be in dharma, to preserve, to practice and to apply. It will be very difficult for us to even hold vows, even if we meet the dharma in the 10,000 years of decline.

So for those who holds the dharma now well, we need to work harder to preserve the buddha dharma to continue its work so others in future may have dharma.

grandmapele

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2015, 03:01:17 PM »
Thank you, yontenjamyang for sharing. This is a revelation to me. Sounds like a very accurate prophecy to me. So scary that I feel that I really have to practice even though my practice is very low. Thank you all the same. Such a wake up call for lazy people like me.

eyesoftara

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Re: The Five Degenerations of the Kaliyuga Age can be use to practice
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2015, 06:12:10 AM »
This is consistent with the advise in the Lamrim that we should take the sufferings of times and of others upon ourselves as a way to purifying our karma and to generate the motivation that we can suffer others sufferings; that all sufferings of others ripen on us. This is for the courageous and it infuse in our minds that:

1) Our suffering are pervasive and generate renunciation,
2) Others are suffering and we should generate Boddhicitta.
3) That the suffering are cause by the attachment to self manifested as the 5 aggregates and generate the view of ultimate nature of things.

In other words, even during these degenerate time. when the Buddha has taught the Dharma, and further the Tantra, we have the opportune conditions to practice the Dharma with a qualified Guru and achieve ultimate happiness for self and others.