The Diamond Sutra makes reference to the FIVE(5) x 500 year periods after which the Dharma will become invisible, 2,500 years from Buddha’s death. Most scholars set this year to be around 1957. The Buddha prophesied that:
The Dharma would become invisible in 2,500 years ( 5 x 500 years) after His Death. Shortly there after the Maitreya would come.
According to Buddhism, the Maitreya is the future Buddha of this world whose manifestation will bring forth the Bul-Goog-To (불국토), or “the Kingdom of Buddha on Earth.” I liken Bul-Goog-To to Baba’s New Humanity(New World Order)– the Bible’s 1,000 years of peace– Jesus’s “Kingdom of God on Earth,” — and “Lao Tze’s “Kingdom of the Tao.” 1969 is the year that Baba dropped his body, which is “shortly after” this 2,500 year period came to an end in roughly 1957. In most Asian cultures, it is the ‘death day’ that counts, not the birthday. Francis Brabazon speaks to this in a letter he wrote to the Australian group:
“The longer one is with Baba, the more one realizes that the only solution to the condition of the world is a New Humanity; a humanity oriented to a completely different set of values than that which humanity has now; a humanity oriented with “new ears for music,” this new music of “love God and each other as oneself,” and an end of the piggish separateness of “mine and the world” — and the beginning of the New World.
The trouble is, the beginning of this New Humanity cannot be effected until Baba breaks his silence — which means dropping his body.”
The Maitreya manifests when he drops His body. This was true of the Buddha as well. For his manifestation, Buddha set his death year as year 0 while he was still alive. Even in Christianity, it is the death day of Jesus that serves as the pivot of our calendar. Baba says, “When I speak that Word, I shall lay the foundation for that which is to take place during the next seven hundred years.” In other works, Baba explains to us that from the day Mohammed dropped his body until Baba drops his body is Mohammed’s work (or manifestation). And that Baba’s work (or manifestation) is for the period that begins with the breaking of his silence until the next Avatar drops his body. Likewise, in Buddhism, Buddha’s death date is set as the pivot date for all His works.
For me, the topic of when Baba broke his silence is a simple one. For others it may be a bit more complicated. Bhauji has said that shortly before Baba dropped his body, he spoke with his lips into Bhauji’s ears something like “Remember, I am not this body.” Eruch, who was holding Baba’s leg, said that he did not hear it, but that if Bhauji says Baba spoke to him then Baba spoke to him. For me, this means that Baba broke His silence literally minutes before he dropped his body to Bhauji — case closed — end of story. What’s funny is how Bhauji had totally forgotten about it for decades (I don’t know exactly how long) until one day, according to him, he suddenly remembered. It is a mysterious event, indeed, as if purposefully shrouded in mystery, injected with a strong dose of plausible deniability by none other than — Baba.
So, given Bhauji’s testimony, Francis Brabazon’s position on the matter, topped off with the consistency of pattern we see in previous Avatars, I find it reasonable to accept the day Baba dropped his body as the day he broke his silence, and thereby the beginning of his Manifestation bringing forth the Maitreya prophesied by Buddha to occur shortly after his 2,500 year period (1957), which sounds right around 1969. I know it sounds crazy — but I gotta tell you —I’m sold.
Another interesting fact is that this is the only prophecy that actually specifies time. No other prophetic forms including the Bible, Nostradamus, Edgar Casey, or even the Koran give a framework of measurable time. This Buddha prophecy is the only one I know of where specific time frames — so to speak — were given. Yet, at the same time, in a stupendous stroke of irony, it seems clear that Buddha was not speaking of specific dates, but in general terms, in increments of 500 years. If asked, a Zen monk would be quick to tell you that this is not a literal prophecy—and he’d be right. It is not. Yet, as Babalovers we know that these dates LITERALLY line up perfectly!! Wow!!! As I say this I feel myself dumbfounded in a paradox, and what a lovely feeling this is. Baba’s paradoxical smile is upon me. It’s some kind of Divine Joke, where Buddha and Baba got together to setup a paradox just to bewilder some future Baba-lovers. What are the odds that the only prophecy in the world that actually gives a specific date, which also happens to be told in such a way that can only be interpreted as an approximation, actually ends up being numerically dead accurate? What a mighty joke! It tickles my heart and pickles my mind all at the same time.
From the day he was God-realized until the very day he dropped his body, for 42 years straight, the Buddha taught the Dharma every single day of his life, without taking a single day off. That is why we have 84,000 sutras. Buddha taught more than all the other Avatars combined. Yet, he likened the Dharma (the totality of Buddha’s teachings) to a small branch of a tree set against a vast forest of Dharma actually teachable.
On the day the Diamond Sutra was given, Subori, one of Buddha’s most senior disciples had a great awakening. Subori had been listening to Buddha’s lectures for some 40 odd years and had many awakenings throughout the decades. But the awakening he received on this fateful day was so ultra-phenomenal that the sum total of all his previous awakenings could no longer be seen as awakenings at all. He saw that all his previous awakenings were nothing more than awakening again and again in a dream all the while remaining fast asleep. He clearly saw that all his previous awakenings were, indeed, not even awakenings. An awakening so vast, so vital and integral had instantly rendered all that he thought he knew null and void. Here is a man whose world just turned on its head. Having arrived at a higher fractal of consciousness, he likens his previous fractals to deep sleep. What happened to this man? What happened to his world view? This is a topic for another article. For our topic, it is the question Subori asks the Buddha sometime after he has this great awakening that is of interest.
After describing his awakening, suddenly a doubt enters Subori’s mind. Buddha taught in such a way that when a doubt enters a disciple’s mind, it is understood that he is to voice it out to Buddha immediately. So Subori asks, “Dear Precious One. Let’s say there is a student of the Dharma in some distant future. Upon hearing your words — upon hearing your teachings — upon following the flow of your rhetoric — do you think that such a man could possibly grasp the real meaning of your teachings?” If you unpack this question, what Subori is really saying is that he doesn’t think that future monk has any chance in realizing what he just awakened to moments ago. According to BubRyun, Subori thought:
What about the future students, Buddha? How will they ever be able to get it? I had the benefit of many decades of Buddha’s teachings. Yet still, I only just ‘got it.’ I also had the tremendous benefit of having Buddha’s personal presence — the best possible teacher. Yet still it took me this long to understand anything. I also had the further benefit of being surrounded by some of the most brilliant and ardent students as classmates. Even in these ideal conditions, I didn’t even have the first clue as to anything Buddha was talking about until just a while ago. So tell me, how is it going to be even remotely possible for some student, who doesn’t even speak Pali, in some distant far off land, say 2,500 years from now, to grasp the real meaning of your teachings?
Buddha responds by saying “Do not say that, Subori. If there is someone who is able to hold and never let go of his Kye (계) and who merits good deeds — even if he lives during the last 500 year period — when he hears these teachings, this very phraseology and rhetoric, he will be able to take it in as his reality, and assimilate it into his world view.” In other words, he will be able to ‘get it,’ just like you just did Subori.
In many western translations Kye (계) is interpreted simply as strictly adhering to the five precepts of no killing, no stealing, no lying, no sexual misconduct, and no intoxicants. But this is a tragic oversimplification of Kye (계). In Zen, Kye is a living principle, not a list of rules. When Paul says “The spirit liveth, yet the letter is death,” he is talking of how the spirit of the lord must be alive in us, not as dead rules.
Like someone traveling through the woods on a windy night would guard the flame of his lamp, a Zen monk is to always be on guard to protect the living flames of Kye from ever blowing out. This is what it means to hold one’s Kye — or to protect one’s Kye — or to not let go of one’s Kye.
So what is Kye?
So now that we have a better understanding of what Kye means. Lets get back to Subori and his question. Buddha says that “If there is someone who is able to hold and never let go of his Kye (계) and who merits good deeds — even if he lives during the last 500 year period — if he hears this teaching, this very phraseology and rhetoric, he will be able to take it in his mind and heart as his new reality, and assimilate it into his world view.” So what are these 5 periods of 500 years?
1st Period (解脫堅固)
The first 500-year period starting with the year 0, which is when Buddha dropped his body, is referred to as Hae-tal-gyun-go period (해탈견고시대). This phrase translates into English as “The Period when Liberation is Strong.” In this period, according to Buddha, people are normal, rational human beings. They are referred to as proper Human beings because they are rational and have not lost their humanity. Thus, upon hearing the teachings of the Buddha, they awaken rather quickly. During this period, people from all walks of life get realized pretty effortlessly. For example: nobles, peasants, untouchables, beggars, butchers, including prostitutes who Buddha confirms as realized, as well as the famous serial killer Angulimala, who also receives realization. Buddha says that the essence of his teachings (Dharma) shall stay alive during these 500 years, and that many will be realized.
2nd Period (禪定堅固)
The second period is called Sun-Jung-Gyun-Go period (선정견고시대), from year 500~1,000. In English it sounds like “The Period when Practice is Strong.” During this period, the people become focused on practicing the teachings of Buddha, yet few, if any, get realization. Why is this? With vigor, they study the teachings of Buddha; with vigor they meditate; with vigor they contemplate; with vigor they adhere to all the precepts and practices; yet hardly any of them get realization. The living spirit of Truth begins to get crowded out by the ever-increasing presence of rigid dogmas, dry ritualism, religious rights, ecclesiastical procedures, various protocols, proper outfits, and the like. Alan Watts refers to a similar period in Christianity when “we kicked Jesus upstairs.” Thus, practice is strong but no one is really getting it — the shell is functioning, but the very essence, the pearl, goes missing.
Then the third 500 year period comes along from year 1,000 to 1,500. This period is known as the Da-Moon-Kyun-Ko Period(다문견고시대), which translates to “The Period where Academia is Strong.” During this period, people are fascinated with Buddhism. They are infatuated with the Buddha. Buddha is awesome, and a most interesting topic for discussion. During this period the people love to study and discuss the life of Buddha, but few are diving into the Dharma, and therefore even fewer are practicing it, and therefore even fewer are getting realization.
Seeking to grasp the Truth embodied in the Dharma takes a back seat to questions like “what size was Buddha’s begging bowl?” or “what was his horoscope?” A more thorough study about the peripheral details pertaining to the Dharma has taken the place of actually trying to understand it. By making a study of the Dharma, people found a loophole wherein they could stay comfortably shallow, all the while being convinced “I am deep.”
During this period, however, much of the teachings of the Buddha get properly organized. All the Sutras are divided, subdivided, categorized, subcategorized, checked, double-checked, approved, authenticated, indexed, sealed, stamped, and filed away in a special place for safekeeping. Everything is neatly organized, and put away nicely, on a beautiful bookshelf, in a big building, where it is locked away with no less than the best security system the time can offer. Just far enough beyond the reach of introspection — and contemplation….
4th Period (塔寺堅固)
The 4th 500 year period is known as the Tap-Sa-Kyun-Ko Period (탑사견고시대). “Tap-Sa” means “Temple Builder.” This is the Period when the Temple Builders are strong. So what does this mean? During this period, when people hear the Dharma — they fall asleep. Let’s talk to someone of this period:
“I swear, for the life of me, every time I open a Sutra and begin to read it, within two paragraphs — I kid you not — within two paragraphs — I’m a-sleeping. I’m trying my best, but the stuff bores me to death. You know how much I love Buddha, right? But boy, when it comes to his stuff — I can’t see how anyone can stay awake! But since I’m so into the Buddha, and love him so much — I feel the need to adorn him. You’ve seen all the pictures of Buddha I have in every room, right? So, after careful consideration, I decided I will dedicate my life to building the largest Buddha statue ever, in Buddha’s honor, of course. It will be twice as large as the one in Kathmandu — and we will build the world’s largest Temple, too. Due to the magnitude of the project, it is understandable that some of us, such as myself, will have to dedicate most of our time to engineering matters, to complete said monumental task at hand. Thus, instead of the Dharma, which puts me to sleep anyway, I will serve Buddha with buildings. I will serve Buddha by honoring him with huge temples, pagodas, and beautiful statues. The huge monuments we build will be the symbol of our dedication to the Buddha and his Dharma. Have no doubt; my faith in Him is strong. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I can feel it deep in my being. Right here, in my gut. Right here! Just look at those buildings. Yes, I don’t really understand the mumbo-jumbo Buddha talks about, but surely you have to understand that my work is a bit different than yours. You see, I work for the marketing arm of Buddha’s ministry. With great statues and monuments, we are the ones that legitimize and establish the Buddha’s Dharma in the culture. Without the great monuments, how will the people ever know how great the Buddha is? Listen, Buddha can’t do it alone, ye hear! He needs our help — at least in the advertising and marketing department.
During this period few even read the Dharma, therefore even fewer are studying it, and therefore even fewer are practicing it, and therefore even fewer are getting realized.
5th Period (鬪爭堅固)
This Period is known as Tu-Jeng-Kyun-Ko Period (투쟁견고시대), which translates “The Period when Fighting is strong.” This is the age of confrontation. No longer building temples, now the Lamas are fighting over existing temples. The fight is over who has the legitimate authority to control this historic Temple. During this period, seeking legitimacy through authority, various factions are competing for control of the board. At the management level, temple life has essentially become political. The various competing factions are ironically driven by the same mission, which is to make sure the other faction, those undeserving evil ones, don’t get control of this great and historic temple (worth countless millions).
All across societies, always reshaping alliances for strategic advantage, various factions are in a state of constant mistrust. Dominate or be dominated has become the name of the game. During this period, it is our version of Buddhism vs. theirs; our religion vs. theirs, our sect versus theirs, our culture vs. theirs, our temple vs. theirs, our country vs. theirs; our province vs. theirs, our village vs. theirs; our family vs. theirs, our sex vs. theirs, us vs. parents, husband vs. wife, rich vs. poor; me vs. you, me vs. the world. Separation reaches a zenith. Everyone and everything has now been properly divided and subdivided into every conceivably category, and then polarized. It is the age of fanaticism. Fanaticism = Overcompensation for doubt.
About this period, BubRyun says:
You give them a Sutra, and they will argue incessantly about which sutra is the better one. You give them meditation, and they will argue to no end about which meditation is the better one, pros and cons considered. Everyone has a favorite friend followed by a second favorite friend, followed by third and a fourth. Even your best friend has now been upgraded to your “bestest best friend.” Even food is ranked starting with my favorite food all the way down to the food I hate the most. During this period people are interested in things like: “the top 10 richest men in the world” or “the top 10 best movies of the year.” Not only is everything and everyone given a value, a ranking, a status, a class, and a category, they are constantly being compared with each other and re-evaluated.
The 5th Period is also given the name MalSeh (말세) which means, “End times.” When the end times are near, it is said that people will be able to put a price on anything. Even water will be sold for money—a prospect unthinkable for people of the 1st Period. For example, even “air time” can be sold for money. If you can put a price on “beauty”, as in how much a supermodel makes; and if you can put a price on how well one hits a ball, as in how much a professional golfer makes, and if you can put a price on happiness, as in how much it would cost to buy that thing you’ve always wanted; and if you can put a price on freedom, as in I make six figures, and if you can put a price on love, for even marriage has now become an enforceable contract, fully endowed with financial consequences— then you know the end times are at hand.
When a man’s worth can be calculated and distilled down to a numerical expression; AND when the average man sees nothing wrong with doing this; when accurately quantifying and measuring a man’s worth is seen as good human resource management, the end times are here.
During this period, in Terevatra Buddism, the masses are referred to as BumBooJungSeng (범부중생), or those who are only acting human—Not really human but acting like a human. The people of the 1st period are referred to as proper humans, as in normal, sane human beings. In the 5th period, what we have are abnormal humans wearing ‘human masks’, who remain essentially inhumane. During this period, the ordinary man feels he cannot survive if he were to maintain the 5 precepts. According to Bub-Ryun it is a period where people feel:
“If I would have been honest all the time, I would have lost my job a long time ago. One cannot survive without packaging and marketing oneself. What is wrong with putting your best face forward? We live in a dog-eat-dog world, if I don’t take it first, the other guy will. Do you think he gives a damn about me? Sometimes we have no choice but to compromise our ideals to make ends meet. That is life. We must be realistic, right? What’s wrong with Selling for $10 what only cost 20 cents? I’d be proud of my son if he could sell it for $100 or even $1,000. That is what makes for a great businessman, don’t you think? I see nothing wrong with this. Not at all. If you had to do the things I have to do everyday to make a living, you’d be drinking too. I need to let out some steam from time to time, you understand? And war and conflict, well that’s just how it is. It’s human nature. There will always be war and conflict.” **** Come now. We don’t kill, we engage the target. Women and children? Just so you know, the proper term for that is ‘collateral damage.’ We don’t kill women and children. It’s unfortunate but necessary. As long as we take care of our own, go to church, and pay our taxes, why should we give a crap about them? They don’t care about us!
Contrary to the 5th period, “normal” people of the 1st Period are described by Chuang-Tzu as:
No one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing that they were “doing their duty.” They loved each other and did not know that this was “loving thy neighbor.” They deceived no one yet they did not know that they were “men to be trusted.” They were reliable and did not know that this was “good faith.” They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history.
Wow—wow—wow! Wait a second, I said to myself. Do you mean to tell me that:
They were never taught about duty?—Yet they did their duty?
They were never taught to be reliable—Yet they were reliable?
They were never taught to love?—Yet they loved their neighbor?
They were never taught not to lie?—Yet they were honest?
I believe, we humans are currently in a state of ‘mental’ captivity, utterly deprived of our actual potential. We are like ‘tigers’ who see a ‘pussy cat’ in the mirror. We are like god’s who believe themselves to be mere mortals. Our true potential, to us, has become something we are actually having a hard time believing even possible. As a whole, we have been reduced to our lowest possible selves. The end of the 5th period is also referred to as Oh-Tak-Ahk-Seh (오탁악세), which translates like “ a period where the river runs thick with the five evils.” The mind’s of men are filled to the brim with the thick mud of the five evils. No wonder we cannot think straight. Its as if we need it wash away all that we thought we knew, and start fresh. The highest hope, is what I have for the New Humanity. I can now see that when Baba said the New Humanity was going to be awesome, he wasn’t kidding. I can see the New Humanity’s awesomeness, though nothing special for the Ladakhi’s, will be a big deal for us. Can you imagine a bunch of people who— never lie, never masturbate, kind to kids, kind to animals, always happy, impossible to make miserable, no pride, humble as a rock, loves everyone, loves God most of all, in a society with no conflict, no crime, no theft, no bankers, no unnecessary technology, no police, no mayor, no governor, no president, no government, and no king. Where God’s jurisdiction is restored in in the hearts of men, who become the living law of God on earth.
In conclusion, like Baba, Buddha assures us that the thick mud of evil will come to a zenith, and then wash away, bringing forth the Bul-Gug-To(불국토), or “The Kingdom of Buddha on Earth,” which I believe is Baba’s New World Order—the New Humanity—the Kingdom of God on Earth—where the claims of the spirit—Rule!