佛學講座 - 佛學問答(English) - What did the Buddha mean when he pronounced beginningless?
What did the Buddha mean when he pronounced beginningless?

 

The term beginningless pertains to nonexistence of primordial cause.

The Buddha held that the universe is without any starting point, that

there is no chance of finding it within the brevity of a lifetime and

limitations of energy and intelligence, and that the earth is but of

thousands of millions of continuous years.

In the Buddha' s worldview, the extent of time and space is horrendously

vast. Time goes by kalpas, as in the immeasurable asankhya

kalpas. Space goes by the incessant process of formation, abidance,

deterioration, and nonexistence of all worlds, and the planet earth has

come to its present state through immeasurable repeats of the same

process. How, then, is human intelligence ever capable of tracking

and arresting the beginning of time? Hence the Buddha' s adjectival

application of the word, beginningless.

On realization and awakening and with knowledge of all forms of

previous existence of self and another, we would comprehend the

world and life itself. Hence beginningless is the same as before the

immeasurable worlds began.