Solar eruptions in 2012, and what the Buddha said 2600 years ago
By Dr. Keerthi Jayasekera
Extreme solar eruptions could disrupt communications, power grids and other technology on Earth by 2012. These eruptions are expected to increase in frequency and intensity towards the next solar maximum cycle which peaks in 2012, up from the current minimum of its 11 year active cycle.
“Whether it is terrestrial catastrophes of extreme space- weather incidents, the results can be devastating to modern societies that depend in a myriad of ways on advanced technological systems,” warned Daniel Baker, Director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Colorado university in Boulder.
Such conditions can produce solar storm electromagnetic fields that induce extreme currents in electric wires, disrupting power lines, causing wide-spread blackouts and affecting communication cables that support the Internet. It also produces solar energy particles and the dislocation of the Earth’s radiation belts, which can damage satellites used for commercial communications, global positioning and weather forecasting. “Obviously the Sun is Earth’s life blood,” said Richard Fisher, Director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA headquarters in Washington.
Besides emitting a continuous stream of plasma called the Solar Wind, the sun periodically release billions of tons of matter called the Coronal Mass Ejections. These immense clouds of material, when directed towards Earth, can cause large magnetic storms in the magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. Such space weather can affect the performance and reliability of space-born and ground-based technological systems reported a National Academy release.
What Buddha taught
The scientific data thus available to us, does not speak well for the inhabitants of Planet Earth. But this is the reality that mankind is faced with. All what Lord Buddha taught in his 45 years long ministry was for man to train his mind to view reality as it is. In this context a journey back in space and time to the era of the Buddha 2600 years ago is needed to see what the Buddha said about the universe. This exercise would be both interesting and pertinent in order to make up our minds to face this reality. The relevant information and answers are all to be found in Buddhist Cosmology.
Man is not alone
According to Buddhist cosmic perspective man is not alone in the universe. The human world, Earth is not the centre of the universe. Earth is also not the only place for beings to live. According to Buddhism, there are a large number of other beings living in the universe. Buddhism recognizes the vastness of Space and the immensity of Time. Both Time and Space is relative. There are millions and millions of worlds in the universe. In the Anguttara Nikaya it is said: ‘As far as these suns and moons revolve, shedding their light in space, so far it extends the thousandfold world systems. In it are thousands of suns and thousands of moons, thousands of earths, and thousands of heavenly worlds. There is said to be thousandfold minor world systems,…Thus Buddhism recognises world systems. According to Buddhism, all conditioned things are impermanent. Therefore millions of world systems are not everlasting. There are ‘Samvatta’ (rolling on or forward evolution), and ‘Vivatta (rolling back, or devolution). They are in the process of evolution and devolution. There are no beginnings or endings in a world as they are constantly changing.
Appearance of other suns
Time is not the same everywhere. In one Buddhist discourse, it is mentioned that 50 earthly years is equal to one day in a certain heaven and 1600 earthly years is equal to one day in yet another heaven. Hence the Buddhists use Kappa (aeons) to describe a very long period of time. It is reported in a Sutta that the Ven.Ananda was listening to a discussion between the Buddha and two Brahmin friends, Vasettha and Bharadvaja at the mansion donated by Visaka in Savatthi. He did not interrupt the discussion because he wanted the two Brahmins to get their problems resolved. In the evening when the Buddha was alone, Ananda approached him and questioned: “Sir, you explained to Vasettha and Bharadvaja how the evolution of the world and human society could have taken place gradually after a period of dissolution. But, Sir, you did not explain how the world would dissolve. May the fortunate One explain it for the benefit of the community?”
The Buddha said: “Ananda, there will be a time when there will be no rainfall for years and all form of life, seeds and products and herbs will be burnt up and completely destroyed. Then after a long period of time the second sun appears. When the second sun appears the rivulets and small lakes will dry up. With the appearance of the third sun the great rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Acirawati, Sarabhu and Mahi will dry up.
When the fourth sun appears the great lakes which are the sources of the great rivers–lakes like Anotatta, Sihapapatna, Rathakara, Kannamunda, Kunala, Chaddanta and Mandakini will dry up completely.
After another long period of time a fifth sun will appear when the waters of the oceans to the depth of miles will evaporate and the oceans will recede. In the end, whatever water there would be in oceans would be like what one can see in the hoof prints of cows after the rains. This then would be followed by the appearance of a sixth sun. With it, this great Earth and the great Mount Sinaru will start emitting smoke. Finally, Ananda, with the appearance of the seventh sun the great Earth as well as Mount Sinaru will burn up and not even the ashes will be visible. This Ananda, is the manner in which this world will gradually die. Remember, it happens during an incalculable period of time and the period it takes to re-evolve is similarly incalculable.”
“Dust thou art…”
The closest that one could get to visualize what earth would look like when the 6th sun appears as said by the Buddha would be to look at photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan after the atom bomb was dropped over them during the second world war–all what was there, plants, animals, buildings reduced to ash! It reminds one of the Biblical saying: ‘Dust thou art, to dust thou shall return’. The victims of these atomic explosions are still suffering with the after effects of the injuries and illnesses sustained at that time.
Already, the effects of global warming due to environmental pollution caused by man, has caused weather patterns to change. Polar ice caps have begun to melt. Water levels in the oceans are on the rise. Tsunamis can occur again. Volcanic eruptions, excessive rain, widespread floods and accompanying health hazards and relatively new diseases like AIDS and viral infections are on the increase. Malfunctioning nuclear reactors in Bhopal, India and Chernobyl in Russia have had its devastating effects on the surrounding populations. What would be the consequences of a nuclear explosion in a nuclear bomb storage area if it were to happen accidentally? The affected area on Earth will look as if the 6th sun has appeared and has had its effects!
In 2012, if solar eruptions would cause a large mass of solar matter to break off and form a solar mass with properties of the sun and were to get in to an orbit and begin to go around planet Earth, then it would have the effects of the first sun as told by the Buddha. Buddhism recognizes the reality of the external world. The Buddha has clearly pointed out in a Sutta that the first beginning of this world is not observable.
Source: Internet report–Washington Jan 13 (IANS)