Question about MN83 (Maghadeva Sutta)

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      The following question is from DanielSt:

      I tried to post at the forum, but it said: “Forbidden”. That’s why I write it here to you.

      “Some months ago, I came across this Sutta:

      Which I liked because of the story the Buddha told. He explained the following:

      “And a lineage of 84,000 kings, sons of sons of King Makhādeva, shaved off their hair and beard, dressed in ocher robes, and went forth from the lay life to homelessness here in this mango grove.

      Rañño kho panānanda, maghadevassa puttapaputtakā tassa paramparā caturāsītirājasahassāni imasmiṁyeva maghadevaambavane kesamassuṁ ohāretvā kāsāyāni vatthāni acchādetvā agārasmā anagāriyaṁ pabbajiṁsu.”

      As well as:

      “For 84,000 years they played games as a child, for 84,000 years they acted as viceroy, for 84,000 years they ruled the realm, and for 84,000 years they led the spiritual life after going forth here in this mango grove.

      Caturāsītivassasahassāni kumārakīḷitaṁ kīḷiṁsu, caturāsītivassasahassāni oparajjaṁ kāresuṁ, caturāsītivassasahassāni rajjaṁ kāresuṁ, caturāsītivassasahassāni imasmiṁyeva maghadevaambavane agārasmā anagāriyaṁ pabbajitā brahmacariyamacariṁsu.”

      For my curiosity, I calculated the number of years that this lineage lasted, according to these numbers: 28 Billion years.

      That must be around one mahakappa?

      But how serious to take these numbers? The kings all seemed to get equally old, which should not happen if the age of humans periodically changes many times in one mahakappa. Why did they all get equally old, around 320.000 years?

      Am I to take these numbers seriously?”

      Best regards,

      Hello Daniel:

      I don’t think those are literally numbers.

      If you look at the sutta, there are AT LEAST TWO words which contain “caturāsīti” and “sahassāni“: caturāsītirājasahassāni, caturāsītivassasahassāni.

      In DN 17, there are several more: “mahāsudassanassa caturāsīti nagarasahassāni ahesuṁ kusāvatīrājadhānippamukhāni; caturāsīti pāsādasahassāni” AND
      caturāsīti kūṭāgārasahassāni ahesuṁ mahāviyūhakūṭāgārappamukhāni; caturāsīti pallaṅkasahassāni … vejayantarathappamukhāni; caturāsīti maṇisahassāni ahesuṁ maṇiratanappamukhāni; caturāsīti itthisahassāni

      I think “caturāsīti sahassāni” is just a phrase used to indicate “a large number” of something.

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