Two Wings of a Bird: Radical Life Extension from a Buddhist Perspective
With the steady current of astounding biomedical advances and the observable extension of life expectancy in recent decades, it has become easy to imagine that in the near- and long-term future, human beings will continue to experience an increasing prolongation of healthy life spans. Canonical Buddhist texts—including sūtras, tantras, and the noted compendium of Buddhist teachings written by the fourth-century Indian scholar Vasubandhu, Abhidharmakośa—have long asserted that the span of a human lifetime can be quite variable. For example, according to one system of Buddhist cosmology, human beings living on the four continents surrounding the central Mount Meru experience lives that range from 100 years at most in the continent where we are thought to live, Jambudvīpa, up to a fixed life span of 1,000 years on the northern continent, Uttarakura (Lati Rinpochay et al. 1983, 36–37).
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