The Meaning of Infinite Numbers in the Lotus Sūtra

Autores: Fernando Tola y Carmen Dragonetti

In the Saddharmapurṇḍarīkasūtra are found several adjectives, nouns under the form of compounds, comparisons and expressions etc., that denote great numbers and are employed in relation to beings and things of diverse kinds. These great numbers are of such a magnitude that in fact they are almost expressive of infinitude. The adjectives expressing great/infinite numbers are very numerous. Among them we have for instance: agaṇanīya, agaṇiya, asaṃkhya, asaṃkhyeya, aparimita, apramāṇa, aprameya, ananta, acintiya. We can indicate as the most representative ones among compounds, comparisons and expressions referring to great/ infinite numbers the following ones: (compound) : bahu……koṭīnayutaśatasahasra; (comparison with the sand of the Gaṅga river): aśitigaṅgānadīvālikāsama; (with atoms): evāprameyā bahukalpakoṭyaḥ parinirvṛtasya sugatasya tasya / paramāṇu sarve na bhavanti lakṣyās tāvad bahu kṣīṇa bhavanti kalpāḥ (VII, p. 158, v. 5), and (expression): kalpāna koṭīnayutā gaṇenta ekaika no cāntu labheya teṣām (VII, p. 192, v. 77).

Cita:

Tola, F. & Dragonetti, C. (1991), “The Meaning of Infinite Numbers in the Lotus Sutra”, Hokke-Bunka Kenkyū 17: 107-116.