by Ashin Janakabhivamsa | 66,666 words
English translation of "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" by Professor Ko Lay. Revised by Sayadaw U Silananda, International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon, 1999...
Different planes of existences have different life span. In this human plane life span varies according to the ambient kappa (world cycle). If the world system is on the increase gradually, the human life span also increase to infinity, while in the decreasing world cycle human life span goes as short as ten years. When the Gotama Buddha appeared in this world the average maximum age was one hundred. Today it is about 75. Persons with ordinary kamma cannot exceed this maximum limit; only those born with specially powerful kamma may live beyond 75. Their longevity is attributable to good past kamma and supernormal medicine such as 'rasayana'.
During the time of Gotama Buddha, the Venerable Maha Kassapa and Ánanda, and Visakha, the donor of the huge monastery, lived up to the age of 120; the Venerable Bakula Mahathera up to 160. Those persons had extraordinary noble past kamma. Common people with no such kusala kamma will not live beyond their life span of 75. Death of this type is called the expiry of normal life span - just as the exhaustion of oil extinguishes the flame of an oil lamp even though the wick is still there.