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Kalpa (Skt.; Tib. བསྐལ་པ་, Wyl. bskal pa) — an aeon, a vast period of time related to the different phases of a great universe (or trichiliocosm), according to Abhidharma literature.

A great kalpa (Skt. mahākalpa; Tib. བསྐལ་ཆེན་, Wyl. bskal chen) is the period of time during which the universe passes through the four periods (or medium kalpas) of

  1. formation (Tib. ཆགས་པའི་བསྐལ་པ་, Wyl. chags pa'i bskal pa),
  2. duration (Tib. གནས་པའི་བསྐལ་པ་, Wyl. gnas pa'i bskal pa),
  3. destruction (Tib. འཇིག་པའི་བསྐལ་པ་, Wyl. 'jig pa'i bskal pa) and
  4. voidness (Tib. སྟོང་པའི་བསྐལ་པ་, Wyl. stong pa'i bskal pa).

Each of these four periods is made up of twenty intermediate kalpas, which are also sometimes subdivided into periods of increase and decrease (of the merit and life-span of beings living during that period).

Further Reading

  • Kangyur Rinpoche, Treasury of Precious Qualities (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2001), 'Appendix I'.