Bhadrakalpa (P. bhaddakappa; T. bskal pa bzang po བསྐལ་པ་བཟང་པོ་; C. xianjie 賢劫) is translated as "fortunate eon," "bright eon," "auspicious eon," etc. It refers to a "great eon" (mahākalpa) in which buddhas appear. Our current great eon is such an era.
The Princeton Dictionary states:
- The number of buddhas who take rebirth during a bhadrakalpa varies widely in the texts, some stating that five buddhas will appear during this era, others that upward of a thousand buddhas will appear. In many texts, Śākyamuni is presumed to have been preceded by six previous buddhas, bridging two different eons, who together are called the “seven buddhas of antiquity” (saptatathāgata). Elsewhere, it is presumed that a thousand buddhas appear during the “eon of stability” in each of the three preceding great eons.
In Sanskrit Mahayana texts, the term bhadrakalpa is commonly used to refer to the current eon, in which it is said that over 1000 buddhas will appear. For example, according to the Fortunate Eon Sutra (Bhadrakalpika Sūtra), 1000 buddhas will appear during the current era.
A badhrakalpa is said to last approximately 236 million years.
The three great eons
- the glorious eon (vyūhakalpa) - the previous kalpa
- the auspicious eon (bhadrakalpa) - the present kalpa
- the constellation eon (nakṣatrakalpa) - the next kalpa