dharma ending age?

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dharma ending age?

Postby Frank » Mon May 21, 2012 7:14 am

isn't this when the scriptures are forgotten, the dharma largely abandoned? why do i keep hearing people say that we are living in the dharma ending age? dharma is preserved on paper, digitally, in stone/steel, woodblocks, tattooed, memorized, etc. millions of people are practicing it world wide and the numbers are growing. the dharma is not going anywhere anytime soon. how could this possibly be the dharma ending age?

unless there is a sutra that defines this phrase differently than i'm thinking, we should be safe from dharma ending for quite some time.
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Dexing » Mon May 21, 2012 7:24 am

Christianity mainly has only one book, yet look at how many different sects there are that interpret the same words in vastly different ways. Dharma ending does not have to mean texts disappear, but their interpretation and practice can become quite different than initially intended. In other words, Dharma is the "message" of the texts. The texts may remain, but the message goes through the "telephone" game.
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Frank » Mon May 21, 2012 7:34 am

Dexing wrote:Christianity mainly has only one book, yet look at how many different sects there are that interpret the same words in vastly different ways. Dharma ending does not have to mean texts disappear, but their interpretation and practice can become quite different than initially intended. In other words, Dharma is the "message" of the texts. The texts may remain, but the message goes through the "telephone" game.



great explanation! so people who say this is the dharma ending age believe that even though buddhism is wide spread, the vast majority are not practicing correctly and so technically it's not even dharma. therefore, the dharma is being "forgotten", and over time there will be less and less enlightened people because, even with written dharma, no one will be practicing it properly?



makes sense. extremely negative thinking for people who feel that way. i understand now. thanks!
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby ram peswani » Mon May 21, 2012 7:57 am

Frank wrote:isn't this when the scriptures are forgotten, the dharma largely abandoned? why do i keep hearing people say that we are living in the dharma ending age? dharma is preserved on paper, digitally, in stone/steel, woodblocks, tattooed, memorized, etc. millions of people are practicing it world wide and the numbers are growing. the dharma is not going anywhere anytime soon. how could this possibly be the dharma ending age?

unless there is a sutra that defines this phrase differently than i'm thinking, we should be safe from dharma ending for quite some time.



From my point of view it is the Dharma ending age.

I learnt Dharma in my meditation.
When i searched for this understanding of Dharma on internet, I discovered that it is from Lotus Sutra.
In India all around me none understood this Lotus sutra.
I searched for meditating saints in Himalayas and I found none.
I went to Dharmshala, present active centre of Buddhism in India, I found none who could expand, explain or discuss Lotus sutra. Yes, some read it like a parrot and some gave me honour and respect out of their feelings.
I came to this Dharma wheel site with hope that there are many scholars here, But have been literally thrown out. Some even said that Lotus sutra is not the important sutra . They negated the words of Guatam buddha , who has repeated again and again that Lotus sutra is not only the best , but is only the last and final sutra.
Guatam Buddha said that at the end of Dharma era, such a persons will be the rarest of rare, who has digested this sutra.

While I do not claim to know all about Lotus sutra but if there was some discussion, disagreement or opening of Lotus sutra on this site, I could have expanded my understanding of Lotus sutra after give and take.

Since 1992, right or wrong, I feel I am alone with this Sutra
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Frank » Mon May 21, 2012 8:19 am

check out the nichiren and tendai buddhism sections on this forum. i think you will be pleasantly surprised.

all of nichiren buddhism is all about the lotus sutra, same goes for chinese tiantai and japanese tendai. these are all HUGE schools of buddhism devoted entirely to the lotus sutra, considering it above all other sutras. you are so far from being alone with this sutra it's ridiculous.

enjoy this new found knowledge! there are many who agree with you out there. so from this view, it is FAR from being a dharma ending age!
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby ram peswani » Mon May 21, 2012 9:59 am

Frank wrote:check out the nichiren and tendai buddhism sections on this forum. i think you will be pleasantly surprised.

all of nichiren buddhism is all about the lotus sutra, same goes for chinese tiantai and japanese tendai. these are all HUGE schools of buddhism devoted entirely to the lotus sutra, considering it above all other sutras. you are so far from being alone with this sutra it's ridiculous.

enjoy this new found knowledge! there are many who agree with you out there. so from this view, it is FAR from being a dharma ending age!



80% part of Lotus sutra is devoted to Creation of Universes by Bhoddisattvas and Buddhas and developing of Wisdom.
20% the remaining part of Lotus sutra talks of devotion, dharanis , healing and whatever is discussed on the forum of Dharma wheel.
Nichiren etc. buddhism encourages devotion, rituals and mantras. This is indication of dharma ending age when Bhoddisattvas and Buddhas at later age save th0se sentients for future who are attached to Bhuddism by devotion, rituals etc. But the sentients who take gigantic vows to create better and better universes thro Wisdoms accumulated are missing completely.

I do not know of many who agree, because none has come forward to help strengthen my Wisdom thro their debates, challanges etc.

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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon May 21, 2012 10:09 am

ram peswani wrote:...I do not know of many who agree, because none has come forward to help strengthen my Wisdom thro their debates, challanges etc.
It is because you do not listen to what anybody says to you AND like this statement makes obvious, the only thing you consider debate and challenge is when somebody agrees with you.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby ram peswani » Mon May 21, 2012 10:46 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
ram peswani wrote:...I do not know of many who agree, because none has come forward to help strengthen my Wisdom thro their debates, challanges etc.
It is because you do not listen to what anybody says to you AND like this statement makes obvious, the only thing you consider debate and challenge is when somebody agrees with you.
:namaste:



I was waiting for exactly the above reaction from you within an hour. Is it not a fun?
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon May 21, 2012 11:04 am

"I thought a Persian had a red beard, now I know a Persian who has a red beard!" Hyakujo
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:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Aemilius » Mon May 21, 2012 11:05 am

ram peswani wrote:80% part of Lotus sutra is devoted to Creation of Universes by Bhoddisattvas and Buddhas and developing of Wisdom.
20% the remaining part of Lotus sutra talks of devotion, dharanis, healing and whatever is discussed on the forum of Dharma wheel.
Nichiren etc. buddhism encourages devotion, rituals and mantras. This is indication of dharma ending age when Bhoddisattvas and Buddhas at later age save th0se sentients for future who are attached to Bhuddism by devotion, rituals etc. But the sentients who take gigantic vows to create better and better universes thro Wisdoms accumulated are missing completely.

I do not know of many who agree, because none has come forward to help strengthen my Wisdom thro their debates, challanges etc.


I don't see the Lotus sutra in quite the same way as you: What you see as talking about the creation of universes by Bodhisattvas etc is not really the main point of this part in the Lotus Sutra. Its main point is the initiation of Sravakas into the Bodhisattva vehicle and the Buddha vehicle. What you say is merely a consequence of this first major point, its cause is hugely more important (than its result).

Without possessing real abhijña you can't say that you know what each and every follower of the Lotus sutra is doing (verbally, physically and mentally).
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Will » Mon May 21, 2012 3:05 pm

One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Nemo » Mon May 21, 2012 9:36 pm

Shakyamuni;
"Two thousand and five hundred years after my passing the Dharma will spread to the land of the red-faced people” (Mullin, 1991, p. 145)

Guru Rinpoche;
"When the Iron Birds are flying in the sky and the Iron Horses are running on the roads, we know that dharma-ending age has arrived. At this time, Tibetan Buddhism shall flourish globally. When the iron bird flies and the horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world, and the Dharma will come to the land of the red men."

Guru Rinpoche also said by this time over half the population of the earth would be so afflicted by demons that their mindstream would unable to comprehend Dharma. IIRC
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby ram peswani » Tue May 22, 2012 8:37 am

Aemilius wrote:
I don't see the Lotus sutra in quite the same way as you: What you see as talking about the creation of universes by Bodhisattvas etc is not really the main point of this part in the Lotus Sutra. Its main point is the initiation of Sravakas into the Bodhisattva vehicle and the Buddha vehicle. What you say is merely a consequence of this first major point, its cause is hugely more important (than its result).

Without possessing real abhijña you can't say that you know what each and every follower of the Lotus sutra is doing (verbally, physically and mentally).



Lotus sutra tells that everyone of us possess Buddha nature.
It encourages one to increase ones creativity, Wisdom and skills.
One with the help of wisdom and skills can create a situation to be born in presence of a Buddha and get His initiation.
Subsequently after getting a vehicle thro initiation, one has to create huge universes, where Buddha nature and bhoddisattvas prosper, Live life of comforts, luxuries. These universes can be free from Death, Old age and Sufferings.
In many cases human beings can develop skills to fly as well as walk.

Any one of us can follow this path.The ambition has to rise in us to understand Lotus sutra, gain skills and wisdom and then use them after initiation to use them to benefit a vast humanity for eons of time.
This is not happening because it is now a dark age.
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Aemilius » Tue May 22, 2012 10:09 am

ram peswani wrote:Lotus sutra tells that everyone of us possess Buddha nature.
It encourages one to increase ones creativity, Wisdom and skills.
One with the help of wisdom and skills can create a situation to be born in presence of a Buddha and get His initiation.
Subsequently after getting a vehicle thro initiation, one has to create huge universes, where Buddha nature and bhoddisattvas prosper, Live life of comforts, luxuries. These universes can be free from Death, Old age and Sufferings.
In many cases human beings can develop skills to fly as well as walk.

Any one of us can follow this path.The ambition has to rise in us to understand Lotus sutra, gain skills and wisdom and then use them after initiation to use them to benefit a vast humanity for eons of time.
This is not happening because it is now a dark age.


Lotus sutra doesn't have the term "Buddha nature", it does hold a similar idea nevertheless.

It is still happening. Because there is darkness there can be light. Without darkness who would know what light is? Without winter how could we appreciate summer? Because there are hindrances you can develop your potential (to overcome them). If there were no hindrances nothing would be happening.
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Frank » Thu May 24, 2012 4:46 am

what about the fact that the dharma is vibrant and alive all over the world? and so many people practicing so many different forms of it, someone has got to be doing it right! if the world over only one form was being practiced and so everything became stagnant and constrained by a possibly broken method i could understand the concern. but as it is odds are the dharma is being practiced properly at least a few places, or maybe lots of places! theres so much hope, all the way from theravada to mahayana and vajrayana! such huge contrast and variety! it's truly wonderful!
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Re: the Future, near or far?

Postby Will » Thu May 24, 2012 5:55 am

Thus I have heard:
At one time the Buddha, together with bhikṣus and Bodhisattvas, was staying in the city kingdom of Kuśinagara, where He would enter parinirvāṇa in three months. Countless multitudes came to the Buddha and bowed their heads down to the ground. Surrounded by His devotees longing to hear the Dharma, the World-Honored One remained silent, and His radiance did not manifest.
The venerable Ānanda made obeisance to the Buddha and asked Him, “When the World-Honored One pronounces the Dharma, His awesome radiance is always displayed before and after. Now in this huge assembly, His radiance does not appear. Why is this so? There must be a reason. I pray to hear its implication.”
The Buddha remained silent, not responding. After Ānanda asked this question for the third time, the Buddha told Ānanda, “After my parinirvāṇa, as the Dharma comes to an end, the way of the māras will thrive in this world of the five turbidities. Māras will appear as śramaṇas so as to undermine and destroy my Way. They will wear lay clothes and delight in the monk’s robe dyed with a mixture of five colors. To gratify ravenous appetites, they will drink alcohol, eat flesh, and kill sentient beings. Devoid of lovingkindness, they will hate and envy others.
“At that time, there will be Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats, who energetically cultivate virtue and treat all with respect. Esteemed by all, they will teach and transform others impartially. They will pity the poor and old, and help the needy and unfortunate. They will teach others to revere and uphold the sūtras and the holy images. Kind and benevolent in nature, they will do meritorious karmas. Never harming others, they will disregard any harm to themselves in order to help others. Kind and friendly, they will endure abuse, not protecting themselves.
“Although there will be such good people, all māra bhikṣus will be jealous of them. They will slander, malign, and banish them. Afterward, individually and as a group, the māra bhikṣus will not cultivate virtue. Temples will be deserted, falling into disrepair then into ruins. Greedy for material wealth, they will accumulate things, not using them to acquire merit. They will sell slaves to work in the fields. Devoid of lovingkindness, they will burn mountain forests, harming sentient beings. Male slaves will become bhikṣus, and female slaves will become bhikṣuṇīs. Devoid of morality, they will engage in sexual debauchery and perversion, whether with men or women. Such people will cause my Way to fade away.
“Some of them will seek sanctuary in my Order to escape prosecution by the law. They will become śramaṇas but will not observe the precepts or regulations. Although they will, in appearance, recite the precepts on new-moon and full-moon days, they will be reluctant and indolent, not wanting to hear the recitation. They will omit some precepts, not wanting to recite all of them. They will not recite or study the sūtras. If there are readers who do not know the words [in the sūtras], they will claim that they know them. They will not consult the learned ones, but will instead seek fame for self-elevation. They will glorify themselves with fake elegant ways, expecting offerings from others. For committing any of the five rebellious sins, after death, these māra bhikṣus will fall into the hell of uninterrupted suffering. They will then be reborn as animals or hungry ghosts for as many kalpas as the sands of the Ganges. After their sins have been purged, they will be reborn [as humans] in a fringe country where the Three Jewels will not be accessible.
“When the Dharma is ending, women will diligently do meritorious karmas while men will be indolent and arrogant. Men, having no faith, will not use the words in the Dharma, but will regard śramaṇas as feces and dirt. When the Dharma is ending, gods will shed tears. Flood and drought will ravage, and five kinds of grain will not ripen. Epidemics will be prevalent and many will die. People will endure a hard life, and government officials will exploit them. People will not follow good principles, thinking only of pleasure and strife. The evil ones will become as numerous as the sands in the sea. The good ones will decrease to one or two. As a kalpa is ending, the sun and the moon will be unstable and human lifespan will shorten. At the age of 40, one's hair will turn white. Men indulging in sexual acts may die prematurely from depletion of their semen, or may live to only 60. While men will live short lives, women will live long, to 70, 80, 90, or even 100 years. Faithless people will say that the situation can be permanent.
“A massive flood will suddenly rise, lasting endlessly. Various species of sentient beings, lofty or lowly, will drown or drift in the waters, and they will be eaten by fish and other sea creatures. Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats, driven away by the māras, will not convene. [These holy beings of] the Three Vehicles will enter the meritorious grounds in the mountains. There they will live a long life, tranquilly biding their time. They will meet with one another when the god-kings escort Moonlight Bodhisattva to appear in the world. Together they will revitalize my Dharma for fifty-two years.
“Then the Śūraṅgama Sūtra and the Pratyutpanna Buddha Sammukhāvasthita Samādhi Sūtra will be destroyed, to be followed by all other sūtras in the twelve categories. Their words will not be seen again. The monk’s robe will naturally turn white. When my Dharma perishes, it will be like [the flame of] an oil lamp. When it is dying, its light becomes brighter for a while then dies out. When my Dharma perishes, it will be like the extinction of a lamp. What will happen afterward is hard to describe. Eventually, after tens of millions of years, Maitreya Bodhisattva will descend to this world to become a Buddha. All toxic gases will then be eliminated, and the world will be safe and peaceful. The rains will be harmonious and the five grains will thrive. The trees will be tall, and humans will each be eighty feet tall, with a lifespan of 84,000 years. Innumerable sentient beings will be delivered.”
The venerable Ānanda made obeisance to the Buddha and asked Him, “What should we call this sūtra? How should we uphold it?”
The Buddha replied, “Ānanda, this sūtra is called Total Annihilation of the Dharma. Pronounce it to all and let them know its significance. Your merit will be immeasurable, beyond reckoning.”
The four groups of disciples, having heard this sūtra, were distressed and downcast, but they all activated their resolve to attain the unsurpassed bodhi. Then they made obeisance to the Buddha and departed.

Buddha Pronounces the Sūtra of the Total Annihilation of the Dharma
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T12n0396)
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: the Future, near or far?

Postby Frank » Thu May 24, 2012 6:45 am

are there any of these dharma ending sutras that have scholars in relative agreement that they actually could go back to the time of the buddha himself? as far as i can tell, most of them do not. the one above, for example, references two mahayana sutras, both of which are old, but probably not all the way back to the buddha, and even if they are that old, this text referencing them means that this text itself is much younger than they are for a few reasons, one in particular is that the historical buddha didn't speak about his own "sutras" as if they were already famous and well known teaching scriptures, because when he was alive people were not walking around with scrolls containing his teachings and naming them "the blah blah sutra" "the great sutra on blah blah" etc., this didn't start until after his death. another reason is that the buddha was not generally an eschatological prophet, he taught people to focus on the present, not worry about some distant, depressing and horrifying future. there are a couple where he talks about the end of the world that scholars agree go back maybe, but not necessarily, to the time of the buddha, but in them he certainly does not reference mahayana sutras, and they are not so much dharma ending talks as they are simply talks on the cyclical nature of existence, everything plays out, and starts over.

then there's another very old one that says the dharma will last only 500 years. this was lengthened when the clock ran out to 5,000 years. but that doesn't change the fact that the clock ran out, 500 years went by and the dharma was still around, so they added a zero. so since clearly people are still practicing the dharma, maybe this sutra is not legit, or maybe the buddha was off, or maybe the words were jumbled over the years? or maybe, as you all say, the dharma is just an empty shell now and we are all wasting our time.

bottom line: what we have that probably goes back to the buddha are the scriptures agreed to be the very oldest, within them even there is doubt. what we can see though is a very consistent teaching in how to practice the dharma, and within that some currents of great consistency in his teachings. these consistencies are found in both the oldest known canons, the sarvastivadin canon and the pali canon. and also the chinese agamas that are thought to be the older parts of the chinese tripitaka. all this extra stuff about the end of the world, devas, yakkhas, other realms, etc. the buddha himself said to pay no mind to over and over throughout the entire stretch of the agamas/nikayas. he said there was no point contemplating this stuff as it doesn't lead to nirvana and true understanding is beyond these ideas anyway. so why would he say things like that over and over and over and only a few times give specific predictions on the end of the dharma/world? he taught the same things thousands of times and only gives a few of these prophecy sutras which are not consistent with the rest of what he taught. is there really any reason to pay them much mind?

the buddha always said his dharma is good in the beginning, middle and end, so if you start off and it's good, it should be legit, if it continues to get better, should be legit, if you achieve kensho/sotapatti then it's getting toward ending good too! he taught to test his teachings out, not read some doom prophecy and decide the dharma is dead.

so test it out! if it doesn't work for you or anyone else you know who is practicing, maybe you should worry, but this isn't the case for me and my fellow practitioners, so i'm not going to sweat.

i think it wise to pay attention to the practical teachings and forget all the stuff that just creates more confusion and dukkha.
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Frank » Thu May 24, 2012 6:52 am

side note: i consider all the sutras important, regardless of when they are thought to have been composed, even if it turns out the oldest known sutras were written by a group of 50 people over the course of a 100 years and there never was any single person known as siddhartha gautama it doesn't matter! why? because the core techniques, philosophies, and teachings work! and the core ideas taught the most, the ideas that run with great consistency throughout all the oldest nikayas/agamas/sarvastivadin sutras, have nothing to do with any doomsday prophecy. it's all about here, now, giving up attachment, freeing the mind.

i have had direct experience with the dharma functioning to better my life and i've even had some small insight into it that makes me 100% confident that it is a functioning system that can lead to great things. in fact this only happened recently, i practiced for years upon years with great results, but nothing other than simply very positive psychological results. i was fairly certain this was all one could achieve, and happy with that, as psychological control and happiness is certainly a great result from any practice. i figured all the deeper stuff was just fantasy. but then, out of nowhere one day i had insight, and now i'm totally confident and that small insight has led to greater understanding of much of the dharma in general. i've also known many people who seem to have accomplished a lot using the teachings. perhaps we all should focus on practice and forget these negative thoughts about the dharma?

i truly hope that all who worry the dharma is ending will practice hard and have some direct experience with the mental transformations the dharma can create and therefore laugh at the idea that this is not proper dharma, or is just a shell with no spirit, or whatever negative phrasing people are using. the more people who get results, the more people there are to lead others into getting results.

good luck!
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Aemilius » Thu May 24, 2012 11:20 am

How could we know by any "textual analysis" the truth about the origin of the sutras!? I doubt this method very much. And how about the existence of the Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya Buddha, and the Nirmakaya Bodhisattvas? Their views and their inspiration mean nothing because we trust only the word analyzing academics!
The scholars have some interesting things, I agree with that, but it is far from being the truth, the whole truth, the essential truth.
In the Sarvastivadin Agamas, that have been translated into english, Buddha talks about Bodhisattva Maitreya, slightly critizises him, and then predicts that he will become the next Buddha after 30 000 years.
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Re: dharma ending age?

Postby Indrajala » Thu May 24, 2012 2:51 pm

Frank wrote:isn't this when the scriptures are forgotten, the dharma largely abandoned? why do i keep hearing people say that we are living in the dharma ending age? dharma is preserved on paper, digitally, in stone/steel, woodblocks, tattooed, memorized, etc. millions of people are practicing it world wide and the numbers are growing. the dharma is not going anywhere anytime soon. how could this possibly be the dharma ending age?

unless there is a sutra that defines this phrase differently than i'm thinking, we should be safe from dharma ending for quite some time.


Consider that "Buddhism" as single "world religion" was the majority religion in the 19th century assuming enough of China during the Qing Dynasty were "Buddhists", however between then and now hundreds of millions of Buddhists were erased from the statistics. There were genocides of Buddhists in Tibet, Mongolia, Cambodia, China and elsewhere. Many Buddhists were robbed of their right to practice under communist states. Temples were destroyed, monastics defrocked and lineages nearly wiped out. There are a lot less Buddhists now than there were before in the world.

At present Buddhism is statistically in decline. In places like Singapore and Korea where Buddhism historically has been strong, it is losing ground to Christianity or just plain apathy from youth. Christianity is hip and western (and a great way for professionals to network), while Buddhism is seen as old and largely irrelevant.

The teachings at their basic level have been soiled with materialism. There are plenty of authors writing nonsense and selling their revision as Buddhadharma, which many people swallow hook, line and sinker.

There are also a lot of negative forces that actually work against Buddhadharma in the world. As the prophecies foretell the divine cord which kept them in bondage is increasingly becoming undone resulting in their accumulation of influence and power, which they will use against the Dharma.
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