odysseus wrote:I certainly hope you are right. Your comment makes me think of the prophecy that Buddhism will decline over the centuries. But we don´t really know if this prophecy came directly from Shakyamuni or if it was a "future-telling" made by someone else. We have no empirical evidence, but we still have enough material to make us able to reach realisation I believe.
The Buddha was clear that eventually his dharma would cease to exist in the world. The previous buddha in our world was called Kāśyapa and his dharma was all but lost when Śākyamuni rediscovered the buddhadharma
and "turned the Wheel of Dharma".
As for that prophecy about Buddhism declining if women enter the Sangha, that´s just an idea made by a misogynist patriarchal boss that is not Buddha and the sentiment is not compatible with Buddhism.
Said teaching is found in the canons of the Sarvāstivādin, Mahīśāsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Theravādin and Haimavātas schools (early Indian Buddhist schools), all of which belong to the Sthaviravāda (in Pali Theravada) branch of early Buddhism, though it is not found in the known canon of any school belonging to the Mahāsāṃghika branch. This is significant because it may, as Jan Nattier pointed out, indicate that the story was added after the schism of the sangha which occurred at the “second second Buddhist council” in 340 BCE at Pāṭaliputra in India. In other words, the idea of blaming nuns for the premature demise of the dharma was possibly introduced after the emergence of sectarian divisions within the sangha community. The Mahāsāṃghika Nikāya tradition did not have such a teaching as far as we know.
Buddhism has actually been in decline for awhile. In the last century hundreds of millions of Buddhists were effectively wiped off the global population by communist regimes in Asia. Mongolia, China, Cambodia, North Korea, Tibet, etc... many communists in Asia saw Buddhism as a parasite and went about systematically destroying it for a time. Hundreds of millions of Buddhists were effectively severed from their religion with the temples and sangha being decimated. Christian missionaries also scooped up many around Asia.
Presently secularism and Christianity continues to appeal to a lot of youth in economically developed nations like Singapore and South Korea (it is trendy because it is western and a social networking tool, rather than Buddhism which is seen as old and something your grandmother does).
Buddhism used to exist from Persia to Japan and most places in-between down to modern day Indonesia. Nowadays it is considerably smaller and even then rapidly losing influence and people as time goes on. People nowadays want iPhones, McDonalds and Gucci, not Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
However, there could be a resurgent interest in Buddhism in the coming decades in Asia as environmental problems coupled with peak oil cripple economies and suddenly people find themselves living like their great great grandparents did without much money or luxuries at hand. In such circumstances people will take an interest in religion again.