A few references to the Decline of the Dhamma:
23. False Dhamma
[At Saavatthii Kassapa asked the Buddha:] "What is the reason, Lord, and depending on what conditions is it that formerly there were fewer precepts, yet more monks attained enlightenment? What is the reason, Lord, and depending on what conditions is it that nowadays there are more precepts, and fewer monks attain enlightenment?"
"It is like this, Kassapa. When beings are in decline, and the true Dhamma is waning, then there are more precepts and fewer monks attain enlightenment. But there is no disappearance of the true Dhamma, Kassapa, till a counterfeit Dhamma arises in the world; but when a counterfeit Dhamma arises, then there is a disappearance of the true Dhamma, just as there is no disappearing of gold so long as no counterfeit gold has arisen in the world... The earth-element does not make the true Dhamma disappear, the water-element... the fire-element... the air-element... But right here men of straw appear, and it is they who bring about the disappearance of the true Dhamma. A ship, Kassapa, may sink all at once, but it is not thus that the true Dhamma disappears. There are five contributory factors, Kassapa, which lead to the adulteration and disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five? It is when monks and nuns, male and female lay-followers behave disrespectfully and rebelliously towards the Teacher,... towards the Dhamma,... towards the Sangha,... towards the training,... towards meditation.
"But when monks and nuns, male and female lay followers behave respectfully and deferentially towards the Dhamma,... towards the Sangha,... towards the training,... towards meditation, then these five things conduce to the maintenance, the purity and the preservation of the true Dhamma."
— SN 16.13
We read in the Gradual Sayings (Book of the Twos, Ch II, § 10) that the
Monks, these two things conduce to the confusion and disappearance of true
Dhamma. What two?
The wrong expression of the letter (of the text) and wrong interpretation of
the meaning of it. For if the letter be wrongly expressed, the
interpretation of the meaning is also wrong.....
Monks, these two things conduce to the establishment, the non-confusion, to
the non-disappearance of true Dhamma. What two?
The right expression of the letter and right interpretation of the meaning.
For if the letter be rightly expressed, the interpretation of the meaning is
In the course of time the Buddha¹s teachings will be corrupted and then
disappear. The last holy site we visited was Bodhgaya. Here one of our group
read a text about the disappearance of the teachings. The ³Dispeller of
Delusion² (the commentary to the Book of Analysis, commentary to Ch 16,
Classification of Knowledge) is one of the texts explaining about the
disappearance of the teachings 1 . We read (431):
For there are three kinds of disappearance: disappearance of theoretical
understanding (pariyatti), disappearance of penetration (paìivedha) and
disappearance of practice (paìipatti). Herein, pariyatti is the three parts
of the Tipiìaka; the penetration is the penetration of the Truths; the
practice is the way....
Further on we read that of the Scriptures first the Book of the Patthåna
(Conditional Relations) of the Abhidhamma disappears, and then successively
the other Books of the Abhidamma. After that the Books of the Suttanta will
successively disappear. We read:
But when the two Piìakas 2 have disappeared, while the Vinaya Pitaka
endures, the teachings (såsana) endure.
Also the Vinaya will disappear. Further on the text states that there are
three kinds of complete extinction:
Complete extinction of defilements, complete extinction of the aggregates
(khandhas) 3 and complete extinction of the relics. Herein, complete
extinction of the defilements took place on the Wisdom Seat, the complete
extinction of the aggregates at Kusinåra 4 and the complete extinction of
the relics will take place in the future.
It is then explained that all the relics will gather together and will go to
the ³Great Wisdom Seat² in Bodhgaya. We read:
Heaped up on the Great Wisdom Seat, they will become one solid mass like a
pile of gold and will emit six-coloured rays...
We read that they will be burnt by the fire element and that then the
teachings have come to an end.
[............. ]http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/11275