- Buddhist eschatology
Buddhist eschatology, as subscribed by some Buddhist schools, derives from purported
Gautama Buddha's prediction that his teachings would disappear after 500 years. According to the Sutta Pitaka, the "ten moralcourses of conduct" will disappear and people will follow the ten amoral concepts of theft, violence, murder, lying, evil speaking, adultery, abusive and idle talk, covetousness and ill will, wanton greed, and perverted lustresulting in skyrocketing povertyand the end of the worldly laws of true dharma, similar to Hindu eschatological predictions.
Middle Ages, the span of time was expanded to 5,000 years. Commentators like Buddhaghosapredicted a step-by-step disappearance of the Buddha's teachings. During the first stage, arahats would no longer appear in the world. Later, the content of the Buddha's true teachings would vanish, and only their form would be preserved. Finally, even the form of the Dharma would be forgotten. During the final stage, the memory of the Buddha himself would be forgotten, and the last of his relicswould be gathered together in Bodh Gayaand cremated. Some time following this development a new Buddha named Maitreyawill arise to renew the teachings of Buddhism and rediscover the path to Nirvana. Maitreya is believed to currently reside in the IAST|Tuṣita heaven, where he is awaiting his final rebirthin the world.
The decline of Buddhism in the world, and its eventual re-establishment by Maitreya, are in keeping with the general shape of
Buddhist cosmology. Like Hindus, Buddhists generally believe in a cycle of creation and destruction, of which the current epoch represents only the latest step. The historical Buddha Shakyamuniis only the latest in a series of Buddhas that stretches back into the past.
The belief in the decline and disappearance of Buddhism in the world has exerted significant influence in the development of Buddhism since the time of the Buddha. In
Vajrayana Buddhismand various other forms of esoteric Buddhism, the use of tantrais justified by the degenerate state of the present world. The East Asian belief in the decline of the Dharma (called mappoin Japanese) was instrumental in the emergence of Pure Land Buddhism. Within the Theravadatradition, debate over whether Nirvanawas still attainable in the present age helped prompt the creation of the Dhammayutt Orderin Thailand.
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