A lot of people love to talk about compassion and peace regarding home, foreign and domestic affairs. But did not have the compassion and peace in mind, then how will the true compassion and peace be formed?


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"All that we are is the result of what we have thought." The Buddha. "..Religion without Science is Blind, Science without religion is crippled." Albert Einstein 1879-1955

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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Three Ages of Buddhism

The Three Ages of Buddhism are three divisions of time following the historical Buddha's passing: the Former Day of the Law (正法 Cn: zhèngfǎ; Jp: shōbō), the first thousand years (or 500 years), when the Dharma is practised very seriously and accurately, when Enlightenment is often attained; the Middle Day of the Law (像法 Cn: xiàngfǎ; Jp: zōhō), the second thousand years (or 500 years) when forms and rituals representing the Dharma are embraced more than learning and realising its essence, leading to less attaining Enlightenment; and the Latter Day of the Law (末法 Cn: mòfǎ; Jp: mappō), which is to last for 10,000 years becomes increasingly diluted and corrupted with non-Dharma elements, leading to rare attaining of Enlightenment, while moral chaos proliferate.

The three periods are significant to Mahayana adherents, particularly those who hold the Lotus Sutra in high regard; e.g., Tiantai (Tendai) and Nichiren Buddhists, who believe that different Buddhist teachings are valid (i.e., able to lead practitioners to enlightenment) in each period due to the different capacity to accept a teaching (機根 Cn: jīgēn; Jp: kikon) of the people born in each respective period.

Further, in the Mahasamnipata Sutra, the three periods are further divided into five five-hundred year periods (五五百歳 Cn: wǔ wǔbǎi; Jp: go no gohyaku sai), the fifth and last of which was prophesied to be when the Buddhism of Sakyamuni would lose all power of salvation and a new Buddha would appear to save the people. This time period would be characterized by unrest, strife, famine, and other, natural disasters.

The three periods and the five five-hundred year periods are described in the Sutra of the Great Assembly (大集經 Cn: dàjí; Jp: Daishutu-kyō, Daijuku-kyō, Daijikkyō, or Daishukkyō). Descriptions of the three periods also appear in other sutras, some of which ascribe different lengths of time to them (although most agree that Mappō will last for “10,000” years, though rather than a concrete figure, this merely signifies a long period of time).

*Mahasamnipata Sutra = Sutra of the Great Assembly

Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo
Namo Bhuddhaya

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Due to this merits,
May I soon,
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Buddha,
That I may be able to librate all sentient beings from their suffering.

May the precious bodhi mind, Not yet been born in me, will arise and grow.
May the birth have no decline, and will increase forever more.

Namu Myo Ho Renge Kyo
Namo Buddhaya
Namo Dharmaya
Namo Sanghaya