So I have heard. At one time the Fortunate Onewas staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then Venerable Mahākassapa went up to the Fortunate One, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“What is the cause, sir, what is the reason why there used to be fewer training rules but more enlightened practitioners? And what is the cause, what is the reason why these days there are more training rules and fewer enlightened practitioners?”

“That’s how it is, Kassapa. When sentient beings are in decline and the true Dharma is disappearing there are more training rules and fewer enlightened practitioners. The true Dharma doesn’t disappear as long the counterfeit of the true Dharma hasn’t appeared in the world. But when the counterfeit of the true Dharma appears in the world then the true Dharmadisappears.

It’s like true gold, which doesn’t disappear as long as counterfeit gold hasn’t appeared in the world. But when counterfeit gold appears in the world then real gold disappears.

In the same way, the true Dharma doesn’t disappear as long the counterfeit of the true Dharma hasn’t appeared in the world. But when the counterfeit of the true Dharma appears in the world then the true Dharma disappears.

It’s not the elements of earth, water, fire, or air that make the true Dharma disappear. Rather, it’s the foolish people who appear right here that make the true Dharma disappear. The true Dharma doesn’t disappear like a ship that sinks all at once.

There are five detrimental things that lead to the decline and disappearance of the true Dharma. What five? It’s when the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen lack respect and reverence for the Teacher, the Dharma, the Sangha, the training, and samadhi. These five detrimental things lead to the decline and disappearance of the true Dharma.

There are five things that lead to the continuation, persistence, and enduring of the true teaching. What five? It’s when the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen maintain respect and reverence for the Teacher, the teaching, the Saṅgha, the training, and samadhi. These five things lead to the continuation, persistence, and enduring of the true teaching.”


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This work by Bhikkhu Sujato, revised by Jay forrest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a public domain work at https://suttacentral.net/. Please reference it as: R-Sujato.

For more information: https://jayforrest.org/r-sujato-translation-explained/