Author Topic: The Age of Mappo  (Read 942 times)

Offline Cobblers Apprentice

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The Age of Mappo
« on: July 16, 2015, 05:46:41 am »
There is a story in the Theravada Texts, associated with the ordination of women, where the Buddha is recorded as saying that  Buddhism ( the texts, as translated say "the Way and Discipline made known by the Tathagata" ) would last for only 500 years.

I did a bit of googling (not always recomended, as it often leads to wiki...... :) ) and found a blog where various opinions are given regarding this "prophecy". Those being........

that the Buddha actually said 5000 years.

that the Buddha did not really say it

the Buddha did really say it, but was mistaken

the Buddha did really say it, and was right

(the blog was the bahiyablog, apparently written by an American Theravada monk, after spending 20 years in the Burmese forests)

Anyway, for me I see this as relating to the so called "age of mappo" often spoken of within Japanese Buddhism (perhaps elsewhere) This was seen to be an age of degeneracy, in which the teachings of Buddhism could no longer be understood in depth and its practices could not be performed in a way conducive to enlightenment. Such a view ( a view of despair? ) was discussed in various ways.

Rejected outright by those such as Dogen

If not rejected, and true, and an actual historical event, what sense of history does it imply?

Or does it describe a mental attitude - if so, what are the psychological dynamics behind it?

( the above is glossed from "A Sourcebook of Japanese Philosophy" )

I will not sit on the fence - I would see it as a mental attitude, perhaps linked with lethargy..... :bigtears:

But how would others see this?

Thanks.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: The Age of Mappo
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2015, 10:53:01 am »
The Three Ages of Buddhism, also known as the Three Ages of the Dharma, (simplified Chinese: 三时; traditional Chinese: 三時; pinyin: Sān Shí) are three divisions of time following Buddha's passing. The Latter Day of the Law is the third and last of the Three Ages of Buddhism. Mappō or Mofa (Chinese: 末法; pinyin: Mò Fǎ, Japanese: Mappō), which is also translated as the Age of Dharma Decline, is the "degenerate" Third Age of Buddhism, also referred to as the Dharma Ending Age.

I did a bit of googling (not always recomended, as it often leads to wiki...... :) ) and found a blog where various opinions are given regarding this "prophecy". Those being........

that the Buddha actually said 5000 years.

that the Buddha did not really say it

the Buddha did really say it, but was mistaken

the Buddha did really say it, and was right
Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of this thing called "Buddhism"  :teehee:

-------

Although there are many theories and positions taken in regard to the Dharma Ending Age, it shouldn't surprise anyone that actual years assigned to the Three Ages was never written stone to begin with, but grew in length over the centuries with very little concern when it came to replacing the previous existing chronology of future events that came before it --- for example, one of the earliest prophecies related to Maitreya had him being born a mere 50 years after the Buddha's passing, then it was changed to 100 years, which was then followed by more and more years being tacked on after that.

The irony doesn't come into focus until one realizes that span of time that constituted an aeon was something totally unfathomable during the Buddha's lifetime, more or less the equivalent of the Star Wars intro where it occurs in a galaxy far, far, away. Of course, if Sci-Fi isn't your cup of tea, it wouldn't take long for China to corner the market when it came to Maitreya and Dharma Ending prophecies, with the noted exception that Maitreya would become the male version of a Lady-in-Waiting due to the fact that the Moonlight Bodhisattva would beat him to the punch, not only figuratively speaking, but also literally:

https://www.academia.edu/4925144/Making_Sense_of_Messianism_Buddhist_Political_Ideology_in_the_Mahayana_Rebellion_and_the_Moonlight_Child_Incident_of_Early_Sixth-Century_China

 


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