Have the teachings of the Buddha disappeared?


In AN 8.51, the Buddha tells Ānanda that the true teaching will only last 500 years.
What do you think about this?

May all beings attain deathlessness.

The Milindapanha says, the teaching will last 500 years, only if disciples did not continue to practice well. Just like the existing water in a lake will dry up after some period of time, only if it didn’t continue to rain. But if it continued to rain, the lake will last more long.

The Commentaries say, this 500 means the duration of the existence of Patisambhidapatta-arahants. The Tivijjapatta-arahants and Sukkhavipassaka-arahants continue to stay more. And the Sasana exists for 5000 years.

As I remember, different Commentaries of different Nikaya Bhanakas differ on how to break down the 5000 into chunks to explain the attainents possible during those periods.

One Commentary breakdowns the 5000 years in to 500 chunks, starting from Patisambhidapatta-arahants to Patimokkha-keepers while another commentary breakdowns the 5000 in to 1000 chunks. The other Commentary divide it roughly without fixed numbers.

It is said that the Venerable Buddhaghosa has translated as it was in the different Nikaya Commentaires and had not attempted to change the Bhanakas’ opinions on this regard. This fact is considered to be an indicator of the Trustworthiness of Venerable Buddhaghosa in translating the Commentaries.

(I’ll try to give references later if I could have time)


Wow thank you so much for these explanations!

from Nina van gorkom
N: We read in the “Gradual Sayings” (II, Book of the Fours, Fourth Fifty, Ch XVI, § 10, The Wellfarer’s Discipline) that there are four things which lead to the vanishing of Saddhamma, true Dhamma: the monks learn by heart a text that is wrongly taken, the monks are incapable of being instructed, the monks who know the teachings by heart do not dutifully hand on a text, and the monks are backsliding, and do not make an effort to win the goal. We then read :

Now, monks, these four things conduce to the support, to the non-confusion, to the not vanishing away of Saddhamma. What four?

Herein the monks get by heart a text that is rightly taken, with words and sense that are rightly arranged. Now if words and sense are rightly arranged the meaning also is easy to follow…

Then again the monks are easy to speak to, possessed of qualities which make them easy to speak to; they are tractable, capable of being instructed…

Yet again those monks who are of wide knowledge, versed in the doctrines, who know Dhamma by heart, who know the Vinaya by heart, who know the summaries by heart,- these dutifully hand on a text to another; thus, when they pass away, the text is not cut down at the root, it has something to stand on…

Yet again the elder monks live not in abundance, they are not lax, they take not the lead in backsliding (to the worldly life), they shirk not the burden of the secluded life, they set going an effort to reach the unattained, to win the goal not won, to realize the unrealized. So the generation that follows comes to depend upon their view. That generation also lives not in abundance… but makes an effort to realize the unrealized…

So these, monks, are the four things that conduce to the support, to the non-confusion, to the not vanishing away of Saddhamma.



This is quite encouraging.

Sotapannahood is very possible in this very lifetime.

Let’s make effort.

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