September 2, 2015, 2:17 pm ~ by Shodo Harada in news
The time after the Buddha´s death, while his influence is still direct, for 1000 years it is called the era of the "true Dharma" (shōbō 正法). The next 1000 years are called "semblance dharma" (zōhō 像法), during which era people are aware of the teaching of the Buddha, yet do not have the self confidence to be able themselves to realize enlightenment, so the Dharma becomes a decoration. The next next 1000 years are called the era of the "end of the Dharma" (mappō 末法) . This describes the time when there is no alive teaching of the Buddha around. The term mappō points to the fact that the influence of the teaching of the Buddha has thinned out. So even if we are in the era of mappō , the term describes the direct influence of the teaching of the Buddha having come to an end, not the truth itself. Even now if there is someone with an honest vow to do training and makes efforts, then right here that is shōbō. It is not about counting eras or years, but about everyone returning to the era of shōbō within.