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In the Lotus Sutra, (Burton Watson translation) there is often mention of "the counterfeit law" being propigated for so-and-so number of small kalpas. I will give an exerpt below, but what exactly is this referring to? I don't know if this is helpful information, but it almost always is talked of in accordance to a prophesy.

"That buddha's life span will be twenty-four small kalpas, his Correct Law will endure in the world for fourty small kalpas, and his Counterfeit Law for fourty small kalpas."

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Here is the definition for Correct Law (from the Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism Library Glossary):

Correct Law (Ch zhengfa, J shōhō or shōbō) An abbreviation for the period when the Correct Law prevails. According to Buddhist belief, after the death of a buddha, his teachings pass through three periods or phases of development. In the first, known as the period of the Correct Law, Buddhism is a living religion and those who practice it attain enlightenment through its teachings. The period of the Correct Law following the death of Shakyamuni Buddha is usually said to have been a thousand years in length, though some sources describe it as five hundred years long.

And here is the definition for Counterfeit Law:

Counterfeit Law (Ch xiangfa, J zōhō or zōbō) Second period following the death of a buddha. During this period, Buddhism becomes increasingly formalized, people’s connection with it weakens, and progressively fewer of them are able to gain enlightenment through its teachings. Some sources describe the period of the Counterfeit Law following Shakyamuni’s death as a thousand years in length, others as five hundred years.

  • Thank you for your answer. Do you know what the the third period of development is called? – Morella Almånd Apr 20 '16 at 0:35
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    Thank you for answering. It's better if quotes are attributed/referenced (so I edited to add the attribution/reference). – ChrisW Apr 20 '16 at 3:17

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