In many suttas the Buddha stated different reasons for the decline of the Dhamma. Why and how it happens. The different causes. Can I have the references of those suttas?


  • Saddhammapatirupaka Sutta: A Counterfeit of the True Dhamma (SN 16.13) Jun 21 '17 at 11:17
  • Ani Sutta - have desire to learn the Dhamma as taught by the Buddha and not anyone else
  • Anagata bhaya Sutta - teaching not practiced in earnest and procrastination
  • Sugata Vinaya Sutta - monks become unapproachable and have wrong understanding
  • Ovada Suttas - boastful about preaching ability, lack of faith, moral shame and fear, elders not setting a good example
  • Kimbila Suttas - lack of mutual respect towards the teacher, Dhamma, Sangha, practice, each other, heedfulness and hospitality
  • Saddhamma Patirupaka Sutta - counterfeit Dhamma emerging and unspiritual people lead to decline
  • Appamada Sutta - heedlessness, indolence, excessive desires, unwise attention, lack of full awareness, evil friends, neglect of the wholesome lead to decline. Opposite preserves the Dhamma.
  • Thiti Sutta / Parihana Sutta - Satipatthana not being practiced. Practicing preserves the Dhamma.
  • Mahā,parinibbāna Sutta - being anxious to learn and practice Dhamma will result in the highest attainments [and preserve it]
  • Vinaya Cullavagga - admission of women
  • etc.

More on this see the references of: The Dharma-ending Age by Piya Tan

In addition the commentarial literature has the 5 antaradhāna which is mentioned in another answer. They are:

  • adhigama-antaradhāna - attainments disappear, because the practice is polluted with miss conception.
  • paṭipatti-antaradhāna - because attainments are disappear, the practice is neglected, hence it disappear
  • pariyatti-antaradhāna - because practice are disappear, the learning is neglected, hence it disappear
  • liṅga-antaradhāna - because learning are disappear, the monasticism (Sangha) is neglected, hence it disappear
  • dhātu-antaradhāna - because reverence to wards the Dhātu disappear, the Dhātu is neglected, hence it disappear
  • So ends the Sasana and beings the dark ages
  • +1 Interesting to compare what the Buddha mentioned as the reasons to the decline of Buddhism vs what the focus in Sri Lanka is when it comes to protecting Buddhism Jun 20 '17 at 16:07

"Formerly, bhikkhus, the Dasaarahas had a summoning-drum. As the drum began to split the Dasaarahas inserted one peg and then another peg until in time the summoning-drum's old drumhead had disappeared and only a framework of pegs remained.

"Even so, bhikkhus, will the bhikkhus become in the future. And those discourses spoken by the Tathaagata, profound in meaning, transcendental, dealing with voidness, to these they will not listen when they are recited, they will not lend an ear, they will not set the heart upon final knowledge[48] and will not consider that those things should be learned and mastered. But those discourses made by poets, poetry, mere beautiful words and phrases, spoken by outsiders and disciples, to these they will listen... they will consider that these things should be learned and mastered.

"Therefore, bhikkhus, I say, you should train yourselves thus:

"'Those discourses spoken by the Tathaagata profound in meaning, transcendental, dealing with voidness, to these we will listen when they are recited, we will lend an ear, we will set the heart upon final knowledge and we will consider that these things should be learned and mastered.'"

— SN 20.7


5 antaradhāna, in this commentary of this sutta, is completely conclusion.

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