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(Skt.; Pāli, sāsana). A term used by Buddhists to refer to their religion. It has a range of possible translations, including teaching, doctrine, and as ‘Buddha-śāsana’, ‘the teachings of the Buddha’, especially in the context of their historical continuity as religious tradition. Various predictions are made about the duration of the teachings. In the Pāli Canon it is said that the Buddha's decision to admit women reduced the lifespan of the śāsana from 1,000 to 500 years. Later sources predict various durations ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 years, usually passing through phases of continual decline until the teachings disappear altogether from the world (see mappō). It is thought that in due course a new Buddha will arise and the teachings will be proclaimed anew. See also Buddhism.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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