or Degenerate Age, or Last Age. It refers to the present era, which is the 26th century after the demise of Śākyamuni Buddha. The concept of decline, dissension, and schism with the Dharma after the passing of the Buddha is a general teaching of Buddhism. The time following the demise of Śākyamuni Buddha is divided into three periods:
- The Perfect Age ( 正法時期 ) - lasting 500 years , when the Buddha's teaching was correctly practiced and Enlightenment often attained by sentient beings.
- The Dharma Semblance Age ( 像法時期 ) - lasting about 1,000 years, when a form of the teaching was practiced, but Enlightenment seldom attained.
- The Dharma-ending Age ( 末法時期 ) - lasting some 10,000 years, when a diluted form of the teaching exists, and Enlightenment is rarely attained.