T HE kalpa of decrease1 has its origin in the human heart. As the poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness gradually intensify, the life span of human beings gradually decreases and their stature diminishes.
Before the introduction of Buddhism in the lands of China and Japan, the non-Buddhist scriptures of the Three Sovereigns, the Five Emperors, and the Three Sages were used to bring order to the hearts of the people and govern the world. When the hearts of the people gradually diminished in good and grew adept at evil, it became impossible to restrain profoundly evil offenses because the wisdom of the non- Buddhist scriptures was shallow. Since the world was ungovernable with the non-Buddhist scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures were gradually introduced, and when they were used in governing, the world became tranquil. This was solely because the wisdom of Buddhism can fully elucidate the hearts of the people.
What are called non-Buddhist writings today differ in spirit from the original non-Buddhist scriptures. Although when Buddhism was introduced the non-Buddhist scriptures and the Buddhist scriptures vied with each other, in time the non-Buddhist scriptures were defeated, and the ruler and the people no longer made use of them. But as
adherents of the non-Buddhist scriptures became followers of the Buddhist scriptures, and confrontations came to an end, these adherents extracted the essence of the Buddhist scriptures, increased their wisdom, and incorporated it into the non-Buddhist scriptures. Foolish rulers thought that this was actually the wisdom of the non- Buddhist writings.
Moreover, when good wisdom gradually diminished and evil wisdom surpassed it in peoples hearts, the rulers tried to govern society with the wisdom of the Hinayana sutras, which are also included among the Buddhist scriptures, but the world was not at peace. At that time, when the rulers spread the Mahayana sutras and used them to govern, order was somewhat restored in the world. After that, when the wisdom of the Mahayana teachings was no longer adequate, the wisdom of the sutra of the one vehicle was introduced and used to govern the world, and for a brief while the world was at peace.
The present age is such that neither the non-Buddhist scriptures, the Hinayana sutras, the Mahayana sutras, nor the one vehicle of the Lotus Sutra has any effect. The reason is that the enormity of the greed, anger, and foolishness in peoples hearts is equal to the superiority of the World-Honored One of Great Enlightenment in great good. To