Timothy Lenz, "Ephemeral Dharma; Magical Hope"

Fig. 1. Kaspiraavadano, British Library Fragment 4. © British Library Board (detail of Or. 14915.11).

In her book Once Upon a Future Time, Jan Nattier traced the history of Buddhist anxiety over the perceived inevitability of the Dharma’s demise. Some four years after the results of her study were published, a significant cache of Gandhāran manuscripts were discovered, wherein several avadānas composed around the theme of the end of the Dharma are to be found. Because of this fortuitous discovery, a brief consideration of Gandhāran forebodings can now be added to the mix of previously discussed fears for the loss of the Buddha’s Dharma.