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San-chieh-chiao (‘School of Three Stages’). School of Chinese Buddhism during the Sui and Tʾang periods, founded by Hsin-hsing (540–94). It portrayed the process of Buddhism as one of degeneration through three stages: (i) the period of true dharma, which lasted for 500 years after the Buddha Śākyamuni's translation from earth, during which the teaching was observed; (ii) 1,000 years of corrupted dharma, with many innovations; (iii) 10,000 years, most yet to come (beginning 550 CE), of increasing disintegration. Against this, Hsin-hsing set a rule of radical observance of śīla, dāna, and asceticism, eschewing monasteries, although willing to support them.

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