But what about Buddhism? The Pali canon apparently predicted that Buddhism would last only 500 years:
If, Ananda, women had not entered from household life into the houseless one, under the Doctrine and the Discipline announced by the Tathagata religion, Ananda, would long endure; a thousand years would the Good Doctrine abide. But since, Ananda, women have now retired from household life to the houseless one, under the Doctrine and the Discipline announced by the Tathagata, not long, Ananda, will religion endure; but fivehundred years, Ananda, will the Good Doctrine abide.
Quote from the Sutta Pitaka (no exact source), The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology By Jerry L. Walls
The shelf-life figure of 500 years has later been extended several times by various Buddhist scholars, obviously due to practical necessity, first to 1000 years, then to 2500 years and finally to the current 5000 years which was popularised by Buddhaghosa. To me, this speaks quite a strong message, namely that speculations on how long Buddhism will last are very likely a major waste of time. Since it is something that we cannot possibly verify -at least not in this lifetime- why bother at all?
What do you think?