Quotes from Miscellaneous Agama Sutra, Vol. 32
“Indeed, Kasyapa! When the true dharma of Tathagata is vanishing, the Semblance dharma will emerge. When the Semblance dharma emerges in the mundane world, the True Dharma will become extinct. If a ship sails in the ocean while overloaded with treasures, it is likely to sink at once. However, the True Dharma of Tathagata will not disappear instantly but will gradually vanish. Tathagata’s True Dharma cannot be ruined by the four realms (elements) of earth, water, fire, and wind in the world or by the presence of wicked sentient beings who enjoy committing all sorts of evil deeds, who have the desire of doing so and eventually execute such evil deeds. The True Dharma of Tathagata will gradually disappear when the wicked ones who call the non-dharma dharma and the True Dharma non-dharma, who purport that a non-precept is a precept and that the real precept is a non-precept, employ the Semblance dharma, which appeals so much to people."
Excerpts from Nirvana, Vol. 1
Venerable Xiao Pingshi
The Buddha is saying that the disappearance and extinguishment of the Tathagata’s True Dharma will not be like the immediate sinking of an overloaded ship. Instead, the True Dharma will “gradually vanish.” The True Dharma will become extinct when wicked people appear in the world and join the Buddhist community. Wicked people enjoy doing all kinds of unwholesome things, such as committing adultery and carrying out other immoral acts by substituting the practice of the True Dharma with the non-Buddhist practice of tantric sex to accomplish their evil deeds. There are also others in the Buddhist community who undermine the True Dharma for an extended period of time by proclaiming false dharma as the True Dharma and vice versa, and purporting a false precept as a precept and vice versa, thus causing the True Dharma to gradually become replaced by the Semblance teachings. For example, some Buddhists purport that the state of the conscious mind or the conscious mind itself is the goal and objective of attaining enlightenment, and arduously preach this as the Buddha Dharma. Many contemporary Buddhists also openly say that “the thoughtless pristine awareness is reality suchness, and the perceptive natures of seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing denote the Buddha-nature.” These are precisely what the World-Honored One referred to as “calling the non-dharma dharma” because the non-dharma are merely states belonging to the conscious mind and are within the scope of the vijnana aggregate, which is not the True Dharma taught by the Buddha. These are only a few examples of how the Semblance dharma has infiltrated and substituted for the true essence of the Buddha Dharma. When the unlawful dharma gradually expands, the True Dharma will gradually diminish and be destroyed.
Excerpts from Nirvana, Vol. 1, p.26