Thing is, why spend so much time stressing over something that is unavoidable? Yeah, the Dharma is in decline. Yeah, the sangha is in a state of decay. Yeah, all trace of the Buddha will vanish from this world system. And? I think the point behind these types of texts is to goad the practitioner into making a stronger more determined effort to not sink into the quagmire. It's not like they are saying something that wasn't happening even during the Buddhas day. The question is, what are we doing whilst everything slowly and surely crumbles around us? That's, what I reckon, is the central message [, all trace of the Buddha will vanish from this world system. And?[//i]
And? Well, and when that happens it will be a bad thing!
'The Buddha told the Bhikshus, "After my Nirvana these deviant deeds and fifteen sets of disorders will bring the Dharma to extinction. How painful it will be then! If there are Bhikshus among you who sincerely wish to reverently study the Way, you should throw out all showy pretense and not seek fame or reputation...'
[i]I think the point behind these types of texts is to goad the practitioner into making a stronger more determined effort to not sink into the quagmire.
You're right. The Buddha is here leaving behind instructions for how to practice correctly after his death, a time when "disputes and quarrels will arise between adherents of my teachings."
"With a nature that is straightforward and innocent you should guard the truth and propagate the orthodox Sutras, the exalted canon of the Buddha, and the profound transformations of the Dharma, but avoid using too many words in explaining them. You should rely on the original explanation of the Sutra and not abandon the proper phrasings. In using special terms and repetitions, you should not allow the Buddha's intent to become lost."
I submit that the above encapsulates the Buddha's directions how we as his followers now should practice, whether this is the dawning of a new golden age or the end of the world as we know it.