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Morality of Buddhism.
and hospitals for animals are regarded as good works, equal to the institution of almshouses for needy men. Self-conquest, says an old proverb, is the best of all conquests. 12 Mankind is to be trained to gentleness, mercy, and consideration, and Buddhism itself set a good example of religious toleration, and by scarcely ever disgracing itself by the persecution of those who held different opinions. 13 The humility which was also to distinguish the priests was in contrast to the arrogance of the Brahmins. It is therefore hard to over-estimate the favourable effects of Buddhism in the softening of manners. The religion has been extolled for having educated mankind without having recourse to the conception of a deity, without prayer, without bribes or threats of another world, and yet in spite of this gained four hundred millions of votaries. The Buddhists had apparently shaken off the gods, or rather the gods were degraded into the willing auxiliaries of Buddha, at whose wish, even if unexpressed, they were supposed eagerly to assemble. But as their Shamanistic knowledge of wisdom, prayers, and the power of rites and penances, placed the Brahmins above the gods, so Buddha, by his virtuous life and by the strength of his devotion, acquired a nature far above that of the Vedic gods: he worked miracles and saw into the past and the future. 14 The distressed may therefore confidently cry to him; he will listen to the mariner and rescue him from the storm. 15 Buddhism, in the form it necessarily assumed before it was accepted by four hundred millions, is not recognized by ethnology as an ethical atheism, but merely as ancestor or hero worship. Soon after the death of the founder, and not without the instigation of his disciples, began a relic worship, which may be described as a reversion to fetishism. The ashes of the deceased were distributed between eight cities, and over these relics arose sanctuaries to which pilgrimages were made. 16 As Buddha, before
12 Köppen, Religion des Buddha.
13 Comp. the rock inscriptions of King Açoka with regard to tolerance. Max Müller, Essays. Leipzic, 1869.
14 Bournouf, Introduction.
16 Stanislas Julien, Histoire de la vie de Hiouen-thsang. Paris, 1853.
Lassen in d. Alterthümer.
his glorification, had passed through previous careers, not only as man, but also in various animal forms, in many temples even hairs, feathers, or bones were worshipped as having been derived from the animal bodies which he had formerly abandoned." Not only the founder himself, but a host of sanctified Bodhisattvás received homage, so that we see the highly revered Chinese pilgrim Hiouen-thsang visiting the images of these patron saints, and in devout rapture imploring oracular signs in answer to his questions asked with due rites. 18 Prayer, that is to say, Shamanistic invocation, was certainly alien to the mind of Sákjamuni or Gautama, but it was in the midst of his four hundred million votaries that rosaries and prayer cylinders were invented. It sounds strange that enthusiastic admirers extol Buddhism because it holds out neither bribes nor threats. In the eyes of Buddhism this world is itself a purgatory, a wheel that has revolved from eternity; and birth into the blissful regions of the gods or into the horrors of hell, the unclean body of the animal, or, lastly, into lower or higher castes, enticed or terrified the righteous or the sinner. The Buddhist doctrine has not disdained using the fear of an infallible retribution as a means of discipline.
Nor has Buddhism done anything to cure the natives of India of the superstition of the transmigration of souls; on the contrary, it maintained this dogma, and has even infected other nations with it as with a disease. It did not upset the distinctions of caste, but allowed them a social existence, although it showed a preference for the oppressed and despised in its promises of a speedy deliverance. Its boasted tolerance towards other religions is moreover of doubtful value, for it did nothing to raise alien notions of the Deity from their debased condition. Buddhism retained the Vedist heaven of the gods, and was contented to leave untouched the love of Shamanistic sorcery of the Mongolian tribes. and riper conceptions can only gain the mastery by expelling the less pure and the less ripe. The estimate of the adherents of Gautama's doctrine as four hundred millions, includes the whole Chinese people, who, though worshipping heaven and earth as well
17 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 408.
18 Stanislas Julien, Histoire de la vie de Houen-thsang. Paris, 1853.
Present Distribution of Buddhism.
as the dead, yet venerate Confucius as a moral legislator, and have in fact accepted from Buddhism only the figure of Buddha, adding one more false god to other false gods. 19
The Buddhist doctrine was not preached to an elect people but to all mankind, and its history is like that of Christianity among the Jews; for it enjoyed many centuries of undisputed sovereignty, and was then extinguished among the natives of India, or has at least been expelled from the continent, and is now to be found only in Ceylon. In the west, in Kabool, Taberistan and Kurdistan, Buddhism has been driven out by the sword of Islam. At an early period it was divided into a northern and a southern school. Ceylon, Burmah, Siam, and the Malayo-Chinese countries in general, belong to the southern and older school, the writings of which, composed in Pali, were in all probability established at the third Buddhist council in the third century B.C. In Java, where Buddhism had successfully expelled Brahminism, it succumbed to Islam in the fifteenth century. The writings of the northern school which, although in Sanscrit, are more modern, only received their final form at the fourth council, about the time of the birth of Christ. New Buddhism is adopted in Nepaul and other Himalayan districts, in Thibet by the Mongolian tribes, and in China and Japan. The first missionary is said to have reached China as early as 217 B.C.; but it was not till A.D. 65 that the emperor Ming-ti established the doctrines of Gautama as an authorized religion.20 The new believers worship a large number of Bodhisattvás, beings who, though only a grade lower than Buddha, and equally able to enter into the Nirvâna, yet through compassion, and to obtain the deliverance of their fellow-men, renounce this privilege in order to assist pious souls who call on them in prayer. Since the time of the Mongol emperors, the
head of the church of Thibet, who resides at Lása, is held to be an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Padmapáni. His title, Dalai Lama, or Ocean-Lama," first originated in the fifteenth century, when the northern church was divided on the question of the
19 Max Müller, Essays.
21 Thibetan bla-ma, superior, from bla, above. Friedrich Müller, Reise der Fregatte Novara ; Anthropologie.
celibacy of the priesthood. The supreme head of those who permit the marriage of the priests lives at Taschilhúnpo, under the title of Bogda Lama. This Lama is also considered to be the incarnation of a Bodhisattva, namely, of Amitábha, or, in Thibetan, Odpagméd, and he bears the title of Pan-tshen-rin-po-tshe.22 The two heads of the church are now reconciled, and with true Buddhist tolerance each sends his benediction to the other.
XII. THE DUALISTIC RELIGIONS.
MAN views in its relation to himself every phenomenon which he encounters, and hence regards as animated whatever disturbs his comfort, whether it is heat or cold, drought, hunger, pain, disease, or death. An inexperienced mind can hardly conceive that good and evil proceed from the same hand. In history, as in creation, we see contradictions which are hard to reconcile with the hypothesis of a benevolent and just system of the world. The same God who created the sublime firmament with its glorious luminaries, the beautiful earth, the flower, the dewdrop with its resplendent colours, the innocent eye of the child, filled his own world with fever, with poison, with vermin, with war, with barbarous cruelty in the animal kingdom, in which it commonly happens that one animal is incapable of development without torturing and destroying another, devouring its very intestines. Long and difficult is the progress to the conception of a Leibnitz, that, with all its dark sides, the world perceptible to the senses is not only the best according to human standards, but the best of all possible worlds Men of undisciplined intellect never attain to the perception that evil is but a limitation of the pleasures of existence, and, insatiable in enjoyment, they ask why the joys of life should be in any way hindered, limited, or ended. Still less do they see that even bodily pain is usually nothing else than an unasked but true warner against dangers, the approach of which threatens our lives or our health.
22 Von Schlagintweit, Indien und Hochasien, vol. ii. p. 86.
The Powers of Good and Evil.
Unable to trace comfort and discomfort to a single source, all races of mankind in the earlier phases of intellectual development have employed the expedient of assigning these opposite effects to invisible beings, and have fancied themselves surrounded and watched by a host of mischief-makers as well as by benevolent protectors. As soon as this work of the imagination was accomplished, mankind was able to pass through various phases of improvement. In the first and lowest stage a reconciliation with the invisible tormentor is attempted. In a hymn of the Madagascans, Zamhor and Niang are addressed as creators of the world; and it is added that no prayers are offered to Zamhor, as the good God does not require them.2 Among the Africans of Congo 3 and the Hottentots 4 we find worship of the evil combined with the neglect of the good Spirit. The negroes of the Slave Coast say God is so glorious and so great that he does not trouble himself about the base human world.5 In America precisely the same ideas prevail among the Patagonians, for they also worship only the malicious Gualitschu.6 Dobrizhoffer described the Abipones, who served only the gods of darkness, as worshippers of the devil. Appun, who gives the names of the good and bad spirits recognized by the Arowak, Warrau, Arecuna, Macuschi, Carib, and Atorai tribes of Guayana, adds that the Creator himself is deemed such an infinitely exalted being, that he does not concern himself with individuals. Among the Botocudos the sun and moon represent the two natures of the Godhead. The ancient Egyptians assigned the parts of their dualism to Hesiri (Osiris) and Set; the Chaldeans to the planets, Jupiter and Venus being the propitious, Saturn and Mars the pernicious stars; the vacillating Mercury always adhered to the rulers for the time being of the astrological heavens. The worship of the horrible Siva may also be regarded as an attempt at conciliation,
2 Roskoff, Geschichte des Teufels, vol. i. p. 47.
3 Winwoode Reade, Savage Africa, p. 250.
Kolbe, Cap der guten Hoffnung.
5 Bosman, Guinese Goud-Kust. 1704.
Musters, Among the Patagonians.
7 Geschichte der Abiponer.
9 Von Martius, Ethnographie, vol. i. p. 327.