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The Creed of Half Japan by Arthur Lloyd

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This is a scholarly study of the evolution of Mahayana Buddhism in Japan. Lloyd was particularly interested in how Eastern religions interacted with those in the west. A Christian clergyman and long-time resident in Japan at the turn of the 20th century, Arthur Lloyd felt that Buddhism has much in common with Christianity, including possible historical links. In this book he discusses doctrinal and narrative parallels between Mahayana Buddhism and early Christian, Gnostic, and Manichean beliefs.

The book is particularly strong in its exposition of the various Buddhist sects in Japan, with extensive material on Nichiren, including a translation of the Namudaishi and the Rissho Ankoku ron, two important Nichiren texts. He also discusses the Amida (Pure Land), Shingon and Zen schools. The historical account covers one and a half millennia of Japanese history, from the first entry of Buddhism in the fifth century via Korea, through the Nara, Heian, Gempei, Kamakura, Muromachi and the Tokugawa periods. If you are looking for a comprehensive volume which covers the development of modern Japanese Buddhism, this is an essential reference. This is also a great read for religious studies students and others interested in Buddhism and the development of eastern religions.--J. B. Hare, November 26th, 2008.





I can only plead for my book that it is the work of a pioneer, and every pioneer knows that his labours must necessarily be crude and imperfect. I foresee all the strictures that criticism will pass upon my labours, and shall be more than content if what I have written stimulates others to further research.

More should have been said about the lives and teachings of Hōnen, Shinran, and other leaders of the Jōdo or Pure Land sects. The omission is due to the fact that I have already dealt with these thinkers in a monograph entitled "Shinran and His Work," which I published in Tokyo last year. Even with these omissions I fear this book will seem rather bulky.

My best thanks are due to the Master of Peterhouse, who has put himself to much trouble on my behalf.


June 24, 1911.



The Mahāyāna is a form of Buddhism. The word means "the Large Vehicle" or "Conveyance," and is used to distinguish the later and amplified Buddhism from the Hīnayāna or Small Vehicle, which contains the doctrines of that form of Buddhism which is purely Indian. The original language of the Hīnayāna Scriptures is Pali, the language of Magadha in S’akyamuni's lifetime; that of the Mahāyāna books is Sanskrit, the literary tongue of the Brahmans, adopted by Greeks, Parthians, and Scythians as a means of theological expression, when they came in turns to be masters of North-West India and the fertile valleys watered by the Indus and its tributaries, in the Punjaub and in Afghanistan, the language of many a controversy about philosophy human and divine, as Brahman and Buddhist strove in the early centuries of our era for the spiritual supremacy of India.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the Greater Vehicle differs from the Lesser only because it contains in it more of subtle dialectic and daring speculation. The case is not so: the Pali books are every whit as deep and every whit as full of speculation as their Sanskrit rivals. The Hīnayāna is the Lesser Vehicle only because it is more limited in its area. It draws its inspiration from India and from India only, and had it been possible to confine Buddhism within the limits of the Magadhan kingdom, or even within the limits of As’oka's actual dominions, we may safely infer that it would have continued to be Hīnayāna only, as has been the case in Ceylon, where it has not been obliged to rub shoulders with deeply modifying or disturbing influences. But when once Buddhism stepped outside the limits of India pure and simple, to seek converts amongst Greeks and Parthians, Bactrians, Medes, Turks, Scythians, Chinese, and all the chaos of nations that has made the history of Central Asia so extremely perplexing to the student, immediately its horizon was enlarged by the inclusion of many outside elements of philosophic thought. It was no longer the comfortable family coach in which India might ride to salvation: it was the roomy omnibus intended to accommodate men of all races and nations and to convey them safely to the Perfection of Enlightened Truth. It is true that it never forgot the rock from whence it had been hewn; that it always spoke of itself as a religion intended primarily for the world of India. With a touching shamefacedness, it tried to gloss over the inconsistency of its own missionary zeal. The boundaries of India were supposed to enlarge themselves as the missionaries of Buddhism advanced towards the East. The Hindu Kush and the Himalayas ceased to be the boundaries of the sacred land of Jambudvīpa. In process of time Jambudvīpa included Central Asia, China, and even Japan. [1]

The Mahāyāna was probably a matter of slow and, at first, unobserved growth. Among the numerous sects which divided the Hīnayāna at the commencement of the Christian era, some were probably more comprehensive, more advanced, than others, and there must have been some which had almost reached to the expansive fulness of the Mahāyāna itself. Very little indeed is known of the history of Buddhism between the death of As’oka and the dawn of the Christian era—during the period, that is, when the Mahāyāna was in the state of gestation. What we do know is that about the end of the first century of the Christian era, between five and six hundred years after the death of Buddha, the Mahāyāna comes into existence in Kashmir and North-West India and the valley of the Indus; that it enjoys the patronage of the Scythian conquerors of those districts, whose conversion to Buddhism may have been due, in the first place, to a politic desire to stand well with their newly acquired Buddhist subjects; that it was adorned by some great names of saints and doctors; and that it spread from the land of its birth to the most distant regions of Northern and Eastern Asia.

It is not necessary in this work to write a long and elaborate life of S’akyamuni. That subject has been exhaustively treated of by many great scholars, and Japan has very little of new material to contribute towards it. I shall take up the main thread of my story from the time when the Mahāyāna makes its first distinct appearance on the stage of Eastern religious life, that is, during the first century of the Christian era. In doing so, I shall have to touch on the first beginnings of Christianity also, the contemporary faith which, in those early days, converted the West, while failing, comparatively, to win the East for Christ, just as the Mahāyāna seemed to be hindered from impressing itself on the West, while it has had a free course and a lasting success in the lands of the Far East. In the course of these pages certain considerations will be advanced (with how much of convincing power it must rest with the reader to decide) to show that the two faiths came into actual contact with one another in many points during the first and second centuries of our era, and that each contributed something to the success and failure of the other. It is a most difficult subject to handle, and before setting myself to work at it, I can but pray—a good old-fashioned custom for which I am almost ashamed to feel myself obliged to offer an apology—that nothing I write may offend against that sacred cause of Truth, which should be the only aim of the scientific and Christian scholar.

But, before plunging into my subject proper, it seems but right that I should devote a few short chapters to the consideration of the person of the Founder, and of the extent of As’oka's influence, as shown by the rock inscriptions which that monarch has left behind him. These chapters will enable the reader more accurately to estimate the extent of the acquaintance which we may suppose Europe and India to have had of one another at the time when Christianity and the Mahāyāna sprang simultaneously into life.

The Stage on which S’akyamuni made his Appearance

p. 5

The Sūtras which are commonly received as giving an authentic account of the teachings of the S’akyamuni, [2] will also furnish us with certain geographical and other data which are necessary for us if we would form a correct picture of India in the sixth century B.C., the India in which S’akyamuni taught and laboured. [3]

We need not take a very wide geographical survey. What actually concerns us is a small portion of the valley of the Ganges, comprising practically the two districts of Oudh and Behar, [4] stretching to the east as far as Patna, to the west as far as Allahabad. The Himalayas form the northern boundary of S’akyamuni's country, the Ganges is practically its southern limit; the only exception being that Bodhigaya and the district intimately connected with the Enlightenment of the Tathāgata lie to the south of

p. 6

the sacred river. Later developments of the Buddhist communities may make it necessary for us to enlarge our geographical inquiries, but for the present these boundaries will suffice for our consideration. They will enable us to follow the life of the Great Master in all its principal phases.

The Buddhist Sūtras tell us a good deal about the population of the country in which the Wheel of the Law was set in motion.

The India of S’akyamuni's time was under the domination of an Aryan race, which had conquered the land and brought into it institutions not unlike those which we find in some other Aryan countries, Athens, for instance. [5] They had divided the population into four great castes, of whom the fourth, possibly also the third, may have been mixed with some of the conquered races, whilst the two higher ones certainly belonged to the nobility of the conquest. In S’akyamuni's time the Sudras, or low-caste people, and the Vaiśyas, or merchants and farmers, lived quietly, without any part or lot in the privileges of national life, contented to devote themselves to the pursuit of their several vocations; the Kshatriyas and Brahmans, having accomplished the subjugation of the other two castes, were struggling against each other for supremacy in State and Society. Chief among the Kshatriyan tribes which resisted the supremacy claimed by the Brahmans were the clans known collectively as the S’akyans, who were politically supreme in the districts actually affected by S’akyamuni's life. S’akyan was, however, only a collective name: the clans were distinguished

p. 7

from one another by tribal names as well, such as Licchāvis, Vrijjis, Mallas, Andhas, etc., some of which remain to the present day. The S’akyan nobles, [6] it is said, welcomed the person of S’akyamuni, their kinsman prophet, whose teachings encouraged them in their resistance to Brahman usurpations, but they were not always equally willing to adopt his practical teachings. The Brahmans, ultimately victorious in the struggle for political and religious supremacy in India, have had their revenge on these S’akyan tribes by refusing to consider them as families of pure descent. It is hard to determine the point. All Buddhists claim that S’akyamuni's lineage came from Ikshvaku, [7] the descendant of Manu, the descendant of Brahma. Licchāvis ruled later, by virtue of Kshatriyan descent, in Nepaul, Bhutan, Ladakh, and (through marriage) in Tibet, and the Licchāvi dynasty in Nepaul was succeeded by a line of Malla kings. At the same time it must be admitted that we have from the very earliest times traces of intercourse between Nepaul, Tibet, and China, which should be considered.

China, as shown by the late Prof. Lacouperie and others, e.g. Mr. Morse (in his "Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire"), was occupied, before the advent of the Chinese from Western Asia, by many aboriginal

p. 8

tribes, whom it took the Chinese centuries to absorb successfully into themselves. Many of these original tribes, such as the Lolo, the Mantsze, and the Miao, took leading parts in Chinese history, and many of them would seem to have had dealings with nations beyond the borders of their empire. The earliest traditions of Nepaul ascribe the first draining and development of their land, in pre-Buddhistic times, to the Bodhisattva Manjuśri (Jap. Monju), whose chief temple is at Wu-tai-chan, near Pekin, who is the patron deity, par excellence, of the western and northern tribes of China, and who is considered to be perpetually reincarnated in the person of the Manchu sovereign of China. [8] It seems probable, therefore, that Manjuśri [9] was originally the deified hero of one of the tribes of Northern China, possibly the Mantsze, that he distinguished himself during his lifetime by his successful development and colonization of Nepaul, and that he was

p. 9

subsequently adopted into the Buddhist pantheon by the all-embracing Mahāyāna. As M. Sylvain Levi has said, it is impossible as yet adequately to define the extent of the influence exerted on Buddhism in remote times by China and neighbouring countries.

Buddhism has always been the religion of merchants. The Sūtras tell us of many wealthy traders who supported the order by their generous donations. There must have been a great volume of trade. The S’akyan nobles, who constantly address S’akyamuni as gotama, "herdsman" (apparently a common mode of address), were of the same race as the herdsmen of the Himalayas. There is at least one Sutra which speaks of the wool merchant from across the mountains, and it is indeed to wandering S’akyan herdsmen that is attributed the opening up of the valley of Lhassa in Thibet. One of S’akyamuni's earliest disciples was a merchant's son from Benares named Yaśas. He has been identified (wrongly, as I think) with S’anavaśas, the third patriarch of the Northern succession. Now, S’anavaśas is described as having been a ship-captain. True, he may only have been the skipper of a Ganges barge; but there are two later patriarchs of whom it is expressly stated that they had penetrated as far as Turkestan in their travels.

To the lowest class, the Sudras, belonged one at least of S’akyamuni's disciples, Upali, the barber. But there are traces of lower strata of society more degraded even than the Sudras. There is a record of a mission, [10] conducted by the master in person, to a tribe of cannibals, whom he

p. 10

converted to better ways; and many have seen in the Nāgas, Gandhāras, Kinnaras, and other half-mythical companies of beings, the traces of aboriginal tribes of a low order. This is especially the case with the Nāgas, who are so constantly appearing in the Sūtras. They were most probably savages whose name was given to them from their worship of serpents (still practised in India). In the Nepaulese legend they appear as the original inhabitants of the swamps opened up by the civilizing Manjuśri. Driven out by Manjuśri, they take refuge in Nāgaloka, [11] the world of the Nāgas, or serpents, which to the Nepaulese is Thibet. Strange to say, the Thibetan records also speak of Nāgas and Nāgaloka; but in their case Nāgaloka is China. This seems to me to be another instance of a very early intercourse between India and China, or at least with those districts of Central Asia which had early connections with that empire.

Hindoo philosophy, such as we now understand it, [12]

p. 11

did not exist. That would seem to have been the product of a later age. The Brahman religion existed, but in its infancy. The day of the Vedic gods was not yet over; men still bowed before Indra, Varuna, and the rest of the ancient deities, and the gods whom Buddhism has adopted into its pantheon, such as, e.g., the twin deities that guard the entrance to the temples of the older sects in Japan, belong exclusively to the early period. The Brahmans had doubtless begun the formation of the theological system which was to fetter the intellect as it had fettered the social liberties of the people; but the system was not yet completed, and there were many among the Kshatriyas who openly resisted the pretensions of the sacerdotal class. [13] It was, also, a period of great religious zeal and inquiry. Time and again, in reading the biographical notices connected with the proceedings of S’akyamuni, we find that his converts were men who had for years been searchers after truth; in some cases, as, e.g., that of Uruvilva Kaśyapa, they had themselves been religious teachers, and drew their own followers after them to swell the ranks of S’akyamuni's disciples. But it would seem as though before S’akyamuni's time there was but one path known for the searcher after truth to follow—the way of austerities and penance, which brought power and influence to the sacerdotal Brahmans, without always leading the searcher to the much-coveted enlightenment and peace. [14]

p. 12

Not all these searchers were convinced by Buddha's methods. S’akyamuni had many rivals, of whom one at least founded a system of belief which has endured to our own time. Mahāvīra, the founder of the Jain sect, was the contemporary of S’akyamuni, and died in the Kosala country, not many miles from the place where S’akyamuni went to his rest, apparently in the same year as his more celebrated rival. Jainism and Buddhism are kindred faiths, and the Jainists and Buddhists seem to have always looked upon one another as brethren, or, at least, as spiritual cousins. [15]

It was in such a country and in such an age that S’akyamuni was born. The son of Suddhodhana, King of Kapilavastu, and of his wife, the Lady Māyā, his birth is said to have been accompanied with marvels which really belong to a later chapter of our book, and his boyhood was marked by a singular precocity of intellect and purity of character. The wise men summoned to the palace at the time of his birth, [16] and especially one of their number, the aged sage Asita, told the happy father that the newborn babe would be either an epoch-making emperor or a world-saving Buddha; and the father, feeling perhaps that charity should begin at home, determined that, if possible, his son should be prepared for the former of the two alternatives. The young Prince Siddhartha was brought up as became a S’akyan prince of high degree; trained in arms, literature, and science, he was surrounded

p. 13

with nothing but objects pleasant for his eye to rest upon, and the most beautiful person in his harem was his wife, the carefully selected Princess Yasodhārā. [17]

Many incidents, however, show that his mind was not at ease in the midst of all his luxury, and this feeling of dissatisfaction was increased by several sights which brought home to him the inherent misery of the world. A ceremonial ploughing-festival, which, as Crown Prince. it was his duty to attend, revealed to him the strife that there is in Nature, the upturned earth showing the worms cut in two by the ploughshare to become the prey of the birds that followed in the wake of the ploughman. Shortly after, he met, at short intervals, an aged person, a sick man, a corpse, and a holy monk. He learned about the sorrow and pain that there are in the world, he also learned that there was a way by which escape from the "Welt-schmerz" was possible, and he resolved to follow it. He had received his call, and he obeyed the vocation.

It was not mere selfishness that induced him to leave his home to follow after the Truth. When he bent over the sleeping forms of his beloved wife and his new-born son at the moment of his departure, he resolved that, when he had found the Way, he would come back and save his loved ones, and he kept his promise. But the Way was not easy to find, and the search was long and difficult. For six long years, by self-imposed fastings, austerities, and penance, his strained soul, dwelling in an emaciated body, constantly exposed to the temptations of Māra, the Evil One, searched patiently for the Truth, but

p. 14

in vain. At last he gave up his fruitless efforts, partook of food after a long abstinence, had one last combat with the Evil One who strove to appeal to his pride and fear, and then sat down "under the fig-tree" at Bodhi-Gaya and awaited enlightenment. Had he been a Christian or a Jew, we might have said that "he listened to what the Lord God should say unto him."

What his soul heard was as follows: "(1) There is Pain in the world, and Pain is universal. (2) All pain is the result of Concupiscence (Trishna). (3) Destroy Concupiscence and you free yourself from Pain. (4) There is a path by which you can attain to the Destruction of Concupiscence, and its end is Liberation." The Liberation is what is known as Nirvana, and the "result of Concupiscence," which leads to action, is Karma.

These propositions are known as the Four Great Truths. They contained nothing new, and yet the Light which S’akyamuni threw upon them was a fresh one. Karma and Nirvana were words well known to India before S’akyamuni's discovery of them; the things themselves were known in Greece and to the Jewish people.

The great question of the retribution that waits on human actions had been brought solemnly before the Asiatic world by the impressive fall of the Babylonian Empire, before both Asia and Europe, during the lifetime almost of S’akyamuni himself, by the overthrow of Xerxes at Marathon and Salamis. The Greek theologian-poet Æschylus treated of this theme in his "Eumenides," and again in his tragedy of the "Persians." The prophet of the Captivity, Ezekiel, had been proclaiming to his countrymen (Ezek. xviii.) a new law of retribution. Each soul, said the prophet, should bear its own burdens; there should be no more reason to say in Israel, "the fathers had eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth had been

p. 15

set on edge." We shall also do well to remember that the deutero-Isaiah and Ezekiel had both insisted on the value and benefit of the sabbath day, and that a fresh impetus had been given to the moral law by the labours of Ezra, the reviser of Holy Scripture (Isa. lvi. 6, 7; Ezek. xx. 12, etc., xviii. 2, etc.; Deut. viii. 12; Ps. cxix.).

What S’akyamuni taught was this: the universal existence of Pain (and Pain must be taken in its widest sense); the root of Pain, which is the Lust that is in the human heart; the end to be attained, which is the Destruction of Desire; and the way to obtain it. Desire, Karma, the wheel of Life and Death: the quenching of Desire, the Destruction of Karma, the Peace of Nirvana. [18] Karma is no Nemesis, such as in Æschylus pursues the unjust and the slayer. Nemesis is vengeful, seems to be given to wrath, and to be guided by anger; Nemesis, to men's eyes, is fitful, irregular, and therefore unjust. Karma, as S’akyamuni saw it, is a universal law, working quietly and steadily along a twelve-fold chain of causation, and binding its victim to the ever-revolving wheel of Life and Death. It works unobtrusively, but surely; yet it can be broken. There is what S’akyamuni calls a noble Eight-fold Path, of right views, right aims, right actions, etc., which leads in time to the destruction of evil Karma by the quenching of Desire, and it seems to have been S’akyamuni's life-work to instil into his hearers the way of the Noble Path, which alone can lead to emancipation. Of philosophy he spoke but little; [19] the so-called Philosophy of Buddhism was a later product.

p. 16

He did not profess to teach a new doctrine. What he taught was the "Way of the Buddhas." [20] He recognized that there had been Buddhas before him, [21] as there would be Buddhas after him. He was thus enabled freely to adopt many things that seemed good in systems other than his own, and flexibility has always been a mark of his religion. To us it will seem easy to conjecture the quarter from which he got his idea of a weekly sabbath, [22] and the fact that the Order of Monks kept their sabbath days for many centuries after the Nirvana will make it easier for us to recognize and admit the doctrine held by a large section of northern Buddhists, that Buddha also taught, personally and during his earthly life, the salvation worked out for many by another Buddha, who is Boundless in Life, Light, and Compassion, and whom Japan knows as Amitābha. [23]

p. 17

S’akyamuni was no atheist. He did indeed teach that the enlightened Buddha was higher than the gods of the Brahman pantheon, higher than Indra, Varuna, Agni, Emma-San or Kompira Sama, who now fill subordinate places in Buddhist temples. These gods were creatures of fancy, subject, like Venus, Juno, Neptune, to the Law of Change, and liable to that extinction which has befallen the gods of Assyria and Babylon, of Egypt, Greece, and ancient Rome. From the denial of such gods to the denial of all gods is a very long step, and I think it may be shown that S’akyamuni never took it. Rather I would say, and this I hope to make clear as I proceed, that wherever S’akyamuni's own influence reached, it served to give men higher and truer ideas of the Divine Nature, and that his teachings were thus intended to prepare the way for the acceptance of the highest of all truths.

The Buddha and his Greatest Disciple

p. 18

Thanks to the labours of many students of the Buddhist books, both Pali and Sanskrit, we are able to form a vivid mind's eye picture of the ministerial life of the Founder of Buddhism; indeed, the general indications of time are so wonderfully precise that we can trace his labours year by year for quite one-half of the forty-six years which his ministry occupied. There is a gap of about fifteen years near the end of his career for which we have no precise sequence of events; but even here we are not left entirely in the dark, for there are many indications given of the troublous days through which India in general, and the Buddhist community in particular, was then passing. [24]

p. 19

We are shown the successes which attended on S’akyamuni's first preaching. Conversions were numerous and rapid, converts of all ages and both sexes flocked into his community from every class of society, and were welcomed without distinction of caste and rank. Thousands caught the enthusiasm of the Buddha, and left all to follow him, while in the crowds who felt no vocation to the monastic life were kings and merchants, who vied with each other in the generosity of their gifts.

Among all these varied personages S’akyamuni moves like a king among men. Bimbisara recognizes the kingship that is in him, and offers to make him the Crown Prince of the Magadhan kingdom, S’akyan noblemen herald hint as the teacher and saint of their clan; and the universal esteem in which he is held is shown by nothing more strikingly than by the settlement of a dispute about rights of water which is referred to his arbitration by the tribes concerned. Evidently, the historical Tathāgata was a practical person, far removed from the ecstatic dreamer of the Hokekyū. [25]

Religious India had need of a sound mind with a practical bent, for the times were fraught with evil. Wars and rumours of war vexed the minds of the people; there was civil strife in Magadha, and sounds of more distant thunder came rolling over from Western Asia. All these hindered "the running of the wheel;" so did

p. 20

also the conflicts with heretics, the dissensions among the disciples, and the many breaches of discipline which weakened the strength and vigour of his Buddhist followers.

S’akyamuni was a brave man and strong, but he felt the dissensions among his disciples most keenly, and there were many moments in which he sank into the lowest pit of despondency, and which his biographers have described as conflicts with the Evil One. These conflicts came at many periods in his life; they cannot be said to have shortened his days, for he lived to be over eighty, but they were evidently the result of the sorrows and anxieties which embittered the later years of his life. [26]

The end had probably been drawing on for some time; strange to say, it was hastened by a meal of dried boar's flesh, of which he partook in the house of Chanda, the blacksmith—a proof that abstinence from flesh cannot have been an integral portion of the early rules of Buddhism. [27] His death has been very touchingly described in the "Sūtra of the Great Decease," which gives us also

p. 21

his last words to his disciples, as well as the account of his obsequies. The extent of his influence and the high esteem in which he was held throughout Central Asia are shown by the eagerness with which the surrounding tribes craved for a portion of his cremated bones for purposes of reverence and adoration.

The evidence to hand seems to show that it was the strong ruling hand of the master that alone was able to preserve the unity of the large number of his disciples and followers in his later years. The Tathāgata had been attended during his last moments by the well-beloved Ananda, the disciple who had for some time been acting as his private secretary and coadjutor; Kaśyapa, the most weighty of all the Sthaviras, or Seniors, did not arrive in time to see his master again in life. When a Council was summoned at Rajagriha soon after the interment, it was Kaśyapa who took the chair, whilst Ananda, in spite of his intimate relations with the master, found himself at first excluded altogether (Kern, "Buddhism," vol. ii. p. 239). There is a northern tradition of a rival Council held outside the Grotto, whilst the official Council within was pursuing its labours. [28] Other traditions (see Kern, l.c.)

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make the exclusion of Ananda from the official Council to have been but temporary, but the fact remains that the successions of Patriarchs in north and south were from the very beginning different. Both successions begin with Kaśyapa, but both assign to him only a short tenure of office. He was an old man, older than S’akyamuni, and most probably died soon after his master. After Kaśyapa, we have, in the south, Upali the Barber, who recited the Vinaya-pitakam; then Dāsaka, Sonaka, Siggava, and Chandavajji, and Tishya Maudgalyāyaniputra, who is said to have presided over As’oka's Council. In the north, during the same period, we get Ananda, the coadjutor of Buddha and the reciter of the Sūtra-pitakam; Madhyantika, the Apostle of Kashmir; S’ānavaśas, who was present at the Second Council, Upagupta, who acted as guide to As’oka when that monarch, in the interval between his conversion and his ordination to the priesthood, made a tour of the holy places; [29] and finally Dhītika, who, during the period of missionary fervour which followed the Third Council under As’oka (possibly even independently of that Council's authority), went into Turkestan and there

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became a successful apostle of Buddhism. [30] The two lists have no names in common, except the first, and the northern histories ignore As’oka's Council. The inference seems to be a legitimate one, that north and south were independent of one another.

A second Council (for we must consider the meetings at Rājagriha to have constituted but one Council) was held at Vaiśāli just about one hundred years after the Parinirvana of the Master to settle some questions of discipline which had arisen within the community of monks. Was it permissible for the monks to keep a little salt in a horn, in case the food supplied by the charitable should contain none? Was it permissible to dine after midday, when the sun cast shadows more than two inches in length? Was it permissible for brethren belonging to the same community to keep the sabbaths separately? Might the brethren drink palm-wine, sit on elaborate cushions, handle gold and silver, etc.? [31] These and similar questions were brought before the Council of Vaiśāli by the monks of Vaiśāli, who maintained their lawfulness. We can see how strong was the current of party feeling from the question about the sabbath. The opposing parties could evidently no longer meet together for the joint celebration of the customary observances, and the tension between the monks of the east and west was very great. A leading part in the Synod was taken (Kern, vol. ii. p. 248) by Yaśas, whose identification with S’ānavaśas, the Mahāyāna patriarch, would, if accepted, [32]

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show that the breach between Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna was not yet definitely recognized. The decision went against the Vaiśāli monks, who seem to have belonged chiefly to the proud Vrijji clan of S’akyans, and from that moment Buddhism began to be hopelessly shattered by ever-increasing schisms and divisions. [33]

Before a third Council was summoned, India had undergone the shock of invasion, and Alexander's victorious arms had penetrated as far as the Punjaub. The immediate effect on Buddhism of the Macedonian invasion was not so great as might be imagined. [34] When the Greek armies came to a check in the Punjaub, there were still several hundreds of unconquered miles between them and the kingdom of Magadha. The strictly Hellenistic influences came later: the immediate effect lay in the shock and terror with which the weak princelets and peoples of India must have viewed the advancing invader, and the despair which must have paralyzed every one. With the sole exception of King Pōrus, there does not

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seem to have been a single native prince of any power or weight, and the kingdom of Magadha was especially helpless under the rule of the effeminate Nanda dynasty. A mere adventurer, the son of a barber, who had found his way to Alexander's camp, conceived the bold idea of raising himself to the throne which its feeble occupants left practically unprotected. After trying in vain to engage Alexander in further enterprises, Chandragupta bided his time till the conqueror's death gave him the opportunity for action. Then a successful mutiny made him master of the Punjaub, the possession of which secured for him the command of the necessary sinews of war. A few months later we see him master of Magadha, with a capital at Pataliputra and dominions extending from the mouths of the Ganges to the Indus, from the Himalayas to the Vindhya. Chandragupta was the founder of the so-called Mauryan dynasty; he first defied Seleucus Nicator, and then entered into an alliance with him, compacted by a marriage with the Greek king's daughter. It was to his court that Megasthenes [35] was sent as minister resident of the Seleucid monarch, and it is to Megasthenes that Europe owes its first just notions of India. Chandragupta was not a Buddhist, and he has no importance for the historian of religions. He is, nevertheless, a personage far too weighty to be passed over without mention.

Chandragupta's grandson was the celebrated As’oka, who changed Buddhism from the form of belief adopted by a few unimportant tribes in Central India to a creed of world-wide importance. Chandragupta (B.C. 320–297) was succeeded by his son Bindusara (297–272), a sovereign of whom very little is known beyond the fact that he extended his dominions considerably; that, whilst he was

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on the throne, the King of Egypt sent an embassy, under a certain Dionysus, to Pataliputra; and that on one occasion he wrote a letter to Antiochus, King of Syria, asking to have a professor of Greek sent to him. Greek writers speak of him as Ἀμιτροχάτης, a name which suggests that he adopted the Sanskrit title Amitraghāti, "the slayer of his foes." He was succeeded in B.C. 272 by his son As’oka, one of the greatest of the rulers of India. Of As’oka we know that in his early days he bore anything but a good reputation; indeed, it was said of him that, like a traditional Oriental potentate, he waded to the throne through the blood of his near kinsmen and their friends. His coronation, for some unknown reason, was deferred for some two or three years after his accession, a fact which inclines us to believe that in the early years of his reign he may have met with a good deal of opposition. In B.C. 261 he was engaged in a successful war with the Kalingas in southern India, a war so full of horrors and misery that the contemplation of it filled the conqueror with remorse and pity, and caused his conversion, not necessarily to Buddhism, but at any rate to religion. He soon took political measures for acquainting his subjects with his change of views; and he has left us a series of edicts, inscribed on rocks and pillars in different parts of India, which give us our best insight into the character of his religious aspirations. Whatever his religious views were, he was not ashamed to publish them abroad, for he sent embassies [36] to many of the leading

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Hellenic sovereigns of Western Asia, and the treaty of amity which he concluded with Antiochus Theos in B.C. 256 must have given him a much-desired opportunity for impressing his beliefs on the Hellenic mind.

By the year 249 his mind was turning definitely towards the acceptance of the teachings of S’akyamuni in preference to those of any other of the religious teachers who laid claim to the allegiance of religious India. He went on a solemn pilgrimage to the sacred places of India with Upagupta, the patriarch of the Northern School, as his guide, and the sight of the Lumbini grove, where S’akyamuni was born, of Bodhigaya, where he attained to Enlightenment, of Benares, where the Wheel of the Law was set in motion, and of the Sacred Grove, in which he died, moved him apparently to a further step. In 240 he was ordained as a monk, and in the Bhābhrā Edict, dated, soon after that, he proclaimed himself definitely as a Buddhist. Between As’oka's ordination and his death (which Vincent Smith assigns to B.C. 231) must be placed his Council, the data for which are so confusing that writers like Kern have come to the conclusion that it never took place at all, but was a mere figment of chronologists and history-writers of the Southern School. Northern Buddhism, it is true, knows nothing of As’oka's Council, but there is nothing in this fact to justify a denial of its having taken place. It is probable that the Council took place, and that it was an effort on As’oka's part to procure reforms of abuses which had crept in during the 230 years which had elapsed since the death of the Founder. It is also reasonable to suppose that he laboured at the Council for the promotion of those views which he had so persistently advocated in the long succession of rock edicts.

The Pre-Christian Expansion of Buddhism

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The great As’oka, king of Maghada, the Constantine of Indian and Ceylonese Buddhism, has no official place, as I have said, in the history of the Mahāyāna, which takes absolutely no notice of the Council that is said to have been held during his reign. The Council naturally concerned only those monks that lived within As’oka's extensive dominions; the Mahāyāna seems to have originated beyond the Indus, among people, possibly, o Indian origin, but still not subjects of any purely Indian state.

Yet As’oka is of importance in the study of the Mahāyāna. For, first, he enables us to correct a great error as to S’akyamuni's date, still commonly made by many of the official defenders of Buddhism in Japan. The Mahāyāna books place the date of S’akyamuni's birth in B.C. 1027, and his death, consequently, about B.C. 950—a chronological misstatement which vitiates all their other calculations. For if this be true, then As’vaghosha, who lived 500 years after the Nirvana, and Nāgārjuna, who lived in the sixth century after the same occurrence, must be supposed to have flourished respectively about the years B.C. 450 and 400, and the whole Mahāyāna system predates the Christian era by some centuries. [37]

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Fortunately As’oka is well known to us, not only from books, but also from the edicts which he has left engraved in stone in various parts of his former dominions, and the data thus furnished enable us to give both As’oka's exact year, and approximately that of S’akyamuni's entrance into Nirvana. From the materials at hand, Dr. Fleet [38] has been able to fix the dates for the principal events between the death of Buddha and that of As’oka. We may accept them with confidence. As’oka was anointed king on the 25th of April, B.C. 264, 218 years after the death of Buddha, which consequently took place in B.C. 483—in the interval, it is well to remember, between the battles of Marathon and Salamis.

Again, As’oka's monuments give us data whereby to gauge the extent of his influence. Edict No. 2, translated by Dr. V. A. Smith, [39] is on the subject of comforts for men and animals, and runs thus: "Everywhere in the dominions of King Priyadarśin, and likewise in the neighbouring realms, such as those of the Chola, Pandya, Sattyaputra, and Keralaputra, in Ceylon, in the dominions of the Greek king Antiochus, and in those of the other kings subordinate to that Antiochus—everywhere, on behalf of his Majesty King Priyadarśin, have two kinds of remedies been disseminated—remedies for men, and remedies for beasts. Healing herbs, medicinal for man and medicinal for beasts, wherever they were lacking, have everywhere been imported and planted. On the

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roads, trees have been planted, and wells dug for the use of man and beast."

Edict No. 5 concerns the Censors of the Law of Piety: "They (i.e. the Censors) are engaged among people of all sects in promoting the establishment of piety, the progress of piety, and the welfare and happiness of the lieges, as well as of the Yonas, Kambojas, Gandharas, Rashtrikas, Pitenikas, and other nations on my borders."

(c) Edict. 13 is on the subject of the "True Conquest" (i.e. the Conquest of Self): "Even upon the forest tribes in his dominions, His Majesty has compassion, and he seeks their conversion, inasmuch as the might even of His Majesty is based on conversion." … [It has been communicated] "even to where the Greek King named Antiochus dwells, and beyond that Antiochus, to where dwell the four kings severally named Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, and Alexander; and in the south, to the Kings of the Cholas, and Pândyas, and of Ceylon,—and, likewise here, in the King's dominions, among the Yonas, and Kambojas, in Nābhaka of the Nabhitis, among the Bhojas and Pitenikas, among the Andhras and Palindas, everywhere men follow the law of Piety as proclaimed by His Majesty.

"Even in those regions where the envoys of His Majesty do not penetrate, men now practise and will continue to practise the Law of Piety.…" [40]

(d) Minor Rock Edict No. 1, if accurately translated by Senart, speaks of 256 missionaries who have gone forth to proclaim the law. [41]

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We have here a picture of As’oka's missionary activity. It embraced his own subjects, those living in his capital, those living in the remote provinces and dependencies of his empire within India, the Yonas or immigrant Greeks, the Chōlas, Pāndyas, and Andhras, the degraded tribes of the forests, the King of Ceylon, the Greek kings who ruled as the Diadochi of Alexander the Great, and last, but not least, the unmentioned lands to which As’oka had sent no envoy, but in which Buddhism was nevertheless being actively and piously pursued. These sovereigns and peoples As’oka addresses, mainly on two subjects—care for the health and welfare of the people, and "True Conquest" over themselves and their passions—a lesson which was surely not superfluous in those troublous days.

The Indian states and peoples need not delay us long. The mention of Cholas, Pāndyas, etc., serves to show how widely spread, in India itself, was the Buddhist faith which As’oka strove to promote and reform. Nor need we linger over Ceylon. [42] That island is said to have owed its conversion to the labours of Mahendra, the son or son-in-law of As’oka, and, whoever may have been its apostle, it has remained true to the faith which it then received, The mention of the Yonas or Yavanas (i.e. the Ionians or Greeks; we have the authority of Aristophanes that by the Oriental the name "Greek" was pronounced Iaonau, which is very near to Yavana) is a little ambiguous; for it may refer to the Greek kingdom of Bactria, which set up for itself a few years after the publication of the earlier

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[paragraph continues] Rock Edicts, or it may refer to the Greek merchants trading and travelling in India, whose votive inscriptions have been found in ancient Buddhist temples in the peninsula. It is possible, though we cannot make a positive assertion on the point, that some of the nations on his borders, to whom As’oka refers, may have dwelt on the frontiers of what in later times became the Parthian kingdom.

The ruler of Syria at the time when As’oka published his Edicts was Antiochus II. (Theos), the unfortunate monarch who inherited the splendour but not the genius of his more illustrious father, Antiochus I. (Soter). He had only just come to the throne when the Edicts containing his name were published, and we must therefore, I believe, refer the allusions to the state of the Syrian Kingdom to his father's reign rather than to his own. It was to Antiochus I. that As’oka had applied for assistance as to medical herbs and trees, and whom he had consulted as to wells and fountains in streets and by roadsides, and for trees to give shade to man and beast. In Antiochus I., the Founder of Cities (the Syrian kingdom was dotted over with them), many bearing his name, and one of them, Antioch in Syria, justly famed as one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, As’oka's request would find a sympathetic welcome. The ideas of municipal and civil government encouraged by Antiochus Soter were just such as would commend themselves to As’oka. How far Antiochus profited by As’oka's suggestions, we cannot say, but Antiochus styled himself βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, and amongst his "subordinate kings" mentioned in the Edict on "creature comforts" were Philetærus (B.C. 281–263) of Pergamus, Nicomedes of Bithynia, and, for a short while, Magas of Cyrene, who was availing himself of assistance from Antiochus in a revolt against Egyptian

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suzerainty. In the wars which Antiochus I. waged against the Gauls and Celts, who had invaded Asia Minor at the invitation of Nicomedes, a rebel against the suzerainty of the "King of Kings," he had used elephants, which he, like his contemporary, Pyrrhus of Epirus, had obtained [43] from As’oka's father, Bindusara, King of Magadha, a favour which, it may be, As’oka was expected to continue in the case of Antiochus II. The kings of Pergamus were famous for their collections of books and parchments (the latter a pergamene substitute for the papyrus which the Egyptian government would not allow to be exported); also for the botanical gardens of medicinal herbs, which antedated the more famous collections of Alexandria, into which they were afterwards merged; and Cyrene was noted, the whole world over, for a medicinal plant called silphium (a kind of asafœtida), which formed one of the staple articles of its extensive commerce. The plant was almost extinct in the West in Pliny's time (though it is still, I believe, to be found in India), [44] but it is to be found engravers on the coins of Cyrene as the emblem of the city, and there has been found a silver cup from Cyrene, with a representation of the king himself personally superintending the packing, weighing, and dispatching of the precious herb. [45] We can imagine that Antiochus Soter would have much pleasure in forwarding As’oka's memorandum touching medicinal herbs to his subordinate kings. We can also imagine that Antiochus II., who surnamed himself "the God," would not be equally pleased to receive the sermon about the "True Conquest." And yet As’oka would have us believe that the Dharma was being

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observed and practised in the territories of the Syrian king. Stoicism was already a power in the world of philosophy and morals, and Stoicism is notoriously a semi-oriental mode of thought. [46]

Antigonus Gonatas, King of Macedonia, claimed possession of the European dominions of Alexander the Great. Macedonia must have been full of men who had been in Central Asia and India in those days of constant coming and going, and there must have been a great interest taken in things Indian. When Alexander took Babylon, he had the books in the library sent to his old tutor Aristotle, who, we may be sure, appreciated the gift, and found some way of discovering the contents of the books before they reached their final resting-place in the library of Alexandria. One of Alexander's successors, Cassander, who thoroughly disapproved of Alexander's policy of adopting Oriental habits and ways of life, had, living at his court, a philosopher named Euhemerus, who had travelled in Asia, at Cassander's request, and had returned with stories which had gained for him the reputation of a liar. And yet much that Euhemerus related accurately described what must have been going on in Buddhism at the time of his visit. The island of Panchaia may have been an Utopia; the history of the earthly life of Zeus before he became a god, which he brought back with him, may have been a fabrication; still, the process described was exactly the process which was going on in Buddhism. [47] S’akyamuni had been just such a man as

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[paragraph continues] Euhemerus described. He had towered high above his compeers in wisdom, if not in strength, and had possessed that magnetic influence which compelled men to walk according to his precepts. He had certainly demanded personal loyalty to himself from all his followers, for he had only received them into his Order after a threefold expression of belief—in the Law, the Order, and the Buddha. His relics, divided up after his death, had become the nucleus around which grew up the worship of the whole Buddhist community. S’akyamuni was undergoing the process of deification when Euhemerus visited India (indeed, that process may already have been popularly accomplished), and the process was already being applied to other Buddhas as well. The Mahāyāna had not yet taken definite form, but the ideas underlying it were in the air, and when, later, we get our first definite literary acquaintance with, e.g. Amitābha, he conies as a god deified after a long succession of holy lives, led in the fulfilment of his tremendous vow for the salvation of mankind. That the same process was taking place in the case of S’akyamuni himself may be seen from the development of the Saddharma pundarika and kindred Sūtras, [48] and from the more certain testimony of Buddhist art. The process, in the case of Buddhism, may not have been

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completed in the days of Euhemerus; it was also going on in Brahmanism and other forms of Indian religion. But certainly Euhemerus described it accurately.

Antigonus Gonatas of Macedon had an ambition, which he realized, for a while, after many years of conflict, of uniting Greece and Macedon under one sceptre. He had opponents in the Achæan league, and a rival in Alexander, the son of that Pyrrhus of Epirus who had defeated the Romans with the aid of elephants obtained from As’oka's father, Bindusara. Alexander and Gonatas are both mentioned in As’oka's Edict on the "True Conquest." We can imagine that the peace-loving As’oka, who was fully in touch with what was going on in the West, must have been distressed beyond measure at the desolations of Greece during this period of "False Conquests."

I have already mentioned Magas of Cyrene, in connection with the medicinal herbs. I need only mention, as another link in the chain showing the extent of Indian influence in the West, that among the dialogues of Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy, there was one which bore the name of Porus, a name well known among Indian kings. [49] Aristippus, born B.C. 435, was prior in time to As’oka, but amongst the later Cyrenaics was Hegesias, surnamed Peisithanatos, from the strenuousness with which he advocated suicide as the highest form of self-immolation. This is a truly Buddhistic notion. S’akyamuni's well-beloved disciple, Ananda, is said to have ended his life by voluntary self-cremation, and the Saddharma pundarika speaks of it as the highest expression of devotion and gratitude from one who has learned the truth. [50]

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The mention of Hegesias brings us to Alexandria. The ruler of Alexandria, Ptolemy Philadelphus, is also one of the sovereigns mentioned in As’oka's Edict. Philadelphus and his predecessor, Soter, were both much concerned in carrying out Alexander's great scheme of effecting the Hellenization of the East through the instrumentality of the newly founded city of Alexandria. Alexandria was connected with India by at least three routes. A certain amount of the overland traffic from China came into Alexandria viâ Palestine (which was in the Egyptian sphere of influence), and even the superior attractions of Antioch could not kill this commerce, which was, however, more Central and Eastern Asian than Indian. A further contingent of caravans brought in Indian goods viâ the Persian Gulf, Palmyra (later), and Palestine. The Egyptian ports on the Red Sea had direct communication, without any serious rivals, with the Indian ports at the mouth of the Indus. The early Ptolemies took a great deal of interest in religion. Soter imported the god Serapis from Pontus, and both he and Philadelphus interested themselves in the (LXX.) translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. They were notoriously ready to welcome any new lights on religious subjects. It is perhaps, therefore, more than a mere coincidence that, about the days when As’oka was sending envoys to the kings of Egypt, and speaking of the keeping of the law in distant countries, we get—first, the so-called Hermetic literature (e.g. the Κορὴ Κόσμου preserved for us by Stobæus), with its many Buddhist echoes; [51] and, secondly, the semi-Buddhistic communities of monks as the Essenes and Therapeutæ described for us by Philo. How far Philo and Aristobulus, the Jew, may have been

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influenced by Indian thought is an inquiry beyond our present limits. [52] But it is evident that the relations, tradal or otherwise, between Alexandria and India were close and constant. The influence was not all on one side. Alexandria had its influence on Indian philosophy, medicine, and mathematics, [53] and a time came when the religions of the Far East felt the power of its mystic (not to say cryptic) thought. In the mysterious Shingon system of Japan, the term "RA" occurs as the name of the deity of Fire, and the word for God, Abraxas, used by Basilides, is the fundamental conception of the Shingon system of Philosophy, which also uses certain hieratic hieroglyphics for the conveyance of its teachings. [54]

It may be asked, what precisely were the teachings which As’oka exerted himself to spread amongst other nations and amongst his contemporary sovereigns? The one conclusive answer to this question will be found in the study of the monuments themselves, with the

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inscriptions, that he has left us. In them we shall find Buddhism as it existed in As’oka's mind, and as As’oka believed that it had existed in the mind of S’akyamuni. I cannot do better than summarize the contents of the inscriptions.

I. In the first, As’oka speaks of his care to provide medicines and medical herbs for the use of the sick, trees for shade, and fountains for men and cattle, and calls attention to the fact that he has done this not only within his own dominions, but also in those of his neighbours, e.g. in the territories of King Antiochus and in Taprobane (Ceylon).

II. In the second, he speaks of the killing of animals, exhorts his subjects to abstain from such evil practices, and explains his own custom. He was once in the habit of allowing many animals to be killed for the royal feasts: during late years the number of animals thus killed has been very small. Henceforward, there shall be no killing of animals in the royal kitchens.

III. He exhorts provincial and city governors, and all teachers of religion, to be diligent in inculcating obedience to parents, kindliness and courtesy, respect for Brahmans and Buddhist monks, and moderation in speech and conduct, upon all who come under their authority.

IV. He speaks with gratitude of the good effects upon the people at large of the religion which he has been teaching throughout his dominions. He is glad to find that civic and social virtues, filial piety, respectfulness, kindliness, and toleration are everywhere on the increase.

V. In order to spread further the virtues inculcated by his religion, he appoints superintendents of morals for all creeds throughout his dominions, as well as in the neighbouring countries of the Yavanas, Kambojas, Gandhāras, etc. (these were probably subject or tributary

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states). It shall be the duty of the superintendents to take especial care of prisoners and captives, particularly when they are married men with families dependent on them, or when they have been the victims of malice, spite, or fraud.

VI. He speaks of his constant care for the welfare of his people.

VII. It is his great desire to secure religious liberty and toleration for all religions practised within his dominions.

VIII. Royal progresses throughout the country have hitherto been made occasions of feasting and revelry. It is his intention henceforth to give them a religious character, and use them for the advancement of religion and morals.

IX. What is religion? It is the Way by which men learn to be truly human and humane, and it has its stimulus in the hope of a future life.

X. The hope of the rewards of a future life has been the motive power of his religious life. [N.B.—Nothing is said about a past Karma influencing the present, nor yet about Nirvana after death.]

XI. True religion—i.e. to help the fatherless and widow, and to keep one's self unspotted from the world—has the promise of this life, as well as of that which is to come.

XII. The sectarian spirit should be avoided. We should never decry the followers of a religion other than our own. Nor should we think that we are serving our own creed by constantly puffing it.

XIII. A survey of his own life. He describes the horrors of the war against the Kalingas, and his own remorse when he realized the cruelties attendant upon it. He resolves henceforth to eschew the rôle of a conqueror.

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[paragraph continues] The true conquests are those of religion. He has communicated his sentiments to his brother sovereigns—to Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, Alexander Balas, to the Codas and Pandyas as far as Taprobane, and even to the King of the Huns. [55] It gives him great happiness to contemplate the success which has attended his efforts, but present contentment is as nothing when compared with the joys of future bliss.

XIV. An abridged edict containing the points on which Piyadasi, the beloved of the gods, wishes to insist. His empire is an extensive one, but he has done his best, by means of inscriptions, to arrange that every part of the empire is provided with the required moral teaching. He wishes all his subjects to be acquainted with the religious law.

The above fourteen Edicts form, as it were, a continuous series, and are to be found in several recensions in several parts of India. There are also isolated Edicts, the contents of which are somewhat as follows:—

1. a and b. To the officials at Tosali and Samāpā, urging them to greater diligence in the care of the people committed to their charge, so that those who stand may not fall, and those who fall may be restored. The most essential thing in religion is perseverance and patience in what is good. Officials should take care to guide men in the right way, so that they may live without fear and follow their religion. These edicts are to be read publicly before the people at the monthly festivals of the full moon, and privately whenever necessary. His Majesty has taken care to have a solemn assembly in his own territories every five years, and the princes of Ujjain and Taxila will do the same.

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2. The king regrets that hitherto, as a layman, he has not been very diligent. He has now, however, been for a year a member of the Order, and has worked with such zeal during that time that the ancient gods of Jambudvīpa (India) have been almost driven from their places. [56] It is a great truth that the Kingdom of Heaven is really within the reach of all men, even the humblest, and no effort should be spared to spread this Gospel by missionary labours. The King is much gratified by the fact that already 256 missionaries have gone abroad. [This last sentence has been differently translated, as though it referred to the date of the Edict, 256 after the Nirvana of Buddha.]

3. [The Bhābhrā Edict.] To the clergy of Magadha. All that the Blessed One has said is well said, and should be studied with reverence. The king especially commends the following books: "Vinayasamukasa," book on discipline; "Aryavasâni," on the supernatural powers of the Aryas; "Anagâtabhayâni," on dangers to come; "Munigatha," stanzas in honour of the Muni; "Upatishya pasina," questions of Upatishya; "Moneya sūtra," Sutra on Perfection; and the Sūtra, in which the Blessed One instructs Rahula. [57]

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What I have hitherto said does not by any means exhaust the question of the expansion of Buddhism in As’oka's days, for, leaving aside the subject of As’oka's apostles sent forth by the Council, we have also As’oka's own testimony as to the countries in which Buddhism (as he understood it) was practised, though his envoys had never reached them.

In the days of As’oka the Parthians revolted against Antiochus, and, under the family of the Arsacidæ, carved out for themselves a small kingdom to the north of the Seleucid Empire. They were by origin Sacæ or Scythians, and their earlier home had been in the plain country between the Caspian Sea and the Oxus. Their religion was that of Zoroaster, or rather, perhaps, that of the Magi. What the precise tenets of that religion were, it is hard to say; they do not seem to have been precisely those of the Persians before the fall of the Persian Empire, nor yet those of the restored Zoroastrianism of the Sassanid period. They probably worshipped the heavenly bodies, paid a great deal of attention to astrology and astronomy, and in other points were not very unlike the Buddhists in their belief and practices. That Buddhism obtained some hold among them is shown by the fact that Parthian missionaries in later days took part in the evangelization of China; but when that influence began it is impossible to say. At a much later date, when the Buddhist evangelization of China was well established, we find Zoroastrian monks treated as brethren, and we read of Buddhists in Persia presenting a Chinese Emperor with a tooth-relic of the Buddha. And in the Shiite and Sufite forms of Mahometanism we may, it is said, see the ancient Buddhism of Persia still asserting itself.

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Next to Parthia came Bactria, [58] the reputed home of Zoroaster himself. Bactria asserted its independence in the same year as Parthia. It had Greek kings, and a small percentage of Greek settlers, the residue of the Macedonian invasion; but its main population was probably of S’akyan origin. Indian writers speak of the Bactrian people as Vrijji, [59] the same name that we found amongst the Nepaulese S’akyans of S’akyamuni's time, and recognized them as being Kshatriyans by caste, though their standing was defective by reason of intermarriages with other nationalities. Their religion was a mixed one, Parthian, Brahmanic, Buddhist, with probably a slight preference for the last.

Bactria marches on the Pamirs. East of the Pamirs, and north of what is now Thibet, dwelt the S’akyas, separated from the S’akyan brethren of India and Nepaul by the common pasture lands of Thibet. When they afterwards emerged from their mountain fastnesses they were divided into four tribes, Asii, Pasiani, Tokhari, and Sakarauli (Strabo, ix. 8), and it is recorded (Kern, "Buddhismus," ii. 272) of the Northern Patriarch Dhītika that he made conversions by his labours among the Tokhari, who eventually gave their name to the whole of that tribe of S’akyans. As’oka's envoys did not reach these tribes, but there were many traders who carried the faith.

East of the S’akyans, in the valley of the Tarim, lay the Uighurs, the most civilized and literary of all the Scythian tribes; beyond them, to the south of Lake Lob,

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were the Usuns, who bordered on the Chinese Empire. We know that Buddhism reached these districts at a very early date. [60]

When it first reached China we cannot say, [61] for the unofficial introduction must have long preceded its official acceptance under Mingti. In As’oka's time, Hwangti, who had assumed the title of "King of Kings," in imitation of Seleucid magniloquence, had begun the erection of the Great Wall that was to isolate China from disagreeable neighbours. The break-up in Central Asia had already begun; Scythian hordes were already on the move, and had troubled the Bosphorus, Macedonia, Asia

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[paragraph continues] Minor, and Rome with their presence, [62] the Hiungnu were already restive in their places in Western China, when Buddhism plunged, at the death of As’oka, into a dark night which lasted for over two centuries. Before it took the plunge it had already shown its ambition to become a world-religion. When it emerged it had somewhat changed its character, though it still retained its ambitious projects. It had, moreover, gained for itself a most relentless and formidable rival.


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Pusityamitra was an important factor in the development of the Mahāyāna, whose claims to distinction have generally been overlooked.

As’oka, it is evident, ruled over a very extensive kingdom, and was one of the great monarchs of the day. It has always been a matter of wonder how his empire, so great, and apparently so firmly based on righteousness and judgment, should, after his death, have come to such a speedy ruin that the Mauryan family practically disappears from the annals of India.

A recent writer in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal [63] calls attention to the fact that As’oka's policy was one of unmerciful antagonism to the Brahmans, whose most cherished prejudices he took a pride in shocking. As’oka had, by precept and example, discouraged the taking of animal life, and had thereby put an end to much of the worship of the Brahman rites. He had appointed "superintendents of morals," Dharma Mahāmātās, whose functions necessarily superseded those of the Brahmans as expositors of the law. He had proclaimed the principle of Vyavahāra Samatā, "equality of punishment," "equality in lawsuits," which did away with the peculiar privileges

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of the sacerdotal caste, and secured fair treatment for all subjects, irrespective of caste, creed, or colour. Above all, he had boasted that he had, in a short period of time, reduced "those who were once regarded as gods," i.e. the Brahmans (whose privileges as the twice-born seemed to entitle them to a quasi-divine position in the eyes of India), to the position of false gods whose claims to respect he had demonstrated to be baseless.

It could not reasonably be expected that the Brahmans should acquiesce without any feelings of resentment in such drastic changes. They were not fighting men, however, and their only course of action was to bow before the storm and wait for a good opportunity.

The opportunity came about B.C. 185, in the reign of one of As’oka's weakling successors, the last of the Mauryan house. The Greeks were still active, pushing their conquests further and further to the east, and founding principalities, some of which seem to have been still in existence at the beginning of the first century A.D. As’oka bad lived on good terms with his Greek neighbours; his successors found it necessary to fight against them for the defence of their own shrunken territories, and the commander-in-chief of the Mauryan army was a certain Pushyamitra. It has been conjectured, from the termination of this man's name, that he was of Persian stock. He was certainly a very determined enemy of the Buddhist religion, and he had the confidence of the Brahmans, who had been biding their time and quietly growing in numbers and influence.

After a successful campaign against the Greeks, who had advanced into the very heart of the Mauryan country, Pushyamitra returned in triumph to Pataliputra. A review of the troops was held; in the midst of the festivities, the Mauryan emperor suddenly fell dead, slain

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by an arrow from an unknown hand. The successful general, whose triumph was being celebrated, was at once proclaimed emperor in his stead—and the hour of vengeance had come for the Brahmans. In the very city where As’oka had prohibited animal sacrifices, Pushyamitra celebrated (B.C. 184) the Hindu rite of As’vamedha, the "sacrifice of the horse"; the equality in the eyes of the law, which As’oka had established, disappeared once more. Hinduism was once more the dominant faith, though a Hinduism more elaborate, more philosophical than it had been, and one that had come into fertilizing contact with foreign influences. Buddhism was in its turn downtrodden and oppressed.

But beyond the limits of the kingdom ruled over by the new dynasty, there were principalities and kingdoms in which Buddhism found a welcome and a home, the principalities of the Greeks, the Parthians, the Yuetchi, S’akas, who come and go round the north-western confines of India during the two troubled centuries which precede the Christian era.

It is here, rather than in India itself, that must be sought those germs of thought which ended by making the Mahāyāna so very different from its more southerly and more purely Indian sister. Buddhism has always been a faith that has readily taken into itself whatever in its immediate surroundings it has found suitable for its purposes. Even Jewish influences would not necessarily be excluded. "Woe is me," says the Hebrew pilgrim, "that I am constrained to dwell in Mesech." [64] There

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were Buddhists in Mesech as well as Israelites; there were also Zoroastrians and Greeks, and the remnants of the old Babylonian cults.

Presently, with Kanishka, this Buddhism returns to India, and in As’vaghosha's time appears as a conqueror before the walls of Benares. And in process of time As’vaghosha is converted to the Mahāyāna.

The New Testament in Touch with the East

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There are a few passages in the New Testament which seem to bear on the subject we have in hand. I propose to touch upon them in this chapter.

The visit of the Magi will at once occur to the mind of every Christian reader as having (or as being intended to have) some bearing on the relations of Christianity to the country or countries from which the Wise Men came. The account given in St. Matthew presents many difficulties owing to the apparent impossibility of giving a scientific explanation of the star which is said to have guided these Eastern sages to the cradle of the Infant Saviour, and many, even devout, Christians are disposed in consequence to treat the visit as unhistorical. We have not at the present day the evidence required to prove the historicity of the story, and it would not therefore be wise to lay too much stress on the account of the Gospel record. But certain deductions are evidently legitimate. It is quite clear that St. Matthew believed the story when he inserted it in the forefront of his narrative. Or, if it be maintained that the narrative forms no integral part of the original Gospel, it is evident that the later interpolator recognized the story as having some important bearing on the preaching of Christ in the Orient. St. Matthew's Gospel—thanks, it may be, to the Jews of the Dispersion, for whom he wrote quite as much

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as for the Jews of Palestine, early met with favour in the remote countries where the Mahāyāna took its birth. Pantænus of Alexandria [65] found it in India when he went to that country as a Christian missionary at the end of the second century, and the story of the visit of the Magian pilgrims to Bethlehem evidently had a vogue of its own in Central Asia. An expanded version of the story has but recently been recovered from a sand-buried ruin in Turkestan, and given to the world of students. [66] It is true, it may be argued, that the Magi were Parthians, and that the Parthians have had but little proveable connection with Indian forms of religion; [67] but we know that there were Parthian Buddhists, and must remember that, besides the great Parthian Empire with which the Romans of the period so often came into conflict, there were at the time the Indo-Parthian satrapies in the Indus Valley, which were almost as good as independent sovereignties, and in parts of which the followers of Zoroaster lived side by side with those of S’akyamuni.

The second point is evidently the selection of

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[paragraph continues] Capernaum as the centre of our Lord's ministerial activity. "Galilee of the Gentiles" was a country with a mixed population. It lay on, or near, some of the greater trade-routes between Rome and the unknown Orient; it must have been constantly visited by strange figures from the lands of Asia. The custom-house at Capernaum must have been frequently called upon to appraise, and to pass through, bales of precious merchandise from Persia, India, and beyond, and he who, before his vocation to be an evangelist, had served as head of that establishment must have had many opportunities of making the acquaintance of travellers front distant countries. The silk trade between Asia and Europe was in the vigour of its early development. Varro is the first Roman writer to mention the subject. As’vaghosha, [68] the first great teacher and inspirer of the Mahāyāna, is honoured in Japan as the patron saint of the silkworm culture, and it was the Jews [69] who were the active promoters of this trade all along the lines of the trade routes from Antioch and Alexandria to their outpost colony in Kaifongfu, [70] in the province of Honan. It is evident that the tradal affinities of Galilee of the Gentiles lay much more with the East than the West, and the personal influence of the evangelist who sat at the receipt of customs at Capernaum must have tended to spread the gospel he was commissioned to preach amongst the Jews of Babylonian, Indian, and Central Asian Dispersions, and, through them, to the heathen amongst whom they dwelt.

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I find a third point of possible contact in St. John xii. 20. We are there told that the Feast of the Passover at Jerusalem was visited not only by Jews, but also by Greeks (Ἕλληνες, not Ἑλληνισταί), [71] and that, on the occasion of the great Passover which saw the consummation of Christ's work, some of these Greeks came to Philip with the request that they might see Jesus. We are not told that Jesus saw them, but St. John tells us how Jesus recognized in the coming of these Gentile inquirers a sign that His work was drawing near to its accomplishment. "The time has come," He said, "for the Son of Man to be glorified. In most solemn truth I tell you that unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains what it was—a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest.… Now is My soul troubled.… Father, save Me from this hour.… Father, glorify Thy Name.…" Then followed a voice from heaven, which they that heard it failed to comprehend. "It is not for My sake," said Jesus, "that the voice came, but for yours. Now is the judgment of this world: now will the prince of this world be driven out.… And I—if I am lifted up from the earth—shall draw all men to Me."

Who were these Greeks, and where did they come from? After Pentecost, and still more so after the subsequent dispersion of the Apostles and the recognition of St. Paul as the Apostle of the Græco-Roman world, the gospel of Christ spread rapidly throughout the bounds of the Roman Empire. Nay, it is clear that the zeal of unofficial preachers of Christ outran the slower movements of the authorized evangelists, and that the good news reached the extreme West, Spain, Gaul, and Britain, long before the arrival of Christian missionaries. [72]

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[paragraph continues] But there is no trace or sign of any interest taken in Christ, during His earthly life, by any European Greek. The centurions mentioned in the Gospels and Acts were Romans, not Greeks, and the Greek influence exercised in Palestine through Herodians and Sadducees was notoriously and actively opposed to Christ's claims and teachings. It is evident that the Greeks of whom St. John tells us were of a different kind from the friends and abettors of Herod.

We will call to mind the statement made by Irenæus [73] that the Gospel of St. John was written for the purpose of combating the heresy of the Nicolaitans, and we will anticipate matters a little by stating that there is very good reason for believing that the Nicolaitans professed a form of Buddhism almost identical with the still-existing Shingon sect of Japan, a sect which pins all its faith on the mercies of an abstract and eternal Buddha of the name of Vairoc’ana, and which, significantly enough, gives to S’akyamuni the title of the "Lord of this World." [74] We will also remind ourselves of the fact that there existed an Asiatic colony of Greeks [75] in the valley of the Indus,

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who professed Buddhism as their religion, and who were still under the rule of their own Greek princelets during the time of Christ's earthly life.

It is quite clear to all students of the history of North-West India and the lands around the Hindu Kush that things were in a state of religious ferment at the period of which we are speaking. Some change was imminent. The Mahāyāna was approaching the end of its period of gestation; the vague prophecies of a teacher to come had filled men's minds with anticipation. The Greeks of Asia had felt it; they had also heard, from the hearsay stories of caravan travellers, of the great Teacher who had appeared ill the neighbourhood of the Sea of Galilee, and some of them went to the Passover at Jerusalem, "desiring to see Jesus," not from any idle curiosity, but because they had been taught to look for some such solution of their difficulties.

And Christ recognized the significance of their appeal. There was nothing yet to differentiate Him front him whom the East worshipped as the "Lord of this Saba-world," but He knew the lurking potentiality. His death, His uplifting, would give Him the magnetic power He needed. He would then begin to draw all men to Himself.

Two further points of contact between the infant Church of Christ and the East will be found in the Acts of the Apostles.

Men from many lands heard St. Peter's first Christian sermon on the Day of Pentecost. If the Acts are a genuine record of facts, Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, as well as Jews of Libya and Cyrene, and proselytes from Rome, listened to that great announcement of the gospel of Christ. It is hard to believe that the men who heard and believed, and were pricked to the heart by what they

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heard, should not have told their fellow-townsmen of the great events that they had witnessed at Jerusalem. There is also something peculiarly significant in the selection of Antioch as the headquarters of Gentile Christianity. No town, not even Alexandria, was more advantageously situated in this respect than Antioch. I shall reserve to the next chapter what I have to say about these two great cities.

I find one more point of contact with the Far East in the Book of the Revelation, in the vision of the man with the bow, who rides on a white horse and goes forth conquering and to conquer. Again I must content myself here with a bare mention of the fact. It will require a chapter to itself if the point is to be so put as to carry conviction to the mind of the reader, to whom it may possibly come with a shock of surprised horror.

Alexandria and Antioch at the Time of Christ

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There are two words which connect the Japanese Mahāyāna, in one of its many aspects, with the Gnosticism of Alexandria and Antioch, and through it with the Christianity of the Apostolic age. These words are Abraxas and Caulaucau.

I have already, in a previous chapter, spoken of Alexandria and Antioch, of their mixed populations, of the extent of their commercial relations with Central Asia and India, and of the fact of As’oka's emissaries having been sent to both these cities during the course of the third century B.C. It is not necessary for me to repeat what I said then. What is of present importance is that these two cities, the two organs, so to speak, through which the commerce between Asia and Europe was effectuated in the early days of the Roman Empire, were the native homes of that syncretic miscellany of religious ideas, known as Gnosticism. Alexandrian Gnosticism is connected with the name of Basilides, [76] that of Antioch (or, rather, Syria) with Valentinus. [77]

Gnosticism is derived from the Greek gnosis, which is identical in meaning with the word Bodhi, from which we get Buddha, "the Enlightened One," and it is akin, both etymologically and in signification, with the word Prajnā (Jap. Hannya), "Knowledge." The first of these Sanskrit

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words, personified and used in the singular, has supplied Mahāyānism with its nearest approach to the idea of God, such as we know Him, "above all, in all, through all"; the second, likewise personified, in that vague manner which the Mahāyāna delights to use, has been identified with Nature, with the Hindu goddess Prithivī, with the spirit which animates the Kosmos, the "universal Pan."

The Gnostics, like the Mahāyānists, claimed to have the key of wisdom or knowledge, and, like them, tried to interpret the various religions of the world, with the help of the key which was in their hands. There seems to be no doubt that the fact of Christ was the impulse which spurred them to activity; it is equally certain that the outward form of Gnosticism varied according to the country in which it made its appearance. It is this that makes Gnosticism such an extremely puzzling subject to the student of philosophy and religion.

Gnosticism, like Proteus, claimed to be "thrice excellent;" it "knew not only things to come, but even things past as well as present;" it had great "skill in divination;" "it was (or claimed to be) the messenger and interpreter of all antiquities and hidden mysteries." But it was at liberty, nevertheless, "to turn itself into all manner of forms and wonders of nature." [78] The underlying matter was always the same; the form differed from a country to country and from age to age. The Mahāyāna exhibits a precisely similar Protean power of assuming the most varied shapes.

The existence of Buddhism in Alexandria has often been suspected. Scholars have seen Buddhists in the communities of the Essenes in Palestine, in the monastic j, congregations of the Therapeutæ described by Philo, in the Hermetic books of Egypt, and especially in the κορὴ κόσμου,

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preserved for us by Stobæus. The identity of these with Buddhism has never been clearly established. It has also been often suspected that Gnosticism was derived from Buddhism. Again, the identity has never been clearly established, possibly because Western scholars have devoted their attention almost exclusively to the Hīnayāna Buddhism of Ceylon and the Pali books. It would not readily occur to any one to look for traces of Egyptian Gnosticism in remote Japan. Yet there can be little doubt that the system known in Japan as the Shingon, and introduced into that country about A.D. 804, by the celebrated Kōbō Daishi, must be looked upon as a system which is not Indian in its origin, but which has been foisted upon Buddhism from some extraneous quarter, and that it is essentially Egyptian and Gnostic.

The Gnosticism of Basilides was based on the religions which that thinker found to his hand in Alexandria, and the task to which he set himself was apparently to reconcile the fact of Christ with the preconceived notions of the Alexandrian people. The religions were mainly two, the ancient Egyptian cults, and Judaism. The mythologies of Greece and Rome did not apparently count for much in Alexandria, the philosophies in vogue were not those of the schools of Athens, nor were they such as Seneca or Pliny would have delighted in. The Judaism of Alexandria was of a far more liberal type (or shall we call it "broad"? to be "broad" is not always to be "liberal") than that of Jerusalem, and the "broad" school of Jewish thought which eventuated in the Cabbalah looked to Alexandria as its nursery. Egypt lay outside of St. Paul's province—on no other hypothesis can we explain his neglect of a city of such importance to an Apostle to the Gentiles—and all early notices of Alexandrian Christianity show it to have been for many years of a

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very vague and mixed character. [79] Evidently the spiritual soil of Alexandria was different from that of Jerusalem, Ephesus, or Rome, and required a different treatment.

Basilides is spoken of by Clement of Alexandria, who had better opportunities of judging than Irenæus, as a worthy man and an earnest Christian, and his efforts to adapt the fact of Christ to the spiritual prejudices of the Egyptian or Egyptianized Alexandrians were probably quite praiseworthy. A missionary religion must adapt itself to the circumstances and thought of the people to whom it comes. [80]

The system of Basilides was, like the system of ancient Egypt, [81] and like that of the Japanese Shingon, dualistic. It represented two Worlds (βύθος and ζώη), the World of Light and the World of Darkness. The former—like the glaring noon of an Egyptian summer's day—was still, immovable, fixed, the world of permanent ideas; the other, like the streets that are filled with life at sunset, is the world of motion, of birth, of death—in short, the world of Nature.

In the centre of the World of Light—the Diamond-World (Kongo Kai), as the Shingon well calls it, to denote its fixed and permanent nature—the Egyptians placed God, the unknown I AM, whose name the priests of Pharaoh would not pronounce. The Gnostics called him Pater Innatus; in the Japanese Shingon it is Roshana, the Buddha of Light, Eternal. From that central and eternal Deity emanate, or proceed, four Beings—Eons in Gnosticism, Buddhas in the Shingon—who surround the central God on the Four Quarters. The Gnostics termed

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them Logos, Phronesis, Sophia, Dynamis. [82] The Shingon personifies them as Ashuku, Hōshō, Amida, Fukūjōjū; [83] but it treats Ashuku as representing that reason (λόγος) by which a man is capable of faith, Hōshō as the sense (φρόνησις) which enables a man to regulate his conduct, Amida as the Wisdom (σοφία) which enables a man to understand and explain the divine laws, and Fukūjōjū as the practical power which manifests itself in salvation (δύναμις).

Emanating from this central God, with his four modes of manifestation, we have, in the Gnostic system, a number of minor Æons and other mysterious beings, evidently borrowed from the gods of Egypt. They numbered 365, which number written in Greek numerals spelled the word Abraxas or Abrasax, and this name was consequently given by the Basilidean and other Gnostics to the Deity,

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as a whole; not to the central Pater Innatus of the World of Light, but to the whole fulness or pleroma made up of all the Æons within that world. It is evidently in opposition to this splitting up of the Godhead amongst many minor and unsubstantial beings that St. Paul insists that there is but one God, the Father, one Lord (and not four)—and that in that one Lord dwells the whole Pleroma of the Godhead in a bodily manner. [84] St. Paul scarcely seems to be conscious of the gods of Greece and Rome; he never speaks against the great goddess of Ephesine superstition. He is keenly alive to the dangers which may beset the Faith which he is commissioned to preach from Gnostic foes disguised as friends.

In Japan, the Shingon creed fills up the Mandara or pleroma of the Diamond World with many Æons, whom it calls sometimes Buddhas, sometimes Bodhisattvas, and sometimes Myō-O, or "mysterious kings." As a term for the whole it employs two words, Abarakakia and Kha-la-ka-ba-a. [85] The one is used in the Shingon funeral rites, where it is invoked first, before any invocation of personified Buddhas. The second is written in Sanskrit characters on the wooden post which is erected over a Buddhist grave immediately after the funeral. Both words are found in Gnosticism—Abraxas and Caulaucau; both are identical in meaning, both with one another and with the corresponding words in Japanese. I shall have to mention Caulaucau again in this chapter.

We now come to the Womb-world—as the Japanese call it—the World of moving Life, of Darkness, and of

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[paragraph continues] Death. (It is worth while noticing that the expression "womb-world" is not confined to the Japanese Shingon. It is also found in Epiphanius in his description of the Basilidean conception of the World of Darkness. [86]) In the centre of the Womb-world we have, in the ancient Egyptian religion, Osiris; in the Gnostic system, the Pater Innatus; in Shingon, Vairoc’ana or Dainichi. All three systems identify this central Deity with the Sun. [87] From Him, in all three systems, emanates an "ogdoad," or eight-petalled flower, known in Sanskrit as ashṭapattra vṛiti, in Japanese as hachi-yō-in, and composed in Gnosticism of various Æons, in Shingon of Eight Ideal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, whose names we need not enter into. Thus the Ogdoad plus the Pater Innatus becomes an Ennead, or group of Nine, and the Shingon hachi-yō-in plus Vairoc’ana becomes a similar ninefold constellation. [88] The three systems are strikingly alike.

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When an Egyptian died, his soul descended to the realms of Tuat, or Hades. Here it passed through thirteen kingdoms, each with its own guardian deity, until it finally obtained emancipation at the end. The same thirteen kingdoms are to be found in the Gnostic book, "Pistis Sophia," and the soul is represented as passing through them in a similar manner. Only he who plays the part of Osiris in the Gnostic version is Jesus. In the Shingon sect there are thirteen Buddhas [89] and Bodhisattvas, who take charge of the soul at death, the two last, Vairoc’ana and Kokūzō, remaining its permanent guardians. The whole conception of the state of the dead in Shingonism is Egyptian. It is certainly not Buddhist.

I might multiply examples, but I must content myself with one or two. In Egypt, the guardian deity of the first of the mansions in Tuat bears a name which signifies the "Crusher of the forehead of the enemies of Ra." In Japan it is Fudō Sama, the fierce-looking, but essentially kind-hearted, Being, who stands amidst the flames, and bears in his hands a sword wherewith to slay the enemies of man's soul. The Shingon astronomy speaks of twenty-eight chiku, or constellations, seven in each quarter of the heavens; the Egyptian astronomer knew the same, and spoke of them as the "gods of the twenty-eight finger-breadths of the Royal cubit." The Shingon astronomer uses the Egyptian signs of the Zodiac, [90] the same as ours,

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and not the Turkish cycle in ordinary use in Japan. The opening chapter of the "Saddharma pundarika Sūtra" (the Hokekyō of Japan) is so like the opening chapters of the "Pistis Sophia" [91] that it is impossible to resist the conclusion that the author of the latter work must have had before him either the "Saddharma pundarika Sutra" itself or a Sūtra of a very similar type. The latter alternative is the more probable one. The Hokekyō is a composite work based on something that has gone before; and it is indeed most likely that the "Ur-evangelium" in its case was a Mahāyāna Sūtra by some early Mahāyānist writer. There are grounds for such a conjecture. In the list of Scriptures taken to China in A.D. 147 by Anshikao the Prince of Parthia, and translated by him into Chinese during the Han period, there is one, the "Marghabhūmi Sūtra" (Jap. Dōshikyō [92]), the last three chapters of which are said by Nanjo to be based on the "Saddharma pundarika." Nanjo's statement is denied by some Japanese students, still the fact remains that there are portions of this Sūtra which

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strongly resemble the spirit and tone of the longer Scripture, which, in its longer and completer, form is evidently of later date.

There is also the statement made concerning the Manichean books by Cyril of Jerusalem, [93] whom, as a bishop, we must credit with trying to speak only what he believed to be truth, and who, as Bishop of Jerusalem, probably knew a good deal about the earlier history of his own diocese. Cyril tells us of a certain Scythianus who lived in Alexandria and wrote books which pretended to be the gospel, but "had not the acts of Christ but the mere name only," to which the "Acta Archelai" adds that he founded his sect during the lifetime of the Apostles, and came to Jerusalem in the hope of getting them approved. Scythianus had a disciple named Terebinthus, 2 who apparently came to Jerusalem for the same purpose, but was rejected by the authorities and retired to Persia, where he assumed the name of Buddas. These books were the basis upon which Manes founded his teachings. The resemblances between the "Saddharma pundarika" and the "Pistis Sophia" give probability to the story. There must have been in circulation in Alexandria, during the latter half of the first century A.D., a Buddhist book or collection of books which was the Ur-evangelium" of several heresies.

How far was the Gnostico-Shingon system which I have described influenced by the speculations of the mystic school of Judaism which eventually blossomed out into the Cabbalah? [94] And how far was the Cabbalah influenced by the thoughts of the Mahāyānists? It would take us too long to investigate the problem here. A thorough investigation of this subject would necessitate a long

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excursion into the realms of theurgy and magic, and I must therefore content myself with a few brief remarks. Theurgy was practised by the Egyptians; it was a prominent feature of Gnosticism; [95] it is at the present moment the main and distinctive element of the Shingon worship, which consists very largely of manual gestures and the repetition of certain meaningless Sanskrit formulæ [96] The mystic formulæ are Greek or Coptic in the one case, Sanskrit in the other; but the manual gestures are much the same in both. It is probable that the Gnostic system was taken by Alexandrian merchants to Southern India, a district which had intimate trade relations with Alexandria during the whole of the first century, [97] though it fell off in volume after the death of Nero in A.D. 68; and it was in Southern India, according to the Shingon story, that Nāgārjuna found the mystic books which lie at the base of their system. [98] This migration from Egypt to South India would account for the Sanskritizing of a system mainly Egyptian, and there is a certain amount of historical probability in the story as related by the Shingon authorities; for Nanjo tell us that Nāgārjuna (whom we may place anywhere about the middle of the second century) received the Shingon doctrine from a teacher of the name of Vajrasattva (Jap. Kongōsatta), and that Vajrasattva had received it, along with the mystic Baptism, from Vairoc’ana himself through the hands of S’akyamuni, at an assembly called the Joshōe

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[paragraph continues] ("self-nature-assembly"). [99] If we may apply to a Buddhist assembly the ordinary rules of chronological computation (which is perhaps a little hazardous), that "self-nature-assembly" must have taken place about the end of the first century A.D.

We must not forget that Antioch as well as Alexandria was a great centre of trade with the Orient. Antioch was the centre of much Christian life. From it went forth St. Paul and all that missionary activity which laboured in Asia Minor, in Greece, and in Italy. From it, likewise, went forth, Eastward, the missions to Edessa, to Nisibis, to Armenia, [100] to Persia and beyond. From it came the churches which were cut off in consequence of the quarrels over Nestorius, and through the Nestorians Antioch became the grandmother of the earliest missions—at least as far as definite records are at hand—to China.

Antioch originated the word "Christian;" the first Christian from Antioch whose name is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, was a certain Nicolas, [101] a proselyte of that city, who was chosen to be one of the Seven Deacons. The term "proselyte" would seem to imply that Nicolas was a Gentile by birth, converted to Judaism, and again to Christianity. He must have been a fickle person, for he subsequently left the Christian Church, and became the founder of a heretical sect mentioned by the writer of the

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[paragraph continues] Apocalypse. Isis teachings are described by Irenæus, Hippolytus, Epiphanius, and others. They were of the general Gnostic type, and we note with interest that he and his followers used the word Caulaucau as a term apparently for God. Now, Caulaucau is that Buddhist term which is found along with Abraxas in the system of Basilides and in the Japanese Shingon. It brings the Japanese Mahāyāna very near to the holy ground of the New Testament—too near, perhaps, for some people.

One more point remains to be noticed. It is said both of Nicolas and of Basilides that their followers speedily lapsed into wild immoralities, quite at variance with the austere strictness which these two heresiarchs affected. I am not personally aware of any immoral practices amongst the Japanese Shingonists, but the Rev. Ekai Kawaguchi, the Buddhist priest who has travelled so long in Thibet, speaks of the immoral doctrines of the old sect of Lamas in that country, and likewise of an immoral sect of the Japanese Shingon which had to be suppressed on account of its filthy practices. So I conclude that the Shingon, like its parent Gnosticism, has, at some period in its history, presented the same sad contrast of the pure and the impure. [102]

The Legend of St. Thomas

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The last chapter will, it is hoped, have prepared the mind of the reader for accepting the idea that the beginnings of Christianity and of the Mahāyāna were nearly related in time, in place, and in idea. Nicolas of Antioch, who became a worshipper of Caulaucau, was certainly a contemporary of the Apostles; the testimony of St. Cyril and others, to say nothing of the Buddhist Sūtra of which we have found a chapter embedded in the "Pistis Sophia," may be taken as evidence of local connection in Alexandria, and the testimony of the same two books may be taken to show that there was a connection (some might call it a confusion) of thought in Gnostic minds between S’akyamuni and Christ.

An early Christian legend, given in the Apocryphal Acts of St. Thomas, and supported by the testimony of Eusebius and others, connects the Apostle St. Thomas with the valley of the Indus. The legend has undoubtedly been much embellished by later additions, but competent scholars have concluded that it is quite possible that it may rest on a substratum of fact. Let us examine the story. [103]

Eleven of the original Apostles (Matthias is not mentioned) are supposed to have been together in Jerusalem.

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[paragraph continues] They were, we may presume, in possession of their Master's commandment to go into all nations, and were considering how to fulfil the commandment. "We portioned out the regions of the world in order that each one of us might go into the region that fell to him, and to the nation to which the Lord sent him." They then proceeded to cast lots, a procedure quite in accordance with what we know from the Acts, and "by lot, then, India fell to Judas Thomas, [104] also called Didymus or the Twin."

But Thomas did not wish to go. He pleaded "the weakness of the flesh," "and how can I, being a Hebrew man, go among the Indians to proclaim the truth?" What we know of St. Thomas from the Canonical Gospels makes his hesitancy on this occasion quite natural—in him.

Then Christ appears to him in the night. "Fear not, Thomas," He says; "go away to India, and proclaim the word; for My grace shall be with thee."

But Thomas is not to be moved: "Wherever Thou wishest to send me," he says, "send me elsewhere; for to the Indians I am not going."

But Christ overrules the obstinate refusal of his doubting Apostle. A merchant has arrived from India, with a commission from a certain King Gundaphorus, to buy him a carpenter, and for three pounds Christ sells him His servant Judas, "who also is Thomas." The slave-dealing need not stop us. It only amounts to saying than Thomas came to be sold as a slave to an Indian merchant, and that people saw in the circumstance the overruling finger of God. But Gundaphorus is a historical personage, whose identity has been brought to light by the industry of the pioneers of modern historical research, and was an

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[paragraph continues] Indo-Parthian king, ruling in the Indus valley. Thus St. Thomas goes, according to one story, to India; according to another, to Parthia. Both stories may be true, supposing that he went to Indo-Parthia. Gundaphorus had a long reign, from A.D. 21 to A.D. 60, and he ruled over the districts of Arachosia, the lower Indus, Herat, and Peshawur. He was a great ruler, for the Scythian hordes of the Yuetchi had not yet swept down upon his territories, and, like great rulers, he immortalized himself in stone. He was a mighty builder, and his buildings were artistically adorned. We shall see in discussing Gandhāra art, which is the art of North-West India at the beginning of the Christian era, that it is dominated by Græco-Roman conceptions, and a recent discovery at Peshawur has given the world the name of a Greek architect for the stūpa erected by the Scythian King Kanishka in honour of S’akyamuni's relics. It is, therefore, an altogether possible story that St. Thomas should fall into the hands of kidnappers, and be taken, as a slave skilled in building and architecture, to the court of a great Indian king, thus fulfilling, in spite of himself, the desires of his Master.

The Indian merchant, Abbanes, having made his purchases, returns to his master in Indo-Parthia. "They began, therefore, to sail. And they had a fair wind, and they sailed fast until they came to Andrapolis, a royal city." The Syrian trade with India went overland as far as the head of the Persian Gulf, and thence by sea to the mouth of the Indus. If St. Thomas was sold as a slave and taken to India, it would be by that route that he would be taken. Andrapolis means the "city of the man," and Purushapura, the modern Peshawur, has the same meaning. Purushapura was, as the legend says, actually the royal city of Gundaphorus.

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After being for some time in the service of Gundaphorus, at Andrapolis, or Purushapura, where he did much preaching of the gospel, St. Thomas goes to a neighbouring kingdom, the sovereign of which appears as Misdeus or Basdeo. The second of these names gives us an Indian form, Vasudeva, and it is known that a king of this name was reigning, contemporaneously with Gundaphorus, at Matharā on the Jumna.

It is on the strength of evidence such as this that scholars such as Fleet, Smith, Dahlmann, and others have concluded that it is quite possible that the story of St. Thomas the Apostle having preached the Gospel of Christ in North-West India is well within the bounds of probability, though the same cannot be said of the other story, which tells us that he preached in South India, and was buried at Mailapûr, near the coast of Madras. This much, however, we can say of it. There is a constant tradition in South India which for centuries has connected the shrine of Mailapûr (or Meliapore) with the death, not the preaching, of St. Thomas; and the so-called Christians of St. Thomas can be traced, not certainly to Apostolic times, but to a period of great antiquity. In A.D. 78 there is a Pallava king reigning at Mailapûr and its neighbourhood, and Ceylon tells of another king, named Shálivahana, [105] who was a Takshakaputra, "son of a carpenter," i.e. a Christian—a follower of Christ, or a follower of Thomas the Carpenter. The phrase is a Gnostic one; at some later time I shall show traces of a Gnostic connection between the Alexandrian Gnosis, a Tamil poet from Mailapûr, and Kōbō Daishi.

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For present purposes, I shall assume that the earlier portion of the St. Thomas legend is at least so far true that there actually was Christian preaching at a very early period in North-West India. What I have to say in the next chapter may (or may not) be found to confirm the truth of the ancient legend.

The Call from China

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We will assume, then, that Christian preachers visited India somewhere about A.D. 45, and that the story of St. Thomas having been martyred near Mathura, on the Jumna, in Central India, or at Mailapûr, on the Tamil coast, about A.D. 51 (this being the year traditionally assigned for his martyrdom), is not an absolutely improbable one. These men would have brought no Christian books with them; they would have their own memories of the things that they had seen or heard, and they may have had, or have made, logia, or short pithy sayings of or about Christ, such as have recently been found in Egypt, and such as St. Matthew is supposed to have jotted down before composing his Gospel. And they possibly had some converts.

Now, in the year 64 A.D., the Chinese Emperor Ming-ti had a dream. On several successive nights there stood before him a man in golden raiment, holding in his hand a bow and arrows, pointing him to the west. The emperor was much moved by his vision, and, divining its purpose, determined to send men to the west to seek for the mabito [106] ( ) "the true man" of his vision. There was at this moment no commanding figure in Buddhism to whom the words could apply. As’vaghosha might have

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been such a man, but As’vaghosha is connected with the reign of Kanishka (circa A.D. 120), and his days were not yet. But there had lately been, and in the faith of his followers there still spiritually was, such a Man, and it is quite within the bounds of reason to suppose that rumours of such a person had reached the Chinese court at Lôyang. We have only to consider that the active silk trade between China and the luxurious early empire of Rome was in the hands of the Jews, whose headquarters were in Antioch; that these Jews had colonies and trade posts all along the route to the distant East; that their furthest outpost was at Kaifongfu, in Honan, where a miserable colony of their descendants still subsists to bear witness to a buried past; that Jews from Parthia were amongst those who were impressed by the events of the day of Pentecost;—we have only to consider these things to understand how extremely probable it was that rumours of the mabito should reach China. The Roman Empire had good roads; the Parthians had inherited good roads from the Persians and the Seleucid Greeks; China under the Han was a progressive military power, and must have had them. The journey from Antioch to the Chinese capital at Lôyang would not occupy more than a year and a half, and already thirty years had elapsed since the Crucifixion and Pilate's testimony to the mabito—Ecce Homo!

Further, although it was not until the year A.D. 75 or so that the great Chinese general Panchao started on the great military expedition which brought the Chinese arms victoriously to the shores of the Caspian Sea, and made the Celestial Empire for a few years almost the next-door neighbour of Rome, it is certain that the Central Asian troubles which caused that expedition were already brewing, and the solution of them was already occupying the

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minds of Chinese statesmen. We can hardly imagine such a great expedition being planned without some previous study of the actual conditions of the countries concerned, and we can readily understand that such an inquiry might bring the fact of Christ to the cognizance of the officials. The inquiry might have led them to an explanation of the "Great One Descending Man," looked for by the Jews of Kaifongfu. [107]

At any rate, Ming-ti, warned by his dream, sends his commissioners to the West. There were eighteen of them, their names, or at least some of them, are given, and they start for India. According to the most authentic form of the story, [108] they never reached India, for on the road they met two monks toiling over the mountain passes, and leading a white horse laden with the impedimenta of their journey. The names of these two travellers were Kaśyapa Matanga and Dharmaraksha, or Gobharana. The white horse was laden with Scriptures and Buddhist images, and they were on their road to China to preach the gospel. Buddhism had now been in the world for five centuries at least, and had, as we have seen in a previous chapter, amply recognized its calling as a world-religion. One is tempted to ask with wonder, Why should China, so nearly related to northern and north-western India, have been left so long without a preacher?

There was something about these men—possibly the white horse—which satisfied the Chinese commissioners that they had found what they wanted. They turned back with their newly made acquaintances to the Chinese capital, where the missionaries were well received and lodged in a monastery which still exists, the oldest in China, the celebrated Pomash (Jap. Hakubaji), the oldest existing temple in China, "the Monastery of the White

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[paragraph continues] Horse." It is evident that the White Horse made a great impression on China, an impression which apparently reached Japan as well. [109]

Kaśyapa Matanga and Dharmaraksha reached China in A.D. 67. Three years later, in A.D. 70, they both died. They had had but a short sojourn in China; but it was not altogether a fruitless one. The "Bukkyō Mondō Shū" gives us, in the chapter from which I have already quoted, certain particulars of their workings. They at once attracted many inquirers (coming as they did in answer to an Imperial dream, they could not well have done otherwise), and the Taoists and Confucianists were at once stirred up to jealousy. Their enemies applied to the emperor, and Ming-ti, desirous of doing what was right, appointed a day for a public discussion. Not much could be done in that line, however; for the one side knew no Chinese, and the other no Sanskrit. But there were other tests which the missionaries and their friends stood triumphantly. Buddhist relics refused to be broken by sledge-hammers, Buddhist books emitted a gentle light and refused to be burned in the fire, and the two Buddhist monks compelled the attention of a large audience by speeches in Sanskrit, which, strangely enough, every one understood. There are echoes, as it were, in this story, of Elijah and the priests of Baal, of

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the Children in the Furnace, of the Pentecostal experience, which are very strange. We shall find the same story as to the relics in Japan, and the Buddhists of Ceylon claim the same thing for their Tooth of Buddha.

Four books are put to the credit of these two missionaries in Nanjo's "Catalogue of Tripitaka," of which, however, only one survives. One of the best books is said to have been a life of Buddha, which some have identified with the "Buddha caritâ" [110] of As’vaghosha, an impossibility, seeing that the day of As’vaghosha had not yet come. The book that survives, that has weathered the many vicissitudes of Chinese history, the fires [111] and other catastrophes, is known as the "Sūtra of the Forty-Two Sections." It is not in the form of a dialogue as are most other Sūtras, but is merely a collection of short pithy sayings of "the Buddha," loosely strung together, and provided with a short introduction setting forth the place and time at which Buddha is supposed to have spoken them. It has been conjectured (though I believe there is no definite authority for the conjecture) that the missionaries, finding handbooks in use with short extracts from the writing of Confucius, conceived the idea of composing a similar book with extracts from the Buddhist Sūtras, and that the "Sūtra of the Forty-Two Sections" was the result. It may be so. The book has undergone many editions and revisions, and any one who knows the East knows that the Chinese are adepts in the culinary

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art. It is a possible belief that we have in the "Sutra of the Forty-Two Sections" a collection of logia, containing short pithy sayings of the Master, and prepared for the use of missionaries such as were Kaśyapa Matanga and Dharmaraksha, working in a new land without proper books in the vernacular; but a conjecture has before this been made that these two men were not Buddhist missionaries, but Christians, disciples of St. Thomas, who is still, I believe, to this day commemorated in Nestorian liturgies as the Apostle of India and China. Qui per alium facit per se facit.

The reasons available are as follows:—

1. It is known that there were such logia among early Christians. I believe I am right in saying that there are no similar logia in the whole range of Buddhist Sutra literature, except those which were compiled about this period for like purposes.

2. The fact that we have in the "Pistis Sophia" the introduction of a Buddhist Sutra, taken by some Gnostic cordon bleu and served with suitable garnishings as the introduction to a book concerning Christ, seems to suggest the feasibility of the reverse process, and that a Christian book might similarly be taken by some Chinese literary cook and served up to the devout in China as a Buddhist book, with a suitable introduction to give local colour and tone.

3. The main contents of the book will be found, on the whole, to be not in disagreement with Christian doctrines, and far more suitable for Christian purposes than the Epistle of St. James (which has been claimed as a Buddhist writing) would be for the use of disciples of S’akyamuni.

4. We shall see, from a study of Buddhist art, that whereas the early Buddhist sculptures invariably treat

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the Master as absent, thus carrying out the spirit of the Sanskrit title for Buddha, i.e. the Tathāgata, "the one that went thus (as he said)," in the post-Christian art of Gandhāra, he is always represented as a Being that is present amongst his disciples, and, being present, very often depicted in Greek or Græco-Roman costume. The "one that had gone" had been changed to "the one that had come," whose Presence (παρουσία) was recognized by his followers. This first mission to China, the first official introduction, be it remembered, of a new faith to China (for whatever Buddhism there had been before this time must have been quite unofficial), must be held responsible for the invention of suitable "characters" through which to introduce to the Chinese literati the idea of the Tathāgata. And the characters they chose ( ), the Chinese Julai, the Japanese Nyorai, convey the idea of the parousia. "He that comes thus (as was expected)," the Great One Descending Man of the Kaifongfu Jews. It is a very significant change.

5. Still more significant is the character which must have been introduced to represent Buddha ( ), the Chinese Fo, the Japanese hotoke. The component parts of this character are said to represent a man ( ) with a bow ( ) and arrows ( ); and we may suppose the two missionaries to have said to the people of Lôyang (the ancient capital of China), "We have come to tell you of the Mabito, of the true man, of the man with the bow and arrow whom your Emperor saw in his vision." It is possible (for there were Greeks living in India, as we have seen) that under the Indian names of these two missionaries there may have lurked a Greek nationality. At any rate, the character they chose is capable of another signification, besides the one usually given—the three first letters of the name of the Perfect Man, our cherished

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[paragraph continues] Christian monogram, , the man with the bow and arrows! [112]

6. We may suppose this character for Buddha to have been introduced to China about the year 68 A.D. There are many competent scholars who assign to the year 67 A.D. the composition of the Book of Revelation. In that book the author, after a rapid survey of the Churches under his immediate Apostolic guidance, and after a vision of God in His glory, proceeds to tell his readers the things that must shortly come to pass. The immediate future is a sealed book with many seals which none but the Lamb may open. The first seal is broken (Rev. vi. 2), and St. John is told to come and see "a white horse, and he that sat on it had a bow, and a crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer."

There are Christians who say that the New Testament is a book that is all fulfilled, that the end of which Christ spoke in His discourse on the Mount of Olives was accomplished at the siege of Jerusalem, and that we should think of the saints who took part in that first resurrection as already gathered around Christ in the heavenly places. One of the signs given was that the Gospel of the Kingdom should be first preached unto all nations for a witness, and then the end should come. It is certain that Christianity reached England and Spain and the lands of the furthest West about the same time that the White Horse reached China. If we could trace the Ethiopian Eunuch or the labours of other Apostles, we might be astonished to find how far to the south the gospel travelled in those early days. For a thing which is really a gospel requires no elaborate machinery or organization to push it

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on. It is recognized as "good news," and it travels from mouth to mouth.

The White Horse in the Apocalypse was followed by others, red, black, pale, the symbols of War, of Famine, of Death. Nothing was done by the Buddhists of India to follow up this mission of the White Horse—a fact which seems to point to its not having been a Buddhist mission at all, for the Buddhists would surely not have neglected to follow up so gracious an invitation from so powerful a monarch as Ming-ti. But suppose it to have been a Christian preacher that went to China, and we may, in the confusions that followed in Europe and Asia, find abundant reasons for the cessation of Christian missionary effort. The seed had been scattered very widely—the testimony had been delivered, by St. Paul before Nero, by some unknown preacher before the Great Han Emperor. Then the labourers fell asleep, and the enemy came to sow the tares. Those first men were sent forth only to give a testimony, and when the testimony had been delivered the End of the Age came. [113]

Buddhism just before the Coming of Christianity

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It is my intention in this chapter to estimate as far as I can the condition of Buddhism just before the coming of Christianity to India, and consequently just before the first visible development of the Greater Vehicle. This will clear the ground for the consideration of the Mahāyāna itself in later chapters.

Our most trustworthy guides for the dark period between As’oka and Christ are the remains of ancient Buddhist temples of the earlier or Persian period of Indian art. From these [114] we may gather that long before the dawn of the Christian era Buddhism had, for all practical intents and purposes, formulated for itself a demi-god in S’akyamuni, whom it worshipped with far more fervour than the Greeks worshipped Herakles, whom in Asia they identified with S’akyamuni. Round Herakles in Greece many myths formed themselves; the person of S’akyamuni was likewise enveloped in a robe of legends and sayings, and it comes to a Christian reader as an unpleasant and unwelcome shock to find S’akyamuni provided with stories very similar to those which have always endeared to us the Nativity and Infant life of Christ our Saviour. There is

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no use for us to try and blink the fact. It stands there in the clear-cut stone monuments of India that pre-Christian India believed in Buddha as a Being whose Birth was supernatural, the result of a spiritual power overshadowing the mother; as one whose Birth was rejoiced over by angels and testified to by an aged seer; as one who had been tempted by the Evil One and had overcome; as one whose life had been one of good deeds and holy teachings; as one who had passed into the unseen, leaving behind him a feeling of longing regret for him who had thus gone away. [115]

Buddhism was also by this time provided with books, or at least with a body of doctrines orally embodied in set forms, and recited by the monks with that verbal exactness for which the Indians have always been so famous. On one of his rock inscriptions, in the edict at Bairât in Rajputâna, As’oka mentions the names of seven such Sūtras, of which five have been identified as still existing in the Pali Sutta Pitakam, [116] while the sixth and seventh have been with considerable reason supposed to be, respectively, the germ of the Vinaya Pitakam, or books of Discipline, and the First Sermon delivered by Buddha after his Enlightenment. Shortly after As’oka's death, about B.C. 200 (and therefore before the accession of Pushyamitra), on the rail around the stupa of Barhut, [117] are inscribed the "names of pious Buddhists," who are described as "reciters," "versed in the Dialogues," "versed in the Baskets," and "versed in the Five Collections," [118] and

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these inscriptions bear witness to the continual tradition of these oral records. And, finally, if we may trust the Ceylon Chronicles, these oral records were committed to writing in Ceylon about 40 B.C., and thus the Hīnayāna books assumed their stereotyped form.

We may assume, further, that the pre-Christian Buddhism, possessing the books, possessed also the doctrines of Hīnayāna Buddhism, such as it is still to be found in Ceylon and other Buddhist countries of the Southern School. It does not fall within the scope of this work to give an account of these doctrines. The student will find them admirably summarized in books like Hardy's "Manual of Buddhism," or Warren's "Buddhism in Translation." [119] But it is also certain that while the doctrinal standards had been faithfully handed down until the time came for them to be committed to writing, there had also been a steady downward tendency in the life of the Buddhist Church, accompanied by a corresponding relaxation of the firmness with which the doctrines of Buddha were held. This downgrade movement has been graphically described for us in the "Ten Dreams of Kaśyapa," which may be taken as coming to us from the latter end of this period of Buddhist decay. [120]

According to that book, the great disciple Kaśyapa, who is reckoned by north and south alike as the first Patriarch of Buddhism after the death of S’akyamuni, had ten dreams: (1) An elephant, having squeezed its body through a narrow door, failed to get its tail through. (2) Thirsty men were seen running away from a fountain

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of water which pursued them. (3) A measure of pearls was given as payment for a mess of porridge. (4) A load of costly sandal-wood was sold at the price of common fuel logs. (5) A garden full of flowers and fruits was stripped by thieves. (6) Elephants during the rutting season, when they are usually fierce and pugnacious, were driven away by a knot of little children. (7) A dirty monkey was seen covering another monkey with dirt. (8) A monkey was crowned and anointed as king. (9) A piece of cloth was torn into eighteen pieces. (10) A crowd of people were quarrelling in the streets. [121]

The dreams had their interpretations, and in those interpretations we may see the gradual decay of the institutions which S’akyamuni had founded, and which As’oka had been at such trouble to propagate. (1) The disciples had, in obedience to their master's commands, left their homes to follow him, but the surrender had not been complete. The elephant's tail had refused to pass through the door, and presently the monks made new homes for themselves, and became attached to their comfortable monasteries, as they had once been to their mansions and villas. (2) The disciples were like a well, bubbling over with the water of life; but the laity had no thought of religion, and possibly a contempt, more or less openly expressed, for the comfortable recluse. So the fountain had to pursue thirsty men, who, while perhaps craving for the truth, were yet unwilling to quench their thirst at that particular fountain. (3) Thus there resulted a

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cheapening of religious instruction. In their anxiety to win adherents, the preachers tickled the ears of their audience with the highest truths, when the simpler ones would have been more suitable; and in return for the measure of pearls they offered received but a poor meed of gratitude—a mess of porridge. (4) In the same way, the fear of losing disciples caused the monks to tolerate the existence of heresy in the community; the teachings of heretics were esteemed as highly as those of the orthodox—sandalwood was sold at the same price as common fuel. (5) The monasteries were rich and well endowed with lands and estates. The revenues should have been for the poor; the monks used them for their own profit. (6) Good disciples (the rutting elephants) were driven away by worthless ones (children). As early as the days of As’oka complaints were made of this, the better sort of monks preferring to retire rather than be forced into religious contact with worthless and evil brethren. (7) These worthless men were like dirty monkeys, covered with mud. They threw the dirty mud of slander at their fellows, and so made them appear as dirty as they were themselves. (8) Then, having got rid of the worthy monks, they proceeded to elect superiors of their own type in the monasteries, till it came that the monkey was anointed as king. (9) Thus it came to pass that the Buddhist community, which, like Christ's garment, had once been a seamless vesture of whole cloth, had been torn and rent into eighteen pieces, corresponding to the eighteen sects [122]

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into which the Hīnayāna had been torn. (10) And the result of sectarianism was religious strife.

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One of the most important books for the study of the Dark Period is the so-called "Questions of King Milinda," of which there is an English version by Professor Rhys Davids in the "Sacred Books of the East." Menander (for that is the proper reading of Milinda) was one of the Greek princes that ruled in India during the last century before Christ. The book fixes its own date, for it alludes to S’akyamuni's prophecy that his religion would not last for more than 500 years after his death, and yet betrays no consciousness of the fact that it had already lasted beyond that period. We may take it, therefore, that the five centuries had not quite elapsed when the book was written, and may place the composition of it somewhere about the time "of the Flavian Emperors of Rome." [123]

The book has been called the "Irenæus" of Buddhism. The Pali Pitakas are "immanent" in its pages, just "as the New Testament is immanent in the pages of Irenæus." It bears a strong testimony to the existence and nature of the Hīnayāna books, as also to the Hīnayāna doctrine, and, better than any other book, enables us to see what was the state of Buddhist thought at the end of its first period, when the Age of the Upright Law (as it has since been called) was all but over, and the Age of Image Law was about to be introduced. [124]

The author of the book speaks of the period of Five Hundred years as being the duration of S’akyamuni's teachings in the world. The Five Centuries were just elapsing, when the new faith of Christ came into the

From this it would seem that the Mahāsānghika (Great Minster) School of the Hīnayāna has continued itself in Ceylon.

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world. There was everything to fill a Buddhist monk possessing a statesman's mind, one capable of taking a wide outlook over the world, with anxiety as to the future. India was a political cypher, divided among weakling princes. On its north-western frontier lay the dreaded Scythian, whose invasion of the land would certainly not be delayed for many years to come. He was very possibly a Buddhist, but his Buddhism, already mixed with alien elements, was not of the same type as that of Magadha. If he came, he would not help the poor distracted Hīnayānist; if he only threatened to come, he was still a Buddhist and an alien enemy, and the patriotism of India was asserting itself by a return to the old Indian gods whom As’oka had persuaded it to lay aside. Go away he certainly would not. Is it to be wondered at that at such a time our monk should turn his thoughts to him that had "thus gone"? I have already, in a previous chapter, spoken of the change that comes over the Buddhist architecture, and of the significant change in the Chinese word for the Tathāgata. I will now quote from another of the Pali Sūtras, one which surely referred not merely to the Buddha that once was and now had gone, but much more to him that was to come, and whose coming was to give new hope of life. [125]

"Ananda, the future Buddha, is mindful and conscious when he is born with the Tushita Body… . [126] (he) is mindful and conscious when he vanishes from the Tushita Body and descends into his mother's womb… When he vanishes from the Tushita Body and descends into his

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mother's womb, then, in the world of the angels, of Māra, of Brahmā, unto the philosophers and Brahmans, princes and peoples, there appears a splendour, limitless and eminent, transcending the angelic might of the angels," etc.

Words such as these, written in all probability before the birth of Christ, and applicable to the Nativity of S’akyamuni as it lives in Buddhist legend and belief, do not at all necessarily imply that the Nativity stories of the New Testament are merely faked-up fables, borrowed from an older cycle of fiction. Rather they show that when He was born, in the way in which His birth is recorded, He was fulfilling more than one prophecy. It is thus that it behoves a Divine Saviour to be born; that is the testimony of Isaiah, of Virgil, of the Buddhist Sūtra, of many another great teacher that has appeared. It was part of the stock-in-trade (if I may so call it) of S’akyamuni; it was also a part of the stock-in-trade of Christ. If Christ's superhuman credentials had gone no further than the Nativity cycle, Christ would in no sense have differed from S’akyamuni. But Christ's claim of supernatural testimony went farther than S’akyamuni's. He claims our allegiance not merely because "He was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary," but more especially so because, having been crucified and slain, He rose again the third day from the dead. It is on the Resurrection that St. Paul bases Christ's claim to be the Son of God; it is this that makes Him unique in religious history. This places Christ at the head of all things in the religious world; its absence puts S’akyamuni into his proper place, a place in which he may yet claim the ungrudging respect of Christian people. It constitutes him a great witness and forerunner of Christ, and no Japanese can be offended at having him placed in such a seemingly humble position, for it is the place

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which they themselves assign to him when they say, with their own poet, that the sole reason for S’akyamuni's appearance in the world was that he might point men to Amitābha. [127]


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Everybody in Japan reckons As’vaghosha as the founder of the Mahāyāna Faith, and yet there is not a single Mahāyāna sect in Japan which traces its official lineage back to him. They all go back to Nāgārjuna, who is made to be responsible for very great varieties of doctrine; and one or two of them will then add, in a parenthetic and half apologetic manner, that As’vaghosha said something of the sort.

The Zen teachers give him in their list of Patriarchs [128] of the Mahāyāna, but do not in any way treat him as one of the pivots of their system. The mystic Kegon, now practically non-existent, spoke of As’vaghosha as their founder, in the sense that the germ of their teachings may be found in him who first roused his fellow-religionists to faith in the Mahāyāna, then coming into the world; but their doctrines they derived, through Nāgārjuna, from some mysterious books said to have been brought by that saint from some "Dragon's palace under the sea." And the believers in salvation by faith in the vow of Amida,

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while acknowledging that the first signs of that faith are to be found in As’vaghosha's treatise, yet make Nāgārjuna the first in their list of Patriarchs. [129]

There is a great deal of uncertainty about As’vaghosha's life. His advent is said to have been foretold by Buddha himself, but Suzuki, [130] who has written a very full and candid account of As’vaghosha, quotes a passage from a book claiming to be written by Nāgārjuna, in which it is stated that, in order to fulfil all the prophecies concerning him, there must have been six As’vaghoshas, each of whom "appeared to fulfil his mission according to the necessity of the time, and there is no contradiction in them." (Nāgārjuna's book was translated into Chinese in A.D. 401.) According to the first of these prophecies, As’vaghosha had been a disciple of Buddha in his earthly life. When the Buddha was telling his disciples of his approaching Nirvana, he had asked to accompany him, and then, "gazing at the pupil of Buddha's eye, had passed out of life." In the next prophecy, Buddha is said to have told As’vaghosha that three hundred years after the Nirvana, he would obtain an inspiration from him which would be for the happiness of mankind. According to another, he was to come six hundred years after the Nirvana to confute the heretics. A fourth prophecy places him in the eighth century after the Nirvana; a fifth brings him back to one hundred years. A sixth represents him as having appeared to Buddha, seventeen days after his Enlightenment, in the form of a monster serpent with 86,000 heads and 86,000 tongues, and to have asked the Tathāgata 86,000 questions all at once. This sixth legend was evidently invented to bolster up the pretended revelations of the Kegon Scriptures,

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but it is not without its significance for the contemporary Ophite Gnosticism.

A similar uncertainty hangs about the name and place of birth. As’vaghosha [131] is the most common of his designations; but in Chinese books he is sometimes Punyaditya, or Punyaśrika, while in Thibetan he has at least eight other names. His place of birth is sometimes Ayodhya, sometimes Pataliputra, but Benares puts in a claim, and so do South India and Khorta.

All accounts agree in saying that he was a Brahman by birth; that he wandered through many parts of India searching for knowledge; that he eventually fixed his residence at Benares, where he acquired considerable reputation as a deep scholar and skilled reasoner. He was a pillar of Brahmanism, when, for reasons unknown, he was converted to the Hīnayāna. As a Hīnayāna monk he acquired a great reputation for sanctity.

The latter half of the first century was a period of trouble, and not for India only. The Scythians, who had long threatened the north-western frontiers, at last made their anticipated invasion. The year 50 saw the overthrow of the last Greek princelet by the Scythian king, Kadphises I., who also a little later overthrew the power of Gundaphorus of the St. Thomas legend. His successor, Kadphises II., extended his power down the valley of the Ganges as far as the gates of Benares, which he reached between 85 and 90 A.D. [132] The whole of India was in the tumult of war. The Scythians were on the move from Bactria to Benares, the Chinese under Panchao were

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marching to the shores of the Caspian Sea, the Parthians were restless, there was war on the eastern frontiers of the Roman Empire. The White Horse of the vision had been succeeded by the red, black, and pale steeds.

Benares, it is said, was saved by the sanctity of As’vaghosha. The Scythian king lay at its gates. He was willing to spare it, but he wanted money, and he also desired to impoverish the Magadhan kingdom. So he laid upon Benares a fine of enormous dimensions. The King of Benares declared himself unable to pay it. "Then," said the Scythian king, "give me Buddha's Begging-bowl and the person of your great sage As’vaghosha." (An alternative story adds a "compassionate fowl" which would not drink dirty water for fear of killing the insects in it. [133]) Thus As’vaghosha and the Begging-bowl of Buddha saved Benares.

It has been said that it is unlikely that the Scythian king should thus accept a monk and a bowl in lieu of the heavy ransom which he had at first demanded from the city of Benares. Yet there is a good deal to be said in favour of its probability. The Scythian king had, by virtue of his recent conquests in Afghanistan, the Indus valley, Punjaub, and the Northern-Western Provinces, become the ruler of a great Buddhist kingdom, and the Buddhist provinces of his empire were about to be increased by the conquests in Central Asia which took place a few years later. Kadphises II. (if it were indeed that

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monarch) was, in fact, the greatest Buddhist monarch of the world. The Begging-bowl, however, which is the prototype of the Holy Grail of the Arthurian legend, [134] was the holiest of all relics of the Buddha, and its possession, like the Sacred Sword [135] and Mirror of the Japanese Imperial House, brought with it the recognized spiritual headship of the whole Buddhist world. Neither Balkh, nor Peshawur, nor any other city that the Scythian king might choose for his capital, could hope to be the centre of Buddhism so long as the Bowl remained at Benares. With the Begging-bowl in his possession, the Scythian king might safely assert that the headship of the Buddhists had been transferred to him. The Bowl meant very little to the King of Benares, for the Hīnayāna was losing its prestige, and already that Hindu reaction had set in which well-nigh expelled Buddhism from the soil of India. To the alien ruler of recently annexed Buddhist provinces, its possession was beyond all price important.

As’vaghosha's conversion to Buddhism has been variously described. According to one story, he was converted by the singing of a bird, whose notes sounded like the praises of Buddha. According to another, he found, in a Buddhist book, a prophecy of Buddha's in

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which his own name was mentioned. According to a third, which comes from Thibet, he was converted by Āryadeva, a prominent disciple of Nāgārjuna's, not by argument or reasoning, but by a liberal display of magic arts. According to a fourth, which agrees with Thibetan as well as with Chinese authorities, he was reasoned into belief by Pārśva, or Punyayaśas. These two men were As’vaghosha's immediate predecessors in the list of Patriarchs. Of the five lists given by Suzuki, three have Pārśva, Punyayaśas, As’vaghosha as consecutive Patriarchs; two omit Punyayaśas, and go straight from Pārśva to As’vaghosha. It is possible that Pārśva and Punyayaśas are one and the same person.

It may be that there is some truth in each of these stories. As’vaghosha was a poet, [136] and his poetical imagination may have been awakened and turned to Buddhism by the song of a bird. He would be neither the first nor the last man whose conversion has been due to a bird's song or a beautiful piece of scenery. Thus converted, he passes over from the Hindu worship of Mahes’vara to the faith of S’akyamuni, only to find that the Hīnayāna, seen from within, was not all that his fancy had painted it from without. He would not be the first idealist that has found his dreams destroyed by the disappointments of the actualities. And yet we may imagine that in this period of his life he may still have done good service to his new faith by the publication of the Vajrasuci, [137] in which he combats the mistaken Hindu theory of caste.

So far we may presume his literary activity to have gone in his Benares days. But following in the train of the Scythian monarch, he finds himself, in the dominions

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of the conqueror, among what M. Sylvain Levi [138] calls "des cultes, des rites, des usages inconnues." His new companions are still Buddhists, but they have brought with them from Bactria, Turkestan, Khotan, new ideas, foreign to the Hīnayānists of Benares. Again his imagination is kindled; he recognizes in Pārśva a dialectician greater than himself, in Aryadeva, the master of a magic more powerful than any that he knows of, and he accepts the new and enlarged faith, and becomes its first great exponent. [139]

In truth, there were, in germ, in the new Buddhism which was then coming into shape in the Indus valley, three modes of expression which must all be taken into account, if we would understand the ‚Japanese Mahāyāna of to-day. They are not confined to Buddhism: they are found in Gnosticism, in Hinduism, in Christianity; they are, in fact, universals of religion. They may, for brevity's sake, be termed the Way, the Truth, and the Life; the appeal to the affections, the intellect, the spiritual imagination of Faith.

The new Life imported into Buddhism, connected, as we have seen, with the Gnosis of the Egyptians, and profoundly influenced by the Magianism of Bactria, was quite ready to assert its claim to supernatural powers. It rested with As’vaghosha, while re-asserting the half-forgotten claims of S’akyamuni, to provide a philosophic basis for the polytheistic conceptions of the mixed multitude of the North-West, and thus to commend to the people of Hindustan the spiritual authority of the new Truth proclaimed by the new possessors of the Buddha's Begging-bowl.

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It is noteworthy that in doing so he opens the Way to Life, which a large and constantly increasing school of Northern Buddhism has from the beginning interpreted as being Faith in one who is greater than S’akyamuni.

"Therefore" (these are almost the last words of his Discourse on the Awakening of Faith), "it is said in the Sutra that if devoted men and women would be filled with concentration of thought, think of Amitābha Buddha in the world of highest happiness in the Western region, and direct all the root of their good work toward being born there, they will assuredly be born there. Thus always seeing Buddhas there, their faith will be strengthened, and they will never relapse therefrom. Receiving instruction in the doctrine, and recognizing the Dharmakāya of the Buddha, they will by gradual discipline be able to enter upon the state of truth." [140]

It is surely significant that at this particular period in the world's history the very first book which describes itself definitely as belonging to the Mahāyāna should end with a recommendation to faith in one who bears such a strange resemblance to Christ.

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The name of Pārśva who converted As’vaghosha to the Mahāyāna gives a clue to As’vaghosha's date. For Pārśva was the chairman, or at any rate an active member, of Kanishka's Great Council which took place at Jhālamdara early in the second century. We may therefore, with a certain amount of confidence, place As’vaghosha about the year A.D. 80 or 90, some twenty or thirty years after St. Thomas, and about the same period before Kanishka's Council. [141]


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We may consider that As’vaghosha, a native apparently of Saketa, and for many years a resident of Pataliputra or Benares (probably the latter), brought into the newly formed, or reformed, Mahāyāna a certain Magadhan or Central Indian element. We may suppose that a sage of his wisdom, learning, and reputation would do much to strengthen the dying cause of Hīnayāna Buddhism in the very land of its birth, by raising it to a higher level of aim and endeavour, and to nobler because truer views of life and duty.

But the Kushan or Indo-Scythian rulers, in their newly awakened zeal for the propagation of a religion with which seemed to be bound up their hopes of the over-lordship of the fair peninsula of Jambudvīpa, where they might rule in peaceful possession, no matter what might be the disturbances raised by Huns and Alani on their far distant Central Asian frontiers, were by no means contented with spiritual influence on the Ganges plains alone. All India, they might reasonably argue, ought to be won to the reformed Buddhism of which they were the acknowledged heads, as the possessors of Buddha's Begging-bowl. If India could thus be won to spiritual allegiance, the temporal allegiance would not be far off. Only, to win all India, there must be a religious platform which all India could accept.

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In Nāgārjuna they found a man admirably suited for the carrying out of their designs of recommending their enlarged faith to the spiritual conscience of India. A Brahman by birth, he was born, somewhere about the beginning of the second century, [142] in Southern India. As a Brahman, he was one of the hereditary exponents and custodians of religion and faith, but seems at first to have had but scanty reverence for his privileges. He went the way of "gilded youth," threw himself into a life of dissipation, and thoughtlessly profaned his birthright. But one night he and three of his companions broke into the palace of the Rajah, partly for robbery, partly for intrigue with the ladies of the princely harem, and were discovered. Nāgārjuna managed to escape in safety, but his three companions were taken and killed.

This was the turning-point in his career. Why had he been saved, while his companions, no more culpable than himself, had been overtaken by the vengeance of man, if not of Heaven? He recognized in his escape the hand of some unseen Providence, and from that moment determined to walk worthy of his sacerdotal birthright.

But the Brahmanism of the day (we must remember that it was not yet the reformed and elevated Brahmanism which at a later date drove Buddhism out of India) failed to satisfy him, and he turned to Buddhism. This too—it was the distracted Hīnayāna—failed to give him rest. He read books without end, yet arrived not at the truth, until at last he went as a wandering religionist to the country of the Nāgas, among the Himalayas, where he found peace and guidance.

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A Japanese writer, [143] in whose conscientious scholarship I have learned to put much confidence, says that his first journey was to a shrine of Ādi-Buddha ( ), whom Japan looks upon as Amitābha, the Supreme and Original Buddha, from whom, as from a source, comes everything that is called Light in the human mind. Ādi-Buddha is essentially a Himalayan cult, and it would be among those mountains, if anywhere, that Nāgārjuna would meet with such a teaching. At this shrine he made the acquaintance of a Bodhisattva of the name of Mahānāga (Dai-ryū), who taught him the faith in Amida Buddha, and finding him an adept in spiritual understanding, conducted him to the Palace of the Dragons (Nāgas) under the sea, and there revealed to him treasures of wisdom and doctrine which had been kept hidden for long generations, but which could now be communicated to men, inasmuch as the destined [144] expounder of the secret doctrine had at length appeared.

From the Himalayas Nāgārjuna went again to the south of India. Here he had a similar experience, one which we should be justified in treating as being the same as the one mentioned in the previous paragraph were it not that the treatment of the Japanese Mahāyāna requires that we should consider them as separate phenomena. In Southern India he is said to have found an Iron Tower (a shrine of some sort, we may suppose, like the shrine of St. Thomas at Mailapûr) in which dwelt an aged Bodhisattva of the name of Vajrasattva (Jap. Kongōsatta). Vajrasattva was the authorized exponent of a teaching which emanated from a Buddha named Vairoc’ana, who was greater than S’akyamuni.

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[paragraph continues] Vairoc’ana claimed to be the one, the original Buddha, just as Amitābha did; and yet the two seemed to be different. Nāgārjuna listened with sympathy: Vajrasattva recognized that his spiritual successor had arrived, committed the secret Teachings to hint, and gave him the rite of Abhis’ekha, a rite which is half Baptism and half Ordination.

We shall presently come back to these points. For the present we will merely summarize what we have said, and remind the reader that Nāgārjuna had personally "sampled" very much of the religious thought of India. He had been a Brahmanist and a Hīnayānist. He had then become a Mahāyānist, and since his conversion to that faith he had come into contact not only with the faith in Amitābha, but with faith in Vairoc’ana, with the Dragon's Palace, with the Iron Tower, with the Nāgas, and with the religionists whose special symbol is the Vajra.

He then retired to South India, where he spent the rest of his days in writing books and evangelization. The Japanese historians whom I have read say nothing about his connection with Kanishka's Council; they say that after long and successful labours he died at Kośala, in the northern portion of South India.

He was a voluminous writer (the reader will find a long list of his works in the pages of Nanjo's "Catalogue of the Tripitaka"), and his influence on Northern Buddhism has been so great that one is not astonished to read that he was revered by many as a second Buddha, a teacher whose authority equalled that of S’akyamuni himself.

He may be said to have settled, for Buddhism, the long-disputed question of the existence of the soul, which had troubled generations of Buddhist thinkers.

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Buddhists had long been divided into Astikas and Nāstikas, the one party maintaining, with the Sarvāstivādins and others, the existence of the soul, the reality of life after death, the existence of an Oversoul, and the other denying all these things, and in some cases even allowing to material substances no more than a phenomenal existence. Nāgārjuna's philosophy mediated between the two views. The Madhyamika system, of which he was the interpreter, taught that the soul might be said to exist or not to exist, according to the way in which you looked at it. The soul of the individual is like the wave of the sea, it has an apparent separate existence for a moment, then it disappears in the body of the ocean once more. It was never a distinct entity. So with the Buddhas: they appear in the world, and we look upon them as individual Beings. But that is all only apparent. Buddhas and Saviours are but waves that appear on the surface of the ocean of God's love. They come and they go, and men talk of their deaths or their Nirvanas; but the ocean of God's love is unchanged. Only the surface waves have changed. It was thus that Nāgārjuna was able to recognize the essential oneness of Amitābha, of Vairoc’ana, of S’akyamuni. It was thus that the Mahāyāna faith, of which he was the great doctor, was able to adapt itself to the Taoism of China, to the Shinto of Japan. It was thus that the Buddhist gnosis of the second century tried to overthrow the Christian faith of the Catholic Church. Docetism is nothing but the Madhyamika doctrine applied to the problem of getting rid of the offence of the Cross and the uniqueness of Christ.

Nāgārjuna did not reject the teachings of either Astikas or Nāstikas. He divided Truth into two parts, an apparent truth and a true truth, a distinction which is constantly cropping up in Japanese Buddhism. The one, Zokutai, is

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[paragraph continues] "truth by general consent," the truth as held by Nāstikas, who believed that nothing existed. The other, Shintai, is "true truth," the fulfilment of truth, which was to make perfect that which the Astikas held in part only. The one is the absolute Truth, the other is the Truth adapted to the mental and spiritual circumstances and capacities of the hearers. The distinction is to be found in every Buddhist sect in Japan; it underlies the distinction between the two classes of hearers in Manichaeism. Was it not the whole contention of the Gnostics that ordinary Christianity was but a form of Zokutai, a "truth by common consent," and that they themselves were the possessors of the Shintai, "the true Truth," the perfect Gnosis?

Nāgārjuna is further credited in Japan with having taught that there are two ways of life, the one a road of difficulty and pain (nangyōdō), the other one of ease and pleasure. In the first, the aspirant after salvation takes the hard road of asceticism, of fastings and penance, etc., and thus labours to work out his own salvation; in the second, he throws all his own efforts aside, puts his faith in One who has effected salvation for him, and so, like a ship with a stout sail and a favourable wind, attains the haven of his hopes. [145] It is for this reason that Nāgārjuna is considered by all the Amitābha sects in Japan as the great Founder, after S’akyamuni, of their Faith. For, in deed, the "Faith in Another" is Faith in Amida. Amida is the One Original Buddha (ichi-Butsu, hon-Butsu), besides whom there is none other, and who has had no beginning. He has manifested himself time and again to men; in the Sukhūvati Vyūha, for instance, there is a list given of eighty-one such manifestations. At the last

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he manifests himself as a person whom the Japanese call Hōzō Biku, makes a vow for the salvation of man, and works it out until he has established a Paradise where he himself reigns in power, and into which all may enter who have the faith to call upon him. Nāgārjuna does not claim to have invented this doctrine. He claims to have found it, and we know that the doctrine must have existed in India before A.D. 147, for we know that in that year the Sukhāvati Vyūha was taken by two men, Anshikao and Lokaraksha, to China. We may safely say that Amidaism was a portion of the faith of Mahāyāna Buddhism from the middle part of the second century. Before that time our notices of it are somewhat vague. Nāgārjuna may be considered, by his clearly announced doctrine of salvation by Faith, to have laid, as far as Indian Buddhism is concerned, the foundation of that Third Vehicle which may be said to be the One and True Mahāyāna. [146]

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Nāgārjuna is also treated by Japanese Buddhists as having been the first man to bring into Buddhism a set of doctrines known as the Avatasaṃka or Kegon. The Kegon no longer exists in Japan as a separate organization, but its views still influence a great many writers, and the Kegon Sūtras have had more influence on Japanese and Chinese religious art than any other set of the Sūtras of the Mahāyāna.

According to the Sanron [147] traditions (the Sanron is another sect, now extinct as a separate organization, which claimed Nāgārjuna for its founder), there were three collections of the Buddhist Scriptures made immediately after S’akyamuni's death. The orthodox party made one, within the cave of Rājagriha; the Mahāsaṇghikas made another, outside the cave or in another cave-monastery not far off. In the meantime, Manjuśri (or Ananda? supra, Chap. III.) and Maitreya, who never appear in Hīnayāna books as disciples of S’akyamuni, but who are very active debaters in the Mahāyāna Sūtras, formed a third collection which contained true Mahāyāna books. The volumes of this collection had been gradually coming down into the plains for some years, from their hiding-places among the Himalayas and by the Anavatapta Lake, and thus, little by little, had been sown in men's hearts, as they were able to bear them, the doctrines of the Mahāyāna as expounded by the Kegon. To Nāgārjuna the honour had been reserved of bringing the whole collection to light

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through the kindness of the great Nāga sage at the Shrine of Ādibuddha. [148]

But the world was not worthy of this high doctrine collected by Manjuśri and Maitreya. The Avataṃsaka Scriptures consist of six different texts. Two of these have never been written. They have been "kept," says Nanjo, [149] "by the power of the dharanī or holding of the great Bodhisattvas, and not written down upon palm-leaves." The third and fourth were kept in the Dragon Palace under the sea, [150] and not "committed to the men of Jambudvīpa." The fifth was taken from the Dragon Palace by Nāgārjuna and transmitted to the men of India. A portion of it was taken to China by Anshikao and his companions. [151] The sixth reached China between

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[paragraph continues] 317–420 A.D., having been translated by Buddhabadra. It is said that As’vaghosha knew something about it, and that Nāgārjuna fully understood it. No other Indian teacher is connected with it, nor does it appear in China in a developed form until the commencement of the Tang period. In the same period, early in the eighth century, the Kegon reached Japan, where it had considerable vogue, but was afterwards swallowed up and amalgamated by the all-embracing Tendai.

The Kegon claims to be the first of S’akyamuni's preachings. It purports to have been delivered, during the first week after his Enlightenment, to seven assemblies in Heaven and Earth, all of which he addressed simultaneously without leaving his seat under the Bo-tree. It was delivered in a supernatural manner, and thus it came to pass that S’ariputra, Maitreya, Manjuśri, and other disciples of a much later date, came to be spiritually present at it. It was followed by teachings adapted to ordinary people, whom he led by five stages to the perfection which he had found in the spiritual hearers of his first teachings. The five stages are (1) "smallness," the doctrines of Hīnayāna, based on the Four Truths and the Twelvefold Chain of Causation, as explained in the Agamas; (2) "beginning," i.e. of the Mahāyāna, in which the disciple is shown the unreality of things; (3) the "perfection," i.e. of the Mahāyāna, which consists in the realization of the existence of the Bhūtatathāta, or the impersonal God; (4) "suddenness," i.e. the direct attainment of the knowledge of God by straight and direct intuition; and (5) "completion," or the absolute identity between God and the soul. [152] Thus step by step, according to the Kegon doctrines, were the believers led

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to the accomplishment of that perfection which S’akyamuni had seen before him at the moment of his Enlightenment. The doctrine was certainly held in China and Japan. It has a Gnostic flavour. Whether Nāgārjuna actually held it or not, I am not prepared to say.

The story of the visit to the Iron Tower is rejected by all sects in Japan except the Shingon, who make it the basis of their own teachings, and Nichiren, who was always plainspoken, did not hesitate to call Kōbō Daishi the "prize-liar of Japan" (Nihon no dai mōgo) for maintaining the truth of the story. I have already advanced reasons for believing that the Shingon is a form of Egyptian Gnosticism, closely allied with Basilidianism and the ancient religion of Egypt, and brought to Southern India by Egyptian merchants during the first century of our era. I need not repeat what I said. I should, however, add that the Japanese Shingon retains what many other sects have discarded—the practice of a species of Baptism, known as Kwanjo. It is administered with water, it may be reiterated; it is considered efficacious against disease; it may be administered vicariously on behalf of the dead. [153] As regards its mode of administration, if the student will give himself the trouble to read what Irenæus (lib. I. cap. xxi.) says of the Baptism administered by the Marcosians, he will see a picture of the Shingon administration, with its manual gestures, its mystic incantations, and even its opobalsamum or liquid unguents.

The truest disciples of Nāgārjuna [154] were to be found in

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the Hossō sect, founded by Hiouen Thsang after his return to China from his pilgrimage tours in India. Hiouen Thsang was a worthy follower of S’akyamuni, a painstaking scholar, and a man of judgment. We shall have to consider his personality and doctrines later on. The sect which he founded has ceased to have any organic existence in Japan.

The Missionaries of the Han

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If we could construct a comparative Chronological Table of the religious phenomena of Europe and Asia during the first two centuries, we should see that the next Buddhist mission (A.D. 147) coincided with a mission sent by the Kushan sovereigns to the Han emperors, partly, it may be, to carry out negotiations for a matrimonial alliance, and partly, no doubt, to arrange for concerted action for defence against the Huns and other barbarians who were threatening both China and India. Political negotiation and religious propaganda would seem to have gone hand-in-hand.

The two pioneer missionaries were Anshikao (who, from his rank as Prince of Parthia, may well have bad some political commission) and Lokaraksha. The two arrived simultaneously at Lôyang, or, at any rate, with only a comparatively short interval between them; the rest came at intervals during the seventy years that still remained for the Han dynasty to rule. Six of them are mentioned by Nanjo, [155] but none of them can be compared for industrious translation with the first two. There must have been other missionaries as well: there are sixteen translations by unknown hands, and there must surely have been some missionaries whose methods were not literary. In all, ninety-six Sūtras were translated during the latter years of the Han dynasty, of which Anshikao

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claims fifty-six and Lokaraksha twelve. The other six men only produced twelve Sūtras between them.

The first notable point with regard to these pioneer missionaries is that none came from India proper, and, in particular, none from Magadha and the plains of the Ganges. Two were Parthians; three are described as coming from Thibet; one from the country of the Yuetchi; the others vaguely as from the Western region. They were all subjects of the Kushan kingdom, and had therefore all been more or less influenced by the Gandhāra Buddhism which had come in with the new era.

The leader of this successful mission to China was a Parthian prince known to us as Anshikao. His real personal name is not given (Anshikao merely means "Prince of the Ansi," i.e. Parthians), but it is said that he resigned his throne to his uncle in order to become a monk, and that he was the son of a famous king who had been the enemy of Trajan and the friend of Hadrian. All this enables us to identify him with Axidares, the son of Pachorus, whom his father had nominated to the Armenian throne, shortly after A.D. 100, thereby giving much offence to the Emperor Trajan. Pachorus’ successor on the Parthian throne, his brother Chosroes, at once apologized to Rome for the error in judgment that Pachorus had made, deposed Axidares in haste, nominated his younger nephew Parthamasiris in his stead, and wrote to Rome begging for investiture on his behalf. But Trajan refusing to listen, Parthamasiris surrendered himself, and was at first treated with clemency, but was afterwards murdered about A.D. 115. There seems to be little doubt that the prince Axidares, deposed about A.D. 108 by his uncle, and ousted from his Armenian kingdom, after his brother's death, by a distant relative, retired to a cloister, as others have done who have experienced

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the sorrows of a vain world, and eventually, as an elderly man and a tried ecclesiastic, became the leader of the Buddhist mission to China.

But Axidares (may we call him by his title Anshikao?) was the nephew of Chosroes, and the son of Pachorus. He was therefore the nephew of King Tiridates, and consequently the nephew of that King of Armenia who had sent an invitation to the Apostle Thomas to preach the gospel in the Parthian dominions. [156]

"And here comes in the most remarkable incident in a remarkable story:—Tiridates had been a Mazdean priest, and was so strict an observer of Mazdean rites and ceremonies that, to prevent any possibility of defiling the element water, he, instead of taking the ordinary route and embarking at Antioch direct for Rome, insisted on making the long journey overland through the entire length of Asia Minor to the Hellespont, and thence round the head of the Adriatic to the Capital. His grand-nephew, Axidares, or Vargash, had taken orders in Buddhism. In his desire to quit the vanities of a life of royalty, whose instabilities mocked him at every step, he had found no refuge in Mazdeism and no place in which a sorely tried spirit could find relief. The preaching of the sage As’vaghosha had thrown a bridge over the chasm between Mazdeism and Buddhism, and the doctrines of Christianity as taught by St. Thomas had shown how superior to the bondage of the ceremonial law was the freedom inculcated by it as well as the new Buddhism. Buddhism, without breaking away from Mazdean tradition, offered in its conventional monasticism just that escape for which the soul of the sorely tried

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prince was longing; was it any wonder that it, with the prospect that it offered of converting a world, should have prevailed." [157]

"Already before the time of As’oka the logical void involved in the acceptance of Nirvana had led to the evolution of a Maitreya Buddha, the "Future Buddha" of Kindness, who was to mitigate the ills of an inflexible Karma; but the movement did not here end, and once started, its mere vis inertiæ carried it on. Pratyeka Buddhas, those who had without regard to others attained an individual Buddhahood, and Bodhisattvas, those whose progressive Karma was insensibly leading them along the "path" to Buddhahood, were the natural outcome of the movement, and of these, two—Manjuśri, the Gracious-one, and Avalokiteśvara, the Pitiful-one—gradually came to the front. At first only mental abstractions, the inevitable tendency was to segregate from the magma, and condense as personal Buddhas. In the process they came under the influence of the school of As’vaghosha, when Manjuśri easily was found to take the place of Cpenta Ârmaita, Holy Wisdom, and Avalokiteśvara in like manner of Khshathra Vairya, Perfect Sovereignty, both lieutenants of Ahura Mazda in ruling mundane affairs. So it was that when Amida came to take in the celestial hierarchy the place of The Buddha, seats beside him were found for the two great Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteśvara and Manjuśri."

Yet it is noteworthy that a very great portion of this literature thus early translated into Chinese is Hīnayāna.

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[paragraph continues] Many of the extra-Indian provinces of the Kushan Empire, Khotan to wit, and portions of Bactria, had been converted to Buddhism long before the commencement of the Mahāyāna movement, and, having been converted to Hīnayāna, remained constant to their allegiance, though sectarian differences, as well as the nature of the mountainous countries between them, cut them off from their Hīnayāna brethren on the southern slopes of the Himalaya. Besides, the dividing-line between the two Vehicles was hardly as yet sharply drawn.

We may therefore safely conclude that the second-century Buddhist mission to China was mainly an effort made by the Kushans to gain the friendship of that portion of the Chinese people that was predisposed to religion; that its members came from extra-Indian countries which had long since been Buddhist, and which had now passed under the sway of the Kushans; and that, whilst it contained the beginnings of Mahāyānism, it was in the main Hīnayāna.

The next thing that strikes us is the very elementary character of the Hīnayāna Buddhism that these men taught. There are some extremely elementary treatises amongst the Sūtras translated—tracts, for instance, on the Four Truths, the Twelvefold Chain of Causation, the causes of Pain, the duty towards parents, the punishments of sin, the rewards of Virtue. The publication of these tracts seems to show that the Buddhist missionaries were doing pioneer work on untouched ground. The previous mission of Kaśyapa Matanga and Dharmaraksha (if indeed it had been a Buddhist mission at all) had evidently died out completely, and these men had to begin again. It is only thus that we can account for the necessity of publishing these elementary treatises. It is not yet more than fifty years since the re-introduction of

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[paragraph continues] Christianity into Japan, but the day for elementary treatises is past already. We have our Bibles, our Testaments, our Prayer-books, our Catechisms—all standard books, in fact—in Japanese translations, and it would be next to an impossibility that they should be swept away even by a wholesale "destruction of books" such as the Chinese indulged in.

Had the "Heralding of the Son of Man," [158] as I venture to call it, been a permanent or successful Buddhist mission, it would have left behind it literary memorials which would have made it unnecessary for the successors of those men to insist so much on the elements of Buddhism, the more so as both missions seem to have laboured in the same city of Loyang and its immediate vicinity.

There are, however, certain very distinctly Mahāyānistic elements to be found in these ninety-six books of the Han translators, and notably in the twelve books attributed to Lokaraksha, who comes from the country of the Yuetchi, the very heart of the Kushan Empire. There are likewise Mahāyānistic traces to be found in the writings of Anshikao, who was very possibly a Parthian hostage at the court of the Kushan kings.

Thus we find the use both of mudrā and of mantra, of mystic gesticulations and of apparently meaningless

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formulæ of incantation. [159] These formulæ and practices, which have not as yet received much attention from scholars, are valuable to the student of religion as showing how far-spread was the use of cognate practices during the second century. We find the mudrā and mantra in Egypt; we find them in the Gnosticism of Asia Minor, e.g. amongst the Marcosians mentioned by Irenæus, in North-Western India, in China, and, in process of time, in Japan. The sacred language used for the mantras differs; in the West it is Hebrew, in the East it is Sanskrit; but the manual signs made by the worshippers are the same, as are also the seals or characters used conventionally to denote certain objects. One most interesting case in point is the so-called sixteen-petalled Imperial Chrysanthemum of Japan. Dr. Munro of Yokohama [160] has, as I have said, found it in Egypt on a tomb. It is also given in the newly discovered book of Jao [161] as a "seal," with its appropriate though meaningless mantra: it comes to Japan viâ China and appears at Kyoto as the "seal" of the god of Peace. In the twelfth century it appears as the mon or crest of the Emperor Toba, who was a religious-minded person, much devoted to the worship of the "god of Peace." It is to-day the Imperial Crest, sacred to the uses of the Imperial House. No subject may have it on anything that belongs to him; and yet, for the modest outlay of a halfpenny, he can procure at the (modern) Heian-Jingū, or Temple of the God of Peace, at Kyoto, amulets and charms, protective against evil, which bear the Imperial Chrysanthemum Crest. [162]

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Another Mahāyāna trace will be found in the Sutra on the use of Images of the Buddha, ascribed to Lokaraksha. [163] That it was not until the inauguration of the Gandhāra Buddhism that images were made to represent the Buddha and other prominent personages, is shown in Japan by the use of the term "Image Law" to denote the second phase of their religion. For five centuries after the Nirvana, so they say, the "Upright Law" continued. This was to be followed by a thousand years of "Image Law," after which should come the Age of the Destruction of the Law in which we now are. It was, apparently, the Image Worship of the Buddhists that incited the Confucianists to make images of their own revered master. The Buddhists were inspired by Gandhāra art, that art was Greek and Roman in its ideals, and thus it has come to pass that the art of China, and eventually that of Japan, has drawn its inspiration from Antioch and Alexandria.

Another trace, again, of the Mahāyāna teachings may be found in the presence of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas other than S’akyamuni. The Hīnayāna knows of S’akyamuni's predecessors, Five Previous Buddhas, as they are called. The Mahāyāna has many of them. In the "Sukhāvati Vyūha," for instance, which is one of the Han versions, there are eighty-one Buddhas previous to Hōzō Biku, who is afterwards known as Amitābha, besides a large number of Buddhas exercising their functions simultaneously with and independently of S’akyamuni. One of these is Akshobya, another Amitābha, the one representing the East, the other the West; the one that perfect wisdom which is unmovable because it rests firmly on the thought of Buddha, the other that same perfect wisdom which has run its course and destroyed its doubts, and so is at rest. Many new Bodhisattvas appear: S’ariputra,

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[paragraph continues] Maudgalyâyana, Kâtyâyana, have not attained to Buddhahood, but Samantaprabha, Manjuśri, Avalokiteśvara, Maitreya, Bhadrapāla, are all mentioned. Some of these are evidently human Bodhisattvas. Bhadrapāla, said to have been one of the few laymen to attain to the Bodisattvaship, is now sometimes installed in Japan as the patron-deity of a temple bathroom. Manjuśri and Maitreya, once fabled as disciples of S’akyamuni's, appear again in re-incarnations. The one appears in China at Wutaishan; the other, while dwelling permanently in the Tushita Heaven, is fabled at a later time to have come down on earth to preach for Asangha. Only Avalokiteśvara is an eternal Being. He is the son of Amitābha. He has no earthly history; he has come down to earth at divers times and in sundry manners, but always to help man. He is intimately connected with Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, for whose coming Japan still waits. [164]

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It is no longer the old canon of the Tripitaka that is in use. Kaśyapa's collection of the Tripitaka is discussed, as are also the charges against Ananda which kept him outside the first Council of the Sthavira held in the Rajagriha Cave after S’akyamuni's death. But Anshikao to some extent, and Lokaraksha almost exclusively, uses the third canon of the Scriptures, the collection fabled to have been made, independently of Sthaviras and Mahāsanghikas, by S’ariputra and Maudgalyayana, parts of which were brought back to India by Katyāyana at the close of the last century B.C., and the remainder by Nāgārjuna from the Dragon's Palace. There is also some mention of the books which Nāgārjuna is said to have received from Vajrasattva at the Iron Temple in South India. There are selections from the Prajnāparāmitā, from the Avataṃsakas, from Abhidharma S’āstras, all of which are books of late origin.

Five accounts are given of S’akyamuni's life. The Mahāyānists were as busy with the life of their Founder as were the Gnostics with their Apocryphal Lives of Christ. (The most advanced of higher critics will, I think, allow that the received Gospels had all been written before the latter half of the second century.) There is a striking resemblance between the Apocryphal Gospels and the Mahāyāna Lives of S’akyamuni. In both, the whole stress is laid on the events connected with the infancy. Only one of the Apocryphal Gospels, that of Nicodemus, deals with the Death of Christ. Not one of the lives of S’akyamuni taken to China by the Han missionaries touches on the Nirvana of the Buddha. The silence is not without its significance. Gnostic and Mahāyānist alike were by this time face to face with the higher claims of the Resurrection. The insistence on the mysteries of the Nativity of the Buddha may have

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seemed to be the right way to offset the Crucifixion of the "Son of Man" and the Gospel of His Resurrection. [165]

A great number of the Sūtras deal with quite practical subjects—the curse of drunkenness, the evils of impurity, the twelvefold chain of causation, the causes of death the duty of kindness to children, etc. Many of this class are to be found in the various Agama Collections. Of those which deal with the life of S’akyamuni, from his birth to the commencement of his ministry, one especially, the Adbhūta-dharmapariyaya by an unknown translator, treats the whole subject in a theological and supernatural manner. Some introduce Bodhisattvas unknown to earlier Sūtras, e.g. Maitreya and Manjuśri, sometimes as interlocutors, and sometimes as principal exponents of the doctrines taught, and we may notice the gradual development of the Mahāyāna in the fact that whereas the Sutra of Forty-two Sections constantly speaks of Arhats, the books translated by the missioners from Central Asia often speak of Bodhisattvas, [166] and there is a Sūtra given which contains an explanation of the office, duties, and

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privileges of a Bodhisattva. The new school of Prajnã philosophy is represented by a translation of the Prajnã Parāmitā Sūtra [167] in 10,000 couplets, but without Nāgārjuna's commentary, which was possibly not accepted until the following century (say about A.D. 220). Little is apparently said about the Previous Buddhas, but two of the Dhyāni Buddhas are mentioned, Akshobya and Amitābha, although the whole system of the Five Dhyāni Buddhas does not yet seem to have been elaborated.

Akshobya appears in the completed system of the Dhyāni Buddhas as the Buddha specially connected with the East. There is practically only one Sūtra devoted to him either in the Chinese Tripitaka or in the Thibetan Collection. I believe the Sūtra has never yet been translated into English, but a translation into modern Japanese has recently been published, which is, however, in its modern form, almost as obscure as the Chinese original. [168] Akshobya is especially connected with Manjuśri. He is the author of long life, and much worshipped by means of Dharani.

Amitābha we have mentioned before. It is claimed by the Buddhists of Japan that he was preached about by S’akyamuni himself during the last years of his ministry. After S’akyamuni's time he apparently vanished from Buddhist consciousness; possibly he was taken across the Himalayas along with some travelling Buddhists, and so disappeared from the eyes of India. As’vaghosha [169] and Nāgārjuna both worshipped from afar; with Anshikao and

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[paragraph continues] Lokaraksha he reappears in a literary form, fully developed. As’vaghosha and Nāgārjuna would only know him by repute, as being natives of India proper; Anshikao and Lokaraksha, as coming from Central Asia, knew him more fully.

The doctrine of Amitābha is more fully developed now. When S’akyamuni consoled the Queen of Bimbisara he merely pointed her to Amitābha, whose mercies are Infinite, and who is ever near to comfort the distressed [170] In the Sukhāvati Vyūha, nearly every Chinese translation of which is by Central Asian hands, Amitābha is strangely and significantly changed. He has (more Buddhico again) been euhemerized, so to say; his genealogy is given; he is practically God Almighty; but he was once a man, and his present high station as the Lord of the Western Paradise, the Father and Saviour of them that trust in him, the ψυχοπομπός meeting the soul at death and placing it in the mansion prepared for it, is all the result of a vow made countless centuries ago by a mere man, and pursued diligently through many lives, till it has resulted in the formation of a Paradise, and the opening of a salvation through Faith for them that invoke his name.

And, again significantly strange, more than a century after the Christian revelation, in a country in which Jews, Israelites, and Christians dwelt side by side with Buddhists and others, Amitābha is produced in literary form, developed into the first member of a quasi-Trinity. He is accompanied by his son, Avalokiteśvara, the bisexual expression of his mercy, who in many forms and as many persons, was manifested upon earth to save the suffering, [171]

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just as in the account of Peratæ and other Gnostics, given in the "Philosophumena," [172] the Christ is manifested, in many forms and characters, with the Birth at Bethlehem among them, to give expression to the mercy of His Father. Avalokiteśvara (the "Lord that looked down") descended even into Hell to manifest the mercies of Amitābha; his companion Mahāsthāmaprāpta [173] is the embodiment of Amitābha's strength, the Spirit of Might, and the three together are a significant shadow of the Persons of the Christian Trinity. It is hard to avoid drawing an inference. [174]

Dharmagupta [175]

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One of the most important services that S’akyamuni rendered to his immediate disciples, as well as to posterity, was to supply them with a set of disciplinary rules of life. This discipline, known as the Vinaya, was not given in any formal manner. As the occasion arose the Master spoke his mind, and thus, little by little, during the long years of his ministry, there was formed as it were a corpus of miscellaneous rulings delivered without any definite plan or system. Yet there was no contradiction among these rulings, for it was one mind that gave them all, and that mind a singularly consistent and clear-seeing one.

What the Vinaya rulings lacked in system was, furthermore, more than compensated by the definiteness which came to them from the fact that in every case they were based on some real fact or some concrete difficulty. If the Sūtras—those I mean, such as most of the Agamas, which can be distinctly traced back to the life of the Master—give us a true picture of S’akyamuni's life, we cannot but conclude that his mind vacillated at times between two or more alternative sets of speculative doctrines. Is there a god? Is there such

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a thing as a soul? Does the physical universe really exist, or is it all a mere illusion? On these points he spoke in such a way as to leave his followers the largest room for speculative differences, and if we are disposed (not being metaphysicians) impatiently to throw aside the speculations of Sarvāstivādins, Sautrāntikas, and all the babble of Hīnayāna sectarianism, if we find it difficult to see how the term "Buddhism" can be stretched wide enough to cover all the variations of the so-called Mahāyāna, we must remember that it was the studied vagueness of the Master's own teaching that gave his followers the boldness to wander so far afield in the wide daring of their later speculations.

From all this vagueness of the Sūtra pitaka the Vinaya pitaka was saved. When the Master gave rules to his communities for the sabbath meetings, for the confession of sins, for the admission of women, for the regulation of dress, etc., he was obliged to be terse, clear, and definite. The Vinaya rules, therefore, give us a more trustworthy picture of the Master's mind than do any of the Sūtras. They make us feel that we are dealing with the real Buddha, with the real community of monks.

It fell to the lot of Upali, the barber, to record, from his memory, at the orthodox Council at Rājagṛiha, the disciplinary decisions of his Master, and to form them into a connected whole. His collection met with favour, was adopted, and for more than a century was the authorized canon of discipline enforced by the successive Patriarchs—Kaśyapa, Ananda, Madhyantika, S’ānavaśas, and Upagupta. Upagupta was a contemporary of As’oka's, and we know from some of As’oka's monuments that many corruptions had come into Buddhism by then, and that the monks were beginning to form cliques and

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schisms and to withdraw from communion with their brethren. Dharmagupta, Upagupta's successor, whom we place, therefore, somewhere about B.C. 240 or a little later, reformed the Vinaya by a new recitation, [176] and thus withdrew his followers formally from communion with the others. This, says Gyōnen (p. 343), was the first schism.

After this the process of sect-forming went on very rapidly, and each sect feeling itself justified in drawing up a modified discipline of its own, it was not long before there were twenty disciplines where originally there had been but one.

We need not stay to inquire what these twenty disciplines were. Only four of them reached China, and these four were ultimately merged into one, the survivor being a reformed edition of Dharmagupta's reformed code. [177]

According to the Dharmagupta system of discipline, a system which is still largely in vogue in Japan, though the old Vinaya or Ritsu sect has long ceased to have a separate corporate existence of its own, [178] the faithful here on earth are divided into seven classes. At the bottom of the scale come (i) the Ubasoku, and (ii) the Ubai, laymen and laywomen, who, without leaving their homes, desire to lead a life of religion. Of these persons it was required that they should keep the five precepts—not to kill, not to steal, not to be guilty of any form of

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lewdness, not to lie, to abstain from intoxicants. Further, on the sabbath day, [179] the prohibition of lewdness became the prohibition of even lawful sexual intercourse, and there were added a prohibition of the use of perfumes and oils, of dances and spectacular shows, of luxurious couches—of all things, in short, that might prove an incitement to the passions. To these was added as a counsel of perfection, not to eat at odd hours.

Above the Ubasoku and Ubai came (iii) the Shami, and (iv) Shamini, whom we may call the Buddhist Endeavourers. [180] These persons undertook to keep all the above rules permanently. They further added a rule which forbade them to receive gold, silver, or precious objects of any kind; they made a vow, that is, of Perpetual Poverty. Higher up in the scale came (v) the Shiki Shamana, a higher grade of ascetics, who added what are known as the Six Doctrines. They would not kill even a mosquito; they undertook to be scrupulously honest, even in regard to the smallest sums of money; they would not touch a woman; they would not tell even a white lie; they never drank fermented liquors; and they never took meals out of hours.

Finally came the full-fledged monks and nuns, (vi) the Biku, and (vii) the Bikuni. These, as the Vinaya carne to be influenced more and more by Mahāyānistic ideas, were looked upon as candidates for the rank of Bodhisattva, and were consequently called upon to undertake the Bosatsu Kai or Gusoku Kai, the rules of the Bodhisattva, or the Complete Rules.

The Bodhisattva, in the Mahāyāna Conception, is the

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man who has arrived at the "jumping-off place" of life, if we may so call it. He might enter into Nirvana if he chose, but he does not choose. He is freed from the necessity of life and death; there is nothing to force him back to the monotonous wheel of life; but of his own free will, and moved by compassion for the ignorance and misery of his fellow-creatures, he deliberately chooses a continuance of his earthly existence in order that he may live for others and not for himself. Such is the by no means unworthy aim that is set before the Buddhist follower of the Mahāyāna Discipline. [181]

In order to reach to that end the candidate for Bodhisattvaship must observe a multitude of rules (250 for a man, 348 for a woman), [182] of which we may give the following summary account, taken, however, from sources posterior to the Wei period, and representing the system in its fuller developments.

There are four deadly sins for which there is no forgiveness in this life: sexual intercourse, theft, murder,

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falsehood. He who commits these sins forfeits all hope of the Bodhisattvaship for the present. These sins are known as harai (Sans. Parājikā).

Another set of sins, thirteen in number, are considered as very grave, though they do not altogether destroy the spiritual character of the sinner. They are (i) self-defilement; (ii) coming into contact with a woman; (iii) slander; (iv) self-praise, with a view to getting an increase of alms; (v) acting as a go-between in arranging a marriage; (vi) speaking evil to the clergy; (vii) calumnies against the clergy; (viii) disobedience to the orders of a religious superior; (ix) exciting another monk to such disobedience; (x) going to the house of a layman to cause quarrels; (xi) to disregard the wishes of the community and to cause divisions. Two more rules (xii and xiii) concerned the building of a house, with one's own money, or with the contributions of the faithful.

Another set of offences against the law of Poverty could only be removed by purificatory ceremonies. These concerned the prohibition of two coats, the one garment that is always to be worn even at home, unnecessary dishes, importunity in asking for alms, etc.

Again, others would necessitate a sojourn in Purgatory (Jigoku) before emancipation could be accomplished: white lies, duplicity, digging the earth, cruelty to animals, intoxicants, meals at unseasonable hours, etc.

Then followed minute rules for the deportment of the monks and nuns. The Vinaya sects laid great stress on the observation of these rules, for they said, again with a certain amount of truth, that if a man would follow the discipline of Buddha he would come to know of his doctrine. [183]

The Han translators had spoken only on Sila, or

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[paragraph continues] Morality. Anshikao had translated a Sūtra, said to have been spoken by the Buddha himself, on "the lightness and heaviness of the sin of transgressing the Sila;" [184] and Ch’ Huen had translated another which illustrated the Mahāyāna conception of the Sila by showing how the Bodhisattva (i.e. S’akyamuni in his earthly ministry) had kept the Six Parāmitās, or Cardinal Virtues of the Mahāyāna. [185] He, whose life was a pattern for the Buddhist monk, had shown (i) liberality and generosity; (ii) the morality of self-restraint and chastity; (iii) patience; (iv) steadfastness of purpose and energy in the pursuit of Truth; (v) self-collectedness and the power of meditative concentration of self; (vi) the power of applying to daily life the lessons acquired by the steadfast and thoughtful pursuit of the truth by a generous and pure mind.

But the Han translators had apparently been contented with a mere sowing of Buddhistic seed—another indication of the fact that they were truly the pioneers of Buddhism. They said nothing about discipline, and they had made no attempt to introduce into China the order of monks.

The great Han dynasty came to an end in A.D. 214, having held China in one way or another under its continuous sway ever since B.C. 206. [186] The assassination of the last Han ruler led to a prolonged civil war, at the conclusion of which we find China divided into the kingdoms of the Wei, the Wu, and the Shū. Buddhism had been before the people for several years now—fully seventy, if we reckon only from the time of Anshikao's

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mission. Several important events had taken place in China during that time. Perhaps the most significant was the arrival in China of a Roman mission which reached Lôyang by way of the sea, in A.D. 166, thus opening another route to China of which the Indians and Arabs soon learned to avail themselves.

The gradual desiccation of Central Asia, the process of the drying up of the waters, which laid waste the fertile plains of Khotan, Ferghana, Bokhara, and Transoxiana, and which drove forth to more happy lands the hosts of the barbarians, was in full swing. The Hans in China, the Kushans in India, were equally concerned in defending their territories against these dreaded invaders, and many embassies passed between them during the last half of the second era. It was the age which saw Pao Chao's noble sacrifice and his victory over his barbarous foes.[187]

After the fall of the Han dynasty and the division of China into three hostile camps, the Kushans sent no more embassies. It was useless to appeal for help to the helpless kingdoms of China. The Kushans themselves had suffered from the inroads of their enemies. In spite of temporary successes during the first decade of the third century, they lost ground rapidly and steadily; by 221 A.D. they were confined to Sind, Punjaub, Kabulistan, and Kashmir. Several of their fairest Buddhist provinces had been lost, and the hegemony of Hindustan was passing into other hands. The Andhras were in possession for the time being; the rise of the Imperial Gupta Dynasty was already a "coming event."

The short-lived Chinese kingdom of Shū has no

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importance for the Buddhist historian. It contained within its boundaries no already established centre of Buddhist teaching, and apparently attracted no missionaries. The southern kingdom of Wu will require a special note; [188] to the translators of the Wei dynasty (A.D. 220–265) I will devote a few words as a fitting conclusion to this chapter.

There are only five names, responsible for seven Sūtras, and there are, besides, two Sūtras by unknown hands. Of the five men, two (Thân-ti and Ân-fah-hien, A.D. 254) come from the country of the Ânsi, i.e. Parthia, one (Po-Yen) from the Western Regions (Khotan), one (Dharmakâla) from Central India, and a fifth (Sanghavarman) from India viâ Thibet, or vice versâ. Three of these men brought with them the Vinaya of the Dharmagupta School, which I have been explaining in this chapter, and thus laid the foundation on which in later years the Chinese and Japanese orders of monks were erected.

Of other subjects, outside of the Vinaya, they give us two volumes of the dialogues of which Buddhists are so fond, the Questions of Ugra (No. 23) and those of Surata (No. 43), a translation of the Sūtra of the Great Decease (No. 5, now lost); one on the Names and Surnames of the Seven Buddhas (No. 626); a treatise on Immortality as contained in the Abhidharma (No. 1278), and three translations of the Sukhāvatī Vyūha, of which only Sanghavarman's (No. 27) has survived.

It says much for the opinion that the Doctrine of Faith in Amitābha is the true representative of the

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[paragraph continues] Japanese Mahāyāna. [189] We have already seen it dimly in As’vaghosha; we have seen Nāgārjuna learning it from the Nāga chieftain. In A.D. 147 the book containing that doctrine is taken to China; before A.D. 250 five versions of that book had been made. It looks as though the Han and Wei missionaries were using the historical S’akyamuni as a means whereby to point men to the unhistorical Amitābha and his spiritual son, in whose story there lies enshrined the essence of the story of man's redemption as preached by St. Paul. The story of Amitābha was needed by those early missionaries of the faith of S’akyamuni to give life to the otherwise dead rules of the Dharmagupta Vinaya. Its historical counterpart is now changing and quickening the dead bones of Japanese Buddhism and preparing the way for what will be one of the most remarkable conversions in the religious history of the world.

From the fall of Han in A.D. 220 to the rise of the Tang in A.D. 618, China was rarely united. For the greater part of this period of four centuries, two, three, four, even five or more dynasties ruled side by side, as rivals and competitors, within the empire. It is almost impossible to write a history of the China of the fourth and fifth centuries; it is still more difficult to give anything like an adequate description of the religious policy of the conflicting states, or to trace, step by step, the gradual growth or decline of Buddhist doctrines in the whole empire during this period.

Some of the dynasties were influenced mainly by the

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literati, who were, to a man, the followers of Confucius, and the enemies of everything that called itself a religion of the supernatural. Others, again, were Taoists from conviction, and others Buddhists or Taoists from conviction or policy. Occasionally attempts were made to unite these conflicting faiths. Thus we have, about A.D. 240, an attempt at unifying Confucianism and the Mahāyāna, by introducing the images of the Wuti, or Five Rulers (i.e. the five Dhyāni Buddhas), into the Temples of Confucius, made without success. An equally unsuccessful attempt forcibly to effect an amalgamation of Buddhism with the religion of Tao, in A.D. 555, was probably the measure which gave to the Japanese a few years later the idea of the Ryobu-Shinto, or amalgamation of Buddhism with Shinto, which lasted until the restoration of Meiji.

India, in the meanwhile, was undergoing many a political and religious convulsion, and the monks, persecuted by the Brahmans at home, took refuge in China, bringing with them each the books that had affected him in his native land, and translating them into Chinese for the benefit of the native peoples. It is interesting to turn over the leaves of the Appendix to Nanjo's Catalogue and analyse the lists of translators by dynasties, by books, and by the countries from which they came. Thus the translators of the Wei dynasty, which ruled at Lôyang from 220 to 265, come either from Central India or Parthia, but all bring with them the Vinaya books of the Dharmagupta sect of the Hīnayāna. Under the Wu (222–280) at Nankin, we get none but Central Indian monks, and scarcely any but Hīnayāna books, or at least books which, like the Dharmapada, belong equally to both Vehicles. The Western Tsin at Lôyang (265–316), with Dharmaraksha, as facile princeps of the band, give

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us mostly theological treatises of the Mahāyāna, from the pens of translators who come from Ansi, Khotan, and the western provinces of China proper. The former Lian, with capital at Kutsan (302–376), furnish but one book, translated by a man from the Yuetchi country. The Eastern Tsin (at Nankin, 317–420) give us a long list of translators from Kabul, Kharachar, Central Asia—one of them a descendant of S’akyamuni's uncle—and some translate works of a practical rather than a religious character: spells for relieving toothache, bad eyes, crying babies, and people suffering from summer sickness. [190] The Lian (502–557) at Nanking have translators who come by sea from Siam. It would be unprofitable to continue this list any further. Suffice it to say that books came in by the thousand, representing all the conflicting schools of Buddhist thought, and hailing from every country, north, west or south, in which Buddhism was represented. Buddhism itself almost died under the weight of its own books, and of the institutions which it had brought with it from India.

Several practical reforms ought to be noticed. In A.D. 335 a monk named Buddhoganga persuaded King She-hu of the Posterior Chow dynasty to institute ordinations and allow Chinese natives to take monastic vows. [191] This permission greatly changed the nature of Chinese Buddhism. In India it had been the custom for kings to support the Order by their royal bounty, and the custom obtained at first in China also, thus keeping the Order as an exotic and aristocratic institution. But when Chinese natives took the vows, the Order increased very rapidly, and Buddhism became a thing belonging to the people rather than to the sovereign.

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In A.D. 401, Kumarajīva was brought to China, and was welcomed at Chang-an by the sovereign of the Latter Tsin Dynasty. Kumarajīva suggested, and carried out, a revision and retranslation of the older works, some of which had been but roughly translated by the earlier missionaries. This secured a large measure of popularity for the revised versions of the Tripitaka. In 520, Bodhidharma, the then patriarch of Mahāyānism, left India and came to China to avoid the persecution of the Brahmanists, where, finding the block of literature, he swept the whole of the Tripitaka aside, declaring that the essence of Buddhism is to find the "heart of Buddha" by meditation, as Buddha himself had done. In 399, Fahian started on a journey to India, to investigate Buddhism at its fountain-head.

It is noteworthy, says M. Ch. Pithon, in an article in the China Review (vol. xi.), on the History of China under the Tsin Dynasty, that the Posterior Chow and the Tsin, who did so much for Chinese Buddhism, were really Huns, and ruled over a large proportion of Hiungnu subjects. The Huns all over the world stood by one another, and the chief of all the Huns was Attila (A.D. 445), whose word was law from the frontiers of Gaul to those of China. How much of Buddhist teaching came into Christian folklore and superstition through Hunnish soldiers in the regiments of Attila, it would require a large treatise to investigate. [192]

In 372 a Chinese monk preached Buddhism in the

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[paragraph continues] Korean kingdom of Koma, or Kaoli, and thus at length, after a long and eventful history, the Way was brought to Japan in the year 545 A.D.


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When we reach this point in our history of the Mahāyāna, it behoves us to turn a glance to that great religious movement which began in the middle of the third century.

Mani, or Manichæus, [193] to give him the name by which he was generally known, was born in A D. 215, almost contemporaneously with the fall of the Han Dynasty. He was descended from a distinguished Persian family which had emigrated from Ecbatana in Persia, and had settled in Babylonia. His early days were spent amongst the Mugtasilahs, or Baptizers, [194] a sect which his father, Fathak,

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joined shortly after Mani's birth, a sect out of which sprang in later years the sect of the Mandæans, and which was undoubtedly a form of Gnosticism. But the boy separated himself from this body when he was about fourteen, choosing to spend the next eleven years in travelling in search of a religion. I believe I am right in saying that some of the recently discovered Central Asian manuscripts now in the Berlin Ethnographical Museum show conclusively that his travels at this period embraced Egypt.

It was from Egypt, though indirectly, that he obtained the books which eventually gave a definite shape to his religious speculations. The story is told by St. Cyril of Jerusalem ("Cat. Lect.," vi. 22). It has been almost uniformly rejected by modern scholars; but I hope that what I have been able to show of the existence of Buddhism in Alexandria during the first century of our era may lead some scholars to reconsider their verdicts. I will give St. Cyril's own words, which are mainly taken from the Acta Archelai.

"There was in Egypt one Scythianus, a Saracen [195] by birth, having nothing in common either with Judaism or with Christianity. This man, who dwelt at Alexandria and imitated the life of Aristotle, composed four books—one called a Gospel which had not the Acts of Christ, but

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the mere name only; and one other called the Book of Chapters; and a third of Mysteries; and a fourth, which they circulate now, the Treasure. This man had a disciple, Terebinthus by name. But when Scythianus purposed to come into Judæa [196] and make havoc of the land, the Lord smote him with a deadly disease, and stayed the pestilence. But Terebinthus, his disciple in this wicked error, inherited his money and books and heresy, and came to Palestine, and becoming known and condemned in Judæa, he resolved to pass into Persia; [197] but lest he should be recognized there also by his name, he changed it and called himself Buddas. [198] However, he found adversaries there also in the priests of Mithras; and being confuted in the discussion of many arguments and controversies, and at last hard pressed, he took refuge with a certain widow."

Here Terebinthus died. "The books, however, which were the records of his impiety, remained; and both these

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and his money the widow inherited. And having neither kinsmen nor any other friend, she determined to buy with the money a boy named Cubricus; him she adopted and educated as a son in the learning of the Persians, and thus sharpened an evil weapon against mankind. So Cubricus, the vile slave, grew up in the midst of the philosophers, and on the death of the widow inherited both the books and the money. Then, lest the name of slavery might be a reproach, instead of Cubricus he called himself Manes, which in the language of the Persians signifies 'Discourse.'" [199]

In the year A.D. 242, at the coronation of King Sapor I., Manes, now twenty-four years of age, and fed upon the doctrines of the Baptizers, and of the Aristotelian and Buddhist philosophy of the Scythianus books, as well as on the varied experiences of his Wanderjahre, proclaims his new religion. It was an auspicious moment. King Sapor was the successor of Ardashir, who had driven out the Parthian dynasty and restored a Persian Empire under the Persian dynasty of the Sassanid House. It was a strictly nationalistic movement, encouraged by the Magian priests, and the new rulers were bent on restoring that ancient faith of the land which had been overthrown when Alexander burnt its sacred books and proscribed its sacred rites. Manes apparently thought it a favourable opportunity for proclaiming a new religion. So he announced himself as the prophet of God to his own people of Babylonia. "What Buddha was to India, Zoroaster to Persia, Jesus to the lands of the West, that am I to Babylonia."

In its first form, his preaching was a protest against the forcing of Zoroastrianism on his own people of Babylon

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by the victorious Sassanid House, and it is probable that, had he been left alone, his religion would have had nothing but a mere local importance. But the Magians did not want to see Babylonia aroused to national enthusiasm by the preaching of a new national faith, and Manes was driven into exile. His exile, followed later by his martyrdom, changed his system from a merely local cult to one of world-wide significance. He wandered as an exile through the countries north, north-east, and east of the newly constituted Persian kingdom, from which he was an outcast, and when, venturing to return to Persia, e was cruelly put to death by his enemies, his disciples seized upon his memory with enthusiasm, and carried his teachings far and wide through Europe and Asia. Manichæism was for many centuries a serious menace to the Christian Church.

Manichæism may most properly be described as the completion of the Gnostic systems. It seems to have swept them all together, and to have joined them into one cohesive whole. We hear no more of Gnosticism after the rise of Manichæism. It was not a Christian religion, yet it had its Christian side. It could speak to Christians in Christian language, and it made claim for Manes that he was the Paraclete, the Comforter whom Christ had promised. We have but to read the Anti-Manichæan treatises of St. Augustine, or any of the notices of Manichæism in the Greek or Latin Fathers, to understand that Manes could talk, when he pleased, as a Christian. But he faced many ways, and in China the Manichæan clergy rather seem to have aimed at identifying themselves with the Buddhists.

Manichæism did not, like Christianity, "present itself to man as a power to save him by cleansing his heart from sin; but, like Gnosticism, it simply proposed to

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gratify man's craving for knowledge by explaining the very problem of his existence." [200] It had a phrase in China which well sums up its principal teaching—a word pronounced in Japanese as Dai-un-Kōmyō, "the Light on the Great Cloud." [201] It recognized two elements—the Light and the Cloud; and the Light, which is all good, is God. The personality of God comprises five spiritual and five material sub-elements, a division clearly corresponding to the five Dhyāni Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. "But God is not alone in the light: His fulness comprehends an air of light, an earth of light, and numberless glories and magnificences. Upwards and sidewise this realm of light is unbounded; but from below it is met by the realm of darkness, the Cloud." Thus "Light resting on the Great Cloud" becomes the symbol of the Manichæan system. The term is found in China and Japan, often as a name for temples. I believe that in every case it can be traced back to a Manichæan origin or connection.

The ethical system of Manichæism is more clearly allied with Buddhism. Whether Manes, coming to India, found the Dharmagupta system at work and incorporated it into his own, or whether the later Vinayists borrowed from the Manichæans, I cannot tell. It all depends on the date to be assigned to books like the Brahmajāla Sūtra. But there is no doubt that the "Perfect" of the Manichæan system are remarkably like the candidates for Buddhaship who take upon themselves the 250 Rules of the Bodhisattva. In both systems there is the same threefold arrangement of sins according as they concern the hand, the mouth, or the heart. In both there is the same prohibition of marriage, and of every sort of sensual pleasure; Bodhisattvas and "Perfect" are alike forbidden

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to dig the earth, to build houses, to engage in industry or commerce. The Bodhisattva and the Perfect alike are forbidden to partake of the "five strong herbs," known in Japan as "Go Shin." [202]

It is impossible to deny the influence exercised upon the plastic Mahāyāna by Manichæism. From the middle of the third century onwards the two religions were constantly side by side, and whatever person we consider after that date, we must always take into consideration the fact that most probably he knew something of Manichæism. Zoroastrianism also comes into account, but the Zoroastrians were not a proselytizing community like the Manichæans, and it is not until the Tang period that we find them side by side with Buddhism.

Manichæism did not set itself to work to preach Christ, but it had its Christian aspect, and wherever in Central Asia we find, as we often do, a Manichæan temple almost side by side with a Buddhist monastery, we may safely infer that there must have been some indirect knowledge among the Buddhists of the fact of Christ.

China in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Centuries

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It is very difficult for the mind to frame for itself a distinct picture of China from the middle of the third century A.D. to that of the sixth. The three kingdoms of the Wei, the Wu, and the Shu, of which I have spoken in a previous chapter, came to an end in A.D. 265, when Szuma I. established himself as the first ruler of the Tsin dynasty on the ruins of the Wu and the Shu, which he annexed to the Wei. The Tsin dynasty formally united China under one sovereign, but the unity was apparent rather than real. There were many semi-independent principalities, which were extremely reluctant to acknowledge the supremacy of the Dragon Throne, and the unification of the empire was not carried out without considerable difficulty. Many of these border principalities were Buddhist, and it was from them, more even than from India, that came that overwhelming flood of Buddhist books and translators which has served to make the history of Buddhism in China such a hopeless chaos. Many of these translators brought their books from Khotan. Khotan, about the year A.D. 270, was a semi-independent state, tributary to China, with which it had very close trade relations. Buddhism was practically the only religion of the country, the common language was an Indian dialect, and the script a form of Sanskrit known as Kharoshti. There were other principalities of

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the same sort. How small was the intercourse with India proper may be inferred from the fact that, during the years 317–439, out of thirty-six translators mentioned by Nanjo, twelve came from the western regions (including Khotan), eight from Kubhâ (Kabul), ten from various parts of China proper, two from Turkestan and Bokhāra, and only four from India.

The Emperor Wu-ti (for this was the name that Szuma I. assumed on his accession) was an extremely able ruler. He not only unified the country and saved it for the time from foreign invasion, but he also did much for literature and the general development of the empire. He encouraged travel (we read of a Chinese scholar, Tsushi, or the "Red Teacher," being sent to India), and in the year 284 he received at his capital (more probably at Nanking) an embassy from a Roman emperor. It was the year of Diocletian's accession: the embassy, which may have been some time on its way, must have been sent by Probus (276–284), or by Aurelian, the "Restitutor Orbis" (270–276). Possibly it was not an embassy at all, but only a company of traders whom the vanity of the Chinese raised to the dignity of ambassadors.

Wu-ti died in 290, and was succeeded by his son Hweiti, a simpleton "who could not distinguish pulse from wheat," and who was entirely in the hands of an unprincipled wife. The country was immediately a blaze of rebellion from one end to another, and the Tartars on the frontier set up a rival kingdom in Shansi, with a pretender on the throne who claimed descent from the great family of the Han. The Han had not yet been forgotten, and the great Wu-ti had after all only been a successful usurper. The feeble Hweiti was poisoned in 306, his successor was killed in battle against the Tartars in 311. Mingti, who succeeded him, was compelled to remove his

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capital from Lôyang to Singanfu, and in 317 Mingti's successor, Yuanti, was obliged to make another remove, and to bring his capital to Nanking. From 317 to its extinction in 420, the dynasty was known as the Eastern Tsin. Thus China, remaining united in name, was divided into two portions, the line of division being the Yangtze river. In the south the Chinese ruled, in the north the Tartars. India had its own troubles, and concerned itself very little about its missions to China.

It will easily be understood that the sympathies of the Buddhists would be more with the Buddhist principalities on the north and west than with the Confucianist Chinese State of Tsin. [203] The "Bibliothecal catastrophe," or "burning of the books," instituted by Hweiti in A.D. 306, must have been directed against the Buddhists and their importations, and appears to have been well deserved. It also possibly affected the Taoists. It would almost seem as though something had for a while driven Taoists and Buddhists into a common camp. About the year A.D. 240, Taoist sectaries began to live as Buddhist monks in bamboo-groves and caves, and to cultivate the philosophy of the Void, as did many of the Buddhists: nay, even the Confucianists were tempted to follow suit by erecting images of "the Five Rulers" in the Temples of the God of Heaven. The literati saved Confucianism from this stupid imitation of the Five Dhyāni Buddhas; shortly after Hweiti's "bibliothecal catastrophe," the votaries of the Void were forcibly put down, on the ground that their doctrines and practices were subversive of public order. But it is evident that these measures

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were limited to the dominions of Hweiti and his Tsin successors.

In the year 335 A.D. an Indian monk, of the name of Buddhoganga, persuaded the Emperor She-hu of the Posterior Chow to allow Chinese subjects to take monastic vows. The Chow were Huns, [204] in touch with the main body of their tribe, whose vanguards, driven from their homes by the same process of desiccation which had sent the Chow against China, were now on their way to Europe. The permission obtained by Buddhoganga enabled Buddhism, at any rate in the Chow dominions, to become a native growth instead of an exotic. This is the first sign that Buddhism was becoming an object of serious study to the Chinese people.

Buddhism was also much furthered by the establishment at Singanfu of the Empire of the Anterior Thsin. This dynasty was of Tangut, or Thibetan origin, and had extensive trade relations both with India and the West. They were very zealous Buddhists, and did much for the spread of their faith. Cave temples, after the manner of the celebrated holy places of India, were established in this kingdom about A.D. 370, and it was from the kingdom of the Anterior Thsin also that, in A.D. 372, the first Buddhist missionary was sent to the Korean kingdom of Koma.

In 366 there was translated into Chinese a portion of the Avataṃsaka, or Kegon Scriptures. The reader will remember that these were the Scriptures fabled to have been brought by Nāgārjuna from the Dragon's Palace

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at the bottom of the sea. How suitable those weird books must have seemed for reconciling the occupants of the Dragon-throne to the faith of the great Sea-dragon! In the year 381 Hiao-wu-ti, Emperor of the Anterior Thsin, was the first ruler of China openly to profess the Buddhist faith. [205] He built large monasteries and did much for the spread of Buddhism in his extensive dominions. He was not a great gain, perhaps, to his new religion. He was a very sensual man, and was smothered by one of his concubines whom he had offended.

The Thsin dominions extended far to the West, possibly as far as Bokhara, with which country they had, at any rate, many trade relations, and from which they received Buddhist missionaries. In 375, two Christian missionaries, Palladius, a Goth, and Musæus, Bishop of Aduli, were sent from Galatia to India. Palladius turned back, Musæus went on from India to Bokhara, and there established a mission. [206] It was probably not without some results.

Communications with India were restored. The peninsula was now under the sway of the later Gupta sovereigns. Samudragupta (326–375) ruled over an empire larger than any that had acknowledged a purely Indian sovereign since the days of As’oka. He was paramount in the peninsula, and his alliances extended from Ceylon to the Oxus, where he came in touch with the Thsin. Neither he nor his successor Chandragupta II. (shall we call him Vikramāditya?) were Buddhists. They were both worshippers of Vishnu, but both were tolerant men and gave free liberty to Buddhism and Jainism. What wonder is it that, the way being once more open to the Holy Land of Buddhism, devout Chinese pilgrims

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should have flocked to visit the places associated with the birth, life, and death of S’akyamuni? And what wonder that the net result of the journeys of these pilgrims was to give them, and, through them, their countrymen, a juster appreciation of the religion of the Master? Much strange matter had come into China by all manner of by-paths and highways. True it all claimed to be Buddhist, but it was not all such as Pataliputra, or even Peshawur, would have recognized.

The first of these pilgrims was Fah-hian, who started in 399 and returned by way of the sea in 414, four years after Alaric had sacked Rome, and the year after the accession of Kumaragupta I., whose reign was likewise to be disturbed by the inroads of the dreaded Huns. Fah-hian found Buddhism flourishing in Khotan, Yarkhand, and Kashgar, in Kashmir, Punjaub, and the valley of the Indus. At Pataliputra he found two monasteries, one for the followers of each Vehicle, but many of the holy places connected with the life of S’akyamuni—S’ravasti, Kapilavastu, Kus’inagara, and even the Bodh Gaya itself—were in decay. Men did not trouble themselves about the historical Buddha; they were too much occupied with his deified aspects. Whilst Fah-hian was still in India, the Buddhist monk Buddhaghosha reached Burma, but there was no sign of Buddhism to be seen in Java.

But before Fah-hian returned to China, there had arrived at Singanfu a man whose activity constitutes an epoch in the history of Chinese Buddhism—the celebrated Kumarajīva.

Kumarajīva came of a family that had long been domiciled at Kharachar, a town and kingdom in Eastern Turkestan, at the foot of the Tien Shan mountains. Entering the Fraternity at the age of seven, he was sent

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for his education to Kubhā (Kabul), where he was put under the charge of a famous Hīnayānist priest, who was cousin to the king of that country. At the age of twelve, i.e. in 352, he returned to Kharachar, where he remained until 383, spending the thirty years of his sojourn there in the prosecution of his theological studies. He was admirably suited for the work of an interpreter. An Indian by descent and by education, he was familiar with all the twists and turns of Sanskrit; in Kharachar he had been forced to familiarize himself with Chinese and one or more Turkish dialects. There are vague hints to be found here and there of sporadic Christian communities in that part of Central Asia.

In 383 the town of Kharachar was attacked and destroyed by Chinese from Thsin, and Kumarajīva, still in the prime of life, was taken prisoner, and carried, first to Liancheu, and thence, in 401, to Singanfu, where he was attached to the court of Yao Hing, second ruler of the Posterior Thsin. His fame as a scholar had preceded him; he had established his reputation as a Saint by a very successful resistance to a fleshly temptation thrown in his way by his Chinese captors, and was received by the Thsin court with much honour. His opinion was at once asked with regard to the numerous translations of Buddhist Scriptures with which the country was flooded. Travellers to India had already brought back stories of how the Buddhism being introduced into China differed from that of India; it was certain that the translations into Chinese offended the literary tastes of the educated classes. What guarantee was there that they were even accurate translations?

Kumarajīva's verdict was that the translations made hitherto were neither accurate nor elegant, and that he had better be set to the task of revision. This work

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occupied him for the rest of his lifetime, and was the joy and pride of his declining years. The proper conversion of China had been laid upon him as a charge by his teachers both in Kabul and in Kharachar, and he was glad to be able to set himself to the task. "I have translated many books," he said to his disciples on his death-bed, "and ye shall know by a sign that I have done my work well. When my body is cremated, it will all be consumed, but the tongue only will remain untouched by the fire." So his disciples knew that his written words were true and correct.

Among Kumarajīva's most notable translations were the Smaller Sukhāvati-vyūha, [207] the Saddharmapundarika, and the three S’āstras [208] which form the basal teaching of the Sanron sect. These last he had studied under Suryasoma in Kharachar, and it was to the expounding of them that he devoted the greater part of his energy. The result of his labours was the formation of a sect—the so-called Sanron—the first definite sect in Chinese Buddhism, a sect which was brought to Japan in A.D. 625 by Ekwan, where it flourished for some time before being finally merged into other schools.

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Kumarajīva died about the year 420, just as the Thsin Dynasty was being replaced by the Sung. Four years before him died Eon (Chinese Hwui-Yin), the Founder of the White Lotus Society. Eon is not reckoned among the patriarchs of the Amitābha sects in Japan, but he is surely deserving of such honour, for he was the first to gather into a distinct body a band of monks and laymen combined for the sole invocation of Amida's name. There is a great deal to be said for the contention of the Amidaists that their beliefs are of the essence of the Mahāyāna; that they are, in fact, the one true form of that religion. We have seen the faith in Amida with As’vaghosha in the first century A.D., with Nāgārjuna, Anshikao, Lokaraksha, and other Han missionaries in the second. In the third there was Sanghavarman (252), whose translation of the larger Sukhāvatî Vyūha is still much used. In the fourth century we have Dō-an (Thâo Ān, ob. 390), of whose faith we know from a story that is told of him. A certain very conceited Indian monk entered into conversation with him. "I am Shūsakushi," said the Indian (I give the Japanese equivalent for his name); "I am well known within the four seas." "Oh, are you?" said Dō-an. "My name is Dō-an, and I am well known in the Paradise of Amida." The repartee shows Dō-an's faith quite clearly. Eon was a disciple of Dō-an. Like his master, he lived south of the Yangtze, in districts where there was not so much Buddhism, perhaps, as in the dominions of the Thsin. He does not seem to have troubled himself very much about the Amida Scriptures (of which only one was accessible to him in a Chinese dress), but to have led a monastic life constantly devoted to the worship of Amida. His writings had a great influence on the Amidaist Patriarch Zendō. It has been said that he was a Manichæan: the

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[paragraph continues] White Lotus Society still exists in China, I am told, and its members sing hymns which it is hard to distinguish from Christian ones. [209]

With Kumarajīva commences the period of Saddharmapundarika influence. That remarkable book (the connection between which and one of the Gnostic books I have already pointed out) may be spoken of as a species of Buddhist Apocalypse.

The Master, on the Vulture Peak, awakes from his trance to show his auditors that, though men may think there are three forms of saving doctrine, there is really only one, the apparent differences arising from the fact that the One Truth has to be adapted and modified to suit the needs of those to whom it is delivered. This is illustrated by various parables, and the hearers have the lesson impressed upon them that the ultimate goal of all endeavours must be to reach All-knowingness. And to know everything is the same thing as to know nothing.

The Master is endowed with all knowledge and with all power. He knows the past, the long record of his own existences, and the future, the destinies of his hearers, both of which he describes. His knowledge is so great that even the Buddhas made Perfect in the past are anxious to hear his Wisdom, and he proposes himself, made one with a great Buddha of previous times, for the adoration of the congregation.

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Then he sends forth his disciples to preach his gospel. He promises them his protection, and he encourages them by showing the wonderful success of their preaching. It will really be He that preaches, and not they. Every one of their countless myriads of converts has been somewhere at some time his personal disciple. He gives them rules for their conduct in preaching.

At the head of the bands of those that shall believe are four great Bodhisattvas. The later chapters make us infer that "the Four" are Yakushi, Kwannon, Fugen, Myō-On. [210] Nichiren claimed that he himself was one of the Four. Whoever they are, they are beings of great power, and they stand around the Master, who is supreme, and uncircumscribed in time or space.

If Professor Takakusu is right, we must assign to this period the two brothers Asangha and Vasubandhu, who play such an important part in the development of the Mahāyāna. Takakusu places them about A.D. 445, and gives reason for so doing. But Vasubandhu, on the list of the Mahāyāna Patriarchs given by Nanjo, comes just halfway between Nāgārjuna and Bodhidharma. We know Bodhidharma's date, A.D. 520; if we place Nāgārjuna about A.D. 120, we shall find that a halfway date will place Vasubandhu about A.D. 300, which fits in better with what one can judge of the effects of his work. Vasubandhu, like Nāgārjuna, is claimed by many sects. He belongs to the Kusha, the Hossō, and the Jōdo, the latter, especially, esteeming him to be one of the most powerful advocates of Faith in Amitābha and Rebirth in the Pure Land.

His brother, Asangha, who was a Mahāyanist before him, is looked upon as the founder of the Hossō or

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[paragraph continues] Dharmalakshana sect. A story is told of him which throws an interesting light on the superstitions of his day. He was delivering a course of lectures in a preaching-place in Ayodhya, his place of residence. The lectures were not his own. Every evening he ascended to the Tushita Heaven and was coached for the next day's lesson by the Great Maitreya himself, the Buddha of the Future. One day a student doubted his word. "You must not do that," said the Professor; "what I am giving you I obtained from the Tushita Heaven, from Maitreya himself." With an incredulity which would have done honour to a class of Japanese students his auditors refused to believe him. "Very well, then," said Asangha, "I'll bring my Maitreya with me next time!" And the lessons thus delivered were the foundation of the doctrines of the Hossō Sect!

A. Note on the Chinese Sects.

The following notes on Chinese sects will be found useful for reference, as some of them will occur again in the Japanese chapters. Many of them were extremely superstitious and corrupt; but few professed much real reverence for the teachings of S’akyamuni, and in none, except in the Jōdo, do we find any of the enthusiasm that uplifts its followers. I take my information mainly from Nanjo and Murakami.

1. The Abhidharma sect. This in India was reckoned as one of the twenty sects of the Hīnayāna. It was based on the Commentary on the Abhidharma treatises written by Kātyāyaniputra, and was brought to China about A.D. 394 by three Indian monks, Sanghadeva, Dharmanandin, and Sanghabhiiti. It seems to have prospered until about A.D. 440. 1 have found no traces of it in Japan.

2. Jōjitsu, based on Harivarman's "Satyasiddhis’āstra" (Nanjo, No. 1274), and brought to Singanfu by Kumarajīva in 401. It was opposed to the doctrines of the Sarvāstivādins. It prospered in China until the beginning of the Tang period, when it was absorbed by the Tendai. It appeared in Japan only to disappear again.

3. Sanron, based on three S’āstras, two by Nāgārjuna, one by

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[paragraph continues] Deva, with commentaries by Asangha and Vasubandhu. It was severely metaphysical, and was in high esteem in China during the Sui dynasty (589–618). Under the Tang it lost its prestige. It was brought to Japan during the time that the Sui influence was strong, and its first recognized head was Ekwan (624), but was ousted from favour by the Hossō and Kegon.

4. Nirvana (Nehan). May be said to have flourished from A.D. 386 to A.D. 589, first among the Lian, and afterwards at Nanking under the earlier Sung. It was one of the first sects to construct a "Harmony" of the numerous miscellaneous Sūtras. It divided Shaka's life into five periods, and considered the Sūtra of the Great Decease (Nehangyō) as representing the highest and final teachings of the Master. The Saddharmapundarika and the most of the Amida books had not yet come to the fore in China when this sect was started. It was absorbed under the Tang by the Tendai sect, and reached Japan under that name.

5. Jiron, based on the Das’abhūmika, with Vasubandhu's (not Nāgārjuna's) commentary. Introduced by Bodhiruci A.D. 508, it flourished under the Northern Wei (386–534). It was eventually absorbed by Kegon.

6. Jōdo. This sect is an effort at simplification. It tries to present one object of Faith to its followers. Its best-known teacher is Zendō, a contemporary of the Nestorian missionaries at Singanfu. He advised his followers (and in this he was followed by the Japanese Hōnen) to throw away the other books of the Canon, and to pin their faith on the central clause of Amida's vow. His writings contain some wonderfully striking echoes of Scriptural phrases, e.g. "the turning of the hearts of the children to the Fathers, and vice versâ"," and the warning against adding to or taking from the words of his book. Haas ("Amida Buddha unsere Zuflucht") gives quotations from his works, as well as from those of Donran and Dōshaku.

7. Zen, another effort at simplification. Bodhidharma, who arrived in China in A.D. 527, advised his followers to throw away all books, and to strive to attain to Enlightenment by way of Meditation. Bodhidharma taught in the Kingdom of the Lian, and afterwards among the Northern Wei. This sect, like the Jōdo, has had a great influence in Japan. I have a chapter on it in my "Wheat among the Tares." See also "Sermons by a Buddhist Abbot," published by the Open Court, Chicago. It was not taught much at Singanfu, and was consequently slow in reaching Japan.

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8. Ritsu, founded as a separate organization by Dōsen, at the beginning of the Tang period. But the Vinaya discipline had been taught long before that time, and came very early to Japan (see chapter on Dharmagupta), "If a man does not practise the Dhyāna and Samādhi, i.e. meditation and contemplation, he cannot understand the truth. If he does not keep all the precepts, he cannot accomplish his excellent practice." This would seem to show that the Ritsu is in some ways an amplification of the Zen. The sect in Japan was ultimately merged in the Shingon.

9. Hossō, i.e. "the sect that studies the nature of things," also known as the Dharmalakshana, or Yoga sect. This is the doctrine contained in the lectures given by Maitreya for Asangha to which I have already alluded. It was established in China by Hiouen Thsang, about A.D. 640. It was brought to Japan in 653 by Dōsō, who transmitted it to Gyōgi, and again, independently, in 712 by the notorious Gembō. It was the Hossō that brought about in Japan the system known as Ryōbu Shinto. It cannot be accused of having done much for the bettering of humanity in Japan.

10. Tendai, so called from the mountain on which its chief founder, Chisha Daishi, had his monastery. It is based on the Saddharmapundarika, and is one of the harmonizing sects. Emon (A.D. 551) is the first man to grasp the full significance of the Lotus Scripture. He was assisted in his work by Eshi and Chi-ki, the latter of whom, under the name of Chisha Daishi, becomes the actual founder of the sect. This sect sets out to be all embracing. Its supreme Buddha is Vairoc’ana, who transmitted his teaching to S’akyamuni, who transmitted it to Maitreya, and thus through Asangha's lecture-hall to the world. It divides the period of S’akyamuni's life into five. It admits Amida as another name for Vairoc’ana. It practises Yoga, and charms like the Hossō and Shingon do, but rejects the Shingon claim of a revelation to Nāgārjuna through the sage of the Iron Tower. Chisha Daishi died in A.D. 597.

11. Kegon (Avataṃsaka). The basal scriptures were translated in A.D. 418 by Buddhabhadra (Kakugen). It had a great vogue under the Tsin (557–589) and throughout the Tang period. In Japan it arrived later than the Hossō, but was swallowed up by the Shingon (see below on Namudaishi) and Tendai.

12. Shingon. We have seen that this sect (as also the Tendai) contains doctrines very similar to those of the Gnostics of Alexandria. The Secret Shingon was not, however, brought to China

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till 710, when it was brought by Subhakarasiṇha (Zenmui), Vajrabodhi, and Amoghavajra. The Tendai claims to have the true Shingon, which it obtained by another route. There was a Syrian Gnosticism as well as an Egyptian one.

B. Note on the Three Amida Books.

The three books are—

1. The Larger Sukhāvati Vyūha, translated by Lokaraksha, [211] Anshikao, and numerous other translators during the first three centuries. The translation most in use now is that made by Sanghavarman in A.D. 252. "This Sūtra gives a history of the Tathāgata Amitābha, from the first spiritual impulses which led him to the attainment of Buddhahood in remote Kalpas down to the present time when he dwells in the Western world called Sukhāvati (Goku-raku), where he receives all living beings from every direction, helping them to turn away from confusion and to become enlightened" (Nanjo). The Sūtra is known in Japanese as the Muryōjukyō.

It should be noticed that, in spite of what is said in the Sūtra, Amidaists always speak of Amida as an Eternal Being without beginning or end. Also that very little attention is paid to any

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portion of Amida's Vow except to that portion (eighteenth section) which relates to Salvation through Faith in Amida's Name.

2. The Smaller Sukhāvati Vyūha (Japanese Amida Kyō), brought to China by Kumarajīva soon after A.D. 400, and by him translated. It is not certain whether Eon had access to this Sūtra or not. Probably not. "It is taught in this Sūtra that if a man keeps in his memory the name of Buddha Amitābha one day or seven days, the Buddha together with Bodhisattvas will come and meet him at the moment of his death in order to let him be born in the Pure Land Sukhāvatī; and that this matter has equally been approved by all the other Buddhas of the Universe." Eon's ceaseless devotion to the Sacred Name seems scarcely necessary in view of the words of the Sūtra, "one day or seven days."

3. Amitāyur-dhyāna-sūtra (Jap. Kwammuryōjukyō), translated by Kalayas’as in A.D. 424, eight years after Eon's death. In this Sūtra, Queen Vaidehi is weary of this wicked world, and is coin-forted by S’akyamuni, who teaches her how to be born in the Pure Land, and instructs her in the three kinds of goodness. These are (i) worldly goodness, e.g. filial piety, loyalty, respect for parents, etc.; (ii) morality, of that internal and unworldly kind which is the first foundation of the religious life; and (iii) the goodness of practice, which includes the practical application to life of the Four Great Truths and the Six Pārāmitas or Cardinal Virtues. A good seed produces good fruit in abundance. If we sow the seed of the three goodnesses we shall reach, as a fruit, the ninefold bliss of the Pure Land.

Buddhism reaches Japan

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Buddhism reached Japan from Korea, and not at first from China.

Korea, in the age which we have been considering, was not as large a country as it is now. The whole of the district, from the Yalu river, which forms the present boundary of the Korean Empire, to the Tatong river, halfway between Wiju and Seoul, belonged to China. The rest of the peninsula was divided into three independent kingdoms: Koma, which occupied the eastern slopes, from the Tumen in the north down almost to the extreme south of the peninsula; Kudara, which occupied the whole of the western slopes from the Chinese frontier to the extreme south; and the small kingdom of Shiragi in the south-eastern corner of the peninsula, on the side nearest to Japan. The southernmost province of Shiragi was the province of Mimana, which may be said to have been at one time practically a Japanese colony.

Buddhism had reached the kingdom of Koma in A.D. 372, the missionary having been sent from Singanfu by the ruler of the Former Thsin (A.D. 350–394). A ruler of the Eastern Tsin (317 to 420) had sent an Indian priest, Marananda, to preach the Gospel of Buddha in Kudara in the year 384. Shiragi had received the doctrine from the neighbouring kingdom of Koma in

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[paragraph continues] A.D. 424. The well-known propensity of the Buddhist priesthood for political intrigue and amateur statecraft makes it highly probable that the rival rulers of the Thsin and the Tsin, casting about for any straw with which to support their tottering dynasties, made use of the Buddhist missionaries for political purposes to gain allies for themselves in Koma and Kudara, both of which kingdoms touched the Chinese frontiers. As to the exact nature of the Korean Buddhism we have no accurate information. The division into sects in China was still new, and sectarian