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Father. “Mahâ-Brahma offers flowers to the cloth that cleans my feet,” says Buddha in one of the Cingalese versions."

Thus the question arises : Did Brahma develop from the Supreme Being into a worshipper of footcloths, or was this last ideal the first in point of time? Those who boldly avow that the Brahmin ideas in what is called Northern Buddhism are a modern addition must really accept the latter almost inconceivable hypothesis. Buddha without doubt called his followers Brâhmaņas, or seekers after Brahma. We have the evidence of the Ceylon Scriptures that he said that he came to restore the pure Brahma religion. We have the same evidence that he said, in answer to certain Brahmins, that there was a supreme Brahma; but that it was only pure-minded ascetics like his own disciples that could know him. The Lalita Vistara makes Buddha pray to Brahma in the crisis of his conflict with the Very Wicked One. Buddhaghosa brings in Brahma to do what in the green-room is called some “funny business ” with an umbrella at the same critical period. When Buddha hesitates to preach, both Buddhaghosa and the Lalita Vistara make Brahma over-persuade him.

But to make Brahma into a Polichinelle Brahma was not enough. Buddhaghosa and the other apostles

Hardy's “Manual," p. 185.

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of the Great Vehicle found it necessary also to leave out the “Buddhas of the Ten Horizons," the "Buddhas of the past,” the “Jinas of the past,” that figure everywhere as the "guides of mortals” in “the Lalita Vistara. He has changed them into devatâs, and Dr. Rhys Davids into "fairies."

But in the pathway of the new school there was an obstacle—the ritual. Here we detect the falsifications.

In the modern ritual of Tibet are these words : “I adore the Tathâgatas of the three periods who dwell in the ten quarters of the world, the Jinas [triumphant spirits], the perfect Buddhas, I offer to them and confess my sins.” 1

In the Chinese ritual these words occur : All hail, Buddhas of the ten quarters !”2 In the Ceylon ritual we find this : “I worship

I continually the Buddhas of the ages that are past. ... I worship the Buddhas, the all-pitiful-I worship with bowed head.” 3

Dr. Rhys Davids considers his version of the Life of Buddha as given in the “Birth Stories" the "original ” Life of Buddha, the "best Life we have." Preference is claimed for this biography on the ground that it is briefer and more free from marvel than the

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Schlagintweit, “ Buddhism in Tibet,” p. 126. 2 Beal, “ Catena,” p. 409.

3 Pâtimokkha, p. 507.


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other biographies, points that denote an earlier Scripture.

But the plea completely falls to the ground, because Buddhaghosa, its compiler, confesses that it is a mere abridgment of several other biographies, the Pabbaja Sutta,? an older Cingalese Commentary,” 2 the

Mahâpadâna,” etc.3 Other versions of the biography are alluded to as existing in the "Jataka Commentary,"4 and as given by the “Repeaters of the Digha Nikâya.”5 In Dr. Rhys Davids's version are also to be found fictitious lives of many previous Buddhas. After the death of each one of these, three convocations always sat. As I have shown the Convocation of Vaisâlî to be pure fiction, it is plain that the work could not have been composed until after the third historical convocation held by King Kaniśka.

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ONE great obstacle to viewing Buddha, as the French philosopher Comte, born two thousand years too soon, is the Buddhist doctrine of Karma, and the Skandhas (Pâli, Kandhas). The Buddhists took over from the Brahmins the notion that a man's actions in one existence regulated his fate in subsequent births. My idea is that it was invented by the priesthood to account for the caste system. Certainly the prolonged life of the individual was the key-note of the idea. You groan and sweat under the weary life of a Śūdra, because in your last birth you were a brigand ! I am allowed to seek union with Brahma, because for many existences my life has been pure! Regarding what the Buddhists call the Five Skandhas, some difference of interpretation prevails amongst scholars. Some think that the skandhas are what the individual takes with him to each new birth. Some think that they are that which he leaves behind him. Burnouf calls


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them the "intellectual attributes ;”1 Goldstücker, the

means of conception ;” Schröter, in his Bhotanta Dictionary, the “five bodies ;” Judson, in his Birman Dictionary, the “living animal.” But all agree in this, that the Buddhists teach that individuality and its karma continue, at least till the Bodhi, or great emancipation.

Childers's explanation is this: “When a man dies the khandhas of which he is constituted perish, but by the force of his kamma [Sanscrit, Karma] a new set of khandhas instantly starts into existence, and a new being appears in another world, who, though possessing different khandhas, and a different form, is in reality identical with the man who has just passed away."

Spence Hardy, in his “Manual,” takes the same view. He cites a dialogue between Buddha and Sabha.

“A woman or a man takes life. The blood of that which they have slain is continually on their hands. They live by murder. They have no compassion on any living thing. Such persons, on the breaking up of the elements (the Five Khandas), will be born in one of the hells, or if on account of the merit received in some former birth they are born as men, it will be of some inferior caste.'

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1 66


Introduction,” p. 513.

2 Pâli Dictionary. Manual,” p. 463.

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