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Vedas and the Vedantic school, has always been a pure idealism. Let us turn to the treatise named Prajñâ Pâramitâ (the “Wisdom of the Other Bank”) to see what Buddha said on the subject. In speaking to his senior disciple, Śâriputra, he said that ignorant men “ represent to themselves all things of which in truth not one has any existence ;” and a little further on, he explained that the appearances of the phenomenal world were “as if a clever magician, or the pupil of a clever magician, caused a vast concourse of men to appear at a cross-road where four great thoroughfares meet, and having caused them to appear, caused them again to vanish.”1
I think it is very patent from the “Hibbert Lectures,” that the perversions of Dr. Rhys Davids are due to his sympathies with Comtism; but I contend that the study of an ancient religion is not philosophy, but pure history.
I think that signs of a juster appreciation of the great reformer are already patent. Mr. Edwin Arnold has a “ firm conviction that a third of mankind would never have been brought to believe in blank abstractions or in Nothingness as the issue and Crown of Being." 2
The Rev. Professor Beal, too, has uttered a protest
against the "lectures and articles” of Dr. Rhys Davids, which against all evidence announce that Buddhism “teaches atheism, annihilation, and the non-existence of soul." 1
1 " Romantic Life,” introduction, p. x.
XVII. THE MAHẬPARINIRVANA SÛTRA
POPULAR LIFE OF BUDDHA.
BIRTH OF BUDDHA.
An ancient history of ancient deeds is rendered unintelligible to moderns less by what it states than what it omits. Details and explanations of contemporary customs that were familiar to the writer and his readers have been obliterated by time. I propose to write the story of Buddha, and add amplifications here and there when it is possible to illustrate ancient manners from other sources.
When the legendary life of Buddha opens he is disclosed in the heaven Tusita. Early Buddhism divided the universe into the Domain of Appetite (Kâmaloka) and the Domain of Spirit (Brahmaloka). Above the earth were six heavens, devoted to those who, according to the theory of the metempsychosis,