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that regulate the Lamaseries. Such establishments are under the spiritual direction of a man, there being no such class of women as the ancient priestesses, or modern abbesses. There were formerly convents of women in the Birman Empire, but government suppressed them as prejudicial to population. Only old women are allowed to devote themselves to a life of celibacy. They shave their hair and wear white robes. They at first lived in the same building with men who had vowed themselves to a religious life, but to prevent immoralities they were afterward divided into separate establishments. These women keep the temples in order, accompany funerals, bring water for ceremonies of purification, and other similar offices. Women in Buddhist countries, as in all parts of Asia, are in an enslaved condition. Polygamy is allowed, and the wealthy sometimes have harems.
In the Lamaseries there is a complicated division of ranks, each with appropriate duties, and all are bound to obey the Superior implicitly. It is common to place children of five or six years old in Lamaseries, where they learn to read and write, and perform various services about the house. At twenty-one years of age they can be received into the brotherhood, after examination. On these occasions the candidate is required to affirm solemnly that he is of the required age, that he was born in wedlock, that he has consent of parents, is in debt to no one, free from hereditary disease or bodily defect, not sprung from a race of dwarfs or giants, and not under the influence of sorcerers, or Evil Spirits from the woods and mountains. These preliminaries being settled, the parents give a feast. Afterward, the young man shaves his head, and in token of renouncing old ties, he drops his name and takes another. If asked to what country he belongs, he replies: “I have no country. I spend my time in such or such a Lamasery.” Every one is free to quit
, whenever he judges it best to return to the world. Each member brings with him a cup, pitcher, dish, and mat to sleep on. They are forbidden to kindle a fire to prepare food for themselves. They must depend on the offerings of the charitable, or what they can gain by begging. Mendicants are generally sent out into the environs once a week, but they are not allowed to demand anything, or to manifest any discontent when they are refused. They all take their meals together, it not being permitted to eat alone. They must not swallow food after sundown, or have a light in the evening, for fear of destroying some insect thereby. Some of the Lamas are so scrupulous on this point, that when they ride they are constantly turning their horses this way and that, to avoid trampling on some insect or reptile. If they chance to kill one, they fast and pray, and perform various ceremonies to atone for it. The more enlightened Lamas say they approve of such precautions, not because a human soul may have transmigrated into the animal, but because men of prayer, who seek to live in communion with the Deity, ought to be merciful and gentle toward all things. Though not allowed to kill any creature, they are permitted to eat the flesh of an animal that came to its death by accident. The laity in most Buddhist countries are not so scrupulous on this point, and if meat is offered to religious mendicants, they can often be induced to eat it, by assurances that the animal was not killed with the intention of offering it to them. What remains of their meals is not allowed to be reserved; it must be distributed to the poor, or to strangers, or to the youths who attend the school, or even to animals. Consequently, these establishments are always surrounded by a crowd of beggars. Inmates of the highest rank are as simple in dress and food as the lowest. The men are expressly forbidden to pass a night in the buildings appropriated to women, and women are not allowed to remain over night in any of the Lamaseries. If the vow of perpetual chastity is violated, the culprit is severely punished, and for a second offence expelled. It is said their manners are generally pure, which is more likely to be the case from their freedom to return to a worldly mode of life whenever they choose. Among the Birmans, the violation of their vow of chastity is punished by death in the flames. The Sacred Books are very emphatic on this point. In the “Forty-Two Points of Instruction," it is said: “Bouddha, the Supreme of Beings, manifesting his doctrine, pronounced these words: There is no passion more violent than voluptuousness. Happily there is but one such passion. If there were two, not a man in the whole universe could follow the truth."
“Beware of fixing your eyes upon women! If you find yourself in their company, let it be as though you were not present. If you speak with them, guard well your hearts. Let your conduct be irreproachable. Keep ever saying to yourselves: We Lamas, while we live in this world of corruption, must be like the Water Lily, which immersed in mud contracts no stain."
“The man who walks in the path of holiness must remember that the passions are as dry grass near a great fire. He who is jealous of his virtue, should flee on the first approach of the passions."
"The man who, striving after holiness, endeavours to extirpate the roots of his passions, is like one passing the beads of a rosary through his fingers. By taking one bead after another, he easily attains the end ; so by conquering evil tendencies, one by one, the soul attains to perfeetion."
Buddhists are not much addicted to self-tortures, which prevail so extensively in Hindostan. Celibacy and frequent fasts are the chief penances the religious impose upon themselves. But though they rarely follow the example of Bouddha in severe bodily inflictions, they are prone to imitate his habits of profound contemplation. As such times, they say his body remained perfectly motionless, and his senses unaffected by any external object. He then became a recipient of divine revelations, which be communicated to his disciples. Those among his followers who are desirous to obtain similar supernatural gifts, consecrate a large portion of their time to profound meditation Some of the Lamas become hermits, living in the holes of rocks, or in small wooden cells fastened to the sides of mountains. In some instances, these places are so inaccessible, that food can be conveyed to them only by means of a bag let down with a long rope. Some inhabit gloomy and almost impenetrable forests, infested with tigers and serpents. Some of them live in communities in the deserts, or on the sides of mountains, each one in a little cave, or wooden cell. In some of these associations, it is part of their daily ceremonies to scourge themselves with a small whip. They consider this as an expiation for sins, which will be accepted in lieu of sufferings in another stage of existence. Some live on lonely islands, which can be approached only in winter, on the ice. At that inclement season, the devout often carry them tea, butter, and rice, and receive in return blessings and prayers, which are believed to be very efficacious in producing fruitful pastures and numerous flocks.
The Buddhists have in their temples many images of saints, who are believed to have obeyed the following precept of their Sacred Books, and to have obtained the reward it promises : '“Annihilate thyself; for as soon as thou ceasest to be thyself, thou wilt become one with God, and return into his being." Innumerable are the miracles ascribed to these saints, and to others who follow their example. Their garments, and the staffs with which they walk, are supposed to imbibe some mysterious power, and blessed are they who are allowed to touch them. It is a great branch of business in the Lamaseries to make images of the saints, and consecrate them to sell to devotees. Images of Bouddha himself of course rank above all others. Great is the merit of him who causes one to be made, and presents it to a temple. The priesthood have a tradition that Bouddha promised whoever consecrated an image to him should never go to any of the hells, or be born a slave or a woman, or be subject to blindness, deafness, or any deformity. Worshippers implore the intercession of saints to obtain forgiveness or blessings for them; and there are many marvellous accounts of the images bowing their heads, and moving their lips, or eyes, in answer to such
prayers. Temples are often built in honour of saints, and their relics deposited in the most sacred part of the building. These are believed to have the same power to work miracles which the saint himself possessed. Therefore, places where the most celebrated relics are preserved, attract crowds of pilgrims. In a temple at Ceylon is a tooth said to have been Bouddha's. It is kept in a golden case set with gems, and the case is enclosed within four others, all covered with costly jewels. Long pilgrimages are made to obtain a sight of it, and it is worshipped with profoundest veneration
Prayers and pious maxims, printed on small bits of paper, command a ready sale at the Lamaseries. They have no moveable types, but print them coarsely from wooden blocks. Some of the Lamas obtain a living by transcribing the Sacred Books for purchasers. Some of their manuscript editions are really superb, with rich 23lustrations, and highly ornamented characters Herbs gathered on sacred mountains, and holy water brought from sacred rivers, or consecrated by the benediction of priests, are profitable articles of commerce, because they are supposed to be invested with supernatural power to cure diseases, and keep off Evil Spirits. In Japan, the priests sell a form of words, which they assure par chasers will not only defend them against Enl Spiris in this world, but will serve as passports to febcity in the life to come. Some travellers sssert that they borrow money for religious purposes, and promise sa equivalent in the good things of Paradise. As security, they give the lender a writing, which he is to carry with him to the other world, to prove the amount of his chains All Buddhists retain the old Hindoo belief that nearly al departed souls remain for a while in regions of punishment graduated according to the sins they have committed in the body. There they go through a process of pariboston by fire, water, and other means, and are thus prepared to ascend to such a degree of Paradise ss is proportioned to their merits. Prayers and oblations from the living are
Some transposes, and is security,