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Te doctrines taustobe Boad.iha and his disciples bear a genera resensee to the Braminical religion, from whach het tut depart from them in several partice ars calca.atel to have an important influence. M. Bockinger, a learned and discriminating French writer, says:—- Like a pen who are given a new direction to the recous ideas of their cotemporaries, Sakia did not in Fett a system altogether bew. He merely pronounced, strong and deary, that which many of his cotemporaries had obscure tet He made himseif the representative of opposition to Braminis, whieh had for some time ex. isted amo-g them."
The Buddhists bejeve ja One Absolute Existence, incladicg both God and Nature. When they speak of Providence, they mean an intelligence inherent in Nature, by which ber movements are regulated. Philosophers call this doctrine Naturalism. To avoid attaching any idea of form, or limit, to the original Source of Being, the Buddhists called him by a name signifying The Void, or Space. On this subtile question, they are, however, divided into several schools. Some call this Absolute Existence The Supreme Will, The Supreme Intelligence. They supposed him to have alternate states of activity and repose. When active, he produced creation; not from any will to do so, but from inherent laws of development. Thus emanate successive worlds, all changeable, illusory, and unreal, and destined finally to return to The Void again. Spiritual existences are evolved in descending gradations down to man. Human beings may become so plunged in error and ignorance as finally to lose all power of perceiving what is good and true. From this low condition they could never be raised without the aid of Superior Intelligences. The Supreme cannot descend to their relief, for he is incapable of motion or change. But his first emanations, a high order of spiritual existences, charge themselves with this mission of salvation. They descend to the inferior worlds, even down into the lowest hells, to give wretched creatures an example of virtue, explain the cause of their misery, and teach them how to attain supreme happiness. Such have been all the great saints they adore; but such in a pre-eminent degree was Bouddha Sakia.
They believe the world has been successively destroyed by wind, water, and fire; that its essence, which never dies, has been renewed in form, and will be again destroyed, to be renewed again. The degree of perfection of a world, be it more or less, depends on the moral character of those who inhabit it. In proportion as the beings of an inferior world are all saved and raised to superior worlds, that world disappears. Thus, after infinite ages, all return to the Supreme Essence, to reappear in new successive emanations. All this ascending and descending movement has its source in laws of inherent necessity. Hence religious Buddhists compassionate sinners, as beings impelled to crime by their unfortunate destiny.
It has been remarked that Hindoos considered themselves a pure and privileged race, set apart from other nations, and polluted by contact with them. But Bouddha Sakia and his disciples, having risen above the Vedas, rejected the limitation of castes in religious life. The road to saintship in this world was freely opened, through a course of devout contemplation, to all nations and all classes; to foreigners or natives, Bramins or Soodras, young or old, men or women. Bramins naturally regarded this as a wicked and very dangerous innovation ; for it was contrary to the Sacred Books, and, if it prevailed extensively, must strike a powerful blow at the privileges of their consecrated order. When and how Buddhists came to have a separate priesthood of their own cannot be traced. The animosity of Bramins would naturally drive them to the expedient of having religious ceremonies performed by their own holiest men. These men were not holy by birth, like the Bramins, but had attained to sanctity by strict celibacy and other ascetic practices. By this process, it seems likely that celibacy of the clergy came to be established, as a mark of distinction between them and other
e souls of ancetes might procure vanthorized to P
sects. This peculiarity would of course increase the abhorrence of Bramins, who regarded offspring as one of the greatest blessings, both temporal and spiritual. The Sacred Books strictly enjoined it on children, as a religious obligation, to offer stated prayers and sacrifices, to assist the souls of ancestors through stages of probation after death. Other castes might procure this advantage by paying for it; but Bramins alone were authorized to perform religious ceremonies. In a worldly point of view, the establishment of celibacy would also be a great misfortune; for their vast possessions and inviolable privileges would all be scattered, if they had no families to inherit them. No wonder the Bramins peculiarly detested a sect which thus struck at the root of hereditary priesthood. The more people manifested interest in their tidings of spiritual emancipation, the more were its messengers slandered and persecuted. The Pouranas charge them with denying the authority of Vedas and Shastras; condemning animal sacrifices; declaring it useless to worship the gods; not believing in transmigration, but teaching that the five elements of the body dissolved at death, never to reunite ; that this life alone was worth caring for; that pleasure ought to be the chief aim; that worship, abstinence and charity were useless.
But bitter words and unjust charges were the smallest evils they had to endure. They were hunted like wild beasts. At one time, orders were issued to put to death all Buddhists and their families, even old men and infants, from the Himalaya mountains, on the northern frontier, to the bridge of Rama, at the southern extremity, near Ceylon. They lingered longest in Southern India, where the Bramins were not so supremely powerful as elsewhere. But Mahometans assisted in the relentless warfare, and in the ninth century Buddhists were expelled from every part of Hindostan. Zeal, stimulated by persecution, had impelled great numbers of them to wander abroad, centuries before, scattering seeds of doctrine as they went. This final expulsion sent forth a still greater swarm of mission.
fill Buddhists an time, orders they were
aries to other nations. How extensively they propagated their religion in Eastern Asia will be seen in the chapter concerning Thibet and China.
The most remarkable modern sect among Hindoos is that of the Sikhs, or Seiks; founded by Nanac Shah, born in the year one thousand four hundred and sixty-nine of our era, and belonging to the noble caste of Cshatryas. When very young, he met with some devotees, who strongly impressed his mind with the idea that the worship of One Invisible God was alone worthy of wise men. Seized with an earnest desire for knowledge, he travelled through Hindostan, Persia, and Arabia, and visited Mecca and Medina. He became acquainted with the Mahometan mystics called Sufis, and was particularly attracted by the writings of one of them, named Cabik, who earnestly enjoined universal philanthropy and religious toleration. Imbued with these rational and benevolent ideas, Nanao Shah resolved to devote his life to the project of uniting Hindoos and Mahometans, on the common ground of a simple faith and purity of morals. He treated both religions with great respect, but in his own teachings dwelt solely on the worship of One God, and love to all mankind. He used to say: "Hundreds of thousands of Mahomets, millions of Brahmas and Vishnus, and hundreds of thousands of Ramas, stand before the throne of the Almighty, and they all die. God alone is immortal. He only is a good Hindoo who is just, and he only is a good Mahometan whose life is pure.” The Fakirs, and the people, being accustomed to impute supernatural power to saints, called upon him for miracles. But he answered: “I can show done worthy of attention. A teacher of sacred truths needs no defence but the purity of his doctrines. The world may alter, but the Creator is unchangeable." He was a pure deist; that is, a believer in natural religion, who reverently found in God the cause of all things, and considered as unimportant the authority of written revelation, about which he everywhere saw men contending so violently. He died about 1540, and was buried at Kirti
EAT. SI LES Emdods and Mahometa tre OL & emm nunc toleration and benevolen v tte: deteater (me of his successors pupisnel the ETS O Tanks the firs. sacred book of the sec mae the sint išsi Sra'. It attracted the attention and excitec the TaiTUFT & the Mahometan gov. ernment, and they put to aenzi. the colector of these TIIDS EF SOL Taused the sent to vengeance, and chansec she enrt vent believers mto fierce warriors, who thenceirst tirerte tbt name of Seiks, or hons. Long and bipodr wars ensues, and the Seiks at last retreated to the Punjab, where a Hindoo chief received them kindly. There they established a sort of independent state, in which they entirely abožished castes, and placed Soodras and Bramins on the same level. They always go armed, and to distinguish themselves forever from Mahometans and Hindoos, tber wear a blue dress, and let their bair grow. The Mabometan government, determined to extirpate them, offered a price for their heads, and every one who could be taken was immediately put to death. It is said not one of them could be persuaded to abjure his religion to save his life. They now govern quite a large district in the north-west of Hindostan.
Among the numerous minor sects is one called Sauder, which means Worshippers of God. They are quiet, orderly citizens, mostly merchants and husbandmen. They adore but One Divine Being, to whom they offer only hymns. They abstain from wine, tobacco, and dancing, offer no violence to man or beast, and are enjoined to practise industry, secret almsgiving, and prayer.
In Hindostan, as elsewhere, there have always been classes of minds who doubted or disbelieved the popular forms of faith. Some learned Bramins of the present day smile at terrible descriptions of the hells, in their Sacred Books, as bugbears fit only for the ignorant. Even so far back as Crishna's time, he had occasion to declare: “ There