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Two of the following essays on Buddhism formed part of a series of popular lectures, delivered in Union Church in the course of the winter 1870-71. To complete the plan laid down in the first essay, it was necessary to add a third, and the whole is herewith offered to the reader as a popular sketch of Buddhism, which is here viewed under its different aspects, as an event in history, as a system of doctrine, and as a popular religion. Considering the character of the audience before which these lectures were delivered, the author avoided as much as possible going into details, and confined his remarks to the more prominent, features of Buddhism. Those who wish to make themselves further acquainted with this important religion may refer to the author's “Hand-book for the Student of Chinese Buddhism ; London, Trübner & Co., 1870," to which more pains-taking work the present pamphlet may serve as a general introduction.
HONGKONG, March, 1871.
ERNEST J. EITEL.
LECTURE THE FIRST.
it is with considerable hesitation, that such a religion ought to have importance I venture to address you on the subject enough in our eyes to deserve something of Buddbism. Not as if I had given more than passing or passive attention. years of study to this particular religion, The history of Eastern Asia is the history and yet failed to make myself familiar of Buddhism. But the conquests of Budwith its general characteristics and minute dhism are not confined to Asia. This graud details. It is the magnitude and im- system of philosophic atheism, which discards portance of the subject that appals me from the universe the existence of a creating and in view of which I naturally feel dis- and overruling deity and in its place deifies trustful of my own power to deal with that humanity, has, since the beginning of the subject in a satisfactory and yet attractive present century, entered upon a course of
Buddhism, I repeat, is a system conquest in the West, in Europe and Ameof vast magnitude, for it embraces all the rica. Atheistic philosophers, unconsciously various branches of science, which our attracted by the natural affinity, which Western nations have been long accustomed draws together Atheists of all countries to divide for separate study. It embodies and ages, bave during the last fifty years in one living structure grand and peculiar almost instinctively gone on sipping at the views of physical science, refined and subtle intoxicating cup of Buddhistic philosophy. theorems on abstract nietaphysics, an edi. The Germans Feuerbach and Schoppenfice of fanciful mysticism, a most elaborate hauer, the Frenchman Comte, the Englishand far-reaching system of practical mo- man Lewis, the American Emerson, with rality, and finally a church organisation as hosts of others, have all drunk more or less broad in its principles and as fively wrought of this sweet poison and taken as kindly as in its most intricate network as any in the any Asiatic to this Buddhistic opium-pipe. world. All this is moreover combined and But most of all that latest product of moworked up in such a manner, that the dern philosophy, the so-called system of essence and substance of the whole may be positive religion, the school of Comte, with compressed into a few formulas and sym- its religion of humanity, is but Buddhism bols, plain and suggestive enough to be adapted to modern civilisation, it is philograsped by the most simple-minded Asiatic, sophic Buddhism in a slight disguise. and yet so full of philosophic depth, as to I mention these facts only, to claim your provide rich food for years of meditation attention for the subject of my lecture, to the metaphysician, the poet, the mystic ; being aware of the prejudices which deter and pleasant pasturage for the most fiery people from a study so unpromising at first imagination of any poetical dreamer. The sight and uninviting as that of Buddhism. magnitude of the subject, however, is but | But to guide you through the vast labyequalled by its importance. A system rinth of Buddhistic literature and doctrines which takes its roots in the oldest code- with something like method, I would divide book of Asiatic vations, in the Vêda, a the subject matter under discussion into theory which extracted and remodelled three parts and treat Buddhism first as an all the best ideas that were ever laid hold event in history, secondly as a dogmatic of by ancient Brahmanism, a religion which system, and finally consider its aspects as has not only managed to subsist for 2400 a popular religion. Considering, however, years but which has succeeded to draw that the time allotted for this lecture is too within the meshes of its own peculiar limited to allow of my treating the whole church-organization and to bring more or subject more than superficially, I shall conless under the influence of its own peculiar fiue my remarks for the present to the first tenets 450 millions of people, fully one part of this programme. And I propose third of the human race, --such a system, therefore to treat Buddhism as an event in