Page images
PDF
EPUB

one:

[ocr errors]

asked me, and I have replied truly to the same; therefore, from compassion to me, grant me permission to be admitted a priest."

After this, the priests coming round the candidate, one of the three readers stands before him and the others at either side, and they read from this writing, their three voices forming as it were

" Oh venerable lord, learned in the sacred writings, and all ye other priests, this candidate, who is desirous of becoming a priest, having equipped himself with thabike, thanegan, and the other things required, begs permission to be admitted to the priesthood ; will you give your consent ?”

Then the chief teacher says, It is a very difficult matter to abide by the law; and it is particularly the duty of priests to strive after it, for men who live in the world cannot do so, whether they be chiefs, or persons of unbounded wealth, or merchants, or cultivators: these cannot keep to the two hundred and twenty-seven rules, but rhahans must endeavour to keep, them.”

After this the chief teacher and the other priests announce to him that he is admitted a priest, and admonish him, thus: “ Take notice that from this day you are a priest, therefore greatly must you rejoice; and according to this joy, see that you observe the two hundred and twenty-seven rules, and that they be not transgressed by you, and you may accept what (in a religious manner) is offered to you. If you do not govern yourself by these precepts, you are not a priest, but an ordinary man, and are not worthy to receive the offerings that would be made to you; for if unworthily such are received and turned to use, it is like a person attempting to swallow a lump of red-hot-iron.” The new priest answers, “ Good, my Lord.”

The man who enters into priest's orders must carefully note the day, the month, the hour, the length of his shadow, (23) and the season of the year at which he becomes a priest. Four things are there which must be avoided ; four, also, which should be done.”

“. To obtain food, he must go round and beg, (24) even till wearied in his limbs by so doing, and on food obtained in this manner must he all his life subsist. If a pupil reverently invite him, he may go and eat at that pupil's house, or he may carry thence food offered him. He may also eat the food which a pupil brings to his monastery and there reverently offers him : he may partake of the food presented to a number of priests in a body, and of that offered by lot. Thus, of whatever is offered on any day of the increase of the moon, (25) and whatever is offered on any of its decrease, that which is offered on a worship day, (26) and that which is offered on

[ocr errors]

the day after a worship-day, of all or any of these may he eat." The new priest answers, “ Good, my lord.”

“ A garment made from rags that any one has thrown away, and which the priest having collected has washed and sewn together, this may he wear and with such must he be clothed even till the end of his life. But if by a pupil a garment be presented to him, he may wear such, whether it be of that expensive and fine kind which is brought from a distant country, or whether it be of cotton, or of silk, or of woollen cloth, or the woven bark of a tree, or that made from the down of birds; any of these he may wear instead.” Answer. “ Good, my lord.”

“ After having become a priest, if he has no monastery to stay in, he must live under a tree,(27) and in that manner must he be all his life. Unless fa pupil make an enclosure, and build a monastery, and offer it: in this a priest may reside, whether it have a lofty top or a square one, or one of only one story, or be a monastery, built of masonry in an arched form: in any of these it is lawful for a priest to reside.” Answer. “Good, my lord.”

” “ I will direct you what is to be done in case of sickness. Having collected the urine of a black bull or ox, boil it, and dissolve salt therein, and afterwards add these three fruits ; (28) this while fresh, may be kept as medicine; also, any medicine which has been thrown away as useless by others, and which a priest finds, he may

take for himself. The medicine also which a pupil offers, that

may be used, whether it be butter, or cream, or sesame oil, or honey, or molasses: all these may be used.”—Answer. “ Good,

[ocr errors]

my lord.

Good, my

“ After a man has become a priest, he may not marry ; but must lead a life of strict celibacy ; if he do not conform to this, he is no longer a priest, nor of the children of the deity. As soon may the severed head be rejoined to the trunk, and the corpse revive, as such a one continue a priest; and even until the end of life must he so remain: thus hath the divinity appointed."—Answer.

lord.” “ After becoming a priest, he must not take, without the owner's leavé, even a morsel of grass, or the paring of a bamboo, for if he do so he is not of the children of the divinity. He must not take the value of a matt (a quarter kyat or tical), or over this, or under it; as soon may the whithered leaf be rejoined to the tree and thrive again, as such a person remain in the priesthood.”

“ The idea of taking away the life of a man must not enter into the mind of a priest; neither nust he take away that of brute ani

"I can

mals, nor even of a worm: he who does so is not the child of the deity. As soon might a broken stone be joined together and become whole again, as such a person continue a priest; and even till the end of his life this must be his rule: the deity hath so directed."-Answer, “ Good, my lord."

“ After becoming a priest, the thing that is untrue must not be spoken, nor any of the ' ten precepts' (29) infringed. It must not be said, 'I can fly in the air,' or ' penetrate the earth,' or 'go under the water,' or 'I shall certainly attain happiness in the next

• life, • the evils of this life cannot hurt me,' or render

myself invisible.' Like as a palmyra-tree of which the top has been cut off ceases to throw forth leaves, so he that says things of this sort cannot continue a priest. Thus hath the deity ordered.”- Answer. Good, my lord.”

“ There are four similitudes, and you must keep them in remembrance.”-Answer. Good, my lord; so long as I wear the gar. ment of a priest I will abide by these precepts, in hope that, by keeping them, I shall in death exchange this life for a better, and knowing also that if I do not I shall be turned into hell."

These are the rules respecting the kattine thanegan. From the eighth day of the increase of the moon Tazownmown (about November), until the fifteenth day of the same, is the proper time for those who wish to buy and offer garments to priests to do so. Cloth for two upper garments and one under garment, needles, thread, jack-tree wood, dowkyat : these

: articles are to be purchased, and taken whilst it is yet night to the neighbourhood of the monastery where dwells the priest, * learned in the sacred writings.

These things are to be put down at the steps ; and in order to bring it to the knowledge of the priest that they are there, the man who offers them is to throw some pebbles against the house from some place of concealment hard by. Then the priest, being aroused, will get up, and on coming down the steps will perceive the cloth and other things; he must then three times enquire, saying, “ Is there

any owner for these things ?” and no owner being found, he may then take and put them aside for his own use, After this, the man who has been abiding in concealment is to go up into the monastery, and petitioning the priest, say, “ My lord, is there any

, owner for the things you took up just now?" The priest answers, « There is not." The other then says, " As that is the case, I will

• To whom it is intended to offer them,

make

up
the
garment for

you,

if

you please to let me have it. The rhahán then gives it to him, and he takes it to his house, and calls a person who understands how to make up these garments, gives him food, superintends the work, and sees that it is properly done. When they are made up, he washes, dyes, and hangs them in the shade to dry; he then buys a thabike, and the rest of the eight things necessary, and solicits the attendance of several priests--if in a large town twenty, if in a small jungle-village nine. Then on the full of the moon Tazownmown he is to take the “ eight articles" to the thyne, and there give food to all the priests. Before going to the thyne, the priest to whom these eight articles are to be offered is to instruct the man who offers them in all that is necessary to be done, and' is to inquire if all is right and according to the sacred writings. At the thyne, the priest thus addresses the others:

My lords, I beg you to attend to what I am going to say. These things are brought here to be offered to me, so, in presence of this company, I will put on these clothes, and by so doing bind myself to observe the rules laid down in the sacred writings (for the wearing of such); I beg you therefore to take notice.” Then two of the company

read from this writing, and ask, « The man that of fers these things, and has called all these priests together, to him and to the priest who receives them, and keeps the ordinances in such cases required, to both of these persons what advantage will arise ?" Then they answer, and say: "The advantage promised in the sacred writings."(30) “ Therefore let the priest put on the clothes, and let him not put them off nor change them, from the full of the moon Tazownmown to the full of the moon Tabown (four months), and let him not be ashamed of so doing, and let him eat but once a day, and let him reside in a place where there is nothing to attract the eye or ear, and let him reflect on the thirtytwo elements of which his body is composed (blood, bones, flesh, &c.), then at night let him repair to a burying ground, apart from where men pass to and fro, and there let him reflect on the forty circumstances of mortal dissolution (e. e. he is to reflect on the difference between man in his strength and comeliness, and man deceased and resolving into his component elements); and before daylight again, let him take his thabike and proceed to collect food from house to house, standing before the door of each (i. e. take the food, if offered ; if not offered, he must remain fasting); then let him go to a secluded spot and eat, reflecting on the hundred and eighteen qualities of the body (as to what agrees withi and is suitable for it, and the reverse)."

After this he puts on the garment, and makes obeisance to the other priests.

He who does this is not to eat with the rest, but to keep himself secluded.

a

[ocr errors]

a

NO TE S. (1) This is a writing in the Pali language and character, and relates to the instalment of persons into the priesthood, their probationary course for it, and prescribed line of conduct after admission. To get at its meaning it was necessary for the original to undergo several transformations; first, from the pure Pali into a mixture of Pali and Burman, then into a pure Burman,* and from that it was taken down verbally in a sort of English, resembling Burman in its inverted structure, before being brought into its present form.

The leaves of books of this kind are mostly made from the leaves of a large species of palmyra ; but these being seldom broad enough, are artfully joined in the middle length-wise, sewn together with silk and lackered over. On the lackered surface the writing is made, and the gilding laid on, the leaf is afterwards rubbed with a wet cloth; and on account of there being a mixture of yellow orpiment in the ink, the gilding does not adhere closely to the whole surface, but readily parts from the writing and lets it appear. It does not seem as if the leaves of this bookt were made from two pieces joined ; it is more probable that, as it was to be a royal offering, leaves of the largest size were sought for to make it up from. A tree that bears such is “one of a thousand ;” and the people have a saying, that for every one of this kind that is found a man learned in the sacred writing also appears. These trees, also, are royalties.

(2) This writing was offered by SANE-PYCO-SILANE, the third of the Alown Purra (Alompra) dynasty, and second son of its founder. The dedication appears, both at the beginning and end of the book, in handsome gilt characters. This king ascended the throne in the year 1134 of the era of GAUDAMA, and died in 1138; the present year. A. D. 1827, is 1188, of that era: the book must therefore be at least fifty years old,

(3) The title consists of fifteen syllables, or rather Pali words. This is one of the longest that a king can have; the heir apparent

[ocr errors]

* Which was done by a learned native. + The book in question belonged to Mr. HEWARD, of Madras, and was intended for Sir C. GREY. Great numbers having been found in the monasteries during the Burman war, it is probable that many were taken to England. Some were made of large plates of ivory.

1

« PreviousContinue »