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old, that is, probably three hundred years older than the oldest book in the Bible, but they record the religious beliefs of a far more distant age, of the time when the Aryans were still living on the tableland north of the Himalayas, and before they had begun their emigrations westward to become the ancestors of the modern European peoples. So in these Vedas we have almost the words of a generation of men, from whom we are descended and who existed ages before the Greeks and the Romans.

The following are striking passages taken from the Upanishads, the philosophic section of the Vedas. The quotations are from Dr. L. D. Barnett's Brahma Knowledge:

Made of mind, bodied in breath, shaped in light, real of purpose, ethereal of soul, all-working, all-desiring, all-smelling, all-tasting, grasping this All, speaking naught, heeding naught—this is my Self within my heart, smaller than a ricecorn, or a barley-corn, or a mustard-seed, or a canary-seed, or the pulp of a canary-seed—this is my Self within my heart, greater than earth, greater than sky, greater than heaven, greater than these worlds. All-working, all-desiring, all-smelling, all-tasting, grasping this All, speaking naught, heeding naught—this is my Self within my heart, this is Brahma; to Him shall I win when I go hence. He with whom it is thus has indeed no doubt.

“What is the Self?

It is the Spirit made of understanding among the Breaths, the inward light within the heart, that walks abroad, abiding the same, through both worlds. He meditates, as it were; He hovers about, as it were. Turned to sleep, He passes beyond this world, the shapes of death.

This Spirit at birth enters into the body, and is blent with evils: at death He passes out, and leaves evils.


§ 2


Unlike Brahmanism, Buddhism can be traced back to the teaching of one man, Gautama. The founder of Buddhism was an Indian, and though Buddhism is an idealised development of Brahmanism, there is only a handful of Buddhists in India today.

Buddhism is related to Brahmanism somewhat as Christianity is to Judaism, or Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. Four-fifths of the modern Buddhists are Chinese, and large numbers of them are found in Japan, Korea, Tibet, Siam, and Ceylon.


The Early Days of Gautama

Gautama was born in the north of Bengal between 600 and 500 B.C. He belonged to the ruling family of the country. He was rich and good-looking, married to a beautiful wife, and the father of one child, but his life of ease and plenty became insupportable.

When he was twenty-nine, he rode away from his home with one servant. After he had travelled a little way, he sent the servant back with his horse and his sword and changed clothes with a ragged beggar, as St. Francis did generations ago. For a time he lived in a cave with a number of learned men, and then, after a long, lonely struggle, during which he was "the loneliest figure in history battling for life,” he collected disciples in the city of Benares and taught them his doctrines. Gautama was one of the splendid figures in world-history—lonely, self-sacrificing, inspired. Gautama's last words were: “Decay is inherent in all component things. Work out therefore your emancipation with diligence.” After his death his words were repeated by his disciples, exactly as the words of Christ were repeated by St. Peter and his comrades after the sacrifice on Calvary. It was not till many years after his death that the teachings of Gautama were written down in what are called the Pitakas or Baskets. The Pitakas were written in Pali, the spoken language of the common Indian people, which bears much the same resemblance to Sanscrit as Italian bears to Latin.

The teaching of Gautama has been described shortly by Mr. H. G. Wells in The Outline of History. The following passage summarises the Gospel of Buddha:

The fundamental teaching of Gautama, as it is now being made plain to us by the study of original sources, is clear and simple and in the closest harmony with modern ideas. It is beyond all dispute the achievement of one of the most penetrating intelligences the world has ever known.

The Gospel of Buddha

We have what are almost certainly the authentic heads of his discourse to the five disciples which embodies his essential doctrine. All the miseries and discontents of life he traces to insatiable selfishness. Suffering, he teaches, is due to the craving individuality, to the torment of greedy desire. Until a man has overcome every sort of personal craving his life is trouble and his end sorrow. There are three principal forms the craving of life takes, and all are evil. The first is the desire to gratify the senses, sensuousness. The second is the desire for personal immortality. The third is the desire for prosperity, worldliness. All these must be overcome —that is to say, a man must no longer be living for himself -before life can become serene. But when they are indeed overcome and no longer rule a man's life, when the first personal pronoun has vanished from his private thoughts, then he has reached the higher wisdom, Nirvana, serenity of soul. For Nirvana does not mean, as many people wrongly believe, extinction, but the extinction of the futile personal aims that necessarily make life base or pitiful or dreadful.

Now here, surely, we have the completest analysis of the problem of the soul's peace. Every religion that is worth the name, every philosophy, warns us to lose ourselves in something greater than ourselves. “Whosoever would save

his life, shall lose it”; there is exactly the same lesson.

In certain other respects this primitive Buddhism differed from any of the religions we have hitherto considered. It was primarily a religion of conduct, not a religion of observances and sacrifices. It had no temples, and since it had

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VOL. I-10

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