BUDDHISM is a religious revolution against the evils that are dominant in Brahmanism. Gautama Shakyamuni, who claimed to be the Enlightened One, the Buddha, rejected bloody sacrifices, the authority of the Vedas, trust in rituals and the caste system, and taught a religion of moral endeavor which was to be obtained by enlightenment, or the bodhi. He recognised the existence of evil and sought salvation in the radical abolition of all selfishness through the extension of an all-comprehensive love toward all creatures.
The many-sidedness of Buddhism is well illustrated in the Buddhistic conception of evil and of a final escape from evil, which is taught to the thinker in the shape of a philosophy, and to the uneducated masses in the garb of a poetical myth, affording the artist a good opportunity for representing deep thoughts in allegorical form.
Mara, the Evil One.
Evil is personified in Mara, the Buddhist Devil, who represents temptation, sin, and death. He is identified with Namuche, one of the wicked demons in Indian mythology
with whom Indra struggles. Namuche is the mischievous spirit who prevents rain and produces drought. The name Namuche means "not letting go the waters." However, Indra, the god of thunder-storms, forces him to surrender the fertilising liquids and restores the life-bringing element to the earth.
Mara is also called Papiyan 1 the Wicked One or the Evil One, the Murderer, the Tempter. In addition he is said to be Varsavarti, 2 meaning "he who fulfils desires." Varsavarti, indeed, is one of his favorite names. In his capacity as Varsavarti, Mara personifies the fulfilment of desire or the triple thirst, 3 viz., the thirst for existence, the thirst for pleasure, the thirst for power. He is the king of the Heaven of sensual delight.
There is a deep truth in this conception of Mara as Varsavarti. It means that the selfishness of man is Satan and the actual satisfaction of selfishness is Hell.
This reminds us of one of Leander's Märchen, in which we are told that once a man died and awoke in the other world. There St. Peter appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. He then ordered breakfast, the daily papers, and all the comforts he was accustomed to in life, and this kind of life lasted for many centuries until he got sick of it and began to swear at St. Peter and to complain of how monotonous it was in Heaven, whereupon St. Peter informed him that he was in Hell,
for hell is where everybody has his own sweet will, and heaven is where everybody follows God's will alone. Similarly, according to the Buddhist conception, the heaven of sensual delight is hell, the habitation of the Evil One.
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THE DEMON OF LIGHTNING. A Japanese temple statue.
In the Dhammapada, Mara is not so much a person as a personification. The allegorical nature of the Evil One is plainly felt in every passage in which Mara's name occurs. We read, for instance:
"He who lives looking for pleasures only, his senses uncontrolled,
immoderate in his food, idle and weak, him Mara will certainly overthrow as the wind throws down a feeble tree."
Buddhism in its original and orthodox purity knows nothing of devils except Mara, representing the egotistical pleasures, sensuality, sin, and death; but Buddhist
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THE DEMON OF THUNDER. A Japanese temple statue.
mythology from the ancient Jatakas down to the most modern folklore of China and Japan has peopled the universe with evil spirits of all kinds, such as the demons of thunder and lightning, to personify the various ills of life and the dangers that lurk everywhere in nature.
While the evil consequences of sin are depicted in the tortures of Hell which are similar to the Christian belief, the final escape from evil is expressed in the belief that all good Buddhists will be reborn in the Western Paradise.
Mara, the Enemy of Buddha.
In the life of Buddha, Mara plays an important part. He is that principle which forms an obstacle to the attainment of Buddhahood. Having told how, in the night of the great renunciation, the deity of the door swung the gate open to let the future Buddha out, the Jataka continues:
"At that moment Mara came there with the intention of stopping the Bodisat; and standing in the air, he exclaimed, 'Depart not, O my lord! in seven days from now the wheel of empire will appear, and will make you sovereign over the four continents and the two thousand adjacent isles. Stop, O my lord!"
The prince refused to listen to Mara's wily insinuation.
When Buddha, in his search for enlightenment, had tried for seven years to find the right path in asceticism and self-mortification, his health began to give way and he was shrunken like a withered branch. At this moment Mara drew near and suggested to him the thought of giving up his search for enlightenment. We read in the Padhana Sutta: 1
"Came Namuche speaking words full of compassion: 'Thou art lean, ill-favored, death is in thy neighborhood. Living life, O thou Venerable One, is better! Living, thou wilt be able to do good works. Difficult is the way of exertion, difficult to pass, difficult to enter upon.'
"To Mara, thus speaking, Bhagavat said: 'O thou friend of the indolent, thou wicked one, for what purpose hast thou come here? Even the least good work is of no use to me, and what good works are required ought Mara to tell? I have faith and power; and understanding is found in me. While thus exerting myself, why do you ask me to live? While the flesh is wasting away the mind grows more tranquil, and my attention, understanding, and meditation becomes more steadfast. Living thus, my mind does not look for sensual pleasures. Behold a being's purity!
"Lust thy first army is called; discontent thy second; thy third is called hunger and thirst; thy fourth desire; thy fifth is called sloth and drowsiness; thy sixth cowardice; thy seventh doubt; thy eighth hypocrisy and stupor, gain, fame, honor, and what celebrity is falsely obtained by him who exalts himself and despises others. This, O Namuche, is thine, the Black One's fighting army. None but a hero conquers it, and whoever conquers it obtains joy. Woe upon life in this world! Death in battle is better for me than that I should live defeated.
"Seeing on all sides an army arrayed and Mara on his elephant, I am going out to do battle that he may not drive me from my place. This army of thine, which the world of men and gods cannot conquer, I will crush with understanding, as one crushes an unbaked earthen pot with a stone.
"Having made my thoughts subject to me and my attention firm, I shall wander about from kingdom to kingdom training disciples. They will be zealous and energetic, obedient to the discipline of one free from lust, and they will go to the place where there is no mourning.
"And Mara said: 'For seven years I followed Bhagavat, step by step, but found no fault in the Perfectly Enlightened and Thoughtful One.'"
When Buddha went to the Bo-tree Mara, the Evil One, proposed to shake his resolution, either through the allurements of his daughters or by force. "He sounded
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Ghandara sculptures. Museum of Lahore. (Reproduced from Grünwedel.)
the war cry and drew out for battle." The earth quaked, when Mara, mounted on his elephant, approached the Buddha. The gods, among them Sakka, the king of the gods, and Brahma, tried to stay Mara's army, but none of them was able to stand his ground, and each fled straight before him. Buddha said:
"'Here is this multitude exerting all their strength and power against me alone. My mother and father are not here, nor a brother, nor any other relative. But I have these Ten Perfections, like old retainers long cherished at my board. It therefore behooves me to make the Ten Perfections my shield and my sword, and to strike a blow with them that shall destroy this strong array.' And he remained sitting and reflected on the Ten Perfections."--Buddhism in Translations. By H. C. Warren, pp. 77-78.
Mara caused a whirlwind to blow, but in vain; he caused a rain-storm to come in order to drown the Buddha, but not a drop wetted his robes; he caused a shower of rocks to come down, but the rocks changed into bouquets; he caused a shower of weapons--swords, spears, and arrows--to rush against him, but they became celestial flowers; he caused a shower of live coals to come down from the sky, but they, too, fell down harmless. In the same way hot ashes, a shower of sand, and a shower of mud were transmuted into celestial ointments. At last he caused a darkness, but the darkness disappeared before Buddha, as the night vanishes before the sun. Mara shouted: "Siddhattha, arise from the seat. It does not belong to you. It belongs to me." Buddha replied: "Mara, you have not fulfilled the ten perfections. This seat does not belong to you, but to me, who have fulfilled the ten perfections." Mara denied
Buddha's assertion and called upon his army as witnesses, while Buddha declared: "I have no animate witnesses present;" but, stretching out his right hand towards the mighty earth, he said: "Will you bear me witness?" And the mighty earth thundered: "I bear you witness." And Mara's elephant fell upon its knees, and all the followers of Mara fled away in all directions. When the hosts of the gods saw the army of Mara flee, they cried out: "Mara is defeated! Prince Siddhattha has conquered! Let us celebrate the victory!"
When Buddha had attained enlightenment, Mara tempted him once more, saying:
"Pass away now, Lord, from existence! Let the Blessed One now die! Now is the time for the Blessed One to pass away!"
Buddha made reply as follows:
"I shall not die, O Evil One! until not only the brethren and sisters of the order, but also the lay-disciples of either sex shall have become true hearers, wise and well trained, ready and learned, versed in the Scriptures, fulfilling all the greater and the lesser duties, correct in life, walking according to the precepts,--until they, having thus themselves learned the doctrine, shall be able to tell others of it, preach it, make it known, establish it, open it, minutely explain it and make it clear,--until they, when others start vain doctrines, shall be able by the truth to vanquish and refute it, and so to spread the wonder-working truth abroad!
"I shall not die until this pure religion of mine shall have become successful, prosperous, wide-spread, and popular in all its full extent, until, in a word, it shall have been well proclaimed among men!"
When, shortly before Buddha's death, Mara repeated his words as quoted above, "Pass away now, Lord, from existence," Buddha answered:
"Make thyself happy; the final extinction of the Tathagata shall take place before long."
Mara in Buddhist Art.
In the various sculptures representing scenes of Buddha's life there is a figure holding in his hand a kind of double club or vajra--i. e., thunderbolt, as it is usually called. Since the expression of this man with the thunderbolt decidedly shows malevolence, the interpretation naturally suggested itself that he must be one of Buddha's disciples who was antagonistic to his teachings. The common explanation of this figure, accordingly, designated him as Devadatta, the Buddhistic Judas Iscariot, who endeavored to found a sect of his own, and who according to Buddhistic legends is represented as an intriguer bent on the murder of Buddha. The various representations of this figure, however, are not altogether those of a disciple who tries to outdo Buddha in sternness and severity of discipline, but frequently bear the character of a Greek faun, and resemble, rather, Silenus, the foster-father of Bacchus, representing all kinds of excesses in carousing and other pleasures. Moreover, the same figure with the thunderbolt appears in representations of Buddha's entering Nirvana, at a time when Devadatta had been long dead. Alfred Grünwedel, for these reasons, proposes to abandon the traditional interpretation of the thunderbolt-bearer as Devadatta, and it appears that he has found the right interpretation when he says: 1
"This figure which accompanies Buddha from the moment he leaves his father's house until he enters Nirvana, and who waylays
him in the hope of awakening in him a thought of lust or hatred or envy, who follows him like a shadow, can be no one but Mara Papiyan, the Wicked One, the demon of passion. The thunderbolt in Mara's hand is nothing but the old attribute of all Indian gods. In his capacity as the god of pleasure, Mara is especially entitled to this attribute of the Hindu gods. As Vasavatti he reigns in the highest domain of the pleasure heaven, surrounded by dancing girls and musicians."
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BUDDHA TEMPTED BY MARA'S DAUGHTERS.
Gandhara sculptures. (Reproduced from Grünwedel.)
It seems probable that the contrast in which Mara or Varsavarti stands to the Buddha began by and by to be misunderstood. For the thunderbolt-bearer Vajrapani is gradually changed into a regular attendant of Buddha, and the Vajra, or thunderbolt, is now interpreted as an attribute of Buddha himself. Thus it happened that among the northern Buddhists the Vaira became the indispensable
attribute of the lamas. It is called Dorje in Tibet and Ojir in Mongolia.
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The attack of Mara upon Buddha under the bo-tree is a favorite subject of Buddhist artists, who gladly avail themselves of this opportunity to show their ingenuity in devising all kinds of beautiful and hideous shapes. Beautiful women represent the temptations of the daughters of Mara, and the hideous monsters describe the terrors of Mara's army.
In Buddhistic mythology Mara, the Evil One, is, in harmony with the spirit of Buddha's teachings, represented as the Prince of the World. It is Mara who holds the wheel of life and death (Chavachakra, i. e., wheel of becoming) in his hands, for all living beings reside in the domain of death. The hand of death is upon every one who is born. He is the ruler in the domains of the nidanas, the twelve links of the chain of causation, or dependent origination.
The Twelve Nidanas.
The twelve nidanas are a very old doctrine, which possibly goes back to Buddha himself, and may contain elements that are older. While the general meaning of the chain of causation is clearly indicated by the first and last links, which imply that ignorance, not-knowing, or infatuation is at the bottom of all evil, there are great difficulties in the interpretation of the details, and Mr. Warren thinks that it is a combination of two chains of causation representing similar thoughts. He says:
"The Buddhist Sacred Books seem to claim Dependent Origination as the peculiar discovery of the Buddha, and I suppose they would have us understand that he invented the whole formula from beginning to end. But it is to be observed that the formula repeats itself, that the human being is brought into existence twice--the first time under the name of consciousness, and name and form and by means of ignorance and karma, the second time in birth and by means of desire (with its four branches called attachments) and karma again, this time called existence. 1 Therefore, though Buddhaghosa is at great pains to explain this repetition as purposely intended for practical ends, yet one is much inclined to surmise that the full formula in its present shape is a piece of patchwork put together of two or more that were current in the Buddha's time and by him--perhaps expanded, perhaps contracted, but at any rate made into one. If the Buddha added to the formula of Dependent Origination, it would appear that the addition consisted in the first two propositions. For ignorance, of course, is the opposite of wisdom, and wisdom is the method for getting rid of ignorance."--Buddhism in Translations, p. 115.
Whatever may have been the original wording, the traditional formula of the causation of evil has been, without change, faithfully preserved in the triumphal progress of Buddhism from India to Japan. One of the oldest passages in which the twelve nidanas are enumerated is found in the Questions of King Milinda, p. 79, where we read:
"By reason of ignorance came the Confections, 2 by reason of the Confections consciousness, by reason of consciousness name-and-form, by reason of name-and-form the six organs of sense, by reason of them contact, by reason of contact sensation, by reason
of sensation thirst, by reason of thirst craving, by reason of craving becoming, by reason of becoming birth, by reason of birth old age and death, grief, lamentation, sorrow, pain, and despair. Thus is it that the ultimate point in the past of all this time is not apparent."--Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids in Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXXV.
The Samyutta Nikaya enumerates as the second nidana "karma," i. e., action. The passage reads:
"On ignorance depends karma;
"On karma depends consciousness
"On consciousness depend name and form;
"On name and form depend the six organs of sense;
"On the six organs of sense depends contact
"On contact depends sensation
"On sensation depends desire;
"On desire depends attachment;
"On attachment depends existence;
"On existence depends birth;
"On birth depend old age and death, sorrow, lamentation. misery, grief, and despair. Thus does this entire aggregation of misery arise.
"But on the complete fading out and cessation of ignorance ceases karma;
"On the cessation of karma ceases consciousness On the cessation of consciousness ceases name and form;
"On the cessation of name and form cease the six organs of sense;
"On the cessation of the six organs of sense ceases contact; On the cessation of contact ceases sensation
"On the cessation of sensation ceases desire;
"On the cessation of desire ceases attachment
"On the cessation of attachment ceases existence
"On the cessation of existence ceases birth;
"On the cessation of birth cease old age and death, sorrow,
lamentation, misery, grief, and despair. Thus does this entire aggregation of misery cease."--Buddhism in Translations, Warren, p. 166.
The Pali terms are: (1) avijja (ignorance), (2) sankhara (organised formation) or kamma (Karma), (3) vinnyana (sentiency), (4) nama-rupa (name and form, i. e., individuality), (5) salayatana (the six fields, i. e., the five senses and mind), (6) phasso (contact), (7) vedana (sensation), (8) tanha (thirst), (9) upadana (craving), (10) bhava (growth), (11) jati (birth), (12) jaramarana, etc. (old age, death, sorrow, etc.).
It seems that we have three chains of causation combined into one. One chain explains that Karma, i. e., deed or activity, produces first vinnyana (sentiency), and then nama-rupa (name and form, or personality); the other begins with sensation, as known in the six senses or salayatana, which by contact (phasso) produces first consciousness (vedana) and then thirst (tanha). The third group, which may be the peculiarly Buddhistic addition to the two older formulas, is founded in the first, or first and second, and the four concluding links of the traditional chain, stating that ignorance (avijja) produces blindly in its random work organisations (sankharas). These sankharas or elementary organisms are possessed of craving (upadana), which leads to conception (bhava) and birth (jati), thus producing old age, death, sorrow, and misery of any kind.
The Wheel of Life.
Life in its eternal rotation is represented in Buddhist mythology as a wheel that is held in the clutches of the Evil One.
Judging from a communication of Caroline A. Foley (in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1894, p. 389), the allegory of the world-wheel, the wheel of life,
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AN INDIAN WHEEL OF LIFE.
Preserved in the Cave Temples of Ajanta, Central India.
(Reproduced from L. E. Waddell's picture in the J. R. A, S.)
must be much older than is commonly thought, for it is mentioned already in the Divyavadana, pp. 299-300.
Caroline Foley says:
"There it is related how Buddha instructed Ananda to make a wheel (cakram karayitavyam) for the purpose of illustrating what another disciple, Maudgalyayana, saw when he visited other spheres, which it seems he was in the habit of doing. The wheel was to have five spokes (pancagandakam), between which were to be depicted the hells, animals, pretas, gods, and men. In the middle a dove, a serpent, and a hog, were to symbolise lust, hatred, and ignorance. All round the tire was to go the twelve-fold circle of causation (pratityasamutpado) in the regular and in the inverse order. Beings were to be represented 'as being born in a supernatural way (aupapadukah), as by the machinery of a waterwheel, falling from one state and being produced in another.' The wheel was made and placed in the 'grand entrance gateway' (dvarakoshtake), and a bhikshu appointed to interpret it."
Samsara, or the circuit of life, the eternal round of birth, death, and rebirth, as summarily expressed in the doctrine of the twelve nidanas or twelve-linked chain of causation, is painted around the tire of the wheel.
How carefully the Buddhistic conception of Mara, as the Prince of the world, holding in his clutches the wheel of life, has been preserved, we can learn from a comparison of an old fresco in the deserted caves of Ajanta, Central India, 1 with Tibetan and Japanese pictures of the same subject. 2 All of them show in the centre the three causes of selfhood, viz., hatred, spite, and sloth, symbolised in a serpent, a cock, and a pig. They are also called the three fires, or the three roots of evil, which are raga (passion), doso (sin), moho (infatuation).
The Hindu picture exhibits six divisions,--the realm of gods, the realm of men, the realm of nagas (or snakes), 1
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A TIBETAN WHEEL OF LIFE. (Reproduced from Bastian.)
the realm of paradise, the realm of ghosts, and the realm of hell. The Tibetan picture shows the same domains, only less distinctly separated, while the Japanese picture shows only five divisions. In order to show the omnipresence of the Buddha as the principle that sustains all life, the Japanese picture shows a Buddha statue in the hub, while in the Hindu wheel every division contains a Buddha figure. This Buddha in the world is the Buddha of transformations, Nirmana-Kaya, representing the tendency of life toward enlightenment. Outside of the wheel two other Buddha figures appear. At the right-hand corner there is Buddha, the teacher, in the attitude of expounding the good law of righteousness. It is the Dharma-Kaya, the Buddha embodied in the dharma, i. e. the law, religion, or truth. In the left-hand corner there is Buddha in the state of rest, represented as Sambhoga-Kaya, the Buddha who has entered into Nirvana and attained the highest bliss.
The twelve nidanas are an essential element in the Buddhist wheel of life, and are commonly represented by twelve little pictures either on the tire or surrounding the tire.
On the Japanese wheel, which exhibits the nidanas more clearly than the older wheels, the series begins at the bottom, rising to the left-hand side and turning down again on the right-hand side.
The first nidana (in Pali Avijja), ignorance, is pictured as a passionate man of brutish appearance.
The second nidana (in Pali Sankhara, Sanskrit Samskara), which is commonly but badly translated in English by "confection," represents the ultimate constitutions
of life or primary forms of organisation, meaning a disposition of structures that possess the tendency to repeat the function once performed. It is represented as a potter's wheel on which vessels are manufactured. The word should not be confused with samsara, which is
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A JAPANESE WHEEL OF LIFE. (Reproduced from Bastian.)
the whole wheel of life, or the eternal round of transmigration.
The third nidana is vinnyana, or awareness, being the sentiency that originates by the repetition of function in the dispositions or organised structures previously formed. It is animal sense-perception, represented as a monkey.
The fourth nidana is "nama-rupa," i. e., name and form, which expression denotes what we call personality, the name of a person and his personal appearance. It is represented by a pilot steering a boat.
The fifth nidana is called the six fields or "shadayatana," which are what we call the five senses and mind, or thinking, which is considered by Buddhists as a sixth sense. It is pictured as a human organism.
The sixth nidana is "phasso" or "sparsa," i. e., the contact of the six fields, with their objects, represented as a lover's embrace.
Rising from a contact of the six fields with their objects, the seventh nidana is produced as "vedana," i. e., sensation or sentiment, illustrated by a sighing lover. If the sixth nidana is enacted in the garden scene of Goethe's "Faust," the seventh is characterised by Margaret's song, "My peace is gone, my heart is sore." (Scene xv.)
From sentiment, as the eighth nidana, "tanha," i. e., thirst or desire, rises. The picture exhibits the flirtation of two separated lovers.
The ninth nidana is "upadana," i. e., the clinging to existence. The picture shows us the lover following the footsteps of his love.
The tenth nidana is "bhava" (bridal embrace), or existence in its continuation, finding its artistic expression in the union of the lovers, who, seated on the back of an elephant, are celebrating their marriage feast.
The eleventh nidana is birth, "jati," in the picture represented as a woman in her throes.
The remaining groups represent the twelfth nidana
and its various sufferings, which consist of old age, disease, death, lamentation, complaints, punishments, and all kinds of tribulations.
The twelve pictures on the Hindu wheel are less distinct, but there is no question about their meaning being exactly the same. Beginning at the top on the right-hand side, we find first an angry man, representing ignorance, then a figure which might be a potter forming vessels of clay on the potter's wheel, representing the formation of dispositions or primary soul-forms. The third picture represents a monkey climbing a tree, symbolising animal perception or the individuality of organisms. The fourth- picture shows a ship on a stream, representing the origin of mind under the allegory of a pilot. The fifth picture seems to be a house built upon five foundation stones, which we interpret as the five senses, the superstructure representing mind, the sixth sense. Then follows the sixth picture, a woman, kindling desire of contact. The seventh represents sentiment in the shape of two sighing lovers. The eighth picture represents thirst or desire as two separated lovers. The ninth picture, reminding us of Adam and Eve in Paradise, is a man plucking flowers or fruits from a tree; it illustrates the tasting of the apple of sexual love. The tenth picture illustrates pregnancy, the eleventh birth, and the twelfth is the demon of death carrying away the white body of a dead man.
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The wheel of life as now frequently pictured in Buddhist temples of Japan can, in its wanderings from India through Tibet and China, be traced back to a remote antiquity,
for we know positively that this conception of the Evil One in his relation to the world, existed about two thousand years ago, in the days when Buddhism still flourished in India, but it is not improbable that it must be dated back to a time preceding Buddha. We may fairly assume that when Buddha lived, such or similar representations of the significance of evil in life existed and that he utilised the traditional picture for the purposes of spreading his own religion, adding thereto his own interpretation, and thus pouring new wine into old bottles. There is a possibility that the picture must be dated back to the age of demonolatry, when the idea prevailed that the good god need not be worshipped but only the evil god, because he alone is dangerous to mankind.
That the same idea as expressed in the Buddhist wheel of life existed in the remotest antiquity of our earliest civilisations can be seen at a glance by looking at the picture of the Chaldean bronze tablet (on page 46 of this volume), which represents the three worlds, the realm of the gods, the abode of men, and the domain of the dead, as being held in the clutches of a terrible monster. The similarity of the tablet to the Buddhist wheel of life is too striking to be fortuitous.
Religious symbols, formulas, and rites are, as a rule, punctiliously preserved even after a radical change of the fundamental ideas that are embodied therein. Judging by analogy from the religious evolution of other nations, we must assume that the original form of worship among the Accadians was as much demonolatrous as it is at a certain stage of civilisation among all savage tribes, and this bronze plate appears to preserve the lingering features
of a prehistoric world-conception. The simplest explanation that suggests itself is to regard the monster holding the world-picture as the deity of evil, who in the period when religion still consisted merely in the fear of evil, was worshipped as the actual prince of the world whose wrath was propitiated by bloody sacrifices.
If this view should prove to be correct, the Chaldean bronze plate of the monster holding in its claws the world would be the connecting link between the very dawn of religious notions with the foundation of Buddhism, where the worship of the evil deity has disappeared entirely. But the influence of this old mode of expression extends even into the sphere of the origin of Christianity, although here it fades from sight. In the New Testament the Buddhist term "the wheel of life" is used once more, but it is a mere echo of a remote past; its original significance is no longer understood. Speaking of the great damage caused in the world by the tongue, St. James says:
"οὕτως ἡ γλῶσσα καϑίσταται ἐν τοῖσ μέλεσιν ἡμῶν ἡ σπιλοῦσα ὅλον τὸ σῶμα· καὶ φλογίϩουσα τὸν τροχὸν τῆσ γενέσεως, καὶ φλογιϩομένη ὑπὸ τῆς γεέννης·"
[Thus the tongue that defileth the whole body standeth among our limbs; and it setteth on fire the wheel of becoming and is set on fire by hell.]
The version of King James translates the term τροχὸς γενέσεως which in the Vulgate reads rosa nativitatis, by course of nature."
The Buddhism of Tibet is not yet sufficiently explored on account of the inaccessibility of the country,
but it is safe to say that its demonology is highly developed and shows traces of strong Hindu influences. Prominent
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MEIFU, THE DARK TRIBUNAL.
(Reproduced from a colored Japanese illustration in Karma.)
among, the evil spirits is mKha'sGroma, the Tibetan form of the Hindu Goddess Kali (see page 99), who is represented as a frightful monster with a leonine head,
surrounded by a halo of flames and ready to devour everything she sees.
In China Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism exist peacefully side by side, and there is scarcely a home in the country where the customary homage would not be paid to Lao-Tsze and Confucius as well as to Buddha. Indeed, there are numerous illustrations in which these three great masters are together represented as dominating the moral life of China.
In Japan the conditions are similar, except that in the place of the popular Taoism we find Shintoism, which is the aboriginal nature-worship of the country, consisting at present in the observation of national festivals, in which form it has of late been declared to be the official state religion of the country.
The folklore of Chinese Taoism and Japanese Shintoism was naturally embodied in the mythology of the Buddhists, and we find therefore in their temples innumerable representations of hell with all their traditional belongings; Emma, the stern judge of Meifu, the dark tribunal; Kongo, the sheriff, and all the terrible staff of bailiffs, torturers, and executioners, among whom the steer-headed Gozu and the horse-headed Mezu are never missing. By the side of the judge's desk stands the most perfect mirror imaginable, for it reflects the entire personality of every being. Since man's personality, according to the Buddhistic soul-conception, is constituted by the deeds done during life, the glass makes apparent all the words, thoughts, and actions of the delinquent who is led before it; whereupon he is dealt with according to his deserts. If good deeds prevail, he is rewarded by being
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KONGO, THE SHERIFF. EMMA, THE JUDGE.
Carved wood, Japanese. (Reproduced from a Japanese art print.)
reincarnated in a higher state of existence, be it on earth, or in the Western Paradise, or in one of the heavens of the gods; or, if bad deeds prevail, he sinks into lower spheres, in which case he must go back to life in the shape of that creature which represents his peculiar character; or, if he has been very wicked, he is doomed to hell, whither he is carried in the ho nokuruma, the fiery cart, the conveyance of the infernal regions. The sentence is pronounced in these words:
"Thy evil deeds are not the work of thy mother, father, relatives, friends, advisers. Thou alone hast done them all; thou alone must gather the fruit." (Devad. S.)
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THE DEVIL AS A MONK.
Japanese wood carving of the seventeenth century. Musée Guimet.)
Dragged to the place of torment, he is fastened to red hot irons, plunged into fiery lakes of blood, raked over burning coals, and "he dies not till the last residue of his guilt has been expiated."
But the Devil is not always taken seriously, and it appears that the Chinese and Japanese exhibit all the humor they are capable of in their devil pictures and statues, among which the Oni-no-Nembutzu, the Devil as a monk, is perhaps the most grotesque figure.
In the later development of Northern Buddhism, all
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The demon repeating Buddha's name, representing greed and hypocrisy. He goes about with a subscription list and a bowl, carried by his little assistant, to collect money. (After a wood carving in the author's possession.)
the evils of this world, represented in various devil personalities, are conceived as incarnations of Buddha himself, who, by showing the evil consequences of sin, endeavors to convert mankind to holiness and virtue.
We find in the Buddhist temples of China and Japan so-called Mandaras, which represent the world-conception of Buddhism in its cosmic entirety. The word Mandara means "a complete ensemble," and it exhibits a systematically arranged group of Buddha-incarnations. The
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HONO KURUMA, THE CART OF HELL, (After an old Japanese painting.)
statue of the highest Buddha who dwells in Nirvana always stands in the centre. It is "Bodhi," enlightenment, or "Sambodhi," perfect enlightenment, that is to say, the Truth, eternal rightness, or rather, Verity, the objective reality that is represented in truth, which is the same forever and aye. He is personified under the name Amitabha, which means boundless light, being that something the recognition of which constitutes Buddhahood. He is like God, the Father of the Christians, omnipresent and eternal, the light and life of the world, and the
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TIBETAN DEVIL'S ALTAR. (From Waddell.)
ultimate authority of moral conduct. Another prominent Buddha incarnation is Maitreya, the Buddha to come, who is the Christian holy spirit. He is the comforter whose appearance was promised by Buddha shortly before parting from his disciples.
The catalogue of the Musée Guimet of Paris, the best religious museum in the world, describes a Mandara, in which the highest Buddha in the centre of the group is surrounded by a number of his incarnations of various degrees and dignities. These are the Bodhisattvas, prophets and sages of the world, who have either taught mankind or set them good examples by their virtuous lives. On the right we see a group of personified abstracts, piety, charity, science, religion, the aspiration for progress. On the left is a third class, consisting of the ugly figures of demons, whose appearance is destined to frighten people away from sensuality, egotism, and evil desires.
The devils of Buddhism, accordingly, are not the enemies of Buddha, and not even his antagonists, but his ministers and co-workers. They partake of Buddha's nature, for they, too, are teachers. They are the rods of punishment, representing the curse of sin, and as such have also been fitly conceived as incarnations of the Bodhi. In this interpretation, the Buddhist devils cease to be torturers and become instruments of education who contribute their share to the general system of working out the final salvation of man.
Christian salvation consists in an atonement of sin through the bloody sacrifice of a sinless redeemer; Buddhist salvation is attained through enlightenment. Hence
Christ is the sufferer, the innocent man who dies to pay with his life the debt of others who are guilty. Buddha,
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BUDDHA EXTENDING HIS HELP TO A SUFFERER IN HELL.
The goodwill that a poor wretch had shown in his former life to a spider, his only good deed, serves him in hell as a means of escape. (Reproduced from a colored Japanese illustration in Karma.)
is the teacher who by example and instruction shows people the path of salvation.
105:1 Papiyan means "more or very wicked"; it is the comparative form of the Sanskrit, papin, wicked.
105:2 Varsavarti is Sanskrit. The Pali form is Vasavatti, derived from vasa, wish, desire. Childers explains the word as "bringing into subjection." Mara is also called Paranimmita Vasavatti, which means "bringing into subjection that which is created by others."
105:3 Pali, tanha; Sanskrit, trishna.
108:1 Sacred Books of the East, Vol. X., second part, pp. 69-71.
113:1 Buddhistische Kunst in Indien. Berlin: Speman, p. 87.
116:1 The Visudhi Magga declares karma-existence is equivalent to existence.
116:2 Confection is a bad translation of formation or deed-form. See The Dharma, pp. 16-18.
120:1 Described by L. A. Waddell, M. B., M. R. A. S., in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, April, 1894. Luxuriously reproduced in colors on Plate 8, Vol. I., of The Paintings in the Buddhist Cave Temples of Ajanta, by John Griffiths. London, Griggs, 1896.
120:2 The Tibetan and Japanese pictures are explained by Professor Bastian in his Ethnologisches Bilderbuch.
121:1 We must remember that in some parts of India the serpent is the symbol of perfection and wisdom,--a belief which was adopted by the Ophites, a gnostic sect that revered the snake of the. Garden of Eden as the instructor in the knowledge of good and evil and the originator of science.