The Buddhist Mortal System.
The Ten virtues and Ten
vices–The cause of human stupidity is in the passions–The Five
prohibitions–The Ten prohibitions–Klaproth's praise of Buddhism–But it
is atheistic, and therefore this praise should be qualified–Kindness to
animals based on the fiction of transmigration–Buddhism teaches
compassion for suffering without inculcating obedience to divine
law–Story of Shakyamuni–Sin not distinguished from misery–Buddhists
teach that the moral sense is innate–They assign a moral nature to
animals–The Six paths of the metempsychosis–Hindoo notions of heaven and
hell–Countless ages of joy and suffering–Examples–Exemption from
punishment gained by meritorious actions–Ten kings of future
judgment–Fate or Karma–Buddhism depreciates heaven and the gods–Buddha
not God, but a Saviour–Moral influence of the Paradise of the Western
heaven–Figurative interpretation of this legend–The contemplative school
identifies good and evil–No moral distinctions in the Nirvâna–Buddhism
has failed to produce high morality–The Confucianist condemnation of the
Buddhists–Mr. P. Hordern's praise of Buddhism in Birmah–The Birmese
intellectually inferior to the Chinese–Kindness to animals known to the
Chinese before they received Buddhism–Buddha's reasons for not eating
THE books of
primitive Buddhism exhibit a higher moral tone than is found in the
larger works full of metaphysical abstractions, which succeeded them.
The "Book of Forty-two Sections," translated in the first century, and
belonging to the former class, speaks of Ten vices and Ten virtues as
belonging to mankind. The vices are: three of the body–killing,
stealing, and adultery; four of the lips–slandering, reviling, lying,
and elegant words (uttered
with a vicious
intention); three of the mind–jealousy, hatred, and "folly" (ch‘ï), the
last of which includes not believing in "the Honoured Three" (Buddha,
Dharma, Sanga), and holding erroneous opinions. The opposites of these
are the Ten virtues.
In the same
work Buddha says: "That which causes the stupidity and delusion of man
is love and the desires." "Man having many faults, if he does not
repent, but allows his heart to be at rest, sins will rush upon him like
water to the sea. When vice has thus become more powerful it is still
harder than before to abandon it. If a bad man becomes sensible of his
faults, abandons them and acts virtuously, his sin will day by day
diminish and be destroyed, till he obtains full enlightenment."
In the work
Kiau-ch‘eng-fa-shu, the three vices of the mind are described
as–covetousness, hatred, and folly. The Ten virtues that correspond to
the Ten vices are there stated to be–preserving life, almsgiving, a
"pure and virtuous life" (fan-hing), peaceful words, yielding words,
truthful words, plain unadorned words, abstinence from quarrelling,
mercy, and "acting from good causes" (yin-yuen).
describing the Buddhism of Ceylon, states the four sins of speech to
be–lying, slander, abuse, and unprofitable conversation. The three sins
of the mind he states to be–covetousness, malice, and scepticism.
The disciple of
Buddha, whether he enters a monastery or wears the prescribed dress and
continues in the family, must pledge himself to the five following
things:–(1.) not to kill; (2.) not to steal; (3.) not to commit
adultery; (4.) not to lie; (5.) not to drink wine. These are called
Wu-kiai, "The five prohibitions." In Hardy's Manual of Buddhism, five
evils to be avoided are mentioned–viz., (1.) drinking intoxicating
liquors; (2.) gambling; (3.) idleness; (4.) improper association; (5.)
frequenting places of amusement.
In the work
called Sheng-t‘ien-shïh-kiai-king, "The book
of birth in
heaven through keeping the ten prohibitions," a Deva informs Buddha that
he was born in the "heaven of the Thirty-three Devas" (that of Indra
Shakra), as a reward for reverencing the "Three Precious Ones" (Buddha,
the Law, and the Priesthood), for not inflicting death, or stealing, or
committing adultery, or slandering, or deceiving, or lying, or drinking
wine, or eating flesh, or coveting, or holding false opinions.
In the work
Kiau-ch‘eng fa-shu, the Ten prohibitions are stated to be:–(1.) killing;
(2.) stealing; (3.) adultery; (4.) lying; (5.) selling wine; (6.)
speaking of others' faults; (7.) praising one's-self and defaming
others; (8.) parsimony joined with scoffing; (9.) anger, and refusing to
be corrected; (10.) reviling the Three Precious Ones.
In the comment
on the Fan-wang-king, a work of the Great Development school in the
Discipline division, by Chï-hi徂, the Ten prohibitions are identified
with the Ten vices, but in the text the prohibitions are given as in the
Other lists of
prohibitions might be transcribed amounting to two hundred and fifty,
and even higher numbers. For these it will be sufficient to refer to the
works already mentioned.
having in view these moral precepts, and their effects on the character
of nations, speaks of Buddhism as being of all religions next to
Christianity in elevating the human race.
He says: "The
wild nomades of Central Asia have been changed by it into amiable and
virtuous men, and its beneficent influence has been felt even in
influence of this religion would have been much greater had it
recognised the love and fear of God as the first of all the virtues.
Buddhism, by ascribing the creation, continuance, and destruction of the
world to an ever-changing fate, avoided the necessity of admitting a
supreme God. This was the side the Buddhists took in their controversies
with the Brahmans in India.
Atheism is one
point in the faith of the Southern Buddhists. By the Chinese Buddhists
each world is held to be presided over by an individual Buddha, but they
do not hold that one supreme spirit rules over the whole collection of
worlds. Klaproth affirms that, according to, the Buddhists and the other
Hindoos, "the universe is animated by a single spirit, individualised
under innumerable forms, 'by' (par) matter which does not exist except
in illusion." This spirit, however, is not God, the universal Creator
and Preserver, and separated from the world by His everlasting
resulted doubtless in many instances from the prominent exhibition made
by this system of the virtues and vices enumerated. But much more good
would have been done if they had rested on a better basis, and been
supported by a different view of the future state. The crime of killing
rests chiefly on the doctrine of metempsychosis, which ascribes the same
immortal soul to animals that it does to man. Faithful Buddhists are
told not to kill the least insect, lest in so doing they should cause
death to some deceased relative or ancestor whose soul animates the
insect. On this account the corresponding virtue is stated to be
fang-sheng, "to save life," constantly applied by the Buddhist priests
and common people of China to the preservation of the lives of animals.
The monks are vegetarians for the same reasons. They abstain from flesh
because they will not share in the slaughter of living beings. They also
construct reservoirs of water near the monasteries, in which fish,
snakes, tortoises, and small shell-fish, brought by worshippers of
Buddha, are placed to preserve them from death. Goats and other land
animals are also given over sometimes to the care of the monks, and it
is a custom in some monasteries, as at T‘ien-t‘ung, near Ningpo, to feed
a bird with a few grains of rice just before the morning meal has
commenced. When the priest appears at the door, the little bird, which
is watching in the neighbourhood,
and knows how
to act on the occasion, flies to receive the gift.
In the Buddhist
account of human sins and duties no obligation is included except the
duty of lessening the sum of human misery and promoting happiness. This
accords with the anecdote already related of Shakyamuni in his youth.
His father, remembering the forewarning of a hermit, that the prince his
son would wish to abandon the world, erected for him three palaces,
where everything fascinating was placed to keep him from such a purpose.
The son of a Deva came down to praise the beauty of the gardens and
But the prince,
then eighteen years old, wished to go out and see the city. The king
sent him with a wise minister to attend him. A Deva appeared at one of
the city gates transformed into an old man resting on a staff. At
another gate a Deva appeared as a sick person in pain and helpless. At
another gate he saw a corpse attacked by ravens–also a Deva. The prince
asked in each case the reason of what he saw. The wise counsellor told
him these sufferings came from the natural state of the world, and could
not be avoided. People must grow old, must suffer from sickness, and
must die. The prince was not satisfied, and the next day, seeing a Deva
dressed as a monk, he dismounted from his horse and asked him who he
was. The reply was, "A Shamen 1 who has left the world." The prince
asked him why he had left the world. He said, because he saw men exposed
to the evils of birth, old age, sickness, and death; he therefore left
the world to seek truth and save living beings. The disguised Deva then
ascended into the air and disappeared.
assisted by the Devas, Shakyamuni is said to have gone through the air
on horseback two hundred and fifty miles to Baga, a mountain belonging
continues] Himalayas. Here he lived as a hermit for six years, and
became prepared for the office he was to assume.
the view thus presented of the great object of Buddha's teaching, it is
to deliver men from suffering. This is done by persuading them to enter
on the monastic or hermit life, and act in obedience to the directions
of Buddha. This system looks on mankind as involved in misery rather
than guilt. The Ten vices are rather to be regarded as faults, into
which men fall from delusion and ignorance, than positive sins. The
common people in China, whose phraseology is extensively infected with
Buddhist ideas, see in every attack of sickness, and in other
misfortunes, a close connection with "sin" (tsui). They hold that sin is
the cause of suffering. Yet they do not mean by this wilful sin, but
some improper act done unconsciously, or in childhood, as treading on an
insect, wasting rice-crumbs, or misusing paper that has the native
characters upon it. Or they refer the calamity to the sins of a former
life. Hence they regard themselves as more to be pitied than blamed for
the tsui or "sin" of which their ill fortune gives evidence.
This is an
example of the mode in which the better tendencies of the Buddhist
system are neutralised by its omissions. Its moral precepts, good as
most of them are, would have more power, and the true character of sin
be more felt by the people, if the authority of God were recognised as
the great reason for acting well–the source of moral obligation.
the faith of the Chinese in Heaven as a personal ruler, and put the
Buddhas and Bodhisattwas in the place of that personal ruler. The effect
of Buddhism in part was to urge the Chinese mind to see in Heaven only
impersonal and material power. Thus the good effect of its moral
teaching was neutralised; and then the Chinese had good moral teaching
that has been raised by European moralists as to whether man has from
his natural constitution an
sense, is decided by the Buddhists, though without holding a controversy
on the subject, in the affirmative. They may be said to appeal to a
natural conscience, when they teach that all men have within them a good
moral nature, and that this principle of good is only prevented from
making men virtuous and happy by contact with the world and the
delusions of the senses. This is similar to the Confucian doctrine, that
all men are born good, and it is only by falling into evil habits
subsequently that they become vicious. Most systems of morals, indeed, 1
in words or by implication, admit the existence of conscience, because
all men possess it, and cannot be made to understand moral distinctions
without it. 2 The existence of a system of virtues and vices shows the
operation of conscience on the maker of it, as the use of that system in
moral instruction involves an appeal to conscience in the disciple. The
identification of conscience, however, with natural goodness, by the
Confucianists and the Buddhists, obscures its true character as the
judge between right and wrong. And to tell men that they are naturally
good is not only assuming, in compliment to human nature, a fact that
should be proved, but it is also likely to induce those who are thus
taught to look leniently on their own vices as originating solely in the
influences of the outside world. The feebleness of the Buddhist appeal
to conscience, as the source of moral obligation, is further increased
by its assigning the same originally good nature to each member of the
animal creation that it does to man.
The motives to
well-doing, drawn from a future state of retribution in this system, are
derived from the Hindoo popular account of heaven and hell. The Six
life-paths into which living beings can be born are–(1.) "Devas"
continues] (gods); (2.) men; (3.) "Asuras" (monsters); (4.) "hell"
(naraka); (5.) hungry ghosts; (6.) animals. The first three are assigned
to the good, the latter three to the wicked. The moral action is called
yin (cause), and its recompense kwo (fruit). All beings, whether
virtuous or vicious, continue to be re-born in one of these six states,
until saved by the teaching of Buddha.
"To leave the three evil states is difficult. When the state of man has
been attained, to leave the female sex and be born in the male, is
difficult. To have the senses and mind and body all sound is hard. When
this is attained, to be born in Central India is hard." He continues to
say, that to meet Buddha and be instructed, to be born in the time of a
good king, to be born in the family of a Bodhisattwa, and to believe
with the heart in the Three Honoured Ones, are all difficult.
Buddha said, 1
in a discourse delivered in the heaven of Indra Shakra, that whatever
good man or woman heard the name of Ti-tsang Bodhisattwa, and in
consequence performed an act of praise or worship, or repeated that
Bodhisattwa's name, or made an offering to him, or drew a picture of
him, such a person would certainly be born in the heaven of Indra
Bodhisattwa tells the mother of Buddha, who resides in the paradise just
mentioned, that “disobedience to parents, with slaying, and wounding,
are punished with an abode in the place of suffering called
Wu-kien-ti-y徂. Slandering the Three Precious Ones, or wounding the
person of Buddha, or dishonouring the sacred books, or breaking the
vows, or stealing from a monk, are punished in a similar way. Their
punishment will last for ten millions of millions of kalpas. Then their
sin being compensated for by sufficient suffering, they will be
"If a woman
with an ugly countenance and sickly constitution prays to this
Bodhisattwa, she will, for a million of kalpas, be born with a beautiful
countenance." If any
men or women
perform music before the image of the same deity, sing, and offer
incense, they shall have hundreds and thousands of spirits to protect
them day and night, so that no unpleasant sound may enter their ears.
Any one who slanders or ridicules a worshipper of this Bodhisattwa will
be transported to the "Avichi naraka" (O-pi ti-y徂) till the end of this
kalpa. He will then be born a wandering hungry ghost, and, after a
thousand kalpas become an animal. After a thousand kalpas more he will
again become a man.
Such are a few
specimens of the doctrine of retribution as taught to the popular mind.
It is easy to see that such sensual conceptions of the future existence
of man must degrade the common notions of the people on duty and virtue.
The objects for which the common people in China worship in the
Buddhist temples are almost all of a very inferior nature. Religious
worship, which ought to concern the recovery of man to pure virtue, and
the restoration of direct communication with God by the forgiveness of
sin, is changed into an instrument for acquiring various kinds of
The opinion the
Buddhists hold on the forgiveness of sin is, that it can be attained by
repentance and meritorious actions. A definite amount of gifts and
worship will gain the removal of a corresponding amount of sin and its
attendant suffering. Thus, a filial daughter, by a certain number of
days spent in worshipping a Bodhisattwa, or a Buddha, can obtain the
rescue of a mother from hell.
In the popular
view of the future state, the Hindoo king of death, "Yama" (Yen-lo)
holds a high place as the administrator of the punishments of hell. Nine
others are joined with him of Chinese origin. They are called the Ten
kings. The wicked at death are conducted to them to receive judgment.
The decree by
which men are born into the Six states of the metempsychosis is merely
that of fate, expressed in the words yin-kwo, "cause and effect," or,
yin-yuen, "causation," or "fate" (karma). "Good actions" are also
sometimes called yin-yuen, because they ultimately bring happiness to
The motive to a
good life, drawn from heavenly happiness, cannot be considered a strong
one, when the Devas and their felicity are systematically depreciated,
as they are in Buddhism. The "Devas" (or popular Hindoo gods; in
Chinese, t‘ien) are all mortal, and limited in power. The state of man
may be so elevated as to approach to that of the paradise of the Devas.
Some men attain to nearly the same power as the gods, e.g., Krishna.
Southey, in the Curse of Kehama, has made that personage, although a
man, a terror to the kings of the Devas, and such a representation is in
accordance with Hindoo notions. So in Chinese Buddhist temples, the
visitor sees the highest of celestial beings listening humbly to Buddha.
It may be said
that it is not correct to institute or imply a parallel between God as
He is in the view of the Christian, and the Hindoo deities. It may be
said that a parallel between God and Buddha would be more just. But
Buddha is a world-born man, who washes away his sins like others, by
penances, offerings, and the teaching of some enlightened instructor. He
is not said to create the universe, nor to act as the judge of mankind.
He is simply a teacher of the most exalted kind, who, by superior
knowledge, passes out of the world of delusion, and gradually attains
the Nirvâna. His attitude towards his disciples is simply that of an
instructor, not an authoritative superior. The tie by which the disciple
is attached to him is that of voluntary not compulsory obedience.
In fact, the
character ascribed to Buddha is rather that of a Saviour than that of
God. The object of his life and teaching is to rescue living beings from
their misery. While such is the character of Buddha as he is described
in books, he is, as an object of popular worship, like the great
Bodhisattwas, simply regarded as a powerful divinity.
A brief notice
will here be taken of the ethical views of some of the Chinese sects.
The Tsing-tu school substitutes a paradise of purely Buddhist invention
for that of Hindoo mythology. It makes birth in the Western heaven, the
abode of Amitabha Buddha, the reward of virtue. The description of this
paradise consists entirely of things pleasing to the senses. It is
popularly regarded as real, but the founder of the Y徂n-ts‘i school in
his commentary on the "Amitabha Sutra," 1 explains it as figurative.
According to this explanation, the Western heaven means the moral
nature, confirmed, pure, and at rest. Amitabha means the mind, clear,
and enlightened. The rows of trees mean the mind cultivating the
virtues. The music means the harmony of virtues in the mind. The
flowers, and particularly the lotus, mean the mind opening to
consciousness and intelligence. The beautiful birds mean the mind
becoming changed and renovated.
It is evident
that, on adopting this mode of commenting on the fable of the Western
heaven, it cannot any longer be honestly held out as a future state of
reward, to attract men to good actions.
The object of
this figurative interpretation of the Western paradise of Amitabha was,
doubtless, to redeem the Tsing-tu school from the discredit into which
it had fallen, by abandoning the Nirvâna in favour of a sensual heaven.
The original inventors of the fiction must also have had such a notion
of it as that here given, while they did not try to prevent its being
accepted as real by the ignorant and uninquiring.
contemplative school, founded by Bodhidharma, the distinction of vice
and virtue is lost. To the mind that is given up to its own abstract
meditations, the outer world becomes obliterated. A person who attends
simply to his own heart may revile Buddha without sin, for nothing is
sin to him. He does not make offerings or pray. All actions are the same
to him. This system;
however, is not
in opposition to ethical distinctions. It only aims to enter a higher
sphere. It seeks to attain a sort of Nirvâna even in the present life.
In the books of
this school, as in others where the unreality of all sensible phenomena
is maintained, virtue and vice occupy an inferior position. These
notions only come into existence through the imperfection of the present
state. They disappear altogether when an escape from it is effected, by
admission into the higher region of pure enlightenment. Virtue and
vice, life and death, happiness and misery, the antithetical states
originated in the world of delusions to which we belong, are all
condemned together as constituting a lower state of existence. All
beings should strive to be freed from them, and to rise by Buddha's
teaching to that perfection where every such diversity, moral or
physical, will be lost in unity. The Nirvâna does not admit any such
distinctions as those just mentioned. It is absolute and pure
illumination, without anything definite attached to it, whether good or
evil, pain or pleasure. Thus there is no place for ethics, except in the
lower modes of life.
It is common
for intelligent priests in China of the contemplative school to defend
their system of idolatry by saying that they do not worship images
themselves. They are intended for the ignorant who cannot comprehend the
deeper principles of their religion. Religion being purely a matter of
the heart, offerings and prostrations are really unnecessary. This
exemplifies how what is regarded as a highly virtuous action in the
common people, ceases to be so in the case of one who, as he thinks, has
made some progress towards the state of Buddha. According to this view
the consistent Buddhist will offer worship to no being whatever. He
simply aims to raise himself above all the common feelings of human
wonder that the Buddhist system of ethics having such deficiencies and
such faults as have been pointed out, has failed to produce high
morality among its
mass of the people have gained from it the notion of a future
retribution, but what is the use of this when the promised state beyond
death consists merely of clumsy fiction? The metempsychosis,
administered by a moral fate, has only provided them with a convenient
means for charging their sinfulness and their misfortunes on a former
life. What virtue the people have among them is due to the Confucian
system. Buddhism has added to it only idolatry, and a false view of the
future state, but has not contributed to make the people more virtuous.
complains of "a worthy and learned English missionary" (Dr. Marshman of
Serampore) for saying, "Unhappily for mankind, Buddhism . . . was now
fitted to spread its baneful influence to any extent."
These modes of
expression are not, however, by any means too strong to describe the
effects of this religion in China if we accept the Confucianist view of
Buddhism. No thorough-going disciple of Confucius would think this
language too strong if only Buddhism be judged from the standpoint of
political and social morality. Surely if the Confucianist cannot see how
the monk, who forsakes his family and his duties as a working citizen,
is to be excused from heavy condemnation, the Christian also may be
permitted to criticise with severity a system which denies the authority
of God, identifies the moral nature of men and animals, teaches mankind
to look to man instead of to God for redemption, and amuses the
imagination with the most monstrous fictions of the unseen world and of
the future state.
The morality of
Buddhism has received very high praise from more recent writers.
Professor Max M徂ller says, "The moral code of Buddhism is one of the
most perfect the world has ever known." Mr. P. Hordern, the Director of
Public Instruction in Birmah, says, “The poor heathen is guided in his
daily life by precepts older and not less noble than the precepts of
birth of Christ men were taught by the life and doctrine of one of the
greatest men who ever lived lessons of the purest morality. The child
was taught to obey his parents and to be tender of all animal life, the
man to love his neighbour as himself, to be true and just in all his
dealings, and to look beyond the vain shows of the world for true
happiness. Every shade of vice was guarded by special precepts. Love in
its widest sense of universal charity was declared to be the mother of
all the virtues, and even the peculiarly Christian precepts of the
forgiveness of injuries and the meek acceptance of insult were already
taught in the farthest East.
Birmah it is a daily thing to see men, women, and children kneeling on
the road side, their hands clasped, and their faces turned devoutly to a
distant pagoda; while at the weekly festivals, or the full moons, the
devotions of the mass of the population is among the most interesting
spectacles in the whole East."
It is otherwise
in China. Though the Buddhists have good precepts they are very much
neglected, even in the teaching. Books containing hard metaphysical
dogma such as the non-existence of matter, form much more the subject of
daily reading. The monks are subject constantly to the Confucianist
criticism that they are not filial to parents nor useful working members
of the commonwealth. A widely-extended monastic system does not approve
itself to the Chinese political consciousness any more than it has done
to European governments in times of revolution. The charge of laziness
and neglect of social duties was made the ground of persecution in
former days. At present, while Confucianism has ceased to persecute
Buddhism, it has never withdrawn its indictment against it on the ground
of morality. Indeed, all the force of the moral teaching of the Chinese
is in Confucianism and not in Buddhism. It is the moral sense of the
Chinese themselves that is energetic and influential so far as they are
really a moral people. The Buddhist
moral code is
feebleness itself compared with the Confucianist. This is partly because
it is entangled by the coexistence with it of monkery as a life, and of
the metempsychosis and metaphysical nihilism as dogma.
Then in regard
to the power of Buddhism to elevate a people above the vain shows of the
world and render then devotional, the conclusion to be drawn from the
effect of this religion in the Chinese is very different from that
adopted by Mr. Hordern in regard to Birmah. The Chinese intellect is
strong and independent in its judgments, and it does not accept the
fictions of Buddhism. The Hindoo mind cannot dominate the Chinese mind,
and the contemplative life has no attractions for the countrymen of
Confucius. The foreign resident in China does not witness the appearance
of devotion which has won the admiration of Mr. Hordern in Birmah.
The power shown
by Buddhism to win the faith of the Birmese I should rather trace to
the superiority of the Hindoo race over the mountain tribes of the
Indo-Chinese peninsula. The Birmese belong, with the Thibetans, to the
Bod race, which, having no intellectual development of its own, accepted
the Hindoo religion when brought them by the Buddhist teachers. The
superiority of Hindoo arts and civilisation helped Buddhism to make this
conquest. Bishop Bigandet 1 says: “The Birmese want the capability to
understand the Buddhist metaphysics. If the Buddhist moral code in
itself has the power to influence a people so far as to render them
virtuous and devotional, independently of the element of intellectual
superiority, we still lack the evidence of it.
"The success of
Buddhism is in this respect the reverse of the success of Christianity,
which, originating in Judea, subjugated both Greece and Rome without
aid from intellectual superiority."
I just add here
that the Confucianists do not allow that kindness to animals was first
taught them by Buddhism.
continues] They find it in their own ancient books. Thus Mencius made
the compassion felt by a prince, Tsi Siuen-wang, for a bullock about to
be slaughtered, a ground for his exhibiting compassion still more for
the people he governed. He had been distressed at the shuddering of the
bullock chosen for sacrifice, and ordered it to be changed for a sheep,
which was done. Confucianism assumes that pity for animals is natural
for the human heart. The mother of Mencius moved her residence from the
neighbourhood of a butcher's shop because she would not have her boy,
while of tender years, witness daily that which would make him cruel.
Yet it cannot
fairly be denied that beneficial effects must follow from the great
prominence and publicity assigned to compassion as an attribute of
Buddha to be imitated by every devout believer. The salvation of
multitudes from suffering is held up as his great achievement, and to
this he was prompted by disinterested pity.
Confucianists would probably admit, while they would never allow that
there is any ground to believe in the Buddhist metempsychosis, on which
pity for animals is often made to rest for its basis. With Buddhist
temples and monks everywhere, the Chinese do not accept the teaching
that the souls of men migrate into animals, nor do the monks cordially
reasons the Buddhists give for sparing the life of all animals, they do
not mention the duty of not inflicting unnecessary pain, nor do they say
that Buddha has a sovereign power to make laws, and he having made this
law it must be obeyed.
are of a lower sort, or they are based on dogmatised necessity. This,
like other matters, is by the Buddhists treated in a thoroughly
utilitarian and selfish way. Only in one point it is not so. They are
invariably conscious of "moral fate," the karma, pervading the universe
by an inevitable and unconquerable
to animals is sure to bring happiness, as cruelty will cause
are the reasons given by Buddha for abstinence from animal food:–
First, In the
endless changes of the metempsychosis, persons in the relation to me of
any of the six divisions of kindred have become, from time to time, some
of the animals used for food. To avoid eating my relations I ought to
smell and taste are not clean.
smell causes fear among the various animals.
Fourth, To eat
animal food prevents charms and other magical devices from taking
The writer who
invented these reasons and put them in the mouth of Buddha, did not add
the certainty of the retribution of the karma, as an additional motive
for showing compassion to objects possessed of life, but this is
understood and lies underneath all Buddhistic thought.
Sanscrit, Shramana; but according to the commentator on the "Life of
Buddha," Shakamananga, meaning "Diligence and cessation."
194:1 Paley and
those who side with him, who have attempted to construct a moral system
without a natural sense of right and wrong in man, must be excepted.
is now accounted for by evolution. The School of Darwin and Spencer
refuses to accept moral law as eternal. Yet all the Asiatic religions
make it their basis.
O-mi-to-king-su-ts‘au, by Lieu-sï-ta-shï.
202:1 See Vie
de Gaudama, p. 412.