The Creed of Half Japan - Arthur Lloyd - E-Book

The Creed of Half Japan E-Book

Arthur Lloyd

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First published in 1911, "The Creed of Half Japan" is a scholarly study of the evolution of Mahayana Buddhism in Japan by Arthur Lloyd
Lloyd was particularly interested in how Eastern religions interacted with those in the west. A Christian clergyman and long-time resident in Japan at the turn of the 20th century, Arthur Lloyd felt that Buddhism has much in common with Christianity, including possible historical links. In this book he discusses doctrinal and narrative parallels between Mahayana Buddhism and early Christian, Gnostic, and Manichean beliefs.

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Table of contents

THE CREED OF HALF JAPAN

Preface

Chapter 1. Mahāyāna

Chapter 2. The Stage On Which S’akyamuni Made His Appearance

Chapter 3. The Buddha And His Greatest Disciple

Chapter 4. The Pre-Christian Expansion Of Buddhism

Chapter 5. Pusityamitra

Chapter 6. The New Testament In Touch With The East

Chapter 7. Alexandria And Antioch At The Time Of Christ

Chapter 8. The Legend Of St. Thomas

Chapter 9. The Call From China

Chapter 10. Buddhism Just Before The Coming Of Christianity

Chapter 11. As’vaghosha

Chapter 12. Nāgārjuna

Chapter 13. The Missionaries Of The Han

Chapter 14. Dharmagupta

Chapter 15. Manichæism

Chapter 16. China In The Third, Fourth, And Fifth Centuries

Chapter 17. Buddhism Reaches Japan

Chapter 18. The Crown Prince Shōtoku Taishi

Chapter 19. Buddhism During The Nara Period From A.D. 621–782

Chapter 20. Heian Buddhism

Chapter 21. "Namudaishi"

Chapter 22. The Buddhism Of The Gempei Period

Chapter 23. The Buddhism Of Kamakura

Chapter 24. Nichiren And The Earlier Sects

Chapter 25. “Risshō Ankoku Ron”

Chapter 26. The Mongols

Chapter 27. The Buddhism Of The Muromachi Age

Chapter 28. The Period Of The Catholic Missions

Chapter 29. The Buddhism Of The Tokugawa Period

Chapter 30. Recapitulation

THE CREED OF HALF JAPAN

Arthur Lloyd

HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF JAPANESE BUDDHISM

Preface

I can only plead for my book that it is the work of a pioneer, and every pioneer knows that his labours must necessarily be crude and imperfect. I foresee all the strictures that criticism will pass upon my labours, and shall be more than content if what I have written stimulates others to further research.

More should have been said about the lives and teachings of Hōnen, Shinran, and other leaders of the Jōdo or Pure Land sects. The omission is due to the fact that I have already dealt with these thinkers in a monograph entitled "Shinran and His Work," which I published in Tokyo last year. Even with these omissions I fear this book will seem rather bulky.

My best thanks are due to the Master of Peterhouse, who has put himself to much trouble on my behalf.

A. LLOYD.

Tokyo, June 24, 1911.

Chapter 1. Mahāyāna

The Mahāyāna is a form of Buddhism. The word means "the Large Vehicle" or "Conveyance," and is used to distinguish the later and amplified Buddhism from the Hīnayāna or Small Vehicle, which contains the doctrines of that form of Buddhism which is purely Indian. The original language of the Hīnayāna Scriptures is Pali, the language of Magadha in S’akyamuni's lifetime; that of the Mahāyāna books is Sanskrit, the literary tongue of the Brahmans, adopted by Greeks, Parthians, and Scythians as a means of theological expression, when they came in turns to be masters of North-West India and the fertile valleys watered by the Indus and its tributaries, in the Punjaub and in Afghanistan, the language of many a controversy about philosophy human and divine, as Brahman and Buddhist strove in the early centuries of our era for the spiritual supremacy of India.

It would be a mistake to suppose that the Greater Vehicle differs from the Lesser only because it contains in it more of subtle dialectic and daring speculation. The case is not so: the Pali books are every whit as deep and every whit as full of speculation as their Sanskrit rivals. The Hīnayāna is the Lesser Vehicle only because it is more limited in its area. It draws its inspiration from India and from India only, and had it been possible to confine Buddhism within the limits of the Magadhan kingdom, or even within the limits of As’oka's actual dominions, we may safely infer that it would have continued to be Hīnayāna only, as has been the case in Ceylon, where it has not been obliged to rub shoulders with deeply modifying or disturbing influences. But when once Buddhism stepped outside the limits of India pure and simple, to seek converts amongst Greeks and Parthians, Bactrians, Medes, Turks, Scythians, Chinese, and all the chaos of nations that has made the history of Central Asia so extremely perplexing to the student, immediately its horizon was enlarged by the inclusion of many outside elements of philosophic thought. It was no longer the comfortable family coach in which India might ride to salvation: it was the roomy omnibus intended to accommodate men of all races and nations and to convey them safely to the Perfection of Enlightened Truth. It is true that it never forgot the rock from whence it had been hewn; that it always spoke of itself as a religion intended primarily for the world of India. With a touching shamefacedness, it tried to gloss over the inconsistency of its own missionary zeal. The boundaries of India were supposed to enlarge themselves as the missionaries of Buddhism advanced towards the East. The Hindu Kush and the Himalayas ceased to be the boundaries of the sacred land of Jambudvīpa. In process of time Jambudvīpa included Central Asia, China, and even Japan. 1

The Mahāyāna was probably a matter of slow and, at first, unobserved growth. Among the numerous sects which divided the Hīnayāna at the commencement of the Christian era, some were probably more comprehensive, more advanced, than others, and there must have been some which had almost reached to the expansive fulness of the Mahāyāna itself. Very little indeed is known of the history of Buddhism between the death of As’oka and the dawn of the Christian era—during the period, that is, when the Mahāyāna was in the state of gestation. What we do know is that about the end of the first century of the Christian era, between five and six hundred years after the death of Buddha, the Mahāyāna comes into existence in Kashmir and North-West India and the valley of the Indus; that it enjoys the patronage of the Scythian conquerors of those districts, whose conversion to Buddhism may have been due, in the first place, to a politic desire to stand well with their newly acquired Buddhist subjects; that it was adorned by some great names of saints and doctors; and that it spread from the land of its birth to the most distant regions of Northern and Eastern Asia.

It is not necessary in this work to write a long and elaborate life of S’akyamuni. That subject has been exhaustively treated of by many great scholars, and Japan has very little of new material to contribute towards it. I shall take up the main thread of my story from the time when the Mahāyāna makes its first distinct appearance on the stage of Eastern religious life, that is, during the first century of the Christian era. In doing so, I shall have to touch on the first beginnings of Christianity also, the contemporary faith which, in those early days, converted the West, while failing, comparatively, to win the East for Christ, just as the Mahāyāna seemed to be hindered from impressing itself on the West, while it has had a free course and a lasting success in the lands of the Far East. In the course of these pages certain considerations will be advanced (with how much of convincing power it must rest with the reader to decide) to show that the two faiths came into actual contact with one another in many points during the first and second centuries of our era, and that each contributed something to the success and failure of the other. It is a most difficult subject to handle, and before setting myself to work at it, I can but pray—a good old-fashioned custom for which I am almost ashamed to feel myself obliged to offer an apology—that nothing I write may offend against that sacred cause of Truth, which should be the only aim of the scientific and Christian scholar.

But, before plunging into my subject proper, it seems but right that I should devote a few short chapters to the consideration of the person of the Founder, and of the extent of As’oka's influence, as shown by the rock inscriptions which that monarch has left behind him. These chapters will enable the reader more accurately to estimate the extent of the acquaintance which we may suppose Europe and India to have had of one another at the time when Christianity and the Mahāyāna sprang simultaneously into life.

Chapter 2. The Stage On Which S’akyamuni Made His Appearance

The Sūtras which are commonly received as giving an authentic account of the teachings of the S’akyamuni, 2 will also furnish us with certain geographical and other data which are necessary for us if we would form a correct picture of India in the sixth century B.C., the India in which S’akyamuni taught and laboured.3

We need not take a very wide geographical survey. What actually concerns us is a small portion of the valley of the Ganges, comprising practically the two districts of Oudh and Behar, 4 stretching to the east as far as Patna, to the west as far as Allahabad. The Himalayas form the northern boundary of S’akyamuni's country, the Ganges is practically its southern limit; the only exception being that Bodhigaya and the district intimately connected with the Enlightenment of the Tathāgata lie to the south of the sacred river. Later developments of the Buddhist communities may make it necessary for us to enlarge our geographical inquiries, but for the present these boundaries will suffice for our consideration. They will enable us to follow the life of the Great Master in all its principal phases.

The Buddhist Sūtras tell us a good deal about the population of the country in which the Wheel of the Law was set in motion.

The India of S’akyamuni's time was under the domination of an Aryan race, which had conquered the land and brought into it institutions not unlike those which we find in some other Aryan countries, Athens, for instance. 5 They had divided the population into four great castes, of whom the fourth, possibly also the third, may have been mixed with some of the conquered races, whilst the two higher ones certainly belonged to the nobility of the conquest. In S’akyamuni's time the Sudras, or low-caste people, and the Vaiśyas, or merchants and farmers, lived quietly, without any part or lot in the privileges of national life, contented to devote themselves to the pursuit of their several vocations; the Kshatriyas and Brahmans, having accomplished the subjugation of the other two castes, were struggling against each other for supremacy in State and Society. Chief among the Kshatriyan tribes which resisted the supremacy claimed by the Brahmans were the clans known collectively as the S’akyans, who were politically supreme in the districts actually affected by S’akyamuni's life. S’akyan was, however, only a collective name: the clans were distinguished from one another by tribal names as well, such as Licchāvis, Vrijjis, Mallas, Andhas, etc., some of which remain to the present day. The S’akyan nobles, 6 it is said, welcomed the person of S’akyamuni, their kinsman prophet, whose teachings encouraged them in their resistance to Brahman usurpations, but they were not always equally willing to adopt his practical teachings. The Brahmans, ultimately victorious in the struggle for political and religious supremacy in India, have had their revenge on these S’akyan tribes by refusing to consider them as families of pure descent. It is hard to determine the point. All Buddhists claim that S’akyamuni's lineage came from Ikshvaku, 7 the descendant of Manu, the descendant of Brahma. Licchāvis ruled later, by virtue of Kshatriyan descent, in Nepaul, Bhutan, Ladakh, and (through marriage) in Tibet, and the Licchāvi dynasty in Nepaul was succeeded by a line of Malla kings. At the same time it must be admitted that we have from the very earliest times traces of intercourse between Nepaul, Tibet, and China, which should be considered.

China, as shown by the late Prof. Lacouperie and others, e.g. Mr. Morse (in his "Trade and Administration of the Chinese Empire"), was occupied, before the advent of the Chinese from Western Asia, by many aboriginal tribes, whom it took the Chinese centuries to absorb successfully into themselves. Many of these original tribes, such as the Lolo, the Mantsze, and the Miao, took leading parts in Chinese history, and many of them would seem to have had dealings with nations beyond the borders of their empire. The earliest traditions of Nepaul ascribe the first draining and development of their land, in pre-Buddhistic times, to the Bodhisattva Manjuśri (Jap. Monju), whose chief temple is at Wu-tai-chan, near Pekin, who is the patron deity, par excellence, of the western and northern tribes of China, and who is considered to be perpetually reincarnated in the person of the Manchu sovereign of China. 8 It seems probable, therefore, that Manjuśri9 was originally the deified hero of one of the tribes of Northern China, possibly the Mantsze, that he distinguished himself during his lifetime by his successful development and colonization of Nepaul, and that he was subsequently adopted into the Buddhist pantheon by the all-embracing Mahāyāna. As M. Sylvain Levi has said, it is impossible as yet adequately to define the extent of the influence exerted on Buddhism in remote times by China and neighbouring countries.

Buddhism has always been the religion of merchants. The Sūtras tell us of many wealthy traders who supported the order by their generous donations. There must have been a great volume of trade. The S’akyan nobles, who constantly address S’akyamuni as gotama, "herdsman" (apparently a common mode of address), were of the same race as the herdsmen of the Himalayas. There is at least one Sutra which speaks of the wool merchant from across the mountains, and it is indeed to wandering S’akyan herdsmen that is attributed the opening up of the valley of Lhassa in Thibet. One of S’akyamuni's earliest disciples was a merchant's son from Benares named Yaśas. He has been identified (wrongly, as I think) with S’anavaśas, the third patriarch of the Northern succession. Now, S’anavaśas is described as having been a ship-captain. True, he may only have been the skipper of a Ganges barge; but there are two later patriarchs of whom it is expressly stated that they had penetrated as far as Turkestan in their travels.

To the lowest class, the Sudras, belonged one at least of S’akyamuni's disciples, Upali, the barber. But there are traces of lower strata of society more degraded even than the Sudras. There is a record of a mission, 10 conducted by the master in person, to a tribe of cannibals, whom he converted to better ways; and many have seen in the Nāgas, Gandhāras, Kinnaras, and other half-mythical companies of beings, the traces of aboriginal tribes of a low order. This is especially the case with the Nāgas, who are so constantly appearing in the Sūtras. They were most probably savages whose name was given to them from their worship of serpents (still practised in India). In the Nepaulese legend they appear as the original inhabitants of the swamps opened up by the civilizing Manjuśri. Driven out by Manjuśri, they take refuge in Nāgaloka, 11 the world of the Nāgas, or serpents, which to the Nepaulese is Thibet. Strange to say, the Thibetan records also speak of Nāgas and Nāgaloka; but in their case Nāgaloka is China. This seems to me to be another instance of a very early intercourse between India and China, or at least with those districts of Central Asia which had early connections with that empire.

Hindoo philosophy, such as we now understand it, 12 did not exist. That would seem to have been the product of a later age. The Brahman religion existed, but in its infancy. The day of the Vedic gods was not yet over; men still bowed before Indra, Varuna, and the rest of the ancient deities, and the gods whom Buddhism has adopted into its pantheon, such as, e.g., the twin deities that guard the entrance to the temples of the older sects in Japan, belong exclusively to the early period. The Brahmans had doubtless begun the formation of the theological system which was to fetter the intellect as it had fettered the social liberties of the people; but the system was not yet completed, and there were many among the Kshatriyas who openly resisted the pretensions of the sacerdotal class. 13 It was, also, a period of great religious zeal and inquiry. Time and again, in reading the biographical notices connected with the proceedings of S’akyamuni, we find that his converts were men who had for years been searchers after truth; in some cases, as, e.g., that of Uruvilva Kaśyapa, they had themselves been religious teachers, and drew their own followers after them to swell the ranks of S’akyamuni's disciples. But it would seem as though before S’akyamuni's time there was but one path known for the searcher after truth to follow—the way of austerities and penance, which brought power and influence to the sacerdotal Brahmans, without always leading the searcher to the much-coveted enlightenment and peace. 14

Not all these searchers were convinced by Buddha's methods. S’akyamuni had many rivals, of whom one at least founded a system of belief which has endured to our own time. Mahāvīra, the founder of the Jain sect, was the contemporary of S’akyamuni, and died in the Kosala country, not many miles from the place where S’akyamuni went to his rest, apparently in the same year as his more celebrated rival. Jainism and Buddhism are kindred faiths, and the Jainists and Buddhists seem to have always looked upon one another as brethren, or, at least, as spiritual cousins. 15

It was in such a country and in such an age that S’akyamuni was born. The son of Suddhodhana, King of Kapilavastu, and of his wife, the Lady Māyā, his birth is said to have been accompanied with marvels which really belong to a later chapter of our book, and his boyhood was marked by a singular precocity of intellect and purity of character. The wise men summoned to the palace at the time of his birth, 16 and especially one of their number, the aged sage Asita, told the happy father that the newborn babe would be either an epoch-making emperor or a world-saving Buddha; and the father, feeling perhaps that charity should begin at home, determined that, if possible, his son should be prepared for the former of the two alternatives. The young Prince Siddhartha was brought up as became a S’akyan prince of high degree; trained in arms, literature, and science, he was surrounded with nothing but objects pleasant for his eye to rest upon, and the most beautiful person in his harem was his wife, the carefully selected Princess Yasodhārā.17

Many incidents, however, show that his mind was not at ease in the midst of all his luxury, and this feeling of dissatisfaction was increased by several sights which brought home to him the inherent misery of the world. A ceremonial ploughing-festival, which, as Crown Prince. it was his duty to attend, revealed to him the strife that there is in Nature, the upturned earth showing the worms cut in two by the ploughshare to become the prey of the birds that followed in the wake of the ploughman. Shortly after, he met, at short intervals, an aged person, a sick man, a corpse, and a holy monk. He learned about the sorrow and pain that there are in the world, he also learned that there was a way by which escape from the "Welt-schmerz" was possible, and he resolved to follow it. He had received his call, and he obeyed the vocation.

It was not mere selfishness that induced him to leave his home to follow after the Truth. When he bent over the sleeping forms of his beloved wife and his new-born son at the moment of his departure, he resolved that, when he had found the Way, he would come back and save his loved ones, and he kept his promise. But the Way was not easy to find, and the search was long and difficult. For six long years, by self-imposed fastings, austerities, and penance, his strained soul, dwelling in an emaciated body, constantly exposed to the temptations of Māra, the Evil One, searched patiently for the Truth, but in vain. At last he gave up his fruitless efforts, partook of food after a long abstinence, had one last combat with the Evil One who strove to appeal to his pride and fear, and then sat down "under the fig-tree" at Bodhi-Gaya and awaited enlightenment. Had he been a Christian or a Jew, we might have said that "he listened to what the Lord God should say unto him."

What his soul heard was as follows: "(1) There is Pain in the world, and Pain is universal. (2) All pain is the result of Concupiscence ( Trishna). (3) Destroy Concupiscence and you free yourself from Pain. (4) There is a path by which you can attain to the Destruction of Concupiscence, and its end is Liberation." The Liberation is what is known as Nirvana, and the "result of Concupiscence," which leads to action, is Karma.

These propositions are known as the Four Great Truths. They contained nothing new, and yet the Light which S’akyamuni threw upon them was a fresh one. Karma and Nirvanawere words well known to India before S’akyamuni's discovery of them; the things themselves were known in Greece and to the Jewish people.

The great question of the retribution that waits on human actions had been brought solemnly before the Asiatic world by the impressive fall of the Babylonian Empire, before both Asia and Europe, during the lifetime almost of S’akyamuni himself, by the overthrow of Xerxes at Marathon and Salamis. The Greek theologian-poet Æschylus treated of this theme in his "Eumenides," and again in his tragedy of the "Persians." The prophet of the Captivity, Ezekiel, had been proclaiming to his countrymen (Ezek. xviii.) a new law of retribution. Each soul, said the prophet, should bear its own burdens; there should be no more reason to say in Israel, "the fathers had eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth had been set on edge." We shall also do well to remember that the deutero-Isaiah and Ezekiel had both insisted on the value and benefit of the sabbath day, and that a fresh impetus had been given to the moral law by the labours of Ezra, the reviser of Holy Scripture (Isa. lvi. 6, 7; Ezek. xx. 12, etc., xviii. 2, etc.; Deut. viii. 12; Ps. cxix.).

What S’akyamuni taught was this: the universal existence of Pain (and Pain must be taken in its widest sense); the root of Pain, which is the Lust that is in the human heart; the end to be attained, which is the Destruction of Desire; and the way to obtain it. Desire, Karma, the wheel of Life and Death: the quenching of Desire, the Destruction of Karma, the Peace of Nirvana. 18 Karma is no Nemesis, such as in Æschylus pursues the unjust and the slayer. Nemesis is vengeful, seems to be given to wrath, and to be guided by anger; Nemesis, to men's eyes, is fitful, irregular, and therefore unjust. Karma, as S’akyamuni saw it, is a universal law, working quietly and steadily along a twelve-fold chain of causation, and binding its victim to the ever-revolving wheel of Life and Death. It works unobtrusively, but surely; yet it can be broken. There is what S’akyamuni calls a noble Eight-fold Path, of right views, right aims, right actions, etc., which leads in time to the destruction of evil Karma by the quenching of Desire, and it seems to have been S’akyamuni's life-work to instil into his hearers the way of the Noble Path, which alone can lead to emancipation. Of philosophy he spoke but little;19 the so-called Philosophy of Buddhism was a later product.

He did not profess to teach a new doctrine. What he taught was the "Way of the Buddhas." 20 He recognized that there had been Buddhas before him,21 as there would be Buddhas after him. He was thus enabled freely to adopt many things that seemed good in systems other than his own, and flexibility has always been a mark of his religion. To us it will seem easy to conjecture the quarter from which he got his idea of a weekly sabbath,22 and the fact that the Order of Monks kept their sabbath days for many centuries after the Nirvana will make it easier for us to recognize and admit the doctrine held by a large section of northern Buddhists, that Buddha also taught, personally and during his earthly life, the salvation worked out for many by another Buddha, who is Boundless in Life, Light, and Compassion, and whom Japan knows as Amitābha.23

S’akyamuni was no atheist. He did indeed teach that the enlightened Buddha was higher than the gods of the Brahman pantheon, higher than Indra, Varuna, Agni, Emma-San or Kompira Sama, who now fill subordinate places in Buddhist temples. These gods were creatures of fancy, subject, like Venus, Juno, Neptune, to the Law of Change, and liable to that extinction which has befallen the gods of Assyria and Babylon, of Egypt, Greece, and ancient Rome. From the denial of such gods to the denial of all gods is a very long step, and I think it may be shown that S’akyamuni never took it. Rather I would say, and this I hope to make clear as I proceed, that wherever S’akyamuni's own influence reached, it served to give men higher and truer ideas of the Divine Nature, and that his teachings were thus intended to prepare the way for the acceptance of the highest of all truths.

Chapter 3. The Buddha And His Greatest Disciple

Thanks to the labours of many students of the Buddhist books, both Pali and Sanskrit, we are able to form a vivid mind's eye picture of the ministerial life of the Founder of Buddhism; indeed, the general indications of time are so wonderfully precise that we can trace his labours year by year for quite one-half of the forty-six years which his ministry occupied. There is a gap of about fifteen years near the end of his career for which we have no precise sequence of events; but even here we are not left entirely in the dark, for there are many indications given of the troublous days through which India in general, and the Buddhist community in particular, was then passing. 24 We are shown the successes which attended on S’akyamuni's first preaching. Conversions were numerous and rapid, converts of all ages and both sexes flocked into his community from every class of society, and were welcomed without distinction of caste and rank. Thousands caught the enthusiasm of the Buddha, and left all to follow him, while in the crowds who felt no vocation to the monastic life were kings and merchants, who vied with each other in the generosity of their gifts.

Among all these varied personages S’akyamuni moves like a king among men. Bimbisara recognizes the kingship that is in him, and offers to make him the Crown Prince of the Magadhan kingdom, S’akyan noblemen herald hint as the teacher and saint of their clan; and the universal esteem in which he is held is shown by nothing more strikingly than by the settlement of a dispute about rights of water which is referred to his arbitration by the tribes concerned. Evidently, the historical Tathāgata was a practical person, far removed from the ecstatic dreamer of the Hokekyū. 25

Religious India had need of a sound mind with a practical bent, for the times were fraught with evil. Wars and rumours of war vexed the minds of the people; there was civil strife in Magadha, and sounds of more distant thunder came rolling over from Western Asia. All these hindered "the running of the wheel;" so did also the conflicts with heretics, the dissensions among the disciples, and the many breaches of discipline which weakened the strength and vigour of his Buddhist followers.

S’akyamuni was a brave man and strong, but he felt the dissensions among his disciples most keenly, and there were many moments in which he sank into the lowest pit of despondency, and which his biographers have described as conflicts with the Evil One. These conflicts came at many periods in his life; they cannot be said to have shortened his days, for he lived to be over eighty, but they were evidently the result of the sorrows and anxieties which embittered the later years of his life. 26

The end had probably been drawing on for some time; strange to say, it was hastened by a meal of dried boar's flesh, of which he partook in the house of Chanda, the blacksmith—a proof that abstinence from flesh cannot have been an integral portion of the early rules of Buddhism. 27 His death has been very touchingly described in the "Sūtra of the Great Decease," which gives us also his last words to his disciples, as well as the account of his obsequies. The extent of his influence and the high esteem in which he was held throughout Central Asia are shown by the eagerness with which the surrounding tribes craved for a portion of his cremated bones for purposes of reverence and adoration.

The evidence to hand seems to show that it was the strong ruling hand of the master that alone was able to preserve the unity of the large number of his disciples and followers in his later years. The Tathāgata had been attended during his last moments by the well-beloved Ananda, the disciple who had for some time been acting as his private secretary and coadjutor; Kaśyapa, the most weighty of all the Sthaviras, or Seniors, did not arrive in time to see his master again in life. When a Council was summoned at Rajagriha soon after the interment, it was Kaśyapa who took the chair, whilst Ananda, in spite of his intimate relations with the master, found himself at first excluded altogether (Kern, "Buddhism," vol. ii. p. 239). There is a northern tradition of a rival Council held outside the Grotto, whilst the official Council within was pursuing its labours. 28

Other traditions (see Kern, l.c.) make the exclusion of Ananda from the official Council to have been but temporary, but the fact remains that the successions of Patriarchs in north and south were from the very beginning different. Both successions begin with Kaśyapa, but both assign to him only a short tenure of office. He was an old man, older than S’akyamuni, and most probably died soon after his master. After Kaśyapa, we have, in the south, Upali the Barber, who recited the Vinaya-pitakam; then Dāsaka, Sonaka, Siggava, and Chandavajji, and Tishya Maudgalyāyaniputra, who is said to have presided over As’oka's Council. In the north, during the same period, we get Ananda, the coadjutor of Buddha and the reciter of the Sūtra-pitakam; Madhyantika, the Apostle of Kashmir; S’ānavaśas, who was present at the Second Council, Upagupta, who acted as guide to As’oka when that monarch, in the interval between his conversion and his ordination to the priesthood, made a tour of the holy places; 29 and finally Dhītika, who, during the period of missionary fervour which followed the Third Council under As’oka (possibly even independently of that Council's authority), went into Turkestan and there became a successful apostle of Buddhism.30 The two lists have no names in common, except the first, and the northern histories ignore As’oka's Council. The inference seems to be a legitimate one, that north and south were independent of one another.

A second Council (for we must consider the meetings at Rājagriha to have constituted but one Council) was held at Vaiśāli just about one hundred years after the Parinirvana of the Master to settle some questions of discipline which had arisen within the community of monks. Was it permissible for the monks to keep a little salt in a horn, in case the food supplied by the charitable should contain none? Was it permissible to dine after midday, when the sun cast shadows more than two inches in length? Was it permissible for brethren belonging to the same community to keep the sabbaths separately? Might the brethren drink palm-wine, sit on elaborate cushions, handle gold and silver, etc.? 31 These and similar questions were brought before the Council of Vaiśāli by the monks of Vaiśāli, who maintained their lawfulness. We can see how strong was the current of party feeling from the question about the sabbath. The opposing parties could evidently no longer meet together for the joint celebration of the customary observances, and the tension between the monks of the east and west was very great. A leading part in the Synod was taken (Kern, vol. ii. p. 248) by Yaśas, whose identification with S’ānavaśas, the Mahāyāna patriarch, would, if accepted,32 show that the breach between Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna was not yet definitely recognized. The decision went against the Vaiśāli monks, who seem to have belonged chiefly to the proud Vrijji clan of S’akyans, and from that moment Buddhism began to be hopelessly shattered by ever-increasing schisms and divisions. 33

Before a third Council was summoned, India had undergone the shock of invasion, and Alexander's victorious arms had penetrated as far as the Punjaub. The immediate effect on Buddhism of the Macedonian invasion was not so great as might be imagined. 34 When the Greek armies came to a check in the Punjaub, there were still several hundreds of unconquered miles between them and the kingdom of Magadha. The strictly Hellenistic influences came later: the immediate effect lay in the shock and terror with which the weak princelets and peoples of India must have viewed the advancing invader, and the despair which must have paralyzed every one. With the sole exception of King Pōrus, there does not seem to have been a single native prince of any power or weight, and the kingdom of Magadha was especially helpless under the rule of the effeminate Nanda dynasty. A mere adventurer, the son of a barber, who had found his way to Alexander's camp, conceived the bold idea of raising himself to the throne which its feeble occupants left practically unprotected. After trying in vain to engage Alexander in further enterprises, Chandragupta bided his time till the conqueror's death gave him the opportunity for action. Then a successful mutiny made him master of the Punjaub, the possession of which secured for him the command of the necessary sinews of war. A few months later we see him master of Magadha, with a capital at Pataliputra and dominions extending from the mouths of the Ganges to the Indus, from the Himalayas to the Vindhya. Chandragupta was the founder of the so-called Mauryan dynasty; he first defied Seleucus Nicator, and then entered into an alliance with him, compacted by a marriage with the Greek king's daughter. It was to his court that Megasthenes35 was sent as minister resident of the Seleucid monarch, and it is to Megasthenes that Europe owes its first just notions of India. Chandragupta was not a Buddhist, and he has no importance for the historian of religions. He is, nevertheless, a personage far too weighty to be passed over without mention.

Chandragupta's grandson was the celebrated As’oka, who changed Buddhism from the form of belief adopted by a few unimportant tribes in Central India to a creed of world-wide importance. Chandragupta (B.C. 320–297) was succeeded by his son Bindusara (297–272), a sovereign of whom very little is known beyond the fact that he extended his dominions considerably; that, whilst he was on the throne, the King of Egypt sent an embassy, under a certain Dionysus, to Pataliputra; and that on one occasion he wrote a letter to Antiochus, King of Syria, asking to have a professor of Greek sent to him. Greek writers speak of him as Ἀμιτροχάτης, a name which suggests that he adopted the Sanskrit title Amitraghāti, "the slayer of his foes." He was succeeded in B.C. 272 by his son As’oka, one of the greatest of the rulers of India. Of As’oka we know that in his early days he bore anything but a good reputation; indeed, it was said of him that, like a traditional Oriental potentate, he waded to the throne through the blood of his near kinsmen and their friends. His coronation, for some unknown reason, was deferred for some two or three years after his accession, a fact which inclines us to believe that in the early years of his reign he may have met with a good deal of opposition. In B.C. 261 he was engaged in a successful war with the Kalingas in southern India, a war so full of horrors and misery that the contemplation of it filled the conqueror with remorse and pity, and caused his conversion, not necessarily to Buddhism, but at any rate to religion. He soon took political measures for acquainting his subjects with his change of views; and he has left us a series of edicts, inscribed on rocks and pillars in different parts of India, which give us our best insight into the character of his religious aspirations. Whatever his religious views were, he was not ashamed to publish them abroad, for he sent embassies36 to many of the leading Hellenic sovereigns of Western Asia, and the treaty of amity which he concluded with Antiochus Theos in B.C. 256 must have given him a much-desired opportunity for impressing his beliefs on the Hellenic mind.

By the year 249 his mind was turning definitely towards the acceptance of the teachings of S’akyamuni in preference to those of any other of the religious teachers who laid claim to the allegiance of religious India. He went on a solemn pilgrimage to the sacred places of India with Upagupta, the patriarch of the Northern School, as his guide, and the sight of the Lumbini grove, where S’akyamuni was born, of Bodhigaya, where he attained to Enlightenment, of Benares, where the Wheel of the Law was set in motion, and of the Sacred Grove, in which he died, moved him apparently to a further step. In 240 he was ordained as a monk, and in the Bhābhrā Edict, dated, soon after that, he proclaimed himself definitely as a Buddhist. Between As’oka's ordination and his death (which Vincent Smith assigns to B.C. 231) must be placed his Council, the data for which are so confusing that writers like Kern have come to the conclusion that it never took place at all, but was a mere figment of chronologists and history-writers of the Southern School. Northern Buddhism, it is true, knows nothing of As’oka's Council, but there is nothing in this fact to justify a denial of its having taken place. It is probable that the Council took place, and that it was an effort on As’oka's part to procure reforms of abuses which had crept in during the 230 years which had elapsed since the death of the Founder. It is also reasonable to suppose that he laboured at the Council for the promotion of those views which he had so persistently advocated in the long succession of rock edicts.

Chapter 4. The Pre-Christian Expansion Of Buddhism

The great As’oka, king of Maghada, the Constantine of Indian and Ceylonese Buddhism, has no official place, as I have said, in the history of the Mahāyāna, which takes absolutely no notice of the Council that is said to have been held during his reign. The Council naturally concerned only those monks that lived within As’oka's extensive dominions; the Mahāyāna seems to have originated beyond the Indus, among people, possibly, o Indian origin, but still not subjects of any purely Indian state.

Yet As’oka is of importance in the study of the Mahāyāna. For, first, he enables us to correct a great error as to S’akyamuni's date, still commonly made by many of the official defenders of Buddhism in Japan. The Mahāyāna books place the date of S’akyamuni's birth in B.C. 1027, and his death, consequently, about B.C. 950—a chronological misstatement which vitiates all their other calculations. For if this be true, then As’vaghosha, who lived 500 years after the Nirvana, and Nāgārjuna, who lived in the sixth century after the same occurrence, must be supposed to have flourished respectively about the years B.C. 450 and 400, and the whole Mahāyāna system predates the Christian era by some centuries. 37

Fortunately As’oka is well known to us, not only from books, but also from the edicts which he has left engraved in stone in various parts of his former dominions, and the data thus furnished enable us to give both As’oka's exact year, and approximately that of S’akyamuni's entrance into Nirvana. From the materials at hand, Dr. Fleet 38 has been able to fix the dates for the principal events between the death of Buddha and that of As’oka. We may accept them with confidence. As’oka was anointed king on the 25th of April, B.C. 264, 218 years after the death of Buddha, which consequently took place in B.C. 483—in the interval, it is well to remember, between the battles of Marathon and Salamis.

Again, As’oka's monuments give us data whereby to gauge the extent of his influence. Edict No. 2, translated by Dr. V. A. Smith, 39 is on the subject of comforts for men and animals, and runs thus: "Everywhere in the dominions of King Priyadarśin, and likewise in the neighbouring realms, such as those of the Chola, Pandya, Sattyaputra, and Keralaputra, in Ceylon, in the dominions of the Greek king Antiochus, and in those of the other kings subordinate to that Antiochus—everywhere, on behalf of his Majesty King Priyadarśin, have two kinds of remedies been disseminated—remedies for men, and remedies for beasts. Healing herbs, medicinal for man and medicinal for beasts, wherever they were lacking, have everywhere been imported and planted. On the roads, trees have been planted, and wells dug for the use of man and beast."

Edict No. 5 concerns the Censors of the Law of Piety: "They ( i.e. the Censors) are engaged among people of all sects in promoting the establishment of piety, the progress of piety, and the welfare and happiness of the lieges, as well as of the Yonas, Kambojas, Gandharas, Rashtrikas, Pitenikas, and other nations on my borders."

( c) Edict. 13 is on the subject of the "True Conquest" ( i.e. the Conquest of Self): "Even upon the forest tribes in his dominions, His Majesty has compassion, and he seeks their conversion, inasmuch as the might even of His Majesty is based on conversion." … [It has been communicated] "even to where the Greek King named Antiochus dwells, and beyond that Antiochus, to where dwell the four kings severally named Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, and Alexander; and in the south, to the Kings of the Cholas, and Pândyas, and of Ceylon,—and, likewise here, in the King's dominions, among the Yonas, and Kambojas, in Nābhaka of the Nabhitis, among the Bhojas and Pitenikas, among the Andhras and Palindas, everywhere men follow the law of Piety as proclaimed by His Majesty.

"Even in those regions where the envoys of His Majesty do not penetrate, men now practise and will continue to practise the Law of Piety.…" 40

( d) Minor Rock Edict No. 1, if accurately translated by Senart, speaks of 256 missionaries who have gone forth to proclaim the law. 41

We have here a picture of As’oka's missionary activity. It embraced his own subjects, those living in his capital, those living in the remote provinces and dependencies of his empire within India, the Yonas or immigrant Greeks, the Chōlas, Pāndyas, and Andhras, the degraded tribes of the forests, the King of Ceylon, the Greek kings who ruled as the Diadochi of Alexander the Great, and last, but not least, the unmentioned lands to which As’oka had sent no envoy, but in which Buddhism was nevertheless being actively and piously pursued. These sovereigns and peoples As’oka addresses, mainly on two subjects—care for the health and welfare of the people, and "True Conquest" over themselves and their passions—a lesson which was surely not superfluous in those troublous days.

The Indian states and peoples need not delay us long. The mention of Cholas, Pāndyas, etc., serves to show how widely spread, in India itself, was the Buddhist faith which As’oka strove to promote and reform. Nor need we linger over Ceylon. 42 That island is said to have owed its conversion to the labours of Mahendra, the son or son-in-law of As’oka, and, whoever may have been its apostle, it has remained true to the faith which it then received, The mention of the Yonas or Yavanas ( i.e. the Ionians or Greeks; we have the authority of Aristophanes that by the Oriental the name "Greek" was pronounced Iaonau, which is very near to Yavana) is a little ambiguous; for it may refer to the Greek kingdom of Bactria, which set up for itself a few years after the publication of the earlier Rock Edicts, or it may refer to the Greek merchants trading and travelling in India, whose votive inscriptions have been found in ancient Buddhist temples in the peninsula. It is possible, though we cannot make a positive assertion on the point, that some of the nations on his borders, to whom As’oka refers, may have dwelt on the frontiers of what in later times became the Parthian kingdom.

The ruler of Syria at the time when As’oka published his Edicts was Antiochus II. (Theos), the unfortunate monarch who inherited the splendour but not the genius of his more illustrious father, Antiochus I. (Soter). He had only just come to the throne when the Edicts containing his name were published, and we must therefore, I believe, refer the allusions to the state of the Syrian Kingdom to his father's reign rather than to his own. It was to Antiochus I. that As’oka had applied for assistance as to medical herbs and trees, and whom he had consulted as to wells and fountains in streets and by roadsides, and for trees to give shade to man and beast. In Antiochus I., the Founder of Cities (the Syrian kingdom was dotted over with them), many bearing his name, and one of them, Antioch in Syria, justly famed as one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, As’oka's request would find a sympathetic welcome. The ideas of municipal and civil government encouraged by Antiochus Soter were just such as would commend themselves to As’oka. How far Antiochus profited by As’oka's suggestions, we cannot say, but Antiochus styled himself βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, and amongst his "subordinate kings" mentioned in the Edict on "creature comforts" were Philetærus (B.C. 281–263) of Pergamus, Nicomedes of Bithynia, and, for a short while, Magas of Cyrene, who was availing himself of assistance from Antiochus in a revolt against Egyptian suzerainty. In the wars which Antiochus I. waged against the Gauls and Celts, who had invaded Asia Minor at the invitation of Nicomedes, a rebel against the suzerainty of the "King of Kings," he had used elephants, which he, like his contemporary, Pyrrhus of Epirus, had obtained43 from As’oka's father, Bindusara, King of Magadha, a favour which, it may be, As’oka was expected to continue in the case of Antiochus II. The kings of Pergamus were famous for their collections of books and parchments (the latter a pergamene substitute for the papyrus which the Egyptian government would not allow to be exported); also for the botanical gardens of medicinal herbs, which antedated the more famous collections of Alexandria, into which they were afterwards merged; and Cyrene was noted, the whole world over, for a medicinal plant called silphium (a kind of asafœtida), which formed one of the staple articles of its extensive commerce. The plant was almost extinct in the West in Pliny's time (though it is still, I believe, to be found in India),44 but it is to be found engravers on the coins of Cyrene as the emblem of the city, and there has been found a silver cup from Cyrene, with a representation of the king himself personally superintending the packing, weighing, and dispatching of the precious herb.45 We can imagine that Antiochus Soter would have much pleasure in forwarding As’oka's memorandum touching medicinal herbs to his subordinate kings. We can also imagine that Antiochus II., who surnamed himself "the God," would not be equally pleased to receive the sermon about the "True Conquest." And yet As’oka would have us believe that the Dharma was being observed and practised in the territories of the Syrian king. Stoicism was already a power in the world of philosophy and morals, and Stoicism is notoriously a semi-oriental mode of thought.46

Antigonus Gonatas, King of Macedonia, claimed possession of the European dominions of Alexander the Great. Macedonia must have been full of men who had been in Central Asia and India in those days of constant coming and going, and there must have been a great interest taken in things Indian. When Alexander took Babylon, he had the books in the library sent to his old tutor Aristotle, who, we may be sure, appreciated the gift, and found some way of discovering the contents of the books before they reached their final resting-place in the library of Alexandria. One of Alexander's successors, Cassander, who thoroughly disapproved of Alexander's policy of adopting Oriental habits and ways of life, had, living at his court, a philosopher named Euhemerus, who had travelled in Asia, at Cassander's request, and had returned with stories which had gained for him the reputation of a liar. And yet much that Euhemerus related accurately described what must have been going on in Buddhism at the time of his visit. The island of Panchaia may have been an Utopia; the history of the earthly life of Zeus before he became a god, which he brought back with him, may have been a fabrication; still, the process described was exactly the process which was going on in Buddhism. 47 S’akyamuni had been just such a man as Euhemerus described. He had towered high above his compeers in wisdom, if not in strength, and had possessed that magnetic influence which compelled men to walk according to his precepts. He had certainly demanded personal loyalty to himself from all his followers, for he had only received them into his Order after a threefold expression of belief—in the Law, the Order, and the Buddha. His relics, divided up after his death, had become the nucleus around which grew up the worship of the whole Buddhist community. S’akyamuni was undergoing the process of deification when Euhemerus visited India (indeed, that process may already have been popularly accomplished), and the process was already being applied to other Buddhas as well. The Mahāyāna had not yet taken definite form, but the ideas underlying it were in the air, and when, later, we get our first definite literary acquaintance with, e.g. Amitābha, he conies as a god deified after a long succession of holy lives, led in the fulfilment of his tremendous vow for the salvation of mankind. That the same process was taking place in the case of S’akyamuni himself may be seen from the development of the Saddharma pundarika and kindred Sūtras, 48 and from the more certain testimony of Buddhist art. The process, in the case of Buddhism, may not have been completed in the days of Euhemerus; it was also going on in Brahmanism and other forms of Indian religion. But certainly Euhemerus described it accurately.

Antigonus Gonatas of Macedon had an ambition, which he realized, for a while, after many years of conflict, of uniting Greece and Macedon under one sceptre. He had opponents in the Achæan league, and a rival in Alexander, the son of that Pyrrhus of Epirus who had defeated the Romans with the aid of elephants obtained from As’oka's father, Bindusara. Alexander and Gonatas are both mentioned in As’oka's Edict on the "True Conquest." We can imagine that the peace-loving As’oka, who was fully in touch with what was going on in the West, must have been distressed beyond measure at the desolations of Greece during this period of "False Conquests."

I have already mentioned Magas of Cyrene, in connection with the medicinal herbs. I need only mention, as another link in the chain showing the extent of Indian influence in the West, that among the dialogues of Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy, there was one which bore the name of Porus, a name well known among Indian kings. 49 Aristippus, born B.C. 435, was prior in time to As’oka, but amongst the later Cyrenaics was Hegesias, surnamed Peisithanatos, from the strenuousness with which he advocated suicide as the highest form of self-immolation. This is a truly Buddhistic notion. S’akyamuni's well-beloved disciple, Ananda, is said to have ended his life by voluntary self-cremation, and the Saddharma pundarika speaks of it as the highest expression of devotion and gratitude from one who has learned the truth. 50

The mention of Hegesias brings us to Alexandria. The ruler of Alexandria, Ptolemy Philadelphus, is also one of the sovereigns mentioned in As’oka's Edict. Philadelphus and his predecessor, Soter, were both much concerned in carrying out Alexander's great scheme of effecting the Hellenization of the East through the instrumentality of the newly founded city of Alexandria. Alexandria was connected with India by at least three routes. A certain amount of the overland traffic from China came into Alexandria viâ Palestine (which was in the Egyptian sphere of influence), and even the superior attractions of Antioch could not kill this commerce, which was, however, more Central and Eastern Asian than Indian. A further contingent of caravans brought in Indian goods viâ the Persian Gulf, Palmyra (later), and Palestine. The Egyptian ports on the Red Sea had direct communication, without any serious rivals, with the Indian ports at the mouth of the Indus. The early Ptolemies took a great deal of interest in religion. Soter imported the god Serapis from Pontus, and both he and Philadelphus interested themselves in the (LXX.) translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. They were notoriously ready to welcome any new lights on religious subjects. It is perhaps, therefore, more than a mere coincidence that, about the days when As’oka was sending envoys to the kings of Egypt, and speaking of the keeping of the law in distant countries, we get—first, the so-called Hermetic literature (e.g. the Κορὴ Κόσμου preserved for us by Stobæus), with its many Buddhist echoes;51 and, secondly, the semi-Buddhistic communities of monks as the Essenes and Therapeutæ described for us by Philo. How far Philo and Aristobulus, the Jew, may have been influenced by Indian thought is an inquiry beyond our present limits.52 But it is evident that the relations, tradal or otherwise, between Alexandria and India were close and constant. The influence was not all on one side. Alexandria had its influence on Indian philosophy, medicine, and mathematics,53 and a time came when the religions of the Far East felt the power of its mystic (not to say cryptic) thought. In the mysterious Shingon system of Japan, the term "RA" occurs as the name of the deity of Fire, and the word for God, Abraxas, used by Basilides, is the fundamental conception of the Shingon system of Philosophy, which also uses certain hieratic hieroglyphics for the conveyance of its teachings.54

It may be asked, what precisely were the teachings which As’oka exerted himself to spread amongst other nations and amongst his contemporary sovereigns? The one conclusive answer to this question will be found in the study of the monuments themselves, with the inscriptions, that he has left us. In them we shall find Buddhism as it existed in As’oka's mind, and as As’oka believed that it had existed in the mind of S’akyamuni. I cannot do better than summarize the contents of the inscriptions.

I. In the first, As’oka speaks of his care to provide medicines and medical herbs for the use of the sick, trees for shade, and fountains for men and cattle, and calls attention to the fact that he has done this not only within his own dominions, but also in those of his neighbours, e.g. in the territories of King Antiochus and in Taprobane (Ceylon).

II. In the second, he speaks of the killing of animals, exhorts his subjects to abstain from such evil practices, and explains his own custom. He was once in the habit of allowing many animals to be killed for the royal feasts: during late years the number of animals thus killed has been very small. Henceforward, there shall be no killing of animals in the royal kitchens.

III. He exhorts provincial and city governors, and all teachers of religion, to be diligent in inculcating obedience to parents, kindliness and courtesy, respect for Brahmans and Buddhist monks, and moderation in speech and conduct, upon all who come under their authority.

IV. He speaks with gratitude of the good effects upon the people at large of the religion which he has been teaching throughout his dominions. He is glad to find that civic and social virtues, filial piety, respectfulness, kindliness, and toleration are everywhere on the increase.

V. In order to spread further the virtues inculcated by his religion, he appoints superintendents of morals for all creeds throughout his dominions, as well as in the neighbouring countries of the Yavanas, Kambojas, Gandhāras, etc. (these were probably subject or tributary states). It shall be the duty of the superintendents to take especial care of prisoners and captives, particularly when they are married men with families dependent on them, or when they have been the victims of malice, spite, or fraud.

VI. He speaks of his constant care for the welfare of his people.

VII. It is his great desire to secure religious liberty and toleration for all religions practised within his dominions.

VIII. Royal progresses throughout the country have hitherto been made occasions of feasting and revelry. It is his intention henceforth to give them a religious character, and use them for the advancement of religion and morals.

IX. What is religion? It is the Way by which men learn to be truly human and humane, and it has its stimulus in the hope of a future life.

X. The hope of the rewards of a future life has been the motive power of his religious life. [ N.B.—Nothing is said about a past Karma influencing the present, nor yet about Nirvana after death.]

XI. True religion— i.e. to help the fatherless and widow, and to keep one's self unspotted from the world—has the promise of this life, as well as of that which is to come.

XII. The sectarian spirit should be avoided. We should never decry the followers of a religion other than our own. Nor should we think that we are serving our own creed by constantly puffing it.

XIII. A survey of his own life. He describes the horrors of the war against the Kalingas, and his own remorse when he realized the cruelties attendant upon it. He resolves henceforth to eschew the rôle of a conqueror. The true conquests are those of religion. He has communicated his sentiments to his brother sovereigns—to Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, Alexander Balas, to the Codas and Pandyas as far as Taprobane, and even to the King of the Huns. 55 It gives him great happiness to contemplate the success which has attended his efforts, but present contentment is as nothing when compared with the joys of future bliss.

XIV. An abridged edict containing the points on which Piyadasi, the beloved of the gods, wishes to insist. His empire is an extensive one, but he has done his best, by means of inscriptions, to arrange that every part of the empire is provided with the required moral teaching. He wishes all his subjects to be acquainted with the religious law.

The above fourteen Edicts form, as it were, a continuous series, and are to be found in several recensions in several parts of India. There are also isolated Edicts, the contents of which are somewhat as follows :—

1. a and b. To the officials at Tosali and Samāpā, urging them to greater diligence in the care of the people committed to their charge, so that those who stand may not fall, and those who fall may be restored. The most essential thing in religion is perseverance and patience in what is good. Officials should take care to guide men in the right way, so that they may live without fear and follow their religion. These edicts are to be read publicly before the people at the monthly festivals of the full moon, and privately whenever necessary. His Majesty has taken care to have a solemn assembly in his own territories every five years, and the princes of Ujjain and Taxila will do the same.

2. The king regrets that hitherto, as a layman, he has not been very diligent. He has now, however, been for a year a member of the Order, and has worked with such zeal during that time that the ancient gods of Jambudvīpa (India) have been almost driven from their places. 56 It is a great truth that the Kingdom of Heaven is really within the reach of all men, even the humblest, and no effort should be spared to spread this Gospel by missionary labours. The King is much gratified by the fact that already 256 missionaries have gone abroad. [This last sentence has been differently translated, as though it referred to the date of the Edict, 256 after the Nirvana of Buddha.]

3. [The Bhābhrā Edict.] To the clergy of Magadha. All that the Blessed One has said is well said, and should be studied with reverence. The king especially commends the following books: "Vinayasamukasa," book on discipline; "Aryavasâni," on the supernatural powers of the Aryas; "Anagâtabhayâni," on dangers to come; "Munigatha," stanzas in honour of the Muni; "Upatishya pasina," questions of Upatishya; "Moneya sūtra," Sutra on Perfection; and the Sūtra, in which the Blessed One instructs Rahula. 57

What I have hitherto said does not by any means exhaust the question of the expansion of Buddhism in As’oka's days, for, leaving aside the subject of As’oka's apostles sent forth by the Council, we have also As’oka's own testimony as to the countries in which Buddhism (as he understood it) was practised, though his envoys had never reached them.

In the days of As’oka the Parthians revolted against Antiochus, and, under the family of the Arsacidæ, carved out for themselves a small kingdom to the north of the Seleucid Empire. They were by origin Sacæ or Scythians, and their earlier home had been in the plain country between the Caspian Sea and the Oxus. Their religion was that of Zoroaster, or rather, perhaps, that of the Magi. What the precise tenets of that religion were, it is hard to say; they do not seem to have been precisely those of the Persians before the fall of the Persian Empire, nor yet those of the restored Zoroastrianism of the Sassanid period. They probably worshipped the heavenly bodies, paid a great deal of attention to astrology and astronomy, and in other points were not very unlike the Buddhists in their belief and practices. That Buddhism obtained some hold among them is shown by the fact that Parthian missionaries in later days took part in the evangelization of China; but when that influence began it is impossible to say. At a much later date, when the Buddhist evangelization of China was well established, we find Zoroastrian monks treated as brethren, and we read of Buddhists in Persia presenting a Chinese Emperor with a tooth-relic of the Buddha. And in the Shiite and Sufite forms of Mahometanism we may, it is said, see the ancient Buddhism of Persia still asserting itself.

Next to Parthia came Bactria, 58 the reputed home of Zoroaster himself. Bactria asserted its independence in the same year as Parthia. It had Greek kings, and a small percentage of Greek settlers, the residue of the Macedonian invasion; but its main population was probably of S’akyan origin. Indian writers speak of the Bactrian people as Vrijji,59 the same name that we found amongst the Nepaulese S’akyans of S’akyamuni's time, and recognized them as being Kshatriyans by caste, though their standing was defective by reason of intermarriages with other nationalities. Their religion was a mixed one, Parthian, Brahmanic, Buddhist, with probably a slight preference for the last.

Bactria marches on the Pamirs. East of the Pamirs, and north of what is now Thibet, dwelt the S’akyas, separated from the S’akyan brethren of India and Nepaul by the common pasture lands of Thibet. When they afterwards emerged from their mountain fastnesses they were divided into four tribes, Asii, Pasiani, Tokhari, and Sakarauli (Strabo, ix. 8), and it is recorded (Kern, "Buddhismus," ii. 272) of the Northern Patriarch Dhītika that he made conversions by his labours among the Tokhari, who eventually gave their name to the whole of that tribe of S’akyans. As’oka's envoys did not reach these tribes, but there were many traders who carried the faith.