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Title: Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3
Author: Eliot, Charles, Sir, 1862-1931
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's Note:

     Excerpts from the Preface to the book from Volume 1,
     regarding the method of transcription used.

     "In the following pages I have occasion to transcribe words
     belonging to many oriental languages in Latin characters.
     Unfortunately a uniform system of transcription, applicable
     to all tongues, seems not to be practical at present. It was
     attempted in the Sacred Books of the East, but that system
     has fallen into disuse and is liable to be misunderstood. It
     therefore seems best to use for each language the method of
     transcription adopted by standard works in English dealing
     with each, for French and German transcriptions, whatever
     their merits may be as representations of the original
     sounds, are often misleading to English readers, especially
     in Chinese. For Chinese I have adopted Wade's system as used
     in Giles's Dictionary, for Tibetan the system of Sarat
     Chandra Das, for Pali that of the Pali Text Society and for
     Sanskrit that of Monier-Williams's Sanskrit Dictionary,
     except that I write s instead of s. Indian languages however
     offer many difficulties: it is often hard to decide whether
     Sanskrit or vernacular forms are more suitable and in
     dealing with Buddhist subjects whether Sanskrit or Pali
     words should be used. I have found it convenient to vary the
     form of proper names according as my remarks are based on
     Sanskrit or on Pali literature, but this obliges me to write
     the same word differently in different places, e.g.
     sometimes Ajâtasatru and sometimes Ajâtasattu, just as in a
     book dealing with Greek and Latin mythology one might employ
     both Herakles and Hercules. Also many Indian names such as
     Ramayana, Krishna, nirvana have become Europeanized or at
     least are familiar to all Europeans interested in Indian
     literature. It seems pedantic to write them with their full
     and accurate complement of accents and dots and my general
     practice is to give such words in their accurate spelling
     (Râmâyana, etc.) when they are first mentioned and also in
     the notes but usually to print them in their simpler and
     unaccented forms. I fear however that my practice in this
     matter is not entirely consistent since different parts of
     the book were written at different times."

[From Volume 1]

The following are the principal abbreviations used:

Ep. Ind. Epigraphia India.

E.R.E. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (edited by Hastings).

I.A. Indian Antiquary.

J.A. Journal Asiatique.

J.A.O.S. Journal of the American Oriental Society.

J.R.A.S. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.

P.T.S. Pali Text Society.

S.B.E. Sacred Books of the East (Clarendon Press).

    Volume 3 has a number of words in Chinese. These are
    represented by the notation [Chinese: ] in the text files. In
    html the words are included as image files.

                         HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM

                         AN HISTORICAL SKETCH

                           SIR CHARLES ELIOT

                           In three volumes
                              VOLUME III

                      ROUTLEDGE & KEGAN PAUL LTD
                  Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane,
                            London, E.C.4.


                        _First published_ 1921
                              _Reprinted_ 1954
                              _Reprinted_ 1957
                              _Reprinted_ 1962

                      PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY
                            LUND HUMPHRIES














XLIII. CHINA (_continued_). HISTORY

XLIV. CHINA (_continued_). THE CANON






L. TIBET (_continued_). HISTORY

LI. TIBET (_continued_). THE CANON


LIII. TIBET (_continued_). SECTS














The subject of this Book is the expansion of Indian influence
throughout Eastern Asia and the neighbouring islands. That influence
is clear and wide-spread, nay almost universal, and it is with justice
that we speak of Further India and the Dutch call their colonies
Neerlands Indië. For some early chapters in the story of this
expansion the dates and details are meagre, but on the whole the
investigator's chief difficulty is to grasp and marshal the mass of
facts relating to the development of religion and civilization in this
great region.

The spread of Hindu thought was an intellectual conquest, not an
exchange of ideas. On the north-western frontier there was some
reciprocity, but otherwise the part played by India was consistently
active and not receptive. The Far East counted for nothing in her
internal history, doubtless because China was too distant and the
other countries had no special culture of their own. Still it is
remarkable that whereas many Hindu missionaries preached Buddhism in
China, the idea of making Confucianism known in India seems never to
have entered the head of any Chinese.

It is correct to say that the sphere of India's intellectual conquests
was the East and North, not the West, but still Buddhism spread
considerably to the west of its original home and entered Persia.
Stein discovered a Buddhist monastery in "the terminal marshes of the
Helmund" in Seistan[1] and Bamian is a good distance from our
frontier. But in Persia and its border lands there were powerful state
religions, first Zoroastrianism and then Islam, which disliked and
hindered the importation of foreign creeds and though we may see some
resemblance between Sufis and Vedantists, it does not appear that the
Moslim civilization of Iran owed much to Hinduism.

But in all Asia north and east of India, excluding most of Siberia but
including the Malay Archipelago, Indian influence is obvious. Though
primarily connected with religion it includes much more, such as
architecture, painting and other arts, an Indian alphabet, a
vocabulary of Indian words borrowed or translated, legends and
customs. The whole life of such diverse countries as Tibet, Burma, and
Java would have been different had they had no connection with India.

In these and many other regions the Hindus must have found a low state
of civilization, but in the Far East they encountered a culture
comparable with their own. There was no question of colonizing or
civilizing rude races. India and China met as equals, not hostile but
also not congenial, a priest and a statesman, and the statesman made
large concessions to the priest. Buddhism produced a great
fermentation and controversy in Chinese thought, but though its
fortunes varied it hardly ever became as in Burma and Ceylon the
national religion. It was, as a Chinese Emperor once said, one of the
two wings of a bird. The Chinese characters did not give way to an
Indian alphabet nor did the Confucian Classics fall into desuetude.
The subjects of Chinese and Japanese pictures may be Buddhist, the
plan and ornaments of their temples Indian, yet judged as works of art
the pictures and temples are indigenous. But for all that one has only
to compare the China of the Hans with the China of the T'angs to see
how great was the change wrought by India.

This outgrowing of Indian influence, so long continued and so wide in
extent, was naturally not the result of any one impulse. At no time
can we see in India any passion of discovery, any fever of conquest
such as possessed Europe when the New World and the route to the East
round the Cape were discovered. India's expansion was slow, generally
peaceful and attracted little attention at home. Partly it was due to
the natural permeation and infiltration of a superior culture beyond
its own borders, but it is equally natural that this gradual process
should have been sometimes accelerated by force of arms. The Hindus
produced no Tamerlanes or Babers, but a series of expeditions, spread
over long ages, but still not few in number, carried them to such
distant goals as Ceylon, Java and Camboja.

But the diffusion of Indian influence, especially in China, was also
due to another agency, namely religious propaganda and the deliberate
despatch of missions. These missions seem to have been exclusively
Buddhist for wherever we find records of Hinduism outside India, for
instance in Java and Camboja, the presence of Hindu conquerors or
colonists is also recorded.[2] Hinduism accompanied Hindus and
sometimes spread round their settlements, but it never attempted to
convert distant and alien lands. But the Buddhists had from the
beginning the true evangelistic temper: they preached to all the world
and in singleness of purpose: they had no political support from
India. Many as were the charges brought against them by hostile
Confucians, it was never suggested that they sought political or
commercial privileges for their native land. It was this simple
disinterested attitude which enabled Buddhism, though in many ways
antipathetic to the Far East, to win its confidence.

Ceylon is the first place where we have a record of the introduction
of Indian civilization and its entry there illustrates all the
phenomena mentioned above, infiltration, colonization and propaganda.
The island is close to the continent and communication with the Tamil
country easy, but though there has long been a large Tamil population
with its own language, religion and temples, the fundamental
civilization is not Tamil. A Hindu called Vijaya who apparently
started from the region of Broach about 500 B.C. led an expedition to
Ceylon and introduced a western Hindu language. Intercourse with the
north was doubtless maintained, for in the reign of Asoka we find the
King of Ceylon making overtures to him and receiving with enthusiasm
the missionaries whom he sent. It is possible that southern India
played a greater part in this conversion than the accepted legend
indicates, for we hear of a monastery built by Mahinda near
Tanjore.[3] But still language, monuments and tradition attest the
reality of the connection with northern India.

It is in Asoka's reign too that we first hear of Indian influence
spreading northwards. His Empire included Nepal and Kashmir, he
sent missionaries to the region of Himavanta, meaning apparently the
southern slopes of the Himalayas, and to the Kambojas, an ambiguous
race who were perhaps the inhabitants of Tibet or its border lands.
The Hindu Kush seems to have been the limit of his dominions but
tradition ascribes to this period the joint colonization of Khotan
from India and China.

Sinhalese and Burmese traditions also credit him with the despatch of
missionaries who converted Suvarṇabhûmi or Pegu. No mention of this
has been found in his own inscriptions, and European critics have
treated it with not unnatural scepticism for there is little
indication that Asoka paid much attention to the eastern frontiers of
his Empire. Still I think the question should be regarded as being
_sub judice_ rather than as answered in the negative.

Indian expeditions to the East probably commenced, if not in the reign
of Asoka, at least before our era. The Chinese Annals[4] state that
Indian Embassies reached China by sea about 50 B.C. and the Questions
of Milinda allude to trade by this route: the Ramayana mentions Java
and an inscription seems to testify that a Hindu king was reigning in
Champa (Annam) about 150 A.D. These dates are not so precise as one
could wish, but if there was a Hindu kingdom in that distant region in
the second century it was probably preceded by settlements in nearer
halting places, such as the Isthmus of Kra[5] or Java, at a
considerably anterior date, although the inscriptions discovered there
are not earlier than the fifth century A.D.

Java seems to have left some trace in Indian tradition, for instance
the proverb that those who go to Java do not come back, and it may
have been an early distributing centre for men and merchandize in
those seas. But Ligor probably marks a still earlier halting place. It
is on the same coast as the Mon kingdom of Thaton, which had
connection with Conjevaram by sea and was a centre of Pali Buddhism.
At any rate there was a movement of conquest and colonization in these
regions which brought with it Hinduism and Mahayanism, and established
Hindu kingdoms in Java, Camboja, Champa and Borneo, and another
movement of Hinayanist propaganda, apparently earlier, but of
which we know less.[6] Though these expeditions both secular and
religious probably took ship on the east coast of India, _e.g._ at
Masulipatam or the Seven Pagodas, yet their original starting point
may have been in the west, such as the district of Badami or even
Gujarat, for there were trade routes across the Indian Peninsula at an
early date.[7]

It is curious that the early history of Burma should be so obscure and
in order not to repeat details and hypotheses I refer the reader to
the chapter dealing specially with this country. From an early epoch
Upper Burma had connection with China and Bengal by land and Lower
Burma with Orissa and Conjevaram by sea. We know too that Pali
Buddhism existed there in the sixth century, that it gained greatly in
power in the reign of Anawrata (_c._ 1060) and that in subsequent
centuries there was a close ecclesiastical connection with Ceylon.

Siam as a kingdom is relatively modern but like Burma it has been
subject to several influences. The Siamese probably brought some form
of Buddhism with them when they descended from the north to their
present territories. From the Cambojans, their neighbours and at one
time their suzerains, they must have acquired some Hinduism and
Mahayanism, but they ended by adopting Hinayanism. The source was
probably Pegu but learned men from Ligor were also welcomed and the
ecclesiastical pre-eminence of Ceylon was accepted.

We thus see how Indian influence conquered Further India and the Malay
Archipelago and we must now trace its flow across Central Asia to
China and Japan, as well as the separate and later stream which
irrigated Tibet and Mongolia.

Tradition as mentioned ascribes to Asoka some connection with Khotan
and it is probable that by the beginning of our era the lands of the
Oxus and Tarim had become Buddhist and acquired a mixed civilization
in which the Indian factor was large. As usual it is difficult to give
precise dates, but Buddhism probably reached China by land a little
before rather than after our era and the prevalence of Gandharan art
in the cities of the Tarim basin makes it likely that their
efflorescence was not far removed in time from the Gandharan epoch of
India. The discovery near Khotan of official documents written in
Prakrit makes colonization as well as religious missions probable.
Further, although the movements of Central Asian tribes commonly took
the form of invading India, yet the current of culture was, on the
whole, in the opposite direction. The Kushans and others brought with
them a certain amount of Zoroastrian theology and Hellenistic art, but
the compound resulting from the mixture of these elements with
Buddhism was re-exported to the north and to China.

I shall discuss below the grounds for believing that Buddhism was
known in China before A.D. 62, the date when the Emperor Ming Ti is
said to have despatched a mission to enquire about it. For some time
many of its chief luminaries were immigrants from Central Asia and it
made its most rapid progress in that disturbed period of the third and
fourth centuries when North China was split up into contending Tartar
states which both in race and politics were closely connected with
Central Asia. Communication with India by land became frequent and
there was also communication _viâ_ the Malay Archipelago, especially
after the fifth century, when a double stream of Buddhist teachers
began to pour into China by sea as well as by land. A third tributary
joined them later when Khubilai, the Mongol conqueror of China, made
Lamaism, or Tibetan Buddhism, the state religion.

Tibetan Buddhism is a form of late Indian Mahayanism with a
considerable admixture of Hinduism, exported from Bengal to Tibet and
there modified not so much in doctrine as by the creation of a
powerful hierarchy, curiously analogous to the Roman Church. It is
unknown in southern China and not much favoured by the educated
classes in the north, but the Lamaist priesthood enjoys great
authority in Tibet and Mongolia, and both the Ming and Ch́ing
dynasties did their best to conciliate it for political reasons.
Lamaism has borrowed little from China and must be regarded as an
invasion into northern Asia and even Europe[8] of late Indian religion
and art, somewhat modified by the strong idiosyncrasy of the Tibetan
people. This northern movement was started by the desire of imitation,
not of conquest. At the beginning of the seventh century the King
of Tibet, who had dealings with both India and China, sent a mission
to the former to enquire about Buddhism and in the eighth and eleventh
centuries eminent doctors were summoned from India to establish the
faith and then to restore it after a temporary eclipse.

In Korea, Annam, and especially in Japan, Buddhism has been a great
ethical, religious and artistic force and in this sense those
countries owe much to India. Yet there was little direct communication
and what they received came to them almost entirely through China. The
ancient Champa was a Hindu kingdom analogous to Camboja, but modern
Annam represents not a continuation of this civilization but a later
descent of Chinese culture from the north. Japan was in close touch
with the Chinese just at the period when Buddhism was fermenting their
whole intellectual life and Japanese thought and art grew up in the
glow of this new inspiration, which was more intense than in China
because there was no native antagonist of the same strength as

In the following chapters I propose to discuss the history of Indian
influence in the various countries of Eastern Asia, taking Ceylon
first, followed by Burma and Siam. Whatever may have been the origin
of Buddhism in these two latter they have had for many centuries a
close ecclesiastical connection with Ceylon. Pali Buddhism prevails in
all, as well as in modern Camboja.

The Indian religion which prevailed in ancient Camboja was however of
a different type and similar to that of Champa and Java. In treating
of these Hindu kingdoms I have wondered whether I should not begin
with Java and adopt the hypothesis that the settlements established
there sent expeditions to the mainland and Borneo.[9] But the history
of Java is curiously fragmentary whereas the copious inscriptions of
Camboja and Champa combined with Chinese notices give a fairly
continuous chronicle. And a glance at the map will show that if there
were Hindu colonists at Ligor it would have been much easier for
them to go across the Gulf of Siam to Camboja than _viâ_ Java. I have
therefore not adopted the hypothesis of expansion from Java (while
also not rejecting it) nor followed any chronological method but have
treated of Camboja first, as being the Hindu state of which on the
whole we know most and then of Champa and Java in comparison with it.

In the later sections of the book I consider the expansion of Indian
influence in the north. A chapter on Central Asia endeavours to
summarize our rapidly increasing knowledge of this meeting place of
nations. Its history is closely connected with China and naturally
leads me to a somewhat extended review of the fortunes and
achievements of Buddhism in that great land, and also to a special
study of Tibet and of Lamaism. I have treated of Nepal elsewhere. For
the history of religion it is not a new province, but simply the
extreme north of the Indian region where the last phase of decadent
Indian Buddhism which practically disappeared in Bengal still retains
a nominal existence.


[Footnote 1: _Geog. Jour_. Aug., 1916, p. 362.]

[Footnote 2: The presence of Brahmans at the Courts of Burma and Siam
is a different matter. They were expressly invited as more skilled in
astrology and state ceremonies than Buddhists.]

[Footnote 3: Watters, _Yüan Chuang_, vol. II. p. 228.]

[Footnote 4: But not contemporary Annals. The Liang Annals make the
statement about the reign of Hsüan Li 73-49 B.C.]

[Footnote 5: Especially at Ligor or Dharmaraja.]

[Footnote 6: The statement of I-Ching that a wicked king destroyed
Buddhism in Funan is important.]

[Footnote 7: See Fleet in _J.R.A.S._ 1901, p. 548.]

[Footnote 8: There are settlements of Kalmuks near Astrakhan who have
Lama temples and maintain a connection with Tibet.]

[Footnote 9: The existence of a Hindu kingdom on the _East_ Coast of
Borneo in 400 A.D. or earlier is a strong argument in favour of
colonization from Java. Expeditions from any other quarter would
naturally have gone to the _West_ Coast. Also there is some knowledge
of Java in India, but apparently none of Camboja or Champa. This
suggests that Java may have been the first halting place and kept up
some slight connection with the mother country.]




The island of Ceylon, perhaps the most beautiful tropical country in
the world, lies near the end of the Indian peninsula but a little to
the east. At one point a chain of smaller islands and rocks said to
have been built by Rama as a passage for his army of monkeys leads to
the mainland. It is therefore natural that the population should have
relations with southern India. Sinhalese art, religion and language
show traces of Tamil influence but it is somewhat surprising to find
that in these and in all departments of civilization the influence of
northern India is stronger. The traditions which explain the
connection of Ceylon with this distant region seem credible and the
Sinhalese, who were often at war with the Tamils, were not disposed to
imitate their usages, although juxtaposition and invasion brought
about much involuntary resemblance.

The school of Buddhism now professed in Ceylon, Burma and Siam is
often called Sinhalese and (provided it is not implied that its
doctrines originated in Ceylon) the epithet is correct. For the school
ceased to exist in India and in the middle ages both Burma and Siam
accepted the authority of the Sinhalese Sangha.[10] This Sinhalese
school seems to be founded on the doctrines and scriptures accepted in
the time of Asoka in Magadha and though the faith may have been
codified and supplemented in its new home, I see no evidence that it
underwent much corruption or even development. One is inclined at
first to think that the Hindus, having a continuous living tradition
connecting them with Gotama who was himself a Hindu, were more likely
than these distant islanders to preserve the spirit of his teaching.
But there is another side to the question. The Hindus being
addicted to theological and metaphysical studies produced original
thinkers who, if not able to found new religions, at least modified
what their predecessors had laid down. If certain old texts were held
in too high esteem to be neglected, the ingenuity of the commentator
rarely failed to reinterpret them as favourable to the views popular
in his time. But the Sinhalese had not this passion for theology. So
far as we can judge of them in earlier periods they were endowed with
an amiable and receptive but somewhat indolent temperament, moderate
gifts in art and literature and a moderate love and understanding of
theology. Also their chiefs claimed to have come from northern India
and were inclined to accept favourably anything which had the same
origin. These are exactly the surroundings in which a religion can
flourish without change for many centuries and Buddhism in Ceylon
acquired stability because it also acquired a certain national and
patriotic flavour: it was the faith of the Sinhalese and not of the
invading Tamils. Such Sinhalese kings as had the power protected the
Church and erected magnificent buildings for its service.

If Sinhalese tradition may be believed, the first historical contact
with northern India was the expedition of Vijaya, who with 700
followers settled in the island about the time of the Buddha's death.
Many details of the story are obviously invented. Thus in order to
explain why Ceylon is called Sinhala, Vijaya is made the grandson of
an Indian princess who lived with a lion. But though these legends
inspire mistrust, it is a fact that the language of Ceylon in its
earliest known form is a dialect closely connected with Pali (or
rather with the spoken dialect from which ecclesiastical Pali was
derived) and still more closely with the Mahârâshtri Prakrit of
western India. It is not however a derivative of this Prakrit but
parallel to it and in some words presents older forms.[11] It does not
seem possible to ascribe the introduction of this language to the
later mission of Mahinda, for, though Buddhist monks have in many
countries influenced literature and the literary vocabulary, no
instance is recorded of their changing the popular speech.[12] But
Vijaya is said to have conquered Ceylon and to have slaughtered
many of its ancient inhabitants, called Yakkhas,[13] of whom we
know little except that Sinhalese contains some un-Aryan words
probably borrowed from them. According to the Dîpavaṃsa,[14]
Vijaya started from Bharukaccha or Broach and both language and such
historical facts as we know confirm the tradition that some time
before the third century B.C. Ceylon was conquered by Indian
immigrants from the west coast.

It would not be unreasonable to suppose that Vijaya introduced into
Ceylon the elements of Buddhism, but there is little evidence to
indicate that it was a conspicuous form of religion in India in his
time. Sinhalese tradition maintains that not only Gotama himself but
also the three preceding Buddhas were miraculously transported to
Ceylon and made arrangements for its conversion. Gotama is said to
have paid no less than three visits:[15] all are obviously impossible
and were invented to enhance the glory of the island. But the legends
which relate how Paṇḍuvâsudeva came from India to succeed
Vijaya, how he subsequently had a Sakya princess brought over from
India to be his wife and how her brothers established cities in
Ceylon,[16] if not true in detail, are probably true in spirit in so
far as they imply that the Sinhalese kept up intercourse with India
and were familiar with the principal forms of Indian religion. Thus we
are told[17] that King Paṇḍukâbhaya built religious edifices for
Nigaṇṭhas (Jains), Brahmans, Paribbâjakas (possibly Buddhists)
and Âjîvikas. When Devânampiya Tissa ascended the throne (_circ._ 245
B.C.) he sent a complimentary mission bearing wonderful treasures to
Asoka with whom he was on friendly terms, although they had never met.
This implies that the kingdom of Magadha was known and respected in
Ceylon, and we hear that the mission included a Brahman. The answer
attributed to Asoka will surprise no one acquainted with the
inscriptions of that pious monarch. He said that he had taken
refuge in the law of Buddha and advised the King of Ceylon to find
salvation in the same way. He also sent magnificent presents
consisting chiefly of royal insignia and Tissa was crowned for the
second time, which probably means that he became not only the disciple
but the vassal of Asoka.

In any case the records declare that the Indian Emperor showed the
greatest solicitude for the spiritual welfare of Ceylon and, though
they are obviously embellished, there is no reason to doubt their
substantial accuracy.[18] The Sinhalese tradition agrees on the whole
with the data supplied by Indian inscriptions and Chinese pilgrims.
The names of missionaries mentioned in the Dîpa and Mahâvamsas recur
on urns found at Sanchi and on its gateways are pictures in relief
which appear to represent the transfer of a branch of the Bo-tree in
solemn procession to some destination which, though unnamed, may be
conjectured to be Ceylon.[19] The absence of Mahinda's name in Asoka's
inscriptions is certainly suspicious, but the Sinhalese chronicles
give the names of other missionaries correctly and a mere _argumentum
ex silentio_ cannot disprove their testimony on this important point.

The principal repositories of Sinhalese tradition are the Dîpavamsa, the
Mahâvamsa, and the historical preface of Buddhaghosa's Samanta-pâsâdikâ.
[20] All later works are founded on these three, so far as concerns
the conversion of Ceylon and the immediately subsequent period,
and the three works appear to be rearrangements of a single
source known as the Aṭṭhakathâ, Sihalaṭṭhakathâ, or the words of the
Porâṇa (ancients). These names were given to commentaries on the
Tipiṭaka written in Sinhalese prose interspersed with Pali verse and
several of the greater monasteries had their own editions of them,
including a definite historical section.[21] It is probable that at the
beginning of the fifth century A.D. and perhaps in the fourth century
the old Sinhalese in which the prose parts of the Atthakathâ were
written was growing unintelligible, and that it was becoming more and
more the fashion to use Pali as the language of ecclesiastical
literature, for at least three writers set themselves to turn part of
the traditions not into the vernacular but into Pali. The earliest and
least artistic is the unknown author of the short chronicle called
Dîpavamsa, who wrote between 302 A.D. and 430 A.D.[22] His work is weak
both as a specimen of Pali and as a narrative and he probably did little
but patch together the Pali verses occurring from time to time in the
Sinhalese prose of the Atthakathâ. Somewhat later, towards the end of
the fifth century, a certain Mahânâma arranged the materials out of
which the Dîpavamsa had been formed in a more consecutive and artistic
form, combining ecclesiastical and popular legends.[23] His work, known
as the Mahâvamsa, does not end with the reign of Eḷâra, like the
Dîpavamsa, but describes in 15 more chapters the exploits of
Duṭṭhagâmaṇi and his successors ending with Mahâsena.[24] The third
writer, Buddhaghosa, apparently lived between the authors of the two
chronicles. His voluminous literary activity will demand our attention
later but so far as history is concerned his narrative is closely
parallel to the Mahâvamsa.[25]

The historical narrative is similar in all three works. After the
Council of Pataliputra, Moggaliputta, who had presided over it, came
to the conclusion that the time had come to despatch missionaries to
convert foreign countries. Sinhalese tradition represents this
decision as emanating from Moggaliputta whereas the inscriptions of
Asoka imply that the king himself initiated the momentous project. But
the difference is small. We cannot now tell to whom the great idea
first occurred but it must have been carried out by the clergy with
the assistance of Asoka, the apostle selected for Ceylon was his[26]
near relative Mahinda who according to the traditions of the
Sinhalese made his way to their island through the air with six
companions. The account of Hsüan Chuang hints at a less miraculous
mode of progression for he speaks of a monastery built by Mahinda
somewhere near Tanjore.

The legend tells how Mahinda and his following alighted on the Missaka
mountain[27] whither King Devânampiya Tissa had gone in the course of
a hunt. The monks and the royal cortege met: Mahinda, after testing
the king's intellectual capacity by some curious dialectical puzzles,
had no difficulty in converting him.[28] Next morning he proceeded to
Anuradhapura and was received with all honour and enthusiasm. He
preached first in the palace and then to enthusiastic audiences of the
general public. In these discourses he dwelt chiefly on the terrible
punishment awaiting sinners in future existences.[29]

We need not follow in detail the picturesque account of the rapid
conversion of the capital. The king made over to the Church the
Mahâmegha garden and proceeded to construct a series of religious
edifices in Anuradhapura and its neighbourhood. The catalogue of them
is given in the Mahâvamsa[30] and the most important was the
Mahâvihâra monastery, which became specially famous and influential in
the history of Buddhism. It was situated in the Mahâmegha garden close
to the Bo-tree and was regarded as the citadel of orthodoxy. Its
subsequent conflicts with the later Abhayagiri monastery are the chief
theme of Sinhalese ecclesiastical history and our version of the Pali
Piṭakas is the one which received its imprimatur.

Tissa is represented as having sent two further missions to India. The
first went in quest of relics and made its way not only to Pataliputra
but to the court of Indra, king of the gods, and the relics obtained,
of which the principal was the Buddha's alms-bowl,[31] were deposited
in Anuradhapura. The king then built the Thuparâma dagoba over them
and there is no reason to doubt that the building which now bears
this name is genuine. The story may therefore be true to the extent
that relics were brought from India at this early period.

The second mission was despatched to bring a branch of the tree[32]
under which the Buddha had sat when he obtained enlightenment. This
narrative[33] is perhaps based on a more solid substratum of fact. The
chronicles connect the event with the desire of the Princess Anulâ to
become a nun. Women could receive ordination only from ordained nuns
and as these were not to be found on the island it was decided to ask
Asoka to send a branch of the sacred tree and also Mahinda's sister
Sanghamittâ, a religieuse of eminence. The mission was successful. A
branch from the Bo-tree was detached, conveyed by Asoka to the coast
with much ceremony and received in Ceylon by Tissa with equal respect.
The princess accompanied it. The Bo-tree was planted in the Meghavana
garden. It may still be seen and attracts pilgrims not only from
Ceylon but from Burma and Siam. Unlike the buildings of Anuradhapura
it has never been entirely neglected and it is clear that it has been
venerated as the Bo-tree from an early period of Sinhalese history.
Botanists consider its long life, though remarkable, not impossible
since trees of this species throw up fresh shoots from the roots near
the parent stem. The sculptures at Sanchi represent a branch of a
sacred tree being carried in procession, though no inscription attests
its destination, and Fa-Hsien says that he saw the tree.[34] The
author of the first part of the Mahâvamsa clearly regards it as
already ancient, and throughout the history of Ceylon there are
references to the construction of railings and terraces to protect it.

Devânampiya Tissa probably died in 207 B.C. In 177 the kingdom passed
into the hands of Tamil monarchs who were not Buddhists, although the
chroniclers praise their justice and the respect which they showed to
the Church. The most important of them, Eḷâra, reigned for
forty-four years and was dethroned by a descendant of Tissa, called

The exploits of this prince are recorded at such length in the
Mahâvamsa (XXII.-XXXII.) as to suggest that they formed the subject of
a separate popular epic, in which he figured as the champion of
Sinhalese against the Tamils, and therefore as a devout Buddhist. On
ascending the throne he felt, like Asoka, remorse for the bloodshed
which had attended his early life and strove to atone for it by good
works, especially the construction of sacred edifices. The most
important of these were the Lohapasâda or Copper Palace and the
Mahâthûpa or Ruwanweli Dagoba. The former[36] was a monastery roofed
or covered with copper plates. Its numerous rooms were richly
decorated and it consisted of nine storeys, of which the four
uppermost were set apart for Arhats, and the lower assigned to the
inferior grades of monks. Perhaps the nine storeys are an
exaggeration: at any rate the building suffered from fire and
underwent numerous reconstructions and modifications. King Mahâsena
(301 A.D.) destroyed it and then repenting of his errors rebuilt it,
but the ruins now representing it at Anuradhapura, which consist of
stone pillars only, date from the reign of Parâkrama Bâhu I (about
A.D. 1150). The immense pile known as the Ruwanweli Dagoba, though
often injured by invaders in search of treasure, still exists. The
somewhat dilapidated exterior is merely an outer shell, enclosing a
smaller dagoba.[37] This is possibly the structure erected by
Duṭṭhagâmaṇi, though tradition says that there is a still
smaller edifice inside. The foundation and building of the original
structure are related at great length.[38] Crowds of distinguished
monks came to see the first stone laid, even from Kashmir and
Alasanda. Some have identified the latter name with Alexandria in
Egypt, but it probably denotes a Greek city on the Indus.[39] But in
any case tradition represents Buddhists from all parts of India as
taking part in the ceremony and thus recognizing the unity of Indian
and Sinhalese Buddhism.

Of great importance for the history of the Sinhalese Church is the
reign of Vaṭṭagâmaṇi Abhaya who after being dethroned by Tamils
recovered his kingdom and reigned for twelve years.[40] He built a new
monastery and dagoba known as Abhayagiri,[41] which soon became the
enemy of the Mahâvihâra and heterodox, if the latter is to be considered
orthodox. The account of the schism given in the Mahâvaṃsa[42] is
obscure, but the dispute resulted in the Piṭakas, which had hitherto
been preserved orally, being committed to writing. The council which
defined and edited the scriptures was not attended by all the
monasteries of Ceylon, but only by the monks of the Mahâvihâra, and the
text which they wrote down was their special version and not universally
accepted. It included the Parivâra, which was apparently a recent manual
composed in Ceylon. The Mahâvaṃsa says no more about this schism, but
the Nikâya-Sangrahawa[43] says that the monks of the Abhayagiri
monastery now embraced the doctrines of the Vajjiputta school (one of
the seventeen branches of the Mahâsanghikas) which was known in Ceylon
as the Dhammaruci school from an eminent teacher of that name. Many
pious kings followed who built or repaired sacred edifices and Buddhism
evidently flourished, but we also hear of heresy. In the third century
A.D.[44] King Voharaka Tissa suppressed[45] the Vetulyas. This sect was
connected with the Abhayagiri monastery, but, though it lasted until the
twelfth century, I have found no Sinhalese account of its tenets. It is
represented as the worst of heresies, which was suppressed by all
orthodox kings but again and again revived, or was reintroduced from
India. Though it always found a footing at the Abhayagiri it was not
officially recognized as the creed of that Monastery which since the
time of Vaṭṭagâmaṇi seems to have professed the relatively orthodox
doctrine called Dhammaruci.

Mention is made in the Kathâ-vatthu of heretics who held that the
Buddha remained in the Tusita heaven and that the law was preached on
earth not by him but by Ananda and the commentary[46] ascribes these
views to the Vetulyakas. The reticence of the Sinhalese chronicles
makes it doubtful whether the Vetulyakas of Ceylon and these heretics
are identical but probably the monks of the Abhayagiri, if not
strictly speaking Mahayanist, were an off-shoot of an ancient sect
which contained some germs of the Mahayana. Hsüan Chuang in his
narrative[47] states (probably from hearsay) that the monks of the
Mahâvihâra were Hinayanists but that both vehicles were studied at the
Abhayagiri. I-Ching on the contrary says expressly that all the
Sinhalese belonged to the Âryasthavira Nikâya. Fa-Hsien describes the
Buddhism of Ceylon as he saw it about 412 A.D., but does not apply to
it the terms Hina or Mahayana. He evidently regarded the Abhayagiri as
the principal religious centre and says it had 5000 monks as against
3000 in the Mahâvihâra, but though he dwells on the gorgeous
ceremonial, the veneration of the sacred tooth, the representations of
Gotama's previous lives, and the images of Maitreya, he does not
allude to the worship of Avalokita and Mañjusrî or to anything that
can be called definitely Mahayanist. He describes a florid and
somewhat superstitious worship which may have tended to regard the
Buddha as superhuman, but the relics of Gotama's body were its chief
visible symbols and we have no ground for assuming that such teaching
as is found in the Lotus sûtra was its theological basis. Yet we may
legitimately suspect that the traditions of the Abhayagiri remount to
early prototypes of that teaching.

In the second and third centuries the Court seems to have favoured the
Mahâvihâra and King Goṭhâbhaya banished monks belonging to the
Vetulya sect,[48] but in spite of this a monk of the Abhayagiri named
Sanghamitta obtained his confidence and that of his son, Mahâsena, who
occupied the throne from 275 to 302 A.D. The Mahâvihâra was destroyed
and its occupants persecuted at Sanghamitta's instigation but he was
murdered and after his death the great Monastery was rebuilt. The
triumph however was not complete for Mahâsena built a new monastery
called Jetavana on ground belonging to the Mahâvihâra and asked the
monks to abandon this portion of their territory. They refused and
according to the Mahâvamsa ultimately succeeded in proving their
rights before a court of law. But the Jetavana remained as the
headquarters of a sect known as Sagaliyas. They appear to have been
moderately orthodox, but to have had their own text of the Vinaya for
according to the Commentary[49] on the Mahâvamsa they "separated the
two Vibhangas of the Bhagavâ[50] from the Vinaya ... altering their
meaning and misquoting their contents." In the opinion of the
Mahâvihâra both the Abhayagiri and Jetavana were schismatical, but the
laity appear to have given their respect and offerings to all three
impartially and the Mahâvamsa several times records how the same
individual honoured the three Confraternities.

With the death of Mahâsena ends the first and oldest part of the
Mahâvamsa, and also in native opinion the grand period of Sinhalese
history, the subsequent kings being known as the Cûlavaṃsa or minor
dynasty. A continuation[51] of the chronicle takes up the story and
tells of the doings of Mahâsena's son Sirimeghavaṇṇa.[52] Judged
by the standard of the Mahâvihâra, he was fairly satisfactory. He
rebuilt the Lohapasâda and caused a golden image of Mahinda to be made
and carried in procession. This veneration of the founder of a
local church reminds one of the respect shown to the images of
half-deified abbots in Tibet, China and Japan. But the king did not
neglect the Abhayagiri or assign it a lower position than the
Mahâvihâra for he gave it partial custody of the celebrated relic
known as the Buddha's tooth which was brought to Ceylon from Kalinga
in the ninth year of his reign and has ever since been considered the
palladium of the island.


It may not be amiss to consider here briefly what is known of the
history of the Buddha's relics and especially of this tooth. Of the
minor distinctions between Buddhism and Hinduism one of the sharpest
is this cultus. Hindu temples are often erected over natural objects
supposed to resemble the footprint or some member of a deity and
sometimes tombs receive veneration.[53] But no case appears to be
known in which either Hindus or Jains show reverence to the bones or
other fragments of a human body. It is hence remarkable that
relic-worship should be so wide-spread in Buddhism and appear so early
in its history. The earliest Buddhist monuments depict figures
worshipping at a stupa, which was probably a reliquary, and there is
no reason to distrust the traditions which carry the practice back at
least to the reign of Asoka. The principal cause for its prevalence
was no doubt that Buddhism, while creating a powerful religious
current, provided hardly any objects of worship for the faithful.[54]
It is also probable that the rudiments of relic worship existed in the
districts frequented by the Buddha. The account of his death states
that after the cremation of his body the Mallas placed his bones in
their council hall and honoured them with songs and dances. Then eight
communities or individuals demanded a portion of the relics and over
each portion a cairn was built. These proceedings are mentioned as if
they were the usual ceremonial observed on the death of a great man
and in the same Sutta[55] the Buddha himself mentions four classes
of men worthy of a cairn or dagoba.[56] We may perhaps conclude that
in the earliest ages of Buddhism it was usual in north-eastern India
to honour the bones of a distinguished man after cremation and inter
them under a monument. This is not exactly relic worship but it has in
it the root of the later tree. The Piṭakas contain little about the
practice but the Milinda Pañha discusses the question at length and in
one passage[57] endeavours to reconcile two sayings of the Buddha,
"Hinder not yourselves by honouring the remains of the Tathâgatha" and
"Honour that relic of him who is worthy of honour." It is the first
utterance rather than the second that seems to have the genuine ring
of Gotama.

The earliest known relics are those discovered in the stupa of Piprâvâ
on the borders of Nepal in 1898. Their precise nature and the date of
the inscription describing them have been the subject of much
discussion. Some authorities think that this stupa may be one of those
erected over a portion of the Buddha's ashes after his funeral. Even
Barth, a most cautious and sceptical scholar, admitted[58] first that
the inscription is not later than Asoka, secondly that the vase is a
reliquary containing what were believed to be bones of the Buddha.
Thus in the time of Asoka the worship of the Buddha's relics was well
known and I see no reason why the inscription should not be anterior
to that time.

According to Buddhaghosa's _Sumangalavilâsinî_ and Sinhalese texts
which though late are based on early material[59], Mahâkassapa
instigated Ajâtasattu to collect the relics of the Buddha, and to
place them in a stupa, there to await the advent of Asoka. In Asoka's
time the stupa had become overgrown and hidden by jungle but when the
king was in search of relics, its position was revealed to him. He
found inside it an inscription authorizing him to disperse the
contents and proceeded to distribute them among the 84,000
monasteries which he is said to have constructed.

In its main outlines this account is probable. Ajâtasattu conquered
the Licchavis and other small states to the north of Magadha and if he
was convinced of the importance of the Buddha's relics it would be
natural that he should transport them to his capital, regarding them
perhaps as talismans.[60] Here they were neglected, though not
damaged, in the reigns of Brahmanical kings and were rescued from
oblivion by Asoka, who being sovereign of all India and anxious to
spread Buddhism throughout his dominions would be likely to distribute
the relics as widely as he distributed his pillars and inscriptions.
But later Buddhist kings could not emulate this imperial impartiality
and we may surmise that such a monarch as Kanishka would see to it
that all the principal relics in northern India found their way to his
capital. The bones discovered at Peshawar are doubtless those
considered most authentic in his reign.

Next to the tooth, the most interesting relic of the Buddha was his
_patra_ or alms-bowl, which plays a part somewhat similar to that of
the Holy Grail in Christian romance. The Mahâvaṃsa states that
Asoka sent it to Ceylon, but the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien[61] saw it
at Peshawar about 405 A.D. It was shown to the people daily at the
midday and evening services. The pilgrim thought it contained about
two pecks yet such were its miraculous properties that the poor could
fill it with a gift of a few flowers, whereas the rich cast in myriads
of bushels and found there was still room for more. A few years later
Fa-Hsien heard a sermon in Ceylon[62] in which the preacher predicted
that the bowl would be taken in the course of centuries to Central
Asia, China, Ceylon and Central India whence it would ultimately
ascend to the Tusita heaven for the use of the future Buddha. Later
accounts to some extent record the fulfilment of these predictions
inasmuch as they relate how the bowl (or bowls) passed from land to
land but the story of its wandering may have little foundation since
it is combined with the idea that it is wafted from shrine to shrine
according as the faith is nourishing or decadent. Hsüan Chuang says
that it "had gone on from Peshawar to several countries and was
now in Persia.[63]" A Mohammedan legend relates that it is at Kandahar
and will contain any quantity of liquid without overflowing. Marco
Polo says Kublai Khan sent an embassy in 1284 to bring it from Ceylon
to China.[64]

The wanderings of the tooth, though almost as surprising as those of
the bowl, rest on better historical evidence, but there is probably
more continuity in the story than in the holy object of which it is
related, for the piece of bone which is credited with being the left
canine tooth of the Blessed One may have been changed on more than one
occasion. The Sinhalese chronicles,[65] as mentioned, say that it was
brought to Ceylon in the ninth year of Sirimeghavaṇṇa.[66] This
date may be approximately correct for about 413 or later Fa-Hsien
described the annual festival of the tooth, during which it was
exposed for veneration at the Abhayagiri monastery, without indicating
that the usage was recent.

The tooth did not, according to Sinhalese tradition, form part of the
relics distributed after the cremation of the Buddha. Seven bones,
including four teeth,[67] were excepted from that distribution and
the Sage Khema taking the left canine tooth direct from the funeral
pyre gave it to the king of Kalinga, who enshrined it in a gorgeous
temple at Dantapura[68] where it is supposed to have remained 800
years. At the end of that period a pious king named Guhasiva
became involved in disastrous wars on account of the relic, and, as
the best means of preserving it, bade his daughter fly with her
husband[69] and take it to Ceylon. This, after some miraculous
adventures, they were able to do. The tooth was received with great
ceremony and lodged in an edifice called the Dhammacakka from which it
was taken every year for a temporary sojourn[70] in the Abhayagiri

The cultus of the tooth flourished exceedingly in the next few
centuries and it came to be regarded as the talisman of the king and
nation. Hence when the court moved from Anuradhapura to Pollunaruwa it
was installed in the new capital. In the troubled times which followed
it changed its residence some fifteen times. Early in the fourteenth
century it was carried off by the Tamils to southern India but was
recovered by Parâkrama Bâhu III and during the commotion created by
the invasions of the Tamils, Chinese and Portuguese it was hidden in
various cities. In 1560 Dom Constantino de Bragança, Portuguese
Viceroy of Goa, led a crusade against Jaffna to avenge the alleged
persecution of Christians, and when the town was sacked a relic,
described as the tooth of an ape mounted in gold, was found in a
temple and carried off to Goa. On this Bayin Naung, King of Pegu,
offered an enormous ransom to redeem it, which the secular government
wished to accept, but the clergy and inquisition put such pressure on
the Viceroy that he rejected the proposal. The archbishop of Goa
pounded the tooth in a mortar before the viceregal court, burned the
fragments and scattered the ashes over the sea.[71]

But the singular result of this bigotry was not to destroy one sacred
tooth but to create two. The king of Pegu, who wished to marry a
Sinhalese princess, sent an embassy to Ceylon to arrange the match.
They were received by the king of Cotta, who bore the curiously
combined name of Don Juan Dharmapâla. He had no daughter of his own
but palmed off the daughter of a chamberlain. At the same time he
informed the king of Pegu that the tooth destroyed at Goa was not
the real relic and that this still remained in his possession. Bayin
Naung was induced to marry the lady and received the tooth with
appropriate ceremonies. But when the king of Kandy heard of these
doings, he apprized the king of Pegu of the double trick that had been
played on him. He offered him his own daughter, a veritable princess,
in marriage and as her dowry the true tooth which, he said, was
neither that destroyed at Goa nor yet that sent to Pegu, but one in
his own possession. Bayin Naung received the Kandyan embassy politely
but rejected its proposals, thinking no doubt that it would be awkward
to declare the first tooth spurious after it had been solemnly
installed as a sacred relic. The second tooth therefore remained in
Kandy and appears to be that now venerated there. When Vimala Dharma
re-established the original line of kings, about 1592, it was accepted
as authentic.

As to its authenticity, it appears to be beyond doubt that it is a
piece of discoloured bone about two inches long, which could never
have been the tooth of an ordinary human being, so that even the
faithful can only contend that the Buddha was of superhuman stature.
Whether it is the relic which was venerated in Ceylon before the
arrival of the Portuguese is a more difficult question, for it may be
argued with equal plausibility that the Sinhalese had good reasons for
hiding the real tooth and good reasons for duplicating it. The
strongest argument against the authenticity of the relic destroyed by
the Portuguese is that it was found in Jaffna, which had long been a
Tamil town, whereas there is no reason to believe that the real tooth
was at this time in Tamil custody. But, although the native
literature always speaks of it as unique, the Sinhalese appear to have
produced replicas more than once, for we hear of such being sent to
Burma and China.[72] Again, the offer to ransom the tooth came not
from Ceylon but from the king of Pegu, who, as the sequel shows, was
gullible in such matters: the Portuguese clearly thought that they had
acquired a relic of primary importance; on any hypothesis one of the
kings of Ceylon must have deceived the king of Pegu, and finally
Vimala Dharma had the strongest political reasons for accepting as
genuine the relic kept at Kandy, since the possession of the true
tooth went far to substantiate a Sinhalese monarch's right to the

The tooth is now preserved in a temple at Kandy. The visitor looking
through a screen of bars can see on a silver table a large jewelled
case shaped like a bell. Flowers scattered on the floor or piled on
other tables fill the chamber with their heavy perfume. Inside the
bell are six other bells of diminishing size, the innermost of which
covers a golden lotus containing the sacred tooth. But it is only on
rare occasions that the outer caskets are removed. Worshippers as a
rule have to content themselves with offering flowers[73] and bowing
but I was informed that the priests celebrate _puja_ daily before the
relic. The ceremony comprises the consecration and distribution of
rice and is interesting as connecting the veneration of the tooth with
the ritual observed in Hindu temples. But we must return to the
general history of Buddhism in Ceylon.


The kings who ruled in the fifth century were devout Buddhists and
builders of vihâras but the most important event of this period, not
merely for the island but for the whole Buddhist church in the south,
was the literary activity of Buddhaghosa who is said to have resided
in Ceylon during the reign of Mahânâma. The chief authorities for his
life are a passage in the continuation of the Mahâvamsa[74] and the
Buddhaghosuppatti, a late Burmese text of about 1550, which, while
adding many anecdotes, appears not to come from an independent
source.[75] The gist of their account is that he was born in a Brahman
family near Gaya and early obtained renown as a disputant. He was
converted to Buddhism by a monk named Revata and began to write
theological treatises.[76] Revata observing his intention to
compose a commentary on the Piṭakas, told him that only the text
(pâlimattam) of the scriptures was to be found in India, not the
ancient commentaries, but that the Sinhalese commentaries were
genuine, having been composed in that language by Mahinda. He
therefore bade Buddhaghosa repair to Ceylon and translate these
Sinhalese works into the idiom of Magadha, by which Pali must be
meant. Buddhaghosa took this advice and there is no reason to distrust
the statement of the Mahâvamsa that he arrived in the reign of
Mahânâma, who ruled according to Geiger from 458 to 480, though the
usual reckoning places him about fifty years earlier. The fact that
Fa-Hsien, who visited Ceylon about 412, does not mention Buddhaghosa
is in favour of Geiger's chronology.[77]

He first studied in the Mahâvihâra and eventually requested permission
to translate the Sinhalese commentaries. To prove his competence for
the task he composed the celebrated Visuddhi-magga, and, this being
considered satisfactory, he took up his residence in the Ganthâkara
Vihâra and proceeded to the work of translation. When it was finished
he returned to India or according to the Talaing tradition to Thaton.
The Buddhaghosuppatti adds two stories of which the truth and meaning
are equally doubtful. They are that Buddhaghosa burnt the works
written by Mahinda and that his knowledge of Sanskrit was called in
question but triumphantly proved. Can there be here any allusion to a
Sanskrit canon supported by the opponents of the Mahâvihâra?

Even in its main outline the story is not very coherent for one would
imagine that, if a Buddhist from Magadha went to Ceylon to translate
the Sinhalese commentaries, his object must have been to introduce
them among Indian Buddhists. But there is no evidence that Buddhaghosa
did this and he is for us simply a great figure in the literary and
religious history of Ceylon. Burmese tradition maintains that he was a
native of Thaton and returned thither, when his labours in Ceylon were
completed, to spread the scriptures in his native language. This
version of his activity is intelligible, though the evidence for it is

He composed a great corpus of exegetical literature which has been
preserved, but, since much of it is still unedited, the precise extent
of his labours is uncertain. There is however little doubt of the
authenticity of his commentaries on the four great Nikâyas, on the
Abhidhamma and on the Vinaya (called Samanta-pâsâdikâ) and in them[78]
he refers to the Visuddhi-magga as his own work. He says expressly
that his explanations are founded on Sinhalese materials, which he
frequently cites as the opinion of the ancients (porânâ). By this word
he probably means traditions recorded in Sinhalese and attributed to
Mahinda, but it is in any case clear that the works which he consulted
were considered old in the fifth century A.D. Some of their names are
preserved in the Samanta-pâsâdikâ where he mentions the great
commentary (Mahâ-Aṭṭhakathâ), the Raft commentary (Paccari, so
called because written on a raft), the Kurundi commentary composed at
Kurunda-Velu and others[79]. All this literature has disappeared and
we can only judge of it by Buddhaghosa's reproduction which is
probably not a translation but a selection and rearrangement. Indeed
his occasional direct quotations from the ancients or from an
Aṭṭhakathâ imply that the rest of the work is merely based on
the Sinhalese commentaries.

Buddhaghosa was not an independent thinker but he makes amends for his
want of originality not only by his industry and learning but by his
power of grasping and expounding the whole of an intricate subject.
His Visuddhi-magga has not yet been edited in Europe, but the extracts
and copious analysis[80] which have been published indicate that it is
a comprehensive restatement of Buddhist doctrine made with as free a
hand as orthodoxy permitted. The Mahâvamsa observes that the Theras
held his works in the same estimation as the Piṭakas. They are in
no way coloured by the Mahayanist tenets which were already prevalent
in India, but state in its severest form the Hinayanist creed, of
which he is the most authoritative exponent. The Visuddhi-magga is
divided into three parts treating of conduct (sîlam), meditation
(samâdhi) and knowledge (paññâ), the first being the necessary
substratum for the religious life of which the others are the two
principal branches. But though he intersperses his exposition with
miraculous stories and treats exhaustively of superhuman powers, no
trace of the worship of Mahayanist Bodhisattvas is found in his works
and, as for literature, he himself is the chief authority for the
genuineness and completeness of the Pali Canon as we know it.

When we find it said that his works were esteemed as highly as the
Piṭakas, or that the documents which he translated into Pali were
the words of the Buddha[81], the suspicion naturally arises that the
Pali Canon may be in part his composition and it may be well to review
briefly its history in Ceylon. Our knowledge appears to be derived
entirely from the traditions of the Mahâvihâra which represent Mahinda
as teaching the text of the Piṭakas orally, accompanied by a
commentary. If we admit the general truth of the narrative concerning
Mahinda's mission, there is nothing improbable in these statements,
for it would be natural that an Indian teacher should know by heart
his sacred texts and the commentaries on them. We cannot of course
assume that the Piṭakas of Mahinda were the Pali Canon as we know
it, but the inscriptions of Asoka refer to passages which can be found
in that canon and therefore parts of it at any rate must have been
accepted as scripture in the third century B.C. But it is probable
that considerable variation was permitted in the text, although the
sense and a certain terminology were carefully guarded. It was not
till the reign of Vaṭṭagâmaṇi, probably about 20 B.C., that
the canon was committed to writing and the Parivâra, composed in
Ceylon[82], was included in it.

In the reign of Buddhadâsa[83] a learned monk named Mahâdhammakathi is
said to have translated the Suttas into Sinhalese, which at this time
was esteemed the proper language for letters and theology, but in the
next century a contrary tendency, probably initiated by Buddhaghosa,
becomes apparent and Sinhalese works are rewritten in Pali.[84] But
nothing indicates that any part of what we call the Pali Canon
underwent this process. Buddhaghosa distinguishes clearly between text
and comment, between Pali and Sinhalese documents. He has a coherent
history of the text, beginning with the Council of Râjagaha; he
discusses various readings, he explains difficult words. He treated
the ancient commentaries with freedom, but there is no reason to think
that he allowed himself any discretion or right of selection in
dealing with the sacred texts accepted by the Mahâvihâra, though it
might be prudent to await the publication of his commentaries on all
the Nikâyas before asserting this unreservedly.

To sum up, the available evidence points to the conclusion that in the
time of Asoka texts and commentaries preserved orally were brought to
Ceylon. The former, though in a somewhat fluid condition, were
sufficiently sacred to be kept unchanged in the original Indian
language, the latter were translated into the kindred but still
distinct vernacular of the island. In the next century and a half
some additions to the Pali texts were made and about 20 B.C. the
Mahâvihâra, which proved as superior to the other communities in
vitality as it was in antiquity, caused written copies to be made of
what it considered as the canon, including some recent works. There is
no evidence that Buddhaghosa or anyone else enlarged or curtailed the
canon, but the curious tradition that he collected and burned all the
books written by Mahinda in Sinhalese[85] may allude to the existence
of other works which he (presumably in agreement with the Mahâvihâra)
considered spurious.

Soon after the departure of Buddhaghosa Dhâtusena came to the throne
and "held like Dhammasoka a convocation about the three
Piṭakas."[86] This implies that there was still some doubt as to
what was scripture and that the canon of the Mahâvihâra was not
universally accepted. The Vetulyas, of whom we heard in the third
century A.D., reappear in the seventh when they are said to have been
supported by a provincial governor but not by the king Aggabodhi[87]
and still more explicitly in the reign of Parâkrama Bâhu (c. 1160). He
endeavoured to reconcile to the Mahâvihâra "the Abhayagiri brethren
who separated themselves from the time of king Vaṭṭagâmaṇi
Abhaya and the Jetavana brethren that had parted since the days of
Mahâsena and taught the Vetulla Piṭaka and other writings as the
words of Buddha, which indeed were not the words of Buddha[88]." So it
appears that another recension of the canon was in existence for many

Dhâtusena, though depicted in the Mahâvaṃsa as a most orthodox
monarch, embellished the Abhayagiri monastery and was addicted to
sumptuous ceremonies in honour of images and relics. Thus he made an
image of Mahinda, dedicated a shrine and statue to Metteyya and
ornamented the effigies of Buddha with the royal jewels. In an image
chamber (apparently at the Abhayagiri) he set up figures of
Bodhisattvas,[89] by which we should perhaps understand the previous
births of Gotama. He was killed by his son and Sinhalese history
degenerated into a complicated story of crime and discord, in which
the weaker faction generally sought the aid of the Tamils. These
latter became more and more powerful and with their advance Buddhism
tended to give place to Hinduism. In the eighth century the court
removed from Anuradhapura to Pollannaruwa, in order to escape from the
pressure of the Tamils, but the picture of anarchy and decadence grows
more and more gloomy until the accession of Vijaya Bâhu in 1071 who
succeeded in making himself king of all Ceylon. Though he recovered
Anuradhapura it was not made the royal residence either by himself or
by his greater successor, Parâkrama Bâhu.[90] This monarch, the most
eminent in the long list of Ceylon's sovereigns, after he had
consolidated his power, devoted himself, in the words of Tennent, "to
the two grand objects of royal solicitude, religion and agriculture."
He was lavish in building monasteries, temples and libraries, but not
less generous in constructing or repairing tanks and works of
irrigation. In the reign of Vijaya Bâhu hardly any duly ordained monks
were to be found,[91] the succession having been interrupted, and the
deficiency was supplied by bringing qualified Theras from Burma. But
by the time of Parâkrama Bâhu the old quarrels of the monasteries
revived, and, as he was anxious to secure unity, he summoned a synod
at Anuradhapura. It appears to have attained its object by recognizing
the Mahâvihâra as the standard of orthodoxy and dealing summarily with
dissentients.[92] The secular side of monastic life also received
liberal attention. Lands, revenues and guest-houses were provided for
the monasteries as well as hospitals. As in Burma and Siam Brahmans
were respected and the king erected a building for their use in the
capital. Like Asoka, he forbade the killing of animals.

But the glory of Parâkrama Bâhu stands up in the later history of
Ceylon like an isolated peak and thirty years after his death the
country had fallen almost to its previous low level of prosperity. The
Tamils again occupied many districts and were never entirely dislodged
as long as the Sinhalese kingdom lasted. Buddhism tended to decline
but was always the religion of the national party and was honoured
with as much magnificence as their means allowed. Parâkrama Bâhu II
(c. 1240), who recovered the sacred tooth from the Tamils, is said to
have celebrated splendid festivals and to have imported learned monks
from the country of the Colas.[93] Towards the end of the fifteenth
century the inscriptions of Kalyani indicate that Sinhalese religion
enjoyed a great reputation in Burma.[94]

A further change adverse to Buddhism was occasioned by the arrival of
the Portuguese in 1505. A long and horrible struggle ensued between
them and the various kings among whom the distracted island was
divided until at the end of the sixteenth century only Kandy remained
independent, the whole coast being in the hands of the Portuguese. The
singular barbarities which they perpetrated throughout this struggle
are vouched for by their own historians,[95] but it does not appear
that the Sinhalese degraded themselves by similar atrocities.
Since the Portuguese wished to propagate Roman Catholicism as well as
to extend their political rule and used for this purpose (according to
the Mahâvaṃsa) the persuasions of gold as well as the terrors of
torture, it is not surprising if many Sinhalese professed allegiance
to Christianity, but when in 1597 the greater part of Ceylon formally
accepted Portuguese sovereignty, the chiefs insisted that they should
be allowed to retain their own religion and customs.

The Dutch first appeared in 1602 and were welcomed by the Court of
Kandy as allies capable of expelling the Portuguese. This they
succeeded in doing by a series of victories between 1638 and 1658, and
remained masters of a great part of the island until their possessions
were taken by the British in 1795. Kandy however continued independent
until 1815. At first the Dutch tried to enforce Christianity and to
prohibit Buddhism within their territory[96] but ultimately hatred of
the Roman Catholic church made them favourable to Buddhism and they
were ready to assist those kings who desired to restore the national
religion to its former splendour.


In spite of this assistance the centuries when the Sinhalese were
contending with Europeans were not a prosperous time for Buddhism.
Hinduism spread in the north,[97] Christianity in the coast belt, but
still it was a point of honour with most native sovereigns to protect
the national religion so far as their distressed condition allowed.
For the seventeenth century we have an interesting account of the
state of the country called _An Historical Relation of the Island of
Ceylon_ by an Englishman, Robert Knox, who was detained by the king of
Kandy from 1660 to 1680. He does not seem to have been aware that
there was any distinction between Buddhism and Hinduism. Though he
describes the Sinhalese as idolaters, he also emphasizes the fact that
Buddou (as he writes the name) is the God "unto whom the salvation of
souls belongs," and for whom "above all others they have a high
respect and devotion." He also describes the ceremonies of pirit
and bana, the perahera procession, and two classes of Buddhist monks,
the elders and the ordinary members of the Sangha. His narrative
indicates that Buddhism was accepted as the higher religion, though
men were prone to pray to deities who would save from temporal danger.

About this time Vimala Dharma II[98] made great efforts to improve the
religious condition of the island and finding that the true succession
had again failed, arranged with the Dutch to send an embassy to Arakan
and bring back qualified Theras. But apparently the steps taken were
not sufficient, for when king Kittisiri Râjasiha (1747-81), whose
piety forms the theme of the last two chapters of the Mahâvaṃsa,
set about reforming the Sangha, he found that duly ordained monks were
extinct and that many so-called monks had families. He therefore
decided to apply to Dhammika, king of Ayuthia in Siam, and like his
predecessor despatched an embassy on a Dutch ship. Dhammika sent back
a company of "more than ten monks" (that is more than sufficient for
the performance of all ecclesiastical acts) under the Abbot Upâli in
1752 and another to relieve it in 1755.[99] They were received by the
king of Ceylon with great honour and subsequently by the ordination
which they conferred placed the succession beyond dispute. But the
order thus reconstituted was aristocratic and exclusive: only members
of the highest caste were admitted to it and the wealthy middle
classes found themselves excluded from a community which they were
expected to honour and maintain. This led to the despatch of an
embassy to Burma in 1802 and to the foundation of another branch of
the Sangha, known as the Amarapura school, distinct in so far as its
validity depended on Burmese not Siamese ordination.

Since ordination is for Buddhists merely self-dedication to a higher
life and does not confer any sacramental or sacerdotal powers, the
importance assigned to it may seem strange. But the idea goes back to
the oldest records in the Vinaya and has its root in the privileges
accorded to the order. A Bhikkhu had a right to expect much from the
laity, but he also had to prove his worth and Gotama's early
legislation was largely concerned with excluding unsuitable
candidates. The solicitude for valid ordination was only the
ecclesiastical form of the popular feeling that the honours and
immunities of the order were conditional on its maintaining a certain
standard of conduct. Other methods of reform might have been devised,
but the old injunction that a monk could be admitted only by other
duly ordained monks was fairly efficacious and could not be disputed.
But the curious result is that though Ceylon was in early times the
second home of Buddhism, almost all (if indeed not all) the monks
found there now derive their right to the title of Bhikkhu from
foreign countries.

The Sinhalese Sangha is generally described as divided into four
schools, those of Siam, Kelani, Amarapura and Ramanya, of which the
first two are practically identical, Kelani being simply a separate
province of the Siamese school, which otherwise has its headquarters in
the inland districts. This school, founded as mentioned above by priests
who arrived in 1750, comprises about half of the whole Sangha and has
some pretensions to represent the hierarchy of Ceylon, since the last
kings of Kandy gave to the heads of the two great monasteries in the
capital, Asgiri and Malwatte, jurisdiction over the north and south of
the island respectively. It differs in some particulars from the
Amarapura school. It only admits members of the highest caste and
prescribes that monks are to wear the upper robe over one shoulder only,
whereas the Amarapurans admit members of the first three castes (but not
those lower in the social scale) and require both shoulders to be
covered. There are other minor differences among which it is interesting
to note that the Siamese school object to the use of the formula "I
dedicate this gift to the Buddha" which is used in the other schools
when anything is presented to the order for the use of the monks. It is
held that this expression was correct in the lifetime of the Buddha but
not after his death. The two schools are not mutually hostile, and
members of each find a hospitable reception in the monasteries of the
other. The laity patronize both indifferently and both frequent the
same places of pilgrimage, though all of these and the majority of the
temple lands belong to the sect of Siam. It is wealthy, aristocratic and
has inherited the ancient traditions of Ceylon, whereas the Amarapurans
are more active and inclined to propaganda. It is said they are the
chief allies of the Theosophists and European Buddhists. The
Ramanya[100] school is more recent and distinct than the others, being
in some ways a reformed community. It aims at greater strictness of
life, forbidding monasteries to hold property and insisting on genuine
poverty. It also totally rejects the worship of Hindu deities and its
lay members do not recognize the monks of other schools. It is not large
but its influence is considerable.

It has been said that Buddhism flourished in Ceylon only when it was
able to secure the royal favour. There is some truth in this, for the
Sangha does not struggle on its own behalf but expects the laity to
provide for its material needs, making a return in educational and
religious services. Such a body if not absolutely dependent on royal
patronage has at least much to gain from it. Yet this admission must
not blind us to the fact that during its long and often distinguished
history Sinhalese Buddhism has been truly the national faith, as
opposed to the beliefs of various invaders, and has also ministered to
the spiritual aspirations of the nation. As Knox said in a period when
it was not particularly flourishing, the Hindu gods look after worldly
affairs but Buddha after the soul. When the island passed under
British rule and all religions received impartial recognition, the
result was not disastrous to Buddhism: the number of Bhikkhus greatly
increased, especially in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
And if in earlier periods there was an interval in which technically
speaking the Sangha did not exist, this did not mean that interest in
it ceased, for as soon as the kingdom became prosperous the first care
of the kings was to set the Church in order. This zeal can be
attributed to nothing but conviction and affection, for Buddhism is
not a faith politically useful to an energetic and warlike prince.


Sinhalese Buddhism is often styled primitive or original and it may
fairly be said to preserve in substance both the doctrine and practice
inculcated in the earliest Pali literature. In calling this primitive we
must remember the possibility that some of this literature was
elaborated in Ceylon itself. But, putting the text of the Piṭakas
aside, it would seem that the early Sinhalese Buddhism was the same as
that of Asoka, and that it never underwent any important change. It is
true that mediæval Sinhalese literature is full of supernatural legends
respecting the Buddha,[101] but still he does not become a god (for he
has attained Nirvana) and the great Bodhisattvas, Avalokita and
Manjuśrî, are practically unknown. The _Abhidhammattha-sangaha_,[102]
which is still the text-book most in use among the Bhikkhus, adheres
rigidly to the methods of the Abhidhamma.[103] It contains neither
devotional nor magical matter but prescribes a course of austere mental
training, based on psychological analysis and culminating in the rapture
of meditation. Such studies and exercises are beyond the capacity of the
majority, but no other road to salvation is officially sanctioned for
the Bhikkhu. It is admitted that there are no Arhats now--just as
Christianity has no contemporary saints--but no other ideal, such as the
Boddhisattva of the Mahayanists, is held up for imitation.

Mediæval images of Avalokita and of goddesses have however been found
in Ceylon.[104] This is hardly surprising for the island was on the
main road to China, Java, and Camboja[105] and Mahayanist teachers and
pilgrims must have continually passed through it. The Chinese
biographies of that eminent tantrist, Amogha, say that he went to
Ceylon in 741 and elaborated his system there before returning to
China. It is said that in 1408 the Chinese being angry at the
ill-treatment of envoys whom they had sent to the shrine of the tooth,
conquered Ceylon and made it pay tribute for fifty years. By
conquest no doubt is meant merely a military success and not
occupation, but the whole story implies possibilities of acquaintance
with Chinese Buddhism.

It is clear that, though the Hinayanist church was predominant
throughout the history of the island, there were up to the twelfth
century heretical sects called Vaitulya or Vetulyaka and Vâjira which
though hardly rivals of orthodoxy were a thorn in its side. A party at
the Abhayagiri monastery were favourably disposed to the Vaitulya sect
which, though often suppressed, recovered and reappeared, being
apparently reinforced from India. This need not mean from southern
India, for Ceylon had regular intercourse with the north and perhaps
the Vaitulyas were Mahayanists from Bengal. The Nikâya-Sangrahawa also
mentions that in the ninth century there was a sect called
Nîlapatadarśana,[106] who wore blue robes and preached indulgence
in wine and love. They were possibly Tantrists from the north but were
persecuted in southern India and never influential in Ceylon.

The Mahâvaṃsa is inclined to minimize the importance of all sects
compared with the Mahâvihâra, but the picture given by the
Nikâya-Sangrahawa may be more correct. It says that the Vaitulyas,
described as infidel Brahmans who had composed a Piṭaka of their
own, made four attempts to obtain a footing at the Abhayagiri
monastery.[107] In the ninth century it represents king Matvalasen as
having to fly because he had embraced the false doctrine of the
Vâjiras. These are mentioned in another passage in connection with the
Vaitulyas: they are said to have composed the Gûḍha Vinaya[108] and
many Tantras. They perhaps were connected with the Vajrayâna, a phase
of Tantric Buddhism. But a few years later king Mungayinsen set the
church in order. He recognized the three orthodox schools or nikâyas
called Theriya, Dhammaruci and Sâgaliya but proscribed the others and
set guards on the coast to prevent the importation of heresy.
Nevertheless the Vâjiriya and Vaitulya doctrines were secretly
practised. An inscription in Sanskrit found at the Jetavana and
attributed to the ninth century[109] records the foundation of a
Vihâra for a hundred resident monks, 25 from each of the four nikâyas,
which it appears to regard as equivalent. But in 1165 the great
Parâkrama Bâhu held a synod to restore unity in the church. As a
result, all Nikâyas (even the Dhammaruci) which did not conform to the
Mahâvihâra were suppressed[110] and we hear no more of the Vaitulyas
and Vâjiriyas.

Thus there was once a Mahayanist faction in Ceylon, but it was
recruited from abroad, intermittent in activity and was finally
defeated, whereas the Hinayanist tradition was national and

Considering the long lapse of time, the monastic life of Ceylon has
not deviated much in practice from the injunctions of the Vinaya.
Monasteries like those of Anuradhapura, which are said to have
contained thousands of monks, no longer exist. The largest now to be
found--those at Kandy--do not contain more than fifty but as a rule a
pansala (as these institutions are now called) has not more than five
residents and more often only two or three. Some pansalas have
villages assigned to them and some let their lands and do not scruple
to receive the rent. The monks still follow the ancient routine of
making a daily round with the begging bowl, but the food thus
collected is often given to the poor or even to animals and the
inmates of the pansala eat a meal which has been cooked there. The
Pâtimokkha is recited (at least in part) twice a month and ordinations
are held annually.[111]

The duties of the Bhikkhus are partly educational, partly clerical. In
most villages the children receive elementary education gratis in the
pansala, and the preservation of the ancient texts, together with the
long list of Pali and Sinhalese works produced until recent times
almost exclusively by members of the Sangha,[112] is a proof that it
has not neglected literature. The chief public religious
observances are preaching and reading the scriptures. This latter,
known as Bana, is usually accompanied by a word for word translation
made by the reciter or an assistant. Such recitations may form part of
the ordinary ceremonial of Uposatha days and most religious
establishments have a room where they can be held, but often monks are
invited to reside in a village during Was (July to October) and read
Bana, and often a layman performs a pinkama or act of merit by
entertaining monks for several days and inviting his neighbours to
hear them recite. The recitation of the Jâtakas is particularly
popular but the suttas of the Dîgha Nikâya are also often read. On
special occasions such as entry into a new house, an eclipse or any
incident which suggests that it might be well to ward off the enmity
of supernatural powers, it is usual to recite a collection of texts
taken largely from the Suttanipâta and called Pirit. The word appears
to be derived from the Pali _paritta_, a defence, and though the Pali
scriptures do not sanction this use of the Buddha's discourses they
countenance the idea that evil may be averted by the use of

Although Sinhalese Buddhism has not diverged much from the Pali
scriptures in its main doctrines and discipline, yet it tolerates a
superstructure of Indian beliefs and ceremonies which forbid us to
call it pure except in a restricted sense. At present there may be
said to be three religions in Ceylon; local animism, Hinduism and
Buddhism are all inextricably mixed together. By local animism I mean
the worship of native spirits who do not belong to the ordinary Hindu
pantheon though they may be identified with its members. The priests
of this worship are called Kapuralas and one of their principal
ceremonies consists in dancing until they are supposed to be possessed
by a spirit--the devil dancing of Europeans. Though this religion is
distinct from ordinary Hinduism, its deities and ceremonies find
parallels in the southern Tamil country. In Ceylon it is not merely a
village superstition but possesses temples of considerable
size[114], for instance at Badulla and near Ratnapura. In the latter
there is a Buddhist shrine in the court yard, so that the Blessed One
may countenance the worship, much as the Piṭakas represent him as
patronizing and instructing the deities of ancient Magadha, but the
structure and observances of the temple itself are not Buddhist. The
chief spirit worshipped at Ratnapura and in most of these temples is
Mahâ Saman, the god of Adam's Peak. He is sometimes identified with
Lakshmana, the brother of Râma, and sometimes with Indra.

About a quarter of the population are Tamils professing Hinduism.
Hindu temples of the ordinary Dravidian type are especially frequent
in the northern districts, but they are found in most parts and at
Kandy two may be seen close to the shrine of the Tooth.[115] Buddhists
feel no scruple in frequenting them and the images of Hindu deities
are habitually introduced into Buddhist temples. These often contain a
hall, at the end of which are one or more sitting figures of the
Buddha, on the right hand side a recumbent figure of him, but on the
left a row of four statues representing Mahâbrahmâ, Vishṇu,
Kârttikeya and Mahâsâman. Of these Vishṇu generally receives marked
attention, shown by the number of prayers written on slips of paper
which are attached to his hand. Nor is this worship found merely as a
survival in the older temples. The four figures appear in the newest
edifices and the image of Vishṇu never fails to attract votaries.
Yet though a rigid Buddhist may regard such devotion as dangerous, it
is not treasonable, for Vishṇu is regarded not as a competitor but
as a very reverent admirer of the Buddha and anxious to befriend good

Even more insidious is the pageantry which since the days of King
Tissa has been the outward sign of religion. It may be justified as
being merely an edifying method of venerating the memory of a great
man but when images and relics are treated with profound reverence or
carried in solemn procession it is hard for the ignorant, especially
if they are accustomed to the ceremonial of Hindu temples, not to
think that these symbols are divine. This ornate ritualism is not
authorized in any known canonical text, but it is thoroughly
Indian. Asoka records in his inscriptions the institution of religious
processions and Hsüan Chuang relates how King Harsha organized a
festival during which an image of the Buddha was carried on an
elephant while the monarch and his ally the king of Assam, dressed as
Indra and Brahmâ respectively, waited on it like servants.[116] Such
festivities were congenial to the Sinhalese, as is attested by the
long series of descriptions which fill the Mahâvaṃsa down to the
very last book, by what Fa-Hsien saw about 412 and by the Perahera
festival celebrated to-day.


The Buddhism of southern India resembled that of Ceylon in character
though not in history. It was introduced under the auspices of Asoka,
who mentions in his inscriptions the Colas, Pândyas and
Keralaputras.[117] Hsüan Chuang says that in the Malakûta country,
somewhere near Madura or Tanjore, there was a stupa erected by Asoka's
orders and also a monastery founded by Mahinda. It is possible that
this apostle and others laboured less in Ceylon and more in south
India than is generally supposed. The pre-eminence and continuity of
Sinhalese Buddhism are due to the conservative temper of the natives
who were relatively little moved by the winds of religion which blew
strong on the mainland, bearing with them now Jainism, now the worship
of Vishṇu or Śiva.

In the Tamil country Buddhism of an Asokan type appears to have been
prevalent about the time of our era. The poem Manimegalei, which by
general consent was composed in an early century A.D., is Buddhist but
shows no leanings to Mahayanism. It speaks of Śivaism and many
other systems[118] as flourishing, but contains no hint that Buddhism
was persecuted. But persecution or at least very unfavourable
conditions set in. Since at the time of Hsüan Chuang's visit Buddhism
was in an advanced stage of decadence, it seems probable that the
triumph of Śivaism began in the third or fourth century and that
Buddhism offered slight resistance, Jainism being the only serious
competitor for the first place. But for a long while, perhaps even
until the sixteenth century, monasteries were kept up in special
centres, and one of these is of peculiar importance, namely Kancîpuram
or Conjeveram.[119] Hsüan Chuang found there 100 monasteries with more
than 10,000 brethren, all Sthaviras, and mentions that it was the
birthplace of Dharmapâla.[120] We have some further information from
the Talaing chronicles[121] which suggests the interesting hypothesis
that the Buddhism of Burma was introduced or refreshed by missionaries
from southern India. They give a list of teachers who flourished in
that country, including Kaccâyana and the philosopher Anuruddha.[122]
Of Dharmapâla they say that he lived at the monastery of Bhadratittha
near Kancipura and wrote fourteen commentaries in Pali.[123] One was
on the Visuddhi-magga of Buddhaghosa and it is probable that he lived
shortly after that great writer and like him studied in Ceylon.

I shall recur to this question of south Indian Buddhism in treating
of Burma, but the data now available are very meagre.


[Footnote 10: _E.g._ Burma in the reign of Anawrata and later in the
time of Chapaṭa about 1200, and Siam in the time of Sûryavaṃsa
Râma, 1361. On the other hand in 1752 the Sinhalese succession was
validated by obtaining monks from Burma.]

[Footnote 11: Geiger, _Literatur und Sprache der Singhalesen_, p. 91.]

[Footnote 12: Compare the history of Khotan. The first Indian
colonists seem to have introduced a Prakrit dialect. Buddhism and
Sanskrit came afterwards.]

[Footnote 13: Literally demons, that is wild uncanny men. I refrain
from discussing the origin and ethnological position of the Vaeddas
for it hardly affects the history of Buddhism in Ceylon. For Vijaya's
conquests see Mahâvaṃsa VII.]

[Footnote 14: IX. 26.]

[Footnote 15: Dîpavaṃsa I. 45-81, II. 1-69. Mahâvaṃsa I. 19-83.
The legend that the Buddha visited Ceylon and left his footprint on
Adam's peak is at least as old as Buddhaghosa. See Samanta-pâsâdikâ in
Oldenburg's _Vinaya Pitaka_, vol. III, p. 332 and the quotations in
Skeen's _Adam's Peak_, p. 50.]

[Footnote 16: Dîpa. V. x. 1-9. Mahâvaṃsa VIII. 1-27, IX. 1-12.]

[Footnote 17: Mahâvaṃsa X. 96, 102.]

[Footnote 18: For the credibility of the Sinhalese traditions see
Geiger introd. to translation of Mahâvaṃsa 1912 and Norman in
_J.R.A.S._ 1908, pp. 1 ff. and on the other side R.O. Franke in
_W.Z.K.M._ 21, pp. 203 ff., 317 ff. and _Z.D.M.G._ 63, pp. 540 ff.]

[Footnote 19: Grünwedel, _Buddhist art in India_, pp. 69-72. Rhys
Davids, _Buddhist India_, p. 302.]

[Footnote 20: The Jâtaka-nidâna-kathâ is also closely allied to these
works in those parts where the subject matter is the same.]

[Footnote 21: This section was probably called Mahâvaṃsa in a
general sense long before the name was specially applied to the work
which now bears it.]

[Footnote 22: See introduction to Oldenburg's edition, pp. 8, 9.]

[Footnote 23: Perhaps this is alluded to at the beginning of the
Mahâvaṃsa itself, "The book made by the ancients (porvâṇehi
kato) was in some places too diffuse and in others too condensed and
contained many repetitions."]

[Footnote 24: The Mahâvaṃsa was continued by later writers and
brought down to about 1780 A.D.]

[Footnote 25: The Mahâvaṃsatîkâ, a commentary written between 1000 and
1250 A.D., has also some independent value because the old
Aṭṭhakathâ-Mahâvaṃsa was still extant and used by the writer.]

[Footnote 26: Son according to the Sinhalese sources but according to
Hsüan Chuang and others, younger brother. In favour of the latter it
may be said that the younger brothers of kings often became monks in
order to avoid political complications.]

[Footnote 27: The modern Mahintale.]

[Footnote 28: The Mahâvaṃsa implies that he had already some
acquaintance with Buddhism. It represents him as knowing that monks do
not eat in the afternoon and as suggesting that it would be better to
ordain the layman Bhandu.]

[Footnote 29: The chronicles give with some slight divergences the
names of the texts on which his preaching was based. It is doubtless
meant that he recited the Sutta with a running exposition.]

[Footnote 30: Mahâvaṃ. xx. 17.]

[Footnote 31: Many other places claimed to possess this relic.]

[Footnote 32: Of course the antiquity of the Sinhalese Bo-tree is a
different question from the identity of the parent tree with the tree
under which the Buddha sat.]

[Footnote 33: Mahâvaṃ. XVIII.; Dîpavaṃ. XV. and XVI.]

[Footnote 34: But he says nothing about Mahinda or Sanghamittâ and
does not support the Mahâvaṃsa in details.]

[Footnote 35: Duṭṭha, meaning bad, angry or violent, apparently
refers to the ferocity shown in his struggle with the Tamils.]

[Footnote 36: Dîpavaṃsa XIX. 1. Mahâvaṃsa XXVII. 1-48. See
Fergusson, _Hist. Ind. Architecture_, 1910, pp. 238, 246. I find it
hard to picture such a building raised on pillars. Perhaps it was
something like the Sat-mahal-prasâda at Pollanarua.]

[Footnote 37: Parker, _Ancient Ceylon_, p. 282. The restoration of the
Ruwanweli Dagoba was undertaken by Buddhists in 1873.]

[Footnote 38: Mahâvaṃsa XXVIII.-XXXI. Duṭṭhagâmaṇi died
before it was finished.]

[Footnote 39: Mahâvaṃsa XXIX. 37. Yonanâgarâlasanda. The town is
also mentioned as situated on an Island in the Indus: Mil. Pan. III.
7. 4.]

[Footnote 40: According to the common reckoning B.C. 88-76: according
to Geiger B.C. 29-17. It seems probable that in the early dates of
Sinhalese history there is an error of about 62 years. See Geiger,
_Trans. Mahâvaṃsa_, pp. XXX ff. and Fleet, _J.R.A.S._ 1909, pp.

[Footnote 41: For the site see Parker's _Ancient Ceylon_, pp. 299 ff.
The Mahâvaṃsa (XXXIII. 79 and X. 98-100) says it was built on the
site of an ancient Jain establishment and Kern thinks that this
tradition hints at circumstances which account for the heretical and
contentious spirit of the Abhaya monks.]

[Footnote 42: Mahâv. XXXIII. 100-104. See too the Ṫîkâ quote by
Turnour in his introduction, p. liii.]

[Footnote 43: A work on ecclesiastical history written about 1395. Ed.
and Trans. Colombo Record Office.]

[Footnote 44: The probable error in Sinhalese dates mentioned in a
previous note continues till the twelfth century A.D. though gradually
decreasing. For the early centuries of the Christian era it is
probable that the accepted dates should be put half a century later]

[Footnote 45: Mahâvaṃsa XXXVI. 41. Vetulyavâdam madditvâ. According
to the Nikâya Sang, he burnt their Piṭaka.]

[Footnote 46: On Kathâ-vat. XVIII. 1 and 2. Printed in the _Journal of
the Pali Text Soc._ for 1889.]

[Footnote 47: Watters, II. 234. Cf. _Hsüan Chuang's life_, chap. IV.]

[Footnote 48: Mahâvaṃ. XXXVI. iii. ff. Goṭhâbhaya's date was
probably 302-315 and Mahâsena's 325-352. The common chronology makes
Goṭhâbhaya reign from 244 to 257 and Mahâsena from 269 to 296 A.D.]

[Footnote 49: Quoted by Turnour, Introd. p. liii. The Mahâvaṃ. V.
13, expressly states that the Dhammaruci and Sâgaliya sects originated
in Ceylon.]

[Footnote 50: _I.e._ as I understand, the two divisions of the Sutta

[Footnote 51: It was written up to date at various periods. The
chapters which take up the history after the death of Mahâsena are
said to be the work of Dhammakitti, who lived about 1250.]

[Footnote 52: He was a contemporary of the Gupta King Samudragupta who
reigned approximately 330-375 A.D. See S. Lévi in _J.A._ 1900, pp. 316
ff, 401 ff. This synchronism is a striking confirmation of Fleet and
Geiger's chronology.]

[Footnote 53: _E.g._ the tomb of Râmânuja at Srîrangam.]

[Footnote 54: For a somewhat similar reason the veneration of relics
is prevalent among Moslims. Islam indeed provides an object of worship
but its ceremonies are so austere and monotonous that any devotional
practices which are not forbidden as idolatrous are welcome to the

[Footnote 55: Dig. Nik. XVI. v. 27.]

[Footnote 56: Plutarch mentions a story that the relics of King
Menander were similarly divided into eight portions but the story may
be merely a replica of the obsequies of the Buddha.]

[Footnote 57: IV. 3, 24. The first text is from Mahâparinibbâna Sutta,
V. 24. The second has not been identified.]

[Footnote 58: _Journal des Savants_, Oct. 1906.]

[Footnote 59: See Norman, "Buddhist legends of Asoka and his times,"
in _J.A.S._ Beng. 1910.]

[Footnote 60: Just as the Tooth was considered to be the palladium of
Sinhalese kings.]

[Footnote 61: Record of Buddhist kingdoms. Legge, pp. 34, 35. Fa-Hsien
speaks of the country not the town of Peshawar (Purûshapura).]

[Footnote 62: _Ibid._ p. 109. Fa-Hsien does not indicate that at this
time there was a rival bowl in Ceylon but represents the preacher as
saying it was then in Gandhara.]

[Footnote 63: Watters, I. pp. 202, 203. But the life of Hsüan Chuang
says Benares not Persia.]

[Footnote 64: Marco Polo trans. Yule, II. pp. 320, 330.]

[Footnote 65: For the history of the tooth see _Mahâvaṃsa_, p. 241,
in Turnour's edition: the Dathavaṃsa in Pali written by Dhammakitti
in 1211 A.D.: and the Sinhalese poems Daladapujavali and Dhatuvansaya.
See also Da Cunha, _Memoir on the History of the Tooth Relic of
Ceylon_, 1875, and Yule's notes on Marco Polo, II. pp. 328-330.]

[Footnote 66: _I.e._ about 361 or 310, according to which chronology
is adopted, but neither Fa-Hsien or Hsüan Chuang says anything about
its arrival from India and this part of the story might be dismissed
as a legend. But seeing how extraordinary were the adventures of the
tooth in historical times, it would be unreasonable to deny that it
may have been smuggled out of India for safety.]

[Footnote 67: Various accounts are given of the disposal of these
teeth, but more than enough relics were preserved in various shrines
to account for all. Hsüan Chuang saw or heard of sacred teeth in
Balkh, Nagar, Kashmir, Kanauj and Ceylon. Another tooth is said to be
kept near Foo-chow.]

[Footnote 68: Plausibly supposed to be Puri. The ceremonies still
observed in the temple of Jagannath are suspected of being based on
Buddhist rites. Dantapura of the Kâlingas is however mentioned in some
verses quoted in Dîgha Nikâya XIX. 36. This looks as if the name might
be pre-Buddhist.]

[Footnote 69: They are called Ranmali and Danta in the Râjâvaliya.]

[Footnote 70: There is a striking similarity between this rite and the
ceremonies observed at Puri, where the images of Jagannâtha and his
relatives are conveyed every summer with great pomp to a country
residence where they remain during some weeks.]

[Footnote 71: See Tennent's _Ceylon_, vol. II. pp. 29, 30 and 199 ff.
and the Portuguese authorities quoted.]

[Footnote 72: Fortune in _Two Visits to Tea Countries of China_, vol.
II. pp. 107-8, describes one of these teeth preserved in the Ku-shan
monastery near Foo-chow.]

[Footnote 73: This practice must be very old. The Vinaya of the
Mûlasarvâstivâdins and similar texts speak of offering flowers to a
tooth of the Buddha. See _J.A._ 1914, II. pp. 523, 543. The Pali Canon
too tells us that the relics of the Buddha were honoured with garlands
and perfumes.]

[Footnote 74: Chap. XXXVII.]

[Footnote 75: Both probably represent the tradition current at the
Mahâvihâra, but according to the Talaing tradition Buddhaghosa was a
Brahman born at Thaton.]

[Footnote 76: The Mahâvaṃsa says he composed the Jñânodaya and
Atthasâlinî at this time before starting for Ceylon.]

[Footnote 77: Fa-Hsien is chary of mentioning contemporary celebrities
but he refers to a Well-known monk called Ta-mo-kiu-ti (? Dhammakathi
) and had Buddhaghosa been already celebrated he would hardly have
omitted him.]

[Footnote 78: In the Coms. on the Dîgha and Dhammasangani.]

[Footnote 79: See Rhys Davids and Carpenter's introduction to
_Sumangalavi_, I. p. x.]

[Footnote 80: In the _Journal of Pali Text Soc._ 1891, pp. 76-164.
Since the above was written the first volume of the text of the
Visuddhi magga, edited by Mrs. Rhys Davids, has been published by the
Pali Text Society, 1920.]

[Footnote 81: Bhagavato Sâsanam. See Buddhaghosuppatti, chap. I.]

[Footnote 82: It appears to be unknown to the Chinese Tripitaka. For
some further remarks on the Sinhalese Canon see Book III. chap. XIII.
§ 3.]

[Footnote 83: That is according to Geiger 386-416 A.D. Perhaps he was
the Ta-mo-kiu-ti mentioned by Fa-Hsien.]

[Footnote 84: The tendency seems odd but it can be paralleled in India
where it is not uncommon to rewrite vernacular works in Sanskrit. See
Grierson, _J.R.A.S._ 1913, p. 133. Even in England in the seventeenth
century Bacon seems to have been doubtful of the immortality of his
works in English and prepared a Latin translation of his _Essays._]

[Footnote 85: It is reported with some emphasis as the tradition of
the Ancients in Buddhaghosuppatti, chap. VII. If the works were merely
those which Buddhaghosa himself had translated the procedure seems
somewhat drastic.]

[Footnote 86: Mahâv. XXXIII. Dhammasokova so kasi Piṭakattaye
Saṇgahan. Dhâtusena reigned from 459-477 according to the common
chronology or 509-527 according to Geiger.]

[Footnote 87: Mahâv. XLII. 35 ff.]

[Footnote 88: Mahâv. LXXVIII. 21-23.]

[Footnote 89: Mahâv. XXXVIII. Akâsi patimâgehe bahumangalacetiye
boddhisatte ca tathâsun. Cf. Fa-Hsien, chap. XXVIII. _ad fin._]

[Footnote 90: Or Parakkama Bâhu. Probably 1153-1186.]

[Footnote 91: Mahâvaṃsa LX. 4-7.]

[Footnote 92: Mahâvaṃsa LXXVIII. 21-27.]

[Footnote 93: Mahâv. LXXXIV. If this means the region of Madras, the
obvious question is what learned Buddhist can there have been there at
this period.]

[Footnote 94: _J. Ant_. 1893, pp. 40, 41.]

[Footnote 95: I take this statement from Tennent who gives

[Footnote 96: See _Ceylon Antiquary_, I. 3, pp. 148, 197.]

[Footnote 97: Râjasinha I (1581) is said to have made Śivaism the
Court religion.]

[Footnote 98: His reign is dated as 1679-1701, also as 1687-1706. It
is remarkable that the Mahâvaṃsa makes _both_ the kings called
Vimala Dharma send religious embassies to Arakan. See XCIV. 15, 16 and
XCVII. 10, 11.]

[Footnote 99: See for some details Lorgeou: Notice sur un Manuscrit
Siamois contenant la relation de deux missions religieuses envoyées de
Siam à Ceylon au milieu du xviii Siècle. _Jour. Asiat_. 1906, pp. 533
ff. The king called Dhammika by the Mahâvaṃsa appears to have been
known as Phra Song Tham in Siam. The interest felt by the Siamese in
Ceylon at this period is shown by the Siamese translation of the
Mahâvaṃsa made in 1796.]

[Footnote 100: Râmañña is the part of Burma between Arakan and Siam.]

[Footnote 101: See Spence Hardy, _Manual of Buddhism_, chap. VII.]

[Footnote 102: A translation by S.Z. Aung and Mrs. Rhys Davids has
been published by the Pali Text Society. The author Anuruddha appears
to have lived between the eighth and twelfth centuries.]

[Footnote 103: The Sinhalese had a special respect for the Abhidhamma.
Kassapa V (_c._ A.D. 930) caused it to be engraved on plates of gold.
_Ep. Zeyl._ I. p. 52.]

[Footnote 104: See Coomaraswamy in _J.R.A.S._ 1909, pp. 283-297.]

[Footnote 105: For intercourse with Camboja see _Epigr. Zeylanica_,
II. p. 74.]

[Footnote 106: A dubious legend relates that they were known in the
north and suppressed by Harsha. See Ettinghausen, _Harsha Vardhana_,
1906, p. 86. Nil Sâdhana appears to be a name for tantric practices.
See Avalon, _Principles of Tantra_, preface, p. xix.]

[Footnote 107: In the reigns of Vohâratissa, Goṭhâbhaya, Mahâsena
and Ambaherana Salamevan. The kings Matvalasen and Mungayinsen are
also known as Sena I and II.]

[Footnote 108: Secret Vinaya.]

[Footnote 109: _Epigraphia Zeylan_. I. p. 4.]

[Footnote 110: One of the king's inscriptions says that he reconciled
the clergy of the three Nikâyas. _Ep. Zeyl_. I. p. 134.]

[Footnote 111: See Bowden in _J.R.A.S._ 1893, pp. 159 ff. The account
refers to the Malwatte Monastery. But it would appear that the
Pâtimokkha is recited in country places when a sufficient number of
monks meet on Uposatha days.]

[Footnote 112: Even the poets were mostly Bhikkhus. Sinhalese
literature contains a fair number of historical and philosophical
works but curiously little about law. See Jolly, _Recht und Sitte_, p.

[Footnote 113: _E.g._ in the Aṭânâṭiya sutta (Dig. Nik. XXXII.)
friendly spirits teach a spell by which members of the order may
protect themselves against evil ones and in Jâtaka 159 the Peacock
escapes danger by reciting every day a hymn to the sun and the praises
of past Buddhas. See also Bunyiu, _Nanjios Catalogue_, Nos. 487 and

[Footnote 114: See for an account of the Maha Saman Devale, _Ceylon
Ant._ July, 1916.]

[Footnote 115: So a mediæval inscription at Mahintale of Mahinda IV
records the foundation of Buddhist edifices and a temple to a goddess.
_Ep. Zeyl._ I. p. 103.]

[Footnote 116: Similarly in a religious procession described in the
Mahâvaṃsa (XCIX. 52; about 1750 A.D.) there were "men in the dress
of Brahmâs."]

[Footnote 117: Rock Edicts, II. and XIII. Three inscriptions of Asoka
have been found in Mysore.]

[Footnote 118: The Manimegalei even mentions six systems of philosophy
which are not the ordinary Darśanas but Lokâyatam, Bauddham,
Sâṇkhyam, Naiyâyikam, Vaiśeshikam, Mîmâmsakam.]

[Footnote 119: Kan-chih-pu-lo. Watters, _Yüan Chuang_, II. 226. The
identification is not without difficulties and it has been suggested
that the town is really Negapatam. The Life of the pilgrim says that
it was on the coast, but he does not say so himself and his biographer
may have been mistaken.]

[Footnote 120: See art. by Rhys Davids in _E.R.E._]

[Footnote 121: See Forchhammer, _Jardine Prize Essay_, 1885, pp. 24

[Footnote 122: Author of the _Abhidhammattha-sangaha._]

[Footnote 123: Some have been published by the P.T. Society.]




Until recent times Burma remained somewhat isolated and connected with
foreign countries by few ties. The chronicles contain a record of long
and generally peaceful intercourse with Ceylon, but this though
important for religion and literature had little political effect. The
Chinese occasionally invaded Upper Burma and demanded tribute but the
invasions were brief and led to no permanent occupation. On the west
Arakan was worried by the Viceroys of the Mogul Emperors and on the
east the Burmese frequently invaded Siam. But otherwise from the
beginning of authentic history until the British annexation Burma was
left to itself and had not, like so many Asiatic states, to submit to
foreign conquest and the imposition of foreign institutions. Yet let
it not be supposed that its annals are peaceful and uneventful. The
land supplied its own complications, for of the many races inhabiting
it, three, the Burmese, Talaings and Shans, had rival aspirations and
founded dynasties. Of these three races, the Burmese proper appear to
have come from the north west, for a chain of tribes speaking cognate
languages is said to extend from Burma to Nepal. The Mōns or
Talaings are allied linguistically to the Khmers of Camboja. Their
country (sometimes called Râmaññadesa) was in Lower Burma and its
principal cities were Pegu and Thaton. The identity of the name
Talaing with Telingana or Kalinga is not admitted by all scholars, but
native tradition connects the foundation of the kingdom with the east
coast of India and it seems certain that such a connection existed in
historical times and kept alive Hinayanist Buddhism which may have
been originally introduced by this route.

The Shan States lie in the east of Burma on the borders of Yünnan and
Laos. Their traditions carry their foundation back to the fourth and
fifth centuries B.C. There is no confirmation of this, but bodies of
Shans, a race allied to the Siamese, may have migrated into this
region at any date, perhaps bringing Buddhism with them or receiving
it direct from China. Recent investigations have shown that there was
also a fourth race, designated as Pyus, who occupied territory between
the Burmese and Talaings in the eleventh century. They will probably
prove of considerable importance for philology and early history,
perhaps even for the history of some phases of Burmese Buddhism, for
the religious terms found in their inscriptions are Sanskrit rather
than Pali and this suggests direct communication with India. But until
more information is available any discussion of this interesting but
mysterious people involves so many hypotheses and arguments of detail
that it is impossible in a work like the present. Prome was one of
their principal cities, their name reappears in P'iao, the old Chinese
designation of Burma, and perhaps also in Pagan, one form of which is

Throughout the historical period the pre-eminence both in individual
kings and dynastic strength rested with the Burmese but their contests
with the Shans and Talaings form an intricate story which can be
related here only in outline. Though the three races are distinct and
still preserve their languages, yet they conquered one another, lived
in each other's capitals and shared the same ambitions so that in more
recent centuries no great change occurred when new dynasties came to
power or territory was redistributed. The long chronicle of
bloodstained but ineffectual quarrels is relieved by the exploits of
three great kings, Anawrata, Bayin Naung and Alompra.

Historically, Arakan may be detached from the other provinces. The
inhabitants represent an early migration from Tagaung and were not
annexed by any kingdom in Burma until 1784 A.D. Tagaung, situated on
the Upper Irrawaddy in the Ruby Mines district, was the oldest capital
of the Burmese and has a scanty history apparently going back to the
early centuries of our era. Much the same may be said of the Talaing
kingdom in Lower Burma. The kings of Tagaung were succeeded by another
dynasty connected with them which reigned at Prome. No dates can be
given for these events, nor is the part which the Pyus played in them
clear, but it is said that the Talaings destroyed the kingdom of
Prome in 742 A.D.[125] According to tradition the centre of power
moved about this time to Pagan[126] on the bank of the Irrawaddy
somewhat south of Mandalay. But the silence of early Chinese
accounts[127] as to Pagan, which is not mentioned before the Sung
dynasty, makes it probable that later writers exaggerated its early
importance and it is only when Anawrata, King of Pagan and the first
great name in Burmese history, ascended the throne that the course of
events becomes clear and coherent. He conquered Thaton in 1057 and
transported many of the inhabitants to his own capital. He also
subdued the nearer Shan states and was master of nearly all Burma as
we understand the term. The chief work of his successors was to
construct the multitude of pagodas which still ornament the site of
Pagan. It would seem that the dynasty gradually degenerated and that
the Shans and Talaings acquired strength at its expense. Its end came
in 1298 and was hastened by the invasion of Khubilai Khan. There then
arose two simultaneous Shan dynasties at Panya and Sagaing which
lasted from 1298 till 1364. They were overthrown by King Thadominpaya
who is believed to have been a Shan. He founded Ava which, whether it
was held by Burmese or Shans, was regarded as the chief city of Burma
until 1752, although throughout this period the kings of Pegu and
other districts were frequently independent. During the fourteenth
century another kingdom grew up at Toungoo[128] in Lower Burma. Its
rulers were originally Shan governors sent from Ava but ultimately
they claimed to be descendants of the last king of Pagan and, in this
character, Bureng or Bayin Naung (1551-1581), the second great ruler
of Burma, conquered Prome, Pegu and Ava. His kingdom began to break up
immediately after his death but his dynasty ruled in Ava until the
middle of the eighteenth century.

During this period Europeans first made their appearance and quarrels
with Portuguese adventurers were added to native dissensions. The
Shans and Talaings became turbulent and after a tumultuous interval
the third great national hero, Alaung-paya or Alompra, came to the
front. In the short space of eight years (1752-1760), he gained
possession of Ava, made the Burmese masters of both the northern and
southern provinces, founded Rangoon and invaded both Manipur and Siam.
While on the latter expedition he died. Some of his successors held
their court at Ava but Bodawpaya built a new capital at Amarapura
(1783) and Mindon Min another at Mandalay (1857). The dynasty came to
an end in 1886 when King Thibaw was deposed by the Government of India
and his dominions annexed.


The early history of Buddhism in Burma is obscure, as in most other
countries, and different writers have maintained that it was
introduced from northern India, the east coast of India, Ceylon, China
or Camboja.[129] All these views may be in a measure true, for there
is reason to believe that it was not introduced at one epoch or from
one source or in one form.

It is not remarkable that Indian influence should be strong among the
Burmese. The wonder rather is that they have preserved such strong
individuality in art, institutions and everyday life, that no one can
pass from India into Burma without feeling that he has entered a new
country. This is because the mountains which separate it from Eastern
Bengal and run right down to the sea form a barrier still sufficient
to prevent communication by rail. But from the earliest times
Indian immigrants and Indian ideas have been able to find their way
both by land and sea. According to the Burmese chronicles Tagaung was
founded by the Hindu prince Abhirâja in the ninth century B.C. and the
kingdom of Arakan claims as its first ruler an ancient prince of
Benares. The legends have not much more historical value than the
Kshattriya genealogies which Brahmans have invented for the kings of
Manipur, but they show that the Burmese knew of India and wished to
connect themselves with it. This spirit led not only to the invention
of legends but to the application of Indian names to Burmese
localities. For instance Aparantaka, which really designates a
district of western India, is identified by native scholars with Upper
Burma.[130] The two merchants Tapussa and Bhallika who were the first
to salute the Buddha after his enlightenment are said to have come
from Ukkala. This is usually identified with Orissa but Burmese
tradition locates it in Burma. A system of mythical geography has thus

The Buddha himself is supposed to have visited Burma, as well as
Ceylon, in his lifetime[131] and even to have imparted some of his
power to the celebrated image which is now in the Arakan Pagoda at
Mandalay. Another resemblance to the Sinhalese story is the
evangelization of lower Burma by Asoka's missionaries. The Dîpavamsa
states[132] that Sona and Uttara were despatched to Suvarṇabhûmi.
This is identified with Râmaññadesa or the district of Thaton, which
appears to be a corruption of Saddhammapura[133] and the tradition is
accepted in Burma. The scepticism with which modern scholars have
received it is perhaps unmerited, but the preaching of these
missionaries, if it ever took place, cannot at present be connected
with other historical events. Nevertheless the statement of the
Dîpavaṃsa is significant. The work was composed in the fourth
century A.D. and taken from older chronicles. It may therefore be
concluded that in the early centuries of our era lower Burma had
the reputation of being a Buddhist country.[134] It also appears
certain that in the eleventh century, when the Talaings were conquered
by Anawrata, Buddhist monks and copies of the Tipiṭaka were found
there. But we know little about the country in the preceding
centuries. The Kalyani inscription says that before Anawrata's
conquest it was divided and decadent and during this period there is
no proof of intercourse with Ceylon but also no disproof. One result
of Anawrata's conquest of Thaton was that he exchanged religious
embassies with the king of Ceylon, and it is natural to suppose that
the two monarchs were moved to this step by traditions of previous
communications. Intercourse with the east coast of India may be
assumed as natural, and is confirmed by the presence of Sanskrit words
in old Talaing and the information about southern India in Talaing
records, in which the city of Conjevaram, the great commentator
Dharmapâla and other men of learning are often mentioned. Analogies
have also been traced between the architecture of Pagan and southern
India.[135] It will be seen that such communication by sea may have
brought not only Hinayanist Buddhism but also Mahayanist and Tantric
Buddhism as well as Brahmanism from Bengal and Orissa, so that it is
not surprising if all these influences can be detected in the ancient
buildings and sculptures of the country.[136] Still the most important
evidence as to the character of early Burmese Buddhism is Hinayanist
and furnished by inscriptions on thin golden plates and tiles, found
near the ancient site of Prome and deciphered by Finot.[137] They
consist of Hinayanist religious formulæ: the language is Pali: the
alphabet is of a south Indian type and is said to resemble closely
that used in the inscriptions of the Kadamba dynasty which ruled in
Kanara from the third to the sixth century. It is to the latter
part of this period that the inscriptions are to be attributed. They
show that a form of the Hinayana, comparable, so far as the brief
documents permit us to judge, with the church of Ceylon, was then
known in lower Burma and was probably the state church. The character
of the writing, taken together with the knowledge of southern India
shown by the Talaing chronicles and the opinion of the Dîpavamsa that
Burma was a Buddhist country, is good evidence that lower Burma had
accepted Hinayanism before the sixth century and had intercourse with
southern India. More than that it would perhaps be rash to say.

The Burmese tradition that Buddhaghosa was a native of Thaton and
returned thither from Ceylon merits more attention than it has
received. It can be easily explained away as patriotic fancy. On the
other hand, if Buddhaghosa's object was to invigorate Hinayanism in
India, the result of his really stupendous labours was singularly
small, for in India his name is connected with no religious movement.
But if we suppose that he went to Ceylon by way of the holy places in
Magadha and returned from the Coromandel Coast to Burma where
Hinayanism afterwards nourished, we have at least a coherent

It is noticeable that Târanâtha states[139] that in the Koki
countries, among which he expressly mentions Pukham (Pagan) and
Haṃsavatî (Pegu), Hinayanism was preached from the days of Asoka
onwards, but that the Mahayana was not known until the pupils of
Vasubandhu introduced it.

The presence of Hinayanism in Lower Burma naturally did not prevent
the arrival of Mahayanism. It has not left many certain traces but
Atîśa (_c._ 1000), a great figure in the history of Tibetan
Buddhism, is reported to have studied both in Magadha and in
Suvarnadvîpa by which Thaton must be meant. He would hardly have done
this, had the clergy of Thaton been unfriendly to Tantric learning.
This mediæval Buddhism was also, as in other countries, mixed with
Hinduism but whereas in Camboja and Champa Śivaism, especially
the worship of the lingam, was long the official and popular cult and
penetrated to Siam, few Śivaite emblems but numerous statues of
Vishṇuite deities have hitherto been discovered in Burma.

The above refers chiefly to Lower Burma. The history of Burmese
Buddhism becomes clearer in the eleventh century but before passing to
this new period we must enquire what was the religious condition of
Upper Burma in the centuries preceding it. It is clear that any
variety of Buddhism or Brahmanism may have entered this region from
India by land at any epoch. According to both Hsüan Chuang and I-Ching
Buddhism flourished in Samaṭata and the latter mentions images of
Avalokita and the reading of the Prajñâ-pâramitâ. The precise position
of Samaṭata has not been fixed but in any case it was in the east
of Bengal and not far from the modern Burmese frontier. The existence
of early Sanskrit inscriptions at Taungu and elsewhere has been
recorded but not with as much detail as could be wished.[140] Figures
of Bodhisattvas and Indian deities are reported from Prome,[141] and
in the Lower Chindwin district are rock-cut temples resembling the
caves of Barabar in Bengal. Inscriptions also show that at Prome there
were kings, perhaps in the seventh century, who used the Pyu language
but bore Sanskrit titles. According to Burmese tradition the Buddha
himself visited the site of Pagan and prophesied that a king called
Sammutiraya would found a city there and establish the faith. This
prediction is said to have been fulfilled in 108 A.D. but the notices
quoted from the Burmese chronicles are concerned less with the
progress of true religion than with the prevalence of heretics known
as Aris.[142] It has been conjectured that this name is a corruption
of Arya but it appears that the correct orthography is _arañ_
representing an original _araṇyaka_, that is forest priests. It is
hard to say whether they were degraded Buddhists or an indigenous
priesthood who in some ways imitated what they knew of Brahmanic
and Buddhist institutions. They wore black robes, let their hair grow,
worshipped serpents, hung up in their temples the heads of animals
that had been sacrificed, and once a year they assisted the king to
immolate a victim to the Nats on a mountain top. They claimed power to
expiate all sins, even parricide. They lived in convents (which is
their only real resemblance to Buddhist monks) but were not
celibate.[143] Anawrata is said to have suppressed the Aris but he
certainly did not extirpate them for an inscription dated 1468 records
their existence in the Myingyan district. Also in a village near Pagan
are preserved Tantric frescoes representing Bodhisattvas with their
Śaktis. In one temple is an inscription dated 1248 and requiring
the people to supply the priests morning and evening with rice, beef,
betel, and a jar of spirits.[144] It is not clear whether these
priests were Aris or not, but they evidently professed an extreme form
of Buddhist Śaktism.

Chinese influences in Upper Burma must also be taken into account.
Burmese kings were perhaps among the many potentates who sent
religious embassies to the Emperor Wu-ti about 525 A.D. and the
T'ang[145] annals show an acquaintance with Burma. They describe the
inhabitants as devout Buddhists, reluctant to take life or even to
wear silk, since its manufacture involves the death of the silk worms.
There were a hundred monasteries into which the youth entered at the
age of seven, leaving at the age of twenty, if they did not intend to
become monks. The Chinese writer does not seem to have regarded the
religion of Burma as differing materially from Buddhism as he knew it
and some similarities in ecclesiastical terminology shown by Chinese
and Burmese may indicate the presence of Chinese influence.[146]
But this influence, though possibly strong between the sixth and tenth
centuries A.D., and again about the time of the Chinese invasion of
1284,[147] cannot be held to exclude Indian influence.

Thus when Anawrata came to the throne[148] several forms of religion
probably co-existed at Pagan, and probably most of them were corrupt,
though it is a mistake to think of his dominions as barbarous. The
reformation which followed is described by Burmese authors in
considerable detail and as usual in such accounts is ascribed to the
activity of one personality, the Thera Arahanta who came from Thaton
and enjoyed Anawrata's confidence. The story implies that there was a
party in Pagan which knew that the prevalent creed was corrupt and
also looked upon Thaton and Ceylon as religious centres. As Anawrata
was a man of arms rather than a theologian, we may conjecture that his
motive was to concentrate in his capital the flower of learning as
known in his time--a motive which has often animated successful
princes in Asia and led to the unceremonious seizure of living saints.
According to the story he broke up the communities of Aris at the
instigation of Arahanta and then sent a mission to Manohari, king of
Pegu, asking for a copy of the Tipiṭaka and for relics. He received
a contemptuous reply intimating that he was not to be trusted with
such sacred objects. Anawrata in indignation collected an army,
marched against the Talaings and ended by carrying off to Pagan not
only elephant loads of scriptures and relics, but also all the Talaing
monks and nobles with the king himself.[149] The Piṭakas were
stored in a splendid pagoda and Anawrata sent to Ceylon[150] for
others which were compared with the copies obtained from Thaton in
order to settle the text.[151]

For 200 years, that is from about 1060 A.D. until the later decades of
the thirteenth century, Pagan was a great centre of Buddhist culture
not only for Burma but for the whole east, renowned alike for its
architecture and its scholarship. The former can still be studied in
the magnificent pagodas which mark its site. Towards the end of his
reign Anawrata made not very successful attempts to obtain relics from
China and Ceylon and commenced the construction of the Shwe Zigon
pagoda. He died before it was completed but his successors, who
enjoyed fairly peaceful reigns, finished the work and constructed
about a thousand other buildings among which the most celebrated is
the Ananda temple erected by King Kyansithâ.[152]

Pali literature in Burma begins with a little grammatical treatise
known as Kârikâ and composed in 1064 A.D. by the monk Dhammasenâpati
who lived in the monastery attached to this temple. A number of other
works followed. Of these the most celebrated was the Saddanîti of
Aggavaṃsa (1154), a treatise on the language of the Tipiṭaka
which became a classic not only in Burma but in Ceylon. A singular
enthusiasm for linguistic studies prevailed especially in the reign of
Kyocvâ (_c._ 1230), when even women are said to have been
distinguished for the skill and ardour which they displayed in
conquering the difficulties of Pali grammar. Some treatises on the
Abhidhamma were also produced.

Like Mohammedanism, Hinayanist Buddhism is too simple and definite to
admit much variation in doctrine, but its clergy are prone to violent
disputes about apparently trivial questions. In the thirteenth century
such disputes assumed grave proportions in Burma. About 1175 A.D. a
celebrated elder named Uttarâjîva accompanied by his pupil
Chapaṭa left for Ceylon. They spent some years in study at the
Mahâvihâra and Chapaṭa received ordination there. He returned to
Pagan with four other monks and maintained that valid ordination could
be conferred only through the monks of the Mahâvihâra, who alone had
kept the succession unbroken. He with his four companions, having
received this ordination, claimed power to transmit it, but he
declined to recognize Burmese orders. This pretension aroused a storm
of opposition, especially from the Talaing monks. They maintained that
Arahanta who had reformed Buddhism under Anawrata was spiritually
descended from the missionaries sent by Asoka, who were as well
qualified to administer ordination as Mahinda. But Chapaṭa was not
only a man of learning and an author[153] but also a vigorous
personality and in favour at Court. He had the best of the contest and
succeeded in making the Talaing school appear as seceders from
orthodoxy. There thus arose a distinction between the Sinhalese or
later school and the old Burmese school, who regarded one another as
schismatics. A scandal was caused in the Sinhalese community by
Râhula, the ablest of Chapaṭa's disciples, who fell in love with an
actress and wished to become a layman. His colleagues induced him to
leave the country for decency's sake and peace was restored but
subsequently, after Chapaṭa's death, the remaining three
disciples[154] fell out on questions of discipline rather than
doctrine and founded three factions, which can hardly be called
schools, although they refused to keep the Uposatha days together. The
light of religion shone brightest at Pagan early in the thirteenth
century while these three brethren were alive and the Sâsanavaṃsa
states that at least three Arhats lived in the city. But the power of
Pagan collapsed under attacks from both Chinese and Shans at the end
of the century and the last king became a monk under the
compulsion of Shan chiefs. The deserted city appears to have lost its
importance as a religious centre, for the ecclesiastical chronicles
shift the scene elsewhere.

The two Shan states which arose from the ruin of Pagan, namely Panya
(Vijayapura) and Sagaing (Jeyyapura), encouraged religion and
learning. Their existence probably explains the claim made in Siamese
inscriptions of about 1300 that the territory of Siam extended to
Haṃsavatî or Pegu and this contact of Burma and Siam was of great
importance for it must be the origin of Pali Buddhism in Siam which
otherwise remains unexplained.

After the fall of the two Shan states in 1364, Ava (or Ratnapura)
which was founded in the same year gradually became the religious
centre of Upper Burma and remained so during several centuries. But
it did not at first supersede older towns inasmuch as the loss of
political independence did not always involve the destruction of
monasteries. Buddhism also flourished in Pegu and the Talaing country
where the vicissitudes of the northern kingdoms did not affect its

Anawrata had transported the most eminent Theras of Thaton to Pagan
and the old Talaing school probably suffered temporarily. Somewhat
later we hear that the Sinhalese school was introduced into these
regions by Sâriputta[155], who had been ordained at Pagan. About the
same time two Theras of Martaban, preceptors of the Queen, visited
Ceylon and on returning to their own land after being ordained at the
Mahâvihâra considered themselves superior to other monks. But the old
Burmese school continued to exist. Not much literature was produced in
the south. Sâriputta was the author of a Dhammathat or code, the first
of a long series of law books based upon Manu. Somewhat later Mahâyasa
of Thaton (_c._ 1370) wrote several grammatical works.

The most prosperous period for Buddhism in Pegu was the reign of
Dhammaceti, also called Râmâdhipati (1460-1491). He was not of the
royal family, but a simple monk who helped a princess of Pegu to
escape from the Burmese court where she was detained. In 1453 this
princess became Queen of Pegu and Dhammaceti left his monastery to
become her prime minister, son-in-law and ultimately her
successor. But though he had returned to the world his heart was with
the Church. He was renowned for his piety no less than for his
magnificence and is known to modern scholars as the author of the
Kalyani inscriptions[156], which assume the proportions of a treatise
on ecclesiastical laws and history. Their chief purpose is to settle
an intricate and highly technical question, namely the proper method
of defining and consecrating a _sîmâ_. This word, which means
literally _boundary_, signifies a plot of ground within which Uposatha
meetings, ordinations and other ceremonies can take place. The
expression occurs in the Vinaya Piṭaka[157], but the area there
contemplated seems to be an ecclesiastical district within which the
Bhikkhus were obliged to meet for Uposatha. The modern _sîmâ_ is much
smaller[158], but more important since it is maintained that valid
ordination can be conferred only within its limits. To Dhammaceti the
question seemed momentous, for as he explains, there were in southern
Burma six schools who would not meet for Uposatha. These were, first
the Camboja[159] school (identical with the Arahanta school) who
claimed spiritual descent from the missionaries sent by Asoka to
Suvarṇabhûmi, and then five divisions of the Sinhalese school,
namely the three founded by Chapaṭa's disciples as already related
and two more founded by the theras of Martaban. Dhammaceti accordingly
sent a mission to Ceylon charged to obtain an authoritative ruling as
to the proper method of consecrating a _sîmâ_ and conferring
ordination. On their return a locality known as the Kalyanisîmâ was
consecrated in the manner prescribed by the Mahâvihâra and during
three years all the Bhikkhus of Dhammaceti's kingdom were reordained
there. The total number reached 15,666, and the king boasts that he
had thus purified religion and made the school of the Mahâvihâra the
only sect, all other distinctions being obliterated.

There can be little doubt that in the fifteenth century Burmese
Buddhism had assumed the form which it still has, but was this form
due to indigenous tradition or to imitation of Ceylon? Five periods
merit attention. (_a_) In the sixth century, and probably several
centuries earlier, Hinayanism was known in Lower Burma. The
inscriptions attesting its existence are written in Pali and in a
south Indian alphabet. (_b_) Anawrata (1010-1052) purified the
Buddhism of Upper Burma with the help of scriptures obtained from the
Talaing country, which were compared with other scriptures brought
from Ceylon. (_c_) About 1200 Chapata and his pupils who had studied
in Ceylon and received ordination there refused to recognize the
Talaing monks and two hostile schools were founded, predominant at
first in Upper and Lower Burma respectively. (_d_) About 1250 the
Sinhalese school, led by Sâriputta and others, began to make conquests
in Lower Burma at the expense of the Talaing school. (_e_) Two
centuries later, about 1460, Dhammaceti of Pegu boasts that he has
purified religion and made the school of the Mahâvihâra, that is the
most orthodox form of the Sinhalese school, the only sect.

In connection with these data must be taken the important statement
that the celebrated Tantrist Atîśa studied in Lower Burma about
1000 A.D. Up to a certain point the conclusion seems clear. Pali
Hinayanism in Burma was old: intercourse with southern India and
Ceylon tended to keep it pure, whereas intercourse with Bengal and
Orissa, which must have been equally frequent, tended to import
Mahayanism. In the time of Anawrata the religion of Upper Burma
probably did not deserve the name of Buddhism. He introduced in its
place the Buddhism of Lower Burma, tempered by reference to Ceylon.
After 1200 if not earlier the idea prevailed that the Mahâvihâra was
the standard of orthodoxy and that the Talaing church (which probably
retained some Mahayanist features) fell below it. In the fifteenth
century this view was universally accepted, the opposition and indeed
the separate existence of the Talaing church having come to an end.

But it still remains uncertain whether the earliest Burmese Buddhism
came direct from Magadha or from the south. The story of Asoka's
missionaries cannot be summarily rejected but it also cannot be
accepted without hesitation[160]. It is the Ceylon chronicle which
knows of them and communication between Burma and southern India was
old and persistent. It may have existed even before the Christian era.

After the fall of Pagan, Upper Burma, of which we must now speak,
passed through troubled times and we hear little of religion or
literature. Though Ava was founded in 1364 it did not become an
intellectual centre for another century. But the reign of Narapati
(1442-1468) was ornamented by several writers of eminence among whom
may be mentioned the monk poet Sîlavaṃsa and Ariyavaṃsa, an
exponent of the Abhidhamma. They are noticeable as being the first
writers to publish religious works, either original or translated, in
the vernacular and this practice steadily increased. In the early part
of the sixteenth century[161] occurred the only persecution of
Buddhism known in Burma. Thohanbwâ, a Shan who had become king of Ava,
endeavoured to exterminate the order by deliberate massacre and
delivered temples, monasteries and libraries to the flames. The
persecution did not last long nor extend to other districts but it
created great indignation among the Burmese and was perhaps one of the
reasons why the Shan dynasty of Ava was overthrown in 1555.

Bayin (or Bureng) Naung stands out as one of the greatest
personalities in Burmese history. As a Buddhist he was zealous even to
intolerance, since he forced the Shans and Moslims of the northern
districts, and indeed all his subjects, to make a formal profession of
Buddhism. He also, as related elsewhere, made not very successful
attempts to obtain the tooth relic from Ceylon. But it is probable
that his active patronage of the faith, as shown in the construction
and endowment of religious buildings, was exercised chiefly in Pegu
and this must be the reason why the Sâsanavaṃsa (which is
interested chiefly in Upper Burma) says little about him.

His successors showed little political capacity but encouraged
religion and literature. The study of the Abhidhamma was specially
flourishing in the districts of Ava and Sagaing from about 1600 to
1650 and found many illustrious exponents. Besides works in Pali, the
writers of this time produced numerous Burmese translations and
paraphrases of Abhidhamma works, as well as edifying stories.

In the latter part of the seventeenth century Burma was in a disturbed
condition and the Sâsanavaṃsa says that religion was dimmed as the
moon by clouds. A national and religious revival came with the
victories of Alompra (1752 onwards), but the eighteenth century also
witnessed the rise of a curious and not very edifying controversy
which divided the Sangha for about a hundred years and spread to
Ceylon[162]. It concerned the manner in which the upper robe of a
monk, consisting of a long piece of cloth, should be worn. The old
practice in Burma was to wrap this cloth round the lower body from the
loins to the ankles, and draw the end from the back over the left
shoulder and thence across the breast over the right shoulder so that
it finally hung loose behind. But about 1698 began the custom of
walking with the right shoulder bare, that is to say letting the end
of the robe fall down in front on the left side. The Sangha became
divided into two factions known as _Ekaṃsika_ (one-shouldered) and
_Pârupana_ (fully clad). The bitterness of the seemingly trivial
controversy was increased by the fact that the Ekaṃsikas could
produce little scriptural warrant and appealed to late authorities or
the practice in Ceylon, thus neglecting sound learning. For the Vinaya
frequently[163] prescribes that the robe is to be adjusted so as to
fall over only one shoulder as a mark of special respect, which
implies that it was usually worn over both shoulders. In 1712 and
again about twenty years later arbitrators were appointed by the king
to hear both sides, but they had not sufficient authority or learning
to give a decided opinion. The stirring political events of 1740
and the following years naturally threw ecclesiastical quarrels into
the shade but when the great Alompra had disposed of his enemies he
appeared as a modern Asoka. The court religiously observed Uposatha
days and the king was popularly believed to be a Bodhisattva[164]. He
was not however sound on the great question of ecclesiastical dress.
His chaplain, Atula, belonged to the Ekaṃsika party and the king,
saying that he wished to go into the whole matter himself but had not
for the moment leisure, provisionally ordered the Saṇgha to obey
Atula's ruling. But some champions of the other side stood firm.
Alompra dealt leniently with them, but died during his Siamese
campaign before he had time to unravel the intricacies of the Vinaya.

The influence of Atula, who must have been an astute if not learned
man, continued after the king's death and no measures were taken
against the Ekaṃsikas, although King Hsin-byu-shin (1763-1776)
persecuted an heretical sect called Paramats[165]. His youthful
successor, Sing-gu-sa, was induced to hold a public disputation. The
Ekaṃsikas were defeated in this contest and a royal decree was
issued making the Pârupana discipline obligatory. But the vexed
question was not settled for it came up again in the long reign
(1781-1819) of Bodôpayâ. This king has won an evil reputation for
cruelty and insensate conceit[166], but he was a man of vigour and
kept together his great empire. His megalomania naturally detracted
from the esteem won by his piety. His benefactions to religion were
lavish, the shrines and monasteries which he built innumerable. But he
desired to build a pagoda larger than any in the world and during some
twenty years wasted an incalculable amount of labour and money on this
project, still commemorated by a gigantic but unfinished mass of
brickwork now in ruins. In order to supervise its erection he left his
palace and lived at Mingun, where he conceived the idea that he
was a Buddha, an idea which had not been entirely absent from the
minds of Alompra and Hsin-byu-shin. It is to the credit of the Theras
that, despite the danger of opposing an autocrat as cruel as he was
crazy, they refused to countenance these pretensions and the king
returned to his palace as an ordinary monarch.

If he could not make himself a Buddha, he at least disposed of the
Ekaṃsika dispute, and was probably influenced in his views by
Ñânâbhivaṃsa, a monk of the Pârupana school whom he made his chaplain,
although Atula was still alive. At first he named a commission of
enquiry, the result of which was that the Ekaṃsikas admitted that their
practice could not be justified from the scriptures but only by
tradition. A royal decree was issued enjoining the observance of the
Pârupana discipline, but two years later Atula addressed a letter to the
king in which he maintained that the Ekaṃsika costume was approved in a
work called Cûlagaṇṭhipada, composed by Moggalâna, the immediate
disciple of the Buddha. The king ordered representatives of both parties
to examine this contention and the debate between them is dramatically
described in the Sâsanavaṃsa. It was demonstrated that the text on
which Atula relied was composed in Ceylon by a thera named Moggalâna who
lived in the twelfth century and that it quoted mediæval Sinhalese
commentaries. After this exposure the Ekaṃsika party collapsed. The
king commanded (1784) the Pârupana discipline to be observed and at last
the royal order received obedience.

It will be observed that throughout this controversy both sides
appealed to the king, as if he had the right to decide the point in
dispute, but that his decision had no compelling power as long as it
was not supported by evidence. He could ensure toleration for views
regarded by many as heretical, but was unable to force the views of
one party on the other until the winning cause had publicly disproved
the contentions of its opponents. On the other hand the king had
practical control of the hierarchy, for his chaplain was _de facto_
head of the Church and the appointment was strictly personal. It was
not the practice for a king to take on his predecessor's chaplain and
the latter could not, like a Lamaist or Catholic ecclesiastic, claim
any permanent supernatural powers. Bodôpayâ did something towards
organizing the hierarchy for he appointed four elders of repute to
be Saṇgharâjas or, so to speak, Bishops, with four more as
assistants and over them all his chaplain Ñâṇa as Archbishop.
Ñâṇa was a man of energy and lived in turn in various monasteries
supervising the discipline and studies.

In spite of the extravagances of Bodôpayâ, the Church was flourishing
and respected in his reign. The celebrated image called Mahâmuni was
transferred from Arakan to his capital together with a Sanskrit
library, and Burma sent to Ceylon not only the monks who founded the
Amarapura school but also numerous Pali texts. This prosperity
continued in the reigns of Bagyidaw, Tharrawadi and Pagan-min, who
were of little personal account. The first ordered the compilation of
the Yazawin, a chronicle which was not original but incorporated and
superseded other works of the same kind. In his reign arose a question
as to the validity of grants of land, etc., for religious purposes. It
was decided in the sense most favourable to the order, _viz._ that
such grants are perpetual and are not invalidated by the lapse of
time. About 1845 there was a considerable output of vernacular
literature. The Dîgha, Samyutta and Anguttara Nikâyas with their
commentaries were translated into Burmese but no compositions in Pali
are recorded.

From 1852 till 1877 Burma was ruled by Mindon-min, who if not a
national hero was at least a pious, peace-loving, capable king. His
chaplain, Paññâsâmi, composed the Sâsanavaṃsa, or ecclesiastical
history of Burma, and the king himself was ambitious to figure as a
great Buddhist monarch, though with more sanity than Bodôpayâ, for his
chief desire was to be known as the Convener of the Fifth Buddhist
Council. The body so styled met from 1868 to 1871 and, like the
ancient Saṇgîtis, proceeded to recite the Tipiṭaka in order to
establish the correct text. The result may still be seen at Mandalay
in the collection of buildings commonly known as the four hundred and
fifty Pagodas: a central Stupa surrounded by hundreds of small shrines
each sheltering a perpendicular tablet on which a portion of this
veritable bible in stone is inscribed. Mindon-min also corrected the
growing laxity of the Bhikkhus, and the esteem in which the Burmese
church was held at this time is shown by the fact that the monks of
Ceylon sent a deputation to the Saṇgharâja of Mandalay referring to
his decision a dispute about a _sîmâ_ or ecclesiastical boundary.

Mindon-min was succeeded by Thibaw, who was deposed by the
British. The Saṇgharâja maintained his office until he died in
1895. An interregnum then occurred for the appointment had always been
made by the king, not by the Sangha. But when Lord Curzon visited
Burma in 1901 he made arrangements for the election by the monks
themselves of a superior of the whole order and Taunggwin Sayâdaw was
solemnly installed in this office by the British authorities in 1903
with the title of Thathanabaing[167].


We may now examine briefly some sides of popular religion and
institutions which are not Buddhist. It is an interesting fact that
the Burmese law books or Dhammathats[168], which are still accepted as
regulating inheritance and other domestic matters, are Indian in
origin and show no traces of Sinhalese influence although since 1750
there has been a decided tendency to bring them into connection with
authorities accepted by Buddhism. The earliest of these codes are
those of Dhammavilâsa (1174 A.D.) and of Waguru, king of Martaban in
1280. They professedly base themselves on the authority of Manu and,
so far as purely legal topics are concerned, correspond pretty closely
with the rules of the Mânava-dharmaśâstra. But they omit all
prescriptions which involve Brahmanic religious observances such as
penance and sacrifice. Also the theory of punishment is different and
inspired by the doctrine of Karma, namely, that every evil deed will
bring its own retribution. Hence the Burmese codes ordain for every
crime not penalties to be suffered by the criminal but merely the
payment of compensation to the party aggrieved, proportionate to the
damage suffered[169]. It is probable that the law-books on which these
codes were based were brought from the east coast of India and
were of the same type as the code of Nârada, which, though of
unquestioned Brahmanic orthodoxy, is almost purely legal and has
little to say about religion. A subsidiary literature embodying local
decisions naturally grew up, and about 1640 was summarized by a
Burmese nobleman called Kaing-zâ in the Mahârâja-dhammathat. He
received from the king the title of Manurâja and the name of Manu
became connected with his code, though it is really based on local
custom. It appears to have superseded older law-books until the reign
of Alompra who remodelled the administration and caused several codes
to be compiled[170]. These also preserve the name of Manu, but he and
Kaing-zâ are treated as the same personage. The rules of the older
law-books are in the main retained but are made to depend on Buddhist
texts. Later Dhammathats become more and more decidedly Buddhist. Thus
the Mohavicchedanî (1832) does not mention Manu but presents the
substance of the Manu Dhammathats as the law preached by the Buddha.

Direct Indian influence may be seen in another department not
unimportant in an oriental country. The court astrologers, soothsayers
and professors of kindred sciences were even in recent times Brahmans,
known as Pônnâ and mostly from Manipur. An inscription found at Pagan
and dated 1442 mentions the gift of 295 books[171] to the Sangha among
which several have Sanskrit titles and about 1600 we hear of Pandits
learned in the Vedaśâstras, meaning not Vedic learning in the
strict sense but combinations of science and magic described as
medicine, astronomy, Kâmaśâstras, etc. Hindu tradition was
sufficiently strong at the Court to make the presence of experts in
the Atharva Veda seem desirable and in the capital they were in
request for such services as drawing up horoscopes[172] and
invoking good luck at weddings whereas monks will not attend
social gatherings.

More important as a non-Buddhist element in Burmese religion is the
worship of Nats[173] or spirits of various kinds. Of the prevalence of
such worship there is no doubt, but I cannot agree with the
authorities who say that it is the practical religion of the Burmese.
No passing tourist can fail to see that in the literal as well as
figurative sense Burma takes its colour from Buddhism, from the gilded
and vermilion pagodas and the yellow robed priests. It is impossible
that so much money should be given, so many lives dedicated to a
religion which had not a real hold on the hearts of the people. The
worship of Nats, wide-spread though it be, is humble in its outward
signs and is a superstition rather than a creed. On several occasions
the kings of Burma have suppressed its manifestations when they became
too conspicuous. Thus Anawrata destroyed the Nat houses of Pagan and
recent kings forbade the practice of firing guns at funerals to scare
the evil spirits.

Nats are of at least three classes, or rather have three origins.
Firstly they are nature spirits, similar to those revered in China and
Tibet. They inhabit noticeable natural features of every kind,
particularly trees, rivers and mountains; they may be specially
connected with villages, houses or individuals. Though not essentially
evil they are touchy and vindictive, punishing neglect or discourtesy
with misfortune and ill-luck. No explanation is offered as to the
origin of many Nats, but others, who may be regarded as forming the
second category, are ghosts or ancestral spirits. In northern Burma
Chinese influence encouraged ancestor worship, but apart from this
there is a disposition (equally evident in India) to believe that
violent and uncanny persons and those who meet with a tragic death
become powerful ghosts requiring propitiation. Thirdly, there are Nats
who are at least in part identified with the Indian deities recognized
by early Buddhism. It would seem that the Thirty Seven Nats, described
in a work called the Mahâgîtâ Medânigyân, correspond to the Thirty
Three Gods of Buddhist mythology, but that the number has been raised
for unknown reasons to 37[174]. They are spirits of deceased
heroes, and there is nothing unbuddhist in this conception, for the
Piṭakas frequently represent deserving persons as being reborn in
the Heaven of the Thirty Three. The chief is Thagyâ, the Śakra or
Indra of Hindu mythology[175], but the others are heroes, connected
with five cycles of legends based on a popular and often inaccurate
version of Burmese history[176].

Besides Thagyâ Nat we find other Indian figures such as Man Nat (Mâra)
and Byammâ Nat (Brahmâ). In diagrams illustrating the Buddhist
cosmology of the Burmans[177] a series of heavens is depicted,
ascending from those of the Four Kings and Thirty Three Gods up to the
Brahmâ worlds, and each inhabited by Nats according to their degree.
Here the spirits of Burma are marshalled and classified according to
Buddhist system just as were the spirits of India some centuries
before. But neither in ancient India nor in modern Burma have the
devas or Nats anything to do with the serious business of religion.
They have their place in temples as guardian genii and the whole band
may be seen in a shrine adjoining the Shwe-zi-gon Pagoda at Pagan, but
this interferes no more with the supremacy of the Buddha than did the
deputations of spirits who according to the scriptures waited on him.


Buddhism is a real force in Burmese life and the pride of the Burmese
people. Every male Burman enters a monastery when he is about 15 for a
short stay. Devout parents send their sons for the four months of
_Was_ (or even for this season during three successive years), but by
the majority a period of from one month to one week is considered
sufficient. To omit this stay in a monastery altogether would not be
respectable: it is in common esteem the only way to become a human
being, for without it a boy is a mere animal. The praises of the
Buddha and vows to lead a good life are commonly recited by the
laity[178] every morning and evening. It is the greatest ambition of
most Burmans to build a pagoda and those who are able to do so (a
large percentage of the population to judge from the number of
buildings) are not only sure of their reward in another birth but
even now enjoy respect and receive the title of pagoda-builder.
Another proof of devotion is the existence of thousands of
monasteries[179]--perhaps on an average more than two for each large
village and town--built and supported by voluntary contributions. The
provision of food and domicile for their numerous inmates is no small
charge on the nation, but observers are agreed that it is cheerfully
paid and that the monks are worthy of what they receive. In energy and
morality they seem, as a class, superior to their brethren in Ceylon
and Siam, and their services to education and learning have been
considerable. Every monastery is also a school, where instruction is
given to both day boys and boarders. The vast majority of Burmans
enter such a school at the age of eight or nine and learn there
reading, writing, and arithmetic. They also receive religious
instruction and moral training. They commit to memory various works in
Pali and Burmese, and are taught the duties which they owe to
themselves, society and the state. Sir. J.G. Scott, who is certainly
not disposed to exaggerate the influence of Buddhism in Burma, says
that "the education of the monasteries far surpasses the instruction
of the Anglo-vernacular schools from every point of view except that
of immediate success in life and the obtaining of a post under
Government[180]." The more studious monks are not merely schoolmasters
but can point to a considerable body of literature which they have
produced in the past and are still producing[181]. Indeed among the
Hinayanist churches that of Burma has in recent centuries held the
first place for learning. The age and continuity of Sinhalese
traditions have given the Sangha of Ceylon a correspondingly great
prestige but it has more than once been recruited from Burma and
in literary output it can hardly rival the Burmese clergy.

Though many disquisitions on the Vinaya have been produced in Burma,
and though the Jâtakas and portions of the Sutta Piṭaka (especially
those called Parittam) are known to everybody, yet the favourite study
of theologians appears to be the Abhidhamma, concerning which a
multitude of hand-books and commentaries have been written, but it is
worth mentioning that the Abhidhammattha-sangaha, composed in Ceylon
about the twelfth century A.D., is still the standard manual[182]. Yet
it would be a mistake to think of the Burmese monks as absorbed in
these recondite studies: they have on the contrary produced a long
series of works dealing with the practical things of the world, such
as chronicles, law-books, ethical and political treatises, and even
poetry, for Sîlavamsa and Ratthapâla whose verses are still learned by
the youth of Burma were both of them Bhikkhus. The Sangha has always
shown a laudable reserve in interfering directly with politics, but in
former times the king's private chaplain was a councillor of
importance and occasionally matters involving both political and
religious questions were submitted to a chapter of the order. In all
cases the influence of the monks in secular matters made for justice
and peace: they sometimes interceded on behalf of the condemned or
represented that taxation was too heavy. In 1886, when the British
annexed Burma, the Head of the Sangha forbade monks to take part in
the political strife, a prohibition which was all the more remarkable
because King Thibaw had issued proclamations saying that the object of
the invasion was to destroy Buddhism.

In essentials monastic life is much the same in Burma and Ceylon but
the Burmese standard is higher, and any monk known to misconduct
himself would be driven out by the laity. The monasteries are numerous
but not large and much space is wasted, for, though the exterior
suggests that they are built in several stories the interior usually
is a single hall, although it may be divided by partitions. To the
eastern side is attached a chapel containing images of Gotama before
which daily devotions are performed. It is surmounted by a steeple
culminating in a _hti_, a sort of baldachino or sacred umbrella
placed also on the top of dagobas, and made of open metal work hung
with little bells. Monasteries are always built outside towns and,
though many of them become subsequently enclosed by the growth of the
larger cities, they retain spacious grounds in which there may be
separate buildings, such as a library, dormitories for pupils and a
hall for performing the ordination service. The average number of
inmates is six. A large establishment may house a superior, four
monks, some novices and besides them several lay scholars. The grades
are _Sahin_ or novice, _Pyit-shin_ or fully ordained monk and
_Pôngyi_, literally great glory, a monk of at least ten years'
standing. Rank depends on seniority--that is to say the greatest
respect is shown to the monk who has observed his vows for the longest
period, but there are some simple hierarchical arrangements. At the
head of each monastery is a Sayâ or superior, and all the monasteries
of a large town or a country district are under the supervision of a
Provincial called Gaing-Ok. At the head of the whole church is the
Thathanabaing, already mentioned. All these higher officials must be

Although all monks must take part in the daily round to collect alms
yet in most monasteries it is the custom (as in Ceylon and Siam) not
to eat the food collected, or at least not all of it, and though no
solid nourishment is taken after midday, three morning meals are
allowed, namely, one taken very early, the next served on the return
from the begging round and a third about 11.30. Two or three services
are intoned before the image of the Buddha each day. At the morning
ceremony, which takes place about 5.30, all the inmates of the
monastery prostrate themselves before the superior and vow to observe
the precepts during the day. At the conclusion of the evening service
a novice announces that a day has passed away and in a loud voice
proclaims the hour, the day of the week, the day of the month and the
year. The laity do not usually attend these services, but near large
monasteries there are rest houses for the entertainment of visitors
and Uposatha days are often celebrated by a pious picnic. A family or
party of friends take a rest-house for a day, bring a goodly store of
cheroots and betel nut, which are not regarded as out of place during
divine service[183], and listen at their ease to the exposition of
the law delivered by a yellow-robed monk. When the congregation
includes women he holds a large fan-leaf palm before his face lest his
eyes should behold vanity. A custom which might not be to the taste of
western ecclesiastics is that the congregation ask questions and, if
they do not understand, request the preacher to be clearer.

There is little sectarianism in Burma proper, but the Sawtis, an
anti-clerical sect, are found in some numbers in the Shan States and
similar communities called Man are still met with in Pegu and
Tenasserim, though said to be disappearing. Both refuse to recognize
the Sangha, monasteries or temples and perform their devotions in the
open fields. Otherwise their mode of thought is Buddhist, for they
hold that every man can work out his own salvation by conquering
Mâra[184], as the Buddha did, and they use the ordinary formulæ of
worship, except that they omit all expressions of reverence to the
Sangha. The orthodox Sangha is divided into two schools known as
Mahâgandi and Sûlagandi. The former are the moderate easy-going
majority who maintain a decent discipline but undeniably deviate
somewhat from the letter of the Vinaya. The latter are a strict and
somewhat militant Puritan minority who protest against such
concessions to the flesh. They insist for instance that a monk should
eat out of his begging bowl exactly as it is at the end of the morning
round and they forbid the use of silk robes, sunshades and sandals.
The Sûlagandi also believe in free will and attach more value to the
intention than the action in estimating the value of good deeds,
whereas the Mahâgandi accept good actions without enquiring into the
motive and believe that all deeds are the result of karma.


In Burma all the higher branches of architecture are almost
exclusively dedicated to religion. Except the Palace at Mandalay there
is hardly a native building of note which is not connected with a
shrine or monastery. Burmese architectural forms show most analogy
to those of Nepal and perhaps[185] both preserve what was once the
common style for wooden buildings in ancient India. In recent
centuries the Burmese have shown little inclination to build anything
that can be called a temple, that is a chamber containing images and
the paraphernalia of worship. The commonest form of religious edifice
is the dagoba or zedi[186]: images are placed in niches or shrines,
which shelter them, but only rarely, as on the platform of the Shwe
Dagon at Rangoon, assume the proportions of rooms. This does not apply
to the great temples of Pagan, built from about 1050 to 1200, but that
style was not continued and except the Arakan Pagoda at Mandalay has
perhaps no modern representative. Details of these buildings may be
found in the works of Forchhammer, Fergusson, de Beylié and various
archæological reports. Their construction is remarkably solid. They do
not, like most large buildings in India or Europe, contain halls of
some size but are rather pyramids traversed by passages. But this
curious disinclination to build temples of the usual kind is not due
to any dislike of images. In no Buddhist country are they more common
and their numbers are more noticeable because there is here no
pantheon as in China and Tibet, but images of Gotama are multiplied,
merely in order to obtain merit. Some slight variety in these figures
is produced by the fact that the Burmese venerate not only Gotama but
the three Buddhas who preceded him[187]. The Shwe Dagon Pagoda is
reputed to contain relics of all four; statues of them all stand in
the beautiful Ananda Pagoda at Pagan and not infrequently they are
represented by four sitting figures facing the four quarters. A
gigantic group of this kind composed of statues nearly 90 feet high
stands in the outskirts of Pegu, and in the same neighbourhood is
a still larger recumbent figure 180 feet long. It had been forgotten
since the capture of Pegu by the Burmans in 1757 and was rediscovered
by the engineers surveying the route for the railway. It lies almost
in sight of the line and is surprising by its mere size, as one comes
upon it suddenly in the jungle. As a work of art it can hardly be
praised. It does not suggest the Buddha on his death bed, as is
intended, but rather some huge spirit of the jungle waking up and
watching the railway with indolent amusement.

In Upper Burma there are not so many large images but as one
approaches Mandalay the pagodas add more and more to the landscape.
Many are golden and the rest are mostly white and conspicuous. They
crown the hills and punctuate the windings of the valleys. Perhaps
Burmese art and nature are seen at their best near Sagaing on the bank
of the Irrawaddy, a mighty flood of yellow water, sweeping down smooth
and steady, but here and there showing whirlpools that look like
molten metal. From the shore rise hills of moderate height studded
with monasteries and shrines. Flights of white steps lead to the
principal summits where golden spires gleam and everywhere are pagodas
of all ages, shapes and sizes. Like most Asiatics the Burmese rarely
repair, but build new pagodas instead of renovating the old ones. The
instinct is not altogether unjust. A pagoda does not collapse like a
hollow building but understands the art of growing old. Like a tree it
may become cleft or overgrown with moss but it remains picturesque. In
the neighbourhood of Sagaing there is a veritable forest of pagodas;
humble seedlings built by widows' mites, mature golden domes reared by
devout prosperity and venerable ruins decomposing as all compound
things must do.

The pagoda slaves are a curious institution connected with temples.
Under the Burmese kings persons could be dedicated to pagodas and by
this process not only became slaves for life themselves but involved
in the same servitude all their posterity, none of whom could by any
method become free. They formed a low caste like the Indian Pariahs
and though the British Government has abolished the legal status of
slavery, the social stigma which clings to them is said to be

Art and architecture make the picture of Burma as it remains in
memory and they are the faithful reflection of the character and ways
of its inhabitants, their cheerful but religious temper, their love of
what is fanciful and graceful, their moderate aspirations towards what
is arduous and sublime. The most striking feature of this architecture
is its free use of gold and colour. In no country of the world is
gilding and plating with gold so lavishly employed on the exterior of
buildings. The larger Pagodas such as the Shwe Dagon are veritable
pyramids of gold, and the roofs of the Arakan temple as they rise
above Mandalay show tier upon tier of golden beams and plates. The
brilliancy is increased by the equally lavish use of vermilion,
sometimes diversified by glass mosaic. I remember once in an East
African jungle seeing a clump of flowers of such brilliant red and
yellow that for a moment I thought it was a fire. Somewhat similar is
the surprise with which one first gazes on these edifices. I do not
know whether the epithet flamboyant can be correctly applied to them
as architecture but both in colour and shape they imitate a pile of
flame, for the outlines of monasteries and shrines are fanciful in the
extreme; gabled roofs with finials like tongues of fire and panels
rich with carvings and fret-work. The buildings of Hindus and Burmans
are as different as their characters. When a Hindu temple is imposing
it is usually because of its bulk and mystery, whereas these buildings
are lighthearted and fairy-like: heaps of red and yellow fruit with
twining leaves and tendrils that have grown by magic. Nor is there
much resemblance to Japanese architecture. There also, lacquer and
gold are employed to an unusual extent but the flourishes, horns and
finials which in Burma spring from every corner and projection are
wanting and both Japanese and Chinese artists are more sparing and
reticent. They distribute ornament so as to emphasize and lead up to
the more important parts of their buildings, whereas the open-handed,
splendour-loving Burman puts on every panel and pillar as much
decoration as it will hold.

The result must be looked at as a whole and not too minutely. The best
work is the wood carving which has a freedom and boldness often
missing in the minute and crowded designs of Indian art. Still as a
rule it is at the risk of breaking the spell that you examine the
details of Burmese ornamentation. Better rest content with your first
amazement on beholding these carved and pinnacled piles of gold
and vermilion, where the fantastic animals and plants seem about to
break into life.

The most celebrated shrine in Burma is the Shwe Dagon Pagoda which
attracts pilgrims from all the Buddhist world. No descriptions of it
gave me any idea of its real appearance nor can I hope that I shall be
more successful in giving the reader my own impressions. The pagoda
itself is a gilt bell-shaped mass rather higher than the Dome of St.
Paul's and terminating in a spire. It is set in the centre of a raised
mound or platform, approached by lofty flights of steps. The platform,
which is paved and level, is of imposing dimensions, some nine hundred
feet long and seven hundred wide. Round the base of the central pagoda
is a row of shrines and another row runs round the edge of the
platform so that one moves, as it were, in a street of these edifices,
leading here and there into side squares where are quiet retreats with
palm trees and gigantic images. But when after climbing the long
staircase one first emerges on the platform one does not realize the
topography at once and seems to have entered suddenly into Jerusalem
the Golden. Right and left are rows of gorgeous, fantastic
sanctuaries, all gold, vermilion and glass mosaic, and within them sit
marble figures, bland, enigmatic personages who seem to invite
approach but offer no explanation of the singular scene or the part
they play in it. If analyzed in detail the artistic merits of these
shrines might be found small but the total impression is unique. The
Shwe Dagon has not the qualities which usually distinguish great
religious buildings. It is not specially impressive by its majesty or
holiness; it is certainly wanting in order and arrangement. But on
entering the platform one feels that one has suddenly passed from this
life into another and different world. It is not perhaps a very
elevated world; certainly not the final repose of the just or the
steps of the throne of God, but it is as if you were walking in the
bazaars of Paradise--one of those Buddhist Paradises where the souls
of the moderately pure find temporary rest from the whirl of
transmigration, where the very lotus flowers are golden and the leaves
of the trees are golden bells that tinkle in the perfumed breeze.


[Footnote 124: For the Pyus see Blagden in _J.R.A.S._ pp. 365-388.
_Ibid._ in _Epigr. Indica_, 1913, pp. 127-133. Also reports of _Burma
Arch. Survey_, 1916, 1917.]

[Footnote 125: So C.C. Lowis in the _Gazetteer of Burma_, vol. I. p.
292, but according to others the Burmese chronicles place the event at
the beginning of the Christian era.]

[Footnote 126: Sometimes called New Pagan to distinguish it from Old
Pagan which was a name of Tagaung. Also called Pagan or Pugâma and in
Pali Arimaddanapura.]

[Footnote 127: See the travels of Kia Tan described by Pelliot in
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 131-414.]

[Footnote 128: More correctly Taung-ngu.]

[Footnote 129: For the history and present condition of Buddhism in
Burma the following may be consulted besides other works referred to
in the course of this chapter.

M. Bode, _Edition of the Sâsanavaṃsa_ with valuable dissertations,
1897. This work is a modern Burmese ecclesiastical history written in
1861 by Paññâsâmi.

M. Bode, _The Pali Literature of Burma_, 1909.

The Gandhavaṃsa: containing accounts of many Pali works written in
Burma. Edited by Minayeff in _Jour. Pali Text Soc._ for 1886, pp. 54
ff. and indexed by M. Bode, _ibid._ 1896, 53 ff.

Bigandet, _Vie ou Légende de Gautama_, 1878.

Yoe, _The Burman, his life and notions_.

J.G. Scott, _Burma, a handbook of practical information_, 1906.

_Reports of the Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Burma_,

Various articles (especially by Duroiselle, Taw-Sein-Ko and R.C.
Temple) in the _Indian Antiquary_, _Buddhism_, and _Bulletin de
l'Ecole Française de l'Extrême Orient._]

[Footnote 130: So too Prome is called Śrîkshetra and the name
Irrawaddy represents Irâvatî (the modern Ravi). The ancient town of
Śrâvastî or Sâvatthi is said to reappear in the three forms
Tharawaddy, Tharawaw and Thawutti.]

[Footnote 131: See _Indian Antiquary_, 1893, p. 6, and Forchhammer on
the Mahamuni Pagoda in _Burmese Archaeological Report_ (? 1890).]

[Footnote 132: Dîpav. VIII. 12, and in a more embellished form in
Mahâvaṃsa XII. 44-54. See also the Kalyani Inscriptions in _Indian
Ant._ 1893, p. 16.]

[Footnote 133: Through the form Saton representing Saddhan. Early
European travellers called it Satan or Xatan.]

[Footnote 134: The Burmese identify Aparantaka and Yona to which Asoka
also sent missionaries with Upper Burma and the Shan country. But this
seems to be merely a misapplication of Indian names.]

[Footnote 135: See Forchhammer, _Jardine Prize Essay_, 1885, pp.
23-27. He also says that the earliest Talaing alphabet is identical
with the Vengi alphabet of the fourth century A.D. _Burma Archaeol.
Report_, 1917, p. 29.]

[Footnote 136: See R.C. Temple, "Notes on Antiquities of Râmaññadesa,"
_Ind. Antiq._ 1893, pp. 327 ff. Though I admit the possibility that
Mahâyânism and Tantrism may have flourished in lower Burma, it does
not seem to me that the few Hindu figures reproduced in this article
prove very much.]

[Footnote 137: _J.A._ 1912, II. pp. 121-136.]

[Footnote 138: It is remarkable that Buddhaghosa commenting on Ang.
Nik. 1. 14. 6 (quoted by Forchhammer) describes the merchants of
Ukkala as inhabiting Asitañjana in the region of Haṃsavatî or Pegu.
This identification of Ukkala with Burmese territory is a mistake but
accepted in Burma and it is more likely that a Burmese would have made
it than a Hindu.]

[Footnote 139: Chap. XXXIX.]

[Footnote 140: See however _Epig. Indica_, vol. V. part iv. Oct. 1898,
pp. 101-102. For the prevalence of forms which must be derived from
Sanskrit not Pali see _Burma Arch. Rep._ 1916, p. 14, and 1917, p.

[Footnote 141: Report of _Supt. Arch. Survey Burma_, 1909, p. 10,
1910, p. 13, and 1916, pp. 33, 38. Finot, _Notes d'Epigraphie_, p.

[Footnote 142: See especially Finot in _J.A._ 1912, II. p. 123, and
Huber in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1909 P. 584.]

[Footnote 143: The Aris are further credited with having practised a
sort of _jus primæ noctis_. See on this question the chapter on
Camboja and alleged similar customs there.]

[Footnote 144: See _Burma Arch. Rep._ 1916, pp. 12, 13. They seem to
have been similar to the Nîlapatanadarśana of Ceylon. The
Prabodhacandrodaya (about 1100 A.D.) represents Buddhist monks as
drunken and licentious.]

[Footnote 145: See Parker, _Burma_, 1892. The annalist says "There is
a huge white elephant (or image) 100 feet high. Litigants burn
incense and kneel before it, reflecting within themselves whether they
are right or wrong.... When there is any disaster or plague the king
also kneels in front of it and blames himself." The Chinese character
means either image or elephant, but surely the former must be the
meaning here.]

[Footnote 146: See Taw-Sein-Ko, in _Ind. Antiquary_, 1906, p. 211. But
I must confess that I have not been able to follow or confirm all the
etymologies suggested by him.]

[Footnote 147: See for Chinese remains at Pagan, _Report of the
Superintendent, Arch. Survey, Burma, for year ending 31st March,
1910_, pp. 20, 21. An inscription at Pagan records that in 1285
Khubilai's troops were accompanied by monks sent to evangelize Burma.
Both troops and monks halted at Tagaung and both were subsequently
withdrawn. See _Arch. Survey_, 1917, p. 38.]

[Footnote 148: The date of Anawrata's conquest of Thaton seems to be
now fixed by inscriptions as 1057 A.D., though formerly supposed to be
earlier. See _Burma Arch. Rep._ 1916. For Anawrata's religious reforms
see _Sâsanavaṃsa_, pp. 17 ff. and 57 ff.]

[Footnote 149: It has been noted that many of the inscriptions
explanatory of the scenes depicted on the walls of the Ananda temple
at Pagan are in Talaing, showing that it was some time before the
Burmans were able to assimilate the culture of the conquered country.]

[Footnote 150: See the _Sâsanavaṃsa_, p. 64 and p. 20. See also
Bode, _Pali Literature of Burma_, p. 15. But the Mahâvaṃsa, LX.
4-7, while recording the communications between Vijaya Bahu and
Aniruddha ( = Anawrata) represents Ceylon as asking for monks from
Râmañña, which implies that lower Burma was even then regarded as a
Buddhist country with a fine tradition.]

[Footnote 151: The Burmese canon adds four works to the
Khuddaka-Nikâya, namely: (a) Milinda Pañha, (b) Netti-Pakaraṇa, (c)
Suttasaṇgaha, (d) Peṭakopadesa.]

[Footnote 152: Inscriptions give his reign as 1084-1112 A.D. See
_Burma Arch. Rep._ 1916, p. 24. Among many other remarkable edifices
may be mentioned the Thapinyu or Thabbannu (1100), the Gaudapalin
(1160) and the Bodhi (_c._ 1200) which is a copy of the temple at

[Footnote 153: The best known of his works are the Sutta-niddesa on
grammar and the Sankhepavaṇṇanâ. The latter is a commentary on
the Abhidhammattha-sangaha, but it is not certain if Chapaṭa
composed it or merely translated it from the Sinhalese.]

[Footnote 154: Some authorities speak as if the four disciples of
Chapaṭa had founded four sects, but the reprobate Râhula can hardly
have done this. The above account is taken from the Kalyani
inscription, _Ind. Ant_. 1893, pp. 30, 31. It says very distinctly
"There were in Pugama (Pagan) 4 sects. 1. The successors of the
priests who introduced the religion from Sudhammanâgara (_i.e._ the
Mramma Sangha). 2. The disciples of Sîvalimahâthera. 3. The disciples
of Tâmalindamahâthera. 4. The disciples of Ananda Mahâthera."]

[Footnote 155: Also known by the title of Dhammavitasa. He was active
in 1246.]

[Footnote 156: Found in Zaingganaing, a suburb of Pegu. The text,
translation and notes are contained in various articles by Taw-Sein-Ko
in the _Indian Antiquary_ for 1893-4.]

[Footnote 157: Mahâvagga, II. 11, 12, 13.]

[Footnote 158: According to Taw-Sein-Ko (_Ind. Ant._ 1893, p. 11)
"about 105 or 126 feet in perimeter."]

[Footnote 159: No contact with Cambojan religion is implied. The sect
was so called because its chief monastery was near the Camboja market
and this derived its name from the fact that many Cambojan (probably
meaning Shan) prisoners were confined near it.]

[Footnote 160: In favour of it, it may be said that the Dîpavaṃsa
and the earlier traditions on which the Dîpavaṃsa is based are
ancient and impartial witnesses: against it, that Asoka's attention
seems to have been directed westwards, not towards Bengal and Burma,
and that no very early proof of the existence of Buddhism in Burma has
been found.]

[Footnote 161: Apparently about 1525-1530.]

[Footnote 162: See _Sâsanavaṃsa_, pp. 118 ff.]

[Footnote 163: _E.g._ Mahâvagga, I. 29, 2; IV. 3, 3. Ekaṃsam
uttarâsangam karitvâ. But both arrangements of drapery are found in
the oldest images of the Buddha and perhaps the Ekaṃsika fashion is
the commoner. See Grünwedel, _Buddhist Art in India_, 1901, p. 172.
Though these images are considerably later than the Mahâvagga and
prove nothing as to the _original_ practice of the Saṇgha, yet they
show that the Ekaṃsika fashion prevailed at a relatively early
period. It now prevails in Siam and partly in Ceylon. I-Ching (chap.
XI.) has a discussion on the way robes were worn in India (_c._ 680
A.D.) which is very obscure but seems to say that monks may keep their
shoulders covered while in a monastery but should uncover one when
they go out.]

[Footnote 164: _Sâsanav._ p. 123. Sakala-Maramma-raṭṭhavâsino
ca: ayaṃ amhakâṃ râjâ bodhisatto ti vohârimsu. In the Po-U-Daung
inscription, Alompra's son, Hsin-byu-shin, says twice "In virtue of
this my good deed, may I become a Buddha, ... an omniscient one."
_Indian Antiquary_, 1893, pp. 2 and 5. There is something Mahâyânist
in this aspiration. Cf. too the inscriptions of the Siamese King
Śrî-Sûryavaṃsa Râma mentioned below.]

[Footnote 165: They were Puritans who objected to shrines and images
and are said to be represented to-day by the Sawti sect.]

[Footnote 166: See _The Burmese Empire_ by the Italian Father
Sangermano, who went to Burma in 1783 and lived there about 20 years.]

[Footnote 167: Thathana is the Pali Sâsana. In Burmese pronunciation
the s of Indian words regularly appears as th ( = θ), r as y
and j as z. Thus Thagya for Sakra, Yazawin for Râjavaṃśa.]

[Footnote 168: See E. Forchhammer, _Jardine Prize Essay_ (on the
sources and development of Burmese Law), 1885. J. Jolly, "Recht und
Sitte" in _Grundriss der Ind. Ar. Phil._ 1896, pp. 41-44. M.H. Bode,
_Pali Lit. of Burma_, pp. 83 ff. Dhammathat is the Burmese
pronunciation of Dhammasattha, Sanskrit Dharmaśâstra.]

[Footnote 169: This theory did not prevent the kings of Burma and
their subordinates from inflicting atrociously cruel punishments.]

[Footnote 170: Forchhammer gives a list of 39 Dhammathats compiled
between 1753 and 1882.]

[Footnote 171: They seem to have included tantric works of the
Mahâkâlacakra type. See Bode, _Pali Lit. of Burma_, p. 108, Nos. 270,
271. But the name is given in the Pali form cakka.]

[Footnote 172: Among usages borrowed from Hinduism may be mentioned
the daily washing in holy water of the image in the Arakan temple at
Mandalay. Formerly court festivities, such as the New Year's feast and
the festival of ploughing, were performed by Pônnâs and with Indian
rites. On the other hand the Râmâyana does not seem to have the same
influence on art and literature that it has had in Siam and Java,
though scenes from it are sometimes depicted. See _Report, Supt.
Archaeolog. Survey, Burma_, 1908, p. 22.]

[Footnote 173: See especially _The Thirty Seven Nats_ by Sir. R.C.
Temple, 1906, and _Burma_ by Sir. J.G. Scott, 1906, pp. 380 ff. The
best authorities seem agreed that Nat is not the Sanskrit Nâtha but an
indigenous word of unknown derivation.]

[Footnote 174: Possibly in order to include four female spirits: or
possibly because it was felt that sundry later heroes had as strong a
claim to membership of this distinguished body as the original 33.]

[Footnote 175: It is noticeable that Thagyâ comes from the Sanskrit
Śakra not the Pali Sakka. Th = Sk. s: y = Sk. r.]

[Footnote 176: See R.C. Temple, _The Thirty Seven Nats_, chaps.
X.-XIII., for these cycles.]

[Footnote 177: _E.g._ R.C. Temple, _l.c._ p. 36.]

[Footnote 178: According to Sir. J.G. Scott much more commonly than
prayers among Christians. _Burma_, p. 366.]

[Footnote 179: 15,371 according to the census of 1891. The figures in
the last census are not conveniently arranged for Buddhist

[Footnote 180: Hastings' _Encycl. of Religion and Ethics_, art. "Burma

[Footnote 181: See Bode, _Pali Literature in Burma_, pp. 95 ff.]

[Footnote 182: No less than 22 translations of it have been made into
Burmese. See S.Z. Aung in _J.P.T.S._ 1912, p. 129. He also mentions
that night lectures on the Abhidhamma in Burmese are given in

[Footnote 183: But on such occasions the laity usually fast after

[Footnote 184: Man is the Burmese form of Mâra.]

[Footnote 185: Among the most striking characteristics of the Nepalese
style are buildings of many stories each with a projecting roof. No
examples of similar buildings from ancient India have survived,
perhaps because they were made of wood, but representations of
two-storied buildings have come down to us, for instance on the
Sohgaura copper plate which dates probably from the time of Asoka (see
Bühler, _W.Z.K.M._ 1896, p. 138). See also the figures in Foucher's
_Art Gréco-bouddhique du Gandhâra_, on pp. 121, 122. The monuments at
Mâmallapuram known as Raths (see Fergusson, _Indian and Eastern
Architecture_, I. p. 172) appear to be representations of many storied
Vihâras. There are several references to seven storied buildings in
the Jâtakas.]

[Footnote 186: = cetiya.]

[Footnote 187: Occasionally groups of five Buddhas, that is, these
four Buddhas together with Metteyya, are found. See _Report of the
Supt. Arch. Survey (Burma) for the year ending March 31st, 1910_, p.




The Buddhism of Siam does not differ materially from that of Burma and
Ceylon but merits separate mention, since it has features of its own
due in some measure to the fact that Siam is still an independent
kingdom ruled by a monarch who is also head of the Church. But whereas
for the last few centuries this kingdom may be regarded as a political
and religious unit, its condition in earlier times was different and
Siamese history tells us nothing of the introduction and first
diffusion of Indian religions in the countries between India and

The people commonly known as Siamese call themselves Thăi which
(in the form Tai) appears to be the racial name of several tribes who
can be traced to the southern provinces of China. They spread thence,
in fanlike fashion, from Laos to Assam, and the middle section
ultimately descended the Menam to the sea. The Siamese claim to have
assumed the name Thăi (free) after they threw off the yoke of the
Cambojans, but this derivation is more acceptable to politics than to
ethnology. The territories which they inhabited were known as Siem,
Syâm or Syâma, which is commonly identified with the Sanskrit
Śyâma, dark or brown[189]. But the names Shan and A-hom seem to be
variants of the same word and Śyâma is possibly not its origin but
a learned and artificial distortion[190]. The Lao were another
division of the same race who occupied the country now called Laos
before the Tai had moved into Siam. This movement was gradual and
until the beginning of the twelfth century they merely established
small principalities, the principal of which was Lamphun[191], on the
western arm of the Mekong. They gradually penetrated into the kingdoms
of Svankalok, Sukhothai[192] and Lavo (Lophburi) which then were
vassals of Camboja, and they were reinforced by another body of Tais
which moved southwards early in the twelfth century. For some time the
Cambojan Empire made a successful effort to control these immigrants
but in the latter part of the thirteenth century the Siamese
definitely shook off its yoke and founded an independent state with
its capital at Sukhothai. There was probably some connection between
these events and the southern expeditions of Khubilai Khan who in 1254
conquered Talifu and set the Tai tribes in motion.

The history of their rule in Siam may be briefly described as a
succession of three kingdoms with capitals at Sukhothai, Ayuthia and
Bangkok respectively. Like the Burmese, the Siamese have annals or
chronicles. They fall into two divisions, the chronicles[193] of the
northern kingdom in three volumes which go down to the foundation of
Ayuthia and are admitted even by the Siamese to be mostly fabulous, and
the later annals in 40 volumes which were rearranged after the sack of
Ayuthia in 1767 but claim to begin with the foundation of the city.
Various opinions have been expressed as to their trustworthiness[194],
but it is allowed by all that they must be used with caution. More
authoritative but not very early are the inscriptions set up by various
kings, of which a considerable number have been published and

The early history of Sukhothai and its kings is not yet beyond dispute
but a monarch called Râmarâja or Râma Khomhëng played a considerable
part in it. His identity with Phăya Rùang, who is said to have
founded the dynasty and city, has been both affirmed and denied.
Sukhothai, at least as the designation of a kingdom, seems to be much
older than his reign[196]. It was undoubtedly understood as the
equivalent of the Sanskrit Sukhodaya, but like Śyâma it may be an
adaptation of some native word. In an important inscription found at
Sukhothai and now preserved at Bangkok[197], which was probably
composed about 1300 A.D., Râma Khomhëng gives an account of his
kingdom. On the east it extended to the banks of the Mekhong and
beyond it to Chavâ (perhaps a name of Luang-Prabang): on the south to
the sea, as far as Śrî Dharmarâja or Ligor: on the west to
Haṃsavatî or Pegu. This last statement is important for it enables
us to understand how at this period, and no doubt considerably
earlier, the Siamese were acquainted with Pali Buddhism. The king
states that hitherto his people had no alphabet but that he invented
one[198]. This script subsequently developed into the modern
Siamese writing which, though it presents many difficulties, is an
ingenious attempt to express a language with tones in an alphabet. The
vocabulary of Siamese is not homogeneous: it comprises (_a_) a
foundation of Thai, (_b_) a considerable admixture of Khmer words,
(_c_) an element borrowed from Malay and other languages, (_d_)
numerous ecclesiastical and learned terms taken from Pali and
Sanskrit. There are five tones which must be distinguished, if either
written or spoken speech is to be intelligible. This is done partly by
accents and partly by dividing the forty-four consonants (many of
which are superfluous for other purposes) into three groups, the high,
middle and deep.

The king also speaks of religion. The court and the inhabitants of
Sukhothai were devout Buddhists: they observed the season of Vassa and
celebrated the festival of Kaṭhina with processions, concerts and
reading of the scriptures. In the city were to be seen statues of the
Buddha and scenes carved in relief, as well as large monasteries. To
the west of the city was the Forest Monastery, presented to a
distinguished elder who came from Śri Dharmarâja and had studied
the whole Tripitaka. The mention of this official and others suggests
that there was a regular hierarchy and the king relates how he exhumed
certain sacred relics and built a pagoda over them. Though there is no
direct allusion to Brahmanism, stress is laid on the worship of
spirits and devas on which the prosperity of the kingdom depends.

The form of Buddhism described seems to have differed little from the
Hinayanism found in Siam to-day. Whence did the Siamese obtain it? For
some centuries before they were known as a nation, they probably
professed some form of Indian religion. They came from the border
lands, if not from the actual territory of China, and must have been
acquainted with Chinese Buddhism. Also Burmese influence probably
reached Yünnan in the eighth century[199], but it is not easy to say
what form of religion it brought with it. Still when the Thai entered
what is now Siam, it is likely that their religion was some form of
Buddhism. While they were subject to Camboja they must have felt the
influence of Śivaism and possibly of Mahayanist Sanskrit
Buddhism but no Pali Buddhism can have come from this quarter[200].

Southern Siam was however to some extent affected by another wave of
Buddhism. From early times the eastern coast of India (and perhaps
Ceylon) had intercourse not only with Burma but with the Malay
Peninsula. It is proved by inscriptions that the region of Ligor,
formerly known as Śrî Dharmarâja, was occupied by Hindus (who were
probably Buddhists) at least as early as the fourth century A.D.[201],
and Buddhist inscriptions have been found on the mainland opposite
Penang. The Chinese annals allude to a change in the customs of
Camboja and I-Ching says plainly that Buddhism once nourished there
but was exterminated by a wicked king, which may mean that Hinayanist
Buddhism had spread thither from Ligor but was suppressed by a dynasty
of Śivaites. He also says that at the end of the seventh century
Hinayanism was prevalent in the islands of the Southern Sea. An
inscription of about the fourth century found in Kedah and another of
the seventh or eighth from Phra Pathom both contain the formula _Ye
dharmâ_, etc. The latter inscription and also one from Mergui ascribed
to the eleventh century seem to be in mixed Sanskrit and Pali. The
Sukhothai inscription summarized above tells how a learned monk was
brought thither from Ligor and clearly the Pali Buddhism of northern
Siam may have followed the same route. But it probably had also
another more important if not exclusive source, namely Burma. After
the reign of Anawrata Pali Buddhism was accepted in Burma and in what
we now call the Shan States as the religion of civilized mankind and
this conviction found its way to the not very distant kingdom of
Sukhothai. Subsequently the Siamese recognized the seniority and
authority of the Sinhalese Church by inviting an instructor to come
from Ceylon, but in earlier times they can hardly have had direct
relation with the island.

We have another picture of religious life in a Khmer
inscription[202] of Lidaiya or Śrî Sûryavaṃsa Râma composed in
1361 or a little later. This monarch, who is also known by many
lengthy titles, appears to have been a man of learning who had
studied the Tipiṭaka, the Vedas, the Śâstrâgama and Dharmañâya
and erected images of Maheśvara and Vishnu as well as of the
Buddha. In 1361 he sent a messenger to Ceylon charged with the task of
bringing back a Metropolitan or head of the Saṇgha learned in the
Pitakas. This ecclesiastic, who is known only by his title, was duly
sent and on arriving in Siam was received with the greatest honour and
made a triumphal progress to Sukhothai. He is not represented as
introducing a new religion: the impression left by the inscription is
rather that the king and his people being already well-instructed in
Buddhism desired ampler edification from an authentic source. The
arrival of the Saṇgharâja coincided with the beginning of Vassa and
at the end of the sacred season the king dedicated a golden image of
the Buddha, which stood in the midst of the city, and then entered the
order. In doing so he solemnly declared his hope that the merit thus
acquired might make him in future lives not an Emperor, an Indra or a
Brahmâ but a Buddha able to save mankind. He pursued his religious
career with a gratifying accompaniment of miracles and many of the
nobility and learned professions followed his example. But after a
while a deputation waited on his Majesty begging him to return to the
business of his kingdom[203]. An edifying contest ensued. The monks
besought him to stay as their preceptor and guide: the laity pointed
out that government was at an end and claimed his attention. The
matter was referred to the Saṇgharâja who decided that the king
ought to return to his secular duties. He appears to have found little
difficulty in resuming lay habits for he proceeded to chastise the
people of Luang-Prabang.

Two other inscriptions[204], apparently dating from this epoch,
relate that a cutting of the Bo-tree was brought from Ceylon and
that certain relics (perhaps from Patna) were also installed with
great solemnity. To the same time are referred a series of engravings
on stone (not reliefs) found in the Vat-si-jum at Sukhothai. They
illustrate about 100 Jatakas, arranged for the most part according to
the order followed in the Pali Canon.

The facts that King Śrî Sûryavaṃsa sent to Ceylon for his
Metropolitan and that some of the inscriptions which extol his merits
are in Pali[205] make it probable that the religion which he professed
differed little from the Pali Buddhism which flourishes in Siam to-day
and this supposition is confirmed by the general tone of his
inscriptions. But still several phrases in them have a Mahayanist
flavour. He takes as his model the conduct of the Bodhisattvas,
described as ten headed by Metteyya, and his vow to become a Buddha
and save all creatures is at least twice mentioned. The Buddhas are
said to be innumerable and the feet of Bhikkhus are called Buddha
feet[206]. There is no difficulty in accounting for the presence of
such ideas: the only question is from what quarter this Mahayanist
influence came. The king is said to have been a student of Indian
literature: his country, like Burma, was in touch with China and his
use of the Khmer language indicates contact with Camboja.

Another inscription engraved by order of Dharmâsokarâja[207] and
apparently dating from the fourteenth century is remarkable for its
clear statement of the doctrine (generally considered as Mahayanist)
that merit acquired by devotion to the Buddha can be transferred. The
king states that a woman called Bunrak has transferred all her merit
to the Queen and that he himself makes over all his merit to his
teacher, to his relations and to all beings in unhappy states of

At some time in this period the centre of the Thai empire changed
but divergent views have been held as to the date[208] and character
of this event. It would appear that in 1350 a Siamese subsequently
known as King Râmâdhipati, a descendant of an ancient line of Thai
princes, founded Ayuthia as a rival to Sukhothai. The site was not
new, for it had long been known as Dvâravatî and seems to be mentioned
under that name by I-Ching (_c._ 680), but a new city was apparently
constructed. The evidence of inscriptions indicates that Sukhothai was
not immediately subdued by the new kingdom and did not cease to be a
royal residence for some time. But still Ayuthia gradually became
predominant and in the fifteenth century merited the title of capital
of Siam.

Its rise did not affect the esteem in which Buddhism was held, and it
must have contained many great religious monuments. The jungles which
now cover the site of the city surround the remnants of the Wăt
Somarokot, in which is a gigantic bronze Buddha facing with scornful
calm the ruin which threatens him. The Wăt Chern, which lies at
some distance, contains another gigantic image. A curious
inscription[209] engraved on an image of Śiva found at Sukhothai
and dated 1510 A.D. asserts the identity of Buddhism and Brahmanism,
but the popular feeling was in favour of the former. At Ayuthia the
temples appear to be exclusively Buddhist and at Lophburi ancient
buildings originally constructed for the Brahmanic cult have been
adapted to Buddhist uses. It was in 1602 that the mark known as the
footprint of Buddha was discovered at the place now called Phra-bat.

Ayuthia was captured by the Burmese in 1568 and the king was carried
into captivity but the disaster was not permanent, for at the end of
the century the power of the Siamese reached its highest point and
their foreign relations were extensive. We hear that five hundred
Japanese assisted them to repulse a Burmese attack and that there was
a large Japanese colony in Ayuthia. On the other hand when Hideyoshi
invaded Korea in 1592, the Siamese offered to assist the Chinese.
Europeans appeared first in 1511 when the Portuguese took Malacca.
But on the whole the dealings of Siam with Europe were peaceful
and both traders and missionaries were welcomed. The most singular
episode in this international intercourse was the career of the Greek
adventurer Constantine Phaulcon who in the reign of King Nărai was
practically Foreign Minister. In concert with the French missionaries
he arranged an exchange of embassies (1682 and 1685) between Nărai
and Louis XIV, the latter having been led to suppose that the king and
people of Siam were ready to embrace Christianity. But when the French
envoys broached the subject of conversion, the king replied that he
saw no reason to change the religion which his countrymen had
professed for two thousand years, a chronological statement which it
might be hard to substantiate. Still, great facilities were given to
missionaries and further negotiations ensued, in the course of which
the French received almost a monopoly of foreign trade and the right
to maintain garrisons. But the death of Nărai was followed by a
reaction. Phaulcon died in prison and the French garrisons were
expelled. Buddhism probably flourished at this period for the
Mahâvaṃsa tells us that the king of Ceylon sent to Ayuthia for
monks in 1750 because religion there was pure and undefiled.

Ayuthia continued to be the capital until 1767 when it was laid in
ruins by the Burmese who, though Buddhists, did not scruple to destroy
or deface the temples and statues with which it was ornamented. But
the collapse of the Siamese was only local and temporary. A leader of
Chinese origin named Phăya Täk Sin rallied their forces, cleared
the Burmese out of the country and made Bangkok, officially described
as the Capital of the Angels, the seat of Government. But he was
deposed in 1782 and one of the reasons for his fall seems to have been
a too zealous reformation of Buddhism. In the troublous times
following the collapse of Ayuthia the Church had become disorganized
and corrupt, but even those who desired improvement would not assent
to the powers which the king claimed over monks. A new dynasty (of
which the sixth monarch is now on the throne) was founded in 1782 by
Chao Phăya Chakkri. One of his first acts was to convoke a council
for the revision of the Tipiṭaka and to build a special hall in
which the text thus agreed on was preserved. His successor Phra:
Buddha Löt La is considered the best poet that Siam has produced and
it is probably the only country in the world where this
distinction has fallen to the lot of a sovereign. The poet king had
two sons, Phra: Nang: Klao, who ascended the throne after his death,
and Mongkut, who during his brother's reign remained in a monastery
strictly observing the duties of a monk. He then became king and
during his reign (1851-1868) Siam "may be said to have passed from the
middle ages to modern times[210]." It is a tribute to the excellence
of Buddhist discipline that a prince who spent twenty-six years as a
monk should have emerged as neither a bigot nor an impractical mystic
but as an active, enlightened and progressive monarch. The equality
and simplicity of monastic life disposed him to come into direct touch
with his subjects and to adopt straightforward measures which might
not have occurred to one who had always been surrounded by a wall of
ministers. While still a monk he founded a stricter sect which aimed
at reviving the practice of the Buddha, but at the same time he
studied foreign creeds and took pleasure in conversing with
missionaries. He wrote several historical pamphlets and an English
Grammar, and was so good a mathematician that he could calculate the
occurrence of an eclipse. When he became king he regulated the
international position of Siam by concluding treaties of friendship
and commerce with the principal European powers, thus showing the
broad and liberal spirit in which he regarded politics, though a
better acquaintance with the ways of Europeans might have made him
refuse them extraterritorial privileges. He abolished the custom which
obliged everyone to keep indoors when the king went out and he
publicly received petitions on every Uposatha day. He legislated
against slavery[211], gambling, drinking spirits and smoking opium and
considerably improved the status of women. He also published edicts
ordering the laity to inform the ecclesiastical authorities if they
noticed any abuses in the monasteries. He caused the annals of Siam to
be edited and issued numerous orders on archaeological and literary
questions, in which, though a good Pali scholar, he deprecated the
affected use of Pali words and enjoined the use of a terse and simple
Siamese style, which he certainly wrote himself. He appears to
have died of scientific zeal for he caught a fatal fever on a trip
which he took to witness a total eclipse of the sun.

He was succeeded by his son Chulalongkorn[212] (1868-1911), a liberal
and enlightened ruler, who had the misfortune to lose much territory
to the French on one side and the English on the other. For religion,
his chief interest is that he published an edition of the Tipiṭaka.
The volumes are of European style and printed in Siamese type, whereas
Cambojan characters were previously employed for religious works.


As I have already observed, there is not much difference between
Buddhism in Burma and Siam. In mediæval times a mixed form of religion
prevailed in both countries and Siam was influenced by the Brahmanism
and Mahayanism of Camboja. Both seem to have derived a purer form of
the faith from Pegu, which was conquered by Anawrata in the eleventh
century and was the neighbour of Sukhothai so long as that kingdom
lasted. Both had relations with Ceylon and while venerating her as the
metropolis of the faith also sent monks to her in the days of her
spiritual decadence. But even in externals some differences are
visible. The gold and vermilion of Burma are replaced in Siam by more
sober but artistic tints--olive, dull purple and dark orange--and the
change in the colour scheme is accompanied by other changes in the

A religious establishment in Siam consists of several edifices and is
generally known as Wăt[213], followed by some special designation
such as Wăt Chang. Bangkok is full of such establishments mostly
constructed on the banks of the river or canals. The entrance is
usually guarded by gigantic and grotesque figures which are often
lions, but at the Wăt Phô in Bangkok the tutelary demons are
represented by curious caricatures of Europeans wearing tall hats. The
gate leads into several courts opening out of one another and not
arranged on any fixed plan. The first is sometimes surrounded by a
colonnade in which are set a long line of the Buddha's eighty
disciples. The most important building in a Wăt is known as
Bỗt[214]. It has a colonnade of pillars outside and is surmounted
by three or four roofs, not much raised one above the other, and
bearing finials of a curious shape, said to represent a snake's
head[215]. It is also marked off by a circuit of eight stones, cut in
the shape of Bo-tree leaves, which constitute a sîmâ or boundary. It
is in the Bỗt that ordinations and other acts of the Sangha are
performed. Internally it is a hall: the walls are often covered with
paintings and at the end there is always a sitting figure of the
Buddha[216] forming the apex of a pyramid, the lower steps of which
are decorated with smaller images and curious ornaments, such as
clocks under glass cases.

Siamese images of the Buddha generally represent him as crowned by a
long flame-like ornament called Sĩrô rồt[217], probably
representing the light supposed to issue from the prominence on his
head. But the ornament sometimes becomes a veritable crown terminating
in a spire, as do those worn by the kings of Camboja and Siam. On the
left and right of the Buddha often stand figures of Phra: Môkha: la
(Moggalâna) and Phra: Sárĩbŭt (Sâriputta). It is stated that the
Siamese pray to them as saints and that the former is invoked to heal
broken limbs[218]. The Buddha when represented in frescoes is robed in
red but his face and hands are of gold. Besides the Bỗt a Wăt
contains one or more wĩháns. The word is derived from _Vihâra_ but
has come to mean an image-house. The wĩháns are halls not unlike
the Bỗts but smaller. In a large Wăt there is usually one
containing a gigantic recumbent image of the Buddha and they sometimes
shelter Indian deities such as Yama.

In most if not in all Wăt there are structures known as Phra: chedi
and Phra: prang. The former are simply the ancient cetiyas, called
dagobas in Ceylon and zedis in Burma. They do not depart materially
from the shape usual in other countries and sometimes, for
instance in the gigantic chedi at Pra Pratom, the part below the spire
is a solid bell-shaped dome. But Siamese taste tends to make such
buildings slender and elongate and they generally consist of stone
discs of decreasing size, set one on the other in a pile, which
assumes in its upper parts the proportions of a flagstaff rather than
of a stone building. The Phra: prangs though often larger than the
Phra: chedis are proportionally thicker and less elongate. They appear
to be derived from the Brahmanic temple towers of Camboja which
consist of a shrine crowned by a dome. But in Siam the shrine is often
at some height above the ground and is reduced to small dimensions,
sometimes becoming a mere niche. In large Phra: prangs it is
approached by a flight of steps outside and above it rises the tower,
terminating in a metal spire. But whereas in the Phra: chedis these
spires are simple, in the Phra: prangs they bear three crescents
representing the trident of Śiva and appear like barbed arrows. A
large Wat is sure to contain a number of these structures and may also
comprise halls for preaching, a pavilion covering a model of Buddha's
foot print, tanks for ablution and a bell tower. It is said that only
royal Wats contain libraries and buildings called chẵtta mŭkh,
which shelter a four-faced image of Brahmâ[219].

The monks are often housed in single chambers arranged round the
courts of a Wat but sometimes in larger buildings outside it. The
number of monks and novices living in one monastery is larger than in
Burma, and according to the Bangkok Directory (1907) works out at an
average of about 12. In the larger Wats this figure is considerably
exceeded. Altogether there were 50,764 monks and 10,411 novices in
1907[220], the province of Ayuthia being decidedly the best provided
with clergy. As in Burma, it is customary for every male to spend some
time in a monastery, usually at the age of about 20, and two months is
considered the minimum which is respectable. It is also common to
enter a monastery for a short stay on the day when a parent is
cremated. During the season of Vassa all monks go out to collect
alms but at other seasons only a few make the daily round and the food
collected, as in Burma and Ceylon, is generally not eaten. But during
the dry season it is considered meritorious for monks to make a
pilgrimage to Phra Bât and while on the way to live on charity. They
engage to some extent in manual work and occupy themselves with
carpentering[221]. As in Burma, education is in their hands, and they
also act as doctors, though their treatment has more to do with charms
and faith cures than with medicine.

As in Burma there are two sects, the ordinary unreformed body, and the
rigorous and select communion founded by Mongkut and called Dhammayut.
It aims at a more austere and useful life but in outward observances
the only distinction seems to be that the Dhammayuts hold the
alms-bowl in front of them in both hands, whereas the others hold it
against the left hip with the left hand only. The hierarchy is well
developed but somewhat secularized, though probably not more so than
it was in India under Asoka. In the official directory where the
departments of the Ministry of Public Instruction are enumerated, the
Ecclesiastical Department comes immediately after the Bacteriological,
the two being clearly regarded as different methods of expelling evil
spirits. The higher clerical appointments are made by the king. He
names four Primates[222], one of whom is selected as chief. The
Primates with nineteen superior monks form the highest governing body
of the Church. Below them are twelve dignitaries called Gurus, who are
often heads of large Wats. There are also prelates who bear the
Cambojan title of Burien equivalent to Mahâcârya. They must have
passed an examination in Pali and are chiefly consulted on matters of

It will thus be seen that the differences between the churches of
Burma, Ceylon and Siam are slight; hardly more than the local
peculiarities which mark the Roman church in Italy, Spain, and
England. Different opinions have been expressed as to the moral tone
and conduct of Siamese monks and most critics state that they are
somewhat inferior to their Burmese brethren. The system by which
a village undertakes to support a monk, provided that he is a
reasonably competent school-master and of good character, works well.
But in the larger monasteries it is admitted that there are inmates
who have entered in the hope of leading a lazy life and even fugitives
from justice. Still the penalty for any grave offence is immediate
expulsion by the ecclesiastical authorities and the offender is
treated with extreme severity by the civil courts to which he then
becomes amenable.

The religious festivals of Siam are numerous and characteristic. Many
are Buddhist, some are Brahmanic, and some are royal. Uposatha days (wăn
phra:) are observed much as in Burma. The birth, enlightenment and death
of the Buddha (which are all supposed to have taken place on the 15th
day of the 6th waxing moon) are celebrated during a three days festival.
These three days are of peculiar solemnity and are spent in the
discharge of religious duties, such as hearing sermons and giving alms.
But at most festivals religious observances are mingled with much
picturesque but secular gaiety. In the morning the monks do not go their
usual round[223] and the alms-bowls are arranged in a line within the
temple grounds. The laity (mostly women) arrive bearing wicker trays on
which are vessels containing rice and delicacies. They place a selection
of these in each bowl and then proceed to the Bỗt where they hear the
commandments recited and often vow to observe for that day some which
are usually binding only on monks. While the monks are eating their meal
the people repair to a river, which is rarely far distant in Siam, and
pour water drop by drop saying "May the food which we have given for the
use of the holy ones be of benefit to our fathers and mothers and to all
of our relatives who have passed away." This rite is curiously in
harmony with the injunctions of the Tirokuḍḍasuttam in the
Khuddakapâtha, which is probably an ancient work[224]. The rest of the
day is usually devoted to pious merrymaking, such as processions by day
and illuminations by night. On some feasts the laws against gambling
are suspended and various games of chance are freely indulged in. Thus
the New Year festival called Trŭ̃t (or Krŭ̃t) Thăi lasts three days.
On the first two days, especially the second, crowds fill the temples to
offer flowers before the statues of Buddha and more substantial presents
of food, clothes, etc., to the clergy. Well-to-do families invite monks
to their houses and pass the day in listening to their sermons and
recitations. Companies of priests are posted round the city walls to
scare away evil spirits and with the same object guns are fired
throughout the night. But the third day is devoted to gambling by almost
the whole population except the monks. Not dissimilar is the celebration
of the Só̆ngkran holidays, at the beginning of the official year. The
special religious observance at this feast consists in bathing the
images of Buddha and in theory the same form of watery respect is
extended to aged relatives and monks. In practice its place is taken by
gifts of perfumes and other presents.

The rainy season is preceded and ended by holidays. During this period
both monks and pious laymen observe their religious duties more
strictly. Thus monks eat only once a day and then only what is put into
their bowls and laymen observe some of the minor vows. At the end of the
rains come the important holidays known as Thòt Kăthí̆n[225], when
robes are presented to monks. This festival has long had a special
importance in Siam. Thus Râma Khomhëng in his inscription of A.D.
1292[226] describes the feast of Kaṭhina which lasts a month. At the
present day many thousands of robes are prepared in the capital alone so
as to be ready for distribution in October and November, when the king
or some deputy of high rank visits every temple and makes the offering
in person. During this season Bangkok witnesses a series of brilliant

These festivals mentioned may be called Buddhist though their
light-hearted and splendour-loving gaiety, their processions and
gambling are far removed from the spirit of Gotama. Others however are
definitely Brahmanic and in Bangkok are superintended by the Brahmans
attached to the Court. Since the time of Mongkut Buddhist priests are
also present as a sign that the rites, if not ordered by Buddhism, at
least have its countenance. Such is the R`ëk Na[227], or
ploughing festival. The king is represented by the Minister of
Agriculture who formerly had the right to exact from all shops found
open such taxes as he might claim for his temporary sovereignty. At
present he is escorted in procession to Dusit[228], a royal park
outside Bangkok, where he breaks ground with a plough drawn by two
white oxen.

Somewhat similar is the Thĩb-Chĩng-Cha, or Swinging holidays, a
two days' festival which seems to be a harvest thanksgiving. Under the
supervision of a high official, four Brahmans wearing tall conical
hats swing on a board suspended from a huge frame about 100 ft high.
Their object is to catch with their teeth a bag of money hanging at a
little distance from the swing. When three or four sets of swingers
have obtained a prize in this way, they conclude the ceremony by
sprinkling the ground with holy water contained in bullock horns.
Swinging is one of the earliest Indian rites[229] and as part of the
worship of Krishna it has lasted to the present day. Yet another
Brahmanic festival is the Loi Kăthŏng[230], when miniature rafts
and ships bearing lights and offerings are sent down the Menam to the

Another class of ceremonies may be described as royal, inasmuch as
they are religious only in so far as they invoke religion to protect
royalty. Such are the anniversaries of the birth and coronation of the
king and the Thú̓ Năm or drinking of the water of allegiance
which takes place twice a year. At Bangkok all officials assemble at
the Palace and there drink and sprinkle on their heads water in which
swords and other weapons have been dipped thus invoking vengeance on
themselves should they prove disloyal. Jars of this water are
despatched to Governors who superintend the performance of the same
ceremony in the provincial capitals. It is only after the water
has been drunk that officials receive their half yearly salary. Monks
are excused from drinking it but the chief ecclesiastics of Bangkok
meet in the Palace temple and perform a service in honour of the

Besides these public solemnities there are a number of domestic
festivals derived from the twelve Saṃskâras of the Hindus. Of these
only three or four are kept up by the nations of Indo-China, namely
the shaving of the first hair of a child a month after birth, the
giving of a name, and the piercing of the ears for earrings. This last
is observed in Burma and Laos, but not in Siam and Camboja where is
substituted for it the Kôn Chũ̆k or shaving of the topknot, which
is allowed to grow until the eleventh or thirteenth year. This
ceremony, which is performed on boys and girls alike, is the most
important event in the life of a young Siamese and is celebrated by
well-to-do parents with lavish expenditure. Those who are indigent
often avail themselves of the royal bounty, for each year a public
ceremony is performed in one of the temples of Bangkok at which poor
children receive the tonsure gratis. An elaborate description of the
tonsure rites has been published by Gerini[231]. They are of
considerable interest as showing how closely Buddhist and Brahmanic
rites are intertwined in Siamese family life.

Marriages are celebrated with a feast to which monks are invited but
are not regarded as religious ceremonies. The dead are usually
disposed of by cremation, but are often kept some time, being either
embalmed or simply buried and exhumed subsequently. Before cremation
the coffin is usually placed within the grounds of a temple. The monks
read Suttas over it and it is said[232] that they hold ribbons which
enter into the coffin and are supposed to communicate to the corpse
the merit acquired by the recitations and prayers.


In the preceding pages mention has often been made not only of
Brahmanic rites but of Brahman priests[233]. These are still to be
found in Bangkok attached to the Court and possibly in other cities.
They dress in white and have preserved many Hindu usages but are said
to be poor Sanskrit scholars. Indeed Gerini[234] seems to say that
they use Pali in some of their recitations. Their principal duty is to
officiate at Court functions, but wealthy families invite them to take
part in domestic rites, and also to cast horoscopes and fix lucky
days. It is clear that the presence of these Brahmans is no
innovation. Brahmanism must have been strong in Siam when it was a
province of Camboja, but in both countries gave way before Buddhism.
Many rites, however, connected with securing luck or predicting the
future were too firmly established to be abolished, and, as Buddhist
monks were unwilling to perform them[235] or not thought very
competent, the Brahmans remained and were perhaps reinforced from time
to time by new importations, for there are still Brahman colonies in
Ligor and other Malay towns. Siamese lawbooks, like those of Burma,
seem to be mainly adaptations of Indian Dharmaśâstras.

On a cursory inspection, Siamese Buddhism, especially as seen in
villages, seems remarkably free from alien additions. But an
examination of ancient buildings, of royal temples in Bangkok and
royal ceremonial, suggests on the contrary that it is a mixed faith in
which the Brahmanic element is strong. Yet though this element appeals
to the superstition of the Siamese and their love of pageantry, I
think that as in Burma it has not invaded the sphere of religion and
ethics more than the Piṭakas themselves allow. In art and
literature its influence has been considerable. The story of the
Ramayana is illustrated on the cloister walls of the royal temple at
Bangkok and Indian mythology has supplied a multitude of types to the
painter and sculptor; such as Yŏmma: ràt (Yâma), Phăya Man
(Mâra), Phra: In (Indra). These are all deities known to the
Piṭakas but the sculptures or images[236] in Siamese temples also
include Ganeśa, Phra: Nărai (Nârâyana or Vishṇu) riding
on the Garuda and Phra: Isuén (Śiva) riding on a bull. There is a
legend that the Buddha and Śiva tried which could make himself
invisible to the other. At last the Buddha sat on Śiva's head and
the god being unable to see him acknowledged his defeat. This story is
told to explain a small figure which Śiva bears on his head and
recalls the legend found in the Piṭakas[237] that the Buddha made
himself invisible to Brahmâ but that Brahmâ had not the corresponding
power. Lingas are still venerated in a few temples, for instance at
Wăt Phô in Bangkok, but it would appear that the majority (_e.g._
those found at Pra Pratom and Lophburi) are survivals of ancient
Brahmanic worship and have a purely antiquarian importance. The
Brahmanic cosmology which makes Mt. Meru the centre of this Universe is
generally accepted in ecclesiastical treatises and paintings, though
the educated Siamese may smile at it, and when the topknot of a
Siamese prince is cut off, part of the ceremony consists in his being
received by the king dressed as Śiva on the summit of a mound cut
in the traditional shape of Mt. Kailâśa.

Like the Nâts of Burma, Siam has a spirit population known as
Phís[238]. The name is occasionally applied to Indian deities, but the
great majority of Phís fall into two classes, namely, ghosts of the
dead and nature spirits which, though dangerous, do not rise above the
position of good or bad fairies. In the first class are included the
Phí Prẽt, who have the characteristics as well as the name of the
Indian Pretas, and also a multitude of beings who like European
ghosts, haunt houses and behave in a mysterious but generally
disagreeable manner. The Phíăm is apparently our nightmare. The
ghosts of children dying soon after birth are apt to kill their
mothers and in general women are liable to be possessed by Phís. The
ghosts of those who have died a violent death are dangerous but it
would seem that Siamese magicians know how to utilize them as familiar
spirits. The better sort of ghosts are known as Chào Phí and shrines
called San Chào are set up in their honour. It does not however appear
that there is any hierarchy of Phís like the thirty-seven Náts of

Among those Phís who are not ghosts of the dead the most important
is the Phí ru̓en or guardian spirit of each house. Frequently a
little shrine is erected for him at the top of a pole. There are also
innumerable Phís in the jungle mostly malevolent and capable of
appearing either in human form or as a dangerous animal. But the tree
spirits are generally benevolent and when their trees are cut down
they protect the houses that are made of them.

Thus the Buddhism of Siam, like that of Burma, has a certain admixture
of Brahmanism and animism. The Brahmanism is perhaps more striking
than in Burma on account of the Court ceremonies: the belief in
spirits, though almost universal, seems to be more retiring and less
conspicuous. Yet the inscription of Râma Komhëng mentioned above
asserts emphatically that the prosperity of the Empire depends on due
honour being shown to a certain mountain spirit[239].

It is pretty clear that the first introduction of Hinayanist Buddhism
into Siam was from Southern Burma and Pegu, but that somewhat later
Ceylon was accepted as the standard of orthodoxy. A learned thera who
knew the Sinhalese Tipitaka was imported thence, as well as a branch
of the Bo-tree. But Siamese patriotism flattered itself by imagining
that the national religion was due to personal contact with the
Buddha, although not even early legends can be cited in support of
such traditions. In 1602 a mark in the rocks, now known as the Phra:
Bãt, was discovered in the hills north of Ayuthia and identified as a
footprint of the Buddha similar to that found on Adam's Peak and in
other places. Burma and Ceylon both claim the honour of a visit from
the Buddha but the Siamese go further, for it is popularly believed
that he died at Praten, a little to the north of Phra Pathom, on a
spot marked by a slab of rock under great trees[240]. For this reason
when the Government of India presented the king of Siam with the
relics found in the Piprava vase, the gift though received with
honour, aroused little enthusiasm and was placed in a somewhat
secluded shrine[241].


[Footnote 188: The principal sources for information about Siamese
Buddhism are: _Journal of Siam Society_, 1904, and onwards.

L. Fournereau, _Le Siam Ancien_, 2 vols. 1895 and 1908 in _Annales du
Musée Guimet_. Cited here as Fournereau.

Mission Pavie II, _Histoire du Laos, du Cambodge et du Siam_, 1898.

Gerini, _Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia_, 1909.
Cited here as Gerini, _Ptolemy_.

Gerini, _Chŭlăkantamangala or Tonsure Ceremony_, 1893.

H. Alabaster, _The Wheel of the Law_, 1871.

P.A. Thompson, _Lotus Land_, 1906.

W.A. Graham, _Siam_, 1912.

Petithuguenin, "Notes critiques pour servir à l'histoire du Siam,"
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1916, No. 3.

Coedès, "Documents sur la Dynastie de Sukhodaya," _ib._ 1917, No. 2.

Much curious information may be found in the _Directory for Bangkok
and Siam_, a most interesting book. I have only the issue for 1907.

I have adopted the conventional European spelling for such words as
may be said to have one. For other words I have followed Pallegoix's
dictionary (1896) for rendering the vowels and tones in Roman
characters, but have departed in some respects from his system of
transliterating consonants as I think it unnecessary and misleading to
write j and x for sounds which apparently correspond to y and ch as
pronounced in English.

The King of Siam has published a work on the spelling of His Majesty's
own language in Latin letters which ought to be authoritative, but it
came into my hands too late for me to modify the orthography here

As Pallegoix's spelling involves the use of a great many accents I
have sometimes begun by using the strictly correct orthography and
afterwards a simpler but intelligible form. It should be noted that in
this orthography ":" is not a colon but a sign that the vowel before
it is very short.]

[Footnote 189: The name is found on Champan inscriptions of 1050 A.D.
and according to Gerini appears in Ptolemy's _Samarade_ =
Sâmaraṭṭha. See Gerini, _Ptolemy_, p. 170. But Samarade is
located near Bangkok and there can hardly have been Tais there in
Ptolemy's time.]

[Footnote 190: So too in Central Asia Kustana appears to be a learned
distortion of the name Khotan, made to give it a meaning in Sanskrit.]

[Footnote 191: Gerini states (_Ptolemy_, p. 107) that there are Pali
manuscript chronicles of Lamphun apparently going back to 924 A.D.]

[Footnote 192: Strictly Sŭkhồthăi.]

[Footnote 193: Phongsá va: dan or Vaṃsavâda. See for Siamese
chronicles, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1914, No. 3, "Recension palie des annales
d'Ayuthia," and _ibid._ 1916, pp. 5-7.]

[Footnote 194: _E.g._ Aymonier in _J.A._ 1903, p. 186, and Gerini in
_Journal of Siam Society_, vol. II. part 1, 1905.]

[Footnote 195: See especially Fournereau and the publications of the
Mission Pavie and _B.E.F.E.O._]

[Footnote 196: Gerini, _Ptolemy_, p. 176.]

[Footnote 197: See Fournereau, I. p. 225. _B.E.F.E.O._ 1916, III. pp.
8-13, and especially Bradley in _J. Siam Society_, 1909, pp. 1-68.]

[Footnote 198: This alphabet appears to be borrowed from Cambojan but
some of the letters particularly in their later shapes show the
influence of the Môn or Talaing script. The modern Cambojan alphabet,
which is commonly used for ecclesiastical purposes in Siam, is little
more than an elaborate form of Siamese.]

[Footnote 199: See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 161.]

[Footnote 200: Bradley, _J. Siam Society_, 1913, p. 10, seems to think
that Pali Buddhism may have come thence but the objection is that we
know a good deal about the religion of Camboja and that there is no
trace of Pali Buddhism there until it was imported from Siam. The fact
that the Siamese alphabet was borrowed from Camboja does not prove
that religion was borrowed in the same way. The Mongol alphabet can be
traced to a Nestorian source.]

[Footnote 201: See for these inscriptions papers on the Malay
Peninsula and Siam by Finot and Lajonquière in _Bull. de la Comm.
Archéol. de l'Indo-Chine_, 1909, 1910 and 1912.]

[Footnote 202: Fournereau, pp. 157 ff. and Coedès in _B.E.F.E.O._
1917, No. 2. Besides the inscription itself, which is badly defaced in
parts, we have (1) a similar inscription in Thai, which is not however
a translation, (2) a modern Siamese translation, used by Schmitt but
severely criticized by Coedès and Petithuguenin.]

[Footnote 203: This portion of the narrative is found only in
Schmitt's version of the Siamese translation. The part of the stone
where it would have occurred is defaced.]

[Footnote 204: See Fournereau, vol. II. inscriptions xv and xvi and
the account of the Jâtakas, p. 43.]

[Footnote 205: Fournereau, I. pp. 247, 273. _B.E.F.E.O._ 1917, No. 2,
p. 29.]

[Footnote 206: See the texts in _B.E.F.E.O. l.c._ The Bodhisattvas are
described as Ariyametteyâdînam dasannam Bodhisattânam. The vow to
become a Buddha should it seems be placed in the mouth of the King,
not of the Metropolitan as in Schmitt's translation.]

[Footnote 207: See Fournereau, pp. 209 ff. Dharmâsokarâja may perhaps
be the same as Mahâdharmarâja who reigned 1388-1415. But the word may
also be a mere title applied to all kings of this dynasty, so that
this may be another inscription of Śrî Sûryavaṃsa Râma.]

[Footnote 208: 1350 is the accepted date but M. Aymonier, _J.A._ 1903,
pp. 185 ff. argues in favour of about 1460. See Fournereau, _Ancien
Siam_, p. 242, inscription of 1426 A.D. and p. 186, inscription of
1510 described as Groupe de Sajjanalaya et Sukhodaya.]

[Footnote 209: Fournereau, vol. I. pp. 186 ff.]

[Footnote 210: O. Frankfürter, "King Mongkut," _Journal of Siam
Society_, vol. I. 1904.]

[Footnote 211: But it was his son who first decreed in 1868 that no
Siamese could be born a slave. Slavery for debt, though illegal, is
said not to be practically extinct.]

[Footnote 212: = Cûlâlaṇkâra.]

[Footnote 213: The word has been derived from Vâta, a grove, but may
it not be the Pali Vatthu, Sanskrit Vâstu, a site or building?]

[Footnote 214: = Uposatha.]

[Footnote 215: These finials are very common on the roof ends of
Siamese temples and palaces. It is strange that they also are found in
conjunction with multiple roofs in Norwegian Churches of eleventh
century. See de Beylié, _Architecture hindoue dans l'extrême Orient_,
pp. 47, 48.]

[Footnote 216: The Buddha is generally known as Phra: Khodom
( = Gotama).]

[Footnote 217: In an old Siamese bronze from Kampeng Pet, figured in
Grünwedel's _Buddhist Art in India_, p. 179, fig. 127, the Sirô rồt
seems to be in process of evolution.]

[Footnote 218: P.A. Thompson, _Lotus Land_, 1906, p. 100.]

[Footnote 219: Four images facing the four quarters are considered in
Burma to represent the last four Buddhas and among the Jains some of
the Tirthankaras are so represented, the legend being that whenever
they preached they seemed to face their hearers on every side.]

[Footnote 220: These figures only take account of twelve out of the
seventeen provinces.]

[Footnote 221: Thompson, _Lotus Land_, p. 120.]

[Footnote 222: They bear the title of Só̆mdĕ̃t Phra: Chào
Ràjagama and have authority respectively over (_a_) ordinary Buddhists
in northern Siam, (_b_) ordinary Buddhists in the south, (_c_)
hermits, (_d_) the Dhammayut sect.]

[Footnote 223: For this and many other details I am indebted to P.A.
Thompson, _Lotus Land_, p. 123.]

[Footnote 224: When gifts of food are made to monks on ceremonial
occasions, they usually acknowledge the receipt by reciting verses 7
and 8 of this Sutta, commonly known as _Yathâ_ from the first word.]

[Footnote 225: Kathina in Pali. See Mahâvag. cap. VII.]

[Footnote 226: Fournereau, p. 225.]

[Footnote 227: The ploughing festival is a recognized imperial
ceremony in China. In India ceremonies for private landowners are
prescribed in the Gṛihya Sûtras but I do not know if their
performance by kings is anywhere definitely ordered. However in the
Nidâna Kathâ 270 the Buddha's father celebrates an imposing ploughing

[Footnote 228: _I.e._ Tusita. Compare such English names descriptive
of beautiful scenery as Heaven's Gate.]

[Footnote 229: See Keith, _Aitereya Aranyaka_, pp. 174-178. The
ceremony there described undoubtedly originated in a very ancient
popular festival.]

[Footnote 230: _I.e._ float-raft. Most authors give the word as
Krathong, but Pallegoix prefers Kathong.]

[Footnote 231: _Chulakantamangalam_, Bangkok, 1893.]

[Footnote 232: P.A. Thompson, _Lotus Land_, p. 134.]

[Footnote 233: For the Brahmans of Siam see Frankfürter, _Oriental.
Archiv._ 1913, pp. 196-7.]

[Footnote 234: _Chulakantamangala_, p. 56.]

[Footnote 235: They are mostly observances such as Gotama would have
classed among "low arts" (tîracchânavijjâ). At present the monks of
Siam deal freely in charms and exorcisms but on important occasions
public opinion seems to have greater confidence in the skill and power
of Brahmans.]

[Footnote 236: King Śrî Sûryavaṃsa Râma relates in an
inscription of about 1365 how he set up statues of Parameśvara and
Vishṇukarma (?) and appointed Brahmans to serve them.]

[Footnote 237: Maj. Nik. 47.]

[Footnote 238: _Siam Society_, vol. IV. part ii. 1907. _Some Siamese
ghost-lore_ by A.J. Irwin.]

[Footnote 239: _Jour. Siam Soc._ 1909, p. 28. "In yonder mountain is a
demon spirit Phră Khăphŭng that is greater than every other
spirit in this realm. If any Prince ruling this realm reverences him
well with proper offerings, this realm stands firm, this realm
prospers. If the spirit be not reverenced well, if the offerings be
not right, the spirit in the mountain does not protect, does not
regard:--this realm perishes."]

[Footnote 240: The most popular life of the Buddha in Siamese is
called Pa:thó̆mma Só̆mphôthĩyan, translated by Alabaster in
_The Wheel of the Law_. But like the Lalita vistara and other Indian
lives on which it is modelled it stops short at the enlightenment.
Another well-known religious book is the Traiphûm ( = Tribhûmi), an
account of the universe according to Hindu principles, compiled in
1776 from various ancient works.

The Pali literature of Siam is not very large. Some account of it is
given by Coedès in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1915, III. pp. 39-46.]

[Footnote 241: When in Bangkok in 1907 I saw in a photographer's shop
a photograph of the procession which escorted these relics to their
destination. It was inscribed "Arrival of Buddha's tooth from Kandy."
This shows how deceptive historical evidence may be. The inscription
was the testimony of an eye-witness and yet it was entirely wrong.]




The French Protectorate of Camboja corresponds roughly to the nucleus,
though by no means to the whole extent of the former Empire of the
Khmers. The affinities of this race have given rise to considerable
discussion and it has been proposed to connect them with the
Muṇḍa tribes of India on one side and with the Malays and
Polynesians on the other[243]. They are allied linguistically to the
Mons or Talaings of Lower Burma and to the Khasias of Assam, but it is
not proved that they are similarly related to the Annamites, and
recent investigators are not disposed to maintain the Mon-Annam family
of languages proposed by Logan and others. But the undoubted
similarity of the Mon and Khmer languages suggests that the ancestors
of those who now speak them were at one time spread over the central
and western parts of Indo-China but were subsequently divided and
deprived of much territory by the southward invasions of the Thais in
the middle ages.

The Khmers also called themselves Kambuja or Kamvuja and their name for
the country is still either Srŏk Kâmpûchéa or Srŏk Khmer[244]. Attempts
have been made to find a Malay origin for this name Kambuja but native
tradition regards it as a link with India and affirms that the race is
descended from Kambu Svayambhuva and Merâ or Perâ who was given to him
by Śiva as wife[245]. This legend hardly proves that the Khmer people
came from India but they undoubtedly received thence their civilization,
their royal family and a considerable number of Hindu immigrants, so
that the mythical ancestor of their kings naturally came to be regarded
as the progenitor of the race. The Chinese traveller Chou Ta-kuan (1296
A.D.) says that the country known to the Chinese as Chên-la is called by
the natives Kan-po-chih but that the present dynasty call it
Kan-p'u-chih on the authority of Sanskrit (Hsi-fan) works. The origin of
the name Chên-la is unknown.

There has been much discussion respecting the relation of Chên-la to
the older kingdom of Fu-nan which is the name given by Chinese
historians until the early part of the seventh century to a state
occupying the south-eastern and perhaps central portions of
Indo-China. It has been argued that Chên-la is simply the older name
of Fu-nan and on the other hand that Fu-nan is a wider designation
including several states, one of which, Chên-la or Camboja, became
paramount at the expense of the others[246]. But the point seems
unimportant for their religious history with which we have to
deal. In religion and general civilization both were subject to Indian
influence and it is not recorded that the political circumstances
which turned Fu-nan into Chên-la were attended by any religious

The most important fact in the history of these countries, as in
Champa and Java, is the presence from early times of Indian influence
as a result of commerce, colonization, or conquest. Orientalists have
only recently freed themselves from the idea that the ancient Hindus,
and especially their religion, were restricted to the limits of India.
In mediæval times this was true. Emigration was rare and it was only
in the nineteenth century that the travelling Hindu became a familiar
and in some British colonies not very welcome visitor. Even now Hindus
of the higher caste evade rather than deny the rule which forbids them
to cross the ocean[247]. But for a long while Hindus have frequented
the coast of East Africa[248] and in earlier centuries their
traders, soldiers and missionaries covered considerable distances by
sea. The Jâtakas[249] mention voyages to Babylon: Vijaya and Mahinda
reached Ceylon in the fifth and third centuries B.C. respectively.
There is no certain evidence as to the epoch when Hindus first
penetrated beyond the Malay peninsula, but Java is mentioned in the
Ramayana[250]: the earliest Sanskrit inscriptions of Champa date from
our third or perhaps second century, and the Chinese Annals of the
Tsin indicate that at a period considerably anterior to that dynasty
there were Hindus in Fu-nan[251]. It is therefore safe to conclude
that they must have reached these regions about the beginning of the
Christian era and, should any evidence be forthcoming, there is no
reason why this date should not be put further back. At present we can
only say that the establishment of Hindu kingdoms probably implies
earlier visits of Hindu traders and that voyages to the south coast of
Indo-China and the Archipelago were probably preceded by settlements
on the Isthmus of Kra, for instance at Ligor.

The motives which prompted this eastward movement have been variously
connected with religious persecution in India, missionary enterprise,
commerce and political adventure. The first is the least probable.
There is little evidence for the systematic persecution of Buddhists
in India and still less for the persecution of Brahmans by Buddhists.
Nor can these Indian settlements be regarded as primarily religious
missions. The Brahmans have always been willing to follow and
supervise the progress of Hindu civilization, but they have never
shown any disposition to evangelize foreign countries apart from Hindu
settlements in them. The Buddhists had this evangelistic temper and
the journeys of their missionaries doubtless stimulated other classes
to go abroad, but still no inscriptions or annals suggest that the
Hindu migrations to Java and Camboja were parallel to Mahinda's
mission to Ceylon. Nor is there any reason to think that they were
commanded or encouraged by Indian Rajas, for no mention of their
despatch has been found in India, and no Indian state is recorded to
have claimed suzerainty over these colonies. It therefore seems likely
that they were founded by traders and also by adventurers who followed
existing trade routes and had their own reasons for leaving India. In
a country where dynastic quarrels were frequent and the younger sons
of Rajas had a precarious tenure of life, such reasons can be easily
imagined. In Camboja we find an Indian dynasty established after a
short struggle, but in other countries, such as Java and Sumatra,
Indian civilization endured because it was freely adopted by native
chiefs and not because it was forced on them as a result of conquest.

The inscriptions discovered in Camboja and deciphered by the labours
of French savants offer with one lacuna (about 650-800 A.D.) a fairly
continuous history of the country from the sixth to the thirteenth
centuries. For earlier periods we depend almost entirely on Chinese
accounts which are fragmentary and not interested in anything but the
occasional relations of China with Fu-nan. The annals of the Tsin
dynasty[252] already cited say that from 265 A.D. onwards the kings
of Fu-nan sent several embassies to the Chinese Court, adding that the
people have books and that their writing resembles that of the Hu. The
Hu are properly speaking a tribe of Central Asia, but the expression
doubtless means no more than alphabetic writing as opposed to Chinese
characters and such an alphabet can hardly have had other than an
Indian origin. Originally, adds the Annalist, the sovereign was a
woman, but there came a stranger called Hun-Hui who worshipped the
Devas and had had a dream in which one of them gave him a bow[253] and
ordered him to sail for Fu-nan. He conquered the country and married
the Queen but his descendants deteriorated and one Fan-Hsün founded
another dynasty. The annals of the Ch'i dynasty (479-501) give
substantially the same story but say that the stranger was called
Hun-T'ien (which is probably the correct form of the name) and that he
came from Chi or Chiao, an unknown locality. The same annals state
that towards the end of the fifth century the king of Fu-nan who
bore the family name of Ch'iao-ch'ên-ju[254] or Kauṇḍinya and
the personal name of Shê-yeh-po-mo (Jayavarman) traded with Canton. A
Buddhist monk named Nâgasena returned thence with some Cambojan
merchants and so impressed this king with his account of China that he
was sent back in 484 to beg for the protection of the Emperor. The
king's petition and a supplementary paper by Nâgasena are preserved in
the annals. They seem to be an attempt to represent the country as
Buddhist, while explaining that Maheśvara is its tutelary deity.

The Liang annals also state that during the Wu dynasty (222-280) Fan
Chan, then king of Fu-nan, sent a relative named Su-Wu on an embassy
to India, to a king called Mao-lun, which probably represents
Muruṇḍa, a people of the Ganges valley mentioned by the
Purâṇas and by Ptolemy. This king despatched a return embassy to
Fu-nan and his ambassadors met there an official sent by the Emperor
of China[255]. The early date ascribed to these events is noticeable.

The Liang annals contain also the following statements. Between the
years 357 and 424 A.D. named as the dates of embassies sent to China,
an Indian Brahman called Ch'iao-ch'ên-ju (Kauṇḍinya) heard a
supernatural voice bidding him go and reign in Fu-nan. He met with a
good reception and was elected king. He changed the customs of the
country and made them conform to those of India. One of his
successors, Jayavarman, sent a coral image of Buddha in 503 to the
Emperor Wu-ti (502-550). The inhabitants of Fu-nan are said to make
bronze images of the heavenly genii with two or four heads and four or
eight arms. Jayavarman was succeeded by a usurper named Liu-t'o-pa-mo
(Rudravarman) who sent an image made of sandal wood to the Emperor in
519 and in 539 offered him a hair of the Buddha twelve feet long. The
Sui annals (589-618) state that Citrasena, king of Chên-la, conquered
Fu-nan and was succeeded by his son Iśânasena.

Two monks of Fu-nan are mentioned among the translators of the Chinese
scriptures[256], namely, Saṇghapâla and Mandra. Both arrived in
China during the first years of the sixth century and their works are
extant. The pilgrim I-Ching who returned from India in 695 says[257]
that to the S.W. of Champa lies the country Po-nan, formerly called
Fu-nan, which is the southern corner of Jambudvîpa. He says that "of
old it was a country the inhabitants of which lived naked; the people
were mostly worshippers of devas and later on Buddhism flourished
there, but a wicked king has now expelled and exterminated them all
and there are no members of the Buddhist brotherhood at all."

These data from Chinese authorities are on the whole confirmed by the
Cambojan inscriptions. Rudravarman is mentioned[258] and the kings
claim to belong to the race of Kauṇḍinya[259]. This is the name
of a Brahman gotra, but such designations were often borne by
Kshatriyas and the conqueror of Camboja probably belonged to that
caste. It may be affirmed with some certainty that he started from
south-eastern India and possibly he sailed from Mahâbalipûr (also
called the Seven Pagodas). Masulipatam was also a port of embarcation
for the East and was connected with Broach by a trade route running
through Tagara, now Têr in the Nizam's dominions. By using this road,
it was possible to avoid the west coast, which was infested by

The earliest Cambojan inscriptions date from the beginning of the
seventh century and are written in an alphabet closely resembling that
of the inscriptions in the temple of Pâpanâtha at Paṭṭadkal in
the Bîjapur district[260]. They are composed in Sanskrit verse of a
somewhat exuberant style, which revels in the commonplaces of Indian
poetry. The deities most frequently mentioned are Śiva by himself
and Śiva united with Vishṇu in the form Hari-Hara. The names of
the kings end in Varman and this termination is also specially
frequent in names of the Pallava dynasty[261]. The magnificent
monuments still extant attest a taste for architecture on a large
scale similar to that found among the Dravidians. These and many other
indications justify the conclusion that the Indian civilization and
religion which became predominant in Camboja were imported from the

The Chinese accounts distinctly mention two invasions, one under
Ch'iao-ch'ên-ju (Kaundinya) about 400 A.D. and one considerably
anterior to 265 under Hun-T'ien. It might be supposed that this name
also represents Kauṇḍinya and that there is a confusion of
dates. But the available evidence is certainly in favour of the
establishment of Hindu civilization in Fu-nan long before 400 A.D. and
there is nothing improbable in the story of the two invasions and even
of two Kauṇḍinyas. Maspéro suggests that the first invasion came
from Java and formed part of the same movement which founded the
kingdom of Champa. It is remarkable that an inscription in Sanskrit
found on the east coast of Borneo and apparently dating from the fifth
century mentions Kuṇḍagga as the grandfather of the reigning
king, and the Liang annals say that the king of Poli (probably in
Borneo but according to some in Sumatra) was called Ch'iao-ch'ên-ju.
It seems likely that the Indian family of Kauṇḍinya was
established somewhere in the South Seas (perhaps in Java) at an early
period and thence invaded various countries at various times. But
Fu-nan is a vague geographical term and it may be that Hun-T'ien
founded a Hindu dynasty in Champa.

It is clear that during the period of the inscriptions the
religion of Camboja was a mixture of Brahmanism and Buddhism, the only
change noticeable being the preponderance of one or other element in
different centuries. But it would be interesting to know the value of
I-Ching's statement that Buddhism flourished in Fu-nan in early times
and was then subverted by a wicked king, by whom Bhavavarman[262] may
be meant. _Primâ facie_ the statement is not improbable, for there is
no reason why the first immigrants should not have been Buddhists, but
the traditions connecting these countries with early Hinayanist
missionaries are vague. Târanâtha[263] states that the disciples of
Vasubandhu introduced Buddhism into the country of Koki (Indo-China)
but his authority does not count for much in such a matter. The
statement of I-Ching however has considerable weight, especially as
the earliest inscription found in Champa (that of Vocan) appears to be
inspired by Buddhism.


It may be well to state briefly the chief facts of Cambojan
history[264] before considering the phases through which religion
passed. Until the thirteenth century our chief authorities are the
Sanskrit and Khmer inscriptions, supplemented by notices in the
Chinese annals. The Khmer inscriptions are often only a translation or
paraphrase of Sanskrit texts found in the same locality and, as a
rule, are more popular, having little literary pretension. They
frequently contain lists of donations or of articles to be supplied by
the population for the upkeep of pious foundations. After the
fourteenth century we have Cambojan annals of dubious value and we
also find inscriptions in Pali or in modern Cambojan. The earliest
Sanskrit inscriptions date from the beginning of the seventh century
and mention works undertaken in 604 and 624.

The first important king is Bhavavarman (c. 500 A.D.), a conqueror
and probably a usurper, who extended his kingdom considerably towards
the west. His career of conquest was continued by Mahâvarman (also
called Citrasena), by Iśânavarman and by Jayavarman[265]. This last
prince was on the throne in 667, but his reign is followed by a lacuna
of more than a century. Notices in the Chinese annals, confirmed by
the double genealogies given for this period in later inscriptions,
indicate that Camboja was divided for some time into two states, one
littoral and the other inland.

Clear history begins again with the reign of Jayavarman II (802-869).
Later sovereigns evidently regard him as the great national hero and
he lives in popular legend as the builder of a magnificent palace,
Beng Mealea, whose ruins still exist[266] and as the recipient of the
sacred sword of Indra which is preserved at Phnom-penh to this day. We
are told that he "came from Javâ," which is more likely to be some
locality in the Malay Peninsula or Laos than the island of that name.
It is possible that Jayavarman was carried away captive to this region
but returned to found a dynasty independent of it[267].

The ancient city of Angkor has probably done more to make Camboja
known in Europe than any recent achievements of the Khmer race. In the
centre of it stands the temple now called Bayon and outside its walls
are many other edifices of which the majestic Angkor Wat is the
largest and best preserved. King Indravarman (877-899) seems
responsible for the selection of the site but he merely commenced the
construction of the Bayon. The edifice was completed by his son
Yaśovarman (889-908) who also built a town round it, called
Yaśod harapura, Kambupuri or Mahânagara. Angkor Thom is the
Cambojan translation of this last name, Angkor being a corruption of
Nokor ( = Nagara). Yaśovarman's empire comprised nearly all
Indo-China between Burma and Champa and he has been identified with
the Leper king of Cambojan legend. His successors continued to
embellish Angkor Thom, but Jayavarman IV abandoned it and it was
deserted for several years until Rajendravarman II (944-968) made it
the capital again. The Chinese Annals, supported by allusions in the
inscriptions, state that this prince conquered Champa. The long
reigns of Jayavarman V, Suryavarman I, and Udayâdityavarman, which
cover more than a century (968-1079) seem to mark a prosperous period
when architecture flourished, although Udayâdityavarman had to contend
with two rebellions. Another great king, Sûryavarman II (1112-1162)
followed shortly after them, and for a time succeeded in uniting
Camboja and Champa under his sway. Some authorities credit him with a
successful expedition to Ceylon. There is not sufficient evidence for
this, but he was a great prince and, in spite of his foreign wars,
maintained peace and order at home.

Jayavarman VII, who appears to have reigned from 1162 to 1201, reduced
to obedience his unruly vassals of the north and successfully invaded
Champa which remained for thirty years, though not without rebellion,
the vassal of Camboja. It was evacuated by his successor Indravarman
in 1220.

After this date there is again a gap of more than a century in
Cambojan history, and when the sequence of events becomes clear again,
we find that Siam has grown to be a dangerous and aggressive enemy.
But though the vigour of the kingdom may have declined, the account of
the Chinese traveller Chou Ta-kuan who visited Angkor Thom in 1296
shows that it was not in a state of anarchy nor conquered by Siam.
There had however been a recent war with Siam and he mentions that the
country was devastated. He unfortunately does not tell us the name of
the reigning king and the list of sovereigns begins again only in 1340
when the Annals of Camboja take up the history. They are not of great
value. The custom of recording all events of importance prevailed at
the Cambojan Court in earlier times but these chronicles were lost in
the eighteenth century. King Ang Chan (1796-1834) ordered that they
should be re-written with the aid of the Siamese chronicles and such
other materials as were available and fixed 1340 as the point of
departure, apparently because the Siamese chronicles start from that
date[268]. Although the period of the annals offers little but a
narrative of dissensions at home and abroad, of the interference of
Annam on one side and of Siam on the other, yet it does not seem that
the sudden cessation of inscriptions and of the ancient style of
architecture in the thirteenth century was due to the collapse of
Camboja, for even in the sixteenth century it offered a valiant, and
often successful, resistance to aggressions from the west. But Angkor
Thom and the principal monuments were situated near the Siamese
frontier and felt the shock of every collision. The sense of security,
essential for the construction of great architectural works, had
disappeared and the population became less submissive and less willing
to supply forced labour without which such monuments could not be

The Siamese captured Angkor Thom in 1313, 1351 and 1420 but did not on
any occasion hold it for long. Again in 1473 they occupied Chantaboun,
Korat and Angkor but had to retire and conclude peace. King Ang Chan I
successfully disputed the right of Siam to treat him as a vassal and
established his capital at Lovek, which he fortified and ornamented.
He reigned from 1505 to 1555 and both he and his son, Barom Racha,
seem entitled to rank among the great kings of Camboja. But the
situation was clearly precarious and when a minor succeeded to the
throne in 1574 the Siamese seized the opportunity and recaptured Lovek
and Chantaboun. Though this capture was the death blow to the power of
the Khmers, the kingdom of Camboja did not cease to exist but for
nearly three centuries continued to have an eventful but uninteresting
history as the vassal of Siam or Annam or even of both[269], until
in the middle of the nineteenth century the intervention of France
substituted a European Protectorate for these Asiatic rivalries.

The provinces of Siem-reap and Battambang, in which Angkor Thom and
the principal ancient monuments are situated, were annexed by Siam at
the end of the eighteenth century, but in virtue of an arrangement
negotiated by the French Government they were restored to Camboja in
1907, Krat and certain territories being at the same time ceded to


The religious history of Camboja may be divided into two periods,
exclusive of the possible existence there of Hinayanist Buddhism in
the early centuries of our era. In the first period, which witnessed
the construction of the great monuments and the reigns of the great
kings, both Brahmanism and Mahayanist Buddhism nourished, but as in
Java and Champa without mutual hostility. This period extends
certainly from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries and perhaps its
limits should be stretched to 400-1400 A.D. In any case it passed
without abrupt transition into the second period in which, under
Siamese influence, Hinayanist Buddhism supplanted the older faiths,
although the ceremonies of the Cambojan court still preserve a good
deal of Brahmanic ritual.

During the first period, Brahmanism and Mahayanism were professed by
the Court and nobility. The multitude of great temples and opulent
endowments, the knowledge of Sanskrit literature and the use of Indian
names, leave no doubt about this, but it is highly probable that the
mass of the people had their own humbler forms of worship. Still there
is no record of anything that can be called Khmer--as opposed to
Indian--religion. As in Siam, the veneration of nature spirits is
universal in Camboja and little shrines elevated on poles are erected
in their honour in the neighbourhood of almost every house.
Possibly the more important of these spirits were identified in
early times with Indian deities or received Sanskrit names. Thus we
hear of a pious foundation in honour of Brahmarakshas[271], perhaps a
local mountain spirit. Śiva is adored under the name of Śrî
Śikhareśvara, the Lord of the Peak and Krishṇa appears to be
identified with a local god called Śrî Champeśvara who was
worshipped by Jayavarman VI[272].

The practice of accepting and hinduizing strange gods with whom they
came in contact was so familiar to the Brahmans that it would be odd
if no examples of it occurred in Camboja. Still the Brahmanic religion
which has left such clear records there was in the main not a
hinduized form of any local cult but a direct importation of Indian
thought, ritual and literature. The Indian invaders or colonists were
accompanied by Brahmans: their descendants continued to bear Indian
names and to give them to all places of importance: Sanskrit was the
ecclesiastical and official language, for the inscriptions written in
Khmer are clearly half-contemptuous notifications to the common
people, respecting such details as specially concerned them:
_Aśramas_ and castes (_varṇa_) are mentioned[273] and it is
probable that natives were only gradually and grudgingly admitted to
the higher castes. There is also reason to believe that this Hindu
civilization was from time to time vivified by direct contact with
India. The embassy of Su-Wu has already been mentioned[274] and an
inscription records the marriage of a Cambojan princess with a Brahman
called Divâkara who came from the banks of the Yamunâ, "where
Kṛishṇa sported in his infancy."

During the whole period of the inscriptions the worship of Śiva seems to
have been the principal cultus and to some extent the state religion,
for even kings who express themselves in their inscriptions as devout
Buddhists do not fail to invoke him. But there is no trace of hostility
to Vishnuism and the earlier inscriptions constantly celebrate the
praises of the compound deity Vishṇu-Śiva, known under such names as
Hari-Hara[275], Śambhu-Vishṇu, Śaṇkara-Narâyaṇa, etc. Thus an
inscription of Ang-Pou dating from Iśânavarman's reign says "Victorious
are Hara and Acyuta become one for the good of the world, though as the
spouses of Parvatî and Śrî they have different forms[276]." But the
worship of this double being is accompanied by pure Śivaism and by the
adoration of other deities. In the earliest inscriptions Bhavavarman
invokes Śiva and dedicates a linga. He also celebrates the compound
deity under the name of Śambhu-Vishṇu and mentions Umâ, Lakshmî,
Bhâratî, Dharma, the Maruts, and Vishṇu under the names of Caturbhuja
and Trailokyasâra. There appears to be no allusion to the worship of
Vishṇu-Śiva as two in one after the seventh century, but though Śiva
became exalted at the expense of his partner, Vishṇu must have had
adorers for two kings, Jayavarman III and Sûryavarman II, were known
after their death by the names of Vishṇu-loka and Parama-Vishṇu-loka.

Śiva became generally recognized as the supreme deity, in a
comprehensive but not an exclusive sense. He is the universal spirit
from whom emanate Brahmâ and Vishṇu. His character as the Destroyer
is not much emphasized: he is the God of change, and therefore of
reproduction, whose symbol is the Linga. It is remarkable to find that
a pantheistic form of Śivaism is clearly enunciated in one of the
earliest inscriptions[277]. Śiva is there styled Vibhu, the
omnipresent, Paramvrahmâ ( = Brahmâ), Jagatpati, Paśupati. An
inscription found at Angkor[278] mentions an Acârya of the
Pâśupatas as well as an Acârya of the Śaivas and Chou Ta-kuan
seems to allude to the worshippers of Paśupati under the name of
Pa-ssŭ-wei. It would therefore appear that the Pâśupatas existed
in Camboja as a distinct sect and there are some indications[279] that
ideas which prevailed among the Lingayats also found their way

The most interesting and original aspect of Cambojan religion is its
connection with the state and the worship of deities somehow identified
with the king or with prominent personages[280]. These features are also
found in Champa and Java. In all these countries it was usual that when a
king founded a temple, the god worshipped in it should be called by his
name or by something like it. Thus when Bhadravarman dedicated a temple
to Śiva, the god was styled Bhadreśvara. More than this, when a king or
any distinguished person died, he was commemorated by a statue which
reproduced his features but represented him with the attributes of his
favourite god. Thus Indravarman and Yaśovarman dedicated at Bakô and
Lolei shrines in which deceased members of the royal family were
commemorated in the form of images of Śiva and Devî bearing names similar
to their own. Another form of apotheosis was to describe a king by a
posthumous title, indicating that he had gone to the heaven of his divine
patron such as Paramavishṇuloka or Buddhaloka. The temple of Bayon was a
truly national fane, almost a Westminster abbey, in whose many shrines
all the gods and great men of the country were commemorated. The French
archæologists recognize four classes of these shrines dedicated
respectively to (_a_) Indian deities, mostly special forms of Śiva, Devî
and Vishṇu; (_b_) Mahayanist Buddhas, especially Buddhas of healing, who
were regarded as the patron saints of various towns and mountains; (_c_)
similar local deities apparently of Cambojan origin and perhaps
corresponding to the God of the City worshipped in every Chinese town;
(_d_) deified kings and notables, who appear to have been represented in
two forms, the human and divine, bearing slightly different names. Thus
one inscription speaks of Śrî Mahendreśvarî who is the divine form (vraḥ
rûpa) of the lady Śrî Mahendralakshmî.

The presiding deity of the Bayon was Śiva, adored under the form of
the linga. The principal external ornaments of the building are forty
towers each surmounted by four heads. These were formerly thought to
represent Brahmâ but there is little doubt that they are meant for
lingas bearing four faces of Śiva, since each head has three
eyes. Such lingas are occasionally seen in India[281] and many metal
cases bearing faces and made to be fitted on lingas have been
discovered in Champâ. These four-headed columns are found on the gates
of Angkor Thom as well as in the Bayon and are singularly impressive.
The emblem adored in the central shrine of the Bayon was probably a
linga but its title was _Kamrateṇ jagat ta râja_ or _Devarâja_, the
king-god. More explicitly still it is styled _Kamrateṇ jagat ta
râjya_, the god who is the kingdom. It typified and contained the
royal essence present in the living king of Camboja and in all her
kings. Several inscriptions make it clear that not only dead but
living people could be represented by statue-portraits which
identified them with a deity, and in one very remarkable record a
general offers to the king the booty he has captured, asking him to
present it "to your subtle ego who is Iśvara dwelling in a golden
linga[282]." Thus this subtle ego dwells in a linga, is identical with
Śiva, and manifests itself in the successive kings of the royal

The practices described have some analogies in India. The custom of
describing the god of a temple by the name of the founder was known
there[283]. The veneration of ancestors is universal; there are some
mausolea (for instance at Ahar near Udeypore) and the notion that in
life the soul can reside elsewhere than in the body is an occasional
popular superstition. Still these ideas and practices are not
conspicuous features of Hinduism and the Cambojans had probably come
within the sphere of another influence. In all eastern Asia the
veneration of the dead is the fundamental and ubiquitous form of
religion and in China we find fully developed such ideas as that the
great should be buried in monumental tombs, that a spirit can be made
to reside in a tablet or image, and that the human soul is compound so
that portions of it can be in different places. These beliefs combined
with the Indian doctrine that the deity is manifested in
incarnations, in the human soul and in images afford a good
theoretical basis for the worship of the Devarâja. It was also
agreeable to far-eastern ideas that religion and the state should be
closely associated and the Cambojan kings would be glad to imitate the
glories of the Son of Heaven. But probably a simpler cause tended to
unite church and state in all these Hindu colonies. In mediæval India
the Brahmans became so powerful that they could claim to represent
religion and civilization apart from the state. But in Camboja and
Champa Brahmanic religion and civilization were bound up with the
state. Both were attacked by and ultimately succumbed to the same

The Brahmanism of Camboja, as we know it from the inscriptions, was so
largely concerned with the worship of this "Royal God" that it might
almost be considered a department of the court. It seems to have been
thought essential to the dignity of a Sovereign who aspired to be more
than a local prince, that his Chaplain or preceptor should have a
pontifical position. A curious parallel to this is shown by those
mediæval princes of eastern Europe who claimed for their chief bishops
the title of patriarch as a complement to their own imperial
pretensions. In its ultimate form the Cambojan hierarchy was the work
of Jayavarman II, who, it will be remembered, reestablished the
kingdom after an obscure but apparently disastrous interregnum. He
made the priesthood of the Royal God hereditary in the family of
Śivakaivalya and the sacerdotal dynasty thus founded enjoyed during
some centuries a power inferior only to that of the kings.

In the inscriptions of Sdok Kâk Thom[284] the history of this family is
traced from the reign of Jayavarman II to 1052. The beginning of the
story as related in both the Sanskrit and Khmer texts is interesting but
obscure. It is to the effect that Jayavarman, anxious to assure his
position as an Emperor (Cakravartin) independent of Javâ[285], summoned
from Janapada a Brahman called Hiranyadâma, learned in magic
(siddhividyâ), who arranged the rules (viddhi) for the worship of the
Royal God and taught the king's Chaplain, Śivakaivalya, four treatises
called Vrah Vinâśikha, Nayottara, Sammoha and Śiraścheda. These works
are not otherwise known[286]. The king made a solemn compact that "only
the members of his (Śivakaivalya's) maternal[287] family, men and women,
should be Yâjakas (sacrificers or officiants) to the exclusion of all
others." The restriction refers no doubt only to the cult of the Royal
God and the office of court chaplain, called Purohita, Guru or Hotri, of
whom there were at least two.

The outline of this narrative, that a learned Brahman was imported and
charged with the instruction of the royal chaplain, is simple and
probable but the details are perplexing. The Sanskrit treatises
mentioned are unknown and the names singular. Janapada as the name of
a definite locality is also strange[288], but it is conceivable that
the word may have been used in Khmer as a designation of India or a
part of it.

The inscription goes on to relate the gratifying history of the
priestly family, the grants of land made to them, the honours they
received. We gather that it was usual for an estate to be given to a
priest with the right to claim forced labour from the population. He
then proceeded to erect a town or village embellished with temples and
tanks. The hold of Brahmanism on the country probably depended more on
such priestly towns than on the convictions of the people. The
inscriptions often speak of religious establishments being restored
and sometimes say that they had become deserted and overgrown. We may
conclude that if the Brahman lords of a village ceased for any reason
to give it their attention, the labour and contributions requisite for
the upkeep of the temples were not forthcoming and the jungle was
allowed to grow over the buildings.

Numerous inscriptions testify to the grandeur of the Śivakaivalya family.
The monotonous lists of their properties and slaves, of the statues
erected in their honour and the number of parasols borne before them show
that their position was almost regal, even when the king was a Buddhist.
They prudently refrained from attempting to occupy the throne, but
probably no king could succeed unless consecrated by them. Sadaśiva,
Śaṇkarapaṇḍita and Divâkarapaṇḍita formed an ecclesiastical dynasty
from about 1000 to 1100 A.D. parallel to the long reigns of the kings in
the same period[289]. The last-named mentions in an inscription that he
had consecrated three kings and Śaṇkarapaṇḍita, a man of great
learning, was _de facto_ sovereign during the minority of his pupil
Udayâdityavarman nor did he lose his influence when the young king
attained his majority.

The shrine of the Royal God was first near Mt. Mahendra and was then
moved to Hariharâlaya[290]. Its location was definitely fixed in the
reign of Indravarman, about 877 A.D. Two Śivakaivalya Brahmans,
Śivasoma and his pupil Vâmaśiva, chaplain of the king, built a
temple called the Śivâśrama and erected a linga therein. It is
agreed that this building is the Bayon, which formed the centre of the
later city of Angkor. Indravarman also illustrated another
characteristic of the court religion by placing in the temple now
called Prah Kou three statues of Śiva with the features of his
father, grandfather and Jayavarman II together with corresponding
statues of Śakti in the likeness of their wives. The next king,
Yaśovarman, who founded the town of Angkor round the Bayon, built
near his palace another linga temple, now known as Ba-puon. He also
erected two convents, one Brahmanic and one Buddhist. An
inscription[291] gives several interesting particulars respecting the
former. It fixes the provisions to be supplied to priests and students
and the honours to be rendered to distinguished visitors. The right of
sanctuary is accorded and the sick and helpless are to receive food
and medicine. Also funeral rites are to be celebrated within its
precincts for the repose of the friendless and those who have died in
war. The royal residence was moved from Angkor in 928, but about
twenty years later the court returned thither and the inscriptions
record that the Royal God accompanied it.

The cultus was probably similar to what may be seen in the Sivaite
temples of India to-day. The principal lingam was placed in a shrine
approached through other chambers and accessible only to privileged
persons. Libations were poured over the emblem and sacred books were
recited. An interesting inscription[292] of about 600 A.D. relates how
Śrîsomasarman (probably a Brahman) presented to a temple "the
Râmâyaṇa, the Purâṇa and complete Bhârata" and made arrangements
for their recitation. Sanskrit literature was held in esteem. We are
told that Sûryavarman I was versed in the Atharva-Veda and also in the
Bhâshya, Kâvyas, the six Darśanas, and the Dharmaśâstras[293].
Sacrifices are also frequently mentioned and one inscription records
the performance of a Koṭihoma[294]. The old Vedic ritual remained
to some extent in practice, for no circumstances are more favourable
to its survival than a wealthy court dominated by a powerful
hierarchy. Such ceremonies were probably performed in the ample
enclosures surrounding the temples[295].


Mahayanist Buddhism existed in Camboja during the whole of the period
covered by the inscriptions, but it remained in such close alliance
with Brahmanism that it is hard to say whether it should be regarded
as a separate religion. The idea that the two systems were
incompatible obviously never occurred to the writers of the
inscriptions and Buddhism was not regarded as more distinct from
Śivaism and Vishnuism than these from one another. It had
nevertheless many fervent and generous, if not exclusive, admirers.
The earliest record of its existence is a short inscription dating
from the end of the sixth or beginning of the seventh century[296],
which relates how a person called Pon Prajnâ Candra dedicated male and
female slaves to the three Bodhisattvas, Śâstâ[297], Maitreya and
Avalokiteśvara. The title given to the Bodhisattvas (Vrah
Kamratâañ) which is also borne by Indian deities shows that this
Buddhism was not very different from the Brahmanic cult of Camboja.

It is interesting to find that Yaśovarman founded in Angkor Thom a
Saugatâśrama or Buddhist monastery parallel to his Brâhmaṇâśrama
already described. Its inmates enjoyed the same privileges and had
nearly the same rules and duties, being bound to afford sanctuary,
maintain the destitute and perform funeral masses. It is laid down that
an Acârya versed in Buddhist lore corresponds in rank to the Acâryas of
the Śaivas and Pâsupatas and that in both institutions greater honour is
to be shown to such Acâryas as also are learned in grammar. A Buddhist
Acârya ought to be honoured a little less than a learned Brahman. Even
in form the inscriptions recording the foundation of the two Aśramas
show a remarkable parallelism. Both begin with two stanzas addressed to
Śiva: then the Buddhist inscription inserts a stanza in honour of the
Buddha who delivers from transmigration and gives nirvâṇa, and then the
two texts are identical for several stanzas[298].

Mahayanism appears to have flourished here especially from the tenth to
the thirteenth centuries and throughout the greater part of this period we
find the same feature that its principal devotees were not the kings but
their ministers. Sûryavarman I († 1049) and Jayavarman VII († 1221) in
some sense deserved the name of Buddhists since the posthumous title of
the former was Nirvâṇapada and the latter left a long inscription[299]
beginning with a definitely Buddhist invocation. Yet an inscription of
Sûryavarman which states in its second verse that only the word of the
Buddha is true, opens by singing the praises of Śiva, and Jayavarman
certainly did not neglect the Brahmanic gods. But for about a hundred
years there was a series of great ministers who specially encouraged
Buddhism. Such were Satyavarman (_c._ 900 A.D.), who was charged with the
erection of the building in Angkor known as Phimeanakas;
Kavindrârimathana, minister under Râjendravarman II and Jayavarman V, who
erected many Buddhist statues and Kîrtipaṇḍita, minister of Jayavarman
V. Kîrtipaṇḍita was the author[300] of the inscription found at Srey
Santhor, which states that thanks to his efforts the pure doctrine of the
Buddha reappeared like the moon from behind the clouds or the sun at dawn.

It may be easily imagined that the power enjoyed by the court chaplain
would dispose the intelligent classes to revolt against this hierarchy
and to favour liberty and variety in religion, so far as was safe.
Possibly the kings, while co-operating with a priesthood which
recognized them as semi-divine, were glad enough to let other
religious elements form some sort of counterpoise to a priestly family
which threatened to be omnipotent. Though the identification of
Śivaism and Buddhism became so complete that we actually find a
Trinity composed of Padmodbhava (Brahmâ), Ambhojanetra (Vishṇu) and
the Buddha[301], the inscriptions of the Buddhist ministers are marked
by a certain diplomacy and self-congratulation on the success of their
efforts, as if they felt that their position was meritorious, yet

Thus in an inscription, the object of which seems to be to record the
erection of a statue of Prajñâ-pâramitâ by Kavindrârimathana we are
told that the king charged him with the embellishment of
Yaśodharapura because "though an eminent Buddhist" his loyalty was
above suspicion[302]. The same minister erected three towers at Bàṭ
C̆uṃ with inscriptions[303] which record the dedication of a
tank. The first invokes the Buddha, Vajrapâni[304] and Lokeśvara.
In the others Lokeśvara is replaced by Prajñâ-pâramitâ who here, as
elsewhere, is treated as a goddess or Śakti and referred to as Devî
in another stanza[305]. The three inscriptions commemorate the
construction of a sacred tank but, though the author was a
Buddhist, he expressly restricts the use of it to Brahmanic

The inscription of Srey Santhor[306] (_c_. 975 A.D.) describes the
successful efforts of Kîrtipaṇḍita to restore Buddhism and gives the
instructions of the king (Jayavarman V) as to its status. The royal
chaplain is by no means to abandon the worship of Śiva but he is to be
well versed in Buddhist learning and on feast days he will bathe the
statue of the Buddha with due ceremony.

A point of interest in this inscription is the statement that
Kîrtipaṇḍita introduced Buddhist books from abroad, including
the Śâstra Madhyavibhâga and the commentary on the Tattvasangraha.
The first of these is probably the Mâdhyântavibhâga śâstra[307] by
Vasubandhu and the authorship is worth attention as supporting
Târanâtha's statement that the disciples of Vasubandhu introduced
Buddhism into Indo-China.

In the time of Jayavarman VII (_c_. 1185 A.D.), although Hindu
mythology is not discarded and though the king's chaplain (presumably
a Śivaite) receives every honour, yet Mahayanist Buddhism seems to
be frankly professed as the royal religion. It is noteworthy that
about the same time it becomes more prominent in Java and Champa.
Probably the flourishing condition of the faith in Ceylon and Burma
increased the prestige of all forms of Buddhism throughout
south-eastern Asia. A long inscription of Jayavarman in 145 stanzas
has been preserved in the temple of Ta Prohm near Angkor. It opens
with an invocation to the Buddha, in which are mentioned the three
bodies, Lokeśvara[308], and the Mother of the Jinas, by whom
Prajñâ-pâramitâ must be meant. Śiva is not invoked but allusion is
made to many Brahmanic deities and Bhikkhus and Brahmans are mentioned
together. The inscription contains a curious list of the materials
supplied daily for the temple services and of the personnel. Ample
provision is made for both, but it is not clear how far a purely
Buddhist ritual is contemplated and it seems probable that an
extensive Brahmanic cultus existed side by side with the Buddhist
ceremonial. We learn that there were clothes for the deities and
forty-five mosquito nets of Chinese material to protect their statues.
The Uposatha days seem to be alluded to[309] and the spring festival
is described, when "Bhagavat and Bhagavatî" are to be escorted in
solemn procession with parasols, music, banners and dancing girls. The
whole staff, including Burmese and Chams (probably slaves), is put
down at the enormous figure of 79,365, which perhaps includes all the
neighbouring inhabitants who could be called on to render any service
to the temple. The more sacerdotal part of the establishment consisted
of 18 principal priests (adhikâriṇaḥ), 2740 priests and 2232
assistants, including 615 dancing girls. But even these figures seem
very large[310].

The inscription comes to a gratifying conclusion by announcing that
there are 102 hospitals in the kingdom[311]. These institutions, which
are alluded to in other inscriptions, were probably not all founded by
Jayavarman VII and he seems to treat them as being, like temples, a
natural part of a well-ordered state. But he evidently expended much
care and money on them and in the present inscription he makes over
the fruit of these good deeds to his mother. The most detailed
description of these hospitals occurs in another of his inscriptions
found at Say-fong in Laos. It is, like the one just cited, definitely
Buddhist and it is permissible to suppose that Buddhism took a more
active part than Brahmanism in such works of charity. It opens with an
invocation first to the Buddha who in his three bodies transcends the
distinction between existence and non-existence, and then to the
healing Buddha and the two Bodhisattvas who drive away darkness and
disease. These divinities, who are the lords of a heaven in the east,
analogous to the paradise of Amitâbha, are still worshipped in China
and Japan and were evidently gods of light[312]. The hospital erected
under their auspices by the Cambojan king was open to all the four
castes and had a staff of 98 persons, besides an astrologer and two
sacrificers (yâjaka).


These inscriptions of Jayavarman are the last which tell us anything
about the religion of mediæval Camboja but we have a somewhat later
account from the pen of Chou Ta-kuan, a Chinese who visited Angkor in
1296[313]. He describes the temple in the centre of the city, which
must be the Bayon, and says that it had a tower of gold and that the
eastern (or principal) entrance was approached by a golden bridge
flanked by two lions and eight statues, all of the same metal. The
chapter of his work entitled "The Three Religions," runs as follows,
slightly abridged from M. Pelliot's version.

"The literati are called Pan-ch'i, the bonzes Ch'u-ku and the Taoists
Pa-ssŭ-wei. I do not know whom the Pan-ch'i worship. They have no
schools and it is difficult to say what books they read. They dress
like other people except that they wear a white thread round their
necks, which is their distinctive mark. They attain to very high
positions. The Ch'u-ku shave their heads and wear yellow clothes. They
uncover the right shoulder, but the lower part of their body is draped
with a skirt of yellow cloth and they go bare foot. Their temples are
sometimes roofed with tiles. Inside there is only one image, exactly
like the Buddha Śâkya, which they call Po-lai ( = Prah), ornamented
with vermilion and blue, and clothed in red. The Buddhas of the towers
(? images in the towers of the temples) are different and cast in
bronze. There are no bells, drums, cymbals, or flags in their temples.
They eat only one meal a day, prepared by someone who entertains them,
for they do not cook in their temples. They eat fish and meat and also
use them in their offerings to Buddha, but they do not drink wine.
They recite numerous texts written on strips of palm-leaf. Some bonzes
have a right to have the shafts of their palanquins and the handles of
their parasols in gold or silver. The prince consults them on serious
matters. There are no Buddhist nuns.

"The Pa-ssŭ-wei dress like everyone else, except that they wear on
their heads a piece of red or white stuff like the Ku-ku worn by
Tartar women but lower. Their temples are smaller than those of the
Buddhists, for Taoism is less prosperous than Buddhism. They worship
nothing but a block of stone, somewhat like the stone on the altar of
the God of the Sun in China. I do not know what god they adore. There
are also Taoist nuns. The Pa-ssŭ-wei do not partake of the food of
other people or eat in public. They do not drink wine.

"Such children of the laity as go to school frequent the bonzes, who
give them instruction. When grown up they return to a lay life.

"I have not been able to make an exhaustive investigation."

Elsewhere he says "All worship the Buddha" and he describes some
popular festivals which resemble those now celebrated in Siam. In
every village there was a temple or a Stûpa. He also mentions that in
eating they use leaves as spoons and adds "It is the same in their
sacrifices to the spirits and to Buddha."

Chou Ta-kuan confesses that his account is superficial and he was
perhaps influenced by the idea that it was natural there should be
three religions in Camboja, as in China. Buddhists were found in both
countries: Pan-ch'i no doubt represents Paṇḍita and he saw an
analogy between the Brahmans of the Cambojan Court and Confucian
mandarins: a third and less known sect he identified with the Taoists.
The most important point in his description is the prominence given to
the Buddhists. His account of their temples, of the dress and life of
their monks[314] leaves no doubt that he is describing Hinayanist
Buddhism such as still nourishes in Camboja. It probably found its way
from Siam, with which Camboja had already close, but not always
peaceful, relations. Probably the name by which the bonzes are
designated is Siamese[315]. With Chou Ta-kuan's statements may be
compared the inscription of the Siamese King Râma Khomhëng[316] which
dwells on the nourishing condition of Pali Buddhism in Siam about 1300
A.D. The contrast indicated by Chou Ta-kuan is significant. The
Brahmans held high office but had no schools. Those of the laity
who desired education spent some portion of their youth in a Buddhist
monastery (as they still do) and then returned to the world. Such a
state of things naturally resulted in the diffusion of Buddhism among
the people, while the Brahmans dwindled to a Court hierarchy. When
Chou Ta-kuan says that all the Cambojans adored Buddha, he probably
makes a mistake, as he does in saying that the sculptures above the
gates of Angkor are heads of Buddha. But the general impression which
he evidently received that everyone frequented Buddhist temples and
monasteries speaks for itself. His statement about sacrifices to
Buddha is remarkable and, since the inscriptions of Jayavarman VII
speak of sacrificers, it cannot be rejected as a mere mistake. But if
Hinayanist Buddhism countenanced such practices in an age of
transition, it did not adopt them permanently for, so far as I have
seen, no offerings are made to-day in Cambojan temples, except flowers
and sticks of incense.

The Pa-ssŭ-wei have given rise to many conjectures and have been
identified with the Basaih or sacerdotal class of the Chams. But there
seems to be little doubt that the word really represents Pâśupata
and Chou Ta-kuan's account clearly points to a sect of linga
worshippers, although no information is forthcoming about the "stone
on the altar of the Sun God in China" to which he compares their
emblem. His idea that they represented the Taoists in Camboja may have
led him to exaggerate their importance but his statement that they
were a separate body is confirmed, for an inscription of Angkor[317]
defines the order of hierarchical precedence as "the Brahman, the
Śaiva Acârya, the Pâśupata Acârya[318]."

From the time of Chou Ta-kuan to the present day I have found few
notices about the religion of Camboja. Hinayanist Buddhism became
supreme and though we have few details of the conquest we can hardly
go wrong in tracing its general lines. Brahmanism was exclusive and
tyrannical. It made no appeal to the masses but a severe levy of
forced labour must have been necessary to erect and maintain the
numerous great shrines which, though in ruins, are still the glory of
Camboja[319]. In many of them are seen the remains of inscriptions
which have been deliberately erased. These probably prescribed certain
onerous services which the proletariat was bound to render to the
established church. When Siamese Buddhism invaded Camboja it had a
double advantage. It was the creed of an aggressive and successful
neighbour but, while thus armed with the weapons of this world, it
also appealed to the poor and oppressed. If it enjoyed the favour of
princes, it had no desire to defend the rights of a privileged caste:
it offered salvation and education to the average townsman and
villager. If it invited the support and alms of the laity, it was at
least modest in its demands. Brahmanism on the other hand lost
strength as the prestige of the court declined. Its greatest shrines
were in the provinces most exposed to Siamese attacks. The first
Portuguese writers speak of them as already deserted at the end of the
sixteenth century. The connection with India was not kept up and if
any immigrants came from the west, after the twelfth century they are
more likely to have been Moslims than Hindus. Thus driven from its
temples, with no roots among the people, whose affections it had never
tried to win, Brahmanism in Camboja became what it now is, a court
ritual without a creed and hardly noticed except at royal functions.

It is remarkable that Mohammedanism remained almost unknown to
Camboja, Siam and Burma. The tide of Moslim invasion swept across the
Malay Peninsula southwards. Its effect was strongest in Sumatra and
Java, feebler on the coasts of Borneo and the Philippines. From the
islands it reached Champa, where it had some success, but Siam and
Camboja lay on one side of its main route, and also showed no
sympathy for it. King Rama Thuppdey Chan[320] who reigned in
Camboja from 1642-1659 became a Mohammedan and surrounded himself with
Malays and Javanese. But he alienated the affections of his subjects
and was deposed by the intervention of Annam. After this we hear no
more of Mohammedanism. An unusual incident, which must be counted
among the few cases in which Buddhism has encouraged violence, is
recorded in the year 1730, when a Laotian who claimed to be inspired,
collected a band of fanatics and proceeded to massacre in the name of
Buddha all the Annamites resident in Camboja. This seems to show that
Buddhism was regarded as the religion of the country and could be used
as a national cry against strangers.

As already mentioned Brahmanism still survives in the court ceremonial
though this by no means prevents the king from being a devout
Buddhist. The priests are known as Bakus. They wear a top-knot and the
sacred thread after the Indian fashion, and enjoy certain privileges.
Within the precincts of the palace at Phnom Penh is a modest building
where they still guard the sword of Indra. About two inches of the
blade are shown to visitors, but except at certain festivals it is
never taken out of its sheath.

The official programme of the coronation of King Sisowath (April
23-28, 1906), published in French and Cambojan, gives a curious
account of the ceremonies performed, which were mainly Brahmanic,
although prayers were recited by the Bonzes and offerings made to
Buddha. Four special Brahmanic shrines were erected and the essential
part of the rite consisted in a lustral bath, in which the Bakus
poured water over the king. Invocations were addressed to beings
described as "Anges qui êtes au paradis des six séjours célestes, qui
habitez auprès d'Indra, de Brahmâ et de l'archange Sahabodey," to the
spirits of mountains, valleys and rivers and to the spirits who guard
the palace. When the king has been duly bathed the programme
prescribes that "le Directeur des Bakous remettra la couronne â M. le
Gouverneur Général qui la portera sur la tête de Sa Majesté au nom du
Gouvernement de la République Française." Equally curious is the
"Programme des fêtes royales à l'occasion de la crémation de S.M.
Norodom" (January 2-16, 1906). The lengthy ceremonial consisted of a
strange mixture of prayers, sermons, pageants and amusements. The
definitely religious exercises were Buddhist and the amusements which
accompanied them, though according to our notions curiously out of
place, clearly correspond to the funeral games of antiquity. Thus we
read not only of "offrande d'un repas aux urnes royales" but of
"illuminations générales ... lancement de ballons ... luttes et
assauts de boxe et de l'escrime ... danses et soirée de gala.... Après
la crémation, Sa Majesté distribuera des billets de tombola."

The ordinary Buddhism of Camboja at the present day resembles that of
Siam and is not mixed with Brahmanic observances. Monasteries are
numerous: the monks enjoy general respect and their conduct is said to
be beyond reproach. They act as schoolmasters and, as in Siam and
Burma, all young men spend some time in a monastery. A monastery
generally contains from thirty to fifty monks and consists of a number
of wooden houses raised on piles and arranged round a square. Each
monk has a room and often a house to himself. Besides the dwelling
houses there are also stores and two halls called Salâ and Vihéar
(vihâra). In both the Buddha is represented by a single gigantic
sitting image, before which are set flowers and incense. As a rule
there are no other images but the walls are often ornamented with
frescoes of Jâtaka stories or the early life of Gotama. Meals are
taken in the Salâ at about 7 and 11 a.m.[321], and prayers are recited
there on ordinary days in the morning and evening. The eleven o'clock
meal is followed by a rather long grace. The prayers consist mostly of
Pali formulæ, such as the Three Refuges, but they are sometimes in
Cambojan and contain definite petitions or at least wishes formulated
before the image of the Buddha. Thus I have heard prayers for peace
and against war. The more solemn ceremonies, such as the Uposatha and
ordinations, are performed in the Vihear. The recitation of the
Pâtimokkha is regularly performed and I have several times witnessed
it. All but ordained monks have to withdraw outside the Sîmâ stones
during the service. The ceremony begins about 6 p.m.: the Bhikkhus
kneel down in pairs face to face and rubbing their foreheads in the
dust ask for mutual forgiveness if they have inadvertently offended.
This ceremony is also performed on other occasions. It is followed
by singing or intoning lauds, after which comes the recitation of the
Pâtimokkha itself which is marked by great solemnity. The reader sits
in a large chair on the arms of which are fixed many lighted tapers.
He repeats the text by heart but near him sits a prompter with a
palm-leaf manuscript who, if necessary, corrects the words recited. I
have never seen a monk confess in public, and I believe that the usual
practice is for sinful brethren to abstain from attending the ceremony
and then to confess privately to the Abbot, who assigns them a
penance. As soon as the Pâtimokkha is concluded all the Bhikkhus smoke
large cigarettes. In most Buddhist countries it is not considered
irreverent to smoke[322], chew betel or drink tea in the intervals of
religious exercises. When the cigarettes are finished there follows a
service of prayer and praise in Cambojan. During the season of Wassa
there are usually several Bhikkhus in each monastery who practise
meditation for three or four days consecutively in tents or enclosures
made of yellow cloth, open above but closed all round. The four stages
of meditation described in the Piṭakas are said to be commonly
attained by devout monks[323].

The Abbot has considerable authority in disciplinary matters. He eats
apart from the other monks and at religious ceremonies wears a sort of
red cope, whereas the dress of the other brethren is entirely yellow.
Novices prostrate themselves when they speak to him.

Above the Abbots are Provincial Superiors and the government of the
whole Church is in the hands of the Somdec práh sanghrâc. There is, or
was, also a second prelate called Lòk práh só̆kŏn, or Braḥ Sugandha,
and the two, somewhat after the manner of the two primates of the
English Church, supervise the clergy in different parts of the kingdom,
the second being inferior to the first in rank, but not dependent on
him. But it is said that no successor has been appointed to the last
Braḥ Sugandha who died in 1894. He was a distinguished scholar and
introduced the Dhammayut sect from Siam into Camboja. The king is
recognized as head of the Church, but cannot alter its doctrine or
confiscate ecclesiastical property.


No account of Cambojan religion would be complete without some
reference to the splendid monuments in which it found expression and
which still remain in a great measure intact. The colonists who
established themselves in these regions brought with them the
Dravidian taste for great buildings, but either their travels enlarged
their artistic powers or they modified the Indian style by
assimilating successfully some architectural features found in their
new home. What pre-Indian architecture there may have been among the
Khmers we do not know, but the fact that the earliest known monuments
are Hindu makes it improbable that stone buildings on a large scale
existed before their arrival. The feature which most clearly
distinguishes Cambojan from Indian architecture is its pyramidal
structure. India has stupas and gopurams of pyramidal appearance but
still Hindu temples of the normal type, both in the north and south,
consist of a number of buildings erected on the same level. In Camboja
on the contrary many buildings, such as Ta-Keo, Ba-phuong and the
Phimeanakas, are shrines on the top of pyramids, which consist of
three storeys or large steps, ascended by flights of relatively small
steps. In other buildings, notably Angkor Wat, the pyramidal form is
obscured by the slight elevation of the storeys compared with their
breadth and by the elaboration of the colonnades and other edifices,
which they bear. But still the general plan is that of a series of
courts each rising within and above the last and this gradual rise, by
which the pilgrim is led, not only through colonnade after colonnade,
but up flight after flight of stairs, each leading to something higher
but invisible from the base, imparts to Cambojan temples a sublimity
and aspiring grandeur which is absent from the mysterious halls of
Dravidian shrines.

One might almost suppose that the Cambojan architects had deliberately
set themselves to rectify the chief faults of Indian architecture. One
of these is the profusion of external ornament in high relief which by
its very multiplicity ceases to produce any effect proportionate to
its elaboration, with the result that the general view is
disappointing and majestic outlines are wanting. In Cambojan buildings
on the contrary the general effect is not sacrificed to detail: the
artists knew how to make air and space give dignity to their work.
Another peculiar defect of many Dravidian buildings is that they were
gradually erected round some ancient and originally humble shrine with
the unfortunate result that the outermost courts and gateways are the
most magnificent and that progress to the holy of holies is a series
of artistic disappointments. But at Angkor Wat this fault is carefully
avoided. The long paved road which starts from the first gateway
isolates the great central mass of buildings without dwarfing it and
even in the last court, when one looks up the vast staircases leading
to the five towers which crown the pyramid, all that has led up to the
central shrine seems, as it should, merely an introduction.

The solidity of Cambojan architecture is connected with the prevalence
of inundations. With such dangers it was of primary importance to have a
massive substructure which could not be washed away and the style which
was necessary in building a firm stone platform inspired the rest of the
work. Some unfinished temples reveal the interesting fact that they were
erected first as piles of plain masonry. Then came the decorator and
carved the stones as they stood in their places, so that instead of
carving separate blocks he was able to contemplate his design as a whole
and to spread it over many stones. Hence most Cambojan buildings have a
peculiar air of unity. They have not had ornaments affixed to them but
have grown into an ornamental whole. Yet if an unfavourable criticism is
to be made on these edifices--especially Angkor Wat--it is that the
sculptures are wanting in meaning and importance. They cannot be
compared to the reliefs of Boroboedoer, a veritable catechism in stone
where every clause teaches the believer something new, or even to the
piles of figures in Dravidian temples which, though of small artistic
merit, seem to represent the whirl of the world with all its men and
monsters, struggling from life into death and back to life again. The
reliefs in the great corridors of Angkor are purely decorative. The
artist justly felt that so long a stretch of plain stone would be
wearisome, and as decoration, his work is successful. Looking outwards
the eye is satisfied with such variety as the trees and houses in the
temple courts afford: looking inwards it finds similar variety in the
warriors and deities portrayed on the walls. Some of the scenes have an
historical interest, but the attempt to follow the battles of the
Ramayana or the Churning of the Sea soon becomes a tedious task, for
there is little individuality or inspiration in the figures.

This want of any obvious correspondence between the decoration and
cult of the Cambojan temples often makes it difficult to say to what
deities they were dedicated. The Bayon, or Śivâśrama, was
presumably a linga temple, yet the conjecture is not confirmed as one
would expect by any indubitable evidence in the decoration or
arrangements. In its general plan the building seems more Indian than
others and, like the temple of Jagannâtha at Puri, consists of three
successive chambers, each surmounted by a tower. The most remarkable
feature in the decoration is the repetition of the four-headed figure
at the top of every tower, a striking and effective motive, which is
also found above the gates of the town. Chou Ta-kuan says that there
were golden statues of Buddhas at the entrance to the Bayon. It is
impossible to say whether this statement is accurate or not. He may
have simply made a mistake, but it is equally possible that the fusion
of the two creeds may have ended in images of the Buddha being placed
outside the shrine of the linga.

Strange as it may seem, there is no clear evidence as to the character
of the worship performed in Camboja's greatest temple, Angkor Wat.
Since the prince who commenced it was known by the posthumous title of
Paramavishṇuloka, we may presume that he intended to dedicate it to
Vishṇu and some of the sculptures appear to represent Vishṇu
slaying a demon. But it was not finished until after his death and his
intentions may not have been respected by his successors. An
authoritative statement[324] warns us that it is not safe to say more
about the date of Angkor Wat than that its extreme limits are 1050 and
1170. Jayavarman VII (who came to the throne at about this latter
date) was a Buddhist, and may possibly have used the great temple for
his own worship. The sculptures are hardly Brahmanic in the
theological sense, and those which represent the pleasures of paradise
and the pains of hell recall Buddhist delineations of the same
theme[325]. The four images of the Buddha which are now found in the
central tower are modern and all who have seen them will, I think,
agree that the figure of the great teacher which seems so appropriate
in the neighbouring monasteries is strangely out of place in this
aerial shrine. But what the designer of the building intended to place
there remains a mystery. Perhaps an empty throne such as is seen in
the temples of Annam and Bali would have been the best symbol[326].

Though the monuments of Camboja are well preserved the grey and
massive severity which marks them at present is probably very
different from the appearance that they wore when used for worship.
From Chou Ta-kuan and other sources[327] we gather that the towers and
porches were gilded, the bas-reliefs and perhaps the whole surface of
the walls were painted, and the building was ornamented with flags.
Music and dances were performed in the courtyards and, as in many
Indian temples, the intention was to create a scene which by its
animation and brilliancy might amuse the deity and rival the pleasures
of paradise.

It is remarkable that ancient Camboja which has left us so many
monuments, produced no books[328]. Though the inscriptions and Chou
Ta-kuan testify to the knowledge of literature (especially religious),
both Brahmanic and Buddhist, diffused among the upper classes, no
original works or even adaptations of Indian originals have come down
to us. The length and ambitious character of many inscriptions
give an idea of what the Cambojans could do in the way of writing, but
the result is disappointing. These poems in stone show a knowledge of
Sanskrit, of Indian poetry and theology, which is surprising if we
consider how far from India they were composed, but they are almost
without exception artificial, frigid and devoid of vigour or


[Footnote 242: See among other authorities:

(_a_) E. Aymonier, _Le Cambodge_, Paris, 3 vols. 1900, 1904 (cited as

(_b_) A. Barth, _Inscriptions Sanscrites du Cambodge (Notices et
extraits des MSS. de la Bibliot. Nat._), Paris, 1885 (cited as
_Corpus_, I.).

(_c_) A. Bergaigne, _Inscriptions Sanscrites de Campâ et du Cambodge_
(in same series), 1893 (cited as _Corpus_, II.).

(_d_) L. Finot, "Buddhism in Indo-China," _Buddhist Review_, Oct.

(_e_) G. Maspéro, _L'Empire Khmèr, Phnom Penh_, 1904 (cited as

(_f_) P. Pelliot, "Mémoires sur les Coutumes de Cambodge par Tcheou
Ta-kouan, traduits et annotés," _B.E.F.E.O._ 1902, pp. 123-177 (cited
as Pelliot, _Tcheou Ta-kouan_).

(_g_) _Id._ "Le Founan," _B.E.F.E.O._ 1903, pp. 248-303 (cited as
Pelliot, _Founan_).

(_h_) Articles on various inscriptions by G. Coedès in _J.A._ 1908,
XI. p. 203, XII. p. 213; 1909, XIII. p. 467 and p. 511.

(_i_) _Bulletin de la Commission Archéologique de l'Indochine_, 1908

(_j_) _Le Bayon d'Angkor Thom, Mission Henri Dufour_, 1910-1914.
Besides the articles cited above the _Bulletin de l'Ecole Française
d'Extrême Orient_ (quoted as _B.E.F.E.O._) contains many others
dealing with the religion and archaeology of Camboja.

(_k_) L. Finot, _Notes d'Epigraphie Indo-Chinoise_, 1916. See for
literature up to 1909, G. Coedès, _Bibliothèque raisonnée des travaux
relatifs à l'Archéologie du Cambodge et du Champa_. Paris, Imprimerie
Nationale, 1909.]

[Footnote 243: See especially P.W. Schmitt, _Die Mon-Khmer Völker. Ein
Bindeglied zwischen Völkern Zentral-Asiens und Austronesiens_.
Braunschweig, 1906.]

[Footnote 244: Cambodge is the accepted French spelling of this
country's name. In English Kamboja, Kambodia, Camboja and Cambodia are
all found. The last is the most usual but _di_ is not a good way of
representing the sound of _j_ as usually heard in this name. I have
therefore preferred Camboja.]

[Footnote 245: See the inscription of Bàksĕ, Càṃkró̆ṇ,
_J.A._ XIII. 1909, pp. 468, 469, 497.]

[Footnote 246: The Sui annals (Pelliot, _Founan_, p. 272) state that
"Chên-la lies to the west of Lin-yi: it was originally a vassal state
of Fu-nan.... The name of the king's family was Kshatriya: his
personal name was Citrasena: his ancestors progressively acquired the
sovereignty of the country: Citrasena seized Fu-nan and reduced it to
submission." This seems perfectly clear and we know from Cambojan
inscriptions that Citrasena was the personal name of the king who
reigned as Mahendravarman, _c_. 600 A.D. But it would appear from the
inscriptions that it was his predecessor Bhavavarman who made whatever
change occurred in the relations of Camboja to Fu-nan and in any case
it is not clear who were the inhabitants of Fu-nan if not Cambojans.
Perhaps Maspéro is right in suggesting that Fu-nan was something like
imperial Germany (p. 25), "Si le roi de Bavière s'emparait de la
couronne impériale, rien ne serait changé en Allemagne que la famille

[Footnote 247: It is remarkable that the Baudhâyana-dharma-sûtra
enumerates going to sea among the customs peculiar to the North (I. 1,
2, 4) and then (II. 1, 2, 2) classes making voyages by sea as the
first of the offences which cause loss of caste. This seems to
indicate that the emigrants from India came mainly from the North, but
it would be rash to conclude that in times of stress or enthusiasm the
Southerners did not follow their practice. A passage in the second
chapter of the Kautilîya Arthaśâstra has been interpreted as
referring to the despatch of colonists to foreign countries, but it
probably contemplates nothing more than the transfer of population
from one part of India to another. See Finot, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1912, No.
8. But the passage at any rate shows that the idea of the King being
able to transport a considerable mass of population was familiar in
ancient India. Jâtaka 466 contains a curious story of a village of
carpenters who being unsuccessful in trade built a ship and emigrated
to an island in the ocean. It is clear that there must have been a
considerable seafaring population in India in early times for the Rig
Veda (II. 48, 3; I. 56, 2; I. 116, 3), the Mahabharata and the Jâtakas
allude to the love of gain which sends merchants across the sea and to
shipwrecks. Sculptures at Salsette ascribed to about 150 A.D.
represent a shipwreck. Ships were depicted in the paintings of Ajanta
and also occur on the coins of the Andhra King Yajñaśrî (_c_. 200
A.D.) and in the sculptures of Boroboedoer. The Dîgha Nikâya (XI. 85)
speaks of sea-going ships which when lost let loose a land sighting
bird. Much information is collected in Radhakumud Mookerji's _History
of Indian Shipping_, 1912.]

[Footnote 248: Voyages are still regularly made in dhows between the
west coast of India and Zanzibar or Mombasa and the trade appears to
be old.]

[Footnote 249: See Jâtaka 339 for the voyage to Baveru or Babylon.
Jâtakas 360 and 442 mention voyages to Suvaṇṇabhûmi or Lower
Burma from Bharukaccha and from Benares down the river. The Milinda
Pañha (VI. 21) alludes to traffic with China by sea.]

[Footnote 250: Râm. iv. 40, 30.]

[Footnote 251: Pelliot, _Founan_, p. 254. The Western and Eastern Tsin
reigned from 265 to 419 A.D.]

[Footnote 252: Pelliot, _Founan_, p. 254. Most of the references to
Chinese annals are taken from this valuable paper.]

[Footnote 253: The inscription of Mi-son relates how Kauṇḍinya
planted at Bharapura (? in Camboja) a javelin given to him by

[Footnote 254: This is the modern reading of the characters in Peking,
but Julien's _Méthode_ justifies the transcription Kau-ḍi-nya.]

[Footnote 255: See S. Lévi in _Mélanges Charles de Harlez_, p. 176.
Deux peuples méconnus. i. Les Murunḍas.]

[Footnote 256: _Nanjio Catalogue_, p. 422.]

[Footnote 257: I-Tsing, trans. Takakusu, p. 12.]

[Footnote 258: _Corpus_, I. p. 65.]

[Footnote 259: _Corpus_, I. pp. 84, 89, 90, and _Jour. Asiatique_,
1882, p. 152.]

[Footnote 260: When visiting Badami, Paṭṭadkal and Aihole in
1912 I noted the following resemblances between the temples of that
district and those of Camboja. (_a_) The chief figures are Harihara,
Vâmana and Nṛisiṃha. At Paṭṭadkal, as at Angkor Wat, the
reliefs on the temple wall represent the Churning of the Sea and
scenes from the Râmâyana. (_b_) Large blocks of stone were used for
building and after being put in their positions were carved _in situ_,
as is shown by unfinished work in places. (_c_) Medallions containing
faces are frequent. (_d_) The architectural scheme is not as in
Dravidian temples, that is to say larger outside and becoming smaller
as one proceeds towards the interior. There is generally a central
tower attached to a hall. (_e_) The temples are often raised on a
basement. (_f_) Mukhalingas and kośhas are still used in worship.
(_g_) There are verandahs resembling those at Angkor Wat. They have
sloping stone roofs, sculptures in relief on the inside wall and a
series of windows in the outside wall. (_h_) The doors of the Linga
shrines have a serpentine ornamentation and are very like those of the
Bayon. (_i_) A native gentleman told me that he had seen temples with
five towers in this neighbourhood, but I have not seen them myself.]

[Footnote 261: _E.g._ Mahendravarman, Narasinhavarman,
Parameśvaravarman, etc. It may be noticed that Paṭṭadkal is
considerably to the N.W. of Madras and that the Pallavas are supposed
to have come from the northern part of the present Madras Presidency.
Though the Hindus who emigrated to Camboja probably embarked in the
neighbourhood of Madras, they may have come from countries much
further to the north. Varman is recognized as a proper termination of
Kshatriya names, but it is remarkable that it is found in _all_ the
Sanskrit names of Cambojan kings and is very common in Pallava names.
The name of Aśvatthâman figures in the mythical genealogies of both
the Pallavas and the kings of Champa or perhaps of Camboja, see
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 923.]

[Footnote 262: Some authorities think that Kaundinya is meant by the
wicked king, but he lived about 300 years before I-Ching's visit and
the language seems to refer to more recent events. Although
Bhavavarman is not known to have been a religious innovator he appears
to have established a new order of things in Camboja and his
inscriptions show that he was a zealous worshipper of Śiva and
other Indian deities. It would be even more natural if I-Ching
referred to Iśânavarman (c. 615) or Jayavarman I (c. 650), but
there is no proof that these kings were anti-buddhist.]

[Footnote 263: Schiefner, p. 262.]

[Footnote 264: See Maspéro, _L'Empire Khmèr_, pp. 24 ff.]

[Footnote 265: Perhaps a second Bhavavarman came between these last
two kings; see Coedès in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p 691.]

[Footnote 266: See Mecquenem in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1913, No. 2.]

[Footnote 267: But the captivity is only an inference and not a
necessary one. Finot suggests that the ancient royal house of Fu-nan
may have resided at Javâ and have claimed suzerain rights over Camboja
which Jayavarman somehow abolished. The only clear statements on the
question are those in the Sdok Kak Thom inscription, Khmer text c. 72,
which tell us that Camboja had been dependent on Javâ and that
Jayavarman II instituted a special state cult as a sign that this
dependence had come to an end.

It is true that the Hindu colonists of Camboja may have come from the
island of Java, yet no evidence supports the idea that Camboja was a
dependency of the island about 800 A.D. and the inscriptions of Champa
seem to distinguish clearly between Yavadvîpa (the island) and the
unknown country called Javâ. See Finot, _Notes d'Epig._ pp. 48 and
240. Hence it seems unlikely that the barbarous pirates (called the
armies of Java) who invaded Champa in 787 (see the inscription of Yang
Tikuh) were from the island. The Siamese inscription of Râma Khomhëng,
c. 1300 A.D., speaks of a place called Chavâ, which may be Luang
Prabang. On the other hand it does not seem likely that pirates,
expressly described as using ships, would have come from the

[Footnote 268: For these annals see F. Garnier, "La Chronique royale
du Cambodje," _J.A._ 1871 and 1872. A. de Villemereuil, _Explorations
et Missions de Doudard de Lagrée_, 1882. J. Moura, _Le Royaume de
Cambodje_, vol. II. 1883. E. Aymonier, _Chronique des Anciens rois du
Cambodje. (Excursions et reconnaissances_. Saigon, 1881.)]

[Footnote 269: _E.g._ Ang Chan (1796-1834) received his crown from the
King of Siam and paid tribute to the King of Annam; Ang Duong
(1846-1859) was crowned by representatives of Annam and Siam and his
territory was occupied by the troops of both countries.]

[Footnote 270: The later history of Camboja is treated in considerable
detail by A. Leclerc, _Histoire de Cambodge_, 1914.]

[Footnote 271: Inscrip. of Moroun, _Corpus_, II. 387.]

[Footnote 272: Other local deities may be alluded to, under the names of
Śrî Jayakshetra, "the field of victory" adored at Basset Simâdamataka,
Śrî Mandareśvara, and Śrî Jalangeśvara. Aymonier, II. p. 297; I. pp.
305, 306 and 327.]

[Footnote 273: Inscrip. of Lovek.]

[Footnote 274: Prea Eynkosey, 970 A.D. See _Corpus_, I. pp. 77 ff.]

[Footnote 275: This compound deity is celebrated in the Harivamsa and
is represented in the sculptures of the rock temple at Badami, which
is dated 578 A.D. Thus his worship may easily have reached Camboja in
the sixth or seventh century.]

[Footnote 276: Jayato jagatâm bhûtyai Kritasandhî Harâcyutau,
Parvatîśrîpatitvena Bhinnamûrttidharâvapi. See also the Inscrip. of
Ang Chumnik (667 A.D.), verses 11 and 12 in _Corpus_, I. p. 67.]

[Footnote 277: The Bayang Inscription, _Corpus_, I. pp. 31 ff. which
mentions the dates 604 and 626 as recent.]

[Footnote 278: _Corpus_, II. p. 422 Śaivapaśupatâcâryyau. The
inscription fixes the relative rank of various Acâryas.]

[Footnote 279: See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1906, p. 70.]

[Footnote 280: See specially on this subject, Coedès in _Bull. Comm.
Archéol. de l'Indochine_, 1911, p. 38, and 1913, p. 81, and the
letterpress of _Le Bayon d'Angkor Thorn_, 1914.]

[Footnote 281: I have seen myself a stone lingam carved with four
faces in a tank belonging to a temple at Maḥakut not far from

[Footnote 282: Suvarṇamayalingagateśvare te sûkshmântarâtmani.
Inscrip. of Prea Ngouk, _Corpus_, I. p. 157.]

[Footnote 283: _E.g._ see _Epig. Indica_, vol. III. pp. 1 ff. At
Paṭṭadkal (which region offers so many points of resemblance to
Camboja) King Vijayâditya founded a temple of Vijayeśvara and two
Queens, Lokamahâdevî and Trailokyamahâdevî founded temples of
Lokeśvara and Trailokyeśvara.]

[Footnote 284: Aymonier, II. pp. 257 ff. and especially Finot in
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1915, xv. 2, p. 53.]

[Footnote 285: See above.]

[Footnote 286: Sammohana and Niruttara are given as names of Tantras.
The former word may perhaps be the beginning of a compound. There are
Pali works called Sammohavinodinî and S. vinâśinî. The inscription
calls the four treatises the four faces of Tumburn.]

[Footnote 287: This shows that matriarchy must have been in force in

[Footnote 288: Jânapada as the name of a locality is cited by
Böthlingck and Roth from the Gaṇa to Pâniṇi, 4. 2. 82.]

[Footnote 289: Possibly others may have held office during this long
period, but evidently all three priests lived to be very old men and
each may have been Guru for forty years.]

[Footnote 290: This place which means merely "the abode of Hari and
Hara" has not been identified.]

[Footnote 291: _Corpus_, II. Inscrip. lvi. especially pp. 248-251.]

[Footnote 292: Veal Kantel. _Corpus_, I. p. 28.]

[Footnote 293: Inscr. of Prah Khan, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 675.]

[Footnote 294: _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 677.]

[Footnote 295: Just as a Vedic sacrifice was performed in the court of
the temple of Chidambaram about 1908.]

[Footnote 296: Aymonier, _Cambodja_, I. p. 442.]

[Footnote 297: Śâstâ sounds like a title of Śâkyamuni, but, if
Aymonier is correct, the personage is described as a Bodhisattva.
There were pagoda slaves even in modern Burma.]

[Footnote 298: See Coedès, "La Stèle de Tép Praṇaṃ," in _J.A._
XI. 1908, p. 203.]

[Footnote 299: Inscrip. of Ta Prohm, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1906, p. 44.]

[Footnote 300: See Senart in _Revue Archéologique_, 1883. As in many
inscriptions it is not always plain who is speaking but in most parts
it is apparently the minister promulgating the instructions of the

[Footnote 301: Inscript. of Prasat Prah Khse, _Corpus_, I. p. 173.]

[Footnote 302: Buddhânâm agraṇîr api, _J.A._ XX. 1882, p. 164.]

[Footnote 303: See Coedès, "Inscriptions de Bàt Cuṃ," in _J.A._
XII. 1908, pp. 230, 241.]

[Footnote 304: The Bodhisattva corresponding to the Buddha Akshobhya.
He is green or blue and carries a thunderbolt. It seems probable that
he is a metamorphosis of Indra.]

[Footnote 305: An exceedingly curious stanza eulogizes the doctrine of
the non-existence of the soul taught by the Buddha which leads to
identification with the universal soul although contrary to it. Vuddho
vodhîm vidaddhyâd vo yena nairâtmyadarśanaṃ viruddhasyâpi
sâdhûktaṃ sâdhanaṃ paramâtmanaḥ.]

[Footnote 306: Aymonier, I pp. 261 ff. Senart, _Revue Archéologique_,
Mars-Avril, 1883.]

[Footnote 307: Nanjio, 1244 and 1248.]

[Footnote 308: The common designation of Avalokita in Camboja and
Java. For the inscription see _B.E.F.E.O._ 1906, pp. 44 ff.]

[Footnote 309: Stanza XLVI.]

[Footnote 310: The inscription only says "There are here (atra)." Can
this mean in the various religious establishments maintained by the

[Footnote 311: See also Finot, _Notes d'Epig_. pp. 332-335. The
Mahâvaṃsa repeatedly mentions that kings founded hospitals and
distributed medicines. See too, Yule, _Marco Polo_, I. p. 446. The
care of the sick was recognized as a duty and a meritorious act in all
Buddhist countries and is recommended by the example of the Buddha

[Footnote 312: Their somewhat lengthy titles are
Bhaishajyaguruvaidûryaprabharâja, Sûryavairocanacaṇḍaroci and
Candravairocanarohinîśa. See for an account of them and the texts
on which their worship is founded the learned article of M. Pelliot,
"Le Bhaiṣajyaguru," _B.E.F.E.O._ 1903, p. 33.]

[Footnote 313: His narrative is translated by M. Pelliot in
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1902, pp. 123-177.]

[Footnote 314: Pelliot (_B.E.F.E.O._ 1902, p. 148) cites a statement
from the Ling Wai Tai Ta that there were two classes of bonzes in
Camboja, those who wore yellow robes and married and those who wore
red robes and lived in convents.]

[Footnote 315: M. Finot conjectures that it represents the Siamese
Chao (Lord) and a corruption of Guru.]

[Footnote 316: See chapter on Siam, sect. 1.]

[Footnote 317: _Corpus_, II. p. 422.]

[Footnote 318: The strange statement of Chou Ta-kuan (pp. 153-155)
that the Buddhist and Taoist priests enjoyed a species of _jus primæ
noctis_ has been much discussed. Taken by itself it might be merely a
queer story founded on a misunderstanding of Cambojan customs, for he
candidly says that his information is untrustworthy. But taking it in
connection with the stories about the Aris in Burma (see especially
Finot, _J.A._ 1912, p. 121) and the customs attributed by Chinese and
Europeans to the Siamese and Philippinos, we can hardly come to any
conclusion except that this strange usage was an aboriginal custom in
Indo-China and the Archipelago, prior to the introductions of Indian
civilization, but not suppressed for some time. At the present day
there seems to be no trace or even tradition of such a custom. For
Siamese and Philippine customs see _B.E.F.E.O._ 1902, p. 153, note 4.]

[Footnote 319: The French Archæological Commission states that
exclusive of Angkor and the neighbouring buildings there are remains
of 600 temples in Camboja, and probably many have entirely

[Footnote 320: Maspéro, pp. 62-3.]

[Footnote 321: The food is prepared in the monasteries, and, as in
other countries, the begging round is a mere formality.]

[Footnote 322: But in Chinese temples notices forbidding smoking are
often posted on the doors.]

[Footnote 323: The word dhyâna is known, but the exercise is more
commonly called Vipassanâ or Kammathâna.]

[Footnote 324: M.G. Coedès in _Bull. Comm. Archéol._ 1911, p. 220.]

[Footnote 325: Although there is no reason why these pictures of the
future life should not be Brahmanic as well as Buddhist, I do not
remember having seen them in any purely Brahmanic temple.]

[Footnote 326: After spending some time at Angkor Wat I find it hard
to believe the theory that it was a palace. The King of Camboja was
doubtless regarded as a living God, but so is the Grand Lama, and it
does not appear that the Potala where he lives is anything but a large
residential building containing halls and chapels much like the
Vatican. But at Angkor Wat everything leads up to a central shrine. It
is quite probable however that the deity of this shrine was a deified
king, identified with Vishṇu after his death. This would account
for the remarks of Chou Ta-kuan who seems to have regarded it as a

[Footnote 327: See especially the inscription of Bassac. Kern,
_Annales de l'Extrème Orient_, t. III. 1880, p. 65.]

[Footnote 328: Pali books are common in monasteries. For the
literature of Laos see Finot, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1917, No. 5.]



THE kingdom of Champa, though a considerable power from about the
third century until the end of the fifteenth, has attracted less
attention than Camboja or Java. Its name is a thing of the past and
known only to students: its monuments are inferior in size and
artistic merit to those of the other Hindu kingdoms in the Far East
and perhaps its chief interest is that it furnishes the oldest
Sanskrit inscription yet known from these regions.

Champa occupied the south-eastern corner of Asia beyond the Malay
Peninsula, if the word corner can be properly applied to such rounded
outlines. Its extent varied at different epochs, but it may be roughly
defined in the language of modern geography as the southern portion of
Annam, comprising the provinces of Quãng-nam in the north and
Bînh-Thuan in the south with the intervening country. It was divided
into three provinces, which respectively became the seat of empire at
different periods. They were (i) in the north Amarâvatî (the modern
Quãng-nam) with the towns of Indrapura and Sinhapura; (ii) in the
middle Vijaya (the modern Bing-Dinh) with the town of Vijaya and the
port of Śrî-Vinaya; (iii) in the south Pâṇḍurânga or Panran
(the modern provinces of Phanrang and Binh-Thuan) with the town of
Vîrapura or Râjapura. A section of Pâṇḍurânga called Kauthâra
(the modern Kanh hoa) was a separate province at certain times. Like
the modern Annam, Champa appears to have been mainly a littoral
kingdom and not to have extended far into the mountains of the

Champa was the ancient name of a town in western Bengal near
Bhagalpur, but its application to these regions does not seem due to
any connection with north-eastern India. The conquerors of the
country, who were called Chams, had a certain amount of Indian culture
and considered the classical name Champa as an elegant expression for
the land of the Chams. Judging by their language these Chams belonged
to the Malay-Polynesian group and their distribution along the
littoral suggests that they were invaders from the sea like the Malay
pirates from whom they themselves subsequently suffered. The earliest
inscription in the Cham language dates from the beginning of the ninth
century but it is preceded by a long series of Sanskrit inscriptions
the oldest of which, that of Vo-can[330], is attributed at latest to
the third century, and refers to an earlier king. It therefore seems
probable that the Hindu dynasty of Chaṃpa was founded between 150
and 200 A.D. but there is no evidence to show whether a Malay race
already settled in Champa was conquered and hinduized by Indian
invaders, or whether the Chams were already hinduized when they
arrived, possibly from Java.

The inferiority of the Chams to the Khmers in civilization was the
result of their more troubled history. Both countries had to contend
against the same difficulty--a powerful and aggressive neighbour on
either side. Camboja between Siam and Annam in 1800 was in very much
the same position as Champa had been between Camboja and Annam five
hundred years earlier. But between 950 and 1150 A.D. when Champa by no
means enjoyed stability and peace, the history of Camboja, if not
altogether tranquil, at least records several long reigns of powerful
kings who were able to embellish their capital and assure its
security. The Chams were exposed to attacks not only from Annam
but also from the more formidable if distant Chinese and their
capital, instead of remaining stationary through several centuries
like Angkor Thom, was frequently moved as one or other of the three
provinces became more important.

The inscription of Vo-can is in correct Sanskrit prose and contains a
fragmentary address from a king who seems to have been a Buddhist and
writes somewhat in the style of Asoka. He boasts that he is of the
family of Śrîmârarâja. The letters closely resemble those of
Rudradaman's inscription at Girnar and contemporary inscriptions at
Kanheri. The text is much mutilated so that we know neither the name
of the writer nor his relationship to Śrîmâra. But the latter was
evidently the founder of the dynasty and may have been separated from
his descendant by several generations. It is noticeable that his name
does not end in Varman, like those of later kings. If he lived at the
end of the second century this would harmonize with the oldest Chinese
notices which fix the rise of Lin-I (their name for Champa) about 192
A.D.[331] Agreeably to this we also hear that Hun T'ien founded an
Indian kingdom in Fu-nan considerably before 265 A.D. and that some
time between 220 and 280 a king of Fu-nan sent an embassy to India.
The name Fu-nan may include Champa. But though we hear of Hindu
kingdoms in these districts at an early date we know nothing of their
civilization or history, nor do we obtain much information from those
Cham legends which represent the dynasties of Champa as descended from
two clans, those of the cabbage palm (aréquier) and cocoanut.

Chinese sources also state that a king called Fan-yi sent an embassy
to China in 284 and give the names of several kings who reigned
between 336 and 440. One of these, Fan-hu-ta, is apparently the
Bhadravarman who has left some Sanskrit inscriptions dating from about
400 and who built the first temple at Mĩ-so'n. This became the
national sanctuary of Champa: it was burnt down about 575 A.D. but
rebuilt. Bhadravarman's son Gangarâja appears to have abdicated and to
have gone on a pilgrimage to the Ganges[332]--another instance of the
intercourse prevailing between these regions and India.

It would be useless to follow in detail the long chronicle of the
kings of Champa but a few events merit mention. In 446 and again in
605 the Chinese invaded the country and severely chastised the
inhabitants. But the second invasion was followed by a period of peace
and prosperity. Śambhuvarman (†629) restored the temples of
Mi-so'n and two of his successors, both called Vikrântavarman, were
also great builders. The kings who reigned from 758 to 859, reckoned
as the fifth dynasty, belonged to the south and had their capital at
Vîrapura. The change seems to have been important, for the Chinese who
had previously called the country Lin-I, henceforth call it Huan-wang.
The natives continued to use the name Champa but Satyavarman and the
other kings of the dynasty do not mention Mi-so'n though they adorned
and endowed Po-nagar and other sanctuaries in the south. It was during
this period (A.D. 774 and 787) that the province of Kauthâra was
invaded by pirates, described as thin black barbarians and cannibals,
and also as the armies of Java[333]. They pillaged the temples but
were eventually expelled. They were probably Malays but it is
difficult to believe that the Javanese could be seriously accused of
cannibalism at this period[334].

The capital continued to be transferred under subsequent dynasties.
Under the sixth (860-900) it was at Indrapura in the north: under the
seventh (900-986) it returned to the south: under the eighth
(989-1044) it was in Vijaya, the central province. These internal
changes were accompanied by foreign attacks. The Khmers invaded the
southern province in 945. On the north an Annamite Prince founded the
kingdom of Dai-côviêt, which became a thorn in the side of Champa. In
982 its armies destroyed Indrapura, and in 1044 they captured Vijaya.
In 1069 King Rudravarman was taken prisoner but was released in return
for the cession of the three northernmost provinces. Indrapura however
was rebuilt and for a time successful wars were waged against Camboja,
but though the kings of Champa did not acquiesce in the loss of the
northern provinces, and though Harivarman III (1074-80) was
temporarily victorious, no real progress was made in the contest with
Annam, whither the Chams had to send embassies practically admitting
that they were a vassal state. In the next century further disastrous
quarrels with Camboja ensued and in 1192 Champa was split into two
kingdoms, Vijaya in the north under a Cambojan prince and Panran in
the south governed by a Cham prince but under the suzerainty of
Camboja. This arrangement was not successful and after much fighting
Champa became a Khmer province though a very unruly one from 1203 till
1220. Subsequently the aggressive vigour of the Khmers was tempered by
their own wars with Siam. But it was not the fate of Champa to be left
in peace. The invasion of Khubilai lasted from 1278 to 1285 and in
1306 the provinces of O and Ly were ceded to Annam.

Champa now became for practical purposes an Annamite province and in
1318 the king fled to Java for refuge. This connection with Java is
interesting and there are other instances of it. King Jaya Simhavarman
III († 1307) of Champa married a Javanese princess called Tapasi.
Later we hear in Javanese records that in the fifteenth century the
princess Darawati of Champa married the king of Madjapahit and her
sister married Raden Radmat, a prominent Moslim teacher in Java[335].

The power of the Chams was crushed by Annam in 1470. After this date
they had little political importance but continued to exist as a
nationality under their own rulers. In 1650 they revolted against
Annam without success and the king was captured. But his widow was
accorded a titular position and the Cham chronicle[336] continues the
list of nominal kings down to 1822.

In Champa, as in Camboja, no books dating from the Hindu period have
been preserved and probably there were not many. The Cham language
appears not to have been used for literary purposes and whatever culture
existed was exclusively Sanskrit. The kings are credited with an
extensive knowledge of Sanskrit literature. An inscription at
Po-nagar[337] (918 A.D.) says that Śrî Indravarman was acquainted with
the Mîmâṃsâ and other systems of philosophy, Jinendra, and grammar
together with the Kâśikâ (vṛitti) and the Śaivottara-Kalpa. Again an
inscription of Mi-son[338] ascribes to Jaya Indravarmadeva (_c._ 1175
A.D.) proficiency in all the sciences as well as a knowledge of the
Mahâyâna and the Dharmaśâstras, particularly the Nâradîya and
Bhârgavîya. To some extent original compositions in Sanskrit must have
been produced, for several of the inscriptions are of considerable
length and one[339] gives a quotation from a work called the Purâṇârtha
or Arthapurâṇaśâstra which appears to have been a chronicle of Champa.
But the language of the inscriptions is often careless and incorrect and
indicates that the study of Sanskrit was less flourishing than in


The monuments of Champa, though considerable in size and number, are
inferior to those of Camboja. The individual buildings are smaller and
simpler and the groups into which they are combined lack unity. Brick
was the chief material, stone being used only when brick would not
serve, as for statues and lintels. The commonest type of edifice is a
square pyramidal structure called by the Chams Kalan. A Kalan is as a
rule erected on a hill or rising ground: its lowest storey has on the
east a porch and vestibule, on the other three sides false doors. The
same shape is repeated in four upper storeys of decreasing size which
however serve merely for external decoration and correspond to nothing
in the interior. This is a single windowless pyramidal cell lighted by
the door and probably also by lamps placed in niches on the inner
walls. In the centre stood a pedestal for a linga or an image, with a
channel to carry off libations, leading to a spout in the wall. The
outline of the tower is often varied by projecting figures or
ornaments, but the sculpture is less lavish than in Camboja and Java.

In the greater religious sites several structures are grouped
together. A square wall surrounds an enclosure entered by a gateway
and containing one or more Kalans, as well as smaller buildings,
probably for the use of priests. Before the gateway there is
frequently a hall supported by columns but open at the sides.

All known specimens of Cham architecture are temples; palaces and
other secular buildings were made of wood and have disappeared. Of the
many sanctuaries which have been discovered, the most remarkable are
those of Mi-son, and Dong Duong, both in the neighbourhood of Tourane,
and Po Nagar close to Nhatrang.

Mi-son[340] is an undulating amphitheatre among mountains and contains
eight or nine groups of temples, founded at different times. The
earliest structures, erected by Bhadravarman I about 400, have
disappeared[341] and were probably of wood, since we hear that they
were burnt (apparently by an accident) in 575 A.D. New temples were
constructed by Śambhuvarman about twenty-five years later and were
dedicated to Śambhu-bhadreśvara, in which title the names of the
founder, restorer and the deity are combined. These buildings, of
which portions remain, represent the oldest and best period of Cham
art. Another style begins under Vikrântavarman I between 657 and 679
A.D. This reign marks a period of decadence and though several
buildings were erected at Mi-son during the eighth and ninth
centuries, the locality was comparatively neglected[342] until the
reign of Harivarman III (1074-1080). The temples had been ravaged by
the Annamites but this king, being a successful warrior, was able to
restore them and dedicated to them the booty which he had captured.
Though his reign marks a period of temporary prosperity in the annals
of Champa, the style which he inaugurated in architecture has little
originality. It reverts to the ancient forms but shows conscious
archaism rather than fresh vigour. The position of Mi-son, however,
did not decline and about 1155 Jaya Harivarman I repaired the
buildings, dedicated the booty taken in battle and erected a new
temple in fulfilment of a vow. But after this period the princes of
Champa had no authority in the district of Mi-son, and the Annamites,
who seem to have disliked the religion of the Chams, plundered the

Po-nagar[343] is near the port of Nha-trang and overlooks the sea.
Being smaller that Mi-son it has more unity but still shows little
attempt to combine in one architectural whole the buildings of which
it is composed.

An inscription[344] states with curious precision that the shrine was
first erected in the year 5911 of the Dvâpara age and this fantastic
chronology shows that in our tenth century it was regarded as ancient.
As at Mi-son, the original buildings were probably of wood for in 774
they were sacked and burnt by pirates who carried off the image[345].
Shortly afterwards they were rebuilt in brick by King Satyavarman and
the existing southern tower probably dates from his reign, but the
great central tower was built by Harivarman I (817 A.D.) and the other
edifices are later.

Po Nagar or Yang Po Nagar means the Lady or Goddess of the city. She
was commonly called Bhagavatî in Sanskrit[346] and appears to have
been the chief object of worship at Nha-trang, although Śiva was
associated with her under the name of Bhagavatîśvara. In 1050 an
ardhanarî image representing Śiva and Bhagavatî combined in one
figure was presented to the temple by King Parameśvara and a
dedicatory inscription describes this double deity as the cosmic

When Champa was finally conquered the temple was sold to the
Annamites, who admitted that they could not acquire it except by some
special and peaceful arrangement. Even now they still continue the
worship of the goddess though they no longer know who she is[347].

Dong Duong, about twenty kilometres to the south of Mi-son, marks the
site of the ancient capital Indrapura. The monument which has made its
name known differs from those already described. Compared with them it
has some pretensions to be a whole, laid out on a definite plan and it
is Buddhist. It consists of three courts[348] surrounded by walls and
entered by massive porticoes. In the third there are about twenty
buildings and perhaps it did not escape the fault common to Cham
architecture of presenting a collection of disconnected and unrelated
edifices, but still there is clearly an attempt to lead up from the
outermost portico through halls and gateways to the principal shrine.
From an inscription dated 875 A.D. we learn that the ruins are those
of a temple and vihâra erected by King Indravarman and dedicated to
Avalokita under the name of Lakshmîndra Lokeśvara.


The religion of Champa was practically identical with that of Camboja.
If the inscriptions of the former tell us more about mukhalingas and
koshas and those of the latter have more allusions to the worship of
the compound deity Hari-hara, this is probably a matter of chance. But
even supposing that different cults were specially prominent at
different places, it seems clear that all the gods and ceremonies
known in Camboja were also known in Champa and _vice versa_. In both
countries the national religion was Hinduism, mainly of the Śivaite
type, accompanied by Mahayanist Buddhism which occasionally came to
the front under royal patronage. In both any indigenous beliefs which
may have existed did not form a separate system. It is probable
however that the goddess known at Po-nagar as Bhagavatî was an ancient
local deity worshipped before the Hindu immigration and an inscription
found at Mi-son recommends those whose eyes are diseased to propitiate
Kuvera and thus secure protection against Ekâkshapingalâ, "the tawny
one-eyed (spirit)." Though this goddess or demon was probably a
creation of local fancy, similar identifications of Kâlî with the
spirits presiding over cholera, smallpox, etc., take place in India.

The social system was theoretically based on the four castes, but
Chinese accounts indicate that in questions of marriage and
inheritance older ideas connected with matriarchy and a division into
clans still had weight. But the language of the inscriptions is most
orthodox. King Vikrântavarman[349] quotes with approval the saying
that the horse sacrifice is the best of good deeds and the murder of a
Brahman the worst of sins. Brahmans, chaplains (purohita), pandits and
ascetics are frequently mentioned as worthy of honour and gifts.
The high priest or royal chaplain is styled Śrîparamapurohita but
it does not appear that there was a sacerdotal family enjoying the
unique position held by the Śivakaivalyas in Camboja. The frequent
changes of capital and dynasty in Champa were unfavourable to
continuity in either Church or State.

Śivaism, without any hostility to Vishṇuism or Buddhism, was the
dominant creed. The earliest known inscription, that of Vo-can,
contains indications of Buddhism, but three others believed to date
from about 400 A.D. invoke Śiva under some such title as
Bhadreśvara, indicating that a temple had been dedicated to him by
King Bhadravarman. Thus the practice of combining the names of a king
and his patron deity in one appellation existed in Champa at this
early date[350]. It is also recorded from southern India, Camboja and
Java. Besides Śiva one of the inscriptions venerates, though in a
rather perfunctory manner, Umâ, Brahmâ, Vishṇu and the five
elements. Several inscriptions[351] give details of Śivaite
theology which agree with what we know of it in Camboja. The world
animate and inanimate is an emanation from Śiva, but he delivers
from the world those who think of him. Meditation, the practice of
Yoga, and devotion to Śiva are several times mentioned with
approval[352]. He abides in eight forms corresponding to his eight
names Śarva, Bhava, Paśupati, Iśâna, Bhîma, Rudra, Mahâdeva,
and Ugra. He is also, as in Java, Guru or the teacher and he has the
usual mythological epithets. He dances in lonely places, he rides on
the bull Nandi, is the slayer of Kâma, etc. Though represented by
figures embodying such legends he was most commonly adored under the
form of the linga which in Champa more than elsewhere came to be
regarded as not merely symbolic but as a personal god. To mark this
individuality it was commonly enclosed in a metal case (kosha) bearing
one or more human faces[353]. It was then called mukhalinga and the
faces were probably intended as portraits of royal donors,
identified with the god in form as well as in name. An inscription of
1163 A.D. records the dedication of such a kosha, adorned with five
royal faces, to Śrîśânabhadreśvara. The god, it is said, will
now be able to give his blessing to all regions through his five
mouths which he could not do before, and being enclosed in the kosha,
like an embryo in the matrix, he becomes Hiraṇyagarbha. The linga,
with or without these ornaments, was set on a _snânadroṇi_ or stone
table arranged for receiving libations, and sometimes (as in Java and
Camboja) four or more lingas were set upon a single slab. From A.D.
400 onwards, the cult of Śiva seems to have maintained its
paramount position during the whole history of Champa, for the last
recorded Sanskrit inscription is dedicated to him. From first to last
it was the state religion. Śiva is said to have sent Uroja to be
the first king and is even styled the root of the state of Champa.

An inscription[354] of 811 A.D. celebrates the dual deity
Śankara-Nârâyaṇa. It is noticeable that Nârâyaṇa is said to have held
up Mt. Govardhana and is apparently identified with Kṛishṇa. Râma and
Kṛishṇa are both mentioned in an inscription of 1157 which states that
the whole divinity of Vishṇu was incarnate in King Jaya Harivarman
I[355]. But neither allusions to Vishṇu nor figures of him[356] are
numerous and he plays the part of an accessory though respected
personage. Garuḍa, on whom he rides, was better known than the god
himself and is frequently represented in sculpture.

The Śakti of Śiva, amalgamated as mentioned with a native goddess,
received great honour (especially at Nhatrang) under the names of Umâ,
Bhagavatî, the Lady of the city (Yang Po Nagar) and the goddess of
Kauthâra. In another form or aspect she was called Maladâkuṭhâra.[357]
There was also a temple of Ganeśa (Śri-Vinâyaka) at Nhatrang but statues
of this deity and of Skanda are rare.

The Chinese pilgrim I-Ching, writing in the last year of the seventh
century, includes Champa (Lin-I) in the list of countries which "greatly
reverence the three jewels" and contrasts it with Fu-nan where a wicked
king had recently almost exterminated Buddhism. He says "In this country
Buddhists generally belong to the Arya-sammiti school, and there are
also a few followers of the Aryasarvâstivâdin school." The statement is
remarkable, for he also tells us that the Sarvâstivâdins were the
predominant sect in the Malay Archipelago and flourished in southern
China. The headquarters of the Sammitîyas were, according to the
accounts of both Hsüan Chuang and I-Ching, in western India though, like
the three other schools, they were also found in Magadha and eastern
India. We also hear that the brother and sister of the Emperor Harsha
belonged to this sect and it was probably influential. How it spread to
Champa we do not know, nor do the inscriptions mention its name or
indicate that the Buddhism which they knew was anything but the mixture
of the Mahayana with Śivaism[358] which prevailed in Camboja.

I-Ching's statements can hardly be interpreted to mean that Buddhism
was the official religion of Champa at any rate after 400 A.D., for
the inscriptions abundantly prove that the Śivaite shrines of
Mi-son and Po-nagar were so to speak national cathedrals where the
kings worshipped on behalf of the country. But the Vo-can inscription
(? 250 A.D.), though it does not mention Buddhism, appears to be
Buddhist, and it would be quite natural that a dynasty founded about
150 A.D. should be Buddhist but that intercourse with Camboja and
probably with India should strengthen Śivaism. The Chinese annals
mention[359] that 1350 Buddhist books were carried off during a
Chinese invasion in 605 A.D. and this allusion implies the existence
of Buddhism and monasteries with libraries. As in Camboja it was
perhaps followed by ministers rather than by kings. An inscription
found[360] in southern Champa and dated as 829 A.D. records how a
sthavira named Buddhanirvâṇa erected two vihâras and two temples
(devakula) to Jina and Śankara (Buddha and Śiva) in honour of
his deceased father. Shortly afterwards there came to the throne
Indravarman II (860-890 A.D.), the only king of Champa who is known
to have been a fervent Buddhist. He did not fail to honour Śiva as
the patron of his kingdom but like Asoka he was an enthusiast for the
Dharma[361]. He desires the knowledge of the Dharma: he builds
monasteries for the sake of the Dharma: he wishes to propagate it: he
even says that the king of the gods governs heaven by the principles
of Dharma. He wishes to lead all his subjects to the "yoke and abode
of Buddha," to "the city of deliverance."

To this end he founded the vihâra of Dong Duong, already described,
and dedicated it to Śri Lakshmîndra Lokeśvara[362]. This last
word is a synonym of Avalokita, which also occurs in the dedicatory
inscription but in a fragmentary passage. Lakshmîndra is explained by
other passages in the inscription from which we learn that the king's
name before he ascended the throne was Lakshmîndra Bhûmîśvara, so
that the Bodhisattva is here adored under the name of the king who
erected the vihâra according to the custom prevalent in Śivaite
temples. Like those temples this vihâra received an endowment of land
and slaves of both sexes, as well as gold, silver and other

A king who reigned from 1080 to 1086 was called Paramabodhisattva, but
no further epigraphic records of Buddhism are known until the reigns of
Jaya Indravarmadeva (1167-1192) and his successor Sûryavarmadeva[364].
Both of these monarchs, while worshipping Śiva, are described as knowing
or practising the jñâna or dharma of the Mahayana. Little emphasis
seems to be laid on these expressions but still they imply that the
Mahayana was respected and considered part of the royal religion.
Sûryavarmadeva erected a building called Śrî Herukaharmya[365]. The
title is interesting for it contains the name of the Tantric Buddha

The grotto of Phong-nha[366] in the extreme north of Champa (province
of Quang Binh) must have been a Buddhist shrine. Numerous medallions
in clay bearing representations of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Dagobas
have been found there but dates are wanting.

It does not appear that the Hinayanist influence which became
predominant in Camboja extended to Champa. That influence came from
Siam and before it had time to traverse Camboja, Champa was already in
the grip of the Annamites, whose religion with the rest of their
civilization came from China rather than India. Chinese culture and
writing spread to the Cambojan frontier and after the decay of Champa,
Camboja marks the permanent limit within which an Indian alphabet and
a form of Buddhism not derived through China have maintained

A large number of the Chams were converted to Mohammedanism but the
time and circumstances of the event are unknown. When Friar Gabriel
visited the country at the end of the sixteenth century a form of
Hinduism seems to have been still prevalent[367]. It would be of
interest to know how the change of religion was effected, for history
repeats itself and it is likely that the Moslims arrived in Champa by
the route followed centuries before by the Hindu invaders.

There are still about 130,000 Chams in the south of Annam and Camboja.
In the latter country they are all Mohammedans. In Annam some traces
of Hinduism remain, such as mantras in broken Sanskrit and hereditary
priests called Baśaih. Both religions have become unusually corrupt
but are interesting as showing how beliefs which are radically
distinct become distorted and combined in Eastern Asia[368].


[Footnote 329: Also spelt Campâ and Tchampa. It seems safer to use Ch
for C in names which though of Indian origin are used outside India.
The final _a_ though strictly speaking long is usually written without
an accent. The following are the principal works which I have
consulted about Champa.

(a) G. Maspéro, _Le Royaume de Champa_. Published in _T'oung Pao_,
1910-1912. Cited as Maspéro.

(b) A. Bergaigne, "Inscriptions Sanskrites de Champa" in _Notices et
Extraits des Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale_, tome XXVII.
1^re partie. 2^e fascicule, 1893, pp. 181-292. Cited as
_Corpus_, II.

(c) H. Parmentier, _Inventaire descriptif des Monuments Ćams de
l'Annam_. 1899.

(d) L. Finot, "La Religion des Chams," _B.E.F.E.O_, 1901, and _Notes
d'Epigraphie_. "Les Inscriptions de Mi-son," _ib_. 1904. Numerous
other papers by this author, Durand, Parmentier and others in the same
periodical can be consulted with advantage.

(e) _Id., Notes d'Epigraphie Indo-Chinoise_, 1916.]

[Footnote 330: _Corpus_, II. p. 11, and Finot, _Notes d'Epig._ pp. 227

[Footnote 331: See authorities quoted by Maspéro, _T'oung Pao_, 1910,
p. 329.]

[Footnote 332: Finot in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 918 and 922.]

[Footnote 333: _Corpus_, II. _Stêle de Po Nagar_, pp. 252 ff. and
_Stêle de Yang Tikuh_, p. 208, etc.]

[Footnote 334: The statements that they came from Java and were
cannibals occur in different inscriptions and may conceivably refer to
two bodies of invaders. But the dates are very near. Probably Java is
not the island now so called. See the chapter on Camboja, sec. 2. The
undoubted references in the inscriptions of Champa to the island of
Java call it Yavadvîpa.]

[Footnote 335: _Veth. Java_, I. p. 233.]

[Footnote 336: See "La Chronique Royale," _B.E.F.E.O._ 1905, p. 377.]

[Footnote 337: _Corpus_, II. p. 259. Jinendra may be a name either of
the Buddha or of a grammarian. The mention of the Kâśikâ vṛitti
is important as showing that this work must be anterior to the ninth
century. The Uttara Kalpa is quoted in the Tantras (see Bergaigne's
note), but nothing is known of it.]

[Footnote 338: _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 973.]

[Footnote 339: From Mi-son, date 1157 A.D. See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp.
961 and 963.]

[Footnote 340: = Chinese Mei shan, beautiful mountain. For an account
of the temples and their history see the articles by Parmentier and
Finot, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 805-977.]

[Footnote 341: But contemporary inscriptions have been discovered.
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1902, pp. 185 ff.]

[Footnote 342: Doubtless because the capital was transferred to the
south where the shrine of Po-nagar had rival claims.]

[Footnote 343: See especially the article by Parmentier, _B.E.F.E.O._
1902, pp. 17-54.]

[Footnote 344: XXVI _Corpus_, II. pp. 244, 256; date 918 A.D.]

[Footnote 345: Śivamukham: probably a mukhalinga.]

[Footnote 346: Also Yäpunagara even in Sanskrit inscriptions.]

[Footnote 347: Parmentier, _l.c._ p. 49.]

[Footnote 348: This is only a very rough description of a rather
complicated structure. For details see Parmentier, _Monuments
C̆ams_, planche XCVIII.]

[Footnote 349: Inscrip. at Mi-son of 658 A.D. See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904,
p. 921.]

[Footnote 350: Other examples are Indrabhadreśvara, _Corpus_, II.
p. 208. Harivarmeśvara, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 961.]

[Footnote 351: _E.g. B.E.F.E.O._ pp. 918 ff. Dates 658 A.D. onwards.]

[Footnote 352: Yogaddhyâna, Śivârâdha, Śivabhakti. See
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 933-950. Harivarman III abdicated in 1080 and
gave himself up to contemplation and devotion to Śiva.]

[Footnote 353: See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 912 ff. and esp. p. 970. I
have seen a kosha which is still in use in the neighbourhood of
Badami. It is kept in a village called Nandikeśvara, but on certain
festivals it is put on a linga at the temple of Mahakut. It is about 2
feet high and 10 inches broad; a silver case with a rounded and
ornamented top. On one side is a single face in bold embossed work and
bearing fine moustaches exactly as in the mukhalingas of Champa. In
the tank of the temple of Mahakut is a half submerged shrine, from
which rises a stone linga on which are carved four faces bearing
moustaches. There is said to be a gold kosha set with jewels at
Śringeri. See _J. Mythic. Society_ (Bangalore), vol. VIII. p. 27.
According to Gopinatha Rao, _Indian Iconography_, vol. II. p. 63, the
oldest known lingas have figures carved on them.]

[Footnote 354: _Corpus_, II. pp. 229, 230.]

[Footnote 355: _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 959, 960.]

[Footnote 356: See for an account of same _B.E.F.E.O._ 1901, p. 18.]

[Footnote 357: _Corpus_, II. p. 282.]

[Footnote 358: In several passages Hsüan Chuang notes that there were
Pâśupatas or other Śivaites in the same towns of India where
Sammitiyas were found. See Watters, _Yüan Chwang_, I. 331, 333; II.
47, 242, 256, 258, 259.]

[Footnote 359: Maspéro, _T'oung Pao_, 1910, p. 514.]

[Footnote 360: At Yang Kur. See _Corpus_, II. pp. 237-241.]

[Footnote 361: For his views see his inscriptions in _B.E.F.E.O._
1904, pp. 85 ff. But kings who are not known to have been Buddhists
also speak of Dharma. _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 922, 945.]

[Footnote 362: Apparently special forms of deities such as
Śrîśânabhadreśvara or Lakshmînda Lokeśvara were regarded
as to some extent separate existences. Thus the former is called a
portion of Śiva, _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 973.]

[Footnote 363: Presumably in the form of vessels.]

[Footnote 364: _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 973-975.]

[Footnote 365: _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 975.]

[Footnote 366: _Ib._ 1901, p. 23, and Parmentier, _Inventaire des
Monuments Chams_, p. 542.]

[Footnote 367: Gabriel de San Antonio, _Breve y verdadera relation de
los successes de Reyno de Camboxa_, 1604.]

[Footnote 368: See for the modern Chams the article "Chams" in _E.R.E.
and Ethics_, and Durand, "Les Chams Bani," _B.E.F.E.O._ 1903, and
"Notes sur les Chams," _ib._ 1905-7.]




In most of the countries which we have been considering, the native
civilization of the present day is still Indian in origin, although in
the former territories of Champa this Indian phase has been superseded
by Chinese culture with a little Mohammedanism. But in another area we
find three successive stages of culture, indigenous, Indian and
Mohammedan. This area includes the Malay Peninsula with a large part
of the Malay Archipelago, and the earliest stratum with which we need
concern ourselves is Malay. The people who bear this name are
remarkable for their extraordinary powers of migration by sea, as
shown by the fact that languages connected with Malay are spoken in
Formosa and New Zealand, in Easter Island and Madagascar, but their
originality both in thought and in the arts of life is small. The
three stages are seen most clearly in Java where the population was
receptive and the interior accessible. Sumatra and Borneo also passed
through them in a fashion but the indigenous element is still
predominant and no foreign influence has been able to affect either
island as a whole. Islam gained no footing in Bali which remains
curiously Hindu but it reached Celebes and the southern Philippines,
in both of which Indian influence was slight[369]. The destiny of
south-eastern Asia with its islands depends on the fact that the tide
of trade and conquest whether Hindu, Moslim or European, flowed from
India or Ceylon to the Malay Peninsula and Java and thence northwards
towards China with a reflux westwards in Champa and Camboja. Burma and
Siam lay outside this track. They received their culture from India
mainly by land and were untouched by Mohammedanism. But the Mohammedan
current which affected the Malays was old and continuous. It
started from Arabia in the early days of the Hijra and had nothing to
do with the Moslim invasions which entered India by land.


Indian civilization appears to have existed in Java from at least the
fifth century of our era[370]. Much light has been thrown on its
history of late by the examination of inscriptions and of fairly
ancient literature but the record still remains fragmentary. There are
considerable gaps: the seat of power shifted from one district to
another and at most epochs the whole island was not subject to one
ruler, so that the title king of Java merely indicates a prince
pre-eminent among others doubtfully subordinate to him.

The name Java is probably the Sanskrit _Yava_ used in the sense of
grain, especially millet. In the Ramayana[371] the monkeys of Hanuman
are bidden to seek for Sîtâ in various places including Yava-dvîpa,
which contains seven kingdoms and produces gold and silver. Others
translate these last words as referring to another or two other
islands known as Gold and Silver Land. It is probable that the poet
did not distinguish clearly between Java and Sumatra. He goes on to
say that beyond Java is the peak called Śiśira. This is possibly
the same as the Yavakoṭi mentioned in 499 A.D. by the Indian
astronomer Aryabhaṭṭa.

Since the Ramayana is a product of gradual growth it is not easy to
assign a definite date to this passage, but it is probably not later
than the first or second century A.D. and an early date is rendered
probable by the fact that the Alexandrian Geographer Ptolemy (_c._ 130
A.D.) mentions[372] _Νῆσος Ἰαβαδίου ἢ Σαβαδίου_ and by various notices
collected from inscriptions and from Chinese historians. The annals of
the Liang Dynasty (502-556 A.D.) in speaking of the countries of the
Southern Ocean say that in the reign of Hsüan Ti (73-49 B.C.) the
Romans and Indians sent envoys to China by that route[373], thus
indicating that the Archipelago was frequented by Hindus. The same
work describes under the name of Lang-ya-hsiu a country which
professed Buddhism and used the Sanskrit language and states that "the
people say that their country was established more than 400 years
ago[374]." Lang-ya-hsiu has been located by some in Java by others in
the Malay Peninsula, but even on the latter supposition this testimony
to Indian influence in the Far East is still important. An inscription
found at Kedah in the Malay Peninsula is believed to be older than 400
A.D.[375] No more definite accounts are forthcoming before the fifth
or sixth century. Fa-Hsien[376] relates how in 418 he returned to
China from India by sea and "arrived at a country called Ya-va-di."
"In this country" he says "heretics and Brahmans flourish but the law
of Buddha hardly deserves mentioning[377]." Three inscriptions found
in west Java in the district of Buitenzorg are referred for
palæographic reasons to about 400 A.D. They are all in Sanskrit and
eulogize a prince named Pûrṇavarman, who appears to have been a
Vishnuite. The name of his capital is deciphered as Narumâ or Tarumâ.
In 435 according to the Liu Sung annals[378] a king of Ja-va-da named
Shih-li-pa-da-do-a-la-pa-mo sent tribute to China. The king's name
probably represents a Sanskrit title beginning with Śrî-Pâda and it is
noticeable that two footprints are carved on the stones which bear
Pûrṇavarman's inscriptions. Also Sanskrit inscriptions found at
Koetei on the east coast of Borneo and considered to be not later than
the fifth century record the piety and gifts to Brahmans of a King
Mûlavarman and mention his father and grandfather[379].

It follows from these somewhat disjointed facts that the name of
Yava-dvîpa was known in India soon after the Christian era, and that
by the fifth century Hindu or hinduized states had been established in
Java. The discovery of early Sanskrit inscriptions in Borneo and
Champa confirms the presence of Hindus in these seas. The T'ang
annals[380] speak definitely of Kaling, otherwise called Java, as
lying between Sumatra and Bali and say that the inhabitants have
letters and understand a little astronomy. They further mention the
presence of Arabs and say that in 674 a queen named Sima ascended the
throne and ruled justly.

But the certain data for Javanese history before the eighth century
are few. For that period we have some evidence from Java itself. An
inscription dated 654 Śaka ( = 732 A.D.) discovered in Kĕdoe
celebrates the praises of a king named Sanjaya, son of King Sanna. It
contains an account of the dedication of a linga, invocations of
Śiva, Brahmâ and Vishṇu, a eulogy of the king's virtue and
learning, and praise of Java. Thus about 700 A.D. there was a Hindu
kingdom in mid Java and this, it would seem, was then the part of the
island most important politically. Buddhist inscriptions of a somewhat
later date (one is of 778 A.D.) have been found in the neighbourhood
of Prambânam. They are written in the Nagari alphabet and record
various pious foundations. A little later again (809 and 840 A.D.) are
the inscriptions found on the Dieng (Dihyang), a lonely mountain
plateau on which are several Brahmanic shrines in fair preservation.
There is no record of their builders but the New T'ang Annals say that
the royal residence was called Java but "on the mountains is the
district Lang-pi-ya where the king frequently goes to look at the
sea[381]." This may possibly be a reference to pilgrimages to Dieng.
The inscriptions found on the great monument of Boroboedoer throw no
light on the circumstances of its foundation, but the character of the
writing makes it likely that it was erected about 850 and obviously by
a king who could command the services of numerous workmen as well as
of skilled artists. The temples of Prambânam are probably to be
assigned to the next century. All these buildings indicate the
existence from the eighth to the tenth century of a considerable
kingdom (or perhaps kingdoms) in middle Java, comprising at least the
regions of Mataram, Kĕdoe and the Dieng plateau. From the Arabic
geographers also we learn that Java was powerful in the ninth century
and attacked Qamar (probably Khmer or Camboja). They place the capital
at the mouth of a river, perhaps the Solo or Brantas. If so, there
must have been a principality in east Java at this period. This is not
improbable for archæological evidence indicates that Hindu
civilization moved eastwards and flourished first in the west, then in
mid Java and finally from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries in the

The evidence at our disposal points to the fact that Java received
most of its civilization from Hindu colonists, but who were these
colonists and from what part of India did they come? We must not think
of any sudden and definite conquest, but rather of a continuous
current of immigration starting perhaps from several springs and often
merely trickling, but occasionally swelling into a flood. Native
traditions collected by Raffles[382] ascribe the introduction of
Brahmanism and the Śaka era to the sage Tritresta and represent the
invaders as coming from Kalinga or from Gujarat.

The difference of locality may be due to the fact that there was a
trade route running from Broach to Masulipatam through Tagara (now
Ter). People arriving in the Far East by this route might be described
as coming either from Kalinga, where they embarked, or from
Gujarat, their country of origin. Dubious as is the authority of these
legends, they perhaps preserve the facts in outline. The earliest
Javanese inscriptions are written in a variety of the Vengi script and
the T'ang annals call the island Kaling as well as Java. It is
therefore probable that early tradition represented Kalinga as the
home of the Hindu invaders. But later immigrants may have come from
other parts. Fa-Hsien could find no Buddhists in Java in 418, but
Indian forms of Mahayanism indubitably flourished there in later
centuries. The Kalasan inscription dated 778 A.D. and engraved in
Nâgari characters records the erection of a temple to Târâ and of a
Mahayanist monastery. The change in both alphabet and religion
suggests the arrival of new influences from another district and the
Javanese traditions about Gujarat are said to find an echo among the
bards of western India and in such proverbs as, they who go to Java
come not back[383]. In the period of the Hunnish and Arab invasions
there may have been many motives for emigration from Gujarat. The land
route to Kalinga was probably open and the sea route offers no great

Another indication of connection with north-western India is found in
the Chinese work _Kao Sêng Chuan_ (519 A.D.) or _Biographies of
Eminent Monks_, if the country there called Shê-p'o can be identified
with Java[385]. It is related that Guṇavarman, son of the king of
Kashmir, became a monk and, declining the throne, went first to Ceylon
and then to the kingdom of Shê-p'o, which he converted to Buddhism. He
died at Nanking in 431 B.C.

Târanâtha[386] states that Indo-China which he calls the Koki
country[387], was first evangelized in the time of Asoka and that
Mahayanism was introduced there by the disciples of Vasubandhu,
who probably died about 360 A.D., so that the activity of his
followers would take place in the fifth century. He also says that
many clergy from the Koki country were in Madhyadeśa from the time
of Dharmapâla (about 800 A.D.) onwards, and these two statements, if
they can be accepted, certainly explain the character of Javanese and
Cambojan Buddhism. Târanâtha is a confused and untrustworthy writer,
but his statement about the disciples of Vasubandhu is confirmed by
the fact that Dignâga, who was one of them, is the only authority
cited in the Kamahâyânikan[388].

The fact that the terms connected with rice cultivation are Javanese
and not loan-words indicates that the island had some indigenous
civilization when the Hindus first settled there. Doubtless they often
came with military strength, but on the whole as colonists and
teachers rather than as conquerors. The Javanese kings of whom we know
most appear to have been not members of Hindu dynasties but native
princes who had adopted Hindu culture and religion. Sanskrit did not
oust Javanese as the language of epigraphy, poetry and even religious
literature. Javanese Buddhism appears to have preserved its powers of
growth and to have developed some special doctrines. But Indian
influence penetrated almost all institutions and is visible even
to-day. Its existence is still testified to by the alphabet in use, by
such titles as Arjo, Radja, Praboe, Dipati ( = adhipati), and by various
superstitions about lucky days and horoscopes. Communal land tenure of
the Indian kind still exists and in former times grants of land were
given to priests and, as in India, recorded on copper plates.
Offerings to old statues are still made and the Tenggerese[389] are
not even nominal Mohammedans. The Balinese still profess a species of
Hinduism and employ a Hindu Calendar.

From the tenth century onwards the history of Java becomes a little

Copper plates dating from about 900 A.D. mention Mataram. A certain
Mpoe Sindok was vizier of this kingdom in 919, but ten years later we
find him an independent king in east Java. He lived at least
twenty-five years longer and his possessions included Pasoeroean,
Soerabaja and Kediri. His great-grandson, Er-langga (or Langghya), is
an important figure. Er-langga's early life was involved in war, but
in 1032 he was able to call himself, though perhaps not with great
correctness, king of all Java. His memory has not endured among the
Javanese but is still honoured in the traditions of Bali and Javanese
literature began in his reign or a little earlier. The poem
Arjuna-vivâha is dedicated to him, and one book of the old Javanese
prose translation of the Mahabharata bears a date equivalent to 996

One of the national heroes of Java is Djajabaja[391] who is supposed
to have lived in the ninth century. But tradition must be wrong here,
for the free poetic rendering of part of the Mahabharata called
Bhârata-Yuddha, composed by Mpoe Sĕdah in 1157 A.D., is dedicated
to him, and his reign must therefore be placed later than the
traditional date. He is said to have founded the kingdom of Daha in
Kediri, but his inscriptions merely indicate that he was a worshipper
of Vishṇu. Literature and art flourished in east Java at this
period for it would seem that the Kawi Ramayana and an _ars poetica_
called Vṛitta-sañcaya[392] were written about 1150 and that the
temple of Panataran was built between 1150 and 1175.

In western Java we have an inscription of 1030 found on the river
Tjitjatih. It mentions a prince who is styled Lord of the World and
native tradition, confirmed by inscriptions, which however give few
details, relates that in the twelfth century a kingdom called
Padjadjaran was founded in the Soenda country south of Batavia by
princes from Toemapĕl in eastern Java.

There is a gap in Javanese history from the reign of Djajabaja till
1222 at which date the Pararaton[393], or Book of the Kings of
Toemapĕl and Madjapahit, begins to furnish information. The Sung
annals[394] also give some account of the island but it is not
clear to what years their description refers. They imply, however,
that there was an organized government and that commerce was
flourishing. They also state that the inhabitants "pray to the gods
and Buddha": that Java was at war with eastern Sumatra: that embassies
were sent to China in 992 and 1109 and that in 1129 the Emperor gave
the ruler of Java (probably Djajabaja) the title of king.

The Pararaton opens with the fall of Daha in 1222 which made
Toemapĕl, known later as Singasari, the principal kingdom. Five of
its kings are enumerated, of whom Vishṇuvardhana was buried in the
celebrated shrine of Tjandi Djago, where he was represented in the
guise of Buddha. His successor Śrî Râjasanâgara was praised by the
poet Prapantja[395] as a zealous Buddhist but was known by the
posthumous name of Śivabuddha. He was the first to use the name of
Singasâri and perhaps founded a new city, but the kingdom of
Toemapĕl came to an end in his reign for he was slain by Djaja
Katong[396], prince of Daha, who restored to that kingdom its previous
primacy, but only for a short time, since it was soon supplanted by
Madjapahit. The foundation of this state is connected with a Chinese
invasion of Java, related at some length in the Yüan annals[397], so
that we are fortunate in possessing a double and fairly consistent
account of what occurred.

We learn from these sources that some time after Khubilai Khan had
conquered China, he sent missions to neighbouring countries to demand
tribute. The Javanese had generally accorded a satisfactory reception
to Chinese missions, but on this occasion the king (apparently Djaja
Katong) maltreated the envoy and sent him back with his face cut or
tattooed. Khubilai could not brook this outrage and in 1292
despatched a punitive expedition. At that time Raden Vidjaja, the
son-in-law of Kĕrtanagara, had not submitted to Djaja Katong and
held out at Madjapahit, a stronghold which he had founded near the
river Brantas. He offered his services to the Chinese and after a two
months' campaign Daha was captured and Djaja Katong killed. Raden
Vidjaja now found that he no longer needed his Chinese allies. He
treacherously massacred some and prepared to fight the rest. But the
Mongol generals, seeing the difficulties of campaigning in an unknown
country without guides, prudently returned to their master and
reported that they had taken Daha and killed the insolent king.

Madjapahit (or Wilwatikta) now became the premier state of Java, and
had some permanency. Eleven sovereigns, including three queens, are
enumerated by the Pararaton until its collapse in 1468. We learn from
the Ming annals and other Chinese documents[398] that it had
considerable commercial relations with China and sent frequent
missions: also that Palembang was a vassal of Java. But the general
impression left by the Pararaton is that during the greater part of
its existence Madjapahit was a distracted and troubled kingdom. In
1403, as we know from both Chinese and Javanese sources, there began a
great war between the western and eastern kingdoms, that is between
Madjapahit and Balambangan in the extreme east, and in the fifteenth
century there was twice an interregnum. Art and literature, though not
dead, declined and events were clearly tending towards a break-up or
revolution. This appears to have been consummated in 1468, when the
Pararaton simply says that King Paṇḍansalas III left the
_Kraton_, or royal residence.

It is curious that the native traditions as to the date and
circumstances in which Madjapahit fell should be so vague, but perhaps
the end of Hindu rule in Java was less sudden and dramatic than we are
inclined to think. Islam had been making gradual progress and its last
opponents were kings only in title. The Chinese mention the presence
of Arabs in the seventh century, and the geography called _Ying-yai
Shêng-lan_ (published in 1416), which mentions Grissé, Soerabaja and
Madjapahit as the principal towns of Java, divides the inhabitants
into three classes: (_a_) Mohammedans who have come from the west,
"their dress and food is clean and proper"; (_b_) the Chinese, who are
also cleanly and many of whom are Mohammedans; (_c_) the natives who
are ugly and uncouth, devil-worshippers, filthy in food and habits. As
the Chinese do not generally speak so severely of the hinduized
Javanese it would appear that Hinduism lasted longest among the lower
and more savage classes, and that the Moslims stood on a higher
level. As in other countries, the Arabs attempted to spread Islam from
the time of their first appearance. At first they confined their
propaganda to their native wives and dependents. Later we hear of
veritable apostles of Islam such as Malik Ibrahim, and Raden Rahmat,
the ruler of a town called Ampel[399] which became the head quarter of
Islam. The princes whose territory lay round Madjapahit were gradually
converted and the extinction of the last Hindu kingdom became


It is remarkable that the great island of Sumatra, which seems to lie
in the way of anyone proceeding from India eastwards and is close to
the Malay peninsula, should in all ages have proved less accessible to
invaders coming from the west than the more distant Java. Neither
Hindus, Arabs nor Europeans have been able to establish their
influence there in the same thorough manner. The cause is probably to
be found in its unhealthy and impenetrable jungles, but even so its
relative isolation remains singular.

It does not appear that any prince ever claimed to be king of all
Sumatra. For the Hindu period we have no indigenous literature and our
scanty knowledge is derived from a few statues and inscriptions and
from notices in Chinese writings. The latter do not refer to the
island as a whole but to several states such as Indragiri near the
Equator and Kandali (afterwards called San-bo-tsai, the Sabaza of the
Arabs) near Palembang. The annals of the Liang dynasty say that the
customs of Kandali were much the same as those of Camboja and
apparently we are to understand that the country was Buddhist, for one
king visited the Emperor Wu-ti in a dream, and his son addressed a
letter to His Majesty eulogizing his devotion to Buddhism. Kandali is
said to have sent three envoys to China between 454 and 519.

The Chinese pilgrim I-Ching[401] visited Sumatra twice, once for
two months in 672 and subsequently for some years (about 688-695). He
tells us that in the islands of the Southern Sea, "which are more than
ten countries," Buddhism flourishes, the school almost universally
followed being the Mûlasarvâstivâda, though the Sammitîyas and other
schools have a few adherents. He calls the country where he sojourned
and to which these statements primarily refer, Bhoja or Śrîbhoja
(Fo-shih or Shih-li-fo-shih), adding that its former name was Malayu.
It is conjectured that Shih-li-fo-shih is the place later known as
San-bo-tsai[402] and Chinese authors seem to consider that both this
place and the earlier Kandali were roughly speaking identical with
Palembang. I-Ching tells us that the king of Bhoja favoured Buddhism
and that there were more than a thousand priests in the city. Gold was
abundant and golden flowers were offered to the Buddha. There was
communication by ship with both India and China. The Hinayana, he
says, was the form of Buddhism adopted "except in Malayu, where there
are a few who belong to the Mahayana." This is a surprising statement,
but it is impossible to suppose that an expert like I-Ching can have
been wrong about what he actually saw in Śrîbhoja. So far as his
remarks apply to Java they must be based on hearsay and have less
authority, but the sculptures of Boroboedoer appear to show the
influence of Mûlasarvâstivâdin literature. It must be remembered that
this school, though nominally belonging to the Hinayana, came to be
something very different from the Theravâda of Ceylon.

The Sung annals and subsequent Chinese writers know the same district
(the modern Palembang) as San-bo-tsai (which may indicate either mere
change of name or the rise of a new city) and say that it sent
twenty-one envoys between 960 and 1178. The real object of these
missions was to foster trade and there was evidently frequent
intercourse between eastern Sumatra, Champa and China. Ultimately the
Chinese seem to have thought that the entertainment of Sumatran
diplomatists cost more than they were worth, for in 1178 the emperor
ordered that they should not come to Court but present themselves in
the province of Fu-kien. The Annals state that Sanskrit writing
was in use at San-bo-tsai and lead us to suppose that the country was
Buddhist. They mention several kings whose names or titles seem to
begin with the Sanskrit word Śrî[403]. In 1003 the envoys reported
that a Buddhist temple had been erected in honour of the emperor and
they received a present of bells for it. Another envoy asked for
dresses to be worn by Buddhist monks. The Ming annals also record
missions from San-bo-tsai up to 1376, shortly after which the region
was conquered by Java and the town decayed[404]. In the fourteenth
century Chinese writers begin to speak of Su-mên-ta-la or Sumatra by
which is meant not the whole island but a state in the northern part
of it called Samudra and corresponding to Atjeh[405]. It had relations
with China and the manners and customs of its inhabitants are said to
be the same as in Malacca, which probably means that they were

Little light is thrown on the history of Sumatra by indigenous or
Javanese monuments. Those found testify, as might be expected, to the
existence here and there of both Brahmanism and Buddhism. In 1343 a
Sumatran prince named Adityavarman, who was apparently a vassal of
Madjapahit, erected an image of Manjuśrî at Tjandi Djago and in
1375 one of Amoghapâśa.


The Liang and T'ang annals both speak of a country called Po-li,
described as an island lying to the south-east of Canton. Groeneveldt
identified it with Sumatra, but the account of its position suggests
that it is rather to be found in Borneo, parts of which were undoubtedly
known to the Chinese as Po-lo and Pu-ni[406]. The Liang annals state
that Po-li sent an embassy to the Emperor Wu-ti in 518 bearing a letter
which described the country as devoted to Buddhism and frequented by
students of the three vehicles. If the letter is an authentic document
the statements in it may still be exaggerations, for the piety of Wu-ti
was well known and it is clear that foreign princes who addressed him
thought it prudent to represent themselves and their subjects as fervent
Buddhists. But there certainly was a Hindu period in Borneo, of which
some tradition remains among the natives[407], although it ended earlier
and left fewer permanent traces than in Java and elsewhere.

The most important records of this period are three Sanskrit
inscriptions found at Koetei on the east coast of Borneo[408]. They
record the donations made to Brahmans by King Mûlavarman, son of
Aśvavarman and grandson of Kuṇḍagga. They are not dated, but Kern
considers for palæographical reasons that they are not later than the
fifth century. Thus, since three generations are mentioned, it is
probable that about 400 A.D. there were Hindu princes in Borneo. The
inscriptions testify to the existence of Hinduism there rather than of
Buddhism: in fact the statements in the Chinese annals are the only
evidence for the latter. But it is most interesting to find that these
annals give the family name of the king of Poli as Kauṇḍinya[409]
which no doubt corresponds to the Kuṇḍagga of the Koetei inscription.
At least one if not two of the Hindu invaders of Camboja bore this name,
and we can hardly be wrong in supposing that members of the same great
family became princes in different parts of the Far East. One
explanation of their presence in Borneo would be that they went thither
from Camboja, but we have no record of expeditions from Camboja and if
adventurers started thence it is not clear why they went to the _east_
coast of Borneo. It would be less strange if Kaundinyas emigrating from
Java reached both Camboja and Koetei. It is noticeable that in Java,
Koetei, Champa and Camboja alike royal names end in _varman_.


The architectural monuments of Java are remarkable for their size,
their number and their beauty. Geographically they fall into two chief
groups, the central (Boroboedoer, Prambanan, Dieng plateau, etc.) in
or near the kingdom of Mataram and the eastern (Tjandi Djago,
Singasari, Panataran, etc.) lying not at the extremity of the island
but chiefly to the south of Soerabaja. No relic of antiquity deserving
to be called a monument has been found in western Java for the records
left by Pûrnavarman (_c_. 400 A.D.) are merely rocks bearing
inscriptions and two footprints, as a sign that the monarch's
triumphal progress is compared to the three steps of Vishṇu.

The earliest dated (779 A.D.) monument in mid Java, Tjandi Kalasan, is
Buddhist and lies in the plain of Prambanan. It is dedicated to Târâ
and is of a type common both in Java and Champa, namely a chapel
surmounted by a tower. In connection with it was erected the
neighbouring building called Tjandi Sari, a two-storied monastery for
Mahayanist monks. Not far distant is Tjandi Sevu, which superficially
resembles the 450 Pagodas of Mandalay, for it consists of a central
cruciform shrine surrounded by about 240 smaller separate chapels,
everyone of which, apparently, contained the statue of a Dhyâni
Buddha. Other Buddhist buildings in the same region are Tjandi
Plaosan, and the beautiful chapel known as Tjandi Mendut in which are
gigantic seated images of the Buddha, Manjuśrî and Avalokita. The
face of the last named is perhaps the most exquisite piece of work
ever wrought by the chisel of a Buddhist artist.

It is not far from Mendut to Boroboedoer, which deserves to be
included in any list of the wonders of the world. This celebrated
stûpa--for in essence it is a highly ornamented stûpa with galleries
of sculpture rising one above the other on its sides--has been often
described and can be described intelligibly only at considerable
length. I will therefore not attempt to detail or criticize its
beauties but will merely state some points which are important for our

It is generally agreed that it must have been built about 850 A.D.,
but obviously the construction lasted a considerable time and there
are indications that the architects altered their original plan. The
unknown founder must have been a powerful and prosperous king for
no one else could have commanded the necessary labour. The stûpa shows
no sign of Brahmanic influence. It is purely Buddhist and built for
purposes of edification. The worshippers performed pradakshiṇâ by
walking round the galleries, one after the other, and as they did so
had an opportunity of inspecting some 2000 reliefs depicting the
previous births of Śakyamuni, his life on earth and finally the
mysteries of Mahayanist theology. As in Indian pilgrim cities, temple
guides were probably ready to explain the pictures.

The selection of reliefs is not due to the artists' fancy but aims at
illustrating certain works. Thus the scenes of the Buddha's life reproduce
in stone the story of the Lalita Vistara[410] and the Jâtaka pictures are
based on the Divyâvadâna. It is interesting to find that both these works
are connected with the school of the Mûlasarvâstivâdins, which according
to I-Ching was the form of Buddhism prevalent in the archipelago. In the
third gallery the figure of Maitreya is prominent and often seems to be
explaining something to a personage who accompanies him. As Maitreya is
said to have revealed five important scriptures to Asaṇga, and as there
is a tradition that the east of Asia was evangelized by the disciples of
Asaṇga or Vasubandhu, it is possible that the delivery and progress of
Maitreya's revelation is here depicted. The fourth gallery seems to deal
with the five superhuman Buddhas[411], their paradises and other
supra-mundane matters, but the key to this series of sculptures has not
yet been found. It is probable that the highest storey proved to be too
heavy in its original form and that the central dagoba had to be reduced
lest it should break the substructure. But it is not known what image or
relic was preserved in this dagoba. Possibly it was dedicated to Vairocana
who was regarded as the Supreme Being and All-God by some Javanese

The creed here depicted in stone seems to be a form of Mahayanism.
Śâkyamuni is abundantly honoured but there is no representation of
his death. This may be because the Lalita Vistara treats only of his
early career, but still the omission is noteworthy. In spite of the
importance of Śâkyamuni, a considerable if mysterious part is
played by the five superhuman Buddhas, and several Bodhisattvas,
especially Maitreya, Avalokita and Manjuśrî. In the celestial
scenes we find numerous Bodhisattvas both male and female, yet the
figures are hardly Tantric and there is no sign that any of the
personages are Brahmanic deities.

Yet the region was not wholly Buddhist. Not far from Boroboedoer and
apparently of about the same age is the Sivaite temple of Banon, and
the great temple group of Prambanam is close to Kalasan and to the
other Buddhist shrines mentioned above. It consists of eight temples
of which four are dedicated to Brahmâ, Śiva, Vishṇu and Nandi
respectively, the purpose of the others being uncertain. The largest
and most decorated is that dedicated to Śiva, containing four
shrines in which are images of the god as Mahâdeva and as Guru, of
Ganeśa and of Durgâ. The balustrade is ornamented with a series of
reliefs illustrating the Ramayana. These temples, which appear to be
entirely Brahmanic, approach in style the architecture of eastern Java
and probably date from the tenth century, that is about a century
later than the Buddhist monuments. But there is no tradition or other
evidence of a religious revolution.

The temples on the Dieng plateau are also purely Brahmanic and
probably older, for though we have no record of their foundation, an
inscribed stone dated 800 A.D. has been found in this district. The
plateau which is 6500 feet high was approached by paved roads or
flights of stairs on one of which about 4000 steps still remain.
Originally there seem to have been about 40 buildings on the plateau
but of these only eight now exist besides several stone foundations
which supported wooden structures. The place may have been a temple
city analogous to Girnar or Śatrunjaya, but it appears to have been
deserted in the thirteenth century, perhaps in consequence of volcanic
activity. The Dieng temples are named after the heroes of the
Mahabharata (Tjandi Ardjuno, Tjandi Bimo, etc.), but these appear to
be late designations. They are rectangular towerlike shrines with
porches and a single cellule within. Figures of Brahma, Śiva and
Vishṇu have been discovered, as well as spouts to carry off the
libation water.

Before leaving mid Java I should perhaps mention the relatively modern
(1435-1440 A.D.) temples of Suku. I have not seen these buildings, but
they are said to be coarse in execution and to indicate that they were
used by a debased sect of Vishṇuites. Their interest lies in the
extraordinary resemblance which they bear to the temples of Mexico and
Yucatan, a resemblance "which no one can fail to observe, though no
one has yet suggested any hypothesis to account for it[413]."

The best known and probably the most important monuments of eastern
Java are Panataran, Tjandi Djago and Tjandi Singasari[414].

The first is considered to date from about 1150 A.D. It is practically
a three-storied pyramid with a flat top. The sides of the lowest
storey are ornamented with a series of reliefs illustrating portions
of the Ramayana, local legends and perhaps the exploits of Krishna,
but this last point is doubtful[415]. This temple seems to indicate
the same stage of belief as Prambanam. It shows no trace of Buddhism
and though Śiva was probably the principal deity, the scenes
represented in its sculptures are chiefly Vishṇuite.

Tjandi Djago is in the province of Pasoeroean. According to the
Pararaton and the Nâgarakrĕtâgama[416], Vishṇuvardhana, king of
Toemapĕl, was buried there. As he died in 1272 or 1273 A.D. and the
temple was already in existence, we may infer that it dates from at
least 1250. He was represented there in the form of Sugata (that is
the Buddha) and at Waleri in the form of Śiva. Here we have the
custom known also in Champa and Camboja of a deceased king being
represented by a statue with his own features but the attributes of
his tutelary deity. It is strange that a king named after Vishṇu
should be portrayed in the guise of Śiva and Buddha. But in spite
of this impartiality, the cult practised at Tjandi Djago seems to have
been not a mixture but Buddhism of a late Mahayanist type. It was
doubtless held that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are identical with
Brahmanic deities, but the fairly numerous pantheon discovered in or
near the ruins consists of superhuman Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with
their spouses[417].

In form Tjandi Djago has somewhat the appearance of a three-storied
pyramid but the steps leading up to the top platform are at one end
only and the shrine instead of standing in the centre of the platform
is at the end opposite to the stairs. The figures in the reliefs are
curiously square and clumsy and recall those of Central America.

Tjandi Singasari, also in the province of Pasoeroean, is of a different
form. It is erected on a single low platform and consists of a plain
rectangular building surmounted by five towers such as are also found in
Cambojan temples. There is every reason to believe that it was erected
in 1278 A.D. in the reign of Krĕtanâgara, the last king of Toemapĕl, and
that it is the temple known as Śiva-buddhâlaya in which he was
commemorated under the name of Śiva-buddha. An inscription found close
by relates that in 1351 A.D. a shrine was erected on behalf of the royal
family in memory of those who died with the king[418].

The Nâgarakrĕtagama represents this king as a devout Buddhist but his
very title Śivabuddha shows how completely Sivaism and Buddhism were
fused in his religion. The same work mentions a temple in which the
lower storey was dedicated to Śiva and the upper to Akshobhya: it also
leads us to suppose that the king was honoured as an incarnation of
Akshobhya even during his life and was consecrated as a Jina under the
name of Śrîjnânabajreśvara[419]. The Singasari temple is less ornamented
with reliefs than the others described but has furnished numerous
statues of excellent workmanship which illustrate the fusion of the
Buddhist and Sivaite pantheons. On the one side we have Prajnâpâramitâ,
Manjuśrî and Târâ, on the other Ganeśa, the Linga, Śiva in various forms
(Guru, Nandîsvara, Mahâkâla, etc.), Durgâ and Brahmâ. Not only is the
Sivaite element predominant but the Buddhist figures are concerned less
with the veneration of the Buddha than with accessory mythology.

Javanese architecture and sculpture are no doubt derived from India,
but the imported style, whatever it may have been, was modified by
local influences and it seems impossible at present to determine
whether its origin should be sought on the eastern or western side of
India. The theory that the temples on the Dieng plateau are Chalukyan
buildings appears to be abandoned but they and many others in Java
show a striking resemblance to the shrines found in Champa. Javanese
architecture is remarkable for the complete absence not only of
radiating arches but of pillars, and consequently of large halls. This
feature is no doubt due to the ever present danger of earthquakes.
Many reliefs, particularly those of Panataran, show the influence of a
style which is not Indian and may be termed, though not very
correctly, Polynesian. The great merit of Javanese sculpture lies in
the refinement and beauty of the faces. Among figures executed in
India it would be hard to find anything equal in purity and delicacy
to the Avalokita of Mendut, the Manjuśri now in the Berlin Museum
or the Prajñâpâramitâ now at Leyden.


From the eleventh century until the end of the Hindu period Java can
show a considerable body of literature, which is in part theological.
It is unfortunate that no books dating from an earlier epoch should be
extant. The sculptures of Prambanam and Boroboedoer clearly presuppose
an acquaintance with the Ramayana, the Lalita Vistara and other
Buddhist works but, as in Camboja, this literature was probably known
only in the original Sanskrit and only to the learned. But it is not
unlikely that the Javanese adaptations of the Indian epics which have
come down to us were preceded by earlier attempts which have

The old literary language of Java is commonly known as Båså Kawi or
Kawi, that is the language of poetry[420]. It is however simply
the predecessor of modern Javanese and many authorities prefer to
describe the language of the island as Old Javanese before the
Madjapahit period, Middle-Javanese during that period and New Javanese
after the fall of Madjapahit. The greater part of this literature
consists of free versions of Sanskrit works or of a substratum in
Sanskrit accompanied by a Javanese explanation. Only a few Javanese
works are original, that is to say not obviously inspired by an Indian
prototype, but on the other hand nearly all of them handle their
materials with freedom and adapt rather than translate what they

One of the earliest works preserved appears to be the Tantoe
Panggĕlaran, a treatise on cosmology in which Indian and native
ideas are combined. It is supposed to have been written about 1000
A.D. Before the foundation of Madjapahit Javanese literature
flourished especially in the reigns of Erlangga and Djajabaja, that is
in the eleventh and twelfth centuries respectively. About the time of
Erlangga were produced the old prose version of the Mahabharata, in
which certain episodes of that poem are rendered with great freedom
and the poem called Arjuna-vivâha, or the marriage of Arjuna.

The Bhâratayuddha[421], which states that it was composed by Mpoe
Sedah in 1157 by order of Djajabaja, prince of Kediri, is, even more
than the prose version mentioned above, a free rendering of parts of
the Mahabharata. It is perhaps based on an older translation preserved
in Bali[422]. The Kawi Ramayana was in the opinion of Kern composed
about 1200 A.D. It follows in essentials the story of the Ramayana,
but it was apparently composed by a poet unacquainted with Sanskrit
who drew his knowledge from some native source now unknown[423]. He
appears to have been a Sivaite. To the eleventh century are also
referred the Smaradahana and the treatise on prosody called
Vrittasañcaya. All this literature is based upon classical Sanskrit
models and is not distinctly Buddhist although the prose version of
the Mahabharata states that it was written for Brahmans, Sivaites and
Buddhists[424]. Many other translations or adaptations of Sanskrit
work are mentioned, such as the Nîtiśâstra, the Sârasamuccaya, the
Tantri (in several editions), a prose translation of the
Brahmândapurâṇa, together with grammars and dictionaries. The
absence of dates makes it difficult to use these works for the history
of Javanese thought. But it seems clear that during the Madjapahit
epoch, or perhaps even before it, a strong current of Buddhism
permeated Javanese literature, somewhat in contrast with the tone of
the works hitherto cited. Brandes states that the Sutasoma,
Vighnotsava, Kuñjarakarna, Sang Hyang Kamahâyânikan, and Buddhapamutus
are purely Buddhist works and that the Tjantakaparva, Arjunavijaya,
Nâgarakrĕtagama, Wariga and Bubukshah show striking traces of
Buddhism[425]. Some of these works are inaccessible to me but two of
them deserve examination, the Sang Hyang Kamahâyânikan[426] and the
story of Kuñjarakarṇa[427]. The first is tentatively assigned to
the Madjapahit epoch or earlier, the second with the same caution to
the eleventh century. I do not presume to criticize these dates which
depend partly on linguistic considerations. The Kamahâyânikan is a
treatise (or perhaps extracts from treatises) on Mahayanism as
understood in Java and presumably on the normal form of Mahayanism.
The other work is an edifying legend including an exposition of the
faith by no one less than the Buddha Vairocana. In essentials it
agrees with the Kamahâyânikan but in details it shows either sectarian
influence or the idiosyncrasies of the author.

The Kamahâyânikan consists of Sanskrit verses explained by a
commentary in old Javanese and is partly in the form of questions and
answers. The only authority whom it cites is Dignâga. It professes to
teach the Mahâyâna and Mantrâyana, which is apparently a misspelling
for Mantrayâna. The emphasis laid on Bajra (that is vajra or dorje),
ghantâ, mudrâ, maṇḍala, mystic syllables, and Devîs marks it as
an offshoot of Tantrism and it offers many parallels to Nepalese
literature. On the other hand it is curious that it uses the form
Nibâṇa not Nirvâṇa[428]. Its object is to teach a neophyte,
who has to receive initiation, how to become a Buddha[429]. In the
second part the pupil is addressed as Jinaputra, that is son of the
Buddha or one of the household of faith. He is to be moderate but not
ascetic in food and clothing: he is not to cleave to the Purâṇas
and Tantras but to practise the Pâramitâs. These are defined first as
six[430] and then four others are added[431]. Under Prajñâpâramitâ is
given a somewhat obscure account of the doctrine of Śûnyatâ. Then
follows the exposition of Paramaguhya (the highest secret) and
Mahâguhya (the great secret). The latter is defined as being Yoga, the
bhâvanâs, the four noble truths and the ten pâramitâs. The former
explains the embodiment of Bhaṭâra Viśesha, that is to say the
way in which Buddhas, gods and the world of phenomena are evolved from
a primordial principle, called Advaya and apparently equivalent to the
Nepalese Adibuddha[432]. Advaya is the father of Buddha and
Advayajñâna, also called Bharâlî Prajñâpâramitâ, is his mother, but
the Buddha principle at this stage is also called Divarûpa. In the
next stage this Divarûpa takes form as Śâkyamuni, who is regarded
as a superhuman form of Buddhahood rather than as a human teacher, for
he produces from his right and left side respectively Lokeśvara and
Bajrapâni. These beings produce, the first Akshobhya and
Ratnasambhava, the second Amitâbha and Amoghasiddhi, but Vairocana
springs directly from the face of Śâkyamuni. The five superhuman
Buddhas are thus accounted for. From Vairocana spring Iśvara
(Śiva), Brahmâ, and Vishṇu: from them the elements, the human
body and the whole world. A considerable part of the treatise is
occupied with connecting these various emanations of the Advaya with
mystic syllables and in showing how the five Buddhas correspond to the
different skandas, elements, senses, etc. Finally we are told that
there are five Devîs, or female counterparts corresponding in the same
order to the Buddhas named above and called Locanâ, Mâmakî,
Pâṇḍaravâsinî, Târâ and Dhâtvîśvarî. But it is declared that
the first and last of these are the same and therefore there are
really only four Devîs.

The legend of Kuñjarakarṇa relates how a devout Yaksha of that name
went to Bodhicitta[433] and asked of Vairocana instruction in the holy
law and more especially as to the mysteries of rebirth. Vairocana did
not refuse but bade his would-be pupil first visit the realms of Yama,
god of the dead. Kuñjarakarṇa did so, saw the punishments of the
underworld, including the torments prepared for a friend of his, whom
he was able to warn on his return. Yama gave him some explanations
respecting the alternation of life and death and he was subsequently
privileged to receive a brief but more general exposition of doctrine
from Vairocana himself.

This doctrine is essentially a variety of Indian pantheism but
peculiar in its terminology inasmuch as Vairocana, like Kṛishṇa
in the Bhagavad-gîtâ, proclaims himself to be the All-God and not
merely the chief of the five Buddhas. He quotes with approval the
saying "you are I: I am you" and affirms the identity of Buddhism and
Śivaism. Among the monks[434] there are no _muktas_ (_i.e._ none
who have attained liberation) because they all consider as two what is
really one. "The Buddhists say, we are Bauddhas, for the Lord Buddha
is our highest deity: we are not the same as the Śivaites, for the
Lord Śiva is for them the highest deity." The Śivaites are
represented as saying that the five Kuśikas are a development or
incarnations of the five Buddhas. "Well, my son" is the conclusion,
"These are all one: we are Śiva, we are Buddha."

In this curious exposition the author seems to imply that his doctrine
is different from that of ordinary Buddhists, and to reprimand them
more decidedly than Śivaites. He several times uses the phrase
_Namo Bhaṭâra, namaḥ Śivâya_ (Hail, Lord: hail to Śiva)
yet he can hardly be said to favour the Śivaites on the whole, for
his All-God is Vairocana who once (but only once) receives the title
of Buddha. The doctrine attributed to the Śivaites that the five
Kusikas are identical with the superhuman Buddhas remains
obscure[435]. These five personages are said to be often mentioned in
old Javanese literature but to be variously enumerated[436]. They
are identified with the five Indras, but these again are said to be
the five senses (indriyas). Hence we can find a parallel to this
doctrine in the teaching of the Kamahâyânikan that the five Buddhas
correspond to the five senses.

Two other special theses are enounced in the story of Kuñjarakarṇa.
The first is Vairocana's analysis of a human being, which makes it
consist of five Atmans or souls, called respectively Atman,
Cetanâtman, Parâtman, Nirâtman and Antarâtman, which somehow
correspond to the five elements, five senses and five Skandhas. The
singular list suggests that the author was imperfectly acquainted with
the meaning of the Sanskrit words employed and the whole terminology
is strange in a Buddhist writer. Still in the later Upanishads[437]
the epithet pancâtmaka is applied to the human body, especially in the
Garbha Upanishad which, like the passage here under consideration,
gives a psychophysiological explanation of the development of an
embryo into a human being.

The second thesis is put in the mouth of Yama. He states that when a
being has finished his term in purgatory he returns to life in this
world first as a worm or insect, then successively as a higher animal
and a human being, first diseased or maimed and finally perfect. No
parallel has yet been quoted to this account of metempsychosis.

Thus the Kuñjarakarṇa contains peculiar views which are probably
sectarian or individual. On the other hand their apparent singularity
may be due to our small knowledge of old Javanese literature. Though
other writings are not known to extol Vairocana as being Śiva and
Buddha in one, yet they have no scruple in identifying Buddhist and
Brahmanic deities or connecting them by some system of emanations, as
we have already seen in the Kamahâyânikan. Such an identity is still
more definitely proclaimed in the old Javanese version of the Sutasoma
Jâtaka[438]. It is called Purushâda-Śânta and was composed by
Tantular who lived at Madjapahit in the reign of Râjasanagara
(1350-1389 A.D.). In the Indian original Sutasoma is one of the
previous births of Gotama. But the Javanese writer describes him as an
Avatâra of the Buddha who is Brahmâ, Vishṇu and Iśvara, and he
states that "The Lord Buddha is not different from Śiva the king of
the gods.... They are distinct and they are one. In the Law is no
dualism." The superhuman Buddhas are identified with various Hindu
gods and also with the five senses. Thus Amitâbha is Mahâdeva and
Amoghasiddhi is Vishṇu. This is only a slight variation of the
teaching in the Kamahâyânikan. There Brahmanic deities emanate from
Śâkyamuni through various Bodhisattvas and Buddhas: here the Buddha
spirit is regarded as equivalent to the Hindu Trimûrti and the various
aspects of this spirit can be described in either Brahmanic or
Buddhistic terminology though in reality all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and
gods are one. But like the other authors quoted, Tantular appears to
lean to the Buddhist side of these equations, especially for didactic
purposes. For instance he says that meditation should be guided "by
Lokeśvara's word and Śâkyamuni's spirit."


Thus it will be seen that if we take Javanese epigraphy, monuments and
literature together with Chinese notices, they to some extent confirm
one another and enable us to form an outline picture, though with many
gaps, of the history of thought and religion in the island. Fa-Hsien
tells us that in 418 A.D. Brahmanism flourished (as is testified by
the inscriptions of Pûrṇavarman) but that the Buddhists were not
worth mentioning. Immediately afterwards, probably in 423,
Guṇavarman is said to have converted Shê-po, if that be Java, to
Buddhism, and as he came from Kashmir he was probably a Sarvâstivâdin.
Other monks are mentioned as having visited the southern seas[439].
About 690 I-Ching says that Buddhism of the Mûlasarvâstivâdin school
was flourishing in Sumatra, which he visited, and in the other islands
of the Archipelago. The remarkable series of Buddhist monuments in mid
Java extending from about 779 to 900 A.D. confirms his statement.
But two questions arise. Firstly, is there any explanation of this
sudden efflorescence of Buddhism in the Archipelago, and next, what
was its doctrinal character? If, as Târanâtha says, the disciples of
Vasubandhu evangelized the countries of the East, their influence
might well have been productive about the time of I-Ching's visit. But
in any case during the sixth and seventh centuries religious
travellers must have been continually journeying between India and
China, in both directions, and some of them must have landed in the
Archipelago. At the beginning of the sixth century Buddhism was not
yet decadent in India and was all the fashion in China. It is not
therefore surprising if it was planted in the islands lying on the
route. It may be, as indicated above, that some specially powerful
body of Hindus coming from the region of Gujarat and professing
Buddhism founded in Java a new state.

As to the character of this early Javanese Buddhism we have the
testimony of I-Ching that it was of the Mûlasarvâstivâdin school and
Hinayanist. He wrote of what he had seen in Sumatra but of what he
knew only by hearsay in Java and his statement offers some
difficulties. Probably Hinayanism was introduced by Guṇavarman but
was superseded by other teachings which were imported from time to
time after they had won for themselves a position in India. For the
temple of Kalasan (A.D. 779) is dedicated to Târâ and the inscription
found there speaks of the Mahayana with veneration. The later Buddhism
of Java has literary records which, so far as I know, are unreservedly
Mahayanist but probably the sculptures of Boroboedoer are the most
definite expression which we shall ever have of its earlier phases.
Since they contain images of the five superhuman Buddhas and of
numerous Bodhisattvas, they can hardly be called anything but
Mahayanist. But on the other hand the personality of Śâkyamuni is
emphasized; his life and previous births are pictured in a long series
of sculptures and Maitreya is duly honoured. Similar collections of
pictures and images may be seen in Burma which differ doctrinally from
those in Java chiefly by substituting the four human Buddhas[440] and
Maitreya for the superhuman Buddhas. But Mahayanist teaching declares
that these human Buddhas are reflexes of counterparts of the
superhuman Buddhas so that the difference is not great.

Mahayanist Buddhism in Camboja and at a later period in Java itself
was inextricably combined with Hinduism, Buddha being either directly
identified with Śiva or regarded as the primordial spirit from
which Śiva and all gods spring. But the sculptures of Boroboedoer
do not indicate that the artists knew of any such amalgamation nor
have inscriptions been found there, as in Camboja, which explain this
compound theology. It would seem that Buddhism and Brahmanism
co-existed in the same districts but had not yet begun to fuse
doctrinally. The same condition seems to have prevailed in western
India during the seventh and eighth centuries, for the Buddhist caves
of Ellora, though situated in the neighbourhood of Brahmanic buildings
and approximating to them in style, contain sculptures which indicate
a purely Buddhist cultus and not a mixed pantheon.

Our meagre knowledge of Javanese history makes it difficult to
estimate the spheres and relative strength of the two religions. In
the plains the Buddhist monuments are more numerous and also more
ancient and we might suppose that the temples of Prambanan indicate
the beginning of some change in belief. But the temples on the Dieng
plateau seem to be of about the same age as the oldest Buddhist
monuments. Thus nothing refutes the supposition that Brahmanism
existed in Java from the time of the first Hindu colonists and that
Buddhism was introduced after 400 A.D. It may be that Boroboedoer and
the Dieng plateau represent the religious centres of two different
kingdoms. But this supposition is not necessary for in India, whence
the Javanese received their ideas, groups of temples are found of the
same age but belonging to different sects. Thus in the Khajraho
group[441] some shrines are Jain and of the rest some are dedicated to
Śiva and some to Vishṇu.

The earliest records of Javanese Brahmanism, the inscriptions of
Pûrnavarman, are Vishnuite but the Brahmanism which prevailed in the
eighth and ninth centuries was in the main Śivaite, though not of a
strongly sectarian type. Brahmâ, Vishṇu and Śiva were all
worshipped both at Prambanan and on the Dieng but Śiva together
with Ganeśa, Durgâ, and Nandi is evidently the chief deity. An
image of Śiva in the form of Bhaṭâra Guru or Mahâguru is
installed in one of the shrines at Prambanan. This deity is
characteristic of Javanese Hinduism and apparently peculiar to it. He
is represented as an elderly bearded man wearing a richly ornamented
costume. There is something in the pose and drapery which recalls
Chinese art and I think the figure is due to Chinese influence, for at
the present day many of the images found in the temples of Bali are
clearly imitated from Chinese models (or perhaps made by Chinese
artists) and this may have happened in earlier times. The Chinese
annals record several instances of religious objects being presented
by the Emperors to Javanese princes. Though Bhaṭâra Guru is only an
aspect of Śiva he is a sufficiently distinct personality to have a
shrine of his own like Ganeśa and Durgâ, in temples where the
principal image of Śiva is of another kind.

The same type of Brahmanism lasted at least until the erection of
Panataran (c. 1150). The temple appears to have been dedicated to
Śiva but like Prambanan it is ornamented with scenes from the
Ramayana and from Vishnuite Purânas[442]. The literature which can be
definitely assigned to the reigns of Djajabaja and Erlangga is
Brahmanic in tone but both literature and monuments indicate that
somewhat later there was a revival of Buddhism. Something similar
appears to have happened in other countries. In Camboja the
inscriptions of Jayavarman VII (c. 1185 A.D.) are more definitely
Buddhist than those of his predecessors and in 1296 Chou Ta-kuan
regarded the country as mainly Buddhist. Parakrama Bahu of Ceylon
(1153-1186) was zealous for the faith and so were several kings of
Siam. I am inclined to think that this movement was a consequence of
the flourishing condition of Buddhism at Pagan in Burma from 1050 to
1250. Pagan certainly stimulated religion in both Siam and Ceylon and
Siam reacted strongly on Camboja[443]. It is true that the later
Buddhism of Java was by no means of the Siamese type, but probably the
idea was current that the great kings of the world were pious
Buddhists and consequently in most countries the local form of
Buddhism, whatever it was, began to be held in esteem. Java had
constant communication with Camboja and Champa and a king of
Madjapahit married a princess of the latter country. It is also
possible that a direct stimulus may have been received from India, for
the statement of Târanâtha[444] that when Bihar was sacked by the
Mohammedans the Buddhist teachers fled to other regions and that some
of them went to Camboja is not improbable.

But though the prestige of Buddhism increased in the thirteenth
century, no rupture with Brahmanism took place and Pali Buddhism does
not appear to have entered Java. The unity of the two religions is
proclaimed: Buddha and Siva are one. But the Kamahâyânikan while
admitting the Trimûrti makes it a derivative, and not even a primary
derivative, of the original Buddha spirit. It has been stated that the
religion of Java in the Madjapahit epoch was Sivaism with a little
Buddhism thrown in, on the understanding that it was merely another
method of formulating the same doctrine. It is very likely that the
bulk of the population worshipped Hindu deities, for they are the gods
of this world and dispense its good things. Yet the natives still
speak of the old religion as Buddhâgama; the old times are "Buddha
times" and even the flights of stairs leading up to the Dieng plateau
are called Buddha steps. This would hardly be so if in the Madjapahit
epoch Buddha had not seemed to be the most striking figure in the
non-Mohammedan religion. Also, the majority of _religious_ works which
have survived from this period are Buddhist. It is true that we have
the Ramayana, the Bhârata Yuddha and many other specimens of Brahmanic
literature. But these, especially in their Javanese dress, are _belles
lettres_ rather than theology, whereas Kamahâyânikan and Kuñjarakarna
are dogmatic treatises. Hence it would appear that the religious life
of Madjapahit was rooted in Buddhism, but a most tolerant Buddhism
which had no desire to repudiate Brahmanism.

I have already briefly analysed the Sang Hyang Kamahâyânikan which
seems to be the most authoritative exposition of this creed. The
learned editor has collected many parallels from Tibetan and Nepalese
works and similar parallels between Javanese and Tibetan iconography
have been indicated by Pleyte[445] and others. The explanation
must be that the late forms of Buddhist art and doctrine which
nourished in Magadha spread to Tibet and Nepal but were also
introduced into Java. The Kamahâyânikan appears to be a paraphrase of
a Sanskrit original, perhaps distorted and mutilated. This original
has not been identified with any work known to exist in India but
might well be a Mahayanist catechism composed there about the eleventh
century. The terminology of the treatise is peculiar, particularly in
calling the ultimate principle Advaya and the more personal
manifestation of it Divarûpa. The former term may be paralleled in
Hemacandra and the Amarakosha, which give respectively as synonyms for
Buddha, advaya (in whom is no duality) and advayavâdin (who preaches
no duality), but Divarûpa has not been found in any other work[446].
It is also remarkable that the Kamahâyânikan does not teach the
doctrine of the three bodies of Buddha[447]. It clearly states[448]
that the Divarûpa is identical with the highest being worshipped by
various sects: with Paramaśûnya, Paramaśiva, the Purusha of the
followers of Kapila, the Nirguṇa of the Vishnuites, etc. Many names
of sects and doctrines are mentioned which remain obscure, but the
desire to represent them all as essentially identical is obvious.

The Kamahâyânikan recognizes the theoretical identity of the highest
principles in Buddhism and Vishnuism[449] but it does not appear that
Vishṇu-Buddha was ever a popular conception like Śiva-Buddha or that
the compound deity called Śiva-Vishṇu, Hari-Hara, Śaṇkara-Narâyaṇa,
etc., so well known in Camboja, enjoyed much honour in Java, Vishṇu is
relegated to a distinctly secondary position and the Javanese version of
the Mahabharata is more distinctly Śivaite than the Sanskrit text. Still
he has a shrine at Prambanan, the story of the Ramayana is depicted
there and at Panataran, and various unedited manuscripts contain
allusions to his worship, more especially to his incarnation as
Narasimha and to the Garuḍa on which he rides[450].


At present nearly all the inhabitants of Java profess Islam although
the religion of a few tribes, such as the Tenggarese, is still a
mixture of Hinduism with indigenous beliefs. But even among nominal
Moslims some traces of the older creed survive. On festival days such
monuments as Boroboedoer and Prambanan are frequented by crowds who,
if they offer no worship, at least take pleasure in examining the
ancient statues. Some of these however receive more definite honours:
they are painted red and modest offerings of flowers and fruit are
laid before them. Yet the respect shown to particular images seems due
not to old tradition but to modern and wrongheaded interpretations of
their meaning. Thus at Boroboedoer the relief which represents the
good tortoise saving a shipwrecked crew receives offerings from women
because the small figures on the tortoise's back are supposed to be
children. The minor forms of Indian mythology still flourish. All
classes believe in the existence of raksasas, boetas (bhûtas) and
widadaris (vidyâdharîs), who are regarded as spirits similar to the
Jinns of the Arabs. Lakshmî survives in the female genius believed
even by rigid Mohammedans to preside over the cultivation of rice and
the somewhat disreputable sect known as Santri Birahis are said to
adore devas and the forces of nature[451]. Less obvious, but more
important as more deeply affecting the national character, is the
tendency towards mysticism and asceticism. What is known as
ngelmoe[452] plays a considerable part in the religious life of the
modern Javanese. The word is simply the Arabic 'ilm (or knowledge)
used in the sense of secret science. It sometimes signifies mere magic
but the higher forms of it, such as the _ngelmoe peling_, are said
to teach that the contemplative life is the way to the knowledge of
God and the attainment of supernatural powers. With such ngelmoe
is often connected a belief in metempsychosis, in the illusory nature
of the world, and in the efficacy of regulating the breath. Asceticism
is still known under the name of tåpå and it is said that there are
many recluses who live on alms and spend their time in meditation. The
affinity of all this to Indian religion is obvious, although the
Javanese have no idea that it is in any way incompatible with orthodox

Indian religion, which in Java is represented merely by the influence
of the past on the present, is not dead in Bali[453] where, though
much mixed with aboriginal superstitions, it is still a distinct and
national faith, able to hold its own against Mohammedanism and

The island of Bali is divided from the east coast of Java only by a
narrow strait but the inhabitants possess certain characters of their
own. They are more robust in build, their language is distinct from
Javanese though belonging to the same group, and even the alphabet
presents idiosyncrasies. Their laws, social institutions, customs and
calendar show many peculiarities, explicable on the supposition that
they have preserved the ancient usages of pre-Mohammedan Java. At
present the population is divided into the Bali-Agas or aborigines and
the Wong Madjapahit who profess to have immigrated from that kingdom.
The Chinese references[455] to Bali seem uncertain but, if accepted,
indicate that it was known in the middle ages as a religious centre.
It was probably a colony and dependency of Madjapahit and when
Madjapahit fell it became a refuge for those who were not willing to
accept Islam.

Caste is still a social institution in Bali, five classes being
recognized, namely Brahmans, Kshatriyas (Satriyas), Vaisyas (Visias),
Sudras and Parias. These distinctions are rigidly observed and though
intermarriage (which in former times was often punished with death) is
now permitted, the offspring are not recognized as belonging to the
caste of the superior parent. The bodies of the dead are burned and
Sati, which was formerly frequent, is believed still to take place in
noble families. Pork is the only meat used and, as in other Hindu
countries, oxen are never slaughtered.

An idea of the Balinese religion may perhaps be given most easily by
describing some of the temples. These are very abundant: in the
neighbourhood of Boeleling (the capital) alone I have seen more than
ten of considerable size. As buildings they are not ancient, for the
stone used is soft and does not last much more than fifty years. But
when the edifices are rebuilt the ancient shape is preserved and what
we see in Bali to-day probably represents the style of the middle
ages. The temples consist of two or more courts surrounded by high
walls. Worship is performed in the open air: there are various
pyramids, seats, and small shrines like dovecots but no halls or
rooms. The gates are ornamented with the heads of monsters, especially
lions with large ears and winglike expansions at the side. The
outermost gate has a characteristic shape. It somewhat resembles an
Indian gopuram divided into two parts by a sharp, clean cut in the
middle and tradition quotes in explanation the story of a king who was
refused entrance to heaven but cleft a passage through the portal with
his sword.

In the outer court stand various sheds and hollow wooden cylinders
which when struck give a sound like bells. Another ornamented doorway
leads to the second court where are found some or all of the following
objects: (_a_) Sacred trees, especially _Ficus elastica_. (_b_) Sheds
with seats for human beings. It is said that on certain occasions
these are used by mediums who become inspired by the gods and then
give oracles, (_c_) Seats for the gods, generally under sheds. They
are of various kinds. There is usually one conspicuous chair with an
ornamental back and a scroll hanging behind it which bears some such
inscription as "This is the chair of the Bhatâra." Any deity may be
invited to take this seat and receive worship. Sometimes a stone
linga is placed upon it. In some temples a stone chair, called
padmâsana, is set apart for Sûrya. (_d_) Small shrines two or three
feet high, set on posts or pedestals. When well executed they are
similar to the cabinets used in Japanese temples as shrines for images
but when, as often happens, they are roughly made they are curiously
like dovecots. On them are hung strips of dried palm-leaves in bunches
like the Japanese _gohei_. As a rule the shrines contain no image but
only a small seat and some objects said to be stones which are
wrapped up in a cloth and called Artjeh[456]. In some temples (_e.g._
the Bale Agoeng at Singaraja) there are erections called Meru,
supposed to represent the sacred mountain where the gods reside. They
consist of a stout pedestal or basis of brick on which is erected a
cabinet shrine as already described. Above this are large round discs
made of straw and wood, which may be described as curved roofs or
umbrellas. They are from three to five in number and rise one above
the other, with slight intervals between them. (_e_) In many temples
(for instance at Sangsit and Sawan) pyramidal erections are found
either in addition to the Merus or instead of them. At the end of the
second court is a pyramid in four stages or terraces, often with
prolongations at the side of the main structure or at right angles to
it. It is ascended by several staircases, consisting of about
twenty-five steps, and at the top are rows of cabinet shrines.

Daily worship is not performed in these temples but offerings are laid
before the shrines from time to time by those who need the help of the
gods and there are several annual festivals. The object of the ritual
is not to honour any image or object habitually kept in the temple but
to induce the gods, who are supposed to be hovering round like birds,
to seat themselves in the chair provided or to enter into some sacred
object, and then receive homage and offerings. Thus both the ideas and
ceremonial are different from those which prevail in Hindu temples and
have more affinity with Polynesian beliefs. The deities are called
Dewa, but many of them are indigenous nature spirits (especially
mountain spirits) such as Dewa Gunung Agung, who are sometimes
identified with Indian gods.

Somewhat different are the Durgâ temples. These are dedicated to the
spirits of the dead but the images of Durgâ and her attendant Kaliki
receive veneration in them, much as in Hindu temples. But on the whole
the Malay or Polynesian element seemed to me to be in practice stronger
than Hinduism in the religion of the Balinese and this is borne out by
the fact that the Pĕmangku or priest of the indigenous gods ranks higher
than the Pĕdanda or Brahman priest. But by talking to Balinese one may
obtain a different impression, for they are proud of their connection
with Madjapahit and Hinduism: they willingly speak of such subjects and
Hindu deities are constantly represented in works of art. Ganeśa, Indra,
Vishṇu, Kṛishṇa, Sûrya, Garuḍa and Śiva, as well as the heroes of
the Mahâbhârata, are well known but I have not heard of worship being
offered to any of them except Durgâ and Śiva under the form of the
linga. Figures of Vishṇu riding on Garuḍa are very common and a
certain class of artificers are able to produce images of all well known
Indian gods for those who care to order them. Many Indian works such as
the Veda, Mahâbhârata, Râmâyana, Brahmâpurâṇa and Nîtiśâstra are known
by name and are said to exist not in the original Sanskrit but in Kawi.
I fancy that they are rarely read by the present generation, but any
knowledge of them is much respected. The Balinese though confused in
their theology are greatly attached to their religion and believe it is
the ancient faith of Madjapahit.

I was unable to discover in the neighbourhood of Singarâja even such
faint traces of Buddhism as have been reported by previous
authors[457], but they may exist elsewhere. The expression
Śiva-Buddha was known to the Pĕdandas but seemed to have no
living significance, and perhaps certain families have a traditional
and purely nominal connection with Buddhism. In Durgâ temples however
I have seen figures described as Pusa, the Chinese equivalent of
Bodhisattva, and it seems that Chinese artists have reintroduced into
this miscellaneous pantheon an element of corrupt Buddhism, though
the natives do not recognize it as such.

The art of Bali is more fantastic than that of ancient Java. The
carved work, whether in stone or wood, is generally polychromatic.
Figures are piled one on the top of another as in the sculptures of
Central America and there is a marked tendency to emphasize
projections. Leaves and flowers are very deeply carved and such
features as ears, tongues and teeth are monstrously prolonged. Thus
Balinese statues and reliefs have a curiously bristling and scaly
appearance and are apt to seem barbaric, especially if taken
separately[458]. Yet the general aspect of the temples is not
unpleasing. The brilliant colours and fantastic outlines harmonize
with the tropical vegetation which surrounds them and suggest that the
guardian deities take shape as gorgeous insects. Such bizarre figures
are not unknown in Indian mythology but in Balinese art Chinese
influence is perhaps stronger than Indian. The Chinese probably
frequented the island as early as the Hindus and are now found there
in abundance. Besides the statues called Pusa already mentioned,
Chinese landscapes are often painted behind the seats of the Devas and
in the temple on the Volcano Batoer, where a special place is assigned
to all the Balinese tribes, the Chinese have their own shrine. It is
said that the temples in southern Bali which are older and larger than
those in the north show even more decided signs of Chinese influence
and are surrounded by stone figures of Chinese as guardians.


[Footnote 369: I have not been able to find anything more than casual
and second-hand statements to the effect that Indian antiquities have
been found in these islands.]

[Footnote 370: There is no lack of scholarly and scientific works
about Java, but they are mostly written in Dutch and dissertations on
special points are more numerous than general surveys of Javanese
history, literature and architecture. Perhaps the best general account
of the Hindu period in Java will be found in the chapter contributed
by Kern to the publication called _Neerlands Indië_ (Amsterdam, 1911,
chap. VI. II. pp. 219-242). The abundant publications of the
Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen comprise
_Verhandelingen, Notulen_, and the _Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-,
Land-, en Volkenkunde_ (cited here as _Tijdschrift_), all of which
contain numerous and important articles on history, philology,
religion and archæology. The last is treated specially in the
publications called _Archaeologisch Onderzoek op Java en Madura_.
Veth's _Java_, vols. I. and IV. and various articles in the
_Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch-Indië_ may also be consulted. I have
endeavoured to mention the more important editions of Javanese books
as well as works dealing specially with the old religion in the notes
to these chapters.

Although Dutch orthography is neither convenient nor familiar to most
readers I have thought it better to preserve it in transcribing
Javanese. In this system of transcription j = y; tj = ch; dj = j; sj = sh;
w = v; oe = u.]

[Footnote 371: Râm. IV. 40. 30. Yavadvîpam saptarâjyopaśobhitam
Suvarṇarûpyakadvîpam suvarṇakaramaṇḍitam.]

[Footnote 372: Ptolemy's _Geography_, VII. 2. 29 (see also VIII. 27,
10). _Ἰαβαδίου (ἢ Σαβαδίου), ὅ σημαίνει κριθῆς, νῆσος. Εὐφορωτάτη δὲ
λέγεται ἡ νῆσος εἶναι καὶ ἔτι πλεῖστον χρυσὸν ποιεῖν, ἔχειν τε
μητρόπολιν ὄνομα Ἀργυρῆν ἐπῖ τοῖς δυσμικοῖς πέρασιν_.]

[Footnote 373: The Milinda Pañhâ of doubtful but not very late date
also mentions voyages to China.]

[Footnote 374: Groeneveldt, _Notes on the Malay Archipelago compiled
from Chinese sources_, 1876 (cited below as Groeneveldt), p. 10.
Confirmed by the statement in the Ming annals book 324 that in 1432
the Javanese said their kingdom had been founded 1376 years before.]

[Footnote 375: Kern in _Versl. en Med. K. Ak. v. W. Afd. Lett. 3 Rks_.
I. 1884, pp. 5-12.]

[Footnote 376: Chap. XL. Legge, p. 113, and Groeneveldt, pp. 6-9.]

[Footnote 377: He perhaps landed in the present district of Rembang
"where according to native tradition the first Hindu settlement was
situated at that time" (Groeneveldt, p. 9).]

[Footnote 378: Groeneveldt, p. 9. The transcriptions of Chinese
characters given in the following pages do not represent the modern
sound but seem justified (though they cannot be regarded as certain)
by the instances collected in Julien's _Méthode pour déchiffrer et
transcrire les noms sanscrits_. Possibly the syllables Do-a-lo-pa-mo
are partly corrupt and somehow or other represent Pûrṇavarman.]

[Footnote 379: Kern in _Versl. en Meded, Afd. Lett. 2 R._ XI. _D_.

[Footnote 380: Groeneveldt, pp. 12, 13.]

[Footnote 381: Groeneveldt, p. 14.]

[Footnote 382: _History of Java_, vol. II. chap. X.]

[Footnote 383: Jackson, _Java and Cambodja_. App. IV. in _Bombay
Gazetteer_, vol. I. part 1, 1896.]

[Footnote 384: It is also possible that when the Javanese traditions
speak of Kaling they mean the Malay Peninsula. Indians in those
regions were commonly known as Kaling because they came from Kalinga
and in time the parts of the Peninsula where they were numerous were
also called Kaling.]

[Footnote 385: See for this question Pelliot in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp.
274 ff. Also Schlegel in _T'oung Pao_, 1899, p. 247, and Chavannes,
_ib_. 1904, p. 192.]

[Footnote 386: Chap. xxxix. Schiefner, p. 262.]

[Footnote 387: Though he expressly includes Camboja and Champa in
Koki, it is only right to say that he mentions Nas-gling
( = Yava-dvipa) separately in another enumeration together with Ceylon.
But if Buddhists passed in any numbers from India to Camboja and _vice
versa_, they probably appeared in Java about the same time, or rather

[Footnote 388: See Kamaha. pp. 9, 10, and Watters, _Yüan Chwang_, II.
pp. 209-214.]

[Footnote 389: They preserve to some extent the old civilization of
Madjapahit. See the article "Tengereezen" in _Encyclopaedie van

[Footnote 390: See Kern, _Kawi-studien Arjuna-vivâha_, I. and II.
1871. Juynboll, _Drie Boeken van het oudjavaansche Mahâbhârata_, 1893,
and _id. Wirâtaparwwa_, 1912. This last is dated Śaka 918 = 996

[Footnote 391: Or Jayabaya.]

[Footnote 392: See _Râmâyana. Oudjavaansche Heldendicht_, edited Kern,
1900, and _Wṛtta Sañcaya_, edited and translated by the same,

[Footnote 393: Composed in 1613 A.D.]

[Footnote 394: Groeneveldt, p. 14.]

[Footnote 395: In the work commonly called "Nâgarakrĕtâgama" (ed.
Brandes, _Verhand. Bataav. Genootschap._ LIV. 1902), but it is stated
that its real name is "Deçawarṇnana." See _Tijdschrift_, LVI. 1914,
p. 194.]

[Footnote 396: Or Jayakatong.]

[Footnote 397: Groeneveldt, pp. 20-34.]

[Footnote 398: Groeneveldt, pp. 34-53.]

[Footnote 399: Near Soerabaja. It is said that he married a daughter
of the king of Champa, and that the king of Madjapahit married her
sister. For the connection between the royal families of Java and
Champa at this period see Maspéro in _T'oung Pao_, 1911, pp. 595 ff.,
and the references to Champa in Nâgarakrĕtagama, 15, 1, and 83, 4.]

[Footnote 400: See Raffles, chap, X, for Javanese traditions
respecting the decline and fall of Madjapahit.]

[Footnote 401: See Takakusu, _A record of the Buddhist religion_,
especially pp. xl to xlvi.]

[Footnote 402: In another pronunciation the characters are read
San-fo-chai. The meaning appears to be The Three Buddhas.]

[Footnote 403: _E.g._ Si-li-ma-ha-la-sha ( = Śrîmahârâjâ)
Si-li-tieh-hwa (perhaps = Śrîdeva).]

[Footnote 404: The conquest however was incomplete and about 1400 a
Chinese adventurer ruled there some time. The name was changed to
Ku-Kang, which is said to be still the Chinese name for Palembang.]

[Footnote 405: The Ming annals expressly state that the name was
changed to Atjeh about 1600.]

[Footnote 406: For the identification of Po-li see Groeneveldt, p. 80,
and Hose and McDougall, _Pagan Tribes of Borneo_, chap. II. It might
be identified with Bali, but it is doubtful if Hindu civilization had
spread to that island or even to east Java in the sixth century.]

[Footnote 407: See Hose and McDougall, _l.c._ p. 12.]

[Footnote 408: See Kern, "Over de Opschriften uit Koetei" in
_Verslagen Meded. Afd. Lett. 2 R. XI. D._ Another inscription
apparently written in debased Indian characters but not yet deciphered
has been found in Sanggau, south-west Borneo.]

[Footnote 409: Groeneveldt, p. 81. The characters may be read
Kau-ḍi-nya according to Julien's method. The reference is to Liang
annals, book 54.]

[Footnote 410: See Pleyte, _Die Buddhalegende in den Sculpturen von
Borobudur_. But he points out that the version of the Lalita Vistara
followed by the artist is not quite the same as the one that we

[Footnote 411: Amitâbha, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasambhava, Akshobhya,
Vairocana, sometimes called Dhyânî Buddhas, but it does not seem that
this name was in common use in Java or elsewhere. The Kamahâyânikan
calls them the Five Tathâgatas.]

[Footnote 412: So in the Kunjarakarna, for which see below. The
Kamahâyânikan teaches an elaborate system of Buddha emanations but for
purposes of worship it is not quite clear which should be adored as
the highest.]

[Footnote 413: Fergusson, _History of Indian and Eastern
Architecture_, ed. 1910, vol. II. p. 439.]

[Footnote 414: See _Archaeologisch Onderzoek op Java en Madura_, I.
"Tjandi Djago," 1904; II. "Tj. Singasari en Panataran," 1909.]

[Footnote 415: See Knebel in _Tijds. voor Indische T., L. en
Volkenkunde_, 41, 1909, p. 27.]

[Footnote 416: See passages quoted in _Archaeol. Onderzoek_, I. pp.

[Footnote 417: Hayagrîva however may be regarded as a Brahmanic god
adopted by the Buddhists.]

[Footnote 418: See for reasons and references _Archaeol. Onderzoek_,
II. pp. 36-40. The principal members of the king's household probably
committed suicide during the funeral ceremonies.]

[Footnote 419: Kern in _Tijds. voor T., L. en Volkenkunde_, Deel LII.
1910, p. 107. Similarly in Burma Alompra was popularly regarded as a

[Footnote 420: Sanskrit Kavi, a poet. See for Javanese literature Van
der Tuuk in _J.R.A.S._ XIII. 1881, p. 42, and Hinloopen Labberton,
_ib_. 1913, p. 1. Also the article "Litteratuur" in the _Encyc. van
Nederlandsch-Indië_, and many notices in the writings of Kern and

[Footnote 421: Edited by Gunning, 1903.]

[Footnote 422: A fragment of it is printed in _Notulen. Batav. Gen_.
LII. 1914, 108.]

[Footnote 423: Episodes of the Indian epics have also been used as the
subjects of Javanese dramas. See Juynboll, _Indonesische en
achterindische tooneelvoorstellingen uit het Râmâyana_, and Hinloopen
Labberton, _Pepakem Sapanti Sakoentala_, 1912.]

[Footnote 424: Juynboll, _Drie Boeken van het Oudjavaansche
Mahâbhârata_, p. 28.]

[Footnote 425: _Archaeol. Onderzoek_, I. p. 98. This statement is
abundantly confirmed by Krom's index of the proper names in the
Nâgarakrĕtâgama in _Tijdschrift_, LVI. 1914, pp. 495 ff.]

[Footnote 426: Edited with transl. and notes by J. Kat, 's Gravenhage,

[Footnote 427: Edited with transl. by H. Kern in _Verh. der K.
Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam. Afd. Lett. N.R._ III. 3.

[Footnote 428: But this probably represents nizbâṇa and is not a
Pali form. Cf. Bajra, Bâyu for Vajra, Vâyu.]

[Footnote 429: Adyâbhishiktâyushmanta, p. 30. Prâptam buddhatvam
bhavadbhir, _ib_. and Esha mârga varah śrîmân mahâyâna mahodayah
Yena yûyam gamishyanto bhavishyatha Tathâgatâh.]

[Footnote 430: Dâna, śîla, kshânti, vîrya, dhyâna, prajñâ.]

[Footnote 431: Maitrî, karunâ, muditâ, upekshâ.]

[Footnote 432: The Kâraṇḍavyûha teaches a somewhat similar
doctrine of creative emanations. Avalokita, Brahmâ, Śiva, Vishṇu
and others all are evolved from the original Buddha spirit and proceed
to evolve the world.]

[Footnote 433: The use of this word, as a name for the residence of
Vairocana, seems to be peculiar to our author.]

[Footnote 434: This term may include Śivaite ascetics as well as
Buddhist monks.]

[Footnote 435: See further discussion in Kern's edition, p. 16.]

[Footnote 436: As are the Panchpirs in modern India.]

[Footnote 437: Garbha. Up. 1 and 3, especially the phrase asmin
pancâtmake śarîre. Piṇḍa Up. 2. Bhinne pancâtmake dehe. Mahâ
Nâr. Up. 23. Sa vâ esha purushaḥ pancadhâ pancâtmâ.]

[Footnote 438: See Kern, "Over de Vermenging van Civaisme en Buddhisme
op Jâva" in _Vers. en Meded. der Kon. Akad. van Wet. Afd. Lett_. 3 _R.
5 Deel_, 1888.

For the Sutasomajâtaka see Speyer's translation of the Jâtakamâlâ, pp.
291-313, with his notes and references. It is No. 537 in the Pali
Collection of Jâtakas.]

[Footnote 439: See Nanjio Cat. Nos. 137, 138.]

[Footnote 440: Gotama, Kassapa, Konâgamana and Kakusandha.]

[Footnote 441: About 950-1050 A.D. Fergusson, _Hist. of Indian
Architecture_, II. p. 141.]

[Footnote 442: See Knebel, "Recherches préparatoires concernant
Krishna et les bas reliefs des temples de Java" in _Tijdschrift_, LI.
1909, pp. 97-174.]

[Footnote 443: In Camboja the result seems to have been double. Pali
Buddhism entered from Siam and ultimately conquered all other forms of
religion, but for some time Mahayanist Buddhism, which was older in
Camboja, revived and received Court patronage.]

[Footnote 444: Chap. 37.]

[Footnote 445: "Bijdrage tot de Kennis van het Mahâyâna opJava" in
_Bijd. tot de Taal Lund en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië_, 1901
and 1902.]

[Footnote 446: This use of advaya and advayavâdin strengthens the
suspicion that the origins of the Advaita philosophy are to be sought
in Buddhism.]

[Footnote 447: It uses the word trikâya but expressly defines it as
meaning Kâya, vâk and citta.]

[Footnote 448: In a passage which is not translated from the Sanskrit
and may therefore reflect the religious condition of Java.]

[Footnote 449: So too in the Sutasoma Jâtaka Amoghasiddhi is said to
be Vishṇu.]

[Footnote 450: See Juynboll in _Bijdragen tot de Taal Land en
Volkenkunde van Ned.-Indië_, 1908, pp. 412-420.]

[Footnote 451: Veth, _Java_, vol. IV. p. 154. The whole chapter
contains much information about the Hindu elements in modern Javanese

[Footnote 452: See Veth, _l.c._ and _ngelmoe_ in _Encycl. van
Nederlandsch-Indië. _]

[Footnote 453: Also to some extent in Lombok. The Balinese were
formerly the ruling class in this island and are still found there in
considerable numbers.]

[Footnote 454: It has even been suggested that hinduized Malays
carried some faint traces of Indian religion to Madagascar. See
_T'oung Pao_ 1906, p. 93, where Zanahari is explained as Yang ( = God
in Malay) Hari.]

[Footnote 455: Groeneveldt, pp. 19, 58, 59.]

[Footnote 456: This word appears to be the Sanskrit area, an image for

[Footnote 457: _E.g._ Van Eerde, "Hindu Javaansche en Balische
Eeredienst" in _Bijd. T.L. en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië_,
1910. I visited Bali in 1911.]

[Footnote 458: See Pleyte, _Indonesian Art_, 1901, especially the
seven-headed figure in plate XVI said to be Krishna.]




The term Central Asia is here used to denote the Tarim basin, without
rigidly excluding neighbouring countries such as the Oxus region and
Badakshan. This basin is a depression surrounded on three sides by
high mountains: only on the east is the barrier dividing it from China
relatively low. The water of the whole area discharges through the
many branched Tarim river into Lake Lobnor. This so-called lake is now
merely a flooded morass and the basin is a desert with occasional
oases lying chiefly near its edges. The fertile portions were formerly
more considerable but a quarter of a century ago this remote and
lonely region interested no one but a few sportsmen and geographers.
The results of recent exploration have been important and surprising.
The arid sands have yielded not only ruins, statues and frescoes but
whole libraries written in a dozen languages. The value of such
discoveries for the general history of Asia is clear and they are of
capital importance for our special subject, since during many
centuries the Tarim region and its neighbouring lands were centres and
highways for Buddhism and possibly the scene of many changes whose
origin is now obscure. But I am unfortunate in having to discuss
Central Asian Buddhism before scholars have had time to publish or
even catalogue completely the store of material collected and the
reader must remember that the statements in this chapter are at best
tentative and incomplete. They will certainly be supplemented and
probably corrected as year by year new documents and works of art are
made known.

Tarim, in watery metaphor, is not so much a basin as a pool in a tidal
river flowing alternately to and from the sea. We can imagine that in
such a pool creatures of very different provenance might be found
together. So currents both from east to west and from west to east
passed through the Tarim, leaving behind whatever could live there:
Chinese administration and civilization from the east: Iranians
from the west, bearing with them in the stream fragments that had
drifted from Asia Minor and Byzantium, while still other currents
brought Hindus and Tibetans from the south.

One feature of special interest in the history of the Tarim is that it
was in touch with Bactria and the regions conquered by Alexander and
through them with western art and thought. Another is that its
inhabitants included not only Iranian tribes but the speakers of an
Aryan language hitherto unknown, whose presence so far east may oblige
us to revise our views about the history of the Aryan race. A third
characteristic is that from the dawn of history to the middle ages
warlike nomads were continually passing through the country. All these
people, whether we call them Iranians, Turks or Mongols had the same
peculiarity: they had little culture of their own but they picked up
and transported the ideas of others. The most remarkable example of
this is the introduction of Islam into Europe and India. Nothing quite
so striking happened in earlier ages, yet tribes similar to the Turks
brought Manichæism and Nestorian Christianity into China and played no
small part in the introduction of Buddhism.

A brief catalogue of the languages represented in the manuscripts and
inscriptions discovered will give a safe if only provisional idea of
the many influences at work in Central Asia and its importance as a
receiving and distributing centre. The number of tongues
simultaneously in use for popular or learned purposes was remarkably
large. To say nothing of great polyglot libraries like Tun-huang, a
small collection at Toyog is reported as containing Indian, Manichæan,
Syriac, Sogdian, Uigur and Chinese books. The writing materials
employed were various like the idioms and include imported palm
leaves, birch bark, plates of wood or bamboo, leather and paper, which
last was in use from the first century A.D. onwards. In this dry
atmosphere all enjoyed singular longevity.

Numerous Sanskrit writings have been found, all dealing with religious
or quasi religious subjects, as medicine and grammar were then
considered to be. Relatively modern Mahayanist literature is abundant
but greater interest attaches to portions of an otherwise lost
Sanskrit canon which agree in substance though not verbally with the
corresponding passages in the Pali Canon and are apparently the
original text from which much of the Chinese Tripitaka was
translated. The manuscripts hitherto published include Sûtras from the
Samyukta and Ekottara Agamas, a considerable part of the Dharmapada,
and the Prâtimoksha of the Sarvâstivâdin school. Fa-Hsien states that
the monks of Central Asia were all students of the language of India
and even in the seventh century Hsüan Chuang tells us the same of
Kucha. Portions of a Sanskrit grammar have been found near Turfan and
in the earlier period at any rate Sanskrit was probably understood in
polite and learned society. Some palm leaves from Ming-Ŏi contain
fragments of two Buddhist religious dramas, one of which is the
Sâriputra-prakaraṇa of Aśvaghosha. The handwriting is believed
to date from the epoch of Kanishka so that we have here the oldest
known Sanskrit manuscripts, as well as the oldest specimens of Indian
dramatic art[459]. They are written like the Indian classical dramas
in Sanskrit and various forms of Prâkrit. The latter represent
hitherto unknown stages in the development of Indian dialects and some
of them are closely allied to the language of Aśoka's inscriptions.
Another Prâkrit text is the version of the Dharmapada written in
Kharoshṭhî characters and discovered by the Dutreuil de Rhins
mission near Khotan[460], and numerous official documents in this
language and alphabet have been brought home by Stein from the same
region. It is probable that they are approximately coeval with the
Kushan dynasty in India and the use of an Indian vernacular as well as
of Sanskrit in Central Asia shows that the connection between the two
countries was not due merely to the introduction of Buddhism.

Besides these hitherto unknown forms of Prâkrit, Central Asia has
astonished the learned world with two new languages, both written in a
special variety of the Brahmi alphabet called Central Asian Gupta. One
is sometimes called Nordarisch and is regarded by some authorities as
the language of the Śakas whose incursions into India appear to
have begun about the second century B.C. and by others as the language
of the Kushans and of Kanishka's Empire. It is stated that the basis
of the language is Iranian but strongly influenced by Indian
idioms[461]. Many translations of Mahayanist literature (for
instance the Suvarṇaprabhâsa, Vajracchedikâ and Aparimitâyus
Sûtras) were made into it and it appears to have been spoken
principally in the southern part of the Tarim basin[462]. The other
new language was spoken principally on its northern edge and has been
called Tokharian, which name implies that it was the tongue of the
Tokhars or Indoscyths[463]. But there is no proof of this and it is
safer to speak of it as the language of Kucha or Kuchanese. It exists
in two different dialects known as A and B whose geographical
distribution is uncertain but numerous official documents dated in the
first half of the seventh century show that it was the ordinary speech
of Kucha and Turfan. It was also a literary language and among the
many translations discovered are versions in it of the Dharmapada and
Vinaya. It is extremely interesting to find that this language spoken
by the early and perhaps original inhabitants of Kucha not only
belongs to the Aryan family but is related more nearly to the western
than the eastern branch. It cannot be classed in the Indo-Iranian
group but shows perplexing affinities to Latin, Greek, Keltic,
Slavonic and Armenian[464]. It is possible that it influenced Chinese
Buddhist literature[465].

Besides the "Nordarisch" mentioned above which was written in Brahmi,
three other Iranian languages have left literary remains in Central
Asia, all written in an alphabet of Aramaic origin. Two of them
apparently represent the speech of south-western Persia under the
Sassanids, and of north-western Persia under the Arsacids. The texts
preserved in both are Manichæan but the third Iranian language, or
Sogdian, has a more varied literary content and offers Buddhist,
Manichæan and Christian texts, apparently in that chronological order.
It was originally the language of the region round Samarkand but
acquired an international character for it was used by merchants
throughout the Tarim basin and spread even to China. Some Christian
texts in Syriac have also been found.

The Orkhon inscriptions exhibit an old Turkish dialect written in the
characters commonly called Runes and this Runic alphabet is used in
manuscripts found at Tun-huang and Miran but those hitherto published
are not Buddhist. But another Turkish dialect written in the Uigur
alphabet, which is derived from the Syriac, was (like Sogdian)
extensively used for Buddhist, Manichæan and Christian literature. The
name Uigur is perhaps more correctly applied to the alphabet than the
language[466] which appears to have been the literary form of the
various Turkish idioms spoken north and south of the Tien-shan. The
use of this dialect for Buddhist literature spread considerably when
the Uigurs broke the power of Tibet in the Tarim basin about 860 and
founded a kingdom themselves: it extended into China and lasted long,
for Sûtras in Uigur were printed at Peking in 1330 and Uigur
manuscripts copied in the reign of K'ang Hsi (1662-1723) are reported
from a monastery near Suchow[467]. I am informed that a variety of
this alphabet written in vertical columns is still used in some parts
of Kansu where a Turkish dialect is spoken. Though Turkish was used by
Buddhists in both the east and west of the Tarim basin, it appears to
have been introduced into Khotan only after the Moslim conquest.
Another Semitic script, hitherto unknown and found only in a
fragmentary form, is believed to be the writing of the White Huns or

As the Tibetans were the predominant power in the Tarim basin from at
least the middle of the eighth until the middle of the ninth century,
it is not surprising that great stores of Tibetan manuscripts have
been found in the regions of Khotan, Miran and Tun-huang. In Turfan,
as lying more to the north, traces of Tibetan influence, though not
absent, are fewer. The documents discovered must be anterior to
the ninth century and comprise numerous official and business papers
as well as Buddhist translations[468]. They are of great importance
for the history of the Tibetan language and also indicate that at the
period when they were written Buddhism at most shared with the Bön
religion the allegiance of the Tibetans. No Manichæan or Christian
translations in Tibetan have yet been discovered.

Vast numbers of Chinese texts both religious and secular are preserved
in all the principal centres and offer many points of interest among
which two may be noticed. Firstly the posts on the old military
frontier near Tun-huang have furnished a series of dated documents
ranging from 98 B.C. to 153 A.D.[469] There is therefore no difficulty
in admitting that there was intercourse between China and Central Asia
at this period. Secondly, some documents of the T'ang dynasty are
Manichæan, with an admixture of Buddhist and Taoist ideas[470].

The religious monuments of Central Asia comprise stupas, caves and
covered buildings used as temples or vihâras. Buddhist, Manichæan and
Christian edifices have been discovered but apparently no shrines of
the Zoroastrian religion, though it had many adherents in these
regions, and though representations of Hindu deities have been found,
Hinduism is not known to have existed apart from Buddhism[471]. Caves
decorated for Buddhist worship are found not only in the Tarim basin
but at Tun-huang on the frontier of China proper, near Ta-t'ung-fu in
northern Shensi, and in the defile of Lung-mên in the province of
Ho-nan. The general scheme and style of these caves are similar, but
while in the last two, as in most Indian caves, the figures and
ornaments are true sculpture, in the caves of Tun-huang and the Tarim
not only is the wall prepared for frescoes, but even the figures are
executed in stucco. This form of decoration was congenial to Central
Asia for the images which embellished the temple walls were moulded in
the same fashion. Temples and caves were sometimes combined, for
instance at Bäzäklik where many edifices were erected on a terrace in
front of a series of caves excavated in a mountain corner. Few
roofed buildings are well preserved but it seems certain that some
were high quadrilateral structures, crowned by a dome of a shape found
in Persia, and that others had barrel-shaped roofs, apparently
resembling the chaityas of Ter and Chezarla[472]. Le Coq states that
this type of architecture is also found in Persia[473]. The commonest
type of temple was a hall having at its further end a cella, with a
passage behind to allow of circumambulation. Such halls were
frequently enlarged by the addition of side rooms and sometimes a
shrine was enclosed by several rectangular courts[474].

Many stupas have been found either by themselves or in combination
with other buildings. The one which is best preserved (or at any rate
reproduced in greatest detail)[475] is the Stupa of Rawak. It is set
in a quadrangle bounded by a wall which was ornamented on both its
inner and outer face by a series of gigantic statues in coloured
stucco. The dome is set upon a rectangular base disposed in three
stories and this arrangement is said to characterize all the stupas of
Turkestan as well as those of the Kabul valley and adjacent regions.

This architecture appears to owe nothing to China but to include both
Indian (especially Gandharan) and Persian elements. Many of its
remarkable features, if not common elsewhere, are at least widely
scattered. Thus some of the caves at Ming-Ŏi have dome-like roofs
ornamented with a pattern composed of squares within squares, set at
an angle with each other. A similar ornamentation is reported from
Pandrenthan in Kashmir and from Bamian[476].

The antiquities of Central Asia include frescoes executed on the walls
of caves and buildings, and paintings on silk paper[477]. The origin
and affinities of this art are still the subject of investigation and
any discussion of them would lead me too far from my immediate
subject. But a few statements can be made with some confidence.
The influence of Gandhara is plain in architecture, sculpture, and
painting. The oldest works may be described as simply Gandharan but
this early style is followed by another which shows a development both
in technique and in mythology. It doubtless represents Indian Buddhist
art as modified by local painters and sculptors. Thus in the Turfan
frescoes the drapery and composition are Indian but the faces are
eastern asiatic. Sometimes however they represent a race with red hair
and blue eyes.

On the whole the paintings testify to the invasion of Far Eastern art
by the ideas and designs of Indian Buddhism rather than to an equal
combination of Indian and Chinese influence but in some forms of
decoration, particularly that employed in the Khan's palace at
Idiqutshähri[478], Chinese style is predominant. It may be too that
the early pre-buddhist styles of painting in China and Central Asia
were similar. In the seventh century a Khotan artist called Wei-ch'ih
Po-chih-na migrated to China, where both he and his son Wei-ch'ih
I-sêng acquired considerable fame.

Persian influence also is manifest in many paintings. A striking
instance may be seen in two plates published by Stein[479] apparently
representing the same Boddhisattva. In one he is of the familiar
Indian type: the other seems at first sight a miniature of some
Persian prince, black-bearded and high-booted, but the figure has four
arms. As might be expected, it is the Manichæan paintings which are
least Indian in character. They represent a "lost late antique
school[480]" which often recalls Byzantine art and was perhaps the
parent of mediæval Persian miniature painting.

The paintings of Central Asia resemble its manuscripts. It is
impossible to look through any collection of them without feeling that
currents of art and civilization flowing from neighbouring and even
from distant lands have met and mingled in this basin. As the reader
turns over the albums of Stein, Grünwedel or Le Coq he is haunted by
strange reminiscences and resemblances, and wonders if they are merely
coincidences or whether the pedigrees of these pictured gods and men
really stretch across time and space to far off origins. Here are
coins and seals of Hellenic design, nude athletes that might adorn a
Greek vase, figures that recall Egypt, Byzantium or the Bayeux
tapestry, with others that might pass for Christian ecclesiastics;
Chinese sages, Kṛishṇa dancing to the sound of his flute,
frescoes that might be copied from Ajanta, winged youths to be styled
cupids or cherubs according to our mood[481].

Stein mentions[482] that he discovered a Buddhist monastery in the
terminal marshes of the Helmund in the Persian province of Seistan,
containing paintings of a Hellenistic type which show "for the first
time _in situ_ the Iranian link of the chain which connects the
Græco-Buddhist art of extreme north-west India with the Buddhist art
of Central Asia and the Far East."

Central Asian art is somewhat wanting in spontaneity. Except when
painting portraits (which are many) the artists do not seem to go to
nature or even their own imagination and visions. They seem concerned
to reproduce some religious scene not as they saw it but as it was
represented by Indian or other artists.


Only one side of Central Asian history can be written with any
completeness, namely its relations with China. Of these some account
with dates can be given, thanks to the Chinese annals which
incidentally supply valuable information about earlier periods. But
unfortunately these relations were often interrupted and also the
political record does not always furnish the data which are of most
importance for the history of Buddhism. Still there is no better
framework available for arranging our data. But even were our
information much fuller, we should probably find the history of
Central Asia scrappy and disconnected. Its cities were united by no
bond of common blood or language, nor can any one of them have had a
continuous development in institutions, letters or art. These were
imported in a mature form and more or less assimilated in a precocious
Augustan age, only to be overwhelmed in some catastrophe which, if not
merely destructive, at least brought the ideas and baggage of another

It was under the Emperor Wu-ti (140-87 B.C.) of the Han dynasty
that the Chinese first penetrated into the Tarim basin. They had heard
that the Hsiung-nu, of whose growing power they were afraid, had
driven the Yüeh-chih westwards and they therefore despatched an envoy
named Chang Ch'ien in the hope of inducing the Yüeh-chih to co-operate
with them against the common enemy. Chang Ch'ien made two adventurous
expeditions, and visited the Yüeh-chih in their new home somewhere on
the Oxus. His mission failed to attain its immediate political object
but indirectly had important results, for it revealed to China that
the nations on the Oxus were in touch with India on one hand and with
the more mysterious west on the other. Henceforth it was her aim to
keep open the trade route leading westwards from the extremity of the
modern Kansu province to Kashgar, Khotan and the countries with which
those cities communicated. Far from wishing to isolate herself or
exclude foreigners, her chief desire was to keep the road to the west
open, and although there were times when the flood of Buddhism which
swept along this road alarmed the more conservative classes, yet for
many centuries everything that came in the way of merchandize, art,
literature, and religion was eagerly received. The chief hindrance to
this intercourse was the hostility of the wild tribes who pillaged
caravans and blocked the route, and throughout the whole stretch of
recorded history the Chinese used the same method to weaken them and
keep the door open, namely to create or utilize a quarrel between two
tribes. The Empire allied itself with one in order to crush the second
and that being done, proceeded to deal with its former ally.

Dated records beginning with the year 98 B.C. testify to the presence
of a Chinese garrison near the modern Tun-huang[483]. But at the
beginning of the Christian era the Empire was convulsed by internal
rebellion and ceased to have influence or interest in Central Asia.
With the restoration of order things took another turn. The reign of
the Emperor Ming-ti is the traditional date for the introduction of
Buddhism and it also witnessed the victorious campaigns of the famous
general and adventurer Pan Ch'ao. He conquered Khotan and Kashgar and
victoriously repulsed the attacks of the Kushans or Yüeh-chih who were
interested in these regions and endeavoured to stop his progress. The
Chinese annals do not give the name of their king but it must have
been Kanishka if he came to the throne in 78. I confess however that
this silence makes it difficult for me to accept 78-123 A.D. as the
period of Kanishka's reign, for he must have been a monarch of some
celebrity and if the Chinese had come into victorious contact with
him, would not their historians have mentioned it? It seems to me more
probable that he reigned before or after Pan Ch'ao's career in Central
Asia which lasted from A.D. 73-102. With the end of that career
Chinese activity ceased for some time and perhaps the Kushans
conquered Kashgar and Khotan early in the second century. Neither the
degenerate Han dynasty nor the stormy Three Kingdoms could grapple
with distant political problems and during the fourth, fifth and sixth
centuries northern China was divided among Tartar states, short-lived
and mutually hostile. The Empire ceased to be a political power in the
Tarim basin but intercourse with Central Asia and in particular the
influx of Buddhism increased, and there was also a return wave of
Chinese influence westwards. Meanwhile two tribes, the Hephthalites
(or White Huns) and the Turks[484], successively became masters of
Central Asia and founded states sometimes called Empires--that is to
say they overran vast tracts within which they took tribute without
establishing any definite constitution or frontiers.

When the T'ang dynasty (618-907) re-united the Empire, the Chinese
Government with characteristic tenacity reverted to its old policy of
keeping the western road open and to its old methods. The Turks were
then divided into two branches, the northern and western, at war with
one another. The Chinese allied themselves with the latter, defeated
the northern Turks and occupied Turfan (640). Then in a series of
campaigns, in which they were supported by the Uigurs, they conquered
their former allies the western Turks and proceeded to organize the
Tarim basin under the name of the Four Garrisons[485]. This was the
most glorious period of China's foreign policy and at no other time
had she so great a position as a western power. The list of her
possessions included Bokhara in the west and starting from
Semirechinsk and Tashkent in the north extended southwards so as to
embrace Afghanistan with the frontier districts of India and
Persia[486]. It is true that the Imperial authority in many of these
regions was merely nominal: when the Chinese conquered a tribe which
claimed sovereignty over them they claimed sovereignty themselves. But
for the history of civilization, for the migration of art and ideas,
even this nominal claim is important, for China was undoubtedly in
touch with India, Bokhara and Persia.

But no sooner did these great vistas open, than new enemies appeared
to bar the road. The Tibetans descended into the Tarim basin and after
defeating the Chinese in 670 held the Four Garrisons till 692, when
the fortunes of war were reversed. But the field was not left clear
for China: the power of the northern Turks revived, and Mohammedanism,
then a new force but destined to ultimate triumph in politics and
religion alike, appeared in the west. The conquests of the Mohammedan
general Qutayba (705-715) extended to Ferghana and he attacked
Kashgar. In the long reign of Hsüan Tsung China waged a double warfare
against the Arabs and Tibetans. For about thirty years (719-751) the
struggle was successful. Even Tabaristan is said to have acknowledged
China's suzerainty. Her troops crossed the Hindu Kush and reached
Gilgit. But in 751 they sustained a crushing defeat near Tashkent. The
disaster was aggravated by the internal troubles of the Empire and it
was long before Chinese authority recovered from the blow[487]. The
Tibetans reaped the advantage. Except in Turfan, they were the
dominant power of the Tarim basin for a century, they took tribute
from China and when it was refused sacked the capital, Chang-an (763).
It would appear however that for a time Chinese garrisons held out in
Central Asia and Chinese officials exercised some authority, though
they obtained no support from the Empire[488]. But although even late
in the tenth century Khotan sent embassies to the Imperial Court,
China gradually ceased to be a Central Asian power. She made a
treaty with the Tibetans (783) and an alliance with the Uigurs, who
now came to the front and occupied Turfan, where there was a
flourishing Uigur kingdom with Manichæism as the state religion from
about 750 to 843. In that year the Kirghiz sacked Turfan and it is
interesting to note that the Chinese who had hitherto tolerated
Manichæism as the religion of their allies, at once began to issue
restrictive edicts against it. But except in Turfan it does not appear
that the power of the Uigurs was weakened[489]. In 860-817 they broke
up Tibetan rule in the Tarim basin and formed a new kingdom of their
own which apparently included Kashgar, Urumtsi and Kucha but not
Khotan. The prince of Kashgar embraced Islam about 945, but the
conversion of Khotan and Turfan was later. With this conversion the
connection of the Tarim basin with the history of Buddhism naturally
ceases, for it does not appear that the triumphal progress of Lamaism
under Khubilai Khan affected these regions.


The Tarim basin, though sometimes united under foreign rule, had no
indigenous national unity. Cities, or groups of towns, divided by
deserts lived their own civic life and enjoyed considerable
independence under native sovereigns, although the Chinese, Turks or
Tibetans quartered troops in them and appointed residents to supervise
the collection of tribute. The chief of these cities or oases were
Kashgar in the west: Kucha, Karashahr, Turfan (Idiqutshähri, Chotscho)
and Hami lying successively to the north-east: Yarkand, Khotan and
Miran to the south-east[490]. It may be well to review briefly the
special history of some of them.

The relics found near Kashgar, the most western of these cities, are
comparatively few, probably because its position exposed it to the
destructive influence of Islam at an early date. Chinese writers
reproduce the name as Ch'ia-sha, Chieh-ch'a, etc., but also call the
region Su-lê, Shu-lê, or Sha-lê[491]. It is mentioned first in the
Han annals. After the missions of Chang-Ch'ien trade with Bactria and
Sogdiana grew rapidly and Kashgar which was a convenient emporium
became a Chinese protected state in the first century B.C. But when
the hold of China relaxed about the time of the Christian era it was
subdued by the neighbouring kingdom of Khotan. The conquests of
Pan-Ch'ao restored Chinese supremacy but early in the second century
the Yüeh-chih interfered in the politics of Kashgar and placed on the
throne a prince who was their tool. The introduction of Buddhism is
ascribed to this epoch[492]. If Kanishka was then reigning the
statement that he conquered Kashgar and Khotan is probably correct. It
is supported by Hsüan Chuang's story of the hostages and by his
assertion that Kanishka's rule extended to the east of the Ts'ung-ling
mountains: also by the discovery of Kanishka's coins in the Khotan
district. Little is heard of Kashgar until Fa-Hsien visited it in
400[493]. He speaks of the quinquennial religious conferences held by
the king, at one of which he was present, of relics of the Buddha and
of a monastery containing a thousand monks all students of the
Hinayana. About 460 the king sent as a present to the Chinese Court an
incombustible robe once worn by the Buddha. Shortly afterwards Kashgar
was incorporated in the dominions of the Hephthalites, and when these
succumbed to the western Turks about 465, it merely changed masters.

Hsüan Chuang has left an interesting account of Kashgar as he found it
on his return journey[494]. The inhabitants were sincere Buddhists and
there were more than a thousand monks of the Sarvâstivâdin school. But
their knowledge was not in proportion to their zeal for they read the
scriptures diligently without understanding them. They used an Indian
alphabet into which they had introduced alterations.

According to Hsüan Chuang's religious conspectus of these regions,
Kashgar, Osh and Kucha belonged to the Small Vehicle, Yarkand and
Khotan mainly to the Great. The Small Vehicle also flourished at Balkh
and at Bamian[495]. In Kapiśa the Great Vehicle was predominant but
there were also many Hindu sects: in the Kabul valley too Hinduism and
Buddhism seem to have been mixed: in Persia[496] there were several
hundred Sarvâstivâdin monks. In Tokhara (roughly equivalent to
Badakshan) there was some Buddhism but apparently it did not flourish
further north in the regions of Tashkent and Samarkand. In the latter
town there were two disused monasteries but when Hsüan Chuang's
companions entered them they were mobbed by the populace. He says that
these rioters were fire worshippers and that the Turks whom he visited
somewhere near Aulieata were of the same religion. This last statement
is perhaps inaccurate but the T'ang annals expressly state that the
population of Kashgar and Khotan was in part Zoroastrian[497]. No
mention of Nestorianism in Kashgar at this date has yet been
discovered, although in the thirteenth century it was a Nestorian see.
But since Nestorianism had penetrated even to China in the seventh
century, it probably also existed in Samarkand and Kashgar.

The pilgrim Wu-K'ung spent five months in Kashgar about 786, but there
appear to be no later data of interest for the study of Buddhism.

The town of Kucha[498] lies between Kashgar and Turfan, somewhat to
the west of Karashahr. In the second century B.C. it was already a
flourishing city. Numerous dated documents show that about 630 A.D.
the language of ordinary life was the interesting idiom sometimes
called Tokharian B, and, since the Chinese annals record no alien
invasion, we may conclude that Kucha existed as an Aryan colony
peopled by the speakers of this language some centuries before the
Christian era. It is mentioned in the Han annals and when brought into
contact with China in the reign of Wu-ti (140-87 B.C.) it became a
place of considerable importance, as it lay at the junction[499] of
the western trade routes leading to Kashgar and Aulieata respectively.
Kucha absorbed some Chinese civilization but its doubtful loyalty to
the Imperial throne often involved it in trouble. It is not until the
Western Tsin dynasty that we find it described as a seat of Buddhism.
The Tsin annals say that it was enclosed by a triple wall and
contained a thousand stupas and Buddhist temples as well as a
magnificent palace for the king[500]. This implies that Buddhism had
been established for some time but no evidence has been found to date
its introduction.

In 383 Fu-chien, Emperor of the Tsin dynasty, sent his general
Lü-Kuang to subdue Kucha[501]. The expedition was successful and among
the captives taken was the celebrated Kumârajîva. Lü-Kuang was so
pleased with the magnificent and comfortable life of Kucha that he
thought of settling there but Kumârajîva prophesied that he was
destined to higher things. So they left to try their fortune in China.
Lü-Kuang rose to be ruler of the state known as Southern Liang and his
captive and adviser became one of the greatest names in Chinese

Kumârajîva is a noticeable figure and his career illustrates several
points of importance. First, his father came from India and he himself
went as a youth to study in Kipin (Kashmir) and then returned to
Kucha. Living in this remote corner of Central Asia he was recognized
as an encyclopædia of Indian learning including a knowledge of the
Vedas and "heretical śâstras." Secondly after his return to Kucha
he was converted to Mahayanism. Thirdly he went from Kucha to China
where he had a distinguished career as a translator. Thus we see how
China was brought into intellectual touch with India and how the
Mahayana was gaining in Central Asia territory previously occupied by
the Hinayana. The monk Dharmagupta who passed through Kucha about 584
says that the king favoured Mahayanism[502]. That Kucha should have
been the home of distinguished translators is not strange for a
statement[503] has been preserved to the effect that Sanskrit texts
were used in the cities lying to the west of it, but that in Kucha
itself Indian languages were not understood and translations were
made, although such Sanskrit words as were easily intelligible were

In the time of the Wei, Kucha again got into trouble with China and
was brought to order by another punitive expedition in 448. After this
lesson a long series of tribute-bearing missions is recorded, sent
first to the court of Wei, and afterwards to the Liang, Chou and Sui.
The notices respecting the country are to a large extent repetitions.
They praise its climate, fertility and mineral wealth: the
magnificence of the royal palace, the number and splendour of the
religious establishments. Peacocks were as common as fowls and the
Chinese annalists evidently had a general impression of a brilliant,
pleasure-loving and not very moral city. It was specially famous for
its music: the songs and dances of Kucha, performed by native artists,
were long in favour at the Imperial Court, and a list of twenty airs
has been preserved[504].

When the T'ang dynasty came to the throne Kucha sent an embassy to do
homage but again supported Karashahr in rebellion and again brought on
herself a punitive expedition (648). But the town was peaceful and
prosperous when visited by Hsüan Chuang about 630.

His description agrees in substance with other notices, but he praises
the honesty of the people. He mentions that the king was a native and
that a much modified Indian alphabet was in use. As a churchman, he
naturally dwells with pleasure on the many monasteries and great
images, the quinquennial assemblies and religious processions.
There were more than 100 monasteries with upwards of 5000 brethren who
all followed the Sarvâstivâda and the "gradual teaching," which
probably means the Hinayana as opposed to the sudden illumination
caused by Mahayanist revelation. The pilgrim differed from his hosts
on the matter of diet and would not join them in eating meat. But he
admits that the monks were strict according to their lights and that
the monasteries were centres of learning.

In 658 Kucha was made the seat of government for the territory known
as the Four Garrisons. During the next century it sent several
missions to the Chinese and about 788 was visited by Wu-K'ung, who
indicates that music and Buddhism were still flourishing. He mentions
an Abbot who spoke with equal fluency the language of the country,
Chinese and Sanskrit. Nothing is known about Kucha from this date
until the eleventh century when we again hear of missions to the
Chinese Court. The annals mention them under the heading of Uigurs,
but Buddhism seems not to have been extinct for even in 1096 the Envoy
presented to the Emperor a jade Buddha. According to Hsüan Chuang's
account the Buddhism of Karashahr (Yenki) was the same as that of
Kucha and its monasteries enjoyed the same reputation for strictness
and learning.

Turfan is an oasis containing the ruins of several cities and possibly
different sites were used as the capital at different periods. But the
whole area is so small that such differences can be of little
importance. The name Turfan appears to be modern. The Ming Annals[505]
state that this city lies in the land of ancient Ch'e-shih (or
Kü-shih) called Kao Ch'ang in the time of the Sui. This name was
abolished by the T'ang but restored by the Sung.

The principal city now generally known as Chotscho seems to be
identical with Kao Ch'ang[506] and Idiqutshähri and is called by
Mohammedans Apsus or Ephesus, a curious designation connected with an
ancient sacred site renamed the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. Extensive
literary remains have been found in the oasis; they include works in
Sanskrit, Chinese, and various Iranian and Turkish idioms but also in
two dialects of so-called Tokharian. Blue-eyed, red-haired and
red-bearded people are frequently portrayed on the walls of Turfan.

But the early history of this people and of their civilization is
chiefly a matter of theory. In the Han period[507] there was a kingdom
called Kü-shih or Kiü-shih, with two capitals. It was destroyed in 60
B.C. by the Chinese general Chêng-Chi and eight small principalities
were formed in its place. In the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.
Turfan had some connection with two ephemeral states which arose in
Kansu under the names of Hou Liang and Pei Liang. The former was
founded by Lü-Kuang, the general who, as related above, took Kucha. He
fell foul of a tribe in his territory called Chü-ch'ü, described as
belonging to the Hsiung-nu. Under their chieftain Mêng-hsün, who
devoted his later years to literature and Buddhism, this tribe took a
good deal of territory from the Hou Liang, in Turkestan as well as in
Kansu, and called their state Pei Liang. It was conquered by the Wei
dynasty in 439 and two members of the late reigning house determined
to try their fortune in Turfan and ruled there successively for about
twenty years. An Chou, the second of these princes, died in 480 and
his fame survives because nine years after his death a temple to
Maitreya was dedicated in his honour with a long inscription in

Another line of Chinese rulers, bearing the family name of Ch'iu,
established themselves at Kao-ch'ang in 507 and under the Sui dynasty
one of them married a Chinese princess. Turfan paid due homage to the
T'ang dynasty on its accession but later it was found that tributary
missions coming from the west to the Chinese court were stopped there
and the close relations of its king with the western Turks inspired
alarm. Accordingly it was destroyed by the imperial forces in 640.
This is confirmed by the record of Hsüan Chuang. In his biography
there is a description of his reception by the king of Kao-ch'ang on
his outward journey. But in the account of his travels written after
his return he speaks of the city as no longer existent.

Nevertheless the political and intellectual life of the oasis was not
annihilated. It was conquered by the Uigurs at an uncertain date, but
they were established there in the eighth and ninth centuries and
about 750 their Khan adopted Manichæism as the state religion. The
many manuscripts in Sogdian and other Persian dialects found at
Turfan show that it had an old and close connection with the west. It
is even possible that Mani may have preached there himself but it does
not appear that his teaching became influential until about 700 A.D.
The presence of Nestorianism is also attested. Tibetan influence too
must have affected Turfan in the eighth and ninth centuries for many
Tibetan documents have been found there although it seems to have been
outside the political sphere of Tibet. About 843 this Uigur Kingdom
was destroyed by the Kirghiz.

Perhaps the massacres of Buddhist priests, clearly indicated by vaults
filled with skeletons still wearing fragments of the monastic robe,
occurred in this period. But Buddhism was not extinguished and
lingered here longer than in other parts of the Tarim basin. Even in
1420 the people of Turfan were Buddhists and the Ming Annals say that
at Huo-chou (or Kara-Khojo) there were more Buddhist temples than
dwelling houses.

Let us now turn to Khotan[508]. This was the ancient as well as the
modern name of the principal city in the southern part of the Tarim
basin but was modified in Chinese to Yü-t'ien, in Sanskrit to
Kustana[509]. The Tibetan equivalent is Li-yul, the land of Li, but no
explanation of this designation is forthcoming.

Traditions respecting the origin of Khotan are preserved in the
travels of Hsüan Chuang and also in the Tibetan scriptures, some of
which are expressly said to be translations from the language of Li.
These traditions are popular legends but they agree in essentials and
appear to contain a kernel of important truth namely that Khotan was
founded by two streams of colonization coming from China and from
India[510], the latter being somehow connected with Asoka. It is
remarkable that the introduction of Buddhism is attributed not to
these original colonists but to a later missionary who, according to
Hsüan Chuang, came from Kashmir[511].

This traditional connection with India is confirmed by the
discovery of numerous documents written in Kharoshṭhî characters
and a Prakrit dialect. Their contents indicate that this Prakrit was
the language of common life and they were found in one heap with
Chinese documents dated 269 A.D. The presence of this alphabet and
language is not adequately explained by the activity of Buddhist
missionaries for in Khotan, as in other parts of Asia, the
concomitants of Buddhism are Sanskrit and the Brahmi alphabet.

There was also Iranian influence in Khotan. It shows itself in art and
has left indubitable traces in the language called by some Nordarisch,
but when the speakers of that language reached the oasis or what part
they played there, we do not yet know.

As a consequence of Chang Ch'ien's mission mentioned above, Khotan
sent an Embassy to the Chinese Court in the reign of Wu-ti (140-87
B.C.) and the T'ang Annals state that its kings handed down the
insignia of Imperial investiture from that time onwards. There seems
however to have been a dynastic revolution about 60 A.D. and it is
possible that the Vijaya line of kings, mentioned in various Tibetan
works, then began to reign[512]. Khotan became a powerful state but
submitted to the conquering arms of Pan-Ch'ao and perhaps was
subsequently subdued by Kanishka. As the later Han dynasty declined,
it again became strong but continued to send embassies to the Imperial
Court. There is nothing more to mention until the visit of Fa-Hsien in
400. He describes "the pleasant and prosperous kingdom" with evident
gusto. There were some tens of thousands of monks mostly followers of
the Mahayana and in the country, where the homes of the people were
scattered "like stars" about the oases, each house had a small stupa
before the door. He stopped in a well ordered convent with 3000 monks
and mentions a magnificent establishment called The King's New
Monastery. He also describes a great car festival which shows the
Indian colour of Khotanese religion. Perhaps Fa-Hsien and Hsüan Chuang
unduly emphasize ecclesiastical features, but they also did not
hesitate to say when they thought things unsatisfactory and their
praise shows that Buddhism was flourishing.

In the fifth and sixth centuries Khotan passed through troublous times
and was attacked by the Tanguts, Juan-Juan and White Huns.
Throughout this stormy period missions were sent at intervals to China
to beg for help. The pilgrim Sung Yün[513] traversed the oasis in 519.
His account of the numerous banners bearing Chinese inscriptions hung
up in the temple of Han-mo proves that though the political influence
of China was weak, she was still in touch with the Tarim basin.

When the T'ang effectively asserted their suzerainty in Central Asia,
Khotan was included in the Four Garrisons. The T'ang Annals while
repeating much which is found in earlier accounts, add some points of
interest, for they say that the Khotanese revere the God of Heaven
(Hsien shên) and also the Law of Buddha[514]. This undoubtedly means
that there were Zoroastrians as well as Buddhists, which is not
mentioned in earlier periods. The annals also mention that the king's
house was decorated with pictures and that his family name was Wei
Ch'ih. This may possibly be a Chinese rendering of Vijaya, the
Sanskrit name or title which according to Tibetan sources was borne by
all the sovereigns of Khotan.

Hsüan Chuang broke his return journey at Khotan in 644. He mentions the
fondness of the people for music and says that their language differed
from that of other countries. The Mahâyâna was the prevalent sect but
the pilgrim stopped in a monastery of the Sarvâstivâdins[515]. He
describes several sites in the neighbourhood, particularly the Go'sringa
or Cow-horn mountain[516], supposed to have been visited by the Buddha.
Though he does not mention Zoroastrians, he notices that the people of
P'i-mo near Khotan were not Buddhists.

About 674 the king of Khotan did personal homage at the Chinese Court.
The Emperor constituted his territory into a government called
P'i-sha after the deity P'i-sha-mên or Vai'sravana and made him
responsible for its administration. Another king did homage between
742 and 755 and received an imperial princess as his consort. Chinese
political influence was effective until the last decade of the eighth
century but after 790 the conquests of the Tibetans put an end to it
and there is no mention of Khotan in the Chinese Annals for about
150 years. Numerous Tibetan manuscripts and inscriptions found at
Endere testify to these conquests. The rule of the Uigurs who replaced
Tibet as the dominant power in Turfan and the northern Tarim basin
does not appear to have extended to Khotan.

It is not till 938 that we hear of renewed diplomatic relations with
China. The Imperial Court received an embassy from Khotan and deemed
it of sufficient importance to despatch a special mission in return.
Eight other embassies were sent to China in the tenth century and at
least three of them were accompanied by Buddhist priests. Their object
was probably to solicit help against the attacks of Mohammedans. No
details are known as to the Mohammedan conquest but it apparently took
place between 970 and 1009 after a long struggle.

Another cultural centre of the Tarim basin must have existed in the
oases near Lob-nor where Miran and a nameless site to the north of the
lake have been investigated by Stein. They have yielded numerous
Tibetan documents, but also fine remains of Gandharan art and Prakrit
documents written in the Kharoshthî character. Probably the use of
this language and alphabet was not common further east, for though a
Kharoshthî fragment was found by Stein in an old Chinese frontier
post[517] the library of Tun-huang yielded no specimens of them. That
library, however, dating apparently from the epoch of the T'ang,
contained some Sanskrit Buddhist literature and was rich in Sogdian,
Turkish, and Tibetan manuscripts.


Ample as are the materials for the study of Buddhism in Central Asia
those hitherto published throw little light on the time and manner of
its introduction. At present much is hypothetical for we have few
historical data--such as the career of Kumârajîva and the inscription
on the Temple of Maitreya at Turfan--but a great mass of literary and
artistic evidence from which various deductions can be drawn.

It is clear that there was constant intercourse with India and the
Oxus region. The use of Prakrit and of various Iranian idioms points
to actual colonization from these two quarters and it is probable
that there were two streams of Buddhism, for the Chinese pilgrims
agree that Shan-shan (near Lob-nor), Turfan, Kucha and Kashgar were
Hînayânist, whereas Yarkand and Khotan were Mahâyânist. Further, much
of the architecture, sculpture and painting is simply Gandharan and
the older specimens can hardly be separated from the Gandharan art of
India by any considerable interval. This art was in part coeval with
Kanishka, and if his reign began in 78 A.D. or later the first
specimens of it cannot be much anterior to the Christian era. The
earliest Chinese notices of the existence of Buddhism in Kashgar and
Kucha date from 400 (Fa-Hsien) and the third century (Annals of the
Tsin, 265-317) respectively, but they speak of it as the national
religion and munificently endowed, so that it may well have been
established for some centuries. In Turfan the first definite record is
the dedication of a temple to Maitreya in 469 but probably the history
of religion there was much the same as in Kucha.

It is only in Khotan that tradition, if not history, gives a more
detailed narrative. This is found in the works of the Chinese pilgrims
Hsüan Chuang and Sung Yün and also in four Tibetan works which are
apparently translated from the language of Khotan[518]. As the story
is substantially the same in all, it merits consideration and may be
accepted as the account current in the literary circles of Khotan
about 500 A.D. It relates that the Indians who were part-founders of
that city in the reign of Asoka were not Buddhists[519] and the
Tibetan version places the conversion with great apparent accuracy
170 years after the foundation of the kingdom and 404 after the death
of the Buddha. At that time a monk named Vairocana, who was an
incarnation of Manjuśri, came to Khotan, according to Hsüan Chuang
from Kashmir[520]. He is said to have introduced a new language as
well as Mahâyânism, and the king, Vijayasambhava, built for him the
great monastery of Tsarma outside the capital, which was miraculously
supplied with relics. We cannot be sure that the Tibetan dates
were intended to have the meaning they would bear for our chronology,
that is about 80 B.C., but if they had, there is nothing improbable in
the story, for other traditions assert that Buddhism was preached in
Kashmir in the time of Asoka. On the other hand, there was a dynastic
change in Khotan about 60 A.D. and the monarch who then came to the
throne may have been Vijayasambhava.

According to the Tibetan account no more monasteries were built for
seven reigns. The eighth king built two, one on the celebrated
Gośirsha or Gośringa mountain. In the eleventh reign after
Vijayasambhava, more chaityas and viharas were built in connection
with the introduction of the silkworm industry. Subsequently, but
without any clear indication of date, the introduction of the
Mahâsanghika and Sarvâstivâdin schools is mentioned.

The Tibetan annals also mention several persecutions of Buddhism in
Khotan as a result of which the monks fled to Tibet and Bruzha. Their
chronology is confused but seems to make these troubles coincide with
a persecution in Tibet, presumably that of Lang-dar-ma. If so, the
persecution in Khotan must have been due to the early attacks of
Mohammedans which preceded the final conquest in about 1000 A.D.[521]

Neither the statements of the Chinese annalists about Central Asia nor
its own traditions prove that Buddhism flourished there before the
Christian era. But they do not disprove it and even if the dream of
the Emperor Ming-Ti and the consequent embassy are dismissed as
legends, it is admitted that Buddhism penetrated to China by land not
later than the early decades of that era. It must therefore have been
known in Central Asia previously and perhaps Khotan was the place
where it first flourished.

It is fairly certain that about 160 B.C. the Yüeh-chih moved westwards
and settled in the lands of the Oxus after ejecting the Sakas, but
like many warlike nomads they may have oscillated between the east and
west, recoiling if they struck against a powerful adversary in either
quarter. Le Coq has put forward an interesting theory of their origin.
It is that they were one of the tribes known as Scythians in Europe
and at an unknown period moved eastwards from southern Russia,
perhaps leaving traces of their presence in the monuments still
existing in the district of Minussinsk. He also identifies them with
the red-haired, blue-eyed people of the Chotscho frescoes and the
speakers of the Tokharian language. But these interesting hypotheses
cannot be regarded as proved. It is, however, certain that the
Yüeh-chih invaded India[522], founded the Kushan Empire and were
intimately connected (especially in the person of their great king
Kanishka) with Gandharan art and the form of Buddhism which finds
expression in it. Now the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hsien (_c_. 400) found
the Hînayâna prevalent in Shan-shan, Kucha, Kashgar, Osh, Udyana and
Gandhara. Hsüan Chuang also notes its presence in Balkh, Bamian, and
Persia. Both notice that the Mahâyâna was predominant in Khotan though
not to the exclusion of the other school. It would appear that in
modern language the North-West Frontier province of India,
Afghanistan, Badakshan (with small adjoining states), the Pamir
regions and the Tarim basin all accepted Gandharan Buddhism and at one
time formed part of the Kushan Empire.

It is probably to this Gandharan Buddhism that the Chinese pilgrims
refer when they speak of the Sarvâstivâdin school of the Hînayâna as
prevalent. It is known that this school was closely connected with the
Council of Kanishka. Its metaphysics were decidedly not Mahâyânist but
there is no reason why it should have objected to the veneration of
such Bodhisattvas as are portrayed in the Gandhara sculptures. An
interesting passage in the life of Hsüan Chuang relates that he had a
dispute in Kucha with a Mahâyânist doctor who maintained that the
books called Tsa-hsin, Chü-shê, and P'i-sha were sufficient for
salvation, and denounced the Yogaśâstra as heretical, to the great
indignation of the pilgrim[523] whose practical definition of
Mahâyânism seems to have been the acceptance of this work, reputed
to have been revealed by Maitreya to Asanga. Such a definition and
division might leave in the Hînayâna much that we should not expect to
find there.

The Mahâyânist Buddhism of Khotan was a separate stream and Hsüan
Chuang says that it came from Kashmir. Though Kashmir is not known as
a centre of Mahâyânism, yet it would be a natural route for men and
ideas passing from any part of India to Khotan.


The Tarim basin and the lands of the Oxus[524] were a region where
different religions and cultures mingled and there is no difficulty in
supposing that Buddhism might have amalgamated there with Zoroastrianism
or Christianity. The question is whether there is any evidence for such
amalgamation. It is above all in its relations with China that Central
Asia appears as an exchange of religions. It passed on to China the art
and thought of India, perhaps adding something of its own on the way and
then received them back from China with further additions[525]. It
certainly received a great deal from Persia: the number of manuscripts
in different Iranian languages puts this beyond doubt. Equally undoubted
is its debt to India, but it would be of even greater interest to
determine whether Indian Buddhism owes a debt to Central Asia and to
define that debt. For Tibet the relation was mutual. The Tibetans
occupied the Tarim basin during a century and according to their
traditions monks went from Khotan to instruct Tibet.

The Buddhist literature discovered in Central Asia represents, like
its architecture, several periods. We have first of all the fragments
of the Sanskrit Agamas, found at Turfan, Tun-huang, and in the Khotan
district: fragments of the dramas and poems of Aśvaghosha from
Turfan: the Prâtimoksha of the Sarvastivâdins from Kucha and numerous
versions of the anthology called Dharmapada or Udâna. The most
interesting of these is the Prakrit version found in the neighbourhood
of Khotan, but fragments in Tokharian and Sanskrit have also been
discovered. All this literature probably represents the canon as
it existed in the epoch of Kanishka and of the Gandharan sculptures,
or at least the older stratum in that canon.

The newer stratum is composed of Mahâyânist sutras of which there is a
great abundance, though no complete list has been published[526]. The
popularity of the Prajñâ-pâramitâ, the Lotus and the Suvarṇa-prabhâsa
is attested. The last was translated into both Uigur (from the Chinese)
and into "Iranien Oriental." To a still later epoch[527] belong the
Dhâraṇîs or magical formulæ which have been discovered in considerable

Sylvain Lévi has shown that some Mahâyânist sutras were either written
or re-edited in Central Asia[528]. Not only do they contain lists of
Central Asian place-names but these receive an importance which can be
explained only by the local patriotism of the writer or the public
which he addressed. Thus the Sûryagarbha sutra praises the mountain of
Gośringa near Khotan much as the Puranas celebrate in special
chapters called Mâhâtmyas the merits of some holy place. Even more
remarkable is a list in the Chandragarbha sutra. The Buddha in one of
the great transformation scenes common in these works sends forth rays
of light which produce innumerable manifestations of Buddhas. India
(together with what is called the western region) has a total of 813
manifestations, whereas Central Asia and China have 971. Of these the
whole Chinese Empire has 255, the kingdoms of Khotan and Kucha have
180 and 99 respectively, but only 60 are given to Benares and 30 to
Magadha. Clearly Central Asia was a very important place for the
author of this list[529].

One of the Turkish sutras discovered at Turfan contains a discourse of
the Buddha to the merchants Trapusha and Bhallika who are described as
Turks and Indra is called Kormusta, that is Hormuzd. In another
Brahmâ is called Aṣrua, identified as the Iranian deity
Zervan[530]. In these instances no innovation of doctrine is implied
but when the world of spirits and men becomes Central Asian
instead of Indian, it is only natural that the doctrine too should
take on some local colour[531].

Thus the dated inscription of the temple erected in Turfan A.D. 469 is
a mixture of Chinese ideas, both Confucian and Taoist, with Indian. It
is in honour of Maitreya, a Bodhisattva known to the Hînayâna, but
here regarded not merely as the future Buddha but as an active and
benevolent deity who manifests himself in many forms[532], a view
which also finds expression in the tradition that the works of Asanga
were revelations made by him. Akâśagarbha and the Dharmakâya are
mentioned. But the inscription also speaks of heaven (t'ien) as
appointing princes, and of the universal law (tao) and it contains
several references to Chinese literature.

Even more remarkable is the admixture of Buddhism in Manichæism. The
discoveries made in Central Asia make intelligible the Chinese edict
of 739 which accuses the Manichæans of falsely taking the name of
Buddhism and deceiving the people[533]. This is not surprising for
Mani seems to have taught that Zoroaster, Buddha and Christ had
preceded him as apostles, and in Buddhist countries his followers
naturally adopted words and symbols familiar to the people. Thus
Manichæan deities are represented like Bodhisattvas sitting
cross-legged on a lotus; Mani receives the epithet Ju-lai or
Tathâgata: as in Amida's Paradise, there are holy trees bearing
flowers which enclose beings styled Buddha: the construction and
phraseology of Manichæan books resemble those of a Buddhist
Sutra[534]. In some ways the association of Taoism and Manichæism was
even closer, for the Hu-hua-ching identifies Buddha with Lao-tzû and
Mani, and two Manichæan books have passed into the Taoist Canon[535].

Nestorian Christianity also existed in the Tarim basin and became
prominent in the seventh century. This agrees with the record of its
introduction into China by A-lo-pen in 635 A.D., almost simultaneously
with Zoroastrianism. Fragments of the New Testament have been found at
Turfan belonging mostly to the ninth century but one to the fifth. The
most interesting document for the history of Nestorianism is still the
monument discovered at Si-ngan-fu and commonly called the Nestorian
stone[536]. It bears a long inscription partly in Chinese and partly
in Syriac composed by a foreign priest called Adam or in Chinese
King-Tsing giving a long account of the doctrines and history of
Nestorianism. Not only does this inscription contain many Buddhist
phrases (such as Sêng and Ssû for Christian priests and monasteries)
but it deliberately omits all mention of the crucifixion and merely
says in speaking of the creation that God arranged the cardinal points
in the shape of a cross. This can hardly be explained as due to
incomplete statement for it reviews in some detail the life of Christ
and its results. The motive of omission must be the feeling that
redemption by his death was not an acceptable doctrine[537]. It is
interesting to find that King-Tsing consorted with Buddhist priests
and even set about translating a sutra from the Hu language. Takakusu
quotes a passage from one of the catalogues of the Japanese
Tripitaka[538] which states that he was a Persian and collaborated
with a monk of Kapiśa called Prajña.

We have thus clear evidence not only of the co-existence of Buddhism
and Christianity but of friendly relations between Buddhist and
Christian priests. The Emperor's objection to such commixture of
religions was unusual and probably due to zeal for pure Buddhism. It
is possible that in western China and Central Asia Buddhism, Taoism,
Manichæism, Nestorianism and Zoroastrianism all borrowed from one
another just as the first two do in China to-day and Buddhism may have
become modified by this contact. But proof of it is necessary. In most
places Buddhism was in strength and numbers the most important of
all these religions and older than all except Zoroastrianism. Its
contact with Manichæism may possibly date from the life of Mani, but
apparently the earliest Christian manuscripts found in Central Asia
are to be assigned to the fifth century.

On the other hand the Chinese Tripiṭaka contains many translations
which bear an earlier date than this and are ascribed to translators
connected with the Yüeh-chih. I see no reason to doubt the statements
that the Happy Land sutra and Prajñâ-pâramitâ (Nanjio, 25, 5) were
translated before 200 A.D. and portions of the Avataṃsaka and Lotus
(Nanjio, 100, 103, 138) before 300 A.D. But if so, the principal
doctrines of Mahayanist Buddhism must have been known in Khotan[539]
and the lands of Oxus before we have definite evidence for the
presence of Christianity there.

Zoroastrianism may however have contributed to the development and
transformation of Buddhism for the two were certainly in contact. Thus
the coins of Kanishka bear figures of Persian deities[540] more
frequently than images of the Buddha: we know from Chinese sources
that the two religions co-existed at Khotan and Kashgar and possibly
there are hostile references to Buddhism (Buiti and Gaotema the
heretic) in the Persian scriptures[541].

It is true that we should be cautious in fancying that we detect a
foreign origin for the Mahâyâna. Different as it may be from the
Buddhism of the Pali Canon, it is an Indian not an exotic growth.
Deification, pantheism, the creation of radiant or terrible deities,
extreme forms of idealism or nihilism in metaphysics are tendencies
manifested in Hinduism as clearly as in Buddhism. Even the doctrine of
the Buddha's three bodies, which sounds like an imitation of the
Christian Trinity, has roots in the centuries before the Christian
era. But late Buddhism indubitably borrowed many personages from the
Hindu pantheon, and when we find Buddhas and Bodhisattvas such as
Amitâbha, Avalokita, Manjuśrî and Kshitigarbha without clear
antecedents in India we may suspect that they are borrowed from some
other mythology, and if similar figures were known to Zoroastrianism,
that may be their source.

The most important of them is Amitâbha. He is strangely obscure in
the earlier art and literature of Indian Buddhism. Some of the
nameless Buddha figures in the Gandharan sculptures may represent him,
but this is not proved and the works of Grünwedel and Foucher suggest
that compared with Avalokita and Târâ his images are late and not
numerous. In the earlier part of the Lotus[542] he is only just
mentioned as if he were of no special importance. He is also mentioned
towards the end of the Awakening of Faith ascribed to Aśvaghosha,
but the authorship of the work cannot be regarded as certain and, if
it were, the passage stands apart from the main argument and might
well be an addition. Again in the Mahâyâna-sûtrâlaṇkâra[543] of
Asanga, his paradise is just mentioned.

Against these meagre and cursory notices in Indian literature may be
set the fact that two translations of the principal Amidist scripture
into Chinese were made in the second century A.D. and four in the
third, all by natives of Central Asia. The inference that the worship
of Amitâbha flourished in Central Asia some time before the earliest
of these translations is irresistible.

According to Târanâtha, the Tibetan historian of Buddhism[544], this
worship goes back to Saraha or Rahulabhadra. He was reputed to have
been the teacher of Nâgârjuna and a great magician. He saw Amitâbha in
the land of Dhingkoṭa and died with his face turned towards
Sukhâvatî. I have found no explanation of the name Dhingkoṭa but
the name Saraha does not sound Indian. He is said to have been a sudra
and he is represented in Tibetan pictures with a beard and topknot
and holding an arrow[545] in his hand. In all this there is little
that can be called history, but still it appears that the first person
whom tradition connects with the worship of Amitâbha was of low caste,
bore a foreign name, saw the deity in an unknown country, and like
many tantric teachers was represented as totally unlike a Buddhist
monk. It cannot be proved that he came from the lands of the Oxus or
Turkestan, but such an origin would explain much in the tradition.
On the other hand, there would be no difficulty in accounting for
Zoroastrian influence at Peshawar or Takkasila within the frontiers of

Somewhat later Vasubandhu is stated to have preached faith in Amitâbha
but it does not appear that this doctrine ever had in India a tithe of
the importance which it obtained in the Far East.

The essential features of Amidist doctrine are that there is a
paradise of light belonging to a benevolent deity and that the
good[546] who invoke his name will be led thither. Both features are
found in Zoroastrian writings. The highest heaven (following after the
paradises of good thoughts, good words and good deeds) is called
Boundless Light or Endless Light[547]. Both this region and its
master, Ahuramazda, are habitually spoken of in terms implying
radiance and glory. Also it is a land of song, just as Amitâbha's
paradise re-echoes with music and pleasant sounds[548]. Prayers can
win this paradise and Ahura Mazda and the Archangels will come and
show the way thither to the pious[549]. Further whoever recites the
Ahuna-vairya formula, Ahura Mazda will bring his soul to "the lights
of heaven[550]," and although, so far as I know, it is not expressly
stated that the repetition of Ahura Mazda's name leads to paradise,
yet the general efficacy of his names as invocations is clearly

Thus all the chief features of Amitâbha's paradise are Persian: only
his method of instituting it by making a vow is Buddhist. It is true
that Indian imagination had conceived numerous paradises, and that the
early Buddhist legend tells of the Tushita heaven. But Sukhâvatî is
not like these abodes of bliss. It appears suddenly in the history of
Buddhism as something exotic, grafted adroitly on the parent trunk but
sometimes overgrowing it[552].

Avalokita is also connected with Amitâbha's paradise. His figure,
though its origin is not clear, assumes distinct and conspicuous
proportions in India at a fairly early date. There appears to be no
reason for associating him specially with Central Asia. On the other
hand later works describe him as the spiritual son or reflex of
Amitâbha. This certainly recalls the Iranian idea of the Fravashi
defined as "a spiritual being conceived as a part of a man's
personality but existing before he is born and in independence of him:
it can also belong to divine beings[553]." Although India offers in
abundance both divine incarnations and explanations thereof yet none
of these describe the relationship between a Dhyânî Buddha and his
Boddhisattva so well as the Zoroastrian doctrine of the Fravashi.

S. Lévi has suggested that the Bodhisattva Manjuśrî is of Tokharian
origin[554]. His worship at Wu-tai-shan in Shan-si is ancient and
later Indian tradition connected him with China. Local traditions also
connect him with Nepal, Tibet, and Khotan, and he is sometimes
represented as the first teacher of civilization or religion. But
although his Central Asian origin is eminently probable, I do not at
present see any clear proof of it.

The case of the Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha[555] is similar. He appears
to have been known but not prominent in India in the fourth century
A.D.: by the seventh century if not earlier his cult was flourishing
in China and subsequently he became in the Far East a popular deity
second only to Kuan-yin. This popularity was connected with his
gradual transformation into a god of the dead. It is also certain that
he was known in Central Asia[556] but whether he first became
important there or in China is hard to decide. The devotion of the
Chinese to their dead suggests that it was among them that he acquired
his great position, but his rôle as a guide to the next world has a
parallel in the similar benevolent activity of the Zoroastrian angel

One of Central Asia's clearest titles to importance in the history
of the East is that it was the earliest and on the whole the
principal source of Chinese Buddhism, to which I now turn. Somewhat
later, teachers also came to China by sea and still later, under the
Yüan dynasty, Lamaism was introduced direct from Tibet. But from at
least the beginning of our era onwards, monks went eastwards from
Central Asia to preach and translate the scriptures and it was across
Central Asia that Chinese pilgrims went to India in search of the


[Footnote 459: See Lüders, _Bruchstücke Buddhistischer Dramen_, 1911,
and _id., Das Sâriputra-prakarana_, 1911.]

[Footnote 460: See Senart, "Le ms Kharoshṭhî du Dhammapada," in
_J.A._, 1898, II. p. 193.]

[Footnote 461: Lüders, "Die Śakas und die Nordarische Sprache,"
_Sitzungsber. der Kōn. Preuss. Akad_. 1913. Konow, _Gōtting.
Gel. Anz_. 1912, pp. 551 ff.]

[Footnote 462: See Hoernle in _J.R.A.S._ 1910, pp. 837 ff. and 1283
ff.; 1911, pp. 202 ff., 447 ff.]

[Footnote 463: An old Turkish text about Maitreya states that it was
translated from an Indian language into Tokhri and from Tokhri into
Turkish. See F.K.W. Müller, _Sitzungsber. der Kön. Preuss. Akad_.
1907, p. 958. But it is not clear what is meant by Tokhri.]

[Footnote 464: The following are some words in this language: Kant, a
hundred; rake, a word; por, fire; soye, son υιοσ; suwan, swese, rain
υει hυετοσ; âlyek, another; okso, an ox.]

[Footnote 465: The numerous papers on this language are naturally
quickly superseded. But Sieg and Siegling Tokharisch, "Die Sprache der
Indoskythen" (_Sitzungsber. der Berl. Ak. Wiss_. 1908, p. 815), may be
mentioned and Sylvain Lévi, "Tokharien B, Langue de Kouteha," _J.A._
1913, II. p. 311.]

[Footnote 466: See Radloff Tisastvustik (_Bibl. Buddh._ vol. xii.), p.
v. This manuscript came from Urumtsi. A translation of a portion of
the Saddharma-pundarîka (_Bibl. Buddh._ xiv.) was found at Turfan.]

[Footnote 467: Laufer in _T'oung Pao_, 1907, p. 392; Radloff,
_Kuan-si-im Pursar_, p. vii.]

[Footnote 468: See especially Stein's _Ancient Khotan_, app. B, and
Francke in _J.R.A.S._ 1914, p. 37.]

[Footnote 469: Chavannes, _Les documents chinois découverts par Aurel
Stein_, 1913.]

[Footnote 470: See especially Chavannes and Pelliot, "Traité
Manichéen" in _J.A._ 1911 and 1913.]

[Footnote 471: Hsüan Chuang notes its existence however in Kabul and

[Footnote 472: See for these Fergusson-Burgess, _History of Indian
Architecture_, I. pp. 125-8.]

[Footnote 473: _J.R.A.S._ 1909, p. 313.]

[Footnote 474: _E.g._ Grünwedel, _Altbuddhistische Kultstätten_, fig.

[Footnote 475: Stein, _Ancient Khotan_, plates xiii-xvii and xl, pp.
83 and 482 ff.]

[Footnote 476: See Grünwedel, _Buddh. Kultstätten_, pp. 129-130 and
plate. Foucher, "L'Art Gréco-Bouddhique," p. 145, _J.R.A.S._ 1886, 333
and plate i.]

[Footnote 477: See Wachsberger's "Stil-kritische Studien zur Kunst
Chinesisch-Turkestan's" in _Ostasiatische Ztsft._ 1914 and 1915.]

[Footnote 478: See Grünwedel, _Buddh. Kultstätten_, pp. 332 ff.]

[Footnote 479: _Ancient Khotan_, vol. II. plates lx and lxi.]

[Footnote 480: Le Coq in _J.R.A.S._ 1909, pp. 299 ff. See the whole

[Footnote 481: For some of the more striking drawings referred to see
Grünwedel, _Buddh. Kultstätten_, figs. 51, 53, 239, 242, 317, 337,

[Footnote 482: In _Geog. Journal_, May 1916, p. 362.]

[Footnote 483: Chavannes, _Documents chinois découverts par Aurel
Stein_, 1913.]

[Footnote 484: These of course are not the Osmanlis or Turks of
Constantinople. The Osmanlis are the latest of the many branches of
the Turks, who warred and ruled in Central Asia with varying success
from the fifth to the eighth centuries.]

[Footnote 485: That is Kashgar, Khotan, Kucha and Tokmak for which
last Karashahr was subsequently substituted. The territory was also
called An Hsi.]

[Footnote 486: See for lists and details Chavannes, _Documents sur les
Tou-kiue Occidentaux_, pp. 67 ff. and 270 ff.]

[Footnote 487: The conquest and organization of the present Chinese
Turkestan dates only from the reign of Ch'ien Lung.]

[Footnote 488: Thus the pilgrim Wu-K'ung mentions Chinese officials in
the Four Garrisons.]

[Footnote 489: See for this part of their history, Grenard's article
in _J.A._ 1900, I. pp. 1-79.]

[Footnote 490: Pelliot also attributes importance to a Sogdian Colony
to the south of Lob Nor, which may have had much to do with the
transmission of Buddhism and Nestorianism to China. See _J.A._ Jan.
1916, pp. 111-123.]

[Footnote 491: These words have been connected with the tribe called
Sacae, Sakas, or Sök.]

[Footnote 492: See Klaproth, _Tabl. Historique_, p. 166, apparently
quoting from Chinese sources. Specht, _J.A._ 1897, II. p. 187. Franke,
_Beitr.-zur Kenntniss Zentral-Asiens_, p. 83. The passage quoted by
Specht from the Later Han Annals clearly states that the Yüeh-chih
made a man of their own choosing prince of Kashgar, although, as
Franke points out, it makes no reference to Kanishka or the story of
the hostages related by Hsüan Chuang.]

[Footnote 493: Fa-Hsien's Chieh-ch'a has been interpreted as Skardo,
but Chavannes seems to have proved that it is Kashgar.]

[Footnote 494: About 643 A.D. He mentions that the inhabitants
tattooed their bodies, flattened their children's heads and had green
eyes. Also that they spoke a peculiar language.]

[Footnote 495: At Bamian the monks belonged to the Lokottaravâdin

[Footnote 496: Beal, _Records_, II. p. 278. The pilgrim is speaking
from hearsay and it is not clear to what part of Persia he refers.]

[Footnote 497: See Chavannes, _Documents sur les Tou-kiue
Occidentaux_, pp. 121, 125. The inhabitants of K'ang (Samarkand or
Sogdiana) are said to honour both religions. _Ib_. p. 135.]

[Footnote 498: Known to the Chinese by several slightly different
names such as Ku-chih, Kiu-tse which are all attempts to represent the
same sound. For Kucha see S. Lévi's most interesting article "Le
'Tokharien B' langue de Koutcha" in _J.A._ 1913, II. pp. 311 ff.]

[Footnote 499: _J.A._ 1913, ii. p. 326.]

[Footnote 500: See Chavannes in Stein's _Ancient Khotan_, p. 544. The
Western Tsin reigned 265-317.]

[Footnote 501: The circumstances which provoked the expedition are not
very clear. It was escorted by the king of Turfan and other small
potentates who were the vassals of the Tsin and also on bad terms with
Kucha. They probably asked Fu-chien for assistance in subduing their
rival which he was delighted to give. Some authorities (_e.g._ Nanjio
Cat. p. 406) give Karashahr as the name of Kumârajîva's town, but this
seems to be a mistake.]

[Footnote 502: S. Lévi, _J.A._ 1913, ii. p. 348, quoting Hsü Kao Sêng

[Footnote 503: Quoted by S. Lévi from the _Sung Kao Sêng Chuan_. See
_J.A._ 1913, II. p. 344 and _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 562.]

[Footnote 504: As a proof of foreign influence in Chinese culture, it
is interesting to note that there were seven orchestras for the
imperial banquets, including those of Kucha, Bokhara and India and a
mixed one in which were musicians from Samarkand, Kashgar, Camboja and

[Footnote 505: Quoted by Bretschneider, _Mediaeval Researches_, ii.

[Footnote 506: Pelliot, _J.A._ 1912, i. p. 579, suggests that Chotscho
or Qoco is the Turkish equivalent of Kao Ch'ang in T'ang
pronunciation, the nasal being omitted.]

[Footnote 507: Chavannes, _Tou-kiue Occidentaux_, p. 101.]

[Footnote 508: For the history of Khotan see Rémusat, _Ville de
Khotan_, 1820, and Stein's great work _Ancient Khotan_, especially
chapter vii. For the Tibetan traditions see Rockhill, _Life of the
Buddha_, pp. 230 ff.]

[Footnote 509: Ku-stana seems to have been a learned perversion of the
name, to make it mean breast of the earth.]

[Footnote 510: The combination is illustrated by the Sino-Kharoshthî
coins with a legend in Chinese on the obverse and in Prakrit on the
reverse. See Stein, _Ancient Khotan_, p. 204. But the coins are later
than 73 A.D.]

[Footnote 511: The Tibetan text gives the date of conversion as the
reign of King Vijayasambhava, 170 years after the foundation of

[Footnote 512: See Sten Konow in _J.R.A.S._ 1914, p. 345.]

[Footnote 513: See Stein, _Ancient Khotan_, pp. 170, 456.]

[Footnote 514: Chavannes, _Tou-kiue_, p. 125, cf. pp. 121 and 170. For
Hsien shên see Giles's _Chinese Dict._ No. 4477.]

[Footnote 515: Beal, _Life_, p. 205.]

[Footnote 516: Identified by Stein with Kohmari Hill which is still
revered by Mohammedans as a sacred spot.]

[Footnote 517: _Desert Cathay_, II. p. 114.]

[Footnote 518: See Watters, _Yüan Chwang_, II. p. 296. Beal, _Life_.
p. 205. Chavannes, "Voyage de Sung Yun." _B.E.F.E.O._ 1903, 395, and
for the Tibetan sources, Rockhill, _Life of the Buddha_, chap. VIII.
One of the four Tibetan works is expressly stated to be translated
from Khotanese.]

[Footnote 519: The Tibetan Chronicles of Li-Yul say that they
worshipped Vaiśravana and Śrîmahâdevî.]

[Footnote 520: A monk from Kashmir called Vairocana was also active in
Tibet about 750 A.D.]

[Footnote 521: It is also possible that Buddhism had a bad time in the
fifth and sixth centuries at the hands of the Tanguts, Juan-Juan and
White Huns.]

[Footnote 522: The Later Han Annals say that the Hindus are weaker
than the Yüeh-chih and are not accustomed to fight because they are
Buddhists. (See _T'oung Pao_, 1910, p. 192.) This seems to imply that
the Yüeh-chih were not Buddhists. But even this was the real view of
the compiler of the Annals we do not know from what work he took this
statement nor to what date it refers.]

[Footnote 523: See Beal, _Life_, p. 39, Julien, p. 50. The books
mentioned are apparently the Samyuktâbhidharmahṛidaya (Nanjio,
1287), Abhidharma Kosha (Nanjio, 1267), Abhidharma-Vibhâsha (Nanjio,
1264) and Yogâcâryabhûmi (Nanjio, 1170).]

[Footnote 524: The importance of the Tarim basin is due to the
excellent preservation of its records and its close connection with
China. The Oxus regions suffered more from Mohammedan iconoclasm, but
they may have been at least equally important for the history of

[Footnote 525: _E.g._ see the Maitreya inscription of Turfan.]

[Footnote 526: Or at least is not accessible to me here in Hongkong,

[Footnote 527: I do not mean to say that all Dhâraṇîs are late.]

[Footnote 528: It is even probable that apocryphal Sûtras were
composed in Central Asia. See Pelliot in _Mélanges d'Indianisme_,
Sylvain Lévi, p. 329.]

[Footnote 529: The list of manifestations in Jambudvipa enumerates 56
kingdoms. All cannot be identified with certainty, but apparently less
than half are within India proper.]

[Footnote 530: See _Bibl. Budd._ XII. pp. 44, 46, XIV. p. 45.]

[Footnote 531: The Turkish sutras repeatedly style the Buddha God
(t'angri) or God of Gods. The expression devâtideva is applied to him
in Sanskrit, but the Turkish phrases are more decided and frequent.
The Sanskrit phrase may even be due to Iranian influence.]

[Footnote 532: An Chou, the Prince to whose memory the temple was
dedicated, seems to be regarded as a manifestation of Maitreya.]

[Footnote 533: _J.A._ 1913, I. p. 154. The series of three articles by
Chavannes and Pelliot entitled "Un traité Manichéen retrouvé en Chine"
(_J.A._ 1911, 1913) is a most valuable contribution to our knowledge
of Manichæism in Central Asia and China.]

[Footnote 534: _E.g._ see _J.A._ 1911, pp. 509 and 589. See also Le
Coq, _Sitzb. preuss. Akad. der Wiss._ 48, 1909, 1202-1218.]

[Footnote 535: _J.A._ 1913, I. pp. 116 and 132.]

[Footnote 536: See especially Havret, "La stèle chrétienne de
Si-ngan-fu" in _Variétés Sinologues_, pp. 7, 12 and 20.]

[Footnote 537: See Havret, _l.c_. III. p. 54, for some interesting
remarks respecting the unwillingness of the Nestorians and also of the
Jesuits to give publicity to the crucifixion.]

[Footnote 538: See Takakusu, _I-tsing_, pp. 169, 223, and _T'oung
Pao_, 1896, p. 589.]

[Footnote 539: Turfan and Kucha are spoken of as being mainly

[Footnote 540: See Stein, _Zoroastrian deities on Indo-Scythian
coins_, 1887.]

[Footnote 541: See _S.B.E._ IV. (Vendîdad) pp. 145, 209; XXIII. p.
184, V. p. III.]

[Footnote 542: Chap. VII. The notices in Chaps. XXII. and XXIV. are
rather more detailed but also later.]

[Footnote 543: XII. p. 23.]

[Footnote 544: Transl. Schiefner, pp. 93, 105 and 303, and Pander's
_Pantheon_, No. 11. But Târanâtha also says that he was Aryadeva's

[Footnote 545: Śara in Sanskrit.]

[Footnote 546: The doctrine of salvation by faith alone seems to be
later. The longer and apparently older version of the Sukhâvatî Vyûha
insists on good works as a condition of entry into Paradise.]

[Footnote 547: _S.B.E._ IV. p. 293; _ib._ XXXIII. pp. 317 and 344.]

[Footnote 548: It may also be noticed that Ameretât, the Archangel of
immortality, presides over vegetation and that Amida's paradise is
full of flowers.]

[Footnote 549: _S.B.E._ XXIII. pp. 335-7.]

[Footnote 550: _S.B.E._ XXXI. p. 261.]

[Footnote 551: _S.B.E._ XXIII. pp. 21-31 (the Ormasd Yasht).]

[Footnote 552: Is it possible that there is any connection between
Sukhâvatî and the land of Saukavastan, governed by an immortal ruler
and located by the Bundehish between Turkistan and Chinistan? I
imagine there is no etymological relationship, but if Saukavastan was
well known as a land of the blessed it may have influenced the choice
of a significant Sanskrit word with a similar sound.]

[Footnote 553: _E.R.E. sub voce_.]

[Footnote 554: _J.A._ 1912, I. p. 622. Unfortunately only a brief
notice of his communication is given with no details. See also S.
Lévi, _Le Népâl_, pp. 330 ff.]

[Footnote 555: Ti-tsang in Chinese, Jizo in Japanese. See for his
history Visser's elaborate articles in _Ostasiatische Ztsft._

[Footnote 556: He was accepted by the Manichæans as one of the Envoys
of Light. _J.A._ 1911, II. p. 549.]



_Prefatory note._

For the transcription of Chinese words I use the modern Peking
pronunciation as represented in Giles's Dictionary. It may be justly
objected that of all dialects Pekingese is perhaps the furthest removed
from ancient Chinese and therefore unsuited for historical studies and
also that Wade's system of transcription employed by Giles is open to
serious criticism. But, on the other hand, I am not competent to write
according to the pronunciation of Nanking or Canton all the names which
appear in these chapters and, if I were, it would not be a convenience
to my readers. Almost all English works of reference about China use the
forms registered in Giles's Dictionary or near approximations to them,
and any variation would produce difficulty and confusion. French and
German methods of transcribing Chinese differ widely from Wade's and
unfortunately there seems to be no prospect of sinologues agreeing on
any international system.


The study of Chinese Buddhism is interesting but difficult[557]. Here
more than in other Asiatic countries we feel that the words and
phrases natural to a European language fail to render justly the
elementary forms of thought, the simplest relationships. But Europeans
are prone to exaggerate the mysterious, topsy-turvy character of the
Chinese mind. Such epithets are based on the assumption that human
thought and conduct normally conform to reason and logic, and that
when such conformity is wanting the result must be strange and hardly
human, or at least such as no respectable European could expect or
approve. But the assumption is wrong. In no country with which I am
acquainted are logic and co-ordination of ideas more wanting than
in the British Isles. This is not altogether a fault, for human
systems are imperfect and the rigorous application of any one
imperfect system must end in disaster. But the student of Asiatic
psychology must begin his task by recognising that in the West and
East alike, the thoughts of nations, though not always of individuals,
are a confused mosaic where the pattern has been lost and a thousand
fancies esteemed at one time or another as pleasing, useful or
respectable are crowded into the available space. This is especially
true in the matter of religion. An observer fresh to the subject might
find it hard to formulate the relations to one another and to the
Crown of the various forms of Christianity prevalent in our Empire or
to understand how the English Church can be one body, when some
sections of it are hardly distinguishable from Roman Catholicism and
others from non-conformist sects. In the same way Chinese religion
offers startling combinations of incongruous rites and doctrines: the
attitude of the laity and of the government to the different churches
is not to be defined in ordinary European terms and yet if one
examines the practice of Europe, it will often throw light on the
oddities of China.

The difficulty of finding a satisfactory equivalent in Chinese for the
word God is well known and has caused much discussion among
missionaries. Confucius inherited and handed on a worship of Heaven
which inspired some noble sayings and may be admitted to be
monotheism. But it was a singularly impersonal monotheism and had
little to do with popular religion, being regarded as the prerogative
and special cult of the Emperor. The people selected their deities
from a numerous pantheon of spirits, falling into many classes among
which two stand out clearly, namely, nature spirits and spirits of
ancestors. All these deities, as we must call them for want of a
better word, present odd features, which have had some influence on
Chinese Buddhism. The boundary between the human and the spirit worlds
is slight. Deification and euhemerism are equally natural to the
Chinese. Not only are worthies of every sort made into gods[558], but
foreign deities are explained on the same principle. Thus Yen-lo
(Yama), the king of the dead, is said to have been a Chinese official
of the sixth century A.D. But there is little mythology. The deities
are like the figures on porcelain vases: all know their appearance and
some their names, but hardly anyone can give a coherent account of
them. A poly-dæmonism of this kind is even more fluid than Hinduism:
you may invent any god you like and neglect gods that don't concern
you. The habit of mind which produces sects in India, namely the
desire to exalt one's own deity above others and make him the All-God,
does not exist. No Chinese god inspires such feelings.

The deities of medieval and modern China, including the spirits
recognized by Chinese Buddhism, are curiously mixed and vague
personalities[559]. Nature worship is not absent, but it is nature as
seen by the fancy of the alchemist and astrologer. The powers that
control nature are also identified with ancient heroes, but they are
mostly heroes of the type of St. George and the Dragon of whom history
has little to say, and Chinese respect for the public service and
official rank takes the queer form of regarding these spirits as
celestial functionaries. Thus the gods have a Ministry of Thunder
which supervises the weather and a Board of Medicine which looks after
sickness and health.

The characteristic expression of Chinese popular religion is not
exactly myth or legend but religious romance. A writer starts from
some slender basis of fact and composes an edifying novel. Thus the
well-known story called Hsi-Yu-Chi[560] purports to be an account of
Hsüan Chuang's journey to India but, except that it represents the
hero as going there and returning with copies of the scriptures, it is
romance pure and simple, a fantastic Pilgrim's Progress, the scene
of which is sometimes on earth and sometimes in the heavens. The
traveller is accompanied by allegorical creatures such as a magic
monkey, a pig, and a dragon horse, who have each their own
significance and may be seen represented in Buddhist and Taoist
temples even to-day. So too another writer, starting from the
tradition that Avalokita (or Kuan-Yin) was once a benevolent human
being, set himself to write the life of Kuan-Yin, represented as a
princess endued with every virtue who cheerfully bears cruel
persecution for her devotion to Buddhism. It would be a mistake to
seek in this story any facts throwing light on the history of
Avalokita and his worship. It is a religious novel, important only
because it still finds numerous readers.

It is commonly said that the Chinese belong to three religions,
Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, and the saying is not altogether
inaccurate. Popular language speaks of the three creeds and an
ordinary person in the course of his life may take part in rites which
imply a belief in them all[561]. Indeed the fusion is so complete that
one may justly talk of Chinese religion, meaning the jumble of
ceremonies and beliefs accepted by the average man. Yet at the same
time it is possible to be an enthusiast for any one of the three
without becoming unconventional.

Of the three religions, Confucianism has a disputable claim to the
title. If the literary classes of China find it sufficient, they do so
only by rejecting the emotional and speculative sides of religion. The
Emperor Wan-li[562] made a just epigram when he said that Confucianism
and Buddhism are like the wings of a bird. Each requires the
co-operation of the other. Confucius was an ethical and political
philosopher, not a prophet, hierophant or church founder. As a
moralist he stands in the first rank, and I doubt if either the
Gospels or the Pitakas contain maxims for the life of a good citizen
equal to his sayings. But he ignored that unworldly morality which,
among Buddhists and Christians, is so much admired and so little
practised. In religion he claimed no originality, he brought no
revelation, but he accepted the current ideas of his age and time,
though perhaps he eliminated many popular superstitions. He commended
the worship of Heaven, which, if vague, still connected the deity with
the moral law, and he enjoined sacrifice to ancestors and spirits. But
all this apparently without any theory. His definition of wisdom is
well known: "to devote oneself to human duties and keep aloof from
spirits while still respecting them." This is not the utterance of a
sceptical statesman, equivalent to "remember the political importance
of religion but keep clear of it, so far as you can." The best
commentary is the statement in the _Analects_ that he seldom spoke
about the will of Heaven, yet such of his utterances about it as have
been preserved are full of awe and submission[563]. A certain delicacy
made him unwilling to define or discuss the things for which he felt
the highest reverence, and a similar detached but respectful attitude
is still a living constituent of Chinese society. The scholar and
gentleman will not engage in theological or metaphysical disputes, but
he respectfully takes part in ceremonies performed in honour of such
venerated names as Heaven, Earth and Confucius himself. Less
willingly, but still without remonstrance, he attends Buddhist or
Taoist celebrations.

If it is hard to define the religious element in Confucianism, it is
still harder to define Taoism, but for another reason, namely, that
the word has more than one meaning. In one sense it is the old popular
religion of China, of which Confucius selected the scholarly and
gentlemanly features. Taoism, on the contrary, rejected no godlings
and no legends however grotesque: it gave its approval to the most
extravagant and material superstitions, especially to the belief that
physical immortality could be insured by drinking an elixir, which
proved fatal to many illustrious dupes. As an organized body it owes
its origin to Chang-Ling _(c._ 130 A.D.) and his grandson
Chang-Lu[564]. The sect received its baptism of blood but made terms
with the Chinese Government, one condition being that a member of the
house of Chang should be recognized as its hereditary Patriarch or
Pope[565]. Rivalry with Buddhism also contributed to give Taoism
something of that consistency in doctrine and discipline which we
associate with the word religion, for in their desire to show that
they were as good as their opponents the Taoists copied them in
numerous and important particulars, for instance triads of deities,
sacred books and monastic institutions.

The power of inventive imitation is characteristic of Taoism[566]. In
most countries great gods are children of the popular mind. After long
gestation and infancy they emerge as deities bound to humanity by a
thousand ties of blood and place. But the Taoists, whenever they
thought a new deity needful or ornamental, simply invented him, often
with the sanction of an Imperial Edict. Thus Yü-Ti[567], the precious
or jade Emperor, who is esteemed the supreme ruler of the world, was
created or at least brought into notice about 1012 A.D. by the Emperor
Chên Tsung[568] who pretended to have correspondence with him. He is
probably an adaptation of Indra and is also identified with a prince
of ancient China, but cannot be called a popular hero like Rama or
Krishna, and has not the same hold on the affections of the people.

But Taoism is also the name commonly given not only to this fanciful
church but also to the philosophic ideas expounded in the Tao-tê-ching
and in the works of Chuang-tzŭ. The Taoist priesthood claim this
philosophy, but the two have no necessary connection. Taoism as
philosophy represents a current of thought opposed to Confucianism,
compared with which it is ascetic, mystic and pantheistic, though
except in comparison it does not deserve such epithets. My use of
pantheistic in particular may raise objection, but it seems to me that
Tao, however hard to define, is analogous to Brahman, the impersonal
Spirit of Hindu philosophy. The universe is the expression of Tao and
in conforming to Tao man finds happiness. For Confucianism, as for
Europe, man is the pivot and centre of things, but less so for
Taoism and Buddhism. Philosophic Taoism, being somewhat abstruse and
unpractical, might seem to have little chance of becoming a popular
superstition. But from early times it was opposed to Confucianism, and
as Confucianism became more and more the hall-mark of the official and
learned classes, Taoism tended to become popular, at the expense of
degrading itself. From early times too it dallied with such
fascinating notions as the acquisition of miraculous powers and
longevity. But, as an appeal to the emotional and spiritual sides of
humanity, it was, if superior to Confucianism, inferior to Buddhism.

Buddhism, unlike Confucianism and Taoism, entered China as a foreign
religion, but, in using this phrase, we must ask how far any system of
belief prevalent there is accepted as what we call a religion. Even in
Ceylon and Burma people follow the observances of two religions or at
least of a religion and a superstition, but they would undoubtedly
call themselves Buddhists. In China the laity use no such designations
and have no sense of exclusive membership. For them a religion is
comparable to a club, which they use for special purposes. You may
frequent both Buddhist and Taoist temples just as you may belong to
both the Geographical and Zoological Societies. Perhaps the position
of spiritualism in England offers the nearest analogy to a Chinese
religion. There are, I believe, some few persons for whom spiritualism
is a definite, sufficient and exclusive creed. These may be compared
to the Buddhist clergy with a small minority of the laity. But the
majority of those who are interested or even believe in spiritualism,
do not identify themselves with it in this way. They attend séances as
their curiosity or affections may prompt, but these beliefs and
practices do not prevent them from also belonging to a Christian
denomination. Imagine spiritualism to be better organized as an
institution and you will have a fairly accurate picture of the average
Chinaman's attitude to Buddhism and Taoism. One may also compare the
way in which English poets use classical mythology. _Lycidas_, for
instance, is an astounding compound of classical and biblical ideas,
and Milton does not hesitate to call the Supreme Being Jove in a
serious passage. Yet Milton's Christianity has never, so far as I
know, been called in question.

There is an obvious historical parallel between the religions of
the Chinese and early Roman Empires. In both, the imperial and
official worship was political and indifferent to dogma without being
hostile, provided no sectary refused to call the Emperor Son of Heaven
or sacrifice to his image. In both, ample provision was made outside
the state cult for allaying the fears of superstition, as well as for
satisfying the soul's thirst for knowledge and emotion. A Roman
magistrate of the second century A.D. may have offered official
sacrifices, propitiated local genii, and attended the mysteries of
Mithra, in the same impartial way as Chinese magistrates took part a
few years ago in the ceremonies of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.
In both cases there was entire liberty to combine with the official
religious routine private beliefs and observances incongruous with it
and often with one another: in both there was the same essential
feature that no deity demanded exclusive allegiance. The popular
polytheism of China is indeed closely analogous to the paganism of the
ancient world[569]. Hinduism contains too much personal religion and
real spiritual feeling to make the resemblance perfect, but in dealing
with Apollo, Mars and Venus a Roman of the early Empire seems to have
shown the mixture of respect and scepticism which is characteristic of

This attitude implies not only a certain want of conviction but also a
utilitarian view of religion. The Chinese visit a temple much as they
visit a shop or doctor, for definite material purposes, and if it be
asked whether they are a religious people in the better sense of the
word, I am afraid the answer must be in the negative. It is with
regret that I express this opinion and I by no means imply that there
are not many deeply religious persons in China, but whereas in India
the obvious manifestations of superstition are a superficial disease
and the heart of the people is keenly sensitive to questions of
personal salvation and speculative theology, this cannot be said of
the masses in China, where religion, as seen, consists of
superstitious rites and the substratum of thought and feeling is

This struck me forcibly when visiting Siam some years ago. In
Bangkok there is a large Chinese population and several Buddhist
temples have been made over to them. The temples frequented by Siamese
are not unlike catholic churches in Europe: the decoration is roughly
similar, the standard of decorum much the same. The visitors come to
worship, meditate or hear sermons. But in the temples used by the
Chinese, a lower standard is painfully obvious and the atmosphere is
different. Visitors are there in plenty, but their object is to "get
luck," and the business of religion has become transformed into
divination and spiritual gambling. The worshipper, on entering, goes
to a counter where he buys tapers and incense-sticks, together with
some implements of superstition such as rods or inscribed cards. After
burning incense he draws a card or throws the rods up into the air and
takes an augury from the result. Though the contrast presented in Siam
makes the degradation more glaring, yet these temples in Bangkok are
not worse than many which I have seen in China. I gladly set on the
other side of the account some beautiful and reverent halls of worship
in the larger monasteries, but I fear that the ordinary Chinese
temple, whether Taoist or Buddhist, is a ghostly shop where, in return
for ceremonies which involve neither moral nor intellectual effort,
the customer is promised good luck, offspring, and other material

It can hardly be denied that the populace in China are grossly
superstitious. Superstition is a common failing and were statistics
available to show the number and status of Europeans who believe in
fortune-telling and luck, the result might be startling. But in most
civilized countries such things are furtive and apologetic. In China
the strangest forms of magic and divination enjoy public esteem. The
ideas which underlie popular practice and ritual are worthy of African
savages: there has been a monstrous advance in systematization, yet
the ethics and intellect of China, brilliant as are their
achievements, have not leavened the lump. The average Chinese, though
an excellent citizen, full of common sense and shrewd in business, is
in religious matters a victim of fatuous superstition and completely
divorced from the moral and intellectual standards which he otherwise

Conspicuous among these superstitions is Fêng Shui or
Geomancy[570], a pseudo-science which is treated as seriously as
law or surveying. It is based on the idea that localities have a sort
of spiritual climate which brings prosperity or the reverse and
depends on the influences of stars and nature spirits, such as the
azure dragon and white tiger. But since these agencies find expression
in the contours of a locality, they can be affected if its features
are modified by artificial means, for instance, the construction of
walls and towers. Buddhism did not disdain to patronize these notions.
The principal hall of a monastery is usually erected on a specially
auspicious site and the appeals issued for the repair of sacred
buildings often point out the danger impending if edifices essential
to the good Fêng Shui of a district are allowed to decay. The
scepticism and laughter of the educated does not clear the air, for
superstition can flourish when neither respected nor believed. The
worst feature of religion in China is that the decently educated
public ridicules its external observances, but continues to practise
them, because they are connected with occasions of good fellowship or
because their omission might be a sign of disrespect to departed
relatives or simply because in dealing with uncanny things it is
better to be on the safe side. This is the sum of China's composite
religion as visible in public and private rites. Its ethical value is
far higher than might be supposed, for its most absurd superstitions
also recommend love and respect in family life and a high standard of
civic duty. But China has never admitted that public or private
morality requires the support of a religious creed.

As might be expected, life and animation are more apparent in sects
than in conventional religion. Since the recent revolution it is no
longer necessary to confute the idea that the Chinese are a stationary
and unemotional race, but its inaccuracy was demonstrated by many
previous movements especially the T'ai-p'ing rebellion, which had at
first a religious tinge. Yet in China such movements, though they may
kindle enthusiasm and provoke persecution, rarely have the religious
value attaching to a sect in Christian, Hindu and Mohammedan
countries. Viewed as an ecclesiastical or spiritual movement, the
T́ai-p'ing is insignificant: it was a secret society permitted by
circumstances to become a formidable rising and in its important
phases the political element was paramount. The same is true of many
sects which have not achieved such notoriety. They are secret
societies which adopt a creed, but it is not in the creed that their
real vitality lies.

If it is difficult to say how far the Buddhism of China is a religion,
it is equally difficult to define its relation to the State. Students
well acquainted with the literature as well as with the actual
condition of China have expressed diametrically opposite views as to
the religious attitude of the Imperial Government[571], one stating
roundly that it was "the most intolerant, the most persecuting of all
earthly Governments," and another that it "at no period refused
hospitality and consideration to any religion recommended as

In considering such questions I would again emphasize the fact that
Chinese terms have often not the same extension as their apparent
synonyms in European languages, which, of course, means that the
provinces of human life and thought have also different boundaries.
For most countries the word clergy has a definite meaning and, in
spite of great diversities, may be applied to Christian clerics,
Mollahs and Brahmans without serious error. It means a class of men
who are the superintendents of religion, but also more. On the one
side, though they may have serious political differences with the
Government, they are usually in touch with it: on the other, though
they may dislike reformers and movements from below, they patronize
and minister to popular sentiment. They are closely connected with
education and learning and sometimes with the law. But in China there
is no class which unites all these features. Learning, law and
education are represented by the Confucian scholars or literati.
Though no one would think of calling them priests, yet they may offer
official sacrifices, like Roman magistrates. Though they are
contemptuous of popular superstition, yet they embody the popular
ideal. It is the pride of a village to produce a scholar. But the
scholarship of the literati is purely Confucian: Buddhist and Taoist
learning have no part in it.

The priest, whether Buddhist or Taoist, is not in the mind of the
people the repository of learning and law. He is not in religious
matters the counterpart of the secular arm, but rather a private
practitioner, duly licensed but of no particular standing. But he is
skilful in his own profession: he has access to the powers who help,
pity and console, and even the sceptic seeks his assistance when
confronted with the dangers of this world and the next.

The student of Chinese history may object that at many periods,
notably under the Yüan dynasty, the Buddhist clergy were officially
recognized as an educational body and even received the title of
Kuo-shih or teacher of the people. This is true. Such recognition by
no means annihilated the literati, but it illustrates the decisive
influence exercised by the Emperor and the court. We have, on the one
side, a learned official class, custodians of the best national ideals
but inclined to reject emotion and speculation as well as
superstition: on the other, two priesthoods, prone to superstition but
legitimately strong in so far as they satisfied the emotional and
speculative instincts. The literati held persistently, though
respectfully, to the view that the Emperor should be a Confucianist
pure and simple, but Buddhism and Taoism had such strong popular
support that it was always safe and often politic for an Emperor to
patronize them. Hence an Emperor of personal convictions was able to
turn the balance, and it must be added that Buddhism often flourished
in the courts of weak and dissolute Emperors who were in the hands of
women and eunuchs. Some of these latter were among its most
distinguished devotees.

All Chinese religions agreed in accepting the Emperor as head of the
Church, not merely titular but active. He exercised a strange
prerogative of creating, promoting and degrading deities. Even within
the Buddhist sphere he regulated the incarnations of Bodhisattvas in
the persons of Lamas and from time to time re-edited the canon[573] or
added new works to it. This extreme Erastianism had its roots in
Indian as well as Chinese ideas. The Confucianist, while reminding the
Emperor that he should imitate the sages and rulers of antiquity,
gladly admitted his right to control the worship of all spirits[574]
and the popular conscience, while probably unable to define what was
meant by the title _Son of Heaven_[575], felt that it gave him a
viceregal right to keep the gods in order, so long as he did not
provoke famine or other national calamities by mismanagement. The
Buddhists, though tenacious of freedom in the spiritual life, had no
objection to the patronage of princes. Asoka permitted himself to
regulate the affairs of the Church and the success of Buddhists as
missionaries was due in no small measure to their tact in allowing
other sovereigns to follow his example.

That Buddhism should have obtained in China a favourable reception and
a permanent status is indeed remarkable, for in two ways it was
repugnant to the sentiments of the governing classes to say nothing of
the differences in temper and outlook which divide Hindus and Chinese.
Firstly, its ideal was asceticism and celibacy; it gave family life
the lower place and ignored the popular Chinese view that to have a
son is not only a duty, but also essential for those sacrifices
without which the departed spirit cannot have peace. Secondly, it was
not merely a doctrine but an ecclesiastical organization, a
congregation of persons who were neither citizens nor subjects, not
exactly an _imperium in imperio_ nor a secret society, but
dangerously capable of becoming either. Such bodies have always
incurred the suspicion and persecution of the Chinese Government. Even
in the fifth century Buddhist monasteries were accused of organizing
armed conspiracies and many later sects suffered from the panic which
they inspired in official bosoms. But both difficulties were overcome
by the suppleness of the clergy. If they outraged family sentiment
they managed to make themselves indispensable at funeral
ceremonies[576]. If they had a dangerous resemblance to an _imperium
in imperio_, they minimized it by their obvious desire to exercise
influence through the Emperor. Though it is true that the majority of
anti-dynastic political sects had a Buddhist colour, the most
prominent and influential Buddhists never failed in loyalty. To this
adroitness must be added a solid psychological advantage. The success
of Buddhism in China was due to the fact that it presented religious
emotion and speculation in the best form known there, and when it
began to spread the intellectual soil was not unpropitious. The higher
Taoist philosophy had made familiar the ideas of quietism and the
contemplative life: the age was unsettled, harassed alike by foreign
invasion and civil strife. In such times when even active natures tire
of unsuccessful struggles, the asylum of a monastery has attractions
for many.

We have now some idea of the double position of Buddhism in China and
can understand how it sometimes appears as almost the established
church and sometimes as a persecuted sect. The reader will do well to
remember that in Europe the relations of politics to religion have not
always been simple: many Catholic sovereigns have quarrelled with
Popes and monks. The French Government supports the claims of Catholic
missions in China but does not favour the Church in France. The fact
that Huxley was made a Privy Councillor does not imply that Queen
Victoria approved of his religious views. In China the repeated
restrictive edicts concerning monasteries should not be regarded as
acts of persecution. Every politician can see the loss to the state if
able-bodied men become monks by the thousand. In periods of literary
and missionary zeal, large congregations of such monks may have a
sufficient sphere of activity but in sleepy, decadent periods they are
apt to become a moral or political danger. A devout Buddhist or
Catholic may reasonably hold that though the monastic life is the best
for the elect, yet for the unworthy it is more dangerous than the
temptations of the world. Thus the founder of the Ming dynasty had
himself been a bonze, yet he limited the number and age of those
who might become monks[577]. On the other hand, he attended Buddhist
services and published an edition of the Tripitaka. In this and in the
conduct of most Emperors there is little that is inconsistent or
mysterious: they regarded religion not in our fashion as a system
deserving either allegiance or rejection, but as a modern Colonial
Governor might regard education. Some Governors are enthusiastic for
education: others mistrust it as a stimulus of disquieting ideas: most
accept it as worthy of occasional patronage, like hospitals and races.
In the same way some Emperors, like Wu-Ti[578], were enthusiasts for
Buddhism and made it practically the state religion: a few others were
definitely hostile either from conviction or political circumstances,
but probably most sovereigns regarded it as the average British
official regards education, as something that one can't help having,
that one must belaud on certain public occasions, that may now and
then be useful, but still emphatically something to be kept within

Outbursts against Buddhism are easy to understand. I have pointed out
its un-Chinese features and the persistent opposition of the literati.
These were sufficient reasons for repressive measures whenever the
Emperor was unbuddhist in his sympathies, especially if the
monasteries had enjoyed a period of prosperity and become crowded and
wealthy. What is harder to understand is the occasional favour shown
by apparently anti-Buddhist Emperors.

The Sacred Edict of the great K'ang Hsi forbids heterodoxy (i tuan) in
which the official explanation clearly includes Buddhism[579]. It was
published in his extreme youth, but had his mature approval, and until
recently was read in every prefecture twice a month. But the same
Emperor gave many gifts to monasteries, and in 1705 he issued a
decree to the monks of P'uto in which he said, "we since our boyhood
have been earnest students of Confucian lore and have had no time to
become minutely acquainted with the sacred books of Buddhism, but we
are satisfied that Virtue is the one word which indicates what is
essential in both systems. Let us pray to the compassionate Kuan-yin
that she may of her grace send down upon our people the spiritual rain
and sweet dew of the good Law: that she may grant them bounteous
harvests, seasonable winds and the blessings of peace, harmony and
long life and finally that she may lead them to the salvation which
she offers to all beings in the Universe[580]." The two edicts are not
consistent but such inconsistency is no reproach to a statesman nor
wholly illogical. The Emperor reprimands extravagance in doctrine and
ceremonial and commends Confucianism to his subjects as all that is
necessary for good life and good government, but when he finds that
Buddhism conduces to the same end he accords his patronage and
politely admits the existence and power of Kuan-yin.

But I must pass on to another question, the relation of Chinese to
Indian Buddhism. Chinese Buddhism is often spoken of as a strange and
corrupt degeneration, a commixture of Indian and foreign ideas. Now if
such phrases mean that the pulse of life is feeble and the old lights
dim, we must regretfully admit their truth, but still little is to be
found in Chinese Buddhism except the successive phases of later Indian
Buddhism, introduced into China from the first century A.D. onwards.
In Japan there arose new sects, but in China, when importation ceased,
no period of invention supervened. The T'ien-t'ai school has some
originality, and native and foreign ideas were combined by the
followers of Bodhidharma. But the remaining schools were all founded
by members of Indian sects or by Chinese who aimed at scrupulous
imitation of Indian models. Until the eighth century, when the
formative period came to an end, we have an alternation of Indian or
Central Asian teachers arriving in China to meet with respect and
acceptance, and of Chinese enquirers who visited India in order to
discover the true doctrine and practice and were honoured on their
return in proportion as they were believed to have found it. There is
this distinction between China and such countries as Java, Camboja and
Champa, that whereas in them we find a mixture of Hinduism and
Buddhism, in China the traces of Hinduism are slight. The imported
ideas, however corrupt, were those of Indian Buddhist scholars, not
the mixed ideas of the Indian layman[581].

Of course Buddhist theory and practice felt the influence of their new
surroundings. The ornaments and embroidery of the faith are Chinese
and sometimes hide the original material. Thus Kuan-yin, considered
historically, has grown out of the Indian deity Avalokita, but the
goddess worshipped by the populace is the heroine of the Chinese
romance mentioned above. And, since many Chinese are only half
Buddhists, tales about gods and saints are taken only half-seriously;
the Buddha periodically invites the immortals to dine with him in
Heaven and the Eighteen Lohan are described as converted brigands.

In every monastery the buildings, images and monks obviously bear the
stamp of the country. Yet nearly all the doctrines and most of the
usages have Indian parallels. The ritual has its counterpart in what
I-Ching describes as seen by himself in his Indian travels. China has
added the idea of _fêng-shui_, and has modified architectural forms.
For instance the many-storeyed pagoda is an elongation of the
stupa[582]. So, too, in ceremonial, the great prominence given to
funeral rites and many superstitious details are Chinese, yet, as I
have often mentioned in this work, rites on behalf of the dead were
tolerated by early Buddhism. The curious mingling of religious
services with theatrical pagents which Hsüan Chuang witnessed at
Allahabad in the reign of Harsha, has its modest parallel to-day in
many popular festivals.

The numerous images which crowd a Chinese temple, the four kings,
Arhats and Bodhisattvas, though of unfamiliar appearance to the Indian
student, are Indian in origin. A few Taoist deities may have side
chapels, but they are not among the principal objects of worship. The
greater part of the Chinese Tripitaka is a translation from the
Sanskrit and the Chinese works (only 194 against 1467 translations)
are chiefly exegetical. Thus, though Chinese bonzes countenance native
superstitions and gladly undertake to deal with all the gods and
devils of the land, yet in its doctrine, literature, and even in many
externals their Buddhism remains an Indian importation. If we seek in
it for anything truly Chinese, it is to be found not in the
constituents, but in the atmosphere, which, like a breeze from a
mountain monastery sometimes freshens the gilded shrines and libraries
of verbose sutras. It is the native spirit of the Far East which finds
expression in the hill-side hermit's sense of freedom and in dark
sayings such as _Buddhism is the oak-tree in my garden_. Every free
and pure heart can become a Buddha, but also is one with the life of
birds and flowers. Both the love of nature[583] and the belief that
men can become divine can easily be paralleled in Indian texts, but
they were not, I think, imported into China, and joy in natural beauty
and sympathy with wild life are much more prominent in Chinese than in
Indian art.

Is then Buddhist doctrine, as opposed to the superstitions tolerated
by Buddhism, something exotic and without influence on the national
life? That also is not true. The reader will perceive from what has
gone before that if he asks for statistics of Buddhism in China, the
answer must be, in the Buddha's own phrase, that the question is not
properly put. It is incorrect to describe China as a Buddhist country.
We may say that it contains so many million Mohammedans or Christians,
because these creeds are definite and exclusive. We cannot quote
similar figures for Buddhism or Confucianism. Yet assuredly Buddhism
has been a great power in China, as great perhaps as Christianity in
Europe, if we remember how much is owed by European art, literature,
law and science to non-Christian sources. The Chinese language is full
of Buddhist phraseology[584], not only in literature but in
popular songs and proverbs and an inspection of such entries in a
Chinese dictionary as _Fo_ (Buddha), _Kuan Yin_, _Ho Shang_
(monk)[585] will show how large and not altogether flattering a part
they play in popular speech.

Popular literature bears the same testimony. It is true that in what
are esteemed the higher walks of letters Buddhism has little place.
The quotations and allusions which play there so prominent a part are
taken from the classics and Confucianism can claim as its own the
historical, lexicographical and critical[586] works which are the
solid and somewhat heavy glory of Chinese literature. But its lighter
and less cultivated blossoms, such as novels, fairy stories and
poetry, are predominantly Buddhist or Taoist in inspiration. This may
be easily verified by a perusal of such works as the _Dream of the Red
Chamber_, _Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio_, and Wieger's _Folk
Lore Chinois Moderne_. The same is true in general of the great
Chinese poets, many of whom did not conceal that (in a poetic and
unascetic fashion) they were attached to Buddhism.

It may be asked if the inspiration is not Taoist in the main rather
than Buddhist. Side by side with ethics and ceremony, a native stream
of bold and weird imagination has never ceased to flow in China and
there was no need to import tales of the Genii, immortal saints and
vampire beauties. But when any coherency unites these ideas of the
supernatural, that I think is the work of Buddhism and so far as
Taoism itself has any coherency it is an imitation of Buddhism. Thus
the idea of metempsychosis as one of many passing fancies may be
indigenous to China but its prevalence in popular thought and language
is undoubtedly due to Buddhism, for Taoism and Confucianism have
nothing definite to say as to the state of the dead.

Much the same story of Buddhist influence is told by Chinese art,
especially painting and sculpture. Here too Taoism is by no means
excluded: it may be said to represent the artistic side of the
Chinese mind, as Confucianism represents the political. But it is
impossible to mistake the significance of chronology. As soon as
Buddhism was well established in China, art entered on a new phase
which culminated in the masterpieces of the T'ang and Sung[587].
Buddhism did not introduce painting into China or even perfect a
rudimentary art. The celebrated roll of Ku K'ai-chih[588] shows no
trace of Indian influence and presupposes a long artistic tradition.
But Mahayanist Buddhism brought across Central Asia new shapes and
motives. Some of its imports were of doubtful artistic value, such as
figures with many limbs and eyes, but with them came ideas which
enriched Chinese art with new dramatic power, passion and solemnity.
Taoism dealt with other worlds but they were gardens of the
Hesperides, inhabited by immortal wizards and fairy queens, not those
disquieting regions where the soul receives the reward of its deeds.
But now the art of Central Asia showed Chinese painters something new;
saints preaching the law with a gesture of authority and deities of
infinite compassion inviting suppliants to approach their thrones. And
with them came the dramatic story of Gotama's life and all the legends
of the Jatakas.

This clearly is not Taoism, but when the era of great art and
literature begins, any distinction between the two creeds, except for
theological purposes, becomes artificial, for Taoism borrowed many
externals of Buddhism, and Buddhism, while not abandoning its austere
and emaciated saints, also accepted the Taoist ideal of the careless
wandering hermit, friend of mountain pines and deer. Wei Hsieh[589]
who lived under the Chin dynasty, when the strength of Buddhism was
beginning to be felt, is considered by Chinese critics as the earliest
of the great painters and is said to have excelled in both Buddhist
and Taoist subjects. The same may be said of the most eminent names,
such as Ku K'ai-chih and Wu Tao-tzŭ[590], and we may also remember
that Italian artists painted the birth of Venus and the origin of the
milky way as well as Annunciations and Assumptions, without any
hint that one incident was less true than another. Buddhism not only
provided subjects like the death of the Buddha and Kuan Yin, the
Goddess of Mercy, which hold in Chinese art the same place as the
Crucifixion and the Madonna in Europe, and generation after generation
have stimulated the noblest efforts of the best painters. It also
offered a creed and ideals suited to the artistic temperament: peace
and beauty reigned in its monasteries: its doctrine that life is one
and continuous is reflected in that love of nature, that sympathetic
understanding of plants and animals, that intimate union of sentiment
with landscape which marks the best Chinese pictures.


[Footnote 557: For Chinese Buddhism see especially Johnston, _Chinese
Buddhism_, 1913 (cited as Johnston). Much information about the
popular side of Buddhism and Taoism nay be found in _Recherches sur
les superstitions en Chine_ par le Père Henri Doré, 10 vols.
1911-1916, Shanghai (cited as Doré).]

[Footnote 558: A curious instance of deification is mentioned in
_Muséon_, 1914, p. 61. It appears that several deceased Jesuits have
been deified. For a recent instance of deification in 1913 see Doré,
X. p. 753.]

[Footnote 559: The spirits called San Kuan [Chinese: ] or San Yüan
[Chinese: ] are a good instance of Chinese deities. The words mean
Three Agents or Principles who strictly speaking have no names: (_a_)
Originally they appear to represent Heaven, Earth and Water. (_b_)
Then they stand for three periods of the year and the astrological
influences which rule each, (_c_) As Agents, and more or less
analogous to human personalities, Heaven gives happiness, Earth
pardons sins and Water delivers from misfortune. _(d)_They are
identified with the ancient Emperors Yao, Shun, Yü. (_e_) They are
also identified with three Censors under the Emperor Li-Wang, B.C.

[Footnote 560: [Chinese: ] Hsüan Chuang's own account of his travels
bears the slightly different title of Hsi-Yü-Chi. [Chinese: ] The
work noticed here is attributed to Chiu Ch'ang Ch'un, a Taoist priest
of the thirteenth century. It is said to be the Buddhist book most
widely read in Korea where it is printed in the popular script. An
abridged English translation has been published by T. Richard under
the title of _A Mission to Heaven_.]

[Footnote 561: I am writing immediately after the abolition of the
Imperial Government (1912), and what I say naturally refers to a state
of things which is passing away. But it is too soon to say how the new
regime will affect religion. There is an old saying that China is
supported by the three religions as a tripod by three legs.]

[Footnote 562: [Chinese: ] strictly speaking the title of his reign

[Footnote 563: Compare _Anal_. IX. 1 and xiv. 38. 2. See also
_Doctrine of the Mean_, chap, xvi, for more positive views about

[Footnote 564: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ] See De Groot, "Origins of
the Taoist Church" in _Trans. Third Congress Hist. Relig_. 1908.]

[Footnote 565: Chang Yüan-hsü, who held office in 1912, was deprived
of his titles by the Republican Government. In 1914 petitions were
presented for their restoration, but I do not know with what result.
See _Peking Daily News_, September 5th, 1914.]

[Footnote 566: Something similar may be seen in Mormonism where
angels and legends have been invented by individual fancy without any
background of tradition.]

[Footnote 567: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 568: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 569: The sixth Æneid would seem to a Chinese quite a natural
description of the next world. In it we have Elysium, Tartarus,
transmigration of souls, souls who can find no resting place because
their bodies are unburied, and phantoms showing still the wounds which
their bodies received in life. Nor is there any attempt to harmonize
these discordant ideas.]

[Footnote 570: [Chinese: ] A somewhat similar pseudo-science called
vatthu-vijjâ is condemned in the Pali scriptures. _E.g._ Digha N. I.
21. Astrology also has been a great force in Chinese politics. See
Bland and Backhouse, _Ann. and Memoirs, passim_. The favour shown at
different times to Buddhist, Manichæan and Catholic priests was often
due to their supposed knowledge of astrology.]

[Footnote 571: I may again remind the reader that I am not speaking of
the Chinese Republic but of the Empire. The long history of its
relations to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, though it concerns the
past, is of great interest.]

[Footnote 572: De Groot and Parker. For an elaboration of the first
thesis see especially De Groot's _Sectarianism and Religious
Persecution in China_.]

[Footnote 573: But it must be remembered that the Chinese canon is not
entirely analogous to the collections of the scriptures current in
India, Ceylon or Europe.]

[Footnote 574: The Emperor is the Lord of all spirits and has the
right to sacrifice to all spirits, whereas others should sacrifice
only to such spirits as concern them. For the Emperor's title "Lord of
Spirits," see Shu Ching IV., VI. 2-3, and Shih Ching, III., II. 8, 3.]

[Footnote 575: The title is undoubtedly very ancient and means Son of
Heaven or Son of God. See Hirth, _Ancient History of China_, pp.
95-96. But the precise force of _Son_ is not clear. The Emperor was
Viceregent of Heaven, high priest and responsible for natural
phenomena, but he could not in historical times be regarded as sprung
(like the Emperor of Japan) from a family of divine descent, because
the dynasties, and with them the imperial family, were subject to
frequent change.]

[Footnote 576: Similarly it is a popular tenet that if a man becomes a
monk all his ancestors go to Heaven. See _Paraphrase of sacred Edict_,

[Footnote 577: Japanese Emperors did the same, _e.g._ Kwammū
Tennō in 793.]

[Footnote 578: [Chinese: ]

[Footnote 579: K'ang Hsi is responsible only for the text of the Edict
which merely forbids heterodoxy. But his son Yung Chêng who published
the explanation and paraphrase repaired the Buddhist temples at P'uto
and the Taoist temple at Lung-hu-shan.]

[Footnote 580: See Johnston, p. 352. I have not seen the Chinese text
of this edict. In Laufer and Francke's _Epigraphische Denkmäler aus
China_ is a long inscription of Kang Hsi's giving the history both
legendary and recent of the celebrated sandal-wood image of the

[Footnote 581: This indicates that the fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism
was less complete than some scholars suppose. Where there was a
general immigration of Hindus, the mixture is found, but the Indian
visitors to China were mostly professional teachers and their teaching
was definitely Buddhist. There are, however, two non-Buddhist books in
the Chinese Tripitaka. Nanjio Cat. Nos. 1295 and 1300.]

[Footnote 582: It has been pointed out by Fergusson and others that
there were high towers in China before the Buddhist period. Still, the
numerous specimens extant date from Buddhist times, many were built
over relics, and the accounts of both Fa-hsien and Hsüan Chuang show
that the Stupa built by Kanishka at Peshawar had attracted the
attention of the Chinese.

I regret that de Groot's interesting work _Der Thüpa: das heiligste
Heiligtum des Buddhismus in China_, 1919, reached me too late for me
to make use of it.]

[Footnote 583: The love of nature shown in the Pali Pitakas
(particularly the Thera and Therî Gâthâ) has often been noticed, but
it is also strong in Mahâyânist literature. _E.g._ Bodhicaryâvatâra
VIII. 26-39 and 86-88.]

[Footnote 584: See especially Watters, _Essays on the Chinese
Language_, chaps, VIII and IX, and Clementi, _Cantonese Love Songs in
English_, pp. 9 to 12]

[Footnote 585: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 586: I cannot refrain from calling attention to the
difference between the Chinese and most other Asiatic peoples
(especially the Hindus) as exhibited in their literature. Quite apart
from European influence the Chinese produced several centuries ago
catalogues of museums and descriptive lists of inscriptions, works
which have no parallel in Hindu India.]

[Footnote 587: There are said to have been four great schools of
Buddhist painting under the T'ang. See Kokka 294 and 295.]

[Footnote 588: Preserved in the British Museum and published.]

[Footnote 589: [Chinese: ] of the [Chinese: ] dynasty.]

[Footnote 590: [Chinese: ]


CHINA _(continued)_


The traditional date for the introduction of Buddhism is 62 A.D., when
the chronicles tell how the Emperor Ming-Ti of the Later Han Dynasty
dreamt that he saw a golden man fly into his palace[591] and how his
courtiers suggested that the figure was Fo-t'o[592] or Buddha, an
Indian God. Ming-Ti did not let the matter drop and in 65 sent an
embassy to a destination variously described as the kingdom of the Ta
Yüeh Chih[593] or India with instructions to bring back Buddhist
scriptures and priests. On its return it was accompanied by a monk
called Kâśyapa Mâtanga[594], a native of Central India. A second
called Chu Fa-Lan[595], who came from Central Asia and found some
difficulty in obtaining permission to leave his country, followed
shortly afterwards. Both were installed at Loyang, the capital of the
dynasty, in the White Horse Monastery[596], so called because the
foreign monks rode on white horses or used them for carrying books.

The story has been criticized as an obvious legend, but I see no
reason why it should not be true to this extent that Ming-Ti sent an
embassy to Central Asia (not India in our sense) with the result that
a monastery was for the first time established under imperial
patronage. The gravest objection is that before the campaigns of Pan
Ch'ao[597], which began about 73 A.D., Central Asia was in rebellion
against China. But those campaigns show that the Chinese Court was
occupied with Central Asian questions and to send envoys to enquire
about religion may have been politically advantageous, for they could
obtain information without asserting or abandoning China's claims to
sovereignty. The story does not state that there was no Buddhism in
China before 62 A.D. On the contrary it implies that though it was not
sufficiently conspicuous to be known to the Emperor, yet there was no
difficulty in obtaining information about it and other facts support
the idea that it began to enter China at least half a century earlier.
The negotiations of Chang Ch'ien[598] with the Yüeh Chih (129-119
B.C.) and the documents discovered by Stein in the ancient military
posts on the western frontier of Kansu[599] prove that China had
communication with Central Asia, but neither the accounts of Chang
Ch'ien's journeys nor the documents contain any allusion to Buddhism.
In 121 B.C. the Annals relate that "a golden man" was captured from
the Hsiung-nu but, even if it was an image of Buddha, the incident had
no consequences. More important is a notice in the Wei-lüeh which
gives a brief account of the Buddha's birth and states that in the
year 2 B.C. an ambassador sent by the Emperor Ai to the court of the
Yüeh Chih was instructed in Buddhism by order of their king[600]. Also
the Later Han Annals intimate that in 65 A.D. the Prince of Ch'u[601]
was a Buddhist and that there were Śramanas and Upâsakas in his

The author of the Wei-lüeh comments on the resemblance of Buddhist
writings to the work of Lao-tzŭ, and suggests that the latter left
China in order to teach in India. This theory found many advocates
among the Taoists, but is not likely to commend itself to European
scholars. Less improbable is a view held by many Chinese
critics[602] and apparently first mentioned in the Sui annals, namely,
that Buddhism was introduced into China at an early date but was
exterminated by the Emperor Shih Huang Ti (221-206) in the course of
his crusade against literature. But this view is not supported by any
details and is open to the general objection that intercourse between
China and India _viâ_ Central Asia before 200 B.C. is not only
unproved but improbable.

Still the mystical, quietist philosophy of Lao-tzŭ and
Chuang-tzŭ has an undoubted resemblance to Indian thought. No one
who is familiar with the Upanishads can read the Tao-Tê-Ching without
feeling that if Brahman is substituted for Tao the whole would be
intelligible to a Hindu. Its doctrine is not specifically Buddhist,
yet it contains passages which sound like echoes of the Pitakas.
Compare Tao-Tê-Ching, 33. 1, "He who overcomes others is strong: he
who overcomes himself is mighty," with Dhammapada, 103, "If one man
overcome a thousand thousand in battle and another overcome himself,
this last is the greatest of conquerors"; and 46. 2, "There is no
greater sin that to look on what moves desire: there is no greater
evil than discontent: there is no greater disaster than covetousness,"
with Dhammapada, 251, "There is no fire like desire, there is no
monster like hatred, there is no snare like folly, there is no torrent
like covetousness." And if it be objected that these are the
coincidences of obvious ethics, I would call attention to 39. 1̣,
"Hence if we enumerate separately each part that goes to form a cart,
we have no cart at all." Here the thought and its illustration cannot
be called obvious and the resemblance to well-known passages in the
Samyutta Nikâya and Questions of Milinda[603] is striking.

Any discussion of the indebtedness of the Tao-Tê-Ching to India is too
complicated for insertion here since it involves the question of
its date or the date of particular passages, if we reject the
hypothesis that the work as we have it was composed by Lao-tzŭ in
the sixth century B.C.[604] But there is less reason to doubt the
genuineness of the essays of Chuang-tzŭ who lived in the fourth
century B.C. In them we find mention of trances which give superhuman
wisdom and lead to union with the all-pervading spirit, and of magical
powers enjoyed by sages, similar to the Indian _iddhi_. He approves
the practice of abandoning the world and enunciates the doctrines of
evolution and reincarnation. He knows, as does also the Tao-Tê-Ching,
methods of regulating the breathing which are conducive to mental
culture and long life. He speaks of the six faculties of perception,
which recall the Shaḍâyatana, and of name and real existence
(nâmarûpam) as being the conditions of a thing[605]. He has also a
remarkable comparison of death to the extinction of a fire: "what we
can point to are the faggots that have been consumed: but the fire is
transmitted and we know not that it is over and ended." Several
Buddhist parallels to this might be cited[606].

The list of such resemblances might be made longer and the explanation
that Indian ideas reached China sporadically, at least as early as the
fourth century B.C., seems natural. I should accept it, if there were
any historical evidence besides these literary parallels. But there
seems to be none and it may be justly urged that the roots of this
quietism lie so deep in the Chinese character, that the plant cannot
have sprung from some chance wind-wafted seed. That character has two
sides, one seen in the Chinese Empire and the classical philosophy,
excellent as ethics but somewhat stiff and formal: the other in
revolutions and rebellions, in the free life of hermits and wanderers,
in poetry and painting. This second side is very like the temper of
Indian Buddhism and easily amalgamated with it[607], but it has a
special note of its own.

The curiosity of Ming-Ti did not lead to any immediate triumph of
Buddhism. We read that he was zealous in honouring Confucius but not
that he showed devotion to the new faith. Indeed it is possible that
his interest was political rather than religious. Buddhism was also
discredited by its first convert, the Emperor's brother Chu-Ying, who
rebelled unsuccessfully and committed suicide. Still it flourished in
a quiet way and the two foreign monks in the White Horse Monastery
began that long series of translations which assumed gigantic
proportions in the following centuries. To Kâśyapa is ascribed a
collection of extracts known as the Sûtra of forty-two sections which
is still popular[608]. This little work adheres closely to the
teaching of the Pali Tripitaka and shows hardly any traces of the
Mahâyâna. According to the Chinese annals the chief doctrines preached
by the first Buddhist missionaries were the sanctity of all animal
life, metempsychosis, meditation, asceticism and Karma.

It is not until the third century[609] that we hear much of Buddhism
as a force at Court or among the people, but meanwhile the task of
translation progressed at Lo-yang. The Chinese are a literary race and
these quiet labours prepared the soil for the subsequent
efflorescence. Twelve[610] translators are named as having worked
before the downfall of the Han Dynasty and about 350 books are
attributed to them. None of them were Chinese. About half came from
India and the rest from Central Asia, the most celebrated of the
latter being An Shih-kao, a prince of An-hsi or Parthia[611]. The
Later Han Dynasty was followed by the animated and romantic epoch
known as the Three Kingdoms (221-265) when China was divided between
the States of Wei, Wu and Shu. Loyang became the capital of Wei and
the activity of the White Horse Monastery continued. We have the names
of five translators who worked there. One of them was the first to
translate the Pâtimokkha[612], which argues that previously few
followed the monastic life. At Nanking, the capital of Wu, we also
hear of five translators and one was tutor of the Crown Prince. This
implies that Buddhism was spreading in the south and that monks
inspired confidence at Court.

The Three Kingdoms gave place to the Dynasty known as Western
Tsin[613] which, for a short time (A.D. 265-316), claimed to unite the
Empire, and we now reach the period when Buddhism begins to become
prominent. It is also a period of political confusion, of contest
between the north and south, of struggles between Chinese and Tartars.
Chinese histories, with their long lists of legitimate sovereigns,
exaggerate the solidity and continuity of the Empire, for the
territory ruled by those sovereigns was often but a small fraction of
what we call China. Yet the Tartar states were not an alien and
destructive force to the same extent as the conquests made by
Mohammedan Turks at the expense of Byzantium. The Tartars were neither
fanatical, nor prejudiced against Chinese ideals in politics and
religion. On the contrary, they respected the language, literature and
institutions of the Empire: they assumed Chinese names and sometimes
based their claim to the Imperial title on the marriage of their
ancestors with Chinese princesses.

During the fourth century and the first half of the fifth some twenty
ephemeral states, governed by Tartar chieftains and perpetually
involved in mutual war, rose and fell in northern China. The most
permanent of them was Northern Wei which lasted till 535 A.D. But the
Later Chao and both the Earlier and Later Ts'in are important for our
purpose[614]. Some writers make it a reproach to Buddhism that its
progress, which had been slow among the civilized Chinese, became
rapid in the provinces which passed into the hands of these ruder
tribes. But the phenomenon is natural and is illustrated by the fact
that even now the advance of Christianity is more rapid in Africa than
in India. The civilization of China was already old and
self-complacent: not devoid of intellectual curiosity and not
intolerant, but sceptical of foreign importations and of dealings with
the next world. But the Tartars had little of their own in the way of
literature and institutions: it was their custom to assimilate the
arts and ideas of the civilized nations whom they conquered: the more
western tribes had already made the acquaintance of Buddhism in
Central Asia and such native notions of religion as they possessed
disposed them to treat priests, monks and magicians with respect.

Of the states mentioned, the Later Chao was founded by Shih-Lo[615]
(273-332), whose territories extended from the Great Wall to the Han
and Huai in the South. He showed favour to an Indian monk and diviner
called Fo-t'u-ch'êng[616] who lived at his court and he appears to
have been himself a Buddhist. At any rate the most eminent of his
successors, Shih Chi-lung[617], was an ardent devotee and gave general
permission to the population to enter monasteries, which had not been
granted previously. This permission is noticeable, for it implies,
even at this early date, the theory that a subject of the Emperor has
no right to become a monk without his master's leave.

In 381 we are told that in north-western China nine-tenths of the
inhabitants were Buddhists. In 372 Buddhism was introduced into Korea
and accepted as the flower of Chinese civilization.

The state known as the Former Ts'in[618] had its nucleus in
Shensi, but expanded considerably between 351 and 394 A.D. under
the leadership of Fu-Chien[619], who established in it large colonies
of Tartars. At first he favoured Confucianism but in 381 became a
Buddhist. He was evidently in close touch with the western regions and
probably through them with India, for we hear that sixty-two states
of Central Asia sent him tribute.

The Later Ts'in dynasty (384-417) had its headquarters in Kansu and
was founded by vassals of the Former Ts'in. When the power of Fu-Chien
collapsed, they succeeded to his possessions and established
themselves in Ch'ang-an. Yao-hsing[620], the second monarch of this
line was a devout Buddhist, and deserves mention as the patron of
Kumârajîva[621], the most eminent of the earlier translators.

Kumârajîva was born of Indian parents in Kucha and, after following
the school of the Sarvâstivâdins for some time, became a Mahayanist.
When Kucha was captured in 383 by the General of Fu-Chien, he was
carried off to China and from 401 onwards he laboured at Ch'ang-an for
about ten years. He was appointed Kuo Shih[622], or Director of Public
Instruction, and lectured in a hall specially built for him. He is
said to have had 3000 disciples and fifty extant translations are
ascribed to him. Probably all the Tartar kingdoms were well disposed
towards Buddhism, though their unsettled condition made them
precarious residences for monks and scholars. This was doubtless true
of Northern Wei, which had been growing during the period described,
but appears as a prominent home of Buddhism somewhat later.

Meanwhile in the south the Eastern Tsin Dynasty, which represented the
legitimate Empire and ruled at Nanking from 317 to 420, was also
favourable to Buddhism and Hsiao Wu-Ti, the ninth sovereign of this
line, was the first Emperor of China to become a Buddhist.

The times were troubled, but order was gradually being restored. The
Eastern Tsin Dynasty had been much disturbed by the struggles of rival
princes. These were brought to an end in 420 by a new dynasty known as
Liu Sung which reigned in the south some sixty years. The north
was divided among six Tartar kingdoms, which all perished before 440
except Wei. Wei then split into an Eastern and a Western kingdom which
lasted about a hundred years. In the south, the Liu Sung gave place to
three short dynasties, Ch'i, Liang and Ch'ên, until at last the Sui
(589-605) united China.

The Liu Sung Emperor Wên-Ti (424-454) was a patron of Confucian
learning, but does not appear to have discouraged Buddhism. The Sung
annals record that several embassies were sent from India and Ceylon
to offer congratulations on the flourishing condition of religion in
his dominions, but they also preserve memorials from Chinese officials
asking for imperial interference to prevent the multiplication of
monasteries and the growing expenditure on superstitious ceremonies.
This marks the beginning of the desire to curb Buddhism by restrictive
legislation which the official class displayed so prominently and
persistently in subsequent centuries. A similar reaction seems to have
been felt in Wei, where the influential statesman Ts'ui Hao[623], a
votary of Taoism, conducted an anti-Buddhist campaign. He was helped
in this crusade by the discovery of arms in a monastery at Ch'ang-an.
The monks were accused of treason and debauchery and in 446 Toba
Tao[624], the sovereign of Wei, issued an edict ordering the
destruction of Buddhist temples and sacred books as well as the
execution of all priests. The Crown Prince, who was a Buddhist, was
able to save many lives, but no monasteries or temples were left
standing. The persecution, however, was of short duration. Toba Tao
was assassinated and almost the first act of his successor was to
re-establish Buddhism and allow his subjects to become monks. From
this period date the sculptured grottoes of Yün-Kang in northern
Shan-si which are probably the oldest specimens of Buddhist art in
China. In 471 another ruler of Wei, Toba Hung, had a gigantic image of
Buddha constructed and subsequently abdicated in order to devote
himself to Buddhist studies. His successor marks a reaction, for
he was an ardent Confucianist who changed the family name to Yüan and
tried to introduce the Chinese language and dress. But the tide of
Buddhism was too strong. It secured the favour of the next Emperor in
whose time there are said to have been 13,000 temples in Wei.

In the Sung dominions a conspiracy was discovered in 458 in which a
monk was implicated, and restrictive, though not prohibitive,
regulations were issued respecting monasteries. The Emperor Ming-Ti,
though a cruel ruler was a devout Buddhist and erected a monastery in
Hu-nan, at the cost of such heavy taxation that his ministers
remonstrated. The fifty-nine years of Liu Sung rule must have been on
the whole favourable to Buddhism, for twenty translators flourished,
partly natives and partly foreigners from Central Asia, India and
Ceylon. In 420 a band of twenty-five Chinese started on a pilgrimage
to India. They had been preceded by the celebrated pilgrim
Fa-Hsien[625] who travelled in India from 399 to 414.

In the reign of Wu-Ti, the first Emperor of the Ch'i dynasty, one of
the imperial princes, named Tzŭ Liang[626], cultivated the society
of eminent monks and enjoyed theological discussions. From the
specimens of these arguments which have been preserved we see that the
explanation of the inequalities of life as the result of Karma had a
great attraction for the popular mind and also that it provoked the
hostile criticism of the Confucian literati.

The accession of the Liang dynasty and the long reign of its first
emperor Wu-Ti (502-549) were important events in the history of
Buddhism, for this monarch rivalled Asoka in pious enthusiasm if not
in power and prosperity. He obviously set the Church above the state
and it was while he was on the throne that Bodhidharma came to China
and the first edition of the Tripitaka was prepared.

His reign, though primarily of importance for religion, was not
wanting in political interest, and witnessed a long conflict with Wei.
Wu-Ti was aided by the dissensions which distracted Wei but failed to
achieve his object, probably as a result of his religious
preoccupations, for he seemed unable to estimate the power of the
various adventurers who from time to time rose to pre-eminence in the
north and, holding war to be wrong, he was too ready to accept
insincere overtures for peace. Wei split into two states, the Eastern
and Western, and Hou-Ching[627], a powerful general who was not
satisfied with his position in either, offered his services to Wu-Ti,
promising to add a large part of Ho-nan to his dominions. He failed in
his promise but Wu-Ti, instead of punishing him, first gave him a post
as governor and then listened to the proposals made by the ruler of
Eastern Wei for his surrender. On this Hou-Ching conspired with an
adopted son of Wu-Ti, who had been set aside as heir to the throne and
invested Nanking. The city was captured after the horrors of a
prolonged siege and Wu-Ti died miserably.

Wu-Ti was not originally a Buddhist. In fact until about 510, when he
was well over forty, he was conspicuous as a patron of Confucianism.
The change might be ascribed to personal reasons, but it is noticeable
that the same thing occurred in Wei, where a period of Confucianism
was succeeded by a strong wave of Buddhism which evidently swept over
all China. Hu[628], the Dowager Empress of Wei, was a fervent devotee,
though of indifferent morality in both public and private life since
she is said to have poisoned her own son. In 518 she sent Sung Yün and
Hui Shêng[629] to Udyâna in search of Buddhist books of which they
brought back 175.

Wu-Ti's conversion is connected with a wandering monk and magician
called Pao-Chih[630], who received the privilege of approaching him at
all hours. A monastery was erected in Nanking at great expense and
edicts were issued forbidding not only the sacrifice of animals but
even the representation of living things in embroidery, on the ground
that people might cut up such figures and thus become callous to the
sanctity of life. The emperor expounded sûtras in public and wrote a
work on Buddhist ritual[631]. The first Chinese edition of the
Tripitaka, in manuscript and not printed, was collected in 518.
Although Wu-Ti's edicts, particularly that against animal
sacrifices, gave great dissatisfaction, yet the Buddhist movement
seems to have been popular and not merely an imperial whim, for many
distinguished persons, for instance the authors Liu Hsieh and Yao
Ch'a[632], took part in it.

In 520 (or according to others, in 525) Bodhidharma (generally called
Ta-mo in Chinese) landed in Canton from India. He is described as the
son of a king of a country called Hsiang-chih in southern India, and
the twenty-eighth Patriarch[633]. He taught that merit does not lie in
good works and that knowledge is not gained by reading the scriptures.
The one essential is insight, which comes as illumination after
meditation. Though this doctrine had subsequently much success in the
Far East, it was not at first appreciated and Bodhidharma's
introduction to the devout but literary Emperor in Nanking was a
fiasco. He offended his Majesty by curtly saying that he had acquired
no merit by causing temples to be built and books to be transcribed.
Then, in answer to the question, what is the most important of the
holy doctrines, he replied "where all is emptiness, nothing can be
called holy." "Who," asked the astonished Emperor, "is he who thus
replies to me?" "I do not know," said Bodhidharma.

Not being able to come to any understanding with Wu-Ti, Bodhidharma
went northwards, and is said to have crossed the Yang-tse standing on
a reed, a subject frequently represented in Chinese art[634]. He
retired to Lo-yang where he spent nine years in the Shao-Lin[635]
temple gazing silently at a wall, whence he was popularly known as the
wall-gazer. One legend says that he sat so long in contemplation that
his legs fell off, and a kind of legless doll which is a favourite
plaything in Japan is still called by his name. But according to
another tale he preserved his legs. He wished to return to India but
died in China. When Sung Yün, the traveller mentioned above, was
returning from India, he met him in a mountain pass bare-footed and
carrying one sandal in his hand[636]. When this was reported, his
coffin was opened and was found to contain nothing but the other
sandal which was long preserved as a precious relic in the Shao-Lin

Wu-Ti adopted many of the habits of a bonze. He was a strict
vegetarian, expounded the scriptures in public and wrote a work on
ritual. He thrice retired into a monastery and wore the dress of a
Bhikkhu. These retirements were apparently of short duration and his
ministers twice redeemed him by heavy payments.

In 538 a hair of the Buddha was sent by the king of Fu-nan and
received with great ceremony. In the next year a mission was
despatched to Magadha to obtain Sanskrit texts. It returned in 546
with a large collection of manuscripts and accompanied by the learned
Paramârtha who spent twenty years in translating them[637]. Wu-Ti, in
his old age, became stricter. All luxury was suppressed at Court, but
he himself always wore full dress and showed the utmost politeness,
even to the lowest officials. He was so reluctant to inflict the
punishment of death that crime increased. In 547 he became a monk for
the third time and immediately afterwards the events connected with
Hou-Ching (briefly sketched above) began to trouble the peace of his
old age. During the siege of Nanking he was obliged to depart from his
vegetarian diet and eat eggs. When he was told that his capital was
taken he merely said, "I obtained the kingdom through my own efforts
and through me it has been lost. So I need not complain."

Hou-Ching proceeded to the palace, but[638], overcome with awe, knelt
down before Wu-Ti who merely said, "I am afraid you must be fatigued
by the trouble it has cost you to destroy my kingdom." Hou-Ching was
ashamed and told his officers that he had never felt such fear
before and would never dare to see Wu-Ti again. Nevertheless, the aged
Emperor was treated with indignity and soon died of starvation. His
end, though melancholy, was peaceful compared with that in store for
Hou-Ching who, after two years of fighting and murdering, assumed the
imperial title, but immediately afterwards was defeated and slain. The
people ate his body in the streets of Nanking and his own wife is said
to have swallowed mouthfuls of his flesh.

One of Wu-Ti's sons, Yüan-Ti, who reigned from 552 to 555, inherited
his father's temper and fate with this difference that he was a
Taoist, not a Buddhist. He frequently resided in the temples of that
religion, studied its scriptures and expounded them to his people. A
great scholar, he had accumulated 140,000 volumes, but when it was
announced to him in his library that the troops of Wei were marching
on his capital, he yielded without resistance and burnt his books,
saying that they had proved of no use in this extremity.

This alternation of imperial patronage in the south may have been the
reason why Wên Hsüan Ti, the ruler of Northern Ch'i[639], and for the
moment perhaps the most important personage in China, summoned
Buddhist and Taoist priests to a discussion in 555. Both religions
could not be true, he said, and one must be superfluous. After hearing
the arguments of both he decided in favour of Buddhism and ordered the
Taoists to become bonzes on pain of death. Only four refused and were

Under the short Ch'ên dynasty (557-589) the position of Buddhism
continued favourable. The first Emperor, a mild and intelligent
sovereign, though circumstances obliged him to put a great many people
out of the way, retired to a monastery after reigning for two years.
But in the north there was a temporary reaction. Wu-Ti, of the
Northern Chou dynasty[640], first of all defined the precedence of the
three religions as Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and then, in 575,
prohibited the two latter, ordering temples to be destroyed and
priests to return to the world. But as usual the persecution was not
of long duration. Five years later Wu-Ti's son withdrew his father's
edict and in 582, the founder of the Sui dynasty, gave the population
permission to become monks. He may be said to have used Buddhism
as his basis for restoring the unity of the Empire and in his old age
he became devout. The Sui annals observe that Buddhist books had
become more numerous under this dynasty than those of the
Confucianists, and no less than three collections of the Tripitaka
were made between 594 and 616.

With the seventh century began the great T'ang dynasty (620-907).
Buddhism had now been known to the rulers of China for about 550
years. It began as a religion tolerated but still regarded as exotic
and not quite natural for the sons of Han. It had succeeded in
establishing itself as the faith of the majority among both Tartars
and Chinese. The rivalry of Taoism was only an instance of that
imitation which is the sincerest flattery. Though the opposition of
the mandarins assumed serious proportions whenever they could induce
an Emperor to share their views, yet the hostile attitude of the
Government never lasted long and was not shared by the mass of the
people. It is clear that the permissions to practise Buddhism which
invariably followed close on the prohibitions were a national relief.
Though Buddhism tended to mingle with Taoism and other indigenous
ideas, the many translations of Indian works and the increasing
intercourse between Chinese and Hindus had diffused a knowledge of its
true tenets and practice.

The T'ang dynasty witnessed a triangular war between Confucianism,
Buddhism and Taoism. As a rule Confucianism attacked the other two as
base superstitions but sometimes, as in the reign of Wu Tsung, Taoism
seized a chance of being able to annihilate Buddhism. This war
continued under the Northern Sung, though the character of Chinese
Buddhism changed, for the Contemplative School, which had considerable
affinities to Taoism, became popular at the expense of the T'ien T'ai.
After the Northern Sung (except under the foreign Mongol dynasty) we
feel that, though Buddhism was by no means dead and from time to time
flourished exceedingly, yet Confucianism had established its claim to
be the natural code and creed of the scholar and statesman. The
Chinese Court remained a strange place to the end but scholarship and
good sense had a large measure of success in banishing extravagance
from art and literature. Yet, alas, the intellectual life of China
lost more in fire and brilliancy than it gained in sanity. Probably
the most critical times for literature and indeed for thought were
those brief periods under the Sui and T'ang[641] when Buddhist and
Taoist books were accepted as texts for the public examinations and
the last half century of the Northern Sung, when the educational
reforms of Wang An Shih were intermittently in force. The innovations
were cancelled in all cases. Had they lasted, Chinese style and
mentality might have been different.

The T'ang dynasty, though on the whole favourable to Buddhism, and
indeed the period of its greatest prosperity, opened with a period of
reaction. To the founder, Kao Tsu, is attributed the saying that
Confucianism is as necessary to the Chinese as wings to a bird or
water to a fish. The imperial historiographer Fu I[642] presented to
his master a memorial blaming Buddhism because it undervalued natural
relationships and urging that monks and nuns should be compelled to
marry. He was opposed by Hsiao Yü[643], who declared that hell was
made for such people as his opponent--an argument common to many
religions. The Emperor followed on the whole advice of Fu I.
Magistrates were ordered to inquire into the lives of monks and nuns.
Those found pure and sincere were collected in the large
establishments. The rest were ordered to return to the world and the
smaller religious houses were closed. Kao Tsu abdicated in 627 but his
son Tai Tsung continued his religious policy, and the new Empress was
strongly anti-Buddhist, for when mortally ill she forbade her son to
pray for her recovery in Buddhist shrines. Yet the Emperor cannot have
shared these sentiments at any rate towards the end of his reign[644].
He issued an edict allowing every monastery to receive five new monks
and the celebrated journey of Hsüan Chuang[645] was made in his
reign. When the pilgrim returned from India, he was received with
public honours and a title was conferred on him. Learned monks were
appointed to assist him in translating the library he had brought back
and the account of his travels was presented to the Emperor who also
wrote a laudatory preface to his version of the Prajnâpâramitâ. It was
in this reign also that Nestorian missionaries first appeared in China
and were allowed to settle in the capital. Diplomatic relations were
maintained with India. The Indian Emperor Harsha sent an envoy in 641
and two Chinese missions were despatched in return. The second, led by
Wang Hsüan-Ts'ê[646], did not arrive until after the death of Harsha
when a usurper had seized the throne. Wang Hsüan-Ts'ê collected a
small army in Tibet, dethroned the usurper and brought him as a
prisoner to China.

The latter half of the seventh century is dominated by the figure of
the Dowager Empress Wu, the prototype of the celebrated lady who took
charge of China's fate in our own day and, like her, superhuman in
decision and unscrupulousness, yet capable of inspiring loyalty. She
was a concubine of the Emperor Tai Tsung and when he died in 649 lived
for a short time as a Buddhist nun. The eventful life of Wu Hou, who
was at least successful in maintaining order at home and on the
frontiers, belongs to the history of China rather than of Buddhism.
She was not an ornament of the faith nor an example of its principles,
but, mindful of the protection it had once afforded her, she gave it
her patronage even to the extent of making a bonze named Huai I[647]
the minister of her mature passions when she was nearly seventy
years old. A magnificent temple, at which 10,000 men worked daily, was
built for him, but the Empress was warned that he was collecting a
body of vigorous monks nominally for its service, but really for
political objects. She ordered these persons to be banished. Huai I
was angry and burnt the temple. The Empress at first merely ordered it
to be rebuilt, but finding that Huai I was growing disrespectful, she
had him assassinated.

We hear that the Mahâmegha-sûtra[648] was presented to her and
circulated among the people with her approval. About 690 she assumed
divine honours and accommodated these pretensions to Buddhism by
allowing herself to be styled Maitreya or Kuan-yin. After her death at
the age of 80, there does not appear to have been any religious
change, for two monks were appointed to high office and orders were
issued that Buddhist and Taoist temples should be built in every
Department. But the earlier part of the reign of Hsüan Tsung[649]
marks a temporary reaction. It was represented to him that rich
families wasted their substance on religious edifices and that the
inmates were well-to-do persons desirous of escaping the burdens of
public service. He accordingly forbade the building of monasteries,
making of images and copying of sutras, and 12,000 monks were ordered
to return to the world. In 725 he ordered a building known as "Hall of
the Assembled Spirits" to be renamed "Hall of Assembled Worthies,"
because spirits were mere fables.

In the latter part of his life he became devout though addicted to
Taoism rather than Buddhism. But he must have outgrown his
anti-Buddhist prejudices, for in 730 the seventh collection of the
Tripitaka was made under his auspices. Many poets of this period such
as Su Chin and the somewhat later Liu Tsung Yüan[650] were Buddhists
and the paintings of the great Wu Tao-tzŭ and Wang-wei (painter as
well as poet) glowed with the inspiration of the T'ien-t'ai teaching.
In 740 there were in the city of Ch'ang-An alone sixty-four
monasteries and twenty-seven nunneries. A curious light is thrown
on the inconsistent and composite character of Chinese religious
sentiment--as noticeable to-day as it was twelve hundred years ago--by
the will of Yao Ch'ung[651] a statesman who presented a celebrated
anti-Buddhist memorial to this Emperor. In his will he warns his
children solemnly against the creed which he hated and yet adds the
following direction. "When I am dead, on no account perform for me the
ceremonies of that mean religion. But if you feel unable to follow
orthodoxy in every respect, then yield to popular custom and from the
first seventh day after my death until the last (_i.e._ seventh)
seventh day, let mass be celebrated by the Buddhist clergy seven
times: and when, as these masses require, you must offer gifts to me,
use the clothes which I wore in life and do not use other valuable

In 751 a mission was sent to the king of Ki-pin[652]. The staff
included Wu-K'ung[653], also known as Dharmadhâtu, who remained some
time in India, took the vows and ultimately returned to China with
many books and relics. It is probable that in this and the following
centuries Hindu influence reached the outlying province of Yünnan
directly through Burma[654].

Letters, art and pageantry made the Court of Hsüan Tsung brilliant,
but the splendour faded and his reign ended tragically in disaster and
rebellion. The T'ang dynasty seemed in danger of collapse. But it
emerged successfully from these troubles and continued for a century
and a half. During the whole of this period the Emperors with one
exception[655] were favourable to Buddhism, and the latter half of the
eighth century marks in Buddhist history an epoch of increased
popularity among the masses but also the spread of ritual and
doctrinal corruption, for it is in these years that its connection
with ceremonies for the repose and honour of the dead became more

These middle and later T'ang Emperors were not exclusive
Buddhists. According to the severe judgment of their own officials,
they were inclined to unworthy and outlandish superstitions. Many of
them were under the influence of eunuchs, magicians and soothsayers,
and many of those who were not assassinated died from taking the
Taoist medicine called Elixir of Immortality. Yet it was not a period
of decadence and dementia. It was for China the age of Augustus, not
of Heliogabalus. Art and literature flourished and against Han-Yü, the
brilliant adversary of Buddhism, may be set Liu Tsung Yüan[656], a
writer of at least equal genius who found in it his inspiration. A
noble school of painting grew up in the Buddhist monasteries and in a
long line of artists may be mentioned the great name of Wu Tao-tzŭ,
whose religious pictures such as Kuan-yin, Purgatory and the death of
the Buddha obtained for him a fame which is still living. Among the
streams which watered this paradise of art and letters should
doubtless be counted the growing importance of Central and Western
Asia in Chinese policy and the consequent influx of their ideas. In
the mid T'ang period Manichæism, Nestorianism and Zoroastrianism all
were prevalent in China. The first was the religion of the Uigurs. So
long as the Chinese had to keep on good terms with this tribe
Manichæism was respected, but when they were defeated by the Kirghiz
and became unimportant, it was abruptly suppressed (843). In this
period, too, Tibet became of great importance for the Chinese. Their
object was to keep open the passes leading to Ferghana and India. But
the Tibetans sometimes combined with the Arabs, who had conquered
Turkestan, to close them and in 763 they actually sacked Chang An.
China endeavoured to defend herself by making treaties with the Indian
border states, but in 175 the Arabs inflicted a disastrous defeat on
her troops. A treaty of peace was subsequently made with Tibet[657].

When Su-Tsung (756-762), the son of Hsüan-Tsung, was safely
established on the throne, he began to show his devotion to Buddhism.
He installed a chapel in the Palace which was served by several
hundred monks and caused his eunuchs and guards to dress up as
Bodhisattvas and Genii. His ministers, who were required to worship
these maskers, vainly remonstrated as also when he accepted a sort of
Sibylline book from a nun who alleged that she had ascended to heaven
and received it there.

The next Emperor, Tai-Tsung, was converted to Buddhism by his Minister
Wang Chin[658], a man of great abilities who was subsequently
sentenced to death for corruption, though the Emperor commuted the
sentence to banishment. Tai-Tsung expounded the scriptures in public
himself and the sacred books were carried from one temple to another
in state carriages with the same pomp as the sovereign. In 768 the
eunuch Yü Chao-En[659] built a great Buddhist temple dedicated to the
memory of the Emperor's deceased mother. In spite of his minister's
remonstrances, His Majesty attended the opening and appointed 1000
monks and nuns to perform masses for the dead annually on the
fifteenth day of the seventh month. This anniversary became generally
observed as an All Souls' Day, and is still one of the most popular
festivals in China. Priests both Buddhist and Taoist recite prayers
for the departed, rice is scattered abroad to feed hungry ghosts and
clothes are burnt to be used by them in the land of shadows. Large
sheds are constructed in which are figures representing scenes from
the next world and the evening is enlivened by theatricals, music and

The establishment of this festival was due to the celebrated teacher
Amogha (Pu-k'ung), and marks the official recognition by Chinese
Buddhism of those services for the dead which have rendered it popular
at the cost of forgetting its better aspects. Amogha was a native of
Ceylon (or, according to others, of Northern India), who arrived in
China in 719 with his teacher Vajrabodhi. After the latter's death he
revisited India and Ceylon in search of books and came back in 746. He
wished to return to his own country, but permission was refused and
until his death in 774 he was a considerable personage at Court,
receiving high rank and titles. The Chinese Tripitaka contains 108
translations[661] ascribed to him, mostly of a tantric character,
though to the honour of China it must be said that the erotic
mysticism of some Indian tantras never found favour there. Amogha is a
considerable, though not auspicious, figure in the history of Chinese
Buddhism, and, so far as such changes can be the work of one man, on
him rests the responsibility of making it become in popular estimation
a religion specially concerned with funeral rites[662].

Some authors[663] try to prove that the influx of Nestorianism under
the T'ang dynasty had an important influence on the later development
of Buddhism in China and Japan and in particular that it popularized
these services for the dead. But this hypothesis seems to me unproved
and unnecessary. Such ceremonies were an essential part of Chinese
religion and no faith could hope to spread, if it did not countenance
them: they are prominent in Hinduism and not unknown to Pali
Buddhism[664]. Further the ritual used in China and Japan has often
only a superficial resemblance to Christian masses for the departed.
Part of it is magical and part of it consists in acquiring merit by
the recitation of scriptures which have no special reference to the
dead. This merit is then formally transferred to them. Doubtless
Nestorianism, in so far as it was associated with Buddhism, tended to
promote the worship of Bodhisattvas and prayers addressed directly to
them, but this tendency existed independently and the Nestorian
monument indicates not that Nestorianism influenced Buddhism but that
it abandoned the doctrine of the atonement.

In 819 a celebrated incident occurred. The Emperor Hsien-Tsung had
been informed that at the Fa-mên monastery in Shen-si a bone of the
Buddha was preserved which every thirty years exhibited miraculous
powers. As this was the auspicious year, he ordered the relic to be
brought in state to the capital and lodged in the Imperial Palace,
after which it was to make the round of the monasteries in the city.
This proceeding called forth an animated protest from Han-Yü[665], one
of the best known authors and statesmen then living, who presented a
memorial, still celebrated as a masterpiece. The following extract
will give an idea of its style. "Your Servant is well aware that your
Majesty does not do this (give the bone such a reception) in the vain
hope of deriving advantage therefrom but that in the fulness of our
present plenty there is a desire to comply with the wishes of the
people in the celebration at the capital of this delusive mummery....
For Buddha was a barbarian. His language was not the language of
China. His clothes were of an alien cut. He did not utter the maxims
of our ancient rulers nor conform to the customs which they have
handed down. He did not appreciate the bond between prince and
minister, the tie between father and son. Had this Buddha come to our
capital in the flesh, your Majesty might have received him with a few
words of admonition, giving him a banquet and a suit of clothes,
before sending him out of the country with an escort of soldiers.

"But what are the facts? The bone of a man long since dead and
decomposed is to be admitted within the precincts of the Imperial
Palace. Confucius said, 'respect spiritual beings but keep them at a
distance.' And so when princes of old paid visits of condolence, it
was customary to send a magician in advance with a peach-rod in his
hand, to expel all noxious influences before the arrival of his
master. Yet now your Majesty is about to introduce without reason a
disgusting object, personally taking part in the proceedings without
the intervention of the magician or his wand. Of the officials not one
has raised his voice against it: of the Censors[666] not one has
pointed out the enormity of such an act. Therefore your servant,
overwhelmed with shame for the Censors, implores your Majesty that
these bones may be handed over for destruction by fire or water,
whereby the root of this great evil may be exterminated for all time
and the people may know how much the wisdom of your Majesty surpasses
that of ordinary men[667]."

The Emperor became furious when he read the memorial and wished to
execute its author on the spot. But Han-Yü's many friends saved him
and the sentence was commuted to honourable banishment as governor of
a distant town. Shortly afterwards the Emperor died, not of Buddhism,
but of the elixir of immortality which made him so irritable that his
eunuchs put him out of the way. Han-Yü was recalled but died the next
year. Among his numerous works was one called Yüan Tao, much of which
was directed against non-Confucian forms of religion. It is still a
thesaurus of arguments for the opponents of Buddhism and, let it be
added, of Christianity.

It is not surprising that the prosperity of the Buddhist church should
have led to another reaction, but it came not so much from the
literary and sceptical class as from Taoism which continued to enjoy
the favour of the T'ang Emperors, although they died one after another
of drinking the elixir. The Emperor Wu-Tsung was more definitely
Taoist than his predecessors. In 843 he suppressed Manichæism and in
845, at the instigation of his Taoist advisers, he dealt Buddhism the
severest blow which it had yet received. In a trenchant edict[668] he
repeated the now familiar arguments that it is an alien and maleficent
superstition, unknown under the ancient and glorious dynasties and
injurious to the customs and morality of the nation. Incidentally he
testifies to its influence and popularity for he complains of the
crowds thronging the temples which eclipse the imperial palaces in
splendour and the innumerable monks and nuns supported by the
contributions of the people. Then, giving figures, he commands that
4600 great temples and 40,000 smaller rural temples be demolished,
that their enormous[669] landed property be confiscated, that 260,500
monks and nuns be secularized and 150,000 temple slaves[670] set free.
These statistics are probably exaggerated and in any case the Emperor
had barely time to execute his drastic orders, though all despatch
was used on account of the private fortunes which could be amassed
incidentally by the executive.

As the Confucian chronicler of his doings observes, he suppressed
Buddhism on the ground that it is a superstition but encouraged Taoism
which is no better. Indeed the impartial critic must admit that it is
much worse, at any rate for Emperors. Undeterred by the fate of his
predecessors Wu-Tsung began to take the elixir of immortality. He
suffered first from nervous irritability, then from internal pains,
which were explained as due to the gradual transformation of his
bones, and at the beginning of 846 he became dumb. No further
explanation of his symptoms was then given him and his uncle Hsüan
Tsung was raised to the throne. His first act was to revoke the
anti-Buddhist edict, the Taoist priests who had instigated it were put
to death, the Emperor and his ministers vied in the work of
reconstruction and very soon things became again much as they were
before this great but brief tribulation. Nevertheless, in 852 the
Emperor received favourably a memorial complaining of the Buddhist
reaction and ordered that all monks and nuns must obtain special
permission before taking orders. He was beginning to fall under Taoist
influence and it is hard to repress a smile on reading that seven
years later he died of the elixir. His successor I-Tsung (860-874),
who died at the age of 30, was an ostentatious and dissipated
Buddhist. In spite of the remonstrances of his ministers he again sent
for the sacred bone from Fa-mên and received it with even more respect
than his predecessor had shown, for he met it at the Palace gate and
bowed before it.

During the remainder of the T'ang dynasty there is little of
importance to recount about Buddhism. It apparently suffered no
reverses, but history is occupied with the struggle against the
Tartars. The later T'ang Emperors entered into alliance with various
frontier tribes, but found it hard to keep them in the position of
vassals. The history of China from the tenth to the thirteenth
centuries is briefly as follows. The T'ang dynasty collapsed chiefly
owing to the incapacity of the later Emperors and was succeeded by a
troubled period in which five short dynasties founded by military
adventurers, three of whom were of Turkish race, rose and fell in 53
years[671]. In 960 the Sung dynasty united the Chinese elements in
the Empire, but had to struggle against the Khitan Tartars in the
north-east and against the kingdom of Hsia in the north-west. With the
twelfth century appeared the Kins or Golden Tartars, who demolished
the power of the Khitans in alliance with the Chinese but turned
against their allies and conquered all China north of the Yang-tze and
continually harassed, though they did not capture, the provinces to
the south of it which constituted the reduced empire of the Sungs. But
their power waned in its turn before the Mongols, who, under Chinggiz
Khan and Ogotai, conquered the greater part of northern Asia and
eastern Europe. In 1232 the Sung Emperor entered into alliance with
the Mongols against the Kins, with the ultimate result that though the
Kins were swept away, Khubilai, the Khan of the Mongols, became
Emperor of all China in 1280.

The dynasties of T'ang and Sung mark two great epochs in the history
of Chinese art, literature and thought, but whereas the virtues and
vices of the T'ang may be summed up as genius and extravagance, those
of the Sung are culture and tameness. But this summary judgment does
not do justice to the painters, particularly the landscape painters,
of the Sung and it is noticeable that many of the greatest masters,
including Li Lung-Mien[672], were obviously inspired by Buddhism. The
school which had the greatest influence on art and literature was the
Ch'an[673] or contemplative sect better known by its Japanese name
Zen. Though founded by Bodhidharma it did not win the sympathy and
esteem of the cultivated classes until the Sung period. About this
time the method of block-printing was popularized and there began a
steady output of comprehensive histories, collected works,
encyclopædias and biographies which excelled anything then published
in Europe. Antiquarian research and accessible editions of classical
writers were favourable to Confucianism, which had always been the
religion of the literati.

It is not surprising that the Emperors of this literary dynasty were
mostly temperate in expressing their religious emotions. T'ai-Tsu, the
founder, forbade cremation and remonstrated with the Prince of T'ang,
who was a fervent Buddhist. Yet he cannot have objected to religion in
moderation, for the first printed edition of the Tripitaka was
published in his reign (972) and with a preface of his own. The early
and thorough application of printing to this gigantic Canon is a
proof--if any were needed--of the popular esteem for Buddhism.

Nor did this edition close the work of translation: 275 later
translations, made under the Northern Sung, are still extant and
religious intercourse with India continued. The names and writings of
many Hindu monks who settled in China are preserved and Chinese
continued to go to India. Still on the whole there was a decrease in
the volume of religious literature after 900 A.D.[674] In the twelfth
century the change was still more remarkable. Nanjio does not record a
single translation made under the Southern Sung and it is the only
great dynasty which did not revise the Tripitaka.

The second Sung Emperor also, T'ai Tsung, was not hostile, for he
erected in the capital, at enormous expense, a stupa 360 feet high to
contain relics of the Buddha. The fourth Emperor, Jên-tsung, a
distinguished patron of literature, whose reign was ornamented by a
galaxy of scholars, is said to have appointed 50 youths to study
Sanskrit but showed no particular inclination towards Buddhism.
Neither does it appear to have been the motive power in the projects
of the celebrated social reformer, Wang An-Shih. But the dynastic
history says that he wrote a book full of Buddhist and Taoist fancies
and, though there is nothing specifically Buddhist in his political
and economic theories, it is clear from the denunciations against him
that his system of education introduced Buddhist and Taoist subjects
into the public examinations[675]. It is also clear that this system
was favoured by those Emperors of the Northern Sung dynasty who were
able to think for themselves. In 1087 it was abolished by the
Empress Dowager acting as regent for the young Chê Tsung, but as soon
as he began to reign in his own right he restored it, and it
apparently remained in force until the collapse of the dynasty in

The Emperor Hui-Tsung (1101-1126) fell under the influence of a Taoist
priest named Lin Ling-Su[676]. This young man had been a Buddhist
novice in boyhood but, being expelled for misconduct, conceived a
hatred for his old religion. Under his influence the Emperor not only
reorganized Taoism, sanctioning many innovations and granting many new
privileges, but also endeavoured to suppress Buddhism, not by
persecution, but by amalgamation. By imperial decree the Buddha and
his Arhats were enrolled in the Taoist pantheon: temples and
monasteries were allowed to exist only on condition of describing
themselves as Taoist and their inmates had the choice of accepting
that name or of returning to the world.

But there was hardly time to execute these measures, so rapid was the
reaction. In less than a year the insolence of Lin Ling-Su brought
about his downfall: the Emperor reversed his edict and, having begun
by suppressing Buddhism, ended by oppressing Taoism. He was a painter
of merit and perhaps the most remarkable artist who ever filled a
throne. In art he probably drew no distinction between creeds and
among the pictures ascribed to him and preserved in Japan are some of
Buddhist subjects. But like Hsüan Tsung he came to a tragic end, and
in 1126 was carried into captivity by the Kin Tartars among whom he

Fear of the Tartars now caused the Chinese to retire south of the
Yang-tse and Hang-chow was made the seat of Government. The century
during which this beautiful city was the capital did not produce the
greatest names in Chinese history, but it witnessed the perfection of
Chinese culture, and the background of impending doom heightens the
brilliancy of this literary and aesthetic life. Such a society was
naturally eclectic in religion but Buddhism of the Ch'an school
enjoyed consideration and contributed many landscape painters to the
roll of fame. But the most eminent and perhaps the most characteristic
thinker of the period was Chu-Hsi (1130-1200), the celebrated
commentator on Confucius who reinterpreted the master's writings
to the satisfaction of succeeding ages though in his own life he
aroused opposition as well as enthusiasm. Chu-Hsi studied Buddhism in
his youth and some have detected its influence in his works, although
on most important points he expressly condemned it. I do not see that
there is much definite Buddhism in his philosophy, but if Mahayanism
had never entered China this new Confucianism would probably never
have arisen or would have taken another shape. Though the final result
may be anti-Buddhist yet the topics chosen and the method of treatment
suggest that the author felt it necessary to show that the Classics
could satisfy intellectual curiosity and supply spiritual ideals just
as well as this Indian religion. Much of his expositions is occupied
with cosmology, and he accepts the doctrine of world periods,
recurring in an eternal series of growth and decline: also he teaches
not exactly transmigration but the transformation of matter into
various living forms[677]. His accounts of sages and saints point to
ideals which have much in common with Arhats and Buddhas and, in
dealing with the retribution of evil, he seems to admit that when the
universe is working properly there is a natural _Karma_ by which good
or bad actions receive even in this life rewards in kind, but that in
the present period of decline nature has become vitiated so that vice
and virtue no longer produce appropriate results.

Chu-Hsi had a celebrated controversy with Lu Chiu-Yüan[678], a thinker
of some importance who, like himself, is commemorated in the tablets
of Confucian temples, although he was accused of Buddhist tendencies.
He held that learning was not indispensable and that the mind could in
meditation rise above the senses and attain to a perception of the
truth. Although he strenuously denied the charge of Buddhist leanings,
it is clear that his doctrine is near in spirit to the mysticism of
Bodhidharma and sets no store on the practical ethics and studious
habits which are the essence of Confucianism.

The attitude of the Yüan or Mongol dynasty (1280-1368) towards
Buddhism was something new. Hitherto, whatever may have been the
religious proclivities of individual Emperors, the Empire had been
a Confucian institution. A body of official and literary opinion
always strong and often overwhelmingly strong regarded imperial
patronage of Buddhism or Taoism as a concession to the whims of the
people, as an excrescence on the Son of Heaven's proper faith or even
a perversion of it. But the Mongol Court had not this prejudice and
Khubilai, like other members of his house[679] and like Akbar in
India, was the patron of all the religions professed by his subjects.
His real object was to encourage any faith which would humanize his
rude Mongols. Buddhism was more congenial to them than Confucianism
and besides, they had made its acquaintance earlier. Even before
Khubilai became Emperor, one of his most trusted advisers was a
Tibetan lama known as Pagspa, Bashpa or Pa-ssŭ-pa[680]. He received
the title of Kuo-Shih, and after his death his brother succeeded to
the same honours.

Khubilai also showed favour to Mohammedans, Christians, Jews and
Confucianists, but little to Taoists. This prejudice was doubtless due
to the suggestions of his Buddhist advisers, for, as we have seen,
there was often rivalry between the two religions and on two occasions
at least (in the reigns of Hui Tsung and Wu Tsung) the Taoists made
determined, if unsuccessful, attempts to destroy or assimilate
Buddhism. Khubilai received complaints that the Taoists represented
Buddhism as an offshoot of Taoism and that this objectionable
perversion of truth and history was found in many of their books,
particularly the Hua-Hu-Ching[681]. An edict was issued ordering all
Taoist books to be burnt with the sole exception of the Tao-Tê-Ching
but it does not appear that the sect was otherwise persecuted.

The Yüan dynasty was consistently favourable to Buddhism. Enormous
sums were expended on subventions to monasteries, printing books and
performing public ceremonies. Old restrictions were removed and no new
ones were imposed. But the sect which was the special recipient of the
imperial favour was not one of the Chinese schools but Lamaism,
the form of Buddhism developed in Tibet, which spread about this time
to northern China, and still exists there. It does not appear that in
the Yüan period Lamaism and other forms of Buddhism were regarded as
different sects[682]. A lamaist ecclesiastic was the hierarchical head
of all Buddhists, all other religions being placed under the
supervision of a special board.

The Mongol Emperors paid attention to religious literature. Khubilai
saw to it that the monasteries in Peking were well supplied with books
and ordered the bonzes to recite them on stated days. A new collection
of the Tripitaka (the ninth) was published 1285-87. In 1312, the
Emperor Jên-tsung ordered further translations to be made into Mongol
and later had the whole Tripitaka copied in letters of gold. It is
noticeable that another Emperor, Chêng Tsung, had the Book of Filial
Piety translated into Mongol and circulated together with a brief
preface by himself.

It is possible that the Buddhism of the Yüan dynasty was tainted with
Śâktism from which the Lama monasteries of Peking (in contrast to
all other Buddhist sects in China) are not wholly free. The last
Emperor, Shun-ti, is said to have witnessed indecent plays and dances
in the company of Lamas and created a scandal which contributed to the
downfall of the dynasty[683]. In its last years we hear of some
opposition to Buddhism and of a reaction in favour of Confucianism, in
consequence of the growing numbers and pretensions of the Lamas.

Whole provinces were under their control and Chinese historians dwell
bitterly on their lawlessness. It was a common abuse for wealthy
persons to induce a Lama to let their property be registered in his
name and thus avoid all payment of taxes on the ground that priests
were exempt from taxation by law[684].

The Mongols were driven out by the native Chinese dynasty known as
Ming, which reigned from 1368 to 1644. It is not easy to point out
any salient features in religious activity or thought during this
period, but since the Ming claimed to restore Chinese civilization
interrupted by a foreign invasion, it was natural that they should
encourage Confucianism as interpreted by Chu-Hsi. Yet Buddhism,
especially Lamaism, acquired a new political importance. Both for the
Mings and for the earlier Manchu Emperors the Mongols were a serious
and perpetual danger, and it was not until the eighteenth century that
the Chinese Court ceased to be preoccupied by the fear that the tribes
might unite and again overrun the Empire. But the Tibetan and
Mongolian hierarchy had an extraordinary power over these wild
horsemen and the Government of Peking won and used their goodwill by
skilful diplomacy, the favours shown being generally commensurate to
the gravity of the situation. Thus when the Grand Lama visited Peking
in 1652 he was treated as an independent prince: in 1908 he was made
to kneel.

Few Ming Emperors showed much personal interest in religion and most
of them were obviously guided by political considerations. They wished
on the one hand to conciliate the Church and on the other to prevent
the clergy from becoming too numerous or influential. Hence very
different pictures may be drawn according as we dwell on the
favourable or restrictive edicts which were published from time to
time. Thus T'ai-Tsu, the founder of the dynasty, is described by one
authority as always sympathetic to Buddhists and by another as a
crowned persecutor[685]. He had been a bonze himself in his youth but
left the cloister for the adventurous career which conducted him to
the throne. It is probable that he had an affectionate recollection of
the Church which once sheltered him, but also a knowledge of its
weaknesses and this knowledge moved him to publish restrictive edicts
as to the numbers and qualifications of monks. On the other hand he
attended sermons, received monks in audience and appointed them as
tutors to his sons. He revised the hierarchy and gave appropriate
titles to its various grades. He also published a decree ordering that
all monks should study three sutras (Lankâvatâra, Prajnâpâramitâ
and Vajracchedikâ), and that three brief commentaries on these works
should be compiled (see Nanjio's Catalogue, 1613-15).

It is in this reign that we first hear of the secular clergy, that is
to say, persons who acted as priests but married and did not live in
monasteries. Decrees against them were issued in 1394 and 1412, but
they continued to increase. It is not clear whether their origin
should be sought in a desire to combine the profits of the priesthood
with the comforts of the world or in an attempt to evade restrictions
as to the number of monks. In later times this second motive was
certainly prevalent, but the celibacy of the clergy is not strictly
insisted on by Lamaists and a lax observance of monastic rules[686]
was common under the Mongol dynasty.

The third Ming Emperor, Ch'êng-tsu[687], was educated by a Buddhist
priest of literary tastes named Yao Kuang-Hsiao[688], whom he greatly
respected and promoted to high office. Nevertheless he enacted
restrictions respecting ordination and on one occasion commanded that
1800 young men who presented themselves to take the vows should be
enrolled in the army instead. His prefaces and laudatory verses were
collected in a small volume and included in the eleventh collection of
the Tripitaka[689], called the Northern collection, because it was
printed at Peking. It was published with a preface of his own
composition and he wrote another to the work called the Liturgy of
Kuan-yin[690], and a third introducing selected memoirs of various
remarkable monks[691]. His Empress had a vision in which she imagined
a sûtra was revealed to her and published the same with an
introduction. He was also conspicuously favourable to the Tibetan
clergy. In 1403 he sent his head eunuch to Tibet to invite the
presence of Tsoṇ-kha-pa, who refused to come himself but sent a
celebrated Lama called Halima[692]. On arriving at the capital Halima
was ordered to say masses for the Emperor's relatives. These
ceremonies were attended by supernatural manifestations and he
received as a recognition of his powers the titles of Prince of the
Great Precious Law and Buddha of the Western Paradise[693]. His three
principal disciples were styled Kuo Shih, and, agreeably to the
precedent established under the Yüan dynasty, were made the chief
prelates of the whole Buddhist Church. Since this time the Red or
Tibetan Clergy have been recognized as having precedence over the Grey
or Chinese.

In this reign the Chinese made a remarkable attempt to assert their
authority in Ceylon. In 1405 a mission was sent with offerings to the
Sacred Tooth and when it was ill received a second mission despatched
in 1407 captured the king of Ceylon and carried him off as a prisoner
to China. Ceylon paid tribute for fifty years, but it does not appear
that these proceedings had much importance for religion[694].

In the reigns of Ying Tsung and Ching-Ti[695] (1436-64) large numbers
of monks were ordained, but, as on previous occasions, the great
increase of candidates led to the imposition of restrictions and in
1458 an edict was issued ordering that ordinations should be held only
once a year. The influence of the Chief Eunuchs during this period was
great, and two successive holders of this post, Wang-Chên and
Hsing-An[696], were both devoted Buddhists and induced the Emperors
whom they served to expend enormous sums on building monasteries and
performing ceremonies at which the Imperial Court were present.

The end of the fifteenth century is filled by two reigns, Hsien
Tsung and Hsiao Tsung. The former fell under the influence of his
favourite concubine Wan and his eunuchs to such an extent that, in the
latter part of his life, he ceased to see his ministers and the chief
eunuch became the real ruler of China. It is also mentioned both in
1468 and 1483 that he was in the hands of Buddhist priests who
instructed him in secret doctrines and received the title of Kuo-Shih
and other distinctions. His son Hsiao Tsung reformed these abuses: the
Palace was cleansed: the eunuchs and priests were driven out and some
were executed: Taoist books were collected and burnt. The celebrated
writer Wang Yang Ming[697] lived in this reign. He defended and
illustrated the doctrine of Lu Chin-Yüan, namely that truth can be
obtained by meditation. To express intuitive knowledge, he used the
expression _Liang Chih_[698] (taken from Mencius). _Liang Chih_ is
inherent in all human minds, but in different degrees, and can be
developed or allowed to atrophy. To develop it should be man's
constant object, and in its light when pure all things are understood
and peace is obtained. The phrases of the Great Learning "to complete
knowledge," "investigate things," and "rest in the highest
excellence," are explained as referring to the _Liang Chih_ and the
contemplation of the mind by itself. We cannot here shut our eyes to
the influence of Bodhidharma and his school, however fervently Wang
Yang Ming may have appealed to the Chinese Classics.

The reign of Wu-tsung (1506-21) was favourable to Buddhism. In 1507
40,000 men became monks, either Buddhist or Taoist. The Emperor is
said to have been learned in Buddhist literature and to have known
Sanskrit[699] as well as Mongol and Arabic, but he was in the hands of
a band of eunuchs, who were known as the eight tigers. In 1515 he sent
an embassy to Tibet with the object of inducing the Grand Lama to
visit Peking, but the invitation was refused and the Tibetans expelled
the mission with force. The next Emperor, Shih-T'sung (1522-66),
inclined to Taoism rather than Buddhism. He ordered the images of
Buddha in the Forbidden City to be destroyed, but still appears to
have taken part in Buddhist ceremonies at different periods of his
reign. Wan Li (1573-1620), celebrated in the annals of porcelain
manufacture, showed some favour to Buddhism. He repaired many
buildings at P'u-t'o and distributed copies of the Tripitaka to the
monasteries of his Empire. In his edicts occurs the saying that
Confucianism and Buddhism are like the two wings of a bird: each
requires the co-operation of the other.

European missionaries first arrived during the sixteenth century, and,
had the Catholic Church been more flexible, China might perhaps have
recognized Christianity, not as the only true religion but as standing
on the same footing as Buddhism and Taoism. The polemics of the early
missionaries imply that they regarded Buddhism as their chief rival.
Thus Ricci had a public controversy with a bonze at Hang-Chou, and his
principal pupil Hsü Kuang-Ch'i[700] wrote a tract entitled "The errors
of the Buddhists exposed." Replies to these attacks are preserved in
the writings of the distinguished Buddhist priest Shen Chu-Hung[701].

In 1644 the Ming dynasty collapsed before the Manchus and China was
again under foreign rule. Unlike the Mongols, the Manchus had little
inclination to Buddhism. Even before they had conquered China, their
prince, T'ai Tsung, ordered an inspection of monasteries and limited
the number of monks. But in this edict he inveighs only against the
abuse of religion and admits that "Buddha's teaching is at bottom pure
and chaste, true and sincere: by serving him with purity and piety,
one can obtain happiness[702]." Shun-Chih, the first Manchu Emperor,
wrote some prefaces to Buddhist works and entertained the Dalai Lama
at Peking in 1652[703]. His son and successor, commonly known as
K'ang-Hsi (1662-1723), dallied for a while with Christianity, but the
net result of his religious policy was to secure to Confucianism all
that imperial favour can give. I have mentioned above his Sacred Edict
and the partial favour which he showed to Buddhism. He gave
donations to the monasteries of P'u-t'o, Hang-chou and elsewhere: he
published the Kanjur with a preface of his own[704] and the twelfth
and last collection of the Tripitaka was issued under the auspices of
his son and grandson. The latter, the Emperor Ch'ien Lung, also
received the Teshu Lama not only with honour, but with interest and
sympathy, as is clear from the inscription preserved at Peking, in
which he extols the Lama as a teacher of spiritual religion[705]. He
also wrote a preface to a sutra for producing rain[706] in which he
says that he has ordered the old editions to be carefully corrected
and prayer and worship to be offered, "so that the old forms which
have been so beneficial during former ages might still be blessed to
the desired end." Even the late Empress Dowager accepted the
ministrations of the present Dalai Lama when he visited Peking in
1908, although, to his great indignation she obliged him to kneel at
Court[707]. Her former colleague, the Empress Tzŭ-An was a devout
Buddhist. The statutes of the Manchu dynasty (printed in 1818) contain
regulations for the celebration of Buddhist festivals at Court, for
the periodical reading of sutras to promote the imperial welfare, and
for the performance of funeral rites.

Still on the whole the Manchu dynasty showed less favour to Buddhism
than any which preceded it and its restrictive edicts limiting the
number of monks and prescribing conditions for ordination were
followed by no periods of reaction. But the vitality of Buddhism is
shown by the fact that these restrictions merely led to an increase of
the secular clergy, not legally ordained, who in their turn claimed
the imperial attention. Ch'ien Lung began in 1735 by giving them the
alternative of becoming ordinary laymen or of entering a monastery but
this drastic measure was considerably modified in the next few years.
Ultimately the secular clergy were allowed to continue as such, if
they could show good reason, and to have one disciple each.


[Footnote 591: See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1910, Le Songe et l'Ambassade de
l'Empereur Ming Ti, par M. H. Maspéro, where the original texts are
translated and criticized. It is a curious coincidence that Ptolemy
Soter is said to have introduced the worship of Serapis to Egypt from
Sinope in consequence of a dream.]

[Footnote 592: [Chinese: ] No doubt then pronounced something like

[Footnote 593: [Chinese: ] or [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 594: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 595: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 596: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 597: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 598: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 599: See Chavannes, _Les documents Chinois découverts par
Aurel Stein_, 1913, Introduction. The earliest documents are of 98

[Footnote 600: The Wei-lüeh or Wei-lio [Chinese: ], composed between
239 and 265 A.D., no longer exists as a complete work, but a
considerable extract from it dealing with the countries of the West is
incorporated in the San Kuo Chih [Chinese: ] of P'ei-Sung-Chih
[Chinese: ] (429 A.D.). See Chavannes, translation and notes in
_T'oung Pao_, 1905, pp. 519-571.]

[Footnote 601: [Chinese: ]. See Chavannes, _l.c._ p. 550.]

[Footnote 602: See Francke, _Zur Frage der Einführung des Buddhismus
in China_, 1910, and Maspéro's review in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1910, p. 629.
Another Taoist legend is that Dipankara Buddha or Jan Têng, described
as the teacher of Śâkyamuni was a Taoist and that Śâkyamuni
visited him in China. Giles quotes extracts from a writer of the
eleventh century called Shên Kua to the effect that Buddhism had been
flourishing before the Ch'in dynasty but disappeared with its advent
and also that eighteen priests were imprisoned in 216 B.C. But the
story adds that they recited the Prajnâpâramitâ which is hardly
possible at that epoch.]

[Footnote 603: Sam. Nik. v. 10. 6. Cf. for a similar illustration in
Chuang-tzŭ, _S.B.E._ XL. p. 126.]

[Footnote 604: I may say, however, that I think it is a compilation
containing very ancient sayings amplified by later material which
shows Buddhist influence. This may be true to some extent of the
Essays of Chuang-tzŭ as well.]

[Footnote 605: See Legge's translation in _S.B.E._ Part I. pp. 176,
257, II. 46, 62; _ib._ I. pp. 171, 192, II. 13; _ib._ II. p. 13; _ib._
II. p. 9, I. p. 249; _ib._ pp. 45, 95, 100, 364, II. p. 139; _ib._ II.
p. 139; _ib._ II. p. 129.]

[Footnote 606: _Ib._ I. p. 202; cf. the Buddha's conversation with
Vaccha in Maj. Nik. 72.]

[Footnote 607: Kumârajîva and other Buddhists actually wrote
commentaries on the Tao-Tê-Ching.]

[Footnote 608: [Chinese: ] It speaks, however, in section 36 of being
born in the condition or family of a Bodhisattva (P'u-sa-chia), where
the word seems to be used in the late sense of a devout member of the
Buddhist Church.]

[Footnote 609: But the Emperor Huan is said to have sacrificed to
Buddha and Lao-tzŭ. See Hou Han Shu in _T'oung Pao_, 1907, p. 194.
For early Buddhism see "Communautés et Moines Bouddhistes Chinois au
II et au III siècles," by Maspéro in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1910, p. 222. In the
second century lived Mou-tzŭ [Chinese: ] a Buddhist author with a
strong spice of Taoism. His work is a collection of questions and
answers, somewhat resembling the Questions of Milinda. See translation
by Pelliot (in _T'oung Pao_, vol. XIX. 1920) who gives the date
provisionally as 195 A.D.]

[Footnote 610: Accounts of these and the later translators are found
in the thirteen catalogues of the Chinese Tripitaka (see Nanjio, p.
xxvii) and other works such as the Kao Sang-Chuan (Nanjio, No. 1490).]

[Footnote 611: [Chinese: ]. He worked at translations in Loyang

[Footnote 612: Dharmakâla, see Nanjio, p. 386. The Vinaya used in
these early days of Chinese Buddhism was apparently that of the
Dharmagupta school. See _J.A._ 1916, II. p. 40. An Shih-kao (_c_. A.D.
150) translated a work called The 3000 Rules for Monks (Nanjio, 1126),
but it is not clear what was the Sanskrit original.]

[Footnote 613: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 614: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 615: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 616: [Chinese: ]. He was a remarkable man and famous in his
time, for he was credited not only with clairvoyance and producing
rain, but with raising the dead. Rémusat's account of him, based on
the Tsin annals, may still be read with interest. See _Nouv. Mélanges
Asiatiques_, II. 1829, pp. 179 ff. His biography is contained in chap.
95 of the Tsin [Chinese: ] annals.]

[Footnote 617: [Chinese: ]. Died 363 A.D.]

[Footnote 618: Ts'in [Chinese: ] must be distinguished from Tsin
[Chinese: ], the name of three short but legitimate dynasties.]

[Footnote 619: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 620: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 621: See Nanjio, Catalogue, p. 406.]

[Footnote 622: [Chinese: ]. For this title see Pelliot in _T'oung
Pao_, 1911, p. 671.]

[Footnote 623: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 624: [Chinese: ]. He was canonized under the name of Wu
[Chinese: ], and the three great persecutions of Buddhism are
sometimes described as the disasters of the three Wu, the others being
Wu of the North Chou dynasty (574) and Wu of the T'ang (845).]

[Footnote 625: [Chinese: ]. For the 25 pilgrims see Nanjio, p. 417.]

[Footnote 626: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 627: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 628: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 629: [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]. See Chavannes, "Voyage de Song
Yun dans l'Udyâna et le Gandhâra, 518-522," p. E in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1903,
pp. 379-441. For an interesting account of the Dowager Empress see pp.

[Footnote 630: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 631: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 632: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 633: See chap. XXIII. p. 95, and chap. XLV below (on schools
of Chinese Buddhism), for more about Bodhidharma. The earliest Chinese
accounts of him seem to be those contained in the Liang and Wei
annals. But one of the most popular and fullest accounts is to be
found in the Wu Têng Hui Yüan (first volume) printed at Kushan near

[Footnote 634: His portraits are also frequent both in China and Japan
(see _Ostasiat. Ztsft_ 1912, p. 226) and the strongly marked features
attributed to him may perhaps represent a tradition of his personal
appearance, which is entirely un-Chinese. An elaborate study of
Bodhidharma written in Japanese is noticed in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1911, p.

[Footnote 635: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 636: The legend does not fit in well with chronology since
Sung-Yün is said to have returned from India in 522.]

[Footnote 637: See Takakusu in _J.R.A.S._ 1905, p. 33.]

[Footnote 638: Mailla, _Hist. Gén. de la Chine_, p. 369.]

[Footnote 639: [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 640: [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 641: See Biot, _Hist, de l'instruction publique en Chine_,
pp. 289, 313.]

[Footnote 642: [Chinese: ]. Is celebrated in Chinese history as one
of the greatest opponents of Buddhism. He collected all the objections
to it in 10 books and warned his son against it on his death bed.
Giles, _Biog. Dict_. 589.]

[Footnote 643: [Chinese: ]. An important minister and apparently a
man of talent but of ungovernable and changeable temper. In 639 he
obtained the Emperor's leave to become a priest but soon left his
monastery. The Emperor ordered him to be canonized under the name Pure
but Narrow. Giles, _Biog. Dict._ 722. The monk Fa-Lin [Chinese: ]
also attacked the views of Fu I in two treatises which have been
incorporated in the Chinese Tripitaka. See Nanjio, Cat. Nos. 1500,

[Footnote 644: Subsequently a story grew up that his soul had visited
hell during a prolonged fainting fit after which he recovered and
became a devout Buddhist. See chap. XI of the Romance called
Hsi-yu-chi, a fantastic travesty of Hsüan Chuang's travels, and
Wieger, _Textes Historiques_, p. 1585.]

[Footnote 645: [Chinese: ]. This name has been transliterated in an
extraordinary number of ways. See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1905, pp. 424-430.
Giles gives Hsüan Chuang in his _Chinese Dictionary_, but Hsüan Tsang
in his _Biographical Dictionary_. Probably the latter is more correct.
Not only is the pronunciation of the characters variable, but the
character [Chinese: ] was tabooed as being part of the Emperor K'ang
Hsi's personal name and [Chinese: ] substituted for it. Hence the
spelling Yüan Chuang.]

[Footnote 646: [Chinese: ]. See Vincent Smith, _Early History of
India_, pp. 326-327, and Giles, _Biog. Dict._, _s.v._ Wang Hsüan-T'sê.
This worthy appears to have gone to India again in 657 to offer robes
at the holy places.]

[Footnote 647: [Chinese: ] Some of the principal statues in the caves
of Lung-men were made at her expense, but other parts of these caves
seem to date from at least 500 A.D. Chavannes, _Mission Archéol._ tome
I, deuxième partie.]

[Footnote 648: [Chinese: ]. Ta-Yün-Ching. See _J.A._ 1913, p. 149.
The late Dowager Empress also was fond of masquerading as Kuan-yin but
it does not appear that the performance was meant to be taken

[Footnote 649: "That romantic Chinese reign of Genso (713-756) which
is the real absolute culmination of Chinese genius." Fenollosa,
_Epochs of Chinese and Japanese art_ I. 102.]

[Footnote 650: [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 651: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 652: [Chinese: ] The meaning of this name appears to vary
at different times. At this period it is probably equivalent to Kapisa
or N.E. Afghanistan.]

[Footnote 653: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 654: See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, p. 161. This does not exclude
the possibility of an opposite current, _viz._ Chinese Buddhism
flowing into Burma.]

[Footnote 655: Wu-Tsung, 841-847.]

[Footnote 656: "Liu-Tsung-Yuan has left behind him much that for
purity of style and felicity of expression has rarely been surpassed,"
Giles, _Chinese Literature_, p. 191.]

[Footnote 657: Apparently in 783 A.D. See Waddell's articles on
Ancient Historical Edicts at Lhasa in _J.R.A.S._ 1909, 1910, 1911.]

[Footnote 658: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 659: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 660: See Eitel, _Handbook of Chinese Buddhism_, p. 185
_s.v._ Ullambana, a somewhat doubtful word, apparently rendered into
Chinese as Yü-lan-p'ên.]

[Footnote 661: Sec Nanjio Catalogue, pp. 445-448.]

[Footnote 662: He is also said to have introduced the images of the
Four Kings which are now found in every temple. A portrait of him by
Li Chien is reproduced in Tajima's _Masterpieces_, vol. viii, plate
ix. The artist was perhaps his contemporary.]

[Footnote 663: _E.g._ Sacki, _The Nestorian Monument in China_, 1916.
See also above, p. 217.]

[Footnote 664: See Khuddaka-Patha, 7; Peta Vatthu, 1, 5 and the
commentary; Milinda Panha, iv. 8, 29; and for modern practices my
chapter on Siam, and Copleston, _Buddhism_, p. 445.]

[Footnote 665: [Chinese: ] Some native critics, however, have doubted
the authenticity of the received text and the version inserted in the
Official History seems to be a summary. See Wieger, _Textes
Historiques_, vol. iii. pp. 1726 ff., and Giles, _Chinese Literature_,
pp. 200 ff.]

[Footnote 666: The officials whose duty it was to remonstrate with the
Emperor if he acted wrongly.]

[Footnote 667: Giles, _Chinese Literature_, pp. 201, 202--somewhat

[Footnote 668: See Wieger, _Textes Historiques_, vol. III. pp. 1744

[Footnote 669: "Thousands of ten-thousands of Ch'ing." A Ch'ing =
15.13 acres.]

[Footnote 670: Presumably similar to the temple slaves of Camboja,

[Footnote 671: One Emperor of this epoch, Shih-Tsung of the later Chou
dynasty, suppressed monasteries and coined bronze images into
currency, declaring that Buddha, who in so many births had sacrificed
himself for mankind, would have no objection to his statues being made
useful. But in the South Buddhism nourished in the province of Fukien
under the princes of Min [Chinese: ] and the dynasty which called
itself Southern T'ang.]

[Footnote 672: [Chinese: ] See Kokka No. 309, 1916.]

[Footnote 673: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 674: The decrease in translations is natural for by this
time Chinese versions had been made of most works which had any claim
to be translated.]

[Footnote 675: See Biot, _L'instruction publique en Chine_, p. 350.]

[Footnote 676: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 677: See Le Gall, _Variétés Sinologiques_, No. 6 Tchou-Hi:
Sa doctrine Son influence. Shanghai, 1894, pp. 90, 122.]

[Footnote 678: [Chinese: ]. Compare the similar doctrines of Wang

[Footnote 679: _E.g._ his elder brother Mangku who showed favour to
Buddhists, Mohammedans and Nestorians alike. He himself wished to
obtain Christian teachers from the Pope, by the help of Marco Polo,
but probably merely from curiosity.]

[Footnote 680: More accurately hPhags-pa. It is a title rather than a
name, being the Tibetan equivalent of Arya. Khubilai seems to be the
correct transcription of the Emperor's name. The Tibetan and Chinese
transcriptions are Hvopilai and Hu-pi-lieh.]

[Footnote 681: For this curious work see _B.E.F.E.O._ 1908, p. 515,
and _J.A._ 1913, I, pp. 116-132. For the destruction of Taoist books
see Chavannes in _T'oung Pao_, 1904, p. 366.]

[Footnote 682: At the present day an ordinary Chinese regards a Lama
as quite different from a Hoshang or Buddhist monk.]

[Footnote 683: The Yüan Emperors were no doubt fond of witnessing
religious theatricals in the Palace. See for extracts from Chinese
authors, _New China Review_, 1919, pp. 68 ff. Compare the performances
of the T'ang Emperor Su Tsung mentioned above.]

[Footnote 684: For the ecclesiastical abuses of the time see Köppen,
II. 103, and de Mailla, _Histoire de la Chine_, IX. 475, 538.]

[Footnote 685: See Wieger, _Textes Historiques_, III. p. 2013, and De
Groot, _Sectarianism and Religious Persecution in China_, I. p. 82. He
is often called Hung Wu which is strictly speaking the title of his
reign. He was certainly capable of changing his mind, for he degraded
Mencius from his position in Confucian temples one year and restored
him the next.]

[Footnote 686: See de Mailla, _Histoire de la Chine_, IX. p. 470.]

[Footnote 687: Often called Yung-Lo which is strictly the title of his

[Footnote 688: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 689: See Nanjio, Cat. 1613-16.]

[Footnote 690: See Beal, _Catena of Buddhist Scriptures_, p. 398. The
Emperor says: "So we, the Ruler of the Empire ... do hereby bring
before men a mode for attaining to the condition of supreme Wisdom. We
therefore earnestly exhort all men ... carefully to study the
directions of this work and faithfully to follow them."]

[Footnote 691: Nanjio, Cat. 1620. See also _ib._ 1032 and 1657 for the
Empress's sûtra.]

[Footnote 692: Or Kalima [Chinese: ] In Tibetan Karma de bshin
gshegs-pa. He was the fifth head of the Karma-pa school. See Chandra
Das's dictionary, _s.v._, where a reference is given to
kLong-rdol-gsung-hbum. It is noticeable that the Karma-pa is one of
the older and more Tantric sects.]

[Footnote 693: [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]. Yüan Shih K'ai prefixed to
this latter the four characters [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 694: See Yule, _Cathay and the Way Thither_, pp. 75 ff.]

[Footnote 695: When Ying Tsung was carried away by the Mongols in 1449
his brother Ching-Ti was made Emperor. Though Ying Tsung was sent back
in 1450, he was not able to oust Ching-Ti from the throne till 1457.]

[Footnote 696: [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 697: [Chinese: ] His real name was Wang Shou Jên
[Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 698: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 699: Though the ecclesiastical study of Sanskrit decayed
under the Ming dynasty, Yung-lo founded in 1407 a school of language
for training interpreters at which Sanskrit was taught among other

[Footnote 700: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 701: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 702: De Groot, _l.c._ p. 93.]

[Footnote 703: Some authorities say that he became a monk before he
died, but the evidence is not good. See Johnston in _New China
Review_, Nos. 1 and 2, 1920.]

[Footnote 704: See _T'oung Pao_, 1909, p. 533.]

[Footnote 705: See E. Ludwig, _The visit of the Tcshoo Lama to
Peking_, Tien Tsin Press, 1904.]

[Footnote 706: The Ta-yün-lung-ch'ing-yü-ching. Nanjio's Catalogue,
Nos. 187-8, 970, and see Beal, _Catena of Buddhist Scriptures_, pp.

[Footnote 707: See for an account of his visit "The Dalai Lamas and
their relations with the Manchu Emperor of China" in _T'oung Pao_,
1910, p. 774.]


CHINA (_continued_)


The Buddhist scriptures extant in the Chinese language are known
collectively as San Tsang[708] or the three store-houses, that is to
say, Tripitaka. Though this usage is justified by both eastern and
European practice, it is not altogether happy, for the Chinese
thesaurus is not analogous to the Pali Canon or to any collection of
sacred literature known in India, being in spite of its name arranged
in four, not in three, divisions. It is a great _Corpus Scriptorum
Sanctorum_, embracing all ages and schools, wherein translations of
the most diverse Indian works are supplemented by original
compositions in Chinese. Imagine a library comprising Latin
translations of the Old and New Testaments with copious additions from
the Talmud and Apocryphal literature; the writings of the Fathers,
decrees of Councils and Popes, together with the _opera omnia_ of the
principal schoolmen and the early protestant reformers and you will
have some idea of this theological miscellany which has no claim to be
called a canon, except that all the works included have at some time
or other received a certain literary or doctrinal hall-mark.


The collection is described in the catalogue compiled by Bunyiu
Nanjio[709]. It enumerates 1662 works which are classified in four
great divisions, (_a_) Sûtra, (_b_) Vinaya, (_c_) Abhidharma, (_d_)
Miscellaneous. The first three divisions contain translations only;
the fourth original Chinese works as well.

The first division called Ching or Sûtras amounts to nearly two-thirds
of the whole, for it comprises no less than 1081 works and is
subdivided as follows: (_a_) Mahâyâna Sûtras, 541, (_b_) Hînayâna
Sûtras, 240, (_c_) Mahâyâna and Hînayâna Sûtras, 300 in number,
admitted into the canon under the Sung and Yüan dynasties, A.D.
960-1368. Thus whereas the first two subdivisions differ in doctrine,
the third is a supplement containing later translations of both
schools. The second subdivision, or Hînayâna Sûtras, which is less
numerous and complicated than that containing the Mahâyâna Sûtras,
shows clearly the character of the whole collection. It is divided
into two classes of which the first is called A-han, that is,
Agama[710]. This comprises translations of four works analogous to the
Pali Nikâyas, though not identical with the texts which we possess,
and also numerous alternative translations of detached sûtras. All
four were translated about the beginning of the fifth century whereas
the translations of detached sûtras are for the most part earlier.
This class also contains the celebrated Sûtra of Forty-two Sections,
and works like the Jâtaka-nidâna. The second class is styled Sûtras of
one translation[711]. The title is not used rigorously, but the works
bearing it are relatively obscure and it is not always clear to what
Sanskrit texts they correspond. It will be seen from the above that
the Chinese Tripitaka is a literary and bibliographical collection
rather than an ecclesiastical canon. It does not provide an authorized
version for the edification of the faithful, but it presents for the
use of the learned all translations of Indian works belonging to a
particular class which possess a certain age and authority.

The same characteristic marks the much richer collection of Mahâyâna
Sûtras, which contains the works most esteemed by Chinese Buddhists.
It is divided into seven classes:

    1. [Chinese: ] Pan-jo (Po-jo) or Prajnâpâramitâ[712].

    2. [Chinese: ] Pao-chi or Ratnakûṭa.

    3. [Chinese: ] Ta-chi or Mahâsannipâta.

    4. [Chinese: ] Hua-yen or Avatamsaka.

    5. [Chinese: ] Nieh-pan or Parinirvâṇa.

    6. [Chinese: ] Sûtras in more than one translation
    but not falling into any of the above five

    7. [Chinese: ] Other sûtras existing in only one translation.

Each of the first five classes probably represents a collection of sûtras
analogous to a Nikâya and in one sense a single work but translated into
Chinese several times, both in a complete form and in extracts. Thus the
first class opens with the majestic Mahâprajnâpâramitâ in 600 fasciculi
and equivalent to 200,000 stanzas in Sanskrit. This is followed by several
translations of shorter versions including two of the little sûtras called
the Heart of the Prajnâpâramitâ, which fills only one leaf. There are also
six translations of the celebrated work known as the Diamond-cutter[713],
which is the ninth sûtra in the Mahâprajnâpâramitâ and all the works
classed under the heading Pan-jo seem to be alternative versions of parts
of this great Corpus.

The second and third classes are collections of sûtras which no longer
exist as collections in Sanskrit, though the Sanskrit text of some
individual sûtras is extant. That called Pao-chi or Ratnakûṭa opens
with a collection of forty-nine sûtras which includes the longer
version of the Sukhâvatîvyûha. This collection is reckoned as one
work, but the other items in the same class are all or nearly all of
them duplicate translations of separate sûtras contained in it. This
is probably true of the third class also. At least seven of the works
included in it are duplicate translations of the first, which is
called Mahâsannipâta, and the sûtras called Candragarbha, Kshitig.,
Sumerug., and Akâśag., appear to be merely sections, not separate
compositions, although this is not clear from the remarks of Nanjio
and Wassiljew.

The principal works in class 4 are two translations, one fuller than
the other, of the Hua-yen or Avatamsaka Sûtra[714], still one of the
most widely read among Buddhist works, and at least sixteen of the
other items are duplicate renderings of parts of it. Class 5
consists of thirteen works dealing with the death of the Buddha and
his last discourses. The first sûtra, sometimes called the northern
text, is imperfect and was revised at Nanking in the form of the
southern text[715]. There are two other incomplete versions of the
same text. To judge from a specimen translated by Beal[716] it is a
collection of late discourses influenced by Vishnuism and does not
correspond to the Mahâparinibbânasutta of the Pali Canon.

Class 6 consists of sûtras which exist in several translations, but
still do not, like the works just mentioned, form small libraries in
themselves. It comprises, however, several books highly esteemed and
historically important, such as the Saddharmapuṇḍarîka (six
translations), the Suvarṇaprabhâsa, the Lalitavistara, the Lankâvatâra,
and the Shorter Sukhâvatîvyûha[717], all extant in three translations.
In it are also included many short tracts, the originals of which are
not known. Some of them are Jâtakas, but many[718] deal with the ritual
of image worship or with spells. These characteristics are still more
prominent in the seventh class, consisting of sûtras which exist in a
single translation only. The best known among them are the Śûrângama and
the Mahâvairocana (Ta-jih-ching), which is the chief text of the
Shin-gon or Mantra School[719].

The Lü-tsang or Vinaya-pitaka is divided into Mahâyâna and Hînayâna texts,
neither very numerous. Many of the Mahâyâna texts profess to be
revelations by Maitreya and are extracts of the Yogâcâryabhûmiśâstra[720]
or similar to it. For practical purposes the most important is the
Fan-wang-ching[721] or net of Brahmâ. The Indian original of this work is
not known, but since the eighth century it has been accepted in China as
the standard manual for the monastic life[722].

The Hînayâna Vinaya comprises five very substantial recensions of
the whole code, besides extracts, compendiums, and manuals. The five
recensions are: (_a_) Shih-sung-lü in sixty-five fasciculi, translated
in A.D. 404. This is said to be a Vinaya of the Sarvâstivâdins, but
I-Ching[723] expressly says that it does not belong to the
Mûlasarvâstivâdin school, though not unlike it. (_b_) The Vinaya of
this latter translated by I-Ching who brought it from India. (_c_)
Shih-fen-lü-tsang in sixty fasciculi, translated in 405 and said to
represent the Dharmagupta school. (_d_) The Mi-sha-so Wu-fên Lü or
Vinaya of the Mahîśâsakas, said to be similar to the Pali Vinaya,
though not identical with it[724]. (_e_) Mo-ko-sêng-chi Lü or
Mahasanghika Vinaya brought from India by Fa-Hsien and translated 416
A.D. It is noticeable that all five recensions are classed as
Hinayanist, although (_b_) is said to be the Vinaya used by the
Tibetan Church. Although Chinese Buddhists frequently speak of the
five-fold Vinaya[725], this expression does not refer to these five
texts, as might be supposed, and I-Ching condemns it, saying that[726]
the real number of divisions is four.

The Abhidharma-Pitaka or Lun-tsang is, like the Sûtra Pitaka, divided into
Mahayanist and Hinayanist texts and texts of both schools admitted into
the Canon after 960 A.D. The Mahayanist texts have no connection with the
Pali Canon and their Sanskrit titles do not contain the word
Abhidharma[727]. They are philosophical treatises ascribed to Aśvaghosha,
Nâgârjuna, Asanga, Vasubandhu and others, including three works supposed
to have been revealed by Maitreya to Asanga[728]. The principal of these
is the Yogâcârya-bhûmiśâstra, a scripture of capital importance for the
Yogâcârya school. It describes the career of a Bodhisattva and hence parts
of it are treated as belonging to the Vinaya. Among other important works
in this section may be mentioned the Madhyamaka Śâstra of Nâgârjuna, the
Mahâyânasûtrâlankâra of Asanga, and the Awakening of Faith ascribed to

The Hînayâna texts also show no correspondence with the Pali Pitaka but
are based on the Abhidharma works of the Sarvâstivâdin school[730]. These
are seven in number, namely the Jnânaprasthânasâstra of Kâtyâyanîputra
with six accessory treatises or Pâdas[731]. The Mahâvibhâshasâstra, or
commentary on the Jnânaprasthâna, and the Abhidharmakósa[732] are also in
this section.

The third division of the Abhidharma is of little importance but
contains two curious items: a manual of Buddhist terminology composed
as late as 1272 by Pagspa for the use of Khubilai's son and the
Sânkhyakârikâbhâshya, which is not a Buddhist work but a compendium of
Sânkhya philosophy[733].

The fourth division of the whole collection consists of miscellaneous
works, partly translated from Sanskrit and partly composed in Chinese.
Many of the Indian works appear from their title not to differ much
from the later Mahâyâna Sûtras, but it is rather surprising to find in
this section four translations[734] of the Dharmapada (or at least of
some similar anthology) which are thus placed outside the Sûtra
Pitaka. Among the works professing to be translated from Sanskrit are
a History of the Patriarchs, the Buddhacarita of Aśvaghosha, a work
similar to the Questions of King Milinda, Lives of Aśvaghosha,
Nâgârjuna, Vasubandhu and others and the Suhrillekha or Friendly
Epistle ascribed to Nâgârjuna.

The Chinese works included in this Tripitaka consist of nearly two
hundred books, historical, critical, controversial and homiletic,
composed by one hundred and two authors. Excluding late treatises on
ceremonial and doctrine, the more interesting may be classified as

_(a) Historical._--Besides general histories of Buddhism, there are
several collections of ecclesiastical biography. The first is the
Kao-sêng-chuan[735], or Memoirs of eminent Monks (not, however,
excluding laymen), giving the lives of about five hundred worthies who
lived between 67 and 519 A.D. The series is continued in other works
dealing with the T'ang and Sung dynasties. For the Contemplative School
there are further supplements carrying the record on to the Yüan. There
are also several histories of the Chinese patriarchs. Of these the
latest and therefore most complete is the Fo-tsu-t'ung-chi[736] composed
about 1270 by Chih P'an of the T'ien-T'ai school. The
Ching-tê-ch'uan-têng-lu[737] and other treatises give the succession of
patriarchs according to the Contemplative School. Among historical works
may be reckoned the travels of various pilgrims who visited India.

(_b_) _Critical_.--There are thirteen catalogues of the Tripitaka as it
existed at different periods. Several of them contain biographical
accounts of the translators and other notes. The work called
Chên-chêng-lun criticizes several false sûtras and names. There are also
several encyclopædic works containing extracts from the Tripitaka,
arranged according to subjects, such as the Fa-yüan-chu-lin[738] in 100
volumes; concordances of numerical categories and a dictionary of Sanskrit
terms, Fan-i-ming-i-chi[739], composed in 1151.

(_c_) The literature of several Chinese sects is well represented.
Thus there are more than sixty works belonging to the T'ien T'ai
school beginning with the San-ta-pu or three great books attributed to
the founder and ending with the ecclesiastical history of Chih-p'an,
written about 1270. The Hua-yen school is represented by the writings
of four patriarchs and five monks: the Lü or Vinaya school by eight
works attributed to its founder, and the Contemplative School by a
sûtra ascribed to Hui-nêng, the sixth patriarch, by works on the
history of the Patriarchs and by several collections of sayings or
short compositions.

(_d_) _Controversial_.--Under this heading may be mentioned
polemics against Taoism, including two collections of the
controversies which took place between Buddhists and Taoists from A.D.
71 till A.D. 730: replies to the attacks made against Buddhism by
Confucian scholars and refutations of the objections raised by
sceptics or heretics such as the Chê-i-lun and the Yüan-jên-lun, or
Origin of man[740]. This latter is a well-known text-book written by
the fifth Patriarch of the Hua-yen school and while criticizing
Confucianism, Taoism, and the Hînâyana, treats them as imperfect
rather than as wholly erroneous[741]. Still more conciliatory is the
Treatise on the three religions composed by Liu Mi of the Yüan
dynasty[742], which asserts that all three deserve respect as teaching
the practice of virtue. It attacks, however, anti-Buddhist
Confucianists such as Han-Yü and Chu-Hsi.

The Chinese section contains three compositions attributed to imperial
personages of the Ming, viz., a collection of the prefaces and laudatory
verses written by the Emperor T'ai-Tsung, the Shên-Sêng-Chuan or memoirs
of remarkable monks with a preface by the Emperor Ch'êng-tsu, and a
curious book by his consort the Empress Jên-Hsiao, introducing a sûtra
which Her Majesty states was miraculously revealed to her on New Year's
day, 1398 (see Nanjio, No. 1657).

Though the Hindus were careful students and guardians of their sacred
works, their temperament did not dispose them to define and limit the
scriptures. But, as I have mentioned above[743], there is some
evidence that there was a loose Mahayanist canon in India which was
the origin of the arrangement found in the Chinese Tripitaka, in so
far as it (1) accepted Hinayanist as well as Mahayanist works, and (2)
included a great number of relatively late sûtras, arranged in classes
such as Prajnâpâramitâ and Mahâsannipâta.


The Tripitaka analyzed by Nanjio, which contains works assigned to
dates ranging from 67 to 1622 A.D., is merely the best known
survivor among several similar thesauri[744]. From 518 A.D. onwards
twelve collections of sacred literature were made by imperial order
and many of these were published in more than one edition. The
validity of this Canon depends entirely on imperial authority, but,
though Emperors occasionally inserted the works of writers whom they
esteemed[745], it does not appear that they aimed at anything but
completeness nor did they favour any school. The Buddhist Church, like
every other department of the Empire, received from them its share of
protection and supervision and its claims were sufficient to induce
the founder, or at least an early Sovereign, of every important
dynasty to publish under his patronage a revised collection of the
scriptures. The list of these collections is as follows[746]:

    1. A.D. 518 in the time of Wu-Ti, founder of the Liang.
    2.  "   533-4 Hsiao-Wu of the Northern Wei.
    3.  "   594 } Wan-ti, founder of the Sui.
    4.  "   602 } Wan-ti, founder of the Sui.
    5.  "   605-16 Yang-Ti of the Sui.
    6.  "   695 the Empress Wu of the T'ang.
    7.  "   730 Hsüan-Tsung of the T'ang.
    8.  "   971 T'ai-Tsu, founder of the Sung.
    9.  "  1285-7 Khubilai Khan, founder of the Yüan.
    10. "  1368-98 Hung-Wu, founder of the Ming.
    11. "  1403-24 Yung-Lo of the Ming.
    12. "  1735-7 Yung-Ching and Ch'ien-Lung of the Ch'ing[747].

Of these collections, the first seven were in MS. only: the last five
were printed. The last three appear to be substantially the same. The
tenth and eleventh collections are known as southern and
northern[748], because they were printed at Nanking and Peking
respectively. They differ only in the number of Chinese works admitted
and similarly the twelfth collection is merely a revision of the tenth
with the addition of fifty-four Chinese works.

As mentioned, the Tripitaka contains thirteen catalogues of the
Buddhist scriptures as known at different dates[749]. Of these the
most important are (_a_) the earliest published between 506 and 512
A.D., (_b_) three published under the T'ang dynasty and known as
Nei-tien-lu, T'u-chi (both about 664 A.D.), and K'ai-yüan-lu (about
720 A.D.), (_c_) Chih-Yüan-lu or catalogue of Yüan dynasty, about
1285, which, besides enumerating the Chinese titles, transliterates
the Sanskrit titles and states whether the Indian works translated are
also translated into Tibetan. (_d_) The catalogue of the first Ming

The later collections contain new material and differ from the earlier
by natural accretion, for a great number of translations were produced
under the T'ang and Sung. Thus the seventh catalogue (695 A.D.)
records that 859 new works were admitted to the Canon. But this
expansion was accompanied by a critical and sifting process, so that
whereas the first collection contained 2213 works, the Ming edition
contains only 1622. This compression means not that works of
importance were rejected as heretical or apocryphal, for, as we have
seen, the Tripitaka is most catholic, but that whereas the earlier
collections admitted multitudinous extracts or partial translations of
Indian works, many of these were discarded when complete versions had
been made.

Nanjio considers that of the 2213 works contained in the first
collection only 276 are extant. Although the catalogues are preserved,
all the earlier collections are lost: copies of the eighth and
ninth were preserved in the Zō-jō-ji Library of Tokyo[750] and
Chinese and Japanese editions of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth are
current. So far as one can judge, when the eighth catalogue, or
K'ai-yüan-lu, was composed (between 713 and 741), the older and major
part of the Canon had been definitively fixed and the later
collections merely add the translations made by Amogha, and by writers
of the Sung and Yüan dynasties.

The editions of the Chinese Tripitaka must be distinguished from the
collections, for by editions are meant the forms in which each
collection was published, the text being or purporting to be the same
in all the editions of each collection. It is said[751] that under the
Sung and Yüan twenty different editions were produced. These earlier
issues were printed on long folding sheets and a nun called
Fa-chên[752] is said to have first published an edition in the shape
of ordinary Chinese books. In 1586 a monk named Mi-Tsang[753] imitated
this procedure and his edition was widely used. About a century later
a Japanese priest known as Tetsu-yen[754] reproduced it and his
publication, which is not uncommon in Japan, is usually called the
Ō-baku edition. There are two modern Japanese editions: (_a_) that
of Tokyo, begun in 1880, based on a Korean edition[755] with various
readings taken from other Chinese editions. (_b_) That of Kyoto, 1905,
which is a reprint of the Ming collection[756]. A Chinese edition has
been published at Shanghai (1913) at the expense of Mrs. Hardoon, a
Chinese lady well known as a munificent patron of the faith, and I
believe another at Nanking, but I do not know if it is complete or


The translations contained in the Chinese Tripitaka belong to several
periods[758]. In the earliest, which extends to the middle of the
fourth century, the works produced were chiefly renderings of detached
sûtras[759]. Few treatises classified as Vinaya or Abhidharma were
translated and those few are mostly extracts or compilations. The
sûtras belong to both the Hîna and Mahâyâna. The earliest extant
translation or rather compilation, the Sûtra of Forty-two sections,
belongs to the former school, and so do the majority of the
translations made by An-Shih-Kao (148-170 A.D.), but from the second
century onwards the Prajnâpâramitâ and Amitâbha Sûtras make their
appearance[760]. Many of the translations made in this period are
described as incomplete or incorrect and the fact that most of them
were superseded or supplemented by later versions shows that the
Chinese recognized their provisional character. Future research will
probably show that many of them are paraphrases or compendiums rather
than translations in our sense.

The next period, roughly speaking 375-745 A.D., was extraordinarily
prolific in extensive and authoritative translations. The translators
now attack not detached chapters or discourses but the great monuments
of Indian Buddhist literature. Though it is not easy to make any
chronological bisection in this period, there is a clear difference in
the work done at the beginning and at the end of it. From the end of
the fourth century onwards a desire to have complete translations of
the great canonical works is apparent. Between 385 and 445 A.D. were
translated the four Agamas, analogous to the Nikâyas of the Pali
Canon, three great collections of the Vinaya, and the principal
scriptures of the Abhidharma according to the Sarvâstivâdin school.
For the Mahâyâna were translated the great sûtras known as Avatamsaka,
Lankâvatâra, and many others, as well as works ascribed to
Aśvaghosha and Nâgârjuna. After 645 A.D. a further development of
the critical spirit is perceptible, especially in the labours of Hsüan
Chuang and I-Ching. They attempt to give the religious public not only
complete works in place of extracts and compendiums, but also to
select the most authoritative texts among the many current in India.
Thus, though many translations had appeared under the name of
Prajnâpâramitâ, Hsüan Chuang filled 600 fasciculi with a new rendering
of the gigantic treatise. I-Ching supplemented the already bulky
library of Vinaya works with versions of the Mûlasarvâstivâdin
recension and many auxiliary texts.

Amogha (Pu-K'ung) whose literary labours extended from 746 to 774 A.D.
is a convenient figure to mark the beginning of the next and last
period, although some of its characteristics appear a little earlier.
They are that no more translations are made from the great Buddhist
classics--partly no doubt because they had all been translated
already, well or ill--but that renderings of works described as
Dhâraṇî or Tantra pullulate and multiply. Though this literature
deserves such epithets as decadent and superstitious, yet it would
appear that Indian Tantras of the worst class were not palatable to
the Chinese.


The Chinese Tripitaka is of great importance for the literary history
of Buddhism, but the material which it offers for investigation is
superabundant and the work yet done is small. We are confronted by
such questions as, can we accept the dates assigned to the
translators, can we assume that, if the Chinese translations or
transliterations correspond with Indian titles, the works are the
same, and if the works are professedly the same, can we assume that
the Chinese text is a correct presentment of the Indian original?

The dates assigned to the translators offer little ground for
scepticism. The exactitude of the Chinese in such matters is well
attested, and there is a general agreement between several authorities
such as the Catalogues of the Tripitaka, the memoirs known as
Kao-Sêng Chuan with their continuations, and the chapter on Buddhist
books in the Sui annals. There are no signs of a desire to claim
improbable accuracy or improbable antiquity. Many works are said to be
by unknown translators, doubtful authorship is frankly discussed, and
the movement of literature and thought indicated is what we should
expect. We have first fragmentary and incomplete translations
belonging to both the Mahâ and Hînayâna: then a series of more
complete translations beginning about the fifth century in which the
great Hînayâna texts are conspicuous: then a further series of
improved translations in which the Hînayâna falls into the background
and the works of Asanga and Vasubandhu come to the front. This
evidently reflects the condition of Buddhist India about 500-650 A.D.,
just as the translations of the eighth century reflect its later and
tantric phase.

But can Chinese texts be accepted as reasonably faithful reproductions
of the Indian originals whose names they bear, and some of which have
been lost? This question is really double; firstly, did the
translators reproduce with fair accuracy the Indian text before them,
and secondly, since Indian texts often exist in several recensions,
can we assume that the work which the translators knew under a certain
Sanskrit name is the work known to us by that name? In reply it must
be said that most Chinese translators fall short of our standards of
accuracy. In early times when grammars and dictionaries were unknown
the scholarly rendering of foreign books was a difficult business,
for professional interpreters would usually be incapable of
understanding a philosophic treatise. The method often followed was
that an Indian explained the text to a literary Chinese, who recast
the explanation in his own language. The many translations of the more
important texts and the frequent description of the earlier ones as
imperfect indicate a feeling that the results achieved were not
satisfactory. Several so-called translators, especially Kumârajîva,
gave abstracts of the Indian texts[761]. Others, like Dharmaraksha,
who made a Chinese version of Aśvaghosha's Buddhacarita, so
amplified and transposed the original that the result can hardly
be called a translation[762]. Others combined different texts in one.
Thus the work called Ta-o-mi-to-ching[763] consists of extracts taken
from four previous translations of the Sukhâvatîvyûha and rearranged
by the author under the inspiration of Avalokita to whom, as he tells
us, he was wont to pray during the execution of his task. Others
again, like Dharmagupta, anticipated a method afterwards used in
Tibet, and gave a word for word rendering of the Sanskrit which is
hardly intelligible to an educated Chinese. The later versions, _e.g._
those of Hsüan Chuang, are more accurate, but still a Chinese
rendering of a lost Indian document cannot be accepted as a faithful
representation of the original without a critical examination[764].

Often, however, the translator, whatever his weaknesses may have been,
had before him a text differing in bulk and arrangement from the Pali
and Sanskrit texts which we possess. Thus, there are four Chinese
translations of works bearing some relation to the Dhammapada of the
Pali Canon. All of these describe the original text as the compilation
of Dharmatrâta, to whom is also ascribed the compilation of the
Tibetan Udânavarga[765]. His name is not mentioned in connection with
the Pali text, yet two of the Chinese translations are closely related
to that text. The Fa-chü-ching[766] is a collection of verses
translated in 224 A.D. and said to correspond with the Pali except
that it has nine additional chapters and some additional stanzas. The
Fa-chü-p'i-yü-ching[767] represents another edition of the same
verses, illustrated by a collection of parables. It was translated
between 290 and 306. The Ch'u-yao-ching[768], translated in 399, is a
similar collection of verses and parables, but founded on another
Indian work of much greater length. A revised translation containing
only the verses was made between 980 and 1001[769]. They are said to
be the same as the Tibetan Udâna, and the characteristics of this
book, going back apparently to a Sanskrit original, are that it is
divided into thirty-three chapters, and that though it contains about
300 verses found in Pali, yet it is not merely the Pali text plus
additions, but an anthology arranged on a different principle and only
partly identical in substance[770].

There can be little doubt that the Pali Dhammapada is one among
several collections of verses, with or without an explanatory
commentary of stories. In all these collections there was much common
matter, both prose and verse, but some were longer, some shorter, some
were in Pali and some in Sanskrit. Whereas the Chinese Dhammapada is
longer than the Indian texts, the Chinese version of Milinda's
Questions[771] is much shorter and omits books iv-vii. It was made
between 317 and 420 A.D. and the inference is that the original Indian
text received later additions.

A more important problem is this: what is the relation to the Pali Canon
of the Chinese texts bearing titles corresponding to Dîrgha, Madhyama,
Samyukta and Ekottara? These collections of sûtras do not call themselves
Nikâya but A-han or Agama: the titles are translated as Ch'ang (long),
Chung (medium), Tsa (miscellaneous) and Tseng-i, representing Ekottara
rather than Anguttara[772]. There is hence _prima facie_ reason to
suppose that these works represent not the Pali Canon, but a somewhat
similar Sanskrit collection. That one or many Sanskrit works may have
coexisted with a somewhat similar Pali work is clearly shown by the Vinaya
texts, for here we have the Pali Canon and Chinese translations of five
Sanskrit versions, belonging to different schools, but apparently covering
the same ground and partly identical. For the Sûtra Pitaka no such body of
evidence is forthcoming, but the Sanskrit fragments of the Samyuktâgama
found near Turfan contain parts of six sûtras which are arranged in the
same order as in the Chinese translation and are apparently the original
from which it was made. It is noticeable that three of the four great
Agamas were translated by monks who came from Tukhara or Kabul.
Guṇabhadra, however, the translator of the Samyuktâgama, came from
Central India and the text which he translated was brought from Ceylon by
Fa-Hsien. It apparently belonged to the Abhayagiri monastery and not to
the Mahâvihâra. Nanjio[773], however, states that about half of it is
repeated in the Chinese versions of the Madhyama and Ekottara Agamas. It
is also certain that though the Chinese Agamas and Pali Nikâyas contain
much common matter, it is differently distributed[774].

There was in India a copious collection of sûtras, existing primarily
as oral tradition and varying in diction and arrangement, but codified
from time to time in a written form. One of such codifications is
represented by the Pali Canon, at least one other by the Sanskrit text
which was rendered into Chinese. With rare exceptions the Chinese
translations were from the Sanskrit[775]. The Sanskrit codification of
the sûtra literature, while differing from the Pali in language
and arrangement, is identical in doctrine and almost identical in
substance. It is clearly the product of the same or similar schools,
but is it earlier or later than the Pali or contemporary with it? The
Chinese translations merely fix the latest possible date. A portion of
the Samyuktâgama (Nanjio, No. 547) was translated by an unknown author
between 220 and 280. This is probably an extract from the complete
work which was translated about 440, but it would be difficult to
prove that the Indian original was not augmented or rearranged between
these dates. The earliest translation of a complete Agama is that of
the Ekottarâgama, 384 A.D. But the evidence of inscriptions[776] shows
that works known as Nikâyas existed in the third century B.C. The
Sanskrit of the Agamas, so far as it is known from the fragments found
in Central Asia, does not suggest that they belong to this epoch, but
is compatible with the theory that they date from the time of Kanishka
of which if we know little, we can at least say that it produced much
Buddhist Sanskrit literature. M. Sylvain Lévi has suggested that the
later appearance of the complete Vinaya in Chinese is due to the late
compilation of the Sanskrit original[777]. It seems to me that other
explanations are possible. The early translators were clearly shy of
extensive works and until there was a considerable body of Chinese
monks, to what public would these theological libraries appeal? Still,
if any indication were forthcoming from India or Central Asia that the
Sanskrit Agamas were arranged or rearranged in the early centuries of
our era, the late date of the Chinese translations would certainly
support it. But I am inclined to think that the Nikâyas were rewritten
in Sanskrit about the beginning of our era, when it was felt that
works claiming a certain position ought to be composed in what had
become the general literary language of India[778]. Perhaps those
who wrote them in Sanskrit were hardly conscious of making a
translation in our sense, but simply wished to publish them in the
best literary form.

It seems probable that the Hinayanist portion of the Chinese Tripitaka
is in the main a translation of the Canon of the Sarvastivâdins which
must have consisted of:

    (1) Four Agamas or Nikâyas only, for the Dhammapada
    is placed outside the Sutta Pitaka.

    (2) A voluminous Vinaya covering the same ground as the
    Pali recension but more copious in legend and anecdote.

    (3) An Abhidharma entirely different from the Pali works
    bearing this name.

It might seem to follow from this that the whole Pali Abhidharma and
some important works such as the Thera-Therîgâthâ were unknown to the
Hinayanists of Central Asia and Northern India in the early centuries
of our era. But caution is necessary in drawing such inferences, for
until recently it might have been said that the Sutta Nipâta also was
unknown, whereas fragments of it in a Sanskrit version have now been
discovered in Eastern Turkestan[779]. The Chinese editors draw a clear
distinction between Hinayanist and Mahayanist scriptures. They exclude
from the latter works analogous to the Pali Nikâyas and Vinaya, and
also the Abhidharma of the Sarvâstivâdins. But the labours of Hsüan
Chuang and I-Ching show that this does not imply the rejection of all
these works by Mahayanists.


Buddhist literary activity has an interesting side aspect, namely the
expedients used to transliterate Indian words, which almost
provided the Chinese with an alphabet. To some extent Indian names,
particularly proper names possessing an obvious meaning, are
translated. Thus Asoka becomes Wu-yu, without sorrow: Aśvaghosha,
Ma-ming or horse-voice, and Udyâna simply Yüan or park[780]. But many
proper names did not lend themselves to such renderings and it was a
delicate business to translate theological terms like Nirvâṇa and
Samâdhi. The Buddhists did not perhaps invent the idea of using the
Chinese characters so as to spell with moderate precision[781], but
they had greater need of this procedure than other writers and they
used it extensively[782] and with such variety of detail that though
they invented some fifteen different syllabaries, none of them
obtained general acceptance and Julien[783] enumerates 3000 Chinese
characters used to represent the sounds indicated by 47 Indian
letters. Still, they gave currency[784] to the system known as
_fan-ch'ieh_ which renders a syllable phonetically by two characters,
the final of the first and the initial of the second not being
pronounced. Thus, in order to indicate the sound Chung, a Chinese
dictionary will use the two characters _chu yung_, which are to be
read together as _Ch ung_.

The transcriptions of Indian words vary in exactitude and the later
are naturally better. Hsüan Chuang was a notable reformer and probably
after his time Indian words were rendered in Chinese characters as
accurately as Chinese words are now transcribed in Latin letters. It
is true that modern pronunciation makes such renderings as Fo seem a
strange distortion of the original. But it is an abbreviation of
Fo-t'o and these syllables were probably once pronounced something
like Vut-tha[785]. Similarly Wên-shu-shih-li[786] seems a parody of
Manjuśri. But the evidence of modern dialects shows that the
first two syllables may have been pronounced as Man-ju. The pupil was
probably taught to eliminate the obscure vowel of _shih_, and _li_ was
taken as the nearest equivalent of _ri_, just as European authors
write _chih_ and _tzŭ_ without pretending that they are more than
conventional signs for Chinese sounds unknown to our languages. It was
certainly possible to transcribe not only names but Sanskrit prayers
and formulæ in Chinese characters, and though many writers sneer at
the gibberish chanted by Buddhist priests yet I doubt if this
ecclesiastical pronunciation, which has changed with that of the
spoken language, is further removed from its original than the Latin
of Oxford from the speech of Augustus.

Sanskrit learning flourished in China for a considerable period. In
the time of the T'ang, the clergy numbered many serious students of
Indian literature and the glossaries included in the Tripitaka show
that they studied the original texts. Under the Sung dynasty (A.D.
1151) was compiled another dictionary of religious terms[787] and the
study of Sanskrit was encouraged under the Yüan. But the ecclesiastics
of the Ming produced no new translations and apparently abandoned the
study of the original texts which was no longer kept alive by the
arrival of learned men from India. It has been stated that Sanskrit
manuscripts are still preserved in Chinese monasteries, but no details
respecting such works are known to me. The statement is not improbable
in itself[788] as is shown by the Library which Stein discovered at
Tun-huang and by the Japanese palm-leaf manuscripts which came
originally from China. A few copies of Sanskrit sûtras printed in
China in the Lanja variety of the Devanâgari alphabet have been
brought to Europe[789]. Max Müller published a facsimile of part of
the Vajracchedikâ obtained at Peking and printed in Sanskrit from
wooden blocks. The place of production is unknown, but the characters
are similar to those used for printing Sanskrit in Tibet, as may be
seen from another facsimile (No. 3) in the same work. Placards and
pamphlets containing short invocations in Sanskrit and Tibetan are
common in Chinese monasteries, particularly where there is any
Lamaistic influence, but they do not imply that the monks who use them
have any literary acquaintance with those languages.


[Footnote 708: [Chinese: ] For an account of some of the scriptures
here mentioned see chap. XX.]

[Footnote 709: _A catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist
Tripitaka_. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1893. An index to the Tokyo
edition has been published by Fujii. Meiji XXXI (1898). See too Forke,
_Katalog des Pekinger Tripitaka_, 1916.]

[Footnote 710: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 711: Tan-i-ching [Chinese: ]. Some of the works classed
under Tan-i-ching appear to exist in more than one form, _e.g._
Nanjio, Nos. 674 and 804.]

[Footnote 712: These characters are commonly read Pojo by Chinese
Buddhists but the Japanese reading Hanṇya shows that the
pronunciation of the first character was Pan.]

[Footnote 713: Vajracchedikâ or [Chinese: ] Chin Kang.]

[Footnote 714: Winternitz (_Gesch. Ind. Lit_. II. i. p. 242) states on
the authority of Takakusu that this work is the same as the
Gaṇḍavyûha. See also Pelliot in _J. A_. 1914, II. pp. 118-21. The
Gaṇḍavyûha is probably an extract of the Avatamsaka.]

[Footnote 715: Nos. 113 and 114 [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 716: _Catena of Buddhist Scriptures_, pp. 160 ff.]

[Footnote 717: The longer Sukhâvatîvyûha is placed in the Ratnakûta

[Footnote 718: The Sûtra of Kuan-yin with the thousand hands and eyes
is very popular and used in most temples. Nanjio, No. 320.]

[Footnote 719: No. 399 [Chinese: ] and 530 [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 720: Said to have been revealed to Asanga by Maitreya. No.

[Footnote 721: [Chinese: ] No. 1087. It has nothing to do with the
Pali Sûtra of the same name. Digha, I.]

[Footnote 722: See below for an account of it.]

[Footnote 723: _Record of Buddhist Practices_, p. 20.]

[Footnote 724: See Oldenberg, _Vinaya_, vol. I. pp. xxiv-xlvi.]

[Footnote 725: See Watters, _Yüan Chwang_, I. p. 227. The five schools
are given as Dharmagupta, Mahîs'âsika, Sarvâstivâdin, Kâ'syapîya and
Mahâsanghika. For the last Vatsiputra or Sthavira is sometimes

[Footnote 726: _Record of Buddhist Practices_, p. 8.]

[Footnote 727: The Chinese word lun occurs frequently in them, but
though it is used to translate Abhidharma, it is of much wider
application and means discussion of Śâstra.]

[Footnote 728: See Watters, _Yüan Chwang_, I, pp. 355 ff.]

[Footnote 729: Nos. 1179, 1190, 1249.]

[Footnote 730: For a discussion of this literature see Takakusu on the
Abhidharma Literature of the Sarvâstivâdins, _J. Pali Text Society_,
1905, pp. 67 ff.]

[Footnote 731: Nanjio, Cat. Nos. 1273, 1275, 1276, 1277, 1292, 1281,
1282, 1296, 1317. This last work was not translated till the eleventh

[Footnote 732: Nanjio, Cat. Nos. 1263, 1267 and 1269.]

[Footnote 733: See Takakusu's study of these translations in
_B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 1 ff. and pp. 978 ff.]

[Footnote 734: Nanjio, Cat. Nos. 1321, 1353, 1365, 1439.]

[Footnote 735: [Chinese: ] No. 1490.]

[Footnote 736: [Chinese: ] No. 1661. For more about the Patriarchs see
the next chapter.]

[Footnote 737: [Chinese: ] No. 1524, written A.D. 1006.]

[Footnote 738: [Chinese: ] No. 1482.]

[Footnote 739: [Chinese: ] No. 1640.]

[Footnote 740: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]. Nos. 1634 and 1594.]

[Footnote 741: See for some account of it Masson-Oursel's article in
_J.A._ 1915, I. pp. 229-354.]

[Footnote 742: [Chinese: ] by [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 743: See chap. XX on the Mahayanist canon in India.]

[Footnote 744: It is described at the beginning as Ta Ming San Tsang,
but strictly speaking it must be No. 12 of the list, as it contains a
work said to have been written about 1622 A.D. (p. 468).]

[Footnote 745: Thus the Emperor Jên Tsung ordered the works of Ch'i
Sung [Chinese: ] to be admitted to the Canton in 1062.]

[Footnote 746: Taken from Nanjio's Catalogue, p. xxvii.]

[Footnote 747: Ch'ien-Lung is said to have printed the Tripitaka in
four languages, Chinese, Tibetan, Mongol and Manchu, the whole
collection filling 1392 vols. See Möllendorf in China Branch, _J.A.S._
xxiv. 1890, p. 28.]

[Footnote 748: But according to another statement the southern
recension was not the imperial collection begun in 1368 but a private
edition now lost. See Nanjio, Cat. p. xxiii.]

[Footnote 749: See for the complete list Nanjio, Cat. p. xxvii. Those
named above are (_a_) [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ],
Nos. 1483, 1485, 1487, and (_b_) [Chinese: ], No. 1612. For the date
of the first see Maspéro in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1910, p. 114. There was a
still earlier catalogue composed by Tao-an in 374 of which only
fragments have been preserved. See Pelliot in _T'oung Pao_, XIX. 1920,
p. 258.]

[Footnote 750: For the Korean copy now in Japan, see Courant,
_Bibliographie coréenne_, vol. III. pp. 215-19.]

[Footnote 751: See Nanjio, Cat. p. xxii.]

[Footnote 752: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 753: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 754: Also called Do-ko.]

[Footnote 755: The earlier collections of the Tripitaka seem to have
been known in Korea and about 1000 A.D. the king procured from China a
copy of the Imperial Edition, presumably the eighth collection (971
A.D.). He then ordered a commission of scholars to revise the text and
publish an edition of his own. The copy of this edition, on which the
recent Tokyo edition was founded, was brought to Japan in the Bun-mei
period 1469-1486.]

[Footnote 756: A supplement to the Tripitaka containing non-canonical
works in 750 volumes (Dai Nippon Zoku-Zōkyō) was published in

[Footnote 757: The Peking Tripitaka catalogued by Forke appears to be
a set of 1223 works represented by copies taken from four editions
published in 1578, 1592, 1598 and 1735 A.D., all of which are editions
of the collections numbered 11 and 12 above.]

[Footnote 758: For two interesting lives of translators see the
_T'oung Pao_, 1909, p. 199, and 1905, p. 332, where will be found the
biographies of Sêng Hui, a Sogdian who died in 280 and Jinagupta a
native of Gandhâra (528-605).]

[Footnote 759: But between 266 and 313 Dharmaraksha translated the
Saddharmapundarîka (including the additional chapters 21-26) and the
Lalitavistara. His translation of the Prajñâpâramitâ is incomplete.]

[Footnote 760: In the translations of Lokâkshî 147-186, Chih-Ch'ien
223-243, Dharmaraksha 266-313.]

[Footnote 761: But his translation of the Lotus won admiration for its
literary style. See Anesaki Nichiren, p. 17. Wieger (_Croyances_, p.
367) says that the works of An-shih-kao illustrate the various methods
of translation: absolutely literal renderings which have hardly any
meaning in Chinese: word for word translations to which is added a
paraphrase of each sentence in Chinese idiom: and elegant renderings
by a native in which the original text obviously suffers.]

[Footnote 762: Yet it must have been intended as such. The title
expressly describes the work as composed by the Bodhisattva Ma-Ming
(Aśvaghosha) and translated by Dharmaraksha. Though his idea of a
translation was at best an amplified metrical paraphrase, yet he
coincides verbally with the original so often that his work can hardly
be described as an independent poem inspired by it.]

[Footnote 763: [Chinese: ] No. 203.]

[Footnote 764: See Sukhâvatîvyûha, ed. Max Müller and Bunyiu Nanjio,
Oxford, 1883. In the preface, pp. vii-ix, is a detailed comparison of
several translations and in an appendix, pp. 79 ff., a rendering of
Sanghavarman's Chinese version of verses which occur in the work.
Chinese critics say that Tao-an in the third century was the first to
introduce a sound style of translation. He made no translations
himself which have survived but was a scholar and commentator who
influenced others.]

[Footnote 765: This is an anthology (edited by Beckh, 1911: translated
by Rockhill, 1892) in which 300 verses are similar to the Pali

[Footnote 766: [Chinese: ] No. 1365.]

[Footnote 767: [Chinese: ] No. 1353.]

[Footnote 768: [Chinese: ] No. 1321.]

[Footnote 769: [Chinese: ] Fa-chi-yao-sung-ching, No. 1439.]

[Footnote 770: There seem to be at least two other collections.
Firstly a Prâkrit anthology of which Dutreuil de Rhins discovered a
fragmentary MS. in Khotan and secondly a much amplified collection
preserved in the Korean Tripitaka and reprinted in the Tokyo edition
(xxiv.'g). The relation of these to the other recensions is not

[Footnote 771: Nanjio, Cat. 1358. See Pelliot, _J.A._ 1914, II. p.

[Footnote 772: [Chinese: ] For the relations of the Chinese
translations to the Pali Tripitaka, and to a Sanskrit Canon now
preserved only in a fragmentary state, see _inter alia_, Nanjio, Cat.
pp. 127 ff., especially Nos. 542, 543, 545. Anesaki, _J.R.A.S._ 1901,
p. 895; _id_. "On some problems of the textual history of the Buddhist
scriptures," in _Trans. A. S. Japan_, 1908, p. 81, and more especially
his longer article entitled, "The Four Buddhist Agamas in Chinese" in
the same year of the _Trans.; id._ "Traces of Pali Texts in a Mahâyana
Treatise," _Muséon_, 1905. S. Lévi, Le Samyuktâgama Sanskrit, _T'oung
Pao_, 1904, p. 297.]

[Footnote 773: No. 544.]

[Footnote 774: Thus seventy sûtras of the Pali Anguttara are found in
the Chinese Madhyama and some of them are repeated in the Chinese
Ekottara. The Pali Majjhima contains 125 sûtras, the Chinese
Madhyamâgama 222, of which 98 are common to both. Also twenty-two Pali
Majjhima dialogues are found in the Chinese Ekottara and Samyukta,
seventy Chinese Madhyama dialogues in Pali Anguttara, nine in Digha,
seven in Samyutta and five in Khuddaka. Anesaki, _Some Problems of the
textual history of the Buddhist Scriptures_. See also Anesaki in
_Muséon_, 1905, pp. 23 ff. on the Samyutta Nikâya.]

[Footnote 775: Anesaki, "Traces of Pali Texts," _Muséon_, 1905, shows
that the Indian author of the Mahâprajnâpâramitâ Sâstra may have known
Pali texts, but the only certain translation from the Pali appears to
be Nanjio, No. 1125, which is a translation of the Introduction to
Buddhaghosa's Samanta-pâsâdikâ or commentary on the Vinaya. See
Takakusu in _J.R.A.S._ 1896, p. 415. Nanjio's restoration of the title
as Sudarśana appears to be incorrect.]

[Footnote 776: See _Epigraphia Indica_, vol. II. p. 93.]

[Footnote 777: In support of this it may be mentioned that Fa-Hsien
says that at the time of his visit to India the Vinaya of the
Sarvâstivâdins was preserved orally and not committed to writing.]

[Footnote 778: The idea that an important book ought to be in Sanskrit
or deserves to be turned into Sanskrit is not dead in India. See
Grierson, _J.R.A.S._ 1913, p. 133, who in discussing a Sanskrit
version of the Râmâyana of Tulsi Das mentions that translations of
vernacular works into Sanskrit are not uncommon.]

[Footnote 779: _J.R.A.S._ 1916, p. 709. Also, the division into five
Nikâyas is ancient. See Bühler in _Epig. Indica_, II. p. 93. Anesaki
says (_Trans. A.S. Japan_, 1908, p. 9) that Nanjio, No. 714, Pên Shih
is the Itivuttakam, which could not have been guessed from Nanjio's
entry. Portions of the works composing the fifth Nikâya (_e.g._ the
Sutta Nipata) occur in the Chinese Tripitaka in the other Nikâyas. For
mentions of the fifth Nikâya in Chinese, see _J.A._ 1916, II. pp.
32-33, where it is said to be called Tsa-Tsang. This is also the
designation of the last section of the Tripitaka, Nanjio, Nos. 1321 to
1662, and as this section contains the Dharmapada, it might be
supposed to be an enormously distended version of the Kshudraka
Nikâya. But this can hardly be the case, for this Tsa-Tsang is placed
as if it was considered as a fourth Piṭaka rather than as a fifth

[Footnote 780: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 781: See Watters, _Essays on the Chinese Language_, pp. 36,
51, and, for the whole subject of transcription, Stanislas Julien,
_Méthode pour déchiffrer et transcrire les noms Sanscrits qui se
rencontrent dans les livres chinois_.]

[Footnote 782: Entire Sanskrit compositions were sometimes transcribed
in Chinese characters. See Kien Ch'ui Fan Tsan, _Bibl. Budd_. XV. and
Max Müller, _Buddhist Texts from Japan_, III. pp. 35-46.]

[Footnote 783: _L.c._ pp. 83-232.]

[Footnote 784: See _inter alia_ the Preface to K'ang Hsi's Dictionary.
The _fan-ch'ieh_ [Chinese: ] system is used in the well-known
dictionary called Yü-Pien composed 543 A.D.]

[Footnote 785: Even in modern Cantonese Fo is pronounced as Fat.]

[Footnote 786: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 787: Nanjio, Cat. No. 1640.]

[Footnote 788: History repeats itself. I have seen many modern Burmese
and Sinhalese MSS. in Chinese monasteries.]

[Footnote 789: _Buddhist Texts from Japan_, ed. Max Müller in
_Anecdota Oxoniensia_, Aryan Series, I, II and III. For the Lanja
printed text see the last facsimile in I, also III. p. 34 and _Bibl.
Budd._ XIV (Kuan-si-im Pusar), pp. vi, vii. Another copy of this Lanja
printed text was bought in Kyoto, 1920.]


CHINA (_continued_)


The Schools (Tsung) of Chinese Buddhism are an intricate subject of
little practical importance, for observers agree that at the present
day all salient differences of doctrine and practice have been
obliterated, although the older monasteries may present variations in
details and honour their own line of teachers. A particular
Bodhisattva may be singled out for reverence in one locality or some
religious observance may be specially enjoined, but there is little
aggressiveness or self assertion among the sects, even if they are
conscious of having a definite name: they each tolerate the deities,
rites and books of all and pay attention to as many items as leisure
and inertia permit. There is no clear distinction between Mahâyâna and

The main division is of course into Lamaism on one side and all
remaining sects on the other. Apart from this we find a record of ten
schools which deserve notice for various reasons. Some, though obscure
in modern China, have flourished after transportation to Japan: some,
such as the T'ien-t'ai, are a memorial of a brilliant epoch: some
represent doctrines which, if not now held by separate bodies, at
least indicate different tendencies, such as magical ceremonies,
mystical contemplation, or faith in Amitâbha.

The more important schools were comparatively late, for they date
from the sixth and seventh centuries. For two or three hundred years
the Buddhists of China were a colony of strangers, mainly occupied in
making translations. By the fifth century the extent and diversity of
Indian literature became apparent and Fa-Hsien went to India to
ascertain which was the most correct Vinaya and to obtain copies of
it. Theology was now sufficiently developed to give rise to two
schools both Indian in origin and merely transported to China, known
as Ch'êng-shih-tsung and San-lun-tsung[791].

The first is considered as Hinayanist and equivalent to the
Sautrântikas[792]. In the seventh century it passed over to Japan
where it is known as Ji-jitsu-shu, but neither there nor in China had
it much importance. The San-lun-tsung recognizes as three authorities
(from which it takes its name) the Mâdhyamikaśâstra and
Dvâdasanikâyaśâstra of Nâgârjuna with the Śataśâstra of his
pupil Deva. It is simply the school of these two doctors and
represents the extreme of Mahayanism. It had some importance in Japan,
where it was called San-Ron-Shu.

The arrival of Bodhidharma at Canton in 520 (or 526) was a great event
for the history of Buddhist dogma, although his special doctrines did
not become popular until much later. He introduced the contemplative
school and also the institution of the Patriarchate, which for a time
had some importance. He wrote no books himself, but taught that true
knowledge is gained in meditation by intuition[793] and communicated
by transference of thought. The best account of his teaching is
contained in the Chinese treatise which reports the sermon preached by
him before the Emperor Wu-Ti in 520[794]. The chief thesis of this
discourse is that the only true reality is the Buddha nature[795]
in the heart of every man. Prayer, asceticism and good works are vain.
All that man need do is to turn his gaze inward and see the Buddha in
his own heart. This vision, which gives light and deliverance, comes
in a moment. It is a simple, natural act like swallowing or dreaming
which cannot be taught or learnt, for it is not something imparted but
an experience of the soul, and teaching can only prepare the way for
it. Some are impeded by their karma and are physically incapable of
the vision, whatever their merits or piety may be, but for those to
whom it comes it is inevitable and convincing.

We have only to substitute _âtman_ for Buddha or Buddha nature to see
how closely this teaching resembles certain passages in the
Upanishads, and the resemblance is particularly strong in such
statements as that the Buddha nature reveals itself in dreams, or that
it is so great that it embraces the universe and so small that the
point of a needle cannot prick it. The doctrine of Mâyâ is clearly
indicated, even if the word was not used in the original, for it is
expressly said that all phenomena are unreal. Thus the teaching of
Bodhidharma is an anticipation of Śankara's monism, but it is
formulated in consistently Buddhist language and is in harmony with
the views of the Mâdhyamika school and of the Diamond-cutter. This
Chinese sermon confirms other evidence which indicates that the ideas
of the Advaita philosophy, though Brahmanic in their origin and
severely condemned by Gotama himself, were elaborated in Buddhist
circles before they were approved by orthodox Hindus.

Bodhidharma's teaching was Indian but it harmonized marvellously with
Taoism and Chinese Buddhists studied Taoist books[796]. A current of
Chinese thought which was old and strong, if not the main stream, bade
man abstain from action and look for peace and light within. It was, I
think, the junction of this native tributary with the river of
inflowing Buddhism which gave the Contemplative School its importance.
It lost that importance because it abandoned its special doctrines
and adopted the usages of other schools. When Taoism flourished
under the Sung Emperors it was also flourishing and influenced art as
well as thought, but it probably decayed under the Yüan dynasty which
favoured religion of a different stamp. It is remarkable that
Bodhidharma appears to be unknown to both Indian and Tibetan[797]
writers but his teaching has imparted a special tone and character to
a section (though not the whole) of Far Eastern Buddhism. It is called
in Chinese Tsung-mên or Ch'an-tsung, but this word Ch'an[798] is
perhaps better known to Europe in its Japanese form Zen.

Bodhidharma is also accounted the twenty-eighth Patriarch, a title
which represents the Chinese Tsu Shih[799] rather than any Indian
designation, for though in Pali literature we hear of the succession
of teachers[800], it is not clear that any of them enjoyed a style or
position such as is implied in the word Patriarch. Hindus have always
attached importance to spiritual lineage and every school has a list
of teachers who have transmitted its special lore, but the sense of
hierarchy is so weak that it is misleading to describe these
personages as Popes, Patriarchs or Bishops, and apart from the
personal respect which the talents of individuals may have won, it
does not appear that there was any succession of teachers who could be
correctly termed heads of the Church. Even in China such a title is of
dubious accuracy for whatever position Bodhidharma and his successors
may have claimed for themselves, they were not generally accepted as
being more than the heads of a school and other schools also gave
their chief teachers the title of Tsu-shih. From time to time the
Emperor appointed overseers of religion with the title of
Kuo-shih[801], instructor of the nation, but these were officials
appointed by the Crown, not prelates consecrated by the Church.

Twenty-eight Patriarchs are supposed to have flourished between the
death of the Buddha and the arrival of Bodhidharma in China. The
Chinese lists[802] do not in the earlier part agree with the
Singhalese accounts of the apostolic succession and contain few
eminent names with the exception of Aśvaghosha, Nâgârjuna, Deva and

According to most schools there were only twenty-four Patriarchs.
These are said to have been foretold by the Buddha and twenty-four is
a usual number in such series[803]. The twenty-fourth Patriarch Simha
Bhikshu or Simhâlaputra went to Kashmir and suffered martyrdom there
at the hands of Mihirakula[804] without appointing a successor. But
the school of Bodhidharma continues the series, reckoning him as the
twenty-eighth, and the first of the Chinese Patriarchs. Now since the
three Patriarchs between the martyr and Bodhidharma are all described
as living in southern India, whereas such travellers as Fa-Hsien
obviously thought that the true doctrine was to be found in northern
India, and since Bodhidharma left India altogether, it is probable
that the later Patriarchs represent the spiritual genealogy of
some school which was not the Church as established at Nâlandâ[805].

It will be convenient to summarize briefly here the history of
Bodhidharma's school. Finding that his doctrines were not altogether
acceptable to the Emperor Wu-Ti (who did not relish being told that
his pious exertions were vain works of no value) he retired to Lo-yang
and before his death designated as his successor Hui-k'o. It is
related of Hui-k'o that when he first applied for instruction he could
not attract Bodhidharma's attention and therefore stood before the
sage's door during a whole winter night until the snow reached his
knees. Bodhidharma indicated that he did not think this test of
endurance remarkable. Hui-k'o then took a knife, cut off his own arm
and presented it to the teacher who accepted him as a pupil and
ultimately gave him the insignia of the Patriarchate--a robe and bowl.
He taught for thirty-four years and is said to have mixed freely with
the lowest and most debauched reprobates. His successors were
Sêng-ts'an, Tao-hsin, Hung-jên, and Hui-nêng[806] who died in 713 and
declined to nominate a successor, saying that the doctrine was well
established. The bowl of Bodhidharma was buried with him. Thus the
Patriarch was not willing to be an Erastian head of the Church and
thought the Church could get on without him. The object of the
Patriarchate was simply to insure the correct transmission from
teacher to scholar of certain doctrines, and this precaution was
especially necessary in sects which rejected scriptural authority and
relied on personal instruction. So soon as there were several
competent teachers handing on the tradition such a safeguard was felt
to be unnecessary.

That this feeling was just is shown by the fact that the school of
Bodhidharma is still practically one in teaching. But its small regard
for scripture and insistence on oral instruction caused the principal
monasteries to regard themselves as centres with an apostolic
succession of their own and to form divisions which were geographical
rather than doctrinal. They are often called school (tsung), but
the term is not correct, if it implies that the difference is similar
to that which separates the Ch'an-tsung and Lü-tsung or schools of
contemplation and of discipline. Even in the lifetime of Hui-nêng
there seems to have been a division, for he is sometimes called the
Patriarch of the South, Shên-Hsiu[807] being recognized as Patriarch
of the North. But all subsequent divisions of the Ch'an-tsung trace
their lineage to Hui-nêng. Two of his disciples founded two schools
called Nan Yüeh and Ch'ing Yüan[808] and between the eighth and tenth
centuries these produced respectively two and three subdivisions,
known together as Wu-tsung or five schools. They take their names from
the places where their founders dwelt and are the schools of Wei-Yang,
Lin-Chi, Ts'ao-Tung, Yün-Mên and Fa-Yen[809]. This is the
chronological order, but the most important school is the Lin-Chi,
founded by I-Hsüan[810], who resided on the banks of a river[811] in
Chih-li and died in 867. It is not easy to discriminate the special
doctrines[812] of the Lin-Chi for it became the dominant form of the
school to such an extent that other variants are little more than
names. But it appears to have insisted on the transmission of
spiritual truths not only by oral instruction but by a species of
telepathy between teacher and pupil culminating in sudden
illumination. At the present day the majority of Chinese monasteries
profess to belong to the Ch'an-tsung and it has encroached on other
schools. Thus it is now accepted on the sacred island of P'uto which
originally followed the Lü-tsung.

Although the Ch'an school did not value the study of scripture as part
of the spiritual life, yet it by no means neglected letters and can
point to a goodly array of ecclesiastical authors, extending down
to modern times[813]. More than twenty of their treatises have been
admitted into the Tripitaka. Several of these are historical and
discuss the succession of Patriarchs and abbots, but the most
characteristic productions of the sect are collections of aphorisms,
usually compiled by the disciples of a teacher who himself committed
nothing to writing[814].

In opposition to the Contemplative School or Tsung-mên, all the others
are sometimes classed together as Chiao-mên. This dichotomy perhaps
does no more than justice to the importance of Bodhidharma's school,
but is hardly scientific, for, whatever may be the numerical
proportion, the other schools differ from one another as much as they
differ from it. They all agree in recognizing the authority not only
of a founder but of a special sacred book. We may treat first of one
which, like the Tsung-mên, belongs specially to the Buddhism of the
Far East and is both an offshoot of the Tsung-mên and a protest
against it--there being nothing incompatible in this double
relationship. This is the T'ien-t'ai[815] school which takes its name
from a celebrated monastery in the province of Chê-kiang. The founder
of this establishment and of the sect was called Chih-K'ai or
Chih-I[816] and followed originally Bodhidharma's teaching, but
ultimately rejected the view that contemplation is all-sufficient,
while still claiming to derive his doctrine from Nâgârjuna. He had a
special veneration for the Lotus Sûtra and paid attention to
ceremonial. He held that although the Buddha-mind is present in all
living beings, yet they do not of themselves come to the knowledge and
use of it, so that instruction is necessary to remove error and
establish true ideas. The phrase Chih-kuan[817] is almost the motto of
the school: it is a translation of the two words Samatha and
Vipassanâ, taken to mean calm and insight.

The T'ien-T'ai is distinguished by its many-sided and almost
encyclopædic character. Chih-I did not like the exclusiveness of the
Contemplative School. He approved impartially of ecstasy, literature,
ceremonial and discipline: he wished to find a place for everything
and a point of view from which every doctrine might be admitted to
have some value. Thus he divided the teaching of the Buddha into five
periods, regarded as progressive not contradictory, and expounded
respectively in (_a_) the Hua-yen Sûtra; (_b_) the Hînayâna Sûtras;
(_c_) the Lêng-yen-ching; (_d_) the Prajnâ-pâramitâ; (_e_) the Lotus
Sûtra which is the crown, quintessence and plenitude of all Buddhism.
He also divided religion into eight parts[818], sometimes counted as
four, the latter half of the list being the more important. The names
are collection, progress, distinction and completion. These terms
indicate different ways of looking at religion, all legitimate but not
equally comprehensive or just in perspective. By collection is meant
the Hînayâna, the name being apparently due to the variously
catalogued phenomena which occupy the disciple in the early stages of
his progress: the scriptures, divisions of the universe, states of the
human minds and so on. Progress (T'ung, which might also be rendered
as transition or communication) is applicable to the Hîna and Mahâyanâ
alike and regards the religious life as a series of stages rising from
the state of an unconverted man to that of a Buddha. Pieh, or
distinction, is applicable only to the Mahâyanâ and means the special
excellences of a Bodhisattva. Yüan, completeness or plenitude, is the
doctrine of the Lotus which embraces all aspects of religion. In a
similar spirit of synthesis and conciliation Chih-I uses Nâgârjuna's
view that truth is not of one kind. From the stand-point of absolute
truth all phenomena are void or unreal; on the other hand they are
indubitably real for practical purposes. More just is the middle view
which builds up the religious character. It sees that all phenomena
both exist and do not exist and that thought cannot content itself
with the hypothesis either of their real existence or of the void.
Chih-I's teaching as to the nature of the Buddha is almost
theistic. It regards the fundamental (pên) Buddhahood as not merely
the highest reality but as constant activity exerting itself for the
good of all beings. Distinguished from this fundamental Buddhahood is
the derivative Buddhahood or trace (chi) left by the Buddha among men
to educate them. There has been considerable discussion in the school
as to the relative excellence of the _pên_ and the _chi_[819].

The T'ien-T'ai school is important, not merely for its doctrines, but
as having produced a great monastic establishment and an illustrious
line of writers. In spite of the orders of the Emperor who wished to
retain him at Nanking, Chih-I retired to the highlands of Chê-Kiang
and twelve monasteries still mark various spots where he is said to
have resided. He had some repute as an author, but more as a preacher.
His words were recorded by his disciple Kuan-Ting[820] and in this way
have been preserved two expositions of the Lotus and a treatise on his
favourite doctrine of Chih-Kuan which together are termed the
San-ta-pu, or Three Great Books. Similar spoken expositions of other
sûtras are also preserved. Some smaller treatises on his chief
doctrines seem to be works of his own pen[821]. A century later
Chan-Jan[822], who is reckoned the ninth Patriarch of the T'ien-t'ai
school, composed commentaries on the Three Great Books as well as some
short original works. During the troubled period of the Five
Dynasties, the T'ien-t'ai monasteries suffered severely and the sacred
books were almost lost. But the school had a branch in Korea and a
Korean priest called Ti-Kuan[823] re-established it in China. It
continued to contribute literature to the Tripitaka until 1270 but
after the tenth century its works, though numerous, lose their
distinctive character and are largely concerned with magical formulæ
and the worship of Amida.

The latter is the special teaching of the Pure Land school, also
known as the Lotus school, or the Short Cut[824]. It is indeed a
short cut to salvation, striking unceremoniously across all systems,
for it teaches that simple faith in Amitâbha (Amida) and invocation of
his name can take the place of moral and intellectual endeavour. Its
popularity is in proportion to its facility: its origin is ancient,
its influence universal, but perhaps for this very reason its
existence as a corporation is somewhat indistinct. It is also
remarkable that though the Chinese Tripitaka contains numerous works
dedicated to the honour of Amitâbha, yet they are not described as
composed by members of the Pure Land school but appear to be due to
authors of all schools[825].

The doctrine, if not the school, was known in China before 186, in
which year there died at Lo-yang, a monk of the Yüeh-chih called
Lokâkshi, who translated the longer Sukhâvatî-vyûha. So far as I know,
there is no reason for doubting these statements[826]. The date is
important for the history of doctrine, since it indicates that the
sûtra existed in Sanskrit some time previously. Another translation by
the Parthian An Shih-Kao, whose activity falls between 148 and 170
A.D. may have been earlier and altogether twelve translations were
made before 1000 A.D. of which five are extant[827]. Several of the
earlier translators were natives of Central Asia, so it is permissible
to suppose that the sûtra was esteemed there. The shorter
Sukhâvatî-vyûha was translated by Kumârajîva (_c._ 402) and later by
Hsüan Chuang. The Amitâyurdhyânasûtra was translated by Kâlayaśas
about 424. These three books[828] are the principal scriptures of the
school and copies of the greater Sukhâvatî may still be found in
almost every Chinese monastery, whatever principles it professes.

Hui Yüan[829] who lived from 333 to 416 is considered as the founder
of the school. He was in his youth an enthusiastic Taoist and
after he turned Buddhist is said to have used the writings of
Chuang-tzŭ to elucidate his new faith. He founded a brotherhood,
and near the monastery where he settled was a pond in which lotus
flowers grew, hence the brotherhood was known as the White Lotus
school[830]. For several centuries[831] it enjoyed general esteem.
Pan-chou, one of its Patriarchs, received the title of Kuo-shih about
770 A.D., and Shan-tao, who nourished about 650 and wrote
commentaries, was one of its principal literary men[832]. He
popularized the doctrine of the Pai-tao or White Way, that is, the
narrow bridge leading to Paradise across which Amitâbha will guide the
souls of the faithful. But somehow the name of White Lotus became
connected with conspiracy and rebellion until it was dreaded as the
title of a formidable secret society, and ceased to be applied to the
school as a whole. The teaching and canonical literature of the Pure
Land school did not fall into disrepute but since it was admitted by
other sects to be, if not the most excellent way, at least a
permissible short cut to heaven, it appears in modern times less as a
separate school than as an aspect of most schools[833]. The simple and
emotional character of Amidism, the directness of its "Come unto me,"
appeal so strongly to the poor and uneducated, that no monastery or
temple could afford to neglect it.

Two important Indian schools were introduced into China in the sixth and
seventh centuries respectively and flourished until about 900 A.D. when
they began to decay. These are the Chü-shê-tsung and Fa-hsiang-tsung[834].
The first name is merely a Chinese transcription of the Sanskrit Ko'sa and
is due to the fact that the chief authority of the school is the
Abhidharmakośaśâstra of Vasubandhu[835]. This work expounds the doctrine
of the Sarvâstivâdins, but in a liberal spirit and without ignoring other
views. Though the Chü-shê-tsung represented the best scholastic tradition
of India more adequately than any other Chinese sect, yet it was too
technical and arid to become popular and both in China and Japan (where it
is known as Kusha-shu) it was a system of scholastic philosophy rather
than a form of religion. In China it did not last many centuries.

The Fa-Hsiang school is similar inasmuch as it represented Indian
scholasticism and remained, though much esteemed, somewhat academic.
The name is a translation of Dharmalakshaṇa and the school is also
known as Tz'ŭ-ên-tsung[836], and also as Wei-shih-hsiang-chiao
because its principal text-book is the Ch'êng-wei-shih-lun[837]. This
name, equivalent to Vidyâmâtra, or Vijnânamâtra, is the title of a
work by Hsüan Chuang which appears to be a digest of ten Sanskrit
commentaries on a little tract of thirty verses ascribed to
Vasubandhu. As ultimate authorities the school also recognizes the
revelations made to Asanga by Maitreya[838] and probably the
Mahâyânasûtrâlankâra[839] expresses its views. It claims as its
founder Śîlabhadra the teacher of Hsüan Chuang, but the latter was
its real parent.

Closely allied to it but reckoned as distinct is the school called the
Hua-yen-tsung[840] because it was based on the Hua-yen-ching or
Avatamsakasûtra. The doctrines of this work and of Nâgârjuna may be
conveniently if not quite correctly contrasted as pantheistic and
nihilistic. The real founder and first patriarch was Tu-Fa-Shun who
died in 640 but the school sometimes bears the name of Hsien-Shou, the
posthumous title of its third Patriarch who contributed seven works to
the Tripitaka[841]. It began to wane in the tenth century but has
a distinguished literary record.

The Lü-tsung or Vinaya school[842] was founded by Tao Hsüan (595-667).
It differs from those already mentioned inasmuch as it emphasizes
discipline and asceticism as the essential part of the religious life.
Like the T'ien-t'ai this school arose in China. It bases itself on
Indian authorities, but it does not appear that in thus laying stress
on the Vinaya it imitated any Indian sect, although it caught the
spirit of the early Hînayâna schools. The numerous works of the
founder indicate a practical temperament inclined not to mysticism or
doctrinal subtlety but to biography, literary history and church
government. Thus he continued the series called Memoirs of Eminent
Monks and wrote on the family and country of the Buddha. He compiled a
catalogue of the Tripitaka, as it was in his time, and collections of
extracts, as well as of documents relating to the controversies
between Buddhists and Taoists[843]. Although he took as his chief
authority the Dharmagupta Vinaya commonly known as the Code in Four
Sections, he held, like most Chinese Buddhists, that there is a
complete and perfect doctrine which includes and transcends all the
vehicles. But he insisted, probably as a protest against the laxity or
extravagance of many monasteries, that morality and discipline are the
indispensable foundation of the religious life. He was highly esteemed
by his contemporaries and long after his death the Emperor Mu-tsung
(821-5) wrote a poem in his honour. The school is still respected and
it is said that the monks of its principal monastery, Pao-hua-shan in
Kiangsu, are stricter and more learned than any other.

The school called Chên-yen (in Japanese Shin-gon), true word, or
Mi-chiao[844], secret teaching, equivalent to the Sanskrit Mantrayâna
or Tantrayâna, is the latest among the recognized divisions of Chinese
Buddhism since it first made its appearance in the eighth century. The
date, like that of the translation of the Amida scriptures is
important, for the school was introduced from India and it follows
that its theories and practices were openly advocated at this period
and probably were not of repute much earlier. It is akin to the
Buddhism of Tibet and may be described in its higher aspects as an
elaborate and symbolic pantheism, which represents the one spirit
manifesting himself in a series of emanations and reflexes. In its
popular and unfortunately commoner aspect it is simply polytheism,
fetichism and magic. In many respects it resembles the Pure Land
school. Its principal deity (the word is not inaccurate) is Vairocana,
analogous to Amitâbha, and probably like him a Persian sun god in
origin. It is also a short cut to salvation, for, without denying the
efficiency of more laborious and ascetic methods, it promises to its
followers a similar result by means of formulæ and ceremonies. Like
the Pure Land school it has become in China not so much a separate
corporation as an aspect, and often the most obvious and popular
aspect, of all Buddhist schools.

It claims Vajrabodhi as its first Patriarch. He was a monk of the
Brahman caste who arrived in China from southern India[845] in 719 and
died in 730 after translating several Tantras and spells. His
companion and successor was Amoghavajra of whose career something has
already been said. The fourth Patriarch, Hui Kuo, was the instructor
of the celebrated Japanese monk Kobo Daishi who established the school
in Japan under the name of Shingon[846].

The principal scripture of this sect is the Ta-jih-ching or sûtra of
the Sun-Buddha[847]. A distinction is drawn between exoteric and
esoteric doctrine (the "true word") and the various phases of Buddhist
thought are arranged in ten classes. Of these the first nine are
merely preparatory, but in the last or esoteric phase, the adept
becomes a living Buddha and receives full intuitive knowledge. In this
respect the Tantric school resembles the teaching of Bodhidharma but
not in detail. It teaches that Vairocana is the whole world, which is
divided into Garbhadhâtu (material) and Vajradhâtu (indestructible),
the two together forming Dharmadhâtu. The manifestations of
Vairocana's body to himself--that is Buddhas and Bodhisattvas--are
represented symbolically by diagrams of several circles[848]. But it
would be out of place to dwell further on the dogmatic theology of the
school, for I cannot discover that it was ever of importance in China
whatever may have been its influence in Japan. What appealed only too
powerfully to Chinese superstition was the use of spells, charms and
magical formulæ and the doctrine that since the universe is merely
idea, thoughts and facts are equipollent. This doctrine (which need
not be the outcome of metaphysics, but underlies the magical practices
of many savage tribes) produced surprising results when applied to
funeral ceremonies, which in China have always formed the major part
of religion, for it was held that ceremonial can represent and control
the fortunes of the soul, that is to say that if a ceremony represents
figuratively the rescue of a soul from a pool of blood, then the soul
which is undergoing that punishment will be delivered. It was not
until the latter part of the eighth century that such theories and
ceremonies were accepted by Chinese Buddhism, but they now form a
large part of it.

Although in Japan Buddhism continued to produce new schools until the
thirteenth century, no movement in China attained this status after
about 730, and Lamaism, though its introduction produced considerable
changes in the north, is not usually reckoned as a Tsung. But numerous
societies and brotherhoods arose especially in connection with the
Pure Land school and are commonly spoken of as sects. They differ from
the schools mentioned above in having more or less the character of
secret societies, sometimes merely brotherhoods like the Freemasons
but sometimes political in their aims. Among those whose tenets are
known that which has most religion and least politics in its
composition appears to be the Wu-wei-chiao[849], founded about 1620 by
one Lo-tsu[850] who claimed to have received a revelation contained in
five books. It is strictly vegetarian and antiritualistic,
objecting to the use of images, incense and candles in worship.

There are many other sects with a political tinge. The proclivity of the
Chinese to guilds, corporations and secret societies is well known and
many of these latter have a religious basis. All such bodies are under
the ban of the Government, for they have always been suspected with more
or less justice of favouring anti-social or anti-dynastic ideas. But,
mingled with such political aspirations, there is often present the
desire for co-operation in leading privately a religious life which, if
made public, would be hampered by official restrictions. The most
celebrated of these sects is the White Lotus. Under the Yüan dynasty it
was anti-Mongol, and prepared the way for the advent of the Ming. When
the Ming dynasty in its turn became decadent, we hear again of the White
Lotus coupled with rebellion, and similarly after the Manchus had passed
their meridian, its beautiful but ill-omened name frequently appears. It
seems clear that it is an ancient and persistent society with some idea
of creating a millennium, which becomes active when the central
government is weak and corrupt. Not unlike the White Lotus is the secret
society commonly known as the Triad but called by its members the Heaven
and Earth Association. The T'ai-p'ing sect, out of which the celebrated
rebellion arose, was similar but its inspiration seems to have come from
a perversion of Christianity. The Tsai-Li sect[851] is still prevalent
in Peking, Tientsin, and the province of Shantung. I should exceed the
scope of my task if I attempted to examine these sects in detail[852],
for their relation to Buddhism is often doubtful. Most of them combine
with it Taoist and other beliefs and some of them expect a Messiah or
King of Righteousness who is usually identified with Maitreya. It is
easy to see how at this point hostility to the existing Government
arises and provokes not unnatural resentment[853].

Recently several attempts have been made to infuse life and order into
Chinese Buddhism. Japanese influence can be traced in most of them and
though they can hardly be said to represent a new school, they attempt to
go back to Mahayanism as it was when first introduced into China. The
Hinâyâna is considered as a necessary preliminary to the Mahâyâna and the
latter is treated as existing in several schools, among which are included
the Pure Land school, though the Contemplative and Tantric schools seem
not to be regarded with favour. They are probably mistrusted as leading to
negligence and superstition[854].


[Footnote 790: [Chinese: ] See especially Hackmann, "Die Schulen des
chinesischen Buddhismus" (in the _Mitth. Seminars für Orientalische
Sprachen_, Berlin, 1911), which contains the text and translation of an
Essay by a modern Chinese Buddhist, Yang Wên Hui. Such a review of Chinese
sects from the contemporary Buddhist point of view has great value, but it
does not seem to me that Mr. Yang explains clearly the dogmatic tenets of
each sect, the obvious inference being that such tenets are of little
practical importance. Chinese monasteries often seem to combine several
schools. Thus the Tz'ŭ-Fu-Ssŭ monastery near Peking professes to belong
both to the Lin-Chi and Pure Land schools and its teachers expound the
Diamond-cutter, Lotus and Shou-Lêng-Ching. So also in India. See Rhys
Davids in article Sects Buddhist, _E.R.E._ Hackmann gives a list of
authorities. Edkins, _Chinese Buddhism_ (chaps. VII and VIII), may still
be consulted, though the account is far from clear.]

[Footnote 791: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 792: It based itself on the Satyasiddhiśâstra of Harivarman,
Nanjio, Cat. 1274.]

[Footnote 793: This meditation however is of a special sort. The six
Pâramitâs are, Dâna, Sîla, Kshanti, Vîrya, Dhyâna and Prajñâ. The
meditation of Bodhidharma is not the Dhyâna of this list, but
meditation on Prajñâ, the highest of the Pâramitâs. See Hackmann's
Chinese text, p. 249.]

[Footnote 794: Ta-mo-hsüe-mai-lun, analyzed by Wieger in his _Histoire
des Croyances religieuses en Chine_, pp. 520 ff. I could wish for more
information about this work, but have not been able to find the

[Footnote 795: Also called Fa-shên or dharmakâya in the discourse.
Bodhidharma said that he preached the _seal of the heart_ (hsinyin).
This probably corresponds to some Sanskrit expression, but I have not
found the Indian equivalent.]

[Footnote 796: I-Ching, in his _Memoirs of Eminent Monks_, mentions
three pilgrims as having studied the works of Chuang-tzŭ and his
own style shows that he was well-read in this author.]

[Footnote 797: He is not mentioned by Târanâtha.]

[Footnote 798: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 799: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 800: Acâriyaparamparâ. There is a list of such teachers in
Mahâvaṃsa, V. 95 ff., Dîpavaṃsa, IV. 27 ff. and V. 69.]

[Footnote 801: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 802: The succession of Patriarchs is the subject of several works
comprised in the Chinese Tripitaka. Of these the Fu-fa-tsang-yin-yüan-ching
(Nanjio, 1340) is the most important, because it professes to be translated
(A.D. 472) from an Indian work, which, however, is not in the Tibetan Canon
and is not known in Sanskrit. The Chinese text, as we have it, is probably
not a translation from the Sanskrit, but a compilation made in the sixth
century which, however, acquired considerable authority. See Maspéro in
_Mélanges d'Indianisme_: Sylvain Lévi, pp. 129-149, and _B.E.F.E.O._1911,
pp. 344-348. Other works are the Fo-tsu-t'ung-chi (Nanjio, 1661), of Chih
P'an (_c._ 1270), belonging to the T'ien-t'ai school, and the
Ching-tê-ch'uan-têng-lu together with the Tsung-mên-t'ung-yao-hsü-chi
(Nanjio, 1524, 1526) both belonging to the school of Bodhidharma. See also
Nanjio, 1528, 1529. The common list of Patriarchs is as follows: 1.
Mahâkâśyapa; 2. Ananda; 3. Śanavâsa or Śanakavâsa; 4. Upagupta; 5.
Dhṛitaka; 6. Micchaka. Here the name of Vasumitra is inserted by some but
omitted by others; 7. Buddhanandi; 8. Buddhamitra; 9. Pârśva; 10.
Punyayasas; 11. Aśvaghosha; 12. Kapimala; 13. Nâgârjuna; 14. Deva
(Kâṇadeva); 15. Râhulata; 16. Sanghanandi; 17. Sanghayaśas; 18. Kumârata;
19. Jayata; 20. Vasubandhu; 21. Manura; 22. Haklena or Padmaratna; 23.
Simha Bhikshu; 24. Basiasita; 25. Putṇomita or Punyamitra; 26. Prajnâtara;
27 (or 28, if Vasumitra is reckoned) Bodhidharma. Many of these names are
odd and are only conjectural restorations made from the Chinese
transcription, for which see Nanjio, 1340. Other lists of Patriarchs vary
from that given above, partly because they represent the traditions of
other schools. It is not strange, for instance, if the Sarvâstivâdins did
not recognize Nâgârjuna as a Patriarch. Two of their lists have been
preserved by Sêng-yu (Nanjio, 1476) who wrote about 520. Some notes on the
Patriarchs and reproductions of Chinese pictures representing them will be
found in Doré, pp. 244 ff. It is extremely curious that Aśvaghosha is
represented as a woman.]

[Footnote 803: It is found, for instance, in the lists of the Jain
Tirthankaras and in some accounts of the Buddhas and of the Avatâras
of Vishnu.]

[Footnote 804: See Watters, _Yüan Chwang_, p. 290. But the dates offer
some difficulty, for Mihirakula, the celebrated Hun chieftain, is
usually supposed to have reigned about 510-540 A.D. Târanâtha
(Schiefner, p. 95) speaks of a martyr called Mâlikabuddhi. See, too,
_ib._ p. 306.]

[Footnote 805: It is clear that the school of Valabhi was to some
extent a rival of Nâlandâ.]

[Footnote 806: For a portrait of Hui-nêng see Kokka, No. 297. The
names of Bodhidharma's successors are in Chinese characters [Chinese:

[Footnote 807: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 808: [Chinese: ] Much biographical information respecting
this and other schools will be found in Doré, vols. VII and VIII. But
there is little to record in the way of events or literary and
doctrinal movements.]

[Footnote 809: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 810: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 811: Lin-Chi means coming to the ford. Is this an allusion
to the Pali expression Sotâpanno? The name appears in Japanese as
Rinzai. Most educated Chinese monks when asked as to their doctrine
say they belong to the Lin-Chi.]

[Footnote 812: They are generally called the three mysteries (Hsüan)
and the three important points (Yao), but I have not been able to
obtain any clear explanation of what they mean. See Edkins, _Chinese
Buddhism_, p. 164, and Hackmann, _l.c._ p. 250.]

[Footnote 813: Wieger, _Bouddhisme Chinois_, p. 108, states that 230
works belonging to this sect were published under the Manchu dynasty.]

[Footnote 814: See _e.g._ Nanjio, Cat. 1527, 1532.]

[Footnote 815: [Chinese: ]. Tendai in Japanese. It is also called in
China [Chinese: ] Fa-hua.]

[Footnote 816: [Chinese: ]. Also often spoken of as Chih-chê-ta-shih
[Chinese: ]. Officially he is often styled the fourth Patriarch of
the school. See Doré, p. 449.]

[Footnote 817: [Chinese: ]. In Pali Buddhism also, especially in
later works, Samatha and Vipassanâ may be taken as a compendium of the
higher life as they are respectively the results of the two sets of
religious exercises called Adhicitta and Adhipaññâ. (See Ang. Nik. III

[Footnote 818: In Chinese [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ],
[Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ], [Chinese: ].
Tun, Chien, Pi-mi, Pu-ting, Tsang, T'ung, Pieh, Yüan. See Nanjio,
1568, and for very different explanations of these obscure words.
Edkins, _Chinese Buddhism_, p. 182, and Richard's _New Testament of
Higher Buddhism_, p. 41. Masson-Oursel in _J.A._ 1915, I. p. 305.]

[Footnote 819: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 820: [Chinese: ] The books are Nanjio, Nos. 1534, 1536,

[Footnote 821: Among them is the compendium for beginners called
Hsiao-chih-kuan, (Nanjio, 1540), partly translated in Beal's _Catena_,
pp. 251 ff.]

[Footnote 822: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 823: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 824: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 825: The list of Chinese authors in Nanjio's Catalogue, App.
III, describes many as belonging to the T'ien-t'ai, Avatamsaka or
Dhyâna schools, but none as belonging to the Ching-T'u.]

[Footnote 826: For the authorities, see Nanjio, p. 381.]

[Footnote 827: Nanjio, p. 10, note.]

[Footnote 828: They are all translated in _S.B.E._ XLIX. The two
former exist in Sanskrit. The Amitâyurdhyâna is known only in the
Chinese translation. They are called in Chinese [Chinese: ],
[Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 829: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 830: [Chinese: ] The early history of the school is
related in a work called Lien-shê-kao-hsien-ch'uan, said to date from
the Tsin dynasty. See for some account of the early worthies, Doré,
pp. 280 ff. and 457 ff. Their biographies contain many visions and

[Footnote 831: Apparently at least until 1042. See De Groot,
_Sectarianism_, p. 163. The dated inscriptions in the grottoes of
Lung-mên indicate that the cult of Amitâbha flourished especially from
647 to 715. See Chavannes, _Mission. Archéol._ Tome I, deuxième
partie, p. 545.]

[Footnote 832: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 833: See for instance the tract called Hsüan-Fo-P'u
[Chinese: ] and translated by Richard under the title of _A Guide to
Buddhahood_, pp. 97 ff.]

[Footnote 834: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 835: See Watters, _On Yüan Chwang_, I. 210, and also
Takakusu, _Journal of the Pali Text Soc_. 1905, p. 132.]

[Footnote 836: [Chinese: ] The name refers not to the doctrines of
the school, but to Tz'ŭ-ên-tai-shih, a title given to Kuei-chi the
disciple of Hsüan Chuang who was one of its principal teachers and
taught at a monastery called Tz'ŭ-ên.]

[Footnote 837: [Chinese: ] See Nanjio, Cat. Nos. 1197 and 1215.]

[Footnote 838: See Watters, _On Yüan Chwang_, I. pp. 355 ff.]

[Footnote 839: Ed. and transl. by Sylvain Lévi, 1911.]

[Footnote 840: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 841: His name when alive was Fa-tsang. See Nanjio, Cat. p.
462, and Doré, 450. The Empress Wu patronized him.]

[Footnote 842: [Chinese: ]. Also called Nan Shan or Southern mountain
school from a locality in Shensi.]

[Footnote 843: [Chinese: ]. Nanjio, Cat. 1493, 1469, 1470, 1120,
1481, 1483, 1484, 1471.]

[Footnote 844: [Chinese: ] or [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 845: From Mo-lai-yè, which seems to mean the extreme south
of India. Doré gives some Chinese legends about him, p. 299.]

[Footnote 846: For an appreciative criticism of the sect as known in
Japan, see Anesaki's _Buddhist Art_, chap. III.]

[Footnote 847: Nanjio, No. 530. Nos. 533, 534 and 1039 are also
important texts of this sect.]

[Footnote 848: In the T'ien-t'ai and Chên-yen schools, and indeed in
Chinese Buddhism generally, Dharma (_Fa_ in Chinese) is regarded as
cosmic law. Buddhas are the visible expression of Dharma. Hence they
are identified with it and the whole process of cosmic evolution is
regarded as the manifestation of Buddhahood.]

[Footnote 849: [Chinese: ] See the account by Edkins, _Chinese
Buddhism_, pp. 271 ff.]

[Footnote 850: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 851: [Chinese: ] See _China Mission Year Book_, 1896, p.

[Footnote 852: For some account of them, see Stanton, The Triad
Society, White Lotus Society, etc., 1900, reprinted from _China
Review_, vols. XXI, XXII, and De Groot, _Sectarianism and religious
persecution in China_, vol. I. pp. 149-259.]

[Footnote 853: The Republic of China has not changed much from the
ways of the Empire. The Peking newspapers of June 17, 1914, contain a
Presidential Edict stating that "the invention of heretical religions
by ill-disposed persons is strictly prohibited by law," and that
certain religious societies are to be suppressed.]

[Footnote 854: See, for an account of such a reformed sect, O.
Francke, "Ein Buddhistischer Reformversuch in China," _T'oung Pao_,
1909, p. 567.]


CHINA _(continued)_


The Buddhism treated of in this chapter does not include Lamaism,
which being identical with the religion of Tibet and Mongolia is more
conveniently described elsewhere. Ordinary Chinese Buddhism and
Lamaism are distinct, but are divided not so much by doctrine as by
the race, language and usages of the priests. Chinese Buddhism has
acquired some local colour, but it is still based on the teaching and
practice imported from India before the Yüan dynasty, whereas Lamaist
tradition is not direct: it represents Buddhism as received not from
India but from Tibet. Some holy places, such as P'uto and Wu-t'ai-shan
are frequented by both Lamas and Chinese monks, and Tibetan prayers
and images may sometimes be seen in Chinese temples, but as a rule the
two divisions do not coalesce.

Chinese Buddhism has a physiognomy and language of its own. The
Paraphrase of the Sacred Edict in a criticism, which, though
unfriendly, is not altogether inaccurate, says that Buddhists attend
only to the heart, claim that Buddha can be found in the heart, and
aim at becoming Buddhas. This sounds strange to those who are
acquainted only with the Buddhism of Ceylon and Burma, but is
intelligible as a popular statement of Bodhidharma's doctrine.
Heart[855] means the spiritual nature of man, essentially identical
with the Buddha nature and capable of purification and growth so that
all beings can become Buddhas. But in the Far East the doctrine became
less pantheistic and more ethical than the corresponding Indian ideas.
The Buddha in the heart is the internal light and monitor rather than
the universal spirit. Amida, Kuan-yin and Ti-tsang with other radiant
and benevolent spirits have risen from humanity and will help man to
rise as they have done. Chinese Buddhists do not regard Amida's vows
as an isolated achievement. All Boddhisattvas have done the same
and carried out their resolution in countless existences. Like the
Madonna these gracious figures appeal directly to the emotions and
artistic senses and their divinity offers no difficulty, for in China
Church and State alike have always recognized deification as a natural
process. One other characteristic of all Far Eastern Buddhism may be
noticed. The Buddha is supposed to have preached many creeds and codes
at different periods of his life and each school supposes its own to
be the last, best and all inclusive.

As indicated elsewhere, the essential part of the Buddhist Church is
the monkhood and it is often hard to say if a Chinese layman is a
Buddhist or not. It will therefore be best to describe briefly the
organization and life of a monastery, then the services performed
there and to some extent attended by the laity, and thirdly the rites
performed by monks on behalf of the laity, especially funeral

The Chinese Tripitaka contains no less than five recensions of the
Vinaya, and the later pilgrims who visited India made it their special
object to obtain copies of the most correct and approved code. But
though the theoretical value of these codes is still admitted, they
have for practical purposes been supplemented by other manuals of
which the best known are the Fan-wang-ching or Net of Brahmâ[856] and
the Pai-chang-ts'ung-lin-ch'ing-kuei or Rules of Purity of the
Monasteries of Pai Chang.

The former is said to have been translated in A.D. 406 by Kumârajîva
and to be one chapter of a larger Sanskrit work. Some passages of it,
particularly the condemnation of legislation which forbids or imposes
conditions on the practice of Buddhism[857], read as if they had been
composed in China rather than India, and its whole attitude towards
the Hinayanist Vinaya as something inadequate and superseded, can
hardly have been usual in India or China even in the time of I-Ching
(700 A.D.). Nothing is known of the Indian original, but it certainly
was not the Brahmajâlasutta of the Pali Canon[858]. Though the
translation is ascribed to so early a date, there is no evidence
that the work carried weight as an authority before the eighth
century. Students of the Vinaya, like I-Ching, ignore it. But when the
scholarly endeavour to discover the most authentic edition of the
Vinaya began to flag, this manual superseded the older treatises.
Whatever external evidence there may be for attributing it to
Kumârajîva, its contents suggest a much later date and there is no
guarantee that a popular manual may not have received additions. The
rules are not numbered consecutively but as 1-10 and 1-48, and it may
be that the first class is older than the second. In many respects it
expounds a late and even degenerate form of Buddhism for it
contemplates not only a temple ritual (including the veneration of
images and sacred books), but also burning the head or limbs as a
religious practice. But it makes no allusion to salvation through
faith in Amitâbha and says little about services to be celebrated for
the dead[859].

Its ethical and disciplinary point of view is dogmatically Mahayanist
and similar to that of the Bodhicaryâvatâra. The Hînayâna is several
times denounced[860] and called heretical, but, setting aside a little
intolerance and superstition, the teaching of this manual is truly
admirable and breathes a spirit of active charity--a desire not only
to do no harm but to help and rescue.

It contains a code of ten primary and forty-eight secondary
commandments, worded as prohibitions, but equivalent to positive
injunctions, inasmuch as they blame the neglect of various active
duties. The ten primary commandments are called Prâtimoksha and he who
breaks them is Pârâjika[861], that is to say, he _ipso facto_ leaves
the road leading to Buddhahood and is condemned to a long series of
inferior births. They prohibit taking life, theft, unchastity, lying,
trading in alcoholic liquors, evil speaking, boasting, avarice, hatred
and blasphemy. Though infraction of the secondary commandments has
less permanently serious consequence, their observance is
indispensable for all monks. Many of them are amplifications of the
ten major commandments and are directed against indirect and
potential sins, such as the possession of weapons. The Bhikshu may not
eat flesh, drink alcohol, set forests on fire or be connected with any
business injurious to others, such as the slave trade. He is warned
against gossip, sins of the eye, foolish practices such as divination
and even momentary forgetfulness of his high calling and duties. But
it is not sufficient that he should be self-concentrated and without
offence. He must labour for the welfare and salvation of others, and
it is a sin to neglect such duties as instructing the ignorant,
tending the sick, hospitality, saving men or animals from death or
slavery, praying[862] for all in danger, exhorting to repentance,
sympathy with all living things. A number of disciplinary rules
prescribe a similarly high standard for daily monastic life. The monk
must be strenuous and intelligent; he must yield obedience to his
superiors and set a good example to the laity: he must not teach for
money or be selfish in accepting food and gifts. As for creed he is
strictly bidden to follow and preach the Mahâyâna: it is a sin to
follow or preach the doctrine of the Srâvakas[863] or read their books
or not aspire to ultimate Buddhahood. Very remarkable are the
injunctions to burn one's limbs in honour of Buddhas: to show great
respect to copies of the scriptures and to make vows. From another
point of view the first and forty-seventh secondary commandments are
equally remarkable: the first bids officials discharge their duties
with due respect to the Church and the other protests against improper

The Fan-wang-ching is the most important and most authoritative
statement of the general principles regulating monastic life in China.
So far as my own observation goes, it is known and respected in all
monasteries. The Pai-chang-ch'ing-kuei[864] deals rather with the
details of organization and ritual and has not the same universal
currency. It received the approval of the Yüan dynasty[865] and is
still accepted as authoritative in many monasteries and gives a
correct account of their general practice. It was composed by a monk
of Kiang-si, who died in 814 A.D. He belonged to the Ch'an school, but
his rules are approved by others. I will not attempt to summarize
them, but they include most points of ritual and discipline mentioned
below. The author indicates the relations which should prevail between
Church and State by opening his work with an account of the ceremonies
to be performed on the Emperor's birthday, and similar occasions.

Large Buddhist temples almost always form part of a monastery, but
smaller shrines, especially in towns, are often served by a single
priest. The many-storeyed towers called pagodas which are a
characteristic beauty of Chinese landscapes, are in their origin
stupas erected over relics but at the present day can hardly be called
temples or religious buildings, for they are not places of worship and
generally owe their construction to the dictates of Fêng-shui or
geomancy. Monasteries are usually built outside towns and by
preference on high ground, whence _shan_ or mountain has come to be
the common designation of a convent, whatever its position. The sites
of these establishments show the deep feeling of cultivated Chinese
for nature and their appreciation of the influence of scenery on
temper, an appreciation which connects them spiritually with the
psalms of the monks and nuns preserved in the Pali Canon. The
architecture is not self-assertive. Its aim is not to produce edifices
complete and satisfying in their own proportions but rather to
harmonize buildings with landscape, to adjust courts and pavilions to
the slope of the hillside and diversify the groves of fir and bamboo
with shrines and towers as fantastic and yet as natural as the
mountain boulders. The reader who wishes to know more of them should
consult Johnston's _Buddhist China_, a work which combines in a rare
degree sound knowledge and literary charm.

A monastery[866] is usually a quadrangle surrounded by a wall.
Before the great gate, which faces south, or in the first court is
a tank, spanned by a bridge, wherein grows the red lotus and tame fish
await doles of biscuit. The sides of the quadrangle contain dwelling
rooms, refectories, guest chambers, store houses, a library, printing
press and other premises suitable to a learned and pious foundation.
The interior space is divided into two or three courts, bordered by a
veranda. In each court is a hall of worship or temple, containing a
shelf or alcove on which are set the sacred images: in front of them
stands a table, usually of massive wood, bearing vases of flowers,
bowls for incense sticks and other vessels. The first temple is called
the Hall of the Four Great Kings and the figures in it represent
beings who are still in the world of transmigration and have not yet
attained Buddhahood. They include gigantic images of the Four Kings,
Maitreya, the Buddha designate of the future, and Wei-to[867], a
military Bodhisattva sometimes identified with Indra. Kuan-ti, the
Chinese God of War, is often represented in this building. The chief
temple, called the Precious Hall of the Great Hero[868], is in the
second court and contains the principal images. Very commonly there
are nine figures on either side representing eighteen disciples of the
Buddha and known as the Eighteen Lohan or Arhats[869]. Above the altar
are one or more large gilt images. When there is only one it is
usually Śâkya-muni, but more often there are three. Such triads are
variously composed and the monks often speak of them vaguely as the
"three precious ones," without seeming to attach much importance to
their identity[870]. The triad is loosely connected with the idea of
the three bodies of Buddha but this explanation does not always apply
and the central figure is sometimes O-mi-to or Kuan-yin, who are the
principal recipients of the worship offered by the laity. The latter
deity has usually a special shrine at the back of the main altar and
facing the north door of the hall, in which her merciful activity as
the saviour of mankind is represented in a series of statuettes or
reliefs. Other Bodhisattvas such as Ta-shih-chi (Mahâsthâmaprâpta) and
Ti-tsang also have separate shrines in or at the side of the great
hall[871]. The third hall contains as a rule only small images. It is
used for expounding the scriptures and for sermons, if the monastery
has a preacher, but is set apart for the religious exercises of the
monks rather than the devotions of the laity. In very large
monasteries there is a fourth hall for meditation.

Monasteries are of various sizes and the number of monks is not
constant, for the peripatetic habit of early Buddhism is not extinct:
at one time many inmates may be absent on their travels, at
another there may be an influx of strangers. There are also wandering
monks who have ceased to belong to a particular monastery and spend
their time in travelling. A large monastery usually contains from
thirty to fifty monks, but a very large one may have as many as three
hundred. The majority are dedicated by their parents as children, but
some embrace the career from conviction in their maturity and these,
if few, are the more interesting. Children who are brought up to be
monks receive a religious education in the monastery, wear monastic
clothes and have their heads shaved. At the age of about seventeen
they are formally admitted as members of the order and undergo three
ceremonies of ordination, which in their origin represented stages of
the religious life, but are now performed by accumulation in the
course of a few days. One reason for this is that only monasteries
possessing a licence from the Government[872] are allowed to hold
ordinations and that consequently postulants have to go some distance
to be received as full brethren and are anxious to complete the
reception expeditiously. At the first ordination the candidates are
accepted as novices: at the second, which follows a day or two
afterwards and corresponds to the upasampadâ, they accept the robes
and bowl and promise obedience to the rules of the Prâtimoksha. But
these ceremonies are of no importance compared with the third, called
Shou Pu-sa-chieh[873] or acceptance of the Bodhisattva precepts, that
is to say the fifty-eight precepts enunciated in the Fan-wang-ching.
The essential part of this ordination is the burning of the
candidate's head in from three to eighteen places. The operation
involves considerable pain and is performed by lighting pieces of
charcoal set in a paste which is spread over the shaven skull.

Although the Fan-wang-ching does not mention this burning of the head
as part of ordination, yet it emphatically enjoins the practice of
burning the body or limbs, affirming that those who neglect it are not
true Bodhisattvas[874]. The prescription is founded on the
twenty-second chapter of the Lotus[875] which, though a later
addition, is found in the Chinese translation made between 265 and
316 A.D.[876] I-Ching discusses and reprobates such practices. Clearly
they were known in India when he visited it, but not esteemed by the
better Buddhists, and the fact that they form no part of the ordinary
Tibetan ritual indicates that they had no place in the decadent Indian
Buddhism which in various stages of degeneration was introduced into
Tibet[877]. In Korea and Japan branding is practised but on the breast
and arms rather than on the head.

It would appear then that burning and branding as part of initiation
were known in India in the early centuries of our era but not commonly
approved and that their general acceptance in China was subsequent to
the death of I-Ching in A.D. 713[878]. This author clearly approved of
nothing but the double ordination as novice and full monk. The third
ordination as Bodhisattva must be part of the later phase inaugurated
by Amogha about 750[879].

This practice is defended as a trial of endurance, but the earlier and
better monks were right in rejecting it, for in itself it is an
unedifying spectacle and it points to the logical conclusion that, if
it is meritorious to cauterize the head, it is still more meritorious
to burn the whole body. Cases of suicide by burning appear to have
occurred in recent years, especially in the province of
Che-Kiang[880]. The true doctrine of the Mahâyâna is that everyone
should strive for the happiness and salvation of all beings, but this
beautiful truth may be sadly perverted if it is held that the
endurance of pain is in itself meritorious and that such acquired
merit can be transferred to others. Self-torture, seems not to be
unknown in the popular forms of Chinese Buddhism[881].

The postulant, after receiving these three ordinations, becomes a full
monk or Ho-shang[882] and takes a new name. The inmates of every
monastery owe obedience to the abbot and some abbots have an official
position, being recognized by the Government as representing the
clergy of a prefecture, should there be any business to be transacted
with the secular authorities. But there is no real hierarchy outside
the monasteries, each of which is an isolated administrative unit.
Within each monastery due provision is made for discipline and
administration. The monks are divided into two classes, the Western
who are concerned with ritual and other purely religious duties and
the Eastern who are relatively secular and superintend the business of
the establishment[883]. This is often considerable for the income is
usually derived from estates, in managing which the monks are assisted
by a committee of laymen. Other laymen of humbler status[884] live
around the monastery and furnish the labour necessary for agriculture,
forestry and whatever industries the character of the property calls
into being. As a rule there is a considerable library. Even a
sympathetic stranger will often find that the monks deny its
existence, because many books have been destroyed in political
troubles, but most monasteries possess copies of the principal
scriptures and a complete Tripitaka, usually the edition of 1737, is
not rare. Whether the books are much read I do not know, but I have
observed that after the existence of the library has been
admitted, it often proves difficult to find the key. There is also
a printing press, where are prepared notices and prayers, as well as
copies of popular sûtras.

The food of the monks is strictly vegetarian, but they do not go round
with the begging bowl nor, except in a few monasteries, is it
forbidden to eat after midday. As a rule there are three meals, the
last about 6 p.m., and all must be eaten in silence. The three
garments prescribed by Indian Buddhism are still worn, but beneath
them are trousers, stockings, and shoes which are necessary in the
Chinese climate. There is no idea that it is wrong to sleep on a bed,
to receive presents or own property.

Two or three services are performed daily in the principal temple,
early in the morning, about 4 p.m., and sometimes in the middle of the
day. A specimen of this ritual may be seen in the service called by
Beal the Liturgy of Kuan Yin[885]. It consists of versicles, responses
and canticles, and, though strangely reminiscent both in structure and
externals (such as the wearing of vestments) of the offices of the
Roman Church[886], appears to be Indian in origin. I-Ching describes
the choral services which he attended in Nalanda and elsewhere--the
chanting, bowing, processions--and the Chinese ritual is, I think,
only the amplification of these ceremonies. It includes the
presentation of offerings, such as tea, rice and other vegetables. The
Chinese pilgrims testify that in India flowers, lights and incense
were offered to relics and images (as in Christian churches), and the
Bodhicaryâvatâra[887], one of the most spiritual of later Mahayanist
works, mentions offerings of food and drink as part of worship. Many
things in Buddhism lent themselves to such a transformation or parody
of earlier teaching. Offerings of food to hungry ghosts were
countenanced, and it was easy to include among the recipients other
spirits. It was meritorious to present food, raiment and property to
living saints: oriental, and especially Chinese, symbolism found
it natural to express the same devotion by offerings made before

In the course of most ceremonies, the monks make vows on behalf of all
beings and take oath to work for their salvation. They are also
expected to deliver and hear sermons and to engage in meditation. Some
of them superintend the education of novices which consists chiefly in
learning to read and repeat religious works. Quite recently elementary
schools for the instruction of the laity have been instituted in some

The regularity of convent life is broken by many festivals. The year
is divided into two periods of wandering, two of meditation and one of
repose corresponding to the old Vassa. Though this division has become
somewhat theoretical, it is usual for monks to set out on excursions
in the spring and autumn. In each month there are six fasts, including
the two uposatha days. On these latter the 250 rules of the
Prâtimoksha are recited in a refectory or side hall and subsequently
the fifty-eight rules of the Fan-wang-ching are recited with greater
ceremony in the main temple.

Another class of holy days includes the birthdays[889] not only of
Sâkya-muni, but of other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the anniversaries
of events in Sâkya-muni's life and the deaths of Bodhidharma and other
Saints, among whom the founder or patron of each monastery has a
prominent place. Another important and popular festival is called
Yü-lan-pên or All Souls' day, which is an adaptation of Buddhist
usages to Chinese ancestral worship. Of many other festivals it may be
said that they are purely Chinese but countenanced by Buddhism: such
are the days which mark the changes of the seasons, those sacred to
Kuan-ti and other native deities, and (before the revolution) imperial

The daily services are primarily for the monks, but the laity may
attend them, if they please. More frequently they pay their devotions
at other hours, light a few tapers and too often have recourse to some
form of divination before the images. Sometimes they defray the
cost of more elaborate ceremonies to expiate sins or ensure
prosperity. But the lay attendance in temples is specially large at
seasons of pilgrimage. For an account of this interesting side of
Chinese religious life I cannot do better than refer the reader to Mr.
Johnston's volume already cited.

Though the services of the priesthood may be invoked at every crisis
of life, they are most in requisition for funeral ceremonies. A
detailed description of these as practised at Amoy has been given by
De Groot[890] which is probably true in essentials for all parts of
China. These rites unite in incongruous confusion several orders of
ideas. Pre-Buddhist Chinese notions of the life after death seem not
to have included the idea of hell. The disembodied soul is honoured
and comforted but without any clear definition of its status. Some
representative--a person, figure, or tablet--is thought capable of
giving it a temporary residence and at funeral ceremonies offerings
are made to such a representative and plays performed before it.
Though Buddhist language may be introduced into this ritual, its
spirit is alien to even the most corrupt Buddhism.

Buddhism familiarized China with the idea that the average man stands
in danger of purgatory and this doctrine cannot be described as late
or Mahayanist[891]. Those epithets are, however, merited by the
subsidiary doctrine that such punishment can be abridged by vicarious
acts of worship which may take the form of simple prayer addressed to
benevolent beings who can release the tortured soul. More often the
idea underlying it is that the recitation of certain formulæ acquires
merit for the reciter who can then divert this merit to any
purpose[892]. This is really a theological refinement of the ancient
and widespread notion that words have magic force. Equally ancient and
unBuddhist in origin is the theory of sympathetic magic. Just as by
sticking pins into a wax figure you may kill the person represented,
so by imitating physical operations of rescue, you may deliver a soul
from the furnaces and morasses of hell. Thus a paper model of
hades is made which is knocked to pieces and finally burnt: the spirit
is escorted with music and other precautions over a mock bridge, and,
most singular of all, the priests place over a receptacle of water a
special machine consisting of a cylinder containing a revolving
apparatus which might help a creature immersed in the fluid to climb
up. This strange mummery is supposed to release those souls who are
condemned to sojourn in a pool of blood[893]. This, too, is a
superstition countenanced only by Chinese Buddhism, for the punishment
is incurred not so much by sinners as by those dying of illnesses
which defile with blood. Many other rites are based on the notion that
objects--or their paper images--ceremonially burnt are transmitted to
the other world for the use of the dead. Thus representations in paper
of servants, clothes, furniture, money and all manner of things are
burned together with the effigy of the deceased and sometimes also
certificates and passports giving him a clean bill of health for the
Kingdom of Heaven.

As in funeral rites, so in matters of daily life, Buddhism gives its
countenance and help to popular superstition, to every kind of charm
for reading the future, securing happiness and driving away evil
spirits. In its praise may be said that this patronage, though far too
easy going, is not extended to cruel or immoral customs. But the
reader will ask, is there no brighter side? I believe that there is,
but it is not conspicuous and, as in India, public worship and temple
ritual display the lower aspects of religion. But in China a devout
Buddhist is generally a good man and the objects of Buddhist
associations are praiseworthy and philanthropic. They often include
vegetarianism and abstinence from alcohol and drugs. The weakness of
the religion to-day is no doubt the want of intelligence and energy
among the clergy. There are not a few learned and devout monks, but
even devotion is not a characteristic of the majority. On the other
hand, those of the laity who take their religion seriously generally
attain a high standard of piety and there have been attempts to
reform Buddhism, to connect it with education and to spread a
knowledge of the more authentic scriptures[894].

When one begins to study Buddhism in China, one fears it may be
typified by the neglected temples on the outskirts of Peking, sullen
and mouldering memorials of dynasties that have passed away. But later
one learns not only that there are great and nourishing monasteries in
the south, but that even in Peking one may often step through an
archway into courtyards of which the prosaic streets outside give no
hint and find there refreshment for the eye and soul, flower gardens
and well-kept shrines tended by pious and learned guardians.


[Footnote 855: [Chinese: ] For a specimen of devotional literature
about the heart see the little tract translated in China Branch,
_R.A.S._ XXIII. pp. 9-22.]

[Footnote 856: [Chinese: ] For text translation and commentary, see
De Groot, _Code du Mahâyâna en Chine_, 1893, see also Nanjio, No.

[Footnote 857: De Groot, p. 81.]

[Footnote 858: The identity of name seems due to a similarity of
metaphor. The Brahmajâla sutta is a net of many meshes to catch all
forms of error. The Fan-wang-ching compares the varieties of Buddhist
opinion to the meshes of a net (De Groot, _l.c._ p. 26), but the net
is the all-inclusive common body of truth.]

[Footnote 859: See, however, sections 20 and 39.]

[Footnote 860: See especially De Groot, _l.c._ p. 58, where the
reading of the Abhidharma is forbidden. Though this name is not
confined to the Hînayâna, A-pi-t'an in Chinese seems to be rarely used
as a title of Mahayanist books.]

[Footnote 861: The Indian words are transliterated in the Chinese

[Footnote 862: More accurately reading the sûtras on their behalf, but
this exercise is practically equivalent to intercessory prayer.]

[Footnote 863: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 864: The full title is [Chinese: ] Pai Chang is apparently
to be taken as the name of the author, but it is the designation of a
monastery used as a personal name. See Hackmann in _T'oung Pao_, 1908,
pp. 651-662. It is No. 1642 in Nanjio's Catalogue. He says that it has
been revised and altered.]

[Footnote 865: See _T'oung Pao_, 1904, pp. 437 ff.]

[Footnote 866: It is probable that the older Chinese monasteries
attempted to reproduce the arrangement of Nâlanda and other Indian
establishments. Unfortunately Hsüan Chuang and the other pilgrims give
us few details as to the appearance of Indian monasteries: they tell
us, however, that they were surrounded by a wall, that the monks'
quarters were near this wall, that there were halls where choral
services were performed and that there were triads of images. But the
Indian buildings had three stories. See Chavannes, _Mémoire sur les
Religieux Eminents_, 1894, p. 85.]

[Footnote 867: [Chinese: ] or [Chinese: ] For this personage see the
article in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1916. No. 3, by Péri who identifies him with
Wei, the general of the Heavenly Kings who appeared to Tao Hsüan the
founder of the Vinaya school and became popular as a protecting deity
of Buddhism. The name is possibly a mistaken transcription of

[Footnote 868: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 869: [Chinese: ] See Lévi and Chavannes' two articles in
_J.A._ 1916, I and II, and Watters in _J.R.A.S._ 1898, p. 329, for an
account of these personages. The original number, still found in a few
Chinese temples as well as in Korea, Japan and Tibet was sixteen.
Several late sûtras contain the idea that the Buddha entrusted the
protection of his religion to four or sixteen disciples and bade them
not enter Nirvana but tarry until the advent of Maitreya. The
Ta-A-lo-han-nan-t'i-mi-to-lo-so-shuo-fa-chu-chi (Nanjio, 1466) is an
account of these sixteen disciples and of their spheres of influence.
The Buddha assigned to each a region within which it is his duty to
guard the faith. They will not pass from this life before the next
Buddha comes. Piṇḍola is the chief of them. Nothing is known of
the work cited except that it was translated in 654 by Hsüan Chuang,
who, according to Watters, used an earlier translation. As the Arhats
are Indian personalities, and their spheres are mapped out from the
point of view of Indian geography, there can be no doubt that we have
to do with an Indian idea, imported into Tibet as well as into China
where it became far more popular than it had ever been in India. The
two additional Arhats (who vary in different temples, whereas the
sixteen are fixed) appear to have been added during the T'ang dynasty
and, according to Watters, in imitation of a very select order of
merit instituted by the Emperor T'ai Tsung and comprising eighteen
persons. Chavannes and Lévi see in them spirits borrowed from the
popular pantheon.

Chinese ideas about the Lohans at the present day are very vague.
Their Indian origin has been forgotten and some of them have been
provided with Chinese biographies. (See Doré, p. 216.) One popular
story says that they were eighteen converted brigands.

In several large temples there are halls containing 500 images of
Arhats, which include many Chinese Emperors and one of them is often
pointed out as being Marco Polo. But this is very doubtful. See,
however, Hackmann, _Buddhismus_, p. 212.]

[Footnote 870: Generally they consist of Śâkya-muni and two
superhuman Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, such as O-mi-to (Amitâbha) and
Yo-shih-fo (Vaidûrya): Pi-lu-fo (Vairocana) and Lo-shih-fo (Lochana):
Wên-shu (Manjuś-ri) and P'u-hsien (Śamantabhadra). The common
European explanation that they are the Buddhas of the past, present
and future is not correct.]

[Footnote 871: [Chinese: ] and [Chinese: ]. For the importance of
Ti-tsang in popular Buddhism, which has perhaps been underestimated,
see Johnston, chap. VII.]

[Footnote 872: I speak of the Old Imperial Government which came to an
end in 1911.]

[Footnote 873: [Chinese: ]]

[Footnote 874: De Groot, _l.c._ p.51.]

[Footnote 875: See Kern's translation, especially pp. 379 and 385.]

[Footnote 876: See Nanjio, Nos. 138 and 139. The practice is not
entirely unknown in the legends of Pali Buddhism. In the Lokapaññatti,
a work existing in Burma but perhaps translated from the Sanskrit,
Asoka burns himself in honour of the Buddha, but is miraculously
preserved. See _B.E.F.E.O._ 1904, pp. 421 and 427.]

[Footnote 877: See I-Tsing, _Records of the Buddhist Religion_, trans.
Takakusu, pp. 195 ff., and for Tibet, Waddell, _Buddhism of Tibet_, p.
178, note 3, from which it appears that it is only in Eastern Tibet
and probably under Chinese influence that branding is in vogue. For
apparent instances in Central Asian art, see Grünwedel, _Budd.
Kultst._ p. 23, note 1.]

[Footnote 878: Branding is common in many Hindu sects, especially the
Mâdhvas, but is reprobated by others.]

[Footnote 879: It is condemned as part of the superstition of Buddhism
in a memorial of Han Yü, 819 A.D.]

[Footnote 880: See those cited by De Groot, _l.c_. p. 228, and the
article of MacGowan (_Chinese Recorder_, 1888) there referred to. See
also Hackmann, _Buddhism as a Religion_, p. 228. Chinese sentiment
often approves suicide, for instance, if committed by widows or the
adherents of defeated princes. For a Confucian instance, see Johnston,
p. 341.]

[Footnote 881: See _e.g._ Du Bose, _The Dragon, Image and Demon_, p.
265. I have never seen such practices myself. See also _Paraphrase of
the Sacred Edict_, VII. 8.]

[Footnote 882: [Chinese: ] This word, which has no derivation in
Chinese, is thought to be a corruption of some vernacular form of the
Sanskrit Upâdhyâya current in Central Asia. See I-tsing, transl.
Takakusu, p. 118. Upâdhyâya became Vajjha (as is shown by the modern
Indian forms Ojha or Jha and Tamil Vâddyar). See Bloch in
_Indo-Germanischen Forschungen_, vol. XXV. 1909, p. 239. Vajjha might
become in Chinese Ho-sho or Ho-shang for Ho sometimes represents the
Indian syllable _va_. See Julien, _Méthode_, p. 109, and Eitel,
_Handbook of Chinese Buddhism_, p. 195.]

[Footnote 883: For details see Hackmann in _T'oung Pao_, 1908.]

[Footnote 884: They apparently correspond to the monastic lay servants
or "pure men" described by I-Ching, chap. XXXII, as living as

[Footnote 885: _A Catena of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese_, pp.
339 ff.]

[Footnote 886: The abbot and several upper priests wear robes, which
are generally red and gold, during the service. The abbot also carries
a sort of sceptre. The vestments of the clergy are said to be derived
from the robes of honour which used to be given to them when they
appeared at Court.]

[Footnote 887: II. 16. Cf. the rituals in De la Vallée Poussin's
_Bouddhisme et Matériaux_, pp. 214 ff. Târanâtha frequently mentions
burnt offerings as part of worship in medieval Magadha.]

[Footnote 888: I do not refer to the practice of turning disused
temples into schools which is frequent. In some monasteries the monks,
while retaining possession, have themselves opened schools.]

[Footnote 889: It is not clear to me what is really meant by the
_birthdays_ of beings like Maitreya and Amitâbha.]

[Footnote 890: _Actes du Sixième Congres des Orientalistes_, Leide,
1883, sec. IV. pp. 1-120.]

[Footnote 891: _E.g._ in Dipavamsa, XIII; Mahâv. XIV. Mahinda is
represented as converting Ceylon by accounts of the terrors of the
next world.]

[Footnote 892: The merit of good deeds can be similarly utilized. The
surviving relatives feed the poor or buy and maintain for the rest of
its life an animal destined to slaughter. The merit then goes to the

[Footnote 893: It may possibly be traceable to Manichæism which taught
that souls are transferred from one sphere to another by a sort of
cosmic water wheel. See Cumont's article, "La roue à puiser les âmes
du Manichéisme" in _Rev. de l'Hist, des Religions_, 1915, p. 384.
Chavannes and Pelliot have shown that traces of Manichæism lingered
long in Fu-Kien. The metaphor of the endless chain of buckets is also
found in the Yüan Jên Lun.]

[Footnote 894: See Francke, "Ein Buddhistischer Reformversuch in
China," _T'oung Pao_, 1909, pp. 567-602.]



The Buddhism of Korea cannot be sharply distinguished from the
Buddhism of China and Japan. Its secluded mountain monasteries have
some local colour, and contain halls dedicated to the seven stars and
the mountain gods of the land. And travellers are impressed by the
columns of rock projecting from the soil and carved into images
(miriok), by the painted walls of the temples and by the huge
rolled-up pictures which are painted and displayed on festival days.
But there is little real originality in art: in literature and
doctrine none at all. Buddhism started in Korea with the same
advantages as in China and Japan but it lost in moral influence
because the monks continually engaged in politics and it did not win
temporal power because they were continually on the wrong side. Yet
Korea is not without importance in the annals of far-eastern Buddhism
for, during the wanderings and vicissitudes of the faith, it served as
a rest-house and depot. It was from Korea that Buddhism first entered
Japan: when, during the wars of the five dynasties the T'ien-t'ai
school was nearly annihilated in China, it was revived by a Korean
priest and the earliest extant edition of the Chinese Tripitaka is
known only by a single copy preserved in Korea and taken thence to

For our purposes Korean history may be divided into four periods:

      I. The three States (B.C. 57-A.D. 668).
     II. The Kingdom of Silla (668-918).
    III. The Kingdom of Korye (918-1392).
     IV. The Kingdom of Chosen (1392-1910).

The three states were Koguryu in the north, Pakche in the south-west
and Silla in the south-east[896]. Buddhism, together with Chinese
writing, entered Koguryu from the north in 372 and Pakche from the
south a few years later. Silla being more distant and at war with the
other states did not receive it till about 424. In 552 both Japan and
Pakche were at war with Silla and the king of Pakche, wishing to make
an alliance with the Emperor of Japan sent him presents which included
Buddhist books and images. Thus Korea was the intermediary for
introducing Buddhism, writing, and Chinese culture into Japan, and
Korean monks played an important part there both in art and religion.
But the influence of Korea must not be exaggerated. The Japanese
submitted to it believing that they were acquiring the culture of
China and as soon as circumstances permitted they went straight to the
fountain head. The principal early sects were all imported direct from

The kingdom of Silla, which became predominant in the seventh century,
had adopted Buddhism in 528, and maintained friendly intercourse with
the T'ang dynasty. As in Japan Chinese civilization was imitated
wholesale. This tendency strengthened Buddhism at the time, but its
formidable rival Confucianism was also introduced early in the eighth
century, although it did not become predominant until the

In the seventh century the capital of Silla was a centre of Buddhist
culture and also of trade. Merchants from India, Tibet and Persia are
said to have frequented its markets and several Korean pilgrims
visited India.

In 918 the Wang dynasty, originating in a northern family of humble
extraction, overthrew the kingdom of Silla and with it the old Korean
aristocracy. This was replaced by an official nobility modelled on
that of China: the Chinese system of examinations was adopted and a
class of scholars grew up. But with this attempt to reconstruct
society many abuses appeared. The number of slaves greatly
increased[898], and there were many hereditary low castes, the
members of which were little better than slaves. Only the higher
castes could compete in examinations or hold office and there were
continual struggles and quarrels between the military and civil
classes. Buddhism flourished much as it flourished in the Hei-an
period of Japan, but its comparative sterility reflected the inferior
social conditions of Korea. Festivals were celebrated by the Court
with great splendour: magnificent monasteries were founded: the bonzes
kept troops and entered the capital armed: the tutor of the heir
apparent and the chancellor of the kingdom were often ecclesiastics,
and a law is said to have been enacted to the effect that if a man had
three sons one of them must become a monk. But about 1250 the
influence of the Sung Confucianists began to be felt. The bonzes were
held responsible for the evils of the time, for the continual feuds,
exactions and massacres, and the civil nobility tended to become
Confucianist and to side against the church and the military. The
inevitable outburst was delayed but also rendered more disastrous when
it came by the action of the Mongols who, as in China, were patrons of
Buddhism. The Yüan dynasty invaded Korea, placed regents in the
principal towns and forced the Korean princes to marry Mongol wives.
It was from Korea that Khubilai despatched his expeditions against
Japan, and in revenge the Japanese harried the Korean coast throughout
the fourteenth century. But so long as the Yüan dynasty lasted the
Korean Court which had become Mongol remained faithful to it and to
Buddhism; when it was ousted by the Ming, a similar movement soon
followed in Korea. The Mongolized dynasty of Korye was deposed and
another, which professed to trace its lineage back to Silla, mounted
the throne and gave the country the name of Chosen.

This revolution was mainly the work of the Confucianist party in the
nobility and it was not unnatural that patriots and reformers should
see in Buddhism nothing but the religion of the corrupt old regime of
the Mongols. During the next century and a half a series of
restrictive measures, sometimes amounting to persecution, were applied
to it. Two kings who dared to build monasteries and favour bonzes were
deposed. Statues were melted down, Buddhist learning was forbidden:
marriages and burials were performed according to the rules of
Chu-hsi. About the beginning of the sixteenth century (the date is
variously given as 1472 and 1512 and perhaps there was more than
one edict) the monasteries in the capital and all cities were closed
and this is why Korean monasteries are all in the country and often in
almost inaccessible mountains. It is only since the Japanese
occupation that temples have been built in towns.

At first the results of the revolution were beneficial. The great
families were compelled to discharge their body-guards whose
collisions had been a frequent cause of bloodshed. The public finances
and military forces were put into order. Printing with moveable type
and a phonetic alphabet were brought into use and vernacular
literature began to flourish. But in time the Confucian literati
formed a sort of corporation and became as troublesome as the bonzes
had been. The aristocracy split into two hostile camps and Korean
politics became again a confused struggle between families and
districts in which progress and even public order became impossible.
For a moment, however, there was a national cause. This was when
Hideyoshi invaded Korea in 1592 as part of his attack on China. The
people rose against the Japanese troops and, thanks to the death of
Hideyoshi rather than to their own valour, got rid of them. It is said
that in this struggle the bonzes took part as soldiers fighting under
their abbots and that the treaty of peace was negotiated by a Korean
and a Japanese monk[899].

Nevertheless it does not appear that Buddhism enjoyed much
consideration in the next three centuries. The Hermit Kingdom, as it
has been called, became completely isolated and stagnant nor was there
any literary or intellectual life except the mechanical study of the
Chinese classics. Since the annexation by Japan (1910) conditions have
changed and Buddhism is encouraged. Much good work has been done in
collecting and reprinting old books, preserving monuments and copying
inscriptions. The monasteries were formerly under the control of
thirty head establishments or sees, with somewhat conflicting
interests. But about 1912 these thirty sees formed a union under a
president who resides in Seoul and holds office for a year. A
theological seminary also has been founded and a Buddhist magazine is


[Footnote 895: See various articles in the _Trans. of the Korean
Branch of the R.A.S._, and F. Starr, _Korean Buddhism_. Also M.
Courant, _Bibliographie coréenne_, especially vol. III. chap. 2.]

[Footnote 896: The orthography of these three names varies
considerably. The Japanese equivalents are Koma, Kudara and Shiragi.
There are also slight variations in the dates given for the
introduction of Buddhism into various states. It seems probable that
Mârânanda and Mukocha, the first missionaries to Pakche and Silla were
Hindus or natives of Central Asia who came from China and some of the
early art of Silla is distinctly Indian in style. See Starr, _l.c._
plates VIII and IX.]

[Footnote 897: These dates are interesting, as reflecting the changes
of thought in China. In the sixth century Chinese influence meant
Buddhism. It is not until the latter part of the Southern Sung, when
the philosophy of Chu-hsi had received official approval, that
Chinese influence meant Confucianism.]

[Footnote 898: The reasons were many, but the upper classes were
evidently ready to oppress the lower. Poor men became the slaves of
the rich to obtain a livelihood. All children of slave women were
declared hereditary slaves and so were the families of criminals.]

[Footnote 899: These statements are taken from Maurice Courant's
Epitome of Korean History in Madrolle's _Guide to North China_, p.
428. I have not been successful in verifying them in Chinese or
Japanese texts. See, however, Starr, _Korean Buddhism_, pp. 29-30.]



The modern territory called Annam includes the ancient Champa, and it
falls within the French political sphere which includes Camboja. Of
Champa I have treated elsewhere in connection with Camboja, but Annam
cannot be regarded as the heir of this ancient culture. It represents
a southward extension of Chinese influence, though it is possible that
Buddhism may have entered it in the early centuries of our era either
by sea or from Burma.

At the present day that part of the French possessions which occupies
the eastern coast of Asia is divided into Tonkin, Annam and Cochin
China. The Annamites are predominant in all three provinces and the
language and religion of all are the same, except that Cochin China
has felt the influence of Europe more strongly than the others. But
before the sixteenth century the name Annam meant rather Tonkin and
the northern portion of modern Annam, the southern portion being the
now vanished kingdom of Champa.

Until the tenth century A.D.[900] Annam in this sense was a part of
the Chinese Empire, although it was occasionally successful in
asserting its temporary independence. In the troubled period which
followed the downfall of the T'ang dynasty this independence became
more permanent. An Annamite prince founded a kingdom called
Dai-cô-viêt[901] and after a turbulent interval there arose the Li
dynasty which reigned for more than two centuries (1009-1226 A.D.). It
was under this dynasty that the country was first styled An-nam:
previously the official designation of the land or its inhabitants was
Giao-Chi[902]. The Annamites were at this period a considerable
military power, though their internal administration appears to have
been chaotic. They were occasionally at war with China, but as a rule
were ready to send complimentary embassies to the Emperor. With
Champa, which was still a formidable antagonist, there was a continual
struggle. Under the Tran dynasty (1225-1400) the foreign policy of
Annam followed much the same lines. A serious crisis was created by
the expedition of Khubilai Khan in 1285, but though the Annamites
suffered severely at the beginning of the invasion, they did not lose
their independence and their recognition of Chinese suzerainty
remained nominal. In the south the Chams continued hostilities and,
after the loss of some territory, invoked the aid of China with the
result that the Chinese occupied Annam. They held it, however, only
for five years (1414-1418).

In 1428 the Li dynasty came to the throne and ruled Annam at least in
name until the end of the eighteenth century. At first they proved
vigorous and capable; they organized the kingdom in provinces and
crushed the power of Champa. But after the fifteenth century the kings
became merely titular sovereigns and Annamite history is occupied
entirely with the rivalry of the two great families, Trinh and Nguyen,
who founded practically independent kingdoms in Tonkin and
Cochin-China respectively. In 1802 a member of the Nguyen family made
himself Emperor of all Annam but both he and his successors were
careful to profess themselves vassals of China.

Thus it will be seen that Annam was at no time really detached from
China. In spite of political independence it always looked towards the
Chinese Court and though complimentary missions and nominal vassalage
seem unimportant, yet they are significant as indicating admiration
for Chinese institutions. Between Champa and Annam on the other hand
there was perpetual war: in the later phases of the contest the
Annamites appear as invaders and destroyers. They seem to have
disliked the Chams and were not disposed to imitate them. Hence it is
natural that Champa, so long as it existed as an independent kingdom,
should mark the limit of _direct_ Indian influence on the mainland of
Eastern Asia, though afterwards Camboja became the limit. By direct, I
do not mean to exclude the possibility of transmission through Java or
elsewhere, but by whatever route Indian civilization came to
Champa, it brought its own art, alphabet and language, such
institutions as caste and forms of Hinduism and Buddhism which had
borrowed practically nothing from non-Indian sources. In Annam, on the
other hand, Chinese writing and, for literary purposes, a form of the
Chinese language were in use: the arts, customs and institutions were
mainly Chinese: whatever Buddhism can be found was imported from China
and is imperfectly distinguished from Taoism: of Hinduism there are
hardly any traces[903].

The Buddhism of Annam is often described as corrupt and decadent.
Certainly it would be vain to claim for it that its doctrine and
worship are even moderately pure or primitive, but it cannot be said
to be moribund. The temples are better kept and more numerously
attended than in China and there are also some considerable
monasteries. As in China very few except the monks are exclusive
Buddhists and even the monks have no notion that the doctrines of
Lao-tzŭ and Confucius are different from Buddhism. The religion of
the ordinary layman is a selection made according to taste from a mass
of beliefs and observances traceable to several distinct sources,
though no Annamite is conscious that there is anything incongruous in
this heterogeneous combination. This fusion of religions, which is
more complete even than in China, is illustrated by the temples of
Annam which are of various kinds[904]. First we have the Chua or
Buddhist temples, always served by bonzes or nuns. They consist of
several buildings of which the principal contains an altar bearing a
series of images arranged on five or six steps, which rise like the
tiers of a theatre. In the front row there is usually an image of the
infant Śâkyamuni and near him stand figures of At-nan (Ănanda)
and Muc-Lien (Maudgalyâyana). On the next stage are Taoist deities
(the Jade Emperor, the Polar Star, and the Southern Star) and on the
higher stages are images representing (_a_) three Buddhas[905] with
attendants, (_b_) the Buddhist Triratna and (_c_) the three
religions, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. But the arrangement of
the images is subject to much variation and the laity hardly know who
are the personages represented. At side altars there are generally
statues of Quan-Am, guardian deities, eminent bonzes and other
worthies. Representations of hell are also common. Part of the temple
is generally set apart for women who frequent it in the hope of
obtaining children by praying to Quan-Am and other goddesses. Buddhist
literature is sometimes printed in these Chua and such works as the
Amitâyurdhyânasûtra and collections of Dhâraṇîs are commonly placed
on the altars.

Quan-Am (Kuan-Yin) is a popular deity and the name seems to be given
to several goddesses. They would probably be described as incarnations
of Avalokita, if any Annamite were to define his beliefs (which is not
usual), but they are really legendary heroines who have left a
reputation for superhuman virtue. One was a daughter of the Emperor
Chuang of the Chou dynasty. Another (Quan-Am-Thi-Kinh), represented as
sitting on a rock and carrying a child in her arms, was a much
persecuted lady who passed part of her life disguised as a bonze. A
third form, Quan-Am-Toa-Son, she who dwells on the mountains, has an
altar in nearly every temple and is specially worshipped by women who
wish for sons. At Hanoi there is a small temple, rising on one column
out of the water near the shore of a lake, like a lotus in a tank,
and containing a brass image of Quan-Am with eight arms, which is
evidently of Indian origin. Sometimes popular heroines such as Cao
Tien, a princess who was drowned, are worshipped without (it would
seem) being identified with Quan-Am.

But besides the Chua there are at least three other kinds of religious
edifices: (i) Dinh. These are municipal temples dedicated to beings
commonly called genii by Europeans, that is to say, superhuman
personages, often, but not always, departed local worthies, who for
one reason or another are supposed to protect and supervise a
particular town or village. The Dinh contains a council room as well
as a shrine and is served by laymen. The genius is often represented
by an empty chair and his name must not be pronounced within the
temple. (ii) Taoist deities are sometimes worshipped in special
temples, but the Annamites do not seem to think that such worship is
antagonistic to Buddhism or even distinct from it. (iii) Temples
dedicated to Confucius (Van mien) are to be found in the towns, but
are generally open only on certain feast days, when they are visited
by officials. Sometimes altars dedicated to the sage may be found in
natural grottoes or other picturesque situations. Besides these
numerous elements, Annamite religion also includes the veneration of
ancestors and ceremonies such as the worship of Heaven and Earth
performed in imitation of the Court of Peking. To this must be added
many local superstitions in which the worship of animals, especially
the tiger, is prominent. But a further analysis of this composite
religion does not fall within my province.

There is little to be said about the history of Buddhism in Annam, but
native tradition places its introduction as late as the tenth
century[906]. Buddhist temples usually contain a statue of Phat
To[907] who is reported to have been the first adherent of the faith
and to have built the first pagoda. He was the tutor of the Emperor
Li-Thai-To who came to the throne in 1009. Phat-To may therefore have
been active in the middle of the tenth century and this agrees with
the statement that the Emperor Dinh Tien-Hoang Dê (968-979) was a
fervent Buddhist who built temples and did his best to make
converts[908]. One Emperor, Li Hué-Ton, abdicated and retired to a

The Annals of Annam[909] record a discussion which took place before
the Emperor Thai-Tôn (1433-1442) between a Buddhist and a sorcerer.
Both held singularly mixed beliefs but recognized the Buddha as a
deity. The king said that he could not decide between the two sects,
but gave precedence to the Buddhists.


[Footnote 900: The dates given are 111 B.C.-939 A.D.]

[Footnote 901: French scholars use a great number of accents and even
new forms of letters to transcribe Annamite, but since this language
has nothing to do with the history of Buddhism or Hinduism and the
accurate orthography is very difficult to read, I have contented
myself with a rough transcription.]

[Footnote 902: This is the common orthography, but Chiao Chih would be
the spelling according to the system of transliterating Chinese
adopted in this book.]

[Footnote 903: It is said that the story of the Râmâyana is found in
Annamite legends (_B.E.F.E.O._ 1905, p. 77), and in one or two places
the Annamites reverence statues of Indian deities.]

[Footnote 904: The most trustworthy account of Annamite religion is
perhaps Dumoutier, _Les Cultes Annamites_, Hanoi, 1907. It was
published after the author's death and consists of a series of notes
rather than a general description. See also Diguet, _Les Annamites_,
1906, especially chap. VI.]

[Footnote 905: Maitreya is called Ri-lac = Chinese Mi-le. The
equivalence of the syllables _ri_ and _mi_ seems strange, but certain.
Cf. A-ri-da = Amida or O-mi-to.]

[Footnote 906: Pelliot (Meou-Tseu, traduit et annoté, in _T'oung Pao_,
vol. XIX. p. 1920) gives reasons for thinking that Buddhism was
prevalent in Tonkin in the early centuries of our era, but, if so, it
appears to have decayed and been reintroduced. Also at this time
Chiao-Chih may have meant Kuang-tung.]

[Footnote 907: Diguet, _Les Annamites_, p. 303.]

[Footnote 908: Maybon et Russier, _L'Histoire d'Annam_, p. 45.]

[Footnote 909: Dumoutier, _Les Cultes Annamites_, p. 58.]




The religion of Tibet and Mongolia, often called Lamaism, is probably
the most singular form of Buddhism in existence and has long attracted
attention in Europe on account of its connection with politics and its
curious resemblance to the Roman Church in ritual as well as in
statecraft. The pontiffs and curia of Lhasa emulated the authority of
the medieval papacy, so that the Mings and Manchus in China as well as
the British in India had to recognize them as a considerable power.

Tibet had early relations with Kashmir, Central Asia and China which
may all have contributed something to its peculiar civilization, but
its religion is in the main tantric Buddhism imported from Bengal and
invigorated from time to time by both native and Indian reformers. But
though almost every feature of Lamaism finds a parallel somewhere in
India, yet too great insistence on its source and historical
development hardly does justice to the originality of the Tibetans.
They borrowed a foreign faith wholesale, but still the relative
emphasis which they laid on its different aspects was something new.
They had only a moderate aptitude for asceticism, meditation and
metaphysics, although they manfully translated huge tomes of Sanskrit
philosophy, but they had a genius for hierarchy, discipline and
ecclesiastical polity unknown to the Hindus. Thus taking the common
Asiatic idea that great and holy men are somehow divine, they made it
the principle of civil and sacerdotal government by declaring the
prelates of the church to be deities incarnate. Yet in strange
contrast to these practical talents, a certain innate devilry made
them exaggerate all the magical, terrifying and demoniac elements to
be found in Indian Tantrism.

The extraordinary figures of raging fiends which fill Tibetan shrines
suggest at first that the artists simply borrowed and made more
horrible the least civilized fancies of Indian sculpture, yet the
majesty of Tibetan architecture (for, judging by the photographs of
Lhasa and Tashilhumpo, it deserves no less a name) gives another
impression. The simplicity of its lines and the solid, spacious walls
unadorned by carving recall Egypt rather than India and harmonize not
with the many-limbed demons but with the calm and dignified features
of the deified priests who are also portrayed in these halls.

An atmosphere of mystery and sorcery has long hung about the
mountainous regions which lie to the north of India. Hindus and
Chinese alike saw in them the home of spirits and wizards, and the
grand but uncanny scenery of these high plateaux has influenced the
art and ideas of the natives. The climate made it natural that priests
should congregate in roomy strongholds, able to defy the cold and
contain the stores necessary for a long winter, and the massive walls
seem to imitate the outline of the rocks out of which they grow. But
the strange shapes assumed by mists and clouds, often dyed many
colours by the rising or setting sun, suggest to the least imaginative
mind an aerial world peopled by monstrous and magical figures. At
other times, when there is no fog, distant objects seem in the still,
clear atmosphere to be very near, until the discovery that they are
really far away produces a strange feeling that they are unreal and

In discussing this interesting faith, I shall first treat of its
history and then of the sacred books on which it professes to be
based. In the light of this information it will be easier to
understand the doctrines of Lamaism and I shall finally say something
about its different sects, particularly as there is reason to think
that the strength of the Established Church, of which the Grand Lama
is head, has been exaggerated.


TIBET (_continued_)


It is generally stated that Buddhism was first preached in Tibet at
the instance of King Srong-tsan-gam-po[910] who came to the throne in
629 A.D. Some legendary notices of its earlier appearance[911] will
bear the natural interpretation that the Tibetans (like the Chinese)
had heard something about it from either India or Khotan before they
invited instructors to visit them[912].

At this time Tibet played some part in the politics of China and
northern India. The Emperor Harsha and the T'ang Emperor T'ai Tsung
exchanged embassies but a second embassy sent from China arrived after
Harsha's death and a usurper who had seized the throne refused to
receive it. The Chinese with the assistance of the kings of Tibet and
Nepal dethroned him and carried him off captive. There is therefore
nothing improbable in the story that Srong-tsan-gam-po had two wives,
who were princesses of Nepal and China respectively. He was an active
ruler, warlike but progressive, and was persuaded by these two ladies
that Buddhism was a necessary part of civilization. According to
tradition he sent to India a messenger called Thonmi Sanbhota, who
studied there for several years, adapted a form of Indian writing to
the use of his native language and translated the Karaṇḍa Vyûha.
Recent investigators however have advanced the theory that the Tibetan
letters are derived from the alphabet of Indian origin used in Khotan
and that Sanbhota made its acquaintance in Kashmir[913]. Though the
king and his two wives are now regarded as the first patrons of
Lamaism and worshipped as incarnations of Avalokita and Târâ, it does
not appear that his direct religious activity was great or that he
built monasteries. But his reign established the foundations of
civilization without which Buddhism could hardly have flourished, he
to some extent unified Central Tibet, he chose the site of Lhasa as
the capital and introduced the rudiments of literature and art. But
after his death in 650 we hear little more of Buddhism for some

About 705 King Khri-gtsug-lde-btsan is said to have built monasteries,
caused translations to be made, and summoned monks from Khotan. His
efforts bore little fruit, for no Tibetans were willing to take the
vows, but the edict of 783 preserved in Lhasa mentions his zeal for
religion, and he prepared the way for Khri-sroṇ-lde-btsan in whose
reign Padma-Sambhava, the real founder of Lamaism, arrived in

This event is said to have occurred in 747 and the epoch is
noticeable for two reasons. Firstly Tibet, which had become an
important military power, was now brought into contact both in peace
and war with China and Central Asia. It was predominant in the Tarim
Basin and ruled over parts of Ssŭ-chuan and Yunnan. China was
obliged to pay tribute and when it was subsequently refused the
Tibetans sacked the capital, Chang-an. In 783 China made a treaty of
peace with Tibet. The king was the son of a Chinese princess and thus
blood as well as wide experience disposed him to open Tibet to foreign
ideas. But in 747 relations with China were bad, so he turned towards
India and invited to his Court a celebrated Pandit named
Śântarakshita, who advised him to send for Padma-Sambhava.

Secondly this was the epoch when Amogha flourished in China and
introduced the Mantrayâna system or Chên Yen. This was the same form
of corrupt Buddhism which was brought to Tibet and was obviously the
dominant sect in India in the eighth century. It was pliant and
amalgamated easily with local observances, in China with funeral
rites, in Tibet with demonolatry.

At this time Padma-Sambhava was one of the most celebrated exponents
of Tantric Buddhism, and in Tibet is often called simply the Teacher
(Guru or Mahâcârya). His portraits represent him as a man of strongly
marked and rather angry features, totally unlike a conventional monk.
A popular account of his life[915] is still widely read and may
contain some grains of history, though the narrative as a whole is
fantastic. It describes him as born miraculously in Udyâna but as
having studied at Bodhgaya and travelled in many regions with the
intention of converting all the world. According to his plan, the
conversion of his native land was to be his last labour, and when he
had finished his work in Tibet he vanished thither miraculously. Thus
Udyâna is not represented as the source and home of Tantric Buddhism
but as being like Tibet a land of magic and mystery but, like
Tibet, needing conversion: both are disposed to welcome Tantric ideas
but those ideas are elaborated by Padma-Sambhava not in Udyâna but in
Bengal which from other sources we know to have been a centre of

Some other points of interest in these legends may be noticed.
Padma-Sambhava is not celibate but is accompanied by female
companions. He visits many countries which worship various deities and
for each he has a new teaching suited to its needs. Thus in Tibet,
where the older religion consisted of defensive warfare against the
attacks of evil spirits[916], he assumes the congenial character of a
victorious exorcist, and in his triumphant progress subdues local
demons as methodically as if he were suppressing the guerilla warfare
of native tribes. He has new revelations called Terma which he hides
in caves to be discovered by his successors. These revelations are
said to have been in an unknown language[917]. Those at present
existing are in Tibetan but differ from the canonical scriptures in
certain orthographical peculiarities. The legend thus admits that
Padma-Sambhava preached a non-celibate and magical form of Buddhism,
ready to amalgamate with local superstitions and needing new
revelations for its justification.

He built the monastery of Samye[918] about thirty miles from Lhasa on
the model of Odantapuri in Bengal. Śântarakshita became abbot and
from this period dates the foundation of the order of Lamas[919]. Mara
(Thse Ma-ra) was worshipped as well as the Buddhas, but however
corrupt the cultus may have been, Samye was a literary centre where
many translations were made. Among the best known translators was a
monk from Kashmir named Vairocana[920]. It would appear however that
there was considerable opposition to the new school not only from
the priests of the old native religion but from Chinese

Numerous Tibetan documents discovered in the Tarim basin[922] date
from this period. The absence in them of Buddhist personal names and
the rarity of direct references to Buddhism indicate that though known
in Tibet it was not yet predominant. Buddhist priests (ban-de) are
occasionally mentioned but the title Lama has not been found. The
usages of the Bonpo religion seem familiar to the writers and there
are allusions to religious struggles.

When Padma-Sambhava vanished from Tibet, the legend says that he left
behind him twenty-five disciples, all of them magicians, who
propagated his teaching. At any rate it flourished in the reign of
Ralpachan (the grandson of Khri-sroṇ-lde-btsan). Monasteries
multiplied and received land and the right to collect tithes. To each
monk was assigned a small revenue derived from five tenants and the
hierarchy was reorganized[923]. Many translators were at work in this
period and a considerable part of the present canon was then rendered
into Tibetan. The king's devotion to Buddhism was however unpopular
and he was murdered[924] apparently at the instigation of his brother
and successor Lang-dar-ma[925], who endeavoured to extirpate Lamaism.
Monasteries were destroyed, books burnt, Indian monks were driven out
of the country and many Lamas were compelled to become hunters or
butchers. But the persecution only lasted three years[926], for the
wicked king was assassinated by a Lama who has since been canonized by
the Church and the incident of his murder or punishment is still acted
in the mystery plays performed at Himis and other monasteries.

After the death of Lang-dar-ma Tibet ceased to exist as a united
kingdom and was divided among clans and chieftains. This was
doubtless connected with the collapse of Tibetan power in the Tarim
basin, but whether as effect or cause it is hard to say. The
persecution may have had a political motive: Lang-dar-ma may have
thought that the rise of monastic corporations, and their right to own
land and levy taxes were a menace to unity and military efficiency.
But the political confusion which followed on his death was not due to
the triumphant restoration of Lamaism. Its recovery was slow. The
interval during which Buddhism almost disappeared is estimated by
native authorities as from 73 to 108 years, and its subsequent revival
is treated as a separate period called phyi-dar or later diffusion in
contrast to the sṇa-dar or earlier diffusion. The silence of
ecclesiastical history during the tenth century confirms the gravity
of the catastrophe[927]. On the other hand the numerous translations
made in the ninth century were not lost and this indicates that there
were monasteries to preserve them, for instance Samye.

At the beginning of the eleventh century we hear of foreign monks arriving
from various countries. The chronicles[928] say that the chief workers in
the new diffusion were La-chen, Lo-chen, the royal Lama Yeśes Ḥod and
Atîśa. The first appears to have been a Tibetan but the pupil of a teacher
who had studied in Nepal. Lo-chen was a Kashmiri and several other
Kashmiri Lamas are mentioned as working in Tibet. Yeśes Ḥod was a king or
chieftain of mṄ̇̇̇̇̇̇̇̇̇a-ris in western Tibet who is said to have been
disgusted with the debased Tantrism which passed as Buddhism. He therefore
sent young Lamas to study in India and also invited thence learned monks.
The eminent Dharmapâla, a monk of Magadha who was on a pilgrimage in
Nepal, became his tutor. Yeśes Ḥod came to an unfortunate end. He was
taken captive by the Raja of Garlog, an enemy of Buddhism, and died in
prison. It is possible that this Raja was the ruler of Garhwal and a
Mohammedan. The political history of the period is far from clear, but
evidently there were numerous Buddhist schools in Bengal, Kashmir and
Nepal and numerous learned monks ready to take up their residence in
Tibet. This readiness has been explained as due to fear of the rising tide
of Islam, but was more probably the result of the revival of Buddhism in
Bengal during the eleventh century. The most illustrious of these pandits
was Atîśa[929] (980-1053), a native of Bengal, who was ordained at
Odontapuri and studied in Burma[930]. Subsequently he was appointed head
of the monastery of Vikramaśîla and was induced to visit Tibet in
1038[931]. He remained there until his death fifteen years later;
introduced a new calendar and inaugurated the second period of Tibetan
Buddhism which is marked by the rise of successive sects described as
reforms. It may seem a jest to call the teaching of Atîśa a reform, for he
professed the Kâlacakra, the latest and most corrupt form of Indian
Buddhism, but it was doubtless superior in discipline and coherency to the
native superstitions mixed with debased tantrism, which it replaced.

As in Japan during the eleventh and twelfth centuries many monasteries
were founded and grew in importance, and what might have happened in Japan
but for the somewhat unscrupulous prescience of Japanese statesmen
actually did happen in Tibet. Among the numerous contending chiefs none
was pre-eminent: the people were pugnacious but superstitious. They were
ready to build and respect when built the substantial structures required
to house monastic communities during the rigorous winter. Hence the
monasteries became the largest and safest buildings in the land,
possessing the double strength of walls and inviolability. The most
important was the Sakya monastery. Its abbots were of royal blood and not
celibate, and this dynasty of ecclesiastical statesmen practically ruled
Tibet at a critical period in the history of eastern Asia and indeed of
the world, namely, the conquests of Chinggiz[932] and the rise of the
Mongol Empire.

There is no evidence that Chinggiz was specially favourable to
Buddhism. His principle was one King and one God[933] and like other
princes of his race he thought of religions not as incompatible
systems but as different methods of worship of no more importance than
the different languages used in prayer. The destruction wrought by the
Mongol conquerors has often been noticed, but they had also an ample,
unifying temper which deserves recognition. China, Russia and Persia
all achieved a unity after the Mongol conquest which they did not
possess before, and though this unification may be described as a
protest and reaction, yet but for the Mongols and their treatment of
large areas as units it would not have been possible. The Mings could
not have united China before the Yüan dynasty as they did after it.

In spite of some statements to the contrary there is no proof that the
early Mongols invaded or conquered central Tibet, but Khubilai subdued
the eastern provinces and through the Lamaist hierarchy established a
special connection between Tibet and his dynasty. This connection
began even in the time of his predecessor, for the head Lama of the
Sakya monastery commonly known as Sakya Pandita (or Sa-skya-pan-cen)
was summoned to the Mongol Court in 1246-8, and cured the Emperor of
an illness[934]. This Lama was a man of great learning and influence.
He had received a double education both secular and religious, and was
acquainted with foreign languages. The favourable impression which he
created no doubt facilitated the brilliant achievements of his nephew
and successor, who is commonly known as Bashpa or Pagspa[935].

Khubilai Khan was not content with the vague theism of Central Asia
and wished to give his rude Mongols a definite religion with some
accessories of literature and manners. Confucianism was clearly too
scholastic for a fighting race and we may surmise that he rejected
Christianity as distant and unimportant, Mohammedanism as
inconveniently mixed with politics. But why did he prefer Lamaism to
Chinese Buddhism? The latter can hardly have been too austerely pure
to suit his ends, and Tibetan was as strange as Chinese to the
Mongols. But the Mongol Court had already been favourably impressed by
Tibetan Lamas and the Emperor probably had a just feeling that the
intellectual calibre of the Mongols and Tibetans was similar and also
that it was politic to conciliate the uncanny spiritual potentates who
ruled in a land which it was difficult to invade. At any rate he
summoned the abbot of Sakya to China in 1261 and was initiated by him
into the mysteries of Lamaism[936].

It is said that before Pagspa's birth the God Ganeśa showed his
father all the land of Tibet and told him that it would be the kingdom
of his son. In later life when he had difficulties at the Chinese
Court Mahâkâla appeared and helped him, and the mystery which he
imparted to Khubilai is called the Hevajravaśîtâ[937]. These
legends indicate that there was a large proportion of Sivaism in the
religion first taught to the Mongols, larger perhaps than in the
present Lamaism of Lhasa.

The Mongol historian Sanang Setsen relates[938] that Pagspa took a
higher seat than the Emperor when instructing him and on other
occasions sat on the same level. This sounds improbable, but it is
clear that he enjoyed great power and dignity. In China he received
the title of Kuo-Shih or instructor of the nation and was made the
head of all Buddhists, Lamaists and other. In Tibet he was recognized
as head of the Church and tributary sovereign, though it would appear
that the Emperor named a lay council to assist him in the government
and also had a commissioner in each of the three provinces. This was a
good political bargain and laid the foundations of Chinese influence
in a country which he could hardly have subdued by force.

Pagspa was charged by the Emperor to provide the Mongols with an
alphabet as well as a religion. For this purpose he used a square
form of the Tibetan letters[939], written not in horizontal but in
vertical lines. But the experiment was not successful. The characters
were neither easy to write nor graceful, and after Pagspa's death his
invention fell into disuse and was replaced by an enlarged and
modified form of the Uigur alphabet. This had already been employed
for writing Mongol by Sakya Pandita and its definitive form for that
purpose was elaborated by the Lama Chos-kyi-ḥod-zer in the reign of
Khubilai's successor. This alphabet is of Aramaic origin, and had
already been utilized by Buddhists for writing religious works, so its
application to Mongol was merely an extension of its general currency
in Asia[940].

Pagspa also superintended the preparation of a new edition of the
Tripitaka, not in Mongol but in Chinese. Among the learned editors
were persons acquainted with Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan and Uigur. An
interesting but natural feature of this edition is that it notes
whether the various Chinese texts are found in the Tibetan Canon or

Khubilai further instituted a bureau of fine arts, the head of which
was a Lama called Aniko, skilled in both sculpture and painting. He
and his Chinese pupil Liu Yüan introduced into Peking various branches
of Tibetan art such as Buddhist images of a special type, ornamental
ironwork and gold tapestry. The Chinese at this period appear to have
regarded Tibetan art as a direct importation from India[941]. And no
doubt Tibetan art was founded on that of Nepal which in its turn came
from Bengal. Miniature painting is a characteristic of both. But in
later times the individuality of Tibet, shown alike in its monstrous
deities and its life-like portraits of Lamas, imposed itself on Nepal.
Indian and Tibetan temples are not alike. In the former there is
little painting but the walls and pillars are covered with a
superabundance of figures carved in relief: in Tibet pictures and
painted banners are the first thing to strike the eye, but carvings in
relief are rare.

It is hard to say to what extent the Mongols beyond such parts of
northern China as felt the direct influence of the imperial court were
converted to Lamaism. At any rate their conversion was only temporary
for, as will be related below, a reconversion was necessary in the
sixteenth century. It looks as if the first growth of Mongolian
Buddhism was part of a political system and collapsed together with
it. But so long as the Yüan dynasty reigned, Lamaist influence was
strong and the downfall of the Yüan was partly caused by their
subservience to the clergy and extravagant expenditure on religious
buildings and ceremonies. After the departure of Pagspa, other Lamas
held a high position at the Court of Peking such as Chos-kyi-hod-zer
and gYuṇ-ston rDo-rje-dpal. The latter was a distinguished exponent
of the Kâlacakra system and the teacher of the historian Bu-ston who
is said to have arranged the Tibetan Canon.

Although the Yüan dynasty heaped favours upon priests and monasteries,
it does not appear that religion flourished in Tibet during the
fourteenth century for at the end of that period the grave abuses
prevalent provoked the reforming zeal of Tsong-kha-pa. Prom 1270 to
1340 the abbots of Sakya were rulers of both Church and State, and we
hear that in 1320 they burned the rival monastery of Dikung. The
language of Sanang Setsen implies that each abbot was appointed or
invested by the Emperor[942] and their power declined with the Yüan
dynasty. Other monasteries increased in importance and a chief known
as Phagmodu[943] succeeded, after many years of fighting, in founding
a lay dynasty which ruled parts of Tibet until the seventeenth

In 1368 the Ming superseded the Yüan. They were not professed
Buddhists to the same extent and they had no preference for Lamaism
but they were anxious to maintain good relations with Tibet and to
treat it as a friendly but vassal state. They accorded imperial
recognition (with an implication of suzerainty) to the dynasty of
Phagmodu and also to the abbots of eight monasteries. Though they were
doubtless glad to see Tibet a divided and contentious house, it does
not appear that they interfered actively in its affairs or did more
than recognize the _status quo_. In the time of Khubilai the
primacy of Sakya was a reality: seventy years later Sakya was only one
among several great monasteries.

The advent of the Ming dynasty coincided with the birth of
Tsong-kha-pa[944], the last reformer of Lamaism and organizer of the
Church as it at present exists. The name means the man of the
onion-bank, a valley near the monastery of Kumbum in the district of
Amdo, which lies on the western frontiers of the Chinese province of
Kansu. He became a monk at the age of seven and from the hair cut off
when he received the tonsure is said to have sprung the celebrated
tree of Kumbum which bears on its leaves wondrous markings[945].
According to the legend, his birth and infancy were attended by
miracles. He absorbed instruction from many teachers and it has been
conjectured that among them were Roman Catholic missionaries[946]. In
early manhood he proceeded to Tibet and studied at Sakya, Dikung and
finally at Lhasa. His reading convinced him that Lamaism as he found
it was not in harmony with the scriptures, so with the patronage of
the secular rulers and the support of the more earnest clergy he
successfully executed a thorough and permanent work of reform. This
took visible shape in the Gelugpa, the sect presided over by the Grand
Lama, which acquired such paramount importance in both ecclesiastical
and secular matters that it is justly termed the Established Church of
Tibet. It may also be conveniently termed the Yellow Church, yellow
being its special colour particularly for hats and girdles, in
opposition to the red or unreformed sects which use red for the same
purpose. Tsong-kha-pa's reforms took two principal lines. Firstly he
made monastic discipline stricter, insisting on celibacy and frequent
services of prayer: secondly he greatly reduced, although he did not
annihilate, the tantric and magical element in Lamaism. These
principles were perpetuated by an effective organization. He himself
founded the great monastery of Gandan near Lhasa and became its first
abbot. During his lifetime or shortly afterwards were founded three
others, Sera and Depung both near Lhasa and Tashilhunpo[947]. He
himself seems to have ruled simply in virtue of his personal authority
as founder, but his nephew and successor Geden-dub[948] claimed the
same right as an incarnation of the divine head of the Church, and
this claim was supported by a hierarchy which became overwhelmingly

Tsong-kha-pa died in 1417 and is said to have been transfigured and
carried up into heaven while predicting to a great crowd the future
glories of his church. His mortal remains, however, preserved in a
magnificent mausoleum within the Gandan monastery, still receive great

Among his more eminent disciples were Byams-chen-chos-rje and
mKhas-grub-rje who in Tibetan art are often represented as accompanying
him. The first played a considerable part in China. The Emperor Yung-Lo
sent an embassy to invite Tsong-kha-pa to his capital. Tsong-kha-pa felt
unable to go himself but sent his pupil to represent him.
Byams-chen-chos-rje was received with great honour[949]. The main object
of the Ming Emperors was to obtain political influence in Tibet through
the Lamas but in return the Lamas gained considerable prestige. The Kanjur
was printed in China (1410) and Byams-chen-chos-rje and his disciples were
recognized as prelates of the whole Buddhist Church within the Empire. He
returned to Tibet laden with presents and titles and founded the monastery
of Serra in 1417. Afterwards he went back to China and died there at the
age of eighty-four.

mKhas-grub-rje founded the monastery of Tashilhunpo and became its
abbot, being accepted as an incarnation of the Buddha Amitâbha. He was
eighth in the series of incarnations, which henceforth were localized
at Tashilhunpo, but the first is said to have been Subhûti, a disciple
of Gotama, and the second Mañjuśrîkirti, king of the country of

The abbot of Tashilhunpo became the second personage in the ecclesiastical
and political hierarchy. The head of it was the prelate commonly known as
the Grand Lama and resident at Lhasa. Geden-dub[951], the nephew of
Tsong-kha-pa, is reckoned by common consent as the first Grand Lama
(though he seems not to have borne the title) and the first incarnation of
Avalokita as head of the Tibetan Church[952]. The Emperor Ch'êng Hua
(1365-1488) who had occasion to fight on the borders of Tibet confirmed
the position of these two sees as superior to the eight previously
recognized and gave the occupants a patent and seal. From this time they
bore the title of rGyal-po or king.

It was about this time that the theory of successive incarnations[953]
which is characteristic of Lamaism was developed and defined. At least
two ideas are combined in it. The first is that divine persons appear
in human form. This is common in Asia from India to Japan, especially
among the peoples who have accepted some form of Hindu religion. The
second is that in a school, sect or church there is real continuity of
life. In the unreformed sects of Tibet this was accomplished by the
simple principle of heredity so that celibacy, though undeniably
correct, seemed to snap the thread. But it was reunited by the theory
that a great teacher is reborn in the successive occupants of his
chair. Thus the historian Târanâtha is supposed to be reborn in the
hierarchs of Urga. But frequently the hereditary soul is identified
with a Buddha or Bodhisattva, as in the great incarnations of
Lhasa and Tashilhunpo. This dogma has obvious advantages. It imparts
to a Lamaist see a dignity which the papacy cannot rival but it is to
the advantage of the Curia rather than of the Pope for the incarnate
deity of necessity succeeds to his high office as an infant, is in
the hands of regents and not unfrequently dies when about twenty years
of age. These incarnations are not confined to the great sees of
Tibet. The heads of most large monasteries in Mongolia claim to be
living Buddhas and even in Peking there are said to be six.

The second Grand Lama[954] enjoyed a long reign, and set the hierarchy
in good order, for he distinguished strictly clerical posts, filled by
incarnations, from administrative posts. He was summoned to Peking by
the Emperor, but declined to go and the somewhat imperative embassy
sent to invite him was roughly handled. His successor, the third Grand
Lama bSod-nams[955], although less noticed by historians than the
fifth, perhaps did more solid work for the holy see of Lhasa than any
other of his line for he obtained, or at least received, the
allegiance of the Mongols who since the time of Khubilai had woefully
backslidden from the true faith.

As mentioned above, the conversion of the Mongols to Buddhism took
place when their capital was at Peking and chiefly affected those
resident in China. But when the Yüan dynasty had been dethroned and
the Mongols, driven back into their wilds, were frequently at war with
China, they soon relapsed into their original superstitions. About
1570 Altan[956] Khagan, the powerful chief of the Tümed, became
more nearly acquainted with Tibet, since some Lamas captured in a
border fray had been taken to his Court. After causing China much loss
and trouble he made an advantageous peace and probably formed the idea
(which the Manchus subsequently proved to be reasonable) that if the
Mongols were stronger they might repeat the conquests of Khubilai. The
Ming dynasty was clearly decadent and these mysterious priests of
Tibet appeared to be on the upward grade[957]. They might help him
both to become the undisputed chief of all the Mongol tribes and also
to reconquer Peking. So he sent an embassy to invite the Grand Lama's
presence, and when it was not successful he followed it with a second.

The Grand Lama then accepted and set out on his travels with great
pomp. According to the story he appeared to the astonished Mongols in
the guise of Avalokita with four arms (of which two remained folded on
his breast) and the imprint of his horse's hoofs showed the six mystic
syllables _om mani padme hum_. These wonders are so easily explicable
that they may be historical.

A great congregation was held near Lake Kokonor and Sanang Setsen
records an interesting speech made there by one of his ancestors
respecting the relations of Church and State, which he compared with
the sun and moon. The Lama bestowed on the Khagan high sounding titles
and received himself the epithet Dalai or Talai, the Mongol word for
sea, signifying metaphorically vast extent and profundity[958]. This
is the origin of the name Dalai Lama by which the Tibetan pontiff is
commonly known to Europeans. The hierarchy was divided into four
classes parallel to the four ranks of Mongol nobles: the use of meat
was restricted and the custom of killing men and horses at funerals
forbidden. The observance of Buddhist festivals was made compulsory
and native idols were destroyed, but the deities which they
represented were probably identified with others in the new pantheon.
The Grand Lama specially recommended to the Mongols the worship of the
Blue Mahâkâla, a six armed representation of Śiva standing on a
figure of Ganeśa, and he left with them a priest who was esteemed
an incarnation of Mañjuśrî, and for whom a temple and monastery
were built in Kuku-khoto.

His Holiness then returned to Tibet, but when Altan Khagan died in
1583 he made a second tour in Mongolia in order to make sure of the
allegiance of the new chiefs. He also received an embassy from the
Chinese Emperor Wan-Li, who conferred on him the same titles that
Khubilai had given to Pagspa. The alliance between the Tibetans and
Mongols was naturally disquieting to the Ming dynasty and they sought
to minimize it by showing extreme civility to the Lamas.

This Grand Lama died at the age of forty-seven, and it is significant
that the next incarnation appeared in the Mongol royal house, being a
great-grandson of Altan Khagan. Until he was fourteen he lived in
Mongolia and when he moved to Lhasa a Lama was appointed to be his
vicar and Primate of all Mongolia with residence at Kuren or
Urga[959]. The prelates of this line are considered as incarnations of
the historian Târanâtha[960]. In common language they bear the name of
rJe-btsun-dam-pa but are also called Maidari Khutuktu, that is
incarnation of Maitreya. About this time the Emperor of China issued a
decree, which has since been respected, that these hierarchs must be
reborn in Tibet, or in other words that they must not reappear in a
Mongol family for fear of uniting religion and patriotism too closely.

Lozang[961], the fifth Grand Lama, is by common consent the most
remarkable of the pontifical line. He established the right of himself
and his successors--or, as he might have said, of himself in his
successive births--to the temporal and ecclesiastical sovereignty of
Tibet: he built the Potala and his dealings with the Mongols and
the Emperor of China are of importance for general Asiatic history.

From the seventeenth century onwards there were four factors in
Tibetan politics.

1. The Gelugpa or Yellow Church, very strong but anxious to become
stronger both by increasing its temporal power and by suppressing
other sects. Its attitude towards Chinese and Mongols showed no
prejudice and was dictated by policy.

2. The Tibetan chiefs and people, on the whole respectful to the
Yellow Church but not single-hearted nor forgetful of older sects:
averse to Chinese and prone to side with Mongols.

3. The Mongols, conscious of their imperfect civilization and anxious
to improve themselves by contact with the Lamas. As a nation they
wished to repeat their past victories over China, and individual
chiefs wished to make themselves the head of the nation. People and
princes alike respected all Lamas.

4. The Chinese, apprehensive of the Mongols and desirous to keep them
tranquil, caring little for Lamaism in itself but patiently determined
to have a decisive voice in ecclesiastical matters, since the Church
of Lhasa had become a political power in their border lands.

Lo-zang was born as the son of a high Tibetan official about 1616 and
was educated in the Depung monastery under the supervision of
Chos-kyi-Gyal-tsan, abbot of Tashilhunpo and a man of political
weight. The country was then divided into Khamdo, Wu and Tsang, or
Eastern, Central and Western Tibet, and in each province there ruled a
king of the Phagmodu dynasty. In Central Tibet, and specially at
Lhasa, the Gelugpa was the established church and accepted by the king
but in the other provinces there was much religious strife and the
older sects were still predominant. About 1630 the regent of Tsang
captured Lhasa and made himself sovereign of all Tibet. He was a
follower of the Sakya sect and his rule was a menace to the authority
and even to the existence of the Yellow Church, which for some years
suffered much tribulation. When the young Grand Lama grew up, he and
his preceptor determined to seek foreign aid and appealed to Gushi
Khan[962]. This prince was a former pupil of Chos-kyi-Gyal-tsan
and chief of the Oelöt, the ancestors of the Kalmuks and other western
tribes, but then living near Kokonor. He was a staunch member of the
Yellow Church and had already made it paramount in Khamdo which he
invaded in 1638. He promptly responded to the appeal, invaded Tibet,
took the regent prisoner, and, after making himself master of the
whole country, handed over his authority to the Grand Lama, retaining
only the command of his Mongol garrisons. This arrangement was
advantageous to both parties. The Grand Lama not only greatly
increased his ecclesiastical prestige but became a temporal sovereign
of considerable importance. Gushi, who had probably no desire to
reside permanently in the Snow Land, received all the favours which a
grateful Pope could bestow on a king and among the superstitious
Mongols these had a real value. Further the Oelöt garrisons which
continued to occupy various points in Tibet gave him a decisive voice
in the affairs of the country, if there was ever a question of using

The Grand Lamas had hitherto resided in the Depung monastery but
Lo-zang now moved to the hill of Marpori, the former royal residence
and began to build on it the Potala[963] palace which, judging from
photographs, must be one of the most striking edifices in the world,
for its stately walls continue the curves of the mountain side and
seem to grow out of the living rock. His old teacher was given the
title of Panchen Rinpoche, which has since been borne by the abbots of
Tashilhunpo, and the doctrine that the Grand Lamas of Lhasa and
Tashilhunpo are respectively incarnations of Avalokita and Amitâbha
was definitely promulgated[964].

The establishment of the Grand Lama as temporal ruler of Tibet
coincided with the advent of the Manchu dynasty (1644). The Emperor
and the Lama had everything to gain from friendly relations and their
negotiations culminated in a visit which Lo-zang paid to Peking in
1652-3. He was treated as an independent sovereign and received from
the Emperor a long title containing the phrase "Self-existent Buddha,
Universal Ruler of the Buddhist faith." In return he probably
undertook to use his influence with the Mongols to preserve peace and
prevent raids on China.

After his return to Tibet, he appears to have been a real as well as a
nominal autocrat for his preceptor and Gushi Khan both died, and the
new Manchu dynasty had its hands full. His chief adviser was the
Desi[965] or Prime Minister, supposed to be his natural son. In 1666
the great Emperor K'ang-hsi succeeded to the throne: and shortly
afterwards the restlessness of the Mongol Princes began to inspire the
Chinese Court with apprehension. In 1680 Lo-zang died but his death
was a state secret. It was apparently known in Tibet and an infant
successor was selected but the Desi continued to rule in Lo-zang's
name and even the Emperor of China had no certain knowledge of his
suspected demise but probably thought that the fiction of his
existence was the best means of keeping the Mongols in order. It was
not until 1696 that his death and the accession of a youth named
Thsang-yang Gya-thso were made public.

But the young Grand Lama, who owing to the fiction that his
predecessor was still alive had probably been brought up less strictly
than usual, soon began to inspire alarm at Peking for he showed
himself wilful and intelligent. He wrote love songs which are still
popular and his licentious behaviour was quite out of harmony with the
traditions of the holy see. In 1701, under joint pressure from the
Chinese and Mongols, he resigned his ecclesiastical rights and handed
over the care of the Church to the abbot of Tashilhunpo, while
retaining his position as temporal ruler. But the Chinese still felt
uneasy and in 1705 succeeded in inducing him to undertake a journey to
Peking. When he got as far as Mongolia he died of either dropsy or
assassination. The commander of the Oelöt garrisons in Tibet was a
friend of the Chinese, and at once produced a new Grand Lama called
Yeśes, a man of about twenty-five, who claimed to be the true
reincarnation of the fifth Grand Lama, the pretensions of the
dissolute youth who had just died being thus set aside. It suited the
Chinese to deal with an adult, who could be made to understand
that he had received and held his office only through their good will,
but the Tibetans would have none of this arrangement. They clung to
the memory of the dissolute youth and welcomed with enthusiasm the
news that he had reappeared in Li-t'ang as a new-born child, who was
ultimately recognized as the seventh Grand Lama named Kalzang. The
Chinese imprisoned the infant with his parents in the monastery of
Kumbum in Kansu and gave all their support to Yeśes. For the better
control of affairs in Lhasa two Chinese Agents were appointed to
reside there with the Manchu title of Amban[966].

But the Tibetans would not accept the rule of Yeśes and in 1717 the
revolutionary party conspired with the Oelöt tribes of Ili to put
Kalzang on the throne by force. The troops sent to take the holy child
were defeated by the Chinese but those which attacked Lhasa were
completely successful. Yeśes abdicated and the city passed into the
possession of the Mongols. The Chinese Government were greatly alarmed
and determined to subdue Tibet. Their first expedition was a failure
but in 1720 they sent a second and larger, and also decided to install
the youthful Kalzang as Grand Lama, thus conciliating the religious
feelings of the Tibetans. The expedition met with little difficulty
and the result of it was that China became suzerain of the whole
country. By imperial edict the young Grand Lama was recognized as
temporal ruler, the four ministers or Kalön were given Chinese titles,
and garrisons were posted to keep open the road from China. But the
Tibetans were still discontented. In 1727 a rebellion, instigated it
was said by the family of the Grand Lama, broke out, and the Prime
Minister was killed. This rising was not permanently successful and
the Chinese removed the Grand Lama to the neighbourhood of their
frontier. They felt however that it was unsafe to give ground for
suspicion that they were ill-treating him and in 1734 he was
reinstated in the Potala. But the dislike of the Tibetans for Chinese
supervision was plain. In 1747 there was another rebellion. The
population of Lhasa rose and were assisted by Oelöt troops who
suddenly arrived on the scene. Chinese rule was saved only by the
heroism of the two Chinese Agents, who invited the chief conspirators
to a meeting and engaged them in personal combat. They lost their
own lives but killed the principal rebels. The Chinese then
abolished the office of Prime Minister, increased their garrison and
gave the Agents larger powers.

About 1758 the Grand Lama died and was succeeded by an infant called
Jambal. The real authority was wielded by the Panchen Lama who acted
as regent and was so influential that the Emperor Ch'ien-Lung insisted
on his visiting Peking[967]. He had a good reception and probably
obtained some promise that the government of Tibet would be left more
in the hands of the Church but he died of smallpox in Peking and
nothing came of his visit except a beautiful tomb and an epitaph
written by the Emperor. After his death a new complication appeared.
The prelates of the Red Church encouraged an invasion of the Gurkhas
of Nepal in the hope of crushing the Yellow Church. The upshot was
that the Chinese drove out the Gurkhas but determined to establish a
more direct control. The powers of the Agents were greatly increased
and not even the Grand Lama was allowed the right of memorializing the
throne, but had to report to the Agents and ask their orders.

In 1793 Ch'ien-Lung issued a remarkable edict regulating the
appearance of incarnations which, as he observed, had become simply
the hereditary perquisites of certain noble Mongol families. He
therefore ordered that when there was any question of an incarnation
the names of the claimants to the distinction should be written on
slips of paper and placed in a golden bowl: that a religious service
should be held and at its close a name be drawn from the bowl in the
presence of the Chinese Agents and the public. The child whose name
should be drawn was to be recognized as the true incarnation but
required investiture by an imperial patent.

A period of calm followed, and when the Grand Lama died in 1804 the
Tibetans totally neglected this edict and selected a child born in
eastern Tibet. The Chinese Court, desirous of avoiding unnecessary
trouble, approved[968] the choice on the ground that the infant's
precocious ability established his divine character but when he
died in 1815 and an attempt was made to repeat this irregularity, a
second edict was published, insisting that the names of at least three
candidates must be placed in the golden urn and that he whose name
should be first drawn must be Grand Lama. This procedure was followed
but the child elected by the oracle of the urn died before he was
twenty and another infant was chosen as his successor in 1838. As a
result the Lama who was regent acquired great power and also
unpopularity. His tyranny caused the Tibetans to petition the Emperor;
and His Majesty sent a new Agent to investigate his conduct. Good
reason was shown for holding him responsible for the death of the
Grand Lama in 1838 and for other misdeeds. The Emperor then degraded
and banished him and, what is more singular, forbade him to reappear
in a human reincarnation.

The reigns of Grand Lamas in the nineteenth century have mostly been
short. Two others were selected in 1858 and 1877 respectively. The
latter who is the present occupant of the post was the son of a
Tibetan peasant: he was duly chosen by the oracle of the urn and
invested by the Emperor. In 1893 he assumed personal control of the
administration and terminated a regency which seems to have been
oppressive and unpopular. The British Government were anxious to
negotiate with him about Sikhim and other matters, but finding it
impossible to obtain answers to their communications sent an
expedition to Lhasa in 1904. The Grand Lama then fled to Urga, in
which region he remained until 1907. In the autumn of 1908 he was
induced to visit Peking where he was received with great ceremony but,
contrary to the precedent established when the fifth Grand Lama
attended Court, he was obliged to kneel and kotow before the Empress
Dowager. Neither could he obtain the right to memorialize the throne,
but was ordered to report to the Agents. The Court duly recognized his
religious position. On the birthday of the Empress he performed a
service for her long life, at which Her Majesty was present. It was
not wholly successful, for a week or two later he officiated at her
funeral. At the end of 1908 he left for Lhasa. He visited India in
1910 but this created dissatisfaction at Peking. In the same year[969]
a decree was issued deposing him from his spiritual as well as his
temporal powers and ordering the Agents to seek out a new child by
drawing lots from the golden urn. This decree was probably _ultra
vires_ and certainly illogical, for if the Chinese Government
recognized the Lama as an incarnation, they could not, according to
the accepted theory, replace him by another incarnation before his
death. And if they regarded him as a false incarnation, they should
have ordered the Agents to seek out not a child but a man born about
the time that the last Grand Lama died. At any rate the Tibetans paid
no attention to the decree.

The early deaths of Grand Lamas in the nineteenth century have
naturally created a presumption that they were put out of the way and
contemporary suspicion accused the regent in 1838. There is no
evidence that the deaths of the other three were regarded as unnatural
but the earlier Grand Lamas as well as the abbots of Tashilhunpo lived
to a good age. On the other hand the Grand Lamas of Urga are said to
die young. If the pontiffs of some lines live long and those of others
die early, the inference is not that the life of a god incarnate is
unhealthy but that in special cases special circumstances interfere
with it, and on the whole there are good grounds for suspecting foul
play. But it is interesting to note that most Europeans who have made
the acquaintance of high Lamas speak in praise of their character and
intelligence. So Manning (the friend of Charles Lamb) of the ninth
Grand Lama (1811), Bogle of the Tashi Lama about 1778, Sven Hedin of
his successor in 1907, and Waddell of the Lama Regent in 1904.

The above pages refer to the history of Lamaism in Tibet and Mongolia.
It also spread to China, European Russia, Ladak, Sikhim and Bhutan. In
China it is confined to the north and its presence is easily
explicable by the genuine enthusiasm of Khubilai and the encouragement
given on political grounds by the Ming and Manchu dynasties. Further,
several Mongol towns such as Kalgan and Kuku-khoto are within the
limits of the eighteen provinces.

The Kalmuks who live in European Russia are the descendants of tribes
who moved westwards from Dzungaria in the seventeenth century. Many of
them left Russia and returned to the east in 1771, but a considerable
number remained behind, chiefly between the Volga and the Don, and
the population professing Lamaism there is now reckoned at about

Buddhist influences may have been at work in Ladak from an early
period. In later times it can be regarded as a dependency of Tibet, at
any rate for ecclesiastical purposes, for it formed part of Tibet
until the disruption of the kingdom in the tenth century and it
subsequently accepted the sovereignty of Lhasa in religious and
sometimes in political matters. Concerning the history of Bhutan, I
have been able to discover but little. The earliest known inhabitants
are called Tephu and the Tibetans are said to have conquered them
about 1670. Lamaism probably entered the country at this time, if not
earlier[970]. At any rate it must have been predominant in 1774 when
the Tashi Lama used his good offices to conclude peace between the
Bhutiyas and the East India Company. The established church however is
not the Gelugpa but the Dugpa, which is a subdivision of the
Kar-gyu-pa. There are two rulers in Bhutan, the Dharmarâja or
spiritual and the Debrâja or temporal. The former is regarded as an
incarnation of the first class, though it is not clear of what

The conversion of Sikhim is ascribed to a saint named Latsün Ch'embo,
who visited it about 1650 with two other Lamas. They associated with
themselves a native chief whom they ordained as a Lama and made king.
All four then governed Sikhim. Though Latsün Ch'embo is represented as
a friend of the fifth Grand Lama, the two sects at present found in
Sikhim are the Nying-ma-pa, the old unreformed style of Lamaism, and
the Karmapa, a branch of the Kar-gyu-pa, analogous to the Dugpa of
Bhutan. The principal monasteries are at Pemiongchi (Peme-yang-tse)
and Tashiding[972].


[Footnote 910: Tibetan orthography Sroṇ-btsan-sgam-po. It is hard
to decide what is the best method of representing Tibetan words in
Latin letters:

(_a_) The orthography differs from the modern pronunciation more than
in any other language, except perhaps English, but it apparently
represents an older pronunciation and therefore has historical value.
Also, a word can be found in a Tibetan dictionary only if the native
spelling is faithfully reproduced. On the other hand readers
interested in oriental matters know many words in a spelling which is
a rough representation of the modern pronunciation. It seems pedantic
to write bKaẖ-ẖgyur and ẖBras-spuṇs when the best known
authorities speak of Kanjur and Debung. On the whole, I have decided
to represent the commoner words by the popular orthography as given by
Rockhill, Waddell and others while giving the Tibetan spelling in a
foot-note. But when a word cannot be said to be well known even among
Orientalists I have reproduced the Tibetan spelling.

(_b_) But it is not easy to reproduce this spelling clearly and
consistently. On the whole I have followed the system used by Sarat
Chandra Das in his Dictionary. It is open to some objections, as, for
instance, that the sign h has more than one value, but the more
accurate method used by Grünwedel in his _Mythologie_ is extremely
hard to read. My transcription is as follows in the order of the
Tibetan consonants.

    k, kh, g, ṇ, c, oh, j, ny.
    t, th, d, n, p, ph, b, m.
    ts, ths, ds, w.
    zh, z, ḥ, y.
    r, l, ś, s, h.

Although tsh is in some respects preferable to represent an aspirated
ts, yet it is liable to be pronounced as in the English words _hat
shop_, and perhaps ths is on the whole better.]

[Footnote 911: See Waddell, _Buddhism of Tibet_, p. 19.]

[Footnote 912: It has been argued (_e.g., J.R.A.S._, 1903, p. 11) that
discoveries in Central Asia indicate that Tibetan civilization and
therefore Tibetan Buddhism are older than is generally supposed. But
recent research shows that Central Asian MSS. of even the eighth
century say little about Buddhism, whatever testimony they may bear to

[Footnote 913: See Hoernle MS. _Remains found in E. Turkestan_, 1916,
pp. xvii ff., and Francke, _Epig. Ind_. XI. 266 ff., and on the other
side Laufer in _J.A.O.S._ 1918, pp. 34 ff. There is a considerable
difference between the printed and cursive forms of the Tibetan
alphabet. Is it possible that they have different origins and that the
former came from Bengal, the latter from Khotan?]

[Footnote 914: There were some other streams of Buddhism, for the king
had a teacher called Sântarakshita who advised him to send for
Padma-Sambhava and Padma-Sambhava was opposed by Chinese bonzes.]

[Footnote 915: The Pad-ma-than-yig. It indicates some acquaintance
with Islam and mentions Hulugu Khan. See _T'oung Pao_, 1896, pp. 526
ff. See for a further account Grünwedel, _Mythologie_, p. 47, Waddell,
_Buddhism_, p. 380, and the Tibetan text edited and translated by
Laufer under the title _Der Roman einer tibetischen Königin_,
especially pp. 250 ff. Also E. Schlagintweit, "Die Lebensbeschreibung
von Padma-Sambhava," _Abhand. k. bayer. Akad._ I. CL. xxi. Bd. ii.
Abth. 419-444, and _ib._ I. CL. xxii. Bd. iii. Abth. 519-576.]

[Footnote 916: Much of Chinese popular religion has the same
character. See De Groot, _Religious System of China_, vol. VI. pp.
929, 1187. "The War against Spectres."]

[Footnote 917: Both he and the much later Saskya Pandita are said to
have understood the Bruzha language, for which see _T'oung Pao_,
1908, pp. 1-47.]

[Footnote 918: Or bSam-yas. See Waddell, _Buddhism_, p. 266, for an
account of this monastery at the present day.]

[Footnote 919: The Tibetan word bLama means upper and is properly
applicable to the higher clergy only though commonly used of all.]

[Footnote 920: He was temporarily banished owing to the intrigues of
the Queen, who acted the part of Potiphar's wife, but he was
triumphantly restored. A monk called Vairocana is also said to have
introduced Buddhism into Khotan from Kashmir, but at a date which
though uncertain must be considerably earlier than this.]

[Footnote 921: See _Journal of Buddhist Text Society_, 1893, p. 5. I
imagine that by Hoshang Mahâyâna the followers of Bodhidharma are

[Footnote 922: _J.R.A.S._ 1914, pp. 37-59.]

[Footnote 923: See Rockhill, _Life of the Buddha_, p. 225.]

[Footnote 924: Various dates are given for his death, ranging from 838
to 902. See Rockhill (_Life of the Buddha_), p. 225, and Bushell in
_J.R.A.S._ 1880, pp. 440 ff. But the treaty of 822 was made in his

[Footnote 925: g Lan-dar-ma.]

[Footnote 926: But see for other accounts Rockhill (_Life of the
Buddha_), p. 226. According to Csoma de Körös's tables the date of the
persecution was 899.]

[Footnote 927: See the chronological table in Waddell's _Buddhism_, p.
576. Not a single Tibetan event is mentioned between 899 and 1002.]

[Footnote 928: Pag Som Jon Zang. Ed. Sarat Chandra Das, p. 183.]

[Footnote 929: Or Dîpaṇkara Śrîjñâna. See for a life of him
_Journal of Buddhist Text Society_, 1893, "Indian Pandits in Tibet,"
pp. 7 ff.]

[Footnote 930: Suvarṇadvîpa, where he studied, must be Thaton and
it is curious to find that it was a centre of tantric learning.]

[Footnote 931: From 1026 onwards see the chronological tables of
Sum-pa translated by Sarat Chandra Das in _J.A.S.B._ 1889, pp. 40-82.
They contain many details, especially of ecclesiastical biography. The
Tibetan system of computing time is based on cycles of sixty years
beginning it would seem not in 1026 but 1027, so that in many dates
there is an error of a year. See Pelliot, _J.A._ 1913, I. 633, and
Laufer, _T'oung Pao_, 1913, 569.]

[Footnote 932: Or Jenghiz Khan. The form in the text seems to be the
more correct.]

[Footnote 933: Tegri or Heaven. This monotheism common to the ancient
Chinese, Turks and Mongols did not of course exclude the worship of

[Footnote 934: Guyuk was Khagan at this time but the _Mongol History
of Sanang Setsen_ (Schmidt, p. 3) says that the Lama was summoned by
the Khagan Godan. It seems that Godan was never Khagan, but as an
influential prince he may have sent the summons.]

[Footnote 935: ḥPhagspa (corrupted in Mongol to Bashpa) is merely a
title equivalent to Ayra in Sanskrit. His full style was ḥPhagspa

[Footnote 936: By abhiśekha or sprinkling with water.]

[Footnote 937: Vaśitâ is a magical formula which compels the
obedience of spirits or natural forces. Hevajra (apparently the same
as Heruka) is one of the fantastic beings conceived as manifestations
of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas made for a special purpose, closely
corresponding, as Grünwedel points out, to the manifestations of

[Footnote 938: Schmidt's edition, p. 115.]

[Footnote 939: It is given in Isaac Taylor's _The Alphabet_, vol. II.
p. 336. See also _J.R.A.S._ 1910, pp. 1208-1214.]

[Footnote 940: _E.g._ see the Tisastvustik, a sûtra in a Turkish
dialect and Uigur characters found at Turfan and published in
_Bibliotheca Buddhica_, XII.]

[Footnote 941: See Kokka, No. 311, 1916, _Tibetan Art in China_.]

[Footnote 942: _Sanang Setsen_, p. 121. The succession of the Sakya
abbots is not clear but the primacy continued in the family. See
Köppen, II. p. 105.]

[Footnote 943: Strictly speaking a place-name.]

[Footnote 944: The Tibetan orthography is bTsoṇ (or
Tsoṇ)-kha-pa. He was called rJe-rin-po-che bLo-bzaṇ-grags-pa in
Tibetan and Arya-mahâratna Sumatikîrti in Sanskrit. The Tibetan
orthography of the monastery is sKu-ḥbum or hundred thousand
pictures. See, for accounts of his life, Sarat Chandra Das in
_J.A.S.B._ 1882, pp. 53-57 and 127. Huth, _Buddhismus in der
Mongolei_, ii. pp. 175 ff.]

[Footnote 945: There is some difference of statement as to whether
these markings are images of Tsong-kha-pa or Tibetan characters. Hue,
though no Buddhist, thought them miraculous. See his _Travels in
Tartary_, vol. ii. chap. ii. See also Rockhill, _Land of the Lamas_,
p. 67, and Filchner, _Das Kloster Kumbum_, chap. vi.]

[Footnote 946: But the tradition mentioned by Hue that he was
instructed by a long-nosed stranger from the west, has not been found
in any Tibetan biography.]

[Footnote 947: Tibetan orthography writes dGaḥ-ldan, Se-ra,
hBras-spuns and bKra-śis-Lhun-po. dGaḥ-ldan, the happy, is a
translation of the Sanskrit Tushita or Paradise. Tsong-kha-pa's
reformed sect was originally called dGaḥ-lugs-pa or those who
follow the way of dGa[.]-ldan. But this possibly suggested those who
pursue pleasure and the name was changed to dGe-lugs-pa or those of
the virtuous order.]

[Footnote 948: dGe-'dun grub.]

[Footnote 949: He was not the same as Ha-li-ma (see p. 277) of whom more
is heard in Chinese accounts. Ha-li-ma or Karma was fifth head of the
Karma-pa school and was invited on his own merits to China where he died
in 1426 or 1414. See Huth, _l.c._ vol. I. p. 109 and vol. II. p. 171. Also
Köppen, _die Rel. des Buddha_, II. 107. Byams-chen-chos-rje was invited as
the representative of Tsong-ka-pa. See Huth, _l.c._ vol. I. p. 120, vol.
II. p. 129.]

[Footnote 950: See for a list of the Lamas of Tashilhunpo and their
lives _J.A.S.B._ 1882, pp. 15-52. The third incarnation was Abhayakara
Gupta, a celebrated Bengali Pandit who flourished in the reign of
Râmapâla. This appears to have been about 1075-1115, but there is
considerable discrepancy in the dates given.]

[Footnote 951: See for his life _J.A.S.B._ 1882, p. 24.]

[Footnote 952: Tsong-kha-pa is not reckoned in this series of
incarnations, for firstly he was regarded as an incarnation of
Mañjuśrî and secondly Geden-dub was born before his death and
hence could not represent the spirit which dwelt in him.]

[Footnote 953: Tibetan sPrul-pa, Mongol Khubilghan. Both are
translations of the Sanskrit Nirmâna and the root idea is not
incarnation but transformation in an illusive form.]

[Footnote 954: The following list of Grand Lamas is taken from
Grünwedel's _Mythologie_, p. 206. Their names are followed by the
title rGya-mThso and in many cases the first part of the name is a

    1. dGe-ḥdun-dub, 1391-1478.
    2. dGe-ḥdun, 1479-1541.
    3. bSod-nams, 1543-1586.
    4. Yon-tan, 1587-1614.
    5. Ṅag-dbaṇ bLo-bzaṇ, 1617-1680.
    6. Rin-chen Thsaṇs-dbyaṇs, 1693-1703.
    7. bLo-bzaṇ sKal-dan, 1705-1758.
    8. bLo-bzaṇ ḥJam-dpal, 1759-1805.
    9. bLo-bzaṇ Luṇ-rtogs, 1806-1815.
    10. bLo-bzaṇ Thsul-khrims, 1817-1837.
    11. bLo-bzaṇ dGe-dmu, 1838-1855.
    12. bLo-bzaṇ Phrin-las, 1856-1874.
    13. Ṅag-dbaṇ bLo-bzaṇ Thub-ldam, 1875.

[Footnote 955: See for an account of his doings Sanang Setsen, chap.
IX. Huth, _Geschichte_, II. pp. 200 ff. Köppen, II. pp. 134 ff. It
would appear that about 1545 northwestern Tibet was devastated by
Mohammedans from Kashgar. See Waddell, _Buddhism_, p. 583.]

[Footnote 956: Also known as Yenta or Anda. See, for some particulars
about him, Parker in N. China Branch of _R.A.S._ 1913, pp. 92 ff.]

[Footnote 957: Naturally the narrative is not told without miraculous
embellishment, including the singular story that Altan who suffered
from the gout used to put his feet every month into the ripped up body
of a man or horse and bathe them in the warm blood. Avalokita appeared
to him when engaged in this inhuman cure and bade him desist and atone
for his sins.]

[Footnote 958: In Tibetan rGya-mThso. Compare the Chinese expression
hai liang (sea measure) meaning capacious or broad minded. The Khagan
received the title of lHai thsaṇs-pa chen-po equivalent to

[Footnote 959: The correct Mongol names of this place seem to be Örgö
and Kürä. The Lama's name was bSam-pa rGya-mThso.]

[Footnote 960: He finished his history in 1608 and lived some time
longer so that bSam-pa rGya-mThso cannot have been an incarnation of

[Footnote 961: This is an accepted abbreviation of his full name
Ṅag-dbaṇ bLo-zaṇ rGya-mThso. Ṅag-dbaṇ is an epithet meaning

[Footnote 962: The name is variously written Gushi, Gushri, Gus'ri,
etc., and is said to stand for Guruśrî. The name of the tribe also
varies: Oirad and Oegeled are both found.]

[Footnote 963: So called from the sacred hill in India on which
Avalokita lives. The origin of the name is doubtful but before the
time of Hsüan Chuang it had come to be applied to a mountain in South

[Footnote 964: Some European authorities consider that Lo-zang
invented this system of incarnations. Native evidence seems to me to
point the other way, but it must be admitted that if he was the first
to claim for himself this dignity it would be natural for him to claim
it for his predecessors also and cause ecclesiastical history to be
written accordingly.]

[Footnote 965: sDe-srid.]

[Footnote 966: It is said that all Ambans were Manchus.]

[Footnote 967: See E. Ludwig, _The visit of the Teshoo Lama to
Peking_, Tientsin Press, 1904. See also _J.A.S.B._ 1882, pp. 29-52.]

[Footnote 968: See the curious edict of Chia Ch'ing translated by
Waddell in _J.R.A.S._ 1910, pp. 69 ff. The Chinese Government were
disposed to discredit the sixth, seventh and eighth incarnations and
to pass straight from the fifth Grand Lama to the ninth.]

[Footnote 969: See for a translation of this curious decree, _North
China Herald_ of March 4th, 1910.]

[Footnote 970: In the List of the Bhutan Hierarchs given by Waddell
(_Buddhism_, p. 242) it is said that the first was contemporary with
the third Grand Lama, 1543-1580.]

[Footnote 971: According to Waddell (_Buddhism_, p. 242) he appears to
be a rebirth of Dupgani Sheptun, a Lama greatly respected by the
Tibetan invaders of Bhutan. For some account of the religion of Bhutan
in the early 19th century, see the article by Davis in _T.R.A.S._ vol.
II. 1830, p. 491.]

[Footnote 972: The fullest account of Sikhimese Buddhism is given by
Waddell in the _Gazetteer of Sikhim_, 1894. See also Rémy, _Pèlerinage
au Monastère de Pemmiontsi_, 1880; Silacara "Buddhism in Sikkim,"
_Buddhist Review_, 1916, p. 97.]


TIBET _(continued)_


Tibet is so remote and rude a land that it is a surprise to learn that
it has a voluminous literature and further that much of this
literature, though not all, is learned and scholastic. The explanation
is that the national life was most vigorous in the great monasteries
which were in close touch with Indian learning. Moreover Tibetan
became to some extent the Latin of the surrounding countries, the
language of learning and religion.

For our purpose the principal works are the two great collections of
sacred and edifying literature translated into Tibetan and known as
the Kanjur and Tanjur[973]. The first contains works esteemed as
canonical, including Tantras. The second is composed of exegetical
literature and also of many treatises on such subjects as medicine,
astronomy and grammar[974]. The two together correspond roughly
speaking to the Chinese Tripitaka, but are more bulky. The canonical
part is smaller but the commentaries and miscellaneous writings more
numerous. There are also other differences due to the fact that the
great literary epoch of Tibet was in the ninth century, whereas nearly
three-quarters of the Chinese Tripitaka had been translated before
that date. Thus the Kanjur appears to contain none[975] of the
Abhidhamma works of the Hînayâna and none of the great Nikâyas as
such, though single sûtras are entered in the catalogues as separate
books. Further there is only one version of the Vinaya whereas the
Chinese Tripitaka has five, but there are several important
Tantras which are wanting in Chinese. The Tibetan scriptures reflect
the late Buddhism of Magadha when the great books of the Hinayanist
Canon were neglected, though not wholly unknown, and a new tantric
literature was flourishing exuberantly.

The contents of the Kanjur and Tanjur are chiefly known by analyses
and indices[976], although several editions and translations of short
treatises have been published[977]. The information obtained may be
briefly summarized as follows.

The Kanjur in its different editions consists of one hundred or one
hundred and eight volumes, most of which contain several treatises,
although sometimes one work, for instance the Vinaya, may fill many
volumes. The whole collection is commonly divided into seven

I. The Dulva[979], equivalent to the Vinaya. It is stated to be the
Mûla-sarvâstivâda Vinaya, and so far as any opinion can be formed from
the small portions available for comparison, it agrees with the
Chinese translation of Kumârajîva and also (though with some
difference in the order of paragraphs) with the Sanskrit Prâtimoksha
found at Kucha[980]. It is longer and more mixed with narrative than
the corresponding Pali code.

II. The second division is known as Śer-chin[981], corresponding to the
Prajñâ-pâramitâ and in the estimation of the Tibetans to the Abhidharma.
It is said to have been first collected by Kâśyapa and to represent the
teaching delivered by the Buddha in his fifty-first year. This section
appears to contain nothing but versions, longer or shorter, of the
Prajñâpâramitâ, the limit of concentration being reached by a text in
which the Buddha explains that the whole of this teaching is comprised in
the letter A. As in China and Japan, the Vajracchedikâ (rDo-rJe-gCod-pa)
is very popular and has been printed in many editions.

III. The third division is called Phal-chen, equivalent to
Avataṃsaka. Beckh treats it as one work in six volumes with out
subdivisions. Feer gives forty-five subdivisions, some of which appear
as separate treatises in the section of the Chinese Tripitaka called
Hua Yen[982].

IV. The fourth division called dKon-brtsegs or Ratnakûṭa agrees
closely with the similar section of the Chinese Tripitaka but consists
of only forty-eight or forty-five sûtras, according to the

V. The fifth section is called mDo, equivalent to Sûtra. In its narrower
sense mDo means sûtras which are miscellaneous in so far as they do not
fall into special classes, but it also comprises such important works as
the Lalita-vistara, Lankâvatâra and Saddharma-puṇḍarîka. Of the 270
works contained in this section about 90 are _prima facie_ identical with
works in the Ching division of the Chinese Tripitaka and probably the
identity of many others is obscured by slight changes of title. An
interesting point in the mDo is that it contains several sûtras translated
from the Pali[984], viz. Nos. 13-25 of vol. XXX, nine of which are taken
from the collection known as Paritta. The names and dates of the
translators are not given but the existence of these translations probably
indicates that a knowledge of Pali lingered on in Magadha later than is
generally supposed. It will also be remembered that about A.D. 1000, Atîśa
though a Tantrist, studied in Burma and presumably came in contact with
Pali literature. Rockhill notes that the Tanjur contains a commentary on
the Lotus Sûtra written by Prithivibandhu, a monk from Ceylon, and Pali
manuscripts have been found in Nepal[985]. It is possible that Sinhalese
may have brought Pali books to northern India and given them to Tibetans
whom they met there.

VI. The sixth division is called Myaṇg-ḥdas or Nirvâṇa,
meaning the description of the death of the Buddha which also forms a
special section in the Chinese Tripitaka. Here it consists of only one
work, apparently corresponding to Nanjio 113[986].

VII. The seventh and last section is called rGyud[987] or Tantra. It
consists of twenty-two volumes containing about 300 treatises. Between
thirty and forty are _prima facie_ identical with treatises comprised
in the Chinese Tripitaka and perhaps further examination might greatly
increase the number, for the titles of these books are often long and
capable of modification. Still it is probable that the major part of
this literature was either deliberately rejected by the Chinese or was
composed at a period when religious intercourse had become languid
between India and China but was still active between India and Tibet.
From the titles it appears that many of these works are Brahmanic in
spirit rather than Buddhist; thus we have the Mahâgaṇapati-tantra,
the Mahâkâla-tantra, and many others. Among the better known Tantras
may be mentioned the Arya-mañjuśrî-mûla-tantra and the Śrî-Guhya
Samaja[988], both highly praised by Csoma de Körös: but perhaps more
important is the Tantra on which the Kâlacakra system is founded.
It is styled Paramâdibuddha-uddhṛita-śrî-kâlacakra and there is
also a compendium giving its essence or Hṛidaya.

The Tanjur is a considerably larger collection than the Kanjur for it
consists of 225 volumes but its contents are imperfectly known. A
portion has been catalogued by Palmyr Cordier. It is known to contain
a great deal of relatively late Indian theology such as the works of
Aśvaghosha, Nâgârjuna, Asanga, Vasubandhu, and other Mahayanist
doctors, and also secular literature such as the Meghadûta of
Kâlidâsa, together with a multitude of works on logic, rhetoric,
grammar and medicine[989]. Some treatises, such as the Udâna[990]
occur in both collections but on the whole the Tanjur is clearly
intended as a thesaurus of exegetical and scientific literature,
science being considered, as in the middle ages of Europe, to be the
handmaid of the Church. Grammar and lexicography help the
understanding of scripture: medicine has been of great use in
establishing the influence of the Lamas: secular law is or should be
an amplification of the Church's code: history compiled by sound
theologians shows how the true faith is progressive and triumphant:
art and ritual are so near together that their boundaries can hardly
be delimitated. Taking this view of the world, we find in the Tanjur
all that a learned man need know[991].

It is divided into two parts, mDo (Sûtra) and rGyud (Tantra), besides
a volume of hymns and an index. The same method of division is really
applicable to the Kanjur, for the Tibetan Dulva is little more than a
combination of Sûtras and Jâtakas and sections two, three, four and
six of the Kanjur are collections of special sûtras. In both
compilations the tantric section appears to consist of later books
expounding ideas which are further from the teaching of Gotama than
the Mahayanist sûtras.

To the great majority of works in both collections is prefixed a
title which gives the Sanskrit name first in transcription and then in
translation, for instance "In Sanskrit Citralakshana: in Tibetan
Ri-moi-mthsan-ñid[992]." Hence there is usually no doubt as to what
the Tibetan translations profess to be. Sometimes however the headings
are regrettably brief. The Vinaya for instance appears to be
introduced with that simple superscription and with no indication of
the school or locality to which the text belonged.

Although the titles of books are given in Sanskrit, yet all Indian
proper names which have a meaning (as most have) are translated. Thus
the name Drona (signifying a measure and roughly equivalent to such an
English name as Dr. Bushell) is rendered by Bre-bo, a similar measure
in Tibetan. This habit greatly increases the difficulty of reading
Tibetan texts. The translators apparently desired to give a Tibetan
equivalent for every word and even for every part of a word, so as to
make clear the etymology as well as the meaning of the sacred
original. The learned language thus produced must have varied greatly
from the vernacular of every period but its slavish fidelity makes it
possible to reconstruct the original Sanskrit with tolerable

I have already mentioned the presence of translations from the Pali.
There are also a few from the Chinese[993] which appear to be of no
special importance. One work is translated from the Bruza language
which was perhaps spoken in the modern Gilgit[994] and another from
the language of Khotan[995]. Some works in the Kanjur have no Sanskrit
titles and are perhaps original compositions in Tibetan. The Tanjur
appears to contain many such.

But the Kanjur and Tanjur as a whole represent the literature
approved by the late Buddhism of Bengal and certain resemblances to
the arrangement of the Chinese Tripitaka suggest that not only new
sûtras but new classifications of sûtras had replaced the old Pitakas
and Agamas. The Tibetan Canon being later than the Chinese has lost
the Abhidharma and added a large section of Tantras. But both canons
recognize the divisions known as Prajñâ-pâramitâ, Ratnakuṭa,
Avatamsaka, and Mahâparinirvâṇa as separate sections. The Ratnakûta
is clearly a collection of sûtras equivalent to a small Nikâya[996].
This is probably also true of the voluminous Prajñâ-pâramitâ in its
various editions, but the divisions are not commonly treated as
separate works except the Vajracchedikâ. The imperfectly known
Avatamsaka Sûtra appears to be a similar collection, since it is
described as discourses of the Buddha pronounced at eight
assemblies. The Mahâparinirvâṇa Sûtra though not nominally a
collection of sûtras (at least in its Pali form) is unique both in
subject and structure, and it is easy to understand why it was put in
a class by itself.

The translation of all this literature falls into three periods, (i)
from the seventh century until the reign of Ralpachan in the ninth,
(ii) the reign of Ralpachan, and (in) some decades following the
arrival of Atîśa in 1038. In the first period work was sporadic and
the translations made were not always those preserved in the Kanjur.
Thonmi Sanbhota, the envoy sent to India in 616 is said to have made
renderings of the Karaṇḍa Vyûha and other works (but not those
now extant) and three items in the Tanjur are attributed to him[997].
The existence of early translations has been confirmed by Stein who
discovered at Endere a Tibetan manuscript of the Śalistambhasûtra
which is said not to be later than about 740 A.D.[998] The version now
found in the Kanjur appears to be a revision and expansion of this
earlier text.

A few translations from Chinese texts are attributed to the reign of
Khri-gtsug-lde-btsan (705-755) and Rockhill calls attention to the
interesting statement that he sent envoys to India who learned
Sanskrit books by heart and on their return reproduced them in
Tibetan. If this was a common habit, it may be one of the reasons why
Tibetan translations sometimes show differences in length,
arrangement and even subject matter when compared with Sanskrit and
Chinese versions bearing the same name. During the reign of
Khri-sroṇ-lde-btsan and the visit of Padma-Sambhava (which began in
A.D. 747 according to the traditional chronology) the number of
translations began to increase. Two works ascribed to the king and one
to the saint are included in the canon, but the most prolific writer
and translator of this period was Kamalaśîla. Seventeen of his
original works are preserved in the Tanjur and he translated part of
the Ratnakûta. The great period of translation--the Augustan age of
Tibet as it is often called--was beginning and a solid foundation was
laid by composing two dictionaries containing a collection of Sanskrit
Buddhist terms[999].

The Augustus of Tibet was Ralpachan who ruled in the ninth century,
though Tibetan and Chinese chronicles are not in accord as to his
exact date. He summoned from Kashmir and India many celebrated doctors
who with the help of native assistants took seriously in hand the
business of rendering the canon into Tibetan. They revised the
existing translations and added many more of their own. It is probable
that at least half of the works now contained in the Kanjur and Tanjur
were translated or revised at this time and that the additions made
later were chiefly Tantras (rGyud). On the other hand it is also
probable that many tantric translations ascribed to this epoch are
really later[1000]. The most prolific of Ralpachan's translators was
Jinamitra, a pandit of Kashmir described as belonging to the
Vaibhâshika school, who translated a large part of the Vinaya and many
sûtras[1001]. Among the many Tibetan assistants Ye'ses-sde and
Dpal-brTsegs are perhaps those most frequently mentioned. These
Tibetan translators are commonly described by the title of Lo-tsa-va.
As in China the usual procedure seems to have been that an Indian
pandit explained the sacred text to a native. The latter then wrote it
down, but whereas in China he generally paraphrased whatever he
understood, in Tibet he endeavoured to reproduce it with laborious

The language of the translations, which is now the accepted form
of literary Tibetan, appears to have been an archaic and classical
dialect even in the early days of Tibetan Buddhism, for it is not the
same as the language of the secular documents dating from the eighth
century, which have been found in Turkestan, and it remains unchanged
in the earliest and later translations. It may possibly have been the
sacred language of the Bonpo[1002] priests.

As narrated in the historical section Buddhism suffered a severe
reverse with the death of Ralpachan and it was nearly a century before
a revival began. This revival was distinctly tantric and the most
celebrated name connected with it is Atîśa. According to Csoma de
Körös's chronology the Kâlacakra system was introduced in 1025 and the
eminent translator bLo-ldan-shes-rab[1003], a follower of Atîśa,
was born in 1057. It is thus easy to understand how during the
eleventh century a great number of tantric works were translated and
the published catalogues of the Kanjur and Tanjur confirm the fact,
although the authors of the translations are not mentioned so often as
in the other divisions. To Atîśa is ascribed the revision of many
works in the Tantra section of the Kanjur and twenty others composed
by him are found in the Tanjur[1004]. It is said that the definitive
arrangement of the two collections as we know them was made by Bu-ston
early in the thirteenth century[1005]. The Kanjur (but not the Tanjur)
was translated into Mongol by order of Khutuktu Khagan (1604-1634)
the last prince of the Chakhar Mongols but a printed edition was
first published by the Emperor K'ang-Hsi. Though it is said that the
Tanjur was translated and printed by order of Ch'ien-Lung, the
statement is doubtful. If such a translation was made it was probably
partial and in manuscript[1006].

Manuscripts are still extensively copied and used in Tibet but the
Kanjur has been printed from wooden blocks for the last 200 years.
There are said to be two printing presses, the older at Narthang near
Tashilhunpo where an edition in 100 volumes is produced and another at
Derge in the eastern province. This edition is in 108 volumes. An
edition was also printed at Peking by order of K'ang-Hsi in red type
and with a preface by the Emperor himself[1007].

Besides the canon the Tibetans possess many religious or edifying
works composed in their own language[1008]. Such are the
Padma-than-yig, or life of Padma-Sambhava, the works of Tsong-kha-pa,
and several histories such as those of Bu-ston, Târanâtha, Sum-pa, and
hJigs-med-nam-mkha[1009], biographies of Lamas without number,
accounts of holy places, works of private devotion, medical treatises
and grammars.

There are also numerous works called Terma which profess to be
revelations composed by Padma-Sambhava. They are said to be popular,
though apparently not accepted by the Yellow Church.

Although it hardly comes within the scope of the present study, I may
mention that there is also some non-Buddhist literature in Tibet,
sometimes described as scriptures of the Bön religion and sometimes as
folklore. As samples may be cited Laufer's edition and translation of
the _Hundred Thousand Nâgas_[1010] and Francke's of parts of the


[Footnote 973: The Tibetan orthography is bKah-hgyur (the translated
command) and bsTan-ḥgyur (the translated explanation). Various
spellings are used by European writers such as Kah-gyur, Kandjour,
Bkahgyur, etc. Waddell writes Kah-gyur and Tän-gyur.]

[Footnote 974: Though this distinction seems to hold good on the
whole, yet it is not strictly observed. Thus the work called Udâna and
corresponding to the Dhammapada is found in both the Kanjur and

[Footnote 975: Nanjio's catalogue states that a great many
Abhidhaṛma works in Chinese agree with Tibetan, but their titles
are not to be found in Csoma's analysis of the Kanjur. They may
however be in the Tanjur, which is less fully analyzed.]

[Footnote 976: Analysis of the Dulva, etc., four parts in _Asiatic
Researches_, vol. XX. 1836, by A. Csoma Körösi. Translated into French
by Feer, _Annales du Musée Guimet_, tome 2me, 1881. _Index des
Kanjur_, herausgegeben von I.J. Schmidt (in Tibetan), 1845. Huth,
_Verzeichnis der in Tibetischen Tanjur, Abtheilung mDo, erhaltenen
Werke_ in _Sitzungsber. Berlin. Akad._ 1895. P. Cordier, _Catalogue du
fonds Tibétain de la Bibliothèque Nationale_. Beckh, _Verzeichnis der
tibetischen Handscriften der K. Bibliothek zu Berlin_, 1 Abth.,
Kanjur, 1914. This is an analysis of the edition in 108 volumes,
whereas Csoma de Körösi and Feer analyzed the edition in 100 volumes.
The arrangement of the two editions is not quite the same. See too
Pelliot's review of Beckh's catalogue in _J.A._ 1914, II. pp. 111 ff.
See also Waddell, "Tibetan Manuscripts and Books" in _Asiatic
Quarterly_, July, 1912, pp. 80-113, which, though not an analysis of
the Canon, incidentally gives much information.]

[Footnote 977: _E.g._ Udâna ( = Dhammapada) by Rockhill, 1892
(transl.), and Beckh (text 1911) Madhyamakâvatâra: de la Vallée
Poussin, 1912, Madyamika-śâstra: Max Walleser, 1911 (transl.),
Citralakshana, ed. and trans. Laufer, 1913; Feer, _Fragments extraits
du Kanjur, Annales du Musée Guimet_, tome 5me, 1883.]

[Footnote 978: It is also sometimes divided into three Pitakas. When
this is done, the Dulva is the Vinaya P., the Śer-chin is the
Abhidharma P., and all the other works whether Sûtras or Tantras are
classed together as the Sûtra P.]

[Footnote 979: hDul-ba.]

[Footnote 980: See Nanjio, Nos. 1115-1119, 1122, 1132-4. Rockhill,
_Prâtimoksha Sûtra selon la version Tibétaine_, 1884. Huth,
_Tibetische Version der Naihsargikaprâyaccittikadharmâs_, 1891. Finot
and Hüber, "Le Prâtimoksa des Sarvâstivadins," _J.A._ 1913, II. p.

[Footnote 981: Strictly Śer-phyin.]

[Footnote 982: Waddell in _Asiatic Quarterly_, 1912, XXXIV. p. 98, renders
the title as Vata sangha, which probably represents Avataṃsaka. Sarat
Chandra Das, _sub voce_, says Phal-chen-sde-pa = Mahâsanghika.]

[Footnote 983: The statements of Nanjio as to "deest in Tibetan" are
not quite accurate as regards the edition in 108 volumes. Compare his
catalogue with Beckh's.]

[Footnote 984: This statement made by such scholars as Feer (_Anal. du
Kanjour_, p. 288) and Rockhill (_Udâna_, p. x) is of great weight,
but I have not found in their works any quotation from the Tibetan
translation saying that the original language was not Sanskrit and the
titles given by Peer are in Sanskrit not in Pali. I presume it is not
meant that the Tibetan text is a translation from a Sanskrit text
which corresponds with the Pali text known to us. In Beckh's catalogue
of the edition in 108 volumes the same titles occur in the
Prajñâ-pâramitâ section, but without any statement that the works are
translated from Pali. See Beckh, p. 12, and Feer, pp. 288 ff.]

[Footnote 985: _Life of the Buddha_, p. 224, and _J.R.A.S._ 1899, p.

[Footnote 986: There is another shorter sûtra on the same subject in
the mDo section of the Kanjur. Feer, p. 247. In the edition of 108
volumes, the whole section is incorporated in the mDo, Beckh, p. 33.]

[Footnote 987: The word seems originally to mean string or chain.]

[Footnote 988: Apparently not the same as the Tathâgata-Guhyaka
_alias_ Guhya Samagha described by R. Mitra, _Sk. Bud. Lit_. p. 261.]

[Footnote 989: See notices of these in four articles by Satiścandra
Vidyâbhûshana in _J.A.S. Beng._ 1907.]

[Footnote 990: _I.e._ the Dhammapada.]

[Footnote 991: Huth's analysis of vols. 117-124 of the Tanjur
(_Sitzungsber. Kōn. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin_, 1895) shows that
they contain _inter alia_, eight works on Sanskrit literature and
philology besides the Meghadûta, nine on medicine and alchemy with
commentaries, fourteen on astrology and divination, three on chemistry
(the composition of incense), eight on gnomic poetry and ethics, one
encyclopædia, six lives of the Saints, six works on the Tibetan
language and five on painting and fine art. Cordier gives further
particulars of the medical works in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1903, p. 604. They
include a veterinary treatise.]

[Footnote 992: See title in Laufer's edition.]

[Footnote 993: See Feer, _l.c._ for instance, pp. 287, 248.]

[Footnote 994: See Feer, _l.c._ p. 344, and Laufer, "Die Bruza
Sprache" in _T'oung Pao_, 1908. It is said that King Ru-che-tsan of
Brusha or Dusha translated (? what date) the Mûla-Tantra and
Vyâkhyâ-Tantra into the language of his country. See _J.A.S.B._ 1882,
p. 12. Beckh states that four works have titles in Chinese, one in
Bruža and one in Tartar (Hor-gyi-skad-du).]

[Footnote 995: Laufer, _ibid_. p. 4.]

[Footnote 996: See Nanjio, No. 87, and Feer, _l.c._ pp. 208-212, but
the two works may not be the same. The Tibetan seems to be a
collection of 45 sûtras.]

[Footnote 997: Rockhill, _l.c._ p. 212.]

[Footnote 998: Stein, _Ancient Khotan_, pp. 426-9 and App. B. See also
Pelliot in _B.E.F.E.O._ 1908, pp. 507 ff.]

[Footnote 999: The Mahâvyutpatti edited by Minayeff in _Bibl.
Buddhica_ and an abridgement.]

[Footnote 1000: According to Feer (_Analyse_, p. 325) Tibetan
historians state that at this epoch kings prohibited the translation
of more than a few tantric works.]

[Footnote 1001: Numerous works are also ascribed to Sarvajñâdeva and
Dharmaka, both of Kashmir, and to the Indian Vidyâkaraprabhâ and

[Footnote 1002: See Francke in _J.R.A.S._ 1914, pp. 56-7.]

[Footnote 1003: See Pander, _Pantheon_, No. 30.]

[Footnote 1004: Waddell, _Buddhism_, p. 36, gives a list of them.]

[Footnote 1005: It appears to me that there is some confusion between
Brom-ston, a disciple of Atîśa, who must have flourished about 1060
and Bu-ston, who was born in 1288. Grünwedel says that the latter is
credited with the compilations of the Kanjur and Tanjur, but Rockhill
(_Life of the Buddha_, p. 227) describes Bu-ston as a disciple of

[Footnote 1006: See Huth, _Geschichte des Budd. in der Mongolei_, 291,
and Laufer, "Skizze der Mongolischen Literatur" (in _Keleti Szemle_,
1907), p. 219. Also Pelliot in _J.A._ 1914, II. pp. 112-3.]

[Footnote 1007: See Laufer in _Bull. de l'Acad. de S. Pétersbourg_,
1909, pp. 567-574. There are some differences in the editions. That of
Narthang is said to contain a series of sûtras translated from the
Pali and wanting in the Red Edition, but not to contain two
translations from Chinese which are found in the Red Edition. See the
preface to Beckh's catalogue. The MS. analyzed by him was obtained at
Peking, but it is not known whence it came. An edition by Ch'ien Lung
is mentioned by some authors. It is also said that an edition is
printed at Punakha in Bhutan, and another in Mongolian at Kumbum.]

[Footnote 1008: Some of these are probably included in the Tanjur,
which has not been fully catalogued. See _J.A.S. Beng_. 1904, for a
list of 85 printed books bought in Lhasa, 1902, and Waddell's article
in _Asiatic Quarterly_, July, 1912, already referred to.]

[Footnote 1009: Edited and translated by Huth as _Geschichte des
Buddhismus in der Mongolei_, 1892.]

[Footnote 1010: Finno Ugrian Society of Helsingfors, 1898.]

[Footnote 1011: Same Society, 1900 and 1902, and _J.A.S.B._ 1906-7.]


TIBET (_continued_)


Lamaism may be defined as a mixture of late Indian Buddhism (which is
itself a mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism) with various Tibetan
practices and beliefs. The principal of these are demonophobia and the
worship of human beings as incarnate deities. Demonophobia is a
compendious expression for an obsession which victimizes Chinese and
Hindus to some extent as well as Tibetans, namely, the conviction that
they are at all times surrounded by fierce and terrible beings against
whom they must protect themselves by all the methods that religion and
magic can supply. This is merely an acute form of the world-wide
belief that all nature is animated by good and bad spirits, of which
the latter being more aggressive require more attention, but it
assumes startlingly conspicuous forms in Tibet because the Church has
enlisted all the forces of art, theology and philosophy to aid in this
war against demons. The externals of Tibetan worship suffer much from
the idea that benevolent deities assume a terrible guise in order to
strike fear into the hosts of evil[1012]. The helpers and saviours of
mankind such as Avalokita and Târâ are often depicted in the shape of
raging fiends, as hideous and revolting as a fanciful brush and
distorted brain can paint them. The idea inspiring these monstrous
images is not the worship of cruelty and terror, but the hope that
evil spirits may be kept away when they see how awful are the powers
which the Church can summon. Nevertheless the result is that a Lama
temple often looks like a pandemonium and meeting house for
devil-worship, an Olympus tenanted by Gorgons, Hydras and Furies. It
is only fair to say that Tibetan art sometimes represents with success
gods and saints in attitudes of repose and authority, and has produced
some striking portraits[1013], but its most marked feature (which
it shares with literature) is a morbid love of the monstrous and
terrible, a perpetual endeavour to portray fiends surrounded with
every circumstance of horror, and still more appalling deities, all
eyes, heads and limbs, wreathed with fire, drinking blood from skulls
and trampling prostrate creatures to death beneath their feet.
Probably the wild and fantastic landscapes of Tibet, the awful
suggestions of the spectral mists, the real terrors of precipice,
desert and storm have wrought for ages upon the minds of those who
live among them.

Like demonophobia, the worship of incarnate deities is common in
eastern Asia but here it acquires an extent and intensity unknown
elsewhere. The Tibetans show a strange power of organization in
dealing with the supernatural. In India incarnations have usually been
recognized post-mortem and as incalculable manifestations of the
spirit[1014]. But at least since the seventeenth century, the Lamas
have accepted them as part of the Church's daily round and
administrative work. The practices of Shamanism probably prepared the
way, for in his mystic frenzies the Shaman is temporarily inhabited by
a god and the extreme ease with which distinguished persons are turned
into gods or Bodhisattvas in China and Japan is another manifestation
of the same spirit. An ancient inscription[1015] applies to the kings
of Tibet the word _ḥphrul_ which is also used of the Grand Lamas
and means that a deity is transformed, or as we say, incarnate in a
human person. The Yellow Church officially recognized[1016] the
Emperor of China as an incarnation of Mañjuśrî and the Mongols
believed the Tsar of Russia to be an incarnation of the White Târâ.

The admixtures received by Buddhism in Tibet are not alien to Indian
thought. They received an unusual emphasis but India provided terrible
deities, like Kâlî with her attendant fiends, and also the idea that
the divine embodies itself in human personalities or special
manifestations. Thus Tibetan Buddhism is not so much an amalgam, as a
phase of medieval Hindu religion disproportionately developed in
some directions. The Lamas have acquired much the same status as the
Brahmans. If they could not make themselves a hereditary caste, they
at least enforced the principle that they are the necessary
intermediaries between gods and men. Though they adopted the monastic
system of Buddhism, they are not so much monks as priests and ghostly
warriors who understand the art of fighting with demons.

Yet Tibet like Japan could assimilate and transform as well as borrow.
The national and original element in Lamaism becomes plain when we
compare Tibet with the neighbouring land of Nepal. There late Indian
Buddhism simply decayed under an overgrowth of Brahmanism. In Tibet it
acquired more life and character than it had in its native Bengal.
This new character has something monstrous and fantastic in government
as well as art: the magic fortresses of the Snowland, peopled by
priests and demons, seem uncanny homes for plain mortals, yet Lamaism
has the strength belonging to all genuine expressions of national
character and it clearly suits the Tibetans and Mongols. The oldest
known form of Tibetan religion had some of the same characteristics.
It is called Bön or Pön. It would be outside my province to discuss it
here, but even when first heard of it was more than a rude form of
animism. In the eighth century its hierarchy was sufficiently strong
to oppose the introduction of Buddhism and it possibly contained a
pre-buddhist stratum of Iranian ideas[1017]. In later times it adopted
or travestied Buddhist dogma, ritual and literature, much as Taoism
did in China, but still remained a repository of necromancy, magic,
animal sacrifices, devil-dancing, and such like practices, which have
in all ages corrupted Tibetan Buddhism though theoretically

Of Tibetan Buddhism anterior to 747 there is little to be said. It
consisted in the sporadic introduction of books and images from India
and did not assume any national character, for it is clear that in
this period Tibet was not regarded as a Buddhist country. The first
phase deserving the name of Lamaism begins with the arrival of
Padma-Sambhava in 747. The Nying-ma-pa or Old School claims to
represent his teaching, but, as already mentioned, the various sects
have interacted on one another so much that their tenets are hardly
distinctive. Still it is pretty clear that what Padma-Sambhava brought
with him was the late form of India Buddhism called Mantrayâna,
closely allied to the Chên Yen of China, and transported to Japan
under the name of Shingon and also to the Buddhism of Java as
represented in the sculptures of Boroboedoer. The Far East felt shy of
the tantric element in this teaching, whereas the Tibetans exaggerated
it, but the doctrinal basis is everywhere the same, namely, that there
are five celestial Buddhas, of whom Vairocana is the principal and in
some sense the origin. These give rise to celestial emanations, female
as well as male, and to terrestrial reflexes such as Śâkyamuni.
Among the other features of Padma-Sambhava's teaching the following
may be enumerated with more or less certainty: (_a_) A readiness to
tolerate and incorporate the local cults of the countries where he
preached. (_b_) A free use of spells (dhâraṇî) and magical figures
(maṇḍala) for the purpose of subduing demons and acquiring
supernatural powers. (_c_) The belief that by such methods an adept
can not only summon a deity but assume his form and in fact become the
deity. (_d_) The worship of Amitâbha, among other deities, and a
belief in his paradise. (_e_) The presentation of offerings, though
not of flesh, in sacrifice[1018] and the performance of ceremonies on
behalf of departed souls. (_f_) The worship of departed and perhaps of
living teachers. His image is a conspicuous object of veneration in
the Nying-ma-pa sect but he does not appear to have taught the
doctrine of hierarchical succession by incarnation. Grünwedel[1019]
has pointed out that the later corruptions of Buddhism in northern
India, Tibet and Central Asia are connected with the personages known
as the eighty-four Mahâsiddhas, or great magicians. Their appearance
as shown in pictures is that of Brahmanic ascetics rather than of
Buddhist Bhikshus, but many of them bear names which are not Indian.
Their dates cannot be fixed at present and appear to cover a
period from the early centuries of our era up to about 1200, so that
they represent not a special movement but a continuous tendency to
import into Buddhism very various currents of thought, north Indian,
Iranian, Central Asian and even Mohammedan.

The visit of Padma-Sambhava was followed by a period of religious
activity which culminated in the ninth century under King Ralpachan,
but it does not appear that the numerous translations from Indian
works made in this reign did more than supplement and amplify the
doctrine already preached. But when after a lengthy eclipse Buddhism
was reinstated in the eleventh century under the auspices of Atîśa
and other foreign teachers we hear of something new, called the
Kâlacakra[1020] system also known as the Vajrayâna. Pending the
publication of the Kâlacakra Tantra[1021], it is not easy to make
definite statements about this school which presumably marks the
extreme point of development or degeneration in Buddhism, but a
persistent tradition connects it with a country called Śambhala or
Zhambhala, translated in Tibetan as bDe-ḥbyuṇ or source of
happiness. This country is seen only through a haze of myth: it may
have been in India or it may have been somewhere in Central Asia,
where Buddhism mingled with Turkish ideas[1022]. Its kings were called
Kulika and the Tibetan calendar introduced by Atîśa is said to have
come from it. This fact and the meaning of the word Kâlacakra (wheel
of time) suggest that the system has some connection with the Turkish
cycle of twelve animals used for expressing dates[1023]. A
legend[1024] states that Śâkyamuni promulgated the Kâlacakra system
in Orissa (Dhânyakaṭaka) and that Sucandra, king of Śambhala,
having miraculously received this teaching wrote the Kâlacakra Tantra
in a prophetic spirit, although it was not published until 965
A.D. This is really the approximate date of its compilation and I can
only add the following disjointed data[1025].

Tibetan authorities state that it was introduced into Nâlandâ by a
Pandit called Tsilu or Chilu and accepted by Narotapa who was then head
of the University. From Nâlandâ it spread to Tibet. Manjuśrîkîrti, king
of Śambhala, is said to have been an exponent of it and to have begun
his reign 674 years after the death of the Buddha. But since he is also
the second incarnation of the Panchen Lama and since the fourth
(Abhayakara) lived about 1075, he may really have been a historical
character in the latter part of the tenth century. Its promulgation is
also ascribed to a personage called Siddha Pito. It must be late for it
is said to mention Islam and Mohammed. It is perhaps connected with
anti-mohammedan movements which looked to Kalkî, the future incarnation
of Vishnu, as their Messiah, for Hindu tradition says that Kalkî will be
born in Śambhalagrâma[1026]. We hear also of a Siddha called Telopa or
Tailopa, who was a vigorous opponent of Islam. The mythology of the
school is Vishnuite, not Sivaitic, and it is noticeable that the
Pâncarâtra system which had some connection with Kashmir lays stress on
the wheel or discus (_cakra_ or _sudarśana_) of Vishnu which is said to
be the support of the Universe and the manifestation of Creative will.
The Kâlacakra is mentioned as a special form of this cosmic wheel having
six spokes[1027].

The peculiar doctrine of the Buddhist Kâlacakra is that there is an
Adi-Buddha[1028], or primordial Buddha God, from whom all other
Buddhas are derived. It is possible that it represents a last effort
of Central Asian Buddhism to contend with Moslims, which instead of
denying the bases of Mohammed's teaching tried to show that monotheism
(like everything else) could be found in Buddhism--a method of
argument frequent in India. The doctrine of the Adi-Buddha was not
however new or really important. For the Indian mind it is implied
in the dogma of the three bodies of Buddha, for the Sambhogakâya is
practically an Indian Deva and the Dharmakâya is the pantheos or
Brahmâ. Under the influence of the Kâlacakra the Lamas did not become
theists in the sense of worshipping one supreme God but they
identified with the Adi-Buddha some particular deity, varying
according to the sects. Thus Samantabhadra, who usually ranks as a
Bodhisattva--that is as inferior to a Buddha--was selected by some for
the honour. The logic of this is hard to explain but it is clearly
analogous to the procedure, common to the oldest and newest phases of
Hindu religion, by which a special deity is declared to be not only
all the other gods but also the universal spirit[1029]. It does not
appear that the Kâlacakra Tantra met with general acceptance. It is
unknown in China and Japan and not well known in Nepal[1030].

The Kâlacakra adopted all the extravagances of the Tantras and
provided the principal Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with spouses, even
giving one to the Adi-Buddha himself[1031]. Extraordinary as this is
from a Buddhist point of view, it is little more than the Hindu idea
that the Supreme Being became male and female for the purpose of
producing the universe. But the general effect of the system on
monastic and religious life was bad. Celibacy was not observed;
morals, discipline and doctrine alike deteriorated. A striking
instance is afforded by the ceremonies used by Pagspa when receiving
Kublai into the Church. The Tibetan prelate presumably wished to give
the Emperor what was best and most important in his creed and selected
a formula for invoking a demoniac Buddha.

The latest phase of Lamaism was inaugurated by Tsong-kha-pa's
reformation and is still vigorous. Politically and socially it was of
capital importance, for it disciplined the priesthood and enabled
the heads of the Church to rule Tibet. In doctrine it was not marked
by the importation of new ideas, but it emphasized the worship of
Avalokita as the patron of Tibet, it systematized the existing beliefs
about reincarnation, thereby creating a powerful hierarchy, and it
restricted Tantrism, without abolishing it. But many monasteries
persistently refused to accept these reforms.

Tibetan mythology and ceremonial have been described in detail by
Grünwedel, Waddell and others. The pantheon is probably the largest in
the world. All heaven and hell seem to meet in it. The originals of
the deities are nearly all to be found in Nepalese Buddhism[1032] and
the perplexing multiplicity of Tibet is chiefly due to the habit of
representing one deity in many forms and aspects, thus making him a
dozen or more personages both for art and for popular worship. The
adoration of saints and their images is also more developed than in
Nepal and forms some counterpoise to the prevalent demonolatry.

I will not attempt to catalogue this fantastic host but will merely
notice the principal elements in it.

The first of these may be called early Buddhist. The figure of
Śâkyamuni is frequent in poses which illustrate the familiar story
of his life and the statue in the cathedral of Lhasa representing him
as a young man is the most venerated image in all Tibet. The human
Buddhas anterior to him also receive recognition together with
Maitreya. The Pratimoksha is still known, the Uposatha days are
observed and the details of the ordination services recall the
prescriptions of the Pali Vinaya; formulæ such as the four truths, the
eightfold path and the chain of causation are still in use and form
the basis of ethics.

The later (but still not tantric) doctrines of Indian Mahayanism are
naturally prominent. The three bodies of Buddha are well known and
also the series of five Celestial Buddhas with corresponding
Bodhisattvas and other manifestations. I feel doubtful whether the
table given by Waddell[1033] can be accepted as a compendium of
the Lamaist creed. The symmetry is spoiled by the existence of other
groups such as the Thirty Buddhas, the Thousand Buddhas, and the
Buddhas of Healing, and also by the habit just mentioned of
representing deities in various forms. For instance Amoghapâśa,
theoretically a form of Avalokita, is in practice distinct. The fact
is that Lamaism accepted the whole host of Indian Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas, with additions of its own. The classifications made by
various sûtras and tantras were not sufficiently dogmatic to become
articles of faith: chance and fancy determined the prominence and
popularity of a given figure. Among the Buddhas those most worshipped
are Amitâbha, Śâkya and Bhaishajyaguru or the Buddha of Healing:
among the Bodhisattvas, Avalokita, Maitreya and Mañjuśrî.

There is nothing in the above differing materially from Chinese or
Japanese Buddhism. The peculiarities of Tibet are brought out by the
tantric phase which those countries eschewed. Three characteristics of
Tibetan Tantrism, which are all more or less Indian, may be mentioned.
Firstly, all deities, even the most august, become familiar spirits,
who are not so much worshipped as coerced by spells. The neophyte is
initiated into their mysteries by a special ceremonial[1034]: the
adept can summon them, assume their attributes and attain union with
them. Secondly, great prominence is given to goddesses, either as the
counterparts of male deities or as independent. Thirdly, deities
appear in various forms, described as mild, angry or fiendish. It is
specially characteristic of Lamaism that naturally benevolent deities
are represented as raging in furious frenzy.

Whether the superhuman beings of Tantrism are Buddhas, Bodhisattvas,
or Hindu gods like Mahâkala, it is correct to describe them as
deities, for they behave and are treated like Indian Devas. Besides
the relatively old and simple forms of the various Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas, there are many others which are usually accommodated to
the system by being described as protecting spirits, that is virtuous
and religious fiends who expend their ferocity on the enemies of the

Of these Protectors there are two classes, which are not mutually
exclusive, namely, the tutelary deities of individuals, and the
defenders of the faith or tutelaries of the whole Church. The former,
who are extremely important in the religious life of the Lamas, are
called Yi-dam and may be compared with the Ishṭa-devatâs of the
Hindus: the latter or Chos Skyoṇ correspond to the Dharmapâlas.
Every Lama selects a Yi-dam either for life or for a period. His
choice must remain a secret but he himself has no doubts, as after
fasting and meditation the deity will appear to him[1035]. Henceforth
he every morning repeats formulæ which are supposed to give him the
appearance of his tutelary and thus scare away hostile demons. The
most efficacious tutelaries are tantric forms of the Dhyâni Buddhas,
especially Vajrasattva, Vajradhara and Amitâyus. The deity is
represented not in the guise of a Buddha but crowned, robed, and
holding a thunderbolt, and his attributes appear to be derived from
those of Indra[1036]. In his arms he always clasps a Śakti.

A second class of tutelaries is composed of so-called Buddhas,
accompanied by Śaktis and terrific in aspect, who are manifestations of
the Buddhahood for special purposes. I do not know if this description
is theologically correct, for these fantastic figures have no relation
to anything deserving the name of Buddhism, but Grünwedel[1037] has
shown that they are comparable with the various forms of Śiva. This god
does not become incarnate like Vishnu but manifests himself from time to
time in many shapes accompanied by a retinue who are sometimes merely
attendants and sometimes alternative forms of the Lord. Vîrabhadra, the
terrible being created by Śiva from himself in order to confound
Daksha's sacrifice, is a close parallel to the demoniac Buddhas of
Lamaism. Some of them, such as Mahâkâla and Samvara, show their origin
in their names and the rest, such as Hevajra, Buddhakapâla and
Yamântaka, are similar. This last is a common subject for art, a many
headed and many limbed minotaur, convulsed by a paroxysm of devilish
passion. Among his heads the most conspicuous is the face of an ox, yet
this grotesque demon is regarded as a manifestation of the benign and
intellectual Mañjuśri whose images in other lands are among the most
gracious products of Buddhist sculpture.

Most tutelary deities of this class act as defenders of the faith
and each sect has one or two as its special guardians[1038]. The idea
is ancient for even in the Pitakas, Sakka and other spirits
respectfully protect the Buddha's disciples, and the Dharmapâlas of
Gandharan art are the ancestors of the Chos Skyoṇ. But in Tibet
these assume monstrous and manifold disguises. The oldest is
Vajrapâṇi and nearly all the others are forms of Śiva (such as
Acala or Mi-gyo-ba who reappears in Japan as Fudo) or personages of
his retinue. Eight of them are often adored collectively under the
name of the Eight Terrible Ones. Several of these are well-known
figures in Hindu mythology, for though the Lamas usually give Buddhist
titles to their principal deities, yet they also venerate Hindu gods,
without any explanation of their status. Thus hJigs-med-nam-mkha says
that he composed his history with the help of Śiva[1039]. The
members of this group vary in different enumerations but the following
usually form part of it.

(_a_) Hayagrîva[1040], the horse-necked god. In India he appears to be
connected with Vishnu rather than Śiva. The magic dagger with which
Lamas believe they can stab demons is said to be a form of him. The
Mongols regard him as the protector of horses. (_b_) Yama, the Indian
god of the dead, accompanied by a hellish retinue including living
skeletons. (_c_) Mahâkâla, the form of Śiva already mentioned. It
was by his inspiration that Pagspa was able to convert Khubilai Khan.
(_d_) Lha-mo, the goddess, that is Devî, the spouse of Śiva. (_e_)
lCam-sraṇ, a war god of somewhat uncertain origin but perhaps a
Tibetan form of Kârtikeya. Other deities frequently included in this
group are Yamântaka, mentioned above, Kubera or Vaiśravana, the
Hindu god of wealth, and a deity called the White Brahmâ (Thsangspa
dKarpo). This last is an ordinary human figure riding on a white horse
and brandishing a sword. He wears white clothes and a crown or turban.
He is perhaps Kalkî who, as suggested above, had some connection with
the Kâlacakra. The Eight Terrible Ones and their attendants are
represented by grotesquely masked figures in the dances and mystery
plays enacted by Lamas. These performances are said to be still
known among the vulgar as dances of the Red Tiger Devil, but in
the hands of the Yellow Church have become a historical drama
representing the persecution of Buddhism under King Lang-dar-ma and
its ultimate triumph after he has been slain by the help of these
ghostly champions.

Lamaist books mention numerous other Indian divinities, such as
Brahmâ, the thirty-three Devas, the Kings of the four quarters, etc.
These have no particular place in the system but their appearance in
art and literature is natural, since they are decorative though not
essential parts of early Buddhism. The same may be said of all the
host of Nâgas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, etc. But though these multitudinous
spirits have been rearranged and classified in conformity with Hindu
ideas they are not an importation but rather part of the old folklore
of Tibet, in many ways identical with the same stratum of thought in
India. Thus the snake demigods or Nâgas[1041] occupy in both countries
a large place in the popular imagination. In the higher ranks of the
Lamaist pantheon all the figures seem to be imported, but some
indigenous godlings have retained a place in the lower classes. Such
are rDo-rje-legs, at first an opponent of Buddhism as preached by
Padma-Sambhava but honoured as a deity after making due submission,
and the Five Kings[1042], a group of fierce spirits, under the
presidency of dPe-dkar.

It remains to say a word of the numerous goddesses who play an important
part in Tibetan Buddhism, as in Hindu Tantrism. They are usually
represented as the female counterparts or better halves of male deities,
but some are self-sufficient. The greatest of these goddesses is
Târâ[1043]. Though Lamaist theology describes her as the spouse of
Avalokita she is not a single personality but a generic name applied to
a whole class of female deities and, as in many other cases, no clear
distinction is drawn between her attendants and the forms which she
herself assumes. Originally benevolent and depicted with the attributes
of Lakshmî she is transformed by a turn of Tibetan imagination, with
which the reader is now familiar, into various terrible shapes and is
practically the same as the spouse of Śiva, celebrated in the Tantras
under countless names. Twenty-one Târâs are often enumerated in a list
said to be well known even to the laity[1044] and there are others.
Among them are (_a_) the Green Târâ, the commonest form in Tibet. (_b_)
The White Târâ, much worshipped by Mongols and supposed to be incarnate
in the Tsar of Russia, (_c_) Bhrikutî, a dark blue, angry, frowning
form, (_d_) Ushṇîshavijayâ[1045], a graceful and benevolent form known
to the Japanese. She is mentioned in the Horiuji palm-leaf manuscript
which dates from at least 609 A.D. (_e_) Parṇaśavarî, represented as
wearing a girdle of leaves and also called Gandhârî, Piśâcî and
Sarva-Śavarâṇâm Bhagavatî[1046]. She is apparently the goddess of an
aboriginal tribe in India. (_f_) Kurukullâ, a goddess of riches,
inhabiting caves. She is said to have given great wealth to the fifth
Grand Lama, and though she might be suspected of being a native deity
was known in Nepal and India[1047].

The Goddess Marîcî, often depicted with Târâ, appears to be distinct
and in one form is represented with a sow's head and known as
Vajravarâhî. As such she is incarnate in the abbesses of several
monasteries, particularly Samding on lake Yamdok[1048].

A notice of Tibetan Buddhism can hardly avoid referring to the use of
praying wheels and the celebrated formula Om maṇi padme hum. Though
these are among the most conspicuous and ubiquitous features of
Lamaism their origin is strangely obscure[1049]. Attempts to connect
the praying wheel with the wheel of the law, the cakravartin and other
uses of the wheel in Indian symbolism, are irrelevant, for the object
to be explained is not really a wheel but a barrel, large or small,
containing written prayers, or even a whole library. Those who turn
the barrel acquire all the merit arising from repeating the
prayers or reading the books. In Tibet this form of devotion is a
national mania. People carry small prayer wheels in their hands as
they walk and place large ones in rivers to be turned by the current.
In China, Japan and Korea we find revolving libraries and occasional
praying machines, though not of quite the same form as in Tibet[1050],
but, so far as I know, there is nothing to show that these were not
introduced from Tibet into China and thence found their way further
East. The hypothesis that they were known in India and thence exported
to Tibet on one side and China on the other naturally suggests itself,
but the total absence of praying machines in India as well as in the
ruined cities of Central Asia and the general Hindu habit of regarding
scriptures and spells as words rather than written documents lend it
no support. It may be that when the illiterate Tibetans first became
acquainted with written prayers, they invented this singular method of
utilizing them without reading them.

Equally obscure is the origin of the formula Om maṇi padme[1051]
hum, which permeates Tibet, uttered by every human voice, revolved in
countless machines, graven on the rocks, printed on flags. It is
obviously a Dhâraṇî[1052] and there is no reason to doubt that it
came to Tibet with the first introduction of Buddhism, but also no
record. The earliest passage hitherto quoted for its occurrence is a
Chinese translation made between 980 and 1001 A.D.[1053] and said to
correspond with the Kanjur and the earliest historical mention of its
use is found in Willelm de Rubruk (1254) and in the writings of
Bu-ston[1054]. The first legend of its origin is contained in the
Manikambum, a work of doubtful age and authorship but perhaps as
old as the fifteenth century[1055]. The popularity of the prayer may
date from the time when the pontiffs of Lhasa were recognized as
incarnations of Avalokita. The first and last words are mystic
syllables such as often occur in these formulæ. Maṇi padme is
generally interpreted to mean the jewel in the lotus[1056], but Thomas
has pointed out that it is more consonant with grammar and usage to
regard the syllables as one word and the vocative of a feminine title
similar to Padmapâṇi, one of Avalokita's many names. The analogy of
similar spells supports this interpretation and it seems probable that
the formula was originally an invocation of the Śakti under the
title of Maṇipadmâ, although so far as I know it is now regarded by
the Tibetans as an address to the male Avalokita. It has also been
suggested that the prominence of this prayer may be due to Manichæan
influence and the idea that it contained the name of Mani. The
suggestion is not absurd for in many instances Manichæism and Buddhism
were mixed together, but if it were true we should expect to find the
formula frequently used in the Tarim basin, but of such use there is
no proof.


[Footnote 1012: The Shingon sect in Japan depict benevolent deities in
a raging form, Funnu. See Kokka, No. 292, p. 58. The idea goes back to
India where the canons of sacred art recognize that deities can be
represented in a pacific (śânta or saumya) or in a terrific (ugra
or raudra) form. See Gopinath Rao, _Hindu Iconography_, vol. I. p. 19,
and vol. II of the same for a lengthy description of the aspects of

[Footnote 1013: _E.g._ Grünwedel, _Buddhist art in India_, fig. 149,
_id. Mythologie_, fig. 54.]

[Footnote 1014: But there is still a hereditary incarnation of
Ganeśa near Poona, which began in the seventeenth century. See
_Asiatic Researches_, VII. 381.]

[Footnote 1015: See Waddell in _J.R.A.S._ 1909, p. 941.]

[Footnote 1016: See _e.g. J.A.S.B._ 1882, p. 41. The Svayambhû Purâna
also states that Mañjuśrî lives in China. See _J. Buddhist Text
Society_, 1894, vol. II. part II. p. 33.]

[Footnote 1017: See _T'oung Pao_, 1908, p. 13. For the Bön generally
see also _J.A.S. Bengal_, 1881, p. 187; Rockhill, _Land of the Lamas_,
pp. 217-218; and _T'oung Pao_, 1901, pp. 24-44.]

[Footnote 1018: The Lamas offer burnt sacrifices but it is not quite
clear whether these are derived from the Indian _homa_ adopted by
Tantric Buddhism or from Tibetan and Mongol ceremonies. See, for a
description of this ceremony, _My Life in Mongolia_, by the Bishop of
Norwich, pp. 108-114.]

[Footnote 1019: _Mythologie des Buddhismus_, p. 40.]

[Footnote 1020: In Tibetan Dus-kyi-hkhor-lo. Mongol, Tsagun kürdün.]

[Footnote 1021: Announced in the _Bibliotheca Buddhica_.]

[Footnote 1022: See Pelliot, _Quelques transcriptions apparentées Ã
Cambhala dans les textes Chinois_ (in _T'oung Pao_, vol. XX. 1920, p.
73) for some conjectures. Kulika is translated into Tibetan as
Rigs-Ldan. Tibetan texts speak of books coming from Śambhala, see
Laufer in _T'oung Pao_, 1913, p. 596.]

[Footnote 1023: See Laufer in _T'oung Pao_, 1907, p. 402. In Sumpa's
chronology, _J.A.S. Beng._ p. 46, the reign of a Kulika Emperor seems
to be simply a designation for a century.]

[Footnote 1024: See _J.A.S.B._ 82, p. 225. The king is also (but
apparently incorrectly) called Candra-Bhadra.]

[Footnote 1025: See Grünwedel, _Mythologie_, p. 41. Sarat Chandra Das
in _J.A.S. Beng_. 1882, p. 15, and _J.A.S. Beng_. 1912, p. 21, being
reprints of earlier articles by Csoma de Körös.]

[Footnote 1026: See Kalkî Purâna. Vishnu Purâna, IV. XXIV, Bhâg. Pur.
XII. ii. 18, and Norman in _Trans. III, Int. Congress Religions_, vol.
II. p. 85. Also Aufrecht, _Cat. Cod. Sansk._ 73A, 84B.]

[Footnote 1027: See Schrader, _Introd. to the Pâncarâtra_, pp. 100-106
and 96.]

[Footnote 1028: See the article "Adi Buddha" by De la Vallée Poussin
in Hastings' _Encyc. of Religion and Ethics_.]

[Footnote 1029: See, for a modern example of this, the
Ganeśâtharvaśirshopanishad (Anândâ srama edition, pp. 11 and 16)
Tvam eva sarvam khalvidam Brahmâsi ... Tvam Brahmâ Tvam Vishnus Tvam
Rudras Tvam Indras Tvam Agnis Tvam Vâyus Tvam Sûryas Tvam Candramâs
Tvam _Brahma_. Here Gaṇeśa includes all the deities and the
Pantheos. There is also a book called Gaṇeśadarśanam in which
the Vedanta sûtras are rewritten and Gaṇeśa made equivalent to
Brahma. See Madras, _Cat. of Sk. MSS_. 1910-1913, p. 1030.]

[Footnote 1030: It is just mentioned in S. Lévi's _Nepal II_, p. 385,
but is not in Rajendralal Mitra's _Catalogue_.]

[Footnote 1031: Waddell, _Buddhism_, p. 131. Pander, _Pantheon_, p.
59, No. 56.]

[Footnote 1032: Nepalese Buddhism knows not only the Dhyâni Buddhas,
Śaktis and Bodhisattvas including Vajrasattva and Vajradhara, but
also deities like Hayagrîva, Yamântaka, Bhrikutî, Marîcî, Kurukullâ.
In both Nepal and Tibet are found pictures called Thsogs-śiṇ in
which the deities of the Pantheon (or at least the principal of them)
are grouped according to rank. See for an example containing 138
deities the frontispiece of Getty's _Gods of Northern Buddhism_.]

[Footnote 1033: _Buddhism_, pp. 350-1.]

[Footnote 1034: For an outline of the method followed by Tibetans in
studying the Tantras, see _Journal Buddhist Text Society_, 1893, vol.
I. part III. pp. 25-6.]

[Footnote 1035: The deity may appear in an unusual form, so the
worshipper can easily persuade himself that he has received the
desired revelation.]

[Footnote 1036: A figure identified with Indra or Vajrapâni is found
in Gandhara sculptures.]

[Footnote 1037: _Mythologie_, p. 97.]

[Footnote 1038: The Dhyâni Buddhas however seem to be the Yi-dam of
individuals only.]

[Footnote 1039: Huth's edition, p. 1.]

[Footnote 1040: See _Buddhist Text Society_, vol. II. part II.
appendix II. 1904, p. 6.]

[Footnote 1041: See Laufer, "Hundert Tausend Nâgas" in _Memoirs of
Finno-Ugrian Society_, 1898.]

[Footnote 1042: Or Five Bodies, sKu-Lṇa. dPe-dKar or Pe-har is by
some authorities identified with the Chinese deity Wei-to. This latter
is represented in the outer court of most Chinese temples.]

[Footnote 1043: In Tibetan sGrol-ma, in Mongol Dara äkä. For the early
history of Târâ see Blonay, _Matériaux pour servir à l'histoire de ...
Târâ_, 1895.]

[Footnote 1044: Waddell, _Buddhism_, p. 360.]

[Footnote 1045: Tibetan gTsug-tor-rnam-par-rgyal-ma.]

[Footnote 1046: Cf. Whitehead's statement (_Village Gods of S. India_,
p. 79) that women worshipping certain goddesses are clad only in the
twigs of the mimosa tree.]

[Footnote 1047: See Foucher, _Icon. Bouddhique_, 1900, p. 142, and
Târanâtha tr. Schiefner, p. 102.]

[Footnote 1048: See Waddell. Grünwedel seems to regard Vajra-Varâhî as
distinct from Marîcî.]

[Footnote 1049: As for instance is also the origin of Linga worship in

[Footnote 1050: See Steiner in _Mitth. der Deutsch. Gesellsch.
Natur-u. Völkerkunde Ost-Asiens_, 1909-10, p. 35.]

[Footnote 1051: Padme is said to be commonly pronounced peme.]

[Footnote 1052: Waddell quotes a similar spell known in both Tibet and
Japan, but addressed to Vairocana. Om Amogha Vairocanamahâmudra mani
padma jvalapravarthtaya hūm. _Buddhism_, p. 149.]

[Footnote 1053: _Divyâvadâna_ (Cowell and Neil), pp. 613-4, and Raj.
Mitra, _Nepalese Bud. Lit._ p. 98. See also the learned note of
Chavannes and Pelliot, based on Japanese sources in _J.A._ 1913, I.
314. The text referred to is Nanjio, No. 782. It is not plain if it is
the same as earlier translations with similar titles. A mantra of six
syllables not further defined is extolled in the Divyâvadâna and the

[Footnote 1054: Bu-ston was born in 1288 and the summary of his
writings contained in the _Journal of the Buddhist Text Society_, vol.
I. 1893, represents the formula as used in the times of Atîśa, _c_.

[Footnote 1055: See for this legend, which is long but not very
illuminating, Rockhill's _Land of the Lamas_, pp. 326-334.]

[Footnote 1056: _J.R.A.S._ 1906, p. 464, and Francke, _ib_. 1915, pp.
397-404. He points out the parallel between the three formulae: _Om
vagîśvari mum: Om maṇipadme hum: Om vajrapâṇi hum_. The hymn
to Durgâ in Mahâbhâr. Bhîshmapar, 796 (like many other hymns) contains
a long string of feminine vocatives ending in _e_ or _i_.]


TIBET _(continued)_


Lamaism is divided into various sects, which concern the clergy rather
than the laity. The differences in doctrine are not very important.
Each sect has special tutelary deities, scriptures and practices of
its own but they all tend to borrow from one another whatever inspires
respect or attracts worshippers. The baser sort try to maintain their
dignity by imitating the institutions of the superior sects, but the
superior cannot afford to neglect popular superstitions. So the
general level is much the same. Nevertheless, these sectarian
differences are not without practical importance for each sect has
monasteries and a hierarchy of its own and is outwardly distinguished
by peculiarities of costume, especially by the hat. Further, though
the subject has received little investigation, it is probable that
different sects possess different editions of the Kanjur or at any
rate respect different books[1057]. Since the seventeenth century the
Gelugpa has been recognized as the established church and the divinity
of the Grand Lama is not disputed, but in earlier times there were
many monastic quarrels and forced conversions. In the eighteenth
century the Red clergy intrigued with the Gurkhas in the hope of
supplanting their Yellow brethren and even now they are so powerful in
eastern Tibet that this hope may not be unreasonable, should political
troubles shake the hierarchy of Lhasa. In spite of the tendency to
borrow both what is good and what is bad, some sects are on a higher
grade intellectually and morally than others. Thus the older sects do
not insist on celibacy or abstinence from alcohol, and Tantrism and
magic form the major part of religion, whereas the Gelugpa or
established church maintains strict discipline, and tantric and
magical rites, though by no means prohibited, are at least practised
in moderation.

Setting aside the earliest period, the history of Buddhism in Tibet is
briefly that it was established by Padma-Sambhava about 750, reformed by
Atîśa about 1040 and again reformed by Tsong-kha-pa about 1400. The
sects correspond to these epochs. The oldest claims to preserve the
teaching of Padma-Sambhava, those of middle date are offshoots of the
movement started by Atîśa, and the newest represents Atîśa's principal
sect corrected by the second reformation. The oldest sect is known as
Nying-ma-pa or rNyiṇ-ma-pa, signifying the old ones, and also as the
Red Church from the colour of the hats worn by the clergy. Among its
subdivisions one called the sect of Udyâna[1058], in reference to
Padma-Sambhava's birthplace, appears to be the most ancient and still
exists in the Himalayas and eastern Tibet. The Nying-ma Lamas are said
to have kept the necromancy of the old Tibetan religion more fully than
any of the reformed sects. They pay special worship to Padma-Sambhava
and accept the revelations ascribed to him. Celibacy and abstinence are
rarely observed in their monasteries but these are by no means of low
repute. Among the more celebrated are Dorje-dag and Mindolling: the
great monastery of Pemiongchi[1059] in Sikhim is a branch establishment
of the latter.

Of the sects originating in Atîśa's reformation the principal was the
Kadampa[1060], but it has lost much of its importance because it was
remodelled by Tsong-kha-pa and hence hardly exists to-day as an
independent body. The Sakya sect is connected with the great monastery
of the same name situated about fifty miles to the north of Mount
Everest and founded in 1071 by Sakya, a royal prince. It acquired great
political importance, for from 1270 to 1340 its abbots were the rulers
of Tibet. The historian Târanâtha belonged to one of its sub-sects, and
about 1600 settled in Mongolia where he founded the monastery of Urga
and established the line of reincarnate Lamas which still rules there.
But shortly after his death this monastery was forcibly taken over by
the Yellow Church and is still the centre of its influence in Mongolia.
In theology the Sakya offers nothing specially distinctive but it mixes
the Tantras of the old and new sects and according to Waddell[1061] is
practically indistinguishable from the Nying-ma-pa. The same is probably
true of the Kar-gyu-pa[1062] said to have been founded by Marpa and his
follower Milaräpa, who set an example of solitary and wandering lives.
It is sometimes described as a Nying-ma sect[1063] but appears to date
from after Atîśa's reforms, although it has a strong tendency to revert
to older practices. It has several important sub-sects, such as the
Karmapa found in Sikhim and Darjiling, as well as in Tibet, the Dugpa
which is predominant in Bhotan and perhaps in Ladak[1064], and the
Dikung-pa, which owns a large monastery one hundred miles north-east of
Lhasa. Milaräpa (or Mila), the cotton-clad saint who wandered over the
Snow-land in the light garments of an Indian ascetic, is perhaps the
post picturesque figure in Lamaism and in some ways reminds us of St.
Francis of Assisi[1065]. He was a worker of miracles and, what is rarer
in Tibet, a poet. His compositions known as the Hundred Thousand Songs
are still popular and show the same delicately sensitive love of nature
as the Psalms of the Theragâthâ.

The main distinction is between the Gelugpa or Yellow Church and all
the other sects. This is merely another way of saying that Atîśa
reformed the corrupt superstitions which he found but that his
reformed church in its turn became corrupt and required correction.
This was given by Tsong-kha-pa who belonged originally to the Kadampa.
He collected the scattered members of this sect, remodelled its
discipline, and laid the foundations of the system which made the
Grand Lamas rulers of Tibet. In externals the Gelugpa is characterized
by the use of the yellow cap and the veneration paid to Tsong-kha-pa's
image. Its Lamas are all celibate and hereditary succession is not
recognized. Among the many great establishments which belong to it are
the four royal monasteries or Ling in Lhasa; Gandan, Depung and Serra
near Lhasa; and Tashilhunpo.

It has often been noticed that the services performed by the
Gelugpa[1066] and by the Roman Catholic Church are strangely
similar in appearance. Is this an instance of borrowing or of
convergence? On the one hand it is stated that there were Roman
missions in Amdo in Tsong-kha-pa's youth, and the resemblances are
such as would be natural if he had seen great celebrations of the mass
and taken hints. In essentials the similarity is small but in
externals such as the vestments and head-dresses of the officiants,
the arrangement of the choir, and the general _mise-en-scène_, it is
striking. On the other hand many points of resemblance in ceremonial,
though not all, are also found in the older Japanese sects, where
there can hardly be any question of imitating Christianity, and it
would seem that a ritual common to Tibet and Japan can be explained
only as borrowed from India. Further, although Tsong-kha-pa may have
come in contact with missionaries, is it likely that he had an
opportunity of seeing Roman rites performed with any pomp? It is in
the great choral services of the two religions that the resemblance is
visible, not in their simpler ritual. For these reasons, I think that
the debt of Lamaism to the Catholic Church must be regarded as not
proven, while admitting the resemblance to be so striking that we
should be justified in concluding that Tsong-kha-pa copied Roman
ceremonial, could it be shown that he was acquainted with it.

The life and ritual of the Lamas have often been described, and I need
not do more than refer the reader to the detailed account given by
Waddell in his _Buddhism of Tibet_ [1067], but it is noticeable that
the monastic system is organized on a larger scale and inspired by
more energy than in any other country. The monasteries of Tibet, if
inferior to those of Japan in the middle ages, are the greatest
Buddhist establishments now existing. For instance Depung has 7000
monks, Serra 5500 and Tashilhunpo 3800: at Urga in Mongolia there are
said to be 14,000. One is not surprised to hear that these
institutions are veritable towns with their own police and doubtless
the spirit of discipline learned in managing such large bodies of
monks has helped the Lamaist Church in the government of the country.
Also these monasteries are universities. Candidates for ordination
study a course of theology and are not received as novices or full
monks unless they pass successive examinations. In every monastery
there is a central temple in which the monks assemble several times a
day to chant lengthy choral offices. Of these there are at least five,
the first before dawn and the last at 7 p.m. Though the value of
Lamas' learning and ritual may be questioned, it is clear that many of
them lead strenuous lives in the service of a religion which, if
fantastic, still expresses with peculiar intensity the beliefs and
emotions of the Tibetans and Mongols and has forced men of violence to
believe that a power higher than their own is wielded by intellect and

There seems to be no difference between Tibetan and Mongolian Lamaism
in deities, doctrines or observances[1068]. Mongolian Lamas imitate
the usages of Tibet, study there when they can and recite their
services in Tibetan, although they have translations of the scriptures
in their own language. Well read priests in Peking have told me that
it is better to study the canon in Tibetan than in Mongol, because
complete copies in Mongol, if extant, are practically unobtainable.

The political and military decadence of the Mongols has been ascribed
by some authors to Lamaism and to the substitution of priestly for
warlike ideals. But such a substitution is not likely to have taken
place except in minds prepared for it by other causes and it does not
appear that the Moslims of Central Asia are more virile and vigorous
than the Buddhists. The collapse of the Mongols can be easily
illustrated if not explained by the fate of Turks and Tartars in the
Balkan Peninsula and Russia. Wherever the Turks are the ruling race
they endeavour to assert their superiority over all Christians, often
by violent methods. But when the positions are reversed and the
Christians become rulers as in Bulgaria, the Turks make no resistance
but either retire or acquiesce meekly in the new regime.


[Footnote 1057: See for instance the particulars given as to various
branches of the Nying-ma pa sect in _J.A.S.B._ 1882, pp. 6-14.]

[Footnote 1058: Urgyen-pa or Dzok-chen-pa.]

[Footnote 1059: Or Pemayangtse.]

[Footnote 1060: bKah-gDams-pa.]

[Footnote 1061: _Buddhism_, p. 70.]

[Footnote 1062: bKah-brGyud-pa.]

[Footnote 1063: Sandberg, _Handbook of Tibetan_, p. 207.]

[Footnote 1064: Authorities differ as to the name of the sect which
owns Himis and other monasteries in Ladak.]

[Footnote 1065: See for some account of him and specimens of his
poems, Sandberg, _Tibet and the Tibetans_, chap. XIII.]

[Footnote 1066: I do not know whether the ceremonies of the other
sects offer the same resemblance. Probably they have all imitated the
Gelugpa. Some authors attribute the resemblance to contact with
Nestorian Christianity in early times but the resemblance is
definitely to Roman costumes and ceremonies not to those of the
Eastern church. Is there any reason to believe that the Nestorian
ritual resembled that of western catholics?]

[Footnote 1067: See also Filchner, _Das Kloster Kumbum_, 1906.]

[Footnote 1068: Almost the only difference that I have noticed is that
whereas Tibetans habitually translate Indian proper names, Mongols
frequently use Sanskrit words, such as Manjuśrî, or slightly
modified forms such as Dara, Maidari ( = Târâ, Maitreya). The same
practice is found in the old Uigur translations. See _Bibl. Buddh._
XII. Tisastvustik. For an interesting account of contemporary Lamaism
in Mongolia see Binstead, "Life in a Khalkha Steppe Monastery,"
_J.R.A.S._ 1914, 847-900.]



This work as originally planned contained a section on Japanese
Buddhism consisting of three chapters, but after it had been sent to
the publishers I was appointed H.M. Ambassador in Tokyo and I decided
to omit this section. Let not any Japanese suppose that it contained
disparaging criticism of his country or its religions. It would, I
hope, have given no offence to either Buddhists or Shintoists, but an
ambassador had better err on the side of discretion and refrain from
public comments on the institutions of the country to which he is

The omission is regrettable in so far as it prevents me from noticing
some of the most interesting and beautiful developments of Buddhism,
but for historical purposes and the investigation of the past the loss
is not great, for Japanese Buddhism throws little light on ancient
India or even on ancient China. It has not influenced other countries.
Its interest lies not in the relics of antiquity which it has
preserved but in the new shape and setting which a race at once
assimilative and inventive has given to old ideas.

Though the doctrine of the Buddha reached Japan from China through
Korea[1069], Chinese and Japanese Buddhism differ in several respects.
Lamaism never gained a footing in Japan, probably because it was the
religion of the hated Mongols. There was hardly any direct intercourse
with India. Whereas the state religion of China was frequently hostile
to Buddhism, in Japan such relations were generally friendly and from
the seventh century until the Meiji era an arrangement known as
Ryō-bu Shintō or two-fold Shintō was in force, by which
Shintō shrines were with few exceptions handed over to the custody
of Buddhist priests, native deities and historical personages being
declared to be manifestations of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Again, Buddhism in Japan has had a more intimate connection with
social, political and even military matters in various periods than in
China. This is one reason for its chief characteristic, namely,
the large number and distinct character of its sects. They are not
merely schools like the religious divisions of India and China, but
real sects with divergent doctrines and sometimes antagonistic to one

It became the fashion in Japan to talk of the twelve sects, but the
names given are not always the same.

One of the commonest lists is as follows[1070]:

    1. Kusha.                 5. Hossō.     9. Jōdo.
    2. Jo-jitsu.              6. Kegon.    10. Zen.
    3. Ritsu-shu or Risshu    7. Tendai.   11. Shin.
    4. Sanron.                8. Shingon.  12. Nichiren.

This list is historically correct, but Nos. 1-4 are almost or quite
extinct, and the number twelve is therefore sometimes made up as

    1. Hossō.           5. Yūzū Nembutsu.        9. Ōbaku.
    2. Kegon.           6. Jōdo.                10. Shin.
    3. Tendai.          7. Rinzai.              11. Nichiren.
    4. Shingon.         8. Sōdō.                12. Ji.

Here Nos. 7, 8, 9 are subdivisions of the Zen and 5 and 12 are two
small sects.

Taking the first list, we may easily distinguish two classes. The
first eight, called by the Japanese Hasshū, are all old and all
imported from China. They represent the Buddhism of the Nara and
Hei-an periods. The other four all arose after 1170 and were all
remodelled, if not created, in Japan. Chronologically the sects may be
arranged as follows, the dates marking the foundation or introduction
of each:

    (i)   Seventh century: Sanron, 625; Jo-jitsu, 625; Hossō, 657;
          Kusha, 660.
    (ii)  Eighth century: Kegon, 735; Ritsu, 745.
    (iii) Ninth century: Tendai, 805; Shingon, 806.
    (iv)  Twelfth and thirteenth centuries: Yūzū Nembutsu,
             1123; Jōdo, 1174; Zen, 1202; Shin, 1224; Nichiren,
             1253; Ji, 1275.

All Japanese sects of importance are Mahayanist. The Hinayana is
represented only by the Kusha, Jo-jitsu and Risshu. The two former are
both extinct: the third still numbers a few adherents, but is not
anti-Mahayanist. It merely insists on the importance of discipline.

Though the Hossō and Kegon sects are not extinct, their survival is
due to their monastic possessions rather than to the vitality of their
doctrines, but the great sects of the ninth century, the Tendai and
Shingon, are still flourishing. For some seven hundred years,
especially in the Fujiwara period, they had great influence not only
in art and literature, but in political and even in military matters,
for they maintained large bodies of troops consisting of soldier monks
or mercenaries and were a considerable menace to the secular
authority. So serious was the danger felt to be that in the sixteenth
century Nobunaga and Hideyoshi destroyed the great monasteries of
Hieizan and Negoro and the pretensions of the Buddhist Church to
temporal power were brought to an end.

But apart from this political activity, new sects which appeared in
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries suited the popular needs of the
time and were a sign of true religious life. Two of these sects, the
Jōdo and Shinshū[1071], are Amidist--that is to say they teach
that the only or at least the best way of winning salvation is to
appeal to the mercy of Amida, who will give his worshippers a place in
his paradise after death. The Jōdo is relatively old fashioned, and
does not differ much in practice from the worship of Amida as seen in
China, but the Shinshū has no exact parallel elsewhere. Though it
has not introduced many innovations in theology, its abandonment of
monastic discipline, its progressive and popular spirit and its
conspicuous success make it a distinct and remarkable type. Its
priests marry and eat meat: it has no endowments and relies on
voluntary subscription, yet its temples are among the largest and most
conspicuous in Japan. But the hierarchical spirit is not absent and
since Shinshū priests can marry, there arose the institution of
hereditary abbots who were even more like barons than the celibate
prelates of the older sects.

The Nichiren sect is a purely Japanese growth, without any prototype
in China, and is a protest against Amidism and an attempt to
restore Shaka--the historical Buddha--to his proper position from
which he has been ousted. Nichiren, the founder, is one of the most
picturesque figures of Japanese history. His teaching, which was based
on the Lotus Sûtra, was remarkable for its combative spirit and he
himself played a considerable part in the politics of his age. His
followers form one of the most influential and conspicuous sects at
the present day, although not so numerous as the Amidists.

Zen is the Japanese equivalent of Ch'an or Dhyâna and is the name
given to the sect founded in China by Bodhidharma. It is said to have
been introduced into Japan in the seventh century, but died out.
Later, under the Hōjō Regents, and especially during the
Ashikaga period, it flourished exceedingly. Zen ecclesiastics managed
politics like the French cardinals of the seventeenth century and
profoundly influenced art and literature, since they produced a long
line of painters and writers. But the most interesting feature in the
history of this sect in Japan is that, though it preserves the
teaching of Bodhidharma without much change, yet it underwent a
curious social metamorphosis, for it became the chosen creed of the
military class and contributed not a little to the Bushido or code of
chivalry. It is strange that this mystical doctrine should have spread
among warriors, but its insistence on simplicity of life, discipline
of mind and body, and concentration of thought harmonized with their

Apart from differences of doctrine such as divide the Shinshu,
Nichiren and Zen, Japanese sects show a remarkable tendency to
multiply subdivisions, due chiefly to disputes as to the proper
succession of abbots. Thus the Jōdo sect has four subsects, and the
first and second of these are again subdivided into six and four
respectively. And so with many others. Even the little Ji sect, which
is credited with only 509 temples in all Japan, includes thirteen


[Footnote 1069: The accepted date is A.D. 552.]

[Footnote 1070: These names are mostly borrowed from the Chinese and
represent: 1. Chü-shê; 2. Ch'êng-shih; 3. Lü; 4. San-lun; 5.
Fa-hsiang; 6. Hua-yen; 7. T'ien-t'ai; 8. Chên-yen; 9. Ching-t'u; 10.
Ch'an. See my remarks on these sects in the section on Chinese
Buddhism. See Haas, _Die Sekten dea Japanischen Buddhismus_, 1905:
many notices in the same author's _Annalen des Jap. Bud._ cited
above and Ryauon Fujishima, _Le Buddhisme Japonais_, 1889.]

[Footnote 1071: As well as the smaller sects called Ji and





In phrases like the above title, the word influence is easy and
convenient. When we hesitate to describe a belief or usage as borrowed
or derived, it comes pat to say that it shows traces of external
influence. But in what circumstances is such influence exercised? It
is not the necessary result of contact, for in the east of Europe the
Christian Church has not become mohammedanized nor in Poland and
Roumania has it contracted any taint of Judaism. In these cases there
is difference of race as well as of religion. In business the Turk and
Jew have some common ground with the oriental Christian: in social
life but little and in religion none at all. Europe has sometimes
shown an interest in Asiatic religions, but on the whole an antipathy
to them. Christianity originated in Palestine, which is a
Mediterranean rather than an Asiatic country, and its most important
forms, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, took shape on European
soil. Such cults as the worship of Isis and Mithra were prevalent in
Europe but they gained their first footing among Asiatic slaves and
soldiers and would perhaps not have maintained themselves among
European converts only. And Buddhism, though it may have attracted
individual minds, has never produced any general impression west of
India. Both in Spain and in south-eastern Europe Islam was the
religion of invaders and made surprisingly few converts. Christian
heretics, such as the Nestorians and Monophysites, who were expelled
from Constantinople and had their home in Asia, left the west alone
and proselytized in the east. The peculiar detestation felt by the
Church for the doctrines of the Manichæans was perhaps partly due to
the fact that they were in spirit Asiatic. And the converse of this
antipathy is also true: the progress of Christianity in Asia has been

But when people of the same race profess different creeds, these
creeds do influence one another and tend to approximate. This is
specially remarkable in India, where Islam, in theory the
uncompromising opponent of image worship and polytheism, is
sometimes in practice undistinguishable from the lower superstitions
of Hinduism. In the middle ages Buddhism and Hinduism converged until
they coincided so completely that Buddhism disappeared. In China it
often needs an expert to distinguish the manifestations of Taoism and
Buddhism: in Japan Buddhism and the old national religion were
combined in the mixed worship known as Ryōbu Shintō. In the
British Isles an impartial observer would probably notice that
Anglicans and English Roman Catholics (not Irish perhaps) have more in
common than they think.

There are clearly two sets of causes which may divide a race between
religions: internal movements, such as the rise of Buddhism, and
external impulses, such as missions or conquest. Conquest pure and
simple is best illustrated by the history of Islam, also by the
conversion of Mexico and South America to Roman Catholicism. But even
when conversion is pacific, it will generally be found that, if it is
successful on a large scale, it means the introduction of more than a
creed. The religious leader in his own country can trust to his
eloquence and power over his hearers. The real support of the
missionary, however little he may like the idea, is usually that he
represents a superior type of civilization. At one time in their
career Buddhism and Christianity were the greatest agencies for
spreading civilization in Asia and Europe respectively. They brought
with them art and literature: they had the encouragement of the most
enlightened princes: those who did not accept them in many cases
remained obviously on a lower level. Much the same thing happens in
Africa to-day. The natives who accept Mohammedanism or Christianity
are moved, not by the arguments of the Koran or Bible, but by the idea
that it is a fine thing to be like an Arab or a European. A pagan in
Uganda is literally a pagan; an uninstructed rustic from a distant

Now if we consider the relations of India with the west, we find on
neither side the conditions which usually render propaganda
successful. Before the Mohammedan invasions and the Portuguese
conquest of Goa, no faith can have presented itself to the Hindus with
anything like the prestige which marked the advent of Buddhism in
China and Japan. Alexander opened a road to India for Hellenic culture
and with it came some religious ideas, but the Greeks had no
missionary spirit and if there were any early Christian missions they
must have been on a small scale. The same is true of the west: if
Asoka's missions reached their destination, they failed to inspire any
record of their doings. Still there was traffic by land and sea. The
Hindus, if self-complacent, were not averse to new ideas, and before
the establishment of Christianity there was not much bigotry in the
west, for organized religion was unknown in Europe: practices might be
forbidden as immoral or anti-social but such expressions as contrary
to the Bible or Koran had no equivalent. Old worships were felt to be
unsatisfying: new ones were freely adopted: mysteries were
relished. There was no invasion, nothing that suggested foreign
conquest or alarmed national jealousy, but the way was open to ideas,
though they ran some risk of suffering transformation on their long

As I have repeatedly pointed out, Hinduism and Buddhism are
essentially religions of central and eastern, not of western Asia, but
they came in contact with the west in several regions and an enquiry
into the influence which they exercised or felt can be subdivided.
There is the question whether they owe anything to Christianity in
their later developments and also the question whether Christianity
has borrowed anything from them[1072]. Other questions to be
considered are the relations of Indian religions to Zoroastrianism in
ancient and to Islam in more recent times, which, if of less general
interest than problems involving Christianity, are easier to
investigate and of considerable importance.

Let us begin with the influence of Christianity on Indian religion.
For earlier periods the record of contact between Hindus and
Christians is fragmentary, but the evidence of the last two centuries
may give a significant indication as to the effect of early Christian
influence. In these two centuries Christianity has been presented to
the Hindus in the most favourable circumstances: it has come as the
religion of the governing power and associated with European
civilization: it has not, like Mohammedanism, been propagated by force
or accompanied by any intolerance which could awaken repugnance, but
its doctrines have been preached and expounded by private
missionaries, if not always with skill and sympathy, at least with
zeal and a desire to persuade. The result is that according to the
census of 1911 there are now 3,876,000 Christians including Europeans,
that is to say, a sect a little stronger than the Sikhs as against
more than sixty-six million Mohammedans. Of these 3,876,000 many are
drawn from the lowest castes or from tribes that are hardly considered
as Hindus. Some religious associations, generally known as Somaj, have
been founded under the influence of European philosophy as much as of
Christianity: imitation of European civilization (which is quite a
different thing from Christianity) is visible in the objects and
methods of religious and philanthropic institutions: some curious
mixed sects of small numerical strength have been formed by the fusion
of Christian with Hindu or Mohammedan elements or of all three
together. Yet the religious thought and customs of India in general
seem hardly conscious of contact with Christianity: there is no sign
that they have felt any fancy for the theology of the Athanasian
Creed or the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church which might have
interested speculative and ritualistic minds. Similarly, though
intellectual intercourse between India and China was long and fairly
intimate and though the influence of Indian thought on China was very
great, yet the influence of China on Indian thought is negligible.
This being so, it would be rash to believe without good evidence that,
in the past, doctrines which have penetrated Indian literature during
centuries and have found acceptance with untold millions owe their
origin to obscure foreign colonists or missions.

Writers who wish to prove that Indian religions are indebted to
Christianity often approach their task with a certain misconception.
They assume that if at some remote epoch a few stray Christians
reached India, they could overcome without difficulty the barriers of
language and social usage and further that their doctrine would be
accepted as something new and striking which would straightway
influence popular superstition and philosophic thought. But Lyall
gives a juster perspective in his poem about the Meditations of a
Hindu Prince who, grown sceptical in the quest of truth, listens to
the "word of the English," and finds it:

    "Naught but the world wide story how the earth and the heavens began,
     How the gods were glad and angry and a deity once was man."

Many doctrines preached by Christianity such as the love of God,
salvation by faith, and the incarnation, had been thought out in India
before the Christian era, and when Christian missionaries preached
them they probably seemed to thoughtful Hindus a new and not very
adequate version of a very old tale. On the other hand the central and
peculiar doctrine of dogmatic Christianity is that the world has been
saved by the death of Christ. If this doctrine of the atonement or the
sacrifice of a divine being had appeared in India as an importation
from the west, we might justly talk of the influence of Christianity
on Indian religion. But it is unknown in Hinduism and Buddhism or
(since it is rash to make absolute statements about these vast and
multifarious growths of speculation) it is at any rate exceedingly
rare. These facts create a presumption that the resemblances between
Christianity and Indian religion are due to coincidence rather than
borrowing, unless borrowing can be clearly proved, and this
conclusion, though it may seem tame, is surely a source of
satisfaction. The divagations of human thought are manifold and its
conclusions often contradictory, but if there is anything that can be
called truth it is but natural that logic, intuition, philosophy,
poetry, learning and saintship should in different countries sometimes
attain similar results.

Christianity, like other western ideas, may have reached India both by
land and by sea. After the conquests of Alexander had once opened the
route to the Indus and established Hellenistic kingdoms in its
vicinity, the ideas and art of Greece and Rome journeyed without
difficulty to the Panjab, arriving perhaps as somewhat wayworn and
cosmopolitan travellers but still clearly European. A certain amount
of Christianity _may_ have come along this track, but for any
historical investigation clearly the first question is, what is the
earliest period at which we have any record of its presence in India?
It would appear[1073] that the first allusions to the presence of
Christians in Parthia, Bactria and the border lands of India date from
the third century and that the oldest account[1074] of Christian
communities in southern India is the narrative of Cosmas
Indicopleustes (_c._ 525 A.D.). These latter Christians probably came
to India by sea from Persia in consequence of the persecutions which
raged there in 343 and 414, exactly as at a later date the Parsees
escaped the violence of the Moslims by emigrating to Gujarat and

The story that the Apostle Thomas preached in some part of India has
often been used as an argument for the early introduction and
influence of Christianity, but recent authorities agree in thinking
that it is legendary or at best not provable. The tale occurs first in
the Acts of St. Thomas[1075], the Syriac text of which is considered to
date from about 250. It relates how the apostle was sold as a slave
skilled in architecture and coming to the Court of Gundaphar, king of
India, undertook to build, a palace but expended the moneys given to
him in charity and, when called to account, explained that he was
building for the king a palace in heaven, not made with hands. This
sounds more like an echo of some Buddhist Jâtaka written in praise of
liberality than an embellishment of any real biography. Other legends
make southern India the sphere of Thomas's activity, though he can
hardly have taught in both Madras and Parthia, and a similar
uncertainty is indicated by the tradition that his relics were
transported to Edessa, which doubtless means that according to other
accounts he died there. Tradition connects Thomas with Parthians quite
as much as with Indians, and, if he really contributed to the
diffusion of Christianity, it is more likely that he laboured in
the western part of Parthia than on its extreme eastern frontiers. The
fact that there really was an Indo-Parthian king with a name something
like Gondophares no more makes the legend of St. Thomas historical than
the fact that there was a Bohemian king with a name something like
Wenceslas makes the Christmas carol containing that name historical.

On the other hand it is clear that during the early centuries of our
era no definite frontier in the religious and intellectual sphere can
be drawn between India and Persia. Christianity reached Persia early:
it formed part of the composite creed of Mani, who was born about 216,
and Christians were persecuted in 343. From at least the third century
onwards Christian ideas _may_ have entered India, but this does not
authorize the assumption that they came with sufficient prestige and
following to exercise any lively influence, or in sufficient purity to
be clearly distinguished from Zoroastrianism and Manichæism.

By water there was an ancient connection between the west coast of
India and both the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Traffic by the former
route was specially active, from the time of Augustus to that of Nero.
Pliny[1076] complains that every year India and the East took from
Italy a hundred million sesterces in return for spices, perfumes and
ornaments. Strabo[1077] who visited Egypt tells how 120 ships sailed
from Myos Hormos (on the Red Sea) to India "although in the time of
the Ptolemies scarcely any one would undertake this voyage." Muziris
(Cranganore) was the chief depot of western trade and even seems to
have been the seat of a Roman commercial colony. Roman coins have been
found in northern and even more abundantly in southern India, and
Hindu mints used Roman models. But only rarely can any one except
sailors and merchants, who made a speciality of eastern trade, have
undertaken the long and arduous journey. Certainly ideas travel with
mysterious rapidity. The debt of Indian astronomy to Greece is
undeniable[1078] and if the same cannot be affirmed of Indian
mathematics and medicine yet the resemblance between Greek and Indian
treatises on these sciences is remarkable. Early Tamil poems[1079]
speak of Greek wines and dumb (that is unintelligible) Roman soldiers
in the service of Indian kings, but do not mention philosophers,
teachers or missionaries. After 70 A.D. this trade declined, perhaps
because the Flavian Emperors and their successors were averse to the
oriental luxuries which formed its staple, and in 215 the massacre
ordered by Caracalla dealt a blow to the commercial importance of
Alexandria from which it did not recover for a long time. Thus the
period when intercourse between Egypt and India was most active is
anterior to the period when Christianity began to spread: it is hardly
likely that in 70 or 80 A.D. there were many Christians in Egypt.

As already mentioned, colonies of Christians from Persia settled on
the west coast of India, where there are also Jewish colonies of
considerable antiquity. The story that this Church was founded by St.
Thomas and that his relics are preserved in south India has not been
found in any work older than Marco Polo[1080]. Cosmas Indicopleustes
states that the Bishop of Kalliana was appointed from Persia, and this
explains the connection of Nestorianism with southern India, for at
that time the Nestorian Catholicos of Ctesiphon was the only Christian
prelate tolerated by the Persian Government.

This Church may have had a considerable number of adherents for it was
not confined to Malabar, its home and centre, but had branches on the
east coast near Madras. But it was isolated and became corrupt. It is
said that in 660 it had no regular ministry and in the fourteenth
century even baptism had fallen into disuse. Like the popular forms of
Mohammedanism it adopted many Hindu doctrines and rites. This implies
on the one hand a considerable exchange of ideas: on the other hand,
if such reformers as Râmânuja and Râmânanda were in touch with these
Nestorians we may doubt if they would have imbibed from them the
teaching of the New Testament. There is evidence that Roman Catholic
missions on their way to or from China landed in Malabar during the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and made some converts. In 1330
the Pope sent a Bishop to Quilon with the object of bringing the
Nestorians into communion with the see of Rome. But the definite
establishment of Roman Catholicism dates from the Portuguese conquest
of Goa in 1510, followed by the appointment of an Archbishop and the
introduction of the Inquisition. Henceforth there is no difficulty in
accounting for Christian influence, but it is generally admitted that
the intolerance of the Portuguese made them and their religion
distasteful to Hindus and Moslims alike. We hear, however, that Akbar,
desiring to hear Christian doctrines represented in a disputation held
at his Court, sent for Christian priests from Goa, and his Minister
Abul Fazl is quoted as having written poetry in which mosques,
churches and temples are classed together as places where people seek
for God[1081].

Such being the opportunities and approximate dates for Christian
influence in India, we may now examine the features in Hinduism which
have been attributed to it. They may be classified under three
principal heads, (i) The monotheistic Sivaism of the south. (ii)
Various doctrines of Vaishnavism such as _bhakti_, grace, the love and
fatherhood of God, the Word, and incarnation. (iii) Particular
ceremonies or traditions such as the sacred meal known as Prasâda and
the stories of Krishna's infancy.

In southern India we have a seaboard in communication with Egypt,
Arabia and the Persian Gulf. The reality of intercourse with the west
is attested by Roman, Jewish, Nestorian and Mohammedan settlements,
but on the other hand the Brahmans of Malabar are remarkable even
according to Hindu standards for their strictness and aloofness. As I
have pointed out elsewhere, the want of chronology in south Indian
literature makes it difficult to sketch with any precision even the
outlines of its religious history, but it is probable that Aryan
religion came first in the form of Buddhism and Jainism and that
Sivaism made its appearance only when the ground had been prepared by
them. They were less exposed than the Buddhism of the north to the
influences which created the Mahâyâna, but they no doubt mingled with
the indigenous beliefs of the Dravidians. There is no record of what
these may have been before contact with Hindu civilization; in
historical times they comprise the propitiation of spirits, mostly
malignant and hence often called devils, but also a strong tendency to
monotheism and ethical poetry of a high moral standard. These latter
characteristics are noticeable in most, if not all, Dravidian races,
even those which are in the lower stages of civilization[1082]. This
temperament, educated by Buddhism and finally selecting Sivaism, might
spontaneously produce such poems as the Tiruvâçagam. Such ideas as
God's love for human souls and the soul's struggle to be worthy of
that love are found in other Indian religions besides Tamil Sivaism
and in their earlier forms cannot be ascribed to Christian influence,
but it must be admitted that the poems of the Sittars show an
extraordinary approximation to the language of devotional literature
in Europe. If, as Caldwell thinks, these compositions are as recent as
the sixteenth or seventeenth century, there is no chronological
difficulty in supposing their contents to be inspired by Christian
ideas. But the question rather is, would Portuguese Catholicism or
corrupt Nestorianism have inspired poems denouncing idolatry and
inculcating the purest theism? Scepticism on this point is
permissible. I am inclined to think that the influence of
Christianity as well as the much greater influence of Mohammedanism
was mostly indirect. They imported little in the way of custom and
dogma but they strengthened the idea which naturally accompanies
sectarianism, namely, that it is reasonable and proper for a religion
to inculcate the worship of one all-sufficient power. But that this
idea can flourish in surroundings repugnant to both Christianity and
Islam is shown by the sect of Lingâyats.

The resemblances to Christianity in Vishnuism are on a larger scale
than the corresponding phenomena in Sivaism. In most parts of India,
from Assam to Madras, the worship of Vishnu and his incarnations has
assumed the form of a monotheism which, if frequently turning into
pantheism, still persistently inculcates loving devotion to a deity
who is himself moved by love for mankind. The corresponding phase of
Sivaism is restricted to certain periods and districts of southern
India. The doctrine of _bhakti_, or devotional faith, is common to
Vishnuites and Sivaites, but is more prominent among the former.
It has often been conjectured to be due to Christian influence but the
conjecture is, I think, wrong, for the doctrine is probably
pre-Christian. Pâṇini[1083] appears to allude to it, and the idea
of loving devotion to God is fully developed in the Śvetâśvatara
Upanishad and the Bhagavad-gîtâ, works of doubtful date it is true,
but in my opinion anterior to the Christian era and on any hypothesis
not much posterior to it. Some time must have elapsed after the death
of Christ before Christianity could present itself in India as an
influential doctrine. Also _bhakti_ does not make its first appearance
as something new and full grown. The seed, the young plant and the
flower can all be found on Indian soil. So, too, the idea that God
became man for the sake of mankind is a gradual Indian growth. In the
Veda Vishnu takes three steps for the good of men. It is probable that
his avatâras were recognized some centuries before Christ and, if this
is regarded as not demonstrable, it cannot be denied that the
analogous conception of Buddhas who visit the world to save and
instruct mankind is pre-Christian[1084]. Similarly though passages may
be found in the writings of Kabir and others in which the doctrine of
Śabda or the Word is stated in language recalling the fourth
Gospel, and though in this case the hypothesis of imitation offers no
chronological difficulties, yet it is unnecessary. For Śabda, in
the sense of the Veda conceived as an eternal self-existent sound, is
an old Indian notion and when stated in these terms does not appear
very Christian. It is found in Zoroastrianism, where Manthra Spenta
the holy word is said to be the very soul of God[1085], and it is
perhaps connected with the still more primitive notion that words and
names have a mysterious potency and are in themselves spells. But even
if the idea of Śabda were derived from the idea of Logos it need
not be an instance of specifically Christian influence, for this Logos
idea was only utilized by Christianity and was part of the common
stock of religious thought prevalent about the time of Christ in
Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor, and it is even possible that its earlier
forms may owe something to India. And were it proved that the
teaching of Kabir, which clearly owes much to Islam, also owes much to
Christianity, the fact would not be very important, for the followers
of Kabir form a small and eccentric though interesting sect, in no way
typical of Hinduism as a whole.

The form of Vishnuism known as Pancarâtra appears to have had its
origin, or at least to have flourished very early, in Kashmir and the
extreme north-west, and perhaps a direct connection may be traced
between central Asia and some aspects of the worship of Krishna at
Muttra. The passage of Greek and Persian influence through the
frontier districts is attested by statuary and coins, but no such
memorials of Christianity have been discovered. But the leaders of the
Vishnuite movement in the twelfth and subsequent centuries were mostly
Brahmans of southern extraction who migrated to Hindustan. Stress is
sometimes laid on the fact that they lived in the neighbourhood of
ancient Nestorian churches and even Garbe thinks that Râmânuja, who
studied for some time at Conjevaram, was in touch with the Christians
of Mailapur near Madras. I find it hard to believe that such contact
can have had much result. For Râmânuja was a Brahman of the straitest
sect who probably thought it contamination to be within speaking
distance of a Christian[1086]. He was undoubtedly a remarkable scholar
and knew by heart all the principal Hindu scriptures, including those
that teach _bhakti_. Why then suppose that he took his ideas not from
works like the Bhagavad-gîtâ on which he wrote a commentary or from
the Pancarâtra which he eulogizes, but from persons whom he must have
regarded as obscure heretics? And lastly is there any proof that such
ideas as the love of God and salvation by faith flourished among the
Christians of Mailapur? In remote branches of the oriental Church
Christianity is generally reduced to legends and superstitions, and
this Church was so corrupt that it had even lost the rite of
baptism and is said to have held that the third person of the
Trinity was the Madonna[1087] and not the Holy Ghost. Surely this
doctrine is an extraordinary heresy in Christianity and far from
having inspired Hindu theories as to the position of Vishnu's spouse
is borrowed from those theories or from some of the innumerable Indian
doctrines about the Śakti.

It is clear that the Advaita philosophy of Śankara was influential
in India from the ninth century to the twelfth and then lost some of
its prestige owing to the rise of a more personal theism. It does not
seem to me that any introduction or reinforcement of Christianity, to
which this theistic movement might be attributed, can be proved to
have taken place about 1100, and it is not always safe to seek for a
political or social explanation of such movements. But if we must have
an external explanation, the obvious one is the progress of
Mohammedanism. One may even suggest a parallel between the epochs of
Śankara and of Râmânuja. The former, though the avowed enemy of
Buddhism, introduced into Hinduism the doctrine of Mâyâ described by
Indian critics as crypto-Buddhism. Râmânuja probably did not come into
direct contact with Islam[1088], which was the chief enemy of Hinduism
in his time, but his theism (which, however, was semi-pantheistic) may
have been similarly due to the impression produced by that enemy on
Indian thought[1089].

It is easy to see superficial parallels between Hindu and Christian
ceremonies, but on examination they are generally not found to prove
that there has been direct borrowing from Christianity. For instance,
the superior castes are commonly styled twice born in virtue of
certain initiatory ceremonies performed on them in youth, and it is
natural to compare this second birth with baptismal regeneration. But,
though there is here a real similarity of ideas, it would be hard to
deny that these ideas as well as the practices which express them have
arisen independently[1090]. And though a practice of sprinkling
the forehead with water similar to baptism is in use among Hindus, it
is only a variety of the world-wide ceremony of purification with
sacred water. Several authors have seen a resemblance between the
communion and a sacred meal often eaten in Hindu temples and called
_prasâd_ (favour) or mahâprasâd. The usual forms of this observance do
not resemble the Mass in externals (as do certain ceremonies in
Lamaism) and the analogy, if any, resides in the eating of a common
religious meal. Such a meal in Indian temples has its origin in the
necessity and advantage of disposing of sacrificial food. It cannot be
maintained that the deities eat the substance of it and, if it is not
consumed by fire, the obvious method of disposal is for mankind to eat
it. The practice is probably world-wide and the consumers may be
either the priests or the worshippers. Both varieties of the rite are
found in India. In the ancient Soma sacrifices the officiants drank
the residue of the sacred drink: in modern temples, where ample meals
are set before the god more than once a day, it is the custom, perhaps
because it is more advantageous, to sell them to the devout. From this
point of view the _prasâd_ is by no means the equivalent of the Lord's
Supper, but rather of the things offered to idols which many early
Christians scrupled to eat. It has, however, another and special
significance due to the regulations imposed by caste. As a rule a
Hindu of respectable social status cannot eat with his inferiors
without incurring defilement. But in many temples members of all
castes can eat the _prasâd_ together as a sign that before the deity
all his worshippers are equal. From this point of view the _prasâd_ is
really analogous to the communion inasmuch as it is the sign of
religious community, but it is clearly distinct in origin and though
the sacred food may be eaten with great reverence, we are not told
that it is associated with the ideas of commemoration, sacrifice or
transubstantiation which cling to the Christian sacrament[1091].

The most curious coincidences between Indian and Christian legend
are afforded by the stories and representations of the birth and
infancy of Krishna. These have been elaborately discussed by Weber in
a well-known monograph[1092]. Krishna is represented with his mother,
much as the infant Christ with the Madonna; he is born in a
stable[1093], and other well-known incidents such as the appearance of
a star are reproduced. Two things strike us in these resemblances.
Firstly, they are not found in the usual literary version of the
Indian legend[1094], and it is therefore probable that they represent
an independent and borrowed story: secondly, they are almost entirely
concerned with the mythological aspects of Christianity. Many
Christians would admit that the adoration of the Virgin and Child is
unscriptural and borrowed from the worship of pagan goddesses who were
represented as holding their divine offspring in their arms. If this
is admitted, it is possible that Devakî and her son may be a replica
not of the Madonna but of a pagan prototype. But there is no
difficulty in admitting that Christian legends and Christian art may
have entered northern India from Bactria and Persia, and have found a
home in Muttra. Only it does not follow from this that any penetrating
influence transformed Hindu thought and is responsible for Krishna's
divinity, for the idea of _bhakti_, or for the theology of the
Bhagavad-gîtâ. The borrowed features in the Krishna story are
superficial and also late. They do not occur in the Mahâbhârata and
the earliest authority cited by Weber is Hemâdri, a writer of the
thirteenth century. Allowing that what he describes may have existed