XIII. Sketch of Buddhism, derived from the Bauddha Scriptures
By Brian Houghton Hodgson, Esq., M.R.A.S.
Read June 28, 1828.
[Extracted from Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 2 (1830), pp. 227-57.]
Extract of a Letter from Brian Houghton Hodgson, Esq. to Dr. Nathaniel Wallich.
"Nipál, 11th of August 1827.
"Soon after my arrival in Nipál (now six years ago), I began to devise means of
procuring some accurate information relative to Buddhism: for, though the
regular investigation of such a subject was foreign to my pursuits, my respect
for science in general led me cheerfully to avail myself of the opportunity
afforded, by my residence in a Bauddha country, for collecting and transmitting
to Calcutta the materials for such investigation. There were, however, serious
obstacles in my way, arising out of the jealousy of the people in regard to any
profanation of their sacred things by an European, and yet more, resulting from
the Chinese notions of policy adopted by this government. I nevertheless
persevered; and time, patience, and dexterous applications to the superior
intelligence of the chief minister, at length rewarded my toils.
"My first object was to ascertain the existence or otherwise of Bauddha Scriptures in Nipál; and to this end I privately instituted inquiries in various directions, in the course of which the reputation for knowledge of an old Bauddha residing in the city of Pátan, drew one of my people to his abode. This old man assured me that Nipál contained many large works relating to Buddhism; and of some of these he gave me a list. Subsequently, when better acquainted, he volunteered to procure me copies of them. His list gradually enlarged as his confidence increased; and at length, chiefly through his kindness, and his influence with his brethren in the Bauddha faith, I was enabled to procure and transmit to Calcutta a large collection of important Bauddha scriptures.
"Meanwhile, as the Pátan Bauddha seemed very
intelligent, and my curiosity was
excited, I proposed to him (about four years ago) a set of questions, which I
desired he would answer from his books. He did so; and these questions and
answers form the text of the paper which I herewith forward. The reason why I
have so long kept it to myself, is, that with the lapse of time my opportunities
for obtaining information increased; and I at length persuaded the sensible
minister of this state to permit my old friend to visit me. Having in his
answers quoted sundry slókas in proof of his statements; and many of the
scriptures whence these were taken being now in my possession, I was tempted to
try the truth of his quotations. Of that, my research gave me in general
satisfactory proof. But the possession of the books led to questions respecting
their relative age and authority; and, tried by this test, the Bauddha's
quotations were not always so satisfactory. Thus one step led to another, until
I conceived the idea of drawing up, with the aid of my old friend and his books,
a sketch of the terminology and general disposition of the external parts of
Buddhism, in the belief that such a sketch, though but imperfectly executed,
would be of some assistance to such of my countrymen as with the books only
before them, might be disposed to enter into a full and accurate investigation
of this almost unknown subject.
"When, however, I conceived that design, I little suspected where it would lead me; I began ere long to feel my want of languages, and (to confess the truth) of patience, and almost looked back with a sigh to the tolerably full and tolerably accurate account of Buddhism which I had obtained so long ago, and with little comparative labour, from my old friend's answers to my queries. I also saw certain notices of Buddhism coming from time to time before the world, ushered by the talents and industry of Klaproth and Remusat; and, so far as I had opportunity to learn what these notices contained, it seemed that the answers to my questions furnished much ampler and more accurate views of the subject than these distinguished men could extract from their limited sources of information.
"These considerations have induced me to present, without further delay, the accompanying paper to Mr. Colebrooke, to whose sound knowledge if it be first submitted, there can be no danger of the publication being made without sufficient warrant for its usefulness. Whether or not I shall persevere in the undertaking before hinted at, I can hardly venture to say; [p.224] but from the larger information latterly collected by me with a view to its completion, I have drawn some notes in correction or enlargement of the paper now transmitted, and have placed them on its margin. I add to this letter a very considerable list of the Bauddha scriptures in general, extracted for me from those still existing in Nipál.
"Of so many of those scriptures as I have procured and sent to Calcutta I have furnished to the Asiatic Society of Bengal a meagre explanatory catalogue. Of the rest I can obtain here only the names; and, as it would be useless to repeat what has been already said of some of these books, I forward the present list, without further observation on it, than, that its accuracy may be relied on, and that its contents are so far from being local to Nipál, that the largest portion of the books neither are, nor ever were procurable in this valley.
"The Bauddhas were used, in old time, to insert at the end of any particular work, lists of the names of many of their sacred writings; and to this usage of theirs am I indebted for the large catalogue which I have obtained."
LIST OF BAUDDHA SCRIPTURES
N.B. There are a few repetitions in this list: the cause of which is, that the
list is composed of literal extracts from the catalogues subjoined to sundry
When I stated, in the letter which accompanies these papers, that this list might be relied on, I ought to have restricted the expression to the enumeration of names simply: for the classification of its nomenclature (as puranas, tantras, &c.) is the work of my old friend, and is doubtfully deducible from the authority of his books.
What I have gathered on the subject of the arrangement of generic and specific titles of the Bauddha scriptures, I have stated to the Asiatic Society of Calcutta. Suffice it here to say, that Sutra and Dharma are the most general titles of Buddhist works of religion; and that the Bauddha equivalents for the Brahmanic Purana and Tantra seem to be Vyakarana, and Upadesa.
B. H. Hodgson.
Extract of a Letter from Brian Houghton Hodgson, Esq. to Dr. Nathaniel Wallich.
"Nipál, 17th October 1827.
"In a clever paper in the first and second numbers of the Calcutta Quarterly Oriental Magazine (Review of the Bombay Literary Transactions), it is said that one of the distinctions between Jainism and Buddhism is, that the Jaina statues are all naked, and the Bauddha statues all clothed. The pictures now sent you (Plate I, fig. a. b) are proofs that this notion is false. You see too that my Bauddha images are called Digambara, a name heretofore fancied to be peculiar to Jainism; this is another error, and were this the place for dissertation, I could bring forward many other presumptions in favour of [p.230] the notion that the Jainas are sectarian Bauddhas, who dissented from their Bauddha brethren merely in carrying to a gross excess, and in promulgating publicly, certain dangerous dogmas, which the more prudent Bauddhists chose to keep veiled from all but the initiated. The Nipal Bauddhists are very jealous of any intrusion into their esoteric dogmas and symbols; so much so, that though I have been for seven years enquiring after these things, my old Vajra Acharya friend only recently gave me a peep at the esoteric dogmas; and my Chirakar (Bauddha though he be) has only within these last twelve months brought me some esoteric pictures: nor probably should I have got at these secret things at all, if I had not been able to examine the Bauddha books, in some small degree, myself; and if a Bhotiya had not put into my hands a picture containing one of these naked saints. With these decisive means of questioning in my power, I at last got my Bauddha assistants to draw up the veil of the sanctuary, to bring me copies of the naked saints, and to tell me a little of the naked doctrines."
Extract of a Letter from Brian Houghton Hodgson, Esq. to Dr. Nathaniel Wallich.
"Nipál, 1st November 1827.
"I cannot just now go into a description of the significance of all the details
of the sculptures which I have sent. Suffice it to say, that every part of each
image is significant; and that the differences between the five are marked,
first, by the different position of the hands (which is called the mudra);
secondly, by the variety of the supporters; thirdly, by the variety of the
cognizances placed between the supporters; and fourthly (where painting and
colours are used), by difference of colour. Vairachana's appropriate colour is
white; Akshabhija's, blue; Ratna-Sambhava's, yellow, or golden; Amitabha's,
red; and Amogha-Siddha's, green." (See
Plate I, fig. c, d, e, f, g.)
Extract of a Letter from Brian Houghton Hodgson, Esq. to Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq., Dir. R.A.S.
"I beg to present you with the accompanying sketch of Buddhism. There are a few matters connected with it, which it may be advisable to state to you; and in the first rank stands the authority upon which I [p.231] have assigned the meaning of intellectual essence to the word Buddha, and that of material essence to the word Dharma. The Bauddhas define the words thus: 'Bodhan atmaka iti Buddha; Dharan atmaka iti Dharma.' About the former of these definitions there can be no difficulty; there may concerning the latter. To the word Dharana, or holding, containing, sustaining (from the root dhri), I have assigned a material sense; first, because it is opposed to bodhana; secondly, because the goddess Dharma, the pravrittika personification of this principle, is often styled, in the most authentic books, 'Prakriteswari,' the material goddess, or goddess of matter; and thirdly, because this goddess is (under the names Dharma, Prajnya, Arya Tara, &c.) in very many passages of old Bauddha works, described as the material cause of all things; conformably, indeed, with that bias towards materialism, which our heretofore scanty knowledge of Buddhism has led us to assign to the Saugata faith.
Sanga, the third member of the Triad,
belongs not to the exalted state of nirvritti, in which no sect of Bauddhas
admits more than two principles of all things, or matter and mind, Buddha and
Dharma. Sanga is defined 'Samudayi atmakd iti Sangrja,' the
multitudinous essence; because multitude is held to be as strong a
characteristic of pravritti,
or the palpable world, as unity is of the world of nirvritti, or abstraction.
"In note 31, I have distinctly rejected the fifth order of Bandyas, or Vajra Achdryas, in opposition to my old Bauddha friend's statement in the text of the Sketch. There can be no doubt that my friend is mistaken: for in many high authorities, the four original and true orders of Bandyas are called by the collective name of the 'Chatiir Varna,' and are therein described without mention of the Vajra Acharyas. It may serve to explain my friend's statement, to tell you that he is himself a Vajra Achanja; and that as the genuine monachism of Buddhism has long since passed away in Nipál, sundry local books have been composed here by Vajra Acharyas, in which they have made their own modern order co-equal with the four ancient orders; and my old friend would hold these modern Nipál books sufficient warrant for the rank ascribed to his own class. I have lately spoken to him on this subject, and he has confessed that there is no old authority for his fifth order of Bandyas. In my note I have endeavoured carefully to separate Buddhism as it is (in Nipál) and Buddhism as it ought to be, quoad this point of classification. If you look into Kirkpatrick's and Buchanan's works on Nipál, you will [p.232] see how they have been puzzled with the difference of things as they are from what they ought to be, in those casual and erroneous hints which they have afforded on the subject of Buddhism.
"In note 15, I have stated that the Kármikas and Yátnakas entertained tolerably just views on the grand subject of free-will and necessity; and I believe I am therein essentially correct: for how otherwise are we to understand their confession of faith, 'the actions of a man's prior births are his destiny?' Exclude the metempsychosis, which is the vehicle of the sense of this passage, and we have our old adage, 'Conduct is fate:' a law of freedom surely.
"Still, were I cross-examined, I might be forced to confess, that the ideas which the Kármikas and Yátnakas entertain of free-will, seem to resemble rather the qualifications of our Collins and Edwards, than the full and absolute freedom of Clarke and the best European philosophers.
"The Kármikas and Yátnakas seem to have been impressed with the fact of man's free-will, but to have been perplexed in reconciling such a notion with the general spirit and tendency of the old Swabhdvica philosophy. But in the result, the Kármikas and Yátnakas seem to have adhered to free-will, though perhaps in the qualified sense above mentioned."
SKETCH OF BUDDHISM.
How and when was the world created?
According to the Sámbhu Purána, in the beginning all was void (sunya). The
first light that was manifest was the word Aum; and from this Aum the alphabet
was produced—called Mahá Varna, the letters of which are the seeds of the
universe. (See note 1.) In the Guna Káranda Vyáha it is written, when nothing
else was, Sambhu was; that is the self-existent (Swayamhhu); and as he was
before all, he is also called Adi Buddha. He wished from one to become many,
which desire is denominated Prajnya. Buddha and Prajnya united became Prajnya
Upaya, as Siva Sakti, or Brahma Maya. (See note 2.) In the instant of conceiving
this desire, five forms or beings were produced, called the five Buddhas (see
note 3), whose names [p.233] are as follows: Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratna-Sambhava, Amitabha, Amogha-Siddha.
(See Plate I, fig. c, d,
e, f. g.) Each of these Buddhas, again, produced from himself, by means of Dhyán, another
being called his Budhi-Salwa, or son, Vairochana produced Samant-Bhadra;
Akshobhya, Vajra-Pani; Ratna-Sambhava, Ratna-Pani; Amitabha, Padma-Pani; and
Amogha-Siddha, Viswa-Pani. (See
Plate II, fig. g, h, i, k,
Of these five Bodhi-Satwas, four are engrossed with the worship of Sambhu (Swayambhu), and nothing more is known of them than their names; the fifth, Padma-Pani, was engaged, by Sambhu's command, in creation (see note 4); and having, by the efficacy of Sambhu's Dhyán, assumed the virtues of the three Gunas, he created Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa, and delegated to them respectively creation, preservation, and destruction. Accordingly, by Padma-Pani's commands, Brahma set about creating all things; and the Chatur-yoni (or oviparous, viviparous, &c1) came into existence by Brahma. The creation of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesa by Padmi-Pani, is confirmed by the sloca (see note 5), the meaning of which is, Kamali (Padma-Pani) produced Brahma for creating, Vishnu for preserving, and Mahesa for destroying.' And the creation of Brahma is six-sorted, viz. Deva, Daitya, Mánusha, &c.; and, for the Devas, Brahma made heaven; and for the Daityas, Pátála; and the four remaining kinds he placed between these two regions and upon the earth.
With respect to the mansions (Bhuvanas) of the universe, it is related, that the highest is called Agnishtha Bhuvana; and this is the abode of A'di-Buddha. And below it, according to some accounts, there are ten; and according to others, thirteen Bhuvanas (see note 6); named, Pramoditá, Vimald, Prabhákari, Archishmati, Sudurjayá, Abhimuhi, Durangamá, Achalá, Sádhuynati, Dharma-megha (x), Samant-prabhá, Nirupamá, Jaydnavati (xiii). These thirteen Bhuvanas are the work of A'di-Buddha: they are the Bodhi-Satwa-Bhivanas; and whoever is a faithful follower of Buddha will be translated to one of these mansions after death.
Below the thirteen Bodhi-satwa Bhuvanas are eighteen Bhuvanas, called collectively Rupya Vachara. These are subject to Brahma, and are named individually: Brahma-káyihá, Brahma-jmruhilá, Bralma-prashádyá, Mahá Brahmaná, Paritdáhá, Apramdndáhá, Abhásward, Parila-subhá, Subha- [p.234] kishná, Anabhraká, Punya-prasavá, Vrihat-phulá, Arangi-satwá, Avrihá, Apayá, Sudrishá, Sudarsaná, and Sumukhá. Pious worshippers of Brahma shall go to one of these eighteen Bhuvanas after death.
And below the eighteen mansions of Brahma, are six. others subject to Vishnu, called collectively Kama-Vachará, and separately as follows: Chaiur-Mahá-rája-Káyiká, Trayastrinsá, Tushitá, Yamá, Nirmánavati, Paranirmitá-Vasavarti. And whosoever worships Vishnu with pure heart shall go to one of these.
And below the six Bhuvanas of Vishnu are the three Bhuvanas of Maha-Deva, called generally A'rupya-Vachará, and particularly as follows: Abhogá-Nitya-yatnopagá, Vijnyá-yatnbpagá, Alánchanya-yatnopagá; and these are the heavens designed for pious Siva-Márgis. Below the mansions enumerated, are Indra Bhuvana, Yama Bhuvana, Surya Bhuvana, and Chandra Bhuvana; together with the mansions of the fixed stars, of the planets, and various others which occupy the space down to the Agni Bhuvana, also called Agni-kund. And below Agni-kund is Vayu-kund; and below Vayu-kund is Prithvi, or the earth; and on the earth are seven Divipas, Jamhu Dwipa, &c.; and seven Ságaras or seas, and eight Parvatas or mountains (see note 7), Sumeru Parvata, &c. And below Prithvi is Jala-kund, or the world of waters; and the earth is on the waters as a boat. And below the Jala-kund are seven Pátulas, as Dharani, six of them are the abodes of the Daityas; and the seventh is Naraka, consisting of eight separate abodes: and these eight compose the hell of sinners: and from the eighteen Bhuvanas of Brahma down to the eight chambers of Naraka, all is the work of Manjusri. Manjusri is by the Bauddhas esteemed the great architect, who constructs the mansions of the world by A'di-Buddha's command, as Padma-Pani, by his command, creates all animate things.
Thus Manjusri (see note 8) is the Visva-karma of the Bauddhas; and is also the author of the sixty-four Vidyás.
What was the origin of mankind?
It is written in the narrative portion of our Tantras, that originally the earth
was uninhabited. In those times the inhabitants of Abháswara Bhuvana (which is
one of the Bhuvanas of Brahma) used frequently to visit the earth, and thence
speedily to return to Abhasuará. It happened
at length, that, when a few of these beings, who, though half males and half
females, had never yet, from the purity of their minds, conceived the sexual
desire, or even noticed their distinction of sex, came, as usual, to the earth,
A'di-Buddha suddenly created in them so violent a longing to eat, that they ate
some of the earth, which had the taste of almonds, and by eating it they lost
their power of flying back to their Bhuvana, and so they remained on the earth.
They were now constrained to eat the fruits of the earth for sustenance; and
from eating these fruits they conceived the sexual desire, and began to
associate together: and from that time, and in that manner, the origin of
mankind commenced from the union of the sexes. (See note 9.)
When the beings above-mentioned came last from Abháswara, Maha Samvat was their leader, and he was the first king of the whole earth.
In another Tantra it is written, that A'di-Buddha is the immediate creator of all things in heaven and earth.
With respect to time we conceive the Satya-yuga to be the beginning of time, and the Kali-yuga the end of it: and the duration of the four yugas, the particulars of which are found in the Brahmanical scriptures, have no place in ours: in which it is merely written that there are four yugas; and that in the first, men lived 80,000 years; in the second, 10,000; in the third, 1,000: and the fourth is divided into four periods; in the first of which, men will live 100 years; in the second, fifty years; in the third, twenty-five years; and in the fourth, when the close of the Kali-yuga is approaching, seven years only; and their stature will be only the height of the thumb; and then all things will be destroyed, and A'di-Buddha alone remain: and this period of four yugas is a Pralaya. A'di-Buddha will then again create the four yugas, and all things else to live in their duration, which when completed, all things will be again destroyed, and thus there will be seventy-one pralayas, or completions of the four yugas, when Máha Pralaya will arrive. How many revolutions of the four yugas (i.e. how many pralayas) have now passed, and how many remain to revolve, is nowhere written.
What is matter, and what spirit?
Body (see note 10), which is called Sarira and Deha, was produced from the five elements and soul, which is called prána and jiva, and is a particle of [p.236] the essence of A'di-Buddha. Body, as created out of the elements, perisheth: soul, as a particle of the divine spirit, perisheth not; body is subject to changes—to be fat and lean, &c.; soul is unchangeable. Body is different in all animals; soul is alike in all, whether in man or any other creature. But men have, besides prána, the faculty of speech, which other animals have not; according to the sloca, of which the meaning is this: "Deha is derived from the five Bhutas, and Jiva from the Angas of Swayambhiti." (See note 11.)
Is matter an independent existence, or derived from God?
Body, according to some, depends upon the inhaling and exhaling of the
Prána-Váyu; and this inhalation and exhalation of the breath is by virtue of the
soul (prána), which virtue, according to some, is derived from God, and
according to others (see note 12), is inherent in itself: there is much
diversity of opinion on this subject. Some of the Buddha-márgis contend that
deha (the body) is Swabhávaka;
i.e. from the copulation of males and females,
new bodies proceed; and they ask who makes the eyes, the flesh, the limbs, &c.
of the foetus in the mother's womb? Swabháva! And the thorns of the desert, who
points them? Swabháva! And the timidity of the deer kind, and the
the ravenous beasts, whence are they? from Swabháva!
And this is a specimen of their reasoning and proofs, according to a sloca of the Buddha-charita-káya. (See note 13.) Some again say, that deha and sansára are Aishwarika (see note 14), i.e. produced by Iswara, or A'di-Buddha, according to another sloca.
Some again call the world and the human body Kármika, i.e. that Karma is the cause of this existence of deha and sansára; and they liken the first deha to a field (kshetra), and works to a seed. And they relate, that the first body which man received was created solely by A'di-Buddha; and at that time works affected it not: but when man put off his first body, the next body which he received was subject to Karma, or the works of the first body (see note 15); and so was the next, and all future ones, until he attained to Mukti and Moksha: and therefore they say, that whoever would be free from transmigration must pay his devotions to Buddha, and consecrate all his worldly goods to Buddha, nor ever after suffer such things to excite his desires. And, in the Buddha-Charita-Kávya it is written, that [p.237] with respect to these points, Sakya expressed the following opinion: "Some persons say that Sansára is Swabhávaká, some that it is Kármiká, and some that it is Aiswariká and A'tmaká; for myself, I can tell you nothing of these matters. Do you address your meditation to Buddha; and when you have attained Bodhijnydna, you will know the truth yourselves."
What are the attributes of God?
His distinctive attributes are many; one of which is, that he is Panchjnyánátmaka (see note 16), or in his essence are five sorts of jnyána, possessed by him alone, and which are as follows: first, Suvisuddha-Dharma-Dhátuja; second, Adarsandja; third, Pratijavekshandja; fourth, Samtdja; fifth, Anushthánaja. The first created beings, Vairochana, &c., were in number five, owing to these jnyánas; and in each of these five Buddhas is one of the jnyánas. Another of A'di-Buddha's attributes is the faculty of individualizing, and multiplying himself, and again individualizing himself at pleasure: another is, possessing the qualities of passion and clemency.
Is the pleasure of God derived from action or repose?
There are two modes of considering this subject: first, according to
and, secondly, according to pravritti.
Nirvritti (see note 17) is this: to know the world to be a mere semblance, unreal, and an illusion; and to know God to be one: and Pravritti is the opposite of this sublime science and is the practice and notions of ordinary men. Therefore, according to nirvritti, A'di-Buddha is the author and creator of all things, without whom nothing can be done; whose care sustains the world and its inhabitants; and the moment he averts his face from them they became annihilated, and nothing remains but Himself. But some persons, who profess nirvritti, contend that the world with all it containeth is distinct from A'di-Buddha: yet the wise know this to be an error. (See note 18.)
A'di-Buddha, though he comprehends all living things, is yet one. He is the soul, and they are but the limbs and outward members, of this monad. Such is nirvritti, which, being deeply studied, is found to be unity; but [p.238] jn-avntti, which is multiplicity, may be distinguished in all things. And in this latter view of pravritti, A'di-Buddha may be considered a king, who gives orders; and the five Eiiddhas, and other divinities of heaven, his ministers, who execute his orders; and we, poor mortals, his subjects, servants, and slaves. In this way the business of the world is distributed among the deities, each having his proper functions; and A'di-Buddha has no concern with it. Thus the five Buddhas give mukti (see note 19) and moksha to good men: Brahma, by the orders of Padma-Pani, performs the part of creator; Vishnu, by the same orders, cherishes all beings; and Maha Deva, by the same orders, destroys; Yama takes cognizance of sins, and punishes sinners; Indra and Varuna give rain; and the sun and moon fructify the earth with their rays; and so of the rest.
Who is Buddha? Is he God, or the creator, or a prophet or saint; born of heaven, or of a woman?
Buddha means, in Sanscrit, the wise; also, that which is known by wisdom; and it is one of the names which we give to God, whom we also call A'di-Buddha, because he was before all, and is not created, but is the creator: and the Pancha Buddhas were created by him, and are in the heavens. Sakya, and the rest of the seven human Buddhas (See Plate IV, fig. f. ) are earth-born or human. These latter, by the worship of Buddha, arrived at the highest eminence, and attained Nirvana Pad (i.e. were absorbed into A'di-Buddha). (See note 20.) We therefore call them all Buddhas.
What is the reason for Buddha being represented with curled locks?
A'di-Buddha was never seen. He is merely light. (See note 21.) But in the pictures of Vairochana, and the other Buddhas, we have the curled hair; and since in the limbs and organs we discriminate thirty-two (lacshanas) points of beauty, such as expansion of forehead, blackness of the eyes, roundness of the head, elevation of the nose, and archedness of the eve-brows; so also the having curled locks is one of the points of beauty and [p.239] and there is no other reason for Buddha's being represented with curled locks. (See note 22.)
What are the names of the great Buddha? Does the Newári language admit the word Buddha, or any substitute for it? and what is the Bhotiya name for Buddha?
The names of A'di-Buddha are innumerable: Sarvajnya. Sugata, Buddha, Dhakma-Raja, Tathagata, Bhagavan, Samant-Bhadra, Marajita, Lá-kaji'ta, Jina, Anadinidhana, A'di-Buddha, Nirandhaka, Jnyanaika-Chakshi, Amala, Jnyana-Murti, Vaches'wara, Maha-Vadi, Vadirata, Vadipingava, Vadisinha, and Parajata. Vairochana, and the other five Buddhas, have also many names. Some of Vairochana's are as follows: Maha-Dipti, Jnyana,Jyátish, Jagat-pravritti, Mahatejas, &c.; and so of the other four. Padma-Pani also has many names, as, Padma-Pani, Kamali, Padma-Hasta, Padma-Kara, Kamala-Hasta, Kamalakara, Kamal-Pani, Aryavalokites'wara, Aryavalokeswar, Avlokites'war, and Loka-Natha. (See note 23). Many of the above names are intercommunicable between the several persons to whom they are here appropriated. Buddha is a Sanscrit word, not Newári: the Bhotiya names I do not know; but I have heard they call Sakya Sinha, Sungi Thuba: Simgi meaning the deity, and Thuba his Alaya or Vihár.
In the opinion of the Bauras, did God ever make a descent on earth? if so, how often; and what is the Sanscrit and Newári name of each Avatára?
According to the scriptures of the Buddha-márgis, neither A'di-Buddha nor any of
the Pancha Buddha Dhyáni (see note
24), ever made a descent; that is to say,
they were never conceived in mortal womb; nor had they father or mother; but
certain persons of mortal mould have by degrees attained to such excellence of
nature and such Bádhijnydna, as to have been gifted with divine wisdom, and to
have taught the Buddhi-charya and Buddha-márga, and these were seven, named: Vipasya, Sikhi, Viswa-Bhá, Karkutchand, Kanakamjni, Kasyapa, Sakyasinha.
In the Satya-yuga were three: Vipasya, who was born in Vindi'tmati Nagar, in the house of Vindman Raja; Sikhi, in U'rna Desa; and [p.240] Visvabhá, in Amipawd Desa, in the house of a Kshatriya: in the Treta-yuga, two persons became Buddhas; one Karkutchand, in Kshemávati Naar, in the house of a Brahman; the other Kanaka Muni, in S'ubhdvati Nagar, in the house of a Brahma, and in the Drapar-yuga, one person named Kasyapa, in Várdnasi Nagar, in the house of a Brahman: and in the Kali-yuga, Sakya, then called Sarvartha Siddha (see note 25), in the house of Sudhodana Raja, a Sákyavansi, in the city of Kapátvastu, which is near Gangaságar, became Buddhas. Besides these seven, there are many illustrious persons; but none equal to these. The particular history of these seven, and of other Buddhas, is written in the Lalita Vistara. (See note 25.)
How many Avatáras of Buddhas have there been, according to the Lamas?
They agree with us in the worship of the seven Buddhas, the difference in our notions being extremely small; but the Lamas go further than this, and contend that themselves are Avatáras. I have heard from my father, that, in his time, there were five Lamas esteemed divine: the names of three of them I have forgotten, but the remaining two are called Shamurpa and Karmapa.
Do the Lamas worship the Avatáras recognized by the Newárs?
The Lamas are orthodox Buddhamárgis, and even carry their orthodoxy to a greater extent than we do. Insomuch, that it is said, that Sankara A'charya, S'iva-Mdrg't, having destroyed the worship of Buddha and the scriptures containing its doctrine in Hindustan, came to Nipál, where also he effected much mischief; and then proceeded to Bhote. There he had a conference with the grand Lama. The Lama, who never bathes, and after natural evacuations does not use topical ablution, disgusted him to that degree, that he commenced reviling the Lama. The Lama replied, "I keep my inside pure, although my outside be impure; while you carefully purify yourself without, but are filthy within:" and at the same time he drew out his whole entrails, and shewed them to Sankara; and then replaced them again. He then demanded an answer of S'ankara. S'ankara, by virtue of his yoga, ascended into the heavens; the Lama [p.241] perceiving the shadow of Sankara's body on the ground, fixed a knife in the place of the shadow; Sankara directly fell upon the knife, which pierced his throat and killed him instantly. Such is the legend or tale that prevails, and thus we account for the fact; the Buddhamárgi practice of Bhote is purer, and its scriptures more numerous, than ours.
What is the name of your sacred writings, and who is their author?
We have nine Puránas, called "the nine Dharmas." (See note 26.) A Purána is a narrative or historical work, containing a description of the rites and ceremonies of Buddhism, and the lives of our chief Tathdgatas. The first Dharma is called Prajna Pramita, and contains 8,000 slocas. This is a Nydya Sástra, or work of a scientific character, capable of being understood only by men of science; the second is named Ganda Vyuha, of 12,000 slocas, which contains the history of Sudhana Kumara, who made sixty-four persons his gurus, from whom he acquired Bodhijndna; the third, is the Samádhi Raja, of 3,000 slocas, in which the nature and value of japa and lapas are explained; the fourth is the Sanedvatár, of 3,000 slocas, in which is written how Ravana, lord of Lanca, having gone to Malayagiri mountain, and there heard the history of the Buddhas from Sakya Sinua, obtained Buddhijndna. The fifth, which is called Tathdgata Guhya, is not to be found in Nipál; the sixth, is the Sat Dharma Pundarihá, which contains an account of the method of building a chaitya or Buddha-mandal, and the mode and fruits of worshipping it. (Chaitya (See Plate V. and Plate VI.) is the exclusive name of a temple dedicated to A'di-Buddiia or to the Pancha Dhyáni Buddhas, and whatever temple is erected to Sakya, or other Mánushi Buddhas, is called vihár; See Plate VII.)2 the seventh, is the Lalita Vistádra, of 7,000 slocas, which contains the history of the several incarnations of Sakya Sinha Bhagavan, and an account of his perfections in virtue and knowledge, with some notices of other Buddhas. The eighth, is the Suvama Prabhá, containing, in 1,500 slocas, an account of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Prithvi; how they lauded Sakya Sinha Bkagavan; and how he, in return, gave each of them what she desired. The ninth, is the Das'a Bhumts'wara, of 2,000 slocas, containing an account of the ten Bhuvanas of [p.242] Buddha. All these Puránas we received from Sakya Sinha, and esteem them our primitive scriptures, because before the time of Sakva our religion was not reduced to writing, but retained in memory; the disadvantages of which latter method being evident to Sakya, he secured our institutes by writing them. Besides these Puránas, we received Tantras and Dháranis from Sakya Sinha. Tantra is the name of those books in which Mantras and Yantras are written, explanatory of both of which we have very many works. Three of them are famous: first, Máhá Jál, of 16,000 slocas; second, Ráli Chakra, of 6,000; third, Sambhu Udaija, of 1,000. The Dháranis were extracted from the Tantras, and are similar in nature to the Guhya, or mysterious rites, of the Siva-Margis. A Dhárani is never less than eight slocas, or more than five hundred; in the beginning and middle of which are written the "Vija Mantra" and at the end, the "Thul Stotra" or the Mahátmya, i.e. what desire may be accomplished or what business achieved by the perusal of that Dhárani; such, for example, as obtaining children—advantage over an enemy—rain—or merely the approbation of Buddha. There are probably a thousand Dháranis.
What is the cause of good and evil?
When Padma-Pani, having become Tri-gun-A'tmala, that is, having assumed the form of Satya-gun, Raja-gun, and Tama-gun, created Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahes'a; then from Satyagun, arose spontaneously (Swabhdvala), puny a or virtue, and from Tamagun, pápa or evil, and from Raja-gun, the mean of the two, which is neither all good nor all evil: for these three gunas are of such a quality that good acts, mixed acts, and bad acts, necessarily flow from them. Each of these Karmas or classes of actions is divided into ten species, so that pápa is of ten kinds; first (see note 27) murder; second, robbery; third, adultery, which are called kayaka or bodily, i.e. derived from Kayi; fourth, lying; fifth, secret slander; sixth, reviling; seventh, reporting such words between two persons as excite them to quarrels, and these four japas are called Váchalca, i.e. derived from speech; eighth, coveting another's goods; ninth, malice, and tenth, disbelief of the scriptures and immorality; and these three are called mánasi, i.e. derived from manas (the mind). The ten actions opposite [p.243] to these are good actions: and the ten actions, composed, half and half, of these two sorts, are mixed actions.
What is the motive of your good acts—the love of God—the fear of God—or the desire of prospering in the world?
The primary motive for doing well, and worshipping Buddha, according to the scriptures, is the hope of obtaining Mukti and Moksha, becoming Nirvana, and being freed from transmigrations: these exalted blessings cannot be had without the love of God; therefore they, who make themselves accepted by God, are the true saints, and are rarely found; and between them and Buddha there is no difference, because they will eventually become Buddhas, and will obtain Nirvána Pada, i.e. mukti (absorption), and their jyoti will be absorbed into the Jyoti of Buddha; and to this degree Sakya and the others of the "Sajta-Buddhas" (see note 28) have arrived, and we call them Buddhas, because, whoever has reached this state is, in our creed, a Buddha. Those persons who do good from the fear of hell, and avoid evil from the desire of prospering in the world, are likewise rarely found, and their degree is much above that of the class of sinners. Their sufferings in Naraka will be therefore lessened; but they will be constrained to suffer several transmigrations, and endure pain and pleasure in this world, till they obtain Mukti and Moksha.
Will you answer, in the world to come, to A'di-Buddha for your acts in this world, or to whom will you answer? and what rewards for good, and pains for evil, will you reap in the next world?
How can the wicked arrive at Buddha? (see note 29.) Their wicked deeds will hurry them away to Naraka; and the good, will, by virtue of their good acts, be transported to the Bhuvaias of Buddha, and will not be there interrogated at all; and those who have sometimes done good and sometimes evil, are destined to a series of births and deaths on earth, and the account of their actions is kept by Yama Raja.
Do you believe in the metempsychosis?
Yes. For it is written in the Játaka Mála, and also in the Lalita Vistara, that Sakya, after having transmigrated through five hundred and one bodies, obtained Nirvana Pada or Mukti in the last body; but so long as we cannot acquire Mukti, so long we must pass through births and deaths on earth. Some acquire Moksha after the first birth, some after the seventy-seventh, and some after innumerable births. It is no where written that Moksha is to be obtained after a prescribed number of births; but every man must atone for the sins of each birth by a proportionate number of future births, and when the sins of the body are entirely purified and absolved, he will obtain absorption into A'di Buddha.
What and from whence are the Newars, from Hindustan or Bhote? (see note 30), and what is the word Newar, the name of a country or a people?
The natives of the valley of Nipál are Newars. In Sanscrit the country is called Naipála, and the inhabitants Naipáli; and the words newar and newari are vulgarisms arising from the mutation of p to v, and 1 to r. Thus too the word Bandya, the name of the Buddhamárgi sect (because its followers make bandana, i.e. salutation and reverence to the proficients in Bodhijnana), is metamorphosed by ignorance into Bánra, a word which has no meaning.
Do the Newars follow the doctrine of caste or not?
As inhabitants of one country they are one—but in regard to caste, they are diverse.
How many castes are there amongst the Bánras ?
Bánra, according to the true reading, is
Bandya, as explained above. According
to our Puránas, whoever has adopted the tenets of Buddha, and has cut off the
lock from the crown of his head, of whatever tribe or nation he be, becomes
thereby a Bandya (see note 31). The Bhotiyas, for example, are
they follow the tenets of Buddha, and have [p.245] no lock on their
heads. The Bayidyas are divided into two classes; those who
follow the Váhija-charija, and those who adopt the
equivalent to the Grihastha asram and Vairági
ásram of the Bráhmanas. The
first class is denominated Bhikshu; the second, Vájra A'chdrya. The
cannot marry; but the Vajra A'chdrya is a family man. The latter is sometimes
called, in the vernacular tongue of the Newars, Gubhál, which is not a Sanscrit
word. Besides this distinction into monastic and secular orders, the Bandyas
are again divided, according to the scriptures, into five classes: first, Arhan; second,
Bhikshu; third, Srárvaka; fourth,
Chailaka; fifth, Vajra A'chdrya.
The Arhan is he who is perfect himself, and can give perfection to others; who
eats what is offered to him, but never asks for any thing. The Bhikshu, is he
who assumes a staff and beggar's dish (khikshari and pinda pátra), sustains
himself by alms, and devotes his attention solely to the contemplation (dhyána)
of A'di-Buddha, without ever intermeddling with worldly affairs. The Srdwaka is
he who devotes himself to hearing the Buddha scriptures read or reading them to
others; these are his sole occupations, and he is sustained by the small
presents of his audiences. The Chailaka is he who contents himself with such a
portion of clothes (chilaka) as barely suffices to cover his nakedness,
rejecting every thing more as superfluous. The Bhikshu and the Chailaka very
nearly resemble each other, and both (and the Arhan also) are bound to practice
celibacy. The Vajra A'chdrya is he who has a wife and children, and devotes
himself to the active ministry of Buddhism. Such is the account of the five
classes found in the scriptures; but there are no traces of them in Nipál. No
one follows the rules of that class to which he nominally belongs. Among the Bhotiyas there are many
Bhikshus, who never marry; and the Bhotiya Lamas are
properly Arhans. But all the Nipalese Buddhamárgis are married men, who pursue
the business of the world, and seldom think of the injunctions of their
religion. The Tantras and Dháranis, which ought to be read for their own
salvation, they read only for the increase of their stipend and from a greedy
desire of money. This division into five classes is according to the scriptures; but there is a popular division according to
Vihárs, and these Vihárs being
very numerous, the separate congregations of the Bandyas, have been thus greatly
multiplied. In Patan alone there are fifteen Vihárs. A temple to A'di-Buddha, or
to the five Dhyáni-Buddhas, called a
Chailya, is utterly distinct from the Vihár,
and of the form of a sheaf of Dhányn. But the temples of Sakya and
the other of the "Sapta Buddha Mmitshi," as well as those of other chief saints
and leaders of Buddhism, are called Vihárs. The names of the fifteen
Patan are as follows: Tankal-Vádr, Tu-Vihár, Hak-Vihár, Bhu-Vihár, Haran-Varna-Mahá-Vihár, Rudra-Varna-Mahá-Vihár, Bhikshu-Vihár, Sdkya-Vihár,
Guhya-Vihár, Shi-Vihár, Dhom-Vihár, Un-Vihár, &c. (see note
32.) In short, if
any Bandya die, and his son erect a temple in his name, such structure may be
called such an one's (after his name) Vihár. With this distinction, however,
that a temple to an eminent saint is denominated Mahá-Vihár—one to an ordinary
mortal, simply Vihár.
To conclude: with respect to the notes—that portion of this sketch, which is my own—no one can be more sensible than I am that the first half contains a sad jumble of cloudy metaphysics. How far the sin of this indistinctness is mine, and how far that of my original authorities, I cannot pretend to decide; but am ready to take a large share of it to myself. In regard to this, the most speculative part of Buddhism, it is sufficient happiness for me to have discovered and placed within the reach of my countrymen the materials for more accurate investigation, by those who have leisure, patience, and a knowledge of languages for the undertaking; and who, with competent talents, will be kind enough to afford the world the benefit of so irksome an exercise of them.
But I trust that the latter half of the notes, which embraces topics more practical and more within the range of the favourite pursuits of my leisure, will not be found wanting in distinctness; and I can venture confidently to warrant the accuracy of the information contained in it.
Notes to Mr. B. H. Hodgson's Sketch of Buddhism
(1) Here a sloca of the Sambhu Purána is quoted in the original paper; and it
was my first intention to have repeated it on the margin of the translation;
but, upon reflection, I believe it will be better to observe, that the Sambhu
Puruna is a work peculiar to Nipál. Many other Buddha scriptures, however,
which are not local, and are of high authority, symbolize the forming and
changing powers of nature by the letters of the alphabet; and ascribe the
pre-eminence among these letters to a, u, and m—making the mystic syllable
ám, which is not less reverenced by
Bauddhas than by Brahmanas. A, the Bauddhas
say, is the Vija Mantra of the [p.247] person Buddha; U, the
Vija Mantra of the person Dharma; and M, that of the
person Sanga—and these three persons form the Buddhist Triad. (See
Plate II, fig. a, b,
The Bauddhas, however, differ in their mode of classing the three persons. According to the Aishwarikas, the male, Buddha, the symbol of generative power, is the first member; the female, Dharma, the type of productive power, is the second; and Sanga, their son, is the third, and represents actual creative power, or an active creator and ruler, deriving his origin from the union of the essences of Buddha and Dharma. Sanga, according to all the schools, though a member, is an inferior member of the triad.
(2) Another sloca is here quoted; but it will not justify the language of the text, in which there is some confusion of the opposite doctrines of the Aishwarikas and Swabhávikas. In the triad of the latter, the female, Dharma (also called Prajna), the type of productive power, is the first member; Upa'ya, or Buddha, the symbol of generative power, the second; and Sanga the third of their son as before, and the active author of creation, or rather the type of that spontaneous creation, which results necessarily from the union of the two principles of nature before-mentioned.
Buddha and Prajna united become Updya Prajna; or vice versa, according to the school, and never as in the text. (For some further remarks upon these chief objects of Bauddha worship, see Notes 12 and 29.)
I take this early opportunity to remark that candid criticism will compare, and not contrast, the statements made in Notes 10, 12, 17, 20, and 29, especially with reference to the Swabhávika doctrine. (See Note 16.)
(3) The deduction of the five Dhyáni Buddhas, and the five Dhyani Budhi Satwas, from A'di-Buddha, according to the Aishwarika Bauddhas, will be stated farther on. It is a celestial or divine creation, and is here improperly mixed with the generative creations, theistic and atheistic, of various doctors.
(4) See Note 23.
(5) The sloca quoted is from the Pujá Kund, which is a mere manual of worship, of recent origin, and probably local to Nipál, It professes, however, to be a faithful compilation from the Guna-Káranda Vidha, and Káranda Vyaha. The latter of these is a work of respectable authority, and contains the following partial justification of the language of the Pujá Kund. (Sa'kya, speaking to his disciple Sarva'ni Varana Vishkambhi, says) "In the very distant times of Vipasya Buddha I was born as the son of Suganda Mukha, a merchant: in that birth I heard from Vipasya the following account of the qualities of A'rya'valokiteshwaui (Padma Pa'ni). The sun proceeded from one of his eyes: and from the other, the moon; from his forehead Maha'deva; from between his shoulders, Brahma; from his chest, Vishnu; from his teeth, Sabasvati; from his mouth, Va'yu; from his feet, Prithvi; from his navel, Varuna." So many deities issued from A'rya'valokiteshwara's body. This passage is expanded in the Gima-KarandVyi'dia, wherein it is added, that when A'rya'valokiteshwara had created Brahma, Vishnu, and [p.248] Mahe'sa, they stood before him, and he said to the first, "be thou the lord of Satyaguna and create;" and to the second, "be thou the lord of Bajaguna and preserve;" and to the third, "be thou the lord of Tamaguna and destroy." The Guna-Karanda J'yuha is however a mere amplification of the Karanda J'yuha, and of much less authority. In a passage of the Saraka Dhára—which is not one of the sacred writings of Nipál, but a work of high authority, written by Sarvajna Mitrapada, a Bauddha ascetic of Cashmeer—the Hindu deities are made to issue from the body of the supreme Prajna' just as, according to the Karanda Vyiiha, they proceed from that of Padma Pa'ni.
(6) The authority for these ten mansions is the Dasá Bhameshwara, one of the nine great works spoken of in the answer to the thirteenth question; and which treats professedly of the subject. The thirteen mansions are, however, mentioned in sundry works of high authority; and the thirteen grades of the superior part of the Chaitya (or proper Bauddha temple) are typical of the thirteen celestial mansions alluded to in the text. The most essential part of the Chaitya is the solid hemisphere; but the vast majority of Chaityas in Nipal have the hemisphere surmounted by a pyramid or cone, called Chárá Moni, and invariably divided into thirteen grades. (See Plate III.)
(7) All this, as well as what follows, is a mere transcript from the Brahmanical writings. There is, nevertheless, authority for it in the Bauddha scriptures. The Bauddhas seem to have adopted without hesitation the cosmography and chronology of the Brahmans, and also a large part of their pantheon. They freely confess to have done so at this day. The favourite Brahmanical deities accepted by the Buddhists are, of males: Maha' Ka'la, Indra, Ganesa, Hanuma'n, and the triad. Of females: Lakshmi' and Sarasvati'. The Hindu triad are considered by the Buddhists as the mere servants of the Buddhas and Budhisatwas, and only entitled to such reverence as may seem fit to be paid to faithful servants of so high masters. Of the origin of these deities, according to the Bauddha books, I have already given one account, and referred to another. The notions of the three gunas and of the creation, &c. by the Brahmanic triad as the delegates of the Bodhisatwas, I look upon to be modern inventions. According to genuine Buddhism, the Bodhisatwas are, each in his turn, the active agents of the creation and government of the world.
(8) An important historical person, and the apparent introducer of Buddhism into Nipál. (See note 30.)
(9) This is a most curious legend. I have not yet seen the Tantra whence it professes to be extracted, and suspect that the legend was stolen from our Bible, by some inhabitant of Nipal, who had gathered a confused idea of the Mosaic history of the origin and fall of mankind from the Jesuit missionaries, formerly resident in this valley; or perhaps the legend in question was derived from some of those various corrupt versions of the biblical story which have been current among the Jews and Moslems of Asia for many centuries.
(10) This limited reply is the fault of my friend and not of his books. Matter is called Prakriti by the Buddhists, as well as by the Brahmans. The Swabhavika school [p.249] of Bauddha philosophy (apparently the oldest school) seems to have considered matter as the sole entity, to have ascribed to it all the attributes of deity, and to have assigned to it two modalities; one termed nirvritti, and the other pravritti (See Note 12.) To speak more precisely, the above is rather the doctrine of the Prajnika Swabhavikas than of the simple Swabhdvikas: for the former unitize the active and intelligent powers of nature, the latter do not unitize them; and prefer to all other symbols of those dispersed powers of nature the letters of the alphabet generally, and without much regard to the pre-eminence of a, u, and m. Indeed, it is probable that the mystic syllable Aum is altogether a comparatively recent importation into Buddhism. The Lotos is a very favourite type of creative power with all the Bauddhas; and accordingly representations of it occur in a thousand places, and in as many forms in the Bauddha sculptures and architecture; for which, see the drawings which accompany this sketch, passim.
(11) The sloca quoted is from a modern little manual of Puja. I have not seen any adequate original authority; but the Aishwarika Buddhists, who maintained an eternal, infinite, intellectual A'di-Buddha, in all probability made the human soul an emanation from him; and considered Moksha a remanation to him.
(12) The Swabhavikas, the name assumed by one of the four schools of Bauddha philosophy, and apparently the oldest, are divided into two sects; one called Swabhaviltas simply, the other Prajnika Swabhavikas. The former maintain that an eternal revolution of entity and non-entity is the system of nature, or of matter, which alone exists. The Prajnihas deify matter as the sole substance, and give it two modes, the abstract and the concrete: in the former, they unitize the active and intelligent powers held to be inherent in matter, and make this unit deity. Such is the abstract or proper mode, which is unity, immutability, rest, bliss. The second is the contingent or concrete mode, or that of actual, visible, nature. To this mode belong action, multiplicity, change, pain. It begins by the energies of matter passing from their proper and eternal state of rest into their contingent and transitory state of action; and ends when those energies resume their proper modality. The proper mode is called nirvritti; the contingent mode pravritti. The powers of matter cannot be described in their proper state of abstraction and unity. In the latter state, all the order and beauty of nature are images of their quality: they are also symbolized by the Yoni, and personified as a female divinity called A'di Prajna' and A'di Dharma'. Man's summum bonum is to pass from the transmigrations incident to the state of pravritti into the eternal rest or bliss of nirvritti. The Triadic doctrine of all the schools is referable solely to pravritti. In the state of nirvritti, with some of the Aishwarikas, Buddha represents intellectual essence and the then sole entity; with others of the Aishwarikas Dharma', or material essence exists biunely with Buddha in nirvritti, the two being in that state one. With the Prajnikas Prajna', in the state of nirvritti, is the summum et solum numen, Diva Natura—the sum of all the intellectual and physical forces of matter, considered as the sole entity, and held to exist in the state of nirvritti abstracted from palpable material substance, eternally, unchangeably, and essentially one. When this essential principle of matter passes into the state [p.250] of pravritti, Buddha, the type of active power, first proceeds from it and then associates with it, and from that association results the actual visible world. The principle is feigned to be a female, first the mother, and then the wife, of the male Buddha. (For a glimpse at the esoteric sense of these enigmas, see note 29.)
(13) The work cited is of secondary authority ; but the mode of reasoning exhibited in the text is to be found in all Bauddha works which treat of the Swabh'ivika doctrine.
(14) This is the name of the Theistic school of the Bauddha philosophers. The Sambhu Puruna and Guna Káranda Vyvha contain the least obscure enunciation of Theism—and these books belong to Nipál. Other Bauddha scriptures, however, which are not local, contain abundant expressions capable of a Theistic interpretation. Even those Bauddha philosophers who have insisted that matter is the sole entity, have ever magnified the wisdom and power of nature: and doing so, they have reduced the difference of theism and atheism almost to a nominal one: so, at least, they frequently affirm.
The great defect of all the schools is the want of Providence and of dominion in their causa causarum, though the comparatively recent Karmikas and Yatnikas appear to have attempted to remedy this defect. (See the following note.)
(15) Of two of the four schools of Bauddha philosophy, namely, the Swabhi'iviha and Aishivariha, I have already said a few words: the two remaining schools are denominated the Karmika and Yatnika—from the words Karma, meaning moral action; and Yatna, signifying intellectual force, skilful effort. The proper topics of these two schools seem to me to be confined to the phenomena of human nature—its free-will, its sense of right and wrong, and its mental power. To the wisdom of Swabhava, or Prajna', or A'di-Buddha, the Bauddhas, both Swablumkas and Aishwarikas, had assigned that eternal necessary connexion of virtue and felicity in which they alike believed. It remained for the Karmikas and Yatnikas to discuss how each individual free-willed man might most surely hope to realize that connexion in regard to himself; whether by the just conduct of his understanding, or by the proper cultivation of his moral sense? And the Yatnikas seem to have decided in favour of the former mode; the Karmikas, in favour of the latter. Having settled these points, it was easy for the Yátntkas and Karmikas to exalt their systems by linking them to the throne of the causa causarum—to which they would be the more readily impelled, in order to remove from their faith the obloquy so justly attaching to the ancient Prajnika, and even to the Aishwarika school, because of the want of Providence and of Dominion in their first cause. That the Karmikas and Yatnikas originally limited themselves to the phenomena of human nature, I think probable, from the circumstances that, out of some forty slocas which I have had collected to illustrate the doctrines of these schools, scarcely one goes beyond the point of whether man's felicity is secured by virtue or by intellect? And that, when these schools go further (as I have the evidence of two quotations from their books that they sometimes do), the trespassing on ground foreign to their systems seems obvious; thus in the Divya Avadim, Sa'kya says, "from the union of Upa'ya and Puajna' arose man—the lord of the senses; and from man [p.251] proceeded good and evil;" and this union of Upa'va and Prajna' is then declared to be a Karma. And in the same work, in regard to the Yatnika doctrine, it is said, "Ishwara (i.e. A'di-Buddha) produced Yatna from Prajna', and the cause or pravritti and nirvritti is Yatna; and all the difficulties that occur in the affairs of this world or of the next are rendered easy by Yatna." Impersonality and quiescence were the objections probably made to the first cause of the Prajnikas and Aishwarikas; and it was to remove these objections that the more recent Karmikas and Yatnikas feigned conscious moral agency (Karma), and conscious intellectual agency (Yafna) to have been with the causa cauenrum (whether material or immaterial) from the beginning. Of all the schools, the Karmikas and Yatnikas alone seem to have been duly sensible of man's free-will, and God's moral attributes. The Karmika confession of faith is, "Purva jamna Kritang Karma tad Daivyam iti Kathyate," which may be very well translated by our noble adage, "conduct is fate." Such sentiments of human nature naturally inclined them to the belief of immaterial existences, and accordingly they will be found to attach themselves in theology chiefly to the Aishwarika school.
(16) This is the divine creation alluded to in the third note. The eternal infinite and intellectual A'di-Buddha possesses, as proper to his own essence, five sorts of wisdom. From these he, by five separate acts of Dhyán, created the five Dhyáni Buddhas, to whom he gave the virtue of that jnan whence each derived his origin. These five Dhyáni Buddhas again created, each of them, a Dhyani Bodhisaiwa by the joint efficacy of the jnan received from A'di-Buddha, and of an act of his own Dhyán.
The five Dhyáni Buddhas are, like A'di-Buddha, quiescent—and the active work of creation and rule is devolved on the Bodhisatwas. This creation by Dhyán is eminently characteristic of Buddhism—but whose Dhyan possesses creative power? that of an eternal A'di-Buddha, say the Aishwarikas of the Sambhu Purana—that of any Buddha, even a Mánushi or mortal Buddha, say the Swahhdvikas. The Bauddhas have no other notion of creation (than that by Dhyán), which is not generative.
(17) These terms are common to all the schools of Bauddha philosophy; with the Aishwarikas, nirvritti is the state in which mind exists independent of matter; pravritti, the state in which it exists while mixed with matter. With the simple Swabhdvihas the former term seems to import non-entity; the latter, entity. With the Prájnika Swabhdvihas, the former term signifies the state in which the active and intellectual power of matter exists abstractedly from visible nature; the latter, imports the manner or state in which the same power exists in connexion with visible nature. The Moksha of the first is absorption into A'di-Buddha; of the second, absorption into Shu'nya; of the third, identification with Prajna. In a word, nirvritti means abstraction, and pravritti, concretion—from nirván is formed nirvritti, but pravritti has no praván.
(18) If so, I am afraid few Bauddhas can be called wise. The doctrine of the text in this place is that of the Aishwarikas, set off to the best advantage: the doctrine incidentally objected is to that of the Swanbhávikas and Prájnikas. Sir W. Jones assures us that the Hindus "consider creation (I should here prefer the word change) rather as an energy than as a work." This remark is yet more true in regard to the old [p.252] Bauddha philosophers: and the mooted point with them is, what energy creates? an energy intrinsic in some archetypal state of matter, or extrinsic? The old Bauddha philosophers seem to have insisted that there is no sufficient evidence of immaterial entity. But, what is truly remarkable, some of them, at least, have united with that dogma a belief in moral and intellectual operations; nor is there one tenet so diagnostic of Buddhism as that which insists that man is capable of extending his moral and intellectual faculties to infinity. True it is, as Mr. Colebrooke has remarked, that the Hindu philosophy recognizes this dogma—coldly recognizes it, and that is all: whereas, the Bauddhas have pursued it into its most extravagant consequences, and made it the corner-stone of their faith and practice. (See note 29.)
(19) I have not yet found that these Dhyani Bauddhas of the Theistic school do any thing. They seem to be mere personifications, according to a Theistic theory, of the active and intellectual powers of nature—and hence are called Panch Bhuta, Panch Indriya, and Panch A'yatan A'kur.
It may seem contrary to this notion of the quiescence of the five Dhyani Buddhas, that, according at least to some Nipál works, each of them has a Sakti. Vairochana's is Vajra-Dhateshwiri; Akshobhya's, Láchana; Ratna Sambhava's, Mumukhi; Amitabha's, Pandara; Amogha Siddha's, Tara. (See Plate IV, fig. a, b, c, d, e.) But I apprehend that these Buddha-sakties are peculiar to Nipál; and though I have found their names, I have not found that they do any thing.
There is indeed a secret and filthy system of Buddhas and Buddha-Sakties, in which the ladies act a conspicuous part; and according to which, A'di-Buddha is styled Yogambara; and Adi-Dhakma, Jnan-Eshwarl. But this system has only been recently revealed to me, and I cannot say more of it at present.
(20) According to the Aishwarikas: the Swabhavikas say, into Akash and Shunyatd; the Prájnihas, into A'di Prajna. The Swabhavika doctrine of Shunyata is the darkest corner of their metaphysical labyrinth. It cannot mean strictly nothingness, since there are seven degrees of Shunyuta, whereof the first is Akash: and Akash is so far from being deemed nothingness that it is again and again said to be the only real substance. Language sinks under the expression of the Bauddha abstractions; and by their Shanyata I understand sometimes the place, and sometimes the form, in which the infinitely attenuated elements of all things exist in their state of separation from the palpable system of nature.
N.B. The images of all the seven great Manushi Buddhas, referred to in the answer to the 7th question, are exactly similar to that of Sa'kya Sinha, (See Plate IV. fig. f.) the seventh of them. This image very nearly resembles that of Akshobhya, the second Dhyáni Buddha. The differences are found only in the supporters, and in the cognizances (chinas.) When coloured there is a more remarkable diagnosis, Akshobhya being blue, and Sa'kya and the other six Manushis yellow.
(21) The Sambhu Puruna says, manifested in Nipál in the form of flame (Jyoti rupa). [p.253] According to the same work, A'di Dharma's (or Prajna's) manifestation in Nipál is in the form of water (jal surupa.)
(22) This is the true solution of a circumstance which has caused much idle speculation: though the notion is, no doubt, an odd one for a sect which insists on tonsure!
(23) These are Padma Pa'ni's names in his character of active creator and governor of the present world. Three Dhyáni Bodhisatwas preceded him in that character, and one (the fifth) remains to follow him. (See Plate IV. fig. g.)
(24) I have already stated that these deities, conformably with the quiescent genius of Buddhism, do nothing; they are merely the medium through which creative power is communicated to the Bodhisatwas from Adi-Buddha. It is the Bodhisatwas alone who exercise that power, one at a time, and each in his turn. It is a ludicrous instance of Bauddha contempt for action, that some recent writers have made a fourth delegation of active power to the three gods of the Hindu Triad.
(25) Until he attained bodhi jnana; and even then, while yet lingering in the flesh, he got the name of Sa'kya Sinha. This name has caused some speculation, on the asserted ground of its not being Indian. The Bauddha scriptures differ as to the city in which Sa'kya was born; but all the places named are Indian. They also say that the Shakvansa was an Indian race or family; as was the Gotamavansa, in which also Sa'kya was once born.
(25 bis) This must be received with some allowance. The Lalita Vistara gives ample details of Sa'kya's numberless births and acts, but is nearly silent as to the origin or actions of his six great predecessors: and the like is true of many other Bauddha scriptures.
(26) These works are regularly worshipped in Nipál as the "Nava Dharma." They are chiefly of a imitative kind. The most important work of the speculative kind now extant in Nipál is the Baksha Bhagavati, consisting of no less than 125,000 slocas. This is a work of philosophy rather than of religion, and its spirit is sceptical to the very verge of pyrrhonism. The Bauddhas of Nipál hold it in the highest esteem, and I have sent three copies of it to Calcutta. Its arrangement, at least, and reduction to writing, are attributed (as are those of all the other Bauddha scriptures) to Sa'kya Sinha. Whatever the Buddhas have said (sugutai desita) is an object of worship with the Bauddhas. S'akya having collected these words of the Buddhas, and secured them in a written form, they are now worshipped under the names Sutra and Dharma. The aggregation of nine Dharmas is for ritual purposes; but why the nine specified works have been selected to be thus peculiarly honoured I cannot say. They are probably the oldest and most authentic scriptures existing in Nipál, though this conjecture is certainly opposed to the reverence expressed for the Baksha Bhagavati, by the Buddhists. That work (as already stated) is of vast extent, containing no less than 125,000 slocas, divided into five equal parts or khands, which are known by the names of the five Pármitas and the five Bakshas.
(27) The three first sins should be rendered, all destruction of life, all
taking without right, and all sexual commerce whatever. The ten are the cardinal
sins of Buddhism, and will bear a very favourable comparison with the five
cardinal sins of Brahmanism.
(28) The Buddhas mentioned in the Bauddha scriptures are innumerable. Many of them, however, are evident non-entities in regard, to history. Even the Buddhas of mortal mould are vastly numerous, and of various degrees of power and rank. These degrees are three, entitled, Pratyeha, Sruvaka, and Maha Yánika. Sa'kya Sinha is often said to be the seventh and last Manushi Buddha who has yet reached the supreme grade of the Maha Yanika. In the Lalita Vistara, there is a formal enumeration of the perfections in knowledge and virtue requisite for attaining to each of these three grades—a monstrously impracticable and impious array of human perfectibility! The three grades are known by the collective name of "Tri Jana," or "Tri Yana."
(29) Genuine Buddhism never seems to contemplate any measures of acceptance with the deity: but, overleaping the barrier between finite and infinite mind, urges its followers to aspire by their own efforts to that divine perfectibility of which it teaches that man is capable, and by attaining which man becomes God—and thus is explained both the quiescence of the imaginary celestial, and the plenary omnipotence of the real Manushi Buddhas—thus too we must account for the fact, that genuine Buddhism has no priesthood: the saint despises the priest; the saint scorns the aid of mediators, whether on earth or in heaven: "conquer (exclaims the adept or Buddha to the novice or Bodhi-Satwa)—conquer the importunities of the body, urge your mind to the meditation of abstraction, and you shall, in time, discover the great secret (Prajna) of nature; know this, and you become, on the instant, whatever priests have feigned of Godhead—you become identified with Prajna', the sum of all the power and all the wisdom which sustain and govern the world, and which, as they are manifested out of matter, must belong solely to matter; not indeed in the gross and palpable state of pravritti, but in the archetypal and pure state of nirvritti. Put off therefore the vile, necessities of the body, and the no less vile affections of the mind; urge your thoughts into pure abstraction (Dhyan), and then, as assuredly you can, so assuredly you shall attain to the wisdom of a Buddha (Budhijnan), and become associated with the eternal unity and rest of nirvritti." Such, I believe, is the esoteric doctrine of the Prajnikas—that of the Swabharikas is nearly allied to it, but more timid and sceptical; they too magnify the wisdom and power of nature so abundantly diffused throughout pravritti, but they seem not to unitize that wisdom and power in the state of nirvritti, and incline to conceive of nirvritti as of a state of things concerning which nothing can be predicated; but which, even though it be nothingness (Shunyata), is at least a blissful rest to man, otherwise doomed to an eternity of transmigrations through all forms of visible nature: and while the Swabhavikas thus underrated the nirvritti of the Prajnikas, it is probable that they compensated themselves by magnifying, more than the Prajnikas did, that pravrittika omnipotence of which the wise man (Buddha) is capable, even upon earth. It has been already stated that the second [p.255] person of the Prajnika Triad is denominated Buddha and U'pa'ya; of which terms the esoteric sense is this: Every man possesses in his understanding, when properly cultivated according to the rules of iJwfMmK, the means or expedient (Upuya) oi discovering the supreme wisdom of nature (Prajna), and of realizing, by this discovery in his own person, a plenary omnipotence or divinity! which begins even while he yet lingers in the flesh (in pravritti); but which is not fully accomplished till he passes, by the body's decay, into the eternal state of nirvritti.
And as the wisdom of man is, in its origin, but an effluence of the Supreme wisdom (Prajna) of nature, so is it perfected by a refluence to its source, but without loss of individuality: whence Prajna' is feigned in the exoteric system to be both the mother and the wife of all the Buddhas, "janani sarva Buddlia" and "Jin-sandari;" for the efflux is typified by a birth, and the reflux by a marriage.
The Buddha is the adept in the wisdom of Buddhism (bodhijnda) whose first duty, so long as he remains on earth, is to communicate his wisdom to those who are willing to receive it. These willing learners are the "Bodhisatwas," so called from their hearts being inclined to the wisdom of Buddhism, and "Sangas," from their companionship with one another, and with their Buddha or teacher, in the Vihars or coenobitical establishments.
And such is the esoteric interpretation of the third (and inferior) member of the Prájnika Triad. The Bodhisatwa or Sanga continues to be such until he has surmounted the very last grade of that vast and laborious ascent by which he is instructed that he can "scale the heavens," and pluck immortal wisdom from its resplendent source: which achievement performed, he becomes a Buddha, that is, an Omniscient Being, and a Tathaguta—a title implying the accomplishment of that gradual increase in wisdom by which man becomes a Buddha. These doctrines are very obscurely indicated in the Bauddha scriptures, whose words have another more obvious and very different sense; nor, but for the ambition of the commentators to exhibit their learning, would it be easy to gather the esoteric sense of the words of most of the original scriptures. I never was more surprised than when my old friend recently (after a six years' acquaintance) brought to me, and explained, a valuable comment upon a passage in the Prajna Parmita. Let me add in this place, that I desire all searchers after the doctrine of Bodhijnan to look into the Bauddha scriptures, and judge for themselves; and to remember, meanwhile, that I am not a Sanscrit scholar, and am indebted for all I have gathered from the books of the Buddhists to the mediation of my old Baudda friend, and of my Pundit.
(30) Their physiognomy, their language, their architecture, civil and religious, their notions in regard to women, and several less important traits in their manners and customs, seem to decide that the origin of the greater part of the Newars must be assigned to the north: and in the Sambhu Purana, a Bauddha teacher named Manj-Ghok, and Manj Na'th and Manjusri, is stated to have led a colony into Nipál from China; to have cleared Nipál of the waters which then covered it; to have made the country habitable; to have built a temple to Jyoti-Ru'p-A'di-Buddha; and established [p.256] Dharma'kar (whom he brought with him) as first Raja of Nipál. But I nevertheless suppose (upon the authority of tradition) that Nipál received some colonists from India; and that some of the earliest propagators of Buddhism in Nipál came to the valley direct from India. Be that as it may, the Indian origin of Nipalese Buddhism (whether it reached the valley direct, or Bhote or China) seems to be unquestionable from the fact that all the great Sangata scriptures of Nipál are written in the Sanscrit language. From the gradual decay of literature and of a knowledge of Sanscrit among the Newars has resulted the practice, now very common, of translating ritual works into the vernacular tongue; and also the usage of adding to the original Sanscrit of such works comments in the vulgar language. The great scriptures however have never been subjected to the former process; seldom to the latter; for owing to Sanscrit having always been considered by the Buddhists of Nipál the language of literature, they have neglected to cultivate their vernacular tongue; nor does there exist to this day a dictionary or grammar of the Newari language.
(31) Of course therefore the Bauddhas of Nipál have not properly any diversity of caste; that is, any indelible distinction of ranks derived from birth, and necessarily carried to the grave. Genuine Buddhism proclaims the equality of all followers of Buddha—seems to deny to them the privilege of pursuing worldly avocations, and abhors the distinction of clergy and laity. All proper Bauddhas are Bandyas; and all Bandyas are equal as brethren in the faith. They are properly all ascetics—some solitary, mostly coenobitical. Their convents are called Vihárs. The rule of these Vihárs is a rule of freedom; and the door of every Vihar is always open, both to the entrance of new comers, and to the departure of such of their old inmates as are tired of their vows. Each Vihár has a titular superior, whose authority over his brethren depends only on their voluntary deference to his superior learning or piety. Women are held equally worthy of admission with men, and each sex has its Vihárs.
(32) The old Bauddha scriptures enumerate four sorts of Bandyas, named Arhan, Bhikshu, Srávaka and Chailaka, who are correctly described in the text; and from that description it will be seen that there is no essential distinction between them, the Arhan being only segregated from the rest by his superior proficiency in Bodhijnan. Of these the proper institutes of Buddhism, there remains hardly a trace in Nipál. The very names of the Arhan and Chailaka have passed away—the names, and the names only, of the other two exist; and out of the gradual, and now total, disuse of monastic institutes, an exclusive minister of the altar, denominated Vajrá A'charya, has derived his name, office, and existence in Nipál, not only without sanction from the Bauddha scriptures, but in direct opposition to their spirit and tendency. Nipál is still covered with Vihárs; but these ample and comfortable abodes have long resounded with the hum of industry and the pleasant voices of women and children. The superior ministry of religion is now solely in the hands of the Bandyas, entitled, Vajra-A'chitrya in Sanscrit; Gubhal in Newari: the inferior ministry, such Bhikshus as still follow religion as a lucrative and learned profession, are competent to discharge. And these professions of the Vajra A'charya, and of the Bhikshu, have become by usage hereditary, as have all other [p.257] avocations and pursuits, whether civil or religious, in Nipál. And as in the modern corrupt Buddhism of Nipál there are exclusive ministers of religion or priests, so are there many Bauddhas who retain the lock on the crown of the head, and are not Bandyas. These improper Bauddhas are called Udas: they never dwell in the Vháirs, look up to the Bandyas with a reverential respect derived from the misapplication of certain ancient tenets, and follow those trades and avocations which are comparatively disreputable (among which is foreign commerce); while the Bandyas, who have abandoned the profession of religion, practise those crafts which are most esteemed. Agriculture is equally open to both; but is, in fact, chiefly followed by the Udas, who have thus become, in course of time, more numerous than the Bandyas, notwithstanding the early abandonment by the Bandyas of those ascetical practices which their faith enjoins, the resort of the greater part of them to the active business of the world, and their usurpation of all the liberal, and three-fourths of the mechanical arts of their country; for the Bandyas have the exclusive inheritance of thirty-six professions and trades; the Udas, that of seven trades only. The Vajra A'chdrya and Bhikshu are the religious guides and priests of both Bandyas and Udas. All Bandyas, whatever be the profession or trade they hereditarily exercise, are still equal; they intermarry, and communicate in all the social offices of life—and the like is true of all Udas—but between the one class and the other, growing superstition has erected an insuperable barrier. To the above remarks it may be well to add, that Buddhists, of some one or other of the above denominations, comprize the vast majority of the Newar race, and that the majority are S'aivas; but in a sense peculiar to themselves, and with which my subject does not entitle me here to meddle.
(33) The names are almost all barbarous; that is, not derived from Sanscrit, but from Newari. I have not thought it worth while to enumerate any more of these examples. The Vihár is built round a large quadrangle, or open square, two stories high; the architecture is Chinese. Chaitya properly means a temple of Buddha, and Vihár an abode of cenobitical followers of Buddha. In the open square in the midst of every Vihár, is placed a Chaitya—but those words always bear the senses here attached to them; and Vihár can never be construed temple—it is a convent, or monastery, or religious house, but never templum Dei vel Buddha. At the base of the hemisphere of every Nipál Chaitya are placed the images of the Dhya'ni Buddhas. The Chaitya has often been Mended with sundry structures, more or less appropriate to Buddhism. See Plates III. and VII.
1 By et caitera always understand more Brahmanorum.
2 Besides these chaityas and the Vihars, the Nipalese have common temples, dedicated equally to the Du minores and the Bauddhas, and to all the deities of the Saivas.