Chinese Buddhism, by Joseph Edkins, , at sacred-texts.com
The popularity of Buddhism rests on its doctrine of retribution, and not on its ethics—Magical claims of the Tauists—Kwan-yin, since the twelfth century, usually a female—Powers and claims of Kwan-yin—Popular Buddhism loves to have prayers said for the dead—Hopes for paradise hereafter—Popular Tauism believes in haunted houses, in charms, and in the efficacy of the wizard in controlling demons—The present head of the Tauists and chief magician—Went from Western China to Kiang-si, where he has ever since resided as hereditary Pope—The Tauist divinity Yu-hwang shang-ti has incarnations assigned to him—Chang Sien the bowman, a physician—Tail-cutting delusion—Tauist prayers for the dead—The Buddhist Yen-lo wang, "God of death"—The eight genii—The eighteen Lo-hans—The Tauist delusions dangerous politically—T‘ien-tsin massacre—Need of the light of education—The effect of the assault of Christianity on these religions.
BY the popular aspects of these two religions, I mean their aspects at the present time, in as far as they exercise an influence on the popular mind. They were popular formerly in a sense different from that in which they are popular at present. Thus, preaching was common among Buddhists in the early ages of their religion. The principal duty of a shaven monk was to explain the doctrine of Shakyamuni as a deliverance from the misery of life. At present the popularity of Buddhism certainly does not rest on any activity in expounding the doctrines of their faith that we have the opportunity of witnessing. It rests rather on the supposed magical powers of the priests, on
the merit believed to attach to gifts presented for the support of monks, monasteries, and liturgical services, and on the wide-spread belief that such merit will be followed by all kinds of happiness. The early books of Buddhism abound in beautiful moral precepts, proceeding from the lips of a man who, through a long life, was animated by a pure and lofty asceticism. They are tinged with a proud scorn of worldly glory, and with a firm consciousness that there is nothing so good for a man as to listen to the teaching of his own better nature, while he shuts his ears closely to the siren voices of all sins and all temptations. Assuredly this is not what makes Buddhism popular now. For these early books are never, or almost never, read in the liturgical services; and as to striving to be good, the Buddhists do not act so as to indicate that this aim is vital and vigorous among them. The sharp eyes of the Confucianists are upon them, and the judgment they pass on them is unfavourable. The Confucianists represent them as drones in the community. They describe them as not like the useful silkworm, which gives to man the material of the textile fabric, but as being like the moth, which destroys that fabric. Then, why is Buddhism still believed by the people? The answer is, that they believe in the magical efficacy of Buddhist prayers, and in moral causation; or, in other words, the law of moral retribution which Buddhism teaches. It is on these accounts that money flows into the Buddhist treasury for the erection and repair of temples and pagodas, and for the support of innumerable priests. If I give money to gild sacred images, the law of causation will give me back happiness—Yin-kwo pu-mei.
The history of Tauism has been similar. What has come now of the philosophy of Lau-kiün and Chwang Cheu? It is much too abstruse for the modern Tauist mind. The Tauists of the present day do not occupy their attention with mysterious speculations on the pure and the true. Nor yet do they give attention to the alchemy
of the Han dynasty. They have ceased to experiment on the elixir of life, or the transmutation of all metals into gold. Instead of this, they occupy themselves with writing charms for driving demons out of houses, and with reading prayers for the removal of calamities. When you meet a Tauist of this generation, you do not meet with either an alchemist or a philosopher. The man you see claims, however, to be able to do very great things. He will undertake to drive out a demon from the body of a madman, and from a haunted house, to cure the sick by magic, and to bring rain in time of drought by his prayers. He will protect by his charms the quiet citizen and the adventurous traveller from all sorts of dangers; and, when there is mourning in the house, he will—like the Buddhist monk—hire out his services to read passages from the liturgies of his religion, which shall, by their magic power, quickly transfer the soul of the dead to the land of happiness on high.
A Chinese writer says in a characteristic way: "The three religions differ in their doctrines. Yet as to the aim, to save mankind, they are at one. In Buddhism no personage holds so large a place in saving mankind as Kwan-shï-yin. In Tauism there is no one equal to Lü Chun-yang. In the Ju-kiau there is no one to be compared with Confucius and Mencius." In this extract, 1 Kwan-yin is represented as more prominent in saving men than Buddha himself. Such is the modern development of Buddhism, and it is the popular Buddhism of the day. Kwan-yin was introduced into Indian Buddhism not long before the Christian era. In China, Kwan-yin was worshipped probably in the Han dynasty, but was not so popular as afterwards. A modern change has taken place in the image of Kwan-yin. Down to the early part of the twelfth century, Kwan-yin was represented as a man. In a book of drawings of the time of Siuen-ho, 2 and in the works remaining of famous painters
of the T‘ang and Sung dynasties, Kwan-yin is always a man. In later times it has become the custom to represent Kwan-yin frequently as a woman. This has been the custom for about six hundred years. Kwan-yin is in masculine costume in temples where great attention is paid to precedent, but the popular taste is in favour of a goddess rather than a god. Hence the appellation in English, "Goddess of Mercy," founded on the phrases commonly applied to her, Ta-ts‘ï ta-pei kieu-k‘u kieu-nan, "Great mercy, great pity; salvation from misery, salvation from woe." That one of the many metamorphoses of Kwan-yin should have become a very common—in fact the most common—image of this divinity, may be taken as an indication that, in deifying ideas, the Buddhist mind in China delights to assign feminine attributes to that of mercy. It is easy to understand how the Sung-tsï Kwan-yin, or "Kwan-yin, the giver of sons," should become extremely popular.
The salvation of mankind by teaching is a conception very characteristic of Chinese Buddhism. This belongs to all those fancied personages called Fo and P‘u-sa. For example, the mission of Kwan-yin is the salvation of men. It is symbolised by her thirty-two metamorphoses. In these shapes she enters various kingdoms as a saviour. Among these representations are seen the eighty-four thousand arms and hands with which she guides the ignorant and the lost. The doctrines taught by Kwan-yin are the non-existence of matter, and the infiniteness of the knowledge and mercy of Buddha. All evils are summed up in ignorance. To acquire knowledge of the emptiness of existing things is to become saved. It is this that is meant by the salvation of men through the agency of the goddess of mercy. In accordance with a vow she assumes some one of her thirty-two shapes, and proceeds to the various kingdoms of the world to convert men, and to the regions where gods, giants, demons, and fairies reside, to protect, instruct, and save all. Kings, governors, and
people are renovated by the power of mercy. They are said to lose their fear, to be extricated from the thrall of delusion, to become perfect, and to have the power of aiding themselves or others. Kwan-yin is represented as being able, by uttering charms, to assume numberless shapes for the sake of saving. She saves by mercy, by wisdom, by entering into a state. She obtains the great self-reliant power by which she can ensure that those who pray for sons and those who pray for the state of samadhi shall attain it, and those who pray for deliverance from dangers, or for old age, shall also secure them. She is able to give Nirvâna to her petitioners by the same power. This is said to be her great mercy and pity. All the Buddhas and Bodhisattwas have powers analogous to these. But none are so prominent, perhaps, in this respect, as Kwan-yin. Manjusiri (Wen-shu), whose seat of worship is Wu-t‘ai shan in Shan-si, is, even in North China, where his worship most prevails, much less thought of than Kwan-yin. Probably P‘u-hien, the seat of whose worship is Wo-mei shan, in the province of Sï-ch‘wen, is even less esteemed than Manjusiri, and a fortiori than Kwan-yin. It would seem, then, to be a fact important in modern Buddhist history, that the most popular of the divinities of this religion should be presented first with male and afterwards with female attributes, and that the change of sex in the images should have been accomplished within the last few centuries.
Yet it should not be forgotten that Kwan-yin is, properly speaking, to be regarded as masculine even at the present time. The feminine form is a specially popular metamorphosis. If we wish to go further back and to be still more careful in our analysis, Kwan-yin is but a form of Buddha, coming into the world of suffering mankind in a lower position than Buddha, in order more effectually to instruct and save the ignorant. Thus P‘u-hien and Wen-shu are in the same way said to be ancient Buddhas appearing among men as the two helpers of Shakyamuni,
who styles one of them chang-tsï, "eldest son," and the other siau-nan, "little boy." Wen-shu is the god of wisdom, and P‘u-hien of action. Wen-shu rides a lion, and P‘u-hien an elephant. The lion symbolises boldness, bravery, and a fresh, eager, and advancing spirit. The elephant indicates care, caution, gentleness, and a weighty dignity. This is Buddhist symbolism. It is interesting in itself, because it explains the images. The object of the images is partly instruction, and partly the awakening of devout feelings in the minds of worshippers. The image of a Fo or a P‘u-sa is intended to combine in its appearance wisdom, benevolence, and victory—the wisdom of a philosopher, the benevolence of a redeemer, and the triumph of a hero. All perfections are collected in the holy image—perfect power, perfect virtue, infinite compassion, infinite boldness, and infinite knowledge. These are intended to be represented in the images. This symbolism is, however, not exactly what excites faith and devotion in the rich supporters of the Buddhist religion. It is rather a belief in the magical power of the Buddhist divinities and priests, and confidence in the doctrine of retribution for the bestowment of liberal gifts.
Priests are invited to perform a liturgical service for the dead. It is called kung-te, "merit." Its object is to give the deceased a better position in the next life than he would otherwise enjoy. This is founded on the metempsychosis. Souls may be re-born in a better or worse state of existence. The magical power of Buddha may exalt a man from a birth into hell to a birth into the world once more. Buddha's power may cause a poor man to be born in the next life as a rich man. The choir of priests wield this power. They profess to have the power to ch‘au-tu-ling-hwun, "save the soul." This means to transfer the soul from an undesirable abode in the next life to a very happy one. The people believe that the priests by beating cymbals and drums, knocking the wooden fish and chanting prayers, can redeem the deceased person from the
punishment due to his sins. This is expressed by the phrase, shu-tsui, "redeem from guilt."
For a service of one day in the house of the dead person, the name tso-kung-te is used. For a service of three days, pai-ch‘an is often used. The favourite name (much may be learned from favourite names) O-mi-to Fo tells of an expected paradise. It speaks of the longing for a happy hereafter. Here Buddhism has abandoned the legitimate Nirvâna of Shakyamuni, and preferred to allow the people's craving for immortality to dominate the philosopher's dogma of a return to the absolute. A favourite title of Omi-to Fo is Tsie-yin Fo, "The guiding Buddha." He guides from earth to the Western paradise. The legend of O-mi-to is connected with that of Kwan-yin. The school which teaches it is called that of "The peaceful land." In China and Japan this school has always been a popular one. It is so especially in Japan. I was much struck while in that country with inscriptions on tombs. A large number of the inscriptions in ordinary cemeteries indicate that the person there buried died in hope of being taken to "The peaceful land." It is different in China, where Confucianism has prevented Buddhism from taking a firm hold on the hearts of the people. No such inscriptions occur in Chinese cemeteries. Japan has been more thoroughly penetrated with Buddhism than China. Yet in China the funeral procession for the dead bears many marks of Buddhist influence, though the ordinary cemeteries do not. Thus the hwun fan, or "soul's banner," carried before a coffin in such a procession has on the top a lotus-flower, and below three strips of cloth, the middle one of which contains the characters pan-yi, which imply faith in the departure of the soul to the Western heaven. The "portrait of the dead," shen-siang, is placed beside it in what is called the tso-ting. Below the portrait is a tablet to be worshipped. On the right hand is another banner called ming-tsing, on which are recorded the titles of the deceased. Now it will be noticed here that
the wooden frame like a baldachino holding the picture is Buddhist. It contains the stool on which a Buddhist monk sits crosslegged when living, and on which he is placed sitting in the same attitude when dead. Five Buddhist priests and five Tauists read prayers at the grave of persons who are rich and high in office. The liturgies read are such as the Sin-king, "Heart classic," and the Kwan-yin-king. In reference to use in funeral processions, these liturgies are called Chwen-ts‘ai-king, "Liturgy for 'turning' (or guiding) the coffin" on its path to the grave. The Nirvâna is too abstruse for the popular faith. It has been replaced by the Paradise of the Western heaven.
The belief in the existence of hermit heroes, and of various malevolent spirits and demons, is a marked characteristic of popular Tauism. Haunted houses are avoided in all parts of China. The power of expelling demons from haunted houses and localities, is believed to belong chiefly to the hereditary chief of the Tauists, Chang Tien-shï, and subordinately to any Tauist priest. To expel demons he wields the sword that is said to have come down, a priceless heirloom, from his ancestors of the Han dynasty. All demons fear this sword. He who wields it, the great Tauist magician, can catch demons and shut them up in jars. These jars are sealed with a "charm" (fu). I have heard that at the home of this chief of wizards on the Dragon and Tiger mountain in the province of Kiang-si, there are many rows of such jars, all of them supposed to hold demons in captivity. The wizard himself is believed to be a power. The charm is a power. The sword he wields is a power. The efficacy of a charm is increased by the supposed magical gifts of the Tauist wizard from whom it is obtained. To secure the services of the great Kiang-si wizard is very expensive. Only the wealthy who can expend a thousand taels of silver without being pinched can afford the luxury of feeling quite sure that, by the agency of this wizard, the demons who trouble them are completely subjugated. The residence of this wizard is called Chên-jên
fu. In giving him the title Chên-jên, the meaning is that he is regarded as having attained perfect power and virtue. He is the ideal man. Men under the domination of the passions are not called Chên-jên. The Tauist discipline gives a man the rule over himself and over nature. He who possesses this is called a "True man." The word chên, "true," cannot be fully translated into English in such cases as this without embracing the ideas "real," "perfect," "ideal," and "most elevated." It is higher than sien, "immortal," but not so high as sheng, "holy."
The present chief wizard is like his predecessors. His wife belongs to a Kiang-si family. Tauism in the persons of its wizards retains marriage. Buddhism introduced the disuse of marriage. Tauism, being anterior to that much more ascetic and self-denying system, knew nothing of celibacy.
It may be asked, from whence came the wizards and their charms, and their supposed power to subdue the bad influences of demons in disturbing neighbourhoods by apparitions and uncanny noises, and in causing sickness and death? It may be answered, that before the introduction of Buddhism, but especially in the Han dynasty, this folly was rife in the popular belief, and has continued so till now. There were wizards in the Shang dynasty, but no details remain of what they did. In the Han dynasty, the wizards stand out in their completeness. They were greatly honoured by prince and people, and have continued to be so in the person of the Chang T‘ien-shï till the present day.
This personage assumes a state which mimics the imperial regime. He confers buttons like the emperor. He has about thirty persons constituting his courtiers and high officers. Tauists come to him from various cities and temples to receive promotion. He invests them with certain titles, and gives seals of office to those Tauists who are invested. They have similar powers to his, and can, for example like him, subdue demons by pasting
charms on doors, which prevent them from entering. The Chang Tien-shï, in his capacity as a sort of spiritual emperor, addresses memorials to Yü-ti in heaven. His position will be understood from this circumstance. He is chief official on earth of Yü-hwang-ti in heaven, and as such is in the habit of addressing to him "memorials" called piau. His duty is defined as the driving away and expulsion of demons by charms, and their destruction by the magic sword.
In all parts of China, the charms seen pasted on the doors of houses testify to the dominant idea of popular Tauism, and to the universal fear of demons, which Tauism encourages. Certainly it is not Confucianism that maintains in rigour this absurd dread of evil spirits wandering through the air, disturbing the public tranquillity, occasioning alarms which sometimes spread like an epidemic from city to city, and leading the uninstructed populace to trace fevers, madness, ague, drowning, accidental death of travellers, suicide, and any sort of unaccountable discomfort, to the imaginary agency of invisible and malevolent beings. To subdue them is the office of the Tauist magician. The person honoured with the credit of having invented the charm is Chang Tau-ling. It was called fu, because written on bamboo tallies such as were anciently used by officers of government, and which are made to fit in shape one with another as a security against imposture, in accordance with the meaning of the verb fu. They are to be seen pasted on door lintels, the occupants of the house believing that the sight of the magical characters written on the charm will prevent evil spirits from entering.
The magicians were in the Han dynasty called—not without a touch of sarcasm—the "Feathered scholars" (Yü-shï), as being able to fly. The legend of Chang Tau-ling, ancestor of the Chang T‘ien-shï, head of the Tauist hierarchy at the present time, is sometimes stated as follows:—In the latter part of the second century, this Pope of
the Tauists, if he may be so called, was engaged in the province now called Sï-ch‘wen in the Ho-ming shan (Mountain where the crane sien-ho calls), in manipulating the "elixir of the dragon and tiger," lung-hu-tan. He met a spirit who said, "In the Pe-sung mountain is a stone house where may be found writings of the three emperors and a liturgical book. By getting these you may ascend to heaven, if you pass through the course of discipline which they enjoin." He dug and found them. By means of them he was able to fly, to hear distant sounds, and to leave his body. Lau-kiün then came down to him on the night of the feast of lanterns, and ordered him to subdue the demons of the "Shu country" (Sï-ch‘wen), in order to confer blessings on humanity. Lau-kiün gave him a powerful and secret "charm" (lu), a "liturgy" (king), a "composition in verse or measured prose" (kiue), a "sword" (kien), and a "seal" (yin). After going through a thousand days of discipline, and receiving instructions from a certain goddess called Yü-nü, who taught him to walk about among the stars, he proceeded to fight with the king of the demons, to divide mountains and seas, and to command the wind and thunder to come and go. All the demons fled before him, leaving not a trace behind of their retreating footsteps. On account of the prodigious slaughter of demons by this hero, the wind and thunder were reduced to subjection, and various divinities came with eager haste to acknowledge their faults. In nine years he gained the power to ascend to heaven and prostrate himself before the first in rank of the Three Pure Ones. A temple in Ch‘eng-tu is said to have been the place where Lau-kiün discoursed to Chang Tau-ling. He afterwards went eastward, and settled his residence on the mountain Lung-hu shan, where his descendants have ever since resided in possession of great honour and emolument, as his hereditary representatives. The present occupant of the patriarchate had to fly at the time of the T‘ai-p‘ing rebellion, and the temple where he resides was partially
destroyed. The repairs of the buildings are now nearly completed.
The popular divinity, Yü-hwang shang-ti, is an ancient magician, exalted to this dignity probably by the Tauist writers of the T‘ang dynasty. 1 In the Pen-hing-king of the Tauist collection it is said, that a magician of the Chang family was the son of a king in a former kalpa, who, instead of succeeding his father, became a hermit, and after eight hundred kalpas, and much patient endurance of injuries, attained to the rank of the "Golden immortals" (Kin-sien), and at the same time a Buddha with a special title, Tsing-tsing-tsï-jan-chio-ju-lai, "The pure, calm, and spontaneously perceiving Ju-lai." After a million more kalpas he became Yü-ti, or Yü-hwang ta-ti, "Emperor of all the immortals." In the same way, Tsï-wei ta-ti, "God of the stars round the north pole," is the emperor who rules over the presiding gods of all the stars, according to the one account. The magician Chang and the magician Liu mounted dragons and rode up through the sky towards heaven, and Chang gained in the race.
In the Tsin dynasty, A.D. 300, Cheu Hing is reported to have died and risen again. He is said to have related what he saw when dead. He saw T‘ien-ti, the "Heavenly emperor," enter the chief hall of his palace. Clouds, purple in colour, dense and dark, obstructed the view above him. His face was a square foot in size. Cheu Hing was told by those on his right and left, "This is the heavenly emperor Chang." His palace is the Yü-ts‘ing kung, which is represented in temples by a building beneath the abode of the Three Pure Ones. It is the heaven to which the soul flies when Tauist prayers are supposed to help the dead to reach the Tauist heaven. The expressions
are—Hwun fei ch‘ung-siau, "The soul flies to the high firmament;" Ling-t‘eng t‘ien-kung, "The soul ascends to the heavenly palace." These passages are the earliest I have yet found giving the family name Chang to Yü-ti. This magician or god Chang is to be distinguished from Chang Tau-ling as already described, ancestor of the present Chang T‘ien-shï, and from the medical divinity Chang Sien, who was, in fact, a distinguished physician of the Sung dynasty. The personage called Chang Sien, in common Chinese paintings, with bow and arrow shooting at the moon, is this physician who lived about seven hundred years ago.
In the tail-cutting delusion, which died out in 1879, after spreading over the country like an epidemic, we see an example of Tauist ideas. The fairy that cuts off hair is checked and prevented by a charm. A written charm curled up in the plaited queue at the back of the head is a protective shield against all the assaults of witchcraft. Tauism attempts to soothe the fears of the people by this artifice. In Peking lately I myself heard that a writer of charms hired men to go along the streets shouting to people that for safety they should place charms in their hair, and detailing cases of the loss of queues in the night, or while men were sleeping in the day-time. These hired men brought to the writers of charms a great increase of custom. Every one wished to buy one. There must be something in it, for every one talked of it. We must, they said to themselves, buy a charm. The charm used in Peking against the danger of waking without a queue, consists of four mysterious characters, which are all found in Kang-hi's dictionary. They were, we are there told, used against a similar delusion in the Ming dynasty.
The Tauism of to-day meets us with this special characteristic. Yet it is but one part of the popular Tauism, which in great part consists of a monastic institute for reading liturgical books after the Buddhist fashion.
Dr. Yates says, in his lecture on Ancestral Worship and
[paragraph continues] Fung-shui, that Buddhism borrowed from Tauism. But, in fact, it is rather the other way in the main. Buddhism indeed borrowed from Tauism the worship of Kwan-ti, as it has borrowed from Confucianism the use of ancestral tablets for the worship of the priests of a monastery. But there is no room for doubt, that the general programme of the arrangements of a Tauist monastery, with the occupations of the inmates, is Buddhistic. The whole scheme of prayers for the dead is so. As to prayers for rain, they are essential in China in every religion. For popular and for state reasons it is necessary to have them, the reason being the same in all Buddhist countries. When therefore the Hindoos and other Buddhists came to China, and found prayers for rain already existing in the Confucian, the imperial, and the popular worship, they would in offering prayers for the same object, be only doing what they were accustomed to do in their own country. They can scarcely be said to be borrowed by any religion. The popular character of the prayers of the Tauists for the dead is different in some respects from the Buddhist, but in the chief features it is evidently imitated. The old classical word ts‘iau, for example, is not used in describing the services of the Tauists for the dead. The phrase pai-ch‘an is used. One is called Ch‘au-t‘ien-ch‘an, or "Prayer of looking toward heaven;" another is Yü-hwang-ch‘an, "Prayer of Yü-hwang." This word ch‘an is Buddhist. The object of reciting these books is to save the souls of the dead by affording them a speedy ascent to the palace of Yü-hwang. The hell of the Buddhists is repeated by the Tauists in their descriptions of the future state. The variety of torments and punishments to be inflicted on criminals in the next world may be seen with all the harrowing details in the temples of Tung-yo to-ti, "The god of T‘ai-shan," a mountain god who is supposed to rule the under world. He corresponds in attributes somewhat to Ti-tsang-wang p‘u-sa, the Buddhist deliverer from hell. Like this Buddhist god, he rules only as a saviour and
shares his authority with a large group of inferior divinities, whose offices as ministers of punishment to those who deserve chastisement, are illustrated on the walls by rough paintings, or by clay images, moulded and painted in the Chinese method, in the temples of Tung-yo to-ti. Among statements which I made years ago and have now to correct as imperfect or erroneous is this, that the Tauists have no hell, but only a heaven. In fact they have both, for the rough wall drawings and clay mouldings found in the east and west buildings of the temples of Tung-yo prove it. These are not, however, many centuries old, and they form a part of the mass of legend and myth which they have unscrupulously borrowed from the Buddhists. Yama, "God of Death" in India, the Yen-lo-wang of China, with the ten courts of judgment which rule over the guilty, sentences them to punishment and has it administered after death. This forms the basis of the Tauist hell.
Modern Chinese art is very much pervaded with Tauist ideas. The eight genii meet us everywhere. The manufacturers of porcelain, bronze, and carved bamboo ornaments are never weary of representing these eight personages. They belong to the class of hermits. The love of external nature was very much developed in the T‘ang dynasty. Poetry was the favourite occupation of the literati. They gave attention to no severe studies. Every beautiful spot among lakes, waterfalls, and mountains was selected for a hermitage or a monastery. Buddhism and Tauism received a wonderful expansion. It was just the era for the legends of the eight genii to spring into existence. It was an age of sentimental feeling. The great national poets flourished in the same dynasty as the eight Tauist hermits. Li T‘ai-pe and Tu Fu gained their fame at the same time that the sixteen, and afterwards eighteen, Lo-hans became popular. These Lo-hans are the Buddhist equivalents of the fairies and hermits of Tauism. The sixteen were Hindoos, while the two added names were
those of Chinese Buddhists. All the eight genii were Tauists of the T‘ang dynasty.
We see the effect of Buddhist and Tauist teaching in the present race of Chinese. The Tauist religion especially is responsible for those superstitions which have a dangerous character. The epidemic of the fairy powder was fatal to the peace of communities. The absurd charges brought against the martyred Sisters of Mercy in Tientsin were based on ideas which, although usually represented as popular, and as the native growth of the Chinese mind, are in fact correctly placed to the account of Tauism. It is dangerous to the state that religious teachings should be encouraged which tend to foster and originate popular delusions entailing such frightful results. Every man, whether a Christian or not, ought on moral grounds, and on the greatest happiness principle itself, if he thinks that is a safer basis, to desire the extinction of a religious system which encourages dangerous and lying delusions. Then there is the tail-cutting. The Tauists accept and endorse the whole system of popular delusion which originated the tail-cutting. They believe in the existence of just such fairies as are said to cut off men's queues. They make money by selling the charms which are represented to be a protection against such demons. Popular Tauism then is worthy of decided condemnation, from every Christian and every enlightened lover of mankind, whatever be his belief. There are beliefs in the Tauist religion which not only need to be attacked by books written from the Christian standpoint of thought, but which may very properly be condemned in the proclamations of magistrates, on account of their tendency to produce dangerous tumults and lamentable breaches of the peace. What a field is here presented for the teaching of science, and the spread of a practical system of improved education in China! Dense intellectual darkness clouds the people's minds. There is pressing need for the extension of a system of education which should strike at the root
of superstition and enable the rising youth of the country to avoid falling into the thrall of those delusive imaginations which have grown up under the fostering care of the Tauists during the last two hundred years.
It is a great misfortune for a nation to have an extensive sacerdotal caste, whose interest it is to continue, generation after generation, the belief in deceptive fancies which check the free growth of true ideas and all healthy habits of thought. Their livelihood depends on the people continuing to believe in demons, fairies, and charms. The missionary and the schoolmaster, the magazine and the newspaper, are all needed to check these bad influences, and replace dangerous and injurious popular notions, by healthy and useful knowledge, to he gathered from God's two books, that of Nature and that of Revelation. Then as to the effects of Buddhism, it may be said to have been good in some respects. It bears a consistent testimony to the vanity of the world, and the essential and immense superiority of soul purity to earthly grandeur. But in founding on this a monastic institute, it has followed a wrong plan, and failed to attain the purity desired. It teaches the need of a personal redeemer to rescue from the moral evils attendant on our present existence. But this redeemer is a Buddha or a Bodhisattwa, a man or being possessing none of the powers attributed to him. Among the prominent and most pernicious evils for which the popular Buddhism of the present day is responsible is idolatry. It is an enormous evil that Buddhism has placed the Buddhas and Bodhisattwas in the position in the reverence of the people, that ought to be held only by the Creator and Father of the world. Idolatry puts fiction in the stead of truth, and, as we every day see in China, renders the mind indifferent to truth. This, too, is a vast evil. Confucianism makes everything of morality; and the worship of Buddhist images, when it is complied with, becomes a moral duty on the part of the emperor or the magistrate, only because it is li (ceremonial duty), not
because the Buddhist religion itself can have any just claim to it. But Buddhism, by putting forward the image, debases and misleads the national mind, by drawing it away from the proper object of human worship. Our great contest as Christian missionaries is with Confucianism. There is found the intellect, the thought, the literature, the heart of the nation. But we have also a preliminary struggle with Buddhism and Tauism. These constitute three mighty fortresses, erected by human skill and effort, to impede the progress of Christianity. Confucianism is the citadel of the enemy raising its battlements high into the clouds, and manned by multitudes who are animated by a belief in their superiority and their invincible strength. The taking of this fortress is the conclusion of the war. But Buddhism and Tauism each represents a fortress which must also be captured and destroyed. So far as argument and intellect are concerned, these fortresses are weakly manned. But think of the numbers, the millions on millions, who are deceived by these superstitions, and held fast by chains of spiritual darkness. Let the Christian host of soldiers press on, and detail its battalions, first to overthrow these strongholds of rebellion against God; and when they are destroyed, let another earnest effort be made to destroy the last and strongest of the towers of the enemy. Then, when all these three fortresses are overthrown, and China becomes a subject kingdom under the Messiah's peaceful reign, it will be the greatest triumph ever achieved for Christianity since the time when the emperor Constantine became a Christian, and the Roman religion and power, and the Greek philosophy were dragged as captives behind the car of the victorious Redeemer.
382:1 From Ping-shu-pi-t‘an.
382:2 From A.D. 1119 to 1126.
391:1 The title Yü-ti occurs in Tauist books earlier than the T‘ang dynasty, but not the full title with four characters. This belongs evidently to the T‘ang dynasty, the age of Buddhist influence, and to the belief in metamorphoses, and a former life, borrowed from India. I asked the Tauist patriarch when in Shanghai, how long it was since Chang T‘ien-ti first received his title. He only replied, "From the beginning of the universe."