The Creed of Half Japan, by Arthur Lloyd, , at sacred-texts.com
The Pre-Christian Expansion of Buddhism
The great As’oka, king of Maghada, the Constantine of Indian and Ceylonese Buddhism, has no official place, as I have said, in the history of the Mahāyāna, which takes absolutely no notice of the Council that is said to have been held during his reign. The Council naturally concerned only those monks that lived within As’oka's extensive dominions; the Mahāyāna seems to have originated beyond the Indus, among people, possibly, o Indian origin, but still not subjects of any purely Indian state.
Yet As’oka is of importance in the study of the Mahāyāna. For, first, he enables us to correct a great error as to S’akyamuni's date, still commonly made by many of the official defenders of Buddhism in Japan. The Mahāyāna books place the date of S’akyamuni's birth in B.C. 1027, and his death, consequently, about B.C. 950—a chronological misstatement which vitiates all their other calculations. For if this be true, then As’vaghosha, who lived 500 years after the Nirvana, and Nāgārjuna, who lived in the sixth century after the same occurrence, must be supposed to have flourished respectively about the years B.C. 450 and 400, and the whole Mahāyāna system predates the Christian era by some centuries. 1
Fortunately As’oka is well known to us, not only from books, but also from the edicts which he has left engraved in stone in various parts of his former dominions, and the data thus furnished enable us to give both As’oka's exact year, and approximately that of S’akyamuni's entrance into Nirvana. From the materials at hand, Dr. Fleet 1 has been able to fix the dates for the principal events between the death of Buddha and that of As’oka. We may accept them with confidence. As’oka was anointed king on the 25th of April, B.C. 264, 218 years after the death of Buddha, which consequently took place in B.C. 483—in the interval, it is well to remember, between the battles of Marathon and Salamis.
Again, As’oka's monuments give us data whereby to gauge the extent of his influence. Edict No. 2, translated by Dr. V. A. Smith, 2 is on the subject of comforts for men and animals, and runs thus: "Everywhere in the dominions of King Priyadarśin, and likewise in the neighbouring realms, such as those of the Chola, Pandya, Sattyaputra, and Keralaputra, in Ceylon, in the dominions of the Greek king Antiochus, and in those of the other kings subordinate to that Antiochus—everywhere, on behalf of his Majesty King Priyadarśin, have two kinds of remedies been disseminated—remedies for men, and remedies for beasts. Healing herbs, medicinal for man and medicinal for beasts, wherever they were lacking, have everywhere been imported and planted. On the
roads, trees have been planted, and wells dug for the use of man and beast."
Edict No. 5 concerns the Censors of the Law of Piety: "They (i.e. the Censors) are engaged among people of all sects in promoting the establishment of piety, the progress of piety, and the welfare and happiness of the lieges, as well as of the Yonas, Kambojas, Gandharas, Rashtrikas, Pitenikas, and other nations on my borders."
(c) Edict. 13 is on the subject of the "True Conquest" (i.e. the Conquest of Self): "Even upon the forest tribes in his dominions, His Majesty has compassion, and he seeks their conversion, inasmuch as the might even of His Majesty is based on conversion." … [It has been communicated] "even to where the Greek King named Antiochus dwells, and beyond that Antiochus, to where dwell the four kings severally named Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, and Alexander; and in the south, to the Kings of the Cholas, and Pândyas, and of Ceylon,—and, likewise here, in the King's dominions, among the Yonas, and Kambojas, in Nābhaka of the Nabhitis, among the Bhojas and Pitenikas, among the Andhras and Palindas, everywhere men follow the law of Piety as proclaimed by His Majesty.
"Even in those regions where the envoys of His Majesty do not penetrate, men now practise and will continue to practise the Law of Piety.…" 1
(d) Minor Rock Edict No. 1, if accurately translated by Senart, speaks of 256 missionaries who have gone forth to proclaim the law. 2
We have here a picture of As’oka's missionary activity. It embraced his own subjects, those living in his capital, those living in the remote provinces and dependencies of his empire within India, the Yonas or immigrant Greeks, the Chōlas, Pāndyas, and Andhras, the degraded tribes of the forests, the King of Ceylon, the Greek kings who ruled as the Diadochi of Alexander the Great, and last, but not least, the unmentioned lands to which As’oka had sent no envoy, but in which Buddhism was nevertheless being actively and piously pursued. These sovereigns and peoples As’oka addresses, mainly on two subjects—care for the health and welfare of the people, and "True Conquest" over themselves and their passions—a lesson which was surely not superfluous in those troublous days.
The Indian states and peoples need not delay us long. The mention of Cholas, Pāndyas, etc., serves to show how widely spread, in India itself, was the Buddhist faith which As’oka strove to promote and reform. Nor need we linger over Ceylon. 1 That island is said to have owed its conversion to the labours of Mahendra, the son or son-in-law of As’oka, and, whoever may have been its apostle, it has remained true to the faith which it then received, The mention of the Yonas or Yavanas (i.e. the Ionians or Greeks; we have the authority of Aristophanes that by the Oriental the name "Greek" was pronounced Iaonau, which is very near to Yavana) is a little ambiguous; for it may refer to the Greek kingdom of Bactria, which set up for itself a few years after the publication of the earlier
[paragraph continues] Rock Edicts, or it may refer to the Greek merchants trading and travelling in India, whose votive inscriptions have been found in ancient Buddhist temples in the peninsula. It is possible, though we cannot make a positive assertion on the point, that some of the nations on his borders, to whom As’oka refers, may have dwelt on the frontiers of what in later times became the Parthian kingdom.
The ruler of Syria at the time when As’oka published his Edicts was Antiochus II. (Theos), the unfortunate monarch who inherited the splendour but not the genius of his more illustrious father, Antiochus I. (Soter). He had only just come to the throne when the Edicts containing his name were published, and we must therefore, I believe, refer the allusions to the state of the Syrian Kingdom to his father's reign rather than to his own. It was to Antiochus I. that As’oka had applied for assistance as to medical herbs and trees, and whom he had consulted as to wells and fountains in streets and by roadsides, and for trees to give shade to man and beast. In Antiochus I., the Founder of Cities (the Syrian kingdom was dotted over with them), many bearing his name, and one of them, Antioch in Syria, justly famed as one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world, As’oka's request would find a sympathetic welcome. The ideas of municipal and civil government encouraged by Antiochus Soter were just such as would commend themselves to As’oka. How far Antiochus profited by As’oka's suggestions, we cannot say, but Antiochus styled himself βασιλεὺς βασιλέων, and amongst his "subordinate kings" mentioned in the Edict on "creature comforts" were Philetærus (B.C. 281–263) of Pergamus, Nicomedes of Bithynia, and, for a short while, Magas of Cyrene, who was availing himself of assistance from Antiochus in a revolt against Egyptian
suzerainty. In the wars which Antiochus I. waged against the Gauls and Celts, who had invaded Asia Minor at the invitation of Nicomedes, a rebel against the suzerainty of the "King of Kings," he had used elephants, which he, like his contemporary, Pyrrhus of Epirus, had obtained 1 from As’oka's father, Bindusara, King of Magadha, a favour which, it may be, As’oka was expected to continue in the case of Antiochus II. The kings of Pergamus were famous for their collections of books and parchments (the latter a pergamene substitute for the papyrus which the Egyptian government would not allow to be exported); also for the botanical gardens of medicinal herbs, which antedated the more famous collections of Alexandria, into which they were afterwards merged; and Cyrene was noted, the whole world over, for a medicinal plant called silphium (a kind of asafœtida), which formed one of the staple articles of its extensive commerce. The plant was almost extinct in the West in Pliny's time (though it is still, I believe, to be found in India), 2 but it is to be found engravers on the coins of Cyrene as the emblem of the city, and there has been found a silver cup from Cyrene, with a representation of the king himself personally superintending the packing, weighing, and dispatching of the precious herb. 3 We can imagine that Antiochus Soter would have much pleasure in forwarding As’oka's memorandum touching medicinal herbs to his subordinate kings. We can also imagine that Antiochus II., who surnamed himself "the God," would not be equally pleased to receive the sermon about the "True Conquest." And yet As’oka would have us believe that the Dharma was being
observed and practised in the territories of the Syrian king. Stoicism was already a power in the world of philosophy and morals, and Stoicism is notoriously a semi-oriental mode of thought. 1
Antigonus Gonatas, King of Macedonia, claimed possession of the European dominions of Alexander the Great. Macedonia must have been full of men who had been in Central Asia and India in those days of constant coming and going, and there must have been a great interest taken in things Indian. When Alexander took Babylon, he had the books in the library sent to his old tutor Aristotle, who, we may be sure, appreciated the gift, and found some way of discovering the contents of the books before they reached their final resting-place in the library of Alexandria. One of Alexander's successors, Cassander, who thoroughly disapproved of Alexander's policy of adopting Oriental habits and ways of life, had, living at his court, a philosopher named Euhemerus, who had travelled in Asia, at Cassander's request, and had returned with stories which had gained for him the reputation of a liar. And yet much that Euhemerus related accurately described what must have been going on in Buddhism at the time of his visit. The island of Panchaia may have been an Utopia; the history of the earthly life of Zeus before he became a god, which he brought back with him, may have been a fabrication; still, the process described was exactly the process which was going on in Buddhism. 2 S’akyamuni had been just such a man as
[paragraph continues] Euhemerus described. He had towered high above his compeers in wisdom, if not in strength, and had possessed that magnetic influence which compelled men to walk according to his precepts. He had certainly demanded personal loyalty to himself from all his followers, for he had only received them into his Order after a threefold expression of belief—in the Law, the Order, and the Buddha. His relics, divided up after his death, had become the nucleus around which grew up the worship of the whole Buddhist community. S’akyamuni was undergoing the process of deification when Euhemerus visited India (indeed, that process may already have been popularly accomplished), and the process was already being applied to other Buddhas as well. The Mahāyāna had not yet taken definite form, but the ideas underlying it were in the air, and when, later, we get our first definite literary acquaintance with, e.g. Amitābha, he conies as a god deified after a long succession of holy lives, led in the fulfilment of his tremendous vow for the salvation of mankind. That the same process was taking place in the case of S’akyamuni himself may be seen from the development of the Saddharma pundarika and kindred Sūtras, 1 and from the more certain testimony of Buddhist art. The process, in the case of Buddhism, may not have been
completed in the days of Euhemerus; it was also going on in Brahmanism and other forms of Indian religion. But certainly Euhemerus described it accurately.
Antigonus Gonatas of Macedon had an ambition, which he realized, for a while, after many years of conflict, of uniting Greece and Macedon under one sceptre. He had opponents in the Achæan league, and a rival in Alexander, the son of that Pyrrhus of Epirus who had defeated the Romans with the aid of elephants obtained from As’oka's father, Bindusara. Alexander and Gonatas are both mentioned in As’oka's Edict on the "True Conquest." We can imagine that the peace-loving As’oka, who was fully in touch with what was going on in the West, must have been distressed beyond measure at the desolations of Greece during this period of "False Conquests."
I have already mentioned Magas of Cyrene, in connection with the medicinal herbs. I need only mention, as another link in the chain showing the extent of Indian influence in the West, that among the dialogues of Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy, there was one which bore the name of Porus, a name well known among Indian kings. 1 Aristippus, born B.C. 435, was prior in time to As’oka, but amongst the later Cyrenaics was Hegesias, surnamed Peisithanatos, from the strenuousness with which he advocated suicide as the highest form of self-immolation. This is a truly Buddhistic notion. S’akyamuni's well-beloved disciple, Ananda, is said to have ended his life by voluntary self-cremation, and the Saddharma pundarika speaks of it as the highest expression of devotion and gratitude from one who has learned the truth. 2
The mention of Hegesias brings us to Alexandria. The ruler of Alexandria, Ptolemy Philadelphus, is also one of the sovereigns mentioned in As’oka's Edict. Philadelphus and his predecessor, Soter, were both much concerned in carrying out Alexander's great scheme of effecting the Hellenization of the East through the instrumentality of the newly founded city of Alexandria. Alexandria was connected with India by at least three routes. A certain amount of the overland traffic from China came into Alexandria viâ Palestine (which was in the Egyptian sphere of influence), and even the superior attractions of Antioch could not kill this commerce, which was, however, more Central and Eastern Asian than Indian. A further contingent of caravans brought in Indian goods viâ the Persian Gulf, Palmyra (later), and Palestine. The Egyptian ports on the Red Sea had direct communication, without any serious rivals, with the Indian ports at the mouth of the Indus. The early Ptolemies took a great deal of interest in religion. Soter imported the god Serapis from Pontus, and both he and Philadelphus interested themselves in the (LXX.) translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. They were notoriously ready to welcome any new lights on religious subjects. It is perhaps, therefore, more than a mere coincidence that, about the days when As’oka was sending envoys to the kings of Egypt, and speaking of the keeping of the law in distant countries, we get—first, the so-called Hermetic literature (e.g. the Κορὴ Κόσμου preserved for us by Stobæus), with its many Buddhist echoes; 1 and, secondly, the semi-Buddhistic communities of monks as the Essenes and Therapeutæ described for us by Philo. How far Philo and Aristobulus, the Jew, may have been
influenced by Indian thought is an inquiry beyond our present limits. 1 But it is evident that the relations, tradal or otherwise, between Alexandria and India were close and constant. The influence was not all on one side. Alexandria had its influence on Indian philosophy, medicine, and mathematics, 2 and a time came when the religions of the Far East felt the power of its mystic (not to say cryptic) thought. In the mysterious Shingon system of Japan, the term "RA" occurs as the name of the deity of Fire, and the word for God, Abraxas, used by Basilides, is the fundamental conception of the Shingon system of Philosophy, which also uses certain hieratic hieroglyphics for the conveyance of its teachings. 3
It may be asked, what precisely were the teachings which As’oka exerted himself to spread amongst other nations and amongst his contemporary sovereigns? The one conclusive answer to this question will be found in the study of the monuments themselves, with the
inscriptions, that he has left us. In them we shall find Buddhism as it existed in As’oka's mind, and as As’oka believed that it had existed in the mind of S’akyamuni. I cannot do better than summarize the contents of the inscriptions.
I. In the first, As’oka speaks of his care to provide medicines and medical herbs for the use of the sick, trees for shade, and fountains for men and cattle, and calls attention to the fact that he has done this not only within his own dominions, but also in those of his neighbours, e.g. in the territories of King Antiochus and in Taprobane (Ceylon).
II. In the second, he speaks of the killing of animals, exhorts his subjects to abstain from such evil practices, and explains his own custom. He was once in the habit of allowing many animals to be killed for the royal feasts: during late years the number of animals thus killed has been very small. Henceforward, there shall be no killing of animals in the royal kitchens.
III. He exhorts provincial and city governors, and all teachers of religion, to be diligent in inculcating obedience to parents, kindliness and courtesy, respect for Brahmans and Buddhist monks, and moderation in speech and conduct, upon all who come under their authority.
IV. He speaks with gratitude of the good effects upon the people at large of the religion which he has been teaching throughout his dominions. He is glad to find that civic and social virtues, filial piety, respectfulness, kindliness, and toleration are everywhere on the increase.
V. In order to spread further the virtues inculcated by his religion, he appoints superintendents of morals for all creeds throughout his dominions, as well as in the neighbouring countries of the Yavanas, Kambojas, Gandhāras, etc. (these were probably subject or tributary
states). It shall be the duty of the superintendents to take especial care of prisoners and captives, particularly when they are married men with families dependent on them, or when they have been the victims of malice, spite, or fraud.
VI. He speaks of his constant care for the welfare of his people.
VII. It is his great desire to secure religious liberty and toleration for all religions practised within his dominions.
VIII. Royal progresses throughout the country have hitherto been made occasions of feasting and revelry. It is his intention henceforth to give them a religious character, and use them for the advancement of religion and morals.
IX. What is religion? It is the Way by which men learn to be truly human and humane, and it has its stimulus in the hope of a future life.
X. The hope of the rewards of a future life has been the motive power of his religious life. [N.B.—Nothing is said about a past Karma influencing the present, nor yet about Nirvana after death.]
XI. True religion—i.e. to help the fatherless and widow, and to keep one's self unspotted from the world—has the promise of this life, as well as of that which is to come.
XII. The sectarian spirit should be avoided. We should never decry the followers of a religion other than our own. Nor should we think that we are serving our own creed by constantly puffing it.
XIII. A survey of his own life. He describes the horrors of the war against the Kalingas, and his own remorse when he realized the cruelties attendant upon it. He resolves henceforth to eschew the rôle of a conqueror.
[paragraph continues] The true conquests are those of religion. He has communicated his sentiments to his brother sovereigns—to Antiochus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, Magas, Alexander Balas, to the Codas and Pandyas as far as Taprobane, and even to the King of the Huns. 1 It gives him great happiness to contemplate the success which has attended his efforts, but present contentment is as nothing when compared with the joys of future bliss.
XIV. An abridged edict containing the points on which Piyadasi, the beloved of the gods, wishes to insist. His empire is an extensive one, but he has done his best, by means of inscriptions, to arrange that every part of the empire is provided with the required moral teaching. He wishes all his subjects to be acquainted with the religious law.
The above fourteen Edicts form, as it were, a continuous series, and are to be found in several recensions in several parts of India. There are also isolated Edicts, the contents of which are somewhat as follows:—
1. a and b. To the officials at Tosali and Samāpā, urging them to greater diligence in the care of the people committed to their charge, so that those who stand may not fall, and those who fall may be restored. The most essential thing in religion is perseverance and patience in what is good. Officials should take care to guide men in the right way, so that they may live without fear and follow their religion. These edicts are to be read publicly before the people at the monthly festivals of the full moon, and privately whenever necessary. His Majesty has taken care to have a solemn assembly in his own territories every five years, and the princes of Ujjain and Taxila will do the same.
2. The king regrets that hitherto, as a layman, he has not been very diligent. He has now, however, been for a year a member of the Order, and has worked with such zeal during that time that the ancient gods of Jambudvīpa (India) have been almost driven from their places. 1 It is a great truth that the Kingdom of Heaven is really within the reach of all men, even the humblest, and no effort should be spared to spread this Gospel by missionary labours. The King is much gratified by the fact that already 256 missionaries have gone abroad. [This last sentence has been differently translated, as though it referred to the date of the Edict, 256 after the Nirvana of Buddha.]
3. [The Bhābhrā Edict.] To the clergy of Magadha. All that the Blessed One has said is well said, and should be studied with reverence. The king especially commends the following books: "Vinayasamukasa," book on discipline; "Aryavasâni," on the supernatural powers of the Aryas; "Anagâtabhayâni," on dangers to come; "Munigatha," stanzas in honour of the Muni; "Upatishya pasina," questions of Upatishya; "Moneya sūtra," Sutra on Perfection; and the Sūtra, in which the Blessed One instructs Rahula. 2
What I have hitherto said does not by any means exhaust the question of the expansion of Buddhism in As’oka's days, for, leaving aside the subject of As’oka's apostles sent forth by the Council, we have also As’oka's own testimony as to the countries in which Buddhism (as he understood it) was practised, though his envoys had never reached them.
In the days of As’oka the Parthians revolted against Antiochus, and, under the family of the Arsacidæ, carved out for themselves a small kingdom to the north of the Seleucid Empire. They were by origin Sacæ or Scythians, and their earlier home had been in the plain country between the Caspian Sea and the Oxus. Their religion was that of Zoroaster, or rather, perhaps, that of the Magi. What the precise tenets of that religion were, it is hard to say; they do not seem to have been precisely those of the Persians before the fall of the Persian Empire, nor yet those of the restored Zoroastrianism of the Sassanid period. They probably worshipped the heavenly bodies, paid a great deal of attention to astrology and astronomy, and in other points were not very unlike the Buddhists in their belief and practices. That Buddhism obtained some hold among them is shown by the fact that Parthian missionaries in later days took part in the evangelization of China; but when that influence began it is impossible to say. At a much later date, when the Buddhist evangelization of China was well established, we find Zoroastrian monks treated as brethren, and we read of Buddhists in Persia presenting a Chinese Emperor with a tooth-relic of the Buddha. And in the Shiite and Sufite forms of Mahometanism we may, it is said, see the ancient Buddhism of Persia still asserting itself.
Next to Parthia came Bactria, 1 the reputed home of Zoroaster himself. Bactria asserted its independence in the same year as Parthia. It had Greek kings, and a small percentage of Greek settlers, the residue of the Macedonian invasion; but its main population was probably of S’akyan origin. Indian writers speak of the Bactrian people as Vrijji, 2 the same name that we found amongst the Nepaulese S’akyans of S’akyamuni's time, and recognized them as being Kshatriyans by caste, though their standing was defective by reason of intermarriages with other nationalities. Their religion was a mixed one, Parthian, Brahmanic, Buddhist, with probably a slight preference for the last.
Bactria marches on the Pamirs. East of the Pamirs, and north of what is now Thibet, dwelt the S’akyas, separated from the S’akyan brethren of India and Nepaul by the common pasture lands of Thibet. When they afterwards emerged from their mountain fastnesses they were divided into four tribes, Asii, Pasiani, Tokhari, and Sakarauli (Strabo, ix. 8), and it is recorded (Kern, "Buddhismus," ii. 272) of the Northern Patriarch Dhītika that he made conversions by his labours among the Tokhari, who eventually gave their name to the whole of that tribe of S’akyans. As’oka's envoys did not reach these tribes, but there were many traders who carried the faith.
East of the S’akyans, in the valley of the Tarim, lay the Uighurs, the most civilized and literary of all the Scythian tribes; beyond them, to the south of Lake Lob,
were the Usuns, who bordered on the Chinese Empire. We know that Buddhism reached these districts at a very early date. 1
When it first reached China we cannot say, 2 for the unofficial introduction must have long preceded its official acceptance under Mingti. In As’oka's time, Hwangti, who had assumed the title of "King of Kings," in imitation of Seleucid magniloquence, had begun the erection of the Great Wall that was to isolate China from disagreeable neighbours. The break-up in Central Asia had already begun; Scythian hordes were already on the move, and had troubled the Bosphorus, Macedonia, Asia
[paragraph continues] Minor, and Rome with their presence, 1 the Hiungnu were already restive in their places in Western China, when Buddhism plunged, at the death of As’oka, into a dark night which lasted for over two centuries. Before it took the plunge it had already shown its ambition to become a world-religion. When it emerged it had somewhat changed its character, though it still retained its ambitious projects. It had, moreover, gained for itself a most relentless and formidable rival.
28:1 It is said that the falsification of the date was made in China, where the Buddhists were anxious to show that their religion was much p. 29 more ancient than anything of native Chinese origin, it being claimed that Laotze, in particular, had borrowed much from S’akyamuni. It may also be that, supposing the Buddhists of North-West India and Afghanistan to have had any acquaintance with Judaism, there may also have been a desire to antedate Isaiah's prophecy of the Virgin Birth. See Hultzsch, "The Rupnath Edict," in J.R.A.S for July, 1909.
29:1 Fleet, "The Day on which the Buddha died," J.R.A.S, January, 1909.
29:2 V. A. Smith, "Asoka," pp. 115 ff.
30:1 V. A. Smith, "Asoka," p. 132.
30:2 Smith translates this Edict to the effect that "256 years have elapsed since the Tathāgata, a statement which, if correct, would make S’akyamuni's death to have been B.C. 508. Kern gives many details about these missionaries and their spheres of labour. I have not dwelt at any length on them, as I think what I have given in the present chapter will suffice for showing the expansion of Buddhism.
31:1 Japanese writers assert that Buddhism was preached at this time in Further India and Burma. There is nothing in As’oka's inscriptions to justify this assertion, for the Kamboja mentioned there have nothing to do with Cambodia. The list given in the Singhalese books (see Kern, ii. 287) of the apostles sent forth after As’oka's Council is somewhat vague in its statements.
33:1 There was absolutely no other monarch in the world from whom elephants could be obtained.
33:2 And, significantly enough, in the neighbourhood of the ancient Pataliputra, according to the "Encyclopædia of India."
33:3 See Haeser, "Geschichte der Medizin," vol. i, p. 101.
34:1 Kirchner, "Geschichte der Philosophie," p. 137.
34:2 Müllach, "Fragments Philosophorum Græcorum," vol. ii. (Paris, 1831). Müllach gives a passage from Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. ix. 17): Εὐήμερος δέ φησιν· ὅτε ἦν ἄτακτος ἀνθρώπων βίος, οἱ περιγενόμενοι τῶν ἄλλων ίσχοΐ τε καὶ συνέσι ὥστε πρὸς τὰ ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν κελευόμενα πάντας βιοῦν, σπουδάζοντες μείζονος θαυμασμοῦ καὶ σεμνότητος τυχεῖν, ἀνέπλασαν πεῤ αὑτοὺς ὑπερβαλλουσαν τινα καὶ θείαν δύναμιν, ἔνθα καὶ τοῖς πολλοῖς p. 35 ένομίσθησαν θεοί. There is also another quotation given from Eusebius ("Praep. Evang.," ii. 59) in which Euhemerus says that there are some deities, e.g. Sun, Moon, Winds, etc., which are ἀΐδιοι καὶ ἄφθαρτοι, but that there are others who are called ἐπίγειοι θεοὶ.
35:1 Whilst I think we must hold most of the developed Sūtras of the Mahāyāna (and certainly the Saddharma pundarika) to be posterior, and in some cases much posterior, to the Christian era, the process of the gradual deification of S’akyamuni may, I believe, be fairly inferred from many of the Agama Sūtras which record the events of his actual life. Certainly, the sculptures, even of the earliest topes and temples of India, would have been different in style, had it not been that he, in whose honour the shrines were raised, was coming to be looked upon as more than an ordinary man.
36:1 Diogenes Laertius, ii. 83–85, quoted by Müllach, op. cit., p. 403.
36:2 Cf. Saddharma pundarika in "Sacred Books of the East," vol. xxi. p. 378, etc. The same is affirmed of two more of the patriarchs of the Northern Succession.
37:1 Flinders Petrie. See Transactions of the Congress of the History of Religions (Oxford, 1908), vol. i. pp. 185 and 224.
38:1 Cf. Ueberweg, "Hist. of Philos. Jewish Alexandrian Philosophy," sect. 63.
38:2 Cf. Ibid.; and Haeser's, "Geschichte der Medizin," vol. i. p. 103.
38:3 I am sorry not to be able to give more clear indications of the source from which I have drawn my information. The Japanese article on Abraxas, on which I have relied, is a long treatise of over fifty pages in a collection of Buddhist essays entitled ( ) and was written by a man who certainly had no knowledge of Egyptian history or thought. He takes the word Abarakakia, to which he adds a final syllable un, as representing the sum-total of the Universe, the Five Elements, with un (= alaya, the Spirit). He says that the whole word is sometimes abbreviated by taking the first syllable A and the last syllable un, thus making A-un (= om). Corresponding to the six elements (including alaya) there are six skhandhas, six colours, six geometrical forms, etc., all of which are expressed by six hieroglyphics, which are not Chinese ideographs, but evidently of Egyptian origin. Abarakakiun also comes in certain Wasan, or hymns, belonging to various Buddhist sects. There is an evident allusion to the "Holy Name of the Six Letters." The Gnostic word Caulaucau is also found in Japanese Funeral Rites.
41:1 Again see Prof. Pelliot's article in Bulletin de l’École Française de l’Extrēme Orient, viii. 3–4.
42:1 For this see Chap. V. on "Pushyamitra."
42:2 Vincent Smith translates these titles as follows:—
β. The Supernatural Powers of the Aryas.
λ. Fears of what may happen.
δ. The Song of the Hermit.
ε. The Dialogue on the Hermit's Life.
ζ. The Questioning of Upatishya.
η. The Address to Rahula, beginning with the subject of Falsehood.
[paragraph continues] He points out that these "passages" have all been identified, with the exception of α, by Rhys Davids in J.R.A.S for 1898, p. 639. It has been contended that these books were not written, but handed down memoriter, and recited by men who knew them by heart. But if p. 43 As’oka could write his edicts, why suppose that the monks could not write their books?
44:1 I have constantly made use of M. Drouin's exhaustive article on Bactriane in the "Grande Encyclopédie."
44:2 It is to be remembered that, according to the northern books, it was the Vrijji-putrakas who, at the Vaisali Council, demanded a relaxation on some points of Buddhist discipline, and who, being unable to get their request granted by the Sthavisas, "trekked" over the frontiers of Magadha into the lands beyond the Himalaya.
45:1 Buddhism was introduced into Khotan B.C. 125. The King of Western Yarkand was converted in B.C. 122. Kashgar was already Buddhist in B.C. 122. The Buddhism of Kashgar was Hīnayāna, that of Khotan Mahāyāna. Stein ("Ancient Khotan," vol. i. p. 57) says that the Kashgar Buddhism came from Bactria, a statement which, if true, would imply that the Yuetchi of Bactria had been converted to Buddhism at a still earlier period. In the 1908 volume of the Transactions of the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences there are two articles, one by Radloff, the other by von Stael-Holstein, treating of the newly discovered Central Asian languages. In the latter article it is shown that Language I. has been found mostly in the Khotan district, while written fragments of Language II. have been found chiefly in Turfan. In both languages Buddhist books (fragmentary) have been found, and both languages show distinct traces of Sanskrit influence on their grammar and accidence, the resemblance being stronger in Language I. than in Language II. But, Baron Holstein observes, the fragments themselves do not seem to be direct translations from the Sanskrit. The word used in the colophon in one case implies "compilation" or "working over," from which we might almost infer a special recension of Buddhist books for Central Asian readers. In such a case, a later manufacture of Central Asian Sūtras does not seem to be out of the question. No Sanskrit text has been found for (e.g.) the "Amitāyur dhyāna Sūtra."
45:2 If any reliance can be placed on the statement in the Thibetan History already mentioned, that China was first evangelized by Manjuśri, we must place that mysterious personage during the centuries of silence between As’oka and Kanishka. The temple especially connected by tradition with Manjuśri is the Wu-tai monastery near Peking.
46:1 Irish records sometimes speak of Scythia as the cradle of their race, and Druidism traces itself vaguely to Taprobane, i.e. Ceylon.