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Gleaings in Buddha-Fields, by Lafcadio Hearn, [1897], at

p. 185



   PERHAPS only a Japanese representative of the older culture could fully inform us to what degree the mental soil of the race has been saturated and fertilized by Buddhist idealism. At all events, no European could do so; for to understand the whole relation of Far-Eastern religion to Far-Eastern life would require, not only such scholarship, but also such experience as no European could gain in a lifetime. Yet for even the Western stranger there are everywhere signs of what Buddhism has been to Japan in the past. All the arts and most of the industries repeat Buddhist legends to the eye trained in symbolism; and there is scarcely an object of handiwork possessing any beauty or significance of form—from the plaything of a child to the heirloom of a prince—which does not in some

p. 186

way proclaim the ancient debt to Buddhism of the craft that made it. One may discern Buddhist thoughts in the cheap cotton prints from an Ôsaka mill not less than in the figured silks of Kyôto. The reliefs upon an iron kettle, or the elephant-heads of bronze making the handles of a shopkeeper's hibachi;—the patterns of screen-paper, or the commonest ornamental woodwork of a gateway;—the etchings upon a metal pipe, or the enameling upon a costly vase,—may all relate, with equal eloquence, the traditions of faith. There are reflections or echoes of Buddhist teaching in the composition of a garden;—in the countless ideographs of the long vistas of shop-signs;—in the wonderfully expressive names given to certain fruits and flowers;—in the appellations of mountains, capes, waterfalls, villages,—even of modern railway stations. And the new civilization would not yet seem to have much affected the influence thus manifested. Trains and steamers now yearly carry to famous shrines more pilgrims than visited them ever before in a twelvemonth;—the temple bells still, in despite of clocks and watches, mark

p. 187

the passing of time for the millions;—the speech of the people is still poetized with Buddhist utterances;—literature and drama still teem with Buddhist expressions;—and the most ordinary voices of the street-songs of children playing, a chorus of laborers at their toil, even cries of itinerant street-venders—often recall to me some story of saints and Bodhisattvas, or the text of some sutra.

   Such an experience first gave me the idea of making a collection of songs containing Buddhist expressions or allusions. But in view of the extent of the subject I could not at once decide where to begin. A bewildering variety of Japanese songs—a variety of which the mere nomenclature would occupy pages—offers material of this description. Among noteworthy kinds may be mentioned the Utai, dramatic songs, mostly composed by high priests, of which probably no ten lines are without some allusion to Buddhism;—the Naga-uta, songs often of extraordinary length;—and the Jôruri, whole romances in verse, with which professional singers can delight their audiences for five or six hours at a time. The mere dimension of such compositions

p. 188

necessarily excluded them from my plan; but there remained a legion of briefer forms to choose among. I resolved at last to limit my undertaking mainly to dodoitsu,—little songs of twenty-six syllables only, arranged in four lines (7, 7, 7, 5). They are more regular in construction than the street-songs treated of in a former paper; but they are essentially popular, and therefore more widely representative of Buddhist influences than many superior kinds of composition could be. Out of a very large number collected for me, I have selected between forty and fifty as typical of the class.


   Perhaps those pieces which reflect the ideas of preëxistence and of future rebirths will prove especially interesting to the Western reader,—much less because of poetical worth than because of comparative novelty. We have very little English verse of any class containing fancies of this kind; but they swarm in Japanese poetry oven as commonplaces and conventionalisms. Such an exquisite thing as Rossetti's "Sudden Light,"—bewitching us chiefly through the penetrative subtlety of a

p. 189

thought anathematized by all our orthodoxies for eighteen hundred years,—could interest a Japanese only as the exceptional rendering, by an Occidental, of fancies and feelings familiar to the most ignorant peasant. Certainly no one will be able to find in these Japanese verses—or, rather, in my own wretchedly prosy translations of them—even a hint of anything like the ghostly delicacy of Rossetti's imagining:—

    I have been here before,—
        But when or how I cannot tell:
    I know the grass beyond the door,
        The sweet, keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights along the shore.

    You have been mine before,—
        How long ago I may not know:
    But just when at that swallow's soar
        Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

Yet what a queer living difference between such enigmatically delicate handling of thoughts classed as forbidden fruit in the Western Eden of Dreams and the every-day Japanese utterances that spring directly out of ancient Eastern faith!—

p. 190

Love, it is often said, has nothing to do with reason.
The cause of ours must be some
En in a previous birth.[1]

Even the knot of the rope tying our boats together
Knotted was long ago by some love in a former birth

If the touching even of sleeves be through En of a former existence,
Very much deeper must be the
En that unites us now![2]

Kwahô[3] this life must be,—this dwelling with one so tender;—
I am reaping now the reward of deeds in a former birth!


Iro wa shian no
Hoka to-wa iédo,
Koré mo saki-sho no
        En de arô.

"En" is a Buddhist word signifying affinity,—relation of cause and effect from life to life.


Sodé suri-ô no mo
Tashô no en yo,
Mashité futari ga
        Fukai naka.

Allusion is here made to the old Buddhist proverb: Sodé no furi-awasé mo tashô no en,—"Even the touching of sleeves in passing is caused by some affinity operating from former lives."

3. The Buddhist word "Kwahô" is commonly used instead of other synonyms for Karma (such as ingwa, innen, etc.), to signify the good, rather than the bad results of action in previous lives. But it is sometimes used in both meanings. Here there seems to be an allusion to the proverbial expression, Kwahô no yoi hito (lit.: a person of good Kwahô), meaning it fortunate individual.]

p. 191

   Many songs of this class refer to the customary vow which lovers make to belong to each other for more lives than one,—a vow perhaps originally inspired by the Buddhist aphorism,—

Oya-ko wa, is-sé;
Fûfu wa, ni-sé;
Shujû wa, san-zé.

The relation of parent and child is for one life; that of wife and husband, for two lives; that of master and servant, for three lives." Although the tender relation is thus limited to the time of two lives, the vow—(as Japanese dramas testify, and as the letters of those who kill themselves for love bear witness)—is often passionately made for seven. The following selections show a considerable variety of tone,—ranging from the pathetic to the satirical,—in the treatment of this topic:

I have cut my hair for his sake; but the deeper relation between us
Cannot be cut in this, nor yet in another life.


Kami wa kitté mo
Ni-sé madé kaketa
Fukai enishi wa
       Kiru mono ka?

    Literally: "Hair have-cut although, two existences until, p. 192 deep relation, cut-how-can-it-be?" By the mention of the hair-cutting we know the speaker is a woman. Her husband, or possibly betrothed lover, is dead; and, according to the Buddhist custom, she signifies her desire to remain faithful to his memory by the sacrifice of her hair. For detailed information on this subject see, in my Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, the chapter, "Of Women's Hair."]

p. 192

She looks at the portrait of him to whom for two lives she is promised:
Happy remembrances come, and each brings a smile to her face.[1]

If in this present life we never can hope for union,
Then we shall first keep house in the Lotos-Palace beyond.[2]

Have we not spoken the vow that binds for a double existence?
If we must separate now, I can only wish to die.


Ni-sé to chigirishi
Shashin wo nagamé

Lit.: "Two existences that made alliance, photograph look-at, thinking bring-out smiling face." The use of the term shashin, photograph, shows that the poem is not old.


Totémo kono yo dé
Sowaré-nu naraba
Hasu no uténa dé
       Ara sétai.

Lit.: "By-any-means, this-world-in, cannot-live-together if, Lotos-of Palace-in, new-housekeeping." It is with this thought that lovers voluntarily die together; and the song might be called a song of jôshi.]

p. 193

There!—oh, what shall we do? . . . Pledged for a double existence,
And now, as we sit together, the string of the
samisen snaps![1]

He woos by teaching the Law of Cause and Effect for three lives,
And makes a contract for two—the crafty-smiling priest!

   Every mortal has lived and is destined to live countless lives; yet the happy moments of any single existence are not therefore less precious in themselves:—

Not to have met one night is verily cause for sorrow;
Since twice in a single birth the same night never comes.

But even as a summer unusually warm is apt to herald a winter of exceptional severity, so too much happiness in this life may signify great suffering in the next:—

Always I suffer thus! . . . Methinks, in my last existence,
Too happy I must have been,—did not suffer enough.

   Next in point of exotic interest to the songs expressing belief in preëxistence and rebirth, I think I should place those treating of the

[1. Among singing-girls it is believed that the snapping of a samisen-string under such circumstances as those indicated in the above song is an omen of coming separation.

2 This song is of a priest who breaks the vow of celibacy.]

p. 194

doctrine of ingwa, or Karma. I offer some free translations from these, together with one selection from a class of compositions more elaborate and usually much longer than the dodoitsu, called hauta. In the original, at least, my selection from the hauta—which contains a charming simile about the firefly—is by far the prettiest:—

Weep not!—turn to me! . . . Nay, all my suspicions vanish!
Forgive me those words unkind: some
ingwa controlled my tongue!

Evidently this is the remorseful pleading of a jealous lover. The next might be the answer of the girl whose tears he had caused to flow:

I cannot imagine at all by what strange manner of ingwa
Came I to fall in love with one so unkind as you!

Or she might exclaim:—

Is this the turning of En?—am I caught in the Wheel of Karma?
That, alas! is a wheel not to be moved from the rut!


Meguru en kaya?
Kuruma no watashi
Hiku ni hikarénu
    Kono ingwa.

   There is a play on words in the original which I have not attempted to render. The idea is of an unhappy match—p. 195 either betrothal or marriage—from which the woman wishes to withdraw when too late.]

p. 195

A more remarkable reference to the Wheel of Karma is the following:—

Father and mother forbade, and so I gave up my lover;—
Yet still, with the whirl of the Wheel, the thought of him comes and goes

This is a hauta:—

Numberless insects there are that call from dawn to evening,
Crying, "I love! I love!"—but the Firefly's silent passion,
Making its body burn, is deeper than all their longing.
Even such is my love . . . yet I cannot think through what ingwa
I opened my heart—alas!—to a being not sincere!


Oya no iken dé
Akirameta no wo
Mata mo rin-yé dé

The Buddhist word Rin-yé, or Rinten, has the meaning of "turning the Wheel,"—another expression for passing from birth to birth. The Wheel here is the great Circle of Illusion,—the whirl of Karma.


Kaäi, kaäi to
Naku mushi yori mo,
Nakanu hotaru ga
Mi wo kogasu.
Nanno ingwa dé
Jitsu naki hito ni
Shin wo akashité,—
      Aa kuyashi!

Lit.. "'I-love-I-love'-saying-cry-insects than, better p. 196 never-cry-firefly, body scorch! What Karma because-of, sincerity-not-is-man to, inmost-mind opened?—ah! regret!, . . . It was formerly believed that the firefly's light really burned its own body.]

p. 196

   If the foregoing seem productions possible only to our psychological antipodes, it is quite otherwise with a group of folk-songs reflecting the doctrine of Impermanency. Concerning the instability of all material things, and the hollowness of all earthly pleasures, Christian and Buddhist thought are very much in accord. The great difference between them appears only when we compare their teaching as to things ghostly,—and especially as to the nature of the Ego. But the Oriental doctrine that the Ego itself is an impermanent compound, and that the Self is not the true Consciousness, rarely finds expression in these popular songs. For the common people the Self exists: it is a real (though multiple) personality that passes from birth to birth. Only the educated Buddhist comprehends the deeper teaching that what we imagine to be Self is wholly illusion,—a darkening veil woven by Karma; and that there is no Self but the Infinite Self, the eternal Absolute.

p. 197

In the following dodoitsu will be found mostly thoughts or emotions according with universal experience:—

Gathering clouds to the moon;—storm and rain to the flowers:
Somehow this world of woe never is just as we like

Almost as soon as they bloom, the scented flowers of the plum-tree
By the wind of this world of change are scattered and blown away

Thinking to-morrow remains, thou heart's frail flower-of-cherry?
How knowest whether this night the tempest will not come?


Tsuki ni murakumo,
Hana ni wa arashi:
Tokaku uki-yo wa
      Mama naranu.

   This song especially refers to unhappy love, and contains the substance of two Buddhist proverbs: Tsuki ni murakumo, hana ni kazé (cloud-masses to the moon; wind to flowers); and Mama ni naranu wa uki-yo no narai (to be disappointed is the rule in this miserable world). "Uki-yo" (this fleeting or unhappy world) is one of the commonest Buddhist terms in use.


    Asu ari to
Omô kokoro no
Yo wa ni arashi no
Fukanu monokawa?

Lit.: "To-morrow-is that think heart-of perishable-cherry flower: this-night-in-storm blow-not, is-it-certain?"]

p. 198

Shadow and shape alike melt and flow back to nothing:
He who knows this truth is the Daruma of snow

As the moon of the fifteenth night, the heart till the age fifteen:
Then the brightness wanes, and the darkness comes with love

All things change, we are told, in this world of change and sorrow;
But love's way never changes of promising never to change


Kagé mo katachi mo
Kiyuréba moto no
Midzu to satoru zo

   Lit.: "Shadow and shape also, if-melt-away, original-water is,-that-understands Snow-Daruma." Daruma (Dharma), the twenty-eighth patriarch of the Zen sect, is said to have lost his legs through remaining long in the posture of meditation; and many legless toy-figures, which are so balanced that they will always assume an upright position however often placed upside-down, are called by his name. The snow-men made by Japanese children have the same traditional form.—The Japanese friend who helped me to translate these verses, tells me that a ghostly meaning attaches to the word "Kagé" [shadow] in the above;—this would give a much more profound signification to the whole verse.

2 According to the old calendar, there was always a full moon on the fifteenth of the month. The Buddhist allusion in the verse is to mayoi, the illusion of passion, which is compared to a darkness concealing the Right Way.


Kawaru uki-yo ni
Kawaranu mono wa p. 199
Kawarumai to no
         Koi no michi.

Lit.: "Change changeable-world-in, does-not-change that-which, 'We-will-never-change'-saying of Love-of Way."]

p. 199

Cruel the beautiful fish,—utterly heartless that lightning!
Before one can look even twice it vanishes wholly away!

His very sweetness itself makes my existence a burden!
Truly this world of change is a world of constant woe!

Neither for youth nor age is fixed the life of the body;—
Bidding me wait for a time is the word that forever divides


Honni tsurénai
Ano inadzuma wa
Futa mé minu uchi
        Kiyété yuku.

The Buddhist saying, Inadzuma no hikari, ishi no hi (lightning-flash and flint-spark),—symbolizing the temporary nature of all pleasures,—is here playfully referred to. The song complains of a too brief meeting with sweetheart or lover.

2. Words of a loving but jealous woman, thus interpreted by my Japanese friend: "The more kind he is, the more his kindness overwhelms me with anxiety lest he be equally tender to other girls who may also fall in love with him."


Rô-shô fujô no
Mi dé ari nagara,
Jisetsu maté to wa

Lit. Old-young not-fixed-of body being, time-wait to-say, cutting-word." "Ros-hô fujô" is a Buddhist phrase. The meaning of the song is: "Since all things in this p. 200 world are uncertain, asking me to wait for our marriage-day means that you do not really love me;—for either of us might die before the time you speak of."]

p. 200

Only too well I know that to meet will cause more weeping;[1]
Yet never to meet at all were sorrow too great to bear.

Too joyful in union to think, we forget that the smiles of the evening
Sometimes themselves become the sources of morning-tears

Yet, notwithstanding the doctrine of impermanency, we are told in another dodoitsu that—

He who was never bewitched by the charming smile of a woman,
A wooden Buddha is he—a Buddha of bronze or stone!

And why a Buddha of wood, or bronze, or stone? Because the living Buddha was not

[1. Allusion is made to the Buddhist text, Shôja hitsu metsu, esha jô ri ("Whosoever is born must die, and all who meet must as surely part"), and to the religious phrase, Ai betsu ri ku ("Sorrow of parting and pain of separation").

2. Much more amusing in the original:—

Adana é-gao ni
Mayowanu mono wa

   "Charming-smile-by bewildered-not, he-as-for, wood-Buddha, metal-Buddha, stone-Buddha!" The term "Ishi-botoké" especially refers to the stone images of the Buddha p. 201 placed in cemeteries.—This song is sung in every part of Japan; I have heard it many times in different places.]

p. 201

so insensible, as we are assured, with jocose irreverence, in the following:—

"Forsake this fitful world"!—
          that was or teaching teaching!
And Ragora
,[1] son of his loins?—was he forgotten indeed?

There is an untranslatable pun in the original, which, if written in Romaji, would run thus

Uki-yo wo sutéyo t'a
So yo:
Ragora to iû ko wo
        Wasurété ka?

Shakamuni is the Japanese rendering of "Sakyamuni;" "Shaka Sama" is therefore "Lord Sakya," or "Lord Buddha." But saka-sama is a Japanese word meaning "topsy-turvy," "upside down;" and the difference between the pronunciation of Shaka Sama and saka-sama is slight enough to have suggested the pun. Love in suspense is not usually inclined to reverence.

[1. Râhula.]

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Even while praying together in front of the tablets ancestral,
Lovers find chance to murmur prayers never meant for the dead!

And as for interrupters:—

Hateful the wind or rain that ruins the bloom of flowers:
Even more hateful for who obstructs the way of love

Yet the help of the Gods is earnestly besought:—

I make my hyaku-dô, traveling Love's dark pathway,
Ever praying to meet the owner of my heart.


Ekô suru toté
Hotoké no maé yé
Futari mukaité,
       Konabé daté.

Lit.: "Repeat prayers saying, dead-of-presence-in twain facing,—small-pan cooking!" "Hotoké means a dead person as well as a Buddha. (See my Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: "The Household Shrine"). Konabé-daté is an idiomatic expression signifying a lovers' tête-à-tête. It is derived from the phrase, Chin-chin kamo nabé ("cooking a wild duck in a pan"),—the idea suggested being that of the pleasure experienced by an amorous couple in eating out of the same dish. Chin-chin, an onomatope, expresses the sound of the gravy boiling.

2. To perform the rite called "o-hyaku-dô" means to make one hundred visits to a temple, saying a prayer each time. The expression "dark way of Love" (koi no yami or yamiji) is a Buddhist phrase; love, being due to mayoi, or p. 203 illusion, is a state of spiritual darkness. The term "owner of my heart" is an attempted rendering of the Japanese word nushi, signifying "master," "owner,"—often, also, "landlord,"—and, in love-matters, the lord or master of the affection inspired.]

p. 203

   The interest attaching to the following typical group of love-songs will be found to depend chiefly upon the Buddhist allusions:—

In the bed of the River of Souls, or in waiting alone at evening,
The pain differs nothing at all: to a mountain the pebble grows.

Who furthest after illusion wanders on Love's dark pathway
Is ever the clearest-seeing,
[2] not the simple or dull.


Sai-no-kawara to
Nushi matsu yoi we
Koishi, koishi ga
     Yama, to naru.

A more literal translation would be: "In the Sai-no-Kawara ('Dry bed of the River of Souls') and in the evening when waiting for the loved one, 'Koiski, Koiski' becomes a mountain." There is a delicate pun here,—a play on the word Koishi, which, as pronounced, though not as written, may mean either "a small stone," or "longing to see." In the bed of the phantom river, Sai-no-Kawa, the ghosts of children are obliged to pile up little stones, the weight of which increases so as to tax their strength to the utmost. There is a reference here also to a verse in the Buddhist wasan of Jizô, describing the crying of the children for their parents: "Chichi koishi! haha koishi!" (See Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, vol. i. pp. 59-61.)

2. Clearest-sighted,—that is, in worldly matters.]

p. 204

Coldly seen from without our love looks utter folly:
Who never has felt
mayoi never could understand!

Countless the men must be who dwell in three thousand worlds;
Yet among them all is none worthy to change for mine

However fickle I seem, my heart is never unfaithful
Out of the slime itself, spotless the lotos grows

So that we stay together, even the Hell of the Blood Lake—
Even the Mountain of Swords—will signify nothing at all


San-zen sékai ni
Otoko wa arédo,
Nushi ni mi-kayeru
    Hito wa nai.

   "San-zen sekai," the three thousand worlds, is a common Buddhist expression. Literally translated, the above song runs: "Three-thousand-worlds-in men are, but lover-to-exchange person is not."

2. The familiar Buddhist simile is used more significantly here than the Western reader might suppose from the above rendering. These are supposed to be the words either of a professional singing-girl or of a jorô. Her calling is derisively termed a doro-midzu kagyô ("foul-water occupation"); and her citation of the famous Buddhist comparison in self-defense is particularly, and pathetically, happy.


Chi-no-Iké-Jigoku mo,
Tsuragi-no-Yama mo,
Futari-dzuré nara,
Itoi 'a sénu.

The Hell of the Blood-Lake is a hell for women; and the Mountain of Swords is usually depicted in Buddhist p. 205 prints as a place of infernal punishment for men in especial.]

p. 205

Not yet indeed is my body garbed in the ink-black habit;—
But as for this heart bereaved, already it is a nun

My hair, indeed, is uncut; but my heart has become a religious;
A nun it shall always be till the hour I meet him again

But even the priest or nun is not always exempt from the power of mayoi:—

I am wearing the sable garb,—and yet, through illusion of longing,
Ever I lose my way,—knowing not whither or where!

   So far, my examples have been principally chosen from the more serious class of dodoitsu. But in dodoitsu of a lighter class the Buddhist allusions are perhaps even more frequent. The following group of five will serve for specimens of hundreds:—

[1. In the original much more pretty and much more simple:—

Sumi no koromo ni
Mi wa yatsusanedo,
Kokoro hitotsu wa

Ink-black-koromo [priest's or nun's outer robe] in, body not clad, but heart-one nun." Hitotsu, "one," also means "solitary," "forlorn," "bereaved." Ama hôshi, lit.: "nun-priest."]

p. 206

Never can be recalled the word too quickly spoken:
Therefore with Emma's face the lover receives the prayer

Thrice did I hear that prayer with Buddha's face; but hereafter
My face shall be Emma's face because of too many prayers

Now they are merry together; but under their boat is Jigoku.[2]
Blow quickly, thou river-wind,—blow a typhoon for my sake!

Vainly, to make him stay, I said that the crows were night crows;[3]
The bell of the dawn peals doom,—the bell that cannot lie.

[1. The implication is that he has hastily promised more than he wishes to perform. Emma, or Yemma (Sansc. Yama), is the Lord of Hell and Judge of Souls; and, as depicted in Buddhist sculpture and painting, is more than fearful to look upon. There is an evident reference in this song to the Buddhist proverb: Karu-toki no Jizô-gao; nasu-toki no Emma-gao ("Borrowing-time, the face of Jizô; repaying-time, the face of Emma").

2. "Jigoku" is the Buddhist name for various hells (Sansc. narakas). The allusion here is to the proverb, Funa-ita ichi-mai shita wa Jigoku: "Under [the thickness of] a single boat-plank is hell,"—referring to the perils of the sea. This song is a satire on jealousy; and the boat spoken of is probably a roofed pleasure-boat, such as excursions are made into the sound of music.

3. Tsuki-yo-garasu, lit.: "moon-night crows." Crows usually announce the dawn by their cawing; but sometimes on moonlight nights they caw at all hours from sunset to saw p. 207 rise. The bell referred to is the bell of some Buddhist temple: the aké-no-kane, or "dawn-bell," being, in all parts of Japan, sounded from every Buddhist tera. There is a pun in the original;—the expression tsukenai, "cannot tell [a lie]," might also be interpreted phonetically as "cannot strike [a bell]."]

p. 207

This my desire: To kill the crows of three thousand worlds,
And then to repose in peace with the owner of my heart!

have cited this last only as a curiosity. For it has a strange history, and is not what it seems,—although the apparent motive was certainly suggested by some song like the one immediately preceding it. It is a song of loyalty, and was composed by Kido of Chôshû, one of the leaders in that great movement which brought about the downfall of the Shôgunate, the restoration of the Imperial power, the reconstruction of Japanese society, and the introduction and adoption of Western civilization. Kido, Saigô, and Ôkubo are rightly termed the three heroes of the restoration. While preparing his plans at Kyôto, in company with his friend Saigô, Kido composed


San-zen sékai no
Karasu wo koroshi
Nushi to soi-né ga
    Shité mitai!


p. 208

and sang this song as an intimation of his real sentiments. By the phrase, "ravens of the three thousand worlds," he designated the Tokugawa partisans; by the word nushi (lord, or heart's-master) he signified the Emperor; and by the term soiné (reposing together) he referred to the hoped-for condition of direct responsibility to the Throne, without further intervention of Shôgun and daimyô. It was not the first example in Japanese history of the use of popular song as a medium for the utterance of opinions which, expressed in plainer language, would have invited assassination.


   While I was writing the preceding note upon Kido's song, the Buddhist phrase, Sanzen sékai (twice occurring, as the reader will have observed, in the present collection), suggested a few reflections with which this paper may fitly conclude. I remember that when, I first attempted, years ago, to learn the outlines of Buddhist philosophy, one fact which particularly impressed me was the vastness of the Buddhist concept of the universe. Buddhism, as I read it, had not offered itself to

p. 209

humanity as a saving creed for one inhabited world, but as the religion of "innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of kôtis[1] of worlds." And the modern scientific revelation of stellar evolution and dissolution then seemed to me, and still seems, like a prodigious confirmation of certain Buddhist theories of cosmical law.

   The man of science to-day cannot ignore the enormous suggestions of the new story that the heavens are telling. He finds himself compelled to regard the development of what we call mind as a general phase or incident in the ripening of planetary life throughout the universe. He is obliged to consider the relation of our own petty sphere to the great swarming of suns and systems as no more than the relation of a single noctiluca to the phosphorescence of a sea. By its creed the Oriental intellect has been better prepared than the Occidental to accept this tremendous revelation, not as a wisdom that increaseth sorrow, but as a wisdom to quicken faith. And I cannot but think that out of the certain future union of Western knowledge

[1. 1 kôti = 10,000,000.]

p. 210

with Eastern thought there must eventually proceed a Neo-Buddhism inheriting all the strength of Science, yet spiritually able to recompense the seeker after truth with the recompense foretold in the twelfth chapter of the Sutra of the Diamond-Cutter. Taking the text as it stands,—in despite of commentators,—what more could be unselfishly desired from any spiritual teaching than the reward promised in that verse,—"They shall be endowed with the Highest Wonder"?

Next: IX. Nirvana, A Study in Synthetic Buddhism