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The Buddhist Catechism, by Henry S. Olcott [1908], at

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106. Q. What is the meaning of the word Buddha?

A. The enlightened, or he who has the perfect wisdom.

107. Q. You have said that there were other Buddhas: before this one.

A. Yes; our belief is that, under the operation of eternal causation, a Buddha takes birth at intervals, when mankind have become plunged into misery through ignorance and need the wisdom which it is the function of a Buddha to teach (See also Q. 11).

108. Q. How is a Buddha developed?

A. A person, hearing and seeing one of the Buddhas on earth, becomes seized with the determination to so live that at some future time, when he shall become-fitted for it, he also will be a Buddha for the guiding-of mankind out of the cycle of re-birth.

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109. Q. How does he proceed?

A. Throughout that birth and every succeeding one, he strives to subdue his passions, to gain wisdom by experience, and to develop his higher faculties. He thus grows by degrees wiser, nobler in character, and stronger in virtue, until, finally, after numberless rebirths he reaches the state when he can become Perfected, Enlightened, All-wise, the ideal Teacher of the human race.

110. Q. While this gradual development is going on throughout all these births, by what name do we call him?

A. Bodhisat, or Bodhisattva, Thus the Prince Siddhârtha Gautama was a Bodhisattva up to the moment when, under the blessed Bodhi tree at Gaya, he became Buddha.

111. Q. Have we any account of his various rebirths as a Bodhisattva?

A. In the Jâtakatthakathâ, a book containing stories of the Bodhisattva's re-incarnations, there are several hundred tales of that kind.

113. Q. What lesson do these stories teach?

A. That a man can carry, throughout a long series of re-incarnations, one great, good purpose which enables

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him to conquer bad tendencies and develop virtuous ones.

113 Q. Can we fix the number of re-incarnations through which a Bodhisattva must pass before he can become a Buddha?

A. Of course not: that depends upon his natural character, the state of development to which he has arrived when he forms the resolution to become a. Buddha, and other things.

114. Q. Have we a way of classifying Bodhisattvas? If so, explain it.

A. Bodhisattvas—the future Buddhas—are divided into three classes.

115. Q. Proceed. How are these three kinds of Bodhisats called?

A. Pannâdhika, or Udghatitagnya—"he who attains least quickly;" Saddhâdhika, or Vipachitagnya—"he who attains less quickly;" and Vîriyâdhika, or Gneyya—"he who attains quickly." The Pannâdhika Bodhisats take the course of Intelligence; the Saddhâdhika take the course of Faith; the Vîryâdhika take the course of energetic action. The first is guided by Intelligence and does not hasten; the second is full of Faith, and does not care to take the guidance

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of Wisdom; and the third never delays to do what is good. Regardless of the consequences to himself, he does it when he sees that it is best that it should be done.

116. Q. When our Bodhisattva became Buddha, what did he see was the cause of human misery? Tell me in one word.

A. Ignorance (Avidyâ).

117. Q. Can you tell me the remedy?

A To dispel Ignorance and become wise (Prajña).

118. Q. Why does ignorance cause suffering?

A. Because it makes us prize what is not worth prizing, grieve for what we should not grieve, consider real what is not real but only illusionary, and pass our lives in the pursuit of worthless objects, neglecting what is in reality most valuable.

119. Q. And what is that which is most valuable?

A. To know the whole secret of man's existence and destiny, so that we may estimate at no more than their actual value this life and its relations; and so that we may live in a way to ensure the greatest happiness and the least suffering for our fellowmen and ourselves.

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120. Q. What is the light that can dispel this ignorance of ours and remove all sorrows?

A. The knowledge of the "Four Noble Truths," as Buddha called them.

121. Q. Name these Four Noble Truths.

A. 1. The miseries of evolutionary existence resulting in births and deaths, life after life. 2. The cause productive of misery, which is the selfish desire, ever renewed, of satisfying one's self, without being able ever to secure that end. 3. The destruction of that desire, or the estranging of one's self from it. 4, The means of obtaining this destruction of desire.

122. Q. Tell me some things that cause sorrow.

A. Birth, decay, illness, death, separation from objects we love, association with those who are repugnant, craving for what cannot be obtained.

123. Q. Do these differ with each individual?

A. Yes: but all men suffer from them in degree.

124. Q. How can we escape the sufferings which result from unsatisfied desires and ignorant cravings?

A. By complete conquest over, and destruction of, this eager thirst for life and its pleasures, which causes sorrow.

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125. Q. How may we gain such a conquest?

A. By following in the Noble Eight-fold Path which Buddha discovered and pointed out.

126. Q. What do you mean by that word: what is this Noble Eight fold Path? (For Pâlî name see Q. 78).

A. The eight parts of this path are called aṅgas they are: 1. Right Belief (as to the law of Causation, or Karma); 2. Right Thought; 3. Right Speech; 4. Right Action; 5. Right Means of Livelihood; 6. Right Exertion; 7. Right Remembrance and Self-discipline; 8. Right Concentration of Thought. The man who keeps these aligns in mind and follows them will be free from sorrow and ultimately reach salvation.

127. Q. Can you give a better word for salvation?

A. Yes, emancipation.

128. Q. Emancipation, then, from what?

A. Emancipation from the miseries of earthly existence and of re-births, all of which are due to. ignorance and impure lusts and cravings.

129. Q. And when this salvation or emancipation is attained, what do we reach?

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A. Nirvâṇa.

130. Q. What is Nirvâṇa?

A. A condition of total cessation of changes, of perfect rest; of the absence of desire and illusion and sorrow; of the total obliteration of everything that goes to make up the physical man. Before reaching Nirvâṇa man is constantly being re-born: when he reaches Nirvâṇa he is re-born no more.

131. Q. Where can be found a learned discussion of the word Nirvâṇa, and a list of the other names by which the old Pâlî writers attempted to define it?

A. In the famous Dictionary of the Pâlî Language, by the late Mr. R. C. Childers, is a complete list. *

132. Q. But some people imagine that Nirvâṇa is some sort of heavenly place, a Paradise. Does Buddhism teach that?

A. No. When Kûtadanta asked the Buddha "Where is Nirvâṇa," he replied that it was "Wherever the precepts are obeyed."

133. Q. What causes us to be re-born?

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A. The unsatisfied selfish desire (Sk., trishna; Pâlî, tanha) for things that belong to the state of personal existence in the material world. This unquenched thirst for physical existence (bhâva) is a force, and has a creative power in itself so strong that it draws the being back into mundane life.

134. Q. Are our re-births in any way affected by the nature of our unsatisfied desires?

A. Yes; and by our individual merits or demerits.

135. Q. Does our merit or demerit control the state, condition or form in which we shall be re-born?

A. It does. The broad rule is that if we have an excess of merit we shall be well and happily born the next time; if an excess of demerit, our next birth will be wretched and full of suffering.

136. Q. One chief pillar of Buddhistic doctrine is, then, the idea that every effect is the result of an actual cause, is it not?

A. It is; of a cause either immediate or remote.

137. Q. What do we call this causation?

A. Applied to individuals, it is Karma, that is, action. It means that our own actions or deeds bring upon us whatever of joy or misery we experience.

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138. Q. Can a bad man escape from the out-workings of his Karma?

A. The Dhammapada says: "There exists no spot on the earth, or in the sky, or in the sea, neither is there any in the mountain-clefts, where an (evil) deed does not bring trouble (to the doer)."

139. Q. Can a good man escape?

A. As the result of deeds of peculiar merit, a man may attain certain advantages of place, body, environment and teaching in his next stage of progress, which ward off the effects of bad Karma and help his higher evolution.

140.   What are they called?

A. Gati Sampatti, Upâdhi Sampatti, Kâla Sampatti and Payoga Sampatti.

141. Q. Is that consistent or inconsistent with common sense and the teachings of modern science?

A. Perfectly consistent: there can be no doubt of it.

142. Q. May all men become Buddhas?

A. It is not in the nature of every man to become a Buddha; for a Buddha is developed only at long intervals of time, and seemingly, when the state of

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humanity absolutely requires such a teacher to show it. the forgotten Path to Nirvâṇa. But every being may equally reach Nirvâṇa, by conquering Ignorance and: gaining Wisdom.

143. Q. Does Buddhism teach that man is re-born, only upon our earth?

A. As a general rule that would be the case, until he had evolved beyond its level; but the inhabited worlds are numberless. The world upon which a person is to have his next birth, as well as the nature of the re-birth itself, is decided by the preponderance-of the individual's merit or demerit. In other words, it will be controlled by his attractions, as science would describe it; or by his Karma, as we, Buddhists, would say.

144. Q. Are there worlds more perfect and developed, and others less so than our Earth?

A. Buddhism teaches that there are whole Sakwalas or systems of worlds, of various kinds, higher: and lower, and also that the inhabitants of each world correspond in development with itself.

145. Q. Has not the Buddha summed up his whole doctrine in one gâthâ, or verse?

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146 A. Yes.

146. Q. Repeat it.


Sabba pâpassa akaranam
Kusalassa upasampadâ
Sachita pariyo dapanam—
Etam Buddhânusâsanam:

"To cease from all evil actions,
To generate all that is good,
To cleanse one's mind:
This is the constant advice of the Buddhas."

147. Q. Have the first three of these lines any very striking characteristics?

A. Yes: the first line embodies the whole spirit of the Vinâya Pitaka, the second that of the Sutta, the third that of the Abhidhamma. They comprise only eight Pâlî words, yet, as the dewdrop reflects the stars, they sparkle with the spirit of all the Buddha Dharma.

14S. Q. Do these precepts show that Buddhism is an active or a passive religion?

A. To 'cease from sin' may be called passive, but to 'get virtue' and to 'cleanse one's own heart,' or mind, are altogether active qualities. Buddha taught

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that we should not merely not be evil, but that we should be positively good.

149. Q. Who or what are the "Three Guides" * that a Buddhist is supposed to follow?

A. They are disclosed in the formula called the Tisaraṇa: "I follow Buddha as my Guide: I follow the Law as my Guide: I follow the order as my Guide." These three are, in fact, the Buddha Dharma.

150. Q. What does he mean when repeating this formula?

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A. He means that he regards the Buddha as his all-wise Teacher, Friend and Exemplar; the Law, or Doctrine, as containing the essential and immutable principles of Justice and Truth and the path that leads to the realisation of perfect peace of mind on earth; and the Order as the teachers and exemplars of that excellent Law taught by Buddha.

151. Q. But are not some of the members of this "Order" men intellectually and morally inferior?

A. Yes; but we are taught by the Buddha that only those who diligently attend to the Precepts, discipline their minds, and strive to attain or have attained one of the eight stages of holiness and perfection, constitute his "Order." It is expressly stated that the Order referred to in the "Tisaraṇa" refers to the "Attha Ariya Puggala"—the Noble Ones who have attained one of the eight stages of perfection. The mere wearing of yellow robes, or even ordination, does not of itself make a man pure, wise or entitled to reverence.

152. Q. Then it is not such unworthy bhikkhus as they, whom the true Buddhist would take as his guides?

A. Certainly not.

153. Q. What are the five observances, or universal 

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precepts, called the Pancha Sila, which are imposed on the laity in general?

A. They are included in the following formula, which Buddhists repeat publicly at the vihâras (temples):—

1 observe the precept to refrain from destroying the life of beings.

I observe the precept to refrain from stealing.

I observe the precept to abstain from unlawful sexual intercourse. *

I observe the precept to refrain from falsehood.

I observe the precept to abstain from using intoxicants.

154. Q. What strikes the intelligent person on reading these Silas?

A. That one who observes them strictly must escape from every cause productive of human misery.

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[paragraph continues] If we study history we shall find that it has all sprung from one or another of these causes.

155. Q. In which Silas is the far-seeing wisdom of the Buddha most plainly shown?

A. In the first, third and fifth: for the taking of life, sensuality, and the use of intoxicants, cause at least 95 per cent. of the suffering among men.

156. Q. What benefits does a man derive from the observance of these Precepts?

A. He is said to acquire more or less merit according to the manner and time of observing the precepts, and the number observed. That is, if he observes only one precept, violating the other four, he acquires the merit of the observance of that precept only; and the longer he keeps that precept the greater will be the merit. He who keeps all the precepts inviolate will cause himself to have a higher and happier existence hereafter.

157. Q. What are the other observances which it is considered meritorious for the laity as such to undertake voluntarily to keep?

A. The Atthanga Silo, or the Eight-fold Precept, which embraces the five above enumerated (omitting

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the word "unlawful" in the third), with three additional; viz.:—

I observe the precept to abstain from eating at an unseasonable time.

I observe the precept to abstain from dancing, singing, music and unbecoming shows, and from the use of garlands, scents, perfumes, cosmetics, ointments, and ornaments.

I observe the precept to abstain from using high and broad beds.

The seats and couches here referred to are those used by the worldly-minded for the sake of pleasure and sensual enjoyment. The celibate should avoid these.

158. Q. How would a Buddhist describe trite merit?

A. There is no great merit in any merely outward act; all depends upon the inward motive that provokes the deed.

159. Q. Give an example.

A. A rich man may expend lakhs of rupees in building dâgobas or vihâras, in erecting statues of Buddha, in festivals and processions, in feeding

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priests, in giving alms to the poor, or in planting trees, digging tanks, or constructing rest-houses by the roadside for travellers, and yet have comparatively little merit if it be done for display, and to make himself praised by men, or for any other selfish motives. But he who does the least of these things with a kind motive, as from love for his fellow-men, gains great merit. A good deed done with a bad motive benefits others, but not the doer. One who approves of a good deed when done by another shares in the merit, if his sympathy is real, not pretended. The same rule as to evil deeds.

160. Q. But which is said to be the greatest of all meritorious actions?

A. The Dhammapada declares that the merit of disseminating the Dharma, the Law of Righteousness, is greater than that of any other good work.

161. Q. What books contain all the most excellent wisdom of Buddha's teachings?

A. The three collections of books called Tripitakas, or "Three Baskets."

162. Q. What are the names of the three Pitakas, or groups of books?

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A. The Vinâya Pitaka, the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

163. Q. What do they respectively contain?

A. The first contains all that pertains to morality and rules of discipline for the government of the Sangha, or Order; the second contains instructive discourses on ethics applicable to all; the third explains the psychological teachings of the Buddha, including the twenty-four transcendental laws explanatory of the workings of Nature.

164. Q. Do Buddhists believe these books to be inspired, or revealed by a Divine Being?

A. No; but they revere them as containing all the parts of that most Excellent Law, by the knowing of which man may break through the trammels of Samsâra.

165. Q. In the whole text of the three Pitakas how many words are there?

A. Dr. Rhys-Davids estimates them at 1,752,800.

166. Q. When were the Pitakas first reduced to writing?

A. In 88–76 B.C., under the Sinhalese King, Wattagamini; or 330 years after the Parinirvâṇa of the Buddha.

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167. Q. Have we reason to believe that all the discourses of the Buddha are known to us?

A. Probably not, and it would be strange if they were. Within the forty-five years of his public life he must have preached many hundreds of discourses. Of these, in times of war and persecution, many must have been lost, many scattered to distant countries, and many mutilated. History says that enemies of the Buddha Dharma burnt piles of our books as high as a cocoanut tree.

168. Q. Do Buddhists consider the Buddha as one who by his own virtue can save us from the consequences of our individual sins?

A. Not at all. Man must emancipate himself. Until he does that he will continue being born over and over and over again—the victim of ignorance, the slave of unquenched passions.

169. Q. What, then, was the Buddha to us, and all other beings?

A. An all-seeing, all-wise Counsellor; one who discovered the safe path and pointed it out; one who showed the cause of, and the only cure for, human suffering. In pointing to the road, in showing

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us how to escape dangers, he became our Guide. He is to us like one leading a blind man across a narrow bridge over a swift and deep stream and so saving his life.

170. Q. If we were to try to represent the whole spirit of the Buddha's doctrine by one word, which word should we choose?

A. Justice.

171. Q. Why?

A. Because it teaches that every man gets, under the operations of unerring KARMA, exactly that reward or punishment which he has deserved, no more and no less. No good deed or bad deed, however trifling, and however secretly committed, escapes the evenly-balanced scales of Karma.

172. Q. What is Karma? *

A. A causation operating on the moral, as well as on the physical and other planes. Buddhists say there is no miracle in human affairs what a man sows that he must and will reap.

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173. Q. What other good words have been used to express the essence of Buddhism?

A. Self-culture and universal love.

174. Q. What doctrine ennobles Buddhism, and gives it its exalted place among the world's religions?

A. That of Mitta or Maitreya—compassionate kindness. The importance of this doctrine is moreover emphasised in the giving of the name "Maitri" (the Compassionate One), to the coming Buddha.

175. Q. Were all these points of Doctrine that you have explained meditated upon by the Buddha near the Bo-tree?

A. Yes, these and many more that may be read in the Buddhist Scriptures. The entire system of Buddhism came to his mind during the Great Enlightenment.

176. Q. How long did the Buddha remain near the Bo-tree?

A. Forty-nine days.

177. Q. What do we call the first discourse preached by the Buddha—that which he addressed to his five former companions?

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A. The Dhammacakka-ppavattana sutta,—the Sûtra of the Definition of the Rule of Doctrine. *

178. Q. What subjects were treated by him in this. discourse?

A. The "Four Noble Truths," and the "Noble Eight-fold Path." He condemned the extreme physical mortification of the ascetics, on the one hand, and the enjoyment of sensual pleasures on the other; pointing out and recommending the Noble Eight-fold Path as the Middle Path.

179. Q. Did the Buddha hold to idol worship?

A. He did not; he opposed it. The worship of gods, demons, trees, etc, was condemned by the Buddha. External worship is a fetter that one has to break if he is to advance higher.

160. Q. But do not Buddhists make reverence 

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before the statue to the Buddha, his relics, and the monuments enshrining them?

A. Yes, but not with the sentiment of the idolator.

181. Q. What is the difference?

A. Our Pagan brother not only takes his images as visible representations of his unseen God or gods, but the refined idolater, in worshipping, considers that the idol contains in its substance a portion of the all-pervading divinity.

182. Q. What does the Buddhist think?

A. The Buddhist reverences the Buddha's statue and the other things you have mentioned, only as mementos of the greatest, wisest, most benevolent and compassionate man in this world-period (Kalpa). All races and peoples preserve, treasure up, and value the relics and mementos of men and women who have been considered in any way great. The Buddha, to us, seems more to be revered and beloved than any one else, by every human being who knows sorrow.

183. Q. Has the Buddha himself given us something definite upon this subject?

A. Certainly. In the Mahâ Pari-Nirvâṇa Sutta 

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he says that emancipation is attainable only by leading the Holy life, according to the Noble Eight-fold Path, not by external worship (âmisa pûja), nor by adoration of himself, or of another, or of any image.

184. Q. What was the Buddha's estimate of ceremonialism?

A. From the beginning, he condemned the observance of ceremonies and other external practices, which only tend to increase our spiritual blindness and our clinging to mere lifeless forms.

185. Q. What as to controversies?

A. In numerous discourses he denounced this habit as most pernicious. He prescribed penances for Bhikkhus who waste time and weaken their higher intuitions in wrangling over theories and metaphysical subtleties.

186. Q. Are charms, incantations, the observance of lucky hours and devil-dancing a part of Buddhism?

A, They are positively repugnant to its fundamental principles. They are the surviving relics of fetishism and pantheistic and other foreign religions. In the Brâhmajâta Sutta the Buddha has

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categorically described these and other superstitions as pagan, mean and spurious. *

187. Q. What striking contrasts are there between Buddhism and what may be properly called "religions?"

A. Among others, these: It teaches the highest goodness without a creating God; a continuity of life without adhering to the superstitious and selfish doctrine of an eternal, metaphysical soul-substance that goes out of the body; a happiness without an objective heaven; a method of salvation without a vicarious Savior; redemption by oneself as the Redeemer, and without rites, prayers, penances, priests or intercessory saints; and a summun bonum, i.e., Nirvâṇa, attainable in this life and in this world by leading a pure, unselfish life of wisdom and compassion to all beings.

188. Q. Specify the two main divisions of 'meditation,' i.e., of the process by which one extinguishes passion and attains knowledge.

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A. Samatha and Vidarsama: (1) the attenuation of passion by leading the holy life and by continued effort to subdue the senses; (2) the attainment of supernormal wisdom by reflection: each of which embraces twenty aspects, but I need not here specify them.

189. Q. What are the four paths or stages of advancement that one may attain to?

A. (1) Sottâpatti, the beginning or entering into which follows after one's clear perception of the 'Four Noble Truths;' (2) Sakardâgâmi—the path of one who has so subjugated lust, hatred and delusion that he need only return once to this world; (3) Anâgami—the path of those who have so far conquered self that they need not return to this world; (4) Arhat—the path of the holy and worthy Arhat, who is not only free from the necessity of re-incarnation, but has capacitated himself to enjoy perfect wisdom, boundless pity for the ignorant and suffering, and measureless love for all beings.

190. Q. Does popular Buddhism contain nothing but what is true, and in accord with science?

A. Like every other religion that has existed many centuries, it certainly now contains untruth mingled with truth; ever gold is found mixed with

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dross. The poetical imagination, the zeal, or the lingering superstition of Buddhist devotees have, in various ages, and in various lands, caused the noble principles of the Buddha's moral doctrines to be coupled more or less with what might be removed to advantage.

191. Q. When such perversions are discovered, what should be the tree Buddhist's earnest desire?

A. The true Buddhist should be ever ready and anxious to see the false purged away from the true, and to assist, if he can. Three great Councils of the Sangha were held for the express purpose of purging the body of Teachings from all corrupt interpolations.

192. Q. When?

A. The first, at Sattapanni cave, just after the death of the Buddha; the second at Valukarama, in Vaisali; the third at Asokarama Vihâra, at Pataliputra, 235 years after the Buddha's decease.

193. Q. In what discourse does the Buddha himself warn us to expect this perversion of the true Doctrine?

A. In the Sanyutta Nikâya.

194. Q. Are there any dogmas in Buddhism which we are required to accept on faith?

A. No: we are earnestly enjoined to accept

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nothing whatever on faith; whether it be written in books, handed down from our ancestors, or taught by the sages.

195. Q. Did he himself really teach that noble rule?

A. Yes. The Buddha has said that we must not believe in a thing said merely because it is said; nor in traditions because they have been handed down from antiquity; nor rumours, as such; nor writings by sages, merely because sages wrote them; nor fancies that we may suspect to have been inspired in us by a deva (that is, in presumed spiritual inspiration); nor from inferences drawn from some haphazard assumption we may have made; nor because of what seems an analogical necessity; nor on the mere authority of our own teachers or masters.

196. Q. When, then, must we believe?

A. We are to believe when the writing, doctrine or saying is corroborated by our own reason and consciousness. "For this," says he in concluding, "I taught you not to believe merely because you have heard, but when you believed of your own consciousness, then to act accordingly and abundantly." (See the Kâlâma Sutta of the Anguttara Nikâya, and the Mahâ Pari Nirvâṇa Sutta.)

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197. Q. What does the Buddha call himself?

A. He says that he and the other Buddhas are only "preachers" of truth who point out the way: we ourselves must make the effort.

198. Q. Where is this said?

A. In chapter xx. of the Dhammapada.

199. Q. Does Buddhism countenance hypocrisy?

A. The Dhammapada says: "Like a beautiful flower full of color without scent, the fine words of him who does not act accordingly are fruitless."

200. Q. Does Buddhism teach us to return evil for evil?

A. In the Dhammapada the Buddha said: "If a man foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my ungrudging love; the more evil comes from him, the more good shall go from me." This is the path followed by the Arhat. * To return evil for evil is positively forbidden in Buddhism.

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201. Q. Does it encourage cruelly?

A. No, indeed. In the Five Precepts and in many of his discourses, the Buddha teaches us to be merciful to all beings, to try and make them happy, to love them all, to abstain from taking life, or consenting to it, or encouraging its being done.

202. Q. In which discourse is this stated?

A. The Dhammika Sutta says: "Let him (the householder) not destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any life at all, or sanction the acts of those who do so.

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[paragraph continues] Let him refrain from even hurting any creature," * etc.

203. Q. Does it approve of drunkenness?

A. In his Dhammika Sutta we are warned against drinking liquors, causing others to drink, or sanctioning the acts of those who drink. 

204. Q. To what are we told that drunkenness leads?

A. To demerit, crime, insanity, and ignorance—which is the chief cause of re-birth.

205. Q. What does Buddhism teach about marriage?

A. Absolute chastity being a condition of full spiritual development, is most highly commended; but a marriage to one wife and fidelity to her is recognised as a kind of chastity. Polygamy was censured by the Buddha as involving ignorance and promoting lust.

206. Q. In what discourse?

A. The Anguttara Nikâya, chap. iv, 55.

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207. Q. What does it teach as to the duty of parents to children?

A. They should restrain them from vice; train them in virtue; hive them taught arts and sciences; provide them with suitable wives and husbands, and give them their inheritance.

208. Q. What is the duty of children?

A. To support their parents when old or needy; perform family duties incumbent on them; guard their property; make themselves worthy to be their heirs, and when they are gone, honor their memory.

209. Q. What of pupils to the teacher?

A. To show him respect; minister to him; obey him; supply his wants; attend to his instruction.

210. Q. What of husband to wife?

A. To cherish her; treat her with respect and kindness; be faithful to her; cause her to be honored by others; provide her with suitable ornaments and clothes.

211. Q. What of the wife to her husband?

A. To show affection to him; order her household aright; be hospitable to guests; be chaste; be thrifty; show skill and diligence in all things.

212. Q. Where are these precepts taught?

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A. In the Sigâlovâda Sutta.

213. Q. Do riches help a man to future happiness?

A. The Dhammapada says: "One is the road that leads to wealth, another the road that leads to Nirvâṇa."

214. Q. Does that mean that no rich man can attain Nirvâṇa?

A. That depends on which he loves most. If he uses his wealth for the benefit of mankind—for the suffering, the oppressed, the ignorant—then his wealth aids him to acquire merit.

215. Q. But if the contrary?

A. But if he loves and greedily hoards money for the sake of its possession, then it weakens his moral sense, prompts him to crime, brings curses upon, him in this life, and their effects are felt in the next birth.

216. Q. What says the "Dhammapada" about ignorance?

A. That it is a taint worse than all taints that a man can put upon himself.

217. Q. What does it say about uncharitableness towards others?

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A. That the fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself difficult to perceive; a man winnows his neighbor's faults like chaff, but his own fault he hides, as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler.

218. Q. What advice does the Buddha give us as to man's duty to the poor?

A. He says that a man's nett income should be divided into four parts, of which one should be devoted to philanthropic objects.

219. Q. What five occupations are said to be low and base?

A. Selling liquor, selling animals for slaughter, selling poison, selling murderous weapons, and dealing in slaves.

220. Q. Who are said to be incapable of progress in spirituality?

A. The killers of father, mother, and holy Arhats; bhikkhus who sow discord in the Sangha; those who attempt to injure the person of a Buddha; those who hold extremely nihilistic views as to the future existence; and those who are extremely sensual.

221. Q. Does Buddhism specify places or conditions of torment into which a bad man's Karma draws him on leaving this life?

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A. Yes., They are: Sanjîva; Kâlasûtra; Sanghâta; Raurava; Mahâ-Raurava; Tâpa; Pratâpa; Avîchi.

222. Q. Is the torment eternal?

A. Certainly not. Its duration depends on a man's Karma.

223. Q. Does Buddhism declare that non-believers in Buddha will of necessity be damned for their unbelief?

A. No; by good deeds they may enjoy a limited term of happiness before being drawn into re-birth by their unexhausted tanhâ. To escape re-birth, one must tread the Noble Eight-fold Path.

224. Q. What is the spiritual status of woman among Buddhists?

A. According to our religion they are on a footing of perfect equality with men. "Woman," says the Buddha, in the Chullavêdalla Sutta, "may attain the highest path of holiness "—Arhatship—that is open to man.

225. Q. What does a modern critic say about the effect of Buddhism on woman?

A. That "it has done more for the happiness and

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enfranchisement of woman than any other creed" (Sir Lepel Griffin).

226. Q. What did the Buddha teach about caste?

A. That one does not become of any caste, whether Pariah, the lowest, or Brâhmaṇa, the highest, by birth, but by deeds. "By deeds, "said He, "one becomes an outcast, by deeds one becomes a Brâhmaṇa" (See Vasala Sutta).

227. Q. Tell me a story to illustrate this.

A. Ânanda, passing by a well, was thirsty and asked Prakriti, a girl of the Mâtanga, or Pariah caste, to give him water. She said she was of such low caste that he would become contaminated by taking water from her hand. But Ânanda replied: "I ask not for caste but for water;" and the Mâtanga girl's heart was glad and she gave him to drink. The Buddha blessed her for it.

228. Q. What did the Buddha say in Vasalasutta about a man of the Pariah Sopâka caste?

A. That by his merits he reached the highest fame; that many Khattiyas (Kshattriyas) and Brahmans went to serve him; and that after death he was born in the Brahma world: while there are many

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[paragraph continues] Brâhmaṇas who for their evil deeds are born in hell,

229. Q. Does Buddhism teach the immortality of the soul?

A. It considers "soul" to be a word used by the ignorant to express a false idea. If every thing is subject to change, then man is included, and every material part of him must change. That which is subject to change is not permanent: so there can be no immortal survival of a changeful thing. *

230. Q. What is so objectionable in this word 'soul'?

A. The idea associated with it that man can be an entity separated from all other entities, and from the existence of the whole of the Universe. This idea of separateness is unreasonable, not provable by logic, nor supported by science.

231. Q. Then there is no separate "I," nor can we say "my" this or that?

A. Exactly so.

232. Q. If the idea of a separate human soul 

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is to be rejected, what is it in man which gives him the impression of having a permanent personality?

A. Tanhâ, or the unsatisfied desire for existence. The being having done that for which he must be rewarded or punished in future, and having Tanhâ, will have a re-birth through the influence of Karma..

233. Q. What is it that is born?

A. A new aggregation of Skandhas, or personality *

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caused by the last generative thought of the dying person.

234. Q. How many Skandhas are there?

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A. Five.

235. Q. Name the five Skandhas.

A. Rûpa, Vêdanâ, Saññâ, Samkhârâ, and Viññâna.

236. Q. Briefly explain what they are.

A. Rûpa, material qualities; Vedanâ, sensation; Saññâ, abstract ideas; Samkhârâ, tendencies of mind; Viññâna, mental powers, or consciousness. Of these we are formed; by them we are conscious of existence; and through them communicate with the world about us.

237. Q. To what cause must we attribute the differences in the combination of the five Skandhas which make every individual differ from every other individual?

A. To the ripened Karma of the individual in his preceding births.

235. Q. What is the force or energy that is at work, under the guidance of Karma, to produce the new being?

A. Tanhâ—the will to live*

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239. Q. Upon what is the doctrine of re-births founded?

A. Upon the perception that perfect justice, equilibrium and adjustment are inherent in the universal system of Nature. Buddhists do not believe that one life—even though it were extended to one hundred or five hundred years—is long enough for the reward or punishment of a man's deeds. The great circle of re-births will be more or less quickly run through according to the preponderating purity or impurity of the several lives of the individual.

240. Q. Is this new aggregation of Skandhas—this new personality—the same being as that in the previous birth, whose Tanhâ has brought it into existence?

A. In one sense it is a new being; in another it is not. In Pâlî it is—"nacha so nacha añño," which means not the same nor yet another. During this

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life the Skandhas are constantly changing; * and while the man A. B., of forty, is identical, as regards. personality, with the youth A. B., of eighteen, yet, by the continual waste and reparation of his body, and change of mind and character, he is a different being. Nevertheless, the man in his old age justly reaps the reward or suffering consequent upon his thoughts and actions at every previous stage of his life. So the new being of a re-birth, being the same individuality as before, with but a changed form, or new aggregation of Skandhas, justly reaps the consequences of his actions and thoughts in the previous existence.

241. Q. But the aged man remembers the incidents of his youth, despite his being physically and mentally changed. Why, then, is not the recollection of past lives brought over by us from our last birth into. the present birth?

A. Because memory is included within the Skandhas; and the Skandhas having changed with the new reincarnation, a new Memory, the record of that particular existence, develops. Yet the record or reflection of all the past earth-lives must survive; for,

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when Prince Siddhârthâ became Buddha, the full sequence of his previous births was seen by him. If their several incidents had left no trace behind, this could not have been so, as there would have been nothing for him to see. And any one who attains to the fourth state of Dhyâna (psychical insight) can thus retrospectively trace the line of his lives.

242. Q, What is the ultimate point towards which fend all these series of changes in form?

A. Nirvâṇa.

243. Q. Does Buddhism teach that we should do good with the view of reaching Nirvâṇa?

A. No; that would he as absolute selfishness as though the reward hoped for had been money, a throne, or any other sensual enjoyment. Nirvâṇa cannot be so reached, and the unwise speculator is foredoomed to disappointment.

244. Q. Please make it a little clearer.

A. Nirvâṇa is the synonym of unselfishness, the entire surrender of selfhood to truth. The ignorant man aspires to nirvâṇic happiness without the least idea of its nature. Absence of selfishness is Nirvâṇa. Doing good with the view to getting results, or leading

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the holy life with the object of gaining heavenly happiness, is not the Noble Life that the Buddha enjoined. Without hope of reward the Noble Life should be lived, and that is the highest life. The nirvâṇic state can be attained while one is living on this earth.

245. Q. Name the ten great obstacles to advancement, called Sanyojanas, the Fetters.

A. Delusion of self (Sakkâya-ditthi); Doubt (Vicikicchâ); Dependence on superstitious rites (Sîlabbata-parâmâsa); Sensuality, bodily passions (Kâma); Hatred, ill-feeling (Patigha); Love of life on earth (Rûparâga); Desire for life in a heaven (Arûparâga); Pride (Mâna); Self-righteousness (Uddhacca); Ignorance (Avijjâ).

246. Q. To become an Arahat, how many of these fetters must be broken?

A. All.

247. Q. What are the five Niwarânas or Hindrances?

A. Greed, Malice, Sloth, Pride, and Doubt.

248. Q. Why do we see this minute division of feelings, impulses, workings of the mind, obstacles and 

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aids to advancement so much used in the Buddha's teachings? It is very confusing to a beginner.

A. It is to help us to obtain knowledge of ourselves, by training our minds to think out every subject in detail. By following out this system of self-examination, we come finally to acquire knowledge and see truth as it is. This is the course taken by every wise teacher to help his pupil's mind to develop.

249. Q. How many of the Buddha's disciples were specially renowned for their superior qualities?

A. There are eighty so distinguished. They are called the Asîti Maha Sâvakas.

250. Q. What did the Buddha's wisdom embrace?

A. He knew the nature of the Knowable and the Unknowable, the Possible and the Impossible, the cause of Merit and Demerit; he could read the thoughts of all beings; he knew the laws of Nature, the illusions of the senses and the means to suppress desires; he could distinguish the births and re-births of individuals, and other things.

251. Q. What do we call the basic principle on which the whole of the Buddha's teaching is constructed?

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A. It is called Paticca Samuppâdâ*

252. Q. Is it easily grasped?

A. It is most difficult; in fact, the full meaning and extent of it is beyond the capacity of such as are not perfectly developed.

253. Q. What said the great commentator Buddha Ghosha about it?

A. That even he was as helpless in this vast ocean of thought as one who is drifting on the ocean of waters.

254. Q. Then why should the Buddha say, in the Parinibbâna Sutta, that he "has no such thing as the closed fist of a teacher, who keeps something back?" If his whole teaching was open to every one's comprehension, why should so great and learned a man as Buddha Ghosha declare it so hard to understand?

A. The Buddha evidently meant that he taught

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everything freely; but equally certain is it that the real basis of the Dharma can only be understood by him who has perfected his powers of comprehension. It is, therefore, incomprehensible to common, unenlightened persons.

255. Q. How does the teaching of the Buddha support this view?

A. The Buddha looked into the heart of each person, and preached to suit the individual temperament and spiritual development of the hearer.


33:* Mr. Childers takes a highly pessimistic view of the Nirvâṇic state, regarding it as annihilation. Later students disagree with him.

38:* Sâranam. Wijesinha Mudaliyar writes me:—"This word has been hitherto very inappropriately and erroneously rendered Refuge, by European Pâlî scholars, and thoughtlessly so accepted by native Pâlî scholars. Neither Pâlî etymology nor Buddhistic philosophy justifies the translation. Refuge, in the sense of a fleeing back or a place of shelter, is quite foreign to true Buddhism, which insists on every man working out his own emancipation. The root Sṛ in Samskrit (sara in Pâlî) means to move, to go; so that Saranam would denote a moving, or he or that which goes. before or with another—a Guide or Helper. I construe the passage thus: Gacchāmi, I go, Buddham, to Buddha, Sâranam, as my Guide. The translation of the Tisaraṇa as the "Three Refuges," has given rise to much misapprehension, and has been made by anti-Buddhists a fertile pretext for taunting Buddhists with the absurdity of taking refuge in nonentities and believing in unrealities. The term Refuge is more applicable to Nirvâṇa, of which Sâranam is a synonym. The High Priest Sumangala also calls my attention to the fact that the Pâlî root Sara has the secondary meaning of killing, or that which destroys. Buddham sâranam gacchâmi might thus be rendered "I go to Buddha, the Law, and the Order, as the destroyers of my fears;—the first by his preaching, the second by its axiomatic truth, the third by their various examples and precepts."

40:* This qualified form refers, of course, to laymen who only profess to keep five Precepts: a Bhikkhu must observe strict celibacy. So, also, must the laic who binds himself to observe eight of the whole ten Precepts for specified periods during these periods he must be celibate. The Five Precepts were laid down by Buddha for all people. Though one may not be a Buddhist, yet the five and eight precepts may profitably be observed by all. It is the taking of the "Three Refuges" that constitutes one a Buddhist.

46:* Karma is defined as the sum total of a man's actions. The law of Cause and Effect is called the Paticca Samuppada Dhamma. In the Anguttara Nikaya the Buddha teaches that "my action is my possession, my action is my inheritance, my action is the womb which bears me, my action is my relative, my action is my refuge."

48:* After the appearance of the first edition, I received from one of the ablest Pâlî scholars of Ceylon, the late L. Corneille Wijesinha,. Esq., Mudaliar of Matale, what seems a better rendering of Dhammacakka-ppavattana than the one previously given; he makes it "The Establishment of the Reign of Law." Professor Rhys-Davids. prefers, "The Foundation of the Kingdom of Righteousness." Mr. Wijesinha writes me: "You may use 'Kingdom of Righteousness,' too, but it savors more of dogmatic theology than of philosophic ethics. Dhammacakka-ppavattana suttam is "The discourse entitled 'The Establishment of the Reign of Law.'" Having shown this to the High Priest, I am happy to be able to say that he assents to Mr. Wijesinha's rendering.

51:* The mixing of these arts and practices with Buddhism is a sign of deterioration. Their facts and phenomena are real and capable of scientific explanation. They are embraced in the term 'magic,' but when resorted to for selfish purposes, attract bad influences about one, and impede spiritual advancement. When employed for harmless and beneficent purposes, such as healing the sick, saving life, etc., the Buddha permitted their use.

55:* A Buddhist ascetic who, by a prescribed course of practice, has attained to a superior state of spiritual and intellectual development. Arhats may be divided into the two general groups of the Samathayânika and Sukkha Vipassaka. The former have destroyed their passions, and fully developed their intellectual capacity or mystical insight; the latter have equally conquered passion, but not acquired the superior mental powers. The former p. 56 can work phenomena, the latter cannot. The Arhat of the former class, when fully developed, is no longer a prey to the delusions of the senses, nor the slave of passion or mortal frailty. He penetrates to the root of whatsoever subject his mind is applied to without following the slow processes of reasoning. His self-conquest is complete; and in place of the emotion and desire which vex and enthral the ordinary man, he is lifted up into a condition which is best expressed in the term 'Nirvâṇic.' There is in Ceylon a popular misconception that the attainment of Arhatship is now impossible; that the Buddha had himself prophesied that the power would die out in one millennium after his death, This rumor—and the similar one that is everywhere heard in India, viz., that this being the dark cycle of the Kali Yuga, the practice of Yôga Vidyâ, or sublime spiritual science, is impossible—I ascribe to the ingenuity of those who should be as pure and (to use a non-Buddhistic but very convenient term) psychically wise as were their predecessors, but are not, and who therefore seek an excuse! The Buddha taught quite the contrary idea. In the Dīgha Nikâya he said: "Hear, Subbhadra! The world will never be without Arhats if the ascetics (Bhikkhus) in my congregations well and truly keep my precepts." (Imecha Subhaddhabhikkhu samma vihareiyum asunno loko Arahantehiassa.)

57:* Kolb, in his 'History of Culture,' says: "It is Buddhism we 'have to thank for the sparing of prisoners of war, who heretofore had been slain also for the discontinuance of the carrying away into captivity of the inhabitants of conquered lands."

57:† The 5th Sila has reference to the mere taking of intoxicants and stupefying drugs, which leads ultimately to drunkenness.

63:* The 'soul' here criticised is the equivalent of the Greek psuche. The word "material" covers other states of matter than that of the physical body.

64:*Upon reflection, I have substituted "personality" for "individuality" as written in the first edition. The successive appearances upon one or many earths, or "descents into generation," of the tanhaically-coherent parts (Skandhas) of a certain being are a succession of personalities. In each birth the personality differs from that of the previous or next succeeding birth. Karma, the deus ex machinâ, masks (or shall we say reflects?) itself, now in the personalities of a sage, again as an artisan, and so on throughout the string of births. But though personalities ever shift, the one line of life along which they are strung like beads, runs unbroken; it is ever that particular line, never any other. It is therefore individual—an individual vital undulation—which is careering through the objective side of Nature, under the impulse of Karma and the creative direction of Tanhâ, and persists through many cyclic changes. Professor Rhys-Davids calls that which passes from personality to personality along the individual chain, 'character' or 'doing'. Since "character" is not a mere metaphysical abstraction, but the sum of one's mental qualities and moral propensities, would it not help to dispel what Professor Rhys-Davids calls "The desperate expedient of a mystery" [Buddhism, p. 101], if we regarded the life-undulation as individuality and each of its series of natal manifestations as a separate personality? We must have two words to distinguish between the concepts, and I find none so clear and expressive as the two I have chosen. The perfected individual, Buddhistically speaking, is a Buddha, I should say; for a Buddha is but the rare flower of p. 65 humanity, without the least supernatural admixture. And, as countless generations—"four asankheyyas and a hundred thousand cycles"—Fausboll and Rhys-Davids’ Buddhist Birth Stories, (13) are required to develop a man into a Buddha, and the iron will to become one runs throughout all the successive births, what shall we call that which thus wills and perseveres? Character, or individuality? an individuality but partly manifested in any one birth, but built up of fragments from all the births.

The denial of "Soul" by Buddha (see Sanyutta Nikâya, the Sutta Pitaka) points to the prevalent delusive belief in an independent personality; an entity, which after one birth would go to a fixed place or state where, as a perfect entity, it could eternally enjoy or suffer. And what he shows is that the 'I am I' consciousness is, as regards permanency, logically impossible, since its elementary constituents constantly change and the "I" of one birth differs from the "I" of every other birth. But every thing that I have found in Buddhism accords with the theory of a gradual evolution of the perfected man—viz., a Buddha—through numberless natal experiences. And in the consciousness of that individual who, at the end of a given chain of births, attains Buddhahood, or who succeeds in attaining the fourth stage of Dhyâna, or mystic self-development, in any of his births anterior to the final one, the scenes of all these serial births are perceptible. In the Jâtakatthavannanâ—so well translated by Professor Rhys-Davids—an expression continually recurs which, I think, rather supports such an idea, viz.: "Then the Blessed One made manifest an occurrence hidden by change of birth," or "that which had been hidden by," etc. Early Buddhism then clearly held to a permanency of records in the Âkâsha, and the potential capacity of man to read the same when he has evolved to the stage of true individual enlightenment. At death, and in convulsions and trance, the javana chitta is transferred to the object last created by the desires. The will to live brings all thoughts into objectivity.

66:* The student my profitably consult Schopenhauer in this connection. Arthur Schopenhauer, a modern German philosopher of the most eminent ability, taught that "The Principle, or Radical, of Nature, and of all her objects, the human body included, is intrinsically p. 67 what we ourselves are the most conscious of in our own body, viz., Will. Intellect is a secondary capacity of the primary will, a function of the brain in which this will reflects itself as Nature and object and body, as in a mirror...Intellect is secondary, but may lead, in saints, to a complete renunciation of will, as far as it urges 'life' and is then extinguished in Nirvâṇa" (L.A. Sanders in the Theosopist for May 1382, p. 213).

68:* Physiologically speaking, man's body is completely changed every seven years.

72:* This fundamental or basic principle may be designated in Pâlî, Nidâna—chain of causation or, literally, "Origination of dependence." Twelve Nidânas are specified, viz.: Avijjâ—ignorance of the truth of natural religion; Samkhârâ—causal action, karma; Viññâna—consciousness of personality, the "I am I"; Nâma rûpa—name and form; Salayatana—six senses; Phassa—contact, Vedanâ—feeling; Tanhâ—desire for enjoyment; Upâdâna—clinging; Bhava—individualising existence; Jati—birth, caste; Jarâ, narana, sokaparidêsa, dukkha, domanassa, upâyâsa—Decay, death, grief, lamentation, despair.

Next: Part III. The Sangha