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all the customary ceremonies. Four Russian
youths and two adults (besides the four priests)
were allowed to study Chinese there at the
Emperor's charge ; these latter stipulations are
supposed to have had in view the ultimate
supersession of the still indispensable Jesuits ;
but the Jesuits were much too clever. Another
school was established in which Chinese students,
cadets of the Imperial Council, might study
Russian. Unless this school was destroyed during
the " Boxer," troubles of 1900, a point upon which
information is not forthcoming, the buildings are
still there, marked with the Chinese words " Inner
Council Russian College " ; but for many years past,
certainly since 1830, salaries have been drawn by
the officials without any real duties having been done,
it having been found in 1820 that the Chinese
students, of whom there were then twenty, were
totally incompetent to translate a single word of
Russian. The supposed teachers of Russian in this
Chinese school were first the " Albazins," or Russian
captives, with their descendants, and afterwards the
heads of the Russian Ecclesiastical Missions ; and
there was a Loochoo school hard by, organised
upon the same basis. After the second war with
Great Britain and the Treaty of Peking, the
present T'ung-wen Kwan, or " College for Mixed
Languages," was established in the metropolis,
and teaching of Russian was transferred to this

But to return to Hilarion ; he died (17 17) a year


after his arrival in Peking, and was buried in the
old Russian cemetery (close by the spot where the
British troops breached the wall in October i860) ;
this cemetery had been placed by the Emperor
K'ang-hi at the disposal of the Albazins in 1685.
The original understanding was that the priests
should be relieved every ten years, but owing to
distance and various delays the reliefs were
irregular ; the first, with ten members as arranged
under the Sawa treaty, was under the Archimandrite
Antonius in 1729 ; the succeeding missions under a
second Hilarion 1736, Gervasius, 1745, Ambrosius,
1794, Nicholas, 1771, Joachim, 1 781, and Sophronius
in 1794. As the vigorous Emperor K'ien-lung was
reigning all this time, it may well be imagined,
when even the Jesuits had to hide their diminished
heads, that the above simple-minded Archimandrites
had no great opportunity of making history, even
if they had been at all disposed to intermeddle with
politics. The only known event of importance was
the legacy by a former Russian student in the year
1 740, of a small estate he had purchased a mile to
the west of the old cemetery ; this was to serve as
a church-yard and new cemetery, and one of the
first interments in it was that of the Archimandrite
Ambrosius. The British subjects murdered by the
Chinese in 1859- 1860 were kindly granted burial
hospitality here.

The Archimandrite Sophronius is the only one
of those in the preceding list who has left any
literary work behind him — for instance, a diary of


his life, and some sketches of Peking ; but one of
the students named Leontyeff (presumably a relative
of the first Albazin priest) wrote a history of the
Manchus and a translation of "Confucius." After
this there was quite a succession of distinguished
Archimandrites. Father Hyacinth (i 809-1 821) is
still one of the first authorities on the Social Life of
the Chinese, the Tribes of Central Asia, History of
Tibet and Mongolia, etc., etc. ; unfortunately, though
one or two of his best books have been translated
into French or German, none are available in
English. Father Hyacinth took back with him to
Russia several tons of Chinese books. His
successor, the Archimandrite Peter, was a distin-
guished Manchu scholar. The relief mission of
1830 was only under the conduct of a monk
who did not stay in Peking very long. The most
illustrious of all the ecclesiastical missions was that
of 1840, under the Archimandrite Polycarpus, who
had with him as a priest the future Archimandrite
Palladius and several other lay Russians, well
known by their literary labours to specialists.
Palladius himself became Archimandrite to the
mission of 1850, and after service in Rome (1860-
1864) during the chieftainship in China of the
Archimandrite Gury, resumed his old post at
Peking under the changed conditions of 1866.
Palladius' chief works are the " Life of Buddha,"
" History of Buddhism," " History of Genghis
Khan," " Journey of the Taoist Monk (already
mentioned) to Genghis Khan/' " Mohammedanism in


China," "Christianity in China," "Marco Polo in
China," etc., etc. — unfortunately, nearly all these are
inaccessible to persons unversed in Russian. Several
other priests, such as Daniel and Zwetkoff, have
written valuable religious works on Taoism,
Nestorianism, and Buddhist Vows.

From first to last there has never been a Russian
"missionary disturbance" during the 175 years of
pre- Legation residence in Peking; such Russian
" rows " as have taken place have all been owing
to the drunken and riotous behaviour of the
trading caravans, and even those were not suffered
to take place after K'ien-lung came to the throne
(1736). There has never been the least organised
hostility to either the Albazins or the Russian
missionaries ; and it is worth while enquiring why
this condition of affairs, so contrary to the
experience of Roman Catholics and Protestants,
has continued to exist. In the first place they
were captives, or ministers to captives' spiritual
wants fully authorised by treaty ; consequently
they were guests of the Emperor, living on the
Emperor's bounty in full accord with historical
precedent ; so far from being a menace, they were
an honour to China, and a military trophy of
which she was entided to be proud. Their
intellectual acquirements, though sufficiendy dis-
tinguished after the beginning of the nineteenth
century, were not of a kind to excite extraordinary
jealousy ; and (however the conduct of twentieth
century Russian diplomats may now belie the


fact) in those days the official Russians displayed
no startling genius for intrigue in China, even if
the inclination had occasionally been there : in any
case, down to the very last post-" Boxer" days,
no word of reproach for intrigue has ever
been breathed against a Russian priest, notwith-
standing the slippery repute of the latter-day lay

The Russian Church in no part of the world
seems to have assumed the militant and aggressive
attitude of Mohammedanism, and. in a different
degree, of Christianity ; in fact the strict sub-
ordination of Church to State ever since the
days of Peter has rendered it impossible, or at
least inconsistent with Russian policy, to entrust
priests with any independent powers at all which
might conceivably compromise the State. Even
after the Peking Treaty of i860, when Russia
was placed on a political level with England and
France, she never in the least attempted to
proselytise, or, by means of religious doctrine, to
bring the Chinese under her political wing. No
converts were accepted but those who proved
they understood the religion, and even then only
a dozen or two each year. There were never
more than a thousand in all, including the two
dozen Albazin families, numbering about 120
souls. This moderation may not be all pure
virtuous restraint ; on the contrary, it may be
said that, up to 1886 the Russians, despite their
opportunities in Hi, had a very wholesome dread



of Chinese military power and immigration ; they
had therefore no sound political reason for attaching
so presumably formidable a power to themselves
by religious bonds. Still, the Russians are entitled
to claim credit for great prudence.

Up to the Treaty of 1858 the entire cost of
the Russian permanent mission, so far as necessaries
went, was defrayed by the Chinese Government ;
but after that date the Holy Synod took charge
of the ecclesiastical, and the Russian Foreign
Office of the political side. The politicals occupy
the Nan-Kwan, in " Legation Street," close by
the water-gate where the British rescuing troops
were the first to enter in 1900. This block or
enclosure was entirely rebuilt by the Russians
themselves in 1864, nothing of the old buildings
remaining except the original Embassy House
in the inner court, and the old Church of the
Purification. A mandarin who in the old days
was set on duty to watch the Russians, and who
had had a small Buddhist shrine attached to his
quarters in the yard, was of course ejected, together
with his "false gods," after the Treaty of i860.
The foreign Legation quarter has since the "Boxer"
troubles become an imperium in imperio ; but
originally the idea was to treat Russians — and
subsequently all foreigners — as tributary states
under the protecting wing of the Palace walls
hard by ; for the Corean, Loochooan, and Mongol
hotels are all close to the Nan-Kwan. The
Russian ecclesiastical mission occupies the Peh-


Kwan (" North Hostel ") four miles away from the
Legation in the extreme north-east corner of the
city wall, on the other side of which are the old
and new Russian cemeteries. According to a
detailed report received by the Synod from the
Archimandrite Innocentius, and dated 27th August
1900, the buildings of the Peh-Kwan were blown
up by the " Boxers " with dynamite in the month
of June in that year, and the greater part of the
Albazins were then killed ; the valuable library
accumulated during the past 200 years was entirely
destroyed by fire. When the Russians a few
months later took Mukden, they revenged them-
selves for this loss by carrying off the rich imperial
library discovered there, including many books
and manuscripts which had been carried away
by the Mongols from Russia and Hungary in
the thirteenth century ; many of these priceless
treasures still await investigation at the hands of
a competent sinologist. The Peh-Kwan was
originally a Buddhist temple, and was assigned
to the captives from Albazin in 1685 ; they brought
with them the image of St Nicholas. The Church
of the Assumption or of St Nicholas was con-
secrated in 1692 ; but the whole place was repaired
in 1724, and again, together with the church,
rebuilt in 1827. New pictures of the saints were
sent from Russia to replace the caricatures of
Chinese workmanship, and the name St Nicholas
was permanently abandoned in favour of "The
Assumption." After the reconstruction of the


Nan-Kwany^d.s completed in 1865, the missionaries'
quarters at the Peh-Kwan were newly built too,
and schools were added in 1870.

At a village near the well-known town called
Ma-t'ou, or "The Wharf," the first day's stage
on the way to Tientsin, there is a small Orthodox
community of about one hundred Christians, dating
from the year 1863; with this exception there
are no Russian Christians amongst the Chinese
except at Peking. Although the Russians, whether
from policy or inclination, have not thought fit —
at all events until their unfortunate Manchurian
aggressions — to proselytise in China, curiously
enough in Japan their missions have obtained
considerable development. This subject hardly
appertains to the religions of China ; still, as the
next chapter will treat of Japanese Shintoism, it
may not be amiss to say a few words about Bishop
Nicolai's success, which to a certain extent bears
upon the political side of Shintoism. At the
suofofestion of the Governor - General of Eastern
Siberia, an Archimandrite and three priests, on
the China scale, were sent out to Tokyo in 1871 ;
at present there seem to be only two Russian
priests, but there are at least nine ordained
Japanese (or, according to one account, sixteen),
with over a hundred native preachers or catechists ;
three schools, and 1 50 places of worship ; for a
total of about 15,000 Christians. At first Russia
herself supplied the funds- for this mission ; but
now it appears the Japanese Government is willing


to do so itself, no doubt in order to anticipate
any political meddling. A magnificent cathedral
or Russian Church is now in process of being built,
if indeed it is not already finished, on an elevated
site in the heart of the Japanese capital. Some
fifteen years ago the Marquis (then Count) I to,
who doubtless has had a hand in all these matters,
even went so far as to recommend that the
Japanese nation should, for political purposes,
become officially Christian ; and, indeed, there is
really no reason, in the logic of things, why the
Mikado should not at once constitute himself
" Defender of the Faith," like King Edward, or
create a " Sviateishyi Synod," as Peter did in 172 1,
with himself at the head of it, appointing in future
his own Protestant and Orthodox bishops from
any nationality he may choose. When the
Christian religion was proclaimed in Judaea for the
benefit of mankind in general, no more was there
known of England and Russia than of Japan ; —
rather less ; and though the Pope of Rome may
have historical claims to supreme headship, the
Mikado's claims are certainly as good as those of
any other ruler ; nor, if any of his subjects see fit
to embrace Islam, is there any reason why he
should not, equally with a Turk hailing originally
from China, be Supreme Caliph in his own
dominions. His right to control local Buddhism
is certainly greater than that of the Tibetan lamas
who have only adopted the coarsest form of Tantric
worship, and (including Mongolia) do not rule

246 THE ORTHODOX CHURCH [chap. xi.

spiritually over half the population that Japan
contains ; moreover, Tibet was a totally unknown
country when Buddha was born, and even
when Buddhism was introduced into China and



Shin-to or " spiritual way," is an expression derived from the Chinese
" Book of Changes." — The Japanese derived the expression of their
notions, if not the religious notions themselves, from ready-made
Chinese thought. — Even Chinese history allows to the ancient
Japanese some crude spiritual ideas of political bearing. — First
enquiries by competent Europeans into the nature and objects of
revived Shinto. — Evidently a mere political engine. — No moral
code ; a mere engine of mental slavery. — The ancient Japanese
history on which it is chiefly based is itself worthless. — Mr Satow's
" Revival of Pure Shin-tau." — The word Skiti-td only introduced
in the sixth century as the name of a supposed cult. — Gradually
extinguished by Buddhism. — Revival of religion after three or
four centuries of civil war. — The Japanese revivalist, Motowori. —
He denies his own alleged inspiration by Lao-tsz. — Other Japanese
attack both him and the genuineness of Japanese ancient history.
— Japan is the hub of the universe, and Shinto is its prophet. — As
a political engine, important ; as a philosophy, a mere copy.
— Weak origin of Japanese history. — "Book of Changes" the true
origin. — Parallellines of religious movement in China and Japan.
— Etymological and historical evidence. — Japanese statesmen
have only done what Europeans have done. — Conflicting
appreciations of Russian, German, and other European Christians
cited to explain the Japanese attitude. — " Ian Maclaren " on
revivals. — Japanese btishi-do. — Lessons to be learnt from Japan.

No such religion is or ever has been known to the
Chinese by that name, unless it be that within the
past ten years the Japanese have been endeavour-
ing to counteract European missionary influence

in China by introducing their own Buddhist and


248 SHINTOISM [chap.

Shinto priests for educational purposes into the
country districts ; to this extent it may be said
that the Chinese newspapers have heard of and
occasionally mention it. Yet the word Shin-t5
(or Shin-tau, as even the Japanese kana syllables
write it in theory), is a purely Chinese combination,
pronounced in the mandarin dialects shen-tao, and
in Cantonese sken-tozi, meaning "spiritual road."
The combination does not occur at all in the
Taoist Canon. There are precedents for Lao-tan's
(or Lao-tsz') tao, Confucius' tao, Buddha's tao,
heretical tao, and foreign tao; all of which are
older than any authenticated Japanese history, and
mean "way taught" or "teachings." In the
" Book of Changes " we have Heaven's tao, Earth's
tao, Man's tao, corresponding to the three principles
mentioned in the first chapter, and meaning the
"ways of" or the "law of," or "what may be
expected of" each of the three. The "Book of
Changes" says: "When we look at the spiritual
road of Heaven, we find that the four seasons
never fail us ; the holy man bases his teaching
on this spiritual way, and all below the heavens
submit to him." These words contain, in com-
pendious form, all the essentials of the comparatively
simple ancient Chinese religion, as described before
the second layer of tao, superimposed by Lao-tsz,
gave to it further complications. As there is no
tittle of evidence — even in the ancient Japanese
literature (which is of very dubious value) — to
show that the early Japanese had ever constructed


on their own account any abstract thought of such
combined simplicity and profundity, there can be
little doubt, seeing that they can be proved to
have obtained everything they have in the way
of early culture from China, that they obtained
the literary expression of this noble idea from
China too, even admitting (as we may well do) that
they had the nucleus of the unexpressed idea in their
own minds. And, apart from the fact that the
above 3000 years old Chinese definition of Shen-tao
corresponds with the modern Japanese definition
of Shinto, there is no reason why the ancient
Japanese should not have had what we have
proved the Huns and Turks to have had partly
in common with the Chinese ; to wit, a sort of
respectful nature and ancestor worship, based
on the not unreasonable conjecture that every
man, as part of Nature, is a link in the endless
chain of life, and should conform to Nature's ways.
And to this day, with all our Western civilisation,
culture, and dogma, we have not got very far
beyond this obvious stage ; nor, so far as our
concrete national acts are concerned, can we deny
that the Japanese, by the light of their own spiritual
conceptions, have displayed patriotic, kindly, and
moral qualities in a degree to which we can scarcely
lay claim with honesty ourselves. So that, what-
ever in the way of historical criticism may follow
in this enquiry, Japanese honour is declared safe
from the faintest suspicion or tarnish.

Skin-tao is also difTerently used in the material

250 SHINTOISM [chap.

sense of the "spirit passage" in a tomb; skSn
loosely meaning "good spirit" or soul {manes), and
kwei " evil spirit " or ghost [larvae) : the combination
kwei-tao is used of altar passages by which spirits can
approach or escape. But kwei-tao may also have
a spiritual meaning corresponding by antithesis
with the shen-tao of the " Book of Changes."
Thus — a cruel argumentum ad hominem — standard
Chinese history tells us that " about the year a.d.
1 80 or 190, the Japanese tribes were at civil war,
and for quite a number of generations had no
supreme dominus ; but there was an elderly
unmarried woman named pi-mi-ku, much given
to supernatural things, who was able to hoodwink
the people by the use of kwei-tao (hocus-pocus, or
" devil methods "), so that at last the inhabitants
joined in proclaiming her their princely ruler.
The modern Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese
phonetic syllables pi-mi-ku is ki-mi-ko, and the
modern Japanese dictionary words for " princess,"
"priestess," and "imperial princess," are hime,
miko, and hime-miko. Moreover, the widow of
the fourteenth traditional Mikado (201-269), whose
name as a princess was Okinaga Tarashi Hime,
assumed the regency after his death. If we make
allowance for the fact, admitted by the Japanese,
that their " history " was only retrospectively recorded
in A.D. 712, and that even at that date it was
only taken down from the memory of one single
person, we may well accept this date as proximate.
Having, moreover, first-class Chinese official con-


firmation of a specific fact in that female ruler's
career, we arrive at the position that " spiritual
ways " of some sort, even if the ways of debased
spirits, began to be distinctly conceived in the
more enterprising rulers' minds about three
centuries before the use of writing (i.e. Chinese
writing) began to be understood.

What is now sugforested is this : Shinto is a
purely Chinese notion, not only as a specific word
(having a specific meaning in the Chinese classics,
which meaning corresponds both with the most
ancient Chinese and with the most modern
Japanese ideas), but also as a general philosophic
term, which is so used at all stages of its discussion
by the Japanese as to prove that such definite
philosophical ideas as the Japanese have ever had
are all founded on the " Book of Changes," the
" Book of Rites," and the pure Taoist philosophy.

The earliest mention of Shinto by European
enquirers seems to be in a letter to the Chinese
Recorder, dated Christmas 1868, from the Rev. J.
Goble. He alludes to the revolution of that year,
to the revival of the Mikado's power which had
lain dormant for so many centuries ; to the rising
Japanese enthusiasm for everything purely native
in literature and religion ; and to the suspicion
that the movement was being engineered, with
political objects, by the leading men of Japan. He
had himself observed, during a solemn progress
of the Mikado through his provinces, that all
Buddhist temples and images were kept out of

252 SHINTOISM [chap.

his sight, whilst great efforts were at the same

time made to show up the Shinto shrines in

their best light. In February 1874 Mr Satow

(now Sir Ernest Satow) described to the Japan

Asiatic Society the " Mecca of Japan," i.e. the Shinto

temples of Ise ; he showed how the absence of

images was a distinctive feature of such temples,

and how even every Japanese house kept up a

kami-dana, or "spirit shelf," for private use. In

the discussion which followed, Dr Hepburn (author

of the leading Japanese- English dictionary) agreed

that Shinto contained no moral code, and that

the chief apostle of its revival said so expressly,

asserting that " morals had been invented by the

Chinese because they were an immoral people ;

that it was only immoral people who discussed the

wisdom or rectitude of their ruler's acts ; and that

their simple guide or duty was obedience to the

Mikado." In other words Shinto was, he said,

an engine of mental slavery. M. von Brandt,

afterwards German Minister in China, considered

there was good evidence that Shinto resembled

the ancient Chinese religion ; for instance, the

same sacrifices were in vogue. Sir Harry Parkes,

British Minister in Japan, who was then considered

to be a sound Chinese scholar, said he had

never succeeded in satisfying himself what

Japanese Shinto was, but that his own ignorance

became intelligible to him if it was turning out that

a supposed indigenous faith was now being welded

into a political engine ; under these circumstances


it might be expected to become what the rulers
choose to make it, the infallibility doctrine being
particularly convenient. Sir Harry went on to
discuss what he styled the myth of Jimmu (the
supposed first Mikado), which was being exploited
politically even to the extent of firing salutes on
his imaginary birthday. He disagreed with the
view taken by Mr Laurence Oliphant that Shinto
had once taken real root as the religion of the
people. If so, why should it have yielded so
completely to Buddhism ? Dr Brown explained
that the Kojiki (Chinese words kit-shi-ki, or Ancient
Affairs Record) was the only ancient work that
treated of old religious customs in extenso ; he had
consulted it, and doubted if it w^ere at all worth
the trouble he had had in reading it ; it was con-
fessedly derived from the memory of one female
retainer in a.d. 712, and he could discern in the
supposed ancient religion no morals, no gods, no
ritual, and no ethics. A Japanese gentleman
named Mr Mori admitted that the records were

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Online LibraryEdward Harper ParkerChina and religion → online text (page 17 of 23)