)awn and the Day aX*
a and the Christ.
AND THE CHRIST
HENRY T. NILES
BY HENRY T. NILES.
All rights reserved.
WHEN Humboldt first ascended the Andes and
saw the trees, shrubs and flora he had long- before
studied on the Alps, he had only to look at his ba
rometer, or at the sea of mountains and hills below,
the rocks and soil around, and the sun above, to un
derstand this seeming- marvel of creation ; while
those who knew less of the laws of order and uni
versal harmony mig-ht be lost in conjectures about
pollen floating- in the upper air, or seeds carried by
birds across seas, forgetting 1 that preservation is
perpetual creation, and that it takes no more power
to clothe a mountain just risen from the sea in ap
propriate verdure than to renew the beauty and the
bloom of spring-. x
Max Mueller, who looks through antiquity with
the same clear vision with which Humboldt ex
amined the physical world, when he found the most
ancient Hindoos bowing- in worship before Dyaus
Pitar, the exact equivalent of the Zeus Pater of the
Greeks and the Jupiter of the Romans, and of "Our
Father who art in the heavens" in our own divinely
taught prayer, instead of indulging in wild specu
lations about the chance belief of some ancient
chief or patriarch, transmitted across continents
and seas and even across the great gulf that has
always divided the Aryan from the Semitic civiliza
tion and preserved through ages of darkness and
unbelief, saw in it the common yearning of the hu
man soul to find rest on a loving Father's almighty
arm ; yet when our oriental missionaries and
scholars found such fundamental truths of their
own religion as the common brotherhood of man,
and that love is the vital force of all religion, which
consists not in blood-oblations or in forms and
creeds, but in shunning evil and doing good, and
that we must overcome evil by good and hatred by
love, and that there is a spiritual world and life
after death embodied in the teachings of Buddha
instead of finding in this great fact new proof of
the common Father's love for all His children, they
immediately began to indulge in conjectures as to
how these truths might have been derived from the
early Christians who visited the East, while those
who were disposed to reject the claims of Christian
ity have exhausted research and conjecture to find
something looking as if Christianity itself might
have been derived from the Buddhist missionaries
to Palestine and Egypt, both overlooking the re
markable fact that it is only in fundamental truths
that the two religions agree, while in the dogmas,
legends, creeds and speculations which form the
wall of separation between them they are as wide
asunder as the poles.
How comes it on the one theory that the Nesto-
rians, whose peculiar creed had already separated
them from the balance of the Christian church t
taught their Buddhist disciples no part of that creed
to which they have adhered with such tenacity
through the ages ? And on the other theory, how
comes it, if the Divine Master was, as some modern
writers claim, an Essene, that is, a Buddhist monk,
that there is not in all his teachings a trace of the
speculations and legends which had already buried
the fundamental truths of Buddhism almost out of
How sad to hear a distinguished Christian scholar
like Sir Monier Williams cautioning his readers
against giving a Christian meaning to the Chris
tian expressions he constantly met with in Bud
dhism, and yet informing them that a learned and
distinguished Japanese gentleman told him it was
a source of great delight to him to find so many
of his most cherished religious beliefs in the
New Testament ; and to see an earnest Christian
missionary like good Father Hue, when in the busy
city of Lha-ssa, on the approach of evening, at the
sound of a bell the whole population sunk on their
knees in a concert of prayer, only finding in it an
attempt of Satan to counterfeit Christian worship';
and on the other hand to see ancient and modern
learning ransacked to prove that the brightest and
clearest light that ever burst upon a sinful and be
nighted world was but the reflected rays of another
And yet this same Sir Monier Williams says :
" We shall not be far wrong- in attempting- an out
line of the Buddha's life if we beg-in by assuming-
that intense individuality, fervid earnestness and
severe simplicity, combined with singular beauty
of countenance, calm dig-nity of bearing-, and al
most superhuman persuasiveness of speech, were
conspicuous in the great teacher." To believe that
such a character was the product of a false religion,
or that he was given over to believe a lie, savors
too much of that worst agnosticism which would
in effect deny the universality of God's love and
would limit His care to some favored locality or ag-e
How much more in harmony with the broad phi
losophy of such men as Humboldt and Mueller, and
with the character of a loving- Father, to believe
that at all times and in all countries He has been
watching- over all His children and giving- them all
the light they were capable of receiving-.
This narrow view is especially out of place in
treating- of Buddhism and Christianity, as Buddha
himself predicted that his Dharma would last but
five hundred years, when he would be succeeded by
Matreya, that is, Love incarnate, on which account
the whole Buddhist world was on tiptoe of expecta
tion at the time of the coming of our Lord, so that
the wise men of the East were not only following-
their g-uiding - star but the prediction of their own
great prophet in seeking- Bethlehem.
Had the Christian missionaries to the East left
behind them their creeds, which have only served
to divide Christians into hostile sects and some
times into hostile camps, and which so far as I can
see, after years of patient study, have no necessary
connection with the simple, living 1 truths taught by
our Saviour, and had taken only their New Testa
ments and their earnest desire to do good, the his
tory of missions would have been widely different.
How of the earth earthy seemed the walls that
divided the delegates to the world's great Congress
of Religions, recently held in Chicago, and how
The love which like an endless golden chain
Joined all in one.
Whatever others may think, it is my firm belief
that Buddhism and Christianity, which we can
not doubt have influenced for good such vast masses
the human family, both descended from heaven
clothed in robes of celestial purity which have be
come sadly stained by their contact with the selfish
ness of a sinful world, except for which belief the
following pages would never have been written,
which are now sent forth in the hope that they may
do something to enable Buddhists and Christians
to see eye to eye and something to promote peace
and good-will among men.
While following my own conceptions and even
fancies in many things, I believe the leading char-
acters and incidents to be historical, and I have
given nothing- as the teaching- of the great mas
ter which was not to my mind clearly authenticated.
To those who have read so much about agnostic
Buddhism, and about Nirvana meaning- annihila
tion, it may seem bold in me to present Buddha as
an undoubting believer in the fundamental truths
of all religion, and as not only a believer in a spirit
ual world but an actual visitor to its sad and bliss
ful scenes ; but the only agnosticism I have been
able to trace to Buddha was a want of faith in the
many ways invented throug-h the ages to escape the
consequences of sin and to avoid the necessity of
personal purification, and the only annihilation he
taught and yearned for was the annihilation of self
in the hig-hest Christian sense, and escape from
that body of death from which the Apostle Paul
so earnestly sought deliverance.
Doubtless ag-nosticism and almost every form of
belief and unbelief subsequently sprang up among-
the intensely acute and speculative peoples of the
East known under the general name of Buddhists,
as they did among- the less acute and speculative
peoples of the West known as Christians ; but the
one is no more primitive Buddhism than the other
is primitive Christianity.
While there are innumerable poetic legends of
which Spence Hardy's "Manual of Buddhism" is
a great storehouse, and many of which are given
by Arnold in his beautiful poem strewn thick along-
the track of Buddhist literature, constantly tempt
ing- one to leave the straight path of the develop
ment of a great religion, I have carefully avoided
what did not commend itself to my mind as either
historical or spiritual truth.
It was my original design to follow the wonder
ful career of Buddha until his long- life closed with
visions of the g-olden city much as described in Reve
lation, and then to follow that most wonderful
career of Buddhist missions, not only throug-h In
dia and Ceylon, but to Palestine, Greece and Egypt,
and over the table-lands of Asia and throug-h the
Chinese Empire to Japan, and thence by the black
stream to Mexico and Central America, and then to
follow the wise men of the East until the Lag-lit of
the world dawned on them on the plains of Bethle
hem a task but half accomplished, which I shall
yet complete if life and streng-th are spared.
A valued literary friend sug-g-ests that the social
life described in the following- pag-es is too much
like ours, but why should their daily life and social
customs be greatly different from ours ? The
Aryan migrations to India and to Europe were in
larg-e masses, of course taking- their social customs,
or as the Romans would say, their household g"ods,
What wonder, then, that the home as Tacitus de
scribes it in the "Wilds of Germany" was sub
stantially what Mueller finds from the very struc
ture of the Sanscrit and European lang-uag-es
it must have been in Bactria, the common cradle of
the Aryan race. There can scarcely be a doubt
that twenty-five hundred years ago the daily life
and social customs in the north of India, which had
been under undisputed Ar}-an control long- enough
for the Sanscrit language to spring- up, come to
perfection and finally become obsolete, were more
like ours than like those of modern India after the
many and especially the Mohammedan con
quests and after centuries of oppression and alien
If a thousand English-speaking- Aryans should
now be placed on some distant island, how much
would their social customs and even amusements
differ from ours in a hundred years ? Only so far
as changed climate and surroundings compelled.
I give as an introduction an outline of the golden,
silver, brazen and iron ages, as described by the
ancient poets and believed in by all antiquity, as it
was in the very depths of the darkness of the iron
age that our great light appeared in Northern In
dia. The very denseness of the darkness of the age
in which he came makes the clearness of the light
more wonderful, and accounts for the joy with
which it was received and the rapidity with which
Not to enter into the niceties of chronological
questions, the mission of Buddha may be roughly
said to have commenced about five hundred years
before the commencement of our era, and with in-
cessant labors and long- and repeated journeys to
have lasted forty-five years, when at about the age
of eighty he died, or, as the Buddhists more truth
fully and more beautifully say, entered Nirvana.
HENRY T. NILES.
TOLEDO, January 1, 1894.
Since this work was in the hands of the printer
I have read the recent work of Bishop Copelston,
of Columbo, Ceylon, and it was a source of no
small gratification to find him in all material
points agreeing- with the result of my somewhat
extensive investigations as given within, for in
Ceylon, if anywhere, we would expect accuracy.
Here the great Buddhist development first comes in
contact with authentic history during the third cen
tury B. C. in the reign of the great Asoka, the dis
covery of whose rock inscriptions shed such a flood
of light on primitive Buddhism, while it still re
tained enough of its primitive power, as we learn
from those inscriptions themselves, to turn that
monarch from a course of cruel tyranny, and, as
we learn from the history of Ceylon, to induce his
son and daughter to abandon royalty and become
the first missionaries to that beautiful island.
H. T. N.
THE golden age when men were brothers all,
The golden rule their law and God their king ;
When no fierce beasts did through the forests roam,
Nor poisonous reptiles crawl upon the ground;
When trees bore only wholesome, luscious fruits,
And thornless roses breathed their sweet perfumes;
When sickness, sin and sorrow were unknown,
And tears but spoke of joy too deep for words ;
When painless death but led to higher life,
A life that knows no end, in that bright world
Whence angels on the ladder Jacob saw,
Descending, talk with man as friend to friend
That age of purity and peace had passed,
But left a living memory behind,
Cherished and handed down from sire to son
Through all the scattered peoples of the earth,
A living prophecy of what this world,
This sad and sinful world, might yet become.
The silver age an age of faith, not sight
Came next, when reason ruled instead of love ;
When men as through a glass but darkly saw
What to their fathers clearly stood revealed
In God's own light of love-illumined truth,
Of which the sun that rising- paints the east,
And whose last rays with glory gild the west,
Is but an outbirth. Then were temples reared,
And priests 'mid clouds of incense sang- His praise
Who out of densest darkness called the light,
And from His own unbounded fullness made
The heavens and earth and all that in them is.
Then landmarks were first set, lest men contend
For God's free gifts, that all in peace had shared.
Then laws were made to govern those whose sires
Were laws unto themselves. Then sickness came,
And grief and pain attended men from birth to
But still a silver light lined every cloud,
And hope was given to cheer and comfort men.
The brazen age, brilliant but cold, succeeds.
This was an age of knowledge, art and war,
When the knights-errant of the ancient world,
Adventures seeking, roamed with brazen swords
Which b}- a wondrous art then known, now lost
Were hard as flint, and edged to cut a hair
Or cleave in twain a warrior armor-clad
And armed with shields adorned by Vulcan's art,
Wonder of coming times and theme for bards.*
Then science searched through nature's heights
Heaven's canopy thick set with stars was mapped,
The constellations named, and all the laws searched
That guide their motions, rolling sphere on sphere.f
Then men by reasonings piled up mountain high
Thought to scale heaven, and to dethrone heaven's
Whose imitators weak, with quips and quirks
And ridicule would now destroy all sacred things.
This age great Homer and old Hesiod sang,
And gods they made of hero, artist, bard.
At length this twilight of the ages fades,
And starless night now sinks upon the world
An age of iron, cruel, dark and cold.
On Asia first this outer darkness fell,
Once seat of paradise, primordial peace,
Perennial harmony and perfect love.
A despot's will was then a nation's law ;
* See Hesiod's description of the shield of Hercules, the St George
of that ancient age of chivalry.
t See the celebrated zodiac of Denderah, given in Landseer's
" Sabaean Researches," and in Napoleon's " Egypt."
An idol's car crushed out poor human lives,
And human blood polluted many shrines.
Then human speculation made of God
A shoreless ocean, distant, waveless, vast,
Of truth that sees not and unfeeling- love,
Whence souls as drops were taken back to fall,
Absorbed and lost, when, countless ages passed,
They should complete their round as souls of men,
Of beasts, of birds and of all creeping- thing's.
And, even worse, the cruel iron castes,
One caste too holy for another's touch,
Had every human aspiration crushed,
The common brotherhood of man destroyed,
And made all men but Pharisees or slaves.
And worst of all and what could e'en be worse ?
Woman, bone of man's bone, flesh of his flesh,
The equal partner of a double life,
Who in the world's best days stood by his side
To lig-hten every care, and heighten every joy,
And in the world's decline still clung- to him,
She only true when all beside were false,
When all were cruel she alone still kind,
Light of his hearth and mistress of his home,
Sole spot where peace and joy could still be found
Woman herself cast down, despised was made
Slave to man's luxury and brutal lust.
Then war was rapine, havoc, needless blood,
Infants impaled before their mothers' eyes,
Women dishonored, mutilated, slain,
Parents but spared to see their children die.
Then peace was but a faithless, hollow truce,
With plots and counter-plots ; the dagger's point
And poisoned cup instead of open war ;
And life a savage, grim conspiracy
Of mutual murder, treachery and greed.
O dark and cruel age ! O cruel creeds !
O cruel men ! O crushed and bleeding hearts,
That from the very ground in anguish cry :
"Is there no light no hope no help no God?"
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST.
Northward from Ganges' stream and India's plains
An ancient city crowned a loft}^ hill,
Whose high embattled walls had often rolled
The surging-, angry tide of battle back.
Walled on three sides, but on the north a cliff,
At once the city's quarry and its guard.
Cut out in galleries, with vaulted roofs*
Upborne upon Cyclopean columns vast,
Chiseled with art, their capitals adorned
With lions, elephants, and bulls, life size,
Once dedicate to many monstrous gods
*Lientenant-General Brings, in his lectures on the aboriginal races
of India, says the Hindoos themselves refer the excavation of caves
and temples to the period of the aboriginal king's.
8 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
Before the Aryan race as victors came,
Then prisons, granaries and magazines,
Now only known to bandits and wild beasts.
This cliff, extending- at each end, bends north,
And rises in two mountain-chains that end
In two vast snow-capped Himalayan peaks,
Between which runs a glittering glacial stream,
A mighty moving mass of crystal ice,
Crushing the rocks in its resistless course ;
From which bursts forth a river that had made
Of all this valley one great highland lake,
Which on one side had burst its bounds and cut
In myriad years a channel through the rock,
So narrow that a goat might almost leap
From cliff to cliff these cliffs so smooth and steep
The eagles scarce could build upon their sides ;
This yawning chasm so deep one scarce could hear
The angry waters roaring far below.
This stream, guided by art, now fed a lake
Above the city and behind this cliff,
Which, guided thence in channels through the rock,
Fed many fountains, sending crystal streams
Through every street and down the terraced hill,
And through the plain in little silver streams,
Spreading the richest verdure far and wide.*
Here was the seat of King Suddhodana,
His royal park, walled by eternal hills,
*The art of irrigation, once practiced on such a mig-hty scale, now
seems practically a lost art but just now being' revived on our western
THK BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK I. 9
Where trees and shrubs and flowers all native grew ;
For in its bounds all the four seasons met,
From ever-laughing, ever-blooming- spring-
To savag-e winter with eternal snows.
Here stately palms, the banyan's many trunks,
Darkening- whole acres with its grateful shade,
And bamboo groves, with graceful waving plumes,
The champak, with its fragrant g-olden flowers,
Asokas, one bright blaze of brilliant bloom,
The mohra, yielding- food and oil and wine,
The sacred sandal and the spreading- oak,
The mountain-loving- fir and spruce and pine,
And giant cedars, grandest of them all,
Planted in ages past, and thinned and pruned
With that hig-h art that hides all trace of art,*
Were placed to please the eye and show their form
In groves, in clumps, in jung-les and alone.
Here all a forest seemed ; there open groves.
With vine-clad trees, vines hanging- from each limb,
A pendant chain of bloom, with shaded drives
And walks, with rustic seats, cool grots and dells,
With fountains playing- and with babbling- brooks,
And stately swans sailing on little lakes,
While peacocks, rainbow-tinted shrikes, pheasants,
Glittering- like precious stones, parrots, and birds
Of all rich plumage, fly from tree to tree,
The whole scene vocal with sweet varied song- ;
" And, that which all faireworkes doth most ayg: race,
The art, which all that wrought, appeared in no place."
Faerie Queene, B. 2, Canto 12.
10 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
And here a widespread lawn bedecked with flowers,
With clumps of brilliant roses grown to trees,
And fields with dahlias spread,* not stiff and prim
Like the starched ruffle of an ancient dame,
But growing in luxuriance rich and wild.
The colors of the evening and the rainbow joined,
White, scarlet, j^ellow, crimson, deep maroon.
Blending all colors in one dazzling blaze ;
There orchards bend beneath their luscious loads;
Here vineyards climb the hills thick sot with grapes;
There rolling pastures spread, where royal mares.
High bred, and colts too young for bit or spur.
Now quiet feed, then, as at trumpet's call.
With lion bounds, tails floating, necks outstretched, f
Nostrils distended, fleet as the flying wind
They skim the plain, and sweep in circles wide
Nature's Olympic, copied, ne'er excelled.
Here, deer with dappled fawn bound o'er the grass, +
And sacred herds, and sheep with skipping lambs ;
There, great white elephants in quiet nooks ;
While high on cliffs framed in with living green
Goats climb and seem to hang and feed in air
Sweet spot, with all to please and nothing to offend.
* See Miss Gordon Cuniiiiinjr's descriptions of the fields of wild
dahlias in Northern India.
t By far the finest display of the mettle and blood of high-bred horses
I have ever seen has been in the pasture field, and this description is
drawn from life
t Once, coming upon a little prairie in the midst of a great forest, I
saw a herd of startled deer bound over the grass, a scene never to be
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK I. 11
Here on a hill the royal palace stood,
A gem of art ; and near, another hill,
Its top crowned by an aged ban} 7 an tree,
Its sides clad in strange jyotismati grass,*
By day a sober brown, but in the night
Glowing" as if the hill were all aflame
Twin wonders to the dwellers in the plain,
Their guides and landmarks day and night,
This glittering palace and this glowing hill.
Within, above the palace rose a tower,
Which memory knew but as the ancient tower,
Foursquare and high, an altar and a shrine
On its broad top, where burned perpetual fire,
Emblem of boundless and eternal love
And truth that knows no night, no cloud, no change,
Long since gone out, with that most ancient faith
In one great Father, source of life and light, t
Still round this ancient tower, strange hopes and
And memories handed down from sire to son,
Were clustered thick. An army, old men say,
Once camped against the city, when strange lights
Burst from this tower, blinding their dazzled eyes.
They fled amazed, nor dared to look behind.
The people bloody war and cruel bondage saw
On every side, and they at peace and free,
And thought a power to save dwelt in that tower.
*See Miss Gordon Cumming-'s description of a hill covered with thi
t There can be no doubt that the fire-worship of the East is the re
mains of a true but larg-ely emblematic relig-ion.
12 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
And now strange prophecies and sayings old
Were everywhere rehearsed, that from this hill
Should come a king 1 or savior of the world.
Even the poor dwellers in the distant plain
Looked up ; they too had heard that hence should
One quick to hear the poor and strong to save.