Albert J. (Albert Joseph) Edmunds.

Buddhist and Christian gospels (Volume 2) online

. (page 11 of 15)
Online LibraryAlbert J. (Albert Joseph) EdmundsBuddhist and Christian gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 11 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

minds one of the statement of Swedenborg, that in
the unseen world there is a duplicate of everything
here. There is an ideal London, said that Seer,
wherethru the departed citizen walks before he is
prepared for loftier mansions.

So far all may have proceeded from sugges-
tion. Mr. J., the sceptic may hold, had heard an
imaginary sound and expected me to hear it. I
obliged him, and in turn suggested that R. should
hear it. R., being a glib liar, had extemporized
the story of the old bell, and the messenger had been
instructed to bring the news we wanted. But sub-
sequent phenomena will make this explanation hard.

R. and I agreed to meet that evening in the


librarian's room at eight o'clock. He arrived there
first, and I found him sitting alone. "Have you
heard anything?" I askt. "Only rappings on the
sky-light." Another assistant soon joined us. He
was a believer in spiritism, whereas R. was a con-
ventional British Philistine, with no original con-
victions, but the usual mixture of orthodoxy and
materialism. For myself, I had seen something of
the phenomena of spiritism, but had given them up
as trivial and unsatisfying. However, I believed in
their genuineness, in spite of much fraud, but cared
only about those of a mental nature, like clairvoy-
ance. Born in 1857, I was, at the time of this
seance, in my 28th year; R. was 21 ; and the third
man about the same age. We sat down together
at the table, and placed our hands thereon. None
of us claimed mediumship, and indeed what fol-
lowed was a surprise. In a few moments we heard
loud thumps proceeding from behind the books
that lined the walls. The thumps came from the
wall that divided the librarian's room from the
lavatory whereinto the ghost had vanisht in 1884.
Now, the janitor was on the premises, and, had he
known that we were expecting some noises, he
might have entered the lavatory and produced
them. But he could not have knockt in answer to
our questions thru a wall and a book-case, for I sat
at the opposite end of the room to the wall that was
being struck. Moreover, subsequent phenomena
took place when the janitor was not on the premises,
as we shall see. I began the conversation by say-


ing : "If any intelligent being is making these
noises, let him count seven !" Seven thumps were
the reply. " Now," said I, "we are going to ask
you some questions. If you mean to answer Yes,
give three knocks ; if No, give one knock ; if you
are doubtful, knock twice. I will now repeat the
alphabet, and I want you to knock at each letter of
your name.— A, B, C, D, E, F," etc. When I
came to Q there was a thump. I repeated the
alphabet again, and — was stricken. The third
time gave us — ; the fourth, — ; and the fifth, — .
Then I became impatient, and askt : "Is the name

Q ?" Three thumps affirmed it. "Do we

understand that you are the deceast librarian ?"
"Yes." "Have you anything on your mind that
you wish to divulge ?" " Yes." " Have you done
something wrong?" "Yes." "Is it anything to
do with finances ?" A loud thump gave an in-
dignant No. I learnt later, however, that Mr. Q.'s
accounts were disorderly when he died. So much
so, that Mr. ]., who was the soul of honor, was sub-
jected to an offensive surveillance, for his predeces-
sor's misdeeds. I now thought what wrong thing
a librarian might do, and at last inquired : " Did you
ever give away books belonging to this library to
your personal friends.?" "Yes." "Will you tell
us the names of those friends?" '*No." "Will
you tell them to the head librarian?" "Yes." I
then askt the invisible one whether he had believed
in a future life when on earth, and he said no. Mr.
R. broke silence by confirming this: the deceast


had been a materialist. Was he unhappy ? I in-
quired. Yes. Would he prefer extinction to his
present lot ? Yes. Was he aware that some people
maintained that he was only a cast-off shell of the
soul, and was destined to perish ? Yes. Such was
our conversation. I told him we would pray for
him, and so the seance closed. My two companions
were amazed at the whole affair, especially the
Philistine, whose learned comment was: ''Rather
rum!" (" Rum" is English slang for queer.)

Next day I told Mr. J. what had happened,
and he bade me repeat it to the Unitarian minister
to whom he had confided his own experience of the
former spring. "You see," said Mr.]., **he may
think there is something wrong" (touching his
head), "and you will keep me in countenance!"
I did so, and also told the story to George Hudson,
a white-lead merchant, who, in his youth, had in-
vestigated spiritism when it was fashionable in
London. He had "sat" with Serjeant Cox and
the Countess of Caithness, and had seen extraordi-
nary things. Indeed he claimed that he had been
converted from rank materialism by hard facts.
His favorite saying was : "You shouldn't believe:
you should know." And he knew there was a
future life. He had held a medium with his hands,
and seen an ectoplastic form indisputably separate,
he said.

Well, George Hudson, a certain lawyer, and
Mr. J. went to the library one night soon afterwards,
to find out what they could. I was invited, but de-



clined. Hudson and J. were my intimate friends,
but the lawyer had the air of not wanting me. I
wish now that I had gone. Hudson described to
me what occurred. Never, said he, in all his ex-
periences with professional mediums, had he seen
anything to compare with the manifestations of
that night. He had seen a double row of wine-
glasses, along the middle of a room, strike together
by invisible agency and produce exquisite music.
But neither this nor ectoplastic phantoms could
compare with what those three were witness of.
The reason was that no " conditions" were given :
they did not join hands, they did not place hands
on the table ; they did not sing, as spiritists often
do; they did not sit passive: they merely smoked
their cigars round the fire for an evening chat.
Suddenly there were rappings on the table, on the
floor, behind the books, and everywhere. The
head librarian, being present, had sent the janitor
away, and made sure that the premises were clear.
We assistants had not been able to do this. The
three witnesses were not content with mere yes and
no, as we had been : the lawyer demanded severe
proof, and laboriously repeated thru the alphabet,
writing down letter after letter that was stricken.
In this way they took two hours to discover what
we had done in twenty minutes. The letters fell
into intelligible sentences and conveyed the same
information : that the deceast had something to
divulge which he would communicate to no one
save the head librarian alone. At one point in the


inquiry Mr. Hudson, who had been a past director
of the Hbrary (and therefore an employer of deceast)
addrest the ghost very famiHarly : " Look here, old
man, you know that your accounts were all wrong
when you died !" A perfect thunderstorm of
knocks and thumps declared his indignation.
When obstinate silence refused to answer more, the
lawyer said : " Gentlemen, this thing must never
be known in X. It must be husht up at once.
There are women in this town who would never set
foot in this library again. Mr. J., you must instruct
all your assistants to say no more about it." This
was done, and silence was enjoined upon us. The
phantasmal bell, however, continued to sound, and
did so thruout the month of April. It was heard
again and again in broad daylight by every mem-
ber of the staff, down to the janitor. The story got
out, and one day a youth of fashion brought two
ladies in a chaise to see the ghost! Mr. J. exprest
astonishment: "You, a nineteenth-century young
man, believe in ghosts ! I don't know what you
mean." He simply lied and denied knowledge of
the whole affair. At last I appealed to him to go
alone and listen to the secret. "Edmunds," he
said, looking sadly and fixedly at me, "I have suf-
fered enough from that man's misdeeds, and if he's
in hell he deserves to be !"

This was the last. I left X on May lo, 1885.
Returning for a short time in the summer, I found
nothing new, and on August 28, I sailed from


Glasgow to New York, and have never since been
back to Britain.

[attestation] .
I have read the foregoing and it seems to me
a remarkably accurate and detailed account of
what occurred. j y ^ MacAlister,

New York, lo Sept., 1903.

When Mr. MacAlister met me in New York, as
implied in the foregoing attestation, he gave me
permission to disclose his name, but bade me pre-
serve the other anonymities.

Albert J. Edmunds.
Philadelphia :

January 6, 1905.

The events narrated here by J. Y. W. MacAlister
were first written down, quite independently by me,
in the manuscript mentioned (1887). Mr. Mac-
Alister wrote in 1888 in London, while I had written
from Pennsylvania. Hence, if my original account
could be recovered from the Myers papers, it would
act as a check upon our two memories, and every
detail wherein we agreed would be equivalent to a
contemporary document. We parted in August,
1885, and did not correspond about the events
narrated, or in any way influence each other's ac-

Nothing has been altered in the above account
as written in 1903 except the spelling; the date


December, 1889, instead of the volume and page
of the S. P. R. extract ; a grammatical alteration of
two words ; a blank for the name of the English
county ; the letter Q. on p. 209, instead of the true
initial, together with blanks for the succeeding
four letters of the first syllable of deceast's name ;
the date 1903 supplied once in brackets; and
the name Royal Society of Medicine, formerly
known as the Royal Medical and Chirurgical So-
ciety. In the account as written by me in the
spring of 1903, before I dreamt of meeting Mr.
MacAlister in the fall, I had "rope merchant" as
the occupation of George Hudson. Mr. MacAlister
altered this to white-lead merchant, as at present.
When reading my narrative in New York on Sep-
tember 10, 1903, Mr. MacAlister at first failed to re-
call the incident about the sound emanating from
the sleeve of the assistant librarian ; but after sitting
in silence for a few seconds he remembered it,
remarking that his own memory was smouldering,
whereas mine was always on fire — which is cer-
tainly true so far as the present story is concerned.
Mr. MacAlister also failed to remember the inci-
dent about the visitor to whom he uttered an
official untruth ; but this is no part of the ghost-

"'°'y- A. J. E.

Philadelphia :

November, 1908.




Matthew V. 25, 26.
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles
thou art with him in the way ; lest haply the
adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the
judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be
cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee. Thou
shalt by no means come out thence, till thou
have paid the last farthing.

Mark IX. 47, 48.

And if thine eye cause thee to stumble,
cast it out : it is good for thee to enter into the
kingdom of God with one eye, rather than
having two eyes to be cast into hell ; where
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not

Luke XVI. 22, 23.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died,
and that he was carried away by the angels
into Abraham's bosom : and the rich man also
died, and was buried. And in Hades he lifted
up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth
Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

2 Corinthians V. 10.

For we must all be made manifest before
the judgment seat of Christ ; that each one


may receive the things [done] in the body, ac-
cording to what he hath done, whether it be
good or bad.

Hebrews IX. 27.
It is appointed unto men once to die, and
after this [cometh] judgment.

The famous judgment-scene in Matthew XXV.
is of a cosmical judgment : the above parallels are
given in preference, because they relate, as does
the Pali, to individuals.

Middling Collection, Dialog 130. (C.T. 64.)

Translated from the King of Siam's edition, but now accessible
in Roman letters.

Thus have i heard : At one season the
Lord was staying at Savatthi, in the Con-
queror's Grove, the cloister-garden of the
Feeder-of-the-Poor. And the Lord addrest
the monks, saying: "Monks!"

" Lord !" answered those monks, in reply
unto the Lord. The Lord spake thus :

Monks, just as from a house with two
doors an observant man standing in the midst
can see men entering the dwelling and leaving
it, walking about it and thru it : just even so,
monks, do I, with eye divine, pure and trans-
cending the human, behold beings vanishing


and rising again — beings base and noble, well-
favored and ill-favored, happy and unhappy,
according to their works {kamma); and I
know that those beings possest of good con-
duct in body, speech and mind, not upbraiding
the elect ones, but right believers, incurring
the karma of right belief, rise again, upon the
dissolution of the body after death, — some in
the world of weal and paradise, and some
among the human ; while those beings possest
of bad conduct in body, speech and mind,
upbraiders of the elect ones, false believers, in-
curring the karma of false belief, do rise again,
upon the dissolution of the body after death,
either in the realm of ghosts or in the wombs
of brutes, or(i) in the damnation, woe and per-
dition of hell.

Then, monks, the wardens of hell sever-
ally take him in their arms, and bring him be-
fore King Yamo, saying : "Your Majesty, this
soul was undutiful toward friends, philoso-
phers and brahmins, and honored not the
elders in his family. Let your Majesty inflict
punishment upon him."

[Now follows the story of the Three Messen-
gers, which the reader will find in Warren. The
Majjhima, however, has five messengers.]

(i) Warren (^Buddhism in Translations, 1896, p. 255),
translates a parallel text from the Numerical Collection, which
here begins to agree, in the main, with our present passage.


Thus saith Yamo the King :

"O soul, thru thoughtlessness thou
didst not right in body, speech and mind.
Verily, O soul, they shall do to thee according
to thy thoughtlessness. Moreover, this wick-
edness was not done by mother or father,
brother or sister, friends or companions, rela-
tives or kinsfolk; neither by philosophers,
brahmins or spirits : by thee the wickedness
was done, and thou alone shalt feel its conse-
quences." * * *

Then, O monks, the hell-wardens make
him mount and descend a great blazing, flam-
ing, glowing mountain of coal. There doth he
feel severe and bitter pains, but dieth not until
that wickedness be exhausted.

After the description of the fifth messenger are
added some stanzas. The descriptions of the tor-
ments are minuter in the Chinese. At the end of
the sutra we find some verses similar to those of
the Dhammapada 22 f. (A. M.)




Matthew VII. 13, 14.

Enter ye in by the narrow gate : for wide
is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth
to destruction, and many be they that enter in
thereby. For narrow is the gate and strait-
ened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few
be they that find it.

Luke XIII. 23, 24.

And one said unto him, Lord, are they
few that be saved ? And he said unto them,
Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for
many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in,
and shall not be able.

Numerical Collection I. 19.

Monks ! just as, in this India, there are
only a few pleasant parks, groves, landscapes,
and lotus-ponds, but far more of broken ground,
impassable rivers, tree-stumps, thorny roads,
and rugged rocks : so also, monks ! there are
few beings who, when vanisht from the
human, are born again among humans; but
far more who, when vanisht from the human,
are born again in hell, in the wombs of brutes
or the haunt of ghosts; few who are born
among the angels, more who are born as I


have said. And there are few beings, O
monks! who, when vanisht from the angelic,
are born again among angels, but far more who
vanish from the angelic to be born again in
hell, in the wombs of brutes or the haunt of


John Appendix (XXI. 22).

If I will that he tarry till I come, what is
that to thee ? follow thou me.

Cf. Mark IX. i.

Numerical Collection III. 80.

Udayi, if Anando should die with passion
unsubdued, yet by his believing heart he would
seven times obtain an angelic kingdom among



the angels ; and even in this India he would
obtain a great kingdom seven times. But, O
Udayi, even in this life will Anando enter

I owe the finding of this and some other pas-
sages to Edmond Hardy's splendid analysis of the
Numerical Collection, appended to the last volume
of the text, publisht by the London Pali Text


Mark XIV. 21.

For the Son of man goeth, even as it is
written of him : but woe unto that man thru
whom the Son of man is betrayed ! good were
it for that man if he had not been born.



Matthew XXVII. 5.
And he cast down the pieces of silver into
the sanctuary, and departed; and he went
away and hanged himself.

Acts I. 18.
Now this man obtained a field with the
reward of his iniquity ; and falling headlong,
he burst asunder in the midst, and all his
bowels gusht out.

Major Section on Discipline, VII. 4.

(C. T., N. C. 1117.)
Translated in S. B. E., Vol. XX. p. 259.

Then and there did hot blood come forth
from Devadatto's mouth.

For attempting to take Gotamo's life Devadatto
generates a karma that ultimates in this present life
(S. B. E. XX. p. 246) ; but for making schism in
the Order he generates an eon-lasting fault (p. 254,
and our present work, below.) When one of his
partisans informs him that his party is defeated, he
vomits blood, as in the text.

In the Christian case, later legend lessened the
doom of Judas, as in the story of Papias that Judas
walkt about with swollen body ; but in the Buddhist
case, later legends exaggerated the doom to death
on the spot.




Mark III. 29.

Whosoever shall blaspheme against the
Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is
guilty of an eternal sin.

Minor Section on Discipline, VII. 3.

(C.T., N. C. 1117.)

Translated in S. B. E., XX. p. 254.

"Is it true, Devadatto, as they say, that
thou goest about to stir up schism in the Order
and schism in our society?" — "It is true, O
Lord." — "Enough, Devadatto. Let not
schism in the Order be pleasing unto thee:
serious, O Devadatto, is a schism in the Order.
Whosoever, Devadatto, divides the Order
when it is at peace gives birth to an eon-lasting
fault, and for an eon he is tormented in hell.
But whosoever, Devadatto, makes peace in
the Order when it has been divided gives birth
to the highest merit (literally, Brahma-merit),
and for an eon he is happy in Paradise."

The words atiu^^wv u;j.apT-^;ia, in Mark III. 29, are
the exact verbal equivalent of the Pali kappaiihikam
kibbisam, or, as the Siam edition has it, kappatihz-
tikam. The phrase is unique in the New Testa-


ment, and indeed its strangeness caused the copyists
to alter it in early manuscripts, as Dean Alford
long since pointed out, in the apparatus criticus of
his Greek Testament. It was one of these cor-
rupted readings, viz., eternal damnation, which
was adopted by the King James(i) translators. Our
present reading is, says Rendel Harris, the correct
one : it is that of the oldest Greek MSS., the Latin
Vulgate, and the best modern editors.

Schism is the deadly sin of Buddhism, the
other four of its deadly sins being rare deeds of
violence — matricide, parricide, saint-murder and
wounding a Buddha. The deadly sin of the New
Testament is resistance to the Divine operation,
while that of the Mazdeans is self-defilement,
(S. B. E. Vol. IV., p. loi). The Christian and
Buddhist ones are of long retribution, but termina-
ble, for everlasting hell was not generally held by
the Jews at the time of Christ, and can hardly be
read into the Master's terms. Only the Mazdean
uses the language of absolute despair, but if the
universalism of the Bundahish be a true tradition

(i) S. F. Pells, in his second reprint of Thomson's
Septuagint (Hove, 1907, p. xxxvi,) represents me as saying:
"the King James's version." Of course I never wrote any
such English. The adjectival use of nouns in Aryan languages
extends to our own, but when such adjectival nouns end in S,
people often become confused, and fancy that the possessive
case is being used. Hence such phrases as King James version,
Flounders Institute, United States mail, are frequently mangled
by the printer inserting an apostrophe, as the Tokyo edition of
this book does in the case before us.



from the lost Damdad Nosk, then even this sin is
finally forgiven. In Plato's Phcsdo, certain souls
never come out of Tartarus ; but in view of his doc-
trine of cycles, the literal force of this "never" is
annulled. Hell is not everlasting in the Talmud
(Tract Shabbath, Chap. 2, Rodkinson's translation,
p. 58), but retribution is for one year. R. H.
Charles has shown, however, that opposing theories
were rife among the Jews, but that Jesus taught a
terminable punishment.


Mark X. 25-27.
It is easier for a camel to go thru a
needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into
the kingdom of God. And they were astonisht
exceedingly, saying unto him, Then who can
be saved ? Jesus looking upon them saith,
With men it is impossible, but not with God :
for all things are possible with God.


I Cor. XV. 24-26; 28.

Then [cometh] the end, when he shall de-
liver up the kingdom to God, even the Father ;
when he shall have abolisht all rule and all
authority and power. For he must reign, till
he hath put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be abolisht is
death. * * *

And when all things have been subjected
unto him, then shall the Son also himself be
subjected to him that did subject all things
unto him, that God may be all in all.

Long Collection, Dialog 16. (C. T. 2.)

(Book of the Great Decease. Translated in S. B. E., Vol. XL
p. 116-117).

All beings in the world, yea, all

Shall lay aside their complex form,

Even as such a Master,

Without a rival in the world,

The Tathagato, who hath attained unto

Buddha supreme, unto Nirvana goes.




Luke XV. 7.

I say unto you, that even so there shall be
joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,
more than over ninety and nine righteous per-
sons, which need no repentance.

Numerical Collection III. 36.
(C. T. in Ekottara).

Monks, on the eighth day of the fortnight
the assembled associates of the Four Great
Kings walk thru this world, and say : Are
there among men many men who are dutiful
to friends, parents, philosophers and priests ;
who honor the elders in their family, keep the
Sabbath and make it observed, and do good
deeds ?

Monks, on the fourteenth day of the fort-
night, the sons of the Four Great Kings walk
thru this world and ask the same question.

Moreover, monks, on the fiftieth Sabbath
the Four Great Kings themselves walk thru
this world and ask the same question.

Monks, if there be among men few men

who are dutiful in all these things, the Four

Great Kings announce the fact unto the angels

of the Thirty-three while sitting assembled in



the beautiful hall of religion, saying : " Your
Excellencies, there are among men few men
who are dutiful to friends and parents, philo-
sophers and priests ; who honor the elders in
their family, keep the Sabbath and make it ob-
served, and do good deeds." Then, monks,
the angels of the Thirty-three are sad and say :
''Ah! the angelic ranks (or, bodies) will be
thinned, and the diabolic ranks be replenisht!"
But if, O monks, there be among men

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15

Online LibraryAlbert J. (Albert Joseph) EdmundsBuddhist and Christian gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 11 of 15)