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The Catechism of the shamans, or, The laws and regulations of the priesthood of Buddha in China online

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THE

CATECHISM



THE SHAMANS.



THE

CATECHISM



THE SHAMANS;



LAWS AND REGULATIONS



THE PRIESTHOOD OF BUDDHA, IN CHINA.



TRANSLATED FROM THE CHINESE ORIGINAL,

WITH

NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS,

BY

CHARLES FRIED. NEUMANN.



LONDON:
PRINTED FOR THE ORIENTAL TRANSLATION FUND,

And Sold by

J. MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET;

PARBURY, AM,EN, & CO., LKADENHALL STREET;

THAfKER f: CO., CALCUTTA; TREUTTEL & AVURTZ, PARIS;

AND E. FLEISCHER, LEIPSIO.

1831.



LONDON:

Printeil by J. L. Cox, (ireat Queen Street,

Lincdln's-Inn I'lolils



TO



SIR GEORGE STAUNTON, Bart.



THIS VOLUME



WITH PROFOUXD RESPECT AND ESTEEM,



UKDtCATEU, T!V



THE TRANSLATOR.



PREFACE.



The Translator of the following Cate-
chism having lately visited Canton, was
fortunate enough to procure a large Bud-
dhist library; the greater part printed
at the monastery, opposite to the Euro-
pean factories. This library consists of
about three hundred large volumes, and
is divided into numerous books : includ-
ing all the sacred works translated from,
and bound up like Sanscrit manuscripts :
also the most valuable original publica-
tions of the Buddhists in China, and all
their liturgical works. The Chinese phi-
losophers and literati are quite correct,



Vlll PREFACE.

when they comphim, that huniaii life is
not long enough to study the works of
Shakiamuny and his followers. ' ' What an
easy task, is it not" (says one of them),
' ' to read our classics and philosophers,
in comparison to the five or six thousand
volumes concerning the doctrine of Bud-
dha !"*

In Canton the Author had not time to
examine closely his valuable and interest-
ing collection of Buddhistic works; he
looked slightly over them, with the view
to meet with a treatise in a small size,
which would serve as an introduction, or
guide in this vast wilderness of Indian
physics, ethics, and metaphysics. Perus-
ing many volumes, he at last thought
that the following Catechism would be the
best adapted to give a tolerable idea of
the speculative and practical part of Bud-
dhism ; to show more particularly in what

• The Nepalese Buddhists assert, that the orif,nnal body of
their sacred Scriptures amounted, when complete, to 84,000 vo-
lumes ! I (Hod{,^son in the Asiatic Researches, xvi., 421. )



PREFACE. IX

form the doctrine of Shakiamuny appears
in the middle empire ; what customs and
superstitions the Buddhists accepted from
the Chinese, and in what light they con-
sider the national literature and philo-
sophy of that country. For, it is known,
that the Buddhists, like the Jesuits, will
readily change their words and exterior
doctrine with the people and the country
among whom they reside. This accounts
for different superstitions with which
Buddhism is mingled in Nepaul, Bootan,
Thibet, Mongolia, Ceylon, China, Japan,
and in the Indo-Chinese nations, where
all was darkness and confusion, before the
introduction of Buddhism. History only
begins with the missionaries of this doc-
trine in Siam, Burma and Cambodja. The
first kings are said to have come into the
former country from Bahar, or Magadha,
543 years B.C., and the chronological tables
begin nearly at the same time. So early
as the time of Abul Fazel, no traces of

B



X PREFACE.

Buddhism were to be found in Hindostan,
its original birth-place. By the persecution
of the Buddhists in their native country,
a great part of the literature of India has
been lost, and in particular, as Wilson
thinks, all the ancient literature of the
people speaking Tamul.

The following Commentary on the laws
and regulations of Buddha, was compiled
by the *' Shaman Choo-hung, of the monas-
tery Yun-tse, a follower of the laws of the
Bodhisatwas ; — and the Shaman Hung-
tsan, of the monastery 2mg-hoo-shan, a
Bhikshu, whose heart was dedicated to
knowledge, Bodhi, wrote the notes." The
work was printed by subscription in the
Hainan monastery, opposite to the Euro-
pean factories in Canton, under Kien-lung
in the year 1763 of our era.* The Trans-

• This Catechism, as it may be presumed, was often printed,
sometimes with and sometimes without prefaces and notes; the
translator thought it not necessary to translate any of these pre-
faces ; — those written with the current hand, he would never have
been able to decipher.



PREFACE. XI

lator has selected from the profuse Chinese
notes what seemed necessary for under-
standing the text of the work, and added
some of his own. These explanations
would have been more copious had
they not been written on board ship, and
without the assistance of many valuable
publications regarding Buddhism. He is
particularly sorry that he could not con-
sult some dissertations of M. Remusat.
That celebrated professor of Paris was
kind enough to instruct the author in the
rudiments of the Chinese language, and
for any progress he may have made in
the study of so very difficult an idiom, he
feels indebted to the strictly grammatical
precepts of that learned gentleman. With-
out the invariable rules of the construc-
tion or syntax, a Chinese phrase would
signify everything and nothing.*

• That this is not so, has already been remarked in the first
Chinese grammar which was printed. I mean the grammar
of Varo, printed in wood-cuts at Canton, in the year 1703. The
words, says this leaincd Dominican friar, " Puestayacn laoracion,



Xll PREFACE.



Surely, it is better to inquire in what
the various religions and sects of the
world, and the philosophers and their
schools differ, than to run after si-
milarities between the doctrines of the
different ages and climates ;— which after
all are often only superficial, and show,
what every body is aware of, that the
speculations of men follow the same laws
in every age and in every quarter of the
world. Yet there is an uniformity ob-
served in the history of the human race,
which puzzles both the most uncultivated
and the most acute understanding, — that
which exists between the Sanscrit, the
Greek, German, and Sclavonic languages ;
and that similarity which exists both in the
doctrine and the ceremonies of Buddhism,
and those of Roman Catholicism.

Concerning the uniformity of these

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determinada si


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Online LibraryChoo-hungThe Catechism of the shamans, or, The laws and regulations of the priesthood of Buddha in China → online text (page 1 of 6)