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Here we learn a great deal. In the first place, when
Buddhism crossed the Indus, three hundred years
after the death of Buddha, it was already the re-
ligion of the Bodhisattvas. Obviously there had
been solitary saints, and perhaps even communities
of monastics, without the books before or how
should there have been an arhat to transport a
sculptor three times to the Tusita Heaven ? but
there was a sudden accession of Buddhistic culture
at a date three hundred years after the death of the
Master, and this culture was Mahayanist in char-
acter. Thus the Mahayana doctrine with its fully-
equipped pantheon, its images, and its collections
of books, to be declared canonical under Kanishka
purported to come, like the Hinayana, from India
proper, or, as Fa-Hian calls it, Madhyadesa.
Magadha, Kosala, and Vaisali, then, may claim the
honour of having initiated Buddhistic art as fully
and truly as Buddhistic thought.

Further, it is clear that in Magadha itself the
great ages of sculpture were felt to be already past.
Talking of Pataliputra, which had been the capital
of Asoka, " the palaces in the town have walls,"
says our traveller, "of which the stones were put
together by genii. The sculptures and the carved


work which adorn the windows are such as cannot
be equalled in the present age. They still exist."
We who have seen the work done under Moghul
emperors in marble, and the pierced sandstones
of modern Benares, might not, had we seen them
also, have been so ready as Fa-Hian to attri-
bute a supernatural origin to the windows of the
Asokan palaces. But the fact remains than an
unimpeachable witness has assured us of the great-
ness and beauty of such work in Magadha, with
the reputation of being ancient at the beginning of
the fifth century A.D.

The great difficulty in the path of Fa-Hian was
the scarcity of written documents. Everywhere he
inquired for books, he tells us, but everywhere he
found that the precepts were handed down by
memory from master to disciple, each book having
its given professor. At last, in the great temple of
Victory in the Buddha country he found what he
wanted, and there he stayed three years to copy.
This is a most important light on many questions
besides that with which it deals. It accounts, as
nothing else could have done, for the tenacity with
which the pure doctrine of Buddhism seems to
have been held for so many centuries. The con-
centration of energy necessary for the carrying out
of such a task as the memorising of a vast literature
explains the gravity and decorum of the Orders so
long maintained. "The decency, the gravity, the
piety of the clergy," meaning the Buddhist monks,
Fa-Hian takes several occasions to say, "are ad-


mirable. They cannot be described." It explains
the tendency of Buddhistic monasteries to become
universities. It explains the synthetic tendencies
of the faith, which in the time of Kanishka could
already include eighteen schools of doctrine de-
clared to be mutually compatible, and not defiant.
It also explains, turning to another subject alto-
gether, why the first written version of the old
Puranas should always so evidently be an edited
version of an ancient original. It visualises for us
the change from Pali to Sanskrit, and it justifies the
sparseness of written archives in matters of Indian
history. These were evidently memorised. On
this point indeed Fa-Hian constantly tells us that
kings granting lands to the Buddhistic orders
engrave their deeds on iron, and we can only feel
that as long as this was so, their non-survival is not
to be wondered at. It must have been at a com-
paratively later period that brass and copper came
to be used for a similar purpose, with the desired
effect of permanence. Curiously enough, in Tamra-
lipti there is no mention of difficulty regarding
manuscripts. Nor again in Ceylon. In the last-
named kingdom we know that the writing down
had begun at least two or three centuries before
the visit of Fa-Hian, and he would seem to have
benefited by this fact. We gather then that as
Magadha and Kosala were the source of Buddhistic
doctrine in its different phases, and the source of
successive waves of Buddhistic symbolism, so also
they were the first region to feel the impulse of a


literary instead of a verbal transmission of the
canonical scriptures.

The difference between " India of the North "
or the Gandharan provinces beyond the Indus
and India proper in all matters of learning and the
faith comes out very prominently in the pages of
Fa-Hian, and ought to refute sufficiently all who
imagine Gandhara as possessed of a culture in any
way primary and impulsive, instead of entirely
derivative and passive.

As if forecasting our need on this very point, the
pilgrim particularly notes that on reaching India
proper (and apparently in the great temple of
Chhi'honan or Victory in Kosala) his last remain-
ing companion, Tao-chhing, when he " beheld
the law of the Shaneen, and all the clergy grave,
decorous, and conducting themselves in a manner
greatly to be admired, reflected, with a sigh, that
the inhabitants of the frontiers of the kingdom of
Thsin (China) were deficient in the Precepts and
transgressed their duties ; and said that if hereafter
he could become Buddha, he wished that he might
not be reborn in the country of the frontiers ; on
this account he remained, and returned not. Fa-
Hian, whose first desire was that the precepts
should be diffused and should penetrate into the
land of Han, returned therefore alone."

About this same " India of the North " we have
still more detail. The pre-Buddhistic Buddhism,
which undoubtedly existed and was represented in
Buddha's own day by his cousin Devadatta, was


much more living in the Gandharan provinces at
the time of Fa-Hian's journey than in India
proper. Also the Birth Stories had become the
romance of these provinces, and there were stupas
there to the almsgiving of the eyes and of the head,
to the giving of his own flesh by the Bodhisattva
to redeem a dove, and to the making himself a
meal for the starving tigress. We cannot help dis-
tinguishing between those countries whose Bud-
dhism was Hinayana and those in which it was
Mahayana, as more or less anciently the goal
of Buddhist missions. And we note that Udyana,
whose name seems to indicate that it had been a
royal residence, perhaps the home-county, as it were,
of the Kushan dynasty, was entirely Mahayana, and
is mentioned under the name of Ujjana, as one of
the northern tirthas in the Mahabharata. It would
appear, indeed, that when the Himavant began to
be parcelled out into a series of Mahabharata
stations sometime under the later Guptas, the
undertaking was in direct and conscious succession
to an earlier appropriation of the regions further
west, as stations of the Jatakas, or Birth stories of
Buddha. We ought not, in the attempt to follow
up some of the thousand and one threads of
interest that our traveller leaves for us, to forget
the one or two glimpses of himself that he vouch-
safes us. Never can one who has read it forget
the story of his visit to the cave that he knew on
the hill of Gridhrakuta, where Buddha used to
meditate, in Old Rajgir :


" Fa-Hian, having purchased in the new town
perfumes, flowers, and oil lamps, hired two aged
bhikshus to conduct him to the grots and to the hill
Khi-che. Having made an oblation of the perfumes
and the flowers, the lamps increased the brilliance.
Grief and emotion affected him even to tears. He
said : * Formerly in this very place was Buddha.
Here he taught the Sheou-leng-yan. 1 Fa-Hian,
unable to behold Buddha in life, has but witnessed
the traces of his sojourn. Still, it is something to
have recited the Sheou-leng-yan before the cave,
and to have dwelt there one night.' "

But Fa-Hian, enthusiast as he was, and capable
of extreme exertions in the cause of the Faith and
China, was not this alone. There was also in that
grave and modest nature a chord that vibrated to
the thought of home. " He longed ardently," he
says, when he had already reached the South of
China, " to see Chhang'an again, but, that which
he had at heart being a weighty matter, he halted in
the South where the masters published the Sacred
Books and the Precepts." Thus he excuses him-
self for a brief delay on the way back to his native
province. But if he feels thus when he has already
landed on Chinese shores, what must have been his
longing while still in foreign lands ? In Ceylon,
seated before the blue jasper image of Buddha,
perhaps at Anuradhapura, he pauses to tell us :

" Many years had now elapsed since Fa-Hian
left the land of Han. The people with whom he

1 The things which are difficult to discriminate from one another.


mingled were men of foreign lands. The hills, the
rivers, the plants, the trees, everything that had
met his eyes was strange to him. And what was
more, those who had begun the journey with him
were now separated from him. Some had remained
behind, and some had died. Ever reflecting on
the past, his heart was thoughtful and dejected.
Suddenly, while at the side of this jasper figure, he
beheld a merchant presenting in homage to it a
fan of white lute-string of the country of Tsin.
Without anyone's perceiving it, this excited so great
an emotion that the tears flowed and filled his

Nor can we forget the simple and beautiful
counter-signature which seems to have been affixed
by the learned body to whom he presented it, to
Fa-Hian's written summary of his travels. After
telling how they met Fa-Hian and discoursed with
him, interrogating him, and after telling how his
words inspired trust, his good faith lent confidence
to his recital, the scribe of the Chinese University,
or Secretary to the Imperial Geographical Society,
as it may have been (" the masters " in any case
he calls them), ends thus :

"They were touched with these words. They
were touched to behold such a man : they observed
amongst themselves that a very few had indeed
expatriated themselves for the sake of the Doctrine,
but no one had ever forgotten Self in quest of the
law, as Fa-Hian had done. One must know the
conviction which truth produces, otherwise one
cannot partake of the zeal which produces earnest-


ness. Without merit and without activity, nothing
is achieved. On accomplishing aught, with merit
and with activity, how shall one be abandoned to
oblivion ? To lose what is esteemed to esteem
what mankind forgot Oh ! "


BUDDHISM in India never consisted of a church
but only of a religious order. Doctrinally it meant
the scattering of that wisdom which had hitherto
been peculiar to Brahman and Kshatriya amongst
the democracy. Nationally it meant the first
social unification of the Indian people. Histori-
cally it brought about the birth of Hinduism. In
all these respects Buddhism created a heritage
which is living to the present day. Amongst the
forces which have gone to the making of India,
none has been so potent as that great wave of re-
deeming love for the common people which broke
and spread on the shores of Humanity in the
personality of Buddha. By preaching the common
spiritual right of all men whatever their birth, He
created a nationality in India which leapt into
spontaneous and overwhelming expression so soon
as his message touched the heart of Asoka, the
People's King. This fact constitutes a supreme
instance of the way in which the mightiest political
forces in history are brought into being by those
who stand outside politics. The great Chandra
Gupta, founding an Empire 300 B.C., could not



make a nationality in India. He could only establish
that political unity and centralisation in whose soil
an Indian nationality might grow and come to
recognise itself. Little did he dream that the germ
of that Indian solidarity which was to establish his
throne on adamantine foundations lay, not with
himself, but with those yellow-clad beggars who
came and went about his dominions, and threaded
their way through the gates and streets of Patali-
putra itself. Yet time and the hour were with him.
He builded better than he knew. From the day of
the accession of this Chandra Gupta, India was
potentially mature. With the conversion of Asoka
she becomes aware of her own maturity. Nothing
appears more clearly in the mind of the great
Asoka than his consciousness of the geographical
extent and unity of his territory, and his sense of
the human and democratic value of the populated
centres. We find these things in the truly imperial
distribution of his decrees ; in the deep social value
of his public works roads, wells, hospitals, and
the rest; and, above all, in the fact that he pub-
lished decrees at all. Here was no throne-proud
autocrat, governing by means of secret orders, but
a sovereign, publishing to his people his notion of
that highest law which bound him and them alike.
Never did monarch live who so called his subjects
into his councils. Never was there a father who
more deeply gave his confidence to his children.
Yet without the work done by Chandra Gupta the
grandfather and completed by Asoka himself in


his earlier years, in the long-repented conquest of
Kalinga, or Orissa, this blossoming time of true
nationality, when all races and classes of Indian
folk were drawn together by one loving and beloved
sovereign, would not have been possible. Asoka
owed as much to the political unity of India as to
the wondrous vision which he had received from
Buddha of all that it means to be a man, a
human being, high born or low born, Aryan or

But the question, Of what spiritual confraternity
did Asoka hold himself a member ? becomes here
of considerable importance. To belong to a new
sect does not often have the effect of opening a man's
heart to all about him in this fashion. Sects as a
rule unite us to the few but separate us from the
many. And here lies the meaning of the fact that
Buddhism in India was no sect. It was a worship
of a great personality. It was a monastic order.
But it was not a sect. Asoka felt himself to be a
monk, and the child of the monkhood, though
seated on a throne, with his People as his church.

Similarly to this day there may at any time rise
within Hinduism a great Sannyasin, whose fully-
enrolled disciples are monks and nuns, while yet he
is honoured and recognised as the teacher or guru
by numberless householders. The position of the
memory of Buddha as a Hindu teacher, in the
third century before Christ, was not in these
respects different from that of Sri Ramakrishna to-
day, or that of Ramdas of Maharashtra in the seven-


teenth century. In the two last-named cases,
however, the citizen-disciples, Grihastha-bhaktas,
have a well-defined background in which they
inhere. Hinduism is long ago a virtual unity
though that fact may not yet have been realised
and defined with its choice of religious systems
to meet the needs of various types of character, and
the great monastic guru stands outside all as a
quickening and spiritualising force, whose influence
is felt in each alike. The otiizzn-bhakta of Ramdas
or Ramakrishna remains a Hindu.

In the days of Asoka, however, Hinduism was
not yet a single united whole. The thing we now
know by that name was then probably referred to
as the religion of the Brahmans. Its theology was
of the Upanishads. Its superstitions had been
transmitted from the Vedic period. And there
was as yet no idea that it should be made an in-
clusive faith. It co-existed with beliefs about
snakes and springs and earth-worship, in a loose
federation which was undoubtedly true to certain
original differences of race.

With the age of Buddhism all this was changed.
The time had now come when men could no
longer accept their beliefs on authority. Religion
must for all equally be a matter of the personal
experience, and there is no reason to doubt the
claim made by the Jainas, that Buddha was the
disciple of the same guru as Mahavira. We know
the age of a heresy by the tenets it contradicts,
and in repudiating the authority of the Vedas,


Jainism proves itself the oldest form of noncon-
formity in India. And in the same way, by its
relative return upon Vedic thought, we may find
in Buddhism an element of reaction against
Jainism. Only by accepting the Jaina tradition,
moreover, as to the influence which their gurus
had upon Buddha, are we able to account satis-
factorily for the road taken by him from Kapila-
vastu to Bodh-Gaya through Rajgir. He made
his way first of all to the region of the famous
Jaina teachers. If, again, there should be any
shred of truth in Sir Edwin Arnold's story (pre-
sumably from the Lalita-Vistara) that it was at
Rajgir that He interceded for the goats, the incident
would seem under the circumstances the more
natural. He passed through the city on his way
to some solitude where He could find realisation,
with his heart full of that pity for animals and
that shrinking from the thought of sacrifice, which
was the characteristic thought of the age, one of
the great preoccupations, it may be, of the Jaina
circles He had just left. And with his heart thus
full, He met the sacrificial herd, marched with them
to the portals of Bimbisara's palace, and pleaded
with the king for their lives, offering his own in
their place. Whether this was actually so or not,
it is certain that one of the great impulses of the
day lay in the rebellion against the necessity of
the Vedic sacrifice, one of its finest sincerities in
that exaltation of the personal experience which
made it seem natural to found on it a religion.


That a man's religious convictions must be the
result of his own private realisation of truth is
an idea so old in India as to lie behind the
Upanishads themselves. But that such a realisa-
tion had a right to be socialised, to be made
the basis of a religious sect, is a principle which
was first perhaps grasped by the Jainas. It is
this decision, thus definitely arrived at and clearly
held, that accounts for the strength and certainty
of Indian thought to this hour. For the doctrine
that direct perception is the only certain mode
of proof, and that all belief therefore rests on the
direct perception of competent persons, is here
unshakable ; and it is easy to understand how
such an attitude, on the part of a whole nation,
exalts the individual thinker and the mind of

The world is now so familiar with the spectacle
of the religious leader going out from amongst his
fellows and followed by all who think with him,
to found some sect which is to be even as a new
city of the human spirit, that it can hardly think
itself back to the time when this was a thing
unknown. In the age of the Vedas and Upanis-
hads, however, the spectacle had not yet been
seen in India. The religious teacher of those
days lived retired in the forest clearings and
gathered round him, not a sect, but a school, in
the form of a few disciples. Jainism, with its
sudden intense revolt against the sacrificial idea,
and its sudden determination to make its pity


effective for the protection of dumb animals, was
the first religious doctrine to call social forces to
its aid in India ; in other words, it was the first
organised sect or church, and by forming itself
it invented the idea of sects, and the non-Jainas
began to hold themselves in some sort of unity
round the Aryan priesthood. Buddha in his turn
accepted from Jainism its fearless pity, but not
contented with the protection of the dumb creature,
added to the number of those to be redeemed
man himself, wandering in ignorance from birth
to birth, and sacrificing himself at every step to
his own transient desires. He realised to the full
the career of the religious teacher as Jainism
had made it possible, yet the doctrine which he
preached as the result of his personal experience
was in all essential respects identical with that
which had already been elaborated in the forest-
ashramas of the Upanishads, as the " religion of
the Brahmans." It was in fact the spiritual cul-
ture of that period brought into being and slowly
ripened in those ashramas of peaceful thought
and lofty contemplation that pressed forward
now to make the strength behind Buddha as a
preacher. He declared that which the people
already dimly knew. Thus, by the debt which
he owes to both, this Great Sannyasin, calling
all men to enter on the highest path, forms the
bridge between the religion of the Aryans, tracing
itself back to the Vedas, and the religion of the
Jainas, holding itself to be defiant of the Vedas.


Such was the relation of Buddha to his imme-
diate past, which he himself, however, overtopped
and hid by his gigantic personality. We have next
to look at the changes made by him in the religious
ideas of succeeding generations. Taking Buddha
as the founder, not of a sect, but of a monastic
order, it is easy to see that his social organisation
could never be cumulative. There must in fact
come a time when it would die out. No new
members could be born into his fold. His sons
were those only on whom his idea had shone,
those who had personally and voluntarily accepted
his thought. Yet he must have had many lovers
and admirers who could not become monastics.
What was the place of the citizen-&ka&tas, the
grihastha-devQiQes of Buddha ? We obtain glimpses
of many such in the course of his own life. They
loved him. They could not fail to be influenced
and indeed dominated by him, in all their living
and thinking thereafter. Yet they could not go
out into the life of the wanderer, leaving the
duties of their station. He was their sovereign,
as it were, monarch of their souls. But he was
not their general, for they were not members of
the army. That place belonged only to monks
and nuns, and these were neither.

Whatever was the place of the titizen-a&,
it is clear that he would express in that place
the full influence of the personal idea that Buddha
represented. Not Indra of the Thousand Eyes,
delighting in sacrifice, could ever again be the


dream of the soul that had once loved Gautama.
Calmness of meditation, light and stillness, detach-
ment and knowledge, are now seen to be the
highest powers of man. And this new realisation
constantly reinforced by new admirers, will do
its great work, not within the Buddhist order,
but outside it, in the eventual modification of some
other system. The conscious aim of the order
as such will be to maintain its first condition of
purity, truth, and ardour. The unconscious aim
of the world without will be to assimilate more
and more of the overflow of idealism that comes
from within it, more and more of the personal
impress left by One in whom all men's aspirations
have been fulfilled. From this point we can see
that the Order itself must some day die out in
India, from sheer philosophical inanition and the
want of a new Buddha. But its influence on the
faiths outside it will echo and re-echo, ever
deepening and intensifying.

Those faiths were, as we have seen, three in
number (i) Jaina ; (2) Arya-Vedic ; and (3) popu-
lar unorganised beliefs. It would appear, therefore,
that the citizen-&/0 would necessarily belong to
one or other of the groups. Alreadly Jainism must
have been a force acting; as we have seen, to unify
the Arya-Vedic and the popular unorganised beliefs,
giving its first impetus, in fact, to the evolution of
what would afterwards be Hinduism, and this
process Buddhism, with its immense aggressiveness
for the redemption of man, would greatly intensify.


Yet the period would be considerable before this
influence of the Buddhist idea would be sufficient
to make itself perceptible in Hinduism, and its
emergence, when that period was completed, might
be expected to be abrupt.

My own opinion is that this influence makes
itself visible in the sudden advent of the idea of
Shiva or Mahadeva to a dominant position in the
national life. In tracing out the evolution of the
Shiva-image, we are compelled, I think, to assume

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