Imágenes de páginas

velocity. But claim is here made as a universal law that acceleration is deflection.

Let this argument be stated in brief:

First, the tendency of modern investigation is to explain all forces as derived from modes of motion.

Great progress has been

made in this direction and the theory is widely accepted.

Second, all forces are collisions.

Third, if all forces are collisions the motions from which they result obey the third law of motion, that action and reaction are equal. By this law it is seen that no motion can be lost or gained by any particle of matter.

Fourth, collisions can be transmitted but motion cannot be transmitted.

Fifth, in molar motion there is an apparent creation and annihilation of motion, but this appearance is known to be an illusion. It has been explained as due in part to collision and in part to the transmission of motion. But such transmission contradicts the third law of motion. Acceleration, therefore, must be something else than increase of velocity. It is known to be in part deflection and can all be thus explained; and if the first law of motion is universally valid it is thus explained. Therefore:

1. Acceleration is deflection.

2. The velocity of motion is constant.

3. The direction of motion is variable.







HRISTIANITY, including Roman and Greek Catholics, the Protestants and all the smaller sects, may lay claim to about twenty six per cent. of the inhabitants of the earth, and ranks, in number of adherents, as the second greatest religion. It is considerably surpassed by Buddhism which is calculated by Prof. Rhys Davids to count five hundred million adherents, or forty per cent. of all the inhabitants of the earth. The next religions in order are Hinduism with thirteen, and Islam with twelve and one half per cent. In addition we have one half per cent. Jews, and eight per cent. of other creeds of less importance.

Now it is a strange fact that Buddhism and Christianity, constituting together sixty-six per cent., which is considerably more than one half of mankind, possess several most important features in common, and their agreement cannot be a product of mere chance. It is well known that many Christian missionaries, for instance, Huc and Gabet, the Jesuits, were quite at a loss to account for so many


1 For details see the statistical tables on pp. 4-5 of Rhys David's Buddhism published in the series of Non-Christian Religious Systems, London, 1890.

The objection has been made that the Chinese Buddhists are at the same time adherents of Confucius and Tâo and it is claimed that if the number of Buddhists were reduced to those who are true Buddhists, and nothing but Buddhists, Christianity could easily be proved to be numerically the first religion of the world. This may be true, but is this method of using statistics legitimate? Would it not in that case be fair to apply the same restriction to both sides? The number of Christians would shrink in no less degree if we counted the real Christians, or at least the confessed Christians only, which in the United States would reduce them to the churched people who are less than one-tenth of the entire population.

2 Quoted in The Monist, Vol. IV, No. 3, p. 418.

striking coincidences, and Bishop Bigandet, the Apostolic Vicar of Ava and Pegu, writes:

[ocr errors]

'Most of the moral truths, prescribed by the Gospel, are to be met with in the Buddhistic scriptures. . . . In reading the particulars of the life of the last Buddha Gaudama, it is impossible not to feel reminded of many circumstances relating to our Saviour's life, such as it has been sketched out by the Evangelists."

The idea of a Buddhistic origin of Christianity has been suggested more than once; but it is incumbent upon us to state that some of the men who must be regarded as the most competent to judge this matter are either extremely reticent or scorn the suggestion as quite impossible. While it is true that Arthur Lillie and Rudolf Seydel, who have done most to make the theory popular, introduce many vague speculations, we cannot regard a refutation of some of their vagaries as sufficient to settle the subject. No argument has as yet been offered to dispose of the hypothesis, which possesses, to say the least, a great probability in its favor. It is our intention here to enumerate some of the most salient facts so as to show them in their full importance, in the hope that specialists will give us more light on the subject. We repeat the motto which Albrecht Weber inscribed upon the title-page of his Indische Literaturgeschichte:

"Nil desperari !

Auch hier wird es tagen."

The agreement of the ethical spirit of both religions, Buddhism and Christianity, appears the more striking from our being confronted. with an obvious difference between their dogmatologies. Christians believe in God, soul, and immortality, while Buddhists aspire to reach Nirvâna. They have no such terms as God and soul. On the contrary, they reject the ideas of a personal Creator of the world and of an indissoluble soul-unit, an âtman, or ego-entity in man, and thus they are decried by Christians as atheists and deniers of the existence of the soul. Having explained in a previous article that Buddhism is not negative, that its Nirvâna is neither more nor less positive than the Christian heaven, and that Buddha only rejects the gratuitous assumption of a metaphysical soul-agent behind the soul, not the existence of the soul itself, we shall now review

the most obvious similarities and dissimilarities of Buddhism and Christianity; and we come to the conclusion that, supposing no historical connexion exists between the two faiths, their agreement must be regarded as very remarkable; for in that case we must recognise the fact, that both Buddhists and Christians, facing the same problems of life, solve them in a similar spirit although using different modes of expression. It would go far to prove that the basic truths of both religions are deeply rooted in the nature of things and cannot be supposed (as is the theory of supernaturalistic dualism) to stand in contradiction to the cosmic order of the world or to the laws according to which social institutions develop.

Let us


briefly recapitulate the similarities between Buddhism

and Christianity.

According to the sacred legends, Buddha, like Christ, was of royal, not of priestly, lineage; and his life while he was still a babe was jeopardised on account of the transcendent glory of his future. The chapter entitled "The Fear of Bimbisâra," contains a parallel to the story of Herod's massacre of the infants in Bethlehem. The state ministers of Maghada make inquiry if there be any one capable of depriving the king of his regal power. Two of their messengers find among the Shâkyas an infant newly born, the first begotten of his mother, who would either become a universal monarch or a Buddha. On their return they exhort the king "to raise an army and destroy the child, lest he should overturn the empire of the king." But Bimbisâra (unlike Herod of the New Testament) refuses to commit the crime.

The same story is told of fant by the tyrant of Madura.

Krishna, who is persecuted as an inThe latter, unable to find the boy, ordains the massacre of all the children of male sex born during the night of Krishna's birth.

Both Buddha and Christ led a life of poverty. Both wandered about without a home, without a family, without property. They

1 Beal, Romantic History of Buddha, pp. 103-104.

lived like the lilies of the field, and preached to all people, to rich and poor alike, without distinction of class, the gospel of the deliverance from evil.

Both Buddha and Christ, according to the canonical books of their respective religions were hailed soon after their birth, as the saviours of the world, by celestial spirits, by a religious prophet, and by sages. Dêvas, like the angels in the Christian Gospel, sing hymns. Asita is the Christian Simeon; the Nâga-râjas are the Magi. Aged women are also mentioned, who, like Anna, bless the baby.1

We read in the Tibetan Life of Buddha2:

"It was the habit of the Çakyas to make all new-born children bow down at the feet of a statue of the yaksha Çakyavardana; so the king took the young child to the temple, but the yaksha bowed down at his feet. . . . When the king saw the yaksha bow at the child's feet he exclaimed, He is the god of gods!' and the child was therefore called Devatideva."

The apocryphal Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew contains a similar passage:

'Now it came to pass that when the most blessed Mary, with her little Infant, had entered the temple, all the idols were prostrate on the earth, so that they all lay upon their faces wholly shattered and broken."

Both were

Both Buddha and Christ excelled their teachers. greeted by a woman who was delighted with their personal beauty. The "noble virgin Kisâ Gotamî” bursts forth into the song :

"Blessed indeed is the mother,

Blessed indeed is the father,

Blessed indeed is the wife,

Who owns this lord so glorious.”—Birth Stories, p. 80.

This reminds one of the incident mentioned in Luke xi, 27 :

1 See Ashvaghosha's Life of Buddha, verses 39-40.-Sacred Books of the East, (afterwards cited as S. B. of E.) vol. xix, pp. 1-20.

2 The Life of Buddha and the Farly History of His Order, Derived from Tibetan Works in the Bkah-Hgyur and Bstan-Hgyur, translated by W. Woodville Rockhill, p. 17. See also S. Beal, Romantic History of Buddha, p. 52.

3 The Apocryphal Gospels, tr. by B. Harris Cowper, 4th ed. p. 63. See also The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, ibid., p. 178.

« AnteriorContinuar »