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Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology
by Public Interest Investigations Powerbase
Accessed: 12/18/19



The Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology was a CIA supported operation that was used in covert research on 'brainwashing'. It was disbanded in 1965. According to a 1999 report in Peace Research: 'In 1955, Harold Wolff, from Cornell University's Psychiatry Department created a CIA research front called the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology. This was later shortened to the Human Ecology Fund. The plan was to promote research that would lead to techniques for getting information out of people without their co-operation and without their even knowing that was what you were doing.'[1]

The report also noted[1]:

In 1957, the Human Ecology Fund was legally separated from Cornell. Lt.-Col. James Monroe, former head of the Psychological Warfare Division of the U.S. Air Force, became director, and Carl Rogers joined the board of directors. Rogers is on record as saying that he was well aware that the Human Ecology Fund was a CIA front for covert funding of psychological research, and that he had no problem working for the CIA.[2] In fact, the CIA gave Rogers $30,000, which enabled him to leave academics and settle in sunny La Jolla, California.[3] There he worked for the Western Behavioural Sciences Institute, which had contracts with the Pentagon for cross-cultural research.[4] Rogers has said that he was confident that his research had no espionage applications. However, a January 1960 CIA memo stated that the CIA was interested in adapting Rogers' theories and methods of non-directive therapy for non-directive methods of interrogation.

According to a report in the Washington Post in 1977:

Some of the research was done under the auspices of the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, a CIA-supported operation that was disbanded in 1965. According to a report in yesterday's editions of The New York Times, other conduits included the Office of Naval Research and the Geeschickter Fund for Medical Research, a still extant foundation that once contributed $370,000 toward construction of a $3 million building at Georgetown Hospital here. Military contracts arranged by the Office of Naval Research reportedly enabled the CIA to test LSD and other drugs on prisoners at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Lexing, Ky., purportedly as part of a project aimed at finding a substitute for codeine as a mild pain killer.

Much of this research was said to be have been conducted by Dr. Harris Isbell, now retired and living in Eastland, Tex. He refuses to comment. "I have a personal rule: I don't talk to reporters," he said yesterday in a brief telephone conversation that ended with his hanging up. "I'm safely and happily retired." The testing extended to Canada under the aegis of the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology where some experiments were done on psychiatric patients at the Allen Memorial Institutte of Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. The research there was carried out by Dr. Ewen Cameron, who died in 1967.

"He was doing some rather interesting work with schizophrenics," the society's one-time executive director and treasurer, James F. Monroe, recalled yesterday. "We provided the funds to keep his work going. He was using drugs and a total pschological bombardment of the individual - trying to break through in communication." this involved "24-hour conversations" with patienst by teams under Cameron's direction who focused on one individual. "They had some rather remarkable successes," Monroe, a former Air Force colonel and expert in brain-washing, said. "They introduced me to one man who had been completely catatonic until he was brought into the program. But the time I saw him he could converse, he was a human being again."[5]

The New York Times, reported:

CIA also provided funding through Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, which was founded in mid-50's by Dr Harold Wolff and his assistant at Cornell Univ Med Center Dr Lawrence B Hinkle Jr to conduct brainwashing study. Wolff was said to be close friend of Central Intelligence Dir Allen Dulles. In '56 CIA decided to support research by other entities through society. At this point all Cornell staff dropped out save Wolff. CIA installed Air Force Col James L Monroe, brainwashing expert, as society exec dir and treasurer. Hinkle asserts no human experimentation was ever conducted at NY Hosp, Cornell Med Center or by Cornell staff on project. Under Monroe, society funded brainwashing research by Dr Donald Ewen Cameron of McGill Univ's Allan Memorial Inst of Psychiatry.[6]


1. Rudmin, Floyd Carl Rogers worked for the CIA Peace Research November, 1999 Pg. v.31(4) N'99 pg 77-78 ISSN: 0008-4697
2. J.D. Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control (New York: Times Books, 1979).
3. M. Klare, The University-Military Complex: A Directory and Related Documents (New York: North, 1970). Also, J. R. Raser, 'Cross-cultural Simulation Research,' International Journal of Psychology 2, p. 59-67.
4. P. Greenfield, 'CIA's Behaviour' Caper,' APA Monitor 8, no. 12, p. 1, 10-11., Marks, op. cit.
5. George Lardner Jr. and John Jacobs, Washington Post Staff Writers Lengthy Mind-Control Research by CIA Is Detailed; The Washington Post August 3, 1977, Wednesday, Final Edition SECTION: First Section; A1


The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control
by John Marks


Well before Harold Wolff and Lawrence Hinkle finished their brainwashing study for Allen Dulles in 1956, Wolff was trying to expand his role in CIA research and operations. He offered Agency officials the cooperation of his colleagues at Cornell University, where he taught neurology and psychiatry in the Medical College. In proposal after proposal, Wolff pressed upon the CIA his idea that to understand human behavior -- and how governments might manipulate it -- one had to study man in relationship to his total environment. Calling this field "human ecology," Wolff drew into it the disciplines of psychology, medicine, sociology, and anthropology. In the academic world of the early 1950s, this cross-disciplinary approach was somewhat new, as was the word "ecology," but it made sense to CIA officials. Like Wolff, they were far in advance of the trends in the behavioral sciences.

Wolff carved out vast tracts of human knowledge, some only freshly discovered, and proposed a partnership with the Agency for the task of mastering that knowledge for operational use. It was a time when knowledge itself seemed bountiful and promising, and Wolff was expansive about how the CIA could harness it. Once he figured out how the human mind really worked, he wrote, he would tell the Agency "how a man can be made to think, 'feel,' and behave according to the wishes of other men, and, conversely, how a man can avoid being influenced in this manner."

Such notions, which may now appear naive or perverse, did not seem so unlikely at the height of the Cold War. And Wolff's professional stature added weight to his ideas. Like D. Ewen Cameron, he was no obscure academic. He had been president of the New York Neurological Association and would become, in 1960, President of the American Neurological Association. He served for several years as editor-in-chief of the American Medical Association's Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry. Both by credentials and force of personality, Wolff was an impressive figure. CIA officials listened respectfully to his grand vision of how spies and doctors could work symbiotically to help -- if not save -- the world. Also, the Agency men never forgot that Wolff had become close to Director Allen Dulles while treating Dulles' son for brain damage.

Wolff's specialized neurological practice led him to believe that brain maladies, like migraine headaches, occurred because of disharmony between man and his environment. In this case, he wrote to the Agency, "The problem faced by the physician is quite similar to that faced by the Communist interrogator." Both would be trying to put their subject back in harmony with his environment whether the problem was headache or ideological dissent. Wolff believed that the beneficial effects of any new interrogation technique would naturally spill over into the treatment of his patients, and vice versa. Following the Soviet model, he felt he could help his patients by putting them into an isolated, disoriented state -- from which it would be easier to create new behavior patterns. Although Russian-style isolation cells were impractical at Cornell, Wolff hoped to get the same effect more quickly through sensory deprivation. He told the Agency that sensory-deprivation chambers had "valid medical reason" as part of a treatment that relieved migraine symptoms and made the patient "more receptive to the suggestions of the psychotherapist." He proposed keeping his patients in sensory deprivation until they "show an increased desire to talk and to escape from the procedure." Then, he said, doctors could "utilize material from their own past experience in order to create psychological reactions within them." This procedure drew heavily on the Stalinist method. It cannot be said what success, if any, Wolff had with it to the benefit of his patients at Cornell.

Wolff offered to devise ways to use the broadest cultural and social processes in human ecology for covert operations. He understood that every country had unique customs for child rearing, military training, and nearly every other form of human intercourse. From the CIA's point of view, he noted, this kind of sociological information could be applied mainly to indoctrinating and motivating people. He distinguished these motivating techniques from the "special methods" that he felt were "more relevant to subversion, seduction, and interrogation." He offered to study those methods, too, and asked the Agency to give him access to everything in its files on "threats, coercion, imprisonment, isolation, deprivation, humiliation, torture, 'brainwashing,' 'black psychiatry,' hypnosis, and combinations of these with or without chemical agents." Beyond mere study, Wolff volunteered the unwitting use of Cornell patients for brainwashing experiments, so long as no one got hurt. He added, however, that he would advise the CIA on experiments that harmed their subjects if they were performed elsewhere. He obviously felt that only the grandest sweep of knowledge, flowing freely between scholar and spy, could bring the best available techniques to bear on their respective subjects.

In 1955 Wolff incorporated his CIA-funded study group as the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, with himself as president. [i] Through the Society, Wolff extended his efforts for the Agency, and his organization turned into a CIA-controlled funding mechanism for studies and experiments in the behavioral sciences.


In the early days of the Society, Agency officials trusted Wolff and his untried ideas with a sensitive espionage assignment. In effect, the new specialty of human ecology was going to telescope the stages of research and application into one continuing process. Speeding up the traditional academic method was required because the CIA men faced an urgent problem. "What was bothering them," Lawrence Hinkle explains, "was that the Chinese had cleaned up their agents in China.... What they really wanted to do was come up with some Chinese [in America], steer them to us, and make them into agents." Wolff accepted the challenge and suggested that the Cornell group hide its real purpose behind the cover of investigating "the ecological aspects of disease" among Chinese refugees. The Agency gave the project a budget of $84,175 (about 30 percent of the money it put into Cornell in 1955) and supplied the study group with 100 Chinese refugees to work with. Nearly all these subjects had been studying in the United States when the communists took over the mainland in 1949, so they tended to be dislocated people in their thirties.

On the Agency side, the main concern, as expressed by one ARTICHOKE man, was the "security hazard" of bringing together so many potential agents in one place. Nevertheless, CIA officials decided to go ahead. Wolff promised to tell them about the inner reaches of the Chinese character, and they recognized the operational advantage that insight into Chinese behavior patterns could provide. Moreover, Wolff said he would pick out the most useful possible agents. The Human Ecology Society would then offer these candidates "fellowships" and subject them to more intensive interviews and "stress producing" situations. The idea was to find out about their personalities, past conditioning, and present motivations, in order to figure out how they might perform in future predicaments -- such as finding themselves back in Mainland China as American agents. In the process, Wolff hoped to mold these Chinese into people willing to work for the CIA. Mindful of leaving some cover for Cornell, he was adamant that Agency operators not connected with the project make the actual recruitment pitch to those Chinese whom the Agency men wanted as agents.

As a final twist, Wolff planned to provide each agent with techniques to withstand the precise forms of hostile interrogation they could expect upon returning to China. CIA officials wanted to "precondition" the agents in order to create longlasting motivation "impervious to lapse of time and direct psychological attacks by the enemy." In other words, Agency men planned to brainwash their agents in order to protect them against Chinese brainwashing.

Everything was covered -- in theory, at least. Wolff was going to take a crew of 100 refugees and turn as many of them as possible into detection-proof, live agents inside China, and he planned to do the job quickly through human ecology. It was a heady chore for the Cornell professor to take on after classes.

Wolff hired a full complement of psychologists, psychiatrists, and anthropologists to work on the project. He bulldozed his way through his colleagues' qualms and government red tape alike. Having hired an anthropologist before learning that the CIA security office would not give her a clearance, Wolff simply lied to her about where the money came from. "It was a function of Wolff's imperious nature," says his partner Hinkle. "If a dog came in and threw up on the rug during a lecture, he would continue." Even the CIA men soon found that Harold Wolff was not to be trifled with. "From the Agency side, I don't know anyone who wasn't scared of him," recalls a longtime CIA associate. "He was an autocratic man. I never knew him to chew anyone out. He didn't have to. We were damned respectful. He moved in high places. He was just a skinny little man, but talk about mind control! He was one of the controllers."

In the name of the Human Ecology Society, the CIA paid $1,200 a month to rent a fancy town house on Manhattan's East 78th Street to house the Cornell group and its research projects. Agency technicians traveled to New York in December 1954 to install eavesdropping microphones around the building. These and other more obvious security devices -- safes, guards, and the like -- made the town house look different from the academic center it was supposed to be. CIA liaison personnel held meetings with Wolff and the staff in the secure confines of the town house, and they all carefully watched the 100 Chinese a few blocks away at the Cornell hospital. The Society paid each subject $25 a day so the researchers could test them, probe them, and generally learn all they could about Chinese people -- or at least about middle- class, displaced, anticommunist ones.

It is doubtful that any of Wolff's Chinese ever returned to their homeland as CIA agents, or that all of Wolff's proposals were put into effect. In any case, the project was interrupted in midstream by a major shake-up in the CIA's entire mind-control effort. Early in 1955, Sid Gottlieb and his Ph.D. crew from TSS took over most of the ARTICHOKE functions, including the Society, from Morse Allen and the Pinkerton types in the Office of Security. The MKULTRA men moved quickly to turn the Society into an entity that looked and acted like a legitimate foundation. First they smoothed over the ragged covert edges. Out came the bugs and safes so dear to Morse Allen and company. The new crew even made some effort (largely unsuccessful) to attract non- CIA funds. The biggest change, however, was the Cornell professors now had to deal with Agency representatives who were scientists and who had strong ideas of their own on research questions. Up to this point, the Cornellians had been able to keep the CIA's involvement within bounds acceptable to them. While Harold Wolff never ceased wanting to explore the furthest reaches of behavior control, his colleagues were wary of going on to the outer limits -- at least under Cornell cover.


No one would ever confuse MKULTRA projects with ivory-tower research, but Gottlieb's people did take a more academic -- and sophisticated -- approach to behavioral research than their predecessors. The MKULTRA men understood that not every project would have an immediate operational benefit, and they believed less and less in the existence of. that one just-over-the-horizon technique that would turn men into puppets. They favored increasing their knowledge of human behavior in relatively small steps, and they concentrated on the reduced goal of influencing and manipulating their subjects. "You're ahead of the game if you can get people to do something ten percent more often than they would otherwise," says an MKULTRA veteran.

Accordingly, in 1956, Sid Gottlieb approved a $74,000 project to have the Human Ecology Society study the factors that caused men to defect from their countries and cooperate with foreign governments. MKULTRA officials reasoned that if they could understand what made old turncoats tick, it might help them entice new ones. While good case officers instinctively seemed to know how to handle a potential agent -- or thought they did -- the MKULTRA men hoped to come up with systematic, even scientific improvements. Overtly, Harold Wolff designed the program to look like a follow-up study to the Society's earlier programs, noting to the Agency that it was "feasible to study foreign nationals under the cover of a medical-sociological study." (He told his CIA funders that "while some information of general value to science should be produced, this in itself will not be a sufficient justification for carrying out a study of this nature.") Covertly, he declared the purpose of the research was to assess defectors' social and cultural background, their life experience, and their personality structure, in order to understand their motivations, value systems, and probable future reactions.

The 1956 Hungarian revolt occurred as the defector study was getting underway, and the Human Ecology group, with CIA headquarters approval, decided to turn the defector work into an investigation of 70 Hungarian refugees from that upheaval. By then, most of Harold Wolff's team had been together through the brainwashing and Chinese studies. While not all of them knew of the CIA's specific interests, they had streamlined their procedures for answering the questions that Agency officials found interesting. They ran the Hungarians through the battery of tests and observations in six months, compared to a year and a half for the Chinese project.

The Human Ecology Society reported that most of their Hungarian subjects had fought against the Russians during the Revolution and that they had lived through extraordinarily difficult circumstances, including arrest, mistreatment, and indoctrination. The psychologists and psychiatrists found that, often, those who had survived with the fewest problems had been those with markedly aberrant personalities. "This observation has added to the evidence that healthy people are not necessarily 'normal,' but are people particularly adapted to their special life situations," the group declared.

While CIA officials liked the idea that their Hungarian subjects had not knuckled under communist influence, they. recognized that they were working with a skewed sample. American visa restrictions kept most of the refugee left-wingers and former communist officials out of the United States; so, as a later MKULTRA document would state, the Society wound up studying "western-tied rightist elements who had never been accepted completely" in postwar Hungary. Agency researchers realized that these people would "contribute little" toward increasing the CIA's knowledge of the processes that made a communist official change his loyalties.

In order to broaden their data base, MKULTRA officials decided in March 1957 to bring in some unwitting help. They gave a contract to Rutgers University sociologists Richard Stephenson and Jay Schulman "to throw as much light as possible on the sociology of the communist system in the throes of revolution." The Rutgers professors started out by interviewing the 70 Hungarians at Cornell in New York, and Schulman went on to Europe to talk to disillusioned Communists who had also fled their country. From an operational point of view, these were the people the Agency really cared about; but, as socialists, most of them probably would have resisted sharing their experiences with the CIA -- if they had known. [ii]

Jay Schulman would have resisted, too. After discovering almost 20 years later that the Agency had paid his way and seen his confidential interviews, he feels misused. "In 1957 I was myself a quasi-Marxist and if I had known that this study was sponsored by the CIA, there is really, obviously, no way that I would have been associated with it," says Schulman. "My view is that social scientists have a deep personal responsibility for questioning the sources of funding; and the fact that I didn't do it at the time was simply, in my judgment, indication of my own naivete and political innocence, in spite of my ideological bent."

Deceiving Schulman and his Hungarian subjects did not bother the men from MKULTRA in the slightest. According to a Gottlieb aide, one of the strong arguments inside the CIA for the whole Human Ecology program was that it gave the Agency a means of approaching and using political mavericks who could not otherwise get security clearances. "Sometimes," he chuckles, "these left-wing social scientists were damned good." This MKULTRA veteran scoffs at the displeasure Schulman expresses: "If we'd gone to a guy and said, 'We're CIA,' he never would have done it. They were glad to get the money in a world where damned few people were willing to support them.... They can't complain about how they were treated or that they were asked to do something they wouldn't have normally done."

The Human Ecology Society soon became a conduit for CIA money flowing to projects, like the Rutgers one, outside Cornell. For these grants, the Society provided only cover and administrative support behind the gold-plated names of Cornell and Harold Wolff. From 1955 to 1958, Agency officials passed funds through the Society for work on criminal sexual psychopaths at Ionia State Hospital, [iii] a mental institution located on the banks of the Grand River in the rolling farm country 120 miles northwest of Detroit. This project had an interesting hypothesis: That child molesters and rapists had ugly secrets buried deep within them and that their stake in not admitting their perversions approached that of spies not wanting to confess. The MKULTRA men reasoned that any technique that would work on a sexual psychopath would surely have a similar effect on a foreign agent. Using psychologists and psychiatrists connected to the Michigan mental health and the Detroit court systems, they set up a program to test LSD and marijuana, wittingly and unwittingly, alone and in combination with hypnosis. Because of administrative delays, the Michigan doctors managed to experiment only on 26 inmates in three years -- all sexual offenders committed by judges without a trial under a Michigan law, since declared unconstitutional. The search for a truth drug went on, under the auspices of the Human Ecology Society, as well as in other MKULTRA channels.

The Ionia project was the kind of expansionist activity that made Cornell administrators, if not Harold Wolff, uneasy. By 1957, the Cornellians had had enough. At the same time, the Agency sponsors decided that the Society had outgrown its dependence on Cornell for academic credentials -- that in fact the close ties to Cornell might inhibit the Society's future growth among academics notoriously sensitive to institutional conflicts. One CIA official wrote that the Society "must be given more established stature in the research community to be effective as a cover organization." Once the Society was cut loose in the foundation world, Agency men felt they would be freer to go anywhere in academia to buy research that might assist covert operations. So the CIA severed the Society's formal connection to Cornell.

The Human Ecology group moved out of its East 78th Street town house, which had always seemed a little too plush for a university program, and opened up a new headquarters in Forest Hills, Queens, which was an inappropriate neighborhood for a well-connected foundation. [iv] Agency officials hired a staff of four led by Lieutenant Colonel James Monroe, who had worked closely with the CIA as head of the Air Force's study of Korean War prisoners. Sid Gottlieb and the TSS hierarchy in Washington still made the major decisions, but Monroe and the Society staff, whose salaries the Agency paid, took over the Society's dealings with the outside world and the monitoring of several hundred thousand dollars a year in research projects. Monroe personally supervised dozens of grants, including Dr. Ewen Cameron's brainwashing work in Montreal. Soon the Society was flourishing as an innovative foundation, attracting research proposals from a wide variety of behavioral scientists, at a time when these people -- particularly the unorthodox ones -- were still the step-children of the fund-granting world.


After the Society's exit from Cornell, Wolff and Hinkle stayed on as president and vice-president, respectively, of the Society's board of directors. Dr. Joseph Hinsey, head of the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center also remained on the board. Allen Dulles continued his personal interest in the Society's work and carne to one of the first meetings of the new board, which, as was customary with CIA fronts, included some big outside names. These luminaries added worthiness to the enterprise while playing essentially figurehead roles. In 1957 the other board members were John Whitehorn, chairman of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University, Carl Rogers, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, and Adolf A. Berle, onetime Assistant Secretary of State and chairman of the New York Liberal Party. [v] Berle had originally put his close friend Harold Wolff in touch with the CIA, and at Wolff's request, he carne on the Society board despite some reservations. "I am frightened about this one," Berle wrote in his diary. "If the scientists do what they have laid out for themselves, men will become manageable ants. But I don't think it will happen."

There was a lot of old-fashioned backscratching among the CIA people and the academics as they settled into the work of accommodating each other. Even Harold Wolff, the first and the most enthusiastic of the scholar-spies, had made it clear from the beginning that he expected some practical rewards for his service. According to colleague Hinkle, who appreciated Wolff as one the great grantsman of his time, Wolff expected that the Agency "would support our research and we would be their consultants." Wolff bluntly informed the CIA that some of his work would have no direct use "except that it vastly enhances our value ... as consultants and advisers." In other words, Wolff felt that his worth to the CIA increased in proportion to his professional accomplishments and importance -- which in turn depended partly on the resources he commanded. The Agency men understood, and over the last half of the 19508,they were happy to contribute almost $300,000 to Wolff's own research on the brain and central nervous system. In turn, Wolff and his reputation helped them gain access to other leading lights in the academic world.

Another person who benefited from Human Ecology funds was Carl Rogers, whom Wolff had also asked to serve on the board. Rogers, who later would become famous for his nondirective, nonauthoritarian approach to psychotherapy, respected Wolff's work, and he had no objection to helping the CIA. Although he says he would have nothing to do with secret Agency activities today, he asks for understanding in light of the climate of the 1950s."We really did regard Russia as the enemy," declares Rogers, "and we were trying to do various things to make sure the Russians did not get the upper hand." Rogers received an important professional reward for joining the Society board. Executive Director James Monroe had let him know that, once he agreed to serve, he could expect to receive a Society grant. "That appealed to me because I was having trouble getting funded," says Rogers. "Having gotten that grant [about $30,000 over three years], it made it possible to get other grants from Rockefeller and NIMH." Rogers still feels grateful to the Society for helping him establish a funding "track record," but he emphasizes that the Agency never had any effect on his research.

Although MKULTRA psychologist John Gittinger suspected that Rogers' work on psychotherapy might provide insight into interrogation methods, the Society did not give Rogers money because of the content of his work. The grant ensured his services as a consultant, if desired, and, according to a CIA document, "free access" to his project. But above all, the grant allowed the Agency to use Rogers' name. His standing in the academic community contributed to the layer of cover around the Society that Agency officials felt was crucial to mask their involvement.

Professor Charles Osgood's status in psychology also improved the Society's cover, but his research was more directly useful to the Agency, and the MKULTRA men paid much more to get it. In 1959 Osgood, who four years later became president of the American Psychological Association, wanted to push forward his work on how people in different societies express the same feelings, even when using different words and concepts. Osgood wrote in "an abstract conceptual framework," but Agency officials saw his research as "directly relevant" to covert activities. They believed they could transfer Osgood's knowledge of "hidden values and cues" in the way people communicate into more effective overseas propaganda. Osgood's work gave them a tool -- called the "semantic differential" -- to choose the right words in a foreign language to convey a particular meaning.

Like Carl Rogers, Osgood got his first outside funding for what became the most important work of his career from the Human Ecology Society. Osgood had written directly to the CIA for support, and the Society soon contacted him and furnished $194,975 for research over five years. The money allowed him to travel widely and to expand his work into 30 different cultures. Also like Rogers, Osgood eventually received NIMH money to finish his research, but he acknowledges that the Human Ecology grants played an important part in the progress of his work. He stresses that "there was none of the feeling then about the CIA that there is now, in terms of subversive activities," and he states that the Society had no influence on anything he produced. Yet Society men could and did talk to him about his findings. They asked questions that reflected their own covert interests, not his academic pursuits; and they drew him out, according to one of them, "at great length." Osgood had started studying cross-cultural meaning well before he received the Human Ecology money, but the Society's support ensured that he would continue his work on a scale that suited the Agency's purposes, as well as his own.

A whole category of Society funding, called "cover grants," served no other purpose than to build the Society's false front. These included a sociological study of Levittown, Long Island (about $4,500), an analysis of the Central Mongoloid skull ($700), and a look at the foreign-policy attitudes of people who owned fallout shelters, as opposed to people who did not ($2,500). A $500 Human Ecology grant went to Istanbul University for a study of the effects of circumcision on Turkish boys. The researcher found that young Turks, usually circumcised between the ages of five and seven, felt "severe emotional impact with attending symptoms of withdrawal." The children saw the painful operations as "an act of aggression" that brought out previously hidden fears -- or so the Human Ecology Society reported.

In other instances, the Society put money into projects whose covert application was so unlikely that only an expert could see the possibilities. Nonetheless, in 1958 the Society gave $5,570 to social psychologists Muzafer and Carolyn Wood Sherif of the University of Oklahoma for work on the behavior of teen-age boys in gangs. The Sherifs, both ignorant of the CIA connection, [vi] studied the group structures and attitudes in the gangs and tried to devise ways to channel antisocial behavior into more constructive paths. Their results were filtered through clandestine minds at the Agency. "With gang warfare," says an MKULTRA source, "you tried to get some defectors-in-place who would like to modify some of the group behavior and cool it. Now, getting a juvenile delinquent defector was motivationally not all that much different from getting a Soviet one."

MKULTRA officials were clearly interested in using their grants to build contacts and associations with prestigious academics. The Society put $1,500 a year into the Research in Mental Health Newsletter published jointly at McGill University by the sociology and psychiatric departments. Anthropologist Margaret Mead, an international culture heroine, sat on the newsletter's advisory board (with, among others, D. Ewen Cameron), and the Society used her name in its biennial report. Similarly, the Society gave grants of $26,000 to the well-known University of London psychologist, H. J. Eysenck, for his work on motivation. An MKULTRA document acknowledged that this research would have "no immediate relevance for Agency needs," but that it would "lend prestige" to the Society. The grants to Eysenck also allowed the Society to take funding credit for no less than nine of his publications in its 1963 report. The following year, the Society managed to purchase a piece of the work of the most famous behaviorist of all, Harvard's B. F. Skinner. Skinner, who had tried to train pigeons to guide bombs for the military during World War II, received a $5,000 Human Ecology grant to pay the costs of a secretary and supplies for the research that led to his book, Freedom and Dignity. Skinner has no memory of the grant or its origins but says, "I don't like secret involvement of any kind. I can't see why it couldn't have been open and aboveboard."

A TSS source explains that grants like these "bought legitimacy" for the Society and made the recipients "grateful." He says that the money gave Agency employees at Human Ecology a reason to phone Skinner -- or any of the other recipients -- to pick his brain about a particular problem. In a similar vein, another MKULTRA man, psychologist John Gittinger mentions the Society's relationship with Erwin Goffman of the University of Pennsylvania, whom many consider today's leading sociological theorist. The Society gave him a small grant to help finish a book that would have been published anyway. As a result, Gittinger was able to spend hours talking with him about, among other things, an article he had written earlier on confidence men. These hucksters were experts at manipulating behavior, according to Gittinger, and Goffman unwittingly "gave us a better understanding of the techniques people use to establish phony relationships" -- a subject of interest to the CIA.

To keep track of new developments in the behavioral sciences, Society representatives regularly visited grant recipients and found out what they and their colleagues were doing. Some of the knowing professors became conscious spies. Most simply relayed the latest professional gossip to their visitors and sent along unpublished papers. The prestige of the Human Ecology grantees also helped give the Agency access to behavioral scientists who had no connection to the Society. "You could walk into someone's office and say you were just talking to Skinner," says an MKULTRA veteran. "We didn't hesitate to do this. It was a way to name-drop."

The Society did not limit its intelligence gathering to the United States. As one Agency source puts it, "The Society gave us a legitimate basis to approach anyone in the academic community anywhere in the world." CIA officials regularly used it as cover when they traveled abroad to study the behavior of foreigners of interest to the Agency, including such leaders as Nikita Khrushchev. The Society funded foreign researchers and also gave money to American professors to collect information abroad. In 1960, for instance, the Society sponsored a survey of Soviet psychology through the simple device of putting up $15,000 through the official auspices of the American Psychological Association to send ten prominent psychologists on a tour of the Soviet Union. Nine of the ten had no idea of the Agency involvement, but CIA officials were apparently able to debrief everyone when the group returned. Then the Society sponsored a conference and book for which each psychologist contributed a chapter. The book added another $5,000 to the CIA's cost, but $20,000 all told seemed like a small price to pay for the information gathered. The psychologists -- except perhaps the-knowledgeable one -- did nothing they would not ordinarily have done during their trip, and the scholarly community benefited from increased knowledge on an important subject. The only thing violated was the openness and trust normally associated with academic pursuits. By turning scholars into spies -- even unknowing ones -- CIA officials risked the reputation of American research work and "Contributed potential ammunition toward the belief in many countries that the U.S. notion of academic freedom and independence from the state is self-serving and hypocritical.

Secrecy allowed the Agency a measure of freedom from normal academic restrictions and red tape, and the men from MKULTRA used that freedom to make their projects more attractive. The Society demanded "no stupid progress reports," recalls psychologist and psychiatrist Martin Orne, who received a grant to support his Harvard research on hypnotism. As a further sign of generosity and trust, the Society gave Orne a follow-on $30,000 grant with no specified purpose. [vii] Orne could use it as he wished. He believes the money was "a contingency investment" in his work, and MKULTRA officials agree. "We could go to Orne anytime," says one of them, "and say, 'Okay, here is a situation and here is a kind of guy. What would you expect we might be able to achieve if we could hypnotize him?' Through his massive knowledge, he could speculate and advise." A handful of other Society grantees also served in similar roles as covert Agency consultants in the field of their expertise.

In general, the Human Ecology Society served as the. CIA's window on the world of behavioral research. No phenomenon was too arcane to escape a careful look from the Society, whether extrasensory perception or African witch doctors. "There were some unbelievable schemes," recalls an MKULTRA veteran, "but you also knew Einstein was considered crazy. You couldn't be so biased that you wouldn't leave open the possibility that some crazy idea might work." MKULTRA men realized, according to the veteran, that "ninety percent of what we were doing would fail" to be of any use to the Agency. Yet, with a spirit of inquiry much freer than that usually found in the academic world, the Society took early stabs at cracking the genetic code with computers and finding out whether animals could be controlled through electrodes placed in their brains.

The Society's unrestrained, scattershot approach to behavioral research went against the prevailing wisdom in American universities -- both as to methods and to subjects of interest. During the 1950s one school of thought -- so-called "behaviorism" -- was accepted on campus, virtually to the exclusion of all others. The "behaviorists," led by Harvard's B. F. Skinner, looked at psychology as the study of learned observable responses to outside stimulation. To oversimplify, they championed the approach in which psychologists gave rewards to rats scurrying through mazes, and they tended to dismiss matters of great interest to the Agency: e.g., the effect of drugs on the psyche, subjective phenomena like hypnosis, the inner workings of the mind, and personality theories that took genetic differences into account.

By investing up to $400,000 a year into the early, innovative work of men like Carl Rogers, Charles Osgood, and Martin Orne, the CIA's Human Ecology Society helped liberate the behavioral sciences from the world of rats and cheese. With a push from the Agency as well as other forces, the field opened up. Former iconoclasts became eminent, and, for better or worse, the Skinnerian near-monopoly gave way to a multiplication of contending schools. Eventually, a reputable behavioral scientist could be doing almost anything: holding hands with his students in sensitivity sessions, collecting survey data on spanking habits, or subjectively exploring new modes of consciousness. The CIA's money undoubtedly changed the academic world to some degree, though no one can say how much.

As usual, the CIA men were ahead of their time and had started to move on before the new approaches became established. In 1963, having sampled everything from palm reading to subliminal perception, Sid Gottlieb and his colleagues satisfied themselves that they had overlooked no area of knowledge -- however esoteric -- that might be promising for CIA operations. The Society had served its purpose; now the money could be better spent elsewhere. Agency officials transferred the still-useful projects to other covert channels and allowed the rest to die quietly. By the end of 1965, when the remaining research was completed, the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology was gone.



i. In 1961 the Society changed its name to the Human Ecology Fund, but for convenience sake it will be called the Society throughout the book.

ii. Also to gain access to this same group of leftist Hungarian refugees in Europe, the Human Ecology Society put $15,000 in 1958 into an unwitting study by Dr. A. H. M. Struik of the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. An Agency document extolled this arrangement not only as a useful way of studying Hungarians but because it provided "entree" into a leading European university and psychological research center, adding "such a connection has manifold cover and testing possibilities as well as providing a base from which to take advantage of developments in that area of the world."

iii. Professor Lawrence Hinkle states that it was never his or Cornell's intention that the Society would be used as a CIA funding conduit. When told that he himself had written letters on the Ionia project, he replied that the Society's CIA-supplied bookkeeper was always putting papers in front of him and that he must have signed without realizing the implications.

iv. By 1961 the CIA staff had tired of Queens and moved the Society back into Manhattan to 201 East 57th Street. In 1965, as the Agency was closing down the front, it switched its headquarters to 1834 Connecticut Avenue N.W. in Washington, the same building owned by Dr. Charles Geschickter that housed another MKULTRA conduit, the Geschickter Fund for Medical Research.

v. Other establishment figures who would grace the Human Ecology board over the years included Leonard Carmichael, head of the Smithsonian Institution, Barnaby Keeney, president of Brown University, and George A. Kelly, psychology professor and Society fund recipient at Ohio State University.

vi. According to Dr. Carolyn Sherif, who says she and her husband did not share the Cold War consensus and would never have knowingly taken CIA funds, Human Ecology executive director James Monroe lied directly about the source of the Society's money, claiming it came from rich New York doctors and Texas millionaires who gave it for tax purposes. Monroe used this standard cover story with other grantees.

vii. A 1962 report of Orne's laboratory, the Institute for Experimental Psychiatry, showed that it received two sizable grants before the end of that year: $30,000 from Human Ecology and $30,000 from Scientific Engineering Institute, another CIA front organization. Orne says he was not aware of the latter group's Agency connection at the time. but learned of it later. He used its grant to study new ways of using the polygraph.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:06 am

Female infanticide in China
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/20/19



Tibet abounds in monasteries and temples. No other Buddhist country in Asia, whether in the past or in the present time, could be compared with modern Tibet in the number of her Buddhist priests and monasteries. During my residence in Tibet, I obtained a list of some of the well known monasteries, compiled by Sumpa Khanpo. The number of monasteries in the provinces of U, and Tsang in 1725 A.D. was 325, and under the hierarchy of the Dalai Lama in Tibet was 1,026, with a monk population of 491,242. I was told by the spiritual minister of the Tashi Lama that the number of monasteries since the time of Sumpa had increased not less than three-fold, and the number of monks had doubled. So, the number of monks in the monasteries of Tibet at the present day might, according to him, be estimated at a million. According to my estimate which is based partly on Tibetan official documents and partly on records left by eminent Tibetan writers, Tibet has a population of six million, though the country is nearly equal in extent to Russia, its population is no larger than that of London. The proportion of its monks to the entire population was therefore 1 to 6. If one half of the population be females, then the proportion of the monks to the male population would be 1 to 3. This appeared to me too large a proportion for the monks. I, therefore, thought it safe to state that the monk population was half a million to make the proportion 1 to 6, as it is generally held by some of the most well-informed men of Tibet. Though the number of the monasteries is so large the number of nunneries is disproportionately small. It is doubtful if there are even a hundred convents in whole Tibet. We find that the first class monasteries which have state endowments for their support, contain an average of 1,000 monks in each; but in the larger convents the average number of nuns does not exceed 20. It may be asked what may be the reason for this remarkable disproportion in the two classes of institutions. The custom of polyandry which prevails in Tibet would rather suggest an increase of the nunneries with a corresponding increase in their population. But in fact the very reverse is the case. It has been a puzzle to European scholars who have taken interest in the matter of the institutions of Tibet, to account for the number and occupation of the women who remain unmarried. If it is true that all the brothers in a family club together in matrimony with one wife, then what becomes of the majority of the female population who remain unmarried?

-- Journal of the Buddhist Text Society of India, Volume 4, edited by Sarat Chandra Das, C.I.E.

Despite the paucity of cases there seems reason to assume that polyandry may sometimes be due to a scarcity of women resulting from the practice of female infanticide.

-- Social Structure, by George Peter Murdock (1949: 25)

There definitely was no pattern of female infanticide in Tibetan cultural areas.

-- Fraternal Polyandry and Fertility in a High Himalayan Valley in Northwest Nepal, by Melvyn C. Goldstein

The People's Republic of China and its predecessors have a history of female infanticide spanning 2000 years.[1] Worldwide, infanticide has been practiced since antiquity for the purpose of population control.[1] It is an unsanctioned method of family planning that has been condoned for centuries in the area until recent times. The phenomenon is also referred to as female gendercide; however, the word gendercide can be used for both sexes.


Burying Babies in China (p.40, March 1865, XXII)[2]

The practice of female infanticide was far from wholly condoned in China. Buddhists wrote that the killing of young girls would bring bad karma. Conversely, those who saved a young girl's life either through intervening or through presents of money or food would earn good karma leading to a prosperous life, as well as long life and success for their sons. However, the Buddhist belief in reincarnation meant that the death of an infant was not final as the child would be reborn, and this belief eased guilty feelings [of the person] over female infanticide.[3]

The Confucian attitude towards female infanticide was conflicted. By valuing age over youth, Confucian filial piety lessened the value of children, whilst the Confucian belief of Ren led Confucian intellectuals to support the idea that female infanticide was wrong and that the practice would upset the balance between yin and yang.[4]

When Christian missionaries arrived in China in the late sixteenth century, they witnessed newborns being thrown into rivers or onto rubbish piles.[5][6] In the seventeenth century Matteo Ricci documented that the practice occurred in several of China's provinces and said that the primary reason for the practice was poverty.[6] The practice continued into the 19th century and declined precipitously during the Communist era,[7] but has reemerged as an issue since the introduction of the one-child policy in the early 1980s.[8] The census of 1990 showed an overall male-to-female sex ratio of 1.066, while a normal sex ratio for all ages should be less than 1.02.[9]

19th century

Chinese anti-infanticide tract circa 1800

During the 19th century the practice was widespread. Readings from Qing texts show a prevalence of the term ni nü (to drown girls), and drowning was the most common method used to kill female children. Other methods used were suffocation and starvation.[a][11] Exposure to the elements was another method: the child would be placed in a basket which was then placed in a tree. Buddhist nunneries created "baby towers" for people to leave a child.[12] In 1845 in the province of Jiangxi, a missionary wrote that these children survived for up to two days while exposed to the elements, and that those passing by would ignore the screaming child.[13] Missionary David Abeel reported in 1844 that between one third and one fourth of all female children were killed at birth or soon after.[14]

In 1878 French Jesuit missionary, Gabriel Palatre, collated documents from 13 provinces[15] and the Annales de la Sainte-Enfance (Annals of the Holy Childhood), also found evidence of infanticide in Shanxi and Sichuan. According to the information collected by Palatre the practice was more widespread in the southeastern provinces and the Lower Yangzi River region.[16]

20th century

In 1930, Rou Shi, a noted member of the May Fourth Movement, wrote the short story A Slave-Mother. In it he portrayed the extreme poverty in rural communities that was a direct cause of female infanticide.[17]

A white paper published by the Chinese government in 1980 stated that the practice of female infanticide was a "feudalistic evil". [ b] The state officially considers the practice a carryover from feudal times, not a result of the state's one-child policy. According to Jing-Bao Nie, it would be "inconceivable" to believe there is "no link" between the state's family planning policies and female infanticide.[18]

On September 25, 1980, in an "open letter", the Politburo of the Communist Party of China requested that members of the party, and those in the Communist Youth League, lead by example and have only one child. From the beginning of the one-child policy, there were concerns that it would lead to an imbalance in the sex ratio. Early in the 1980s, senior officials became increasingly concerned with reports of abandonment and female infanticide by parents desperate for a son. In 1984, the government attempted to address the issue by adjusting the one-child policy. Couples whose first child is a girl are allowed to have a second child.[8]


Many Chinese couples desire to have sons because they provide support and security to their aging parents later in life.[19] Conversely, a daughter is expected to leave her parents upon marriage to join and care for her husband’s family.[19] In rural households, which as of 2014 constitute almost half the Chinese population,[20] males are additionally valuable for performing agricultural work and manual labor.[19][21]

A 2005 intercensus survey demonstrated pronounced differences in sex ratio across provinces, ranging from 1.04 in Tibet to 1.43 Jiangxi.[22] Banister (2004), in her literature review on China’s shortage of girls, suggested that there has been a resurgence in the prevalence of female infanticide following the introduction of the one-child policy.[23] On the other hand, many researchers have argued that female infanticide is rare in China today,[22][24] especially since the government has outlawed the practice.[25] Zeng and colleagues (1993), for example, contended that at least half of the nation’s gender imbalance arises from the underreporting of female births.[24]

According to the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the demographic shortfall of female babies who have died for gender related issues is in the same range as the 191 million estimated dead accounting for all conflicts in the twentieth century.[26] In 2012, the documentary It's a Girl: The Three Deadliest Words in the World was released. It focused on female infanticide in India and China.[27]

See also

• It's a Girl: The Three Deadliest Words in the World
• List of Chinese administrative divisions by female infanticide
• List of Chinese administrative divisions by gender ratio
• Missing women of China
• Sex-selective abortion § China


1. "As soon as the little girls are born, they are plunged into the water in order to drown them or force is applied to their bodies in order to suffocate them or they are strangled with human hands. And something even more deplorable is that there are servants who place the girl in the chamber pot or in the basin used for the birth, which is still filled with water and blood and, shut away there, they die miserably. And what is even more monstrous is that if the mother is not cruel enough to take the life of her daughter, then her father-in-law, mother-in-law, or husband agitates her by their words to kill the girl."[10]
2. "Infanticide through drowning and abandoning female babies is an evil custom left over from feudal times."[18]


1. Mungello 2012, p. 144.
2. "Burying Babies in China". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. XXII: 40. March 1865. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
3. Mungello 2012, p. 145.
4. Mungello 2012, pp. 146–147.
5. Milner 2000, pp. 238-239.
6. Mungello 2012, p. 148.
7. Coale & Banister 1994, pp. 459–479.
8. White 2006, p. 200.
9. Milner 2000, pp. 239-240.
10. Mungello 2008, p. 17.
11. Mungello 2008, p. 9.
12. Lee 1981, p. 164.
13. Mungello 2008, p. 10.
14. Abeel 1844.
15. Harrison 2008, p. 77.
16. Mungello 2008, p. 13.
17. Johnson 1985, p. 29.
18. Nie 2005, p. 50.
Chan, C. L. W., Yip, P. S. F., Ng, E. H. Y., Ho, P. C., Chan, C. H. Y., & Au, J. S. K. (2002). Gender selection in China: It’s meanings and implications. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, 19(9), 426-430.
20. National Bureau of Statistics of China. (2014). Total population by urban and rural residence and birth rate, death rate, natural growth rate by region [Data set]. Retrieved from China statistical yearbook 2014, accessed 2 October 2019
21. Parrot, Andrea (2006). Forsaken females : the global brutalization of women. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 53. ISBN 978-0742545793.
22. Zhu, W. X., Lu, L., & Hesketh, T. (2009). China’s excess males, sex selective abortion, and one child policy: Analysis of data from 2005 national intercensus survey. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 338(7700)
23. Banister, J. (2004). Shortage of girls in China today. Journal of Population Research, 21(1), 19-45.
24. Zeng, Y., Tu, P., Gu, B., Xu, Y., Li, B., & Li, Y. (1993). Causes and implications of the recent increase in the reported sex ratio at birth in China. Population and Development Review, 19(2), 283-302.
25. Female infanticide. (n.d.) BBC Ethics guide. Accessed 2 October 2019.
26. Winkler 2005, p. 7.
27. DeLugan 2013, pp. 649–650.


• Abeel, David (13 May 1844). "Infanticide In China". Signal of Liberty.
• Coale, Ansley J.; Banister, Judith (1994). "Five decades of missing females in China" (PDF). Demography. 31 (3): 459–479. doi:10.2307/2061752. JSTOR 2061752. PMID 7828766.
• DeLugan, Robin Maria (2013). "Exposing Gendercide in India and China (Davis, Brown, and Denier's It's a Girl—the Three Deadliest Words in the World)". Current Anthropology. 54 (5): 649–650. doi:10.1086/672365. JSTOR 10.1086/672365.
• Harrison, Henrietta (2008). "A penny for the little Chinese: The French Holy Childhood Association in China, 1843–1951"(PDF). American Historical Review. 113 (1): 72–92. doi:10.1086/ahr.113.1.72.
• Johnson, Kay Ann (1985). Women, the Family, and Peasant Revolution in China. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226401898.
• Lee, Bernice J. (1981). "Female Infanticide in China". Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques. 8 (3): 163–177. JSTOR 41298766.
• Milner, Larry S (2000). Hardness of Heart/hardness of Life: The Stain of Human Infanticide. University Press of America. ISBN 978-0761815785.
• Mungello, D. E. (2012). The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500–1800. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442219755.
• Mungello, D. E. (2008). Drowning Girls in China: Female Infanticide in China since 1650. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0742555310.
• White, Tyrene (2006). China's Longest Campaign: Birth Planning in the People's Republic, 1949–2005. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801444050.
• Winkler, Theodor H. (2005). "Slaughtering Eve The Hidden Gendercide" (PDF). Women in an Insecure World. Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.

Further reading

• Female infanticide by Websters
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Dec 20, 2019 8:21 am

Part 1 of 2

Five Decades of Missing Females in China*
by Ansley J. Coale and Judith Banister
Demography, Vol. 31, No.3, August 1994
Copyright © 1994 Population Association of America



Ansley J. Coale
Senior Research Demographer
Office of Population Research
Princeton University
21 Prospect Avenue
Princeton, NJ 08540-2091
E-mail: coale@opr.Princeton.EDU

Judith Banister
Chief, Center for International Research
Bureau of the Census
Washington, DC 20233-3700

This paper seeks to explain the dearth of females in the population of China in cohorts born from the late 1930s to the present. We demonstrate that in virtually all cohorts, the shortage of females in comparison with males is revealed when the cohort is first enumerated in a census. Subsequently it barely changes, an indication that female losses occur very early in life. Using the high-quality data from the censuses and fertility surveys in China, we show that many of the births of the girls missing in the censuses were not reported in the surveys because they died very young. The incidence of excess early female mortality (probably infanticide) declined precipitously in the Communist period, but not to zero. The recent escalation in the proportion of young females missing in China has been caused largely by rapidly escalating sex-selective abortion.


In the absence of special circumstances reducing the number of the male or the female members of a population, and in the absence of substantial gains or losses from migration, the numbers of males and females are approximately equal. These approximately equal numbers are the result of the usual slight majority of males at birth, and the usual somewhat higher mortality of males in the absence of differential treatment of the sexes or a large incidence of military mortality. In almost all well-recorded ratios of the number of male to the number of female births, the ratio falls between 1.05 and 1.07; the slightly higher male mortality gradually cancels the initial male majority as each cohort advances in age.

In some Asian and African countries, however, the ratio of males to females in the population is higher than would be expected from the typical sex ratio at birth and the typical differential mortality. The source of this high masculinity is female mortality that is higher, in relation to male mortality, than would prevail if both sexes had equal access to factors promoting good health. One of the populations with higher than expected masculinity is that of the People's Republic of China. In the 1990 census, the recorded ratio of males to females was 1.066; a normal sex ratio at birth and normal differences in survival would have yielded a ratio no higher than 1.02. Female mortality evidently has been abnormally high in relation to male mortality in China.

In this paper we analyze data from the four modern censuses of China, held from 1953 to 1990, and from two large-scale retrospective fertility surveys, held in 1982 and 1988, to trace the record of excess masculinity in successive Chinese birth cohorts from those born in the late 1930s to those born in the late 1980s. The extent and the high quality of the data permit several inferences, including the probable existence of high rates of female infanticide in the 1930s and early 1940s; a large reduction of this practice by the 1960s; the effect of the famine in 1959-1961 on the sex ratio in selected cohorts; evidence of the beginning, around 1970, of selective termination of childbearing following a male birth; and, in the 1980s, the emerging impact of sex-selective abortion on the sex ratio at birth.

We begin with a description of the relevant data in the Chinese censuses and in the large fertility surveys of the 1980s. Then we present an analysis of the data for cohorts born from 1936 to 1954, for cohorts whose childhood years occurred during the great famine of 1959-1961, for cohorts born before and during the national introduction of a family planning program, and for cohorts born in the 1980s.


The four modern censuses of China provide data of unusually high quality, which are especially suitable for examining the ratio of males to females at different ages. The absence of any consequential amount of international migration ensures that the relative number of males and females at each age is determined by the ratio of males to females at birth in each cohort, and by the relative survival (or, conversely, by the relative number of deaths) to which each cohort has been subject since birth.

A positive feature of the censuses is the unusual precision with which age is listed. Accurately listed ages are possible because of a characteristic of the dominant culture in China: every individual, even if illiterate, knows the exact date of his birth according to the Chinese calendar. Each year in this calendar has the name of an animal with a specified characteristic in a 60-year cycle of 12 animals and five characteristics for each animal. Within each year, "months" are lunar months; each individual knows the day of the lunar month in the animal year in which he was born. The accuracy of recall of this date is based on the astrological belief in the importance of date of birth in determining such decisions as marriage or change of residence. Each individual knows this fixed date and can supply it readily. For example, Chinese graduate students at Princeton report that parents or grandparents often have told them not only the date of their birth, but also the hour of the day. In conducting a census it is necessary to ask each individual the date of his or her birth, then to translate this date into the Western calendar and subtract it from the date of the census to obtain an exact age.1

As our unit of analysis we have chosen the ratio of males to females recorded for persons identified by the years in which they were born, rather than (for example) their age at the date of a census. This use of birth cohorts rather than age is illustrated by the ratios of males to females listed in Table 1. The cohorts have been combined into five-year groupings of birth years to smooth out any minor irregularities in the raw data. The earliest birth cohort listed, born in 1936-1940, was at ages 12-16 in 1953, 23-27 in 1964, 41-45 in 1982, and 49-53 in 1990.2 The ratio of males to females for a given cohort tends to diminish at ages above the mid-thirties because male mortality becomes increasingly higher than female as age advances. A surprising feature of these cohort data is that of 79 instances in which ratios for the same cohort are listed in two consecutive censuses, masculinity is higher at the second date in only six.> Thus, in general, as these cohorts passed through life, the male attrition implied by the numbers recorded in the censuses was equal to or higher than female attrition over the ages reached by each cohort between two censuses. In spite of this normal trend in cohort sex ratios over time, the sex ratios at most ages are higher than would normally be the case.

Table 1. Sex Ratios in Censuses by 5-Year Birth Cohorts from Cohort Born 1936-1940


Years of Birth / 1953 / 1964 / 1982 / 1990

1936-1940 / 1.171 / 1.171 / 1.144 / 1.124
1937-1941 / 1.183 / 1.183 / 1.142 / 1.122
1938-1942 / 1.178 / 1.178 / 1.138 / 1.117
1939-1943 / 1.169 / 1.169 / 1.135 / 1.115
1940-1944 / 1.160 / 1.160 / 1.130 / 1.112
1941-1945 / 1.151 / 1.151 / 1.119 / 1.105
1942-1946 / 1.141 / 1.141 / 1.115 1.102
1943-1947 / 1.129 / 1.129 / 1.108 / 1.099
1944-1948 / 1.117 / 1.117 / 1.102 / 1.095
1945-1949 / 1.107 / 1.107 1.100 / 1.095
1946-1950 / 1.094 / 1.109 / 1.095 / 1.090
1947-1951 / 1.081 / 1.103 / 1.102 / 1.082
1948-1952 / 1.070 / 1.095 / 1.095 / 1.074
1949-1953 / -- / 1.089 / 1.089 / 1.068
1950-1954 / -- / 1.086 / 1.086 / 1.063
1951-1955 / -- / 1.088 / 1.088 / 1.064
1952-1956 / -- / 1.092 / 1.092 / 1.068
1953-1957 / -- / 1.097 / 1.097 / 1.076
1954-1958 / -- / 1.097 / 1.097 / 1.083
1955-1959 / -- / 1.096 / 1.096 / 1.085
1956-1960 / -- / 1.090 1.090 1.079
1957-1961 / -- / 1.082 / 1.082 / 1.072
1958-1962 / -- / 1.072 / 1.072 / 1.066
1959-1963 / -- / 1.062 / 1.062 / 1.056
1960-1964 / -- / -- / 1.056 / 1.050
1961-1965 / -- / -- / 1.054 / 1.054
1962-1966 / -- / -- / 1.056 / 1.056
1963-1967 / -- / -- / 1.953 / 1.053
1964-1968 / -- / -- / 1.057 / 1.057
1965-1969 / -- / -- / 1.059 / 1.059
1966-1970 / -- / -- / 1.060 / 1.060
1967-1971 / -- / -- / 1.060 / 1.060
1968-1972 / -- / -- / 1.060 / 1.060
1969-1973/ -- / -- / 1.061 / 1.061
1970-1974 / -- / -- / 1.061 / 1.061
1971-1975 / -- / -- / 1.062 / 1.062
1972-1976 / -- / -- / 1.062 / 1.060
1973-1977 / -- / -- / 1.062 / 1.062
1974-1978 / -- / -- / 1.063 / 1.065
1975-1979 / -- / -- / 1.066 / 1.068
1976-1980 / -- / -- / 1.069 / 1.070
1977-1981 / -- / -- / 1.071 / 1.072
1978-1982 / -- / -- / -- / 1.077
1979-1983 / -- / -- / -- / 1.081
1980-1984 / -- / -- / -- / 1.083
1981-1985 / -- / -- / -- / 1.085
1982-1986 / -- / -- / -- / 1.088
1983-1987 / -- / -- / -- / 1.090
1984-1988 / -- / -- / -- / 1.096
1985-1989 / -- / -- / -- / 1.102

We can explain in part the six exceptions to the general pattern of declining masculinity of each cohort over time. As shown in Table 1, early cohort sex ratios rose between the 1953 and the 1964 census as the three youngest groups aged into the teen years. This finding suggests that a strong pattern of selective neglect of girls in childhood occurred between 1953 and 1964. As we will discuss, a severe famine intervened between these two censuses. Between the 1982 and the 1990 census, the recorded sex ratio of the three youngest groups rose very slightly; this suggests that selective neglect of young girls continued but was much reduced from earlier decades. The rise in these cohort sex ratios occurred at ages beyond which any female infanticide would have taken place; that tends to occur soon after birth.

To estimate the "excess" mortality to which females have been subject since birth in relation to males in the same cohort, we have made a rough estimate of the normal sex ratio that would be expected in each cohort at each census date. We calculated the normal ratio on the assumption that at birth the ratio of males to females was 1.06; relative survival rates for the two sexes were chosen to match the relative survival in a model life table at a level of mortality that we selected as about equal to the level we estimated as experienced by the given cohort. The normal sex ratio is what one would expect if the cohort began with the nearly universal sex ratio at birth and was subject to the relative survival rates in model life tables based on accurately recorded experience in populations at about the same level of mortality (see Table 2).4

When the ratio of males to females recorded in a census is compared with the estimated normal ratio, one sees the extent to which the ratio in the census has been increased as a result of female mortality higher than normal in relation to male mortality. Indeed, it can be shown that the proportion of females absent as the result of excess female mortality (in relation to male) is equal to the recorded ratio of males to females divided by the sex ratio in the model, minus 1.0. Figure 1 displays the proportion of absent females estimated in this way in each census in each cohort, identified by the years of its birth.

Very close agreement exists among the estimated proportions of absent females within each cohort in the different censuses, as illustrated by the closely clustered lines in Figure 1. This tight agreement shows that the excess female mortality which caused a high ratio of males to females in a cohort had taken its toll by the first time a cohort was enumerated; almost all of the excess deaths occurred very early in life.

Figure 1 illustrates the evolution of excess female mortality as the time period of the birth of successive cohorts advanced. The midpoint (median) of the estimates of missing females from the different censuses is above 15% for the four earliest cohorts (1936-1940 to 1939-1943) and above 10% for the next five cohorts (until 1944-1948). A sharp decline continues, interrupted by higher proportions of missing females in cohorts who spent early childhood years during the crisis period of 1959-1961, when early-age female mortality apparently rose more sharply than male. The resumed downtrend led to ratios below 3% in the 1960s, and then to a level not far above 2%. A gradual increase began in the mid-1970s (after the cohort born 1972-1976); this increase grew steeper after cohorts born in 1974-1978.

Table 2. Model Sex Ratios for Cohorts at Censuses, by Years of Birth
Years of Birth / 1953 / 1964 / 1982 / 1990

1936-1940 / 1.012 / 1.018 / 0.975 / 0.954
1937-1941 / 1.014 / 1.016 / 0.980 / 0.962
1938-1942 / 1.015 / 1.015 / 0.985 / 0.970
1939-1943 / 1.015 / 1.014 / 0.989 / 0.977
1940-1944 / 1.015 / 1.014 / 0.994 / 0.984  
1941-1945 / 1.014 / 1.015 / 0.998 / 0.989  
1942-1946 / 1.012 / 1.015 / 1.001 / 0.993
1943-1947 / 1.011 / 1.016 / 1.005 / 0.998
1944-1948 / 1.013 / 1.016 / 1.007 / 1.002
1945-1949 / 1.016 / 1.019 / 1.011 / 1.006
1946-1950 / 1.019 / 1.021 / 1.013 / 1.008
1947-1951 / 1.021 / 1.024 / 1.015 / 1.010
1948-1952 / 1.024 / 1.026 / 1.018 / 1.013 
1949-1953 / -- / 1.028 / 1.020 / 1.015
1950-1954 / -- / 1.028 / 1.021 / 1.017
1951-1955 / -- / 1.028 / 1.021 / 1.017
1952-1956 / -- / 1.028 / 1.021 / 1.017
1953-1957 / -- / 1.028 / 1.022 / 1.018
1954-1958 / -- / 1.028 / 1.022 / 1.018
1955-1959 / -- / 1.028 / 1.022 / 1.018
1956-1960 / -- / 1.028 / 1.023 / 1.020
1957-1961 / -- / 1.029 / 1.025 / 1.022
1958-1962 / -- / 1.029 / 1.027 / 1.024
1959-1963 / -- / 1.029 / 1.028 / 1.026  
1960-1964 / -- / -- / 1.028 / 1.028
1961-1965 / -- / -- / 1.029 / 1.029
1962-1966 / -- / -- / 1.030 / 1.030
1963-1967 / -- / -- / 1.032 / 1.032
1964-1968 / -- / -- / 1.033 / 1.033
1965-1969 / -- / -- / 1.035 / 1.035
1966-1970 / -- / -- / 1.036 / 1.036
1967-1971 / -- / -- / 1.037 / 1.037
1968-1972 / -- / -- / 1.038 / 1.038
1969-1973 / -- / -- / 1.039 / 1.039 
1970-1974 / -- / -- / 1.040 / 1.040
1971-1975 / -- / -- / 1.040 / 1.040
1972-1976 / -- / -- / 1.040 / 1.040
1973-1977 / -- / -- / 1.040 / 1.040
1974-1978 / -- / -- / 1.040 / 1.040
1975-1979 / -- / -- / 1.040 / 1.040
1976-1980 / -- / -- / 1.041 / 1.041
1977-1981 / -- / -- / 1.043 / 1.043 
1978-1982 / -- / -- / -- / 1.044
1979-1983 / -- / -- / -- / 1.045
1980-1984 / -- / -- / -- / 1.046
1981-1985 / -- / -- / -- / 1.046
1982-1986 / -- / -- / -- / 1.047
1983-1987 / -- / -- / -- / 1.047
1984-1988 / -- / -- / -- / 1.048
1985-1989 / -- / -- / -- / 1.048

First Year of 5-Year Period of Birth
Figure I. Estimated Excess Proportion Dead Females Relative to Males, Cohorts


Two large-scale fertility surveys have been conducted in China, one in 1982 (the so-called one-per-thousand survey) and another in 1988 (the two-per-thousand survey). Both surveys asked a large sample of married women (311,000 age 15-67 in 1982, and 459,000 age 15-57 in 1988) for a lifetime history including each respondent's date of birth, her date of marriage, and the birth date of each child that she had borne. The respondents also were asked, with respect to each birth reported, whether the child had survived to the date of the survey.

The 1982 survey has provided invaluable information about the course of marriage and fertility in China, and has proved to be very consistent with relevant data taken from the 1982 census. For example, the age-specific fertility rates that have been tabulated for individual years after 1950 from the ratio of the reported number of births at each age to the number of women in that age in each year can be cumulated to determine the average number of children ever born to women at different ages in 1982. The 1982 census included a question about the number of children ever born. The average number by single years of age from 20 to 50 from the two sources agrees within 1%, a remarkable degree of consistency from two independent sources of information (Coale 1984).

Consistency is not certain proof of accuracy, however. It is surprising that the ratio of reported male to reported female births for individual past years was not virtually constant at about 1.06 male births for each female birth, as was surely true of the actual, rather than the reported, births." The sex ratio at birth in populations with accurate registration falls between about 1.05 and 1.07; notably it is usually within this range in data from China's neighbor Japan (Japan 1991).

Table 3 shows the recorded sex ratio at birth from the two surveys by five-year birth cohorts, with births through 1981 from the one-per-thousand survey, for 1982-1987 from the two-per-thousand survey, and for 1989 from the sample tabulation of the 1990 census (the ratio for 1988 was taken as the average of 1987 and 1989). The ratio falls within the usual bounds for only three of 50 cohorts; the average is 1.091, about 3% above the expected norm.

We see a striking congruence between the reported sex ratio by period of birth and the sex ratio reported for the same cohort in the 1990 census (Figure 2). Where masculinity is reported as especially high in 1990, the masculinity of the births reported in the retrospective fertility surveys for the same cohort is also generally high. As stated above in the discussion of the excess masculinity in the four modem censuses of China, the sex ratio of each excessively masculine cohort is too high in the first census in which it is enumerated; this finding indicates that the excess masculinity in the census is the result of excess female mortality and that the excess mortality occurs in infancy and childhood.

As shown by the similarity of time pattern between the sex ratio of the cohorts enumerated in the 1990 census and the reported sex ratio for the births in the years when these cohorts were born, the births of some of the females who were omitted in the censuses (evidently because an unusual proportion of the females were dead) were simply not reported in the fertility surveys. Thus, where the high masculinity in the census indicates excess female mortality, some of the females subject to excess mortality were omitted from the births reported in the fertility survey. The true sex ratio at birth was approximately constant until the mid 1980s when sex-selective abortion began to raise the true ratio. The true correlation between the sex ratio at birth of each cohort and the sex ratio in the 1990 census is about zero; the calculated correlation between these two sets of numbers is 0.91.

Table 3. Sex Ratios of Births Reported in Fertility Surveys, 1936-1940 to 1985-1989
Years of Birth / Sex Ratio / Years of Birth / Sex Ratio

1936-1940 / 1.138 / 1961-1965 / 1.065  
1937-1941 / 1.133 / 1962-1966 / 1.064  
1938-1942 / 1.126 / 1963-1967 / 1.066  
1939-1943 / 1.110 / 1964-1968 / 1.073  
1940-1944 / 1.111 / 1965-1969 / 1.077
1941-1945 / 1.114 / 1966-1970 / 1.079   
1942-1946 / 1.108 / 1967-1971 / 1.081  
1943-1947 / 1.105 / 1968-1972 / 1.081  
1944-1948 / 1.101 / 1969-1973 / 1.078  
1945-1949 / 1.093 / 1970-1974 / 1.075  
1946-1950 / 1.083 / 1971-1975 / 1.073  
1947-1951 / 1.092 / 1972-1976 / 1.080  
1948-1952 / 1.095 / 1973-1977 / 1.077  
1949-1953 / 1.090 / 1974-1978 / 1.077  
1950-1954 / 1.094 / 1975-1979 / 1.080  
1951-1955 / 1.094 / 1976-1980 / 1.088  
1952-1956 / 1.089 / 1977-1981 / 1.082  
1953-1957 / 1.094 / 1978-1982 / 1.083  
1954-1958 / 1.101 / 1979-1983 / 1.084  
1955-1959 / 1.092 / 1980-1984 / 1.087  
1956-1960 / 1.096 / 1981-1985 / 1.086  
1957-1961 / 1.092 / 1982-1986 / 1.093  
1958-1962 / 1.082 / 1983-1987 / 1.100  
1959-1963 / 1.074 / 1984-1988 / 1.110  
1960-1964 / 1.070 / 1985-1989 / 1.128

First Year of 5-Year Period of Birth
-<>- 1990 + SRB
Figure 2. Sex Ratio at Birth and in 1990 Census, Same Cohort

Omission of females who died early in life from a fertility history is consistent with a tendency found in the registration of births and early deaths in some of China's neighbors. In registration systems in these countries, which are generally precise, the deaths that occur very early in life are underregistered. Even in Japan, which has unusually complete and accurate registration of births and deaths, the number of very early deaths is underrecorded. The proportion of deaths in the first year of life that occur on the first day is more than 30% in almost all of the countries with low infant mortality. The proportion registered is only 23% and 24% in two different years in Japan, and is less than 8% in Hong Kong. A revealing sign of bias is the ratio of registered stillbirths to registered deaths in the first day of life. In Hong Kong this ratio is over 6; in Japan, over 4; in most European and North American countries, about 2 to 2.5. In Japan and Hong Kong, the person registering births and deaths evidently does not follow the international recommendation of the World Health Organization to count as a live birth an issue from the womb that shows any signs of life after delivery-either respiration or pulse, for example. A stillbirth is to be registered only for a fetus that shows no such signs. From the much higher ratio of reported stillbirths to reported deaths in the first day of life in these populations, it is clear that the registering person sometimes counts as a stillbirth an event that would be counted in Europe as an early infant death.

In China the birth of a child traditionally is not celebrated until the child has reached an age of one month or more, and the child is not given a name until the passage of some such period of time. The basis for this custom apparently is a belief that celebrating a birth and giving a name soon after the birth tempts the fates to cancel the early celebration by the death of the child. Because this custom apparently causes a bias in otherwise accurate official registration of vital events, it is certainly likely that respondents who share this culture omit from a history of their births those which are followed shortly by the child's death.

Reported Sex Ratios at Birth, by Birth Order

One peculiar feature of the data from the fertility surveys has caused comment: the sex ratio at birth reported for higher-order births is higher than for the first or for the first and second. This feature indicates a higher rate of omission of higher-order female births because careful studies of the true relation between birth order and the sex ratio at birth in several reliable data bases indicate a very slight tendency toward lower masculinity at higher orders (Teitelbaum, Mantel & Stark 1971). China's one-per-thousand fertility survey called attention to the increase in sex ratio at birth with birth order reported for 1981, from a ratio of 1.05 for first births to respective ratios of 1.07, 1.13, and 1.16 at orders 2, 3, and 4; the Chinese report on the survey says that the reason for this trend remains to be found.

Through the generous cooperation of the East-West Population Institute in Honolulu, we were able to obtain data (from the full tape of the one-per-thousand fertility survey) bearing on the number of births by birth order and sex, in order to trace by birth cohort the relative reported sex ratios at birth of higher-order and lower-order births. Masculinity of reported births increased with birth order in the reports for earlier cohorts, as well as for those born just before the survey. The relevant information is contained in Table 4, which lists the ratio of male-to-female births in five-year periods from 1936-1940 to 1985-1989 for birth orders 1 and 2 and birth orders 3 and 4. 6 In all but a few cohorts, the sex ratio reported at birth for orders 3 and 4 is higher than for orders I and 2; the mean difference is 2%. Among first and second births, 12 of 50 cohorts have sex ratios within the expected limits of 1.05-1.07; for third and fourth births, only four cohorts fall within these limits.

As indicated by the congruence between the reported sex ratio at birth in the fertility surveys and for the same cohorts in the 1990 census, a high reported sex ratio at birth is evidence of excess female mortality in an early period after birth. The higher reported sex ratio at birth for third and fourth births in most cohorts implies a greater degree of excess early female mortality among higher order births.

Sex Ratios by Birth Order within Each Sex

Table 5 lists the reported ratio of first-male births in China to first-female births, second-male births to second-female births, and higher-than-second-order male births to higher-than-second-order female births. Note that the birth order discussed here is the order within the sex. It is not male births among first births and female births among first births, but births of first sons (whatever the absolute order of the birth) relative to births of first daughters, again without regard to overall order. A first son can be of any birth order (l, 2, 3, ... , n), depending on the presence of female births in the mother's sequence.

Table 4. Sex Ratio of Births Reported in Fertility Surveys, Birth Orders 1 and 2 and Birth Orders 3 and 4, 1936--1940 to 1985-1989

Period / Birth Orders 1-2 / Birth Orders 3-4

1936-1940 / 1.129 / 1.167
1937-1941 / 1.126 / 1.151
1938-1942 / 1.125 / 1.125
1939-1943 / 1.123 / 1.095
1940-1944 / 1.119 / 1.119
1941-1945 / 1.114 / 1.141
1942-1946 / 1.105 / 1.134
1943-1947 / I. 106 / 1.120
1944-1948 / 1.086 / 1.129
1945-1949 / 1.086 / 1.119
1946-1950 / 1.081 / 1.105
1947-1951 / 1.092 / 1.118
1948-1952 / 1.088 / 1.116
1949-1953 / 1.092 / 1.101
1950-1954 / 1.088 / 1.109
1951-1955 / 1.090 / 1.100
1952-1956 / 1.085 / 1.097
1953-1957 / 1.087 / 1.099
1954-1958 / 1.091 / 1.099
1955-1959 / 1.083 / 1.093
1956-1960 / 1.088 / 1.102
1957-1961 / 1.088 / 1.098
1958-1962 / 1.080 / 1.098
1959-1963 / 1.065 / 1.094
1960-1964 / 1.067 / 1.081
1961-1965 / 1.065 / 1.073
1962-1966 / 1.063 / 1.064
1963-1967 / 1.064 / 1.058
1964-1968 / 1.069 / 1.066
1965-1969 / 1.074 / 1.073
1966-1970 / 1.079 / 1.068
1967-1971 / 1.079 / 1.076
1968-1972 / 1.075 / 1.084
1969-1973 / 1.071 / 1.084
1970-1974 / 1.065 / 1.081
1971-1975 / 1.056 / 1.085
1972-1976 / 1.062 / 1.092
1973-1977 / 1.060 / 1.088
1974-1978 / 1.064 / 1.085
1975-1979 / 1.065 / 1.086
1976-1980 / 1.080 / 1.088
1977-1981 / 1.074 / 1.084
1978-1982 1.077 / 1.090
1979-1983 / 1.077 / 1.088
1980-1984 / 1.081 / 1.113
1981-1985 / 1.078 / 1.113
1982-1986 / 1.086 / 1.155
1983-1987 / 1.094 / 1.171
1984-1988 / 1.103 / 1.200
1985-1989 / 1.113 / 1.228

Table 5. Sex Ratio of Births Reported in 1/1000 Fertility Survey, Birth Order within Each Sex, 1936-1940 to 1977-1981
Ratio (Male Births/Female Births)
Period / Order 1 / Order 2 / Order 3

1936-1940 / 1.093 / 1.231 / 1.391
1937-1941 / 1.075 / 1.230 / 1.370
1938-1942 / 1.069 / 1.190 / 1.334
1939-1943 / 1.062 / 1.169 / 1.247
1940-1944 / 1.055 / 1.173 / 1.270
1941-1945 / 1.063 / 1.162 / 1.257
1942-1946 / 1.055 / 1.139 / 1.251
1943-1947 / 1.049 / 1.133 / 1.223
1944-1948 / 1.035 / 1.127 / 1.233
1945-1949 / 1.033 / 1.108 / 1:219
1946-1950 / 1.028 / 1.085 / 1.212
1947-1951 / 1.041 / 1.084 / 1.218
1948-1952 / 1.044 / 1.074 / 1.223
1949-1953 / 1.042 / 1.061 / 1.207
1950-1954 / 1.046 / 1.063 / 1.206
1951-1955 / 1.043 / 1.070 / 1.192
1952-1956 / 1.034 / 1.075 / 1.182
1953-1957 / 1.038 / 1.071 / 1.193
1954-1958 / 1.040 / 1.081 / 1.192
1955-1959 / 1.028 / 1.078 / 1.181
1956-1960 / 1.033 / 1.078 / 1.178
1957-1961 / 1.039 / 1.072 / 1.166
1958-1962 / 1.025 / 1.079 / 1.137
1959-1963 / 1.020 / 1.061 / 1.127
1960-1964 / 1.021 / 1.057 / 1.117
1961-1965 / 1.017 / 1.062 / 1.114
1962-1966 / 1.012 / 1.069 / 1.114
1963-1967 / 1.015 / 1.075 / 1.110
1964-1968 / 1.026 / 1.091 / 1.108
1965-1969 / 1.028 / 1.108 / 1.103
1966-1970 / 1.040 / 1.100 / 1.103
1967-1971 / 1.048 / 1.091 / 1.106
1968-1972 / 1.051 / 1.091 / 1.106
1969-1973 / 1.051 / 1.098 / 1.093
1970-1974 / 1.063 / 1.085 / 1.082
1971-1975 / 1.066 / 1.092 / 1.067
1972-1976 / 1.083 / 1.117 / 1.039
1973-1977 / 1.091 / 1.129 / 1.005
1974-1978 / 1.102 / 1.140 / 0.969
1975-1979 / 1.104 / 1.164 / 0.939
1976-1980 / 1.128 / 1.168 / 0.896
1977-1981 / 1.133 / 1.139 / 0.856

Until the mid-1960s, the ratio of reported male-to-female births by order within each sex rises as order increases. Among births reported in the 1940s and 1950s, the reported ratio of third-male to third-female births is 15 to 20% higher than the ratio of first males compared to first females.

The difference remains large until the 1970s and 1980s, when the sex ratio of first males to first females rises, and the ratio of third males to third females falls to substantially below 1. The anomalous "crossover" of these sex ratios at birth is discussed later.
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Part 2 of 2

Survival Rates to Date of Survey by Sex

The material presented above shows that the omission of females from censuses in China is evidence of early excess female mortality. The positive association between the sex ratio of cohorts in the 1990 census and the reported sex ratio at birth of these cohorts in the fertility surveys indicates that early female mortality led to the omission from the survey of more female births in cohorts that register high male-to-female ratios in the censuses.

The surveys contain direct information on the relative mortality of males and females whose births are reported. The reported survival of each birth to the date of the survey is recorded; Table 6 shows the proportion dead of males and females born in each cohort from 1936-1940 to 1977-1981. These are the proportions dead of births that the respondents recalled as births; it appears that a child who died very early may have been omitted in the report of births. Therefore these proportions dead are net of early deaths that led to the omission of a birth in the survey. The reported proportion dead is higher for males than for females in all but nine of 42 cohorts. One of these nine is the cohort born in the war years 1938-1942; the other cohorts were children during the great famine of 1959-1961, which we discuss later. Thus the survey suggests that excess female mortality occurred predominantly before the dead infant survived long enough to be recalIed as having been born (as indicated by the excess sex ratio at birth); once a child survived long enough to be reported as a birth, female survival rates generally were a little higher than male-although not as much higher as they should be under nondiscriminatory conditions.

Proportion Dead by Birth Order within Each Sex

When the proportion dead from the reported birth to the survey is calculated for male and for female births by birth order within each sex, the sex difference for each order is modest: the proportion dead among first males is higher than for first females except for five cohorts subject to excess child mortality during 1959-1961. The median ratio of male-to-female proportion dead is 1.04 for first boys and first girls, 1.015 for second boys and second girls, and .976 for third. The most conspicuous feature of the proportions dead by order within each sex is that the proportion grows higher as the order increases. Within each sex in every cohort, the proportion dead is higher for second girls and second boys than for first, and higher for third than for second. The average difference between proportion dead for first and second births within the sex is 2.7% for females and 2.3% for males; between first and third births within each sex, the average differences respectively are 7.1% and 5.7% for females and for males. Differences by birth order within each sex in the reported proportion dead are generally larger than sex differences for a given birth order.

Table 6. Proportion Dead, from Reported Birth to Survey Males and Females, 1936-1940 to 1977-1981
Period / Males / Females / Males/Females

1936-1940 / 0.4562 / 0.4545 / 1.0039
1937-1941 / 0.4489 / 0.4418 / 1.0162
1938-1942 / 0.4398 / 0.4416 / 0.9961
1939-1943 / 0.4359 / 0.4339 / 1.0045
1940-1944 / 0.4250 / 0.4195 / 1.0132
1941-1945 / 0.4095 / 0.4063 / 1.0080
1942-1946 / 0.3999 / 0.3940 / 1.0148
1943-1947 / 0.3840 / 0.3759 / 1.0215
1944-1948 / 0.3655 / 0.3583 / 1.0201
1945-1949 / 0.3482 / 0.3409 / 1.0213
1946-1950 / 0.3307 / 0.3247 / 1.0184
1947-1951 / 0.3118 / 0.3080 / 1.0124
1948-1952 / 0.2920 / 0.2883 / 1.0128
1949-1953 / 0.2710 / 0.2683 / 1.0102
1950-1954 / 0.2548 / 0.2528 / 1.0079
1951-1955 / 0.2380 / 0.2379 / 1.0002
1952-1956 / 0.2280 / 0.2287 / 0.9970
1953-1957 / 0.2225 / 0.2249 / 0.9894
1954-1958 / 0.2236 / 0.2289 / 0.9770
1955-1959 / 0.2238 / 0.2290 / 0.9773
1956-1960 / 0.2184 / 0.2254 / 0.9692
1957-1961 / 0.2103 / 0.2178 / 0.9656
1958-1962 / 0.1962 / 0.2011 / 0.9759
1959-1963 / 0.1732 / 0.1742 / 0.9944
1960-1964 / 0.1557 / 0.1517 / 1.0259
1961-1965 / 0.1406 / 0.1364 / 1.0309
1962-1966 / 0.1273 / 0.1215 / 1.0477
1963-1967 / 0.1210 / 0.1155 / 1.0479
1964-1968 / 0.1156 / 0.1117 / 1.0348
1965-1969 / 0.1087 / 0.1056 / 1.0291
1966-1970 / 0.1046 / 0.0988 / 1.0591
1967-1971 / 0.0984 / 0.0931 / 1.0578
1968-1972 / 0.0938 / 0.0881 / 1.0647
1969-1973 / 0.0910 / 0.0839 / 1.0838
1970-1974 / 0.0868 / 0.0804 / 1.0795
1971-1975 / 0.0819 / 0.0778 / 1.0532
1972-1976 / 0.0791 / 0.0754 / 1.0495
1973-1977 / 0.0738 / 0.0707 / 1.0440
1974-1978 / 0.0696 / 0.0657 / 1.0586
1975-1979 / 0.0660 / 0.0622 / 1.0603
1976-1980 / 0.0629 / 0.0597 / 1.0541
1977-1981 / 0.0587 / 0.0560 / 1.0476


The sex ratios recorded in the four modern censuses make possible four estimates of the proportion missing caused by excess female mortality for the first 13 five-year cohorts born beginning in 1936, three estimates for the next 11 cohorts, two for the next 18, and one for the remainder. As Figure I makes clear, the estimates from the different censuses agree closely. To simplify the exposition, we use a single number for each cohort, namely the median of the separate estimates that are available.

The consistency of the estimates derived from as many as four censuses at ages separated by as much as 37 years (1953 to 1990), and the congruence (by cohort) of census sex ratios with the reported sex ratio at birth in retrospective surveys, show that much of the excess female mortality occurred soon after birth, and that many of the children who died early were not included among the births reported in the fertility surveys.

Females Missing and Related Information for Cohorts Born from the Late 1930s to the Early 1950s

The estimated proportion of females missing because of excess mortality in these 15 early five-year birth cohorts declined steadily from over 16% in the two earliest cohorts to below 6% in the cohort born in 1950-1954 (Figure 1). The decline in the proportion of females missing was interrupted in the next eight or nine cohorts, which experienced excess child mortality during the Great Leap Forward (see next section).

The principal source of excess female mortality in the 15 early cohorts was very likely sex-selective infanticide, a traditional practice in China. A missionary (and naturalist) observer in the late nineteenth century interviewed 40 women over age 50 who reported having borne 183 sons and 175 daughters, of whom 126 sons but only 53 daughters survived to age 10; by their account, the women had destroyed 78 of their daughters (Wolf and Huang 1980:230). The continuation of this practice as late as the 1930s and 1940s may have been stimulated in part by troubled times, including civil war and the Japanese invasion. The decline of excess female mortality after the establishment of the People's Republic was assisted by the action of a strong government, which tried to modify this custom as well as other traditional practices that it viewed as harmful.

The especially high reported sex ratios among higher-order births (particularly when birth order is measured separately within each sex), as shown in Tables 4 and 5, are a natural result of sex-selective infanticide. The preference for a male child apparently had little effect on the survival of the first female born. The first female presumably was useful in helping to care for younger siblings and for performing tasks associated with the female role in the household. A female child with one or more older sisters, however, seems to have been especially unwelcome in comparison with a second or third male birth." The sex ratio reported for third births within each sex exceeds the ratio reported for first births by about 20 to 30% in the cohorts born around 1940 and by about 15% for cohorts born in the early 1950s. The ratio of reported first male to first female births, with the exception of births before 1942, falls within or even below the normal range of 1.05-1.07.

By the date of the one-per-thousand fertility survey, the proportion dead among the births in each of these early cohorts is higher for males than for females (Table 6), with one exception (1938-1942). This mortality pertains to deaths that occurred between the remembered birth and the survey; a remembered birth is a birth that survived the very early days of life. On average, a female child who survived long enough to be reported as a birth had slightly lower reported mortality between the reported birth and the survey than a male child in the same cohort.

Females Missing and Related Information for Cohorts Born 1951-1955 to 1960-1964

The estimated proportion of females missing in the censuses declines monotonically from the cohort born in 1937-1941 to that of 1950-1954. Then the estimated proportion missing rises to a local peak in the six five-year cohorts from 1952-1956 to 1957-1961 (Figure 1). This hump probably does not reflect a temporary increase in sex-selective infanticide. Certainly it is connected with the excess mortality in the famine that occurred in the crisis years of 1959-1961 during the "Great Leap Forward." For the whole population, the excess deaths in these years (above those which would have occurred with a linear change in death rates from 1957 to 1964) have been estimated at nearly 30 million.

The hump in the estimated proportion of females missing in cohorts born in the 1950s is not at all closely matched in the sequence of sex ratios at birth derived from the fertility survey for these cohorts. The reported sex ratio at birth follows a fairly level course from 1945-1949 to 1957-1961. For males the proportion dead from reported birth to the survey declined in relation to the proportion dead for females, from the cohort born in 1950-1954 to the 1957-1961 cohort; then it rose until the years of cohorts born after 1962 (Table 6). These facts show that the hump in the estimated excess female mortality among cohorts born in the 1950s was not primarily an increase in the very early female mortality that is revealed as an increase in the reported sex ratio at birth. Rather, it was an increase in childhood mortality beyond early infancy, revealed by a rise in the ratio of male survival to female survival from reported birth to the survey.

Females Missing and Related Information for Cohorts Born in the 1960s and 1970s

After the hump in the estimated excess female proportion dead for cohorts born in the 1950s and subject to excess childhood mortality during the crisis years, the estimated proportion of missing females in the cohorts born after 1960 settled at around 2%. This figure remained almost level until the later 1970s, when a gradual increase began. An extraordinary feature of this period is the evolution of the ratio of male-to-female births classified by birth order within each sex. Note again that the ratio of third-male to third-female births does not relate to the normally defined ratio of males to females among third order-births; instead it relates to the ratio of the number of males born after two preceding male births to the number of females born after two preceding females. The ratio declines from over 1.25 among the first seven cohorts, beginning with 1936-1940, to about 1.11 for cohorts born in the 1960s. Beginning with a ratio of 1.106 for the cohort born in 1968-1972, the sex ratio at birth of third males to third females descends monotonically to .856 in 1977-1981.

This decline is accompanied by a rise in the reported ratio of first-male to first-female births, from 1.052 to 1.133. First we suspected that the quality of the data had failed for these cohorts. Later, however, we realized that the decline in masculinity of third births (within each sex) and the increase in first births could be the result of a new "stopping rule," whereby couples prevent further childbearing when they have had the number of boys they want. A sex-guided rule for initiating effective birth control does not affect the sex ratio of birth by order of birth, as ordinarily defined, but it does affect the ratio by order within sex.

Imagine that all couples cease reproduction as soon as a male is born, and that the sex ratio at birth always averages one male for every female. Half of the first births would be male. Only those women with a female first birth would have a second birth; half of the second births would be male; half would be male at all higher orders. All of these higher-order male births, however, would be first male births; the higher-order (conventional) female births would be second-female, third-female, and so on. The sex ratio of births by the usual definition of birth order would be 1.0 at each order; but the ratio of first-male to first-female births would be 2.0. At all higher orders (within each sex) the ratio would be zero because no males would be born beyond the first-male birth. Thus the rather steep decline in the ratio of third-male to third-female births (to well below 1.0), which begins around 1970, is not evidence of faulty data, but the result of the initiation of selective birth prevention according to the sex of the preceding births. After 1969-1973, as seen in Table 5, the ratio of first-male to first-female births increased steadily because of an increasing tendency to terminate childbearing after the birth of a male child. The timing supports the idea that these trends are due to a newly initiated stopping rule: the government introduced a strong birth control program in 1970, which provided family planning services and incentives to reduce fertility. The total fertility rate fell from 5.8 in 1970 to 2.7 in 1979.

Before 1970 there is little indication of widespread, deliberate limitation of births (except in the cities). William Lavely (1986) has calculated the measure m of the degree of voluntary control of marital fertility for urban and rural China from 1950 to 1981. Until 1970 the value of m in rural China is close to horizontal at values indicating the virtual absence of deliberate control of fertility. In that year the index begins a steep rise; by 1980 it reaches a value approximating that found in industrialized countries with fertility near the replacement level. We have combined Lavely's values of m into five-year groups to match the birth cohorts from 1950-1954 to 1977-1981. The correlation between the ratio of third-male to third-female births and the index of the intensity of fertility control is -.97.

The changes in the ratio of male-to-female births by birth order within each sex were caused by the emergence of a stopping rule, whereby couples tend to stop after satisfying a preference for at least one male (or perhaps, in some instances, at least two males). The stopping rule began to be employed when the government family planning program was implemented and when deliberate control of childbearing first became common.

We have also tabulated the ratio of male-to-female births by birth order within each sex from the city sample that was included in the 1982 survey. In this sample, a monotonic decline in the sex ratio for third-order births within each sex began in the early 1960s, as did the effective birth control program in urban China.

We found a puzzling feature of the reported ratio of first-male to first-female births: until about 1970, when the increase began, the ratio was chronically below the normal level of about 1.06. If the incidence of infanticide is negligible for first-female births, and if very early mortality (other than infanticide) leads to omission of a birth from the fertility history, higher male than female mortality in the first day, the first week, and the first month of life (as in almost all high-quality systems of registration) might lead to the omission of slightly more (early-dying) males than females.

Females Missing and Related Information for Cohorts Born after 1980

The estimated proportion of females missing because of excess female mortality began to increase in the mid-1970s; the increase grew steeper for birth cohorts extending into the 1980s (Figure 1). The reported sex ratio at birth from the fertility surveys also rose markedly, from 1.082 for the births in 1977-1981 to 1.128 for births in 1985-1989. The most conspicuous increase occurred in the sex ratio at higher-order births: for third and fourth orders combined, the ratio rose from 1.084 in the cohort born in 1977-1981 to 1.228 for the 1985-1989 cohort, higher than for any cohort since the early 1940s.

Couples had an increased incentive to avoid a higher-order female birth after 1980 because of the one-child policy introduced in 1979; this policy was administered at the local level to induce couples to avoid having a second (and especially a third or higher-order) birth. Apparently the tradition of infanticide was restored somewhat; the Chinese press carried many stories and editorials reporting (and condemning) this practice. On April 9, 1983, for example, the China Daily published an article titled "Female Infanticide Evokes Danger of Sexes Imbalance."

Another source of high reported sex ratios at birth, particularly at higher orders, is the Chinese custom of adopting out a child, particularly a child found to be especially burdensome. This long-standing custom continues to be practiced; the two-per-thousand survey of 1988 includes information (provided by the adopting parent) of recent adoptions. Female adoptions outnumber male by 3 to 1. Women, in supplying a history of their births, might well omit some or all of the children adopted out, and the adopting mother quite properly would not list an adopted child in her own birth history (Johanssen and Nygren 1991). Thus adopting out might contribute to the omission of female births from fertility histories, especially at higher orders. Adopted children do not appear to be omitted differentially from censuses, however; they are members of the adopting household and presumably would be listed in the household to qualify for benefits. Therefore adopting out cannot explain the especially high estimated excess female proportion dead in the 1990 census among cohorts born in the late 1980s. In view of the similar increases in the cohort sex ratios at birth in the birth histories and in the census, the rising sex ratio at birth in the late 1980s, especially at higher orders, cannot be explained by adoption.

Foreign demographers had not widely accepted conjectures that the sex ratio at birth increased in the 1980s because of increased recourse to sex-selective abortion. It was believed that the technical means for identifying the sex of the fetus were not available, except perhaps in major cities. In 1992, however, the Chinese government and Chinese scholars revealed previously unreported evidence that adequate technology may be widely available, and that the sex ratio at birth has risen.

At the International Seminar on China's 1990 Population Census, held in Beijing, several of the Chinese participants discussed the existence, in China, of a large number of "ultrasound B" machines, capable of ascertaining an embryo's sex. "China manufactured its first ultrasound B machine in 1979.... Records of the Customs administration show that 2,175 high quality color ultrasound B machines were imported in 1989, with the peak years of importation falling between 1985 and 1989. It is estimated that China now has the capacity to produce over 10,000 such devices per year.... According to the Ministry of Health ... every county is equipped with machines of high quality, operated by skilled technicians." (Yi et al. 1993: 291). The machines are intended for diagnosis (including fetal defects), for locating previously inserted IUDs, and for various health purposes. Identification of an embryo's sex is strictly forbidden by the government authorities, but when the technician (typically a local resident) observes the sex on his machine, he can let the parents (usually his friends) know by a simple, quiet gesture (Yi et al. 1993).

Chinese scholars at the Beijing conference also revealed previously unpublished data that confirm a rise in China's sex ratio at birth, when biased reporting of number of births by sex is hardly possible. They reported figures from birth records in hospitals on the numbers of male and female births; these figures were unaffected by female infanticide or by selective neglect of girls. Based on 1.2 million births a year in what was thought to be a representative sample of hospitals, the number of male births per 100 female births had risen to 108.0 in late 1986 and 1987, to 108.3 in 1989, to 109.1 in 1990, and to 109.7 in 1991. Possibly these figures are a biased sample (on the high or the low side) for the nation's 20 million annual births. For example, these hospitals may represent urban births more heavily than rural; even within a community, the masculinity ratio of births outside hospitals may be different from that in hospitals. Births outside hospitals, or rural births, may have a higher sex ratio than births in hospitals, or urban births, if rural parents have a stronger preference for males and if they have as much access to the technology as do city dwellers. But if people in remote or rural areas do not have as much access to functioning ultrasound B machines as people in urban or advanced rural areas -- a likely situation -- then the underrepresented births may have lower masculinity than those recorded in the hospitals. In view of the uncertainty even in the direction of bias, the hospital data strongly confirm an above-normal sex ratio at birth in China during each year from 1987 to 1991.

Earlier in the decade -- as of the 1982 census, for example -- evidently there were not enough ultrasound B machines or other fetal sex detection devices in China to affect the nation's sex ratio at birth. Even so, girls were missing from the youngest age groups in the census. Eight years later, the 1990 census count of children age 8 and older showed that young children had been undercounted in the 1982 census, but the undercount was the same for each sex. The slight increase in the estimated proportion of females missing from the birth cohorts of the mid-1970s to the early 1980s must be explained by an increase in relative female mortality at very young ages.

Can we assume that only special factors such as communism, compulsory family planning, or the one-child policy can cause a sharp rise in the masculinity of young cohorts, of the type that occurred in China in the 1980s and early 1990s? The answer appears to be "no" because a very similar increasing dearth of young girls is observed in data from the Republic of Korea from 1983 to 1988. In both populations, the total fertility rate fell from about 6.0 in the late 1950s to about 2.6 around 1980, and marital fertility changed from an age pattern indicating little voluntary control to a pattern implying widespread practice of birth limitation. Figure 3 shows the sequence of reported sex ratios at birth for first births and for all births in the two populations during the 1980s. In both countries, the ratio for first births, although erratic, shows no upward trend, while the overall sex ratio at birth increases to values at least 6% higher than the first-birth ratio. The sex ratio of third-order births rises from 1.09 in both populations in 1982 to 1.70 in Korea in 1988 and to 1.25 in China in 1989. Sex-selective abortion also has emerged in Korea (Shim et a1. 1991), which enjoys many forms of advanced technology and where the demand for sex identification is very high because the preference for males is much like that in China. No coercive one-child policy exists in Korea, but through voluntary use of contraception and abortion, the total fertility rate in Korea has fallen to about 1.5 births per woman. In both the People's Republic of China and South Korea, couples strongly desire more sons than daughters, on average. As prenatal sex determination has become available, parents in both countries evidently have used it.


In each of the periods we have considered, we see evidence of a strong preference for males in China, as shown by various features of the evolution of cohorts born in the period. A persistent feature is the indication of a smaller number of females in each cohort, relative to the number of males, than would be yielded by a normal sex ratio at birth, and normal differential mortality. Available evidence suggests that the large excess female mortality for the cohorts born in the 1930s and 1940s resulted from the persistence of the traditional practice of female infanticide. As this practice became less prevalent, the fraction of females missing in successive cohorts declined steadily. This decline was interrupted for cohorts born in the 1950s because female children (beyond the neonatal period) suffered more than male children from the increased mortality in the years of the great famine.

Figure 3. Comparison of Sex Ratio at Birth Order, between China and Republic of Korea 

The degree of effective voluntary control of fertility was negligible until the early 1960s in the cities, and until 1970 in the numerically predominant rural population. The initiation of effective control coincided with a strong government program designed to reduce the level of childbearing. An effect of this introduction of contraception was the beginning of a rise in the ratio of first-male births (within the male sex) to first-female births, and a decline in the ratio among third births (within each sex). The beginning of birth control around 1970 was not marked by a large change in the sex ratio at birth at the third and fourth orders or at the first and second (as ordinarily defined), because the cessation of childbearing (even selective cessation by the sex of the previous births) has no effect on the sex ratio at birth at each order. When ratios of male-to-female births are calculated by order of birth within each sex, however, the sex ratio at birth is affected strongly by a "stopping rule." In short, the spread of birth control in the 1970s had only a minor effect on the reported sex ratio at birth, but the new birth controlled to cessation of fertility after the birth of a wanted male.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the proportion of missing girls in each five-year grouped cohort reached a low point at about 2% of the girls born, indicating a reduction but not a disappearance of female infanticide and neglect of girls past early infancy. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, before ultrasound B machines became widely available in China, the proportion of girls missing rose to 3%. Those detected as missing in the 1982 census count had been lost at a young age before the census.

In the 1980s the sex ratio at birth as reported from fertility surveys rose sharply, especially at higher birth orders. An increase in the adopting out of girls, more than of boys, contributed to this trend, but this component probably is counteracted in the census data from 1982 and 1990, which show a sharp increase in missing girls during the decade. Data from 1.2 million hospital births a year presumably are free of sex-selective underregistration, yet may be affected by a difference in the masculinity of the births that take place in hospitals. These data show that these births are affected by sex-selective abortion of female fetuses but not by sex-selective postnatal mortality, and thus are excessively masculine in the late 1980s.



* This article originated with a paper presented at the October 1993 conference on the 1990 Census of China,  held in Beijing. Another, slightly different version was published as: Five Decades of Missing Females in China  (Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Working Paper Series, 93-6; also available from the Center  for International Research, U.S. Bureau of the Census).

I The high quality of age reporting in the Chinese censuses, derived as it is from date of birth reported according to the lunar calendar, is evident in the near absence of "age heaping" on the usual preferred numbers, such as those divisible by 10. Such heaping is prominent in the many less developed countries in which knowledge of age is inexact. As proof of the tendency to report the correct date in the lunar calendar, proportions are slightly elevated at ages at which the lunar date of birth falls in a year containing 13 lunar months instead of the more usual 12. Also, the survival rates calculated by single years of age from one census to the next are consistent with survival rates from model life tables at the appropriate level of mortality (Coale 1984, 1993; Coale and Li 1991).

2 Ages of military personnel, the great majority of whom are men, have not been reported from the censuses of 1953 and 1964. The 1982 census listed the military population in five-year age-sex groups, and the 1990 census did so by single years of age. Even in these censuses, however, the military population is not reported accurately, apparently because the figures come from imprecise administrative records. The civilian data by age and sex understate the proportion masculine at late teen and young adult years. To adjust for this understatement, we reassigned the masculinity ratios at ages 14-18 to 30-34 as the highest ratio for the cohort recorded in any census.

3 This observation is affected by the necessity of adjusting for the missing or misreported military population. The adjusted sex ratios in fact did not contribute many instances of a rise in cohort masculinity.

4 The model life tables employed in calculating the expected sex ratios were the "West" tables from Coale and Demeny (1983). The mortality levels were set at a female life expectation of 25 years before 1940, and of 32.5, 45.0, 52.5, 62.5, and 70 years in the 194Os, 1950s, 196Os, 1970s, and 1980s. We assumed that the change in sex ratio from birth to ages 0-4 was determined by the model table at the level of mortality when the cohort was born. From age 0-4 to the age at the date of the relevant census, we assumed the proportionate change in the sex ratio to be equal to the change over this age span at a mortality level intermediate between the level when the cohort was born and the level at the date of the census.

5 In the 1980s the real sex ratio at birth rose because of the effect of sex-selective abortion, but constancy (except for slight random fluctuation) prevailed until about 1983.

6 In the 1980s the sex ratio at birth order 2 (and therefore the average at the first two orders) rose because of the combined effect of the one-child policy and sex-selective abortion.

7 See Muhuri and Preston (1991) for a similar and well-documented phenomenon in Bangladesh. Missing Females in China


Coale, A.J. 1984. "Rapid Population Change in China, 1952-1982." Report No. 27, National Research Council, Committee on Population and Demography.

___. 1993. "Mortality Schedules in China Derived from Data in the 1982 and 1990 Censuses." Working Paper 93-7, Office of Population Research.

Coale, A.J. and P. Demeny. 1983. Regional Model Life Tables and Stable Populations. 2nd Ed., New York: Academic Press.

Coale, A.J. and S. Li. 1991. "The Effect of Age Misreporting in China on the Calculation of Mortality Rates at Very High Ages." Demography 28:293-301.

Japan. Ministry of Health and Welfare. 1991. Vital Statistics of Japan, 1991. Vol. 1. Tokyo: Statistics and Information Department.

Johanssen, S. and o. Nygren. 1991. "The Missing Girls in China: A New Demographic Account." Population and Development Review 17(1):35-51.

Lavely, W.R. 1986. "Age Patterns of Chinese Marital Fertility, 1950-1981." Demography 23:419-34.

Muhuri, P.K. and S.H. Preston. 1991. "Effects of Family Composition on Mortality Differentials by Sex Among Children in Matlab, Bangladesh." Population and Development Review 17(3):415-34,564-67.

Republic of Korea. National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). 1988. Recent Changes in Vital Statistics and New Population Projection. Seoul: National Bureau of Statistics.

Shim, Y.H., S.M. Park, H.S. Kim, and W.S. Pack. 1991. An Empirical Study on Abortion in Korea (in Korean with English abstract). Seoul: Korean Institute of Criminology.

State Family Planning Commission of China (SFPC). 1990. Data of China Fertility and Contraception Survey (Whole Country) (in Chinese). Beijing: China Population Press.

State Statistical Bureau of China (SSB). 1991. 10 Percent Sampling Tabulation on the 1990 Population Census of the People's Republic of China (in Chinese). Beijing: China Statistical Press.

Teitelbaum, M.S., N. Mantel, and C.R. Stark. 1971. "Limited Dependence of the Human Sex Ratio on Birth Order." American Journal of Human Genetics 23(3):271-280.

Wolf, A.P. and C. Huang. 1980. Marriages and Adoption in China, 1845-1945. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Yi, Z., P. Tu, B. Gu, Y. Xu, B. Li, and Y. Li. 1992. "An Analysis of the Causes and Implications of the Recent Increase in the Sex Ratio at Birth in China." Presented at the International Seminar on China's 1990 Population Census, Beijing.

___. 1993. "Causes and Implications of the Recent Increase in the Reported Sex Ratio at Birth in China." Population and Development Review 19(2):283-302,425,427.
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The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism: with its mystic cults, symbolism and mythology, and in its relation to Indian Buddhism -- Excerpt
by Laurence Austine Waddell, 1854-1938





FANCY-DRESS balls and the masked carnivals of Europe find their counterpart in Tibet, where the Lamas are fond of masquerading in quaint attire; and the populace delight in these pageants, with their dramatic display and droll dances. The masked dances, however, are essentially religious in nature, as with the similar pageants still found among many primitive people, and probably once current even among the Greeks and Egyptians. 2

The Lamas reserve to themselves the exclusive right to act in "the Mystery-Play," with its manifestations of the gods and demons, by awe-inspiring masks, etc., while they relegate to lay actors the sacred dramas, illustrating the former births of Buddha and other saints, the Jatakas.

"The Mystery-Play of Tibet," the name by which the acted pageant of the Lamas is known to many Europeans, has been seen by several travellers in Tibet and adjoining Lamaist lands; but the plot and motive of the play seem never to have been very definitely ascertained, owing, doubtless, to the cumbrous details which so thickly overlay it, and the difficulty of finding competent interpreters of the plot, as well as the conflicting accounts current amongst the Lamas themselves in regard to its origin and meaning.

As I have had opportunities for studying the various versions of the play with the aid of learned Lamas of several sects, I give here a brief sketch of what I have elicited regarding what appears to have been its original character and subsequent developments. Originally it appears to have been a devil-dancing cult for exorcising malignant demons and human enemies, and associated with human sacrifice and, probably, cannibalism.

Afterwards, during the Buddhist era, the devil-dance, like that of the Ceylonese, was given a Buddhist dress, which was not difficult, as somewhat analogous displays representing the temptation of Buddha, seem to be found in Indian Buddhism, as seen in the annexed figure of a frieze from Gandhara.3 And several leading indigenous names lent themselves readily to perversion into Buddhist names or titles, by a process already practised by the Brahmans in India, who Sanskritized aboriginal Indian names in order to bring them within the mythological pale of Hinduism.

Demons of Mara in Gandhara Sculptures. (Lahore Museum)

The unsophisticated Tibetans still call the mystery-play the "Dance of the Red-Tiger Devil,"4 a deity of the Bon or pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. The original motive of the dance appears to have been to expel the old year with its demons of ill-luck, and to propitiate with human sacrifice and probably cannibalism the war-god and the guardian spirits, most of whom are demonified kings and heroes, in order to secure good-luck and triumph over enemies in the incoming year.

Human sacrifice seems undoubtedly to have been regularly practised in Tibet up till the dawn there of Buddhism in the seventh century A.D. The glimpses which we get of early Tibet through the pages of contemporary Chinese history, show, as Dr. Bushell translates,5 that "at the new year they (the Tibetans) sacrifice men or offer monkeys," and so late as the seventh century the annual rites in connection with the defence of their country were triennially accompanied by human sacrifice.6

Actual cannibalism is, indeed, attributed to the early Tibetans,7 and the survival of certain customs lends strong colour to the probability of such a practice having been current up till about the middle ages.
The Tibetans themselves claim descent from a man-eating ancestry, and they credit their wilder kinsmen and neighbours of the lower Tsang-po valley with anthrophagous habits even up to the present day.

History and Etymology for anthropophagous: Greek anthrōpophágos "(of humans) eating human flesh, cannibal" (from anthrōpo- ANTHROPO- + -phagos -PHAGOUS) + -OUS

-- Anthropophagous, by Merriam-Webster

Vestiges of cannibalism appear to be preserved in the mystery-play. And of similar character seems to be the common practice of eating a portion of the human skin covering the thigh-bone in preparing the bone trumpets, and also, probably, of like origin is the common Tibetan oath of affirmation, "By my father's and mother's flesh."8

The Lamas, however, as professing Buddhists, could not countenance the taking of life, especially human. So, in incorporating this ancient and highly popular festival within their system, they replaced the human victims by anthropomorphic effigies of dough, into which were inserted models of the larger organs, and also fluid red pigment to represent the blood. This substitution of dough images for the living sacrifices of the Bon rites is ascribed by tradition to St. Padma-sambhava in the second half of the eighth century A.D.
And these sacrificial dough-images, of more or less elaborate kinds, now form an essential part of the Lamaist daily service of worship.

The Bon-pos founded a number of monasteries in the Buddhist fashion for the residence of the monks "who lived according to rules of an order along the lines of the Buddhist Order, and went in for philosophy, mysticism and new fashioned magic, religious festivals and the carrying around the sacred objects in procession".1 [The Religions of Tibet, pp. 97, 98] The Bon-pos used the holy objects in the opposite direction, instead of clockwise direction, as in Buddhism. Their Swastika, the mystic cross called in Tibetan Gyung-drung "and did not turn dextrously as that of Lamaism do, but symmetrically, to left instead of right.' They used to chant the famous formula, 'Om Matri Muye Sale du' in place of the sacred Avalokitesvara formula of the Lamas 'Om Mani Padme hum.' Rockhill writes2 [The Life of Buddha, p. 206] that "the Buddhist influence is so manifest in it (Bon) that is impossible to consider it as giving us very correct ideas of what this religion was before it came to contact with Buddhism."

The bon-po religion has repeatedly been said to be the same as that of the Tao-sse and it is remarkable that these two religions have drawn so largely from Buddhist ideas that they have nearly identified themselves with it. "The Bon-pos had no literature of their own. They took over the Buddhist excerpts and symbols on a vast scale, thereby creating a literature and an iconography very similar to those of the Buddhists as to be almost indistinguishable to casual observers."

In the G-Zer-myig is given a broad survey of the world of gods, i.e., the pantheon of the Bon-pos. The pantheon of the bon-pos has been very much enlarged like that of Lamaism. Hoffman writes3 [The Religions of Tibet, p. 101] that" ... in addition to the pantheon of the later Bon religion created primarily in Zhang-zhung under Western Asiatic and Buddhist influence, the old, so to speak anonymous gods of the animist, shamanist era have remained alive in the minds of the common people. The highest principle of this religion and at the same time the transcendental Urguru from which all enlightened understanding comes, and which in type is similar to the 'Adibuddha of many of the Vajrayana system is called Kun0tu-bzang-po, in Sanskrit Samantabhadra, in other words, it bears the same name as the Adibuddha of Padmaism, to which, of course, the syncretic bon religion bears a close resemblance. Philosophically considered, this Samantabhadra represents the ultimate absolute, the Dharmakaya, called here the Bon substance (Bon-sku) a concept which despite many positive characteristics (conscious bliss) seems to be largely the same as the Mahayana 'Voidness.'"

In the Bon pantheon Bon-sku-kun-tu-bzang-po is the supreme deity and Bon-skyong (Dharmapala), a guardian deity, a nine headed enormity,1 [S.C. Das, J.B.T.S., 1, iii. appendix 1, 1881), p. 197] as his sister Srid-pai's rgyal-mo who has three eyes and six arms is taken to be Sri devi (Tara) of Lamaism. There are numerous dreadful gods with human or animal heads. There are further other gods with heads of various animals, such as, pigs, horses, bulls and tigers. Those apart, there is a special group of gods dwelling on the tops of the sacred mountain Kailasa.2 [Hoffmann, The Religions of Tibet, p. 104]

It is interesting to note in this connection that in the Bon-pantheon, goddesses take precedence over the gods and the female priests are regarded superior to the male priests in this religion.3 [J.B.T.S. 1, iii, appendix 1, and Journal of the Asiatic Society, 1881, 197n] Lastly, the Bon-pos have monasteries of their own in which there are many images of gods, saints and demons like those of Lamaism, but with different names thereof.

Sacrifices of animals and even human beings and such other practices were openly indulged in and they formed an important part in the religious observances of the Bon.4 [Cf. J.A.S.B. 1881, 198n] A fair idea about the original character of the Bon-po rituals can be had from the ancient manuscripts (9th or 10th cent. A.D.) where the Tibetan rites are described.5 [R.A. Stein, Tibetan Civilization, p. 25] "The officers are assembled once every year for the lesser oath of fealty. They sacrifice sheep, dogs, and monkeys, first breaking their legs and then killing them, afterwards exposing their intestines and cutting them into pieces. The sorcerers having been summoned, they call on the gods of heaven and earth, of the mountains and rivers, of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, saying: "should your hearts become changed, and your thoughts disloyal, the gods will see clearly and make you like these sheep and dogs." Every three years there is a grand ceremony during which all are assembled in the middle of the night on a raised altar, on which are spread savoury meat. The victims sacrificed as men, horses, oxen and asses, and prayers are offered in this form: "Do you all with one heart and united strength cherish our native country. The gods of heaven, and the spirit of the earth will both know your thoughts and if you break this oath they will cause your bodies to be cut into pieces like unto these victims."1 [The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1880, p. 441]

As already observed, the offering up of the animal sacrifices was the most important feature of the old Bon religion. When Buddhism became the state religion the Bon-pos were prohibited to indulge further in such practices. But this form of sacrifice could not be entirely eradicated because of the deep conviction of the people. Substitutes for living animals were sacrificed instead, representations of yaks and sheep, and wooden carving of deer heads.

We have further from the gZer-myig2 [Hoffmann, The Religions of tibet, p. 22, c/Albert Tafel, Meine Tibetreise, Vol. II, pp. 153, 198, Notes 2, 232, 236] the description of a human sacrifice for the recovery of a sick prince. It writes: 'the soothsayer seized the man by the feet whilst the Bon-po took his hands. The black Han-dha then cut open the life orifice and tore out the heart. The two, the soothsayer and the Bon-po, then scattered out the blood and flesh of the victim to the four corners of the heaven.' It should be mentioned that with the light of Indian civilization introduced by Buddhism the adherents of Bon were obliged to give up their human and animal sacrifices, and instead use little statue made of dough containing barley-flower butter and water. "Bonpos were now prohibited making human and other bloody sacrifice as was their wont; and hence is said to have arisen the practice of offering images of men and animals made of dough." Its mythology is exceedingly complicated. It enumerates an endless number of spirits or divinities, all hostile to man and it is necessary to propitiate them by continual sacrifices. Even down to the present day some Bon practices still exist in parts of Eastern and South-Eastern Tibet; the most populous part of the country. Dr. Hoffmann1 [The Religions of Tibet, p. 22] writes 'that followers of Bon religion are still using the blood of cocks to conjure peace.'....

Thus we know very little about the original nature of the Bon religion because of dearth of positive evidence. Our knowledge of its actual nature is rather vague and fragmentary. Hoffmann2 [The Religions of Tibet, p. 15] writes: "What the original Bon religion was like before it came into contact with Buddhism, but this is made difficult by the great dearth of authentic documentary evidence. In fact, actual documents from those early days are unknown, and they can hardly have existed in any case, because it was not until the first half of the seventh century that, under Buddhist influence, Tibet received a written language and a literature." "The Buddhist influence," observe Rockhill, "is so manifest in it [Bon] that it is impossible to consider it as giving us very correct ideas of what this religion was before it came in contact with Buddhism."3 [The Life of Buddha, p. 206] Furthermore, F.A. Stein4 [Tibetan Civilization, p. 229] says: "The history and characteristics of this religion [Bon] are still subject to considerable uncertainty at least as far as the early period is concerned."...

In fine, from the sense of the Tibetan word, it may be said that Bon was originally an aspect of Tantra cult. It was amalgamated into the Buddhist esoteric faith later on. Several other reformed Tibetan sects were further brought forth thereon.

-- Bon, The Primitive Religion of Tibet, by Prof. Anukul Chandra Banerjee, Gangtok

The Lamas also, as it seems to me, altered the motive of the play to hang upon it their own sacerdotal story for their own glorification and priestly gain. Retaining the festival with its Bacchanalian orgies for expelling the old year and ushering in good-luck for the new, they also retained the cutting-up of their enemies in effigy; but they made the plot represent the triumph of the Indian missionary monks (Acarya) under St. Padma-sambhava over the indigenous paganism with its hosts of malignant fiends and the black-hat devil-dancers, and also over the Chinese heretics.

The voracious man-eating devils of Tibet were mostly assimilated to the Sivaite type of fiend in mediaeval Indian Buddhism, with which they had so much in common. And the title was accordingly altered from tag-mar; "the (dance) of the red Tiger (devil)" to its homonym tag-mar (spelt drag-dmar), or "the red fierce ones." Thus Yama, the Death-king, and his minions form a most attractive feature of the play, for it is made to give the lay spectators a very realistic idea of the dreadful devils from whom the Lamas deliver them; and they are familiarized with the appearance of these demons who, according to the Lamas, beset the path along which the disembodied soul must hereafter pass to paradise.

As this tragedy is so intimately identified with Padma-sambhava, the founder of Lamaism, it is acted in its most gorgeous style on the birthday of that saint, namely, on the tenth day of the fifth Tibetan month.

But latterly both plot and date were again altered by the established church of Tibet, the Ge-lug-pa sect. This reformed sect, which dissociates itself as far as possible from St. Padmasambhava, who now is so intimately identified with the unreformed sects, transferred the festival from the end of the old Tibetan year, that is the eleventh month of the present style, to the end of its own year according to the new official year.

And it has also, in its version, altered the motive of the tragedy, so as to make it represent the assassination of the Julian of Lamaism (Lan-darma) by a Lama disguised as a Shamanist dancer, and this is followed by the restoration of the religion by the aid of Indian and Chinese monks, and the subsequent triumph of Lamaism, with its superior sorcery derived from Buddhist symbolism.

This version of the play calls the central episode "the strewing food of the sixty iron castles,"9 and it still further alters, as I take it, the title of the chief character to its further homonym of "Tag-mar"10 the red horse-headed Hayagriva, a name borrowed from Hindu mythology, but evidently, as it seems to me, suggested by the cognomen of their old familiar fiend, Tag-mar, the red Tiger-devil, of the pre-Lamaist Bon priests. Tiger-devils are also well-known to Chinese mythology,11 while Hayagriva, as a Buddhist creation, appears to be known only to the Lamaistic form of Buddhism, and his Tantrik book is admittedly of Tibetan composition.

Red tiger-Devil of the Bon.

Tiger-Devils (of the Chinese. The lower right-hand one is the Red-tiger; the central one is yellow).

But even as thus adapted by the established church, the purest of all the Lamaist sects, the play still retains, as will be presently shown, the devil-dancing Shamanist features, as well as vestiges of human sacrifice, if not of actual cannibalism.

Let us first look at the mystery-play or tragedy as acted by the Lamas of the old school, at Himis, in Ladak, in Sikhim, Bhotan, etc., and afterwards refer to the versions as acted by the reformed and established church.

This play is acted, as already mentioned, by all sects of Lamas, on the last day of the year when the community is en fete, by many of the unreformed sects on St. Padma-sambhava's day.

When acted at the end of the year it forms part of the ceremony called "The sacrificial body of the dead year,"12 and is held on the last two or three days of the old year, from the 28th to the 30th of the twelfth month. As the performance is conducted at the Himis monastery, in Ladak, in a much grander style than was witnessed by me in Sikhim, and more in the style seen in Tibet, and as it has been there witnessed and described by several travellers,"13 I shall take the Himis performance as the basis of my description, and amplify the descriptions of it where necessary.

As the day for the play draws near, the villagers flock in from the country-side; and on the morning of the day fixed for the performance, the people, decked in holiday attire, throng to the temple many hours before that fixed for the performance, to secure good points of view. Seats are provided and reserved only for the gentry and high officials and visitors. The king and other grandees have state boxes.

The performance is held al fresco in the courtyard of the temple (see the photograph on page 528). The orchestra is sometimes screened off from view, and the maskers assemble either in the temple or in yak-hair tents, and are treated to refreshments often, and soup between the acts.

A shrill bugle-call, from a trumpet made out of a human thigh-bone,14 notifies the commencement of the play.

The gongs and shawms strike up a wailing sort of air, which the musicians accompany by a low chant, and out come trooping a crowd of the pre-Lamaist black-mitred priests, clad in rich robes of China silk and brocade, and preceded by swingers of censers. They make the mystic sign of "The Three," and execute a stately dance to slow music.

Stretching out the right hand and left alternately, the leaders turn to the right, and the last in line to the left, both advancing and retiring towards each other several times, and, reforming the circle and making the sign of the Trident, they retire.

Diagram of Royal Monastery at Teng-gye-ling, Lhasa (where mystic play is acted).

After these have gone out, then enter a troupe of the man-eating malignant demons,15 who, with their hordes, vex and harass humanity. They infest the air, the earth, the water, and are constantly seeking to destroy man, not unlike their better-known relative, who, "as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour."16 These hordes of demons are intended to illustrate the endless oppression of man by the powers of evil, against whom he can of himself do nothing, but occasionally the exorcisms or prayers of some good Lama or incarnator may come to his assistance and shield him, but even then only after a fierce and doubtful contest between the saints and the devils. And only for a time, too, can this relief from persecution endure, for all the exorcisms of all the saints are of little avail to keep back the advancing hordes. The shrieking demons must close in upon the soul again.17


These demons, now incorporated in Tibetan Buddhism, are regarded as forms of Durga (Devi), Siva (Natha), and the king of the Dead (Dharmaraja or Yama).19 "Flames and effigies of human skulls were worked on their breasts and other parts of their raiment. As their hoods fell back, hideous features of leering satyrs were disclosed."20

"In their right hand they hold a bell or fan, and in their left a bowl cut out of a human skull, and round the edge of which are attached narrow streamers of silk and some plaited ends of hair.
This ghastly ladle is called Bundah. Some of the maskers hold in the right hand a short stick, with red and blue streamers of silk; these and the spoons majestically waved about as they go round in their solemn dance had the most curious effect I ever saw."21

To these monsters (now coerced by Buddhism) the Lamas offer a libation of beer, and some rice or mustard-seed, and to all the beings of the six classes, and especially including the demons, and the rice or seeds are thrown about freely;22 and each Lama present inwardly prays for the realization of his desire.

At a signal from the cymbals the large trumpets (eight or ten feet long) and the other instruments, pipes and drums, etc., and shrill whistling (with the fingers in the mouth), produce a deafening din to summon the noxious demons and the enemies. "The music became fast and furious, and troop after troop of different masks rushed on, some beating wooden tambourines, others swelling the din with rattles and bells. All of these masks were horrible, and the malice of infernal beings was well expressed on some of them. As they danced to the wild music with strange steps and gesticulations, they howled in savage chorus. . . . The solemn chanting ceased, and then rushed on the scene a crowd of wan shapes, almost naked, with but a few rags about them. . . . They wrung their hands despairingly, and rushed about in a confused way as if lost, starting from each other in terror when they met, sometimes feeling about them with their outstretched hands like blind men, and all the while whistling in long-drawn notes, which rose and fell like a strong wind on the hills, producing an indescribably dreary effect. These, I was told, represented the unfortunate souls of dead men which had been lost in space, and were vainly seeking their proper sphere through the darkness. . . . The variously masked figures of Spirits of Evil flocked in, troop after troop — oxen-headed and serpent-headed devils; three-eyed monsters with projecting fangs, their heads crowned with tiaras of human skulls; Lamas painted and masked to represent skeletons; dragon-faced fiends, naked save for tiger-skins about their loins, and many others. Sometimes they appeared to be taunting and terrifying the stray souls of men -- grim shapes who fled hither and thither among their tormentors, waving their arms and wailing miserably, souls who had not obtained Nirvana and yet who had no incarnation ...Then the demons were repelled again by holy men; but no sooner did these last exorcise one hideous band than other crowds came shrieking on. It was a hopeless conflict. . . . At one period of the ceremony a holy man . . . blessed a goblet of water by laying his hands on it and intoning some prayer or charm. Then he sprinkled the water in all directions, and the defeated demons stayed their shrieking, dancing, and infernal music, and gradually crept out of the arena, and no sound was heard for a time but the sweet singing of the holy choir. But the power of exorcism was evanescent, for the routed soon returned in howling shoals."23

Death-Skeleton Masker

The superior effect of Buddhism over the indigenous Shamanism is now shown by the arrival on the scene of the Indian monk, Padma-sambhava, and his assistants, or his eight forms; or sometimes these are represented as Buddha himself, or the group of the "Seven Buddhas."24

Devils Fleeing from the Buddhist Saints.
This scene is thus described: "The loud music suddenly ceased, and all the demons scampered off shrieking as if in fear, for a holy thing was approaching. To solemn chanting, low music and swinging of censers, a stately procession came through the porch of the temple and slowly descended the steps. Under a canopy, borne by attendants, walked a tall form in beautiful silk robes, wearing a large mask representing a benign and peaceful face. As he advanced, men and boys, dressed as abbots and acolytes of the church of Rome, prostrated themselves before him and addressed him with intoning and pleasing chanting. He was followed by six other masks, who were treated with similar respect. These seven deified beings drew themselves in a line on one side of the quadrangle and received the adoration of several processions of masked figures, some of abbots, and others beast-headed, or having the faces of devils."25

These last are the demon-kings who have been coerced by Buddhism into becoming guardians and defensores fidei of that religion. And amongst the worshippers are the Pa-wo or "heroes" with green masks, surmounted by triangular red flags, and girdles, and anklets of bells; and the solemnity is relieved by a few Acaryas, or jesters, who play practical jokes, and salute the holy personages with mock respect.

The enemy of Tibet and of Lamaism is now represented in effigy, but before cutting it to pieces, it is used to convey to the people a vivid conception of the manner in which devils attack a corpse, and the necessity for priestly services of a quasi-Buddhist sort to guard it and its soul.

The similarity between Christianity and Buddhism grows stronger when we consider how Tibetan Buddhists actually practice their religion. Tibetan Buddhists like to say their practices are all about purifying the mind through meditation, but this is not quite true. Tibetan Buddhists fill their temples with sacred images because they are obsessed with earning merit by making an endless stream of offerings. Further, while they believe that making offerings to a statue is good, the best way to improve their chances of a positive rebirth is by making offerings to the lamas, imagined to be incarnated Buddhas.

Because Tibetan Buddhists place primary emphasis on “accumulating merit,” the religion has developed what we might call a “merit economy,” in which merit is gained by giving gifts to the lamas, reciting mantras, prostrating before images, and walking in circles around a sacred building or statue, called “circumambulation.” Like medieval Christians, they also believe that you can pay other people to perform pious acts on your behalf, and get the same benefit! Thus, American students are currently paying Tibetans to perform recitations on their behalf, after hiring a diviner to determine how many recitations of what deity need to be performed to remove obstacles. This procedure would have been familiar to a medieval Catholic, who could reduce their stay in purgatory, or that of their relatives, by donating to the clergy, that imagined “a vast community of mutual help … uniting the living and the dead” in sacred exertions. People with more money than piety could earn indulgences through “commutation, through which any services, obligations, or goods could be converted into a corresponding monetary payment.” In 1343 Pope Clement VI decreed himself the manager of the “Treasury of Merit,” and officially took charge of the business, becoming God’s counting house.[105]

Like medieval Christians, Tibetan Buddhists believe that the fates of their eternal souls, and those of their loved ones, are determined by their “stock of merit,” whether accumulated by their own efforts, or by the efforts of persons employed to accumulate merit on their behalf. Although it seems blatantly venal, the entire religion is based on the belief that the greatest merit is accumulated by making donations to the priests who run the religion.

-- Against Hell: A Refutation of the Buddhist Hell Realms, Based on Their Historic Origins, Political Purpose, Psychological Destructiveness, Irrationality, and Demonstrable Inconsistency With the Original Buddhist Teachings, Framed as A Searching Review of Sam Bercholz’s After-Death Memoir, "A Guided Tour of Hell", by Charles Carreon

Some days previous to the commencement of the play, an image26 of a young lad is made out of dough, in most elaborate fashion, and as life-like as possible. Organs representing the heart, lungs, liver, brain, stomach, intestines, etc., are inserted into it, and the heart and large blood-vessels and limbs are filled with a red-coloured fluid to represent blood. And occasionally, I am informed on good authority, actual flesh from the corpses of criminals27 is inserted into the image used in this ceremony28 at the established church of Potala.

This effigy of the enemy is brought forth by the four cemetery-ghouls,29 and laid in the centre of the square, and freely stabbed by the weapons, and by the gestures and spells of the circling hosts of demons, as in the illustration here given.

The necromantic power of the Lamas is here shown much in the same way as in the Burmese sacred play at Arakan.30 On three signals with the cymbals, two Indian monks (Acaryas) come out of the monastery, and blow their horns and go through a series of droll antics, and are followed by two or more Lamas who draw around the effigy on the pavement of the quadrangle a magic triangle and retire. Then rush in the ghosts, death-demons, "figures painted black and white to simulate skeletons, some in chains, others bearing sickles or swords, engaged in a frantic dance around the corpse. They were apparently attempting to snatch it away or inflict some injury on it, but were deterred by the magic effect of the surrounding triangle and by the chanting and censer-swinging of several holy men in mitred and purple copes. . . .  

Dance of the Death-Demons in Hemis Monastery.31

"A more potent and very ugly fiend, with great horns on his head and huge lolling tongue, ran in, hovered threateningly over the corpse, and with a great sword slashed furiously about it, just failing by little more than a hair's-breadth to touch it with each sweep of the blade. He seemed as if he were about to overcome the opposing enchantment when a saint of still greater power than he now came to the rescue. The saint approached the corpse and threw a handful of flour on it, making mystic signs and muttering incantations. This appeared from his mask to be one of the incarnations of Buddha. He had more control over the evil spirits than any other who had yet contended with them. The skeletons, and also he that bore the great sword, grovelled before him, and with inarticulate and beast-like cries implored mercy. He yielded to their supplications, gave each one a little of the flour he carried with him, which the fiends ate gratefully, kneeling before him; and he also gave them to drink out of a vessel of holy water."32

This usually concludes one day's performance.33 On the following day adoration is paid to the Jina, by whom unreformed Lamas seem to intend St. Padma-sambhava. And mustard-seed is blessed and thrown at the enemy with singing, dancing, and incantations. And then occurs the ceremony of stabbing the enemy by the phurbu or mystic dagger.

A Short Description of the Phur-Pa, or the “Enchanted Dagger”
by Sri Sarat Chandra Das

In the Sanskrit language, the Phur-pa is called Kila, [x]. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is described as of two kinds: metaphysical and ordinary. All intellectual accomplishments are compared with the Phur-pa. Knowledge dissipates Avidya, (ignorance), so it is said figuratively that the Phur-pa of knowledge destroys ignorance, which is typified as the arch-enemy of humanity. Avidya, is the prime cause of sin and sin is the cause of suffering. In the same manner the Phur-pa of love stabs at anger. The Phur-pa of impermance strikes at attachment and passionate desires. The Phur-pa, of wise discrimination i.e., the power of distinguishing the right from wrong, good from bad, &c., liberates one from misery.

The ordinary Phur-pa is of four kinds. They are used for the acquirement of the four kinds of worldly objects Viz: (1) peace [x], (2) abundance [x], (3) power [x] and (4) fearfulness [x].

1. The phur-pa that typifies peace is generally made of silver or white sandal wood, and is about 4 inches long. The top of its handle is a saint’s head and its lower part is dressed as a knob of twisted noose. The point of the dagger is blunt and rounded to show that its effect is mild and cannot pain any body. When it is consecrated, it acquires the power of driving out evil spirits and diseases from one’s body. It is not intended for mischief to any body. It is considered to be a mystic healer.

2. The Phur-pa that symbolizes copiousness is generally made of gold or of the fragrant juniper. Its handle is similar to that of No. 1, only, that in the place of the saint’s head, there is the head of the goddess of plenty looking down with a smile, expressive of contentment and prosperity. The dagger point terminates on a square. On the top of the dagger handle i.e., on the crown of the god’s head, there is a gem generally a coral or a ruby, placed as an ornament. If this Phur-pa is consecrated, it becomes possessed of wonderful powers. Its touch gives longevity, fame, prosperity, wealth, &c., to the devotee. Its dagger is generally made 8 inches long.

3. The Phur-pa typifying power is made of copper or red sandal wood. Its handle is made of the shape of a knob, surmounted with four fearful heads with wide-opened and gasping mouths, possessing the expression of unquenchable thirst. The dagger point of the Phur-pa terminates in a sharp semi-circular curve. It is generally made 12 inches long. The top of the Phur-pa is made of the size and shape of a small lotus bud. When consecrated, it acquires wonderful efficacy. By means of it, one’s enemies are brought under one’s power without fighting or without the use of weapons. It is invaluable to lovers as a sure instrument to overpower the object of his or her love. It is also supposed to have the power of bringing learning and luck to one who receives its touch with faith.

4. The last is the Tag-poi Phurpa, in Sanskrit, called the Rudra-Kila. It is made of steel, bronze or meteoric stone. The handle of the dagger, made of brass, is a crocodile’s head, surmounted by a cross, formed of two thunderbolts called the Na-tshog-dorje. On the top point of this cross, is fixed three terrific crowned heads, typifying the looks of the Lord of Death in three ages: past, present and the future. He is determined to kill those who transgress against the Dharma i.e., the Law. The cross of thunderbolts is intended to fix down the enemy so that he may not get up again. The three blades of the dagger corresponding to the three faces are intended to stab the enemy instantaneously by its touch. The crocodile’s yawning mouth drinks the blood and eats the flesh of the slain devil. The thunderbolt which projects from the centre of the crown of the three terrific heads is intended to draw out the life-breath of the enemy. When consecrated, this dagger becomes enchanted. In the hands of the necromancer, it throbs, bounds up, burns and flashes. Sometimes, a kind of ringing sound comes out of it, indicating its wonderful powers. By its touch, even rocks break asunder. It is generally kept concealed, being covered with a black or dark-blue silk scarf.

The Phur-pa that has just been exhibited by Mr. Greer is of this last kind, and according to the belief of the Lamas, will become enchanted, when it has been properly consecrated.

-- Journal of the Buddhist Text Society of India, Volume 4, edited by Sarat Chandra Das, C.I.E.

Four ghouls bring in an object wrapped in a black cloth, and placing it on the ground, dance round it with intricate steps, then raising the cloth disclose a prone image of a man, which has been made in the manner previously described.

Then enter the demon-generals and kings, including the demon Tam-din, and they dance around the image. They are followed by the fiendesses, including the twelve Tan-ma, under Devi. These are followed by the black-hat devil-dancers, and these are, in the established church version, held to represent the Lama who assumed this disguise to assassinate king Lan-darma. The four guards now hold the door to prevent entry of any enemies or evil spirits. The black-hats dance round thrice and are succeeded by the god of Wealth, fiendesses, and butchers, the five great "kings,"34 and their queens and ministers, also the state sorcerer of Na-ch'un, and his eight-fold attendants.35

Then enters a fearful fiend named "The holy king of Religion,"36 with the head of a bull, holding in his right hand a dagger with silk streamers, and in his left a human heart (in effigy) and a snare, attended by a retinue of fiends and fiendesses, bearing weapons and dressed in skins,37 human beings, tigers and leopards; and the last to enter are tiger-skin-clad warriors with bows and arrows. This part of the Demon-king can only be taken by a monk of the purest morals, and the costly dress which this actor wears at the play at Potala is one presented by the emperor of China.

The Religious King-Devil

The King-devil, surrounded by his fiendish hordes, dances and makes with dagger the gesture of "The Three"; he stabs the heart, arms and legs of the figure, and binds its feet by the snare. He then rings a bell, and seizing a sword, chops off the limbs and slits open the breast and extracts the bleeding heart, lungs and intestines.

A troupe of monsters, with the heads of deer and yaks, rush in and gore the remains and scatter the fragments with their horns and hands to the four directions.38

Underling fiends now collect the fragments into a huge silver basin shaped like a skull, which four of them carry to the Demon-king in a pompous procession, in which the black-hat devil-dancers join.
The Demon-king then seizes the bleeding fragments, and, eating a morsel, throws them up in the air, when they are caught and fought for by the other demons, who throw the pieces about in a frantic manner, and ultimately throwing them amongst the crowd, which now takes part in the orgie, and a general melee results, each one scrambling for morsels of the fragments, which some eat and others treasure as talismans against wounds, diseases and misfortunes.

The Tibetans may practically be considered as a kind of cannibals. I was struck with this notion while witnessing the burial ceremony. All the cloths used in the burial go as a matter of course to the grave-diggers, though they hardly deserve this name, as their duty consists not in digging the grave but in chopping the flesh of the corpse and pounding the bones. Even priests give them help, for the pounding business is necessarily tedious and tiresome. Meanwhile the pounders have to take refreshment, and tea is drunk almost incessantly, for Tibetans are great tea-drinkers. The grave-diggers, or priests, prepare tea, or help themselves to baked flour, with their hands splashed over with a mash of human flesh and bones, for they never wash their hands before they prepare tea or take food, the most they do being to clap their hands, so as to get rid of the coarser fragments. And thus they take a good deal of minced human flesh, bones or brain, mixed with their tea or flour. They do so with perfect nonchalance; in fact, they have no idea whatever how really abominable and horrible their practice is, for they are accustomed to it. When I suggested that they might wash their hands before taking refreshment, they looked at me with an air of surprise. They scoffed at my suggestion, and even observed that eating with unwashed hands really added relish to food; besides, the spirit of the dead man would be satisfied when he saw them take fragments of his mortal remains with their food without aversion. It has been stated that the Tibetans[393] are descendants of the Rākshasa tribe—a tribe of fiendish cannibals who used to feed on human flesh; and what I witnessed at the burial convinced me that, even at the present day, they retained the horrible habit of their ancestors.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

The service, which is done by the priest who represents the saint Padma-sambhava, is here summarized. It is called "The Expelling Oblation of the hidden Fierce Ones."39

"Salutation to Padma-sambhava! I here arrange to upset the hosts of demons, by the aid of the hidden Fierce Ones. In bygone ages you guarded the Buddha's doctrines and upset all the harmful spirits. Now the charge has come to me, O! St. Padma! Instruct me as you did prince Pearl and your fairy wife — the Victorious Ocean of Foreknowledge. You wrote the rite and hid it away in the cave. Samaya! rgya! The sealed secret!"

Then arrange as a square magic mandala the cemetery, as the abode of the eight classes of demons. And set down poison, blood, and four lotus leaves with a red trident in the centre. And draw fire-flames, doors, etc., according to rule. Above it place a small table and on it a vessel filled with black grains, and a three-headed cake. Cover it up with an umbrella and put inside this house a linka (image of wheaten flour), which represents the injuring demon. Then arrange everything complete with the various sorts of offerings, and then do the necessary rites.

First of all invoke one's own tutelary thus: —

"Hum! O! Chief of fiercest thunderbolts, immovable and vast as the sky, the overruling angry one! I invoke you who are possessed of supreme strength, and able to subjugate all three empty worlds to do my desires. I invoke you to rise from the burning sky. I, the spell-holder, invoke you with great reverence and faith. You must ripen all the fruits of my desires, otherwise you shall suffer, O! tutelary!40 Arise from the sky and come forth with all your retinue, and quickly route the demons."

Then here offer a libation of wine.

Now the mantra-holder must mentally conceive that the house is full of clouds and that he is sitting in the presence of his tutelary; while the fire of anger burns outside, the mist of poison floats inside; the Las-byed-gs'ed-ma is killing the animals, and the evil spirits are wandering about. The devil now must assume a sorrowful state owing to his separation from his patron and protector.

Then recite the following: —

"Namo! The commands of the Lama are true, the commands of the Three Holy Ones true; and so are those of the fierce Thunderbolt Lama, etc., etc. Through the power of the great truths, Buddha's doctrines, the image of the noble Lama, the riches of wealthy people and all the lucky times, let the hosts of demons of the three regions come forth and enter this linka image. Vajra-Agushaja!"

Then chant the following for keeping the demons at bay: —

Hum! Through the blessing of the blood-drinking Fierce One, let the injuring demons and evil spirits be kept at bay. I pierce their hearts with this hook; I bind their hands with this snare of rope; I bind their body with this powerful chain; I keep them down with this tinkling bell. Now, O! blood-drinking Angry One, take your sublime seat upon them. Vajor-Agu-cha-dsa! vajora-pasha-hum! vajora-spo-da- va! vajora-ghan-dhi-ho!"

Then chant the following for destroying the evil spirits: —

"Salutation to Heruka, the owner of the noble Fierce Ones! The evil spirits have tricked you and have tried to injure Buddha's doctrine, so extinguish them .... Tear out the hearts of the injuring evil spirits and utterly exterminate them."

Then the supposed corpse of the linka should be dipped in Rakta (blood), and the following should be chanted: —

"Hum! O! ye hosts of gods of the magic-circle! Open your mouths as wide as the earth and sky, clench your fangs like rocky mountains, and prepare to eat up the entire bones, blood, and the entrails of all the injuring evil spirits. Ma-ha mam-sa-la kha hi! Ma-ha tsitta-kha hi! maha-rakta kha-hi! maha-go ro-tsa-na-kha-hi! Maha-bah su-ta kha hi! Maha-keng-ni ri ti kha hi!"

Then chant the following for upsetting the evil spirits: —

"Hum! Bhyo! The black grains and a three-headed cake are duly set on the Buddha's plate: the weapons flash; the poisonous vapour flows; the Fierce Ones thunder their mantras; the smell of the plague is issuing; but this three-headed cake can cure all these disasters, and can repress the injuring demon spirits.

"Bhyo! Bhyo! On the angry enemies! On the injuring demon spirits! On the voracious demons! turn them all to ashes!

"Mah-ra-ya-rbad bhyo! Upset them all! Upset! Upset!

"'Let glory Come' and Virtue! Sadhu!"

A burnt sacrifice is now made41 by the Demon-king. He pours oil into a cauldron, under which a fire is lit, and when the oil is boiling, he ties to the end of a stick which he holds an image of a man made of paper, and he puts into the boiling oil a skull filled with a mixture of arak (rum), poison, and blood, and into this he puts the image; and when the image bursts into flame, he declares that all the injuries have been consumed.

This rite is followed by a procession to abandon a large three-headed image of dough,42 to the top of which many threads and streamers are tied. This procession of monks is preceded by the maskers, numbering several hundreds in the larger monasteries,43 clanging noisy cymbals and blowing thigh-bone trumpets, etc. The laity follow in the rear, brandishing guns and other weapons, and shouting "Drag-ge-pun c'am." And when the image is abandoned the crowd tear it to pieces and eagerly fight for the fragments, which are treasured as charms. A gun is then fired amid general shouts of joy, and the Lamas return to the temple for a celebration of worship.

The play is now practically over. The black-cap devil-dancers again appear with drums, and execute their manoeuvres, and the performance concludes with the appearance of the Chinese priest, entitled Hwashang, who was expelled from Tibet by St. Padma. This Chinese priest is represented with a fatuous grinning large-mouthed mask (see fig. 3, page 536), and attended by two boys like himself. They go through a form of worship of the images, but being unorthodox, it is ridiculed by the spectators.

This mystic play is conducted at all monasteries of the established church, at government expense. The greatest of these performances are held at Potala, Muru Tasang,44 and Tashi-lhunpo at the end of the old year, and at the priest-king's palace of Teng-gye-ling on the twenty-ninth day of the eighth month.

At Potala it is held in the courtyard of the Grand Lama's chapel royal, the Nam-gyal temple-monastery. The dough-images and cakes begin to be prepared from the second day of the twelfth month, and from the third to the ninth the whole convent is engaged in the worship of the terrible guardian-demons45 of the country, and of Ye-she-Gon-po or Mahakala.

The rest of the month till the eventful day is occupied in rehearsals and other preparations. Before dawn on the twenty-ninth, the play-manager, after worshipping the demons, arranges the banners, instruments, and carpets.46 At the first blast of the great conch-shell trumpet, the populace assemble. On the second blast the state officials enter and take their seats, the Shab-pe or state ministers, Dun-k'or, and Tse-dun. And on the third blast, the Tibetan king-regent enters with all his attendants, and he invites the attendance of his Defending Majesty,47 the Dalai Lama, who enters a small state-box48 named "The world's transparency."

The orchestra, which is screened off in a tent, begins by blowing a thigh-bone trumpet thrice, followed by the great cymbals49 and drums; then out troop the black-hatted Shamanist dancers, and the play proceeds as above detailed. In the concluding ceremony the large cake, surmounted by a human head, is burned, and is considered to typify the burning of the present enemies of Lamaism.

But the grandest display takes place at the king-regent's own monastery of Teng-gye-ling, of which I have given a sketch-plan of the buildings, etc., from information supplied to me by a monk who has taken part frequently in the play there. The Lama who acts as regent is the de facto ruler of Tibet, and is generally known as "the King"50 and also called "The country's Majesty."51 The superior guests and nobility who have received invitations are permitted to pitch their tents upon the roof of the monks' quarters, and the populace are kept outside the arena by a rope barrier.

An account of the play at Tashi-lhunpo has been given by Mr. Bogle.52 It took place in a large court under the palace, and the surrounding galleries were crowded with spectators. Another short account53 describes the court as surrounded by pillared balconies, four storeys high. The Grand Lama's seat was on the second storey. The other seats in the lower balcony were occupied by the families of chiefs and nobles. In the upper were pilgrims and merchants. The stage manager held a dorje and bell-like Dorje-ch'an, but had an abbot's hat. After a prayer there entered a figure representing "the celebrated Dharmatala who invited the sixteen Sthaviras to China for the diffusion of Buddhism." His mask was dark with yawning mouth to mean ecstasy. Numerous scarves were thrown to him by the spectators, which were picked up by his two wives, with painted yellow complexions. Then came the four kings of the quarters, dressed in barbaric splendour. Following these came the sons of the gods, about sixty in number, dressed with silk robes, and glittering with ornaments of gold, precious stones, and pearls. Following these were Indian acharyas, whose black-bearded faces and Indian dress excited loud laughter among spectators. Then followed the four warders of the cemeteries in skeleton dress. Afterwards "the body of the devil in effigy was burnt, a pile of dry sedge being set on fire upon it." Incense was burnt on the hill-tops in the neighbourhood.

The masks used in this play deserve some notice. In Tibet the great masks54 are made of mashed paper and cloth, and occasionally of gilt copper.55 In Sikhim and Bhotan, etc., where wood is abundant, and the damp climate is destructive to papier-mache, they are carved out of durable wood.56 In all cases they are fantastically painted, and usually provided with a wig of yak-tail of different colours.

Some Masks.
1. Ghoul. 2. Bull-headed K'ang.
3. Hwashang.
4. A fiendess.
5. A locality genius.
6. A "Teacher."
7. Hwashang's son.

The masks may be broadly classed into the following five groups57; though the so-called reformed Lamas have modified some of these, as already noted.

I. -- King of the Ogres (sKu)

1. Drag-mar,58 or "The Terrible Red One." Sometimes called Guru Drag-s'ed, or Yes'e-Gon-po, and "Religious Protector,"59 and regarded as the god of Death, Mahakala, and also as a form of St. Padma-sambhava. His mask is of hideous anthropomorphic appearance and huge size, with great projecting tusks and three eyes; the vertical eye on the centre of the forehead is the eye of fore-knowledge. And it bears a chaplet of five skulls, with pendants of human bones.

The Ten Awful Ogres, and the Ten Ogresses. These are generally like the above. The females only differ in having no beards nor horns. The chief are:

II. -- The Angry Ogres (To-wo).

2. Lha-mo dMag-zor-ma, identified with Kali, the consort of Mahakala, and of a blue colour: measly lips. As Ran-'byun-ma she is green, and her mouth is shut and not gaping as in the former.

3. Ts'e-ma-ra.60 Red like number one.

4. The Bull-headed (Lan). Black in colour with three eyes and bearing a banner61 on its forehead. It is also called "ma-c'an."62

5. The Tiger-headed (sTag), brown and yellow-striped.

6. The Lion (Sen-ge). White.

7. The Roc, or Garuda (Kyun). Coloured green.

8 The Monkey (spre-ul). Ruddy-brown.

9. The Stag (S'a-ba).63 Fawn-coloured.

10. The Yak. Coloured black.

III. -- The Ghouls.

11. Tur, or grave-yard ghouls, with skull masks and clothes representing skeletons.

IV. -- The Earth-Master-Demons.

12. Sa-bdag Genii. These have large hideous masks but only one pair of eyes, as representing their subordinate position. Their chief is called "The great guardian King,"64 and he is attended by red demons (Tsan) and black ones (Dud), etc.

13. Acaryas. These have small cloth masks of ordinary size, and of a white, or clay, or black colour; and their wives are red- or yellow-complexioned. The hair of these "Teachers" is blue in colour, and done up into a chignon on the crown as with Indian Yogis. Although they represent the early Indian priests who brought Buddhism to Tibet, they are, as in ancient India, the buffoons and jesters of the play.

14. Hva-shang. This is a huge, fatuous, round mask of a red colour, to represent a historical Chinese Buddhist monk of the eighth century. And he is attended by several of his sons65 with similar masks.

The dresses of the King-demon and Ogre maskers are of the most costly silk and brocade, and usually with capes, which show Chinese influence.66 Those of the others are usually woollen or cotton. And the robes of those actors who represent the demons, who get severely cudgelled by their superiors, are thickly padded to resist the blows which fall on them.

Where there are a number of one class going in processions or dancing, those dressed alike go in pairs. The weapons carried by the maskers have already been referred to. Most are made of wood carved with thunderbolts. The staves of the skeleton maskers are topped by a death's-head. The sword made by stringing together Chinese brass coins ("Cash") is called the Silingtun, from the province of Siling in western China, whence these coins come to Tibet.

Another religious pantomime, performed, however, by lay actors, is the Lion-Dance. It is not enacted at the new year, but at other seasons, when the people are en fete.


The plot is based upon the mythical lion of the Himalayan snows, which is believed to confer fortune on the country where it resides. One of these lions was enticed to China by a wizard, and, somewhat like La Mascotte, the crops and cattle prospered as long as it lived, and when it died the Chinese stripped off its skin, with which they conduct this dance. The lion is represented as about the size of an ox. Its head and shoulders are formed by a framework, which one man manipulates from the interior, while another man occupies its hind quarters. A harlequin mummer with a variety of rough-and-tumble antics introduces the beast, which enters with leaps and bounds and goes through a variety of manoeuvres, including mounting on a table, and the performance is diversified by the capers of clowns and acrobats.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 4

The Sacred Dramas.

The sacred dramas, which are based upon the Jatakas or former births of Buddha, are very popular. They are performed by professional lay actors and actresses, generally known as "A-lche-lha-mo," though this title "goddess-sister'' is strictly applicable only to the actresses who take the part of the goddesses or their incarnations. Strolling parties of these actors travel about Tibet, especially during the winter months, and they frequently act in the presence of the Grand Lama himself.

Acts of the Visvantara-Play

The play is usually performed al fresco, without a stage frame to the picture, but to obtain the due sense of illusion it is usually done at night by lantern-light. The plot is presented in the form of a chanted narrative, comparable to the chorus of the Greek plays, in the course of which the several leading characters, dressed in suitable costume, come forth and speak for themselves. It is thus somewhat like the narration of a novel with the conversational parts acted. Some buffoonery is given as a prelude and to also fill up the intervals between the acts. These buffoons usually are the so-called hunters67; but sometimes, as in the old Hindu dramas, the buffoons are Brahmans.

The most popular of all the dramas which they play are the Visvantara (Vessantara) Jataka, or the last great Birth of Buddha, and the indigenous drama of Nan-sa, or The Brilliant Light. But they also at times play amongst other pieces the Sudhana Jataka,68 the marriage of king Sron Tsan Gampo,69 the Indian king (?) Amoghasiddha,70 and the fiendess Do-ba-zan-mo.71  


Throughout the Buddhist world the story of prince Visvantara is the most favourite of all the tales of Buddha's former births.72 It represents the climax of the virtuous practice (the paramita) of charity, in which the princely Bodhisat, in order to attain Buddhahood, cuts himself loose from all worldly ties by giving away not only all his wealth, but also his children and even his beloved wife.

It is one of the most touching of the legendary tales of its class, and still exercises a powerful fascination for orientals, moving many to tears. Even the rough Indo-Scythian tribes, who invaded India about the beginning of the Christian era, could not refrain from tears when they saw the picture of the sufferings of this prince.73 It is sculptured on the Sanchi Topes at Bhilsa, and it is also the most favourite of all the sacred plays with the southern Buddhists74; though, as Mr. Ralston observes, "such acts of renunciation as the princely Bodhisat accomplished do not commend themselves to the western mind. An oriental story-teller can describe a self-sacrificing monarch as cutting slices of flesh out of his own arms and plunging them in the fire in honour of a deity, and yet not be afraid of exciting anything but a religious thrill among his audience. To European minds such a deed would probably appear grotesque."75


The Great Former Birth of Buddha as the Charitable Prince Visvantara

Key to Picture of Visvantara Jataka
1. The sonless king and queen bewailing their lot.
2. A son is obtained after worshipping the Buddhas.
3. A princess sought for his wife.
4. His suit urged by princess's father.
5. Bride leaving her father's palace.
6. Visvantara meeting his bride.
7. Their family.
8. Giving charity.
9. Brahman sent for the Wishing Gem.
9a. Brahman begging the gem.
10. Prince hesitating to give it.
11. Leads Brahman to his treasury.
12. Brahman refusing other jewels.
13. Prince giving up gem.
14. Placing it on white elephant.
15. Arrival of Brahman with jewel.
16. Its deposit in the enemy's palace.
17. Prince upbraided by his family.
18. Minister urging king to kill prince.
19. Prince saved from lynching.
20. His banishment.
21. Citizens bidding him farewell.
22. Brahmans beg his elephants.
23. Brahmans beg his chariots.
24. he and family proceed on foot.
25. Miraculous crossing of river.
26. Traveling to forest of banishment.
27. In forest.
28. Brahman begging for the children.
29. Children leave-taking.
30. Brahman beating the children.
31. Takes them to his home.
32. Engaged as drudges.
33. Forest hut.
34. Princess gathering food.
35 Birds assisting her.
36. She is begged by Indra (Jupiter).
37. And is given and taken off.
38. Prince visited by 1,000 Buddhas.
39. Worship by animals, Nagas, etc.
40. His departure from forest with restored wife.
41. Gives his eyes to blind beggar.
42. The restored blind man's gratitude.
43. The blind prince led onwards.
44. The Buddhas restored his sight.
45. The wicked king begs forgiveness.
46. The Brahman returns the jewel.
47. Prince's joyous reception.
48. The prince and family at home again.
49. The prince's re-birth as St. Padma, the founder of Lamaism.  

The text of the story, as found in the Tibetan canon,76 agrees generally with the Pali77 and Burmese78 accounts. I give here an abstract of the version79 which is currently acted in western Tibet. It differs in several details from the canonical narrative and in the introduction of some incidents, such as the bestowal of his eyes, which are usually regarded as pertaining to other Jatakas, and it also is given a local Tibetan application, and the founder of Lamaism, St. Padma, is made to appear as a reincarnation of the prince Visvantara. To illustrate the text, I give its pictorial representation as a reduced tracing from a Tibetan painting.

The Omnipotent Pure One,80 or The Prince of Charity.

Salutation to the Sublime Lord of the World!81

Long long ago, in the city of Baidha,82 in India, there reigned a king named Gridhip,83 who, after propitiating the gods and dragons, had a son born unto him by his favourite queen, "The Pure Young Goddess,"84 and the prince was named by the Brahmans the "Omnipotent Pure Lord of the World" [but we shall call him by the better known name of Visvantara]. This prince grew luxuriantly, "like a lotus in a pool," and soon acquired all accomplishments. He was "addicted to magnanimity, bestowing presents freely and quite dispassionately and assiduous in giving away." When men heard of his excessive generosity, numberless crowds flocked to beg of him from all directions, and he sent none of them away without having fully realized their expectations, so that after a few years of this wholesale almsgiving, no poor people were left in the country — all had become rich.

Now, this country owed its prosperity to an enchanted wish-granting gem,85 which was kept in the custody of the king, and by virtue of which the stores in his treasury, notwithstanding the enormous amounts which were daily given away by his son, never grew less. The traditional enemy of this country, the greedy king86 of a barren land,87 hearing of the prince's vow to bestow any part of his property on anyone who asked for it, secretly instructed one of his Brahmans to go and beg from the prince the enchanted gem.

So the Brahman having arrived at the gate of the palace, threw himself before the prince, exclaiming, with outstretched hands: "Victory to thee, O prince! our land is famished for want of rain, therefore give unto me the enchanted Jewel!"

Now, prince Visvantara was deeply distressed at hearing such a request, and he hesitated to give away this precious gem, through fear of offending his father, the king, and the people; but finding that the Brahman would accept nothing less than this gem, and reflecting that if he refused to give away any of his property which had been asked from him, his charitable merit would cease, he besought the blessing of the gem by placing it on his head, and then gave it away without regret, saying, "May I, by this incomparable gift, become a Buddha." And the Brahman carried off the gem on a white elephant to the foreign king, their enemy, who by virtue of the gem waxed rich and threatened to invade the country, which now became afflicted by famine and other disasters.

The prince's father and the people, hearing of the loss of the enchanted gem, were furious with vexation, and the enraged minister, Tara-mdses, seized the prince and handed him over to the scavengers88 for lynching, and he was only rescued by the entreaties of the good minister Candrakirti and of his wife and children — for he had, when of age, married the beautiful princess, "The Enlightening Moon-Sun,"89 better known as "Madri," by whom he had two90 children, a son and daughter. The ministers decided that the person who informed the prince of the arrival of the Brahman should lose his tongue; he who brought the Jewel from its casket-box should lose his hands; he who showed the path to the Brahman should lose his eyes; and he who gave away the Jewel should lose his head. To this the king could not consent, as it meant the death of his beloved son, so he ordered the prince to be banished for a period of twenty-five years to "the black hill of the demons resounding with ravens."91

The ruin thus brought about by the Babu's visit extended also to the unfortunate Lama's relatives, the governor of Gyantsé (the Phal Dahpön) and his wife (Lha-cham), whom he had persuaded to befriend Sarat C. Das. These two were cast into prison for life, and their estates confiscated, and several of their servants were barbarously mutilated, their hands and feet were cut off and their eyes gouged out, and they were then left to die a lingering death in agony, so bitterly cruel was the resentment of the Lamas against all who assisted the Babu in this attempt to spy into their sacred city.

-- Lhasa and Its Mysteries: With a Record of the Expedition of 1903-1904, by Laurence Austine Waddell

Then the prince prayed his father's forgiveness, and the king, filled with sorrow at parting, besought his son, saying, "O, son, give up making presents and remain here." But the prince replied, "The earth and its mountains may perhaps be overthrown, but I, O! king, cannot turn aside from the virtue of giving."

And the good prince implored his father's permission to devote seven more days to almsgiving, to which the king consented.

Prince Visvantara, addressing the princess, besought her to cherish their darling children, and to accept the hand of a protecting consort worthy of her incomparable virtue and beauty. But the princess, feeling hurt even at the suggestion of her separation, refused to part from him, and inspired by a desire to comfort the prince, paints in glowing colours the amenities of life in the forest of banishment, though the prince protested that it was a wilderness of thorns, beset by tigers, lions, venomous snakes, and scorpions and demons, excessively hot during the day, and rigorously cold at night, where there are no houses or even caves for shelter, and no couch but grass, and no food but jungle fruits.

The princess, however, replies, "Be the dangers what they may, I would be no true wife were I to desert you now," and thus refuses to part from him; so they set out accompanied by their children,92 riding in a three-horse chariot and on one elephant.

"When the prince, together with his wife and children, had reached the margin of the forest, all the people who formed his retinue raised a loud cry of lament. But so soon as it was heard, the Bodhisat addressed the retinue which had come forth from the good city, and ordered it to turn back, saying, —

"'However long anything may be loved and held dear, yet separation from it is undoubtedly imminent. Friends and relatives must undoubtedly be severed from what is dearest to them, as from the trees of the hermitage wherein they have rested from the fatigues of the journey. Therefore when ye recollect that all over the world men are powerless against separation from their friends, ye must for the sake of peace strengthen your unsteady minds by unfailing exertion.'

"When the Bodhisat had journeyed three hundred yojanas, a Brahman came to him, and said. 'O Kshatriya prince, I have come three hundred yojanas because I have heard of your virtue. It is meet that you should give me the splendid chariot as a recompense for my fatigue.'

"Madri could not bear this, and she addressed the begging Brahman in angry speech: 'Alas! this Brahman, who even in the forest entreats the king's son for a gift, has a merciless heart. Does no pity arise within him when he sees the prince fallen from his royal splendour?' The Bodhisat said, 'Find no fault with the Brahman.' 'Why not?' 'Madri, if there were no people of that kind who long after riches, there would also be no giving, and in that case how could we, inhabitants of the earth, become possessed of insight. As giving and the other Paramitas (or virtues essential to a Buddhaship) rightly comprise the highest virtue, the Bodhisats constantly attain to the highest insight.'

"Thereupon the Bodhisat bestowed the chariot and horses on that Brahman with exceeding great joy, and said. 'O Brahman, by means of this gift of the chariot, a present free from the blemish of grudging, may I be enabled to direct the car of the sinless Law directed by the most excellent Rishi!'

"When Visvantara had with exceeding great joy bestowed on the Brahman the splendid chariot, he took prince Krishna on his shoulder, and Madri took princess Jalini.93 They went forth into the forest, proceeding on foot, when five Brahmans appeared and begged for their clothes, which were at once taken off and given to them. The prince and his family then clothed themselves with leaves, and trudged along painfully for about a hundred miles, until a mighty river barred their progress. The prince then prayed, 'O! Great river, make way for us!' Then the torrent divided, leaving a lane of dry land, across which they passed. On reaching the other side, the prince, addressing the river, said, 'O! river, resume your course, otherwise innumerable animal beings lower down your course will suffer misery from drought!' On which the river straightway resumed its course.

"Then, journeying onwards, they reached the forest of penance among snowy-white mountains and forest-clad94 hills; and by the aid of two mendicants of the Mahayana creed whom they accidentally met, they fixed on a hillock for their abode. And the prince dwelt there in a separate cell like a celibate monk, and took the vow which pleased his heart, and it was not altogether an unpleasant life. The water welled out of the ground conveniently near, and flowers and most luscious fruits appeared in abundance, and the parrots assisted the princess and children in gathering fruit by nipping the stem of the best fruits on the highest trees. And the carnivorous animals left off preying on animals and took to eating grass. The most pleasing songsters amongst the birds settled near by, and the wild animals treated the young prince and princess as playmates, and rendered them useful aid. Thus the young prince riding on a deer, fell off and bruised his arm, when a monkey at once carried him to a lake and bathed and soothed the wound with healing herbs.

"One day, when Madri had gone to collect roots and fruits in the penance-forest, a Brahman95 came to Visvantara, and said, 'O prince of Kshatriya race, may you be victorious! As I have no slave, and wander about alone with my staff, therefore is it meet that you should give me your two children.' As the Bodhisat, Visvantara, after hearing these words, hesitated a little about giving his beloved children, the Brahman said to the Bodhisat, —

"'O prince of Kshatriya race, as I have heard that you are the giver of all things, therefore do I ask why you still ponder over this request of mine. You are renowned all over the earth as the possessor of a compassion which gives away all things: you are bound to act constantly in conformity with this renown.'

"After hearing these words the Bodhisat said to the Brahman, 'O great Brahman, if I had to give away my own life I should not hesitate for a single moment. How, then, should I think differently if I had to give away my own children? O great Brahman, under these circumstances I have bethought me as to how the children, when given by me, if I do give away these two children who have grown up in the forest, will live full of sorrow on account of their separation from their mother. And inasmuch as many will blame me, in that with excessive mercilessness I have given away the children and not myself, therefore is it better that you, O Brahman, should take me.'

"The Brahman presses his petition and says, 'It is not right that I, after having come to you, should remain without a present, and all my cherished hopes be brought to nought.' On hearing this the prince, though torn by paternal emotion, gave the children, saying, 'May I, by virtue of this gift, become a Buddha.'

"Meanwhile, Madri had set off for the hermitage, carrying roots and fruits, and when the earth shook, she hurried on all the faster towards the hermitage. A certain deity who perceived that she might hinder the surrender which the Bodhisat proposed to make for the salvation of the world, assumed the form of a lioness and barred her way. Then Madri said to this wife of this king of the beasts, 'O wife of the king of the beasts, full of wantonness, wherefore do you bar my way? In order that I may remain truly irreproachable, make way for me that I may pass swiftly on. Moreover, you are the wife of the king of the beasts, and I am the spouse of the Lion of Princes, so that we are of similar rank. Therefore, O queen of the beasts, leave the road clear for me.'

"When Madri had thus spoken, the deity who had assumed the form of a lioness turned aside from the way. Madri reflected for a moment, recognizing inauspicious omens, for the air resounded with wailing notes, and the beings inhabiting the forest gave forth sorrowful sounds, and she came to the conclusion that some disaster had certainly taken place in the hermitage, and said, 'As my eye twitches, as the birds utter cries, as fear comes upon me, both my children have certainly been given away: as the earth quakes, as my heart trembles, as my body grows weak, my two children have certainly been given away.'

"With a hundred thousand similar thoughts of woe she hastened towards the hermitage. Entering therein she looked mournfully around, and, not seeing the children, she sadly, with trembling heart, followed the traces left on the ground of the hermitage. 'Here the boy Krishna and his sister were wont to play with the young gazelles; here is the house which they twain made out of earth; these are the playthings of the two children. As they are not to be seen, it is possible that they may have gone unseen by me into the hut of foliage and may be sleeping there.' Thus thinking and hoping to see the children, she laid aside the roots and fruits, and with tearful eyes embraced her husband's feet, asking, 'O lord, whither are the boy and girl gone?' Visvantara replied, 'A Brahman came to me full of hope. To whom have I given the two children. Thereat rejoice.' When he had spoken these words, Madri fell to the ground like a gazelle pierced by a poisoned arrow, and struggled like a fish taken out of the water. Like a crane robbed of her young ones she uttered sad cries. Like a cow, whose calf has died, she gave forth many a sound of wailing. Then she said. 'Shaped like young lotuses with hands whose flesh is as tender as a young lotus leaf.96 My two children are suffering, are undergoing pain, wherever they have gone. Slender as young gazelles, gazelle-eyed, delighting in the lairs of the gazelles, what sufferings are my children now undergoing in the power of strangers? With tearful eyes and sad sobbing, enduring cruel sufferings, now that they are no longer seen by me, they live downtrodden among needy men. They who were nourished at my breast, who used to eat roots, flowers, and fruits, they who, experiencing indulgence, were never wont to enjoy themselves to the full, those two children of mine now undergo great sufferings. Severed from their mother and their family, deserted by the cruelty of their relatives, thrown together with sinful men, my two children are now undergoing great suffering. Constantly tormented by hunger and thirst, made slaves by those into whose power they have fallen, they will doubtless experience the pangs of despair. Surely I have committed some terrible sin in a previous existence, in severing hundreds of beings from their dearest ones.'

"After gratifying the Bodhisat with these words, the king of the gods, Sakra, said to himself: 'As this man, when alone and without support, might be driven into a corner, I will ask him for Madri.' So he took the form of a Brahman, came to the Bodhisat, and said to him: 'Give me as a slave this lovely sister, fair in all her limbs, unblamed by her husband, prized by her race.'
Then in anger spake Madri to the Brahman: 'O shameless and full of craving, do you long after her who is not lustful like you, refuse of Brahmans, but takes her delight according to the upright law?' Then the Bodhisat, Visvantara, began to look upon her with compassionate heart, and Madri said to him: 'I have no anxiety on my own account, I have no care for myself; my only anxiety is as to how you are to exist when remaining alone.' Then said the Bodhisat to Madri: 'As I seek after the height which surmounts endless anguish, no complaint must be uttered by me, O Madri, upon this earth. Do you, therefore, follow after this Brahman without complaining. I will remain in the hermitage, living after the manner of the gazelles.'

"When he had uttered these words, he said to himself with joyous and exceedingly contented mind: 'This gift here in this forest is my best gift. After I have here absolutely given away Madri too, she shall by no means be recalled.' Then he took Madri by the hand and said to that Brahman: 'Receive, most excellent Brahman, this is my dear wife, loving of heart, obedient to orders, charming in speech, demeaning herself as one of lofty race.'

"When in order to attain to supreme insight, he had given away his beautiful wife, the earth quaked six times to its extremities like a boat on the water. And when Madri had passed into the power of the Brahman, overcome by pain at being severed from her husband, her son, and her daughter, with faltering breath and in a voice which huskiness detained within her throat, she spoke thus: 'What crimes have I committed in my previous existence, that now, like a cow whose calf is dead, I am lamenting in an uninhabited forest?' Then the king of the gods, Sakra, laid aside his Brahman's form, assumed his proper shape and said to Madri: 'O fortunate one, I am not a Brahman, nor am I a man at all. I am the king of the gods, Sakra, the subduer of the Asuras. As I am pleased that you have manifested the most excellent morality, say what desire you would now wish to have satisfied by me.'

"Rendered happy by these words, Madri prostrated herself before Sakra, and said: 'O thou of the thousand eyes, may the lord of the three and thirty set my children free from thraldom, and let them find their way to their great grandfather.' After these words had been spoken the prince of the gods entered the hermitage and addressed the Bodhisat. Taking Madri by the left hand, he thus spoke to the Bodhisat: 'I give you Madri for your service. You must not give her to anyone. If you give away what has been entrusted to you fault will be found with you.'97

"The king of the gods, in accordance with his promise, caused angels every night to unloose and nurse the unfortunate children of the illustrious recluse when the wicked Brahman fell asleep, and only re-tied them just before he awakened. Afterwards he deluded the Brahman who had carried off the boy and girl, so that under the impression that it was another city, he entered the self-same city from which they had departed, and there set to work to sell the children. When the ministers saw this they told the king, saying: 'O king, your grandchildren, Krishna and Jalini, have been brought into this good city in order to be sold, by an extremely worthless Brahman.' When the king heard these words, he said indignantly, 'Bring the children here, forthwith.'"

When this command had been attended to by the ministers, and the townspeople had hastened to appear before the king, one of the ministers brought the children before him. When the king saw his grand-children brought before him destitute of clothing and with foul bodies he fell from his throne to the ground, and the assembly of ministers, and women, and all who were present, began to weep. Then the king said to the ministers: "Let the bright-eyed one, who, even when dwelling in the forest, delights in giving, be summoned hither at once, together with his wife."

Then the king sent messengers to recall his son; but the latter would not return until the full period of his banishment was over.

On his way back he meets a blind man, who asks him for his eyes, which he immediately plucks out and bestows on the applicant, who thus receives his sight.98 The prince, now blind, is led onwards by his wife, and on the way meets "The Buddhas of the Three Periods," -- the Past, Present, and Future, namely, Dipamkara, Sakya,99 and Maitreya, who restore the prince's sight.

Journeying onwards he is met by the hostile king who had been the cause of all his trouble, but who now returns him the gem, and with it much money and jewels, and he implored the prince's forgiveness for having caused his banishment and sufferings, and he prayed that when the prince became a Buddha he might be born as one of his attendants. The prince readily forgave him, and accorded him his other requests, and they became friends.

On the approach of the prince to the capital, the old king, his father, caused the roads to be swept and strewn with flowers, and sprinkled with sweet perfume, and met him with flags and joyous music. And he gave again into his son's charge all the treasure and jewels.

The prince, thus restored to his former position, resumed his wholesale bestowal of charity as before, and everyone was happy.
The young princess, Utpalmani, married the son of the Brahman chief, named Ksheman. And the young prince married the beautiful princess Mandhara, daughter of king Lja-wai-tok; and succeeding to the throne, he left his father free to indulge in his pious pursuit, Charity.

The play concludes by the chief actor, who takes the part of the charitable prince, giving the piece a local Tibetan application.

He states: I, "The Lord of the world," am afterwards king Srong-Tsan Gampo (the introducer of Buddhism into Tibet), and my two wives are afterwards his Chinese and Newari princess-consorts. The two Bhikshus, who assisted me, are afterwards Thonmi Sambhota (the minister of king Sron-Tsan, who introduced writing to Tibet), and Manjusri (the introducer of astrology and metaphysics); the demon who obstructed the two queens is Sri Vajrapani. And five generations later, I, Sron-Tsan Gampo, appeared as Padma-sambhava, the founder of Lamaism. The prince, 'Od-zer-tok is Norbu 'Dsin-pa, the princess Utpalmani is Lhamo dbyan Chan-ma (Saraswati devi). That Brahman is the black devil Tharba, and his wife is gNod sbyin-ma, or "the injuring Yakshini." That uninhabited wilderness of the demons, resounding with the croaking of ravens, is the snowy region of Tibet. The dwelling place there of the king is Yar-luns gyalwai-k'ra-'buk; and that great river is teh Yar-chab Tsan-po (The "Tsanpu" or Brahmaputra). Thus history repeats itself! Mangalam! [and here the people all shout "Mangalam -- All Happiness"]

Another popular play is the Sudhana Jataka, which is mentioned by FaHian,100 and is also met with in southern Buddhism.101 The Tibetan version is here given.102

The Sudhana Jataka.

Its chief dramatis personae are the following:—

Nor-zan ch'os-skyon, The Prince Sudhana, without a mask.

Mende-zan-mo, the beautiful fairy Kinnara and two other goddesses.

A black-hat sorcerer.

Non-ba, a hunter in a blue mask holding a jewel.

Macho Ya-ma gen-te, the chief wife of the prince. Wears mask having right side white (= divine colour) and left side black (= satanic), to represent her composite disposition.

Luk-zi ch'un-me tak-gye, in sheep-skin coat, flour-smeared face, carrying reel of wool thread, and a sling.

The seven S'em-pa brothers, armed with swords, etc., two-eyed, ferocious, with mouth agape.

The Hermit Lama Ton-son ch'en bo, with a yellow mask, and carrying a rosary.

The plot is as follows: A serpent-charmer endeavours by incantations to capture the Naga which confers prosperity on his enemy's country. The Naga, alarmed at the potency of the sorcerer's spells, appeals to a hunter, who kills the sorcerer, and is presented with a magic noose as a reward for his services. This noose he bequeaths to his son, Utpala or Phalaka, who one day in the forest near Valkalayana's hermitage at Hastinapura, hearing a celestial song sung by a marvellously beautiful Kinnari fairy, he captured the fairy with his magic noose. The Kinnari to regain her liberty offered him her jewelled crown, which conferred the power of traversing the universe. Meanwhile a young prince of Hastinapura named Sudhana, or Manibhadra,103 engaged on a hunting expedition, appears upon the scene. He gets the jewel, marries the Kinnari, and gives her his entire affection. His other wives, mad with jealousy, endeavour to kill her during his absence, but she escapes to her celestial country, leaving, however, with the hermit a charmed ring for the prince should he seek to follow her to her supernatural home. The prince pursues her, overcoming innumerable obstacles, and finally gains her, and also obtains her father's consent to their marriage, and to their return to the earth, where they live happy ever after.

This story, which is translated in detail by Mr. Ralston, presents many parallels to western folk-tales. Mr. Ralston remarks in this regard that "One of these is the capture by the hunter Palaka of the celestial maiden, the Kinnari Manohara, who becomes Sudhana's bride. This is effected by means of a 'fast binding chain' which the hunter throws around her when she is bathing in a lake. Her companions fly away heavenwards, leaving her a captive on earth. This incident will at once remind the reader of the capture of 'swan-maidens' and other supernatural nymphs, which so frequently occur in popular romances. . . . Manohara is captured by means of a magic chain. But her power of flying through the air depends upon her possession of a jewel. Sudhana's visit to the palace of his supernatural wife's father, and the task set him of recognizing her amid her ladies, bear a strong resemblance to the adventure which befall the heroes of many tales current in Europe. A mortal youth often obtains, and then for a time loses, a supernatural wife, generally represented in the daughter of a malignant demon. He makes his way, like Sudhana, to the demon's abode. There tasks are set him which he accomplishes by means of his wife's help, and the Russian story of 'The Water King,' Grimm's 'Two Kings' Children,' the Norse 'Mastermaid,' and the Scottish Highland 'Battle of the Birds,' are shown to be European variants or parallels to this tale."104
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 3 of 4

Of indigenous Tibetan plays the chief is:—

NAN-SA; OR, "The Brilliant Light."

This drama, now translated from the Tibetan105 for the first time, is one of the most popular plays in Tibet, and its popularity is doubtless owing, not a little, to its local colour being mainly Tibetan, though, like most of the other plays, it is moulded on the model of the Buddhist Jatakas.

Its chief scene is laid at Rinang, a few miles to the south-east of Gyan-tse,106 the well-known fortified town between Tashi-lhunpo and Lhasa, where the several sites of the story are still pointed out, and an annual fair held in honour of Nan-sa's memory. It also well illustrates the current mode of marriage in Tibet, by planting an arrow107 on the girl's back, so clearly a survival of the primitive form of marriage by capture.

Dramatis Personae.

Nan-sa ("The Brilliant Light ").

Kun-zan de-ch'en ("The Nobly Virtuous")— Nan-sa's father (wears a red mask).

Myan-sa-sal-don ("The Lamp of Bliss")— Nan-sa's mother.

Dag-ch'en duk dag-pa ("The Roaring Dragon")—Lord of Rinang.

So-nam pal-Kye— his minister

Lha-pu-dar-po ("The Gentle Divinity") -- Nan-sa's son.

Ani Nemo — Lord Rinang's sister.

Lama Shakyai gyal-ts'an -- Monk in beggar's guise.

Shin-je Ch'o-wa -- The King of the Dead.

Servants, Soldiers, etc.

Act I. The Re-births of the Deer— A Story of Nan-sa's former Births.
Scene — India. Time — Immemorial.

Om! Salutation to the Revered and Sublime Tara!108

In bygone times, far beyond conception, there lived in the revered country of India an old couple of the Brahman caste who during their youth had no children, but when they waxed old and feeble, a daughter was born unto them.

This child was secluded till her fifteenth year, when, peeping outside one day, she for the first time saw the landscape of the outer world. And as she observed the different classes of people cultivating their plots, whilst her own family-plot lay neglected, she ran to her mother and said: "Mother, dear! the giver of my body! Listen to me, your own daughter! All the different classes of people are busy tilling their fields while our family-land lies neglected. Now as the time for cultivation has come, permit me, mother, to cultivate our fields with our servants!"

The mother, having granted her request, the daughter proceeded to work with the servants, and they laboured on till breakfast-time, but no one brought them food. This neglect caused the girl uneasiness, not so much on her own account as on that of the servants; but in the belief that food would be sent, she laboured on till sunset, when she and her companions returned home starving.

As they neared the house the girl met her mother bringing some refreshment for them; and she asked her why she had so long delayed, as the servants were quite famished. The mother explained that in entertaining some visitors who had called during the day, she had quite forgotten the food for her daughter and servants.

Then the daughter petulantly exclaimed, "Mother! you are inconsiderate like a grass-eating beast!" On this the mother cried out: "O! ungrateful one! I your mother! who have reared you, and clad and fed you with the best, you now in return call me a beast! May you in your next re-birth be born as an ownerless grass-eating beast!"

So after a time the girl died and was re-born as a deer, according to the curse of her mother.

In course of time her deer-parents died, and the young doe was left alone in strict accordance with her mother's curse.

While in such a plight, a handsome young hart, with a mouth like a conch-shell came up to her and said: "O, ownerless orphan doe! hear me, the hart Dar-gyas, 'The Vast Banner!' Where is your mate in grazing during the three months of spring? Where is your companion to tend you down to the river? Where is the partner who will remain with you through life?"

The young doe, timidly raising her head, said: "O, master hart! pray be off! I graze during spring without a partner! I go down to the river without a comrade. Gambolling on the hills and dales, I place my faith on The Three Holy Ones alone!"

The hart then replied: "O, noble and virtuous doe! pray hear me! I am the ornament of all the herds! won't you become my mate? I will be your companion when you eat grass. I will be your comrade when you go to the river; and I will support you in all your difficulties. So from this time forth let us be bound in wedlock inseparably, for doubtless we have been brought together here through the deeds and fate of our former lives."

Then the doe consenting, these two became partners and lied together most happily; and not long afterwards the doe gave birth to a fawn who was named sKar-ma-p'un-ts'ogs, or "The accomplished Star."

One night the doe dreamt a most inauspicious dream; and at midnight she awoke the hart, saying: "Hearken! deer, Dar-gyas! I dreamt as I slept a dreadful dream! This Yal-wa mountain-ridge was overspread by a terrible thundering noise, and I saw several hunters appear. I saw the dogs and hunters pursuing you -- the hart -- towards the left ridge of the hill, and I, with our child, the fawn, fled by the right ridge of the hill. I dreamt again that the decapitated head of a deer was arranged as a sacrifice, and the skin was stretched out to dry on the meadow, and oh, the blood! it flowed down and formed an awful pool like many oceans! O, deer! Sleep no longer! but arise and let us fast escape to the highest hills."

But the hart refused to listen to the advice of his mate; and saying that "the words of females are like unto the dust, he fell asleep.

Not long afterwards, a ring-tailed red hunting dog seemed to be approaching from the distant barks which now were to be heard distinctly by all the awakened deer.

Too late, the hart then realized that the vision of his doe must have indeed been true; therefore he hurriedly gave the following advice to the doe and the fawn, feeling great pity for them: "O! poor doe and fawn! flee by the left ridge and make good your escape! and if we do not meet again in this life, let us meet in our next life in the pure kingdom of righteousness!" On so saying the hart fled; and the mother and the fawn made their escape by the left ridge.

Meanwhile, the hart, hotly pursued by the hunting-dog, was chased into a narrow gorge where he could not escape; and at that critical moment a man with his hair bound up, bearded and fearfully fierce-looking, with pointed eyebrows, and carrying a noose and a bow and arrow, descended from the top of the cliff, and catching the hart in the noose he killed it with one shot from his bow.

Thus everything happened exactly according to the doe's dream.

The deceased hart was afterwards re-born in a respectable family of Ri-nan-dpan-k'a, and named Grag-pa-bsam-grub, or "The famous Heart"; while the doe after death was reborn in lJan-p'al-k'un-nan-pa, and was named sNan-sa-'Od-'bum, or "brilliant above a hundred thousand lights." The fawn after death was re-born as their son, and assumed the name of Lha-bu-dar-po, or "the gentle divinity."

[Here endeth the first act dealing with "The Re-births of the Deer."]

Act II. The Life, Marriage, and Death of Nan-sa.

Scene — Rinang. Time — Latter end of eleventh century A.D.

Om! Ma-ni pad-me Hum! Om! the Jewel in the Lotus! Hum!

Long ago, there lived a father named Kun-bzah-bde-ch'en and a mother named Myan-sa-gsal-sgron in lJan-ph'an-k'un-Nan-pa, on the right of Myan-stod-s'el-dkar-rgyal-rtse (Gan-tse).

The mother once had a strange vision, regarding which she thus addressed her husband: "O, great father! Listen! Whilst asleep, I dreamt a most auspicious dream! I dreamt that a lotus-flower blossomed forth from my body, to which many fairies made offerings and paid homage. And a ray of light in the form of the letter Tam, of the revered goddess Tara's spell, entered my head!" On hearing this the father was overjoyed, and exclaimed, "O! Myan-sa-gsal-sgron-ma! Mark my words; by God's blessing, through our making offerings unto Him, and as the fruit of our charity to the poor, an incarnate Bodhisat is about to come unto us! We must again offer thanks unto God and do the several ceremonies."

In course of time a divine-looking daughter was born unto them. She was peerlessly beautiful, and so was named Nan-sa, ''the brilliant above a hundred thousand lights," and a grand festival was given at her birth.

By her fifteenth year Nan-sa was fully educated, and matchlessly beautiful; and though she was most pious, practising fully all the religious rites, she was most modest, and forgot not her filial love and duty.

In the fourth month of that year, during the summer season, a grand tournament was given by the king, to which everyone was invited, and the whole population of the neighbouring countries, young and old, flocked to rGyal-rtse-sger-tsa to see the sports.109 The games were held by order of the great king of Myan-stod-ni-nan-pa for the selection of a bride fit for his son. The king himself was of a fiery temper, long like a river, round like a pea, and slender like a stick.

Nan-sa also, having taken leave of her parents, set out for the sports. Her moon-like face was white as milk, and her neatly-dressed hair looked like a bouquet of flowers. Thus went she, "the princess," as she was called, to see the grand spectacle, accompanied by her servants, carrying the needful presents.

As she neared the market, where the great gathering was held, the king and prince were looking down from the balcony of their palace, and the prince at once caught sight of her, and his eyes remained rivetted on the princess. Whilst the multitude gazed at the players, the prince followed only the movements of the princess.

The prince being fascinated by the beauty of the princess, soon despatched to her his chief minister, named bSod-nam-dpal-skyed, who, in compliance with his master's order, brought the princess before the prince, just as the eagle Khra carries off a chicken.

And the prince, drawing the princess by her shawl with his left hand and offering her wine with his right, addressed her, saying, —

"O! pretty one! sweet and pleasing-mouthed! possessed of the five sensuous qualities! Tell me truly, whose daughter are you? Are you the daughter of a god or a Naga, or are you an angelic Gandharva? Pray hide nothing from me. What is your father's name? What is your birth-giver's name? Who are your neighbours? I am the overruling lord of Mzang-stod-ri-nang! and called 'The famous Roaring Dragon!' or Da-c'hens-"brug-grag-pa.110 My family is the Grag-pa-bsam-'grub! I am the jewel of these sheltering walls! My age is six times three (18). Will you consent to be my bride?"

Nan-sa now thinking escape impossible, though she had desired to devote herself to a religious life, answered the lord Da-ch'en: "Om! Tara, have mercy on a poor girl void of religion! O! lord Da-ch'en, I am called 'The Brilliant above a Hundred Thousand Lights,' and am of a respectable family. But a poisonous flower, though pretty, is not a fit decoration for an altar vase; the blue Dole, though famous, cannot match the turquoise; the bird lchog-mo, though swift, is no match for the sky-soaring T'an-dkar-eagle, and Nan-sa, though not bad-looking, is no match for the powerful lord of men."

On hearing this reply of Nan-sa, the minister took up the turquoise sparkling in rainbow tints, and, tying it to the end of the arrow of the five-coloured silks, handed it to the prince, saying, "As the proverb runs, 'Discontented youths are eager to war, while discontented maidens are eager to wed.' Thus, while this maid feigns disqualifying plainness, she is really anxious to comply with your wishes; her pretended refusal is doubtless owing to modesty and the publicity of such a crowd. Do thou, then, O powerful king! plant the arrow with the five-coloured streamers on her back, and thus fix the marriage tie."

The prince, thinking that the advice was good, addressed Nan-sa, saying, "O! angelic princess! on whom one's eyes are never tired of gazing, pray hear me. O! pretty one, brilliant amongst a thousand lights! I, the greal lord sGra-ch'en, am far-famed like the dragon! I am the most powerful king on earth! And whether you choose to obey my commands or not, I cannot let you go! We have been drawn here by the bonds of former deeds, so you must become my mate for ever. Though the bow and bow-string be not of equal length and materials, still they go together; so you must be my mate for ever, as we have certainly been brought together here through fate and former deeds. The great ocean fish consort with the affluent river fish, so must you live with me. Though I and you differ much in position, you must come with me. And from this day forth the maiden Nan-sa is mine."

So saying, he planted the arrow with its five rainbow-coloured streamers on her back, and set the turquoise diadem on her forehead. And she, being duly betrothed in this public fashion, returned to her own home with her servants.

Nan-sa endeavoured to evade the betrothal and enter a convent instead, but her parents pressed the match upon her and forced her to accept the prince, and the nuptials were duly celebrated with great feasting.

Seven years later. Nan-sa bore a son, whose beauty excelled the gods, hence he was named Lha-bu-Dar-pu, ''The god's son," and a grand festival was held in honour of his birth. And Nan-sa, so clever in all the arts, so pretty and befitting her position, and so universally kind, that all the subjects loved her, now became endeared to everyone even more than before. And the three, the prince-father, the princeling, and Nan-sa, were never separated even tor a moment. Bui Nan-sa was the jewel of them all, and she was given the keys of the treasury which had formerly been held by the prince's elder sister, Ani- Nemo Ne-tso.

Now this old Ani-Nemo, on being deprived of her keys, became madly jealous of Nan-sa, and began contriving means to injure her reputation in the eyes of the prince, her husband.

Ani Nemo helped herself to the best food and clothes, leaving the very worst to Nan-sa, who was too mild and good to resent such treatment. Ultimately Nan-sa began to feel very sad, and though engaged in worldly affairs, she felt keenly the desire to devote herself wholly to religion, but she was afraid to reveal her thoughts to her husband and son.

One day while sad at heart, she went to the garden carrying the young prince, and they all sat down together, the lord resting his head on Nan-sa'a lap. It was autumn, and the summer flowers had ceased blossoming, and the gold and turquoise-coloured bees had gone. Then Nan-sa wept on thinking that she could not realize her religious desires, and that she was separated from her parents, and subject to the torture of Ani's jealousy. But her Lord comforted her, saying, "O! beloved Nan-sa, you shall have a chance of seeing your parents soon, so do not feel sorry. Have patience to remain till the harvest is gathered. Let us now go to bZ'un-z'in-rin-ma with our servants and collect the harvest, as the time is now far advanced." Then they went there with their servants and Ani.

Now, there arrived at that place the devotee, Dor-grags-Ras-pa,111 and his servant, and the devotee addressed Nan-sa thus, —

"Om! Salutation to our spiritual father, the Lama!

"O! Nan-sa! You are like the rainbow on the eastern mead, the rainbow beautiful and pleasing to see, but quickly vanishing. Now the time for devoting yourself to religion has arrived.

"O! Nan-sa! you are like the warbling bird of the southern forest, whose voice, though pleasing and cheery, is ephemeral. Now the time for devoting yourself to religion has come.

"O! Nan-sa! you are like the Naga-dragon of the western ocean; the Naga possessing vast wealth, but without real substance. Now the time for your devotion to religion, which is the only true reality, has arrived. On death nothing can save you but the real refuge of religion. The bravest hero and the wisest man cannot escape. Now as there is no alternative, you should avail yourself of this great chance, for once lost it may never be refound."

On hearing this speech Nan-sa was overpowered with grief. And as she had nothing to offer the holy man as alms, for everything was in charge of Ani, she, with faltering voice, said: "Though I am anxious to offer you whatever alms you need, yet am I possessed of nothing, but pray go to that house over there, where you will find Ani with a sleek face, and seek alms from her."

The devotee and his servant accordingly went and requested Ani-Nemo to give them some alms, but she replied: "O! you beggars! why have you come begging of me! you plundering crew! you steal at every chance! You neither devote yourself to religious purposes in the hills, nor do you work in the valleys. If you want alms go to that person over there with the peacock-like prettiness, and the bird-like warbling voice, and the rainbow-like lofty mind, and with a mountain of wealth, for I am only a poor servant and cannot give you anything."

The two devotees, therefore, returned to Nan-sa, and told her what Ani had said. So Nan-sa gave alms to the devotees in spite of her fear of displeasing Ani. The holy man replied, "It will be an auspicious meeting an event to look forward to, when Nan-sa and we two meet again." On this Nan-sa became more cheerful, and giving more alms to the devotees, bowed down before them and requested their blessings.

Now these proceedings did not escape the wary eye of Ani-Nemo, who, waxing wroth, came out with a cane in her hand, and thus abused Nan-sa:

"You look lovely, but your heart is black and venomous! Listen to me, peacock-like she-devil Nan-sa! In those high mountains the holy Buddha and the great Indian sages sat, but whence came and go devotees like these Ras-pas? It you give alms to all of them according to their requests I would cut you even though you were my own mother! In the S'on-z'in-rin-mo of this country the chief products are barley and peas. Now you have given away as alms all these men asked for, more than your own portion; and thus as you, too, are a beggar, go and accompany these others," and so saying, she began to beat Nan-sa.

Nan-sa, imploring mercy, said; "What else could I do! I gave them alms to avoid scandal according to the saying, which runs, 'beggars carry bad news to the valleys, crows flesh to the peaks.' The giving of alms to the poor and blind and offerings to the holy ones is a must important duty of every rich family; for wealth collected by avarice, like the honey collected by house-bees, is of no use to oneself. Do not, therefore, call these venerable Ras-pas 'beggars,' but respect and honour them; and call not a girl a devil for being piously inclined, or hereafter you may repent it." But Ani only beat her more mercilessly, and tore her hair, which was like delicate Sete-lJang-pa grass. And Nan-sa, left alone, wept bitterly, thinking of her misfortunes.

Meanwhile Ani-Nemo went to the lord, her brother, and said, "Hear, O! lord! Our mistress Nan-sa without doing any of those things she ought to, does the opposite. This morning a devotee, beautiful and of pleasing voice, came up to this place accompanied by his servant, and Nan-sa, fascinated by his beauty, fell madly in love with him and behaved too immodestly for me even to describe it to you. As I was unable to tolerate such conduct I ran down to stop this intercourse, but was beaten and driven off. Therefore, O! lord! have I informed you so that you can take such steps as you think fit."

The lord rather discredited this story, but remembering the proverb "women and sons must be well brought up when young, otherwise they will go wrong," he went to seek Nan-sa, and found her shedding torrents of tears in solitude. On seeing her he said, "Ah! Lah-se! Listen to me!, you naughty Nan-sa! Lah-se, why have you exceeded all the bounds of propriety! Lah-se! Why did you beat my young sister! who gave you authority to do that? Lah-se! Like a dog tied on the house-top, barking at and trying to bite the stars of heaven! What has the fiendess Nan-sa to say in her defence?"

Nan-sa meekly replied, "My lord! were I to relate all that happened it would only make matters worse, and our subjects shall be shown such strife as was unknown before. Therefore I refrain from grieving you, O! my lord, with any details.''

But the lord interpreting the reticence of Nan-sa as sufficient proof of her guilt, he seized her by the remaining hair, and beat her so unmercifully that no one but Nan-sa could have endured it. And he dragged her along the ground and inflicted the deepest pain by pricking reeds.
Just then the male-servant bSod-nam-dpab-skyed and the female servant 'Dsom-pa-skyid-po came to Nan-sa's aid and besought their master saying, —  

"O! Great and powerful Lord! Listen to us, your slaves! What can have maddened your majesty to have inflicted such chastisement on your life-partner? The lovely face of our lady Nan-sa, which shone like the moon of the fifteenth day, is now bruised and bleeding by your hands. O! Lord of Myan-stod-Ri-nang! Pray stay your wrath, and you, O! lady, cease to weep!"

Then the lord and his lady allowed themselves to be led away, each to their own room.

At that time, Lama-S'akyahi-rgyal-mts'an, versed in the doctrine of "The Great Perfection," lived in the monastery of sKyid-po-se-rag-ya- lun in the neighbourhood. And perceiving that, according to the prophecy of the great reverend Mila-ras, the princess Nan-sa was really a good fairy, he thought fit to advise her to pursue her holy aims. So dressing himself in the guise of a poor beggar, though his appearance rather belied him, and taking a young monkey which knew many tricks, he went to the window of Nan-sa's chamber and sang this song, —

"O! lady! surpassing the goddesses in beauty, pray sit by the window, and cast your eyes hither, so that you may be amused at the tricks of this young monkey, and lend me your ear to hear clearly the songs of a poor travelling-beggar, who now stands in your presence.

"In the green forests of the eastern Kong-bu country dwell the monkeys with their young, the wisest of whom climb the high trees, but the foolish ones roam recklessly on the ground, tasting the fruits according to their whims, and one of these unlucky young ones fell into the clutches of a passing beggar, who tied him by the neck as it deserved (through its Karma), and subjected it to various tortures in teaching it his tricks.

"In the forests of the southern craggy Mon country the birds rear their young, of whom the wisest and the strongest soar into the sky, while the foolish ones perch on the lower trees. Thus the speech-knowing parrot comes within the grasp of the king who imprisons it and chains it by the feet, as it deserved; and it is tortured and troubled when being taught to speak.

"In the western country of Nepal, the country of rice, the bees breed their young, of whom the fortunate ones sip the juice of the rice-flowers, while the foolish ones, smelling the rice-beer, come, as they deserved, within the grasp of the cruel boys, who tear them in their hands for the sake of their honey.

"In the northern country of Tsa-kha, the sheep bring forth lambs, of whom the fortunate ones graze on the green meadow, frolicking and skipping in their wild joy, while the unlucky ones come within the grasp of the butchers, who kill them without mercy.

"In the middle country of Myan-stod-gser-gz'on-rin-mo, the mothers have children, of whom the wisest spend their lives in the country; while the unlucky ones stay with their parents, but the most unlucky of all the pretty girls is married to a lord, and Ani-Nemo treats her as she thinks she deserves. Now if this girl fails to remember the inconstancy of life, then her body, though pretty, is only like that of the peacock of the plains. If she does not steadfastly devote herself to religion, her voice, though pleasing, is like the vain cry of the 'Jolmo bird in the wilderness."

Here the man paused, while the monkey began to play many wonderful tricks, which amused the young prince; while Nan-sa, deeply agitated by the song, ordered the beggar to enter her chamber, and addressing him said, "O! traveller in the guise of a beggar! Listen to me! My earnest wish indeed is to devote my life to religion; I have no earthly desires whatever; I was forced to become the manager of a worldly house only through filial obedience to the dictates of my parents. Now pray tell me, which is the most suitable convent for me to enter, and who is the most learned Lama as a spiritual father?"

The beggar gave her the information she desired. And Nan-sa, in her gratitude, bestowed upon him all her silver and golden ornaments.

Now, it so happened that just at this time, the lord arrived, and hearing the voice of a man in his wife's chamber he peeped in and, to his great surprise, saw Nan-sa giving a beggar all her jewels, while the young prince was playing with the beggar's monkey.

Furious at the sight, he entered the chamber, just as the beggar and his monkey left; and thinking that Ani's story must indeed be true, and that his wife had bestowed his property on the devotees, and had scandalously brought beggars even inside her private chamber, he seized Nan-sa by the hair and began to beat her most unmercifully, and Nemo also came and assisted in beating her. They tore the young prince away from her, and the lord and Ani-Nemo continued beating Nan-sa until she died.

ACT III. Nan-sa's return from the Dead.

Om ma-ni-pad-me Hum! The young prince, unable to bear separation from his mother, stole to her room after the tragedy and found her lying dead. Rushing to his father with the dreadful news, his father, in alarm, ran to her prostrate figure, but thinking that Nan-sa was merely shamming, he exclaimed, "O! fair Nan-sa, arise! The starry heaven betimes is obscured by clouds; the lovely flowers die at winter's approach; you have been harshly treated, but your time has not yet come; so, pray arise!" But the corpse lay still, for its spirit long had fled.

Then the lord repented him bitterly, but being powerless to revive her, he had to consent to the customary funeral offerings being made to The Three Holy Ones, and he gave alms to the poor and blind, and feasts to the priests. And the death-astrologer was called and he ordered that the body should be kept for seven days exposed on the eastern hill, and care taken that no animal should destroy it, and that after the eighth day it should be cremated or thrown into a river or lake. Nan-sa's body was therefore wrapped in a white blanket and bound on a four-footed bed, and taken to the eastern grassy hill, where it was deposited in solitude.

Now Nan-sa's spirit on her death had winged its way, light as a feather, to the ghostly region of the intermediate purgatory, Bardo, where the minions of the Death-king seized it and led it before the dreaded judge-king of the dead.

At that tribunal Nan-sa's spirit was terrified at seeing many wicked souls condemned and sent down for torture to the hells, in cauldrons of molten metal, or frozen amongst the ice; while she was pleased to see the souls of several pious people sent to heaven.

But in her fear she threw herself before the great judge of the Dead and with joined hands prayed to him: "Have mercy upon me! O! holy mother Tara! And help and bless me, ye host of fairy she-devils! O! Judge of the Dead! who separates the white virtuous from the black sinful ones, hear me, O! great king! I longed to benefit the animals, but could do little during my short stay in the world. When I learned that the birth must end in death, I cared not for my beauty; and when I saw that wealth collected by avarice was useless to oneself I gave it away to the poor and blind. Have mercy upon me!"

Then the judge of the Dead ordered her two guardian angels — the good and the bad — to pour out their white and black deed-counters. On this being done, it was found that the white virtuous deeds far exceeded the black sinful ones, which latter were indeed only two in number; and the judge having consulted his magical mirror and found this record to be correct, and knowing that Nan-sa was of intensely religious disposition, and capable of doing much good if allowed to live longer in the human world, he reprieved her and sent her back to life
, saying:—

"O! Nan-sa, brilliant above a hundred thousand lights! Listen! Lah-se! Listen to king Yama, the master of Death! I separate the white deeds from the black, and send the persons in whom the white virtue preponderates to the heavens; in this capacity I am named Arya Avalokitesvara (p'ags-pa- spyan-ras -gzigs-dban). But when I send the sinful persons to hell, I am named Mrityupati Yama-raja ('ch'i-bdag-s'in-rjehi-rgyal-po)! Lah-se! I am the inexorable fierce king who always punishes the wicked! I never save an oppressive king, no matter how powerful; nor will I let any sinful Lama escape. No one can ever escape visiting this my bar of Justice. But you, O Nan-sa! are not a sinful person: you are a good fairy's incarnation, and when a person sacrifices her body for a religious purpose, she obtains paradise, and if she is profoundly pious, she shall obtain the rank of Buddhaship, though the former state is much to be preferred. So stay no longer here, but return to the human world, and recover your old body! Lah-se! Be a 'death-returned person,'112 and benefit the animal beings!"

Nan-sa, now overjoyed, bowed down before his Plutonic majesty, and besought his blessing, and after receiving it, she departed by the white heavenly path, and then descending to this world, resumed her former body lying in its white blanket-shroud, and folding her hands in the devotional attitude, she lay with her feet flexed, like a holy thunderbolt. And flowers rained down from heaven upon her, and a rainbow shed its halo round her. And she prayed to the fairies and she-devils: —

"I prostrate myself before the triad assembly of the Lamas, the tutelaries, and the Dakkini— she-devils and fairies — to whom I pray for deliverance from the circle of re-births. O! eastern fairy of the Vajra class, white as the conch-shell, sounding the golden drum (damaru) in your right hand, 'to-lo-lo,' and ringing the silver bell in your left, 'si-li-li,' surrounded by hundreds of mild and white-robed attendants, pray forgive all my shortcomings! O! southern fairy of the Jewel race, golden-yellow, sounding," etc., etc.

Now the men who had come to remove the corpse, being terrified at hearing the dead body speak, dared not approach. The more frightened amongst them fled, while the braver ones prepared to defend themselves by throwing stones, in the belief that the ghost of Nan-sa was agitating her dead body. Then Nan-sa cried out, saying "I am not a ghost, but a 'death-returned person';" and the men being astonished, drew near and bowed down before her, and paid profound reverence to the resuscitated one.

The good news of Nan-sa's return from the dead soon reached the lord and the prince, who hurried to the spot, and throwing themselves before her, implored her forgiveness, and conducted her back to their home; not, however, without protests from Nan-sa, who had decided to become a nun. She only consented to resume domestic life on the ardent entreaties of her son.

But soon her excessive piety again subjected her to the ill-treatment of her husband as before, and forced her to flee to her parents' home, where, however, she met with no better reception, but was beaten and expelled. And now driven forth from home, a wanderer for religion's sake, she seeks admission into a convent, where, throwing herself at the Lama's feet, she prays him, saying, —

"Om! Salutation to our spiritual father, the Lama, and the host of Fairy-mothers! I have come in deep distress in order to devote myself to religion; and I appeal to you, good Lama, for help and permission to stay here (at gSer-rag-gya- lun), Lama! I beg you to catch me, insignificant fish as I am, on your hook of mercy; for otherwise the pious resolves of this pour girl will perish, and the injury you thereby will inflict shall be my utter ruin, and make me wretched like a jackal haunting a cave. O! Lama of the red Lotus-cap, if you fail to help me now, then I am indeed undone! I adore The Holy Religion with all my heart, and I crave your blessing!" and so saying she took off her rich robes and jewels. and offered them to him. And the Lama, pitying her, blessed her, and gave her the vow of a novice.

The news of Nan-sa's entry to the convent soon reached the ears of the lord of Rinang, who waxed wroth and went to war against the monastery. Arriving there with his men he cried unto the Lama, saying: "Lah-se! You fellow, why have you made a nun of Nan-sa? Unless you give full satisfaction, I will crush you and all your convent like butter!" And so saying he seized the Lama and pointed his sword to his heart.

Now Nan-sa, driven to despair on seeing that the life of her Lama was thus threatened for her sake, she, in the dress of a novice, ascended the roof of the convent, and in the sight of all, sailed away, Buddha-like, through the sky, vanishing into space like the rainbow.

Then the lord of Rinang with all his retinue, dismayed at the sight of Nan-sa's miraculous flight, fell to the ground. And stung by remorse at their sacrilege, they offered up all their arms and armour to the Lama; and promising never again to molest him, they returned home gloomy and sad; and Nan-sa was seen no more.

May glory come! Tashi-s'o! May virtue increase! Ge-leg-'p'el!!

And here all the people forming the audience joyfully shout: "Mangalam!!! All happiness!!!" And the play is over. The people, old and young, now discuss amongst themselves the theme of the play and its moral lessons. They are profoundly impressed by the self-sacrifice of Nan-sa and the other pious persons, and by the vivid pictures drawn of the way in which evil-doers must inexorably pay the penalty of their misdeeds. Thus even these crude Tibetan plays point, in their own clumsy way, very much the same moral lessons as are taught by the Western Stage.

It came to pass then thereafter that I ascended to the veils of the thirteenth æon.... I entered into the thirteenth æon and found Pistis Sophia below the thirteenth æon all alone and no one of them with her. And she sat in that region grieving and mourning, because she had not been admitted into the thirteenth æon, her higher region. And she was moreover grieving because of the torments which Self-willed, who is one of the three triple-powers, had inflicted on her....

Formerly she was in the region of the height, in the thirteenth æon.... It came to pass, when Pistis Sophia was in the thirteenth æon, in the region of all her brethren the invisibles, that is the four-and-twenty emanations of the great Invisible, -- it came to pass then by command of the First Mystery that Pistis Sophia gazed into the height. She saw the light of the veil of the Treasury of the Light, and she longed to reach to that region, and she could not reach to that region. But she ceased to perform the mystery of the thirteenth æon, and sang praises to the light of the height, which she had seen in the light of the veil of the Treasury of the Light.

It came to pass then, when she sang praises to the region of the height, that all the rulers in the twelve æons, who are below, hated her, because she had ceased from their mysteries, and because she had desired to go into the height and be above them all. For this cause then they were enraged against her and hated her, [as did] the great triple-powered Self-willed, that is the third triple-power, who is in the thirteenth æon, he who had become disobedient, in as much as he had not emanated the whole purification of his power in him, and had not given the purification of his light at the time when the rulers gave their purification, in that he desired to rule over the whole thirteenth æon and those who are below it.... [the great triple-powered Self-willed] emanated out of himself a great lion-faced power, and out of his matter in him he emanated a host of other very violent material emanations, and sent them into the regions below, to the parts of the chaos, in order that they might there lie in wait for Pistis Sophia and take away her power out of her....

All the material emanations of Self-willed surrounded her, and the great lion-faced light-power devoured all the light-powers in Sophia and cleaned out her light and devoured it, and her matter was thrust into the chaos; it became a lion-faced ruler in the chaos, of which one half is fire and the other darkness.... When then this befell, Sophia became very greatly exhausted, and that lion-faced light-power set to work to take away from Sophia all her light-powers, and all the material powers of Self-willed surrounded Sophia at the same time and pressed her sore. And Pistis Sophia cried out most exceedingly.....

Pistis Sophia again continued and still sang praises in a second repentance....

She continued again and uttered the third repentance....

Pistis Sophia again continued in the fourth repentance, reciting it before she was oppressed a second time....

The emanations of Self-willed again oppressed Pistis Sophia in the chaos and desired to take from her her whole light.... It came to pass then, when all the material emanations of Self-willed oppressed her, that she cried out and uttered the fifth repentance....

She uttered the sixth repentance....

She turned again to the height, to see if her sins were forgiven her, and to see whether they would lead her up out of the chaos. But by commandment of the First Mystery not yet was she hearkened to, so that her sin should be forgiven and she should be led up out of the chaos. When then she had turned to the height to see whether her repentance were accepted from her, she saw all the rulers of the twelve æons mocking at her and rejoicing over her because her repentance was not accepted from her. When then she saw that they mocked at her, she grieved exceedingly and lifted up her voice to the height in her seventh repentance....

When Pistis Sophia had uttered the seventh repentance in the chaos, the commandment through the First Mystery had not come to me to save her and lead her up out of the chaos. Nevertheless of myself out of compassion without commandment I led her into a somewhat spacious region in the chaos.... When the emanations of Self-willed had noticed that Pistis Sophia had not been led up out the chaos, they turned about again all together, oppressing her vehemently. Because of this then she uttered the eighth repentance....

It came to pass then thereafter, when the emanations of Self-willed oppressed Pistis Sophia in the chaos, that she uttered the ninth repentance....

It came to pass then, when Pistis Sophia had proclaimed the ninth repentance, that the lion-faced power oppressed her again, desiring to take away all powers from her. She cried out again....And in that hour her repentance was accepted from her. The First Mystery hearkened unto her, and I was sent off at his command. I came to help her, and led her up out of the chaos, because she had repented, and also because she had had faith in the Light and had endured these great pains and these great perils....Pistis Sophia then took courage and uttered the tenth repentance....

It came to pass then, when this lion-faced power saw me, how I drew nigh unto Pistis Sophia, shining very exceedingly, that it grew still more furious and emanated from itself a multitude of exceedingly violent emanations. When this then befell, Pistis Sophia uttered the eleventh repentance.....

It came to pass then thereafter, that I drew near unto the chaos, shining very exceedingly, to take away the light from that lion-faced power. As I shone exceedingly, it was in fear and cried out to its self-willed god, that he should help it. And forthwith the self-willed god looked out of the thirteenth æon, and looked down into the chaos, exceedingly wrathful and desiring to help his lion-faced power. And forthwith the lion-faced power, it and all its emanations, surrounded Pistis Sophia, desiring to take away the whole light in Sophia. It came to pass then, when they oppressed Sophia, that she cried to the height, crying unto me that I should help her. It came to pass then, when she looked to the height, that she saw Self-willed exceedingly wrathful, and she was in fear, and uttered the twelfth repentance....

She continued again in the thirteenth repentance....

It came to pass when Pistis Sophia had uttered the thirteenth repentance, -- in that hour was fulfilled the commandment of all the tribulations which were decreed for Pistis Sophia for the fulfilment of the First Mystery, which was from the beginning, and the time had come to save her out of the chaos and lead her out from all the darknesses. For her repentance was accepted from her through the First Mystery; and that mystery sent me a great light-power out of the height, that I might help Pistis Sophia and lead her up out of the chaos....

It came to pass then, before I had led forth Pistis Sophia out of the chaos, because it was not yet commanded me through my Father, the First Mystery which looketh within, -- at that time then, after the emanations of Self-willed had perceived that my light-stream had taken from them the light-powers which they had taken from Pistis Sophia, and had poured them into Pistis Sophia, and when they again had seen Pistis Sophia, that she shone as she had done from the beginning, that they were enraged against Pistis Sophia and cried out again to their Self-willed, that he should come and help them, so that they might take away the powers in Pistis Sophia anew.

And Self-willed sent out of the height, out of the thirteenth æon, and sent another great light-power. It came down into the chaos as a flying arrow, that he might help his emanations, so that they might take away the lights from Pistis Sophia anew. And when that light-power had come down, the emanations of Self-willed which were in the chaos and oppressed Pistis Sophia, took great courage and again pursued Pistis Sophia with great terror and great alarm. And some of the emanations of Self-willed oppressed her. One of them changed itself into the form of a great serpent; another again changed itself also into the form of a seven-headed basilisk; another again changed itself into the form of a dragon. And moreover the first power of Self-willed, the lion-faced, and all his other very numerous emanations, they came together and oppressed Pistis Sophia and led her again into the lower regions of the chaos and alarmed her again exceedingly.

It came to pass then that there looked down out of the twelve æons, Adamas, the Tyrant, who also was wroth with Pistis Sophia, because she desired to go to the Light of lights, which was above them all; therefore was he wroth with her. It came to pass then, when Adamas, the Tyrant, had looked down out of the twelve æons, that he saw the emanations of Self-willed oppressing Pistis Sophia, until they should take from her all her lights. It came to pass then, when the power of Adamas had come down into the chaos unto all the emanations of Self-willed, -- it came to pass then, when that demon came down into the chaos, that it dashed down Pistis Sophia. And the lion-faced power and the serpent-form and the basilisk-form and the dragon-form and all the other very numerous emanations of Self-willed surrounded Pistis Sophia all together, desiring to take from her anew her powers in her, and they oppressed Pistis Sophia exceedingly and threatened her. It came to pass then, when they oppressed her and alarmed her exceedingly, that she cried again to the Light and sang praises....

I took Pistis Sophia and led her up to a region which is below the thirteenth æon, and gave unto her a new mystery of the Light which is not that of her æon, the region of the invisibles. And moreover I gave her a song of the Light, so that from now on the rulers of the æons could not [prevail] against her. And I removed her to that region until I should come after her and bring her to her higher region. It came to pass then, when I had led her to the region which is below the thirteenth æon, and was about to go unto the Light and depart from her, that she said unto me:

O Light of lights, thou wilt go to the Light and depart from me. And Tyrant Adamas will know that thou hast departed from me and will know that my saviour is not at hand. And he will come again to this region, he and all his rulers who hate me, and Self-willed also will bestow power unto his lion-faced emanation, so that they all will come and constrain me all together and take my whole light from me, in order that I may become powerless and again without light. Now, therefore, O Light and my Light, take from them the power of their light, so that they may not be able to constrain me from now on.'

It came to pass then, when I heard these words which Pistis Sophia had spoken unto me, that I answered her, saying: 'My Father, who hath emanated me, hath not yet given me commandment to take their light from them; but I will seal the regions of Self-willed and of all his rulers who hate thee because thou hast had faith in the Light. And I will also seal the regions of Adamas and of his rulers, so that none of them may be able to fight with thee, until their time is completed and the season cometh that my Father give me commandment to take their light from them.'

And thereafter I said again unto her: 'Hearken that I may speak with thee about their time, when this which I have said unto thee, will come to pass. It will come to pass when [the] three times are completed.'

Pistis Sophia answered and said unto me: 'O Light, by what shall I know when the three times will take place, so that I may be glad and rejoice that the time is near for thee to bring me to my region, and moreover rejoice therein that the time is come when thou wilt take the light-power from all them which hate me, because I have had faith in thy light?'

And I answered and said unto her: 'If thou seest the gate of the Treasury of the Great Light which is opened after the thirteenth æon, and that is the left [one], -- when that gate is opened, then are the three times completed.'

Pistis Sophia again answered and said: 'O Light, by what shall I know, -- for I am in this region, -- that that gate is opened?'

"And I answered and said unto her: 'When that gate is opened, they who are in all the æons will know because of the Great Light which will obtain in all their regions....Moreover, if then the three times are completed, Self-willed and all his rulers will again constrain thee, to take thy light from thee, being enraged against thee and thinking that thou hast imprisoned his power in the chaos, and thinking that thou hast taken its light from it. He will then be embittered against thee, to take from thee thy light, in order that he may send it down into the chaos and it may get down to that emanation of his, so that it may be able to come up out of the chaos and go to his region. Adamas will attempt this. But I will take all thy powers from him and give them unto thee, and I will come to take them. Now, therefore, if they constrain thee at that time, then sing praises to the Light, and I will not delay to help thee. And I will quickly come unto thee to the regions which are below thee. And I will come down to their regions to take their light from them. And I will come to this region whither I have removed thee, and which is below the thirteenth æon, until I bring thee to thy region whence thou art come'....

It came to pass then, when that time came on, -- and I was in the world of men, sitting with you in this region, which is the Mount of Olives, -- that Adamas looked down out of the twelve æons and looked down at the regions of the chaos and saw his demon power which is in the chaos, that no light at all was in it, because I had taken its light from it; and he saw it, that it was dark and could not go to his region, that is to the twelve moons. Thereon Adamas again remembered Pistis Sophia and became most exceedingly wroth against her, thinking that it was she who had imprisoned his power in the chaos, and thinking that it was she who had taken its light from it. And he was exceedingly embittered; he piled wrath on wrath and emanated out of himself a dark emanation and another, chaotic and evil, the violent [one], so as through them to harass Pistis Sophia. And he made a dark region in his region, so as to constrain Sophia therein. And he took many of his rulers; they pursued after Sophia, in order that the two dark emanations which Adamas had emanated, might lead her into the dark chaos which he had made, and constrain her in that region and harass her, until they should take her whole light from her, and Adamas should take the light from Pistis Sophia and give it to the two dark violent emanations, and they should carry it to the great chaos which is below and dark, and cast it into his dark power which is chaotic, if perchance it might be able to come to his region, because it had become exceedingly dark, for I had taken its light-power from it.

-- Pistis Sophia: A Gnostic Miscellany, Translated by G.R.S. Mead

Some Actors of the Play of Nan-sa.  
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Part 4 of 4
1 From a photograph by Mr. Hoffmann.
2 The myth of the snaky-haired Gorgon, and the death-masks found in ancient
tombs of Mycenae, Kertch, Carthage, Mexico, etc.

3 Figured by Gruenwedel, Buddh. Kunst in Indi.

4 sTag-dmar-ch'am.
5 J.R.A.S., New Ser., xii., p. 440.

6 Idem, p. 441.

7 Yule's Cathay, 151, and Marco Polo, i., 303.
8 a-pe-s'a a-me-s'a.
9 Drug-bchu-lchags mk'ar-gyi gtor-rgyags.
10 sTag-(mgrm)-dmar.
11 See page 396, and compare also their relatives, the Cat-devils, which latter take  the only form of the cult in Japan.
12 Lo-s'i sku-rim. The term sKu-rim is applied to certain indigenous sacrificial ceremonies, usually with bloody offerings, in contradistinction to the more truly Buddhist ceremonial offerings, which are named "mch'od" and "ch'oga."

13 Notably H. H. Godwin-Austen (J.A.S.B., 1861, 71 seq.) ; H. A. Jaeschke, ibid., p. 77; Schlagt., p. 233; Knight, loc. cit., where several fine photographs of the play are given; A. B. Melville, Proc. B.A.S., 1864, p. 478; and Ramsay's West. Tibet., p. 43.  

14 Kan-lin.
15 Tib., mGon-pa.  

16 I. Peter, v. 8.
17 Knight, loc. cit., p. 201.  

18 After Godwin-Austen in J.A.S.B., loc. cit.  

19 The chief of these fiends are Devi, Hayagriva, Khyetapala, Jinamitra, Dakkiraja,  bdud-gontrag-sag, lha-ch'en brgya-po, gzah-ch'en-brgyad-po, kLu-ch'en, brgyad-po,  etc.  

20 Knight, p. 203.
21 Godwin-Austen, loc. cit., p. 73.

22 Compare with the confetti pellets and odoured powders thrown about at western carnivals.
23 Knight, op. cit., p. 207.  

24 Cf. page 345. The same motive appears in the Burmese religious dramas at  Arakan. — Hardy, East. Monachism, p. 236.  
25 Knight, p. 204. These seven masks were, says Mr. Knight, variously explained  as being the Dalai Lama and his previous incarnations, while another "explained  that these were intended for the incarnations of Buddha, and not the Dalai Lama."
26 Named lin-ka or.  

27 Preserved and stored for this purpose at the Ragyab cemetery— in such cases, the  Ge-lug-pa Lamas are said not to touch this defiling flesh.

28 The ceremony is called drag-las.  

29 Tur-t'od-bdag-po.
30 Cf. Hardy's E. Mon., p. 236.
31 After Mr. Knight.
32 Knight, op. cit., p. 208.

33 Mr. Knight (op. cit., p. 209) notes that "Three horses and three dogs were smeared over with red paint, and thenceforth dedicated for life to the temple, explained as scape-goats for the sins of the people," the red paint being held to represent the sins.

34 These are gyal-ch'en sku lna, yum-lna, Sprul-pu-na and blon-pa.

35 gnas-ch'un, and rdorje grags-ldan— the attendants are male and female with dishevelled hair.
36 Dam-ch'an ch'os-rgyal. By some regarded as Vajrabhairava and by others as Vama or Heruka. On Bull-headed Demons in S. India, cf. Ind. Ant, p. 19.

37 These are made of painted calico or silk.
38 According to the reformed Lamas, these animals have to be considered as representing the Lama who assassinated Lan-darma, and the Demon-king represents the  god Mahakala, who delivered Lan-darma into the Lama's hands; and the graveyard  ghouls are the scavengers who carried off the king's corpse.  

39 gTor-zlog and is extracted from the pu volume of bLa-ma-norbu-rgya-mts'o.
40 Compare this threat with the killing of the gods— in Frazer's Golden Bough.
41 Named Hom-bsreks; Skt., Homa. Cf. Vasil., 194; Schlag., 251.  

42 gtor-gyak.  

43 At the monastery of Tin-ge, to the west of Tashi-lhunpo, and where this play is  conducted, as at other Ge-lug-pa monasteries, at government expense, this procession,  I am informed, consists of six pairs of thigh-bone trumpet blowers, five censer-swingers, two pairs of long horn players, several skull libationers, 100 maskers with  small drums, 100 maskers with cymbals, and 100 with large drums, behind whom  walk the ordinary monks, shouting and clapping their hands, followed by the laity  armed with guns and other weapons, and forming a procession over a mile in  length.
44 This is chiefly attended by old women and children.

45 bSrun-ma.

46 p'an-rgyal-mts'an p'ye-p'ur, s'am-bu, ba-ran.

47 kyab-mgon rin-po-ch'e.

48 zim-ch'un.

49 "The glorious great cymbals."
50 rgal-po.

51 bde-mo rin-po-che.

52 Markh, p. 106.

53 On the 17th February, 1882, by Sarat, in Narrative.

54 u'bag.

55 gser-san.

56 In Sikhim they are made from the giant climber called "zar."
57  Excluding those of the Buddhas, which are not essential to the play, and seldom appear.

58 According to some the Garuda (bya-m'kyun) or Roc should occupy the highest place. It is yellow, with a bird's beak, yak's horns, and erect hair, forming a spiked crest. It is said to be even superior to the sixteen great saints, the Sthavira.

59 He is also identified with forms known as Na-nin-nag-po, Legs-ldan nag-po, Ber-nag-po.  

60 Ch'os-skyon brtse-dmar-ra.

61 rgyal-mts'an.

62 dma-c'an c'os-rgyal.

63 This seems intended for the Indian Sambhar.
64 rgyal-ch'en-po bsrungs bstan-po, and seems related to, or identical with the "Flve  Kings" and Heroes (dpa-o).  

65 Ha-p'ug.  

66 These capes generally show the trigrams and other symbols of luck and long  life including the Bat.
67 rnon-pa blue masks adorned with cowries, and have kilts of Yak's-hair ropes which fly round at right angles as the men pirouette like dancing dervishes.

68 Ch'os-rgyal-nor-bzan.

69 rgya-za pal-za.

70 rgyal-po don-grub.

71 'rgo-ba-bzan-mo, the consort of kalesvara.
72 Of the ten Great (former) Births (Mahajataka) this is considered the greatest, and it was the last earthly birth but one of the Bodhisat. It purports to have been narrated by Buddha himself at the monastery of the Fig-tree (Nigrodha, Ficus Indica) in Buddha's native country of Kapilavastu, a propos of the over-weening pride of his own kindred. The Milinda dialogues (loc. cit.), written about 150 A.D., contain many references to it.

73 Sung Yun's history, translated by S. Beal, Records, p. 201.

74 See Hardy's Man., pp. 116-124. The late Captain Forbes, in his work on British Burma and its People, says: "One of the best I think, and certainly the most interesting performances I have seen in Burma, was that of a small children's company in a village of about two hundred houses. The eldest performer was about fourteen, the daughter of the head man, a slight pretty girl; the others boys and girls, younger. The parents and villagers generally were very proud of their talents, and they were regularly trained by an old man as stage-manager, prompter, etc. Their principal piece was the Way-than-da-ra, the story of one of the previous existences of Gan-da-ma, in which he exemplified the great virtue of alms-giving, and in itself one of the most affecting and beautifully written compositions in Burma. . . . The little company used to perform this piece capitally, but the acting of the little maid of fourteen in the part of the princess could not be surpassed. She seemed really to have lost herself in her part; and her natural and graceful attitudes heightened the effect. The first time I witnessed the performance in going round and saying a word to the tiny actors, when I came to the little fellow of ten or eleven who had acted the part of the surly and greedy Brahmin, I pretended to be disgusted with his cruelty to the two poor infants. This the little man took in earnest, so much to heart that as I learnt, on my next visit, nothing would induce him to act the part again, and it was not till his father almost forcibly brought him to me and I had soothed him by what was deemed most condescending kindness and excited his vanity, that I could obtain a repetition of the play." Captain Forbes also states that he has seen men moved to tears by the acting of this play.
75 Tibetan Tales, p. lvii.

76 Kah-gyur, iv., ff. 192-200, translated by Schiefner and Englished by Ralston, in "Tibetan Tales," p. 257, who also traces its comparative aspect, p. lvii. In the following account those portions which are identical with the canonical version are put in quotation marks when given in Ralston's words.

77 Wessantara Jataka, Hardy's Manual, 116-124, and East. Monach., 83-428. Milinda loc. cit.; Upham, Hist, and Doct. of Buddhism, p. 25 ; S. de Oldenburg, J.R.A.S., 1893, p. 301.

78 "The Story of We-than-da-ya," Englished from the Burmese version of the Pali text by L. A. Goss, Rangoon, American Bap. Mission, 1886.

79 Translated from the MS. of a company of Tibetan actors from Shigatse. It generally agrees with the version in the Manikah-bum.

80 Dri-med-kun-ldan (pronounced Ti-med Kun-den).

81 Namo aryalokesvara.

82 In the Mani-kah-bum it is called "The Sounding" (sGra-chan). In the Kah-gyur "Visvanagara" It is believed by Tibetans to be the ancient Videha which they identify with the modern "Bettiah" in northern Bengal, but it was evidently in northern India.

83 According to the Kah-gyur, Visvamitra; the Mani-kah-'bum gives "the Voice of the Drum-Sound" (sgra-dbyang-rnga-sgra), and the Pali "Sanda" and Burmese "Thain See." — Goss, loc cit., p. 7.
84 Lha-ch'ung dri-ma med-pa.

85 Tib. Nor-bu dgos-'dod-dbung-'jom.; Skt., Ointamani. Its properties are analogous to La Mascotte. The Lamas say it was given to Buddha Amitabha by a white Naga of the ocean. In the Burmese version (loc cit., p. 12), it is made to be the white elephant; but the word Naga means both elephant and the serpent-dragons, or mermen, the guardians of treasure.

86 Shin-thi-bstan.

87 mt'a-'k'ob bye-ma-s'in drun. Kalinga (on the west of the Bay of Bengal). The Ceylon version (Hardy's Manual, p. 116) makes the rain-producing elephant be brought from Jayatura, the capital of Sibi, by Brahmans sent by the king of Kalinga.
88 Skt., Chandal.

89 Ni-zla-sgron-ma, daughter of king Grags-pa (=Skt., Kirti). Another account says he also married "The Lamp of the Sky" (Namk'ai sgron-ma), daughter of king Dri- ma-Med-pa, of the "Lotus" country. And these two are said to have been first met by him carrying udumwara flowers on one of his charitable rounds of visiting the temple of Buddha Yes'e-hod-mdsad-tok, or "the Buddha of the Light Diadem of fore- knowledge." The Burmese version states (Goss' trans., p. 11) that he visited "The Six Temples" six times every month, mounted on his white elephant Pis-sa-ya.

90 Another version gives three children.

91 The place of banishment, according to the Pali, was Vankagiri.

92 Named 'Od-zer-tok, and Utpalmani. The southern version gives the name of the son as Jalin and of the daughter as Krishnajina.
93 In Hardy's Southern Recension, the boy is called Jaliya and the girl Krishnayina  (Manual, p. 116). - Schiefner.
94 The chief trees were "Ka-det" (Cratoeca Roxburghii).

95 "Zoo-za-ga" of Don-nee-wee-ta in Kalinga, according to the Burmese (Trans., loc. cit., p. 35).
96 Properly, "lotus arrow." According to Maximowicz the young lotus leaves are  reed-like or arrow-like in appearance.— Schiefner.
97 Ralston, op. cit.

98 Cf., The "Sibi Jataka."

99 This is rattier absurd, but it is supposed to have happened before Sakya's birth.
100 Beal's Records, etc., 157, chap, xxxviii.; also Raj Mitra, Nepalese Skt. Lit., p. 62.

101 By Upham, under name Sudana or Sutana; cf. Spence Hardy's Manual, p. 116.

102 Nor-bzan.
103 Csoma. Analy., p. 542.
104 Op. cit., xlviii.

105 I obtained the MS. from a strolling company of actors who visited Darjiling under the auspices of the Tibetan commissioner. I have curtailed it in places, on account of the inordinate length of the original narrative.

106 The Tibetan words are romanized according to Csoma de Koros' method of transliteration.

107 The arrow was the primitive national weapon of the Tibetans; and their military chief or general is still called mDaj-dpon, or "Commander of the Arrows"; and a golden or gilt arrow is a symbol of military command in Tibet.
108 Nan-sa is held to be an incarnation of the Buddhist goddess Tara.
109 Known as gNas-snin-bZun-'p'hrug.
110 dgra ch'en.
111 A wandering Lama of the Kar-gyu-pa sect and contemporary of the great Mila-ras-pa in the eleventh century A.D.
112 'das-log.  
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Satish Chandra Mukherjee [Dawn Society]
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Accessed: 12/24/19



Satish Chandra Mukherjee
সতীশচন্দ্র মুখোপাধ্যায়
Satish Chandra Mukherjee
Born 5 June 1865
Bandipur (বন্দিপুর) , Hooghly, Bengal, British India
Died 19 April 1948 (aged 82)
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Educationist
Spouse(s) Charulata Mukherjee

Satish Chandra Mukherjee (Bengali: সতীশচন্দ্র মুখোপাধ্যায়) (5 June 1865 – 18 April 1948) was a pioneer in establishing a system of national education in India, along with Sri Aurobindo.

The positivist background

Satish Chandra was born at Banipur in the Hooghly district, near Kolkata (Calcutta). His father, Krishnanath Mukherjee, had been a childhood friend and classmate of Justice Dvarkanath Mitra, who appointed him as a translator of official documents in the Calcutta High Court. Mitra was a leading believer in the Religion of Humanity as founded by the Positivist Auguste Comte. Adept of this faith, an atheist servant of Man and of society, Krishnanath impressed this ideology on his sons, Tinkori and Satish.[1] Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay himself was not only one of the first in India to write on Comte and his philosophy but, also, he had zealous Positivist friends like Yogendrachandra Ghose and Rajkrishna Mukherjee; in 1874, Bankim published the latter's article on Positivism in his Bangadarshan, which began with the sentence, "Among the successfully educated classes of our country, there is a great deal of animation concerning the philosophy of Comte." While writing on psychological purification, Bankim wrote: "He who has been psychologically purified is the best Hindu, the best Christian, the best Buddhist, the best Muslim, the best Positivist."[2]

In 1884, in the preface of his novel Devi Chaudhurani, Bankim quoted from the Catechism of Positive Religion: "The general law of Man's progress (…) consists in this that Man becomes more and more religious."[3]

Early life

As a student of the South Suburban School in Bhowanipore in Kolkata, Satish Chandra received inspiration from Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and would have a wide range of acquaintances like Ashvinikumar Datta, Sivanath Sastri, Bipin Chandra Pal, Brajendranath Seal, Ashutosh Mukherjee (his class-friend), Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Raja Subodh Mullick. With his classmate Narendra Datta (Swami Vivekananda) and his friend Kaliprasad Chandra (Swami Abhedananda), he attended the lectures by Pandit Sashadhar Tarka Chudamani on the shaD-darshana ("six schools of Hindu philosophy") at the Albert Hall, presided over by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. "Alive to the necessity and the usefulness of all other systems, secular or religious, Eastern or Western," Satish Chandra's intense religious temperament laid emphasis on the study of Hindu life, thought and faith. He joined the Presidency College to obtained his MA in 1886 and BL in 1890, and enrolled himself as a pleader of the Calcutta High Court. In 1887, he was appointed a lecturer in history and economics in the Berhampore College. In 1895 he founded the Bhagavat Chatuspathi, a first attempt to an alternate system of higher studies.

The Dawn Society

Main article: Dawn (Bengali educational society)

Founder-editor of the Dawn magazine (1897–1913), an organ of Indian Nationalism, in 1902 he organised the "Dawn Society" of culture, to protest against the Report of the Indian Universities Commission, representing the inadequate university education imposed by the Government to fabricate clerks for the merchant offices. "The cry for thorough overhauling of the whole system of University education was in the air."[4]. In 1889, he formulated the scheme for national education.[5]

Dawn occupied an apartment on the first floor of the present Vidyasagar College (formerly known as the Metropolitan Institution: its Principal, Nagendranath Ghosh was the President, and Satish its general secretary). The Dawn Society was "functioning (…) as a training ground of youths and a nursery of patriotism, became in 1905 one of the most active centres for the propagation of Boycott-Swadeshi ideologies..."[6]

In tune with the programme of a new pedagogy introduced by Sri Aurobindo, the Society's object was to draw the attention of the students to the needs of the country, to love Mother India, to cultivate their moral character, to inspire original thinking. It had a weekly session for a "general training course". One of the members, Benoy Kumar Sarkar, considering having lived significantly thanks to Satish Chandra's influence, would remember his ardent message of patriotism and philanthropy rousing the youth to dedicated service; he would also write about the method of Pandit Nilakantha Goswami's explaining the Bhagavad Gita, impressing on the listeners' mind the futility of life and death, the insignificance of the body: the sole thing that counts is Duty, the right Action.[7]

Among active members of the "Dawn" were Sister Nivedita, Bagha Jatin (Jatin Mukherjee), Rajendra Prasad (first President of India), Haran Chakladar, Radha Kumud Mukherjee, Kishorimohan Gupta (principal, Daulatpur College), Atulya Chatterjee, Rabindra Narayan Ghosh, Benoykumar Sarkar, all future celebrities. One day, Satish Chandra heard an inner voice uttering firmly: "God exists."[8]

The slovenly attired monk
On the roof of the Jokhang,
Would have been a thief
If it were not for the arrival of the dawn.

"Dawn" in the song refers to the Tibetan resistance movement, which prevented the Panchen Lama from accepting the Dalai Lama's administrative duties, which the people suspected the Chinese were preparing to offer him. From the private correspondence that passed between the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, it is evident that the Panchen held the Dalai Lama in high regard; he was involved in this unpleasantness only because of the collaboration of his officials with the Chinese. Since that time, ill feeling has continued to exist between the Lhasa officials and the Panchen's Tashilhunpo officials.

--Tibet: A Political History [Excerpt], by Tsepon W.D. Shakabpa

Meanwhile, back in Lhasa, things were not going well for the Chinese. They could get no cooperation from the people, the Tibetan parliament was proving obstructive, while in parts of the country a resistance movement calling itself "The Dawn" had begun to harass them. When the Chinese invited the Panchen Lama to Lhasa, hoping to use his authority, angry Tibetans expressed their disapproval by dropping old socks and mud on his head as he and the Chinese amban rode through the streets together. Taxes soon began to find their way to Darjeeling, where the Dalai Lamas was now living, instead of to Lhasa, and the Chinese had to search Tibetans leaving for India to prevent this. Finally, the Chinese became so desperate that they were forced to approach the Dalai Lama and plead with him to return, but in vain.

-- Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Race for Lhasa, by Peter Hopkirk

The National College

The Positivist awaited further light from within. In September, a friend of his, follower of the saint Bejoykrishna Goswami, told him that the Master wanted him to come. After receiving initiation in September 1893, he learnt from the saint that on completing his present activities, Satish was to leave for Varanasi (Benares) for his spiritual pursuit.

By the side of Subodh Chandra Mullick, in 1906, Satish took a leading part in forming the Council of National Education and became a lecturer in the Bengal National College. In 1907, after Sri Aurobindo's resignation on 2 August 1907 (fearing "that he might be spirited away to prison at any moment, and his association with the National College might cause great damage to the institution"[9]), Satish Chandra succeeded him as principal, and a contributor to the daily Bande Mataram. Four years after Sri Aurobindo's retiring to Puducherry, Satish left for Varanasi in 1914, settled there till his death. Prominent among the regular visitors who consulted him for guidance, there was Malani, Professor of English at the Hindu University, who took profuse notes while listening to Satish Chandra.[10] There were also Madan Mohan Malaviya, Narendra Deva, Jadunath Sarkar.

Satish Chandra and Gandhi

Another professor of the same university, Jivatram Kripalani, introduced him to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who held Satish Chandra so high that whenever Gandhi went to Varanasi, he spent some time with Satish Chandra. At a juncture, it seems Gandhi even approached him for receiving initiation; but Satish Chandra did not feel that Gandhi needed it. Both of them were seekers of God. Gandhi strove to solve the problem of suffering in man's daily life and look for the Truth; Satish Chandra sought after spiritual deliverance.

Following Gandhi's arrest in 1922, he spent two months at the Sabarmati Ashram helping in the management and publication of Young India. Those were years when Gandhi had been moving all over India, without caring for his failing health. One day Satish Chandra was asked by his Guru Bejoykrishna to send Gandhi one hundred rupees every month for his personal use. Gratefully Gandhi accepted this gift. In 1924, hospitalised for appendicitis, whereas Gandhi was flooded with messages of solicitude, he wondered about Satish Chandra's silence and wanted his son Devdas to enquire. The only reply that came was that Satish Chandra knew that Gandhi was going to recover soon.

The concluding message

In the habit of exchanging letters regularly, the last time Satish Chandra wrote to Gandhi was on 24 January 1947, explaining how to repeat the name of Rama with a breath control; happy with that instruction, on 1 February, Gandhi thanked Satish Chandra for "Your lovely letter":[11] on 30 January 1948, Gandhi breathed his last by repeating He Rama.

Satish Chandra died on 18 April 1948.


1. Mukherjee, Satish Chandra in Dictionary of National Biography, Calcutta, 1974, Vol. III, pp169-171
2. Prachâr, Phalgun 1292 [March 1885]
3. Darshanik Bankimchandra, by Hirendranath Datta, 1940, p36
4. History of the Freedom Movement, [abbrev. Majumdar], by R. C. Majumdar, 1975, Vol. II, p70
6. Majumdar., p18
7. Benoy Sarkar’er baiThake, Haridas Mukherjee, 1942, pp262-263
8. Gandhi o Acharya Satish Chandra by Shobhen Bandyopadhyay, [abbrev. Jayashri, in Jayashri, April 2007, pp534-537
9. Majumdar., p77
10. Published in the Selected Works of Acharya Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay, University of Jadavpur, 2 vols
11. Jayashri, p537

The Origins of the National Educational Movement- Haridas Mukherjee and Uma Mukherjee, Jadavpur University, Calcutta, 1957
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Modern Buddhism: So New, So Familiar: Modern Buddhism—with its roots in colonial Asia—claims to return to the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. Has a new sect emerged?
by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
Fall 2002



By seven o’clock on the morning of August 26, 1873, a crowd of some five thousand had gathered around a raised platform in the town of Panadure outside of Colombo, Ceylon—what is now Sri Lanka. On one side of the platform stood a table covered in white cloth and adorned with evergreens. This was the side occupied by the Christian party and its spokesman, Rev. David de Silva. The other side, more richly decorated, was filled by some two hundred Buddhist monastics and their spokesman, a monk named Gunananda. For the next two days, that platform would be the sparring ground for a heated debate over which religion would liberate the people of Ceylon: Buddhism or Christianity.

Rev. David de Silva: From Vain Debates: The Buddhist-Christian Controversies of Nineteenth-Century Ceylon by R. F. Young and G.P.V. Somaratna.

The Rev. de Silva spoke first, quoting Pali scriptures that declare there is no soul, that a person is only the aggregation of various impermanent parts. According to Buddhism, then, human beings have no immortal soul and are “on a par with the frog, pig, or any other member of the brute creation.” If there is no soul, there can be no punishment for sin or reward for virtue in the next life. Hence, he concluded, “no religion ever held out greater inducements to the unrighteous than Buddhism did.”

When it was his turn, Gunananda attacked the missionary’s knowledge of Pali, explaining that according to Buddhist doctrine, a person reborn was neither precisely the same as nor different from the person who had previously died. He then turned to the shortcomings of Christianity, noting that in the Book of Exodus, God instructs the Hebrews to mark their doors with blood so that he would know which houses to pass over as he killed the Egyptians’ firstborn children. The monk concluded that an omniscient god would not need such instructions. In the end, the five thousand onlookers declared Gunananda the winner. It was not the first time that Buddhists and Christians had debated the primacy of their respective faiths. Jesuit missionaries had challenged Buddhist doctrine in Japan, China, and Tibet. In each case, the Christians failed to conquer these lands or convert their peoples. But because Ceylon was a British colony, Gunananda’s denunciation of Christianity would have far-reaching ramifications. He painted the first broad strokes of what could be called Modern Buddhism.

The dharma that Gunananda sought to describe was not the result of a long historical evolution, but the Buddhism of the Buddha himself.

After Theosophical Society founders H. P. Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Olcott heard about the debates, they wrote to Gunananda and Sumangala, who invited them to visit in Ceylon. Gunananda became an early member of the TS and remained such until his death. His membership certificate is serial number 116 of 1877.[1] He translated a portion of Isis Unveiled to Sinhalese.

-- Mohotiwatta Gunananda, by Theosophy Wiki

While the missionaries' success as preachers remained limited, they wielded more influence through the distribution of religious pamphlets and tracts. The Wesleyans acquired a printing press in 1815 and were followed by the CMS in 1823 and the Baptists in 1841. These presses were not only used to print translations of the Bible, Catechisms or Prayer Books, but to produce periodicals and pamphlets as well.10 The Christian tracts were issued in fairly large numbers and enjoyed a comparatively wide circulation. According to the managers of the printing presses, 1,500,000 copies had been circulated between 1849 and 1861." These pamphlets were of rather limited use in the making of converts. But this was not the direct goal of the missionaries anymore. The Christian missions had realised that their proselytising efforts would not show any effect as long as the Buddhist community did not react in some way. Therefore, the religious tracts primarily aimed at the provocation of the Buddhist leaders. They should induce the bikkhus to accept the Christian challenge and openly confront the missionaries. With the publication of a treatise called "Kristiyani Prajnapti" ("The Evidences and Doctrines of the Christian Religion") by the Wesleyan Rev. D. J. Gogerly in 1849 the missionaries finally achieved their goal. The treatise was reprinted in 1853 and 1856 and enlarged in 1861.12 Unlike previous Christian pamphlets "Kristiyani Prajnapti" did not so much rely on religious polemics but tried to give evidences and proofs for the superiority of Christianity. The treatise repeatedly challenged the Buddhist community to disprove its theses.13

The Christians finally got the Buddhist response that they had been waiting for so long. Surprisingly to the missionaries, the Buddhist did not merely respond by attending public debates. Buddhist reaction came in all three spheres of missionary activity: the acquisition of a printing press and the publication of Buddhist tracts was the first adopted measure. In the 1860s and 1870s, eloquent bikkhus successfully challenged missionary preachers in public debates. And in the 1870s and more significantly in the 1880s and 1890s the Buddhist community -- with outside help -- managed to expand their educational activities considerably. Therefore, the so-called revival of Buddhism was not caused by "the vigorous effort which is being made to revive Buddhism in Ceylon, upon the foundation of European interest and encouragement"14 -- an explanation frequently offered by the missionaries --, but by the missionaries' "vigorous effort" to provoke a Buddhist reaction to their frequent offences.

In 1855, the Church missionaries sold their Kotte printing press, because other presses had been established and the old press had become obsolete for the mission. Through various middlemen the Buddhists managed to acquire that press and started to issue Buddhist pamphlets on the same press that had been used against them for such a long time. Mohottivatte Gunananda founded the Sarvajna Sasanabhivrddhidayaka Dharma Samagama (the Society for the Propagation of Buddhism) in 1862 and used the press to issue replies to Gogerly's "Kristiyani Prajnapti." In the same year, a second press was established at Galle called the Lamkopokara Press. Hikkaduve Sumangala was responsible for most of the Lunkopokara publications.15

-- Chapter Twelve: Revivals. 12.1 Christian Missionary Activity and Buddhist Response [Excerpt], From Coffee to Tea Cultivation in Ceylon, 1880-1900: An Economic and Social History, by Roland Wenzlhuemer

This article challenges two general assumptions shared by scholars of Western Buddhism: (1) that the earliest Buddhist missions to the West were those established in California from 1899 onwards; and (2) that Ananda Metteyya‘s (Allan Bennett‘s) London mission of 1908 was the first Buddhist mission to London and thus to Europe. Recent collaborative research by scholars in Ireland and Japan demonstrates instead that the Japanese-sponsored 'Buddhist Propagation Society' (BPS) launched in London in 1889 and led for three years by the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles Pfoundes predates both of the above-mentioned 'first' Buddhist missions....

In this article, we set out to demonstrate that the first London Buddhist mission was in fact established in 1889, predating even the Californian missions by a decade. From 1889 to 1892, the Irish-born Japanese Buddhist Charles J. W. Pfoundes (1840-1907) headed an official Buddhist mission known as the 'Buddhist Propagation Society'. This was based in Westminster, operated throughout London and its suburbs and was the first and indeed only foreign outpost of the Kaigai Senkyo Kai (lit. 'Overseas Propagation Society' but normally translated 'Buddhist Propagation Society'), an initiative of a group of reformist Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) Buddhists based in Kyoto.

The Buddhist Propagation Society in London and Pfoundes' role in it were of course known to, and publicised by, his Buddhist sponsors in Japan at the time5 and at least one contemporary Japanese account6 was available to Notto Thelle, who in 1987 wrote:

The Society for Communication with Western Buddhists (Obei Bukkyo Tsushinkai) was founded in 1887; it was later reorganized as the Buddhist Propagation Society (Kaigai Senkyo Kai, literally Overseas Missionary Society), under the leadership of Akamatsu Renjo. Its purpose was to propagate Buddhism in the West, through missionaries and publications. A branch office was established in London in 1890, and a journal was published, entitled Bijou of Asia [Ajia no hōshu].

…[a]nother Western Buddhist, C. Pfoundes, also supported Japanese Buddhists against Christianity. He had first come to Japan in the 1860s as an officer in the British navy and remained for about twelve years, of which he reportedly spent seven or eight years in Buddhist temples. As an admirer of the ancient Japanese civilization and of Buddhism, he had dedicated much of his time to lecturing on Buddhism in the United States (1876-1878) and in England (1878-1893). He served as secretary of the London branch of the Buddhist Propagation Society and came to Japan again in 1893 at the invitation of his Buddhist friends. In his many meetings he appealed to the national sentiment and attacked Christian missionaries for slighting Buddhism and despising Japan as a barbarian country. Both Olcott and Pfoundes left Japan after controversies with their Japanese sponsors.

-- The First Buddhist Mission to the West: Charles Pfoundes and the London Buddhist mission of 1889 – 1892, by Brian Bocking, University College Cork; Laurence Cox, National University of Ireland Maynooth; and Shin‘ichi Yoshinaga, Maizuru National College of Technology

Indeed, what I am calling Modern Buddhism seeks to distance itself from those forms of Buddhism that immediately precede it and even those that are contemporary with it. Its proponents viewed—and still view—ancient Buddhism, and especially the enlightenment of the Buddha 2,500 years ago, as the most authentic moment in the long history of Buddhism. It was also the form of Buddhism most compatible with the ideals of the European Enlightenment, ideals such as reason, empiricism, science, universalism, individualism, tolerance, freedom, and the rejection of religious orthodoxy—precisely those notions that have appealed so much to Western converts. It stresses equality over hierarchy, the universal over the local, and often exalts the individual above the community. In fact, what we regard as Buddhism today is a modern creation. Its widespread acceptance, both in the West and in much of Asia, is testimony to the influence of an array of figures from a variety of Buddhist lands, including the United States and Europe.

Guananda: From Vain Debates: The Buddhist-Christian Controversies of Nineteenth-Century Ceylon by R. F. Young and G.P.V. Somaratna

Gunananda’s presentation signaled important changes that would spread throughout the Buddhist world into the twenty-first century. In the first place, Gunananda was an educated monk who not only knew the sutras but had studied the Bible as well. Like him, the leaders of the various Modern Buddhist movements in Asia would be drawn from the small minority of learned monks and not from the vast majority who chanted sutras, performed rituals for the dead, and maintained monastic properties. Second, the Buddhism portrayed in the debate, and in Modern Buddhism more generally, had to do with technical doctrine and philosophy rather than daily practice. Indeed, Buddhism came to be portrayed—whether in Sinhalese, Chinese, or Japanese—as a world religion, fully the equal of Christianity in antiquity, geographical expanse, membership, and philosophical profundity, with its own founder, sacred scriptures, and fixed body of doctrine.

The debate made its impact in circuitous ways, but one person who read about it was to have a huge bearing on the contours of Modern Buddhism: In 1878 Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, cofounder, with Helena Blavatsky, of the Theosophical Society, saw an embellished account of the debate published in Boston. Blavatsky and Olcott had set out to found a scientific religion, one that accepted new discoveries in geology and archaeology while touting an ancient and esoteric system of spiritual evolution. By 1878 Blavatsky and Olcott were claiming affinities between Theosophy and the wisdom of the East, specifically Hinduism and Buddhism. And inspired by Olcott’s reading of the account of Gunananda’s defense of the dharma, they were determined to join the Buddhists of Ceylon in their battle against Christian missionaries. In 1880 they sailed to Ceylon and both took the vows of lay Buddhists.

While Blavatsky’s interest in Buddhism remained peripheral to her Theosophy, Olcott embraced his new faith, being careful to note that he was a “regular Buddhist” rather than a “debased modern” Buddhist, and he decried what he regarded as the ignorance of the Sinhalese about their own religion. “Our Buddhism was that of the Master-Adept Gautama Buddha . . . the soul of the ancient world-faiths,” he later wrote. “Our Buddhism was, in a word, a philosophy, not a creed.”

In order to help restore true Buddhism to Ceylon and stem the tide of Christianity, Olcott adopted many of the missionaries’ techniques. He founded the Buddhist Theosophical Society and helped found the Young Men’s Buddhist Association. In 1881 he published The Buddhist Catechism, modeled on works used by the missionaries. Olcott shared the view of many enthusiasts in Victorian Europe and America who saw the Buddha as the greatest philosopher of India’s Aryan past and regarded his teachings as a complete philosophical and psychological system based on reason and restraint, opposed to ritual, superstition, and priestcraft. It demonstrated, they argued, how the individual could live a moral life without the trappings of institutional religion. This Buddhism was to be found in texts rather than in the lives of the contemporary Buddhists of Ceylon, who in Olcott’s view had deviated from the original teachings.

334. Q. Is anything said about the body of the Buddha giving out a bright light?

A. Yes, there was a divine radiance sent forth from within by the power of his holiness.

335. Q. What is it called in Pālī?

A. Buddharansi, the Buddha rays.

336. Q. How many colours could be seen in it?

A. Six, linked in pairs.

337. Q. Their names?

A. Nīla, Pita, Lohita, Avadata, Mangastā, Prabhasvra.

338. Q. Did other persons emit such shining light?

A. Yes, all Arhats did and, in fact, the light shines stronger and brighter in proportion to the spiritual development of the person.

339. Q. Where do we see these colours represented?

A. In all vihāras where there are painted images of the Buddha. They are also seen in the stripes of the Buddhist Flag, first made in Ceylon but now widely adopted throughout Buddhist countries.

340. Q. In which discourse does the Buddha himself speak of this shining about him?

A. In the Mahā-Parinibbana Suttā, Ānanda his favourite disciple, noticing the great splendour which came from his Master's body, the Buddha said that on two occasions this extraordinary shining occurs, (a) just after a Tathāgatā gains the supreme insight, and (b) on the night when he passes finally away.

341. Q. Where do we read of this great brightness being emitted from the body of another Buddha?

A. In the story of Sumedha and Dipānkāra Buddha, found in the Nidānakathā of the Jātaka book, or story of the reincarnations of the Bodhisattva Siddhārtha Gautama.

342. Q. How is it described?

A. As a halo of a fathom's depth.

343. Q. What do the Hindus call it?

A. Tejas; its extended radiance they call Prākāsha.

344. Q. What do Europeans call it now?

A. The human aura.

345. Q. What great scientist has proved the existence of this aura by carefully conducted experiments?

A. The Baron Von Reichenbach. His experiments are fully described in his Researches, published in 1844-5. Dr. Baraduc, of Paris, has, quite recently, photographed this light.

346. Q. Is this bright aura a miracle or a natural phenomenon?

A. Natural. It has been proved that not only all human beings but animals, trees, plants and even stones have it.

347. Q. What peculiarity has it in the case of a Buddha or an Arhat?

A. It is immensely brighter and more extended than in cases of other beings and objects. It is the evidence of their superior development in the power of Iddhī. The light has been seen coming from dāgobas in Ceylon where relics of the Buddha are said to be enshrined.

348. Q. Do people of other religions besides Buddhism and Hindūism also believe in this light?

A. Yes, in all pictures of Christian artists this light is represented as shining about the bodies of their holy personages. The same belief is found to have existed in other religions.

-- The Buddhist Catechism, by Henry S. Olcott

Henry Steel Olcott and Helena Blavatsky: Courtesy of the Theosophical Society of America

This would not be his only contribution to Modern Buddhism. In 1885, Olcott set out on the grander mission of healing the schism he perceived between “the Northern and Southern Churches,” that is, between the Buddhists of Ceylon and Burma (Southern) and those of China and Japan (Northern). Olcott believed that a great rift had occurred in Buddhism 2,300 years earlier and that if representatives of the Buddhist nations would simply agree to his list of fourteen “Fundamental Buddhistic Beliefs,” then it might be possible to create a “United Buddhist World.” These principles were sufficiently bland as to be soon forgotten. But Olcott was again prescient: many later Modern Buddhists would attempt to reduce Buddhism to a series of propositions. Olcott was also the first to try to unite the various Buddhisms of Asia into a single organization, an effort that bore fruit long after his death with the founding of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in 1950.

Olcott left one more legacy. Authority in Buddhism is usually a matter of lineage, traced backward in time from student to teacher, ending with the Buddha himself. A lineage of Modern Buddhism might begin with Gunananda (who clearly saw himself as representing the original teachings of the Buddha), then be picked up by Colonel Olcott, then by a young Sinhalese named David Hewaviratne [Anagarika Dharmapala] (1864—1933). At the age of nine he sat with his father in the audience of the Panadure debate, cheering for Gunananda. He met Blavatsky and Olcott during their first visit to Sri Lanka in 1880 and was initiated into the Theosophical Society four years later. In 1881 he changed his name to Anagarika Dharmapala (“Homeless Protector of the Dharma”), and though he remained a layman until late in life, he wore the robes of a monk.

Dharmapala became Colonel Olcott’s closest associate and achieved international fame after a bravura performance at the World’s Parliament of Religions, held in conjunction with the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. His eloquent English and ability to quote from the Bible captivated audiences as he argued that Buddhism was clearly the equal, if not the superior, of Christianity in both antiquity and profundity. Moreover, his meetings with other Buddhist delegates to the parliament, such as the Japanese Zen priest Shaku Soen, and with American enthusiasts of Buddhism like the philosopher Paul Carus, helped shape the course of things to come.

Dharmapala spread the lineage of Modern Buddhism to China when he stopped in Shanghai on his journey back from the World’s Parliament of Religions. There he met Yang Wen-hui (1837—1911), a civil engineer who had become interested in Buddhism. Yang organized a lay society to disseminate the dharma by carving woodblocks for the printing of the Buddhist canon (a traditional form of merit-making). After serving at the Chinese embassy in London, he resigned in order to devote all his energies to the publication of Buddhist texts.

Yang did not think it possible for Chinese monks to go to India to help restore Buddhism there, as Dharmapala asked, but he suggested that Indians be sent to China to study the Buddhist canon. Here is yet another element of Modern Buddhism. Dharmapala felt that the Buddhism of Ceylon was the purest version of the Buddha’s teachings and would have rejected as spurious most of the texts that Yang was publishing. Yang, on the other hand, felt that the Buddhism of China was the most authentic, such that the only hope of restoring Buddhism in India lay in returning the Chinese canon of translated Indian texts to the land of their birth. The ecumenical spirit found in much of Modern Buddhism does not preclude championing one’s own form of the religion.

Colonel H.S. Olcott 15 Ceylon Cents

Buddhist monks in China faced different obstacles than those faced by monks in Ceylon. The challenge came not so much from Christian missionaries, though they had a strong presence in China, but from a growing community of intellectuals who saw Buddhism as a form of primitive superstition impeding the country’s entry into the modern world. Buddhism had periodically been regarded with suspicion by the state, and such suspicion intensified in the early decades of the twentieth century, when Buddhism was denounced by both Christian missionaries and Chinese students who returned from abroad with the ideas of Dewey, Russell, and Marx.

Buddhist leaders responded by founding schools to train monks in the Buddhist classics, who would in turn teach the laity (as Christian missionaries did). Although most of these academies were short-lived, they trained many of the future leaders of Modern Buddhism in China, who sought to defend the dharma through founding Buddhist organizations, publishing Buddhist periodicals, and leading lay movements to support the monastic community.

Meanwhile, Buddhist intellectuals in late nineteenth-century Japan strove to show the relevance of Buddhism to the interests of their nation. They promoted a New Buddhism that was fully consistent with Japan’s attempts to modernize and expand its realm. Buddhism had been attacked in the early years of the Meiji as a foreign and anachronistic institution, riddled with corruption and superstition and impeding progress. This New Buddhism was represented as both purely Japanese and purely Buddhist—more Buddhist, in fact, than the other Buddhisms of Asia. It was also committed to social welfare, urging the foundation of public education, hospitals, and charities. Indeed, Buddhist leaders were consistent in their call to restore true Buddhism (which existed only in Japan, they said) throughout the rest of Asia, beginning with the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and continuing to the defeat of Japan in 1945.

Shaku Soen: Courtesy of the Zen Studies Society

One of the leading figures of Japan’s New Buddhism was Shaku Soen (1859-1919). Ordained as a novice of the Rinzai Zen sect at the age of twelve, he received dharma transmission and authority to teach at twenty-four. Seeking to combine Buddhist training and Western-style education, he attended university and then traveled to Ceylon to study Pali and live as a Theravada monk. Upon his return, he coedited a book called The Essentials of Buddhism—All Sects. Like many of the leading figures of Modern Buddhism, Soen was devoted to teaching meditation to laypeople. At the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893, he described his country’s position as follows:

… the Japanese are people with abundantly loyal and patriotic spirits… Buddhism has exercised great influence on Japanese spirituality and has had influence on successive emperors… Buddhism is a universal religion, and it closely corresponds to what science and philosophy say today…

Soen and his visit to the United States were to have a huge influence on another proponent of Zen in the West: his lay disciple D. T. Suzuki, whose writings have provided many Americans with an introduction to Buddhism.

My relative has been living in this city [i.e., Rüdesheim am Rhein] for a long time and has many acquaintances. When he meets his acquaintances they exchange greetings by giving the Nazi salute and saying, “Heil Hitler!” When I asked my relative the reason for his celebration of Hitler, what he told me is briefly as follows:

Before Hitler arrived on the scene there were many political parties in Germany. As a consequence, political affairs were unable to find a direction and citizens became more and more depressed as time went on. They were at their wit’s end, wondering what was to become of them. Hitler, however, was able to unite the people and lead us with a definite goal in mind. Thus we have never experienced a greater sense of relief than we have today. While we don’t know much about politics, we have never enjoyed greater peace of mind than we have now. Isn’t that reason enough to praise Hitler?

This is what my relative told me, and I agree this is quite reasonable.

Changing the topic to Hitler’s expulsion of the Jews, it appears there are considerable grounds for this, too. While it is a very cruel policy, when looked at from the point of view of the current and future happiness of the entire German people, it may be that, for a time, some sort of extreme action is necessary in order to preserve the nation. From the point of view of the German people, the situation facing their country is that critical.

On occasion, in England, too, I have encountered Jews. I recently met a young self-professed wealthy poet who had been persecuted and expelled from Germany. After listening to his story, I felt sorry for him because he suddenly found himself living in poverty in a foreign land. As regards individuals, this is truly a regrettable situation.

Fig. 4 - 1936 Nazi Rally in Nuremburg

Recently the Nazis held a major rally in Nuremburg. At that time Hitler announced what may be considered to be the principles underlying the expulsion of the Jews. These principles are as follows:

The Jews are a parasitic people who are not indigenous, i.e., who develop no connection to the land. They are neither farmers nor industrial workers. Instead, they are merchants situated between producers and consumers. As such they are the class that extracts profits from both groups. In this respect, i.e., in intellectual terms, it can be said that they are far more developed than the indigenous German people. After the Great War [WW I] they rushed like a flood into Germany. Taking advantage of the German people’s exhaustion, they monopolized profits in the commercial sector while utilizing their power in the political arena solely to advance their own interests. As a result, the German people became increasingly fearful with the result that someone like Hitler appeared on the scene. That is to say, the expulsion of the Jews is an action taken in self-defense. It is the resistance of indigenous people to immigrants from outside.

The fact that they have no country is karmic retribution (J. gōhō) on the Jews. Because they have no attachment to the land and are wanderers, it is their fate to intrude into state structures created by others. As a result they are primarily involved in intellectual activities, an area in which they have shown great ability. Intellectual activities broadly interpreted means that they are members of the ruling class. In the case of today’s German people they find it extremely difficult to accept their country being disturbed by a foreign race.

This appears to be the feelings and assertion of Hitler and others.

It is for this reason that the Nazis fiercely attack Soviet Russia. They claim that the core of the Communist Party, beginning with Stalin himself, is composed of either Jews themselves or their relatives who have some connection to them and that, since people like these are up to no good, one of the great missions of the German people is to crush Soviet Russia. The speeches given by the leaders at the recent Nazi rally in Nuremburg, among others, were very extreme. They directly attacked the Soviet Union as their great enemy of the moment. They said as much as could be said in words, completely ignoring diplomatic niceties and attacking them viciously. From looking at the newspapers, you can get a good sense of their truly fierce determination. People are saying that if, in the past, the leaders of one country had done something like this it is inevitable that within twenty-four hours the other country would have declared war. In any event, the Nazis’ determination is deadly serious!

Fig. 5 - Hitlerjugend

The Nazis have focused their attention on youth movements, including engagement in volunteer labor and marching with spades on their shoulders with the goal of communing with nature. I believe this is something that is truly fine no matter in what country it takes place. I will, however, not immediately judge the rights and wrongs of a situation in which totalitarianism (J. zentaishugi) is overly emphasized and everyone has to wear military uniforms. That said, placing a spade on one’s shoulder and harvesting the bounty of the earth without payment as a form of mutual assistance is something I would most definitely like to have Japanese youth do.

Setting aside the question of Communism’s ideology, the people at its core are intellectuals who have never been intimately connected with the land. Furthermore, their ideology is something that has been directly imported from abroad and has no roots in the history of that country. Taking their claims to be absolute, they butcher those who oppose them without hesitation. This is something that others and I can in no way approve. While it is true that Nazis and Fascists also insist on totalitarianism, in one sense it can be said that theirs is a form of resistance to Communist actions. Or it can also be understood as turning the Communists’ methods to their own advantage.

Fig. 6 - Stahleck Castle

About an hour and a half boat ride south from the city of Rüdesheim is an old city on the other shore known as Bacharach. On the mountain behind this city is an old castle called Stahleck Castle. This has been restored in recent years as a lodging for male and female youth groups. The outside of the castle has been maintained as it was with stones piled one on top of another in what is clearly a solid structure. The interior, though plain, has been modernized and made into a well-appointed facility.

During the summer, youth groups are accommodated here where they lead a disciplined life and visit nearby historical sites. Nazi lecturers are invited to speak on such things as Nazi views and institutions as well as engage in discussions. The room where medieval knights once met is now used as a lecture hall, and in it is a bust of Hitler. The youth in the hall explained that this is the only bust that Hitler had made for youth groups. Although only half of the castle tower remains, I was informed there are plans to completely restore it in the near future. If I had more historical and architectural knowledge of old castles I would be able to share more interesting impressions but, unfortunately, I am unlearned in these matters so I cannot do any better than this.

In any event, in Japan there should be a better understanding of the purpose of the lifestyle followed in a Zen temple. I would like to have youth experience this. Further, inasmuch as youth in the True Pure Land sect [of Buddhism] and others have aspects that appear to be overly aristocratic I would like to see them, too, practice the lifestyle of Zen training monks (J. unsui), communing with the earth and developing the habit of unstintingly devoting themselves to labor. This is, of course, what the German youth movement is doing, but we have had a method of character building in Japan from ancient times.

-- D.T. Suzuki, Zen and the Nazis, by Brian Daizen Victoria

If the domain of Modern Buddhism encompassed rationalism, individualism, nationalism, and science, it also envisioned more active and visible roles for women. Perhaps no issue has been more important in this regard than the question of the ordination of women as nuns. The Buddha is reported to have asserted that women are capable of following the path to enlightenment, but to have only grudgingly permitted an order of nuns. This order eventually spread to Sri Lanka, Burma, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. However, it was difficult for the order of nuns to withstand periods of social upheaval, and although it survives in China, Korea, and Vietnam, it has died out in Sri Lanka and in most of Southeast Asia. Modern Buddhists have sought to revive it.

As with all Buddhist reform movements over the centuries, Modern Buddhism represents itself as a return to the teachings of the Buddha, or better, to his ineffable experience beneath the Bodhi tree on a full moon night in May.

Definition of ineffable: incapable of being expressed in word.

-- Ineffable, by Merriam-Webster

Implicit in this claim, however, is a criticism of traditional Buddhism, of the Buddhism of turn-of-the-century Asia. The supposed resurrection of the original dharma allowed Modern Buddhists to concede many of the charges made by Buddhism’s critics, whether they were Orientalists, colonial officials, Christian missionaries, or Asian secularists. They saw contemporary Buddhists as benighted idolaters crushed by centuries of superstition and exploited by an effete and corrupt monastic order. Rather than defending the Buddhism they knew, many of the leading figures of Modern Buddhism accepted the claim that the religion had suffered an inevitable decline since the master passed into nirvana. The time was ripe to remove the encrustations of the past centuries and return to the essence.

This Buddhism is seen, above all, as a religion dedicated to bringing an end to suffering. Suffering was often interpreted by Modern Buddhists not as the sufferings of birth, aging, sickness, and death, but of those caused by poverty and social injustice. The Buddha’s ambiguous statements on caste were selectively read by Europeans and Asians alike to portray him as a crusader against inequality based on birth rather than merit. Because of this view, Modern Buddhism came to promote the social good in the form of rebellion against political oppression (especially by colonial powers), projects on behalf of the poor, and through the more general claim that Buddhism was the religion most compatible with the technological and economic benefits that result from modernization.

Modern Buddhists also argued that the Buddhism of the Buddha was free from the veneration of images. They described reverence of Buddha images as the simple expression of thanksgiving for his teachings, given in full recognition that the Buddha had long ago entered into nirvana. But this interpretation was at odds with traditional practice. Relics of the Buddha are believed to be infused with his living presence and thus capable of bestowing all manner of blessing upon those who venerate them. That Modern Buddhists (especially in the West) either ignored this practice or dismissed it as superstition points to the influence of the colonial legacy of Christian missionaries, who consistently labeled Buddhists as idolaters.

Modern Buddhists proclaimed superiority over Christianity in the domain of science. Such disparate figures as Dharmapala in Sri Lanka, T’ai Hsu in China, Shaku Soen in Japan, and more recently the Dalai Lama have asserted the compatibility of Buddhism and Western science. They argue that the Buddha himself denied the existence of a creator deity, rejected a universe controlled by the sacraments of priests, and set forth a rational approach by which the world operates according to the law of cause and effect. Elements of traditional cosmology that conflicted with science (such as a flat earth) were dismissed as local myths that had nothing to do with the Buddha’s original teaching.

More to the point, Dharmapala maintained his affinity for the mahatmas and Blavatsky until the end of his diary keeping in 1930. Throughout the 1920s, his daily entries often begin with an injunction from Master Koot Hoomi: “The only refuge for his who aspires to true perfection is the Buddha alone.”....

Dharmapala was much more deeply influenced by Theosophy than scholarly accounts have allowed. Neglecting those Theosophical influences derives from the allure of a national subjectivity – specifically Buddhist and Sinhala – as a tool for interpreting postcolonial Sri Lanka. Such accounts reduce Theosophy to a vehicle for Buddhist reform or limit Theosophy’s influence on Dharmapala’s life to the period between 1891 and 1905, when he left Theosophy behind and became a Buddhist pure and simple. Often they mark the turn at the point when Blavatsky told him to fix his mind on learning Pali or when he fell out with Olcott. For many of the Sinhala Buddhists who joined the Theosophical Society after Olcott’s arrival, what recommended Theosophy was the society’s Western associations and willingness to help the Buddhist cause. For Dharmapala, Theosophy was quite a lot more. He learned how to embody the brahmacarya role by reading Sinnett’s Occult World.1 The mahatmas (advanced spiritual beings) gave him a compelling example of selfless service. Right up to the end of his diary keeping, he continued to invoke the mahatmas who watched over humanity from their Himalayan retreats. They provided him with examples that advanced spiritual states were possible, and they modeled the service to humankind that he pursued throughout his life.

Theosophy served as an instrument for his own high aspirations and idealism: the content remained largely Buddhist, but the notion that one could aspire to higher states of consciousness came from the mahatmas, who had themselves achieved those states. In contrast with the low spiritual aspirations of local monks, the mahatmas gave him a paradigm for his perfectionism. Theosophy gave him a rationale for carrying Buddhism to the West.2 Theosophy taught him that doing so was an act of the highest wisdom (parama vijnana). Summing up his life just before his death, he focused on people who had shaped his career; two were his parents and two Theosophists:

Sadhu! Sadhu!! Buddhists of Japan, China, Tibet, Siam, Cambodia, Ceylon & Burma are dead. The germ of Bodhi was impregnated in my heart by my father. The germ of renunciation was impregnated by my Mother, and the Devas induced Mrs. Mary Foster of Honolulu to help me. The path of perfection was shown to me by Mme. Blavatsky in my 21st year. (Diary, December 20, 1930).

-- Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World, by Steven Kemper

Christmas Humphreys: Courtesy of the Buddhist Society, U.K.

Modern Buddhists have sought to liberate the teachings of the Buddha from centuries of cultural and clerical ossification to reveal a Buddhism that was neither Theravada nor Mahayana, neither monastic nor lay, neither Sri Lankan, Japanese, Chinese, nor Thai. This was a Buddhism whose essential teachings could be codified. For the first time in the history of Buddhism, writers began to summarize the religion in a single book. There was Olcott’s Buddhist Catechism, Paul Carus’s The Gospel of the Buddha According to Old Records (which D. T. Suzuki translated into Japanese), and Christmas Humphreys’ 1951 work, Buddhism. Humphreys, who had founded the Buddhist Society in London in 1924, explained that his interest was in a “world Buddhism as distinct from any of its various Schools,” and that “only in a combination of all Schools can the full grandeur of Buddhist thought be found.” Such a “world Buddhism,” transcending all regional designation and sectarian affiliation, had not existed before the advent of Modern Buddhism.

This was the only sense in which Buddhism could be regarded as a universal religion. But as such, many of the distinctions of other forms of Buddhism faded. For example, whereas Buddhism had not existed before without the presence of an ordained clergy, many of the leaders of Modern Buddhism were laypeople, and many of the monks who became leaders of Modern Buddhism did not always enjoy the respect, or even the recognition, of the monastic establishment. Indeed, one of the characteristics of Modern Buddhism is that teachers—including women teachers—who were marginal in their own cultures became central on the international scene.

Still, Modern Buddhism did not dispense with monastic concerns. Rather, it blurred the boundary between the monk and the layperson, with laypeople taking on the traditional vocations of elite monks: the study and interpretation of scriptures and the practice of meditation. In this sense, Modern Buddhism has shifted emphasis away from the community (especially the community of monks) to the individual, who was able to define a new identity, sometimes even designing new robes that marked a difference in status between the categories of monk and layperson.

Meditation came to be the essential practice of Modern Buddhism. In their quest to return to the origin of Buddhism, Modern Buddhists looked to the image of the Buddha seated in silent meditation beneath a tree, contemplating the ultimate nature of the universe. This practice allowed Modern Buddhists to dismiss the rituals of consecration, purification, and exorcism so common throughout Asia as extraneous elements that had crept into the tradition. Meditation allowed Modern Buddhism again to transcend local expressions, which required form and language. At the same time, the very silence of meditation provided a medium for moving beyond sectarian concerns of institutional and doctrinal formulations by making Buddhism, above all, an experience.

The emphasis on meditation marked one of the most extreme departures of Modern Buddhism from previous forms. The practice of meditation had been the domain of monks throughout Buddhist history, and even here, meditation was merely one of many monastic activities.

Much of what we regard as Buddhism today is Modern Buddhism. And Modern Buddhism seems to have begun in part as a response to the threat of modernity, as perceived by certain Asian Buddhists, especially those, like Gunananda, who had encountered colonialism. Yet these Modern Buddhists were very much products of modernity themselves, influenced by the rise of the middle class, the power of the printing press, and the ease of international travel. Many of these leaders were deeply involved in independence movements and identified Buddhism with the interests of the state, as the exiled Dalai lama does today. Yet together they have forged an international Buddhism that transcends cultural and national boundaries, and they have created a new generation of intellectuals who write the dharma in English.

It is perhaps best to consider Modern Buddhism not a universal religion beyond sectarian borders but a Buddhist sect itself. There is Thai Buddhism, there is Tibetan Buddhism, there is Korean Buddhism, and there is Modern Buddhism. Unlike previous forms of national Buddhism, however, this new sect does not stand in a relation of mutual exclusion to the others. One may be a Chinese Buddhist and a Modern Buddhist, but one also can be a Chinese Buddhist without being a Modern Buddhist. Like other Buddhist sects, Modern Buddhism has its own lineage, doctrines, and practices. And like other Buddhist sects, it has its own canon of sacred scriptures—scriptures that have created a Buddhism so new, yet also so familiar.

Donald S. Lopez Jr. is Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the Department of Asian Languages at the University of Michigan.

From Tavistock to Rand

In 1967, the head of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London was a man named Dr. Fred Emery, an expert on the 'hypnotic effects' of television. Dr. Emery was particularly struck by what he observed of crowd behavior at rock concerts, which were a relatively new phenomenon at that time. Emery referred to the audiences as 'swarming adolescents.' He was convinced that this behavior could effectively be refined and used to bring down hostile or uncooperative governments. Emery wrote an article about this for the Tavistock Institute's journal, Human Relations, which he confidently titled, "The Next Thirty Years: Concepts, Methods and Anticipations." The article detailed ways in which to safely channel or directly manipulate what he termed 'rebellious hysteria.' This is precisely what the RAND studies later observed, and manufactured, as 'swarming.' [19]

Following World War I, the British Military had created the Tavistock Institute to serve as its psychological warfare arm. The Institute received its name from the Duke of Bedford, Marquis of Tavistock, who donated a building to the Institute in 1921 to study the effect of shell-shock on British soldiers who had survived World War I. Its purpose was not to help the traumatized soldiers, however, but instead to establish the 'breaking point' of men under stress. The program was under the direction of the British Army Bureau of Psychological Warfare. For a time Sigmund Freud worked with Tavistock on psychoanalystical methods applied to individuals and large groups.

After World War II, the Rockefeller Foundation moved in to finance the Tavistock Institute and, in effect, to co-opt its programs for the United States and its emerging psychological warfare activities. [20] The Rockefeller Foundation provided an infusion of funds for the financially strapped Tavistock, newly reorganized as the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. Its Rockefeller agenda was to undertake "under conditions of peace, the kind of social psychiatry that had developed in the army under conditions of war." [21]

That was a fateful turn.

Tavistock immediately began work in the United States, sending its leading researcher, the German-born psychologist, Kurt Lewin, to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1945 to establish the Research Center for Group Dynamics. Lewin was interested in the scientific study of the processes that influence individuals in group situations, and is widely credited as the founder of 'social psychology.' After Lewin's death, the Center moved to the University of Michigan in 1948 where it became the Institute for Social Research. [22]

Tavistock's work over the next two decades was to co-opt legitimate psychological insights into social groups and social dynamics in order to refine techniques for social manipulation.

-- Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy In The New World Order, by F. William Engdahl
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