Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 4

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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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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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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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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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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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 28, 2019 7:06 am

Soyen Shaku
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/28/19



Soyen Shaku
Title: Zen Master
Born: January 10, 1860, Fukui, Japan
Died: October 29, 1919 (aged 59), Kamakura, Japan
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Japan
School: Rinzai
Senior posting
Predecessor: Imakita Kōsen
Successor: Tetsuo Sōkatsu

Soyen Shaku (釈 宗演, January 10, 1860 – October 29, 1919; written in modern Japanese Shaku Sōen or Kōgaku Shaku Sōen) was the first Zen Buddhist master to teach in the United States. He was a Rōshi of the Rinzai school and was abbot of both Kenchō-ji and Engaku-ji temples in Kamakura, Japan. Soyen was a disciple of Imakita Kosen.


Soyen Shaku was an exceptional Zen monk. He studied for three years at Keio University.[1] In his youth, his master, Kosen, and others had recognized him to be naturally advantaged. He received dharma transmission from Kosen at age 25, and subsequently became the superior overseer of religious teaching at the Educational Bureau, and patriarch of Engaku temple at Kamakura.[2] In 1887, Soyen traveled to Ceylon to study Pali and Theravada Buddhism and lived the wandering life of the bhikkhu for three years.[2] Upon his return to Japan in 1890, he taught at the Nagata Zendo. In 1892, upon Kosen's death, Soyen became Zen master of Engaku-ji.[3]

In 1893 Shaku was one of four priests and two laymen, representing Rinzai Zen, Jōdo Shinshū, Nichiren, Tendai, and Esoteric schools,[4] composing the Japanese delegation that participated in the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago organized by John Henry Barrows and Paul Carus. He had prepared a speech in Japan, and had it translated into English by his (then young and unknown) student D. T. Suzuki. It was read to the conference by Barrows. The subject was "The Law of Cause and Effect, as Taught by Buddha". Subsequently, Shaku delivered "Arbitration Instead of War".[5]

At this conference he met Dr. Paul Carus, a publisher from Open Court Publishing Company in La Salle, Illinois. Before Shaku returned to Japan, Carus asked him to send an English-speaker knowledgeable about Zen Buddhism to the United States. Shaku, upon returning to Japan asked his student and Tokyo University scholar D. T. Suzuki to go to the United States, where he would eventually become the leading academic on Zen Buddhism in the West, and translator for Carus's publishing company.[6]

Soyen served as a chaplain to the Japanese army during the Russo-Japanese War. In 1904, the Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote Shaku to join him in denouncing the war. Shaku refused, concluding that "...sometimes killing and war becomes necessary to defend the values and harmony of any innocent country, race or individual."
(quoted in Victoria, 1997) After the war, Shaku attributed Japan's victory to its samurai culture.

In 1905, Soyen Shaku returned to America as a guest of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Russell. He spent nine months at their house outside San Francisco, teaching the entire household Zen. Mrs. Russell was the first American to study koans. Shortly after arriving, he was joined by his student Nyogen Senzaki.[7] During this time he also gave lectures, some to Japanese immigrants and some translated by D. T. Suzuki for English speaking audiences, around California.[8] Following a March 1906 train trip across the United States, giving talks on Mahayana translated by Suzuki, Soyen returned to Japan via Europe, India and Ceylon.[9]

Soyen Shaku died peacefully on 29 October 1919 in Kamakura.

Dharma heirs

• Tetsuo Sōkatsu (Ryobo-an Sokatsu)[10]

Selected works (in English)

• Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot: A Classic of American Buddhism. Three Leaves. 2004. ISBN 0-385-51048-9
• Zen for Americans. Open Court. 1989. ISBN 0-87548-273-2

See also

• Buddhism in the United States
• Buddhism in Japan
• List of Rinzai Buddhists
• Timeline of Zen Buddhism in the United States


1. Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?. Wisdom Publications. p. 62. ISBN 0-86171-509-8.
2. Fields 1992, pg. 110
3. Fields 1992, pg. 111
4. Fields 1992, pg. 124
5. Fields 1992, pp. 126-7
6. Fields 1992, pg. 128
7. Fields 1992, pp. 168-170
8. Fields 1992, pg. 172
9. Fields 1992, pp. 172-4
10. Ningen Zen Home Archived 2013-03-16 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

• Fields, Rick. How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America (1992) Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-631-6
• Mohr, Michel. The Use of Traps and Snares: Shaku Sōen Revisited (2010). In Zen Masters, eds. Steven Heine, and Dale Stuart Wright, 183–216. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195367645
• Victoria, Brian (1997). Zen at War. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-0405-0.

External links

• Shaku Soyen: Arbitration Instead of War Comments from the World Parliament of Religion, September 1893
• Thompson, John M. (2005), Particular and universal: the problems posed by Shaku Soen's "Zen" (PDF)
• Works by or about Soyen Shaku at Internet Archive
• Works by Soyen Shaku at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Dec 28, 2019 7:50 am

Carl Reichenbach
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/28/19



Carl Reichenbach
Carl Ludwig von Reichenbach
Born: Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Reichenbach, February 12, 1788, Stuttgart, Germany
Died: January 19, 1869 (aged 80), Leipzig, Germany
Nationality: German
Alma mater: University of Tübingen
Occupation: Chemist, Geologist, Metallurgist, Naturalist, Industrialist and Philosopher
Known for Odic force

Baron Dr. Carl (Karl) Ludwig von Reichenbach (full name: Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Reichenbach) (February 12, 1788 – January 1869) was a notable chemist, geologist, metallurgist, naturalist, industrialist and philosopher, and a member of the prestigious Prussian Academy of Sciences. He is best known for his discoveries of several chemical products of economic importance, extracted from tar, such as eupione, waxy paraffin, pittacal (the first synthetic dye) and phenol (an antiseptic). He also dedicated himself in his last years to research an unproved field of energy combining electricity, magnetism and heat, emanating from all living things, which he called the Odic force.[1]


Reichenbach was educated at the University of Tübingen, where he obtained the degree of doctor of philosophy. At the age of 16 he conceived the idea of establishing a new German state in one of the South Sea Islands, and for five years he devoted himself to this project.

Afterwards, directing his attention to the application of science to the industrial arts, he visited manufacturing and metallurgical works in France and Germany, and established the first modern metallurgical company, with forges of his own in Villingen and Hausach in the Black Forest region of Southern Germany and later in Baden.

Scientific contributions

Reichenbach conducted original scientific investigations in many areas. The first geological monograph which appeared in Austria was his Geologische Mitteilungen aus Mähren (Vienna, 1834).[1]

His position as the head of the large chemical works, iron furnaces and machine shops upon the great estate of Count Hugo secured to him excellent opportunities for conducting large-scale experimental research. From 1830 to 1834 he investigated complex products of the distillation of organic substances such as coal and wood tar, discovering a number of valuable hydrocarbon compounds including creosote, paraffin, eupione and phenol (antiseptics), pittacal and cidreret (synthetic dyestuffs), picamar (a perfume base), assamar, capnomor, and others. Under the name of eupione, Reichenbach included the mixture of hydrocarbon oils now known as waxy paraffin or coal oils. In his paper describing the substance, first published in the Neues Jahrbuch der Chemie und Physik, B, ii, he dwelt upon the economical importance of this and of its associate paraffins, whenever the methods of separating them cheaply from natural bituminous compounds would be established.[1]

Earth's magnetism

Reichenbach expanded on the work of previous scientists, such as Galileo Galilei, who believed the Earth's axis was magnetically connected to a universal central force in space, in concluding that Earth's magnetism comes from magnetic iron, which can be found in meteorites. His reasoning was that meteorites and planets are the same, and no matter the size of the meteorite, polar existence can be found in the object. This was deemed conclusive by the scientific community in the 19th century.[2]

The Odic force

Main article: Odic force

In 1839 Von Reichenbach retired from industry and entered upon an investigation of the pathology of the human nervous system. He studied neurasthenia, somnambulism, hysteria and phobia, crediting reports that these conditions were affected by the moon. After interviewing many patients he ruled out many causes and cures, but concluded that such maladies tended to affect people whose sensory faculties were unusually vivid. These he termed "sensitives".[3]

Influenced by the works of Franz Anton Mesmer he hypothesised that the condition could be affected by environmental electromagnetism, but finally his investigations led him to propose a new imponderable force allied to magnetism, which he thought was an emanation from most substances, a kind of "life principle" which permeates and connects all living things. To this vitalist manifestation he gave the name Odic force.[4]


• Das Kreosot: ein neuentdeckter Bestandtheil des gemeinen Rauches, des Holzessigs und aller Arten von Theer 1833
• Geologische Mitteilungen aus Mähren (Geological news from Moravia) Wien, 1834
• Physikalisch-physiologische Untersuchungen über die Dynamide des Magnetismus, der Elektrizität, der Wärme, des Lichtes, der Krystallisation, des Chemismus in ihren Beziehungen zur Lebenskraft (Band 1 + Band 2) Braunschweig, 1850
• Odisch-magnetische Briefe Stuttgart 1852, 1856; Ulm 1955
• Der sensitive Mensch und sein Verhalten zum Ode (The sensitive human and his behaviour towards Od) Stuttgart und Tübingen (Band 1 1854 + Band 2 1855)
• Köhlerglaube und Afterweisheit: Dem Herrn C. Vogt in Genf zur Antwort Wien, 1855
• Wer ist sensitiv, wer nicht (Who is sensitive, who is not?) Wien, 1856
• Odische Erwiederungen an die Herren Professoren Fortlage, Schleiden, Fechner und Hofrath Carus Wien, 1856
• Die Pflanzenwelt in ihren Beziehungen zur Sensitivität und zum Ode Wien, 1858
• Odische Begebenheiten zu Berlin in den Jahren 1861 und 1862 Berlin, 1862
• Aphorismen über Sensitivität und Od (Aphorisms on Sensitivity and Od) Wien, 1866
• Die odische Lohe und einige Bewegungserscheinungen als neuentdeckte Formen des odischen Princips in der Natur Wien, 1867

English translations:

• Physico-physiological researches on the dynamics of magnetism, electricity, heat, light, crystallization, and chemism, in their relation to Vital Force New York, 1851
• Somnambulism and cramp New York, 1860 (excerpt translated chapter out of Der sensitive Mensch und sein Verhalten zum Ode)
• Letters on Od and Magnetism 1926

The standard author abbreviation C.Rchb. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[5]

Reichenbach's ideas in popular culture

Characters in the fantasy novel, The Hollow People by Brian Keaney (Orchard Books 2006) manipulate Odyllic force, an energy which is accessed through waking dreams.

Reichenbach and his Odic force are referred to in the game "Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs".

See also

• Reichenbach’s Otaheiti Society


1. Reichenbach, Karl. The New American Cyclopedia, 1863 (in the public domain). Facsimile copy available on the Internet at Google Books.
2. "Scientific materialism and ultimate conceptions", Sidney Billing. Bickers and Son, 1879. p. 355.
3. Odic-Magnetic Letters -1859. New York : C. Blanchard. 1860.
4. Gerry Vassilatos, Lost Science, Adventures Unlimited Press (2000)ISBN 0932813755 ISBN 978-0-932813-75-6
5. IPNI. C.Rchb.


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.

External links

• Karl von Reichenbach und Od. Paranormal Site (In German)
• Karl Ludwig von Reichenbach. Stadt Stuttgart (in German)
• Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat and Light in their relations to Vital Forces. Cornell University. or here
• Luminous World. Article by Gerry Vassilatos
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:53 am

Part 1 of 3

Boxer Rebellion
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/20/19



On the 7th of April I went to see a great service of prayer for the Chinese Emperor in connexion with the “Boxer” war. It was held not only at Sera, but at every temple in Tibet. At the monastery where I lived they held a secret meeting for seven days, during which time special priests offered secret prayers. They were then to perform something secret for the victory of China. On enquiry I was told that Peking was invaded by the troops of several foreign countries, and that the Chinese seemed to have been beaten. They might be too late, they said, but they prayed for the safety of the Emperor of China. I was quite anxious to know more particulars, but they were all kept secret, and no one would tell me any more.

The prayer service was held in the Tsochen Hall at Sera, and commenced with a long warlike procession. First came the players on lyres, flageolets, drums, and large flutes, followed by men carrying incense-burners. Then came ten nice looking Tibetan boys, still in their teens, all dressed in fine Buḍḍhist robes ornamented with colored Chinese crape, and each burning incense. Next followed fifty spear-like objects on each side of the road, each surmounted with a movable blade like that of a Chinese spear. These blades had hilt guards, under which hung gold brocade or fine colored Chinese crape, sixteen feet long, thus making the spear twenty-five feet long altogether. The spear, the handle of which was either of gold or gilt, seemed rather heavy, for two strong warrior-priests carried each of them. Then came a triangular board about six feet high, with various figures made of butter on it, and after it another triangular board, four feet high,[298] with some red figure made of a mixture of baked flour, butter and honey. These boards were borne by seven or eight men. After them came some two hundred priests, dressed in handsome robes and scarfs quite dazzling to the eye. Half of these beat drums, while the other half carried cymbals. After these priests came the chief Lama, who was to offer the secret prayer. He had dressed himself in the splendid robes of his high rank. Last of all his disciples followed.

Thus the procession presented a grand sight, and the people of Lhasa came out in great crowds to see it. It marched out about two hundred yards from the great hall to an open yard outside the stone fence, where the view opened as far as Lhasa. Another two hundred yards further, the procession came before a grass-roofed shed, built of bamboo, wood and straw. There the chief Lama recited something in front of the triangular figures of butter and of baked wheat, and of the spear-shaped objects, while the two hundred priests around him chanted verses from the Buḍḍhist Scriptures, and beat drums and cymbals. A priest with a pair of cymbals walked through the lines of the priests; he seemed to be a sort of band-master, for he marched through their ranks beating time. His steps and gait were very odd and different from any dancings that I had ever seen. Soon the chief Lama was seen pretending to throw away his rosary, at which signal the spear-bearers threw their spears at the shed and then the triangular board of baked flour was thrown at it also. They then set fire to the shed, at the burning of which the priests as well as the spectators clapped their hands, crying out “Lha-kyallo! Lha-kyallo!” This is a Tibetan word, meaning “surely the Gods will triumph.” Thus was the ceremony over, one of the most splendid I had ever seen in Buḍḍhism.
On the following day all the priests of the monastery were invited[299] to Lhasa to attend the Cho-en Joe service, which lasted a month, to pray that the Dalai Lama of Tibet might be kept from all evil during the year. This was a celebration said to be only second in importance to the other. I also went to Lhasa, and took lodging in the house of a Palpo merchant.

In the capital I got more definite information about the Boxer trouble. Perhaps some merchants who had returned from China, or some who had came from Nepāl or some who had been to India, might have brought the news; but it was all very laughable and unreliable. Some would say the Emperor of China had bequeathed his throne to the Crown Prince and absconded, while others told me that the Emperor was defeated and was then in Sin-an. The trouble was brought about, some said, by a wicked minister, who married an English lady to the Emperor, while others asserted that there was a country called Japan, which was so strong that her troops took possession of Peking. Another said that a famine prevailed in China and people were all famished; indeed, every sort of rumor was abroad in the Tibetan capital.

I was especially pleased to hear something about Japan, even the very name of which had not yet been heard in Tibet, and some merchants told me that Japan was so powerful and so chivalrous that even when her army had taken possession of Peking, she had sent shiploads of rice, wheat and clothing to the Chinese capital to relieve tens of thousands of natives who were suffering from famine. But others would say against Japan that she could not be such a friendly country, but must have done what she had done merely out of her crafty “land-grabbing diplomacy,” as the British nation did. Rumor after rumor was making its way through Tibet, and I did not know what to believe. Only I was pretty sure that a war had broken out between China and[300] other Powers. In the meantime the Palpo merchant with whom I was staying was going to Nepāl. I utilised the occasion and through his kindness sent two letters, one to Rai Saraṭ Chanḍra Ḍās in India, and the other to Mr. I. Hige of my native province. I was glad to find afterwards that they reached their destination, but it was very difficult to send a letter in that way; one must first see that the man by whom it is to be sent is honest and not likely to betray one’s secret, and one cannot easily trust a Tibetan. But my Tibetan had more than once been shown to be true to his trust.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

American troops scale the walls of Beijing

Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Tientsin

British and Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Beijing

Boxer Rebellion
Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900
Date 2 November 1899 – 7 September 1901
(1 year, 10 months, 5 days)
North China
Result Allied victory
Boxer Protocol signed

The Boxer Rebellion (拳亂), Boxer Uprising, or Yihetuan Movement (義和團運動) was an anti-imperialist, anti-foreign, and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, toward the end of the Qing dynasty.

It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yìhéquán), known in English as the Boxers because many of their members had been practitioners of Chinese martial arts, also referred to in the west as Chinese Boxing. Villagers in North China had been building resentment against Christian missionaries who ignored tax obligations and abused their extraterritorial rights to protect their congregants against lawsuits. The immediate background of the uprising included severe drought and disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence following the Sino-Japanese War of 1895. After several months of growing violence and murder in Shandong and the North China Plain against the foreign and Christian presence in June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners. Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter.

In response to reports of an invasion by Eight Nation Alliance of American, Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian troops to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians, and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were besieged for 55 days by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed he acted to protect the foreigners. Officials in the Mutual Protection of Southeast China ignored the imperial order to fight against foreigners.

The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and arrived at Peking on August 14, relieving the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers. The Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver—approximately $10 billion at 2018 silver prices and more than the government's annual tax revenue—to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.

Historical background

Origins of the Boxers

Wax model of a Boxer, armed with a spear and sword. Model by George S. Stuart.

Boxer Rebellion and Eight-Nation Alliance, China 1900-1901

The Righteous and Harmonious Fists (Yihequan) arose in the inland sections of the northern coastal province of Shandong, long known for social unrest, religious sects, and martial societies. American Christian missionaries were probably the first to refer to the well-trained, athletic young men as "Boxers", because of the martial arts and weapons training they practiced. Their primary practice was a type of spiritual possession which involved the whirling of swords, violent prostrations, and chanting incantations to deities.[11]

The opportunities to fight back Western encroachment and colonization were especially attractive to unemployed village men, many of whom were teenagers.[12] The tradition of possession and invulnerability went back several hundred years but took on special meaning against the powerful new weapons of the West.[13] The Boxers, armed with rifles and swords, claimed supernatural invulnerability towards blows of cannon, rifle shots, and knife attacks. Furthermore, the Boxer groups popularly claimed that millions of soldiers of Heaven would descend to assist them in purifying China of foreign oppression.[14]

In 1895, in spite of ambivalence toward their heterodox practices, Yuxian, a Manchu who was then prefect of Caozhou and would later become provincial governor, used the Big Swords Society in fighting bandits. The Big Swords, emboldened by this official support, also attacked their local Catholic village rivals, who turned to the Church for protection. The Big Swords responded by attacking Catholic churches and burning them. "The line between Christians and bandits", remarks one recent historian, "became increasingly indistinct." As a result of diplomatic pressure in the capital, Yuxian executed several Big Sword leaders, but did not punish anyone else. More martial secret societies started emerging after this.[15]

The early years saw a variety of village activities, not a broad movement with a united purpose. Martial folk religious societies such as the Baguadao (Eight Trigrams) prepared the way for the Boxers. Like the Red Boxing school or the Plum Flower Boxers, the Boxers of Shandong were more concerned with traditional social and moral values, such as filial piety, than with foreign influences. One leader, Zhu Hongdeng (Red Lantern Zhu), started as a wandering healer, specializing in skin ulcers, and gained wide respect by refusing payment for his treatments.[16] Zhu claimed descent from Ming dynasty emperors, since his surname was the surname of the Ming imperial family. He announced that his goal was to "Revive the Qing and destroy the foreigners" ("扶清滅洋 fu Qing mie yang").[17]

The enemy was foreign influence. They decided the "primary devils" were the Christian missionaries, and the "secondary devils" were the Chinese converts to Christianity. Both had to recant or be driven out or killed.[18][19]

Causes of conflict and unrest

Major powers plan to cut up China for themselves; America, Germany, Italy, UK, France, Russia, Austria are represented by Wilhelm II, Umberto I, John Bull, Franz Joseph I (in rear), Uncle Sam, Nicholas II, and Emile Loubet. Punch Aug 23, 1899, by J. S. Pughe

The combination of extreme weather conditions, Western attempts at colonizing China and growing anti-imperialist sentiment fueled the movement. First, a drought followed by floods in Shandong province in 1897–1898 forced farmers to flee to cities and seek food. As one observer said, "I am convinced that a few days' heavy rainfall to terminate the long-continued drought ... would do more to restore tranquility than any measures which either the Chinese government or foreign governments can take."[20]

A major cause of discontent in north China was missionary activity. The Treaty of Tientsin (or Tianjin) and the Convention of Peking, signed in 1860 after the Second Opium War, had granted foreign missionaries the freedom to preach anywhere in China and to buy land on which to build churches.[21] On 1 November 1897, a band of armed men who were perhaps members of the Big Swords Society stormed the residence of a German missionary from the Society of the Divine Word and killed two priests. This attack is known as the Juye Incident.

When Kaiser Wilhelm II received news of these murders, he dispatched the German East Asia Squadron to occupy Jiaozhou Bay on the southern coast of the Shandong peninsula. [22] Germany's action triggered a "scramble for concessions" by which Britain, France, Russia and Japan also secured their own sphere of influence in China.[23]

In December 1897 German Kaiser Wilhelm II declared his intent to seize territory in China, precipitating the scramble to demarcate zones of influence in China. The German government acquired, in Shandong province, exclusive control over developmental loans, mining, and railway ownership,[24] while Russia gained a sphere over all territory north of the Great Wall,[25] in addition to the previous tax exemption for trade in Mongolia and Xinjiang,[26] economic powers similar to Germany's over Fengtian, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. France gained a sphere over Yunnan, most of Guangxi and Guangdong provinces,[27] Japan over Fujian province,[27] and the British Empire over the whole Yangtze River Valley[27] (defined as all provinces adjoining the Yangtze river as well as Henan and Zhejiang provinces[25]), parts of[28] Guangdong and Guangxi provinces and part of Tibet.[29] Only Italy's request for Zhejiang province was declined by the Chinese government.[27] These do not include the lease and concession territories where the foreign powers had full authority. The Russian government militarily occupied their zone, imposed their law and schools, seized mining and logging privileges, settled their citizens, and even established their municipal administration on several cities,[30] the latter without Chinese consent.[31]

A French political cartoon depicting China as a pie about to be carved up by Queen Victoria (Britain), Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany), Tsar Nicholas II (Russia), Marianne (France) and a samurai (Japan), while a Chinese mandarin helplessly looks on.

In October 1898, a group of Boxers attacked the Christian community of Liyuantun village where a temple to the Jade Emperor had been converted into a Catholic church. Disputes had surrounded the church since 1869, when the temple had been granted to the Christian residents of the village. This incident marked the first time the Boxers used the slogan "Support the Qing, destroy the foreigners" ("扶清滅洋 fu Qing mie yang") that would later characterise them.[32] The "Boxers" called themselves the "Militia United in Righteousness" for the first time one year later, at the Battle of Senluo Temple (October 1899), a clash between Boxers and Qing government troops.[33] By using the word "Militia" rather than "Boxers", they distanced themselves from forbidden martial arts sects, and tried to give their movement the legitimacy of a group that defended orthodoxy.[34]

Aggression toward missionaries and Christians drew the ire of foreign (mainly European) governments.[35] In 1899, the French minister in Beijing helped the missionaries to obtain an edict granting official status to every order in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, enabling local priests to support their people in legal or family disputes and bypass the local officials. After the German government took over Shandong many Chinese feared that the foreign missionaries and quite possibly all Christian activities were imperialist attempts at "carving the melon", i.e., to divide and colonize China piece by piece.[36] A Chinese official expressed the animosity towards foreigners succinctly, "Take away your missionaries and your opium and you will be welcome."[37]

The early growth of the Boxer movement coincided with the Hundred Days' Reform (11 June – 21 September 1898). Progressive Chinese officials, with support from Protestant missionaries, persuaded the Guangxu Emperor to institute reforms which alienated many conservative officials by their sweeping nature. Such opposition from conservative officials led Empress Dowager Cixi to intervene and reverse the reforms. The failure of the reform movement disillusioned many educated Chinese and thus further weakened the Qing government. After the reforms ended, the conservative Empress Dowager Cixi seized power and placed the reformist Guangxu Emperor under house arrest.

The national crisis was widely seen as being caused by foreign aggression.[38] Foreign powers had defeated China in several wars, forced a right to promote Christianity and imposed unequal treaties under which foreigners and foreign companies in China were accorded special privileges, extraterritorial rights and immunities from Chinese law, causing resentment among the Chinese. France, Japan, Russia and Germany carved out spheres of influence, so that by 1900 it appeared that China would likely be dismembered, with foreign powers each ruling a part of the country. Thus, by 1900, the Qing dynasty, which had ruled China for more than two centuries, was crumbling and Chinese culture was under assault by powerful and unfamiliar religions and secular cultures.[39]

Boxer War

Intensifying crisis

Chinese Muslim troops from Gansu, also known as the Gansu Braves, killed a Japanese diplomat on 11 June 1900. Foreigners called them the "10,000 Islamic rabble."[40]

Baron von Ketteler

In January 1900, with a majority of conservatives in the imperial court, Empress Dowager Cixi changed her position on the Boxers, and issued edicts in their defence, causing protests from foreign powers. In spring 1900, the Boxer movement spread rapidly north from Shandong into the countryside near Beijing. Boxers burned Christian churches, killed Chinese Christians and intimidated Chinese officials who stood in their way. American Minister Edwin H. Conger cabled Washington, "the whole country is swarming with hungry, discontented, hopeless idlers." On 30 May the diplomats, led by British Minister Claude Maxwell MacDonald, requested that foreign soldiers come to Beijing to defend the legations. The Chinese government reluctantly acquiesced, and the next day a multinational force of 435 navy troops from eight countries disembarked from warships and travelled by train from Dagu (Taku) to Beijing. They set up defensive perimeters around their respective missions.[41]

On 5 June 1900, the railway line to Tianjin was cut by Boxers in the countryside and Beijing was isolated. On 11 June, at Yongding gate, the secretary of the Japanese legation, Sugiyama Akira, was attacked and killed by the soldiers of general Dong Fuxiang, who were guarding the southern part of the Beijing walled city.[42] Armed with Mauser rifles but wearing traditional uniforms,[43] Dong's troops had threatened the foreign Legations in the fall of 1898 soon after arriving in Beijing,[44] so much that troops from the United States Marine Corps had been called to Beijing to guard the legations.[45] The German Kaiser Wilhelm II was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested the Caliph Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire to find a way to stop the Muslim troops from fighting.

The Caliph agreed to the Kaiser's request and sent Enver Pasha (not the future Young Turk leader) to China in 1901, but the rebellion was over by that time.[46]

Also on 11 June, the first Boxer, dressed in his finery, was seen in the Legation Quarter. The German Minister, Clemens von Ketteler, and German soldiers captured a Boxer boy and inexplicably executed him.[47] In response, thousands of Boxers burst into the walled city of Beijing that afternoon and burned many of the Christian churches and cathedrals in the city, burning some victims alive.[48] American and British missionaries had taken refuge in the Methodist Mission and an attack there was repulsed by American Marines. The soldiers at the British Embassy and German Legations shot and killed several Boxers,[49] alienating the Chinese population of the city and nudging the Qing government toward support of the Boxers.

The Muslim Gansu braves and Boxers, along with other Chinese then attacked and killed Chinese Christians around the legations in revenge for foreign attacks on Chinese.[50]

Seymour Expedition

Main article: Seymour Expedition

Japanese marines who served in the Seymour Expedition

As the situation grew more violent, a second multinational force of 2,000 sailors and marines under the command of the British Vice-Admiral Edward Seymour, the largest contingent being British, was dispatched from Dagu to Beijing on 10 June 1900. The troops were transported by train from Dagu to Tianjin with the agreement of the Chinese government, but the railway between Tianjin and Beijing had been severed. Seymour resolved to move forward and repair the railway, or progress on foot if necessary, keeping in mind that the distance between Tianjin and Beijing was only 120 km. When Seymour left Tianjin and started toward Beijing, it angered the imperial court.

As a result, the pro-Boxer Manchu Prince Duan became leader of the Zongli Yamen (foreign office), replacing Prince Qing. Prince Duan was a member of the imperial Aisin Gioro clan (foreigners called him a "Blood Royal"), and Empress Dowager Cixi had named her son as next in line for the imperial throne. He became the effective leader of the Boxers, and was extremely anti-foreigner. He soon ordered the Qing imperial army to attack the foreign forces. Confused by conflicting orders from Beijing, General Nie Shicheng let Seymour's army pass by in their trains.[51]

Admiral Seymour returning to Tianjin with his wounded men on 26 June

After leaving Tianjin, the convoy quickly reached Langfang, but found the railway there to be destroyed. Seymour's engineers tried to repair the line, but the allied army found itself surrounded, as the railway both behind and in front of them had been destroyed. They were attacked from all parts by Chinese irregulars and Chinese governmental troops. Five thousand of Dong Fuxiang's "Gansu Braves" and an unknown number of "Boxers" won a costly but major victory over Seymour's troops at the Battle of Langfang on 18 June.[52][53] As the allied European army retreated from Langfang, they were constantly fired upon by cavalry, and artillery bombarded their positions. It was reported that the Chinese artillery was superior to the European artillery, since the Europeans did not bother to bring along much for the campaign, thinking they could easily sweep through Chinese resistance.

The Europeans could not locate the Chinese artillery, which was raining shells upon their positions.[54] Mining, engineering, flooding and simultaneous attacks were employed by Chinese troops. The Chinese also employed pincer movements, ambushes and sniper tactics with some success against the foreigners.[55]

Italian mounted infantry near Tientsin in 1900

News arrived on 18 June regarding attacks on foreign legations. Seymour decided to continue advancing, this time along the Beihe river, toward Tongzhou, 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Beijing. By the 19th, they had to abandon their efforts due to progressively stiffening resistance and started to retreat southward along the river with over 200 wounded. Commandeering four civilian Chinese junks along the river, they loaded all their wounded and remaining supplies onto them and pulled them along with ropes from the riverbanks. By this point they were very low on food, ammunition and medical supplies. Unexpectedly they then happened upon the Great Xigu Arsenal, a hidden Qing munitions cache of which the Allied Powers had had no knowledge until then. They immediately captured and occupied it, discovering not only Krupp field guns, but rifles with millions of rounds of ammunition, along with millions of pounds of rice and ample medical supplies.

There they dug in and awaited rescue. A Chinese servant was able to infiltrate through the Boxer and Qing lines, informing the Eight Powers of the Seymour troops' predicament. Surrounded and attacked nearly around the clock by Qing troops and Boxers, they were at the point of being overrun. On 25 June, a regiment composed of 1,800 men (900 Russian troops from Port Arthur, 500 British seamen, with an ad hoc mix of other assorted Alliance troops) finally arrived on foot from Tientsin to rescue Seymour. Spiking the mounted field guns and setting fire to any munitions that they could not take (an estimated £3 million worth), Seymour, his force, and the rescue mission marched back to Tientsin, unopposed, on 26 June. Seymour's casualties during the expedition were 62 killed and 228 wounded.[56]

Conflicting attitudes within the Qing imperial court

Qing imperial soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion

Meanwhile, in Beijing, on 16 June, Empress Dowager Cixi summoned the imperial court for a mass audience and addressed the choices between using the Boxers to evict the foreigners from the city or seeking a diplomatic solution. In response to a high official who doubted the efficacy of the Boxers' magic, Cixi replied: Both sides of the debate at the imperial court realised that popular support for the Boxers in the countryside was almost universal and that suppression would be both difficult and unpopular, especially when foreign troops were on the march.[57][58]

Two factions were active during this debate. On one side were anti-foreigners who viewed foreigners as invasive and imperialistic and evoked a nativist populism. They advocated taking advantage of the Boxers to achieve the expulsion of foreign troops and foreign influences. The pro-foreigners on the other hand advanced rapprochement with foreign governments, seeing the Boxers as superstitious and ignorant.

The event that tilted the Qing imperial government irrevocably toward support of the Boxers and war with the foreign powers was the attack of foreign navies on the Dagu Forts near Tianjin, on 17 June 1900.

Siege of the Beijing legations

Locations of foreign diplomatic legations and front lines in Beijing during the siege

Main article: Siege of the International Legations

On 15 June, Qing imperial forces deployed electric mines in the River Beihe (Peiho) to prevent the Eight-Nation Alliance from sending ships to attack.[59] With a difficult military situation in Tianjin and a total breakdown of communications between Tianjin and Beijing, the allied nations took steps to reinforce their military presence significantly. On 17 June they took the Dagu Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and from there brought increasing numbers of troops on shore. When Cixi received an ultimatum demanding that China surrender total control over all its military and financial affairs to foreigners,[60] she defiantly stated before the entire Grand Council, "Now they [the Powers] have started the aggression, and the extinction of our nation is imminent. If we just fold our arms and yield to them, I would have no face to see our ancestors after death. If we must perish, why don't we fight to the death?"[61] It was at this point that Cixi began to blockade the legations with the armies of the Peking Field Force, which began the siege. Cixi stated that "I have always been of the opinion, that the allied armies had been permitted to escape too easily in 1860. Only a united effort was then necessary to have given China the victory. Today, at last, the opportunity for revenge has come", and said that millions of Chinese would join the cause of fighting the foreigners since the Manchus had provided "great benefits" on China.[62] On receipt of the news of the attack on the Dagu Forts on the 19th of June, Empress Dowager Cixi immediately sent an order to the legations that the diplomats and other foreigners depart Beijing under escort of the Chinese army within 24 hours.[63]

The next morning, diplomats from the besieged legations met to discuss the Empress's offer. The majority quickly agreed that they could not trust the Chinese army. Fearing that they would be killed, they agreed to refuse the Empress's demand. The German Imperial Envoy, Baron Klemens Freiherr von Ketteler, was infuriated with the actions of the Chinese army troops and determined to take his complaints to the royal court. Against the advice of the fellow foreigners, the baron left the legations with a single aide and a team of porters to carry his sedan chair. On his way to the palace, von Ketteler was killed on the streets of Beijing by a Manchu captain.[64] His aide managed to escape the attack and carried word of the baron's death back to the diplomatic compound. At this news, the other diplomats feared they also would be murdered if they left the legation quarter and they chose to continue to defy the Chinese order to depart Beijing. The legations were hurriedly fortified. Most of the foreign civilians, which included a large number of missionaries and businessmen, took refuge in the British legation, the largest of the diplomatic compounds.[65] Chinese Christians were primarily housed in the adjacent palace (Fu) of Prince Su who was forced to abandon his property by the foreign soldiers.[66]

Representative U.S., Indian, French, Italian, British, German, Austro-Hungarian and Japanese military and naval personnel forming part of the Allied forces

On the 21st of June, Empress Dowager Cixi declared war against all foreign powers. Regional governors who commanded substantial modernised armies, such as Li Hongzhang at Canton, Yuan Shikai in Shandong, Zhang Zhidong[67] at Wuhan and Liu Kunyi at Nanjing, refused to join in the imperial court's declaration of war and withheld knowledge of it from the public in the south. Yuan Shikai used his own forces to suppress Boxers in Shandong, and Zhang entered into negotiations with the foreigners in Shanghai to keep his army out of the conflict. The neutrality of these provincial and regional governors left the majority of Chinese out of the conflict.[68] They were called The Mutual Protection of Southeast China.[69]

The legations of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United States, Russia and Japan were located in the Beijing Legation Quarter south of the Forbidden City. The Chinese army and Boxer irregulars besieged the Legation Quarter from 20 June to 14 August 1900. A total of 473 foreign civilians, 409 soldiers, marines and sailors from eight countries, and about 3,000 Chinese Christians took refuge there.[70] Under the command of the British minister to China, Claude Maxwell MacDonald, the legation staff and military guards defended the compound with small arms, three machine guns, and one old muzzle-loaded cannon, which was nicknamed the International Gun because the barrel was British, the carriage Italian, the shells Russian and the crew American. Chinese Christians in the legations led the foreigners to the cannon and it proved important in the defence. Also under siege in Beijing was the Northern Cathedral (Beitang) of the Catholic Church. The Beitang was defended by 43 French and Italian soldiers, 33 Catholic foreign priests and nuns, and about 3,200 Chinese Catholics. The defenders suffered heavy casualties especially from lack of food and mines which the Chinese exploded in tunnels dug beneath the compound.[71] The number of Chinese soldiers and Boxers besieging the Legation Quarter and the Beitang is unknown.

1900, soldiers burned down the Temple, Shanhaiguan. The destruction of a Chinese temple on the bank of the Pei-Ho, by Amédée Forestier

On the 22nd and 23 June, Chinese soldiers and Boxers set fire to areas north and west of the British Legation, using it as a "frightening tactic" to attack the defenders. The nearby Hanlin Academy, a complex of courtyards and buildings that housed "the quintessence of Chinese scholarship ... the oldest and richest library in the world", caught fire. Each side blamed the other for the destruction of the invaluable books it contained.[72]

After the failure to burn out the foreigners, the Chinese army adopted an anaconda-like strategy. The Chinese built barricades surrounding the Legation Quarter and advanced, brick by brick, on the foreign lines, forcing the foreign legation guards to retreat a few feet at a time. This tactic was especially used in the Fu, defended by Japanese and Italian sailors and soldiers, and inhabited by most of the Chinese Christians. Fusillades of bullets, artillery and firecrackers were directed against the Legations almost every night—but did little damage. Sniper fire took its toll among the foreign defenders. Despite their numerical advantage, the Chinese did not attempt a direct assault on the Legation Quarter although in the words of one of the besieged, "it would have been easy by a strong, swift movement on the part of the numerous Chinese troops to have annihilated the whole body of foreigners ... in an hour."[73] American missionary Frank Gamewell and his crew of "fighting parsons" fortified the Legation Quarter,[74] but impressed Chinese Christians to do most of the physical labour of building defences.[75]

The Germans and the Americans occupied perhaps the most crucial of all defensive positions: the Tartar Wall. Holding the top of the 45 ft (14 m) tall and 40 ft (12 m) wide wall was vital. The German barricades faced east on top of the wall and 400 yd (370 m) west were the west-facing American positions. The Chinese advanced toward both positions by building barricades even closer. "The men all feel they are in a trap", said the American commander, Capt. John T. Myers, "and simply await the hour of execution."[76] On 30 June, the Chinese forced the Germans off the Wall, leaving the American Marines alone in its defence. At the same time, a Chinese barricade was advanced to within a few feet of the American positions and it became clear that the Americans had to abandon the wall or force the Chinese to retreat. At 2 am on 3 July, 56 British, Russian and American marines and sailors, under the command of Myers, launched an assault against the Chinese barricade on the wall. The attack caught the Chinese sleeping, killed about 20 of them, and expelled the rest of them from the barricades.[77] The Chinese did not attempt to advance their positions on the Tartar Wall for the remainder of the siege.[78]

Sir Claude MacDonald said 13 July was the "most harassing day" of the siege.[79] The Japanese and Italians in the Fu were driven back to their last defence line. The Chinese detonated a mine beneath the French Legation pushing the French and Austrians out of most of the French Legation.[79] On 16 July, the most capable British officer was killed and the journalist George Ernest Morrison was wounded.[80] But American Minister Edwin Hurd Conger established contact with the Chinese government and on 17 July, an armistice was declared by the Chinese.[81] More than 40% of the legation guards were dead or wounded. The motivation of the Chinese was probably the realization that an allied force of 20,000 men had landed in China and retribution for the siege was at hand.
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Part 2 of 3

Officials and commanders at cross purposes

Han Chinese General Nie Shicheng, who fought both the Boxers and the Allies[82]

The Manchu General Ronglu concluded that it was futile to fight all of the powers simultaneously, and declined to press home the siege.[83] The Manchu Zaiyi (Prince Duan), an anti-foreign friend of Dong Fuxiang, wanted artillery for Dong's troops to destroy the legations. Ronglu blocked the transfer of artillery to Zaiyi and Dong, preventing them from attacking.[84] Ronglu forced Dong Fuxiang and his troops to pull back from completing the siege and destroying the legations, thereby saving the foreigners and making diplomatic concessions.[85] Ronglu and Prince Qing sent food to the legations, and used their Manchu Bannermen to attack the Muslim Gansu Braves ("Kansu Braves" in the spelling of the time) of Dong Fuxiang and the Boxers who were besieging the foreigners. They issued edicts ordering the foreigners to be protected, but the Gansu warriors ignored it, and fought against Bannermen who tried to force them away from the legations. The Boxers also took commands from Dong Fuxiang.[86] Ronglu also deliberately hid an Imperial Decree from General Nie Shicheng. The Decree ordered him to stop fighting the Boxers because of the foreign invasion, and also because the population was suffering. Due to Ronglu's actions, General Nie continued to fight the Boxers and killed many of them even as the foreign troops were making their way into China. Ronglu also ordered Nie to protect foreigners and save the railway from the Boxers.[87] Because parts of the Railway were saved under Ronglu's orders, the foreign invasion army was able to transport itself into China quickly. General Nie committed thousands of troops against the Boxers instead of against the foreigners. Nie was already outnumbered by the Allies by 4,000 men. General Nie was blamed for attacking the Boxers, as Ronglu let Nie take all the blame. At the Battle of Tianjin (Tientsin), General Nie decided to sacrifice his life by walking into the range of Allied guns.[88]

Boxer rebels

Xu Jingcheng, who had served as the Qing Envoy to many of the same states under siege in the Legation Quarter, argued that "the evasion of extraterritorial rights and the killing of foreign diplomats are unprecedented in China and abroad."[89] Xu and five other officials urged Empress Dowager Cixi to order the repression of Boxers, the execution of their leaders, and a diplomatic settlement with foreign armies. The Empress Dowager, outraged, sentenced Xu and the five others to death for "willfully and absurdly petitioning the Imperial Court" and "building subversive thought." They were executed on July 28, 1900 and their severed heads placed on display at Caishikou Execution Grounds in Beijing.[90]

Han Chinese General Dong Fuxiang was overtly hostile to foreigners and his "Gansu Braves" relentlessly attacked the besieged legations.

Reflecting this vacillation, some Chinese soldiers were quite liberally firing at foreigners under siege from its very onset. Cixi did not personally order imperial troops to conduct a siege, and on the contrary had ordered them to protect the foreigners in the legations. Prince Duan led the Boxers to loot his enemies within the imperial court and the foreigners, although imperial authorities expelled Boxers after they were let into the city and went on a looting rampage against both the foreign and the Qing imperial forces. Older Boxers were sent outside Beijing to halt the approaching foreign armies, while younger men were absorbed into the Muslim Gansu army.[91]

With conflicting allegiances and priorities motivating the various forces inside Beijing, the situation in the city became increasingly confused. The foreign legations continued to be surrounded by both Qing imperial and Gansu forces. While Dong Fuxiang's Gansu army, now swollen by the addition of the Boxers, wished to press the siege, Ronglu's imperial forces seem to have largely attempted to follow Empress Dowager Cixi's decree and protect the legations. However, to satisfy the conservatives in the imperial court, Ronglu's men also fired on the legations and let off firecrackers to give the impression that they, too, were attacking the foreigners. Inside the legations and out of communication with the outside world, the foreigners simply fired on any targets that presented themselves, including messengers from the imperial court, civilians and besiegers of all persuasions.[92] Dong Fuxiang was denied artillery held by Ronglu which stopped him from leveling the legations, and when he complained to Empress Dowager Cixi on June 23, she dismissively said that "Your tail, is becoming too heavy to wag." The Alliance discovered large amounts of unused Chinese Krupp artillery and shells after the siege was lifted.[93]

The armistice, although occasionally broken, endured until 13 August when, with an allied army led by the British Alfred Gaselee approaching Beijing to relieve the siege, the Chinese launched their heaviest fusillade on the Legation Quarter. As the foreign army approached, Chinese forces melted away.

Gaselee Expedition

Forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance
Relief of the Legations

Troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1900 (Russia excepted). Left to right: Britain, United States, Australia, India, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Japan

Countries / Warships (units) / Marines (men) / Army (men)

Empire of Japan / 18 / 540 / 20,300
Russian Empire / 10 / 750 / 12,400
United Kingdom / 8 /2,020 / 10,000
French Republic / 5 / 390 / 3,130
United States / 2 / 295 / 3,125
German Empire / 5 / 600 / 300
Kingdom of Italy / 2 / 80 / 2,500
Austria-Hungary / 4 / 296 / unknown
Total / 54 / 4,971 / 51,755

Main articles: Eight-Nation Alliance and Gaselee Expedition

Foreign navies started building up their presence along the northern China coast from the end of April 1900. Several international forces were sent to the capital, with varying success, and the Chinese forces were ultimately defeated by the Eight-Nation Alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Independent of the alliance, the Netherlands dispatched three cruisers in July to protect its citizens in Shanghai.[94]

British Lieutenant-General Alfred Gaselee acted as the commanding officer of the Eight-Nation Alliance, which eventually numbered 55,000. The main contingent was composed of Japanese (20,840), Russian (13,150), British (12,020), French (3,520), U.S. (3,420), German (900), Italian (80), Austro-Hungarian (75) and anti-Boxer Chinese troops.[95] The "First Chinese Regiment" (Weihaiwei Regiment) which was praised for its performance, consisted of Chinese collaborators serving in the British military.[96] Notable events included the seizure of the Dagu Forts commanding the approaches to Tianjin and the boarding and capture of four Chinese destroyers by British Commander Roger Keyes. Among the foreigners besieged in Tianjin was a young American mining engineer named Herbert Hoover, who would go on to become the 31st President of the United States.[97][98]

The Boxers bombarded Tianjin in June 1900, and Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops attacked the British Admiral Seymour and his expeditionary force.

The capture of the southern gate of Tianjin. British troops were positioned on the left, Japanese troops at the centre, French troops on the right.

The international force finally captured Tianjin on 14 July. The international force suffered its heaviest casualties of the Boxer Rebellion in the Battle of Tianjin.[99] With Tianjin as a base, the international force marched from Tianjin to Beijing, about 120 km, with 20,000 allied troops. On 4 August, there were approximately 70,000 Qing imperial troops and anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 Boxers along the way. The allies only encountered minor resistance, fighting battles at Beicang and Yangcun. At Yangcun, the 14th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. and British troops led the assault. The weather was a major obstacle. Conditions were extremely humid with temperatures sometimes reaching 42 °C (108 °F). These high temperatures and insects plagued the Allies. Soldiers became dehydrated and horses died. Chinese villagers killed Allied troops who searched for wells.[100]

The heat killed Allied soldiers, who foamed at the mouth. The tactics along the way were gruesome on either side. Allied soldiers beheaded already dead Chinese corpses, bayoneted or beheaded live Chinese civilians, and raped Chinese girls and women.[101] Cossacks were reported to have killed Chinese civilians almost automatically and Japanese kicked a Chinese soldier to death.[102] The Chinese responded to the Alliance's atrocities with similar acts of violence and cruelty, especially towards captured Russians.[101] Lieutenant Smedley Butler saw the remains of two Japanese soldiers nailed to a wall, who had their tongues cut off and their eyes gouged.[103] Lieutenant Butler was wounded during the expedition in the leg and chest, later receiving the Brevet Medal in recognition for his actions.

Chinese troops wearing modern uniforms in 1900

The international force reached Beijing on 14 August. Following the defeat of Beiyang army in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese government had invested heavily in modernizing the imperial army, which was equipped with modern Mauser repeater rifles and Krupp artillery. Three modernized divisions consisting of Manchu Bannermen protected the Beijing Metropolitan region. Two of them were under the command of the anti-Boxer Prince Qing and Ronglu, while the anti-foreign Prince Duan commanded the ten-thousand-strong Hushenying, or "Tiger Spirit Division", which had joined the Gansu Braves and Boxers in attacking the foreigners. It was a Hushenying captain who had assassinated the German diplomat Ketteler. The Tenacious Army under Nie Shicheng received western style training under German and Russian officers in addition to their modernised weapons and uniforms. They effectively resisted the Alliance at the Battle of Tientsin before retreating and astounded the Alliance forces with the accuracy of their artillery during the siege of the Tianjin concessions (the artillery shells failed to explode upon impact due to corrupt manufacturing). The Gansu Braves under Dong Fuxiang, which some sources described as "ill disciplined", were armed with modern weapons but were not trained according to western drill and wore traditional Chinese uniforms. They led the defeat of the Alliance at Langfang in the Seymour Expedition and were the most ferocious in besieging the Legations in Beijing. Some Banner forces were given modernised weapons and western training, becoming the Metropolitan Banner forces, which were decimated in the fighting. Among the Manchu dead was the father of the writer Lao She.

The British won the race among the international forces to be the first to reach the besieged Legation Quarter. The U.S. was able to play a role due to the presence of U.S. ships and troops stationed in Manila since the U.S. conquest of the Philippines during the Spanish–American War and the subsequent Philippine–American War. In the U.S. military, the action in the Boxer Rebellion was known as the China Relief Expedition. United States Marines scaling the walls of Beijing is an iconic image of the Boxer Rebellion.[104]

The British Army reached the legation quarter on the afternoon of 14 August and relieved the Legation Quarter. The Beitang was relieved on 16 August, first by Japanese soldiers and then, officially, by the French.[105]

Evacuation of the Qing imperial court from Beijing to Xi'an

Painting of Western and Japanese troops

In the early hours of 15 August, just as the Foreign Legations were being relieved, Empress Dowager Cixi, dressed in the padded blue cotton of a farm woman, the Guangxu Emperor, and a small retinue climbed into three wooden ox carts and escaped from the city covered with rough blankets. Legend has it that the Empress Dowager then either ordered that the Guangxu Emperor's favourite concubine, Consort Zhen, be thrown down a well in the Forbidden City or tricked her into drowning herself. The journey was made all the more arduous by the lack of preparation, but the Empress Dowager insisted this was not a retreat, rather a "tour of inspection." After weeks of travel, the party arrived in Xi'an in Shaanxi province, beyond protective mountain passes where the foreigners could not reach, deep in Chinese Muslim territory and protected by the Gansu Braves. The foreigners had no orders to pursue the Empress Dowager, so they decided to stay put.[106]

Russian invasion of Manchuria

Russian officers in Manchuria during the Boxer Rebellion

The Russian Empire and the Qing Empire had maintained a long peace, starting with the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, but Tsarist forces took advantage of Chinese defeats to impose the Aigun Treaty of 1858 and the Treaty of Peking of 1860 which ceded formerly Chinese territory in Manchuria to Russia, much of which is held by Russia to the present day (Primorye). The Russians aimed for control over the Amur River for navigation, and the all-weather ports of Dairen and Port Arthur in the Liaodong peninsula. The rise of Japan as an Asian power provoked Russia's anxiety, especially in light of expanding Japanese influence in Korea. Following Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, the Triple Intervention of Russia, Germany and France forced Japan to return the territory won in Liaodong, leading to a de facto Sino-Russian alliance.

Local Chinese in Manchuria were incensed at these Russian advances and began to harass Russians and Russian institutions, such as the Chinese Eastern Railway. In June 1900, the Chinese bombarded the town of Blagoveshchensk on the Russian side of the Amur. The Czar's government used the pretext of Boxer activity to move some 200,000 troops into the area to crush the Boxers. The Chinese used arson to destroy a bridge carrying a railway and a barracks on 27 July. The Boxers destroyed railways and cut lines for telegraphs and burned the Yantai mines.[107]

By 21 September, Russian troops took Jilin and Liaodong, and by the end of the month completely occupied Manchuria, where their presence was a major factor leading to the Russo-Japanese War.

The Chinese Honghuzi bandits of Manchuria, who had fought alongside the Boxers in the war, did not stop when the Boxer rebellion was over, and continued guerilla warfare against the Russian occupation up to the Russo-Japanese war when the Russians were defeated by Japan.

Massacre of missionaries and Chinese Christians

The Holy Chinese Martyrs of the Orthodox Church as depicted in an icon commissioned in 1990

Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic missionaries and their Chinese parishioners were massacred throughout northern China, some by Boxers and others by government troops and authorities. After the declaration of war on Western powers in June 1900, Yuxian, who had been named governor of Shanxi in March of that year, implemented a brutal anti-foreign and anti-Christian policy. On 9 July, reports circulated that he had executed forty-four foreigners (including women and children) from missionary families whom he had invited to the provincial capital Taiyuan under the promise to protect them.[108][109] Although the purported eyewitness accounts have recently been questioned as improbable, this event became a notorious symbol of Chinese anger, known as the Taiyuan Massacre.[110] By the summer's end, more foreigners and as many as 2,000 Chinese Christians had been put to death in the province. Journalist and historical writer Nat Brandt has called the massacre of Christians in Shanxi "the greatest single tragedy in the history of Christian evangelicalism."[111]

During the Boxer Rebellion as a whole, a total of 136 Protestant missionaries and 53 children were killed, and 47 Catholic priests and nuns, 30,000 Chinese Catholics, 2,000 Chinese Protestants, and 200 to 400 of the 700 Russian Orthodox Christians in Beijing were estimated to have been killed. Collectively, the Protestant dead were called the China Martyrs of 1900.[112] 222 of Russian Christian Chinese Martyrs including St. Metrophanes were locally canonised as New Martyrs on 22 April 1902, after archimandrite Innocent (Fugurovsky), head of the Russian Orthodox Mission in China, solicited the Most Holy Synod to perpetuate their memory. This was the first local canonisation for more than two centuries.[113] The Boxers went on to murder Christians across 26 prefectures.[114]


Occupation, looting, and atrocities

"The Fall of the Peking Castle" from September 1900. British and Japanese soldiers assaulting Chinese troops.

The occupation of Beijing. British sector in yellow, French in blue, US in green and ivory, German in red and Japanese in light green.

A Boxer is publicly executed.

Execution of a Boxer by the French, Tientsin

Boxers beheaded in front of a group of Chinese and Japanese officials

Execution of Boxers after the rebellion

Japanese troops during the Boxer Rebellion

Beijing, Tianjin, and other cities in northern China were occupied for more than one year by the international expeditionary force under the command of German General Alfred Graf von Waldersee. Atrocities by foreign troops were common. French troops ravaged the countryside around Beijing on behalf of Chinese Catholics. The Americans and British paid General Yuan Shikai and his army (the Right Division) to help the Eight Nation Alliance suppress the Boxers. Yuan Shikai's forces killed tens of thousands of people in their anti Boxer campaign in Zhili Province and Shandong after the Alliance captured Beijing.[115] Yuan operated out of Baoding during the campaign, which ended in 1902.[116] Li Hongzhang commanded Chinese soldiers to kill "Boxers" to assist the Alliance.[117]

From contemporary Western observers, German, Russian, and Japanese troops received the greatest criticism for their ruthlessness and willingness to wantonly execute Chinese of all ages and backgrounds, sometimes burning and killing entire village populations.[118] The German force arrived too late to take part in the fighting, but undertook punitive expeditions to villages in the countryside. Kaiser Wilhelm II on July 27 during departure ceremonies for the German relief force included an impromptu, but intemperate reference to the Hun invaders of continental Europe which would later be resurrected by British propaganda to mock Germany during the First World War and Second World War:

“Should you encounter the enemy, he will be defeated! No quarter will be given! Prisoners will not be taken! Whoever falls into your hands is forfeited. Just as a thousand years ago the Huns under their King Attila made a name for themselves, one that even today makes them seem mighty in history and legend, may the name German be affirmed by you in such a way in China that no Chinese will ever again dare to look cross-eyed at a German.”[119]

The current Dalai Lama has made himself an internationally famous spokesman for nonviolence. But the example of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama shows that nonviolence was not always the policy of his predecessors, After a dozen years as ruler of Central Tibet, in 1660 the Dalai Lama was faced with a rebellion in Tsang province, not yet pacified and still the stronghold of the Karma Kagyu. The Gelugpa leader again called on his Mongol patron Gushri Khan, this time to put down the insurgency in Tsang. In a passage that may sound to modern ears more like that other Mongol Khan, Genghis, than an emanation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the Dalai Lama called for harsh retribution towards the rebels against his rule:

[Of those in] the band of enemies who have despoiled the duties entrusted to them;
Make the male lines like trees that have had their roots cut;
Make the female lines like brooks that have dried up in winter;
Make the children and grandchildren like eggs smashed against rocks;
Make the servants and followers like heaps of grass consumed by fire;
Make their dominion like a lamp whose oil has been exhausted;
In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.

-- Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today, by Erik D. Curren

One newspaper called the aftermath of the siege a "carnival of ancient loot", and others called it "an orgy of looting" by soldiers, civilians and missionaries. These characterisations called to mind the sacking of the Summer Palace in 1860.[120] Each nationality accused the others of being the worst looters. An American diplomat, Herbert G. Squiers, filled several railroad cars with loot and artifacts. The British Legation held loot auctions every afternoon and proclaimed, "Looting on the part of British troops was carried out in the most orderly manner." However, one British officer noted, "It is one of the unwritten laws of war that a city which does not surrender at the last and is taken by storm is looted." For the rest of 1900–1901, the British held loot auctions everyday except Sunday in front of the main-gate to the British Legation. Many foreigners, including Sir Claude Maxwell MacDonald and Lady Ethel MacDonald and George Ernest Morrison of The Times, were active bidders among the crowd. Many of these looted items ended up in Europe.[121] The Catholic Beitang or North Cathedral was a "salesroom for stolen property."[122] The American commander General Adna Chaffee banned looting by American soldiers, but the ban was ineffectual.[123]

Some but by no means all Western missionaries took an active part in calling for retribution. To provide restitution to missionaries and Chinese Christian families whose property had been destroyed, William Ament, a missionary of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, guided American troops through villages to punish those he suspected of being Boxers and confiscate their property. When Mark Twain read of this expedition, he wrote a scathing essay, "To the Person Sitting in Darkness", that attacked the "Reverend bandits of the American Board," especially targeting Ament, one of the most respected missionaries in China.[124] The controversy was front-page news during much of 1901. Ament's counterpart on the distaff side was doughty British missionary Georgina Smith who presided over a neighborhood in Beijing as judge and jury.[125]

While one historical account reported that Japanese troops were astonished by other Alliance troops raping civilians,[126] others noted that Japanese troops were 'looting and burning without mercy', and that Chinese 'women and girls by hundreds have committed suicide to escape a worse fate at the hands of Russian and Japanese brutes.'[127] Roger Keyes, who commanded the British destroyer Fame and accompanied the Gaselee Expedition, noted that the Japanese had brought their own "regimental wives" (prostitutes) to the front to keep their soldiers from raping Chinese civilians.[128]

The Daily Telegraph journalist E. J. Dillon stated that he witnessed the mutilated corpses of Chinese women who were raped and killed by the Alliance troops. The French commander dismissed the rapes, attributing them to "gallantry of the French soldier." A foreign journalist, George Lynch, said "there are things that I must not write, and that may not be printed in England, which would seem to show that this Western civilization of ours is merely a veneer over savagery."[121]

Many Bannermen supported the Boxers and shared their anti-foreign sentiment.[129] The German Minister Clemens von Ketteler was assassinated by a Manchu.[130] Bannermen had been devastated in the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and Banner armies were destroyed while resisting the invasion. In the words of historian Pamela Crossley, their living conditions went "from desperate poverty to true misery."[131] When thousands of Manchus fled south from Aigun during the fighting in 1900, their cattle and horses were stolen by Russian Cossacks who then burned their villages and homes to ashes.[132] The clan system of the Manchus in Aigun was obliterated by the despoliation of the area at the hands of the Russians.[133]

Under the lead of some highly ranked officials including Li Hongzhang, Yuan Shikai and Zhang Zhidong, several provinces in the southeast formed the Southeastern Mutual Protection during this period to avoid the further expansion of the chaos. These provinces claimed to be neutral and refused to fight either the Boxers or the Eight Nation Alliance.


After the capture of Peking by the foreign armies, some of Empress Dowager Cixi's advisers advocated that the war be carried on, arguing that China could have defeated the foreigners as it was disloyal and traitorous people within China who allowed Beijing and Tianjin to be captured by the Allies, and that the interior of China was impenetrable. They also recommended that Dong Fuxiang continue fighting. The Empress Dowager Cixi was practical, however, and decided that the terms were generous enough for her to acquiesce when she was assured of her continued reign after the war and that China would not be forced to cede any territory.[134]

Mutual Protection of Southeast China in 1900

On 7 September 1901, the Qing imperial court agreed to sign the "Boxer Protocol" also known as Peace Agreement between the Eight-Nation Alliance and China. The protocol ordered the execution of 10 high-ranking officials linked to the outbreak and other officials who were found guilty for the slaughter of foreigners in China. Alfons Mumm (Freiherr von Schwarzenstein), Ernest Satow and Komura Jutaro signed on behalf of Germany, Britain and Japan, respectively.

China was fined war reparations of 450,000,000 taels of fine silver (≈540,000,000 troy ounces (17,000 t) @ 1.2 ozt/tael) for the loss that it caused. The reparation was to be paid by 1940, within 39 years, and would be 982,238,150 taels with interest (4 percent per year) included. To help meet the payment it was agreed to increase the existing tariff from an actual 3.18 percent to 5 percent, and to tax hitherto duty-free merchandise. The sum of reparation was estimated by the Chinese population (roughly 450 million in 1900), to let each Chinese pay one tael. Chinese custom income and salt tax were enlisted as guarantee of the reparation. China paid 668,661,220 taels of silver from 1901 to 1939, equivalent in 2010 to ≈US$61 billion on a purchasing power parity basis.[135][136]

A large portion of the reparations paid to the United States was diverted to pay for the education of Chinese students in U.S. universities under the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program. To prepare the students chosen for this program an institute was established to teach the English language and to serve as a preparatory school. When the first of these students returned to China they undertook the teaching of subsequent students; from this institute was born Tsinghua University. Some of the reparation due to Britain was later earmarked for a similar program.

American troops during the Boxer Rebellion

The China Inland Mission lost more members than any other missionary agency:[137] 58 adults and 21 children were killed. However, in 1901, when the allied nations were demanding compensation from the Chinese government, Hudson Taylor refused to accept payment for loss of property or life in order to demonstrate the meekness and gentleness of Christ to the Chinese.[138]

The Belgian Catholic vicar apostolic of Ordos, Msgr. Alfons Bermyn wanted foreign troops garrisoned in Inner Mongolia, but the Governor refused. Bermyn petitioned the Manchu Enming to send troops to Hetao where Prince Duan's Mongol troops and General Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops allegedly threatened Catholics. It turned out that Bermyn had created the incident as a hoax.[139][140]

The Qing government did not capitulate to all the foreign demands. The Manchu governor Yuxian, was executed, but the imperial court refused to execute the Han Chinese General Dong Fuxiang, although he had also encouraged the killing of foreigners during the rebellion.[141] Empress Dowager Cixi intervened when the Alliance demanded him executed and Dong was only cashiered and sent back home.[142] Instead, Dong lived a life of luxury and power in "exile" in his home province of Gansu.[143] Upon Dong's death in 1908, all honors which had been stripped from him were restored and he was given a full military burial.[143]

Long-term consequences

The European great powers finally ceased their ambitions of colonizing China having learned from the Boxer rebellions that the best way to deal with China was through the ruling dynasty, rather than directly with the Chinese people (a sentiment embodied in the adage: "The people are afraid of officials, the officials are afraid of foreigners, and the foreigners are afraid of the people" (老百姓怕官,官怕洋鬼子,洋鬼子怕老百姓), and even briefly assisted the Qing in their war against the Japanese to prevent a Japanese domination in the region.

French 1901 China expedition commemorative medal. Musée de la Légion d'Honneur.

Concurrently, this period marks the ceding of European great power interference in Chinese affairs, with the Japanese replacing the Europeans as the dominant power for their lopsided involvement in the war against the Boxers as well as their victory in the First Sino-Japanese War. With the toppling of the Qing that followed and the rise of the Nationalist Kuomintang, European sway within China was reduced to symbolic status. After taking Manchuria in 1905, Japan came to dominate Asian affairs both militarily and culturally with many of the Chinese scholars also educated in Japan with the most prominent example being Sun Yat-Sen who would later found the Nationalist movement of the Kuomintang in China.

In October 1900, Russia occupied the provinces of Manchuria,[144] a move which threatened Anglo-American hopes of maintaining the country's openness to commerce under the Open Door Policy.

Japan's clash with Russia over Liaodong and other provinces in eastern Manchuria, due to the Russian refusal to honour the terms of the Boxer protocol which called for their withdrawal, led to the Russo-Japanese War when two years of negotiations broke down in February 1904. The Russian Lease of the Liaodong (1898) was confirmed. Russia was ultimately defeated by an increasingly confident Japan.

Foreign armies assemble inside the Forbidden City after capturing Beijing, 28 November 1900

Besides the compensation, Empress Dowager Cixi reluctantly started some reforms despite her previous views. Under her reforms known as the New Policies started in 1901, the imperial examination system for government service was eliminated and as a result the system of education through Chinese classics was replaced with a European liberal system that led to a university degree. Along with the formation of new military and police organisations, the reforms also simplified central bureaucracy and made a start on revamping taxation policies.[145] After the deaths of Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in 1908, the prince regent Zaifeng (Prince Chun), the Guangxu Emperor's brother, launched further reforms.

The effect on China was a weakening of the dynasty and its national defense capabilities. The government structure was temporarily sustained by the Europeans. Behind the international conflict, it further deepened internal ideological differences between northern-Chinese anti-foreign royalists and southern-Chinese anti-Qing revolutionists. This scenario in the last years of the Qing dynasty gradually escalated into a chaotic warlord era in which the most powerful northern warlords were hostile towards the revolutionaries in the south who overthrew the Qing monarchy in 1911. The rivalry was not fully resolved until the northern warlords were defeated by the Kuomintang's 1926–28 Northern Expedition. Prior to the final defeat of the Boxer Rebellion, all anti-Qing movements in the previous century, such as the Taiping Rebellion, had been successfully suppressed by the Qing.

Historian Walter LaFeber has argued that President William McKinley's decision to send 5,000 American troops to quell the rebellion marks "the origins of modern presidential war powers":[146]

“ McKinley took a historic step in creating a new, 20th century presidential power. He dispatched the five thousand troops without consulting Congress, let alone obtaining a declaration of war, to fight the Boxers who were supported by the Chinese government ... Presidents had previously used such force against non-governmental groups that threatened U.S. interests and citizens. It was now used, however, against recognised governments, and without obeying the Constitution's provisions about who was to declare war. ”

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., concurred, writing that:[147]

“ The intervention in China marked the start of a crucial shift in the presidential employment of armed force overseas. In the 19th century, military force committed without congressional authorization had been typically used against nongovernmental organizations. Now it was beginning to be used against sovereign states, and, in the case of Theodore Roosevelt, with less consultation than ever. ”

In the Second Sino-Japanese War, when the Japanese asked the Muslim general Ma Hongkui to defect and become head of a Muslim puppet state, he responded that his relatives had been killed during the Battle of Peking, including his uncle Ma Fulu. Since Japanese troops made up the majority of the Alliance forces there would be no cooperation with the Japanese.[148]

Controversies and changing views of the Boxers

Boxers captured by the U.S. Army near Tianjin in 1901

From the beginning, views differed as to whether the Boxers were better seen as anti-imperialist, patriotic, and proto-nationalist or as "uncivilized", irrational, and futile opponents of inevitable change. The historian Joseph Esherick comments that "confusion about the Boxer Uprising is not simply a matter of popular misconceptions", for "there is no major incident in China's modern history on which the range of professional interpretation is as great".[149]

Chinese liberals such as Hu Shih often condemned the Boxers for their irrationality and barbarity.[150] Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China and of the Nationalist Party at first believed that the Boxer Movement was stirred up by the Qing government's rumors, which "caused confusion among the populace", and delivered "scathing criticism" of the Boxers' "anti-foreignism and obscurantism". Sun praised the Boxers for their "spirit of resistance" but called them "bandits". Students shared an ambivalent attitude to the Boxers, stating that while the uprising originated from the "ignorant and stubborn people of the interior areas", their beliefs were "brave and righteous", and could "be transformed into a moving force for independence".[151] After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, nationalist Chinese became more sympathetic to the Boxers. In 1918 Sun praised their fighting spirit and said the Boxers were courageous and fearless, fighting to the death against the Alliance armies, specifically the Battle of Yangcun.[152] The leader of the New Culture Movement, Chen Duxiu, forgave the "barbarism of the Boxer... given the crime foreigners committed in China", and contended that it was those "subservient to the foreigners" that truly "deserved our resentment".[153]

Qing forces of Chinese soldiers in 1899–1901. Left: two infantrymen of the New Imperial Army. Front: drum major of the regular army. Seated on the trunk: field artilleryman. Right: Boxers.

In other countries, views of the Boxers were complex and contentious. Mark Twain said that "the Boxer is a patriot. He loves his country better than he does the countries of other people. I wish him success".[154] The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy also praised the Boxers. He accused Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany of being chiefly responsible for the lootings, rapes, murders and the "Christian brutality" of the Russians and other western troops.[155] The Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin mocked the Russian government's claim that it was protecting Christian civilization: "Poor Imperial Government! So Christianly unselfish, and yet so unjustly maligned! Several years ago it unselfishly seized Port Arthur, and now it is unselfishly seizing Manchuria; it has unselfishly flooded the frontier provinces of China with hordes of contractors, engineers, and officers, who, by their conduct, have roused to indignation even the Chinese, known for their docility."[156] The Indian Bengali Rabindranath Tagore attacked the European colonialists.[157] A number of Indian soldiers in the British Indian Army agreed that the Boxers were right and the British stole from the Temple of Heaven a bell, which was given back to China by the Indian military in 1994.[158]

Even some American churchmen spoke out in support of the Boxers. The evangelist Rev. Dr. George F. Pentecost said that the Boxer uprising was a

“ patriotic movement to expel the 'foreign devils' — just that — the foreign devils". Suppose, he said, the great nations of Europe were to “put their fleets together, came over here, seize Portland, move on down to Boston, then New York, then Philadelphia, and so on down the Atlantic Coast and around the Gulf of Galveston? Suppose they took possession of these port cities, drove our people into the hinterland, built great warehouses and factories, brought in a body of dissolute agents, and calmly notified our people that henceforward they would manage the commerce of the country? Would we not have a Boxer movement to drive those foreign European Christian devils out of our country?[159] ”

A Boxer during the revolt

The Russian newspaper Amurskii Krai criticized the killing of innocent civilians, charging that "restraint" "civilization" and "culture" instead of "racial hatred" and "destruction" would have been more becoming of a "civilized Christian nation". The paper asked "What shall we tell civilized people? We shall have to say to them: 'Do not consider us as brothers anymore. We are mean and terrible people; we have killed those who hid at our place, who sought our protection'".[160]

The events also left a longer impact. The historian Robert Bickers found that for the British in China the Boxer rising served as the "equivalent of the Indian 'mutiny'" and came to represent the Yellow Peril. Later events, he adds, such as the Chinese Nationalist Revolution of the 1920s and even the activities of the Red Guards of the 1960s, were perceived as being in the shadow of the Boxers.[161]

In Taiwan and Hong Kong, history textbooks often present the Boxer as irrational. But in the People's Republic of China, government textbooks described the Boxer movement as an anti-imperialist, patriotic peasant movement whose failure was due to the lack of leadership from the modern working class, and described the international army as an invading force. In recent decades, however, large-scale projects of village interviews and explorations of archival sources have led historians in China to take a more nuanced view. Some non-Chinese scholars, such as Joseph Esherick, have seen the movement as anti-imperialist; while others hold that the concept "nationalistic" is anachronistic because the Chinese nation had not been formed and the Boxers were more concerned with regional issues. Paul Cohen's recent study includes a survey of "the Boxers as myth", showing how their memory was used in changing ways in 20th-century China from the New Culture Movement to the Cultural Revolution.[162]

In recent years the Boxer question has been debated in the People's Republic of China. In 1998, the critical scholar Wang Yi argued that the Boxers had features in common with the extremism of the Cultural Revolution. Both events had the external goal of "liquidating all harmful pests" and the domestic goal of "eliminating bad elements of all descriptions" and this relation was rooted in "cultural obscurantism". Wang explained to his readers the changes in attitudes towards the Boxers from the condemnation of the May Fourth Movement to the approval expressed by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution.[163] In 2006 Yuan Weishi, a professor of philosophy at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, wrote that the Boxers by their "criminal actions brought unspeakable suffering to the nation and its people! These are all facts that everybody knows, and it is a national shame that the Chinese people cannot forget".[164] Yuan charged that history text books had been lacking in neutrality in presenting the Boxer Uprising as a "magnificent feat of patriotism", and not presenting the view that the majority of the Boxer rebels were violent.[165] In response, some labeled Yuan Weishi a "traitor" (Hanjian).[166]
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