The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:28 am

Part 2 of 4

Maudgalyayana's descent into the PRETA purgatory.

Thus have I heard. Buddha at one time was residing in the country of Sravasti, in the garden of Jeta, the friend of the orphans. At this time Mugalan, having begun to acquire the six supernatural powers (irrdhi), desiring above all things, from a motive of piety, to deliver his father and mother, forthwith called into use his power of supernatural sight, and looking throughout the world he beheld his unhappy mother existing without food or drink in the world of Pretas (hungry ghosts), nothing but skin and bone. Mugalan, moved with filial pity, immediately presented to her his alms-bowl filled with rice. His mother then taking the bowl in her left hand, endeavoured with her right to convey the rice to her mouth, but before it came near to her lips, lo! the rice was converted into fiery ashes, so that she could not eat thereof. At the sight of this Mugalan uttered a piteous cry, and wept many tears as he bent his way to the place where Buddha was located. Arrived there, he explained what had happened, and awaited Buddha's instruction. On this the Master opened his mouth, and said, "The sin which binds your mother to this unhappy fate is a very grievous one; from it you can never by your own strength rescue her, no! nor yet all the powers of earth or heaven, men or divine beings: not all these are equal to the task of deliverance. But by assembling the priests of the ten quarters, through their spiritual energy, deliverance may be had. I will now recount to you the method of rescue from this and all similar calamities." Then Buddha continued: "On the 15th day of the seventh month, the priests of the ten quarters being gathered together ought to present an offering for the rescue of ancestors during seven generations past, as well as those of the present generation, every kind of choice food and drink, as well as sleeping materials and beds. These should be offered up by the assembled priesthood as though the ancestors themselves were present, by which they shall obtain deliverance from the pains, and be born at once in a condition of happiness in heaven." And, moreover, the "World-honoured One taught his followers certain words to be repeated at the offering of sacrifices, by which the virtue thereof would be certainly secured.

On this Mugalan with joy accepted the instruction, and by means of this institution rescued his mother from her sufferings.

And so for all future time this means of deliverance shall be effectual for the purpose designed as year by year the offerings are presented according to the form delivered by Buddha.

Having heard these words, Mugalan and the rest departed to their several places, with joyous hearts and glad thoughts.


Gautama Buddha advised against reliance on "observances and rituals" as the basis for a spiritual life, on the grounds that they do not in fact produce the promised results, and called them “the basis for fruitless efforts."[108] He rejected the notion that "purification comes through a ritual,” and described this as a “perverse assumption” that he called “rules-and-vows clinging."[109]

One of the impulses to believe in the afterlife is to satisfy our sense of justice, since the allocation of consequences during a single lifetime is inconsistent with the human sense of fairness; however, giving space to the notion of the afterlife allows ecclesiastical theorists to posit the existence of hells that, in their immense cruelty, are an even greater affront to our sense of justice.

Tibetan Buddhists fail to provide any explanation for how the incredible pain being suffered by the beings in hell is proportional to the sins they have committed. For example, there is no adequate explanation in the Buddhist hell teachings for why the breakage of samaya leads to the longest imprisonment in the most painful hell of all. We can, however, make a reasonable inference, based on Shantideva's explanation in the Bodhicaryavatara for how positive karma is generated by compassionate intention.

Shantideva's calculus of virtue is simple -- good deeds lead to good consequences, better deeds lead to better consequences, and the best deeds lead to the best consequences. The best possible deed is to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. Therefore the best possible intention is the intention to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. As Shantideva says: "Immeasurable merit took hold of the well-intentioned person who thought 'Let me dispel the headaches of beings.' What then of the person who longs to remove the unequalled agony of every single being and make their virtue infinite?"[110]

Since the karmic effect of virtue is measured by the scope of its effects, the same must be true of non-virtue. Thus, since the worst hell is reserved for samaya breakers, the consequences of samaya breakage must be greater than the consequences of preventing every sentient being in the universe from achieving liberation. In other words, criticizing Sogyal or the Sakyong for womanizing and carousing is a greater crime than blocking the door to liberation for all beings. From this we deduce that the lamas must be the most important beings in the universe, because anyone who obstructs their activity is blocking the door to liberation for countless living beings.

The immense hubris of the lamas who elevate their own importance to such absurd levels would be evident if students took a moment to consider the logic of the hells in which they have allowed the lamas to imprison their minds. But students do not think logically. The risk of going to vajra hell hangs like a sword of Damocles above the head of every tantric practitioner; thus, rituals of purification and propitiation abound in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Tibetan Buddhism incorporated many elements of the ancient Bon religion in order to convert the Tibetan people. The Bon religion was saturated with the practices of propitiating demonic and celestial forces.
To quote a Tibetan on the subject: "In order to live in harmony with nature and tame the destructive natural forces, our ancestors ... were intelligent and ingenious enough to come up with the idea of communicating with these forces to pacify or to control them. This communication took the form of rituals involving propitiation, offerings, expelling, incantation, fumigation etc."[111]

Historically, these rituals included the burial of kings with living beings, including human beings: "The rituals of the bon often involved sacrificing animals (mainly horses, yaks, and sheep), making offerings of food and drink, and burying the dead with precious jewels, the benefits of which were apparently transferred to them in the afterlife through shamanistic rituals. The most elaborate of these were the ceremonies for the kings, each of whom was buried in a specially-constructed tomb, and apparently joined in death by servants, ministers, and retainers."[112]

Anyone who has practiced Tibetan Buddhism intensively is familiar with the offerings of barley-butter cakes (tormas) simulating heaps of blood and fat that are given to the oath-bound protectors and wrathful deities to satisfy their bloodlust and incite them to protect the lineage from the damage that comes from samaya breakage. These rituals, that originated in the practice of propitiating local deities believed to inhabit mountains and other natural features of the land in Tibet, are practiced by credulous Americans in temples all over the United States, while chanting maledictions like "Kill those who break samaya! Burst their hearts! Spill their blood! Crush their heads!" Thus, practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism who "break samaya" are aware that they have already invited disaster upon themselves through their ritual practices. And there is only one remedy for samaya breakage: recitation of large numbers of mantras in special ceremonies.

As the Buddha pointed out, however, there is a big problem with trying to administer this type of karmic accounting system, in which we try to burn up past evil through actions in the present. For example, if we are trying to purify the evil engendered through samaya-breakage, a problem arises because no one knows how much non-virtue one has accumulated from doubting the lama, or how much non-virtue is purified by reciting a mantra, so no one can say when the purification will be accomplished. A friend of mine named Mack, whom I met on a houseboat on the Ganges in Varanasi in 1975, and who introduced me to the Dharma, told me this story:

"Once the Buddha asked a Jain ascetic standing in a field, "What are you doing?"
The ascetic answered, "I am doing standing meditation."
The Buddha asked him, "How does that work?"
The ascetic replied, "I am not generating any karma, because I am not doing anything, but because I am living, I am burning off karma. Eventually, I will burn off all my karma, and I will be liberated."
The Buddha then asked, "Do you know how much karma you have burned off?"
"No," answered the ascetic.
"Do you know how much karma you have left to burn?"
"No," answered the ascetic.
"So, do you have any way of knowing when you will reach liberation?"
"No," answered the ascetic.

This story seems to be drawn from the Devadaha Sutra, but in truth requires no authoritative reference, because it is so obviously true. The Buddha put his finger on the problem with his usual unerring ability to identify the assumptions implicit in many widely-accepted spiritual strategies. But, attached as they are to their karma-powered spiritual technologies, Tibetan Buddhists spend no time on such contemplations. They will simply ask for a lama skilled in divination to use their divinatory skills, to answer the question: "What ritual practices, and how many of them, are necessary to purify the Sangha's samaya breakage?" Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche consulted a “clairvoyant lama” in the wake of the Sogyal scandal, and received a prescription of ritual practices that, if performed by his faithful students, could keep the renowned abuser active for years to come: "The clairvoyant lama clarified that Rinpoche will face certain obstacles in the next three Tibetan years, but if the practices he recommends are done, then there is every chance that Rinpoche will live until at least the age of eighty five."[113]

Divinatory practices are deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhism,[114] but relying on such irrational methods for decision-making undermines the self-confidence that lies at the root of genuine Buddhist practice. By relying on the mystical powers of rituals, mantras and "making offerings," i.e., propitiating unseen powers, Tibetan Buddhists ally themselves evermore strongly with the forces of superstition. Thus, the belief in hell leads to reliance on what Gautama Buddha called "the basis for fruitless efforts."

-- 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

Related apparently to this story is the Lamaist account of "The queen of the Pretas with the fiery mouth," whom the Lamas identify with the celebrated Yakshini fiendess Hariti, for whom and her five hundred sons they daily reserve some of their food relating in support of this practice the following story, evidently borrowed from the story of Hariti in the Ratnakuta Sutra:— "

Hariti, the child-eating yakshini, and "Queen of Pretas."

Hariti, queen of the hungry ghouls with the burning mouths, had five hundred children, whom she fed on living children. The great Buddha, "Mohugalaputra" coming to her dwelling, hid away Pingala the youngest and most beloved of her sons, in his begging-bowl, unknown to the gods or demons. The mother, on her return, was drowned in sorrow at the loss of her favourite son, and in her distress appealed to the omniscient Mohugalaputra for aid to recover him. The Buddha then showed her Pingala within his bowl, yet all the efforts of Hariti and her demons failed to release him. So she besought Buddha for aid who replied, "You, with five hundred children, mercilessly devour the children of men who have only two or three, yet you grieve at the loss of only one! The Preta-queen declared that this one was the most precious of all and she vowed that were he released she never again would devour human children. The Buddha, consenting, restored her child, and gave her the three Refuges and the five Precepts, and (say the Lamas) he promised that in future all Buddhist monks would give her a handful of their daily food.77

This practice is probably derived from the Hindu offering of food and drink to the manes of departed relatives, the Sraddha ceremonial.

Flying visits of mortals to Hades, having their parallels in Odysseus and Dante's visits to purgatory, are found in Lamaism, where they are known as De-lok, or "the ghostly returning,'' and are used for stirring the people to good behaviour.

Buddhist Metaphysics.

Buddha, being a Hindu, accepted the Hindu theory of the universe and its fantastic world-system, with the modifications above indicated, and he started also with the current notions of metempsychosis and Karma as part of his mental furniture.

According to the theory of metempsychosis, or more properly palingenesis, which was not unknown to the ancient Hellenic and even Jewish literature, and western fairy-tales,

"The soul that rises with us, our life's star
Hath had elsewhere its setting."

— Wordsworth.

Death merely alters the form, but does not break the continuity of the life, which proceeds from death to re-birth, and fresh deaths to fresh re-births in constant succession of changing states, dissolving and evolving until the breaking up of the universe after a kalpa, or almost an eternity of ages. How Buddha modified this doctrine will be referred to presently.

Karma,78 or the ethical doctrine of retribution, is accepted as regards its general principle, even by such modern men of science as Huxley79. It explains all the acts and events of one's life as the results of deeds done in previous existences, and it creates a system of rewards and punishments, sinking the wicked through the lower stages of human and animal existence, and even to hell, and lifting the good to the level of mighty kings, and even to the gods.

In this way Buddha explained all the acts and events of his life, his joys and sorrows, his success and failures, his virtues and weaknesses, as results of things done by him in previous states of life, which he recalled to mind as occasion arose for teaching purposes. And thus those anecdotes of the antecedent lives of the Buddha, — the so-called "Jataka tales" — with the moral lessons derived from them, came to be among the most cherished items of Buddhist belief.80

The various regions of re-birth or "ways" of life, the so-called Gati,81 are pictorially represented in the accompanying drawing called "The Wheel of Life." They are given as six (or five, as with the primitive Buddhists when the Titans were not separately represented), and are thus enumerated in the order of their superiority: —

1st. The Gods (Sura or Deva, Tibetan, Lha).

2nd. Titans (Asura, T., Lha-ma-yin).

3rd. Man (Nara, T., Mi).

4th. Beasts (Tiryak, T., Du-do82).

5th. Tantalized Ghosts (Preta, T., Yi-dvag).

6th. Hell (Naraka, T., Nal-k'am).

Key to Wheel of Life. (See p. 109.)

Bournouf83 writing from Chinese and Ceylonese sources, classes man above the Titans, but the order now given is that adopted by the Lamas.84 Existence in the first three worlds is considered superior or good, and in the last three inferior or bad. And these worlds are shown in this relation in the picture, the highest being heaven, and the lowest hell.

The six regions of re-birth are shown in the middle whorl. They are demarcated from each other by rainbow-coloured cordons representing the atmospheric zones that separate the different worlds. No place is allotted to the other phases of existence believed in by the Lamas, namely, the everlasting existence in the western paradise of Sukhavati and of the celestial Buddhas and demoniacal protectors of Lamaism, and the expressed absence of such expressions of the current modern beliefs favours the claim of this picture to considerable antiquity.

Of these six states all have already been described except the third and fourth, namely, the state of being a man or a beast, a reference to the Buddhist conception of which is necessary to understand the picture of The Wheel of Life.

The most pessimistic view is of course taken of human life. It is made to be almost unalloyed misery, its striving, it perennially unsatisfied desire, its sensations of heat and cold, thirst and hunger, depression even by surfeiting with food, anxiety of the poor for their daily bread, of the farmer for his crops and cattle, unfulfilled desires, separation from relatives, subjection to temporal laws, infirmities of old age and disease, and accidents are amongst the chief miseries referred to. The miseries of human existence are classed into eight sections, viz.: The miseries of (1) birth; (2) old age; (3) sickness; (4) death; (5) ungratified wishes and struggle for existence; (6) misfortunes and punishments for law-breaking; (7) separation from relatives and cherished objects; (8) offensive objects and sensations.

In the picture the following phases of life are depicted amongst others: —

1st. Birth in a cottage.

2nd. Children at play.

3rd. Manhood, village scenes, people drinking wine under shade of a tree, a man playing a flute, women spinning and weaving, a borrower, two traders, a drunken man.

4th. Labour by sweat of brow, men tilling a field, gathering fuel in a forest, carrying a heavy load.

5th. Accident, a man and horse falling into a river.

6th. Crime, two men fighting, one under trial before the judge, and one undergoing corporal punishment.

7th. Temporal government: the king and his ministers.

8th. Old age — decrepit old people.

9th. Disease, a physician feeling the pulse of a patient.

10th. Death, a corpse with a Lama feeling whether breath be extinct, and a Lama at the head doing worship, and a woman and other relatives weeping.

11th. Funeral ceremonies. A corpse being carried off to the funeral pyre on the top of a hill, preceded by a Lama blowing a thigh-bone trumpet and rattling a hand drum: he also has hold of the end of a white scarf which is affixed to the corpse. The object of this scarf is to guide the soul by the white path to the pyre so that it may be disposed of in the orthodox manner, and have the best chance of a good re-birth, and may not stray and get caught by outside demons. Behind the corpse-bearer is a porter with food and drink offerings, and last of all a mourning relative.

12th. Religion is represented by a temple placed above all other habitations with a Lama and monk performing worship; and a hermit in his cell with bell, vajra-sceptre, and thigh-bone trumpet; and a stupa or caitya (ch'orten) circumambulated by a devotee.

The state of the beasts is one of greater misery even than the human. In the picture are shown land and aquatic animals of various kinds devouring one another, the larger preying on the small; and also small ones combining to catch and kill the larger ones. Human hunters also are setting nets for, and others are shooting game. Domestic animals are shown laden with burdens, or ploughing and being goaded; some are being milked and shorn of their wool, others are being branded or castrated or having their nostrils bored, others killed for their flesh or skin, etc. All are suffering great misery through the anxiety and pains of preying or being preyed upon. In the water is shown a Naga or merman's house, with its inmates in grief at being preyed upon by the Garuda, a monster bird, like the fabled roc, which by the rush of air from its wings cleaves the sea to its depths in its search for Nagas.

We are now in a position to consider Buddha's conception of Human Life —

Buddha's Conception of the Cause of Life and of Misery.85

Apart from its importance as an illustration of the earlier intellectual life of humanity, the Buddhist ontology, the most wonderful, perhaps, the world has seen, possesses a paramount interest for all who would arrive at a right understanding of the religion and ethics with which it is associated.

Buddha formulated his view of life into a twelve-linked closed chain called "the Wheel of Life or of 'Becoming'" (Bhavacakra), or the Causal Nexus (Pratitya Samutpada); which he is represented, in the Vinaya scripture itself, to have thought out under the Tree of Wisdom.86 The way in which the narrative is couched, leads, indeed, to the impression that it was precisely the insight into this "Wheel of Life" which constituted his Buddhahood, and distinguished him from the other Arhats. However this may be, he gave it a very leading place in his philosophy, so that the stanza recounting its utterance, Ye dharma hetu,87 etc., termed by English writers "The Buddhist Creed," is the most frequent of all Buddhist inscriptions, and was certainly in olden days familiar to every lay Buddhist; and it is practically identical with "The four noble Truths," omitting only the initial expression of "suffering."88

Yet though this chain forms the chief corner-stone of Buddhism, it is remarkable that scarcely any two European scholars are agreed upon the exact nature and signification of some of its chief links, while the sequence of several links is deemed self-contradictory and impossible; and even the alleged continuity of the whole is doubted. The best western authorities who have attempted its interpretation, Childers89 and Prof. H. Oldenberg, have practically given up the problem in despair; the latter exclaiming, "it is utterly impossible for anyone who seeks to find out its meaning, to trace from beginning to end a connected meaning in this formula."90

Such conflict of opinion in regard to this "chain" is mainly due to the circumstance that no commentary on its subtle formula has ever been published; and that the only means hitherto available for its interpretation have been the ambiguous Pali and Sanskrit terminology for the links themselves. Thus, for one only of these links, namely, Sanskara, the following are some of the many renderings which have been attempted: —

"Constructing, preparing, perfecting, embellishing, aggregation; matter; Karma, the Skandhas. — ('As a technical term, Sankaro has several decided shades of meaning ... in fact, Sankharo includes everything of which impermanence may be predicated, or, what is the same thing, everything which springs from a cause ' — Childers.)91 Les Concepts. — (Burnouf )92; Composition notion (Csoma); Willen (Schmidt); Discrimination (Hardy); Les idees (Foucaux)93; Tendencies, potentialities, confections (Rhys Davids);94 Gestaltungen: shapes and forms (H. Oldenberg); Conformations (W. Hoey).

This bewildering obscurity of its terminology has somewhat displaced the chain from its due prominence in the European books on the system, notwithstanding the importance claimed for it by Buddhists.

Now I have lately discovered among the frescoes of the ancient Buddhist caves of Ajanta, in central India, a picture, over thirteen centuries old, which supplies a valuable commentary on this subject. It portrays in concrete form those metaphysical conceptions — the so-called Nidana — which, in their Pali and Sanskrit terminology, have proved so puzzling to European scholars. And, as this picture, supplemented by its Tibetan versions and its detailed explanation as given me by learned Lamas, who are thoroughly familiar with it, and possess its traditional interpretation,95 affords a clue to much that is imperfectly understood, and helps to settle disputed points of fundamental importance, these advantages seem to justify my bringing it to notice, and may also, I hope, justify my attempt, however crude, at exhibiting its continuity as a complete authentic account of human life from the absolute standpoint of the earliest Buddhist philosophy.

One important result of this new interpretation of the ancient formula will be to show that it seems to possess more in common with modern philosophic methods and speculations than is usually suspected. Indeed, it would scarcely be going too far to say that at a period before the epoch of Alexander the Great, in the valley of the Ganges, and at a time when writing was still unknown in India, an Indian anchorite evolved in the main by private study and meditation an ontological system which, while having much in common with the philosophy of Plato and of Kant,96 and the most profound and celebrated speculations of modern times (such as those of Bishop Berkeley, and Schopenhauer, and Hartmann), yet far surpassed these in elaborateness. And as this bold system formed the basis of Buddhist ethics, its formulas came to be represented for teaching purposes in concrete pictorial form in the vestibules of the Indian monasteries and temples, as they still are in Tibet and China; and although the impermanence of the materials of the painter's art has unfortunately deprived us of most of its traces in India, where Buddhism has been extinct for centuries, yet I have found it as a relic in the deserted cave-temples of Ajanta.97

Buddha himself may, as the Lamas relate, have originated the picture of "The Wheel of Life," by drawing it in diagrammatic fashion with grains of rice, from a stalk which he had plucked while teaching h is disciples in a rice-field. The introduction of the pictorial details is ascribed to the great Indian monk Nagarjuna, who lived in the second century A.D., under the patronage of the successors of the Scythian king Kanishka, who we know from Hiuen Tsiang employed artists in great numbers in the decoration of Buddhist buildings. These pictorial details, however, are alleged to be objective representations of the self-same similies used by Buddha himself, who, as is clear from his Sutras or sermons, constantly used homely similies and allegories to illustrate his doctrines. And a general account of the construction of the picture occurs in the Divyavadana.98

The particular Indian painting from Ajanta on which the present article is based, is attributed to the sixth century of our era,99 while the Tibetan picture which supplements it, is alleged, and with reason, to be a copy of one brought to Tibet by the Indian monk "Bande Yeshe," in the eighth century A.D.100

The Tibetan form of the picture101 here given should be studied with its Key (p. 102). It is a disc or wheel, symbolizing the endless cycle of Life (samsara), of which each re-birth is a revolution. The wheel is held in the clutches of a monster, who represents the hideousness of the Clinging to Life. The broad tire is occupied by the Causal Nexus, and the nave by the three vices or delusions, "The Daughters of Desire," the three vices — Raga, Dvesa, Moha. Lust, ill-will, stupidity, which lie at the core of re-birth, and are figured here, as in the other Indian picture on page 6, as a dove, serpent, and pig, appropriately coloured red, green, and black; while the body of the wheel, which is considered to be in continuous revolution, is filled with pictorial details of Life in its several forms, or "The Whirling on the Wheel" of Life. And outside the wheel is a figure of Buddha, showing that he has escaped from the cycle, to which he is represented as pointing the way of escape.

The ancient conception of Life under the figure of a wheel of which each re-birth is a revolution is not confined to Buddhism and Brahmanism. This fancy finds an echo more than once in Hellenic literature.102

In the pictorial diagram of human life, as conceived by Buddhist philosophy, the causal nexus begins at the left-hand side of the top partition. The twelve links round the rim follow in the usual order and in evolutionary fashion as follows: —

Causal Category. / Sanskrit / Evolutionary Stage.

I. Unconscious Will / Avidya / Stage of passing from Death to Re-birth.
II. Conformations / Sanskara / Shaping of formless physical and mental materials (in the Gata).
III. Consciousness / Vijnana / Rise of Conscious Experience.  
IV. Self -consciousness / Nama-rupa / Rise of Individuality — distinction between self and not-self.  
V. Sense - surfaces and Understanding / Chadayatana / Realizes possession of Sense-Surfaces and Understanding with reference to outside world.  
VI. Contact / Sparsa / Exercise of Sense-organs on outer world.
VII. Feeling / Vedana / Mental and physical sensations.  
VIII. Desire / Trishna / Desire, as experience of pain or delusive pleasure.  
IX. Indulgence / Upadana / Grasping greed, as satisfying Desire, inducing clinging to Worldly Wealth and desire of heir to it.
X. Fuller Life / Bhava / Life in fuller form, as enriched by satisfying desire of married life and as means of obtaining heir.
XI. Birth (of heir) / Jati / Maturity by birth of heir (which affords re-birth to another spirit).
XII. Decay and Death. / Jaramarana / Maturity leads to Decay and to Death.
I. Unconscious Will. / Avidya / Passing from Death to Re-birth.

The key-note to Buddha's system is that Life in any form must necessarily, and not merely accidentally, be accompanied by suffering as others had taught. Anityam Duhkham Anatmakam!103 All is transitory, painful, and unreal!

Buddha, therefore, set himself the task of solving the mystery of Life in order to find the way of escape from continual Becomings, which was clearly involved in misery. Being a Hindu, he adopted the then, as now, current Hindu notion of metempsychosis or palingenesis, the doctrine, namely, that death merely alters the form, but does not break the continuity of life104 which proceeds from Death to Re-birth, and fresh Deaths to fresh Rebirths in constant succession of changing states dissolving and evolving until the breaking up of the universe after a Kalpa, or almost an eternity of countless ages; though it would appear probable that Buddha and the primitive Buddhists denied the real existence of the material and physical world as well as the vital.

In his ontological scheme, while adopting an agnostic attitude towards the Hindu gods and their creative functions, Buddha does not begin by attempting to account for the first life. He accepts the world as a working system on metempsychological lines, and he evades the necessity for a supernatural creator by interpreting the Universe, as Will and Idea, and by placing the Karma or ethical doctrine of retribution in the position of the Supernatural Controlling Intelligence or Creator. Perceiving the relativity of knowledge and that nature furnishes presumptive evidence that some evolution has taken place in her methods, he throws his theory of the vital process into a synthetical or developmental form, showing a gradual transition from the simple to the complex, and proceeding from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous by an ever-changing cosmic order in which everything is dominated by causality.

The starting point in Buddha's theory of Life is the connecting link between the old life and the new. Unfortunately, however, even on so elementary a point as this, there exists no consensus of opinion as to what Buddha's view of this link precisely was, for he concerned himself less with the metaphysical aspects of his philosophy than with the practical alleviation and removal of sorrow. He expressly avoided the use of the term "Soul" (Atman), as this word was already in use in Brahmanism with the implication of supernatural and theistic creation. Some say that he taught there is no continuity between the old life and the new, that the Karma attaches itself to any spirit which may chance to be re-born at the time of the person's death. But if this be so, where is the justice of the Karma doctrine? It is said by some that the sole-surviving thing is Karma, yet this term is used so elastically as to include products which belong rather to the category of the Will-to-live. Others say that Vijnana, or consciousness alone, survives; and so on.105


Interesting as it is to scholars and persons posing as Tibetan Buddhists in the 21st Century, the entire Tibetan vision of the afterlife would have been regarded as superstitious rubbish by the original founder of Buddhism. Gautama Buddha lived sometime between the 6th and 4th Centuries BCE. The original teachings of Gautama Buddha on eternal life are found in Sutta 63 of the Majjhima Nikaya, composed between the 3rd and 2nd Century BCE. In this Sutta, Gautama Buddha reminded Malunkyaputta, a monk who was threatening to quit the Order if he didn't get some answers to various questions about the afterlife, that he, the Buddha, had never promised to answer such questions as an inducement to enter the holy life:

"Pray, Mâlunkyâputta, did I ever say to you, 'Come, Mâlunkyâputta, lead the religious life under me, and I will elucidate to you either that the world is eternal, or that the world is not eternal, . . . or that the saint neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"Nay, verily, Reverend Sir."

"Or did you ever say to me, 'Reverend Sir, I will lead the religious life under The Blessed One, on condition that The Blessed One elucidate to me either that the world is eternal, or that the world is not eternal, . . . or that the saint neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"Nay, verily, Reverend Sir."

"So you acknowledge, Mâlunkyâputta, that I have not said to you, 'Come, Mâlunkyâputta, lead the religious life under me and I will elucidate to you either that the world is eternal, or that the world is not eternal, . . . or that the saint neither exists nor does not exist after death...."

The Buddha's position on the afterlife was thus a non-position. He simply refused to talk about it. In the Simsapa Sutta, he explained that he would not answer questions about the afterlife because they do not lead to “direct knowledge, self-awakening, and Unbinding,” the true goals of practice:

"Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks:"

"What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

"The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them."[40]



As we have noted, Gautama Buddha taught that belief in an afterlife was unhelpful to reaching the goal of “direct knowledge, self-awakening, and Unbinding.” These goals, he implied, are to be attained in this life, in this body, with this mind. But purveyors of religion chafe against such restrictions. Their theories require an expanse of time where spiritual imaginations can take wing, and cosmic dramas can unfold.

By expanding the playing field of existence into an asserted afterlife, beyond birth and death, religious theorists can accommodate a doctrine of "soul development" spanning lifetimes. Like Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists believe in the endless cycle of reincarnation, which is futile and pervaded with suffering. Like Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists aspire to end compelled reincarnation by living ethically, performing ritual offerings, visualizing oneself as a luminous being in a divine environment, and receiving spiritual blessings from divine beings that generate transcendent insights into the nature of Reality. Additionally, Tibetan Buddhists and all Mahayanists aspire to be Bodhisattvas, and establish all sentient beings in the permanent happiness of liberation, because they have at some time or another, been our kind and compassionate mothers.

The Tibetan Buddhist story of life after death presumes we each possess a mind of original clarity that is locked in unawareness by the ignorant assumption of self-existence. Believing in self-benefit as the means to obtain happiness, we are pulled by attraction and pushed by aversion, compulsively reborn in physical, supra-physical, and non-physical realms, without any endpoint. Through philosophical sleight-of-hand, Tibetan Buddhism avoids the fact that reincarnation requires the existence of some vehicle to carry the dead person's "soul-impression," "personality record" or "karmic DNA" from life to life. Reginald Ray performs this conceptual trick in an essay on karma published on

"The Buddhist insistence that there is ultimately no 'I' or 'self' raises an interesting question: how can there be karmic continuity from life to life? [E]very intentional action leaves a karmic imprint on our minds [that] remains within us at an inaccessible level of our mind known as the alaya [and] exits the body at death and carries along with it our entire karmic history *** because, although ultimately there is no self, [every] moment of consciousness, acting as a principal cause, transfers its karmic burden to the next, during our life and at our death. It is our very belief in a 'self' that holds this karmic stream intact and enables us to have the illusion of being a separate, discrete person. It is this illusory idea, structured according to our karma, that continues from one lifetime to the next."[47] In other words, Tibetan Buddhists assert that although people have no self-identity, the “illusory self,” or "samsaric consciousness" reincarnates.

However, if the only thing that reincarnates is samsaric consciousness, what is it that becomes Buddha? The Buddha-nature of every living being is variously called “the Essence of Mind” [48] or “Tathaghatagharba,” a change of nomenclature that preserves the essential Hindu doctrine of Atman.[49] According to the Vedic/Upanishadic tradition, when Atman, the God-essence of all living beings, becomes contaminated with “kleshas,” delusive thought impressions, it gives rise to individual living beings, who suffer compelled reincarnation until at last, through ascetic and meditative practices (tapas and jhana), they cleanse the delusion of individual self-existence, merge back into Atman, and remain one with God in Sat-Chit-Ananda, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. Tibetan Buddhists adopted the Mahayana philosophy of the Self returning to its pure origins, as described in The Mahaparinirvana Sutra:

“If a person is able truly to discern
That his/ her intrinsic being possesses the Buddha-Nature,
Then you should know that such a person
Will enter into the Secret Matrix [the Tathagatagarbha].
That person who knows the Self [atman] and what belongs to the Self [atmiya]
Has already transcended the mundane world.”[50]

The Mahayana doctrine of Tathagatagharbha mirrors the Upanishadic doctrine of Atman because “when Buddhism developed itself into Mahāyāna Buddhism, it could not but take the appearance of Monism as a result of Absolutization of the Buddha, and approach the Upanisadic thinking in its philosophy.”[51] Thus, like Hindu yogis, Tibetan Buddhists pursue yogic practices and seek the guru’s blessings to remove kleshas that obscure awareness of Tathagatagharba, the Essence of Mind. “What we call ‘essence of mind’ is the actual face of unconditioned pure awareness, which is recognized through receiving the guru's blessings and instructions. If you wonder what this is like, it is empty in essence, beyond conceptual reference; it is cognizant by nature, spontaneously present; and it is all-pervasive and unobstructed in its compassionate energy.”[52]

Once re-established in the pure awareness of the Essence of Mind or Tathagatagharba, one becomes the equal of the Buddha. “’The Self’ signifies the Buddha; ’the Eternal’ signifies the Dharmakaya; ’Bliss’ signifies Nirvana, and ’the Pure’ signifies Dharma.”[53] From that liberated sphere, the Bodhisattvas emanate benefit into all realms, as generosity becomes their vehicle to achieve the ultimate liberation of all beings. The Mahaparinirvana sutra states: “When the Bodhisattva gives, he so contrives things that beings do not ask and yet are given [what they need]. As a result of this, on the morning of Buddhahood, he attains the Sovereign Self [aisvarya-atman; i.e. the autonomous, free and unrestricted Self].”[54]

Thus, Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism espouse similar views of the cause of compelled reincarnation and the means of ending it. Compelled reincarnation is due to infatuation with appearances, arising from delusive belief in self-existence separate from Atman or Tathagatagharba. Compelled reincarnation is ended by cleansing the mind of kleshas that cause attraction to external objects. “All created things are sorrow; Nirvana is Bliss. It is most wonderful and destroys created things.”[55] The two flows of doctrine were symbolically merged when Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist god of compassion, was merged with Shiva, the King of the Vedic Yogis. "Wangchuk Chenpo (Mahashevara, Shiva), the great god of Hinduism, is also described as a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara."[56]

While they support each other well on a theoretical basis, neither Hindu nor Tibetan Buddhist systems of reincarnation can point to any reliable evidence to support their theories of the afterlife. The technology of karmic DNA data storage hasn’t advanced beyond Shinje’s use of black and white stones, and no one has identified a network capable of moving karmic DNA from a dying body to a body that has yet to be born. Since the religious aren’t delivering scientific evidence that karmic DNA storage and transmission is viable, I went looking for some hopeful speculation on the subject in the scientific community. Perhaps someone would propose that consciousness is actually “dark matter,” writing on photons with bioenergy, as a possible karmic DNA storage medium! But no one did, and I repeatedly came back to this disappointing dispatch from the scientific cutting edge by Sean M. Carroll in Scientific American:

“Claims that some form of consciousness persists after our bodies die and decay into their constituent atoms face one huge, insuperable obstacle: the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood, and there’s no way within those laws to allow for the information stored in our brains to persist after we die. If you claim that some form of soul persists beyond death, what particles is that soul made of? What forces are holding it together? How does it interact with ordinary matter? Everything we know about quantum field theory (QFT) says that there aren’t any sensible answers to these questions. Of course, everything we know about quantum field theory could be wrong. Also, the Moon could be made of green cheese.”[57]

-- 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
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:29 am

Part 3 of 4

The view adopted in this paper is based upon that held by one of the Lamas who explained to me the pictorial Nidanas; and it has the advantages of being not only intelligible, but consistent, and seems as reasonable as any ontological theory well can be which postulates a metaphysical absolute.

Our view holds that there is actual continuity of the Individual life (or Sattva) between death and re-birth. And this identity of being is supported by the doctrine of Ekotibhava, which word, according to its Tibetan etymology, means "to become one uninterruptedly."106

The Surviving Thing, which is carried on into the new career of the individual, would indeed seem to be identical with what is now generally known to occidentals as Hartmann's absolute, "the Unconscious Will"; and to this is attached the Karma or retribution of deeds done in former lives.

This, the first link of the Ontological Chain, begins at the instant when the mortal envelope is thrown off or changed, that is at "death," and was termed by Buddha the stage of Avidya, which literally means "Want of Knowledge" and usually rendered into English as "Ignorance" or "Nescience." But the word Avidya is used in different senses. Its ordinary sense is thus defined in the Vinaya Texts, i., 76: "Not to know Suffering, not to know the Cause of suffering, not to know the Cessation of suffering, not to know the Path which leads to the cessation of suffering, this is called Ignorance." But Avidya, as the initial link of the Causal Nexus, is, according to our information, what may be termed the Ignorant Unconscious-Will-to-Live.

CHAPTER XLVIII: On the Doctrine of the Denial of the Will-to-Live [1]

Man has his existence and being either with his will, in other words, with his consent, or without it; in the latter case such an existence, embittered by inevitable sufferings of many kinds, would be a flagrant injustice. The ancients, particularly the Stoics, and also the Peripatetics and Academics, laboured in vain to prove that virtue is enough to make life happy; experience loudly cried out against this. Although they were not clearly aware of it, what was really at the root of the attempt of those philosophers was the assumed justice of the case; he who was without guilt ought to be free from suffering, and hence happy. But the serious and profound solution of the problem is to be found in the Christian doctrine that works do not justify. Accordingly, although a man has practised all justice and philanthropy, consequently the , honestum, he is still not culpa omni carens [2] as Cicero imagines (Tusc., V, 1); but el delito mayor del hombre es haber nacido (Man's greatest offence is that he was born) as the poet Calderon, inspired by Christianity, has expressed it from a knowledge far profounder than was possessed by those wise men. Accordingly, that man comes into the world already involved in guilt can appear absurd only to the person who regards him as just having come from nothing, and as the work of another. Hence in consequence of this guilt, which must therefore have come from his will, man rightly remains abandoned to physical and mental sufferings, even when he has practised all those virtues, and so he is not happy. This follows from the eternal justice of which I spoke in § 63 of volume 1. However, as St. Paul (Rom. iii, 21 seqq.), Augustine, and Luther teach, works cannot justify, since we all are and remain essentially sinners. This is due in the last resort to the fact that, since operari sequitur esse, [3] if we acted as we ought to act, we should also necessarily be what we ought to be. But then we should not need any salvation from our present condition, and such salvation is represented as the highest goal not only by Christianity, but also by Brahmanism and Buddhism (under the name expressed in English by final emancipation); in other words, we should not need to become something quite different from, indeed the very opposite of, what we are. However, since we are what we ought not to be, we also necessarily do what we ought not to do. We therefore need a complete transformation of our nature and disposition, i.e., the new spiritual birth, regeneration, as the result of which salvation appears. Although the guilt lies in conduct, in the operari, yet the root of the guilt lies in our essentia et existentia [Google translate: the essence of existence], for the operari necessarily proceeds from these, as I have explained in the essay On the Freedom of the Will. Accordingly, original sin is really our only true sin. Now it is true that the Christian myth makes original sin arise only after man already existed, and for this purpose ascribes to him, per impossibile, a free will; it does this, however, simply as a myth. The innermost kernel and spirit of Christianity is identical with that of Brahmanism and Buddhism; they all teach a heavy guilt of the human race through its existence itself, only Christianity does not proceed in this respect directly and openly, like those more ancient religions. It represents the guilt not as being established simply by existence itself, but as arising through the act of the first human couple. This was possible only under the fiction of a liberum arbitrium indifferentiae [Google translate: Free choice of indifference], [4] and was necessary only on account of the Jewish fundamental dogma, into which that doctrine was here to be implanted. According to the truth, the very origin of man himself is the act of his free will, and is accordingly identical with the Fall, and therefore the original sin, of which all others are the result, appeared already with man's essentia and existentia; but the fundamental dogma of Judaism did not admit of such an explanation. Therefore Augustine taught in his books De Libero Arbitrio that only as Adam before the Fall was man guiltless and had a free will, whereas for ever after he is involved in the necessity of sin. The law, , in the biblical sense, always demands that we should change our conduct, while our essential nature would remain unchanged. But since this is impossible, Paul says that no one is justified before the law; we can be transferred from the state of sinfulness into that of freedom and salvation only by the new birth or regeneration in Jesus Christ, in consequence of the effect of grace, by virtue of which a new man arises, and the old man is abolished (in other words, a fundamental change of disposition). This is the Christian myth with regard to ethics. But of course Jewish theism, on to which the myth was grafted, must have received marvellous additions in order to attach itself to that myth. Here the fable of the Fall presented the only place for the graft of the old Indian stem. It is to be ascribed just to this forcibly surmounted difficulty that the Christian mysteries have obtained an appearance so strange and opposed to common sense. Such an appearance makes proselytizing more difficult; on this account and from an inability to grasp their profound meaning, Pelagianism, or present-day rationalism, rises up against them, and tries to explain them away by exegesis, but in this way it reduces Christianity to Judaism.

However, to speak without myth; as long as our will is the same, our world cannot be other than it is. It is true that all men wish to be delivered from the state of suffering and death; they would like, as we say, to attain to eternal bliss, to enter the kingdom of heaven, but not on their own feet; they would like to be carried there by the course of nature. But this is impossible; for nature is only the copy, the shadow, of our will. Therefore, of course, she will never let us fall and become nothing; but she cannot bring us anywhere except always into nature again. Yet everyone experiences in his own life and death how precarious it is to exist as a part of nature. Accordingly, existence is certainly to be regarded as an error or mistake, to return from which is salvation; it bears this character throughout. Therefore it is conceived in this sense by the ancient Samana religions, and also by real and original Christianity, although in a roundabout way. Even Judaism itself contains the germ of such a view, at any rate in the Fall of man; this is its redeeming feature. Only Greek paganism and Islam are wholly optimistic; therefore in the former the opposite tendency had to find expression at least in tragedy. In Islam, however, the most modern as well as the worst of all religions, this opposite tendency appeared as Sufism, that very fine phenomenon which is entirely Indian in spirit and origin, and has now continued to exist for over a thousand years. In fact, nothing else can be stated as the aim of our existence except the knowledge that it would be better for us not to exist. This, however, is the most important of all truths, and must therefore be stated, however much it stands in contrast with the present-day mode of European thought. On the other hand, it is nevertheless the most universally recognized fundamental truth in the whole of non-Mohammedan Asia, today as much as three thousand years ago.

Now if we consider the will-to-live as a whole and objectively, we have to think of it, according to what has been said, as involved in a delusion. To return from this, and hence to deny its whole present endeavour, is what religions describe as self-denial or self-renunciation, abnegatio sui ipsius; [5] for the real self is the will-to-live. The moral virtues, hence justice and philanthropy, if pure, spring, as I have shown, from the fact that the will-to-live, seeing through the principium individuationis, recognizes itself again in all its phenomena; accordingly they are primarily a sign, a symptom, that the appearing will is no longer firmly held in that delusion, but that disillusionment already occurs. Thus it might be said figuratively that the will already flaps its wings, in order to fly away from it. Conversely, injustice, wickedness, cruelty are signs of the opposite, that is, of deep entanglement in that delusion. But in the second place, these moral virtues are a means of advancing self-renunciation, and accordingly of denying the will-to-live. For true righteousness, inviolable justice, that first and most important cardinal virtue, is so heavy a task, that whoever professes it unconditionally and from the bottom of his heart has to make sacrifices which soon deprive life of the sweetness required to make it enjoyable, and thereby turn the will from it, and thus lead to resignation. Yet the very thing that makes righteousness venerable is the sacrifices it costs; in trifles it is not admired. Its true nature really consists in the righteous man's not throwing on others, by craft or force, the burdens and sorrows incidental to life, as is done by the unrighteous, but in his bearing what has fallen to his lot. In this way he has to endure undiminished the full burden of the evil imposed on human life. Justice thereby becomes a means for advancing the denial of the will-to-live, since want and suffering, those actual conditions of human life, are its consequence; but these lead to resignation. Caritas, the virtue of philanthropy which goes farther, certainly leads even more quickly to the same result. For on the strength of it, a person takes over also the sufferings that originally fall to the lot of others; he therefore appropriates to himself a greater share of these than would come to him as an individual in the ordinary course of things. He who is inspired by this virtue has again recognized in everyone else his own inner nature. In this way he now identifies his own lot with that of mankind in general; but this is a hard lot, namely that of striving, suffering, and dying. Therefore, whoever, by renouncing every accidental advantage, desires for himself no other lot than that of mankind in general, can no longer desire even this for any length of time. Clinging to life and its pleasures must now soon yield, and make way for a universal renunciation; consequently, there will come about the denial of the will. Now since, according to this, poverty, privations, and special sufferings of many kinds are produced by the most complete exercise of moral virtues, asceticism in the narrowest sense, the giving up of all property, the deliberate search for the unpleasant and repulsive, self-torture, fasting, the hairy garment, mortification of the flesh; all these are rejected by many as superfluous, and perhaps rightly so. Justice itself is the hairy garment that causes its owner constant hardship, and philanthropy that gives away what is necessary provides us with constant fasting.6 For this reason, Buddhism is free from that strict and excessive asceticism that plays a large part in Brahmanism, and thus from deliberate self-mortification. It rests content with the celibacy, voluntary poverty, humility, and obedience of the monks, with abstinence from animal food, as well as from all worldliness. Further, since the goal to which the moral virtues lead is the one here indicated, the Vedanta philosophy7 rightly says that, after the entrance of true knowledge with complete resignation in its train, and so after the arrival of the new birth, the morality or immorality of previous conduct becomes a matter of indifference; and it uses here the saying so often quoted by the Brahmans: Finditur nodus cordis, dissolvuntur omnes dubitationes, ejusque opera evanescunt, viso supremo illo (Sankara, sloka 32). [8] Now, however objectionable this view may be to many, to whom a reward in heaven or a punishment in hell is a much more satisfactory explanation of the ethical significance of human action, just as even the good Windischmann rejects that teaching with horror while expounding it; yet he who is able to get to the bottom of things will find that, in the end, this teaching agrees with the Christian doctrine that is urged especially by Luther. This doctrine teaches that it is not works that save us, but only faith appearing through the effect of grace, and that therefore we can never be justified by our actions, but obtain forgiveness for our sins only by virtue of the merits of the Mediator. In fact, it is easy to see that, without such assumptions, Christianity would have to teach endless punishments for all, and Brahmanism endless rebirths, and hence that no salvation would be attained by either. Sinful works and their consequence must be annulled and annihilated at some time either by the pardon of another, or by the appearance of our own better knowledge, otherwise the world cannot hope for any salvation; afterwards, however, these become a matter of indifference. This is also the , [9] the announcement of which is finally imposed by the already risen Christ on his Apostles as the sum of their mission (Luke, xxiv, 47). The moral virtues are not really the ultimate end, but only a step towards it. In the Christian myth, this step is expressed by the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and with this moral responsibility appears simultaneously with original sin. This original sin itself is in fact the affirmation of the will-to-live; on the other hand, the denial of this will, in consequence of the dawning of better knowledge, is salvation. Therefore, what is moral is to be found between these two; it accompanies man as a light on his path from the affirmation to the denial of the will, or, mythically, from the entrance of original sin to salvation through faith in the mediation of the incarnate God (Avatar): or, according to the teaching of the Veda, through all the rebirths that are the consequence of the works in each case, until right knowledge appears, and with it salvation (final emancipation), Moksha, i.e., reunion with Brahma. But the Buddhists with complete frankness describe the matter only negatively as Nirvana, which is the negation of this world or of Samsara. If Nirvana is defined as nothing, this means only that Samsara contains no single element that could serve to define or construct Nirvana. For this reason the Jains, who differ from the Buddhists only in name, call the Brahmans who believe in the Vedas, Sabdapramans, a nickname supposed to signify that they believe on hearsay what cannot be known or proved (Asiatic Researches, Vol. VI, p. 474).

When certain ancient philosophers, such as Orpheus, the Pythagoreans, Plato (e.g., in the Phaedo, pp. 151, 183 seq., ed. Bip., and see Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, iii, p. 400 seq.), deplore the soul's connexion with the body, as the Apostle Paul does, and wish to be liberated from this connexion, we understand the real and true meaning of this complaint, in so far as we recognize in the second book that the body is the will itself, objectively perceived as spatial phenomenon.

In the hour of death, the decision is made whether man falls back into the womb of nature, or else no longer belongs to her, but --: we lack image, concept, and word for this opposite, just because all these are taken from the objectification of the will, and therefore belong to that objectification; consequently, they cannot in any way express its absolute opposite; accordingly, this remains for us a mere negation. However, the death of the individual is in each case the unweariedly repeated question of nature to the will-to-live: "Have you had enough? Do you wish to escape from me?" The individual life is short, so that the question may be put often enough. The ceremonies, prayers, and exhortations of the Brahmans at the time of death are conceived in this sense, as we find them preserved in several passages of the Upanishad. In just the same way, the Christian concern is for the proper employment of the hour of death by means of exhortation, confession, communion, and extreme unction; hence the Christian prayers for preservation from a sudden end. That many desire just such an end at the present day simply shows that they no longer stand at the Christian point of view, which is that of the denial of the will-to-live, but at that of its affirmation, which is the heathen.

However, he will be least afraid of becoming nothing in death who has recognized that he is already nothing now, and who consequently no longer takes any interest in his individual phenomenon, since in him knowledge has, so to speak, burnt up and consumed the will, so that there is no longer any will, any keen desire for individual existence, left in him.

Individuality, of course, is inherent above all in the intellect; reflecting the phenomenon, the intellect is related thereto, and the phenomenon has the principium individuationis [Google translate: the individualization] as its form. But individuality is also inherent in the will, in so far as the character is individual; yet this character itself is abolished in the denial of the will. Thus individuality is inherent in the will only in its affirmation, not in its denial. The holiness attaching to every purely moral action rests on the fact that ultimately such action springs from the immediate knowledge of the numerical identity of the inner nature of all living things. [10] But this identity is really present only in the state of the denial of the will (Nirvana), as the affirmation of the will (Samsara) has for its form the phenomenal appearance of this in plurality and multiplicity. Affirmation of the will-to-live, the phenomenal world, diversity of all beings, individuality, egoism, hatred, wickedness, all spring from one root. In just the same way, on the other hand, the world as thing-in-itself, the identity of all beings, justice, righteousness, philanthropy, denial of the will-to-live, spring from one root. Now, as I have sufficiently shown, moral virtues spring from an awareness of that identity of all beings; this, however, lies not in the phenomenon, but in the thing-in-itself, in the root of all beings. If this is the case, then the virtuous action is a momentary passing through the point, the permanent return to which is the denial of the will-to-live.

It is a deduction from what has been said that we have no ground for assuming that there are even more perfect intelligences than those of human beings. For we see that this intelligence is already sufficient for imparting to the will that knowledge in consequence of which the will denies and abolishes itself. With this knowledge, individuality, and therefore intelligence, as being merely a tool of individual nature, of animal nature, cease. To us this will appear less objectionable when we consider that we cannot conceive even the most perfect possible intelligences, which we may tentatively assume for this purpose, as indeed continuing to exist throughout an endless time, a time that would prove to be much too poor to afford them constantly new objects worthy of them. Thus, because the inner essence of all things is at bottom identical, all knowledge of it is necessarily tautological. If this inner essence is once grasped, as it soon would be by those most perfect intelligences, what would be left for them but mere repetition and its tedium throughout endless time? Thus, even from this point of view, we are referred to the fact that the aim of all intelligence can only be reaction to a will; but since all willing is error, the last work of intelligence is to abolish willing, whose aims and ends it had hitherto served. Accordingly, even the most perfect intelligence possible can be only a transition stage to that which no knowledge can ever reach; in fact, such an intelligence, in the nature of things, can take only the place of the moment of attained, perfect insight.

In agreement with all these considerations, and with what was shown in the second book to be the origin of knowledge from the will, since knowledge is serviceable to the aims of the will, and in this way reflects the will in its affirmation, whereas true salvation lies in the denial of the will, we see all religions at their highest point end in mysticism and mysteries, that is to say, in darkness and veiled obscurity. These really indicate merely a blank spot for knowledge, the point where all knowledge necessarily ceases. Hence for thought this can be expressed only by negations, but for sense-perception it is indicated by symbolical signs, in temples by dim light and silence, in Brahmanism even by the required suspension of all thought and perception for the purpose of entering into the deepest communion with one's own self, by mentally uttering the mysterious Om. [*] In the widest sense, mysticism is every guidance to the immediate awareness of that which is not reached either by perception or conception, or generally by any knowledge. The mystic is opposed to the philosopher by the fact that he begins from within, whereas the philosopher begins from without. The mystic starts from his inner, positive, individual experience, in which he finds himself as the eternal and only being, and so on. But nothing of this is communicable except the assertions that we have to accept on his word; consequently he is unable to convince. The philosopher, on the other hand, starts from what is common to all, the objective phenomenon lying before us all, and from the facts of self-consciousness as they are to be found in everyone. Therefore reflection on all this, and the combination of the data given in it, are his method; for this reason he is able to convince. He should therefore beware of falling into the way of the mystics, and, for instance, by assertion of intellectual intuitions, or of pretended immediate apprehensions of the faculty of reason, of trying to give in bright colours a positive knowledge of what is for ever inaccessible to all knowledge, or at most can be expressed only by a negation. Philosophy has its value and virtue in its rejection of all assumptions that cannot be substantiated, and in its acceptance as its data only of that which can be proved with certainty in the external world given by perception, in the forms constituting our intellect for the apprehension of the world, and in the consciousness of one's own self common to all. For this reason it must remain cosmology, and cannot become theology. Its theme must restrict itself to the world; to express from every aspect what this world is, what it may be in its innermost nature, is all that it can honestly achieve. Now it is in keeping with this that, when my teaching reaches its highest point, it assumes a negative character, and so ends with a negation. Thus it can speak here only of what is denied or given up; but what is gained in place of this, what is laid hold of, it is forced (at the conclusion of the fourth book) to describe as nothing; and it can add only the consolation that it may be merely a relative, not an absolute, nothing. For, if something is no one of all the things that we know, then certainly it is for us in general nothing. Yet it still does not follow from this that it is nothing absolutely, namely that it must be nothing from every possible point of view and in every possible sense, but only that we are restricted to a wholly negative knowledge of it; and this may very well lie in the limitation of our point of view. Now it is precisely here that the mystic proceeds positively, and therefore, from this point, nothing is left but mysticism. Anyone, however, who desires this kind of supplement to the negative knowledge to which alone philosophy can guide him, will find it in its most beautiful and richest form in the Oupnekhat, in the Enneads of Plotinus, in Scotus Erigena, in passages of Jacob Bohme, and especially in the wonderful work of Madame de Guyon, Les Torrens, and in Angelus Silesius, and finally also in the poems of the Sufis, of which Tholuck has given us one collection in Latin and another translation into German, and in many other works. The Sufis are the Gnostics of Islam; hence also Sarli describes them by an expression that is translated by "full of insight." Theism, calculated with reference to the capacity of the crowd, places the primary source of existence outside us, as an object. All mysticism, and so Sufism also, at the various stages of its initiation, draw this source gradually back into ourselves as the subject, and the adept at last recognizes with wonder and delight that he himself is it. We find this course of events expressed by Meister Eckhart, the father of German mysticism, not only in the form of a precept for the perfect ascetic "that he seek not God outside himself" (Eckhart's Works, edited by Pfeiffer, Vol. I, p. 626), but also exhibited extremely naively by the fact that, after Eckhart's spiritual daughter had experienced that conversion in herself, she sought him out, in order to cry out to him jubilantly: "Sir, rejoice with me, I have become God!" (loc. cit., p. 465). The mysticism of the Sufis also expresses itself generally in this same spirit, principally as a revelling in the consciousness that we ourselves are the kernel of the world and the source of all existence, to which everything returns.

It is true that there also frequently occurs the call to give up all willing as the only way in which deliverance from individual existence and its sufferings is possible; yet it is subordinated and is required as something easy. In the mysticism of the Hindus, on the other hand, the latter side comes out much more strongly, and in Christian mysticism it is quite predominant, so that the pantheistic consciousness, essential to all mysticism, here appears only in a secondary way, in consequence of the giving up of all willing, as union with God. In keeping with this difference of conception Mohammedan mysticism has a very cheerful, Christian mysticism a melancholy and painful character, while that of the Hindus, standing above both, holds the mean in this respect.

-- The World As Will and Representation, by Arthur Schopenhauer

The pictorial representation of this link is a blind she-camel ("Ignorant" Productive Unconscious Will) led by a driver (the Karma).107

The camel vividly suggests the long and trying journey of the Unconscious Will across the desert valley of the shadow of death, past death itself to the dawn of the new life beyond. The sex of the camel seems to indicate the potential productiveness of the Unconscious Will. The blindness of the beast represents the darkness of the passage and the blind ignorance of the Unconscious Will, which through spiritual ignorance or stupidity (Moha) believes in the reality of external objects. And the ignorant animal is led blindly onwards by its Karma.

In the body of the picture are given the details of the progress across this initial stage to the next link in the chain of causality. The manner in which the Karma determines the kind of new life is concretely represented as a "judgment scene." Here the sins are figured as black pebbles, and the good deeds as white, which are weighed against each other in scales. And according to whichever preponderates so is the place of re-birth in one or other of the six states. Thus the kind of new life is entirely determined by the individual's own deeds or Karma, which creates a system of rewards and punishments, sinking the wicked through the lower stages of human and animal existence and even to hell; and lifting the good to the level of mighty kings and sages, and even to the gods. Here it may be noted that hell is an idealistic state, a sort of hellish nightmare, the product of the morbid sinful imagination.

The ignorant Unconscious Will, as a homogeneous aggregate under the influence of the three fires of illusion (Trividagni, lust, ill-will, and stupidity), is thus led by its Karma to one or other of the six gati or forms of existence with which begins link number II., namely, Conformations (Sanskara).

Here our picture and its Lamaist tradition have come to our aid, and rendered it certain that out of the manifold renderings of Sanskara attempted by European scholars, as detailed on a previous page, "Conformations" was the one intended by the primitive Buddhists; and the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit word gives "impression" or "formation" + "action." The picture is a potter modelling clay on his wheel, and is identical with the Egyptian image of the creator. It represents the shaping of the crude and formless physical and mental aggregates of the Unconscious Will by the Karma, in accordance with "The Judgment."

"Our mind is but a lump of clay,
Which Fate, grim Potter, holds
On sorrow's wheel that rolls alway
And, as he pleases, moulds."

-- C. H. Tawney's trans. Vairagya Satakam.

These so-called aggregates or Skandha (Pali, Khandha) require some notice. The Buddhists, in their theory of the nature of sentient beings, pre-suppose the existence of ideal atoms, external and internal, which, by aggregation, constitute man and the rest of the universe. These aggregates or Skandha are grouped into five classes, which are rendered by Professor Rhys Davids as (1) the Material Properties and Attributes (Rupa); (2) the Sensations (Vedana); (3) Abstract Ideas (Sanna); (4) Tendencies or Potentialities (Sankara); and (5) Reason (Vinnana).108 Only the first of these sets, or the Rupa Skandha, appear to be operated on in link number II. or Conformations.

Now the Unconscious Will, no longer amorphous, reaches its next stage of development with the rise of Consciousness, or Conscious Experience (Vijnana), as the third link in the evolutionary process. This is figured by a monkey, which some learned Lamas explained to me as showing that the rudimentary man is becoming anthropoid, but still is an unreasoning automaton. From this it will be seen that however abstract its basis of metaphysical conceptions, or transcendental the causal machinery by which it is set in motion, Buddha's evolutionary scheme, in its practical aspects, must necessarily depend on a tolerably comprehensive and subtle interpretation of human nature.

The rise of Self-Consciousness (Nama-rupa, literally "Name" + "Form"), as a result of conscious experience, forms the fourth link or stage, and is represented by a physician feeling the pulse of a sick man. Here the pulse denotes the individuality or distinction between "Self" and "Not Self." And its Sanskrit title of "Name and Form" expresses the commonest features of Individuality, "comes Namarupa, local form, and name and bodiment, bringing the man with senses naked to the sensible, a helpless mirror of all shows which pass across his heart."109 A variant of this picture in some Lamaist temples is a man in the act of being ferried across an ocean. It is the Individual crossing the Ocean of Life.

As a result of Self-Consciousness, the individual now realises his possession of The Sense-Surface and Understanding (Chadaya-tana). And here again the relatively low place given to the understanding is quite in keeping with modern philosophy. The picture represents this link by a mask of a human face, "The empty house of the Senses";110 and the understanding is indicated by a pair of extra eyes gleaming through the brow of the mask. At this stage seems to be effected the full union of the hitherto passive will with the active co-efficients of a human nature as expressed by "The Three Fires, the Buddhist variant of our Devil, the World and the Flesh" (Raga, Dvesa, Moha), though these have been present concurrently from the initial stage of "Ignorance."111

The exercise of the sense organs and the understanding is Contact (Sparsa) forming the sixth link or stage, bringing the individual into relation with the outside world. It is pictured by kissing, and in some Tibetan frescoes by a man grasping a plough. It illustrates the exercise of one of the senses.

From Contact comes Feeling (Vedana), both physical and mental, including delusive pleasure, pain, and indifference. It is pictured by an arrow entering a man's eye,112 evidently a symbolic of "Perception," but explained by the Lamas in such a way as to render it translatable by "Feeling."

From the operation of Feeling comes Desire or thirst (Trishna). This stage, dealing with the origin of Desire, perhaps the most psychologically interesting in Buddhism, is pictured by a man drinking wine, and the same metaphor, namely, thirst, which is the literal meaning of the word for this link, and is adopted by Sir Edwin Arnold in his graceful lines —

"Trishna, that thirst which makes the living drink
Deeper and deeper of the false salt waves
Whereon they float, pleasures, ambitions, wealth,
Praise, fame, or domination Conquest, love,
Rich meats and robes and fair abodes and pride
Of ancient lines, and lust of days, and strife
To live, and sins that flow from strife, some sweet;
Some bitter. Thus Life's thirst quenches itself
With draughts which double thirst."113

Thus the conquest of Desire is the greatest step towards Buddhist salvation.

The Satisfying of Greed, or Indulgence of Desire (Upadana) forms the next stage. It is pictured by a man grasping fruit and storing it up in big baskets. It appears to be, and is so explained by the Lamas, as a clinging or attachment to worldly objects, rather than to worldly "existence" as Oldenberg has interpreted it.

With the next stage — the tenth link — namely, Becoming (Bhava), we reach one of the alleged obstacles in the chain, an irreconcilable link which puzzles Oldenberg, and which, together with the next link, is deemed inexplicable and altogether out of place. Up to the preceding link, the ninth, the evolution has clearly been that of the life history of a man. The tenth link is rendered by Oldenberg thus: "From 'Clinging to Existence' comes Re-birth and the Continuance of Being for yet another existence." Very naturally he goes on to say that it is strange to find a man who has long ago "entered on real life" suddenly becoming a child again. And adds, "How can a man be born again when he is old," and before he dies? for death only happens in the twelfth stage.

But here it would seem as if Oldenberg has misled himself by introducing the term "Existence" into the previous link and by interpreting Bhava as "Re-birth."

For we find that Bhava is pictured by a married woman; and the Lamas explain the picture by saying that she is the wife of the individual whose life-history is being traced. The word is thus given somewhat the sense of Bhavanan (Childers' Dict.: "a house-dwelling"); or, as it might be rendered, "husband-ship"; it is the result of the previous link, namely, Greed or Indulgence in Worldliness. It is literally fuller "Becoming" (Bhava) — Life as enriched by satisfying the worldly desire of home, and as a means of obtaining an heir to the wealth amassed by Greed.

The eleventh stage or link is another of the alleged stumbling-blocks, which, however, ceased to present any difficulty in the light of the picture and the Lamas' explanation of it. The picture shows a parent and child. It is the Maturing of the man's life by the Birth (Jati) of an heir, and as a result of the married existence of the tenth stage. It must be remembered that according to Buddhist belief there is no propagation of species. Life is held to be indivisible; hence the child is no relation to his parents, as the wandering individual finds its family through its own inherent Karma. This dogma so opposed to experience and science carried with it its own refutation; but it forms no essential part of the evolutionary chain.

Maturity of Life then leads to Decay and Death (Jaramarana), the twelfth and final stage, which in turn leads on to link No. 1 — Re-birth — and so on as before. This stage is pictured as a corpse being carried off to cremation or burial.

Let us now look at the Chain as a whole. Here we are met by the difficulty of finding a suitable expression for the word which connects the several links, the Pali paccaya, usually translated "cause" or "concurrent occasion." Prof. Rhys Davids writes (Vinaya Texts, i., 146): "Hetu and paccaya (the word so frequently used in the formula of the Nidanas) are nearly synonymous. Colebrooke (Life and Essays, Vol. ii., p. 419) says that the Bauddhas distinguish between hetu 'proximate cause,' and paccaya (pratyaya) 'concurrent occasion '; but in practical use this slight difference of meaning, if it really existed, has but little weight attached to it."114 Mr. Warren believes115 that the term "cause" should be used in a very loose and flexible way, and in different senses, in discussing different members of the series of links. But as Prof. Oldenberg's rendering — "From .... comes ...." — seems sufficient for our purpose, while it preserves uniformity and continuity, it is here adopted. The Chain then runs as follows:

"From the Ignorance (of the Unconscious Will) come Conformations. From Conformations comes Consciousness. From Consciousness comes Self-Consciousness. From Self-Consciousness come The Senses and Understanding. From the Senses and Understanding comes Contact. From Contact come Feeling. From Feeling comes Desire. From Desire come Indulgence, Greed, or Clinging (to Worldly Objects). From Clinging (to Worldly Objects) comes (Married or Domestic) Life. From (married) Life comes Birth (of an heir and Maturity of Life). From Birth (of an heir and Maturity of Life) come Decay and Death. From Decay and Death comes Re-birth with its attendant Sufferings. Thus all existence and suffering spring from the Ignorance (of the Unconscious Will)."

The varying nature and relationship of these formulae is noteworthy, some are resultants and some merely sequences; characteristic of Eastern thought, its mingling of science and poetry; its predominance of imagination and feeling over intellect; its curiously easy and naive transition from Infinite to Finite, from absolute to relative point of view.

But it would almost seem as if Buddha personally observed much of the order of this chain in his ethical habit of cutting the links which bound him to existence. Thus, starting from the link short of Decay and Death, he cut off his son (link 11), he cut off his wife (link 10), he cut off his worldly wealth and kingdom (link 9), then he cut off all Desire (link 8), with its "three fires." On this he attained Buddhahood, the Bodhi or "Perfect Knowledge" dispelling the Ignorance (Avidya), which lay at the root of Desire and its Existence. Nirvana, or "going out,"116 thus seems to be the "going out" of the three Fires of Desire, which are still figured above him even at so late a stage as his "great temptation";117 and this sinless calm, as believed by Professor Rhys Davids,118 is reachable in this life. On the extinction of these three fires there result the sinless perfect peace of Purity, Goodwill, and Wisdom, as the antitypes to the Three Fires, Lust, Ill-will, and Stupidity; while Parinirvana or Extinction of Life (or Becoming) was reached only with the severing of the last fetter or physical "Death," and is the "going out" of every particle of the elements of "becoming." 119

Amongst the many curious perversions of the latter Buddhism of India was the belief that by mystical means, the Sattva or personal entity may, short of death, and whilst yet retaining a body, be liberated from the influence of Avidya, and thus form the operation of the causal nexus, and so secure immortality. Upagupta and many other noted Buddhist sages are believed to be yet living through this happy exemption.120

Buddha's metaphysics appears in the light afforded by the chain, to borrow — like so many other world principles professing to solve the problem of existence — from the distinctions of psychology, and to be based on Will. Schopenhauer indeed admits the affinity of his theory with Buddhism. He writes: "If I were to take the results of my philosophy as the standard of truth I would be obliged to concede to Buddhism the pre-eminence over the rest. In any case it must be a satisfaction to me to see my teaching in such close agreement with a religion which the majority of men upon the earth hold as their own."121 Hartmann's absolute or his Unconscious includes Unconscious intelligence as well as Unconscious Will. In Buddhism intelligence is not denied to Will and accorded a secondary and derivate place as in German pessimism, and we may even infer, from what is set forth as to the directing function of the Karma, as well as from its pictorial representation, that Buddhism in some sense felt the necessity of attributing an intelligent quality to the unconscious principle in order that it might pass from the state of migratory abstractiveness to that of determinate being. But, on the other hand, there is not here as an essential feature of the system a deliberate ascription of intelligence to the unconscious as with Hartmann. The Unconscious Will-to-live maintains the changes of phenomena. "The world is the World's process." All "is becoming," nothing "is." It is indeed, as has been suggested to me, the Flux of Heraclitus, who also used the same simile of Fire and Burning. "The constant new-births (palingenesis) constitute," as Schopenhauer, a Neo-Buddhist says, "the succession of the life-dreams of a will, which in itself is indestructible until instructed and improved, by so much and such various successive knowledge in a constantly new form, it abolishes or abrogates itself."122

As a philosophy, Buddhism thus seems to be an Idealistic Nihilism; an Idealism which, like that of Berkeley, holds that "the fruitful source of all error was the unfounded belief in the reality and existence of the external world"; and that man can perceive nothing but his feelings, and is the cause to himself of these. That all known or knowable objects are relative to a conscious subject, and merely a product of the ego, existing through the ego, for the ego, and in the ego, — though it must be remembered that Buddha, by a swinging kind of positive and negative mysticism, at times denies a place to the ego altogether. But, unlike Berkeley's Idealism, this recognition of the relativity and limitations of knowledge, and the consequent disappearance of the world as a reality, led directly to Nihilism, by seeming to exclude the knowledge, and by implication the existence, not only of a Creator, but of an absolute being.

As a Religion, Buddhism is often alleged to be theistic. But although Buddha gives no place to a First Cause in his system, yet, as is well known, he nowhere expressly denies an infinite first cause or an unconditioned Being beyond the finite; and he is even represented as refusing to answer such questions on the ground that their discussion was unprofitable. In view of this apparent hesitancy and indecision he may be called an agnostic.

In the later developments, the agnostic idealism of primitive Buddhism swung round into a materialistic theism which verges on pantheism, and where the second link of the Causal Chain, namely, Sanskara, comes closely to resemble the modi of Spinoza;123 and Nirvana, or rather Pari-Nirvana, is not different practically from the Vedantic goal: assimilation with the great universal soul:

"The dew-drop slips into the shining sea."

And the latter developments generally have been directed towards minimizing the inveterate pessimism of Buddha's ethics which tends to bring the world to a standstill, by disparaging that optimistic bias which is commonly supposed to be an essential element in the due direction of all life-processes.

Lamaist Metaphysics.

After Buddha's death his personality soon became invested with supernatural attributes; and as his church grew in power and wealth his simple system underwent academic development, at the hands of votaries now enjoying luxurious leisure, and who thickly overlaid it with rules and subtle metaphysical refinements and speculations.

Buddha ceases even to be the founder of Buddhism, and is made to appear as only one of a series of (four or seven) equally perfect Buddhas who had "similarly gone" before, and hence called Tathagata,124 and implying the necessity for another "coming Buddha," who was called Maitreya, or "The Loving One."

Then these (four or seven) Buddhas or Tathagatas are extended into series of 24, 35 and 1,000; in addition to which there are also Pratyeka or solitary non-teaching Buddhas.

In the second century after the Nirvana125 arose the Mahasanghika sect (latterly grouped under Vaibhashika) which asserted that the Buddhas are illusory and metaphysical; that the traditions respecting the Buddha having been born into the world as men are incorrect, that the law is Tathagata,126 that the "Buddhas have passed beyond all worlds ( = Lokottaravadina);127 that "Tathagata is infinitely extended, immeasurably glorious, eternal in duration, that to his power of recollection (ni-smriti), his power of faith (sradhabala), his experience of joy, and his life there is no end; he sleeps not, he speaks, asks, reflects not, they say that his existence is ever one, and uniform (one heart), that all things born may obtain deliverance by having his instruction."128

This theistic phase of Buddhism seems foreshadowed even in orthodox Hinayana scriptures. Thus in the Mahavagga (i., 6, 8) Sakya Muni is made to say of himself, "I am the all-subduer; the all-wise; I have no stains, through myself I possess knowledge; I have no rival; I am the Chief Arhat — the highest teacher, I alone am the absolutely wise, I am the Conqueror (Jina)." And the Mahasanghika sect of the Hinayana discussed the eternity and omnipotence of the Buddha. While the Sautrantika section asserted the plurality of the Buddhas.

Indeed, even in southern Buddhism, the expressed deification of Buddha can scarcely be said to be altogether absent. For Ceylon monks, following an ancient ritual, chant: —

"I worship continually
The Buddhas of the ages that are past,
I worship the Buddhas, the all-pitiful,
I worship with bowed head.
I bow my head to the ground and worship
The sacred dust of his holy feet,
If in aught I have sinned against Buddha,
May Buddha forgive me my sin."129

Here Buddha seems prayed to as an existing and active divinity.130

About four centuries after Buddha's death the Mahayana doctrine had evolved specialized celestial Buddhas and Bodhisatvas residing in worlds as fabulous as themselves; and the human Buddhas are made mere manifestations, and reflexes from celestial counterparts.

The Mahayana development seems an offshoot of the Mahasanghika sect of primitive Buddhism. It assumed a concrete form about the end of the first century A.D. under Asvaghosha, who wrote the Mahayana Sraddhotanda Sastra; but its chief expounder was, as we have already seen, Nagarjuna.

Buddha, it will be remembered, appears to have denied existence altogether. In the metaphysical developments after his death, however, schools soon arose asserting that everything exists (Sarvastivada131), that nothing exists, or that nothing exists except the One great reality, a universally diffused essence of a pantheistic nature. The denial of the existence of the "Ego" thus forced the confession of the necessary existence of the Non-ego. And the author of the southern Pali text, the Milinda Panha, writing about 150 A.D., puts into the mouth of the sage Nagasena the following words in reply to the King of Sagala's query, "Does the all-wise (Buddha) exist?"132 "He who is the most meritorious does exist," and again "Great King! Nirwana is."133

Thus, previous to Nagarjuna's school, Buddhist doctors were divided into two extremes: into a belief in a real existence and in an illusory existence; a perpetual duration of the Sattva and total annihilation. Nagarjuna chose a "middle way" (Mahyamika). He denied the possibility of our knowing that anything either exists or did not exist. By a sophistic nihilism he "dissolved every problem into thesis and antithesis and denied both." There is nothing either existent or non-existent, and the state of Being admits of no definition or formula.

The Prajna paramita134 on which Nagarjuna based his teaching consist of mythical discourses attributed to Buddha and addressed mostly to supernatural hearers on the Vulture Peak, etc. It recognizes several grades of metaphysical Buddhas and numerous divine Bodhisats, who must be worshipped and to whom prayers should be addressed. And it consists of extravagant speculations and metaphysical subtleties, with a profusion of abstract terminology.

His chief apocalyptic treatises135 are the Buddhavatansaka, Samadhiraja and Ratnakuta Sutras. The gist of the Avatansaka Sutra may be summarized136 as "The one true essence is like a bright mirror, which is the basis of all phenomena, the basis itself is permanent and true, the phenomena are evanescent and unreal; as the mirror, however, is capable of reflecting images, so the true essence embraces all phenomena and all things exist in and by it."

An essential theory of the Mahayana is the Voidness or Nothingness of things, Sunyata,137 evidently an enlargement of the last term of the Trividya formula, Anatma. Sakya Muni is said to have declared that "no existing object has a nature,138 whence it follows that there is neither beginning nor end — that from time immemorial all has been perfect quietude139 and is entirely immersed in Nirvana." But Sunyata, or, as it is usually translated, "nothingness" cannot be absolute nihilism for there are, as Mr. Hodgson tells us, "a Sunyata and a Maha-Sunyata. We are dead. You are a little Nothing; but I am a big Nothing. Also there are eighteen degrees of Sunyata.140 You are annihilated, but I am eighteen times as much annihilated as you."141 And the Lamas extended the degrees of "Nothingness" to seventy.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:31 am

Part 4 of 4

This nihilistic doctrine is demonstrated by The Three Marks and the Two Truths and has been summarized by Schlagintweit. The Three Marks are:

1. Parikalpita (Tib., Kun-tag) the supposition or error; unfounded belief in the reality of existence; two-fold error in believing a thing to exist which does not exist, and asserting real existence when it is only ideal.

2. Paratantra (T., Z'an-van) or whatever exists by a dependent or causal connexion, viz., the soul, sense, comprehension, and imperfect philosophical meditation.

3. Parinishpanna (T., Yon-grub) "completely perfect" is the unchangeable and unassignable true existence which is also the scope of the path, the summum bonum, the absolute.

The two Truths are Samvritisatya (T., Kun-dsa-bch'i-den-pa) The relative truth; the efficiency of a name or characteristic sign. And Paramarthasatya (Don-dam-pahi den-pa) the absolute truth obtained by the self-consciousness of the saint in self-meditations.

The world (or Samsara), therefore, is to be renounced not for its sorrow and pain as the Hinayana say, but on account of its unsatisfying unreality.

The idealization of Buddha's personality led, as we have just seen, to his deification as an omniscient and everlasting god; and traces of this development are to be found even in southern Buddhism. And he soon came to be regarded as the omnipotent primordial god, and Universal Essence of a pantheistic nature.

About the first century A.D. Buddha is made to be existent from all eternity (Anada). Professor Kern, in his translation of The Lotus of the True Law, which dates from this time,142 points out that although the theistic term Adi-Buddha or Primordial Buddha does not occur in that work, Sakya Muni is identified with Adi-Buddha  in the words, "From the very beginning (adita eva) have I roused, brought to maturity, fully developed them (the innumerable Bodhisats) to be fit for their Bodhisattva position."143

And with respect to the modes of manifestations of the universal essence, "As there is no limit to the immensity of reason and measurement to the universe, so all the Buddhas are possessed of infinite wisdom and infinite mercy. There is no place throughout the universe where the essential body of Vairocana (or other supreme Buddha, varying with different sects) is not present. Far and wide through the fields of space he is present, and perpetually manifested.144

The modes in which this universal essence manifests itself are the three bodies (Tri-kaya), namely — (1) Dharma-kaya145 or Law-body, Essential Bodhi,146 formless and self-existent, the Dhyani Buddha, usually named Vairocana Buddha or the "Perfect Justification," or Adi-Buddha. (2) Sambhoga-kaya147 or Compensation-body, Reflected Bodhi, the Dhyani Bodhisats, usually named Lochana or "glorious"148; and (3) Nirmana-kaya149 or Transformed-body, Practical Bodhi, the human Buddhas, as Sakya Muni.150

Now these three bodies of the Buddhas, human and super-human, are all included in one substantial essence. The three are the same as one — not one, yet not different. When regarded as one the three persons are spoken of as Tathagata. But there is no real difference, these manifestations are only different views of the same unchanging substance.151

One of the earliest of these celestial Buddhas was given the title of "The Infinite Light" (Amitabha), and his personality soon crystallized into a concrete theistic Buddha of that name, residing in a glorious paradise (Sukhavati)
in the West, where the daily suns hasten and disappear in all their glory, and hence supposed by some to include a sun myth or to be related to sun-worship, probably due to Persian influence; for the chief patrons of the early Mahayana, about the time of the invention of this myth, were Indo-Scyths, a race of sun-worshippers.

After Nagarjuna, the chief expounder of the Mahayana philosophy was Vasubandhu, who was less wildly speculative than many of his predecessors and composed many commentaries.152 Previous to his day, the nihilism of the Mahayana had become almost mystic in its sophistry.

This intense mysticism of the Mahayana led about the fifth century to the importation into Buddhism of the pantheistic idea of the soul (atman) and Yoga, or the ecstatic union of the individual with the Universal Spirit, a doctrine which had been introduced into Hinduism about 150 B.C. by Patanjali. This innovation originated with Asanga,153 a monk of Gandhara (Peshawar), whose system is known as the Yogacarya, or "contemplative" Mahayana. Asanga is credited with having been inspired directly by the celestial Bodhisat Maitreya, the coming Buddha, and it is believed that he was miraculously transferred to the Tushita heavens and there received from Maitreya's hands the gospels called "The Five Books of Maitreya," the leading scripture of this party.

His school, the Yogacarya, and especially its later development (into which magic circles with mantras or spells were introduced about 700 A.D.), was entitled "Mantrayana" or "the mantra-vehicle." And Yoga seems indeed to have influenced also the Ceylonese and other forms of southern Buddhism, among whom flying through the air and other supernatural powers (Irdhi) are obtainable by ecstatic meditation (though not expressedly pantheistic), and the recitation of dharanis154; and the ten "iddhis" or miraculous supernatural powers, are indeed regarded as the attribute of every perfected saint or Arhat.155 "Rahats (Arhats) flying" is a frequent expression in the southern scriptures, and is illustrated by numerous paintings in the early caves of Ajanta, in central India.

It is with this essentially un-Buddhistic school of pantheistic mysticism— which, with its charlatanism, contributed to the decline of Buddhism in India— that the Theosophists claim kinship. Its so-called "esoteric Buddhism" would better be termed exoteric, as Professor C. Bendall has suggested to me, for it is foreign to the principles of Buddha. Nor do the Lamas know anything about those spiritual mediums — the Mahatmas ("Koot Hoomi")  — which the Theosophists place in Tibet, and give an important place in Lamaist mysticism. As we shall presently see, the mysticism of the Lamas is a charlatanism of a mean necromantic order, and does not even comprise clever jugglery or such an interesting psychic phenomenon as mesmerism, and certainly nothing worthy of being dignified by the name of "natural secrets and forces."

But with its adoption of Tantrism,156 so-called, Buddhism entered on its most degenerate phase. Here the idolatrous cult of female energies was grafted upon the theistic Mahayana and the pantheistic mysticism of Yoga. And this parasite seized strong hold of its host and soon developed its monstrous growths, which crushed and strangled most of the little life yet remaining of purely Buddhist stock.

Tantrism, which began about the seventh century A.D. to tinge Buddhism, is based on the worship of the Active Producing Principle (Prakriti) as manifested in the goddess Kali or Durga, the female energy (Sakti) of the primordial male (Purusha or Siva), who is a gross presentation of The Supreme Soul of the universe. In this cult the various forces of nature — physical, physiological, moral and intellectual — were deified under separate personalities, and these presiding deities were grouped into Matri (divine mothers), Dakkini and Yogini (goddesses with magical powers), etc. And all were made to be merely different manifestations of the one great central goddess, Kali, Siva's spouse. Wives were thus allotted to the several celestial Bodhisats, as well as to most of the other gods and demons; and most of them were given a variety of forms, mild and terrible, according to the supposed moods of each divinity at different times. And as goddesses and she-devils were the bestowers of natural and supernatural powers and were especially malignant, they were especially worshipped.

About this time the theory of Adi-Buddha,157 which, it has been seen, existed about the first century A.D., underwent more concrete theistic development. He becomes the primordial god and creator, and evolves, by meditation, five celestial Jinas or Buddhas of Meditation (Dhyani Buddhas), almost impassive, each of whom, through meditation, evolves an active celestial Bodhisat-son, who possesses creative functions,158 and each human Buddha, though especially related to a particular one of the five celestial Buddhas of Meditation, is produced by a union of reflexes from each of these latter. For pictures of these deities, see the chapter on the pantheon, where also I give a table presenting the inter-relations of these various celestial Buddhas, Bodhisats, and human Buddhas, and also incorporate their mystic symbolism, although this was probably added in the later Mantrayana stage.

It will be seen that the five celestial Jinas are so distributed as to allot one to each of the four directions,159 and the fifth is placed in the centre. And the central position thus given him, namely, Vairocana, is doubtless associated with his promotion to the Adi-Buddhaship amongst certain northern Buddhists; though the reformed and unreformed sects of Lamas, differ as regards the specific name which they give the Adi-Buddha, the former calling him Vajradhara, doubtless selected as bearing the title of "Vajra" so dear to Tantrik Buddhists, while the unreformed sects consider him to be Samantabhadra, that is, the celestial son of Vairocana. And the Adi-Buddha is not considered wholly inactive or impassive, for he is frequently addressed in prayers and hymns. Sakya Muni is the fourth of the Manushi or human Buddhas of this age, and his Dhyani Buddha is Amitabha, and his corresponding celestial Bodhisat is Avalokitesvara, the patron-god of Lamaism, who is held to be incarnate in the Grand Lama.

The extreme development of the Tantrik phase was reached with the Kala-cakra, which, although unworthy of being considered a philosophy, must be referred to here as a doctrinal basis. It is merely a coarse Tantrik development of the Adi-Buddha theory combined with the puerile mysticisms of the Mantrayana, and it attempts to explain creation and the secret powers of nature, by the union of the terrible Kali, not only with the Dhyani Buddhas, but even with Adi-Buddha himself. In this way Adi-Buddha, by meditation, evolves a procreative energy by which the awful Samvhara and other dreadful Dakkini-fiendesses, all of the Kali-type, obtain spouses as fearful as themselves, yet spouses who are regarded as reflexes of Adi-Buddha and the Dhyani Buddhas. And these demoniacal "Buddhas," under the names of Kala-cakra, Heruka, Achala, Vajra- vairabha,160 etc., are credited with powers not inferior to those of the celestial Buddhas themselves, and withal, ferocious and bloodthirsty; and only to be conciliated by constant worship of themselves and their female energies, with offerings and sacrifices, magic-circles, special mantra-charms, etc.

These hideous creations of Tantrism were eagerly accepted by the Lamas in the tenth century, and since then have formed a most essential part of Lamaism; and their terrible images fill the country and figure prominently in the sectarian divisions.

Afterwards was added the fiction of re-incarnate Lamas to ensure the political stability of the hierarchy.

Yet, while such silly and debased beliefs, common to the Lamas of all sects, determine the character of the Tibetan form of the doctrine, the superior Lamas, on the other hand, retain much of the higher philosophy of the purer Buddhism.



1 General mythology forms a special chapter (xv.), but it is necessary at this stage to sketch the mythology which bears directly upon the doctrinal developments.

2 Even in Brahmanic mythology the hosts of the gods, including India, the greatest god in Vedic times, are subject to the universal law of dissolution at the end of a Kalpa, or cycle of time, when the Triad god-head A.U.M. becomes simple soul (Kevalatman).
3 Cf. also Giorgi, whose figure is attached; and summary by Burnouf, ii., 599.

4 Skt., Sarva-loka-dhatu.
5 Its prototype, as with the Greek Olympus, is terrestrial, namely, Mt. Kailas, 22,000ft., directly north of Lake Manasarovara in the Himalayas (cf. Markham. xxiv.).

6 The 84,000 is a mathematical figure expressing multitude. The Tibetan measure is a "dpag-tshad," which, according to Csoma (Dict.), equals 4,000 fathoms, and hence a geographical mile, but it is used as the equivalent of the Indian unit of measure which is translated in the Ceylonese scriptures as a Yojana, i.e., a unit of about 4 kos, about five or six geographical miles.

7 These mountains are severally named the Ox Yoke-holder, Plough-holder, Sandal-holder, Pleasing Mount, Horse-ear Hill, Demon or Assembly Mount, and Circle or Edge-holder.

8 The names of the others are Isadara, Karavika. Sudarsana, Asvakarna, Vinayaka, and Nemindhara.

9 This ocean of milk was churned by the Brahmanical gods for the recovery of their elixir vitae and the thirteen precious objects. And the churning produced the beautiful goddess Lakshmi— Compare with Aphrodite from the froth of the ocean, and the proverbial beauty of the Naga water nymphs— the Hindu mermaids.
10 T., Jambu-lin.

11 Lus-'pags.

12 After Pander.

13 Some Lamas state that this name is derived from the Jambu tree (Eugenia Jambolans), while others believe that the name is onomatopoetic for the sound "Jamb," emitted when the world was thrown by the gods into the outer ocean.

14 ba-glan spyod.

15 sgra-mi-snan.
16 These, according to other accounts, are situate on the flanks of Meru itself.

17 The Yama rocks are on the south.

18 Tib., Yond-'dus-sa-gtol.

19 'dod-'zo-i-ba.

20 ma-smos-pi lo-t'og.

21 The Ri-wo na-s'in.

22 rtag myos, here the rta may represent "horse"— the horse-headed musicians.

23 T., Lha-ma-yin.
24 Analogous to this is the common colloquial term mi-ma-yin or "not a man" applied to those who lead vicious and dissolute lives.

25 Note that greatness of rank is shown in pictures by enlarged bodily dimensions.
26 yul-'k'or bsrun.

27 Dri-za " the Small [Smell]-eaters."

28 'p'ags skyes-pa.

29 Sometimes the colours of the North and South Guardians are transposed.

30 Grul-bum.

31 spyan mig-bzah.  

32 kLu.  

33 rnamt 'os sras.

34 gNod-sbyin or "the injurers."
35 See chapter on Mythology.

36 "K'ams gsum."
37 Compare with Mr. Hodgson's account (Lang, and Lit., p. 43) of the heavens  according to the Nepalese Buddhists.
38 Apsaras, celestial nymphs — the "houris" awarded to heroes.

39 The wish-granting tree of Indra's heaven is described in the 45th Section of the S'ilpa S'astra.
40 Images of these are sold in the Indian bazaars as toys for children. Compare this myth of the wishing-cow with the parallels related by Professor Weber in Sitzungsbe-richte der Koenig Preuss., Acad, zu Berlin., xxvii., 1890.

41 The cup-bearer is Dhanwantari, the Indian Ganymede.
42 Identified with the beautiful Indian Coral Tree (Erythrina Indica).

43 It is related that in former times the gods were defeated by the Asuras in fighting for the fruits of the great wishing-tree of Paradise; and the defeated gods under Indra besoughi gSan-bahi-bdag-po for council. This divinity advised the gods to call to their aid the war-god dGra-lha, and also to obtain from the depths of the central ocean the invisible armour and the nine self-created weapons, viz.: — (1) rMog-bya khyung-keng~riis, a helmet of the skeleton bones of the Garuda bird; (2) Kkrab-ni-shar-lto-rgyab, the coat of mail shining like the sun; (3) Lba-khenbs-rdorje-go-c'a, necklet; (4) Lak-hag-mt'son-c'a-lam-lok, a weapon resisting and returning glove; (5) sNin-khebs-mdah-mts'on-kun thub, a breast-plate entirely able to withstand arrows and other weapons; (6) Pus-khebs-nes-pa-skyobs-c'ed, a knee-cap which defends against destruction; (7) Phubm-sba-dmar-gling-drug, a six-embossed shield. The nine sorts of weapons are:— (1) a 'K'orlo or spiked-disc which completely routes the enemy; (2) a dGra-sta or an axe which chops the enemy; (3) a ral-gri or sword which slices the enemy; (4) a gZhu or bow which scatters the brains of the enemy; (5) a "mDah" or arrow that pierces the vitals; (6) a Zhagspa or noose which ensnares the enemy; (7) a mDung or spear which pierces the hearts of the foe; (8) a Ur-rdo, a whirring sling-stone that produces the "ur-r-r" sound of a thunder-dragon; and (9) a Dorje or thunder-bolt which demolishes the enemy. The story seems founded on the Brahmanical legend of Indra (Jupiter) obtaining from the sea the talismanic banner which conferred victory over his enemies; cf. Brihat Sanhita, translated by Dr. Kern, J.R.A.S., vi., p. 44.

The gods having obtained these weapons and armour, invited the war-god, who came enveloped in thunder-clouds and attended by his nine sons, and receiving worship from Indra and the other gods as the price of his assistance, they assailed and utterly routed the Titans.

44 Compare Hardy, Man, 143.

45 R.D. Buddhist Birth Stories Ci.

46 Cf. Maine's works on Early Law.
47  dmyal-k'ams, or "the region of torment." Compare with Chinese version in Beal's Catena, p. 56, seq.

48 Odyssey, xi., 481.

49 Dhamma-pada, 127.

50 Deva-dutta-sutta, transl, by H. Oldenberg.
51 See an article by M. Leon Feer, "L'Enfer indien," in the Journal Asiatique, xx. (1892), and i. (New Series 1893), for lists and description of the Brahmanist hells.

52 For the tracing of which I am indebted to Mr. J. C. White.

53 = "The sedent queen."

54 Her picture is given from the Japanese.
55 Yan-sos.  

56 t'ig-nag.
57 bsdus 'joms.

58 nu-'bod
59 Nu-bod Ch'en-po.

60 Ts'a-ba.

61 Rab-tu t'sa-wa.

62 mnar-med.

63 Ch'u-bur ch'en. Arhu sounds suspiciously like Mount Abu (B)

64 Quoted by Mr. D. W. Freshfield in J. R. Geog. S., 1894.

65 Ch'u-bur-brol-wa.

66 A-ch'u.

67 Kyi-'ud.

68 So-t'am-pa.

69 Ut-pal-ltar gas-pa.
70 Padma-ltar-gas-pa.

71 Padma ch'en-po-ltar-gas pa.

72 ne-'k'or (=? Skt., Prateyka naraka) meaning near to re-birth.

73 Named Agni-khada (me-ma-mur gyi 'obs) or the fiery pit, Kunapanka (Ro-myags Kyi 'dams) or quagmire of carcases, Khuradharavana (spu-gri gtams ts'al) or forest of spikes, and Asidharavana (ral-gri loma nays-ts'al) or forest of sword-leaves.

74 Thirty-six species are described in five groups, namely: (1) p'yii sgrib-pa chan or "the foreign or gentile horrid beings," (2) Nang-gi sgrib-pa chan, or the Buddhist horrid beings, (3) Zas-skom-gyi sgrib-pa chan or the eating and drinking horrid beings — these are they who on eating and drinking have the ingested material converted into lacerating weapons, (4) .... and (5) kha-thor or free Yi-dags. The latter are not confined in the Preta-prison, but are free to roam about in the human world— in graveyards, etc.,— and injure man. These are (Beal's Catena, 67) 1, Flat-bodied; 2, Needle-mouthed; 3, Vomit-eaters; 4, Filth-eaters; 5, Mist-eaters: 6, Water-feeders; 7, Scarcely seen: 8, Spittle-feeders; 9, Hair-eaters; 10, Blood-suckers; 11, Notion-feeders; 12, Flesh-eaters; 13, Incense-feeders; 14, Fever-makers; 15, Secret pryers; 16, Earth lurkers;  17, Spirit-rappers; 18, Flame-burners; 19, Baby-snatchers; 20, Sea-dwellers; 21,....'  22, King Yama's club-holders; 23, Starvelings; 24, Baby-eaters; 25, Vital-eaters" 26,  Rakshas; 27, Smoke-eaters; 28, Marsh-dwellers; 29, Wind-eaters; 30, Ash-feeders;  31, Poison-eaters; 32, Desert-livers; 33, Spark-feeders; 34, Tree-dwellers; 35, Road-dwellers; 36, Body-killers. 
75 See my "Indian Cult of Avalokita," J. R.A.S., p. l, and plates ii, and iii., 1894.

76 Translated by S. Beal in The Oriental, November 6th, 1875. A dramatized version is common in China. — Cf. Les Fetes annuellement celebris a Emoin, J. J. M. de Groot.
77 The Japanese version of this legend and its pictorial illustration are published  by Sir A.W. Franks, F.R.S., in Jour. Soc. Antiquaries, Vol. liii., 1892. Buddha further  informed her that "You were the ninth daughter of King Chia-ye at the time of  Buddha Kasyapa, and performed many great and meritorious actions. But because  you did not keep the precepts you received the form of a demon."
78 Tibetan, las and p'rin-las.

79 Professor Huxley in his Lecture on Evolution and Ethics says:

"Everyday experience familiarizes us with the facts which are grouped under the name of heredity. Every one of us bears upon him obvious marks of his parentage, perhaps of remoter relationships. More particularly the sum of tendencies to act in a certain way, which we call 'character' is often to be traced through a long series of progenitors and collaterals. So we may justly say that this 'character,' this moral and intellectual essence of a man does veritably pass over from one fleshy tabernacle to another and does really transmigrate from generation to generation,. In the new-born infant the character of the stock lies latent, and the Ego is little more than a bundle of potentialities, but, very early, these become actualities: from childhood to age they manifest themselves in dulness or brightness, weakness or strength, viciousness or uprightness: and with each feature modified by confluence with another character, if by nothing else, the character passes on to its incarnation in new bodies.

"The Indian philosophers called character, as thus defined, 'Karma.' It is this Karma which passed from life to life and linked them in the chain of transmigrations; and they held that it is modified in each life, not merely by confluence of parentage but by its own acts ....

"In the theory of evolution, the tendency of a germ to develop according to a certain specific type, e.g., of the kidney-bean seed to grow into a plant having all the  characters of Phaseolus vulgaris, is its 'Karma.' It is the 'last inheritor and the last result of all the conditions that have effected a line of ancestry which goes back for  many millions of years to the time when life first appeared on earth.' As Professor Rhys Davids aptly says, the snowdrop 'is a snowdrop and not an oak, and just that  kind of a snowdrop, because it is the outcome of the Karma of an endless series of past existences.'"
80 Buddha's births are usually numbered at 550, of which the latter and more important are called "the Great Births." For list of different forms of existence ascribed to Buddha in his previous births see Rhys Davids' Jataka Tales. Cf. also Cowell's edition of the Jatakas translated from the Pali, and Ralston's Tales from the Tibetan.

81 "Skt., Gati; Tib., gro-bahi rigs."

82 Literally "the bent goers."

83 Lotus de la bonnne, Loi, p. 377.
84  Conf., Hardy's Man. of Buddhism, p. 37. The Lamaist account is contained in the  "mnon-pa-i mdsod," translated by Lotsawa Bande-dpal rtsegs from the work of the  Indian Pandit Vasubandhu, etc.
85 The bulk of this article appeared in the J.R.A.S. (1894), pp. 367, etc.

86 Vinaya Texts, Vol. i., pp. 74-84.

87 "Of all objects which proceed from a Cause
The Tathagatha has explained the cause,
And he has explained their cessation also;
This is the doctrine of the great Samana."

-- Vinaya Texts, i., 146. [/quote]

88 This famous stanza, says Professor Rhys Davids (Vinaya Texts, i., 146), doubtless alludes to the formula of the twelve Nidanas. "The Chain of Causation, or the doctrine of the twelve Nidanas (causes of existence) contains, as has often been observed in a more developed form, an answer to the same problem to which the second and third of the four Noble Truths (Ariya Sacca) also try to give a solution, viz., the problem of the origin and destruction of suffering. The Noble Truths simply reduce the origin of suffering to thirst or desire (Tanha) in its threefold form, thirst for pleasure, thirst for existence, thirst for prosperity (see i., 6, 20). In the system of the twelve nidanas Thirst also has found its place among the causes of suffering, but it is not considered as the immediate cause. A concatenation of other categories is inserted between tanha and its ultimate effect; and, on the other hand, the investigation of causes is carried on further beyond tanha. The question is here asked, what does tanha come from? and thus the series of causes and effects is led back to Avigga (Ignorance) as its deepest root. We may add that the redactors of the Pitakas who, of course, could not but observe this parallelity between the second and third Ariya Saccas and the  system of the twelve Nidanas go so far in one instance (Anguttara Nikaya, Tika  Nipata, fol. ke of the Phayre MS.) as to directly replace in giving the text of the four  Ariya Saccas the second and third of these by the twelve Nidanas in direct and reverse  order respectively." — Vinaya Texts, i., 75.
89 Colebrooke's Mis. Essays 2nd ed., ii., 453 seq.

90 Buddha, etc., Eng. trans, by Dr. W. Hoey, p. 226. Recently Mr. H. C. Warren, of Cambridge, Mass. (Proc. American Oriental Society, Ap. 6-8, 1893, p. xxvii), has advocated a looser meaning for the word paccaya, usually translated "cause," without, however, getting rid of the more serious difficulties which beset the interpretation of the chain.

91 Pali Dict., p. 453.

92 P. 503.

93 These last four authors are quoted through Koppen, i., 604.

94 Buddhism, p. 91, where the fifty-two divisions are enumerated.
95 As current in mediaeval Indian Buddhism.

96 Buddha seems to have propounded the same truth which Plato and latterly Kant were never tired of repeating, that "this world which appears to the senses has no true Being, but only ceaseless Becoming; it is and it is not, and its comprehension is not so much knowledge as illusion."
97 See its photograph accompanying my article in J.R.A.S., 1894, p. 370.

98 As noted by Prof. Cowell (Maine's Dissertations on Early Law and Custom, p. 50), for which reference I am indebted to Mrs. Rhys Davids. In the Divyavadana, pp. 299-300, it is related how Buddha, while at the Squirrel's Feeding-ground (Kolandaka) in the Venuvana forest near Rajagriha, instructed Ananda to make a wheel (cakram karayitavyam) for the purpose of illustrating what another disciple, Maudgalyayana, saw when he visited other spheres, which it seems he was in the habit of doing. The wheel was to have five spokes (pancagandakam), between which were to be depicted the hells, animals, pretas, gods, and men. In the middle a dove (paravata), a serpent, and a hog were to symbolize lust, hatred, and ignorance. All round the tire was to go the twelve-fold circle of causation in the regular and inverse order. Beings were to be represented "as being born in a supernatural way (anpapadukah) as by the machinery of a water-wheel falling from one state and being produced in another." Buddha himself is to be outside the wheel. The wheel was made and placed in the "Grand entrance gateway" (dvarakoshthake), and a bhikshu appointed to interpret it.

99 Burgess, in Rock Temples, 309.

100 And now at Sam-yas monastery. For a technical description of it by me see J.A.S.B., lxi., p. 133 seq. A confused copy of the picture was figured by Giorgi (Alphab. Tibet), and partly reproduced by Foucaux, Annales du Musee Guimet, Tome sixieme, 1884, p. 290, but in neither case with any explanatory description of its details.
101 Skt., Bhavacakramudra; T., Srid-pahi 'K'or-lohi p'yag-rgya, or shortly "Si-pa K' or-lo." The Tibetan form of the picture is of two styles, the "old" and "new." The latter is given in the attached plate, and it differs from the "old" only in the introduction of a figure of Avalokita or the God of Mercy, in the form of a Sage or Muni, into each of the six worlds of re-birth, and in one or two different pictorial symbols for the causes of re-birth.

102 Cf. note by Prof. C. Bendall on "Platonic Teaching in Ancient India.'" — Athenaeum, 10th January, 1891. Mrs. Rhys Davids, commenting on my article (J R.A.S., 1894, p. 338), writes: "In the Orphic theogony we come across the notion of re-birth considered as a weary unending cycle of fate or necessity — [x], etc. — from which the soul longs to escape, and entreats the gods, especially Dionysos ([x]), for release, — [x]. In the verses inscribed on one of three golden funereal tablets dug up near the site of Sybaris the line occurs: 'And thus I escaped from the cycle, the painful, misery-laden' ( Sicil. et Ital. 641). These allusions may be referred to at second-hand in Herr Erwin Rohde's study of Hellenic ideas respecting the soul and immortality, entitled Psyche (4to. Halfte, pp. 416 et seq.; 509), recently completed. Pindar, Empedocles, and Plato, as is well known, all entertained the notion of repeated re-birth in this world at intervals ranging from nine to one thousand years, repeated twice, thrice, or an indefinite number of times, and, according to the two latter writers, often including in its phases incarnation as an animal, or even as a vegetable. And throughout there runs the Orphic ideas of each re-birth being a stage in a course of moral evolution and effort after purification. But I do not know whether the actual image of the wheel occurs in other instances besides those I have quoted. Empedocles, for instance sees rather a toilsome road or roads of life — [x]. With Plato, again, we more readily associate his simile of a re-birth as a fall of the soul from heaven to earth, as it drives its chariot after the procession of the gods, through the steed of Epithumia being dragged down by its craving for carnal things — or, as the Buddhist might say, the steed of Chandarago overcome by Upadana for the skaudhas.

"The question of a genetic connection between oriental and Hellenic notions as to re-birth is of the greatest interest, Prof. Leopold von Schroeder's opinion that such a connection exists (Pythagoras und die Inder, especially pp. 25-31) seems on the whole to be well founded."  
103 Pali, Aniccam Dukham Anattam; in Tibetan, Mi-rtag-pa sdug-bsnal-ba, bdag-med-ba.

104 But see hereafter.
105  See J.R.A.S., 1892, p. 1 seq., for a tabular abstract by Prof. Rhys Davids on the authorities for such conflicting views.

106 Ekotibhava is another crux of Buddhism. Childers, in quoting; Thero Subhuti's etymology from eko udeti, writes: "Ekodibhavo, the second Jhana, is said to be cetaso ekodibhavo, which Burnouf renders 'Unity of the mind'; but that this is its true meaning is very doubtful, as will be seen from the full extract sent me. ... In accordance with this gloss I would be inclined to render ekodibhavo by 'predominance,' rather than by unity, but I do not feel competent to give a decided opinion as to its meaning."— Dict., p. 134. Dr. Morris (in the Academy, 27th March, 1886, p. 222) has a note on the subject, followed by Prof. Max Muller (Academy, 3rd April, 1886, p. 241), who would derive it from eka+kodi; and Professor Eggeling has a supplementary note in the Pali Text Soc. Jour. (p. 32, 1885), in which it is considered a mental state, and rendered by Prof. Rhys Davids as "exaltation." Prof. Kern (Introd. to his translation of the Saddharma Pundarika, xvii.) in noting the occurrence of the word ekotibhava in the Lalita Vistara (p. 147, 8, and 439, 6), rejects Subhuti's etymology of the word, without assigning any reasons. The Tibetan etymology, however, entirely supports Subhuti. It is translated rGyud-gch'ig-tu-gyur-pa, which means "to become or to be transformed + -one + a thread continuous, uninterrupted"; and my Manuscript Tibeto-Sanskrit Dictionary restores the word to Eka + urthanan + bhava.
107 The Tibetan picture usually depicts "a blind old woman" led by a man. This perversion of the Indian picture seems to me to be due to a mistranslation on the part of  the Lamas, who appear to have constructed their picture from a written description  in which the little known word nga-mo, a she-camel, is interpreted as ga-mo, an old  woman.
108 Buddhism, p. 90.
109 Arnold's Light of Asia.

110 The Tibetan picture represents this literally as "an empty house."

111 These Three Fires (Skt., Trividhagni) seem to have been substituted by Buddha for the Brahmanical "Three Guna," or moral qualities of animated beings — the "binding qualities of matter" (Mon. Williams's Hind., p. 88) — namely, sattva (Goodness or Virtue), rajas (Activity), and tamas (Darkness or Stupidity), which in a mystical sense are interpreted as A, U, M (or OM), the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer. Those three  fires which, according to the Buddhists, lie at the core of re-birth, are Lust (T., 'dod- c'ags, cf. Jaesch., p. 281), Anger or Ill-will (T., z'e-sdan), and Stupidity (T., gti-mug or  p'rag-sdog, cf. Jaesch., 207; Kopp., i., 33).
112 In this particular Tibetan picture the sixth and seventh links have been transposed.

113 The Light of Asia, p. 165.
114 This same difference is observed by Tibetan writers. Pratitya is rendered by rkyen, defined by Jaeschke (Lict., p. 17) as "a co-operating cause" of an event as distinguished from its proximate (or, rather, primary original) cause rgyu (Skt., hetu).

115 Loc. cit. He writes: "Now a great deal of the difficulty experienced by scholars on this subject appears to me to arise from the too strict way in which they use the word 'cause,' and from the idea which they labour under that Time plays an important part here, whereas it would appear to have but a secondary role.

"The term 'cause' should be used in a very loose and flexible way, and in different senses, in discussing different members of this series. The native phrase, of which Chain of Causation is supposed to be a translation, is paticca-samuppada. Paticca is a gerund, equivalent to the Sanskrit pratitya, from the verbal root i ' go,' with the pre- fix prati, 'back'; and samuppada stands for the Sanskrit samutpada, meaning a 'springing up.' Therefore the whole phrase means a 'springing up' [into existence] with reference to something else, or, as I would render it, 'origination by dependence.' The word 'chain' is a gratuitous addition, the Buddhist calling it a wheel, and making Ignorance depend on Old Age, etc. Now it is to be noted that if a thing springs up — that is to say, comes into being — with reference to something else, or in dependence on something else, that dependence by no means needs to be a causal one. In the Pali, each of these members of the so-called Chain of Causation is said to be the paccaya of the one next following, and paccaya is rendered 'cause.' But Buddha-ghosa, in the Visuddhi-Magga, enumerates twenty-four different kinds of paccaya, and in discussing each member of the paticca-samuppada, states in which of these senses it is a paccaya of the succeeding one.

"The Pali texts very well express the general relation meant to be conveyed by the word paccaya when they say 'If this one [member of the series] is not, then this [next following] one is not.'"
116 In Tibetan it is translated "The Sorrowless State" (mya-nan-med). Cf . also Burnouf, i., 19; Beal's Catena, 174, 183, etc.

117 See Ajanta picture, p. 6.

118 Buddhism, p. 14; also O. Frankfurter, Ph.D. (in J.R.A.S., 1880, p. 549), who shows that the three "fires" are also called the three "obstacles" (Kincana).
119 These are the so-called Skandhas.

120 Although it is a common belief amongst the Burmese that Upagupta still survives in this way, and, in consequence, is an object with them almost of worship, the monks cannot point to any ancient scripture in support of this popular belief.

121 The World as Will and Idea, by A. Schopenhauer, Eng. trans, by Haldane and Kemp, 1883, ii., p. 371. Schopenhauer indeed claims to have arrived at such agreement independently of Buddha's teaching. He writes: "This agreement, however, must be the more satisfactory to me because, in my philosophising, I have certainly not been under its influence; for up till 1818, when my work appeared, there were very few exceedingly incomplete and scanty accounts of Buddhism to be found in Europe, which were almost entirely limited to a few essays in the earlier volumes of 'Asiatic Researches,' and were principally concerned with the Buddhism of the Burmese" (Joe. cit., 371). It is, however, probable that Schopenhauer, such an omnivorous reader, and withal so egotistic, minimizes his indebtedness to Buddha. For the Vedanta philosophy, to which Schopenhauer admits his indebtedness, is very deeply tinged by Buddhist beliefs, and Schopenhauer in his system generally follows the lines of Buddhism; and in his later writings he frequently uses Buddhist works to illustrate his speculations. Thus: "We find the doctrine of metempsychosis .... in its most subtle form, however, and coming nearest to the truth .... in Buddhism" (loc. cit., iii., 302). And illustrating his theme "of Denial of the Will to Live," he refers (loc. cit., iii., 445) to Fausboll's Dhammapadam and Burnouf's Introduction; and (p. 303) Spence Hardy's Manual, Obry's Du Nirvana Indien (p. 308); Colebrooke, Sangermano, Transactions St. Petersburg Academy of Science; and frequently to the Asiatic Researches.
122 Schopenhauer's Will and Idea. Eng. trans., iii., 300.
123 "All Sentient beings exist in the essence (garbha) of the Tathagata."— Angulimaliya Sutra (Kah-gyur; Do, xvi. f. 208, transl. by Rock., B., p. 196).

124 This theory of multiple Buddhas and the introduction of the name Tathagata seems to have been introduced by the Sautrantika School (Wass., B., 314). This doctrine is held by the southern Buddhists. Rhys Davids (B., p. 179) writes: "It is not so necessarily implied in or closely connected with the most important parts of his scheme as to exclude the possibility of its having arisen after his death" (cf. also Davids, p. 13, Buddhist Birth Stories; Senart's La Legende du Buddha).
125 Mahawanso, 20-21. 116 years after Nirvana, Beal in Ind. Antiq., p. 301. The Tibetan gives the date 110 years and also (Rockhill, B., p. 182) 160, which is probably a mistake for the 116 of the Chinese.

126 Beal, loc. cit.

127 Rockhill, B., 183, where is given a detailed translation of the features of the eighteen Hinayana sects.

128 Beal, loc. cit.
129 Patimokkha, Dickson, p. 5.

130 Though some hold this to be merely a chant for luck and not real prayer.

131 In the middle of the third century after the Nirvana (Beal, loc. cit.) arose the realistic Sarvastivada as a branch of the Sthaviras, "those who say all exists, the past, future and the present," and are called in consequence "they who say that all exists," or Sarvastivadinia (Rockhill, B., 184).

132 Eastern Mon., p. 300, and Rhys Davids' Questions of Milinda.

133 East. Mon., p. 295.
134 Prajna begins with chaos. She produced all the Tathagatas, and is the mother of all Bodhisattvas Pratyeka-Buddhas and Disciples (Conf. Cowell and Eggeling's Catal, Skt. MS., J.R.A.S., N.S. viii., 3).

135 For some details of these see Csoma's An., p. 400.

136 Beal's Catena, 125.

137 Tib., Tong-pa nid.

138 No-vo-nid.

139 Zod-manas Zi-ba — "nothing has manifested itself in any form" (Schl., 343).

140 Hodgson's Essays, etc., 59.
141 A. Lillie, J.R.A.S., xiv., 9.

142 Saddharma Pundarika, xxii.

143 Loc. cit., xxv.
144 Beal's Catena, 123.

145 T., ch'os-sku.

146 Eit., p. 180.

147 long-sku.

148 It is singular to find these Buddhist speculations bearing so close a resemblance to the later Greek theories on the same subject, especially in the plain resemblance of the [x] or luciform body, to the Lochana (Rajana) or "Glorious Body" of the Buddhists. Vide the whole subject of these "bodies" treated by Cudworth Intellec. System, ii., 788; Beal's Cat., 123.

149 sprul-sku.

150 On these bodies see also Vasiliev, B. (French ed.), p. 127, and Eitel, 179 seq.

151 Beal's Catena, 123.
152 Amitayus sutropedesa, Buddhagotra Sastra, on the Saddharma Pundarika, Vajra Ch'edika, Dasabhumika, etc.; and also "the Treasury of Metaphysics" (Abidharma Kos-sa sastra), containing many Sautrantika principles.

153 For his date conf. Vasil., 225, 230 and previous note. The works of his younger brother Vasubandhu, were translated into Chinese 557 A.D.

154 Conf. Hardy's E.M., p., 252, and Grimblot, Sept. Suttas pali, p. 323.

155 Childers' Pali Dict.
156 Vasiliev designates this stage as "Mysticism"; but surely the developed  Mahayana and Yogacarya doctrines were already mystic in a high degree;  while the name Tantrik expresses the kind of mysticism and also conveys a sense  of Sivaist idolatry, although the word "Tantra," according to its Tibetan etymology  (rgyud), literally means "a treatise," it is restricted both in Buddhism and Hinduism  to the necromantic books on Sakta mysticism.
157 Tib., mCh'og-hi dah-pohi Sans-rgyas.

158 "According to this system," says Mr. Hodgson, J.A.S.B., xii., 400, "from an eternal, infinite and immaterial Adi-Buddha proceeded divinely, and not generatively, five lesser Buddhas, who are considered the immediate sources (Adi-Buddha being the ultimate source) of the five elements of matter, and of the five organs and five faculties of sensation. The moulding of these materials into the shape of an actual world is not, however, the business of the five Buddhas, but it is devolved by them upon lesser emanations from themselves denominated Bodhisattvas, who are thus the tertiary and active agents of the creation and government of the world, by virtue of powers derived immediately from the five Buddhas, ultimately from the one supreme Buddha. This system of five Buddhas provides for the origin of the material world and for that of immaterial existences. A sixth Buddha is declared to have emanated divinely from Adi-Buddha, and this sixth Buddha, Vajrasattva by name, is assigned the immediate organization of mind and its powers of thought and feeling."

159 The five "wisdoms" which the human Buddha embodies are: Ch'o-ki byin ki ye-s'es, Melon ta-bahi, Nambar-ned-ki, Sosor tog-pahi, Gya-wa du-pahi ye-s'es.
160 Compare with the Pancha Raksha, and see chapter on pantheon, pp. 353 and 363.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:02 am


Lamas sending Paper-horses to Travellers.1

THE simple creed and rule of conduct which won its way over myriads of Buddha's hearers is still to be found in Lamaism, though often obscured by the mystic and polydemonist accretions of later days. All the Lamas and most of the laity are familiar with the doctrinal elements taught by Sakya Muni and give them a high place in their religious and ethical code.

A keen sense of human misery forms the starting-point of Buddha's Law or Dharma2 the leading dogma of which is propounded in "The Four noble Truths,"3 which may be thus summarized: —

1. Existence in any form involves Suffering or Sorrow.4
2. The Cause of Suffering is Desire and Lust of Life.
3. The Cessation of Suffering is effected by the complete conquest over and destruction of Desire and Lust of Life.
4. The Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering is "The noble Eight-fold Path," the parts5 of which are: —

1. Right Belief
2. Right Aims
3. Right Speech
4. Right Actions
5. Right Means of Livelihood
6. Right Endeavour
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Meditation.

Thus Ignorance (of the illusive idealism of Life) is made the source of all misery, and the right Knowledge of the nature of Life is the only true path to emancipation from re-birth or Arhatship; and practically the same dogma is formulated in the well-known stanza called by Europeans "the Buddhist Creed."6 And the bulk of the Buddhist scriptures is devoted to the proofs and illustrations of the above dogma.

The Moral Code, as expressed in its most elementary form of rules for the external conduct, forms the well-known decalogue (dasa-sila) which enunciates its precepts in a negative and prohibitive form, namely: —

1. Kill not.
2. Steal not.
3. Commit not Adultery.
4. Lie not.
5. Drink not Strong Drink.
6. Eat no Food except at the stated times.
7. Use no Wreaths, Ornaments or Perfumes.
8. Use no High Mats or Thrones.
9. Abstain from Dancing, Singing, Music, and Worldly Spectacles.
10. Own no Gold or Silver and accept none.

Buddha preaching the Law (in the Deer-park [Mriga-dawa] at Benares).

The first five (the panca-sila) are binding upon the laity; the whole ten are binding only on the monks; but the layman on certain fast-days, in accordance with a pious vow, observes also one or more of the next four (Nos. 6 to 9). The more austere rules for monastic discipline are indicated in the chapter on the monkhood.

Sakya Muni's sermons, as presented in the earlier and more authentic scriptures, have all the simple directness and force which belong to sayings of "the inspired." As an illustration of his moral teaching, his popular sermon on "What is the Greatest Blessing?" (the Mangala Sutra)7 is here appended: —

Buddha's Sermon On What is the Greatest Blessing?

Praise be to the Blessed One, the Holy One, the Author of all Truth!

1. Thus I have heard. On a certain day dwelt the Blessed One8 at Srivasta, at the Jetavana monastery, in the Garden of Anathapindaka. And when the night was far advanced, a certain radiant celestial being, illuminating the whole of Jetavana, approached the Blessed One and saluted him, and stood aside, and standing aside addressed him with this verse: —

Many gods and men yearning after good have held divers things to be blessings; say thou what is the greatest blessing?

1. To serve wise men and not serve fools, to give honour to whom honour is due, this is the greatest blessing.

2. To dwell in a pleasant land, to have done good deeds in a former existence, to have a soul filled with right desires, this is the greatest blessing.

3. Much knowledge and much science, the discipline of a well-trained mind, and a word well spoken, this is the greatest blessing.

4. To succour father and mother, to cherish wife and child, to follow a peaceful calling, this is the greatest blessing.

5. To give alms, to live religiously, to give help to relatives, to do blameless deeds, this is the greatest blessing.

6. To cease and abstain from sin, to eschew strong drink, to be diligent in good deeds, this is the greatest blessing.

7. Reverence and lowliness and contentment and gratitude, to receive religious teaching at due seasons, this is the greatest blessing.

8. To be long-suffering and meek, to associate with the priests of Buddha, to hold religious discourse at due seasons, this is the greatest blessing.

9. Temperance and chastity, discernment of the four great truths, the prospect of Nirvana, this is the greatest blessing.

10. The soul of one unshaken by the changes of this life, a soul inaccessible to sorrow, passionless, secure, this is the greatest blessing.

11. They that do these things are invincible on every side, on every side they walk in safety, yea, theirs is the greatest blessing.

Indeed, Buddha's teaching is not nearly so pessimistic as it is usually made to appear by its hostile critics. His sermon on Love (Mitra Sutra) shows that Buddhism has its glad tidings of great joy, and had it been wholly devoid of these, it could never have become popular amongst bright, joyous people like the Burmese and Japanese.

The stages towards Arhatship9 or emancipation from re-birth are graduated into a consecutive series of four (cattaro-marga) paths, a fourfold arrangement of "the eightfold paths "above mentioned; and these depend upon the doctrinal comprehension of the devotee, and his renunciation or not of the world, for the higher stages were only reachable by celibate monks (sramana) or nuns (sramanera), and not by the ordinary laity or hearers (sravaka). Those who have not yet entered any of these stages or paths are "the ignorant and unwise ones." And Meditation (dhyana) is the chief means of entry. The first and lowest stage or step towards Arhatship is the Srottapatti, or the entering the stream — the state of the new convert to Buddhism. He is called Sotapanno, "One who has entered the stream," inevitably carrying him onward — though not necessarily in the same body — to the calm ocean of Nirvana.10 He, now, can only be re-born11 as a god or man, and not in any lower births, though his metempsychoses may yet last countless ages.12

In the second stage the graduate is called Sakrid-agamin, or "he who receives birth once more" on earth. He has freed himself from the first five fetters.

In the third stage he is called An-agami, or "he who will not come back" to earth. Such a person can only be re-born in a Brahma heaven, whence he reaches Nirvana.

The fourth and highest stage is the attainment of Arhatship in this life. Such a graduate will at death experience no rebirth.

After Buddha's death seems to have arisen the division of Arhats into the three grades of Simple Arhat, Pratyeka-Buddha, and Supreme Buddha, which is now part of the creed of the southern school.

Firstly, "the Simple Arhat who has attained perfection through his own efforts and the doctrine and example of a Supreme Buddha, but is not himself such a Buddha and cannot teach others how to attain Arhatship.

"Secondly, and second in rank, but far above the Simple Arhat, the Pratyeka-Buddha or Solitary Saint, who has attained perfection himself and by himself alone and not . . . through the teaching of any Supreme Buddha.

"Thirdly, the Supreme Buddha, or Buddha par excellence (once a Bodhisattva), who, having by his own self-enlightening insight attained perfect knowledge (sambodhi) . . . has yet delayed this consummation (parinirvana) that he may become the saviour of a suffering world ... by teaching men how to save themselves.13

The leading religious feature of the Mahayana doctrine was its more universal spirit. Its ideal was less monastic than the Hinayana, which confined its advantages practically to its coeobitical monks. The Mahayana endeavoured to save all beings by rendering Bodhisatship accessible to all, and thus saving all beings in the ages to come. It also called itself the "Vehicle of Bodisats," thus constituting three vehicles (Triyana) which it described as — (1) Of the hearers or disciples (Sravaka), whose vehicle was likened to a sheep crossing the surface of a river; (2) of the Pratyeka-Buddhas, or solitary non-teaching Buddhas, whose vehicle was likened to a deer crossing a river; and (3) of the Bodhisats, whose vehicle is likened to a mighty elephant which in crossing a river grandly fathoms it to the bottom. These vehicles "are, in plain language, piety, philosophy, or rather Yogism, and striving for the enlightenment and weal of our fellow-creatures. . . . Higher than piety is true and self-acquired knowledge of eternal laws; higher than knowledge is devoting oneself to the spiritual weal of others."14 It thus gave itself the highest place.

Its theory of Bodhisatship is, to use the words of Professor Rhys Davids, "the keynote of the later school just as Arhatship is the keynote of early Buddhism.15 The Arhats being dead cannot be active, the Bodhisattvas as living beings can: "the Bodhisattvas represent the ideal of spiritual activity; the Arhats of inactivity."

But, as Professor Kern shows, one of the earliest of the Mahayana scriptures, the Saddharma pundarika, dating at least about the second century A.D., goes further than this. It teaches that everyone should try to become a Buddha. "It admits that from a practical point of view one may distinguish three means, so-called Vehicles (yanas), to attain summum bonum, Nirvana, although in a higher sense there is only one Vehicle — the Buddha Vehicle."16

To obtain the intelligence (Bodhi) of a Buddha, and as a Bodhisat to assist in the salvation of all living beings, the six Paramita or transcendental virtues must be assiduously practised. These cardinal virtues are: —

1. Charity (Skt., dana17)
2. Morality (sila18)
3. Patience (kshanti19)
4. Industry (virya20)
5. Meditation (dhyana21)
6. Wisdom (prajna22)

To which four others sometimes are added, to wit: —

7. Method (upaya23)
8. Prayer (pranidhana24)
9. Fortitude (bala25)
10. Foreknowledge (? dhyana 26)

Sakya Muni, in his last earthly life but one, is held to have satisfied the Paramita of Giving (No. 1 of the list) as prince Visvantara ("Vessantara") as detailed in the Jataka of the same name. Asoka, in his gift of Jambudvipa; and Siladitya, in his gifts at Prayag (Allahabad), as described by Hiuen Tsiang, are cited as illustrations of this Paramita.

Meditation, the fifth Paramita, was early given an important place in the doctrine, and it is insisted upon in the Vinaya.27 Through it one arrives at perfect tranquillity (samadhi), which is believed to be the highest condition of mind. And in the later days of mysticism this led to the ecstatic meditation of Yoga, by which the individual becomes united with and rapt in the deity.

The ten stages through which a Bodhisat must pass in order to attain perfection. These stages are called "The Ten28 Heavens" (dasa bhumisvara29), and are objectively represented by the ten "umbrellas" surmounting the spire of a caitya, and one of the treatises of the "nine canons" is devoted to their description.30

In the natural craving after something real and positive, "When the theory of a universal void became the leading feature of the Buddhist scholastic development, the question pressed upon the mind was this: If all things around us are unreal and unsubstantial, is there anything in the universe real or any true existence? The answer to this question was that "on the other shore," that is, in that condition which admits of no birth or death, no change or suffering, there is absolute and imperishable existence."31

The chief of these regions is the western paradise of Amitabha, named Sukhavati, or "the Happy Land,"32 a figure of which is here given, as it is the goal sought by the great body of the Buddhists of Tibet, as well as those of China and Japan. Its invention dates at least to 100 A.D.,33 and an entry to it is gained by worshipping Amitabha's son, Avalokita, which is a chief reason for the spell of the latter, the Om mani padme Hum, being so popular.


In the seventh century A.D., under Buddha-palita, and in the eighth or ninth, under Candrakirti, a popular development arose named the Prasanga Madhyamika (Tib., T'al gyur-va34), which by a hair-splitting speculation deduces the absurdity and erroneousness of every esoteric opinion, and maintained that Buddha's doctrines establish two paths, one leading to the highest heaven of the universe, Sukhavati, where man enjoys perfect happiness, but connected with personal existence, the other conducting to entire emancipation from the world, namely, Nirvana.35

Mystic Attitudes of Fingers

The Yoga doctrine of ecstatic union of the individual with the Universal Spirit had been introduced into Hinduism about 150 B.C. by Patanjali, and is not unknown to western systems.36 It taught spiritual advancement by means of a self-hypnotizing to be learned by rules. By moral consecration of the individual to Isvara or the Supreme Soul, and mental concentration upon one point with a view to annihilate thought, there resulted the eight great Siddhi or magical powers, namely (1) "the ability to make one's body lighter, or (2) heavier, or (3) smaller, (4) or larger than anything in the world, and (5) to reach any place, or (6) to assume any shape, and (7) control all natural laws, to

'Hang like Mahomet in the air,
Or St. Ignatius at his prayer,'37

and (8) to make everything depend upon oneself, all at pleasure of will — Iddhi or Riddi." On this basis Asanga, importing Patanjali's doctrine into Buddhism and abusing it, taught38 that by means of mystic formulas — dharanis (extracts from Mahayana sutras and other scriptures) and mantra (short prayers to deities) — as spells, "the reciting of which should be accompanied by music and certain distortion of the fingers (mudra), a state of mental fixity (samadhi) might be reached characterized by neither thought nor annihilation of thoughts, and consisting of six-fold bodily and mental happiness (Yogi), whence would result endowment with supernatural miracle-working power." These miraculous powers were alleged to be far more efficacious than mere moral virtue, and may be used for exorcism and sorcery, and for purely secular and selfish objects. Those who mastered these practices were called Yogacarya.

But even in early Buddhism mantras seem to have been used as charms,39 and southern Buddhism still so uses them in Paritta service for the sick,40 and also resorts to mechanical contrivances for attaining Samadhi, somewhat similar to those of the Yogacarya.41 And many mystic spells for the supernatural power of exorcism are given in that first or second century A.D. work, Saddharma Pundarika.42

In the mystic nihilist sense, as the name of a thing was as real as the thing itself, the written spell was equally potent with the spoken, and for sacerdotal purposes even more so on account of the sacred character of letters, as expressing speech and so exciting the intense veneration of barbarians. No Tibetan will wantonly destroy any paper or other object bearing written characters.

The general use of the mystic OM, symbolic of the Hindu Triad AUM, The Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, probably dates from this era; though in the Amaravati tope is figured a pillar of glory surmounted by OM proceeding from the throne supposed to be occupied by Buddha.43 It is doubtful whether its occurrence in some copies of the Lalita Vistara and other early Mahayana works, as the first syllable of the Opening Salutation, may not have been an after addition of later scribes. The monogram figured on page 386 is entitled "The All-powerful ten,"44 and is in a form of the Indian character called Ranja or "Lantsa."

Magic "Circle"46

The Tantrik cults45 brought with them organized worship, litanies, and pompous ritual, offerings and sacrifice to the bizarre or terrible gods and goddesses for favours, temporal and spiritual. A supreme primordial Buddha-god and superhuman Buddhas and Bodhisats, together with their female energies, mostly demoniacal, demand propitiation by frequent worship and sacrificial offerings. This Tantrik ritual is illustrated in the chapters on worship.

The excessive use of these mystic Mantras, consisting mostly of unmeaning gibberish, resulted in a new vehicle named the Mantra-yana, which is a Tantrik development of the Yoga phase of Buddhism. Charmed sentences (dharani) supposed to have been composed by these several divinities themselves, are used as incantations for procuring their assistance in peril as well as in ordinary temporal affairs. And by means of these spells and mummery the so-called "magic circles" are formed by which the divinities are coerced into assisting the votary to reach "the other shore." And the authors of this so-called "esoteric" system gave it a respectable antiquity by alleging that its founder was really Nagaijuna, who had received it in two sections of vajra and garbha-dhatu from the celestial Buddha Vajra-sattva, within "the iron tower" in southern India. Its authorship is, as even Taranatha himself admits, most obscure.47

Yantra of Manjusri (From Japanese)

Magic-Circle of Avalokita

The Mantra-yana asserts that the state of the "Great enlighted or perfected"48 that is, Buddhaship, may be attained in the present body (composed of the six elements) by following the three great secret laws regarding the body, speech, and thought,49 as revealed by the fictitious Buddha, Vajrasattva.

Its silly secrets so-called comprise the spells of the several divinities, and the mode of making the magic-circles (mandala) of the two sorts — the outer and inner (vajradhdtu and garbhadhatu); though something very like, or analogous to, magic-circles are also used in southern Buddhism.50

Some idea of its contemptible mummery and posturing and other physical means for spiritual advancement is to be gained from the following three exercises which every Lama should daily perform: —

The "meditative posture of the seven attitudes" is daily assumed by the Lama with his associates, in order to subjugate the five senses. These attitudes are — (1) sitting with legs flexed in the well-known attitude of Buddha; (2) the hands resting one above the other in the lap; (3) head slightly bent forward; (4) eyes fixed on the tip of the nose; (5) shoulders "expanded like the wings of a vulture;" (6) spine erect and "straight like an arrow"; (7) tongue arching up to the palate like the curving petals of the eight-leaved lotus. While in this posture he must think that he is alone in a wilderness. And he now, by physical means, gets rid of Raga, Moha, Dvesa— the three "original sins" of the body — and these are got rid of according to the humoral physiology of the ancients in the three series of dbuma, roma, and rkyan-ma. After taking a deep inspiration, the air of the roma veins is expelled three times, and thus "the white wind" is let out from the right nostril three times in short and forcible expiratory gusts. This expels all anger. Then from the left nostril is thrice expelled in a similar way "the red air" which rids from lust. The colourless central air is thrice expelled, which frees from ignorance. On concluding these processes, the monk must mentally conceive that all ignorance, lust and anger — the three original sins — have "disappeared like frost before a scorching sun."

He then says the "a-lia-ki," keeping his tongue curved like a lotus petal. This is followed by his chanting "the Yoga of the Lama," during which he must mentally conceive his Lama-guide as sitting overhead upon a lotus-flower.

Mystic Attitudes. (Lamas of Established Church.)

The mere recital of mystic words and sentences (mantra or dharani [T., Z'un]), and their essential syllable (the germs or seed, so-called vija) is held to be equivalent to the practice of the Paramitas, and subdues and coerces the gods and genii, and procures long life and other temporal blessings, and obtains the assistance of the Buddhas and Bodhisats. Although these Dharanis51 were likely introduced to supply the need for incantations their use is alleged to be based upon the doctrine of unreality of things. As existence is ideal, the name of a thing is equivalent to the thing itself, and of a like efficacy are the attitudes (mudra) of the fingers, symbolic of the attributes of the gods. Thus Om is an acceptable offering to the Buddhas, Hri dispels sorrow, and by uttering Ho, samadhi is entered. Of such an ideal nature also were the paper horses of Huc's amusing story, which the Lamas with easy charity bestowed on belated and helpless travellers, as figured at the top of this chapter.

Lotus-petals of Heart. On meditating upon Celestial Buddhas. (A Stage in the Magic-Circle.— After Nanjio.)

These postures and parrot-like exercises, as practised by the unreformed and semi-reformed sects, according to the book entitled The complete esoteric Tantra52 and the reputed work of Padma-sambhava, are as follows. The corresponding Ge-lug-pa rites are not very much different: —

1st. — The mode of placing the three mystic words, body, speech and thought (ku, sun and t'uk).
2nd. — The nectar-commanding rosary.
3rd.— The jewelled rosary-guide for ascending.
4th. — Secret counsels of the four Yogas.
5th. — The great root of the heart.
6th. — The lamp of the three dwellings.
7th. — The bright loosener of the illusion.
8th. — The water-drawing "dorje."
9th. — The secret guide to the fierce Dakkini.
10th. — The drawing of the essence of the stony nectar.
11th. — Counsel on the Dakkini's habits.
12th. — Fathoming the mystery of the Dakkinis.
13th. — Counsel for the Dakkini's heart-root.
14th. — The four words for the path of Pardo (limbo).
15th. — The Pardo of the angry demons.
16th. — To recognize the Gyalwa Rig-na or the five celestial Buddhas. Then "Happiness" is reached — this goal is the sensuous happiness of the Jina's Paradise or of Sukhavati, that of Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light.

The transcendental efficacy attributed to these spells fully accounts for their frequent repetition on rosaries and by mechanical means in the "prayer-wheel," flags, etc.

The Prayer-Wheel Formula. Om-ma-ni pad-me Hum.

Thus, the commonest mystic formula in Lamaism, the "Om-ma-ni pad-me Hum," — which literally means " Om! The Jewel in the Lotus! Hum! " — is addressed to the Bodhisat Padmapani who is represented like Buddha as seated or standing within a lotus-flower. He is the patron-god of Tibet and the controller of metempsychosis. And no wonder this formula is so popular and constantly repeated by both Lamas and laity, for its mere utterance is believed to stop the cycle of re-births and to convey the reciter directly to paradise. Thus it is stated in the Mani-kah-bum with extravagant rhapsody that this formula "is the essence of all happiness, prosperity, and knowledge, and the great means of deliverance"; for the Om closes re-birth amongst the gods, ma, among the Titans ni, as a man, pad as a beast, me as a Tantalus, and Hum as an inhabitant of hell. And in keeping with this view each of these six syllables is given the distinctive colour of these six states of rebirth, namely Om, the godly white; ma, the Titanic blue; ni, the human yellow; pad, the animal green; me, the "Tantalic" red; and Hum, the hellish black.

The OM MANI Formula (in Indian "Ranja" characters of about the seventh century).

But the actual articulation is not even needed. The mere inspection of this formula is equally effective, and so also is the passing of this inscription before the individual. And to be effective it does not require to be actually visible, it is therefore printed thousands and millions53 of times on long ribbons and coiled into cylinders and inserted into the "prayer-wheels" so-called, which are revolved everywhere in Tibet, in the hand (see pages 45, 218, etc.), and as great barrels turned by hand or water or wind,54 and also printed on stones and on cloth-flags which flutter from every house, so as to ensure the cessation of metempsychosis by re-birth in the western paradise.

The origin of this formula is obscure. The earliest date for it yet found is the thirteenth century A.D.55

What seems to be a more expanded version of this spell is known to a few Lamas and is met with in Japanese Buddhism, namely, "OM! Amogha Vairocana Mahamudra MANI PADMA Jvala-pravarthtaya HUM!" But this is addressed to the first of the Dhyani56 Buddhas, namely, Vairocana, to whom also the Japanese Mantrayana sect ascribe their esoteric doctrine, but the ordinary Lamaist formula is unknown in Japan, where its place is taken by "Namo O-mi-to Fo," or "Hail to Amitabha, the Buddha of Boundless Light."

From its mystic nature the Om Mani formula is interpreted in a great variety of ways, including amongst others the phallic,57 though this latter sense is seldom accorded it. The heterodox Bon-pa followers repeat it in reverse fashion, thus making it mere gibberish.58


The repetition of the mystic formulas for the beads follows the prayer, properly so-called, and is believed to contain the essence of a formal prayer, as well as to act as a powerful spell. The formulas are of a Sanskritic nature, usually containing the name of the deity addressed, but are more or less wholly unintelligible to the worshipper.

Different mantras are needed for different deities; but the one most frequently used by the individual Lama is that of his own tutelary deity, which varies according to the sect to which the Lama belongs. The formulas most frequently used are shown in the following table: —

Name of Deity. / The Spell. / Special Kind of Rosary Used.

1. Dor-je jik-je.59 Skt., Vajra-bhairava / Om! Ya-man-ta-taka hum phat! / Human skull or "stomach-stone."

2. Cha-na dorje.60 Skt., Vajrapani; / Om! Vajrapani hum phat!; Om! Vajra dsan-da maha ro-khana hum! / Raksha; Ditto.

3. Tam-din.61 Skt., Hayagriva. / Om! pad-ma ta krid hum phat! / Red sandal or coral.

4. Cha-ra-si or T'ug-je-ch'enbo.62 Skt., Avalokita. / Om! mani pad-me hum! / Conch-shell or crystal.

5. Dol-ma jan-k'u.63 Skt., Tara / Om! Ta-re tut-ta-re ture sva-ha! / Bo-dhi-tse or turquoise.

6. Do-kar.64 Skt., Sitatara. / Om! Ta-re tut-ta-re mama a - yur punye-dsanyana pusph-pi-ta ku-ru sva-ha! / Bodhitse.

7. Dor-je p'ag-mo.65 Skt., Vajra-varahi. / Om! sar-ba Bud-dha dakkin-ni hum phat! / Ditto

8. 'O-zer-can-ma.66 Skt., Marici. / Om! Ma-ri-cye mam sva-ha! / Ditto.

9. Gon-po nag-po.67 Skt., Kalanatha. / Om! Sri Ma-ha-ka-la hum phat sva-ha! / Raksha.

10. Nam-se.68 Skt., Kuvera. / Om! Vai-sra-va-na ye sva-ha! / Nanga-pani.

11. Dsam-b'a-la.69 Skt., Jambhala. / Om! Jam-bha-la dsalen-dra ye sva-ha! / Ditto.

12. Sen-ge-da.70 Skt., Sinhanada. / Om! a-hrih Sin-ha-nada hum phat! / Conch-shell or crystal.

13. Jam-yang.71 Skt. Manjughosha. / Om! a-ra-pa-ca-na-dhi! / Yellow rosary.

14. Dem-ch'ok.72 Skt., Samvara. / Om! hrih ha-ha hum hum phat! / Bodhitse.

15. Pad-ma jun-na.73 Skt., Padina-sam-bhava. / Om! Vajra Gu-ru Padma sid-dhi hum! / Coral or bodhitse.

The concluding word phat which follows the mystic hum in many of these spells is cognate with the current Hindustani word phat, and means "may the enemy be destroyed utterly!"

The laity through want of knowledge seldom use with their rosaries any other than the well-known "Jewel-Lotus" formula.

Such mechanical means of spiritual advancement by promising immediate temporal benefits, have secured universal popularity; and possess stronger attractions for gross and ignorant intellects over the moral methods of early Buddhism. The Chinese literati ridicule the repetition of these mantras by saying,74 "Suppose that you had committed some violation of the law, and that you were being led into the judgment-hall to receive sentence; if you were to take to crying out with all your might 'Your Worship' some thousands of times, do you imagine that the magistrate would let you off for that?"

On the evolution, in the tenth century, of the demoniacal Buddhas of the Kalacakra, the "Mantra"-vehicle was developed into "The Thunderbolt-vehicle" or Vajrayana, the proficient in which is called Vajracarya. According to this, the most depraved form of Buddhist doctrine, the devotee endeavours with the aid of the demoniacal Buddhas and of fiendesses (Dakkini) and their magic-circles to obtain the spiritual powers of Siddhi75 or "The accomplishment of perfection or of one's wishes." Although the attainment of Siddhi is below the stage of Arhatship, the Lamas value it more highly than the latter on account of its power of witchcraft. Its mystic insight is classed as the external (Ch'ir-dub), internal (Nan-dub), and esoteric or hidden (San-dub), and correspond to the body, speech, and thought. Its followers are called Vajracarya and its rules are detailed by Tson K'hapa. Its recognized divisions76 are: —


Lower Tantra: Kriya Tantra bya-rgyud / Carya Tantra spyod

Upper Tantra: Yoga Tantra rnal-byor/ Anuttara Tantra bla-na med-pahi-gyud

In only the last, or Anuttara Tantra, have the tutelary demons spouses.77

The rampant demonolatry of the Tibetans seems to have developed the doctrine of tutelary deities far beyond what is found even in the latest phase of Indian Buddhism, although I find at many of the mediaeval Buddhist sites in Magadha, images of several of the devils which are so well-known in Tibet as tutelaries.

Each Lamaist sect has its own special tutelary fiend, which may or may not be the personal tutelary of all the individual Lamas of that particular sect; for each Lama has a tutelary of his own selection, somewhat after the manner of the ishta devata of the Hindus, who accompanies him wherever he goes and guards his footsteps from the minor fiends. Even the purest of all the Lamaist sects — the Ge-lug-pa — are thorough-paced devil-worshippers, and value Buddhism chiefly because it gives them the whip-hand over the devils which everywhere vex humanity with disease and disaster, and whose ferocity weighs heavily upon all. The purest Ge-lug-pa Lama on awaking every morning, and before venturing outside his room, fortifies himself against assault by the demons by first of all assuming the spiritual guise of his fearful tutelary, the king of the demons, named Vajrabhairava or Sam vara, as figured in the chapter on the pantheon. The Lama, by uttering certain mantras culled from the legendary sayings of Buddha in the Mahayana Tantras, coerces this demon-king into investing the Lama's person with his own awful aspect.78 Thus when the Lama emerges from his room in the morning, and wherever he travels during the day, he presents spiritually the appearance of the demon-king, and the smaller malignant demons, his would-be assailants, ever on the outlook to harm humanity, being deluded into the belief that the Lama is indeed their own vindictive king, they flee from his presence, leaving the Lama unharmed.

A notable feature of Lamaism throughout all its sects, and decidedly un-Buddhistic, is that the Lama is a priest rather than a monk. He assigns himself an indispensable place in the religion and has coined the current saying "Without a Lama in front there is no (approach to) God." He performs sacerdotal functions on every possible occasion; and a large proportion of the order is almost entirely engaged in this work. And such services are in much demand; for the people are in hopeless bondage to the demons, and not altogether unwilling slaves to their exacting worship.

The Chinese contempt for such rites is thus expressed in a sacred edict of the emperor Yung-Ching.79 "If you neglect to burn paper in honour of Buddha, or to lay offerings on his altars, he will be displeased with you, and will let his judgments fall upon your heads. Your god Buddha, then, is a mean fellow. Take for a pattern the magistrate of your district. Even if you never go near him to compliment him or pay court to him, so long as you are honest folk and attentive to your duty, he will be none the less ready to attend to you; but if you transgress the law, if you commit violence, or trespass on the rights of others, it would be useless for you to try a thousand ways of flattering him; you will always be subject to his displeasure."

Thus had these various influences warped the Buddhist doctrine in India, ere it reached Tibet, and there the deep-rooted demon-worship made Lamaism what it is: a priestly mixture of Shamanist cults and poly-demonist superstitions, overlaid by quasi-Buddhist symbolism, relieved by universal charity and other truly Buddhist principles, and touched here and there by the brighter lights of the teaching of Buddha.

But notwithstanding its glaring defects, Lamaism has exerted a considerable civilizing influence over the Tibetans. The people are profoundly affected by its benign ethics, and its maxim, "as a man sows he shall reap," has undoubtedly enforced the personal duty of mastery over self in spite of the easier physical aids to piety which are prevalent.

And it is somewhat satisfactory to find that many of the superior Lamas breathe much of the spirit of the original system. They admit the essentially un-Buddhist nature of much of the prevalent demonolatry, and the impropriety of its being fostered by the church. They regard this unholy alliance with the devils as a pandering to popular prejudice. Indeed, there are many Lamas who, following the teaching of the earlier Buddhism, are inclined to contemn sacerdotalism altogether, although forced by custom to take part in it.



1 After Huc.
2 Dharma is best rendered, says Rhys Davids (Buddh., p. 45), by "truth" or
righteousness, and not by "Law," which suggests ceremonial observances and outward rules, which it was precisely the object of Buddha's teaching to do away with.
3 Arya Satyani. T., 'p'ag.s-pa bden-pa bz'i.
4 The word for Misery (Skt., Asrava; T. 'zag-pa) means "drops," so-called because it
oozes or drops (zag) from out the different regions of the six ayatanas (or sense-surfaces) as drops water through holes (Rockhill's Udandvarga, 10). It seems to convey  the idea of tears as expressive of misery.
5 Anga.

6 "The Buddhist Creed," found so frequently on votive images, is: —

Ye dharma hetuprabhava
Hetun teshan tathagato
Hyavadata teshan ca yo nirodha
Evamvadi mahasramanah.

It has been translated by Rhys Davids (Vin. Texts., i., p. 146) as follows: —

Of all objects which proceed from a Cause
The Tathagata has explained the cause,
And he has explained their Cessation also;
This is the doctrine of the great Samana.

The Second Stanza, also found frequently on Buddhist votive images in India (see Buknouf's Lotus, p. 523, and Cunningham's Arch. Surv. Rep. 2nd., i., pl. xxxiv., fig. 1, First Stanza), is according to its Tibetan form: —

Sarvapapasya karanam
Svacittam in paridamanu
Etad Buddhanusasanam.

Which has been translated by Csoma thus:—

"No vice is to be committed;
Every virtue must be perfectly practised;
The mind must be brought under entire subjection.
This is the commandment of Buddha."

In Tibetan the first stanza of "the Creed" is widely known, and is: —

Ch'os-nam t'am-c'ad rgyu-las byun
De-rgyu de-z'in-gs'egs-pas gsuns
rGyu-la 'gog-pa gan-yin-pa
'Di-skad gsun-ba dge-spyon-ch'i.

7 From Professor Childers' translation.

8 Bhagava.
9 Arhant (Pali, Araha, Rahan, Rahat) as its Tibetan equivalent, dgra-bcom-pa, shows, is derived from Ari, an enemy, and han, to extirpate, i.e., "he who has extirpated his passions." It seems to have been applied in primitive Buddhism to those who comprehended the four Truths, and including Buddha himself, but lately it was restricted to the perfected Buddhist saint (Laidlay's FaHian Ki, 94; Burn., i., 295; ii., 297; Kopp., i., 400; Jaesch., 88).

10 Hardy's Eastn. Mon., Chap. xxii.

11 Only seven more births yet remain for him.

12 According to northern Buddhism for 80,000 kalpas, or cycles of time.
13 Summary by Mon. Williams's Buddhism, p. 134.
14 Kern, op. cit., p. xxxiv.
15 Origin, p. 254.

16 Sacr. Bks. East, xxi., p. xxxiv.

17 sbyin-pa, Csoma, Analy., 399; Burnouf, Lotus, p. 544.

18 ts'ul-k'rims.

19 bzod-pa.

20 botson-'grus.

21 bsam-gtan.

22 s'es-rab.

23 t'abs.

24 smon-lam.

25 stobs.

26 ye-s'es.

27 For stages of meditation see Bigandet's Legends, etc., 446. Bodhidharma in the fifth century A.D. exalted meditation as the means of self-reformation.
28 They are sometimes accounted thirteen in Nepal (Hodgson, Lang., 16) and also by the Nin-ma Lamas.

29 See also Laidlay's FaHian,-p. 93; J.R.A.S., x.i., 1, 21. Sometimes they are extended to thirteen.

30 Hodgs., supra cit.

31 Beal's Catena, 275.

32 For its description see Beal's Catena, p. 117 seq.; Max Muller's trans, of Sukhavati- vyuha, S.B.E., xlix.; and Sarat, J.A.S.B., 1891.

33 Max Muller, op. cit., supra ii., xxiii. Avalokita^s name also occurs here.

34 Vasiliev, B., 327, 357; Csoma, J.A.S.B., vii., 141.
35 Schlagt., 41-42.

36 Compare the remark of Beal, "the end to which Plotinus directed his thoughts was to unite himself to the Great God; he attained it by the unitive method of the Quietists." — Critical Dict., art. Plotinus, quoted through Beal's Catena, 150.

37 Hudibras, Gesta Roman, 326.

38 His doctrine is contained in the treatise entitled Yogicarya-bhumi Sastra.
39 Kullavagga, v., 6.

40 East. Mon. Rhys Davids' Milinda, 213.

41 Hardy's E.M., chap. "Ascetic Rites." See also the mandala diagrams, p. 252; and "The Contemplation Stone," J.R.A.S., 1894, p. 564.

42 See also Beal's Catena, p. 284, etc.

43 Fergusson's Tree and Serp. Worship, pi. lxxi., figs. 1 and 2.

44 Nam-bc'u-dban-ldan; cf. also Chinese name for the Svastika. The letters are O, U, H, K, S, M, L, V, R, Y.

45 Cf. my Indian-Buddhist Cult of Avalokita, etc., J.R.A.S., 1894; Burnouf's Intro., 465.
46 From Japan.
47  Taran.,113.
48 Maha-utpanna or "Atiyoga, Tib., dsog-ch'en.

49 sKu, Sun, T'ug. This doctrine seems almost identical with that of the Shingon-shu sect of Japan described by B. Nanjio in his Jap. Buddh. Sects, p. 78. Taranatha also mentions Nagarjuna's name in connection with its origin, which he admits is most obscure. It probably arose at the end of the seventh century A.D., as in 720 A.D. Vajrabodhi brought it with its magic-circles to China.

50 These elaborate circles of coloured clay, etc., are described in detail by Hardy, E. M., 252, etc., and I have seen diagrams of an apparently similar character in Burmese Buddhism. Compare also with the mechanical contrivance "the Octagon" (Tib., Dab-c'ad) used in the rite sGrub-byed, to concentrate the thoughts and coerce the she-devils (Dakkini) who confer miraculous powers described. Schlag., p. 247. Cf. also "Meditation-stone."
51 Conf. Burnouf, i., 522-74; Vasiliev, 153, 193.

52 gsan-ssngags lpyi rgyud
53  In some of the larger prayer-wheels it is printed 100,000,000 times (Baron Schilling, Cf. SCHLAG., 121.

54 For wind-prayer vanes, cf. Rock., L., p. 147 cf.; also Giorgi, 508.

55 Rockhill, in The Land of the Lamas, London, 1891, page 326, notes that Wilhelm de Rubruk, writing in the second half of the thirteenth century A.D. (Soc. de Geog. de Paris, iv., page 283) states regarding the Buddhist monks of Karakorum: "Habent etiam quocumque vadunt semper in manibus quandam testem centum vel ducentorum nucleorum sicut nos portamus paternoster et dicunt semper hec verba on man baccam, hoc est Deus, tu nosti, secundum quod quidam corum interpretatus est michi, et totiens exspectat, remunerationem a Deo quotiens hoc dicendo memoratur." Mr. Rockhill also, I find, independently arrives at a similar conclusion to myself as regards the relatively modern composition of the Mani-bkah-sbum. Cf. also Huc, ii.; Kopp., ii., 59-61.

56 W. Anderson, Catal. Jap. Paintings Brit. Mus.
57 As noted by Hodgson.

58 The characteristic Bon-pa mantra is however: "Ma-tri-mu-tri sa-la dzu." Cf. Jaesch., D., 408; Desgodins, 242.

59 rdo-rje-'jigs-byed.

60 p'yag-na rdo-rje.

61 rta-mgrin.

62 T'ugs-rje-c'en-po.

63 sgrol-ma jan-k'u.

64 sgrol-dkar.

65 do-rje p'ag-mo.

66 od-zer-c'an-ma.
67 mgon-po nag-po.

68 rnam-sras.

69 dsam b'a-la.

70 sen-ge-sgra.

71 'jam-dbyangs.

72 bde-mch'og.

73 pad-ma byun-gnas.

74 Remusat, As. Misc. Most conspicuous amongst the authors of diatribes against Buddhist worship was Han Yu in the eighth or ninth centuries A.D. Cf. Mayers.
75 Siddhi, which seems (according to sir Mon. Williams, Budd., 536), to correspond to the stage below Arhatship. Eighty Siddhas (saints) are sometimes mentioned. And amongst their supernatural Irdhi powers they obtain "the Rainbow Body" ('jah-lus), which vanishes like the rainbow, leaving no trace behind.

76 Cf. Jaesch., D., 112.

77 The directions for these cults are found chiefly in the Nin-ma "revelations" or terma books.
78 This process, called lha-sgrub-pa, implies (says Jaeschke, D., 52) not so much the making a deity propititious to man (Csoma's definition in his Divt.) as rendering a god subject to human power, forcing him to perform the will of man. This coercion of the god is affected by saints continuing their profound meditation (sgom-pa) for months and years until the deity, finally, overcome, stands before them visible and tangible; nay, until they have been personally united with and, as it were, incorporated into the invoked and subjected god. The method of effecting this coercion, of obliging a god to make his appearance, is also called sgrub-tabs.

79 Remusat, As. Miscell.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:26 am


Novice-Lama Reading Scriptures.

THE sacred books embodying the "Word" of Buddha are regarded by the Lamas, in common with all other Buddhists, as forming the second member of the Trinity — "The Three precious Ones" — in whom the pious Buddhist daily takes his "refuge."

The books themselves receive divine honours. They are held materially sacred, placed in high places, and worshipped with incense, lamps, etc.;1 and even fragments of books or manuscripts bearing holy words are treasured with the utmost reverence. It is deemed the grossest profanity for anyone to throw even a fragment of holy writ upon the ground or to tread upon it, and in this way the Tibetans, like the Chinese, not infrequently express their contempt for Christianity by utilizing, as soles for their shoes, the bundles of tracts which our missionaries supply to them.

But Buddha, like "the Light of the World," and unlike Moses and Muhammad, wrote nothing himself; nor does it appear that his words were even reduced to writing until about 400 years or more after his death,2 so it is unlikely that most of his sayings have preserved their original form, wholly unaltered, in the process of handing them down orally during several centuries.

The Lamaist scriptures are faithful translations3 from the Sanskrit texts,4 and a few also from the Chinese, made mostly in the eighth and ninth, and the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries A.D.; and a very few small volumes, those first translated into Tibetan, date to the epoch of Thon-mi Sambhota, about 645 A.D.

None of these Tibetan translations, however, seem to have been printed until comparatively recent times, though the exact date of the introduction of printing into Tibet is as yet unknown.

The Tibetan so-called "books" are, strictly speaking, only xylographs, being printed from rudely carved wooden blocks. Movable type is unknown, and a large proportion of the books are still written in manuscript. The great canon, the Kah-gyur, was, it seems, only printed for the first time, at least in its collected form, about two hundred years ago.

The paper, which is remarkably tough, is made from the inner bark of a shrub,5 and comes mostly from Nepal and other parts of the sub-Himalayas, and the Chinese border-lands. The smaller abstracts from the scriptures, used by the more wealthy devotees, are sometimes written on ornate cardboard, consisting of several sheets of paper pasted together, and varnished over with a black pigment, upon which the letters are written in silver or gold; and occasionally they are illuminated like missals.

Books now abound in Tibet, and nearly all are religious. The literature, however, is for the most part a dreary wilderness of words and antiquated rubbish, but the Lamas conceitedly believe that all knowledge is locked up in their musty classics, outside which nothing is worthy of serious notice.

The Lamaist scriptures consist of two great collections, the canon and the commentaries, commonly called the "Kang-gyur, or properly the Kah-gyur,6 and Tan-gyur."7

The great code, the Kah-gyur, or "The Translated Commandment," is so called on account of its text having been translated from the ancient Indian language,8 and in a few cases from the Chinese. The translators were learned Indian and Kashimri Pandits and a few Chinese monks, assisted by Tibetan scholars.9

The code extends to one hundred or one hundred and eight volumes of about one thousand pages each, comprising one thousand and eighty-three distinct works. The bulk of this colossal bible may be imagined from the fact that each of its hundred or more volumes weighs about ten pounds, and forms a package measuring about twenty-six inches long by eight inches broad and about eight inches deep. Thus the code requires about a dozen yaks for its transport; and the carved wooden blocks from which this bible is printed require, for their storage, rows of houses like a good-sized village.

The Kah-gyur is printed, I am informed, only at two places in Tibet: the older edition at Narthang,10 about six miles from Tashi-lhunpo, the capital of western Tibet and headquarters of the Grand Panch'en-Lama. It fills one hundred volumes of about one thousand pages each. The later edition is printed at Der-ge11 in eastern Tibet (Kham) and contains the same matter distributed in volumes to reach the mystic number of one hundred and eight. In Bhotan an edition is printed at Punakha;12 and I have heard of a Kumbum (Mongolian) edition, and of one printed at Pekin. The ordinary price at Narthang is about eight rupees per volume without the wooden boards. Most of the large monasteries even in Sikhim possess a full set of this code. The Pekin edition published by command of the emperor Khian-Lung, says Koppen, sold for £600; and a copy was bartered for 7,000 oxen by the Buriats, and the same tribe paid 1,200 silver roubles for a complete copy of this bible and its commentaries.13 The Kah-gyur was translated into Mongolian about 1310 A.D. by Saskya Lama Ch'os-Kyi 'Od-zer under the Saskya Pandita, who, assisted by a staff of twenty-nine learned Tibetan, Ugrian, Chinese and Sanskrit scholars, had previously revised the Tibetan canon by collating it with Chinese and Sanskrit texts, under the patronage of the emperor Kublai Khan.

The contents of the Kah-gyur and Tah-gyur were briefly analyzed by Csoma,14 whose valuable summary, translated and indexed by Feer,15 and supplemented in part by Schiefner and Rockhill, forms the basis of the following sketch. Hodgson's copy of the Kah-gyur, on which Csoma worked at Calcutta, contained one hundred volumes, and appears to have been printed from the wooden types prepared in 1731, and which seem to be still in use at Narthang.

The Kah-gyur is divisible into three16 great sections, the Tripitaka,17 or three vessels or repositories, corresponding generally to the less inflated Pali version of the Tripitaka of the southern Buddhists, which has, however, no counterpart of the mystical Sivaist treatises, the Tantras. The three sections are: —

I. The Dul-va (Skt., Vinaya), or Discipline, the compilation of which is attributed to Upali,18 in thirteen volumes.

II. The Do (Skt., Sutra), or Sermons (of the Buddhas), compiled by Ananda19 in sixty-six volumes inclusive of Tantras. As these discourses profess to be the narrative of the disciple Ananda,20 who is believed to have been present at the originals as uttered by Buddha, most of these Sutras commence with the formula: Evam maya srutam, "Thus was it heard by me;" but this formula now is almost regarded by many European scholars as indicating a fictitious sutra, so frequently is it prefixed to spurious sutras, e.g., the Amitabha, which could not have been spoken by Buddha or recited by Ananda. The Lamas, like the southern Buddhists, naively believe that when Buddha spoke, each individual of the assembled hosts of gods, demons, and men, as well as the various kinds of lower animals,21 heard himself addressed in his own vernacular.

III. The Ch' os-non-pa (Skt. Abidharma), or Metaphysics, including Transcendental Wisdom (S'er-p'yin, Skt., Prajna Paramita), attributed to Maha Kasyapa, in twenty-one volumes.

These three sections are mystically considered to be the antidotes for the three original sins; thus the discipline cleanses from lust (Raga), the sermons from ill-will (Dvesa), and the wisdom from stupidity (Moha).

By subdividing the Do or Sutra section into five portions, the following sevenfold division of the canon results: —

"I. Discipline or Dul-va (Skt., Vinaya), in thirteen volumes, deals with the religious discipline and education of those adopting the religious life, and also contains Jatakas, avadanas, vyakaranas, sutras, and ridanas." (It is the Vinaya of the Sarvastivadains, and its greater portion has been abstracted by Rockhill.22) It is sub-divided into seven parts:

1. "The Basis of Discipline or Education (dul-va-gz'i, Skt., Vinaya Vastu), in four volumes (K, K', G, and N), translated from the Sanskrit in the ninth century by the Pandits Sarvajnyadeva and Dharmakara of Kashmir and Vidyakara-prabha of India, assisted by the Tibetan Bandes dPal-gyi lhunpo and dPal-brtsegs. (The chief Jataka and other tales interspersed through these volumes form the bulk of Schiefner's collection of Tibetan tales, translated into English by Ralston.)

2. "Sutra on Emancipation (So-vor-t'ar-pai-mdo, Skt., Pratimoksha Stitra),23 in 30 leaves.

3. "Explanation of Education (Dul-va nam-par-'byed-pa, Skt., Vinaya vibhaga) in four volumes. Enumerates the several rules (K'rims) of conduct, 253 in number, with examples of the particular transgression which led to the formation of these laws. Directions for dress and etiquette.

4. "Emancipation for Nuns (dGe-slon mahi so-sor thar pai mod, Skt., Bhikshuni pratimoksha Sutra), 36 leaves in the ninth volume (T).

5. "Explanation of the Discipline of the Nuns (Skt., Bhik. Vinaya vibhaga) in preceding volume (T).

6. "Miscellaneous Minutiae concerning Religious Discipline (Dul-va p'ran-ts'egs-kyi gz'i, Skt., Vinaya Kshudraka Vastu), in two volumes.

7. "The highest text book on Education" (Dul-va gzun bla-ma Vinaya Uttara Grantha), in two volumes (N and P), and when spoken of as "the four classes of precepts" (lin-de-zhi) the division comprises 1, 2 and 3, 6 and 7.

II. Transcendental Wisdom ("Ses-rab kyi p'a-rol-tu p'yin-pa" or curtly, "Ser-ch'in" (Skt., Prajna-paramita), in twenty-one volumes. They contain, in addition to the metaphysical terminology, those extravagantly speculative doctrines entitled Prajna-paramita, which the Mahayana school attributes to Buddha's latest revelations in his mythical discourses mostly to supernatural hearers at the Vultures' Peak at Rajgriha.24 There is no historical matter, all is speculation, and a profusion of abstraction.

The first twelve volumes, called 'Bum (Skt., Sata Sahasrika) or "the 100,000 (slokas of Transcendental Wisdom)," treat fully of the Prajna-paramita at large, and the remaining volumes are merely various abridgments of these twelve. Thus the three volumes called Ni-k'ri (pron. Nyi-thi) or "the 20,000 (slokas)" is intended for those monasteries or individuals who cannot purchase or peruse the full text; while the single volume, entitled the brgyad-ston-pan (ashta sahasrika) or 8,000 (slokas), contains in one volume the gist of the Prajna-paramita, and is intended for the average and junior monks. This is the volume which is figured on the lotus which Mahjusri, the Bodhisat of wisdom, holds in his left hand. And for the use of the schoolboys and the laity there is a recension of three or four leaves, entitled "Transcendental Wisdom in a few letters" or Yige-nun-du (Skt., Alpa akshara).25 And mystically the whole is further condensed into "the letter A, which is considered "the mother of all wisdom," and therefore of all men of genius; all Bodhisatvas and Buddhas are said to have been produced by "A" since this is the first element for forming syllables, words, sentences, and a whole discourse.

One of the most favourite Sutras and a common booklet in the hands of the laity, is "the Diamond-cutter" (rDo-rje gc'od-pa, Skt., Vajrach'edika) In it Bhagavati (Sakya) instructs Subhuti, one of his disciples, in the true meaning of the Prajna-paramita.26

The full text ('Bum) was translated from the Sanskrit in the ninth century by the Indian pandits Jina Mitra and Surendra Bodhi, and the Tibetan interpreter Ye-s'es-sde.

III. "Association of Buddhas" (P'al-c'ar, Skt., Buddhavatansaka), in six volumes. Description of several Tathagatas or Buddhas, their provinces, etc. Enumeration of several Bodhisats, the several degrees of their perfections, etc.

This great Vaipulya (or developed Sutra) is alleged to have been preached by Buddha in the second week of his Buddhahood and before he turned the "Wheel of the Law" at Benares. And it is asserted to have been delivered in nine assemblies at seven different places, and is thus given pre-eminence over the first historic discourse at Sarnath.

IV. "The Jewel-peak" (dkon-brtsegs, Skt., Ratna-kuta). Enumeration of several qualities and perfections of Buddha and his doctrine.

V. The Aphorisms (Tib., mDo or mDo-sde Sutra or Sutranta). The amplified or developed Sutras are called Vaipulya. In a general sense, when the whole Kha-gyur is divided into two parts, mDo and rGyud, all the other divisions except the rGyud are comprehended in the mDo class. But in a particular sense there are some treatises which have been arranged under this title. They amount to about 270, and are contained in thirty volumes. The subject of the works is various. The greatest part of them consist of moral and metaphysical doctrine of the Buddhistic system, the legendary accounts of several individuals, with allusions to the sixty or sixty-four arts, to medicine, astronomy, and astrology. There are many stories to exemplify the consequences of actions in former transmigrations, descriptions of orthodox and heterodox theories, moral and civil laws, the six kinds of animal beings, the places of their habitations, and the causes of their being born there, cosmogony and cosmography according to Buddhistic notions, the provinces of several Buddhas, exemplary conduct of life of any Bodhisat or saint, and in general all the twelve kinds of Buddhistic Scriptures27 are to be found here.

The second volume (K') contains the romantic biography of Buddha — the Lalita Vistara, translated by M. Foucaux.28 The seventh volume (J) contains the Saddharma Pundarika29 or White Lotus of the Holy Law, translated from the Sanskrit into French by Burnouf, and into English by Prof. H. Kern,30 and the most popular treatise with Japanese Buddhists. The eighth volume (N) contains "the Great Decease" (Mahaparinirvana). The ninth volume has, amongst others, the Surangama Samadhi Sutra referred to by FaHian. The twenty- sixth volume (L), folios 329-400, or chapters of "joyous utterance" (Udanas), contains the Udanavarga,31 which Schiefner showed to be the Tibetan version of the Dhammapada; and which has been translated into English with copious notes by Mr. Rockhill. It contains three hundred verses, which "are nearly identical with verses of the Dhammapada; one hundred and fifty more resemble verses of that work." The variations show that the northern translation was made from a different version than the Pali,32 and from, as Mr. Rockhill believes,33 a "Sanskrit version in the dialect prevalent in Kashmir in the first century B.C., at which period and in which place the compiler, Dharmatrata,34 probably lived."

From this (Do) division of the Kah-gyur are culled out the Indian mystic formulas, mostly in unintelligible gibberish, which are deemed most potent as charms, and these form the volume named mDo-man gzun35 bsdus, or curtly, Do-man or "assorted aphorisms" — literally "many Sutras." These formulas are not used in the worship of the Buddhas and superior gods, but only as priestly incantations in the treatment of disease and ill-fortune. And as these spells enter into the worship of which the laity have most experience, small pocket editions of one or other of these mystic Sutras are to be found in the possession of all literate laymen, as the mere act of reading these charms suffices to ward off the demon-bred disease and misfortune.

The remaining divisions of the canons are: —

VI. Nirvana (Mya-nan-las-'das-pa), in two volumes. An extended version, part of the eighth volume of the mDo on "The Great Decease, or Entire deliverance from Pain." "Great lamentation of all sorts of animal beings on the approaching death of Shakya; their offerings or sacrifices presented to him; his lessons, especially with regard to the soul. His last moments; his funeral; how his relics were divided and where deposited."36

VII. Tantra (rgyud), in twenty-two volumes. "These volumes in general contain mystical theology. There are descriptions of several gods and goddesses. Instruction for preparing mandalas or circles for the reception of those divinities. Offerings or sacrifices presented to them for obtaining their favour. Prayers, hymns, charms, etc., addressed to them. There are also some works on astronomy, astrology, chronology, medicine, and natural philosophy."37

In the first volume (K) are found the Kalacakra doctrine38 and Sambara. In the third the history of the divine mothers Varahi, etc. In the seventeenth volume (M) the expelling of devils and Naga-worship. The Tathagata-guhyaka contains a summary of the Sivaic esoteric doctrine.

The word "Tantra" according to its Tibetan etymology, literally means39 "treatise or dissertation," but in Buddhism as in Hinduism, it is restricted to the necromantic books of the later Sivaic or Sakti mysticism.

The Tantras are arranged into "The four classes" (gyud sde bzhi):

1. Kriya Tantra (bya-bai-rgyud).

2. Carya T. (spyod-pai rgyud).

3. Yoga T. (rual-'byor rgyud).

4. Anuttara Toga T. (rnal-'byor bla-na med-pai rgyud) or "The peerless Yoga."

The first two form together the lower division ('og-ma), and the latter two the higher division (gon-ma). It is only in the Anuttara Yogatantras, including the Atiyoga (Ds og-ch'en), that the tutelary fiends and their Jinas have female energies or Matris.

Those translated from the eighth to the eleventh centuries A.D. are called "the Old," while the latter are "the New." Amongst those composed in Tibet are the Hayagriva, Vajraphurba and sKu-gsun-t'ugs yon-tan 'p'rin las.


The Buddhist commentators, like those of the Talmud, overlay a line or two with an enormous excrescence of exegesis.

The Tibetan commentary or Tan-gyur is a great cyclopedic compilation of all sorts of literary works, written mostly by ancient Indian scholars and some learned Tibetans in the first few centuries after the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet, commencing with the seventh century of our era. The whole makes two hundred and twenty-five volumes. It is divided into the classes — the rGyud and mDo (Tantra and Sutra, classes in Sanskrit). The rGyud, mostly on tantrika rituals and ceremonies, make eighty-seven volumes. The mDo on science and literature one hundred and thirty-six volumes. One separate volume contains hymns or praises on several deities and saints. And one volume is the index for the whole.40 The first sixteen volumes of the mDo class are all commentaries on the Prajna-paramita. Afterwards follow several volumes explanatory of the Madhyamika philosophy (of Nagarjuna) which is founded on the Prajna-paramita.41

One volume contains the Tibeto-Sanskrit dictionary of Buddhist terminology, the "bye-brag-tu rtogs byad (pron. je-tak-tu tog-je) — the Mahavyutpati.42 Under this heading would also come the later commentaries, such as the Bodhi-patha (in Mongolian — Bodhi Mur). Its contents include rhetoric, grammar, prosody, mediaeval mechanics, and alchemy. But its contents have not yet been fully examined.43


The indigenous works composed in Tibet are for the most part devoted to sacred subjects. The secular books exist, as a rule, in manuscript, as the printing is in the hands of the monks.44

The sacred books may be divided into (a) apocryphal and (b) authentic or quasi-authentic.

The apocryphal works are the most numerous and most popular. Chief amongst these are the fictitious "revelations" or Terma books, already referred to in describing the part which they played in the origin of the sects of Lamaism. These Terma books may be recognized by their style of caligraphy. For instead of the opening sentences and chapters commencing with the hook-like symbol for Om, duplicated or triplicated, as on the cover of this book, and the punctuation periods being vertical lines, as in ordinary orthodox books, the Terma books commence with the ordinary anusvara (AM), or a vertical stroke enshrined in a trefoil-like curve, and their periods are marked by two small circles one over the other, like the Devanagari visarga, but with a curved line with its concavity upwards, intervening. These "revelations," it will be remembered, pretend to be the composition of St. Padma, the founder of Lamaism.45

To this revelation class belong also the fictitious works attributed to King Sroh Tsan Gampo.46

Of the other most common apocryphal works found in Sikhim are the Na-yik, or "Story of the Sacred Sites of Sikhim," and Lha-tsun's inspired manual of worship for the great mountain god Kanch'en-dso-na (English, Kinchinjunga). Each monastery possesses in manuscript a more or less legendary account of its own history (deb-t'er), although this is kept out of sight. In the Lepcha monasteries and in the possession of a few Lepcha laymen are found the following, mostly translations from the Tibetan: (1) Tashi Sun, a fabulous history of St. Padma-sambhava; (2) Guru Ch'o Wan; (3) Sakun de-lok, the narrative of a visit to Hades by a resuscitated man named Sakun;47 (4) Ek-doshi man-lom — forms of worship.

The large work on the Naga demigods — the Lu-'bum dkar-po — is regarded as a heterodox Bon-po book.48

As authentic works may be instanced, the religious chronologies (Ch'os-'byun) and records (Deb-t'er) by Bu-ton, and Padma-kar- po; the histories (Sun-'bum) of Zhva-lu Lo-tsa, and Taranatha's well-known history of Buddhism in India, and a useful cyclopedia by an Amdo Lama entitled T'ub-dban bstan-pahi Nima; and as quasi-authentic the fifth Grand Lama's "royal pedigree."49 All begin with pious dedicatory sentences and usually end with the Buddhist wish that the writer may acquire merit through his literary work.

But most of the autobiographies so-called (rNam-t'ar) and records (Yig-tsan or deb-t'er) are legendary, especially of the earlier Lamas and Indian monks are transparently fictitious, not only on account of their prophetic tone, though always "discovered" after the occurrence of the events prophesied, but their almost total absence of any personal or historic details. Some of the later ones dealing with modern personages are of a somewhat more historical character, but are so overloaded by legends as to repel even enthusiastic enquirers.

The leading ritualistic manuals of the various sects are of a more or less authentic character, and small pocket editions of these prayer books (smon-lam) and hymns (bstod-tsogs) are very numerous.50 Individual Lamas possess special books according to their private means and inclinations, such as the 100,000 songs51 of the famous mendicant sage Mila-ra-pa on the worship of Tara and other favourite or tutelary deities, and the mode of making their magic-circles. Mongol Lamas have the Dsang-lun. The specialist in medicine has one or more fantastic medical works, such as Mannag-rgyud, S'ad-gyud; and the Tsi-pa or astrologer has the Baidyur karpo and other books on astrological calculations and sorcery, many of which are translated from the Chinese.

Some further details of ritualistic books are found in the chapters on the monkhood and on ritual, where several abstracts are given.

The secular works, through most of which runs a more or less Buddhistic current, are mainly annals or chronicles (lo-rgyu).

Good and clever sayings and reflections (rtogs-brjod), as "The precious rosary" (rin-ch'en-p'ren-wa), a collection of proverbs, and drinking songs.

Tales more or less fabulous (sgruns). The best known of these is that of Ge-sar (= ? Czar or Cesar), who is described as a mighty war-like king of northern Asia, and who is made to figure as a suitor for the hand of the Chinese princess before her marriage with Sron Tsan Gampo, although it is evident the legendary accounts of him must be more ancient. Baber52 refers to the story-book named Djriung-yi53 songs.54


The Lamaist library is usually situated within the temple. The large books are deposited in an open pigeon-holed rackwork. The sheets forming the volume are wrapped in a napkin; and the bundle is then placed between two heavy wooden blocks, as covers, which bear on their front end the name of the book in letters graved in relief and gilt. The whole parcel is firmly bound by a broad tape and buckle tied across its middle. These ponderous tomes are most unwieldy and not easy of reference. When the book is read away from tables as is usually the case, it is held across the knees, and the upper board and the leaves as they are read are lifted towards the reader and repiled in order in his lap. Before opening its fastenings, and also on retying the parcel, the monk places the book reverently on his head, saying, "May I obtain the blessing of thy holy word."

Copyists of manuscript, as well as composers and translators, usually conclude their work with a short stanza expressing their pious hope that "this work here finished may benefit the (unsaved) animals."

An enormous mass of Lamaist literature is now available in Europe in the collections at St. Petersburg, mainly obtained from Pekin, Siberia, and Mongolia; at Paris, and at the India Office, and Royal Asiatic Society55 in London, and at Oxford, mostly gifted by Mr. Hodgson.56

The St. Petersburg collection is the largest, and extends to over 2,000 volumes.57



1 The scriptures are actively worshipped even by southern Buddhists. "The books are usually wrapped in cloth, and when their names are mentioned an honorific is added equivalent to reverend or illustrious. Upon some occasions they are placed upon a kind of rude altar near the roadside, as I have seen the images of saints in Roman Catholic countries, that those who pass by may put money upon it in order to obtain merit" (Hardy's East Mon., 192). Compare also with Hindus paying respect to their Sastras with garlands and perfumes and grains of rice, and the Sikhs to their Granth.

2 The words were at first transmitted down orally; their recital (bhana = to speak) is one of the duties of a monk even now. The southern (Pali) scriptures are stated to have been first reduced to writing in Ceylon in 88-76 B.C., in the reign of King Vartagamani (Turnour, Mahavanso, 207), and the northern by king Kanishka in the second half of the first century A.D. But as writing was certainly in use in Asoka's day— 250 B.C.— it is probable that some scriptures were committed to writing at an earlier period than here assigned to the complete collect, CL Oldenberg, Vinaya Trip. xxxviii.

3 The verbal accuracy of these translations has been testified by Max Muller, Rhys Davids, Cowell, Foucaux, Peer, Vasiliev, Rockhill, etc.

4 Indian, Kashmiri and Nepalese scriptures. A few of the Tibetan translations were made from the Pali, e.g., vol. 30 of Sutras (Rockhill's Udvanavarga, x). Some very old Indian MSS. still exist in Tibet. His Excellency Shad-sgra Shab-pe, one of the Tibetan governors (bKah-blon) of Lhasa, while at Darjiling about a year ago, on political business, informed me that many ancient Buddhist manuscripts, which had been brought from India by mediaeval Indian and Tibetan monks, are still preserved in Tibet, especially at the old monasteries of Sam-yas, Sakya, Nar-thang and Phun-tsho-ling. These manuscripts, however, being worshipped as precious relics, and written
in a character more or less unknown to the Lamas, are kept sealed up and rarely seen by the Lamas themselves.

5 The Daphne Cannabina. See Hodgson in J.A.S.B., 1832, i., p. 8, for an account of its manufacture.

6 bkah-'gyur.

7 bstan-'gyur.

8 rgya-gar-skad, or "Indian language," and usually employed as synonymous with "Sanskrit."

9 Lo-tsa-wa.
10 sN'ar-tan.

11 sDe-dge.

12 So I have been told.

13 And a copy also of this edition seems to be in the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, obtained about 1830 by Baron Schilling de Canstadt, together with about 2,000 Mongolian and Tibetan treatises. — Bulletin Historico-philologique del 'Academie de St. Peterbourg, tom. iv., 1848, pp. 321-329.

14 Vol. xx., As. Researches.
15 M. Leon Feer published in 1881 a translation of Csoma's Analysis under the title Analyse du Kandjour et du Tandjour in the second volume of the "Annales du Musee Guimet," and appended a vocabulary giving all the names which occur in Csoma's Analysis, with an Index and Table Alphabetique de Ouvrages dus Kandjour. And he gave further extracts in Vol. v. of the same serial.

16 Another classification of the canonical scriptures, especially amongst the Nepalese, is given by Hodgson (Lang. 13, 49) as "The nine scriptures (Dharmas)," namely: 1. Prajna paramita. 2. Gandha-vyuha. 3. Dasa-bhumisvara. 4. Samadhi-raja. 5. Lahkavatara. 6. Saddharma Pundarika. 7. Tathagatha guhyaka (containing the secret Tantrik doctrines). 8. Lalita Vistara. 9. Suvarna-prabhasa.

17 sde-snod gsum.

18 Nye-var-'K'or.

19 'Kun-dgah-wo.

20 At the first great council when Buddha's word was collated.

21 Cf. also Beal's Romantic Legend, 244-254, Gya Tscher Rol-pa, ch. 26.
22 The Life of the Buddha, etc. Also in part, but not directly for the Dulva, by Schiefner in his Tibetische Liebenbescriebung Sakra, impl., St. Petersburg, 1849.

23 Cf. translation from the Tibetan by Rockhill, and from the Pali by Rhys Davids and Oldenberg, Vinaya Texts.
24 They are alleged to have been delivered in sixteen assemblies at the following sites: Gridhrakuta, Sravasti, Venuvana, and the abode of the Paranirmita-vasavartins. cf. Bun. Nanjio's Jap. Budd. Sects, p. xvii.

25 This probably corresponds to the Mahaprajna paramita hridaya Sutra, translated by Beal (Catena, 282), and perhaps the original of the more expanded treatises.

26 It has been translated from the Sanskrit by Cowell, Mahayana Texts, ii., xii.
27 This twelve-fold division (gsun rab yan-lay bc'u-gnis) I here extract from the Vyutpatti in the Tan-gyur: 1. Sutran (mdo-sdehi-sde) discourses. 2. geyam (dbyans kyis bsnad), mixed prose and verse. 3. Vyakaranan (lun du-bstan), exposition. 4. Gatha (Tshigs-su-bc'ad), verse. 5. Udanan (C'ed-du-brjod). 6. Nidanan (glin-gzhi). 7. Avadanan (rtogs-pa-brjod). 8. Itivrittahan (de-lta bw byun). 9. Jataka (skyes-pa- rabs). in. Vaipulyan (shin-tu-rgyas), very expanded. 11. Atbhutdharmmah (rmad- du byun), mysteries. 12. Upadesah (gtun-la-dbab). This division, says Burnouf (Introd., p. 45-60), writing of Nepalese Buddhism, is made up of the older nine angas mentioned by Buddhagosha, A.D. 450, to which were added at a later period Nidana, Avadana, and Upadesa. Conf. also Childers' Dict., Burnouf's Lotus, 355, 356; Hardy's Man.; Hodgson's Ess., 15; Rhys Davids' Budd., 214.

28 Also summarised by Csoma (Anal., 413) and Vasil., B., 3, 4, 176; Feer's Intro., p. 72. Also abstracted by Rockhill, B., ii.; and in part from the Sanskrit by Raj. Mitra.

29 Dam-pahi ch'os padma dkar-po.

30 Vol. xxi., Sacred Books of the East.

31 Ch'ed-du brjod pai ts'oms; see also Csoma's An., p. 477. Its commentary by Prajnavarman (a native of Bengal who lived in Kashmir in the ninth century— Taranatha, p. 204, Rockhill, xii.) is in Vol. lxxi. of Tan-gyur.
32 Rockhill's Udanavarga, ix.

33 Loc cit., x.

34 Taranatha, p. 54, lig. 8.

35 gz'uns = skt. dharani, which is a mystic spell like the Hindu Mantra.

36 Csoma, An., p. 487.

37 Csoma, An., p. 487.

38 Csoma, Gram., p. 172: Dict., 488.
39 Jaeschke, p. 112.

40 Csoma, An., 553.

41 A few of the individual treatises have been translated, either in full or abstract, by Schiefner, Rockhill, etc. Nagarjuna's Friendly Epistle (bches-pahi p'rin yig), by Wenzel in J. Pali Text Soc., 1886.
42 The Sanskrit text of which has been published by Maiyaneff; and much of it is abstracted in the Buddhistische Triglotte, printed by Schiefner, St. Petersburg, 1859.

43 The 2nd vol. of the Annales du Musee Guimet contains some additional notes on the Tan-gyur by M. Leon Feer.

44 Most of the printing-monastic establishments issue lists of the books which they sell.

45 Amongst the better known are: The Golden Rosary, of Displayed Letters (T'ug- yig gser-'p'ren), found by Sang-gyas gling-pa; The Displayed Lotus Orders (Padma bkah-t'an), found by O-rgyan gling-pa; Ka-t'ang Zang-gling ma; The Lamp Enlightener of Prophecy (Lung-brtan gsal-bal sgron-me). Also of this nature are: The Directions for the Departed Soul to find its way to bliss (Pa-cha-to's-sgrol).
46 (1) Mani bKah-bum (already referred to), the legendary history of Avalokita and a maze of silly fables. (2) S'alch'em or Sron Tsan Gampo's Honourable Will or Testament, and (3) an exoteric volume entitled "The Sealed Commands," bka-rgga- ma, which is kept carefully secreted in some of the larger monasteries. It belongs to the silly esoteric class of books called San-nak.

47 Cf. also the play of Nansa, The Brilliant Light, Chap. xx.

48 A German translation by Schiefner of the smaller version has been published by the St. Petersburg Acad. (Das Weisse Naga Hunderh tausend.) Cf. also Rockhill, L., p. 217, n.

49 gyal-rabs [Skt., Rajvansa].
50 The Ge-lug-pa monk's manual is "The Bhikshu's Timely Memoranda (dGe-slon- gi-du-dran), and his other special books are the two volumes by Tson K'apa entitled: The Gradual Path (Law rim c'en-bo),a doctrinal commentary based on Atisa's version of the Bodi Patha Pradip, and The Gradual Path of Vajradhara (rDor-c'an Lam- rim), a highly Tantrik book. (Cf. Csoma, Gr., 197.) For Bodhi-mur (Bodhi-patha), see Schmidt's Ssanang Ssetsen.

51 gLu-b'um.

52 Op. cit., p. 88.

53 Rock., B., p. 288, suggests this maybe rGyus-yi-dpe.

54 Amongst indigenous geographical works is "A Geography of the World" (Dsam-lin gye-she). The references to countries outside Tibet are mainly confined to India, and are even then very inexact. Its most useful section is that descriptive of Tibet, translated by Sarat, J.A.S.B., 1887, pp. 1 et seq. See also Wei-tshang thu shi, abstracted by Klaproth from the Chinese. Cf. also Csoma's enumeration of Tibetan works, J.A.S.B., vii., 147; ix., 905.
55 Catalogue of these, by Dr. H. Wenzel, in J.R.A.S., 1891.

56 The India Office copy of the canon was presented to Mr. Hodgson by the Dalai Lama.
57  Notices of these occur in various volumes of the Melang. Asiat. de St. Petersb.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:52 am

Part 1 of 3


A Lamaist Procession.1
"Without the Lama in front, God is not (approachable)."

 — Tibetan Proverb.

As in primitive Buddhism, the monastic order or congregation of the Virtuous Ones2 forms the third member of the Trinity, "The Three most Precious Ones" of Lamaism. But owing to the rampant sacerdotalism of Tibet, the order is in a much higher position there than it ever attained in Indian Mahayana Buddhism, accoring to the current Tibetan saying above cited.

The order is composed of Bodhisats both human and celestial. The latter occupy, of course, the highest rank, while the so-called incarnate Lamas,3 who are believed to be incarnated reflexes from a superhuman Buddha or Bodhisat or a reborn saint, are given an intermediate position, as is detailed in the chapter on the hierarchy.

The Lamas are "the Bodhisats who have renounced the world,"4 and thus are held to correspond to the Sangha of primitive Buddhism consisting of the Bhikshus (mendicants), Sramaneras (ascetic) and Arhats. The nuns, excepting the so-called incarnations of celestial Bodhisats (e.g., Dorje-p'agmo), are given an inferior position scarcely higher than lay devotees.

While the laity, corresponding to "the pious householders and hearers"5 of the primitive Buddhists, who under the Mahayana system should be "the Bodhisats who reside in their houses," are practically excluded from the title to Bodhisatship or early Buddhahood like the Lamas, and are contemptuously called the Owners of Alms,"6 those "bound by fear,"7 and the "benighted people;"8 although the lay devotees are allowed the title of Upasaka and Upasika9 if keeping the five precepts, and those who are uncelibate are called "the pure doer";10 while the Nen-t'o or Nen-na11 keep four of the precepts.

The supreme position which the Lamas occupy in Tibetan society, both as temporal and spiritual rulers, and the privileges which they enjoy, as well as the deep religious habit of the people, all combine to attract to the priestly ranks enormous numbers of recruits. At the same time it would appear that compulsion is also exercised by the despotic priestly government in the shape of a recognized tax of children to be made Lamas, named bTsun-gral Every family thus affords at least one of its sons to the church. The first-born or favourite son is usually so dedicated in Tibet.12 The other son marries in order to continue the family name and inheritance and to be the bread-winner; and many families contribute more than one, as the youths are eager to join it.

Thus in Tibet, where children are relatively few, it is believed that one out of every six or eight of the population is a priest. In Sikhim the proportion is one to ten.13 In Ladak one-sixth.14 In Bhotan one to about ten.


In every monachism there are naturally three hierarchical seniorities or ranks, namely: the scholars or novices, the ordained, and the reverend fathers or the priests, just as in the common guilds or arts are the grades of the apprentice, the journeyman, and the master. Indian Buddhism had its grades of the Sramanera (or the novice), of the expert Sramana or Bhikshu (the moderate one or beggar), and of the Sthavira or Upayahya (master or teacher).

Lamaism has naturally these necessary degrees of clerical maturity and subordination, and by dividing the noviciate into two sections it counts four, thus: —

1. The clerical apprentice or scholar. The customary title of this first beginner in holy orders is Ge-nen, which means "to live upon virtue," and is a translation of the Sanskrit word Upasaka or lay-brother. This word has a double meaning; it shows firstly the simple lay believer, who has promised to avoid the five great sins; and secondly the monastic devotee or scholar, who keeps the ten precepts and is preparing for the holy orders to which he partly belongs through the clothes he wears and the official acknowledgment which he has received. He is also called Rabbyun or "excellent born." The Mongols call these "Schabi" and Bandi, Banda, or "Bante"15 which latter word seems to be of Indian origin. The Kalmaks call them Manji.16

2. The Ge-tsul, the commencing, but not quite fully ordained monk, an under priest, or deacon, who keeps the thirty-six rules.

3. Ge-long or "virtuous or clerical beggar," the real monk, the priest, over twenty-five years of age, and who has been fully ordained, and keeps the two hundred and fifty-three rules.

A Tibetan Doctor of Divinity. An Abbot.  

4. The K'an-po, which means the master or Abbot (Skt., Upadhyaya). He is the end, the true extremity of the Lamaist monachism, because he has under him all the scholars, novices and common monks. And although the regenerated or re-incarnated monks, the Chutuktus, and sovereign priest-gods are above him,17 their originals were essentially nothing else than abbots. He it is, who in the early time was probably the only one to be honoured by the title Lama (Guru or master), and to whom is given this title even to the present time; although he may be called a Grand Lama to distinguish him from the other cloister inhabitants. Only the larger cloisters have a K'an-po, who has the right to supervise several smaller Lamaseries and temples, and whose position seems to be such that he is compared as a rule with the catholic bishop.18


In sketching the details of the curriculum of the Lama, I give the outlines of the course followed in the greatest of the monastic colleges of the established church of Tibet — the Ge-lug-pa — as related to me by Lama-graduates of these institutions, namely, of De-pung, Sera, Gah-ldan, and Tashi-lhunpo, as these set the high standard which other monasteries of all sects try to follow, and marked departures from this standard are indicated in a subsequent note.

The child who is the Lama-elect (btsan-ch'un) stays at home till about his eighth year (from six to twelve), wearing the red or yellow cap when he is sent to a monastery, and educated as in a sort of boarding-school or resident college, passing through the stages of pupil-probationer (da-pa), novice (ge-ts'ul), to fully-ordained monk (ge-lon), and, it may be, taking one or other of the degrees in divinity, or a special qualification in some particular academic department.

As, however, the applicants for admission into these monastic colleges have usually passed the elementary stage and have already reached, or nearly reached, the stage of noviciate at some smaller monastery, I preface the account of the course in great monastic colleges by the preliminary stage as seen at the leading monastery in Sikhim, the Pemiongchi, which is modelled on that of the great Nin-ma monastery of Mindolling.

Preliminary Examination — Physical. — When the boy-candidate for admission is brought to the monastery his parentage is enquired into, as many monasteries admit only the more respectable and wealthier class.19 The boy is then physically examined to ascertain that he is free from deformity or defect in his limbs and faculties. If he stammers, or is a cripple in any way, or bent in body, he is rejected. When he has passed this physical examination he is made over by his father or guardian to any senior relative he may have amongst the monks. Should he have no relative in the monastery, then, by consulting his horoscope, one of the elder monks is fixed upon as a tutor, who receives from the lad's father a present of money,20 tea, eatables, and beer.21 The tutor or elder (Ger-gan)22 then takes the boy inside the great hall where the monks are assembled, and publicly stating the parentage of the boy and the other details, and offering presents of beer, he asks the permission of the elder monks ((dbU-ch'os) to take the boy as a pupil. On this being accorded the boy becomes a probationer.

As a probationer he is little more than a private schoolboy under the care of his tutor, and doing various menial services. His hair is cropped without any ceremony, and he may even wear his ordinary lay dress. He is taught by his tutor the alphabet (the "Ka, K'a, Ga," as it is called),23 and afterwards to read and recite by heart the smaller of the sacred books,24 such as: —

Leu bdun ma, or; "The Seven Chapters " — A prayer-book of St. Padma.
Bar-c'ad lam gsel or "Charms to clear the way from Danger and Injury" — A prayer to St. Padma in twelve stanzas.
Sher-phyin — An abstract of transcendental wisdom in six leaves.
sKu-rim — A sacrificial service for averting a calamity.
Mon-lam — Prayers for general welfare.
sDig sags, or "The Confession of Sins."25 The mere act of reading this holy booklet even as a school exercise cleanses from sin. Most of the monasteries possess their own blocks for printing this pamphlet. Both the text and its translation are given by Schlagintweit.26
rDor gchod— A Sutra from the book of transcendental wisdom.
Pyogs-bc'ui-p'yogs-dral, or description of the ten directions ... 6 pages.
Namo Guru—"Salutation to the Guru" ... 5 pages.
mC'od-'bul — To give offerings ... 6 pages.
gTorma — Sacred cake ... 8 pages.
bSans bsur — Incense and butter-incense ... 5 pages.
lTo-mc'od — Rice offering ... 4 pages.
Rig-'dsin snon-'gro — The first essay of the sage ... 4 pages.
Drag-dmar snon-'gro — The primer of red fierce deity ... 4 pages.
bKa brgyed — "The eight commands" or precepts ... 4 pages.
bDe gs'egs kun 'dus — The collection of the Tathagatas ... 4 pages.
Yes'es sku mc'og — The best foreknowledge ... 5 pages.
rTsa-gdun bs'ag-gsal — The root-pillar of clear confession ... 4 pages.

The young probationer is also instructed in certain golden maxims of a moral kind, of which the following are examples: —

Buddhist Proverbs: —

Whatever is unpleasing to yourself do not to another.

Whatever happiness is in the world has all arisen from a wish for the welfare of others. Whatever misery there is has arisen from indulging selfishness.

There is no eye like the understanding, no blindness like ignorance, no enemy like sickness, nothing so dreaded as death.

A king is honoured in his own dominions, but a talented man everywhere.

"The four Precipices in Speech. — If speech be too long, it is tedious; if too short, its meaning is not appreciated; if rough, it ruffles the temper of the hearers; if soft, it is unsatisfying.

"The Requirements of Speech. — Speech should be vigorous or it will not interest; it must be bright or it will not enlighten; it must be suitably ended, otherwise its effect is lost.

"The Qualities of Speech. — Speech must be bold as a lion, gentle and soft as a hare, impressive as a serpent, pointed as an arrow, and evenly balanced as a dorje held by its middle (literally "waist").

"The Four Relations of Speech. — -The question should first be stated. The arguments should be duly connected, the later with the earlier. Essential points should be repeated. The meanings should be illustrated by examples.

"The religious king Sron-Tsan Gampo has said (in the Mani-kah- 'bum): "Speech should float freely forth like a bird into the sky, and be clothed in charming dress like a goddess. At the outset the object of the speech should be made clear like an unclouded sky. The speech should proceed like the excavation of treasure. The arguments should shoot forth nimbly like a deer chased by fresh hounds, without hesitation or pause."

"Assemblies. — People assemble for three purposes, namely, for, (a) happiness, (b) sorrow, and (c) worldly gossip. The assemblies for happiness are three, namely, (1) for virtuous acts, (2) for worship in the temples, and (3) for erecting houses and for feasts. The assemblies for virtuous acts are four, viz., the gathering of the monks, the gathering of the laity for worship, writing and copying holy books, and giving away wealth in charity. There are six kinds of assemblies for worship, namely, the gathering of the rich, the gathering in a separate place of the common men, the gathering for thanksgiving of those who have escaped from their enemy's grasp, traders returned safely and successfully, sick men who have escaped from the devouring jaws of death, and youths on gaining a victory.

"The eight acts of Low-born persons. — Using coarse language, impoliteness, talking with pride, want of foresight, harsh manners, staring, immoral conduct, and stealing.

The ten Faults. — Unbelief in books, disrespect for teachers, rendering one's self unpleasant, covetousness, speaking too much, ridiculing another's misfortune, using abusive language, being angry with old men or with women, borrowing what cannot be repaid, and stealing.

Invoking "The Blessing of Eloquence" (nag-byin-rlabs). This is a Mantrayana rite instituted by the "great saint" K'yun-po (Skt., Garuda or Puna, or Brika.)27

"I go for refuge to the Three Holy Ones! May I attain perfection and benefit the animal beings. The one who brought me to the light is at the tip of my tongue and the white Om made up of the words is above the moon: the white Ali (vowels) go by the right circle, the red Ka-li (consonants) go by the left and the blue Ktan-snin by the right." I repeat them secretly after deep contemplation:

"Om! a, a, i, i, u, u, ri, ri, li, li, e, ai, o, ou, angah! swaha! (This is to be repeated thrice.) Om! Ka, Kha, Ga, Gha, Na (and here follow all the letters of the alphabet). (Three times). Om! ye dhorma (here follows 'The Buddhist Creed' thrice.) Through the rays of the seed of the mantra-rosary and the power of the blessings of speech, I summon the accomplishments of the seven precious rgyal-srid and 'The eight glorious signs.'" By repeating the above one attains accomplishment in speech.

During this training the boy's relatives call about once a month to enquire after his progress and health, and to pay the tutor his fees for the lad's board and education.

After two or three years of such rudimentary teaching, when the boy has committed to memory the necessary texts (amounting to about one hundred and twenty-five leaves), his tutor sends in an application for his admission as a novice.

The mode of admission to the noviciateship in the great Depung monastery is as follows: —
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The tutor-Lama of the applicant for the noviciateship addresses the head monk (spyi-rgan) of his section for permission to admit the applicant, and at the same time offers a ceremonial scarf28 and the fee of ten rupees. Then, if the applicant be found free from bodily defects and otherwise eligible, a written agreement is made out in the presence of the head monk and sealed by the thumb.

To get his name registered in the books of that particular school of the monastery to which he is to be attached, the pupil and his tutor go to the abbot29 or principal of that school and proffer their request through the butler or cup-bearer,30 who conducts them to the abbot, before whom they offer a scarf and a silver coin (preferably an Indian rupee), and bowing thrice before him, pray for admission.

Amongst the questions now put are: Does this boy come of his free will? Is he a slave, debtor, or soldier? Does anyone oppose his entry? Is he free from deformity, contagious disease, or fits? Has he neglected the first three commandments? Has he committed theft, or thrown poison into water, or stones from a hillside so as to destroy animal life, etc.? What is his family? and what their occupation? and where their residence? On giving satisfactory replies, he is then required to recite by heart the texts he has learned; and if approved, then the names of the pupil and his tutor are written down and duly sealed by the thumbs, and a scarf is thrown around their necks, and the boy, who has been dressed in princely finery, has his dress exchanged for the yellow or red robe in imitation of Sakya Muni's renunciation of the world; while, if he is rejected, he is ejected from the monastery, and his tutor receives a few strokes from a cane, and is fined several pounds of butter for the temple lamps.

The approved pupil and his tutor then proceed to the head Lama (z'al-no) of the great cathedral (common to the colleges of the university), and, offering a scarf and a rupee, repeat their requests to him, and the names of the pupil and tutor and his sectional college or residentiary club are registered, so that should the pupil misconduct himself in the cathedral, his teachers, as well as himself, shall be fined.

The neophyte is now a registered student (da-pa),31 and on returning to his club, he is, if rich, expected to entertain all the residents of the club to three cups of tea. If he has no relatives to cook for him, he is supplied from the club stores; and any allowance32 he gets from his people is divided into three parts, one-third being appropriated by his club for messing expenses. Then he gets the following monkish robes and utensils, viz., a sTod-'gag, bs'am-t'abs, gzan, zla-gam, z'wa-ser, sgro-lugs, a cup, a bag for wheaten flour, and a rosary.

Until his formal initiation as an ascetic, "the going forth from home" (pravrajya-vrata), by which he becomes a novice (Ge-ts'ul, Skt., Sramana), the candidate is not allowed to join in the religious services in the monastery. So he now addresses a request to the presiding Grand Lama33 to become a novice, accompanying his request with a scarf and as much money as he can offer.

The ceremony of initiation is generally similar to that of the southern Buddhists.34

On the appointed day — usually on one of the fast days (Upo satha), the candidate has his head shaven all but a small tuft on the crown35; and he is conducted by his spiritual tutor (upadhyaya) before a chapter in the assembly hall, clad in the mendicant's robes, on putting on which he has muttered a formula to the effect that he wears them only for modesty and as a protection against heat, cold, etc. The officiating head Lama, sometimes the Grand Lama, addressing the student by his secular name, asks, "Do you subject yourself to the tonsure cheerfully?" On receiving a reply in the affirmative, the presiding Lama cuts off the remaining top tuft of hair from the head of the novice, who is like Chaucer's monk,

"His hed was balled, and shone like any glas."

The Lama also gives the kneeling novice a religious name, by which he is henceforth known,36 and exhorting him to keep the thirty-six precepts and the thirty-six rules, and to look upon the Grand Lama as a living Buddha, he administers the vows to the novice, who repeats clearly three times the formula, "I take refuge in Buddha, in the Law, and in the Assembly."

The ceremony concludes with the presentation of a scarf and ten silver coins.37

At the next mass, the boy is brought into the great assembly hall, carrying a bundle of incense sticks; and is chaperoned by a monk named the "bride-companion" (ba-grags), as this ceremony is regarded as a marriage with the church. He sits down on an appointed seat by the side of the "bride-companion," who instructs him in the rules and etiquette (sGris) of the monkish manner of sitting, walking, etc.

The initiation into the Tantrik Buddhist priesthood of the Vajracaryas is detailed below in a foot-note.38

The novice is now admitted to most of the privileges of a monk, and after a period of three years he passes out of the preliminary stage (rig-ch'un), and is then entitled to have a small chamber or cell to himself, though he is still called a student (da-pa), and, indeed, all the monks, from the novice to the more senior (par-pa), and even the full monk (ge-lon) retain the same title in the chief monasteries of Tibet — the term "Lama" being reserved to the heads of the monastery.

The novice now undergoes a severe course of instruction, during which corporal punishment is still, as heretofore, freely inflicted. The instruction is mainly in ritual and dogma, but crafts and some arts, such as painting, are also taught to those showing special aptitude. The spiritual adviser of the young monk is called "the radical Lama,"39 and as he initiates the novice into the mysterious rites he is held by the latter in especial reverence all through life.

Frequent examinations are held and also wrangling or public disputations.

In every cloister is a teacher of the law, who, as a rule, takes the highest rank after the chief. But in the larger ones are regular schools or universities, in which the holy books are systematically explained, and theology, etc., is taught. The most celebrated ones of these are of course those near Lhasa and Tashi-lhunpo, which are visited by students from all provinces of the Lamaist church. In the countries of southern Buddhism the cloister schools are divided after the three branches of the codes, into three sections, the Sutras, Vinayas and Abhidharmas. In Tibet the division practically is the same, though sometimes is added a medical one, and also a mystic faculty for magic and conjuration, which, however, seems to be united as a rule with the section for philosophy and metaphysics (Abhidharma), for which in some Lamaseries special schools are established.

Every Lama belongs to one or other of these faculties, and the position which he occupies inside the brotherhood depends on the number and class of holy books which he has gone through and understands thoroughly.

As soon as the bell sounds he has to go to his respective room or class, to start with his lection, to receive new ones, to listen to the explanations of the professor, etc., etc., and to prepare for examinations and disputations.

Examinations. — Within a year after his admission to the order he must attempt to pass the first professional examination, and in the following year or two the second examination for promotion. And until he passes these examinations he must perform for the first three years the menial offices of serving out tea, etc., to the elder monks in the assembly hall.

The examinations are conducted in the presence of the heads of the monastery and the assembled monks, who observe a solemn silence, and the test is for the candidate to stand up in the assembly and recite by heart all the prescribed books.40 The ordeal is a very trying one, so that the candidate is given a companion to prompt and encourage him. The first examination lasts for three days; and nine intervals are allowed daily during the examination, and these intervals are utilized by the candidates in revising the next exercise, in company with their teacher.

Those who disgracefully fail to pass this examination are taken outside and chastized by the provost.41 And repeated failure up to a limit of three years necessitates the rejection of the candidate from the order. Should, however, the boy be rich and wish re-entry, he may be re-admitted on paying presents and money on a higher scale than formerly, without which no re-admission is possible. If the rejected candidate be poor and he wishes to continue a religious life, he can only do so as a lay-devotee, doing drudgery about the monastery buildings. Or he may set up in some village as an unorthodox Lama-priest.

The majority fail to pass at the first attempt. And failure on the part of the candidate attaches a stigma to his teacher, while in the event of the boy chanting the exercises correctly and with pleasing voice in the orthodox oratorical manner, his teacher is highly complimented.


The public disputations are much more attractive and favourite exercises for the students than the examinations. Indeed, the academic feature of the monastic universities of Tibet is perhaps seen at its best in the prominence given to dialectics and disputations, thus following the speculative traditions of the earlier Indian Buddhists. In the great monastic universities of De-pung, Tashi-lhunpo, Serra and Gah-ldan, each with a teeming population of monks, ranging from about 4,000 to 8,000, public disputations are regularly held, and form a recognized institution, in which every divinity student or embryo Lama must take part. This exercise is called expressing "the true and innermost essence (of the doctrine)" (mTs'an-nid), in which an endeavour is made to ascertain both the literal sense and the spirit of the doctrine,42 and it is held within a barred court. Some details of the manner in which these disputations are held are given below.43


After a course of such training for twelve years, each student is eligible for full ordination, the minimum age for which is twenty, and the ceremony is generally similar to that of the initiation. Those who prove their high capabilities by passing with exceptional distinction through the disputations and examinations conducted by the assembled Lamaist literati and the heads of one or more cloisters, receive academic and theological degrees and honours, by which they become eligible for the highest and most privileged appointments.

The chief degrees are Ge-s'e, corresponding to our Bachelor of Divinity; and Rab-jam-pa, or Doctor of Divinity.

The degree of Ge-s'e,44 or "the learned virtuosi," may be called B.D. It is obtained, in the manner above detailed, by giving proof in open meeting of the Lamas45 of his ability to translate and interpret perfectly at least ten of the chief books of his religion. The Ge-s'e is eligible to go in for the higher special departments, to which a non-graduate, even though he may be a ge-long, and as such senior to the young Ge-s'e, is not admitted.46 Many of them become the head Lamas or lord protectors (skyabs-mgon) of the government monasteries of the established church, not only in Tibet, but in Mongolia, Amdo, and China. Others return to their own fatherland, while some pursue their studies in the higher Tantras, to qualify for the much coveted post of the Khri-pa of Gah-ldan.

The degree of Rab-jam-pa,47 "verbally overflowing, endlessly," a doctor universalis, corresponds with our Doctor of Theology, or D.D., and is, it seems, the highest academical title of honour which can be earned in the Lamaist universities, and after a disputation over the whole doctrine of the church and faith. The diploma which he receives entitles him to teach the law publicly, and authorizes him to the highest church offices not specially reserved for the incarnate Lamas. And he is given a distinctive hat, as seen in the foregoing figure, at the head of this chapter. It is said that in Tibet there are only twelve cloisters who have the right to bestow this degree, and it is even more honourable than the titles bestowed by the Dalai Lama himself. But this is, as a matter of course, a very expensive affair.

The titles of Ch'o-je48 or "noble of the law," and Pandita or "learned," are bestowed by the sovereign Grand Lamas on those doctors who have distinguished themselves through blameless holiness and excellent wisdom. And between these two seems to lie the title of Lo-tsa-wa or "translator." The relative ranks of Kab-jam-pa and Ch'o-je may be seen from the fact that after the second installation of Buddhism in Mongolia, the former were put by law on the same footing as the Tai-jis or barons or counts; and the latter as Chungtaijis or marquesses or dukes. Did the dignity of the Pandita allow a more exalted rank, the consequence would be that only the holy princes from K'an-po upwards, that is to say, the K'an-po, the Chubilghan, and the Chutukten, only could have it; but of this nothing certain is known.

Thus the K'an-po, the Ch'o-je, and the Rab-jam-pa form the three principal classes of the higher non-incarnate clergy, and they follow each other in the order described. The K'an-pos take amongst them the first place, and are, as a rule, elected out of the two other classes. As the K'an-po has been compared with a bishop, so could the C'ho-je perhaps be called "vicar-general" or "coadjutor." And often in the same cloister by the side of, or rather under, the K'an-po, are found a Ch'o-je as vice-abbot (a mitred abbot). In the smaller cloisters the chief Lama as a rule has only the grade of Ch'o-je or Rab-jam-pa.

Special schools, expressly for the study of magic, are erected in the cloisters of Ramo-ch'e and Mo-ru. Those who receive here the doctor's diploma, and thereby acquire the right to carry on the mystery of science practically, especially conjuring, weather prophecy, sympathetical pharmacy, etc., etc., are called Nag- ram-pa, which means "master of conjuration." Their uniform is Sivaite, and they probably spring from the red religion, but their science follows strictly the prescribed formulas in the Kah-gyur, and is therefore quite orthodox.49 Their practices as augurs are detailed under the head of sorcery, along with those of the ordinary illiterate Nag-pa fortune-teller.


The huge cloisters, with several hundreds and occasionally several thousands of monks, necessarily possess an organized body of officials for the administration of affairs clerical and temporal, and for the enforcement of discipline.

At the head of a monastery stands either a re-generated or re- incarnate Lama (Ku-s'o, Tul-ku, or in Mongolian "Khubilighan") or an installed abbot (K'an-po, Skt., Upadhdhaya), the latter being as a rule elected from the capital, and sanctioned by the Dalai Lama or the provincial head of the re-incarnate Lamas; and he holds office only for seven years.

He has under him the following administrative and executive officers, all of whom except the first are usually not ordained, and they are elected by and from among the brotherhood for a longer or shorter term of office: —

1. The professor or master (Lob-pon50), who proclaims the law and conducts the lessons of the brethren.

2. The treasurer and cashier (C'ag-dso51).

3. The steward (Ner-pa52 or Spyi-ner).

4. Provost marshal (Ge-Ko 53), usually two who maintain order like police, hence also called vergers or censors, and they are assisted by two orderlies (hag-ner).

5. The chief celebrant or leader of the choir or precentor (Um-dse).

6. Sacristan (Ku-ner).

7. Water-giver (Ch'ab-dren).

8. Tea waiters (Ja-ma).

To these are to be added the secretaries,54 cooks,55 chamberlain,56 warden or entertainer of guests,57 accountant,58 bearer of benedictory emblem,59 tax-collectors, medical monks, painters, merchant monks, exorcist, etc.

The general rules of conduct and discipline are best illustrated at the great monastic universities.

The De-pung monastery, with its 7,700 monks, is divided into four great colleges (grwa-ts'an), namely: (1) bLo-gsal-glin; (2) sGo-man; (3) bDe-yans; and (4) sNags-pa, and each of these schools of the monastery has its own abbot. The monks are accommodated according to their different nationalities and provinces, each having separate resident and messing sections, named K'ams ts'an or provincial messing clubs. The cathedral or great hall of the congregation, named T'sogs- ch'en lha-k'an, is common to the whole monastery.

Sera monastery, with its 5,500 monks, divided into three collegiate schools named: (1) Bye-wa, (2) sNags-pa, and (3) sMad-pa, and each has its sectional club.

Gah-ldan with its 3,300 monks is divided into two schools, namely, (1) Byan-rtse, and (2) S'ar-tse, each with its club.

Tashi-lhunpo has three collegiate schools.60

Each club has at least two Lama-officers, the elder of whom takes charge of the temple attached to the club, and teaches his pupils the mode of making offerings in the temple. The younger officer is a steward in charge of the storehouse (gNer-ts'ang), and the tea presented by the public (Man-ja), or "tea-general," and the kitchen (Run- k'an). These two Lamas are responsible for the conduct of the monks of their section, and in case their pupils do wrong, they — the masters — are fined. These two officers are changed every year.

Entry of Pupil. — The applicant for admission goes to the great paved court (the rdo-chal) of the monastic club, the masters are called and ask him whence he has come, and whether he has any relatives or acquaintances in the monastery. If any such there be he is called, and takes the applicant to his own private chamber. But if the applicant has no friend or relative there, tea and wheaten flour are given to him, and he is kept in the Run-khan for three days. After which period, should no one have come to claim him or search for him, one or other of the two masters of the section take him under their charge, the head master having the preference, and the proper application for his admission is then duly made.

For the general assembly hall or cathedral there is a special staff of officials. The great celebrant [Tsogs-ch'en dbu-mdsad) who leads the chant; the two Z'al-no are the provosts; the two Nan-ma are subordinate orderlies who look after the conduct of the students; the two Ch'ab-rils go round the benches giving water to the monks to rinse out their mouths after reciting the mantras (as in Hindu rites of ceremonial purity), and at other times they help the orderlies to look after the pupils. The Lama dMig-rtse-ma61 fixes the time for congregation and the "tea-general" of the same. The two orderlies must watch whether the pupils throw away tea or flour, and they also take general care of the temples.

Early in the morning, about four o'clock, a junior pupil chants chhos-shad from the top of the temple of the cathedral. Then each of the clubs beat their stone bells (rdo-rting) to awake the occupants, who arise and wash and dress. They put on the cope (zla-gam), and carry the yellow hat over their shoulders, and take a cup and a bag for wheaten flour. Some bow down in the court, others circumambulate the temple, and others the temple of Manjusrl, which is behind the cathedral, repeating his mantra (Omah-ra-pa-tca-na-dhi).

About one o'clock the Mig-rtse-ma Lama chants the "dmig-rtse-ma" in a loud voice, and at once the pupils assemble near the two doors, and having put on their yellow hats, join in the chant. Then after an interval the ch'abril opens the door, and all enter in proper order and take their seats according to their rank in their club," The yellow hat is thrown over the left shoulder, and the cup and the bag are placed under the knees, and all sit facing to their front.

After the repetition of the refuge formula, headed by the chief celebrant, the younger provost arises and dons his yellow hat, "sGro- rtsem-ma," and with an iron rod strikes a pillar with it once, on which all the students will go into the refectory, where tea is distributed to each in series, each getting three cupfuls. On drinking it they return and resume their respective seats, and continue the celebration.

When drinking the tea presented by the populace (mang-ja) all the pupils sit silent, and the two c'ab-rils spread a carpet and make a seat in the middle for the elder provost, who then steps forward and sits down, and, after having thrice bowed down, then he repeats the skyabs-'jug, in which the name of the Dispenser of the gifts, who has offered the tea, is called out, and blessings prayed for to extend the doctrines of Buddha, to secure long life to the two Grand Lamas, and absence of strife amongst the members of the monkhood, and that the rains may descend in due season, and the crops and cattle prosper, and disease, human and of animals, decrease, and that life be long with good luck.

After this service in the cathedral, a lecture is given called Ts'ogs- gtam, in which the rules of etiquette for pupils are laid down, and the manner of walking and conduct at meetings explained, after which should there be any pupil who has infringed the rules of discipline, he is dealt with in an exemplary way, as will be described presently.

The Refectory, or rather tea-kitchen, attached to the cathedrals and temples, has five regular officials: Two tea-masters (Ja-dpon), who look after the distribution of the government tea, and the other after the tea ordered by the provost of the cathedral; also two menial Ja-ma, and the superintendent T'ab-gyog-gi dpon-po, who has twenty-five subordinates on fatigue duty.

The service of general-tea (Man-ja) is given three times daily from the stock supplied by the Chinese emperor as a subsidy amounting to about half-a-million bricks. On the 15th, 25th, and the last day of the month, general-tea is given three times and soup once by the governor of Gah-ldan palace. There are many dispensers of gifts who offer tea and a donation ('gyed) amounting to three, fifteen, seventeen silver srangs pieces; and it is the custom that if one Tam-ga (about 6/16 of a rupee) be offered to the cathedral, then two Tam-gas must be offered to the college-school, and four to the club. Offerings may be made solely to the school without the cathedral, and may be made to the club independently of either. In any case, when offerings are made to the cathedral, then something must be offered both to the school and to the club. This custom has existed at De-pung at least from the time of the great Dalai Lama Nag-wan.

The size of the tea-boilers of the larger monastery and at the Lhasa temple is said to be enormous, as can be well imagined when it is remembered that several thousands have to be catered for. The cauldron at the great Lhasa cathedral is said to hold about 1,200 gallons.

A very vigorous discipline is enforced. It is incumbent on every member of the monastery to report misdemeanours which come under his notice, and these are punished according to the Pratimoksha rules. Minor offences are met at first by simple remonstrance, but if persisted in are severely punished with sentences up to actual banishment.

If anyone infringes the rules of discipline short of murder, or oath, or wine-drinking, or theft, within the club, the two club-masters punish him; but if within the college or debating-hall, then he is amenable to the provost of the college.

A member of De-pung who commits any of the ten kinds of "indulgence" cannot be tried except in the cathedral. The elder provost calls on the breaker of the rules to stand up in the presence of the assembled students, and the transgressor rises with bent head and is censured by the younger provost and sentenced to a particular number of strokes. Then the two water-men bring in the dGe-rgan of the club and the tutor of the offending student. The dGe-rgan rises up to receive his censure, and so also the tutors. Then the offending pupil is seized by the head and feet, and soundly beaten by the lictors (T'ab-gyog).

The punishment by cane or rod is fifty strokes for a small offence, one hundred for a middling, and one hundred and fifty for a grave offence. In the cathedral no more than one hundred and fifty strokes can be given, and no further punishment follows.

For breach of etiquette in sitting, walking, eating, or drinking, the penalty is to bow down and apologize, or suffer ten strokes.

The most severe punishment, called "Good or Bad Luck" (sKyid- sdug), so called it is said from its chance of proving fatal according to the luck of the sufferer, is inflicted in cases of murder and in expulsion from the order for persistent intemperance, or theft. After the congregation is over the teacher and club-master of the accused are called to the court, and the provost of the cathedral censures them. Then the accused is taken outside the temple and his feet are fastened by ropes, and two men, standing on his right and left, beat him to the number of about a thousand times, after which he is drawn, by a rope, outside the boundary wall (lchags-ri) and there abandoned; while his teacher and club-master are each fined one scarf and three silver Srangs.

The rule which is most broken is celibacy. The established church alone adheres strictly to this rule; so that, on this account, many of its monks leave the order, as they are always free to do, though suffering social disgrace, as they are called ban-lok, or "turncoats." In the other sects many celibate monks are also found, especially in the larger monasteries of Tibet; but the great majority of the members of the unreformed sects, for instance, the Nin-ma-pa, also the Sa-kya-pa, Duk-pa, etc., are married openly or clandestinely.

The Lamas also extend their exercise of discipline outside the walls of the monastery. Mr. Rockhill witnessed at Kumbum the following fracas: "Suddenly the crowd scattered to right and left, the Lamas running for places of hiding, with cries of Gekor Lama, Gekor Lama! and we saw, striding towards us, six or eight Lamas, with a black stripe painted across their foreheads, and another around their right arms — black Lamas (hei-ho-sang) the people call them — armed with heavy whips, with which they belaboured anyone who came within their reach. Behind them walked a stately Lama in robes of finest cloth, with head clean-shaved. He was a Gekor, a Lama-censor, or provost, whose duty it is to see that the rules of the Lamasery are strictly obeyed, and who, in conjunction with two colleagues, appointed like him by the abbot for a term of three years, tries all Lamas for whatever breach of the rules or crime they may have committed. This one had heard of the peep-shows, Punch and Judy shows, gambling tables, and other prohibited amusements on the fair-grounds, and was on his way with his lictors to put an end to the scandal. I followed in his wake, and saw the peep-show knocked down, Punch and Judy laid mangled beside it, the owners whipped and put to flight, and the majesty of ecclesiastical law and morality duly vindicated."63

As the Lama is comfortably clothed and housed, and fed on the best of food, he cannot be called a mendicant monk like the Buddhist monks of old, nor is the vow of poverty strictly interpreted; yet this character is not quite absent. For the order, as a body, is entirely dependent on the lay population for its support; and the enormous proportion which the Lamas bear to the laity renders the tax for the support of the clergy a heavy burden on the people.

Most of the monasteries, even those of the sects other than the dominant Ge-lug-pa, are richly endowed with landed property and villages, from which they derive much revenue. All, however, rely mainly on the voluntary contributions of the worshippers amongst villagers and pilgrims. And to secure ample aid, large numbers of Lamas are deputed at the harvest-time to beg and collect grain and other donations for their monasteries. Most of the contributions, even for sacerdotal services, are in kind, — grain, bricks of tea, butter, salt, meat, and live stock, — for money is not much used in Tibet. Other sources of revenue are the charms, pictures, images, which the Lamas manufacture, and which are in great demand; as well as the numerous horoscopes, supplied by the Lamas for births, marriages, sickness, death, accident, etc., and in which most extensive devil-worship is prescribed, entailing the employment of many Lamas. Of the less intellectually gifted Lamas, some are employed in menial duties, and others are engaged in mercantile traffic for the general benefit of their mother monastery. Most of the monasteries of the established church grow rich by trading and usury. Indeed, Lamas are the chief traders and capitalists of the country.


The original dress of Buddha's order was adapted for the warm Indian climate. Later, when his religion extended to colder climes, he himself is said to have permitted warmer clothing, stockings, shoes, etc. The avowed object of the monk's dress was to cover the body decently and protect from cold, mosquitoes,64 and other sources of mental disturbance.

The dress of a Tibetan monk65 consists of a hat covering his closely-shaven crown, a gown and girdle, inner vest, cloak, plaid, trousers, and boots, rosary, and other minor equipments.


No hat is mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures as part of the outfit of a monk, nor does it seem to have been introduced into Indian Buddhism even in the later period, judging from its apparent absence in the Ajanta cave paintings. It is, however, a necessity for tonsured heads in a cold climate,66 and it is usually made in Tibet of thick felt, flannel, or blanket.

The conspicuousness of the cap lent itself readily to its hat being converted into a sectarial badge. We have seen how the colour of the cap afforded a rough distinction into yellow, red, and black hats. But the shape is also an important element in differentiating hats, both for sectarian and ceremonial purposes.

The majority of the hats are of an Indian type, a few only being Chinese or Mongolian.

The two most typical hats are believed by the Lamas to have been brought from India by St. Padma-sambhava, the founder of Lamaism, and his coadjutor, Santa-rakshita, in the eighth century. And both of these hats are essentially Indian in pattern.

To begin with, the hat, numbered j in the figure, named "The red hat, of the great Pandits" (pan-ch'en-z'wa-dmar). It is alleged to have been brought from India on the foundation of Lamaism by the abbot Santa-rakshita, and it is common to all sects in Tibet except the Ge-lug-pa. Its shape is essentially that of the ordinary cap used in the colder parts of India during the winter (see fig. n), with lappets coming over the ears and the nape of the neck, which lappets are folded up as an outer brim to the cap in the hotter part of the day. Such a cap is often worn by Indian ascetics when travelling in India in the winter time; and it is quite probable that Atisa, as the Lamas allege, did arrive in Tibet in such a hat, and possibly of a red colour. The chief difference in the Lamaist form is that the crown has been raised into a peak, which gives it a more distinguished look, and the lappets have been lengthened.

Lamas' Hats

a. rTse-z'va sgro
b. Pan-ch'en sne-rin.
c. Ditto, in profile.
d. rTse-z'va sgro-rtse.
e. dGon-'dus dbu.
f. Ditto, in profile.
g. T'an-z'va, for abbots and reincarnations.
h. sNags z'va-nag.
i. rTa z'va, for nTse-drung.
j. Pan-ch'en z'va-dmar.
k. Dag z'va-ri-'gra.
l. dGun-z'va.
m. Z'va-dkar skyed k'ra.
n. Jo-z'va glin gsum.
o. Jo-z'va rgyun.
p. Saks-z'u of Sakya.
q. Gra-z'a of Taranatha (red).
r. Sakya k'ri z'va.
s. sGom-z'va dbUus 'gyud.
t. mKah-'grohi dbu-skra.
v. Kar-ma snags z'va.
r. sKar-ma za-z'va.

Tson-K'apa altered the colour of this hat from red to yellow, and hence arose the title of "Yellow-hat" (S'a-ser), a synonym for his new sect, "the Ge-lug-pa," in contradistinction to the "Red-hat" (S'a-mar) of the Unreformed Lamas. He raised its peak still higher (see figures b and c in annexed illustration), and lengthened its lappets in proportion to the rank of the wearer. Thus he gave himself the longest lappets, forming tails down to the waist. The abbots were given shorter tails, and the ordinary monk shorter still, while the novices were deprived altogether of the tails. It can be used when walking and riding.

Padma-sambhava's mitre-like hat is the "U-gyan-Pandit," the typical hat of the unreformed Nin-ma sect. It is on the same Indian model, with the lappets turned up, and divided so as to suggest the idea of a red lotus, with reference to the etymology of St. Padma-sambhava's name, to wit, "The Lotus-born," and his legendary birth from a red lotus-flower. His native country was Udyana, between Afghanistan and Kashmir; and the tall conical crown is still a feature of the caps of those regions. It is also called the Sahor (Lahore?) Pandit's cap. It is worn by the Nin-ma sect in empowering (abisheka), and in offering oblations, and in sacred dances. The largest form of this hat, surmounted by a golden vajra, is called the "Devil subduer" (dreg-pa zil-non gyi cha lugs), and is figured in the foregoing picture of St. Padma. It is only worn by the head Lamas when giving the king holy water, and at the highest festivals.

Many of the hats are fall of symbolism, as, for example, Figs, a and d, as described in the footnote.67

Nuns wear a skull-cap of woollen cloth or fur, coloured yellow or red, according to their sect.

In the outer rainy districts of the Himalayas, in Bhotan and Sikhim, many Lamas wear straw hats during the summer, or go bare-headed.

The Tibetans follow the Chinese in the practice of saluting by taking off their hat, so in their temples no hats are worn except daring certain ceremonies, and then only a special kind.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:54 am

Part 3 of 3


The robes, which the monks of the established church and the more celibate monks of the other sects wear during certain celebrations, are the three vestments of the shape prescribed in the primitive code of ritual, the Vinaya, with the addition of a brocaded collared under-vest68 and trousers, as seen in the figures. The material of these robes is usually woollen cloth; but silk, though against the precepts,69 is sometimes worn by those who can afford the expense.

The colour of these robes is yellow or red, according to the sect. Yellow or saffron70 colour in Tibet is sacred to the clergy of the established church, the Ge-lug-pa; and its use by others is penal. The only instance in which it is permitted is when a layman is bringing a present to the Ge-lug-pa priests. He then is permitted to wear during his visit a flat yellow hat like a Tam-o'-Shanter bonnet.

These three orthodox Buddhist raiments are: —

1. The Lower patched robe, named "?z'an"71 ( = Sanghati). The cloth is in several largish patches (about twenty-three) and sewn into seven divisions, and fastened by a girdle at the waist.72

2. The Outer patched robe, named Nam-jar (P., ? Antarvasaka). The cloth is cut into very numerous pieces, about one hundred and twenty-five, which are sewn together in twenty-five divisions.

3. The Upper shawl, named bLd-gos (Uttarasanghati). Long and narrow, ten to twenty feet long and two to three feet broad. It is thrown over the left shoulder and passed under right arm, leaving the right shoulder bare, as in the Indian style, but the shoulders and chest are covered by an inner vest. It is adjusted all round the body, covering both shoulders, on entering the houses of laymen. And over all is thrown a plaited cloak or cope, crescentic in shape.73

But the ordinary lower robe of Lamas of all sects is an ample plaited petticoat, named "S'am t'abs,"74 of a deep garnet-red colour, which encircles the figure from the waist to the ankles, and is fastened at the waist by a girdle, and with this is worn an unsleeved vest, open in front like a deacon's dalmatia. On less ceremonial occasions a sleeved waistcoat is used; and when travelling or visiting, is worn the ordinary Tibetan wide-sleeved red gown, gathered at the waist by a girdle; and always trousers. The sleeves of this mantle are broad and long, and in hot weather, or on other occasions where greater freedom is wanted or the priest has to administer with bare arms, the arms are withdrawn from the sleeves, which latter then hang loose.

A sash is also usually worn, several yards long and about three inches broad, thrown over the left shoulder, across breast, and tied in a bow over the right hip, and the remainder swung round the body.75

Water-bottle Wallet.

Thus it will be seen that Lamas of every sect, the established church included, ordinarily wear red robes, and it is the colour of the girdles (sKe-rag) and the shape and colour of the hats which are the chief distinctive badges of the sect, The holy-water bottle (Ch'ab-lug), figured on page 201, which hangs from the left side of the girdle, is also fringed by a flap of cloth coloured red or yellow according to the sect.

The boots are of stiff red and particoloured felt, with soles of hide or Yak-hair.

From the girdle hangs, in addition to the holy-water bottle, a pen-case, purse, with condiments, dice, etc., sometimes the rosary, when it is not in use or worn on the neck or wrist, and the amulet box. And in the upper flap of the coat, forming a breast pocket, are thrust his prayer-wheel, drinking-cup, booklets, charms, etc.

The dress of the nuns generally resembles that of the monks. The head is shaved, and no ornaments are worn.76

Pen-Case, Ink-Bottle and Seal. (the Pen-case is silver-inlaid iron from Der-ge.)


The rosary is an essential part of a Lama's dress; and taking, as it does, such a prominent part in the Lamaist ritual, it is remarkable that the Tibetan rosary does not appear to have attracted particular notice.

As a Buddhist article the rosary appears only in the latest ritualistic stage when a belief had arisen in the potency of muttering mystic spells and other strange formulas. In the very complicated rosaries of Japan77 it has attained its highest development.

Amongst southern Buddhists78 the rosary is not very conspicuous, but amongst Tibetans it is everywhere visible. It is also held in the hand of the image of the patron god of Tibet — Cha-ra-si (Skt., Avalokitesvara). And its use is not confined to the Lamas. Nearly every lay man and woman is possessed of a rosary, on which at every opportunity they zealously store up merit; and they also use it for secular purposes,79 like the sliding balls of the Chinese to assist in ordinary calculations: the beads to the right of the centre-bead being called ta-than and registering units, while those to the left are called c'u-do and record tens, which numbers suffice for their ordinary wants.

The Tibetan name for the rosary is "'pren-ba," pronounced t'en-wa, or vulgarly t'en-na, and literally means "a string of beads."

A Rosary

The rosary contains 108 beads of uniform size. The reason for this special number is alleged to be merely a provision to ensure the repetition of the sacred spell a full hundred times, and the extra beads are added to make up for any omission of beads through absent-mindedness during the telling process or for actual loss of beads by breakage. Che-re-si and Do-ma have each 108 names, but it is not usual to tell these on the rosary. And in the later Kham editions of the Lamaic scriptures — the "bka- 'gyur," — the volumes have been extended from 100 to 108, And the Burmese foot-prints of Buddha sometimes contain 108 subdivisions. This number is perhaps borrowed, like so many other Lamaist fashions, from the Hindus, of whom the Vaishnabs possess a rosary with 108 beads.

The two ends of the string of beads, before being knotted, are passed through three extra beads, the centre one of which is the largest. These are collectively called "retaining or seizing beads," rdog-'dsin. The word is sometimes spelt mdo-'dsin, which means "the union holder." In either case the meaning is much the same. These beads keep the proper rosary beads in position and indicate to the teller the completion of a cycle of beads.

This triad of beads symbolizes "the Three Holy Ones" of the Buddhist trinity, viz., Buddha, Dharma (the Word), and Sangha (the church, excluding the laity). The large central bead represents Buddha, while the smaller one intervening between it and the rosary beads proper represents the church and is called "Our radical Lama" (or spiritual adviser),80 the personal Lama-guide and confessor of the Tibetan Buddhist; and his symbolic presence on the rosary immediately at the end of the bead-cycle is to ensure becoming gravity and care in the act of telling the beads, as if he were actually present.

The Gelug-pa, or established church, usually has only two beads as dok-dsin, in which case the terminal one is of much smaller size, and the pair are considered emblematic of a vase from which the beads spring. In such cases the extra bead is sometimes strung with the other beads of the rosary, which latter then contains 109 beads; thus showing that the beads really number 111.


Attached to the rosary is a pair of strings of ten small pendant metallic rings as counters. One of these strings is terminated by a miniature dorje (the thunderbolt of Indra) and the other by a small bell — in Tantric Buddhist figures the dorje is ususlly associated with a bell. The counters on the dorje-string register units of bead-cycles, while those on the bell-string mark tens of cycles. The counters and the ornaments of the strings are usually of silver, and inlaid with turquoise. These two strings of counters, called "count-keepers,"81 may be attached at any part of the rosary string, but are usually attached at the eighth and twenty-first bead on either side of the central bead.

They are used in the following manner: When about to tell the beads, the counters on each string are slid up the string. On completing a circle of the beads, the lowest counter on the dorje-string is slid down into contact with the dorje. And on each further cycle of beads being told, a further counter is slid down. When the ten have been exhausted, they are then slid up again, and one counter is slipped down from the bell-string. The counters thus serve to register the utterance of 108 x 10 x 10 = 10,800 prayers or mystic formulas. The number of these formulas daily repeated in this way is enormous. The average daily number of repetitions may, in the earlier stages of a Lama's career, amount to 5,000, but it depends somewhat on the zeal and leisure of the individual. A layman may repeat daily about five to twenty bead-cycles, but usually less. Old women are especially pious in this way, many telling over twenty bead-cycles daily. A middle-aged Lama friend of mine has repeated the spell of his tutelary deity alone over 2,000,000 times. It is not uncommon to find rosaries so worn away by the friction of so much handling that originally globular beads have become cylindrical.

Affixed to the rosary are small odds and ends, such as a metal toothpick, tweezer, small keys, etc.

Material of the Beads.

The materials of which the Lamaist rosaries are composed may to a certain extent vary in costliness according to the wealth of the wearer. The abbot of a large and wealthy monastery may have rosaries of pearl and other precious stones, and even of gold. Turner relates82 that the Grand Tashi Lama possessed rosaries of pearls, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, coral, amber, crystal and lapis-lazuli.

But the material of the rosary can only vary within rather narrow limits, its nature being determined by the particular sect to which the Lama belongs and the particular deity to whom worship is to be paid.

Kinds of Rosaries.

Fig. 1. The yellow wooden rosary of Ge-lug-pa sect.
Fig. 2. The red sandal-wood rosary for Tam-din's worship.
Fig. 3. The white conch shell rosary for Cha-rasi's worship.
Fig. 4. The Raksha rosary for the furies' worship.
Fig. 5. A layman's rosary (beads of unequal size).
Fig. 6. The human skull (discs) rosary.
Fig. 7. The snake-spine rosary.  
a = do-dsin.
b = counters.
c = bell-pendant.
d = dorge-pendant.
e = a tweezer and tooth-pick.

The yellow rosary or Ser-t'en, Fig. 1, is the special rosary of the Ge-lug-pa or "reformed school," also called "the yellow hat sect" (S'a-ser). The beads are formed from the ochrey yellow wood of the C'an-ch'ub tree, literally "the Bodhi tree" or tree of supreme wisdom, which is said to grow in central China. The wood is so deeply yellow that it is doubtful whether it be really that of the Pipal (Ficus religiosa), of which was the Bodhi tree under which Gautama attained his Buddhahood. These beads are manufactured wholesale by machinery at the temple called by Tibetans Ri-wo tse-na and by the Chinese U-tha Shan, or "The Five Peaks," about 200 miles south-west of Pekin. Huc gives a sketch83 of this romantic place, but makes no mention of its rosaries. This rosary is of two kinds, viz., the usual form of spherical beads about the size of a pea, and a less common form of lozenge-shaped perforated discs about the size of a sixpence. This rosary may be used for all kinds of worship, including that of the furies.

The Bo-dhi-tse rosary is the one chiefly in use among the Nin-ma-pa, or "old (i.e., unreformed) school" of Lamas, also called the S'a-mar or "red-hat sect." It is remarkable that its name also seeks to associate it with the Bodhi tree, but its beads are certainly not derived from the Ficus family. Its beads are the rough brown seeds of a tree which grows in the outer Himalayas. This rosary can be used for all kinds of worship, and may also be used by the Ge-luk-pa in the worship of the fiercer deities.

The white conch-shell rosary Tun-t'en,84 Fig. 3, consists of cylindrical perforated discs of the conch shell, and is specially used in the worship of Avalokita — the usual form of whose image holds a white rosary in the upper right hand. This is the special rosary of nuns.

The rosary of plain crystal or uncoloured glass beads is also peculiar to Avalokita.

The red sandal-wood rosary Tsan-dan-mar, Fig. 2, consists of perforated discs of red sandal-wood (Adenanthera pavonina) or other wood of a similar appearance. It is used only in the worship of the fierce deity Tam-din (Skt., Hayagriva), a special protector of Lamaism.

The coral rosary — Ch'i-ru-t'en — is also used for the tutelary fiend, Tam-din, and by the unreformed sects for their wizard-saint Padma-sambhava. Coral being so expensive, red beads of glass or composition are in general use instead. With this rosary it is usual to have the counters of turquoise or blue beads.

The rosary formed of discs of the human skull — the t'od-t'en, Fig. 6 — is especially used for the worship of the fearful tutelary fiend Vajra-bhairava as the slayer of the king of the Dead. It is usually inserted within the Bo-dhi-tse or other ordinary rosary; and it frequently has its discs symmetrically divided by four large Raksha beads into four series, one of these beads forming the central bead. There is no rosary formed of finger-bones, as has been sometimes stated.

The "elephant-stone" rosary — Lan-ch'en-grod-pa — is prepared from a porous bony-like concretion, which is sometimes found in the stomach (or brain) of the elephant. As it is suggestive of bone, it is used in worship of Yama. The real material being extremely scarce and expensive, a substitute is usually found in beads made from the fibrous root of the bow-bambu (Z'u-shin), which shows on section a structure very like the stomach-stone, and its name also means "stomach or digestion" as well as "bow."

The Raksha rosary, Fig. 4, formed of the large brown warty seeds of the Elaeocarpus Janitrus, is specially used by the Nin-ma Lamas in the worship of the fierce deities and demons. The seeds of this tree are normally five-lobed and ridged, and it is interesting from a botanical point of view to find how relatively frequent is the occurrence of six lobes. Such abnormal seeds are highly prized by the Tibetans, who believe them to be the offspring of some seeds of Padma-sambhava's rosary, which, the legend states, broke at his Halashi hermitage in Nepal, and several of the detached beads remaining unpicked up, these were the parents of the six-lobed seeds. The demand for such uncommon seeds being great, it is astonishing how many of them are forthcoming to diligent search. This rosary is also commonly used by the indigenous Bon-po priests, and it is identical with the rosary of the Hindus — the rudraksha (Rudra's or the fierce god Siva's eyes, with reference to their red colour), from which the Tibetan name of Raksha is apparently derived.

The Nan-ga pa-ni rosary is used only for the worship of Namsra, or Vaisravana, the god of wealth; and by the wizards in their mystical incantations. It consists of glossy jet-black nuts about the size of a hazel, but of the shape of small horse chestnuts. These are the seeds of the Lun-t'an tree which grows in the sub-tropical forests of the S.E. Himalayas. They are emblematic of the eyes of the Garuda bird, a henchman of Vajra-pani (a form of Jupiter) and the great enemy of snakes, and hence is supposed to be derived the Sanskritic name of the beads, from naga, a serpent. Its use in the worship of the god of wealth is interesting in associating snakes, as the mythological guardians of treasure, with the idea of wealth.85

The rosary of snake-spines (vertebrae), Fig. 7, is only used by the sorcerers in necromancy and divination. The string contains about fifty vertebrae.

The complexion of the god or goddess to be worshipped also determines sometimes the colour of the rosary-beads. Thus a turquoise rosary is occasionally used in the worship of the popular goddess Tara, who is of a bluish-green complexion. A red rosary with red Tam-din, a yellow with yellow Manjusri; and Vaisravan, who is of a golden-yellow colour, is worshipped with an amber-rosary.

The rosaries of the laity are composed of any sort of bead according to the taste and wealth of the owner. They are mostly glass beads of various colours, and the same rosary contains beads of a variety of sizes and colours interspersed with coral, amber, turquoise, etc. The number of beads is the same as with the Lamas, but each of the counter-strings is usually terminated by a vajra: both strings record only units of cycles, which suffice for the smaller amount of bead-telling done by the laity.

Mode of telling the Beads.

When not in use the rosary is wound round the right wrist like a bracelet, as in figure on page 172, or worn around the neck with the knotted end uppermost.

The act of telling the beads is called tan-c'e, which literally means "to purr" like a cat, and the muttering of the prayers is rather suggestive of this sound.

In telling the beads the right hand is passed through the rosary, which is allowed to hang freely down with the knotted end upwards. The hand, with the thumb upwards, is then usually carried to the breast and held there stationary during the recital. On pronouncing the initial word "Om" the first bead resting on the knuckle is grasped by raising the thumb and quickly depressing its tip to seize the bead against the outer part of the second joint of the index finger. During the rest of the sentence the bead, still grasped between the thumb and index finger, is gently revolved to the right, and on conclusion of the sentence is dropped down the palm- side of the string. Then with another "Om" the next bead is seized and treated in like manner, and so on throughout the circle.

On concluding each cycle of the beads, it is usual to finger each of the three "keeper-beads," saying respectively, "Om!" "Ah!" "Hum!"

The mystic formulas for the beads have already been illustrated. They follow the prayer, properly so-called, and are believed to contain the essence of the formal prayer, and to act as powerful spells. They are of a Sanskritic nature, usually containing the name of the deity addressed, and even when not gibberish, as they generally are, they are more or less unintelligible to the worshipper.

The formula used at any particular time varies according to the particular deity being worshipped. But the one most frequently used by the individual Lama is that of his own tutelary deity, which varies according to the sect to which the Lama belongs.

The other articles of equipment comprise, amongst other things, a prayer-wheel, vajra-sceptre and bell, skull-drum and smaller tambour, amulet, booklets. Some, even of the higher Lamas wear ornaments and jewellery.86

A few possess a begging-bowl and the mendicant's staff,87 but these are mostly for ritualistic displays, as the Lama is no longer a mendicant monk living on alms like the Indian Bhikshu of old.  

Khar-sil; Skt., the onomatopoetic ki-ki-le or kha-kha-rean, the alarm-staff with jingling rings carried by the mendicant monk to drown out by its jingling worldly sounds from the ears of the monk and to warn off small animals lest they be trod upon and killed. Its use is explained in Kah-gyur Do, Vol. xxvi., Csoma, An., p. 479. The Tibetan form is usually tipped by a trident in place of the leaf-like loop.
Alarm-Staff of a mendicant monk.



1 After Giorgi.  
2 Skt., Sangha ; Tib., dGe-dun.  
3 sprul-sku, or ku-s'o. 
4 Pravrajya.

5 Hodgs., Illus., p. 98; Hardy, E.M., p. 12.

6 sbyin-bdags.

7 'jigs-rten-pa.

8 mi-nag-pa.

9 dGe-bsnen. This title is also applied to a novice, probationer, or candidate. Cf. Kopp., ii., 252; Schlag., 162: Jaeschk., D., 85.

10 mts'an-spyod.

11 gsnen-gnas.

12 Conf. also Pandit, A. K. In Sikhim it is the second son; and also in Ladak (Marx, loc. cit.).
13 See my Lamaism in Sikkim.

14 Knight, op. cit., p. 130.

15 Cf. Jaeschke, D., 364.

16 The Santals of Bengal, who are believed to be of the so-called Turanian descent, call their chiefs Manji.
17 Those K'an-pos who have gone through the Tantra or rgyud-pa course have a higher repute than the others.

18 Koppen, ii., 254.
19 At Pemiongchi only those candidates who are of relatively pure Tibetan descent by the father's side are ordinarily admitted.

20 In Sikhim definite fees are payable at the different ceremonies for admission to the order, as detailed in my Lamaism in Sikhim, amounting to about 150 Rs., in the case of the highest monastery -- Pemiongchi. In Bhotan it is stated (Pemberton's Report, p. 118; Turner's Embassy, 170) that the fee is 100 Bhotanese rupees.

21 This, of course, would not be offered in a Ge-lug-pa monastery.

22 dge-rgan, or "the Virtuous Elder."

23 See p. xviii.

24 Such small manuals are about eight or ten inches long by two to three inches broad, and usually have the leaves stitched together.
25 The word for sin is "scorpion," thus conveying the idea of a vile, venomous, clawing, acrid thing.

26 Op cit., pages 122 to 142.
27 Cf. also the "Garuda Charm," figured at p. 387.
28 lha-rdsas.

29 mk'an-po.

30 gsol.
31 grva-pa.

32 'gyed.

33 dGe-lden-K'ri-rin-po-c'he, or s'Kyabs-mgon-rin-poch'e.

34 Cf. Mahavanso, i., 12. UpaSampuda-Kammavaka, translated by F. Spiegel, op. cit. Rhys Davids, B., p. 159.

35 My friend, Mr. A. von Rosthorn, informs me that the Lamas of eastern Tibet usually pass through an ordeal of initiation in which six marks are seared in their crown with an iron lamp, and called Dipamkara, or "the burning lamp."
36 Extra titles are also bestowed, says Sarat, on the descendants of the old nobility. Thus, Nag-tshang families are given title of Shab-dung; the sons of high officials and landowners Je-dun; and the gentry and Sha-ngo family Choi-je.

37 Tankas.

38 The following account of the initiation of the Vajracarya priests, as given by Mr. Hodgson for Nepal (Ill., p. 139):—

"Early in the morning the following things, viz., the image of a Chaitya, those of the Tri Ratna or Triad, the Prajna Paramita scripture, and other sacred scriptures, a kalas, or water-pot, filled with a few sacred articles, a platter of curds, four other water-pots filled with water only, a chivara, mendicants' upper and lower garments, a Pinda patra (alms-bowl) and a religious staff, a pair of wooden sandals, a small mixed metal plate spread over with pounded sandal-wood, in which the image of the moon is inscribed, a golden razor and a silver one, and lastly, a plate of dressed rice, are collected, and the aspirant is seated in the svastikasana and made to perform worship to the Guru Mandala, and the Chaitya, and the Tri Ratna and the Prajna Paramita Sastra. Then the aspirant, kneeling with one knee on the ground with joined hands, entreats the Guru to make him a Bandya, and to teach him whatsoever it is needful 'for him to know. The Guru answers, O! disciple, if you desire to perform the Pravrajya Vrata, first of all devote yourself to the worship of the Chaitya and of the Tri Ratna: you must observe the five precepts or Pancha Siksha, the fastings and the vows prescribed; nor speak or think evilly; nor touch any intoxicating liquors or drugs; nor be proud of heart in consequence of your observance of your religious and moral duties."

"Then the aspirant pledges himself thrice to observe the whole of the above precepts; upon which the Guru tells him, 'If while you live you will keep the above rules, then will I make you a Bandya.' He assents, when the Guru, having again given the three Rakshas above-mentioned to the Chela, delivers a cloth for the loins to him to put on. Then the Guru brings the aspirant out into the court-yard, and having seated him, touches his hair with rice and oil, and gives those articles to a barber. The Guru next puts on the ground a little pulse and desires a Chela to apply it to his own feet. Then the Guru gives the Chela a cloth of four fingers' breadth and one cubit in length, woven with threads of five colours, and which is especially manufactured for this purpose, to bind round his head. Then he causes the aspirant to perform his ablutions, after which he makes puja to the hands of the barber in the name of Visvakarma, and then causes the barber to shave all the hair, save the forelock, off the aspirant's head. Then the paternal or maternal aunt of the aspirant takes the vessel of mixed metal above noted and collects the hair into it. The aspirant is now bathed again and his nails pared, when the above party puts the parings into the pot with the hair. Another ablution of the aspirant follows, after which the aspirant is taken again within, and seated. Then the Guru causes him to eat, and also sprinkles upon him the Pancha Garbha, and says to him, 'Heretofore you have lived a householder, have you a real desire to abandon that state and assume the state of a monk?' The aspirant answers in the affirmative, when the Guru, or maternal uncle, cuts off with his own hand the aspirant's forelock. Then the Guru puts a tiara adorned with the images of the five Buddhas on his own head, and taking the kalas or waterpot, sprinkles the aspirant with holy water, repeating prayers at the same time over him.

"The neophyte is then again brought below, when four Nayakas or superiors of proximate Viharas and the aspirant's Guru perform the Pancha Abhisheka, i.e., the Guru takes water from the kalsa and pours it into a conch; and then ringing a bell and repeating prayers, sprinkles the water from the conch on the aspirant's head; whilst the four Nayakas taking water from the other four water-pots named above, severally baptize the aspirant. The musicians present then strike up, when the Nayakas and Guru invoke the following blessing on the neophyte: 'May you be happy as he who dwells in the hearts of all, who is the universal Atman, the lord of all, the Buddha called Ratnasambhava.' The aspirant is next led by the Nayakas and Guru above stairs, and seated as before. He is then made to perform puja to the Guru Mandal and to sprinkle rice on the images of the deities. The Guru next gives him the Chivara and Nivasa and golden earrings, when the aspirant thrice says to the Guru, 'O Guru, I, who am such an one, have abandoned the state of a householder for this whole birth, and have become a monk.' Upon which the aspirant's former name is relinquished and a new one given him, such as Ananda, Shari, Putra, Kasyapa, Dharma, Sri Mitra, Paramita Sagar. Then the Guru causes him to perform puja to the Tri Ratna, after having given him a golden tiara, and repeated some prayers over him. The Guru then repeats the following praises of the Tri Ratna.- 'I salute that Buddha who is the lord of the three worlds, whom gods and men alike worship, who is apart from the world, long-suffering, profound as the ocean, the quintessence of all good, the Dharma Raja and Munindra, the destroyer of desire and affection, and vice and darkness; who is void of avarice and lust, who is the icon of wisdom. I ever invoke him, placing my head on his feet.

"'I salute that Dharma, who is the Prajna Paramita, pointing out the way of perfect tranquillity to mortals, leading them into the paths of perfect wisdom; who, by the testimony of all the sages, produced or created all things; who is the mother of all Bodhisatwas and Sravakas. I salute that Sangha, who is Avalokitesvara and Maitreya, and Gagan Ganja, and Samanta Bhadra, and Vajra Pani, and Manju Ghosha, and Sarvanivarana Vishkambhin, and Kshiti Garbha and Kha Garbha.' The aspirant then says to the Guru, 'I will devote my whole life to the Tri Ratna, nor ever desert them.' Then the Guru gives him the Dasa S'iksha or ten precepts observed by all the Buddhas and Bhikshukas, and commands his observance of them. They are: 1. Thou shalt not destroy life. 2. Thou shalt not steal. 3. Thou shalt not follow strange faiths. 4. Thou shalt not lie. 5. Thou shalt not touch intoxicating liquors or drugs. 6. Thou shalt not be proud of heart. 7. Thou shalt avoid music, dancing, and all such idle toys. 8. Thou shalt not dress in fine clothes nor use perfumes or ornaments. 9. Thou shalt sit and sleep in lowly places. 10. Thou shalt not eat out of the prescribed hours.

"The Guru then says, 'All these things the Buddhas avoided. You are now become a Bhikshu and you must avoid them too;' which said, the Guru obliterates the Tri Ratna Mandala. Next, the aspirant asks from the Guru the Chivara and Nivasa, the Pinda Patra and Khikshari and Gandhar, equipments of a Buddha, a short staff surmounted by a Chaitya and a water-pot. Add thereto an umbrella and sandals to complete it. The aspirant proceeds to make a Mandal, and places in it five flowers and five Drubakund, and some Khil, and some rice; and assuming the Utkutak Asan, and joining his hands, he repeats the praises of the Tri Ratna above cited, and then again requests his Guru to give him suits of the Chivara and the like number of the Nivasa, one for occasions of ceremony as attending the palace, another for wearing at meals, and the third for ordinary wear. He also requests from his Guru the like number of Gandhar or drinking cups of Pinda Patra, and of Khikshari. One entire suit of these the aspirant then assumes, receiving them from the hands of the Guru, who, previously to giving them, consecrates them by prayers. The aspirant then says, 'Now I have received the Pravrajya Vrata, I will religiously observe the Sitla-Skandha and Samadhi-Skandha, the Prajna-Skandha and the Vimukti-Skandha.'"

39 rTsa wai blama. This is not, as Schlagintweit states (op. cit., 139), in any way  restricted to particular "priests who originated a specific system of Buddhism."
40 An idea of the nature of this is got from the following list of text books for the  first examination at Pemiongchi, which comprise the worship necessary for three  "magic-circles," viz.: The first is the magic-circle of dKon-c'og spyi 'dus Rig-'dsin 'dsah ms'an ning-poi c'os 'k'or (or "Banquet to the whole assembly of the Gods and Demons"). This book contains about sixty pages, and its recitation takes nearly one whole day. It comprises the chapters: —

(1) Ts'e-sgrub or The obtaining of long life.
(2) Z'i-k'ro — The mild and angry deities.
(3) Guru-drag — The fierce form of Padma-sambhava.
(4) Sen-gdonma — The lion-faced demoness.
(5) Ch'osskyon Mahakala Yes'es mgonpo.
(6) T'an-lha (Mt. Thang-lha with its spirit "Kiting" is a northern guardian of Sikhim), mDsod-lna, Lha-ch'en and sMan-bstun — Local and mountain deities. (7) bsKah bs'ags, ts'ogs and Tas'i-smon-lam.

The second comprises the magic-circle of the collection of the Tathagathas and "the powerful great pitying one" (Avalokita) — bDe-gs'egs-kun 'dus-gar-dban, T'ugs-rje chen-po, of about 40 pages.

Then follow the magic circles of the fierce and demoniacal deities Guru-drag-dmar, K'rowo-rol wai gtor-zlog and Drag poi las Gurui-gsol-'debs len-bdun-ma, K'a 'don ch'os spyod.

The books for the second examination, requiring to be recited by heart, are the following:—

(1) The worship of "The lake-born Vajra" (mTs'o-skyes-rdorje) — i.e., St. Padmasambhava — and "the sage Guru who has obtained understanding" (Rig 'dsin rtog sgrub-guru).
(2) The three roots of sagedom (Rig 'dsin rtsa-gsum) —
(a) Rig 'dsin lhamai-las.
(b) Ts'e-sgrub k'og dbugs.
(c) gSang sgrub donyi snin-po.
(3) The deeds of Dorje P'agmo (rDorje p'ag-moi-las), the great happiness of zag-med (zag-med bde-ch'en), and the four classes of the fierce guardians— c'os srun drag-po sde bzhi. The names of these demons are — on the east, kLu- bdud Munpa nagpo; on the south, Srinpo Lanka-mgrim-bchu; on the west, Mamo S'a-za p'ra-gral nag-po; on the north, gS'enpa sPu-gri-dmarpo.
(4) The subjugation of the host of demons— The offering to the Dhyani Buddhas bdud dpun zil non, Kun-bzan, mc'od-sprin.
(5) The sacrificial ceremony bskang bshags, viz., Rig 'dsin bskang-bshags, Phagmai bskang bshags.
(6) The prayer of the glorious "Tashi" — the Lepcha name for Padma-sambhava — Tashi smon-lam.
The above books reach to about fifty-five pages.  
(7) The circle of the eight commanders of the collected Buddhas. bKah-bgyad bde gsegs 'duspai dkyil-'khor kyi las and Khrowo-rol wai gtor-zlog gyi skori bkah brgyad. This has about forty pages. [The names of the eight commanders, bKah-bgyads, are — (1) C'e-mch'og, (2) Yan-dag, (3) gS'in-rje, (4) rTa-mgrin, (5) Phurpa, (6) Mamo, (7) 'Gad ston, (8) Rig-'dsin.]

When the young monk recites by heart all these books satisfactorily, and so passes this examination, he is not subject to any further ordeal of examination: this being the final one. 
41 Ch'os-k'rims-pa.

42 Conf. also Jaeschke, Dict., p. 454, who is inclined to identify this "school" with the Vaiseshkas (or Atomists) Kopp, i., 691.

43 Within the court-ch'os-ra where the disputations are held are seven grades ('dsin-ra), namely: (1), Kha-dog-dkar-dmar; (2), Tchedma; (3), P'ar-p'yin; (4), mDsod; (5),'Dulwa; (6),dbUma; (7), bsLab-btub.

At these disputations there are tree-trunks, called the Sal-tree trunk (Shugs-sdon), lchan-ma-sdonpo, and yubu; and bounded by a wall, and inside the court is covered by pebbles (rdehu). In the middle there is a great high stone seat for the lord protector (sKyabs-mgon), and a smaller seat for the abbot (mk'anpo) of the school and one still smaller for the chief celebrant.

On reaching the enclosure, the auditors take their respective seats in the seven grades, in each of which discussions are held. One of the most learned candidates volunteers for examination, or as it is called, to be vow-keeper (Dam-bchah) He takes his seat in the middle, and the others sit round him. Then the students stand up one by one, and dispute with him.

The scholar who stands up wears the yellow hat, and, clapping his hands together says, Ka-ye! and then puts his questions to the vow-keeper, who is questioned by every student who so desires; and if he succeeds in answering all without exception, then he is promoted to a higher grade. In any case, one is transferred to another grade after every three years.

After twenty-one years of age the rank of dGe-'ses is obtained, though some clever students may get it even at eleven. The abbot of the college comes into the eclosure seven days every month, and supervises the disputations of the seven grades When a candidate has reached the bslab-btub grade, he is certain soon to become a dGe-s'es.

The great disputation, however, is held four times a year, in spring, in summer, in autumn, and in winter, in a great paved courtyard, and lasts five or seven days. On these occasions, all the scholars and abbots of the four schools of the colleges of De-pung congregate there. And all the learned students of the four schools who belong to the grade of bslab-btub volunteer for examination, and each is questioned by the students who ply their questions, says my Lama, "just like flies on meat" When the voluntary examinee has successfully replied to all the questions he goes to the abbot of his own school, and, presenting a silver coin and a scarf, he requests permission to be examined on the Lhasa mass-day. If the abbot receives the coin and scarf, then the application is approved, and if not, the student is referred to his studies. In the great Lhasa mass all the monks of Serra, De-pung, and Gah-ldan congregate, and examinations are held every seventh day, and the dGe-s'es of the three monasteries of Serra, De-pung, and Gah-ldan act as examiners. If the volunteer can answer them all, then the Lord Protector throws a scarf round his neck, and he thus receives the title of dGe-s'es— somewhat equivalent to our Bachelor of Divinity.

The newly-fledged dGe-s'es is now known as a sKya-ser-med-pa-dGe-bs'es or "The yellowless-pale Ge-s'e" (pale + yellow = "laymen and priests," says Jaeschke, D., p. 25). Then he must give soup (called dGe-bs'es T'ugpa) to all the students of his school and club, each student getting a cupful. The soup is made of rice, mixed with meat and butter, and different kinds of fruits. Then the abbot of the school and the Spyi-so of his club, and all his friends and relatives, each gives him a Khadag scarf and a money present.
44 dGe-s'es. It seems to be the same as the Tung-ram-pa of Tashi-lhunpo and the Kabs-bchu, Koppen, ii.; it also seems to be "p'al-ch'en-pa."

45 Apparently a joint board of representatives of the three great monasteries aforesaid, De-pung, etc. Conf. also Pandit A. K. on "Gisi."

46 The Ge-s'e of the three great Ge-lug-pa monasteries may be admitted to one or other of the four Lings or royal monasteries: Tse-nam-gyal, sTan-gyal-ling, Kun-de- ling, and Gyud-sTod-smad, and he may become a rTse-drung of the Grand Dalai Lama's royal monastery at Potala.

47 Rabs-'byams-pa, and seems to be the same as the Kah-c'an of Tashi-lhunpo.

48 Ch'os-rje.
49 Koppen, ii., 290.
50 sLob-dpon.

51 p'yag mdsods.

52 gner-pa.

53 dge-bskos, also called Ch'ok'rims-pa or "religious judge," and the provost of the cathedral seems to be called Zhal-no.

54 spyi-k'yab.

55 gsol-dpon.

56 gzim-dpon.

57 mgron-gner ch'en.

58 Tsi-dpon.

59 p'yag-ts'ang or sku-b'c'ar-mkhan-po.
60 The grand monastery of Tashi-lhunpo is divided, says Sarat (Jour. Bud. Text Socy. Ind., iv., 1893, p. 14), into forty Kham-tshan or wards, which are placed under the jurisdiction of the three great Ta-tshang or theological colleges, viz.: — (a) Thoi- samling college exercises control over the following Kham-tshan: —

1. Gya Kham-tshan.
2. Tiso Kham-tshan.
3. Hamdong Kham-tshan.
4. Chawa Kham-tshan.
5. Tanag Kham-tshan.
6. Tang-moc'he Kham-tshan.
7. Tinke Kham-tshan.
8. Chunee Kham-tshan.
9. Lhum-bu-tse Kham-tshan.
10. Ser-ling Kham-tshan.
11. Je-pa, also called Sha-pa Ta-shang.
12. Chang-pa Kham-tshan.
13. Leg-thug Kham-tshan.
14. Norpugandan, the first house built when the monastery was established.
15. Srepa (Hrepa) Kham-tshan.
16. Pa-so Kham-tshan.  
17. Dong-tse Kham-tshan

(b) The following belong to Shar-tse Ta-tshang:--

1. Thon-pa Kham-tshan.
2. Gyal-tse-tse Kham-tshan
3. Shine Kham-tshan
4. Lhopa Kham-tshan
5. Latoi (Ladak) Kham-tshan
6. Chang-pa Kham-tshan
7. Potog-pa Kham-tshan.
8. Nenin Kham-tshan.
9. Tom-khaling Kham-tshan.
10. Deyang-pa.
11. Samlo Kham-tshan.
12. Neninnag-po Shara.

(c) The following are under Kyil-khang:--

1. Khogye Kham-tshan.
2. Tangmo Kham-tshan.
3. Rog-tsho Kham-tshan.
4. Lakha Kham-tshan.
5. Dodan Kham-tshan.
6. Piling Kham-tshan.
7. Khalka Kham-tshan.
8. Darpa Kham-tshan.
9. Lhundub-tse Kham-tshan.
10. Tsa-oo Kham-tshan, also called Tsa-oo para.  
61 Or "The highest idea or imagining" (Skt., Avalambana).

62 At Tashi-lhunpo, says Sarat (Jour. Budd. Text Socy. Ind, iv. ), the monks sit in nine rows one facing another.


1st row is called Lobug or Lob-zang bug tal.
2nd Champa tal (the row opposite the gigantic image of Maitreya).
3 Goiku tal (the row opposite the satin tapestry).
4. Shuthi tal (the row opposite the huge lamp of the hall).

Is common to all

5. Dong- tal (the front row opposite the sacerdotal throne of the Grand Lama)


6. Ne-chu tal (the row opposite the painted images of the sixteen Sthaviras (sages) on the wall).
7 Ne-ning tal (the row opposite the old images of the sixteen Sthaviras).


8. Dol-ma tal (the row opposite the image of the goddess Dolma, Tara).
9. Go-gyab tal (the row opposite the door of the hall).

Opposite Dong tal is the chapel or Tsang-khang containing the image of Buddha, which has accommodation for eighty monks. It is in charge of the Kyil-khang Ta-tshang.

The chapel of Maitreya (Chamkhang; which is three storeys high, and is spacious enough to contain eighty monks. It is under the charge of Thoisamling College.

Opposite to Dolma tal is Dolma Lhakhang (the chapel of the goddess Tara). It can hold forty monks, and is in the charge of Shar-tse Ta-tshang.

Opposite Lobug is the chapel of Paldan Lhamo. It is said that the image of Paldan Lhamo contained in it stands in space, i.e., without any support on any side. 
63 Rockhill, L., 65.
64 Hardy, East. Mon., 122.

65 See figures on pages 45, 60, 172, etc.
66 In India the only need for a head-covering is as an occasional protection against  the sun, but the Indian monk defends his shaven crown from the scorching sun by  his palm-leaf fan.
67 rTse-zwa sgro-lugs (Fig. a). This helmet-like hat is common to all Ge-lug-pa Lamas. It was invented by gZ'i-bdag ne-ser, and adopted by the first Grand Lama GedenDub. It is used along with the cope (zla- gam) when going to mass, and is taken off on entering the temple and thrown over the left shoulder, with the tails hanging down in front; on emerging from the temple it is worn or not according to the monk's own wishes. Its long tails are stitched to imitate the beaded covers of a book, so that when the monk grasps the tails, he is to conceive that he has a grasp of the scriptures; and again that he is drawing to salvation thousands of animals represented by the pile on the cap. The three lateral stitches in the tails typify the three classes of scriptures — the Tripitaka, as well as the three original sins or "fires" and the sin of body, speech and mind, for which the Tripitaka are the antidotes. The long tails also have to suggest to him that the doctrines may be extended and long remain. The marginal stitches represent "the twelve best commands." The inside is often white to suggest that the monk should keep his heart clean and pure. The crest represents the doctrinal insight (lta-wa, Skt., darsana) of the wearer. As he rises by taking a degree in divinity his crest is elevated by an extra stitch.

rTse-zwa sked-bts'em differs from the foregoing in having an extra stitch in its crest (see p. 172). It is confined to the re-embodied mts'an-nid Lamas and those who have taken the degree of dge-s'e, or B.D.
rTse-zwa sgro rts'e has the highest crest. It is confined to the dGe- bskul of De-pung monastic university and the degree of D.D.

rTse-zwa sgro-rtse-ma (Fig. d) is confined to the Dalai Lama's chapel-royal of rTse-rNam-gyal, and to the four Lings. It is worn during the gtor-rgyab sacrifices and dances at these temples only.

dGongs 'dus zwa zur-zur (Figs, e andf). Designed by Pan-ch'en bLo- bzan ch'os-kyi rgyal mts'an after the shape of dBen-dgon hill. It is worn by the Grand Pan-ch'en Lama and the four abbots of Tashi-lhunpo on going to preside at the wrangling disputations.

Pan-zwa sne-rid' ser-po (Figs. b and c). This is a yellow variety of the red one of the same name, with the tails much lengthened by Tson K'apa. It is only worn with these long tails by the Dalai Lama, the Pan-ch'en (Tashi) Lama, the Gah-ldan Khri-rinpo-ch'e, and the Tibetan Lama- king or regent, during the assembly (nal-k'u) mass and empowering. It is worn with the gos-ber robes.

sNe-rin zur zwa is worn by the abbots of the colleges and the head Lamas of smaller monasteries.

T'an-zwa dbyar-zwa (Fig. g) is the summer hat when riding on horseback, and is confined to the Dalai and Pan-ch'en Grand Lamas, the regent, or king, and the re-embodied Lamas, and those abbots who, having obtained highest honours in divinity, have received from the Grand Lama the diploma of bdag-rkyen.

rTa-zwa zur ltas dgun-zwa. This is the winter riding hat, and is confined to the above privileged persons.

Se-teb-rgyun zwa (Fig. o). The summer riding hat for the Tse-drung grade of Lamas, who are selected on account of their learning and good looks as personal attendants of the Grand Lama (sKyabs-mgon ch'en).
rTa zwa rgyun-zwa (Fig. i). The winter riding hat of the Tse-drung.

rTse-drung sga-p'ug is used only by the skyabs-myou ch'en-mo in ascending and descending (? Potala hill).

Zwa-dkar skyid-ka (Fig. m). "Worn by the Tse-drung attendants in summer when accompanying the Grand Lama wearing preceding hat.

Jo-zwa-glin-gsum (Fig. n), "the lord's hat of the three continents." It is formed after the fashion of the Asura cave, and was worn by the Indian Jo-wo (Atisa), the reformer of Lamaism, while on his way to Tibet, at the Nepalese shrine Svayambhunath (T., Rang-'byun) Chaitya; afterwards it was the hat of his sect, the Kah-dam-pa. In hot weather its flaps are folded up, and in the cold let down. It was originally red, but changed to yellow by the Ge-lug-pa. Now it is worn only by the hermits (ri-k'rod-pa) of the Ge-lug-pa or established church, and is never worn within the monastery or in quarters.

Sa-skya K'ri-zwa (Fig. r). This hat of the Sa-kya sect is of later introduction. Originally all the Sa-kya Lamas wore the Urgyen-pen-zwa of the unreformed party. When they attained the temporal lordship over the thirteen provinces of Tibet, the Chinese king "Se-ch'en" presented this hat to the chief of the sect, his highness 'Phag-pa Rin-po-ch'e, and its central vajra upon the "unchangeable" crown is after the Chinese style. It is restricted to those of noble descent (gdung-pa), and is only worn when the gdun-brgyud Lama ascends the throne, or in empowering devotees, or in the gTor rgyab sacrificial offering. Cf. also p. 57.

Sa-zu mt'oh grol (Fig. p). This is a hat of the Sa-kya-pa. It is believed to confer spiritual insight, and to have been invented by the God of Wisdom (Manjusri). It is used when empowering the Khri-pa, and for mass.

Sa-skya grwa-zwa (Fig. q.) This is the hat of the Jonan-pa sub-sect, to which Taranatha belonged. It is worn by the junior Sa-kya monks during certain masses, at the beginning and the end, also in religious dances and in the Tor-gya sacrifice.

Karma-pai zwa nag (Fig. t). "The black (fairy) hat of the Kar-ma-pa." This hat was conferred upon the reverend Rang-'byun rDorje (Vajra Svayambhu) by the five classes of witches (Dakkini) when he coerced them into granting him the Siddhi — power of flying in the air. Each of the Dakkinis contributed a hair from their tresses, and plaited these to form this hat. Whoever wears it can fly through the air. It is kept as a relic at Sa-kya monastery, and only worn in state, or when a wealthy votary comes to the shrine. On such occasions a monk on either side holds the hat to prevent it from carrying off the wearer.

Karma snags-zwa (Fig. u). "The enchanter's hat" of the K-arma- pa sect. It is shaped after the cake-offering for the angry demons, and is worn during the dances and the gtor-rgyab sacrifice.

Dwag-zwa ri-'gra (Fig. k). A hat of the Kar-gyu-pa sect, worn when empowering or preaching. It is shaped after the hill of Dwag-lha sgam-pa, and was invented by mNam-med-diwag-po lha rjes-ts'erin-ma.

sNags pai zwa nag (Fig. h). The black necromancer's hat. Worn by the sLob-dpan Lama of the unreformed sect in their gTor-rgyab sacrifice, and in the mystic play in all the sects.

gZah-zwa (Fig. v). "The planet hat." This raven-crowned hat was designed by Lama Gyun-ston-k'ro-rgyal on seeing the planet Mercury. It is worn by the Di-kung-pa, Kar-ma-pa, and Nin-ma-pa sects during the ceremony of "circling the planets" (gzal-bskor) and the striking and injuring one's enemy (mt'u).

The hat of the Grand Lama of Bhotan (head of the southern Dug-pa church), and figured at page 226, is called pad-ma-mt'ong or "the lotus-vision." It has a vajra-spikelet which cannot be worn by any but the supreme Lama. And the hat is finely embroidered with the cross-thunderbolts, lotus-flower, and thunder dragons (Dag).
68 stod 'jag.

69 In common with most ascetics, Buddha decreed the monastic dress of his order to be of as mean a material and cost as possible, and the colour selected was sad saffron, which, while affording a useful wearable colour not readily soiled, gave uniformity to the wearer and afforded no scope for worldly vanity in fine dress. Yet nothing can be more dignified and becoming than the thin loose robe of the Buddhist monk, falling in graceful drapery, endlessly altering its elegant folds with every movement of the figure. And the ease with which it lends itself to artistic arrangement is seen not only in the Grecian and Indian sculptures of Buddha in a standing-posture, but is even retained somewhat in the thicker and relatively unelegant robes of the Lamaist monk, seen in the several figures.

70 Literally nur-smrig or "Brahmani goose" (coloured). This sad-coloured bird, the ruddy shell-drake, has from its solitary habits and conjugal fidelity been long in India symbolic of recluseship and devotion, and figures in such capacity on the capitals of the Asoka pillars.

71 gz'an or ? dras-drubs.

72 The patched robe, which gives the idea of the tattered garments of poverty, is stated to have originated with Ananda dividing into thirty pieces the rich robe given to Buddha by the wealthy physician Jivaka, and that robe was sewn by Ananda into five divisions like this one.
73 zla-gam.

74 or mt'an-gos.

75 Koppen, ii., 268.
76 Cf. Boyle, Mark., p. 109.

77 "Note on Buddhist Rosaries in Japan." By J. M. James, Trans. Jap. As. Soc., p. 173, 1881.

78 I have described Burmese Buddhist rosaries, as well as some of the Lamaist, in J.A.S.B., 1891.
79 The rosary has proved a useful instrument in the hands of our Lama surveying  spies. Thus we find it reported with reference to Gyantse town, that a stone wall  nearly two-and-a-half miles goes round the town, and the Lama estimated its length  by means of his rosary at 4,500 paces. At each pace he dropped a bead and uttered  the mystic "Om mam padm hm," while the good people who accompanied him in his  Lin-k'or or religious perambulations little suspected the nature of the work he was  really doing.
80  tsa-wai bla-ma.
81 grang-'dsin, but vulgarly they are known as chub-she (c'u-bs'ad) or "the ten makers."

82 Embassy to Tibet, p. 261, 1800.
83 Travels in Tartary, Tibet, and China. By M. Huc (Hazlitt's trans.), i., p. 79, and figured under Shrines.

84 Drun-p'ren.
85  See p. 368.
86 The Grand Lama of Tashi-lhunpo wore a jewelled necklace, which he presented to  Mr. Bogle (Markh., cxl.)
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:57 am


He who eats Lamas' food
Wants iron jaws.

— Tibetan Proverb.1

ALTHOUGH the Lamas are enslaved in the bonds of ritual they are not all gloomy ascetics, wrapped up in contemplation, but most can be as blithe as their lay brothers. Their heavy round of observances, however, often lies wearily upon them, as may be seen from the frequent interruptions in the ordinary Lama's saintly flow of rhetoric to yawn, or take part in some passing conversation on mundane matters.

The daily routine of a Lama differs somewhat according to whether he is living in a monastery, or as a village priest apart from his cloister, or as a hermit. As with occidental friars, a considerable proportion of Lamas have trades and handicrafts, labouring diligently in the field, farm, and in the lower valleys in the forest. But scarcely ever is he a mendicant monk, like his prototype the Indian Bhikshu of old.

Mendicant Lama2

The routine in the convents of the established church is seen at its best in the Grand Lama's private monastery or chapel-royal of Nam-gyal, on mount Potala, near Lhasa, and I am indebted to one of the monks of that monastery for the following detailed account of the practice followed there.

Routine in a Monastery of the Established Church.

Immediately on waking, the monk3 must rise from his couch, even though it be midnight, and bow thrice before the altar in his cell, saying, with full and distinct enunciation: "Guide of great pity! hear me! merciful Guide! Enable me to keep the two hundred and fifty-three rules, including abstinence from singing, dancing, and music, and thoughts of worldly wealth, eating luxuriously, or taking that which has not been given," etc., etc.

Then follows this prayer4: "O Buddhas and Bodhisats of the ten directions, hear my humble prayer. I am a pure-minded monk, and my earnest desire is to devote myself towards benefiting the animals; and having consecrated my body and wealth to virtue, I vow that my chief aim will be to benefit all living things."

Then is repeated seven times the following mantra from the Sutra on ''the wheel-blessing for the animal universe"5: "Om! Sambhara, Sam- maha jaba hum!" Followed also seven times by this extract from bharabi manaskar maha jaba hum! Om! Smara Smarabi manaskara Norbu-rgyas-pahi-gzhal-med-k'an: "Om! ruci ramini pravartya hum!"

This is followed by "Om! Khrecara ganaya hri hri svaha!" — a spell which if the monk thrice repeats and spits on the sole of his foot, all the animals which die under his feet during that day will be born as gods in the paradise of Indra (Jupiter).

Having done this worship, the monk may retire again to sleep if the night is not far advanced. If, however, the dawn is near he must not sleep but employ the interval in repeating several mantras or forms of prayer (smon-lam) until the bell rings for the first assembly.

The first assembly, or matin, called "the early gathering" (sna- tsogs), is held before sunrise. The great bell goes and awakens everyone hitherto slumbering, and it is soon followed by the great conch-shell trumpet-call, on which signal the monks adjust their dress and go outside their cell or dormitory to the lavatory stone-flag or pavement (rdo-bchal) for ablution.

Standing on these stones, and before washing, each monk chants the following mantra, and mentally conceives that all his sins, as well as the impurities of his body, are being washed away: "Om! argham tsargham bimanase! utsusma maha krodh humphat!"

Then with water brought in copper vessels, and with a pinch of saline earth as soap,6 they perform ablutions usually of a very partial kind.

After ablution each monk repeats, rosary in hand, the mantra of his favourite deity (usually Manjusri or Tara), or his tutelary fiend, as many times as possible.

On the second blast of the conch-shell, about fifteen minutes after the first, all the fully-ordained monks bow down before the door of the temple, while the novices bow upon the outer paved court. All then enter the temple and take their places according to their grade, the most junior being nearest the door; and during the ingress the provost-marshal stands rod in hand beside the door.

The monks seat themselves in rows, each on his own mat, cross-legged in Buddha-fashion, and taking care not to allow his feet to project, or his upper vestments to touch the mat. They sit in solemn silence, facing straight to the front. The slightest breach of these rules is promptly punished by the rod of the provost-marshal, or in the case of the novices by the clerical sacristan.

At the third blast of the conch-trumpet the following services are chanted: —

Invoking the blessing of eloquence; the refuge-formula; Tson-K'apa's ritual of lha-brgya-ma.

After which tea is served, but before it is drunk the presiding Lama says a grace in which all join.


The Lamas always say grace before food or drink. Most of these graces are curiously blended with demonolatry, though they always are pervaded by universal charity and other truly Buddhist principles. And they throw some light on the later Mahayana ritual of Indian Buddhism, from which they are alleged to have been borrowed.

Tea Service

Before drinking, the Lamas, like the Romans, pour out some of the beverage as a libation to their Lares, and other Gods. A common grace before drinking tea (which is served out eight or ten times daily at the temples and cathedrals — the service being interrupted for this temporal refreshment) is:—

"We humbly beseech thee! that we and our relatives throughout all our life-cycles, may never be separated from the three holy ones! May the blessing of the trinity enter into this drink!" [Then, here sprinkling a few drops on the ground with the tips of the fore and middle fingers, the grace is continued: — ]

"To all the dread locality, demons of this country, we offer this good Chinese tea! Let us obtain our wishes! And may the doctrines of Buddha be extended!"

The grace before food of the established church, the purest of all the Lamaist sects, is as follows: —

"This luscious food7 of a hundred tempting tastes, is here reverently offered by us — the animal beings— to the Jinas (the Dhyani Buddhas) and their princely sons (celestial Bodhisattvas). May rich blessings overspread this food! Om-Ah Hum!

"It is offered to the Lama— Om Guru vajra naividya-ah Hum!

"It is offered to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas— Om sarva Buddha Bodhisattva vajra naividya-ah Hum!

"It is offered to the tutelaries, witches, and defensores fidei8—Om Deva Dakini Sri dharmapala saparivara vajra naividya-ah Hum!

"One piece (is offered) to the powerful demon-lord (dban-bahi-'byun-po; Skt., Bhutesvara)—Om-Agra-Pinda-ashi bhya svaha!

"One piece to hprog-ma — Om-Harite9 -svaha!

"One piece to 'the five hundred brothers or sisters'10 — Om Harite maha-vajra- yakshini hara-hara sarva papi-mokshi svaha!

"This food, of little virtue, is offered compassionately and without anger or pride, or as a return for past favours; but solely in the hope that we — all the animal beings — may become holy and attain the rank of the most perfect Buddhahood."

When any flesh-meat is in the diet, then the following grace is repeated seven times in order to cleanse from the sin of slaughter and of eating flesh: "Om abira khe-ca-ra Hum!" And by the efficacy of this spell, the animal, whose flesh is eaten, will be reborn in heaven.

The following grace is for the special benefit of the donors of provisions, tea, etc., to the monastery, and it is repeated before the monks partake of food so gifted: —

"Salutation to the all-victorious Tathagata Arhat. The most perfect Buddha. The fiery and most illuminating king of precious light! Namo! Samanta-prabha-ragaya Tathagataya Arhate-samayak-Buddhaya Namo Manjusri- ye. Kumara-Bhutaya Bodhisattvaya maha-sattvaya! Tadyatha! Om ralambhe-nira-bhase jaye-jayelabdhe maha-materakshinamme parisodhaya svaha. (The efficacy of reciting this mantra is thus described, says the Ge-lug-pa manual of daily worship, in the Vinaya-Sutra: "When this is repeated once all sins will be cleansed, and the dispensers of the gifts will have their desires fulfilled." Then here follow with: — )

"May I attain bliss by virtue of this gift!

"May I attain bliss by deep meditation, the ceremonial rites, reverence and the offerings!

"May I attain perfect bliss and the supreme perfection of the real end (Nirvana)!

"May I obtain the food of meditation of the hundred tastes, power, and brightness of countenance by virtue of this food-offering!

"May I obtain rebirths of wisdom, void of thirst, hunger, and disease, by virtue of this repentance-offering!

"May I obtain unalloyed happiness, free from worldly birth, old age, disease, and death!

"May the dispenser of these gifts attain perfection by virtue of these, his liberal gifts!

"May the human beings and all the other animals, obtain deliverance by virtue of this vast offering!

"May all the Buddhists, Nanda, Upananda. etc., the gods of the natural dwelling, the king, this dispenser of gifts, and the populace generally, obtain everlasting happiness, long life, and freedom from disease.

"May all the human beings, by virtue of this (gift), obtain luck in body and fore-knowledge.

"May the hopes of animals be realized as by the wish-granting gem (Cinta- mani) and the wish-granting tree (Kalpataru), and may glory come on all! mangalam!"

After the tea-refreshment, the following services are performed: The Great Compassionators liturgy, the praise of the disciples or Sthaviras, the offering of the magic-circle or mandala, though the great circle is not offered every day, Yon-ten-zhi-gyurma, and the worship of the awful Bhairava, or other tutelary, such as Sandus, Dem-ch'og, or Tara. But as these latter liturgies are very long, they are interrupted for further tea-refreshment. And at this stage, that is, in the interval between the first and second portions of the tutelary's worship, is done any sacerdotal service needed on account of the laity, such as masses for the sick, or for the soul of a deceased person. In the latter case it is publicly announced that a person, named so-and-so, died on such a date, and his relatives have given tea and such-and-such present, in kind or money, to the Lamas for masses. Then the Lamas do the service for sending the soul to the western paradise.11 Or, if the service is for a sick person, they will do the Ku-rim12 ceremony.

The tutelary's service is then resumed, and on its conclusion tea and soup are served. Then is chanted the S'es-rab snin-po, after which the assembly closes, and the monks file out singly, first from the extreme right bench, then from the extreme left, the youngest going first, and the most senior of the re-incarnated saintly Lamas last of all.

Prayer-cylinder for Table.

The monks now retire to their cells, where they do their private devotions, and offer food to their tutelary deities; often marking the time to be occupied by particular devotional exercises by twirling with the finger and thumb their table-prayer-wheel, and while it spins, the exercise lasts.

The orisons are chanted to the clamour of noisy instruments whenever the sun's disc is first seen in the morning. Then the hat is doffed, and the monk, facing the sun, and uplifting his right hand to a saluting posture, chants "It has arisen! It has arisen! The glorious one has arisen! The sun of happiness has arisen! The goddess Marici has arisen! Om-Maricinam svaha!" On repeating this mantra of Marici seven times, he continues with: "Whenever I recall your name I am protected from all fear. I pray for the attainment of the great stainless bliss. I salute you, goddess Marici! Bless me, and fulfil my desires. Protect me, O Goddess, from all the eight fears of foes, robbers, wild beasts, snakes, and poisons, weapons, firewater, and high precipices."

The second assembly, called "the After-heat" (t'sa-gtin) is held about13 9 a.m., when the sun's heat is felt. On the first blast of the conch all retire to the latrine. At the second blast all gather on the pavement, or, if raining, retire to a covered court to read, etc. At the third blast — about fifteen minutes after the second — all re-assemble in the temple and perform the service of "Inviting the religious guardian (-fiend)." During this worship tea is thrice served, and on its conclusion the monks all leave the temple. The younger monks now pore over their lessons, and receive instructions from their teachers.

The third assembly, called "Noon-tide," is held at noon. On the first blast of the conch all prepare for the sitting. At the second they assemble on the pavement, and at the third they enter the temple and perform the worship of "bS'ags-pa" and " bSkan- wa," during which tea is served thrice, and the meeting dissolves.

Each monk now retires to his cell or room, and discarding his boots, offers sacrifice to his favourite deities, arranging the first part of the rice-offering with scrupulous cleanliness, impressing it with the four marks, and surrounding it with four pieces bearing the impress of the four fingers. After this he recites the "Praise of the three holy ones."14

Then lay servants bring to the cells a meal consisting of tea, meat, and pak (a cake of wheat or tsam-pa). Of this food, some must be left as a gift to the hungry manes, Hariti and her sons. The fragments for this purpose are carefully collected by the servants and thrown outside the temple buildings, where they are consumed by dogs and birds. The monks are now free to perform any personal business which they have to do.

The fourth assembly, called "First (after-) noon tea" (dgun-ja-dan-po) is held about 3 p.m. The monks, summoned by three blasts of the conch as before, perform a service somewhat similar to that at the third assembly, and offer cakes and praise to the gods and divine defenders, during which tea is thrice served, and the assembly dissolves.

Then the junior monks revise their lessons, and the par-pa or middle-grade monks are instructed in rhetoric and in sounding the cymbals and horns. And occasionally public wranglings as already described are held on set themes to stimulate theological proficiency.

The fifth assembly or vesper, called "The Second (after-) noon tea" is held about 7 p.m. The conch, as formerly, calls thrice to the temple, where is chanted the worship of Tan-rak and the prayers of glory (bkra-shis), during which tea is given thrice, and the assembly dissolves. After this the monks return to their rooms till the second night bell sounds, when the junior monks repeat from memory before their teachers certain scriptures and other texts; and at the third bell all retire to their cells to sleep.


The routine in the monasteries of the unreformed or Nin-ma sects departs considerably from the high standard above described, and introduces more demonolatry and the worship of the deified wizard Guru Padma-sambhava.

The practice followed at Pemiongchi monastry is here described: —

In the morning, after offering the sacred food, incense, and butter-incense, a conch-shell is blown, on which all the monks must come out of their chambers. On the second blast all collect in the great assembly hall, and during this entry into the hall the provost-marshal stands beside the door with his rod in hand. All the monks seat themselves in Buddha-fashion, as before described.

The slightest breach of the rules of etiquette and discipline is promptly punished by the rod of the provost-marshal, or, in the case of the younger novices, by the sacristan.

When all have been properly seated, then two or three of the most inferior novices who have not passed their examination, and who occupy back seats, rise up and serve out tea to the assembly, as already described, each monk producing from his breast pocket his own cup, and having it filled up by these novices.

The service of tea is succeeded by soup, named gSol-jam t'ugpa, and served by a new set of the novice underlings. When the cups are filled, the precentor, joined by all the monks, chants "the Sacrificial Offering of the Soup." Three or four cups of soup are supplied to each monk. The hall is then swept by junior monks.

The precentor then inspects the magic circle15 to see that it is correct, and, this ascertained, he commences the celebration, consisting of the sNon-gro and the refuge-formula, and Las-sbyan, on the conclusion of which the assembly disperses.

About 8 A.M. the conch-shell blast again summons the monks to the assembly hall, where, after partaking of refreshments of tea and parched grain in the manner already described, a full celebration is done. And on its conclusion the monks disperse.

About 10 a.m. a Chinese drum is beaten to muster the monks in the assembly hall. At this meeting rice and meat and vegetables are served out as before, and with this is also served beer called gSos-rgyab, the "food-sacrifice" (lTo-mch'od) being done as formerly. A full celebration is then performed, and the meeting dissolves.

In the afternoon a conch-shell is blown for tea, and a Chinese gong calls for beer, the monks assembling as before, and doing a full celebration of the worship of the lord (demon) Mahakala and the guardians of religion respectively.

When sacerdotal celebrations on behalf of laymen have to be done, such are introduced within the latter celebration, which is interrupted for this purpose. And after each of these extra celebrations the monks remain outside the assembly hall for a very short time and then re-assemble. On finishing the extra services, the worship of the religious guardians is then resumed and concluded.

In the evening another assembly, preceded by tea as refreshment, conducts the celebration of sKan-shags with one hundred and eight lamps.

Another and final assembly for the day is made by beat of drum, and rice and flesh-meat is served out.

The refreshments and meals usually number nine daily.


The monk, immediately on waking, must rise from his couch, even though it be midnight, and commence to chant the Mi-rtak- rgyud-bskul, taking care to pronounce all the words fully and distinctly. This contains the instructions of his special Lama-preceptor, and in its recital the monk must recall vividly to mind his spiritual guide. This is followed by a prayer consisting of numerous requests for benefits of a temporal nature desired by the petitioner.

Then he assumes the meditative posture of the seven attitudes,16 and gets rid by physical means of the "three original sins."

Then, coercing his tutelary demon into conferring on him his fiendish guise, he chants "the four preliminary services": —

The sNon-gro bzi-byor. These are the refuge formula, which cleanses the darkness of the body; the hundred letters, which cleanse all obscurity in speech, and the magic-circle of rice, the Mandala, which cleanses the mind; and the prayer enumerating the Lamas up to the most perfect one, which confers perfection on the monk himself.

This is followed by the chanting of bLa-grub, "the obtaining of the Lama," and "the obtaining of the ornaments, sNen-grub."

The mild deity in this worship is called "The Placid One,"17 and the demon "The Repulsive."18 The demoniacal form must be recited the full number of times which the Lama bound himself to do by vow before his spiritual tutor, namely, one hundred, one thousand, or ten thousand times daily. Those not bound in this way by vows repeat the charm as many times as they conveniently can.

Having done this, he may retire again to sleep, if the night be not very far advanced. But if the dawn is near, he must not go to sleep, but should employ the interval in several sorts of prayer.

As soon as day dawns, he must wash his face and rinse his mouth and do the worship above noted, should he not have already done so; also the following rites: —

1st. Prepare sacred food for the six sorts of beings (Rigs-strug-gi-gtorma) and send it to tantalized ghosts.

2nd. Offer incense, butter-incense, and wine-oblation (gSer-sKyem). The incense is offered to the good spirits — firstly, to the chief god and the Lama; secondly, to the class of "king" gods; and thirdly to the mountain god "Kanchinjinga." Then offerings are made to the spirits of caves (who guarded and still guard the hidden revelations therein deposited), the "enemy-god of battle," the country gods, the local demigods, and "the eight classes of deities." The butter-incense is only given to the most malignant class of the demons and evil spirits.

Some breakfast is now taken, consisting of weak soup, followed by tea with parched grain. Any especial work which has to be done will now be attended to, failing which some tantrik or other service will be chanted. And if any temple or Caitya be at hand, these will be circumambulated with "prayer-wheel" revolving in hand, and chanting mantras. Then is done any priestly service required by the villagers.

About two o'clock in the afternoon a meal of rice is taken followed by beer by those who like it, or by tea for non-beer drinkers.

About six o'clock p.m. is done the gtor-bsnos service, in which, after assuming his tutelary dignity, he chants the snon-gro and refuge formula. Then is done a sacrificial worship19 with bell and small drum, followed by an invocation to the hosts of Lamas, tutelaries, and the supernatural defensores fidei.

About 9 or 10 p.m. he retires to sleep.



Buddhism in common with most religions had its hermits who retired like John the Baptist into the wilderness. And such periodical retirement for a time, corresponding to the Buddhist Lent (the rainy season of India, or Varsha, colloq. "barsat"), when travelling was difficult and unhealthy, was an essential part of the routine of the Indian Buddhist. Tson K'apa enforced the observance of this practice, but it has now fallen much into abeyance. Probably the booths which are erected for the head Lamas in Sikhim during their visits to villages in the autumn, are vestiges of this ancient practice of retirement to the forest.

Theoretically it is part of the training of every young Lama to spend in hermitage a period of three years, three months, and three days, in order to accustom himself to ascetic rites. But this practice is very rarely observed for any period, and when it is observed, a period of three months and three days is considered sufficient. During this seclusion he repeats the spell of his tutelary deity an incredible number of times. The Mula-yoga sngon-gro, complete in all its four sections, must be repeated 100,000 times. In chanting the refuge-formula portion, he must prostrate himself to the ground 100,000 times. The repetition of the Yige-brgya-pa itself takes about two months; and in addition must be chanted the following voluminous services: P'yi-'grub, nan-'grub, gsan-'grub, bla-'grub, snen-grub, 'prin-las, and bzi-'grub.

Those who permanently adopt the hermit life are called "the packed-up ones "21 and those of the highest rank are "the great recluses."22 They are engaged in ascetic exercises and are usually followers of the Vajrayana system, seeking Siddhi and its wizard powers by the aid of the Dakkini she-devils and the king-devils who are their tutelaries.


Like western friars, the Lamas have a considerable proportion of their number engaged in trades and handicrafts. The monks are practically divided into what may be called the spiritual and the temporal. The more intelligent are relieved of the drudgery of worldly work and devote themselves to ritual and meditation. The less intellectual labour diligently in field or farm and in trading for the benefit of their monastery; or they collect the rents and travel from village to village begging for their parent monastery, or as tailors, cobblers, printers, etc. Others again of the more intellectual members are engaged as astrologers in casting-horoscopes, as painters or in image-making, and in other pursuits contributing to the general funds and comfort of the monastery.


The diet of the Lamas is the ordinary rather Spartan fare of the country23 consisting mainly of wheat, barley, or buck-wheat and occasionally rice, milk and butter, soup, tea and meat. The only flesh-meat allowed is sheep, goat, and yak; fish and fowl are prohibited. The fully-ordained monks, the Ge-longs, are supposed to eat abstemiously and abstain totally from meat; though even the Grand Lama of Tashi-lhunpo appears to eat flesh-food.24

Neither the monks of the established church nor the holier Lamas of the other sects may drink any spirituous liquor. Yet they offer it as libations to the devils.

During that night, in compliance with the request of the priests in my dormitory, I delivered a sermon on the ten Buddhist virtues, which seemed to please them greatly. They confessed to me that, priests as they were, they found no interest in the theoretical and dry expositions of Buddha’s teachings to which they had been used to listen, but that my delivery was so easy and pleasing that it aroused in them a real zest for Buddhism. This fact is a sad commentary on the ignorance of the average Tibetan priests.

I learned subsequently, however, that the priests in this temple were very rigid in their conduct, except in the habit of drinking. With regard to this latter an amusing story is told. One day the Dalai Lama of Lhasa met with the Grand Lama of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery. In the course of conversation, the former said he was very sorry that his priests were addicted to the use of tobacco. Panchen Rinpoche sympathised, but stated that he was no less sorry that his own priests were exceedingly partial to alcoholic drinks. They then discussed which of the two luxuries was the more sinful, and also whether or not some effective measures could be taken to prevent these[253] vicious habits. But even their great influence could do nothing, and the vicious practices were open secrets. A curious rule was however enacted in order to prevent the habit of drinking. Every priest returning from the street was bound to present himself before the priestly guard at the gate of the temple, who examined his breath, any disclosure of his drunkenness being followed by an immediate punishment. Some impudent priests often attempted to conceal their inebriation by eating a good deal of garlic, the strong smell of which impregnated their breath and thus might prevent detection.

-- Three Years in Tibet, by Shramana Ekai Kawaguchi

Libation-jug and Chalice-cup (of silver).



1 dkor zas sa-la lchag-gi gram-pa dgos.  

2 After Giorgi.
3 I have translated by "monk" the word dge-slon, which is literally "the virtuous beggar," corresponding to the Indian Buddhist word Bhikshu, or mendicant.

4 Composed by m'as-grub-nag-dban-rdorje.

5 'gro-wa-yongs-su-bsngo-wai-'khor-loi-mdo.
6 This earth is called sug-pa, but the higher Lamas use soap: "The Lama minister  of the Grand Lama," says Sarat's narrative, "formerly used to wash his holiness's head with water and sug-pa powder, but now he uses a cake of P — 's transparent soap."

7 Z'al-zas.

8 Yidam mK'ah-gro ch'os-skyon.

9 This is the celebrated man-eating Yakshini fiendess, with the 500 children, whose youngest and most beloved son, Pingala, was hid away by Buddha (or, as some Lamas say, by his chief disciple, Maudgalyayana) in his begging-bowl until she promised to cease cannibalism, and accept the Buddhist doctrine as detailed in the Ratnakuta Sutra. See also the Japanese version of this legend, footnote p. 99. The Lamas assert that Buddha also promised Hariti that the monks of his order would hereafter feed both herself and her sons: hence their introduction into this grace; and each Lama daily leaves on his plate a handful of his food expressly for these demons, and these leavings are ceremoniously gathered and thrown down outside the monastery gate to these pretas and other starveling demons.

10 The children of the above Hariti.
11 See chapter on worship.
12 Not phonetic for "cure him."
13 Time is only known approximately, as it is usually, as the name for hour (ch'u-  ts'al) implies, kept by water-clocks (See "C'u-ts'al," Ramsay's Dict., p. 63), and also by  the burning of tapers.
14  See chapter on worship.
15 No layman is allowed to serve out the monks' food in the temple. The lay servants bring it to the outside door of the building, and there deposit it.
16 See p. 145.

17 mt'un.

18 bzle-pa.
19 mCh'oga.

20 After Huc.
21 mts'am-s-pa.
22 sgom-ch'en.
23 For food of Tibetans, see Turner's Embassy, 24-48, etc.; Pemberton, 156; Moorcroft, i., 182, etc.; Huc, ii., 258; Cunningham's Ladak, 305; Rock., L., passim.

24 Bogle in Markham, p. 100.
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Re: The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults

Postby admin » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:07 am

Part 1 of 3


A Grand Lama of Bhotan  

"Le roi est mort, vive le roi!"

"Adam . . . his soul passed by transmigration into David ... his soul transmigrated into the Messiah." — The Talmud.1
EARLY Buddhism had neither church nor ecclesiastical organization. It was merely a brotherhood of monks. Even after Buddha's death, as the order grew in size and affluence under the rich endowments from Asoka and other kingly patrons, it still remained free from anything like centralized government. The so-called patriarchs had only very nominal power and no generally recognized position or functions. And even the later Indian monasteries had each its own separate administration, and its own chief, independent of the others; a similar state of affairs seems to have prevailed in Tibet until the thirteenth century.

The hierarchical system of Tibet seems to date from the thirteenth century A.D., when the Lama of the Sas-kya monastery was created a pope by the Great Mongol emperor of China, Kubilai Khan. This Sas-kya Lama, receiving also a certain amount of temporal power, soon formed a hierarchy, and some generations later we find the other sects forming rival hierarchies, which tended to take the power out of the hands of the petty chiefs who now parcelled out Tibet. In 1417, doctor Tson K'apa founded the Ge-lug-pa sect, which under his powerful organization soon developed into the strongest of all the hierarchies, and five generations later it leapt into the temporal government of Tibet, which it still retains, so that now its church is the established one of the country.

Chapter 3: An Ancient Rivalry

Religious Schools Compete to Rule

Religious conflict was commonplace in old Tibet. In a violent battle for supremacy, the original religion of Tibet, Bon, was replaced as the dominant faith in Tibet by Buddhism after its arrival from India in the eighth century. [1] Beginning in the eleventh century, Tibetan Buddhism developed four schools that shared many beliefs but ran their own monasteries and passed down their own lineages of oral teachings: the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelug. Over the centuries, Bon continued to maintain followers and incorporated many Buddhist elements, effectively evolving into a fifth school of the Vajrayana. Devotees of each school respected the tenets and historic masters of the other schools and frequently took teachings from lamas of different schools. But it would be naive to believe that these schools coexisted peacefully under an official regime of religious tolerance.

Though Tibetan culture was imbued with Buddhism at every level, history belies the Shangri-La image of Tibetan lamas and their followers living together in mutual tolerance and non-violent goodwill. Indeed, the situation was quite different. Old Tibet was much more like Europe during the religious wars of the Counter Reformation than a neighborhood in Berkeley, California where synagogue, mosque, church, and dharma center make cozy neighbors. During the European religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, forces of Protestant kings and princes fought armies of Catholic rulers or troops of the Church itself. Likewise, for hundreds of years in Tibet, lay followers of each religious school sometimes clashed with each other for control of the government of Central Tibet or rule over provincial areas. Lamas often had to defend their monasteries and other landholdings from supporters of the other schools.

Tibet before the Chinese invasion was not a unified country under a single government. Instead, like medieval France or Italy, it was a large area inhabited by people loosely connected by language, customs, and religion but ruled by local aristocrats or religious leaders. For the last few centuries, until 1959, Tibet consisted of three main areas, Central Tibet, Amdo, and Kham. As we have seen, Central Tibet was governed since the seventeenth century by the Dalai Lamas from their capital at Lhasa, and it included the provinces of U and Tsang plus the dry areas of western Tibet. Aside from Lhasa, its major city was Shigatse, on the Tsangpo River. The Tibet Autonomous Region created by the Chinese in the 1960s corresponds approximately to the area claimed by the old Central Tibetan government.

Amdo occupied the borderlands with China in the northeast, and was a sparsely populated area of grassland and desert. Here, the current Dalai Lama was born in 1935 to a family of subsistence farmers, and his early childhood was rustic, as depicted in the film Kundun. Nomads thrived in Amdo's lonely expanses. Today, Amdo is divided between the Chinese provinces of Gansu and Qinghai.

Finally, Kham was sandwiched between Central Tibet in the west and both the nation of Burma and the Chinese province of Sichuan in the east. For centuries its dozens of small feudal principalities were ruled by local kings and nobles who fiercely guarded their independence from each other -- and from the Dalai Lamas and the Chinese emperors as well. Three great rivers emerge from their high mountain sources and pass through the lush, tree-covered gorges of Kham to water the fertile plains of Southeast Asia: the Yangtse, the Mekong, and the Salween. Verdant valleys nestled between haughty peaks hosted a rich farming area that gave Tibet its greatest warriors, bandits, and saints. For centuries Kham was the stronghold of the Karma Kagyu, hundreds of miles and a world apart from the Dalai Lama's capital at Lhasa. In the 1950s and 60s the Chinese incorporated most of Kham into the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

Much of Tibetan history is the story of how the rulers of Central Tibet tried to extend their rule into the border areas of Amdo and Kham, or how the different religious schools of the Tibetan plateau came to rule the central provinces of U and Tsang. After the Bon kings began to convert to Buddhism in the ninth century, each of the four Buddhist schools controlled the government of Central Tibet, one after the other in succession. The sects either ruled directly, with their chief lama sitting on the throne, or indirectly, serving as priests to secular kings. And while some schools proved to be kinder, more tolerant rulers than others, each school used its political influence against its religious rivals from time to time.

The oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism is the Nyingma, or "First Wave" school, deriving from the original Buddhism brought by the Indian missionary Padmasambhava in the eighth century. He opened Tibet's first Buddhist monastery, Samye, in 779 A.D. The Nyingma is known for its homeless ascetics and "crazy yogis" who perform advanced tantric practices in caves and wander the countryside giving blessings though the lineage also boasts significant monasteries. Modern lamas including Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, and the American Lama Surya Das have made the Nyingma teaching of Dzogchen, an advanced form of meditation, well known in the West.

The earliest Buddhist lamas of Tibet, whose lineages later became the Nyingma school, exercised strong influence on the dynastic families that produced the first royal patrons of Buddhism in Tibet, the three "Dharma Kings" Songsten Gampo, Trisong Detsen, and Ralpachen. These kings worked to spread Buddhism and, at times, to repress the native Bon religion on behalf of Buddhist lamas during the often turbulent period of early Tibetan Buddhism.

Three hundred years after Buddhism first came to Tibet, three Sarma, or "Second Wave" schools appeared. The first of these was the Sakya school. In 1073, Khon Konchog Gyalpo founded Sakya monastery and the Tibetan Buddhist school of the same name. Perhaps the least-known Tibetan Buddhist school in the West, the Sakyas are renowned among Tibetans for their advanced scholarship of Buddhist philosophy and formidable skill in dialectics and debate.

A non-celibate order, the Sakyas pass along their succession from father to son or uncle to nephew. The Sakyas were the first lamas to make fruitful contact with the Mongols, who would prove so important in Tibetan history. In 1247 Kunga Gyaltsen, known as the Sakya Pandita for his knowledge of Sanskrit, met with the Mongol Prince Godan at his camp north of Tibet in the region of Lake Koko Nor, located in the present-day province of Gansu in northwestern China. Godan summoned the Sakya lama to preach to his people and, since the lama was also the most powerful political leader in Tibet, to surrender his country to Mongol rule and thus save it from a devastating invasion. For this the Sakya Pandita went down in history as a wise statesman.

Despite his role in history, to Tibetans the Sakya Pandita is less famous as a shrewd political leader than as an accomplished spiritual master, scholar, and man of letters. He is the author of the Sakya Lekshe, a handbook of ethical behavior for lay people that became a perennial classic, held up as a model of elegant Tibetan prose style. [2] The Sakya Pandita became the spiritual advisor of the Mongol chieftain.

A few years later, in 1251, Prince Godan appointed the Sakya Pandita's seventeen-year-old nephew Phagpa as Mongol viceroy of Tibet. Standing out in the country's history, Phagpa came to be known for his religious tolerance. Later, when Kublai Khan became Great Khan, he asked Phagpa to create an alphabet for the vast Eurasian empire of the Mongols, then at its peak, stretching from Russia to southern China. He also urged Phagpa to merge the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism into the Sakya school. However, as Tibetan historian Tsepon W.D. Shakabpa has written, "Phagpa insisted that the other sects be allowed to practice Buddhism in their own way. This brought Phagpa the support of many of the Tibetan priest-chieftains; however, the presence of several different sects in Tibet was to weaken the power of the Sakya ruling family in the years that followed." [3] For more than a century the Sakya lamas ruled Tibet as agents of the Mongols until replaced by followers of the Kagyu school.

Meanwhile, back to the eleventh century -- around the time Kon Konchog Gyalpo founded Sakya monastery and a century before the Sakyas would take over the Tibetan government -- the Kagyu or Oral Transmission school began in Tibet. The founder of the school, a stoutly built householder named Marpa the Translator, brought the teachings of the famously unconventional Indian yogis Tilopa and Naropa over the Himalayas from India. Marpa's most gifted student, Milarepa, became the greatest yogi of Tibet. A murderer who later devoted himself to ascetic practice in caves, Milarepa authored hundreds of songs that became classics of Tibetan literature.

The largest of the so-called "four great and eight lesser" sub-schools of the Kagyu, the Karma Kagyu, began when the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa founded Tsurphu monastery in 1185. The school became known for the inspirational power of its most advanced teachers, principally the Karmapas. The next chapter discusses the origin of the Karmapas, and their most famous ritual object, the Vajra Mukut or Black Crown of enlightened action.

The Gelug school was the last of the four major schools of Buddhism to appear in Tibet. A charismatic scholar and preacher named Tsongkhapa founded the Gelugpas in the early fifteenth century. His successors as head of the school became the Dalai Lamas, and they, in turn, with Mongol assistance, came to rule over the government of Central Tibet in the seventeenth century, just as the Sakya lama Phagpa had done three centuries earlier. The rise of the Gelugpas led to a political rivalry between them and the Karma Kagyu school of the Karmapas that would last five hundred years and continue after the lamas went into exile in 1959.

This rivalry forms the background for the current Karmapa controversy, so we will learn more about it later in this chapter. Now, let us return to the Middle Ages and see how the Kagyu school came to rule Central Tibet and how they set the country on the path towards becoming a modern nation-state.

The Kagyu Takes its Turn

While four reincarnations of Karmapas built up the Karma Kagyu school, the Sakyas continued to rule the government of Central Tibet. At the time of the fourth Karmapa Rolpe Dorje (1340-83), Sakya rule ended and secular kings under the tutelage of the Kagyu school seized power. When the Mongol Yuan dynasty began to wane in China, the Mongols were no longer able to support their surrogates, the Sakya lamas, in Tibet. Knowing that Mongol cavalry would not ride to the rescue if the Sakya Lama were attacked, various subordinates began to contend for the throne.

The last of these, Wangtson, came to power by murdering his predecessor in 1358. He was never able to consolidate his hold on power, and later the same year he was overthrown in turn by a regional governor named Jangchup Gyaltsen. In a vain attempt to preserve the appearance of imperial rule over Tibet, the last Yuan emperor Shundi hastily conferred approval on Jangchup's coup and awarded him the imperial title Tai Situ (He should not be confused with the Tai Situ Rinpoche of the Karma Kagyu; "Tai Situ" was a common title in the imperial bureaucracy, equivalent to "chief secretary.") Jangchup Gyaltsen's line became the Pagmotru dynasty, the first of three royal dynasties to rule under the tutelage of the Kagyu school. The Pagmotru ruled until 1435. Afterwards, four kings of the Rinpung dynasty ruled in succession from 1435 to 1565, followed by three Tsangpa kings who ruled from 1565 until 1642. The Tsangpa kings were followers not only of the Kagyu school, but were personal devotees of the Karmapas. Playing a careful game of diplomacy with the deposed but still troublesome Mongols as well as with the new Ming dynasty (1368-1644) rulers in China, these kings governed Tibet relatively free from foreign control. Under the influence of the Kagyu school, Tibet enjoyed a three-hundred-year window of independence and peace between two periods of domination by the Mongols.

The Gelugpas Rise and Struggle for Power with the Kagyus

As we saw earlier, the last Buddhist school to appear in Tibet was the Gelug order of the Dalai Lamas. Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) was a skillful debater and charismatic preacher who lived at the same time as the fifth Karmapa Deshin Shegpa of the Kagyu school. Tsongkhapa founded the Gelug school when he established the Monlam Chemno, or Great Prayer Festival, in Lhasa in 1409. Known informally as the "Yellow Hats," the Gelugpas were famous for their skill at scholarship and debate, like the masters of the Sakya school.

But unlike the Sakyas, the Gelugpas placed great emphasis on celibate monastic life. Many writers have claimed that the Gelugpas were a reforming school of Buddhism, seeking to clean up the lax morality said to have infected the other schools. By analogy, the Gelug rise would be like the Protestant Reformation in Europe a century earlier, and Tsongkhapa would be Tibet's Martin Luther. [4] Other historians have disagreed, however, claiming that Tsongkhapa and the early Dalai Lamas placed no special emphasis on monastic discipline compared to the other religious schools. In any event, under Tsongkhapa's dynamic leadership, the Gelug school grew in political influence and established large monasteries in Central Tibet that began to rival those of the Karma Kagyu.

Tibetan historian Shakabpa has claimed that the popularity of Tsongkhapa, the first Dalai Lamas, and other Gelugpa teachers threatened the dominance of the Kagyu. [5] In response, the Tibetan royal governments who followed the Kagyu suppressed the rising Gelugpas to protect the Kagyu from spiritual competition.

The major traditional histories of Tibet, including the fifth Dalai Lama's own account of these years, contradict this claim. [6] During Tsongkhapa's lifetime, the Pagmotru dynasty of kings, patrons of the Kagyu school, ruled Central Tibet. The Pagmotru kings were succeeded by the Rinpung dynasty in 1435, whose kings followed the Kagyu school as their predecessors had, and in addition took the Karmapa as their personal spiritual advisor, as we have seen. The fourth Shamarpa Chokyi Drakpa Yeshe Pal Zangpo (1453- 1524) even served a term of four years as regent during the minority of one of the Rinpung kings, and was known by the royal title Chen Nga initiated by the Pagmotru kings.

Near the end of the fifteenth century, monks from a nearby Gelugpa monastery sacked a temple that the seventh Karmapa Chodrag Gyatso (1454-1506) had begun in Lhasa. This angered the Rinpung king. In response, in 1498 the king forbade the Yellow Hats from participating in the annual Monlam prayer festival that their own founder had inaugurated ninety years earlier.

Meanwhile, a Gelugpa lama who was an energetic evangelist, Sonam Gyatso, attracted the attention of the Turned Mongol chief Altan Khan. After the fall in 1368 of the Mongol Yuan dynasty, which controlled both China and Tibet, the Mongols split up into numerous warring bands. Their leaders competed with each other to seek influence among the nations of Inner Asia, including Tibet. There, Mongol leaders adopted prominent lamas as their spiritual advisors. In 1578 Altan invited Sonam to his camp to preach. There, he offered the lama the title Dalai, "Ocean" in Mongolian, and gave the patronage of his Mongols to Sonam Gyatso's Gelugpa order. Retroactively, the lama's two previous incarnations were recognized as Sonam's predecessors, making Sonam Gyatso (1543-1588) the third Dalai Lama.

When the grandson of Altan Khan was recognized as the fourth Dalai Lama Yonten Gyatso (1589-1617), the alliance between Altan's band of Mongols and the Gelugpas was complete. Altan's forces pledged to defend the Gelugpas against any enemies that might arise in Tibet.
The first Dalai Lama had established a monastery near the royal capital of Shigatse, but later Dalai Lamas settled in Lhasa and established three monasteries in and around the city that became some of the largest and most powerful in the world: Drepung, Sera, and Ganden. These monasteries came to be known collectively as "The Three Seats." They would exert enormous political power over the government of Central Tibet in the coming centuries.

When the Dalai Lama settled in Lhasa, the Gelugpas became involved in regional politics, which escalated the tension between the Gelugpas and the Kagyus. While the Dalai Lama on the one hand, and the Karmapa and Shamarpa on the other, apparently tried to maintain cordial relations, their supporters -- monks, regional rulers, and dueling bands of Mongols -- found numerous occasions to clash. Under the rule of the three Tsangpa kings (1565-1642) this tension reached a boiling point.

The Dalai Lama Seizes Power

Under the previous dynasty, the Rinpung, the central government had become weak. This allowed regional rulers, particularly the depas or warlords of various states, to gain a high level of autonomy. Local leaders waged continuous low-grade warfare for decades with their neighbors for larger and larger holdings.

When he assumed the throne, the second Tsangpa king, Karma Phuntsok Namgyal (ruled 1611-21) sought to end this fighting by uniting the petty states of Central Tibet under a strong central government. He developed a plan for "Unification under One White [Benevolent] Law" that in many ways was ahead of its time. [7] The plan called for a federal system where cabinet departments at the national level would implement policy for defense, agriculture, education, and taxation. Numerous small states would be united for mutual defense and free trade.

King Phuntsok Namgyal upgraded his army and began a campaign, through force of arms and diplomacy, to unite the duchies of Central Tibet one by one into a single, larger Tsangpa state. He succeeded brilliantly and by the end of his campaign, only the city of Lhasa, under the rule of Kyichod Depa Apel, the Duke of Lhasa, resisted incorporation into the new unified Tibetan kingdom. The duke wanted to avoid paying taxes to the Tsangpa king and saw no benefit for himself to joining a larger Tibetan state.

To defend his autonomy, in 1616 Duke Kyichod Apel made an alliance with Drepung and Sera monasteries, which by this time had thousands of monks each. These included hundreds of specially trained dopdops or "fighting monks" who were skilled in Tibet's native martial arts and served as private armies for each cloister. By this alliance, the duke particularly hoped to gain the support of Mongol bands that patronized Gelugpa lamas. According to the fifth Dalai Lama, Apel made a gift of a large statue of Avalokiteshvara to the Turned Mongol chief Tai Gi. [8]

The statue was a national treasure of Tibet, brought from India centuries earlier by King Songsten Gampo for his personal devotional practice. Apel's family had acquired it earlier through questionable means from the Potala Palace. The Lhasa Duke presented it to the Mongol chief to forge an alliance with Tai Gi and enlist his band of Mongols for an attack on the Tsangpa king. Perhaps this would have been something like, for example, Confederate President Jefferson Davis capturing the Liberty Bell and giving it to the British to induce them to attack the North during the Civil War.

The treacherous duke was successful, and with his new Mongol allies, he and his successors in the Kyichod family fought the King of Tsang for the next two decades. This war of attrition took a hard toll on the Tsangpa kingdom as it did on the duke's own small realm.

Finally, after years of alternating victories and defeats, Duke Kyichod's successor Sonam Namgyal saw his chance to free himself of the Kyichod family's old foe by invading the heartland of Tsang itself. The duke gained ambitious advisors of the fifth Dalai Lama as his allies. He convinced them that the Tsangpa king was about to send a massive force against the main Gelug monasteries; if the monasteries did not act quickly, the Gelugpas would be wiped out. Tibetan historians say that the duke's claim was false, and that the Tsangpa king was not planning an attack on the Gelugpa monasteries. But the duke's word carried the day with Gelugpa leaders and their Mongol allies, who were eager to fight.

The Dalai Lama's minister Sonam Chopel was particularly eager for war and he invited the Qoshot Mongols under Gushri Khan to attack Tsangpa forces before getting the Dalai Lama's approval, as the Dalai Lama describes in his own Autobiography. Interestingly, the Dalai Lama seemed to take an exceptionally respectful and deferential tone with his minister, who effectively controlled the government of the young lama-king:

At the time, there were many rumors that the king (Gushri Khan) had already left Tibet and returned to his homeland. Others said that he would soon arrive with new cavalry. Zhalngo [respectful title for minister Sonam Chopel) told me that "the Tsangpa lord and his ministers have always distrusted the Gelugpa in the past and have always tried to harm us. If we remain neutral in this conflict, then Ganden Phodrang people [those of the Dalai Lama's labrang] will say that we are siding with the Tsangpa. Now, when we have the opportunity to do so, if we do not take the chance to liberate ourselves from the Tsangpa lord with the help of the king, then we will never get free of oppressive Tsangpa rule. Therefore, I have already sent a message to the king with the messenger Gendun Thondup asking him to attack the Tsangpa lord."

"That was a rash act," I replied. "It would be better for us if the Mongols just withdraw from Tibet. It would be best to intercept the Mongols at Damjung [before reaching Tsang] and stop the outbreak of war. If you yourself do not find it convenient to do so, then I would be willing to go myself. Stopping the king would be good in every way -- for our reputation and for our future success."

Then, Zhalngo asked me to do a mo [prediction]. I threw the three dice of Palden Lhamo Dmagzorma (deity of war). The result was that war against the Tsangpa would indeed bring us success in the short run, but that this war would ultimately be harmful for the future of Tibet.

"Well, good," Zhalngo said. "There is really no problem then. If we are successful now, that is enough. What happens long after we are dead is not our concern."

In this way, Zhalngo would not allow me to stop the war. [9]

After the hasty action of his short-sighted minister, the Dalai Lama appeared to have no choice. Since war with Tsang had begun, he had to ask for Gushri Khan's help to win it, or else face retribution from the Tsangpa king that may have threatened the future of the Gelugpa. Thus, reluctantly, the fifth Dalai Lama sent his own plea to Gushri to invade Central Tibet and drive all Tsangpa forces from the area around Lhasa. The Mongol chief answered his lama's call and sent cavalry against Tsangpa forces. In 1638, the Mongols routed the Tsangpa army and secured Lhasa and the surrounding province of U. They placed the Dalai Lama on the throne as Mongol viceroy.

Having gained control of Lhasa, the Dalai Lama was now ready to stop the war. But his Mongol allies were not. So, yet again against the Gelug leader's wishes but at the urging of his zealous prime minister, Sonam Chopel, the Mongol armies escalated the conflict.

In 1642, Mongols overthrew the Tsangpa ruler Karma Tenkyong Wangpo (heir to King Phuntsok Namgyal, who nearly united Tibet into one centralized nation-state, as we have seen) and went on to forcibly convert nearly a thousand Nyingma and Karma Kagyu monasteries throughout Central Tibet to the Gelugpa school. The Mongols killed seven thousand monks and beheaded many of their abbots. [10] Gushri Khan proclaimed himself king of all Central Tibet and, as before, he made the fifth Dalai Lama his viceroy. The new administration became known as the "Ganden Phodrang," -- named after the Dalai lama's residence at Drepung monastery -- thus signifying the identity of the government in Lhasa and the Gelugpa school.

Using the pretext of a revolt in Tsang later in the year, Gushri Khan executed the Tsangpa king, and forced the tenth Karmapa to flee to Yunnan province in China. The Karmapa's monastic seat at Tsurphu was not converted to the Gelugpa order, but the new government decreed that the monastery could ordain no more than three monks per year. As Tibetan historian Dawa Norbu put it, "When the Dalai Lamas came to power in the seventeenth century they began to expand their own sect, Gelugpa, using the state power at their disposal and often converting other sects, especially the Kagyupa monasteries, to their own sect." [11]

The Karmapa had the chance to retaliate, but he apparently decided against violence. The aged fifth Tai Situ Chokyi Gyaltsen Palsang (1586-1657) offered to bring about his own death so that he could be reborn as a prince of the newly installed Chinese Qing dynasty; then, he could grow up to lead a Chinese invasion of Tibet that would restore the power of the Karma Kagyu. The Karmapa rejected Situ's offer, saying that "everyone knows me as the man who won't even hurt a bug."

The king of nearby Li Jiang also offered his forces to aid the Karmapa, but he rejected the king's offer as well. "Now is the time of the Kali Yug, the age of darkness," the tenth Karmapa said. "In Tibet, the only dharma left is superficial teachings, so it is not worth your trouble to save it."

Later, historians, scholars, and even the fifth Dalai Lama himself would criticize Sonam Chopel and the other self-serving officials who stoked this avoidable conflict into flames of war. Yet, once he had ascended the throne in Lhasa, the Dalai Lama had to continue fighting to consolidate his rule.

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. [12]

In a few months, Gushri Khan quelled the unrest in Tsang and helped the Dalai Lama establish the Gelugpa as the undisputed spiritual and temporal rulers of Central Tibet. This marked the beginning of four hundred years of political rule by a religious leader, and the definitive end of the dream of the Tsangpa kings to transform Tibet into a unified secular state.

Until at least the early twentieth century, the Dalai Lama's government would hold an annual commemoration of its defeat of Tsang. In the 1920s Sir Charles Bell, a British diplomat who spent nineteen years in Tibet and became close to the thirteenth Dalai Lama, witnessed this ceremony, where three men from Tsang province were compelled to climb to the roof of one of the buildings at the Dalai Lama's Potala Palace in Lhasa. Then, they slid down a rope two hundred and fifty feet long into a courtyard. "This annual event, provided and paid for the by Lhasan Government, refers to Gushri's defeat of the King of Tsang, and is intended to prevent the Tsang province from ever gaining power again." [13]

After the fall of Tsangpa rule, Karma Kagyu followers retreated to Kham in eastern Tibet, out of the control of the Dalai lama's new hostile government. There, they reestablished their activities at such imposing monasteries as Palpung, the seat of the Tai Situs.

Meantime, after the Karmapa fled -- eluding the Mongol forces, according to tradition, through miraculous means -- the fifth Dalai Lama put his cousin, the fifth Gyaltsab Drakpa Choyang (1618-58), in charge of Tsurphu. Thus, the Dalai Lama signaled that he would not forcibly convert the Karmapa's seat into a Gelugpa monastery, as he had done with other Karma Kagyu cloisters. With Gyaltsab as regent, Tsurphu would remain in safe-keeping for the Karmapa's return.

The fifth Gyaltsab died in 1658. While in exile, the Karmapa, one of two who lived as a married householder, recognized the sixth Gyaltsab Norbu Zangpo (1659-98) and adopted him as his own son. When the Karmapa returned from thirty years of exile in the 1670s and resumed control at Tsurphu, he removed Gyaltsab from the Tsurphu labrang and gave him his own administration. Since that time, the Gyaltsabs have run their own labrang and have had no official responsibilities in the Karmapa's administration. A later Gyaltsab, in the nineteenth century, would even sue the Karmapa's labrang over a property rights dispute, a suit which would only end after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s. Thus we see a historical precedent for high Karma Kagyu lamas taking each other to court over property, as they would in India in the case over Rumtek monastery in the 1990s.

The Karmapa's followers never regained the power they had lost to the Gelugpa in 1642. The two schools continued as rivals for centuries to come. In the following centuries there remained a close tie between the Dalai Lama's government and his own Buddhist sect. The new Lhasa government used its power to expand the Dalai Lama's school at the expense of the Kagyu and the other two Buddhist schools, the Nyingma and Sakya, as well as the Bon, the original pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet.

But some powerful Gelugpa lamas, especially the second-ranking master of the school, the Panchen Lamas, contended with the government as well. The ninth Panchen Lama Chokyi Nyima (1883-1937) quarreled with the thirteenth Dalai Lama over Lhasa's tax bite on the Panchen's monastery Tashilhunpo and its attached estates. The conflict led the Panchen to flee Tibet in 1923 and set up a "Field Headquarters" in eastern Tibet from which he feuded with the Dalai Lama and his government until his death in 1937. [14] At that point, Lhasa again quarreled with the Panchen's administration when each side supported a different candidate as the tenth Panchen Lama.

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

Priest-kingship, a recognized stage in the earlier life of social institutions, still extends into later civilization, as in the case of the emperors of China and Japan, who fill the post of high-priest. It was the same in Burma, and many eastern princes who no longer enjoy "the divine right of kings," still bear the title of "god," and their wives of "goddess."

The Grand Lama who thus became the priest-king of Tibet was a most ambitious and crafty prelate. He was named Nag-wan Lo-zan, and was head of the De-pung monastery. At his instigation a Mongol prince from Koko Nor, named Gusri Khan, conquered Tibet in 1640, and then made a present of it to this Grand Lama, together with the title of Dalai or "the vast" (literally "ocean") Lama,2 and he was confirmed in this title and kingly possession in 1650 by the Chinese emperor. On account of this Mongol title, and these priest-kings being first made familiar to Europeans through the Mongols,3 he and his successors are called by some Europeans "Dalai (or Tale) Lama," though the first Dalai Lama was really the fifth Grand Lama of the established church; but this title is practically unknown to Tibetans, who call the Lhasa Grand Lamas, Gyal-wa Rin-po-ch'e, or "The gem of majesty or victory."

Four-Handed Avalokita. Incarnate in the Dalai Lama.)

In order to consolidate his new-found rule, and that of his church in the priest-kingship, this prelate, as we have seen, posed as the deity Avalokita-in-the-flesh, and he invented legends magnifying the powers and attributes of that deity, and transferred his own residence from Depung monastery to a palace which he built for himself on "the red hill" near Lhasa, the name of which hill he now altered to Mount Potala, after the mythic Indian residence of his divine prototype. He further forcibly seized many of the monasteries of the other sects and converted them into his own Ge-lug-pa institutions4; and he developed the fiction of succession by re-incarnate Lamas, and by divine reflexes.

The First Tulku of Tibet

Today, in Tibetan Buddhism, there are hundreds of lamas reputed to be tulkus. The Dalai Lama -- the current incarnation Tenzin Gyatso is the fourteenth of his line -- is the most famous tulku of Tibet. But he and his thirteen predecessors were not the first lamas said to take rebirth intentionally to continue their work as bodhisattvas. The first tulku of Tibet was a lama known as the Karmapa.

In the twelfth century, the first Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa predicted that he would return to teach his students and manage his monastery in his next lifetime. And sure enough, when Dusum Khyenpa died, his students located a boy who showed signs that he was the reincarnation of the Karmapa. The boy was named Karma Pakshi and when he was old enough, he inherited control over the Karmapa's cloister and his activities. From then on, the Karmapa's monastery was relatively free of control by local noble families. Being able to choose their own leader, the Karmapa's lamas became masters of their own destiny.

Impressed by the success of this system, other monasteries copied it as a means to choose their own top lamas. Thus, over a period of a couple centuries, power shifted in Tibet from land-owning families to the lamas, who managed the most powerful monasteries. The most revered tulkus attracted donations and students, developing monastic empires and political power of their own. As tulkus became major political leaders in their regions, lama-rule in Tibet reached its apex. In the late fourteenth century, nearly three centuries after the first Karmapa, the Dalai Lamas would appear. Two centuries after that, in 1642, the fifth Dalai Lama would take over the throne of central Tibet from a dynasty of secular kings.

Outsiders might think that tulkus were always chosen according to set procedures laid down to ensure the accuracy of the result -- that the child located would be the genuine reincarnation of the dead master, as in the scene from the movie Kundun. But in Tibetan history, tulku searches were not always conducted in such a pure way. Because reincarnating lamas inherited great wealth and power from their predecessors they became the center of many political disputes.

Tulkus were often recognized based on non-religious factors. Sometimes monastic officials wanted a child from a powerful local noble family to give their cloister more political clout. Other times, they wanted a child from a lower-class family that would have little leverage to influence the child's upbringing. In yet other situations, the desires of the monastic officials took second place to external politics. A local warlord, the Chinese emperor, or even the Dalai Lama's government in Lhasa might try to impose its choice of tulku on a monastery for political reasons.

Only the strongest monastic administrations had the ability to resist such external pressures, and the Karmapa's monastery was one of these. Sixteen Karmapas were recognized by the Karmapa's own monastery without participation from outsiders.

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