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$ 12—THE OVERTHROW OF INDIAN BUDDHISM. AFTER Asotas, the patron of Buddhism, died, others ascended the throne who had neither his wisdom nor breadth of policy--men who were incapable of comprehending the value of those doctrines Sakya had given. Buddhism was tolerant-let men say what they will of its weakness or partial absurdity, they cannot charge it with persecution, or with having lit up the fires of martyrdom. There was no desire shown by its disciples to do other than by persuasion to make converts. They seem to have acted upon the principle, that unless a man joined through love he could never be esteemed a good believer. And this is true of them at the present time. The reader who examines Huc and Gabet’s travels in Tartary, Tibet, and China, cannot avoid being astonished at the largeness of their toleration. Their Lamaseries were always open to the Western Missionaries, and the priests were ready to give any explanation of their views : it mattered not if the listeners assented or not, still was kindness shown, and all thought of persecution for religion's sake seemed far from them. They would listen with perfect friendliness to all the missionaries had to say; and although not accepting the doctrines, still there was kindness in their liberal observation --"Ah, you of the West

,“ believe one way, we believe another, still all mankind are brothers.” For months these missionaries remained in the Lamaseries, but were ever free to pray as they pleased, without a single sneering or intolerant observationthey were never pressed to listen to the priests of the place, nor were they expected to attend any of the ceremonial processions or forms of worship; neither were they charged for what they had, or in any way rendered poorer through their residence. It may be mentioned, too, that on one occasion a hare was brought them as a present by a man who said that “the priests did “not eat any wild animals; but if the Western brothers ate them, he would “ bring one every day.” They agreed to accept it, and just afterwards a Lama priest entered the apartment. Of course he was horrified at the sight, and pained by the fact that the apartment was rendered impure through this dead hare; but when told by Huc that there was no law in his Sacred Book prohibiting such food, the Lama said no more, nor did any priest interfere, although afterwards game was regularly brought in. But this is only a fair specimen of the full tolerance which, from the earliest days, has marked the Buddhists.

Toleration was not the mark of its enemies. The Brahmins were roused to the highest degree of anger as the new creed spread through the land. They had not troubled themselves about opposing it in its earlier days, for they were indolent, well supplied, and careless about all else. But when the system spread, the Brahmin income declined-people no longer came to the temples, or joined in the processions, or paid for Brahminic aid in housebuilding and marriages; and we can easily understand how the attack upon the exchequer roused them from their slumber. They now discovered that "Buddhism was only Atheism," consequently that all the Buddhists were sinful Atheists, and that Brahm would be advantaged if Buddhism were blotted out. This is the common argument of persecutors; they first blast the fair fame, and then strike at the life and property of their victims. It was represented that they drank the blood of children in their private assemblies; and whenever any evil happened in a district, it was immediately laid by the Brahmins to the charge of the Buddhists. So on one side there was unprincipled lying,

and on the other generous tenderness. The Buddhist was for using mild means, never resorting to harsh measures; while the other was ready to use any means. And it is absurd to suppose that mildness will gain the victory. It is all very well to use kinds words when dealing with a nature likely to be impressed by them ; but nobody would dream of caging lions with silken threads, and it is equally absurd to think of kindness gaining a victory over unprincipled rudeness and bigotry. And the Brahmins were stirred to action by the hope of gain, both in wealth and position. Could they only conquer Buddhism, then, indeed, all would be well, and they would have their place again. They did conquer, for, by union with the military caste, they gained power to burn the Buddhist temples and massacre the priests. True, indeed, it was a work of time, but fire and sword were not allowed to rest until it was accomplished. In many places the ruins of Buddhist temples have been dug up; and from the appearances presented, we know that priest and temple had been consumed in one great blaze ; and in other places, as well as through the fragments of history, we know that the Brahmins never ceased in their labour until the victory was gained, and themselves were left masters of the field.

So this faith was driven out of India, even as Christianity was driven out of the East, and at the present time both of those religions are professed by people who live far from the scene of their birth. Buddhism has no more hold in India than Christianity has in Palestine. There are a few of the faith, but nowhere any large congregations. But in China it took root and flourished. Some of the Emperors adopted it, their successors, however, did not continue to render aid; for, in truth, the doctrines were too widely at variance with the principles of state upon which that empire is ruled. Hence it is that Buddhism in China is merely a tolerated religion, and its priests are compelled to submit themselves to the orders of the Emperor. Still it is believed that the number of real Chinese Buddhists do not fall short of 50 millions. Then in Siam the Buddhistic is the ruling religion, in

, Tartary and Tibet it rules under the name of Lamaism, and about this we may offer some word of explanation. They have connected with several Lamaseries a living Buddha, and believe that when one dies he immediately returns to earth again to resume once more his Buddha rule. But in this they do not teach that Sakya is incarnate again; they do not even mean that the being they have is a real Buddha, but a Buddhiswatha, or one who may become Buddha. Still it is their belief that the Buddha they have is somewhat holier than ordinary men; they believe that the Sakya power, in a much reduced measure, has descended to bim, and will continue to descend until the next real Buddha appears. So that, stripping this idea of all the inane notions which our prejudices have clustered round it, we have left much the same as the Catholics believe of the Pope; he is not Jesus, but possesses some of the Divine Power. And the same is true of our English Church. What is that ceremony of consecration-laying on of hands, and endowing a man with the Holy Ghost? It is simply the same idea in another form, and surely, if, with all our light, this still prevails amongst us, it is rather too much to expect that from other less favoured lands it should be blotted out. Yet, in truth, Buddhism, with many weaknesses of this character, is still strong, and has a truth in its heart, and when that truth has been generally adopted, the mere husk and form may and will speedily perish.

But we must not close these articles without some comments upon the great teaching conveyed by this great Brabminic victory. We could say





much upon the strange parallel between the leading facts related of Buddha and Jesus, but abstain for the present, seeing that better opportunities will occur ; and, moreover, this Brahmin victory is so thoroughly practical in its teaching. Buddhism was a step in advance; but, after taking it, the nation recoiled, and has never since moved an inch. As Sakya taught he made men, and sowed the seeds of an active and benevolent citizen life. Roads were made, cities were built, and the people were roused to full activity. They were equals, and uncursed by the badge of natural, or God-ordained inferiority. The remains, magnificent remains, of fine Buddhist buildings which are scattered over the whole of India, attest the industry, progress, and development of the people there was a new idea, new hope, and new activity, and hence all went well, so that in a few ages India would have become great as a nation, and capable of developing in a condition of freedom the whole of its magnificent resources. But, alas ! bigotry and caste prevailed, so that the tide of progress was rolled back, and men were made to walk in fetters, where, under other circumstances, they had moved in freedom. Then the priestly caste joined with the military, Church and King in unholy union, to steal away the birthright of the people. And they succeeded ! Yes ! succeeded in reducing the people to such a condition of fear that all went so that both Brahmin and military were safe. But in reducing the people they forgot that foreign enemies existed who might feel inclined to fight for the sovereignty. Mahometans poured into the land when the impoverished people were useless; and the cup of slavery presented by priests and rulers to the lips of the many was now in turn presented to their own. was their cry to that people they had reduced, for why or how should they fight when nothing had been left them to fight for? It was well so, for when rulers forget that it is for the people they should act, and not against them, there should arise some power who will mete out the same full measure to themselves and compel them to drink to the dregs the cup of misery and abject submission which they have so ruthlessly forced upon others. .

P. W. P.

Vain now

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PROGRESS IN NEWMAN STREET. We have much pleasure in informing our readers, that such progress is making in the fitting up and otherwise preparing the new place in Newman Street, as to render it certain that the opening will not be deferred beyond Sunday, July 21st, of which due notice will be given in our next. much will depend upon the readiness with which our friends come forward to subscribe, or to advance by way of loan, those sums still needed, in order to complete the original design. The hope we are animated with is this, that a noble building, capable of affording accommodation to a large congregation of Theists, shall be opened in such a manner as will enable us to speak without shame of the accommodation which the Freethinkers can provide, in order to receive the young inquirers. They who will help us now will be putting their shoulder to the wheel just at the right time ; and in after years we believe it will be a source of pleasure to them to remember how they assisted in the hour of beginning and difficulty




(Concluded from page 400.) But has it come to this, that in life we do right things merely in order thereby to win our neighbour's good will? Is this the morality of the wisest man ? Away with such soul-crushing doctrines ! I will endeavour to do the right thing, and say the true word, because these should be done and said, and shall not trouble to inquire whether my neighbour be pleased or otherwise. Are we to be eternally asking for the good opinions of men, as if what they think is to make or break us? Are we ever to be carrying the fear of the world with us, humbly asking what Mrs. Grundy will say, and making, by such means, shipwreck of our own better life, and all this in obedience to the folly of those who sit in slavery around us ! Talk not of the enchantment of the past as the great marvel, as the wonder of all

but rather look at the marvellous enchantment of our own age, which infinitely surpasses all that fairy-tale or weird story relates of the past. The enchanted ones were waved into sleep by means of magic wands, and then, behold, wonders rich and rare rose up before them to chain their hearts, to gratify their senses, and to cause a pause in their breathing; but after all had passed, they awoke, and found it was but a dream. The enchantment of our age, however, is no dream, but a sad and stern reality. See how they sit there all in a row, men and women, all in a row, enchanted by Mrs. Grundy—all bound so firmly that they dare not venture upon saying they have souls of their own, dare not utter freely forth their own most solemn convictions, and are alarmed lest their neighbours should believe them to be Democrats or Freethinkers, Theists or Republicans ! True it is that they have arrived at the conclusion in their own minds that God did not harden the heart of Pharoah so that he should not let the people go, and prepare the dread punishments which were to afflict the Egyptians because of the sin God is said to have caused, but although this has arisen as a conviction in their own minds, they would not breathe it forth, “not for the world;" they have looked a little into our government systems, into our social systems, and have seen much rottenness and wrong, but will not speak lest they lose the smile of the priest, or the custom of the aristocrat. Oh, yes ! they are enchanted, as we may plainly see, and they are all submissive to the wand of fashion or custom, and to the opinions of society. Not as men and women do they sit, but only as mere dolls, who are to be moved by the wires which are in the hands of mere dolls like themselves. They sit so, in order that they may go through life with ease, enjoying “ the blessing of being well thought of by society.” They “take their handful "in quietness," and we are asked to imitate them, asked to support the system they have strengthened and adorned. They say unto us, “Oh, sit my brother, and “ become enchanted into lifelessness and stone, sit, and have your soul melted

away, your mind imprisoned, your intellect frozen, your heart changed into “flint, and your bowels of compassion obliterated. Sit, and be as one of us !" But we answer, “No!" though all the Royal Preachers in the universe commanded us, we answer, "No!" Life is not worth having unless we have freedom with it. If we are to be as dolls moved by others, then better not be at all. We will take the full handful of life, and liberty, and consciousness--we will do and say the thing to be done and said, and sit content with the pleasure of knowing that our life has been rightly wrought. And if the big world come with its rebukes and whips, we bid the flogger flog, and the scorner scorn; for with only a little courage, we may smile under the infliction. Let the curse come with all its bitter. ness, and in all its severity, still it will fall powerless. The ghost story only alarms the weak and superstitious man who believes in ghosts; and he who, using his own reason and experience, does not believe in giants, can boldly knock at any frowning castle-gate without fearing that a Blue Beard will appear. And precisely so with the world's presumed power to render us truly and incurably unhappy. The world

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has precisely that amount of power to vex our spirits, and make us miserable, that we, in our folly or cowardice, in our weakness or ignorance, have conceded. If we have solemnly called it in to judge us and our actions, then will it sit as our censor. If we have declared it to be wise, then shall we follow the paths it has marked out. But if, happily, we have been fortunate enough to learn the great secret that the world, that society, that our neighbours are wholly powerless of themselves to make or break us—if we have discovered that they can neither afford us pleasure, nor pain us, but in exact proportion to the authority we have given them, why then all will go well

, and we can say to the world, “Scorn on, lash on!" It does not injure us, for they alone feel the smart who have bared their own backs, and who have put a rod into the hand of the smiter. And hence it is that we reject this teaching of the Preacher. He makes the neighbour absolute over us--speaks of him as one who possesses power to vex our spirits, and thus poison our handful in life, whereas we say the neighbour has no power beyond that which, in our foliy, or ignorance, or weakness, we have given him. The Preacher teaches us that it is better for us not to quarrel with the world, but take our handful in peace; whereas we say, Yes, quarrel with all the evil

, and wrong, and falsehood in the world, and even then enjoy peace with the hands full. There is quite as much for them who fight against the world as for those who swim with the tide, and surrender their liberty of action. The only difference lies in the period of life when the enjoyment comes. They who will not quarrel with the world, but will submit to its injustice, are sure to get on best at first-they can calculate upon a glow of sunshine, but how long does it last ? We cannot long be satisfied with the trickster. But they who begin with asserting their own independence, are sure, in the long run, to find that self-respect commands the esteem of all good

But the Preacher comes forward with the doctrine of Fatalism, and urges it as an argument against troubling ourselves with the condition of things. I would not be hard upon the author for believing in the doctrine, seeing that in the early days it was quite natural for men to believe in such a theory of the universe, but although bitter upon the man, I cannot overlook either the untrut or the evil tendency of the doctrines. You all remember that he teaches this in the third chapter, wherein he speaks of there being a time for all things. Generally, the passage is understood as meaning that there are fitting times for all things, times we should choose for them; but that is contrary to the meaning of the author. He means that there is a time fixed for all things, as we learn from the first verse :“ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;

a time to be born, and a time to die.” This latter is not determined by ourselves, and the author meant, that of all things, the same should be said—that their time is fixed by God. In the ninth chapter, he says: “I returned, and saw, “ under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; “neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet “ favour to men of skill

, but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also “knoweth not his time; as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the “ birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil “ hour when it falleth suddenly upon them.” Other passages of a similar character are easily found, and all alike false to the economy of the universe, and the verities of life. True it is that the rock and the tree all live by law. As the tree falls so shall it lie; but man has a force within him which is absent from the rock, and is not known to the tree. And a wise use of that force gives him the victory. The battle, in the end, is to the strong, and the race is to the swift. It is sad to believe otherwise. Why should we work were it not so ? Fools do win bread, and sometimes rise to places of trust and power, but, being fools, they cannot enjoy that which they have won. And if men of understanding do not get riches, what matters? Are no poor men happy? Are all the wealthy happy ?

Evidently this Preacher had but a low view of men and things, and if all had shared his sentiments the world would have been in a sad condition at this date. Fortunately there have been higher and braver men, who have set nobler examples and taught loftier truths, What, for instance, can be lower than this:-"Curse






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