Neither he nor Jesus ever wrote one word of their doctrines. We have to take the teachings of the masters on the testimony of the disciples, and therefore it is but fair that we should be allowed to judge both doctrines on their intrinsic value. Where the logical preponderance lies, may be seen in the results of frequent encounters between Christian missionaries and Buddhist theologians (pungui). The latter
* Bunsen's "Egypt's Place in Universal History," vol. v., p. 93.
usually, if not invariably, have the better of their opponents. On the other hand, the "Lama of Jehovah" rarely fails to lose his temper, to the great delight of the Lama of Buddha, and practically demonstrates his religion of patience, mercy, and charity, by abusing his disputant in the most uncanonical language. This we have witnessed repeatedly.
Despite the notable similarity of the direct teachings of Gautama and Jesus, we yet find their respective followers starting from two diametrically opposite points. The Buddhist divine, following literally the ethical doctrine of his master, remains thus true to the legacy of Gautama; while the Christian minister, distorting the precepts recorded by the four Gospels beyond recognition, teaches, not that which Jesus taught, but the absurd, too often pernicious, interpretations of fallible men — Popes, Luthers, and Calvins included. The following are two instances selected from both religions, and brought into contrast. Let the reader judge for himself:
"Do not believe in anything because it is rumored and spoken of by many," says Buddha; "do not think that is a proof of its truth.
"Do not believe merely because the written statement of some old sage is produced; do not be sure that the writing has ever been revised by the said sage, or can be relied on. Do not believe in what you have fancied, thinking that, because an idea is extraordinary, it must have been implanted by a Deva, or some wonderful being.
"Do not believe in guesses, that is, assuming something at hap-hazard as a starting-point, and then drawing conclusions from it — reckoning your two and your three and your four before you have fixed your number one.
"Do not believe merely on the authority of your teachers and masters, or believe and practice merely because they believe and practice.
"I [Buddha] tell you all, you must of yourselves know that this is evil, this is punishable, this is censured by wise men; belief in this will bring no advantage to any one, but will cause sorrow; and when you know this, then eschew it."*
It is impossible to avoid contrasting with these benevolent and human sentiments, the fulminations of the Ecumenical Council and the Pope, against the employment of reason, and the pursuit of science when it clashes with revelation. The atrocious Papal benediction of Moslem arms and cursing of the Russian and Bulgarian Christians have roused the indignation of some of the most devoted Catholic communities. The Catholic Czechs of Prague on the day of the recent semi-centennial jubilee of Pius IX., and again on the 6th of July, the day sacred to the memory of John Huss, the burned martyr, to mark their horror of the Ultramontane policy in this respect, gathered by thousands upon the neighboring Mount Zhishko, and with great ceremony and denunciations, burned the Pope's portrait, his Syllabus, and last allocution against the Russian Czar, saying that they were good Catholics, but better Slavs. Evidently, the memory of
* Alabaster, "Wheel of the Law," pp. 43-47.
John Huss is more sacred to them than the Vatican Popes.
"The worship of words is more pernicious than the worship of images," remarks Robert Dale Owen. "Grammatolatry is the worst species of idolatry. We have arrived at an era in which literalism is destroying faith. . . . The letter killeth."*
There is not a dogma in the Church to which these words can be better applied than to the doctrine of transubstantiation.+ "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life," Christ is made to say. "This is a hard saying," repeated his dismayed listeners. The answer was that of an initiate. "Doth this offend you? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words (remata, or arcane utterances) that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are Life."
During the Mysteries wine represented Bacchus, and
f "We divide our zeal," says Dr. Henry More, "against so many things that we fancy Popish, that we scarce reserve a just share of detestation against what is truly so. Such are that gross, rank, and scandalous impossibility of transubstantiation, the various modes of fulsome idolatry and lying impostures, the uncertainty of their loyalty to their lawful sovereigns by their superstitious adhesion to the spiritual tyranny of the Pope, and that barbarous and ferine cruelty against those that are not either such fools as to be persuaded to believe such things as they would obtrude upon men, or, are not so false to God and their own consciences, as, knowing better, yet to profess them" (Postscript to "Glanvill").
The hierophant-initiator presented symbolically before the final revelation wine and bread to the candidate who had to eat and drink of both in token that the spirit was to quicken matter, i.e., the divine wisdom was to enter into his body through what was to be revealed to him. Jesus, in his Oriental
J Payne Knight believes that Ceres was not a personification of the brute matter which composed the earth, but of the female productive principle supposed to pervade it, which, joined to the active, was held to be the cause of the organization and animation of its substance. . . . She is mentioned as the wife of the Omnipotent Father, Ether, or Jupiter ("The Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology," xxxvi.). Hence the word, of Christ, "it is the Spirit that quickeneth, flesh profiteth nothing," applied in their dual meaning to both spiritual and terrestrial things, to spirit and matter.
Bacchus, as Dionysus, is of Indian origin. Cicero mentions him as a son of Thyone and Nisus. Diovnusofi means the god Dis from Mount Nys in India. Bacchus, crowned with ivy, or kissos, is Christna, one of whose names was Kissen. Dionysus is preeminently the deity on whom were centred all the hopes for future life; in short, he was the god who was expected to liberate the souls of men from their prisons of flesh. Orpheus, the poet-Argonaut, is also said to have come on earth to purify the religion of its gross, and terrestrial anthropomorphism, he abolished human sacrifice and instituted a mystic theology based on pure spirituality. Cicero calls Orpheus a son of Bacchus. It is strange that both seem to have originally come from India. At least, as Dionysus Zagreus, Bacchus is of undoubted Hindu origin. Some writers deriving a curious analogy between the name of Orpheus and an old Greek term, o;rfo;fi , dark or tawny-colored, make him Hindu by connecting the term with his dusky Hindu complexion. See Voss, Heyne and Schneider on the Argonauts.
phraseology, constantly assimilated himself to the true vine (John xv. 1). Furthermore, the hierophant, the discloser of the Petroma, was called "Father." When Jesus says, "Drink . . . this is my blood," what else was meant, it was simply a metaphorical assimilation of himself to the vine, which bears the grape, whose juice is its blood — wine. It was a hint that as he had himself been initiated by the "Father," so he desired to initiate others. His "Father" was the husbandman, himself the vine, his disciples the branches. His followers being ignorant of the terminology of the Mysteries, wondered; they even took it as an offense, which is not surprising, considering the Mosaic injunction against blood.
There is quite enough in the four gospels to show what was the secret and most fervent hope of Jesus; the hope in which he began to teach, and in which he died. In his immense and unselfish love for humanity, he considers it unjust to deprive the many of the results of the knowledge acquired by the few. This result he accordingly preaches — the unity of a spiritual God, whose temple is within each of us, and in whom we live as He lives in us — in Spirit. This knowledge was in the hands of the Jewish adepts of the school of Hillel and the kabalists. But the "scribes," or lawyers, having gradually merged into the dogmatism of the dead letter, had long since separated themselves from the Tanaim, the true spiritual teachers; and the practical kabalists were more or less persecuted by the Synagogue. Hence, we find Jesus exclaiming: "Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge [the Gnosis]: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering ye prevented" (Luke xi. 52). The meaning here is clear. They did take the key away, and could not even profit by it themselves, for the Masorah (tradition) had become a closed book to themselves as well as to others.
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