The Jayna Sect

Fortunately for the Buddhist talapoins, lamas, sahans, upasampadas,+ and even samenai'ras,} they have popular records and facts for themselves, which are weightier than the unsupported personal opinion of a Frenchman, born in Catholic lands, whom we can hardly blame for having lost all faith in clerical virtue. When a Buddhist monk becomes guilty (which does not happen once in a century, perhaps) of criminal conversation, he has neither a congregation of tender-hearted members, whom he can move to tears by an eloquent confession of his guilt, nor a Jesus, on whose overburdened, long-suffering bosom are flung, as in a common Christian dust-box, all the impurities of the race. No Buddhist transgressor can comfort himself with visions of a Vatican, within whose sin-encompassing walls black is turned into white, murderers into sinless saints, and golden or silvery lotions can be bought at the confessional to cleanse the tardy penitent of greater or lesser offenses against God and man.

* Jacolliot, "Voyage au Pays des Elephants." f Buddhist chief priests at Ceylon.

J Samenaira is one who studies to obtain the high office of a Oepasampala. He is a disciple and is looked upon as a son by the chief priest. We suspect that the Catholic seminarist must look to the Buddhists for the parentage of his title.

Except a few impartial archeologists, who trace a direct Buddhistic element in Gnosticism, as in all those early shortlived sects we know of very few authors, who, in writing upon primitive Christianity, have accorded to the question its due importance. Have we not facts enough to, at least, suggest some interest in that direction? Do we not learn that, as early as in the days of Plato, there were "Brachmans" — read Buddhist, Samaneans, Saman, or Shaman missionaries — in Greece, and that, at one time, they had overflowed the country? Does not Pliny show them established on the shores of the Dead Sea, for "thousands of ages"? After making every necessary allowance for the exaggeration, we still have several centuries B.C. left as a margin. And is it possible that their influence should not have left deeper traces in all these sects than is generally thought? We know that the Jaina sect claims Buddhism as derived from its tenets — that Buddhism existed before Siddhartha, better known as Gautama-Buddha. The Hindu Brahmans who, by the European Orientalists, are denied the right of knowing anything about their own country, or understanding their own language and records better than those who have never been in India, on the same principle as the Jews are forbidden, by the Christian theologians, to interpret their own Scriptures — the Brahmans, we say, have authentic records. And these show the incarnation from the Virgin Avany of the first Buddha — divine light — as having taken place more than some thousands of years B.C., on the island of Ceylon. The Brahmans reject the claim that it was an avatar of Vishnu, but admit the appearance of a reformer of Brahmanism at that time. The story of the Virgin Avany and her divine son, Sakya-muni, is recorded in one of the sacred books of the Cinghalese Buddhists — the Nirdhasa; and the Brahmanic chronology fixes the great Buddhistic revolution and religious war, and the subsequent spread of Sakya-muni's doctrine in Thibet, China, Japan, and other places at 4,620 years B.C.*

It is clear that Gautama-Buddha, the son of the King of Kapilavastu, and the descendant of the first Sakya, through his father, who was of the Kshatriya, or warrior-caste, did not invent his philosophy. Philanthropist by nature, his ideas were developed and matured while under the tuition of Tir-thankara, the famous guru of the Jaina sect. The latter claim the present Buddhism as a diverging branch of their own philosophy, and themselves, as the only followers of the first Buddha who were allowed to remain in India, after the expulsion of all other Buddhists, probably because they had made a compromise, and admitted some of the Brahmanic notions. It is, to say the least, curious, that three dissenting and inimical religions, like Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism, should agree so perfectly in their traditions and chronology, as to Buddhism, and that our scientists should give a hearing but to their own unwarranted speculations and hypotheses. If the birth of Gautama may, with some show of reason, be placed at about 600 B.C., then the preceding

* Jacolliot declares, in his "Fils de Dieu," that he copied these dates from the "Book of the Historical Zodiacs," preserved in the pagoda of Vilenur.

Buddhas ought to have some place allowed them in chronology. The Buddhas are not gods, but simply individuals overshadowed by the spirit of Buddha — the divine ray. Or is it because, unable to extricate themselves from the difficulty by the help of their own researches only, our Orientalists prefer to obliterate and deny the whole, rather than accord to the Hindus the right of knowing something of their own religion and history? Strange way of discovering truths!

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