Bruce, Apologetics, 15 ? ?Pantheism in theory always means polytheism in practice.? The early Vedas are hopeful in spirit; later Brahmanism is a religion of disappointment. Caste is fixed and consecrated as a manifestation of God. Originally intended to express, in its four divisions of priest, soldier, agriculturist, slave, the different degree of unworldliness and divine indwelling, it becomes an iron fetter to prevent all aspiration and progress. Indian religion sought to exalt receptivity, the unity of existence, and rest from self-determination and its struggles. Hence it ascribed to its gods the same character as nature-forces. God was the common source of good and of evil. Its ethics is an ethics of moral indifference. Its charity is a charity for sin, and the temperance it desires is a temperance that will let the intemperate alone. Mozoomdar, for example, is ready to welcome everything in Christianity but its reproof of sin and its demand for righteousness. Brahmanism degrades woman, but it deifies the cow.
Buddhism, beginning with Buddha, 600 BC, ?recalls the mind to its elevation above the finite,? from which Brahmanism had fallen away. Buddha was in certain respects a reformer. He protested against caste, and proclaimed that truth and morality are for all. Hence Buddhism, through its possession of this one grain of truth, appealed to the human heart, and became, next to Christianity, the greatest missionary religion. Notice then, first, its universalism. But notice also that this is a false universalism for it ignores individualism and leads to universal stagnation and slavery. While Christianity is a religion of history, of will, of optimism, Buddhism is a religion of illusion. of quietism, of pessimism; see Nash, Ethics and Revelation, 107-109. In characterizing Buddhism as a missionary religion, we must notice secondly, its element of altruism. But this altruism is one, which destroys the self instead of preserving it. The future Buddha, out of compassion for a famished tiger, permits the tiger to devour him. ?Incarnated as a hare, he jumps into the fire to cook himself for a meal for a beggar ? having previously shaken himself three times, so that none of the insects in his fur should perish with him?; see William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, 283. Buddha would deliver man, not by philosophy, nor by asceticism, but by self- renunciation. All isolation and personality are sin, the guilt of which rests, however, not on man, but on existence in general.
While Brahmanism is pantheistic, Buddhism is atheistic in its spirit. Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 1:285 ? ?The Brahmanic Akosmism, that had explained the world as mere seeming, led to the Buddhistic Atheism.? Finiteness and separateness are evil, and the only way to purity and rest is by ceasing to exist. This is essential pessimism. The highest morality is to
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