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432

BUDDHISM

gems, has not yet been translated. The next work is called the Iti Vuttaka. This contains 120 short passages, each of them leading up to a terse deep saying of the Buddha’s, and introduced, in each case, with the words Iti vuttam Bhagavatd—“thus was it spoken by the Exalted One.” These anecdotes may or may not be historically accurate. It is quite possible that the memory of the early disciples, highly trained as it was, enabled them to preserve a substantially true record of some of these speeches, and of the circumstances in which they were uttered. Some or all of them may also have been invented. In either case they are excellent evidence of the sort of questions on which discussions among the earliest Buddhists must have turned. These ecstatic utterances and deep sayings are attributed to the Buddha himself, and accompanied by the prose framework. There has also been preserved a collection of stanzas ascribed to his leading followers. Of these 107 are brethren, and 73 sisters, in the order. The prose framework is in this case preserved only in the commentary, which also gives biographies of the authors. This work is called the Theratheri-gdthd. Another interesting collection is the Jdtaka book, a set of verses supposed to have been uttered by the Buddha in some of his previous births. These are really 550 of the folk-tales current in India when the canon was being formed, the only thing Buddhist about them being that the Buddha, in a previous birth, is identified in each case with the hero in the little story. Here again the prose is preserved only in the commentary. And it is a most fortunate chance that this—the oldest, the most complete, and the most authentic collection of folk-lore extant—has thus been preserved intact to the present day. Many of these stories and fables have wandered to Europe, and are found in mediaeval homilies, poems, and story-books. A full account of this curious migration will be found in the introduction to the present writer’s Buddhist Birth Stories, the first volume of a contemplated translation of the whole book, now being completed under the editorship of Professor Cowell at the Cambridge University Press. The last of these poetical works which it is necessary to mention is the Sutta Nipdta, containing fifty-five poems, all except the last merely short lyrics, many of great beauty. A very ancient commentary on the bulk of these poems has been included in the canon as a separate work. The poems themselves have been translated by Professor Fausboll in the Sacred Books of the East. The above works are our authority for the philosophy and ethics of the earliest Buddhists. We have also a complete statement of the rules of the order in the Yinaya, edited, in five volumes, by Professor Oldenberg. Three volumes of translations of these rules, by him and by the present writer, have also appeared in the Sacred Books of the East. There have also been added to the canonical books seven works on A-bhidhamma, a more elaborate and more classified exposition of the Dhamma or doctrine as set out in the Nikdyas. All these works are later. Only one of them has been translated as yet, the so-called Dhamma Sangani. The introduction to this translation, published under the title of Buddhist Psychology, contains the fullest account that has yet appeared of the psychological conceptions on which Buddhist ethics are throughout based. The translator, Mrs Caroline Bhys Davids, estimates the date of this ancient manual for Buddhist students as the 4th century B.c. So far the canon, almost all of which is now accessible to readers of Pali. But only seven volumes have so far been translated, and a good deal of work is still required before the harvest of historical data contained in these texts shall have been made acceptable to students of philosophy and

sociology. Theseworksof the oldest period, the two centuries and a half, between the Buddha’s time and that of Asoka, were followed by a voluminous literature in the following periods—from Asoka to Kanishka, and from Kanishka to Buddhaghosa,—each of about three centuries. Many of these works are extant in MS.; but only five or six of the more important have so far been published. Of these the most interesting is the Milinda, one of the earliest historical novels preserved to us. It is mainly religious and philosophical, and purports to give the discussion, extending over several days, in which a Buddhist elder named Nagasena succeeds in converting Milinda, that is Menander, the famous Greek king of Bactria, to Buddhism. The Pali text has been edited and the work translated into English. More important historically, though greatly inferior in style and ability, is the Mahavastu or Sublivie Story, in Sanskrit. The story is the one of chief importance to the Buddhists—the story, namely, of how the Buddha won, under the Bo Tree, the victory over ignorance, and attained to the Sambodhi, “the higher wisdom,” of Nirvana. The story begins with his previous births, in which also he was accumulating the Buddha qualities. And as the Mahavastu was a standard work of a particular sect, or rather school, called the Maha-sanghikas, it has thus preserved for us the theory of the Buddha as held outside the followers of the canon, by those whose views developed, in after centuries, into the Mahayana or modern form of Buddhism in India. But this book, like all the ancient books, was composed, not in the north, in Nepal, but in the valley of the Ganges, and it is partly in prose, partly in verse. Two other works, the Lalita Vistara and the Buddha Carita, give us—but this, of course, is later— Sanskrit poems, epics, on the same subject. Of these, the former may be as old as the century before Christ; the latter belongs to the century after Christ. Both of them have been edited and translated. The older one contains still a good deal of prose, the gist of it being often repeated in the verses. The later one is entirely in verse, and shows off the author’s mastery of the artificial rules of prosody and poetics, according to which a poem, a mahakavya, ought, according to the later writers on the Ars poetica, to be composed. These three works deal only quite briefly and incidentally with any point of Buddhism outside of the Buddha legend. Of greater importance for the history of Buddhism are two later works, the Netti Pakarana and the Saddharma Pundarika. The former, in Pali, discusses a number of questions then of importance in the Buddhist community; and it relies throughout, as does the Milinda, on the canonical works, which it quotes largely. The latter, in Sanskrit, is the earliest exposition we have of the later Mahayana doctrine. Both these books may be dated in the 2nd or 3rd century of our era. The latter has been translated into English. We have now also the text of the Prajnd Pdramitd, a later treatise on the MaMyana system, which in time entirely replaced in India the original doctrines. To about the same age belongs also the Divydvaddna, a collection of legends about the leading disciples of the Buddha, and important members of the order, through the subsequent three centuries. These legends are, however, of different dates, and in spite of the comparatively late period at which it was put into its present form, it contains some very ancient fragments. The whole of the above works were composed in the north of India; that is to say, either north or a few miles south of the Ganges. The record is at present full of gaps. But we can even now obtain a full and accurate idea of the earliest Buddhism, and are able to trace the main