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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/553

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CHINESE BUDDHISM.

severely; but so it does in other countries, but this is thought not to be sufficient.

In China, where there is not a burglar-proof safe, and no constant surveillance of policemen, there is comparative security to life and property. It is apparent that the belief in the transmigration doctrine has a repressing influence in this direction. But the people are not, as a rule, as good as their religion would make them if it were practiced. But in this, again, they are not peculiar. The masses are grossly ignorant and largely brutalized by ages of tyranny and poverty; yet they plod on in patience and industry, waiting their final rescue from existence.

The bible of the sect is not without beauty and high moral as well as poetic conceptions. There is much in it of the nature of mythology and mysticism, which Buddhists do not pretend to understand themselves, yet there is much to admire. From a book of extracts and translations from the Buddhist bible I give a few examples:

"The perfect man is like the lily, unsoiled by the mud in which it grows." Another: "The perfect man will not be angry with him who brings him evil reports of himself, lest he be not able to judge truthfully of the matter whereof he is accused." Its moral code contains such rules as "Do not steal"; "Do not lie"; "Do not kill"; "Do not be a drunkard"; "Do not to another what you would not wish done to yourself." From these examples it may be observed how nearly their moral law runs parallel with our own; and that this has exerted a potent influence in forming the Chinese character is evident. Also, that they cover the cardinal rules of right living in good society, none will question.

The system offers motives in the way of rewards for right living, and punishments for evil-doing. It develops sympathy, the source of many virtues. It teaches the equality of all men. One man is better or worse than another only as he observes the laws of good society or breaks them. That it satisfies the minds of its votaries is certain. The Chinese will never abandon this ancient faith on sentimental grounds. They must be convinced that a better system is offered before they accept it.

Whether this demonstration is forthcoming, remains to be seen. Strong efforts are being made in that direction, and the future alone will reveal the outcome.

 


 
Rear-Admiral Belknap, of the United States Navy, combining his discovery of the greatest oceanic depths yet found in the Japanese Kuro Siwo with what other explorers have found in different oceans, announces the conclusion that, "as a rule, the deepest water is found, not in the central parts of the great oceans, but near, or approximately near, the land, whether of continental mass or island isolation."