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xxix
INTRODUCTION.

dhism, it is not here the place to discuss. So far as the Northern Church is concerned, the book must be acknowledged as the very cream of orthodoxy; it is the last, the supreme, the most sublime of the Stitras exposed by the Lord; it is, so to say, the jiroma«i, the crown jewel, of all Stitras[1].

The contents of the separate chapters into which the Stitra is divided may be described, summarily, as follows:

1. Prologue.

2. Awakening of the Lord from his mystic trance; display of his transcendent skilfulness, proved by the apparent trinity of vehicles, whereas in reality there is but one vehicle.

3. Prophecy of the Lord regarding the future destiny of S&riputra, his eldest son. Second turn of the wheel of the law on that occasion, with incidental commemoration of the first turn near Benares. Parable of the burning house, to exemplify the skill of the good father in saving his children from the burning pains of mundane existence.

4. Another parable, exemplifying the skill of the wise father in leading a child that has gone astray and lost all self-respect back to a feeling of his innate nobility and to happiness.

5. Parable of the plants and the rain, to exemplify the impartiality and equal care of the Lord for all creatures[2]. Parable of the blind man, to intimate that the phenomena have but an apparent reality, and that the ultimate goal of all endeavours must be to reach all-knowingness, which in fact is identical with complete nescience.

6. Sundry predictions as proofs of the power of the Sugata to look into the future.

7. He has an equal knowledge of the remotest past ; his remembrance of the turning of the wheel by the Tath&gata Mah4bh^/?c^7*4n4bhibh(l. Edifying history of the sixteen sons of the said Tath£gata.


  1. Chap. xiii, st. 53 seq.
  2. Cf. Bhagavad-gîtâ IX, 29, where Nârâyana declares: 'I am equal towards all creatures, none is hateful to me, none beloved;' samo 'ham sarvabhûteshu, na me dveshyo 'sti na priyah.