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Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 21.djvu/38

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This summary, however meagre, will be sufficient to show that there is no lack of variety in our Stitra. We may, indeed, be satisfied that the compilers of it intended giving an exposition of the principal truths of their religion in general, and of the peculiar tenets of their own system 1 in particular, the whole with anxious care arranged in such a form that the Stitra admitted of an exoterical and esoterical interpretation. It contains a revelation of the state of things in the present, as well as in the past and the future, a revelation derived from a virtually eternal source, so that the doctrine taught in it must be deemed valid not only for a certain spiritual brotherhood or church, but for the human race at large. The highest authority to whom the doctrine is referred, is not a certain individual having lived a short span of time somewhere in India, but the sublime being who has his constant abode on the Gr/dhraktite, i.e. he who ijv the terminology of other Indian creeds is called Kft/astha.

As a general rule it may be said that in such works of ancient Indian literature as are anonymous, we must distinguish between the authority and the author. In the Lotus we meet after the invocation in some MSS. the following distich:

Vaipulyastitrar^f am param4rthanay&vat&ranirderam I Saddharmapu#*/arikaw sattv&ya mah&patha/rc vakshye ti

I. e. 'I shall proclaim the king of the Vaipulya-stitras, that teacheth how one arrives at the (right) method of attaining the highest truth ; the Saddharma-pu^^arika, the great road (leading) to substantiality (being in abstracto).' The person here speaking is not the Buddha, who is neither the author nor the writer of the work. Have we then to ascribe the distich to one of the ancient copyists? Burnouf[1] decidedly thinks so, and his opinion is corroborated by the fact that the verses do not occur in all MSS. I must con-

in the latter it is the Lord himself who promises to be in future the protector of the preachers.

I.e. of the Mahay£na, which according to T&ran&tha, Geschichte des

Buddhismus, p. 274, stands above the division of the Bauddhas into various schools.

  1. Lotus, p. 285.